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A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of June 23rd
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“Do not look at the bluster of this guy who has just come [to office as president] in America. These [anti-Iran claims] are not new. These have been there since day one, but their language and tone has changed. They say, ‘We want to change the Islamic Republic establishment.’ Well, when have you not wanted to do this? You always wanted and you always failed and your nose has been rubbed in the dirt; it will be like that from now on.”

- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressing the families of army martyrs


KHAMENEI CLAPS BACK
FILED UNDER:
 Domestic Affairs

Iran’s supreme leader humiliated President Hassan Rouhani during a speech with senior officials present (The Guardian). A video is circulating online of the moment Khamenei says, “Mr. President has talked at great lengths about the country’s economy and, well, he’s said ‘this should be done,’ ‘that should be done.’ But who is he addressing by mentioning the ‘should dos’? Himself.” In the video, the audience bursts into laughter as Rouhani smiles uncomfortably. Khamenei then adds, “In 1980 to 1981, the then-president polarized society in two camps, and divided the country into opponents and supporters. This should not be repeated.” This was in a reference to President Abolhassan Banisadr, who was impeached after clashing with Khomeini on several issues. Khamenei's swipe seems to have been prompted by a speech Rouhani delivered about the election of the supreme leader being “the people’s choice,” not the Assembly of Expert's (IranWire).

Hardliners are using the Tehran attacks to snipe at Rouhani, although it is unclear whether their security-focused discourse will gain steam (Al-Monitor).


MISSILES LAUNCHED FOR FIRST TIME
FILED UNDER:
 Foreign Policy

Iran launched six medium-range ballistic missiles at the ISIS-held Syrian town of Deir Ez-Zour in retaliation for last week’s Tehran attacks (AP). It was the first time Iran had fired missiles since the eight-year war with Iraq during the 1980s. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said it launched Zolfaghar missiles from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan, which flew over Iraq before landing 370 miles (600 km) away. IRGC General Ramazan Sharif told state media, “The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message. Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, had announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran.” The IRGC also warned “terrorists” that any future attacks against Iran could result in more retaliatory actions (RFERL).

Three of the missiles launched fell in Iraq, while the remaining two fell somewhere inside Syria, missing targets by many kilometers (Haaretz). 

An Iranian official said at least 50 ISIS members, including several high-ranking commanders, were killed (IFP).

Israel reacted to the missile strikes in Syria (Jerusalem Post). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset, “We are following their actions and we are following their words. I have one message to Iran: Don't threaten Israel.”

Also, a U.S. jet shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by forces backing the Syrian government (BBC). The incident comes after the U.S. shot down a Syrian fighter plane and another drone earlier this month.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports from Tehran and Riyadh over an incident near Saudi Arabia’s offshore Marjan oil field in the Persian Gulf (The Guardian). The Saudi Information Ministry claims Iranian vessels were intercepted by the Saudi navy and three members of the IRGC were captured, while two escaped. The vessels were said to be carrying explosive to commit a “terrorist act.”. Tehran has denied claims that members of the IRGC were arrested for plotting a terrorist attack and says the men were fishermen (CNN). Iran says the vessels were two fishing boats and that they were fired at, resulting in the death of one fisherman.


The director of Iran’s border agency has called on Saudi Arabia to immediately release the detained Iranian nationals (AP).

Iranian state media called Mohammed Bin Salman’s appointment to crown prince a “soft coup in Saudi Arabia” (Reuters).


SANCTIONS HIT A ROADBLOCK
FILED UNDER:
 Iran Deal

A bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last week to extend financial sanctions on Iran and Russia has hit a roadblock at the House of Representatives (Washington Post). The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act passed the Senate last week 98- to- 2, but the House flagged the bill for violating a constitutional provision known as a “blue slip” violation; meaning any legislation raising revenue for the government must originate in the House.

According to an Iranian official, the U.S. Senate’'s Iran sanctions are an “unquestionable” breach of the nuclear deal (Reuters).

Tehran also said its missile program is legitimate and has nothing to do with the Iran nuclear deal (Trend News Agency).

Also, European countries are pushing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to suspend sanctions against Iran for a second year to support the Iranian economy and nuclear deal (Al-Monitor).


Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Akbar Salehi pens op-ed for The Guardian: The success of the nuclear depends on constructive engagement, not the destabilising policies currently being pursued.


