Week of February 3 - 10
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
Defense, Intelligence Officials Caution White House on Terrorist Designation for Iran's Revolutionary Guard
Senior defense and intelligence officials have cautioned the White House that a proposal to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization could endanger U.S. troops in Iraq and the overall fight against the Islamic State, and would be an unprecedented use of a law that was not designed to sanction government institutions.
Defense and intelligence concerns have been expressed at the highest levels over the past several days, as the White House was preparing to roll out an executive order dealing with both Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive matter. (The Washington Post)
Velayati: U.S. does not dare carry out attack on Iran
Iran has stepped up its war of words with the US, with an influential adviser to the supreme leader threatening the Trump administration with "dark days to come" in case of a military attack on his country.
In an exclusive interview to Al Jazeera, Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign-affairs adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said "Washington does not dare carry out its military threats against Iran".
"The Americans know very well that Iran and its allies in the region would retaliate very hard, that will make America face dark days to come," he said. (Al Jazeera)
Trump to be surprised if ditches Iran nuclear deal: Zarif
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will have its “own options” in response to any violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the Islamic Republic will “surprise” US President-elect Donald Trump if he scraps the accord.
Zarif made the remarks in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday while speaking with reporters on the sidelines of a special meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). (Press TV)
Russia firm on support for JCPOA
Seyyed Abbas Araghchi is in Moscow seeking to bolster Russian stance on the JCPOA. In a 5-hour meeting with Sergey Ryabkov Wednesday evening, he told Iran’s state news agency IRNA that the negotiations with his Russian counterpart had brought about coordination in handling the challenges JCPOA could face in the international community. “Russia is firm about its support for JCPOA, Mr. Ryabkov voiced this to me during the meeting; notable among the topics were Iran-Russia contribution to Syrian crisis, Assad’s chemical weapons, and Damascus’ cooperation with Tehran and Moscow in safely destroying these weapons arsenal,” he told. (Mehr News)
From Rhineland to Tehran: German SMEs Scour Iran for Business Prospects
Tehran has seen more than a few new faces ever since the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear energy program and the reopening of the country to global trade.
To the global community, a reopened Iran means an untapped, potentially strong market ready to spend and expand.
Now more than a year later, the affluent Zafaraniyeh neighborhood in northern Tehran was host to a business dinner on Sunday held by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viniculture from Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. (Financial Tribune)
Women of Iran
New U.S. travel restrictions leave Iranian woman in L.A. museum show in artistic limbo
ldouz Alaei Novin’s three-screen video installation about the Iranian diaspora depicts goldfish frozen in blocks of ice, swinging from trees in the desert air, along with footage of a woman’s hands rooting through the dirt while transplanting violets.
A languid visual poem called “Our Persian Garden,” the work has only gained in resonance following President Trump’s executive order to temporarily prohibit citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. Oversaturated with light and featuring a soundscape of wind and rushing water, “Our Persian Garden” speaks to feelings of dislocation and alienation that Alaei Novin and other Iranian immigrants have long felt in the U.S., she says. (The L.A. Times)
Iran Announces Plan to Spend $3 Billion on Green Energy
Iran's Finance Ministry has approved applications totaling $3.0 billion in foreign investments in the country's renewable energy sector, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said.
With a population of over 80 million people, Iran is also home to the world's fourth-largest oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves. Yet despite its rich bounty of hydrocarbon resources, the country has decided to pursue projects that depend on renewable energy sources. (Digital Journal)
Iran Fires New Missile
Iran has reportedly test fired another missile, following a similar test in January.
A U.S. official told Fox News that the Iranians launched another missile on Wednesday from a launch pad east of Tehran.
The test, if confirmed, would potentially represent a direct reaction from Iran to be putting"on notice" by the White House earlier this month. (U.S. News)
Iran Displays Ancient Persian Artifacts Returned From the U.S.
Iran is displaying hundreds of ancient and Persian artifacts, some dating back as far as 3,500 years and all of them recently brought back home from museums and collections in Western countries.
Mohammad Hassan Talebian, deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, told The Associated Press that all of the items on display were repatriated over the past two and a half years from England, Belgium, Italy and the United States. (Seattle Times)
Trump and Iran: Scenarios of Escalation
By: Roxane Farmanfarmaian
Iran and the new Trump administration have already clashed with potentially disastrous consequences. The extreme vulnerability of the rapport between the two countries following the nuclear deal was on show recently as Iran tested a new long-range missile, and the Washington put Iran "on notice".
Yet, it is unsurprising that after 35 years of enmity, the revived US-Iran relationship would stumble as a radically different leadership takes power in Washington. Indeed, it might fall further should a similar shift occur in May after presidential elections take place in Iran. Does this mean the nuclear deal is doomed? It may be. But if so, it would be as much by default as by design. Four unexpected consequences of ill-conceived moves on Washington's part could intensify the conflict and collapse the deal. One smart move could save it.