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The Five Caspian Sea Littoral States Ink Economic Cooperation Deal

- Iran and four other Caspian Sea countries have signed an agreement on economic cooperation in Turkmenistan's capital. Senior officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the deal during the First Caspian Economic Forum in Bishkek on Monday, according to Fars News. -Press TV - 8/12/19

Iran And Its Neighbors Face 'Extraordinary Water Crisis' - Report

- The World Resources Institute's (WRI) latest report says that Iran, along with Israel, Lebanon, and Qatar, are struggling with an "extraordinary water crisis." The three are among the most water-stressed countries, according to the new data, consuming an average of 80% of their available water resources every year. -Radio Farda - 8/8/19

This Iranian War Vet Has Some Advice for Trump: Don't Play Checkers with the Grandmasters of Chess

- Dear President Trump, In a recent Tweet, you claimed that "Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation." As a world citizen and a veteran of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, I have firsthand experience with the bitterness of war, and I have a few suggestions and responses for you. First, I would advise you against using the words win and winning to describe war, especially from a US perspective. -Habib Ahmadzadeh - 8/7/19

Which "Gulf" Do They Mean?

- If you've ever wondered how historical realities can be sacrificed and manipulated in the service of myopic political goals, there is a great example for you to follow in your daily roundup of international news offered by the mainstream media. While reading through coverage of current Middle Eastern affairs in international newspapers, magazines, and news websites, it's very common for readers to come across the words "the Gulf." -Kourosh Ziabari - 8/7/19

U.S.-Iran Relations ... Waiting For The Adults: Then And Now

- Marx tells us that history happens first as tragedy and then as farce. He was predicting what has occurred between the U.S. and Iran-first forty years ago and then today-when the children take over and the adults choose to disappear. -John Limbert - 8/6/19

Germany Refuses to Join US Naval Mission in Strait of Hormuz

- Germany has rejected the U.S. call to join an international mission to protect maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States had asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure shipping through the strait, the narrow maritime passage through which international tankers transport at least a fifth of the world's crude oil supply. -VOA - 8/1/19

Coalition of Foreign Policy Experts Outline 8 Recommendations to Deescalate Tensions with Iran

- Today, an expert group of foreign policy practitioners published a letter underscoring the dangerous new phase that has put the U.S and Iran on the path toward war. The signatories include prominent academics, such as John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Andrew Bacevich; foreign policy analyst Rula Jebreal; former Member of Congress John F. Tierney; former ambassadors and diplomats, such as Thomas Pickering, Francois Nicoullaud, and Peter Jenkins; national security expert Edward Price; and Iran experts such as Jamal Abdi, Dina Esfandiary, and Farideh Farhi. - 7/31/19

Macron Calls For 'Break' To Ease Tension Between Iran, U.S.

- French President Emmanuel Macron has called for tensions between Iran and the United States to be scaled down on July 30 after speaking with Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Meeting at the French presidential summer retreat, Macron said he wanted "to ensure that all parties agree to a break and open negotiations." He "recalled the need to initiate a de-escalation of tensions." -RFE/RL - 7/31/19

War in the Persian Gulf? Let's hope not

- In recent weeks, we have witnessed an alarming escalation of tensions between Iran and world powers that should frighten everyone involved. Uncertainty and mutual hostility have propelled the United States and Iran towards a perilous conflict that can only lead towards one terrifying conclusion (unless immediate measures are taken): war. -Younes Mahmoudieh, Foreign Policy - 7/22/19

The Symbolism Behind The Latest U.S. Sanctions Against Hezbollah

- While the latest American sanctions, imposed on July 9, continue a trend of US pressure on Hezbollah, they symbolize an imperfect realignment of interests between the Trump Administration's Iran approach and Lebanese leaders' aim to alter their country's political dynamics. Lebanon has been mostly shielded from US-Iranian tensions over the nuclear deal, but there are questions about whether this is about to change. -Joe Macaron, Arab Center - 7/22/19

Behind The Foundation For Defense Of Democracies' Embrace Of Authoritarianism

- The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative organization in Washington founded after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has long been obsessed with Iran and has vocally opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement between Iran and 5+1 group of nations. While much is known about FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz-whose purported "defense of democracies" has been undermined by his recent calls for "inclusive authoritarianism" in the Middle East-his right-hand man on Iran, Saeed Ghasseminejad, has gone largely unnoticed. -Muhammad Sahimi - 7/18/19

