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No outright denial from Iran on Omani mediation with United States

- Iran neither rejected nor confirmed on Monday that Oman had acted as a go-between to pass messages between Tehran and Washington while highlighting "ongoing consultation" with the Arab sultanate. "There is ongoing consultation (between the two countries) and the visit of Oman's foreign minister to Tehran was part of bilateral and regional affairs," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told a press conference in Tehran on Monday. - 7/25/17

Russian, Kazakh, Iranian Warships In Baku For Caspian Competition

- BAKU -- Russian, Kazakh, and Iranian naval vessels are in Baku ahead of a four-nation "competition" that is to be held off Azerbaijan's coast in the Caspian Sea from August 1-11. - 7/25/17

Iran, Afghanistan to link railway networks

- Iran and Afghanistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Sunday for implementing a project linking rail networks of the two neighboring countries. The MOU, between Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (IRIR), also known as RAI, and Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA), was signed by IRIR's Managing Director Saeed Mohammadzadeh and Afghanistan Railway Authority's Director General Mohammad Yamma Shams during a meeting at IRIR's building in Tehran. - 7/24/17

Photos: Iran launches mass-production line for Sayyad-3 missiles

- Designed and constructed by the scientists and experts of Aerospace Industry at the Ministry of Defense, Sayyad-3 Missile production line was launched on Saturday morning while a number of missiles were delivered to Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base. Dhghan said Sayyad-3 high-altitude air-defense missile has been designed with a range of 120 km and a 27-km flight altitude against airborne threats at medium and long range. - 7/23/17

Iran, Iraq sign MoU to boost defense and military cooperation

- Iran and Iraq have signed a memorandum of understanding to boost defense and military cooperation in a variety of fields. The agreement was inked by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and his Iraqi counterpart, Erfan al-Hiyali, in Tehran on Sunday. - 7/23/17

U.S. Lawmakers Reportedly Agree On Sanctions For Russia, Iran, North Korea

- U.S. lawmakers say they have reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill that would bring new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The new sanctions package in the agreed-to legislation would impose mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic-missile program and any person or entity that does business with them. The measure would also apply "terrorism sanctions" to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and put in force an arms embargo. - 7/23/17

Iran and the Collision between Trump and Reality

- Donald Trump's disdain for the truth does not prevent reality from repeatedly bumping up against his policies, the most consistent theme of which has been to try to destroy his predecessor's accomplishments. The degree to which reality inconveniences Trump-and more importantly, how much Trump's efforts to shove reality aside damage U.S. interests-varies from issue to issue. -Paul Pillar - 7/21/17

Hacked Emails Reveal Close Ties Between UAE and Anti-Iran/Qatar Advocacy Groups

- Emails allegedly originating from the hacked email account of United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al-Otaiba and sent to LobeLog by "GlobalLeaks" appear to show a close relationship between UANI and CEP principals and the UAE government, raising questions about possible UAE funding of the U.S. based groups, both of which engaged in lobbying and public diplomacy campaigns. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/21/17

Iran nuclear deal outcome of collective global cooperation: EU Foreign Policy Chief

- The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says the "strong" nuclear deal struck in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 states is the outcome of "collective cooperation," emphasizing that the landmark accord does not just belong to the signatories but the entire global community. - 7/20/17

Iranian Guards Warn U.S. To Move Gulf Bases, Avoid 'Miscalculations'

- The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on July 19 warned Washington to move its bases in the Persian Gulf region and avoid "miscalculations" over new sanctions against Tehran, Iranian news agencies reported. - 7/20/17

Donald Trump's Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East

- The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump's first days in office, news of the damage to America's international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power for the past 70 years and set out to topple each of them in turn. -Alfred W. McCoy, LobeLog - 7/20/17

NIAC Action Statement on Congress Rejecting Amendments to Bar Muslim-ban Funding

- "We applaud Representatives Mark Pocan and Barbara Lee for leading the charge against the Trump administration's Muslim ban. By offering amendments to defund elements of the ban, Representatives Pocan and Senator Lee demonstrated real leadership in attempting to put an end to Congressional inaction and forego the need for further judicial intervention regarding the Muslim ban. The Pocan amendment, which came to a vote, was unfortunately defeated on a largely party line vote." - 7/19/17

Why is CIA Director Weighing in With Policy Advice on Iran?

