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Secretary Tillerson Eschews Iran Diplomacy in Favor of Regime Change

- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated he has no plans for negotiations with Iran and expressed favor for moving to support elements within Iran intent on regime change during testimony on the State Department budget in the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday. Tillerson's remarks are certain to ratchet up tensions with Iran, where elements remain deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions and have levied charges on ordinary citizens for alleged collaboration with hostile powers. -Darius Namazi, NIAC - 6/23/17

Iran: The Road to War?

- The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at...Iran. Donald Trump's first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at...Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about...Iran. The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is... well, do I really need to spell this out any further? -John Feffer, LobeLog - 6/23/17

Arab States Boycotting Qatar Demand It Cut Ties With Iran, Shutter Al-Jazeera

- Four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia have issued a list of demands for ending their boycott of Qatar, including requiring Doha to shut down the Al-Jazeera network and cut most ties with Iran. Doha did not have any immediate reaction to the list. Nor did the United States, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had encouraged the Arab countries earlier this week to provide a list of demands that was "reasonable and actionable." - 6/23/17

Iran Begins Pipeline Gas Exports To Iraq After Years Of Delay

- Iran has begun exporting natural gas to neighboring Iraq after several years of delays, Iranian state media report. The semiofficial Fars news agency on June 22 said the exports began late the previous day through a pipeline to Baghdad. - 6/23/17

Saudi-Iran Tensions Seen Worsening With Rise Of New Saudi Crown Prince

- Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran -- already running high -- could worsen with King Salman's designation of his aggressive and ambitious son, Muhammad bin Salman, as the next ruler, analysts say. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was designated as the kingdom's next ruler on June 21. The crown prince said last month on Saudi TV that he was not open to trying to improve relations with Tehran, which he accused of trying "to control the Islamic world" to spread its Shi'ite doctrine. - 6/22/17

Is the Saudi Prince Up to His New Job?

- The audacious young prince of Saudi Arabia known as MbS owns it all now, for better or worse. As a wisecracking American might say, "Good luck with that." With his elevation Wednesday to be crown prince, heir to the throne, and first deputy premier reporting only to his father the king, Prince Mohammed bin Salman will exercise nearly complete control over his country's future. He was already minister of defense and chairman of the committee that sets the kingdom's economic policy. -Thomas Lippman - 6/22/17

Blundering Into Yet Another Middle East War

- The Washington elite is waking up to the increasingly real possibility that the Trump administration may be moving the country into yet another Middle East war (with Iran). And much more quickly than anyone had anticipated. And through sheer incompetence and incoherence rather than by design. -Jim Lobe and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio - 6/22/17

Iran demands that Saudis release three detained Iranian fishermen

- Iran's interior minister called on Wednesday for the immediate release of three Iranian fishermen who were detained by the Saudi navy last week, saying their boasts were pushed off course by waves. The development is expected to further complicate relations between the two countries, which escalated last month when U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and took a bellicose stance against Iran in an official speech. - 6/22/17

Trump's Love Affair With the Saudis

- At this point, it's no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi royal family. -William Hartung, LobeLog - 6/22/17

Iran's Terrorism Challenge: How Should It Respond?

- Terrorist incidents in Iran have been on the rise in the last few months. At the beginning, they occurred in the two most vulnerable provinces Sistan and Baluchistan in the southeast on the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan and in Western Azerbaijan bordering Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. This was not surprising since these provinces, especially Baluchistan, had long been vulnerable to attacks by Sunni extremist groups, such as Jaish ul-Adl and Jundallah, supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/21/17

Iran's Khamenei Warns Iraq Against Relying On U.S., Weakening Shi'ite Militia

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned Iraq's leader against weakening Shi'ite paramilitary groups and relying on the United States in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.. At a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Tehran, Khamenei said the Shi'ite militias were the main forces pushing back against the Sunni extremist group in Iraq, and Baghdad should not trust the United States, Iranian state media reported. - 6/21/17

U.S. Shoots Down Armed, Iranian-Made Drone Over Syria Amid Russian Protests

- The U.S. military says it has shot down an armed, Iranian-made drone that was bearing down on its forces near a garrison in Syria's southeast. The Pentagon said a U.S. F-15 aircraft flying over Syrian territory fired on the Shaheed 129 drone after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces on June 20. - 6/21/17

