Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sanctions Making Iranians Scream

Yes, the Iranian people must pay the price for our enslavement to Israel.

"Economic pressures and diplomacy have pushed Iran to the point of considering an ultimatum-style endgame in efforts to seek relief from the US and European sanctions, which have targeted Iran’s vital oil exports and its ability to use international banking networks."

I think we all know what that is, readers.

"Iranians sign petition protesting hardships; Workers feeling sanctions’ effect on economy" by Brian Murphy  |  Associated Press, October 02, 2012

TEHRAN — For weeks, a manifesto complaining about Iran’s stumbling economy circulated in secret among factories and workshops. Organizers asked for signatures and the pages began to fill up.

In the end, some 10,000 names were attached to the petition addressed to Iran’s labor minister in one of the most wide-reaching public outcries over the state of the country’s economy, which has received a double pounding from tightening Western sanctions and alleged mismanagement by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.

The rare protest document — described this week by labor activists and others — suggests growing anxiety among Iran’s vast and potentially powerful working class as the ruling system struggles with the latest sanctions, which have targeted critical oil exports and blackballed Iran from international banking networks.

Undoubtedly true; however, the second purpose of such a thing to be found in my intelligence operation called a newspaper is to create the conditions for a cover story regarding an attempted coup. 

It also appears to reinforce assertions by the United States and Europeans that the economic squeeze is bringing increasing pressures on Iranian authorities. President Obama and others argue that sanctions and diplomacy are the best way to wring concessions over Iran’s nuclear program, even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushes for a ‘‘red line’’ declaration that could trigger military action.

I don't like the devil's choice of no war, therefore sanctions are okay. Get rid of the damn sanctions! Heck, apply them where they belong and slap 'em on Israel instead!

While Iran’s leadership still has broad-based public support in the nuclear standoff with the West, the petition and sporadic street demonstrations over the slumping economy suggest a growing distinction between the national pride of nuclear technology and the economic hardships from Tehran’s defiance.

The Iranian currency, the rial, hit another all-time low against the dollar Monday, which is certain to further drive up prices of imported goods.

Jafar Azimzadeh, a labor rights activist and gas-pipe fitter, warned of stronger fallout if the government does not find ways to prop up salaries and rein in prices. ‘‘Workers would not stay at the level of writing petitions,’’ he said. ‘‘They would go toward street gatherings and other actions.’’

Iranian officials have made no comment on the petition, which was reported only by the semiofficial ILNA news agency and proreform Shargh daily. But some lawmakers voiced their support. Abbas Ali Mansouri, a Parliament member, said higher wages are needed ‘‘while workers are falling under the poverty line.’’

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the drop in the value of the rial ‘‘speaks to the unrelenting and increasingly successful international pressure that we are all bringing to bear on the Iranian economy. It’s under incredible strain.’’

As if they are proud of making the Iranian people suffer so they can have regime change. 

Hey, wait a minute, isn't that terrorism?

Iranian officials have repeatedly said Iran can ride out the sanctions through measures such as keeping oil flowing to Asian markets that include China and India. But Ahmadinejad last month acknowledged that Iran faces ‘‘barriers’’ to selling oil and making the international banking transfers that are critical to keep commerce flowing.

In May, Ahmadinejad was cheered in the northeastern city of Mashhad as he promised to create 2.5 million new jobs and boost worker benefits. It was a reception he welcomed after facing mounting criticism for policies that include scattershot privatizations and allowing inflation to surge.

But the petition sent to his labor minister, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, offered a far more bleak assessment of a country burdened by rising prices and increasing economic isolation....

Official reports put Iran’s inflation rate at 23 percent, but Iran’s Parliament speaker estimated last week that it was close to 29 percent. The unemployment rate is officially 12 percent, but some economists place it nearly three times higher.

Sound familiar, 'murkn?

‘‘It’s not ideology that is the weakest link for Iran’s ruling system,’’ said Sami al-Faraj, director of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies. ‘‘It’s the economy. This, of course, was an important element of the Arab Spring, and that fact is definitely not lost on Iran.’’

It's the economy, stupid!

Iran’s factory workers and laborers have provided the tipping points at pivotal moments. They gave vital populist backing to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and generally sided with the ruling clerics when the mullahs were under threat by riots after Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in 2009.

Overthrew our guy the Shah back when after Operation Ajax put him in power.

The petition contains no warnings or ultimatums against the Islamic system, or references to the nuclear program, activists say. But the scope of the signatures — representing several Iranian cities — is an unusual show of grass-roots unity without umbrella organizations such as unions.

The signatures included those of mine workers in the mineral-rich center and west, food and textile producers in Tehran and central Iran, and bus drivers in Tabriz, in northeastern Iran. Conspicuously absent, activists said, were workers in the oil industry, which provides up to 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue. Iranian oil workers usually receive better wages than others.

