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Ed Webb

Moscow Relishes Revamped Role in Mideast as Israel Seeks Assurances in Syria | Foreign ... - 0 views

  • Israel fears the Kremlin’s buildup could further escalate the Syrian civil war and embolden Iran and Hezbollah, its two greatest foes in the Middle East, both of which have joined Moscow in supporting Damascus. Amid uncertainty over Russia’s role in Syria, Netanyahu’s visit is meant to prevent a scenario in which the Israeli army and Russian forces accidentally fire at each other. The Israeli prime minister also seeks assurances from Putin that advanced weapons in Syria won’t be used to help arm Hezbollah, with whom Israel fought a devastating war in 2006.
  • Russia is Israel’s top oil supplier
  • In the past, Israel and Russia have managed to agree on security issues through concessions to one another. Israel halted military supplies to Georgia after a war in 2008 with Russia. In exchange, Moscow shelved plans to supply the S-300 air defense system to Iran and Syria.
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  • Israel and Russia will establish a coordination mechanism to prevent clashes between their forces on the Syrian border
  • Israel also has remained neutral in the Ukraine conflict, refusing to support American and European efforts to denounce Russia’s annexation of Crimea or join the Western sanctions regime against Moscow
  • Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, an elite unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, visited Moscow in July to coordinate Russian and Iranian support for Assad. Moreover, Russian officials now say they expect to agree to terms on the delivery of the S-300s to Iran by the end of the year, though it is unclear when it will go ahead
Ed Webb

Iran and World Powers Resume Nuclear Talks as Tensions Rise Over Ukraine Crisis - 0 views

  • Iran and six world powers are meeting in Vienna Tuesday resuming talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear program aiming to reach a comprehensive agreement by mid-July. However, tension between western countries and Russia over events in Ukraine and Crimea's succession vote on Sunday, which overwhelmingly approved reunification with Russia, may threaten the second round of talks.
  • disagreements between the permanent U.N. Security Council member states may reduce pressure on Iran to make a deal
Ed Webb

Iran 'thwarts nuclear sabotage attempts' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English - 0 views

  • "Several cases of industrial sabotage have been neutralized in the past few months before achieving the intended damage, including sabotage at a part of the IR-40 facility at Arak."
Ed Webb

Iran cutting sensitive nuclear stocks, much work remains: IAEA | Reuters - 0 views

  • Among measures Iran is taking since the interim agreement took effect on January 20 is the dilution of its stock of higher-enriched uranium to a fissile concentration less suitable for any attempt to fuel an atomic bomb.

    Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), indicated that Iran had made sufficient progress in this regard to receive a scheduled March 1 installment of $450 million out of a total of $4.2 billion in previously blocked overseas funds.

  • Separately, the IAEA is investigating suspicions - largely believed to be based on intelligence provided by Western states and Israel - that Iran has researched how to construct an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran denies. Iran says it is Israel's assumed nuclear arsenal that threatens Middle East peace.

  • Amano said 17 IAEA member states had so far expressed interest in contributing extra-budgetary funds to help finance the IAEA's extra workload in monitoring the implementation of the Geneva agreement in Iran, but that more was needed. "We are still short of some €1.6 million ($2.21 million)," Amano said.

    The U.N. agency said in January it needed about 5.5 million euros from member states to pay for its increased activities in Iran. This would cover more inspectors sent to Iran and the purchase of specialized surveillance-related equipment.

Ed Webb

Iran: This time, the west must not turn its back on diplomacy | Mohammad Khatami | Comm... - 0 views

  • Those who are trapped by bitter experience make every effort to disrupt the progress of diplomacy once again. These people fail to realise a simple point about the relationship between domestic and foreign policy.

    President Rouhani's government was elected by a society seeking positive change, at a time when Iran and the wider region was desperately in need of prudence and hope. This vote was not limited to a specific political camp; as well as many reformers, many political prisoners and a significant body of conservatives had a share in Rouhani's victory. For the first time there is an opportunity to create a national consensus above and beyond partisan factionalism – one that may address the political predicaments of the country, with an emphasis on dialogue and mutual understanding globally.

  • A peace-seeking Iran can contribute as a willing partner not only to solving its own differences with the global powers, but also to overcoming some of the region's chronic political disputes. But it requires a degree of courage and optimism from the west to listen to the voices of the Iranian people who have been painfully targeted by unjust sanctions, which have threatened the very fabric of civil society and democratic infrastructures.
  • The Iranian people's vote for Rouhani and his agenda for change has provided an unrivalled and possibly unrepeatable opportunity for Iran, the west and all local and regional powers. With a foreign policy based on dialogue and diplomacy at the heart of the Middle East, we can imagine a better world for the east and the west – including the diplomatic resolution of Iran's nuclear issue, which is utterly feasible if there is goodwill and fairness.
Ed Webb

Iran parades long-range missiles - Middle East - Al Jazeera English - 0 views

  • Iran has paraded 30 missiles with a nominal range of 2,000km, this is the first time it displayed so many with the theoretical capacity to hit Israeli targets.
  • Iran revealed 12 Sejil and 18 Ghadr missiles at the annual parade on Sunday marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
  • In a speech at the state event, President Hassan Rouhani insisted the weaponry on show was purely for defensive purposes.

    "In the past 200 years, Iran has never attacked another country," he said.

    "Today too, the armed forces of the Islamic Republic and its leadership will never launch any aggressive action in the region.

    "But they will always resist aggressors determinedly until victory."
Ed Webb

New Iran envoy says hopes disputes with IAEA can be resolved | Reuters - 0 views

  • Iran will cooperate with the U.N. nuclear agency to find ways to "overcome existing issues once and for all", Tehran's new envoy said on Thursday, hinting at a more flexible approach under relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
  • repeated Iran's stance that it would not cede what it calls its legitimate right to a peaceful nuclear energy program.
  • Western states see a meeting set for September 27 in Vienna as a litmus test of any substantive Iranian shift
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  • "Based on its rights and obligations recognized under the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), Iran is ready to faithfully engage and remove any ambiguity on its nuclear activities,"
  • Rouhani, who has vowed that Iran will be more transparent and less confrontational in talks both with the IAEA and the big powers, said this week that time for resolving Iran's nuclear dispute with the West was limited.

    He said he would meet foreign ministers of some of the six powers - Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany - when he attends the U.N. General Assembly in New York this month.

  • A senior adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to meet Rouhani on Friday, told reporters Moscow hopes that new talks between Iran and the six powers will be held very soon and that both sides need to be flexible. Russia has much warmer ties with the Islamic Republic than Western states do.

    "It is important that Iran display the necessary flexibility and readiness to meet the international community's demands," Yuri Ushakov said. "The six nations, in turn, should also demonstrate a creative approach and be ready to respond adequately to the positive steps that we expect from Iran."

Ed Webb

Twitter / JZarif: tragedy in syria is a trap ... - 0 views

    A very interesting tweet from Iran's foreign minister, newly active on Twitter.
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