Tracker

Sanctions on Iran: Reactions and Impact

Bandar-e-Abbas, (Photo by Ivan Milnaric, available at Flickr)

On June 9, 2010 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1929 imposing additional international sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program and military activities.  The Council passed the measure with 12 out of 15 votes—Turkey and Brazil voted against and Lebanon abstained—in response to Iran’s noncompliance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nonproliferation safeguards and oversight.[1] UNSCR 1929 expands the arms embargo on Iran by banning a wider range of conventional arms and equipment related to nuclear proliferation and missile development and by allowing states to search vessels suspected of transporting such cargo to Iran. The resolution also attempts to target Iran’s financial sector, restrict firms linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and restrain Iran’s nuclear proliferation activity. 

President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), expanding unilateral U.S. sanctions to target Iran’s energy sector, banking industry, and IRGC activity on July 1, 2010.[2]  The act, as described by Senator John McCain, poses the following question to international businesses: “Do you want to do business with Iran, or do you want to do business with the United States?”[3] The current CIA director Leon Panetta recently noted that these new sanctions could “help weaken the regime” and “create serious economic problems,” but he cautioned that they would probably not limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions.[4]  Previous sanctions measures have had a limited effect on Iran’s nuclear policy.  The impact of these additional sanctions on Iran’s decision-making and behavior depends greatly on the extent to which the U.S., foreign nations, private sector companies, and international organizations enforce the provisions of various measures. 

In this tracker, CTP documents rhetorical and policy responses to sanctions from Iranian officials as well as measures taken by the U.S., foreign governments, and international businesses.  Updates will be posted bi-weekly and highlighted in bold.

Data for 2010 can be downloaded here (.pdf format). 

 

Iranian Officials' Statements and Related Policy Measures
Enforcement, International Reactions, And Follow-On Measures

 

Iranian Officials' Statements and Related Policy Measures

November 1: Iranian President Ahmadinejad said “our banks cannot make international transactions anymore” in a speech before the Iranian parliament.[5] 

October 30: An Iranian transportation ministry official announced that Qatar Airways will operate domestic flights inside Iran.[6]

October 29:  National Iranian Oil Company deputy, Mohsen Qamsari, said Iran “reached new agreements for receiving money for Iran’s oil exports” and that “Iran’s central bank has different and diversified ways and methods for receiving its money from selling oil to India…at the moment there is no Indian accumulated oil debt to Iran.” An Iranian state media outlet claimed Indian firms are making payments for oil imports through Russia’s Gazprombank. An “Indian industry source” told Reuters there have only been discussions about opening Indian accounts with Gazprombank, and that India continues to make oil payments to Iran through Turkey’s Halkbank. India previously paid off a $5 billion oil debt by submitting payments through Halkbank .[7]

October 26: Iranian Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance Mohammad-Reza Farzin, speaking at the German Council on Foreign Relations, claimed that Iranian imports increased to $24 billion in six months, $8 billion of which came from Europe. Farzin predicted that “Iran-East trade” will reach approximately $140 billion.[8]

September 30: Iranian officials claimed to have domestically developed their own version of the Russian anti-aircraft S-300 missile system.[9]

September 17: Managing Director of Iran Air Farhad Parvaresh claimed that “no flight has been cut” despite sanctions against the commercial carrier. The U.S. designated Iran Air for its smuggling of illicit shipments for the IRGC.[10] In 2010, the European Union Air Safety Committee called for a restriction of Iran Air flights to Europe and ruled that Iran Air “will only be allowed to use certain aircraft for flights to Europe.”[11]

May 17: Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast denied a U.N. report that Iran and North Korea frequently exchanged ballistic missile technology, saying “our scientific and technological capabilities are high enough so that we do not need any other country to give us such technology.”[12]

April 18: Mahmoud Bahmani, head of Iran’s central bank said that if economic sanctions are not lifted soon, gasoline prices will soar to $150 a barrel. Bahmani also said that “Iran can have an effect on world energy and fuel,” which can dramatically increase fuel prices.[13] 

April 15: Mohammad Yahya Maroofi, Secretary-General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), said “Despite sanctions, Iran has managed to attract investment in the oil and gas sector by localizing technology in the special South Pars energy zone."[14]

