Insider news & Analysis in Iran

 

By Iran News Update Staff

 Hardliners and Diplomacy

In an editorial at The National Interest, Michael Cohen repeats a common narrative about the nuclear talks, saying that hardliners on both sides are trying to scuttle a deal. He argues that both sides see mutual antagonism between Iran and the US as contributing to their long-term interests or continued leadership. But this is far more evident in the case of Iran, and Cohen’s description of the hardline positions of both sides seems to bear this out. He indicates that the key hardline position in the US and Israel is insistence upon preventing Iran from ever having the capability to obtain a nuclear weapon.

But in describing the hardline Iranian position of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Cohen raises the interesting idea that even the recent diplomatic overtures of the American government may be aimed at the ultimate goal of regime change. This, he says, is certainly Khamenei’s view. And whether the “hardliners” are only Khamenei’s inner circle or the entire makeup of the Iranian regime, Cohen argues that because of its potential to open up Iran to the world community, such diplomacy “is seen as perhaps the most significant long-term threat facing the revolution.”

Press Repression and Notions of Moderation

While Cohen follows the familiar line of claiming that there are prominent moderate elements in the current Iranian government, chiefly President Hassan Rouhani, an editorial in Frontpage Mag uses the rash of recent arrests of journalists and Facebook users to undercut this notion. The author, International American Council President Majid Rafizadeh, lists a number of the arrestees and their sentences and explains them by saying that Iranian politicians of every stripe make the preservation of the existing system their first priority.

An editorial in the New York Times also makes the point that press repression has been on the upswing in Iran, such as in the case of the arrest of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. That editorial leaves open the question of Rouhani’s political stance, but it concludes by saying that he “has an obligation under justice to undo these arrests — and an opportunity to show he is willing to fight for a new approach in Iran.” Of course, if he fails to act in this way, it will give tremendous support to Rafizadeh’s belief that Rouhani is complicit in the repression.

Other Repression

Although the two above editorials disagree on a key point, they both confirm that the repression of free speech is particularly bad in Iran, and seemingly getting worse. Media Bistro on Monday posted an infographic detailing some major countries that block social media, of which Iran was one. The post also included basic information on some of the ways in which tech savvy individuals are able to get around some such blocks.

But there are no such straightforward ways of getting around bans that are executed in physical space. The National Council of Resistance of Iran points out that the Iranian regime has just banned a previously announced outdoor concert, as part of a broader effort to increase gender segregation in the country. The Iranian Minister of Culture shuttered the two-day event after informing organizers that they would only have been allowed to carry on if male attendees had been restricted to one day and female attendees to the other.

Kurds and Iraq

Along with women, one of the major identity groups subject to collective repression in the Islamic Republic of Iran is the Kurdish population, politicians and activists of which are held as political prisoners therein. In spite of this, Iran has been reaching out to the Kurds in Iraq, where Iran wields considerable influence and is essentially leading the war effort against Sunni rebels including those from the Islamic State.

Tehran and Baghdad may be about to receive that help, in a certain sense. The Islamic State over the weekend launched a series of attacks in territory that has been claimed by the Kurdish Peshmerga military. This incursion has led the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) to call for Kurds from all countries in the region to contribute to the fight against the Islamic State, even though the Iraqi Kurds had thus far been neutral in the fight. Notably, this does not equate to calling for an alliance with the Iranian side. Strained relations between Iran and the Kurds may still prevent this, and the call for unified action by the regions Kurds may embolden to group to pursue the establishment of an independent state.

But any activity in the Iraqi conflict is bound to have an impact on Iran. The extent of its influence there is somewhat disputed, and the Iranian regime publicly denies any such involvement despite acknowledging that Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been killed there. Reuters published an article on Monday summing up much of the conclusive evidence of an Iranian presence on Iraqi battlefields, including the recorded deaths and the statements of several high-ranking officials.

Other Regional Involvements

The Long War Journal helps to point out that Iraq is by no means the only theater of conflict in which Iranian forces and political actors are exerting an influence. The chief of police in one Afghan province has stated that Iran is responsible for attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is the extension of established patterns of Iranian support for the Islamist group, which has received weapons, cash, and training from Iran, and particularly from the Ansar Corps sub-group of the Qods Force.

The Weekly Standard reports upon Iranian involvement in Gaza. Generally speaking, this involvement is well known, taking the form of provision of missiles and encouragement of all other Muslims in the region to give logistical support to Hamas. But Lee Smith suggests that it may have been Iran that ordered the attack that brought an end to the would-be 72-hour ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Smith’s article reiterates points made by other analysts about the current Palestinian conflict being part of a proxy war between hardline Islamist governments including Iran on the one hand, and moderate American-friendly Muslim states on the other. Thus, as a part of a larger strategy against the West, Iran’s involvement in Gaza is, according to Smith, “first, a delaying tactic meant to get the nuclear issue off the front page. Second, and most important, it’s a threat: Iran can turn up the heat around the region, from Iraq to Gaza, at will.”