Saudi Bullying of Qatar: A Spurious Game of Thrones Crumbling

- The Saudi-Abu Dhabi aggressive siege of Qatar has gone beyond a mere tribal feud pitting the de facto Saudi ruler Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud and the UAE Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nuhayyan against Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar. The two-week manufactured "game of thrones," driven by faulty assumptions, has backfired and is already generating serious unintended consequences. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/21/17

Reacting to the Tehran Attacks in Europe and the US

- The European Parliament started its plenary session last week with a minute of silence to honor the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Tehran. In this way, the EP has joined a number of other institutions, as well as leaders of the EU and its member states, in offering sympathy to the Iranian people... Contrast this with the attitude in the United States. -Eldar Mamedov - 6/20/17

Attacks in Iran: The Enemies of My Enemies

- As Iran fires missiles into Syria as part of its "crushing response" to the perpetrators of the recent unprecedented terrorist attacks in Tehran, these attacks can also have an enormous impact on Iran's internal politics. They could further solidify the position of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its support within the population and lead to an intensified crackdown on prisoners from minority groups. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 6/20/17

The Sordid History Of State Sponsored Terrorism Against Iran

- For decades, Western empires have waged a silent war against Iran, using tactics ranging from supporting known terrorist groups to deposing the country's leaders and leveraging regional rivalries. The war continues today, even as the U.S. condemns Iran for sponsoring terrorism itself. -Eric Draitser, MintPress - 6/20/17

Iran Fires Missiles At ISIS In Syria In Response To Tehran Terror attacks

- Late on Sunday Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps fired six missiles into eastern Syria, targeting Islamic State strongholds in retaliation for the recent ISIS-claimed terrorist attacks in Tehran. The national TV showed footages of missile attacks launched from western Iran. - 6/19/17

Iran, China Hold Naval Drills In Persian Gulf

- Iran and China have held naval drills near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. The military drills on June 18 came amid heightened tensions between the Iranian and U.S. military in the Persian Gulf. - 6/19/17

US efforts to change Iranian government always ended in failure: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

- Referring to recent remarks by American officials about changing the Iranian government, the Leader noted, "They say we want to change the Islamic Republic establishment. Well, when have you not wanted to do this? You always wanted and you always failed and your nose has been rubbed in the dirt; [and] it will be like that from now on." - 6/19/17

Iran Says Saudi Arabia Killed Iranian Fisherman In Persian Gulf

- Iranian officials say the Saudi coast guard has fired on two fishing boats in the Persian Gulf, killing one fisherman. "We are pursuing this matter to determine if the Iranian boats had crossed the Saudi border or not, but the action of the Saudis does not comply with humanitarian and navigational principles," Iran's June 17 statement said. - 6/19/17

Terrorist group completely dismantled in southeast Iran: IRGC Commander

- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has managed to kill all members of a Takfiri terrorist outfit and completely dismantle it in a southeastern Iranian town, a senior IRGC commander says. "A terrorist team, which we had engaged a few days ago in the town of Qasr-e Qand, was completely dismantled today after the killing of five more of its elements," Commander of IRGC's Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour told Fars news agency on Sunday. - 6/19/17

The CIA Coup Against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq: Iran 1953 Covert History Quietly Released

- The Department of State yesterday released a long-suppressed volume of historical records documenting the role of the United States in the 1953 coup against the Iranian government of Mohammad Mosadeq. "This retrospective volume focuses on the evolution of U.S. thinking on Iran as well as the U.S. Government covert operation that resulted in Mosadeq's overthrow on August 19, 1953," the Preface says. -Steven Aftergoo - 6/17/17

Iranian FM Zarif to Secretary Tillerson: U.S. Better Save Own Regime

- TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday hit back at the United States for rhetoric of regime change in Iran, calling on Washington's officials to worry about saving their own regime instead of talking about changing the Iranian political system which enjoys a strong backing by its people. - 6/17/17

Iran still world's biggest natural gas player

- A new report shows Iran still has the world's largest reserves of natural gas and is closely followed by market rivals Russia and then Qatar. The global energy giant British Petroleum (BP) in its annual report on world energy reserves put Iran's natural gas reserves at 33.5 trillion cubic meters (tcm). - 6/17/17

Iran, China to hold joint naval drill in Strait of Hormuz

- The naval forces of Iran and China are to hold a joint military drill in the Strait of Hormuz. The Chinese Navy fleet, which docked at the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas on Thursday, will take part in the joint exercises in waters of the Islamic Republic on Sunday. - 6/17/17