- I found it passing strange that Trump used all but an hour to keep saying that he didn't want to approve the certification. After all, such a conversation would become mighty trying for all parties (except the principal), something similar to persuading a really stubborn four-year-old he had to go to the dentist because he would otherwise lose his teeth. And it was very difficult to imagine that Trump was, by himself, making substantive or even political arguments as to why he shouldn't certify that Iran was complying with the JCPOA in the absence of any real evidence that it wasn't. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/19/17

Iran's Foreign Minister Warns Donald Trump That Tehran Can Abandon the Nuclear Deal

- Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest, spoke with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister in an interview in New York on Monday, July 17, 2017. The following is a lightly edited transcript. - 7/18/17

Iran Navy rejects US claim of shining laser at US chopper over Strait of Hormuz

- Iran has dismissed a recent accusation by US Navy that an Iranian patrol boat had shined laser at an American helicopter flying over the Strait of Hormuz. Back in June, US Navy Commander Bill Urban claimed that the Iranian vessel recently turned its spotlight on two American ships, the USS Cole and USS Bataan, which were moving through the strait. - 7/17/17

We Shouldn't Defend the JCPOA at the Expense of the Iran Deal

- On the two-year anniversary of the agreement, U.S. supporters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including many former Obama administration officials, are admirably working to defend the deal through media appearances and coordinated statements. Their message that "diplomacy works" is an important one at a time when America's global leadership seems in doubt. However, the rhetoric in Washington defending the JPCOA remains problematic, because it pursues the preservation of the deal in a way that undermines the unfolding detente between Iran and the international community. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 7/16/17

Responding to the Cotton Letter

- Four GOP senators wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week urging him not to certify that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has been one of the most vocal opponent of the agreement. The other signatories are Ted Cruz (R-TX), David Perdue (R-GA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). These talking points come from Diplomacy Works, an organization devoted to a diplomacy-first approach to foreign policy -LobeLog - 7/16/17

U.S. Federal Court Rules Against Trump Restrictions On Travelers With U.S. Relatives

- A U.S. judge has ruled against the Trump administration's restrictions on refugees and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries who have American relatives. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu said late on July 13 that people with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other American relatives currently barred by the administration should be allowed into the country. - 7/14/17

Trump Administration Expected To Certify Iran Still Complying With Nuclear Deal

- U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is expected to certify next week that Iran is still adhering to its nuclear agreement with world powers, despite Trump's criticism of the deal, U.S. media report. The State Department is required to notify Congress by July 17 whether Iran continues to comply with the 2015 deal, which requires Tehran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. - 7/14/17

A Delusional James Mattis: Iran commander slams US regime change 'dream'

- A senior Iranian commander has dismissed the Pentagon chief's call for regime change in the Islamic Republic as a "ridiculous dream", saying Iran would respond to US officials' nonsensical talks. James Mattis on Monday described Iran "the most destabilizing influence in the Middle East", saying a regime change would be necessary before the US and Iran could have substantially positive relations. - 7/14/17

Japanese, Korean firms to fund "Octopus of the Persian Gulf"

- A consortium of South Korean and Japanese companies has signed agreements to fund and implement a chain of condensate refining projects in southern Iran - a project known as the Octopus of the Persian Gulf. The agreements were signed between South Korea's Daelim and Hyundai as well as Japan's Chioda - all partners in the project to construct Siraf refineries in Iran's southern province of Bushehr. - 7/14/17

New Details on the 1953 Coup in Iran

- In June, the State Department's historical office finally released a new collection of documents on the US role in the August 1953 coup in Iran, after years of delay. These documents provide interesting new details about the circumstances surrounding the coup, in which a team of CIA officers worked with certain Iranians to overthrow Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, and install retired general Fazlollah Zahedi in his place, establishing a dictatorship that lasted for 25 years. -Mark Gasiorowski - 7/13/17

