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April 20 2015
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Where Does Hillary Stand on the Iran Agreement?

- There is little indication to suggest that Hillary Clinton has chosen to oppose the deal brokered between the P5+1 and Iran. But Clinton's ties to Saban will be an important relationship to keep an eye on as she rolls out her campaign's foreign policy positions and announces her support or opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran. -Eli Clifton - 4/20/15

Khamenei: US Created 'Myth' of Iranian Nuclear Weapons

- Iran's Supreme Leader lashed out at the United States on Sunday, accusing Washington of inventing the "myth" of Tehran's nuclear weapons threat. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also urged "defensive preparedness" for Iranian armed forces after a top U.S. general warned last week about military action against Tehran's nuclear sites. - 4/20/15

Iran Legislation: Winners and Losers

- Editor's note: As we have done recently, we are posting excerpts of the latest Legislative Round-Up of the week by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now. Readers of this blog will be particularly interested in the analysis regarding Sen. Corker's legislation on congressional oversight of any Iran deal. -Lara Friedman, LobeLog - 4/20/15

Afghanistan, Iran To Work Together Against 'Macabre' IS Threat

- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rohani have vowed increased cooperation between their predominantly Muslim countries to counter the threat from militant group Islamic State (IS). Ghani arrived in Tehran on April 19 for a two-day state visit, his first official trip to the neighboring country since taking office in September. - 4/20/15

Iran starts testing Iraq gas pipeline

- The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday that preliminary tests have been carried out over 50 kilometers of the final stretch of the pipeline which has been installed to take gas to Iran's western neighbor. - 4/20/15

Obama Says Iran Bill Will Not Derail Negotiations

- U.S. President Barack Obama said on April 17 he does not see proposed legislation in Congress derailing negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. Obama called the bill allowing Congress to review any deal a "reasonable compromise" that he planned to sign. - 4/18/15

Iran, Saudis on Collision Course over Yemen

- Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia continued to escalate Saturday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slamming Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. "You planted the seeds of hatred in the hearts" of people in the region, said Rouhani at Iran's National Army Day ceremony, in comments directed at Saudi Arabia. "And you will see the response sooner or later," he added. - 4/18/15

Open Letter from Yemen Scholars Protesting War

- We write as scholars concerned with Yemen and as residents/nationals of the United Kingdom and the United States. The military attack by Saudi Arabia, backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council states (but not Oman), Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, the UK and above all the US, is into its third week of bombing and blockading Yemen. This military campaign is illegal under international law - 4/18/15

Story of Esther inspires new philharmonic piece

- Composer Behzad Ranjbaran drew from the biblical story and the Persian mythology of his native Iran for the piece premiering Saturday at the Binghamton Philharmonic. - 4/18/15

Iran Hawks Clearly Unhappy With Corker

- Three days after the Obama White House surprised many of its staunchest foreign-policy supporters by lifting its veto threat over a watered-down Corker-Menendez bill, it's become quite clear that hard-line neoconservatives and their congressional allies are unhappy. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/18/15

Putin, Netanyahu, and the S-300 Missile Sales to Iran

- There have been numerous reports about how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently called Russian President Vladimir Putin to express Israeli displeasure with Moscow ending its embargo on the sale of Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. Putin reportedly responded by telling Netanyahu that these missiles are "purely defensive" and so "pose no threat to Israel." -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 4/17/15

Obama's Triple Crown

- It was only a couple years ago that I was bemoaning Obama's failure to fulfill his promise to resolve major confrontations in the world diplomatically. "Smart power," in the Obama lexicon, had largely been window dressing on the same old exercise of hard power - the widespread drone strikes, the surge in Afghanistan, the intervention in Libya, the Special Forces operations in Africa and elsewhere, the Pentagon's "pivot" to the Pacific.-John Feffer, LobeLog - 4/17/15

President Rohani: Iran Not Negotiating With U.S. Congress

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani says the Islamic republic is not negotiating with the U.S. Congress on a potential nuclear deal. "Our counterpart is not the U.S. Senate or the Congress, our counterpart is the group known as P5+1," Rohani said in an April 15 speech in the northern city of Rasht. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/16/15

Congress Learns to Compromise on Iran?

