Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Bahman Baktiari: Sport Diplomacy with Iran: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges

September 10, 2014



Neocons Who Brought You The Iraq War Endorse AIPAC’s Iran Bill

January 10, 2014

According to an article by Jim Lobe, “the neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor organization of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), has just published another open letter (reproduced below) to Congressional leaders that implicitly endorses what I have called the “Kirk-Menendez Wag the Dog Act of 2013,” known officially as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881). I say implicitly, because it doesn’t come right out and urge support for the specific bill, which AIPAC and the Israel lobby, for which AIPAC is the vanguard, are flogging as hard as they possibly can. But the intention is pretty clear.”  Read the full analysis HERE

The deal of the year: Why the Iran nuclear deal is good news for all

January 1, 2014


Drug groups pin hopes on Iran market potential

December 26, 2013

Source: Financial Times

Date: December 26, 2013

By Andrew Jack

When Pfizer sold a small batch of medicines to Iran last year, the process was painful. The pharmaceutical group needed authorisation from the US government, shipped the products through a foreign affiliate and received letters of credit in payment from the Bank of Tejarat to a non-US subsidiary bought in 2011.

Even so, Pfizer was caught by new US Treasury sanctions in early 2012 that froze transactions with the Iranian bank, including its foreign affiliates in France, Tajikistan and Belarus, and it has not yet received full payment. All that for sales of €620,000

Such tortuous procedures, which for other companies often involve payment through intermediaries in the United Arab Emirates, have constricted commercial transactions even for those western suppliers whose products – such as drugs and food – are exempt from sanctions on humanitarian grounds.

Olam International, the Singapore-based commodities trader, which sells wheat, barley and corn to Iran, also highlighted the lack of clarity on payments. “It’s too early to say if these developments will result in wider opportunities for our business given that we have not yet seen changes on the ground in terms of easing of banking sanctions or channels of payment.”

Yet with the prospect of eased controls on trade with Iran coming into effect as soon as next month following the Geneva accord reached in November, many are stepping up their interest in a potentially lucrative market. Michael Tockuss, managing director of the German-Iran chamber of commerce in Hamburg, said the diplomatic agreement had “transformed the mood among businesses”.

“In the days after the agreement we had many companies getting in touch who had either given up on the market or have been working in a very restricted fashion. There is now more optimism. They wanted to know the details of how it will be implemented, in particular regarding the export of petrochemicals,” he said.

Klaus Friedrich, foreign trade expert at the VDMA German machinery association, said the Geneva agreement had not yet resulted in a loosening of sanctions. But he said: “German companies must be prepared to react to protect future business opportunities in the event of a positive outcome to the talks.”

Some companies are already in the process of doing just that. Merck of Germany says it is eyeing the potential given Iran’s large population, and scrutinising local manufacturers to produce two of its medicines. It already sells, through distributors, treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, growth hormone deficiency, and cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.

A report this year by Siamak Namazi, a Dubai-based consultant writing for the US Wilson Centre think tank, highlighted strong potential in Iran and estimated that the pharmaceutical sector generated $3bn in annual sales, with 30 per cent coming from imported drugs.

But Mr Namazi cautioned that the share from western drug companies providing high-quality innovative treatments had fallen as a result of hard currency shortages for medicines, and sanctions on the financial sector which made payment, insurance and shipping difficult.

Other analysts have said the poor intellectual property protection in Iran could restrict investment by western companies. Yet some have been willing to take on the risks. Sanofi of France, which licenses drugs to a local manufacturer, is planning fresh product launches next year. It reported profits in Iran last year of €3.7m last year on sales of €10.2m, on treatments for cancer and cardiovascular conditions.

Novartis of Switzerland last year sold rabies and flu vaccines for €1.5m to an affiliate of the Iranian health ministry, generating net profits of €441,000, and said it expected continued sales in 2013. It signed an official memorandum of understanding in 2010 that could pave the way for accelerated sales, allowing it fast-track registration, market exclusivity, end user subsidies and exemptions from customs tariffs on sales via third party distributors within the country.

The Swiss group said it had an agreement with a local company for licensing and manufacturing in Iran, but a spokesman added: “With the tightened western sanctions on Iran, the flow of medicinal and life-saving products to Iranian patients has been severely affected if not fully ceased . . . we are determined to continue providing access to medicines for our patients in full compliance with US, EU and Swiss trade sanctions and regulations.”

AstraZeneca, based in the UK, reported profits in Iran of $6m on sales of $14m last year, alongside donations of respiratory products in response to health alerts caused by air pollution.

Other pharmaceutical companies remain more circumspect. GlaxoSmithKline, which reported profits of £2.8m in the country on sales of £19.7m last year, said: “We continue to monitor the situation, but it’s too early to comment.” Bayer of Germany said it generated “low double digit million euro sales” in Iran this year, and that the sales volume was “likely to remain on a low level.”

Additional reporting by Scheherazade Daneshkhu in London and Chris Bryant in Frankfurt


An important year for Iran nuclear talks: What Israel got wrong

December 22, 2013

Shemuel Meir: ”President Obama’s exceptional appearance at the Saban Forum amounts to an authorized interpretation of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Israeli leaders should be paying attention to the points he made.”

Bahman Baktiari

April 10, 2012

Bahman Baktiari is the Executive Director of the International Foundation for Civil Society. The organization is focused on the political, social, and economic changes taking place within the region. Mr. Bakhtiari provides executive leadership to the organization and outlines its strategic direction. He relies on his significant in-depth knowledge with the sociopolitical realities of the region in his role. Bahman Baktiari also has experience and knowledge with the promotion of values inherent to civil society and making connections across cultural lines.

Bahman Baktiari specializes in the study of politics and society within Iran. His research has not only resulted in a broad acumen in the subject but also a multitude of published works. His scholarly work has included the book “Parliamentary Politics in Revolutionary Iran: Institutionalization of Factional Politics”; Sharia Politics and the Transformation of Islamic Law in Iran; ( edited by Robert Hefner); Iran’s Conservative Moment; Sustainable Development: A Strategy of Dialogue and Communication; Voices within Islam: Four Perspectives on Tolerance and Diversity; and Doubting Reforms in Iran. Dr. Baktiari has also penned works about the Iranian foreign policy reaction after the attacks of September 11th and Iran’s relationships throughout the region.

Bahman Baktiari has received numerous invitations from media sources to discuss these topics. He has been a guest on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Talk of the Nation. Mr. Bakhtiari has also appeared on The Todd Feinburg Radio, PBS’s Jim Lehrer News Hour, and CNN. He has been an interviewee for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Orlando Sentinel, and Congressional Quarterly Research.

Bahman Baktiari earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Denver. He also holds a Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia.

Video Presentation(1): Islamic Law and U.S. Foreign Policy (Panel 1: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey)

Bahman Baktiari

Bahman Baktiari

Bahman Baktiari@BahmanBaktiari