Oil workers in Iran must be akin to bankers in AmeriKa.


And didn't I say something about a coup being fomented?

"Clashes in Tehran over plunging value of currency" by Thomas Erdbrink  |  New York Times, October 04, 2012

TEHRAN — Clashes and at least one spontaneous protest erupted in Tehran on Wednesday over the plunging value of Iran’s currency, as black-market money-changers fought with riot police who were dispatched to shut them down, and hundreds of angry citizens demonstrated near the capital’s sprawling merchant bazaar, where many shops had closed for the day. The official media reported an unspecified number of arrests including two Europeans.

The clashes were the first instance of violence over the money-changing business in Tehran since the national currency, the rial, which has been gradually losing value in recent years, dropped drastically over the past week. The rial hit a record low, losing 40 percent of its worth against the dollar. Economists have called the plunge a reflection of the economic pain in Iran caused in part by government mismanagement and the Western sanctions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Witnesses in and around Manoucheri Street, where the black-market money changers do business, described cat-and-mouse chases between motorized riot police armed with tear gas and batons, and money changers and their customers, who were forced to scatter.

But anger over the rial’s plunge spread to Tehran’s grand bazaar, where many merchants closed their stores and hundreds of shoppers joined in what appeared to be a spontaneous protest, accusing the government of failing to protect their currency from collapse.

Abdullah, a young man selling textiles, complained that it has become extremely difficult to do business when the value of the rial is so unpredictable.

‘‘The checks our customers give us, bounce; we don’t know what prices will be tomorrow,’’ he said. ‘‘How can we earn a living?’’

The violence and protests came a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a nationally televised news conference, asked Iranian citizens not to sell their rials for other currencies, suggesting the problem had been caused in part by speculators.


Screwing with someone's money supply and currency value is what is known as a "soft" coup.

"Grand bazaar reopened in Tehran; Heavy police presence after day of protests" by Rick Gladstone  |  New York Times, October 05, 2012

Most merchants in Tehran’s grand bazaar reopened for business Thursday as an unusually large number of police officers were deployed around the city’s black-market money trading district, witnesses reported. The reopening came a day after a crackdown on suspected speculators led to civil disturbances and a large protest march by Iranians demanding relief from the plummeting value of the currency, the rial....

Economists have attributed the problems to government mismanagement and Western sanctions imposed on Iran in response to its contentious nuclear program, most notably a severe restriction on the country’s ability to sell oil and its expulsion from the global banking network.

Witnesses in Tehran said there was no resumption of protests over the rial, which had fallen by about 40 percent since last week and had contributed to panic selling on the black market by worried Iranians. But there were also no black-market transactions in Tehran on Thursday, as traders and their prospective customers stayed away after having been scattered by riot police officers on Wednesday....

Political economists have called Wednesday’s protest a harbinger, particularly if the politically powerful merchant class in Iran loses confidence in the government. But there have been no public demands for the government to be more flexible over the nuclear issue, which could lead to an easing of the West’s antinuclear sanctions.

President Mahmoud ­Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders have called the sanctions the equivalent of blackmail and have vowed to never capitulate on what they call Iran’s right to peaceful uranium enrichment.

Western powers say they suspect Iran’s real purpose in uranium enrichment is to ­develop the ability to make ­nuclear weapons.

The possibility of further sanctions over the nuclear issue advanced Thursday in Europe, where diplomats said European Union foreign ministers could impose new limits on Iranian gas exports during a meeting in Luxembourg on Oct. 15.

An EU embargo on Iran oil that took effect in July has played a large role in severely restricting Iran’s ability to sell oil, its most important export. 

See: E.U. Equivocates on Iranian Oil Embargo

You see where there is no equivocation, right?


Related: As Iran’s economy crashes, sanctions could yet bear fruit

I was told they already were, but....

"Iran bans ‘luxury’ imports as sanctions bite" by Brian Murphy and Nasser Karimi  |  Associated Press, November 09, 2012

TEHRAN — The Islamic Republic announced a ban Thursday on imports of 75 so-called luxury products, ranging from high-end cars to coffee to toilet paper, part of efforts to promote domestic products and stem the outflow of dollars and other foreign currency as Western economic pressures increasingly choke off Iran’s commerce and critical oil revenue.

Is toilet paper really a luxury?

It is the most sweeping measure so far to batten down the Iranian economy, although the move is not likely to leave showrooms and store shelves empty.

It allows for foreign parts to be shipped in for local assembly plants, which make cars such as Peugeots, European-brand home appliances, laptops, and mobile phones — all covered by the new ban.

There also are many Iranian-made alternatives to the list of now-blocked toiletries and beauty products — toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cosmetics, even toilet paper — but many consumers strongly prefer often better-quality imports from Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East.

