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Iran opens caricature exhibition on ISIL

- Iran inaugurated a caricature exhibition on ISIL (Islamic Caliphate). The exhibition has already invited participants to send their caricatures on ISIL. 1072 works by 356 artists from 43 countries were sent to the secretariat of the exhibition. - 5/26/15

Tehran-Moscow talks on S-300 successful: Iran official

- "Negotiations on the delivery of the S-300 [missile system] to Iran has been successful", Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday during a press conference after a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in the Russian capital, Moscow. - 5/26/15

A Missed Nonproliferation Opportunity

- Last week the latest quinquennial review conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) ended as a failure, without issuing a formal statement or report. The single biggest snag concerned whether to call for the convening of a conference on a Middle Eastern nuclear weapons free zone (MENWFZ). -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/26/15

Israel and Iran: So much in common

- Israel has much to learn from its adversary about controlling its citizens' social media habits, but it's going in the 'right' direction. -Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz - 5/26/15

New 'Silk Road' could alter global economics

- Beginning with the marvelous tales of Marco Polo's travels across Eurasia to China, the Silk Road has never ceased to entrance the world. Now, the ancient cities of Samarkand, Baku, Tashkent, and Bukhara are once again firing the world's imagination. -USA Today - 5/26/15

US did nothing to stop Ramadi fall to ISIL: Iranian Commander Soleimani

- Soleimani, who is the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Quds Force, said that while the Ain al-Asad air base hosting US fighter jets was very close to Ramadi, the American military forces took no action to stop the ISIL militants fighting to take over the Iraqi city. - 5/25/15

Does Iran Control Iraq?

- Saudi, Israeli and US neoconservative voices warn us tirelessly that Iran's imperial sway has now come to dominate the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and now Yemen, and still threatens Bahrain. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 5/25/15

The GCC Summit: A Missed Opportunity

- While hailing the so-called "framework agreement" on the nuclear deal with Iran reached in Lausanne on 2 April 2015 as a great political achievement, President Barack Obama also announced that he would invite the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders to Washington and to Camp David to inform them about the deal and allay their fears. -Farhang Jahanpour - 5/23/15

UN Says Iranian Aid Boat For Yemen Offloaded In Djibouti

- United Nations officials in the port of Djibouti say they have taken charge of aid cargo carried by an Iranian boat that was headed for war-torn Yemen. The vessel -- the Iran Shahed -- was carrying 2,500 tons of food aid for Yemen that will now be distributed by the UN World Food Program. - 5/23/15

Obama Prioritizes Security over Democracy in Middle East

- In an impressively detailed report on the president's budget request for FY2016, experts at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) make it clear that President Obama has prioritized the security of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East over domestic political reform. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog - 5/23/15

US sanctions airlines for selling jets to Iran

- The US government has imposed sanctions on two aviation companies in Iraq and the UAE for selling used commercial aircraft to Iran. The Treasury Department designated Iraq-based Al-Naser Airlines and Sky Blue Bird Aviation in the United Arab Emirates as sanctions violators. - 5/22/15

Much More Is Needed From Iran Hawks to Oppose a Nuclear Deal

- Senate hawks like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) do not like diplomacy with Iran. Graham has repeatedly threatened war with Iran, whereas Kirk prefers to starve the Iranian people. Yet, given that most Americans do not want another military adventure in the Middle East, and largely support a negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, the hawks are pivoting. -Ryan Costello, NIAC - 5/22/15

Putting Strategic Interests First with Iran

- It is striking how often opponents of a nuclear agreement with Iran resort to an ethical non-sequitur. They are fond of arguing that, because the Iranian government tortures political prisoners or supports entities that commit violent acts for political ends, the same government is bound to breach whatever non-proliferation pledges it may offer. -Peter Jenkins - 5/21/15

Was the US-GCC Summit Worth It?

- It is too early to judge whether the results of last week's summit between President Barack Obama and leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will become "footprints on the sands of time." The summit did achieve what Obama most needed--the Arabs' formal endorsement of the P5+1 talks with Iran on the latter's nuclear program. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 5/21/15

Graham Turns To Iran Hawks For Campaign Funding

- Last time I wrote about Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) impending presidential campaign, Graham was feeding anti-Semitic tropes over a glass of Riesling, telling the Wall Street Journal that he "may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding." -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 5/21/15

U.S., Iranian Warships Shadowing Cargo Ship Near Yemen

- Iran has sent two warships to accompany an Iranian cargo boat delivering humanitarian aid to Yemen, and the United States has sent warships to shadow the Iranians. Those were the intriguing developments May 19 as the Iranian ships neared the Yemeni port of Hodaida, where Iran has insisted they will unload their cargo. - 5/20/15

Iran's Supreme Leader: No Access to Scientists, Military Sites

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday Tehran would not accept "unreasonable demands" by world powers during negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, including giving international inspectors access to his country's scientists or military sites. - 5/20/15

Israel ordered to pay Iran $1.1 billion: Report

- An Israeli oil company has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay $1.1 billion to Iran in compensation in a long-standing legal battle related to a joint venture before the Islamic Revolution, the IRNA news agency says. - 5/20/15

Moving the Fifth Fleet from Bahrain?

