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August 28 2015
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Iran and the Third Rail of American Politics

- A distinctive feature of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P-5+1 and Iran to limit Iran's nuclear program is that the fate of the plan in Congress rests not on the details of actual arms control agreement but on the dreaded third rail of America's dysfunctional domestic politics. America's "third rail" of domestic politics once consisted of a relatively small number of hot button issues (Social Security, for example) that politicians simply could not touch for fear of retribution by the voters. -James A. Russell - 8/28/15

Committee for the Liberation of Iraq Members on Iran Deal

- "Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal," President Obama observed August 5 at American University in perhaps his most forceful and aggressive speech in favor of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There really is no question regarding the fundamental truth of that assertion. -Grace Cason and Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 8/28/15

Senator Tom Carper to support Iran nuclear deal

- NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) announced that he will support the Iran nuclear deal: "Senator Carper has distinguished himself as a champion of diplomacy with Iran, and his statement today welcoming the deal will help ensure that the last two years of tough negotiations result in a verifiable deal instead of a disastrous missed opportunity. - 8/28/15

German Support For Barenboim Concert In Iran Draws Israeli Ire

- Star conductor Daniel Barenboim is hoping to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert there, the Berlin State Opera said August 27, drawing angry protests from Israel. Barenboim, 72, who is general music director of the German capital's flagship opera house, "is in talks with Iran about a possible concert in Tehran," the house said. - 8/28/15

Swiss conference: Iran 'pole of stability' for business

- Switzerland, which became the first nation to lift sanctions on Iran last month, has arranged a major conference for its business owners, urging them to make the most of business opportunities in the energy-rich country. Some 500 business people gathered in Zurich to have Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Giulio Haas call Iran "the pole of stability in a very, very unsafe region", media reports from the event said. - 8/28/15

Prominent Iranian Activists, Intellectuals Call On Congress To Back Nuclear Deal

- Activists who have taken to YouTube and social media in support of the agreement are hoping that it will ultimately strengthen the hands of the moderates and result in an opening up of the political situation inside the country. Many of them are based in Iran -- including student activist Zia Nabavi, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, and top human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was released from prison in 2013. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/27/15

Iran Cultivates Closer Ties with Azerbaijan

- After six years of turbulent relations between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, several recent trips by high-ranking Iranian officials to Baku and Azeri ministers to Tehran are the latest signs that the two countries want to forget bad memories and establish closer relations. This rapprochement is in part a response to the mutual security challenges that Iran and Azerbaijan currently face. -LobeLog's Tehran correspondent - 8/27/15

The Biggest Myths About Doing Business with Iran

- I've led three delegations of top international CEOs to Iran over the past three years. The first, in 2013, was during Ahmadinejad's presidency and later, in 2014 and 2015, under Rouhani. We met with Iranian business leaders, young entrepreneurs, religious leaders, students, artists and people we would encounter in markets or on the street. -Dick Simon, Huffington Post - 8/27/15

Neoconservatives Play the Long Game on Iran

- David Addington, the legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, made that declaration to Jack Goldsmith of the Office of Legal Counsel in the months after September 11, 2001. Goldsmith would later recall that Cheney and Addington were the first people he had ever met of a certain kind... -David Bromwich, LobeLog - 8/27/15

Booker Torn Between GOP Donors and His Party

- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is feeling the heat. Progressive advocacy groups are pushing Democrats from one side to back the Obama administration's plan to constrain Iran's nuclear program. From the other side, meanwhile, New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie vows to lobby Booker to join the senior senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, in opposing the Iran deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 8/27/15

Berlin orchestra's planned Tehran concert angers Israel

- The Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim has been in talks to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert, drawing angry protests from Israel. -Guardian - 8/27/15

U.S. Senate Democrats Increasingly Confident Will Uphold Iran Deal

- Senator Patty Murray on August 25 became the 29th Senate Democrat to declare her support for the deal -- bringing the party within five votes of the 34 needed to uphold President Barack Obama's expected veto of a resolution rejecting the deal that Republican leaders are preparing to send him. - 8/26/15

Russian Anxieties about the Iranian Nuclear Accord

- A great debate is currently taking place in the U.S. about whether the nuclear accord between Iran and the P5+1 is a "good deal" or a "bad deal" for America and thus whether or not Congress should reject it. Although not nearly as vociferous, a similar debate is taking place in Moscow over what the implications of the Iranian nuclear accord are for Russia. -Mark N. Katz - 8/26/15

