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September 18 2014
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Iranian President Says Islamic State (IS) Wants To Kill 'Humanity'

- Iran's president and foreign minister have criticized the United States' policy for fighting Islamic State (IS) militants. President Hassan Rohani gave an interview to U.S. television network NBC on September 17, and questioned whether air strikes alone would be enough to defeat to the militant group. - 9/18/14

Coalition Of One: Iran Leads Own Fight Against Islamic State

- The United States is putting together the first international coalition to try to roll back the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria. But when the nearly 40-state-strong alliance starts operations, it will find that there is already another coalition on the ground whose presence could complicate the U.S.-led effort in unpredictable ways. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 9/18/14

Iran Nuclear Deal Likely to Increase US Regional Leverage

- A successful agreement on Iran's nuclear program could significantly enhance US leverage and influence throughout the greater Middle East, according to a new report signed by 31 former senior US officials and regional experts released here Wednesday. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 9/18/14

IRGC says Qods Forces aid troubled countries like Iraq

- The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says its international arm, the Qods Forces, support "revolutionary and resistance movements of the dispossessed and the oppressed all around the world," adding that the nature of the IRGC's assistance is "advisory and educational." - 9/17/14

Chinese vessel rescued by Iranian Navy

- Iranian naval forces rescued a Chinese container vessel surrendered by pirates in the Gulf of Adan on Wednesday morning. The Chinese vessel was heading towards Indian Ocean from Singapore when it was attacked by armed pirates riding in five speedboats. - 9/17/14

As US Shuns Iran in Fight Against ISIS, History Repeats

- Last week epitomized the highs and lows of hoping for an improvement in US-Iran relations. A BBC report on Sept. 5 that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had approved Iranian cooperation with the US military in the fight against ISIS was met with near elation in many quarters. But after the ensuing Iranian denials that cooperation was in fact approved, the Americans went even further by denying even the possibility of formal cooperation. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 9/16/14

Iran rejected U.S. request for cooperation against ISIL: Supreme Leader

- "We are proud that the U.S. was disappointed" that Iran was not part of an "erroneous" and "collective" coalition against ISIL, the Leader told reporters after being discharged from hospital. He stated that the U.S. officials' claims of campaign against ISIL are "empty" and "biased". - 9/16/14

Mojtahed Shabestari: Islam is in Crisis

- Last Thursday, the famous Tohid Center in Tehran held its first gathering after a lull of five years and the occasion was to commemorate the moderate ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani, a theologian and reformist senior cleric, who had died seven months after the collapse of the Pahlavi regime in 1979. -Fahimeh Abdollahi - 9/16/14

Thinking Outside The Box

- Why doesn't the United States take advantage of this enormous opportunity to engage Iran and openly welcome its cooperation in settling the troubling issues in the Middle East? What? You want to tell us that earth is not flat when, standing in the middle of the prairies in Kansas or Nebraska, we can clearly see that it is flat whichever way we look!? -Kam Zarrabi - 9/15/14

US Open to Future Talks with Iran on Fighting Islamic State

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says he has rejected Obama administration requests for help in fighting against Islamic State militants in Iraq. U.S. officials say there is no military coordination with Iran but Washington is open to future talks on fighting the Islamic State. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 9/15/14

France opens Iraq conference urging "global" fight on jihadists

- French President Francois Hollande called on Monday for united international action to tackle the threat from Islamic State militants as he opened a conference on Iraq bringing together members of a U.S.-led coalition. -John Irish and Jason Szep, Reuters - 9/15/14

Iraq's Unravelling and Azerbaijan

- The unraveling of Iraq may have some interesting, even alarming implications for the Caspian Basin state of Azerbaijan. Unlike other Arab states in turmoil, including Libya and Syria, Iraq has a religious and cultural profile that somewhat mimics Azerbaijan's. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 9/14/14

