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Iran, Turkey Rivalry Puts Focus on Kurds

- As differences over Syria and the Islamic State continue to deepen between Turkey and Iran, Kurds living across the Middle East are set to become pawns in the intensifying rivalry between these two regional powers. This week, former close allies Tehran and Ankara again exchanged angry barbs. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 10/31/14

Facing its own Islamic State-inspired militants, Iran wields a smaller stick

- With the help of local Sunnis on its southeastern border with Pakistan, Iran is using a blend of force, dialogue, and money to counter Jaish al-Adl, a radical group that claims to fight for Sunni rights. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 10/31/14

The U.S.-Iran non-alliance alliance against Islamic State

- Washington and Tehran say they abhor each other. Yet they appear to be tacitly working together - if awkwardly and at arm's length - to fight Islamic State. When everyone hates everyone else (welcome to the Middle East!) and pursues their own self-interest, strange political alliances can emerge. -Aki Peritz and Faris Alikhan, Reuters - 10/31/14

Iran a 'time bomb' for oil prices

- Markets should look for "a significant additional political risk premium on the price of Brent" if nuclear arms talks between Iran and major world powers break down, Nomura has warned. -Holly Ellyatt, CNBC - 10/31/14

Will the World Blame Iran if Nuclear Talks Fail?

- The remarks of US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at a symposium in Washington, DC on Oct. 23 contained at least one very questionable assertion: "We hope the leaders in Tehran will agree to the steps necessary to assure the world that this program will be exclusively peaceful...If that does not happen, the responsibility will be seen by all to rest with Iran." -Peter Jenkins - 10/30/14

As West Applauds Kurdish Female Fighters, Iran Praises Peshmerga 'Elders'

- While Western media and social networks have lauded the courage of young Kurdish female fighters, the Iranian press has praised their older, male Iraqi Peshmerga counterparts. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/30/14

Goldberg Sees Crisis in US-Israel Ties, Blames Bibi

- While everyone ritually insists that the bonds between Israel and the United States are "unbreakable," yesterday's analysis by Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here," argues that they're currently under unprecedented strain and that the fault lies mainly with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 10/30/14

Resolving Key Nuclear Issue Turns on Iran-Russia Deal

- U.S. and Iranian negotiators are working on a compromise approach to the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment capabilities, which the Barack Obama administration has said in the past Iran was refusing to make concessions on. -Gareth Porter, LobeLog - 10/29/14

The Collapse of Order in the Middle East

- Will Rogers once observed that "when you get into trouble 5,000 miles from home, you've got to have been looking for it." It's a good deal more than 5.000 miles to Baghdad or Damascus from here. And, boy, have we gotten into trouble! -Chas Freeman, LobeLog - 10/29/14

Iran Accuses Turkey of Prolonging Civil War in Syria

- Iran accused Turkey on Tuesday of prolonging the three-year conflict in neighboring Syria by insisting on President Bashar al-Assad's overthrow and supporting "terrorist groups" in Syria, the official IRNA news agency reported. -Reuters - 10/29/14

Kobani Kurds Expose the Hypocrisy of the Coalition to Fight ISIS

- The coalition's purported fight against ISIS is essentially akin to a parent's trying to discipline a disruptive or disobedient teenage child. No matter how harsh the punishment for the child's unruly behavior may be, it will not include killing him. ISIS is simply too useful to the nefarious interests of the coalition members-and of the beneficiaries of war-dividends in general-to be eliminated. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 10/28/14

Iran Slams U.S. Coalition After IS-Held Town Retaken

- On October 26, the Iraqi government claimed a significant victory for its troops and Shi'a militias near Baghdad: the recapture of the key Islamic State-held town of Jurf Al-Sakhar. Iraq's new interior minister, Mohammed Salem Al-Ghabban, insisted that this victory -- which was apparently overseen by the commander of Iran's Qods Force, Major General Qassem Soleimani -- was achieved without the assistance of the U.S.-led coalition against IS. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/28/14

The Islamic State's Ideology is Grounded in Saudi Education

- According to an article published Oct. 21 on Al-Monitor, the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has issued new regulations for the school systems under its control in Iraq and Syria. The announced purpose of the so-called guidelines, which carried the imprimatur of the group's "Amir al-Mu'minin," presumably leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is to "eradicate ignorance and disseminate Sharia sciences." -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 10/28/14

Bachmann's War on Islam: I'm an Enemy. How Did That Happen?

