Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eye on Iran: Iran Reportedly Bans Imports of 'Luxury' Goods in Hope to Save Cash








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AP:
"Sanctions-hit Iran has banned the import of foreign-made cars, laptops, and other `luxury' goods in the hope of saving billions of dollars in hard currency, a state-owned newspaper reported Thursday. The reported import ban comes as Iran confronts oil and banking sanctions imposed by the West over Tehran's nuclear program that have hit Iran's own currency hard and depleted its foreign reserves. IRAN daily listed 75 products, from watches, home appliances and cell phones to coffee and toilet paper, that it said could no longer be purchased from abroad. But it says the ban does not apply to components used to produce the products. Iranian firms assemble many products including watches, laptops and cell phones. The report quotes Hamid Reza Safdel, who is head of the Iranian state agency for promoting commerce, as saying import permission for the goods were no longer issued starting on Wednesday." http://t.uani.com/Uy3xjg

Reuters: "The re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama could create an opportunity for new negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program as sanctions pile economic pressure on its theocratic leaders. With no more elections to fight, Obama, who has so far resisted calls in the United States and Israel for military action against Iran, appears free to pursue a diplomatic settlement while wielding the threat of yet heavier commercial penalties if Tehran does not bend. 'Obama has prepared the ground very carefully and has the option of trying to cut some kind of a deal on the nuclear issue, and that's worth a lot to him,' said Gary Sick, an Iran expert and former U.S. national security official. Last month the White House said the option of bilateral talks with Iran, with whom Washington has not had diplomatic relations for three decades, was under consideration." http://t.uani.com/UasH6Y

WashPost: "A sober analysis assessing the possible threat of a military confrontation over Iran's nuclear program and highlighting the benefits of negotiations to avert a deeper crisis has been published by a surprising source: Iran's Ministry of Intelligence. The report first appeared on the ministry's Web site Tuesday and has been republished by various Iranian media outlets, adding to growing speculation that new negotiations with the international bloc known as the P5+1, or even direct talks with the United States, may be on the horizon. The Intelligence Ministry is viewed as a hawkish power center within Iran's system but not a channel for expressing the Islamic republic's foreign policy views. The findings in the report suggest that the ministry has a pragmatic understanding of the challenges the country faces, the cost it is paying for continuing uranium enrichment at current levels, the threat of Israeli aggression and, perhaps most important, a way out of the stalemate." http://t.uani.com/T6o13E
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Nuclear Program   

Reuters: "Iran's first nuclear power plant will become fully operational by early 2013, its energy minister was quoted as saying, more than two months after Russia said it was up and running normally following decades of delay... The reason for the apparent discrepancy on the status of Bushehr was not made clear in the comments by Energy Minister Najid Namjou, in a report carried by the English-language Iran Daily on Thursday, or whether it meant any new delay for the Russian-built complex. Russian builder NIAEP - part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom - last month said that Bushehr would be formally 'handed over for use' to Iran in March 2013, whereas earlier officials had said that would happen by the end of this year." http://t.uani.com/RHmWkk 

Sanctions

Reuters: "Engineering conglomerate Siemens AG aims to save 6 billion euros ($7.7 billion) over the next two years as it fights to stay competitive in a weak global economy... Siemens' energy business in particular has fallen behind peers, with the annual margin dropping to 7.8 percent from 17.2 percent due to delays in the connection of German offshore wind farms to power grids and trade sanctions on Iran that hit its oil and gas business in the fourth quarter... Overall, fourth-quarter net profit from continuing operations fell by 2 percent to 1.48 billion euros, weighed down by a 327 million euro hit at the oil and gas business in Iran due to new trade sanctions imposed on the country." http://t.uani.com/PGkDhA

Human Rights

Guardian: "The family of an Iranian blogger taken into custody accused of opposition activism on Facebook fears that he has died under torture. Police picked up Sattar Beheshti, 35, from his home in the city of Robat-Karim in the southwest of Tehran last week. His relatives said on Wednesday they had received phone calls from the prison authorities asking them to collect Beheshti's dead body from the notorious Kahrizak detention center on Thursday. Beheshti's alleged death cannot be independently confirmed but Baztab, a news website close to Mohsen Rezaei, a senior politician, reported that the blogger has lost his life during interrogations." http://t.uani.com/RGyPXV

Domestic Politics

Kabir News: "Reza Taghipour, Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, urged Irancell company to sell 21 percent stake according to its previous agreements with Iranian government. MTN Irancell believes this request doesn't comply with mutual agreements because Iranian government had negotiated with Turkcell on this subject and MTN Group has never accepted this request. 'It's clear. MTN Irancell should sell 21 percent stake in Tehran's stock market. We have talked with the officials of Irancell and currently we are waiting for their decision.' Reza Taghipour said. Also Mohammad Ali Forghani, Deputy of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, confirmed this report and added that Iran's Communications Regulatory has negotiated with Irancell and the company has accepted to sell a part of its stake in stock market. Irancell is the biggest mobile phone network operator of Iran. The company has two shareholders including Iran Electronic Development Company (IEDC) (51%), and MTN International (Mauritius) Limited (49%)." http://t.uani.com/PZpHzd

Foreign Affairs

AP: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday called the U.S. election a 'battleground for capitalists' while speaking at a democracy forum a day after President Barack Obama was re-elected. He said democracy has become a system where the minority rules over the majority. 'Just take a look at the situation in Europe and the U.S.,' Ahmadinejad said during the meeting's opening day on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. An 'election, which is one of the manifestations of the people's will, has become a battleground for the capitalists and an excuse for hasty spending.'" http://t.uani.com/WFmGH5

AFP: "Armenia and Iran on Thursday began construction on a joint hydro-electric power plant along their shared border as the Christian and Muslim neighbors sought to boost economic ties. Armenia's President Serzh Sarkisian and Iran's Energy Minister Majid Namjoo symbolically laid the first stone for the plant located on the Arax River near the southern Armenian town of Meghri. 'Hydro-diplomacy, which we use in our policy, plays a huge role today,' Namjoo told journalists at the opening ceremony. The $323-million (253-million-euro), 130-megawatt plant is due to be completed in five years, and will supply energy to Iran for the first 15 years before being handed over to Armenia." http://t.uani.com/UbggYz

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email Press@UnitedAgainstNuclearIran.com

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.





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