Bahman 5 1401 - January 25 2023
Iran's EB kids innocent victims of Swedish company's compliance with US sanctions

Iranian EB children are suffering from a rare skin condition that can only be relieved by using a Swedish company's bandages. The Swedish company Molnlycke has halted shipments to Iran in compliance with the US sanctions against the country although the UN's international court of Justices had announced that humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions. -Press TV 12/31/21

Will Iran be able to normalize ties with the West in 2022?

Even though both Iran and the US seem interested in reviving the nuclear deal, deep distrust and decades-long animosity mean both sides are unlikely to normalize their relationship in the near future, say experts. -DW 12/31/21

Iran says nuclear talks in Vienna are seeing 'satisfactory' progress

Ongoing talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran have seen "relatively satisfactory progress," Iran's negotiator Ali Bagheri said Thursday. "Some written changes on the lifting of sanctions were established between the two parties and relatively satisfactory progress has been made over the first days of the eighth round of negotiations," Bagheri said in a video published by Tasnim news agency. -Times of Israel 12/31/21

Iran's Soccer Federation Supports National Star Over Israeli Flag Criticism

Iran's soccer association chief has backed former national team captain Mehdi Mahdavikia after he faced criticism from ultraconservatives for wearing a jersey bearing an Israeli flag during a friendly game coached by an Israeli. "He is one of the greats of Iranian football" and "a symbol of pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran," Secretary-General Hassan Kamranifar said in a statement published by the official state news agency IRNA on December 29. -RFE 12/31/21

Israel Is Trying to Push War With Iran - and the US Press Barely Cares

Top Israeli officials, now on an official visit to Washington, are pushing for US military action against Iran. It's a dangerous provocation that should be mainstream news. Look it up and you'll find next to no coverage in the US media about top Israeli officials visiting Washington this week to push for military strikes against Iran, raising the risk of sparking war. Yet that's exactly what happened. -Branko Marcetic, Jacobin 12/30/21

Iran launches research satellite, testing Western powers amid talks on nuclear deal

Iran announced Thursday it had carried out a new space launch, in a move likely to irk Western powers amid tough talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal. "The Simorgh satellite launcher carried three research cargos into space," defence ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said, quoted by state television. -AFP 12/30/21

The Looming Threat of a Nuclear Crisis with Iran

The Biden Administration faces a potential confrontation with a longtime rival that is better armed and more hard-line than at any time in its modern history. -Robin Wright, New Yorker 12/30/21

Photos: Iran successfully launches Simorgh satellite carrier into space

A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, Ahmad Hosseini, said on Thursday that Iran has successfully launched the Simorgh satellite carrier, bearing three research devices into space. Hosseini said hat Simorgh satellite carrier and the three research devices were sent up 470 kilometers (290 miles) with a speed of 7350 m/s. -IRNA 12/30/21

Biden's first year in foreign policy was a master class in continuity

To be successful in 2022, he needs to take more risks, and think less about political backlash from hawks and the Blob. The Biden administration's foreign policy in its first year was mostly defined by an unwillingness to make major policy changes and to take significant political risks to follow through on the president's campaign pledges. -Daniel Larison, Responsible Statecraft 12/30/21

Analysis: As US focus wanes, Mideast turns inward for talks

After years of looking abroad for answers, countries in the Middle East now appear to instead be talking to each other to find solutions following two decades defined by war and political upheaval. The American withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq have played a part in that change. -AP 12/30/21

Iran-US: faltering nuclear talks enter dangerous phase

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bided his time before publicly offering his seal of approval to the 2015 nuclear accord Tehran signed with world powers. But as moderate Iranian politicians and their supporters celebrated, hoping the deal would usher in a new era for the pariah state, the supreme leader made clear his mistrust of the US, the other prime actor behind the agreement. -Financial Times 12/29/21

Iran wants a sustainable nuclear deal. Only the lifting of US sanctions can achieve this

Thanks to Trump's ill-advised maximum-pressure strategy, Iran is close to being a nuclear-weapon threshold state. This is easily reversed - but only if Iran feels it can trust the West. The only way out of this crisis is for the US to lift the economic sanctions with which it has been strangling Iran and thereby ensure the sustainability of the deal. If it does, Iran, for its part, will fully implement its commitments under the JCPOA permanently. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, MEE 12/29/21

