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April 29 2016
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U.S. Arrest Awakens Ghosts Of Turkey's Iran-Gold Scandal

- Reports of shoe boxes stuffed with $4.5 million in cash hidden in the home of a Turkish state bank head, plus a money-counting machine in the bedroom of a government minister's son. And allegations that state funds are being used illegally to buy and funnel gold to Iran to help it evade international sanctions over its nuclear program. Welcome back to 2013, when Turkey was rocked by a corruption scandal that implicated some of the closest associates of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Charles Recknagel, RFE/RL - 4/29/16

Iran, Russia draft military cooperation roadmap

- Iran and Russia have developed "specific plans" for bolstering the two countries' military and technical cooperation, says Iran's defense minister. Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan made the announcement following a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held on the sidelines of the 5th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in the Russian capital on Wednesday. - 4/28/16

Terror Payout Latest Challenge to U.S.-Iran Reconciliation

- Chances for a more constructive U.S.-Iran relationship in the aftermath of a landmark nuclear deal are eroding with new disputes over missiles, Iran's access to its assets in foreign banks and now a Supreme Court judgment allowing distribution of $2 billion in Iranian government money to relatives of U.S. victims of alleged Iran-backed terrorism. -Barbara Slavin - 4/27/16

Iran's Chabahar port to harbor Chinese industrial town

- The Iranian city of Chabahar is all set to host a Chinese-built industrial town as part of China's role to develop Iran's sole ocean port. A technical team of CMI of China visited Chabahar in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan on Tuesday for the launch of the Chinese industrial town project, according to IRNA. - 4/27/16

US seizure of USD 2 billion in Iranian assets highway robbery: FM Zarif

- Iran says the seizure of around $2 billion in frozen assets recently authorized by a US court ruling is "highway robbery," vowing that the Islamic Republic will retrieve the sum anyway. "It is a theft. Huge theft. It is highway robbery. And believe you me, we will get it back," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told The New Yorker in an interview published on Monday. - 4/26/16

Washington-Riyadh Chill: The Sequel

- After three months on the road, I returned to work on the eve of President Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia to discover that in my absence the decades-long strategic partnership between the kingdom and the United States had vaporized. It had passed into history, finito, kaput, done. -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog - 4/26/16

Is Trip To Iran On President Obama's Agenda?

- US President Barack Obama will likely not visit Iran before his term in office ends, White House official Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, told reporters on Thursday April 21, 2016. "Oh, Iran. Yes. Well, I think the trip to Cuba was probably enough in terms of breaking a longstanding taboo." - 4/24/16

Iran, P5+1 meet for 1st time after JCPOA implementation

- Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group of countries hold their first joint commission meeting to discuss framework for the implementation of the historic nuclear agreement they struck last year. - 4/23/16

Iran backs any move to stabilize oil market: Zangeneh

- Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran will support any initiative to stabilize the oil market after recent talks in Qatar failed to freeze production. Zangeneh told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with his South African counterpart in Tehran on Saturday that the meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha was a "good step." - 4/23/16

Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia on the Hill

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. -LobeLog - 4/23/16

Iran slams US Supreme Court ruling as money theft

- Iran has strongly condemned a ruling by the US Supreme Court granting some two billion dollars in frozen Iranian assets to the families of victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut, saying it violates international law. - 4/22/16

Saudi Arabia and Obama: Time to Reset Relations

- President Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia comes in the midst of a changing kingdom with a different outlook on its regional role and its relations with the United States. The US-Saudi relationship is becoming less "special," which is not a bad thing. Washington cannot remain slavishly dependent on the Kingdom. Nor can the Saudis expect to ride on the American coattails freely. According to The New York Times, Obama will find Saudi Arabia "deep in turmoil." -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 4/22/16

Obama in Saudi Arabia, Exporter of Oil and Bigotry

- I'm glad that President Obama is visiting Saudi Arabia, for engagement usually works better than isolation. But let's not let diplomatic niceties keep us from pointing to the insidious role that Saudi Arabia plays in sowing instability, and, for that matter, in tarnishing the image of Islam worldwide. -Nicholas Kristof, NY Times - 4/22/16

Obama Discusses Security With Gulf Allies

- At talks with King Salman, Obama's aids said he made it clear he would like the Sunni-led states to "share the neighborhood" with Iran. "The president and King discussed the challenges posed by Iran's provocative activities in the region, agreeing on the importance of an inclusive approach to de-escalating regional conflicts," the White House said. - 4/21/16

Russia, Iran Poised to Break Syrian Opposition Toehold in Aleppo

- Russia and Iran are gearing up around the key northern Syrian city of Aleppo in what appears to be the beginning of a renewed push to shore up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 4/21/16

What Have the Saudis Done For Us Lately?

