Signed, sealed, and now awaiting delivery
Iran’s parliament passed a bill approving the nuclear deal, but not without minor hiccups. On Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi spoke on the Majles floor to defend the deal. Salehi reported that an MP had threatened him: “A dear brother from the parliament came to me and swore that he would kill me… Is this the way to talk to a servant of the system, and tell him that they would kill him by pouring cement on him and burying him under Arak nuclear reactor?” The threat turned out to be from Ruhollah Hosseinian, a representative of Tehran. Needless to say it didn’t go over too well in parliament. Some MPs jeered and called Salehi a liar, but in the end it turned out to be true.
Hosseinian ended up in the hospital the following day citing a heart attack. Despite the death threat, Salehi paid the MP a visit and now all seems to be well. Drama queen.
UPDATE: On Wednesday, the 12-member Guardian Council ratified the bill, giving the AEOI permission to deliver on its end of the promises to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Say hello to my little friend(s)
Iran test-fired its Emad (Pillar) surface-to-surface ballistic missile for the first time. With an estimated travel range of 1,700 km, the long-range missile has the capability to travel to Israel. However, according to Michael Elleman, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), it would likely take "many years... and dozens of flight tests" before Tehran mastered its guidance technology.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, there was no Jar Jar Binks in sight.
UPDATE: There’s talk that the missile launch may have violated the JCPOA, but the Obama Administration denied that claim. It seems more likely to have violated the United Nations Security Council resolution 1929.
UPDATE II: On Tuesday, Iran also test-fired its ValFajr (Dawn) torpedo system. Then on Wednesday, Tehran unveiled footage its missile arsenal stored 500 meters under a mountain.
The first IRGC commander killed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria was buried on Sunday. General Commander Hossein Hamedani is best known for his role in suppressing an insurgency in Kurdish Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and for crushing the Green Movement during the 2009 post-election protests. He is the third top ranking military commander to be killed during the past year.
At his funeral, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the chief commander of the Guard Corps, said, “If Commander Hamedani was not in Syria, Damascus would have collapsed.”
UPDATE: On Wednesday, two more senior commanders of the IRGC were also killed while fighting ISIL in Syria.
Imprisoned Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was convicted, but his verdict was not publically announced. According to Iranian state media, he is allowed 20 days to appeal. Speaker of the Majles Ali Larijani hinted at a prisoner swap with the United States last month.
On October 9, Rezaian hit an unfortunate milestone by surpassing the 444 days American hostages were held during the 1979-1981 Iran Hostage Crisis.
Death to America—now where’s my visa?
Remember “Sister Mary,” the English speaking spokeswoman of the Islamic student revolutionaries that stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and prompted the Iran Hostage Crisis? Massoumeh Ebtekar—as she is better known as—built a career around condemning the ‘Great Satan’ and later married one of the leading hostage takers.
Ebtekar has since had a change of heart. Today Ebtekar calls herself a reformist and is currently Iran’s first female vice president.
Surprisingly, Ebtekar’s son Eissa Hashemi now resides in Los Angeles where he is pursuing a PhD in organizational leadership. Hashemi gets to live the American dream under the California sun while Iranians pay for the consequences of his parents' actions. Ironic?
Iranian-Americans poured their frustrations on social media and in writing to condemn Hillary Clinton for her comments during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate. When asked, "which enemy are you most proud of?" Clinton responded, "Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians--probably the Republicans."
Which Iranians did she mean? Likely the Iranian government, but the ambiguity offended many who said there should be a clarification between the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic.
There’s an Iranian version of MyTable, it’s called Maman-Paz (Cooked by a mom) and is part of a growing collection of start-ups in Iran.
Homecooked fessenjoon and ghormeh sabzi right to your door? Sign us up!
Bystanders in death
Cartoonist Mana Neyestani brought attention to World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10th.
Two Iranian juveniles were executed this week.