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Economic Trends: Month of October

Garrett Nada

            The biggest news in October was President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement that oil revenues have been slashed 30 percent. The cut is due in part to the falling oil price, now at about $85 a barrel, the lowest since 2012. Iran is largely dependent on crude oil exports, which account for nearly 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue. So the fall in price has placed even more pressure on Rouhani’s government to secure a nuclear deal that will lift wide-ranging economic sanctions on Iran. 
           
The economy, however, is still projected to grow 2.2 percent in 2015, according to a new report released by International Monetary Fund. The interim nuclear deal, which was implemented in January, has enabled Iran to repatriate foreign oil revenues held overseas. In October, India transferred a $400 million oil payment to Iran’s central bank.
            Also in October, a flurry of statistics was released due to the close of the first half of the Iranian calendar year (March 21 to September 22). Some findings suggested that sectors of the economy are slowly recovering. For example, 400,000 Iranians reportedly found jobs and 520,000 vehicles were produced, nearly a 75 percent increase compared to last year. Iran’s oil and non-oil exports were also up compared to last year. 
            But many people are still struggling to make a living. Seven million Iranians, about eight percent of the population, are living in extreme poverty, according to Minister of Labor, Cooperatives and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.
            Another significant development was Boeing’s sale of aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts and data to Iran Air —the first acknowledged deal between U.S. and Iranian aerospace companies since the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis. The sales, however, only generated $120,000 in revenue and $12,000 in net profit in the quarter. The following is a run-down of the top economic stories with links.

 
Domestic Developments
 
Inflation: President Hassan Rouhani said inflation will fall below 20 percent by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2015). “Iran’s average monthly inflation increase was around 3 percent in the last year of the previous administration. But now the average monthly rise is around one percent,” he noted in a live television interview. Inflation is now at about 21 percent. “We are containing the inflation, and simultaneously snapping economy out of recession,” said Rouhani.
Economic Projections: Iran’s economy is projected to grow 2.2 percent in terms of real gross domestic product in 2015, according to The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook for October. In April, the group had predicted a growth rate of 2.3 percent.
Iran’s economy is projected to grow by three percent this year, according to the governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Valiollah Seif. “The economic situation in Iran is on the mend,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The economic program we have right now is based on the fact the sanctions will continue, so this is a given assumption,” said Seif. “Naturally, if sanctions are removed, we would experience much better results.”
 
Employment: Some 400,000 jobseekers found employment during the first six months of the current Iranian year (March 21 to September 22), according to President Rouhani’s advisor for supervision and strategic affairs, Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht.
 
Iran needs to create 8 million new jobs in the near future to employ those currently out of work, according to Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia. The workforce is expected to grow from 22 million to 25 million within seven years, which will require the creation of 13 million new jobs, according to the Ministry of Labor, Cooperatives, and Social Welfare.
 
Poverty: Some seven million Iranians, about eight percent of the population, are living in extreme poverty, according to Minister of Labor, Cooperatives and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei. “The poverty is linked to gender too, such that women breadwinners are twice more likely to live in poverty compared to men,” he said at a conference on development and education equality. Rabiei warned that urban poverty has been on the rise for the past decade. He also announced that the government will introduce programs for eradicating illiteracy, one for people under age 30 and one for older adults.
 
Living costs: The prices of some staple foods in Iran have risen significantly since last year, despite the Rouhani administration’s efforts to stabilize inflation. The price of milk has risen 28 percent and the price of eggs has risen 24 percent, according to one Tehran resident interviewed by the Financial Times. Official statistics show that food prices have generally risen 6-12 percent since last year.
 
The living cost of an urban household in Iran was about $18 million rials or $560 per month during the first quarter of the year, according to a survey conducted by the Statistical Center of Iran. The living cost for a rural household averaged about $340 per month.
 
