United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

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Khamenei on Revolution’s Achievements

            Iran’s supreme leader celebrated the 1979 revolution on his Facebook page, even though the site is banned in the Islamic Republic. The following are images Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s account posted in early February to mark the revolution’s 35th anniversary. Each one heralds what Iran views as one of its main accomplishments – in nuclear science, women’s rights, education, building its armed forces, and more.

            This split-photo posted on Khamenei’s Facebook page depicts two generations of the revolution under two supreme leaders – the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (right) and Khamenei (left).








Event: Iran's Revolution 35 Years Later

            On February 10, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a panel of experts to discuss Iran’s revolution on its 35th anniversary. The following is a recorded video of the event moderated by Dr. Haleh Esfandiari featuring:

Shaul Bakhash
Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History, George Mason University
Mehdi Khalaji
Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
John Limbert
Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, United States Naval Academy
Karim Sadjadpour

Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Iran and U.N. Watchdog Agree on Next Steps

            On February 8 and 9, the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran reached groundbreaking agreement on seven measures to be implemented by May 15, 2014. The measures are based on the interim nuclear deal’s framework brokered in November 2013. For the first time, Iran has agreed to deal with U.N. suspicions that it conducted weapons-related research. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wants to clarify Iran’s research on fast-functioning detonators, which have some non-nuclear uses but can also trigger an explosion. Several of the measures deal with expanded access for inspectors.

           But “there are still a lot of outstanding issues,” Tero Varjoranta, deputy director general of IAEA, said at Vienna airport after returning from Tehran. “We will address them all in due course.” The following is a list provided by the IAEA.

  • Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Saghand mine in Yazd;
  • Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Ardakan concentration plant;
  • Submission of an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the IR-40 Reactor;
  • Taking steps to agree with the Agency on the conclusion of a Safeguards Approach for the IR-40 Reactor;
  • Providing mutually agreed relevant information and arranging for a technical visit to Lashkar Ab'ad Laser Centre;
  • Providing information on source material, which has not reached the composition and purity suitable for fuel fabrication or for being isotopically enriched, including imports of such material and on Iran's extraction of uranium from phosphates; and
  • Providing information and explanations for the Agency to assess Iran's stated need or application for the development of Exploding Bridge Wire detonators.

Click here for the U.N. press release.


President Rouhani’s Interview Delayed

      On February 5, President Hassan Rouhani did a live interview that sparked controversy before it even started. Some Iranian media outlets reported that there had been a disagreement between state television and Rouhani’s office, which preferred different journalists for the interview. The president’s quasi-official Twitter blamed the delay on the conservative head of state television, Ezataollah Zarghami, who reportedly favored a hard-liner interviewer. The following are tweeted headlines from the interview.




Treasury Exempts Sanctions on Technology

            On February 7, the U.S. Treasury issued a general license allowing Iranians to purchase computers, cell phones, software, mobile applications and Internet services. “We are committed to promoting the free exchange of information in Iran and to enabling individuals in Iran to communicate with each other and with the outside world,” said a Treasury spokeswoman in an email, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We’ll continue to support our commitment to promoting freedom of information while continuing to aggressively enforce our Iran sanctions.”
The Paytakht Shopping Center in Tehran specializes in electronics.
            The amended license expanded allowances from May 2013 that that allowed Americans to export communications technology “persons in Iran.” But now foreigners and Americans can export “to Iran” more broadly.
The following Treasury release explains the change in licenses.

337. What are key changes made by amended General License D-1?    
First, GL D-1 expands the authorization in GL D to permit the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, to Iran of certain personal communications software, hardware, and related services subject to the Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. parts 730 through 774 (“EAR”) (rather than just the exportation or reexportation from the United States or by a U.S. person of such software, hardware, and services).  See GL D-1, paragraphs (a)(2)(i) & (a)(3).  For purposes of GL D-1, the term “provision” could include, for example, an in-country transfer of covered software or hardware.  The general license now authorizes, for example, a non-U.S. person located outside the United States to export certain hardware and software subject to the EAR to Iran.  See FAQ #341
Second, GL D-1 adds new authorizations for the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, by a U.S. person located outside the United States to Iran of certain software and hardware not subject to the EAR.  See GL D-1, paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) & (a)(3).  The general license now authorizes, for example, a U.S. company to export to Iran, from a location outside the United States, certain hardware or software that is not subject to the EAR (including foreign-origin hardware or software containing less than a de minimis amount of U.S. controlled content).  See FAQ #342
Third, a new Note has been added to paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) clarifying that the authorization in those paragraphs includes the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, of the authorized items by an individual leaving the United States for Iran.  GL D-1 also adds a new authorization for the importation by an individual into the United States of certain hardware and software previously exported by the individual to Iran pursuant to other provisions of GL D-1 or 31 C.F.R. § 560.540.  See GL D-1, paragraph (a)(5).  The general license now authorizes, for example, an individual to carry a smartphone that falls within the scope of the GL D-1 authorization while traveling to and from Iran.  See FAQ #343
Finally, to further ensure that the sanctions on Iran do not have an unintended chilling effect on the willingness of companies to make available certain publicly available, no cost personal communications tools to persons in that country, GL D-1 adds a new authorization related to the potential recipients of certain publicly available, no cost services and software.  See GL D-1, paragraph (a)(6).
Notwithstanding these changes, nothing in this general license relieves an exporter from compliance with the export license requirements of another Federal agency. [02-07-2014]
Click here for the full license.
Photo credit: Robin Wright

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