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A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of July 14th

“If we sign a deal with the British you talk about the ‘old fox’. Forget about America. And with France you now say, 'So who are we supposed to sign a deal with?' Directly say that you are opposed to all foreign investment and say that I am not permitted to make any deals. If there is proof of bribery, give it to the judiciary.”

- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, defending the country's deal with Total


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: GARY SICK

Columbia University’s Gary Sick spoke to The Iranist about conspiracy theories pertaining the Islamic Republic, Tehran’s trajectory, and Donald Trump’s Iran policy.


LET WOMEN WATCH ALREADY
FILED UNDER:
 Domestic Affairs

Two Iranian soccer stars are calling for a lift of the ban on women attending major men’s sporting events (RFERL). Former Bayern Munich player Ali Karimi, known as one of the best Iranian players of all time, said he hoped that “the conditions are set with the help of” President Hassan Rouhani and the Iranian Football Federation “for women to enter stadiums” as spectators. Karimi added that, “This is the demand of millions upon millions of female fans who’d like to watch football matches and other events up close. This important issue is not impossible, this dream of female sports fans can be achieved through correct planning.” Iranian national team captain Masud Shojaei, who represented the country at two World Cup competitions, said in a recently released video clip, “I think it is the dream of many Iranian women who are football fans. I think if [the ban is lifted] we would have to build a stadium that could hold 200,000 spectators, because we see the flood of passion from our ladies.” Authorities argue that the ban is to protect women and Islamic norms. Iranian women have sometimes defied the ban by dressing as men and entering stadiums.

Most hardliners are actively working to contain radicals within their camp, but their endeavor isn’t being helped by pride among reformists riding on the back of consecutive electoral successes (Al-Monitor).

Fans across Iran are waiting eagerly for the new season of 'Game of Thrones' (Al-Monitor).


WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF, AMREEKA
FILED UNDER:
 Foreign Policy

In an interview with a high school newspaper, the U.S. secretary of defense advocated for regime change in Iran (The Islander). James Mattis told Mercer Island High School’s The Islander, “Until the Iranian people can get rid of this theocracy—these guys who think they can tell the people even which candidates they get a choice of—it’s going to be very, very difficult.” He added that Tehran was “the most destabilizing influence in the Middle East.” Iranian officials condemned Mattis’ remarks made to the Washington state high school newspaper (Al-Monitor). His Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehghan said, “Instead of making decisions for other countries, the secretary of defense and the American ruling party better think about their own domestic issues and review the causes of the collapse of its administration in the not too distant future.” He added that the comments “ignore the strengths of other countries and feign not knowing the historical reality of the consequences of such comments.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi also condemned Mattis by saying, “Terrorism and extremism in the region and the world have roots in America’s ill-considered policies.”

The Trump administration should read its own documents about regime change in Iran (Washington Post).

Thirty-eight retired generals and admirals wrote an open letter to Donald Trump warning against policies of “regime change” and “aggressive posturing” toward Iran (LobeLog).

The new neoconservative mantra: Iran, like the Soviet Union, is on the verge of collapse (LobeLog).


NUCLEAR DEAL TO BE CERTIFIED AGAIN
FILED UNDER:
 Iran Deal

The Trump administration is expected to again certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, even as it continues to review broader U.S. policy on Tehran (Al-Monitor).

However, Republicans in Congress want the U.S. secretary of state to not certify that Tehran is complying with the nuclear deal so they can restore various sanctions (Washington Post).


A report by Iran’s parliament criticizes remaining U.S. sanctions, saying Washington  has made transactions between Iranian and European banks challenging (Al-Monitor).

Iran’s deputy finance minister believes snapback sanctions will never return (PressTV). During a Vienna forum on investment opportunities in Tehran, Mohammad Khazaei said that snapback sanctions against Iran are “no longer existent.” He also emphasized that this is a new era of economic cooperation for the world economy and that the trend of recent investments in Iran attests to this.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a new version of the Russia and Iran sanctions bill, hoping to send a message to President Trump to maintain a strong line against Moscow (Reuters).


STEEP RISE IN EXPORTS
FILED UNDER:
 Economy + Trade

Tehran is expected to see a steep rise in its natural gas output and exports (Reuters). Deputy Oil Defense Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia said Iran's gas production would rise to 1 billion cubic meters a day by the end of the year from the current 800 million cubic meters per day.

