Bahman 6 1398 - January 26 2020
U.S. border officers were told to target Iranian-born travellers, officer alleges in email

U.S. border officers working at multiple Canada-U.S. border crossings were instructed to target and interrogate Iranian-born travellers in early January, said a U.S. border officer in an email obtained by CBC News. The allegation follows reports that up to 200 people of Iranian descent travelling from B.C. - many of them Canadian or U.S. citizens - were detained and questioned for hours at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash., during the weekend of Jan. 4. -CBC 1/24/20

A New Film Investigates How the CIA and MI6 Destroyed Iranian Democracy

In 1953, the overthrow of democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh set a historic, chilling precedent. The coup detat, orchestrated by the CIA and MI6, irrevocably shaped the subsequent 67 years and counting of US interventionism for the worse. Mosaddegh's fight for Iranian autonomy in nationalizing the oil industry - built and exploited by the British - was undermined by his ousting and the West's installation of a puppet leader, the Shah. -Tina Hassannia, Hyperallergic 1/24/20

Absent Iran faces detente calls from worried West and Middle East

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif skipped this year's Davos, but Tehran was still a hot topic for many Western and Middle Eastern powers hoping for detente less than three weeks after the United States killed Iran's top general. Zarif, normally a regular at the World Economic Forum, canceled on Monday, with his ministry citing program changes. Organizers of the annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort did not comment on the reason given. While Iran was absent from the corridors of the conference center, there was an urge for de-escalation among those present. -Reuters 1/24/20

No War With Iran!: International Day of Action, Saturday, January 25

The People of the World Say: NO WAR! The Trump administration is dragging the United States into a war with Iran that could engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and the gravest consequences. The people of the world need to rise up and stop it. For all who believe in peace, for all who are opposed to yet another catastrophic war, now is the time to take action. On Saturday, January 25 in cities across the globe, there will be protests against a new war in the Middle East. 1/23/20

U.S. Bans Trade And Investment Visas For Iranians

Iranian nationals will no longer be eligible for E-1 and E-2 trade and investment visas, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) announced on Wednesday, January 22. The decision is directly linked with the October 3, 2018 termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights with Iran. -Radio Farda 1/23/20

Brooklyn's Iranian diaspora feels the pain of war at home

Makaremi and other anti-war activists helped organize a protest in Foley Square on Jan. 9 to denounce the prospect of a U.S. war with Iran and end sanctions that have left his mother struggling to get the proper dosage of her heart medicine. "By policy there are rights of me that are being nullified," Sadra Shahab said. "I'm a U.S. citizen, but my mom cannot visit me in my own country, that means I'm just not like any other citizen." On his way to the protest in Foley Square, Shahab commented, "I'm not sure there's ever a good time to be an Iranian, but it's a bad time to be an Iranian." -Paul Frangipane, Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1/23/20

Iran FATF-Related Legislation Rejected By Expediency Council

A member of Iran's Expediency Council on Wednesday said the Council's deadline for endorsing the CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) bill has ended and the bill should be considered as rejected. The endorsement and finalization of the bill would allow Iran to join the UN conventions against money laundering and funding terrorism. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has threatened to put Iran on its reactivate counter-measures it had earlier suspended unless Iran finalizes relevant legislation before February. -Radio Farda 1/23/20

It's Not Just Washington State. Iranians Are Stopped At Borders All Over The Country.

Earlier this month, soon after President Donald Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian government official and the nation vowed to retaliate, news broke that U.S. border agents held nearly 200 people of Iranian descent without explanation at the Washington state border with Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection disputed the claim that officers detained Iranian Americans at the Peace Arch border crossing, but dozens of news reports described otherwise. -Rowaida Abdelaziz, Huffington Post 1/23/20

'Unsporty and political': Anger as AFC matches moved out of Iran

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has moved two Asian Champions League matches out of Iran citing security concerns in the country. In a statement on Twitter, the AFC said on Wednesday that two home matches involving Iranian teams "have been moved to neutral venues because of ongoing security concerns and the decision of several governments to issue travel warnings to the Islamic Republic of Iran". -Maysam Bizaer, Al Jazeera 1/23/20