- At the 2014 Values Voter Summit, Minnesota Republican US Representative Michele Bachmann lambasted Barack Obama for not declaring war on Islam and said that there was no such thing as moderate Islam. -Mahbod Seraji, Truthout - 10/28/14

Al-Baghdadi, Self-Proclaimed Caliph of the Islamic State - Part 2

- When Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarrai adopted the name of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Quraishi and revealed himself to the world as the Amir al-Mu'minin (the Commander of the Faithful) Caliph Ibrahim of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the whole world had to sit up and take notice of him. -Farhang Jahanpour - 10/27/14

The biggest threat to a nuclear deal isn't Iran's hardliners

- Negotiations with Iran over the future of its nuclear program have not even concluded yet some members of Congress are preparing to manufacture a political crisis over a deal. -Trita Parsi, Reuters - 10/27/14

As Optimism Grows, Possible Iran Deal Gains Key Endorsement

- Optimism that the US and world powers can, after all, strike a nuclear deal with Iran by or shortly after the current November 24 deadline appeared to grow here in Washington substantially this week. Such a deal also gained a critical endorsement, one that should provide a lot of political cover to shaky Democrats, as well as voices in the US Jewish community who, in contrast to the right-wing leadership of AIPAC and other "mainstream" Jewish organizations, have long favored President Obama's diplomatic efforts. -Jim Lobe - 10/25/14

The GCC's Security Dilemma

- The states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman-are frustrated. Four of them-Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE-have vast quantities of petroleum. All of them are monarchies. And all of them are militarily weak. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 10/25/14

37 Organizations to Congress: Quit Playing Politics with Deal to Prevent Iran War

- The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) was one of 37 organizations to send a letter to Congress today regarding the roles of Congress and the President in sealing a nuclear deal with Iran. The letter was prompted when certain lawmakers reacted harshly to a New York Times report that, if there is a nuclear deal with Iran, the White House plans to initially use executive action to temporarily suspend certain sanctions. - 10/24/14

Iran Claims Key Role In Helping Its 'Iraqi Brothers' Fight IS

- Following weeks of increasingly harsh criticism of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, in the past few days Iran has begun to emphasize its role in helping Iraq battle IS militants. Part of this narrative has been to stress Iran's close relationship with Baghdad, and its willingness to cooperate with other countries in the region, including against IS. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/24/14

Iranian, Arab Media: 'Russia-Iran Anti-IS Operations Room' In Iraq

- A report that Iran and Russia were to run a joint operations room in Iraq to combat the Islamic State (IS) group is spreading across Iran's media. The report originates in Lebanon's "Al-Mustaqbal" newspaper, which cites unnamed "Iraqi sources" as saying that Russian and Iranian military experts were to work with the Iraqi military to establish a joint anti-IS operations room. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/24/14

The Roots of Recurring Iranian-Pakistani Tensions

- In the past two weeks, relations between Tehran and Islamabad appear to have deteriorated again over border clashes and terrorist attacks in Iran's Sistan and Baluchistan province located close to the Pakistani-Iranian border. -Shireen T. Hunter - 10/23/14

When Congress Should Assert Itself, and When It Shouldn't

- David Sanger's article in the New York Times about how the Obama administration is seeking a nuclear accord with Iran that would not require any early votes in Congress has garnered a lot of attention. Naturally, the administration in response has offered assurances that Congress has a role to play and no one is trying to shove it out of the picture. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 10/23/14

Iran Pledges Support for Iraq in Fight Against ISIL

- Tehran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday that he considers security of the two countries to be "inseparable." The Iranian cleric said that "security of brotherly, neighborly Iraq is as indispensable as our own." - 10/22/14

The momentum to recognize a Palestinian State is unstoppable

- Once again, the British Parliament has led the way with an epoch-making decision. On Monday 13 October 2014, British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of recognizing Palestine as a state. With 274 to 12 votes they passed a motion stating: "This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution." -Farhang Jahanpour - 10/22/14

