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America's Most Jewish Congressional District Bucks Anti-Iran Challenger

- Will Democrats pay politically for supporting the Iran deal? At least where Democratic primaries are concerned, that doesn't seem to be the case. On Tuesday, Rep. Jerry Nadler, an incumbent from New York with more than two decades in the House, overwhelming won his Democratic primary-with almost 90 percent of the vote-virtually ensuring him re-election this fall. -Ali Gharib - 6/30/16

Explainer: What's Behind Sudden Clashes In Northwestern Iran?

- Clashes erupted this month between Kurdish fighters and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), with each side claiming to have inflicted casualties on the other. The country's heavily censored media have even reported the fighting and acknowledged fatalities on the government side. But why the sudden flare-up? -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 6/30/16

War Between Kurds and Turks?

- Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), has mentioned several times in the last few months that Turkey and its Kurdish population will go to war. He stated such a possibility in early March while in Washington and has repeated it several times since. "By summer, the tension between the PKK and the government could grow," he said at the time. -Robert Olson, LobeLog - 6/30/16

Iran will never invade another country, will defend itself decisively: President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic will never use its military might to invade another country but will decisively defend itself against any potential aggression. - 6/29/16

House GOP Plan for Iran Riddled with Errors

- Paul Ryan recently published the National Security Policy section of the House GOP's new "A Better Way Plan" aimed at uniting the party around core policy positions in advance of the Republican National Convention on July 18-21. The national security section covers the full spectrum of U.S. foreign policy and is highly critical of the Obama administration's foreign policy achievements. -Karina Bakhshi and AzarUbtene Zamaninia, NIAC - 6/29/16

Female Musician Makes Waves in Male-Dominated Afghanistan

- In a conservative and traditional country like Afghanistan, where women can be burned, lashed and stoned simply for their gender, it takes a lot of courage for a young woman to play music in public. Fazila Zamir has plenty. -Sitara Sadaat, Huffington Post - 6/29/16

Obama Is Right Not to Say "Radical Islam."

- The recent verbal attacks by the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his supporters on President Barack Obama for avoiding the phrase "radical Islam" in his public pronouncements are simplistic, racially inflammatory -- and flatly misinformed. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/29/16

Iran's Leader Denounces Bahrain Government's 'Foolishness'

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused Bahrain's Sunni-led government of "blatant foolishness and insanity" for stripping the kingdom's most prominent Shi'ite cleric of his citizenship. - 6/27/16

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Declines Russian Bid To Enlist Iran

- The China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization has refused to enlist Iran, despite a request from Russia. While begun in China, the Asian security bloc has served as a platform for both Moscow and Beijing to project influence in Central and South Asia. But unlike Russia, China is showing some reluctance to give it a strong anti-Western bias. - 6/24/16

Iran's Zarif meets French President in Paris

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Boosting bilateral ties following Iran's historic nuclear deal, economic and business affairs, and the Middle East security issues, especially the conflict in Syria, were discussed during the Wednesday meeting, Zarif said. - 6/23/16

Protecting the World's Shia: Where's the International Community?

- Only a few short months ago, Saudi Arabia executed the Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr, and the Nigerian military killed hundreds of the country's Shia and severely wounded their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Yaqoub Zakzaki. Now, Bahraini authorities have stripped one of the principal leaders of the Bahraini Shia, Sheikh Isa Qasim, of his citizenship. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/23/16

The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Gulf Littoral States

- It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran disagree these days on virtually all issues facing the tumultuous Middle East. The two countries have opposing agendas on a host of matters, ranging from OPEC's oil production policies to the U.S. military's role in the region, as well as the bloody conflicts plaguing the Arab world. -Giorgio Cafiero and Joshua Hodge, LobeLog - 6/23/16

Bahrain's Unending Repression: Enough Already!

