The people of Spain are now leaving to find work elsewhere. There are no jobs in Spain and the unemployment numbers are increasing. EU is making their move and trying to get the Ukraine to take a loan and if they don’t the US Government / central bankers will impose sanctions. The Iran – US deal has been exposed. The central bankers have made a deal with the new president to work with the central banks. The central banks are making their move to put the country back on the US dollar. Iranian Generals are warning the President of Iran to watch himself. The US/central bankers have given Iran 6 months to make their decision.
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- Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) says the country’s population is shrinking at an accelerating pace amid soaring unemployment.
- The INE said on Tuesday that nearly 260,000 people moved from the crisis-hit country in the first half of 2013, while only 134,312 migrated to the country.
- This left a loss of 125,688 residents on balance, which was 50 percent more than the number registered in the second half of 2012.
- Nearly 40,000 of those who emigrated from the country were Spaniards, while the remaining were foreigners who returned to their home countries.
- Spain’s soaring unemployment rate has driven young professionals and lower-qualified workers to seek jobs in other European countries as well as in Latin America.
- The country’s official jobless percentage rate hit over 26 percent in the second quarter of 2013.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Spain would face five more years with a jobless rate of over 25 percent, unless the government implements new reforms including measures to assist firms in slashing wages instead of cutting staff.
- Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking millions of jobs with it.
- The Spanish government has been sharply criticized over its austerity measures that are hitting the middle and working classes the hardest.
- Europe’s main human rights watchdog has warned that Spain’s austerity program could have a devastating impact on children, as cuts have increased child poverty, malnutrition, and inadequate housing.
- According to a report published in October, the number of Spaniards living in severe poverty has doubled to around 3 million since the economic crisis erupted.
- The last time the housing bubble popped, the “frontier” marginal market of Las Vegas was the first harbinger of what was about to come. It is that again, and as real estate expert Mark Hanson explains, “Las Vegas housing demand has crashed.” This is hardly an auspicious sign for the rest of the epically reflated housing market which as we have been tirelelessly pointing out for the past two years, has not recovered, but has merely had its 4th dead cat bounce on the back of i) the implicit bank subsidy of foreclosure stuffing, ii) money laundering by “all cash” foreign buyers using the NAR’s anti-money laundering exemption loophole, and iii) private equity zero cost of credit REO-to-Rent programs which are now in their last days.
- From Mark Hanson: Lost Vegas
- Las Vegas housing demand has crashed. “Crash”…there is no other word to use. This is not hyperbole. “Crashed” is absolutely the appropriate word to use here given sales are suddenly the weakest levels since Armageddon 2009. I mean come on…sales at the same pace as when the stock market was in the midst of one of the greatest plunges in history speaks loudly…at least to me. Volume precedes price.
- Supply is surging in Vegas with “months-supply” back to nearly 7 months (over 7 for condos), and at 2010/11 levels. There certainly is NO LACK OF SUPPLY in this market. And ponder about this for a minute…and apply it to all these other “investor-centric” regions around the nation. That is, in Vegas there are 10s of thousands of single-family houses being readied for rent by new-era “investors”. This flood of freshly rehabbed “for rent” supply will competes at some level with resale and builder “for sale” supply. Even if it competes at a factor of .4, then Las Vegas “normalized” month’s supply could right now be back to a year.
- Lastly, houses are as expensive on a monthly payment basis — and relative to the income needed to qualify for a loan — then they were at the peak of the bubble in 2006. But, this is a fact masked over for the past year by the plethora of all-cash buyers who are not governed by employment, income and safe & sound mortgage lending requirements. Like Sacramento, Phoenix, regions in the Inland Empire, and a dozen other “hot” real estate markets around the nation — that, “not”-coincidentally are the regions in which private and new-era “investors” swarmed with cash regularly paying 10% to 20% over appraised value / list price using flawed cap rate models as a guide — when the stimulus go-go juice ran out this market hit a literal “brick wall” the size of 2007.
- With house as expensive on a monthly payment basis than they were in 2007, when this market turns back towards “organic” being the incremental demand driver (people that can only buy as much house as their job, earnings, and mortgage qualifications dictate) serious double-digit percent points of house price downside will occur. That’s in the process of happening now.
