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Week of August 12th
“...After approximately six years, my time as State Department Persian Language Spokesperson has ended. This responsibility, putting forward and explaining U.S. positions and policies to the noble people of Iran, and also exchanging views with a wide variety of Iranians, was a real source of pleasure and honor for me. Even though I’m no longer spokesperson, my love and interest in the great Iranian literature, culture and civilization will continue as strongly as ever…”

                                                                      – U.S. Diplomat Alan Eyre, on stepping down

FILED UNDER: Domestic Politics
The website of the late Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri released an audio file criticizing the 1988 massacre that took place in prisons throughout Iran. Montazeri, once the deputy supreme leader of Iran, was the designated successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini until he fell out of favor for objecting the massacre, months before the leader of the revolution died in 1989.
On the 40-minute tape, Montazeri says, “The biggest crime in the history of the Islamic Republic, which will be condemned by history, happened by your hands.” He goes on to denounce Iranian officials involved in carrying out the orders and showed remorse for the families of the victims. The audio file confirms everything written in Montazeri’s autobiography, but also reveals just how critical he was of those individuals. Although Montazeri passed away in 2009, his son Ahmad decided to release the tape because some officials have been tarnishing his father’s image.
Background: Shortly after the Iran-Iraq ceasefire, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK)—a totalitarian cult of Marxist-Islamist Iranian dissidents—launched an incursion in Western Iran from Iraq known as Operation Eternal Light. Despite the operation’s failure and loss of many lives, the actions of the group incensed the Iranian government and caused Khomeini to issue a fatwa for the systematic execution of opposition groups en masse. These included intellectuals, students, Marxists, members of the MEK, and other opposition parties. Women and teenagers were amongst the estimated 2,000 to 4,000 executed. The MEK puts the numbers much higher, from 20,000 to 30,000.

 Foreign Policy
Former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama demanding he return $2 billion frozen Iranian assets in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the money be given to families of Americans killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and other attacks blamed on Tehran.
The letter comes at a time when it is rumored the former two-term Iranian president may run for election next year. Although he hasn’t announced interest in a third presidential term, Ahmadinejad has made several public appearance in the past few weeks. So will hardliners forgive Ahmadinejad for disobeying Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?

The U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said his letter was sent to the U.S. Justice Department.

Interestingly, President Hassan Rouhani asked the Iranian judiciary to take legal action against the Ahmadinejad administration over negligence to withdraw funds from U.S. banks when it had the chance.

A new contract model may generate $25 billion in fresh oil contracts for Iran. The Iranian government hopes foreign investors will inject $50 billion a year into the country's oil industry. France’s Total SA and Italy’s Eni SpA have already shown interest in developing Iran's oil and gas fields.

Meanwhile, Tehran and Riyadh both stand their ground on oil output as OPEC seeks to stabilize falling prices.
It doesn’t help Saudi Arabia that Iran just broke a record of exporting 7 million barrels of oil in one day. As a result, 
Tehran is now at its pre-sanctions export level.

 Human Rights
Nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri was executed in Iran “for revealing the country's top secrets to the enemy.” (In IRI parlance, "the enemy" refers to the United States.) Amiri worked at Malek Ashtar University of Technology, which shares ties with the Iranian Ministry of Defense. He disappeared in 2009 during the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and resurfaced in the U.S. a year later. Conflicting accounts say he defected during the heightened international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and that he was abducted by Saudi intelligence and the CIA from the city of Medina.
Amiri eventually returned to Iran in July 2010. He received a hero’s welcome. Shortly after, Amiri disappeared from the public eye. Two years later, Amiri’s family claimed he was tried for treason and sentenced to prison for ten years and internal exile for five. There are now reports that the Iranian government was threatening Amiri's family to put pressure on him to return.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Tweeted that many people believe Amiri got executed because of the recently hacked Clinton emails. However, years ago, U.S. officials revealed Amiri voluntarily defected. The nuclear scientist is said to have received about $5 million from the U.S. and a “long-term benefits package” for resettlement.

