Return of Iranian Ports in the Post Sanction Era

BY : Mehdi Rastegary

Iranian economy in a glance

     Islamic Republic of Iran is an outstanding figure in terms of geo-economics and geo-politics. As the largest nation in Middle East and Central Asia, Iran is an economic power in terms of international trade, industry and agriculture, energy and natural resources, science and technology, tourism and logistics. In spite of all unprecedented global pressures in the past three decades, Iran is the land of resources and opportunities. Among the great features of Iranian economy, we can point to:

 

  • 80 million population with progressive improvement of human development ( HDI reported to be 0.749 in 2014)[1]
  • highly developed human capitals in form of young educated workforce.
  • second global place in terms of natural gas reservoirs (34,020 billion Cubic meters) and third in terms of production (1.626 trillion cubic meters in 2013)[2,3]
  • Fourth global place in terms of proven oil reservoir (157,530 million barrels) and fifth in terms of production (3.4 million barrels per day of petroleum and other liquids in 2014) [2,4]
  • 7 percent share of mineral reserves in the world (Aluminum, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Chrome, Lead, Sulfur, talc, Gypsum, Phosphates , cement, silica, Gold, Uranium, Titanium, Gem Stones, and many more)[5,6]
  • Significant industrial production in more than 40 industries including metals and alloys, automotive, petrochemicals, petroleum refinery, defense, Chemicals, Food and drinks, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare, construction, transport, tourism, retail, Shipbuilding, Power, telecommunication, electronics, and so on.
  • Great agricultural production (classified among the top 40 countries in 12 categories out of 13 categories of agricultural products) with an estimate of 3 billion USD agricultural production in 2015.[7,8]
  • Foreign trade including 32,495 million USD non-oil exports, 53,652 million USD Petroleum exports and 51,560 million USD imports[4,9]

 

     Many of mentioned figures, though still significant in stature, reflect the induced contraction in Iranian economy within the duration of globally-enforced economic sanctions. Indeed, the real capacities and capabilities of Iranian economy are far beyond this projection. This is the main reason for the rush of global economic players to Iranian markets in the advent of post-sanctions era. As appreciated by specialists and researchers, opening of Iran’s mega-market to foreign investment can provide new investment opportunities with estimated value of 600-800 billion USD within the next decade [10, 11, and 12]. It is a fact that Iran’s role in global economy cannot be overlooked: the world needs Iran as much as Iran needs the world. The time has come for the world to deal with Iran as a global player and regional partner that is willing to contribute to peace, stability and development. In this paper we review the status of Iranian ports sector and the benefits that it can offer to world trade. We will focus more on container ports that are capable of serving various supply chains.

 

Iran: the potential crossroad of trade

   Iran is geographically located in the intersection of Middle East, and Central and South Asia. It borders 16 countries by land, water and sea[1]. In this sense, Iran is the second state in terms of number of neighbor countries. Iran has 890 kilometers of coastline in her north that covers the entire southern bottom of Caspian Sea, and 4900 Kilometers of coastline in her south that covers the entire northern expanse of the Oman Sea and Persian Gulf. Oman Sea is connected to the Indian Ocean, the most strategic ocean in the world. Associated with a total 2.5 billion population in her littoral states, Indian Ocean provides access to emerging and booming economies of new millennium and their markets.

 

""

Exhibit 1 - Map of some proposed International North-South Transport Corridor passing Iranian Territory

   Accordingly Indian Ocean has evolved into the greatest maritime highway for transport of energy and trade that attracts half of container ships, two third of oil tankers, and one third of bulk carriers of the world. The linkage of Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman to Indian Ocean provides the connection of Central Asia and Middle East to the global maritime transport network.

     Indeed all of the northern, western and eastern neighbors of Iran can be accounted as her potential hinterlands: Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, NaKhjavan, and Kazakhstan are landlocked and do not have access to open seas. There are also landlocked states that are not direct neighbors of Iran, but border her neighbor states: these include Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

 

 ""

 

     In spite of access to open seas, states like Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria not only have serious issues in terms of availability of port facilities and infrastructure, but also face serious national security issues. As the most politically stable and logistically capable country in the region, Iran is the best choice to serve the trade to these states.
Iran is also the best route for transit of trade flows from South Asia (and Far East) to states like Georgia, Turkey, westbound Russia, Ukraine, and even further to the EU states. The potential transit capability is usually recognized as proposed Transport Corridor concepts. Iran is also incorporated in several other proposed corridors (as shown in exhibit1), including North-South Corridor (INSTC), Europe-Caucasus-Asia Corridor (TRACECA), and Silk Road Corridor. In 2014, the total GDP and population of the 17 hinterland states of Iranian ports in Eurasia and Central Asia have been 3,600 billion USD and 547 million people respectively.