U.S. Sounds Caution Against Optimism by Iran, Russia Over Nuclear Talks

The United States on Tuesday expressed caution over upbeat comments by Iran and Russia about talks in Vienna to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying it was still too soon to say if Tehran had returned to the negotiations with a constructive approach. Iran and Russia both gave upbeat views on Tuesday about talks that kicked off this week to salvage Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with global powers, although Western nations have said the negotiations are going too slowly. -Reuters 12/29/21

Out of sight, out of mind: Afghanistan vanishes from US news

New data shows stunning plunge in coverage, just as the humanitarian crisis - much of it caused by Washington sanctions - peaks. Despite unprecedented levels of hunger and starvation for which U.S. sanctions bear important responsibility, Afghanistan has once again virtually disappeared from the most important single source of world news for most Americans. -Jim Lobe, Responsible Statecraft 12/29/21

Iranians seek foreign shores as reform hopes fade

Unlike many Iranians, Maryam never dreamt of emigrating to a western state. She believed her home country could deliver a bright future for her 10-year-old son. But this year her two-decade-old industrial import business nearly collapsed because of the long-running effect of sanctions imposed by the US. The election in June of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi after moderate candidates were disqualified dealt a blow to her hopes that the situation would improve. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Irish Times 12/29/21

Israeli Military Presents Iran Strike Scenarios, but Can't Say What They'll Achieve

The Israeli military has presented the country's political leadership with several possible scenarios for striking targets in Iran, but emphasized that it would be difficult to determine the outcome of such strikes or assess how it would affect Tehran's nuclear program. The military says that as part of its preparations in past months for a possible attack on Iran, it has been acquiring advanced weapons, conducting air force training exercises and collecting new strike targets for Military Intelligence's target bank. -Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz 12/29/21

Delegates at new round of Iran nuclear talks strike hopeful note

The eighth and possibly final round of talks in Vienna to restore Iran's landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers has commenced on a cautiously hopeful note. A Joint Commission meeting of the remaining participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known, concluded on Monday night in the Austrian capital, with a slew of bilateral and trilateral meetings between the different delegations. -Al Jazeera 12/28/21

Ignorance and mistrust have put the U.S. and Iran on a collision course

Since 1979, we've been told that the enmity that persists between the United States and Iran is based in mistrust. But that's not the whole story. It's about a shared ignorance of the other, a lack of self-awareness about that self-inflicted ignorance, and the mutual hubris in Tehran and Washington that these blind spots have long incubated. -Jason Rezaian, Washington Post 12/28/21

Time to look inward: Not all of Iran's problems are caused by the West

To this author's mind, ideology continues to distort Tehran's foreign - and domestic - policies. In the last two decades, Iran's economic, social, and political conditions have steadily deteriorated. A brief period of recovery occurred after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 and the partial lifting of U.S. economic sanctions as a result. -Shireen Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 12/28/21

Iran nuclear talks resume with Tehran focused on relief from sanctions

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Monday with Tehran focused on one side of the original bargain, lifting sanctions against it, despite scant progress on reining in its atomic activities. 12/28/21

French tourist imprisoned in Iran since 2020 begins hunger strike

Benjamin Briere, a French tourist jailed in Iran on spying charges since spring 2020, has begun a hunger strike, his lawyer and sister said in a statement on Monday. ADVERTISING French authorities remain in close contact with Briere, visiting him on Dec. 21 and contacting him on Monday, a French foreign ministry spokesperson said. -France 24 12/28/21

Iran says Vienna nuclear talks to restart around joint document

The eighth round of Iran nuclear talks will start on Monday in Vienna based on a new joint document that incorporates key Iranian demands such as guarantees and verification on the lifting of sanctions, Iran's foreign minister has said. Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in the capital Tehran on Monday that an "acceptable" joint text has been agreed which includes talking points on sanctions and nuclear issues. -Al Jazeera 12/27/21

