See also Remember Iran: An EA Special br>
Remember Iran: A Day That Changed the Country, the Region, and the Media br>
Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Political Prisoners in Danger to Pepsi's Logo on the Moon br>
Remember Iran: A Preview of the Presidential Election (11 June 2009) br>
Remember Iran Flashback: "How Not to Cover Iran's Elections --- The Awards Ceremony" (12 June 2009) br>
The Latest from Iran (11 June): A Fraud Case Reaches the Government
“Product boycotts and financial sanctions are expected to exact a toll on growth over 2012 and 2013,” the Bank said in a report published Tuesday. It predicted a further contraction of 0.7% next year.
Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz said today, "Talks with Saudi Arabia on long-term crude oil purchases have started. This doesn't concern only [Turkish refiner] Tupras but also concerns Saudi Arabia's Aramco. Talks are still going on; they will discuss the quantities between them."
On Monday, the US said it would exempt Turkey from financial sanctions because it has cut purchases of Tehran's oil. A report this week indicated that Turkish imports fell 45% between March and May.
A US diplomat indicated that Washington granted the waiver with the expectation of further cuts, "So Turkey now has 180 days, Tupras has 180 days to take a look at its oil situation to decide - can it reduce further, can it get to zero? - what it needs to do."
1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Imprisoned attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh speaks to her son during a prison visit, as her daughter cries nearby.
Sotoudeh, noted for her defence of human rights activists, was detained in September 2010 and sentenced in December to an 11-year term, later reduced to six years:
1535 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Amnesty International has called on Iranian authorities to overturn the death sentences of five members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority who may face imminent public execution.
The men were transferred out of the general section of Karoun Prison in the south-western city of Ahvaz on Saturday, prompting concerns their death sentences may be about to be carried out.
The prisoners are three brothers, Abd al-Rahman Heidari, Taha Heidari, and Jamshid Heidari; their cousin Mansour Heidari and Amir Muawi. All five were arrested in April 2011 amid unrest in Khuzestan Province and were later convicted of moharebeh (“war against God”) for killing a law enforcement official.
1515 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Compare the Iranian presentation of the salvation of next week's Moscow talks (see 1250 GMT) --- in which the US and Europe have accepted the Iranian agenda on nuclear enrichment, sanctions, and other issues and there is no reference to Tehran's compromise --- with the portrayal given by a European diplomat:
After the Ashton-Jalili telephone call on Monday, EU officials said a more positive tone had been established. “Iran has this evening backed down from demanding an experts meeting ahead of Moscow and has done a lot to clear the air,” said a senior EU official. “There’s a sense now that after walking up the hill over the past few weeks, the Iranians are now walking down it again and the Moscow talks are very much on.”
The senior EU official revealed that, in the course of Monday’s phone call, Mr Jalili said that he would now engage with a detailed confidence-building proposal that was put to Iran at the last meeting between the parties in Baghdad.
This would see Iran looking to freeze production of more highly enriched uranium in return for help with nuclear safety and its civil aircraft sector.
At the same time, Lady Ashton said the EU and the six powers would consider proposals put to them by Mr Jalili in Baghdad, which may include a possible peeling back of EU and US sanctions and a recognition of Iran’s right to continue some uranium enrichment.
“They said they will engage with our proposal and in exchange we will consider their ideas,” said the official. “They have cleared the air and we have given a bit to them.”
OPEC calculates that Iran's daily oil output has fallen from 3.706 million bpd since 2010.
The Islamic Republic has again deniedthe drop, asserting that it produced about 3.760 million bpd in May.
1309 GMT: Trade Watch. More difficulties in Iran's attempt to cope with sanctions by increasing trade --- include the sale of oil --- with India, as Bank Parsian has stopped issuing payment guarantees for Iranian importers who buy Indian goods.
The bank suspended the guarantees, because the account set up to get around Western sanctions, affecting currency transactions, does not have the necessary funds in rupees.
In January, New Delhi and Tehran in January agreed --- after months of negotiations --- on a system in which Idnia would pay for 45% of the annual $10 billion-plus oil trade in rupees. While the currency is not traded internationally, it could repay Indian exporters of other goods.