Neither war, nor sanctions, are solutions in Iran

I was surprised to meet Ghanimat Azhdari in Geneva last June. When I was asked to speak at a gathering of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Indigenous Fellowship Programme. She was a young woman from the Indigenous Qashqai community, and despite the obstacles she had most certainly faced on her way, she was at the top of her field. She told me about her work promoting biodiversity and that she was headed to Canada for her PhD. So talented and ambitious. I was heartbroken to find Ghanimat's face among the victims of the Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 that crashed in Iran on Jan. 8. -Leila Arakami, The Star 1/23/20

The Zaghari-Ratcliffes' ordeal: a story of British arrogance, secret arms deals and Whitehall infighting

In the case of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, it seems that she is a pawn in a 40-year dispute between Britain and Iran. This dispute concerns a long-standing 400m pounds debt Britain owes to Iran: the advance payment for a shipment of tanks that was never fully delivered. Quite why that debt has never been paid is a story of British arrogance, secretive arms deals, American sanctions, Whitehall inertia and infighting at the highest level of government. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 1/23/20

Iran's top cultural event jeopardized by artist boycotts

Confronting a boycott by Iranian artists, the Fajr International Film Festival announced the cancellation of its opening ceremony, originally scheduled for Feb. 1. In a statement released Jan. 15, festival organizers cited the "public atmosphere of the community" in sympathy with the grieving families of those killed in Iran's accidental downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8. -Saeid Jafar, Al-Monitor 1/23/20

The US Sanctions on Iran Are Causing a Major Humanitarian Crisis

The reality of life here under the devastating impact of the US "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign is the one big story from Iran that's mostly missing in the headlines. If you haven't heard about this, you are not alone. Nobody, certainly not the main protagonists, seems the least bit interested in talking about the devastation of human life in Iran today. It is as if a conspiracy of silence has been cast over the whole issue. -Ahmad Jalalpour, The Nation 1/22/20

ALL OUT THIS SATURDAY, JANUARY 25: "No War On Iran" Actions Across Canada

Tensions remain extreme in the Persian Gulf following the January 2, 2020 drone attack in Baghdad which killed Iranian Major-Gen. Qasem Soleimani and dozens of others in a blatant and illegal escalation by US imperialism. While the likelihood of further military action has receded at least temporarily, Washington seems intent to ratchet up economic sanctions and its propaganda war against Tehran, and the possibility of overt military aggression remains high. For this reason, peace organizations internationally have called for a Global Day of Protest this Saturday, January 25th, around the theme "No War on Iran!".Canadian Peace Congress 1/22/20

A Northeastern University student from Iran was removed from the US despite an emergency stay

An Iranian student planning to attend Northeastern University was flown out of the United States despite an emergency stay, and Customs and Border Protection said it was not aware a court had temporarily blocked the student's removal. Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, was refused entry to the United States on his student visa when he arrived at the Boston Logan International Airport on Sunday. -CNN 1/22/20

A War in Iran Won't Make us Greater or Safer

We call on President Trump to end the violence and aggression against Iran and instead use peaceful diplomatic channels to deescalate tensions. We support the resolution passed by the House of Representatives that requires President Trump to get the consent of Congress before taking new military action against Iran. -Ben & Jerry's Homemade 1/22/20

NIAC Letter Regarding Etsy's U.S. Sanctions Compliance Policies and Discriminatory Treatment Towards Iranian Americans

The National Iranian American Council has sent a letter to Etsy concerning its apparently discriminatory treatment of an American vendor selling "Persian dolls" on its website. These dolls appear to have been made in America with American materials by an American, and under no circumstances should have been flagged as a prohibited item. -NIAC 1/22/20

Will Europe's latest move lead to the demise of the Iran nuclear deal?

Last week France, Germany and the United Kingdom (the so-called E3) announced that they would trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. This move could well lead to the re-imposition of previous UN sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme, which were lifted as part of the JCPOA. -Dr Tytti Erasto and Dr Tarja Cronberg, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 1/22/20

Iranian students face hardships at home and abroad

Iranian students at Purdue are feeling the ramifications of recent conflict between the United States and Iran, even while on campus. One graduate student, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of potential consequences on future petitions for immigration or jobs, hasn't seen his family in six and a half years. His parents were able to visit his brother, who's living in Canada, but they weren't able to obtain visas to visit him due to the travel ban. And he couldn't go to Canada without having to reapply for a visa. -Sean Murley., The Exponent 1/22/20