TOTAL(LY) IN
FILED UNDER:
 Economy + Trade

France’s Total pledged $1 billion to develop giant South Pars gas field this summer (Wall Street Journal). Total is the first major western energy investor in Iran since the country signed the nuclear deal in 2015. Italian company Eni also signed a provisional agreement with Iran for feasibility studies on the development of oil and gas fields (Financial Times). The moves by Total and Eni show global companies are not deterred by tensions with Washington and the GCC Crisis.

Meanwhile, Iran and fellow OPEC members are in talks to make further cuts in oil production, though the group would have a hard time reaching a consensus (Bloomberg). Oil producers are struggling after prices fell below $50 a barrel this week. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the increase in U.S. output to 900,000 bpd was a contributing factor to the decline in the price of crude oil.


CARTOON OF THE WEEK
"The killing of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, according to latest documents" by Mana Neyestani. 

The United States published an updated version of the 1953 coup d'état against Iran's prime minister (IranWire). While the CIA and British MI-6 backed the coup, Ayatollah Abolqasem Kashani also played a central role in the coup (He is depicted in the cartoon above).

From The Vastland’s Sina Winter spoke to The Iranist about starring in the Blackhearts documentary, the metal scene in Iran, and how ancient Persia inspires his music.

OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS

+ Hengameh Shahidi subjected to solitary confinement and renewed interrogations.

+ Photojournalist who worked for Rouhani’s presidential campaign arrested without charge.

+ Denied due process, detained Telegram channel admins go on hunger strike.

+ Civil rights activists urge parliament to ban use of deadly force against border couriers.

+ Judiciary prevents top Iranian labor activists from attending international conference.

+ Judiciary threatens domestic proponents of regime change with death penalty.

+ White House pushes to free U.S. prisoners in Iran after Otto Warmbier’s death.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

+ Ahmadinejad faces pressure after failed presidential bid.

+ Nobel Laureate blasts Khamenei’s “fire at will” policy against domestic opponents.

+ Iranians rally behind soccer player suspended over wife’s modeling.

+ I want to stroll Tehran's streets at night, like men can: writer Fereshteh Ahmadi.

+ Iran bans Zumba and its fans fume.

+ New generation of Iranian hostels attract younger tourists.

+ The Heidar is Iran’s weird-looking .50-caliber sniper rifle.

+ The life of ISIS prisoners in Iran.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS


+ UN secretary general softens his predecessor’s criticism of Iran missile tests.

+ Iranian reformists lash out over Tillerson's hints at regime change.

+ Tehran threatens to designate the U.S. military a “terrorist” organization.

+ U.S. envoy vows not to let Iran threaten Israel from Syria.

+ ‘The war after ISIS’: has Trump opened the door to conflict with Iran?

+ ISIS hopes striking Iran will give it a competitive edge over other jihadi groups.

+ The growing U.S.-Iran proxy fight in Syria.

+ Recapture of Iraq-Syria border point heralds new regional reality.


+ Iraqi premier on anti-terror outreach to Saudi Arabia and Iran.

+ Iran should stop interfering in Iraq, Iraqi VP Allawi says.

+ The reason Tehran is against referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan.

+ Kuwaiti court overturns death sentence in Iran spy cell case.

+ Iran and China conduct joint naval drill in the Persian Gulf.

+ China is trying to pull Middle East countries into its version of NATO.


Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirms downing of Iran drone.
 
IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS

Fifth Avenue highrise trial pulls Iran standoff into Trump era.

ECONOMY + TRADE

+ Tehran says it has begun gas exports to Iraq.

+ Carriers Iran Airtour and Zagros Airlines agree to buy a combined 73 planes from Airbus.

+ SAIPA automaker plans to produce electric motorbikes.

+ South Korea to build Mini-LNG plants in Iran.

+ Did you know there are 415 million active bank cards in Iran?

+ Rise in Iranian meat production.

+ Campaign to support Iranian apparel threatened by contraband.

ART + CULTURE

+ Tehran Noir: Samuel Khachikian and the rise and fall of Iranian genre films.

Beyond the Ban: Exhibition spotlights major Iranian-American artists.

OTHER

+ Iranian family of Grenfell victims call on UK to grant them visas.

Cadillac limousine spotted in Tehran.

EVENTS
...تا هفته بعد
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