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New Iran Sanctions?

- As usual, Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now (APN) explains and analyzes everything relevant that has happened to date on the Senate side with respect to sanctions on Iran. Following is an excerpt from her weekly Legislative Round-Up -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/31/15

Iranian film on prophet Muhammad set for premiere

- As controversy swirls on how the prophet Muhammad is depicted, a multimillion-dollar biopic about his youth - Iran's most expensive and lavish film to date - is set to premiere on Sunday. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 1/31/15

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back for Iran Sanctions Bill

- After a three week showdown between supporters of the nuclear negotiations with Iran and Senators bent on passing new sanctions that would upend the talks, the pro-diplomacy crowd won the day - for now. -Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 1/30/15

The False Gospels That Threaten the Iran Nuke Talks

- The interim nuclear agreement with Iran has made the world a safer place. Iran is further away from a nuclear bomb and the United States is further away from bombing Iran. But this interim deal is not sustainable. Unless the paradigm guiding the ongoing negotiations shifts, a final deal is unlikely to be reached and the gains of the interim deal will be lost. -Trita Parsi, National Interest - 1/30/15

Iran's interest in Lebanon has nothing to do with Israel

- Neither Hezbollah and Iran nor Israel want an escalation on the Golan Heights, but the violent dialogue in which they are engaged could still lead to just that. -Haaretz - 1/30/15

Netanyahu Speech Could Hurt Talks With Iran, Pelosi Warns

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's scheduled speech to the U.S. Congress in March could damage the Obama administration's attempts to broker a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons development, the senior U.S. House of Representatives Democrat said Wednesday. -Reuters - 1/29/15

Opinion: Iran Talks Give US More Options

- Over the past 18 months, the U.S. and Iran - Saudi Arabia's rival -- have conducted a high-level bilateral dialogue that belies their 35-year lack of formal diplomatic relations. The near-daily negotiations that are going on now in Europe in an effort to reach a nuclear agreement are unprecedented in duration, depth and intimacy. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 1/28/15

Iran Says It Warned Israel Via U.S. Officials

- Iran says it has sent a warning to Israel through U.S. officials over the recent killing of a senior paramilitary commander in an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria. Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying that Iran told Americans that Israel crossed Iran's "red lines" by killing Allahdadi. - 1/28/15

Analysts on Iran: Time to Move Beyond Sanctions

- Arguing that sanctions have served their purpose, and that the promise of sanctions relief is key to securing Iran's agreement to a comprehensive nuclear deal, three top foreign policy analysts were critical on Monday of congressional efforts to levy new sanctions against Tehran. In particular, they took aim at the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, which has undergone several revisions aimed at overcoming President Barack Obama's threatened veto. - Derek Davison, LobeLog - 1/28/15

Let Nuclear Sanctions on Iran Serve Their Final Purpose

- The kerfuffle over congressional moves to impose additional sanctions on Iran is obscuring a question that requires attention. Have the US and EU understood that the nuclear negotiations will not yield the non-proliferation measures that the US and EU need if they refuse Iran the sanctions relief that Iran needs? -Peter Jenkins - 1/27/15

US lawmakers introduce resolution against new Iran sanctions

- A group of US senators have introduced a resolution against imposing more sanctions on Iran over Tehran's nuclear program amid talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group. The resolution was presented on Monday by 10 Democratic senators and an independent, who caucuses with Democrats, Reuters reported. - 1/27/15

Where Does MOSSAD Not Have Influence in Iran?

- It would be very strange if the discovery of MOSSAD's penetration into the highest leadership of Lebanese Hezbollah a few days ago does not create a security-political storm in Iran. Last week, seyed Hassan Nasrallah announced that a senior Hezbollah authority had been a spy for Israel. He was talking about Mohammad Shoorbe (Shawraba), the head of Nasrallah's personal detail and the commander of Hezbollah's foreign military operations. -Farzaneh Roostaee - 1/27/15

Bob Menendez needs to face up to his role in creating the Mideast mess

- That mess stems from the actions endorsed by Menendez and several other senators whom I hereby dub "The Axis of Lunacy." The axis is bipartisan, including Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona. -Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger - 1/27/15

Looking Two Steps Ahead into Saudi Arabia's Future

- Much has been written about King Abdullah's legacy and what Saudi Arabia accomplished or failed to accomplish during his reign in terms of reform and human rights. Very little has been written about the role that Muhammad bin Nayef, the newly appointed deputy to the crown prince, could play in the new Saudi Arabia under King Salman. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 1/27/15