So serving Israel's designs is in effect hurting our own economies in this time of sluggish growth and austerity?

‘‘It seems the government is desperate to control the flow of money outside the country,’’ said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, a Syracuse University professor who follows Iranian affairs. ‘‘If you want a clear signal about how the sanctions are hitting Iran, this is a good one.’’

Western sanctions have cut sharply into Iran’s oil sales, which account for 80 percent of the country’s foreign currency revenue. At the same time, Iran has been barred from the major international banking systems, which has helped push the Iranian currency to record lows and forced merchants to resort to hand-carrying gold and cash from the nearby commercial hubs of Istanbul and Dubai.

Last week, in an attempt to control the rush of capital out of its borders, Iran prohibited exports of gold without a license issued by the country’s central bank.

Iranian officials have floated proposals to roll back some of the country’s uranium enrichment — the centerpiece of the battle over Tehran’s nuclear program — if the United States and its European allies remove some sanctions.

And as usual, we're not listening.

Western leaders have given no clear response about the possibility of resuming nuclear talks with such proposals on the table.

Well, they are talking now.

President Obama has strongly favored a combination of sanctions and diplomacy to try to wrest concessions from Iran.

Related: Obama Steps on the Gas For Israel

Thanks, Obama. Now I know why gas prices have been shooting up!

In Paris last week, President Francois Hollande said France would favor as many sanctions as necessary to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which the West and allies fear could lead to atomic weapons. Iran says it seeks reactors only for energy and medical research.

Just one more reason the socialist's popularity is tanking. When the French elected him they didn't think they were getting more foreign interventions and more subservience to banks.

It is unlikely that squeezing consumer choices will be enough to touch off major street protests, which would certainly be met by swift crackdowns. But the steps could directly affect Tehran’s main bazaar, which acts as a clearing house for many imported products.

Isn't that closed?


What isn't a luxury:

"Iran’s medical crisis deepens as economy sputters; Global sanctions drive up cost of drugs, treatment" by Nasser Karimi  |  Associated Press,  January 09, 2013

TEHRAN — For the first time in more than a decade, the black market pharmaceutical peddlers are back on Nasser Khosrow Street near Tehran’s main bazaar.

‘‘Medicine, medicine,’’ the street dealers shout. ‘‘Any kind you want.’’

Business is brisk. For many Iranians, such underground channels are now the only way to get needed drugs as Western sanctions over the country’s nuclear program have indirectly limited normal supplies to hospitals and pharmacies.

But, but, but.... we let in humanitarian and medical supplies, right?

But for others, even the sidewalk touts are not an option. Iran’s sinking currency has more than doubled the prices of some of the imported medicines and supplies.

While medicine and humanitarian supplies are not blocked by the economic embargoes on Iran, the pressures are clearly evident in nearly every level of Iranian health care. It’s a sign of the domino effect of sanctions on everyday life.

Restrictions on Iran’s access to international banking networks mean major obstacles to pay for imported medicine and equipment — the same troubles facing many businesses in need of shipments from abroad.

Meanwhile, the nation’s slumping currency — seen as collateral damage from sanctions — has driven up prices sharply.....

Isn't the proper way to write that phrase "sharply driven up prices?" Shouldn't the adverb be in front of the verb and not at the end of the sentence? It's like leading a sentence with but. Reporting isn't what it used to be, is it?

The economic blows from sanctions are most acutely felt in key industries such as oil, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue. On Monday, the head of Iran’s parliamentary budget committee, Gholam Reza Kateb, said receipts from oil and gas exports have fallen by 45 percent in the past nine months. The announcement appeared part of political early warnings before expected austerity measures in March that will likely include major tax increases.

The whole world is in austerity, isn't it?!  And cui bono?

But Iranian authorities also know the challenges of trying to squeeze more money from an economy showing serious signs of strain.

Something AmeriKan leaders do not!

Cheaper Asian parts and products are increasingly taking the place of Western goods.

We are $CREWING OUR$ELVES for I$RAEL, folks!

Factories depending on imported raw materials are struggling to stay in operation. Prices for nearly everything continue to climb....

Scenes of overcrowded state hospitals are now common across Iran after fees for private health care have nearly doubled in recent months. The costs in state-run facilities are far cheaper, but that also comes with shortages and long waits....

Hossein Ali Shahriari, head of parliament’s health committee, said even powdered milk for infants is not available in some pharmacies.

Shades of the war-criminal sanctions versus Iraq, but I guess the "price was worth it."

Iran’s health ministry and charity organizations, in separate letters to international bodies, have requested an easing of the banking embargo for health and medicine sectors....

Still waiting for a response.


RelatedIran’s health chief fired after criticizing drug import problem

Also see: Let's Talk About Iran's Nukes

They are going to be needed those cancer treatments.