Information on the number of Iranians working is uncertain. According to Iran’s statistics office, unemployment was just over 12 percent in 2018, but the real figure is believed to be twice as high. Added to this is extensive underemployment.
About half the workforce is employed in the service sector, just over one third in industry and the rest in agriculture.
Iran’s population is young and about 750,000 jobs would have to be offered to young people each year to keep unemployment unchanged. The fact that the figures have not risen altogether is partly because so many young Iranians leave the country. Youth unemployment stood at almost 30 percent in 2018, following a sharp increase over a few years.
The private sector in Iran is found almost exclusively in agriculture, the service sector and in small workshops where various local goods are manufactured. Several millions of Iranians are estimated to be employed in the informal sector, for example with smuggling, street sales and other black jobs that are not visible in the statistics.
There are no free trade unions in Iran. Strikes that do not violate the government’s policy are allowed, but in practice there is a strike ban. Attempts to form independent unions have been stopped by hard methods.
Some prohibited strikes and other actions during the 2000s have become known around the world. These have included bus drivers in Tehran and employees at a soft drink factory, and the protests have been directed at low or missing wages.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of Iran, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.
Working hours are regulated to 44 hours per week. Minimum wages and twelve days paid vacation are statutory. The minimum wage, which does not always grow in line with inflation, is too low to support a family. Many middle-class Iranians therefore have two or three jobs, “black” or “white.”
The proportion of women in the workforce is one of the lowest in the world, despite the fact that more than half of the students at the universities are women. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 led to a restriction of women’s legal rights, and many restrictions remain, although in recent years some professions have been opened to women. There are female police officers and female taxi drivers, but they are not expected to drive adult men, women and children alone. The Islamic Republic has also held several female vice presidents. The most famous is Masoumeh Ebtekar, who was also the first female minister since the revolution when she became Minister of the Environment in the 1990s. At the hostage drama at the US Embassy in 1979 (see Modern History) she was the spokesperson for the students. For others it has been more difficult. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Laureate 2003, went into exile after being banned from working as a lawyer. Several other women have received similar prohibitions.
FACTS – LABOR MARKET
12.0 percent (2019)
28.6 percent (2019)
Execution with signal value
Hamidreza Bagheri Dermani, known as the “asphalt sultan”, is executed. He is accused of fraud through document forgery and extensive smuggling of asphalt. Since the fight against eco crime intensified during the summer, he is the third to be executed for extensive light-shaded business activities. Following the US decision on new financial sanctions against Iran, the authorities have stepped up their efforts to show that those who benefit from a lack of goods or other circumstances that arise can expect severe punishment.
Iranian diplomats expelled
Albania expels two Iranian diplomats who are declared undesirable in the country for security reasons. One of them is said to be Iran’s ambassador. The measure is believed to be based on diplomats’ actions against an Iranian organization. Albania has received, after a request from the UN and the United States in 2013, about 3,000 people related to the regime-critical movement People’s Mujahedin.
The president’s son-in-law got a managerial job
President Rohani’s son-in-law retires after only two days as head of Iran’s geological survey. Accusations of nepotism – that a relative of the president was favored – came quickly both from parliamentarians and via social media when Kambiz Mehdizadeh, a PhD student in oil extraction, was named head of the authority, which is headed by the Ministry of Industry and Mines.
Political activist dies in hunger strike
13th of December
Vahid Sayadi Nasiri has died following a two-month hunger strike in a high-security prison in Qom. He was first jailed in 2015 and again in 2018 for posts he made on social media. The posts have been classified by the authorities as an insult to the country’s highest religious leaders and state-hostile propaganda.
Iran supports Yemen negotiations
The regime in Iran, which is affiliated with the Shiite Muslim right-wing rebels in Yemen, welcomes the UN’s plans for peace talks on Yemen in Sweden. The war between the rebels and the Yemeni government has been going on for years and is seen as a conflict by agents between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as the Saudis support the government side.
Robot testing raises concerns
Iran tests a medium-range robot and receives criticism from western countries. When a trial shot is confirmed, the Revolutionary Guard is said to have conducted between 40 and 50 tests over the course of a year. Ballistic robots are not covered by the 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear energy technology, but the UN Security Council has urged Iran to refrain from testing weapons that could carry nuclear weapons. Iran has developed several robot types that can reach Israel or the Western powers bases in the Middle East. In the past few months, two medium-range robots have been fired at enemies outside Iran (see September 8 and September 22).
Two are executed for currency speculation
Two men accused of currency speculation are executed. One has been called the “coin sultan”. When he was arrested on July 2, he had two tons of coins. Iran’s currency has been depreciating throughout the year and he has built up its cash currency box to take advantage of rising gold demand. A third man is waiting to have his death sentence reviewed at a higher instance.