- The US Naval Support base on Bahrain is the headquarters of Central Command's naval arm (NAVCENT) as well as the US Fifth Fleet, so it's a pretty important place as far as the US Navy is concerned. This poses some geopolitical problems for the US, insofar as it ties America in a mutual arrangement to a government, Bahrain's Khalifa monarchy, whose human rights performance is, to put it charitably, dismal. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 5/20/15

Iraqi Battle Plans Altered By IS Capture Of Ramadi

- The capture of the Iraqi Sunni city of Ramadi by Islamic State (IS) militants has fundamentally changed how war is being waged against the extremists in Iraq's Sunni areas. As long as government forces had controlled Ramadi, the pro-government Sunni tribal leaders of Anbar Province were opposed to the presence of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia in the area. -RFE - 5/19/15

In a Middle East racked by turmoil Iranians have fallen in love with stability

- Iranians look at turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa and claim they recognise the benefits they enjoy at home now -Middle East Eye - 5/19/15

Saudi Arabia resumes Yemen bombardment as conference discusses peace

- The Saudi-led coalition has resumed air strikes on Yemen, bombing Adan on the night of Sunday night May 17. The air strikes were halted for five days to allow delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians. - 5/19/15

Top aide to Iran's leader meets Syria's Assad, pledges support

- A top aide to Iran's leader met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, footage on Syrian state television showed, underlining firm Iranian support for Damascus as it faces mounting pressure from insurgents in a four-year-old civil war. -Reuters - 5/19/15

Congress Votes on Iran

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting (long) 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 the Corker-Cardin bill. -Lara Friedman, LobeLog - 5/18/15

Israeli Defense Minister Invokes Hiroshima and Nagasaki In Response to Iran Question

- Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem nearly two weeks ago, the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon invoked the American decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in World War II in response to a question about "dealing with a threat like Iran." -Ali Gharib - 5/17/15

Iranian Cargo Ship Enters Gulf of Aden On Route To Yemen

- An Iranian-flagged cargo ship that is bound for Yemen in defiance of U.S. warnings has entered the Gulf of Aden and is expected to reach port on May 21. Iranian authorities say the vessel, the Iran Shahed, is carrying 2,500 tons of urgently needed aid - including flour, rice, canned food, medical supplies, and bottled water. Passengers on the ship include doctors, journalists, and antiwar activists from the United States, France, and Germany. - 5/17/15

Two Faulty Objections to an Iran Deal

- The closing months of an Iran nuclear deal were always bound to bring a hailstorm of criticisms from opponents of diplomacy. Well, it's happening -- and maybe "hail" isn't the right kind of storm: critics of a deal seem be throwing shit up against a wall and seeing what they can get to stick. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 5/17/15

Iran's Supreme Leader slams Saudis for bombing Yemen

- Iran`s Supreme Leader has referred to the Saudi attacks on Yemen, saying: "We are all neighbours. Security in the Persian Gulf is in everyone's interest. If it is secure, we will reap the benefits; if it is insecure, it will cause insecurity for everyone." - 5/16/15

Tehran's Friday Prayer Leader Calls On Saudis To Rise Up

- Tehran's temporary Friday Prayers leader, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, has called on Saudi citizens to rise up against their country's rulers and to speak out against their "crimes." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/16/15

House Passes Bill To Let Congress Review Iran Nuclear Deal

- In a rare show of bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed legislation that would let Congress review any potential deal to curb Iran's nuclear program before sanctions are lifted. The vote was 400-25, and came one week after the Senate passed the same measure by a vote of 98-1. -Cindy Saine, VOA - 5/15/15

Iran Fires Shots At Cargo Ship In The Persian Gulf

- U.S. officials say Iranian patrol ships fired warning shots over a Singapore-flagged cargo vessel in the Persian Gulf on May 14. The Alpine Eternity is involved in a financial dispute with Tehran, the officials said. The ship on March 22 accidentally struck an Iranian oil platform, damaging it. - 5/15/15

Saudi Arabia--This is Leadership?

