A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of September 30th

"With respect to Iran, when I became secretary of state, Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb. They had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle under the Bush administration. They had built covert facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges that were whirling away. And we had sanctioned them. I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran. And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition-building. That’s working with other nations."
                                                     – Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
                                                        during the first presidential debate of the 2016 election

Some of the things Clinton said about Iran weren't true (Think Progress).

Here's how Iranian state media reacted to the debate (Al-Monitor).

 Domestic Politics

After weeks of speculation, hardline former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not run for reelection next year, per the recommendation of Iran’s supreme leader (New York Times). Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discouraged Ahmadinejad from running for president since it would be a "polarized situation" and "harmful for the county." This means currently there is no hardline candidate to run against pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani in next May’s presidential election.

Turns out Ahmadinejad was on the verge of disobeying the supreme leader, before the ayatollah went public about his disapproval (Al-Monitor). 

BACKGROUND: Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a divisive figure even amongst Iran’s hardliners. His two terms were defined by confrontation with the West, especially over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. He is known for questioning the Holocaust and making predictions about Israel’s demise. Disputes over Ahmadinejad’s reelection sparked the protests known as the Green Movement in 2009. Two of his former vice presidents are serving time on corruption charges.

Ever heard of Ibrahim Raisi? He might be Iran’s next supreme leader (Washington Post).

 Iran Deal

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says Tehran is honoring the commitments of the nuclear deal although some sanctions remain (AP). Ali Akbar Salehi did not name any specific countries in comments at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the sanctions were relieved, adding, "The consequences of that in terms of how many companies make foreign direct investments in Iran is not for the government to decide, that's for companies to decide.” Many international banks and companies have been hesitant to invest in Iran for fears of crossing red lines with the U.S. Treasury Department that would result in fines for violating sanctions that are still in place.

Senior Republican lawmakers said they will keep campaigning against Boeing and Airbus jetliner sales to Iran, despite the U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement that it is issuing licenses (Reuters). There is concern Iran Air is using its planes to transport troops, 
weapons, and cash to rogue governments and terrorist organizations.


 Trade + Economy

OPEC finally agreed to a deal that will freeze output for the first time in eight years (The Guardian). The meeting follows a market crash due to oversupply and will be finalized in November. The proposal by Saudi Arabia limits production to a range of 32.5 to 33 million bpd. Iran also has agreed to decrease production by around 700,000 bpd, keeping their output at close to 4 million bpdwhich was their desired level before sanctions.

 Human Rights

Canadian-Iranian retired academic Homa Hoodfar was released from prison on “humanitarian grounds” and flown out of Iran (AP). The 65-year-old Concordia University professor emerita of anthropology was said to be ill when she was put on a plane to Canada via Oman.

Homa Hoodfar (Left) arriving in Oman

Hoodfar was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in March, but later released and barred from leaving Iran. She was then arrested again and transferred to Evin Prison in June. Hoodfar had been visiting family in Iran after the death of her husband and was also conducting academic research on Iranian women. Her charges included "dabbling in feminism," spreading propaganda against the state, and collaborating with hostile governments.

Canada and Iran severed diplomatic relations in 2012. Last week at the United Nations General Assembly, the Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion and his Iranian counterpart met to discuss mutual relations and regional issues.

Here is a list of dual nationals currently detained by Iran:

Kamal Foroughi (British-Iranian), since May 2011

Nizar Zakka (Lebanese, U.S. permanent resident), since September 2015

Siamak Namazi (Iranian-American), since October 2015

Baquer Namazi (Iranian-American), since February 2016

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (British-Iranian), since March 2016

Robin Shahini (Iranian-American), since July 2016

Here's an important read by journalist Maziar Bahari on why Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lies about human rights (New York Times).

The regretful Mister Geppetto by Mana Neyestani. The cartoon depicts Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Geppetto and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Pinocchio.


+ Journalist jailed for criticizing house arrest of Green Movement leaders.
+ Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi's 16-year sentence upheld.
+ Who will speak for Nizar Zakka, Iran's Lebanese hostage?
+ How Rouhani’s government made workers’ rights a crime.
+ Suicide and despair plague Iran’s prisons.
+ Iranian women bike against female cycling fatwa.

Iranian women fight the odds to shine in local politics.


Iran’s ‘resistance economy’—and stalled reform efforts.
Financial watchdog worries Iranian hardliners.
Is Iran's President Rouhani about to ditch his long-time patron, Rafsanjani?
Iran begins first web-based nationwide census.
Record number of injured workers in Iran.
Iran issues local credit cards for the first time in decades.
Utah state senator didn't mention job when visiting Iran.
Iranian general says American U2 spy plane warned away.
Kurdish separatists say their campaign in Iran will go on.
Another terrorist cell disbanded in Western Iran.
Italian navy ship docks in Iran for anti-piracy mission.
Iran to produce three new types of missiles by the end of the year, says defense minister.

+ Iranian navy commander questioned for allowing rapper to shoot video on warship.


German economy minister insists Iran recognize Israel.

Iran reacts to death of Israel’s founding father, Shimon Peres.
Ties that bind: U.S.-Iran Engagement and the Peace Corps Legacy.
Making of a 'martyr': Why would a young Iranian fight and die in Syria?
Iranian Kurds bolster anti-ISIS Forces in Iraq and Syria.
The Syrian-Americans who stood up to Iran’s president.
Don't shoot Iran's naval provocateurs.
Tehran not interested in any provocation with U.S., foreign minister says.
Did the U.S. send a letter to Iran about Yemen?
IRGC general claims Iran seized ‘1,000s of valuable docs’ from detained U.S. sailors.
Iran advises French FM to study history to learn about country's support for Saddam.


Disarming Iran: A story of cybersabotage and sanctions (Book review).


Peugeot targets 150,000 vehicle sales in Iran in second half.


State Department manages Iran's leftover diplomatic properties from shah era.


+ Tehran's towers: how the Iranian capital embraced bold architecture.
+ Why wine is integral to Persian culture.
+ Will Persian love cakes be the next wedding cake trend?
+ ‘Taste of Persia’: Naomi Duguid explores rich culinary legacy of Iran and neighbors.
+ Against the market: the art of Shirin Neshat.
+ Artist Farideh Lashai’s Goya-inspired digital epic to go on show at the British Museum.
+ Israeli museum celebrates Iranian graphic art.

+ The street photography collective that shows the softer side of Iran.

+ The Garage: Persian-flamenco fusion made in Vancouver.

+ 'Under the Shadow' review – supremely scary horror from Iran.


Iranians have started an “I am Lake Urmia” hashtag to raise awareness.

The world's fastest animal is in a race for survival in Iran.


Iran's ‘Lady of the Ice Climbing’.


Mastercard ranks Tehran as one of the top 10 fastest-growing cities in 2016.
Canada's first Afghan-born member of parliament admits she was born in Iran.

Female chess players furious about having to wear hijabs at the championship in Iran.

...تا هفته بعد
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