News Digest: Week of March 29

March 29

Judicial: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned or reduced sentences for more than 1,800 prisoners. The commutations were issued to celebrate the birth of Imam Muhammad ibn al Hasan al Mahdi, who Twelver Shiites believe is the Mahdi. 

Oil: China could receive nearly one million barrels per day of Iranian crude oil, oil analysts estimated


March 30 


Health: Iran said that it would begin mass production of the Fakhra vaccine by late May. Mass production of CovIran Barekat, Iran's first domestically developed vaccine, began on March 15.

Travel: Israel told its citizens to avoid traveling to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Turkey due to escalating tensions with Iran. “Over the past few months, Iranian groups have threatened to hit Israeli targets,” Israel's National Security Council said. 


March 31

Energy: The United States renewed a 120-day sanctions waiver allowing Iraq to purchase electricity from Iran. “The waiver ensures that Iraq is able to meet its short-term energy needs while it takes steps to reduce its dependence on Iranian energy imports,” a State Department spokesperson said. 

Oil: Iran has significantly boosted oil exports, Reuters reported. Tehran pumped 2.3 million barrels per day in March, up from 210,000 barrels per day in February - the largest increase among all OPEC nations. 

Sanctions: The European Union intended to sanction Iran for human rights abuses, Reuters reported. Eight Iranian militia and police commanders and three state entities would face travel bans and asset freezes for cracking down on Iranians protesters in November 2019. The sanctions were the first EU human rights sanctions on Iran since 2013.