Archive for the ‘Iran – sanctions’ category

From Hanoi Kerry to Tehran Kerry in 50 Short Years

September 14, 2018

Former secretary of state and failed Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry has been trying to salvage Obama’s awful Iran Deal – by going around the Trump administration and holding meetings with Iran. Who elected Kerry?

by Aleister September 13, 2018 Gateway Pundit

Source Link: DEEP STATE: John Kerry Held Meetings With Iran – Advised Them To ‘Wait Out’ Trump Presidency

{Once again, we see Kerry giving aid and comfort to our enemies…and getting away with it. – LS}

FOX News reports:

“John Kerry slammed for ‘shameful’ shadow diplomacy after admitting to meetings with Iran”

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is being slammed for conducting shadow diplomacy with Iran after admitting to multiple meetings with Iranian officials behind the backs of the Trump administration — including over the scrapped nuclear deal.

An administration official on Thursday told Fox News Kerry’s meetings are “shameful,” pointing out what Iranian-backed militias are doing to kill and injure people in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Other Republicans suggested it may not even be legal.

“John Kerry is out giving advice to Iran about how to maneuver around what Donald Trump is doing, it’s insidious,” Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary for George W. Bush, said Wednesday on Fox News’s “Special Report.” “I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal, I don’t care about that side of it. It’s wrong.”…

Later Wednesday, during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino,” Kerry did not deny the suggestion he’s telling the Iranians to wait out Trump until there is a Democratic president again.

“I think everybody in the world is talking about waiting out President Trump,” said Kerry, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and who has not ruled out a 2020 bid.

As Ari Fleischer points out in the video below, Kerry had no business doing this:

Michael Rubin of the Washington Examiner says Kerry deserves jail for this:

John Kerry deserves jail for secret Iran diplomacy

In a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that he’s been working behind-the-scenes to salvage the Iran nuclear deal. “What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better,” he explained. Kerry’s backchannel with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has not been a one-time deal. “I think I’ve seen him three or four times,” Kerry said, and acknowledged that his talks were occurring without the Trump administration’s approval.

Perhaps Kerry believes he is not violating the Logan Act of 1799 which states that: “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

What would have happened if someone from the Bush administration decided to go around Obama in this way while he was president?

 

A Coalition of Willing Hostages

September 4, 2018

Among other workarounds, the Europeans are thinking of devising a new way of transferring money electronically that is free from U.S. influence.


A peddler holds Iranian currency for sale in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Aug. 9, 2018.Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP – Getty Images file

by Josh Lederman and Dan De Luce / Sep.04.2018 NBC News

Source Link: How Europe plans to skirt Trump’s sanctions and keep doing business with Iran

{Leave it to European ingenuity to find a way to make money as a hostage. – LS}

WASHINGTON — America’s allies in Europe are plotting ways to bypass President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran as they work to keep the nuclear deal alive without the United States.

With a second round of U.S. sanctions set to take effect in November, European officials are working at cross-purposes with Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign as they try to preserve as much business as possible with Iran. The goal is to persuade Iran’s leaders to stay in the deal for a few more years — perhaps long enough for Trump to be replaced and for a new U.S. president to rejoin the deal.

Among the creative workarounds under discussion in Brussels and other capitals: Devising an alternative — free from U.S. influence — to the current electronic system used to transfer money from place to place, European officials told NBC News. And since commercial banks must stop handling transactions with Iran or face U.S. penalties, European countries are considering using their own central banks to transfer funds to Iran, wagering that Trump wouldn’t go so far as to sanction an ally’s central bank.

The Trump administration is working to foil the Europeans, threatening to sanction anyone — from American bank executives to small foreign companies — who doesn’t comply. Caught in the middle are foreign companies that must choose between flouting the Trump administration or their own governments.

In the last few weeks, U.S. diplomats in Europe have started working to help local companies that do business with Iran find new markets and business opportunities to offset their losses, a senior Trump administration official said, describing a program that has not been made public. The official said that the U.S. Commercial Service — diplomats who work abroad for the Commerce Department — have been holding seminars and reaching out to business groups to find ways to help small and medium-sized businesses find alternatives to Iran.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Commercial Service didn’t respond to several requests for comment.

