Azar 21 1398 - December 12 2019
After the Iran protests: How Europe can keep diplomacy alive

The Middle East is facing a wave of protests - with the latest unrest in Iran sweeping the country in November. For the moment, a swift government crackdown that reportedly left at least 208 dead has largely brought the protests to an end. An unprecedented internet shutdown during the unrest means that information and debate from inside Iran are now going viral, with observers seeking to take stock of what it could mean for the country. While much remains unclear, the episode has shaken a fragile Iranian nation, diminished the already dwindling popular support for the Rouhani administration, and further complicated European efforts to reduce tensions between the United States and Iran.-Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR 12/12/19

MEK defectors raise doubts over alleged Iranian 'terror cell' in Albania

Albanian police recently announced that they had discovered a terror ring, run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which had planned attacks on an exiled Iranian opposition group living in Albania. Hassan Heyrani, a former high-ranking MEK member who defected from the group in 2017, said he believes the story that the police presented is fabricated. "If it was true, why hasn't Interpol arrested them? Albania is a very poor country where corruption is rife, police can be bought," he said. -Middle East Eye 12/11/19

China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt are world's worst jailers of journalists

For the fourth consecutive year, at least 250 journalists are imprisoned globally... Iran, which also saw significant protests in 2019, increased the number of journalists in jail to 11. Prominent economic reporter Mohammad Mosaed was arrested after tweeting during an internet shutdown intended to suppress news of protests against high gas prices, "Hello Free World!" and that he was using "42 different proxies" to get online. -CPJ 12/11/19

If Iran Falls, ISIS May Rise Again

As disorder deepens in Iran amid widespread protests, fears are rising that the fall of Iran's revolutionary Shiite Islamic Republic could lead to disaster in the region and the re-emergence of an even greater foe of the United States--the Islamic State militant group known as ISIS...Iran has remained steadfast in the face of its foes foreign and domestic, and few expect the full demise of the government. But even those inside and outside Iran who support the rallies that continue day and night against the clerics running the nation fear the chaos alone could foster conditions for ISIS to breed. -Tom Oconnor, Newsweek 12/11/19

Pentagon Report Undermines Hawks' Claims On Iranian Ballistic Missile Threat

Many argue that Iran's ballistic missile program should be a major focal point for U.S. policy... Wrong. Iran's missile force is indeed improving, and states with vital interests in the Persian Gulf are right to pay attention. But Iranian missiles shouldn't be the heart of our diplomacy. The reality is they're not very useful for going on offense. Quite the opposite: they're a primarily defensive tool--and an important one that Iran fears giving up. As the new Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report entitled "Iran Military Power" points out, "Iran's ballistic missiles constitute a primary component of its strategic deterrent. -John Allen Gay, Responsible Statecraft 12/10/19

U.S. Sanctions Are Driving Iran to Tighten Its Grip on Iraq

MASSIVE, SUSTAINED PROTESTS in Baghdad and Tehran that have been met with violent responses from security forces throughout the fall and winter have rapidly altered the political dynamics in both Iraq and Iran. But it is still uncertain whether the grassroots anger that has erupted will lead to significant change in either country -- or whether the United States will play a role in shaping the outcome. -James Risen, Intercept 12/10/19

US policy hinders positive 'regime change' in Iran

With the rare exception of a weekend prisoner swap, the record of US-Iran relations since the Trump administration came to office has been dismal both for the Iranian people and for US national interests. A policy of undermining and then quitting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCOPA)--topped by an embargo on the export of Iranian oil--has punished the Iranian people and provoked their government to commit more aggressive acts. -Barbara Slavin, Atlantic Council 12/9/19

World Powers Urge Iran To Reverse Atomic Deal Violations

World powers pressed Tehran on December 6 to reverse recent actions that violate a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, a Chinese official said at the end of a meeting in Vienna that came amid heightened tensions between the West and Iran. The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been unraveling since the United States unilaterally withdrew last year and reimposed American sanctions that have further crippled Iran's struggling economy. -RFE/RL 12/7/19

If Tehran is pushed too far, it may hit out in ways that are disastrous

The crisis in the Persian Gulf, which took Iran and the US to the brink of war in June, was never resolved - and shows every sign of reigniting. Like antagonists in a school-yard fight who refuse to shake hands and make up, the two sides, backed by regional allies and proxies, are sullenly waiting for it all to kick off again. The next bout could be much worse. -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 12/7/19

Could Iran's Exit From The Nuclear Deal Create Space For Dialogue?

