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November 21 2017
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Cabinet Minister Indicates Israel Has Had Secret Contacts With Saudis Over Iran Concerns

- An Israeli cabinet minister has indicated that Israel has had secret contacts with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries over their mutual concerns about Iran, an apparent first acknowledgment by a senior official about covert dealings. - 11/21/17

Iran's president Rouhani extols regional efforts to uproot ISIS

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has lauded the defeat of the Daesh (ISIS) terror group in Iraq and Syria, thanking all the nations and forces who pooled their resources to crush the remnants of the Takfiri outfit in the two neighboring countries. Backed by popular groups and Iranian military advisors, armed forces in Iraq and Syria have managed to flush Daesh militants out of their last strongholds in both countries, declaring full victory over the notorious terror group. - 11/21/17

Moscow's Balancing Act In Syria

- Russia and Iran, as is well known, have been cooperating closely in Syria. The combination of ground forces from Iran and its various Shi'a militia allies plus primarily air forces from Russia have succeeded in helping the Bashar al-Assad regime maintain power, regain control over much of the territory that it had lost, and put particularly the Arab opposition to the government on the defensive. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 11/21/17

Turkey Hosts Iranian, Russian FMs as Ankara-NATO Dispute Festers

- Turkey's Foreign Minister Melvin Cavusolgu is hosting his Russian and Iranian counterparts at the Mediterranean Sea resort of Antalya to prepare the ground for Wednesday's summit in Russia to discuss Syria. Despite Ankara backing opposing sides to Tehran and Moscow in the Syrian civil war, they have been increasingly cooperating to resolve the conflict. The three countries armed forces are deployed in creating a "de-escalation zone" in the Syrian enclave of Idlib, one of last strongholds of rebels fighting the Damascus regime. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 11/20/17

Iranian IRGC Commander Killed In Syria

- Iranian media have reported that a commander in the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been killed in fighting against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria. The state-run Fars news agency reported on November 19 that Khairollah Samadi, an IRGC commander in charge of a unit in Syria, was killed in fighting on November 16 in the town of Abu Kamal, which has since been recaptured by Syrian government forces. - 11/20/17

MbS: Pride Cometh Before The Fall?

- Until only a few months ago, Saudi Arabia's conduct of its domestic and foreign policies was largely characterized by a good deal of caution, a lack of bombast, and a respect for established traditions. One area where the role of tradition, and respect for rank and precedence, was particularly important was the issue of succession in the royal family. Until recently, everyone inside and outside the kingdom was quite certain that once the reigning monarch died or was incapacitated, the next in line would follow and no one would challenge the established order of succession. -Shireen T. Hunter - 11/18/17

Senior Iranian official warns Macron against meddling in Iran's internal affairs

- A senior Iranian official has advised French President Emmanuel Macron against meddling in Iran's internal affairs, including such strategic issues as the Iranian defense program. Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, made the remark in an interview with IRIB News after Macron said Iran's ballistic missile program had "to be curtailed." - 11/18/17

Turkish Minister Says U.S. Iran Sanctions Case 'Fabricated,' 'Politically Motivated'

- Turkey's foreign minister has accused the United States of bringing what he called a "politically motivated" and "fabricated" case against a Turkish-Iranian businessman accused of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions. - 11/18/17

Hariri Says He'll Return to Lebanon in Coming Days, Announce His Position

- PARIS - Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said Saturday at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris that he would return to Beirut in the coming days and announce his position on the crisis in his country after holding talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun. -Lisa Bryant, VOA - 11/18/17

Iranian-Turkish Relations Deepen with Shared Regional Goals

- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to attend a summit with Iranian and Russian leaders to discuss Syria. It will be Erdogan's second meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a month. Bilateral relations have warmed significantly in recent months between the regional rivals, since the Turkish president criticized Tehran in June, accusing it of Persian expansion in the region, a threat he said needed to be challenged. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 11/17/17

Reza Zarrab, Man Accused In Iran Sanctions Case, Reported Working With U.S. Prosecutors