- The president of the United States is going on a foreign trip, and that means it is time for another surge in temperature-taking regarding the state of relations between the United States and some of its "allies." -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 4/21/16

Top US, Iranian Diplomats Confer on Sanctions Relief for Tehran

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks Tuesday in New York with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, aimed at ensuring that Iran gets the sanctions relief promised in the landmark nuclear deal reached in January. - 4/20/16

Iranian crude output to reach pre-sanctions level by July

- A deputy to the Iranian petroleum minister says the country's crude oil production will reach pre-sanctions levels of 2011 within a couple of months. Tehran has expressed concern over market oversupply and low oil prices but also reiterated its right to regain pre-sanctions market level. - 4/20/16

Obama in the Arab Lions' Den

- President Barack Obama would surely not compare himself to a Biblical prophet. But by going this week to Riyadh to take part in a summit meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, he might as well be like Daniel in the Old Testament, thrown into the lions' den. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 4/20/16

Does the US Really Want Iran to Moderate Its Policies?

- Only three months after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the success of the nuclear deal with Iran already appears in doubt. The underlying reason is that those in the United States and Iran who opposed the agreement in the first place remain determined to sabotage it. -Shireen T. Hunter - 4/19/16

Oil Price Falls In Asian Trading After Doha Talks Fail

- Russia's Energy Minster Aleksandr Novak said at the end of the April 17 Doha meeting that the Kremlin was not optimistic about an agreement to freeze production because of "heated debates" at the conference and "Iran's position." - 4/18/16

India Between Iran and Saudi Arabia

- Continuing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the subsequent deteriorating security situation challenge India's interests. Saudi-Iran tension and its impact in Yemen have forced India to evacuate thousands of its citizens from Yemen. Therefore, it is in India's interest to maintain an effective balance between the two countries, and both countries seem to understand that. -Fatemeh Aman - 4/18/16

Parts Of S-300 Missile System Unveiled At Iranian Army Parade

- Iran has showcased parts of S-300 air-defense missile systems ordered from Russia during its annual National Army Day parade in Tehran. S-300 missile tubes and the radar equipment were shown during the April 17 military parade, according to pictures by the semiofficial ISNA news agency. - 4/18/16

She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

- This landmark exhibition of more than 80 photographs and a video installation challenges stereotypes surrounding the people, landscapes, and cultures of Iran and the Arab world. She Who Tells a Story refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today. - 4/16/16

Iran, Turkey must up anti-terror efforts: President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran and Turkey have minor differences on certain regional issues but must boost cooperation in the campaign against terrorism. Rouhani was talking to to reporters in Ankara on Saturday after he and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan oversaw the signature of eight documents for cooperation.  - 4/16/16

Iran sends OPEC governor to Doha oil freeze talks

- Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh will not attend upcoming talks between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha to find a solution to tumbling oil prices, but will send Iran's OPEC governor to the meeting. - 4/16/16

The New Normal in U.S.-Saudi Relations

- Next week's U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh is the last opportunity for the Obama administration to recalibrate the U.S.-Saudi relationship. While officially a multilateral summit between the United States and the six Gulf monarchies, all eyes will be on President Obama and King Salman. Both leaders will seek to project an image of comity. -Perry Cammack and Richard Sokolsky, LobeLog - 4/16/16

Iran's president slams any 'divisive' measure at OIC

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has slammed as unacceptable "any divisive move" at the ongoing Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference. Rouhani made the remark in an address to the 13th OIC summit in the Turkish city of Istanbul, which kicked off on Thursday. - 4/15/16

Iran drawn in Group A of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

- During the draw ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, the Islamic Republic of Iran landed in Group A of the forthcoming sports event, and was pitted against South Korea, Uzbekistan, China, Qatar and Syria. - 4/12/16

Resolving the Karabakh Conflict

- The problem with frozen conflicts is that they are never actually frozen. They are put in cold storage for a while, and whenever conditions seem propitious or expedient for any of the players they are brought out of storage. Once out, they are liable to begin melting really fast. The dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the mountainous region of Karabakh and several other cities is one such conflict. -Shireen T. Hunter - 4/12/16

Iranian Sponsorship of Terrorism?

