Iran / by Alistair Galloway

The United States’ (US) change to its visa waiver program created tension between Iran and the US as it now requires visas for Iranian citizens and those who travel to Iran in order to enter the US. Iran’s testing of a ballistic missile in November violated United Nations (UN) sanctions against it, however there have been no repercussions for Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded its report on Iran’s nuclear program and the report was ultimately accepted by the UN-IAEA board and a resolution was created to end all investigations. Iran also commenced the process of shipping the majority of its enriched uranium to Russia as part of the nuclear agreement. A record breaking 12,000 candidates registered for the upcoming February parliamentary elections in which there is a great level of uncertainty. An outbreak of H1N1 or swine flu affected Iran and while Iranian health ministry officials stated that it was under control, it was seen to spread and infect more Iranians by the end of the month. Russia and Iran finalized their deal for the delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran which is scheduled to take place in January. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met in December to agree upon a new oil production ceiling but was ultimately unsuccessful due to the uncertainty surrounding Iran’s future production of oil next year. Iran renewed its contracts with two Chinese companies which has accounted for half of its oil exports this past year.