The Iran Issue and the Exploitation of Ignorance

- Polls of American public opinion on the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program have produced widely varying results. One can find polls to support whatever position one would like to portray as the prevailing public view on this issue. Poll results on this subject are especially sensitive to the wording of the question that is asked. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/26/15

Group of Christian leaders backs Iran deal

- More than 50 Christian leaders have signed on to a letter urging members of Congress to "remember the wisdom of Jesus" and approve the nuclear deal with Iran, the latest in a growing lobbying push by religious groups favoring the agreement. -Nahal Toosi, Politico - 8/26/15

Wanted For Terrorism, Commander Of Iran's Quds Force Is Actually Kind And Emotional, Brother Says

- Qassem Soleimani, a top military commander in Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is a wanted man. For years, he's been linked to support for terrorism, covert operations, arms smuggling, and other efforts aimed at expanding Iran's influence abroad and undermining that of its enemies. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/25/15

The Danger of Rogue Israeli Military Action against Iran

- The New York Times reported on August 21 that, according to leaks by Ehud Barak's biographers, the former Israeli defense minister and his boss, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, were ready to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure in 2010, 2011, and 2012. -Wayne White, LobeLog - 8/25/15

Commentary: Right-wing American bloggers have a problem with facts about Iran's Jews

- Two prominent right-wing websites took aim at my GlobalPost article showing that Iranian Jews support the nuclear agreement with Iran and disagree with the views of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. -Reese Erlich, GlobalPost - 8/25/15

Top Senate Democrat Backs Iran Nuclear Deal

- Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid has expressed his support for the agreement the United States and five other nations reached with Iran to limit the country's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The Senate Minority Leader called the deal "the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" in a statement Sunday. - 8/24/15

Sanction, military threats against Iran harm JCPOA: President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says threats of military action and re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran will harm efforts for the restoration of trust between Iran and six world powers. "These sardonic remarks are indiscreet slogans and jokes that would harm the process of confidence-building," Rouhani told British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Tehran on Monday. - 8/24/15

Multifaceted Obstacles Facing Iran-US Rapprochement

- Dr. Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Iran's former ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva has taken part in an interview with Khabaronline news website to answer various questions on the effects of the recent nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Iran's regional relations in the Middle East, and the outlook of Tehran's ties with Washington. - 8/24/15

Noam Chomsky on the Iran Deal

- Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that "the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons... -Noam Chomsky - 8/24/15

Congressman Nadler on Why He Supports the Iran Deal

- This September, we will face one of the most serious global security decisions in our history. It is a decision that I have taken my time to consider, knowing the stakes are too high to allow for anything but clear-headed and thoughtful analysis, with an acute awareness that there are sharply divided opinions and passionate feelings on both sides. -Jerrold Nadler, LobeLog - 8/23/15

Photos: Iran unveils solid-fuel precision-guided missile with a range of 500 km

- Iran unveils a new solid-fuel precision-guided missile, named Fateh 313, which has been designed and manufactured by experts at the Defense Ministry's Aerospace Industries Organization. - 8/22/15

Iran Nuclear Debate Fracturing American Jewish Community

- The debate over the nuclear deal with Iran is dividing American Jews, who have traditionally aligned with the Democratic Party and supported Barack Obama in two elections - but not always when it comes down to Iran. Four notable polls conducted since the deal was announced demonstrate that the American Jewish community is divided. -Cecily Hilleary, VOA - 8/22/15

Planned Israeli Attacks On Iranian Nuclear Sites Said Blocked

- Israel's Channel 2 TV reported August 21 that a plan for Israel to strike Iranian nuclear facilities was blocked on three separate occasions in recent years. The report comes as Israel has been strenuously lobbying against a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that aims to curb Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions' relief. - 8/22/15

Senator Corker and the Nuclear Agreement

- Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long given us hope for reasonableness even when he and we have been surrounded by partisan rabidity and a lack of reason. Corker was one of the few Republican senators to refrain from signing the Tom Cotton letter that lectured the Iranians on how they cannot count on the United States sticking to any agreement that Iran may reach with it. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/22/15