April 15: Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, speaking at the opening session of the 16th Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran, said “The foreign companies that have been banned to invest in the land through the big powers' terror and intimidation can bring their capital there with ease of mind.”[15]

April 13: Managing Director of Iran Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ali Kheir-Andish said the company will be ready to start exporting gas to regional neighbors such as Pakistan, India, and Syria by the end of 2012 after finding foreign investments that circumvent international sanctions.[16] 

April 13: Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi, while at the 16th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical exhibition, said that the presence of foreign and Iranian companies eager to invest in the Iranian oil industry "is a true evidence for the inefficiency of the sanctions imposed by a few hegemonic powers against Iran.”[17] 

March 23: Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview that President Obama’s one year renewal of Iran sanctions was “psychological warfare.” He also said that the renewed “sanctions are unilateral and the United States has been repeating the decision for 32 consecutive years and this is not new.”[18] 

March 21: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed U.S. sanctions on Iran: “The sanctions which the enemies of the Iranian nation have imposed have been undertaken with the intention of inflicting a blow to our country's advancement, prevent it from realising the outcome of its steady efforts. Of course, their intention will not materialize."[19] 

February 18: The managing director of Iran’s largest crude oil tanker operator said several of its shipping liability and pollution insurers in the EU declined to renew their coverage policies for 2011-2012. As a result, the operator has sought out “a mixture of fixed-premium insurers” outside of the EU.[20] 

February 16: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that UN sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program have not affected the regime’s economy, adding that they have increased prices and allowed Iran to become self-sufficient.[21] 

February 13: Head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Mines Mohammad Nahavandian said "the international role played by the different countries' private sectors is among the reasons why supporters of sanctions have failed in isolating Iran's economy."[22] 

January 26: President of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce Mohammad Nahavandian said that the resignation of U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey "was good news” for Iran.[23] 

January 24: Iran’s six gasoline-producing petrochemical plants were shut down after subsidy cuts on fuel caused the cost of gasoline to rise and the amount of consumption to lower, according to an Iranian energy industry official. Oil refinery construction is expected to be finished in the coming months to relieve Iran of its dependency on petrochemical plants and gasoline imports.[24]

January 23: After stalemated talks in Istanbul between delegations from Iran and the P5+1, President Ahmadinejad stated, “The world should know that this nation stands up to bullying and will put the bullies in their place. You cannot make Iran back down an inch from its course as it is now a nuclear state.”[25] 

January 21: A report from the Federation of American Scientists described an increase in Iran’s nuclear centrifuge enrichment capability during 2010. The enrichment site at Natanz saw a sixty percent increase in centrifuge operations over the past year. The report added, “Contrary to statements by U.S. officials and many experts, Iran clearly does not appear to be slowing down its nuclear drive.”[26]  

January 19: Head of the Iranian Committee at the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Chamber Alinaghi Khamoshi said that “In many circumstances, including the (economic) sanctions imposed on Iran, ECO members can make these sanctions ineffective.”[27] 

January 19: Giving a speech in the city of Yazd, President Ahmadinejad emphasized the nuclear progress of Iran in the face of growing sanctions and that the West had no other choice but to cooperate with the Islamic Republic.[28] 

January 11: Iran’s Ambassador to Brazil Mohsen Shaterzadeh said that the trade exchange between both countries has increased by 88 percent since 2009.[29] 

January 11: Masoud Mir-Kazemi, the Islamic Republic’s Oil Minister has announced that investments in Iran’s oil industry, reserves, price decreases, and the production of gasoline in petrochemical plants mitigated the effects of gasoline sanctions.[30] 

Enforcement, International Reactions, and Follow-On Measures

October 27: The Congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report that current U.S. sanctions do not forbid China from exporting anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran.  The report also noted “Chinese firms have seen these sanctions as an opportunity for expansion.” [31]

October 26: U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton confirmed that the administration is “looking at different sanctions” to impose on Iran in response to the Iranian Qods Force plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. in an attack in Washington.[32]

October 25: Russia announced the delivery of an unspecified number of truck-mounted 1L222 Avtobaza radar jammers to Iran.[33] Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Deputy Director Konstantin Biryulin argued that the sale of radar jammers do not violate current international sanctions against Iran.[34]

