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Overwhelming Expert Consensus Favors Agreement with Iran

- There is an overwhelming consensus among non-proliferation, nuclear policy, and national security experts that a negotiated accord is the best, and likely the only, way to ensure that Iran never builds a nuclear weapon. But you would not know that if you relied on congressional hearings or most media coverage of the negotiations. -Joe Cirincione, LobeLog - 7/6/15

Foreign Ministers Try to Close Iran Nuclear Deal

- Foreign ministers from Iran and a group of six world powers were in a familiar position Monday in Vienna, where they gathered for a final push to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program a day before their latest deadline. The diplomats have expressed a mix of progress and the need to finalize key unresolved issues in their bid to limit Iran's nuclear activity in return for needed sanctions relief. - 7/6/15

Disputes over missiles and arms embargo hold up Iran talks

- A dispute over U.N. sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program and a broader arms embargo were among issues holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Monday, the day before their latest self-imposed deadline. -Reuters - 7/6/15

Iran vows to double oil exports after sanctions lifted

- Iran said on Sunday that it has serious plans to increase its oil exports to almost double the current levels after sanctions against the country are lifted. "We are like a pilot on the runway ready to take off. This is how the whole country is right now," Mansour Moazami, Iran's deputy petroleum minister for planning and supervision affairs, told the Wall Street Journal. - 7/6/15

Baba Joon: The first Persian-language Israeli film starring Hollywood Actor Navid Negahban

- The film stars Iranian actor Navid Negahban, staring Emmy-award-winning show Homeland, as Abu Nazir. Whose recent work includes Clint Eastwood's new film American Sniper; Cyrus Nowrasteh's film The Stoning of Soraya M. and more. Navid has also had guest-starring roles on The Mentalist, 24, Lost, Law and Order, CSIand more. - 7/6/15

Iran's Nuclear Program A Child Of Washington

- The start of Iran's nuclear program can arguably be pegged to December 8, 1953. It was on that date that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered what was later dubbed his Atoms For Peace speech to the United Nations General Assembly. -Tony Wesolowsky, RFE - 7/6/15

U.S. Sends Conflicting Signals to Bahrain

- After claiming that Bahrain has achieved "meaningful progress," the United States decided to lift the holds on security assistance to Bahrain's military forces. Since this decision took place, the government summoned and then arrested Majeed Milad, the former chairman of the municipal council of the capital city of Manama as well as a board member of al-Wefaq, the main opposition party. -Matar E. Matar, LobeLog - 7/6/15

Kerry Cites Progress, But Says Iran Nuclear Talks 'Could Go Either Way'

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Vienna on July 5, said there has been genuine progress in the Iranian nuclear talks but that "we are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues" and that the talks "could go either way." Kerry, in remarks to reporters, said "it is now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement." - 7/5/15

'Expert Groups' Hammering Out Details of Iran Nuclear Deal

- U.S. officials in Vienna say international nuclear and sanctions experts are grinding through details of various issues in an effort to negotiate a final agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA - 7/4/15

Zarif Says 'Never Been Closer' To Nuclear Deal

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said a lasting nuclear deal with Iran has "never been closer." In a message posted on YouTube late on July 3 (below), Zarif also said that there is "no guarantee" of success. - 7/4/15

Other Reasons to Review IAEA's Al-Kibar Conclusions

- The UK's former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Peter Jenkins, has done us the service of calling into question the methods by which the Agency's inspection team may have obtained or collected the uranium particles that contributed importantly to its conclusion that the building destroyed by Israeli missiles in 2007 at Dair Alzour "was very likely a nuclear reactor." -Robert Kelley, LobeLog - 7/4/15

Kerry, Zarif to Meet on Key Iran Nuclear Disputes

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna Friday on key disputes that have prevented nuclear negotiators from meeting a June 30 deadline. The discussions follow IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's trip to Tehran where he met with President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. -Mary Alice Salina, VOA - 7/3/15

Yet-To-Be-Fully-Released Poll Suggests Solid Support for Iran Deal

- The Chicago Council for Global Affairs (CCGA) has just released the highlights of a public opinion survey taken in late May and early June concerning public opinion on Iran's nuclear program. The numbers should encourage the Obama administration in its drive to conclude a deal between the P5+1 and Tehran in the next week. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/3/15

Russia Says Iran Nuclear Deal In Sight

- Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said Iran and world powers are close to a nuclear agreement. TASS news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying in Vienna on July 2, "All parties are of the opinion that this matter will be resolved in the coming days." - 7/3/15

Are We Negotiating With Iran or Persia?

