Eye on Iran: Exclusive: The House Republican Plan To Toughen The Iran Deal

TOP STORIES

Exclusive: The House Republican Plan To Toughen The Iran Deal | Axios

I've got my hands on a copy of the bill that House Republicans will drop Thursday to amend the Iran deal. Conservative Iran hawks tell me they are going to rally around this bill — spearheaded by Reps. Peter Roskam, Liz Cheney and others — because they don't like what they're hearing about the Senate version being drafted by Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Ben Cardin.

U.S. Strategy Shift In Syria Turns Focus to Iran from ISIS | Wall Street Journal

The U.S. will turn its focus in Syria to moving to reduce Iranian influence there, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a policy speech that marked a shift in U.S. strategy in Syria away from Islamic State. 

Elderly American-Iranian Jailed in Iran Hospitalised with Heart Problems: Lawyer | Reuters

An 81-year old American-Iranian imprisoned in Iran, Baquer Namazi, was hospitalised earlier this week due to a drop in blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, his lawyer said on Wednesday. 

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

U.N. Chief Says Don't Harm Iran Nuclear Deal over Unrelated Issues | Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday that any issues not directly related to the Iran nuclear deal “should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement,” his spokesman said amid U.S. concerns with Tehran. 

Need to Counter Trump’s Campaign of Uncertainty | Financial Tribune (Iran)

Iran needs to create a peaceful political environment to thwart Washington's spreading of uncertainty over the nuclear deal aimed to discourage business with Tehran, says a senior official. 

IRAN PROTESTS

Congress Concerned Another Obama ‘Secret Deal’ with Iran Derailed New Sanctions on Tehran | Washington Free Beacon

The Trump administration State Department is working to suppress new sanctions on Iran's propaganda network that were promised to be implemented by the White House in response to a wave of protests that have gripped the Islamic Republic for weeks...

A Long-simmering Factor in Iran Protests: Climate Change | Los Angeles Times

In the mountains of western Iran, the province of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari is known for mile-high lagoons, flowing rivers and wetlands that attract thousands of species of migratory birds. But years of diminishing rainfall have shriveled water sources. Conditions worsened, residents say, after Iranian authorities began funneling water 60 miles away to the lowland city of Esfahan, sparking protests as far back as 2014.

Rubin: Trump Offers Hope to Iranians Seeking Freedom | Michael Rubin for McClatchy

The contrast couldn’t have been sharper: In 2009, as Iranians took to the street, they chanted, “Obama, Obama, either you’re with us or against us,” but President Barack Obama remained silent. Eight years later, as Iranians again took to the streets, President Donald Trump tweeted up a storm. “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever,” he tweeted. “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years ... TIME FOR CHANGE!”

How Not to Cover Iran | Matthew Continetti for Commentary Magazine

The anti-government protests that broke out in Iran on December 28, 2017, came as a surprise. And not just to the Iranian authorities, who scrambled to contain the revolt as it spread throughout the country and threatened to destabilize the theocratic regime. Observers in the West were taken aback, too. It’s worth asking why.

CONGRESS & IRAN

Top Dem Sees 'Path Forward' on Iran Bill | The Hill

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday said he believes there is a “path forward” on Iran legislation, despite President Trump making negotiations “more difficult” by issuing an ultimatum. 

HUMAN RIGHTS

Trump Admin Attempting to Resolve Deportation Threat to 100 Iranian Christians in Vienna | Washington Free Beacon

The Trump administration is trying to prevent 100 mostly Christian Iranians stranded in Vienna for more than a year from being deported back to Iran where they would undoubtedly face severe persecution amid a government crackdown on dissidents. 

Iran’s Internet Imperative | Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

No one knows how Iran’s political protests will evolve, and perhaps the current moment is more like Poland in 1981 than 1988. That’s all the more reason for the U.S. to assist Iran’s political opposition as it seeks to use the internet to evade regime censors and build a larger movement.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Jewish Group: Spy Case Shows Germany Must Act against Iran | Associated Press

Germany’s Jewish community says raids against suspected Iranian agents show Berlin needs to take a tougher line toward Tehran… Its president, Josef Schuster, said Germany shouldn't put economic ties with Iran before the need to protect its own citizens.

SYRIA & IRAN

Syrian Opposition Calls on Trump and EU to Put Pressure on Russia and Iran | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump and European Union leaders should increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Russia and Iran to return to talks to end Syria’s civil war, Syria’s chief opposition negotiator said on Monday. 

Iran’s Soft Power: Islamic Azad University Opening Branches In Major Syrian And Iraqi Cities | Ahmad Majidyar for the Middle East Institute

While Iran’s military involvement in regional conflicts and support for militant groups often make headlines, Tehran’s sophisticated soft power strategies aimed at promoting the Islamic Republic’s ideological and political goals in the region are largely overlooked. The establishment of Islamic Azad Universities in major Syrian and Iraqi cities and the expansion of its main branch in Lebanon is one example of how Tehran uses soft power tools to expand its sphere of influence across the region. Moreover, Iran’s educational, cultural and charitable organizations abroad also complement the country’s hard power strategies and at times provide a civilian cover for the Revolutionary Guards operatives to carry out subversive activities at the expense of regional stability.