Retired Flag Officers Warn Against Regime Change and "Aggressive Posturing" Toward Iran

- An open letter to President Trump from 38 retired generals and admirals and warning against policies of "regime change" and "aggressive posturing" toward Iran has just been released amid growing concerns that Washington and Tehran could be sliding into a war. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/13/17

Why Iran Will Not Go the Way of the USSR

- Since the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991, articles have appeared in the West arguing that, sooner or later, Iran's ethnic and linguistic diversity will lead it to go the way of the USSR and dissolve into several states. Moreover, subscribers to this theory believe that the United States should encourage such a disintegrative process by further isolating Iran economically and politically, while also supporting its separatist elements. -Shireen T. Hunter - 7/12/17

Yikes, Mattis Still Has It in for Iran!

- Secretary of Defense James Mattis remains as hostile as ever towards the Islamic Republic of Iran, as he recently made clear in remarks to The Islander, the newspaper of Mercer Island High School. The Pentagon chief, often referred to as one of the few "adults in the room" that presumably makes up the national-security contingent of the Trump administration, gave an extended interview to senior Teddy Fischer, which the Seattle-area school paper published in full on its website. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/12/17

U.S. Hands Off Iran

- I just travelled to Iran where was I was invited to speak at the University of Tehran about human rights and "humanitarian intervention." I put this term in quotes because I've rarely ever seen any intervention that was truly humanitarian or that produced humane results, but more on that later. Before I traveled to Iran, a number of friends and family members expressed shock that I would go there, feared for my safety and well-being, with some urging me not to go at all... -Dan Kovalik, Huffington Post - 7/12/17

On Iran, Canada Should Pick Up Where Obama Left Off

- As the two-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal approaches, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has an opportunity to put his government's new approach to foreign policy into effect by expressing support for the historic agreement reached between world powers and Iran, particularly as uncertainty increases surrounding the Trump administration's support for the deal. -Navid Hassibi, LobeLog - 7/12/17

International firms negotiate $200B of oil deals in Iran

- Asian and European companies are negotiating participation in Iran's oil and gas development projects which need $200 billion worth of investment, according to Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh. Iran looks to absorb 65% to 70% of this sum from abroad, the minister told Iran's Parliament where he was Tuesday to answer questions about a $5 billion gas deal signed with French giant Total earlier this month. - 7/12/17

Did Trump Just Violate the Iran Deal?

- One of those achievements (of Donald Trump), Sanders said was that "In his discussions with more than a dozen foreign leaders, he underscored the need for nations to join together to strip terrorists of their funding, territory and ideological support--and to stop doing business with nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran." -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 7/12/17

IRGC's General Soleimani: Daesh defeat in Mosul victory for whole world

- Iran's Major General Qassem Soleimani has hailed Iraq's defeating of Daesh in Mosul as a major victory in the battle against terrorism. The commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) made the remark during a ceremony on Monday. He went on to note that Daesh is one of the most dangerous entities which the world has ever faced. - 7/11/17

Iran's Kish tropical island to launch giant winter recreation hub

- Kish Free Zone Organization has started construction of a massive winter recreation center in a bid to lure more domestic and foreign travelers to the southern Iranian island, yet expand its tourism infrastructure with a regional outlook. - 7/11/17

How Do You Measure Commitment To The Iran Nuclear Deal?

