• 2021-02-11

    This monograph is a special collection of articles by experts from Europe, the United States and Israel, who have been cooperating in an inter-think tank working group under the auspices of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Israel. All articles have a focus on the Iranian issue from different perspectives. The introductory article is written by myself as one of the main conveners of the international working group, and the monograph editor.

  • 2021-02-04

    Iran’s defense minister has warned against attempts by outsiders to provoke an arms race in the Indian Ocean and turn it into a weapons stockpile, saying colonial powers are militarizing the strategic region to sell more arms and advance their own economic interests. 


  • 2021-02-04

    A special envoy of Iran reaffirmed Tehran’s support for ceasefire in Afghanistan and the neighboring country’s republican system of government. In a meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the Iranian foreign minister's special envoy for Afghanistan said Iran supports ceasefire in the neighboring country and maintenance of its republic system. […] In a meeting with a political delegation of the Taliban in Tehran on January 31, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would support an inclusive and Islamic government in Afghanistan involving all ethnic groups. The top Iranian diplomat also emphasized that people of Afghanistan, who are the Taliban’s fellow countrymen, should not be targeted in operations.

  • 2021-02-03

    The US Navy’s Nimitz carrier strike force has left the Middle East after a nine-month deployment abroad that was extended to keep pressure on Iran, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to tell reporters whether any specific event had influenced Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s decision to send the carrier home, nor whether the United States’ assessment of the potential for hostile Iranian activity in the region had changed. “It is a balancing act between requirements and the capabilities on hand,” Kirby said, adding, “The secretary believes that we have a robust presence in the Middle East to respond.” “It would be imprudent for us to think this is based on a specific piece of intel in a specific part of the world,” he said. USNI first reported the decision to bring the Nimitz back to the United States. Following a late December decision to send the supercarrier home, the Nimitz was ordered to return to the Middle East in early January amid public threats from Iranian leaders against US officials. 

  • 2021-02-02

    Israel’s inclusion in Centcom will further harm the Palestinian cause, drive a wedge between Arab states and raise the heat on Iran. […] It will align US security interests in the region even more closely with Israel’s, at the expense of its Arab neighbours. It will aid Israel’s continuing efforts to crush the national ambitions of the Palestinians, with many Arab states’ either explicit or implicit cooperation. It will accentuate political tensions within the bloc of Arab states, further weakening it. And it will help to build pressure on recalcitrant Arab states to join the broader consensus against Israel’s one remaining significant regional foe: Iran. It is significant that Washington’s long-standing concern about Israel’s presence in Centcom damaging US relations with the Arab states has apparently evaporated.

  • 2021-01-31

    Air raid sirens were heard wailing in Tehran on Friday night, spooking local residents and prompting the spread of a number of theories online about what could have caused the incident. The last time sirens were activated was during the Iran-Iraq War, which saw Iraqi forces lobbing missiles, some armed with chemical munitions, into Iranian cities. […] where they supposedly carried out reconnaissance in Bandar Abbas, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Iranian media dismissed the claims, pointing out that an elementary analysis of the F-35’s range characteristics (1,700 km to 2,200 km) would make it impossible for the Israelis to fly all the way from Israel to Iran and back in stealth mode without refuelling, with refuelling planes unable to conceal their positions. Tehran also says that it has the advanced strategic and mobile radar capabilities necessary to detect enemy aircraft, including those with stealth capabilities. In June 2019, the Khordad-3, an Iranian-made medium-range missile system, shot a stealthy $220 million US Global Hawk surveillance drone out of the sky over the Strait of Hormuz.

  • 2021-01-29

    Everything terrible that happens in the country is the fault of the enemy, weather true or not. Yes, much of economic troubles in Iran are the result of sanctions, but not all, as even some politicians in Iran occasionally admit. Mismanagement, corruption, ineptness, ignorance, backwardness, internal feuding, have all contributed, along with brutal sanctions, to the faltering economy. So, President Biden, here is a simple blueprint for achieving your goals, including a “regime change”: Lift the sanctions. Stop imprisoning Iranians on flimsy charges of violating these sanctions. Stop assassinating Iranians. Stop sabotaging Iranian nuclear and non-nuclear facilities. Stop threatening Iran. Stop sending B52s, warships, and drones to the Persian Gulf. Stop interfering in Iran’s internal affairs. Stop even condemning the Islamic Republic for violating human rights. Afterall, as one of the greatest purveyors of violence around the world, the US is in no position to talk about human rights. Your condemnations ring hollow. In short, leave the Islamic Republic to its own devices! […] If you do these, you will have a much better chance of achieving your stated and unstated goals. Without enemies at the gate, the Islamic Republic will have no use for highly enriched uranium or massive amount of low enriched uranium. It will have no use for long range-missiles. It will have no reason to act belligerently in the Persian Gulf. Above all, without enemies, the Islamic Republic will have no one to blame for when it comes to social and economic woes in Iran. It will have to become fully accountable to its own citizens for whatever ill the society faces. It will have to respect civil rights and liberties. Otherwise, it will face the wrath of a population that has always fought against tyrannical rule.

  • 2021-01-29

    The US military is signaling its show of force against Tehran may continue as the State Department explores paths toward a renewed nuclear agreement. As the Biden administration weighs next steps with Iran, the Pentagon is reassuring regional partners that deterrence remains central to US strategy toward Iran.

  • 2021-01-28

    Middle East. Jewish Insider first reported last week that President Joe Biden was considering appointing Malley, a veteran diplomat and CEO of the International Crisis Group, as a special envoy to Iran. The rumors set off a smear campaign among hawks who oppose diplomatic engagement with the Iranian government. 

  • 2021-01-28

    This paper attempts to explore the cost-benefit calculations which would drive Moscow’s decisions in a US-Iran war scenario. In the first section, we analyze the possible benefits Moscow might derive from an open conflict emerging between the US and Tehran, while in the second we consider the downsides of such a scenario for Russian interests. The paper analyzes the implications of these benefits and costs on Russian Middle East policy. We argue that Moscow’s losses in such a war would be threatening to Russia’s core interests in the Middle East, and thus is probably the key factor defining the Russian response strategy.