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April 23 2014
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Mark Kirk: First I was for the State Department, Now I Prefer Israel

- Well, I guess now-Sen. Mark Kirk's faith in the State Department has been diminished somehow, but one wonders why. What happened in the 12 years between the time when he considered the institution and its diplomatic skills as his "best friend" and now when it seems he thinks of its leaders as a bunch of partisan, glory-seeking, uninformed, Israeli intelligence-deniers? -Jim Lobe - 4/21/14

"The Soul Of War": Shokoufeh Malekkiani International Iranian Photographer Exhibition at the Agora Gallery New York City

- Shokoufeh Malekkiani blends her extraordinary artistic vision with a dedication to philanthropic causes as she continues to make a difference in this world. According to Malekkiani, "the power of art is limitless," and it is her greatest hope that she is able to leverage that artistic power to shed light on some of humanity's most devastating realities. - 4/17/14

Iranian institute organizes puppet show project to promote world peace

- Simorgh, a major Iranian company for theatrical productions, has organized a puppet show project, which plans to promote peace in the world. A group composed of Iranian, British, U.S., Canadian and Turkish thespians and puppeteers is scheduled to travel across the world to perform an antiwar play entitled "The Last Leaf" - 4/15/14

The follies of Santorum's Hitler analogy

- The recent op-ed by Rick Santorum and Joel C. Rosenberg is yet another attempt to stymie and shackle Iran and international negotiators in ongoing talks about Iran's peaceful nuclear program. Iran should be able to enjoy its right to peaceful nuclear energy while avoiding further hostilities and instability. Particularly illogical is their joining in the decades-old rhetoric, comparing who they see as their foe -- Iran -- to Adolf Hitler. -Hamid Babaei - 4/2/14

Uniting Iran and America in life and death: a tribute to Professor Richard N. Frye

- Many have tried to unite humanity through their life. Rare is the person who consciously seeks to bring unity through his/her death. Special is the human being who looks at death as yet another chance to bring humanity together. -Omid Safi, RNS - 3/31/14

Will US sanctions scuttle a nuclear deal with Iran?

- Tyler Cullis and Trita Parsi outline the findings and ramifications of a new report from the National Iranian American Council (NAIC) on President Obama's legal authority to roll back sanctions against Iran as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal. -Iran Matters - 3/25/14

The manufactured story about Iran's nuclear program

- In his latest groundbreaking book, entitled A Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of Iran Nuclear Scare, the historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter catalogs a long list of false reports manufactured by Israeli intelligence agencies in order to mislead the public and pave the way for a war against Iran. -Farhang Jahanpour - 3/22/14

US Needs to Put Its Mideast Plan on the Table

- The kidney-shaped West Bank is now so thoroughly penetrated by settlements that it resembles that organ crisscrossed by arteries and veins. Indeed, the number of settlers on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem has more than doubled since 1995 from 230,000 to more than 560,000. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 3/22/14

Do Neocons Want a Deal with Iran?

- As talks over a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program continue in Vienna (the next round will be April 7-9) it seems that even those neoconservatives who supported sanctions and negotiation as peaceful paths to a settlement want little from these talks beyond a justification for war. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 3/21/14

President Obama's Nowruz Message to the Iranian People

- President Obama sends best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz. In his video message, the President speaks directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the possibility for the first time in many years of a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world - including a better relationship with the United States and the American people. - 3/20/14

NIAC Applauds General License for U.S.-Iran Academic Exchanges

- NIAC strongly supports the Obama Administration's decision this Norooz to exempt educational exchanges from sanctions. NIAC is pleased that 'General License G' addresses key obstacles to building bridges between Iran and the U.S. Educational exchanges are immensely important in tearing down the barriers and rebuilding a long overdo friendship between Iranians and Americans. - 3/20/14

John Kerry joins the Norouz celebration

- On the occasion of Iranian New Year (Norouz), United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, sent a twit today sharing the photo of "Sofreh Haftsin" outside his office and sending his best wishes for a happy new year. - 3/20/14

Bibi's Epic Fail

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to the United States has ended in an unprecedented failure. On the Palestinian front, the Iranian front and the domestic US front, Netanyahu's efforts last week ran badly aground. Let's review the categories. -Mitchell Plitnick - 3/14/14

U.S.-Iran Diplomacy Now Stronger Than Netanyahu's Pressure

- "The status quo, in which Netanyahu visits Washington, addresses AIPAC, and Congress agrees to slap new sanctions on Iran, has been turned on its head," said NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi. "The White House, leaders in Congress, outside organizations, and the American people have all put their foot down and said that we don't want a war and more sanctions, we want to give diplomacy a chance." - 3/14/14

Give Iran Peace (Talks) a Chance?

