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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
1. , what exactly is the journalistic value of this article? Did you ask Brian Hook any questions about the goal behind starving Iran of foreign currency? Did you ask about the possible humanitarian impact? This reads like an FDD press release.
While Iran’s sanction-battered economy has sparked protests across the nation, U.S. officials cite new intelligence suggesting Tehran’s finances are more dire than previously thought and are bringing...
The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal @WSJ
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
2. You failed to explain to readers that in May of this year the Trump admin froze the use of escrow accounts tied to the cancelled oil waivers. The waivers ensured that Iran could only use of its oil revenues for the purchases of food + medicine. Treasury had *direct* oversight.
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
3. Did Brian Hook explain why the Trump administration had decided that rather than tightly control the use of Iran's foreign currency reserves through this proven system it was seeking to deny their use outright, even for humanitarian trade?
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @BourseBazaar
4. If we believe Hook that Iran only has access to 10% of its foreign currency reserves, that means Iran has less ability to purchase food + medicine. We have covered this at , but I'll point you to reporting by Jonathan Saul on food imports.
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @mdubowitz
4. told you: “If Iran is running dangerously low on these reserves, that could trigger a balance-of-payments crisis and a further collapse of its currency... and mass layoffs as it can’t buy the machinery and technology it needs to power its economy."
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
5. Did it not occur to you that Dubowitz deliberately focused on "machinery and technology" rather than the more fundamental issue of food and medicine, which are the primary goods for which subsidized foreign currency is provided by Iran's central bank?
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
6. Did it not strike you as odd that he was predicting hyperinflation and mass layoffs while publicly claiming solidarity with the Iranian people, hundreds of whom have died in the streets protesting economic hardship? Is that not something you wished to ask him to explain?
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @sepehrifar
6. Did you miss the extensive research conducted by and colleagues which highlights the direct ways in which currency devaluation and interrupted supply of dollars and euros has negatively impacted access to medicine?
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
7. Did you speak to anyone else at State, even on background, who could have told you that the department has been riven with internal debate over the policies Hook is pushing, which undermine longstanding tenets of U.S. sanctions policy not to unduly harm ordinary people.
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
8. Again, what was the point of this article? You got a great "exclusive" but didn't provide any context. You didn't connect it to any story beyond that which Hook was spinning. Your colleagues at WSJ have told these stories. Your readers deserve better.
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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj Dec 3
Replying to @yarbatman
9. As a final point, there is full awareness among European policymakers that a shortage of euros is a key economic vulnerability for Iran. But there is also incredulity that the impoverishment of millions is the intended—and stated—goal of US policy. Shouldn’t we be asking why?
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