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Issue 937 - 06 December 2012

Tehran seeks to boost tourism revenues

Subscriber

Iran has been trying to boost tourism revenues to offset the pain of sanctions. The vast majority of visitors are religious tourists and, in an effort to increase numbers, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (CHHTO) Hojatoleslam Mohammad Javad Adabi announced in September, during the conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, that the government would lift visa restrictions for 60 member states.

Iran
Free

Iran’s nuclear programme remains at the heart of its troubled relationship with the West.Attempts to find a diplomatic solution have yet to make any significant progress

Iran
Subscriber

There is growing concern – and mounting international pressure – over the deteriorating health of imprisoned Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been on hunger strike since 17 October. Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists, juveniles facing the death penalty, women and prisoners of conscience, was arrested in September 2010 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security, and sentenced to 11 years in prison, a 20-year ban on her practising law and 20-year ban on foreign travel. An appeals court reduced her sentence to six years in prison and a ten-year ban on practising law.

Iran
Subscriber

Committed to Israel, worried about Iran and with huge business interests at stake, the US can’t just pull out of the Middle East as many Americans would like. But strategic shifts apparent for several years will be accelerated as the superpower rethinks its political and commercial alignments.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Subscriber

The European Parliament (EP) has awarded its prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2012 jointly to imprisoned Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Iranian film director Jafar Panahi, who has also spent time in jail for his work. The prize, awarded annually since 1988, “honours exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression to defend human rights and freedom of expression”.

Iran
Subscriber

Iran has again been agitating over the disputed islands of Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunbs, which lie in the Strait of Hormuz and are also claimed by the UAE. On 4 November, according to Iranian news reports, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inaugurated a naval base in the city of Bandar Lengeh, in the southern province of Hormozgan, north of the islands.

Iran | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 935 - 08 November 2012

Iran shipments to South Africa on hold

Subscriber

Having made headlines in mid 2012 by saying South Africa was uncomfortable with United Nations and European Union (EU) sanctions on Iran being extended to the oil trade, and having secured a US exemption from financial sanctions, the Pretoria authorities have fallen into line with the boycott.

Iran
Issue 934 - 26 October 2012

Eutelsat pulls plug on Iranian channels

Subscriber

A European satellite provider’s decision to take 19 Iranian state television and radio channels off air – following a two-year campaign by human rights organisations – has angered Tehran, which used them to spread its influence through Europe and the Middle East

Iran
Subscriber

Around 10m tonnes of goods transit Iran each year, providing some £3bn in revenues – a figure Tehran would like to quadruple by 2025. Sanctions have only intensified government efforts to make the country an indispensable part of the regional network.

Iran
Free

Four oilfields in central Iran will start production in the next six months, according to Iranian press reports. The Shana news agency said on 26 September that the four – Cheshmeh Khoush, Sarvestan, Khesht and Saadat Abad – are in the final stages of development and will come on line the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 2013).

Iran
Subscriber

Ian Fleming’s villain Auric Goldfinger reminded James Bond: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.’ As a third Gulf hydrocarbons company this year falls victim to a cyber attack, speculation is rife over who is to blame.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Qatar
Issue 932 - 21 September 2012

Iran: Rafsanjani’s children arrested

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Iran has imprisoned the daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and arrested his son. According to news wires, Faezeh Hashemi was arrested on 22 September and sent to jail for a six-month term, imposed earlier this year, for “spreading propaganda against the regime”.

Iran
Issue 932 - 21 September 2012

Iran seeks protection in cyber isolation

Subscriber

In a move to limit western influence, as well as to counteract Stuxnet and other cyber attacks, the Iranian government is putting in place the technical foundations for a long-mooted self-contained national intranet network that would be detached from the worldwide web.

Iran
Subscriber

Iran will hold presidential elections on 14 June 2013, the Interior Ministry said on 7 September, the first such vote since a violent crackdown on protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009.

Iran
Subscriber

The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that took place in Tehran on 30-31 August provoked a flurry of press coverage, government spin and academic debate, most of it post-event and reflective. It runs somewhat contrary to the movement’s name that almost all of the discussion has focused on who stood for Iran, and who against it – there has been scant mention of the 700-paragraph closing document, or indeed of NAM’s relevance or aims more than two decades after the end of the Cold War.

Iran