- "Iran--the foremost state sponsor of terrorism--continues to exert its influence in regional crises in the Middle East through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its terrorist partner Lebanese Hizballah, and proxy groups," intoned Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 9 of this year. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 4/12/16

Nazarbaev, Rohani Hold Talks In Tehran

- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani have discussed building stronger trade and business ties between their countries at talks in the Iranian capital. Nazarbaev arrived in Tehran on April 11 at the start of a tour that will also take him to Turkey and Uzbekistan. - 4/11/16

Russia Delivers First Part Of S-300 Air Defense System To Iran

- Iran's Foreign Ministry says Russia has delivered the first part of its shipment of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. The announcement was made by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari on April 11. - 4/11/16

India vows to invest $20bn in development of Iran's Chabahar port

- India says it is ready to invest $20 billion in the development of Iran's southeastern Chabahar port - a move that would enable New Delhi to dodge Pakistan and establish a strategic connectivity to Afghanistan as well as the Central Asia - 4/11/16

Iran's $10Bln Mega Canal Could be Game Changer in Global Trade Routes

- Russian experts comment on the prospects for the realization of Iran's ambitious 'trans-Iranian' canal, which would run from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. -Sputnik - 4/9/16

Kerry Calls On Iran To Help End Wars In Yemen, Syria

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Iran to use its influence to help end the wars in Yemen and Syria rather than pursue "destabilizing" activities in the region. At a news conference in Bahrain as he visited U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf on April 7, Kerry condemned "the destabilizing actions of Iran, which the United States takes very seriously." - 4/8/16

Iran hopes for lasting peace between Baku, Yerevan over Karabakh

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed hope that the ceasefire agreed recently between Azerbaijan and Armenia would last to help end clashes in the disputed region of Karabakh. "We hope that the ceasefire would be lasting," Zarif told reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Thursday. - 4/8/16

Norway to launch Iran's first FLNG plan

- Iran says it is working on a plan with a Norwegian company to build a floating facility to liquefy natural gas in the Persian Gulf. NIOC chief Rokneddin Javadi said last October that LNG has returned to Iran's energy agenda, stressing that the country has devised serious plans to launch its first liquefaction project by April 2018. - 4/8/16

Russia, OPEC Said Likely To Freeze Oil Output Without Iran

- Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries can reach an agreement to freeze oil production, even if Iran doesn't join in, a top OPEC official told Bloomberg News. Kuwaiti OPEC governor Nawal al-Fezaia's prediction of an output freeze excluding Iran in an interview with Bloomberg helped send oil prices soaring more than 5 percent on world markets on April 6 and 7. - 4/7/16

UNSC resolution does not ban Su-30 fighter jet sales to Iran: Russia

- Russia has rejected a US claim that the sales of Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets to Iran were prohibited under a United Nation Security Council resolution. On Tuesday, the US Department of State Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said Washington would use its veto power in the Security Council to block the possible sales of the fighter jets to Iran. - 4/7/16

Russia, Iran Join Talks Over Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

- BAKU - The foreign ministers of Russia and Iran joined efforts on Thursday to prevent a new war between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh, while the sides in the conflict accused each other of violating a two-day-old cease-fire. -AP - 4/7/16

Nagorno-Karabakh: Chance for EU-Iran Engagement

- What was feared for a long time happened on April 2. Severe clashes erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a disputed, Armenian-majority area legally part of Azerbaijan. The clashes, which claimed the lives of at least a couple hundred people, have gone beyond the regular skirmishes along the truce line established after the war in 1994. -Eldar Mamedov - 4/6/16

Explainer: Why The Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis Matters

- This week's Nagorno-Karabakh crisis might strike most people as nothing more than another minor conflict in a remote, faraway place. But the role of the Caucasus in the global energy trade and the potential for full-scale hostilities between Azerbaijan and archrival Armenia or its clients drawing in major regional powers are reason enough to keep a close eye on whether the April 5 cease-fire holds. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 4/6/16

Turkey's Plan to Expand Its Periphery

- On March 29, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu caused quite a stir during a visit to Jordan where he stated, "Turkey's security zone starts from Latakia and passes through Aleppo, Mosul and Sulaimani (Sulaymaniya)." This confirmed that Turkey intends to expand its regional geopolitical and geo-economic projected into northern Syria. -Robert Olson, LobeLog - 4/6/16

Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons?