The looming sanctions have become the latest flashpoint between the Trump administration and European allies, particularly the three that brokered the nuclear deal with the Obama administration in 2015: France, Germany and the U.K. Those tensions are exacerbated by Trump’s trans-Atlantic trade battle and intermittent hostility toward NATO.

“Europe can no longer rely on the United States alone for its security,” French President Emmanuel Macron said this week.

To the Trump administration, the allies’ efforts constitute an egregious attempt to undermine the president’s foreign policy and ignore the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and other troubling activities. Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, recently blasted the European Union for making a $21 million payment to Iran, saying it “sends the wrong message at the wrong time.” The Europeans argue the payment shows Europe’s continuing commitment to the nuclear deal.

Trump administration officials have privately blamed President Barack Obama’s top aides, including former Secretary of State John Kerry and top Treasury Department officials, for what they say is an organized campaign to undercut the current U.S. foreign policy. Trump officials pointed to recent speeches, visits to Europe and op-eds by former Obama aides calling for Europe to stay in the deal, suggesting that Obama’s team is aiding foreign countries in evading sanctions.

The president took aim at Kerry more publicly over the weekend, calling him “the father of the now terminated Iran deal” and noting the speculation that Kerry may run against him in 2020. “I should only be so lucky,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

But some economists worry that the overuse of sanctions, particularly when other countries disagree with them, will lead the rest of the world to develop workarounds that may eventually diminish America’s economic dominance. The concern is that other economic powers like China will market themselves as attractive alternatives where international corporations can bank without being told what to do.

A president who doesn’t fear ‘third rails’

Under the 2015 deal struck by Obama, Iran and world powers, Tehran received billions in sanctions relief in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in May. As a result, some U.S. sanctions kicked back in earlier this month, and others take effect in November, including a prohibition on processing financial transactions for Iran.

European officials involved in discussions with Iran say that the Iranians want to stay in the deal despite the U.S. withdrawal, as long as they continue receiving enough economic benefits for it to be worthwhile. Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog that monitors the deal, said in a new report that Iran is still complying with its obligations under the deal, despite the U.S. withdrawal.

But the sanctions include a U.S. threat to ban anyone who does business with Iran — even non-U.S. banks — from the American financial system. Because of the dominance of the U.S. banks, nearly every global transaction touches the U.S. in one way or another, even if only for a second as transactions are “cleared.” So the sanctions essentially force businesses and banks to choose between doing business with Iran or the United States.

To big, multi-national corporations, the choice has been obvious. Since Trump announced sanctions would be returning, major companies have started shutting down their Iran-related operations, including auto maker German automaker Daimler AG, French oil company Total SA and both British Airways and Air France, in a blow to the nuclear deal.

“There is clearly money to be made in Iran, but nothing like the business opportunities available in the U.S. market,” said Adam Smith, a former senior sanctions official in the Obama Administration and partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

As a result, the Europeans have narrowed their focus to small- and medium-sized businesses that have a footprint in Iran but no U.S. operations, and therefore may be more willing to take the risk.

“There are many companies in Europe able to fall into that category,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, an Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “But they need small banks to do the financing, or central banks. People have to be paid, and it has to be converted to local currency.”

That problem has led the Europeans to consider using their own central banks to transfer the money. Under that scheme, a central bank would collect hundreds or even thousands of planned transactions and “bundle” them together, sending the funds to Iran in one lump sum that would then be re-distributed to the intended recipients in Iran.

European central banks that send money to Iran would still be violating the same sanctions as commercial banks, and could be punished. But the countries are betting that Trump won’t, given the dramatic economic implications of the U.S. slapping sanctions on the central bank of an ally.

Yet Iran hawks say if any president would take that risk, it’s Trump.

“I think that actually is realistic under this president,” said Richard Goldberg of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which advocates for a hard U.S. line on Iran. “There have been so many third rails of trade relations that the president has not been afraid to touch.”