- Much more than a name is involved. In terms of a national state of mind the two identities sit side-by-side-but not quietly. "Iran" and "Persia" diverged a long time ago as cultural and political concepts but one cannot exist without the other-and wishing won't make the harsher one go away. -Clive Irving, Daily Beast - 7/3/15

The Islamic State and the Terrible Twos

- The Islamic State celebrated its one-year anniversary in customary fashion. Other organizations might sponsor parades and make speeches. ISIS spilled blood. A beheading in France, the murder of 38 tourists at a resort in Tunisia, and a bomb blast at a mosque in Kuwait all reminded the world, if it had somehow forgotten, that ISIS isn't merely interested in securing sovereignty over a particular stretch of territory. It has much grander ambitions. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/3/15

Chicken in Vienna

- With the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in its final days (and seven days of overtime having just been announced), a broken leg is not the most serious impairment to Secretary of State Kerry's ability to conclude an agreement that will ensure Iran remains a non-nuclear-weapons state and advances U.S. interests in other respects... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/2/15

IAEA Chief, Iranian Officials Work to Resolve Nuclear Issues

- The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog met with Iranian officials Thursday in Tehran in the latest effort to resolve long-standing questions about the country's nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano held talks with the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, and was also due to meet with President Hassan Rouhani. - 7/2/15

Iran's Alliance of Convenience with the Taliban?

- Ismail Kosari, a conservative member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and the chair of Defense Committee of the Iranian parliament, confirmed in early June the Taliban's trip to Tehran: "I can't divulge any details, but what I can say is that they have declared their readiness to talk." -LobeLog - 7/2/15

Iran Nuclear Negotiators Eye New Deadline

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif sit down for more talks in Vienna, on Wednesday, a day after Iran nuclear negotiators extended their deadline for an agreement to July 7. Their talks come a day after both President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani commented on the negotiations underway in Vienna. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 7/1/15

The WINEP Letter and the Bipartisan Fallacy

- For the past week, a letter from a varied group of policy experts has been making the rounds, mostly as a case against doing a deal with Iran. More particularly, many of these experts have been opposed to doing this deal currently being hashed out in Vienna. -Ali Gharib - 7/1/15

IAEA's chief Amano due in Iran Thursday for nuclear talks

- Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano is due in Iran on Thursday for talks on Tehran's nuclear program. During his stay in Iran, the IAEA chief is expected to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. - 7/1/15

Congress on Iran and Israel

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. - 7/1/15

Zarif Rejoins Iran Nuclear Talks

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif returned to Vienna to rejoin the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program Tuesday, the day of the original self-imposed deadline for an agreement. Zarif arrived with Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, who has been recovering from illness, after returning to Iran for consultations Sunday. Upon their return, Zarif met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/30/15

Grassroots Groups Representing Millions of Americans Urge Congress to Support an Iran Deal

- NIAC Action signed a letter sent today by grassroots organizations representing millions of Americans urging Congress to support a strong final nuclear deal with Iran. "Every single poll shows that the American public supports an Iran deal and yet Congress seems hellbent on voting to kill it," said NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi. - 6/30/15

Critiquing a Critique of Obama's Approach to Iran

- Last week, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) posted a "statement" on the Iranian nuclear negotiation. The statement attracted attention because some of the parties appeared to be finding fault with the Obama administration despite past service in that administration. -Peter Jenkins - 6/30/15

Don't Fear Iran's Impending Windfall

- As Iran and the P5+1 look set to complete a historic nuclear agreement this week, the policy community in the US and Europe is very fearful that sanctions relief will provide Iran a dangerous windfall that it can use to expand its interventions in the region. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 6/30/15

Iran's nuclear talks: Five reasons why a deal would be good for the U.S.

