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The Iranist
Week of December 23rd

“These countries, which broach [such claims], can place a mirror in front of themselves to see their past in it and then decide what countries are responsible for the region’s [current] grave situation.”      
 

  – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi,
in response to Britain's accusation that Tehran is meddling in the Middle East 

 

Iran's parliament drafting a motion to reduce ties with London (Tehran Times).
 


A CITIZENS' RIGHTS CHARTER
FILED UNDER:
 DOMESTIC AFFAIRS

President Hassan Rouhani declared the formation of a Citizen’s Rights Charter (RFERL). Establishing the 120-article charter was one of Rouhani’s campaign promises three years ago. In the legally non-binding document (Read it here) is the right to a “life,” meaning an end to capital punishment, it also includes freedom of speech, assembly, and information; clean environment and water; and health services. The move comes at a time when Rouhani is criticized for putting human rights issues on the backburner while focusing on the Iran nuclear deal and improving the economy. Hardliner newspapers slammed Rouhani’s charter, demanding his attention focus on the country’s economy (Al-Monitor).

President Rouhani accused hardliners of ignoring human rights that are part of Iran’s constitution (AP). The Iranian president also said he would do his best to keep his election promises “to young people, women, and minorities” until his last day of office.

But what good is this charter anyway? (IranWire)


SYRIA TALKS
FILED UNDER:
 Foreign Policy

The foreign and defense ministers of Iran, Russia, and Turkey met in Moscow on Tuesday, agreeing to broker a peace talks between Bashar Al-Assad and rebels, with plans to expand Aleppo’s ceasefire to other parts of Syria (New York Times). The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was not invited to the trilateral talks and the United Nations was not consulted on the matter. State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry had conversed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart by phone and that Kerry expressed skepticism the new efforts would succeed. The trilateral talks took place the day after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in Ankara.

Despite successful cooperation with Moscow to retake Aleppo, Tehran is likely to remain suspicious of Russian intentions and maneuvering in Syria (Al-Monitor).


Why Aleppo will serve to embolden Iran (Al-Monitor).


France's former ambassador to Tehran weighs in on Iran's involvement in Syria (Lobe Log).

The cruel tragedy of the Syrian war has been its predictability (IranWire).


Turkey and Iran’s dangerous collision course is the latest iteration of an old power game (New York Times).

Aghast at Iran's Syria gains, Gulf Arabs see potential in President-elect Donald Trump (Reuters).


IAEA VISITS TEHRAN
FILED UNDER:
 IRAN DEAL

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Tehran for meetings about implementing the Iran Deal (AP). This was IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s second visit to Iran. Last month, the IAEA said Tehran had exceeded its heavy water limit by 220 pounds (100 kg) over the 130 metric tons allowed per the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Heavy water is used to cool reactors that produce plutonium, which can be used in atomic bombs. Iran later transferred 11 tons of heavy water to Oman.

During a press conference with Amano, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi responded to breaches of the JCPOA, “Iran’s hands are not tied and it has not burned all its bridges. We are ready to take any necessary action.”
 Iran’s atomic agency also said it would begin exporting less heavy water due to an oversupply in the international market (AP).

Tehran has called for a meeting with the P5+1 over U.S. sanctions (Reuters).

The European Union warns Trump not to destroy Iran nuclear deal (Financial Times).

Meanwhile, a leaked memo from 2009 says Rolls-Royce sold equipment to Iran for decades, exploiting U.S. sanctions loopholes to trade with Tehran (The Guardian). The British engineering company’s only mention of Iran is on its website during the past year. The company denied that it traded “in secret” in Iran or circumvented U.S. sanctions (Reuters).


Airbus finalizes $18 billion jet deal with Tehran (Wall Street Journal).


MORE OIL STUDIES
FILED UNDER:
 Economy + Trade

Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding to study two oil fields in Iran (Bloomberg). The state-owned energy company is to assess the South Azadegan and Cheshmeh Khosh oil fields.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has signed a short-term contract with Italian Eni to export crude oil again (Reuters). If a deal is made, Tehran expects to sell 100,000 barrels to Rome. Before sanctions, Eni was once one the largest importers of Iranian oil.

Indonesia plans to purchase one million barrels of oil from Iran in the coming year (PressTV).


Also, Iran might have several preliminary agreements with international oil companies, but has yet to sign deals that will boost the country’s oil production (Bloomberg).



CARTOON OF THE WEEK

The assassination of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov by a 22-year-old Turkish police officer in Ankara.

After the assassination, the Iranian consulates in three Turkish citiesIstanbul, Trabzon and Erzurumwere closed on Tuesday (Reuters).


Interestingly, the Iranian media lauded Russian President Vladimir Putin's restraint after the assassination (Al-Monitor).


OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS

+ Five political prisoners in Iran on hunger strikes in desperate bid for case reviews.
 
+ Reformist journalist targeted by intelligence agents awaits sentence after trial.
 
+ Singer Hossein Zaman banned for 14 years.
 
+ Protestant church property confiscated in Iran by Khamenei-supervised organization.
 
+ Five Gonabadi dervishes arrested in Iran amid ongoing persecution campaign.
 
+ Iran says it honors family values—so why are they holding a young mother hostage?
 
+ Women denied education as discriminatory policies continue.
 
+ The stage is no place for Iranian women to sing.
 
DOMESTIC ISSUES

+ Ebrahim Raeisi: A criminal as the successor to Khamenei?
 
+ Iran’s new Basij militia commander more militaristic than his predecessor.
 
+ Iran's growing drug problem: No walk of society is immune.

+ Tehran to launch three more satellites into space.

+ Iranians will now be able to use their debit cards abroad.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

+ Tehran condemns terrorist attack on Christmas market in Berlin
 
+ Iran’s alleged money-laundering arrangement with Venezuela.

+ Iran to profit from Israel's submarine deal with ThyssenKrupp.

+ Iranian president discusses bilateral ties and regional cooperation while in Kazakhstan

Velayati calls for expansion of Tehran-Sarajevo ties.

+ Four Kuwaiti citizens were freed after being arrested for fishing in Iranian waters.

IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS 

+ Obama administration and allies try to buy time for Iran nuclear deal.

+ Relax: The Iran nuclear deal is doing its job.
  
+ U.S. charges man with $1 billion conspiracy to evade Iran sanctions.

+ Treasury Department amends sanctions to clarify meaning of "goods of Iranian origin".

ECONOMY + TRADE

+ ‘Progress underway on Iran-Pak gas pipeline project’.
 
+ Tehran to reform its oil transmission network.
 
+ Iran enters the mega shipping line age.

DIASPORA

Learning and un-learning your own stereotype.

+ I escaped an alcohol-free Iran to make wine in Oregon.

HISTORY

+ Peace Corps memories: Barry Rosen before the Iran Hostage Crisis.

OTHER

+ Check out these photos of Christmas in Iran!

EVENTS
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