Iran Digest Week of November 16 - 23

Iran Digest

Week of November 16 - 23

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

Iran: US must lift sanctions on food, medicine as per ICJ ruling


Iran says the US must lift its cruel sanctions on exports of humanitarian goods, including food and medicine, to Iran based on an October ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ruling requires Washington to allow supply of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural goods and airplane parts, which directly deal with human lives, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, said Thursday.

“With the bullying policies it pursues across the world, the US wants to ignore all international bodies, and does not pay any heed to them,” Qassemi told state broadcaster IRIB. (PressTV)

What do Iranians think of US sanctions?


The BBC's James Landale went to Tehran's Grand Bazaar to see what people think of stringent sanctions re-imposed after Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. (BBC)

Nuclear Accord

Iran sticking to nuclear deal, IAEA says, amid new U.S. sanctions


Iran is implementing its side of its nuclear deal with major powers, the U.N. atomic watchdog policing the pact reaffirmed on Thursday, two weeks after the latest wave of reimposed U.S. sanctions against Tehran took effect.

President Donald Trump said in May he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal for reasons including Iran’s influence on the wars in Syria and Yemen and its ballistic missile program, none of which are covered by the pact.

Germany, France and Britain have been scrambling to prevent a collapse of the deal, under which international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in exchange for strict limits being placed on Iran’s nuclear activities. (Reuters)

Iran's foreign minister Zarif rules out renegotiating 2015 nuclear deal


Iran has no intention of renegotiating the 2015 nuclear deal, as demanded by the United States, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

Speaking at an international conference in Rome, Zarif said the Iranian people will endure U.S. sanctions. (Reuters)

US set to accuse Iran of violating chemical weapons treaty


The Trump administration is set to accuse Iran of violating the international treaty that bars the use of chemical weapons.

The White House notified lawmakers on Friday that it would declare Iran is violating the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention because it has kept the equipment and facilities needed to produce them, not because it is actively making or using such weapons.

Two senior US officials tell CNN that the charge will not trigger immediate penalties, but could be used as justification to file claims against Iran with international organizations going forward. (CNN)


Iran welcomes 'new European initiatives' for non-dollar trade


Iran on Wednesday praised European efforts to maintain business with Tehran despite U.S. sanctions, citing “constructive meetings” with British and French officials in Tehran this week on setting up a way to conduct non-dollar trade.

Iranian Foreign Ministry officials voiced more hope for the move a day after Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif cast doubt on it, saying European powers were struggling to set up a “Special Purpose Vehicle” (SPV) trade mechanism.

European diplomats said last week British, French and German attempts to establish the SPV were faltering because no EU country was willing to host it for fear of its banks provoking U.S. penalties, including a ban from U.S. markets. (Reuters)

Regional Politics

Iran says 5 abducted guards, freed in Pakistan, return home


Iran's Revolutionary Guard says five of 12 Iranian border guards abducted in October by militants near the Pakistani border and freed in Pakistan earlier this month have returned home.

The report on the Guard's website,, says the five arrived in Iran on Wednesday night. The fate of the others remains unknown.

The guards were abducted in a pre-dawn raid near the Loukdan border crossing in Iran's southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province. The area has seen occasional clashes with Baluch separatists and also drug traffickers. (ABC)

UN Rights Expert: World Body Unlikely to Act on Iran Harassing BBC Reporters


A U.N. human rights expert says his efforts to highlight Iranian harassment of BBC Persian service journalists are unlikely to result in the world body acting against Iran.

David Kaye, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, spoke with VOA Persian in a Monday interview.

Asked what the world body would do next after he raised the issue of Iran’s treatment of BBC Persian in an October 22 speech to the U.N. General Assembly’s 3rd Committee, he said: "To be honest, I don’t expect the 3rd Committee to do all that much.” (VOA)

What is Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt doing in Iran?


Jeremy Hunt's visit to Tehran comes amid tensions between the two countries over UK dual nationals detained in Iran, and the war in Yemen.

There is an old joke in diplomatic circles that Iran is the only country in the world that still thinks the United Kingdom is a great power.

Instead of viewing the UK as a middling-sized European country, senior Iranian figures have seen a post-imperial nation still bent on meddling in the Middle East, exerting its exaggerated influence across the region. (BBC)


Why Iran Won’t Succumb to Trump’s Sanctions



The Trump administration has put into place a punishing new wave of sanctions against Iran that targets critical components of the Iranian economy from banks to energy, shipping and insurance.

From the start of his administration, President Donald Trump has insisted that he can coerce Iran into reaching a “better deal” than the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that would also address Tehran’s military intervention and support of proxies in the Arab world as well as its ballistic missile program. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone further, issuing a dozen demands that resemble an ultimatum calling for capitulation rather than preconditions for negotiations. This much is clear: The Trump administration has decided to wage economic war on Iran to try to bring it to heel. (Atlantic Council)