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The Iranist
Week of January 6th

“As the representative of the Iranian nation and the person in charge of enforcing the constitution, I state here that in important cases in which billions of [dollars worth of] public assets have been embezzled, people’s questions should be answered, because if they are not answered, we lose a more important thing than $3 billion … and that is the public’s trust and social capital.”

                                               – President Hassan Rouhani, on the embezzlement case of                                                   billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani

Rouhani's corruption spat could herald a rough-and-tumble Iranian presidential campaign (RFERL).


SYRIA TALKS ON HOLD
FILED UNDER:
 Foreign Policy
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem with President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to work closely to bring an end to the Syria crisis (Reuters). Iran, Russia, and Turkey were planning peace talks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. However, a number of Syrian rebel groups issued a statement that they are halting preparations for talks over "many big breaches" of the ceasefire by the Syrian government and its allies (BBC).

Turkey’s foreign minister called on Tehran to put pressure on Bashar Al-Assad’s government and Shiite-backed militias to adhere to the latest ceasefire in Syria (Reuters). Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that peace negotiations could fail if violations didn’t cease.


Tehran called Turkey's claims about violating the ceasefire "unconstructive" and accused Syrian rebels of breaking the truce (RFERL).

Meanwhile, in a meeting with Syria’s foreign minister and head of its National Security Bureau in Tehran, the Iranian president warned of terrorists gaining strength during the brokered ceasefire (PressTV).

How Tehran views Russia-Turkey deal on Syria (Al-Monitor).


SCIENTISTS FOR THE DEAL
FILED UNDER:
 IRAN DEAL
Garwin in his youth at a laboratory 

Thirty-seven prominent American scientists, including Nobel laureates, leading professors, and national security officials wrote to President-elect Donald Trump, urging him not to dismantle the Iran Deal (New York Times). The letter was organized by Richard Garwin, one of the nuclear physicists who designed the hydrogen bomb. The letter reads, “The JCPOA has dramatically reduced the risk that Iran could suddenly produce significant quantities of nuclear-weapon materials … The JCPOA does not take any options off the table for you or any future president. Indeed it makes it much easier for you to know if and when Iran heads for a bomb. It provides both time and legitimacy for an effective response.” (Read the letter)

Since 2013, Tehran has received over $10 billion in sanctions relief from across the globe (Wall Street Journal). Much of the sanctions relief was cash and gold from a number of countries with unfrozen oil fund assets. The amount includes publicized and private payments, but doesn’t include the $1.7 billion from a decades-old dispute between Washington and Tehran over a failed arms deal. The U.S. wasn’t directly involved in facilitating the transfer.


STEP RIGHT UP!
FILED UNDER:
 Economy + Trade

Iran named 29 international companies to bid on oil and gas projects using the new Iran Petroleum Contact (Reuters). The companies listed included Anglo-Dutch Shell, Chinese CNPC and Sinopec International, Dutch Schlumberger, French Total, Italian Eni, Malaysian Petronas and Russian Lukoil and Gazprom, as well as companies from Austria, Japan, South Korea and many more.

BP opted out of Iran deals ahead of President-elect Trump’s inauguration (Financial Times).


#SAVEARASH
FILED UNDER:
 Human Rights

Imprisoned writer and human rights activist Arash Sadeghi ended a 71-day hunger strike after his wife was freed (ICHRI). Sadeghi is serving a 19 year prison sentence for allegedly conspiring and producing propaganda against the state. His wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was jailed for writing an unpublished story about her reaction to the American film, The Stoning of Soraya M. It was found when the IRGC stormed their home in 2014. Sadeghi claims his wife’s six-year sentence was given to punish him. Given his deteriorating health, there was a Twitter storm campaign on Friday. The hashtag #SaveArash became a worldwide trending topic on the social media site.

According to Sadeghi's lawyer, he still hasn't been taken to the hospital after staging a hunger strike (AP).

On January 2, dozens of Iranians demonstrated outside of Evin Prison in support of Sadeghi (RFERL). Some 800 Iranians reportedly took part. Protests like these are unprecedented, given strict laws that limit public assembly.


CARTOON OF THE WEEK
'Eaten Fish' is a 25-year-old Iranian cartoonist detained on Australia’s Manus Island. Ali's ink drawings, sketched on torn pages from a notepad, chronicle everyday life in the controversial refugee detention camp. Last week, the cartoonist's refugee status application was rejected and he must now return to Iran (The Guardian). Eaten Fish fears that if he is sent back to Iran he'll be hanged or imprisoned. Also, Tehran now refuses to take back asylum seekers who have been forcibly repatriated.

