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August 02 2015
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Iran Deal Backers Urged to Lobby Congress

- U.S. President Barack Obama told groups who support the Iran nuclear deal to make their voices heard to Congress to counter the millions of dollars in lobbying by those who want to derail the agreement. In a call Thursday with groups affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington think-tank, Obama said activists who want peace must not make the same mistake they did in the run-up to the Iraq war, when proponents of the war drowned out their weaker voices. - 8/1/15

Keep Expectations of Iran's New Regional Role Realistic

- Only a few short weeks ago, Iran was considered the main instigator of all the troubles in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and, according to some, even in Latin America. Some in the US and in the region still continue to believe this fantasy. -Shireen T. Hunter - 8/1/15

Tehran's Promise: The revolution's midlife crisis and the nuclear deal

- In "The Anatomy of Revolution" (1938), the Harvard historian Crane Brinton likened revolution to fever. The first stage is raging delirium, as ruthless radicals eliminate the ancien regime and purge their moderate collaborators. In the second, societies begin a long, fitful convalescence, often under dictatorial rule, as the "mad religious energy" subsides. The final stage is recovery and a return to normalcy, which may even include remnants of the past, as "the religious lust for perfection" dies out, "save among a tiny minority." -Robin Wright, New Yorker - 8/1/15

Just What Is Turkey Up To?

- Turkish policies towards the Middle East have been in wild oscillation over the past many weeks, even months. Ankara has now finally and begrudgingly initiated military action against ISIS in cooperation with the US. But it has also initiated air attacks against its former Kurdish negotiating partners. Just what is going on? There may not be any coherent strategy, but the following seem to me to represent the key issues driving policy. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 8/1/15

Why Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Neocons Hate the Iran Deal

- The most diehard opponents--Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman, and a boatload of neocons led by the perennial naysayer John Bolton--issued their fusillades against the accord ("an historic mistake," "diplomatic Waterloo," to say nothing of the standard charges of "appeasement" from those with no understanding of history) long before they could possibly have browsed its 159 pages of legalese and technical annexes. -Fred Kaplan, Slate - 8/1/15

One Congressman's Iran

- Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan and the longest-serving Jewish member of the House, said something important this week: "In my view, the only anchors in public life are to dig deeply into the facts and consult broadly and then to say what you believe." -Roger Cohen, NY Times - 8/1/15

Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 165 degrees, near world record

- Wherever you live or happen to travel to, never complain about the heat and humidity again. In the city of Bandar Mahshahr (population of about 110,000 as of 2010), the air felt like a searing 165 degrees (74 Celsius) today factoring in the humidity. Although there are no official records of heat indices, this is second highest level we have ever seen reported. -Jason Samenow, Washington Post - 8/1/15

Obama Pushes For Deal With Iran To Avoid 'Path To War'

- U.S. President Barack Obama told supporters on July 30 that Democratic support in Congress for the Iran nuclear deal is "squishy" and they must work hard to counter an aggressive lobbying campaign against it. In a call with groups affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington think-tank, Obama said activists who want peace must not make the same mistake they did in the run-up to the Iraq war, when proponents of the war drowned out their weaker voices. -Patrice Hill, RFE - 7/31/15

Letter to Congress: Support Iran Deal Now

- there are a few things you should know about me. Specifically, I am an honorably discharged, Navy, Vietnam era veteran. So I think a bit more about ensuring U.S. national security and the costs of wars than the average person. I am also Jewish. So issues such as the security of Israel and U.S. responsibilities for, and obligations to, are also something I think about. -David Isenberg - 7/31/15

Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is launching a five-nation tour of the Middle East and South Asia on Friday in a bid to strengthen economic and security ties and ease concerns about the Iran nuclear deal. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 7/31/15

Tom Cotton Assails Iran Deal (Again)

- Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) told a receptive audience at the neoconservative Hudson Institute on Tuesday that Congress should take action to defeat the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that was concluded in Vienna earlier this month between Iran and the countries of the P5+1 (United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China). - 7/31/15

Bad Analogies Abounding on Iran Deal

- In their desperation to sabotage the nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran, neoconservative foes of the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) are resorting to all kinds of historical analogies. Their most popular, of course, date back to the 1930s: appeasement, Chamberlain, Munich, Hitler, and all of that other stuff that led to the Holocaust. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/31/15