Middle Eastern Turmoil and the Scaremongering on Iran

- It has not been a smooth month for those who want to keep Iran in pariahdom forever and thus seek to kill any international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions bill that is the deal-killers' principal vehicle at the moment and is in the Senate banking committee has not been attracting the hoped-for Democratic co-sponsors. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/25/15

Allies, Lawmakers and Officials Warn Against New Iran Sanctions

- Key allies, policymakers and members of Congress have recently warned about the impact that new Iran sanctions legislation would have on efforts to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. -Ryan Costello, NIAC - 1/25/15

Obama's State of the Union Address and its Bearing on US/Iran Relations

- When it comes to America's foreign policies, It's too bad that trying to do what's good for America is so often blocked by special interest groups and elected officials who owe their positions, hence their loyalties, to influence peddlers with different agendas. Watching the proceedings of January 21st Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on C-SPAN exemplified this tragic state of affairs. -Kam Zarrabi - 1/24/15

Oil price rise after Saudi ruler's death is seen as temporary

- Oil prices went up following the news that Malek Abdullah had passed away. Reports indicate that the rise in prices is temporary and Saudi Arabian oil policies will not change before the OPEC meeting in June. - 1/24/15

King Abdullah's Mixed Legacy

- King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who died early Friday morning at the age of 90 or 91, left a very mixed legacy - stability, prosperity, and widespread popularity at home, but war and crisis all around the kingdom's borders and a foreign policy in disarray. -Thomas Lippman, LobeLog - 1/24/15

Iran announces record gas production

- Iran said on Saturday that it has been able to produce a total of 105 million cubic meters of sweet gas per day (mcm/d) from five prioritized projects in the country's energy hub of South Pars from June 2013. - 1/24/15

Iran loses to Iraq in penalties, misses Asian Cup semis

- Iranian national football team has missed the chance to play in the Asian Cup semifinals after it suffered a defeat to Iraq in the penalty shootouts. The two west Asian neighbors faced each other in Canberra Stadium on Friday in the most fascinating match of the competition that saw Iraqi eagles win the game 7-6 in the penalty shootouts. - 1/23/15

Chutzpah Squared, Bibi and Boehner

- As Mitchell Plitnick pointed out on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11, although now it appears that Bibi would like to put off the occasion until March 3, when AIPAC will be holding its annual policy conference and unleashing its 12,000-plus attendees on Capitol Hill. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/23/15

Saudi Arabia's Controversial Death Sentence

- Last October, Saudi Arabia's Special Criminal Court sentenced Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr-a popular Shi'ite cleric and outspoken political dissident-to death. This was not an ordinary criminal trial, even considering Saudi Arabia's liberal use of capital punishment. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 1/23/15

Looking Beyond a Nuclear Agreement with Iran

- After more than three decades of estrangement, the US and Iran aren't likely to quickly normalize their relationship even if-which is still a big if-they reach a nuclear deal in the coming weeks or months. The animosity and mutual distrust run too deep, according to new policy brief released by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) Friday. -David Shams - 1/22/15

Opinion: Deepening Israel-Iran Conflict Likely to Bring More Violence

- Two developments this week linked to the long-running conflict between Israel and Iran are likely to generate even more violence and uncertainty at a time when threats are already multiplying from Sunni Muslim extremists. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 1/22/15

Boehner, Netanyahu conspire to push war on Iran

- House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next month about negotiations with Iran, a visit that would come right at the time that Congress is debating controversial bills that would tighten Iranian sanctions. -Jay Bookman, AJC - 1/22/15

Iran's IRGC Warns Israel Following Air Strike That Killed Iranian Commander

- The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned on January 20 that Israel should expect "devastating thunderbolts" in response to the January 18 air strike in Syria that killed an IRGC general and several members of the Lebanese Hizballah militia. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/21/15

Iran will face no problem even with $25 oil: Finance Minister

- Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia says the administration will face no problem even if oil price drops to $25 a barrel. "For the time being, predicting oil price fluctuations is not possible. So, the administration is preparing itself to deal with any probable situation," - 1/21/15

Josh Block Misrepresents New Iran Sanctions Bill In SOTU Talking Points

- I just received a copy of the talking points Josh Block, the head of the Israel Project, distributed to journalists and pundits ahead of tonight's State of the Union address. The talking points, which are focused exclusively on pushing Iran sanctions and attacking the Obama administration, have some...serious problems. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 1/21/15

Russia, Iran Sign Military Cooperation Deal

- Russia and Iran have signed an agreement to expand military cooperation during Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit to Tehran. Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Dehqan, signed the document on January 20. - 1/20/15

Photos: Gucci shines as Iran wins group contest in Asian Cup

- Iran has defeated United Arab Emirates 1-0 to win the group stage of the Asian cup Australia 2015. A late header by Reza Ghoochannejad put Carlos Queiroz's men on top of group C of the games in Brisbane on Monday. - 1/19/15