- The criticism of the pending nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is intensifying. Opponents of the deal will spend millions of dollars on ads pushing the U.S. public and Congress to kill the deal in the next few days. -Trita Parsi, CNN - 6/30/15

Saudi Arabia's Quagmire

- Three months after Saudi Arabia rounded up a few allies and began an intensive bombing campaign against the rebels known as Houthis across the border in Yemen, a conventional wisdom has developed. "It has not worked," as The New York Times put it in a front-page article, and it probably can't work because the strategic goals are too murky, ... -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog - 6/30/15

Russia Undermining U.S. in the Middle East

- The Ukraine crisis and the resulting deterioration of Russia's ties with the West have fomented a level of geopolitical instability in Europe unseen in decades. Yet, the Middle East is arguably where Moscow and Washington's tension is most significant -Daniel Wagner and Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 6/30/15

Iran Talks: Days Dwindle Down to a Precious Few

- By the morning of July 1, we should know whether President Barack Obama has achieved one of his presidency's central foreign policy goals: an agreement to deal effectively with the Iranian nuclear program. -Robert E. Hunter - 6/29/15

Prospects Dim for Iran Nuclear Talks to Make Deadline

- With the prospects dim for an Iran nuclear agreement on the original June 30 deadline, U.S. officials launched a new round of talks, on Monday, with a chief nuclear regulator. Secretary of State John Kerry led a delegation, in Vienna, that met with Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. As he headed into the talks at the ornate Palais Coburg hotel, Kerry said, "We are just working and it is too early to make any judgments." -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/29/15

As Potential Deal Draws Near, Iran Talks Critics Out in Force

- As world powers and Iran continue nuclear negotiations in Vienna, many observers are optimistic a deal will be reached soon. But hardliners are amping up the rhetoric on both sides. And while a deal that can be implemented successfully may be difficult to reach, analysts say out-dated ideas are simply no longer a practical factor in negotiations. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 6/29/15

Iran Negotiations to Go Beyond June 30 Deadline

- A senior U.S. official says all parties at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna plan to continue negotiating past the June 30th deadline. The official added that Washington is not troubled by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif's decision to briefly return to Tehran for consultations with his government before the deadline that is two days away. The U.S. official said it was expected that participants in the talks would come and go from Vienna during the negotiations. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/28/15

Iran holds world's largest gas reserves

- World proven natural gas reserves at end-2014 stood at 187.1 trillion cubic metres (tcm), sufficient to meet 54.1 years of global production. Proved reserves grew by 0.3% relative to end-2013. Growth in Russia (+0.4 tcm), Azerbaijan (+0.3 tcm) and the US (+0.2 tcm) accounted for all of the gross increase in global proved reserves in 2014. Iran (34.0 tcm) and Russia (32.6 tcm) hold the largest proved reserves. - 6/28/15

Kerry, Zarif in Agreement on Iran Nuke Deal: Hard Work Ahead

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "we're hopeful" days ahead of a deadline for a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program. "I think it's fair to say that we're hopeful. We have a lot of hard work to do. We have some very tough issues, and I think we all look forward to getting down to the final effort here to see whether or not a deal is possible," Kerry said Saturday in Vienna as he met with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. -VOA - 6/27/15

Laying Zero Enrichment to Rest

- With the self-imposed deadline for Iran nuclear talks looming, obstacles to reaching a deal are emerging mostly from the Iranian side. The majles, or parliament, passed a bill seeking to restrain inspections on Iranian soil. More importantly, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has final word on all matters of state, laid out onerous conditions for a deal that, if he holds to his red lines, would make an accord difficult for world powers to agree to. -Ali Gharib - 6/27/15

Wikileaks Strikes Again: Saudi Meddling in Lebanon

- Last Saturday morning, Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese daily opposed to the West- and Saudi-friendly March 14 movement, once again helped Wikileaks disseminate material, this time with 70,000 diplomatic cables from the Saudi foreign ministry. And nearly half a million more are lined up for publication through the holy month of Ramadan. -Aurelie Daher, LobeLog - 6/27/15

