A court sentenced seven reformist politicians, including the brother of former President Mohammad Khatami (RFERL). The seven were leaders of the reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, that was banned in 2010 during a state crackdown that followed the 2009 post-election protests known as the Green Movement. According to their lawyer, Khatami’s brother Mohammad Reza Khatami and four others, were found guilty of “anti-regime propaganda” activity. The men are sentenced to one year in prison and barred from media and political activity for two years. The sentences can be appealed.
A member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team was sentenced to five years in prison for espionage (RFERL). Although state media didn’t name the individual, the only member of the negotiating team known to be facing criminal charges is Abdol Rasul Dori Esfahani, an Iranian-Canadian national. Esfahani was accused of receiving $35 million from the U.S. and Britain in exchange for sensitive information about Iran. Esfahani was later granted bail, which is rare in Iran for those accused of serious crimes, and denied the allegations. Tehran does not recognize dual citizenship.
Also, a young woman banned from the Iranian national chess team has joined the U.S. Chess Federation (IranWire). Dorsa Derakhshani left Tehran and moved to Spain in 2015 after she received an invitation by a chess club with a scholarship. Her refusal to wear the headscarf during a February competition at the Gibraltar Chess Festival, prompted a controversy. Derakhshani is the second female chess grandmaster from Iran. Her brother Borna was also a chess player, and was banned as well after playing against an Israeli, which the Islamic Republic forbids its athletes from doing.
Parliamentarians are debating again over reviving the position of prime minister (Al-Monitor). This time, several MPs are hoping to obtain the backing of the supreme leader. For a decade after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran had a parliamentary political system. Then, in 1989, the constitution was amended to abolish the premiership and divide responsibilities between a president and vice president.