Three American journalists, including The Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, have reportedly been detained in Tehran. Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, director general of the Tehran Province Justice Department, confirmed July 25 that “The Washington Post journalist has been detained for some questions and after technical investigations, the judiciary will provide details on the issue.” Rezaian is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen. Rezaian’s Iranian wife, Yaganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the Emirates-based paper The National, was also reportedly detained along with an American freelance photojournalist and his wife, who not have been named by officials.
On July 29, the State Department called for the release of Rezaian. “We call on the Iranian government to immediately release Mr. Rezaian and the other three individuals. We continue to monitor the situation closely,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Also on July 29, Iranian authorities released the photographer's wife. But no further information was released regarding the status of the three journalists. Rezaian's mother released the following video clip calling for the release of her son and daughter-in-law.
On July 23, five Republican Senators announced the following plan to require President Obama to seek Congressional approval of any nuclear deal with Iran. The following is a press release posted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Senior officials from the world’s six major powers have outlined five key principles that must underpin a deal, according to a new Institute for Science and International Security report. They include: 1) sufficient response time in case of violations; 2) a nuclear program meeting Iran’s practical needs; 3) adequate irreversibility of constraints; 4) stable provisions; and 5) adequate verification, according to David Albright, Olli Heinonen and Andrea Stricker. “Without following these principles, the negotiations cannot deliver an agreement which can ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is indeed peaceful and that a deal will be long lasting,” wrote the experts. The following are excerpts from the report with a link to the full text.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei now claims that the escalating crises in Gaza and Iraq are the fault of the West and Israel. The United States and its allies are trying to undermine Iran and the progress of Muslim nations, according to his revolutionary narrative. The following are graphics and remarks recently posted on Khamenei’s quasi-official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Days pass &despite massive crimes in #Gaza,western govts. &orgs. that claim to support human rights haven’t said a word in favor of Gazans.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 20, 2014
I wish it was only that they don’t care about massacre of ppl of #Gaza.As we’ve read on the news; US&UK said they even support these crimes.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 13, 2014
On July 18, the world’s six major powers and Iran agreed to a four-month extension of nuclear talks after nearly three weeks of intensive discussion. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) said that the two sides have “a draft text that covers the main issues,” but that there are gaps in some areas. The two sides have until November 24, exactly one year since they reached an interim agreement, to make a deal. “To turn our back prematurely on diplomatic efforts when significant progress has been made would deny ourselves the ability to achieve our objectives peacefully, and to maintain the international unity that we have built,” said Kerry.
“We, together with the Political Directors of the E3+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), have worked intensively towards a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, building on the political momentum created by the adoption and smooth implementation by both sides of the Joint Plan of Action agreed on 24 November 2013. We are grateful to the Austrian government and the United Nations for their tremendous support in hosting these negotiations in Vienna.
“We have held numerous meetings in different formats, and in a constructive atmosphere, to reach a mutually agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran's nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful.
“During the past few weeks, we have further intensified our efforts, including through the active involvement of E3+3 Foreign Ministers or their Vice Ministers, who came to Vienna on 13 July 2014 to take stock of progress in the talks. While we have made tangible progress on some of the issues and have worked together on a text for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, there are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort.
“We, together with the Foreign Ministers of the E3+3, have therefore decided to extend the implementation of measures of the Joint Plan of Action until 24 November 2014, in
line with the timeframe that we envisaged in the Joint Plan of Action. Iran and the E3/EU+3 reaffirm that they will continue to implement all their commitments described in the Joint Plan of Action in an efficient and timely manner.
“We will reconvene in the coming weeks in different formats with the clear determination to reach agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action at the earliest possible moment.”
- Halted production of near-20 percent enriched uranium and disabled the configuration of the centrifuge cascades Iran had been using to produce it.
- Completed the dilution of half of its near-20 percent enriched uranium stockpile that was in hexafluoride form, and the conversion of the rest to an oxide form not suitable for further enrichment.
- Capped its stockpile of 5 percent enriched uranium.
- Has not enriched uranium in roughly half of installed centrifuges at Natanz, including all next generation centrifuges, and three-quarters of installed centrifuges at Fordow.
- Limited its centrifuge production to those needed to replace damaged machines, so Iran was not able to use the six-month JPOA period to stockpile centrifuges.
- Did not construct additional enrichment facilities.
- Did not go beyond its enrichment R&D practices that were in place at the start of the JPOA.
- Did not commission or fuel the Arak reactor.
- Halted the production and additional testing of fuel for the Arak reactor.
- Did not install any additional reactor components at Arak.
- Did not transfer fuel or heavy water to the Arak reactor site.
- Did not build a reconversion line, which is necessary to turn its stockpile of 20 percent uranium oxide back into a form suitable for further enrichment.
- Did not construct a facility capable of reprocessing. Without reprocessing, Iran cannot separate plutonium from spent fuel.
- Long-sought design information on the Arak reactor;
- Information to verify that centrifuge production will be dedicated to the replacement of damaged machines; and
- Managed access at centrifuge assembly workshops, centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities, and uranium mines and mills.
- Iran’s economy is now around 25 percent smaller than it would have been had it remained on its pre-2011 growth path.
- The vast majority of Iran’s approximately $100 billion in foreign exchange holdings remain inaccessible to Iran or restricted by sanctions.
- Iran has lost an estimated $120 billion in oil revenues since the beginning of 2012, and is able to use only a small fraction of the revenue it earns. It will lose $15 billion more to oil sanctions during this four-month extension.
- Iran’s economy contracted nearly 7 percent in the last Persian year and contracted a further 3.4 percent through December 2013.
- Iran’s average annual inflation hovered over 30 percent last year, one of the highest rates in the world.
- Iran's currency, the rial, has declined by approximately 7 percent since November 24, 2013, when the Joint Plan of Action was reached by the P5+1 and Iran.
- Most of Iran’s banks remain cut off from the international financial system.
New Report by U.S. Institute of Peace and Stimson Center: Recommendations to Rebalance U.S. Policy Toward Iran