Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a cable to all US missions overseas ordering diplomats not to meet with Iranian opposition groups without specific approval because it could further exacerbate tensions with the Iranian regime. [...] The cable lists a number of Iranian opposition groups, including Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, known as the MEK, and five other Iranian opposition groups that are off limits without specific approval. John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, has previously said the MEK is a "viable opposition" to the current Iranian regime. Last month Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, met with Iranian opposition groups that are linked to the MEK. Bolton and Giuliani have also given paid speeches on the group's behalf. During one of those speeches last year, Giuliani called for regime change in Iran.
NICK MUZIN, a controversial Republican lobbyist and loyalist to President Donald Trump, holds a contract to provide programming services for Voice of America Persian, the American government-backed media outlet set up to produce journalistic content for the Iranian community around the world.
2020-01-06U.S. Media Outlets Fail to Disclose U.S. Government Ties of ‘Iranian Journalist’ Echoing Trump Talking Points
The Washington Post published an op-ed on Monday by Alinejad, and while it originally did not disclose her VOA affiliation, it later amended the article to reflect her employment there. Media outlets should be following the Post in disclosing that Alinejad is being paid by the U.S. government and works for the increasingly pro-Trump Voice of America.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: “[…] President Trump has made it very clear that he's willing to meet with the Iranians, without preconditions, to talk about important issues between our countries, including the total end of Iran's nuclear program, certainly the return of American hostages, ending the long-range ballistic missile program in Iran, and ending Iran's malign activities in the region, which is destabilizing countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen. And it's interesting, not only are there massive protests in Iran, there are massive protests in Iraq and Lebanon from people that are no longer interested in the way that Iran is attempting to run their governments through proxies. So, look, we're hopeful that the release of Mr. Wang is a sign that the Iranians may be willing to come to the table to discuss all these issues. […]”
By The International Crisis Group: November’s protests show that the Islamic Republic is not as secure as it thinks. But neither, as their swift suppression demonstrates, is it as vulnerable as its foes hope. Iran should halt crackdowns and start serious reform, and Tehran and Washington should de-escalate tensions.
Reza Ardakanian said on Wednesday the loan will be paid according to an agreement made in 2016 to receive a $5 billion loan from Moscow. “In that year, the parliament allowed the government to get up to $5 billion in low-interest loan from Russia. The $2.2 billion loan was used with the agreement of the Russian government to operate Incheboroun-Garmsar electric railway and build a 2-megawatt power plant in Hormozgan Province,” added the minister. Ardakanian also announced that the remaining $2.8 billion would be used to implement four other projects. “Zahedan-Birjand Railway, Gotvand Olya Hydroelectric Power Plant with capacity of 640 MW as well as reconstruction of Ahwaz Ramin Power Plant and increase of its capacity to 160 MW are among these projects.”
“[…] Reza Ardakanian said on Wednesday the loan will be paid according to an agreement made in 2016 to receive a $5 billion loan from Moscow.
“In that year, the parliament allowed the government to get up to $5 billion in low-interest loan from Russia. The $2.2 billion loan was used with the agreement of the Russian government to operate Incheboroun-Garmsar electric railway and build a 2-megawatt power plant in Hormozgan Province,” added the minister.
Ardakanian also announced that the remaining $2.8 billion would be used to implement four other projects.
“Zahedan-Birjand Railway, Gotvand Olya Hydroelectric Power Plant with capacity of 640 MW as well as reconstruction of Ahwaz Ramin Power Plant and increase of its capacity to 160 MW are among these projects.”[…]”
Data from two foreign polls tell a very different story about protests in Iran. The economy is tough, but a majority of Iranians back their government's security initiatives and reject domestic upheaval.
In the face of a deeply divided Iran, barter deals with China, and why not with Russia, may be a first step towards a more serious move to de-dollarize, to decouple from the west. Iranian people deserve to live well, deserve to get out from under the misery-imposing boots of Washington. Even the Euro-centered and Washingtonites must recognize the US-western hypocrisy and realize that the US will never let go until she has a total grasp on Iran’s resources – that a resolute move to the east will give them relief from shortages of food, medicine – and western oppression and colonization.
Much of the discussion about politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran focuses on the characteristics of “the regime” and the attitudes and beliefs of a select few political offices and organizations (e.g., the leader, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or particular political factions). Political economy is either relegated to the margins or reduced to macroeconomic indicators, such as oil revenue. With the ever-tightening US and international sanction regime, economic factors make their way into media accounts and policy papers, but only as a mechanism to “bring the Islamic Republic to the negotiation table” or a trigger for a revolutionary uprising. Despite the narrowness of this understanding of Iranian politics, the multitude of protests, strikes, and vociferous and courageous struggles by working-class communities and professional classes highlight the need to consider how political-economic fault lines run through society. They disaggregate “the mullahs” or “the regime” in important ways.
In a surprise overnight announcement on November 15, Iran hiked gas prices—by up to 300 percent—and introduced a new rationing system. The government’s goal was to raise funds to help the poor, but it backfired. Protests erupted across the country. The sudden move followed rising inflation and biting U.S. sanctions, which had already raised the prices on basic goods.