Iran

10:01pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Middle East

Growing Pressures Prompt Plunge In Iranian Currency

An Iranian man counts banknotes after exchanging a gold coin for cash in Tehran on Monday. Gold coins were being exchanged for over 10 million rials as the Iranian currency continues to lose value against the U.S. dollar.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

The value of Iran's currency — which had been sliding steadily for months — took another plunge this week. Faced with new economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe, the rial now seems to be in free fall.

But at least part of the dive could be linked to currency manipulation by the government itself in an effort to fund candidates in upcoming elections.

In images posted on the Internet, hundreds of Iranians are seen gathered outside the headquarters of the Bank Melli in Tehran Monday. They wanted to buy dollars, but there were no dollars to be had.

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10:01pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Middle East

Can Sanctions Alone Get Iran To Negotiate?

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 8:44 am

Fishing boats are seen in front of oil tankers on the Persian Gulf waters, south of the Strait of Hormuz. The European Union has announced plans to join U.S. efforts to slow the flow of oil from Iran, the world's third largest exporter.
Kamran Jebreili AP

In an effort to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program through economic pain, both the U.S. and the European Union have imposed sanctions that should make it harder for Iran to sell its oil. But the global oil business is unpredictable, and sanctions are no guarantee.

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8:44pm

Tue January 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Analysis: On U.S. Military Missions, Carefully Chosen Words

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 8:37 pm

President Obama opened and closed his speech with a tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces, holding out their "team" approach as an example for the rest of U.S. society. "At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down," he said, "they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand."

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4:22pm

Mon January 23, 2012
Europe

EU Squeezes Iran With New Oil Sanctions

The EU has agreed to an embargo on buying oil from Iran in the latest sanction against that country for its nuclear program. Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, speaks here in Brussels on Monday following a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Virginia Mayo AP

The battle over Iran's nuclear program escalated Monday as the European Union announced an embargo on importing oil from Iran.

For years, Europe has been reluctant to join the United States in imposing tough sanctions on Iran. The United States years ago stopped buying Iranian oil, while European nations including France, Spain, Italy, and Greece kept up their purchases. European countries right now buy about 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran.

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5:24am

Mon January 23, 2012
The Two-Way

EU Approves Embargo On Iranian Oil

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 10:06 am

The European Union officially agreed to impose an embargo on Iranian oil, today. The AP reports that the union's 27 foreign ministers agreed on an immediate ban on new contracts for oil and existing contracts will be allowed to run through July 1.

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