Banking: International banks are still avoiding dealing with Iran for fear of violating U.S. and E.U. sanctions. They are even shying away from processing humanitarian deals, according to Tehran-based Middle East Bank’s chief executive, Parviz Aghili. "Going through a very simple process of opening letters of credit for the importation of goods, even humanitarian goods, has become much more difficult and a hassle," Aghili told Reuters.
 
Tourism:
Automobiles: Iranian automakers produced more than 520,000 vehicles in the first half of the Iranian year, a 74.3 percent rise compared to the same period last year, according to the Financial Tribune.
 
Steel:  Iran’s steel production during the first nine months of 2014, 12.1 million tons, increased by six percent compared to the same period in 2013, according to state news.
 
International News
                                                   
Foreign Trade: Iran’s foreign trade volume grew 22 percent to more than $53 billion during the first six months of the Iranian calendar year, according to the head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Valiollah Afkhami-Rad. In an interview, he projected foreign trade to reach $110 billion by March 2015. So far, Iran’s major exports included propane, methanol and bitumen. The main destinations for goods, in descending order, were China, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Turkey.
 
Oil, Petrochemicals and Natural Gas: Crude oil revenues have been cut by about 30 percent, according to President Rouhani. “We have to deal with the new conditions and the global economic conditions. In the issue of oil, the economy has not been the sole important factor and international politics and plots have been also involved,” he told parliament, likely referring to the drop in oil prices worldwide.
Iran exported 7.8 million tons of petrochemical products worth some $5.1 billion during the first half of the Iranian calendar year, according to the National Petrochemical Company’s production manager, Ali Mohammad Bosaqzadeh. The value of the exported products increased by seven percent compared to last year.
 
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against relying on oil revenues. “Iran should be managed through reliance on its internal forces and the resources on the ground, meaning the youth's intelligence and talent, and production of science and knowledge and if so, no world power can turn the country's economy into a plaything,” he said on October 22.
Iran exported $6.5 billion worth of natural gas condensates during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 to Sept 22). The amount represents an 85-percent increase compared to last year.
 
Non-Oil Exports: Iran exported $16.7 billion worth of non-oil goods during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year. Exports to Asia, which accounted for 93 percent of total exports, increased by nine percent in comparison to the same period last year. And exports to Europe increased by 33 percent.
 
The government plans to boost non-oil exports to $61 billion in value by March 2015, according to the deputy chairman of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Yaghmour Gholizadeh. The Islamic Republic actually registered an overall trade surplus of some two billion dollars between March and September 2014.
 
Non-oil exports from Shahid Bahonar Port in Bandar Abbas increased by 231 percent during the first half of the Iranian year compared to the same period last year, according to an official from the ports and maritime organization.
 
European Union: The value of Iran’s exports to the European Union increased by 77 percent in August 2014 compared to August 2013. The value of the goods reached $102 million, according to Eurostat. The total trade turnover from January to August 2014 between Iran and the 28 E.U. member states totaled $5.8 billion.
 
Boeing: Boeing, a U.S.-based aerospace and defense company, announced that it sold aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts and data to Iran Air. The sale marked the first publically acknowledged transaction between U.S. and Iranian aerospace companies since the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis. The sales generated some $120,000 in revenue and $12,000 in net profit in the quarter.
 
Ease of Doing Business: Iran was ranked 130 out of 189 economies by the World Bank in its new Doing Business report, two positions higher than last year. The report measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Iran ranked 62 for starting a business, 89 for acquiring credit and 172 for obtaining a construction permit.
 
Data from World Bank
 
Iraq: Iran exported some $5.5 billion in technical and engineering services and other commodities to Iraq between March and September 2014, according to the head of the Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce, Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi Shirazi. Iran’s Export Development Bank allocated $300 million to further boost exports to Iraq.
 
India: India transferred a $400 million oil payment to Iran’s central bank via the United Arab Emirate’s central bank. Under the interim nuclear deal that took effect in January, Tehran received $4.2 billion in blocked funds across the world. Iran was later granted access to another $2.8 billion, of which some $1.4 billion has been repatriated.
 