- As the two-year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) approaches, uncertainty over the Trump administration's commitment to the Iran nuclear deal is growing, heightening the tensions in the Middle East. At a Senate hearing on June 13, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson remarked that although Iran was complying with the JCPOA, the bar for Iranian compliance was "pretty low." - Arvand Mirsafian, Huffington Post - 7/11/17

Iran Plans First Oil-And-Gas Tenders After Sanctions Easing

- The Iranian government is planning to announce tenders for the exploration of 14 oil-and-gas blocks over the next three months, a top executive at Iran's NIOC state oil company has said. NIOC Deputy Director Rahim Nematollahi told Reuters in Istanbul on July 10 that the tenders would be offered for joint exploration together with NIOC. - 7/10/17

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My...? The Saudi-American-Iranian-Russian-Qatari-Syrian conundrum

- The Middle East. Could there be a more perilous place on Earth, including North Korea? Not likely. The planet's two leading nuclear-armed powers backing battling proxies amply supplied with conventional weapons; terror groups splitting and spreading; religious-sectarian wars threatening amid a plethora of ongoing armed hostilities stretching from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. And that was before Donald Trump and his team arrived on this chaotic scene. -Dilip Hiro, Bill Moyers - 7/10/17

Poll: Negative Campaign Against Arabs and Muslims Has Consequences

- While, as president, Donald Trump has worked to cultivate a relationship with Arab leaders, the antipathy towards Arabs and Muslims that he and his party have cultivated in recent years continues to have a worrisome impact on American public opinion and policy. Recent polling conducted three weeks after Trump's summits in Saudi Arabia, establishes the persistence of a deep and disturbing partisan divide in American attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims. - James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 7/10/17

It's Time for Washington and Riyadh to Defuse the War Hysteria

- The ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the devastating Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, the bellicose rhetoric towards Iran, the fracturing of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the regional involvement in the bloody Syrian civil war, are all increasing the probability of regional war. This conflict may pit Gulf Sunni states against each other, or Saudi Arabia and the United States against Iran. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 7/9/17

Iran Fully Backs United Nations Treaty Banning Nuclear Arms

- Reza Najafi, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Saturday that Iran as a victim of weapons of mass destruction fully supports the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons. The remarks by Ambassador Najafi came after the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was signed at a UN conference in New York on Friday. - 7/8/17

Erik Prince to Prince bin Zayed: The Private Military Connection

- In 2014, retired Gen. James Mattis, now secretary of defense, reportedly referred to the United Arab Emirates as "Little Sparta." He was favorably comparing the UAE to the historic Greek city-state, known for its military prowess, especially against the Persians during the Greco-Persian Wars. Mattis presumably did so not only because of a strong politico-military alliance between the United States and the UAE, but also because the UAE has for years been working on strengthening its military capabilities. -David Isenberg, LobeLog - 7/8/17

Iran fails to advance to World Polo Championship 2017

- Iran came third at the World Polo Championship 2017 qualifiers which took place in Tehran's Kanoon Chogan, Qasr Firoozeh & the Army Polo Club. India defeated Pakistan 8-7 and booked a place in the competition as champion. India came first, followed by Pakistan, Iran and South Africa. - 7/8/17

U.S.-Russian Cease-Fire Deal Touted As Start Of Syrian Peace Efforts

- The United States and Russia have announced a cease-fire deal in southwestern Syria in their first attempt at peacemaking in the war-torn country since President Donald Trump took office. The cease-fire, due to start on July 9, was announced after a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7 at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. - 7/8/17

Afghans Stage Rare Anti-Iran Rally, Denounce Iran's President Rouhani

- Residents and civil society activists staged a protest Friday in southern Afghanistan to denounce neighboring Iran's President Hassan Rouhani for criticizing Afghan water management and dam projects. Hundreds of demonstrators peacefully marched through the streets of Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province near the Iranian border. They chanted, "Death to Hassan Rouhani" and "Death to enemies of Afghanistan." -Ayaz Gul, VOA - 7/8/17

The Foolishness of Regime-Change Fantasies

- Stop me if you've heard this one before. There's an out-of-control regime run by a madman halfway around the world, and if the U.S. government doesn't topple it ASAP, a lot of people are going to die. The United States has tried its hand a lot at regime change. By one count, the US tried to overthrow 72 different governments during the Cold War alone-and that's before the most recent misadventures in Iraq and Libya. It's not exactly a track record of success: the United States failed most of the time to accomplish the fundamental goal of toppling the target. And a quick glance at Iraq is enough to remind you that even when America "succeeds," it often really fails. -Stephen Miles - 7/7/17

