A weekly newsletter on all things Iran.
The Iranist
Week of September 15th

“The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the deal are being implemented. We will continue to implement the Additional Protocol in Iran as we do in other countries. I cannot tell you how many complementary accesses we have had, but I can tell you that we have had access to locations more frequently than many other countries with extensive nuclear programs.”

Head of the IAEA Yukiya Amano, on Iran abiding by the nuclear deal

 Domestic Affairs

President Hassan Rouhani is cracking down on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) business network (Financial Times). During the past year, the IRGC—who have interests in sectors ranging from telecoms and construction to oil and gas—have been forced to shrink some holding companies and transfer ownership of others back to the state, according to anonymous government sources. At least a dozen IRGC members and affiliated businessmen were detained in recent months, while others are being forced to pay back wealth accrued through suspicious business deals. The crackdown apparently started after Rouhani complained to the supreme leader about the vast wealth certain individuals within the guards had accumulated. Rouhani has criticized the IRGC’s economic role in the past.

Almost four decades after Iran banned alcohol, the country has taken the first step to admit that it has an alcohol problem (New York Times).

 Foreign Policy

The IRGC arrested the leader of ISIS in Iran and foiled a plan for suicide attacks (Reuters). The ringleader was from the Syrian branch of a militant Sunni organization and had planned to organize about 300 people to carry out suicide attacks during Ashura, a ten-day holiday commemorating the death of the Prophet’s grandson, Hussein.

President Donald Trump’s renewed push to resolve the Qatar siege was spurred by a conviction that the impasse has distracted America’s Gulf allies from the attempt to challenge Iran (Bloomberg). Trump told Kuwaiti officials visiting the White House last week that Gulf Arab monarchies can’t effectively counter Iran’s growing regional influence if they’re busy fighting each other, according to an anonymous Arab official.

Analysts believe Saudi Arabia and Iran are rethinking their rivalry, and that a courtship may be underway (VOA).

However, an anonymous Arab diplomatic source said attempts to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh have probably reached a dead end (Al-Monitor).   

Meanwhile, Israel’s prime minister wants the nuclear deal to be fixed or canceled (Washington Post). The Israeli government’s main concern is the “sunset clause,” which sets expiration dates on limits imposed on Iran’s nuclear program. Changes to those provisions are among several demands Benjamin Netanyahu will make to President Trump during their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Netanyahu gave a preview of what is likely to be said about Iran during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) next week (CNN). Israel's prime minister told CNN en Español, “War is coming because of a soft position on Iran, and a stronger position on Iran would avert war.” Netanyahu added, “In eight to ten years, according to the agreement, Iran will be able to enrich uranium on an industrial scale. That means that they can make not one bomb, but an arsenal of bombs. This agreement should be changed. It should be changed so that the removal of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program should be not a matter of the change of the calendar, but a change in Iran’s aggressive behavior.”

President Rouhani to address the United Nations amid debate over nuclear deal (AP).

 Iran Deal

The Trump administration extended sanctions relief to Iran, a sign that the president is stepping back from his threat to abandon the nuclear deal (New York Times). Though President Donald Trump insisted he has not settled on an Iran strategy and would announce one next month, administration officials said they were already trying to refocus on using military and economic leverage to counter Tehran's growing influence in the Middle East.

The House of Representatives adopted measures to prevent sales of commercial aircraft to Iran, despite warnings it would undermine the nuclear deal (The Hill).

The U.S. secretary of state is consulting allies in Europe as he seeks a way to toughen restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program a month before the recertification deadline (Bloomberg). American diplomats are seeing if they can demand an extension to limit uranium enrichment that are set to expire in 2025 and 2030, per the nuclear deal. They have also asked if foreign ministers of the P5+1 would meet on the sidelines of UNGA next week to discuss the deal’s flaws. A session was agreed for September 20 and will be the first encounter between Rex Tillerson and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

More than 80 arms control experts urged President Trump to honor the nuclear deal and said the accord was working (New York Times). In a joint statement, the experts said that the agreement negotiated by the P5+1 was a “net plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.” The statement warned that if the United States pulled out on unsupported claims of Iran’s cheating, it would isolate Washington.

Also, Iran received up to two impromptu nuclear inspections a month from the IAEA with almost double the overall number of visits it had just five years ago (Bloomberg). One of the IAEA’s most powerful tools are snap inspections, otherwise known as “Complementary Access,” which provide short-notice access to nuclear sites and other facilities, which were not an option before the nuclear deal. Last year, 25 snap inspections were conducted in Iran, the most for any country in at least five years.