Gaza and the Bipartisan War on Human Rights

- Israel's seven weeks of attacks this summer on heavily populated civilian neighborhoods in Gaza has led to unprecedented concern among Americans who, while still broadly supportive of Israel, found the attacks to be disproportionate and unnecessary. -Stephen Zunes, LobeLog - 10/22/14

US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

- The United States and Iran are both helping fight Sunni militants in the Islamic State group. But one of the biggest battlefields is Syria, where Washington and Tehran back opposing sides in the civil war. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 10/21/14

Iran, Armenia to form joint commission to boost trade ties

- The Armenian prime minister arrived in Tehran on Monday to discuss bilateral ties and the latest regional and international developments with high-ranking Iranian officials. A host of topics, particularly energy issues, is slated to be discussed during the two-day visit of the Armenian prime minister. - 10/21/14

Iran's Suleimani: IS, U.S. 'Doomed To Failure' in Syria

- The commander of Iran's powerful Qods Force, Qassem Suleimani, has said that both the Islamic State (IS) group and the United States are "doomed to failure" in Iraq and Syria. The Qods Force is the branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) responsible for overseas operations. -Joanna Paraszczuk. FFE - 10/21/14

Caspian Summit: review of zones of national jurisdiction

- The Fourth Caspian Summit of the Caspian States was held on the 29th of September 2014 in Astrakhan of Russia. (1) The Summit failed to find a new legal regime for the Caspian Sea which was its most important mission and discussions on it have been going on for the last two decades between the littoral states of the Caspian Sea.... -Bahman Aghai Diba - 10/20/14

Press TV reporter accused of spying killed in accident

- Press TV reporter Serena Shim, who recently reported that Turkish security forces had accused her of spying, has been killed in an automobile accident. Press TV reported on Sunday that Serena Shin was killed in an accident in Turkey near the Turkey-Syria border while covering news of ISIS. - 10/20/14

Iraq's PM to Visit Iran, Seeking Help in Fight Against IS

- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is headed to Iran Monday for talks with key Tehran officials about the joint fight against Islamic State militants and economic links between the two countries. - 10/20/14

Has Washington's Focusing on Iranian Nukes Distracted It from ISIL's Rise?

- One potential reason for the slow U.S. reaction to ISIL is that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran has been hyped at the expense of major, more-realistic security challenges across the region. Spurred by hawks, Washington got busy with the nuances of a potential nuclear "breakout capacity" in Iran and overlooked the real-time breakout of the barbarous ISIL. -Ryan Costello and Ali Fatemi, NIAC - 10/20/14

In Iran, Political Cartoons Reflect Attitudes Toward IS

- The rise of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq, and the advent of the anti-IS coalition led by the United States and including several of Iran's rivals has inspired political cartoonists in several of Iran's media outlets. The cartoons are used to express Tehran's various attitudes or viewpoints on Islamic State (IS). -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/20/14

Seven Worst-Case Scenarios in the Battle with the Islamic State

- You know the joke? You describe something obviously heading for disaster - a friend crossing Death Valley with next to no gas in his car - and then add, "What could possibly go wrong?" Such is the Middle East today. The U.S. is again at war there, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria, advising here, droning there... -Peter Van Buren, LobeLog - 10/19/14

Iran scholars, associations deplore 'medieval' death verdict on Saudi cleric

- Iranian grand ayatollahs and associations have deplored death sentence against Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Saudi Arabian Shia cleric. A death sentence passed against the dissident Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia after a deeply flawed trial is appalling and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International. - 10/19/14

Pakistani Guard Killed Near Iranian Border

- Pakistan says Iranian forces have killed an officer and wounded three members of its border security force. The rare clash occurred Friday, a day after Tehran warned it would intervene on the Pakistani side if the neighboring country failed to prevent terrorist infiltrations into Iran. -Ayaz Gul, VOA - 10/18/14

