News from Tehran

The news from Teheran this last week is worthy of being summarized for digestion. So let me do so. The highlight once again is President Rouhani who threatens American President Trump not to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal because and I quote him “’Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week”.  Not all Iranians were happy with this and local news have reported that an Iranian man has been shot and arrested after trying to break into President Hassan Rouhani’s office. It is not known whether the president was inside the building at the time. In fact he is rarely seen at work as it is well known that the Ayatollah is in control and he is just a puppet. He is not complaining though because unemployment rose to 12.4 per cent in 2017, up 1.4 per cent on the previous year, and being a puppet is better than being unemployed.

With no one in the president’s office at least six women in Iran took the opportunity to have their photos taken protesting the obligatory Islamic headscarf by publicly taking off their hijabs and waving them on sticks. Women who fail to wear a headscarf in the Islamic Republic can be jailed for up to two months or fined 500,000 rials (45 shekels). On this occasion no action was taken by the authorities as the women in question were clearly worthy of being appraised and complemented for their beauty. In other instances in the past a quick cover-up has been enforced due to reasons other than religion.

Iran has banned private drones above the capital Tehran over security fears. At least two drones were shot down this week as they flew near sensitive areas. Now, licenses will only be granted to “relevant bodies and not individuals”. “These quadcopters are equipped with cameras and can fly over sensitive sites, film them and be exploited by the enemy,” said Ali Reza Rabi’i, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Reputedly he was referring to drones that flew over some people’s homes looking for women without headscarf.

On the international front Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic is fully prepared to help Syria with the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country. The Iranian (Persian) president emphasized that the Islamic Republic would continue its assistance to the Syrian government and nation until the complete establishment of security and stability in the Arab country.  He has published contracts for Iranian contractors to setup prefabricated housing, made in China, for refugees in areas where Iranian proxy Hezbollah suicide bombers have cleared space for them. Without getting into further details Ayatollah Khamenei told Syrian Minister of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyed in Tehran “Syria today is on the frontline, so our duty is to support the Syrian resistance.” The CIA has applauded Teheran in these efforts at supporting both the Syrian resistance and the Syrian regime as it also does so.

Aficionados of literature across the world and in Persian-speaking countries are preparing to commemorate the Day of Sa’adi of Shiraz, the world-renowned Persian poet and literary scholar of the medieval period. Sa’adi is best-known for his books Bustan and Golestan as well as a number of masterly odes portraying human experiences. Sa’adi is particularly known across the world for his aphorisms which admires unity among all human beings, regardless of illusionary borderlines. Events are set to be held in several cities across Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India and other countries. However dozens of officials have offered apologies that they cannot join prominent artists and scholars attending the ceremonies just because.

Last but not least the Iran men’s national futsal team has maintained its position as Asia’s best in the latest Asociación Mundial de Futsal (AMF) rankings, and upheld its place in the world’s overall standings to stay put in the sixth slot. This comes with the news that the Iranian women’s national futsal team has trounced Thailand in a scrimmage as it is preparing for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Futsal Championship. This was some two hours after the head coach of the Thailand women’s national futsal team Udom Taveesuk had called for the cancellation of the second friendly fixture with the Iranian outfit, citing the injury of some of his players. They had eaten a traditional Iranian breakfast at their hotel.

About the Author
Dr Glen Segell is Fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa.
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