Copy of Iran Digest Week of October 27 - November 3

Iran Digest

Week of October 27 - November 3

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. Please note that the news and views expressed in the articles below do not necessarily reflect those of AIC.  

U.S. - Iran Relations

Supreme Leader Khamenei Says U.S. Is Iran's 'Number One Enemy'

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The United States is Iran’s “number one enemy” and Tehran will never succumb to Washington’s pressure over a multinational nuclear deal, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech on Thursday. 
U.S. President Donald Trump broke ranks with other major powers last month by refusing to formally certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. Under that deal, most sanctions on Iran were lifted in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear work.
“The American president’s foolish remarks against our people show the depth of America’s hostility towards the entire Iranian nation,” Iran’s top authority Khamenei told a group of students. (Reuters)

U.S. Asked French To Broker Trump - Rouhani Discussion, But Iranian President Said No

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Just hours after President Trump finished calling Iran a“murderous regime” in his Sept. 19 speech at the United Nations, the administration asked French President Emmanuel Macron for a favor. Would Macron inquire whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was interested in speaking directly with Trump?
All three leaders were in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, as was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who conveyed the request to Macron, according to several administration and foreign officials.
Iran’s response, later that afternoon, was an unequivocal no. The Iranians, the French reported, “don’t believe you’re serious” and thought it was some kind of trick, a senior administration official said. (The Washington Post)

Nuclear Accord

Iran Will Keep Building Missiles, Rouhani Says

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Iran's missile program is not in breach of its nuclear deal and will continue despite objections from the United States, President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday. 
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump announced that he would no longer make regular certifications that the lifting of sanctions under the deal -- known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) -- had been in US interests.
The agreement was negotiated in 2015 with the P5 +1 powers and the European Union. The P5+1 includes Germany and the permanent members of the UN Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain. (CNN)

Putin In Iran Rallies Opposition To Trump Threat On Nuclear Deal

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Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the international community to rally in support of the Iranian nuclear accord after talks with leaders of the Islamic Republic, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s move away from the multinational pact.
The nuclear deal is “working effectively,” and deserves support from all member states of the United Nations, Putin said in a joint statement Wednesday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Azeri leader Ilham Aliyev after a three-way summit in Tehran. Putin also held a separate meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Trump last month disavowed the 2015 accord to curb Iran’s nuclear program that was negotiated between Tehran and the U.S., Russia, France, Germany, the U.K. and China. He accused Iran of violating the agreement multiple times, though he stopped short of abandoning the pact completely. (Bloomberg)


Russia and Iran sign $30bn energy agreements

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Russia and Iran have signed agreements to collaborate on “strategic” energy deals worth up to $30bn that will involve energy groups such as Rosneft and Gazprom.
Amir Hussein Zamaninia, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs, said six provisional deals had been signed with Russian oil companies as part of a visit by Vladimir Putin to Tehran on Wednesday.
After years of sanctions, the government of Hassan Rouhani has sought to attract foreign companies to develop Iran's energy sector. The latest announcements come as Russia is building up its energy assets in the Middle East, as part of a wider diplomatic push to increase its economic and military clout in the region. (Financial Times)

Iranian Government Preparing For Bitcoin Use Inside The Country

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The Iranian government has been conducting research into the economic and infrastructural aspects of preparing for bitcoin use in its country. According to the ministry of information technology, “arrangements are being made” to put together the infrastructure for the digital currency “as early as possible." 
Iran’s Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Amir Hossein Davaee, reportedly said in an interview with Shargh newspaper last week: "The ministry of communications and information technology has already conducted a number of research studies as part of [its] efforts to prepare the infrastructure to use bitcoin inside the country."
He said that the cryptocurrency has two aspects, economic and infrastructural, adding that adopting it in Iran will end up being in the general interest of the country. (Bitcoin)

Women of Iran

What It Means When #MeToo Reaches Iran

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The #metoo campaign has made it all the way to Iran, which is significant for several reasons. It’s rare that popular global causes have such an immediate impact in Iran, but it’s especially rare this has caused Iranian women to be open about what has long been a taboo subject
Traditionally even the closest friends and family members of sexual assault victims would look for ways to find fault in a female accuser’s own behavior. Victim blaming has been the norm for centuries
But the #metoo campaign has taken hold. Many Iranian women feel empowered by sharing their personal experiences on social media for the first time. They seem to not be worried about being judged anymore and are using the #metoo in their public profiles just like women in more open societies. (The Lillly)

Inside Iran

Online Protests As Iranian Zoroastrian Councillor Suspended

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The suspension of Sepanta Niknam, an Iranian Zoroastrian councillor suspended on religious grounds, has polarised opinion among senior officials of the Islamic Republic and led to a campaign on social media calling for him to be reinstated.
#Sepanta_Niknam has been used more than 8,100 times on Twitter since the decision by a senior court ruling Niknam could not take his seat in Yazd, a Muslim majority city, despite winning election earlier this year.
Niknam is one of approximately 25,000 Zoroastrians living in Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim country of 80 million residents, while Yazd is home to Iran's second-largest Zoroastriancommunity, after Tehran. (BBC)

Regional Politics

Newly Released Bin Laden Document Describes Iran, Al Qaeda Link

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A document seized the night Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden suggests that Al Qaeda and Iran had a relationship more complicated and intimate than previously known — one that included threats and kidnappings, but also occasional cooperation.
The document was among a massive trove of material released Wednesday by the CIA following a request by the Long War Journal, a website that has chronicled the U.S. war on terrorism. The site received a copy of the materials Tuesday.
The U.S. government released hundreds of thousands of files in the aftermath of the May 1, 2011 raid on Bin Laden's Pakistan compound, and released other tranches in 2015 and 2016. (NBC)


Iraq Is Not Iran's Puppet

By: Renad Mansour

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Iraq is, once again, deeply embroiled in crisis. For three years, the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish region fought together to oust the Islamic State. Now, following the Sept. 25 referendum on independence for the region, they are pointing their guns at each other.
The dynamics in Iraq are far from simple, with intra-Kurdish rivalries; ethnic, sectarian and political divisions in Baghdad; and a war against the Islamic State barely in the rearview mirror. And yet too many people in Washington and elsewhere seem myopically focused on just one factor: Iran, which they view as controlling and dominating the situation in Iraq in pursuit of an ambitious, expansionist foreign policy. That’s far from the full story.
Since coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq has worked to push back against Iranian hegemony. Although he is (like the Iranian government) Shiite, he professes to be first and foremost an Iraqi nationalist. And he is certainly not an adherent of the Iranian government’s revolutionary ideology.

(Read More)