Iran Digest Week of June 15 - 22

Iran Digest

Week of June 15 - 22

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 insists US stop opposing Israeli nuke disarmament

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Iran has announced a list of 15 demands for improving relations with the United States, including a US return to the 2015 nuclear accord, in response to a similar list of demands made by Washington last month.
In an article in a state-owned newspaper Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the US to stop providing arms to the “invaders of Yemen,” referring to Saudi Arabia, and to drop its opposition to the nuclear disarmament of Israel. (Times of Israel)


Nuclear Accord

A German 'Iran Bank' could save the nuclear deal

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Since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, formally known as the JCPOA, the EU has been looking for ideas to prevent the worst: the exit of Iran from its obligations under the deal, including a nuclear “breakout.” The best way to prevent that is to keep private investment flowing from Europe to Iran. To finance such business, I am proposing a novel idea: Germany should start a bank, or convert an existing German bank, into an “Iran bank.”
When Mr. Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in early May he also reimposed “the highest level of economic sanctions” that had been waived as part of the Iran nuclear deal. These US sanctions do not apply only to American firms. They also hit companies and individuals in third states that do business with Iran. (Handelsblatt)


Economy

Iran May Yet Save an OPEC Output Deal

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Iran has offered OPEC something that could begin to ease the fraught atmosphere in Vienna. A potential compromise, though, would require the group to abandon individual output targets and see it cede market share to Saudi Arabia. 
Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, told journalists that the group does not need to change its output deal, and insisted that he would veto any move to boost production. As I’ve argued, the Saudi shift away from the policy of cutting production left Friday’s meeting at risk of ending without an agreement, something that hasn’t happened since 2011. Zanganeh’s comments set it on that path.
But, he added that the group had already cut supply by much more than it had agreed, and in this point lies a way to resolve the tensions. (Bloomberg)

Renault to stay in Iran despite US sanctions: CEO

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French carmaker Renault will maintain its presence in Iran while taking measures to avoid the risk of penalties for breaching renewed US sanctions, CEO Carlos Ghosn said Friday.
“We will not abandon it, even if we have to downsize very strongly,” he said at the annual shareholders’ meeting in Paris.
“When the market reopens, the fact of having stayed will certainly give us an advantage,” he predicted. (Times of Israel)


Women of Iran

Azadi Stadium: Iran women celebrate despite World Cup loss to Spain

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Iran may have suffered defeat in their second World Cup game at Russia 2018, but the occasion could yet prove to be a huge victory for Iranian women back home.
The Iranian national team's official Twitter accounted posted a photo of a female football fan in the stands of the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, holding a flag as she watched her team play Spain via a broadcast. Iran lost a closely-fought game 1-0. (CNN)

World Cup 2018: A billboard in support of Iran is changed to include women

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A billboard in Iran which supported the nation's World Cup team has been replaced after it was criticised for not featuring any women.
The previous billboard, in Tehran, showed men of different ethnicities celebrating around a trophy.
It has been replaced with a different design in which several women are visible standing side-by-side with men. (BBC News)


Inside Iran

The Unexpected Fallout of Iran's Telegram Ban

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Seven weeks after Iran's conservative-led judiciary banned the secure communications app Telegram inside the country, Iranians are still reeling from the change. Though Telegram has critics in the security community, it has become wildly popular in Iran over the last few years as a way of communicating, sharing photos and documents, and even doing business. The service is streamlined for mobile devices, and its end-to-end encryption stymies the Iranian government's digital surveillance and censorship regime. If the government can't see what you're talking about and doing, it can't block or ban behavior it doesn't like. Telegram's defenses, combined with robust support for Farsi, have attracted 40 million active Iranian users—nearly half the country's population. (Wired)

88% of children of refugees in Iran go to schools

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Some 88 percent of children of refugees who are living in Iran are studying in schools across the country, head of the international affairs department of the Ministry of Education has said.
Gholamreza Karimi made the remakes on the sidelines of a conference on foreign national students’ educational affairs in Iran, Mehr reported.
A decree issued in May 2015 by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei allows all foreign nationals, even those who have no identification and are living in Iran illegally, to attend schools in Iran. (Tehran Times)


Analysis

To Help Iran, Angela Merkel Tries to Pull a Fast One With Swift

By: Richard Goldberg and Mark Dubowitz

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As the U.S. moves to reimpose sanctions on Iran, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is working behind the scenes to undermine the effort. How President Trump responds could determine whether his strategy to put maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic will succeed or fail.
During briefings in Washington, German officials have indicated their goal: to ensure that Iran remains connected to the Swift system—formally called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication—that facilitates global financial transactions. (Wall Street Journal)