From all sides, the situation is in a deadlock. The French efforts to bring the U.S. and Iran to some kind of compromise seem to have subsided. There is still hope to see next year in the U.S. a political equation more favorable to Iran. But save for such a kind of miracle, the Islamic Republic is facing today a painful choice: continue bearing the deprivation and suffocation of its people, or take a game-changing initiative, such as pulling out of the JCPOA. -Francois Nicoullaud, Responsible Statecraft 12/7/19

More support needed for refugee education in Iran

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Iran's efforts to extend education opportunities for nearly half a million Afghan children in the country, and recognizes that the country needs greater humanitarian support because of the economic challenges it faces today. Iran has been one of the world's leading refugee hosts for decades and currently has some one million registered refugees from Afghanistan. -UNHCR 12/6/19

Iran rejects EU powers' letter to UN as 'desperate falsehood'

Iran has said it is determined to proceed with its ballistic missile programme, as it rejected as a "desperate falsehood" the letter from three European countries accusing Tehran of developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. -Al Jazeera 12/6/19

Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey - review

In retracing the escape of 1,000 Jewish children from wartime Poland to Iran, Mikhal Dekel uncovers a chapter of the Holocaust that resonates today -Guardian 12/6/19

Trump Stuck Between Ending Endless Wars and his Hawkish Megadonors

President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to withdraw the United States from its ongoing wars in the Middle East, and avoid the kind of military adventurism, like the Iraq war, that has destabilized the region. Trump's track record, however, is largely detached from his promises - a disconnect perhaps at least partially explained by his largest campaign contributors' consistent advocacy for U.S. military action in the Middle East and support for starting a preventive war with Iran. -Eli Clifton, Responsible Statecraft 12/5/19

Is Iran on the Edge of a Precipice?

The widespread protests caused by the Iranian government's decision on November 15 to raise the price of gasoline by a whopping 50 percent have generated a flurry of speculation about their wider political implications for Iran's rulers. What does seem clear, as several Iran experts have noted, is that these protests were in some sense unprecedented. -Daniel Brumberg, Arab Center DC 12/4/19

Sanctions May Have Fueled Iran Protests, but Have Yet to Further U.S. Goals

President Trump likes to say that Iran is "a different country" after 18 months of punishing American sanctions, and the protests sweeping Iranian cities suggest he may be right. Even his most vociferous critics acknowledge that Mr. Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign helped fuel that unrest. But it is far from clear that what is unfolding on the streets today will make Iran more likely to renegotiate its nuclear deal or dial back its malign actions in the region, the two major American goals in dealing with the country. -David E. Sanger, New York Times 12/3/19

Iraq Decries Torching Of Iran's Consulate In Southern Najaf

Iraq's Foreign Ministry has condemned an attack on Iran's consulate in the southern city of Najaf, the country's state news agency reported early on November 28, citing the ministry. The previous day's attack, during which protesters set the diplomatic building on fire, was "aimed at damaging the historical relations between Iraq and Iran and with rest of the countries," the ministry said. -RFE/RL 11/28/19

Tehran Hosts Taliban Leaders for Afghan Peace Talks

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has hosted leaders of Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency and discussed efforts aimed at finding a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war. A Taliban spokesman said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the political deputy chief and head of the insurgent group's Qatar-based office, led the visiting delegation at the meeting. -Ayaz Gul, VOA 11/27/19

Iran launches operation to seal an expanding oil leak off Persian Gulf rig

Iranian authorities say a major leak that has taken place off an oil rig in the Persian Gulf waters is being contained as they insist more work would be needed to stanch the expanding spill. Head of the local branch of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) in the southwestern province of Blushehr said on Tuesday that the leak had been spotted from an oil transfer pipeline connected to the Abuzar Oil Platform located around 13 kilometers off Kharg, the island from which Iran sells much of its crude. -Press TV 11/27/19

