Eye on Iran: Revival of Sanctions Delay China, Russia Oil-Field Deals in Iran

TOP STORIES

Revival of Sanctions Delay China, Russia Oil-Field Deals in Iran | The Wall Street Journal

China, Russia and India say they will continue to buy petroleum from Iran, despite U.S. sanctions that would prohibit those sales, although banking difficulties are hampering their ability to invest in the Islamic Republic’s oil fields.

Daimler Abandons Its Iran Plans Over US Sanctions | CNN

Daimler has abandoned plans to expand in Iran as US sanctions targeting the country snap back into place.

German Central Bank Blocks $400 Million Cash Delivery to Iran Ahead of Crippling US Sanctions | Fox News

The U.S. campaign to rein in Iran has scored a victory in the German financial sector, after the Deutsche Bundesbank− the country’s central bank− imposed a rule stopping a $400 million cash delivery to Tehran. Iran's cash-starved economy desperately needs hard currency ahead of crippling U.S. bank sanctions that will be introduced in November.

 

UANI IN THE NEWS

Chinese Car Makers Poised to Fill Gap in Iranian Market as US Sanctions Bite | Voice of America

“For Renault to explicitly express their desire to comply with U.S. law, even though they do not have any existing American operations, suggests that even the prospect of future U.S. business is far more enticing than anything they currently have in Iran,” said David Ibsen of United Against Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group chaired by former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman.

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

Iran Braces for New U.S. Sanctions to Further Cripple Economy | NPR

Despite the promise of protection, many European corporations have begun to leave Iran, says Amir Paivar, a reporter for the BBC's Persian service. "If you are a big multi-national with a massive exposure to U.S. market, and at the same time you have a small business in Iran, it's not a difficult choice to make quite frankly," he tells Here & Now's Robin Young. "At the end of the day, it's a risk and reward calculation. They are more accountable to their shareholders and boards rather than being accountable to what the politicians in Brussels decide."

 

Iran’s Oil Exports Drop for Third Consecutive Month | Oil Price

 

Iran’s oil exports dropped by 7 percent to 2.32 million bpd in July—their lowest level in four months—as South Korea and Europe are slashing imports ahead of the return of the U.S. sanctions on Tehran, data from S&P Global Platts showed on Tuesday. However, Iranian oil exports to its top two customers—China and India—continued to stay high last month.

Firms Face Legal Risk Over Iran Sanctions | BBC News

European banks that deny companies access to dollar-based bank accounts because of US sanctions against Iran could find themselves being sued by their own customers.

Factbox: European Companies Respond to Latest Iran Sanctions | Reuters

New U.S. sanctions against Iran took effect on Tuesday, and President Donald Trump, who defied Washington’s allies to impose them, pledged that companies doing business with Tehran would be barred from doing business with the United States. Following are comments and responses from companies in Europe which last year did far more business with Tehran than U.S. firms did:

Iran's Foreign Minister: U.S. Will Not Stop Iran Oil Exports: Newspaper | Reuters

A U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was cited as saying by an Iranian newspaper on Wednesday.

 

Russia Slams US Sanctions Against Iran, Promises to Save Nuclear Deal | CNBC

 

Russia said Tuesday it will do "everything necessary" to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and protect its shared economic interests with Tehran.

China Defends Iran Business Ties After Trump Threat | Reuters

China’s business ties with Iran are open, transparent and lawful, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump said companies doing business with Iran would be barred from the United States.

Iran’s President Goes on TV to Offer Hope As US Reimposes Sanctions | Al Monitor

 

Although he likely meant to touch upon a vast array of issues of concern to Iranians, President Hassan Rouhani couldn't help but focus on Donald Trump's recent offer of talks and on Iran's economic problems during his live interview on state TV on Aug. 6.

US Confirms Iran Sanctions Waiver for Azerbaijan Natural Gas Pipeline to Turkey, Europe | S&P Global

The Southern Gas Corridor has received a waiver from US sanctions against Iran's energy customers, an expected win for the project, designed to transport 16 Bcm/year of Caspian natural gas to Turkey and southern Europe while bypassing Russia. The language appeared in an executive order that President Donald Trump signed Monday.

UniCredit CEO Expects to Reach Agreement with U.S. Over Iran by Year-end | Reuters

Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit expects to reach a deal with the United States in a dispute over alleged sanctions violations in Iran in the coming months, its CEO said on Tuesday.

