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For Hawks, Every American Captive Returned Home Diplomatically is a Failed Opportunity

- This month, opponents of the Iran deal have decided to run with the talking point that the delivery of $400 million to Iran in January was a "ransom payment" for the release of three American citizens. TheNew York Times editorial board concluded that their release was "pragmatic diplomacy not capitulation," not to mention the fact that the funds actually belonged to Iran... -Eli Clifton - 8/26/16

US: Navy Ships Fired Warning Shots After Encounters with Iranian Vessels

- U.S. Navy ships sailing in the Persian Gulf were forced to fire warning shots and flares after being harassed by Iranian vessels in recent close encounters, the Pentagon said. In one incident Wednesday, the patrol ship USS Squall fired three warning shots into the water in the direction of an Iranian boat that was approaching another American ship head-on. -VOA - 8/26/16

OVERCAUTIOUS OBJECTIVITY: Losing Perspective by Being Politically Correct

- I have often appreciated Mr. Gharib's articles and analyses of America's policies toward Iran in general, even though I do not always agree with all of his views. In his latest article appearing, he offers a careful and concise critique of the Wall Street Journal's chief foreign affairs reporter, Jay Solomon, addressing the historic P5+1/Iran nuclear agreement and its aftermath. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 8/26/16

Iran crowned Continental Beach Soccer Tournament champion

- Iran became the champion of the Continental Beach Soccer Tournament Ordos on Thursday, following an impressive win over 2015 Asian champion Oman. - 8/26/16

Iran Confirms It Will Join OPEC Talks To Support Oil Prices

- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh confirmed that Iran will take part in an OPEC meeting next month in Algeria to discuss ways to support global oil prices. Zanganeh's remarks to the ministry's Shana news service on August 25 helped spur a jump in oil prices, with premium crude rising 62 cents to $49.67 a barrel in London trading. - 8/26/16

Armenia, Iran Creating Free Economic Zone To Expand Exports

- Armenia's government is working with Iran to create a free economic zone in the country's southernmost Meghri region, Economy Minister Artsvik Minasyan said on August 25. - 8/26/16

The International Community's Failure in Yemen

- This week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Riyadh amid renewed criticism of the ongoing Saudi-led military operations against the Al Saud ruler's adversaries in Yemen and the international community's failure to resolve the Yemeni Civil War. This meeting will hopefully begin the process of finding a new solution to what has been a devastating political and humanitarian crisis. -Joseph Cozza, LobeLog - 8/26/16

4 Iranian Vessels Sped Close to a US Ship in Strait of Hormuz, Navy Says

- Four Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels sped close to a U.S. guided missile destroyer in international waters Tuesday in an "unsafe and unprofessional" encounter, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday. - 8/25/16

Iran names Daesh leader killed in Kermanshah, says nothing is off the country's radar

- Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi revealed in a live TV program on Wednesday that Abu Aeshe Kurdi, commander of a Daesh brigade in Mosul, was one of those killed in recent clashes with a terrorist cell in Kermanshah province, western Iran. - 8/25/16

Does Fighting in Hasakah Signal a Diplomatic Realignment on Syria?

- When I asked Landis about how the PYD might view a Turkey-Russia-Iran axis, if one were to emerge, he said, "I think they are worried about it. It could be one reason why they're grabbing territory now, to limit the amount of pressure that the Syrian government can put on them in the future." It is possible that such an axis is emerging, amid all the diplomacy that followed the failed coup in Turkey and ... -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 8/25/16

What Hamadan Says About the Fragility of Russian-Iranian Ties

- Just one week after Russian bombers began flying missions over Syria out of an Iranian air base in Hamadan, Tehran has revoked its permission for Moscow to use the base. These missions never would have begun if Tehran had not agreed that they could take place. But Russia's public declaration that they were occurring had a negative impact on Iranian domestic politics. -Mark N. Katz - 8/24/16

Iran softens to oil production freeze?

