Iran Insight

  • Trump Visa Restrictions Undermine US Outreach to the Iranian People

    On March 20th, at the time of the Spring Equinox and Iranian New Year celebrations, President Trump wished Iranians “a beautiful and blessed Nowruz.”

    The US president has repeatedly cast himself as being on the Iranian people’s side, including amid widespread anti-government protests that took place in Iran in late December and January, and in a message to Iranians last October.

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  • How Iran Might Respond to the US Abrogating the Nuclear Deal

    President Trump has threatened to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May if his demands for “fixing” the deal are not met by Britain, France and Germany (the E3). Iran has categorically rejected any amendments to the nuclear agreement and has argued that it has a range of options to respond if Trump carries out his threat.

    Iran’s optimal strategy would be to respond in a way that would mitigate domestic uproar and to the extent possible, protect the country from repercussions. Iran’s national security establishment seems to have come to a strategic decision to stay in the deal if the other parties do and try to isolate and outmaneuver Washington. Therefore, it seems unlikely that Iran would abrogate the JCPOA in its entirety. Rather, it may decide to take limited measures to demonstrate a level of strength and to test the international community’s response.

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  • JCPOA and Nuclear Diplomacy in Doubt as Hawks Join Trump Administration

    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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  • Dual Nationals and Environmentalists Ensnared in IRGC Attack on Rouhani

    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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  • شهروندان دو تابعیتی و فعالان محیط زیست در بند تهاجم سپاه به روحانی

    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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  • Wrestling Chief Joins Others Refusing to Play Iran’s Game

    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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  • Iran’s History of Suspicious Deaths in Prison

    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 ...

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  • US Should Offer Incentives for Iran Missile Testing Moratorium

    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...

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  • Iran and India Revive Economic Relations with New Chabahar Agreement

    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 Revolution That Didn’t Happen in Iran and the Reforms That Should

    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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