US secretary of state Mike Pompeo returned to the Gulf in March, amid signs the United States is pushing its allies even harder on the issue of isolating Iran, with uncertain consequences.
President Hassan Rouhani on 17 March inaugurated two new refineries to process the output from the South Pars gas field’s phases 13 and 22-24. This takes the total number of phases launched in the past few years to 15.
The United States’ sanctions against Iran appear to be hardening views inside the Islamic Republic, according to a new survey of public opinion by IranPoll. Some 76% of those polled (by telephone among a representative sample of 1,017 Iranians from 4-12 December) now think it is “very important” for Iran to develop missiles, up from 74% in January 2018. A further 20% think it is “somewhat important” to do so.
A plan for Iranian airlines to buy Russian-built passenger jets appears to have collapsed as a result of U.S. sanctions, marking a further set-back for the country's beleaguered aviation sector.
Many of the economic gains made in President Rouhani’s first term are rapidly crumbling as the economy falters in the face of renewed US sanctions – all too predictably adding to hard-line factions’ momentum
Unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA leaves the US looking more isolated on the world stage, but with strong support from Israel and some Gulf allies. Life is certain to get tougher for Iran and its trading partners once US sanctions are reimposed, even though Trump and his supporters, plans for what to do next remain unclear
International pressure on Tehran is ratcheting up, with the White House set to announce a decision on whether to ‘fix or nix’ the nuclear deal on 12 May, but before and after that point domestic disputes have the potential to cause significant problems for President Rouhani and his allies
The Iranian government is to stop using the US dollar in its official statements, according to a report in the local English-language daily the Financial Tribune.
The decision was announced by Central Bank of Iran governor Valiollah Seif during a television interview on the evening of January 29 and, according to the paper, is due to take effect from the start of the new fiscal year on 21 March. It will affect all official financial and foreign exchange reports.
The move is significant in the light of the recent ‘Muslim ban’ by US President Donald Trump, which prevents anyone from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. The Iranian government has vowed to take “reciprocal measures” and has said it will stop issuing visas to US citizens. Some exceptions to this may be made though. Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that it has yet to decide on whether to allow a US freestyle wrestling team into the country. The team is due to compete in the Wrestling World Cup in Kermanshah province in mid-February.
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The world’s 28th largest economy holds almost as many risks as opportunities for international investors, and questions will persist about doing business in Iran even after sanctions are lifted.