- The al-Khalifa ruling regime's decision to strip Sheikh Isa Qasim of his Bahraini citizenship on a trumped-up and patently false charge is yet another example of the ruling family's deepening repression. This respected Shia cleric has always called for non-violent resistance and has abhorred the confrontational tactics that some hotheaded protesters have employed in the past. -Emile Nakhleh - 6/23/16

Commentary: One Year In, the Iran Nuclear Deal Is Working

- Nearly a year after Iran and a U.S.-led international community reached a landmark nuclear deal, the good news is that there almost isn't any news about Iran's nuclear program. In its second report since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was implemented Jan. 16, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found no evidence that Iran has failed to comply with its pledges to restrict its nuclear activities. Stringent IAEA monitoring is one reason why it is extremely unlikely that Iran could build a nuclear weapon undetected. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 6/22/16

Iran Warns Bahrain Over Top Shi'ite Cleric

- In a statement carried by Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency, the commander of the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qasem Soleimani, warned Bahrain's government that it faces "dire repercussions" for its action against Qassem. Soleimani said the response may include "armed resistance" and the "overthrow"of the ruling dynasty. - 6/21/16

Biden Slams Trump's Anti-Muslim Stands, Embrace Of Putin

- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's anti-Muslim policies could backfire and hurt the United States. "Some of the rhetoric I'm hearing sounds designed to radicalize all 1.4 billion" Muslims around the world, Biden said on June 20 at the Center for New American Security, a Washington think tank. - 6/21/16

UN Refugee Chief Says Displaced Afghans 'Forgotten'

- The UN's refugee chief has said displaced Afghans had already been "forgotten" by the international community before they began arriving in Europe in large numbers last year. On a visit to Iran on June 18, Filippo Grandia said his first regional tour as the new UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was focused on Afghan refugees. - 6/20/16

Iranian State TV Claims Officials Busted Massive Terror Plot

- "In a criminal plot of the anti-Islamic terrorist takfiri groups, a series of bombings had been planned in several places of the country for the coming days ... the terrorists were arrested and some bombs and a huge amount of explosives were seized," National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani is quoted as saying. - 6/20/16

Iran next to join emerging power SCO: Kazakhstan President

- Iran is next to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which will officially have India and Pakistan on its roster next week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said. Leaders of the regional security group, led by China and Russia, will meet for the summit of their leaders in Uzbekistan's capital of Tashkent on June 23 and 24. - 6/18/16

Another Israeli Right-Winger Breaks With Netanyahu on Iran Deal

- When world powers led by the United States signed a nuclear deal with Iran, American neoconservatives and other pro-Israel hawks were positively apoplectic. Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois who enjoys a consistent windfall of pro-Israel campaign cash, said that the deal was worse than the Munich agreement with Nazi Germany. The Wall Street Journal opinion page's Bret Stephens actually used that as a headline: "Worse than Munich." -Ali Gharib - 6/18/16

Pro-Israeli sides warn Boeing on Iran deal

- A groundswell of opposition is building among pro-Israeli politicians in the US against Boeing's plans to sell aircraft to Iran. The Chicago-based aerospace giant has reportedly received requests for more information after Iran said on Tuesday it had reached an initial agreement with Boeing for the supply of jetliners. - 6/18/16

Turkey to triple trade with Iran to $30B

- Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci says the country has serious plans to triple trade with Iran to $30 billion "as soon as possible". Tufenkci told Reuters on Thursday that the January removal of sanctions against Iran has already prepared the grounds for Tehran and Ankara to boost the level of their mutual trade. - 6/17/16

Iranian Kurds, Revolutionary Guards Clash, 15 Dead

- Iranian news agencies report that fighting between Kurdish rebels and elite Revolutionary Guards forces near the Iraqi border has left at least 15 dead, including 12 Kurds and three guards. The clash came days after five Kurdish rebels and five Sunni Islamist militants were killed, along with a police officer, in separate clashes elsewhere in Iran. - 6/17/16

Why our nuclear deal with Iran is turning to dust

- Many of Europe's largest banks won't do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement - but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors -Robert Fisk, Independent - 6/17/16

Hill Update: Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia

- As we have over the last year, 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.] - 6/17/16

Iran's President Rouhani raps UN for delisting of Saudis, deplores regional conditions

- The Iranian president has leveled heavy criticism at the United Nations for delisting Saudi Arabia from its child perpetrators report, lamenting that international organizations are growingly losing their credibility. - 6/16/16

Why Is Iran Our Enemy?

