• 2021-01-27

    Iran has threatened to block nuclear inspections next month, and further increased production of fuel that could be enriched for use in bombs. It has seized an American ally’s cargo ship. And it has incarcerated yet another American citizen on spying charges. These are just some of the steps Iran has taken in recent weeks in what is seen as part of an increasingly impatient strategy to pressure President Biden, who has said he wants to reverse many actions taken by his predecessor, Donald J. Trump. Those reversals include returning to the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, abandoned by Mr. Trump, which had severely constrained Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s adversaries have long seen that program as a path toward the country building nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists that it has always been intended only for peaceful purposes.

  • 2021-01-26

    Blinken does not seem to have repented from his fundamentalist belief in American imperial goodness, notwithstanding his appeal for “humility”. Barring an earthquake in Washington, Antony Blinken is set to become the new U.S. Secretary of State and America’s top diplomat. The youthful and telegenic Blinken (58) takes over from Mike Pompeo who was America’s representative to the world under the last Trump administration. 

  • 2021-01-26

    From the Iranian government’s perspective, any war with a foreign country—especially one that is a close partner with the U.S. and militarily strong on their own—would be devastating at this point. It is clear that Iran’s government, while intent to continue sponsoring non-state actors across the Middle East to advance its strategic objectives, is not interested in full-scale war. The findings of a 2010 study still hold true today and are echoed by most analysts. “Iranian military doctrine is primarily defensive in nature and based on deterring perceived adversaries.” [22] Iran will very likely rely on its proxy allies (Lebanese Hezbollah, Afghanistan’s Fatemiyoun Division etc.) in order to project its power and deter others from attacking its territory. Iran will engage in subversion, deception, and covert operations against its perceived adversaries since they are low-cost, high-yield strategies [23]. Iranian leadership cannot succeed through direct confrontation against its regional adversaries and beyond, but must take a more indirect approach by creating confusion and disinformation about their capabilities and real intentions.

  • 2021-01-25

    Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah recounts how assassinated Iranian General Qassim Soleimani held a two-hour long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and convinced him to militarily enter the war in Syria in support of the government in Damascus and its allies.

  • 2021-01-21

    Each crisis represents a major US foreign-policy challenge, but all will likely receive less attention from the new American administration than another pressing issue in the region: Iran’s recent nuclear advances. That was the consensus of five Arab, Israeli, and American experts gathered for a virtual discussion on January 20 that coincided with Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States. The panel—moderated by Kirsten Fontenrose, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative—was part of the Council’s 2021 Global Energy Forum. 

  • 2021-01-20

    The annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on January 5, 2021 culminated in the resolution of the Qatar crisis. The crisis began in 2017, shortly after President Trump’s visit to the region, as the so-called Arab Quartet (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt) imposed a blockade against Doha to pressure it to rein in its foreign policy. The blockading countries have started lifting their pressure campaign against Qatar, although the terms of the agreement have not been fully disclosed and it is unclear if any of their initial demands were met. Some possible regional implications of the latest Gulf reconciliation include: the GCC distancing Qatar from Turkey; a widening policy gap between the UAE and Saudi Arabia; or, if the reconciliation stalls, further evidence of the intractable frictions between Qatar and its neighbors. A successful resolution to this crisis could serve Israel’s interests by promoting a more unified GCC front against Iran’s malign activity in the region and greater restraint in Turkish foreign policy. However, Jerusalem should also be aware that this development could herald shifting fault lines in the Gulf.

  • 2021-01-15

    „Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday at a press conference the United States is doing all it can to prevent convergence and dialog between Iran and the Persian Gulf region’s Arab countries. "We are interested in Iran and the Arab states [of the Persian Gulf] establishing a normal dialogue, reaching confidence-building agreements, transparency in military affairs and developing cooperating in general. <…> Unfortunately, our American colleagues up, at least the current administration, have been doing their utmost to thwart this dialogue up until now," he said. According to Lavrov, the Russian proposal to create a security strategy for the Persian Gulf is particularly aimed at developing dialogue between Iran and the Arab states. "It is crucial that no one interfere in this process and take actions aimed at undermining the very efforts to create this dialogue," he underlined. […]“

  • 2021-01-15

    The US Department of Commerce issued an order on ensuring security in the field of information and communication technologies, according to which Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba are declared adversaries in this area.

  • 2021-01-15

    The Aerospace Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps started the first stage of large-scale military exercise code-named of Payambar-e Azam 15 (The Great Prophet 15) in the Central Desert of Iran on Friday by implementing a combined missile and UAV operation

  • 2021-01-15

    • Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. (Israel has more capable ballistic missiles, but fewer in number and type.) Most were acquired from foreign sources, notably North Korea. The Islamic Republic is the only country to develop a 2,000-km missile without first having a nuclear weapons capability. Iran is still dependent on foreign suppliers for some key ingredients, components and equipment, but it has the technical and industrial capacity to develop long-range missiles, including an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM. The military utility of Iran’s liquid-fuel ballistic missiles is limited because of poor accuracy, so these missiles are not likely to be decisive if armed with conventional, chemical or biological warheads. But Tehran could use its missiles as a political or psychological weapon to terrorize an adversary’s cities and pressure its government. Iran’s indigenous Fateh-110 family of solid-fuel missiles have achieved the precision necessary to destroy military and critical-infrastructure targets reliably, as demonstrated during its January 2020 attack against U.S. forces stationed at Ayn al Asad airbase in Iraq using Zolfaghar missiles.  Iran should not be able to reliably strike Western Europe before 2022 or the United States before 2025—at the earliest.  Iran’s space program, which includes the successful launch of several small, crude satellites into low earth orbit using the Safir and Qased carrier rockets, proves the country’s growing ambitions and technical prowess. Since 2016, the larger, more powerful Simorgh failed to put a satellite into orbit during four launch attempts and remains a work in progress.

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