- President Barack Obama claimed in The Washington Post on March 30 that the United States had made important progress under his leadership toward the vision he outlined in Prague nearly seven years ago: a world free of nuclear weapons. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 4/5/16

The End of the American Empire

- I'm here to talk about the end of the American empire. But before I do I want to note that one of our most charming characteristics as Americans is our amnesia. I mean, we are so good at forgetting what we've done and where we did it that we can hide our own Easter eggs. -Chas W. Freeman, Jr., LobeLog - 4/5/16

Saudi attempting to slow Iran oil surge: Report

- A new report points to Saudi Arabia's attempts to hinder Iran's efforts to regain its market share of the global oil trade. The Financial Times report on Monday said Saudi Arabia has been banning vessels that transport Iranian crude from entering their waters. - 4/5/16

Iranian commandos deployed to Syria

- An Iranian military official says commandos from an Iranian army unit have been deployed to Syria on an advisory mission. Amir-Ali Arasteh, the deputy for coordination in the Iranian Army's Ground Forces, told Tasnim news agency on Monday that the Iranian commandos, from Brigade 65 of the Forces, had took on a mission of advising Syrian forces. - 4/4/16

Fresh Casualties Reported In Renewed Nagorno-Karabakh Fighting

- Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years. Nagorno-Karabakh, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. - 4/4/16

At Least 32 Killed In Heavy Fighting In Nagorno-Karabakh

- Intense fighting has been reported in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh inside Azerbaijan, with heavy casualties reported on both sides and the OSCE expressing its "grave concern" at developments. The Armenian military accused Azerbaijani forces of launching a major offensive, involving tanks, heavy artillery, and helicopter gunships. -RFE - 4/3/16

Pakistan Asks Tehran for Details About Alleged Indian Spy

- Pakistani authorities asked Iran to investigate a suspected Indian spy arrested last month in Baluchistan. He had allegedly been living in Chabahar, an Iranian port on the Gulf of Oman, west of Pakistan, before illegally entering Baluchistan. -Noor Zahid, VOA - 4/3/16

President Obama and the Saudi Allies: It's Complicated

- As candid as only an American president at the end of his second term could be, Obama implied that certain issues regarding Saudi Arabia-social justice, civil and women rights, the kingdom's spread of Wahhabism in foreign countries-aggravate him. Obama went as far as to argue that the kingdom must share the region with Iran. -Cinzia Bianco and Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 4/2/16

The Next American President And Iran

- These days better than 80 percent of news flooding the airwaves is about what the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, trumpeted and what he might have meant by it. The media anchors and their invited guests spend hours dissecting and scrutinizing every word Mr. Trump utters and project how this potential next President of the most powerful empire on earth might put those words into action if he sits at the White House. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 4/1/16

Iranian elections: Another milestone in reformists advance

- Since the latest Iranian elections held on 26th February 2016 for the 290-seat parliament (Majles) and the 88-member Assembly of Experts there have been many negative comments about the election results from the usual suspects. Some people who are fundamentally hostile to Iran, criticize everything that Iran does, regardless of outcome. -Farhang Jahanpour - 3/31/16

Canada regrets cutting ties with Iran, wants to re-engage

- Canada's foreign minister says his country's 2012 move to cut diplomatic ties with Iran has had no positive consequences whatsoever, expressing articulate willingness for re-engagement with the Islamic Republic. - 3/31/16

Khamenei Says Missiles Are Key To Iran's Future, Not Negotiations

- "Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors," Khamenei's website quoted him as saying. His comment may have been directed at former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the leader of a relatively moderate Iranian political alliance who tweeted last week that Iran's "future is in dialogue, not missiles." - 3/30/16

Iran's new continent-spanning trains

- The 10,500km (6,500-mile) journey from Yiwu City in eastern China through Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan was sluggish; but when the first Chinese train pulled into Tehran station after a 14-day haul, Iranian officials hailed a great leap forward. "We're becoming the global hub between east and west," waxed one minister. -Economist - 3/30/16

Iran's answer to pop stars: religious singers serenade Syria war

- Bearded and boisterous, the man wearing a chequered keffiya scarf sings a religious song as several Iranians in fatigues beat their chests feverishly. The performance by Saeed Haddadian, a prominent Shi'ite religious singer, took place among volunteers at the front line in Syria and was posted on the Internet in January... -Reuters - 3/30/16

Time for Maturity in the White House Attitude to Iran

- The formula for dealing with China--engagement with a view to managing Chinese nationalism and encouraging Chinese commitment to global norms of behavior and responsibilities--is wise. The minimalist formula being applied to Iran is misguided. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 3/29/16

Iran Hopes for Talks With Saudis to Resolve Differences

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country is ready to "do anything it can" to restore its relations with Saudi Arabia, for the sake of promoting progress and prosperity in the Muslim world. - 3/27/16

Iran, Pakistan Aim To Boost Trade

- The leaders of Pakistan and Iran say they are targeting $5 billion worth of mutual trade by 2021. Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced their trade goal as Rohani wrapped up a two-day visit to Islamabad on March 26. - 3/27/16

Iranian President Visits Pakistan Seeking Better Ties

- ISLAMABAD - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani visits neighboring Pakistan for two days starting Friday. The trip is apparently part of Iran's diplomatic campaign to boost economic and trade ties with neighboring and regional countries now that international sanctions against it have been removed. - 3/25/16

