Iran plans to offer oil and gas condensate to “any investor” in exchange for either goods or capital investment in the Islamic Republic’s sanctions-hit energy sector, the country’s oil minister said. The ministry would welcome investment in both Iran’s upstream and downstream industries in exchange for oil or condensate, Javad Owji said in comments shown on state TV, without specifying whether the initiative is aimed at domestic or foreign buyers. The plans were presented to lawmakers on Sunday and are pending their approval, he said.
Iran’s top nuclear official said it’s “not necessary” for United Nations inspectors to reinstall cameras at a centrifuge facility that was attacked earlier this year, because it goes beyond the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the ailing nuclear accord “is a two-way deal” between Iran and world powers and “the Europeans and the Americans haven’t fulfilled their commitments,” according to an interview with Iran’s Entekhab newspaper.
The coming weeks are decisive for the future of the nuclear deal with Iran, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, adding that every day that passes without Tehran responding to U.S. overtures will result in Iran enriching more uranium. Speaking during a visit to Israel, the outgoing chancellor said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping also had a responsibilty to help to push Iran back to the negotiating table, she said at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
UANI IN THE NEWS
…Advocacy organizations focused on nuclear proliferation are looking for the Biden administration and European nations to take punitive action against Iran. United Against Nuclear Iran, a bipartisan advocacy group, said in a statement this week that the IAEA must respond to Iran’s provocative moves by adopting a formal resolution of disapproval. The IAEA should also mandate that Iran respond to its requests for access on a strict timeline, the group said, and if it does not, the matter should be referred to the United Nations Security Council for further action.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Iran has produced more than 120 kilogrammes (265 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium, according to its nuclear chief, a considerable increase compared with the global nuclear watchdog’s latest report. In an interview broadcast on state television late on Saturday, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) head Mohammad Eslami said it has more than complied with a December parliament law that demanded production of 120 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium in one year. “We have surpassed the 120-kilogramme figure and in this regard, we’re ahead of schedule,” he said.
A main concern of Iran in any talks to rescue the 2015 nuclear deal would be around ways to verify the lifting of U.S. sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday. The talks, which aim to bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear pact aimed at curbing the Iranian enrichment programme, were adjourned in June after hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran's president. Speaking during a visit to Syria, Amirabdollahian reiterated that Iran would "soon" return to the nuclear talks with world powers, which include indirect negotiations with the United States, Iranian state media reported.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The Biden administration on Friday lifted sanctions on two Iranian entities involved in military missile programs. The sanctions, targeting the Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel, were originally imposed by the Trump administration in September 2020 as part of efforts to increase a maximum pressure campaign of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activity and actions in the region criticized as malign and destabilizing.
German finance regulator BaFin said on Friday it had banned a Hamburg-based branch of Bank Melli Iran from issuing loans, citing infringement of transparency rules. “BaFin had identified contraventions of the requirements for proper business organisation within the meaning of section 25a (1) of the German Banking Act caused by infringement of the four-eyes principle," BaFin said in a statement. BaFin said its order became final on Oct. 7. Calls to Bank Melli Iran's branch in Hamburg went unanswered.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Faezeh Maleki died in a hospital bed in northwestern Iran, days after she was admitted with burns to some 85 percent of her body. Women’s rights activists allege that the 22-year-old, who recently divorced her husband, was the victim of a so-called "honor killing": the murder of women for allegedly dishonoring the family, such as eloping with men, committing adultery, or even getting divorced. Activists accuse Maleki’s father of drenching her in petrol and setting her on fire in the family’s garden in the village of Dolatabad in Kurdistan Province.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first president after the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution who fled Tehran after being impeached for challenging the growing power of clerics as the nation became a theocracy, died Saturday. He was 88. Among a sea of black-robed Shiite clerics, Banisadr stood out for his Western-style suits and a background so French that it was in philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre that he confided his belief he’d be Iran’s first president some 15 years before it happened. Those differences only isolated him as the nationalist sought to implement a socialist style economy in Iran underpinned by a deep Shiite faith instilled in him by his cleric father.
Iran's state electricity company has warned that illicit cryptocurrency miners in the country could cause new power cuts this winter. Illegal cryptocurrency mining will account for at least "10 percent of electricity outages this winter", the power company said in an October 10 statement published by the official government news agency IRNA. Such illegal mining was responsible for 20 percent of blackouts over the summer, the statement added. Iranian officials have repeatedly blamed unlicensed cryptocurrency miners for using vast amounts of electricity -- draining the power grid and raising air pollution levels in many cities.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Iran aims to continue sending fuel products to Lebanon in the future and hopes a bilateral agreement can be struck for that purpose, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday during a visit to Beirut. The Iran-backed Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah group has been coordinating Iranian fuel shipments for Lebanon since August as shortages spread amid an economic meltdown, despite U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said the Iranian shipments constitute a breach of his country's sovereignty.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah thanked Iran late Thursday for standing by the Lebanese paramilitary group. “The Islamic Republic proved that it is the sincere and loyal ally who doesn’t abandon its friends despite the hard conditions,” said Nasrallah, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar TV reported Friday. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is in Lebanon for an official visit. On Thursday, he met Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati as well as President Michael Aoun and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday that Saudi Arabian authorities had moved first in cutting ties between the two countries. Amirabdollahian told a news conference in Beirut that good relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia benefited the whole region. "Iran-Saudi dialogue is in the right direction and we need more dialogue," he said. "We were not the first to cut ties with Saudi Arabia; the decision was made by Saudi authorities. We consider the dialogue between the two countries constructive."
Satellites spotted several large clouds of methane near fossil fuel infrastructure in Iran, which is one of the largest producers of natural gas and responsible for the world’s third-most emissions of the superpotent greenhouse gas from oil and gas activities. The methane plumes were identified by geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS using European Space Agency data. The largest leak occurred on Sept. 5, in the southwest of the country near the border with Iraq. The rate of release was about 95 tons per hour, which has approximately the same climate-warming impact as 4,700 cars in the U.K. running for one year.