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.
Great results achieved in tourism leading to lower #unemployment. In addition, hundreds of foreign companies ready to enter Iran's market.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) October 13, 2014
“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.”
“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
Girls in villages or cities aren't different. Sometimes rural girls are scientifically more talented. Society needs such talents.#RuralWomen— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 15, 2014
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.
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 hopeful 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.
Nov. 9, 2014 in an interview with CBS News
“But they have their own politics, and there’s a long tradition of mistrust between the two countries. And there’s a sizeable portion of the political elite that cut its teeth on anti-Americanism and still finds it convenient to blame America for every ill that there is. And whether they can manage to say yes to what clearly would be better for Iran, better for the region, and better for the world, is an open question. We’ll find out over the next several weeks.”
“An enormous amount of work has gone into this. For months upon months, we’ve had expert teams sitting down, working through details, looking at all of the technical information that is necessary to be able to make a judgment about what the impact of a particular decision is. Some of it’s very complicated, and we’ve tried to reduce it to as simple and understandable a format as possible. And it’s been very constructive. The Iranian team has worked hard and seriously. The conversations have been civil and expert.
“And my hope is that now is the moment for really political decisions to be made that make a judgment that we can show the world that countries with differing views, differing systems, but with a mutual interest of trying to prove a peaceful program can in fact do that and get the job done. So we’re very hopeful about that, and I have every intent of making myself available and doing everything necessary to try to do that. And I’m confident that Foreign Minister Zarif will likewise make himself available and continue to push forward.”
Nov. 5, 2014 in a press briefing after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
Oct. 31, 2014 in an interview with Al Hunt of Bloomberg News on the Charlie Rose Show
“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. 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
"If we cannot come to a conclusion by Nov. 24, I am sure that those who are performing an objective analysis of the situation definitely will not blame Iran for the possible lack of progress, because Iran has shown its determination to finish the job."
"Enrichment is one [of the main points of contention], of course, and the sanctions, but we also talk about [the] Arak [research reactor] and a number of other things about which we have to come to an agreement. In our judgment the Americans do not want to appreciate what's happening on the ground in Iran as far as the nuclear capabilities and capacities are concerned. We have about 20,000 centrifuges, almost half of which are producing nuclear material, the other half are only spinning. We can't just turn back the clock and say, "now we are in 2005" and are offering what we have offered then."
"You have to keep the status quo! But we are ready to accept some limits to our activities for a specific period of time. And after that specific time we need to be treated like any other member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)."
Nov. 10, 2014 in an interview with Spiegel Online
“All participants [of the meeting] voiced additional proposals. We are determined to put it all together in such a way that key compromises could be reached before the deadline [on November 24].”
Nov. 7, 2014 after a meeting with negotiators from the P5+1 countries
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.
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.
On October 31, Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary general of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, defended his country's human rights record at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council. “We were not successful to solicit forgiveness from the hearts of victims. So the execution went on. Though we are very sorry that two nationals lost lives, but capital punishment or 'qisas' is a unique particularity of our system. I think it worth Western countries to look into it," said Larijani. Larijani said that the son of the killed man had intended to forgive Jabbari, but decided not to because of the rape accusation.
The following are statements from the U.S. and U.K. governments.