A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of September 2nd

“Depriving prisoners of having family contact, lawyers and adequate medical care is contrary to international law. I urge the Government of Iran to look for a prompt solution to the extreme situation created by the hunger strike through good faith dialogue about the grievances and underlying human rights violations, ensuring full respect for their dignity and autonomy.”

- UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, on hunger striking prisoners

The condition of hunger strikers in prison deteriorates while judiciary does nothing (CHRI).

 Domestic Affairs

The leader of the Iranian opposition party, the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), passed away (IranWire). Ebrahim Yazdi was one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s close confidants, who went on to become the post-revolutionary government’s foreign minister only to resign in protest of the 52 American hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. He eventually emerged as a prominent dissident against the Islamic Republic after finding they were using “Stalinist and un-Islamic methods” and spoke out against constitutional and civil rights abuses during the post-election protests known as the Green Movement, and was even arrested on numerous occasions. In 2011, Yazdi was sentenced to eight years in prison and released because of his deteriorating health. He was said to be tolerated for many years because of his close ties to Khomeini. Yazdi died of pancreatic cancer in Izmir, Turkey.

Despite the fact Twitter is banned in Iran, many hardline politicians use the social network to reach out to their supporters with statements and messages (RFERL).

 Foreign Policy

According to Hamas’s new leader in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian group and the Islamic Republic of Iran restored ties five years after a fall-out related to the civil war in Syria (Reuters). Yehya Al-Sinwar said, “Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms.” Neither Hamas nor Iran have disclosed the full scale of Tehran’s backing, but funding was reduced dramatically when Hamas angered Tehran by refusing to support Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad. Al-Sinwar added that, “The Iranian military support to Hamas and Al-Qassam is strategic,” and that the relationship had “become fantastic and returned to its former era.”

Israel claims Iran is building weapons factories in Syria and Lebanon (New York Times). During a news conference in Jerusalem with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel.” The Israeli PM also said Tehran “is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles toward that end in both Syria and in Lebanon,” adding that, “This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept.”

Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda (New York Times).

Also, the UAE urged Tehran and Istanbul to end their “colonial” actions in Syria (Reuters).

How Iraq War hawks can help stop Trump from going to war with Iran (New Yorker).

 Iran Deal

Tehran dismissed U.S. demands for the inspection of Iranian military sites by the IAEA (AP). Last week, US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, went to Vienna and demanded inspections of Iran’s military and non-military sites to determine its compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), despite it not being part of the nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani rejected the Trump administration’s demands, saying that “regulations dictate our relations with the (International Atomic Energy) Agency, not the United States.” He added that, Tehran was committed to the nuclear deal, but did not “accept bullying.” The latest inspections by the IAEA indicated that they found no evidence of Tehran breaching the nuclear agreement (New York Times).

Meanwhile, former UN Ambassador John Bolton said Steve Bannon asked him to draft a plan to scrap the Iran Deal, but with Bannon no longer serving as an advisor in the White House, Bolton released the proposal online (Foreign Policy).

France said the Iran Deal could be supplemented through “future consultations” to include the period after 2025 and tackling Tehran’s ballistic missile development (Reuters).

 Human Rights

Iran’s appeals court upheld the convictions of an Iranian-American father and son accused of espionage (New York Times). 45-year-old Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, were sentenced last October to ten years in prison on charges of spying and “collusion with an enemy state,” (in other words, the United States).

A Shiite spiritual leader was sentenced to death on the charge of “corruption on earth” (New York Times). Mohammad Ali Taheri was sentenced on August 27 and has 20 days to appeal his death sentence. Taheri’s lawyer remains hopeful.

In letter to judge, Iranian-American gallery owners demands freedom for himself and wife (CHRI).

+ Soheil Arabi resumes hunger strike to protest harassment of his family.
+ Imprisoned labor activist on hunger strike needs treatment, wife says.
+ Critically ill political prisoner refused medical leave with one month left to serve.
+ Security forces exit Mehdi Karroubi’s home, as pledged by government.
+ Pro-Rouhani and reformist social media admins sentenced to prison.
+ Education ministry withdraws discriminatory hiring guideline.
+ Reformist MP calls for judicial investigation into imprisoned journalist’s worsening health.
+ Dr. Ahmad Reza Jalali’s day in court.
+ Judiciary official opposes new proposal against domestic violence.
+ Islamic torture is still torture.

+ Who censors access to the supreme leader ?
+ Twelve years a democracy in Iran (1941-1953).
+ Talk of 'good genes' provokes nepotism outcry in Iran.

+ Iran VP draws criticism for giving up her style in favor of traditional garb.
+ Questions abound over future of former President Ahmadinejad.
+ As ‘death to America’ chants lose power, Iran retools propaganda with rap videos.
+ Iran releases report on January building fire and collapse.
+ Iran air defense improved but not game-changing, analysts say.
+ Iranian police seize carrier pigeons used to smuggle drugs.
+ 4.9-magnitude quake injures 13 in northwest Iran.

+ In the Persian Gulf, Iran’s drones pose rising threat to U.S.
+ Iran-Israel soccer row apparently much ado about nothing.
+ Iran pilgrims flock to Saudi in diplomatic icebreaker.
+ New chapter in Iran-Turkey ties could have major impact on Syria.  
+ Iranian Kurds urge Iraqi brethren to stay united ahead of referendum.  
+ Qatari ambassador back on the job in Iran.

+ Most amusing about Iran sanctions and Apples store apps.
+ Iran to conduct photon entanglement test within the next few months.

+ Iran Air to Receive two ATR planes in September.
+ Oil swaps bring Iran and Caspian neighbors together.  
+ Tehran close to finalizing $30 billion foreign finance deals.  
+ $6 billion worth of power deals since sanctions removal.  
+ Oil minister says Iran to ink 10 new oil contracts by year end.

+ True-life Iran-Contra thriller hits a false note.
+ Many actors should get the blame for the 1953 coup.

+ Former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz works wonders in Iran.
+ Famous Iranian sports journalist Iraj Babahaji laid to rest.
+ Iranian-Swedish midfielder invited to Iran national football team.
+ Iran volleyball team rolls into FIVB U19 World Championship.

+ Meet Iran's first professional skydiver.
+ Dara Khosrowshahi: who is the man chosen as Uber’s next CEO?
+ Why the rise of Iranian-Americans in tech is no surprise.
+ A gift from the Iranian community to the American people.
+ An Iranian bookstore in Westwood closes after 36 years.

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