Eye on Iran: US Says Iran 'Leading Cause of Instability'

TOP STORIES

US Says Iran ‘Leading Cause of Instability’ | Asharq Al-Awsat (U.K.)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley… called Iran on Thursday "the leading cause of instability in an unstable part of the world." Tehran supports "terrorists, proxy militants and murderers like (the head of the Syrian regime) Bashar Assad,” she told the UN Security Council… Haley said the international community must respond to Iran's "dangerous violations" of its obligations in the UN resolution endorsing the nuclear deal, "not because we want the nuclear deal to fail, but because we want the cause of nonproliferation to succeed."

US Lawmakers Aim to Tighten Terms of Iran Nuclear Deal | Agence France-Presse

A bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Thursday aimed at tightening the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, despite Tehran’s rejection of changes to the accord.

Iranian Spies in Germany Targeted Israel Embassy, Jewish Kindergartens | Times of Israel

The German journalist who first reported raids by local security forces at the homes of suspected Iranian spies across Germany supplied new details Wednesday about the Israeli and Jewish targets allegedly monitored by the suspects. Josef Hufelschulte, of the weekly German-language magazine FOCUS, told Israeli public broadcaster Kan that the suspected spies had been gathering information on the Israeli embassy in Berlin, as well as on targets related to the local Jewish community, including kindergartens.

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Russia Warns Against Failure of Iran Nuke Deal | Fox News

Russia's foreign minister is warning that a failure of the Iran nuclear deal, especially as a result of action by the Trump administration, would send "an alarming message" to North Korea and impact all international agreements. 

Strengthen Deal with Iran | Charleston Post and Courier Editorial

[T]he president has a high card to play in his demand for an allied showdown with Iran on its ballistic missile programs, its support of the Syrian government, its creation of unrest in other parts of the Middle East, and its long-term nuclear ambitions. He may be able to use it to get the agreement he seeks, or a large part of it.

IRAN PROTESTS

Iran’s Blame Shame: Unrest Is the Regime’s Responsibility Alone | Peter Brookes for National Interest

Publicly, the Islamic Republic of Iran blames the United States—and the other usual foreign-enemy suspects—for the nationwide protests that gripped the country of some eighty million people for at least a week. Talk about rich. The demonstrations clearly arose as the direct result of the regime’s repressive and misguided policies, not because of some foreign power’s interference or meddling. The regime knows this—and so do the Iranian people.

Iran's Latest Revolution Won't Fade Away | Geneive Abdo and Abdallah Hendaway for Bloomberg

The latest protests in Iran may be largely crushed for now, but the characteristics of this particular uprising suggest that, unlike the so-called Green Revolution of 2009 and other previous waves -- the unrest could continue sporadically for years to come. Although the rioters -- largely workers and farmers from rural and religiously conservative villages and towns -- were not part of a unified or organized movement, they do have shared grievances that fueled the outrage, and this could be a game changer. Unlike past uprisings in Iran when demonstrators’ outcries concerned lofty goals, such as democracy and free elections, these protesters’ complaints are practical and urgent, because their lives are far more difficult than those of Iranians in major cities.

The Unraveling Islamic Republic | Nir Boms and Shayan Arya for U.S. News & World Report

The recent unrest in Iran has confirmed what many attuned to domestic conditions in the Islamic Republic have long known: that an explosion was not a matter of if, but of when. The destructive reach of the Islamic Republic of Iran from Africa to South America and via Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq is hardly disputed. Yet this destructive influence serves the hesitance of many in the West to confront what appears as a strong and threatening regime. The riots and demonstration may have faded – but not the realities that created them. And this might provide an important policy lesson: Islamic regime's power posturing is designed to hide its true weaknesses.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS

Tillerson to Visit Europe Next Week for Talks on Iran, Syria: State Department | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Europe next week, stopping in London and Paris for talks on Iran and Syria before heading on to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum and then to Warsaw, the State Department said on Thursday.

BUSINESS RISK

Iran Seeks $4.9 Billion from Deutsche Boerse Unit in Luxembourg Suit | Reuters

Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi, has filed a suit in Luxembourg against Deutsche Boerse’s Clearstream unit seeking to recover $4.9 billion in assets plus interest, the German stock exchange operator said on Thursday. The assets, frozen on suspicion of terror financing and in part paid to victims, include $1.9 billion turned over to plaintiffs in the United States following a 2013 court order as well as $2 billion that is subject to further litigation by U.S. plaintiffs in the United States and Luxembourg.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Reports Suggest Youth Arrested, Tortured to Death During Recent Iran Uprising | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

Two more Iranians have been identified as having been killed under torture by authorities in Arak and Sanandaj during the recent uprising.

Report: Authorities Amputate Hand of Convicted Thief in Iran | Associated Press

A semi-official news agency is reporting that authorities in Iran have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in a prison in the country's northeast.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Russia, Iran Open Their Arms as Turkey Loses Patience with U.S. | NBC News

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have hit a new low over Washington's support of militias battling the Islamic State, according to analysts. The government in Ankara views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. Experts warn that the crisis is resulting in Turkey — a longtime American ally with NATO's second-largest standing army — turning away from the West and toward Russia and Iran.

AJC Calls for Berlin to Expel Iranian Ambassador for Spying on Israel | Jerusalem Post

The Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee urged Germany’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to expel Iran’s ambassador because of his country’s alleged spying on Israel’s embassy and a Jewish kindergarten.

IRANIAN DOMESTIC ISSUES

Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern | New York Times

Nigeria. Syria. Somalia. And now Iran. In each country, in different ways, a water crisis has triggered some combination of civil unrest, mass migration, insurgency or even full-scale war. 

Rouhani Doubles Down on Iran's Conservatives with 'Digital Economy' Plan | Al Monitor

After receiving criticism for unblocking the popular social media app Telegram, which was closed over the recent protests that rocked Iran, President Hassan Rouhani is not retreating from his position. In fact, his administration is reportedly preparing to spend money to create more digital jobs and attempt to bring Iran up to date in the cyberworld.