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The Republicans' 'Principled' Case For Killing The Iran Deal

- As the nation takes stock of the bizarre fever dream that took place in Cleveland this past week, it's easy to forget that the GOP actually unveiled its platform that translates the rhetoric - from "lock her up" to "kill the deal" - into actual policy proposals. -Jamal Abdi, Huffington Post - 7/23/16

Islamists at War in Turkey

- Last week witnessed what may be the last act of an unfolding struggle between two major Islamic movements in Turkey. Turkish president and leader of the AKP party Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused exiled Islamic leader Fethullah Gulen of plotting the failed coup against the government. Immediately thereafter Erdogan has unleashed massive Stalin-style purges and arrests across the country of anyone suspected of any connection with Gulen, or indeed of anyone of any ideology who opposes Erdogan. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/23/16

Iran busts terror cell near Pakistan border, detains 40: Interior Minister

- Iranian security forces have arrested 40 members of a terror cell that planned to carry out attacks in the eastern parts of the country, the interior minister says. Rahmani Fazli said the Iranian forces discovered and destroyed a 40-meter-long tunnel dug at a depth of 20 meters, which the terrorists had planned to use for their attacks. - 7/22/16

Congress Should Let the Boeing Deal Proceed

- Before adjourning for the summer, lawmakers in Congress found time to pass several bills that could imperil one of the most significant global security achievements in many years: the year-old nuclear deal that President Obama struck with Iran. This is not the first time that hard-line Republicans and their well-funded lobby group allies have tried to sabotage the deal... -New York Times Editorial - 7/22/16

From Iran to Nice, We Must Confront All Terrorism to End Terrorism

- France has unfortunately been the epicenter for two terrorism-related events in recent weeks. The tragic truck attack in Nice, which received international attention, and a rally recently held in Paris by a notorious Iranian opposition group -- the "Mujahedin-e Khalq," or MEK, which for years has committed acts of terrorism against Iran. While it might not be immediately evident, there is a connection between the events -- the groups behind them have been accused of atrocities and have historical ties to Saudi Arabia. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Huffington Post - 7/22/16

UN chief calls on world powers to make JCPOA beneficial for Iranians

- "I urge JCPOA participants to uphold their respective commitments and Member States to support the full and effective implementation of this agreement," said Ban in a statement released on Wednesday, which coincides with the first anniversary of a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal. - 7/21/16

Republican Platform: Build Border Wall, Outlaw Gay Marriage

- The Republican Party has crafted a new platform that both shows the direct influence of its 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump, as well as the traditionally conservative values upon which the party is built. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 7/20/16

The Saudis and 9/11: Is It Finally Over?

- From the perspective of the Saudi Arabian government, no news was really good news. The long-withheld 28 pages of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, released on Friday, provided scant evidence, and no incontrovertible proof, of government responsibility or involvement. Saudi officials celebrated as if their country had just been acquitted of a crime, as in a sense it had. -Thomas Lippman - 7/20/16

The Islamic State and Arab Muslim Regimes: Time for Another Look

- The Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has claimed that the French-Tunisian truck driver who plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice killing nearly 100 people and injuring over 200 as one of their "soldiers." The West and the Arab Muslim states must now take a hard look at IS and the radical violent ideology that drives it. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 7/20/16

Ban report based on incomplete info: Iranian FM

- Iran says a report by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the implementation of a nuclear deal with the country is "based on incomplete information." "We have said before that the UN has had no role in writing the JCPOA, thus, as we have seen, what he (the UN chief) has done does not benefit the agreement," Zarif said. - 7/19/16

Causes and Consequences of the Coup in Turkey

- One of the major reasons for the coup was the unhappiness of elements of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) who were opposed to the directions that the war against the PKK/KCK has taken during recent years. There was also considerable dissatisfaction around the decision by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to support the Islamic State (IS) after the March 2011 outbreak of civil war in Syria. -Robert Olson, LobeLog - 7/19/16

