Iran Digest Week of May 19 - 26

Iran Digest

Week of May 19 - 26

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

Senate Panel Backs Bill to Authorize New Sanctions on Iran

A Senate panel overwhelmingly backed bipartisan legislation that would authorize President Donald Trump to put new sanctions on Iran while keeping the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in place.
The Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-3 on Thursday despite concerns from former Secretary of State John Kerry and several Democrats that the measure could nonetheless lead to the unraveling of the nuclear accord negotiated by the Obama administration.
Kerry cautioned lawmakers to “tread carefully” in pushing ahead with new sanctions against Iran in the wake of President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election last week to another four-year term. Rouhani is a political moderate who scored a resounding victory over a hard-line opponent. (PBS)

Rouhani Dismisses Trump Warning Over Iran 'Threat'

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned his US counterpart, Donald Trump, that regional stability cannot be achieved without Tehran's help.
Mr Trump began a trip to Israel on Monday by saying that it shared a "common cause" with its Arab neighbours in "the threat posed by Iran".
He also demanded that Iran cease its support of "terrorists and militias". Mr Rouhani dismissed the criticism and said it was actually Iran and its allies that were fighting terrorists. (BBC)

Iran's Rouhani: Trump went to a country where elections are 'not in their dictionary'

Fresh off a resounding reelection victory, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized President Trump on Monday for visiting Iran’s arch-rival Saudi Arabia, but also insisted that he wanted to improve relations with the U.S.
Rouhani said Trump’s meetings in Riyadh over the weekend were “a sham” and drew laughter from the audience at a press conference in Tehran when he compared the high turnout at Iran’s election Friday to the fact that Saudi Arabia has never held elections.
“Mr. Trump has come to the region at a time when 45 million Iranian people went to polling stations, and he went to a country where they don’t know what elections are about,” Rouhani said. “It’s not in their dictionary. (L.A. Times)

Nuclear Accord

Trump tells Israel Iran will never have nuclear weapons

US President Donald Trump has told Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that Iran will never have nuclear weapons.
He suggested the Iranians thought they could "do what they want" since negotiating a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.
Mr Trump arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia, where he sought to win Arab states' support for fighting extremism. He has called for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. (BBC)


Iran Elections Strengthen Trading Conditions

Following President Hassan Rouhani’s reelection this weekend, most people believe that Iran’s economy will be in a better position and the country open for international business, reads a commentary published by UK-based media outlet The Global Legal Post. Below is the full text:
On May 17, 2017, the US Administration upheld the Iran sanctions waiver, keeping the nuclear deal alive. However, despite the lifting of sanctions, difficulties still exist. Iranian companies and individuals, for example, are still unable to have a normal standard bank transfer with the UK-unlike some other European countries.
A degree of progress has been made on international larger deals-a major airplane deal was licensed and approved in the United States just before the end of Obama’s presidency with the first couple of airplanes now delivered to Iran and currently operating European flights. (Financial Tribune)

Women Of Iran

What Iranian Women Want

Issues affecting women were conspicuously absent from Iran's 2017 presidential election. That's unless one finds useful the leading conservative candidate Hojjat al-Islam Ebrahim Raisi's comment that his government would enhance women's dignity within the family, because women should be "good mothers and wives.
The absence was a departure from the June 2009 presidential campaign, when two reformist candidates backed women's rights.
Now that President Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected by a wide margin for another four-year term, it is crucial to ponder what his victory means for Iranian women. Rouhani has widespread support among Iran's urban population, the middle class, young people and women. (U.S News)

Inside Iran

Iran says it has built third underground ballistic missile factory

Iran has built a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile program, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard as saying.
The development is likely to fuel tensions with the United States in a week when President Donald Trump, on his first foreign trip, has called Iran a sponsor of militant groups and a threat to countries across the Middle East.
"Iran's third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years ... We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully," Fars quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying. (Reuters)

Regional Politics

Lawmakers warn: Iran wants military base in Syria near Israel

Iran is trying to gain a military base near the Israeli-Syrian border, a bipartisan pair of lawmakers warned the Trump administration.
"A permanent Iranian military base in Syria, potentially near the border with Israel or Jordan, would increase Iran's operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region," Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
That warning points to the strategic significance of the Syrian civil war, beyond the importance of defeating the Islamic State. Trump's team has authorized an intense barrage of airstrikes on ISIS, while opening the door to cooperation with Russia; a senior State Department official recently attended a peace talks summit between Syrian President Bashar Assad and opposition forces that was led by the Russians. But Russia is propping up Assad in partnership with Iran, which means the defeat of ISIS could inaugurate a new phase of regional rivalry.  (Washington Examiner)

Iran blasts attacks on world medical centers

Iran’s UN mission has strongly condemned military attacks on medical centers across the world as well as attempts at justifying the atrocities as “unintentional mistakes.”
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholam-Ali Khoshroo made the remarks on Thursday at a UN Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed violence.
Also attending the meeting were United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Christine Beerli, and Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy of New York-based body Human Rights Watch Bruno Stagno Ugarte. (Press TV)


Why Trump’s Pressures On Iran Won’t Benefit America

By: Alireza Nader

Earlier this week, the re-election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president does not come as a great surprise. And it does not herald a new beginning in Iranian politics and foreign policy. But it does indicate a continuing evolution in Iran’s society and perhaps one day its political culture.
Iran may have an authoritarian and at times rigid political system, but its people have consistently demonstrated a desire for change and progress. They have done so through the best means available to them: voting in tightly controlled and largely undemocratic local and national elections. But it would be unfair to describe those elections as completely fake or for show. The majority of Iranians take them seriously because the president does matter in Iran, no matter how curtailed his powers may be. And the person occupying the position can make a lot of difference in people’s daily lives, for better or worse.

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