Eaten Fish won the 2016 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning from Cartoonists Rights Network International. Read more about Eaten Fish.

 

OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS

+ Imprisoned civil rights activist released after 65-day hunger strike—with a catch.
 
+ Iranian-Austrian businessman serving 10-year prison sentence after coerced confession.
 
+ Nazanin released from solitary confinement and moved to women’s warden.
 
+ British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran attends appeals court.
 
+ Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff's husband fears outcome of appeal.
 
+ Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi calls on head of Iranian judiciary to quit.
 
+ Wave of hunger strikes among Iranian political prisoners.
 
+ Hardline Tehran prosecutor advocates harsher penalty for mixed-gender parties.
 
+ Religious discrimination blocks 10 million people from top jobs.


+ It’s now mandatory to register Telegram channels to prevent spread of “fake news”.
 

DOMESTIC ISSUES

+ Why rift between Iran’s moderates and hardliners is really about republicanism.
 
+ Iranian reformists slam exiled dissidents over letter to President-elect Trump.
 
+ Why Rouhani’s social housing scheme faces more than bumpy start.
 
+ Official calls for sterilization for sex workers and homeless drug addicts.
 
+ Iranian airliner returns to airport after engine failure.
 
+ Arab separatist militants said they blew up 2 oil pipelines in Khuzestan, but Iran denies it.
 
+ Tehran has banned ‘Clash of Clans’ for promoting violence and tribal conflict.
 
+ Prosecutor says 70 people are serving time for varying degrees of espionage.
 
+ Iran to have female bodyguards for female foreign diplomatic guests.
 
+ The woman building Iran's civic tech sector (from across the world).
 
+ Photo of Iranian teacher visiting student fighting cancer in hospital goes viral.
 
+ Pictures of homeless sleeping in empty graves shock Iranians.
 
+ More Americans are visiting Iran.

+ Musings on alleviating traffic in Tehran.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

+ Iran denies receiving Saudi invitation for talks on Hajj.
 
+ Iran detains 21 fishermen from Arab nations in its waters.
 
+ Tehran strongly condemns terrorist attacks in Baghdad and Istanbul.


+ Should Iran worry about Russian President Putin throwing it under the bus?
 
+ Continued settlement construction will lead to Israel’s demise says IRGC.
 
+ Why Ireland's farmers want the Irish embassy in Iran to reopen.
 
+ Court revives case accusing Argentinian ex-leader of covering up for Iran.

IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS 

+ The case for sending Secretary of State John Kerry to Tehran.

+ New Congress already pushing Iran Deal killers.

ECONOMY + TRADE

+ Despite uncertainty, energy development progresses in Iran.
 
+ Why Iran’s 'green gold' is set to rebound.
 
+ India to nudge Iran to resume Basmati imports.
 
+ Japan's Inpex in running to develop major Iran oilfield.
 
+ Iran urges enhanced banking ties with Germany.
 
+ World Bank reports major drop in Iran’s debts.
 
+ Turkmenistan restricts gas exports to Iran over unpaid debts.
 
+ Iran claims it attracted $8.5 billion of foreign investment in mines and industries sector.

ARTS + CULTURE

+ Berlin cancels rare show of modern art from Tehran Museum.
 
+ Hushi, whose designs are worn by Madonna and Brad Pitt, branches out into art.
 
+ In Tehran, a guitar and clarinet speak as one.
 
+ An Italian traveled around the breathtaking ancient mosques and bazaars of Iran.
 
+ The secrets of Iran’s Lut Desert.

SCIENCE + ENVIRONMENT

+ A haunting photo essay of Iran’s intensifying struggle with climate change.
 
+ Iranian researchers develop ‘smart’ color system.
 
+ Iran's space agency 'interested' in cooperating with NASA.
 
+ Nuclear deal key for import of hybrid vehicles and reducing air pollution.

DIASPORA

+ In America, she designs swimwear. In Iran, she got 40 lashes for being at a party.
 
+ Iranian-Americans and the color of success.

OTHER

+ Snowmads travel to Iran to sand ski on the arid hills of Qeshm Island.

+ Watch these Santa Clauses dance Persian style in Esfahan.

EVENTS
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