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A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of October 28th
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"America claims it has had democracy for more than 200 years and they have had 50 presidential elections, but there is no morality in that country. Did you see the debate and the way of their speaking, accusing and mocking each other? Do we want such a democracy in our country? Do we want such elections in our country?”

President Hassan Rouhani, on the U.S. presidential debates
 

(Rouhani also said that at the United Nations someone asked about his views on the U.S. presidential election. He then replied, “Should I prefer bad over worse or worse over bad?”)

Donald Trump, Alex Jones, and Press TV: How paranoia is a style in the United States and Iran (IranWire).


A SPOTLIGHT ON SEXUAL ABUSE
FILED UNDER:
 Domestic Politics

A prominent Quran reciter is facing allegations that he sexually abused several of his underage trainees (The Guardian). This is the first case to spotlight sexual abuse in Iran, as few victims dare to come forward.

Saeed Toosi is the top Quran reciter in Iran and has even performed at state events attended by senior officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The 46-year-old is accused by four men of sexual misconduct, including rape, which took place when they were 12 and 13 years old. Toosi quickly denied the accusations and said they were “bogus and total lies” aimed at tarnishing the supreme leader.


Judiciary spokesman Hojatoleslam Mohseni Ejei said Toosi was being investigated for "encouraging" moral corruption (RFERL). According to Voice of America, four years prior, several complaints were filed against Toosi, but the charges were later dropped.

Now Iran's most senior judicial official announced the men who gave interviews to foreign media about the sexual abuse could face harsh punishment (IranWire).

Watch Toosi recite the Quran in front of the supreme leader.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has barred 35 Iranian government officials from working after investigations proved they had dual citizenship (Al-Monitor). The issue was raised initially to undermine the Rouhani administration’s attempt to secure a nuclear deal.

A sound analysis of Iran: exerting force while making nice is part of the plan (New York Times).


YOU CAN'T PLAY WITH US, TURKEY
FILED UNDER:
 Foreign Policy

Tehran says Turkey must receive permission from the Iraqi government to take part in the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS (RFERL). Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has asked Turkey to stay out of the operation, but Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is keen on having an active role in the battle of Mosul.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, “We regard as very dangerous [acts of] intervention by foreign countries without any coordination with the host country.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi also said, "It is not acceptable at all if a country, under the pretext of combating terrorism or any other crimes, tries to violate the sovereignty [of another country].”

Also, security forces opened fire near the Iranian Embassy in Ankara (PressTV).


Why Iran probably isn’t behind the attacks on U.S. warships (Reuters).


CHATHAM HOUSE PRIZE WINNERS
FILED UNDER:
 IRAN DEAL

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif were named the winners of the 2016 Chatham House Prize in recognition of their important roles in securing the Iran Deal (Chatham House). According to its website, the Chatham House Prize “is presented to the person, persons or organization deemed by members of Chatham House to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the foreign minister dedicated the prize to the Iranian nation, adding that Zarif won't be able to attend the London ceremony due to a busy schedule.

For the Iranian foreign minister, winning the Chatham House prize is a reason for hardliners to attack him (Al-Monitor).

The United Kingdom lifts sanctions on Iran’s Bank Saderat (Wall Street Journal).


CAN WE GET ALONG?
FILED UNDER:
 Economy + Trade

Venezuela’s president met with Iran’s supreme leader and called for more cooperation at OPEC to stabilize prices (AFP). "To stabilise the price of oil, new mechanisms should be taken, and consultation among oil-producing countries, be they members or non-members of the OPEC, should increase," said Nicolas Maduro. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the falling oil prices were imposed by the United States in order to "put pressure on independent countries.” He added, "We can adopt a rational policy and reinforce our cooperation to prevent these plots and this hostile policy." Iranian president Rouhani told his Venezuelan counterpart: "Iran backs any effort bringing stability, fair price and members' fair share to the oil market."

Iran’s export of petrochemicals hits $4.3 billion in six months (Press TV).

Iran's crude oil exports are expected to decline 5 percent in November to a four-month low (Reuters). Iran's oil exports normally hit a low around October or November every year.


18 YEARS FOR DUAL NATIONAL
FILED UNDER:
 HUMAN RIGHTS

Another dual national was sentenced to 18 years in prison for espionage and “collaborating with a hostile government” (VICE). 46-year-old Reza ‘Robin’ Shahini was visiting his ailing mother in northeast Iran when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested him on July 11th. Shahini migrated to the United States in 2000, where he studied at San Diego State University and received a degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution. He planned to begin his master’s studies in homeland security at the same university this fall. Shahini participated in the 2009 post-election protests known as the Green Movement. Photos of his activities were previously published on Iranian state media websites. According to Shahini, “Whatever information they had is all the pictures I posted in Facebook, in my web blog, and they use all those evidence to accuse me.”

The harsh sentencing is “unprecedented,” according to Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Shahini plans to go on hunger strike, “until either they free me or I die.”


President Hassan Rouhani may have stopped a screening of a hardliner documentary about an imprisoned dual national, Siamak Namazi (Al-Monitor).