Iran court begins trials over Saudi embassy raids

- A court in Iran has begun the trial of the individuals involved in raids earlier this year against vacant Saudi diplomatic perimeters in the country. The raids occurred on January 2, when demonstrations were held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad - both of which were vacant at the time - over Saudi Arabia's move earlier to execute a prominent Saudi cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. - 7/18/16

Turkey's Lose-Lose Coup Situation

- The dismaying coup events in Turkey may take some time to be resolved. But one thing is already clear-this attempt at military intervention, however the final scenario plays itself out, is a disastrous lose-lose event for everyone in Turkey. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog - 7/18/16

Democracy, only solution to regional woes: Iran President

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the solution to regional problems does not lie in the use of force but rather in respecting democracy, adding that the era of military coups has come to a close. - 7/17/16

Regional Implications of the JCPOA

- What are the regional implications of the Iranian nuclear deal (the JCPOA)? A good place to start may be to ask what has not happened since the JCPOA was signed: (1) The regional states have not rushed to acquire independent nuclear capability. You may recall that this was widely predicted at the time... -Gary Sick - 7/16/16

NIAC Capitol Hill Briefing Assesses JCPOA Implementation and Complications

- "We should be pursuing another diplomatic win with the Iranians before the end of this administration," said New America's Suzanne DiMaggio, speaking at a National Iranian American Council (NIAC) briefing on Capitol Hill on July 14, marking the one year anniversary of the Iran nuclear agreement. - 7/16/16

Iran and Chinese claims in the South China Sea

- The international Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague (which has nothing to do with the ICJ or International Court of Justice), on 12 July 2016 voted unanimously (by five Judges) in a 497 page decision, that the Chinese claims for owning 85% of the South China Sea (one of the biggest and busiest maritime territories of the world and close to the size of entire India) was contrary to the international law of the sea. This was the response of court to a case filed by Philippines against China in 2013. - 7/16/16

Effort to Kill the Iran Nuclear Agreement Continues

- The one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is naturally an occasion for stock-taking, as such anniversaries commonly are. Much spinning is mixed in with the stock-taking, and it is worthwhile to take stock of the spinning as well as of the reality that is relevant to the agreement. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/16/16

One Year On: Why Iran Has Yet To Cash In On Nuclear Deal

- A year ago, the inking of a historic nuclear deal with world powers led some euphoric Iranians to dream of an economic boom and the end of international isolation. Despite the lifting of crippling sanctions that freed billions in assets and removed many obstacles to trade, there are few signs that Iranians have reaped the economic benefits that they had expected from the July 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. -Frud Bezhan and Hannah Kaviani, RFE - 7/15/16

U.S. House Approves New Sanctions On Iran Over Missiles, Terrorism

- The U.S. House passed two bills imposing new sanctions on Iran for continuing to develop ballistic missiles and denying the Iranian government and banks access to the U.S. financial system and dollars. But Democrats called the GOP bills cynical attempts to score points with grass roots conservative constituents in an election year. - 7/15/16

Hill Update on Iran Legislation

- As we have over the last year, 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. -LobeLog - 7/15/16

Saudi Supports Anti-Iran Fanatics

- If Saudi Arabia is on a quest to paint itself as a responsible actor in the region, the kingdom took a big step backward over the weekend. That's when a former top official-who remains an influential figure-declared support not only for regime change in Iran but for one of the strangest would-be agents of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. -Ali Gharib - 7/14/16

One Year After Iran Nuclear Deal, Sides Remain Compliant but Wary

- One year ago, exhausted diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers emerged from a meeting at a luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria with what they had been seeking for nearly two years: a comprehensive agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting harsh economic sanctions. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 7/14/16

Caspian Sea legal regime must guarantee littoral states' interests: Iran FM

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Caspian Sea's legal regime should guarantee that the interests of the littoral states are met in view of the geopolitical developments. Zarif made the remark in a ministerial meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Wednesday. - 7/14/16

Kurdish Rebels, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Renew Decades-old Conflict

- Kurdish rebels have been clashing with Iran's Revolutionary Guard since mid-June in an area along the Iran-Iraq border, according to Iran's state TV. Videos on social media also allegedly show Iran shelling positions held by Kurdish rebels. -Sirwan Kajjo, Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 7/14/16

