The United States on Tuesday circulated a revised resolution that would extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, seeking to gain more support in the 15-member Security Council where veto-wielding Russia and China have voiced strong opposition. U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said the new draft “takes council views into account and simply does what everyone knows should be done — extend the arms embargo to prevent Iran from freely buying and selling conventional weapons.”
Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili on Tuesday announced that a former lawmaker has been arrested in connection with a massive corruption case in which the current Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf allegedly paid 650 billion rials (around $25 million at the time) in bribes. Esmaili did not disclose the name of the lawmaker or his role in the corruption case. The case was initially revealed by a prominent conservative, Mostafa Mir-Salim who was recently re-elected as a representative of Tehran to parliament, the Judiciary spokesman said.
Iranian hard-liners in parliament on Wednesday voted against President Hassan Rouhani’s nominee for trade minister in the first showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May despite the struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus. According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries. Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee. There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. The parliament has 290 seats.
UANI IN THE NEWS
In recent months, the United States has been focusing its diplomatic efforts to extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, which is scheduled to lapse on October 18, 2020. It has consumed much of the debate among the commentariat. But there's another sunset that has gone less noticed since the death of former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani: the expiration of the U.N. travel restrictions on leading Iranian officials, which are also set to end this October.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
The United States streamlined its bid on Tuesday to get the U.N. Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran, a move that could win Washington more support in the 15-member body but is unlikely to overcome opposition by veto-powers Russia and China. The new text, seen by Reuters, is just four paragraphs and would extend a weapons ban on Iran “until the Security Council decides otherwise,” stating that is “essential to the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Trump administration officials said there is no detailed strategy for rapid negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran despite the president’s recent remarks that he would strike a quick agreement if he wins a second term. President Trump’s pledge, which he has repeated publicly four times in the past five days, supposes that Iranian leaders would meet him at the negotiating table, a move they have publicly opposed since he withdrew the U.S. from the multination Iranian nuclear accord in 2018.
The upcoming US presidential elections in November will likely determine whether the Iran nuclear deal survives. If Donald Trump wins re-election, Iran is likely to quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and alter its nuclear doctrine to give it more leverage in any future negotiations. If Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is elected, both Iran and the United States could move towards reviving the JCPOA, but Iran will remain reluctant to expand its terms.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the heads of the three branches of the state in Iran have decided to offer the country's oil for sale to private individuals in the Energy Exchange. Rouhani had promised last week to announce an economic breakthrough. However, there have been many speculations, questions and doubts about the practicality of selling "oil bonds" to the people. Rouhani said Tuesday morning August 11 that the heads of the executive, legislative and judiciary bodies, have ratified the general terms of the plan, but the administration of the process is to be finalized later.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
The wife of a jailed Iranian teachers union leader says her husband and five other dissidents have tested positive for the coronavirus in a Tehran prison that has transferred them to rooms where they cannot maintain social distance. In a Monday interview with VOA Persian from her home in Tehran, the wife of Esmail Abdi said he told her about the predicament facing him and the other inmates in a phone call from Evin prison the day before. Monir Abdi cited her husband as saying that he and the other five dissidents were among a total of 12 prisoners who tested positive for the coronavirus in Evin’s Ward 8 after undergoing a first round of tests last week.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Owj Arts and Media Organization is one of many institutions affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), aiming at propagation of its hardliner ideology and shaping Iran's culture to fit the agenda of the Islamic Republic. Ehsan Mohammad-Hassani, the man who chairs the organization and spends its hefty budget has been a warrior in Syria, an associate of top IRGC commanders such as Qassem Soleimani, and even an interrogator who has questioned political prisoners.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Iranian Parliament on Wednesday turned down President Hassan Rouhani's candidate to head the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade. In an open session of the Parliament this morning 140 of the 254 lawmakers present refused to give a vote of confidence to Hossein Modarres-Khiabani, the caretaker of the ministry. He received 104 votes in favor and 10 lawmakers abstained from voting. Vice-President Es'haq Jahangiri attended the session instead of the President who can introduce and defend his proposed minister. The Speaker Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf said Rouhani had been advised by the Coronavirus Taskforce not to attend the session. The Presidium, however, did not allow Jahangiri to speak in Rouhani's place.
Iran’s powerful conservatives in control of the country’s new parliament have begun collecting signatures for a motion that could effectively lead to the impeachment of two powerful ministers in President Hassan Rouhani’s Cabinet. In their draft bid, those lawmakers are set to summon Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh to grill him on a list of 20 cases of “incompetency,” which they believe have dealt “serious damage” to Iran’s economy. They have also prepared a lawsuit against the veteran minister, which they plan to file with the Iranian judiciary as early as next week.