- It's a repressive theocracy, but Tehran is no threat to the United States and is a staunch opponent of jihadi groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. -Jeff Faux, Nation - 6/15/16

Diplomacy, not military approaches, to end Syria crisis: Iran FM

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says only diplomacy and not military approaches can settle the five-year-old crisis in Syria. "The Syrian crisis can be only resolved politically, and a solution to the Syrian crisis will not be achieved through military means," Zarif said in a joint press conference with Norway's Foreign Minister Boerge Brende in Oslo on Monday. - 6/14/16

Iran condemns Orlando terrorist mass shooting

- Iran has slammed the terrorist mass shooting in the US city of Orlando, reaffirming the necessity of launching a firm campaign against the scourge of terrorism. "The Islamic Republic of Iran, in line with its principled policy in condemning terrorism and its strong determination to firmly and decisively counter this ominous phenomenon, denounces the recent terrorist attack in US [city of] Orlando," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, said on Monday - 6/14/16

Human Rights Double Standard: Iran and Saudi Arabia

- The question of how to help promote human rights globally has always had a political dimension. States often press these issues in the case of those countries of which they disapprove and ignore or downplay transgressions by friendly countries. In the last decade or so, the use of human rights as a policy tool, and hence the politicization of the human rights issue, has attained new heights, particularly at the United Nations and its Human Rights Commission. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/13/16

Intro to a series: The New Cold War

- There are many ominous signs that dark clouds are gathering over international relations, from the South China Sea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea to the Middle East, and to Ukraine and the Baltics. We are entering a new and perhaps a more ominous Cold War. -Farhang Jahanpour - 6/13/16

Interview with Peter Jenkins: This American Rose Is Sick

- The Iran nuclear deal, popularly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been widely lauded as a historic understanding that untangled an apparently intractable dilemma spanning over more than a decade, and opened broad new prospects for Iran and the international community to collaborate with no specter of distrust and confrontation around the corner. -Kourosh Ziabari, LobeLog - 6/13/16

Iraq needs Iran, Soleimani in fighting Daesh: FM Jaafari

- Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says his country needs Iran's assistance in fighting terrorists, dismissing US questions about Tehran's role in the Arab country. Jaafari told Lebanon's al-Mayadeen television in an exclusive interview aired on Saturday night that the US cannot dictate its views on Iraq. - 6/12/16

Neocon: Forget about Paying Iran Back

- With all this going on, I thought it a little strange that Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake would dedicate his latest column to something much less dramatic: Iran's military budget. But here's the catch; Lake is distraught not because Iran is spending money on its military-though surely that doesn't please him-but because a small portion of the budget came from the United States. -Ali Gharib - 6/12/16

Saudi-UN Dispute Grows

- diplomatic feud between Saudi Arabia and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is escalating. The U.N. chief says the kingdom pressured him into removing the Saudi coalition in Yemen from a blacklist of entitites that harm children during conflicts. -Margaret Besheer, VOA - 6/12/16

Tehran Condemns Canada Court Ruling On Iranian Assets

- Iran has condemned a Canadian judge's order for Tehran's non-diplomatic assets in Canada to be handed over to victims of attacks allegedly carried out by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and by militants from Lebanon's Hizballah -- groups that both are sponsored by Tehran. - 6/12/16

Hill Update: New Iran Sanctions?