Kerry: Inappropriate for Iran to Join Talks on Fighting IS

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says it "would not be appropriate" for Iran to join talks in Paris on Monday on fighting Islamic State militants because of Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Secretary Kerry met Friday in Ankara with Turkish officials to discuss the Islamic State threat. - 9/13/14

To beat Islamic State, Obama needs Iran

- Iran was not mentioned in Obama's speech, yet it is a central party in the Iraqi theater. It has strong influence over the new government of Haidar al-Abadi, Shi'ite militias and the Kurds - all of whom oppose Islamic State. Without at least tacit coordination with Iran, these forces will be difficult to mobilize effectively. -William B. Quandt, Reuters - 9/13/14

Column: Coalition Against Islamic State Must Include Iran

- President Barack Obama is right to focus on the responsibility of the Sunni Muslim world to attack and expunge the cancer that is the militant group calling itself the Islamic State (IS). But to succeed, the coalition must encompass the entire Muslim world and cannot exclude the most important Shiite nation, Iran. -Barbara Slavin - 9/12/14

Russia Courts Allies at Eurasian Summit

- As a Eurasian summit began in Tajikistan on Thursday, analysts say Moscow could use the multilateral meeting to bolster support. Russia will take the reins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for the next year at the two-day summit of China, Russia, and four Central Asian countries in Dushanbe. -Bai Hua, VOA - 9/12/14

Obama's Speech on ISIS: The Big Picture

- For these opponents of an agreement with Iran, the issue is not about just the Iranian nuclear program, but also the geopolitical competitions that are multifarious throughout the Middle East. Keeping Iran from rejoining the international community is a key goal of several Middle Eastern states, but there is no reason for this to be America's goal, especially since ...-Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 9/11/14

Oil prices suffer steady decline

- Oil prices have fallen below $100 a barrel for the first time in the past 14 months. Reports on Monday September 8 indicate that Brent North Sea Crude oil is now priced at $99.95 a barrel. - 9/10/14

Longtime Rivals Look to Team Up to Confront ISIS

- As the United States and its allies look to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, longtime adversaries with a common fear of the radical movement are scrambling to see if they can cooperate to defeat the rising threat. -Tim Arango, NY Times - 9/10/14

Iranian Nuclear Deadlock: In Search of the Magic Formula

- A shadow of doubt is spreading over the negotiation between Iran and world powers as the gap over the key issue of the acceptable size and scope of the Iranian enrichment program slowly reveals itself as unbridgeable. The inability to solve this one issue, which exists among so many others, has resulted in the real risk that all the efforts deployed in the past year to reach a long-term agreement may have been in vain. -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 9/9/14

Minister says ISIS not recruiting in Iran

- Iran's Minister of the Interior said on Monday September 8 that ISIS forces in Iraq have possible plans to "attack Iran" but he added that there have been no cases of ISIS attempting to recruit in Iran. - 9/9/14

IAEA Report Casts a Shadow Over a Fair Prospect

- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued its latest quarterly report on Iran. The IAEA Board will consider the Sept. 5 report during the week of Sept. 15. Much initial comment has centred on signs that the process launched on Nov. 11, 2013, when the IAEA and Iran agreed on a framework for addressing all outstanding IAEA concerns about the nature of Iran's nuclear program, is starting to stall. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 9/8/14

Iran's Nuclear Future

- Sir Richard Dalton, British ambassador to Iran from 2002-06, and I have co-authored a paper for the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) on Iran's Nuclear Future. Below is an edited transcript of the remarks with which I introduced the paper at a meeting in London on Sept. 4 -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 9/6/14

How America Made ISISo

- When you think about it, from the moment the first bombs began falling on Afghanistan in October 2001 to the present, not a single U.S. military intervention has had anything like its intended effect. Each one has, in time, proven a disaster in its own special way, providing breeding grounds for extremism and producing yet another set of recruitment posters for yet another set of jihadist movements. -Tom Engelhardt, LobeLog - 9/6/14