- President Obama has good reason to try to reassure GCC leaders this week at Camp David that America has not abandoned them; they represent an important economic force. But they cannot, as constituted, represent a positive force for leadership in the region. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 5/15/15

Currying Favor at Camp David

- As crown princes and other leaders of Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf meet this week with President Obama, the first thing to keep in mind as background to this encounter is a truth that the president spoke last month in an interview with Tom Friedman of the New York Times. The president observed that the biggest threats those Arab countries face "may not be coming from Iran invading. It's going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries"..-Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/15/15

"Vote for Peace..."

- Join NIAC's #Vote4Peace campaign to ensure Congress does not vote to kill an Iran deal that prevents war, prevents nukes, and lifts sanctions that hurt ordinary Iranians. - 5/14/15

Obama Hosts Gulf Summit with Focus on Iran, Regional Conflicts

- President Barack Obama and senior officials from six Gulf nations are continuing their summit Thursday on issues in the Middle East, including a potential nuclear deal with Iran and the fighting in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. - 5/14/15

US-GCC Summit: Agenda Overload, Leaders at Odds

- Statements after the current summit between the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will likely be upbeat. But they will obscure the difficult-to-resolve tensions during the May 13-14 talks. Iranian nuclear diplomacy will be central. -Wayne White, LobeLog - 5/14/15

Iraqi President In Tehran For Official Visit

- Iraqi President Fuad Masum has arrived in the Iranian capital for an official visit expected to focus on the fight against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group and on economic relations. - 5/13/15

Iranian Ship Heading to Yemen

- A U.S. defense official Tuesday urged an Iranian ship purportedly carrying aid to Yemen to change course and head to Djibouti, where the United Nations is overseeing humanitarian deliveries. -Carla Babb, VOA - 5/13/15

'The Iranians Are Coming!'

- "The Iranians are coming!" That was the conviction widely and vehemently expressed by Arab intellectuals and activists at the Ninth Annual Al Jazeera Forum in Doha, Qatar, last week. Iranian diplomats were greeted with skepticism and hostility at the annual gathering of journalists, policy-makers, and media professionals from across the Arab world. There was widespread suspicion, moreover, that the United States is increasingly on the side of Iran. -Juan Cole, Nation - 5/13/15

The Glimmers of a New Afghanistan?

- I went to Kabul, Afghanistan, in March to see old friends. By chance, I arrived the day after a woman had been beaten to death and burned by a mob of young men. The world would soon come to know her name: Farkhunda. -Ann Jones, LobeLog - 5/13/15

Ship carrying Iranian emergency supplies leaves for Yemen

- 2,500 tons of Iranian contributions to the oppressed Yemeni nation loaded on Iran Shahed Khorramshahr Ship began sailing towards Yemeni coasts early Monday night. - 5/12/15

Central Asia: Mismanaging Religion

- When it comes to religious affairs in Central Asia, authorities are relying on Soviet methods even as they aspire to move away from the Soviet legacy. Religion, especially Islam, is a cultural marker that has reinforced national identity in Central Asian states since the Soviet collapse in 1991, thus helping regional leaders distance themselves from Moscow and consolidate their authority. -Mohammadalii Sepanlou, LobeLog - 5/12/15

Following Paul Singer's Money, Argentina, and Iran (Continued)

- Last week, Jim and Charles Davis addressed The Washington Post editorial board's claim that Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had pushed an "anti-Semitic conspiracy theory." They suggested that AIPAC and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies might be coordinating their efforts to portray Kirchner's government as an ally of Iranian-backed terrorism with Paul Singer... -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 5/11/15

UN says Saudi attacks on Yemen break law

- The Saudi attacks on Yemen go against accepted international humanitarian law, says the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen. Reuters reported on Saturday May 9 that Johannes van der Klaauw said in a statement: "The indiscriminate bombing of populated areas, with or without prior warning, is in contravention of international humanitarian law." - 5/11/15

Prospects for Saudi-Iranian Detente Bleak

- Some optimistic analysts mistakenly believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia are heading toward a mutual understanding over a new regional security architecture based on a balance of powers between them and their allies. Instead, because the current situation is rife with tensions, regional competition between Iran and its Arab rivals will likely escalate. -Mehdi Jedinia - 5/9/15

Congress Tackles Iran

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting (long) 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 the Corker-Cardin bill. - 5/9/15

Date Set for 'Pause' in Yemen Fighting

- The United States and Saudi Arabia have announced a May 12 start date for a five-day humanitarian pause in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is waging an air campaign against advancing Houthi rebels. The conflict has left thousands of people in Yemen in need of basic supplies. -Pamela Dockins, VOA_URL - 5/9/15

