The Week in Review: Feb.22nd Feb.28th


By Natasha Phillips 


MAR.1 –  A motion to impeach President Hassan Rouhani was actioned by conservative lawmakers in Iran this week. Meanwhile, Rouhani unveiled new legal proposals that would see the Supreme Leader’s charitable organizations taxed for the first time. The proposals include measures for the mandatory taxation of state bodies engaging in commercial activities. Rouhani also launched new transparency and anti-corruption systems on Monday, which have been designed to monitor the country’s employment policies and programs, according to semi-official Iran media outlet, Mehr News Agency. 

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, tendered his resignation on Monday. Zarif’s request to step down was not accepted by President Rouhani, who said the resignation was “against national interests” on Wednesday. Zarif continued his duties which included attending the signing of two pacts between Iran and Armenia. The agreements expand cooperation between the two countries.

  • Fresh calls to impeach Iran’s president have divided Middle East experts, with some analysts suggesting that the move is unlikely to succeed. Alex Vatanka, a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington specializing in Iranian domestic and regional policies, told Kayhan Life on Thursday that there is “no sign that impeachment can succeed, and no sign that Iran’s Supreme Leader has any desire to see Rouhani removed.” Vatanka also predicted this week that Rouhani could become Iran’s next Supreme Leader. 
     
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  • Tehran’s gold market experienced a major price surge. An Iranian Bahar Azadi coin, which weighs 8.13 grams and whose pure gold content sits at 7.317 grams, fetched $1.072, a more than 200 percent price increase since March 2018. However the Iranian rial dropped to 133,000 against the U.S. dollar on February 19. The rial has been falling steadily against other foreign currencies since February 16. The government publicly called out unlicensed exchanges and black-market dealers for manipulating the market and raising rates. 
     
     
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  • Asylum seekers traveling from Tehran to London are still journeying to British shores through Serbia, according to Miodrag Ćakić, a researcher at Refugee Aid Serbia. Asylum seekers spoke to Kayhan London about their experiences after choosing to leave Iran. One Iranian who traveled with his daughter described the treacherous six-hour walk through the Serbia-Macedonia border. Another asylum seeker explained why Iranians select the UK as a final destination: “The United Kingdom has better conditions in the asylum period… For example, there is no compulsory camp and you can rent a house. Iranians also commonly learn English at school and university… so it’s not a foreign language to us, and solves the problem of communication.”
     
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  • Iran’s government has issued a series of fatwas on plastic surgery. Iran has the highest rate of nasal plastic surgery in the world and the rate of nose jobs per capita in Iran is seven times that in America. While the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed that girls and women could only have plastic surgery if the surgeon was a woman, successive clerics and Islamic experts have been less stringent in their views. A former member of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, said: “Cosmetic surgery is not forbidden if it does not involve sinful behavior. However, the surgeon must look at a patient’s body or touch it only if it is necessary.”
     
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