Terrorist Attacks on Charlie Hebdo

- Despite all the reporting and commentary on the terrorist attacks on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, political pundits and mainstream media have failed to shed any light on some of the submerged factors that might have provoked those heinous attacks. Indeed, the simplistic and politically expedient explanations such as "incompatibility" of Islam with the modern world or "good vs. evil" have shed more heat than light on the issue. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 1/19/15

Iran's IRGC confirms killing of its general in Syria's Golan

- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) confirms the killing of one of its generals in an Israeli airstrike on the occupied Golan Heights in Syria that also killed six members of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah. - 1/19/15

A Sanity Check from London on Iran

- Those who want to maintain endless tension and animosity between the United States and Iran, and who thus have been endeavoring to kill any diplomatic agreement between the two countries, are racing ahead with their latest project and will be very busy during the week ahead. That project, the AIPAC-promoted Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, will be the subject of a Senate banking committee hearing, with only anti-agreement witnesses so far announced, on Tuesday, to be followed by the committee's mark-up of the bill on Thursday. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/19/15

Former Iranian leader calls on UN to promote "reconciliation"

- Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has issued an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General calling for immediate action to "achieve historic reconciliation" in response to growing extremism across the world. - 1/18/15

Update on Iran Sanctions Legislation

- The sponsors of the latest Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions bill appear determined to move the legislation as quickly as possible, although it has yet to be formally introduced. Of course, both Obama and visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron came out strongly against any sanctions legislation during their joint press appearance at the White House Friday -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/18/15

US, Britain Oppose New Iran Sanctions

- President Barack Obama is calling on the U.S. Congress to hold off slapping new sanctions on Iran, saying penalties at this point could derail nuclear negotiations and raise the risk of war. The president's warning came after two days of meetings with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. -Luis Ramirez, VOA - 1/17/15

U.S. Fails to Use Leverage on Bahrain

- Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, is a key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). It is also an authoritarian island kingdom that continues to crack down on its pro-democracy opposition. The U.S. government claims to lack sufficient leverage to influence Bahrain's human rights policy. In reality, Washington is simply unwilling to use its influence for fear of compromising its military alliance. -Matar E. Matar, LobeLog - 1/17/15

Deciphering Iran's Strategic Vision

- With nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers set to resume on January 18 in Geneva, no breakthrough in the talks is in sight. This deadlock begs the questions: what is the logic behind Iranian foreign policy, and why do Iran's policymakers appear so intractable in the face of an unprecedented sanctions regime? -Sina Toossi - 1/16/15

The Senate's Gift to ISIS: Sanctions on Iran

- The Islamic State has many enemies and very few friends. But sometimes, even declared enemies of the Caliphate (or ISIS) can lend it a helping hand. That is essentially what is happening now as Senators Mark Kirk and Bob Menendez push to undermine the nuclear talks with Iran -- a key adversary of ISIS. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 1/16/15

Cotton Makes Aim of Iran Sanctions Legislation Kristol Clear

- As foes of a nuclear deal with Iran prepare new sanctions legislation that the Obama administration firmly opposes, Arkansas's new Republican senator, Tom Cotton, told a policy conference at the far-right Heritage Foundation Tuesday that the pending bills, which could be unveiled at any moment, are intended to sabotage the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/16/15

US, Iran Envoys Hold Unscheduled Late-Night Meeting

- GENEVA-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent all day Wednesday in Geneva talking about Iran's nuclear program with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. They held morning and afternoon sessions and an unscheduled evening meeting, for which Kerry postponed a flight to Bulgaria. A U.S. official said the talks were substantive. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 1/15/15

The Origin of Islamic radical fundamentalism and its plausible eradication

- Global resurgence of violent Islamic fundamentalism can only be circumvented with full comprehension and acknowledgment of what has historically gone wrong, and the educational achievements, socio-economic empowerment, indigenous political progress, and blind justice leading to equality in the Muslim countries. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 1/15/15

Iran denounces Charlie Hebdo's latest depiction of Prophet

- Iran's Foreign Ministry has spoken out against the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo, declaring that in the West there is abuse of freedom of speech. - 1/15/15

GOP Mega-Donor Sheldon Adelson Funds Mysterious Anti-Iran Pressure Group

- Nearly one-third of anti-Iran pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran's 2013 budget came from the country's foremost Republican mega-donor, a man who invested a reported $98 million to defeat Barack Obama in the 2012 election, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson routed his $500,000 donation to UANI through his family foundation, according to tax documents. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 1/15/15

