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Week of August 4th

“Freedom, independence, democracy, security and social justice are among the great achievements of the Islamic Revolution. The other advantage of religious democracy is that we have all accepted that we have different political, economic and cultural opinions in our society of 80 million, and we have accepted that ultimately it is the people’s votes that choose their desired path.”

- President Hassan Rouhani, in a speech after the supreme leader's endorsement


Ali Khamenei swore-in Rouhani a day after sanctions were imposed, but will that spoil the celebrations? (IranWire)


A SECOND TERM BEGINS
FILED UNDER:
 Domestic Affairs

President Hassan Rouhani is under pressure to reshuffle his cabinet and add female ministers before his second official swearing-in ceremony on August 5 (The Guardian). Rouhani’s all-male list of ministers dismayed his base even though the Iranian president appointed a number of women as vice-president. There is growing concern that Rouhani may give in to hardliner pressure and exclude women from minister positions. However, some cabinet picks were announced including Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and three women (IFP).

Rouhani is also considering a former top intelligence official in charge of surveillance from the Ahmadinejad administration (CHRI).

There is speculation and panic over Rouhani’s new cabinet, especially with reformists (IranWire).

Rouhani begins his second term with U.S. President Donald Trump’'s shadow hanging over Tehran (Bloomberg).

According to a new report, 90 percent of working-age women in Iran are out of work (IranWire). It is important to note that the report by the Statistical Center of Iran includes children as young as ten years old as part of the workforce, meaning that those in school and university are also part of the census.


RIYADH DÉTENTE?
FILED UNDER:
 Foreign Policy

Nearly 90,000 Iranians are expected to attend the Hajj in Mecca, after Tehran boycotted the pilgrimage last year amid tensions with Saudi Arabia (Reuters) In 2015, a stampede in Mecca killed at least 2,426 pilgrims, including 464 Iranians.

Tehran upheld the prison sentences for the Saudi Embassy attackers (Al-Monitor). Five Iranians were sentenced to six months and another five individuals received three-month prison sentences. In the original verdict, 13 individuals received a suspended sentence; a number of others were acquitted. After Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in January 2016 protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad. Iran arrested approximately a hundred individuals after the attack.

Saudi Arabia’s engagement with Iraqi Shiite figures gives rise to speculation about a potential opening between Tehran and Riyadh (Al-Monitor).


NOT TOO HAPPY WITH NEW SANCTIONS
FILED UNDER:
 Iran Deal

Donald Trump signed into law H.R. 3364, which is known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (ACLJ). The legislation imposes new sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. The act puts additional sanctions on Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its arms trafficking sales in the Middle East and Africa. The bill also puts severe financial restrictions on senior officials, the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), individuals involved in human rights abuses, and companies and nations that transfer military equipment or missile technology to Iran. Despite signing the bill into law, Trump called the bill “significantly flawed” and raised concerns that it will hinder his ability to negotiate with foreign countries.

Tehran filed a complaint to the JCPOA Commission after Washington imposed new sanctions (New York Times). Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, accused the United States of breaching the 2015 nuclear agreement. If the commission is unable to resolve a dispute, parties can take their grievances to the UN Security Council.

The U.S. Secretary of State acknowledged that he and President Trump disagree over the Iran Deal (Reuters). Donald Trump has on numerous occasions during the 2016 presidential election campaign said he’d withdraw from the nuclear agreement. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “He and I have differences of views on things like JCPOA and how we should use it,” adding that Washington could “tear it up and walk away” or stay in the deal and hold Tehran accountable to its terms, which he said would require Iran to act like a “good neighbor.”

According to a new survey, 67.1 percent of Iranians now approve of the nuclear deal (Al-Monitor). The survey conducted by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll.com also said 55.4 percent of Iranians approve of the government restarting aspects of the nuclear program that were limited by the JCPOA if the United States walks away from the deal. That’s up from 48.4 percent before Trump’s election.

Trump’s options on the nuclear deal with Iran (Al-Monitor).

Sweden's former foreign minister pens op-ed, 'If Trump blows up the Iran deal, he’ll cause a meltdown in Europe, too'. (Washington Post)

The U.S. can intelligently push back against aggressive Iranian behavior in the region and it can legitimately insist on rigorous enforcement of the nuclear deal (New York Times).


