Eye on Iran: Trump Faces Pivotal Decisions on Iran Sanctions

TOP STORIES

Trump Faces Pivotal Decisions on Iran Sanctions | Wall Street Journal

The 2015 Iran nuclear agreement faces a potentially fateful week, with a series of deadlines awaiting President Donald Trump as Tehran reacts to recent antigovernment protests. Mr. Trump is expected to again notify Congress he doesn’t believe the Iran deal is in the best interest of the U.S., restating a well-known position. More important, Mr. Trump will have several opportunities starting Wednesday to refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief to Iran under the deal, which would put Washington in breach of its terms. To stay in the deal, Mr. Trump must periodically agree to waive penalties imposed under a variety of U.S. statutes.

Tillerson Says Fix Sought to Law on Iran Deal | Associated Press

The Trump administration is working with key lawmakers on a legislative fix that could enable the United States to remain in the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Iran Launches Wave of Arrests as Regime Bids to Quell Protests | Guardian (U.K.)

Dozens of students have been detained by Iranian authorities who have arrested more than 1,000 people in their attempt to quell anti-government protests, according to Iranian MPs.

UANI IN THE NEWS

Iran Is Facing a ‘Political Meteorite’ As Donald Trump And Israel Cont[i]nue To Cheer on Protesters | Herald Sun (Australia)

Former CIA veteran, [UANI Senior Advisor] and Iran specialist Norman T. Roule told News Corp that Iran had been hit by a “political meteorite’’ and did not yet know how to respond. He said that if the protests remained at current levels, and did not coalesce into an organised movement, the regime did not appear in danger of imminent collapse. “If the demonstrations do not expand … and security forces remain reliable, I believe the regime will continue on for some time,’’ Roule said.

Tehran’s Radical Adventurism Abroad | Dr. Manuel Almeida for Arab News

[UANI Senior Advisor] Norman T. Roule, former national intelligence manager for Iran at the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, recently said that “fueled by funding, weapons and training” from the IRGC, “this multinational web of groups has transformed Iran from a largely localized security challenge to a region-wide threat to multiple US strategic interests and partners, while simultaneously minimizing Tehran’s exposure to international blowback for its actions.”

'Hold on to Power': Iran's Ayatollahs Are Channeling the Shah's Strategy to Repress Protests | UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky for Haaretz

In 1973, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, told the journalist Oriana Fallaci that "[t]o get things done, one needs power, and to hold onto power one mustn’t ask anyone’s permission or advice."  Fast forward to 2018, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei is likely to follow that maxim in the days ahead. Despite the clarion calls for citizen activism in Iran, change is likely to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and not in a good way.

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Is Trump Stuck With an Iran Deal He Loathes? | Politico

As a new year’s wave of street protests rocks Iran, the demonstrations put President Trump in an awkward bind—right as he faces a new deadline to decide whether to continue on with the Iran nuclear deal he loathes. By the end of this week, in fact, the president who called that agreement the “worst deal ever”—and refused, despite the evidence, to certify Iranian compliance with it—is expected to once again keep the deal alive by waiving U.S. sanctions on the Iranian government that were suspended when the agreement was made.

Haley's Iran Session at UN Prompts Envoys to Defend Nuclear Deal | Bloomberg

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Friday to focus on deadly protests in Iran, but the hearing didn’t go as planned. While most envoys criticized the violence and called on Iran’s government to show restraint with protesters, several -- including U.S. allies France and the U.K. -- also used the opportunity to defend the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, an accord increasingly seen as under threat by President Donald Trump’s administration.

IRAN PROTESTS

Iran’s Guard Declares Victory Over Protesters, But Signs of Dissent Remain | Wall Street Journal

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps declared Sunday that the country’s unrest of recent days has been quelled. But even as the force made the declaration, there remained signs of protest on social media. Dozens of videos of the burning of government documents have shown up online in recent days, although they couldn’t be independently verified.

Iran Guards Say Quell Unrest Fomented by Foreign Enemies | Reuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday the country’s people and security forces had put an end to unrest fomented by foreign enemies, as parliament and security officials met to discuss the boldest challenge to the clerical establishment since 2009.

Protests Threaten Iran’s Ascendant Role in the Middle East | Washington Post

The eruption of political unrest in Iran has presented an unforeseen challenge to Tehran’s rising influence in the Middle East, potentially threatening the country’s claims to dominance just when it seemed to have secured an unassailable role.

CIA Chief Denies Agency Role in Iran Unrest, Predicts New Violence | Agence France-Presse

The head of the CIA on Sunday denied his agency had any role in fomenting the recent anti-government protests in Iran but predicted the violent unrest "is not behind us."

Outside Iran’s Most Notorious Prison, Calls For Loved Ones To Be Freed | New York Times

The man stood outside the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran on Sunday, his hands deep in his pockets as snow continued to fall. His son Majid had been inside the prison for over a week, after being arrested during the largest antigovernment demonstrations Iran has seen in years.

More Than 90 Iranian University Students 'Detained' By Regime | Guardian (U.K.)

Ninety university students are among the more than 1,000 people arrested in Iran’s unrest, an Iranian MP has said.

France's U.N. Ambassador Says Iran Protests Not A Threat To International Peace | Reuters

France’s ambassador to the United Nations told a U.N. Security Council meeting on Friday that recent protests in Iran do not threaten international peace and security, in what may be an implicit criticism of the United States for calling the meeting.

Iran: UN Meeting On Protests Is ‘US Bullying’ | Associated Press

Iran’s U.N. ambassador says the Security Council’s emergency meeting on protests in his country is “a preposterous example” of “U.S. bullying.”

As Protests Go On, Iranian Exiles Wrestle With Fear, Foreboding And Coded Messages | Washington Post

For many Iranians living in exile, the past nine days have been a mix of emotions — fear, foreboding, hope — as they intently watch, as best they can, the deadly unrest unfolding in their native land.

Iran Parliament Holds Special Meeting on Protests | Agence France-Presse

Iranian lawmakers held a closed-door session on Sunday to discuss the deadly protests that hit the country last week, while more pro-regime rallies were held in several cities.

TERRORISM AND EXTREMISM

IS Supports Iranian Anti-Government Protests | Associated Press

The Islamic State group has declared support for the anti-government protests in Iran.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, LEBANON, AND IRAN

Iranian Unrest Draws A Notable Silence From Rival Saudi Arabia | Wall Street Journal

As protests rattled Iran this week, Tehran’s main rival in the region has stayed unusually quiet.

IRANIAN DOMESTIC ISSUES

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Is ‘Arrested For Inciting Unrest Against The Government' | Daily Mail (U.K.)

The former president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested for inciting unrest against the government, it was reported.

Iran Bans English In Primary Schools After Leader's Warning | Reuters

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after the country’s Supreme Leader said early learning of the language opened the way to a Western “cultural invasion.”