AP Mangles Parchin Story, Hopes Nobody Notices

- On Wednesday the Associated Press published an exclusive that was guaranteed to provide ammunition to those in the United States who are working to defeat the Iran nuclear deal in Congress next month. The story, "UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site," describes a draft of a so-called "side agreement" reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the nuclear watchdog agency's planned inspections at Iran's Parchin military base... -Derek Davison - 8/21/15

IAEA Director 'Disturbed' By Report On Iranian Nuclear Inspections

- The head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says he is "disturbed" by a report suggesting his organization has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a statement on August 20 that such statements "misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work. - 8/21/15

Turkey-Iran Tensions on Rise

- The cancellation of a visit to Turkey last week by Iran's foreign minister has brought increasingly tense relations between Ankara and Tehran into sharper focus. The two countries back opposite sides in the Syrian civil war and accuse each other of heightening sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 8/21/15

What's Really behind Khamenei's Recent Anti-US Statements?

- Last week Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iran will not allow the United States to try reestablishing its influence in Iran. Taken together with the statement of the hardline managing editor of Keyhan Hussein Shariatmadari insinuating that the religious leader was against the nuclear agreement, this statement raised the question of whether Khamenei was having second thoughts about backing the moderate and reconciliatory policies of his president, Hassan Rouhani. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog - 8/21/15

In Letter, Obama Tells Congress U.S. Will Still Press Iran

- In his most comprehensive effort to assure wavering Democrats, President Obama wrote in a letter to Congress that the United States would unilaterally maintain economic pressure and deploy military options if needed to deter Iranian aggression, both during and beyond the proposed nuclear accord. -NY Times - 8/21/15

Phased End of Iranian Arms Embargo Is US Victory

- The benefits that Iran will accrue by complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have set off alarm bells in Washington. Opponents have misrepresented the deal's lifting of an international arms embargo as a major and unnecessary concession to Iran. The arms embargo, however, was designed to end if and when Iran concluded a nuclear deal with world powers. The delayed end of the embargo is the result of the Obama administration's tough negotiating tactics, which bordered on brinksmanship. -Henry Johnson - 8/20/15

Senators Joe Donnelly and Ed Markey announce support for Iran nuclear deal

- NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after Senator Joe Donnelly announced his support for the Iran nuclear agreement: "Senator Donnelly's announcement is a very big deal. This was clearly not a political decision or a partisan decision, but a decision based on the premise that rejecting this deal would violate the principle that war must only be a last resort. - 8/20/15

Optimism on the Iran Deal, Whichever Way Congress Decides

- Most pundits predict that Obama will have enough votes to push through the Iran nuclear deal. An AIPAC-driven Congress will oppose it, but Obama will use his veto power to overcome the opposition. At the end of the day, optimists forecast, the president will receive the requisite support in Congress to prevent a veto override. -Gary Leupp, Counterpunch - 8/20/15

Menendez Rejects Iran Deal, Sides With Donors To His Legal Defense Fund

- Tuesday's announcement by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that he would vote against the Iran deal, making him the second Senate Democrat to oppose the White House's signature foreign policy initiative, was a surprise to no one. Menendez had been an outspoken critic of the White House's Iran diplomacy, even aligning himself with the controversial Mojahedin-e-Khalq, a fringe Iranian exile group that advocates regime change in Tehran. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 8/20/15

Democratic Leader Says U.S. House Will Uphold Obama On Iran Deal

- Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, says U.S. President Barack Obama has enough votes from lawmakers to stop a Republican-led effort to block the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. - 8/20/15

26 Top Jewish Leaders Back Iran Deal in New York Times Ad

- Jewish supporters of the Iran nuclear deal have published a full-page New York Times ad backing the agreement signed by 25 current and former prominent communal leaders. The signers include heads of national Jewish organizations, leaders from major federations and former lawmakers, all calling on Congress to approve the deal. -Forward - 8/20/15

In Iran, 'death to America' doesn't mean what you think

- Hardline Iranians continue to shout "death to America" at Friday prayers and political rallies as they have for decades. That chant is cited by conservative U.S. politicians as proof that Iran remains hostile and can't be trusted to implement nuclear accords. -Reese Erlich, GlobalPost - 8/20/15