In the south, Iran borders with six countries of (Persian) Gulf Council, and Iraq by sea. These are emerging markets and Iran not only has good ties with them but also has substantial trades with UAE, and Iraq . The Persian Gulf Council states are mostly oil-driven economies with total GDP of 1,650 billion USD and aggregate population of 50 million people (excluding Iraq).

 

Iranian Ports: the natural choice

 

Shanghai International Shipping Institute has forecasted that within the coming ten years, the demand for container ports in Persian Gulf will grow (by a 65.44% increase) to 49.4 million TEU. According to this report, we can estimate that the transshipment /gateway traffic ratio will rise from 77.36% in 2015 to 80.55% in 2025. This is in disagreement with the natural tendency of shipping and supply chains towards increase of gateway traffic in ports. Indeed, aside from some few instances, ports are normally driven by gateway traffic all around the world, and a/m ratio is usually near 43% (accounting 30% share for transshipment in total port traffic). This natural tendency has been extravagantly breached in Persian Gulf. Instead of directing the supply chains to gateway ports to minimize the cost, time, and unwanted externalities (including the pollution, and natural resources depletion) in delivery of goods to customers in the markets, the industry has switched into transshipment of goods from remote ports on the west side of Hormuz Strait at extra-heavy costs.

 ""

 

   For better understanding, let’s consider two scenarios: in the first scenario, a shipping line sends a 12,000 TEU ship to Jebel Ali in her Middle East Service, and a big part of cargo is transshipped to Bandar Abbas by two smaller 4,500 TEU Ships[2]. In the second scenario, the shipping line sends the 12,000 TEU ship directly to Bandar Abbas. By comparing of costs and externalities of these scenarios, we find that scenario no.1 will require and entail consumption of 1134.2 tons of more fuel, emission of 3534.3 tons of CO2, several days of delay in delivery of goods to customers, thousands of dollars of additional cost per delivery of each container, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for deployment of ships per voyage[3]. This is absolute diseconomy in management of supply chains. These costs and externalities could be pragmatically avoided if the 12,000 TEU vessel was sent directly to Bandar Abbas according to scenario no.2. Unfortunately what has been put into practice for decades is scenario one.

    Presently, the Iranian ports sector is capable of channeling one-third of the prevailing gateway container demand in Persian Gulf region. Among the 22 container ports in Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, Iran has 6 globally renowned ports namely Chabahar, Shahid Rajaee Port, Bushehr Port, Assaluyeh Port, Imam Khomeini Port, and Khoramshahr[4]. These ports are connected to a network of about 85893 Kms of roads, 10407 Kms of railways, 60 airports, and supported by great transport fleets[5] that can channel and distribute the cargo to inbound and peripheral outbound markets [17, and 18]. Moreover on the northern borders, Iran has three major ports that cover the entire southern coastline of Caspian Sea: these are Anzali, Amirabad, and Noshahr. These ports can act as forelands for other Caspian Sea ports (i.e. Baku, Astrakhan, Aktau, Turkmenbashi, etc.). Table 2 indicates the capabilities of Iranian Ports and Maritime Sector within March 2009 and March 2015.

 

 

""

Exhibit 2 - An Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV) berthed in Shahid Rajaee Port Complex

 

     Many of Iranian ports are involved in development and capacity extension plans: Shahid Rajaee Port is meant to extend her capacity to 8 million TEU and 150 million tons in few years. Chabahar port has absorbed foreign investment to serve the Southern Asia- Central Asia trade in very near future. Bushehr Port is developing a 600 thousand TEU container terminal in Negin Island, and there are similar developments in BIK, Khoramshahr, Anzali, Amirabad, and Noshahr. Moreover, many infrastructure development projects are getting completed to enhance the connectivity in Iranian transport network: these consist of 11,584 kilometers of roads, 586 kilometers of freeways, and 4,371 Kilometers of railways. Many of these projects are meant to serve as parts of transport corridors that cross Iran, including Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railways, Arak-Kermanshah-Khosravi railways, Anzali-Rasht-Ramsar Freeway, Tabriz-Bazargan Freeway, Astara-Rezvanshahr highway, and many more[22].