Christian Prisoners In Iran Get Rare 10-Day Holiday Leave

Iran's judiciary has granted Christian prisoners 10 days' leave to spend the holidays at home with their families, in a rare move toward members of the Islamic republic's Christian minority. "The decision is to mark the New Year 2022 and the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ," the judiciary's Mizan Online website said on December 26. 12/27/21

Iran insists on crude exports as Vienna nuclear talks resume

Iran insisted on Monday that the United States and its allies promise to allow Tehran to export its crude as negotiations on restoring the tattered nuclear deal were to resume in Vienna. The remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian signal that Iran is pressing its position ahead of the negotiations over reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The talks were adjourned earlier this month after a round marked by tensions over new demands from Tehran. -AP 12/27/21

Iran fires ballistic missiles during drills in warning to Israel

Iran's paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has fired 16 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles at the close of five days of military drills that generals said were a warning to archenemy Israel. The official IRNA news agency on Friday reported that the names of the missiles fired during the military exercise across the country's south were Emad, Ghadr, Sejjil, Zalzal, Dezful and Zolfaghar and that their ranges vary between 350km and 2,000km. -Al Jazeera 12/27/21

The promise of wealth brings Iran and Azerbaijan together after Armenia tensions

Iran and Azerbaijan were quick to escalate their rhetoric when a heated war of words broke out between the two countries on the first anniversary of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Tehran accused Baku of offering its territory to Israel to spy on Iran and of deploying Syrian mercenaries in the 44-day war against Armenia. Baku accused Tehran of "briefly invading" parts of southern Azerbaijan during the war and allying with Armenia for organised drug trafficking to Europe. -MEE 12/27/21

U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster behind them, call for a threat to attack Iran

Seven U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster behind them, are urging the Biden administration to threaten a military attack on Iran. The headline should read: "Arsonists Call for Setting Controlled Fires in Iran." Seven U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster in the Mideast behind them, just published a statement urging the Biden administration to threaten a military attack on Iran. -Mondoweiss 12/23/21

Talks on Iran nuclear deal to resume in Vienna on Monday

Negotiators from Iran and five world powers that are trying to revive a tattered 2015 nuclear deal will resume talks in Vienna next week, the European Union said Thursday. The talks were adjourned nearly a week ago after a round marked by tensions over new demands from Tehran. They are chaired by EU diplomat Enrique Mora. -AP 12/23/21

What does an Azerbaijani-Iranian detente hold for the region?

After months of serious diplomatic divisions, strains between Azerbaijan and Iran look to be easing. But what is behind this apparent detente, and what are the implications for the Caucasus and beyond? On 28 November, on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organisation summit in Ashgabat, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi signed an energy cooperation deal with Turkmenistan. - Rovshan Mammadli, OC Media 12/23/21

Iranians Express Skepticism, Frustration Over Nuclear Talks

Frustration and skepticism are growing among Iranians as indirect talks between Tehran and the United States aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear deal remain mired in delays and disputes. When Iran and world powers signed the accord in 2015, it triggered euphoric scenes across the Islamic republic. Many Iranians hoped it would spell the end of years of crippling international sanctions. -RFE/RL 12/23/21

Iran: UN independent experts condemn secret execution of Kurdish prisoner

Two UN-appointed independent rights experts condemned the arbitrary execution in the strongest terms on Wednesday, of an Iranian Kurdish prisoner as a sign of "clear disregard for their obligations under international human rights law". -UN News 12/23/21

Missiles trained on Iran won't revive foundering Iran nuclear deal

As negotiations to renew the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States in Vienna grind on, commentators have begun to seriously float the idea of a military strike on Iran to prevent it from going nuclear. Leon Panetta, Michele Flournoy, Dennis Ross and others wrote that the threat of a strike would be necessary to convince Iran "it will suffer severe consequences if it stays on its current path." Regional experts Eric Brewer and Henry Rome reached the same conclusion: the threat of a strike should be kept in reserve to convince Iran to rein in its activity. -Gregory Brew, Responsible Statecraft 12/22/21