New Neocon Mantra: Iran, like Soviet Union, on Verge of Collapse

- Iran hawks suddenly have a new mantra: the Islamic Republic is the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, and the Trump administration should work to hasten the regime's impending collapse. It's not clear why this comparison has surfaced so abruptly. Its proponents don't cite any tangible or concrete evidence that the regime in Tehran is somehow on its last legs. But I'm guessing that months of internal policy debate on Iran has finally reached the top echelons in the policy-making chaos that is the White House these days. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/7/17

Iran Arrests Alleged ISIS Terrorists

- Iranian judicial officials say security forces have arrested 21 alleged Islamic State (IS) extremists in the northeastern city of Mashhad. Mashhad's Deputy Prosecutor-General Hassan Heidari says some of those arrested are Iranians and others are Afghans who entered Iran with "fake documents." - 7/7/17

Book Review: Losing an Enemy

- Trita Parsi has written a great book about what remains the most outstanding diplomatic feat of the 21st century. It is the first work to describe in detail the whole course of the extraordinarily complex international negotiation that led to the conclusion in Vienna on July 14, 2015 of the now famous Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA-the arrangement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, UK, US), plus Germany to cap Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. -Francois Nicoulaud - 7/6/17

Congress Targets Iran

- LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman, previously of Americans for Peace Now and now the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. These weekly round-ups cover what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran -Lara Friedman, LobeLog - 7/6/17

Russia, Turkey, Iran Fail To Agree On Details Of Syria De-Escalation Zones

- Diplomats from Russia, Iran, and Turkey have failed to reach agreement on final details regarding so-called "de-escalation zones" in parts of war-torn Syria. However, Moscow's chief negotiator at a fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana said on July 5 that the basic framework had been "essentially agreed." - 7/6/17

Iranians To Take Part In Hajj Despite Tensions With Saudi Arabia

- Iran says its citizens will be able to take part in this year's hajj pilgrimage despite continued tensions with regional rival Saudi Arabia. Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Ali Qaziaskar, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ai Khamenei, as saying on July 5 that the National Security Council approved last month a decision to allow Iranian citizens to take part in the pilgrimage. - 7/6/17

International event issues Tehran Declaration, vows to fight dust storms

- Ministers and high-level representatives participating in the UN-backed International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran (July 3-5) wrapped up the second day with the Tehran Ministerial Declaration, agreeing to "cooperate on combating SDS at sub-regional regional, and international levels." - 7/5/17

New Revelations of the U.S. involvement in 1953 Coup in Iran

- The State Department has finally released a much-awaited volume of internal documents from 1951 to 1954, the period during which Mohammad Mossadeq was president of Iran. The department is obliged to publish 30-year-old documents in its annual series entitled Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). -Ervand Abrahamian - 7/4/17

Kurds Accuse Iran of Cross-border Shelling in Northern Iraq

- Iranian artillery bombed Kurdish militants in northern Iraq on Monday, injuring at least three people and forcing hundreds to flee their homes, Kurdish officials told VOA. The cross-border shelling in Iraqi Kurdistan's Haji Omaran region targeted positions of Iranian Kurdish rebel groups Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) and Komala, Kurdish officials said. -Rikar Hussein, VOA - 7/4/17

Iran's President Rouani: Environmental issues are 'extra-national, extra-regional'

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Monday that environmental issues are "extra-national and extra-regional challenges", noting regional wars have caused environmental problems. "The only way to live peacefully in the West Asia and Middle East region is adopting a win-win policy in the area of environment, helping and standing beside each other," Rohani said during an opening speech at the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran. - 7/4/17

Fifth Round Of Syria Peace Talks Under Way In Astana

- Diplomats from Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the United States have begun a fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana with the Syrian government and representatives of some Syrian opposition groups. - 7/4/17

Can Iran lead a global fight against dust storms?