The Kurdish Elephant

- Let's mix some metaphors in the Middle East, all of them involving elephants. In the crisis zone that encompasses Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, the Kurds are the elephant in the room. They are the "problem" that no one really wants to talk about. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/31/15

US Lawmakers Seek Details of Iran Nuke Inspection Regime

- U.S. lawmakers pressed top administration officials Wednesday for details on the international inspection regime that will enforce a landmark nuclear pact with Iran. The officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, testified before the Senate Armed Forces Committee to try to allay lawmakers' concerns and convince them to approve the deal reached earlier this month in Vienna. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 7/30/15

India pushing to revive Iran gas pipeline

- With a delegation headed to Tehran soon, Indian officials will push for the revival of the $7 billion gas pipeline from Iran which has to cross Pakistan, a New Delhi-based newspaper says. India dropped out of the massive project under US pressures but a recent opening in the business environment in Iran has prompted Indian leaders to make a fresh bid for the pipeline, the Economic Times reported, citing informed sources. - 7/30/15

Netanyahu Lost His Iran Bet, but His Next Gamble May Be Disastrous

- After the deal was announced, the prime minister's appearance was that of a desperate gambler who had lost everything. But now he wants to wreck what's left of U.S.-Israel relations. After losing his pants, he's now putting his underwear on the roulette wheel in a move that experts on American politics say hasn't much of a chance. -Yossi Verter, Haaretz - 7/30/15

Kerry: Alternative Iran Deal Is 'Unicorn Fantasy'

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned members of Congress that walking away from the nuclear deal reached with Iran would mean giving Tehran a "green light" to return to its enrichment efforts. "The alternative to the deal we've reached isn't a better deal... some kind of unicorn fantasy that contemplates Iran's complete capitulation," Kerry said. - 7/29/15

Rouhani to visiting French Foreign Minister: Nuclear conclusion should mark better Iran-EU ties

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers should pave the way for further promotion of ties between Tehran and Europe. "The nuclear agreement should mark [Iran's] better cooperation with Europe," Rouhani said in a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Tehran on Wednesday. - 7/29/15

EU's Mogherini Visits Iran, Vows to Implement Nuclear Deal

- EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insisted Tuesday during a visit to Tehran that she made the trip to begin implementation of the nuclear accord with Iran. Mogherini said she wanted to ensure the "smooth implementation" of the nuclear accord between Iran and the international community, which she said would pave the way toward better relations. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 7/29/15

Wieseltier on Iran: Laughable

- It is everyone's right to present themselves as The Great Moral Arbiter. And the rest of us are within our rights to laugh at them. That's what first came to mind after I finished reading Leon Wieseltier's 2,000-plus-word jeremiad against the Iran nuclear deal in The Atlantic.-Ali Gharib - 7/29/15

Fabius highlights new Iranian relations in newspaper piece

- In an exclusive Op-Ed statement published on Tuesday July 28 in the Iran daily, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius strikes a positive note regarding relations with Iran in advance of his visit to Tehran on Wednesday July 28. - 7/29/15

Huckabee's Holocaust Remark Defended by Adelson-Funded ZOA

- Former Arkansas governor and GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee's comparison between the Iran deal and the Holocaust brought an avalanche of denunciations from Jewish groups condemning his prediction that President Barack Obama will "take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." -Eli Clifton - 7/29/15

Most Polls Suggest Americans Support the Deal, Especially Jews

- Two polls released this morning have rather different takes on the Iran deal. One, from J Street, confirms last week's LA Jewish Journal poll that American Jews broadly support the nuclear agreement, 60-40%. The other, from CNN/ORC, is an outlier from the bulk of post-deal polls in finding that Americans want Congress to reject the deal. This conclusion, however, is likely because of the poor construction of the poll. -Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum, LobeLog - 7/29/15

The Iran agreement is a disaster for Isis: Federica Mogherini

- "It always seems impossible until it's done": the words of a man who made the impossible come true - Nelson Mandela - resonated with me on 14 July, when the seven countries around the table in Vienna, under the steer of the European Union, finally reached a deal on Iran's nuclear programme. -Federica Mogherini, Guardian - 7/29/15

Kerry, Moniz Return to Capitol Hill to Push Iran Deal

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz go before a Congressional committee again Tuesday as they continue their efforts to get support from skeptical lawmakers reviewing the international nuclear deal with Iran. - 7/28/15

Kerry, Moniz Return to Capitol Hill to Push Iran Deal

- U.S.-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues, but analysts say any progress is likely to be slow in coming. Meanwhile, Russia may be planning to spend the political capital it earned by helping to negotiate the Iran nuclear deal. -Daniel Schearf, VOA - 7/28/15

President Obama on Monday lashed out at Republican presidential candidates for making what he called "ridiculous" claims about his policies and "outrageous attacks" that crossed the line of political decorum.