Turkey: President Rouhani reiterated Iran’s determination to boost its trade with Turkey to $30 billion by 2015 in a meeting with Turkish Ambassador to Tehran Reza Hakan Tekin. Bilateral trade value in the first half of 2014 totaled $6.5 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
 
Germany: Michael Tockus, chairman of the Germany-Iran Chamber of Commerce, pledged to continue enhancing trade relations between the two countries, irrespective of the outcome of nuclear talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers. “The present improving trend will continue even if there will be no change in the West's economic sanctions against Iran,” he told reporters in Berlin.
 
United Kingdom: A group of Iranian businessmen hosted a forum in London on E.U.-Iran trade relations. The purpose of the event, held in cooperation with the European Voice newspaper, was to “evaluate the post-sanctions trade framework and investment opportunities.” No current U.K. or E.U. officials participated. But former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine attended. And U.K. and U.S. officials reportedly attended as observers, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Tags: Economy

Khamenei Comments: The West Created ISIS

            In his speeches, interviews, and tweets from September and October, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented on the Islamic State, the economy, women, and the death of Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani.
            In a speech on September 4, Khamenei claimed that the West is responsible for creating ISIS and other jihadist groups in the Middle East to undermine Iran. During an interview on the same subject, he also ruled out cooperating with the United States against ISIS, stating that “we will not cooperate with America particularly because their hands are dirty.”
            On the economy, the Supreme Leader warned against relying too heavily on oil, and called for more scientific research to help boost growth. Khamenei's office also tweeted frequently about women’s issues, expressing support for women’s education and economic activities.
            The following are excerpts from his key speeches and statements in September and October.
 
The Islamic State
 
            "[The West] claims that [creating orientations such as al Qaeda and DAESH] has nothing to do with them, but everyone knows that they are involved. Once, I quoted a statement from a well-known American politician, but they denied it later on. It can be witnessed that they have created these orientations. They themselves acknowledge that it was they who created these orientations. Even if they do not acknowledge it, we have certain evidence which proves it. We know it.”
            “There is no doubt that these orientations have been created by these western powers and their regional agents. It is possible that they are not directly involved in some cases and that they use their agents for this purpose. Of course, they were directly involved in some cases as well. On the issue of Taliban, I do not forget that American newspapers somehow supported and promoted the ideas of Taliban. They did not do it openly and outspokenly, but in fact, their propaganda work was based on promoting Taliban during a time when it had just been formed.”
            Sept. 4, 2014 in a
speech at a meeting of the Assembly of Experts

            “During the past two, three days, I had a source of entertainment which was listening to the statements of the Americans on the issue of DAESH [ISIS] and fighting against it. They made absurd, hollow and biased statements. One of the issues which was really a source of amusement for me was that the American secretary of state and the girl who stands there and talks, openly said, ‘We will not invite Iran to the coalition against DAESH’ First, what honor is greater than the fact that America is disappointed with us and does not want us to participate in a wrong collective task. This is a source of pride for us, not a source of regret.”
            “Second, I witnessed that all of them are lying. Since the first days that the issue of DAESH arose, the Americans asked our ambassador in Iraq - through their ambassador - to organize a meeting and reach an agreement on the issue of DAESH. Our ambassador relayed this inside the country and some of our officials were not against it. But I was against it and said, ‘On this issue, we will not cooperate with America particularly because their hands are dirty. How can we cooperate on this issue with those whose hands and intentions are dirty?’”
            Sept. 8, 2014 in an interview
 