- In the last two years, the UN passed four resolutions on sand and dust storms in an attempt to facilitate a global political will to tackle this pressing environmental problem. Now an international conference hosted by Iran and UN has brought together leaders and experts from 34 countries to discuss ways to combat dust storms and form partnerships to take action. -Ali Mirchi and Kaveh Madani - 7/3/17

France's Total seals Iran's biggest gas deal in years

- French energy giant Total signed a multi-billion-dollar gas deal with Iran, the first by a foreign firm in more than a decade. Total's CEO Patrick Pouyanne and Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namadar Zanganeh signed the 20-year deal, which would eventually see the consortium pour $4.8 billion into the project. - 7/3/17

Iranian FM decries France green light to activities of MKO terrorist

- The Iranian foreign minister expressed regret that some "reactionary regimes in the region are once again capitalizing on this group as they did so in the past." Zarif added that the Islamic Republic is aware that Saudi Arabia has been colluding with the MKO and providing it with financial support since the Iraqi imposed war on Iran in the 1980s. - 7/3/17

Iranian President Criticizes Turkey's Dam Projects

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized major dam projects by Turkey on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Rohani is demanding that Turkey halt construction of both dams, saying that they were "dangerous" for the entire Middle East. Rohani made the comments during a conference on sandstorms in Tehran on July 3. - 7/3/17

Foreign Minister Zarif Says Trump Travel Ban Shows 'Blind Hostility' Toward Iranians

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on June 30 that the new U.S. ban on travelers from six Muslim countries shows "blind hostility" toward Iranians. "U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians," Zarif tweeted. Many Iranian-Americans are posting tweets under the hashtag #GrandparentsNotTerrorists to voice their opposition. - 7/1/17

The Real Security Threats on Iran's Periphery

- Pressure has once again become the name of the game in regards to U.S. policy on Iran. The Senate has passed sweeping new sanctions, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declared that the U.S. will "counter Iran's aspiration of hegemony" and work towards a "peaceful transition" of the Iranian government. As U.S.-Iran tensions increase in eastern Syria, murmurs are growing of a potential disastrous war on the horizon. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian - 7/1/17

After Attack on IS, Iran Proposes Expanding Missile Program

- Iran's parliament is considering a proposal to spend nearly $550 million to bolster security and expand the country's missile program. The proposal follows an Iranian rocket strike on Islamic State in Syria that analysts called retaliation for twin terror attacks in Tehran and a warning to regional rivals. -Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 7/1/17

Iranian Missile Launch Shows Israeli Deterrence Is Working

- An extraordinary strategic event took place last week in the Middle East, when Iran launched surface-to-surface missiles against targets in Syria. This was the first-ever missile strike directed by Iran at a country bordering on Israel. Amazingly, all hell didn't break loose. What happened? How did Israel view the launch of the missiles? Did it grasp its full implications? How did it respond to this dramatic turn of events? Let us try to find out. -Shemuel Meir, LobeLog - 7/1/17

Iran Complying with Nuclear Deal: United Nations

- Briefing the Security Council today, the United Nations political chief called on the participants of the plan of action on Iran's nuclear programme as well as the wider international community to continue to support the full and effective implementation of the agreement. "The Secretary-General believes that the comprehensive and sustained implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will guarantee that Iran's nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful, while allowing for transparency, monitoring and verification," said Jeffery Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. - 6/30/17

Iranian FM Zarif meets French President Macron, submits Rouhani's message

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who was on a five-day trip to Europe met Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron among other top officials from the two countries. Zarif held talks with Macron in Elysee Palace on Friday and submitted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's written message to him. - 6/30/17

Qatar Looks to Iran and Iraq

- For decades, Qatar has carefully navigated the geopolitical dynamics shaping relations among its three larger neighbors: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. Qataris have usually perceived one of these three Persian Gulf powers as the primary threat and responded by growing closer to the other two. -Giorgio Cafiero and Theodore Karasik, LobeLog - 6/30/17

Saudi Arabia releases 7 Iranian fishermen

- Saudi Arabia has released seven Iranian fishermen, Iran's Arabic-language television network Al Alam reported on Thursday, giving hope for the release of at least ten more inmates in the country. The report said the fishermen had been handed over to Iran. - 6/30/17

