05272019Mon

Iranian Brain Drain Leaves the Country

Iran Focus

London, 14 Oct - “Brain drain” is defined as the emigration of highly trained or intelligent people from a particular country. Highly educated experts and at least 64 percent of Iranian students, including the winners of the Olympiad and the national math competition, have left the country during the past 14 years.

Former minister of transportation, and head of Engineering Organization Ahmad Khoram revealed that Iran loses about 150 billion dollars each year to brain drain. In June 2018, Khoram told the state-run ISNA news agency, “UNESCO says that 150,000 intellectuals leave Iran every year. The government spends one million dollars for every university graduate student before the student can enter the work cycle of the country. Thus, we lose 150 thousand million dollars per year and nobody cares.”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague

Iran Focus

London, 5 Oct - Iran failed on Wednesday to persuade the highest court in the United Nations to overturn the punishing economic sanctions from the US that are bringing the Iranian economy to a grinding halt.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, whom Iran appealed to in July, has left most of the nuclear sanctions in place, only ordering the US to lift sanctions that affect imports of medicine, food and civilian aircraft parts.

Rouhani will Speak about terror attack at UN General Assembly

Iran Focus

London, 25 Sep - On 22nd September there was a deadly attack at a military parade in the south-western part of Iran. Dozens of people were killed and Iran has accused the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel of being behind the attack. Tensions are rising between the countries and Iranian officials are making the matter worse by threatening revenge.

This tension will no doubt affect Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He has already said that he intends to “expose U.S. breaches of international regulations” and there is no doubt that he will have a lot to say about the U.S. exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Iran’s Striking Truck Drivers

Iran Focus

London, 3 Oct - Some of Iran’s leading prosecutors have threatened the country’s striking truck drivers with execution, according to state-run media.

On September 30th, the strike entered its second week. The truck drivers are protesting what they call “terrible working conditions”. They are demanding better pay, pensions, and stronger trade unions, as well as government subsidies to buy such things as tires and expensive parts that must be imported.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Foreign Minister at the United Nations

Iran Focus

London, 24 Sep - As the UN General Assembly begins, during a press briefing on Thursday September 20th, US Department of State's spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the United States holds Iran responsible for last week's attacks on American establishments in Iraq. She said, "We recognize that Iran continues to be a destabilizing element in the region. They continue to try to attack other governments and individuals through their proxy militias. We will hold them responsible for any loss of American life. I just want to be clear about that.” Previously, the U.S. had warned against any attack by Iran-backed Iraqi militia against US forces in Iraq.

Europe still trying to find loophole on Iran sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 3 Oct - Almost five months after Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord, the countries still party to the deal are becoming increasingly desperate to find loopholes to the US sanctions on Iran.

While a second lot of US sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its oil industry and central bank, will come into place on November 5 and it doesn’t seem likely that any country or company will get the sanctions waivers they desire, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has written that he will allow the five other countries (the UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China) a “short grace period” to offset these sanctions. This came after a meeting between the six nations at the UN General Assembly.

Trump’s Iran strategy

Iran Focus

London, 22 Sep - In May, Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear between Iran and six world powers and sent the foreign-policy establishment into overdrive with opposition.

They warned that Trump’s promise to bring back sanctions – specifically on Iran’s oil exports - would fail because America’s allies and the other signatories to the nuclear deal would continue to do business with Iran. Then, as if they were dealing with Schrödinger’s sanctions, they said that if the sanctions worked, then the US would be dealing with increased oil prices that would bite the American people and possibly even cause a recession.

Sinopec Corp

Iran Focus

London, 1 Oct - As China’s state refiner, Sinopec Corp, comes under intense pressure from Washington to comply with a U.S. ban on Iranian oil from November, people with knowledge of the matter said that the company is halving loadings of crude oil from Iran this month.

Volumes were not specifically identified, but based on the prevailing supply contract between the top Chinese refiner and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), its loadings would be reduced to about 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) — 20 percent of China’s average daily imports from Iran in 2017.

Japan-Iran oil imports

Iran Focus

London, 21 Sep - Oil refiners in Japan have temporarily suspended all loading from Iran ahead of incoming US sanctions, even though they are still trying to obtain a sanctions waiver from Washington, according to Takashi Tsukioka, the President of the Petroleum Association of Japan.

When asked whether refiners had suspended their Iranian oil loadings beyond October, Tsukioka told a press conference on Thursday: "I understand that each company's position [over Iranian oil loadings] is the same, to have suspended them while monitoring the situation. The companies are also taking a flexible approach to be prepared to respond, depending on how the situation develops."

A New Strike by Iranian Truckers

Iran Focus

London, 28 Sep - Another nationwide strike by Iranian truck drivers has begun in protest of rising costs. A few months ago, a trucker’s strike drew international support and caused shortages at gas stations.

On Wednesday, video clips were posted online showing trucks idle in at least six regions: Ahvaz, Ardabil, Borujerd, Qazvin, Shahreza and Urmia. It has been verified that this is the fourth consecutive day of reports of the widespread strike by truckers in Iran.

