Insider news & Analysis in Iran

It has been something of a rollercoaster week for Iranian rhetoric aimed at the United States. Iran News Update previously reported that Sunday had marked something of an outpouring of such rhetoric, with the president reiterating that Iran would accept no restrictions on its missile program while the head of the nation’s nuclear energy agency boasted that it would be possible to obtain enough material for a nuclear weapon in just four days if the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was canceled.

On Wednesday, the UK’s Independent newspaper reported that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had finally made a public statement on the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Iranian-British charity worker who was taken into custody by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in April of last year. Johnson and other British government officials had come under fire in recent months for their failure to publicly call for the political prisoner’s release, even as the UK continued to pursue new economic relations with Iran in the atmosphere created by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

One day after Iran News Update reported upon a general outpouring of anti-US rhetoric from officials in the Iranian regime, reports emerged to suggest that the Islamic Republic had finally blinked in the midst of what had been widely described as an escalating war of words between it and the White House.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported upon some of the latest efforts by the Trump administration to develop multinational support for its newly announced strategy to confront the malign activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including its intrusion into the affairs of neighboring countries. The article detailed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh for the inaugural meeting of the Saudi-Arabia-Iraq Cooperation Council. There, Tillerson spoke to both Saudi King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and urged their governments to help push Iranian influence out of Iraq and the surrounding region.

Since US President Donald Trump outlined a new strategy for confronting Iran last Friday, other members of his administration have been working to clarify that strategy and sell it to the public through a series of media appearances and communications with American lawmakers and foreign officials. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported upon efforts by Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, to convince an international audience of the need to follow Trump’s example in dealing with a wide range of questionable Iranian activities, and not just the 2015 nuclear agreement.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Iranian security forces had barred former President Mohammad Khatami from leaving his home the previous day. Iran News Update had already picked up on reports of escalating restrictions on the apparent figurehead for the reformist wing of Iranian politics, but these restrictions had only gone as far as a temporary ban on public appearances and the acceptance of political guests, as well as the removal of Khatami’s image from all Iranian media.

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