- A Turkish-Iranian businessman accused of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions did not show up for a second court hearing on November 16, fueling speculation that he has made a deal to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors. NBC provided no details but suggested that Zarrab may be cooperating with authorities in connection with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation... - 11/17/17

The Afghan Peace Process And Women

- has become even more difficult for women to find their way to the negotiating table and participate in the peace process. However, this failure to include women peace-builders ultimately presents one of the biggest obstacles to achieving lasting peace. In fact, the fate of the peace process may very well be tied to the position of women in the peace-building framework. -Quhramaana Kakar, LobeLog - 11/16/17

Rentierism and Rivalry Between Riyadh and Tehran

- In response to the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the United States has long pursued a strategy of counterbalancing, extending its security umbrella to cover the kingdom and the GCC states. But as promises of security fade in the face of decreasing belief in the American commitment, infighting in the GCC, and the advent of Saudi military adventurism, security is no longer a sufficient paradigm for policy that seeks to temper an intensifying regional rivalry. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 11/15/17

Iran Quake Survivors Spend Second Night In Open As Death Toll Rises

- Thousands of people spent a second night in makeshift tents or out in the open as authorities downplayed hope for finding more survivors of a powerful earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border that killed hundreds of people. Iran's Kermanshah Province bore the brunt of the quake, with state media saying that at least 430 people died and about 7,000 others were injured in the country when the quake hit on November 12. - 11/14/17

Israel's Threats Could Push It into Unnecessary War with Iran

- Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are striving together to cancel the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran. Even Netanyahu's new mantra, that he only wants to "fix" the deal, is actually mean to bring about its cancelation in a slightly more roundabout way. Subjecting Iran to new conditions would lead it to abandon the deal, thereby causing its collapse. Alongside the attempts to kill the agreement, however, an old threat has reappeared on the horizon: preventative war against Iran. -Shemuel Meir, LobeLog - 11/14/17

PHOTOS: Death And Destruction After Powerful Quake Near Iran-Iraq Border

- Rescue workers and desperate relatives dug through debris in a search for survivors after a powerful earthquake hit near the Iran-Iraq border. 395 Iranians were confirmed dead as of Monday afternoon. Over 6,650 others were also injured. Iran's Interior Ministry said on November 13 that most of the casualties were in Kermanshah Province, with residents reporting feeling the 7.3 magnitude quake throughout the region, from Turkey to Kuwait. - 11/13/17

Photos: Maskan-e Mehr government built affordable housing in Sarpol-e Zahab, Iran damaged severely in quake

- Users in Iranian social media are particularly angry about the news of damages and casualties from Sarpol-e Zahab. This town is home to a government built apartment complex known as "Maskan-e Mehr" that were constructed during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presidency as an affordable housing project. These government housing complexes have been heavily damaged and angry users are asking questions about building safety standards. - 11/13/17

First cargo of Indian wheat reaches Afghanistan via Iran

- Afghanistan says it has received an inaugural consignment of wheat from India through a project which has opened a new trade and transit route in the region. The shipment of almost 15,000 tonnes of wheat dispatched from India's western port of Kandla late last month reportedly reached the Afghan province of Nimroz, which borders Iran, on Saturday. - 11/13/17

Iran rejects 'delusional' Bahraini accusation after oil pipeline blast

- Iran has dismissed a recent Bahraini allegation linking the Islamic Republic to an oil pipeline fire near the capital, Manama. On Friday night, an explosion at an oil pipeline, belonging to the state-run Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), caused a fire in the vicinity of the village of Buri. The pipeline was running between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. - 11/13/17

Into the Afghan Abyss (Again)

- After nine months of confusion, chaos, and cascading tweets, Donald Trump's White House has finally made one thing crystal clear: the U.S. is staying in Afghanistan to fight and -- so they insist -- win. "The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might," said the president in August, trumpeting his virtual declaration of war on the Taliban. -Alfred W. McCoy, LobeLog - 11/13/17

