IranSource | Understanding and Analyzing a Multifaceted Iran

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last week entered its third year of implementation under a cloud of uncertainty from Washington. As President Trump threatens to withdraw from the deal absent major changes, Tehran increasingly views China as a reliable partner and model for economic development.

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President Trump has agreed to waive nuclear-related sanctions against Iran again but has threatened to pull the plug in a few months if European countries don’t agree to renegotiate the landmark agreement.

The decision to continue to waive sanctions, announced today, preserves the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) until the next deadline a few months from now but perhaps not much longer. A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters “this is the last such waiver.” The US will work with Europe, he said, on a follow-on agreement that would renegotiate the terms of the accord so that its restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would never expire.

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The latest protests that shook Iran seemingly came out of nowhere. What surprised many is that the some 40,000 protesters didn’t come from the perennially disgruntled middle class but were Iranians who hadn’t taken to the streets en masse since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. They had—and have—very real grievances about the economy, rampant corruption and with the nature of the Islamic Republic itself.

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Much of the Middle East’s current dysfunction and bloodshed can be attributed to rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen into smithereens to defeat Iran-backed Houthis, for example.

But another more peaceful kind of competition could benefit both societies and have wider implications for the Muslim world at large.

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“North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved.”

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“North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved.”

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In the past few days, many cities across Iran have witnessed the most serious anti-government demonstrations since June 2009, when millions of people came to the streets to protest the results of fraud-tainted presidential elections. More widespread geographically if smaller in size, the demonstrations signal growing economic and political discontent within Iranian society and pose a serious new challenge to a system that splits authority among elected and unelected institutions.

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Already-strained relations between Turkey and the US took a further negative turn on Nov. 30 when Reza Zarrab, a controversial Turkish-Iranian gold trader, told a New York court that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan was personally involved in an international money-laundering scheme that allowed Iran to break US sanctions.


Zarrab testified that starting in 2012 he helped Iran deposit funds from selling oil in Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank and two other banks and used the money to buy gold. The gold was then smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash. Zarrab was arrested in March 2016 in Miami while visiting the US with his family.

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The former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is again in the forefront of Iranian social media.

An egomaniac who cannot bare to fall out of media attention, Ahmadinejad has lately declared war on the Iranian judiciary, which has brought court cases against his top presidential aides, Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei and Hamid Baghaei, on charges of corruption and misuse of public funds.

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The evening of November 12th, 2017 was tragic for the people of the Western province of Kermanshah, which has a Kurdish population famous for its warm hospitality. A powerful earthquake of 7.3 magnitude shook the province, destroying thousands of homes, killing at least 500 people and injuring nearly 10,000 more. The Iranian governmentsays the quake also caused some $6.3 billion in damage.

Ahmad Safari, Kermanshah representative in the Iranian Parliament, said that the number of dead and injured, as well as the scope of damage, is much higher than has been reported. Safari criticized the IRIB (state radio-TV) for its coverage and the Red Crescent for a weak response and added that Kermanshah lacks proper crisis management.

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