On Saturday, the currency of Iran hit its lowest point against the United States dollar as a result of its expanding seclusion and the European Union’s potential sanctions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or some of its members.

In recent months, relations between the EU and Tehran have gone down the drain, with attempts to commence nuclear negotiations coming to a standstill. Iran has taken into custody some European citizens, and the EU has been vocal in condemning the cruel handling of demonstrators and the imposition of capital punishment.

On Saturday, the dollar was recorded trading at 447,000 rials on Iran’s black market, having increased from 430,500 the day prior, according to the website Bonbast.com.

Since the passing of 22-year-old Kurd Iranian female Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16, the rate of the rial has dropped by nearly a third.

Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the recent unrest has posed one of the most difficult tests to the country’s theocratic system.

The Ecoiran economic website attributed the ongoing depreciation of the rial to a purported “global understanding” that was against Iran.

Ecoiran noted that the intensifying political pressures, such as the addition of the IRGC to a list of terrorist organizations and the limitation of Iran-connected ships and oil tankers, are a demonstration of a global consensus against Iran, which may have a sway on the dollar’s rate in Tehran.

A Sunni leader has called for revising the Iranian constitution as demonstrators have taken to the streets in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament urged the EU to place the IRGC of Iran on their list of terrorist groups, charging them with repressing protesters and sending drones to Russia. Although the assembly cannot legally force the EU to do so, they wanted to make a strong political statement to Tehran.

The maritime authority of Panama revealed this week that in the past four years, its vessel registry, the largest in the world, has removed the flag from 136 ships connected to Iran‘s state oil company.

On Saturday, Mohammad Reza Farzin, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, attributed the decline of the rial to “psychological operations” that the Iranian government has claimed are being conducted by its adversaries to undermine the Islamic Republic.

According to IRIB, Farzin declared that currently, the central bank is unconstrained in terms of foreign currency and gold resources and reserves, and the primary cause of the movement of the free exchange rate is media fabrication and psychological tactics.

In Iran, where inflation is estimated to be around 50 percent, citizens have been looking to purchase US dollars, other strong currencies, or gold as a way to protect their funds.

Iran has been endeavoring to strengthen its military relationship with Russia, hoping to acquire Sukhoi jets, despite the lack of hope for the reinstatement of the nuclear agreement and the imposition of new sanctions due to its repression of dissenters domestically.

According to reports, Russia is considering selling the Sukhoi jets to Iran.

The relations between Iran and the West have become increasingly strained, leading to the two countries deepening their ties. This includes two phone calls between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Vladimir Putin in less than 10 days, multiple high-level visits, and the possible purchase of Russian Sukhoi fighter jets by Iran as a means to evade EU and US sanctions.

The West has expressed discontentment towards Iran since the country supplied combat drones to Russia, which are being utilized in the latter’s conflict with Ukraine. Although Tehran has denied this, with more and more proof of their kamikaze drones crashing in Kyiv, they have been unable to make the Ukrainian authorities believe them.

The Islamic Republic of Tehran has maintained long-standing cooperation with Moscow in terms of military aid. With Western sanctions in place, the Iranian air force has deteriorated and requires a major overhaul. According to Press TV, Tehran is in the process of obtaining 24 advanced Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia. This follows comments in September by army officials who first made mention of the plans. There has been speculation whether these jets are payment for Iranian drones, with Iranian lawmaker Shahriar Heydari quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying that the order could be delivered as early as spring.

The Kremlin and the Iranian presidential office both reported that Putin and Raisi had phone conversations from the 9th to the 19th of January, emphasizing the importance of strengthening bilateral relations.

Between the two phone conversations, Igor Levitin, a key advisor of Putin, traveled to Tehran and conferred with Ali Shamkhani, the national top security official and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

During the same visit, Shamkhani’s office-run Nour News states that discussions were had between the Russian official and the newly appointed Governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Mohammad Reza Farzin, to explore the possibility of increasing Iran-Russia banking cooperation. Reports suggest that both countries, which have been hit by sanctions, are attempting to devise a new trade system that could replace the US dollar in their transactions.

Water pollution is a significant problem in Syria, with both surface water and groundwater sources being contaminated by a variety of sources.

One major contributor to water pollution in Syria is the lack of proper sewage treatment facilities. Many areas in the country do not have proper sewage systems, leading to raw sewage being dumped into rivers and streams, contaminating the water and making it unsafe for human consumption.

Industrial pollution is also a significant source of water contamination in Syria. Many industries, such as manufacturing and agriculture, release toxic chemicals and waste into the water, contaminating it and posing a risk to both human health and the environment.

Agricultural practices, including the use of pesticides and fertilizers, can also contribute to water pollution in Syria. These chemicals can runoff into rivers and streams, contaminating the water and affecting the local ecosystem.

Water scarcity is also a significant issue in Syria, with many areas experiencing prolonged droughts. This can lead to overuse of groundwater sources, leading to depletion and contamination of these sources.

Overall, water pollution is a major problem in Syria, with both human activity and environmental factors contributing to the contamination of water sources. It is important for the government and citizens to take steps to address this issue and protect the country’s water supply.


Image credit : Sally Ho

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Middle East, although it is not a public holiday in all countries in the region. The celebration of Christmas in the Middle East has a long and complex history, influenced by the diverse cultures and religions found in the region.

In the Middle East, Christmas is primarily celebrated by Christians, particularly those belonging to the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions. The largest concentration of Christians in the Middle East can be found in Lebanon, which has a significant Maronite Catholic population, as well as a small number of Protestants and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

In Lebanon, Christmas is a public holiday and is celebrated with much fanfare. The country has a strong tradition of Christmas lights and decorations, with many people putting up elaborate displays in their homes and businesses. Christmas Eve is typically marked with a Midnight Mass, which is attended by large crowds of people. The Mass is often followed by a traditional feast, known as the “Agape Meal,” which is a time for Christians to come together and share a meal in celebration of the birth of Jesus.

In other countries in the Middle East, such as Egypt and Jordan Christmas is also celebrated by Christians, although it is not a public holiday. In these countries, Christmas is typically marked with religious services and family gatherings. In Egypt, Christmas is often celebrated with traditional food and music, as well as decorations and gift-giving.

In Iraq, Christmas is celebrated by the country’s small Christian community, who make up less than 5% of the population. In recent years, the celebration of Christmas in Iraq has been marked by security concerns and attacks on Christian communities, which have made it difficult for many people to openly celebrate the holiday. Despite these challenges, many Christians in Iraq continue to mark the occasion with religious services and family gatherings.

In other countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Christmas is not a public holiday and is not widely celebrated. However, there are small expatriate communities in these countries that do celebrate Christmas, often in private gatherings or at churches and other religious institutions.

In the Middle East, the celebration of Christmas is often influenced by the cultural and religious traditions of the region. For example, in Lebanon, Christmas is often marked with traditional Lebanese food and music, while in Egypt, Christmas is celebrated with traditional Egyptian food and music. In addition, the celebration of Christmas in the Middle East is often influenced by the region’s diverse religious traditions. For example, in Lebanon, the celebration of Christmas often incorporates elements of both Maronite Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, while in Egypt, it is influenced by the country’s Coptic Orthodox Christian tradition.

Despite the challenges and differences that exist in the Middle East, Christmas remains an important and meaningful holiday for many people in the region. It is a time for Christians to come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus, and a time for families and communities to come together in celebration and fellowship. Christmas is celebrated throughout the Middle East with much joy and enthusiasm, despite the diversity of cultures and religions found in the region.


Image Credit: Anson Antony on Unsplash

Iraq has long been known to have vast reserves of natural gas, but for years the country has struggled to tap into these resources and utilize them for economic gain. However, it looks like things may finally be turning around for Iraq as the government begins to take steps toward utilizing its gas reserves which could also lead to positive change for the Iraq dinar.

The potential benefits of utilizing Iraq’s natural gas reserves are numerous, and they could greatly improve the country’s economy and the value of the Iraq dinar. For starters, the increased production and export of natural gas could lead to a significant boost in revenue for the country. This could be used to fund various development projects, including infrastructure, education, and healthcare, which would ultimately lead to a better standard of living for the people of Iraq.

In addition to the economic benefits and Iraq dinar benefits,  using natural gas as an energy source would also have environmental advantages. Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel compared to other fossil fuels, and increasing its use in Iraq could help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This could be especially beneficial for the health of the Iraqi people, as air pollution has been linked to a range of health issues, including respiratory problems and cardiovascular disease.

Another potential benefit of utilizing Iraq’s natural gas reserves is the potential for job creation. The development of natural gas projects would require a significant workforce, which could provide employment opportunities for many Iraqis. This could help to reduce unemployment rates and improve the overall economy.

Finally, the increased use of natural gas in Iraq could also help to reduce the country’s dependence on other energy sources. Currently, Iraq relies heavily on oil exports as a source of revenue, but the use of natural gas could diversify the country’s energy portfolio and provide a more stable source of income.

Overall, it seems that the potential benefits of utilizing Iraq’s natural gas reserves are numerous and could greatly improve the country’s economy and the value of the Iraq dinar. The increased revenue, environmental benefits, job creation, and energy diversification could all contribute to a brighter future for Iraq. The time has come for Iraq to finally utilize its natural gas reserves and reap the rewards.

Photo credit: bayan center