New name of leader post in Tehran
Tehran gets its third mayor in a year and a half, when Pirouz Hanachi is elected by city council. His representative falls for the age bracket, but the shift is still followed with interest because the mission has previously served as a springboard for the presidential post. Since August 2017, the city has been governed by forces that are perceived as reform-minded, and they have promised increased transparency. During 14 years of conservative domination, there were numerous accusations of mosquitoes.
UN: Iran fulfills agreement
Iran still fulfills its commitments under the 2015 international agreement on its nuclear program, the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) writes in its latest report. Following the US decision to step down from the agreement and reintroduce sanctions on Iran, Iranian leaders have said it may be relevant for Iran to abandon the agreement as well, when it no longer provides benefits. The EU’s major powers, which are also contracting parties, are having difficulty establishing an alternative payment system that is needed when the US excludes Iran from bank transfers.
Iraq is exempt from sanctions
Iraq has been cleared by the US to buy electricity from Iran despite US sanctions against the regime in Tehran. Power supply problems during the year have led to major demonstrations and unrest, especially in southern Iraq. Iraq buys both electricity and natural gas for gas-fired power plants from Iran. Assessors believe the US is trying to persuade Iraq to reduce its dependence on trade with neighboring countries.
Afghan transport is allowed through
The United States exempts the port city of Chabahar from the re-imposed sanctions on Iran. The reason is that the port, located on the Indian Ocean, is a connecting link for transport to Afghanistan. Oil deliveries to Afghanistan are also excluded.
Oil trades with eight countries are allowed
The major powers China, Japan, India and Turkey are exempt from US sanctions that impede oil deals with Iran. A total of eight countries can continue to buy oil from Iran without risking US punishment. Two, like Turkey, are NATO countries: Italy and Greece. The others are US allies in Asia: South Korea and Taiwan. President Trump justifies the exception that he does not want the world oil price to skyrocket, which would be a risk of cutting off all Iranian production. Also surprising is that the US does not stop civilian cooperation in the nuclear field, which is based on the 2015 international agreement that the US withdrew. The nuclear power plant in Bushehr, enrichment of uranium in Fordow and a heavy water plant in Arak can thus continue to function. Russia is Iran’s partner.
US sanctions against oil trade reintroduced
US resumed sanctions on the oil sector and the financial sector in Iran come into force. All US sanctions lifted thanks to the 2015 International Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Energy Program have thus been reintroduced (see August 6 and August 27). The effects on Iran’s economy are already noticeable; they began to be felt when President Trump announced the sanctions in May. Saudi Arabia is the only country that would have the capacity to supply the world market with oil to replace Iran’s production blocked by the sanctions.
Danish conspiracy suspicions against Iran
Denmark accuses Iran’s security services of having planned to murder exiled Iranians on Danish soil. The plot must have targeted three separatists from Ahvaz, the Arabic-speaking southeastern part of Iran. The Öresund Bridge was closed on September 28 when an imminent murder was feared, and a man who was seen shooting at the separatist leader’s home in Denmark has been arrested in Sweden. Denmark has called home its ambassador from Tehran and wants the EU to impose sanctions on Iran. But Danish authorities also announce, a week later, that even the Ahvaz separatists themselves are suspected of crime after paying tribute to a terrorist attack that took place in Iran (see September 22). In time, the security police PET’s investigation takes an unexpected turn: when the three people from Ahvaz are prosecuted in Denmark in February 2020, they are suspected of being spied on Saudi Arabia’s behalf.
Support for Rohani’s replenished government
Parliament approves four new ministers for, among other things, the labor market and transport, replacing ministers who have been forced out in the autumn; Ahead of the final stage of reintroduced US sanctions – against the energy industry – which await the beginning of November, President Rohani expresses confidence that Iran has enough foreign currency and basic commodities in stock to “weather the storm”. European support for Iran against the US sanctions decision describes Rohani as a “rare victory”.
Twitter shows posts from “troll factories”
Twitter announces suspicions that over ten million posts have been made by “magic factories” in Russia and Iran to influence the public in other countries. The announcements, published between 2013 and 2018, include references to, among other things, the recent US presidential election and the UK referendum on EU membership. In total, 4,570 Twitter accounts are believed to have been used for such purposes. 3,800 accounts are linked to Russia and 770 to Iran.
Basijmilisen target for penalties
The United States imposes sanctions on the base militia and against companies that, like it, are linked to the Revolutionary Guard and finance the militia’s operations, including through security systems for militia members. Basij is a militia, originally a voluntary force formed after the Islamic revolution. Today, the force is mostly used to control internal security, but the United States claims that the militia also recruits child soldiers to Syria, where Iran supports the Assad regime. A large tractor manufacturer and a mining company are among the companies that are now subject to sanctions.
Diplomatic protest with rise to terrorist investigation
Iran’s foreign ministry is calling on Germany’s ambassador to protest an extradition. An Iranian diplomat suspected of involvement in a terrorist plan against Iranian regime critics in exile has been extradited from Germany to Belgium. An attack on exile Iranians would have taken place in France – but the Belgian authorities have cracked the plan and are investigating the suspects. Several Belgian citizens of Iranian origin are believed to be involved (see July 3 and October 2).
