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Yearbook 2016

Iran. Most of the international sanctions against Iran were lifted in January after the UN nuclear agency IAEA confirmed that the country fulfilled its commitments under the agreement reached in 2015 on the country's nuclear program. The deal would diminish Iran's ability to acquire nuclear weapons, something Tehran has always said it has no plans for. Now the country was once again able to sell oil on the world market and gained access to about $ 100 billion which has been frozen in foreign accounts.

2016 Iran

However, the United States retained some sanctions related, among other things, to Iran's support for terrorism, and introduced new ones after an Iranian robot test in the fall of 2015. This resulted in complaints from Tehran during the year that the promised benefits of the agreement failed when potential trading partners did not dare bet in Iran for fear of breaking US sanctions. Despite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reporting in October, Iran's economy recovered rapidly and oil exports were almost back to pre-sanctions levels. Then, however, the presidential election in the United States raised concerns when controversial winner Donald Trump said the nuclear deal could be torn down.

Ahead of the parliamentary and Expert Assembly elections in February, the Conservative Guardian Council rejected several thousand openly reform-minded candidates who signed up. It was criticized by, among others, President Hassan Rohani and by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, President 1989-97. The criticism contributed to the re-evaluation of nearly 1,500 candidates a few weeks before the election and was now approved.

According to countryaah, the election was a great success for reformists and moderate candidates, while the Conservative camp suffered a defeat. This was true in Parliament, in May, and in the Expert Assembly, where reform-friendly candidates won a majority of the 88 seats. The composition of the expert assembly was particularly important as the members are elected for eight years and have the task of appointing the new highest leader in the country after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was 76 years old and sickly.

Rohani cited the election result as confirmation that his policies that led to reduced international isolation for Iran were successful.

At the beginning of the year, Iran ended up in a diplomatic conflict with Sunni Muslims after a Shiite leader was executed in Saudi Arabia. The execution led to protesters in Tehran storming the Saudi embassy and setting it on fire. Ayatolla Khamenei warned of divine revenge. Saudi Arabia responded by breaking diplomatic relations, and several Sunni Muslim countries, mainly on the Arabian Peninsula, followed and broke or severed relations. The Arab League condemned Iran in a special summons.

The conflict with the arch-rival Saudi Arabia also intensified with the aftermath of the congestion disaster at the annual pilgrimage, hajj, 2015. After the countries failed to agree on arrangements for Iranian participation in this year's pilgrimage, Iran decided on boycott. In September, Khamenei called the Saudi royal house "vicious" and questioned its role as administrator of Islam's holy places of Mecca and Medina. The Saudi Grand Mufti countered by claiming that Iranians are not real Muslims.

Saudi Arabia continued to fight on the government's side in Yemen, while Iran continued to deny its support for the Shiite Muslim rebels there. The United States claimed during the year that several arms deliveries from Iran were halted to the rebels.

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