News Digest: Week of August 15

August 15

Nuclear: Iran sent a response to the European Union’s latest draft text to restore the 2015 nuclear deal. “There are three issues that if resolved, we can reach an agreement in the coming days,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had said earlier in the day. “We have told them that our red lines should be respected ... We have shown enough flexibility ... We do not want to reach a deal that after 40 days, two months or three months fails to be materialized on the ground.” Iran reportedly demanded assurances that Western companies would be shielded from sanctions if the United States were to withdraw from the deal a second time.

Domestic: Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian academic, returned to Evin prison in Tehran after a five-day furlough. In May 2020, Adelkhah had been sentenced to six years for propaganda against the state. Activists said the charges were spurious.

Military: A military drone competition began in the central city of Kashan. Representatives from Armenia, Belarus and Russia participated in the “Falcon Hunting” tournament hosted by the aerospace branch of the Revolutionary Guards.


August 16



Security: Judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi said that an unnamed Swedish national, detained on April 17 on suspicion of espionage, could face additional charges.

Human Rights: Siamak Namazi, a dual Iranian-U.S. citizen, spent his 2,500th day in detention in Iran. In a tweet, Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley condemned Iran and called for the release of Namazi and other detained Americans detained in Iran. “Iran’s unjust imprisonment of U.S. citizens for use as political leverage is outrageous,” he said. In a statement, Babak Namazi, Siamak Namazi’s brother, expressed frustration with the United States for failing to free Namazi and the others. “Although Iran bears the blame for arbitrarily causing innocent people to suffer through its barbaric hostage diplomacy, the U.S. has an obligation to do everything it can to protect and support American hostages – a responsibility it has ultimately failed to uphold,” he said.

Domestic: Hundreds of people protested in front of the Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provincial governor’s office in the city of Shahrekord. The protestors rallied to demonstrate their frustration with the government for failing to address the water shortage which has deprived city inhabitants of direct access to water for nine days.


August 17

Nuclear: Senior Iranian officials discussed Iran’s response to the E.U. draft deal on the JCPOA during a three-hour closed session of Parliament. The officials included:

  • Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council,
  • Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the foreign minister
  • Mohammad Bagheri-Kani, the lead nuclear negotiator and deputy foreign minister for political affairs
  • Mohammad Eslami, chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran

“We have presented our proposed package regarding the agreement, and the ball is now in the court of America and the West,” Alireza Salimi, a member of Parliament’s presiding board, told Fars News.