Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Latest from Iran (21 November): The Economy? "All Is Well"

0841 GMT: Espionage Watch. The Ministry of Intelligence has put out a report supposedly documenting the role of US intelligence services in the Iranian opposition. It alleges that the CIA has funded conferences in European cities such as London, Paris, and Stockholm), as well as the "Transition to Democracy" seminar at the Hampton Hotel in Washington.

A quick search reveals no "Transition to Democracy" session --- the Ministry appears to be referring to a January 2011 conference at George Washington University's Institute of World Politics, "Iran Democratic Transition". Speakers included four US congressmen; three Iranian diplomats who resigned amid the regime crackdown after the 2009 Presidential election, prominent dissident Amir Fakhravar, journalists Kambiz Hosseini and Alireza Nourizadeh; Mehdi Saharkhiz, activist and son of imprisoned journalist Medi Saharkhiz; and former political prisoner and journalist Roozbeh Mir-Ebrahimi.

The Ministry assures, "With the existence of manifest differences it seems that a unity, even apparent, will never materialize between the opposition and in truth this miserable dream of the enemy’s intelligence services will not be realised.”

0840 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Effat Marashi, the wife of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has answered the attacks of the hard-line newspaper Kayhan against her family. She said that, if her husband any influence on the judiciary, her daughter Faezeh and son Mehdi --- the former imprisoned for six months, the latter detained and facing a lengthy terms on charges of financial and electoral fraud --- would not be behind bars.

0810 GMT: Iranian media have devoted much of their attention in the past week to foreign affairs, notably the Gaza War, perhaps getting breathing space from the economic and political tensions of recent months.

On Tuesday, Donya-ye Eqtesad found a reason to return to economic matters with the good-news report of the Central Bank: "Economic growth: 3.4%...Oil production: 3.6 million barrels per day...Oil exports: 2.1 million barrels per day marking a 9% increase in oil exports."

Not all the news was positive, such as "63% decrease in utilization of the industrial sector" and "decreased public sector debt to the Central Bank, but increased debt in the public sector companies' debt to the Central Bank". And some of the claims were closer to fantasy than fact: the International Energy Agency puts Iran's oil exports at 1.3 million bpd --- a 40% fall from last year --- rather than the 2.1 million bpd asserted by the Bank, with oil production at only 2.7 million bpd.

Donya-ye Eqtesad persists, however, declaring a strengthening of the Rial against the US dollar after in the open market, stemming from "optimism of the dealers concerning the international [nuclear] negotiations".

Mehr also claims the Rial has rebounded to a level of 27000:1 vs. the US dollar, after its 70% collapse in value this year to close to 40000:1.

The problem with the rosy claims? If the Rial has recovered, it is hard to explain why its value is still not being posted --- after suspension almost two months ago --- on any currency websites, such as Mesghal and Mazanex.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping