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The Iranist
Week of January 15th
Sanctions removal countdown
It is likely that at some point in the coming week, U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran are to be lifted as part of the JCPOA (Joint Compressive Plan of Action). Not only will the removal of sanctions impact the global oil market, but also the lives of ordinary Iranians. Once the IAEA verifies Tehran’s commitment to the JCPOA, “Implementation Day” can come into effect. Earlier this week EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said, “There is no set date yet. The date is going to be related to the full implementation of all the steps that need to be taken.” However, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “Implementation day … is going to take place very soon, likely within the next coming days somewhere.”

As part of Tehran’s obligations under the Iran Deal, the core of the Arak plutonium reactor was removed and filled with cement this week.

Sailing into Iran
Two U.S. naval patrol boats were detained with 10 sailors on board after they entered Iranian territorial waters near Farsi Island. The U.S. personnel reportedly strayed off course by accident, due to a broken navigation system on one ship and engine trouble on the other. The IRGC boarded their ships and kept the sailors for questioning before releasing them after they determined the Americans had, in fact, entered Iranian waters in error. “It was a mistake, that was our fault, and we apologize for our mistake," a detained U.S. navy commander said on Iranian state television.

Here are the sailors having fruit. They were also served Iranian meals.
Even though the ships were in Iranian waters, the U.S. media had a field day condemning the incident as a second hostage taking.

Nevertheless, a crisis was averted thanks to diplomacy. As it turns out, Secretary of State Kerry talks to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif “more than any other foreign leader.” Kerry has only spoke to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir twice, in comparison to over 11 times with Zarif.

Bill to 'supposedly' curb Iran Deal
Coincidently after the release of the detained U.S. sailors, the House of Representatives tried to pass the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act on Wednesday. The Republican-backed legislation was scrapped pending another vote on January 26
th when 137 members didn’t show up to vote for more Congressional oversight of the Iran Deal. President Barack Obama has already threatened to veto the legislation in the past since the White House is concerned the bill is intentionally meant to derail the JCPOA. If Implementation Day happens before the second vote, it’ll make things harder for Congress.
Starry Night
Milk Way shines over Iran's Pasargadae UNESCO World Heritage Site, near Shiraz. Pasargadae was the first capital of the Achaemenid Empire. The structure in the photo is the mausoleum site of Cyrus The Great.
Other stories that made headlines

-- Iranian blogger/activist Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki summoned back to Evin Prison.

-- Harsh sentences for two Iranian poets forces them to flee Iran.

-- Marine veteran held by Iran received care, according to his family.

-- Supreme Court hears victims of Iran terrorism compensation case.
-- Nancy Pelosi has her own ‘Sarah Palin Moment’ about seeing Iran from Bahrain.
-- Why has Sudan ditched Iran in favor of Saudi Arabia?
-- Iranian and UAE Ministers trade Twitter digs in Saudi standoff.

-- In pictures: The face of African slavery in Qajar Iran. 
-- Elham Hassanzadeh is the woman shaping Iran’s oil future.  
-- Why foreign investors shun Iran’s smaller industries.
-- Esfahan’s Vank Cathedral celebrates Orthodox Christmas on January 6.
-- Iran currently in talks to build an oil refinery in Spain.
-- The Shah of Iran, the Islamic Revolution and the mystery of the missing Imam.

-- Saudi-Iran rift is America’s fault and DC needs to make sure it doesn’t escalate.
-- Netflix left as quickly as it came to Iran, thanks to censorship.
-- The man behind Iran's famous Azadi Tower.
-- The Not Without My Daughter movie problem: An Iranian-American headache.
-- Photographer Soraya 'Doolbaz' turns penis portraits an art (NSFW).
-- Serbian pantomime in Shiraz brings message of “reconciliation and kindness”.
-- LA-based Iranian designers strike big when El Chapo wears their design.
-- 8-year-old Iranian-American boy donates life savings for peace.


...تا هفته بعد

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