Insider news & Analysis in Iran

A report by the Associated Press calls attention to a new wave of political controversy that is sweeping the Islamic Republic of Iran in the wake of President Hassan Rouhani’s appointment of new cabinet members for his second term in office, which began in early August. The social media outcry about Vice President Laaya Joneidi’s change of wardrobe is not the first criticism of its kind as pro-reform Iranians evidently become more and more resigned to the notion that serious political change will not be realized as a result of Rouhani’s May reelection.

On Monday, The Guardian reported upon the pressure supposedly being exerted on American intelligence agencies by the White House as US President Donald Trump looks forward to the October deadly for the quarter-annual report to Congress on Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly referred to that agreement as one of the worst deals ever negotiated, and in recent weeks he has indicated that he would have deemed Iran to be out of compliance at his earliest opportunity, thus precipitating the deal’s cancellation, if not for the intervention of his foreign policy team.

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, was in Vienna on Wednesday for meetings with officials in the International Atomic Energy Agency. As was reported ahead of those meetings, their declared purpose was to address American concerns and questions about the ongoing implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Those advance reports also indicated that Iranian officials had taken exception to Haley’s visit, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry writing an official letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and complaining that meetings were really intended to sow the seeds of doubt in the international community regarding Iran’s compliance with the deal.

The Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced that Twitter was prepared to begin talks with the Iranian government about how to go about having blocks on the microblogging site lifted within the Islamic Republic. Jahromi was quoted as saying that Twitter had “officially announced readiness to talk with Iran for resolving the problems.” However, no such official statement appeared in global media at the time, and the AP reported that Twitter had not immediately responded to requests for comment.

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that President Donald Trump had not yet made a decision about whether the recertify Iranian compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The president is required to provide this certification every 90 days, as a term of congressional approval for the 2015 deal, which was spearheaded by Trump’s predecessor.

On Friday, the Center for Human Rights in Iran declared that “all eyes are on President Hassan Rouhani” to see how he handles the aftermath of former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi’s brief hunger strike. On Wednesday, Karroubi stopped eating and announced two demands: the removal of intelligence agents and recording devices from the home where he is being held indefinitely, and a public trial to present him with actual charges and a defined sentence if found guilty.

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