Another major U.S.-flashpoint is SWIFT, a financial messaging service that is used ubiquitously by banks to send money from one place to another. November’s sanctions call for Iran to be disconnected from SWIFT and say anyone who allows them to stay on the system will face sanctions. The U.K., Germany and France have all urged the U.S. to let Iran stay on the system, but Trump is expected to rebuff that request.

SWIFT is based in Belgium, but its board includes top U.S. bank executives from Citigroup and J.P. Morgan, making it difficult for the messaging service to say no to Trump and risk sanctions. So European officials have been looking at creating their own “clearing mechanism” for transactions or alternative to SWIFT so transactions with Iran can continue.

“I want Europe to be a sovereign continent, not a vassal,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said recently. “And that means having totally independent financing instruments that do not today exist.” The idea has stoked divisions even within European governments. After German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas advocated creating a SWIFT alternative to “protect European companies from sanctions,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out against it, warning it could undermine the transparency of the SWIFT system that helps root out fraud and terror financing.

Other ideas the Europeans have floated have sputtered. A proposal to use the European Investment Bank to lend to European projects in Iran was shot down by the EIB’s board, which was loath to risk sanctions.

The European Union this summer also revamped an arcane, little-used law known as the “Blocking Statute,” created in the 1990s to protect European businesses against the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The law prohibits European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions, and threatens to punish those who comply anyway.

That forces European companies who do business in Iran to make a choice: Break EU law by cutting off business with Iran, or break U.S. law by continuing.

But would the EU really punish its own companies for stopping business with Iran? How could they prove it was due to sanctions and not an unrelated business decision?

Those complications have led even EU officials to concede that while the blocking statute sends a powerful diplomatic message — that the EU has its companies’ backs — it is unlikely to be enforced in any meaningful way.

The Europeans have also been scrambling to figure out how strictly they must comply with Trump’s sanctions requiring countries to stop importing Iranian oil. The Trump administration has given mixed messages, at first saying imports must drop to “zero” by November 5, then suggesting there could be some leniency. The law calls vaguely for “significant” reductions, which the Trump administration hasn’t specifically defined.

Some major importers of Iranian oil — like India, Japan and South Korea — are expected to continue to import some oil, creating a game of chicken as countries wager how much they can get away with without Trump punishing them. Another complication is the effect on oil prices and global supply-and-demand.

Other countries are exploring more novel ways to sidestep the oil embargo. Under one idea being discussed, Russia would increase its oil imports under a goods-for-oil barter deal, then rebrand it as Russian oil before reselling it to third countries.

 

Holding the West Hostage With the Threat of More Nuclear Research for Peaceful Purposes

September 1, 2018

IRAN has issued a clear warning to signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, threatening to once again build up its arsenal unless economic ties with Tehran are guaranteed.


Iran wants more guarantees now that the US is imposing sanctions (Image: GETTY)

By DAN FALVEY
PUBLISHED: 03:02, Sat, Sep 1, 2018 | UPDATED: 03:05, Sat, Sep 1, 2018
The Express

Source Link: Iran threatens to WITHDRAW from nuclear pact and DEMANDS more guarantees from signatories

{Imagine the threats if Iran really had the bomb…assuming they do not. – LS}

Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, warned on Thursday his country was willing to pull out of the agreement if those within the nuclear deal did not honour the terms of the pact.

His statement comes after Donald Trump reintroduced sanctions on the Middle Eastern country and threatened to impose sanctions on any companies from other countries doing business with Tehran.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Zarif threatened: “If preserving JCPOA is the goal, then there is no escape from mustering the courage to comply with commitment to normalise Iran’s economic relations instead of making extraneous demands.

“Being the party to still honoUr the deal in deeds & not just words is not Iran’s only option.”

The UK, US, Russia, France, China, and Germany all signed the agreement in 2015 which aims to limit the country’s nuclear capabilities.

It was also signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, but the Republican pulled out of the agreement earlier this year.

Trump has argued the Iran nuclear agreement is too lenient and called for tougher sanctions to be imposed on the rogue state.