- One of the most striking things about the congressional discourse about the Iran talks had been the overwrought denunciations of diplomacy by Republicans. You don 't have to look hard. Mark Kirk, the Illinois senator, takes every chance to compare diplomacy with Iran to the Munich agreement that handed the Sudetenland over to Hitler. -Ali Gharib - 4/16/15

Putin: Iran's 'Flexibility' Fueled Decision to Lift S-300 Ban

- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Iran's willingness to try to reach a settlement over its nuclear program was behind his decision to clear the way for the possible sale of an S-300 air defense system to Tehran. - 4/16/15

Economics Will Decide the Fate of the Iran Deal

- Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a terrible record in predicting the future of Iran's nuclear programme, but it's hard to argue with his suggestion that last week's accord between Iran and the P5+1 countries will "bolster Iran's economy". -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, LobeLog - 4/16/15

Israel's Netanyahu Likens Iran To Nazi Germany

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the world is "closing its eyes" toward Iran's aggressive policies in the Middle East, as it has done toward Nazi Germany. - 4/16/15

US Would 'Welcome' Iran Engagement, Under Certain Circumstances

- Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. would welcome broader engagement with Iran, if an Iran nuclear agreement wound up helping Iran change its approach to the region and to the world. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 4/16/15

Secretary Kerry Weighs In

- Just last week, the pagliacci at the head of America's Department of State, John Kerry, gave an interview on the much-esteemed house organ of domestic propaganda, the "PBS NewsHour". The entire interview was a farce of human reason, yet was mindlessly absorbed by millions of armchair Americans, 41 percent of whom cannot name the Vice President of the United States. -Jason Hirthler, Counterpunch - 4/16/15

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Decision to Give Congress a Veto on the Iran Deal

- Earlier today (April 14), Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) negotiated compromise language that makes very minimal adjustments to the earlier version of Corker's bill, S. 615, "The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015." The revised bill was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will go to the floor of the Senate and eventually the House in the coming weeks. -Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Now - 4/15/15

Iran pitted against Oman in 2018 World Cup qualifiers

- Team Iran avoided a difficult group in its Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in the ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday. Iran has been drawn with Oman, India, Turkmenistan and Guam in Group D. - 4/15/15

Alleged Assault On Iranian Teens Stokes Anti-Arab Sentiment

- Awave of public fury and anti-Arab sentiment has engulfed Iran after the alleged sexual assault of two teenage Iranian pilgrims traveling through Saudi Arabia's Jeddah airport last month. The two boys were on their way back to Iran after performing the Umrah Islamic pilgrimage when they were allegedly assaulted by Saudi officers during a security search. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 4/15/15

Kerry Confident About Iran Nuclear Deal's Prospects

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he is confident about reaching a final nuclear agreement with Iran, after President Barack Obama pledged to sign a bill that would subject the deal to U.S. congressional review.Kerry spoke ahead of a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Germany that was expected to include discussion of the negotiations, which yielded a framework deal earlier this month. - 4/15/15

For Iran, respect is the death knell of colonialism

- If U.S. President Barack Obama was correct when he declared that his meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama City last weekend marked the end of the Cold War, we should get ready for a potentially even more momentous historical marker if Iran and the P5+1 powers led by the U.S. reach full agreement on Iran's nuclear technology and the lifting the sanctions. Such a deal could well signal the end of the colonial era in the Middle East. -Rami G. Khouri, AlJazeera - 4/15/15

AIPAC to UANI: Make Gary Samore Shut Up!

- I attended a lunch panel on Iran hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) yesterday with Eric Edelman, John Hannah, Ray Takeyh, and Jonathan Ruhe as the featured presenters. The conversation on the dais veered between quite hawkish and moderately hawkish, as one might expect from members of JINSA's Iran task force. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/15/15

Russia Flexes Missile Diplomacy With Iran

- Russia's potential delivery of anti-aircraft S-300 missile systems to Iran has long been shrouded in controversy and contradictions. But with Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree allowing shipments of these high-precision systems to Tehran, will Moscow finally make good on these deliveries? -Carl Schreck, RFE - 4/14/15

Iran's says oil output to reach pre-sanctions levels "very fast"

- Iran said on Tuesday it can increase its oil production to pre-sanctions levels "very fast". Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters the country has already carried out necessary tests to increase production from its producing fields. - 4/14/15

Pakistan Treads Lightly Between Iran, Saudi Arabia

- Pakistan's prime minister sought to reassure Saudi Arabia and its Arab coalition in Yemen that his country "does not abandon friends and strategic partners, especially at a time when their security is under threat." Nawaz Sharif's assurance came Monday after a flurry of statements from officials in Arab countries expressing their disappointment at Pakistan refusing to join their coalition. -Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA - 4/14/15

Obama Criticizes Partisan Jabs at Nuclear Deal with Iran

- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday that partisan wrangling over nuclear negotiations with Iran and on other foreign policy matters has gone too far. "It needs to stop," he declared during a press conference at the close of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. - 4/13/15