- The next year in Vegas could easily bring a 50% retracement of the past two years historic annualized gains, which to all the investor models predicting 10% appreciation in perpetuity, will feel like a crash.
- So, question is, what businesses are levered to the past couple of years of resale house volume momentum and energy? Those are the stocks that will shock the most amount of people in 2014. Companies levered to Existing Sales typically feel trend changes two to three quarters afterward meaning Q1/Q2 will usher in a hard downshift — especially relative to Q1/Q2 2013 when volume was going parabolic — since 2008 and the period following the expiration of the Homebuyer Tax Credit.
- November Existing Sales/Supply Stats
- Demand plunging
- down 17% MoM
- down 20% YoY
- down 32% from peak summer
- down 33% from Nov 2011, down 24% from Nov 2010, and down 45% from Nov 2009
- lowest sales volume since Jan 2009
- Supply Soaring
- Highest “months supply” metric since 2011
- SFR at 6.5 months, up 11% YoY
- Condo at 7.4 months, up 23% YoY
- Item 1) Las Vegas November House Sales down 20% YoY and at their lowest levels since Jan 2009
- Item 2) Broken out, Condo are performing slightly better but sales are still at 2009 lows.
- Item 3) Month’s supply surging…back to 2010/11 levels
- Item 4) It costs the same per month and requires the same monthly income today to buy the Nov median priced house as in 2006 at the bubble peak.
- Curious how much the various banks who stood to be impacted by or, otherwise, benefit from either a concentration or dilution of the Volcker rule? According to OpenSecrets, which crunched the numbers, here is how much being able to continue prop trading meant to some of the largest US banks and lobby groups:
- American Bankers Association: $6.495 million
- JPMorgan: $4 million
- Wells Fargo: $4.440 million
- Citigroup: $4.240 million
- Independent Community Bankers of America: $3.581 million
- Bank of America: $2 million
- Not bad considering the loophole-ridden Volcker Rule will effectively permit “hedge” books (where an army of lawyers paid $1000/hour defines just what a hedge is) to continue piling on billions of dollars in wildly profitable, Fed reserve funded trades.
This health insurance program is not for the people. Let’s recap, higher premiums 200%-400%, higher deductibles which means you need to pay out of pocket and reach the deductible before the insurance will pay. Businesses cutting hours and dropping spouses insurance so they don’t get penalized. The people are penalized with a tax if they don’t take the insurance. You can’t keep your doctor, hospital or medication. Government officials are exempting themselves, giving bailouts to their staffers because it is to expensive for them and the President is not enrolled in his own health insurance program.
- The MSM is trying to spin the 110,000 sign ups in November as a fantastic result. When a “free” new entitlement is announced and rolled out in this country, they would normally be knocking down the doors to sign up. Anyone who really wants Obamacare has already signed up. The first two months should generate the biggest numbers. When you have only achieved 5% of your goal after two months, you’ve failed miserably. Obamacare is a disaster before it even gets off the ground and bankrupts the country. Young healthy people will never sign up for Obamacare. They know it’s a scam. They also know that Obama and his IRS minions are so incompetent, they’ll never figure out how to collect the fines from people who don’t sign up. Have you ever met an IRS employee?
- Slide shows how internet tracking devices can be used by spy agency
- Unique code created by Pref Cookies can identify individual’s browser
- The National Security Agency has been accused of using Google cookies to pinpoint targets the government wants to hack.
- In a NSA presentation slide released by Edward Snowden and seen by the Washington Post, the agency appeared to be using internet tracking techniques usually used by advertisers.
- While the Pref Cookies reportedly being used don’t reveal personal information, they can uniquely identify a person’s browser.
- The NSA and GCHQ in the UK have been using the tracking files to identify potential targets who are using the internet, according to the documents.
- As well as listing visits to websites, the cookies can identify an individual’s communications so that hacking software can be sent out.
- The government called on Wednesday by the European Union assistance loans in the amount of about 20 billion euros. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said at a televised cabinet meeting, “this matter” could “be solved by offering financial support to Ukraine”. The “approximate size” lies at 20 billion euros.