- Iran has been ramping up output since the lifting of sanctions in January to reclaim its lost market share, dismissing demands to join the freeze initiative. On Tuesday, Reuters cited unnamed sources as saying that Iran was sending "positive signals" that it might get behind the push to curb production. - 8/24/16

Of Course "the Ayatollah Thinks He Won"

- In the Wall Street Journal last weekend, the paper's chief foreign affairs reporter, Jay Solomon, unloaded a 2,500-word essay looking back at the Iran nuclear deal a little more than year after the accord was signed. Solomon, a measured and well-sourced reporter, examined how the deal had, after this short period of time, affected Iranian politics. The piece bore the online headline: "Why the Ayatollah Thinks He Won." -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 8/24/16

Exactly 500 Years Ago, This Battle Changed the Middle East Forever

- Five centuries ago, the contours of the modern Middle East were shaped through a series of Ottoman battles. The outcomes of these battles-which shaped the region's politics, demographics and religious movements-were much more important in the long run than modern phenomena such as the Sykes-Picot Pact. -Akhilesh Pillalamarri, National Interest - 8/24/16

Russian jet fighters still flying from Iran: Parliament Speaker

- Speaker of the Iranian Parliament has emphasized that flights of Russian fighter aircraft are still being performed from Nojeh airbase in Hamedan. Ali Lasrijani made the remarks dring the Parliament open session on Tuesday morning, when answering the comments of MP Mahmoud Sadeghi. - 8/23/16

NIOC, Chinese CNPCI sign new deal on southern Iranian oil field

- Chinese CNPCI has been given a chance to participate Masjed Soleiman oil field recovery rate for the second time after an aborted deal in 2011. - 8/23/16

Iran: Russia Has Stopped Using Iran Base for Syria Strikes

- Russia has stopped using an Iranian air base for launching airstrikes on Syria for the time being, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday, just hours after the Iranian defense minister criticized Moscow for having "kind of show-off and ungentlemanly'' attitude by publicizing their actions. - 8/22/16

Congress Needs to Press the Pentagon, Saudi Arabia on Abuses in Yemen War

- On August 9, one day after the Pentagon notified Congress of its intention to sell $1.2 billion in weapons systems to Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-led coalition resumed airstrikes on Yemen's capital, Sanaa, after peace talks that began in April shut down. One strike hit a potato chip factory, reportedly killing 14 civilians. -Belkis Wille, LobeLog - 8/22/16

Iran Unveils New Long-Range Missile-Defense System

- Iran has released images of its first domestically built long-range missile defense system, the Bavar-373. The photos carried by several Iranian news agencies on August 21 showed President Hassan Rohani and Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan standing in front of the defense system. Rohani also unveiled the first Iranian-made fighter jet engine. - 8/21/16

Iran pitches huge gas reserves for Asia markets

- Iran is pitching its massive gas sector for trade with Asia where it sees a better market for exports than Europe. "Gas prices are more attractive in East Asia than in Europe," Deputy Petroleum Minister for trade and international affairs Amir-Hossein Zamaninia has said. - 8/21/16

Russian Realism in the Middle East

- We should reflect on the meaning of Russia's use of a base in Iran for staging airstrikes in Syria, and about what lessons we could learn from the Russians. The significance does not have to do with any grand realignment in the Middle East or the emergence of a military alliance between Russia and Iran. Russians and Iranians are not buddies. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/21/16

Disappointment with JCPOA Behind Iran's Closer Ties with Russia

- The Iranian public and international observers received with surprise the news that Iran had allowed Russian planes to use an airbase in its Hamedan province for bombing expeditions in Syria. The Islamic government's emphasis on independence, the Iranian constitution's ban on granting basing rights to any foreign country, and the Islamist opposition's use of the presence of American military personnel and advisers as weapon against the Shah during the monarchy all made the granting of permission to Russia highly unusual. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 8/20/16

Russia, Iran Appear to Double Down on Assad's Behalf in Syria

- Russia's use of an Iranian base to launch airstrikes in Syria jolted the U.S. and its allies in the region, but the timing may have more to do with concerns about the fate of the Syrian regime than the need of Moscow or Tehran to send a message. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 8/19/16

Passing the Foreign Policy Baton

- President Barack Obama has 22 weeks left in office. But in practice, his useful mandate will expire on November 9, the day after the presidential election. That does not mean he will be unable to exercise his duties as commander-in-chief for the 72 days remaining in his term. However, given his inclination not to do "stupid stuff," he is unlikely to leave any poisoned chalices for his successor. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 8/19/16

Why Has Tehran Allowed Russian Bombers to Use an Iranian Base?