 

""

 

     The Iranian territory includes Strait of Hormuz. The strait not only accounts for passage of 35 percent of oil traded by sea, but also facilitates the crossing of around 85,500 vessels per year. This provides best opportunities for development of maritime business clusters in Iranian territory. The cluster may include such businesses as bunkering, maritime insurance, ship repair, salvage, ship chandlery, and many more businesses. The best instance of such businesses is bunkering: according to vicinity to maritime routes, economic supply of oil products, and availability of infrastructure and equipment, Iran is among the best choices to build a stable bunkering market.

     Iran has been working actively to enhance her trade and business environment. Many of Iranian ports have been transformed into free zones and special economic zones. Several exemptions, discounts, and facilitations are in place to support the transit from Iranian land. Iranian state is an influential member of many economic blocs such as Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), GECF and OPEC. Iran is also invited to join Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and bidding to join WTO as well.

     In a nutshell, Iran is moving speedily to gain her merited position as a global participant in economy, international trade, and logistics in the post-sanction era. This can be a turning point in the history of Middle East. Expanded from the heart of the Heartland to the edge of the Rim-lands, Iran is the natural choice of ports and terminals in Middle East. This preference is strongly substantiated by political stability, industrial development, human development, size of accessible markets, transport facilitation, and opportunities for cooperation and investment. The time has come for the world and Iran to recognize the interests of one and another and organize their joint efforts to consolidate them.

 

 

Reference

 

 

 

 

 Endnotes

 

[1] ) Iran has 6,000 kilometers of land (and river) borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Nakhjavan, Turkey and Iraq. The sea borders include 657 kilometers with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia in Caspian Sea, and 2043 kilometers of sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

[2] )Vessel sizes are selected due to the expected cascading effects in near future.

[3] ) Fuel consumption rates and Carbon dioxide emissions are taken from M.Sisson, and I.M. Vincent Andersen[19, and 20].

[4] ) Other southern Iranian ports are Qeshm, Bandar Lengeh, Kish, Assaluyeh, Kharg, Mahshahr, Abadan, Lavan, Gonaveh. There are some other promising and/or developing ports in terms of container throughput like Souza port and Jask port. In addition, there are around 100 small and local ports in Iranian coastlines.

[5] )The Iranian national maritime fleet includes a total capacity of 106429 TEU container, 1338946 million gross tonnage in bulk, and 404225 gross tonnage in general cargo in IRISL. The hauliers fleet consists of 423,000 lorries and trucks. The national railways fleet consists of 444 locomotives and more than 22000 railcars in operations.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Johnny Fever Added Sep 27, 2015 - 11:37pm
Wow, what a country Iran could have been.  It shows you just how insane their religious leaders are to put the country’s financial well-being behind the interests of their religious fanaticism.  It also explains why a country with so much wealth, would cheer and support terrorism against the west. 
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 28, 2015 - 2:37am
This post is a technical paper, and it does not concern any political purposes or implications. But in reply to those who raised the issue, Iran is actually a powerful and wealthy country. Unlike the distorted picture in media, Iran is a contributor to peace and stability in the region and the world. Iran has never started a war against any state; has been host to millions of refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq for decades; has not intervened in any state's internal affairs (at least  without the call and consent of that state's government); and is certainly determined to develop and maintain its power and interests in the regional and global levels. Iranian policy has never been focused on war, although we have had a costly experience in defending ourselves against aggressors like Saddam. War and terror are not the Iranian choice; as they are detrimental to sustenance of the state. I will be grateful if instead of eroding biased political discussions, we can have a debate to shed light on the opportunities and profits that can be achieved pragmatically in terms a win-win framework.
Utpal Patel Added Sep 28, 2015 - 11:18am
The GDP numbers in your article are far more helpful went put into perspective of GDP per capita.  Iran’s GDP per capita is roughly $5,300.  That’s terrible.  By way of specific example, Turnkey has almost twice the GDP as Iran and a relatively equivalent population.  That doesn’t mean things can’t get better in Iran, especially in light of all the things you mentioned in your article, but it does give one an idea at how much of those resources are currently being squandered. 
 
