Archive for September 14, 2020

Iran’s currency hits new record low against the dollar | The Times of Israel

September 14, 2020

The rial has seen its value fall by 30 percent since June amid severe US sanctions By AP 12 September 2020, 4:12 pm 0 People withraw money from an ATM in Tehran’s grand bazaar on November 3, 2018. (ATTA KENARE / AFP) TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s currency on Saturday dropped to its lowest value ever against the dollar, and has seen its value fall by 30 percent since June amid severe US sanctions imposed on Tehran. Money exchange shops traded the Iranian rial 262,000 for a dollar. The rial had traded at 256,000 to $1 on Thursday, and markets were closed Friday, the start of the weekend in Iran. The rial has tumbled from a rate of 200,000 in late June. Iran’s currency was at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The currency unexpectedly rallied for some time after US President Donald Trump’s decision more than two years ago to withdraw the US from the nuclear deal and reimpose crippling trade sanctions on Iran. The sanctions have caused Iran’s oil exports, the country’s main source of income, to fall sharply. On Friday, the head of Iran’s central bank Abdolnasser Hemmati said the government was trying its best to control the situation in the currency market. Iranian officials for months have warned exporters to bring their foreign earnings home from abroad or face having their export licenses revoked, and the central bank has warned it would publish the names of violators. In June, the central bank reported that Iranian companies export more than $40 billion in non-oil products per year, and officials say some 50% of that remains abroad.

After UAE and Bahrain deals, Trump said aiming for direct Israel-Morocco flights | The Times of Israel

September 14, 2020

Rabat and Jerusalem have no formal relations, but Israeli tourists are allowed into the country, which is home to the largest Jewish community in the Arab world

By TOI STAFF12 September 2020, 11:35 pm  5A view of Rabbat, Morocco (YouTube screenshot)

US President Donald Trump is looking toward following up the landmark normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain with the introduction of direct flights between Israel and Morocco, Channel 12 news reported Saturday.

Morocco is considered an ally of the United States, and has long maintained informal but close intelligence ties with Israel.

Though the countries have no formal relations, Morocco has hosted Israeli leaders, and Israelis are allowed to visit there. Some 3,000 Jews live in Morocco, a fraction of the number from before the 1948 creation of Israel, but still the largest community in the Arab world.

The unsourced TV report said efforts to reach a breakthrough on Israel-Morocco ties some time ago had failed due to unspecified reasons, but the US was hoping the more limited gesture of direct flights was achievable.

The television report also said Washington was continuing to push for Oman and Sudan to forge diplomatic ties with Israel, as part of an effort to rack up as many accomplishments on the global stage as possible before the November 3 elections.

Morocco’s Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani delivers a speech in Marrakech, Morocco, January 30, 2018. (AP/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

Last month Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani said Rabat would not normalize relations with Israel. But days later he appeared to walk those statements back, saying his comments in opposition to warming ties were made in his capacity as leader of the Islamist PJD party, not as prime minister.

El Othmani added that he had just been reiterating a long-held position of his party. He did not comment further on the matter.

In August, quoting unnamed US officials, the Kan public broadcaster said Morocco was seen as a likely candidate to normalize ties as it already has tourism and trade ties with Israel. The report also cited the North African country’s protection of its small Jewish community.

Establishing formal diplomatic ties with Israel could also improve Morocco’s relations with the US. The report said that in exchange for doing so, Rabat was seeking American recognition of its sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Morocco occupied large swaths of the Western Sahara in 1975 as Spain withdrew from the area and later annexed the territories in a move not recognized internationally.