A Parliamentary Election Runoff Puts Hard-Liners Firmly In Charge Of Iran’s Parliament


A Parliamentary Election Runoff Puts Hard-Liners Firmly In Charge Of Iran’s Parliament | Associated Press 

Iran’s hard-liners won most of the remaining seats in an election run-off to give them full control over the country’s parliament, authorities said Saturday, while not sharing any details on the turnout. The result, and that of the previous vote in March, gives hard-liners 233 of the 290 seats in Iran’s parliament, according to an Associated Press tally. Hard-liners seek more cultural and social restrictions based on Islamic sharia, including demanding that women wear the Islamic veil in public. They also express enmity toward the West, particularly the United States. Those politicians calling for change in the country’s government, known broadly as reformists, were generally barred from running in the election. Those calling for radical reforms or for abandoning Iran’s theocratic system were also banned or didn’t bother to register as candidates. Vote counting began after the ballots closed late Friday, with the election authority publishing the names of the winners the day after.  

Understanding Iran's Increasingly Open Rhetoric About Atomic Bomb | Al-Monitor 

A top aide to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Al Jazeera television network on Wednesday that Iran holds the capability to produce nuclear weapons and will have "no choice" but to change the current doctrine should its "existence" come under threat. "If the Zionist regime [Israel] dares to damage Iran's nuclear facilities, our deterrence will be different," said Kamal Kharrazi, a seasoned diplomat and former foreign minister who has for years advised Khamenei on key policy matters.  Kharrazi's statement appeared as an updated version of and a departure from a similar interview in 2022, when he said while Iran does have the capability, it has no intention to build a bomb.  A review of other remarks by Iranian authorities also indicates that the veteran diplomat's statement has not come in isolation. It fits into a new pattern in which the Islamic Republic seems less reserved about its nuclear program, which has, for two decades, been at the core of a stand-off with its Western foes. And the veiled message intended for the adversaries is that time has come for them to embrace the long-feared bitter truth, to accept Tehran as a potential possessor of nuclear weapons.  

Killings Of Women Surge In Iran: 23 Killed By Male Relatives | Iran International 

At least 23 women have been killed in Iran by their husbands or male relatives since late March this year according to a report on Saturday by Iran's 'reformist' Etemad news outlet. Last year Etemad had reported that in a period of two and a half months, from late March 2023 to the beginning of June 2023, at least 10 women were killed by their male relatives as a result of domestic violence or so-called 'honor' based violence. This means the number of such murders in Iran has more than doubled this year. Tahereh Taleghani an Islamic expert told Etemad that she considered the lack of laws to protect women in Iran as one of the reasons for these murders. Taleghani added that "a society that is suffering from various crises, problems, and issues, unconsciously goes towards tension and violence. This tension and violence extend into families." Highlighting the ongoing crises faced by women and girls in Iran, she underscored the insecurity they experience both in the streets and at home.  


Iranian Lawmaker Declares Tehran Obtained Nuclear Bombs | Fox News 

…Experts on Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program warned about the seemingly speculative comments made by Ardestani. Jason Brodsky, the policy director of the U.S.-based United Against a Nuclear Iran, told Fox News Digital that "Ardestani is only a member of parliament, and he’s not in the inner core of the regime’s nuclear decision-making circle, so while his comments are interesting, I think they have to be weighed properly given his access and standing." Just two days before Ardestani’s announcement, the president of the Iranian Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Kamal Kharrazi, told Al-Jazeera Network Qatar, "I announced two years ago, in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, that Iran had the absorptive capacity and the capability to produce a nuclear bomb.  

Report: Chinese Ports Become Hubs For Iran’s Illicit Oil Exports | Jewish Breaking News 

…The advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) recently disclosed satellite evidence showing two vessels, HECATE and ELVA, offloading massive cargoes of Iranian crude at China’s Dongjiakou port. HECATE was loaded from an Iranian tanker on March 25 and was quickly blacklisted as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity on April 4. Meanwhile, ELVA, which has a track record of sanctions violations, took on Iranian oil from Kharg Island on April 2. “China’s continued, willful disregard for counterterrorism sanctions is directly enabling Iran’s ability to finance terrorism around the globe,” said UANI Chief Claire Jungman. “Beijing’s enforcement has been utterly lackluster.” Despite strengthened international sanctions, Iran’s oil exports have surged, from around 400,000 barrels per day in the immediate aftermath of harsh 2019 U.S. sanctions to over 1,500,000 barrels currently, according to the report.  

