Iran Digest Week of May 12 - 18

Iran Digest

Week of May 12 - 18

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 MoghadamPlease note that the news and views expressed in the articles below do not necessarily reflect those of AIC.  

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)

Nuclear Accord

Europe adopts defiant stance in attempt to save Iran nuclear deal

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The European Union’s chief diplomat took a defiant stance Tuesday after meeting with Iran’s foreign minister and other top European diplomats to try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal following President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States.
Federica Mogherini, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the European Union, listed a string of proposals that taken together may not be enough to convince Iran’s leaders to hold to the deal but probably will be seen in Washington as a raised fist against U.S. policy.
The Trump administration has announced that it will be reimposing sanctions on Iran and is seeking to prevent companies around the world from doing business there. (New York Times)

Ending Iran Nuclear Deal Would Be Major Security Threat, EU Says


The European Union warned that ending the Iran nuclear deal would be a “major threat” to security in the Middle East as the bloc prepared measures to protect its companies if the Trump administration re-imposes sanctions following the U.S.’s withdrawal from the agreement.
“We don’t want to see this agreement destroyed because it is important for maintaining peace in the region and also for peace in the whole world,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday. “Ending this agreement would be a major threat to security in this region.” (Bloomberg News)

Iranian Foreign Minister visits Russia and China to try to save nuclear deal

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif touched down in Moscow on Monday morning as part of a series of international diplomatic meetings aimed at saving the Iran nuclear deal following the United States' withdrawal.
Zarif will be discussing the agreement with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Monday.
It follows a visit by the Iranian diplomat to Beijing on Sunday where he stressed the importance of keeping the accords, which were signed in 2015 with the aim of both halting Tehran's nuclear ambitions and stimulating the country's economy. (CNN)


Iran Plans First Foreign Oil Pact Since Trump Left Nuclear Deal

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Iran plans to sign a $1.16 billion agreement with the U.K.’s Pergas Resources International Ltd. to work on a southern oil field, marking the Persian Gulf nation’s first energy venture with a foreign company since U.S. President Donald Trump ripped up the Iran nuclear deal.
London-based Pergas and state-run National Iranian South Oil Co. will sign a “heads of agreement” to develop the Karanj oil field in Khuzestan province, the National Iranian Oil Co. said. A ceremony is planned in Tehran on Wednesday evening, with Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh scheduled to attend, it said. Pergas provides oil and procurement services in the oil and gas industries. (Bloomberg News)

Total set to pull out of Iran gas deal without sanctions waiver

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French energy giant Total is preparing to pull out of a billion dollar gas project in Iran in the face of renewed US sanctions.
Total said it will unwind operations by November unless sanctions are waived.
Washington is re-imposing strict sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the 2015 deal to curb the country's nuclear ambitions.
German insurer Allianz and Danish tanker operator Maersk are also winding down their business in Iran. (BBC News)

Siemens CEO: We can't do new deals with Iran

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One of Europe's top chief executives has underscored just how tough it will be for the region's political leaders to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Siemens (SIEGY) CEO Joe Kaeser said his company could not do any new business in Iran after President Donald Trump decided to ditch the deal and reimpose US sanctions.
Kaeser said that, based on his understanding, global companies are no longer allowed to accept new orders from Iran or else they could face targeted retaliation from the United States. Existing contracts would be fulfilled. (CNN)


Iran, Germany emphasize on provision of roadmap for water coop.

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Iran and Germany placed special emphasis on preparing a comprehensive roadmap for boosting mutual cooperation in water sector.
Iranian Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian made the above remark on the sidelines of inaugural ceremony of the World's Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management (IFAT) in Munich.
The visiting Iranian minister of energy participated in this prestigious event at the official invitation of his German counterpart and held talks with the German officials with regard to the expansion of bilateral cooperation on the relevant issues. (Mehr News)

Inside Iran

Theresa May raises jailed Britons' cases with Iran

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The prime minister has raised the cases of the dual nationals being held in Iran with the country's president.
In a telephone call, Theresa May urged Hassan Rouhani to make further progress over the release of British-Iranians "on humanitarian grounds".
Mrs May also reiterated the UK's commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last week.
Downing Street said both leaders agreed to keep in contact about both topics ahead of a Brussels meeting on Tuesday. (BBC News)


They Want War With Iran, They’re Settling For Economic War

By: Esfandyar Batmanghelidj

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Valiollah Seif, governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” accusing him of moving “ millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to Hezbollah.” OFAC’s move opened a new front in the Trump administration’s accelerating conflict with Iran. The designation of a single individual, even the central bank governor, may not seem that significant. After all, Trump announced last week that he would reimpose all primary and secondary sanctions lifted as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as part of withdrawing from the nuclear deal. But targeting Seif may prove to be the pivotal moment in an economic war. (LobeLog)