• 2020-09-30

    Prince Reza Pahlavi presented his “new covenant” in a live broadcast. He said his speech was a “response to the innumerable messages of those of you who are rightly worried about Iran and its future.” He said his motivation was “to establish a system in which power is never monopolized by one individual or one group. Every Iranian across the country, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, ideology, lifestyle, must accept responsibility and share equally in decision making in their future and that of the country. One-man rule and pyramidal power structures, in today’s world, are not sufficient to meet the needs of a pioneering and dynamic society.”

  • 2020-09-30

    Headlines around the world have heralded a “strategic alliance” between Iran and China. A raft of secret deals on the sale of discounted oil, the provision of 5G communications technology, and the deepening of the military partnership, are presumed to challenge American hegemony in the Middle East. But there is no alliance in the offing. While Iran has a unique place in China’s Middle East strategy, the partnership that China has with the Islamic Republic is carefully calculated and the renewed negotiations between China and Iran are in fact a continuation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) signed in January 2016. The CSP does not reflect China’s intention to elevate its relationship with Iran above others across the Middle East. On the contrary, China is seeking to balance its ties with Iran and with states that see themselves locked in regional competition with the Islamic Republic. As such, the CSP must be viewed within a wider regional context. The authors compared China’s engagement with Iran in trade, investment, and security cooperation with five other countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan. Compared with the region at large, China’s engagement with Iran has lagged behind its engagement with other countries. Despite the rhetoric of both Iranian and Chinese policymakers, the privileged status of an alliance remains out of reach for Iran, which finds itself seeking to rectify its position within Chinese bilateral relationships in the Middle East: the last among equals.

  • 2020-09-30

    Originally, Norway’s Statoil started developing the Anaran oil field in 2003 and when oil was found in 2005 (in both Azar and Changuleh) it was joined by Russia’s Lukoil in developing the site. Lukoil pulled out of its 25 percent stake in the entire Anaran block in 2008/9 after various sanctions by the U.S. and E.U. countries were imposed, followed by Statoil from its 75 percent stake in 2011, after the sanctions were intensified. When the JCPOA was agreed in principle in 2015, a number of IOCs signed memoranda of understandings for fields in the Anaran block, either for singular or multiple fields, including Norway’s DNO, Thailand’s PTTEP, and Russia’s Gazprom Neft and Lukoil again. A corollary was that a preliminary agreement with Austria’s OMV was also reached to invest up to US$6 billion in a petrochemical plant at the Dehloran site. Given the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the JCPOA in 2018 and the subsequent far-reaching sanctions imposed, Iran has been left to look for assistance from China and Russia, although Tehran wants to indigenize as much of the technology, equipment, and expertise as quickly as possible in the process. Specifically, this is to include using the expertise available in Iranian universities and similar academic institutions from their Chinese and Russian counterparts.

  • 2020-09-24

    More than 100 Iranians from around the world have penned a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, expressing concern about an upcoming deal between Iran and China which they say will erode Iranian sovereignty. The co-signatories are a remarkable group of luminaries from all walks of life: artists, former cabinet ministers, scholars and journalists.

  • 2020-09-24

    Calls for the release of prisoners wrongly held by Iranian authorities have continued to grow louder as unjust detentions of dual nationals, human rights activists, and political prisoners continue unabated. Distinguished lawyer and human rights defender, Nasrin Sotoudeh, is central to this renewed attention to the plight of prisoners in Iran, as she continues her hunger strike that has now spanned 45 days. 

  • 2020-09-21

    Under no circumstances should this book be used to legitimize confrontation of any kind with Iran. I emphatically believe that the future of Iran should be determined solely by Iranians in Iran – those who know best the reality that they face. More importantly, the fact that Iran’s future affects them first and foremost also gives weight to the primacy of their views and wants. They retain their agency, and have erupted in revolt time and again. The Green Movement is part of a long, robust, and organic history of Iranians seeking more humane and representative governance. To be clear, Iran’s future is not the business of any other person, group, or government. Foreign heads of state, especially those who speak of freedom for Iranians while either denying it to others or enabling and protecting authoritarian regimes, do more harm than good in their “support” of the Iranian people. Their interference empowers the Iranian government to cast cracking down on dissent as part of an effort to stave off imperialism. Added to this are Iranians in the expatriate community, from which I come, some of whom fail to listen to their counterparts inside the country, instead telling them what they should want, need, or do. 

  • 2020-09-20

    Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced on Saturday that the country plans to buy 20mln doses of coronavirus vaccine from an Indian company, while Iranian firms also continue their efforts to produce the vaccine. […] He added that Iran is endeavoring to develop and supply the vaccine, and noted, “Of course, our research teams in the country are working round-the-clock to produce the vaccine and we have pinned much hope on their positive results.” Also, earlier today, Iranian Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari said that 6 prominent companies in Iran have been activated to produce coronavirus vaccine, adding, “The health ministry will declare good news in this regard.”

  • 2020-09-16

    Monday, September 14th marked the 35th day of Nasrin Sotoudeh’s hunger strike, which she began over a month ago in protest of prison conditions, the risk of prisoners contracting Covid-19, and the plight of political prisoners who have been wrongly targeted and held in Iranian prisons for countless years. Sotoudeh, a renowned Iranian lawyer and human rights activist is all too familiar with the cruelties of the Iranian judiciary, which has imprisoned her on various spurious charges over many years, blocked her bank accounts to bring financial strain on her family, and recently detained her 20-year old daughter who was released on bail. 

  • 2020-09-15

    As the 75th Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly opens in tomorrow, we, the undersigned, are writing to raise serious concerns about the continuing, prolonged detention of Iranian-American citizen Siamak Namazi and other dual nationals in Iran who have been unjustly convicted on vaguely and arbitrarily defined national security charges, without due process and in unfair trials.

  • 2020-09-13

    A draft of an economic and security deal between the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran previously leaked by The New York Times is continuing to reverberate in the international media. Iranian political analyst Mahan Abedin has explained the fuss over the accords and shed light on Iran's strategic shift towards the East. The 18-page Persian-language document envisages multi-billion-dollar Chinese investments in the Iranian economy as well as considerable oil discounts for the People's Republic. The agreement also includes security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and joint military drills. Commenting on the leak, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif admitted that his country had indeed been negotiating a 25-year strategic partnership with China, adding, however, that the accords have yet to be passed by the Iranian parliament. The authenticity of the document in question has not been confirmed by Tehran so far.