Iran Digest Week of May 4 - 11

Iran Digest

Week of May 4 - 11

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

Iran to negotiate with Europeans, Russia and China about remaining in nuclear deal

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that his government remains committed to a nuclear deal with world powers, despite a decision by the United States to withdraw from the accord, but is also ready to step up its uranium enrichment.
Rouhani, who spoke following President Donald Trump's speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal, said he has directed Iranian diplomats to negotiate with the deal's remaining signatories, including European countries, Russia and China. (Chicago Tribune)

EU rushes to arrange crisis meeting with Iran over nuclear deal

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The European Union is scrambling to arrange a crisis meeting with Iran after Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, as the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Europe had a “very limited opportunity” to save the deal.
A day after the US president broke with the landmark 2015 agreement and warned he would seek to hit European businesses that continued to trade with Tehran, the EU vowed to take steps to immunise firms from any US sanctions. (The Guardian)

Mattis, who supported staying in Iran deal, holds out hope for curtailing Tehran


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held out hope that renewed efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in consultation with European nations could still work, a day after President Trump announced his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear pact, upsetting some of the Pentagon’s most important allies abroad. 
Mattis, who advocated staying in the agreement despite his hawkish views on Iran, said on Wednesday that the United States now had an opportunity to address the deal’s shortcomings and “make it more compelling” in consultation with allies. He said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had been working on that, and he suggested that they would continue to do so. (Washington Post)

US-Iran Relations

As Trump leaves Iran deal, families of Americans jailed in Iran urge talks

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A day after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, several families of American prisoners held in the Islamic Republic urged the White House to start humanitarian talks with Tehran to win their release.
The families made the appeal as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was returning home on Wednesday with three Americans freed from imprisonment by North Korea, with whom Washington is hoping to pursue denuclearization talks.
Already tense relations between Washington and Tehran hit a new low with Trump extracting the United States from the 2015 international nuclear accord, making it unlikely either country would be in a mood to engage in any talks soon. (Reuters)

Jimmy Carter calls US exit from Iran nuclear deal 'serious mistake'

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President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal is a "serious mistake," said former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Wednesday.
Trump announced Tuesday that he is walking away from the deal, which curbed Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The decision, which Carter also referred to as "ill-advised," pits Trump against US allies, and leaves the future of the agreement under a cloud of uncertainty. (CNN)


Iran’s Door to the West Is Slamming Shut, and That Leaves China

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Tehran traffic is gridlocked half the time, and the city spends most of the year engulfed in smog, so it’s not surprising that locals travel underground when they can -- on a metro system that sometimes carries 2 million people a day.
During the sanctions decade, when Iran was largely frozen out of global commerce, the capital’s authorities managed to steadily expand the network -- roughly doubling its size. It wasn’t easy. Often, “the parts we needed, we had to build ourselves,’’ said Ali Abdollahpour, deputy managing director of Tehran Urban and Suburban Railway Operating Company. (Bloomberg)

The impact of Iran sanctions - in charts

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Uncertainty is hanging over the future of the Iran nuclear deal following the US decision to withdraw.
Under the 2015 agreement, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the UN, US and EU.
President Donald Trump's announcement that the US will leave the deal means that Washington will begin reinstating sanctions.
But what will the economic impact be on Iran and its trading partners? (BBC News)

Oil edges up at settlement as supply questions vex market

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Crude prices ended the session slightly higher on Thursday as investors weighed the potential disruption to oil flows from major exporter Iran in the face of U.S. sanctions.
The market also contended with concerns about Venezuela’s crude production slipping further and with bullish drawdowns in U.S. crude inventories.
Crude traded up to 3-1/2 year highs early in the session, and then retreated after a bearish inventory figure from energy industry information supplier Genscape, before rallying on geopolitical risks just before the settlement, traders said. (Reuters)

Regional Politics

Netanyahu says Iran 'crossed a red line' after Israel pounds Iranian targets in Syria

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Israel claims it struck almost all of Iran's military capabilities in Syria after what it says was an Iranian missile attack on the Golan Heights.
In the most direct confrontation between Israel and Iran to date, the regional enemies exchanged fire for hours late Wednesday. 
The extended barrage of fire comes amid soaring tensions between Israel and Iran, rivals battling for regional influence, and less than two days after the United States withdrew from the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. (CNN)


What Sanctions Mean to Iranians

By: Amir Ahmadi Arian and Rahman Bouzari

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The July 2015 nuclear deal officially ended Iran’s isolation and economic punishment, but the comprehensive sanctions that the country had endured for nearly a decade continued to take a toll.
Those sanctions have profoundly damaged the Iranian economy. The government — hemmed in by domestic opposition and its own corruption — has done little to repair it. There have been encouraging signs of life since the nuclear deal, but they turned out to be short-lived.
President Trump announced on Tuesday that he would withdraw from the nuclear agreement and reinstate sanctions that had been lifted as part of it. This is not just a potentially fatal blow to the accord between Iran and five world powers. It is a damaging blow to average Iranians. The only beneficiaries here will be the hard-liners in government and the corrupt elite. (The New York Times)