What Do Iranians Think? Not Much of America, Thanks to Donald Trump

Negotiations over restoring the nuclear agreement with Iran aren't quite moribund, but the Biden administration has begun to sound a bit like its predecessor in muttering threats of military action. War with Iran would be a catastrophe, much worse than with Iraq. And sending in bombers would only delay, not halt, construction of nuclear weapons, if that became Tehran's objective. -Doug Bandow, 12/22/21

Iran Can't Afford to Delay a Deal

There should be little doubt in Tehran about the urgent necessity of restoring the nuclear agreement. To appreciate the significance of a nuclear deal revival for Iran, one need only cast a cursory glance at the grave economic, foreign-policy, security, and environmental crises plaguing the country today. Without a functioning deal that keeps U.S. sanctions lifted, if only for a few years, no Iranian government can hope to adequately respond to most-if not all-of these challenges. -Sajjad Safaei, FP 12/22/21

Iran, unlike West, is upbeat about nuclear talks, experts say

Iran believes it has scored points in the Vienna talks meant to revive its tattered 2015 nuclear deal by managing to include sanctions relief in discussion documents for the next round, experts say. The lifting of the punishing sanctions regime then-US president Donald Trump imposed when he pulled Washington out of the agreement in 2018 has been Tehran's top priority. -AFP 12/22/21

US Special Envoy for Iran warns of "escalating crisis" if talks fail to revive Iran nuclear deal

The time left to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is running out and raising the risk of an "escalating crisis," the United States Special Envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, told CNN's Becky Anderson on Tuesday. "At some point in the not-so-distant future, we will have to conclude that the JCPOA is no more, and we'd have to negotiate a wholly new different deal, and of course we'd go through a period of escalating crisis," Malley, who is indirectly negotiating with Iran a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the agreement. -MSN 12/22/21

Iran Restarts West African Auto Plant, Leaving Arms Shipment Dispute In The Past

An Iranian car company has restarted production at a plant in Senegal, west Africa, in a story of perseverance in the face of substantial political and economic challenges. The plant has had a turbulent, stop-start history that highlights the rocky path that Iranian companies sometimes have to travel when they expand abroad. -Forbes 12/22/21

US official to travel to Israel to discuss Iran nuclear programme

United States national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, will visit Israel this week for detailed discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Iran's nuclear programme, a senior Biden administration official has said. The visit, which is expected to begin on Tuesday, comes as negotiations in Vienna over Iran returning to the 2015 nuclear deal have shown modest gains, but remain far from a breakthrough. -Al Jazeera 12/22/21

Iran suggests Saudis hindered effort to save ambassador from Covid

Iran has implied that its regional foe, Saudi Arabia, may have blocked efforts to save the life of its ambassador to Yemen, who contracted coronavirus there but was unable to be repatriated immediately for urgent medical treatment. The ambassador, Hasan Irlu, "was evacuated in poor condition due to delayed cooperation from certain countries", the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told state media. -Guardian 12/22/21

Iran passed restrictions on contraception and abortion. Will that distract protesters from the economy?

While the United States is focused on the question of abortion and the future of Roe v. Wade, another conversation on women's reproductive rights is taking place across the globe in Iran. Last month, the Iranian government announced new laws further limiting abortions and restricting access to contraception. But, as in the United States, this is not the first time we have seen a government flexing its muscles by attempting to control women's bodies. -Pardis Mahdavi, Washington Post 12/21/21

Another Ethereum Education Initiative Canceled Over Iran Sanctions Fears

Gitcoin, a crowdfunding platform, discontinued a campaign aimed at helping Farsi-speaking students learn Ethereum coding, in another sign U.S.-based cryptocurrency companies are becoming extra cautious about obeying sanctions. The grant's suspension followed blockchain startup ConsenSys' removal of 50 Iranian students from its smart-contract programming course. -Coindesk 12/21/21

Iran's Guard fires cruise missiles in military exercise

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Tuesday fired cruise missiles during a major military exercise across the country's south, media reported. The semiofficial Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Guard, did not specify the type and range of the missiles. But it said five cruise missiles and an unspecified number of attack drones successfully hit their targets. -AP 12/21/21

