The United States on Monday said it blacklisted two Chinese men and six Chinese entities for having dealt with Iranian shipping company Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and, in some cases, helping it to evade U.S. sanctions. The U.S. State Department named the entities as Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd.; Reach Shipping Lines; Delight Shipping Co., Ltd.; Gracious Shipping Co. Ltd.; Noble Shipping Co. Ltd.; and Supreme Shipping Co. Ltd.
Following the end on the 18th of October of the 13-year United Nations’ embargo on Iran buying or selling weapons, the roll-out of the military component of the 25-year deal between China and Iran will begin in November, as exclusively revealed by Oil Price.com. After a series of meetings in China on the 9th and 10th of October between Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif, and his China counterpart, Wang Yi, this military component may now also feature the deployment in Iran of North Korean weaponry and technology, in exchange for oil, according to sources very close to the Iranian government spoken to by OilPrice.com last week.
Iran is hosting officials from Ukraine in a second round of talks over compensation for a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran in January after being struck by two missiles, killing 176 people. Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharwand met in Tehran on October 19 at the start of the two-day talks. Baharvand said Iran "has nothing to hide about this tragedy" and was ready to "honestly inform the Ukrainian people and delegation about the details" of the crash, according to a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
UANI IN THE NEWS
…Jason Brodsky, policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, a U.S.-based advocacy group, said the U.S. sanctions would rather help expose Iranian policies that prioritize military adventurism over the well-being of its people. "Just a few weeks ago," he said, "Iran's health minister complained that only a small portion of promised funds from the National Development Fund (NDF), which is controlled by Iran's supreme leader, had been received for combating the coronavirus." "The NDF has been used in the past to fund Iran's malign activity throughout the region," Brodsky said.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
The international arms embargo against Iran expired on Sunday, underscoring the flaws in the 2015 nuclear deal and the failure of the United Nations on collective security. It also raises a question for Joe Biden: How is he going to contain Iran when he vows to return to the deal? The 2007 United Nations embargo prevented Tehran from buying combat aircraft, tanks and other advanced weapons. Ending the ban in 2020 was one of the many concessions to Iran that the Obama-Biden Administration made to get the deal.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
An Iranian businessman was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role operating a company that prosecutors said helped Iranians circumvent U.S. sanctions. Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, founder and former chief executive of Iranian online financial services company Payment24, pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to defraud the U.S. Mr. Shahidian, a 33-year-old Iranian citizen, was sentenced in federal court in Minnesota on Thursday by District Judge Patrick Schiltz. He was also ordered to serve two years supervised release.
The total index of the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) dropped by 47,000 to about 1.5 million units on Sunday, a decrease of more than three percent compared to the previous day. Based on the local news outlets' reports, Iran's primary mining, petrochemical, and refining companies had the largest share of market index decline. The total index of the Iran Stock Exchange soared from about 500,000 units at the beginning of the Iranian calendar year, starting March 20, to two million units in mid-August. Many experts have blamed government manipulation for the stock market increases, which have created a bubble.
Iran has decided to use local firms to develop a large offshore natural gas field, which was discovered by an Indian company and set to be developed by a group of Indian firms, Press Trust of India reported on Monday, citing sources with direct knowledge of the plans. An Indian consortium led by ONGC Videsh discovered the huge Farzad-B gas field back in 2008. Iran and India have since negotiated the terms of the field’s development for years, in fits and starts.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
An international conventional arms embargo on Iran has expired after 13 years on Sunday, despite a push by the US government to keep Tehran as a pariah in the international weapons trade. The embargo’s termination came in line with provisions under the 2015 nuclear agreement called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Tehran, despite the US administration's efforts in the UN Security council to renew the embargo during a vote in August.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Finding it harder and harder to feed his family of four on a salary equivalent to around $100 a month, earlier this year cleaner Javad Mamashty got another job as a caretaker at an apartment block in the south of Tehran. But along with extra cash — about $30 every four weeks — Mamashty picked up Covid-19. The coronavirus forced Mamashty, 48, to isolate in his house for weeks, which meant losing the second job. Since August, he said, he has burned through his savings, which “weren’t much to begin with.” Now he’s stuck with one income that doesn’t allow him to cover the basics.
Iran’s single-day death toll from the coronavirus smashed a record set less than a week ago, with 337 dead confirmed Monday as a resurgence of infections is overwhelming hospitals. On social media, Iranian news outlets dramatically dubbed the day “Black Monday” and lamented the grim milestone — which represented a significant increase over Iran’s previous one-day record of 279 set Wednesday. The Islamic Republic emerged early in the pandemic as a global epicenter of the virus and has since seen the worst outbreak in the Middle East, with deaths topping 30,000, as fatalities have soared in recent weeks.
CHINA & IRAN
China on Monday accused the United States of “peddling arms” and “interfering” in other countries’ affairs after Washington threatened sanctions against any nation taking advantage of the end of a UN ban to sell weapons to Iran. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against anyone supplying arms to the Islamic republic after Tehran said a longstanding UN embargo against such deals had expired. China’s foreign ministry on Monday said Pompeo’s remarks were “utterly unjustifiable.”
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that enemies could use internal disputes to achieve their own goals and vowed to counter market “fluctuations”. There is a need to maintain political stability and cohesion in the country, stressed Rouhani, warning that enemies invest in internal conflicts and during difficult economic war. He called upon officials and activists to prevent conflicts and disputes while maintaining political calm and rationality, urging them to be vigilant against the enemies.