The bank has sent letters to clients telling them that, under recent changes to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulation, Canadian financial institutions are forbidden from providing financial services to anyone in Iran or for the benefit of Iran. That includes any use of an account to send or receive money via wire transfer to or from friends and family in Iran.
So far, no other Canadian bank has taken similar action.
Loading data indicates Ankara Turkey, among Iran's top five customers, imported only three 150,000-tonne cargoes in June, an average of 110,000 barrels per day.
That is almost 40% less than the 180,000 bpd imported last year and up to 60% less than the 250,000-280,000 bpd imported in early 2012.
1452 GMT: Sedition Watch. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi, speaking before Tehran Friday Prayers, has said the repetition of the protests that followed the disputed 2009 Presidential elections will not be allowed.
Moslehi warned that some leaders of the “sedition” are thinking about restarting political activities and posing new challenges to the Islamic Revolution: “The Intelligence Ministry is completely monitoring all such currents and will handle them so that people will not face any challenges or even feel [they are being] challenged....The players in the soft war are trying to destroy the ties between the people and the [Islamic] establishment by destroying their beliefs.”
Moslehi also said foreign intelligence services "are still in shock" over Iran's recent dismantling of terrorist networks, accused of the assassinations of nuclear scientists and other covert actions destabilising the regime.
The Minister of Intelligence said, "In these two networks, we saw connections with the services in Germany, France, Britain, Israel, the United States and regional intelligence agencies."
1414 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Yesterday we featured a 10-page document from Iran of its position in the nuclear talks. Julian Borger of The Guardian summarises the developments and offers a notable addition:
Jim Walsh, a non-proliferation expert at MIT who was at Tuesday's presentation...said [Iranian Ambassador to the UN] Mohammad Khazaee and his team suggested for the first time that the heavy water reactor Iran is building in Arak, which could be a source of weapons grade plutonium when operational, could be replaced by a light water reactor, which would much less of a proliferation concern.
More immediately, he said the Iranian diplomats appeared open to the possibility of future curbs on 20% enrichment in the right circumstances. However, Iran has no incentive to float such a concession if sanctions relief is not on the table: "It's entirely illogical for sanctions not to be on the table. Why would the Iranians change their position otherwise? This is something the Europeans could do, postpone the oil embargo, but they are scared to death it would send the signal to Israel that it was going soft."
European diplomats have said that if Iran had asked for a postponement of the oil embargo at the official talks in return for 20% suspension, the six-nation group would have found itself split and would have difficulty turning it down. As it happened, the Iranians made the country's guaranteed right to enrich their central demand, on which the six powers were more or less in agreement - that could only come at the end of a long negotiating process.
Walsh said: "The Iranians being the Iranians, they made the big philosophical thing the priority and so they bailed out the Europeans. But they also want to see light at the end of the tunnel, a clear end-point rather than an endless process."
1356 GMT: Immigration Watch. The BBC has posted a video summarising the Islamic Republic's recent crackdown on Afghan immigrants.
1351 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Just when you thought the chest-thumping was over....
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi says countries adopting hostile policies against Iran should be fearful of the Islamic Republic’s military might and prowess.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Vahidi hailed the Great Prophet 7 missile drill in central Iran, stressing that several sophisticated weapons have been put to the test during the war game and all objectives have been met.
He added that Tehran intends to convey a message of peace and friendship to regional countries....
Those thinking of an assault on Iran and its Islamic establishment should know that any such folly will receive a crushing response from Iran, he commented.
1345 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Another sign of moderation, after the military's bluster this week, from Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani....
The cleric called on the "West" to take a moderate and logical approach in nuclear talks and not cause trouble for Tehran and for itself: "Iran has good intentions and thinks of prosperity for all human beings; the West should know that Iranian people are supportive of the governing system and its decisions; Muslim nations around the world have been awakened and want a better life; Iran’s intelligence ministry is ready to counter all kinds of conspiracies and seditions."
1330 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Back from an extended academic break to find an analysis by Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi of Iran's position in the nuclear discussions with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, Germany, France, China, and Russia) --- of his three reasons for "why the recent talks in Baghdad and Moscow have failed to make real progress", this one rings truest: "The Iranians saw the P5+1 offer at Moscow as a set of demands [on uranium enrichment] to 'stop, shut, ship' as abrupt, and not as a negotiation. They were...taken aback, given the emphasis on 'reciprocity' and the 'step-by-step' approach in [lead 5+1 negotiator] Catherine Ashton’s statement in the aftermath of the Istanbul talks of April."
