A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
NOTE: No newsletter during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Friday November 25th. 
The Iranist
Week of November 11th

“..Have you watched the debates between the two American candidates? Did you observe the truths that they spoke of? Did you hear them? They exposed the U.S. They themselves said things many times [worse than] what we had said [about them] that many did not believe and did not want to believe. And what is interesting is that the one who said these more explicitly, got more attention from the people. Because that man [Trump] spoke more clearly, more explicitly, the people of America gathered their attention toward him. The opposing side said that he is acting like a populist; populism, why populism? Because the people saw what he said and saw that those words were the truth; they had observed those in the realities of their own lives.”

     – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on President-elect Donald Trump 
(prior to his election)


 Domestic Affairs

President Hassan Rouhani appointed a woman to head Iran’s Tourism and Cultural Heritage Department (AP). Zahra Ahmadipour is now the third female in the Rouhani administration. Two female vice presidents already head the Environmental Protection Organization and Department for Women and Family Affairs.

Tehran University professor Sadegh Zibakalam goes to extreme lengths to not step on Israeli and American flags (Forward).

Read Zibakaram’s thoughts on the U.S. presidential election and why hardliners wanted Trump to win (IranWire).

 Foreign Policy

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was first to visit Lebanon’s new Maronite Christian president (Al-Monitor). Tehran welcomed Michel Aoun’s election as a victory for all of the country’s factions, especially Hezbollah. Zarif said Lebanon's presidential election should serve as an example for other troubled countries in the Middle East. He added that, “We hope others also come to this understanding: that there can only be a political solution to the crises in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, but while continuing the fight against terrorism.”

The Iranian foreign minister was accompanied on the two-day visit by an economic and political delegation in hopes of expanding ties with Beirut. Zarif’s visit also included a meeting with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which raised eyebrows since he is close with the Saudi Arabian establishment.

Saudi influence in the region is losing ground to Tehran (Al-Monitor).

Also, Iran sentences rioters who stormed Saudi diplomatic posts (AP).

President Hassan Rouhani asserted that a new president in the United States does not impact Iran’s policies (Al-Monitor). Rouhani said, “Our foreign policy is based on constructive interaction with the world and lifting the international sanctions on Iran. This is an irreversible path, and [due to that] our economic relations with other countries have expanded.” He added, “America’s position in the international community and world’s public opinion has been weakened because of wrong policies. This situation could become worse if the rift between the U.S. and the global community increases.”

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, claimed Trump’s victory was “a sign of the distrust of the majority of Americans” in the country’s establishment. He echoed the Iranian president’s comments: “Unlike certain regional countries, Iran’s independent policy has never been affected by the changes occurring in other governments."
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said Tehran wants to keep to the nuclear deal, but has options if that doesn’t happen (Reuters). He said, "Our strong preference as a party that has remained fully committed and implemented its side of the bargain is for every member and participant and for international community to continue to remain committed to the agreement." When asked whether Tehran would recommence enrichment if President-elect Trump dismantled the deal, Zarif said: "But it doesn't mean we don't have other options if the USA unwisely decides to move away from its obligations under the agreement."

The Iranian armed forces chief of staff criticized Trump for past rhetoric about confronting Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf (AP). General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri said, “The person who has recently achieved power, has talked off the top of his head! Threatening Iran in the Persian Gulf is just a joke.” He added that the President-elect talks nonsense.

For the most part, there seems to be a mix of hope and anxiety amongst Iranians when confronting the upcoming Trump presidency (IranWire).

Here are some Iranians on the streets of Tehran reacting to Trump's victory (AFP).

Donald Trump’s ‘Art of the Iran Deal’: His erratic promises to renegotiate, or cancel, the deal reveal an ignorance of diplomacy (Cairo Review).

The nuclear deal is a key test of Trump’s commitment to NATO allies (LobeLog).

A good break down: Trump’s victory is likely to empower Iran's hardliners and worry investors (Reuters).

Could Trump's election become an opportunity for Iran? Analysts and commentators in Tehran explain (Al-Monitor).

 Economy + Trade

Tehran signed a preliminary $6 billion with France's Total SA to develop a major offshore gas field (AFP). This is the first major Western energy contract since the implementation of the nuclear deal. Total will lead a consortium that includes China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Iran's Petropars to develop Phase 11 of the South Pars field under a 20-year contract.

Saudi Arabia threatened to increase oil output to 11-12 million bpd to bring prices down, and even withdraw from OPEC meetings, if Iran refuses to limit its supply (Reuters).

Meanwhile, a false rumor emerged that Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla was visiting his Iranian counterpart in Tehran to discuss oil trade (Reuters). The news came after Saudi Arabia suspended its oil agreement with Cairo indefinitely.

In this cartoon by Mana Neyestani, the television declares "Trump Won," while the IRGC peek through the window in riot gear waiting to strike.

+ Activist imprisoned in Iran for protesting against acid attacks on hunger strike.
+ Ailing music distributor refuses hospital treatment, vows hunger strike until demands met.
+ Baha’i artist sentenced to five years for teaching art classes in his home awaits appeal.
+ Iran’s Supreme Court agrees to review Sedigheh Moradi’s 10 year sentence.
+ Ailing human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani sees 64th birthday pass by in Evin Prison.
+ Eye for an eye: Iran blinds man for throwing acid in the face of a 4-year-old girl.
+ Iranian judiciary chief calls out Rouhani over press freedom.


+ What Iranian clerics really think of Cyrus the Great.
+ Controversy flares over opening of EU office in Iran.
+ Iran’s latest propaganda tool: the Clinton-Trump debates on live television.
+ How Iran’s auto industry became the new domestic political football.
+ Long avoided by tourists, Iran is suddenly a hot destination.
+ Police crackdown on $16 million smuggling operation in Tehran.
+ Why Iranian women spend big on cosmetics.
+ Bus carrying Shiite pilgrims to Karbala crashes in Iran, 26 dead.

+ Support for Damascus reaffirmed in meeting with Syrian deputy foreign minister.
+ From Tehran to Mosul: Iran and the Middle East’s ‘Great Game’.
+ IRGC claims no rift between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan.
+ Iranian foreign minister arrives in Romania on first leg of East Europe tour.
+ Why Iran and India are getting closer.

+ Latest IAEA report says Iran has exceeded a soft limit on sensitive material.

+ Belfer Center Report: Iran and a New International Framework for Nuclear Energy.
+ U.S. charges Turkish gold trader's brother in Iran sanctions case.
+ Tehran and EU meet in Brussels to talk human rights and banking relations.


+ Iran's Airbus jet purchase gets boost from lease finance deal.

+ Siemens is after Iran’s energy sector.
+ Iran-Renault deal shrouded in doubts.
+ Italy's Saras says it will clear Iranian oil debt in 2017.
+ Bright prospects for Iran-Romania cooperation.
+ Tehran sets no limits for return of liner companies.
+ Assessing Iran’s true trade potential.
+ Tehran to ship carpets to U.S. ‘directly’ soon.
+ Iran's exports of medicinal herbs rise as sanctions removed.
+ Turkey aims to significantly boost trade ties with Iran.

+ Iranians thankful for blessing of pomegranate harvest.


+ Italy returns scores of smuggled artifacts to Iran.

+ Iranian-Americans in California go to the polls.
+ Cyrus Habib is now the highest ranking Iranian-American elected official.


+ The race to save Iran's water, before water scarcity displaces millions.

+ FIFA fines Iran’s football federation over chants.


Comedian Maz Jobrani gives us a taste of "extreme vetting" under Trump.

+ Check out Trump swaying to singer Heideh's "Tonight is the night of love".

...تا هفته بعد
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