Keeping the ISIS Challenge in Perspective

- Once again American observers are outbidding each other over how serious a threat the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) poses. Recent IS gains in Iraq heightened Washington's concern, causing President Obama to huddle with coalition defense ministers. In this air of heightened crisis, the option of deploying US combat troops has been revived. Yet this supposed fix (even just talk of it) involves a host of likely problems. -Wayne White, LobeLog - 10/18/14

Iranian Strategy in Syria Could Make Peace Possible

- The group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS), beyond its doctrinaire propaganda and lurid beheadings, is beginning to uproot the foundations of order in the Middle East, and the United States has decided to not sit idly by. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog - 10/18/14

Islamic State 'Funded By Saudi Petrodollars,' Says Iran's Friday Prayer Leader

- "Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says Iran is part of the problem not the solution. That's strange; everyone knows that the IS group was created with your petrodollars," Khatami said, adding that everyone also knew that every act of terror in the Muslim world was also funded by the Saudis. "The reality is that you are not only part of the problem, you are the entire problem!" Khatami said. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/17/14

Explainer: The Oil Price Plunge

- In the past several days-despite the conflicts affecting Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia-oil prices have been on a downward trend, hitting their lowest number in the past four years. As of October 2014, oil prices are more than 20 percent lower than June. -Sara Vakhshouri, LobeLog - 10/17/14

Iran Boasts Of 'Magnificent' Qods Force Commander In Fight Against IS

- It is no coincidence that Fars bothered to fashion a whole news article out of the fact that an "English newspaper" has commented on Soleimani's presence and "key role" in combating IS in Iraq. Iran has made a concerted effort in recent weeks to show the world that Soleimani -- and by extension, the Qods Force -- is playing an important role in bolstering Shi'ite militias against Islamic State militants in Iraq. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 10/17/14

US: Nuclear Talks With Iranian FM Zarif 'Very Concrete'

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met Wednesday in Vienna for talks on international efforts to limit Iran's nuclear program. Kerry and Zarif were joined by European Union representative Catherine Ashton, who has been leading efforts by Germany, Russia, Britain, France, China and the United States to convince Iran to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 10/16/14

Talking Turkey on ISIS, the Kurds, and Kobani

- Turkey, nominally a member of America's new anti-ISIS coalition (well, maybe), has for some time now been refusing to allow Kurdish reinforcements and weapons to cross its Syrian border into the besieged city of Kobani. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 10/16/14

Bookends of America's Broken Regional Policy

- It's hard not to cringe watching the United States careen around the Middle East these days, dispensing bombs, money and political fealty in various doses depending on the crisis of the day to a series of supposed allies that take turns slapping us around while demanding our protection. - James A. Russell, LobeLog - 10/16/14

Falling Oil Prices Spell Trouble For Some, But Could Also Boost Global Growth

- Suddenly, the world seems to be awash in oil, with benchmark Brent crude that sold for $110 a barrel in June dropping to under $88 a barrel on October 13. That's a 20 percent price plunge and one that bodes serious economic trouble for countries whose revenues depend heavily on their oil exports. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 10/15/14

Iran's Message to World: You Need Us to Fight Islamists

- In the fight against Islamic extremists, the commander of Iran's secretive special forces is turning into an unlikely celebrity. Iranian television published last week a picture of Quds Force Major General Qassem Suleimani on an Iraqi battlefield surrounded by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. -Kambiz Foroohar - 10/15/14

Iranian FM Continues Diplomacy Over IS, Despite Supreme Leader's Hard-Line Stance

- In the wake of strident accusations by Iran's supreme leader and other senior Iranian figures that the Islamic State (IS) militant group is a Western creation, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, continues to push a more diplomatic approach to combating IS. - 10/15/14

Iranian peshmerga chief: Iran set ambushes for us

- The Iranian Kurdish leader said he was committed to resolving issues with Tehran peacefully, saying, "We cannot destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran and it cannot destroy us, therefore both sides have to find a solution for this issue one day." -Al-Monitor - 10/15/14

US Policy Towards Iran Played Big Role in Rise of Sunni Extremism

- Throughout the recent handwringing about how the US and other Western countries failed to foresee the emergence of ISIS, one factor has been totally ignored, either intentionally or inadvertently: the impact of Washington's hostility towards Iran, especially its persistent tendency to treat any anti-Iranian movement or idea in the Middle East as either good or the lesser evil compared to dealing with Tehran. -Shireen T. Hunter - 10/14/14