Iran says Israeli nuclear policies are source of global concern

- Reza Najafi, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said Israel's nuclear policies openly violate "international norms and regulations" and jeopardize "the regional and global security". Najafi made the remarks in a speech to the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on Thursday. - 6/16/17

The Siege of Doha

- There are several things that I find confounding about the current conflict within the GCC: First, as a member of the US policy team that first applied sanctions against Iran when our diplomats were being held hostage in Tehran, we drew the line at food and medicine. That has remained true in the succeeding 37 years. Despite all the onerous sanctions that the US has imposed against Iran over the years, which verge on economic warfare, there has never been a formal restriction on sales of food or medicine, including by US companies. -Gary Sick, LobeLog - 6/16/17

Secretary of State Tillerson: U.S. Will Work To Bring Peaceful Transition In Iran

- Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson told House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, June 14, that the United States policy towards Iran is based on support of internal forces who can bring about peaceful change. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi called US foreign policy towards Iran "confused" which could "easily be manipulated by wrong information." Specifically, he called Tillerson's remark about U.S. supporting internal elements for a peaceful transition,"unacceptable" and "interventionist". - 6/15/17

Iranian Navy Trains Laser on U.S. Chopper, Turns Spotlight on American Ship: U.S. Navy

- PENTAGON - An Iranian military vessel trained a laser on an American helicopter that was accompanying three U.S. military ships in the Strait of Hormuz, Navy officials said Wednesday. Commander Bill Urban, spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, said the Iranian vessel, which came within 730 meters of the USS Baatan assault ship, acted in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner late Tuesday. -Carla Babb, VOA - 6/15/17

Iranian Security forces kill 2 terrorists, arrest 5

- Iranian security forces have killed two terrorists and arrested five others in the southeast of the country. Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Wednesday night that security forces killed two terrorists in the city of Chabahar in Sistan-and-Baluchestan province earlier in the day. - 6/15/17

Does Qatar Really Threaten the Gulf?

- Yet it is Qatar's good relations with Iran that constitute the most serious no-no from the Saudi perspective. While Qatar is no democracy, as a monarchy it is politically a good bit freer than Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or the UAE. (Both Oman and Kuwait enjoy still greater political freedom than Qatar--and both also enjoy good relations with Iran and have not joined the Saudi alliance against Qatar.) -Graham E. Fuller - 6/15/17

What Will Trump, Gulf Instability Mean for the JCPOA?

- The Iran nuclear deal-Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA-is facing multiple threats, and whatever hope there may once have been that it could serve as a basis for improving U.S.-Iran ties is probably gone. Between the Trump administration's emerging focus on Iranian regime change and recent instability in the Persian Gulf, simply maintaining the deal itself is proving to be a serious challenge. That was the consensus at a June 13 panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council as part of its day-long "Preserving and Building on the Iran Nuclear Deal" event. -Derek Davison - 6/14/17

Iran will never tolerate Saudi warmongering: Supreme Leader's adviser

- Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, says the comments by "inexperienced" Saudi diplomats against the Islamic Republic show their ignorance about Iran and the region, stressing that Tehran will never tolerate Riyadh's warmongering policies. - 6/14/17

U.S. Senate Narrowly Defeats Bid To Block Some Saudi Arms Sales

- The U.S. Senate has narrowly defeated a move to block President Donald Trump's planned sale of $500 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia out of concern they could be used to kill civilians in Yemen. The Senate's 53-47 vote on June 13 cleared the way for the United States to deliver the weapons, which are part of Trump's proposed $110 billion arms package for Riyadh. - 6/14/17

A Call to End U.S. Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

- A coalition of activists and U.S. lawmakers alarmed about Saudi Arabia's punishing war in Yemen is trying to block the Trump administration's pending $510 million weapons sale to Riyadh. In a June 8 letter signed by 41 human rights groups, including Win Without War, Project on Middle East Democracy, and the Yemen Peace Project, activists have called upon legislators to reject the Trump's administration's proposed arms deal. -LobeLog - 6/14/17

IAEA verifies Iran's commitments to nuclear agreement

- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the agency continues to verify Iran's fulfillment of its commitments under the landmark nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries in 2015. "The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in an introductory statement to the Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday. - 6/13/17

The Irrationality of Iran Vilification

- "Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region," Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, "you find Iran." I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. -Danny Sjursen, LobeLog - 6/13/17

Iran has intelligence of Saudi Arabia propping up terrorists near its borders: FM Zarif