The US President has previously called the agreement “not a fair deal” and claimed: “It’s a deal that should have never ever been made.”

The remaining signatories of the JCPOA have all tried to reassure Iran they remain committed to the agreement, but the Middle East regime wants more guarantees.

A €50million (£45million) international aid package was adopted for Iran by the European Commission last week in an attempt to prove their intention to uphold the deal.

Further, a joint statement released at the start of last month by the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK said the deal was “crucial” for international security.

It said: “We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231.

“This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.”

Those countries involved in the agreement are desperate to ensure firms continue to trade with Iran rather than listen to the threats from the US.

Trump has warned companies doing business with Iran: “Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.”

Living in a State of Denial

August 29, 2018


President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, second from left, arriving in Parliament in Tehran on Tuesday to answer lawmakers’ questions. He blamed United States sanctions for Iran’s troubles. Credit Vahid Salemi/Associated Press

By Richard Pérez-Peña Aug. 28, 2018 New York Times

Source Link: Iran’s Parliament Gives President a Rare Rebuke

{When politics has the power to define reality, you’re in big trouble. – LS}

LONDON — Iran’s Parliament summoned President Hassan Rouhani to answer questions on Tuesday about the country’s economic crisis, and then voted to reject his explanation, in a remarkable rebuke of a sitting leader.

Mr. Rouhani blamed United States sanctions, not government management, for his country’s troubles. But after he answered five questions about economic challenges like high unemployment and the collapsing value of the national currency, the rial, a majority of lawmakers voted that they were “not convinced” by four of his answers.

Elected by wide margins in 2013 and 2017, Mr. Rouhani is seen as a moderate in Iranian politics, and he campaigned on easing hostilities between his country and the West, and increasing economic opportunity. In 2015, his government struck a deal with the United States and other powers to give up elements of its nuclear program in return for the lifting of some sanctions.

But this year, President Trump withdrew the United States from that agreement and reimposed sanctions not only on Iran but also on companies doing business with the country. That has persuaded many European businesses to stay away from the Islamic republic, though their countries’ governments still support the deal.

Iran experts say that unwinding the agreement could strengthen the hand of hard-liners who oppose both the deal and Mr. Rouhani’s reformist agenda. His government runs many of the country’s daily affairs, but the ultimate power rests with the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the unelected Guardian Council.

The lawmakers’ vote came two days after Parliament dismissed the finance minister. In the last few weeks, the country’s central banker and its labor minister have also been fired.

It was not clear what impact the rebuke of Mr. Rouhani would have. Officials said the matter could be referred to the judiciary, which could, in theory, find grounds for impeachment proceedings against the president.

Some analysts, however, said that impeachment was unlikely. They pointed to Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent admonition against calls for Mr. Rouhani to resign — even though Mr. Khamenei himself has been more critical of the president lately.

“Khamenei, and other members of the Iranian leadership, likely believe that removing a sitting president would further destabilize the country’s already precarious economy and potentially undermine support in the Islamic Republic’s structure,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.

More likely, Mr. Rome said, are further efforts to remove those members of Mr. Rouhani’s cabinet deemed responsible for Iran’s economic travails, including the agriculture and industry ministers.

Mr. Rouhani’s allies remain the largest faction in Parliament. And in a country where tensions are high and protests have cropped up in many places, the potential for civil unrest could tamp down any party’s appetite for trying to remove a president and call new elections.

In an arresting aside during the proceedings, Mr. Rouhani attributed much of the economic troubles to street protests that began on Dec. 26, “when people saw suddenly that some people were chanting on the streets, and the slogans little by little went out of bounds.”

The protests, he said, encouraged Mr. Trump to declare his intention to withdraw from the nuclear agreement. “His threat of withdrawal and the domestic turbulence and international threats frightened the people,” undercutting the economy, Mr. Rouhani added.

Lawmakers said that a decision on referral to the judiciary would not be made before next week, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported.

The agency quoted Mr. Rouhani as telling Parliament, “Nobody, including the noble people of Iran, our friends and enemies around the world, must think that today is the start of a rift between the government and the Parliament.”