- President Obama on Monday lashed out at Republican presidential candidates for making what he called "ridiculous" claims about his policies and "outrageous attacks" that crossed the line of political decorum. -Peter Baker, NY Times - 7/28/15

Former Bush Diplomats Push Back on Criticism of Iran Deal

- Two senior retired diplomats warned Friday that the U.S. would isolate itself from a global consensus if Congress rejected the nuclear agreement concluded between the P5+1 and Iran earlier this month. -Derek Davison and Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/28/15

Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications

- In a meeting with government officials on July 18th, four days after the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, President Rouhani of Iran praised the work of his negotiating team and called the deal a triumph. Is the President right? Does the deal really signify a victory for Iran, as he claims, or an elusive surrender, as a number of critics have pointed out? To answer these questions, a brief review of the contents of the agreement is in order. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 7/27/15

Iran nuclear agreement is an historic opportunity for peace

- Many congratulations to all parties involved in the historic agreement on the future of Iran's nuclear programme. Well done to Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari in bringing home an historic deal for Iran and the world. Commendations to John Kerry and the leaders from the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany in reaching an agreement that will result in Iran agreeing not to develop nuclear weapons. -Richard Branson - 7/27/15

Anti-Iran Deal Groups Better Funded Than Pro-Deal Groups By Nearly Five to One

- The Democratic Party has latched onto the message that critics of the Iran deal are spending big money over the next 60 days to kill the agreement in Congress. Last Wednesday, for example, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) commented that, "I know there's tens of millions of dollars lined up against the agreement." And Obama, interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show last week, criticized "lobbyists" and "money" working against the deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/27/15

Iran builds $2.5 billion power plant in Iraq

- Iran is building a natural gas combined cycle power plant in Iraq's Basra at a cost of $2.5 billion in the Persian country's biggest engineering services deal yet. - 7/27/15

On Iran Congress Risks Alienating Europe

- Members of Congress opposing the Iranian nuclear deal don't seem to care that it's a multilateral agreement their longest-serving European allies support. Europeans are far from impressed that the US legislature has taken hostage the diplomatic roadmap on the nuclear file that they played a critical role in negotiating. GOP Republicans have clearly attempted to shift the debate from a vote on the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) announced last week to one on the US presidential legacy and US-Iran relations. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 7/26/15

The Sources of Opposition to the Iran Agreement

- An air of unreality pervades much of the debate on the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program. Opponents of the agreement raise issue after issue on which the agreement is clearly superior to the alternative that would exist if the opponents succeed in getting the U.S. Congress to kill the deal, but the opponents keep raising such issues anyway. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/26/15

Former AIPAC Official on Iran's Importance to AIPAC

- So it was pretty compelling Thursday when The Nelson Report quoted a "former AIPAC official" on why the legendary lobby was so heavily invested in persuading Congress to reject the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1. I'm posting it here with Chris's permission. -Jim Lobe, Lobelog - 7/26/15

US Lawmakers, Obama Officials Spar on Iran Nuclear Deal

- Secretary of State John Kerry sparred with members of a Senate committee during the first public hearing on the controversial deal to lift economic and other sanctions against Iran in exchange for it scaling back its nuclear program. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew joined Kerry Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. -VOA - 7/24/15

White House Calls Rally Against Iran Nuclear Deal 'Pro-War'

- The White House has called a demonstration against the Iran nuclear deal a "pro-war rally." The main speaker at the demonstration, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is one of several GOP candidates who have said that, as president, they would be ready to launch an immediate military strike on Iran. The rally was held outside the White House itself. - 7/24/15

The Iran Deal: Where Are the Fault Lines?

