Iran Digest Week of September 21 - 28

Iran Digest

Week of September 21 - 28

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

US increasingly concerned about Iranian proxy attacks

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A US intelligence assessment conducted in recent days has concluded that Iranian-backed militias and proxy forces could be planning a strike against US military forces or interests in the Middle East, according to three defense officials.

Officials emphasize their concern centers around the threat from those militias located in Syria and several other locations in the Middle East. They all describe the potential threat as ongoing and worrisome. However, they would not describe the specific intelligence that continues to be gathered.

These militias have increased access to ballistic missile and other advanced weapons inventories as Iran continues to move weaponry into Syria. (CNN)

America had no achievements at U.N. General Assembly: Iran president

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday the United States had nothing to show for its appearance at the U.N. General Assembly this week, extending an exchange of insults with Tehran’s arch-adversary.

President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly on Tuesday to denounce Iran as a “corrupt dictatorship” whose leaders “sow chaos, death and destruction”, and told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that Washington was pursuing further sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani, in his General Assembly speech, suggested Trump suffered from a “weakness of intellect” after having withdrawn the United States from big powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a move that dismayed European allies of Washington. (Reuters)

Trump lawyer Giuliani says Iran's government will be overthrown

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President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Saturday said that U.S. sanctions on Iran are leading to economic pain that could lead to a “successful revolution,” contrasting with administration comments that government change in Tehran is not U.S. policy.

“I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them,” said Giuliani, who spoke in his own capacity though he is a Trump ally, at an Iran Uprising Summit held by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, which opposes Tehran’s government.

“It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen,” Giuliani told a crowd at a hotel in Times Square. (Reuters)


Nuclear Accord

Iran nuclear deal: Plan put forward to dodge US sanctions

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The remaining members in the Iranian nuclear deal say they will set up a new payment system to maintain business with Iran and bypass US sanctions.

The system would facilitate oil companies and businesses to continue trading, without relying on the US-led global market and dollar.

Exactly how the system would work is still being determined.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump pulled the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions. (BBC News)

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she disagrees with Trump, Iran is honoring nuke deal

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British Prime Minister Theresa May said Iran has honored the multilateral agreement to limit its nuclear weapons program and said the deal should remain in place, in sharp contrast with U.S. policy under President Donald Trump who has pulled America out of the deal. 

"From what we see, we believe that it is doing that," May told "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickerson in an interview Friday when asked if Iran has been abiding by the agreement. She said that the question of Iran's adherence to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is "an area where I do have a difference of opinion" with Trump.  (USA Today)


Economy

Oil rises as investors fret over Iranian supply gaps

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Oil edged higher on Thursday, driven by the prospect of a shortfall in global supply once U.S. sanctions against major crude exporter Iran come into force in five weeks.

U.S. President Donald Trump this week demanded that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries raise production to prevent further price rises ahead of midterm elections in November for U.S. Congress members.

“The market continues to move higher on fears that the loss of Iranian exports is not going to be made up,” said Gene McGillian, director of market research at Tradition Energy, in Stamford Connecticut. (Reuters)


Inside Iran

Militants attack Iran military parade, killing at least 25

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Militants disguised as soldiers opened fire Saturday on an annual Iranian military parade in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 25 people and wounding over 60 in the deadliest terror attack to strike the country in nearly a decade.

Women and children scattered along with once-marching Revolutionary Guard soldiers as heavy gunfire rang out at the parade in Ahvaz, the chaos captured live on state television.

The region’s Arab separatists, once only known for nighttime attacks on unguarded oil pipelines, claimed responsibility for the brazen assault. (AP)

ISIS video claims to show attackers of Iranian military parade

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A video circulating on the ISIS-affiliated Amaq News Agency claims to show three of the four assailants accused of carrying out a deadly terrorist attack on an Iranian military parade.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video, which Amaq said it "obtained" and published on Sunday, a day after the attack that killed 29 people and wounded 70 others.

The video shows three men in military fatigues speaking to a camera inside a vehicle. None of them directly mention Saturday's attack in Ahvaz, Iran, nor do they say they're acting on behalf of ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attack but has not provided evidence to support that claim. (CNN)


Regional Politics

Israeli Leader Claims Iran Has ‘Secret Atomic Warehouse’

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel told the United Nations on Thursday that his intelligence agents had discovered a “secret atomic warehouse” in downtown Tehran, escalating a growing confrontation with Iran and setting up a direct challenge to its government to open the facility to inspectors and prove it is not in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Mr. Netanyahu’s claim, made at the same podium at the General Assembly where in past years he argued vociferously against signing the nuclear accord with Iran, came with photographs and map coordinates of the facility. He described it as a warehouse only three miles from the one that Israeli agents broke into last January, making off with 50,000 pages of documents and computer discs full of atomic weapons, warhead designs and production plans. (The New York Times)


Analysis

Iran can afford to play a waiting game with Donald Trump

By: Nick Paton Walsh

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Not long after the rest of the world had openly laughed at his boss as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly, US National Security Advisor John Bolton mustered his best Jacobean menace on Tuesday.

"According to the mullahs in Tehran, we are 'the Great Satan,' lord of the underworld, master of the raging inferno," he said on the margins of the UNGA Tuesday.

"So, I might imagine they would take me seriously when I assure them today: If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat, and deceive, yes, there will indeed be HELL to PAY." (CNN)