PHOTOS: Millions Of Shi'ite Pilgrims Throng Iraq's Karbala For Arbaeen Commemoration

- An estimated 14 million Shi'ite pilgrims thronged Iraq's holy city of Karbala on November 10 to mark the annual Arbaeen commemoration. Arbaeen is one of the biggest religious festivals on earth and marks the end of the 40-day mourning period for the 7th-century killing of Imam Hussein by the forces of the Caliph Yazid -- a formative event in Shi'ite Islam. The Arbaeen holiday is observed in Shi'ite communities worldwide, with large gatherings in Iran and southern Lebanon. - 11/11/17

Iranian Website Says Pilot Dead In Fighter-Jet Crash

- An Iranian pilot has died after his Sukhoi-22 fighter-bomber jet crashed in southern Iran, the website of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps reports. The November 11 report on said the plane was taking part in a morning exercise in the southern Fars Province when it crashed. It did not elaborate. - 11/11/17

IAEA Chief tells U.S. nuclear commitments undertaken by Iran being implemented

- During a visit to the United States, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano says Iran has been complying with the 2015 nuclear agreement, and that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Tehran under the deal are being implemented. Amano met with US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in New York on Thursday, where they discussed the UN nuclear watchdog's verification and monitoring of Iran's implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). - 11/10/17

Don't Let Misplaced Concerns over Missiles Jeopardize Iran Deal

- One of the main grievances of President Trump and other critics of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) has been its silence on ballistic missiles. In connection with his recent refusal to certify that sanctions relief under the JCPOA is proportionate to Iran's respective commitments, Trump invited Congress to take tough measures against Iran's "dangerous ballistic missile activities." In particular, he stressed the need to "prevent Iran from developing... an intercontinental ballistic missile" [ICBM]. -Tytti Erasto and Sina Azodi, LobeLog - 11/10/17

Saad Hariri's Saudi Resignation: Good News for Iran and Hezbollah

- On November 2, Prime Minister Hariri hosted Ali Akbar Velayati, senior foreign policy advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei. After saying that Saad Hariri was "a respectable man," Velayati reaffirmed Tehran's support for the Lebanese government and the country's stability. But on November 3, Hariri indicated that he had to return that same night to Riyadh to meet King Salman. In a detail that turned out later to have a major significance, he was asked by the Saudis to come alone, without his staff, not even with his chief of cabinet. -Aurelie Daher - 11/9/17

Iran deal only covers nuclear-related issue: EU Foreign Policy Chief

- Iran and six world powers has nothing to do with the Islamic Republic's national missile program, emphasizing the importance of keeping the multilateral pact "as it is." Speaking to reporters ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, Mogherini said Iran's missile program or its regional polices are not related to the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as two separate issues. - 11/9/17

Regime Change in Iran By Other Means

- While the Iran nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) is far from safe from attacks by Donald Trump, it is becoming clear that a Plan B is being put in motion. The United States is clearly a part of it, but this time Saudi Arabia is driving the agenda. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 11/9/17

UN: Saudi Blockade Could Drive Yemen to Massive Famine

- The United Nations has warned that unless a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition allows humanitarian aid access into Yemen, it will lead to "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims." - 11/9/17

Iranian Hard-Line Newspaper Kayhan Suspended Amid Saudi Tensions

- Iran's judiciary has suspended publication of a hard-line conservative newspaper over a provocative front-page story that suggested Dubai could become the next target of a missile attack by Yemen's Huthi rebels after they fired rockets at the Saudi capital. - 11/9/17

Egyptian Leader Urges De-Escalation Of Tensions Between Saudis, Iran

- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said he supports Saudi Arabia in its standoff with Iran, but he does not want to see the tensions turn into an open military confrontation between the two rivals. "We support our [Saudi] brothers," Sisi said at a meeting with journalists in Sharm el-Sheikh on November 8. But he stressed the importance of de-escalating tensions between the two regional powers. - 11/9/17