- In his remarks Azarov drew a direct link between the claim and the Association Agreement ago. The government announced on Tuesday on Wednesday to send a delegation to Brussels, and a further secondment to coincide travel for talks in Moscow.
- The government faces $15.3 billion in maturing loans that will further deplete the Central Bank’s currency reserves. As of October 31, Ukraine’s international reserves dropped to $20.6 billion, according to Bloomberg data. The Central Bank intervening to repay debts will threaten the financial stability and the value of the hryvnia, Ukraine’s currency.
- The US State Department said on Wednesday it is considering all options, including sanctions, toward Ukraine, where riot police moved against demonstrators overnight after weeks of protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
- “All policy options, including sanctions, are on the table, in our view, but obviously that still is being evaluated,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, declining to specify what kinds of sanctions may be under consideration.
- The Russian Federation is responding to developing and current threats to its security and attempts by the West to shift the global strategic military balance in its favor, with US/NATO’s missile “defense” shield being cited as one of the key threats faced by Russia in maintaining a strategic balance and one for which against which measures are being taken. Attempts by the US/NATO to militarize the Arctic are also being addressed as well as attempts by US/NATO to tip the balance of the nuclear deterrence and project its “force” globally, in particular with regard to the Middle East.
- President Vladimir Putin, speaking to an expanded meeting of the Russian Ministry of Defense on Tuesday stated that plans by US/NATO to expand its missile defense plans in Europe have not stopped and continue unabated, hence Russia is forced to respond. Speaking of the continuation of US/NATO missile “defense” plans is clearly in response to statements by US/NATO that despite the supposed threat of Iran (the pretext for the ABM shield) being eliminated they will not change their plans for installing missiles in Europe.
- President Putin has publically stated and now confirmed what many have been saying for years regarding the ABM shield being installed in order to neutralize any response from Russia. The fact that with minor modifications the missiles making up the shield could be converted into first strike weapons were not touched upon by the president but given the context this is clear and is something he is no doubt aware of.
- President Putin said that the West is attempting bring about a shift in the strategic balance.
- ” There are ongoing attempts to violate, “blur ” the strategic balance . First of all, they are related, of course, with plans to build a US missile defense,” President Putin said.
- With regard to the massive modernization taking place in the Russian military and across the entire spectrum of the Russian armed forces President Putin underlined the fact that leading countries are actively modernizing their arsenals, investing heavily in the development of weapons including in are where new generation technologies are being used. He stated that Russia is no exception .
- A senior government minister warned Wednesday that Russia could retaliate with a nuclear strike if a new US military strategy threatened its security.
- Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia was “preparing a response” to plans by the United States to develop a new fast-strike weapons platform capable of hitting high-priority targets around the globe.
- He told the State Duma that the development of a global strike program was “the most important new strategy being developed by the United States today.”
- “They may experiment with conventional weapons on strategic delivery platforms, but they must bear in mind, that if we are attacked, in certain circumstances we will of course respond with nuclear weapons,” Rogozin said.
- He stressed that Russia cannot ignore the development of high-precision hypersonic weapon systems. Rogozin’s comment came a day after President Putin announced that 40 new Yars (SS-29) Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) would be added to Russia’s nuclear arsenal in 2014.
- The US administration under President George W. Bush considered the idea of a global strike capability, but abandoned the project over fears that launching an ICBM with a conventional warhead might accidentally trigger a nuclear war.
- The Japanese government on Wednesday said the country should boost its defense capabilities and be willing to be more militarily active abroad.
- The draft of a new national security strategy released by the Shinzo Abe administration urged fostering a tighter military relationship with the United States and improving Japan’s missile-defense capabilities, the New York Times reported. The panel of Abe-selected experts who wrote the new strategy said a more-capable military was needed in order to respond to the rising danger posed by North Korea’s nuclear work, as well as China’s recent “intrusions” into maritime territory over which Tokyo also claims sovereignty.
- Abe’s cabinet is anticipated to approve the draft national security strategy — as well as a new defense policy — next week, according to Japanese media reports.
- The new defense guidelines notably did not include a recommendation that Japan acquire the military means to carry out attacks on hostile targets, Reuters reported.
