The Week in Review: Jan.25th-Feb.1st


By Natasha Phillips


FEB. 1 – A mechanism for trading with Iran has been set up by Germany, France and Britain, two diplomats said Thursday. A joint statement from the participating countries was published by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the same day. The system has been designed to by-pass U.S. sanctions through the facilitation of non-dollar trade but won’t be ready to use for several months. The European Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be called INSTEX-Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges, and will help to preserve economic benefits Iran received under the 2015 nuclear deal. However, the SPV is unlikely to produce the volume of commercial transactions Tehran says it needs to keep a nuclear deal afloat. 

  • An Iranian hacking group called Tapandegan has exposed assets belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) through a series of communications on Twitter. The group made headlines in May after hacking into airport monitors in Iran and uploading footage of protests happening inside the country. Tapandegan is known for posting anti-government messages and images online in protest over Iran’s economic situation. According to Iranian media outlets the movement’s aim is to compel the Iranian government to improve Iran’s economy and listen to the demands of Iranians inside the country. Tapandegan means palpitations, or pulse (heartbeat) in Persian. 
     
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  • Reports of toddlers being used by drug dealers inside Iran’s prisons to coerce vulnerable mothers into buying and taking narcotics have been received by international charity, Children of Imprisoned Parents International (COIPI). Hamed Farmand, who is the organization’s President, told Kayhan Life that some babies were also being tortured to force mothers into buying drugs inside Iran’s prisons. Iranian officials are currently trying to launch kindergartens inside and around Iran’s correction centers so that children can maintain contact with their mothers while they serve out prison sentences. Farmand told Kayhan Life that the proposal and the state of Iran’s female prisons amounted to violations of children’s and mothers’ human rights.
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  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on countries around the world to form a global coalition against Iran, in a video message which was shared at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Pompeo praised President Donald Trump for opposing Iran’s agenda in the region and said that disruptive politics were a force for good and that the United States had achieved several foreign policy successes as a result of the current strategy it was pursuing. Mr. Pompeo said: “We face many new threats. Some of them not so new. They range from North Korea’s nuclear program to Iran’s foreign adventurism. We’ve also assembled a global coalition of nations to confront Iran and support the aspiration of Iranian people.” 
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  • Eight environmentalists in Iran have been put on trial. Iranian media outlets reported that the environmentalists appeared in court in Tehran Wednesday for a trial that is being held behind closed doors. A lawyer for  one of the defendants told Iranian news outlets that he had not been allowed to attend the hearing as the state selects lawyers to represent individuals being tried in court. Four of the environmentalists have been charged with “sowing corruption on Earth,” an offense which carries the death penalty in Iran. Three of the activists have been accused of espionage and one more has been charged with “conspiring against national security.”
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