October 24:  U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said he met with British officials in London “to continue to look at those financial institutions that are involved with proliferation activity for Iran and continue to try to isolate them from the international financial sector.”[35] The European Union urged Iran to re-enter negotiations with the E3+3 (Britain, France, German, Russia, China, and the United States) over its nuclear program, or risk “new restrictive measures.”[36]

October 13: In testimony to the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen acknowledged that the administration was “looking very actively” at sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank in response to allegations that Tehran had authorized the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. in an attack in Washington.[37]

October 12: the U.S. Treasury Department designated Iranian commercial airliner Mahan Air for providing “transportation, funds transfers and personnel travel services” to Iran’s Qods Force.” Mahan Air is “secretly ferrying operatives, weapons and funds on its flights.” The commercial air carrier has facilitated Qods Force support for Hezbollah and for Qods Force operations in Syria and Iraq.[38]

October 11: The U.S. Treasury Department identified Manssor Arbabsiar, Qasem Soleimani, Hamed Abdollahi, Abdul Reza Shahlai, and Ali Gholam Shakuri as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their roles in the conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. in a terrorist attack and to conduct additional attacks in the U.S. and elsewhere. Arbabsiar acted on behalf of the Qods Force and the other four persons are senior Qods Force officers. Soleimani, the commander of the QF, “oversees the IRGC-QF officers” designated for their connection to the plot.[39] For more on the QF plot, see here.

September 30: An Indian media report indicated that India and Iran have recently restarted stalled negotiations over the development of the Farzad-B gas field. The next round of discussions, scheduled for November, will cover “internal rate of return and security of investment.” [40]

September 26: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that, if Iran ceased its centrifuge production, Russia would “reject the adoption of new sanctions both at the level of the UN Security Council and at the unilateral level.” Further, Lavrov stated that Iran would be receptive to negotiations regarding its nuclear program if the regime “gets a very clear message [that this] is not about regime change but about non-proliferation issues.”[41]

September 21: Russian news outlet Kommersant reported that Russia and Iran agreed to a $1.2 billion joint zinc mining venture.  The state-owned Russian Technologies Corporation and UN-sanctioned Iranian Bank Saderat will develop the Mehdiabad mine in central Iran. A Turkish-Seychelles company, Kapsad International, is also signed onto the project.[42]

September 20:  Reuters cited an intelligence report that concluded “The fact that Turkey is allowing itself to be used as a conduit for Iranian activity via Turkish banks and the Turkish lira is making it possible for Iranian funds in Turkish guise to make their way to Europe.” Iran’s Bank Mellat operates a branch in Istanbul, Turkey and the Export Development Bank of Iran recently began working with Turkey’s Eximbank. Mehmet Koca , a board member of a Turkey-Iran trade group, said “Finance and trade that was carried out by Dubai and the United Arab Emirates before the sanctions can be taken over by Turkey…This is a big opportunity for Turkey.”[43]

September 15: A Western diplomat said “Belarus is becoming a key element in Iran’s efforts to develop its SSM (surface-to-surface missile) and nuclear capabilities, especially with regard to navigation and guidance products, which are defined as dual-use.” Another diplomat said a private Belarusian firm, TM Services, had recently attempted to acquire a key flight component for guided missiles from a Russian company for re-export to Iran.[44]

September 13: Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced at a joint meeting in Tehran that Pakistan and Iran have agreed to accelerate completion of the $7.6 billion natural gas pipeline between the two countries.  Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi estimated last week that the project will be completed in 2014.[45]

September 4: India has reportedly paid off an outstanding oil purchase debt of $5 billion to Iran via payments made in euros through Turkey’s Halkbank bank.[46]

August 24: The German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, reported that North Korea had delivered American-made software, Monte Carlo N-Particle Extended, which is designed to help identify nuclear chain reactions, to Iran in the spring.[47]

August 24: The European Union designated Iran’s Qods Force for providing “technical assistance, equipment, and support to the Syrian security services to repress civilian protest movements.”[48]

August 5: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed that Turkish authorities intercepted a truck loaded with weapons traveling from Iran to Syria. German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung cited Western diplomats who believed that the arms shipment was ultimately destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.[49]

