• 2020-10-18

    No Washington-designed “maximum pressure” has been able to derail a crucial milestone this Sunday: the end of the UN arms embargo on Iran, in accordance with UN Security Council 2231, which has endorsed the 2015 JCPOA deal. […] The end of the arms embargo does not imply a renewed arms race in Southwest Asia. The real story is how the Russia-China strategic partnership will be collaborating with their key geostrategic ally. It’s never enough to remember that this Eurasian integration trio is regarded as the top “existential threat” to Washington. Tehran patiently waited for October 18. Now it’s free to import a full range of advanced weaponry, especially from Moscow and Beijing. 

  • 2020-10-18

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a factsheet on the arm-related transfer termination according to the UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorses the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • 2020-10-16

    The Persian Gulf region will remain a yardstick for tense U.S.-Iran relations as well. Despite the official rhetoric, the strong possibility for escalation in recent months has reportedly made the Tehran regime’s top clergy very concerned, forcing IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami to publicly rule out any such eventuality, thanks to the IRGC’s very expensive “strong deterrent.” Meanwhile, the United States has conducted several assertive drills in the Persian Gulf, while avoiding measures elsewhere that could provide Iran with immediate justification for military escalation. For example, the United States has so far refrained from actively intercepting Iranian gasoline shipments to Venezuela, choosing “persuasive” methods instead. There are limits to this approach, however, as Iran’s continued gasoline lifeline to Venezuela has shown. The U.S. “maximum pressure” policy is unlikely to affect Iran’s overall military capability, given that the lifting of arms sanctions will hardly affect the arms markets. They will be seen as proof by regime hardliners, especially within the IRGC, that the United States is caught in a no-win situation and should either leave the region and relinquish the ability to fight Iran, or stay and be at the mercy of Iran’s accumulated power. Although the portrayal of an invincible front against the enemy is partly to boost morale in a country battered by economic hardship and the COVID-19 pandemic, that should not obscure the fact that, for an aggressively ideological enemy now assured of its military might, bending under pressure will not be an option.“

  • 2020-10-16

    Iran has denied media reports that its border guards have launched retaliatory attacks after rockets fired by Karabakh warring sides hit its border areas, but pledged to take action if such attacks are repeated. […] On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran was ready to help find a sustainable solution to the ongoing dispute through a joint initiative with Russia and Turkey. During a Thursday phone call with his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, Zarif discussed the proposal that foresees the Islamic Republic, Turkey, and Russia boosting a standing Minsk Group that has failed so far to resolve decades of territorial dispute between Baku and Yerevan.

  • 2020-10-13

    Iran’s interest in drones and uninhabited vehicles really goes back to the Iran-Iraq war in the mid-1980s. The Iranians have been in the UAV business for several decades. The first generation of the Ababil that was used during the Iran-Iraq war appears to have been a low-cost attack munition, rather than an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. 

  • 2020-10-07

    Emphasising that maintaining security in the border areas of Islamic Iran is a priority, and that Iran does not accept any disturbance in its security, the President called on the Republic of Azerbaijan as a brother country and Armenia as a neighbour to pay special attention to this point.

  • 2020-10-05

    The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, stated on Monday that the three islands in the Gulf (Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb) are an integral part of his country’s territory. In response to the Emirates’ statements regarding the three islands and the project to build the Emirati oil pipeline with Israel in the Gulf, Khatibzadeh said in his weekly press conference, as quoted by the Fars News Agency: “Regardless of the amount of error that one of the neighboring countries commits, we are trying to return it to the right track of regional procedures according to the policy of good neighbors. T UAE has gone in the wrong direction in some areas for years.” 

  • 2020-10-05

    Then, to round it all up, there’s the all-important Iran-Armenia relationship. Here is a forceful attempt to put it in perspective. As Mr. C stresses, “Iran favors Armenia, which is counter-intuitive at first sight. So the Iranians may help the Russians out (funneling supplies), but on the other hand they have a good relationship with Turkey, especially in the oil and gas smuggling business. And if they get too overt in their support, Trump has a casus belli to get involved and the Europeans may not like to end up on the same side as the Russians and the Iranians. It just looks bad. And the Europeans hate to look bad.” We inevitably come back to the point that the whole drama can be interpreted from the perspective of a NATO geopolitical hit against Russia – according to quite a few analyses circulating at the Duma. Ukraine is an absolute black hole. There’s the Belarus impasse. Covid-19. The Navalny circus. The “threat” to Nord Stream-2. To pull Russia back into the Armenia-Azerbaijan drama means turning Moscow’s attention towards the Caucasus so there’s more Turkish freedom of action in other theaters – in the Eastern Mediterranean versus Greece, in Syria, in Libya. Ankara – foolishly – is engaged in simultaneous wars on several fronts, and with virtually no allies. What this means is that even more than NATO, monopolizing Russia’s attention in the Caucasus most of all may be profitable for Erdogan himself. As Mr. C stresses, “in this situation, the Nagorno-Karabakh leverage/’trump card’ in the hands of Turkey would be useful for negotiations with Russia.”

  • 2020-10-01

    Tensions between the United States and Iran created a political crisis in Baghdad in September after months of attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities by Iraqi militias armed, trained and aided by Tehran. The militias targeted U.S. bases, supply convoys and diplomatic facilities almost daily in September. “We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year,” General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, told NBC News on September 10. The escalation follows the U.S. assassination in January of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Qods Force, and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, chief of Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah militia and the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The PMF is an umbrella for some 60 militias that operate in separate brigades. 

  • 2020-09-30

    Key Takeaway: Iraq’s popular protest movement, set to recommence on October 1, may incite intra-Iraqi violence and could present a risk to US personnel and facilities in Iraq. Iraq’s popular protest movement is planning to resume mass memorial protests on the one-year anniversary of the “October Revolution” protests; these demonstrations will continue to condemn government corruption, Iranian influence, poor government services, mass unemployment, and the failure of the Iraqi government to hold security forces accountable for the mass killing of protesters in 2019. Iranian proxy militias and followers of nationalist Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are likely planning to infiltrate the anniversary protests and use them to achieve their own objectives. This co-optation of the otherwise largely peaceful protest movement may spark clashes between Sadrists, Iranian proxy militants, and Iraqi protesters. In an unlikely but most dangerous scenario, Iran’s proxies could use the chaos of mass protests as a cover for attacks on the US Embassy, on Kadhimi’s government, or on any individual or organization affiliated with the United States or the US-led Coalition.

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