Iran Nuclear Agreement Deadline May Slip

- U.S. and Iranian officials depart Friday for a final round of nuclear talks in Vienna, even as U.S. officials conceded a deal may not be able to be reached by a June 30 deadline. A senior U.S. administration official said Thursday negotiators are expected to be "close" to an agreement on the 30th, if they "can get there at all." -William Gallo, Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/26/15

Saudi Leaks Expose 'Checkbook Diplomacy' in Battle With Iran

- Saudi Arabia's willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. WikiLeaks has not revealed its source, but a group calling itself the "Yemen cyber army" has claimed it hacked government servers. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA - 6/26/15

Why Iran Suspects Western Calls for Transparency

- On May 20, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spoke at the Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran. Referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. watchdog mandated to deal with nuclear issues, he said that foreigners would not be permitted to inspect Iran's military sites or interview Iranian nuclear scientists. -Emma Scott, LobeLog - 6/26/15

Iran building major port near Hormuz Strait

- Iran is building a multi-purpose port near the Strait of Hormuz with 700 million euros of foreign investment, the state news agency IRNA reported on Thursday. The new port on the shores of Suza on the Qeshm island "will definitely become a shipping hub for international trade and transit", deputy head of the Qeshm Free Zone Organization Farzin Haqdel said. - 6/26/15

Iran accelerates drilling of largest oilfield

- Iran has accelerated drilling of its largest oilfield which it shares with Iraq in order to catch up with its western neighbor in production, an energy official has said. The National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC) has completed the drilling of six wells since taking over from the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation's (CNPC) which had its contract cancelled in May 2014 due to repeated delays. - 6/26/15

Nuclear Talks: Paradigm Shift in Iran Foreign Policy?

- During my recent trip to Tehran I had a chance to listen to and participate in discussions on both the political and societal levels about the final stages of the nuclear talks. As I discussed here in mid-February, the level of anxiety in Iran could not be higher. More importantly, the overall debate about the talks and all its details goes far beyond factional politics. -Adnan Tabatabai - 6/25/15

Kerry Heads to Vienna in Final Push for Iran Nuclear Agreement

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Vienna Friday for the final phase of negotiations on a comprehensive international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. On Wednesday, Kerry warned, "It may be that the Iranians will not fill out the full measure of what was agreed on" in the framework agreement reached in April. -Victor Beattie, VOA - 6/25/15

Social Media Analysis: How an Iranian Kurdish Woman's Death Triggered a Regional Social Media Conflict

- Farinaz Khosrawani was a 25-year-old Kurdish chambermaid who fell off of a hotel room balcony on May 4 while allegedly escaping a sexual assault. The incident resulted in protests from Kurds in Mahabad, who set Hotel Tara on fire in reaction to her death. -Simin Kargar, Global Voices - 6/25/15

Tehran Talks Tough with India

- The Iranians, sensing a nuclear deal or a thaw at the very minimum, have in recent months become more assertive in their dealings with India. This toughening stance is most visible in sectors poised to attract tremendous foreign investment (particularly European) if sanctions are lifted. For Indian companies hoping to engage with Iran on energy, particularly upstream, recent months have been tough. -Sumitha Narayanan Kutty, LobeLog - 6/25/15

Iran's Supreme Leader Rejects Long-term Limits on Nuclear Program

- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear in an address Tuesday night that Iran will not accept any long-term curbing of its nuclear program as negotiators from his country and a group of world powers close in on a deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement. - 6/24/15

POLL: Iranian Public Opinion on Nukes, the U.S., Politics

- A major new poll of Iranian public opinion with important and fascinating results was released here and in Tehran Tuesday and deserves much more attention than it is likely to get (at least in the United States). -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 6/24/15

Pro-Israel Lobby Prepares to Battle Obama Over Iran

- As U.S. and Iranian negotiators approach the June 30 deadline to reach a nuclear deal, America's largest pro-Israel lobby is campaigning to kill such an accord in Congress. -Eli Lake, Bloomberg - 6/24/15

