19 Jul 2010 07:12
Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. Click on the link to the story to read it in full. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow other news stories through our Twitter feed.
Europe Considers New Penalties for Iran Encompassing Oil and Gas
NYT | July 19, 2010
The European Union is considering tough new sanctions against Iran to protest its nuclear program, including banning investment in the oil and gas sector and tightening restrictions on shipping and finance.
The new measures, which are subject to agreement by European Union foreign ministers, cover dozens of senior Iranian officials and companies, and aim to put new pressure on the government in Tehran by cutting off Europe's investment in major sectors of the Iranian economy.
A draft of the proposed new measures names 41 Iranian people, 57 companies or other entities, 15 additional companies thought to be controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and three deemed to be under the control of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
Senior European diplomats will discuss the proposed sanctions on Thursday. If approved, they are likely to represent a significant tightening of Europe's economic pressure on Tehran.
Global firms invited to join Iran energy projects
AFP | July 19, 2010
Global energy majors are welcome to help develop oil and gas projects in Iran despite new sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic, a top official told reporters on Monday.
"We welcome all international companies, eastern or western. The oil industry cannot be deprived of cooperation," said Mohammad Hossein Mousavizadeh, adviser to Pars Oil and Gas Co, which is developing the giant South Pars fields in Persian Gulf waters.
Several top global energy majors have either quit Iran or are considering an exit since world powers in June slapped new UN sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme.
Mousavizadeh said the development of South Pars, which holds about eight percent of world gas reserves, was not affected as Iranian companies were replacing global firms or foreign firms were staying on as associates.
Sanctions Force a Retreat in Iran
WSJ | July 17, 2010
The engineering arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps said Friday it was pulling out of projects in a giant Iranian natural-gas field in the Persian Gulf, blaming mounting sanctions from the West.
The decision is a blow to a push by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to tighten control of the country's oil and gas industry and suggests a round of fresh international sanctions specifically targeting the IRGC is causing new difficulty for the group, a paramilitary organization with a range of business subsidiaries.
Mr. Ahmadinejad's economic policies are also facing a separate, growing challenge: A strike by merchants at Tehran's main bazaar, over a proposed tax increase, dragged into its second week. The merchants are seen as a pillar of the Iranian economy, controlling a large slice of the import, export and retail sectors. They are also a symbolic force, credited with helping to bring down the shah when they went on strike during the Iranian revolution in 1979.
Since then, the merchants, organized through guilds, have largely aligned themselves with the conservative Islamic regime and have stayed out of politics.
Iran uses bank in Germany to beat sanctions: report
AFP | July 19, 2010
Tehran has used a small Iranian-owned bank in Germany to circumvent sanctions slapped on firms blacklisted for involvement in the Islamic republic's missile programmes, a newspaper report said Monday.
Citing unnamed Western officials, the Wall Street Journal said the European-Iranian Trade Bank AG (EIH) had done more than a billion dollars of business for firms subject to US, UN and EU sanctions.
The German finance ministry said Monday it was not aware of any such infringements but that the country's financial regulator, Bafin, and the Bundesbank central bank were looking into the claims made by the newspaper.
Iran, Egypt to open joint bank in Tehran
Tehran Times | July 19, 2010
The Managing Director of Iran Foreign Investment Company (IFIC) stated that Iran and Egypt will open the first branch of a joint bank in Tehran in the near future.
The Mehr News Agency quoted Mehdi Razavi as saying that the first branch in Iran of Misr Iran Development Bank (MIDB) will be established.
He stated, "MIDB is one of the successful banks in North Africa with over 35 years of experience in various development and trade projects."
The official pointed out that in the past few years MIDB has transferred part of its assets to Iranian banks in hope of broadening economic and political ties with Iran.
The IFIC director noted that during the recent global economic crisis the bank made substantial profits and by doing this earned greater benefit for Iran.
IFIC holds some 40 percent shares of MIDB.
Standardized English Tests Are Halted in Iran
NYT | July 17, 2010
The Educational Testing Service has announced that it is temporarily suspending registration for its tests in Iran, including the popular Test of English as a Foreign Language, in what may be one of the first tangible effects of the new sanctions levied against the country by the international community.
Experts and Iranian expatriates were appalled, saying that if the sanctions prohibited Iranians from studying abroad, they would hurt precisely the kind of outward-looking young Iranians the West would like to help.
Iran to Unveil New Submarines
Press TV | July 19, 2010
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said Iran will unveil its new domestic submarines next month. Vahidi said the submarines are produced in Iran and will be delivered to Iran's Navy by mid-August.
Iran to file complaint over mosque attack
AP | July 19, 2010
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday Iran will file a complaint to international bodies over the deadly mosque bombing by an insurgent group he says the U.S. supports.
Ahmadinejad did not specify if the complaint would be specifically against the U.S., but he did tell state TV that America supported the bombings.
"If (President Barack) Obama is not aware of actions by American forces, we tell him that American troops based in Afghanistan and Pakistan support these actions," he said referring to the bombings. "Yet, the American president sends a condolence message."
Ahmadinejad: US Behind Terror Attacks
Press TV | July 18, 2010
Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan offer financial and material support to terrorists. "No grouping other than US-backed terrorist groups which are devoid of human feelings can commit such acts," said Ahmadinejad.
The president further called on the Iranian Foreign Ministry to follow up the terror attack through the Pakistani government. "We are friends with the Pakistani nation, ... but the Pakistani government should be held accountable," he said.
Iran Plans to Blacklist Hostile Oil Companies
Mehr | July 17, 2010
Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said on Saturday that Iran will blacklist foreign oil companies, like Russia's Lukoil, which have pulled out of projects due to the sanctions imposed on Tehran. "If a company takes a stand against Iran, we will be forced to take that into consideration and put that company on a blacklist," Mirkazemi said.
"They will no longer work in our country," he added. Mirkazemi singled out the case of Lukoil, which announced it would pull out of Iran by March 2011 after new UN, U.S., and EU sanctions were imposed on Iran. But he added that Iran might work with Lukoil "if we can adjust the content of the agreement." Commenting on Lukoil's decision to cut gasoline exports to Iran, Mirkazemi said these measures were more "like a joke."
Iran nixes smoking for executive aspirants
CNN | July 19, 2010
People addicted to tobacco cannot get jobs with the government's executive branch, according to the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency, which cited a directive published Monday by the Cabinet's information office.
The directive -- intended to ensure that applicants are healthy physically and mentally -- follows the guidelines of the Law of the National Services Management, ILNA reported.
Iran Aims For Stricter Dress Code
RFE/RL | July 18, 2010
Iran's general prosecutor today pushed for stricter punishments for violations of the Islamic dress code in public, arguing that under the law "violators of public chastity should be punished by being sentenced to up to two months in jail or 74 lashes."
Prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei also said that the law has not been fully implemented in the country for the past 15 years and, as he said, "It is up to the judge to decide whether to punish violators by only fining them."