EU's Mogherini Says U.S. Lawmakers Aim To Comply With Iran Nuclear Deal

- The European Union's foreign policy chief says U.S. lawmakers have signaled they plan to ensure the United States complies with the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Speaking to reporters in Washington on November 7, Federica Mogherini declined to comment on whether legislation pending before Congress that would attach additional conditions for U.S. sanctions relief would violate the landmark nuclear accord. However, she said she "got clear indications that the intention is to keep the United States compliant with the agreement." - 11/8/17

Iran Tells Saudi Arabia Threats Will Fail, Calls For Regional Unity

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has warned Saudi Arabia that threats against Iran will achieve nothing as tensions continue to rise between the regional rivals. "You know the might and place of the Islamic republic," Rohani said at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on November 8, referring to Saudi Arabia. "Those more powerful than you [Saudi Arabia] have not been able to do anything against the Iranian people." - 11/8/17

UN: Saudi Blockade of Yemen's Ports Causing Humanitarian Catastrophe

- The United Nations is calling for an immediate halt to the Saudi Arabian coalition's blockade of life-saving commercial goods into Yemen. The coalition closed all land, sea and air ports in Yemen following a ballistic missile launch by Yemen's Houthi rebels near Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, Saturday. -Lisa Schlein, VOA - 11/8/17

Saudi Arabia: Wellspring of Regional Instability

- The anachronistic family enterprise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been politically fragile. In some respects it is remarkable that this entity has endured into the twenty-first century. A clan of royals lives on rake-offs from the country's petroleum wealth, while using more of that wealth to buy off a fast-growing population. The Saudis have had to play that game through the vicissitudes of the oil market on which the Saudi economy depends. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 11/8/17

Iraq in talks to export Kirkuk oil to Iranian refinery

- Iran and Iraq have reportedly started talks over the shipment of crude oil from the fields around Kirkuk to the Kermanshah refinery inside the Iranian territory. Reports quoted Alaa al-Mussawi, the director of Iraq's state-oil marketer State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO), as saying in a statement that the Kermanshah refinery would be supplied with 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Kirkuk fields. - 11/8/17

Almost two years on, Iran fully committed to nuclear deal terms: IAEA Chief

- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again hailed Iran for remaining fully committed to the terms of its 2015 nuclear agreement with six world powers, amid global concerns over American threats against the landmark pact. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was addressing a conference on nuclear energy at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington on Monday November 6, 2017. - 11/7/17

Saudi Arabia threatens Iran after Yemen missile strike

- Saudi Arabia has ramped up threats to Iran, saying there will be a response "in the appropriate time and manner," following a missile strike from neighboring Yemen, which has been under a nonstop bombardment campaign by a Saudi-led coalition for over two and a half years. - 11/6/17

Trump's allegations about Iran missiles in Yemen baseless: IRGC Chief

- The chief commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has dismissed as "baseless" the allegations leveled by US President Donald Trump about the Islamic Republic's provision of missiles to Yemeni forces. "Trump's claims about providing Yemen with missiles by the Islamic Republic of Iran are baseless," Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday. - 11/5/17

Eight Iranian Border Guards Killed In Clashes Near Turkish Border

- Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in clashes with militants near the Turkish frontier. Iranian state television and the official IRNA news agency both reported the deaths, which came amid battles near Chaldoran in northern Iran on November 3. - 11/4/17

Osama Bin Laden's America

- Honestly, if there's an afterlife, then the soul of Osama bin Laden, whose body was consigned to the waves by the U.S. Navy back in 2011, must be swimming happily with the dolphins and sharks... -Tom Engelhardt - 11/4/17

US trying to whitewash 9/11 facts via wild claims against Iran: Iranian FM Zarif

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed US allegations about Iran's support for the al-Qaeda terror group, describing the claims as an attempt to "whitewash" the truth about the role US allies had in the September 11, 2001 attacks. "A record low for the reach of petrodollars: CIA & FDD fake news w/ selective AlQaeda docs re: Iran can't whitewash role of US allies in 9/11," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday. - 11/3/17