Alternatives to War with Iran are Dwindling

President Donald Trump and Iran's leaders, notably the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have long been locked in confrontation. They feed on one another, for reasons both of foreign policy and domestic politics. For the most part, so far the confrontation has been "manageable." That time is moving toward an end, with only a handful of options. --Robert E. Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 1/22/20

US bars Iranian investors from certain types of visas

The Trump administration is barring Iranian investors and business people from entering or staying in the United States on certain types of visas. In new regulations published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said Iranians and their families are no longer eligible to apply for or extend what are known as E-1 and E-2 visas. The ban will take effect on Thursday, according to the notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. -AP 1/22/20

The New McCarthyism

That is exactly what Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and two other Republican senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Braun of Indiana, have done with a letter calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) for possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, accusing NIAC of acting on behalf of the Iranian regime. This call is baseless, in addition to trying to make the Justice Department even more of a partisan political weapon than it already has become under William Barr. There is no indication, and the senators provide none, that NIAC works on behalf of the Iranian government or any other foreign government. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 1/21/20

Iran Confirms Two Missiles Fired In Downing Of Ukrainian Plane

Iran's civil aviation authority has confirmed that two missiles were launched at a Ukrainian passenger jet just after it took off from Tehran's international airport bound for Kyiv on January 8. The authority said in a second preliminary report on the crash, which killed all 176 passengers on board, that it was still assessing the disaster. -RFE/RL 1/21/20

'Sculptures are talking': Selkirk man builds snow sculpture in memory of Iran plane crash victims

A retired sculptor who lives in Selkirk, Man., has returned to his craft to construct an icy monument dedicated to the victims of a plane that was shot down in Iran earlier this month... "After I lost friends and the 176 people in that airplane crash ... I thought, 'I have to send a message to the world. To the people who make the decision to go to a war,'" Majid Kermani said. -CBC 1/21/20

The Time is Ripe for Renewed Diplomacy with Iran, but Hawks are Still Clamoring for War

The ugly fallout from U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to assassinate Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force leader, Qassem Soleimani seems to have halted for the moment. But the forces that pushed the United States and Iran to the brink of all-out war this week are still in place. This isn't an end, just a short break between acts. But the pullback from the brink of war can also present some opportunities. Iran opened the door to de-escalation and Trump took it, seemingly prioritizing his base's concern of another U.S. war in the Middle East over the bluster and bad advice of his secretary of state, among other pro-war advisers. -Mitchell Plitnick, Responsible Statecraft 1/21/20

Iran basks in 'miracle' of $32 billion in non-oil exports

Iran has exported $32 billion of non-oil goods so far in the current Persian year ending March 21, 2020, shoring up its economy which is under severe pressure from unprecedented US sanctions. "This is like a miracle in the current economic situation of the country," Iran's Deputy Industry Minister Hossein Modares Khiabani told an exports quality summit in Tehran, Fars news agency reported Tuesday. -Press TV 1/21/20

IRAN: WHAT NEXT?

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S assassination of Iranian military official Qassim Suleimani in Iraq was an act of aggression and an offensive act of war. This week on Intercepted: Jeremy Scahill hosts a live discussion in New York on the unfolding crisis with Intercept Senior Columnist Mehdi Hasan, reporter Murtaza Hussain, National Security Editor Vanessa Gezari, and Senior News Editor Ali Gharib. They discuss what the latest developments mean for Iran and the U.S. and how tensions have rapidly escalated since Donald Trump came to office. Will Trump's current posture hold, or will he order more violence? -The Intercept 1/20/20

Iran slams AFC bias over ban on Iranian football teams hosting home matches

Iranian Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Masoud Soltanifar has slammed a decision by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to ban Iranian football teams from hosting home club matches, blaming anti-Iran media hype for the measure taken by the football governing body. On Saturday, an Iranian legislator censured the AFC's decision to ban four Iranian football clubs from hosting their rivals in the country, saying the move indicates that the Asian football's governing body has been caught in a political trap. -Press TV 1/20/20

"Feverish Climate" at Tehran University After Students Arrested in Dormitory Raid

