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Week of September 14th

“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together. [They say] we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there. We want to resolve the issues ... Should we see your message? ... Or should we see your brutish actions?”

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on the U.S. president wanting to establish dialogue


DOMESTIC POLITICS
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei (AP)

Ahmadinejad aide sentenced: An ally of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sentenced to six and a half years in prison (AP). Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei—chief of staff and senior aide to the ex-president—was sentenced for “collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “insulting judicial authorities.” Mashaei has 20 days to appeal. Ahmadinejad has criticized the judiciary on numerous occasions over the arrests of his aides and supporters, including Mashaei.


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Protesters stormed and burned the Iranian Consulate in Basra, Iraq (AP)

Iran-US missions attacked: Last Friday, Iraqi protesters in Basra burned down the Iranian consulate amid large protests against corruption and lack of basic services (BBC). Protesters chanted against Iranian influence on Iraqi politics. The State Department condemned “violence against diplomats” (State Department). The U.S. consulate in Basra and American embassy compound in Baghdad were attacked days later, and the White House held Tehran accountable for not stopping the protesters (New York Times). Iran’s ambassador to Iraq opened a new mission in Basra, days after protesters burned down the old consulate (RFE/RL).

Kurdish base attacked: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attacked the base of an Iranian Kurdish armed opposition group in Iraq (Reuters). The IRGC fired seven missiles at the base of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), killing at least 11 people. The PDKI wants more autonomy for Iran’s almost ten million Kurdish citizens. Tehran accuses Saudi Arabia of funding Kurdish armed groups. The head of the Iranian armed forces asked Iraqi and Kurdish officials to hand over the separatists and close their bases (Reuters). The Supreme Leader called on Iranian forces to increase their power to “scare off” the enemy and force them to retreat (Reuters). Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement was made just before the IRGC attacked the PDKI. In the same week, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council said that Iran would respond to hostile action tenfold, and that the “era of hit and run is over” (Reuters).

Iran and al-Qaeda: A report released by the New America Foundation said there was no evidence that Iran and al-Qaeda collaborated to carry out terrorist attacks (Reuters). The study’s findings are contrary to the Trump administration’s allegations about their close ties. The report’s conclusions were drawn based on communiqués found during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The documents were gradually declassified, all of which make “explicit hostile references to Iran,” demonstrating a mistrust of Iran by al-Qaeda’s leaders (Atlantic Council).


Syria summit: During a summit on Syria in Tehran, Iran and Russia rejected Turkey’s plea for a cease-fire in Idlib province (AP). The trilateral summit left little chance for diplomacy to prevent a military campaign to retake the Syrian province which Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani believe is overrun by jihadists. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose government backed opposition forces against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, worries an offensive will destabilize areas it now holds and send more refugees to its borders. Many in the west believe a full-scale military offensive would lead to a bloody humanitarian disaster. 3.5 million people live in Idlib province.


IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS

Ready for JCPOA fallout: The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said that the country has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges (Reuters). Ali Akbar Salehi told the Associated Press that he hopes the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) survives the US withdrawal, but also warned that Tehran is ready to build advanced centrifuges and further enrich uranium. Iran’s speaker of parliament said that Tehran has between 3,000 and 4,000 active centrifuges, which is within the limit allowed under the JCPOA (Reuters). Iran said it will increase its capacity to enrich uranium if the JCPOA collapses due to the US withdrawal. Israel’s intelligence minister threatened if Tehran continues to  pursue its nuclear program that it will face a “military” answer (AP).

Complying with sanctions: The former NATO secretary general believes that Europe has no choice except to comply with U.S. sanctions on Tehran (Bloomberg). Meanwhile, a State Department official warned that European companies will be “on the railroad tracks” if they defy Iran sanctions (Financial Times).


HUMAN RIGHTS
The trio (CHRI)

Trio executed: Iran executed three Iranian Kurds accused of belonging to a militant group and taking part in attacks in the western part of the country (CHRI). Ramin Hossein Panahi, Zanyar Moradi, and Loghman Moradi were executed at dawn on September 8, despite serious concerns by Western-based human rights organizations regarding the use of torture, forced confessions and denial of access to legal counsel. In a letter from Evin Prison, prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh condemned the executions (CHRI).


OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS
Activist: Prison conditions of Dervish women violate prison laws (VOA).
Three detained women’s rights activists should be immediately released (CHRI).
Let my daughter see her sick father, pleads Narges Mohammadi’s mother (CHRI). 
Welfare reps presence required at job interviews for people with disabilities (CHRI).
Jailed dual nationals may be victims of Iranian agents’ rivalry (The Guardian).

Adviser to President Rouhani says Iran failed imprisoned U.S. resident (AP).
Iran environment head seeks answers on detained activists (AFP).
Wife speaks out on American husband held in Iran (NPR).
UN committee calls for immediate release of Princeton graduate student imprisoned (Princeton University).


DOMESTIC ISSUES
Pressure mounts on Iran’s president to skip the UN General Assembly (Al-Monitor).
Rouhani moves closer to Khamenei amid bipartisan backlash (Al-Monitor).
Why on earth is former Iranian President Ahmadinejad tweeting? (Atlantic Council)
Families of children with disabilities struggle to obtain supplies in troubled economy (CHRI)
Iran government takes crucial step toward ending education discrimination (Al-Monitor).
Iran detains pair over ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ production (AP).
Three dead from drinking bootleg booze in Iran (AP).


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
U.S. issues fresh warning to airlines about using Iranian airspace (Reuters).
Iran ordered to pay $104.7 million over 1996 truck bomb attack (Reuters).
Why Iran is battling U.S. at International Court of Justice (Al-Monitor).
U.S. Navy conducts military exercises in Persian Gulf amid Iran tension (Bloomberg).
Iran factor seen in Tajikistan’s stranded trucks (Euronet).
“Peace and harmony”: Iranian FM wishes Jews Happy Rosh Hashanah (Reuters).


IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS
Iran sanctions are fueling OPEC tensions (Bloomberg).
Tehran develops a $5 billion fund to fight sanctions (Wall Street Journal).
Iran floats surplus oil as demand falls ahead of U.S. sanctions (Reuters).
Iran lets money exchange houses import foreign bills as rial sinks (Reuters).
+ Nikki Haley says Iran is "feeling the pain" from Trump's revived sanctions (Fox News).


ECONOMY + TRADE
Diaper dilemma grips Iranians as economy, currency slide (RFE/RL).
“No progress” on financing of Russia-Iran wheat deal: Iran industry group (Reuters).
...تا هفته بعد
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