Iran's top diplomat in Yemen dies of COVID-19

Iran's top diplomat in Yemen, Hassan Irloo, has passed away due to COVID-19, days after being flown to Tehran for treatment, officials said. Irloo, 63, was named last year as Iran's ambassador to the areas of the war-torn country controlled by the Houthi rebels, which for seven years have been fighting a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia in support of Yemen's internationally recognised government. -Al Jazeera 12/21/21

Top Iranian commander: Israel can't strike us without US 'green light'

A senior Iranian commander said Monday that Israel does not have the ability to strike Iran's nuclear or military bases without US approval and boasted that any Israeli aggression will be met with a powerful response that can accurately target the infrastructure used for the attack. Gholamali Rashid, chief of the Iranian armed forces central command headquarters, made the remarks as Iran began a large military exercise. -Times of Israel 12/21/21

Saudi, Iranian FMs hold 'informal' meeting

In a major diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran, foreign ministers of both the countries met on the sidelines of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers session. "Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Amir Hussain and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud met informally and briefly," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday. -Nation 12/21/21

Two Former CIA Directors Call on Biden to Threaten Iran Militarily

A HAWKISH GAGGLE of former U.S. national security officials, lawmakers, and diplomats has launched a public campaign to pressure the Biden administration into militarily threatening Iran. The statement, headlined by former CIA chiefs Leon Panetta and retired Gen. David Petraeus as well as former Obama-era senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy asserts that "it is vital to restore Iran's fear that its current nuclear path will trigger the use of force against it by the United States." -Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept 12/20/21

Saudi allows medical evacuation of Iran Yemen envoy

Iran's ambassador flew out of the rebel-held Yemeni capital to receive Covid treatment Saturday in a rare exemption from an air blockade enforced by a Saudi-led coalition, Saudi and Iranian officials said. 12/20/21

Iran and UN inspector reach agreement on cameras at nuclear facility

Iran and the UN inspector have reached an agreement on the imminent reinstallation of cameras at the Karaj nuclear facility, a move that is seen as indispensable to keeping alive the broader nuclear talks and the lifting of US sanctions on Tehran. Those negotiations appear to be hanging by a thread judging by a string of negative comments from European diplomats when they discussed the progress of the talks at the UN security council on Tuesday. -Guardian 12/17/21

Afghanistan's academics despair months after Taliban takeover

Four months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, academics say they feel marooned, and abandoned by the international community. With limited prospects for research, many scientists have left or are still trying to find routes out, so they can continue their careers. -Nature 12/17/21

Iran nuclear talks due to pause on Friday, diplomats say

The remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal plan to meet on Friday at 1300 GMT to adjourn talks on salvaging the deal, three diplomats said on Thursday. The indirect U.S.-Iran talks on bringing both back into full compliance with the deal are in their seventh round. One of the diplomats said they were due to resume on Dec. 27, while another gave a time frame between Christmas and the New Year. -Reuters 12/17/21

Playing the blame game won't resolve the nuclear impasse with Iran

The JCPOA is hanging by a thread and European diplomats appear to have focused their efforts on calling out Tehran. As negotiations to restore the JCPOA continue in Vienna, the European participants - the UK, France, and Germany (known as the E3) - issued on December 14 a stark warning before the U.N. Security Council meeting on the implementation of resolution 2231 (which enshrined the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015). -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 12/16/21

The US Foreign Policy Comedy

In what seems to be a talking point in the script handed to all the players, the US has accused Iran of not being serious at the reopening of the JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna. "What we've seen in the last couple of days is that Iran right now does not seem to be serious," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "The Iranians have not been taking the negotiations seriously at this point," said CIA Director William Burns. -Ted Snider, 12/16/21

Amid a crackdown, Afghan refugees in Iran fear the 'unthinkable': Being sent back

Unlike most of his compatriots, Jamal Papoli didn't have to worry about being stuck in Afghanistan when the Taliban sped to power in August. Papoli had quit his homeland years ago to set up shop as a stonemason here in neighboring Iran, just outside Tehran. But instead of relief, what the 30-year-old father of two feels these days is fear. -Los Angeles Times 12/16/21