CARTOON OF THE WEEK
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry won the 2016 Chatham House Prize for their role in the Iran Deal (see above posting).

Zarif hands a pear to Kerry and says, "You haven't benefited from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)! At least take this thing (first fruit)!"

The context of the cartoon is a stab at President Rouhani's recent speech criticizing hardliners. He said, “We threw the occupier out of our garden and the garden door is open for the people. Some children have come to the door and asked where they can find the apples and pears they want to eat. Today this garden with its seedlings planted recently is ready for fertilization, but to [eat] the fruit, patience is necessary.” Rouhani was referring that the Iran Deal needs time to bear fruit.

An Iranian newspaper then published an article with the headline, 'Promising a Pear'. The author wrote: “After comparing the JCPOA to the shining sun, Hassan Rouhani has now brought up a new metaphor for justifying the JCPOA.”

Read more about it (Al-Monitor).


OTHER NEWS THAT MADE HEADLINES
RIGHTS

+ Iran executed three Turks days after visit of Turkish President Erdoğan.

Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo released on bail after 62 days in prison.

Location concealed of hunger striker Mohammad Ali Taheri after slipping into coma.

Baha'i minority says Iran is trying to crush the religion.


Narges Mohammadi won awards for her peaceful activism, but Iran put her behind bars.

Get our loved ones released from jail in Iran, UK families demand.

Iran’s judiciary should release Siamak and Baquer Namazi.
 
On Siamak Namazi’s sentence: no one wins, writes journalist Maziar Bahari.
  
+ 'Justice for Iran' is mapping mass grave sites belonging to 1988 massacre.

Montazeri’s son still defends releasing audio of father denouncing 1988 massacre.

European Union reaches out to Iran over Afghan refugees.

Tehran calls UN human rights report politically-motivated, biased.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

Inside the battle to succeed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The main reason President Hassan Rouhani replaced three of his ministers.
 
Does Rouhani want to scrap Iran’s five-year development plans?
 
Iran’s latest corruption scandal: Who’s to blame?
 
A 'questionable result' in Iran's 2009 presidential election nearly tore the country apart.
 
Iran's intelligence minister defends agents' handling of visit by gay Utah state senator.
 
Report on Iran's missile capabilities and efforts to counter threat they pose by GCC.

IRGC developed “suicide drone” capable of blowing up targets on sea, land.
 
Iran claims it found listening devices belonging to U.S. in government offices.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS


+ Congressional Research Service report: Iran’s foreign and defense policies

Iranian FM to meet with Russian, Syrian counterparts at the end of the week in Moscow.

+ Iran unfazed by Saudi military exercises in Persian Gulf.


Managing the Saudi-Iran rivalry.
 
Iran recalls personnel from Kirkuk after deadly attack on power plant.

Iran wins, while Saudi retreats as Lebanon plans to elect new president after 29 months.
 
Islamic Jihad leader praises Iran.
 
Iran’s new challenge: ISIS in Persia?
 
"Takfirism a plot to divert attention from Israeli crimes," says senior Iranian official.
 
At Hillary Clinton’s favorite think tank, a doubling down on anti-Iran, pro-Saudi policy.
 
Bus carrying Iranian passengers stuck in heavy snow rescued in Armenia.

IRAN DEAL + SANCTIONS

Democrats will have Trump to thank for getting a political pass on the Iran Deal.

West's failure to reconnect Iran to global banks 'risks breaching nuclear deal'.

ECONOMY + TRADE

+ Is the ground ready for OPEC convergence?
 
Iran displeased with India’s proposal on Farzad B gas field.
 
P&I clubs renew coverage for Iranian shipping lines.
 
Cautious Western insurers start to rebuild business ties with Iran after sanctions lifted.
 
The Danish Liner carrier Maersk resumes service to Iran.
 
Tehran turns to South Korea for international bond issue.
  
New group of businesses emerging on Tehran's horizon.

Post-sanction Iran makes play for Asian investment.
 
Iran, Malaysia keen to return ties to post-sanctions level.
 
Armenia calls for implementation of mega projects with Iran.
 
Iran’s carpet exports to U.S. at $50 million since January.

Annual caviar output in Iran anticipated to reach 3 tons.

+ Will Iran allow the EU to open shop in Tehran?

ARTS + CULTURE

Even after his death, the great filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is still making waves in Iran.
 
Iran and Turkey dominate Asia Pacific screen awards.
 
Talking glitter, glam, and Googoosh with Iranian fashion designer extraordinaire Hushi.

HISTORY

Nobel Prize-winning Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore meets an old friend in Iran.

DIASPORA

 
Help ensure the next census includes Iranian-Americans

SCIENCE + ENVIRONMENT

The wives of 12 ambassadors joined “I’m Lake Urmia” campaign to restore the lake.
 
Research by Iran scientists claim patients with MS may benefit from taking probiotics

SPORTS

Female Iranian shooter named IPC’s ‘Athlete of Month’.

OTHER

Top Iranian students risk losing funding over U.S. and Canadian visa delays.
 
The Guardian’s readers share their Iran travel tips.
 
More of Iran in photos.

EVENTS
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