Iran 'backs US military contacts' to fight Islamic State

- Iran's Supreme Leader has approved co-operation with the US as part of the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, sources have told BBC Persian. Ayatollah Khamenei has authorised his top commander to co-ordinate military operations with the US, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, sources in Tehran say. -BBC - 9/6/14

The Islamic Caliphate &The "Root Causes"

- The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned his nation during a televised address the other day of the severe danger of terrorism by the advocates of the rising monster, the Islamic State or Caliphate. He pointed to the "root causes" of this evil plague that was spreading rapidly throughout the Islamic world from the Middle East to Africa. The "root causes" were, in short, an archaic poisonous ideology and violent extremism. -Kam Zarrabi - 9/5/14

Iran, Saudi Arabia Face Common Threat in Islamic State

- Saudi Arabia will be a big part of the Obama administration's push for an international coalition to fight the Islamic State extremist group. Iran is already in that fight, backing a new government in Baghdad and helping arm the Kurds. -Scott Stearns, VOA - 9/5/14

Khawaja Arrest Exposes Bahrain's Rights Abuses, US Hypocrisy

- If actions speak louder than words, then Bahrain's decision to arrest the prominent human rights activist, Maryam al-Khawaja, on Aug. 29 demonstrates that, despite promises to the contrary, the island kingdom has no real intention of cleaning up its poor human rights record. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 9/5/14

Saudi Arabia Oil Sales to U.S. Imperiled by Shale Boom

- After years of keeping the price of crude sold to the U.S. low enough to maintain market share, Saudi Arabia is losing ground as the shale boom leaves U.S. refiners with ample supplies of inexpensive domestic oil. -Bloomberg - 9/4/14

Caspian Sea as a source of disagreement between Iran and Russia

- Russia has been increasingly successful in convincing littoral states to accept its plan to divide the Caspian Sea based on a formula of Modified Median Line (MML). Agreements using the Russian proposal as the basis of defining a legal regime for the Caspian Sea have been reached between Russia and Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, leaving Iran and partly Turkmenistan as the lone holdouts. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 9/3/14

Sudan Expels Iranian Envoys, Closes Cultural Centers

- Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally of the United States, has been locked in a contest with non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran for influence in the Middle East. The rivalry has effectively divided the region into two camps, with countries allied with either Saudi Arabia or Iran. -Reuters - 9/3/14

Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

- The fact that the Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough against Islamic State fighters, but could make it easier to build a broad coalition against the group and facilitate efforts to form a more inclusive government in Iraq and potentially, Syria. -Barbara Slavin - 8/31/14

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

- A 15-minute phone call made just under a year ago may be what historians say set the stage for a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran - if one is achieved by a November 24 deadline. The call between Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani marked the first direct contact between the United States and Iran since 1979. -Catherine Maddux, VOA - 8/31/14

Iran Didn't Create ISIS; We Did

- The Baroness Turner of Camden recently argued in The Diplomat that Iran is the "major driving force" in Iraq's civil war, and furthermore, that Iran is "central to the broader conflict that has seemingly put the entire Middle East beyond hope of stability." -Ben Reynolds, The Diplomat - 8/31/14

Iran calls on Russia to help end nuclear talks

- Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator says Iran hopes to bring the nuclear negotiations to completion "with assistance from its Russian friends." Mohammad Javad Zarif held a joint conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday August 29 to point out Russia's cooperation in Iran's peaceful nuclear program, saying Russia is well aware of the "importance of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities." - 8/30/14

Persian paranoia: America's fear of Iranian cyber power

- Rather than large, singular groups of digital spies, Iran has quietly built up a secret, disparate army of "mercenaries", each separate from one another but with similar aims, according to the authors of the report, which will be published soon by Silicon Valley security company Norse. -Tom Brewster, Guardian - 8/30/14

To Defeat Terror, We Need the World's Help

- In a polarized region and a complicated world, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presents a unifying threat to a broad array of countries, including the United States. What's needed to confront its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda is a global coalition... -John Kerry, NY Times - 8/30/14

Friends of Israel

- The lobbying group AIPAC has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy. Is it now losing influence? -Connie Bruck, New Yorker - 8/29/14

Yemen's President Blames Iran for Inciting Conflict

- Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi is blaming Iran for inciting the conflict. He claimed in a statement that Iran was trying to "trade Sana'a for the Syrian capital, Damascus," a reference to Iranian support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 8/29/14

Is nonprofit "United Against Nuclear Iran" a Mossad front?