Hard Choices Facing Tehran And Washington

- Perhaps Iran has done the Trump Administration a favor by announcing that it has moved to enrich uranium at five percent, thus violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA). -Daniel Brumberg, Arab Center, DC - 7/15/19

Joint Statement: House Reins In Trump on Iran

- CREDO, Foreign Policy for America, J Street, NIAC Action, and Win Without War issued the following joint statement regarding the House vote passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment to block any funds for an unauthorized war with Iran -Win Without War - 7/12/19

Trump Administration's Futile Flailing On Iran

- The administration went to the IAEA board in order to be seen doing something about an Iranian nuclear issue the administration itself has stirred up, and it has no better ideas on what to do. It is flailing in trying to get out of a box of its own making, and it sees no way to get out-other than the way it refuses to admit, which would be to reverse its own action that built the box in the first place. -Paul Pillar - 7/12/19

U.S. Iran Policy Gives Me Vertigo

- In the interest of confronting Iran, the U.S. government has sacrificed its credibility, has put at long-term risk U.S. primacy in global finance, and has infuriated virtually all of this country's closest traditional allies. Washington is goading Tehran to renege on its nuclear promises, bringing both countries perilously close to another catastrophic war in the Middle East. -Gary Sick - 7/11/19

Iran warns UK about 'consequences' of oil tanker seizure

- President Hassan Rohani warns the UK about the "consequences" of its recent seizure of an Iranian supertanker. "I remind [this] to the Britons," Rohani cautioned on Wednesday, "You are the ones initiating insecurity, and will come to realize its consequences in the future." Rohani, who was addressing a government meeting in Tehran, called the action "very juvenile, heinous, and wrongful" and "to their [Britain's] detriment," noting that all international efforts should instead be focused on ensuring maritime security. -Press TV - 7/10/19

We're Not the Good Guys: Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?

- Headlined "U.S. Seeks Other Ways to Stop Iran Shy of War," the article was tucked away on page A9 of a recent New York Times. Still, it caught my attention. Here's the first paragraph: "American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, pushed by the White House to develop new options that could help deter Tehran without escalating tensions into a full-out conventional war, according to current and former officials." Note that "Iranian aggression." -Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch - 7/4/19

Open Letter by academics and civil society activists to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on significance of return to JCPOA

- Hon. Secretary General, You are well aware that in 2015 with the support of all permanent members of the UNSC (China, France, Russia, UK, and US) plus Germany and Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was drafted, upon which UNSC issued Resolution 2231, replacing all previous UNSC resolutions targeting Iran's nuclear program. - 7/3/19

Arak reactor to resume pre-deal activities if EU fails to meet pledges: Iran's President Rohani

- President Hassan Rohani says Iran's Arak heavy water nuclear reactor - which was agreed to be redesigned under a 2015 nuclear agreement - will resume its previous activities after July 7 if the other signatories to the deal fail to uphold their end of the bargain. Rohani said Iran's decision concerning the reactor could only be reversed "if they (the other signatories) act on all of their commitments concerning the facility." -Press TV - 7/3/19

Iran exported $13B worth of goods and services to Iraq

- Iran has managed to export some $13 billion worth of goods and services to neighboring Iraq in the last Iranian calendar year which ended in March 2019, a business magnate has revealed. Yahya Al Eshaq, who heads the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday that the value of the Iranian export to Iraq increased by 37 percent in the 12-month period. -Press TV - 7/3/19

The JCPOA And Exiting The Iran Crisis

- "No nuclear weapons," declares President Trump, identifying that objective as his top priority regarding Iran. The contradiction with Trump's own policy toward Iran is jarring. The starting point, and a continuing leitmotif, of that policy has been the administration's reneging on, and effort to destroy, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that has the very purpose of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and that closed all possible paths to such a weapon. -Paul R. Pillar - 6/28/19

Persian Gulf Escalation Threatens Drinking Water

- The Persian Gulf is one of the most populous and environmentally-sensitive regions in the world. Consequently, it is no surprise that Gulf states are increasingly dependent on desalination for their drinking water. But that dependence carries severe risks in a region as volatile as the Gulf has been, especially in light of recent tensions between the United States and Iran. -Najmedin Meshkati - 6/27/19

Seven Steps For Trump To Get U.S. Out Of The Mess Of His Own Creation

- This time the Islamic Republic of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, the IRGC, had no problem admitting, even bragging, about shooting down the most advanced and the most expensive American pilotless drone out of the skies. The ten-miles-high drone was hit by an indigenous surface-to-air missile over what the IRGC insists was Iranian airspace. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/26/19

Can International Institutions Stop A U.S.-Iran War?

