Iran Digest Week of January 13 - 20

Iran Digest
Week of January 13 - 20


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

Iran to Reserve Judgment on Trump Before He Takes Office

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif vowed to keep an open mind toward Donald Trump, saying it was too early to judge his policies despite the U.S. president-elect’s strongly worded antagonism toward Iran.
"We will have to wait and see what President-elect Trump, once inaugurated, will try to pursue as his policy," Mr. Zarif said Wednesday, addressing a panel at the World Economics Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (The Wall Street Journal) 

Outgoing U.S. envoy says U.N. needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo

The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said on Wednesday amid U.N. concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.
Most U.N. sanctions were lifted a year ago under a deal Iran made with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and the European Union to curb its nuclear program. But Iran is still subject to an arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the nuclear agreement. (Reuters)

Nuclear Accord

Trump Can't Renegotiate Iran Nuclear Deal, Rouhani Says

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Even if President-elect Donald J. Trump would want to, there is no chance of renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Tuesday.
“Mr. Trump says things like that he is not happy with the nuclear deal, or he calls it the worst agreement,” Mr. Rouhani said. “These are more like slogans. I consider it unlikely that anything will happen in practice.” (The New York Times)


Iran Open to Business Ties With US

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran is open to economic relations with the US, despite differences between the two sides.
"China, Russia and India remain our important partners. They have been with us during difficult times. But we are interested in expanding our relations with the EU. We are interested in expanding our traditionally good relations with the rest of Asia, with Japan, with Korea," he said. (Financial Tribune) 

State - backed British bank rebuffs government push to boost Iran trade: sources

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) has rebuffed efforts by the British government, a major shareholder, to coax the lender into facilitating trade with Iran as it seeks to avoid risky business, sources with knowledge of the discussions say.
In recent months British officials have sought to boost business ties with Iran - a year on from the lifting of international sanctions - as Britain tries to forge new trade ties following June's vote to leave the European Union. (Reuters)

Women of Iran

Q&A: Iranian chess player Sara Khadem

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, better known as Sara Khadem, is a 19-year-old chess player from Iran who holds the titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster. 
Like most other chess players, Khadem took up chess at an early age. She was eight when she first touched a chess board. Four years later, she was a world champion, winning the under-12 world championships. (Al Jazeera)


Green tax should help expand environmental infrastructure: Official

Municipalities should spend taxes collected from pollutant industries to develop environmental infrastructure in cities, deputy director of Iran's Department of Environment Saeed Motesaddi said on Sunday.
He made the remarks at a press conference held on the occasion of the national clean air day, Jan. 18.
“Municipalities are required to set priorities depending on each region’s environmental problems and spend the green taxes on them to improve the environmental status of each area,” he noted. (The Tehran Times)

Air Pollution Costs Iran $20 Billion Per Year

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Air pollution costs Iran about $20 billion annually, which can be used to purchase 20,000 subway cars or establish 140 power plants, 60 stadiums with a 50,000-seat capacity and 900 60-hectare parks, the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s environment group said.
“In fact, air pollution costs are three to four times more than the government’s development budget,” Mohammad Reza Tabesh was quoted as saying by the Persian monthly Ayandeh Negar. (Financial Tribune) 

Inside Iran

Iran shocked by raging fire that collapsed iconic high-rise, killing at least 30 firefighters

A historic high-rise building in the heart of Iran's capital caught fire and later collapsed Thursday, killing at least 30 firefighters and leaving their stunned colleagues and bystanders weeping in the streets.
The disaster at the 17-story Plasco building, inadvertently shown live on state television, came after authorities said they repeatedly warned tenants about blocking stairwells with fabric from cramped garment workshops on its upper floors. (The Chicago Tribune)


One year later, the Iran nuclear deal is a success by any measure

By: John F. Tierney

This past Monday, January 16, marked a full year since the oft-debated nuclear agreement between the United States, its negotiating partners, and Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was officially implemented.
Contrary to the doubts of critics, the agreement has been a certifiable success in its first year, achieving its objects of blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and increasing visibility into Iran’s nuclear activities.
The agreement has placed significant restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity, effectively blocking paths to both a uranium-based and plutonium-based nuclear weapon. Read more