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The Iranist
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Week of August 11th

“Today is the time for the mother of all negotiations, not the mother of all bombs. The U.S. has showed a lack of commitment in its implementation of the nuclear deal because its policymakers are addicted to the illegal and futile policy of sanctions and humiliation. This has proved the U.S. to be an unreliable partner to the world and even to its longtime allies. We do not wish to engage with political novices . . . Those who want to tear up the nuclear deal should know that they will be ripping up their own political life by doing so and the world won’t forget their noncompliance.”

- President Hassan Rouhani, during his second term inauguration speech

 Domestic Affairs

President Hassan Rouhani was sworn-in at parliament for a second term on August 5 in front of more than 100 foreign dignitaries (The Guardian). Among the dignitaries were officials from Europe, including French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Roth, and British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe also attended the ceremony, in addition to representatives of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad, and national delegates from Qatar, Kuwait and Oman—demonstrating that Tehran is neither isolated, nor on bad terms with much of the world. The special guest of the evening seemed to be the EU foreign policy chief, who ended up in the center of a selfie scandal (BBC News). A number of male Iranian MPs surrounded Federica Mogherini and tried to take selfies with her. Iranian social media and state media criticized their actions. Some even poked fun at their fawning over the EU foreign policy chief. One popular Tweet compared the situation to a scene in the film Malena, where crowds of men rush to light Italian actress Monica Belluci’s cigarette. A hardliner MP said a committee would probe his colleagues’ conduct. He called their behavior a “self-surrender to the West.”

The head of North Korea’s parliament attended the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani (CNBC).

Iran’s most prominent Sunni leader was excluded from the inauguration, leading some Sunnis to accuse the government of discrimination and neglect (IranWire). Molavi Abdul Hamid, an influential religious leader of the Baluchi Sunni community, told state newspaper Iran that he never received an invitation.

The Iranian president used his inauguration to send a message of moderation and continued focus on constructive engagement with the world (Al-Monitor). Rouhani was first elected in 2013. He won May’s election in a landslide victory after promising to build bridges with the outside world and stimulate the economy.

Rouhani’s proposed new cabinet will sever the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s (IRGC) control of the Defense Ministry (AP). The Iranian president nominated the country’s acting defense minister, General Amir Hatami of the Iranian army, to permanently take over the position. It was a departure from previous presidents who have since 1993 appointed members of IRGC to the position.

Rouhani appointed three women as vice-presidents and one as a civil rights assistant following criticism of his all-male cabinet (BBC News). Masumeh Ebtekar has been named vice-president for family and women’s affairs, Laya Joneydi is vice-president for legal affairs and Shahindokht Mowlaverdi is the president’s assistant for civil rights. The cabinet still lacks Sunni Muslims.

Read about the challenges Rouhani faces in his new term (RFERL).

 Foreign Policy

Iranian soccer officials banned two stars for life, after they played against an Israeli team for a European League qualifier (New York Times). Masoud Shojaei, the captain of Iran’s national team, and Ehsan Hajsafi, one of Iran’s most promising players, played for Greek Panionios of Athens against Israeli Maccabi Tel Aviv. Shojaei and Hajsafi broke a long-standing precedent that forbids Iranian athletes from competing against Israelis, both putting their national careers at risk. Shojaei had previously touched on another taboo in Iran, by speaking up to the Iranian government to allow women into soccer stadiums. The Iranian government doesn’t recognize the state of Israel and has no official ties with the country.

The official Persian-language Twitter account of Israel’s Foreign Ministry praised the players, but stumbled into a gaffe (IranWire). Iranian trolls attacked the account after it Tweeted, “Kudos to Masoud Shojayi and Ehsan Hajsafi who broke the taboo of not competing with Israeli athletes.” The official Israeli Foreign Ministry account initially responded with angry tweets when baited by the trolls, but those reactions have been deleted and replaced with a calm rebuttal to anti-Israeli comments.

When news of the ban broke, Iranians started a trending hashtag #NoBan4OurPlayers, arguing that sports should be without politics (Times of Israel).

Iranians also left thousands of comments on FIFA's Instagram account in support of their banned national soccer players (Twitter).