- The similarities between the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and today's rhetoric and events triggering Iran-U.S. hostilities are startling. The March 2003 invasion of Iraq, for instance, was premeditated. Preparations for attacking Iraq had been underway for months prior to the actual start of military activities. -Parisa Zangeneh - 6/26/19

Iran Can Do Better Than Counter Pressure With Pressure

- There is a flaw in the Iranian plan to use partial non-implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA)-and maybe eventual withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)-to put pressure on Europe and other U.S. allies to persuade President Donald Trump to lift the economic siege of Iran. It assumes that those allies have greater influence over Trump's decision-making than has been apparent in the past. -Peter Jenkins - 6/25/19

The Fog Of Selling A War

- The "fog of war," about which Carl von Clausewitz wrote, refers to the confusion and lack of knowledge of what an adversary is up to on a chaotic battlefield. Currently, those promoting or welcoming a war with Iran are using a different kind of fog. It should be easier to see through the current war-selling fog than it was to see what was happening on smoke-filled battlefields of Clausewitz's time. -Paul R. Pillar - 6/21/19

IN THE SHADOW OF PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY: Realities Don't Always Follow Common Sense

- The shape of Iran in geographic atlases resembles a sitting cat; perhaps sitting and waiting as cats often do. We all know how a cat behaves when cornered and threatened by some formidable enemy such as a large dog. The cat, not seeing some escape route, does not cower and crawl into a tight spot and plead for mercy! It puffs up, making itself look as big as possible, and attacks its adversary with fully spread claws. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/17/19

President Xi: China to promote ties with Iran no matter what

- Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing will continue to promote steady development of ties with Tehran no matter how the situation changes. He made the remarks on Friday during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit underway in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, the official Xinhua news agency said. -Press TV - 6/14/19

What does the Trump administration want from Iran?

- The showdown in the Persian Gulf is not like the U.S. and the Soviet Union incrementally adjusting the balance of power, as they did during the Cold War. Mixed signals, bad timing and this kind of uncalibrated brinksmanship is how World War I began and spiraled out of control. It has brought the U.S. closer to the next Middle East war. -Noah Weisbord, The Conversation - 6/14/19

Iran's Supreme Leader to Japan's Prime Minister: Trump not worthy of exchanging messages with

- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei dismisses US President Donald Trump as a person not worthy of a response or a message, stressing that negotiations with Washington cannot help solve any problem. Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a Thursday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who told the Leader he was carrying a message from the US president. - 6/13/19

Tanker Crews Rescued Safely By Iran After Reported Attacks In Gulf Of Oman

- Dozens of crewmembers have been rescued after two tankers transporting petroleum products were reportedly attacked and caught fire in the Gulf of Oman. The June 13 incidents come a month after attacks on four tankers off the nearby United Arab Emirates increased tensions between Tehran and Washington and U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. - 6/13/19

Japan's Abe On Tehran Mission To Help Ease U.S.-Iran Tensions

- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a military conflict should be avoided at all costs amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran. Abe spoke in Tehran on June 11 following talks with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who praised his meeting with the Japanese prime minister as successful and said that the two had discussed economic ties and the 2015 nuclear deal with major world powers. -RFE/RL - 6/13/19

Japan's Prime Minister Abe arrives in Tehran on historic visit

- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in Iran on a first visit by a Japanese premier to Tehran in more than 40 years, with a plan to help ease tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States. Prime Minister Abe arrived in Tehran on Wednesday morning. -Press TV - 6/12/19

Can Mediation Efforts Between US And Iran Succeed?

