• 2022-01-13

    The efforts of Turkey, Israel, and Iran to manage relations with Moscow (and vice versa) could ultimately depend on the ongoing talks on Ukraine between the White House and the Kremlin. Russia’s demand that the Biden Administration renounce any plan for Ukrainian membership in NATO will complicate any bid to reach a compromise, a point underscored by Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent statement that Moscow’s demand is unacceptable to the United States and its NATO partners. Blinken is correct when he notes that Moscow must know that no such demand can possibly provide a path forward. But the exit ramp off the road to a more dangerous US-Russian collision is elusive at present. In the meantime, the Ukrainian conflict will have ripple effects in the Middle East and in Vienna. Moscow could conclude that the dangers of failure in Vienna are too great and thus will still try to get Tehran to back down from some of its demands. But if the Ukraine situation gets any hotter, Russia might be disinclined to push Iran toward compromise. Moscow, which not so long ago envisioned itself as a peacemaker in the Middle East, now has far less space to leverage its relationships with the region’s rivals. The lesson seems to be that even if the United States no longer has the clout it once enjoyed in the region, the course of US-Russian relations remains vital to the prospects for peacemaking in the Middle East and other volatile regions of the globe.

  • 2022-01-03

    The US may have assassinated Soleimani, but the illegal aggression has not thwarted the Quds Force general's plans for West Asia one bit, and may even have accelerated them.

  • 2021-12-31

    A recent Al Mayadeen TV news report questioning the seriousness of Israel’s recent, almost non-stop war threats against Iran. . […] ‘Israel attacking Iran is like one who hits his head against the wall’, this is what the former (Israeli) Minister of Justice Daniel Friedmann thought of the (Israeli) threats (against Iran).  (Friedmann argues) that Israel lacks the (necessary) readiness to be struck with one thousand missiles per day, and that it would be better for (Israel) to continue burying its head in the sand. In addition to the (non-stop) statements and psychological warfare (tactics) against Iran, a large number of officials well aware of Israel’s military capabilities believe that it is not certain whether the (Israeli) Air Force is capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, at least not in the coming years.

  • 2021-12-29

    Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri said Israel's key Dimona nuclear facility will be "a prime target" should a war break out between the two archenemies.

  • 2021-12-29

    The raison d’etre of Iran’s ballistic missile force, however, is to deter Israel and the United States from conducting any large-scale attack against targets on Iranian soil–especially its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. To date, this deterrence has worked and, given its proven ability to deliver precision conventional attacks over long distances, will continue to work in the foreseeable future. The US, together with its European and regional allies, has made Iran giving up its ballistic missile capability a prerequisite, along with the elimination of its nuclear enrichment infrastructure, for any normalization of relations. Iran’s argument that its missile force provides a necessary deterrence against military adventurism by the US, Israel, and the Gulf Arab states has fallen on deaf ears. With the US now remaining silent about Saudi Arabia’s new missile production effort, however, it will be extremely difficult for American policy makers to square the difference between their rejection of Iran’s missile capabilities while embracing Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of the same. Hypocrisy, however, is not a stranger to US policy and those who craft it, and one can rest assured that the US will continue to oppose the proliferation of ballistic missile technology in the Persian Gulf region as long as it has a Farsi accent.

  • 2021-12-27

    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.

  • 2021-12-21

    The number of Houthi attacks against predominantly civilian targets in Saudi Arabia doubled over the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, according to new CSIS analysis. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah have played a critical role in providing weapons, technology, training, and other assistance to the Yemen-based Houthis. In response, the United States needs to provide Saudi Arabia additional aid to defend the country against stand-off attacks.

  • 2021-12-15

    An intensification of the Israeli military threats against Iran seems to suggest that the Zionist regime has forgotten that Iran is more than capable of hitting them from anywhere. […] Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the Chief of General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, said on Tuesday that Iran never underestimates the enemy’s threats. “Despite our confidence in the deterrence situation of the country, our forces have never underestimated the threat of the enemy and are prepared for the smallest of threats in the strategic field,” Bagheri remarked.

  • 2021-12-02

    Researchers discuss Iran’s mindset toward the Biden administration and the country’s prospects for internal change as nuclear talks resume in Vienna. On November 29, The Washington Institute held a virtual Policy Forum with Amir Toumaj and Sanam Vakil. Toumaj is an independent Iran researcher, cofounder of Resistance Axis Monitor, and author of the new Institute Policy Note “Iranian Perceptions of the U.S. Soft Power Threat.” Vakil is deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House and author of Women and Politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Action and Reaction (Bloomsbury, 2013).

  • 2021-12-01

    Crisis is always around the corner in the Middle East, and if the nuclear negotiations with Iran go nowhere, tensions will rise again rapidly. This is where the unusual level of inter-Arab dialogue and efforts at cooperation could provide some balance, and a rare win-win for everyone. Except the leaders of Iran.

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