• 2020-07-15

    Since at least 2000, Israel has sought to prevent Iran from becoming a military nuclear power—or the tenth nation to get the bomb. The urgency to develop overt and covert operations has increased because of Iran’s growing arsenal of long-range missiles, its entrenchment in Syria, and its attempts to provide Hezbollah with precision missiles that could hit Israel.

  • 2020-07-15

    There is a rather intense CIA program being run against Iran. Trump has not only appointed the aggressive Michael D'Andrea, the 'Prince of Darkness', to head the CIA's Iran Mission Center but he gave the CIA wide ranging new powers to run cyber attacks against the country [...]

  • 2020-07-15

    Over the last few weeks, Iran has been hit by a series of unusual explosions at such sensitive facilities as its nuclear enrichment complex, factories and gas pipelines. Many analysts and diplomats suspect sabotage by Israel, the United States or some other outside force. While reliable information from within Iran is difficult to come by, and conflicting accounts are emerging, at least two of the incidents occurred at sites linked to Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. The New York Times quoted a “Middle Eastern intelligence official” claiming that Israel planted a bomb at the Natanz nuclear facility in the building where Iran had resumed work on advanced centrifuges. The Times of Israel reported that the “official” may be Mossad head Yossi Cohen.

  • 2020-07-11

    A UN special rapporteur has once again lashed out at the United States for breaching international law by assassinating top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a drone attack, warning about the repercussions of unbridled and self-willed use of armed drones. "International law is international. It is not American," Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in a post on her Twitter account on Saturday. 

  • 2020-07-11

    Iran and Syria have signed different military and defense cooperation over the past years. The Islamic Republic commenced providing Syria with advisory military assistance after numerous countries, at the head of them the U.S. and its Western and regional allies, began funding and arming militants and terrorists with the aim of deposing the Syrian president’s government. Although the Syrian government initially lost considerable expanses of territory to ISIS and other terror outfits, the country rallied to retake the lost grounds and drive out terrorists from much of the country.

  • 2020-07-10

    It is unlikely that Iran would seek to respond to any destructive cyberattack in a disproportionate manner – don’t expect missiles to fly against either Israel or US bases in the region. Instead, Iran will probably deploy its own very capable offensive cyberweapons in targeted retaliation, either against facilities in Israel and/or the US, or against regional targets affiliated with either of those countries. Cyber warfare is a new phenomenon, one which can inflict significant collateral damage on civilian infrastructure both in the targeted nation, as well as third parties not directly involved in the conflict at hand. If Israel and/or the US were, in fact, to have conducted a destructive cyberattack on Iran, there will almost certainly be retaliation. Where this cycle of cyber warfare will end, however, is unknown. Given the complex realities of cyber warfare, where computer viruses are released in a manner conducive to causing a global cyber pandemic, the question must be asked if the outcome achieved at Natanz and Hemmat was worth the potential risk accrued. If history is any lesson, the answer is – and will be – a resounding ‘No.’

  • 2020-07-10

    As Iran’s center for advanced nuclear centrifuges lies in charred ruins after an explosion, apparently engineered by Israel, the long-simmering conflict between the United States and Tehran appears to be escalating into a potentially dangerous phase likely to play out during the American presidential election campaign.

  • 2020-07-09

    Given the deterioration of the US-China relationship, however, Beijing would likely be reluctant to antagonize Washington for such a minimal return. Despite exaggerated rhetoric about the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, the China-Iran relationship is tremendously one-sided. As this author has argued before, Iran needs China much more than China needs Iran. And China definitely needs a functional relationship with the United States much more than it needs a partnership with Iran. The high-water mark for bilateral trade between Beijing and Tehran this century was in 2014, at $38 billion. In 2019, with China-US relations at a low point due to the trade war, China-US trade was valued at just over $540 billion. That’s not to say that economic considerations are everything, but they are a lot, especially, in China, which has a performance legitimacy model that offers economic growth with no political reform. Selling weapons to Iran, knowing that it is a red line for the Trump administration, would come with a substantial cost to China-US relations. And, with the general election immediately following the end of the embargo, it is unlikely that China would take such an enormous risk. 

  • 2020-07-08

    International law, like the Constitution which imbues it with relevance as far as the US is concerned, only possesses the meaning and legitimacy that a society is willing to vest in it. The US, acting on legislation passed by Congress, has engaged in a whittling away of the rights and protections afforded to Americans and world citizens to the point that neither international law nor the Constitution have much meaning anymore. It is not just the US Congress that has lost its voice when it comes to expressing moral outrage against the murder done in its name. “To date drones’ attacks and targeted killings are not the object of robust international debates and review,” Callamard concludes in her report. “The Security Council is missing in action; the international community, willingly or not, stands largely silent. That is not acceptable.” Seen in this light, the words of Callamard take on a whole new level of urgency. “[T]he targeted killing of General Soleimani, coming in the wake of 20 years of distortions of international law, and repeated massive violations of humanitarian law, is not just a slippery slope. It is a cliff.” 

  • 2020-07-07

    Throughout 2019, the escalation of tensions surrounding the Strait of Hormuz confirmed that the stability of the Persian Gulf is not simply a regional, but a global problem. Though Iran’s HOPE advances an intra-regional format, any feasible and lasting framework necessitates the involvement of all littoral states including all Persian Gulf littoral states as well as external powers with vested interests in maintaining stability in the region. Europe, in conjunction with regional and external actors, can assume an instrumental role by facilitating dialogue and improving mechanisms for direct communication at the inter-governmental level while also providing a forum for flexible engagement that allows for the exchange of information and dialogue among experts, military officials, and bureaucrats.

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