Insider news & Analysis in Iran

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.

On Tuesday, The Iran Project quoted Ali Akbar Velayati, a leading foreign policy advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as saying that the Islamic Republic has no role in the recent hostilities in and around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. With US backing, Iraqi Kurdish forces had played an instrumental role in capturing the city from ISIL and holding it as the conflict with the Syrian-Iraqi terrorist group wound down. But with ISIL apparently on its last legs, Kirkuk has become one of several flashpoints in newly emerging conflicts as multiple parties strive to gain future strategic leverage by holding different areas of liberated territory.

USA Today reported on Monday that Republican lawmakers had begun holding meetings with the intention of fixing “major flaws” in the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation to announce a new strategy for confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran. As expected, the president withheld the certification that is due for the nuclear deal every 90 days, according to a US law that was passed in order to ratify American participation in the agreement, negotiated along with the four other members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

US President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday not only whether he plans to recertify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal but also the details of his overall policy toward the Islamic Republic going forward. That policy has been under review roughly since the previous occasion on which the president was required by US legislation to certify the national security importance of sanctions relief under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

US President Donald Trump is required to report to Congress on Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement by October 15. In September he indicated that he had arrived at a decision about whether to certify that compliance, but would not reveal that decision ahead of time. Previously, though, he had speculated that Iran would be declared out of compliance, adding that if not for input from his foreign policy advisors he would have withheld certification at the earliest opportunity.

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