- The United States has suspended all non-lethal assistance into northern Syria after Islamist rebel forces seized armed depots belonging to the opposition Free Syrian Army, a US embassy spokesman said on Wednesday.
- “Because of the current situation the United States has suspended deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria,” spokesman T.J. Grubisha said.
- But he added that the US move would not impact on humanitarian assistance which was coordinated by international and nongovernmental organisations.
- The Islamic Front, the largest Islamist rebel force in Syria, seized the depots belonging to the Western-backed FSA near the Bab el-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on Saturday.
- The seizure came after the Front announced that it rejected the authority of the FSA command.
- The Islamic Front was formed last month when six groups merged and pledged to work towards forming an Islamic state.
- The Internet as a global network may disappear in 2014, giving way to dozens of national webs with limited access to foreign web resources, Alexander Gostev, an expert at the Kaspersky Laboratory, told reporters.
- So far, only China has a “closed” national web operated by domestic servers, but a number of countries, Russia among them, have either passed or are preparing laws restricting the use of foreign servers, he said.
- Speaking about the Bitcoin virtual currency, Gostev fears that it might become popular with cyber offenders next year.
- Earlier, Digit.ru reported that Bitcoin had broken above $1,000 per unit. Gostev predicts that it may rise to $2,000-$3,000 in 2014. At the same time, he warned that Bitcoin was too unstable and might bounce back sharply.
- Small groups of hackers specializing in flash attacks will be employed by various companies for cyber spying on their competitors, Gostev said.
- He does not rule out increasing attacks on software developers and mobile applications creators.
- In Gostev’s opinion, evildoers will continue to make use of the vulnerabilities of Android and other mobile platforms. A vulnerability for the iOS platform costs around $200,000 on the “black market”, for Android – $10,000, he said.
- NATO has launched a series of exercises to prepare and deal with potential cyber attacks.
- The hub for the exercises is based in Tallinn, Estonia. The country experienced cyberattacks in 2007 that paralysed key business and government web services for days.
- Estonia then set up a crack cyber defence unit in response.
- “Often it’s described as a cyber war against Estonia, but now we recognise it more like a organised cyber hooliganism,” said Andreus Padar, commander of Estonia’s Cyber Defence Unit. “Computers and networks might be used as useful equipment but also as weapons.
- Tarmo Randel, head of Computer Emergency Response team at the base, said anti-virus or any other form of protection could be useless against a massive cyber attack.
- “The most important thing is to have friends inside your country and outside your country. You never know who is going to support some politically motivated decisions with, for example, a cyber attack,” said Randel.
- At NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), in Mons, Belgium, analysts say attacks on the alliance’s defense systems are growing in number and sophistication.
- Jamie Shea, head of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, said cyber aggressors could face retaliatory strikes.
- “Deterrence is important. We have said for example that article 5 of NATO’s collective defence mechanism could apply in the event of the cyber attack if that cyber attack reaches a certain threshold,” Shea told euronews.
- Article 5 of the NATO treaty says an attack on one member is considered as an attack on the whole alliance.
- It means that a country plotting a strike on one NATO member could be subjected to collective action by all 28 members.
Giving more power to the President via Executive Orders.
- A senior progressive strategist and former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton who specializes in the use of executive authority to bypass Congress is reportedly joining the White House.
- Podesta’s paper details how Obama can push executive change on a host of issues.
The paper states that on energy and environmental arena, the president can:
- Reduce oil imports and make progress toward energy independence.
- Progress toward reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 17 percent by 2020.
- Conserve federal lands for future generations.
- Manage public lands to support a balanced energy strategy.
- Convene and engage hunters and anglers in the development of a fish and wildlife climate adaptation plan.
- Generate solar energy on U.S. Air Force hangar roofs.On the domestic economic policy front, Podesta usges Obama to:
- Direct an assessment, strategy, and new policy development to promote U.S. competitiveness.
- Launch the new consumer financial protection bureau with an aggressive agenda to protect and empower consumers.
- Increase the capacity of small businesses to expand hiring and purchases by accelerating the implementation of the Small Business Jobs Act.
- Promote automatic mediation to avoid foreclosure where possible and speed resolution.