University of Tehran personnel assisted a raid by state forces on a dormitory that resulted in at least eight students being arrested as they gathered for a protest, an eyewitness told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "The attack on the dormitory by the plainclothes security agents has only further intensified the recent feverish climate at the university," said an eyewitness who resides at the Student Martyrs Dormitory where the raid took place on January 16, 2019. -CHRI 1/20/20

Cut off from family, unable to travel: how US sanctions punish Iranian Americans

ollowing the US assassination of a top Iranian general earlier this month and Iranian airstrikes against US military bases in Iraq, Donald Trump once again imposed biting sanctions against the regime in Tehran. To Iranian Americans, many of whom have lived under sanctions in Iran or have family members there suffering through economic hardship, the fresh round of penalties is a painful reminder of the collateral consequences of escalating conflict. -Sam Levin, Guardian 1/20/20

EU and Iran Drifting Into Uncharted Waters

After weeks of simmering tensions between the European trio of Britain, France, and Germany (E3) and Iran over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), the Europeans finally decided to trigger the deal's Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) on January 14. If no mutually agreeable solution to the dispute is found, the matter will be forwarded to the UN Security Council (UNSC), which could lead to the resumption of UN sanctions against Iran. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 1/20/20

The Iranian Woman In The #IraniansDetestSoleimani Viral Video Was Also A Lobbyist For A Militia In Libya

A viral video titled "Truth From an Iranian," which has amassed more than 10 million views across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, was created by a registered lobbyist who previously worked for a militia group fighting in a bitter civil war in Libya. Nowhere in her video or her television appearances did Saghar Erica Kasraie disclose her work for the army engaged in a civil war in the north African country. -Ryan Broderick & Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed 1/20/20

Tom Cotton, soldier in Bill Kristol's proxy war against evil

Among the things I dislike about each fresh burst of American warmaking is seeing its cheerleaders bask in the spotlight. Consider Senator Tom Cotton, who has been unsettlingly visible since the assassination of Iranian General Qassim Suleimani. Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, is a protege of famous neoconservative Bill Kristol, who played a big role in getting the US to invade Iraq and has since championed various other forms of American belligerence, many of them aimed at Iran. -Robert Wright, Responsible Statecraft 1/20/20

Iran says it will quit global nuclear treaty if case goes to U.N.

Iran said on Monday it could quit the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if European countries refer it to the U.N. Security Council over a nuclear agreement, a move that would overturn diplomacy in its confrontation with the West. The 1968 NPT has been the foundation of global nuclear arms control since the Cold War, including a 2015 deal Iran signed with world powers that offered it access to global trade in return for accepting curbs to its atomic program. -Reuters 1/20/20

We Need a Strong Anti-War Movement - Yesterday

It is crucial that we are all talking about Iran now, as we stand on the verge of a new chapter of catastrophes - and work to prevent it. But the killing and destruction of the War on Terror is happening around the world, every day. The lack of attention to it is part of what keeps it going, and sets the stage for the current situation involving Iran, Iraq, and the United States. -Khury Petersen-Smith, FPIF 1/20/20

Is Iran An Enemy Of The United States? No; But Efforts Are Underway To Make It One!

It is so noteworthy that any reference to the assassinated Iranian commander of the IRGC, Soleimani, by television commentators, and especially by the members of our Congress and other government officials, begins with the preamble that he was a bad, bad actor who had the blood of so many Americans on his hands. Why? Simple: Without emphasizing that point they might not appear "patriotic" enough! -Kambiz Zarrabi 1/18/20

Sanctions, Scarcity, and the Depressing Reality of Iranian Healthcare

When I visited Iran this summer, severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety-longstanding byproducts of post-traumatic stress disorder-caused me to seek out a trauma therapist. After weeks of contacting Iranian pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and relief organizations, my prescriptions for Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, and Clonazepam remained unfilled. Since the United States exited the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and imposed new sanctions, this kind of shortage has become commonplace. 1/18/20

Iran Banned From Hosting International Soccer Matches

Iranian teams have been banned from playing international matches on Iranian soil, the Islamic republic's football federation said on January 17. It said the decision was made by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and announced in a letter. Iranian football officials did not say if the decision was related to the accidental shoot-down of a Ukrainian jetliner last week, which killed all 176 people on board. -RFE/RL 1/18/20