Murder attempts for fatwa are still being investigated
An Iranian fatwa (religious verdict) against author Salman Rushdie led to frosty relations between Iran and Norway in the 1990s, when the publisher who published the book Satan’s Verses in Norwegian was subjected to a murder attempt. Now, the Norwegian authorities claim that the 1993 attack was committed by foreign agents. No names or nationalities of the suspects are made public, but the authorities’ actions lead to the criminal investigation still being kept open. The Satanic verses are a novel, but the title hints at a story of false Quranic words that should have encouraged the worship of idolatry. Fatwan, which has led to attacks in several countries, was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic of today.
Sanctions against Iran favor Saudi Arabia
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Iran’s economy will shrink by 1.5 percent in 2018 and 3.6 percent in 2019. The reason is the US’s reintroduced severe sanctions. Before President Trump made his decision (see May 8 and August 6), the IMF projected 4 percent growth for Iran 2018 and as much as 2019. According to the IMF, Iran’s race will also bring down the growth figures for other Middle East and North Africa countries. The exceptions are Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which benefit from the imposition of sanctions on another major oil exporter. The oil accounts for 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s revenue and the IMF estimates that the Saudi economy will grow by 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent in 2019.
Qatar defies US sanctions on Iran
Qatar Airways will continue its flights to Iran despite US re-imposed sanctions, announces the airline’s chief. Many other large companies have been scared off the Iranian market by the threat of US penalties, including difficulties in using payment systems controlled by the United States. Qatar and Iran cooperate in several areas, including sharing what is described as the world’s largest natural gas field.
Iran gets support in UN court
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague orders the US to mitigate the re-imposed sanctions on Iran (see August 6 and August 27). The United States considers that the UN Court has no right to make a decision on this issue, as the United States has cited its national security as the basis for the sanctions. Following the preliminary ruling in court, the United States also terminates the 1955 friendship agreement that Iran has referred to in the case. Both the US and Iran have previously chosen to disregard decisions in the UN Court, the BBC notes.
Completely suspected Iranians are punished
French authorities freeze assets for several people linked to the Iranian government and security services. Iranians are suspected of involvement in plans for a bomb attack against a meeting of exile Iranians outside Paris, which would have taken place in June (see July 3). Iran claims it is all a misunderstanding. The leadership of the regime-critical organization People’s Mujahedin (MEK) and many of its supporters live in exile in France.
Attacks on military parade in the south
About 25 people die in a terrorist attack targeting a military parade in the city of Ahvaz in the south, near the Iraq border. The Iranian government holds an Arab separatist movement in Khuzestan province responsible. The government also claims that a US-backed Arab country on the Persian Gulf and countries in Europe are backing the Ahvaz Democratic People’s Front group. But both the Ahvaz movement and IS take on the attack, and a week later, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shoots IS targets in eastern Syria with robots.
EU countries are trying to rescue Iran trade
EU superpowers Germany, France and the UK plan to set up a special financial institution to be able to start business with Iran when US sanctions against Iran impede bank payments, reports German business newspapers. They call it a special purpose instrument, SPV in English abbreviation. The idea is to replace payment flows with credits. For example, if Iran delivers oil to Spain, the payment is parked at SPV and redirected to Germany for machinery equipment that Iran buys.
Iran accuses Kurds in Iraq of terror
Iranian government forces strike against Kurdish party KDPI headquarters in northern Iraq. At least 15 fatalities are reported. Iran demands the release of Kurdish designated terrorists by the Iraqi federal government and by the Kurdish autonomy in the north. Iran’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDPI, sometimes PDKI), which Iran is accusing of carrying out cross-border attacks, is an old Kurdish separatist group banned after the Islamic Revolution.
Oil port is moved from the Persian Gulf
Iran will make Bandar-e-Jask at Oman Bay its prime oil port, President Rohani announces. This means that tankers do not have to cross the delicate Hormuz Strait today. The main terminal has so far been located on the island of Kharg in the Persian Gulf. From a naval base in Jask, Iran’s fleet can control the strait, while making the country’s own oil exports more difficult for enemies.
Israel confirms attack on Revolutionary Guard
Israeli armed forces have carried out more than 200 attacks against targets in Syria over the course of a year and a half, an Israeli military source confirmed to AFP news agency. Most of the targets, according to the source, are related to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is involved in the Syrian war on the part of the Assad regime. About 800 robots and bombs have been used.
France wants to negotiate Iran’s robots
The United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announces that Iran still complies with the terms of the 2015 International Nuclear Energy Agreement. At the same time, France is highlighting the need for negotiations on three other issues. According to Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Iran must be ready to discuss what will happen with the nuclear program after 2015, with the robotic program (which Iran demonstrates through test shootings) and Iran’s role in the Middle East – the latter means in clear text Iran’s involvement in wars that are raging in neighboring countries.. France thus provides some support for US demands: President Trump calls for halt to Iran’s robot development and support for warring parties in Syria and Yemen (see, for example, May 8 and August 6, 2018).