World recognizes Iran's nuclear rights, deal is certain: Rouhani

- President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran and the Sextet of world powers will "certainly" reach a deal on Iran's nuclear power as the group has come to recognize the country's nuclear rights. - 10/14/14

Qassem Suleimani photo makeover reveals Iran's new publicity strategy

- Suleimani and the Iraqi militias he commands have played a key role in halting Isis. But neither he nor any other Iranian official has been invited to Tuesday's strategy meeting in Washington between US president Barack Obama and military chiefs from 20 western and Arab countries, which aimed to draw up a plan to defeat the militants. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 10/14/14

Iran's Khamenei Accuses U.S., Britain Of Creating Islamic State (IS)

- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on October 13 that Washington and "the wicked government of Britain" created both IS and Al-Qaeda "to create divisions and to fight against the Islamic Republic," but the militant groups have turned against them. - 10/14/14

Saudi Arabia, Iran Swap Accusations as Tensions Persist

- Senior Saudi and Iranian officials have renewed criticism of each other's interventions in the Middle East in a sign that tensions between the rival Gulf powers remain high despite top-level meetings this summer. -Reuters - 10/14/14

Iran oil price cut nothing to do with rivalry with Saudi Arabia: NIOC

- In a recent report, Bloomberg reported that Iran has slashed its crude prices in an attempt to attract Asian customers following Saudi Arabia's decision to cut its oil price to the lowest level since 2008. - 10/13/14

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 awarded to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi

- The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. - 10/11/14

Fighting for Democracy While Supporting Autocracy

- For the second time in recent history, the United States is trading away support for democracy and fundamental human rights protections in Bahrain as part of an effort to establish democracy and human rights protections in another Muslim country. -Matar E. Matar, LobeLog - 10/10/14

Kobani: Questionable Turkish, US Behavior

- Defenders of the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani (or Ayn al-Arab) have fought valiantly against heavily armed Islamic State (IS) forces for three weeks with only light arms. Until late on Oct. 7, Washington did relatively little but watch a major contingent of the only effective "boots on the ground" against IS being driven slowly back into their city. Turkey has done less than nothing, triggering domestic protests. -Wayne White, LobeLog - 10/9/14

Iran nuclear talks: why Tehran must be brought in from the cold

- A deal that offers Iran a nuclear power industry not exceeding its needs and ambitions, and the rest of the world reassurance through intrusive inspections, would do more than bring Iran in from the cold. It would inaugurate a new relationship between the Islamic Republic and the west that could keep together a region that is, in every other particular, coming apart. - Christopher de Bellaigue, Guardian - 10/8/14

Azerbaijan Pursues Drones, New Security Hopes

- Heightened tensions with longtime foe Armenia over breakaway Nagorno Karabakh and mediator Russia's Ukrainian adventure appear to be pushing Caspian-Sea energy power Azerbaijan ever more strongly toward a military strategy of self-reliance. -Shahin Abbasov, LobeLog - 10/7/14

Mecca, Money and Monotheism

- To Angawi and other critics, this religious hostility to historic sites is a form of cultural barbarism, no different from the Taliban's destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. Angawi has called it an "absolute contradiction to the nature of Mecca and the sacredness of the house of God." -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog - 10/7/14

Iran to send four satellites into orbit: ISA

- Iran plans to launch four new satellites with domestically-manufactured carriers into the space in the near future, the deputy director of Iranian Space Agency (ISA) says. "The launching of Sharif Sat, Zafar (Triumph), Tolou (Sunrise) and Pars satellites, with powerful locally-designed carriers, in the near future is on the agenda," Hamid Fazeli said on Sunday - 10/6/14

9/11, ISIS, and the US Constitution

- More shocking than the news of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) invading Iraq were the pictures of its army marching into city after city, with brand new uniforms, new armored vehicles, and a full array of modern weapons. -Abolala Soudavar - 10/6/14

