A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of October 5th

“We live in a world of possibilities, so nothing is impossible, but we need to see. First of all, we’re not angry. Now, if it’s going to lead to resolution, you need to be able to build on what you already have, because, I mean, you remember the movie ‘50 First Dates,’ when you start all over again the following day. We can’t. This is impossible. You need to be able to have a relationship that is based on some foundations. And we have a document [the Iran deal] that is a hundred and fifty pages long. It’s not a two-page document.”

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an interview with the New Yorker

Zarif interviews: A group of journalists and Iran analysts were invited to Iran’s UN mission in New York. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said Tehran would survive the unilateral sanctions, and that it was the United States that was isolated, not Iran (Atlantic Council). He also called U.S. policy on Iran based off of “illusions,” whether it be “the illusion of ‘regime change,’ the illusion of being able to exclude Iran from the region, and the illusion of being able to bring Iran to the negotiating table through threats and pressure.” Zarif reiterated that Iran has “not invaded any country” or “sent troops anywhere they were not asked.” (Al-Monitor) In a separate interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Iranian foreign minister told ‘Face the Nation’ that the Trump administration “is asking countries to violate international law, and is telling countries and companies that if they observe the law they'll be punished.” (CBS News) He added that, “This is probably unprecedented, even for a bully, in a town to go to the sheriff's office and tell them, ‘If you try not to drop people you are going to be punished.’”

Medium-range ballistic missiles launched from Kermanshah, Iran (Sepah News)

Missiles launched: On Monday, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired six medium-range ballistic missiles at ISIS targets in Syria (New York Times). The missiles were of the Qiam and Zolfaqar classes with ranges of 468 to 500 miles (750 to 800 km). They were launched in retaliation for the September 22 terror attack on a military parade in Ahvaz that killed a minimum of 25 people. At least one missile reportedly failed to launch from the western city of Kermanshah (Business Insider). The October 1 strikes were the second instance of ballistic missile launches by Iran in over a year. The first strikes were made in retaliation for twin terror attacks in Tehran during June 2017. One missile was inscribed with the slogan “death to America, death to Israel, death to Al Saud.” Surprisingly, there was “a relatively muted response” from Israel’s prime minister and Israeli media (Atlantic Council). Responding to the words written on the missile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Iran’s attempt to tie Israel to the terrorist attack in southern Iran is ridiculous. The fact that ‘death to Israel’ was written on the missiles launched at Syria proves everything.” Syria’s foreign minister said that Iran coordinated the attack with Damascus (AP). Meanwhile, the Trump administration reiterated that U.S. troops would remain in Syria until Iranian forces and their proxies retreat (Washington Post).

Basra consulate to close: The State Department announced that it would close the U.S. consulate in Basra, Iraq, after it was attacked and threatened by Iran-backed militias (Wall Street Journal). Just hours before the announcement, a barrage of rockets or mortars landed just 300 yards from the consulate. The Iranian foreign minister denied his nation’s involvement in the attacks (Reuters). Zarif told CNN, “We of course have influence in Iraq but that does not mean we control people in Iraq, as the United States doesn’t control people in countries with whom it has good relations.”

Bomb plot update: France claims Iran’s intelligence ministry was behind a foiled bomb plot targeting an exiled group’s rally in July (The Guardian). Paris officials froze the assets of the ministry and accused Iran’s deputy minister and Director General of Intelligence Saeid Hashemi Moghadam of ordering the attack. They also concluded that Iranian diplomat Assadollah Asadi, who was based in Vienna but arrested by German authorities, had planned it. Two other individuals were arrested in Belgium for possession of explosives, and another individual in France. A court in southern Germany ruled that Asadi could be extradited to Belgium.


ICJ Ruling: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the United States to remove some sanctions re-imposed on Tehran, including those related to civil aviation and humanitarian goods (New York Times). During initial hearings in August, Tehran argued that the U.S. was violating a 1955 Amity Treaty on economic ties and consular rights, which has been used by U.S. administrations in the past to hold Iran accountable, such as during the 444-day hostage crisis. The ICJ essentially told the United States to halt sanctions until the final ruling. Hours after the judgment, the Trump administration decided to pull out of the 63-year-old treaty with Tehran (CNN). The U.S. Secretary of State said that Iran had “abused the ICJ as a forum for attacking the United States” and that Washington is “disappointed that the court failed to recognize that it has no jurisdiction to issue any order relating to these sanction measures with the United States, which is doing its work on Iran to protect its own essential security risks.” The Iranian foreign minister blasted the decision on Twitter: “US abrogated JCPOA—a multilateral accord enshrined in UNSC Resolution 2231—arguing that it seeks a bilateral treaty with Iran. Today U.S. withdrew from an actual U.S.-Iran treaty after the ICJ ordered it to stop violating that treaty in sanctioning Iranian people. Outlaw regime.” Responding to Zarif's remarks, National Security Advisor John Bolton called Iran a “rogue regime” and said he does not take what they say seriously (Independent).


