On behalf of everyone here at the American Iranian Council, we wish you a warm Nowruz greetings! Nowruz is the first day of spring and also the first day of the new Iranian calendar year, which will be 1396 on March 21 (2017). Nowruz has been celebrated for over 3000 years, and Iranians of all religious and ethnic orientations share in the joys and prosperity it promises. We sincerely hope that this Nowruz will usher in better US-Iran relations.
The closure of 1395 was admittedly a rocky period in US-Iran relations, with increased rhetoric on both sides, the imposition of a blanket travel ban on Iranians, ballistic missile testing by the Iranian government, and the new Trump administration putting Iran “on notice.” Of course, rocky times are not new. As a long-standing organization with nearly three decades of experience in this field, we recognize that US-Iran relations have always been challenging. And yet, with time and effort, real progress has been made in the past and can be made moving forward.
Trump Travel Ban: Second U.S. Judge Blocks the New Executive Order
Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have blocked US President Donald Trump's new travel ban, which was due to begin after midnight on Thursday. The order would have placed a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations and a 120-day ban on refugees. Both judges questioned the legality of the ban, which critics say is discriminatory. President Trump insists the move is to stop terrorists from entering the United States.He complained of "unprecedented judicial overreach". (BBC News)
Originally published on The LobeLog By, Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr, AIC Board Member
A hundred and fifty years ago, a German physicist derived the concept of “entropy” from the second law of thermodynamics. Since then, entropy has stood for the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder, from structure to formlessness, and from predictability to uncertainty. Entropy is the measurement of that change. It is also the most fitting description of current trends in geopolitics and geoeconomics.
The strategic stabilities of the old order are all in various stages of decay. Some in my country and abroad had come to view the United States as the next best thing to a world government and global policeman. But, even before tweets replaced policy papers in Washington, this conception had become preposterous. The established presumptions no longer operate.
Less than one week after President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, our latest Iran Chat is with Ian Samuel, Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Ian previously served in the United States Department of Justice in the Office of the Solicitor General and on the appellate staff of the Civil Division. Following his government service, Ian joined the appellate litigation practice at the law firm Jones Day.
Our conversation covers the legal issues surrounding President Trump's executive order as well as Ian’s offer to personally provide legal services to any government employee who refuses to help implement this ban. You can follow Ian on Twitter at @isamuel, and subscribe to his podcast about the Supreme Court at firstmondays.fm/subscribe.
In July 2015, the United States partnered with other members of the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom) along with the European Union and Iran to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The plan was officially implemented in January 2016, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of Treasury issued numerous accompanying documents as guidelines on the JCPOA.
Both due to - and also despite - this abundance of language, there is often confusion surrounding what is and is not permitted in U.S.-Iran business operations under the new agreement. Hence, this article seeks to clarify some of these guidelines. Imagine this as “OFAC 101.”
After oil and gas, the automobile industry is Iran’s third largest, accounting for approximately 10% of the country’s GDP and employing about four percent of the country’s workforce. Despite setbacks from sanctions, which saw Iran pull back as the number one automobile developer in the Middle East to second place behind Turkey, the auto industry has been growing. The past decade has shown a six fold increase in production, fueled by both domestic and foreign demand. Today, the industry produces around 1 million cars each year.