Insider news & Analysis in Iran

On Friday, the human right sources reported that over 100 Iranian activists had been indicted for their roles in the mass protests that took place throughout the country in late December and January. Some of those indictments represent national security charges, meaning that the arrestees could face long prison sentences or even execution. Indeed, judiciary officials previously warned that death sentences were likely for people deemed leaders of the protest movement, which gave rise to unusually provocative, anti-government slogans such as “death to the dictator.”

On Wednesday, the free press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index, which confirmed that Iran remains one of the least safe countries for journalists. In a ranking of 180 countries based on various indicators of press freedom, Iran occupies the 164th slot, in line with the rankings that it has received since the Index was first compiled more than 20 years ago.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the official Telegram account for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had been shuttered at roughly the same time that other government entities were banned from using the popular instant messaging service.

On Tuesday, the Financial Times published an article examining the ongoing development of the Iranian tech industry and its potential for helping the Islamic Republic to weather its ongoing economic crisis. Last week, Iranian currency fell to a record low of more than 60,000 rials to the dollar, as a result of a variety of factors including government mismanagement and escalating fears that US President Donald Trump will re-impose sanctions suspended under the 2015 nuclear deal, or bring new economic pressures to bear

On Tuesday, Reuters reported upon some of the latest efforts by the Trump administration to support a European push for more sanctions on Iran, as the clock ticks closer to the US president’s deadline for “fixing the flaws” in the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. The European signatories to that deal, namely the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have reportedly strengthened their positions on Iran’s regional activities in recent months, and have lately been trying to secure support from other European Union member states for measures that would be aimed at halting Iran’s ballistic missile development and impeding the country’s support of international terrorism.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump announced that his office would respond within 48 hours to the previous day’s chemical attack by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad against civilians in one of the last rebel-held areas of the country. The New York Daily News reported upon the announcement and added that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had laid the blame for the attack squarely on the leadership of both Russia and Iran, who were widely credited with turning the tide of the Syrian Civil War back in Assad’s favor after his government had lost ground throughout the first four years of the now seven-year conflict.

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