National security adviser John Bolton

Iran Focus

London, 7 Nov - National security adviser John Bolton said on Monday that US sanctions on Iran have already had an "enormous" effect, driving Iran’s economy into a depression before they even came fully into effect.

Bolton said: “We’ve already seen the consequences in Iran… The rial, the currency, has declined by 70 per cent since the sanctions, inflation has quadrupled. The country is in recession.”

Mike Pompeo

Iran Focus

London, 6 Nov - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed during a press conference on Monday that the US will put "relentless" pressure on Iran until it behaves "like a normal country”.

His comments came just hours after the US imposed crippling sanctions against Iran’s oil industry and central bank, with the US Treasury Department reporting that more than 200 individuals and companies in Iran's shipping and energy sectors, including the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries have been hit with sanctions. Pompeo promised that these sanctions will accelerate the rapid decline of Iran’s economy.

Iran: Khamenei calls for Fight against ‘enemy infiltration' via Internet and Social Media

Iran Focus

London, 29 Oct - In a speech on Sunday to officials in charge of cyber defense, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for the stepping up of efforts to fight enemy “infiltration”, according to reports on state television. “In the face of the enemy’s complex practices, our civil defense should ... confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date ... action,” he told civil defense officials, including those involved in cyber defense.

Western cultural influences, such as entertainment, social media, and the Internet are seen as a threat against Islamic and revolutionary values by officials.

Trump and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton

Iran Focus

London, 6 Nov - Donald Trump defended on Monday his decision to give waivers to eight countries, including India and China, from the Iran oil sanctions in order to keep global oil prices down.

These " toughest ever" sanctions on Iran, targeting the country ’s banking and energy sectors, are designed to alter the Iran’s malign behaviour and cut off the flow of money that funds it. Trump vowed earlier this year to get Iran’s oil exports to zero and bring in harsh penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not comply.

Trump v Congress Over Iran Sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 29 Oct - There is a battle brewing between Donald Trump and Iran hawks in Congress over the next round of US sanctions on Iran, with many conservative lawmakers believing that the sanctions returning on November 5 do not go far enough.

These sanctions, originally lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal that Trump exited earlier this year, will target Iran’s central bank and oil industry, but Republican lawmakers fear that they are not strong enough to fulfil Trump’s promise of putting “maximum pressure” on Iran.

U.S.  sanctions on Iran

Iran Focus

London, 6 Nov - U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier this year that the United States was exiting the nuclear deal and that crippling economic sanctions would be re-imposed. The first batch of sanctions have already taken effect and they have had a major impact on the Iranian economy.

Yesterday, Sunday 4th November, the next batch of sanctions were reinstated by President Trump.


Iran Focus

London, 26 Oct - On November 5th U.S. sanctions are set to be re-imposed on Iran. These sanctions will exert more pressure on an already struggling economy. It is likely that Iran will attempt to circumvent these sanctions through cyber-enabled money laundering — and banks will be a prime target.

To cyber-enable money laundering, hackers alter critical information or disable anti-money laundering controls using a bank’s own computer system, thereby allowing them to execute a prohibited financial transaction. The illicit purpose or sanctioned participant is disguised, so the transaction is allowed.

Trump and  Merkel

Iran Focus

London, 25 Oct - German bank Varengold is still conducting business with Iran Air, an airline that will come under US sanctions from November 4 for its role in helping Iran to aid Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The business links were confirmed by a highly reliable source and the Iran Air website.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies reports that members of Fatemiyoun, an Afghan militia under control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – a US-sanctioned terrorism group - are being flown on Iran Air to Syria, but the Iran Air website hides this by not listing Damascus on its official flight logs.

Saudi Energy Iran’s oil shortfalls

Iran Focus

London, 25 Oct - The Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said on Tuesday that his country, the leading member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is ready to increase its crude oil production and spare capacity to help maintain balance in the global market and prevent a sharp price rise.

At an investment conference in Riyadh, Falih said that OPEC and non-OPEC producers are expected to sign an "open-ended" agreement in December to continue cooperation in the energy markets.

US considering Iran sanctions waivers

Iran Focus

London, 31 Oct - The US is currently evaluating potential sanctions relief for countries that significantly reduce their imports of Iranian oil, according to a source in the State Department on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The US is in the midst of an internal process to consider [significant reduction exemption] waivers for individual countries. Our goal remains to get to zero oil imports from Iran as quickly as possible. We are prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis."

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Iran Focus

London, 24 Oct - On Tuesday, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty published an article discussing the Iranian reaction to the apparent killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by agents of the Saudi Arabian government. The article began by stating that “Tehran spent weeks watching quietly as the international crisis unfolded over the killing.” It noted that Sadegh Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary, finally condemned the incident on Monday, but that this effectively broke the government’s weeks-long silence, standing as an exception to its strategy of simply allowing other international voices to take the lead in criticizing Iran’s leading regional adversary.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iran Focus

London, 31 Oct - Before the Iranian parliament, a few days ago, President Hassan Rouhani spoke about the new cabinet members he has introduced during his latest shuffle in the economic department. His comments when he was addressing the parliament were notable.

He spoke about the tough economic situation in the country and said that it has one of the least expensive education systems in the world. He also said that health care in Iran is among the cheapest in the world, as well as energy – namely diesel fuel, gasoline and ethanol – and water and electric.

Bank of Kunlun

Iran Focus

London, 23 Oct - The official channel for money transfers between China and Iran, Bank of Kunlun, will stop handling payments from the Islamic Republic as U.S. sanctions loom, according to what sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sources, who include external loan agents and business officials who trade with Iran, claim that Kunlun verbally informed clients that it will stop accepting yuan-denominated Iranian payments to China beginning November 1st.

The financial arm of Chinese state energy group CNPC controls the bank, and had already suspended euro-denominated payments from Iran in late August, said the sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The leaders of China and India

Iran Focus

London, 30 Oct - Just days before US sanction on Iran’s oil sector are due to go into effect, China and India – the two biggest importers of Iranian oil – are fighting America’s push to fully stop the flow of Iranian oil, claiming that there are not enough supplies available elsewhere to make up the shortfall.

The US announced these sanctions back in May, when it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, but China remains a party to the deal and has vowed to keep importing the oil, despite American threats to ban Chinese companies from the US financial market. China imports about $1.5 billion worth of oil every month from Iran and may be less concerned about US sanctions because it has the world’s second largest economy and it working with EU partners to bypass the sanctions by not using dollars.

The tomb of Cyrus the Great

Iran Focus

London, 23 Oct - An Iranian MP from the city of Shiraz blasted President Hassan Rouhani in a speech to parliament on October 21 for suppressing Iran’s pre-Islamic history.

Bahram Parsaei, whose city is home to the 2,500-year-old ruins of Pasargadae, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great, proposed that October 29 should be named in honour of Cyrus, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire.

U.S. Sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 21 Oct - The second round of U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil exports and international banking operations will be ineffective, claims the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Abdolnasser Hemmati.

However, the first round of sanctions that followed the United States' exit from the nuclear deal with Iran had a devastating impact. The second round is expected to increase the impact on Iran’s rising unemployment and poverty.

The next round of sanctions, beginning in early November, targets Iran's oil exports, among other important aspects of its economy.


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