Iran Digest Week of January 6 - January 13

Iran Digest

Week of January 6 - January 13

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 Shiva Darian and Research Associate Bryan Falcone.

U.S. - Iran Relations

U.S. Navy Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Boats

A US Navy ship fired warning shots at Iranian boats on Sunday near the Strait of Hormuz, US Defense officials said Monday.
Five Iranian vessels approached the USS Mahan and two other US ships that were entering the strait, according to accounts from four sources. The Strait of Hormuz is situated between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
The Mahan, a destroyer, fired warning shots and used radio calls, flares, bells and whistles to signal to the ships to stay away. (CNN)

Rex Tillerson on Iran

On January 11, Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to be secretary of state in the Donald Trump administration. He said Iran poses a great to the world because of its “refusal to conform to international norms.”
If confirmed, Tillerson said that he would conduct a “full review” of the nuclear deal and begin considering next steps.“  And what comes at the end of this agreement must be a mechanism that does in fact deny Iran the ability to develop a nuclear weapon and that means, no uranium enrichment in Iran, no nuclear materials stored in Iran,” he said. (The Iran Primer)

Nuclear Accord 

Iran decides not to upset nuclear deal over U.S. sanctions extension

Iran decided not to escalate a stand-off over the extension of U.S. sanctions at a meeting of diplomats overseeing the nuclear deal it reached with world powers in 2015, senior Russian and Iranian diplomats said after the session on Tuesday.

Tehran threatened last month to retaliate against a U.S. Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), saying it violated the landmark agreement reached with six major powers under which the Islamic Republic curbed its disputed nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions. (Reuters)

Iran Agrees to Take Steps to Reduce Enriched Uranium Stockpile

Iran agreed to take steps that would push its stockpile of enriched uranium far below the 300-kilogram cap fixed in its 2015 nuclear agreement, potentially eliminating one flashpoint over an accord that President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly criticized during his election campaign, Western diplomats said. (The Wall Street Journal) 


Iran gets its first new Airbus plane after nuclear deal

The first of 100 Airbus planes that Iran purchased following its nuclear deal with world powers arrived in Tehran on Thursday, heralding a new chapter for the country's aging and accident-prone fleet after years of sanctions.
The Iran Air A321 jet touched down after a flight from Toulouse, France, where the headquarters of the European consortium are located. The 189-seat plane is the first of 100 purchased under a December deal worth $18 billion. (US News)

Women of Iran

The outspoken women behind late Iranian President Rafsanjani

The recent death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani leaves the outspoken women in the reformer's family in a sort of political limbo. 
It's unclear how much clout his once-powerful daughter and wife will retain in an increasingly conservative Iran. 
"We have to wait and see how things are going to unfold," says Nazila Fathi, a former correspondent for The New York Times. (PRI) 

The Bride's Side:  Separate Celebrations for Women and Men Mean Twice the Business for Iran's Growing Wedding Industry

The flat, rocky terrain in this part of Tehran is punctuated at regular intervals by high-rise condos. Most are still under construction; others have just been completed but are still empty. Out here, west of the center, the manic traffic and the congested streets of downtown Tehran have faded away.
We’re headed for one of the few busy buildings here, the no-expenses-spared Lebina Hotel. The green glow of the hotel’s massive sign lights up the desert. It is late afternoon, the sun is setting, and we’re halfway through a wedding. I am in a car with wedding photographer Somayeh Pakar, two of her assistants, more DSLR cameras than I can count, a heavy video camera, endless battery packs, lights, tripods, rig kits, reflectors, and a crane on wheels. We are transitioning from a photo shoot with the couple to their actual ceremony.  (Slate)

Inside Iran

As Protests Flare, Iran Bids Farewell to Rafsanjani

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Iranians bade farewell to Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Tuesday, with the sprawling state funeral veering slightly off script when groups of mourners started shouting opposition slogans.
The authorities were forced to raise the volume on the loudspeakers playing lamentation songs after some in the crowds took up cries of “Oh, Hussein, Mir Hussein,” a reference to a former presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011. (The New York Times)

Arms Seized Off Coast of Yemen Appear to Have Been Made in Iran

Photographs recently released by the Australian government show that light anti-armor weapons seized from a smuggling vessel near Yemen’s coast appear to have been manufactured in Iran, further suggesting that Tehran has had a hand in a high-seas gunrunning operation to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
The weapons, a selection of at least nine rocket-propelled grenade launchers, were among thousands of weapons seized by an Australian warship, the Darwin, in February from an Iranian dhow that was sailing under the name Samer. (Then New York Times)


The Future of Iran following Rafsanjani's death

By: Heshmat Alavi 

The regime in Iran suffered a major setback after former president and figurehead Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died of a heart attack on Sunday. He was 82.
Following the 1979 revolution, Rafsanjani played an influential role in structuring the regime’s policies, and his death will leave a significant power vacuum, coming less than four months prior to significant presidential elections.
nown for his persuasive role in shaping the regime’s politics following the 1979 revolution, Rafsanjani will leave a power vacuum in his wake.
Read more.