What to expect if Trump undoes the nuclear deal (Los Angeles Times).

The case against the Iran Deal is one big lie (Foreign Policy)

 Human Rights

In the wake of last week’s Iran-Syria match, Iran’s female vice president for women and family affairs admitted that there is discrimination against Iranian women (Radio Farda). Massoumeh Ebtekar said on her Telegram channel that Iranian women were discriminated against at Tehran's Azadi stadium, and drew comparisons with the treatment of Syrian women. Ebtekar also said that she had discussed the matter with the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Massoud Soltanifar. Last week, Iranian women were barred from entry to their national football team’s World Cup qualifier against Syria because women are banned from attending men’s football matches in Iran.

Was the Iran versus Syria matched “fixed”? If so, it could cost Tehran its World Cup qualification (IranWire).

+ Iran must free unjustly held journalists.
+ Journalist Alireza Rajaei is a victim of medical neglect in prison.
+ Maryam Akbari-Monfared: Political prisoner and mother in Evin Prison.
+ IRGC brings “revenge” charges against man imprisoned for Facebook posts.
+ Authorities ignore starving political prisoners at Rajaee Shahr prison, restrict family visits.
+ Iranian-Kurdish prisoner’s health suffers amid ongoing denial of medical treatment.
+ Intelligence Ministry is keeping prominent rights lawyer in prison.
+ Imprisoned teacher’s rights activist: I’m legally entitled to a public trial.
+ Labor activist peacefully rejects new prison sentence.
+ Prison director accused of denying outside medical care for U.S. resident Nizar Zakka.
+ Princeton writes about imprisoned American Xiyue Wang.
+ Union considers mass strike as imprisoned labor activist’s condition deteriorates.

+ Left without patron, Khomeini’s grandson turns right.
+ Iran’s 'city of mullahs' has a surprising side
+ Supreme Leader forbids discrimination against minorities in rare outreach to Sunnis.
+ IRGC denies using child soldiers during Iran-Iraq War.

+ U.S. denies Iran report of confrontation with U.S. vessel
+ Trump to weigh more aggressive U.S. strategy on Iran forces, sources say
+ In Persian Gulf, computer hacking now a cross-border fear.

+ UAE shuts down Iranian school in Sharjah.
+ Iran and U.S. align against Iraqi Kurdistan referendum.
+ Iran's FM and Putin meet to discuss nuclear deal, Syria.
+ State TV airs video clip glorifying beheaded fighter in Syria
+ Shiite iconography electrifies Iranians on Syria
+ Tehran signs deal to repair Syria's power grid.
+ Ex-Israeli PM Barak linked to bank seeking to invest in Iran.

+ Israeli defense minister calls Iran “unquestionable the greatest threat to Israel”.
+ Pakistan and Iran stress political solution in Afghanistan.
+ Iran and Turkey to send aid to Myanmar’s Muslims.

+ Germany’s Merkel points to Iran talks as model for North Korea.
+ How Donald Trump is trying to blow up the nuclear deal.
+ Sanctions make Iran developers witty.
+ Trump is leading the U.S. into a war of choice against Iran.
+ Israeli official: Netanyahu must push Trump to end Iran deal.
+ Iranians outraged over removal of apps from Google Play store.
+ A petition: Stop removing Iranian Apps from the App Store.
+ Czechs refuse to lift ban on nuclear supplies for Iran.

+ South Pars oil talks with Maersk underway
+ Shell presents plan for Iran’s Kish gas field
+ Afghanistan seeks speedy development of Iranian port.
+ Iranian shareholders face rocky road ahead.

+ Visual artist Shirin Neshat among Praemium Imperiale winners.
+ Iranian film bags two awards at Venice Festival
+ Old bathhouse in central Iran turned into anthropology museum.
+ Photographer captures Persian carpets in the heart of Iran’s deserts and seas.

+ Lofti Zadeh, the father of fuzzy logic, dies at 96.
+ Iran to send human to space by 2025.
+ An environmental catastrophe in the Shadegan Wetland.
+ Pall hangs over U.S.-Iran science ties.

+ FIFA allows Saman Ghoddos to join Iran's national team.
+ Iran’s Persepolis advances to semi-finals of AFC champions league.

+ A Letter: Notions of Aryan Iranianness must be rejected.
+ The Iranians who can’t (or won’t) go home again.

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