 

US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

August 22, 2018

Donald’s Trump’s sanctions would drive Iranian oil exports down in order to force behaviour change on Tehran regime


US national security adviser John Bolton.

By Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor The Guardian Wed 22 Aug 2018

Source Link: US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

{The Mother of All Economic Bombs is fixing to drop. – LS}

The US is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said.

“Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime’s behaviour,” Bolton said on a visit to Israel, as he claimed current sanctions had been more effective than predicted.

Donald Trump took the US out of Iran’s nuclear deal with the west in May and is imposing escalating sanctions, both to force Iran to renegotiate the deal and to end Tehran’s perceived interference in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.

Complete removal of Iranian oil from world markets would cut oil supply by more than 4% probably forcing up prices in the absence of any new supplies.

Bolton was speaking as the new UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, met the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for the first time in Washington to discuss how to reduce Iranian influence, despite Britain’s continued support for the nuclear deal.

In an interview with Axios, a US political website, Hunt praised Trump’s willingness to talk with leaders deemed to be hostile to the US, denying he was an isolationist. Trump has already met the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and has even hinted at talks with the Iranian leadership.

“The traditional western foreign policy has been that if we disapprove of something someone’s done, we don’t just take action but we stop the engagement as well,” he said. “[Trump] takes the view that actually you need to engage with people. I think it’s a business mentality. He’s always looking for a way to recast the deal.”

Hunt is maintaining UK support for the deal signed in 2015, and according to Iran, the UK has even stepped in to advise Tehran on how to remain compliant with the deal by limiting plutonium from one of its heavy nuclear reactors.

Hunt has suggested the existing level of US sanctions already has the potential to change Iran’s “destabilising regional behaviour”, but additional pressure that led Iran to pull out of the nuclear deal completely might lead only to a more dangerous anti-western government being installed in Tehran.

Hunt stressed that the UK would not withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, but acknowledged it was an open question whether Tehran would decide if the remaining economic benefits warranted remaining inside the deal.

Sweeping US secondary sanctions on businesses that trade with Iran make it difficult for European governments to persuade EU companies it is worth the risk of continuing to do business with the country.

Bolton was bullish about the growing impact of sanctions. “We expect that Europeans will see, as businesses all over Europe are seeing, that the choice between doing business with Iran or doing business with the United States is very clear to them,” he said.

“[Trump] has made it very clear – his words – he wants maximum pressure on Iran, maximum pressure, and that is what is going on.”

British officials acknowledge that the US administration policy for the moment has secured Trump the best of both worlds – Iranian refusal to restart its nuclear programme due the EU’s continued support for the deal, and the imposition of a regime of secondary economic sanctions that is placing great pressure on the Iranian economy.

Fuller US sanctions, including actions against countries that trade in Iranian oil are due to come into force on 5 November, 180 days after the initial Trump announcement to withdraw.

The measures against Iranian oil importers, and banks that continue to trade with the Central Bank of Iran, will ratchet the pressure to a higher level.

Pompeo has set up an Iran Action group inside the US State Department to coordinate US leverage on companies and countries that cannot show that their trade, including in oil, has fallen significantly by November.

Measures may also be taken against firms that insure ships carrying Iranian crude.

It is expected some of the major Iranian oil importers, such as Russia, China and Turkey, will either ignore the threat of US sanctions, or, possibly in the case of Iraq, Japan and South Korea, seek exemptions.

China takes a quarter of all Iran’s oil exports, and with Chinese banks little exposed to the US it can avoid the impact of Trump’s sanctions.

Major importers of Iranian crude in Europe include Italy’s ENI and Saras, Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, and Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum. All these companies depend on access to US dollar financing and US suppliers, and most have significant operations in the US.

The EU in August introduced a blocking statute designed to give European firms immunity from US sanctions for trading with Iran. But its legal force is questionable since it requires EU firms to sue the US government for any losses caused by US sanctions. The statute is untested in court.

