Iran Digest Week of December 16 - 23

Iran Digest
Week of December 16 - 23

AIC’s Iran digest project covers the latest developments and news stories published in Iranian and international media outlets. This weekly digest is compiled by Research Fellow Nicolás Pedreira and Research Associate Bryan Falcone.

U.S. - Iran Relations

Will Trump strengthen Iran's Hand?

President-elect Donald Trump's priorities in foreign policy have yet to be spelled out in any detail. Certainly trade matters to him, and so does going after ISIS; the events in Ankara and Berlin are sure to deepen that impulse. In that connection, he has said more than once that the Russians and the Syrians are fighting the Islamic State, and that we should take advantage of their doing so.

This is a far dicier proposition than it may appear on its face — particularly inasmuch as it may strengthen the hand of Iran throughout the Middle East. (US News)


A New Chapter In US-Iran Relations

Since the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran, America's policy towards the theocratic regime in Tehran has vacillated between containment and appeasement. Whether it was the Reagan-Bush attempts to curb the regime’s export of terrorism or President Obama’s attempts at accommodation, Washington has failed to deal with a regime that has posed a serious challenge to American foreign policy over the past 37 years. In short, Washington’s goal of changing the behavior of a despotic system that by its very nature cannot be changed has failed miserably.

As President-elect Trump and his foreign policy team look at the question of “how to deal with Iran,” they have to keep one central objective in mind: Investing in the people of Iran is Washington’s best option when it comes to defending the national security interests of the United States. (Forbes) 

Nuclear Accord

Head of UN Nuclear Watchdog says Iran showing Commitment to Deal

Iran has shown commitment to the deal on its nuclear program agreed with world powers, the head of the United Nations atomic energy watchdog said on Sunday, following complaints by Tehran over what it calls a U.S. violation of the accord.I

The White House said on Thursday that a bill extending U.S. sanctions against Iran for 10 years would become law without President Barack Obama's signature, adding this would not affect overall implementation of the nuclear agreement.

"We are satisfied with the implementation of the (agreement) and hope that this process will continue," IAEA director general Yukiya Amano was quoted as telling reporters in Tehran by the IRNA news agency. (Reuters)


Obama administration, Allies try to buy time for Iran Nuclear Deal

The Barack Obama administration and European allies are trying to buy time for the Iran nuclear deal, working to resolve any technical ambiguities in the accord and trying to make the case to the emerging Donald Trump team that the deal is working and renegotiating it is not a viable option.

The nuclear deal “is a decent deal … it works,” a European diplomat, speaking not for attribution, said Dec. 14, conveying the message European governments have conveyed to US interlocutors in recent weeks. “When issues come up” — technical ambiguities in the agreement, for instance — “we are able to resolve them. … As of today, the deal is implemented in the correct manner.” (Al-Monitor)


Airbus seals deal with Iran for sale of 100 aircraft

Europe's Airbus signed a firm contract on Thursday to sell 100 jets to IranAir, completing a return by Western plane giants and paving the way for deliveries to start next month, a year after sanctions against Iran were lifted.

The deal took weeks of shuttling between Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, and Tehran, complicated by a shortage of expert legal advice as Iran completes its biggest commercial deals with the West since its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Confirming details first reported by Reuters, Airbus said almost half the jets would be for short to medium routes and that deliveries would start early next year. (Reuters)


Rolls-Royce exploited loopholes in US Sanctions, to trade with Iran

Rolls-Royce sold equipment to Iran for decades, a confidential company memo reveals, exploiting a series of loopholes in US sanctions to avoid breaking the law.

The Iranian government amassed the world’s largest collection of the British engineering group’s signature turbine and booked millions of pounds of orders each year, according to a briefing drafted in 2009 for the company’s then chief executive, Sir John Rose.

Trading in Iran appears to have carried on despite the enormous political risk of being seen to avoid US sanctions. (The Guardian)


Despite its Arid Climate, Iran is home to Amazing Waterfalls.

Certainly they are not amongst the world’s highest, wildest, or heaviest waterfalls but what makes them amazing is that they are in a land that its climate mainly varies between arid and semiarid ranges.

So, for a majority of local and even some foreign travelers who stumble upon a waterfall with a substantial flow, it would be rather eye-catching and worthy to spend a few minutes of time.

There are over 300 waterfalls in the Iranian plateau, some of the most famous ones are Margoon in Fars Province, Rayen in Kerman Province, Latun in Gilan Province, Piran in Kermanshah Province and Akhlamad in Khorasan Razavi Province. (Tehran Times)

Inside Iran

Iran's Growing Drug Problem

They loiter on pedestrian bridges, puffing on pipes. They squat behind bushes and palm trees in leafy parks to get their fix. Even doctors and nurses are users.

Iran’s drug problem has become a national epidemic, health ministry officials and local doctors say, drawing the poor as well as the affluent, the secular as well as the pious, to an assortment of hard drugs including crystal meth, painkillers, synthetic hallucinogens and heroin and opium trafficked from neighboring Afghanistan. (LA Times)


British woman jailed in Iran must take her two-year-old daughter into prison with her or surrender custody

A British woman jailed in Iran is being pressured to take her daughter into prison with her or give up custody.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, has been told that she must chose between taking her two-year old daughter, Gabriella, into a Tehran’s notorious Evin prison or sign away her rights to be with her daughters, her husband Richard Ratcliffe told the Telegraph.

“The ultimatum is that Gabriella lives with her three days a week in prison or she signs a paper waiving her rights of custody," he said. (Telegraph)


The Iran Nuclear Deal is doing its Job

By Laicie Heeley, Amy J. Nelson

Nearly one year after Implementation Day, the Iran nuclear deal (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) is working, and implementation of the deal is, in large measure, on track. Although the president-elect vowed to toss the deal and negotiate a “better” one, the truth is that the Iran deal is accomplishing exactly what it was supposed to: preventing Iran’s nuclear “breakout” through covert and overt pathways. Efforts to derail the deal would be unwise, as the United States’ international partners have made clear their commitment to the deal’s terms, rendering the prospect of renegotiation nil.

Faced with a number of pressing issues on day one, both foreign and domestic, President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to passively support a deal that seems to be on track or aggressively pursue renegotiation will set the tone for an administration that has yet to define its terms. Choices he makes about political appointments and lawmakers about sanctions will shape the U.S. position going forward.

Read the full article here.