Week of March 2 - 9
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 Top Court Turns Away Dispute Involving Iran’s Bank Melli
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up Iranian government-owned Bank Melli's appeal of a lower court ruling that allowed victims of militant attacks allegedly backed by Iran to seek millions of dollars in compensation from the bank.
The justices left in place the lower court's ruling that allowed some plaintiffs, trying to satisfy part of nearly $1 billion in court judgments against Iran, to go after roughly $17.6 million that Visa Inc and Franklin Resources Inc owed to Bank Melli related to credit card use in Iran.
This marked the second time in two weeks the justices have acted in a case in which Iran has refused to pay judgments won in American courts by U.S. plaintiffs who have accused Tehran of complicity in various militant attacks. (Yahoo News)
Iran says no missile talks unless West gives up its nuclear weapons
Iran's armed forces spokesman said on Saturday that there can be no talks on the country's missile program without the West's destruction of its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
"What Americans say out of desperation with regards to limiting the Islamic republic of Iran's missile capability is an unattainable dream," Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told the official IRNA news agency.
"The condition for negotiations on Iran's missiles is the destruction of America's and Europe's nuclear weapons and long-range missiles." (The Daily Star)
Russia Gets Another Market for its Wheat After Deal With Iran
Iran is giving Russia another market to offload its massive wheat harvest.
The Persian Gulf nation has agreed to buy the grain from Russia and Kazakhstan, and total shipments may reach as much as 1 million metric tons a year over the next five years, according to the Tehran Chamber of Commerce. The wheat can only be used to make flour for exporting, and a ban imposed in 2016 on wheat imports for domestic consumption remains in place. (Bloomberg)
Iran’s Oil Boom Hasn’t Showed Up
Iran’s oil-and-gas industry was supposed to take off after the nuclear deal. Instead, one of the world’s largest energy sectors is languishing.
International oil companies are staying on the sidelines as the Trump administration threatens to rip up the 2016 deal and reimpose oil sanctions lifted in exchange for limits on its atomic-power program. (WSJ)
Women of Iran
Wife of Iranian-Canadian Who Died in Jail Is Barred from Leaving Iran
The wife of Kavous Seyed Emami, the Iranian-Canadian environmentalist who died in an Iranian jail after being accused of spying, was barred from leaving the country on Thursday, her sons said.
The widow, Maryam Mombeini, 55, was stopped by plainclothes agents as she and her two sons, Ramin and Mehran, were boarding a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt before continuing to Vancouver, British Columbia. Mrs. Mombeini, who has Canadian citizenship, was told she could not leave the country and her passport was seized, Ramin Seyed Emami said. (NYT)
Iran jails woman for removing headscarf in public
An Iranian woman who publicly removed her veil to protest against a mandatory hijab law has been sentenced to two years in prison, prosecutors say.
The woman, who has not been officially named, was found guilty of "encouraging moral corruption", Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said.
He added that 21 months of the woman's sentence had been suspended and that she was in need of medical treatment. (BBC News)
Iran’s Russian Anti-Aircraft Missile Now Operational, U.S. Says
Iran tested and deployed a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system last year that has long worried U.S. and Israeli military officials because it gives the Islamic Republic a “generational improvement in capabilities,” the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed.
Russia delivered the SA-20c SAM system in 2016, providing Iran with its most advanced air-defense system. Now, Iran has “the flexibility of a highly mobile, long-range, strategic surface-to-air missile,” Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, the DIA director, said in written testimony submitted Tuesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Bloomberg)
Magnitude 5.4 earthquake hits southeast Iran: state media
A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit southeast Iran on Wednesday evening, state media said.
The epicenter of the earthquake was about 14 km (9 miles) away from the town of Kahnooj in Kerman province, state media reported.
There were no immediate reports of any dead or injured, or any property damage. Two teams from the local chapter of the Red Crescent were sent to the location, state media said. (Reuters)
Iran's Khamenei says won't negotiate with West over regional presence
Iran will not negotiate with the West over its presence in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday, a few days after France’s visiting foreign minister sought to raise Tehran’s role in regional conflicts.
Jean-Yves Le Drian flew to Tehran on Monday with a brief to reaffirm European support for a 2015 nuclear deal that opened up Iran’s economy while echoing U.S. concern about Tehran’s missile program and its influence in the region.
“European countries come (to Tehran) and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It is none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website. (Reuters)
How A Persian Gulf Security Agreement Could Serve U.S. Interests
By: Shahed Ghoreishi
At the Munich Security Conference in February, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif repeated his administration’s proposal to engage Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors with the goal of creating a Persian Gulf Security Agreement. According to Zarif, the talks for such an agreement would be “founded on dialogue, common principles, and confidence building measures” with the goal of avoiding “turmoil or potentially far worse.” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi referenced his boss’s plan during a visit to the British think tank Chatham House the following week, repeating the goal of a Helsinki-inspired non-aggression pact that would first begin with confidence-building measures in tourism, pollution, and drug trafficking. Of course, this proposal is largely aimed at Saudi Arabia.
This type of plan, if ideally pursued by all parties, would echo the hope President Obama had during his administration. (LobeLog)