- On July 19, 2013 Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis sued the U.S. based nonprofit American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran Inc. which is more popularly known as United Against Nuclear Iran. -Grant F. Smith, IRMEP - 8/29/14

Iran Claims Israeli Drone Was Launched From Ex-Soviet Republic

- An Iranian military official says that an alleged Israeli drone shot down close to the Natanz nuclear facility was launched from a former Soviet republic to the north of Iran. In Baku, officials have denied a report alleging that the drone was launched from Azerbaijan's territory. - 8/28/14

The Middle East's Unfinished Wars

- The predictions of doom in the Middle East that are dominating thinking in the foreign policy commentariat of Washington and other capitals over the spread of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could use a little perspective. -James A. Russell - 8/27/14

US Coast Guard Craft Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Dhow

- A U.S. Coast Guard vessel operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf fired today on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive move after the crew of the Iranian vessel turned a machine gun on the Americans with hostile intent. -U.S. Department of Defense - 8/27/14

Iranian Minister: Saudi Talks 'Constructive'

- Iran's deputy foreign minister said he held "positive and constructive" talks with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday where Islamist militancy in Iraq -- which both countries view as a threat -- was one of the topics discussed. -Reuters - 8/27/14

Iran 'Provided' Weapons To Iraqi Kurdish Forces To Fight IS

- The Iraqi Kurdish leader says Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to Iraqi Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State (IS) militants. Masud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, made the comment during a joint news conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 26. - 8/26/14

Israel's "Qualitative Military Edge": Blank Checks, No Balance?

- This month the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration had slowed the shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel after it bombed a UN school in Gaza on Aug. 3 with the US-made weapon. The White House has insisted that weapons transfers to Israel have not been suspended or halted, and that the administration is only "taking extra care to look at these shipments." -Marsha B. Cohen - 8/26/14

Drone downed in Iran was not launched from Israel

- One day after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that it had downed an Israeli drone, the IRGC reported that the operation range of the drone indicates that it did not come from Israel but rather was launched from one of the countries in the region. - 8/26/14

How to Ensure a Thriving Caliphate

- Think of the new "caliphate" of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its rise, for the fact that the outlines of the Middle East, as set up by Europe's colonial powers in the wake of World War I, are being swept aside in a tide of blood. -Patrick Cockburn, Tom Dispatch - 8/26/14

U.S. and Iran Hit ISIS, Ignore Each Other

- With ISIS over-running Syrian bases, the time might seem right for a grand alliance against the Islamic State. But so far, the U.S. isn't talking to Iran or Syria's armies. -Daily Beast - 8/26/14

Iran releases pictures of downed Israeli 'Hermes' drone

- The Israeli spy drone shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is an Israeli-made Hermes drone, says an Iranian commander. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can operate within a radius of 800 kilometers and is capable of flying 1,600 kilometers without refueling, said Commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh on Monday. - 8/25/14

Obama Mulling Broader Strikes Against ISIS?