Letter of Solidarity Standing with NIAC

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and its sister organization NIAC Action, are American civil-society organizations working on behalf of members of the Iranian-American community and the broader American public. At a time when our nation is bitterly divided, NIAC is an important voice in our public debate on issues of enormous consequence for all Americans - and particularly for Americans of Iranian heritage - including heightened tensions in the Middle East and the risk of war, policies like the Muslim travel ban and extreme vetting, the rise in domestic hate crimes, and the protection of civil liberties. 1/18/20

Why This Time the Protests in Iran are Different

Though it is unclear how the coming months will play out, what is amply foreseeable is the maelstrom that is sure to occur were a dramatic collapse to occur. Conflagration, not implosion, is the more likely outcome in Iran. For every Iranian who loathes living under the Islamic banner, there are plenty who count themselves as the nezam's devoted constituency, its willing defenders, unto death, unto the release of martyrdom. -Shervin Malekzadeh, Responsible 1/18/20

Opposition Leader Under House Arrest Punished for Blaming Plane Downing on Supreme Leader

After putting blame on Iran's Supreme Leader for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, new restrictions have been imposed on Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under extra-judicial house arrest in Tehran for nearly nine years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. In an open letter on January 11, Karroubi, 82, said as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was responsible for the tragedy. 1/18/20

Beating the War Drums In Israel

The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani came as a strategic surprise. President Trump's gamble surprised even the U.S. intelligence community. Iran promised "fierce revenge" and Trump responded with threats of "disproportionate" retaliation against vital Iranian targets. Heightened escalation scenarios and drums of war flooded the American discourse. In Israel, perhaps surprisingly, the reaction was muted. The political leadership and the high military echelons preferred to keep their public statements low profile. But this is probably a temporary... -Shemuel Meir, Responsible Statecraft 1/18/20

What It's Like When Your Two Home Countries Are on the Brink of War

I was born in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war [1980 to 1988], in a border town called Ahwaz. My family and I moved to San Francisco when I was very young, but most of my family still lives in Iran. My grandfather forced my mom and my dad to leave Iran during the war. He told them, Your kids can not have a good life here. They will do better things in America. I owe everything to my grandfather and my family who made so many sacrifices for me to be where I am today. -By Mana Mostatabi; as told to Leila Ettachfini, VICE 1/17/20

Filmmaker Shirin Neshat Probes the Iran-U.S. Divide in Surreal New Satire

It has been more than 20 years since the artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat last visited Iran, where she was born in the city of Qazvin in 1957. "I represent a part of the Iranian community and diaspora who voluntarily, and somewhat involuntarily, doesn't go back because the current regime is quite impossible," Neshat says by phone from her studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Most of Neshat's family still lives in her home country, though, and so, as the United States and Iran have moved to the brink of war over the past few weeks, following the U.S. assassination of Qassim Suleimani in Iraq, the artist has been thinking carefully about her choice of words. -Andrew Russeth, Surface 1/17/20

Iranian American Buckeyes reflect on Iran-US conflict

In the face of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, Iranian Americans can be caught in the middle... Nealofar Madani, a third-year in public health and co-leader of the Iranian Cultural Association, said she has concerns about family visiting from Iran. Milad Vedaie, a third-year in environmental engineering and co-leader of the Iranian Cultural Association, grew up in suburban Columbus and is a dual citizen of America and Iran. His parents and siblings all attended Ohio State. He said he has faced discrimination because of portrayals of Iranians in the media. Madani and Vedaie said they embrace both aspects of their identity and want to change media narratives around Iranians. -The Lantern 1/17/20

Iran's supreme leader calls Trump 'clown' in rare Friday sermon

Iran's supreme leader has described Donald Trump as a "clown" who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will push a poisonous dagger into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the mass funerals for Iran's top general, who was killed in a US strike earlier this month, show that the Iranian people support the Islamic Republic despite its recent trials. The "cowardly" killing of Qassem Suleimani had taken out the most effective commander in the battle against the Islamic State group, he said. -Guardian 1/17/20

The divisive legacy of Iran's royal family

Some in the Trump administration appear to be smitten by royal nostalgia - just not the Megxit kind. On Wednesday, the State Department's Twitter feed released a short video extolling Iran's "rich history of human rights from the time of Cyrus up until the 1979 revolution." However, experts on Iran say that is glossing over some major problems - mainly the U.S. - and British-backed reign of the Pahlavi dynasty, which before its ouster in 1979 was a force for social and economic development but also of well-documented political repression. -Miriam Berger, Washington Post 1/17/20

