Iran Digest Week of April 13 - 20

Iran Digest

Week of April 13 - 20

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.  

Nuclear Accord

European lawmakers ask Congress to save Iran deal

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Hundreds of lawmakers in Germany, France and the UK wrote an open letter to the US Congress asking it to back the Iran nuclear deal, despite US President Donald Trump's threat to terminate the agreement next month.
"Abandoning the deal would diminish the value of any promises or threats made by our countries. It would also diminish our capability to keep Iran nuclear-free after the expiration of the special provisions of the JCPOA," the letter reads. "If we maintain our alliance now, we will be in the position to keep Iran's nuclear aspirations in check in the long run."
The letter continues: "But let us be clear: if the deal breaks down, it will well-nigh be impossible to assemble another grand coalition built around sanctions against Iran. We must preserve what took us a decade to achieve and has proven to be effective." (CNN)

Iran warns of 'unpleasant' response if U.S. drops nuclear deal

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Iran warned the United States on Thursday of “unpleasant” consequences if Washington pulls out of a multinational nuclear deal, Iranian state TV reported.
“Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal. Tehran’s reaction to America’s withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant,” TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on his arrival in New York.
Under Iran’s settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016. (Reuters)

Corker: Trump ‘perfectly fine’ with scrapping Iran deal absent a fix


President Donald Trump is "perfectly fine walking away from" the Iran nuclear deal next month if an agreement isn't reached with European partners to address his concerns, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday.
Corker has played a key role in months-long talks aimed at preventing the collapse of a nuclear deal he initially opposed, and he has long urged the Trump administration to take the lead in engaging European allies in hopes of meeting the president's demands for stricter terms.
Those talks have made headway in recent days, Corker said, and he has "some degree of hope" for progress during scheduled state visits by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron before Trump's May 12 deadline to waive sanctions under the deal. (Politico)


Iran Switches From Dollar to Euro for Official Reporting Currency

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Iran will start reporting foreign currency amounts in euros rather than U.S. dollars, state media said on Wednesday as part of the country's effort to reduce its reliance on the U.S. currency due to political tension with Washington.
The new policy could encourage government bodies and firms linked to the state to increase their use of the euro at the expense of the dollar.
Central bank governor Valiollah Seif said last week that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the "dollar has no place in our transactions today". (US News & World Report)

Oil Market Faces Tense Wait as Iran Sanctions Too Close to Call

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Global markets for equities, currencies and metals have all been whipsawed by the uncertainty over what President Donald Trump’s next geopolitical move would be. Oil’s about to have a turn.
It’s too close to call whether Trump will reinstate sanctions on Iran next month and the impact is highly uncertain, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil-market analysts. The 17 respondents saw on average a 50-50 chance of sanctions “snap-back,” which could halt anywhere between zero and 800 thousand barrels a day of exports from OPEC’s third-largest producer within the next six months.
That risk looms over Friday’s meeting of some OPEC nations and their allies as they gather to monitor supply cuts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg News)

Inside Iran

Iran's Rouhani: We will not wait for approval to produce weapons

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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has declared that Tehran will not wait for any permission to produce the weapons it needs to defend the country.
In a speech marking Iran's Army Day on Wednesday, Rouhani said a strong military is an effective deterrence against foreign threats. 
"If there is any weapon we need, we will develop it for the most part, or procure it if necessary," Rouhani was quoted by Iran's Mehr news agency as saying. (Al Jazeera)

Regional Politics

Iran: Five killed in clashes with fighters near Pakistan border

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At least five people, including two Iranian security forces personnel, have been killed in clashes with fighters in southeastern Iran, near the border with Pakistan, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The clashes took place in the Mirjaveh district, about 10km west of the Taftan border checkpost, on Tuesday, the news agency said.
A group of fighters attempted to seize control of an Iranian border post, resulting in an exchange of fire with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) soldiers, IRNA reported. (Al Jazeera)

Israel Conferred With U.S. on Strike in Syria to Target Iranian War Gear

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With tacit American support, the Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at a Syrian base last week, said intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter, the latest sign the Trump administration is working with Israel to blunt Tehran’s expanding influence in the Middle East.
After conferring with President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a strike on the newly arrived antiaircraft battery to prevent Iranian forces from using it against Israeli warplanes. (Wall Street Journal)

Iran: Attack on Syria Was a “Criminal Act”

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has denounced the early morning April 14 missile strike on Syria, labeling it a crime and an act of aggression. I “firmly declare that the US president, the president of France, and the Prime Minister of Britain have committed a major crime,” he told an audience of government officials and diplomats from several Muslim countries. “They will gain no benefit, just as they did not benefit in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan over the past years, committing the same criminal acts.” (IranWire)


If Trump Can Meet with North Korea’s Leader, Why Not Iran’s?

By: Holly Dagres

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It’s evident that President Donald Trump cares a great deal about himself. He’s sensitive to how the world views him and is quick to lash out or “counter-punch” against anyone who criticizes him. Out of this comes a desire for respect. Those who make historic achievements, his thinking goes, are respected. This motivates the US president to make some unconventional decisions. 
Trump’s planned upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un fits this pattern. Assuming it takes place, Trump will be the first US president to hold talks with the leader of the nuclear-armed communist state. Like Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, a Trump-Kim summit is a daring gesture for someone associated with hardline views. Nixon had logical reasons to go to Beijing, to counter-balance US relations with the Soviet Union and ease a US exit from the Vietnam War. He wanted “a more normal relationship because our interests require it. Not because we love them, but because they’re there.” (Atlantic Council)