A Better Way in the Middle East

Convinced that the U.S. has lost faith in the strategic value of the Middle East, prime ministers and kings alike are scrambling to find their strategic footing in the region. Amidst the confusion and uncertainty of a world without American protection, two models are emerging. -Trita Parsi, American Prospect 12/16/21

The International Consensus on How to Prevent a Nuclear Iran That Is Never Discussed in the US

This bipartisan framing of the issue, deferentially accepted by establishment media, entirely excludes a third option from the discourse: a common-sense proposal which has nearly unanimous international support. So, what is this international consensus? Simple: a nuclear weapons-free-zone in the Middle East, where all nuclear materials would be under the direct control of the International Atomic Energy Agency. -Jacob Batinga, Common Dreams 12/15/21

PAAIA Announces the Civic Leadership Program, Significant Investment in Iranian American Youth Leadership

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, proudly announces its Civic Leadership Program, a significant new initiative which invests in youth leadership programs with the goal of creating a more engaged and empowered Iranian American community. -PAAIA 12/15/21

Iranian women at risk as execution numbers rise

More than a dozen women have been executed this year in Iran, activists say, raising concern over a rigid judicial system that automatically seeks capital punishment for a killing without taking into account the circumstances. ADVERTISING Most of the women executed in Iran in recent years have been hanged for murder, the majority of cases over the killings of a husband or partner, rights activists say. -AFP 12/15/21

Israel Finds Planes That Could Be Key to a Strike on Iran Badly Back-Ordered

Israel asked the Biden administration last week to speed up the delivery of refueling tankers that could prove critical to striking Iran's nuclear facilities, but it was told that the aircraft were back-ordered and it was unlikely that its first one would be ready until late 2024, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. -New York Times 12/15/21

Reports: Iran will allow new UN cameras at nuclear site

Iran will allow the United Nations' nuclear watchdog to reinstall cameras damaged at a site where it has centrifuge parts and manufacturing material, semiofficial Iranian news agencies reported Wednesday. The decision will see cameras put back at Karaj, which came under what Iran describes as a sabotage attack in June. Iran since had refused the International Atomic Energy Agency access to replace cameras damaged in the incident. -AP 12/15/21

Iran and Europeans trade barbs as Vienna nuclear talks continue

World powers are continuing private talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Iran's 2015 nuclear deal but disagreements between Iran and the West have kept on spilling into public view. In a tweet early on Tuesday, Iran's chief negotiator wrote that some counterparts still "persist in their blame game habit, instead of real diplomacy". -Al Jazeera 12/14/21

Why bombing Iran (is still) a bad idea

With JCPOA talks not looking promising, Israel is pressuring Biden to turn to a military option that will only make things worse. Israeli officials in Washington on Thursday reportedly urged the United States to launch strikes against Iranian targets, in what would be an unprecedented escalation of hostilities. -Annelle Sheline and Bruce Riedel, Responsible Statecraft 12/14/21

Teachers Across Iran Protest for Fair Pay, Release of Jailed Colleagues

The government of Iran should allow teachers to exercise their right to public protest without the threat of violence or arbitrary arrest, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a statement today. Teachers should be allowed to voice their legitimate demands for fair pay and the release of their unlawfully jailed colleagues. -CHRI 12/14/21

Explainer: Iran's "Water Bankruptcy"

In mid-July 2021, a water shortage sparked protests in the southwest province of Khuzestan that then spread to other provinces over the next weeks. How has water escalated as a national issue? What are the long-term political implications? -Kaveh Madani, USIP 12/14/21

Gantz Tells US He Ordered Israeli Military to Prepare an Attack on Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told reporters that he notified US officials during meetings in Washington last week that he ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to prepare to attack Iran. The order he gave was to "prepare for the Iranian challenge at the operational level," Gantz said on the sidelines of a conference in Miami, Florida, that was held Friday. 12/14/21

Iranian animal lovers decry ultraconservative push to ban pets

"No, my cat is not dangerous," says Iranian animal lover Mostafa, outraged by a proposal from ultraconservative lawmakers to ban pets. The 25-year-old, who runs a pet supplies shop on busy Eskandari Street in downtown Tehran, is stunned. "Crocodiles can be called dangerous, but how can rabbits, dogs, and cats be dangerous?" he asked incredulously about the bill introduced a month ago. -AFP 12/14/21

