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Ed Webb

Europe moves to safeguard Iran interests after U.S. pullout | Reuters - 0 views

  • “There is a realization among all European states what we cannot keep going in the direction we are headed today whereby we submit to American decisions,”
  • Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said transatlantic ties had been gradually damaged by shifts in U.S. policy. “We are prepared to talk... but also to fight for our positions where necessary,”
  • Paris was seeking U.S. waivers and longer transition periods over Iran for French companies including Renault (RENA.PA) and Total (TOTF.PA), while pressing for European Union measures to improve the bloc’s “economic sovereignty” in the longer term.
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  • French exports to Iran doubled to 1.5 billion euros ($1.79 billion) last year, driven by jets and aircraft and automobile parts, according to customs data.
  • Exports of German goods to Iran rose by around 400 million euros to 3 billion euros. Around 120 German firms have operations with their own staff in Iran, including Siemens (SIEGn.DE), and some 10,000 German companies trade with Iran.
Ed Webb

Iranian hard-liner alleges FM Zarif is American spy - 0 views

  • After the recent move by the US Congress to renew sanctions on Iran, one prominent Iranian extremist went so far as to call Zarif an American spy
  • “Since the nuclear deal was reached, the ‘worried ones’ [the hard-liners opposed to the JCPOA] have been waiting for a suitable excuse to attack Zarif. … What better excuse than the 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act? Now is the perfect moment to say that the Iranian national hero is an American spy.”
Ed Webb

Iranian Americans await payoff from nuclear deal - News from Al Jazeera - 0 views

  • "The nuclear deal with Iran has benefited Europeans and loosened up sanctions there, but there's been no relief for Iranian Americans,"
  • Al Jazeera spoke with several Iranian Americans who said a heavy-handed approach continued long after the Iran deal was passed. Many cited cases of discrimination, but wished to remain anonymous for fear of irking sanctions officials.

    There are an estimated one million Iranian Americans. Many describe themselves as victims of tensions between two nations that have derided each other as the "Great Satan" and part of an "Axis of Evil" since Iran's religious revolution of 1979.

  • In June, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the "psychological remnants" of curbs on Iran were still deterring business, and that Washington should do more to encourage banks to engage with Tehran.

    Many Iranian Americans agree. According to a Zogby Research Services poll in March, more than half of 400 respondents said that letting Americans invest in Iran was a "top priority". More than a third said it was time to lift the embargo.

Ed Webb

Wary of lifting Iran sanctions, EU overrides own courts - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the ... - 0 views

  • Since the start of 2012, the European Union, once Iran’s biggest trading partner, has imposed stringent sanctions on entities involved in the Islamic Republic’s oil and banking sectors on the basis that they are supporters or financiers of nuclear proliferation. Sanctions mean that companies’ assets held in European banks are frozen; and travel bans are imposed on listed individuals.
  • After several long and expensive legal battles, many sanctions on Iranian banks, shipping companies, insurers, oil contractors, engineering firms and universities have been declared by EU judges to have been placed in “manifest error.”

    But lawyers representing the Iranian plaintiffs say that several key firms remain sanctioned, despite their wins.

Ed Webb

Iraq: Iran's Economic Gateway To the World - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • 72% of Iran’s exports go to Iraq
  • “Iran is in dire need of Iraq, particularly at this stage; not only to market its goods, but to export them to other countries, or to facilitate the movement of Iranian funds through Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut.” He said, “Iraq is Iran’s economic outlet to the world.”
Ed Webb

Report: Sanctions may be speeding Iran's nuclear advancement - - 0 views

  • “Putting pressure is just half of the equation; [US and European officials] have succeeded with that, undoubtedly the pain on Iran is immense,” says Mr. Parsi. “But to channel the pain is a very, very different task.”
  • measures have begun to bite, causing economic isolation and a precipitous fall in both oil revenues and the value of the Iranian currency. But Iran has still added thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and deployed a more efficient, second-generation centrifuge model; stepped up uranium enrichment levels from 5 percent to 20 percent, which is technically not too far from weapons-grade; and moved its most sensitive work to a deeply buried site impregnable to air attack.
  • “it is highly unlikely that the regime will succumb to sanctions pressure … [when] no proportionate sanctions relief is put on the table by the P5+1, and capitulation is seen as a greater threat to the regime’s survival than even a military confrontation with the United States.”
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  • "individuals close to the core of Iran's power structure are relishing the narrative of resistance" because although there is economic suffering, Iran “is also gaining newfound respect on the international stage due to its refusal to succumb to Western pressure.”
  • “Stark divisions among the Iranian elite are unmistakable,” notes the NIAC report. “[But] if the testimony of elite insiders is to be believed, sanctions have helped strengthen cohesion rather than intensify rifts.”
Ed Webb

Humanitarian Aid Blocked As UN Imposes New Iran Sanctions | Common Dreams - 0 views

  • Food and medical exports to Iran are being blocked from that country even though they are exempt from new sanctions instituted Monday by the European Union.
  • "With Iraq, that of course ended up with 500,000 Iraqi children dead, resulted in the shortage of medicine, and other needs, and ended up ultimately to forceful invasion and war,"
  • Washington-based sanctions attorney Eric Ferrari said food and medical exports to Iran are being blocked, even though those items are technically exempt from sanctions. According to the NIAC:

    He said he has encountered numerous scenarios—an attempted export of a $250,000 of burn medicine, a multimillion dollar export of prosthetic limbs, exports of food supplies—in which goods that had a license from the U.S. government, a willing exporter, and a willing importer, still were blocked because no foreign bank was willing to take the risk to facilitate the transaction.  The reason, he said, is that the U.S. government has announced broader and broader penalties for any foreign bank dealing with Iranian financial institutions, while making no distinction between prohibited and authorized transactions with those banks.  The result is fewer and fewer channels for legal, humanitarian, food, and medical transactions.

    Some confusion here - headine refers to UN, text refers to new EU sanctions, but also to existing US sanctions. Nevertheless, it is a matter of concern that sanctions are a blunter weapon than might appear from much media coverage and political discussion.
Ed Webb

BBC News - Blizzard cuts off Iranian access to World of Warcraft - 0 views

  • "This week, Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services," read the statement.

    Unfortunately, said Blizzard, the same sanctions meant it could not give refunds to players in Iran or help them move their account elsewhere.

    "We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and will happily lift these restrictions as soon as US law allows," it added.

    Although the block on Wow has been imposed by Blizzard, other reports suggest a wider government ban might have been imposed.

    Players of Wow and other games, including Guild Wars, said when they had tried to log in they had been redirected to a page saying the connection had been blocked because the games promoted "superstition and mythology".

    Blizzard said it had no information about Iranian government action against online games.

Ed Webb

U.S. Boosts Trade to Iran, Despite Sanctions - The Source - WSJ - 1 views

  • European companies realize they suffer more from recent Iran restrictions than their U.S. counterparts–and that such advantage may stem in part from better corporate access to decision-makers in Washington than in Brussels.
  • U.S. companies benefit from well established channels in Washington to plead for sanctions exemptions, while their European peers, “don’t have the same mechanism to lobby the EU bureaucracy.”
    One example of how domestic politics drive the implementation of foreign policy.
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