Saudi Arabia, Iran Underscore Full Commitment to Implementing Beijing Agreement; Iran-based Political, Civil Activists Condemn Government’s Insistence on Obligatory Hijab


Iran, the West, and the Issue of the JCPOA

The editorial of Arman Melli deliberates on the situation of the nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers (JCPOA), explaining why it is not making any progress.

Iran has been able to increase its uranium enrichment and its stockpile considerably. Despite all the sanctions and restrictions imposed by the Americans and Europeans, Tehran has been able to somehow survive economically and somewhat develop its economy. Besides, it seems that Iran’s regional role has impacted developments in the region – something that the Europeans and Americans cannot easily ignore.

These are the developments in relation to the JCPOA, particularly after the Americans pulled out of it. But it seems that the Iranians have reached the conclusion that they cannot count on the West’s promises, particularly now that the United States is getting closer to the end of the first term of Joe Biden’s presidency. The Republicans might win the upcoming presidential election in the United States, making the future of the JCPOA much less certain.

So, despite the fact that the Iranian foreign minister alleged that the parties to the JCPOA are in contact with Iran and the negotiations have reached a good point, it seems that there have been no clear results.

The Americans sent a series of positive signals including a prisoner swap deal with Iran and unblocking a part of Iran’s money to be transferred from South Korea to Qatari banks. But then there were unconfirmed rumors that the Americans suspended Iran’s access to its $6 billion in Qatar.

Accordingly, there have been a series of disagreements within Iran against the continuation of the JCPOA. On the other hand, the Europeans are moving forward cautiously. They have reached the conclusion that Iran’s clout in the region is in a way that they cannot resolve the regional issues with Iran’s help. The Americans, too, have reached the same conclusion.

That is why the Europeans and Americans are moving forward cautiously, but, at the same time, they are not keen on reaching an agreement with Tehran based on the previous JCPOA.

Despite growing disagreements with the JCPOA within Iran, Tehran has not fully severed its relations with the IAEA, not to give any excuses to the United States and Europe for not cooperating with this agency.

So the JCPOA is in a particular situation: there are no negotiations about it yet it has not completely  failed–   an uncertain situation in which it is not clear when/if the negotiations will come to fruition.

Arman Melli

Roots of Energy Deficit in Iran

The editorial of Tejarat penned by Mehrdad Ebad, member of the Energy Commission in the Chamber of Commerce, goes over the reasons why Iran faces an energy deficit year after year, particularly in the winter months.

The electric power deficit in Iran started when the country’s energy basket was wrongly formulated after the revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. At that time, it was determined that most of the country’s energy should be provided by relying on natural gas. Of course, Iran was one of the last countries to invest in natural gas industries and power plants because the supposition was that natural gas was supposed to be clean and unlimited.

But then Iran faced problems. At that time, Iran had a lot of natural gas but did not have the proper technology for using it. So, in actuality, a lot of natural gas was wasted, while Iran had a lot of gas fields but did not have the tools to take advantage of this resource.

Also, some governments in Iran were not planning for the future so the necessary development for providing energy was not undertaken. The country’s energy mix regarding the balance between renewable energy and fossil fuels is enshrined in legislation.

But these laws were never observed, while the expectation is for economic growth, industrial development, an increase in exports and GDP and a rise in the population. Furthermore, it is expected that energy consumption should decrease.

It is wrong to expect a decrease in energy consumption, particularly by industries.


Budgets That Are Not Realized!

The editorial of Etemad states that the Iranian government has drafted the next year’s budget bill without considering how it will impact people’s livelihoods.

How come Iran’s budget planning system has nothing to do with sustainable development and creating welfare for the Iranian people? After the budget bill for the next year was submitted to the Parliament, this became a quandary for Iranians.

In many countries, annual budgets are part of long and mid-term programs, but in Iran, long-term plans have not been realized. So annual budgets are only for paying the day-to-day expenses of the government’s huge machinery.

The government is levying heavy taxes on people to pay for its own unproductive entities, without considering the fact that in exchange for the received taxes, it must offer social, welfare, recreational, educational and health services to people.

In the meantime, people are facing tough economic challenges. While the inflation rate for food items is on average above 100%, and in some cases, liking cooking oil, it is estimated to be above 200%, the government’s decisions in the budget bill will not only not help deprived and low-income groups, but will increase poverty in society.

The government’s approach in levying taxes, the budget deficit, inattention to free market principles and sanctions will create critical challenges for Iran’s economy. Iran’s economy is moving toward the bottom of the tables in global economic rankings, standing with countries like Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, etc.

This index decline is a clear sign of the flawed economic decisions made by the government and the establishment. But in Iran, there has never been an organization to decide if successive governments have achieved their budgetary goals.

Facing these challenges, however, statesmen act as if they have no understanding of the existing realities in the country’s executive structure. The government is trying to use economic statistics to reduce the criticisms leveled against it.

