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Monday’s Iran Mini Report – August 13, 2018

Monday's Iran Mini Report - August 13, 2018

• Second day of strikes and demonstrations in Tehran’s Bazaar

The strikes and protests of the merchants of Tehran’s shoe bazaar entered their second day on Sunday. The protesters, who started their strike due to high prices and lack of access to the basic goods necessary for their line of work, chanted “Death to high prices” and “Death to the dictator,” targeting the regime in its entirety.

According to reports obtained by the MEK network, security forces are threatening merchants and trying to force them into opening their shops. But the strikers continue to refuse to open for business and their numbers continue to grow.

Last week, protests erupted in several cities, with slogans being chanted against the highest authorities of the regime. Clashes ensued between protesters and security forces.

• US general: Iran’s Qasem Soleimani at heart of ‘malign activity’ in Mideast

General Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command, has said Iran is central to an “expensive and expansive campaign of malign activity” in the Middle East.

In tweets on Sunday, General Votel said: “It is clear to me that Qasem Soleimani and the IRGC Quds Force is at the heart of an expensive and expansive campaign of malign activity in the region, including in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen.

“Those malign and destabilizing activities threaten regional security and stability and are not in the best interest of the Iranian people,” he added.

• Iraqi PM Abadi cancels visit to Iran amid backlash on US sanctions

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has cancelled a visit to Iran, his press office said on Sunday, as the premier came under strong Iranian criticism over his stand on renewed US sanctions against Tehran.

Abadi will still go ahead with a planned visit to Turkey on Tuesday but has scrapped the Iran leg of the trip “because of his busy schedule”, his office said.

An Iraqi official had said on Saturday that Abadi would visit both neighboring Turkey and Iran to discuss economic issues.

According to Iraqi political sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, Iran initially agreed to the visit but changed its mind because it was unhappy about Abadi’s remarks.

The premier said last Tuesday that Iraq- which relies on neighboring Iran as a source of cheap imports — would reluctantly comply with US sanctions against Tehran that took effect the same day.

• Death Penalty Not the Answer to Iran’s Economic Woes, HRW Says

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that Iranian officials are trying to head off a looming economic crisis with threats of “new rights-abusing policies,” including applying the death penalty for economic crimes.

“Executions, an inhumane and inherently irreversible punishment, are never the answer, and in this case can only distract from other causes of this economic turmoil,” the New York-based rights watchdog said in an August 10 statement.

“Today, officials increasingly talk about the need to combat corruption at every level,” HRW said. “Yet to do so requires an independent judiciary that ensures due process rights for all those accused.”

The group added that the Iranian judiciary’s “long record of violating detainees’ rights and wanton application of the death penalty raises grave concerns.”

• U.S. on Lookout for Possible Iranian Cyber Attacks After Reinstatement of Sanctions

August 13, 2018: The U.S. is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, cybersecurity and intelligence experts say.

Concern over that cyber threat has been rising since May, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, under which the U.S. and other world powers eased economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. The experts say the threat would intensify following Washington’s move Tuesday to re-impose economic restrictions on Tehran.