Iran and U.S. Public Opinion

- Despite an unfriendly attitude toward Iran, Americans have an appetite for diplomacy, and support for the Iran deal has risen over time. Eight recent polls found an average of 50% support for the deal. CNN/SRSS finds 67% support, the Chicago Council 60%, CBS/YouGov 58%, Economist/YouGov 56%, Morning Consult 54%, Harvard/Harris 40%, NBC/SurveyMonkey 39%, and Quinnipiac 31%. -Rethink Media - 11/3/17

Ayatollah Khamenei to Putin: Iran-Russia cooperation in Syria proved fruitful

- In a high-profile meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran on Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei noted that the experience of "good cooperation" between Tehran and Moscow in Syria showed that it is possible to achieve "common goals". "The result of this cooperation showed that Tehran and Moscow can realize common goals in difficult situations," Ayatollah Khamenei remarked. - 11/2/17

Putin and Aliyev arrive in Tehran for Iran-Russia-Azerbaijan tripartite summit

- Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan are set to hold a summit in Tehran for talks on trilateral and regional issues, with presidents of the three countries in attendance. The presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, will later on Wednesday take part in the summit with their Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. - 11/1/17

Do Americans Want to Renegotiate the Nuclear Deal with Iran?

- A recent article in The Hill claimed that "a strong majority of voters-including most Democrats" want the United States to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. The results it cites are at odds with many other polls. For example, a CNN survey done the same week found that 67 percent of Americans did not think that the United States should withdraw from the nuclear deal, while only 27 percent thought that it should. -Nancy W. Gallagher - 11/1/17

Photos: Iranian Air Force holds drills

- Overnight, fighter planes with the Iranian Air Force have conducted carpet-bombing of mock enemy positions amid the aerial maneuvers in the central province of Isfahan. Flying at low altitude, Iran's Sukho-24 and Phantom aircraft practiced the bombardment technique, which features dropping a large number of bombs on enemy targets in an area with the aim of causing uniform destruction. - 11/1/17

"Isfahan, City of Polish Children" to go on stage in Tehran and Isfahan

- "Isfahan, City of Polish Children", a play centering on Polish people and children who took refuge in the central Iranian city of Isfahan during World War II, will go on stage in Isfahan and Tehran in late November. Written by Iranian dramatist Mohammad Charmshir, the play was performed previously by a cast of Polish and Iranian actors at the Grotowski Institute in the Polish city of Wroclaw during August 2015. - 11/1/17

Washington Does Have a Clear Middle East Policy--It's Just the Wrong One

- Washington media, think tanks, various commentators and now John McCain continue hammering on an old theme- that the US has "no policy towards the Middle East." This is fake analysis. In fact the US very much does have a long-standing policy towards the Middle East. It's just the wrong one. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 11/1/17

UN Nuclear Inspections Chief Sees No Problems Checking Facilities In Iran

- United Nations nuclear inspectors have encountered no problems in checking facilities in Iran to determine whether Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, the head of the UN's atomic energy agency has said. "Our inspectors are discharging their responsibilities without problem," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano told reporters in Abu Dhabi on the sidelines of a conference on nuclear power on October 30. - 10/31/17

Iran Rejects Turkmen Proposal For Gas Shipments To Turkey

- Energy politics around the Caspian Sea breeds complications, as a recent example involving Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Armenia reminds us. Turkmenistan is in a serious bind. The country has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world but currently has only one customer -- China -- at a time when Turkmenistan's economy appears to be spiraling downward. -Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL - 10/31/17

Analysts: Turkey May Pay Heavy Price for Iraqi Kurdish Leader's Resignation

- Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani's announcement he plans to step down was greeted with jubilation in Turkey's pro-government media. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Barzani, his once close ally, of betrayal for his decision to hold an October independence referendum. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 10/31/17

Russia looking into piping gas from Iran to Pakistan, India

- Russia says it is studying a plan to export natural gas to Pakistan and India through Iran in ambitious project that would involve laying an offshore pipeline. Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper in a report said Russia was proceeding with the project out of concerns that it could lose Europe's gas market as a result of disputes with the United States and the European Union. - 10/31/17