Senate Bill Beefs Up U.S. Sanctions On Iran Over Missiles, Terrorism

- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation to sanction persons involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and require the president to enforce an arms embargo against Tehran. - 7/14/16

Saudi Arabia's Perspective on the U.S. Presidential Race

- The Saudi leadership is coming to terms with the possibility of Donald Trump becoming America's 45th president. From Riyadh's perspective, a Trump presidency represents many risks stemming from countless unknown variables surrounding the Republican Party's presumptive nominee. It appears that this is exactly what Trump wants. In the real estate mogul's words, "We must, as a nation, be more unpredictable." -Giorgio Cafiero and Joshua Hodge, LobeLog - 7/14/16

Poll: Iranian Public Souring on Nuclear Deal, Rouhani

- A brand-new public opinion poll conducted by on behalf of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland finds that Iranians have not experienced the economic benefits they expected following the successful implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Consequently, opinion is beginning to turn on the nuclear deal and on its chief Iranian architect, President Hassan Rouhani, who is expected to stand for reelection next year. -Derek Davison - 7/13/16

U.S. House To Vote On Legislation To Derail Iran Nuclear Deal

- The U.S. House on July 13 will vote on Republican legislation to undercut President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran nearly a year after the deal was announced. The White House issued a threat to veto the legislation on July 10, saying it would kill the nuclear agreement, which it said remains "critical to ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is and will remain exclusively peaceful." - 7/13/16

Iranian vessels mounted with machine guns approach US warship in Strait of Hormuz

- In the latest escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran, five Iranian military vessels maneuvered extremely close to a US warship carrying a top American general just six months after two US ships were detained by Iran. - 7/13/16

Russian, Iranian, Azerbaijani Presidents To Meet In Baku

- The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan are expected to hold talks in Baku early next month. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour said on July 13 that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rohani will meet with their Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in the Azerbaijani capital on August 8. - 7/13/16

US figures urge more Iran engagement

- More than 75 high-profile current and former US political and military personalities have written to US President Barack Obama, advising that he pursue deeper engagement with Iran. Politico reported the development on Monday, saying the letter was penned by bipartisan signatories. "Given the stakes, the US will need more, not less, engagement with Iran," they wrote. - 7/12/16

Anniversary of Iran Nuclear Deal: Neocons Still Anti-Diplomacy

- There is going to be a storm of hot takes to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal. And the first drops are already falling. The take that caught my eye at this early stage is a curtain-raiser exemplar of neoconservative thought a year after the accord. It comes our way in the pages of the Weekly Standard, authored by Michael Makovsky, the head of the neocon outfit, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. -Ali Gharib - 7/12/16

Saudi Backing of Iranian Exile Group Inflames Mideast Conflicts

- Prince Turki al-Faisal, a respected former Saudi ambassador to Britain and the United States, startled many observers when he turned up Saturday at a conference in Paris of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq or MEK. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 7/12/16

Iran says it has regained 80% of its lost oil market share

- Mohsen Qamsari, the director of international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), has told Bloomberg that Iran's success to regain a major share of its lost market has been materialized through the country's ability to export about 2 million barrels of crude oil per day. - 7/12/16

Saudi bids to revitalize MKO doomed to failure: IRGC

- A commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says efforts by Saudi Arabia and foreign media to pump new blood into the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group are doomed to failure. - 7/11/16

One Year On: The Iran Deal Has Fulfilled Its Promise

- The annual Herzliya Conference made headlines a few weeks back simply due to the fact that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled out a no holds barred attack on Benjamin Netanyahu. It was interesting to hear that Ya'lon told the crowd that "at this point in time and in the near future, Israel does not face any existential threats." Ya'alon tied his remarks to theIran nuclear deal, and in doing so fell in line with IDF assessments, which were laid out by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot in January 2016 during the INSS Conference. -Shemuel Meir, LobeLog - 7/11/16

Washington will have to pay dearly if it breaches JCPOA: Iran nuclear official

- Iran's top nuclear official has stressed the Islamic Republic's strong commitment to the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and six world countries in July 2015, warning the United States about the negative repercussions of violating the deal. - 7/9/16