I wonder, do the Iranian people blame the United States and their crippling sanctions or the Iranian regime?  We’ll never know the answer to that question due to the regime’s feelings towards free speech.  The recent uprisings seem to blame the regime but you seem to fault the United States. 
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 28, 2015 - 12:35pm
Uptal, you are right about the GDP. That is directly caused by the economic sanctions that have been in place against our nation. Turkey could have never survived such economic pressures.The sanctions were set  to make Iranian economy weak, and disrupt the state's life. This did not happen. Many lobbyists in United States have torn their shirts against Iranian people in corroboration of Netanyahu who has announced that we are 2500 years enemies of Israel. The fact is that the resultant of US policy has been very hostile towards Iran and has served towards injustice to my people. However, Iranians are a nation of high integrity. Now the world has come to this conclusion that it is much better to collaborate with Iran which is the most stable state and among the most developed ones in the Middle East in terms of Win-Win schemes. If you want the evidence, you can refer to the news and trace the number of delegations that are rushing to build up collaborations with Iran.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 28, 2015 - 1:16pm
One more point UPTAL, the better measure for economic will be GDP PPP that is above 13000 USD in Iran as I can recollect. I do not know the figure for Turkey. However, in general you are right about the harmful economic contraction caused by economic sanctions.
Utpal Patel Added Sep 28, 2015 - 2:31pm
“This did not happen”
 
What didn’t happen?  I thought we agreed, after analyzing GDP data, that the Iranian economy is weak.  A weak economy can’t be good for a country’s political stability. 
 
As it relates to hostility, there is a long list of actions and public statements showing Iran’s hostility towards the United States and Israel.  Fear of what you’re capable of due to this hostility is what prompted the nuclear deal and not the desire to collaborate.  The sanctions were imposed by the United Nations, why are you blaming only Israel and the United States?
 
Even if we disagree, it’s nice to read the thoughts of an Iranian and your take on current events.  If you don’t mind me asking, what do you do for work?  Do you currently live in Iran?
Bill Kamps Added Sep 28, 2015 - 3:04pm
Mehdi, thanks for posting the article.  It is great to hear from an Iranian without the filter of either of our governments.
 
I have a few friends that live in Iran, and I have met a few other people from Iran over the years. My impression has always been a positive one. In fact one of the guys I met had one of the most charming sense of humor of anyone I have ever met.
 
Just because our governments do not get along, we should be careful about judging all citizens of a country by the propaganda the respective countries broadcast.  Government policies do not speak for all the citizens. Government animosity should not automatically translate to personal animosity.
 
It reminds me of my visits to the Soviet Union in the 80s, I was very warmly welcomed, and the people I met were quite happy to meet a visitor from the USA.
 
