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Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 176

Edited by Ilan Berman
August 14, 2017

Relations between the Islamic Republic and neighboring Turkey may be stable at the moment, but officials in Ankara are taking precautions against the possibility of cross-border instability from - or fomented by - Iran. Turkey's Housing Development Administration (TOKI) has reportedly begun construction on a "security wall" in its eastern province of Agri. The barrier, which was announced by Turkish authorities back in May, will be 144 kilometers long (or roughly a quarter of the total length of the Turkish-Iranian border) when completed. It is designed to prevent cross-border movement from Iranian soil into Turkey. (Ankara
Anadolu Agensi, August 9, 2017)


In a move that further strengthens Iran's already-extensive strategic influence over neighboring Iraq, the two countries have come to terms on a new accord boosting bilateral military cooperation and coordination. The pact, designed to increase collaboration against "terrorism and extremism," was inked by Defense Ministers Hossein Dehghan and Erfan al-Hiyali in Dubai in late July. The memorandum outlines a range of strategic activities to be intensified between the two countries, including border security, the training of military troops, and the coordination of logistics. (
Reuters, July 23, 2017)


Insights into Iran's growing presence and activities in Latin America became a principal casualty of the Obama administration's nuclear diplomacy with Iran, a new report by a leading Spanish newspaper has charged. The expose, printed in Spain's ABC newspaper, has alleged that government probes into the connections between Iran, its principal terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, and the government of strongman Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela were derailed by a White House eager to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 powers.

The Obama White House "systematically dismantled any stakeholder action that threatened to derail the political agenda of the Iran-focused administration," former U.S. official David Asher has told the newspaper. The measures undertaken by the Obama administration reportedly included the reassignment of security officers working on active cases relating to Iran, Venezuela and Hezbollah, or the quashing of active investigations by their units. (
Pan Am Post, July 11, 2017)


Iran's water woes continue to mount, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the Islamic Republic and its citizens. After years of official mismanagement and neglect, nearly 300 major cities across Iran are now estimated to be on the verge of "water crisis" and drought conditions. The severity of the situation has prompted more than 100 experts from the "Water Foundation" to issue an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warning of "escalating conflicts in Iranian provinces over water sharing in the near future." "In the near future, competing for limited water resources will expand, and conflicts over shares will spread across the country," the statement said. (Riyadh
Al-Arabiya, July 10, 2017)


Despite its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran's government continues to secretly seek nuclear and missile technology and know-how from abroad. A pair of new reports from German intelligence organs have shed new light on what appears to be a broad and far-reaching effort by the Iranian government to acquire materiel for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The first, issued by the state intelligence agency of Germany's Baden-Wurstemburg state, provides extensive details about Iran's quest for "products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well [as] missile technology."

The second, issued by Hamburg's state security organ, outlines criminal charges that have been filed in recent months against three German citizens for their role in delivering nuclear-related components to the Islamic Republic. "[T]here is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic polices," it concludes. (
Weekly Standard
, July 7, 2017)