Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Eye on Iran: Lukoil Puts Iran Plans on Hold Due to Threat of U.S. Sanctions

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Lukoil, Russia's second biggest oil producer, said on Tuesday it had decided not to go ahead with plans to develop projects in Iran at the moment due to the threat of U.S. sanctions, a company official said. 

Total, which became the largest foreign investor in Iran's energy sector after sanctions were eased in 2016, will have 60 days to secure an exemption from US penalties or China's state-owned CNPC could take over its stake in the South Pars project, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Russia and Israel have reportedly reached an unprecedented deal which would allow Bashar al-Assad's forces to take remaining rebel territory in southern Syria - so long as Iranian fighters do not participate.


Two Indian banks have asked exporters to complete their financial transactions with Iran by August in response to the threat of new U.S. sanctions, according to the country's main exporters' organisation and bank letters seen by Reuters.

Swiss lender Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) has suspended new transactions with Iran and is winding down Iran-related activities, the latest company to halt business after the United States said it would reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Pro-American EU states are saying US ties are more important than Iran amid disagreement on the nuclear deal.


A senior Iranian military official has warned the U.S. that his armed force's missile development and regional influence was too powerful to be dismantled even in the event of a direct conflict. 


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week delivered a powerful speech that essentially defined U.S. policy objectives toward Iran by three noes: no nuclear program, no regional terrorism and aggression, and no domestic oppression. He offered a three-part strategy to achieve those goals, the central element of which is "unprecedented financial pressure" on Tehran. But even with Iran's currency crisis and popular discontent, sanctions can only be one tool in a broader U.S. plan. 

In his first major policy speech as secretary of state - delivered Monday at the Heritage Foundation - Mike Pompeo set out the Trump administration's Iran strategy. It's heartening that the United States has a plan: ditching the nuclear deal is well and good, but it's not a strategy. But is the plan a good one?


The Syrian regime is threatening to move against an antigovernment stronghold in the country's southwest, raising pressure on Russia to keep Iran and its proxies out of a fight that could inflame tensions with Syria's neighbor, Israel. 

Tuesday morning's barrages of mortar shells and rockets into southern Israel were quickly rumored in Gaza to be the work of the Islamic Jihad terror group. And hours after more than two dozen mortar shells hit Israel, the IDF carried out retaliatory strikes that were mainly directed at Islamic Jihad's military wing. Islamic Jihad's role indicates we are witnessing an attempt by Iran to spark a war on the southern border. And if the deterioration of the situation is not halted in the very near future, the attempt may prove successful.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have escalated, and this month, they spilled into a military exchange in Syria between the two countries. The final outcome of this escalation has yet to play itself out. Yet, so far it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who is coming out as the winner. For the Kremlin, tensions between anyone - whether friends or foes - present opportunities for weakening both sides, and thus strengthen Moscow's position by comparison. Putin likely views current tensions between Israel and Iran in the same vein.


Iran's Interior Ministry has approved another measure that restricts areas where public demonstrations can be held.

The Baha'i International Community (BIC) at the United Nations has expressed alarm over a spate of arrests of Baha'i faith members in three Iranian provinces by agents of the Intelligence Ministry. 

The United States says religious persecution continues to be widespread around the globe as it unveiled its annual report on religious freedom, with violations cited in Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, among other countries... In Iran, which the United States in 1999 designated as a Country Of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the penal code provides for the death sentence for "proselytizing and attempts by non-Muslims to convert Muslims, as well as for moharebeh (enmity against God) and sabb al-nabi (insulting the prophet)," the report notes.

[T]he regime has despised political prisoners with such rancour, thousands have been slaughtered within the prison system, and many detainees, whatever their gender, have been tortured, physically beaten or raped. Due to the vast number of arrests, the majority of female activists abandoned any form of dissention, and in desperation to seek freedom, many of their number had fled the country.

On Monday, May 10, 2018, Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported the execution of Kiomars Nasouhi, a prisoner sentenced to death for drug offenses. This execution is the first drug-related execution registered by IHR since the latest amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law was enforced on November 14, 2017. According to reports by IHR, at least 77 people, among them three juvenile offenders have been executed between January 1. and May 20, 2018. 

Alireza Aghasi wasn't too worried when Iran first banned the Telegram messaging app that's the backbone of his digital advertising agency. As tensions with the U.S. heat up, however, the widening assault on freedoms could begin to cost him business.

Iran's Education Ministry is violating Iranian law and the country's commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) with job application requirements that prevent many people with disabilities from applying. "The guideline's many restrictions and constraints will effectively result in the exclusion of the majority of people with disabilities," an Iran-focused disability rights activist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 


An education official has delivered a rare rebuke to Iran's law and security authorities in the presence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech cheered by both reformists and hardliners. 


Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition are closing in on the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a campaign that could prove a turning point in the war against the Houthis and a setback for Iran's interests in the country. 


Some of the dozens of mortars and rockets fired into Israel by Gaza-based terrorists on Tuesday were made in Iran and smuggled into the Strip, the army said.

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

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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