Islamic Reformation: The Antidote to Terrorism

- The horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has once again raised the question about violence and Islam. Why is it, some ask, that so much terrorism has been committed in the name of Islam, and why do violent jihadists seek justification of their actions in their religion? -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 1/14/15

Plunging oil prices cost Iran billions

- The fall in the price of oil has led to a $5.2-billion decline in Iran's oil revenues. The Tasnim website reports that according to OPEC, the price of Iranian oil has fallen by $60 a barrel since last June. - 1/14/15

Netanyahu Playing Politics with Paris

- Not only was Benjamin Netanyahu an uninvited guest in the arm-and-arm chain of leaders positioning themselves in front of the 3 million plus Parisians taking to the streets this weekend in anti-terror demonstrations. The Israeli Prime Minister was actually asked not to come at all. He did anyway. -Marsha B. Cohen, LobeLog - 1/14/15

GRAND HYPOCRISY: Where is Solidarity When it really Matters?

- The impressive show of solidarity in Paris over the weekend was, at least in the mind of this observer, one of the greatest open exhibitions of mass hypocrisy anywhere. No, I am not in any way condoning the terrorist acts by some extremist elements against the publishers of some silly, distasteful and blatantly racist cartoons. -Kam Zarrabi - 1/13/15

Iran Daily Reruns Saudi 'Death' Headline After Official Warning

- An Iranian daily facing a court hearing over a headline deemed offensive to Saudi Arabia has republished the same headline on its front page one day after the paper was warned by Iran's Press Supervisory Board. "News Of His Death" read the headline of the January 6 front-page story of hard-line Vatan-e Emrouz -- a derogatory, colloquial Persian expression that can be interpreted as "May I Hear News Of His Death." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/13/15

Iran condemns violence in any part of the world, Rouhani tells Cypriot FM

- President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran strongly condemns violence and brutality against people with any race or religion in any part of the world. He made the remarks during a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides in Tehran on Sunday. - 1/12/15

Yes, Words Can Hurt You: They Just Did! An Essay on Freedom of Expression

- It is a pity that the entire world doesn't subscribe to some unified code of conduct or civilizational values - some code of conduct such as the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you'd have done unto you. To be even more specific; wouldn't it be nice if the whole world subscribed to OUR codes of conduct in order to avoid disagreements and confrontations? Unfortunately that's not the way our species has evolved! -Kam Zarrabi - 1/11/15

Iranian President Condemns Terrorism

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has condemned the deadly attacks in Paris and emphasized that Islam is a peaceful religion. Rohani said in a statement posted on his website on January 10 that "we condemn all forms of terrorism, no matter whether in Lebanon or Palestine or in Paris and the United States." - 1/10/15

Muslim Press Reacts To Charlie Hebdo Attack

- Media in the Muslim world have published a wide variety of reactions to the deadly attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. In Iran, the morning papers offered very diverse coverage of the event. Although overall coverage was low-key compared to Western media, some newspapers covered the attack on their front pages. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE - 1/10/15

Charlie Hebdo: Middle East Blowback?

- The recent attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left a dozen editors and cartoonists dead, has renewed concerns that blowback from the latest round of fighting in Syria and Iraq is finally reaching Europe. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 1/10/15

ISIS forces were 40 km from Iranian border

- The head of Iran's security forces said on Thursday January 8 that extremist forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria had advanced as close as 40 kilometres from the Iranian border near Qasr-e Shirin in the Iranian province of Kermanshah, however their advance was repelled. - 1/9/15

How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers

- If there ever was doubt about the strategy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its wealthiest members are putting that issue to rest. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait stressed a dozen times in the past six weeks that the group won't curb output to halt the biggest drop in crude since 2008. -Grant Smith, Bloomberg - 1/9/15

Islam not religion of extremism, violence: President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that Islam is not the religion of 'extremism and violence'. "Iran supports any Muslim group confronting violence, terrorism and occupation," he said in the 28th International Conference of Islamic Unity titled 'Unified Islamic Ummah: Challenges and Solutions" on Wednesday. - 1/8/15

Iran Accuses Saudis of Oil Conspiracy

- Iranian hard-liners are lashing out at Saudi Arabia, accusing it of conspiring with the West to keep oil prices low in a bid to harm the Islamic Republic's economy and pressure the country to conclude a nuclear deal with West. In retaliation, Iranian hawks are urging restive Shia Muslims in eastern Saudi Arabia to rebel against the ruling House of Saud. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA - 1/7/15