 
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 2:44am
Uptal, I said that the post is not political and it seems that you did not care. As I said the sanctions did not work. Iranian economy is very sturdy. The sanctions were set to cripple and even overthrow the state and instabilize the country by an implosive self-destruction which was meant to form by excessive economic pressures on the nation. But be sure, Iran will stay Iran forever.
    According to several UN reports Israel is a source of crimes against humanity. It has a plan to invade the lands from Nile to Euphrates, just like what it is currently doing in Palestinian lands. Indeed Israel is the most hostile state in the world. It has indicated this plainly in the Iran Deal process.
What you said about US is true; suppose that a foreign government organizes a Coup in your country ( like what US did in Iran in 1953); Supports your enemy at war ( like the supports US gave Saddam during Iran-Iraq war and the explicit Anti-Iran poses it takes in backing up Israel);  poses security threat and espionage to your country ( which US is globally known to do); Attacks all your offshore facilities by her Navy and raids and drowns your Navy vessels in your territorial sea expanses( like what happened in Operations Praying Mantis, 1988); shoots your passenger airplane in your  territorial waters ( like shooting Iran Air flight 655 in 1988 which was consequently followed by giving medals to the executors!); strengthens and charges the states which are allied against your national interests; charges rebels to drag your country to civil war like what has happened in many of your neighbor countries ( like what happened in 2009 in Iran, and if it was not contained by the state, Iran would have been another Syria today; US-funded Satellite TVs like Tavana are still teaching the street combat skills in riots by media...); contributed to terrorism and instability ( like what US have done by supporting Saudi Arabians in Syria, Afghanistan, and any where else in the world); accusing your state to have WMD while having the greatest collection of WMDs in the world; setting embargoes and leading international sanctions for 3 decades against your nation, and.... CAN YOU CALL SUCH AN STATE TO BE A FRIEND OF YOUR COUNTRY??? The US government in times of Obama has made some corrections in US attitude towards the world, which is positively necessary and not sufficient. And we saw the show that Republicans are reacting in the congress and the presidency election campaigns.
I have great respect for US nation, but our nation will not tolerate the bully and interfering behaviors of US government and any other state.
Thank you for your kind words in the end. Yes, I live in Iran and I am an expert and researcher in ports sector and terminals industry.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 3:01am
Mr. Kamps, thank you for your good understanding of my intents. Humans are respectable everywhere in the world, and they are not like laundry to be discriminated. In terms of politics, they should not necessarily agree in every thing to keep peace. The issue of national interests certainly brings forth fields of disagreement and contradiction. It is essential for states to work inside the framework of diplomacy to develop Win-Win schemes and avoid the outdated Zero-Sum way of thinking.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 3:03am
JG, you do not have the least idea of what you are talking about. I suggest that you study more and watch less TV shows. thank you.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 6:38am
Mr. Hancock, thank you for your compliment. Iran have had outstanding investments in Bushehr Power Plant for decades, with foreign European contractors who had not accomplished their contractual obligations. The rise of population also entailed a rise in demand for energy. Iran also has Uranium mines and reservoirs. So using nuclear energy is a very good choice. And what does this internal decision has to do with US or Israel who are holders of WMDs and Nuclear weapons, and the main contributors to instability in Middle East? Let's be honest, Iran's government has never inclined to production of WMDs; even in Iran-Iraq war, after Saddam's repeated use of chemical weapons, Iranian leader at the time did not consent production or use of chemical weapons in counteraction against Iraq. The same statement came from the current leader who plainly cited that nuclear weapons are not legitimate in Islam and Iran. As you may know, he is the highest political leader in Iran. That is while Israel, Russia, Pakistan, India, and China have nuclear WMD in Asia, and furthermore US and NATO and WAHABI terrorism have brought great instability to Middle East and Central Asia. Given this picture one may ask : 'why so much hostility and pressure should be posed on Iran (which is an NPT member and not holding WMDs)?'; Why other religious state like Israel ( the Zionist) or Pakistan ( Islamic Republic) that are currently a holder of WMD and a threat to the world, are not under pressure for the terror they have brought to Middle East? Why is US holding nuclear warheads if even faint possibility of intentions to develop such warfare is so bad that another nation, tens of thousands of miles away from its territory, should be treated by seclusion and sanction? There is a planned and induced conspiracy theory against Iran. As you said, we need the communication in order to get rid of it.
 
Bill Kamps Added Sep 29, 2015 - 10:33am
Mehdi, it seems that the US and many Americans feel it is the job of our government to control who is allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.  This seems like another fools errand, since preventing countries from doing this is difficult to impossible at best, and it also creates a toxic political environment, which makes compromise on more practical and pressing issues difficult.
 
Unfortunately the propaganda from Israel has convinced many Americans that the day after Iran has a working nuclear weapon, it would use it on Israel.  This despite over 70 years of experience which demonstrates that nuclear weapons are not very practical to use.  Of course Israel has an interest in limiting which of it neighbors have a nuclear weapon, since this put some constraints on some of their activities.
 
While nuclear weapons make really terrible offensive weapons, they are a pretty good defensive deterrent.  Countries like Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea have little to fear from belligerent adversaries because those adversaries know if pushed to the brink these countries could use a nuclear weapon.  The fact that both India/Pakistan have a nuclear weapon has made border skirmishes between these two little more than training exercises.  In this case nuclear weapons are actually a stabilizing influence rather than a destabilizing one.
 
 
 
 
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 10:56am
    Mr. Kamps, nuclear weapons are threats to the planet. The world still remembers use of nuclear bombs by US in Hiroshima and Nakazaki. Iranians are not such beasts and Iran has never developed or used any WMD against any nation, and I hope I never see a day that we are reduced to level of such beasts.
    I do not like politics as it is like a canal of dirt that leads to power. I seldom believe politicians and media. But I know that Iran could have never involved in developing nuclear weapon even under the umbrella of nuclear terror in Middle East. The evidences (including IAEA documents) prove this.
   I hope that international sanctions like what was brutally imposed on my nation for years, are set on states that are readily holding Nuclear Weapons (and other kinds of WMD) and are always keeping the world on the brink of a nuclear war.
Bill Kamps Added Sep 29, 2015 - 11:01am
A threat to the planet, but a reality in today's world. We can't wave a wand and make them go away.  At the same time we cant obsess over them.  Many countries see them as a way to balance power with the super powers.  Countries like a North Korea has little to fear from South Korea and US because they have a nuclear weapon.  North Korea could never build the necessary jets, and tanks needed to balance the power of the USA.
 