The struggles of an Iranian tourist - according to Ali Maleki, a well-known Iranian tourist

These days, you may be thinking about traveling to Europe or beyond, but you find yourself faced with obstacles when applying for a visa. Most people who have attempted to obtain a visa say the same story; applying for a visa in different embassies has many struggles from being treated inappropriately by some of the officials to using brokers who misuse their authority and make huge profits. -Vanguardngr 12/14/21

Houthi hysteria breaks out at the Wall Street Journal

The famously hawkish editorial pages are doing PR for the Saudis. Who knew that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the biggest importer of sophisticated weaponry in the developing world going back a generation and more, is SO fragile? Apparently, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board thinks so. Last week, it published an alarmed editorial that relayed the Saudis' urgent pleas "for America for help as it runs out of ammunition to defend against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen."-Jim Lobe, Responsible Statecraft 12/14/21

Israel Is Hell-Bent on Sabotaging US Nuclear Negotiations With Iran

One would think that Israel, which receives $3.8 billion annually from the U.S., would feel obligated not to drag the U.S. and their own people into such a disaster. But that doesn't seem to be the case. -Ariel Gold and Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams 12/13/21

'Haaretz' publisher says Israel is 'an apartheid state' - as his paper continues to warn against an Israel-Iran war

Amos Schocken is Israel's equivalent of the latest Sulzberger to inherit control of the New York Times. Schocken, in his mid-70s, is the third generation of his family to run Haaretz, the most respected newspaper in Israel, and he speaks out regularly in columns and on social media. Just the other day, Schocken called Israel "an apartheid state." -Mondoweiss 12/13/21

Biden's efforts to appease Israel on Iran have failed on all fronts

It's not the nuclear deal that's the problem for Tel Aviv, but the very idea that Washington and Tehran would reach any detente at all. Diverging Israeli and American views on the JCPOA is nothing new. But senior officials on the Biden team thought President Obama could have handled the Israelis better by coordinating more closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and actually heeding some of his hawkish advice. This belief, however, is unfounded. -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 12/13/21

Satellite images, expert suggest Iranian space launch coming

Iran appears to be preparing for a space launch as negotiations continue in Vienna over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers, according to an expert and satellite images. Satellite images taken Saturday by Planet Labs Inc. obtained by The Associated Press show activity at the spaceport in the desert plains of Iran's rural Semnan province, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Tehran. -AP 12/13/21

High stakes at the Vienna nuclear talks with Iran

Tehran's negotiators must consider the wider political and strategic implications of every move they make. The ongoing indirect US-Iran negotiations in Vienna on the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have thus far made little progress. Already ailing when Ebrahim Raisi was elected to the presidency in June 2021, negotiations were effectively suspended by a new hard-line government determined to jettison what was determined to be a "failed" negotiating strategy by former President Hassan Rouhani. -Daniel Brumberg, Responsible Statecraft 12/13/21

Iran cautions against reported U.S.-Israeli military drills

Iran cautioned the U.S. on Saturday against going through with reported planned military drills in coordination with Israel. "Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price," an unnamed military official said, according to Nournews, Reuters reported. -The Hill 12/13/21

Iran nuclear talks pulled back from brink as Tehran shifts stance

Efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal have been hauled back from the brink of collapse as Tehran revised its stance after pressure from Russia and China and clear warnings that the EU and the US were preparing to walk away. The cautiously optimistic assessment came at the start of the seventh round of talks on the future of the nuclear deal in Vienna. -Guardian 12/10/21

For this American family, the Iran nuclear talks are personal

Emad Shargi's daughter says her dad has always been stoic during his ordeal as an American citizen unjustly held in an Iranian prison. But recently, she heard something different. "Whenever I tell him, 'Oh, I wish you were here, I wish we could do this together, like when I cook something and I wish he could taste it, he always says, 'Whatever will happen will happen, everything will be fine ... don't worry about me'," Ariana Shargi said. -CNN 12/10/21

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