- As we have over the last year, 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 - 6/12/16

Iran, Russia, Syria agree to promote anti-terror cooperation

- Iran, Russia and Syria have agreed to step up cooperation in their fight against Takfiri terror groups wreaking havoc across the Syrian soil and elsewhere in the region. "We made decisions for what must be done on the regional and operational levels in an agreed upon and coordinated manner," said Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan on Thursday. He made the remarks following a meeting with his Russian and Syrian counterparts, Sergei Shoigu and Fahd Jassem al-Freij, in Tehran. - 6/10/16

Signs of Friendship toward the United States are Everywhere in Iran Today

- We walked into our Tehran hotel last week and the pianist in the lobby startled us by playing The Star Spangled Banner. He did it again every time we returned from our outings in the city. This was only the first of many surprises for our group of American visitors to Iran this May (2016). -William O. Beeman, Huffington Post - 6/10/16

Gulf Lobbyist Fails to Disclose Ties to Qatar in Media Appearances

- On Monday, MapLight's Andrew Perez published an excellent investigation into Ed Rogers' advocacy against the Iran nuclear agreement while working as an undisclosed lobbyist for Saudi Arabia. Rogers' behavior is particularly troubling since he registered as a lobbyist for Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) seven months after signing a contract with the Saudis. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 6/9/16

Khamenei on Negotiations with US

- On Friday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a significant speech that categorically ruled out negotiations with the United States beyond nuclear issues. The anti-US rhetoric itself was unsurprising given that the speech marked the 27th anniversary of the death of Iran's first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. But the content of the speech, an important reflection of how Khamenei is taking stock in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, explicitly underscored three aspects of Iran's foreign policy trajectory. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 6/8/16

Iran, Russia, Syria defense chiefs to meet in Tehran

- Defense ministers from Iran, Russia and Syria are scheduled to meet in Tehran on Thurday to discuss the campaign against terrorism as well the recent developments in the Middle East. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Syrian counterpart Fahd Jassem al-Freij will participate in the meeting on the official invitation of their Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehqan. - 6/8/16

Russia-Israel Ties Grow With Kremlin's Influence in Region

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's second meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin in less than two months Tuesday underscores increasingly closer relations between the U.S. ally and Russia as Moscow's influence grows in the Middle East. -Daniel Schearf, VOA - 6/8/16

U.S. Military Assistance and Yemen

- As the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, the international community is increasingly questioning the involvement of external government actors there. Particularly under the microscope is the U.S. government, whose support to Yemen over the past decade has largely been in the form of military and police aid to fight al-Qaeda. -Colby Goodman, LobeLog - 6/8/16

Armenians Push Away from Russia's Embrace

- When Armenia joined the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan justified the decision in part by asserting that membership would enhance Armenia's national security. But, as the early April flare-up in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory showed, such security benefits are more theoretical than real. -Marianna Grigoryan, LobeLog - 6/7/16

US must take concrete, objective steps on JCPOA: Iranian FM

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US should take more objective steps to guarantee international banking transactions with Iran under last year's nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries. - 6/5/16

Iran Blasts US Report That Tehran Sponsors Terrorism

- An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman instead charged that U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was the real leader in funding terrorist activity and claimed that Washington "turns a blind eye to the broad political and financial support by Saudi Arabia and its other allies to this ominous phenomenon in the world." - 6/5/16

Trump Versus Clinton on Foreign Policy

- Following Hillary Clinton's June 2 foreign policy speech in San Diego, California, the whole world knows what she thinks of Donald Trump's becoming commander-in-chief next January. "[His ideas] are dangerously incoherent. They're not even really ideas--just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies." -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 6/5/16

Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows

- On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies - and indeed, they've never had diplomatic relations... But beneath the surface, these two old adversaries actually have a lot in common. In fact, in the contemporary Middle East, they've become the strangest of bedfellows. -Medea Benjamin, LobeLog - 6/3/16

Brookings: JCPOA "Unlikely" to Cause Regional Arms Race

- In a newly released report, Brookings Institution fellows Robert Einhorn and Richard Nephew argue that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will not lead to a "proliferation cascade" throughout the Middle East. Instead, their report suggests that the Middle Eastern nations thought most likely to pursue nuclear weapons are constrained from doing so, for a variety of reasons. In fact, Einhorn and Nephew conclude, the rigorous implementation of the JCPOA can reduce the likelihood of a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race by taking the possibility of Iran's pursuit of a weapon off the table. -Derek Davison - 6/2/16

Iran sees no deal on oil output freeze: Oil Minister

- Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran will continue to ramp up oil production until it returns to levels before sanctions cut its exports. As he arrived in Vienna ahead of Thursday's meeting of OPEC ministers, Zangeneh said a return to individual producer output quotas is the only way to manage the oil market. - 6/2/16

"Why Do They Hate Us?": Ask the Catfish!