July 29: Two Indian oil refinery firms, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) and Essar Oil, are reportedly submitting payments for Iranian crude oil purchases through Turkey’s Halkbank. “As per the new system, Indian firms will need to have an account with Union Bank of India, and Turkey’s Halkbank will give…confirmation that it will accept payment and transfer the money to NIOC (National Iranian Oil Co.) account there,” according to an Indian industry source. [50]

July 28: The U.S. Treasury Department designated six al Qaeda operatives for channeling funds and personnel throughout the Middle East via Iran. Treasury identified Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil as head of this network and as representing al Qaeda in Iran “under an agreement between al-Qa’ida and the Iranian government.”[51]

July 25: Iran, Iraq, and Syria signed a preliminary natural gas pipeline deal worth approximately $10 billion that would deliver natural gas via pipeline through Iran to Syria and Iraq. Included in the deal was the daily delivery of oil to Syria from Iran. The project is expected to be completed in three years.[52] 

July 25: Iran and China have reportedly sought a barter-style agreement for Chinese goods and services in exchange for Iranian oil as a means to circumvent U.S. financial sanctions against Iran.[53] 

July 10: U.S.  National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor announced that Iran suffered a $60 billion loss due to cancelled and frozen energy projects as a result of sanctions. He added that the regime is becoming increasingly unable to “do business with any reputable bank internationally, to conduct transactions in euros or dollars, to acquire insurance for its shipping, [or] to gain new capital investment or technology infusions.”[54]

July 1: Danish shipping company Maersk announced that it had “decided to cease acceptance of business to and from the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas, Bandar Khomeini and Asaluyeh” following the sanctioning of the IRGC-owned and operated Tidewater Middle East Company, which operates the ports..[55]

June 29: The U.S. Treasury Department designated Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) chief Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam and Ahmad-Reza Radan, the deputy LEF chief. Radan reportedly traveled to Syria in April 2011 to “provide expertise to aid in the Syrian government's crackdown on the Syrian people.” The designation noted that the LEF “has provided material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate and dispatched personnel to Damascus in April to assist the Syrian government in suppressing the Syrian people.”[56]

June 29: British Foreign Secretary William Hague asserted that “Iran has also been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload in contravention of UN resolution 1929.”[57]

June 23: The U.S. Treasury Department designated the IRGC-owned and operated Tidewater Middle East Company and Iran Air for their roles in WMD proliferation. The designation listed Tidewater as being used by the IRGC “for illicit shipments,” Including the export of weapons.  Iran Air “is a commercial airline used by the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) to transport military related equipment.” Treasury added that “IRGC officers occasionally take control over Iran Air flights carrying special IRGC-related cargo.” [58]

June 20: The U.S. Treasury Department designated ten companies and three individuals associated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL). The sanctions were a response to allegations that IRISL sought to funnel nearly $60 million worth of illegal payments through New York-based banks.[59] IRISL was also indicted in a New York court for a conspiracy to launder more than $60 million through U.S. banks.  Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said that IRISL had used shell corporations to receive illegal payments, and sought to “exploit the services of financial institutions located in Manhattan" in order to circumvent sanctions measures.[60] 

May 26: The Germany-based European Iranian Trading Bank (EIH) announced it would continue operations despite EU-imposed sanctions against it.  EIH Chief of Finances and Marketing Norbert Eisenmenger said, “nothing has changed; the same Bundesbank office which approved our transactions during the investigation will continue to approve our transactions under sanctions.”[61]

May 19: The European Union designated commercial entities identified as being associated with Iran’s illegal proliferation activities, increasing the sanctions list to over 100 firms.  The European Iranian Trading Bank (EIH) was among those firms designated due to “evidence pointing to the EIH's involvement in (nuclear) proliferation becoming tangible,” said an anonymous German government official.[62]

May 14: A U.N. report determined that Iran and North Korea have exchanged missile technology “through a neighboring third country,” which anonymous diplomatic sources confirmed as being China. The report identified “prohibited ballistic missile-related items” as being shipped from North Korea to Iran.[63]

May 12: A U.N. Security Council report stated “Iran's circumvention of sanctions across all areas, in particular front companies, concealment methods in shipping, financial transactions and the transfer of conventional arms and related materiel is willful and continuing.”[64]  The report also noted that current sanctions have left Iranian commercial entities “increasingly cut off from international financial markets, making it increasingly difficult to find ways to pay in U.S. dollars or euros for the equipment they need.”[65]