- In a highly dramatic development, Russian bombers have begun using an Iranian base for bombing missions over Syria. Why Moscow would want to do this is clear: flight time to Syria is much shorter from northwestern Iran than from southern Russia. This allows Russian bombers to carry less fuel and more bombs, which holds out the prospect for more effective Russian bombing missions against Syrian opposition targets. -Mark N. Katz - 8/18/16

Why Victory Over IS Won't Solve the Real Problem Facing Iraq and Syria

- A recent spate of high-casualty Islamic State-linked attacks in France, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and (arguably) Orlando, Florida, has raised fears about the group's ability to carry out international terrorist strikes while also obscuring its failures at creating a "state." The group has lost a considerable amount of the territory it controlled at the height of its military success. - 8/18/16

Russian Planes Conduct More Syria Airstrikes From Iran

- Russian warplanes flew from Iran to carry out airstrikes in Syria for a second day Wednesday. The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes originating from Hamedan airbase targeted Islamic State militants. The first round of airstrikes Tuesday were aimed at Islamic State as well as the jihadist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front. - 8/17/16

Michael Weiss and the Iran-U.S. Hardline Nexus That Led Iranian-American to Evin Prison

- How Daily Beast Editor, Michael Weiss Helped Send Iranian-American to Torture Chambers of Evin Prison -Richard Silverstein, Unz Review - 8/17/16

Russia uses Iran as base to bomb Syrian militants for first time

- Russia used Iran as a base from which to launch air strikes against Syrian militants for the first time on Tuesday, widening its air campaign in Syria and deepening its involvement in the Middle East. In a move underscoring Moscow's increasingly close ties with Tehran, long-range Russian Tupolev-22M3 bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used Iran's Hamadan air base to strike a range of targets in Syria. -Reuters - 8/16/16

Iran kills four Daesh affiliates, arrests six: Kermanshah Governor

- Iranian security and intelligence officers on Monday and Tuesday killed four members of a Daesh-affiliated network in the western province Kermanshah, Kermanshah governor said on Tuesday. They were planning suicide bombings in central parts of the country, IRNA quoted Assadollah Razani as saying. - 8/16/16

New Report Details Massive Disparity in Middle East Arms Race

- An August 2016 report on Iran's military capabilities in comparison with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) offers a straightforward take away: "the Arab countries are decisively winning this arms race." -NIAC - 8/15/16

Overblown Claims about Hezbollah in Latin America

- But some in Washington, DC, far removed from the harsh realities of violent gangs uprooting entire neighborhoods and police death squads assassinating young men, are fond of stirring up fears of Islamist terrorist activities in Latin America with overblown claims about the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah. -Michael LaSusa, LobeLog - 8/15/16

Iran oil fires raise cyber sabotage fears

- Iran's cyberspace security authorities are looking into possible sabotage by the US or Israel following a recent string of fires in Iranian oil and gas facilities. - 8/14/16

Iran's Foreign Minister Boosts Ties During Ankara Visit

- The foreign ministers of Turkey and Iran agreed Friday to boost trade relations and pledged greater cooperation on resolving the Syria crisis despite their differences on the issue. -VOA - 8/13/16

Acceptable Losses: Aiding and abetting the Saudi slaughter in Yemen

- Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.'s Human Development Index. Such was the dire condition of the country before Saudi Arabia unleashed a bombing campaign in March 2015, which has destroyed warehouses, factories, power plants, ports, hospitals, water tanks, gas stations, and bridges, along with miscellaneous targets ranging from donkey carts to wedding parties to archaeological monuments. -Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine - 8/13/16

Turkey Says It Wants To Buy More Gas From Iran

- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara wants to buy more natural gas from Iran and that the two sides have discussed pricing issues. - 8/12/16

Iran wins another legal battle against Israel

- Switzerland's highest court has rejected an appeal by an Israeli company against a verdict to pay Iran money owed over a joint venture set up before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. - 8/12/16

The War Candidates

- A common observation about the role of foreign policy in the current presidential race is that Donald Trump's candidacy is profiting from a lack of appetite among much of the electorate for continued heavy and costly U.S. involvement in overseas conflict. With Trump having made some remarks that sound critical of that involvement, support for Trump gets interpreted as a rejection of establishment thinking on foreign involvement and of Hillary Clinton's hawkishness -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/12/16

What If Saudi Arabia Collapses?