            “This takfiri orientation - the thing that has emerged in Iraq, Syria and some other regional countries today and that confronts all Muslims, not just Shias - is the handicraft of colonialists themselves. They made something called al-Qaida and DAESH in order to confront the Islamic Republic and the movement of the Islamic Awakening. However, this product has become a burden for them.”
            “We see that the unreal effort which America and its allies are making in the region today under the name of confronting DAESH is, in fact, an effort for channeling enmities among Muslims more than it is an effort for nipping this evil movement in the bud. They try to pit Muslims against one another. Today, they have chosen this ignorant, prejudiced, fossilized and dependent group as the element for doing this. Otherwise, the goal is the same old goal.”
            “If someone does something to provoke the feelings of the other side and to create enmity, they should certainly know that they are helping America, vile England and Zionism. They should know that they are helping those people who create DAESH, al-Qaida and the like and who create the takfiri orientation in order to create discord between Shia and Sunni. Today, Islamic unity, Islamic brotherhood and Islamic solidarity is one of the most necessary and urgent responsibilities for all Islamic societies. All of us should be committed to this responsibility.”
            Sept. 13, 2014 in a speech on the occasion Eid al-Ghadir
 

 

Economy

             “The country’s economy should rely on the brilliant talents of its young students and elites and not on underground resources.”
            “As emphasized on the directive issued recently for the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, scientific movement should not be stopped, since any lag in this movement would lead to retrogression.”
           “With rapid scientific progress, Iran has not yet found its place it should have, since it had been lagging behind since long ago; so, it is necessary to push scientific movement forward with all necessary components as science-based economy.”
            “In an economy relying on the ready-made oil and gas and other underground resources, the system would be too tedious to produce innovations; neither would it foster elites, with no real progress in the path to success.”
            “A country relying on crude oil to handle its economy and the well-off child are the same in this regard.”

            “Any policy tailoring its economy on oil would be tantamount to leave it on the mercy of brute forces of international economics given the fluctuations in crude prices; any country with such policies would have imagine its future very grim.”
            “A well-connected chain should incorporate all organizations in production of knowledge, where all rings of the chain would work in harmony with other members.”
           Oct. 22, 2014 according to Mehr News

 
Women
 

Death of Ayatollah Mohammadreza Mahdavi Kani
            On October 21, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani passed away at the age of 83. He was the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, a group of clerics responsible for overseeing the activities of the Supreme Leader.

            “This great and pious man appeared always and everywhere in the position of a religious scholar and an honest politician and a candid revolutionary.”
            Oct. 23, 2014 according to the press

 

 

Latest on Nuke Talks: What Iran, P5+1 Say

           Less than 30 days remain until the November 24 deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and the world's six major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Leaders on both sides have noted that there has been progress on key issues and remain optimistic that a deal can be reached before the deadline. Iranian officials have repeatedly emphasized sanctions relief and the right to a peaceful nuclear program. Both sides have claimed that the other will be at fault if a deal is not reached in time. The following are excerpted remarks by officials on the status of the nuclear talks as of October 30.

United States
 
Secretary of State John Kerry
 
            “I’m not going to give it odds [successfully brokering a nuclear deal].  As I said to the President recently, I’m not going to express optimism; I’m going to express hope and I think achieving it is critical.  But I will say this to everybody:  We’ve set a very clear standard.  There are four present pathways to a bomb for Iran – the hidden so-called secret facility in a mountain called Fordow, the open Natanz enrichment facility, the plutonium heavy-water reactor called Arak, and then, of course, covert activities.  We’ve pledged that our goal is to shut off each pathway sufficient that we know we have a breakout time of a minimum of a year that gives us the opportunity to respond if they were to try to do that.
            “We believe there are ways to achieve that.  Whether Iran can make the tough decisions that it needs to make will be determined in the next weeks, but I have said consistently that no deal is better than a bad deal.  And we’re going to be very careful, very much based on expert advice, fact, science as to the choices we make.  This must not be a common ideological or a political decision.  And if we can do what we’ve said, what the President set out in his policy – the President said they will not get a bomb.  If we could take this moment of history and change this dynamic, the world would be a lot safer and we’d avoid a huge arms race in the region where Saudis, Emiratis, Egyptians, others may decide that if they’re moving towards a bomb, they got to move there too, and obviously it’s a much more dangerous world.  And that is not a part of the world where you want massive uninspected, unverified, nontransparent nuclear activities.  So that’s what we’re trying to do.” 
            Oct. 30, 2014 at the Washington Idea Forums hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic
 
Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman
 
            “Our bottom line is unambiguous, crystal clear, and, quite frankly, written in stone: Iran will not, shall not obtain a nuclear weapon.”
            “If [a deal] does not happen, the responsibility will be seen by all to rest with Iran.”
            “Such a plan, if fully implemented, would give confidence that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful and would enable the Iranian people to look forward to a much brighter future.”
            “We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text. However, like any complicated and technically complex diplomatic initiative, this is a puzzle with many interlocking pieces.”
            Oct. 23, 2014 according to U.S. State Department
 
Iran
 
President Hassan Rouhani
 
            "Tehran has taken highly positive steps in the nuclear talks with the P5+1 and if the negotiating sides also [prove to] have the necessary political will in this regard, reaching a comprehensive agreement will be possible within the next one month."
            Oct. 27, 2014 according to the press
 
Deputy for Legal and International Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Seyed Abbas Arraqchi
 
            "All nuclear capabilities of Iran will be preserved and no facility will be shut down or even suspended, and no device or equipment will be dismantled."
            “We will not retreat one iota from the country’s nuclear rights, but we are fully ready for transparency and confidence-building.”
            “All sanctions should be lifted and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept even a single instance of sanctions to remain in place under a [final] comprehensive nuclear deal.”
            Oct. 25, 2014 according to the press
 
            “Neither of the negotiating parties is interested in extending [the deadline of] the talks. All sides are determined to achieve an agreement prior to the deadline. Therefore, extension is not on the agenda of any of the parties.”
            Oct. 26, 2014 according to the press
 
            “It is not clear if negotiations will reach a conclusion within the specified time frame” unless the other side gives up its illogical excessive demands.”
            “Undoubtedly, trying to launch negotiations through media instead of [from behind] the negotiating table will not only make matters more difficult for progress in talks and reaching a comprehensive agreement, but it will also make it more difficult to continue on the current path particularly when it is accompanied by illogical excessive demands.”
            “We also believe that both sides have a real opportunity which may not be available again. We are sure that if the other side is genuine and committed to its claim to make sure Iran’s nuclear energy program is peaceful, then reaching this goal is not very difficult. ”
            “There will be no damage to the country’s research and development and, more importantly, industrial enrichment will continue with force and within the framework of the country’s needs. At the same time, all sanctions must be lifted and eliminated; and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any sanctions within the framework of a comprehensive nuclear deal – not even one.”
            “The Islamic Republic of Iran has entered negotiations based on a fundamental premise against all weapons of mass destructions including nuclear weapons. This is based on the Fatwa of the Supreme Leader and (Iran) will continue with goodwill until a final conclusion is reached.”
            Oct. 27, 2014 according to Iran’s Nuclear Energy page
 
            "Iran's negotiations with the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) is progressing on a hard path with ups and downs and there is no bright perspective envisaged for its ending by the deadlines."
            Oct. 27, 2014 according to the press
 
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani
 
            “Unfortunately, the West’s double-standard approach to disarmament has not helped [efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation]”
            Oct. 29, 2014 In a meeting with Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson
 
            “As regards the nuclear issue, Iran believes in continued negotiations with the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within the framework of the restoration of all its rights and respect for the existing laws”
            Oct. 29, 2014 In a meeting with Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson
 
Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Iran’s Majlis Alaeddin Boroujerdi
 
            “If this [final] agreement is not signed, it is as clear as day that the excessive demands of Americans have been the factor behind the failure of the negotiations.”
            Oct. 25, 2014 according to the press
 
Senior advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati
 
            “We are confident that in the end, even if Iran-P5+1 negotiations last for a long time, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be the winner.”
            “Iran's stance is that it plans to benefit from peaceful nuclear energy within the framework of international regulations and supervision.”
            Oct. 25, 2014 according to the press  
 