Im not sure that nuclear weapons are more of a threat than the incompetent US politicians who periodically invade far away countries without a plan for why it is being done and what end game is the desired outcome.
 
 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 29, 2015 - 1:20pm
Galalavan
 
Iran is Islamic and Islam does not value humanity unless man converts to Muslim
 
More crap from an ignorant who possibly has never lived in an islamic country. I have lived in ismalic Africa for almost 20 years, my wife is muslim, and I'm atheist, she prays 5 times a day, I don't ( ;-) ), and we have NO PROBLEM.
 
And I was and am accepted and respected by anybody I had and have contact with, no matter which religion.
 
Why ? Live and let live.
 
Get that ?
Stone-Eater Added Sep 29, 2015 - 1:25pm
BTW: Try to look at a map. Then you might notice that Iran is the last bigger country in the area in the way of the US surrounding Russia (with its "allies") right up to China.
 
This is neither about Iran's nukes nor about religion. It's about securing resources.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Sep 29, 2015 - 1:46pm
Utpal
 
The sanctions were imposed by the United Nations, why are you blaming only Israel and the United States?
 
They were the driving force 
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 1:51pm
Mr.Kamp , although it makes sense as a balancing rationale; it does not apply to Iran.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Sep 29, 2015 - 1:54pm
True Stone. All wars are about resources. That's why it's always about controlling territory
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 29, 2015 - 2:00pm
I appreciate your comments Kaushik and Stone. I hope that the warmongering and hate-mongering trends are slowed down and give the world a break to think of common issue and interests, and effective solutions.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 29, 2015 - 2:28pm
Mehdi
 
I hope so too. I sometimes wonder in which century we live.
Johnny Fever Added Sep 30, 2015 - 12:21am
Without inundating this article with links regarding warmongering and hatemongering, is it really your assertion that Iran is a peaceful nation and the United States isn’t? 
 
Are you aware that Iran has an unelected Supreme Leader and the United States is a Democracy? 
 
Are you familiar with the fact one can’t publicly say anything negative about the Supreme Leader? 
 
Are you aware that Iran doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist yet Israel and the United States recognize Iran’s right to exist?
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Sep 30, 2015 - 12:45am
Johnny, you're cracking me up :) Did Iran start Vietnam, maybe Iran invaded Granada or perhaps Panama, Iraq (twice) not to mention sponsoring all the nice Mujahideen 
Mehdi Rastegary Added Sep 30, 2015 - 1:18am
Fever, what is happening in Iran is Iranians' business; It does not concern the politicians in US. So please mind the American issues first ( including and not restricted to injustice in distribution of wealth, racism, interference in other states' internal affairs, devotion and subordination to Israel, the finance-manufacture disproportion,  economy of greed, hate and paranoia, production and holding of WMD, environment , education, warmongering, alliance with origins of terrorism,e.g. Saudi Arabia,  etc.) instead of thinking of democracy in Iran. Let us mind our business. Thank you for your kind consideration.
Utpal Patel Added Sep 30, 2015 - 12:52pm
Of course this post is political.  You blame sanctions on Iran’s economic woes and I blame a regime that left the international community no choice but to impose sanctions on Iran.  The nuclear deal lifts those sanctions on the condition the regime cancels its nuclear weapons program.  It’s a silly deal for many reasons but it gives Iran the opportunity to grow economically as long as it continues to behave.  My bet is the regime does something else to infuriate the west, like invade Iraq, and the nuclear deal will be ripped to shreds and the new sanctions will rightfully be imposed.  Following that, the economy will once again, as evidenced by its pathetic GDP per capita today, be an economic basket case. 
Stone-Eater Added Sep 30, 2015 - 1:01pm
In fact, Iran has never threatened anyone. Its harsh responses were the result of external meddling into its internal affairs.
 