The truckers are protesting low wages, which they see as unfair in light of the rapidly rising costs for parts and supplies.

Flag-UK-France

Iran Focus

London, 21 Sep - On September 19th, British-Iranian dual nationals were advised against all but essential travel to Iran. Britain has warned them that it has only limited powers to support them if they are detained in the country.

A foreign office spokeswoman said, “The Foreign Secretary (Jeremy Hunt) has taken the decision to advise against all but essential travel by UK-Iranian dual nationals to Iran.” Her email statement continued, “British citizens who also hold Iranian nationality face risks if they travel to Iran, as we have seen all too sadly in a number of cases. The Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality, so if a dual national is detained our ability to provide support is extremely limited.”

Trump at U.N. General Assembly

Iran Focus

London, 26 Sep - On Tuesday 25th September, the U.S. President Donald Trump and several top officials in his administration spoke out about Iran and warned that Iran would have to deal with serious consequences if its belligerence continued.

President Trump spoke about Iran’s corrupt leadership, describing it as a dictatorship, and slammed Iranian officials for stealing wealth from the country. Trump also promised that he would continue to isolate Iran through the use of sanctions that are being put back into place after the U.S. exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Zayandeh River in Isfahan Province

Iran Focus

London, 20 Sep - The people of Golpayegan in the Isfahan Province of Iran have been dealing with major problems in terms of agriculture. Their land that used to have wonderful natural springs is now useless. Agricultural activity has all but stopped because the land is barren and is incapable of producing what it once used to.

This is all because of the Ghaed Bassir Petrochemical Plant. The plant produces Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Styrene Acrylonitrile Copolymer (SAN) resins according to the petrochemical owning company.

President of Iran at the United Nations

Iran Focus

London, 26 Sep - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predictably accused the United States of breaking the law and trying to overthrow his government during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, before rejecting bilateral talks and insulting Donald Trump, even if he was too scared to name him.

While Rouhani was still mid-speech, US National Security Adviser John Bolton issued remarks that doubled down on Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal, which Bolton called "the worst diplomatic debacle in American history", and dismissed any entreaties from Tehran.

Trump policy on Iran

Iran Focus

London, 19 Sep - Back in May, when Donald Trump formally announced that he would be pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, there was a great deal of concern that this would either dramatically increase oil prices and damage the American economy or fail to stop international companies from trading with Iran and allow Iran to restart its nuclear weapons programme without oversight. As of yet, neither has happened.

Instead, Iran’s crude exports are plummeting nearly two months before the sanctions go into effect, as global oil companies – even those based in countries still committed to the deal – are cutting their ties to the country. Despite this, oil prices in the US have not risen as dramatically as was feared, essentially remaining stagnant, largely thanks to the increase in oil production by the US and other oil-producing countries.

European leaders

Iran Focus

London, 26 Sep - Back in May, shortly after Donald Trump had pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, a senior US official told EU diplomats to stop trying to protect EU investment in Iran.

Now, just six weeks before the second wave of US sanctions hits, European diplomats are admitting that he was right, noting that the EU has failed to create a workable legal shield for its companies in Iran that will evade US sanctions.

Indeed, many companies including Total, Moller-Maersk, Peugeot, Renault, Air France, British Airways, Deutsche Telekom and Airbus have already pulled out and EU-Iranian trade is expected to fall well below its current $2.35 billion a month once sanctions on Iranian oil come into play.

Oil refinery in Iran

Iran Focus

London, 18 Sep - When U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be exiting the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and other world powers, he also declared that sanctions would be re-imposed.

The announcement created shockwaves and there were immediate ramifications on the Iranian economy. Since the announcement was made, Iran’s oil exports have dropped by nearly a third.

head of Iran’s Department of Environment Issa Kalantari

Iran Focus

London, 25 Sep - In a rare and bold rebuke, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been strongly criticized by the head of Iran’s Department of Environment, Issa Kalantari.

The former Minister of agriculture, Kalantari, criticized the IRGC for its meddling in the agricultural sector, as well as wasting the country’s financial resources on ineffective projects. He pointed out that Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture cannot devise and implement effective policies because it is “under the influence of military institutions.” Military leaders make key decisions on agricultural issues that are often counterproductive.

China should cut ties to Iran

Iran Focus

London, 12 Sep - Iran may be turning towards China for support as US sanctions put pressure on the Gulf nation, because Chinese businesses are eager to build relationships with Iran, as Western businesses leave, and China is one of the biggest importers of Iranian oil, something that will come under U.S. sanctions in November.

A. Tabatabai, an associate political scientist. who recently co-authored a book exploring Iran's ties with China and Russia, said: “[Iran] has had to rely on China to offset the Western-induced isolation, predominantly championed by the United States. I think that what we're going to see is the return of a quasi-monopoly of key sectors of the Iranian economy by the Chinese."

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