Putin signs decree lifting ban on delivering S-300 to Iran

- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a presidential decree paving the way for the long-overdue delivery of S-300 missile system to Iran, the Kremlin says. Putin's decree lifts a ban on "the shipment from Russia to Iran" of the S-300 missiles, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday. - 4/13/15

Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement

- This report is the fourth in a series of papers published by The Iran Project that provides a basis for better understanding the standoff between the United States and Iran. It analyses relations between Iran and its neighbors and offers policy recommendations for the United States in the region after a nuclear agreement with Iran is concluded. -The Iran Project - 4/13/15

Reports: Iran Suspends Pilgrimage Flights To Saudi Arabia

- Iranian state media report that Iran has suspended flights to Saudi Arabia for the year-round Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca over the alleged sexual abuse of two Iranian teenage boys during a security search by Saudi officers at Jeddah's international airport in March. - 4/13/15

Obama Upbeat On Final Iran Nuke Deal

- U.S. President Barack Obama says he is optimistic a comprehensive accord to curb Iran's nuclear program will be finalized despite strong words this week from the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. - 4/12/15

Pakistan stays neutral in Yemen despite Saudi request

- Pakistan's Parliament issued a statement on Friday April 10 directing the government to remain neutral in the crisis in Yemen and assist the parties in reaching a peaceful solution. Also, the Turkish foreign minister announced on Friday April 10 that his country will cooperate with Iran and continue close consultation with Arab countries to solve the crisis in Yemen. - 4/12/15

Iran TV Channel Hacked

- Hackers have attacked the social media accounts of Iran's Arabic-language channel Al-Alam on April 12, posting material supportive of the Saudi-led air strikes against rebels in Yemen and claiming the rebel leader had been killed. - 4/12/15

Iranians protest Saudi sexual assault on teen pilgrims

- Hundreds of Iranian protesters gathered in front of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday April 11 following a rally call on social media to protest against the "sexual assault of two Iranian teenagers" at Jeddah Airport. - 4/11/15

Robert Kagan: Neocon Renegade?

- I, for one, am very eager to hear what Robert Kagan thinks about the framework agreement that has just been negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran. I'm particularly interested in what he thinks of Israeli and Republican efforts to sabotage it in one way or another. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 4/11/15

Iran's Ayatollah Calls Saudi-led Airstrikes in Yemen 'Genocide'

- Iran's supreme leader called the military intervention by its main regional rival, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen as genocide, sharply escalating Tehran's rhetoric against the two-week-old campaign of airstrikes. - 4/10/15

US Senator: Airstrikes Could Eliminate Iran Nuke Sites

- A Republican U.S. senator, who authored an open letter to Iran asserting Congress' ability to override a nuclear accord, now says a military strike against Tehran's atomic facilities, could be achieved quickly through a bombing campaign lasting only "several days." -Michael Bowman, VOA - 4/10/15

Assessing the Agreement with Iran

- The spate of immediate reactions to the nuclear agreement between Iran and the six negotiators (the US, France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and China) has eased somewhat. We can now sit back calmly and assess the nuclear agreement. -Charles Naas, LobeLog - 4/10/15

Iran slams Saudi authorities for rejecting Iranian planes

- Iranian aviation authorities have condemned Saudi Arabia's refusal to allow an Iranian airplane carrying pilgrims to land in Jeddah, noting there were no problems with the passengers' visas, and they attributed the Saudi actions to the political atmosphere of the region. - 4/10/15

Poll: Third of Republicans Favor Iran Nuclear Deal

- Thirty-one percent of Republicans favor a new nuclear deal with Iran, creating a challenge for their party's lawmakers who largely oppose the framework accord sealed between Tehran and world powers, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday. - 4/10/15

Khamenei: Iran Nuclear Deal With West Not Final

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is stressing that a framework agreement with the West is no guarantee a final deal will be reached to scale back Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions. In an address Thursday, Khamenei said he is "neither for nor against" the interim agreement reached last week by Iran and six world powers, insisting the deal is unfinished and non-binding. - 4/9/15

Iran Calls For Treaty On Global Nuclear Disarmament

- Iran has accused the world's five nuclear powers of failing to eliminate their stockpiles and called for talks on a treaty aimed at nuclear disarmament by a target date. Gholam Hossein Dehghani, Iran's deputy UN ambassador, told the UN Conference on Disarmament on April 8 that the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France have pledged to disarm but have made no progress. - 4/9/15

Washington, Tehran Spin Framework Deal Different Ways

- There are two sides to every story. When it comes to the framework nuclear deal reached this month between world powers and Iran, there is the account provided by the United States, and there is the Iranian account. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/9/15