Iran Vows To Continue Missile Tests Despite UN Chief's Criticism

- Ban warned that Iran's missile tests could increase tensions in the Middle East. His report stopped short of calling the missile launches a "violation" of the UN resolution carrying out the nuclear deal, a determination he said was up to the Security Council. The United States and its allies have called the tests a UN sanctions violation, but Russia and China have blocked attempts to punish Iran for it. - 7/9/16

Iran plant blaze not act of sabotage: Minister of Petroleum

- Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says a raging blaze at a petrochemical plant in southwest Iran has not been caused as a result of an act of sabotage. The blaze started with an explosion in a key tower of the plant - the tallest in the Middle East. There have also been conflicting reports on the number of casualties. - 7/8/16

Maryam Rajavi -- MEK Propaganda Queen -- Advertises Her Serives For Iran's Enemies

- The Middle East is in turmoil. Deaths and destruction are a daily occurrence throughout the region. Families flee their homes in fear, forced into an uncertain future. No end is in sight. Yet into this calamitous scenario a slick, sophisticated terrorist recruiter's advert has popped up which ISIS itself could learn from. -Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post - 7/7/16

The US could have destroyed Iran's entire infrastructure without dropping a single bomb

- The United States had a top-secret operation that gave it the ability to shut down much of Iran's infrastructure ahead of a full-scale war, without a single bomb being dropped. -Paul Szoldra, Tech Insider - 7/7/16

Decades On, Land Mines Shatter Young Lives in Iran

- Remnants of a war fought decades ago continue to devastate innocent lives in Iran. During the conflict with Iraq in the 1980s, millions of land mines were buried throughout Iran's western border provinces. Despite efforts by government demining programs, an unknown amount of undetonated ordnance still litters the countryside. -John Otis, NY Times - 7/6/16

Teacher's Rights Champion Beaten and Slapped with New Charge after He Attempts to Visit Political Prisoner

- A little over a week after teachers' rights activist Rassoul Bodaghi was conditionally released from prison on April 29, 2016, he was charged with "insulting the supreme leader" and now faces up to three more years in jail. - 7/5/16

Iranian TV Claims Tehran Thwarted IS Plans For Paris-Style Attacks

- Iranian state television aired a documentary claiming that militants detained last month and linked with Islamic State had been paid to carry out assaults in Tehran like the ones in Brussels and Paris. - 7/5/16

Iranian Dissident Camp Near Baghdad Airport Shelled; Several Injured

- A camp for Iranian dissidents near Baghdad's international airport was shelled, injuring several people, Iraqi officials and camp residents said on July 4. The bombardment set fire to several caravans in the camp, where members of the opposition People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran are waiting to be resettled outside the country. - 7/5/16

Software AG forays into Iran's IT sector

- Germany's Software AG, a world leader in enterprise Software and solutions, has announced serious plans to venture into the Iranian IT market. The company, the second largest software vendor in Germany and the seventh largest in Europe, says this is part of a strategy to leverage its potential of becoming the fastest-growing IT sector in the Middle East region in the next five years. - 7/4/16

Saudi Arabia: When Anger Substitutes for Diplomacy

- When the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini meets with her counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at an EU-GCC ministerial meeting on July 20 in Brussels, the mood will be far from jubilant... At the root of these disagreements are conflicting policies toward Saudi Arabia's great nemesis, Iran. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 7/3/16

Democratic Party Platform Fight on Israel and Palestine

- At last week's Democratic Party platform drafting meeting, I introduced Bernie Sanders' amendment to the Israel/Palestine section calling for and end to the occupation and settlements. What follows are my comments, speaking for the amendment -James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 7/3/16

Iran Leader Says Will Not Coordinate With U.S. Over Syria

- Iran's supreme leader says Tehran will never coordinate with the United States on Syria and other regional conflicts. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks published on his website July 3 that "we don't want such coordination as their main objective is to stop Iran's presence in the region." - 7/3/16

Report: US Sailors' Detention by Iranian Forces 'Wholly Preventable'

- PENTAGON- The detention of 10 U.S. sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier this year was "wholly preventable," according to the commander of naval forces in the Middle East. -Carla Babb, VOA - 7/1/16

Will Clinton Follow the Money on Foreign Policy?

