Insider news & Analysis in Iran

On Thursday, Fox News published an editorial that was critical both of the 2015 nuclear agreement and US President Donald Trump’s handling of it. Although Trump has repeatedly described the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as one of the worst deals ever negotiated and has recently indicated that he expects to decertify Iran’s compliance with it in October, the editorial accuses him of failing to make Iran’s nuclear program a priority as he has done with the nuclear threats coming from North Korea.

On Thursday, The Iran Project reported that the clerical regime’s Supreme Leader had pardoned or commuted the sentences of 1,166 prisoners following a traditional request from the judiciary which marks the Muslim festivals of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Ghadeer. The first of these is celebrated by all Muslims and represents the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage; the other is a Shiite-specific festival that commemorates the passage of Islamic leadership to Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.

On Monday, it was reported that a technical glitch on a ticketing website had apparently led to an unknown number of women being allowed to purchase tickets for a soccer match at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. Iranian authorities quickly responded to the incident by saying that there were no plans to honor the tickets, which would be cancelled and have their purchase price refunded. And according to Newsweek, some women acknowledged that they were well aware of the fact that they would not be allowed into the stadium, but elected to purchase tickets anyway, as a symbolic gesture.

At the end of August media released a brief video that effectively mocked Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for presenting an overwhelmingly positive image of his presidency and the state of Iranian society now that his second term in office has begun. Rouhani plainly declared in an interview with state media that “everyone is happy,” leading media to respond by saying that “political prisoners, jailed journalists, women's rights activists, and many others might not agree.”

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley visited the American Enterprise Institute in order to continue a campaign aimed at facilitating global discussion of American concerns about the Iran nuclear agreement, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Her speech before the conservative think tank reportedly laid out the White House’s case for declaring Iran out of compliance with the agreement, thereby effectively cancelling it. According to the Associated Press, Haley indicated that President Donald Trump would have a solid foundation for such cancellation, although she also reiterated her earlier claim that he has not yet committed to a course of action.

According to informed sources, which track executions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, at least three inmates were hanged on Sunday alone, suggesting that the high rate of executions is continuing from the previous two months, during which approximately 200 people were put to death. Iran has long maintained the highest per-capita rate of executions in the world, but the monthly rates vary dramatically, often diminishing around the time of national elections and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan but then surging at other times. In total, it is estimated that approximately 3,500 inmates have been hanged since the supposedly moderate President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013.

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