How Escalating Tensions Between the U.S. and Iran Affect South Korea

The impact of the rising tension between Iran and the United States is not solely bilateral. Its impact can be felt globally and shapes U.S. interests elsewhere in the world. As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in California this week, the case of South Korea illustrates how a potential war against Iran does not only mire the United States in yet another war in the Middle East, but also stresses and strains a crucial U.S alliance in East Asia. -S. Nathan Park, Responsible Statecraft 1/17/20

Why Iran's Economy Has Not Collapsed Amid U.S. Sanctions And 'Maximum Pressure'

Since 2017, the Trump administration has placed layers of tough sanctions on Iran in an effort to deprive the regime of financial resources and to force it to negotiate a new nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent speech that the administration's strategy of "maximum pressure" aims to cut off 80% of Iran's oil revenues and that "President Rouhani himself said that we have denied the Iranian regime some $200 billion in lost foreign income and investment as a result of our activities." Yet Iran's economy has not collapsed. -Jackie Northam, NPR 1/17/20

Iran has a 'shockingly strong' war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani's killing - and it could win

Iran says it will pursue war-crimes charges against President Donald Trump at the International Criminal Court in the Hague over this month's assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. A legal expert told Insider that Iran would have a good chance of winning any case at the ICC. Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, tweeted that the bar for justifying lethal action in such circumstances is extremely high and requires a threat level that the US has so far failed to identify. A NATO military attache in the Middle East told Insider that the case against the US is "shockingly strong." -Mitch Prothero, Business Insider 1/17/20

Hardline Forces in Iran are Poised to Gain Strength

While an atmosphere of national solidarity prevailed after the U.S. assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, last week's accidental downing of the Ukrainian airliner and its aftermath have provoked a popular crisis of confidence which is having a profound impact on the relationship between the authorities and Iran's citizens. With elections to the parliament (Majlis) just over a month away, various factions are scrambling for advantage... -Amir Delshad, Responsible Statecraft 1/17/20

Iran's President Rohani Slams Disqualification Of Candidates Ahead Of Parliament Elections

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized the disqualification of hundreds of people from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying Iranians "need diversity." In televised remarks during a cabinet meeting on January 15, Rohani called for "all parties and groups" to be allowed to run for office, saying the country "cannot be governed by one political wing alone." -RFE/RL 1/16/20

Europe's New Gamble: Dispute Resolution and the Iran Nuclear Deal

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the E3) initiated a new and uncertain phase in the Iran nuclear deal this week by triggering its Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM). They did so in response to Iran's expansion of its nuclear programme, following the reimposition of crippling US sanctions on the country. This is an assertive move by the E3, but it is also a gamble that could save or sink the agreement. The E3 will have to manage the process very carefully if they intend not to "add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region", as they stated in their announcement on the decision. -Ellie Geranmayeh, Responsible Statecraft 1/16/20

Students Assaulted, Arrested in State Crackdown on University Protests

Protesters were physically attacked and arrested at universities in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 14, 2019, the fourth consecutive day of protests that had erupted in the country after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) admitted to accidentally downing a Ukrainian passenger plane. "The front entrance of the University of Tehran was full of security agents," one eyewitness who requested anonymity for security reasons told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 1/16/20

Iranian FM Zarif Berates European Countries For Being Bullied By Trump

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday blasted France, Germany and Britain for triggering the dispute mechanism of their nuclear agreement with Iran (JCPOA). In a tweet on Thursday Zarif said the E3 which consists of France, Germany and Britain "sold out remnants of JCPOA to avoid new Trump Tariffs". -Radio Farda 1/16/20

Economic Considerations Temper Iran's Response to Soleimani Assassination

The military confrontation between Iran and the U.S. that began with the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on January 3 appears to have subsided as quickly as it flared up. On January 7, shortly after Iran fired a round of ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq (which left no casualties), Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran has "concluded" its operation. U.S. President Donald Trump, for his part, let it be known that the U.S. did not plan further military actions. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 1/16/20

