Week of September 30rd, 2019 | Iran Unfiltered is a weekly digest tracking Iranian politics & society by the National Iranian American Council | Subscribe Here
- Iranian Women Buy Tickets for Soccer Match
- New Law Expands Citizenship for Children with Foreign Fathers
- Rouhani Welcomes French Proposal, Discusses Potential for P5+1 Talks
- Khamenei Calls for Further Reductions in JCPOA Compliance
- Iran’s Nuclear Agency Hints at Next Action
- IRGC Chief Issues Threatening Rhetoric on Israel
- Rouhani’s Brother Sentenced to Prison
- Official Confirms Overtures from Saudi Arabia
Iranian women have been allowed to purchase tickets to watch an upcoming soccer match between the national teams of Iran and Cambodia at Tehran’s Azadi stadium. As of October 4th, 3,500 seats in the stadium were allotted for women, which sold out immediately. This comes roughly one month after the self-immolation of Sahar Khodayari, a young woman who tried to enter a soccer match in Tehran.
On Persian social media, the hashtag “Come to the Stadium with Me” began trending. The government outlet ISNA stated: “Given the reception by women, more seats must be made available for women.”
The move to allow women to watch the Cambodia game comes after pressure from Fifa. After Khodayari’s death, Fifa said Iranian women were engaged in a “legitimate struggle to be allowed to watch soccer games in stadiums and called on the Iranian government to give Iranian women “freedom and security” to attend matches.
Youri Djorkaeff, Fifa’s executive officer, will be leading a Fifa delegation to Tehran to oversee the Cambodia game and the attendance of women at the match. Previously, a Fifa official had said that Iranian authorities had given a guarantee that women would be able to attend the match.
Despite there being no law forbidding women from watching soccer matches in stadiums, women have largely been prevented from doing so since the 1979 revolution. In recent years, there have been a few cases of women being allowed to enter Azadi stadium to watch soccer games. For years, Iranian women’s rights activists have campaigned to lift the ban, and have met pushback from Islamic Republic authorities and some clerics.
An official from Iran’s Football Federation has said no decisions have been made on allowing women to attend matches of Iranian domestic leagues.
The Guardian Council has approved a bill for children of Iranian mothers and foreign fathers to apply for Iranian citizenship, making it law. The Guardian Council first conditionally approved the parliament’s bill on this issue in June.
However, at the time, the Guardian Council faulted the parliamentary bill for what it said was not properly vetting the candidates for citizenship for security problems. The bill then returned to the parliament to be amended.
In the new version of the bill that was passed by the Guardian Council, both the Intelligence Ministry and the IRGC’s intelligence agency must certify the candidates for Iranian citizenship. The previous version of the bill that the Guardian Council rejected made no mention of the IRGC’s intelligence agency and only referenced the Intelligence Ministry.
President Rouhani blamed the Trump administration for the failure of diplomatic efforts for them to meet during the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Rouhani stated: “America in private messages to the Europeans said it was ready, but then in an interview [the Trump White House] said it will increase sanctions.”
Rouhani thanked French President Macron for his efforts to mediate U.S.-Iran tensions: “We cooperated and the person that prevented a result was the White House. Iran, Paris, Tokyo or the other countries were not to blame.”
Rouhani emphasized that the diplomatic “path was not over.” He stated: “Whenever the rights of the Iranian nation are respected and attention is paid to the dignity of the Iranian nation and they are ready to pay attention to the honor of this nation, the path is not closed. Again the path is open.”
Rouhani said the sides were close to a “final solution” at the UNGA. He said: “We were close to diplomacy and a final solution. But the U.S. government prevented this. The U.S. government is directly responsible for dialogue in New York not materializing.”
Rouhani said all sides were endeavoring to recreate the P5+1 format—comprised of the U.S., China, Russia, the UK, France, and Germany—for talks with Iran. He stated: “An important issue occurred in this regard. The P5+1 that from the view of the anti-Iranians was dead and Israel, the reactionary regional countries, and the White House were saying that the P5+1 is dead, [but] everyone gathered for the P5+1 [at the UNGA].”
Rouhani also said that a four-point French proposal to relaunch U.S.-Iran negotiations was “acceptable.” Rouhani said of the proposal: “It returns to Iran not pursuing nuclear weapons, which we have always said [that we won’t], for Iran to help regional peace and peace in regional waterways, which we have always helped with. [And] America puts aside all sanctions and the selling of our oil is immediately started and we receive the money from our oil [exports].”
Rouhani said these principles of the French proposal were first “mentioned to the Americans” then to Iran. He added: “We accept roughly the general framework Europe was seeking and insisted on, with changes in passages.”
Rouhani went on: “We have always sought security in the region and have never been after nuclear weapons and they should remove sanctions and let Iran freely engage in trade activities.”
Rouhani then walked back his earlier comment by saying a solution was far off at the UNGA. He stated: “What happened in New York, on the surface it is possible that some might think that a solution had been reached, but there was some distance to a resolution of the problem. A very important matter cannot be completed in a matter of hours and during a short period without taking into consideration all aspects and its results and how they wanted to take advantage at that juncture.”
Rouhani rebuked Trump for reportedly giving a private message to the Europeans saying he was ready for negotiations while simultaneously increasing sanctions. He said: “Our Iranian vigilance and cleverness demands of us that we not fall for the trick of private messages.”
However, Rouhani emphasized that Iran would continue seeking diplomacy and that there was “no dead-end.” He proclaimed: “In my view the path is open and the whole world has concluded that America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA was a mistake and America didn’t reach any result.”
