One of the Downsides of US Departure from #Afghanistan for #Iran

Prior to the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan, especially the city of Herat, was an important source of US dollars for Iran’s economy.

According to the Tehran based news site Moniban news, Iranian traders used to take Iranian made goods to Herat for sale; payments by Afghans were usually in cash. The rate of USD in Herat, which is only 2 hours away from Iran’s border, was lower than in Iran. So while in Herat, the traders purchased USD and brought them to Iran for sale.  

Annually, the export of Iranian goods to Afghanistan was worth between $7 billion – $9 billion. With international sanctions on the way against the Taliban regime, Iran–Afghanistan trade could fall significantly. It could also reduce the supply of USD in Iran’s currency market, thus pushing up the rate of USD/Toman.  This will then push up the cost of imports for Iran and its rate of inflation.   

The departure of the US from Afghanistan is good for Iran’s anti-US rhetoric, but likely to be bad news for Iran’s economy.

Even the US government does not know about the exact presence of IRGC in #Iran economy

Something has been puzzling me: its obviously in Obama’s interest (politically and in terms of his legacy) that the Iran nuclear deal succeeds, and that the moderates are strengthened in Iran through foreign investment in Iran’s economy. So why has the US Department of Justice not provided guarantees to big European banks about doing business with Iranian companies?

A recent article, part of which I am quoting below, may have answered my question. Penned by Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo who is also a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the article published today in Foreign Policy states:

I know that the CIA, Treasury Department, National Security Agency, and others work closely to keep tabs on the IRGC’s operations.

And how exactly do they do that? According to Congressman Pompeo (who is also a Tea Party member):

By using a huge, wall-sized poster, the Treasury Department delineates which Iranian individuals, government officials, and military commanders are tied to terrorism and which evasion mechanisms they are utilizing.

The poster’s hard lines and dashed lines map the constantly changing IRGC. It provides an impressive visual representation of the advanced network the IRGC maintains in dozens of critical industries. With this poster and many other tools, our intelligence community tries to keep a pulse on the members of the IRGC’s terrorist regime.

Great, so why doesn’t the Obama administration use this information to state which Iranian companies are “clean” from IRGC connections so that foreign businesses to do business with them? Well, here is where it gets tricky:

But the poster also contains enormous blank spaces and question marks. There are areas that we wish were filled in, but are empty. Despite the incredible amount of U.S. manpower and resources put into the maintenance of this sophisticated chart, there are many unknowns and imperfections.

So by the look of things, the US itself is not exactly sure about the exact extent of the IRGC’s presence in various companies in Iran. Therefore how can the Department of Justice issue guarantees to big banks about doing business in Iran?

You can read the entire article here.