IAEA report: Iran honoring nuclear deal
Iran has continued to implement the main nuclear restrictions set by its 2015 deal with major powers, a quarterly UN watchdog report showed, though several items were verified shortly before reimposed US sanctions took effect.
Iran has kept its stock of low-enriched uranium as well as the level to which it enriches uranium within the limits set by the landmark deal, according to the confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report to IAEA member states, obtained by Reuters on Monday.
The stock of Iran’s low-enriched uranium was verified on Nov. 4, the day before the latest round of US sanctions against Tehran came into force following Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord. Iran’s stock of heavy water, another material limited under the deal that was also within the cap set, was verified on Nov. 3, the report showed.
The issue has grown more complicated since the US withdrew unilaterally in May from the deal and then reimposed sanctions.
The other signatories to the deal – Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China – are continuing to try and make it work.
Iran, South Korea sign five MoUs to boost ties
The southern Iranian province of Bushehr and a South Korean trade and commercial delegation signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to boost relations and cooperation between the two countries.
The agreements are in the areas of port, oil, gas, urban and suburban railway cooperation, reported Fars News Agency.
Other areas for cooperation include logistics and industrial activities in Negin Port Complex, construction of a marine hotel in Bushehr as well as the building of a mineral export terminal in Khvor-e Shahabi region in the southern province.
Another MoU was signed for the construction of a railway track between Bushehr and Alishahr Industrial Park, as well as the establishment of an oil refinery in the special zone of northern Bushehr.
South Korea has broad economic relations with Iran and is also a big buyer of oil and gas products from Iran. Seoul was among the first eight countries which the US exempted from its unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
South Korean officials on numerous occasions have reiterated the resolute will of their country to expand ties with Iran and in a related front in February, South Korea’s Ambassador to Tehran Kim Seung Ho underscored that Seoul supports further cooperation and investment by Korean companies in Iran.
“The strategy of the South Korean government is based on further consolidation of ties between the two countries and the government is willing to see cooperation and investment of Korean companies in Iran,” Kim said, in an address to economic activists in Iran’s northern province of Semnan.
He recalled the dependence of his country’s economy on the oil industry, and said Iran is the second supplier of South Korea’s oil resources.
Kim also stressed further strengthening of relations between Tehran and Seoul.
EU says will continue transport cooperation with Iran
The European Union will continue its cooperation with Iran within the framework of the agreements concluded in the transport zone, a senior EU official said on Monday.
“With the visit of Mrs. Mogherini in 2016 a good agreement for cooperation in terms of city and air transport with Iran was signed and we will continue to cooperate within the framework of the agreement.” Maja Bakran, the EU’s deputy director general of transport told the forum of Logistics and Supply Chain held in Tehran in cooperation with the EU and the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, according to IRNA.
Bakran said that 80 percent of the world trade is carried out through sea transport and in terms of expanding the cooperation of Asian countries with the European Union, adding, “We are trying to continue to transport between Asia and Europe on a very good level.”
Pointing out the logistics advantages, she said, “With the logistics chain, transport is developing, which will be highly effective in the sustainability of economic growth and marine environmental issues.
“Only with healthy competition we can contribute to the development of sea transport and the private sector can play an important role in this regard.”
Oil prices rise as OPEC+ signals output cut
Oil rose by more than one percent on Monday, set for its largest one-day increase in a month after Saudi Arabia said OPEC and its partners believed demand was softening enough to warrant an output cut of one million barrels per day.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 80 cents on the day to $70.98 a barrel by 1205 GMT, while US crude futures rose 36 cents to $60.69 a barrel.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday OPEC and its partners agree that technical analysis shows a need to cut oil supply next year by around one million bpd from October levels to avoid an unwelcome buildup of unused crude.
Falih said Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil supplier, would cut its production by 500,000 bpd as of next month to help stabilize the market.
Any official decision on global output cuts will be made at a key ministerial meeting for OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Vienna in early December, Falih said.
Oil producers will continue to evaluate the market data prior to the Vienna summit, “but if we need to trim production by one million bpd, we will do,” Falih added.
The UAE’s Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said balancing the market would “require changes in the strategy” of producers.
“We need not overreact” to falling prices, Mazrouei said, adding that crude was a dynamic market.
Iraqi energy minister spokesman Assem Jihad said his country, also an OPEC member, was hoping for “any decision that would help balance and stabilize the market”.
The comments followed a meeting in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, where major producers started laying the groundwork to cut supply in 2019, reversing an almost yearlong expansion.
The group, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, warned that crude supply would outstrip demand next year.
In a final statement, they said they had “reviewed current oil supply and demand fundamentals and noted that 2019 prospects point to higher supply growth than global requirements”.
