The Week in Review: May.17th – May.24th

MAY 24 – Fears of a war between the U.S. and Iran escalated this week as the Pentagon presented plans to the White House to send thousands more troops to the Middle East. The rising tensions between the two countries led several Republican and Democratic lawmakers to call for a law to be repealed which presidents have historically used to justify U.S. military action around the world.

The threat of U.S. sanctions for anyone engaging in prescribed trade with Iran has caused Turkey to stop buying Iranian oil. Analysts said Turkey would be getting its supplies from Iraq, Russia and Kazakhstan. Turkey had previously tried to oppose the sanctions. Prior to May 2018 Turkey had imported an average of 912,000 tonnes of oil a month from Iran, which amounted to 47% of the country’s total imports. 

  • Iran and the U.S. could be inching closer towards negotiations after senior Iranian officials expressed an interest in discussions with the U.S. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that he preferred talks and diplomacy over conflict but could not see a way to negotiate while Trump continued to exert pressure on Iran. Some analysts believe talks might be possible if the Trump administration familiarizes itself with the Iranian government’s mindset.
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  • A French court has ruled that an Iranian engineer accused of exporting equipment that could have been used to make weapons will be extradited to the U.S. Jalal Rohollahnejad was detained under a U.S. extradition warrant at an airport in Nice, southern France, in February. Reports suggest that Rohollahnejad traveled to France as a representative of a company with ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In court, Rohollahnejad told the judges that had been a researcher for the aerospace company for ten years. Link to source
  • Iranian banks imposed stricter credit rules on wedding loans, demanding up to three guarantors and proof of employment from a couple, semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. According to the media report amending existing credit standards and lending rules is against the law, which currently only requires one guarantor and a promissory note. Mir Mohammad Sadeghi, the head of the Central Bank’s Loan and Credit Department told Tasnim that the arbitrary new rules could have been imposed by banks as a way to ensure they get their money back. 
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  • A letter written in English and sent to Dr. Marius Vizer, the president of the International Judo Federation (IJF) from the National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran (NOC) appears to suggest that Iran will no longer stop members of its national judo team and other athletes from facing Israeli opponents in international competitions. The English-language newspaper Times of Israel wrote, “In a historic move, Iranian judo officials have agreed to stop boycotting Israeli athletes on the mat, ending a practice that had drawn criticism against Tehran in the sporting world.”
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