Corruption trials: Iran has sentenced to death three men for financial crimes (Bloomberg). A gold dealer referred to by Iranian media as the “Sultan of Coins” was one of three men sentenced for corruption as a warning to merchants and officials not to exploit the current economic situation Iran is facing due to corruption, mismanagement, and the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. The three men were among 35 other suspects brought to trial. The remaining 32 were sentenced up to 20 years in prison. All sentences can be appealed.

Truck driver strike: As a result of rising prices, Iranian truck drivers started another nationwide strike. Since the second round of protests began on September 30, dozens have been detained for demanding better work conditions and pay. Now some prosecutors are threatening the striking truck drivers with death sentences (Radio Farda).

Zeinab Sekaanvand (CHRI)

Juvenile execution: A young woman was executed for the murder of her husband in western Iran (CHRI). 24-year-old Zeinab Sekaanvand was married off at 15 and then imprisoned at age 17, after she murdered her husband for raping and abusing her on numerous occasions with the help of his brother. Sekaanvand had gone to the police but they failed to investigate what was going on. After she was arrested, Sekaanvand was reportedly interrogated under torture by police officers without a lawyer present. She confessed to the crime and was executed this week. Iran is one of the few remaining countries in the world where juveniles continue to be executed.

Council member arrested: A member of Shiraz’s city council was arrested and charged for protecting the Baha’i sect (CHRI). Mehdi Hajati had tweeted, “In the past ten days I have knocked on many doors to get two Baha’i friends released from detention, without success. As long as we face foreign enemies, our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice.” Iranians have taken to social media to demand Hajati’s release. Seventeen members of the Baha’i faith were arrested throughout Iran during the months of August and September (CHRI). Baha’is are a persecuted religious minority in Iran.

Families of Kurdish prisoners held incommunicado fear imminent execution (CHRI).
Political prisoner Farhad Meysami refusing food and medication in protest (CHRI).
Civil rights activist Farhad Meysami Barricades himself in Evin Prison clinic (CHRI).
Man serving seven years in prison for his Facebook posts slapped with an additional three (CHRI).
Women arrested as authorities step up CCTV surveillance at Azadi Stadium (IranWire).
Nasrin Sotoudeh’s lawyers sue Judge Moghiseh for unlawful sentencing (CHRI).
Iran should immediately free political prisoner Arash Sadeghi on medical grounds (CHRI).
Rouhani falsely claims Iran’s imprisoned dual nationals have been treated fairly (CHRI).
120 academics and activists join UN in calling on Iran to free Princeton scholar (CHRI).
New UN Special Rapporteur Javaid Rehman requests entry to Iran (CHRI).
Fact sheets and infographics on human rights in Iran (CHRI).

How President Rouhani may be destroying his own Moderation camp (Al-Monitor).
Rouhani says Iran facing a ‘delicate’ situation (Radio Farda).
Veil-safe plan: Supreme Leader sees the hijab as the answer to #MeToo woes (RFE/RL).
Corrupt imam is the fourth to lose his job this year (IranWire).
Poverty, separatism, and bloody memories of war: Why Iran's Khuzestan matters (RFE/RL).
After Ahvaz: Iran’s national security worries and challenges (Al Jazeera).
Ofcom investigates TV network over interview praising attack in Iran (The Guardian).
Contaminated bootleg alcohol kills at least 42 in Iran (BBC).

On Iran, White House criticism grows, but U.S. military posture recedes (Wall Street Journal).
Iran airs video said to show March encounter with U.S. carrier (AP).

Netanyahu’s UNGA accusations give Iranians a rare good laugh (Atlantic Council).
Iranian city mocked after billboard to honor army features photo of IDF soldiers (Times of Israel).
Iraq's Abdul Mahdi named premier amid U.S.-Iran tensions (Bloomberg).
Will Iran, Turkey jointly confront US influence east of the Euphrates? (Al-Monitor)
Iranian groups press for rights—and Tehran hits back (Wall Street Journal).

Hamas raises eyebrows with condolences to Iran (Al-Monitor).
U.S. increasingly concerned about Iranian proxy attacks (CNN).
From combat zones in Syria to construction work in Kabul (IranWire).

Will EU’s ‘SPV’ be able to sustain Iran trade, investment?(Al-Monitor)
China: Iran’s lifeline to overcome oil sanctions (Atlantic Council).
Iran has no plans to reduce oil output: National Iranian Oil Company boss (Reuters).
In Iran, artist ‘survivors’ navigate obstacles, foreign and domestic (Christian Science Monitor).

Iran clamps down on market in drive to rescue rial from record lows (Reuters).
Consumer prices dropping in Iran as currency regains value (Al-Monitor).
How Iran’s quasi-state firms intensify currency crisis (Al-Monitor).
How the Rouhani administration can contain excess liquidity (Al-Monitor).
Iran to start offering oil via stock exchange next week (IRNA).
Iranians mob money changers to sell dollars as rial jumps (Al-Monitor).
Turkey arrests 417 in money laundering probe mostly involving Iranians (Radio Farda).
Iran allows central bank to defend rial by intervening in forex market (Reuters).
...تا هفته بعد
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