Nuclear Deal or Not, Dark Years Await the Middle East

- The regional impact of the world powers and Iran making a deal over Tehran's nuclear program will be significant to say the least. It will mark a new era in the Middle East; one in which the US and Iran no longer will seek to undermine each other at every given opportunity. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 5/9/15

US Senate Approves Congressional Review of Iran Nuclear Deal

- The U.S. Senate has approved legislation giving Congress the right to review, and possibly reject, any eventual international agreement aimed at restraining Iran's nuclear development program. The Senate voted 98 to 1 for the measure, which now heads to the House of Representatives, where it could be considered next week. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 5/8/15

150 House Democrats Bolster Obama's Position on Iran Deal

- Thursday's release of a letter signed by 150 House Democrats makes it significantly more likely that a nuclear deal negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran will survive a congressional challenge. The letter, an initiative of Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and David Price (D-NC), expresses strong support for Obama's efforts to conclude an agreement. -Jim Lobe - 5/8/15

Ignoring US, India signs Iran seaport contract

- Defying US warnings, India has signed an agreement with Iran to develop a port in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan. The seaport will be located in Iranian port city of Chabahar in the Sistan-Baluchestan province on the southeastern coast of the province along the Gulf of Oman, and will give India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. - 5/8/15

The Nuclear Crisis Nobody Mentions

- Those congressmen beating the war drums against Iran have reached new heights of hypocrisy considering their total disregard for the more dangerous, more immediate problems created by Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. It is noteworthy and also downright strange that no one else-from any political persuasion-is paying attention. -George Kenney, LobeLog - 5/8/15

Russian Ambivalence About an Iranian Nuclear Agreement

- Russia has long called for a negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. Moscow has played an important part in the ongoing negotiations over this issue between the P5 + 1 on the one hand and Iran on the other. But as these talks approach what may be an actual final agreement by the end of June, some Russian observers have noted that there is anxiety in Moscow about what this agreement will mean for Russia. -Mark N. Katz - 5/7/15

Iran Nuclear Bill to Get Test Vote in US Senate

- A bill to allow U.S. lawmakers to review and vote on any final nuclear accord with Iran could get a boost when the Senate votes Thursday to end weeks of rancorous debate on bipartisan legislation that, in its current form, has the tepid backing of the White House. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 5/7/15

Ariane Tabatabai on Negotiations with Iran

- Ariane Tabatabai, a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University, nuclear non-proliferation expert, and occasional contributor to LobeLog, is very busy these days. But she agreed to speak with us about the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog - 5/7/15

Tom Cotton Allies Himself with the MEK

- Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) garnered two profiles this week, one in The Wall Street Journal and another in The New York Times, highlighting his efforts to disrupt normal Senate procedure in hopes of adding "poison pill" amendments to the Corker-Cardin bill that, if passed, would give Congress a say in any comprehensive agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 5/7/15

Iran releases Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship

- Iran has released a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship recently impounded in the Persian Gulf by Iranian forces, Press TV reports. An informed source at the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization (IPMO) told Press TV on Thursday that the Maersk Tigris ship has been released. - 5/7/15

Iran holds oil and gas show to attract investment

- Iran is holding a four-day international oil and gas show to introduce lucrative development projects amid hopes for the annulment of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. A large number of foreign companies have signed up to attend the 20th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran. The event starts on Wednesday and will run until Saturday. - 5/6/15

Still One Big Obstacle To Turkmen Gas To Europe

- The Caspian Sea is a sea of peace and friendship. Top officials in the five Caspian littoral states -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan -- have been repeating that line for two decades. This mantra is about to be put to the test. -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 5/6/15

Casualty of anti-Iran hysteria: Watermelons

- Iran's watermelons are the prized choice to quench thirst around the Persian Gulf Arab states but they have become the subject of a heated hysteria this year, which many Iranians believe is political. Officials say the United Arab Emirates has returned six consignments so far amid rumors that Iranian watermelons had "suspicious holes". - 5/6/15

Where Hope Becomes Desperation

- Katmandu, Baltimore, the Mediterranean Sea, Yemen, Syria--it has been a grim week of news from around the globe. If we looked a bit further back for the same kind of dark headlines, we could add the migration of Latinos toward our southwest states and violent demonstrations against police treatment of Blacks in a variety of American cities. -Henry Precht, LobeLog - 5/6/15

Obama to the GCC: Getting the Message Right

- On May 13-14, President Barack Obama will host leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at the White House and Camp David. Ostensibly, the meeting is to try convincing these intense skeptics of nuclear negotiations with Iran that the US will not be a patsy for an Iran freed from economic sanctions following a deal. -Robert E. Hunter - 5/5/15