European Companies Continue to Withdraw from Iran | Asharq Al-Awsat

Major companies have continued to withdraw from Iran despite the European Union’s announcement that the blocking statute entered into force on August 7, to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

Why Trump’s Sanctions on Iran Carry So Much Force | Bloomberg

Trump is reimposing sanctions that were frozen by the agreement, threatening to penalize even close allies if they keep doing business with Iran. That’s undermining Iran’s economy and -- though the U.S. says it isn’t seeking regime change -- raising the pressure on President Hassan Rouhani, who pushed hard for the nuclear accord.

Can Iran Wait out Trump's Pressure Campaign? | Lawrence Haas for the National Interest

The question now is whether President Trump, or if necessary a successor, will push this pressure campaign—which the Administration is supplementing with outreach to Iran’s people and more security cooperation with its regional adversaries—to its conclusion. If so, the regime in Tehran, which is presiding over an increasingly troubled economy and restive populace, may reach a point where it must choose between its nuclear program and its continued rule.

TERRORISM & EXTREMISM

The Al Qaeda - Iran Connection | Thomas Joscelyn for the Weekly Standard

Twenty years ago today al Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies and killed 224 people. Iran helped them do it.

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS

Iran Crowds Reportedly Chant 'Death To The Dictator!' As US Sanctions Increase Economic Unrest | Fox News

 

Days of unprecedented protests aimed at Iran's sluggish economy along with "biting" sanctions imposed by President Trump are ramping up pressure Tuesday on the Islamic Republic's ruling class and causing many analysts to wonder if regime change could be on the horizon.

 

What We Know About Iran's Fresh Rash of Street Protests | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

 

Sporadic street clashes and other protests have hit major cities in Iran since late July as Iranians express anger over economic woes that include rising prices and a sustained fall in the value of Iran's national currency. The extent and seriousness of protests in Iran can be difficult to gauge, with tight controls on newsgathering and the publication of information regarded as subversive or even critical of the religious establishment that has run the country since the 1979 revolution.

Journalists’ Day In Iran Is a Joke That Isn’t Funny | Jason Rezaian for the Washington Post

On Wednesday, Iran will mark its annual celebration of the press. It’s called “Journalists’ Day.” This long-running display of cognitive dissonance is a reminder that Iran’s Islamic republic aspires to present itself as something it is certainly not: representative, transparent and tolerant.

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS

Iranian Lawmakers Oust Minister in Victory for Hard-Liners | Associated Press

Iranian lawmakers have voted to sack President Hassan Rouhani’s labor minister, in a victory for hard-liners opposed to the relative moderate.

 

CONGRESS & IRAN

Donnelly, Braun Weigh In on Iran Sanctions | WFYI

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) says he supports sanctions on Iran that just took effect.

NORTH KOREA & IRAN

North Korea's Foreign Minister Visits Iran as US Reimposes Sanctions | CNN

 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, to Tehran on Tuesday, hours after the United States reintroduced sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported the two officials met and "expressed satisfaction with existing bilateral relations and called for further expansion of ties."

 

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

Iranian Revolutionary Guards: We Asked Houthis to Attack Saudi Oil Tankers | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander admitted that the Houthi attack that targeted the two Saudi oil tankers in Bab al-Mandeb Strait was carried out as per a request from the Revolutionary Guards.

Saudi-led Coalition Reportedly Kills Two Hezbollah 'Military Experts' in Yemen | Haaretz (Israel)

Yemen's military reports that the Saudi-led military coalition killed two Hezbollah "military experts'' in an airstrike Thursday. Several Houthi fighters were reportedly killed as well.

US Withdrawal from Iran Deal Helping Wind Down Yemen War, Officials Say | Fox News

Despite Tehran’s repeated denials of arming Shiite Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, government and military officials insist President Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal has had an immediate impact in helping bring the four-year conflict at least a step toward closure.

 

IRAQ, TURKEY & IRAN

Iraq to Reluctantly Comply with US Sanctions on Iran: PM | AFP

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday he would reluctantly comply with renewed US sanctions on neighbouring Iran, but recalled his country's 12 years under international embargo.

CYBERWARFARE

Experts: Iran Could Answer US Sanctions with Cyberattacks | Associated Press

The U.S. is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, cybersecurity and intelligence experts say.

Iranian Hackers Turn to Ransomware, Bitcoin As Economy Stalls | Wall Street Journal

Iranian hackers are developing software attacks that render computer systems inoperable until a digital ransom is paid, a new report says, a threat that comes as the U.S. moves to reimpose tough economic sanctions on the country.