Iran's President Rouhani urges regional states to end aggression against Yemen

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned of the adverse consequences of the ongoing military campaign against Yemen, calling on regional countries to stop aggression and establish a ceasefire in the impoverished country. - 4/9/15

Iran Navy's 34th fleet sets sail for Gulf of Aden

- The 34th fleet of the Iranian Navy has left for the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait in line with the country's policy of safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region. - 4/9/15

Paul Singer's EMP Fetish

- The 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls making the rounds of potential campaign moneymen are treating hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer as a major kingmaker, along with his fellow Republican Jewish Coalition director, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 4/9/15

The U.S. and Israel: Diverging Interests

- It is often alleged that the basis for U.S.-Israeli relations lies in "shared concerns and interests." However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics - the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. -Lawrence Davidson, Counterpunch - 4/9/15

AIPAC's "No One Wants War" in Iran Claim Debunked

- After Iran and world powers announced a framework agreement last week laying out guidelines for a final nuclear deal due by the end of June, opponents of a deal went immediately on the defensive. One group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was perhaps the most explicit. Their next-day "memo" reportedly circulated in temples over Passover, one of the many famous policy documents they release to activists framed opposition to the framework agreement as rebuttals to arguments in favor of it. -Ali Gharib - 4/8/15

Iran's Supreme Leader to Turkey's Erdogan: Not seeing hidden hands in region is self-deception

- On Tuesday the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to bitter facts in certain regional countries including "savage" terrorist acts in Syria and Iraq, saying if any official does not see the hidden hands of enemies in these acts, he has deceived himself. - 4/8/15

CIA Chief Praises Iran Nuclear Deal

- CIA Director John Brennan defended the framework nuclear deal with Iran and said some criticism of it is "disingenuous." Brennan said in a speech at Harvard University on April 7 that he was surprised Iran had agreed to make so many concessions on its controversial nuclear program during negotiations with six world powers. - 4/8/15

Who Is Bankrolling Mark Kirk?

- Sunday New York Times published a front-page, must-read article ("GOP's Israel Support Deepens as Political Contributions Shift") about the ever-tightening relationship between billionaire donors, like Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer associated with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and key Republican politicians -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 4/8/15

China Says Iran Accepted As New Bank Founding Member

- Chinese media says Iran has been accepted as a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). State news agency Xinhua said on April 7 the bank's existing 26 members -- including China, Britain, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, and Italy -- also agreed to include the United Arab Emirates as a founding member. - 4/8/15

Why Iran's Revolutionary Guard Supports the Nuclear Deal

- With the framework of the Iran nuclear accord now in place after eight days of intensive negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, the specter of conservatives in both Iran and the United States derailing a final deal looms large. Journalists and pundits point to Iran's conservative Revolutionary Guard and paramilitary Basij organization as potential forces that could disrupt the hard work of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. -Narges Bajoghli - 4/7/15

Despite Odds, Turkey to Expand Trade With Iran

- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make a state visit Tuesday to Tehran. The Turkish president has indicated expanding trade relations will be a priority of his visit, with the prospect that international sanctions against Iran could soon be eased. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 4/7/15

Samore Goes To Bat For The Framework Agreement

- Say what you will about pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), from their connections to Iran-conflict profiteering to allegations of ties to intelligence agencies, they leave a path of unanswered questions about their motivations, funding, and mission. But over the past week, the group's ability to push for tighter sanctions on Iran and evermore hawkish U.S. negotiating positions seems to be slipping. - 4/7/15

President Obama: Iran Nuclear Agreement a 'Once-In-A-Lifetime' Opportunity

- President Barack Obama said the framework nuclear agreement reached last week with Iran represents a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to bring some stability to the Middle East - stability which would be good for Israel as well as other nations. However, some members of the U.S. Congress remain unconvinced and a key U.S. lawmaker plans to go ahead with legislation requiring Obama to submit any final agreement to Congress for debate and a vote. -Victor Beattie, VOA - 4/6/15

Lights and Shadows of the Lausanne Agreement

- The results obtained in Lausanne on April 2 in the negotiation between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) and Iran represent an outstanding landmark in the long process initiated by the first contacts in 2012 between Iran and the United States under the aegis of the Sultan of Oman. -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 4/6/15

The Wider Ramifications of the Ukraine Crisis

- The Ukraine crisis, as well as the broader deterioration in relations between Russia on the one hand and America and Europe on the other, is not taking place in a void. Many momentous events are happening simultaneously, including growing conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim World, increased tension between China and several of its neighbors, and the rise of India and certain other non-Western nations. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog - 4/6/15