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian
 
            “Negotiations are moving in a difficult path with many ups and downs.”
            Oct. 27, 2014 according to NuclearEnergy.ir
 
Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi
 
            “The Islamic Republic of Iran will not agree to the sanctions being removed one by one.”
            “The West must remove the sanctions against Iran all at once.”
            Oct. 28, 2014 according to the press
 
            "If the westerners are really after settling Iran's nuclear issue, they shouldn’t seek excuses and should try to cope with Iran's realities.”
            "We are not thinking about extending the negotiations as we are trying to reach the desirable results in the specified period of time (left to the deadline)."
            Oct. 28, 2014 according to the press
 
Member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Avaz Heidarpour
 
            "The US is looking for troubling the talks, but Iran is committed to negotiations to resolve its nuclear standoff with the West."
            Oct. 27, 2014 according to the press
 
Member of the Presiding Board of Iran’s Majlis Hossein Sobhani-Nia
 
            “The Islamic Republic has never accepted the issue of suspension, but the removal of sanctions has been the key issue for us.”
            Oct. 25, 2014 according to the press
 
Russia
 
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
 
            “The foreign policy chiefs noted that talks on the settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program have real chances to lead to concrete agreements, but additional efforts must be applied.”
            Oct. 24, 2014 according to The Iran Project
 

 

Video: Iranians Candid About Their Fears

            Iranian graphic artist Ali Molavi asked 50 people in Tehran: “What do you fear?” At first timid, they answered candidly, reflecting insecurity about the poor economic situation and ongoing nuclear talks with the world’s six major powers. Iranians of all ages were concerned about the future. Other fears ranged from God and death to poverty. One man even admitted fearing his wife. A young woman said she was afraid of cockroaches. Several people said they feared war or the possibility of being alone. One woman said she feared the repercussions of simply “telling the truth,” and another said she feared that “women in Iran have no value.” If English subtitles are not displayed, click on the CC button near the bottom of the window after clicking play.

 

Tags: Art, Offbeat

Iran Hangs Woman for Killing Alleged Rapist

            On October 25, Iranian authorities executed 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, a woman convicted of killing a man she said tried to sexually abuse her. Jabbari was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi. She reportedly admitted to stabbing Sarbandi, but claimed another man who was present actually killed Sarbandi. Her explanation did not appear to be thoroughly investigated, according to human rights groups. Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2009 by a criminal court in Tehran. The prosecutor’s office claimed she “repeatedly confessed to premediated murder, then tried to divert the case from its course by inventing the rape charge.”
            The United Nations and human rights groups, including Amnesty International,
called for a re-trial. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights issued calls to stay the execution officially. “Evidence in the case, including the medical examiner’s report highlighting the presence of a tranquilizer in a glass of juice found at the crime scene, possibly intended use in the immobilization and sexual assault the defendant, raises serious questions as to whether or not factors eminently relevant to the case were considered in the court’s judgment and sentencing of this young woman,” the Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed said in April.
            Activists also launched a Facebook page with a petition that was signed more than 241,000 times. Jabbari's execution was deferred a number of times. But she was eventually hanged on October 25, prompting further international outcry. The following are statements from the U.S. and U.K. governments.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki
October 25
 
            We condemn this morning’s execution in Iran of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault.  There were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case, including reports of confessions made under severe duress.  Iranian authorities proceeded with this execution despite pleas from Iranian human rights activists and an international outcry over this case.  We join our voice with those who call on Iran to respect the fair trial guarantees afforded to its people under Iran’s own laws and its international obligations.
 
U.K. Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood
October 25
 
            The UK strongly opposes the use of the death penalty. I am very concerned and saddened that it has been used in the case of Reyhaneh Jabbari where there have been questions around due process.
 
            The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, noted that her conviction was allegedly based on confessions made while under threat, and the court failed to take into account all evidence into its judgement. Actions like these do not help Iran build confidence or trust with the international community. I urge Iran to put a moratorium on all executions.
 

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