Illicit Iranian Oil Unloaded In China Despite Sanctions | Iran International 

The advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has disclosed through satellite imagery that two vessels, HECATE and ELVA, are involved in the unloading of sanctioned Iranian oil at Dongjiakou port in China. According to Claire Jungman, Chief of Staff at UANI, "HECATE was loaded from the Iranian tanker DOVER on March 25 and was designated as an SDGT (Specially Designated Global Terrorist) entity on April 4. ELVA, known for previous sanctions violations, loaded oil from Kharg Island, Iran, on April 2." Jungman added, "China's continued disregard for counterterrorism sanctions is enabling Iran's financing of terrorism." Iran utilizes a complex network of entities and intermediaries to sell its oil to third parties, thereby evading the imposed sanctions. Iran reportedly channels some of its oil revenues to state organizations such as the Revolutionary Guard to support their budgets indirectly, circumventing direct financial allocations.  

Iran's Lawmaker Makes Big Revelation: ‘We Have Obtained Nuclear Weapons, But…’ Details Here | Mint 

…The policy director of the US-based United Against a Nuclear Iran, Jason Brodsky, alleged that Ardestani is only a member of parliament and isn't involved in the inner core of Iran's nuclear decision-making circle. Brodsky said that the lawmaker's comments should "be weighed properly given his access and standing," Fox News Digital reported. 


Iran’s Nuclear Weaponization? Khamenei Banks On Biden’s Indecision | Iran International 

In the wake of the IAEA chief’s recent trip to Iran and the US-Israel row over Rafah, the bravado of high-ranking Iranian officials has reached new levels regarding “nuclear deterrence”. On May 9, 2024, Kamal Kharrazi, the Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor and former Iranian foreign minister, said that Iran will consider a doctrinal shift to nuclear deterrence if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear sites. Whilst there has been only a low-key “reprimand” by the US State Department’s Spokesperson to such a nakedly threatening statement, calling it “irresponsible,” the record indicates that neither of Iran’s public expressions of resorting to nuclear deterrence, nor its attempts at materializing this goal are new. Biden administration would be very well advised to take this latest “statement of intent” by one of Supreme Leader’s own men all too seriously for it is being uttered in the context of Iran and Israel entering open conflict as of April 2024 after thirty-years of shadow wars. 

Iran’s Nuclear File Returns To The Forefront | Asharq Al-Awsat 

Iran’s nuclear file has returned to the forefront, with the approaching regular meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's governors, next month, in Vienna. Neither Iran nor the agency deviated from the pre-written scenario, which is being implemented and consists of several stages. The first is for the agency’s director, Rafael Grossi, to take the initiative, several weeks before the meeting, to attract attention to the aforementioned file through heated statements, saying that Iran is not cooperating satisfactorily with his inspectors. This stage paves the way for Grossi’s visit to Tehran and lengthy meetings with senior officials, usually followed by two press conferences: the first in Iran, alongside Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, or Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and the second upon his landing at Vienna Airport. What is often striking is that Grossi’s tone varies depending on the place. His rhetoric is diplomatic in Tehran, and direct, even sharp, in Vienna.  

Khamenei’s Mouthpiece Calls For Expulsion Of IAEA Inspectors | Iran International 

The representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at the Kayhan newspaper has called for the expulsion of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from Iran. Shariatmadari’s piece pushed for "the suspension of all Iran’s commitments under UN Security Council resolutions, including those concerning the nuclear dossier, and the expulsion of IAEA inspectors." His statement comes amid heightened rhetoric following the IAEA chief’s recent visit to Iran, which seems to have emboldened Iranian officials’ nuclear ambitions. “This is the undeniable and legal right of our country. Do not trample on this undeniable right,” said Shariatmadari. Meanwhile, Kamal Kharrazi, the Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor and former Iranian foreign minister, threatened a shift to nuclear deterrence if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities. The statement has been met with minimal reaction from the international community, with the US State Department merely labeling it "irresponsible."  


Iranian Chamber Of Commerce Reports Worsening Economic Conditions | Iran Focus 

In its latest report on the state of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), the Research Center of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce has reported the worsening of the country’s economic outlook components. The report states that in the coming months, a shortage of raw materials could seriously affect the trend of economic improvement, especially in the industrial sector. The Research Center of the Chamber of Commerce, affiliated with the Iranian regime, says that significant trade deficit in 2023 and the increasing gap between the prices of free market currency and government currency in recent months are factors that could restrict the allocation of foreign currency resources for importing raw materials in the coming months. Earlier, the International Monetary Fund had also predicted that Iran’s economic growth would decrease from 4.7 percent last year to 3.3 percent this year and 3.1 percent next year. Iran’s non-oil trade deficit also reached a historic record of nearly $17 billion last year.  