April 29: The U.S. Treasury Department designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in for human rights violations committed during the crackdown on protestors by the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad.[66]

April 24: Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen will travel to France and Turkey to emphasize the importance of enforcing multilateral sanctions against Iran. While in Turkey, Cohen will also raise awareness of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA).[67]

April 20: Western energy firms executing historical contracts for projects in Iran’s energy sector are increasingly using multiple financing channels to maintain operations. A Western oil executive told The Financial Times “Money should go from one European bank and then to an Asian country like Malaysia, Singapore or China and then to Dubai, Qatar or Turkey and finally to Iran.”[68]

April 20: Congressman Brad Sherman, the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, has reintroduced the “Stop Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Act”. Sherman said the bill will add pressure to companies that do business with Iran and emphasized how “sanctions have had a significant impact on Iran’s economy, but have not achieved the ultimate goal of ending Iran’s nuclear weapons program.” He also reiterated how action must be taken now “to enact tougher sanctions to isolate Iran economically and diplomatically.”[69] 

April 20: Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, expressed concern over the lack of sanctions recently designated to business entities affiliated with Iran.[70]

April 19: The 16th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical event ended in Tehran after four days of exhibitions.  French firm Total, Norwegian firm Statoil, and Austrian firm OMV attended the exhibition. 166 Chinese firms also attended the exhibition.[71]  Over 1,500 firms from 40 countries—including Germany, Austria, Australia, Spain, UK, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, France, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Thailand, the UAE, Canada, and Brazil—attended the exhibition.[72] 

April 19: The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated sanctions against North Korean financial institution Bank of East Land (aka Dongbang Bank). Bank of East Land is affiliated with weapons trade and has assisted arms manufacturer and exporter Green Pine Associated Corporation (Green Pine). In 2007 and 2008, Green Pine conducted transactions with Iranian financial institutions Bank Melli and Bank Sepah.[73]  

April 14: Sixty German companies will attend the 16th international Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran, Iran on April 15, 2011.  Jonathan Weckerle, a spokesman for the nongovernmental organization in Germany called Stop the Bomb, said that German participation in the event was proof that there are "no serious efforts to put effective pressure on the Iranian regime.” Gert Weisskirchen, former foreign policy spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party in the Bundestag, said that the attendance of German companies to this event not only “violate international law," but "also [threaten] the hopes of many young people in Iran for democracy.”[74] 

April 12: European Union governments issued sanctions and punitive measures on 32 Iranian officials for human rights abuses in Iran. British Foreign Secretary William Hague  said that violations included jailing of opposition leaders and the detention of more journalists "than any other country in the world," and an "excessive use of the death penalty, often on vague charges."[75] The list includes officials from the IRGC, Law Enforcement Forces, revolutionary courts, judiciary, Evin prison, and other organizations. The complete list can be found here.

April 5: Revenue from Iranian projects rose 20 percent in the last fiscal year (ending on September 30th 2010) for German engineering firm Siemens. Although Siemens has not defied any international sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, there are complications in retreating from current projects it has in Iran. International commerce laws have made it difficult for Siemens to leave the contracts without penalty.[76] 

March 31: Germany’s Europaisch-Iranische Handelsbank has been accused by the U.S. of violating an E.U. freeze on institutions involved in financing an Iranian nuclear program. The bank is used by India to make payments for Iranian oil companies that the U.S. says are used to finance nuclear development in Iran. German officials have stated that they cannot halt these transactions for lack of evidence that the money is being used for nuclear operations.[77]

March 30: Officials in Hong Kong announced the government passed new laws in accordance with UN sanctions on Iran. The new legislation was created after 20 local shipping businesses were cited for links with Iranian weapons production.  Visa bans and asset freezes on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shipping Lines were implemented in the new laws.[78] 

March 29: Senators Mark Kirk, Jon Kyl, and Joseph Lieberman wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner expressing their disappointment with the recent designation of a single entity for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. “We do not believe this represents full compliance with the sanctions regime put into place by Congress. We are deeply concerned with what appear to be sanctionable activities by other entities involving energy investments in Iran . . . as well as the regime’s proliferation activities.”[79]

