EPC | 28 Jul 2020
In June 2020, Iran experienced a series of explosions and fires that extended to military sites (including an explosion that shook the Parchin military complex, an explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility, and news of a series of explosions that extended to military sites east of the capital Tehran) and industrial zones (including an explosion in a power plant in Ahwaz in southwest Iran, a petrochemical company near Mashhad in northeast Iran, and a fire that broke out in a factory south of the capital Tehran), thereby raising serious questions about the nature of those incidents, their consequences, and the causes behind each one of them.
EPC | 20 Jul 2020
It has become clear that the most important controversy on the threshold of the US presidential elections concerns the issue of the extension of the embargo on arms trade with Iran. International sanctions provided for by the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had imposed an embargo on arms trade with Iran. However, the nuclear deal (which is in turn an international document recognized by the UNSC) provides for the termination of the said embargo in October 2020. Thus, the issue of lifting the embargo has become the subject of disagreement between the US and its former partners in the nuclear deal.
EPC | 27 May 2020
There is a significant disagreement in the estimation of the savings size of the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI). The gap of this disagreement gets even wider between internal and external sources. According to reports released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2018, the Fund’s savings stand at 91 billion dollars. However, according to other reports released by the same institution in 2019, the size of the NDFI’s savings is 85.5 billion dollars. Estimates of internal sources appear to be completely different. While sources in the NDFI have announced that the government paid it 170 billion dollars as of 2013, the Research Centre of the Iranian Parliament underlined in a 2014 report that the former government sweeped the NDFI’s savings which, in that year, did not exceed 17 billion dollars. This is supported by figures released by the NDFI. On the other hand, official sources have indicated that the NDFI’s savings fell to nearly 22 billion dollars in September 2013, and subsequently to 12 billion dollars in October 2017.
EPC | 20 May 2020
In October 2020, the ban on trade in conventional weapons with Iran imposed under article 5 of Annex II of the nuclear agreement — which prohibits all countries from trading in such weapons with Iran — will come to an end. The ban was scheduled to last for five years from the day that the agreement came into effect, ending in October of this year. The various parties to the agreement are ramping up their political maneuvers, however, as the US administration and the remaining parties to the agreement appear to hold incompatible positions regarding the end of the embargo.
EPC | 17 May 2020
On 20 March 2020, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the start of the implementation of the Iranian general budget for the current Iranian year (March 2020/March 2021). Thus, it became the first general budget in the history of the new Iranian regime to be implemented without being debated in Parliament. After the Iranian Parliament had rejected the draft general budget in January 2020, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dropped the role of Parliament in debating the budget owing to the suspension of Parliament’s activity as a result of the spread of coronavirus. The Guardian Council of the Constitution was tasked with debating the general budget and presenting it to the government for implementation. As a result, on the last day of the last Iranian year, Rouhani informed the ministries of the draft general budget and of its effect.
EPC | 20 Apr 2020
The US sanctions, placing Iran on the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the corona pandemic could be viewed as three separate, but integrated, rings that tighten controls on the Iranian economy and subject it to some kind of comprehensive embargo that isolates Iran from the international economic system. Each one of those rings serves to deepen the impact of the other two, despite the difference in the extent of the impact of each one.
This paper seeks to examine the three rings of the embargo on the Iranian economy and shed light on the gaps created by each of the embargo rings, and shows how the other levels have greatly contributed to bridging those gaps and blocking the outlets through which the Iranian economy used to breathe. Finally, the paper determines the remaining outlets before the Iranian economy until now, and indicates whether those gaps could ensure the resilience of the Iranian economy for a longer period.
EPC | 07 Apr 2020
Iran has been suffering from the spread of coronavirus for two months, during which the country has become one of the major global epicentres of the epidemic and an important stop for its regional spread. After 10 days of its spread, the virus became the main focus of the activity of the Iranian government and state institutions, particularly the health sector that, after the spread of the disease, has become the main centre of the work of the government and official institutions. The Iranian president underlined that combating the epidemic occupies all the government’s energy and constitutes the only focus of its meetings.
Iranian official institutions have sought to take several steps to counter the epidemic and prevent its spread based on the capacity of the health sector and crisis management strategies. These steps have witnessed several developments during the last few weeks, all of which demonstrate the attempt at finalizing the crisis management strategy and its maturation. They also demonstrate the existence of discrepancies between the various official institutions that have prevented the performance of a decisive role in controlling the disease and preventing its spread.
EPC | 17 Feb 2020
Iran's political scene continues to heat up as the country gears up for the next parliamentary elections. On the official level, there have been verbal clashes between the conservative wing-held Guardian Council of the Constitution, which is charged with qualifying parliamentary candidates, and the government, which accused the Council of not being neutral and excluding all candidates who belong to political groups outside the conservative line.
On the political groups’ level, the reformists keep mum on the elections after hundreds of reformist candidates have been disqualified from running in the forthcoming polls. On the other side, cracks have started to appear among the conservatives, otherwise known as the principlists. In the meantime, the grassroots remain relatively apathetic towards the electoral warm-up with no indications that there are above-average preparations for the next vote, sparking fear among regime's circles that the turnout might sink to unprecedented levels.