• 2020-08-08

    In identical letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council circulated on Friday, Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said Tehran “expresses its strongest objections against this violation of international law and will pursue the issue through relevant international bodies.”.” The Iranian envoy said a Mahan Airlines Airbus A310 en route from Tehran to Beirut on July 23 “was aggressively and unexpectedly intercepted” by two US F-15 fighter jets while traveling through internationally specified air corridors in Syria’s airspace, the Associated Press reported. “In reaction to the offensive and hazardous maneuverings of the United States fighter jets and in order to save the civil aircraft and passengers’ lives, the airliner had to change altitude abruptly, causing injuries to the passengers onboard,” the ambassador said.

  • 2020-08-07

    Iran has been one of President Trump’s main foreign policy issues. By withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) and re-imposing sanctions lifted as part of it, his administration re-orchestrated the decades-long enmity between Iran and the U.S. The “maximum pressure” campaign, which targeted every relevant and sanctionable Iranian business and economic entity, aimed to force Iran to succumb to a “negotiating” table on American terms. So far, however, Washington has not achieved what it demanded from Tehran. Despite mounting political, economic and military pressure, Iran developed its own strategy of “active resistance”—a strategy of pushback that aims at maximizing the costs for the U.S and its regional supporters for their anti-Iran policies while simultaneously building up Iran’s leverage vis-à-vis the U.S. If Trump is re-elected in November, Iran will stick to its active resistance strategy, which, in Tehran’s eyes, has been more effective than the maximum pressure campaign pursued by Washington.  Trump’s re-election would mean a continuation of his administration’s current Iran policy. While the maximum pressure has yet failed to achieve its stated objectives, there seems to be no alternative to replace this ill-fated policy anyways. By resorting to a maximalist approach – outlined in the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12-point demands — Trump’s Iran team deprived the administration of other alternative options. Consequently, there is little to no room for change in the maximum pressure in Trump’s second term.

  • 2020-08-04

    Iranian Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarz-Zadeh has highlighted the opportunities for cooperation with Beijing in the aerospace industry given the recent successful launch of a Chinese networking satellite that has broken monopoly of the U.S. government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).

  • 2020-08-03

    Various U.S. scholars and policy wonks have warned that the burgeoning partnership will compromise our interests in the Middle East. Analysis predicts an expanded Chinese foothold in the region and a massive market for sanctioned Iranian oil. On the surface, it indeed appears that such an agreement will undermine two major U.S. foreign policy objectives: taming its most powerful peer competitor and neutralizing its most troublesome Middle East foe. But this agreement will not prove entirely advantageous to besieged Iran. The Islamic Republic, buffeted by Western sanctions, international isolation, a hawkish Israel, and, of course, COVID-19, has lost considerable ground economically and militarily. Aspiring for leadership in the Muslim world, Iran has no choice but to rely on its soft-power influence. 

  • 2020-08-03

    The recently announced 25-year agreement between China and Iran appears to have become almost an urban myth among Middle East watchers. The importance of the agreement has been exaggerated and even become the subject of conspiracy theories. It has been both demonized as a “shameful treaty” that enables China to exploit Iran’s natural resources as claimed by Reza Pahlavi in his twitter, or as a sign of “Chinese expansive policy” which allows China to deploy soldiers globally. Those claims either fit the political stance of the exiled political dissents from Iran who would like to label the current Iranian regime as “selling out interests to foreigners” or fit the overall anxiety of Western society toward a so-called “aggressive Chinese expansion.” However, these assumptions are misunderstanding the agreement; it does not have any sort of revolutionary dimension for the China-Iran relationship. Rather, the agreement is mostly a gesture of friendship and the natural and unsurprising continuation of the relationship between the two states. China does not plan to and will not deploy soldiers in Iran, nor does it plan to pick any sides among the regional conflicts in the Middle East.

  • 2020-08-02

    In a meeting with Chairman of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky in Tehran on Sunday, Zarif added that given the level of cooperation between the two countries in different fields, it is necessary to update the document on long-term cooperation to the level of strategic relations. […] During the meeting, Zarif and Slutsky also discussed ways to boost bilateral ties, especially in the economic sector, maintain the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and solve ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, as well as enhance bilateral cooperation on regional and international developments.

  • 2020-07-30

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said today she was alarmed by the Iranian Government’s increased pressure on a prominent civil society group working on poverty and social protection, and the arrest of its founding member. Iranian authorities have pressured Imam Ali Popular Students’ Relief Society (IAPSRS) to change its structure, in what appears to be an attempt to close down the organisation.

  • 2020-07-29

    By increasing pressure on both China and Iran, the US has encouraged the two countries to forge a common front. Though the Sino-Iranian a relationship is still a long way from becoming a new axis, the recent negotiations show that such an arrangement is possible. American foreign policymakers should take note. The US will need to try placing a wedge between China and Iran, which requires deciding which one poses the greater threat. Americans may want nothing more than to leave the Middle East once and for all. But the fact is that the strategic competition with China will not play out only in East Asia.

  • 2020-07-26

    Iran produced just 770,000 automobiles in 2019, down from 1,418,550 just two years prior. The re-imposition of U.S. secondary sanctions interrupted new investment in Iran’s automotive sector, particularly by European automakers such as Renault, Peugeot, and Volkswagen. […] Notably, the new post-JCPOA investment was intended to facilitate the partial privatization of the state-owned manufacturers. Through the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization (IDRO), the Iranian state was set to become a minority shareholder in the new Renault joint venture. A similar deal was struck between Daimler and Iran Khodro Diesel for the manufacturing of Mercedes-Benz trucks in Iran. Allowing foreign firms to be the majority shareholders of their joint ventures was an important shift in industrial policy for the “strategic” automotive sector. Such policy was also intended to address the long-running issue of inefficiency and poor productivity among the state-owned automakers. There were also a number of deals between foreign automakers and private sector firms in Iran, such as the agreement between Volkswagen and Mammut, which has produced Scania trucks in Iran since 2008. Scania’s persistence in the Iranian market has earned it a commanding market share of over 60 percent. 

  • 2020-07-26

    Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif made one of his most important visits to Moscow, a “tested partner in Syria and a real supporter at the United Nations at the most needed time when the US has lost its balance”, said the source. After the deal with China, a comprehensive deal with Russia is on its way to pave the road for Iran to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a member and no longer merely as an observer. This will involve establishing a very long -term partnership on all levels, including the military cooperation with another long-term deal to sign in the near future. These are exceptional deals with superpower countries. It is unusual for Iran to accept the terms imposed by dealing with such powerful countries; Iran is treading the minefield of article 3 of its constitution. New alliances are emerging, between countries united and strengthened by the imposition of US sanctions imposed on all of them. Meanwhile, the US is losing more ground and more allies.