March 29: The U.S. Department of State designated the Belarusian-owned petroleum company Belarusneft under the Iran Sanctions Act for entering into a $500 million business contract with the sanctioned Iranian firm NaftIran Intertrade Company. NaftIran sought to develop the Jofeir oil field, an energy sector investment that could be used to support the development of Iran’s nuclear program.[80] Belarusneft’s parent company, Belneftekhim, was sanctioned in 2007.[81]

March 28: Austrian energy company OMV will discontinue fueling planes owned by Iran Air at the Vienna International Airport “to further correspond (to) all applicable regulations.”[82]

March 23: Turkey’s government seized Iranian cargo bound for Syria in Diyarbakir because the shipment violated U.N. sanctions that ban the export of arms from Iran. The shipment included light weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket launchers and mortars.[83]

March 23: India’s ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri stated: "Iran is entitled to the rightful use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and should at the same time restore international confidence to the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities"[84]

March 22: Deputy U.S. ambassador to the UN Rosemary DiCarlo warned the UN sanctions committee about Iran’s lack of discussion on its nuclear intentions and the seizure of Iran bound nuclear materials reported on March 17. She stated that the committee “should be prepared to act quickly ... to take additional steps in line with its program of work to tighten sanctions enforcement."[85

March 21: UN Security Council member representatives from the U.S., France, Germany and U.K. expressed apprehension over recent Iranian arms smuggling in Afghanistan and an attempt by Iran to send weapons through Egypt. British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant called Iran’s violation of the UN arms embargo “deliberate” and contradictory to Iran’s stance of encouraging stability in Afghanistan. German Ambassador Peter Wittig stated: "Many of these cases involve the extensive delivery of weapons from Iran to unstable regions in West Africa and the Middle East."[86]

March 17: Malaysian General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said two containers bound for Iran from China were seized in the West Port of Malaysia by police because they contained weapons components that were illegal under U.N. sanctions.[87]

March 17: Suspected nuclear and weapons materials en route to Iran from an unknown source were intercepted at the Seoul Airport by authorities from South Korea. The seizures, made in the last six months, have recently been made public. A diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said “South Korea authorities found more than 400 suspicious tubes in a jet cargo at Seoul airport in December.” The tubes potentially could be for nuclear facilities. Singapore officials found another shipment in Singapore harbor consisting of “aluminum powder that can be used for rockets.” These shipments are illegal under U.N. sanctions against Iran and according to the unidentified diplomat the findings will “add to calls for at least tighter implementation of the current sanctions."[88] 

March 17: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah has stated that if sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program fail, credible military action should be the next step in countering Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Netanyahu said a “credible military action” will consist of an "action that will knock out their nuclear facility."[89]

March 15: Israel’s navy seized a weapons shipment from Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. The contents of the shipment included strategic shore-to-sea Chinese-made C-704 missiles likely destined for Palestinians militants in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the weapons came from Iran: "The only certain thing is the source of the weaponry was Iran, and there was a Syrian relay station as well."[90] 

March 10: According to U.S. State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, Robert Einhorn, the U.S. government is concerned that Chinese companies are assisting Iran in obtaining technology that may be useful for nuclear weapons capability.[91]

March 9: President Barack Obama announced he would extend for another year a 16-year-old set of sanctions against Iran. President Obama released a statement saying “Because the actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, the national emergency declared on March 15, 1995, must continue in effect beyond March 15, 2011."[92] 

March 9: Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control said that the U.S. needs to issue new sanctions against Iran after the P5+1 group failed to come to terms in Istanbul in January. Avoiding questions about any details of new sanctions, Einhorn said there will be a tightening of “existing sanctions and developing new ones. It will mean unilateral steps as well as steps agreed with or coordinated with other countries."[93]

March 7: Venezuelan state-owned oil monopoly, known as PdVSA has allegedly been selling a substance that upgrades the quality of gasoline called Reformate. The selling of this product violates the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISA) of 2010.[94]

March 6: Zimbabwe's foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said his country is ready to sell Uranium to Iran in return for fuel. Iranian officials sent engineers to Zimbabwe to determine the capacity of the Uranium deposits, even though U.N. sanctions prohibit it from doing so.[95]