The 14 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries alone pump over a third of global crude supply.
The oil price has fallen by around 20 percent in the last month, driven lower by a rapid increase in global supply and the threat of a slowdown in demand, especially from those customers, such as India, Indonesia and China, whose currencies have weakened against the dollar and eroded their purchasing power.
Production from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States alone has risen by 1.05 million bpd in the last three months, based on official output figures.
This has left OPEC scrambling to adjust its own output, which, at around 33.3 million bpd, accounts for roughly a third of total global daily supply.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this story.
Iran vows to protect oil tankers against US threats
Iran’s Armed Forces pledged on Monday to protect the country’s oil tankers against possible threats after the United States said the ships should not be allowed to dock anywhere because they were a “floating liability.”
“Iran’s Armed Forces ... are prepared today as in the past to protect our fleet of oil tankers against any threats so that it can continue to use marine waterways,” Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, a deputy commander of Iran’s Army, said Monday, Press TV reported.
The remarks came days after Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, warned Iran’s business partners to “rethink your decision” to buy Iranian oil in the wake of Washington’s “toughest” sanctions against Tehran.
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World’s biggest tourism event in 2018 begins in Hamedan
Art & Culture Desk
Western Iranian city of Hamedan is hosting the 40th UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Members Plenary Session which began on Monday and will end on Wednesday.
Hosting the world’s biggest tourism event in 2018 in the Iranian city has helped Hamedan, as the capital of the Iranian history and civilization, to become the flag-bearer of the country’s tourism in the world, IRNA reported.
The year 2018 marked a turning point in the history of Iran’s tourism as Hamedan was selected as Asia’s tourism capital.
At present, the city’s enormous tourism capacities has helped it to host the 40th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session which is being held in Iran for the first time.
The decision was made by the UNWTO last year.
The event comprises four sections: Senior experts’ meeting, educational workshops, technical tours and the International Seminar on Harnessing Cultural Tourism through Innovation and Technology.
Commenting on the session, Hamidreza Yari, a member of the UNWTO’s Board of Directors, said 80 UNWTO members from 30 countries have traveled to Hamedan to take part in the event.
He added that UNWTO’s Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili and Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Ali Asghar Mounesan are also in Hamedan.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the first day of the session, Pololikashvili said developing rural tourism prepares the ground for gaining new experiences of cultures of different ethnic groups and tribes and is among the main priorities of UNWTO.
This can prepare the ground for gaining more knowledge about traditional houses, cultures and cuisines and, above all, creating jobs, he added.
UNWTO secretary general noted that presenting regional and rural tourist attractions to the other people from other countries is of great importance for any state, adding creating tourist villages helps support those individuals and households that are living in areas far from their hometowns.
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NYT: Saudis planned to kill Iranian officials, sabotage economy
Top Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a small group of businessmen last year about using private companies to assassinate Iranian officials, The New York Times reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter.
The Saudis inquired at a time when Prince Mohammed was consolidating power and directing his advisers to escalate military and intelligence operations outside the kingdom. Their discussions, more than a year before the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, indicate that top Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent. Saudi officials have portrayed Khashoggi’s death as a rogue killing ordered by an official who has since been fired.
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UN warns against returning Rohingya
The United Nations refugee agency on Monday cautioned against returning ethnic Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar from Bangladesh at this time, urging that officials be allowed to assess whether it is safe for them to return.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees issued the warning after the Myanmar government said Sunday that this week it would begin repatriating the more than 700,000 Rohingya who have fled from the Rakhine state in western Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape deadly violence carried out by Myanmar security forces.
“Myanmar authorities should allow these refugees to undertake such go-and-see visits without prejudice to their right to return at a later date, if indeed the refugees decide after the visits that the current conditions in Rakhine State would not allow them to return in safety and dignity,” the UNHCR said in a statement.
The Rohingya refugees generally have been denied citizenship and civil rights in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where prejudice against them runs high. On Sunday, officials in Myanmar announced that Bangladesh had said repatriations would begin on Thursday, with an initial group of 2,251 to be sent back from mid-November at a rate of 150 per day.
The UNHCR said it supports the “voluntary and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees in safety and in dignity to their places of origin or choice, and will work with all parties towards this goal.” It is Myanmar’s responsibility to improve conditions in the restive Rakhine region, it said.
Sunday’s Myanmar government statement said the returning Rohingya would stay at repatriation camps for two days and receive food and clothing before moving on to transit camps. It said China, India and Japan were “providing necessary assistance” for the repatriation process, but did not give details.
The Rohingya exodus began after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown in August 2017. The scale, organization and ferocity of the operation led to accusations from the international community, including the United Nations, of ethnic cleansing and genocide.