Event at Stanford University: Women, Literature and Arts in the Middle East

- Attiya Ahmad (George Washington University), "Refracted Images: the Ordinariness of Middle Eastern Gendered Photography in Socio-Historical Context." - Dominic Brookshaw (Oxford University), "Telling Stories: The Female Voice in 19th and 20th Century Persian Poetry" - Nasrin Rahimieh (University of California, Irvine), "Women Writing Ordinary Lives" - 4/6/15

Israel PM sticks to 'bad deal' illusion over Iran's nuclear agreement

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again denounced a joint statement issued by Iran and the P5+1 countries in Switzerland as a "bad deal" which will endanger Tel Aviv's survival. - 4/5/15

Iranian artworks shine at Dubai Christie's auction

- Iranian artworks shone once again at the Dubai Christie's auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art held on March 18. "Zahra's Image", a mirror mosaic work made in 2009 by Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian that sold for $395,000, was among the highlights of the auction, Christie's announced on its website. - 4/5/15

The Importance of the Iran Agreement

- A dominant reaction to the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program, based especially on the State Department's fact sheet about the deal, is that it is remarkably detailed and thorough. The lead article in the New York Times described the agreement as "surprisingly specific and comprehensive." -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 4/5/15

Turkish President To Press Ahead With Iran Visit

- Reuters news agency reports the visit, set for April 7, comes in spite of recent tensions between the two countries. Some Iranian lawmakers had called for the visit to be cancelled after Erdogan publicly backed a Saudi-led military operation against Iran-allied Huthi rebels in Yemen. - 4/5/15

Iran: A Lesson in the Art of Building Confidence

- Much of the comment on yesterday's "decisive step" towards a "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA), which will ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, has been based on the factsheet put out by the White House. -Peter Jenkins - 4/4/15

This Is a Framework that Can Be Defended in Tehran

- What a day it was and on sizdeh bedar no less, the thirteenth and last day of the Nowruz holidays! So, whether planned or not, for the "government of hope and prudence," the name used to distinguish Rouhani's government from the Islamic Republic's previous administrations, it was an especially auspicious day to announce an agreed framework. -Farideh Farhi - 4/4/15

Iran nuclear deal: They've done it!

- At last they have done it! After 36 years of hostility between Iran and the West, 12 years of nuclear negotiations initially between Iran and the European Troika (Britain, France and Germany), followed by talks between Iran and the P5+1, finally the two sides have agreed on a framework for a final, comprehensive agreement before the end of June. -Farhang Jahanpour - 4/4/15

Obama Prepares for Showdown with Congress Over Iran Deal

- Two days after the deadline for reaching a deal over Iran's nuclear programme had passed, negotiators looked like they would be going home empty handed. But a surprisingly detailed framework was announced Apr. 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as in Washington, and in the same breath, U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged the battle he faces on Capitol Hill. -Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog - 4/4/15

The Iran Agreement Is Historic: Will Congress Destroy It?

- Take Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois and AIPAC stalwart. Building on his past theme comparing negotiations to the Munich Agreement that ceded the Sudetenland to Hitler, but didn't satisfy the Nazi appetite for conquest, Kirk lashed out. "Neville Chamberlain got a lot of more out of Hitler than Wendy Sherman"-the State Department number three-"got out of Iran," he said. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 4/4/15

Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program

- Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. - 4/3/15

Obama's Leadership and the New Framework Agreement with Iran

- Well, Obama did it. Or, rather, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the other members of the P5+1 (the UN Security Council members, Germany, plus the EU)-and let us not neglect Iran- have done it. This is not a bad several months' work. But now for the denizens of Washington and Washington-watchers everywhere, plus every possible party in the Middle East, the "fun" really begins. -Robert E. Hunter - 4/3/15

For better US-Iran relations, the Iranian people are the key

- American neoconservatives, Israeli hawks, and Arab dictators alike are haunted by the same nightmare: After a nuclear deal, the US and Iran will gravitate toward an unspoken alliance, after which the US will betray its security commitments to historical allies in the Middle East. -Trita Parsi, Quartz - 4/3/15

How Obama Should Handle Bibi

- To paraphrase Genesis, "And the eyes of the public were opened, and they knew that Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to the two-state solution was naked." The question now is whether the Obama administration will allow Israel to sew some fig leaves together and return to the charade of negotiations that will not lead to a resolution. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog - 4/3/15

On Legitimacy and Legality in Yemen

- Some hard-bitten fathers have been known to advise their youthful offspring that whenever someone prefaces their remarks with "To be honest," they are about to lie through their teeth. The same might be applied to politicians who wrap themselves in words like "legitimacy" and "legality." -James Spencer, LobeLog - 4/3/15
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