US oil delegation to visit Iran this week: Iranian official

- A US oil delegation is scheduled to travel to Tehran this week to hold talks with a number of Iranian petroleum ministry officials as well as oil industry contractors. "It is predicted that following the visit by the American delegation to Tehran and possible removal of sanctions against the oil industry, we will witness the presence of major international US oil and gas companies in Iran in future," Abbas Shari Moqaddam, Iran's deputy petroleum minister was quoted as saying - 5/5/15

Neocons vs. Neocon on Iran

- Maybe I spoke too soon when I declared the fight over the new Iran bill wending its way through Congress as one between hard-line neoconservatives and AIPAC. The broad outlines of what I wrote remain true -- everything from AIPAC's intentions to Bill Kristol's -- but what I underestimated was how isolated Kristol would be even among his ideological comrades. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 5/5/15

US Senate at Crossroads on Iran Nuclear Bill

- This week could decide the fate of a bipartisan bill allowing the U.S. Congress to review and vote on any final nuclear accord with Iran. The Senate can either vote on the original bill, or allow amendments making additional demands of Iran, which would trigger a presidential veto and could doom the entire legislative effort. -VOA - 5/4/15

Iran FM Wants To End 'Manufactured' Nuclear Crisis

- Zarif wrote on Twitter on May 4 that the drafting of a deal between Tehran and six world powers curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions was "moving forward." The tweet comes two days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned what he called "hysteria" from those who oppose such an agreement, namely members of the U.S. Congress. - 5/4/15

No need for US to escort ships in Persian Gulf: Iran Navy Commander

- Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the US Navy does not need to escort US-flagged ships travelling through the secure Persian Gulf waters. "Security fully prevails in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman due to the permanent presence of Iran's [regular] Navy and the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Therefore, there is no need for the Americans to escort their ships in this region," Sayyari told reporters on Sunday. - 5/4/15

Assault Amplifies Iranian Anger at Saudi Arabia

- In April, the unofficial media in Iran published unconfirmed reports of the sexual assault of two young Iranian men in the Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia. By April 6, the Iranian Foreign Ministry had confirmed the news that the assault took place in the second week of April. The two teenagers were in a convoy of Iranian pilgrims that traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca. -LobeLog - 5/4/15

Iran's Hegemonic Rise

- ith the Iran nuclear talks coming to a conclusion, now comes the speculation of what the next step is. The details, although not yet publicized, give us a basic framework of some type of reciprocal deal that would benefit both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States. -Arash Irani - 5/4/15

Following the Money: The New Anti-Semitism?

- In the 1976 docudrama about the Watergate affair and the fall of Richard Nixon, All the President's Men, Bob Woodward's source at the FBI, Deep Throat, tells him to "follow the money." To the Post editorial board in 2015, doing just that is problematic-and probably anti-Semitic. Or at least that's their charge in a piece published last Friday entitled, "Argentina's President Resorts to Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories"... - Jim Lobe and Charles Davis, LobeLog - 5/2/15

Bahrain seizes Iranian bank, insurer

- The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) says it has placed two Iranian financial institutions into administration. Bahrain's media say this came into effect as of April 30, 2015. However, no explanation has been provided for the decision. - 5/2/15

U.S. Offers Protection For Ships In Strait of Hormuz

- The U.S. Navy is accompanying U.S.-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz to ensure they are not harassed by Iranian forces, and is in talks to extend the same protection to other nations' vessels, U.S. officials say. - 5/2/15

Hit List Found In Honor Killing Of Iranian Activist

- Texas investigators have disclosed that they found a hit list in a murder case involving the honor killing of an outspoken Iranian activist in Houston. U.S. prosecutors last week charged a Jordanian immigrant and devout Muslim, Ali Awad Mahmoud Irsan, with shooting the anti-Tehran activist Gelerah Bagherzadeh out of rage that she persuaded his daughter to go ahead and marry a Texas Christian man. - 5/2/15

US Senate's Iran Nuclear Bill Surviving 'Poison Pill' Amendments

- A bill subjecting any nuclear deal with Iran to U.S. congressional review has, so far, survived a barrage of proposed amendments by Republican senators that, if adopted, would erode bipartisan support for the legislation and likely trigger a veto by President Barack Obama. -Michael Bowman, VOA - 5/1/15

Iran destroyer patrolling entrance to Bab al-Mandab: Commander

- Iran's Alborz destroyer is patrolling the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, the Iranian Navy chief says. Iranian Navy's 34th flotilla, which comprises the Bushehr logistic vessel and Alborz destroyer, left Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas for the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandab Strait on April 8. - 5/1/15
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