India's only other means of payment to Iran currently is in euros through Turkey's Halkbank, after a clearing mechanism in dollars was closed by the Reserve Bank of India under pressure from Washington in December 2010.
Payments from Indian refiners into India's UCO Bank have been held up until New Delhi implements a planned exemption from a hefty local tax.
Iran has built several small submarines and recently overhauled one of the three non-nuclear Russian Kilo-class submarines it bought in the 1990s.
1250 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iranian State media are promoting Western concessions as the salvation of next week's formal talks in Moscow between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers, after a phone call between Iran's lead negotiator Saeed Jalili and the European Union's Catherine Ashton.
Press TV presented Ashton as recognising Iran's agenda for discussions: "The group of six major world powers (P5+1) is ready to hold talks on Tehran's five-point proposal in the forthcoming negotiations with Iran in Moscow." It then added, "Jalili, for his part, stressed the importance of respecting the agreements reached in the previous P5+1 talks in Baghdad and Istanbul. He said that Iran will clarify its five-point proposal in the Moscow talks, stressing that an appropriate response to Tehran's proposition can bring about a progress in the talks."
And, in a dig at the "West" for the tensions over the last week that threatened the negotiations, the website continues, "[Jalili] added that the group’s reluctance to hold expert-level preparatory meetings ahead of the Moscow talks caused a hiatus in the progress of constructive talks."
0940 GMT: Oil Watch. As China quietly works with the US to cut imports of Iranian oil (see 0840 GMT), Japan is walking a tightrope between reductions and a complete cut-off from its leading supplier.
On Monday, the Government submitted a special bill to Parliament to allow it to provide insurance for Iranian crude imports, replacing the coverage lost when European Union sanctions start on 1 July.
The insurance scheme would enable the Japanese government to provide direct payments of up to $7.6 billion in the event of a critical incident involving a tanker carrying Iranian crude bound for Japan.
0840 GMT: Oil Squeeze. A report from Reuters confirms our analysis that China's reduction in oil purchases from Iran is not just a strategy to get a better deal, but is also a behind-the-scenes political move alongside US-led sanctions:
Chinese refiner Sinopec has turned down offers of bargain Iranian crude and will cut imports by up to a fifth this year, a senior Chinese oil executive said, insisting ties with the United States are more important than cut-price oil as the West squeezes Tehran over its controversial nuclear program....
The Chinese official said the insurance ban would not be a problem for China, which alone buys as much as a fifth of Iran's crude exports. "So long as China wants to solve this problem, there must be a way. It won't be a difficult issue. We are fully capable of sorting it out," he said, without going into how importers would continue bringing in Iranian oil....
"The Iranians have made some offers, but we have turned them down," the official said, declining to elaborate. "The economic benefits of filling some discounted Iranian oil into the national oil reserves would be too small a consideration for the state. The key concern for the Chinese government would be China-U.S. relations."
Meanwhile, the US has said it will continue exemptions of seven countries from financial sanctions because they have significantly cut purchases of Iranian oil.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said exemptions would be granted to India, South Korea, Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, Sir Lanka, and Taiwan.
In March, the United States granted exemptions to 11 nations, including European Union countries and Japan.
0715 GMT: A different start today, as we look back to 12 June 2009, when Iranians were voting for a President --- we begin our two weeks of "Remember Iran" coverage with thoughts from James Miller and reposts of our preview of the election and our light-hearted look at how Western media was presenting the campaign.
Our colleague Dave Siavashi, whose Iran News Now was launched to cover the events, sends this entry from 14 June --- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives a press conference to mark his supposed re-election:
Christiane Amanpour of CNN says, “You said you are President of all Iranians....[Challenger Mir Hossein] Mousavi, can you guarantee his safety and why have opposition officials been arrested?”Ahmadinejad’s reply: “The situation is very good in Iran. It is the most stable country in the world. There is rule of law in this country … All the people are equal … So some people are becoming excited and having confrontations with the police force. This is like someone coming out of a stadium and getting into confrontations with the police… they will be fined.”She and he get into an actual verbal scuffle.He angrily replied, “I answered your question! It’s like someone who does a traffic violation! He will be fined as if he violated the traffic rules … Of course I am not happy with someone who violates the traffic rules.”