Iran, EU Hold Talks as Nuclear Deal Deadline Approaches

- Iran's foreign minister and his European Union counterparts are meeting in Luxembourg for a final round of nuclear talks aimed at completing a deal before a June 30 deadline. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif met privately with ministers from Germany and France before a larger meeting with EU leaders. - 6/23/15

Obama's Three Hard Choices in the Middle East

- The first steps in righting US policy and actions in the Middle East are recognition and acceptance of what we have wrought and what we can or cannot do to alter the current political realities. Clarity is required above all. -Charles Naas - 6/23/15

Report: Child Refugees Face Obstacles in EU, Iran

- An international rights organization has called on European Union nations to better provide for children from Afghanistan, Syria, and other nations seeking asylum in Europe. Human Rights Watch released a report saying many children who have fled Afghanistan to avoid recruitment by the Taliban or conscription by the Syrian army are traveling alone to refugee centers, where they can be held for weeks while awaiting space in children's shelters. - 6/23/15

Iran Navy sends 35th flotilla to high seas

- The 35th flotilla of the Iranian Navy has set off for high seas to safeguard naval routes for the country's vessels operating in the region. The flotilla, consisting of Bandar Abbas auxiliary ship and Alvand destroyer, left the country on Monday after the 34th fleet completed its mission and returned home. - 6/23/15

Why is Michael Oren Trashing Obama?

- Michael Oren, Israel's former ambassador to the US and currently a member of the Israeli parliament, is promoting his book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, which will be released on June 23. It's an autobiographical tell-all about his four years as Israel's top diplomat to the US between 2009-2013. -Marsha B. Cohen, LobeLog - 6/23/15

Good nuclear deal more important than meeting deadline: Iranian FM Zarif

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says reaching a good deal with the P5+1 group of countries on Tehran's nuclear program has priority over meeting the self-imposed June 30 deadline, Press TV reports. - 6/22/15

The Contradictions of Elliott Abrams

- Elliott Abrams was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the "Arab Spring," but he also loves the kingdom that has done (and spent) the most to suppress it. It's the kind of contradiction that has often afflicted neoconservatives like Abrams who profess both a passion for democracy and human rights and a deep devotion to Israel's security. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 6/22/15

Iran Lawmakers Propose Conditions For Nuclear Deal, Curtail Veto Powers

- Iran's parliament has voted to ban access to military sites and scientists as part of a future deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program. But shortly after 199 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, the parliament added amendments that would curtail its power to veto a deal between Tehran and six-world powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany. - 6/21/15

Let's Take A Deep Breath on BDS

- Yair Lapid, Israel's former Finance Minister, told a hawkish "pro-Israel" gathering in New York that the leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS) are anti-Semites and their followers are "bleeding heart, so-called intellectuals." -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 6/21/15

Ending the Iranian-Saudi Cold War

- While unprecedented diplomacy has changed the face of United States-Iran relations over the past two years, the opposite has plagued Iranian-Saudi Arabian relations. A diplomacy deficit between the two regional powers has exacerbated volatility across the Middle East. -Reza Marashi - 6/19/15

The Great Iran PMD Freakout

- It was always going to happen this way. As talks between Iran and key world powers approached a June 30 deadline, the toughest issues would emerge not only as sticking points in the negotiations themselves but as political footballs to be fought over by opponents of talks on both sides. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 6/19/15

Iran sets goal to be second place gas producer in the world

- Iran expects its gas production to grow 71% in the next four years, putting the country on course to take over as the second biggest gas producer, an official said on Thursday. - 6/19/15

First Silk Road rail cargo enters Iran

- The first cargo carried on the Silk Road railway has entered Iran from the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, local officials said. The cargo, including 45 freight wagons, crossed the Incha-Burun border with Turkmenistan into Iran, local officials in the Golestan province said. - 6/19/15

Iran's President Rouhani pledges continued support for Iraq in fighting terror

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic will continue supporting Iraq in its fight against terrorism, noting that the country's security is intertwined with that of Iran. "The main responsibility for combating terrorism and finally defeating it falls undoubtedly on the shoulders of the Iraqi nation and army," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday. - 6/18/15

