Insider news & Analysis in Iran

Lethal international, economic and social crises that has plunged the Iranian regime into the dilemma it is currently facing on one hand, and the expanding support for the Iranian opposition MEK that can realize regime change in Iran on the other, have all injected utter fear amongst Tehran’s mullahs.

On Thursday it was reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran had announced the successful launch of a space launch vehicle from the Imam Khomeini Space Center, prompting the repetition of familiar criticisms by Western adversaries. American officials quickly declared that the test-launch “deeply violated” United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 because of the potential for the rocket system’s use in ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The Security Council resolution coincided with the implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement and called upon the Islamic Republic to avoid work on such weapons for the duration of the agreement.

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives voted on a long-anticipated sanctions bill targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran along with Russia and North Korea. Progress on a previous version of the bill was delayed on procedural grounds after initially passing the Senate by a nearly unprecedented margin of 98-2.

On Thursday, it was reported that the government of Kuwait had ordered the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from the country, along with the closure of the Iranian cultural mission. Agence-France Presse quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying that the Islamic Republic had communicated its strong objection to this incident, in dialogue with the Kuwaiti charge d'affaires. In keeping with Tehran’s response to other supposed diplomatic affronts by both Arab and Western countries, the Iranian statement reported emphasized the country’s right to invoke reciprocal measures of its own.

On Monday, it was reported that US President Donald Trump had certified Iran’s basic compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after lengthy discussion with his foreign policy team. The president is required to provide evidence of Iran’s compliance to Congress every 90 days, in absence of which congressional sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program would be rapidly re-imposed. Monday marked the second such deadline under the Trump administration, and in both cases there were substantial doubts about the White House’s willingness to affirm the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with inspecting Iran with regard to the deal’s restrictions on nuclear stockpiles and enrichment activities.

The fifth and latest round of international peace talks on the Syrian Civil War concluded on Wednesday in the Kazakh capital of Astana. The main foreign players in the talks remain Russia and Iran, which support the Assad government, and Turkey, which supports some of the rebels. The two-day talks reportedly ended without an agreement on the “deconfliction zones” that these and other parties, including the US and a coalition of moderate rebels, are striving to establish.

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