- Create a Web portal to empower housing counselors, reduce burdens on lenders and speed up home mortgage modifications.
- Help stabilize home values and communities by turning “shadow REO” housing inventory into “scattered site” rental housing.
- Promote practices that support working families.
On the domestic policy front, Podesta’s paper recommends that Obama:
- Partner with the private sector in health care payment reform.
- Focus on health care prevention in implementing the Affordable Care Act.
- Streamline and simplify access to federal antipoverty programs.
- Replace costly, inhumane immigration detention policies with equally effective measures.
Regarding education policy, the paper states the president can:
- Launch an “educational productivity” initiative to help school districts spend every dollar wisely to best prepare our children for the 21st century.
- Ensure students can compare financial aid offers from different postsecondary institutions.
- Improve the quality, standards and productivity of postsecondary education.
With regard to “improving the performance of the federal government,” the president can:
- Scrutinize federal spending programs and tax expenditures to achieve greater returns on public investment.
- Build the next-generation Recovery.gov website to track all public expenditures and performance in real time.
- Use new information technology for faster, more transparent freedom of information.
- Create a virtual U.S. statistical agency.
- Collect data on lesbian ,gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in federal data surveys.
And in the foreign policy and national security arena, the president and his administration can:
- Rebalance Afghanistan strategy with greater emphasis on political and diplomatic progress.
- Promote domestic revenue generation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Appoint a special envoy for the Horn of Africa and the southwest Arabian Peninsula region.
- Appoint a special commission to assess contracting practices in national security and foreign affairs.
- Redouble support for Palestinian state- and institution-building efforts.
- Pursue dual-track policy on Iran while sharpening focus on Iranian human rights issues.
- Reinvigorate the U.S.-Turkey strategic alliance. Develop a comprehensive policy on the Russia-Georgia conflict.
- In 2008, Podesta served as co-director of Obama’s transition into the White House.
- A Time magazine article profiled the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”
- The center is funded by billionaire George Soros. Its board includes Van Jones, Obama’s former “green jobs” czar, who resigned in September 2009 after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization.
- Lawmakers are raising questions about the secret U.S. diplomacy with Iran that led to last month’s nuclear breakthrough, demanding greater transparency and expressing disappointment at being left in the dark.
- The Associated Press has reported that much of the Nov. 24 deal among world powers and Iran resulted from a series of secret meetings between U.S. and Iranian officials. The talks took place in the Middle East sultanate of Oman and elsewhere over eight months.
- On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Corker, who recently visited Oman and discussed the diplomatic back-channel with the country’s foreign minister, asked one of the American officials involved to explain the process.
- Puneet Talwar, Obama’s senior Mideast adviser who has been nominated for a senior State Department post, responded by saying he met with an Iranian team in Oman in the summer of 2012 and then again in March 2013. He said the talks only heated up after Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, took office in August.
- “We then had an accelerating pace of discussions bilaterally with the Iranians,” Talwar said at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. He said the discussions, however, were constantly linked to public, parallel negotiations involving Iran and the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
- “It was made clear,” Talwar said. “It focused exclusively on the nuclear issue, so there were no other side discussions underway. And it was merged, after the conversations gained traction,” with the process involving the global powers.
- The agreement last month required Iran to halt and roll back central elements of its nuclear program. That included eliminating its production and stockpiles of higher-enriched uranium, banning the addition of any new centrifuges and barring any work on a heavy water reactor that potentially could produce plutonium for nuclear bombs.
- Iran insists its program is designed solely for peaceful energy generation and medical research purposes.
- In exchange for its concessions, the U.S. and its partners agreed to ease economic penalties that the Obama administration estimates at about $7 billion.
- The administration also promised no new penalties for the six-month duration of the deal, a source of lingering contention with skeptical lawmakers in Congress.
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made clear his disappointment at not being informed of the private diplomacy.
- Rubio asked Talwar if any member of Congress had been briefed; Talwar said he didn’t believe so.
- Rubio also asked whether other issues came up in the talks, such as human rights, Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and an alleged Iranian assassination plot against Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington.
- Talwar said only that the fate of three detained Americans in Iran had been discussed.