Also, as tensions increase between Pyongyang and Washington, here are nine curiosities of the Iran and North Korea relationship (IranWire).

Meanwhile, an unarmed Iranian drone buzzed an F-18 as it circled an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf (New York Times). The U.S. military said this was the 13th “unprofessional” or “unsafe” interaction by Iranian maritime forces this year.

 Iran Deal

Donald Trump said he doesn't believe Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal, weeks after his administration certified Tehran is in compliance (CBS News). Trump told reporters, during his working vacation in New Jersey, that some “very strong things” will take place “if they don't get themselves in compliance.” He also said Tehran wasn't “living up to the spirit of the agreement.” The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will travel to Vienna later this month to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities with the IAEA (CNBC).

Trump wants to get out of the nuclear deal, so it’s up to Europe to save it (Foreign Policy).

Former CIA deputy director under Obama administration says Trump is trying to politicize intelligence to support his Iran policy (Washington Post).

Here’s an important statement on a comprehensive policy to constrain Iran (National Interest).

Columbia University’s Gary Sick spoke to The Iranist about conspiracy theories pertaining the Islamic Republic, Tehran’s trajectory, and Donald Trump’s Iran policy.


+ Iran executes Alireza Tajiki who was arrested at age 15 for sodomy, murder.

+ MPs form committee to end house arrests after Mehdi Karroubi's hospitalization.

+ Labor activist returns to prison after medical leave “unapproved” by prosecutor.

+ Azeri man facing prison time for peacefully advocating ethnic language rights.

+ Workers at sugarcane company summoned after protesting unpaid wages.

+ Labor activist describes torture and inhumane living conditions at largest prison.

+ Imprisoned bloggers in Iran: 360 cases of violations.

+ Iranian judiciary in conflict over executions.

+ Families in the dark as prisoners at Rajaee Shahr illegally moved to high-security ward.

+ Can women find freedom in Tehran's female-only parks?

+ The Baha’i welder who would not give up.

+ The balance of power is shifting in Iran, bringing change to the system.

+ Beleaguered music community urges Rouhani to prevent concert cancellations.

+ Why Iranians are joking about onion prices.

+ Iranians are finding a shortcut to EU visas.

+ Four boys, two girls were arrested for teaching “western” dance moves including Zumba.

+ Tehran eatery Robo-Chef serves meals by robots.

+ Talent continues to leave Iran in droves.

+ Arrests and crackdown put spotlight on ISIS threat in Iran.

+ Iranian soldier opens fore at air base, kills three.

+ Iran says arrested 27 IS-linked militants, foiled attacks.

+ The real footprint of the IRGC in Iran's economy.


+ Donald Trump’s dreams of Iranian isolation.

+ Why Iran’s ‘enemy narrative’ is flawed.

+ German Green Party probes Iran’s activity against Israel and dissidents.

+ For Netanyahu and the Saudis, opposing diplomacy was never about enrichment.

+ Henry Kissinger’s dangerously flawed views on Iran.

+ Islamic State threatens new attacks in Iran in video.

+ IRGC vows to avenge ISIS beheading of Iranian fighter.

+ Guard Corps clash with militants on western border, two killed. 

+ Leading Iraqi clerics call for dismantling Iran-backed Shi'ite militias.

+ Official says U.S. airstrikes on Raqqah using banned weapons amount to genocide.

+ Worsening relations between Iran and Afghanistan?

+ Iran steps up pressure on Iraqi Kurds to halt referendum.

+ Turkey-based Iranian journalist granted asylum in Israel.

+ Two Iranian citizens facing U.S. federal charges for hacking 'conspiracy'.

+ Britain pressed U.S. to join Iran coup against Mosaddegh.

+ Tajikistan accuses Iran of involvement in 1990s civil war.


+ IRGC commander warns of enemies' attempt to repeat Libya's disarmament scenario.


+ India and Iran remain committed to the Chabahar port project.
+ Iran reaches deal with Renault despite new U.S. sanctions.


+ The disabled Iranian painter who shot to fame.

+ Nassim review–language and life lessons from a vivid Iranian voice.


+ Suspected illegal immigrants from Iran found at beach in UK.

...تا هفته بعد
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