The Growing Danger of War With Iran

- A combination of circumstances has increased the risk that armed conflict will break out between the United States and Iran. Such a war is no certainty, but the chance that one will occur is greater today than it has been in years. Some of the relevant circumstances, such as the first two mentioned below, have been around in some form for a substantial amount of time, while others are more recent. -Paul Pillar - 6/29/17

U.S. To Only Allow 'Close Relatives' From Six Nations Under Travel Ban To Visit

- The U.S administration has set new rules for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim countries and all refugees, requiring them to have a "close" relative in the United States or a "formal" relationship to a U.S. organization. The guidelines are due to come into effect at 8 p.m. Washington time on June 29. - 6/29/17

Iran completing 'beauty link' in North-South trade corridor

- Iran is preparing to launch what could be the country's most beautiful rail routes at the heart of a multimodal intercontinental transportation project. A railway at 205 kilometers from Qazvin to Rasht in northern Iran is near completion and could be among the last pieces of a rail link through which Russia would send its goods to India's Mumbai. - 6/29/17

Armaments spiral must end in Middle East: Iranian FM Zarif

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has emphasized the need for setting up a security forum to promote dialogue among the Persian Gulf states, urging certain regional countries to end their arms race. Addressing a meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations in the German capital Berlin on Monday, Zarif said the arms race in the region had influenced relations between some Western countries and regional states. - 6/29/17

Iran Blasts US Top Court Ruling on Trump Travel Ban

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced the U.S. Supreme Court's partial reinstatement of a travel ban affecting six predominately Muslim countries and said the decision could energize terrorist groups. "It is regrettable that the citizens of the countries on the list have never participated in any act of terrorism against the U.S. and yet they are being punished for acts of terrorism," Zarif told reporters Tuesday during a visit to Berlin. Zarif added the reinstatement was the "greatest gift" for terrorist groups seeking new recruits. - 6/28/17

Iran Warns U.S. Against 'Dangerous Escalation' In Syria Over 'Fake Pretext'

- Iran has accused the United States of a "dangerous escalation" in Syria after Washington warned President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing another chemical attack for which he would pay a "heavy price." "Another dangerous U.S. escalation in Syria on fake pretext," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on June 27, adding it "will only serve [the Islamic State extremist group] precisely when it's being wiped out by Iraqi and Syrian people." - 6/28/17

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case On Seizure Of Iranian Artifacts on loan to the University of Chicago

- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from several survivors of a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem who want to seize Persian artifacts in U.S. collections to help pay a $71.5 million judgment against Iran over its alleged role in the attack. - 6/28/17

History proves a US-backed regime change in Iran won't work

- Sixty-four years on from the calamitous Operation Ajax backed by the US and Britain why are some US politicians hinting for another regime change in Persia? Why after plunging Iran into a state of complete despair are some Republicans so keen to further abridge Iran? And why is President Trump so eager to use the violent actions of some Iranians to justify a political and economic attack on the country, with potential military intervention? The current state of Iran bore provenance because of America and Britain. Surely the cause cannot be the solution? -Daniel Khalili-Tari, The London Economic - 6/28/17

Qatar Crisis Could Lead to War: Veteran US Diplomat

- Given the fast-moving events in the Persian Gulf region over the past two weeks, LobeLog decided to consult Chas W. Freeman, Jr. Washington's ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, Freeman has a wide range of contacts in the region. One of the most highly decorated foreign service officers of his generation, he also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs at the Pentagon, among many other posts. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 6/28/17

Iranian-American Organizations issue statements on Trump's Muslim ban after Supreme Court decision

- "Today's Supreme Court decision immediately places the status of many Americans' families into question again. The Iranian-American community, Muslims across America, and families directly impacted by the ban are now reliving the chaotic days following the Muslim ban in January. Fears of the Trump administration once again spreading chaos by triumphing in the courts and reinstituting parts of its ban that has separated families have been realized. - 6/27/17

Living With the Desert: Working Buildings

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