Foreign travelers not deterred by Iranophobia: Iranian tourism official

Iran's deputy tourism minister on Monday said that anti-Iranian sentiment or Iranophobia, which has long been forged and spread by some Western governments and media, has not prevented foreign travelers from visiting the country. 11/20/19

Pentagon Says Iran's Missile Arsenal Unequaled In Middle East

Iran's arsenal of missiles is unmatched in the Middle East, even bigger than Israel's, a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report says. Iran would develop its defense capability faster if it were not for a UN-mandated arms embargo for most weapons that is set to expire in October 2020. -RFE/RL 11/20/19

U.S. Cancels Civil-Nuclear-Cooperation Waiver For Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is canceling one of four sanctions waivers that allowed foreign firms to cooperate with Iran's civilian nuclear program without penalties. The waivers are some of the last remaining provisions of a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from last year. -RFE/RL 11/19/19

Iran's Shadow War on ISIS

Since the election of Donald Trump, the United States and Iran have grown increasingly fractious, exchanging provocations that have fueled fears of war. But in the early days of the fight against ISIS under President Barack Obama, these longtime rivals were focused on a common goal: halting the Islamic State's advance and destroying its so-called caliphate. -Murtaza Hussain, Intercept 11/19/19

A SPY COMPLEX REVEALED: Leaked Iranian Intelligence Reports Expose Tehran's Vast Web of Influence in Iraq

Now leaked Iranian documents offer a detailed portrait of just how aggressively Tehran has worked to embed itself into Iraqi affairs, and of the unique role of Suleimani. The documents are contained in an archive of secret Iranian intelligence cables obtained by The Intercept and shared with the New York Times for this article, which is being published simultaneously by both news organizations. -Intercept 11/18/19

2022 World Cup qualification: Lackluster Iran suffer late loss against Iraq

Iran national football team suffered a second successive loss in the 2022 World Cup qualification, losing to Iraq 2-1 on Thursday. In the match held in neutral venue Amman, Mohanad Ali gave the Iraqi team the lead from the edge of the six-yard area in the 11th minute after the Iranian defenders failed to clear the ball. 11/15/19

If Iran cannot reap JCPOA benefits others will suffer too: FM Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced in the Astana Club meeting on Tuesday that if Iran cannot reap the economic benefits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) definitely the other sides will suffer too. Under the JCPOA, commonly called the Iran nuclear deal, Iran was tasked to limit its nuclear program in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions. 11/14/19

European Signatories Call on Iran to Reverse Actions Against Nuclear Deal

France, Germany, Britain and the European Union say they are "extremely concerned" about Iran's renewed uranium enrichment activities and what they call "regrettable acceleration of Iran's disengagement" from commitments it made under the 2015 agreement regarding the country's nuclear program. 11/12/19

Iran Says It Has Shot Down 'Unknown' Drone Over City Of Mahshahr Near Persian Gulf

An Iranian official has been quoted as saying air-defense forces have shot down an "unknown" drone in the country's southwest. The state-run IRNA news agency said the drone was shot out of the sky in the morning on November 8 over the port city of Mahshahr, which is in the oil-rich Khuzestan Province and lies on the Persian Gulf. -RFE/RL 11/8/19

Is France Moving Against The MEK?

