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The Iranist
Week of March 25th
Happy Nowruz from The Iranist! 🌷
Party like it’s 1395
The Spring equinox on March 21st marked Nowruz, the Persian New Year in Iran, which is also celebrated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and other countries.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of undermining Iran’s banks during his annual Nowruz address. "The U.S. Treasury... acts in such a way that big corporations, big institutions and big banks do not dare to come and deal with Iran." He added, “The candidates for the American presidency have competed to vilify Iran in their speeches, and this is a sign of hostility.”

The Supreme Leader also criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s policies for “injecting” an American way of thinking in Iranian society and not putting enough emphasis on a resistance economy. Days later, the Iranian president defended his economic performance.

Check out U.S. President Barack Obama’s annual Nowruz address.
This photo is from Nowruz celebrations at the grave of the ancient Persian King, Cyrus The Great, in Pasargadae.
All things sanctions
The U.S. Treasury Department issued new sanctions on two more Iranian firms due to its ties to the country’s ballistic missile program. The latest groups are subsidiaries of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Al-Ghadir Missile Command and Shahid Hemmat Industrial and are said to be involved in test launches on March 8th and 9th.
U.S. authorities arrested Iranian-born Turkish citizen Reza Zarrab in Florida for running a scheme to help the Iranian government and other entities evade U.S. sanctions. He is accused of conducting hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions. A gold trader and operator of Royal Holding A.S., Zarrab was charged in an indictment filed in a Manhattan federal court along side his employee Kamelia Jamshidy and a senior officer of at a Bank Mellat unit in Iran, Hossein Najafzadeh. Zarrab was once at the center of a bribery scandal involving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ministers over two years ago.
Iran’s consultant for the mission to the United Nations faces 7 charges including violating sanctions, money laundry, and helping arrange false tax returns. 60-year-old Ahmad Sheikhzadeh was arrested three weeks prior and pled not guilty to the charges.
Iran sends black market a strategic warning with death sentence for Babak Zanjani. The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink explains why it's complicated: “Reconnecting Iran to the world economy is a top priority for President Rouhani. But to fully reconnect, Iran needs to dismantle the network of thousands of intermediaries that was devised to get around the sanctions. The problem, economists and insiders say, is that enough sanctions remain in place that the Iranian economy still cannot function without the network.”
Meanwhile, Republicans worry President Obama is opening door to new Iran relief.
Tehran still makes investors think twice due to confusion over sanctions penalties. Hence why there’s a U.S. diplomat whose job is to persuade wary firms to do business with Iran

Another important thing to consider: will Iran be able to win over Britain when it comes to banking sanctions?

Hackers indictment
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of seven Iranian hackers belonging to Tehran’s cyber army. The men are accused of hacking a small dam in New York City, American banks, Nasdaq, and the New York Stock Exchange on behalf of the Iranian government between 2011 and 2013. None of the individuals are in custody, but U.S. officials hope their tactic of “name and shame” will send a message to foreign governments not to support such attacks.
AIPAC convention
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden defended the Iran Deal at the annual American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention. "We are watching Iran like a hawk," Biden said. "If Iran violates the deal the U.S. will act. Our commitment is unambiguous." He also pointed out that sanctions on Tehran for its ballistic missile program and terrorism are still in place.
Here are some of the other comments made on Iran by U.S. presidential candidates addressing AIPAC (Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) didn’t attend).
Even though Tehran continues to be a hot topic, for AIPAC lobbying day, there was no Iran agenda for Congress.
Other stories that made headlines
-- UN Human Rights Council to renew its agreement for Iran special rapporteur.
-- Film-maker and two musicians face three years prison in Iran.
-- TV Producer Mostafa Azizi’s sentence reduced to two years in prison.

-- U.S. urges Iran to free its citizens Siamak and Baquer Namazi.

-- Eight Iranian citizens released from UAE prisons on the occasion of Nowruz.

-- 21 Iranians, 5 Iraqis found inside truck to be deported from UK.

-- Iranian TV censor Michelle Obama's breasts during Cuba visit.

-- Iran has a surprising favorite in the U.S. presidential race.

-- Nobel organization condemns Iran fatwa against Salman Rushdie, 27 years later.
-- Iran’s IRGC to build a statue of captured U.S. sailors.
-- Bush administration indirectly cooperated with Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
-- Obama's private view of Iran's supreme leader "is an aging, brittle anti-Semite".

-- IRGC commander demands that Iran annex Bahrain.

-- U.S. Department of State defends $1.7 billion settlement with Iran.

-- Saudi Arabia will freeze oil output without Iran, says senior OPEC delegate.
-- India hopes to sign Farzad B gas field deal with Iran next month.
-- Iran's main shipping companies resumed trading with the West.

-- Iran's oil storage struggle holds back exports to Europe.
-- The amazing story of how UK company Cyan sold in Iran.
-- Tehran marks 65th anniversary of oil nationalization introduced under Mossadegh.
-- Saudi-Iran detente may be advisable, but is it likely?

-- President Hassan Rouhani "firmly condemns" Brussels terror attacks.

-- One Iranian amongst dead in suicide bombing on Istiklal Street in Istanbul.

-- Iran's foreign minister condemns Istanbul suicide bombing.
-- Is Turkey swaying back toward Iran?
-- Iran warns its nationals of visiting Turkey.

-- President Hassan Rouhani visits neighboring Pakistan for two days starting today.
-- How Tehran and Damascus view Russia’s latest Syria move.
-- Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) caught up in rumors of resignation.
-- Iranian parliamentarian says Tehran shuttered embassies over lack of funding.

-- Sharjah Art Foundation opens exhibition on late Iranian artist Farideh Lashai.

-- We’re honored to be the Jews of Iran.
 -- Iran beat India 4-0 in Asia Cup qualifier

-- Actress Golshifteh Farahani to play Anna Karenina at Theatre de la Tempete.

-- Riding the wave of Feminism: Meet the female surfers of Iran.

-- Gabriele Basilico on the road in Iran during the 1970s.

-- Check out the Iranian-American women working at the White House (in Persian).

-- Here's a new trailer for "1979 Revolution: Black Friday" game.
...تا هفته بعد

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