US measure and FATF’s destiny
After America designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council said that this US measure will decrease the chances of the Council ratifying FATF. The editorial of Aftab Yazd argues that it is necessary for Iran to ratify the FATF bills so that it can maintain its relationship with the international community.
It must be acknowledged that through sanctions and pressure, the US aim is to ensure that the nuclear deal fails and to impede Iran’s relationship with the world. Any measure that leads to FATF not being ratified will help the White House in realizing its goals.
No decision must be made to suddenly cut off relations with the west or in rejecting FATF bills, as FATF is the only path to international trade and transactions. By ratifying these bills, no excuses will be given to the US, as all its efforts are to ensure that Iran’s economic programs fail.
As such, any effort to pull out of the nuclear deal or not to ratify FATF bills is in alignment with US plans. The US was the first country that believed in disconnecting Iran’s economy from the world, which is why it sought to isolate Iran’s economy by imposing sanctions on its oil and non-oil products.
While some people in the country disagree with the FATF bills, if Iran does not ratify FATF it will have to meet all its requirements from the black market as it will be cut off from the world. Naturally, under such conditions, it is not clear if the country will benefit from such a decision.
Aftab Yazd – April 10
Dire situation in the Forex market
The editorial of Jahan Sanat focuses on how the Forex market in Iran, as well as the country’s economy, is deteriorating due to the government’s wrong policies.
By looking at Iran’s economy, we can see that a dire situation exists in the field of policymaking, and with its policymakers planning to increase the Forex rate, this will result in more human suffering.
In this dire situation, the Central Bank of Iran has failed to inject currency into the country’s economy due to a decrease in Forex revenues, also, because it wants to preserve its reserves. On the other hand, of exports worth $50 billion, only $30 billion has entered the country’s economy. Still, we are witnessing an increase in uncontrolled imports that will prepare the ground for Forex dealers.
Accordingly, the ruling policies are not only aiming to enforce the most obvious economic principles but also to limit the supply of Forex. By increasing demand, they will result in increasing Forex prices. Meanwhile, policymakers cannot even think of any solutions for controlling Forex prices, and their priority is to extensively increase these prices.
It seems that a lack of measures, inefficiency, and government corruption have prevented policymakers from controlling the situation, while under the conditions of economic war, the government must think of special measures to save its Forex reserves.
As a result, as long as the government’s inefficient, neo-liberal policies continue to rule over the country’s Forex market and policymakers are unable to stop an increase in the Forex price, an acceleration in prices will be inevitable.
Jahan Sanat – April 9
The US measure against the IRGC is not binding on other countries
The United States designated the IRGC as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’. The editorial of Setareh Sobh urges that even though this measure will not be binding on other countries, it is only natural that other countries will decide in this regard in accordance with their own interests.
The US Congress new legislation, called CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act), mentioned the issue of putting the IRGC under sanctions. It is an unprecedented move as no official army has been ever sanctioned by another country. As it is a new, rare phenomenon, we should wait and see its fallout.
Naturally, there will be different kinds of reactions from Iran. It will inevitably affect Iran’s relationships with other countries; as such, this measure will have consequences for the IRGC and Iran’s relationships with other countries.
On the other hand, there is a principle in international relations according to which a country can take retaliatory measures against another. It means that if the United States designates the IRGC as a terrorist group, Iran too is entitled to enlist the US official military forces as a terrorist group. Whether such a measure will be to the advantage of Iran’s national interests or not is a different issue, and it must be considered carefully and in accordance with Iran’s national interests.
The US possible measure in this regard might have an impact on the presence of Iran and America in the Gulf and other places such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, while it increases the chance of direct confrontation between the two countries.
Even if the US administration’s decision will not be binding on other countries, it is only natural if they decide in accordance with their own national interests.
Setareh Sobh – April 8
What is the goal of the Iraqi PM’s trip to Iran?
The Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi chose Tehran for his second destination after Cairo, while there where many diplomatic trips between Iraqi and Iranian leaders last year. ‘What is the goal of his trip to Iran?’ asks the editorial of Arman Emrooz.
In recent years, Iraq has become one of the most significant trade partners of Iran especially after May 8, 2018, when Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and sanctions were re-imposed on Tehran. The significance of Iraq even multiplied and it seems that during the past 11 months, Iraq has followed the sanctions imposed on Iran by the US Treasury Department.
This is because the new Iraq after the collapse of Saddam Hossein is shaped in such a way that it is significantly dependent on the US economy and its dollar. Even though the ministers of trade, foreign affairs, planning, road/transportation, health, electricity/infrastructure, and Iraqi lawmakers, as well as 30 people from Iraq’s private sector, accompanied Adel Abdul Mahdi in this trip; yet, numerous problems – including a lack of banking relations, an elimination of the US dollar from the trade cycle between the two countries, and the negative consequences of Iran not accepting FATF bills – have resulted in delaying the enforcement of most of the contracts between the two countries.
It also seems that the new Iraqi government is after a balance of power in the tensions that exist between Tehran and Washington, as well as in its regional relationships, so it can serve its own interests amidst these rivalries. That is why Adel Abdul Mahdi, just like the Iraqi President Barham Saleh, would immediately go to Riyadh to follow the same policy of building relationships with both sides.
The new policy of Iraq shows that this country is after a more significant role in the Middle East so it can stop any diplomatic efforts to take Baghdad as a hostage in the Tehran-Washington rivalry or any other rivalry in the region.
Arman Emrooz – April 7
The IRGC designated as a terrorist organization; the Islamic Republic’s officials react
With the official announcement of the US President Donald Trump, the IRGC was designated as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’ (FTO). In his statement, President Trump wrote: ‘This unprecedented step recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.’
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on his Twitter account ‘In an important step to counter the Iranian regime’s terrorism, the US has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. We must help the people of Iran get back their freedom.’
‘With the rightful designation of the IRGC as a FTO, it should be clear to all that there are risks to supporting the IRGC in any way,’ tweeted the US National Security Adviser John Bolton.
As expected, this US move didn’t go down very well with Iranian officials, and they unanimously announced support for the IRGC and threatened the US with retaliatory measures.
The Iranian parliament, in a retaliatory measure, ratified legislation to ‘boost the IRGC’s position against America’, in which Iranian lawmakers called the US military forces in western Asia ‘terrorists’.
The day after the designation of the IRGC as a FTO, Iranian lawmakers, in a symbolic move, wore the IRGC uniform to show support for this organization.
Previously, THE Iranian Supreme National Security Council had announced that it would consider the US Central Command in western Asia, CENTCOM, and all forces affiliated with it, as a ‘terrorist group’.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reacted to the designation by calling it ‘mischievous’ and ‘deceptive’. He defended the IRGC performance during the past 40 years both in and out of Iran.
The Iranian president Hassan Rouhani went so far in threatening America with launching more advanced centrifuges. He pointed out to the IRGC missile arsenal, urging that ‘if your intention in these sanctions was to decrease Iran’s military capability, you should know that since last year, we have been able to achieve missiles and weapons that you cannot even think of.”
Mohsen Rezaee, Secretary to Iran’s Expediency Council, wrote on his tweet account, ‘Mr. Trump, tell your fleets not to pass by the IRGC boats’.
In reaction to the Islamic Republic’s officials threatening a possible attack against US forces, the US Secretary of States Mike Pompeo said that ‘an attack on the United States of America is something that they ought to think more than twice about’.
Mike Pompeo: Qassem Soleimani is a terrorist
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an interview with Fox News after the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, said that Qassem Soleimani, the IRGC Qods Force Commander, ‘is a terrorist’.
In response to the question asking if Qassem Soleimani is deemed the same as Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, Mike Pompeo urged ‘yes, he is a terrorist.’
Pompeo’s remarks were made after the US President Donald Trump designated the IRGC as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’.
This step instigated angry responses from the Islamic Republic’s lawmakers and officials, who called the US forces and bases in the region ‘terrorist’, urging that these forces will no longer be immune.
Abbas Araghchi, the Political Deputy to the Iranian Foreign Minister, stated that after the IRGC was designated as a terrorist organization, the Islamic Republic retaliated by designating the US forces as terrorists in the region. He added that from now on, the US forces and the US military bases are no longer ordinary troops or ordinary military forces. US bases in the region would be recognized as terrorist bases; American forces will be recognized as terrorist forces.
Qassem Soleimani and many other IRGC commanders have been already put on the US sanctions list.
The tension between Iran and the United States has constantly increased since last year when Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions against Iran.
Tehran-Caracas direct flight; who will be the possible passengers?
An Iranian official announced the launch of a direct flight from Tehran to Caracas, the capital of Iran and Venezuela, by Mahan Airline.
Mahan Airline is the first Iranian private airline established in 1992. However, since 2011, the United States has put this airline on its sanction list for ‘moving the IRGC Qods Force’ and ‘moving force and arms’. Germany and France later followed suit and revoked Mahan’s permit for flying to these countries.
According to Reuters, one of the White House’s officials has written that launching a direct flight between Iran and Venezuela has no commercial justification and is politically motivated, adding ‘to us, there is no clear commercial reason for launching a direct flight under current conditions’.
Currently, Venezuela is in critical condition and Madura’s government is on the verge of collapse. Therefore, it is not clear why the Islamic Republic has decided to launch a direct flight from Tehran to Caracas. Given the Forex rate and the high cost of foreign trips, particularly to Latin America, it doesn’t seem that many Iranians will be able to afford to travel to this country.
It has been said that the IRGC uses Mahan airline for moving arms and forces to Syria.
Iran, China, Russia, and Turkey back Madura’s government that is facing a serious political and economic crisis.
It is possible that after the war in Syria and backing Bashar Assad, the Iranian regime is thinking of opening a new battleground in Latin America, this time in the US backyard, in support of Madura’s government. One should also remember that the United States has just designated the IRGC as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’, which has provoked strong reactions from the IRGC commanders and from the Islamic Republic’s officials.
Floods in Iran: 77 dead, a thousand injured, 3000 billion tomans in damages
Floods continue to take more victims and destroy more places in Iran. Pir-Hassan Kolivand, head of Iran’s Emergency Organization, announced that so far in the flood-stricken areas in Iran, 1076 people were injured, and 77 lost their lives.
It has been three weeks since devastating floods in 24 provinces of Iran have recurrently hit roughly half a million people and now officials are talking of the possibility of an outbreak of malnutrition and epidemic diseases in the flood-stricken areas.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Road and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami has announced that as the result of the recent floods, the country’s infrastructure has suffered 3000 billion tomans of damages so far. He added that these damages include the destruction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure because of landslides.
According to Eslami, the recent floods hit 24 provinces, 231 towns, 269 cities, and 5000 villages; Iran has never experienced such a severe, extensive flood.
Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, head of Iran’s Budget and Planning Organization, has confirmed that the government might withdraw money from the National Development Fund to compensate for the damages caused by the recent floods.