On July 14, 2015, the American Iranian Council (AIC) celebrated the signing of the JCPOA as an important day for diplomacy and the international community – a day that demonstrated how diplomacy could achieve what threats and coercion could not. Today, as an organization that has worked for nearly thirty years to promote understanding and dialogue between the US and Iran, the American Iranian Council strongly rejects the Trump administration’s decision to refuse to re-certify the JCPOA. The AIC further expresses its deep concern that the Trump administration’s decision will be a “black eye” for diplomacy and the US’s reputation around the world. We oppose this action for a variety of reasons, including:
1. The fact that Iran has complied with the terms of the JCPOA. The IAEA has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal, including as recently as August 2017. Top US military and State Department officials have also confirmed that Iran is complying with the deal;
Family Splits Drive Suit Over 'Most Cruel' Trump Travel Ban
A pair of Iranian romances are at the center of the first lawsuit targeting President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban against several Muslim-majority countries, Venezuela and North Korea. A complaint filed late Monday in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, pits the Trump administration against a nonprofit group, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, and six unnamed U.S. citizens of Iranian descent, including two women who are seeking visas for the Iranian men they love. Trump’s Sept. 24 proclamation will indefinitely limit most travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, all of which were part of the original ban. It will also restrict travel to the U.S. from Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. (Bloomberg)
Stephanie Lester, AIC's Director of Operations Originally published in the Huffington Post
A total solar eclipse passed through the U.S. mainland this past August and I had the wonderful opportunity to view it. It was, coincidentally, the very “same” eclipse I had seen in Iran eighteen years earlier. It’s called a saros: a repeating pattern of eclipses that happens every eighteen years, eleven days and eight hours, when the “same” eclipse appears one third of the way around the world.
Typically, celestial wonders remind us that human beings and our politics and activities are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but this eclipse had the opposite effect on me. Given the locations from which I viewed the respective events, I focused instead on how frustratingly little US-Iran relations had changed during the saros period – the continued lack of diplomatic relations and rampant mistrust between the countries. In a way, the saros pattern of eclipses reflected for me the obstinate way in which humans are unable to break from their own familiar historical and political patterns.
Our latest Iran Chat is with Iranian-American celebrity chef Ariana Bundy. Ariana is the award-winning author of two cookbooks, Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes and Sweet Alternative: More than 100 recipes without gluten, dairy and soy. She is also the writer, director and star of the 8-part television series Ariana's Persian Kitchen, which airs on NatGeo People. Ariana's work has been featured in a variety of magazines like Food & Travel, Harper's Bazaar and Food & Wine Magazine; she has also appeared on television programs like BBC's Good Food Live, Euronews and Top Billing. For more information about Ariana Bundy or to get some delicious recipe ideas, you can visit her website arianabundy.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Hooshang Amirahmadi, PhD Professor, Rutgers University
The JCPOA: From Despair to Hope
The North Korean crisis has pushed the future of the 2015 nuclear deal among Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China), commonly referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), into the background. Yet, this temporary situation will soon reverse itself as a powerful storm is gathering around the subject. The JCPOA, which was intended to reduce tension between the US and Iran, has been criticized repeatedly by President Donald Trump as a highly deficient agreement, and this change in the White House's attitude under a new president is the primary cause of this developing storm. Indeed, US-Iran relations have unexpectedly become highly explosive in the post-JCPOA period. President Donald Trump’s speech at the UN was a clear indication of this new situation. To mitigate this emerging danger, the policy community must overcome complacency, act with urgency, offer an even-handed and realistic analysis, and propose a fair solution.
Given Iran’s geographic breadth and its sizable population, the task of maintaining and modernizing its public transportation system is immense. Cities in Iran are linked by 199,000 km of roads and 10,000 km of railroad. The country has over 300 airports. Due to heavy traffic, the metro systems in all major cities are heavily utilized to avoid the congestion above. The Tehran metro, for example, is one of the busiest in the Middle East and estimated to service between two and four million people each day.
While impressive in its scope, Iran’s transportation system is in serious need of attention and improvement. The World Economic Forum’s 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report ranked Iran 76 out of 140 for overall infrastructure quality (other industrialized countries in the region received much higher ratings, such as Saudi Arabia at 31 and the United Arab Emirates at 2).