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;
Saudi Arabia has lashed out at Iran over the firing of a ballistic missile towards Riyadh by Houthi rebels in Yemen, citing evidence that Tehran was behind the attack and labeling it a potential "act of war". A statement issued on Monday via the state news agency SPA denounced the "flagrant military aggression by the Iranian-controlled Houthi militias" and said that an examination of the debris "confirmed the role of Iran's regime in manufacturing [this and a previous missile] and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests". The statement accused Iran of violating the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits states from supplying weapons to Yemeni armed groups. "Iran's role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally," the SPA statement noted. (Al Jazeera)
AIC's President Dr. Amirahmadi recently spoke with Radio Farda regarding US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's explanation of US policy towards Iran. The audio is in Persian; the English translation is below.
Translated and transcribed by: Celine Aslinia
After meeting with his counterpart in New Delhi, India, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that America’s policy towards Iran had three axes: “one was dealing with the nuclear agreement between Iran and 5 + 1 countries. The second important pillar of that policy is to deal with Iran’s other destabilizing activities.” The ‘destabilizing activities’ [Tillerson] mentioned included the manufacturing of ballistic missiles, procurement of weapons for terrorist groups, delivery of fighters to foreign countries, and intervention in Yemen, Syria, and other areas. [Tillerson continued], “And the third pillar - which does not get talked about much - is a support for moderate voices inside of Iran. We know there are strong feelings and values inside of Iran that we want to promote in terms of one day the Iranian people being able to retake control of their government.”
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.
A large state replete with natural resources, Iran is among the most mineral-rich countries in the world, holding approximately 7% of the Earth’s supply with 45 to 60 billion metric tons of 68 different types of minerals. Despite its natural advantages, however, Iran has failed to make the most of its mining sector. Mining employs just 620,000 people in the country and accounts for 0.6% to 1% of GDP. With 90% of Iran’s potential mines unsurveyed, some estimates put the industry’s potential worth at triple its current value. The deputy minister of Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade, Mojtaba Khosrowtaj, has indicated that copper, lead, and rare earth elements could ultimately generate more revenue than the crude oil industry.