On behalf of everyone here at the American Iranian Council, we wish you a happy Nowruz!
Nowruz is the first day of spring and the first day of the new Iranian calendar year, which will be 1397 on March 20 (2018). Nowruz has been celebrated for over three millennia, and Iranians of all religious and ethnic orientations share in the joys and prosperity it promises.
The year 1396 was an especially difficult period in US-Iran relations marked by (i) uncertainty over the future of the JCPOA, (ii) concern over growing “Iranian influence” in the region, (iii) US support for Iranians protesting economic and social conditions, and (iv) the continued implementation of a US travel ban on Iranians, among other significant matters.
Hundreds of lawmakers in Germany, France and the UK wrote an open letter to the US Congress asking it to back the Iran nuclear deal, despite US President Donald Trump's threat to terminate the agreement next month. "Abandoning the deal would diminish the value of any promises or threats made by our countries. It would also diminish our capability to keep Iran nuclear-free after the expiration of the special provisions of the JCPOA," the letter reads. "If we maintain our alliance now, we will be in the position to keep Iran's nuclear aspirations in check in the long run." The letter continues: "But let us be clear: if the deal breaks down, it will well-nigh be impossible to assemble another grand coalition built around sanctions against Iran. We must preserve what took us a decade to achieve and has proven to be effective." (CNN)
Speech at the Brookings Institution Doha Center (BDC) Doha, Qatar, February 26, 2018
By Hooshang Amirahmadi, Rutgers University
Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening! Let me begin by thanking the Brookings Doha Center for organizing this timely panel on Iran and for inviting me to share my thoughts on the subject with you.
The title of my talk is: Iran’s Perilous Choices: State Alteration or Societal Disruption
Unhappily, I must begin by saying that all is not well with Iran today: The nation faces formidable domestic challenges in economic, political, social and environmental spheres as well as tough external challenges, more notably in relations with the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran also faces a crisis of identity and confidence as it also faces an uncertain future. As things stand, the republic is neither Islamic, nor revolutionary or even nationalistic, and it has also lost confidence in its own future.
Our latest Iran Chat is with Dr. James Miller, Managing Director of the Oxford International Development Group, a health research and project management consulting company in Oxford, Mississippi.
Dr. Miller began working in the area of health diplomacy in 2004 while seeking ways to improve health outcomes and access to medical care for people in the impoverished rural Mississippi Delta region. For this, he turned to Iran’s primary health care model, which is known for its system of health houses staffed by citizen health workers who provide health education and preventative health services to their local communities. Recognized by the World Health Organization for its success in improving medical outcomes for rural communities in Iran, Dr. James Miller began working with the architects of this system to develop and adapt the Iranian model in ways that could address the health disparity challenges in the impoverished Delta regions.
By: Shiva Darian, Gabriela Billini, and Nicolás Pedreira AIC Research Fellows
Allies for most of the 20th century, the United States and Iran were radically divided after the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew Mohammad Reza Shah and replaced him with a theocratic government. Throughout the last 38 years, U.S. policy toward Iran has fluctuated between open animosity and cautious mistrust. Former President Obama’s unprecedented approach to U.S.-Iran relations involved increasing pressure on the nation through the implementation of sanctions, while conveying a willingness to negotiate in order to come to a deal on what was perceived as one of the biggest threats to international security.
The Framework for Cooperation Agreement was established after months of negotiations and multiple meetings with the IAEA and the P5+1 (the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and Germany). Finally, in July of 2015, a consensus was reached and unanimously ratified by the UN Security Council as Resolution 2231 (2015). Through diplomacy, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Deal, aimed to establish a somewhat comprehensive resolution to an outstanding issue between the two nations.
Like many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, the Islamic Republic of Iran sits atop considerable deposits of fossil fuels. It boasts the world’s second largest reserves of natural gas and the fourth largest reserves of crude oil. Iran extracts an estimated 4.1 million barrels per day of crude oil and nearly 200 billion cubic meters annually of natural gas, making it respectively the world's fifth and third largest producer of these fuels. Oil is critical to the Iranian economy with about half of the country’s total revenue coming from its sale. Until recently, however, natural gas in Iran has been almost exclusively for domestic consumption.
Iran's oil and gas sector has been buoyed by the 2015 Joint-Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which relieved U.S., U.N and E.U sanctions under which Iran’s ability to export oil and access foreign investment had been curtailed. With the European market again open to it, Iran’s oil exports have been on the rise. In 2017, the Islamic Republic exported nearly 800 million barrels of crude oil, 80% more than in 2016. These sales netted $41 billion in revenue.