Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Iranian sanctions: Winging it

Full article on economist.com

Regular travellers to Iran would have had some doubts about a report last month on Press TV, a state-run English-language news channel, which claimed that direct flights to America were set to be launched. Press TV quoted another Iranian outlet as saying that Iran Air and Delta Air Lines would restore services between the two countries for the first time in three decades. But it was patently ridiculous. The American government has vigorously enforced sanctions against Iran Air since the mid-1990s, and it actively pursues any US-linked companies suspected of co-operating with the flag-carrier.

Quite why the Iranian government disseminated the report is unclear. Optimists might speculate that some officials in Tehran—perhaps buoyed by the election of Hasan Rohani, the relatively reformist new president—wanted to send a message of rapprochement to Washington. Cynics might point out that the report surfaced a week before the 25th anniversary of the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 by an American warship, with the loss of 290 civilian lives...