- The visit of the German foreign minister was not a resounding success, to say the least. First, prior to coming to Tehran, he visited some Arab states, including Jordan and the UAE, demonstrating where Germany's priorities were. Second, his tone during his talks, according to Iranian news outlets, was arrogant and hectoring. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/12/19

200 Iranian Activists Call For Unconditional Talks With U.S.

- In a statement on Sunday, June 9, more than 200 civil and political activists living in and outside of Iran called for unconditional talks between Iran and the U.S. Referencing the Iranian people's desire for detente with forces around the region and world at large, 225 signatories to the statement called for the public and civil and political activists to urge the Iranian and American administrations to hold talks. -Radio Farda - 6/11/19

Russia And China Voice Support For Iran After Xi Visit To Kremlin

- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Kremlin talks that reflected increasingly close ties between the two countries that were communist rivals during the Cold War. At the conclusion of the meetings a joint statement by Russia and China voiced support for Iran and commended Iran's implementation of the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers, reported Russia's Interfax news agency. -Radio Farda - 6/6/19

Iran's Khamenei Speaks Softly About Trump, Lashes Out At Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

- An unprecedented change of tone about U.S. President Donald Trump turned out to be the highlight of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech on the 30th anniversary of his predecessor's death on Tuesday June 4. -Radio Farda - 6/5/19

My Pentagon Regret: As the U.S. Rattles Its Sabers at Tehran, Echoes of Sabers Past

- Earlier this month, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group -- the massive aircraft carrier itself with its dozens of warplanes and thousands of sailors and marines, a guided missile cruiser, and four destroyers -- suddenly began to make its way from the Mediterranean Sea into the Persian Gulf, heading for the waters off Iran. Pentagon sources spoke of ominous but unspecified threats. The U.S. military moved into a showy state of readiness, with reports that a force of up to 120,000 troops might be mobilized and sent to the Middle East for a possible future war with Iran. -James Carroll, TomDispatch - 6/4/19

U.S. Displays Lack Of Understanding Of Iranian Politics And Society By Designating IRGC

- Trump is making a strategic mistake with significant consequences for Iran-West/US relations. The Guard has much domestic support in Iran due to its role in rebuilding the nation after its costly war with Iraq. Without the Revolutionary Guards, an indispensable part of the official army, Iran could not have defeated Saddam's invasion (1980-1988). Conservative estimates place casualties of Saddam's "imposed war" at around 1 million for Iran. -Younes Mahmoudieh - 5/30/19

Trump: U.S. Wants Iran Without Nuclear Weapons, Not Seeking Regime Change

- U.S. President Donald Trump, who is on a state visit to Japan, has said that the United States is not seeking regime change in Iran, amid heightened tensions between the two countries. "We're not looking for regime change, we're looking for no nuclear weapons," Trump said after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, adding that he thinks "we'll make a deal" with Tehran. -RFE/RL - 5/27/19

Iran's Zarif says finds no reason to answer Pompeo's phone call

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said because of the bad approach of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he finds no reason to answer the phone if he calls. "Pompeo makes sure that every time he talks about Iran, he insults me," Zarif said in a recent interview with Reuters. "Why should I even answer his phone call?" -Tehran Times - 5/26/19

Effort To Force Trump To Seek Congressional War Approval For Iran Fails

- An effort to force the Trump administration to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran has failed after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee turned down the bipartisan proposal tabled by Democratic senators Chris Murphy and Tom Udall. -Radio Farda - 5/24/19

Chabahar Port: U.S. geopolitical interests offer Iran sanctions loophole amid mounting tension

- The Indian-backed Iranian port of Chabahar has emerged as a major loophole in a tightening military and economic noose and ever harsher U.S. sanctions that President Donald J. Trump, reluctant to be sucked into yet another war, sees as the best way to either force Tehran to its knees or achieve regime change. - 5/24/19

U.S. Lawmakers Set Against Plans To Sell Offensive Arms To Saudi Arabia

- Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has warned of a White House plan to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in spite of a ban by Congress. "I am hearing that Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act and notice a major new sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they drop in Yemen) in a way that would prevent Congress from objecting. Could happen this week," Murphy tweeted on Wednesday 22 May. -RFE - 5/24/19