March 3: Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israel is ready to join the U.S. and E.U. sanction policies against Iran. Palmor acknowledged that there is a lack of direct trade with Iran, but said “that the international community has been tightening the sanctions on Iran and as it turned out, to everybody's surprise, that there is a lacuna in the penal code in Israeli law."[96]

March 3: India’s central bank began making overdue payments to the National Iranian Oil Company for shipments of crude oil for the first time since transactions were halted in December 2010 due to payment issues related to sanctions measures.[97]

March 2: US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton warned that the US government would penalize Venezuela if it violated international sanctions on Iran. “If there is any evidence that they have violated the sanctions, we will act against them," Clinton said.[98]

March 1: Ali Davi, owner of shipping company in Dubai, reported that his business receives constant requests by sanctions-struck Iranian businesses to use “good-faith credit” for their purchases.[99]

February 26: European Union representatives targeted 80 plus Iranian officials in discussions on possible increased EU sanctions. Iranian officials on the list include “militia and police unit commanders, prison guards, prosecutors, judges and ministry bureaucrats.”[100] 

February 23:  Senegal’s foreign ministry announced that it halted diplomatic relations with Iran after an illegal Iranian arms shipment destined for Gambia was linked to the death of Senegalese soldiers. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said Senegal’s move to severe diplomatic ties had “no logical justification.”[101] 

February 23: On a visit to Qatar, British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “Britain and its international partners remain ready to negotiate and we are not going to be taken for a ride. We will continue to find ways to increase the pressure. We will work vigorously to ensure international sanctions are implemented and I have asked my officials to consider what more can be done in this important area.”[102]

February 23: The US Treasury designated two Iranian officials for human rights abuses under EO 13553. Tehran’s Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi and Commander of the IRGC’s Basij Mohammed Reza Naqdi were involved in the violent crackdown on protestors during Iran’s June 2009 election and the extraction of false confessions from detainees.[103]

February 17: U.S. Treasury Department designated Iran’s Bank Refah Kargaran as a WMD facilitator for providing financial services to Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Refah’s services facilitated the purchase of missiles, tanks, and maintenance of fighter jets and submarines.[104]

February 16: U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Mark Kirk, along with Representatives Ted Deutch and Dan Burton, introduced legislation that would require American companies to disclose investments associated with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the new law, companies would have to include any transactions associated with Iran in their quarterly and annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). U.S. banks that have foreign correspondent banks associated with Iranian companies would also be responsible under the new legislation.[105]

February 16: In his annual threat assessment update, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said recent UN sanctions “almost certainly have not altered Iran’s long-term foreign policy goals—namely Iranian sovereignty, and the projection of power and influence in the region and the Muslim world.”[106]

February 16: United States Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela said the U.S. is investigating whether Venezuela violated U.S. law by sending gasoline to Iran.[107] 

February 14: U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) stated that “one way in which we can and must support the Iranian people is to use every tool at our disposal to sanction the Iranian regime officials responsible for human rights violations. The U.S. and other responsible nations must extend the present travel ban on high-ranking Iranian regime officials to include all in the regime responsible for repressing the Iranian people. I further call on the Administration to impose all available sanctions against those in the regime who trample the human rights of the Iranian people, from the so-called Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad, to the Revolutionary Guards Corps, and further on down.”[108] 

February 13: Turkey's State Minister for foreign trade Zafer Caglayan has stated that Iran and Turkey are planning to increase their trade volume to $30 billion in the next four years. Caglayan also said that separate U.S. and U.N. sanctions against Iran will not affect economic relations between the countries.[109]

February 13: During a visit to Saudi Arabia, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said "we have to tighten sanctions against Iran after it refused to meet our requirements during talks in Istanbul in January - and also to convince it to return to the negotiating table."[110]

February 8: Milad Jafari, an Iranian national designated by the U.S. Treasury for running a ballistic missile procurement network on behalf of Iranian entities, will not be charged with any crimes in Turkey according to Turkish officials. Turkey's State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan said the charges against Jafari are not binding in Turkey and that two known Turkish associates of Jafari, Muammer Kuntay Duransoy and Cagri Duransoy, will not be questioned either.[111]