Easy as that.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 1, 2015 - 8:45am
Uptal, this post is not political; the content is about economics and trade, and is focused on Iranian port sector. BUT PEOPLE YOU LIKE TO DRAG IT INTO POLITICS; If you go to politics, you should expect an appropriate reply. You are a master of dual standards: US and Israel and every other state can hold Nuclear WMD, and Iran's efforts to work on peaceful nuclear technologies, without any solid evidence, is labeled as breach of UN treaties. The world remembers the void and false reports of US about Iraq's WMD and the military invasion of that country by NATO and US forces twelve years ago. You are one of such trash-talkers. You are not even a native American, and I wonder why you are tearing your shirt in my post: are you paid for this?
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 1, 2015 - 8:46am
Stone, practically talking you are 100 % correct. thank you.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 2, 2015 - 3:41pm
Neelon, it seems that there are many things that you are unaware of; let me give you some reports from the same UN where Netanyahu has made your pointed speech in its plenary:
 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf
 
http://www.unrol.org/files/UNFFMGC_Report.pdf
 
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/IP%20A%20HRC%20RES%2016%2032.pdf
 
He is the representative of the same state, who is even not accepted by majority of his nation for his controversial and extremist views and actions. He is an enemy of all states; his army includes politicians, soldiers, spies, operative agents, lawyers, lobbyists, bankers and media-men. He is ruling your mind in US. Let him be afraid of Iran. It is good for the world.
Utpal Patel Added Oct 3, 2015 - 7:38am
I suppose you’re right, this post isn’t necessarily political.  You’ve offered us a complete picture of Iran’s economic situation and potential void of politics.  But the fact remains, as long as Iran is perceived as being a troublemaker the international community will again impose sanctions or worse.  I don’t think Iran has done what’s necessary to have sanctions lifted but you, the international community and Democratic Party disagrees with me.  It will be interesting to see Israel’s next move, like what they did to Syria nuclear ambitions, I wouldn’t put it past them to attack Iran without the support of anyone.    
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Oct 3, 2015 - 7:41am
Iran is a very different kind of fish Utpal
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Oct 3, 2015 - 7:42am
..and they have the support of China and Russia
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 3, 2015 - 11:34am
Uptal, your thinking is not practically of any significance; the world have chosen to collaborate with Iran as every one is sick of war and terror which is led by Israel and its serving politicians in US. You hinted to a very scandalous point: Syria's disaster has happened under the influence of Israel. It is quiet obvious that if Israel makes any such erratic moves towards Iranians' interests, it would encounter Iran's harsh reaction. But the fact is that Israel ,the warmonger, does dare to do so and it is just paying lip-service... As you are raising irrelevant time-wasting subjects, I should ask you : 'Are you always such a pain in the...neck?'
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 3, 2015 - 1:32pm
WS, you are funny.. but I am not writing for humor. Save your jokes for a pub. thank you.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Oct 3, 2015 - 1:54pm
William
 
Do you really think the West is free now? How about our bosom (Wahabi/Salafi) friends in the Middle East? Iran, controlled as it is, is one of the only two democratic governments in the Middle East if you didn't know. It's all smoke and mirrors..and fire
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 3, 2015 - 2:49pm
WS, I saw your disrespect in Ken Hilman's post. You are only disrespecting yourself. I said you are not worth of a word.
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 4, 2015 - 1:17am
WS, you are far irrelevant and biased ; I remove all your comments from my post.
Thomas Napers Added Oct 4, 2015 - 5:55am
William Stockton - I would love to read what you said to upset Mehdi that's worse than Utpal.  Please share an article or comment in one of my articles. Many thanks in advance.  
Mehdi Rastegary Added Oct 4, 2015 - 6:37am
Thomas, I wonder why you are interested in his comments; Uptal has entered to this discussion with a negative approach, has beaten around the bush to deviate the debate from its course. However, he has kept some level of courtesy and has a slight bit of reason in his comments. But WS has only spoken as a silly-bully mouthpiece. He is a pointless waste of time. I reserve the right for myself and the readers to avoid and get protected from such nonsense. If there is a bit of reason and some commitment to courtesy in your comment, I am ready to receive it; even if it is irrelevant like the twisted ones from UPTAL. But if you are looking for pointless street arguments , do not bother to read my posts. as they are written for the experts. thanks for your drop-by.

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