- It's tempting to see the successful negotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)between Iran and the P5+1 nations as the conclusion of nearly two years of negotiations. But the reality is that last week's achievement is only the beginning. Now comes the task of winning approval for the agreement among participating governments, maintaining the terms of the agreement (some of which last up to 25 years), and managing the deal's ramifications for the Middle East and beyond. -Derek Davison - 7/24/15

Correcting the Critics of the Iran Nuclear Deal

- From the standpoint of U.S. security, the agreement on Iran's nuclear program announced on July 14 is a very good one. Iran consented to a significant rollback of its nuclear capacity and to a level of monitoring far exceeding any other country. The main goal of the U.S. and its partners has been met: Iran's path to a nuclear weapon has been blocked. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/24/15

Greece, Iran, and the Rules of the Game

- Alexis Tsipras had a choice. As the leader of the fledgling Syriza government in Greece, he could have told the European Union to stuff its austerity plan. He could have taken the risk that the EU would offer a better deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Or, failing that, he could have navigated his country into the uncharted waters of economic independence. But he chose to "follow the rules" by accepting the EU plan. - John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/24/15

The Fine or the Crude Art of Window Dressing Hypocrisy at its Best

- Those who actually believe (perhaps better than 95% of the public here) that the main purpose of the nuclear agreement reached between the world powers and Iran was to delay and hopefully to stop Iran's clandestine efforts to develop atomic weapons can now be cautiously optimistic that the mission has been accomplished. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 7/23/15

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and UN Resolution 2231: The winners and the losers

- The dust has settled and the long-awaited agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) called "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) is now a reality. The JCPOA curtails Iran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Also real is the UN Resolution 2231, which terminates all the previous sanctions resolutions against Iran passed by the United Nations Security Council. We can now announce the winners and losers in the 36-year battle between Iran and its adversaries. -Sasan Fayazmanesh - 7/23/15

Turkey Allegedly Had Role in Helping Iran Dodge Sanctions

- More details are emerging about the role Turkey has allegedly been playing in assisting Iran to dodge international sanctions involving the trading of gold by an Iranian businessman that Turkey's president once dubbed a philanthropist. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 7/23/15

Can Washington Meet Iran's Deepest Challenge--to US Hegemony in the Middle East?

- Comments abound on Obama's achievement in reaching an agreement with Iran on nuclear issues. For a predictable minority it's not an achievement at all but a terrible setback. Most criticism focuses on the challenge of possible Iranian cheating. That misses the big picture: is Washington itself able to deal with an ascendant Iran--much like the challenge of an ascendant China? -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/23/15

Iran's Economy after the Nuclear Deal

- The critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed last week between the Western powers and Iran cite the potential benefits of the agreement for Iran as the main reason why it is bad for the US and its allies in the Middle East. They're wrong, however, that the extra economic resources flowing to Iran as a result of lifting sanctions will empower it to expand its influence, destabilize the region, and to undermine Western interests. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani - 7/23/15

Thousands Protest In Times Square Against Iran Nuclear Deal

- housands of pro-Israel protesters packed into New York's Times Square July 22 to demand that Congress vote down the proposed U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. Protesters, including Republican politicians, Jewish and evangelical Christian groups, chanted "Kill the deal," which they denounced as a threat to Israel and global security. - 7/23/15

No country big enough to disrespect Iran: Aide to Leader

- The countries that threaten Iran with military action and those who order them to do so are merely "bluffing," said Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a Wednesday press conference with visiting Secretary of State at the Swiss Foreign Ministry Yves Rossier in Tehran. The Iranian official further emphasized that no country is big enough to threaten and disrespect the Iranian nation as "number one power in the region." - 7/23/15

Will Obama's Legacy Start or Stop with the Nuclear Deal?

- Much to the chagrin of those who oppose Obama's nuclear deal, there is no telling where the informal bonds created by hours of unrelenting talks will end up taking the US and Iran. The departure of Javad Zarif and John Kerry from Vienna will surely not mark their final farewell as counterparts. On at least a few occasions, both sides discussed matters outside the nuclear file. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog - 7/23/15

Anti-Iran Deal AIPAC Spin-off Relies on Iranian Ex-Terrorist Group

- When the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) declared war on the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers signed last week in Vienna, it put its money where its mouth is. AIPAC, Washington's most influential pro-Israel lobby reportedly plans on spending $20 million over the next two months urging Congress to vote against the deal. -Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib - 7/22/15