On October 30, a volley of tweets attributed to Alexis Kohler, chief of staff of the French President Emmanuel Macron, announced that France, taking into account the "negative consequences" of the presence of the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) on the French soil, will restrict its activities in the country. On November 5, however, the Elysee Palace disowned the tweets as fake, and the Twitter handle supposedly belonging to Kohler was suspended. -Eldar Mamedov 11/7/19

Report: Iran's 'Effective' Power In Middle East Growing

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says Iran has built a network of nonstate alliances across the Middle East over the past 40 years that has allowed it to turn the balance of "effective" power in the region "in its favor." -RFE/RL 11/7/19

Iran Stepping Back From Nuclear Deal With Increased Fordow Activity

Iranian media reported Wednesday that Iran has put a container containing 2,000 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride in its Fordow nuclear facility in order to begin injecting uranium gas into centrifuges. Rouhani said in a televised address Tuesday that all the steps Iran has taken so far are reversible if the other parties to the nuclear deal uphold their commitments to provide Iran with relief from economic sanctions. -VOA 11/6/19

Kuwait says conveyed Iran's messages to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain

Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah said on Tuesday that his country conveyed messages from Iran to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain regarding the situation in the Persian Gulf region, and "until now no answers have emerged", Reuters reported on Tuesday. 11/6/19

Iran nuclear commitment cuts: Gas injection to start at Fordow plant

President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will start injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment facility on Wednesday, in the latest step the country is taking away from a 2015 multinational nuclear deal in response to the United States' withdrawal. -Press TV 11/5/19

Shirin Neshat: a stare that challenges us to look away

Shirin Neshat confronts certain views of Islam with her Women of Allah series. As it goes on show in LA, Kelly Grovier takes a look at the Iranian artist's arresting images. -Kelly Grovier, BBC 11/5/19

Public Opinion, Foreign Policy And The Perpetual War: Some Bitter Realities

Many years ago, when I was being interviewed at the Immigration & Naturalization office for my application for citizenship, the young officer started asking me some patent questions: What are the colors in the American flag; How many States in the Union; etc. Finally, she asked me what I thought the most important advantage of becoming a citizen would be. The answer I gave, which I knew she expected, was having the right or the privilege to vote. -Kambiz Zarrabi 11/4/19

World Judo Federation Bans Iran Over Refusal To Face Israel

Iran has been banned from international judo competitions indefinitely over the country's refusal to face Israeli competitors. The International Judo Federation (IJF) issued a temporary ban last month while investigating a report that Iran had ordered a judoka to deliberately throw a match at the world championships to avoid facing an Israeli competitor in the following round. -RFE/RL 10/23/19

The screening of 'COUP 53' in Manhattan

After ten protracted, nonetheless, scrupulous years of research and interviews, and arduous scripts writing and productions, COUP 53, the historical two hour chilling thriller documentary of the British MI6 and the American CIA's bloody covert actions against IRAN, which led to the overthrow of the first and perhaps the last ever democratically elected prime minster Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh, went on SVA Theatre silver screen in Manhattan on October 18. -Davood N. Rahni 10/22/19

Photos: The Epic Of Arbaeen in Karbala

Huge processions have been held in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala as millions of mourners commemorated Arbaeen, the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam, in the Battle of Karbala (in the year 61 AD). Photos showed tens of thousands of pilgrims descending upon the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala as Araba'een culminated on Saturday. 10/20/19

UAE Seeks To Reduce Tensions With Iran, Say Media Reports

As mediation efforts are under way to reduce tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia amid an escalation caused by the attacks on the Aramco oil facilities, there are indications that the United Arab Emirates has started to improve its ties with Iran. -Radio Farda 10/20/19

Trying To Exploit Iran's Diverse Ethnic Population To Advance A War Agenda

On September 25, during the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)-a pro-Israel, anti-Iran lobby group-held a "summit" in New York that was attended by, among others, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, and Sigal Mandelker, the outgoing Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, as well as diplomats from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. As usual, tough rhetoric was uttered by all the speakers, and threats were made. -Muhammad Sahimi 10/17/19

Pakistan: Threat of Saudi-Iran War Subsiding Due to Diplomacy by Islamabad

Pakistan said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and Iran have both shown a willingness to settle mutual disputes through diplomacy and negotiations, reducing chances of an immediate war in the Persian Gulf. The development stemmed from Islamabad's diplomatic initiative aiming to defuse Tehran's escalating tensions with Riyadh and "facilitate" possible talks between the two rivals, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters. -Ayaz Gul, VOA 10/17/19