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has obtained intelligence showing that Saudi Arabia is "actively" propping up terrorist groups along Iranian eastern and western borders. Speaking at the opening of the Oslo Forum in Norway, Minister Zarif referred to recent remarks by Saudi officials that foreshadowed the recent terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and called those remarks a "direct threat and very dangerous provocation" by Riyadh. - 6/13/17

Iran qualifies for 2018 World Cup after defeating Uzbekistan 2-0

- Iran's national football team has blanked Uzbekistan with two goals to be the second country that has booked tickets for the 2018 World Cup, scheduled to be held next summer in Russia. - 6/12/17

4 terrorists killed in Southern Iran, ISIS flag seized

- Police forces in Iran have killed four terrorists in a southern province on Saturday June 11, seizing their arms and ammunition as well as a flag of the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh (ISIS). Azizollah Maleki, the police chief in Hormozgan Province, where the terrorists were killed during a firefight with security forces, made the remarks to reporters on Monday. - 6/12/17

ISIS Mastermind behind Tehran twin attacks killed: Iran's Intelligence Ministry

- During a televised interview on Saturday, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said that the terrorist commander was killed earlier in the day by intelligence forces. He noted that the terrorist had fled the country following the ensuing security operations after the attack, but was killed with the cooperation of friendly foreign intelligence services. - 6/11/17

Iran sending planeloads of food to Qatar daily

- Further indications have emerged that a blockade declared by several Persian Gulf states against Qatar has already opened a food corridor between Tehran and Doha since last week. Iranian officials say the country is already sending at least 100 tonnes of food supplies to Qatar by plane every day. - 6/11/17

Iran Criticizes Independence Vote In Iraq's Kurdistan Region

- Iran has voiced its opposition to a decision by Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to hold a referendum on independence, saying the vote would lead to "new problems." Washington also said it was opposed to the vote, saying it would be a distraction from more urgent priorities, including the fight against the extremist group Islamic State. - 6/11/17

Donald Trump's Destabilization of the Persian Gulf

- The Obama administration had to expend considerable political capital in fending off attempts, during the recent Congressional review period, to kill the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program. As a matter of policy toward that program, such expenditure should never have been necessary; the strict limitations and scrutiny of the program that are embodied in the agreement are clearly better for U.S. interests than the absence of such limitations and scrutiny if the agreement had been killed... -Paul R. Pillar - 6/10/17

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Must Apologize for Suggesting ISIS Attacks on Iran "A Good Thing"

- "Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) must immediately disavow and apologize for his outrageous suggestion that the ISIS attacks on Iran should be viewed as 'a good thing.' After Trump's heartless message to Iran blaming the country for being attacked by ISIS, it was hard to believe that any lawmaker could find a way to go lower. Yet that is exactly what Rep. Rohrabacher did with his outrageous and deplorable line of questioning yesterday." - 6/10/17

PHOTOS: Thousands Gather In Tehran To Mourn Victims Of Attacks

- Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Tehran as Iran held funeral ceremonies for the victims of twin attacks that killed 17 people earlier this week. The ceremonies began on June 9 at the parliament building, one of the targets of the June 7 attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State (IS). - 6/10/17

Iran Arrests Seven New Suspects In Tehran Attacks Probe

- Iranian authorities have arrested at least seven suspects for allegedly helping militants involved in this week's twin terrorist attacks in Tehran, state media reported on June 10. The IRNA news agency quoted Ahmad Fazelian, chief justice of Alborz Province west of Tehran as saying the seven are suspected of "providing support for the terrorist team." The suspects were detained in Fardis, a city in Alborz. - 6/10/17

Iranian-made Drone Targeted Coalition Patrol in Syria

- PENTAGON - The armed, pro-regime drone shot down by U.S. aircraft Thursday after it fired upon U.S.-led coalition members on patrol in southern Syria was Iranian-made, officials tell VOA. Officials said a U.S. F-15 fighter jet took down the Shahed-129 drone, which can be used for combat and reconnaissance missions. -Carla Babb, VOA - 6/10/17

Iran Unites as Tehran Struck by Middle East's Proxy Wars

- The 7 June attacks in Tehran struck at the symbolic heart of Iran's revolutionary republic. In this Q&A, Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst for Iran, says the outrages show how the region's proxy wars are now reaching far beyond the battlefield. -LobeLog - 6/10/17

A Last Chance for Peace for Afghanistan?