Why The Biden Administration's Iran Sanctions Waivers Are Futile | National Interest 

After years of fighting in the shadows against Israel, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) crossed the threshold. On April 13, the IRGC undertook an overt and direct attack from its own territory against Israel, launching over 300 projectiles, including one-way attack drones, land-attack cruise missiles, and even nuclear-capable medium-range ballistic missiles. The IRGC’s barrage raises the urgency of cracking down on any form of financing that underwrites the Guard Corps’ capabilities. Only a few days prior to the attack, a Biden administration appointee publicly acknowledged the regime’s exploitation of humanitarian funds for nefarious purposes. On April 9, U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo testified that Tehran exploits fungible humanitarian assistance and noted that “any dollar they have will go towards violent activity before they deal with their people.” Adeyemo’s attestation raises serious concerns over the Biden administration’s policy of retaining several Iran sanctions waivers.  


Many Iranian Jews In ‘Tehrangeles’ Say Their Allegiance Is To Israel, Not Iran | NBC News 

As pro-Palestinian protesters and counterprotesters rally at universities across the country, some of the most vocal defenders of Israel are members of the Iranian Jewish community. In Los Angeles, home to the largest Iranian diaspora outside Iran and often referred to as “Tehrangeles,” Iranian Jews have emerged as a regular presence at demonstrations on the campuses of UCLA and the University of Southern California. Many are the children of parents who fled Iran starting in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, which ushered in a new era of social, political and religious extremism that continues to haunt many former citizens. They were raised with stories of a vibrant and rich culture in what was formerly called Persia and often refer to themselves as Persian Jews. “To this day, they still talk about the idea of one day returning,” Los Angeles resident Abby Yosian said of her family. “Still to this day, my grandmother talks about Iran as the most beautiful country in the world.” Because the old way of life was quashed by the regime, many Iranian Jews say they relate more to Israel and support its fight against Hamas and, by extension, Iran, the militant group’s key financial and military supporter, according to a 2020 State Department report.  

Iranian Professor, Author Jailed On Multiple Charges | Radio Free Europe 

Iran's judiciary has said that Sadegh Zibakalam -- a university professor and critic of the government -- has been jailed and faces sentencing on multiple charges. The judiciary didn't specify the charges. Media reports said he was to serve a three-year prison term. The Telegram channel Pasdaran Cyber Corps said Zibakalam, 75, was arrested as he headed to a Tehran book fair to present his new book, Why Don't They Take You? Zibakalam has previously served time in prison for alleged propaganda against the state and for publishing false content online. He was also previously barred from engaging in political activities online.  

Iranian Forces Storm Azeri Activist's House, Arrest Mother, Sister | Iran Wire 

Security forces of the Islamic Republic have violently arrested the mother and sister of an Azeri activist in Iran. Frangis Fathi, 68, and her daughter Akram Kokhian, 46, were arrested at their home in northwestern Malekan city on Monday. Their family said the arrests were conducted with excessive force by uniformed and plainclothes security forces. According to IranWire sources, the security forces stormed the family's home in Valiasr town, breaking windows and doors. Reports indicate pepper spray was used on both women before they were taken to an unknown location. The family car, mobile phone, and computer were also seized. Mehdi Kokhian, Fathi's son living in Germany, believes the arrests are an attempt to pressure him. He said the Iranian government aims to silence his activism for democracy and Azeri ethnic rights in Iran. Kokhian also highlighted his role in coordinating the Woman, Life, Freedom protests in Malekan and surrounding areas through social media channels.  


Iran's Parliament Revisits Internet Restriction Bill | Iran International 

A bill aimed at further tightening internet control in Iran has been reintroduced in the Iranian parliament in a last minute bid to deepen social repression as the current parliament comes to its season's end. The ILNA news agency reported that the 'Legislation to Protect Cyberspace Users' aims to intensify internet restrictions and with the new parliament set to officially commence on May 27, there is a final push to enact the bill before the changeover. Over the past two decades, Iran has routinely blocked websites and social media applications, though many citizens circumvent the restrictions using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and other tools. Legal expert Kambiz Norouzi said the new measures will not succeed, as people find alternative ways to get online. "Fighting realities only leads to failure," he said. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Minister of Communications during Hassan Rouhani's administration, said the move is a desperate last minute attempt to push through the repressive measures. "The planners have lost hope for passing the plan in the next parliament considering its composition. With the current performance, they believe there is a high chance that the government will be a one-term administration, therefore they want to pass a law to permanently remove the internet development mandate from the control of administrations."  

Iran's Overworked Nurses Face Exhaustion And Even Death | Iran Wire 

Iran's healthcare system is facing a dire crisis as overworked and underpaid nurses grapple with exhaustion, despair, and a lack of support. This critical situation has been linked to several recent deaths attributed to "Karoshi," a Japanese term for death by overwork. At least three nurses have reportedly died in their sleep in the past month, raising concerns about the intense pressure healthcare workers face. Mohammad Sharifi Moghadam, Secretary General of the Nursing Union, blames the "inappropriate conditions" in Iranian hospitals, which result in a workforce that is "tired, unmotivated, and worn out." Iranian nurses are protesting a lack of adequate workforce, leading to double shifts and extreme fatigue. Their low wages are insufficient to cover living expenses and add to the financial burden.  This problem also extends to medical residents, who face the challenge of being underpaid while having a high workload.  


