IranSource | Understanding and Analyzing a Multifaceted Iran

If there were any doubts that the United States under President Donald Trump was trying to pick a fight with Iran over anythingthat Washington had no real agenda with its belligerent anti-Iran rhetoric and moves other than just flicking mud at the country and its rulers in hopes that something would stickthey were dispelled on November 22.

That’s when Kenneth Ward, the US envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), used his slot during the group’s annual meeting to accuse Iran of violating international treaty obligations by maintaining a toxic arms program.

Read More

Iran’s US-educated Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has always had enemies within the Iranian establishment.

When Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari was imprisoned during the 2009 post-election protests known as the Green Movement, his interrogators demanded not only that he admit to being a CIA agent but that Zarif—who had been sidelined by then hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after serving as Iran’s UN ambassador—had ties “to Western intelligence agencies.” By formally accusing Zarif of espionage, hardliners could have ended his career once and for all.

Read More

“You cannot swim without getting wet,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the annual International Mediterranean Dialogues Conference last week, signaling that Iran is losing patience with European leaders and expects the European Union (EU) to back up its political support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with concrete actions.

Six months have passed since the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear agreement, and nearly a month since the US re-imposed secondary sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors. Under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities and to allow for a stricter international inspections regime. In return, all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were supposed to be removed to facilitate the country’s re-engagement with the international economy.

Read More

With four new ministers in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet to help salvage the Iranian economy, it’s too soon to see the genuine impact just yet. But what is evident is that the new economic measures, if any, should focus on improving the ease of doing business in the wake of reimposed US sanctions.

Having that been said, the industry sector appears to bear the highest potential for raising economic output compared to other sectors following a downward trajectory.

Read More

While ordinary Iranians struggle to find imported medicine and buy basic foods due to re-imposed sanctions, the political debate inside the Islamic Republic is anything but static.

As announced, the new wave of US secondary sanctions came into force on November 5. This came after unsuccessful efforts by Europe to dissuade President Donald Trump from unilaterally quitting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and despite efforts to persuade European countries to retain their trade with Iran through a so-called blocking statute and a Special Purpose Vehicle.

Read More

The Trump administration has put into place a punishing new wave of sanctions against Iran that targets critical components of the Iranian economy from banks to energy, shipping and insurance.

From the start of his administration, President Donald Trump has insisted that he can coerce Iran into reaching a “better deal” than the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that would also address Tehran’s military intervention and support of proxies in the Arab world as well as its ballistic missile program. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone further, issuing a dozen demands that resemble an ultimatum calling for capitulation rather than preconditions for negotiations. This much is clear: The Trump administration has decided to wage economic war on Iran to try to bring it to heel.

Read More

The Trump Administration’s second wave of sanctions against Iran went into effect earlier this month, directed against Iran’s vital oil and petrochemical sector, its Central Bank, and other financial institutions. However, Washington’s diplomatic isolation as a result of its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and its desire to mitigate oil prices softened some of the intended negative impact on Iran, which is already employing a variety of coping mechanisms.

The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative detailed these mechanisms in a new issue brief, How Iran Will Cope with US Sanctions, co-authored by Holly Dagres, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center, and Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative. The report highlights a number of ways Iran has used in the past to circumvent previous sanctions and is using again. Among them are relying on neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey, putting oil on tankers that mask their national identity, creating front companies and using barter trade. Iran is also looking forward to the European Union (EU) creating a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate commerce with the EU and other nations.

Read More

“We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” National Security Advisor John Bolton said on September 24. Similar rhetoric was followed by James Jeffery, the State Department’s special representative for Syria, on September 30. Then on October 27, Brett McGurk, US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), announced that all Iranian militias must leave Syria. 

These announcements are part of a “maximum pressure” strategy laid out by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But these demands leave policymakers with three questions: what counts as an Iranian militia; how do we force these militias out of Syria and what happens next; and what are the likely consequences of such a venture.

Read More

On November 5th, Ahmad Amirabadi, a member of the Iranian parliamentary board of directors, posted an exasperated tweet: “Almost all the individuals and entities that were active in bypassing the previous [US] sanctions [during the Obama administration] are included [in the new list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons]. The question is, how this information has fallen in enemy’s hands. The security forces should investigate.”

According to the US Treasury Department, “over 700 [new] persons [and entities] have been designated or identified and added” to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List.

Read More

In a country where football was traditionally seen as a man’s sport, I was a passionate football fan. For Iranians, it was considered not just strange but taboo that a young Iranian girl be into football the way I was while growing up.

It hurt whenever people mocked me, “Girls know nothing about football, they just love footballers.” But nothing could stop me and many other Iranian girls from following sports in the newspapers and football matches on television.

Read More