Week of June 8 - 15
AIC’s Iran digest project covers the latest developments and news stories published in Iranian and international media outlets. This weekly digest is compiled by Research Fellow Shiva Darian and Communications Associate Shahab Moghadam. Please note that the news and views expressed in the articles below do not necessarily reflect those of AIC.
World Cup: Nike boots barred for Iran footballers amid US sanctions
Sportswear giant Nike says it has withdrawn its supply of boots to Iranian footballers ahead of the World Cup because of new US sanctions.
The decision has frustrated Iranian players and head coach Carlos Queiroz, who asked Fifa to "help" his players.
Last month, President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. (BBC)
Iran’s Rouhani asks Macron for action to save nuclear deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned world powers on Tuesday that it was impossible for Tehran to stay in the nuclear deal if it cannot benefit from the accord after the US withdrawal.
In a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Rouhani said he was satisfied with Europe's stance, especially French efforts to salvage the 2015 deal, but that "such statements should be combined with actions and tangible measures". (Jordan Times)
Iran Steps Back From Introducing Antiterrorism Finance Rules As Fresh U.S. Sanctions Loom
With a new wave of US sanctions just two months away, there appears to be growing opposition in Tehran to the Iranian government’s long-standing policy of falling into line with international rules to prevent terrorism financing and money laundering.
On June 10, MPs voted to suspend discussion of a bill that would have seen Iran sign up to the United Nations’ International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism. That bill was approved by the cabinet in October last year and has been working its way through the Majlis (parliament) since May. (Forbes)
How rial's devaluation may boost Iranian economy
The money supply in the Iranian economy exceeds $355 billion at the official exchange rate, remarkably surpassing total economic output of $331 billion. Financial depth, a metric showing the ratio of liquidity to gross domestic product, is commonly indicative of the state of a given economy. But financial depth can be too high; the rapid growth of this ratio in Iran, which has seen it triple under the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, is now posing a threat to the overall economic health of the country.
Weak monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies in recent years coupled with the payment of high interest rates to Iranian bank depositors have all acted to cause the liquidity rate to spike to levels that have spurred dramatic growth in asset markets such as hard currency, gold coins and real estate. Iranian stock exchanges have been the only markets that have been neglected by investors, even as the fundamentals in the Tehran Stock Exchange tell of rosy days to come. (Al-Monitor)
Iran Expects OPEC to Stick to Supply Limits
OPEC nation Iran said it expects the group to stick with its pact to restrain oil supply as world markets don’t need more crude.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners will meet next week and debate whether to restore output halted last year. Saudi Arabia and Russia have said it’s time to reverse the cuts and appear to have begun reviving supplies, but face opposition from Iran, Iraq and Venezuela. (Bloomberg)
India may seek exemptions from US to buy Iranian Oil
India will seek US exemptions to buy Iranian oil and work towards setting up an alternative payment mechanism to protect its trade with the Islamic Republic in the wake of US sanctions against Tehran, according to officials familiar with the matter.
Indian policymakers had initially believed that the sanctions may not matter to India this time as much as they did last time round since it has been unilaterally imposed by the US, but are now increasingly of the view that Europe may not be able to save the Iranian nuclear deal America has abandoned. (Economic Times)
Women of Iran
Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer detained again
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, was detained by security forces on Wednesday, according to her family.
Her husband, Reza Khandan, said Sotoudeh was arrested at their home in Tehran and taken to Evin prison, a notorious lockup just outside the city.
"Once, during an interrogation session, I told the interrogators that of all the services that a government must provide for its citizens you only know of one, arresting people," Khandan said in the Facebook post announcing his wife's arrest. (CNN)
World Cup 2018: A billboard in support of Iran is criticised for excluding women
A huge billboard in Iran's capital Tehran in support of the national team at the World Cup has been criticised because it does not feature any women.
The picture shows men of different ethnicities celebrating around a trophy.
A line under the picture reads in Persian: "Together we are champions; one nation, one heartbeat."
In response, the front page of the Qanun newspaper carried an image of the billboard with the caption 'We lose without women'. (BBC)
Parts of missiles fired at Saudi Arabia came from Iran: U.N. chief
Debris from five missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi group since July 2017 “share key design features with a known type of missile” manufactured by Iran and some of the components were manufactured in Iran, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres wrote in a confidential report to the Security Council.
However, the United Nations has not been able to determine when the missiles, components or related technology were transferred from Iran and if they violated U.N. restrictions, Guterres said in a biannual report on the implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran. (Reuters)
Iranians Wonder: Why Won’t Trump Talk to Us?
By: Thomas Erdbrink
After the handshakes, the signature ceremony and the diplomatic pomp of the historic meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea, many Iranians could come to only one conclusion: We should talk, too.
Yes, Mr. Trump in May unilaterally pulled the United States out of the nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of world powers. Yes, he has imposed new sanctions against Iran that are scaring away European investors. Yes, Mr. Trump has a long track record of changing his mind.
Despite that, some here say that perhaps Iran’s leaders should make a move similar to Mr. Kim’s and propose a meeting. If Mr. Trump can sit down with the leader of such an isolated country, with its gulags, summary executions and stockpile of nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles, why not talk to Iran? (New York Times)