February 5: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said new sanctions against Iran will harm the regime’s economy and that "the sanctions which were approved in June last year, the sanctions aimed at [Iran's] nuclear program have run its course."[112]

February 1: The U.S. Treasury designated the Jafari network under E.O. 13382, freezing its U.S. financial resources and transactions for its proliferation of WMD. The Jafari network raised millions of dollars for Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) and provided assistance developing Iran’s missile program. Milad Jafari was identified as the leader of the network with Iranian and Turkish associates and entities operating out of both Iran and Turkey. U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey noted, “The Jafari network has established itself as a lifeline for Iran’s missile program by providing essential materials and support for AIO.” [113] 

February 1: Venezuelan state-owned energy company PDVSA is sending two gasoline shipments to Iran in February according to three trade sources, a move to would violate current U.S. sanctions measures. An unnamed trade source said that now “is the time of the year when Iran's gasoline requirements would go higher.”[114]  On January 25, the Energy Intelligence Group reported that PDVSA would send 60,000 tons of gasoline monthly to Iran.[115]

January 25: At the annual State of the Union address President Barack Obama warned Iran: “… the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated.  And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt:  They, too, will face growing consequences.  That is a promise.”[116]    

January 24: The Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey announced his retirement this month. Levey coordinates the Treasury’s sanctions policy on Iran. President Obama has Levey’s deputy, David Cohen, to replace him. U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner noted that the new appointment will have “no effect on policy, or our ability to execute the president’s policy.”[117]

January 24: German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed dissatisfaction over the results of the nuclear talks with Iran in Istanbul:  "It is up to Iran to dispel doubts which remain over its atomic program. Otherwise, things will continue along the sanctions route."[118] 

January 19: U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that “some entities within China” are not adhering to Iran sanctions measures.[119]

January 19: The Swiss government announced in a statement that it will enact measures to prevent Iranian entities from obtaining sanctioned items, including dual-use goods and energy resources, from Switzerland.[120] 

January 18: A spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development office announced that Hong Kong is seeking to enact legislation to target companies in Hong Kong violating sanctions measures against Iran.[121] 

January 15: U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar expressed concern over reports that the Chinese government has failed to prevent Chinese companies from selling sensitive nuclear-related materials and equipment to Iran.[122] 

January 14: Former U.N. nuclear David Albright said that “China does not implement and enforce its trade controls or its sanctions laws adequately.”[123] 

January 13: The U.S. Department of Treasury has linked 24 shipping companies to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). 20 of the 24 companies are based in Hong Kong, while 16 of those 20 have the same address and were previously owned by Starry Shine International Limited, Ideal Success Investments Limited, Top Glacier Company Limited, and Top Prestige Trading Limited. These four companies are owned and managed by Ahmad Sarkandi and Ghasem Nabipour, who are known to have connections to the IRISL.[124]

January 13: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that sanctions on Iran can only achieve their objectives “…with an understanding from Iran that if they don't achieve their goal they would be followed by a credible military option."[125]

January 12: A senior official from India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd. (ONGC) said that the signing of a gas field development deal between ONGC and Iran’s state-run Petropars Ltd. will be delayed because of financing difficulties stemming from recent sanctions measures. The potential deal includes development of phase 12 of the South Pars gas field.[126] 

January 10: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that analysis indicates that sanctions “have been working” and have made it “much more difficult for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambition.”[127]

January 9: According to an examination of trade statistics by the Jerusalem Post, German-Iranian export and import trade has increased by $16 million in the last year.  Additionally, the investigation revealed that the German government approved more than a dozen trade deals allowing for the transfer to Iran of dual-use goods that can be used for military programs.[128]

January 8: The Deputy Managing Director of the State Bank of India (SBI) Pratip Chaudhuri said that the Indian government will work to avoid dealing with the U.S.-sanctioned European-Iranian Trade Bank AG based in Hamburg. The SBI official added that it will take guidance from Iran’s oil firms regarding payments for India’s import of Iranian crude oil.[129] 

January 6: U.S. State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert Einhorn said sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines have affected Iran by impeding “the procurement of equipment and technology” for Iran’s nuclear and military programs. Einhorn added that large, unpaid debts and difficulty in obtaining new loans “especially concerning financial markets and energy markets and trade” have also impacted the Iranian regime.[130]

 

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