- Prominent neoconservative writers Bret Stephens and Reuel Marc Gerecht called for a much tougher approach to talks with Iran over its nuclear program in a debate hosted here by the McCain Institute on March 11. The discussion comes one week before talks aimed at a final deal between Iran and world powers resume in Vienna. -Derek Davison - 3/14/14

NIAC Commends EU High Representative Ashton for Landmark Iran Visit

- "Catherine Ashton's trip to Iran is a welcome step towards resolving the tensions between Iran and the West through dialogue and diplomacy. Institutionalized silence and pressure politics have only deepened distrust, which has played into the hands of hardliners, perpetuated the nuclear crisis and seen the human rights situation in Iran deteriorate. - 3/11/14

AIPAC's Plan C on Iran Diplomacy Blunted

- It's been a difficult annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its hopes of getting Congress to set the toughest possible conditions on any final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. -Jim Lobe - 3/7/14

Netanyahu's Anti-Iranian Rant

- Benjamin Netanyahu's tiresome vilification of Iran has taken on the characteristics of a rote obsession that diverges farther and farther from truth, reality, and his own ostensible objective. -Paul Pillar, National Interest - 3/6/14

NIAC Statement on House and Senate Iran Letters

- National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Policy Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding Congressional letters on U.S.-Iran negotiations sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the Senate and Representatives Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the House: - 3/5/14

Here's the AIPAC-Approved House Version of Iran Letter to Obama

- With the snow in Washington and Russian moves in Crimea diverting all national news attention away from AIPAC's ongoing policy conference, I understand House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer are circulating their own AIPAC-approved letter among colleagues for signature. -Jim Lobe - 3/4/14

38 Organizations Urge Congress to Support Diplomacy, Uphold Iran Deal

- hirty-eight national organizations, including NIAC, FCNL, Win Without War, and J Street, have sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging that Congress uphold the preliminary nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran and support negotiations towards a final deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon and averts an unnecessary war. - 2/28/14

Where Is AIPAC On New Republican Push?

- Just four days before 14,000 members arrive for AIPAC's annual policy conference and a keynote by none other than Bibi Netanyahu himself, the group appears at sea, tossed between Republicans eager to do the Likud leader's bidding and embarrass President Barack Obama on the one hand and the administration and leading Democratic lawmakers who believe that any new sanctions legislation will likely sabotage the ongoing negotiations with Iran and bring the country closer to another Mideast war. -Jim Lobe - 2/28/14

Engage Iran Beyond the Nuclear Issue

- No matter from what direction one views the Middle East, Iran is presently very important. It is a player in the Persian Gulf and in a dominant military position; it is heavily engaged in the Syrian conflict; its influence with Hezbollah and Lebanon is significant; and it's as concerned as we are over the revival of the Taliban and Sunni Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. -Charles Naas, LobeLog - 2/22/14

US Views on Iran Poll Results Offer More Bad News for AIPAC

- Just 11 days before the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the embattled organization got some more bad news, this time in the form of a Gallup poll suggesting that nearly ten years of effort in demonizing Iran in the U.S. public mind may be going down the drain. -Jim Lobe - 2/22/14

PAAIA Releases Report on U.S. Interests Section in Iran

- The idea of establishing an American-staffed Interests Section in Iran was first considered by the George W. Bush administration and had the support of then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. An interests section would be responsible for protecting America's interests in Iran. It would not, however, be equivalent to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with Iran. - 2/21/14