62 Organizations Tell Congress: Halt a March to War with Iran

- We write to request that Congress take urgent action to halt a march to war with Iran. The Trump administration, spurred on by National Security Advisor John Bolton, has moved the U.S. into a war posture. Over the last few weeks, Bolton pushed through unprecedented sanctions and escalated the war of words intended to provoke retaliation from the Iranians. Now, Bolton has used a routine carrier deployment to the Middle East to threaten Iran with "unrelenting force" and has overseen the revision of war plans that would send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran takes his bait. - 5/23/19

There will be no talks with U.S. as long as it keeps mistreating Iran: National Security Council's spokesman

- Iran's top security body says the Islamic Republic will not hold any talks with the US as long as Washington sticks to its hostile approach in dealing with the Iranian nation. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC)'s spokesman Keivan Khosravi said on Thursday that Tehran will not engage in any negotiations with this US "as long as there is no change in such behavior, the country's rights are not respected" and practical measures are not taken instead of mere rhetoric. "There will be no negotiations at all," he emphasized. -Press TV - 5/23/19

US grants sanctions waiver for Iraq to import energy from Iran: Official

- The US envoy to Baghdad says Washington has exempted Baghdad from some of its unilateral anti-Iran sanctions, allowing Iraq to continue importing energy from Iran. US charge d'affaires Joey Hood told reporters on Wednesday Baghdad can now buy energy from Iran, a report by Al-Alam news network said. The waiver will allow Iraq to continue buying gas and electricity from Iran. -Press TV - 5/23/19

Lessons From The Gulf Of Tonkin Incident: The Iran Script

- Disturbing similarities between the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003 and the Trump administration's bellicosity toward Iran keep accumulating. They include war-selling rhetoric seemingly derived from the same script. But in some respects, the more striking parallel to the present occurred over half a century ago, beyond the living memory of most Americans. The time was August 1964, and the place was the dark nighttime waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/22/19

Will The U.S Pressures Bring Iran To The Negotiating Table?

- It didn't require a crystal ball to predict that some false-flag incident might escalate tensions in the current display of hostilities between Iran and the United States or its regional allies. That was why in the final paragraph in my previous article I cautioned Iran to "...create closer dialog with the Arab counterparts to watch out for deliberate accidents that might ignite the powder keg and destroy both nations." Well, the incident happened the day after my post on Payvand, as it was obvious something like that would take place sooner or later, and likely would be repeated in days or weeks to come. -Kam Zarrabi - 5/17/19

What Makes Iran Look Like An Immediate Threat

- The current crisis atmosphere in U.S.-Iranian relations, in which the risk of open warfare appears greater than it has been in years, is solely and unequivocally due to the policies and actions of the Trump administration. To point this out does not mean that actions of the Iranian regime have not come to be part of the crisis atmosphere as well. It instead means that such an atmosphere would never have existed in the first place if the administration had not turned its obsession with Iran into the relentless campaign of hostility that has become one of the single most prominent threads of the administration's foreign policy. -Paul R. Pillar - 5/17/19

In Beijing, Iranian FM Zarif Calls For 'Concrete Action' To Salvage Nuclear Deal

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged China, Russia, and other "partners" to take "concrete action" to safeguard a nuclear deal that the United States exited a year ago. Zarif made the call on May 17 upon arriving in Beijing where he held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. -RFE/RL - 5/17/19

Iranian-American organizations campaign against U.S. war with Iran

- Iranian-American organizations are actively campaigning against a U.S. war with Iran encouraging members of community to write to their members of Congress urging them to support the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act. - 5/13/19

A Realistic Alternative To A War Between The United States And Iran: Let Someone Else Do It!

- Much to the delight of my regular detractors, I have cut back from writing my almost monthly opinion articles about the ongoing US/Iran tug-of-war. However, with the appointment of the warmonger neoconservative psychopath, John Bolton, as the national security advisor by the Clueless Clown-in-Chief, this decades-long almost ceremonial push and pull seems to be reaching, at least potentially, a disastrous flash point deserving of a bareknuckle commentary. -Kam Zarrabi - 5/11/19

The Looming War And Tehran's Ostrich Politics

- Last week, tensions between Iran and the United States reached even more alarming levels. First, Iran's Supreme Leader admonished Iranians that since the enemy-read America-is in war mode, Iran, too, should prepare for war (Arayesh Jangi Begirad). Then there was the news of the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln going to the Middle East, ostensibly because of threats posed by Iran. According to some reports, this move was triggered by intelligence that Iran was moving missiles to the Persian Gulf. -Shireen T. Hunter - 5/11/19

Grim Outlook For Iran Nuclear Deal

- Iran's patience with Europe's feeble submission to one of the most villainous U.S. administrations of all time finally ran out on May 8. That day President Hassan Rouhani told the European parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), via remarks at a session of his Cabinet, that henceforth Iranian performance of certain of the agreement's commitments would be conditional on European performance of all its commitments. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 5/9/19

Iran giving remaining signatories chance to save JCPOA: Foreign Minister Zarif

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says it is time for Tehran's remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal to uphold their end of the bargain following the US withdrawal, because Iran has provided them with a 60-day "opportunity" to salvage the landmark agreement. - 5/8/19

Bolton's War With Iran

- National Security Advisor John Bolton, aided by his comrade-in-arms Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is doing everything possible to instigate a war with Iran. Naked aggression as a means of starting such a war may be too much for even Bolton to pull off, so the strategy has been to try to pressure and goad Iran into doing something-anything-that could be construed as a casus belli. So far, no doubt to Bolton's frustration, Iran has exercised remarkable restraint in the face of unrelenting and escalating hostility from the Trump administration. -Paul Pillar - 5/7/19

Iran's Currency Drops To A Seven-Month Low In Tehran's Forex Market

- Iran's currency reached its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in the past seven months, according to reports from Iran on Tuesday, May 7. Foreign exchange websites reporting virtually live on actual free market rates, say that the Iranian rial reached a low of 154,000 against the greenback. - 5/7/19

European Deal Signatories Criticize U.S. Move On Iran Nuclear, Oil Sanctions

- The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany expressed concern about the U.S. decision not to extend two waivers related to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and others regarding Tehran's oil industry. -RFE/RL - 5/6/19

Saudi Arabia Rescues Troubled Iranian Oil Tanker "Happiness I" In Red Sea

- Saudi Arabia says its coast guard has rescued a distressed Iranian oil tanker off the Red Sea port of Jeddah, raising concerns that the ship's cargo could be leaking. Officials said early on May 2 that it had received an emergency call from the Happiness I vessel regarding "engine failure and the loss of control." The location was described as 70 kilometers south of Jeddah in western Saudi Arabia. - 5/2/19

FM Zarif hails Persian Gulf as Iran's lifeline on national day

- Iran is commemorating the National Day of the Persian Gulf. Honoring the occasion, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has highlighted the significance of the strategic body of water, describing it as a "lifeline" for the country. Every year, Iranians observe the Persian Gulf Day on the 10th of Ordibehesht, the second month on the Persian calendar, which usually falls on April 30. -Press TV - 4/30/19

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif: US Trying to 'Bring Iran to Its Knees'

- Zarif, in an interview broadcast on the U.S. cable show Fox News Sunday, said a "B team" of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, and leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is trying to push U.S. President Donald Trump "into a confrontation he doesn't want." "They have tried to bring the U.S. into a war," Zarif said, with the goal, "at least," of Iranian regime change. -Ken Bredemeier, VOA - 4/29/19

Iran's Quds Force chief: Negotiations with U.S. at current situation is equal to surrender

- Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC Qods Force, told a police gathering in Tehran on Monday that negotiations with the Trump administration at the current situation is equal to total surrender. "Through economic pressure the enemy wants to bring us to the negotiating table but such a negotiation would be an example of surrender; however, our people are vigilant and clever and believe that negotiation in the current conditions is pure surrender and we will not give in to such an indignity," the major general remarked. -Tehran Times - 4/29/19

Putin Says Russia Will Host Summit In August With Presidents Of Iran, Azerbaijan

- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Iranian President Hassan Rohani at a summit in Russia during August. Putin made the announcement to journalists in Beijing on April 26 after meeting with Aliyev on the sidelines of China's so-called Belt and Road forum - an initiative aimed at building trade and transportation infrastructure that links China with South and Central Asia, Europe, and Africa. -RFE/RL - 4/26/19

Total Negligence of the role of the Iranians in Moslem (Islamic) Civilization in Cat Stevens - Yusuf Islam's book, Why I still Carry a Guitar