Seventy-Plus Nuclear Non-Proliferation Experts Endorse Deal

- The Arms Control Association (ACA) released a joint statement on Tuesday endorsed by 75 of the world's leading nuclear non-proliferation specialists, including a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and former top U.S., UN, and foreign government non-proliferation officials. The statement concludes that the July 14 agreement "is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear non-proliferation efforts." -Jim Lobe - 8/19/15

Senator Menendez's Efforts to Derail the Iran Deal

- "Menendez has long opposed any diplomatic solution to the U.S.-Iran standoff. He proved this when he and Senator Chuck Schumer teamed up with Republicans to kill the Iran negotiations in 2014 and earlier this year with sanctions. The pair were unable to convince their Democratic colleagues to sabotage U.S. diplomatic efforts then, and so far they are the only Democratic Senators signed onto this latest attempt to kill a deal." -NIAC Action - 8/19/15

The Backfiring of Israeli Strategy on Iran

- Those paying attention both to the Israeli government's implacable opposition against the agreement restricting Iran's nuclear program and to the issue of Iran's other activity in the Middle East might take note of some background that several analysts, including Shibley Telhami and Aaron David Miller, have noted: that Israeli agitation about the Iranian nuclear program was a principal impetus for negotiating the agreement on that subject that was finalized in Vienna last month. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 8/19/15

The Next Middle East Nuclear Challenge: Israel

- The nuclear agreement with Iran opens the way to forging a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. Until now a Middle East NWFZ has had the hallmarks of a hopeless cause. It's been all too easy for Israel to use fears aroused by Iran's nuclear program to oppose the notion. The July 14 agreement deprives Israel of that excuse. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 8/19/15

How Iran's Jews Survive in Mullahs' World

- The first thing I noticed about Shahab Shahamifar as we strolled to synagogue on a Saturday morning in July was his yarmulke. It was a medium-size, black knitted one, and he was wearing it as we walked the busy streets of Tehran. Then I noticed that no one looked up. -Larry Cohler-Esses, Forward - 8/19/15

Cultivating Seeds of Peace, Global Day of Action to Support Iran Deal

- Rallies took place in cities across the globe on Saturday in support of the historic nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. Organized by volunteer Iranian expats and unaffiliated with any political groups or campaigns, the #SupportIranDeal mobilization spanned continents as participants called for peace and denounced well-funded efforts to derail the deal. -Common Dreams - 8/18/15

U.S. Senate GOP Leader Concedes Iran Deal 'Likely' To Succeed

- U.S. President Barack Obama has "a great likelihood of success" in his showdown with congressional Republicans on the Iran nuclear deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has grudgingly acknowledged. The Republican-led Senate and House are expected to reject the deal in a joint resolution next month amid near universal condemnation of the accord by Republicans. - 8/18/15

Russia, Iran Plan To Expand Military Cooperation

- Moscow and Tehran say they plan to expand military and economic cooperation after international sanctions against Iran are lifted under a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. - 8/18/15

Supreme Leader accuses U.S. of using nuclear deal to influence Iran

- Iran's Supreme Leader has once again emphasized his anti-American stance, saying he will not allow the United States to use the nuclear agreement to spread its influence in the country. - 8/18/15

Another Rabbi for the Iran Deal

- I signed a letter to Congress with 340 of my rabbinic colleagues in support of the Iran deal. Despite the fact that AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) is spending $20-40 million to defeat it, they do not speak for the Jewish community. Neither does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak for all Israelis. -Rachel S. Mikva, Huffington Post - 8/18/15

The Forward Discovers the Real Iran -- Not Netanyahu's Caricature

- Over the course of the past 25 years, the image of Iran presented by the Israeli government has become increasingly simplistic, one-dimensional, void of any nuance -- in short, incomplete at best and inaccurate at worst. This simplistic image of Iran has become so pervasive that Western journalists almost without exception are shocked when they visit the country and discover a fundamentally different reality. -Trita Parsi, Forward - 8/18/15

Off the Coast of Iran, a High-Stakes Version of Spy Versus Spy

- In the skies and waters of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, United States and Iran continue to constantly watch each other. American naval ships openly roam the waters along Iran's 1,100-mile-long southern coastline, their radar trained on the Iranian shore and on Iranian ships leaving their harbors. Iranian fighter jets patrol the skies, keeping an eye on American combat plane... -Helene Cooper, NY Times - 8/18/15

