Tracking Conflict Worldwide
Middle East & North Africa
Govt continued efforts to gain access to outstanding $52bn in unfrozen assets following lifting of sanctions in Jan, with delays due to risk avoidance by major international financial institutions undermining political support for nuclear deal and President Rouhani in Tehran. Central bank chief met U.S. treasury secretary in Washington 15 April, Joint Commission held third meeting in Vienna 21 April and FM Zarif met U.S. Sec State Kerry in New York 18 and 22 April to discuss how to allow Iran dollarised transactions. Supreme Leader Khamenei’s late March indirect accusations of treason at former President Rafsanjani undermined latter’s chances of being elected next chair of Assembly of Experts, body responsible for choosing next Supreme Leader. Army commander 21 April denied it deployed troops in Syria following reports of soldiers killed there, but said some voluntarily joined Revolutionary Guards there (see Syria). Final statement of Organization of Islamic Conference summit in Istanbul 14-15 April condemned govt’s interference in Arab affairs citing Iran’s inflammatory statements on legal judgements against alleged terrorists in Saudi Arabia, prompting Rouhani to boycott closing session. Jordan withdrew ambassador from Iran citing Tehran’s interference in Gulf internal affairs, but Iran-EU relations continued to improve: Italian PM visited Tehran 12-13 April with 250-strong delegation, granted Iran nearly €5bn in credit lines and guarantees for exports; EU foreign policy chief Mogherini and seven EU commissioners visited Tehran 17 April to “turn a page on Iran-EU relations”.