- The Taliban is gaining more power, and Afghans are demanding more security from their government. The price of leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban would be enormous, and the stakes are much higher now than the first time the militant groups came to power in 1996. As the country descends into chaos, Afghans may wake up soon to realize that they either have to be ruled by the Taliban or share the government with the Taliban. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 6/10/17

Tehran Terror Attacks Expose Rifts Within Iranian Establishment

- Appeals for unity answered with calls for revenge. Pledges of solidarity competing against vows to "eliminate" the culprits. The deadly twin terror attacks that rocked the Iranian capital, Tehran, on June 7 have triggered a dramatic split in public opinion. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 6/9/17

Iran holds funeral for victims of Tehran terror attack

- Iran's Parliament (Majlis), which came under a terror attack recently, hosted a funeral ceremony in Tehran on Friday for the victims of the incident, and another concomitant one, which targeted Imam Khomeini's Mausoleum. - 6/9/17

As Iranians Vote For Peace, Trump Helps Saudi Arabia Pick Another Fight

- Iranians overwhelmingly chose to pursue peaceful, indigenous change through the ballot box... When juxtaposed with Saudi Arabia, the contrast is stark. -Reza Marashi and Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 6/9/17

Iran offers Qatar use of key southern ports, sends cargo plane with food supplies

- Iran has offered to allow Qatar use its southern ports to carry on its vital import activities after the emirate's Arab neighbors united to isolate it. The announcement was made by Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. He was quoted by the Financial Times in a report as saying that Iran had offered Doha to use three of its ports in the Persian Gulf. - 6/9/17

US aircraft shoots down Iranian-made drone in Syria

- US aircraft shot down an Iranian-made drone that fired on coalition forces patrolling with partner forces in southern Syria, a coalition spokesman told reporters on Thursday. This is the first time that pro-Syrian regime forces -- which the US says includes Iranian-backed Shia militias -- have fired on the US-led coalition. -CNN - 6/9/17

Saudi Ambitions Threaten to Inflame Middle East

- Saudi Arabia has once again been flexing its muscles in the Persian Gulf, partly encouraged by the Trump administration's full embrace of its regional views and policies. First came the spat with Qatar, supposedly over the latter's support for terrorism, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Several Gulf and Middle East Arab States moved to cut ties with Qatar. Ironically, Saudi charges of Qatari support for terrorism is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The Qatar affair was followed by terrorist attacks in Tehran -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/8/17

US Senate Works on New Iran Sanctions, Possible Russia Sanctions

- The U.S. Senate has moved forward on a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran. The bill advanced on a procedural vote Wednesday. It now will be available for amendments before a final Senate vote. Bernie Sanders was one of the few senators opposed to holding the vote Wednesday because of twin attacks on Iran's parliament and a major historical site earlier in the day. -VOA - 6/8/17

Terrorism in Tehran: Reality Confounds Rhetoric

- For Americans fed a diet of rhetoric about Iran that constantly links it to the sending, not the receiving, end of terrorism--in which "the leading state sponsor of terrorism" is the adjectival phrase routinely affixed to Iran, and in which official rhetoric such as President Trump's speech in Riyadh mashes Iran together with Sunni Islamist terrorism of the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) variety into one undifferentiated blob of evil--the deadly attacks today in Tehran generate much cognitive dissonance. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 6/8/17

Turkey, Iran Back Qatar In Dispute With Other Arab States

- Turkey on June 7 threw its support behind Qatar in Doha's split with other Arab states, with Ankara accelerating troop deployment to Doha and offering to provide food and water supplies that have been cut off by Saudi Arabia. Turkey's move came as Iran, which already has offered to provide food to Qatar, where panicky citizens have been sweeping supermarket shelves clean, sent Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Ankara to discuss what he called the "worrying" developments between the Persian Gulf's Arab states. - 6/8/17

Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Geoeconomic Implications

- In light of the fast-moving events in the Gulf over the past couple of days, LobeLog interviewed Sara Vakhshouri, a Gulf expert who specializes in the region's energy markets. A long-time contributor to LobeLog, Vakhshouri is president of SVB Energy International, a Washington-based strategic energy consulting firm that provides critical advice on the global energy market to private companies, governments, think tanks, investment banks, and media organizations. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 6/8/17

Terror In Tehran: Iran's parliament, Imam Khomeini's Mausoleum come under attack

- Iran's Parliament (Majlis) and the mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in the capital Tehran have come under terrorist attack. According to reports, a dozen people have been killed in Wednesday's attacks while another 42 have been injured and admitted to 3 hospitals to receive treatment. The Daesh (ISIS) Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. - 6/7/17