The Imperative of a Comprehensive Strategy to Fight Violent Extremism

- Violent extremism is probably the most critical challenge that is not only menacing our region, but in fact the entire world, where threats recognize no borders. It is a grave threat that has already ravaged Iraq and Syria and cast gloom over the region's horizons. Its global reach and stated worldwide ambitions make it clear that it has major implications for the geopolitical and security environment, not only in our immediate neighborhood, but also in many other parts of the world. -Javad Zarif, Harvard International Review - 6/18/15

Iran Nuclear Talks Impeded by Disagreement on All Main Elements

- Iran and six powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date and will likely have to extend their negotiations, two diplomats tell The Associated Press. -AP - 6/18/15

The New World Order Rebooted

- America's fool's errand in Iraq continues, with depressing daily headlines suggesting that the United States is doubling down yet again on previously failed attempts to build another Iraqi Army with more advisers and more sophisticated arms. -James A. Russell, LobeLog - 6/18/15

Why Alberto Nisman Is No Hero for Argentina -- or the Jews

- It is widely believed, particularly outside Argentina, that special prosecutor Alberto Nisman died because he was about to expose a criminal pact between President Cristina Kirchner and the Iranian government to cover up the latter's responsibility in the 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires's Jewish community center. -Graciela Mochkofsky, Forward - 6/18/15

Bahrain's Latest Sham Trial and Conviction

- Now that the Bahraini regime has exacted its revenge by sentencing Sheikh Ali Salman, secretary general of the predominantly Shi'ite pro-reform al-Wefaq party, to four years in prison, the al-Khalifa ruling family should decide which of the two available paths to take. It could remain on the current path of repression and increasing international isolation. Or it could explore creative, peaceful strategies to engage the Shia majority on the basis of human dignity, respect, and fairness. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/18/15

Iran's Nuclear 'Diplomatic Warriors' Are Back In Vogue

- "Diplomatic warriors" who defend Iran's interests, or "traitors" who sell out their country to enemies. Both are recent labels given domestically to Iran's negotiators at sensitive international talks on a comprehensive nuclear deal that would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/17/15

An Iran Accord for Stability

- In Yemen, there are foreign Arab coalition airstrikes counteracting a domestic sectarian and political uprising. In Iraq and Syria, there is the customary news of ISIS and its horrific doings. In the United States, there is entrenched partisan bickering vis-a-vis the Middle East's unceasing tumult. And in Iran, there is the befuddling confluence of a leadership with inherent distrust for anything beyond its borders and its desire for the ever-elusive concept of domestic stability. -Arash Irani and Omid Irani - 6/17/15

The Power of "Iran Derangement Syndrome"

- On Sunday evening The Daily Beast published a first-person account by its senior intelligence and national security correspondent, Shane Harris, with the gripping title "Iran's Spies Tried to Recruit Me." No, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence didn't ask Harris to steal any classified documents or carry out any covert operations on US soil. -Derek Davison - 6/17/15

U.S. No Longer Demanding Disclosure Of Iran's Past Nuclear Work

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that Washington would no longer insist that Iran fully disclose its past nuclear activities as part of a nuclear pact with Tehran. Kerry said the past is past, and the nuclear deal will be focused on preventing Tehran in the future from engaging in activities that could lead to its acquisition of a nuclear bomb, rather than any previous such activities. - 6/17/15

Russian Official: Nuke Deal Can Be Reached with Iran before June 30 Deadline

- Russia's TASS news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov as saying he "categorically" wants to stop any talk of a deadline extension, and that it is "quite possible" to reach an agreement before the deadline. - 6/16/15

Rohani Hints At Extension Of Nuclear Talks, Cites 'Many Differences'

- President Hassan Rohani has suggested that "many differences over details" remain in talks with world powers on Iran's nuclear activities but added that a deal is "entirely feasible" even if it requires more time. In a live television appearance, Rohani also said he will not permit commitments under any eventual deal to jeopardize Iranian state secrets. - 6/15/15
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