EU foreign ministers will meet at the end of the month to discuss the measures they have taken to protect the deal.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javed Zarif, this week demanded clearer practical steps from Europe to protect the deal, saying: “Europeans have been very good in declaring their positions, but to pay that price they need to make a decision and they have only a limited time for that decision and cannot wait for ever.”

The German foreign minister, Heiko Maase, in an article in the German business daily, Handelsblatt, on Wednesday called for the EU to protect itself from secondary sanctions by increasing its autonomy from the US financial system.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she agreed with her foreign minister that relations with the US were changing but she stopped short of backing his call for a separate EU system for cross-border payments system to save the nuclear deal with Iran.

 

BREAKING: Iran Begs for Meeting with President Trump

August 1, 2018

By Kevin Jackson – July 31, 2018 The Black Sphere

Source Link: BREAKING: Iran Begs for Meeting with President Trump

{Keep squeezing them until they pop. – LS}

Iran is in turmoil, and it’s due to the policies of President Donald Trump.

As one of my contacts reported,

The cities of Tehran, Shahr-e Rey, Tabriz, Qeshm, Karaj and others are witnessing store-owners closing their shops from early Monday morning, reports from sources inside the country indicate.

This new strike follows a recent nosedive of Iran’s currency, the rial, reaching 115,000 rials to the U.S. dollar. On Sunday night, a number of bazaar merchants issued statements calling on their colleagues to stage a new round of strikes. People on social media are welcoming these measures, emphasizing the status quo is no longer acceptable.

I mentioned not long ago that Iran’s currency is taking a beating. I actually saw a report that the rial was not at 115,000 to one U.S. but actually was at 230,000 to the U.S. dollar.

Simply put: President Trump has the rogue nation right where he wants them. So why not meet with Iran to teach them the art of the deal, as President Trump suggests he will do.

President Trump declared Monday that he is willing to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani anytime and without preconditions, saying that he believes it is always better to meet with adversaries.

“No preconditions,” Trump said of a meeting with Iranian leaders. “If they want to meet, I’ll meet. Anytime they want.”

Trump was responding to a question at a joint news conference at the White House with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Last week, tension between the United States and Iran escalated after Trump appeared to threaten military action against Iran in a tweet and Iranian officials vowed to resist any attempt to destabilize their country.

As we’ve learned with Trump, America has nothing to lose in these negotiations and everything to gain.

How pathetic is that, that America has been taken advantage of in every aspect of foreign policy. I put the blame on the previous administration, as Obama had ample opportunity to set a different course for American foreign policy and he punted the football.

Thankfully, Trump recognized the abject ignorance displayed by Obama and righted the ship. And Trump is straightening out Iran without firing a bullet.

If anybody believes the Iranian currency has devalued by 75 percent by accident, you don’t know how things work. While Donald Trump couldn’t take the blood money Obama gave Iran back, he could do something almost as good–make sure the money had no value.

So now the billions Iran received from Obama have been rendered down to millions. And given all the country’s internal woes, they will be forced to re-evaluate the amount of money the can continue to pour into Syria and elsewhere.

Meanwhile organizations like the NCRI and MEK continue to create chaos internally. Look at the trucker’s strike:

July 25, 2018 – The new round of the truck drivers’ strike entered its third consecutive day on Wednesday.

To this day a total of 85 cities in 25 provinces have joined this strike.

Truck drivers in various parts of Tehran and the cities of Isfahan, Najaf Abad, Karaj, Bandar Abbas, Saveh, Khaf, Zanjan, Semnan, Shahroud, Shiraz, Farrokhshah, Kermanshah, Kerman, Zahedan, Malayer, Khorramshahr, Khorramabad, Bojnurd, Yazd, Port Khomeini, Shahr-e Kord, Khur Mousa, Abdulkhan and dozens of other cities have truck drivers on strike.

Authorities in Kermanshah were pressuring truck drivers to end their strike, only to face stiff resistance by their part. Intelligence agents and police officers in this city began taking stripping license plates off parked trucks in order to force the drivers to end their strike. The family members of the truck drivers began protesting these illegal measures.

