Taking aim at Iran’s global footprint, the Trump administration on Friday hit six people and seven businesses linked to Hezbollah with terror sanctions, calling it “the first wave” in a pressure campaign that will escalate throughout the year... Senior Trump administration officials said the U.S. estimates Iran sends Hezbollah about $700 million per year, arguing that Hezbollah has become the Iranian government’s primary tool to project its power in the Arabic-speaking world.
Iran says President Trump's hostility to the 2015 nuclear deal is dampening foreign investment in the energy sector despite the lifting of sanctions.
Iran has sentenced an unnamed person to six years in jail for selling information about its nuclear program to the United States and a European country, the Iranian judiciary’s news website reported on Sunday.
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
A complete argument in defense of the liberal international order requires demonstrating that this order is not merely abstract or vaguely laudable but of concrete value to the national security of the United States and its allies. This essay seeks to make that case by examining American policy toward Iran as an example of the international order in action.
IRAN PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Responding to reports that at least six young human rights defenders, including Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Farjami, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand have been detained in coordinated arrests across Iran on 1 February, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said: “These human rights defenders must be released immediately and unconditionally – they have committed no crime and have been arrested purely because of their human rights work. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are now at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
11 [Iranian] Members of Parliament (MPs) were allowed to visit Evin Prison in Tehran for three hours on January 30, 2018. MP Allahyar Malekshahi told the conservative Mashregh newspaper on January 30 that the delegation was informed that 4,534 people had been detained nationwide, higher than the number of 3,700 that had been reported earlier.
Iranian state TV has apologised for a segment which featured a relationship expert tell domestic violence victims to kiss their husband's feet. "Even if your husband is a drug addict, if he beats you, just do it and you will see a miracle in your life," the woman was said to have told viewers.
On Dec. 27, Vida Movahed stood bareheaded on a utility box on one of Tehran’s busiest thoroughfares, waving her white head scarf on a stick. Within days, images of the 31-year-old, who was detained and then released a few weeks later, had become an iconic symbol. In the weeks since Ms. Movahed’s peaceful protest of the compulsory hijab, long one of the most visible symbols of the Islamic Republic, dozens of women, and even some men, throughout Iran have followed her lead. So far, at least 29 women in cities throughout the country have been arrested. These bold acts of defiance against the hijab are unprecedented in the nearly 40-year history of the Islamic Republic, but a movement that may have helped inspire them has been going on for years.
The office of Iran’s president on Sunday charged into the middle of one of the most contentious debates over the character of the Islamic Republic, suddenly releasing a three-year-old report showing that nearly half of Iranians wanted an end to the requirement that women cover their heads in public.
The United States supports the Iranian people who are protesting against women being forced to wear the hijab. We condemn the reported arrests of at least 29 individuals for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms by standing up against the compulsory hijab.
The National Front, one of Iran’s secular political organizations, has called for a permit to hold a public gathering in Tehran on March 5.
UN human rights experts have called on Iran to ensure a fair and transparent final hearing for three Iranian Christians who are due to appear before the Revolutionary Court in Tehran this weekend.
Recent unrest in Iran shows that the country’s present leadership is completely out of touch with the aspirations of the younger generation.
The United States' new nuclear policy brings humanity "closer to annihilation," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.
While bilateral trade has increased following the implementation of the nuclear deal, trade between Iran and Britain remains far below its potential.
SANCTIONS RELIEF & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Iran can swiftly increase production of crude if OPEC decides to scrap limits on global output when the group meets next in June, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.
OTHER TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
The Palestinian Al Sabreen movement, active in Gaza and the West Bank, was in the news again when the State Department on Wednesday announced that it was listing the organization on its terror black list. The Al Sabreen movement was founded by dissident Shiite leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in April 2014, has taken ideological inspiration from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as the Lebanese “Hezbollah” militia, calling publicly for the Iranian expansion project in the region and promoting Iran as the main defender of Islam and the only country that is concerned for the Palestinian case.
RUSSIA & IRAN
Iran accused the United States on Sunday of threatening Russia with new atomic weapons after Washington published a document outlining plans to expand its nuclear capabilities to deter others.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been rather mum on aspects of his meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the latter has made it clear they discussed concerns about Iran's bold actions in the Middle East in general and in Syria in particular.
Americans who have watched the Middle East for the past 40 years must wonder how, despite all pressures and sanctions, Iran has not been weakened. Instead, it has expanded its influence within the region and beyond. What they have yet to know is that very influence is also making a footprint in the American public sphere.
MILITARY MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Following its successes in the Syrian War, Iran’s next step is to infiltrate state institutions in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Without serious action by the U.S. government to counter Iran’s regional activities, any international support to Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq—and their financial and military institutions— might result in support for Iran’s Shia militias.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
Qatar has rejected the evidence presented against Iran by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain which proves its involvement in activities aimed at destabilizing the region… Doha also expanded and reinforced its cooperation with Tehran on various levels.
Recently, after the popular uprising in Iran died down, and following U.S. President Donald Trump's waiving of the nuclear sanctions against Iran, the Saudi press published a number of articles harshly criticizing the Western policy vis-à-vis Iran.
IRAQ & IRAN
As ISIS was pushed back from Tikrit and then from Sunni strongholds in Fallujah, Ramadi and finally Mosul, it was Shiite fighters—prominently backed by Iran—who led the way. Many Shiites now view the victory not only as a force of will but as an act of God.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Amid the charged atmosphere of political turmoil, economic instability, and acts of protest against the cultural status quo, the 36th edition of the prestigious Fajr Film Festival opened in Tehran on February 1. The Fajr Film Festival highlights the past year of Iranian cinema for 10 days, although any sign of political dissent in new movies is conspicuously absent.
Guards at Iran's presidential office building in Tehran opened fire, wounding a man carrying a large blade and trying to enter the compound, Iranian media said on February 5.