- With a combined $10 million in contributions, billionaire Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl Saban are emerging as the biggest donors to the super PAC Priorities USA Action, which supports Hillary Clinton. For her part, Clinton has done much to assure Saban, who described himself in a 2010 New Yorker interview as a "one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel," that she shares his views on Israel. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 7/1/16

IRGC warns KRG officials over insecurities in western Iran

- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' second-in-command has warned Kurdish officials against loose commitment to security issues, days after terrorist cells were smashed in northwestern Iran by IRGC patrol units. - 7/1/16

America's Most Jewish Congressional District Bucks Anti-Iran Challenger

- Will Democrats pay politically for supporting the Iran deal? At least where Democratic primaries are concerned, that doesn't seem to be the case. On Tuesday, Rep. Jerry Nadler, an incumbent from New York with more than two decades in the House, overwhelming won his Democratic primary-with almost 90 percent of the vote-virtually ensuring him re-election this fall. -Ali Gharib - 6/30/16

Explainer: What's Behind Sudden Clashes In Northwestern Iran?

- Clashes erupted this month between Kurdish fighters and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), with each side claiming to have inflicted casualties on the other. The country's heavily censored media have even reported the fighting and acknowledged fatalities on the government side. But why the sudden flare-up? -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 6/30/16

War Between Kurds and Turks?

- Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), has mentioned several times in the last few months that Turkey and its Kurdish population will go to war. He stated such a possibility in early March while in Washington and has repeated it several times since. "By summer, the tension between the PKK and the government could grow," he said at the time. -Robert Olson, LobeLog - 6/30/16

Iran will never invade another country, will defend itself decisively: President Rouhani

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic will never use its military might to invade another country but will decisively defend itself against any potential aggression. - 6/29/16

House GOP Plan for Iran Riddled with Errors

- Paul Ryan recently published the National Security Policy section of the House GOP's new "A Better Way Plan" aimed at uniting the party around core policy positions in advance of the Republican National Convention on July 18-21. The national security section covers the full spectrum of U.S. foreign policy and is highly critical of the Obama administration's foreign policy achievements. -Karina Bakhshi and AzarUbtene Zamaninia, NIAC - 6/29/16

Female Musician Makes Waves in Male-Dominated Afghanistan

- In a conservative and traditional country like Afghanistan, where women can be burned, lashed and stoned simply for their gender, it takes a lot of courage for a young woman to play music in public. Fazila Zamir has plenty. -Sitara Sadaat, Huffington Post - 6/29/16

Obama Is Right Not to Say "Radical Islam."

- The recent verbal attacks by the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his supporters on President Barack Obama for avoiding the phrase "radical Islam" in his public pronouncements are simplistic, racially inflammatory -- and flatly misinformed. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/29/16

Iran's Leader Denounces Bahrain Government's 'Foolishness'

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused Bahrain's Sunni-led government of "blatant foolishness and insanity" for stripping the kingdom's most prominent Shi'ite cleric of his citizenship. - 6/27/16

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Declines Russian Bid To Enlist Iran

- The China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization has refused to enlist Iran, despite a request from Russia. While begun in China, the Asian security bloc has served as a platform for both Moscow and Beijing to project influence in Central and South Asia. But unlike Russia, China is showing some reluctance to give it a strong anti-Western bias. - 6/24/16

Iran's Zarif meets French President in Paris

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Boosting bilateral ties following Iran's historic nuclear deal, economic and business affairs, and the Middle East security issues, especially the conflict in Syria, were discussed during the Wednesday meeting, Zarif said. - 6/23/16

Protecting the World's Shia: Where's the International Community?