- The geopolitical tsunami that would result from Saudi Arabia's collapse would have enormous consequences regarding Iranian influence across the region. From Iraq to Lebanon, and from Yemen to Syria, the struggle on the part of hardline Sunni Islamists to counter Shi'ism and Iran's reach would enter a new phase should Saudi Arabia cease to exist as a unified nation-state. -Theodore Karasik and Joseph Cozza, LobeLog - 8/11/16

Is Saudi Arabia Pivoting Toward Iranian Radicals?

- Turki al-Faisal appears to be Riyadh's point man once again. Last month, the former head of Saudi intelligence called for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic at a meeting of the Iranian opposition in Paris. His remarks coupled with recent diplomatic moves signal a new tougher policy toward Iran from Saudi Arabia. -Joseph Hammond, National Interest - 8/10/16

Iranian President meets Russian and Azeri counterparts, urges dialog for all regional disputes

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for efforts to resolve all regional disputes through dialog and diplomacy. Rouhani made the remarks during a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Azeri counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, respectively, in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku on Monday. - 8/9/16

Iran, Russia Presidents Urge Acceleration Of Relations Promotion

- Presidents of Iran and Russia have stressed the importance of accelerating the development of bilateral relations in all fields. In a meeting in the Azeri capital city of Baku on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, said Tehran and Moscow need to make more efforts to speed up the development of all-out cooperation. - 8/9/16

Iran's President Rouhani heralds free trade with Caucasus and Eurasian countries

- President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the purpose behind development of Iran's ties with countries in the Eurasian and Caucasus regions is to move toward "free trade." "Proximity and development of ties with Eurasian countries, the Caucasus region, especially the country of Azerbaijan, is very important and we should move toward free trade in the future," Rouhani told a press conference with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Baku. - 8/8/16

Ground broken for Iran-Azerbaijan joint car plant

- Iran-Azerbaijan joint car manufacturing project launched in Azerbaijan's Neftchala Industrial District on Saturday. Production capacity of the $15 million joint venture plant, which will be constructed by Iran Khodro Company and Azevrocar Company, is 10,000 cars per year and it is expected to create 300 new job opportunities. - 8/8/16

Israeli-owned oil company ordered to pay Iran $1.2 billion after losing appeal

- An Israeli-owned oil company has been ordered by an arbitration court in Switzerland to pay Iran USD 1.2 billion in revenues for oil supplied to Israel before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. - 8/8/16

Iran, Russia map out rival to Suez Canal

- A major project to foster trade connectivity through a less trodden path straddling a promising market is about to feature prominently in discussions when presidents of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan meet in Baku on Monday. - 8/7/16

THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS How Might the Outcome Affect US/Iran Relations

- What is the most important step a candidate for any office, including that of the presidency of the United States, must take to reach that goal? The answer is simple: try your best to get elected by attracting the greater number of voters to his or her camp. As elementary as that answer appears at first glance, the means of achieving that objective are anything but simple, straight forward or even honest and acceptable for the average voter. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 8/4/16

Iran Executes Up To 20 Kurdish Militants, Drawing Human Rights Criticism

- Iran has executed up to 20 Kurdish Islamists suspected of attacks on security forces, drawing condemnation from rights groups who say the convictions may have been based on forced confessions. - 8/4/16

Iran's South Pars Gas Field: Phase 18 platform installation completed

- The platform 18B of Iran's South Pars gas field was fixed on its jacket in the phase 18 of the giant gas field in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, Shana reported. The operation of loading the 2,300-ton platform from Bandar-Abbas yard was conducted by Iran Shipbuilding and Offshore Industries Complex Co. (ISOICO) on June 23. - 8/4/16

Tehran rejects non-nuclear negotiations with Washington

- Tehran has stressed it has had no dialogue with Washington on issues other than those related to Iran's nuclear program. CIA Director John Brennan had said in a session at the Aspen Institute that Washington and Tehran keep exchanging ideas on a wide range of issues. -Barbara Slavin - 8/2/16

Is Saudi Arabia Really Inviting Russia to Play a Bigger Role in the Middle East?