- Imagine a kind of news and information media where the programmers, the show hosts, their guests and the reporters are all people of honor and integrity and not beholden to special interest groups or lobbies just to keep their privileged positions and tenure. Well, keep on deluding yourselves with such utopian dreams. That said, let's turn to a recent program aired Monday evening, May 23rd, on CNN, and repeated on Saturday, Memorial Day weekend. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/1/16

Iraq to Host World Cup Qualifiers in Mashhad, Iran

- The Iraq Football Association confirmed that their matches in the 2016 World Cup qualification will be held in Mashhad, northeast of Iran. The Iraqi football team has been drawn in Group B along with Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. - 6/1/16

Working Toward a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Mideast

- Earlier this month, I attended an international conference in Berlin which brought together diplomats, former military officers, academic researchers and think tank analysts from the Middle East and Europe. The conference took place within the framework of the "Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East" of the Peace Research Institute Franfkfurt (PRIF). -Shemuel Meir, LobeLog - 5/30/16

Saudi Arabia Slams Iran's Role In Iraq As 'Unacceptable'

- Saudi Arabia has accused archrival Iran of meddling in Iraq, saying the presence of Iranian military units there is "unacceptable." "Sedition and division in Iraq are the results of sectarian policies that developed out of Iran's policies in Iraq," said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in a joint press briefing with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, in Jeddah. - 5/30/16

Iran cancels Hajj due to Saudi 'obstacles'

- Iran says it will not take part in this year's Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca because of "obstacles" created by Saudi Arabia. "Performing the Hajj ritual this year is virtually impossible," Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said on Sunday. - 5/29/16

Iraqi Forces Poised For Attack On Fallujah, Kurdish Troops Attack IS Near Mosul

- Iraq's military says its special forces have been deployed around Fallujah as part of an operation aimed at retaking the city from so-called Islamic State (IS) militants. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish forces have launched more attacks in northern Iraq as part of a strategy aimed at cutting off IS militants who control the city of Mosul. - 5/29/16

Tehran, Riyadh Fail To Agree On Hajj Arrangements For Iranians

- Saudi Arabia and Iran failed to reach a deal on arrangements for Iranians to attend this year's Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, with officials from both countries blaming the other for the impasse. Saudi officials accused Iran of walking out of talks early on May 27, despite their having offered "solutions" to Iranian demands. - 5/28/16

IAEA Verifies Iran's Compliance With Nuclear Accord

- The UN nuclear agency has verified Iran's compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015. - 5/27/16

Oil Prices Soar Over $50 A Barrel For First Time In 2016

- The price of premium crude oil has surged over $50 a barrel for the first time this year in Asian trading, giving a boost to the economies of oil producers from Russia and Kazakhstan to Iran and Iraq. - 5/27/16

The Litigious Society's Latest Take on Terrorism

- The recent passage by the U.S. Senate of a bill labeled the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act elicited cheers from those wanting to see any kind of significant bipartisan action in Congress. The bill is intended to amend existing law regarding sovereign immunity to make it easier for U.S. citizens to haul foreign governments into U.S. court for involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Saudi Arabia is the unnamed but obvious target. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/27/16

Can OPEC Agree on Oil Production Policy?