- This week's video-taped beheading of a U.S. journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has spurred renewed calls for President Barack Obama to broaden Washington's military efforts to strike the terrorist group, including in Syria. -Jim Lobe - 8/25/14

Iranian FM visits Baghdad, says Iran fully backs new Iraqi PM

- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated Tehran's position that Iran fully supports new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In a meeting with al-Abadi in Baghdad on Sunday, Zarif also said Iran attaches great value to the Iraqi people's choice of prime minister. - 8/25/14

Israeli Democracy Evaporates While Gaza Burns

- The wanton destruction Israel is wreaking in Gaza right now, its blatant declarations that it will never relinquish control of most of the West Bank, and its adamant refusal to recognize that Palestinians, whether citizens or not, are entitled to the same basic human, civil and, yes, national rights as anyone else, all make outside interference imperative. -Mitchell Plitnick - 8/22/14

France Wants Arabs, Iran, UN Security Council to Tackle Islamic State

- France said on Wednesday it wanted the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and regional countries, including Arab states and Iran, to coordinate action against the militant group Islamic State, the insurgents who control parts of Iraq and Syria. -VOA - 8/21/14

Warplanes: Joint U.S.-Iran Operations Over Iraq

- Without getting too chummy the U.S. and Iran have been trying to work out some rules for each other's use of UAVs now operating over Iraq. Iranian UAVs have been seen flying over Iraq since late June, apparently with the approval of the Iraqi government (and quiet assent of the Americans, who already had F-16s and UAVs over Iraq). -Strategy Page - 8/21/14

Public Offers Support for Obama's Iraq Intervention

- Despite rising criticism of his foreign policy - even from his former secretary of state - President Barack Obama's decision last week to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq enjoys relatively strong public support, at least so far. -Jim Lobe - 8/20/14

Maliki is Gone: Now What?

- Nouri al-Maliki is no longer Iraq's prime minister, but his departure does not mean that Iraq's problems will be resolved easily or soon. A basic change must first occur in Iraq's domestic politics, the power struggles within its different ethnic and sectarian components, and the behavior of regional and international actors towards Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter - 8/19/14

Profiting From Iranophobia?

- Eli has a new blog post on The Nation's website today that provides additional details about the curious - one is tempted to say incestuous - relationship between the staff of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the corporate interests of billionaire gold and silver investor, Thomas Kaplan. -Jim Lobe - 8/16/14

In Iraq, an Opening for the Saudis

- The selection of Abadi was welcomed, if not engineered, by Iran, Saudi Arabia's feared rival for regional supremacy. Under other circumstances, that might make him unpalatable to Riyadh, but the rise of the Islamic State has given Riyadh and Tehran a powerful reason to work together, at least until the threat recedes or is beaten back. -Thomas Lippman - 8/15/14

Is Turkmenistan Losing Iran As A Gas Customer?

- It appears Turkmenistan is about to lose its second-best customer for natural gas, Iran. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on August 11 that his country no longer needed gas from Turkmenistan. Zanganeh went so far as to say, "Iran is importing Turkmen gas just because it is important to promote political and economic relations with Turkmenistan." -RFE - 8/15/14

Iraq Crisis: Effort to Aid Kurdish Forces Puts Iran, U.S. on Same Side

- MAKHMOUR, Iraq -- The struggles of the embattled Kurdish Peshmerga to repel Islamist insurgents have put the U.S. and Iran on the same side, with both rushing to reinforce a revered fighting force to defeat a common enemy. -WSJ - 8/15/14

SUMMON THE EXORCIST

- So far over two-thousand dead and perhaps ten-thousand or more injured and half a million made homeless, all non-combatants or bystanders save a couple of hundred actual Hamas fighters. This was in Gaza, the world's largest and most densely populated concentration camp, cut off from the rest of the world and under attack during the past three weeks by Israel's Zio-Nazi Likud regime. -Kam Zarrabi - 8/14/14

Iran's Supreme Leader Dismisses Value Of Direct Talks With U.S.

- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's interaction with the United States should be limited to "very rare and specific" cases such as nuclear talks. Speaking to the Iranian ambassadors and Foreign Ministry officials on August 13, Khamenei said Iran should interact with all countries, except the United States and Israel. - 8/14/14

Candid Discussions: Reza Marashi on U.S.-Iran Relations and Regional Dynamics

- Reza Marashi is Research Director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Prior to NIAC, Mr. Marashi worked in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He was also a political analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), covering China-Middle East issues, and previously a consultant at a Tehran-based private strategic consultancy firm focused on Iranian political and economic risks. -Reza Akhlaghi, FPA - 8/14/14

U.S. ready to help new Iraq leader, Iran welcomes choice

- Iraq's new prime minister-designate won swift endorsements from uneasy mutual allies the United States and Iran on Tuesday as he called on political leaders to end crippling feuds that have let jihadists seize a third of the country. -Reuters - 8/13/14

US Bombs Islamic Extremists in Northern Iraq

- The U.S. military launched two rounds of airstrikes Friday in northwestern Iraq, using drones and fighter jets. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said remotely piloted aircraft Friday struck Islamic State militants near Irbil. He said fighter planes later dropped eight bombs on vehicles and a mortar position in the area. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 8/9/14

Islamic State on the Move With Baghdad Still Gridlocked

- Forces of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, have lunged toward two strategic dams earlier this month, one in the north and the other west of Baghdad. The northern offensive drove Kurdish forces from areas they had protected, showing how vulnerable Iraqi Kurds could be in the face of more sweeping attacks. -Wayne White - 8/8/14

When Negotiating With Iran, Mind the Russians

- Defining the size of Iran's nuclear enrichment program has become a major sticking point in the negotiations between Iran and world powers expected to resume next month. The scale of this enrichment program, however, greatly relies upon undecided agreements between Tehran and Moscow on the long-term supply of nuclear fuel for the Russian-built reactors... -Francois Nicoulaud - 8/6/14

'Anti-Sunni' Satellite Channels Under Fire In Iran

- Shi'ite satellite television networks in Iran have come under fire for alleged anti-Sunni programming. Iran's Intelligence Ministry said in an August 4 statement that a number of people working for local and foreign-based Shi'ite satellite channels were arrested during recent raids on "illegal offices" in the provinces of Qom, Tehran, Isfahan, and Khorasan. - 8/6/14

Iran Seeking Successor to Iraqi PM Maliki

- "We have reached the conclusion that Maliki cannot preserve the unity of Iraq anymore, but Ayatollah [Ali] Sistani still has hopes," said the Iranian official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, referring to Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric. -Reuters - 8/6/14

Rohani leads call to aid Palestinians at NAM meeting in Tehran

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza and called on the United Nations to step in to end the "massacre and genocide" of Palestinians. - 8/5/14

Dedication, Destruction and Hamas

- Applying a familiar label or phrase can be a substitute for good analysis, or for any analysis at all. The application activates a set of presumptions associated with the label or phrase while brushing aside any other relevant facts that may contradict those presumptions. The current conflict in Gaza has stimulated a surge in application of such rote phrases to one of the belligerents: Hamas. -Paul R. Pillar, National Interest - 8/5/14

Photos: Iran's film community gives blood for people of Gaza

- The Iranian film community has begun a promotional campaign in support of the war-stricken people of Gaza and, as a part of that, a group of them gathered at the Tehran Centre for Blood Transfer on Saturday July 2 to donate blood to be transferred to Gaza. Among the group on Saturday was the Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. - 8/4/14

Iranian Showman Launches "Child for Child" Gaza Campaign

- Popular Iranian children TV show host has run "Child for Child" campaign to support the rights of oppressed Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. "Children all over the world wish a peaceful and comfortable life free of war for Gaza children and we want to realize such wish by running the campaign," said Dariush Farziaei (known as Uncle Pourang in Iran). - 8/2/14

Number of Passing Flights through Iranian Airspace to Increase

- The number of flights by the UAE's Emirates Airline through the Iranian airspace will increase after Ukraine closed its airspace following the crash of Malaysia's MH17 flight, Deputy CEO for Aeronautical Operations at Iran Airports Company (IAC) Ebrahim Shoushtari announced on Saturday. - 8/2/14
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