Iran Digest Week of September 28 - October 5th

Iran Digest

Week of September 28 - October 5th

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


US-Iran Relations

US to end Treaty of Amity with Iran after ICJ ruling

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The US will pull out of a decades-old treaty with Iran which was used by Tehran as a basis for a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Iran took the US to court after it re-imposed sanctions on the back of abandoning a nuclear deal in May.

Iran argued that decision violated the terms of the 1955 Treaty of Amity.

But after the ICJ ordered the US to ease sanctions on Wednesday, Mr Pompeo said the treaty would be terminated. (BBC News)

Zarif: Iran can’t ‘start all over again’ with U.S.

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Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Iran cannot “start all over again” with the United States to renegotiate a new deal after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“You remember the movie ‘50 First Dates,’ when you start all over again the following day. We can’t. This is impossible. You need to be able to have a relationship that is based on some foundations. And we have a document (the nuclear deal) that is a hundred and fifty pages long,” Zarif told the New Yorker in an exclusive interview published on Tuesday, comparing diplomacy with the U.S. to the 2004 movie about a man who keeps having first dates with a woman who has short-term memory loss and forgets him the next day. (Tehran Times)

StanChart Said to Brace for New Iran Fine of $1.5 Billion

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Standard Chartered Plc is bracing for a potential penalty of around $1.5 billion from U.S. authorities for allowing customers to violate Iran sanctions, people familiar with the matter said.

That amount is a preliminary assessment based on some of the communications between the bank and the regulators, the people said. Final discussions to resolve the matter have not yet begun, they said. The allegations relate to breaches dating from at least five years ago. (Bloomberg)


Nuclear Accord

Iran's Zarif: EU support for deal better than expected

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Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has told the BBC that support from Europe to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal in the face of US pressure has been better than expected.

Mr Zarif was speaking to the BBC’s Lyse Doucet in New York after a week in which the EU announced it would set up a special financial mechanism to allow companies to get around the sanctions reinstated by President Donald Trump, who abandoned the nuclear deal earlier this year. (BBC News)

IAEA Says It Won't Take Intelligence at Face Value After Netanyahu's Iran Speech

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The U.N. nuclear watchdog's independence is paramount and it does not take intelligence presented to it at face value, it said on Tuesday in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's description of a "secret atomic warehouse" in Iran.

Netanyahu - who vehemently opposes the nuclear deal between Iran and major powers that the International Atomic Energy Agency is policing - made the statement in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week. He urged the IAEA to visit the site in Tehran.

A U.S. State Department official seconded that call, but a U.S. intelligence official called Netanyahu's assertions "somewhat misleading", adding that the facility does not contain anything that would enable Iran to accelerate activities banned under the deal. (The New York Times)


Economy

Traders bet on oil at $100 as Iran sanctions loom

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Oil traders have piled into wagers that U.S. crude oil could surge to $100 a barrel by next year, a milestone that until recently many considered unthinkable due to record U.S. production growth and relatively flat global demand.

But the imminent return of U.S. sanctions on Iran and bottlenecks keeping U.S. oil from getting to market have fueled a rally that has taken benchmark oil prices to four-year highs.

While big producing nations say supply is ample, hedge funds and speculators are increasingly skeptical of that argument, betting the market could rally further as sanctions on Iran’s crude exports return on Nov. 4. (Reuters)


Regional Politics

Iran Fires a Ballistic Missile at ISIS in Syria, Avenging an Earlier Attack

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Iran fired six medium-range ballistic missiles across Iraq and into Syria early Monday at what it said was an Islamic State base, according to Iranian news agencies, its allies and spokesmen for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The Revolutionary Guards described the strike as retaliation for an attack in Ahvaz, Iran, on Sept. 22 against a military parade by its soldiers in which at least 25 people were killed, including 12 members of the elite unit plus civilian spectators and at least one young child. (The New York Times)

Iran mocks new nuclear claims by Israel's PM

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Iran has ridiculed claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that it is hiding a warehouse used to store prohibited nuclear technology.

Mr Netanyahu made what he called the revelation at the UN, producing a picture of the alleged secret site.

However, Iran's foreign minister dismissed the claim as an "arts and craft show" designed to conceal Israel's own nuclear programme.

Israel says Iran is seeking atomic weapons, a charge Iran denies. (BBC News)

France points finger at Iran over bomb plot, seizes assets

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France said on Tuesday there was no doubt Iran’s intelligence ministry was behind a June plot to attack an exiled opposition group’s rally outside Paris and it seized assets belonging to Tehran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals.

The hardening of relations between Paris and Tehran could have far-reaching consequences for Iran as President Hassan Rouhani’s government looks to European capitals to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal after the United States pulled out and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran. (Reuters)


Analysis

Bolton 2.0: Trump's tough guy on Iran picks his battles

By: Steve Holland, Jeff Mason, Jonathan Landay

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Hanging on a wall in John Bolton’s West Wing office is a memento of his proudest achievement as national security adviser: a framed copy of President Donald Trump’s order to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Right next to it hangs a cartoon mocking the agreement.

Bolton's choice of decor reflects his disdain for the deal secured by President Barack Obama and other world powers in 2015, and his relentless focus on trying to isolate Tehran and cripple its economy by reimposing tight sanctions.

Bolton took over as national security adviser in early April. A month later, Trump abandoned the Iran deal, meeting a promise he had made as a presidential candidate, which other wary West Wing advisers had persuaded him to put off. (Reuters)