Bahrain defeats Iran 1-0 in FIFA World Cup qualifier

Iran suffered a 1-0 loss against Bahrain at matchday 4 of Asia's Round 2 qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar in Group C on Tuesday. Uzbekistani referee Valentin Kovalenko awarded a penalty stroke to Bahrain in the 65th minute which Mohamed Al Hardan coolly slotted home at Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa. 10/16/19

Pakistani PM Imran Khan in Tehran, says held 'constructive' talks

Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan will do its utmost to enable talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia as he arrived in Tehran for talks with Iranian officials. "Pakistan does not want conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia...I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh...I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president," he said at a joint news conference with Hassan Rouhani. -Press TV 10/13/19

Putin Heads to Saudi Arabia, Offers Himself as Peacemaker

Russian leader Vladimir Putin travels to Saudi Arabia, a traditional U.S. ally, Monday, offering to act as a peacemaker between Riyadh and Tehran in a diplomatic offensive aimed at balancing Moscow's relations across the Middle East. 10/13/19

Iran, Caspian Sea littoral states ink military cooperation agreement

Iran and other Caspian Sea littoral states have inked a joint military agreement covering cooperation in such areas as security, training, technical work and search and rescue operations. Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi signed the agreement in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg along with his Russian, Azerbaijani, Kazakh and Turkmen counterparts on Friday. -Press TV 10/11/19

Europe Is Not Bowing To The U.S. On Iran

Following the (still unexplained) September 14 strikes on two Saudi oil facilities, there is a growing perception-expressed with hope by some, dismay by others-that Europe is moving closer to the United States in its assessment of the Iranian threat. The reality, however, may be more complex. -Eldar Mamedov 10/10/19

Persian Gulf Arab States Should Accept Iran's Olive Branch

Despite setbacks at the international level to defuse Iran's tensions with the U.S., a number of activities have recently happened at the regional level that might indicate a possible thaw in Iran's relations with Saudi Arabia, and therefore with other Gulf Arab states. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 10/7/19

Russian Journalist Detained In Tehran, Accused Of Spying For Israel

Russian journalist Yulia Yuzik has been detained in Iran, her relatives, colleagues, and an official at the Russian Embassy in Tehran say. The embassy's spokesman, Andrei Ganenko, told Interfax news agency on October 4 that Russian diplomats were aware of the situation and were working on obtaining more information. He did not provide any details. 10/4/19

President Rohani: Iran Backs European Plan To Bolster Nuclear Deal

Rohani said on October 2 that the plan put forward by French President Emmanuel Macron includes preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, securing its support for regional peace, lifting U.S. sanctions, and the immediate resumption of Iranian oil exports. "We agree with the general framework by the Europeans," he said. -RFE//RL 10/3/19

Iran Says It Foiled 'Plot' To Kill Elite Force Commander Qassem Soleimani

A senior Iranian official says Tehran has foiled a plot by Israeli and Arab agencies to assassinate Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). -RFE/RL 10/3/19

President Rouhani Says An Agreement Was Made In NY Involving Iran And The U.S.

Defending his achievements during the United Nations General Assembly, the Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani claimed on Monday that the remaining signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal, "had discussions within the framework of the P4+1, and preparations for a P5+1 meeting were made, which had been agreed upon by all parties." Mentioning "all parties" would mean the United States was also involved in the agreement Rouhani spoke about. 10/1/19

Turkey's Erdogan Defies Trump Over Iran Sanctions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday continued to chart a collision course with Washington over Iran. Erdogan is categorically ruling out enforcing American sanctions intended to put Iran in an economic straitjacket. -Dorian Jones, VOA 9/28/19

Word Leaders Call For Meeting Between Trump, Iran's Rohani

Britain, France, Germany, and Japan have tried to get the leaders of the United States and Iran to revive diplomacy while attending the annual UN General Assembly in New York this week. French President Emmanuel Macron said on September 24 it would be "a lost opportunity" if Iranian President Hassan Rohani left the United States without meeting with Trump. -RFE/RL 9/25/19

The indispensable mediator: Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute

Tensions between Iran and the United States have risen to a dangerous new level. Recent attacks on Saudi Arabia - which the US blames on Tehran - severely disrupted global oil supplies, prompting President Donald Trump to consider tapping into US strategic reserves and, once again, threaten military action against Iran. Yet the events of recent months only hint at how bad things could become. -Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR 9/24/19

Iran volleyball crowned Asia's champions

Iran overpowered Australia in straight sets (25-14, 25-17, 25-21) in the 2019 Asian Men's Volleyball Championship at the 12,000-seater Azadi Sports Complex here on Saturday. Team Melli win Asian Men's Volleyball Championship for the third time, as the Persian had already won the title in 2011 and 2013. 9/23/19

2 U.S. Senators Warn Trump Against Nuclear Deal With Saudis

Two U.S. senators are warning the Trump administration against a nuclear cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia, fearing it could set off a nuclear arms race in the volatile Middle East. "Sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, especially without adequate safeguards, will give Riyadh the tools it needs to turn the crown prince's nuclear weapons vision into reality," Democratic senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. -VOA 9/19/19

Realism must prevail on all sides to deescalate the tensions after total failure of U.S. "maximum pressure" policy on Iran: Scholar

As we see the total failure of the "maximum pressure" policy, and as we have been reminded of some of the possible consequences of a war between Iran and other regional states, it is more urgent than ever for realism to prevail on all sides and to deescalate the tension. The United States should lift the sanctions and should return to the JCPOA. Regional countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, should realise that they will not gain anything by intensifying hostilities 9/18/19

Iran Judo Federation suspended By The International Judo Federation

Following what happened during the last World Judo Championships Tokyo 2019, the International Judo Federation suspended Iran Judo Federation from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by International Judo Federation and its Unions. 9/18/19

Stoking Middle East Conflicts Has Just Become More Damaging

Within hours of the attack on Abqaiq, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacted the way he always reacts to any bit of trouble in the Middle East, which is to place complete, unequivocal blame on Iran. "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," he declared-an interesting statement in that it evidently counted neither the Houthis' rapid claim of responsibility nor their ongoing efforts to retaliate against the Saudis as "evidence," especially in light of Pompeo providing no evidence for his assertion about Iran. -Paul Pillar 9/17/19

Iranian, Russian and Turkish Presidents Focus on Unity in Efforts to End Syrian War

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Ankara Monday in the latest trilateral summit to resolve the Syrian civil war. Launched in 2017 in the capital of Kazakhstan and known as the Astana peace process, summit leaders Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin focused on cooperation, despite profound differences on the future of Idlib, the last enclave of Syrian rebels. -Dorian Jones, VOA 9/17/19

PHILANTHROPY: Founder of Iranian charity Mahak receives Muslim World Rania Award 2019

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) granted the Muslim World Rania Award to Saeedeh Ghods, the founder of MAHAK, a charity society dedicated to treating pediatric cancer in Iran, the public relations department of MAHAK reported. 9/17/19

Turkey's Erdogan Hosts Russia's Putin and Iran's Rohani To Discuss Syrian War

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hosting his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Ankara on September 16 for their latest meeting on Syria. Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, and Hassan Rohani are expected to focus on the Syrian government's advance on the last rebel-held stronghold of Idlib in the country's northwest, where a cease-fire went into effect at the end of last month, following a four-month offensive by government forces. -RFE/RL 9/16/19

Trump Says 'Iranian Leadership Wants To Meet'

President Donald Trump has once again signaled that a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani in September is a possibility. He told reporters on September 12 that Iran's leadership wants to meet. "I can tell you that Iran wants to meet," he told reporters at the White House. -Radio Farda 9/13/19

Is Iran At Risk Of Becoming A Chinese Colony?

