Insider news & Analysis in Iran

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.

On Monday, it was reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran had announced its first ever test of a long rank missile defense system. Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the head of the country’s air defenses, boasted of the missile program in an interview with Iranian state media the previous day. In it he boasted that the Bavar 373 system was expected to be fully operational by March and that it would increase the Islamic Republic’s “combat capabilities.”

According to multiple reports that were published on Sunday and Monday, three American citizens and one person with permanent resident status in the United States have had their appeals rejected by the Islamic Republic of Iran, where each individual is serving a 10-year sentence on poorly substantiated charges of espionage.

On Monday, it was reported that Iran’s vice president for legal affairs, one of only three females appointed to serve in positions during President Hassan Rouhani’s second term, had begun to wear the full body covering chador, instead of the less conservative hijab, which covers only the hair and is legally required for all women. The change was widely regarded as further capitulation to hardline pressures, especially in light of the fact that the official, Laaya Joneidi, was responding to pressure coming directly from the supposedly moderate Rouhani.

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