TARGETING IRAN AGAIN

- To repeat a Persian expression: A fool throws a pebble into a well; it takes a hundred wise men to retrieve it! So he goes around, as during his recent foreign trip, making bombastic comments reading from a prepared text he was given, not really knowing or even caring what he was uttering, and with no concern about the consequences of his utterances; after all, he does take pride in being an unscrupulous, predatory salesman, whose narrow perspective or focus does not require diplomatic finesse or a knowledge of international affairs. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/7/17

Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Tribal Feud with Regional and Global Implications

- The key imponderable is whether the Saudi action, regardless of the veracity of the official justification, aims at regime change in Qatar by replacing Tamim bin Hamad with another Al Thani who could act as a Saudi quisling. If the Saudis indeed intend to depose Sheikh Tamim, the kingdom would not play such a dangerous game without a nod from Washington. -Emile Nakhleh - 6/7/17

John Kerry: New sanctions on Iran could be dangerous

- Former Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Monday that imposing new economic sanctions against Tehran could be dangerous. "If we become super provocative in ways that show the Iranian people there has been no advantage to this, that there is no gain, and our bellicosity is pushing them into a corner, that's dangerous and that could bring a very different result," AP quoted him as saying in San Francisco at a fundraiser for Ploughshares Fund. - 6/7/17

Qatar in talks with Iran to secure food and water supplies

- An official in Doha says Qatar has started talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after its biggest regional suppliers - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - cut trade and diplomatic ties with the country earlier this week. "We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries," Reuters quoted the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. - 6/7/17

Iran's airspace open to Qatari flights

- With the dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries escalated, Iran has accepted flights performed by Qatari airlines to pass its airspace to travel to Africa and Europe. "The decision has been operational as of early Tuesday," said Reza Jafarzadeh, the public relations director of Iran Civil Aviation Organization. - 6/7/17

China says will support Iran's full membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization

- A senior Chinese diplomat has thrown his country's weight behind Iran's membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an emerging economic and security alliance jointly led by China and Russia. - 6/6/17

IS Propaganda Increasingly Targeting Iran And Its Sunni

- The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has recently expanded its campaign to recruit Iranians and disseminate its message to Persian speakers. In late March, IS published a rare video in Persian in which it called on Iran's Sunni minority to rise up against the Shi'a-dominated Iranian establishment. The video was dismissed by Iran's state broadcaster as "nonsense" and an attempt by the group to cover up mounting losses in Iraq. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 6/6/17

Aligning with Iran Necessary to Combat Sunni Extremism

- As these policies have failed to "drain the swamp" of terrorism, the Trump administration should perhaps relax its embrace of Sunni regimes and partner with non-Sunni, Shia Iran in this seemingly endless war. Sadly, despite American huge losses in lives and treasure, al-Qaeda and its affiliates have surged, and IS has expanded its terror campaign across the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/6/17

What's Happening in the Persian Gulf

- Early Monday morning, five Arab states-Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen-along with the Maldives, broke all diplomatic and physical ties with the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar. All six countries say they are withdrawing their diplomats from Qatar within 48 hours and expect Qatari diplomats to reciprocate within the same time frame, and other Qatari nationals in those countries have two weeks to leave. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 6/6/17

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar

- Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties and all land sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Riyadh took the lead on Monday to sever relations and other countries fell in line after an official source said the kingdom "urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same." - 6/5/17

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei mocks Trump's sword dance with backward Saudi rulers

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday ridiculed U.S. President Donald Trump's sword dance with Saudi Arabia's backward and tribal rulers, noting they are allying against Iran in vain. "The U.S. president stands alongside the leaders of a tribal and backward system and does the sword dance, but criticizes an Iranian election with 40 million votes," Khamenei said - 6/4/17

International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is complying with nuclear deal commitments

- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran has been living up to its commitments under the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries. - 6/3/17

Talks on Syria de-escalation zones ongoing, but more time needed: Russia

- Russian, Iranian, and Turkish military experts are still working out details of the de-escalation zones they agreed to create in Syria on May 4, a Russian foreign ministry official said on Friday. "Military experts continue the work (on finalizing the memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones)," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS - 6/3/17

Trump is assembling all the pieces he needs to go after Iran

- It is not always clear what President Donald Trump is thinking on any particular issue. On Iran, however, Trump appears to have decidedly hardline leanings. -Christopher Woody, Business Insider - 6/3/17



My Life as a Traitor: An Iranian Memoir

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