- Much attention was generated by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir's interview with politico.eu. The minister appeared to offer Russia an economic lifeline from Western sanctions through economic access to the Gulf Cooperation Council--the grouping of the six Arab Gulf monarchies, most of which have large oil reserves--and "a pool of investment that exceeds that of China." -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 8/2/16

JCPOA proved necessity of distrust in US promises: Iran's Supreme Leader

- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran's experience in striking a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group of countries, including the United States, was a clear example of the enemies' untrustworthiness. - 8/1/16

3 states behind leaking data on Iran nuclear program: Official

- A senior Iranian official says three countries were involved in the leak to the media of confidential information about the country's long-term nuclear program, which prompted a strong protest from Tehran. - 7/31/16

Trump v. Clinton: What's a Good Neocon to Do?

- In my opinion, the notion that neoconservatives are moving en masse into the Hillary camp is premature. True, Kagan supports Hillary. But the co-founder with Bill Kristol of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and its successor, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), has been an outlier, if not a renegade, in the movement in recent years. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/31/16

Russia pushing North-South route to reality

- Russia says it has presented a plan to Iran which envisages establishing a unified transport company with India to operate along the emerging North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) - an ambitious intercontinental multi-modal route that would link St. Petersburg to Mumbai. The plan was raised during a visit to Tehran by Alexander Zhilkin, the governor of Russia's Astrakhan region. - 7/29/16

Afghanistan: On the Eve of a Religious War?

- The Islamic State (ISIS or IS) recently threatened the Shia Hazara minority in Afghanistan with more attacks in retaliation for fighting in Syria in defense of President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. "Unless they stop going to Syria and stop being slaves of Iran, we will definitely continue such attacks," the message said. -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog - 7/29/16

Riyadh failed to rally anti-Iran support in Arab League summit: Iran

- Tehran has slammed the Saudi regime for pushing ahead with its "divisive policies" in a recent Arab League summit, saying the outcome of the meeting showed Riyadh has failed to muster support against Iran. - 7/29/16

Yemen: An Opportunity for Iran-Saudi Dialogue?

- The news out of Yemen continues to be grim. Week after week the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that committed troops to the Saudi-led Operation Restore Hope-previously dubbed Operation Decisive Storm-see body bags return home. And they aren't getting any closer to their goal of a "decisive victory" against Iran and what they see as Tehran's proxy, the Houthis. -Dina Esfandiary and Ariane Tabatabai - 7/28/16

Militant Clergy--the Future of Shia Islam?

- Mohammad Aqamiri might be the first-ever Shia cleric from Iran who martyred himself in Syria after the Syrian uprising. While studying and teaching at Qom Seminary in 2013, Aqamiri enlisted in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and died defending the holy shrine in Syria. He is not alone. -Saeid Golkar, LobeLog - 7/28/16

What the Turkish Coup Means for Iran

- Iran was among the very first governments to express its support for the democratically elected government of Turkey during the recent failed coup d'etat. High Iranian officials such as the president, foreign minister, and the speaker of the parliament also spoke to their counterparts in Turkey. Considering that Iran's relations with Turkey, especially its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have been rather frosty in the last several years, why was Iran so eager to register its opposition to the coup attempt? -Shireen T. Hunter - 7/26/16

Tehran, Yerevan reach new gas deal

- Iran's oil minister has announced that on the basis of a new agreement between Tehran and Yerevan, Iranian gas will be transferred to Georgia through Armenia. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with the visiting Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Yolyan, Iran's Bijan Zanganeh said transit of Iranian gas via Armenia marked the main axis of the session. - 7/26/16

Harder vs. Softer, the Republican and Democratic Foreign Policy Platforms

- With its emphasis on the use of diplomacy and economic development, the Democratic platform embraces what is known as idealism, a school of foreign policy that holds that America is a force for good in the world and that, with a combination of military strength and soft power, can shape global affairs. More than twice as long on foreign policy as the Democratic version, the Republican platform presents a harder-edged, Reaganesque manifesto with some, but by no means all, of Trump's controversial ideas. -Masood Farivar, VOA - 7/26/16

US Media Find European Terror Deaths 19 Times More Interesting Than Mideast Terror Deaths

- A survey conducted by FAIR of US media coverage of ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks in Europe and the Middle East reveals a disparity of coverage, showing that European deaths are roughly 1,800 percent more newsworthy than deaths in the Middle East. -Adam Johnson, LobeLog - 7/26/16