The President is asked in Parliament
Parliament has, for the first time, called President Hassan Rohani a hearing on Iran’s faltering currency, high unemployment and corruption. Polls after the hearing showed great dissatisfaction with the government that could lead to judicial review, but information about what will happen was not immediately provided. The parliamentarians also have the opportunity to put the president before the national court, but he is protected by the country’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei having declared that Rohani should remain in office for his term of office, until 2021.
New defense agreement Syria-Iran
The Assad government in Damascus and the Iranian government has signed an agreement on continued military cooperation. The agreement is made public in connection with Iran’s Defense Minister Amar Hatami visiting Syria. According to news to several news media, this means, among other things, that Iranian staff, who are titled advisers, will continue to serve in Syria. To the Beirut Canal al-Mayadin, Hatami also says that the agreement includes rebuilding Syria’s defense industry. The reaction from Israel – which avoids becoming a direct party to the war but launches air strikes against suspected weapons production and supplies in Syria – becomes sharp a few days later: Neither threats nor agreements will deter Israel from preventing Iran from supplying Syria with military forces and weapons technology, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
UN court raises Iranian sanctions
The International Court of Justice in The Hague takes up a request from Iran to block US tightened sanctions. Iran invokes a little-known friendship agreement between the countries that was signed in 1955, during the Shah period. A preliminary assessment by the court can come within a few months, while a final decision can take several years. The United States claims that Iran’s actions are a way of abusing the UN Court. In a separate case, from 2016, Iran objected to the US frozen $ 2 billion in Iranian foreign assets.
Ministers convicted in national law
Minister of the Economy Masud Karbasian is embroiled in a parliamentary process in parliament. This is another setback for President Rohani in a situation when the government is accused of misunderstanding the economy and the country is facing a worsening crisis. On August 8, the Minister of Labor was also voted out through a national court procedure. But Karbasian is soon back in the hot air: In November, after the US sanctions against Iran’s oil industry came into effect, he becomes head of the state oil company (NIOC in English abbreviation), which will try to continue doing business despite the sanctions.
Major airlines cease using Irantrafik
The major airlines Air France and British Airways announce, as before, KLM that they are suspending their flights to Iran from the second half of September, as the prospects for profitability on the routes ceased. The decisions should be viewed in the light of the trade barriers that have arisen as a result of the US having again imposed severe sanctions on Iran.
Iran showcases proprietary aircraft
21th of August
Iran showcases a new domestic aircraft fighter aircraft called Kosar. Expertise tells the British BBC that the plane appears to be based on the US F-5 Tiger, a two-engine fighter jet whose development dates back to the 1970s. Iran bought US F-5 planes before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and is believed to still have nearly 50 of those planes in use. Decades of sanctions have made it more difficult for Iran to procure new military equipment in the international market, but the country has instead built up an extensive self-defense industry.
New robot and new high speed courts
Defense Minister Amir Hatami announces that Iran has tested a new short-range robot, with unclear reach; previous versions had a range of up to 30 mil. At the same time, Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s top leader, is making statements via Twitter that there will be neither war nor negotiations with the United States and that abusive behavior gives Iran more trouble than stricter sanctions. That makes President Rohani a target both for criticism of his desire to approach the West, through the now-broken nuclear energy agreement, and for popular demonstrations against corruption. Khamenei has approved a request from the Chief Justice to set up, without asking Parliament, revolutionary courts to convict suspected eco-criminals.
Agreement on the Caspian Sea
12th of August
The five countries that coast towards the Caspian Sea – Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan – sign an agreement regulating its legal status. The agreement is signed by the country’s leaders in the port city of Aktau, Kazakhstan. The status of the Caspian Sea has been unclear since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The conflict has affected whether it is a lake or an inland sea. An inland sea would be subject to UN maritime law, while the right to a lake must be negotiated between the countries. The ambiguity has led to strained relations between the states as well as ambiguities about who has the right to extract the rich oil and natural gas resources. The agreement provides that the Caspian Sea is neither a lake nor a sea, but has “special legal status”. This means that the surface water should be used jointly by the five states, while the seabed and its assets are to be divided, How these boundaries are to be drawn says nothing about the agreement. The big fishing that produces caviar is regulated by means of quotas. The agreement also states that no other country may establish military bases on the Caspian Sea alongside the five states.
Afghans return home
9th of August
Nearly 450,000 Afghans have returned home voluntarily from Iran this year – or been deported. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), home users are twice as many this year as during the same period last year. The dwindling value of the Iranian currency, and the pressure on society that US sanctions create, makes the situation even more strained for Afghans, who are often paperless, than for the Iranians themselves. The return is happening at the same time as the summer drought in Afghanistan is the worst in memory of man.