- Only a few short months ago, Saudi Arabia executed the Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr, and the Nigerian military killed hundreds of the country's Shia and severely wounded their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Yaqoub Zakzaki. Now, Bahraini authorities have stripped one of the principal leaders of the Bahraini Shia, Sheikh Isa Qasim, of his citizenship. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/23/16

The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Gulf Littoral States

- It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran disagree these days on virtually all issues facing the tumultuous Middle East. The two countries have opposing agendas on a host of matters, ranging from OPEC's oil production policies to the U.S. military's role in the region, as well as the bloody conflicts plaguing the Arab world. -Giorgio Cafiero and Joshua Hodge, LobeLog - 6/23/16

Bahrain's Unending Repression: Enough Already!

- The al-Khalifa ruling regime's decision to strip Sheikh Isa Qasim of his Bahraini citizenship on a trumped-up and patently false charge is yet another example of the ruling family's deepening repression. This respected Shia cleric has always called for non-violent resistance and has abhorred the confrontational tactics that some hotheaded protesters have employed in the past. -Emile Nakhleh - 6/23/16

Commentary: One Year In, the Iran Nuclear Deal Is Working

- Nearly a year after Iran and a U.S.-led international community reached a landmark nuclear deal, the good news is that there almost isn't any news about Iran's nuclear program. In its second report since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was implemented Jan. 16, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found no evidence that Iran has failed to comply with its pledges to restrict its nuclear activities. Stringent IAEA monitoring is one reason why it is extremely unlikely that Iran could build a nuclear weapon undetected. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 6/22/16

Iran Warns Bahrain Over Top Shi'ite Cleric

- In a statement carried by Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency, the commander of the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qasem Soleimani, warned Bahrain's government that it faces "dire repercussions" for its action against Qassem. Soleimani said the response may include "armed resistance" and the "overthrow"of the ruling dynasty. - 6/21/16

Biden Slams Trump's Anti-Muslim Stands, Embrace Of Putin

- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's anti-Muslim policies could backfire and hurt the United States. "Some of the rhetoric I'm hearing sounds designed to radicalize all 1.4 billion" Muslims around the world, Biden said on June 20 at the Center for New American Security, a Washington think tank. - 6/21/16

UN Refugee Chief Says Displaced Afghans 'Forgotten'

- The UN's refugee chief has said displaced Afghans had already been "forgotten" by the international community before they began arriving in Europe in large numbers last year. On a visit to Iran on June 18, Filippo Grandia said his first regional tour as the new UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was focused on Afghan refugees. - 6/20/16

Iranian State TV Claims Officials Busted Massive Terror Plot

- "In a criminal plot of the anti-Islamic terrorist takfiri groups, a series of bombings had been planned in several places of the country for the coming days ... the terrorists were arrested and some bombs and a huge amount of explosives were seized," National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani is quoted as saying. - 6/20/16

Iran next to join emerging power SCO: Kazakhstan President

- Iran is next to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which will officially have India and Pakistan on its roster next week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said. Leaders of the regional security group, led by China and Russia, will meet for the summit of their leaders in Uzbekistan's capital of Tashkent on June 23 and 24. - 6/18/16

Another Israeli Right-Winger Breaks With Netanyahu on Iran Deal

- When world powers led by the United States signed a nuclear deal with Iran, American neoconservatives and other pro-Israel hawks were positively apoplectic. Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois who enjoys a consistent windfall of pro-Israel campaign cash, said that the deal was worse than the Munich agreement with Nazi Germany. The Wall Street Journal opinion page's Bret Stephens actually used that as a headline: "Worse than Munich." -Ali Gharib - 6/18/16

Pro-Israeli sides warn Boeing on Iran deal

- A groundswell of opposition is building among pro-Israeli politicians in the US against Boeing's plans to sell aircraft to Iran. The Chicago-based aerospace giant has reportedly received requests for more information after Iran said on Tuesday it had reached an initial agreement with Boeing for the supply of jetliners. - 6/18/16

Turkey to triple trade with Iran to $30B

- Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci says the country has serious plans to triple trade with Iran to $30 billion "as soon as possible". Tufenkci told Reuters on Thursday that the January removal of sanctions against Iran has already prepared the grounds for Tehran and Ankara to boost the level of their mutual trade. - 6/17/16
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