Iran is the first country to ban Pokémon Go. The head of the country's Supreme Council of Virtual Space, Abolhasan Firouzabadi, said, “Any game that wants to operate nationwide in Iran needs to obtain permission from the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, and the Pokémon Go app has not yet requested such a permission.” He added the game is “not appropriate” due to concerns over the use of "location-based virtual reality technology."
Pokémon Go never formally launched in the country, but that didn’t prevent Iranians from using VPNs and proxies to access it. Still, Iranian users complained that not only did sanctions prevent the purchase of items, there aren’t enough PoGo stops or Pokémon to catch.
Bloomberg View columnist Leonid Bershidsky writes about how Pokémon paranoia extends beyond Iran due to location tracking.

Cartoonist Mana Neyestani on banning Pokémon.


Iranian archer Zahra Nemati, the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic gold medal, was the flag bearer during the opening ceremony at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She hoped to represent Iran at the Olympics earlier in life with a black belt in taekwondo, but was paralyzed in a car accident as a teenager. At the 2012 London Paralympics, Nemati took home gold.
The Iranian team hasn’t won any medals yet, but are expected to take home several gold medals in wrestling and weightlifting—their strongest suits. 

Only nine Iranian women are competing at Rio, so how are they being treated

Turns out this is the first time the Iranian men’s volleyball qualified for the Olympics and now they’re looking to shock the world. 

Some claimed an Iranian news agency blurred-out a woman's volleyball player. Turns out it was false.

ISIS suspects happened to travel on the same flight that Iranian weightlifter Behdad Salimi was taking to the Olympics.

+ United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights criticizes Iran for executing 20.
+ Tehran reacts angrily to UN criticism over executions.
+ Top Iranian Sunni cleric warns mass hanging may inflame regional tensions.
+ Women’s rights activists treated as enemies of the state in renewed crackdown in Iran.
+ Prominent reformist journalist Isa Saharkhiz sentenced to three years.
+ Son of Iran's deposed shah appeals to Italy over activist Mehdi Khosravi’s arrest.
+ UK Prime Minister Theresa May presses Tehran over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
+ How big of a threat are hackers to Iranian activists?
+ Transforming Iran’s civil liberties movement one app at a time.

+ Unease growing with Rouhani for not carrying out his promises post-Iran Deal.

Attack on police car in Kurdish region of Iran kills policeman, wounds two.

+ Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia push for regional integration.
+ Pakistan and Iran agree to cooperate against ISIS, amongst other things.
+ Swiss court orders Israel to pay Iran $1.2 billion over decades-old oil row.
+ Aggressive Saudi policies toward Tehran unlikely to succeed.

The strange bedfellows of U. S.–Iranian animosity

+ UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office publishes guidance on living in Iran.
+ Iran and Armenia lift visa requirements for its citizens.

+ Israel's energy minister says Tehran has respected 'bad' nuclear deal.

+ Trump backs off false Iran video claim.
+ U.S. cash shipment unrelated to Iran Talks, says Supreme National Security Council.
+ Tehran improved cyber abilities and developed advanced ballistic missiles since deal.
+ Nuclear deal opponents lobby in U.S. against Boeing, Airbus deals.
+ The Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 and its possible extension.
+ Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations pens op-ed on Iran Deal.


+ India to build world longest undersea pipeline to import Iran’s gas.

+ Tehran in talks to sell crude to Trafigura for China teapots.

+ Three Iranian shipping firms taken off UK Treasury sanctions list.

+ Oman says to change Iran gas pipeline route to avoid UAE.

+ Can Iran go around Turkey using alternative trade routes to reach Europe?

+ Tehran to open car factory in Azerbaijan.


+ A book review on Andrew Scott Cooper's latest book that defends the last shah.
+ Persepolis: An Iranian stage.
+ Anti-cancer vaccine successfully tested in Iran.

+ Kaspersky Lab finds malware "Project Sauron" in Iranian government computers.

+ Iranian-American Melody Shekari wins Democratic primary for U.S. House 3rd District.

+ Actress Nazanin Boniadi is changing the acting world.

+ Yasmine Sima: From “gherti” in Tehran to Ford model in America

+ A revolution in “Red Lips”: NY-born Iranian sings of truth, love, and war.

+ United Against Nuclear Iran principals tied to target of money laundering investigation.

+ Iranian refugee arrested after threatening to blow himself up at Danish asylum center.
+ UAE court sentences 3 Iranians to jail for possessing nearly 9 kilos of heroin.
+ Explosion at upholstery factory in Shiraz killed one worker and injured 5 others.
+ IRIB Correspondent Samira Montazeri detained by Egyptian police in Cairo.
...تا هفته بعد
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