Tamnoush, an Iranian company that makes fizzy drinks, has shut down its production line after 16 years and laid off dozens of workers. It was facing massive losses as U.S. sanctions pushed up the price of imported raw materials. "All our 45 workers are jobless now. The men are driving taxis and women are back to being housewives," said CEO Farzad Rashidi. Reuters interviews with dozens of business owners across Iran show hundreds of companies have suspended production and thousands of workers are being laid off because of a hostile business climate mainly caused by new U.S. sanctions.
Britain's top diplomat is visiting Iran, less than two weeks after the United States re-imposed oil sanctions on the country. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met on Monday with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, shortly after arriving in Tehran. The official IRNA news agency says that the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which the U.S. pulled out of earlier this year, will be on the agenda, as well as an agreement aimed at facilitating financial transactions with Iran.
Iraq's President Barham Salih began a visit to Iran on Saturday, where he pledged to improve relations less than two weeks after the United States restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran, which has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is hoping to maintain exports to its neighbor despite the renewed sanctions. Iraq is Iran's second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Iran will continue to export oil despite U.S. sanctions, which are part of a psychological war doomed to failure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday. By reimposing sanctions on OPEC's third biggest crude producer, Washington wants to force Tehran to drop its ballistic missile programs, further curb its nuclear work and limit its support for proxy militias from Syria to Lebanon and Yemen.
A senior Iranian diplomat says the Islamic Republic has not become completely disappointed with Europe to help offset sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran but it has devised several mechanisms for any possible scenario. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi, who is in Madrid for talks with senior Spanish officials, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with IRNA on Saturday.
Iran's deputy foreign minister has told a Spanish newspaper that his country will not change its policies in the face of United States sanctions, IRNA reported. Abbas Araqchi told ABC newspaper, "Sanctions might have a heavy cost but they will not alter Iran's policies. The previous U.S. administration implemented heavier sanctions but at the end, it had to sit at the negotiating table." The U,S, has threatened to tighten the screws on Iran to force Tehran to "change its behavior".
When U.S. President Donald Trump asked Saudi Arabia this summer to raise oil production to compensate for lower crude exports from Iran, Riyadh swiftly told Washington it would do so. But Saudi Arabia did not receive advance warning when Trump made a U-turn by offering generous waivers that are keeping more Iranian crude in the market instead of driving exports from Riyadh's arch-rival down to zero, OPEC and industry sources say.
With its Persian restaurants and shop signs in Farsi, Murshid Bazaar, a dense maze of alleys in Dubai's old quarter, has for decades been a centre for small-scale trade with Iran. That is changing. One in every dozen or so shops in the once-bustling area is shuttered or carries a "for rent" sign. Indian and Pakistani merchants now far outnumber the Iranians who used to dominate the area.
President Donald Trump's decision to take the US out of the international nuclear deal with Iran and impose new economic sanctions is causing anguish in unexpected places: Iran is India's largest buyer of tea, and traders and growers are feeling the pinch. Demand for prized black tea from Assam in north-east India, a favourite brew for Iranians, has fallen.
Japanese refiner Fuji Oil Co is set to resume Iranian crude purchases after Japan received a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Tehran, industry sources familiar with the matter said. The refiner is under discussions to obtain final approval from the Japanese government for loading starting in January, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
World Bank says Iran's total foreign net debt reached $6.276 billion in 2017, about 15% more than the previous year, which is still much lower than other developing countries. The value is equal to 1.4 percent of Iran's gross national income (GNI, which stood at $440.5 billion in 2017). This is not necessarily good news for Tehran, as isolation and sanctions have limited its ability to receive foreign investment or borrow funds for growth.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
Iran says it is prepared to carry out anti-terror operations on Pakistani soil under Islamabad's supervision. "As the interior minister and the person responsible for the country's internal security, I announce that we are prepared to conduct operations in areas where terrorists are present in Pakistan, under the Pakistani side's supervision and with their permission," Interior Minister Abdol-Reza Rahmani-Fazli said on Saturday.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that the country's authorities have detained four workers protesting not having been paid their salaries for months in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. The Sunday report says that in recent days many people have attended the demonstrations at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Mill in solidarity with striking workers there.
The Iranian people continue to suffer under an "unjust... system of darkness" that does not respect human rights, said the Saudi ambassador to the UN. Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said the report of the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, submitted on Sept. 27, and the secretary-general's report on Aug. 6, made clear that the country persecutes ethnic and religious minorities, including Sunni Muslim Balochis and Ahwazi Arabs.
Several labor rights groups in Iran have reported that protests by Haft Tappeh (Tapeh) sugar mill workers continued on Saturday. The workers accompanied by their families marched in Shush, southwestern Iran, gathering near the governor's office to draw attention to their demands. In the meantime reports also speak of anti-riot police being stationed in and around the complex in the early hours of Saturday.
