• 2020-09-14

    Former diplomats and experts discuss what steps each party should take after the historic White House signing ceremony, and how to bring the Palestinians and other actors into the fold. On September 14, The Washington Institute held a virtual Policy Forum with Ebtesam al-Ketbi, Dore Gold, Barbara Leaf, and David Makovsky. Ketbi is founder and president of the Emirates Policy Center, the UAE’s leading foreign policy and security think tank. Gold is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli permanent representative to the UN. Leaf is the Institute’s Lapidus Fellow and former U.S. ambassador to the UAE. Makovsky is the Institute’s Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and former senior advisor to the State Department’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of their remarks.

  • 2020-09-13

    The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Saturday strongly condemned the normalization of ties between Bahrain and Israel, saying the Bahraini regime should await a harsh revenge from the country’s freedom-seekers and its Muslim people.

  • 2020-09-13

    Referring to an upcoming Iran, China, and Russia joint exercise, Iran’s Navy Commander said that this 3 world powers’ joint effort conveys the message that they are capable to influence the equations of the World. Addressing the countries who have the illusion of unipolarity and self-managing in the world, Khazandi asserted that the joint effort by Iran, China, and Russia will show that the world is moving towards multipolarization.

  • 2020-09-13

    Here's what I would do as President. First, I will make an unshakable commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Second, I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern. This includes working aggressively to free unjustly detained Americans and calling out the regime for its ongoing violations of human rights, including the execution of wrestler Navid Afkari this week and the wrongful detention of political prisoners, such as human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. And we will work to help our partners reduce tensions and help end regional conflicts, including the disastrous war in Yemen. I will also take steps to make sure US sanctions do not hinder Iran's fight against Covid-19. And on day one, I will repeal Trump's disgraceful travel ban targeting a number of Muslim-majority countries, among others. Third, we will continue to push back against Iran's destabilizing activities, which threaten our friends and partners in the region. Drawing on the record-setting US-Israel security assistance agreement signed when I was Vice President, America will also work closely with Israel to ensure it can defend itself against Iran and its proxies. We will continue to use targeted sanctions against Iran's human rights abuses, its support for terrorism and ballistic missile program. If Iran chooses confrontation, I am prepared to defend our vital interests and our troops. But, I am ready to walk the path of diplomacy if Iran takes steps to show it is ready too. With the world back at America's side, a Biden administration will make it a priority to set Iran policy right.

  • 2020-09-11

    This week, an IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program was released and the joint commission under the JCPOA convened its 16th meeting. Also, Iran plans to build a new centrifuge assembly plant after its factory was destroyed and the U.S. military announced a reduction in U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

  • 2020-09-10

    The Iranian navy began a three-day exercise in the Sea of Oman near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, deploying an array of warships, drones, and missiles. One of the exercise's objectives is to devise "tactical offensive and defensive strategies for safeguarding the country's territorial waters and shipping lanes," the military said on its website.

  • 2020-08-27

    Iraq is headed towards a gradual military escalation between the Iraqi resistance, supported by the main political parties, opposing US forces and Iraqi security forces commanded by al-Kadhemi. This threatens to create a dangerous and unstable situation in the country. During his meeting with Al-Kadhemi, President Trump stated that he would not withdraw for three years. This statement was undoubtedly in response to what Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Iranian revolution, said during his meeting with Al-Kadhemi a few weeks before. Sayyed Khamenei demanded that the US leave Iraq as the price to pay for the blood of Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, who was assassinated by Trump’s drone at Baghdad airport. […] However, Trump and his team within the current administration don’t seem to realise that they have put themselves where Iran wants them to be. By refusing to accept the Iraqi parliament’s binding decision that foreign forces withdraw, the US is challenging the Iraqi parliamentary majority, which requested a US withdrawal within six months, not three years. Consequently, Iran is eager to see the US.

  • 2020-08-24

    The US military has been facing increasing pressure from local resistance forces and pro-Iranian groups in Iraq.

  • 2020-08-21

    On Monday, a report emerged that Netanyahu had agreed to an American sale of F-35 fighter jets and other highly advanced weapons to the UAE as part of the agreement. Despite the prime minister’s vehement denials, the reporter who broke the story — Yedioth Ahronoth’s Nahum Barnea, one of the most respected journalists in Israel — stood by his reporting. Although all parties claim the sale of the weapons is not a condition of the UAE-Israel agreement, subsequent statements support Barnea’s scoop. For example, the New York Times reported that American officials “do not dispute that the new momentum on the arms sale — after years of stalled requests by the Emirates to buy the fighter jet — is linked to the broader diplomatic initiative.”

  • 2020-08-20

    Tehran said Thursday it seized an Emirati boat following a Persian Gulf incident in which two Iranian fishermen died, stoking tensions after the UAE said it would establish ties with Israel. The Iranian foreign ministry said it also summoned the UAE charge d'affaires to protest the maritime incident, which took place on Monday. UAE coastguard vessels had "opened fire on several Iranian fishing boats... leading to the deaths of two fishermen", a statement by the ministry said.