New sanctions are confirmed in the US
US President Donald Trump confirms that stricter sanctions are introduced from midnight as a result of the US withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran from 2015. Dollar purchases, trade in metals, aircraft, cars and carpets are among the immediate constraints, while new sanctions strike the oil industry first in November. Trump points out that he is ready to negotiate a new agreement, which will also include Iran’s robotic development and support for terrorism. Iranian President Hassan Rohani replies that the United States is engaged in “psychological warfare”.
Hamstring and currency turmoil before sanctions
Five days before the US tightened sanctions come into force, the Great Bazaar in Tehran is full of customers who are concerned about the lack of certain goods. Traders testify to media about intensive commerce in recent days. Iran’s currency has also continued to hit the prospect of sanctions squeezing the economy and hindering cash flows. It is claimed in the bazaar that wholesalers are holding back on deliveries of goods pending it to prove where the trend is.
Trump statement on call dismissed
US President Donald Trump is ready to talk to Tehran’s regime “unconditionally,” he says. But it was not presented as an offer to Iran, but in response to a question to Trump at a press conference on another topic. From Iran, which faces tougher US sanctions that come into force on August 6, the statement is dismissed as an advertising trick. The mighty Revolution Guard also clearly airs its resistance to negotiations.
Word war between Iranian and US presidents
After Hassan Rouhani warned the United States that a war with Iran would become “the mother of all wars,” US President Donald Trump responds with a fierce outcome. He tweeted in capital letters that Iran should “suffer the consequences that have suffered through history” if its leaders do not stop threatening the United States. Then, an influential Iranian accuses General Trump of engaging in psychological warfare without being able to act in practice.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is requested to be extradited
Argentina requests Russian authorities to arrest and extradite Iran’s former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, who is visiting Russia as an adviser to President Rohani. The plot is an attack on a Jewish establishment in Buenos Aires in 1994, which claimed 85 lives. Argentine investigators claim that the bombing was carried out by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah but was ordered by the regime in Iran. The Iranian delegation goes to China and a request for extradition is also made to Beijing, Argentina’s Foreign Ministry reports.
Eight hung for double attack
Eight people, designated as members of the terrorist group IS, are executed. The Justice Department’s news service states that they were involved in a double attack in Tehran in June 2017, when both Parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum were attacked. IS took on the attack, which according to news channel al-Jazira claimed 18 lives.
Promises to Iran from Contracting Countries
The United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia declare that they are adhering to the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that the US has skipped. They also assure, at a foreign minister’s meeting between the remaining parties to the agreement, that they are seeking to maintain trade relations with Iran despite US sanctions on Tehran. This means, among other things, that companies that continue to do business with Iran should be protected.
Diplomat suspected in bomb plot
An official at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a bomb plot on French soil against an Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mujahedin. Iran claims that the accusations, which have led to arrests in several European countries, are false and aimed at overshadowing a trip President Rohani is making in Europe as a result of the US departure from the Iran nuclear program agreement. Rohani meets with representatives of the other contracting parties to seek assurances that they will stick to the agreement.
Two executions are executed
Two men are executed by hanging. One of the prisoners was sentenced to death in March for driving a bus straight towards a group of police officers, three of whom were killed. The second prisoner was convicted of the murder of an eight-month-old child. The girl was sitting in the back seat of her dad’s car when it was stolen by the killer in July 2017. The killer left the girl in the closed car when he abandoned the vehicle, and the girl was choked to death in the heat.
Penalties stop aircraft purchases
As a result of the new US sanctions, aircraft manufacturer Boeing will not fulfill contracts with Iran that have been signed in recent years, the company announces. It is about delivering 80 aircraft to Iran Air and 30 aircraft, with an option for an additional 30, to Iran Aseman Airlines. In previous periods of sanctions, aviation safety with an aging aircraft fleet has raised concerns.
Iran ready to ramp up uranium enrichment
Iran is preparing to expand uranium enrichment at its Natanz nuclear facility. The enrichment has been limited by the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which was concluded to prevent the production of uranium that can be used for nuclear weapons. In a letter to the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran now emphasizes that the enrichment will resume if the 2015 agreement completely breaks down, as the United States has decided to leave the agreement and reinstate harsh sanctions on Iran.
India defies US sanctions
India will continue to trade with Iran, and with Venezuela, even though the United States has imposed sanctions on both countries. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj says that India – which buys oil from both Iran and Venezuela – does not allow its foreign policy to be dictated by dictation. India and Iran are also cooperating on a port construction, which would make it easier for India to escape trade routes through Pakistan.
Requirements list for continued nuclear energy agreement
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sets a number of requirements for Iran to stick to the 2015 nuclear deal: EU countries must protect Iran’s oil trade against US sanctions and continue to buy oil. European banks must ensure that trade can be done with Iran. The United Kingdom, France and Germany should pledge not to demand, as the United States demands, negotiations on Iran’s development of robots or on Iran’s progress in the region. The list is presented two days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that Iran withdraw its forces from Syria and stop supporting the rebel side in the Yemen civil war.