In Vienna, U.S. and Iran Inch Toward a Better Future

- As nuclear talks commence here in Vienna, much of the discussion has rightly focused on the various technical details that a final nuclear deal must address. Indeed, the devil is in the details. However, the bigger picture is no less important, and it provides an important backdrop to the negotiations that will be taking place here over the next few days. -Reza Marashi - 2/21/14

EU's Ashton Says 'Good Start' In Nuclear Talks

- European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says six world powers and Iran have made a "good start" during "very productive talks" this week on Tehran's controversial nuclear program. Speaking after three days of talks in Vienna, Ashton said the two sides will meet again on March 17. - 2/20/14

Iran Project Report Assesses Debate Over New Sanctions

- The Iran Project has just published the first in a series of "Short Reports" on Iran, its negotiations with the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany), and U.S. policy, which it plans to put out over the next few months. This one, entitled "Assessing Claims and Counter Claims over New Sanctions," reviews the recent debate over the Kirk-Menendez bill. S. 1881, which I called the "Wag the Dog Act of 2013." -Jim Lobe - 2/19/14

Renewed Iranian-American Relations Stabilize World Politics

- Arshin Adib-Moghaddam took part in an interview with Iran Review to discuss his viewpoints regarding the recent agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, US Congress efforts to escalate unilateral sanctions against Iran and the future of relations between Iran and the United States and Europe. - 2/19/14

Over 100 Members of Congress Call for Diplomacy with Iran

- Days before talks on a permanent agreement between P5+1 countries and Iran are set to begin in New York City, 104 Members of the US House of Representatives sent President Obama a bipartisan letter supporting continued diplomatic engagement with Iran. - 2/13/14

NIAC Applauds "Give Diplomacy a Chance" Congressional Letter

- The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) commends the 104 Members of Congress who signed the bipartisan "Give Diplomacy a Chance" letter sent to President Obama today. NIAC applauds the efforts of Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. David Price (D-NC) and everyone who worked to make this letter a success. - 2/13/14

The Illusion of AIPAC's Invincibilit

- The defeat of AIPAC's ill-advised push for new sanctions on Iran in the midst of successful negotiations is nothing short of historic. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 2/11/14

A Flailing AIPAC

- In a remarkable demonstration of the the increasingly vulnerable state into which AIPAC appears to have thrown itself, the Israel lobby's premier group released a new statement this afternoon clarifying that it still supports the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" Act less than 24 hours after announcing that it no longer supported an immediate vote on the legislation. -Jim Lobe - 2/8/14

Preventing A Nuclear Iran

- Now that an interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the 6 world powers known as the P5+1 is being implemented, the atmosphere of "imminent war" that existed around Iran and the US from 2011-2012 may be a fading memory. But as readers of this blog know, that was precisely the case just a couple of years ago, and if we're not careful, could be again. -Jasmin Ramsey - 2/7/14

Menendez, AIPAC Beat Tactical Retreat

- The chief Democratic co-sponsor of the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" bill, Sen. Robert Menendez, took to the floor of the Senate Thursday to express his opposition to a letter from 42 of his Republican colleagues declaring their determination to get a vote on the bill but also re-asserting his strong support for it. -Jim Lobe - 2/7/14

IRAN-P5+1 DEAL: Positive steps but hawks try to derail it

- In his State of the Union Address on 28th February, President Barack Obama bluntly pointed out that if the hawks in Congress pushed for a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran he would veto that bill. This brave and almost unprecedented move by President Obama has silenced, at least for the time being, the opposition to the Joint Plan of Action that was agreed by Iran and the P5+1 last November. -Farhang Jahanpour - 2/6/14

Misread Telexes Led Analysts to See Iran Nuclear Arms Program

- When Western intelligence agencies began in the early 1990s to intercept telexes from an Iranian university to foreign high technology firms, intelligence analysts believed they saw the first signs of military involvement in Iran's nuclear program. That suspicion led to U.S. intelligence assessments over the next decade that Iran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. -Gareth Porter, - 2/6/14

The Hope For Improved US-Iran Relations

- Since the start of the Geneva negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, expectation of peace dividend has increased in Iranian public opinion. More than the nuclear talks itself, people in Iran hope that the unprecedented sanctions will be eased, and that generally speaking the 35 year cold war between Iran and the US would come to an end. -Fareed Marjaee - 2/5/14

SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Obscures More Important Economic Pressure On Israel

- When I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, I tried to avoid the unpleasant experience of also watching Scarlett Johansson's shameful ad for SodaStream, but failed. That controversy has been boiling for the past week, and while supporters of Israel's draconian occupation policies are dancing over Johansson's decision to stand by SodaStream, the tune they're dancing to is Nero fiddling while Rome burns. -Mitchell Plitnick - 2/4/14

AIPAC's Annus Horribilis?