Europe needs to build on the Iran nuclear deal, not jettison it

The three European parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal - France, Germany and the UK (known as the E3) - announced yesterday that they were triggering the agreement's dispute resolution mechanism. In a joint statement, the E3 insisted that the move was undertaken "in good faith" and was aimed at salvaging the accord in response to Iranian breaches, not expediting its collapse. But resorting to the mechanism could set in motion the deal's demise, unless Europe engages both Tehran and Washington. -Ali Vaez, Guardian 1/16/20

Rouhani: Iran enriching more uranium than before 2015 deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his country is enriching more uranium than Tehran did before it agreed to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015. "We are enriching more uranium before the deal was reached ... Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress," Rouhani said on Thursday in a televised speech. -Aljazeera 1/16/20

NIAC Responds to Baseless Accusations by Senators Cotton, Cruz, and Braun

In response to a letter sent by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Braun (R-IN) to the Department of Justice baselessly urging an investigation into NIAC and NIAC Action, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement: "At NIAC, we are proud of the work we do for our community. We will never stop working to advance peace and diplomacy or fighting for equitable immigration policies and the civil rights of all Americans. 1/15/20

Iran's FM Zarif Admits People Are Angry For Being Lied To About Plane Crash

Iran's Foreign Minister on Wednesday a dmitted that Iranians are angry because they were lied to regarding regarding the real cause of a plane crash January 8, that killed 176 passengers and crew. While the Iranian military knew it had shot down the plane, authorities kept denying they fired an anti-aircraft missile, for three days. 1/15/20

Yes, Iranians can protest against both US intervention and their government

Is Iran a nation of people easily coerced into participating in pro-regime rallies or a country of brave souls willing to risk their lives for justice? Of course, the binary view of Iran that underlies this bewilderment is misguided and reductive. The complex attitudes of protesters are surprising only to those who see the country as a monolith. They have accepted the superficial caricature of a nation in which there can only be one national mood - a fickle place where shouts of "Death to America" are replaced with the anti-regime cry of "Death to the Dictator" overnight... -Reza H Akbari, Guardian 1/15/20

'They treated me like a terrorist': the vetted Iranians deported on arrival to the US

Mohammad Elmi was on his way to fulfill a lifelong dream. On 13 December 2019, the 31-year-old Iranian boarded a flight to Los Angeles to join his wife in the United States and start a PhD program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sixty-five hours later, he was back in the Iranian capital, Tehran, refused entry to the United States by immigration officers at the airport. -Caleb Hampton, Guardian 1/15/20

Sanctions Have Often Backfired And May Yet Again

In his address to the nation on Wednesday about Iran's response to the U.S. assassination of a senior Iranian military leader, President Trump pledged that the United States "will immediately impose additional punishing sanctions on the Iranian regime." Two days earlier, angered by Iraqi threats to expel U.S. troops because the assassination of the Iranian general was carried out on Iraqi territory, Trump promised to hit Iraq with "sanctions like they've never seen before, ever." -Thomas W. Lippman, Responsible Statecraft 1/15/20

British Ambassador 'Leaving Iran' Amid Diplomatic Spat

The British ambassador to Tehran has left Iran after being detained by Iranian authorities last week, state-run media reported on January 15. Rob Macaire was detained for three hours on January 11 after attending a candlelight vigil for the victims of the downing by Iran's air defenses of a Ukrainian passenger plane. Iran's official IRNA news agency said the diplomat had left after being given what it described as "prior notice." The report did not elaborate. -RFE/RL 1/15/20

Why do Some Iranians in the Diaspora Support a War Against Iran?

The killing of Soleimani has united Iranians who showed up in large numbers at funeral processions in numerous Iranian cities, despite some Iranians living outside Iran dismissing them as having been forced to attend by the Iranian government. Moreover, parts of the social media sphere have created an alternative narrative that leaves the impression that a majority of Iranians living outside Iran support American interventionism. -Mohammad Rafi, Responsible Statecraft 1/15/20

Iran recession to deepen, reserves to fall to $73 billion by March: IIF

Hit by sanctions curbing oil sales, Iran's economy is set to fall deeper into recession this fiscal year and foreign reserves could drop to $73 billion by March, a loss of almost $40 billion in two years, the Institute of International Finance said. The economy shrank by 4.6% in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and the contraction is expected to deepen to 7.2% in the current fiscal year, the IIF, a finance industry body, said this week. -Reuters 1/15/20