Jeremy Hunt is visiting Iran on Monday, where he will make a personal appeal for the immediate release of the Iranian-British dual-national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on humanitarian grounds. The foreign secretary will also call on Iran to stop using Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual nationals as tools of diplomatic leverage. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 as she and her daughter were about to board a flight back to the UK after a visit to her family in Iran.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
The United States, like a bully, is exerting pressures on other countries but it has been isolated politically, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said. Earlier this month, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump announced the re-imposition of the "toughest" sanctions ever against Iran's banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off the country's oil sales and crucial exports.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
A top Iranian military official said the Navy will soon receive a new destroyer and a submarine. Deputy Chief of Iran's Army for Coordination Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on Saturday said Sahand destroyer and Fateh submarine will join the Navy's fleet in the near future Denouncing the foreign sanctions against Iran, the commander noted that Iran has turned the embargoes into opportunities.
A senior Iranian commander says the country's naval fleet will continue its presence in the high seas to protect Iran's national interests. "So long as the presence of the Iranian Army's fleets is necessary to secure Iran's interests, the dispatch of the fleets to the high seas will continue," Iranian Army's Deputy Commander for Operations Rear Admiral Mahmoud Moussavi told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Sunday.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Iran's former economy minister, impeached less than three months ago, will head the national oil company as it works to evade renewed US sanctions, local media reported Monday. Masoud Karbasian, 67, was impeached by parliament on August 26 after only a year in the job, over his handling of the country's economic downturn. In a short statement run by the state-run Iran newspaper Monday, he vowed to "use four decades of experience... to overcome the sanctions crisis."
With less than two months to go before the AFC Asian Cup 2019 starts, Iran football faces so many challenges which can hurt Team Melli's preparation for the biggest continent's competition. Last week, the Asian Football Confederation warned Iran they could face sanctions over government interference in their national football association. It follows the Iranian parliament passing a law barring the employment of retirees in government, state or public institutions which use state funds or facilities.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
The United Nations' special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said Friday that warring factions there had committed to convening peace talks in Sweden shortly. A date hasn't been set, but diplomats said they could begin this month. Diplomatic talks have stalled for months while the conflict has escalated, and Friday's announcement delivered a glimmer of hope, U.N. officials and diplomats said.
Russia, Turkey, and Iran will hold the next round of talks on Syria on Nov. 28-29 in Kazakhstan, Kazakh foreign minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said on Monday. Delegations of the Damascus government and the Syrian rebels are also set to attend, Abdrakhmanov told reporters.
The United States is laying the groundwork for a long-term commitment to eastern Syria that will include "stabilization" after the defeat of Islamic State and also the demand that "Iranian-commanded forces" leave Syria before the US withdraws. Over the last six months, this policy has increasingly crystalized. It was finally spelled out by US special representative for Syria engagement James Jeffrey at the end of last week.
Mehdi Sanaei, Tehran's ambassador to Moscow, on Sunday called for more cultural cooperation between Iran and Russia. "The situation is ripe to cooperate," Saaei said in a speech at the Saint Petersburg's international cultural conference. The rich culture of Saint Petersburg coupled with studies by Iranologists and Orientalists provide more opportunities for cooperation, he stated.
IRAQ & IRAN
Saudi Arabia's King Salman received Iraq's president in Riyadh on Sunday, a day after the Iraqi official visited the kingdom's rival, Iran. Barham Salih's back-to-back visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia reflect the delicate balance Iraq seeks to maintain in a region where its two powerful neighbors are battling for supremacy. Salih was received at the airport in Riyadh by the province's governor and other Saudi officials.
Iraqi President Barham Salih has announced that his country has agreed to establish a "free-trade zone" along its border with Iran, following a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. In a joint press conference in the Iranian capital on Friday, Salih declared that the relationship between the two neighbouring countries is a "fixed principle" that is "rooted in shared history, faith and geography". "We care about our relationship with Iran," Salih declared.
Iran says it is discussing a plan with Iraq to switch to dinar in trade instead of the US dollar. The announcement was made by Iran's Ambassador Iraj Masjedi who said the plan had been devised in response to recent US sanctions that restricted Iran's access to the greenback. "Considering the problems that have emerged in dollar-based banking transactions, a joint proposal between Iran and Iraq is using Iraq's dinar in trade," said Masjedi.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
British authorities say they found nine suspected migrants from Iran after they landed on a coast in southeastern England. The Home Office said the group landed Sunday at Folkstone, near the town of Dover, on an inflatable boat. It said they will be "processed in line with immigration rules." The BBC reported that a member of the public found them "clambering up rocks" on the coast.