VOA Interview: Kerry Says Iran Deal Will Make World Safer

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says implementing the international nuclear deal with Iran will make the world safer, improve the standard of living for Iranians and potentially open up other opportunities between the United States and Iran. -Setareh Derakhshesh, VOA - 7/22/15

Anti-Iran Deal Groups Backed by $145 Million

- A high-profile list of U.S. non-proliferation, nuclear policy, Iran, and national security experts welcomed last week's announcement of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear program . Opponents of the deal, meanwhile, will make a last-ditch effort to derail the agreement reached in Vienna. They will use the 60-day congressional review period to pressure members of Congress, many of whom owe their seats to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to vote to reject the deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/22/15

Nuclear Deal: How Iran Could Enhance Regional Stability

- Much has been written about the Iran nuclear deal and the threats that a post-sanctions Iran could pose for the region. This fear is primarily driven by Saudi Arabia's pathological obsession that a resurgent Iran would eclipse Saudi Arabia and other members of the primarily Sunni sheikdoms of the Gulf Cooperation Council. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 7/22/15

Former Israeli National-Security Officials Like Iran Deal

- Lest anyone believe that Israel, particularly its national-security establishment, is united behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to the week-old Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, Americans for Peace Now has set up a very helpful website featuring some quite authoritative voices of dissent. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/22/15

Security Council adopts resolution endorsing Iran nuclear deal

- The United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution establishing a monitoring system for Iran's nuclear programme and considering the "eventual removal" of all nuclear-related sanctions against the country. - 7/21/15

Kerry Says Iran Sanctions Relief Could Be Felt Within Six Months

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says international sanctions on Iran could start to be lifted as soon as six months from now. "There are certain things that Iran needs to do and the [International Atomic Energy Agency] needs to do, and those things have to be resolved -- all of them -- before the sanctions begin to be relieved," Kerry told Voice of America's Persian News Network in an exclusive interview - 7/21/15

The Nuclear Agreement; Fantasies vs Facts

- But how the Iranians view this agreement and how it is being viewed in the United States tell two very different stories. And this difference should be of great interest and concern to the Iranians, much more so than to the American public, as events begin to unfold. _Kam Zarrabi - 7/20/15

Historical background of the Caspian Sea as a legal point in favor of Iran

- A review of the last rounds of negotiations between Iran and the other Caspian littoral states, including the deliberations made and decisions adopted in the several summit meetings of the Caspian states, reveal that Iran has failed to persuade the other Caspian states to consider a fair and equitable share for Iran (at least 20 percent) of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 7/20/15

Russia's Stake in Iran Nuclear Deal

- President Barack Obama said Russia was a "help" in securing the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program. In addition to that praise, printed in the New York Times, Obama talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone Wednesday, thanking Putin for Russia's role in the negotiations. Simon Saradzhyan, a researcher at Harvard University's Belfer Center, said Obama was underestimating the role Russia played in securing the agreement. -Jonas Bernstein, VOA - 7/20/15

Iranian FM Zarif hits back at US official for 'military option' remark

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says those who have used the language of force against the Islamic Republic after the successful conclusion of negotiations between the country and the P5+1 are incapable of properly engaging in diplomacy. - 7/20/15

Bipartisan Group of 60 Senior National Security Leaders Endorse Iran Deal

- Coming on the heels of its release of a letter signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, the New York-based Iran Project has just released a statement this morning urging support for the accord signed by a bipartisan group of 60 former officials and lawmakers with extensive national-security experience. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/20/15

Pro-Israel Think Tank Head Denies Possibility of War

- Those opposing the Iran deal often lead off their objections with a caveat: they don't think the alternative to the nuclear accord signed this week in Vienna is war. I happen to think it probably is. I put it this way: the alternative(s) to this deal puts us back on the path to confrontation. But, that said, I understand why opponents of the deal want to make like they're not warmongering. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 7/20/15

Kerry TV Tour Touts Iran Nuke Deal

- In a series of high-profile television appearances Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the American public for the first time since signing off on an Iran nuclear deal last week. Kerry said the agreement, which culminated from months of talks between the top diplomats of seven countries, likely won't restart diplomatic relations with Tehran. - 7/19/15

Should the US Work With Iran to Fight IS?