Iran is preparing its first round of oil and gas exploration tenders in hopes of attracting BP and Gazprom (Reuters).

Tehran is forming a government commission to oversee its development of the South Pars gas field with France’s Total (Reuters). The commission will have representatives from the Iranian Parliament’s energy commission and planning and budget commission, as well as the judiciary. Meanwhile, Iran’s ambitious agenda for its oil-and-gas industry is running up against the caution of big energy companies (Wall Street Journal).


A BASIJ IN DISGUISE
FILED UNDER:
 Human Rights

An Iranian doctor who was barred from entering the United States to work at a Boston hospital headed a student branch of the Basij force (RFERL). Seyed Mohsen Dehnavi was the head of the Basija volunteer paramilitary militiaat Tehran's Sharif University, according to state media. Rights groups and witnesses said the Basij and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were active in the brutal crackdown of the 2009 post-election protesters. The United States had imposed sanctions on both entities for human rights abuses. News of his detention and deportation received widespread coverage, but no reports included information about Dehnavi’s alleged background. State television showed Dehnavi arriving back in Tehran alongside his wife and children (AP)

Judiciary and police insist a car interior is public space, but more women are defying authorities by driving with “bad hijab” (The Guardian).


CARTOON OF THE WEEK
"Children, I'm with God now... Someone tell me what was my crime?"

Seven-year-old Atena Aslani was raped and killed in her town of Pars Abad in the Ardebil province. Her murder has made headlines across Iran. When the suspect was identified, protesters gathered outside his shop and chanted, "Stone him!" (Trend News Agency)


OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS
+ Ali Shariati tricked into ending hunger strike with false promise by judiciary.
+ MPs urge judiciary to halt executions for minor drug convictions until law is amended.
+ Conservative MPs pressure ministry to ban films portraying “realistic picture” of Iran
+ Child trafficking by the truckload.
+ I came to Greece to escape imprisonment in Iran–but now I realize that Europe is worse
+ The red carpet to torture chamber: Foreign ambassadors tour Evin Prison.

DOMESTIC ISSUES
+ Political debate heats up in Iran
+ Rights activists urge President Rouhani to nominate women to his cabinet.
+ Iran’s youth is rising up, so what are we doing?
+ 23 million Iranian women are unemployed
+ Largest bookstore in the world opens in Iran despite government censorship.
+ Iran Air appoints first female CEO.



FOREIGN AFFAIRS
+ Why Iran will not go the way of the USSR?
+ On Iran, Canada should pick up where President Barack Obama left off.
+ Iran's armed diplomacy in the Middle East.
+ Rise of new Saudi crown prince stirs serious concerns in Iran.
+ Iran congratulates Iraq on Mosul victory over Islamic State.
+ One enemy saves another’s life; an Iran-Iraq war story
+ Tehran is losing hearts and minds in the Arab World over role in Syria.
+ South Syria truce to allay Jordan and Israel fears about Iran.
+ Iran and Oman agree to boost ties amid Gulf Crisis
+ Afghans stage rare anti-Iran rally, denounce President Rouhani.
+ Iran fires three rockets into Pakistan.
+ Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood: Frenemies?
+ Referendum on independent Kurdistan puts Iran at crossroads.
+ Tehran ready to work with Interpol over 1994 Argentina bombing.

IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS
+ Did Trump just violate the Iran Deal?
+ Country managers make post-sanctions Iran work.

ECONOMY + TRADE
+ Iran's petrochemical commercial company opens London office.
+ Tehran to develop automotive ties with EEU states.
+ 124 Iranian planes crippled, waiting for spare parts.
+ Iran and Germany rail corridors in the making.
+ President Rouhani leads Iran’s return to wheat exports.
+ New Iranian jobs plan faces major obstacles.

ART + CULTURE
Parviz Tanavoli's ‘Lions of Iran exhibition’ gets green light after Rouhani’s victory.

SPORTS
+ Victory for Iran's most famous female motorcyclist.

OTHER
+ Banned grandmas shows some of the real victims of Trump’s Muslim Ban
+ Texas feed store sparks outrage with ‘Bomb Iran’ message.
+ Curious about Iranian food? Don’t miss these top ten dishes.

+ Iranian-American Fields Medal recipient battling cancer.

EVENTS
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