- The year of 2014 is starting well for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the premier organization of this country's Israel lobby. Not only has it been clearly and increasingly decisively defeated - at least for now and the immediate future - in its bid to persuade a filibuster-proof, let alone a veto-proof, super-majority of senators to approve the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" Act that was designed to torpedo the Nov. 24 "Joint Plan of Action" (JPA) between Iran and the P5+1... -Jim Lobe - 2/1/14

EXHIBITION at YBCA, San Francisco: Room for Big Ideas: The Chasm Arena

- This exhibition juxtaposes works by Palestinian artist Zeina Barakeh and Israeli artist Michal Gavish, centering on conflict, reconciliation, and history. Five Iranian artists participated in the audio part of this world-shaking project: Omid Fallahazad, Samira Hashemi, Pantea Karimi, Mahshid Modares, and Minoosh Zomorodinia. - 1/31/14

A Manufactured Crisis

- The subtitle of Gareth Porter's new book, The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, is well-chosen. Large parts of A Manufactured Crisis are indeed untold till now. They amount to what the author terms an "alternative narrative". But don't be misled by "alternative". This is not the work of some crank who imagines conspiracies where none exist. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 1/30/14

JINSA Split on Iran Deal, Urges U.S. Support If Israelis Attack

- Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) claims that it has U.S. national security interests at heart, but it's difficult to understand how U.S. backing for an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities will serve U.S. national interests if negotiators are still trying to work out the details of a final agreement six months from now. -Jim Lobe - 1/29/14

'World Elders' Visit Iran, Call For End To Syria 'Nightmare'

- A delegation of former world leaders known as "The Elders" has come to Iran and called for an end to what they described as Syria's "nightmare." The group, led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, met in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. - 1/28/14

At the movies: 300 are baaack!

- Last week we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968), the legendary African-American civil rights movement leader, who fundamentally changed the way we tackle the thorny issue of race and racial equality in the United States. And speaking of calendars, on 7 March 2014 (less than 7 weeks), the 300: Rise of an Empire movie will come to a theater near you. -A.J. Cave - 1/27/14

Iran volleyball team invited to play friendlies in US

- The US Volleyball Federation has invited Iran's squad to America to hold friendlies in the city of Los Angeles, writes the official website of the Iranian Volleyball Federation. - 1/23/14

Another Example of Why Congress Should Not Let the Bibi Dog Wag the U.S. Tail

- The front-page article by Jodi Rudoren about Israel's "Castle Strategy" in Sunday's New York Times offers yet one more example - and right in the opening paragraph - of why the Kirk-Menendez "Wag the Dog" Act of 2013 is so dangerous to the security of the United States. -Jim Lobe - 1/21/14

Iran's Rouhani Needs a Nuclear Resolution

- After 34 years of enmity, Tehran and Washington are heavily invested in the success of a deal over Iran's nuclear programme achieved through teamwork. Now the political future of Iran's new moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, depends on this issue. -Jasmin Ramsey - 1/18/14

Fighting Off Peace

- The US faces a grave crisis. One threatening our economic well-being and modern political system. We seem destined for a ruinous enemy deficit. If President Barack Obama has his way, Iran and America, after 35 years of enmity, may be headed for reconciliation, a serious diminution of tensions, an end to constant blustering, proxy conflicts and freely flowing bile. -Henry Precht - 1/16/14

Israel Lobby Thwarted in Iran Sanctions Bid For Now

- In what looks to be a clear victory - at least for now - for President Barack Obama, a major effort by the Israel lobby and its most powerful constituent, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to pass a new sanctions bill against Iran has stalled in the U.S. Senate. -Jim Lobe - 1/16/14