US Senator's 'No' on Iran Deal Makes Any GOP Support Unlikely

- With a month left before the deadline for U.S. Congress to vote on the international deal limiting Iran's nuclear program, President Barack Obama appears to have lost his only chance to get any Republican support for the agreement. - 8/17/15

Iran Deal: A Response to AIPAC

- AIPAC recently issued a memorandum to congressional members and staff with respect to the future of the Iran sanctions regime should Congress reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This memorandum notes that, if a joint resolution of disapproval for the JCPOA were to be passed by both houses of Congress and President Obama's inevitable veto overridden by a two-thirds vote again of both houses, the U.S. sanctions regime would remain legally in place. -Richard Nephew, LobeLog - 8/17/15

Iran opens Middle East's largest caviar plant

- Iran has opened a sturgeon farm described as the Middle East's largest on its Caspian coasts to produce high-end caviar -- the most prized luxury delicacy reserved for the rich. - 8/17/15

Russia Ready To Send S-300 Missile Systems To Iran

- Russia is ready to send S-300 long-range, surface-to-air missile systems to Iran and is working to have the sanctions against Tehran removed as soon as possible, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on August 14. Russia is "completely satisfied" with the Iran nuclear deal, Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow, adding that the deal will be enforced with or without U.S. support. - 8/15/15

Henry Siegman, Leading U.S. Jewish Voice for Peace: "Give Up on Netanyahu, Go to the United Nations"

- "Well, what I am suggesting he (President Obama) do, and what many others have suggested, as well, indeed for some time now, is that he finally act on a truth, that he understood for quite some time now-namely, that any government that is headed by Netanyahu not only is disinterested in pursuing a two-state solution, but indeed sees as its primary mission and goal, policy goal, is to prevent a two-state agreement." -Democracy Now - 8/15/15

Why we disagree with Chuck Schumer on the Iran deal

- Schumer's alternative to the agreement is to "keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more." He does not explain how his strategy would be accomplished without the support of Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, the other parties to the deal besides the United States and Iran. -Senators Richard Lugar and J. Bennett Johnston - 8/15/15

Big Oil in Retreat

- The plunge of global oil prices began in June 2014, when benchmark Brent crude was selling at $114 per barrel. It hit bottom at $46 this January, a near-collapse widely viewed as a major but temporary calamity for the energy industry. Such low prices were expected to force many high-cost operators, especially American shale oil producers, out of the market, while stoking fresh demand and so pushing those numbers back up again. -Michael Klare, LobeLog - 8/15/15

Bad Intelligence Leading Us to War Again?

- On August 6, Jeb Bush did us the tremendous favor of reminding us of the bad intelligence that led us into a strategic disaster in Iraq that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands-nearly 5,000 of them American. Actually, it wasn't bad intelligence. It was cherry-picked intelligence, even faked, and designed to mislead politicians and the public into believing, among other things, that Iraq was actively developing a nuclear weapon. -Robert Kelley - 8/14/15

More Support For Iran Deal From U.S. Democrats

- Two more Democrats in the U.S. Senate have announced support for the Iran nuclear deal as allies of President Barack Obama inched toward their goal of ensuring Congress cannot kill the deal. - 8/14/15

Right and Wrong Lessons From the Iraq War

- It really rankles some people that Barack Obama was correct from the outset, before any unfolding of the history confirming he was right, that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a huge mistake. And one can understand how to some ears Mr. Obama's subsequent references to the Iraq War may have a grating "I told you so" quality. -Paul R. Pillar - 8/14/15

How Obama could salvage the Iran deal

- If Congress votes down the Iran nuclear deal, President Barack Obama says, the agreement will collapse and war will come "soon." But Obama has broad powers to act alone - even against the will of Congress - say experts and former administration officials familiar with internal deliberations. -Michael Crowley, Politico - 8/14/15

Iran Deal: Overture to the Middle East Grand Opera

- The US debate on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is in full swing and will not be resolved soon. That must wait until the final vote in the House and Senate on whether to override President Barack Obama's promised veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval. Until then, we can expect only rival commentaries on the merits and demerits of the JCPOA. These will be less about the merits/demerits than about the political power and influence of the various parties to the national discussion. -Robert E. Hunter - 8/13/15