According to an article in the Petroleum Economist, during Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's visit to China in late August, Tehran and Beijing updated an agreement they had reached in 2016 called the China-Iran Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and added new items to it. Most of these new points have not been publicly released. -Shireen T. Hunter 9/12/19

Trump Makes The Right Call: Bolton Out

The single biggest factor in getting Bolton the job was Sheldon Adelson, whose weighty political checkbook has won him much influence over Trump's policies. The policies that by far have mattered most to Adelson are any that deal with Israel or are important to the right-wing government of Israel. Adelson and Bolton both have openly advocated bombing Iran, which is music to the ears of the ultra-hardline policy toward Iran favored by Benjamin Netanyahu's government. -Paul Pillar 9/11/19

U.S. 'Warmongers' Should Go, Iran Says After Bolton Firing

Iran has urged the United States to "put warmongers aside" following the departure of hard-line U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton, amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran in the wake of the unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on September 11, President Hassan Rohani said the United States "must understand that bellicosity and warmongering don't work in their favor. Both...must be abandoned." -RFE/RL 9/11/19

Iraq's Al-Sadr In Iran Meets Khamenei

Iraqi Shiite politician Muqtada al-Sadr was in Iran and met Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei during the religious Ashura mourning gathering on September 10. It is not clear if he is still in the country. Official photos released show the maverick cleric sitting next to Khamenei, flanked by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Qods force commander Qassem Soleimani. -Radio Farda 9/11/19

Is an American-Iranian Dialogue Coming?

When it comes to the clash between the Trump Administration and the Iranian government, three days can seem like a lifetime. This point was displayed by the sequence of events that began with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's August 25 visit to the G-7 meeting in Biarritz, France at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. -Daniel Brumberg, Arab Center 9/10/19

IAEA confirms Iran's installation of advanced centrifuges

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran is installing advanced centrifuges after warning signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal that the clock is ticking for them to salvage the accord. In a statement issued on Monday, the United Nations nuclear agency said it has "verified that the following centrifuges were either installed or being installed...: 22 IR-4, one IR-5, 30 IR-6 and three IR-6s". -Press TV 9/9/19

The Stubborn Persistence Of Failed Maximum Pressure Against Iran

It is a sure sign that the Trump administration's campaign to squeeze Iran into submission is a failure when those who customarily favor pressuring Iran acknowledge that failure. Take what has become the administration's go-to rationale for the campaign in the face of other evidence that it is not working: the claim that U.S. sanctions have undercut Iran's "malign" activity in the Middle East by reducing the funds available for such activity. -Paul Pillar 9/4/19

EU Backs U.S.-Iran Talks, but Experts Call Them Unlikely

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini on Thursday said the bloc would support talks between the United States and Iran, as long as the current nuclear deal with Tehran was preserved. "We are always in favor of talks," Mogherini said before entering an informal meeting of European Union ministers in Helsinki. "The more people talk, the more people understand each other better, on the basis of clarity and on the basis of respect." -Valeria Jegisman, Danila Galperovich, VOA 8/30/19

Israel Uses Its Firepower, Far And Wide

Israel recently has been expanding its military attacks across much of the Middle East, hitting multiple countries. The aggressive campaign far outpaces anything any adversaries of Israel have been doing to it, or even trying unsuccessfully to do to it. -Paul R. Pillar 8/28/19

Iran's President Rohani Says No Talks With U.S. Unless Sanctions Lifted First

Iran won't talk to the United States unless it lifts all the sanctions Washington has imposed on Tehran, President Hassan Rohani has said, after President Donald Trump said he was open to meeting him under the "right" circumstances. In an August 27 speech broadcast live on state television, Rohani said that Iran is ready to hold talks, "but first the U.S. should act by lifting all illegal, unjust, and unfair sanctions imposed on Iran." 8/27/19

Trump Says US Not Interested in Iran Regime Change

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's visit to the French city hosting the G-7 summit of world leaders was not a surprise to President Donald Trump, the U.S. leader said Monday. Trump told reporters in Biarritz as he began a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi that he respected that Zarif came to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and others. -VOA 8/26/19

Either security for everybody or insecurity for everybody, Iranian FM warns

The top Iranian diplomat says "security is a common global commodity," that either exists for everybody or no one. Speaking at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) during a visit to Sweden, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments Wednesday amid the US military presence in the Persian Gulf. -Press TV 8/21/19

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