Ayatollah Khamenei declared that Iran would continue to reduce compliance with the JCPOA. He was speaking at a gathering of senior IRGC commanders.
Khamenei said Iran must continue to reduce compliance with the JCPOA until it reaches a “desirable result”. He stated: “On the nuclear issue, we will continue reducing our compliance and we have to continue with full seriousness. The responsibility is with the Atomic Energy Organization [of Iran]. These reductions in compliance which the [Rouhani] administration has announced must be precisely, fully, and comprehensively completed and continued until we reach a desirable result.”
Khamenei then proclaimed that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy had failed. He said: “The Americans have failed in the maximum pressure policy. They dreamed that if they concentrated maximum pressure on Iran, the Islamic Republic would be forced to capitulate.”
Khamenei also rebuked the Trump administration’s efforts to meet with Iranian officials at the UNGA: “Recently, in order to create the symbolic conditions for Iran’s surrender and force our president to a meeting they pleaded and made their European friends their mediators. At the end, they weren’t successful and this policy will fail until the end.”
Khamenei also warned the IRGC commanders of a “great event” and called on them to be prepared. He stated: “Preserve your readiness to confront a great event. This is one of the qualities of the Revolutionary Guards. From when it was first created, the Guards have been on the frontlines of facing great events.”
Khamenei went on to call on the IRGC commanders to have a “wide geographic perspective.” He stated: “It shouldn’t be that we select a parameter and then we don’t consider it our work to see who is behind this wall and what threats exist.”
Khamenei stressed the importance of what he called Iran’s “strategic depth,” stating: “This wide view beyond borders, this extending of strategic depth, sometimes is more important than the most vital things for the country.”
Khamenei told the IRGC commanders to “not fear the enemy” but to have “realistic assessments.” He stated: “Never fear the enemy but be completely vigilant and have realistic and correct assessments of the enemy.”
Khamenei then said the Islamic Republic must continue a “revolutionary path,” stating: “From its inception, the Islamic Republic has challenged the dominant system [the U.S.] and from now on too it will never surrender to the bullies of the world and it will definitely continue its revolutionary path and confronting the dominance-seekers.”
Khamenei also asserted that Iran’s economic situation has stabilized despite continued U.S. maximum pressure: “Today, the country’s authorities report that we have had relative economic growth in the first six months of this year.”
Khamenei said that sanctions on Iran’s oil exports were a “temporary” problem and benefited Iran strategically. He proclaimed: “If the right actions are taken, we can create a long-term advantage out of this short-term problem, meaning freeing the country’s budget from oil.”
Khamenei added: “The pressure of sanctions is tactical, but strategically it has benefited us.”
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) stated that Iran will continue to reduce its compliance with the JCPOA. An AEOI statement asserted that Iran’s JCPOA breaches were legally allowed by the agreement and aimed at creating a “balance in the commitments of the countries on the other side.” It added that Iran would return to full JCPOA compliance “if the other sides respect the deal and practically implement their commitments.”
The statement added that the AEOI’s next step to reduce Iran’s JCPOA compliance will “stun” outside observers. It stated: “We are sure that just as most international officials and specialists were stunned over the achievements of the AEOI such as it producing 20-percent fuel [in 2011], in the near future they will be astonished by the achievements of Iranian specialists in the field of peaceful nuclear technology.”
Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s chief commander, said at the opening of an IRGC conference that Israel would be “eliminated from the world’s geography.” He stated: “In the first step of the Islamic Revolution [the first 40 years up until February 2019], we prepared the capability for the destruction of the fake Zionist regime. But in the second step, this sinister regime must be eliminated from the world’s geography. This is no longer an ideal or dream and is a goal that is achievable.”
However, in another speech a few days later, Salami emphasized what he said was Iran’s deterrence capabilities: He stated: “Today, friends and enemies have discovered, the deterrence capabilities of the Islamic Revolution have neared a peak. Not only has the credibility of America’s threats and power strongly decreased, but the Zionist regime is no longer a threat. Meaning not only does it not have the size of a credible threat, but it knows that if it makes the smallest mistake, it would be its last mistake. Because any new war will result in the disappearance of this regime from the political geography of the world.”
President Rouhani’s brother Hossein Fereydoon was sentenced to five years in prison. Judiciary Spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said it was for “taking a bribe.”
Fereydoon was a close confidant of Rouhani during the nuclear negotiations. He joined some of the negotiations and was described as Rouhain’s “eyes and ears” in the talks.
Ali Rabiee, the Rouhani administration’s spokesperson, said the ruling showed the judiciary’s independence but also criticized the judiciary’s handling of the case. He stated: “This sentence for Mr. Fereydoon is a decision taken by the judiciary and we hope it is a just decision. Every citizen has a right to appeal their sentence and so does Mr. Fereydoon.” He added: “The question arises how did the details of this cases reach some websites and some wrong signals were given? I believe some have to be accountable for this.”
Ali Rabiee, the Rouhani administration’s spokesperson, confirmed a diplomatic overture from Saudi Arabia. He stated: “President Rouhani was given messages by some world leaders from the Saudis. But Iran needs to see signs of this. If the Saudis really are trying to change their behavior, Iran would welcome this.”
He added: “Messages from Saudi Arabia have reached us but we have to know the public message and one message of this can be ending attacks on Yemen.”
He further stated: “A part of the Hormuz Peace Endeavor is working with neighbors like Saudi Arabia, so Iran welcome this process.”
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