Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Iran, World Powers Reach Agreement on Implementing Geneva Accord

Major Breakthrough

In a major breakthrough on how to implement the November 24 Geneva accord, Iran and the six major powers meeting in Geneva for the past two days did reach a final agreement, saying the interpretations of the accord by both sides were now “the same.” They also agreed to start implementing the accord in the third week of January. 

“The two sides managed to reach an understanding on the implementation of the agreement and now, their views and interpretations of the Geneva agreement are the same,” said Hamid Baeidinejad, director general for political affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry and head of Iranian negotiating team. (ISNA/Press TV, 31 December)

“Based on the agreements reached in the talks held with the P5+1 expert delegations, the implementation of the Geneva accord will start in the third week of January,” Baeidinejad added.

The implementation agreement reached in Geneva today now needs formal agreement from the seven governments and the EU, which is expected in the next few days. 

Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Co. plant, in Tehran

New edition photos taken at Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Company plant in Tehran. Above likely Shanghai Electric Group Company (SEGC) coaches assembled at plant to be fitted with bogies.

Inside view looking out and into SEGC type coaches, being assembled

Iranian manufacturing plant worker assembling SEGC type coach

What appear to be CNTIC/CTC double-decker railcars

Guangzhou Zhonghe Railway Vehicles Equipment air units to be fitted on assembled coaches at Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Company plant

Detail of TWMC plant workers outfitted in assembly apparel, fitting passenger grab rail

Detail of TWMC plant worker inside CNTIC/CTC coach during assembly

Older TWMC plant worker inside SEGC coach during assembly

Interior detail of coach during assembly at Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Company plant

External view of SEGC and CNTIC/CTC coaches being assembled at Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Company plant

Front facade of Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Co. plant in Tehran

Photos: TINN.IR and FARS News Agency

Iran claims fourth largest concrete producer in world

PressTV report from Sixth International Cement, Concrete and Construction Technology Exhibition taking place in Tehran. Participation in the event is said to include over 120 Iranian and foreign concrete-related vendors. Iran claims to have exported 12 million tons of cement to different Asian, neighboring, and African countries during the last eight months, from a total nine month output of 55 million tons.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Zanjani, Iranian ‘Sanctions Broker,’ Arrested

Babak Zanjani, Iranian billionaire “sanctions broker” was arrested in Tehran today. Mohsen Ej’ie, Iran’s Prosecutor General confirmed Zanjani’s arrest. (Fars News Agency, 30 December)
On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani ordered the investigation of “sanctions profiteers” in Iran. The term, or “sanctions brokers,” is referred to people or organizations that take advantage of the special concessions and privileges given to them to defy trade sanctions, but in the process enrich themselves normally through corruption or illegitimate income.

The specific charges against Zanjani have not been disclosed. A majlis investigating committee reported this week that he owes billions of dollars to the Ministry of Oil. Zanjani was involved in “oil-for-cash” schemes, selling Iranian crude in black markets for cash.

Zanjani was also implicated by Reza Zarrab, the Iranian sanctions broker who was arrested last week in Istanbul, as his “boss” and contact in Tehran. The two reportedly were involved in “gas-for-gold’ scheme that is in the heart of the current government corruption scandal in Turkey.
File photo: Babak Zanjani (BBC)
To read about Zanjani’s debts to Oil Ministry, please click here.

To read about Rouhani’s investigation order, please click here.

To read an account of “gas-for-gold” scheme, please click here.

Inflation Rate at 39.3%

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced today that the inflation rate for the twelve-month period ending in Iranian calendar month of Azar (December 23, 2013) was at 39.3 percent. (IRNA, 30 December)

File photo: CBI building in Tehran. (IRNA)

Iran, P5+1 Start New Round of Implementation Talks

Update - Negotiation Might Go Into Tuesday Morning 
Iran and the six world powers started a new round of expert-level talks in Geneva on Monday morning to develop a framework to implement the nuclear deal struck last month.

Hamid Baeidinejad, the director general for political and international affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, is leading the Iranian delegation which includes experts from nuclear, banking, oil and transportation sectors, Fars News Agency reported.

Today’s talks began amid concerns that misunderstanding over interpretation of parts of the November 24 accord could slow down its implementation. A key sticking point appears to be how much advance information Western governments will get so they can verify that Iran is meeting its end of the deal before any sanctions are lifted. Also in dispute, is the types of uranium-enrichment centrifuges that could be deployed by Iran. The Iranian nuclear chief had announced last week that Iran was building a new generation of “cutting-edge” enrichment machines, which appeared to be in violation of the interim accord.

UPDATE: Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said tonight in Tehran that the negations undergoing in Geneva might be continued past its schedule time and into Tuesday morning. (ISNA, 30 December)

Tabriz transit central terminal expansion, under construction

Tower crane works construction site for expanded Tabriz municipal transit central terminal. Photos are from Fall 2013.

Full view of facade for Tabriz transit central terminal, under construction

Corner section of Tabriz transit central terminal, under construction

Artist's rendering of above section, fully completed

Artist's rendering of facade, completed Tabriz transit central terminal expansion

Artist's rendering of passenger embarkation section of completed Tabriz transit central terminal 

Artist's rendering, aerial view of completed Tabriz transit central terminal 

Google imagery of Tabriz transit central terminal construction site, late Summer 2013

Photos: tabrizemodern.blogfa

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Iran Hopes to Implement Nuclear Deal within Month - Araqchi

Obstacles Over Interpretation of Geneva Interim Accord
Iran’s deputy FM and nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi expressed hope today that the Geneva interim agreement could be implemented within a month, Mehr News Agency reported today.
Araqchi’s optimism comes amid growing concerns that the nuclear talks have hit obstacles over interpretation of the 24 November interim agreement, including the types centrifuges that could be used by Iran, which announced last week that it was building a new generation of centrifuges.

“If expert-level talks (to be held on Monday in Geneva) are fruitful, a date will be decided which I guess will be at the end of January for the deal to be implemented,” said Araqchi.
“(But) the negotiations are proceeding slowly as there are misunderstandings over interpretation of some elements of the accord,” he added. (Mehr News Agency, 29 December)

Tomorrow’s talks in Geneva are aimed at setting a framework to implement the November 24 Geneva agreement, which was meant to buy time for six months so Iran and world powers could finalize a long-term agreement on the future of Iran’s nuclear program, which would also result in lifting of all sanctions against the country

Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said late on Thursday that Iran is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment but they need further tests before they can be mass produced. The production of new enriching machines could be against the agreement worked out in Geneva last month, with Iran committing to freeze the amount and type of enriching machines.

Iran was also reported to have already installed some of the cutting-edge machines at a research tract of one of Iran’s enriching sites, Reuters reported on Saturday. Iran argues that it had a right to increase its enrichment capabilities in such a manner under the research and development provisions of the November 24 Geneva accord.