IranSource | Understanding and Analyzing a Multifaceted Iran

News that John Bolton has been named President Trump’s new national security adviser – following the appointment of harsh Iran critic Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State – adds to mounting evidence that the United States will quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May.

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The intelligence branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has often targeted dual nationals in an effort to find scapegoats for Iran’s many problems. Its recent assault on environmentalists is particularly wrongheaded and cruel at a time when Iran faces unprecedented environmental challenges.

Kavous Seyed-Emami, a Canadian-Iranian and respected advocate for endangered species in Iran, died in detention in Evin prison in suspicious circumstances last month. Seven others, including an Iranian-American, Morad Tahbaz, remain in prison. All are associated with the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), the most respected conservation and environmentalist NGO in Iran.

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شاخه اطلاعاتی سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی اغلب افراد دو تابعیتی را مورد هدف قرار می دهد تا بتواند آنها را سپر بلای مسایل بسیار ایران کند. حمله اخیر به فعالان محیط زیست آن هم در زمانی که ایران با چالش های زیست محیطی بی سابقه ای رو به رو است، به غایت بی رحمانه و خطایی بزرگ است.

 ماه گذشته کاووس سیدامامی، شهروند ایرانی-کانادایی و از فعالان شناخته شده حمایت از تیره های در معرض انقراض در ایران، در زمان بازداشت در زندان اوین درشرایط مشکوکی درگذشت. هفت نفر دیگر، از جمله مراد طاهباز، شهروند ایرانی-آمریکایی، همچنان در بازداشت به سر می برند. همه این افراد با یک نهاد غیر دولتی و مورد احترام حفظ طبیعت و حیات وحش به نام "موسسه حیات وحش میراث پارسیان" در ارتباط بوده اند.

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For 40 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has imposed strict rules about a wide variety of matters, from personal appearance to contact with people from adversarial nations. In this winter of discontent, however, more and more Iranians are refusing to abide by regulations that they regard as stifling and self-defeating.

The latest is Rasoul Khadem, an Olympic gold medalist and national hero, who headed the Iranian Wrestling Federation since 2014.

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A single word “baba,” dad, appeared on an Instagram post by Iranian punk rocker King Raam taken at his father’s funeral. 

Kavous Seyed-Emami, a prominent Canadian-Iranian environmentalist and academic, was quickly buried without an independent autopsy due to pressure by authorities, according to his family. Officials said Seyed-Emami had committed suicide in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison on February 9, seventeen days after his arrest. 

He was not the first to die under suspicious circumstances in prison during recent weeks. Two protesters—Vahid Heidari and Sina Ghonbadi—who participated in the nationwide unrest last month were also said to have committed suicide in prison. Their deaths sparked public outrage.

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The Trump administration has been ratcheting up pressure on its European allies to agree to unspecified new measures against Iran’s ballistic missile program as the price for conserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US, referring to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which codified the 2015 nuclear deal, has repeatedly called on Iran to refrain from testing ballistic missiles and dramatized what it says is evidence of the transfer of Iranian rockets to Yemen in violation of the resolution. Iran has rebuffed the US demands, arguing that its missile program is for defensive purposes and noting that the UN resolution is not binding with regard to testing. European countries have been consulting with both the US and Iran but remain unsure what the Trump administration wants and are fearful of being asked to make continual new demands on Iran to preserve the JCPOA.

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The development of the strategic Chabahar port is becoming a success story in the Iran-India relationship.

The Iranian port on the Gulf of Oman is a key project for the two countries. Originally agreed to in 2003 during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami and the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the project was suspended during the George W. Bush and early Barack Obama administrations due to US sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

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The December 2017 uprising in Iran was the most significant nationwide unrest seen in that country since 2009. But in many ways it was different from the so-called Green Movement.

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The protests that spread across Iran in late December and early January turned a lot of people into Iran “experts.”

Iranian expatriates ranging from physiotherapists to rocket scientists offered analyses on Twitter, alongside non-Iranians with an interest in the political dynamics of the country. A majority asserted that the protests were the precursors to the final days of the Islamic Republic. Now, that the dust has settled, it is perhaps easier to gauge what happened and what should come next.

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The fate of the Iran nuclear agreement may rest on whether European governments are able to reach a side agreement with the Trump administration on issues that go beyond the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran’s increasingly sophisticated ballistic arsenal has become a major concern for its neighbors and the United States. The Trump Administration sees the missile program as a regional and global threat that was not adequately addressed by the JCPOA and has set up a working group with Britain, France and Germany to deal with missiles and other issues not covered by the nuclear deal.

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