Neoconservativism in a Nutshell

- I've been asked to give a kind of Neoconservatism 101 over the next 15 minutes or so, which is a big challenge for me. It took seven hours to get through the subject with the Institute for American Studies in Beijing 12 years ago when Chinese analysts were first trying to fathom why the U.S. had been so stupid as to invade Iraq. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 3/25/16

America's Last Gasp in the Middle East

- The annual spring ritual of America's would-be presidents and politicians parading before the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) declaring their undying fealty to the Jewish state evokes an odd nostalgia in 2016. - James A. Russell, LobeLog - 3/24/16

Iranians Fuel Property Frenzy in Syria

- The Iranian government is encouraging prominent Tehran developers to buy property in well-off Shi'ite majority neighborhoods in Syria's capital, analysts and construction industry sources in Tehran said. "Entire neighborhoods have been purchased by Iran," Syrian economist Khorshid Alika told VOA. -Sirwan Kajjo, Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 3/23/16

U.S. Arrest Of Iranian Trader Shakes Turkish Markets, Government

- The U.S. arrest of Iranian-born Reza Zarrab reverberated in Turkey on March 22 as the well-connected gold trader was at the center of a bribery scandal that once engulfed Turkey's leadership. - 3/23/16

The Gulf Arab States Versus Hezbollah

- In recent weeks, Lebanon has become a brighter flashpoint in the intensifying geopolitical rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Since the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and subsequently the League of Arab States, designated Hezbollah a "terrorist" organization earlier this month, GCC authorities have announced plans to deport thousands of Lebanese living in the Gulf, three Kuwaitis were found killed in Lebanon, and a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court case began involving seven people charged with Hezbollah links. -Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner - 3/22/16

Three Iranians Charged With Violating U.S. Sanctions On Iran

- Three Iranians have been charged with conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, and one has been arrested, U.S. authorities announced on March 21. Iranian-born businessman Reza Zarrab, 33, was arrested at a Miami airport on March 19 on the conspiracy charges. - 3/22/16

What Will It Take to Push Iran and Saudi Arabia to Talk?

- Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC members have made it abundantly clear that their priority is to aggressively defend market share, not stabilize global crude prices. Consequently, prices are low at the pump and American shale oil production has declined somewhat. However, developments in shale technology have rapidly rendered American dependence on Middle East oil a thing of the past, effectively diminishing US interests in the Gulf. - Jean-Francois Seznec and Samer Mosis, LobeLog - 3/22/16

The Israel Project Boosts An Iranian "Terrorist Organization"

- Perhaps some right-wing Israel lobby groups can be forgiven for taking up the cause of the exiled Iranian opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The more ignorant among them might see a group headed by a woman, Maryam Rajavi, who claims to champion a secular, human rights-respecting democracy in Iran. -Ali Gharib - 3/21/16

Saudi Arabia's 'Islamic' Coalition: Spin Or Substance?

- The notion that Saudi Arabia -- a country that has been widely accused of exporting Islamic radicalism around the world -- could lead a fight against extremism strikes some analysts as deeply ironic. "In order to really fight terrorism, the Saudis must declare war against themselves and end the support it has been giving to radical groups across the world," says Khoei of Chatham House. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 3/21/16

Saudi Arabia to Face Cash Crunch in Future: US Analyst

- An American political science professor said Saudi Arabia, not in the too distant future, will face a massive cash deficit. "Saudi Arabia is running large budget deficits of 15 to 20 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and is drawing down on its currency reserves. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) estimates that the Saudis will run of cash reserves in five years, and then will go deeply into debt," James D. Savage told the Tasnim News Agency. - 3/18/16

Ted Cruz's Team of Islamophobes

- Cruz has assembled a collection of some of the most prominent Islamophobes in American right-wing circles and balanced them with a group of neoconservatives who only want to go to war against part of the Islamic world, not all of it. -Derek Davison - 3/18/16

Iran's Jews on life inside Israel's 'enemy state': 'We feel secure and happy'

- Despite its often turbulent dealings with Israel, Iran has one of the world's largest and longest-established Jewish communities - and it's growing. Kim Sengupta reports from Tehran on their intriguing relationship with the country's establishment -Independent - 3/18/16

The Iranian Ballistic Missile Launches That Didn't Happen

- Iran's binge of short- and medium-range ballistic missile launches on March 8 and 9 garnered considerable attention in the press and in American political circles. These provocative launches, which coincided with a visit to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden, were roundly condemned by U.S. politicians in both parties. -Greg Thielmann - 3/17/16
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