Sadeghi-Boroujerdi makes a valuable contribution on the internal dynamics:
The internal power rivalries within the Iranian regime have to a significant extent been allayed. [Ayatollah] Khamenei currently has no serious rivals, despite the normal inter-factional competition, which has always featured as part of the Iranian political scene, and [lead Iran negotiator Saeed] Jalili is very much a Khamenei loyalist. The key for the Iranians is obtaining a deal with a face-saving formula, which can’t be spun as capitulation and similarly criticized by Reformists and [former President Hashemi] Rafsanjani loyalists as such.
Similarly, in contrast to the Russia-US deal offered of Vienna October 2009, the ramping-up of sanctions has modified Iran’s calculus insofar as it will find it difficult to assent to a simple swap deal, without even the slightest reciprocal gesture in terms of sanctions relief. Given that reaching this point has had a major cost, and discontent is running high; the lack of a face-saving deal makes accession unlikely. In the event of a palatable deal which might involve mutual trust building measures, along the lines of the Chinese menu option, Iran might receive rudimentary sanctions relief in exchange for shipping out all or part of the 150kg of 19.75% LEU [low-enriched uranium]."
0755 GMT: Garbage Watch. Khabar Online asks why garbage is not being collected in some neighbourhoods in Tehran and has an interesting answer --- the recent crackdown by security services on foreign workers has affected Afghan migrants, who are often employed because they are cheaper.
0735 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Egyptian Front). Press TV, using this week's phone call from President Ahmadinejad to his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi, summarise Tehran's display of Cairo as an ally to reshape the Middle East:
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Tehran welcomes close interactions with the Egyptian government and nation, and places no limitations to the expansion of ties and cooperation with the North African country.
In their first telephone conversation, Ahmadinejad invited Egypt’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi to participate in the forthcoming 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
"Your presence as the current head of the Non-Aligned Movement at Tehran's summit would be effective in advancing negotiations and ratifications," Ahmadinejad said.
Press TV does not repeat the discredited claim of other Iranian media that Morsi has accepted the invitation, settling for this presentation:
Morsi, for his part, said Iran and Egypt will move alongside each other to fulfill the wishes of the two nations.
Egypt's new president expressed hope that he would meet the Iranian president during the Tehran summit and said, “The Non-Aligned Movement is an important bloc that like an umbrella covers many Muslim and other countries in the world.”
He further hoped to witness the prompt materialization of the international organization’s objectives soon.
0445 GMT: After the chest-thumping of this week's military exercises and statements of Iran's ability to vanquish its enemies, there has been a marked change in the Tehran line in the last 24 hours. State media are putting out the messages --- albeit from Chinese and Russian diplomats and the Associated Press, rather than the Islamic Republic's leaders --- "Progress Made in Iran-P5+1 Talks", "Iran-P5+1 Talks in Constructive Phase", and "Diplomats: Iran-P5+1 Negotiations Positives for Both Sides".
The shift was not just one of rhetoric. Iranian officials handed out copies of their proposals in the nuclear discussions to a dozen media outlets, one of whom --- Barbara Slavin of Al-Monitor --- summarised the document (see separate entry). The intended effect was to show that Tehran is genuine in its search for a settlement on uranium enrichment, as it seeks the removal of unjust sanctions.
Why the more conciliatory line from Iran? One possibility is that those sanctions are biting or about to do so. It is not just the imposition of the European Union's cut-off of imports of Iranian oil from this past Sunday --- recent days have brought equally significant news of South Korean and Japanese suspensions and a major problem with shipments to China.
There was one piece of good news on the oil front for Tehran on Thursday --- according to three well-placed sources, "India is using euros to clear most of its purchases of Iranian oil through a Turkish bank because of hurdles in making rupee payments....The euro payments are continuing even as the U.S. and the European Union seek to limit oil revenue in Iran, which they say is developing nuclear weapons. The payments also mean Iran won’t be handicapped by difficulties in converting rupees, the worst performer among Asian currencies over the past 12 months."
Yet even this has a downside: India's Deputy Oil Minister made clear in May that Delhi is cutting its imports of Iranian oil by at least 10% this year.