But the real effects of these statistics must be found on people’s tables. According to economic officials, there is a deficit and imbalance even in this year’s budget. A considerable part of the predicted revenues has not been realized, while other deficits in subsidies, banking, etc. have reached unprecedented levels.


Sound of Trump’s Footsteps

The editorial of Arman Emrooz considers the possible election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States and its repercussions for the world and Iran.

It seems that Donald Trump is getting closer to the White House every day to take back power in the United States after a 4-year pause. The belief that this might happen is also growing stronger in the United States. First off, it must be noted that this victory is going to have consequences, the most important of which will be challenges in US-Europe relations. We must expect another rift between the United States and the EU while the West’s military power will weaken because of Trump’s differences with NATO.

It can also be imagined that Ukraine might fail in the war, with Russia consolidating the positions currently under its occupation in Ukraine, because Trump is basically against Biden’s approach to the war in Ukraine. Many sanctions against Russia will be lifted by Trump, and most probably, we will see good relations between Putin and Trump as in the past. Boosting Israel’s position in the Middle East and the probable stay of Netanyahu in power – if he can last until Christmas next year – will be other consequences of Trump’s victory in the 2024 election.

Trump’s victory will greatly impact Iran too. A sharp drop in oil exports and a huge price increase, with the dollar’s price skyrocketing, will be the most important consequences. It must be noted that the prospect of Trump’s victory is more probable than ever. According to the polls, Trump has a considerable chance of winning the election next year, notwithstanding all the court cases that are underway against him.

He is currently the frontrunner among the Republican candidates for the presidential election. In the meantime, current US President Joe Biden is not facing any challenges for running as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. So it seems that American voters are going to choose between Trump and Biden as they did four years ago.

Arman Emrooz

Trilateral Meeting: Saudi Arabia, Iran Underscore Full Commitment to Implement Beijing Agreement

Almost nine months after the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran under the mediation of China, the representatives of Saudi Arabia and Iran met, doubling down on a full commitment to implementing the Beijing agreement.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani,  Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Abdulkarim El Khereiji  and Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Li took part in the first meeting of the trilateral committee comprising Iran, Saudi Arabia and China in Beijing.

The representatives of the three countries discussed positive changes in Saudi Arabia-Iran relations within the framework of Beijing’s agreement, the reopening of embassies in Tehran and Riyadh, and mutual visits and meetings of both countries’ foreign ministers.

Saudi Arabia and Iran both acknowledged China’s significant role, expressing gratitude to Beijing for hosting the meeting.

The representatives of Iran and Saudi Arabia underscored their full commitment to the provisions of the Beijing agreement, China’s representative also declared his country’s desire to play a constructive role in bolstering Iran-Saudi Arabia bilateral relations.

In this meeting, all three sides expressed their concerns about the current situation in the Gaza Strip, calling for an immediate pause in Israel’s military operation in Gaza and voicing their objection to the forced displacement of Palestinians.

All three sides agreed on holding the next meeting of this trilateral committee in June 2024 hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are respectively the most powerful Sunni and Shiite countries in the region, agreed in March 2023 under the mediation of China to resume their political relations after seven years.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states including the UAE severed their relations with Iran in 2016 following the attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad by Iranian “hardliners.”

In compliance with the Beijing agreement, both countries reopened their embassies and agreed to implement the security and economic agreements signed 20 years ago.


Independent Persian

Iran-based Political, Civil Activists Condemn the Government’s Intransigence on Obligatory Hijab

Nine political and civil activists have issued a statement calling for an end to all the government’s discriminatory policies against women.

The statement calls the hijab law in Iran a “huge social, political and security problem” which is used as “an excuse for the violation of women’s dignity and rights.”

Signed by prominent lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh and Nasser Zarafshan, the statement points to last year’s nationwide protests in Iran known as the  Woman, Life, Freedom movement, blasting the government’s “inhumane and violent measures” for enforcing compulsory hijab.

“The imposed hijab has no rational basis; neither does it have any legitimacy in the framework of traditional Sharia to which the Islamic regime considers itself committed,” notes the statement.

Among the signatories of this statement is Zahra Rahnavard, who has been under house arrest with her husband, former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, as of 2011.

The statement asserts that due to the implementation of the hijab law, women have been deprived of their basic rights, including employment, education as well as social administrative, and healthcare services.

Not only that, but many women lost their lives because of it last year — referring to 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who died in morality police custody and 16-year-old Armita Garavand who went into a coma and died after an altercation with hijab enforcers at a subway.

In an interview with VOA, journalist and women’s rights activist Mansoureh Hosseini Yeganeh noted that this statement shows that the “compulsory hijab is the Islamic Republic regime’s Achilles’ heel.”

She added that the signatories reside in Iran and are subject to arrest and pressure; “some of them are currently free on bail and some even still in prison.”

Yeganeh concluded that the authors of this statement, despite their differences of opinion, “see eye to eye on one point: condemnation of obligatory hijab and the regime’s systematic discrimination against women in Iran.”