In Iran Nuke Deal, Partisan Interests Trump Security

- A week after President Barack Obama passionately defended the Iran deal in a speech at American University, the political ripples keep spreading. Many commentators have complained about Obama's tough tone and his equation of Republican opponents of the deal with Iranian hardliners who chant "Death to America" at staged government rallies... -Barbara Slavin - 8/13/15

Iran Deal Has Fallen Victim To Washington Politics, Expert Says

- The Iran nuclear deal has fallen victim to a long-running political war between the White House and Republican-led Congress, a former top White House aide and nuclear expert says. Gary Samore, who was forced to step down as president of the lobbying group United Against Nuclear Iran because he supports the agreement, said on August 12 - 8/13/15

Cautious Optimism after the Iran Deal

- It is risky to try to discern longer range trends in the Middle East based on a few short term developments. Nonetheless, I can't resist finding some small shards for cautious optimism in the events of the past few weeks. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 8/13/15

Kerry: 'No' Vote Could Destabilize Relations with Allies

- If the U.S. Congress rejects the Iran nuclear deal, that could destabilize the country's relations with allies on other crucial issues, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday. "That is a recipe, quickly, my friends, for them to walk away from Ukraine, where they are already very dicey and ready to say, 'Well, we have done our bit,'" said Kerry, referring to efforts to support the Ukrainian government in its fight against Russian-backed rebels. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 8/12/15

Nuclear Deal or Not?

- Deja vu all over again, some misguided Israelites and their agents in the U.S. coopted by Benjamin Netanyahu continue interfering in the very essence of the American government and the U.S. sovereignty through their leveraging and hedging in the election processes, boycotts and silencing of American oppositions and leading the U.S. to wars, all for self-serving prophetic ulterior motives. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan - 8/12/15

UANI, Joe Lieberman and the MEK

- I only have a few words to add to Jim's post about United Against a Nuclear Iran naming Joe Lieberman as its new president. Those words are: Mojahedin-e Khalq. That's the ex-terrorist Iranian opposition group, often known as the MEK, that has campaigned tirelessly for decades for regime change in Iran, and Joe Lieberman is one of their favorite advocates in Washington. -Ali Gharib - 8/12/15

How the Iran Deal Could Reshape the Middle East

- The profound changes occurring in the Middle East have led to exaggerated estimates of a decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East. There is a sense that the U.S. ability to "call the shots" has been diminished, and concern that the United States is likely to withdraw from the region. In fact, the U.S. standing is likely to increase as Washington repositions itself. -Nation of Change - 8/12/15

Obama the Anti-Semite?

- There's an odd, but not altogether surprising, line of attack developing against the Obama administration and other proponents of the Iran nuclear deal: that they are anti-Semites. How did this happen? The meme mostly owes to salvos from neoconservatives and other right-leaning publications lashing out; so far, the most notable of the attacks have come from the Wall Street Journal's opinion pages, the liberal-but-right-wing-on-Israel Jewish online magazine, Tablet and of course, the Weekly Standard. -Ali Gharib - 8/11/15

Russian navy fleet docks at Iran port city of Anzali

- A Russian navy fleet has docked at the northern Iranian port city of Anzali in a bid to boost friendly maritime ties between the two countries. On Friday, the two Russian warships -- Volgodonsk and Mahachkala -- arrived in Anzali for a three-day stay with around 130 personnel on board. - 8/11/15

What's the Big Deal? The Iran Nuclear Deal in Perspective

- Of course Congress should endorse the Iran deal. The renunciation of the agreement by Congress would have disastrous consequences for the Middle East, empowering warmongers everywhere, but especially in Washington, Tel Aviv, and Tehran. There are three motives driving opponents of the deal... -Stephen R. Shalom, New Politics - 8/11/15

Iran says can transit Qatar gas to Europe

- Iran has raised a new option to export natural gas to Europe which it says involves extra supplies from Qatar. Mohsen Jalalpour, the president of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, has told reporters Iran can take Qatar's gas and transit it to Turkey to be pumped to Europe. - 8/11/15

UANI, Samore Go Their Separate Ways

- It seems that the stridently anti-deal United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and its president until today, Gary Samore--who has spoken in favor of the Iranian nuclear deal--have sealed an amicable agreement to divorce, effective immediately. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 8/11/15
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