Flaws in the Kirk-Menendez Iran Sanctions (Wag the Dog) Bill

- Ed Levine, an arms control specialist who worked for both Republican and Democratic senators for 20 years on the Intelligence Committee and another ten on the Foreign Relations Committee, has written a detailed and devastating analysis of S. 1881, the Kirk-Menendez bill, for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation on whose advisory board he currently serves. -Jim Lobe - 1/15/14

AIPAC Still Trying to Torpedo Iran Nuke Deal

- As preliminary Iran Nuke deal is finalized and set to go into effect next Monday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is pushing for Congress to pass new sanctions against Iran which would violate and likely nullify the historic agreement. - 1/15/14

Diplomacy Offers Best Possible Outcome for Iran-US

- Iran Review had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Dr. Parsi about US Senate's new bill (Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013), differences between the US Congress and the White House, Iranian parliament's (Majlis) drafting of new bill for raising the level of uranium enrichment to 60 percent, and resolution of deep-rooted differences between Iran and the United States. - 1/15/14

Feinstein's Denunciation of Kirk-Menendez Iran Act May Be Decisive...

- Tuesday's floor speech by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein could bury AIPAC's hopes of winning passage of what I have called the Kirk-Menendez Wag the Dog Act of least for the next month or so. -Jim Lobe - 1/15/14

62 Organizations Warn Senate Against New Iran Sanctions

- Sixty-two organizations delivered a joint letter to the Senate today urging the Senate to oppose new Iran sanctions legislation, S.1881, that they say would "critically endanger the possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran, increasing the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran and an unnecessary and costly war." - 1/14/14

New Congressional Sanctions on Iran Will Backfire . . . on Congress

- Despite strong opposition by the White House and the States Department and despite the pleadings of some of the most prominent bipartisan US foreign policy luminaries who have warned that additional sanctions would jeopardize ongoing diplomatic efforts, many US senators are pushing forward with a new resolution that is supported by the same neocons that brought us the Iraq war. -Farhang Jahanpour - 1/13/14

Silk Road Ensemble Celebrates Cultural Harmony

- Spices, fragrant oils, gems and silk were bought and sold along the 6,500-kilometer trading route that stretched from China to the Mediterranean. However, cellist and UN Peace Ambassador Yo-Yo Ma says cross-cultural exchanges and understanding were the ancient route's most precious products. Ma founded the 31-member ensemble, whose members represent 20 countries, to express that spirit of exploration and sharing. -Adam Phillips, VOA - 1/12/14

Moving Forward With Iran

- For years predictions about Iran's nuclear program have been alarmist or defensive: Iran will get the bomb anytime now to every justification possible for the continuation of its program despite the many costs. Central to these hypotheses was one refrain: the US and Iran will not reach an agreement. -Jasmin Ramsey - 1/11/14

Neocons Who Brought You The Iraq War Endorse AIPAC's Iran Bill

- The neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor organization of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), has just published another open letter (reproduced below) to Congressional leaders that implicitly endorses what I have called the "Kirk-Menendez Wag the Dog Act of 2013," known officially as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881). - 1/10/14

Tell Your Senators to STOP New Iran Sanctions Bill!

- A growing number of Senators are preparing to kill the interim deal with Iran and pass new sanctions to put us on the path to war. President Obama has issued a rare veto threat against the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has thus far opposed bringing the bill up for a vote. If we get 40 Senators to oppose it, a vote will not happen. If 34 Senators oppose it, a veto will be sustained and the bill will not become law. - 1/10/14

Tell your senators and Obama: No threat of new Iran sanctions!