- As an old 'fan' of Cat Stevens, I do find myself indebted to his songs and music, and as a Moslem emotionally think the same with Yusuf Islam's book Why I still carry a Guitar. From one perspective he is telling Hadith Nafs (my story or my Ego's story) in this book; relieving an ignoramus' suppressed anger, resentment... piled up all these long years, in relation of how Moslems are depicted largely in the West, as some barbarous peoples, Pagans, terrorists and... and... and... Thanking the author again and again, for his hard endeavor to show the other face of Islam. Yet,... -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 4/24/19

Iran will not talk with US as long as it keeps lying: President Rouhani

- President Hassan Rouhani says Washington's claims of seeking negotiations with Iran are "mere lies" and that the United States, in fact, intends to force the Iranian nation to its knees. Contrary to what some are trying to promote, "the US does not possess the willingness for negotiations at all," the president told a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday. -Press TV - 4/24/19

Turkey Slams US as Tensions Escalate Over Iranian Sanctions

- U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to end waivers from sanctions for countries importing Iranian oil threatens to further escalate tensions with Turkey. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slammed Washington's latest move. "We support an international system and multilateralism established through legal rules. The fact that a country alone disrupts this and puts pressure on everyone to comply with its decisions is damaging and jeopardizing the international legal system," Cavusoglu said at a press conference Tuesday. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 4/24/19

Tehran Municipality negotiating to restore Taq Kasra in Iraq

- Tehran Municipality is in talks with Baghdad's urban planners and authorities to restore a number of aging monuments in Iraq including Taq Kasra, which is an architecturally-important Sasanian-era Persian monument. Taq Kasra, also called Ivan Madaen or the Archway of Ctesiphon, are names given to the remains of a circa 3rd-6th-century Sasanian-era Persian monument, which is located near the modern town of Salman Pak, a city located approximately 15 miles south of Baghdad. - 4/23/19

MPs Protest Iraqi Militia Commander's Presence in Iranian Crisis Management Meeting

- Two members of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) have bitterly protested the deployment of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraq's Popular Mobilization Force or PMF) in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, southwest of the country. Foreign military forces may enter Iran only if the government or parliament issue an entry visa for them, the MPs have argued. - 4/19/19

Iran to host World Health Summit regional meeting in Kish Island

- Iran will host The World Health Summit (WHS), one of the world's most prominent forums for addressing global health issues, announced the Iranian deputy health minister for research and technology. The World Health Summit Regional Meeting 2019 is organized by Tehran University of Medical Sciences and will be held in Persian Gulf's Kish Island on April 29-30, IRIB quoted Reza Malekzadeh as saying. - 4/17/19

Iranian FM's reminder to E3: No prohibition on enrichment under JCPOA

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reminded the Europeans that a 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, does not prohibit the country from enriching uranium. Zarif's reprimand in a Monday tweet came after French Ambassador to the US Gerard Araud said Tehran should not need to be "massively enriching uranium after the JCPOA." -Press TV - 4/15/19

Iran to retaliate any US move against IRGC in Persian Gulf: Envoy

- Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's envoy to the United Kingdom, has warned the United States that Tehran will "forcefully retaliate" any moves by the US military against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which was designated as a terrorist organization by US President Donald Trump earlier this week. - 4/12/19

Iranian oil exports recover close to pre-sanction levels: S&P Global Platts

- Iranian exports of crude oil and condensate have surged to levels near before sanctions, surprising market observers and affording the country an important victory in a US "economic war" on Tehran. Iran exported 1.70 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in March, the highest since October when shipments fell to 1.08 million bpd, data from shipping sources compiled by S&P Global Platts showed. -Press TV - 4/10/19

IAEA chief Amano reaffirms Iran's compliance with nuclear deal

- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reaffirmed Iran's compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "In my regular reports to the board I have stated that Iran is implementing those commitments," IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano stressed on Tuesday. "Since January 2016, the agency [IAEA] has been verifying and monitoring Iran's implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA," he added. -Press TV - 4/3/19

Maximum Pressure On Iran Still Isn't Working

- Almost a year after President Trump reneged on U.S. commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, there is not the slightest sign that this move is achieving the declared objective of Iran crawling back to the negotiating table to negotiate a "better deal." -Paul R. Pillar - 4/2/19



Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran

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