The EU protects companies against sanctions
The EU is taking steps to protect European companies that could be harmed by the US reintroducing harsh sanctions on Iran. The intention is that companies doing business with Iran should be able to continue with this, or receive compensation. When Iran’s sanctions begin to operate on August 6, the EU should have updated a regulatory framework adopted in 1996 to circumvent US sanctions against Cuba, rules that have never been applied in the Cuba case, according to the BBC. Among the business that can now go for nothing is Airbus’s sale of 100 aircraft to Iran, but EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement that it is primarily SMEs that should be protected.
Penalties should prevent currency transactions
The first note of details in the US’s new sanctions on Iran concerns three companies and six individuals linked to the Revolutionary Guard. The guard is accused of currency exchange transactions, dollar purchases that must have taken place, among other things, to conceal arms trade. According to the US Treasury, Iran’s central bank has been instrumental in providing access to accounts abroad. US companies and citizens are prohibited from doing business with those listed. The United Arab Emirates, where dollar purchases should have been made, is also behind the sanctions.
Stepped up position between Iran and Israel
After 20 rockets were fired from Syria against army posts on the Golan Heights, which Israel occupies, Israel attacks 70 targets in Syria with fighter aircraft and robots. The targets are military infrastructure that Iran has built to assist the Assad regime. The Israeli war effort is the most extensive in several years and the largest so far against Iran. Israel confirms the raids and declares that they are targeting the elite forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The purpose is to prevent Iran from establishing itself militarily in Syria so that it can threaten Israel. At the same time, judges believe that neither Iran nor Israel wants the conflict to escalate further.
Iran is firmly in agreement, until now
Disappointment and concern characterize most reactions following the US departure from the Nuclear Energy Agreement. Iran’s state leadership says, with the support of the EU, that the country will stand by the settlement so far. More conservative forces – which have always been opposed to restricting the country’s nuclear technology program – are taking the US departure as confirmation that it was wrong to conclude the agreement. Russia, which supplies nuclear power plants to Iran, sees Trump’s message as “evidence of Washington’s inability to negotiate”. Trump’s decision, on the other hand, is welcomed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, who can both be described as arch enemies to the Shiite regime in Tehran.
The US withdraws from the nuclear agreement with Iran
US withdraws from international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, President Donald Trump announces. The US will reintroduce sharp sanctions against Iran. Trump makes the decision despite the fact that Britain, France and Germany – which agreed to conclude the agreement in 2015 – as well as the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency IAEA believe that Iran is fulfilling its commitments. But Trump is particularly critical of the agreement not preventing Iran from developing robots that could carry warheads. President Rohani says on TV that he sees the runoff as “psychological warfare.” Iran promised in its agreement with the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council and Germany to limit its ability to produce uranium and plutonium, substances that can be used for nuclear weapons, and that allow inspections of nuclear plants. In exchange, the UN,
Arms exports disputed seeds between Iran and Morocco
Morocco accuses Iran of supporting the Western Saharan liberation movement Polisario with weapons supplies, via the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement. Morocco, which controls Western Sahara, takes home its Iranian ambassador in protest and demands that a diplomat from Iran leave Morocco.
Requires impunity response
Said Mortazavi, former chief prosecutor in Tehran, is still at large, despite being sentenced to two years in prison in November for being responsible for the death of a demonstrator in 2009. Reform-minded MP Fateme Saidi demands that the Interior Minister and the Minister of Justice report what measures are being taken, reports news agency Ilna. On April 22, the Justice Department’s news service states that Mortazavi has been taken to prison.
Tighter rules for currency exchange rates
The value of the currency of Iran, which has previously been allowed to float freely, is tied to the US dollar. The currency has fallen in value for months and the authorities are trying to stop the breed. On April 15, the rules will be tightened so that only banks can exchange currency. The economy is being squeezed by the US being expected to withdraw from the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program if the deal is not renegotiated. For Iran, the 2015 settlement has been beneficial as it has facilitated international sanctions. Tourists tell the news agency AFP that it is difficult to change even at bank offices and that offers from black exchangers are not uncommon. As a result of sanctions still enforced by the United States against Iran, foreign credit cards cannot be used, only cash.
The president calls for reform
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President 2005-2013, claims that his ally Hamid Baghaie as a hunger striker in prison is imprisoned on political grounds. The allegations are made in a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, published on the Dolatebahar website. The exchange of letters testifies to the dissent between leading layers; in another letter to Khamenei, Ahmadinejad recently demanded completely free elections. Baghaie is sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of forgery of foreign currency. Ahmadinejad himself was strongly questioned as president, when mass protests in 2009 and 2010 were defeated by hard methods.
Iran is singled out for data breaches
The US faces sanctions against ten Iranians and one company, the Mabnain Institute, which is accused of stealing scientific material from universities both in the US and in other countries through IT infringement. In this way, 144 US colleges and 176 universities in 21 other countries should have been allowed to release material, the US Treasury Department claims. The Revolutionary Guard is ultimately held responsible for the intrusion.