- On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., accused the State Department of deliberately misleading the public. He said such deception raises questions about the administration’s current information on Iran.
- “The administration claimed not to be in negotiations with Iran, when they in fact were,” Salmon said, specifically accusing a former State Department spokeswoman of misleading reporters in February by flatly denying the existence of bilateral discussions.
- “Your department,” Salmon told Secretary of State John Kerry, “intentionally misled the American people about these negotiations taking place behind closed doors. So how can we have the confidence that the information you’re giving us now is on the level?”
- The chronology of the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran indicates the preliminary, six-month agreement is as much about global economics as it is about Iran developing nuclear weapons.
- Tehran’s move to free its central bank from direct government control and to resume working with international banking authorities may have prompted the U.S. to ease sanctions, whether or not Iran complies with restrictions on uranium enrichment.
- The United States has been threatened by Islamic nations aiming to use the politics of oil as a lever to undermine the U.S. dollar as a standard of pricing and settling international oil transactions.
- Meanwhile, Iraq and Libya, as a result of U.S.-backed wars involving coalitions of Western nations, have abandoned government-owned central banks that issue a national currency under government control.
- Now, the record of the past two months suggests Iran, in exchange for relief from increasingly onerous economic sanctions, will agree to abandon its government-controlled Iranian central bank.
- Iran’s central bank was determined to use the euro to price and settle Iranian oil transactions in favor of establishing a privately managed Iranian bank conforming to World, the World Bank and the Bank of International Settlements, or BIS.
- ‘Deceptive practices’
- On Feb. 6, 2012, President Obama signed an executive order imposing sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, followed by a letter sent the next day to Congress explaining that more sanctions were warranted.
- The order said the restrictions were deserved “particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks.”
- The Associated Press reported the executive order was designed to implement through the U.S. Treasury the sanctions specified in an amendment to the defense appropriations bill Obama had signed into law at the end of 2011.
- WND has reported since the administration of President George W. Bush that Iran has waged a war against using the dollar as the standard for pricing and settling oil transactions worldwide.
- In 2006, WND reported Iran was considering establishing an Iranian oil bourse to compete with the New York Mercantile Exchange and London’s International Petroleum Exchange. The aim was to create an international market with oil transactions priced in the euro rather than the U.S. dollar.
- In April 2007, WND reported Iran had reached a decision to end oil sales in dollars, expanding the 60 percent of its oil transactions settled in non-dollar currencies. The dollar was to be replaced either with the euro or with special nation-state agreements in the currency of the buyer nation.
- In December 2007, WND reported that Iran, an OPEC country, had proposed to OPEC that it should stop settling oil transactions in the U.S. dollar. The proposal was communicated through Iranian oil minister Gholam Hussein Nozari, who declared that dollar depreciation had advanced to a point where the dollar should no longer be considered a trustworthy currency.
- Iran reverses course on international banking
- On Sept. 27, Reuters reported that Iran had resumed making loan payments to the World Bank, even though Tehran had suspended the repayments in July and the World Bank had not included Iran in World Bank lending since 2005.
- On the same day, President Obama spoke by telephone with Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, marking the historic first direct conversation between leaders in Washington and Tehran under its mullah-led regime, established by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
- The last conversation between a U.S. and Iranian president had occurred between President Carter and Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi shortly before Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic revolution and forced to flee Iran.
- The telephone conversation between Obama and Rouhani came at the end of the United Nations General Assembly session in which both leaders spoke. It followed unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to get the two leaders to meet in person in New York at the U.N.
- During his trip to New York to speak at the U.N., Rouhani met with Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, to discuss Iran’s economic policies and steps it might take to deepen relationships with the IMF, as reported by ABC News.
- On Sept. 28, the Shanghai Daily reported in China the International Bank for Reconstruction and Redevelopment under the World Bank Group had moved all loans to the Islamic Republic of Iran from non-performing status to performing status following Iran’s payment of all overdue amounts on the loans.
- Iran moves central bank toward independence
- Then, a little more than two weeks later, on Oct. 14, Bloomberg reported Iran’s government-controlled central bank would be granted more independence after Rouhani agreed to separate monetary and fiscal policies. Bankers working within Iran’s central bank would be given the authority to set interest rates independently, separate from any intervention exercised by government officials in charge of determining fiscal policy.