Iraq and Iran, Sharing a Neighborhood

- In Iraq, as in Syria, the imminent extinguishing of the mini-state of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) is raising the question of whether U.S. objectives in Iraq really are focused on countering IS or will balloon into some other reason to keep American forces there indefinitely. The most common rationale voiced by those arguing for an indefinite stay is to counter Iranian influence. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 10/31/17

Iran Implementing Commitments Under Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA): IAEA Head

- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano says Iran is living up to all its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "All those involved in the JCPOA are honoring their commitments," he said in Tehran Sunday during a joint press conference with head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi. - 10/30/17

Iran To Reopen Border With Iraq's Kurdistan Region

- The chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, Mohammad Baqeri, says the country will reopen all its border crossings with the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq in the "coming days." Tehran had closed its borders with Iraq's Kurdistan region after it voted for independence in a referendum on September 25. - 10/30/17

India Launches New Trade Route To Afghanistan Via Iran

- India has launched a new trade route to landlocked Afghanistan by sea through Iran's strategic Chabahar port, a move that bypasses Pakistan and could have significant geopolitical ramifications in the region. - 10/30/17

Iraq's Kurdish Leader Massoud Barzani Steps Down

- Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani has confirmed he will be stepping down, dissolving his position as president of self-ruled northern Kurdish region and distributing his dutuies between the Kurdish prime minister, parliament and the judiciary. - 10/30/17

With Prime Minister Abadi in Tehran, Iran and Iraq pledge to maintain strong ties

- President Hassan Rouhani has told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran that Iran will continue its support for Baghdad's battle against terrorism and its efforts to boost national unity. "The Islamic Republic of Iran, in the path of fighting terrorism, strengthening unity and solidarity in Iraq, and preserving the territorial integrity of the country, has always been and will be alongside the Iraqi government and nation," Rouhani said Thursday. - 10/27/17

The coming clash: Why Iran will divide Europe from the United States

- Donald Trump is not easy to get along with. On many global security issues, Europeans take very different approaches than the new American president. But perhaps nowhere is the difference more profound than on the question of Iran. Given the president's harsh rhetoric and his recent efforts to put that talk into practice, a transatlantic clash on the issue seems almost inevitable. European countries should prepare now to minimise the damage and preserve their strategic interests on non-proliferation and the pursuit of stability in the Middle East. -Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR - 10/26/17

Photos: Tehran schools hosting foreign students

- Some 370,000 foreign students, mostly Afghan nationals, receive free of charge schooling in Iran for the current school year, starting September 23, 2017. The pictures depict students in an elementary school and a high school in Tehran, where foreign students study together with Iranian nationals. - 10/26/17

Iran's Supreme Leader Warns Visiting Iraqi President Against American Plots

- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called on neighboring Iraq to remain vigilant in the face of American plots, warning that the US is not trustworthy. In a Thursday meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran, the Leader expressed Iran's support for the Iraqi government's efforts to develop ties with regional states. - 10/26/17

Iranians won't be fooled by US games, fake sympathy: Foreign Minister Zarif

- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the US government to stop offering "fake sympathy" for the Iranian nation, saying Iranian people will not fall for such a "game." In a tweet on Wednesday, Zarif highlighted US President Donald Trump's hostile agenda against the Islamic Republic, saying his recent statements against the Iranian nation blew the lid off Washington's "faux sympathy." - 10/26/17

Iran Reopens Border Crossing With Iraq's Kurdish Region

- Iran has reopened Bashmagh border crossing with the Kurdish region of Iraq that was closed after last month's Kurdish vote for independence, Iranian state media reported. The border reopening comes a day after the Kurdish regional government offered to put its independence drive on hold in a bid to defuse tensions and start a dialogue with Baghdad. - 10/26/17

Kurds as US Allies against Iran?