Agreement with Russian oil company
14th of March
An agreement is signed with a state-run Russian energy company, Zarubezhneft, on the expansion of two oil fields near the Iraq border. Production is to be increased from 36,000 to 48,000 barrels per day. According to industry executives, the agreement is the first with a Russian company. Since the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program led to sanctions relief in January 2016, only a similar agreement has been made, AFP writes. A consortium led by French Total signed an agreement with Tehran in the summer of 2017.
The BBC asks for UN assistance against Iran
the 12th of March
The British public service company BBC has turned to the UN Human Rights Council for help. Low-paid employees and their relatives have been harassed both in the UK and in Iran. The measures, which included arrests and travel bans, began according to the BBC during the 2009 presidential election, when the Tehran rulers accused foreign governments of intervening. David Kaye, UN Reporter on Freedom of the Press and Opinion Issues, urged Iranian authorities to stop harassment in the fall of 2017.
New crash in the Zagros Mountains
11th of March
A Turkish private plane crashes in the Zagros Mountains, for unclear reasons. The eleven people on board perish. Everyone, including the crew, were women and the Bombardier plane belonged to a Turkish industrial owner. The company had been at a bridal show in the United Arab Emirates. The pilots were experienced, reports the Hürriyet newspaper: one of them had been a fighter pilot, the other had worked for Turkish Airlines.
Woman who took off the shawl doomed
A woman who participated in women’s protest action against the self-imposed sentence is sentenced in Tehran to two years in prison. She must serve three months, the rest of the sentence is conditional, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, which also states that the woman is in need of medical care. More than 30 women are believed to have been arrested during the winter for defying the injunction to wear shawls that cover their hair. Most are reported to have been released.
China builds railways
Agreement is reached that China will build a railway of 40 kilometers between the port city of Bushehr in the south and the city of Shiraz. Bushehr is Iran’s second largest port city after Bandar Abbas, which is also on the south coast. The project is one of seven planned by the Iranian government and will be part of a railway network connecting not least Russia and India, via the Iranian ports. Among other things, this should mean that trade between countries can more easily avoid the Suez Canal and longer sea routes.
RÅ wants to act against women’s party
The City Hall in Tehran is hosting a party for an Iranian equivalent of Women’s Day. A group of girls performs on the stage and in the audience there are mostly women, but one of the male participants is Tehran’s reformed mayor. The day after, the news agency Isna reports that the prosecutor wants to act legally because he believes that elements of the arrangement challenged the general morality and Islamic tradition. Among other things, there was dance and female singing with men in the audience. Iran is not celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, however, it is paying attention to Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima and dedicating her Mother’s Day, this year on March 9.
UN report on abuse of prisoners
Torture and sexual abuse occur in Iranian prisons, and it seems to be done systematically. The conclusions are drawn in a UN report. The work on the report was led by Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir, who passed away a few weeks before the conclusions were presented. Jahangir was not released into Iran, but gathered testimony about the conditions in the detention and prisons. In the report, she also expresses concern about the number of executions, as far as known 482 cases last year.
Claws at dervish protest
Dervishes belonging to the Sufi Gonadian order demonstrate in northern Tehran, according to information in social media against sufis being seized. A riot breaks out and a minibus is deliberately driven towards police, writes Fars News Agency. The day after, the police announced that five people from various security forces had lost their lives and that approximately 300 people were arrested. The Sufis consider that the state discriminates against them, a police spokesman calls them “a superstitious sect”. One month after the incident, the driver of the minibus is sentenced to death, accused of killing three police officers.
Severe accident in aviation
66 people are feared to have been killed since a commercial aircraft disappeared at high altitude in the Zagros Mountains. The wreckage is found after a few days on a snowy mountain side. During the many years of international sanctions that stopped trade with Iran, there was a severe shortage of, among other things, spare parts in aviation. Since most of the sanctions were lifted in 2015, the company Aseman, Iran’s third largest, has ordered 30 new plans from American Boeing. The accident scene, of Franco-Italian manufacture, was 25 years old. French expertise participates in the accident investigation.
The police intervene against currency exchanges
Iran’s currency has lost a quarter of its value in just over six months. Now the authorities are taking action against currency exchanges. A dozen exchange offices have been closed and about 100 street exchanges have been seized, Tehran police chief of the news agency Irna said. With higher prices of import products, the risk of popular dissatisfaction grows and many protect themselves against a weakened rial by sticking with dollars. The central bank is now trying to encourage deposits in banks. Banking companies are given the opportunity during the campaign period to promise 20 percent interest on money borrowed, compared with a maximum of 15 percent previously, according to the Mehr news agency.
