Iran Digest Week of January 20 - 27

Iran Digest

Week of January 20 - 27


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

US Senators Rubio, Young, Cornyn, Introduce Iran Non-Nuclear Sanctions Act

In the first session of the new Congress, U.S. Republican Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Todd Young (R-IN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) reintroduced the Iran Non-nuclear Sanctions Act, a legislation that would impose harsh financial and economic sanctions countering Iran’s non-nuclear activities.
The hawkish GOP senators, who had introduced the same bill last December, slammed the Obama administration for not adopting adequate measures against Iran.
“I look forward to working with the new administration to hold Iran fully accountable for both its nonnuclear and nuclear threats,” Rubio said during the session, his official website reported on Tuesday. (Tehran Times)

Trump Team Aims to Test Russia's Alliance With Iran

As the Trump administration begins planning its outreach to Moscow, one question for the new president will be whether he can persuade Russia to turn away from Iran.
The two countries have grown closer since 2015, when a group of nations lifted some sanctions on Iran in exchange for more transparency about its nuclear program. Russia sells Iran advanced air defense systems, and Iran provides its officers and militias to conquer the Syrian towns and cities indiscriminately bombed by Russian aircraft. (Bloomberg)


Nuclear Accord

Netanyahu: Trump Understands 'Danger' of Iran Nuclear Deal

President Donald Trump understands the "danger" of the Iran nuclear deal, the Israeli prime minister said on Thursday, adding that Israel will take all measures necessary to stop Tehran from getting atomic weapons.
Iran agreed in a deal with world powers in 2015 to limit its ability to enrich uranium in exchange for the removal of some international economic sanctions.
Trump vowed at times during the presidential campaign either to walk away from the deal or to renegotiate it but it is not clear what action will be taken now he is in office.  (US News)


Economy

Iran Open to Business Ties With US

Tehran is sending the signal that it is open to cooperate with US companies in its key petroleum industry even under the new US President Donald Trump's administration.
"We see a lot of indication that there is a departure in the current (US) administration and we do not see a conflict coming up," Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for international affairs, told CNN in a video interview in his office in Tehran. (Financial Tribune)

Iran's Non-Oil Foreign Trade Turnover Tops $70b

Iran’s non-oil foreign trade during the 10 months of the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2016) stood at $70.25 billion, indicating a 5.8% increase compared with the corresponding period of last year. 
According to the latest report by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran exported $35.27 billion worth of non-oil commodities during the period, registering an 8.37% rise year-on-year. (Financial Tribune)


Women of Iran

Star of Iranian Film Says She Will Boycott Oscars Over Trump's Visa Ban

The Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, a co-star of “The Salesman,” an Iranian film up for the foreign-language Academy Award, said Thursday that she would boycott the Oscars ceremony to protest President Trump’s announcement that he would issue a temporary ban on visas to citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Mr. Trump said this week that he would issue an executive order to suspend immigration for at least 30 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  (The New York Times)

The Girl on a Motorcycle - in Iran

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“Iran? What d’you want to go there for?” That was the typical response to my plan to motorcycle around the Islamic Republic. Once a highlight of the classic overland route from Europe to Asia, Iran had become a no-go zone for UK travellers following the attack on the British embassy in Tehran in 2011. The always difficult Anglo-Iranian relationship was at an all-time low, diplomatic relations were suspended and the Foreign Office ramped up their travel warnings, colouring the whole of Iran red for danger on their advice maps. (iNews)
 


Environment

Iran President Test Drives Domestic Electric Car

An updated version of an electric car and two electric motorbikes were unveiled in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani earlier this week at the courtyard of the presidential complex in Tehran. The vehicles are manufactured by domestic knowledge-based firms. 
A new version of the two-seater micro-electric vehicle 'Yooz' was test-driven by the president on the occasion marking National Clean Air Day, YJC reported. (Financial Tribune)


Inside Iran

Inside the 37 - Year Standoff Over Iran's Frozen U.S. Dollars

When the shah of Iran fell in 1979, the U.S. froze at least $400 million of Iranian money sitting in a Pentagon trust fund. The Islamic Republic of Iran never stopped trying to get it back.
Tehran unsuccessfully sought the money from Jimmy Carter in return for 52 American diplomats held hostage for 444 days. It asked the Regan administration for the same money during dealing that led to the Iran-Contra scandal. (The Wall Street Journal)


Analysis

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

By: Dr. Stefan Grobe

Officially in office for less than a week, US President Donald Trump keeps using executive orders to dismantle or overturn policies put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Yet what Trump once considered his No. 1 priority on his to-undo-list, the Iran nuclear agreement, seems to be more difficult to scrap than the self-declared uber-dealmaker initially thought.
Fresh evidence of this reality is expected to arrive at the White House on Friday, when British Prime Minister Theresa May will be the carrier of an important message: The Iran nuclear deal is here to stay!
Read more