- World leaders reached a deal with Iran on July 14 to ease economic sanctions if Iran curbs its nuclear capabilities, and this has reopened the debate over whether the U.S. should work more closely with Iranian-backed militias, several dozen of which are now fighting against IS in Iraq. -Cecily Hilleary, VOA - 7/19/15

Sorry, Folks, Nuclear Weapons Are Passe

- Two lines of attack on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, finalized on Bastille Day this week, are that constraints on Iran expanding its uranium enrichment capacity will lapse after 10 years and that, in the meantime, Iranian cheating will be inevitable and hard to detect. -Peter Jenkins - 7/19/15

Iran's Sunni Neighbors Seem Unconcerned About Nuclear Program

- For all the talk about Iranian imperialism and the Sunni-Shia divide throughout the Middle East, the predominantly Sunni Muslim publics of at least some of Iran's neighbors don't seem too concerned about Tehran's nuclear program. -Jim Lobe, Lobelog - 7/19/15

Iran Deal: Avoiding the Fate of Sisyphus

- The 5+1 negotiating team and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, much like Sisyphus in Greek mythology, have pushed the burden of mutual understanding on Iran's nuclear program to the hilltop. Now they see if they can avoid Sisyphus' fate and keep the agreement from slipping back into failure. Those of us who can only watch the process should realize that the various restraints on Iran are not the core of the issues that will now occupy the administration and Congress. -Charles Naas - 7/18/15

The Nuclear Deal With Iran And The Prospect Of Regional Transformation

- We have been witnessing the ever intensifying catastrophic news of repetitive costly policies, military failures and human loss and despairs from southwest Asia aka the Middle East for the past few decades. However, the long much anticipated historic nuclear accord between the 5+1 countries spearheaded by Iran and the U.S., the fortuitous fruit of the longest diplomatic brinkmanship ever, is now poised to set a new milestone for non-confrontation and dialogue over war the progressive ramifications of which will be internationally reverberated for decades to come. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 7/18/15

Obama: Iran Nuclear Deal Goes Further Than Any Before

- U.S. President Barack Obama says this past week's deal to get Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons does "more than anyone has done before" to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. He said without the deal, the world risks having another war in the most volatile region in the world. - 7/18/15

Iran's post-sanctions import demand to hit $200bn

- Analysts say Iran's annual import demands could hit $200 billion by 2020 as the result of the removal of the US-engineered sanctions against the country. They say the UAE, Lebanon and Turkey remain best positioned to benefit from the upswing in Iran trade volumes that they say will occur over the next few years. - 7/18/15

Uncut version of controversial Iranian film "Resurrection" to open Baghdad festival

- An uncensored version of the Iranian film Resurrection, which has generated serious controversy in Iran, will open the International Baghdad Film Festival. The film currently has two versions: one is complete and the other had 40 minutes of footage cut out, eliminating images of religious figures of Ashura. - 7/18/15

Pakistan Hopes to Benefit from Iran Deal, With Chinese Help

- Pakistan has been planning to build a pipeline to import natural gas from Iran for years, but work on the proposed Iran-Pakistan pipeline stalled due to international economic sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear development program. -Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA - 7/18/15

AIPAC and Its "Better" Iran Deal

- Well, it's finally upon us. The nation's most influential Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is declaring war on the Iran nuclear deal, a signature achievement of President Barack Obama's foreign policy. AIPAC has at long last come out directly against the deal, urging Congress to vote against it in order to scuttle the accord. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 7/18/15

Former Iran Ambassador: Nuclear Deal is Model for Closing Path to Militarization and Weaponization

- "The deal has closed all possible pathways toward possible militarization, weaponization of Iranian nuclear program," says Iranian Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator. "If the opponents in the region used the Iranian model for all countries in the Middle East, this would be the only way to assure a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East," -Democracy Now - 7/18/15

GCC Stays Onboard with Iran Deal

- Sherlock Holmes once found a clue in a dog that did not bark. That is a useful way to look at the muted but generally supportive response of Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States of the Gulf to the multinational agreement designed to restrain Iran's nuclear program. They may not be happy with it, but there have been no howls of outrage or cries of betrayal. -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog - 7/18/15

The Nuclear Deal and Expunging Iran's Historical Ghosts

- Amid the cacophony regarding what's next or what the nuclear agreement will or will not do, however, it is also important to reflect on the negotiations themselves and what they have already accomplished for Iran, a country besieged by the ghosts of many problem-ridden negotiations with the outside world in the past. -Farideh Farhi - 7/17/15
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