- While the decision still retains government control over Iran’s central bank, Iran’s Money and Credit Council, headed by the central bank chief, will be responsible for administering Iran’s monetary policy, including interest-rate setting.
- On Oct. 22, Reuters reported Mohammad Nahavandian, a member of Iran’s Money and Credit Council, said a rise in interest rates that was being studied although the Iranian central bank would have to move slowly. He pointed to the continued weakness of the Iranian economy under the sanctions imposed by the United States and the P5+1 Western nations, consisting of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the U.S., Russia, China, U.K. and France – plus Germany.
- Reuters noted the move was interpreted as a sign Rouhani intends to fundamentally change course from government-controlled monetary policy as determined under Iran’s previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- “After taking office on Aug. 3, Rouhani promised to improve economic management and appointed a new central bank governor, Valiollah Seif, who called for ‘disciplined financial practices,’” Reuters noted. “The Tehran Times quoted Seif as saying earlier that Rouhani had agreed to give the central bank more independence to focus on controlling inflation and the money supply.”
- Next, the IMF decided to visit Iran from Oct. 29 through Nov. 7 with a mission “to review economic developments in the country.”
- The Iranian central bank reported on the visit by the IMF Mission to Iran as follows:
- The IMF mission held discussions with senior officials from the central bank and government, as well as with a broad spectrum of representatives from financial institutions and the business community. These discussions focused on the need for Iran to tackle high inflation and restore economic growth, as well as on the need for Iran to begin addressing long-standing policy and structural challenges in the economy. These challenges include the monetary and fiscal policy frameworks, the implementation of the subsidy reform, and the reforms in the banking and corporate sectors to revive growth. The authorities’ understanding of the challenges and the high expectations of several sectors in the economy provide a timely opportunity for advancing such reforms, notwithstanding the difficult external environment.
- Then, on Nov. 24, the P5+1, with the blessing of the Obama administration, announced in Geneva a deal had been reached with Iran to reduce sanctions, including the release of $4 billion in Iranian assets seized by the U.S. government during previous sanctions. In return, Iran would limit uranium enrichment and cooperate with the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, on increased international inspections of Iran’s nuclear program.
- Finally, as WND reported last week, although the White House has denied reports surfacing in Arabic-language newspapers that President Obama was planning a trip to Tehran in the middle of next year, Tehran moved to capitalize on the P5+1 deal by seeking to increase oil production with an aim to resume full participation as OPEC’s second largest oil-producing member nation.
- Revolutionary Guard chief Jafari says the country’s administrative system has been ‘infected by Western doctrine’.
- The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces has said that his country has been influenced by the West, in an apparent criticism of the government of Hassan Rouhani, the country’s recently elected moderate president.
- Major General Mohammad Jafari’s comments are some of the sharpest to be made by a senior official in public since Rouhani took office in August, pledging to improve Iran’s relations with regional countries and the West.
- “The military, systems and procedures governing the administrative system of the country are the same as before, [but it] has been slightly modified and unfortunately infected by Western doctrine, and a fundamental change must occur,” Iran’s Fars news agency quoted Jafari as saying on Tuesday.
- “The main threat to the revolution is in the political arena and the Guards cannot remain silent in the face of that,” he said.
- The government’s diplomatic initiative led to an agreement with six world powers last month under which Iran is to curb its disputed nuclear programme in return for limited relief from sanctions that have squeezed its economy.
- The interim accord has been widely welcomed by Iranians but hardliners are irked by the foreign policy shift and apprehensive that they are losing influence over Iran’s most powerful man, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
- Rouhani’s policies have so far mostly gained the endorsement of Khamenei, who has the final say in Iran’s foreign and security policies, and who has long criticised Western countries’ policies in the Middle East and their motives regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.
- The White House says that an Iranian ballistic missile test would not invalidate a recently signed nuclear accord meant to temporarily halt some of Iran’s most controversial nuclear work.
- The White House clarified its stance just days before Iran is scheduled tolaunch another ballistic missile some 75 miles into the atmosphere.