 

Iranian Opposition

Recognizing Iran regime’s real opponents

Recognizing Iran regime’s real opponents

By INU Staff The Iran threat is complicated and it is worsened by the misinformation and a lack of true reporting by the internat...

Time to support the quest of Iranian People for Regime Change

Time to support the quest of Iranian People for Regime Change

By INU Staff INU - After years and years of mismanagement and widespread corruption, the Iranian economy is in tatters and the pe...

Infightings

Iran: Further media restrictions to impact 2020 parliamentary elections

Iran: Further media restrictions to impact 2020 parliamentary elections

By INU Staff INU - The Iranian parliamentary elections are due to be held in just over a year on 21st February 2020. In preparati...

Iran: Supreme Leader Tries to Avoid Public Backlash Following Flooding Crisis

Iran: Supreme Leader Tries to Avoid Public Backlash Following Flooding Crisis

By Siavosh The people of Iran have been dealing with the aftermath of torrential rain and huge storms that have resulted in flash...

Nuclear

Iran Regime’s Nuclear Ultimatum May Have Opposite of Intended Effect on European Policy

Iran Regime’s Nuclear Ultimatum May Have Opposite of Intended Effect on European…

By Edward Carney Although the European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal remain broadly committed to upholding it a year ...

Iran angry at France over tweets regarding nuclear deal

Iran angry at France over tweets regarding nuclear deal

By INU Staff INU - Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said that tweets by Gerard Araud, the French Ambassador to th...

Human rights

Two Months After Nationwide Flooding, Iran Still Withholds Relief, Attacks Victims

Two Months After Nationwide Flooding, Iran Still Withholds Relief, Attacks Victi…

By Edward Carney United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the European Civil Protection Mechanism h...

Ramadan Marks Accelerated Repression of Iran’s Religious Minorities, Secular Youth

Ramadan Marks Accelerated Repression of Iran’s Religious Minorities, Secular You…

By Mahmoud Hakamian On Wednesday, Iran Human Rights Monitor reported upon a raid that occurred at a restaurant located on the cam...

Women

Tensions Growing Between Female Activists and Sexist Iranian Institutions

Tensions Growing Between Female Activists and Sexist Iranian Institutions

By Edward Carney On Monday, the Center for Human Rights in Iran reported upon the sentencing of a female political prisoner by th...

Fearing Arrest, Iran’s Female Boxer Shines Light on Women’s Rights Issues

Fearing Arrest, Iran’s Female Boxer Shines Light on Women’s Rights Issues

By Edward Carney On Sunday, Al Monitor published an article examining the case of Sadaf Khadem, a female Iranian boxer who made h...

Economy

Iran’s export to Iraq drop by 50%

Iran’s export to Iraq drop by 50%

By INU Staff INU - Iraq has significantly reduced its imports from the Iranian Regime in the past month, according to an economic...

Iran Regime’s economic problems caused by military interference

Iran Regime’s economic problems caused by military interference

By INU Staff INU - Iran’s economy is set to contract by 6% in 2019, while also facing 40% inflation, according to the Internation...

Sanctions

Details of US-Iran Escalation Remain Hazy, but Sanctions Remain the Focus

Details of US-Iran Escalation Remain Hazy, but Sanctions Remain the Focus

By Edward Carney In the midst of escalating tensions between Iran and the United States, Western media was filled with inconsiste...

Turkey complies with U.S. regarding imports of Iranian oil

Turkey complies with U.S. regarding imports of Iranian oil

By INU Staff INU - Last year, the U.S. State Department announced that it would be expecting all foreign countries to reduce thei...

Middle East

White House Confident in its Ability to Deter Iranian Threats

White House Confident in its Ability to Deter Iranian Threats

By Edward Carney Escalating tensions between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran were prominently featu...

The IRGC and Catching the Mullahs off Guard

The IRGC and Catching the Mullahs off Guard

By Dr Salem Al Ketbi The Iranian mullahs have no other project than the sectarianist, expansionist plans of the Iranian Revolutio...

Terrorism

Iran behind attacks on ships in Middle East

Iran behind attacks on ships in Middle East

By INU Staff INU - Earlier this week, a U.S. official announced that the recent attacks carried out in the Middle East were order...

As Iran’s Provocations Grow, the White House Insists the Danger is Well-Managed

As Iran’s Provocations Grow, the White House Insists the Danger is Well-Managed

By Edward Carney On Tuesday, the UK’s Express newspaper declared that concerns about the potential for war had increased further ...

Iran Protests 2018

Free Iran 2018 Gathering - 30 June 2018 - Villepinte, Paris

latest INU tweet

GETTING TO KNOW IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS

THE STORY OF THE 1988 MASSACRE IN IRAN

Copyright © 2018 Iran News Update