America's Never-Ending War in the Middle East

- While President Obama continues - at least for now - to resist redeploying large numbers of U.S. soldiers to fight the Islamic State on the ground, the military components of the anti-Islamic State strategy he has laid out effectively recommit the United States to its post-9/11 template for never-ending war in the Middle East. -Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, WFR - 10/6/14

Iran Orders Elite Troops: Lay Off U.S. Forces in Iraq

- The last time Iranian and American forces were in Iraq, the two sides quietly fought each other. Now Iran's Quds Force officers in Iraq are purposely leaving the Americans alone. -Daily Beast - 10/6/14

ISIS and the Bolshevik Precedent

- All the major actors in the Middle East oppose the rise of the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State (ISIS). In fact, ISIS has managed to incur the enmity of a highly diverse set of actors who often oppose one another. These include several sets of antagonists such as the United States and the West on the one hand and Russia on the other; Iran and the Assad regime in Syria on the one hand and Sunni states like Saudi Arabia on the other; Israel on the one hand and Hezbollah on the other... -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 10/4/14

Asian Games: Iran's Volleyball Team Grabs The Crown

- Iran was crowned as Asia's best volleyball team after overpowering Japan in the Final match of Asia Cup 2014 in Incheon, South Korea, on Friday. Iran beat Japan 3-1 in the final showdown of the Asia Cup and became Asia's volleyball champion for the first time. Iran beat Japan in three sets (28-26, 25-19 and 25-19). - 10/3/14

Column: Plan B for an Iran Nuclear Deal?

- An Iran no longer fettered by international sanctions could "make everyone around it rich" just as China has fueled a boom in East and Southeast Asia, Lewis said. Europe would also have an alternate source of energy than Russia. Domestically, the pragmatist Rouhani would be strengthened and hardliners marginalized, improving the prospects for reform in other areas. Still, the sky will not fall if no deal is reached and it makes sense to prepare for alternate scenarios. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 10/3/14

Waiting for the Iranian Godot

- The US stance on Iran's uranium enrichment program, according to recent media reports, is softening. In other words, Washington might agree to a technical workaround on the issue of dismantling centrifuges or accept a higher number of active centrifuges than it had previously been seeking in international negotiations with Iran. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 10/3/14

Iran Nuclear Talks: Ironies, Observations and a Bottom Line

- Negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 are meeting amidst rapidly evolving international and regional circumstances. Whether they succeed or fail, their discussions will have an impact on much more than just nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. They will affect the geopolitics of that region, relations between the world's greatest powers, and the emerging pluripolar world order. -Chas Freeman, LobeLog - 10/2/14

Obama, Netanyahu Air Views on Palestinians, Iran

- WHITE HOUSE- White House officials are condemning Israel's plans to go ahead with construction in East Jerusalem, saying the move poisons the atmosphere for peace. The statements came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office Wednesday. -Luis Ramirez, VOA - 10/2/14

Caspian Summit in Russia

- The 4th Caspian Summit was held in Astrakhan of Russia on 29th of September 2014. The summit did not take any step in finding a new legal regime for the Caspian Sea that can be agreed by all five littoral states. However, Russia and Iran tried to use the occasion for something else: keeping out the presence of the non-littoral states from the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 10/2/14

Past vs. Future in the Iranian Nuclear Program

- Some of the most recent efforts to derail a nuclear agreement with Iran have been focusing on what has come to be called "possible military dimensions" (PMD), a term that refers to any work Iran has performed in the past on designing nuclear weapons. -Paul Pillar, LobeLog - 10/2/14

Putin Optimistic Of Eventual Accord After Fourth Caspian Summit

- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is hopeful that an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea can be adopted at the next summit of the sea's five littoral states. Putin made his comments at the fourth Caspian Sea summit in the Russian city of Astrakhan - 10/1/14

World's largest wide-body jetliner lands in Iran for first time

- The world's largest wide-body passenger airplane, Airbus A380, has touched down at Iran's Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) for the first time. The airliner, belonging to Dubai's Emirates Airline, landed at the airport, located 40 kilometers south of Tehran, at 16:00 local time (1230 GMT) on Tuesday with more than 260 passengers on board - 10/1/14
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