Open letter about the death of researchers in detention
Researchers and activists in an open letter to President Rohani demand that the government clarify what has happened to Iranian-Canadian Kavous Seyed Emami. The professor and conservation activist is alleged to have taken his life in custody two weeks after being arrested. Sources in the judiciary state that Emami and other nature conservation representatives have been examined in the framework of an espionage investigation. The message casts doubt. Canada has also requested clarification. Hesameddin Ashena, adviser to Rohani, tweets that greater transparency is needed in the judiciary.
Opens the door for the will of the people
The people deserve greater confidence from those in power, declares President Rohani at the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. In front of a large crowd in Tehran, he clarified his view that the Conservatives should not stop reform-minded candidates and that the coming year, the fortieth revolution, should be a “year of unity.” He also advocates – without giving examples of suitable issues – referendums, in accordance with Article 59 of the Constitution.
Military confrontation with Israel
An Israeli fighter plane crashes after completing missions against “Iranian targets” in Syria. Israel states that the crew destroyed an Iranian drone in Israeli airspace and fired from Syria, but crashed in the homeland, where the pilots also shot. Iran denies the details of the drone. Israel is also attacking the day after a number of positions. According to news media, this is the first time Israel has allowed such efforts since the Syrian war broke out in 2011. Prime Minister Netanyahu says Iran will not be allowed to establish itself militarily in Syria.
Bad air closes schools
The air pollution in Tehran with over eight million inhabitants is so severe that all the city’s schools have been closed. Occupational working mothers are given a day off to stay home with their children, says the head of the provincial environmental authority. Conditions get worse during the cold months of inversion: cold air layers prevent, among other things, car exhaust from rising. In December, elementary schools were closed for several days for the same reason.
Protests against headscarf are increasing
A growing wave of protest is expressed in women taking off the required shawl in public place. To date, 29 women have been arrested, reports Fars, Ilna and Tasnim. State Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri has commented on the protest statements, called them childish and let them understand that they can be inspired from abroad.
Iranian dissatisfaction with China
Eight days after a vessel crash outside Shanghai, an Iranian-owned oil tanker is set on fire. The entire crew of 32 people is missing and the rescue efforts are being questioned in Iran, especially by relatives. The crew of the other ship, from Hong Kong, could be rescued after the crash. State TV in China reports that the accident led to a serious oil spill.
Almost 500 arrested
Recent turmoil in Iranian cities has claimed 25 lives and 465 people are being held in custody, a spokesman for the legal system for the Mizanoline news agency sums up. The spokesman claims that no one has been shot dead by the state security forces.
Iran violates UN embargo
Iran has violated the UN arms embargo by not stopping deliveries of weapons to the Youtube rulers in Yemen, a UN expert committee has concluded. The group has investigated the debris of robots fired at Saudi Arabia from Yemen and concluded that the weapons were of Iranian manufacture.
Trump refrained from suspending agreement
The United States is extending its sanctions through decisions involving 14 named persons, citing Iran’s robotic development and human rights violations. However, despite Trump’s pledge to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal, President Trump chooses to let the United States stick to the deal until further notice. Trump is urging the other major powers that signed the agreement to work to change the terms. Iran rejects all demands for amendments.
US faces sanctions against Iranian companies
The United States is targeting sanctions on five Iranian companies accused by the United States of working with Iran’s illegal ballistic missile program. All companies are subcontractors to the Iranian industrial group Shahid Bakery (SBIG). The sanctions mean that Americans are not allowed to do business with these companies, whose assets in the United States are frozen. Foreign companies and institutions, such as banks, which cooperate with the five companies are excluded from the US financial system.
Demonstrations in support of the regime
Thousands of Iranians are participating in state-organized events to support the regime around the country. This happens after six days of street protests against the regime. The head of the Revolutionary Guard, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, says that the “revolt” is now defeated. He goes on to say that the protests were limited and that the guard only made “limited” efforts in three provinces. According to General Jafari, a maximum of 1,500 people have taken part in the protests at each location and, altogether, throughout the country, a maximum of 15,000 people have protested. At the same time, Reuters news agency reports on new protests in the city of Malayer in western Iran on the evening of January 3, and on social media new videos with images of violence are posted. According to state media, 21 people have been killed in the protests over the past week. Most of them are protesters, while some are police. One child has also been killed.
Border crossings to Kurdish Iraq are opened
Iran opens two more border crossings to Kurdish Iraq. Thus, all three border crossings are re-opened after being closed in September 2017 after the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq conducted a referendum on independence that was not recognized by the Baghdad government. The third border posting was opened in October.
Khamenei accuses “the country’s enemies”
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is speaking for the first time about the mass demonstrations that have taken place in the country since December 28, 2017 and which have now claimed at least 22 lives. Khamenei accuses “the country’s enemies” of being behind the violent protests and the enemies have used “money, weapons, politics and intelligence services to create problems for the Islamic Republic”. According to analysts, these enemies are the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. US President Trump has condemned the mass arrests of protesters in various statements via Twitter, saying that “repressive regimes cannot last forever”. The EU calls on Iran to respect the right of citizens to demonstrate in a peaceful manner.