- Urged on by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and by the Israeli and Saudi Arabian governments, these hawks want to impose further conditions and threaten additional sanctions on Iran and thereby torpedo the deal currently being negotiated between Washington and Tehran -Campaign for Peace and Democracy - 1/9/14

Cruz, Inhofe Circulate Draft Resolution To End All Bilateral Talks With Iran

- What Sen. John McCain referred to as the "wacko-bird" faction of the Republican Party is seeking co-sponsors for a new resolution that would forbid the Obama administration from engaging in any bilateral talks with Iran unless Tehran fulfills two conditions. - 1/8/14

Foreign Policy Luminaries Warn Against New Iran Sanctions

- In a letter today, a bipartisan group of senior foreign policy luminaries urged senators not to pass new sanctions against Iran, warning that additional sanctions would jeopardize ongoing diplomatic efforts and potentially move the U.S. closer to war. -Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog - 1/7/14

Petition addressed to UN protests Iran sanctions

- A petition, signed by more than 2,500 people and addressing the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has protested the sanctions targeting Iran's medical imports. The petition has been initiated by a group of Iranian political, cultural, and artistic figures. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami as well as Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi are among the signatories. - 1/7/14

Jamshid Mashayekhi collaborating on doc "From Iran to Argentina"

- "The nomad women will also be asked to speak in front of the camera and each will symbolically present a handmade gift to the Argentinean football superstar Lionel Messi," he said. Messi was the subject of thousands of insulting messages after the 2014 World Cup draw grouped Iran with Argentina on December 6. - 1/7/14

47 Senators Take AIPAC's Word Over U.S. Intel Community

- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has published the list of senators who so far have agreed to co-sponsor the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, aka the Wag the Dog Act of 2014. You'll recall that the initial list, which was introduced by its principal engineers, Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, Dec 19, included 26 co-sponsors equally divided between Democrats and Republicans -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 1/5/14

Dear Congress: don't sabotage our chance to end the cold war with Iran

- In January, congressional Democrats and Republicans who are united in their skepticism of - if not outright opposition to - the interim Iran nuclear deal will attempt to pass a new round of economic sanctions against the Iranian people. This move would very likely scuttle the current six-month agreement, end negotiations toward a comprehensive settlement, and put us back on the path to war. -Marc Joffe and Sheldon Richman, Guardian - 1/4/14

Let's Be Honest on Iran

- Here's a New Year's resolution that participants in policy debate in Washington, and especially those in Congress, should make: be honest about your position on Iran. Say what you really want, and make your best arguments on behalf of what you really want, and don't pretend to be working in favor of what you really are working against. -Paul Pillar, National Interest - 1/3/14

On the Eve of an Uncertain Negotiation

- From recent declarations of President Barack Obama, echoed by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and various American and French officials, one can foresee the initial bargaining position of the Western members of the P5+1 group in the upcoming negotiation with Iran aimed at "a long-term comprehensive solution" to the nuclear crisis. -Francois Nicoullaud, LobeLog - 1/2/14

The Danger of New Iran Sanctions

- The Geneva "interim" agreement reached in November between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia) freezes Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief, with the goal of enabling further talks to comprehensively resolve one of the world's thorniest challenges. -Colin H. Kahl, National Interest - 1/2/14

World Against Violence and Extremism

- The United Nations General Assembly recently adopted through consensus a resolution based on proposals offered by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who called for a World Against Violence and Extremism. -Gholamali Khoshroo - 12/25/13

Iran Sanctions Bill Big Test of Israel Lobby Power

- This week's introduction by a bipartisan group of 26 senators of a new sanctions bill against Iran could result in the biggest test of the political clout of the Israel lobby here in decades. -Jim Lobe, IPS - 12/25/13

Iran diplomatic overtures, opportunity: Italy PM

- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has hailed Iran's diplomatic overtures as "an opportunity" that should not be missed, saying Tehran could help resolve the conflict in Syria. - 12/25/13

Iran aims for renewed ties with U.S., Europe

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Monday December 23 that Iran intends to improve its relations with the U.S. and the countries of Europe. Reuters reports that in a note attributed to the Iranian president in Zud Deustche Welle, Rohani stressed that he will do everything in his power to resolve the nuclear disputes with the West. - 12/24/13

Top Jewish Non-Profit Heads Leading Iran Sanctions Call

- The Forward recently released its annual list of top-earning heads of Jewish non-profit organizations and the results of an independent analysis revealing not only that they earned more than the top leadership of non-Jewish nonprofits, but that several were egregiously overpaid. -Marsha B. Cohen - 12/21/13
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