Friday, June 1, 2018

Eye on Iran: GE Pulls Back from Work in Iran

View our videos on YouTube


General Electric Co. is planning to end sales of oil and natural-gas equipment later this year in Iran, people familiar with the matter said, illustrating how U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal is shutting a narrow window of opportunity for some American businesses there. GE had big ambitions in Iran after world powers, including the U.S., agreed to lift many sanctions on Tehran in 2016 in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program. GE's foreign subsidiaries were preparing as much as $150 million in bids for pipelines, compressors and subsea equipment in Iran and had been in talks with an Iranian manufacturer to make energy equipment, the people said.

South Korea's Daelim Industrial said on Friday that a contract worth 2.23 trillion won ($2.08 billion) for a refinery project in Iran was canceled. The order was canceled as the Esfahan Refinery Upgrading Project failed to procure financing because of economic sanctions imposed on Iran, Daelim said in a regulatory filing.

More than $59 billion in hard currency has left Iran during last two years, Islamic Parliament Research Center (IPRC) has disclosed. According to IPRC, following the United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's nuclear deal with world power, more billions are expected to leave Iran in the coming months. 


During the last days of 2017, small demonstrations in Iran mushroomed into a nationwide movement, eventually engulfing eighty-five cities. At the time, the protests were thought to have provoked the poor working classes to revolt against economic mismanagement and financial decline... A closer look four months later reveals a different aggrieved population triggered the year-end protests, albeit one that still poses a problem for the Islamic Republic. This was a rebellion by what can best be labeled the middle-class poor. 


The European Union and China say they will do their utmost to keep afloat an international agreement to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons despite the U.S. abandoning the pact. 

The remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal have warned the United States that its decision to withdraw from the pact jeopardizes Russian and Chinese efforts to limit Iran's ability to develop atomic weapons, Western diplomats told Reuters.


Europe's temporary waiver from U.S. import quotas on steel and aluminum is about to expire, and most experts are pessimistic that a U.S.-EU trade war can be avoided. They can't fathom a trade deal that would satisfy both U.S. President Donald Trump and European Union leaders - at least not a conventional trade deal. But a conventional trade deal does not seem to be what the Trump White House really has in mind. Instead, it wants to exchange trade peace for foreign and security policy concessions.

France's Foreign Minister said on Thursday that the European Union has made some progress on measures to protect the bloc's companies from U.S. sanctions on Iran but these were still insufficient.  

French oil major Total said Friday the probability of winning an exemption from US sanctions against Iran to continue a major gas field project was very faint. 

Japan will try to avoid any sudden reduction in its Iranian crude oil imports and may seek some form of exemption from the renewed US sanctions regime, an official at the country's ministry of economy, trade and industry, Daisuke Hirota, said Wednesday.

Iran is taking a firm line with its OPEC counterparts that could threaten the current 24-country crude producer alliance, warning members not to take its market share it risks losing under US sanctions.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh... has asked OPEC to support his country against what he called "illegal, unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions," a reference to U.S. interference... However, the quandary for Iran in this overture is arch-rival and OPEC defacto leader Saudi Arabia. With ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as being on opposing sides in both the Syrian and Yemen conflicts, there's little hope that OPEC kingpin and the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia will concede to Zanganeh's call for assistance. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has already indicated that it would pump more barrels to make up for lost Iranian oil production due to new sanctions.

US President Donald Trump's staunch opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) has sparked a serious transatlantic rift. The EU is, however, attempting to balance its appetite for business with an examination of security risks. In so doing, it is slowly awakening to Israeli and Sunni Arab sensitivities regarding Tehran's hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.


Although EU foreign ministers also touched upon other issues outside the scope of the nuclear deal with Iran, in particular the "EU's concerns over Iran's ballistic missiles programme and the role of Iran in regional conflicts, not least in Syria and Yemen", it seems reluctant to raise them with Iran... EU foreign policy chief Mogherini said in remarks after the Council meeting that "the other issues can be discussed in separate fora", which would imply that they have not been discussed yet with Iran. Her spokesperson only referred to previous and future meetings without confirming whether Iran's role in Syria and its military threats were on the agenda.

Just how deep does Iran's influence run in Syria? After a half decade of overt and covert Iranian military assistance to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian regime is widely understood to be playing a key role in the Syrian theater. But, according to a new study from the Omran Center for Strategic Studies, an Istanbul-based think tank focused on the Syrian conflict, this backing is far broader than commonly understood, and encompasses not just military assistance but also an extensive web of economic and political contacts that are designed to give the Iranian regime a lasting presence on the territory of its top regional ally.

Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah, are preparing to withdraw from southern Syria against the backdrop of regional and international negotiations currently underway between the United States, Russia and Jordan over the war-torn country's future, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Thursday. 

Israel is prepared to support the return of Syrian government forces to its northern border in exchange for the ousting of Hezbollah and Iran from a 70 to 80 kilometer zone in that area. 

The U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal opens the way to raising pressure on Tehran to stop its military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and leave the country, a Syrian opposition leader said on Thursday.

A top commander in the Israeli army said Thursday that if Iran finds itself in trouble in Syria, it could again mobilize its ally in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), to attack Israel as a distraction. 

Despite denying the existence of any international "vetoes" against the participation of "Hezbollah" in the new Lebanese cabinet, ministerial sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that western warnings were sent to several officials against referring to the "citizens' right to resist occupations and aggression" in its ministerial statement.

For seven years, Syrian rebels have held a chunk of southwestern Syria. Now the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is planning an offensive to retake the area that borders Israel and Jordan. This could create new conflict involving Washington, Moscow, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Iran.

The Russian demand to remove all 'foreign forces' from Syria isn't driven by Putin's love for Netanyahu or for Israel, but because Iran is disrupting his efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria and trying to compete with him over economic projects after the end of the civil war.


Iranians sexually abused as children are sharing their experiences by co-opting the #MeToo hashtag, following a scandal at a Tehran school. On Tuesday night Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced that he had instructed judges to hand down the strongest possible sentence if a supervisor is convicted on charges of raping or sexually abusing at least 16 boys at the school in the west of the capital.

It started last week as an ordinary session in the Majlis, Iran's parliament. But then, in the course of a speech, Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, chairman of the parliament's Economic Affairs Committee, made an astounding statement. Between Jan. 21 and March 20, he said "A sum of $30 billion was taken out of Iran"... Iranian regime bluster has been a constant for more than 39 years. And the leadership's boasts about Iran's strength are nothing new, even as they are increasingly hollow. What has changed now, however, is that senior regime officials also recognize the regime is in a death spiral; they no longer believe their own lies. Increasingly it looks like Iran's top officials are trying to squirrel away nest eggs at an unprecedented pace as they prepare for the inevitable.


The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on Iran, including six people and three entities. Among the people included in the sanctions, the name Hameed Ostad, the controversial figure in the Iranian city of Mashhad, who planned to attack the Saudi consulate in the city on the evening of January 2, 2016. 

While Yemeni legitimate forces march towards Hodeida, which is the most important port for the rebels, Tehran is offering to negotiate on Yemen. 


As Iraq shapes a government from its May 12 election, the indecisive electoral outcome again will leave Iran in a position to affect both the choice of a prime minister, and the tenor of the underlying administration. How Iran wields that influence is likely to depend on how well the European Union is able to defend the Iran nuclear accord following the United States' withdrawal.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment