Trump rhetoric rattles Iranian business

Post-nuclear deal progress in doubt as US bellicosity triggers surge of uncertainty
FULL ARTICLE https://www.ft.com/content/09d4abbe-eebd-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6

As soon as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers took effect, Majid Zamani and his partners set up an investment boutique with the aim of tapping into the flood of foreign business they hoped would flow into the Islamic republic. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email addressInvalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. Progress was initially sluggish as overseas investors took a cautious approach to Iran, yet Mr Zamani, a US-educated former World Bank consultant, remained confident about Kian Capital Management’s prospects. But the election of Donald Trump and his bellicose rhetoric towards Iran has triggered a surge of uncertainty and forced him and other Iranian businessmen to recalibrate their plans. They no longer expect the foreign investment to flow easily and instead are refocusing on their domestic market.

Business leaders also take solace from the fact that Iran’s $16.6bn deal for Boeing jets remains on track. Five days before Mr Trump’s inauguration, Iran was celebrating the arrival of Iran Air’s first new aircraft — an Airbus jet — in 23 years, a symbolic moment in a country desperately in need of investment.

There are no signs that French companies such as Airbus and Peugeot are under pressure to reconsider deals they reached with Iran in the wake of the nuclear agreement. However, it emerged last night that the oil company Total made its decision to invest in Iran conditional on the Trump administration’s renewal of US sanctions waivers by the summer.

Steven Daines, chief executive of new businesses at Accor Hotels, says the French group is not altering its plans to operate hotels in Iran. But on a visit to Tehran this week, he acknowledged that “we are finding it more difficult than anticipated because of concerns of instability both domestically and internationally [about investing in Iran]”.

Trump administration ‘officially putting Iran on notice’, says Michael Flynn

The Trump administration has said it was “officially putting Iran on notice” in reaction to an Iranian missile test and an attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but gave no details about how Washington intended to respond.

Flynn did not specify how the new administration would respond. Asked for clarification, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said the president wanted to make sure the Iranians “understood we are not going to sit by and not act on their actions”.

FULL ARTICLE

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/01/iran-trump-michael-flynn-on-notice

Le décret anti-immigration de Trump suscite confusion et rage parmi les Iraniens

Pour les Iraniens partout dans le monde, la journée de samedi 28 janvier a commencé avec confusion et incompréhension et s’est terminée avec un grand sentiment de colère. Vendredi soir, l’heure de Paris, le nouveau président américain Donald Trump a signé un décret interdisant, pendant au moins 90 jours, l’entrée aux Etats-Unis de ressortissants de sept pays musulmans : Irak, Iran, Libye, Somalie, Soudan, Syrie et Yémen.

Ce texte a d’abord été interprété comme ne concernant que ceux détenant un visa de touriste ou de travail ou un visa d’étudiant. Mais tout au long de la journée de samedi, un document en ligne a été créé dans lequel les Iraniens ayant cherché à voler vers les Etat-Unis ont mis les informations concernant leurs expériences respectives. La confusion a grandi après que certains attestaient avoir été refoulés, soit avant de prendre leur vol, soit à leur arrivée aux différents aéroports américains, même s’ils étaient munis d’une carte de résident permanent (la Green Card).

Finalement, dans l’après-midi de samedi, le Département de la sécurité intérieure des États-Unis a annoncé que, selon le décret, le cas des citoyens de ces sept pays en possession d’une carte de résident permanent sera jugé un à un par les officiers de l’immigration, ajoutant ainsi à la confusion. Vers la fin de la journée, différents médias ont rapporté que les citoyens de ces sept pays, même en ayant une autre nationalité, ne pourraient pas demander un visa, ni entrer aux Etats-Unis s’ils en ont déjà un.

Déjà depuis janvier 2016, les Iraniens ayant par exemple une nationalité européenne ne pouvaient plus bénéficier du programme d’exemption de visa, en vigueur entre les Etats-Unis et l’Europe. Ainsi, ces binationaux ont également besoin de demander un visa au préalable aux ambassades américaines avant de voyager aux Etats-Unis, tout comme leurs compatriotes iraniens.

 

more..

http://keyhani.blog.lemonde.fr/2017/01/29/le-decret-anti-immigration-de-trump-suscite-confusion-et-rage-parmi-les-iraniens/

Iran and US – Sanctions lift – The Economist

 The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is not happy. “Anyone who has ever trusted the Americans was eventually slapped by them,” he declared earlier this month. “The experience of nuclear talks proved that even if we compromise, the United States will not stop its destructive role.” <!– [if lt IE 9]> http://bower_components/es5-shim/es5-shim.min.js http://bower_components/json3/lib/json3.min.js <![endif]–>

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This was the latest in a stream of attacks by Iranian hardliners on the deal reached a year ago. Some of this is politics: they never wanted the deal and have tried to sabotage it in order to damage their rival, Iran’s reformist president, Hassan Rohani. But the charge that the West has failed to honour its side of the bargain—lifting most sanctions in return for strong curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme—is growing. It is also wrong.

Even the most wkish critics of Iran agree that it has done its bit. Within months of the deal being signed last July, Iran began to dismantle almost all of its centrifuges, which could be used to enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity, and to move its stockpile of low-enriched uranium out of the country. That work has been speedily completed. Iran’s apparent compliance with the intrusive inspection regime under the deal has also been a milestone for non-proliferation.

The West, too, has kept to the letter of the deal. The sanctions

imposed on Iran as its nuclear programme intensified in the 2000s have been lifted. Iran is increasing its production of oil and foreign investment is rising.

The problem lies outside the accord. Iran has tested nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and is waging wars, directly and by proxy, around the Middle East. America maintains its unilateral sanctions, which were imposed long before the nuclear crisis. They concern Iran’s dire human-rights record; its support for terrorist organisations, including Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria; and its development of long-range missiles. These sanctions were excluded from the nuclear negotiations. For Iran to suggest otherwise is untrue.

America’s non-nuclear sanctions are hurting Iran in two ways.

  • The “primary” ones ban American companies and individuals from dealing with the regime, subject only to a tightly controlled list of exceptions which include food, medicine and commercial airliners (Boeing has just signed a big order with Iran). Any transaction that passes through an American bank or insurance company, even tangentially, or uses the dollar, or involves an American citizen working for a foreign company, is theoretically subject to sanctions. This is creating a chilling effect on the financing of even non-American trade and investment: all remember the $9 billion fine slapped on BNP-Paribas in 2014 for sanctions evasion.

 

  • Under “secondary” provisions, America reserves the right to punish foreign firms if they do business with anyone on a list of designated people and institutions, among them Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. This Praetorian guard has a murky hand in practically every aspect of Iran’s state-dominated economy. The risk of getting caught up unwittingly in an American sanctions prosecution is all too real.

Perhaps the Supreme Leader did not understand the nuclear deal, or perhaps Mr Rohani oversold it. More likely, Iran is trying to extract extra concessions that it has not negotiated. Some had hoped that the nuclear accord, though limited, would help open the Iranian economy, normalise the revolutionary regime and ease fraught relations with America and the Sunni Arab world. That will not happen for a long time, if only because Iranian hardliners draw strength from their enmity with the Great Satan.

Even so, the unravelling of the nuclear deal would hurt reformists and fuel the fires of the Middle East. The Obama administration can help preserve its only real diplomatic success in the region by issuing clearer guidance on exactly how foreign banks must act to comply with sanctions. It could also allow Americans working for foreign firms to advise on such issues, and permit some kinds of dollar transactions.

But the burden falls mostly on Iran. It must clean up its opaque corporate culture. It should bring its accounting and banking rules up to date, so that investors know whom they are dealing with. If that pushes the Guards out of business, so much the better. For Iran to find jobs for millions of educated, underemployed young Iranians, it will have to give up the hardliners’ cherished idea of a “resistance economy”. Ironically, sanctions could yet prove a route to prosperity.

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21701118-iran-says-west-not-honouring-its-side-nuclear-deal-poppycock-sanctions

Iranian frozen assets – $100 billion – Reuters

Jul 14, 2015

Iran to have access to over $100 billion when deal implemented: U.S. officials

Iran would get access to more than $100 billion in frozen assets when the Iran nuclear agreement is implemented, which depends on when Tehran has curbed its nuclear program and the U.N. nuclear watchdog has certified this, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement of the deal, said that U.N. Security Council sanctions could be reimposed on Iran within 65 days in the event of Iranian noncompliance with the deal.

The accord includes a provision under which Iran can be required to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with access to suspected nuclear sites, including military sites, or with other means to address their concerns, within 24 days if a majority of a panel overseeing the deal insists.

The eight-member commission includes Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, Iran and the European Union, the officials said. As a result the United States, the three European nations and the EU can oblige Iran to provide such access and Tehran, Beijing and Moscow could not veto this.

If Iran refused to comply, one U.S. official said that the major powers could then move to “snapback” or reinstate U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, a process that itself can take place within 65 days.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-usa-details-idUSKCN0PO14D20150714