Iranian Gas Stations Hacked

Following the widespread disruption in gas stations in Iran on Monday morning, the Iranian oil minister announced that their system was hit by a cyberattack while the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company attributed the attack to foreign agents.

According to IRNA, Oil Minister Javad Owji has stated that after the cyberattack, certain gas stations were shut down — not capable of providing fuel. Without offering any evidence and prior to any investigations, he attributed the attack to Israel and the United States.

He added that roughly 70% of the gas stations throughout the country have been closed, saying that currently only 30% of these stations are operational.

In the meantime, the hacker group Gonjeske Darande (Predatory Sparrow), which, according to the Iranian government, is affiliated with Israel, claimed responsibility for the attack on its accounts on X and Telegram.

Gonjeskke Darande wrote: “We carried out another cyberattack today, taking out a majority of the gas pumps throughout Iran. This cyberattack comes in response to the aggression of the Islamic Republic and its proxies in the region. Khamenei, playing with fire has a price.”

The Oil Ministry announced that the disruption in gas stations has nothing to do with the future rise in gas prices, underscoring that any rumors in this respect are false.

The Iranian media released images of closed gas stations with customers waiting in long lines.

Israel has not commented on the cyberattack against Iran.

Israel’s cyber unit recently said that Iran and Hezbollah were behind a cyberattack against a hospital in northern Israel about three weeks ago.

Cyberattacks against Iran’s gas stations and other infrastructure are not unprecedented.

In 2021, Iran’s gas stations were again hacked for which Gonjeshke Darande claimed responsibility.

At the same time, a message appeared on billboards in the streets of Tehran and other cities: “Khamenei, where is our gas?”

In the meantime, Iran’s proxy groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen have escalated their attacks on Israel following its war with Hamas.

Etemad online

Radio Farda

Turkey Completes Construction of Border Wall With Iran

Turkey announced the completion of a concrete wall of 170 kilometers on the border with Iran, highlighting that its concrete walls with Syria and Iraq too are about to be completed.

According to the Turkish government, this wall has been constructed to stop the illegal entry of foreign citizens, smuggling goods and narcotic drugs, and the penetration of terrorists into Turkey’s soil. 

This project is a part of the 295-kilometer border wall between Turkey and Iran, which started a few years ago. The entire project is going to be completed this year.

According to the Ankara government, digging holes for erecting the concrete walls is still ongoing, while monitoring illegal moves on the Turkish border with Iran has heightened by using drones, patrol cars, CCTV and other advanced technologies.

Turkish TRT network earlier reported that the “PKK terrorist group” has camps along Iran’s border with Turkey, adding that about “1,000 terrorists” are in these camps.

In May, the Turkish Migration Agency reported that during the first five months of this year, 1,300 illegal asylum seekers, particularly Afghan citizens, attempted to enter Turkey’s soil but failed because of the border walls.

The border wall is three meter high and two meters wide. Iran had previously welcomed its construction.

So far, there have been many reports about trafficking drugs, people and even valuable metals like gold and radioactive californium from Iran to Turkey.

The latest reports of the Turkish Statistics Center show that in the first 10 months of this year, legal imports of Turkey from Iran dropped by 35%, reaching $1.85 billion, while Turkish exports to Iran are still at about $2.5 billion.

Apart from Iran, Turkey has constructed walls with Syria and Iraq – building 1,200 kilometers of wall along its borders with these three countries.


Radio Farda

Powerplant in the City of Arak Burns 4 Million Liters of Mazut per Day

The CEO of the Environmental Protection Organization (EPO) in Markazi Province stated that the Shazand powerplant in the city of Arak burns 4 million liters of mazut every day.

Yusuf Yusufi told IRNA that although the EPO is against using mazut, the main reason for this measure is the deficit in natural gas in the country.

Recently, Shazad powerplant company and Markazi Province’s natural gas company released a joint statement to apologize to the people of  this province, particularly citizens in the cities of Arak and Shazand, announcing that Shazand powerplant would be using mazut in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the latest statistics of the Health Ministry show that during the past year, at least 26,000 Iranians have lost their lives due to increasing air pollution.

Mazut is one of the fossil fuels which acutely and fatally pollutes the air, but Iran has turned to using mazut extensively in its industries and powerplants to make up for the natural gas deficit.

Arak is one of the eight megacities in Iran which has had 102 unhealthy days this year.

Days after the news of burning mazut in Shazand powerplant was released, a number of professors from Arak Industrial University in a joint statement called for stopping the use of this very polluting fuel.

In the meantime, it has become more likely that Iran’s cement industry too will soon start using mazut.

In the university professors’ statement, it has been pointed out that more than 1 million people living in cities of Arak and Shazand will be at risk because of the use of mazut in the Shazand powerplant.

Last year, Tehran had only three healthy days, but Iranian officials have always kept denying the use of mazut in Tehran Province and other big cities.

It was reported that last year on average 25 million liters of mazut, along with 110 million liters of diesel, were used daily in the country.


Radio Farda

Editorial Team