Iranian Drama 'Yalda' to Screen at Sundance Without Director Due to U.S.-Iran Tensions

U.S.-Iran tensions have put Iranian director Massoud Bakhshi whose daring drama "Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness," is set to premiere at Sundance, in a tough spot. The film's production and sales companies issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing that Bakhshi will not personally be attending Sundance due to the current U.S.-Iran crisis. But they also denied recent Iranian media reports claiming that the director had pulled "Yalda" from the festival. -Variety 1/15/20

Europe Should Prevent the Iran Nuclear Deal from Going the Way of the Oslo Accords

A major regional war in the Middle East has been averted, for now. President Donald Trump decided not to respond militarily to Iran launching missiles at the U.S. bases in Iraq, which itself was in response to the U.S.-executed assassination of the General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Al-Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Instead, Trump announced new sanctions against Iran. There is no reason, however, to believe that this represents anything more than a pause in the rush to war rather than a beginning of a real de-escalation. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 1/14/20

European states trigger dispute mechanism in Iran nuclear deal

Britain, France and Germany have triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a step that over months could result in the collapse of the agreement entirely and the return of European sanctions on Tehran. Officials described the move as one taken more in sorrow than anger and said it was in part prompted by fears that Iran may now be less than a year away from possessing the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb. --Guardian 1/14/20

"They Were Everywhere" Footage, Eyewitnesses Reveal Violence Against Ukraine Plane Crash Protesters

Iranian security forces used what appeared to be live ammunition and tear gas to repress protests in Tehran on January 12, 2020, over the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) "unintentional" downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, according to video footage sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and later verified by the AP. Protesters mainly in the capital and at least one other city (Amol in Mazandaran Province) who chanted slogans against the IRGC and called for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to relinquish power faced a heavy security presence, according to eyewitnesses. -CHRI 1/14/20

Justin Trudeau: US escalation partly to blame for Iran plane deaths

Victims of an Iran-downed jetliner would still be alive were it not for a recent escalation of tensions partly triggered by the US, Justin Trudeau has said. "I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," the Canadian prime minister said in an interview with Global television. He added that the international community had been "very, very clear about needing to have a non-nuclear Iran", but also in "managing the tensions in the region that are brought about by US actions as well". -Guardian 1/14/20

Iran announces arrests over plane crash as Rouhani warns those responsible will be punished

Several people have been arrested in Iran over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that those responsible would be punished. Gholamhossein Esmaili, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary, was quoted by the semi-official FARS news agency Tuesday as saying that an investigation into the crash had started and several arrests had been made. He did not provide details on how many people had been arrested or what their roles in the incident may have been. 1/14/20

The Dawn of War and America's Strategic Fog

One can almost hear the guffaws and back-slapping laughter out of China and Russia rattling around the ether of the international system, as they watch the United States again blunder mindlessly around in the blind alleys of the Middle East, fruitlessly wasting time, money, and political capital to no useful end. Indeed, it must make for good theater in the dictatorial halls of power in Beijing and Moscow. The January 2020 tit-for-tat assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani emphasizes yet again America's confounding inability clearly to think through the role of military force as an instrument of strategy. -James Russell, Responsible Statecraft 1/14/20

Trump came far too close to war. He must de-escalate further: scrap new sanctions and row back to the Iran deal

Last week's near catastrophe between the United States and Iran was a double-edged sword. On the positive side, both countries concluded that continuing down the path of military escalation was a dead-end journey. But the tension in the U.S.-Iran relationship--defined by 40 years of covert operations, diplomatic isolation, and pervasive mistrust--is still very much in play. -Daniel R. DePetris, Newsweek 1/14/20

Hours of forewarning saved U.S., Iraqi lives from Iran's missile attack

Nearly eight hours before Iran's Jan. 8 missile attack on U.S. forces at bases in Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers at Ain al-Asad air base scrambled to move personnel and weaponry to fortified bunkers, two Iraqi officers stationed at the base told Reuters...When the missiles finally landed at about 1:30 a.m., they struck "empty bunkers that had been evacuated hours before," the intelligence source said. No one was injured or killed. -Reuters 1/14/20

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