TELEGRAM DISPUTE
FILED UNDER:
 Rights

Iran claimed Telegram transferred some of its servers into the country, but the founder of the popular messaging app denied the claim (AP). The Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi told ISNA, “As a result of meetings with Telegram managers, some of its servers have been moved to the country,” and that the company planned to use third-party systems known as content delivery networks or CDNs. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov promptly responded, “No Telegram servers will be moved to Iran.” He added that the claim about servers was “probably another piece of fake news or incorrect translation” and may have referred to a CDN node that his company rents from an unnamed network provider.

Iranian officials traded barbs in a public dispute over Telegram (RFERL). Deputy Prosecutor General Abdolsamad Khorramabadi threatened to take Vaezi to court for his alleged refusal to block thousands of channels on Telegram.

Meanwhile, a group of former political prisoners and civil rights activists defied a ban on visiting Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi (CHRI).


An MP said negotiations are underway to resolve the house arrests of Karroubi and two other Green Movement leaders (CHRI). Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and his wife Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since 2011 for disputing the outcome of the 2009 presidential election.


OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS

+ Sugar plant workers detained after protesting unpaid wages and benefits.

+ Teachers’ rights leader returned to prison despite judicial official’s furlough pledge.

+ Student imprisoned for refusing to spy for Intelligence Ministry denied visitation rights.

+ Political prisoners’ letter to foreign ambassadors who went on staged tour of Evin Prison.

+ Police arrest participants at annual commemoration for popular dissident poet.


+ Young girl gives passionate defense of why she shouldn't have to wear a hijab.

+ Iran plans to decriminalize drug use allowing government to give diluted drugs to addicts.

+ Family, Congress convince imprisoned U.S. permanent resident to end hunger strike.

+ British husband appeals to Foreign Office to help free wife in Iranian jail.

+ 1988 Massacre: The crime that won't go away.

+ Iran vilifies human rights defenders as ‘enemies of the state’.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

+ King Ali Khamenei of Iran: How does a rebel become a sultan?

+ Snapp: how Tehran's answer to Uber is changing how people travel, and live.

+ Iran holds exciting food tours for foreign tourists.

+ The Human Ken Doll comes to Iran for plastic surgery.

+ Pregnant Afghans grapple with Iran’s ‘exemplary’ refugee healthcare.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

+ Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen has allowed Iran more influence than ever in the region.

+ Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps find new route to arm Yemen rebels.

+ Rep calls on feds to investigate Iran’s Alavi foundation ties to U.S. universities.

+ Two senior Hamas members visit Tehran in rare good will mission.

+ North Korea's Kim Yong Nam leaves for 10-day Iran trip.

+ Qatar arrested three fishermen, weeks after jailing others for illegally entering its waters.

+ Two soccer players face criticism after playing Europa League qualifier against Israel.

IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS

+ The persistence of falsehoods about the nuclear agreement.

+ Don’t repeat the Iraq War false WMD claims with Iran.

+ Provoking Iran into tearing up the 2015 nuclear deal.

+ Now U.S. has company in raising pressure on Iran over missile.

+ Here are Iran’s options as Trump targets the nuclear deal.

+ Amazon says it is under investigation for selling goods to Iranian embassy, others.

ECONOMY + TRADE


+ Kirkuk province spurns plan to ship its oil to Iran.

+ Tehran is making pipeline strides.

+ Iran no longer needs Turkmenistan’s natural gas.

+ Hardliners argue Total deal undermines Iran’s control over its industries.

+ When U.S. sanctions backfire: Russia and Iran partner up in $2.5 billion deal.

+ Iran's economy a ‘masterpiece of structural ambiguity’.

ARTS + CULTURE

+ Teahouse in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar may be world's smallest.

SCIENCE + ENVIRONMENT

+ Largest solar power plant in Iran opens.

OTHER

+ Spain busted criminal network responsible for smuggling Iranian nationals into the UK.

+ Events planned to celebrate Iranian illustrator almost denied visa to attend book festival.

+ Iranian woman wins Top European Math Prize.
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.

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