Biden’s Compromised Iran Envoy Deserves More Congressional Investigation | National Review 

A long-overdue reckoning over the conduct of Rob Malley, President Biden’s Iran envoy, might be on the way, however much the administration endeavors to bury the truth. The Washington Post reported last week that members of Congress believe that Malley emailed classified documents to a personal email address and downloaded them to his personal phone from there. Those lawmakers had done their own freelance investigative work to reach that conclusion because the State Department has been outrageously tight-lipped about the situation. After Malley failed to show up at a congressional briefing last April, officials told members of Congress that he was merely on leave rather than suspended pending the results of an investigation. Congress learned the truth through the press. The State Department appears not just to have failed to inform lawmakers about the situation but to have actively misled them.  


Influential Anti-Iran And Anti-US Iraqi Shiite Cleric Seeks Grand Return To Political Life | The Media Line 

A once-dominant political force in Iraq, recently weakened Shiite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr, allegedly intends to reclaim his seat atop the country’s governmental hierarchy, reportedly already prepping his populist electoral machine for his eventual return. Sadr leads the Sadrist nationalist movement as well as the Peace Corps militia and has been deeply enmeshed in Iraqi politics since 2003, having fought against the influence of both the United States and Iran. In 2004, Sadr declared a holy war against occupying US forces.  Citing interviews with more than 20 individuals involved in or familiar with Sadr’s political movement and Iraqi domestic political machinations, wire service Reuters indicates that the influential religious leader is most likely planning his official comeback for Iraq’s 2025 parliamentary elections. Sadr has supposedly already begun to take steps towards reestablishing himself in Iraqi public and political life.  

Tehran Municipality Slams Domestic Producers To Justify Chinese Deal | Iran International  

To defend a covert agreement to procure traffic equipment from China, the Tehran Municipality has erected banners and billboards across the capital, which critics argue "denigrate" domestic producers. “Why Did We Import?” the banners and billboards in the streets and metro stations read in large letters and give a list of reasons for the purchase of electric buses, taxis and surveillance equipment from China. The list includes reduction of gasoline use, better air quality and the capital’s urgent and vital need for a new public transport fleet. They also imply that domestically produced counterparts are inferior to the Chinese-made products, citing higher production costs and labeling domestic automakers—many of which, like Iran Khodro, are primarily owned by government-affiliated entities—as "tortoises" in terms of production speed. The municipality has withheld the details of the controversial agreement not only from the public but also from city councilors. The agreement was signed by ultra-hardline Mayor Alireza Zakani during a visit to China in January.  


India Expects Long-Term Arrangement With Iran On Chabahar Port, Minister Says | Reuters 

India expects to secure a "long-term arrangement" with Iran on the management of the Iranian port of Chabahar, India's foreign minister said on Monday as the country's shipping minister left on a visit to Iran. India has been developing part of the port in Chabahar on Iran's southeastern coast along the Gulf of Oman as a way to transport goods to Iran, Afghanistan and central Asian countries, bypassing the port of Karachi and Gwadar in its rival Pakistan. U.S. sanctions on Iran, however, have slowed the port's development. "As and when a long-term arrangement is concluded, it will clear the pathway for bigger investments to be made in the port," Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar told reporters in Mumbai. He said his cabinet colleague, Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, is travelling to Iran. A source close to the shipping ministry said Sonowal is expected to witness the signing of a "crucial contract" that would ensure a long-term lease of the port to India. 

India To Sign Port Deal With Iran To Expand Central Asia Trade | Bloomberg 

India is expected to sign a long-term agreement to operate a terminal at the strategic Chabahar port with Iran as it seeks to expand trade in Central Asia. Sarbananda Sonowal, India’s ports and shipping minister, is heading to Iran to ink the deal, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said at a conference in Mumbai on Monday. The agreement, which had been under discussion for some time, would “clear the pathway for bigger investments to be made in the port,” he said. Without a long-term agreement, “it’s very difficult to invest in a port,” he said. India expects the project will improve its connection with an international north-south transport corridor being developed with Iran and Russia and also improve trade links with Central Asia, Jaishankar said. “We will see more connectivity linkages coming out of that port,” he said. India expects the project will improve its connection with an international north-south transport corridor being developed with Iran and Russia and also improve trade links with Central Asia, Jaishankar said. “We will see more connectivity linkages coming out of that port,” he said.