Daily output of Iran's South Pars gas field to rise to 540mcm by March 2017

- South Pars field, which Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf, is estimated to contain a significant amount of natural gas, accounting for about eight percent of the world's reserves, and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensate. Meanwhile, the country maintained its rank as the third natural gas producer in the world after the U.S. and Russia for the second consecutive year. - 7/25/16

Iran takes third place in Asia Water Polo Junior Championship

- Iran's national junior water polo team has finished its campaign at the 5th edition of the Asian Water Polo Junior Championship in Indonesia, and claimed the third place after breezing past the Uzbek squad. - 7/25/16

Israel/Palestine: Bad Policy, Bad Politics

- To understand why the United States fails so miserably in efforts to achieve an Israeli/Palestinian peace, all you need to do is take a look at the mix of bad policy and bad politics found in the Israel/Palestine sections of platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties. -James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 7/25/16

The Republicans' 'Principled' Case For Killing The Iran Deal

- As the nation takes stock of the bizarre fever dream that took place in Cleveland this past week, it's easy to forget that the GOP actually unveiled its platform that translates the rhetoric - from "lock her up" to "kill the deal" - into actual policy proposals. -Jamal Abdi, Huffington Post - 7/23/16

Islamists at War in Turkey

- Last week witnessed what may be the last act of an unfolding struggle between two major Islamic movements in Turkey. Turkish president and leader of the AKP party Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused exiled Islamic leader Fethullah Gulen of plotting the failed coup against the government. Immediately thereafter Erdogan has unleashed massive Stalin-style purges and arrests across the country of anyone suspected of any connection with Gulen, or indeed of anyone of any ideology who opposes Erdogan. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/23/16

Iran busts terror cell near Pakistan border, detains 40: Interior Minister

- Iranian security forces have arrested 40 members of a terror cell that planned to carry out attacks in the eastern parts of the country, the interior minister says. Rahmani Fazli said the Iranian forces discovered and destroyed a 40-meter-long tunnel dug at a depth of 20 meters, which the terrorists had planned to use for their attacks. - 7/22/16

Congress Should Let the Boeing Deal Proceed

- Before adjourning for the summer, lawmakers in Congress found time to pass several bills that could imperil one of the most significant global security achievements in many years: the year-old nuclear deal that President Obama struck with Iran. This is not the first time that hard-line Republicans and their well-funded lobby group allies have tried to sabotage the deal... -New York Times Editorial - 7/22/16

From Iran to Nice, We Must Confront All Terrorism to End Terrorism

- France has unfortunately been the epicenter for two terrorism-related events in recent weeks. The tragic truck attack in Nice, which received international attention, and a rally recently held in Paris by a notorious Iranian opposition group -- the "Mujahedin-e Khalq," or MEK, which for years has committed acts of terrorism against Iran. While it might not be immediately evident, there is a connection between the events -- the groups behind them have been accused of atrocities and have historical ties to Saudi Arabia. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Huffington Post - 7/22/16

UN chief calls on world powers to make JCPOA beneficial for Iranians

- "I urge JCPOA participants to uphold their respective commitments and Member States to support the full and effective implementation of this agreement," said Ban in a statement released on Wednesday, which coincides with the first anniversary of a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal. - 7/21/16

Republican Platform: Build Border Wall, Outlaw Gay Marriage

- The Republican Party has crafted a new platform that both shows the direct influence of its 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump, as well as the traditionally conservative values upon which the party is built. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 7/20/16

The Saudis and 9/11: Is It Finally Over?

- From the perspective of the Saudi Arabian government, no news was really good news. The long-withheld 28 pages of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, released on Friday, provided scant evidence, and no incontrovertible proof, of government responsibility or involvement. Saudi officials celebrated as if their country had just been acquitted of a crime, as in a sense it had. -Thomas Lippman - 7/20/16

The Islamic State and Arab Muslim Regimes: Time for Another Look

- The Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has claimed that the French-Tunisian truck driver who plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice killing nearly 100 people and injuring over 200 as one of their "soldiers." The West and the Arab Muslim states must now take a hard look at IS and the radical violent ideology that drives it. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 7/20/16
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