- There may be a silver but risky lining for Kurdish nationalists in their devastating loss of Kirkuk and other cities on the periphery of their semi-autonomous region as they lick their wounds and vent anger over deep-seated internal divisions that facilitated the Iranian-backed Iraqi blitzkrieg. Mounting popular anger coupled with US Congressional fury could, however, position the Kurds as a key player in potential US efforts to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq and counter the Islamic republic as part of President Donald J. Trump's tougher approach towards the Islamic republic. -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog - 10/26/17

Trump Resumes Refugee Admissions into U.S., but with Greater Restrictions

- U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order resuming the admission of refugees into the country, but imposed tougher scrutiny on nationals from 11 countries identified as posing a high risk to national security. - 10/25/17

Iraqi Kurds Propose Setting Aside Referendum, Starting Dialogue

- The government in Iraq's Kurdistan region offered Wednesday to freeze the results of an independence referendum and start dialogue with the central government in Baghdad in order to prevent any further violence between the two sides. - 10/25/17

U.K. Foreign Minister Sees 'No Doubt' Iran Nuclear Deal Will Survive Despite Trump Move

- British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says there is "absolutely no doubt" the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers will survive despite the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump not to recertify the deal. Johnson, in a London speech on foreign affairs on October 23, said after meeting with the "most influential figures" in the U.S. Congress -- "none of them fans of the Iranian regime" -- he was reassured Trump's action would not kill the landmark accord. - 10/24/17

Please Stop Using 'Woman in Chador Walks by Anti-US Mural' Stock Photo for Every Article About Iran

- The general mindlessness in choosing a stock photo is what makes them so pernicious. Editors reach for an image that captures the overall theme of the article while drawing the eye of distracted media consumers-typically as an afterthought, something that accents a piece rather than defines it. It's not an easy task, but it's one that, left unexamined, can become a form of propaganda independent of any written text. -Adam Johnson, - 10/24/17

Baghdad Dismisses U.S. Call For Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq To 'Go Home'

- Iraq's Shi'ite-led government has dismissed a call by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Iranian-backed militia fighters who helped Baghdad defeat Islamic State (IS) extremists to "go home." A statement issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's office on October 23 responded to Tillerson's remarks by saying that "no party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters." - 10/23/17

Tillerson Promotes Closer Iraq-Saudi Ties To Confront Iran

- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday promoted improving ties between Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a way to counter Iran's growing military assertiveness in the region. -Ken Bredemeier, VOA - 10/23/17

Iran's trade with China up 24 percent

- The latest market figures show the level of trade between Iran and China increased by almost a quarter over the past eight months. Iran-China trade reached above $24 billion from January to the end of August this year, showing an increase of 24 percent compared to last year. - 10/23/17

The Many Flavors of Persian in Eurasia

- Is Tajik a dialect of Persian? Or a language in its own right? What differentiates it from varieties prevalent in Afghanistan and Iran? There is no easy answer to these questions because the very categories we use to think about language in Central Asia, and elsewhere, are insufficient. -James Pickett, LobeLog - 10/23/17

Iranian General Reportedly Played Key Role In Swift Takeover Of Iraq's Kirkuk

- A top Iranian military commander traveled to northern Iraq to urge Kurdish leaders to withdraw from Kirkuk in a move that Kurdish officials said played an important role in enabling Iraq's government to swiftly retake control of the city from Kurds this week. Kurdish lawmakers said Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, met leaders from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two main Kurdish political parties in Iraq and an ally of Tehran, in the city of Sulaimania the day before Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi ordered his forces to advance on Kirkuk. - 10/21/17

Iran's Not a Totally Fake Democracy, Study Says

- A new survey shows a country with a constrained but active body politic, contrary to plenty of D.C. conventional wisdom. -Rhys Dubin, Foreign Policy - 10/21/17

Future of JCPOA In Hands of GOP Indebted To Billionaire Iran Hawks

- President Donald Trump's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), appears to have fallen in line with the views espoused by several of his top donors. These funders believe that Iran poses an apocalyptic threat only addressable through military action, including the use of nuclear weapons. -Eli Clifton - 10/20/17

War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims

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