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Week of May 6th
All parliamentary seats full
Reformists and moderates allied with President Hassan Rouhani made big gains last Friday during Iran’s second round of parliamentary elections. Out of 290 seats, 121 belong to reformists and the moderates, followed by principlists with 83 and independents with 81 seats.
 
For the first time since 2004, hardliners lost seats and reformists made a comeback. Interestingly, more women were elected to parliament than clerics—but by one seat.
 
With more women in parliament, what are the opportunities and challenges?
 
 

Stick to the Bay of Pigs
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the presence of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf. During his speech, Khamenei said, "Today, the enemy makes statements that are bigger than their mouths. They sit and scheme that Iran must not have military drills in the Persian Gulf. What a strange thing to say. They come from that side of the world and conduct drills. What are you guys doing here?" The Supreme Leader then suggested the United States go to the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.
 
Following Khamenei's comments, IRGC Commander General Hossein Salami announced Iranian forces would close the Strait of Hormuz if the United States and its allies threaten Iran.

 

Muqtada Al-Sadr in Iran?
After hundreds of supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad on Sunday, rumors emerged he was making an unannounced visit to Tehran. The head of Sadr’s office in the Iraqi capital, Ibrahim Al Jaberi, said the cleric left for Iran on Monday, but didn’t provide any more details. If true, Al-Sadr was likely there to see if Iran would give a hand in dealing with Iraq’s government and the divisions amongst some Shiites. This makes sense since Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari released an official statement that “expressed Iran’s readiness to use all its links in line with paving the way for Iraqi talks.” IRNA denied Al-Sadr was visiting Tehran.
 
So what can be done to solve Iraq’s problem? Well, the internecine fighting among Shiites in Iraq requires a deal with Tehran and Ayatollah Sistani.
 
 

Seoul visits Tehran
South Korean President Park Geun-hye went on a three-day visit to Tehran to boost trade ties. Geun-hye is the first South Korean President to visit the country since relations commenced in 1962. Over 200 businessmen/women and government officials were on the trip to sign deals and memorandums of understandings in banking, energy exploration, infrastructure building, and technology. President Hassan Rouhani announced that trade ties would increase from the current $6 billion annually to $18 billion. President Geun-hye also met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who called for “sustainable cooperation” between the two countries.
 
President Rouhani also commented on nuclear weapons while with his South Korean counterpart. The Iranian president noted, "Security in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East is important for both countries. We want peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, and on principle we are opposed to any type of weapons of mass destruction. [Iran's] desires are a world free of weapons of mass destruction, especially a Korean Peninsula and the Middle East free of weapons of destruction, especially nuclear."
 


Love from Leo
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio Instagrammed a picture warning of Iran’s drying Urmia Lake. In response, the Headquarters for Reviving Urmia Lake has invited the American actor to visit the lake, which has shrunk over 90 percent during the past twenty years.
Other stories that made headlines
 
Human rights
 
-- Blogger Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki released on bail.
 
-- Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani released.
 
-- Jail, censorship, forced confessions: life as a journalist in Iran.
 
-- Iran’s intensified crackdown on media freedom.
 
-- French mayor awards City of Paris medal to journalist Narges Mohammadi.
 
Domestic politics
 
-- Will Iran's new undercover morality agents have any impact?
 
-- English language classes set to become next battleground in Iran.
 
-- Fragile economy forces Iran's top leaders to form alliance.
                        

-- Iran jails perpetrators of January attacks on Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
 
-- Tehran to grant citizenship to families of killed foreign recruits.
 
Foreign policy
 
-- Iran's other ISIS problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

-- Four reasons Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi won’t turn against Iran.
 
-- Who sent Iranian army green berets to Syria?
 
-- King Salman calls on Iran to stop interfering in affairs of regional countries.
 
-- Iranian view of Donald Trump: familiar but no atomic challenger.

-- Ireland considers reopening embassy in Tehran.
 
Nuclear deal
 
-- U.S. Rejects Iran’s protest on $2 billion asset ruling.
 
-- For Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, divergent paths to Iran nuclear talks.
 
-- U.S. torpedoing the Nuclear Deal will reaffirm Tehran’s distrust.


-- U.S. policy puts Iran Deal at risk.
 
Oil and trade
 
-- What Tehran’s first non-oil trade surplus means for its economy.
 
-- German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel trip to Tehran draws criticism at home.
 
-- BP to open Iran office in summer, says Iranian oil firm.
 
-- Congressmen: Boeing deal with Iran would turn airplanes into 'warplanes'.
 
-- U.S. lobby group to campaign against business investment in Iran.
 
-- Chevrolet, the 'Heartbeat of America,' not coming to Iran.
 
-- Don't blame our sanctions, U.S. tells nervous Iran investors.
 
-- Why big European banks are reluctant to return to Iran.
 
-- Seven reasons Iran could become an entrepreneurial powerhouse.
 
Science and medecine
 
-- Desperate remedies: Inside a neurosurgery ward in Tehran.

Art and culture
 
-- The coolest ski hotel ever—and it's in Iran.
 
-- 
Trading Persian tea for Seattle coffee: Washington's diaspora community.

History
 
-- From Krakow to Tehran to Jerusalem: One Jewish family’s story.
 
-- Menashe Ezrapour, the Iranian who survived the Nazi work camps.
Events
...تا هفته بعد
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