For Saudi Arabia, Supply and Demand Trump Geopolitics

- The nearly 50-percent plunge in global oil prices since June 2014 has provoked a variety of analysis and speculation. Some see the hand of Saudi Arabia behind this drop, as part of an effort to squeeze Iran, its regional rival, at a particularly vulnerable moment. -Sara Vakhshouri - 1/7/15

New Optimism Over Iran Talks Tempered by Threat of Incoming Congress

- The new year may have brought with it some signs of progress toward a comprehensive deal between world powers and Iran, lending credence to one of Graham Fuller's 2015 predictions for the Middle East. However, any movement toward a nuclear agreement must now contend with a potentially game-changing complication: the desire of a new and more hawkish Republican-led Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran regardless of how the talks are progressing. -Derek Davison - 1/6/15

Iran has marked a 40-km red zone inside Iraqi border: Commander

- The commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces says Iran has marked a 40-km red zone into the Iraqi border to warn terrorists of any infiltration attempt into Iranian territories. - 1/6/15

Political Islam and US Policy in 2015

- This year Arab political Islam will be greatly influenced by US regional policy, as it has been since the Obama administration came into office six years ago. Indeed, as the US standing in the region rose with Mr. Obama's presidency beginning in January 2009, so did the fortunes of Arab political Islam. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 1/6/15

President Rouhani Urges End to Iran's Isolation

- "We want a sustainable, comprehensive and continued development. It is not possible to say we want economic development but want to be politically restrictive," said Rouhani, speaking at Iran's first National Economy Conference in Tehran. - 1/5/15

Graham Fuller's Five Middle East Predictions for 2015

- 2. The role of Iran as an actor in the region will grow. Despite all the hurdles, I feel optimistic about US negotiations with Iran. Both parties desperately need success in this regard. Normalization is ludicrously long overdue and necessary to the regional order. -LobeLog - 1/5/15

Iran closes down 17 satellite channel offices

- The Islamic Republic has closed down the offices of 17 foreign-based satellite channels for their attempts to "create division" in the country, a senior Iranian intelligence official says. The channels were producing programs aimed at creating sectarian rifts and "intensifying division in the Muslim World to damage the image of Shiism," - 1/4/15

'Saudi Arabia enjoying perfect storm in oil market': Analyst

- Oil prices have plunged about 50 percent since June on mounting supplies by certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC), and lackluster global economic growth. - 1/3/15

Photos: Parasailing in Kish Island

- Kish Island lies like a pearl across the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf and offers relaxation combined with adventure in a place unspoiled by commercialization. Jet-skiing, sailing, fishing, parasailing, reef walking, coral viewing, boating and water skiing are just a few popular ways to enjoy yourself during your visit to the Island. - 1/2/15

Iranian Official Urges Saudis To Act To Stop Oil Price Slide

- An Iranian Foreign Ministry official says falling oil prices will hurt Middle Eastern countries and Saudi Arabia's decision not to reduce production is a mistake. World oil prices ended 2014 at a 5 1/2-year low, with the price for a barrel of oil decreasing nearly 50 percent since June. - 1/2/15

Iran-Turkey preferential trade agreement takes effect

- The preferential trade agreement, which was signed last year between Iran and Turkey, goes into force on January 1, 2015. Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammadreza Nematzadeh and Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci endorsed the agreement in a ceremony in Tehran on Wednesday. - 1/2/15

Lower Oil Prices Will Not Turn Producers into Pushovers

- The steep drop in the price of oil during the latter half of 2014 has generated much comment about how this development has weakened major oil-producing countries and supposedly made their governments more pliable on issues that separate them from other countries. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 1/2/15

The Nuclear Negotiations: The Melting Strategy and the Missiles Time Bomb

- Given the secrecy of the P5+1 negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, it is hard to surmise the concessions being made or the structure of a final settlement. However, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: the path to a nuclear deal will involve many "mini deals" by which Iran's nuclear program will be slowly "melted" away to a symbolic level in return for a measured release of its frozen oil money and lifting of some sanctions. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 12/30/14

Iran approves $15b plan to develop joint oilfields

- Iran has approved a comprehensive plan to develop joint oilfields at a cost of $15 billion. Iran has a number of joint fields with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. - 12/30/14

IRGC presence in Iraq described as crucial to Iranian security

- The head of Iran's National Security Supreme Council, Ali Shamkhani, has defended the presence of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Iraq, saying their presence is pivotal to Iran's domestic security. - 12/30/14

Memorial Service Held For Iranian Commander Killed In Iraq

- The funeral for an Iranian general killed in Iraq while advising local forces has been held in Tehran on December 29. Iranian state television reported that the body of Brigadier General Hamid Taghavi will be taken for burial in his hometown of Ahvaz, in southeastern Iran. - 12/29/14
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