In Mashhad, the loading terminal station was completely empty and no truck was at the scene to deliver any goods.

Truck drivers in Isfahan were seen protesting those drivers breaking their ranks, demanding they continue their strike.

This new round of the truckers’ strike began on Monday in many cities and towns across the country. Many provinces, including Tehran, East Azarbaijan, Kurdistan, Isfahan, Fars, Semnan, Qazvin, Kerman, Kermanshah, Lorestan, Central (Tehran), Khorasan Razavi, Chahar-Mahal & Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, and Hormozgan were scenes of such strikes.

Two months ago the truckers strike lasted around two weeks, engulfing all 31 provinces of Iran. The drivers were refusing any loads and protesting their poor living conditions, low wages, high logistical costs, and vehicle leases

And what of this message from Iran’s supreme leader, threatening dissidents:

Soleimani on Thursday expressed his fear of the PMOI’s role and the President elect of the Iranian Resistance, and described US policy toward Iran as being reliant only on the PMOI and Maryam Rajavi. With this, Soleimani expressed his fear of the rising credibility of the Resistance inside and outside Iran, as well as the regime’s fear of increasing international pressure and isolation.

Furthermore, he said “We are closer to you than what you think, remember that the Quds Force and I, and not the entirety of our armed forces are your opponent. You know how powerful Iran is in unconventional wars.”

“There is not a single night that we go to bed without thinking of your destruction,” he added.

Clearly the Iranian leadership worries about what might happen next.

From this vantage point, it’s evident that things have changed in Iran. The idea of President Trump even tangentially mentioning that he will meet with Iran, signals to me that he has received back-channel communications requesting as much.

Iran currency extends record fall as U.S. sanctions loom

July 30, 2018

Reuters Staff Jul 29, 2018

Source Link:
Iran currency extends record fall as U.S. sanctions loom

{It might help if they removed the Ayatollah’s picture from the note. – LS}

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s currency hit a new record low on Sunday, dropping past 100,000 rials to the U.S. dollar as Iranians brace for Aug. 7 when Washington is due to reimpose a first lot of economic sanctions.

In May, the United States pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Washington decided to reimpose sanctions upon its withdrawal, accusing it of posing a security threat. It has told countries they must halt imports of Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face U.S. financial measures.

On Sunday, the rial plunged to 112,000 on the unofficial market, down from about 97,500 rials on Saturday, according to foreign exchange website Bonbast.com. Other websites said the dollar was exchanged between 108,500 and 116,000 rials.

The rial has lost about half of its value since April because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks and heavy demand for dollars among Iranians who fear the effects of sanctions.

The central bank blamed “enemies” for the fall of the currency and a rapid rise in the prices of gold coins and the judiciary said 29 people had been arrested on charges that carry the death penalty.

“The recent developments in the foreign exchange and gold markets are largely due to a conspiracy by enemies with the aim of exacerbating economic problems and causing public anxiety,” the central bank said in a statement read on state television.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told state television: “29 people have been arrested for economic disruption and will be soon put on trial … More may be arrested tonight and tomorrow.”

“Many of them face the charge of ‘spreading corruption on earth’,” Ejei said, referring to a capital offence under Iran’s Islamic laws.

Besides the currency fall, the expected return of sanctions has triggered street protests including by bazaar traders usually loyal to the Islamist rulers, and a public outcry over alleged profiteering and corruption.

On Saturday, Ejei said 18 people had been arrested over alleged profiteering from foreign exchange dealings and the illegal importing of luxury cars.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called the agreement one of the worst deals ever negotiated but in a bid to salvage the accord, Iran’s European partners in the deal are preparing a package of economic measures.

But France said this month it was unlikely European powers could put the package together before November.

On Aug. 7, Washington will reimpose sanctions on Iran’s purchase of U.S. dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals and its dealings with metals, coal and industrial-related software.

Sanctions also will be reapplied to U.S. imports of Iranian carpets and foodstuffs and on certain related financial transactions.

Iran’s oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds by this year due to sanctions, straining oil markets amid supply outages elsewhere.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg