A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of July 7th

“Today, the Saudis are becoming a terrorist state in the region. Today in our region only the countries that are powerful enough will remain safe. We face an enemy that only understands the language of force, so we cannot speak to the enemy with another language. Some try to say that we are against interaction with the world and seek war. I say with a loud voice that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also seek peace, but peace can only be realised and last if the enemy is scared of starting a war with us and fears its consequences.”

- IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari,
in a speech after announcing his three year term extension

 Domestic Affairs

Iran held an “International Trumpism Cartoon and Caricature Contest” this week (New York Times). It was organized by the same group that put on the Holocaust denial and ISIS cartoon contests. The logo for this specific challenge was based on the Nazi emblem, with a diagonal “T’’ in lieu of a Swastika, encircled by a white loop against a red background. Given the theme, it was not surprising that many cartoons compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Organizers said cartoonists from over 75 countries participated in the event, including several from the United States. Iranian artist Hadi Asadi won first place, which earned him $1,500 in prize money, for his caricature depicting Trump with fire hair, drooling over a pile of books in a suit made of hundred dollar bills. The cartoonist wanted to show the “money-mindedness and warmonger nature” of Trump. Virginia cartoonist declined his award from the cartoon contest for his caricature spoofing the TIME magazine’s 2016 selection of Trump as “person of the year” (Washington Post). 

Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC's Qods Forces, defended the corps (Al-Monitor). In a speech delivered during a gathering of Iran-Iraq War commanders and veterans, he said, “No one should weaken the IRGC and make it the subject of various attacks.” Soleimani added that, “Without the IRGC there would be no country.” In an indirect response to President Hassan Rouhani's criticism of the IRGC in recent weeks, Soleimani insisted they attack individuals and not the institution: “Do not treat the IRGC the way you would treat me, who has faults. The focus should be on me, not the IRGC.”

No, the Iranian president is not about to be ousted (Middle East Eye).

Despite the fanfare in the hardliners corner, the idea of a “shadow government” being set up in Iran appears unlikely to materialize (Al-Monitor).

 Foreign Policy

The former designated terrorist organization Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) held its annual rally in Paris (Asharq Al-Awsat). Every July, the totalitarian cult of Marxist-Islamist Iranian dissidents gather in France to advocate for regime change in Tehran. This year the rally was attended by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Senator Joseph Lieberman, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. It is public knowledge that group pays speakers $50,000 to $100,000 to deliver speeches on their behalf, with some lasting only a few minutes.

Iranians took to social media to express their opposition to the MEK by using hashtags #IranHatesMEK and #No2MEK (Twitter). Hichkas, the godfather of Iranian rap, wrote in a tweet, “MEK is a dangerous cult organization brainwashing thousands. We Do Not support them and they Do Not represent us. #IranHatesMEK”

New neocon mantra: Iran, like the Soviet Union, is on the verge of collapse (LobeLog).

After 1,379 days, the New York Times corrects bogus claim Iran ‘sponsored’ 9/11 (Fair).

Despite tensions with Saudi Arabia, Iran will allow its citizens to take part is this year’s Hajj (AP). Tehran boycotted the Hajj after a stampede killed 2,426 pilgrims, including 464 Iranians.

For Iran, the GCC crisis couldn’t have come at a better time (New York Times).

 Iran Deal

Iranian officials and scholars are disagreeing on whether the U.S. Senate’s new Iran sanctions bill violates the nuclear deal (Al-Monitor).

An Iranian lawmaker said Washington’s intention behind prolonging new sanctions was to create “an atmosphere of uncertainty” for potential investors eying Iran (Financial Tribune). Lawmaker Mohammad Javad Jamali called the U.S. Senate’s recent actions a “publicity stunt,” stressing that “the U.S. has raised the issue of Iran sanctions under other pretexts to scare away western and Southeast Asian countries from investing in Iran.”

Amid U.S. efforts to impose new sanctions, Tehran has drawn up a list of countermeasures (Financial Tribune). As part of the plan, the Iranian government intends to put aside $265 million for the IRGC and its ballistic missile program.

Ships exporting Iranian oil go dark, raising sanctions red flags (Wall Street Journal).

 Economy + Trade

France’s Total and China’s National Petroleum Corporation signed a $5 billion agreement with Tehran (Reuters). Total has 50.1 percent, NPC has 30 percent, and Iran’s Petropars has 19.9 percent of the stake in the massive South Pars offshore field.

Volkswagen will sell cars in Iran for the first time in seventeen years (CNN). The German automaker signed an agreement with Iran's Mammut Khodro to import VW brand models Tiguan and Passat to eight dealerships in Tehran. Volkswagen is trying to catch up with French rivals PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault who have a presence in Iran.

European companies flocking into Tehran widen divide with Trump (Bloomberg).

 Human Rights

Last week, the modified version of the 90-day travel ban went into effect (The Guardian). The updated travel ban has removed Iraq from the seven countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—banned from obtaining a visa to enter the United States and added the provision that nationals must prove a “bona fide relationship” with an entity or person. Bona fide does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, or cousins. For countries like Iran, the ban is indefinite since Tehran does not have relations with Washington. Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted out, “U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians.” His comment prompted prominent Iranian journalists and activists to remind him that, they too, cannot go to Iran for fear of reprisal.

Iranian-Americans started the hashtag #GrandparentsNotTerrorists to protest the absurdity of the ban (BuzzFeed).

For Iranian-Americans, Trump travel ban keeps families apart (AP).

A travel ban for a Pug? I don’t think so!” How an abused Pug puppy made a trip from Iran to America (Los Angeles Times).

"Sorrowful Foreign Minister Zarif" by Touka Neyestani. Read more about his response to the updated travel ban under Human Rights.

From The Vastland’s Sina Winter spoke to The Iranist about starring in the Blackhearts documentary, the metal scene in Iran, and how ancient Persia inspires his music.


+ Azeri rights activists beaten at protest remain detained without access to legal counsel.

+ Detained pro-Rouhani Telegram channel admins repeatedly denied legal counsel.

+ A schoolmaster said Baha’is do not have the right to education.

+ Four Christian converts sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in trial lacking due process.

+ Supreme court judge describes 1988 mass executions as “fair and lawful”.

+ British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran in state of ‘despair’.

+ Iranian women get a foothold in volleyball games.

+ Reformist: “Constructive collaboration” with parliament will aid Rouhani’s policy battles.

+ Rouhani should stand by his voters despite opposition from hardliners.

The battle for live music continues.


+ Iran remembers victims of passenger plane downed by U.S.

+ New revelations on the U.S. in Iran during 1953.

+ Trump administration should not ignore lessons from Iran-Iraq War.

+ Canadian court upholds $1.7 billion anti-Iran judgment.

+ Israeli minister: We won’t allow Iran to establish land corridor to Syria.

+ Iranian missile launch shows Israeli deterrence is working.

+ The real security threats on Iran’s periphery.

+ Kurds accuse Iran of cross-border shelling in northern Iraq.

+ How Tehran recruited Afghan refugees to fight Assad’s war.

+ Iran criticism of Afghan dam projects draws rebuke from Kabul officials.

+ Twice in seven days, Iran talks of 'oppressed' Kashmir.

+ Germany singles out Russia, China and Iran for cyber spying.

+ France to help ease closer Tehran ties.


+ U.S. can seize Iran-owned NYC tower after jury sanction ruling.

+ Iranian MP assured of EU’s commitment to JCPOA.

+ How do you measure commitment to the Iran Deal?

+ A review of Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy .


+ Bank Melli Iran to invest in knowledge-based firms.

+ Europe must adopt long-term vision for trade with Iran.


+ Nearly 30 years later, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s censored film is finding new audiences.

+ Creative Masturbation: On body, gender and the process of making art.


+ Police failed to protect Iranian refugee prior to his murder, IPCC says.

+ “Los Angeles embodies diversity.” City's new sculpture celebrating freedom is unveiled.

+ Jasmin Moghbeli, badass astronaut.

+ Meet Iran’s taekwondo genius.

...تا هفته بعد
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