- The fall in the price of oil from $115/barrel in mid-2014 to $27/barrel this year has had a devastating impact on petro-states all over the world. Whereas the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil producer and exporter, cut production in the 1980s to raise oil prices, officials in Riyadh have been determined to avoid a repeat of this experience, which cost Saudi Arabia market share. Yet the kingdom has paid a major price for this geopolitically motivated oil production policy... -Alex Stout - 5/26/16

The Neocon-Liberal Hawk Convergence is Worse Than I Thought

- Late last month, I published a post entitled "Hillary's Foreign Policy: A Liberal-Neoconservative Convergence?" that featured the announcement of a new report by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to be rolled out May 16. I was traveling that day, so I missed the formal launch and only got around to reading the report this past weekend. It was even worse than what I had anticipated. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 5/26/16

Saudi Arabia Has a Plan B to Try to Stop Iran's Economic Rise

- Saudi Arabia couldn't stop the Iran nuclear deal from being signed. Plan B is to limit Iran's ability to reap its benefits. The kingdom is mobilizing its Gulf allies to make sure that, more than four months after the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iran's opening-up to the global economy doesn't go smoothly. -Bloomberg - 5/26/16

U.S. Examining Whether Indian Port Deal With Iran Violates Sanctions

- U.S. senators have questioned whether India's deal to develop a port in Iran violates international sanctions, and the State Department said it is examining the question. "We have been very clear with the Indians [about] continuing restrictions on activities with respect to Iran," Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 24. - 5/25/16

Iran helped Syria hold Daesh back: Soleimani

- The Commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Qassem Soleimani says Daesh terrorists would have overrun Syria if it were not for Iran's assistance. - 5/24/16

The Future (of a Nuclear Deal)

- The problem today is that while the U.S. can claim it has accomplished its goal with the JCPOA-namely that Iran, having shipped out most of its enriched uranium stockpile, essentially shuttered one impenetrable (to conventional weaponry) facility and taken out the core of a reactor, is in no position to go nuclear anytime soon-Iran and some of its former business partners, especially the Europeans who were party to the deal, argue that U.S. laws and unilateral sanctions are presenting major obstacles to their being able to do business with each other. -Hooman Majd, LobeLog - 5/24/16

Iran, India agree to expand relations: President Rouhani

- Heading a high-ranking delegation, Modi arrived in the Iranian capital on Sunday. The Indian prime minister was accorded an official welcome in Tehran at the start of a two-day visit to make a case for India's space in Iran's market following the lifting of sanctions. - 5/23/16

Iran, India, Afghanistan sign Chabahar transit agreement

- Iran, India and Afghanistan sign a key trilateral deal, known as the Chabahar agreement, to establish a strategic transit and transport route connecting the three countries. The agreement was signed in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Monday. - 5/23/16

Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and positions of Iran

- The Caspian littoral states (Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) have been working on a document called "draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea" for the last several years in numerous meetings at various levels including the summit conferences of the heads of states and governments. They have not yet succeeded to reach a consensus on all important articles of such a document which are related to the criteria for delimitation of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 5/23/16

India PM in Tehran to strike agreement on Chabahar Port development

- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran at the head of a large delegation to boost economic and political ties with Tehran. Modi landed in Tehran on Sunday for a two-day visit with Iranian officials. He was welcomed by Iran's Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport. - 5/22/16

Hill Update: National Defense Authorization Act

- 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 - 5/22/16

North Korea and the GCC

- North Korea has had a relatively short and somewhat complicated relationship with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Despite the lack of an energy relationship, North Korea does interact with the GCC in three realms. It maintains an official diplomatic relationship with five of the six countries, primarily through its embassy in Kuwait. It sends laborers to work in many of the GCC countries. And it is involved, somewhat tangentially, in military affairs in the region as well. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 5/22/16

Iran's oil exports at highest level since 2012

- The latest market figures show that oil exports in April reached the highest level in over four years - a yet another indication that the country is regaining the share of the market it lost as a result of the sanctions at a faster pace than expected. - 5/19/16

Iranian-Turkish Businessman Seeks Bond in Sanctions Evasion Case

- WASHINGTON- Lawyers for an Iranian-Turkish national arrested in March on charges of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran have asked a federal court to set a $50 million bond for his release until trial. Reza Zarrab is one of three people charged in what prosecutors allege was a five-year scheme involving millions of dollars in transactions on behalf of the Iranian government and businesses. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 5/19/16
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