Working for International Dialogue and Peace

War Drums: Trump’s National Security Advisor Threatens Iran

by Daniel McAdams (source: February 2, 2017

It wasn’t hard to see this coming. President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, delivered a clear threat to the government of Iran today, ominously stating that “as of this day, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” What is less clear is the the General’s rationale for issuing the threat. ››read more

        Editor's note: Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Trump’s Visa Ban: An exercise in Iranophobia and Islamophobia

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (source: IRDiplomacy) February 1, 2017

Kaveh L. AfrasiabiKaveh L. AfrasiabiWith respect to Iran, this order in effect labels Iran as a "terror country" and stigmatizes Iran in the international community. It is meant as a psychological warfare that aims to disempower Iran and isolate it by attaching to it the terrorist label or, alternatively, radical Islam label, so clumsily rationalized by the now national security adviser Mike Flynn in his book, Fields of Fight. Flynn makes no distinction between ISIS and Iran and lumps them together under the rubric of radical Islam. He explicitly calls for a new Russia strategy that seeks to split Russia from Iran and form a Moscow-Washington common cause against the threat of radical Islam. The whole premise of Trump's foreign policy is that the Christian world led by US is in a mortal civilizational fight with Islam and US can and should work on Russia to change course. ››read more

Iranian-German Bundestag Lawmaker May Be Denied US Visa Due to Trump's Ban

(source: Sputnik International) January 29, 2017

NouripourNouripourOn Friday, Trump signed an executive order which blocks all refugees from coming to the United States for 120 days and suspends the entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days. Nouripour's US visa expires at the end of February but the politician, who immigrated to Germany with his family from Tehran in 1988 and has a dual Iranian-German citizenship, does not expect to get a new US visa, the Spiegel magazine, reported.

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Experts Warn President Trump’s Refugee Ban Could Backfire: ISIS 'Rubbing Their Hands With Glee'

(source: Time) January 29, 2017

ISISISISTrump's own rhetoric suggests he intends to single out Muslims. The new executive order also closes America's borders to refugees, and halts the arrival of all Syrian refugees indefinitely. On Friday he said that, once the temporary ban on refugees is lifted, he intends to favor Christian refugees over Muslims. “If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” he told Christian Broadcasting News. Trump’s proposals come at a moment when the world’s deadliest terror group, ISIS, is steadily losing ground on battlefields in Iraq, Syria and Libya. As its self-proclaimed “caliphate” collapses, the group is expected to return increasingly to the tactics of insurgency and traditional terrorism, and rely on a diffuse network of operatives and acolytes around the world. Experts argue that over the long term, defeating ISIS and groups like it requires an effort to discredit jihadist militancy as an ideology. Trump’s immigration plan undermines that effort, says Watts. ››read more

'An open affront against the Muslim world': Iran says it will ban Americans in response to Trump's refugee order

by Parisa Hafezi (source: Reuters / Business Insider) January 29, 2017

"While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted," a Foreign Ministry statement said. "The restrictions against travel by Muslims to America... are an open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation in particular and will be known as a great gift to extremists," said the statement, carried by state media. The U.S. ban will make it virtually impossible for relatives and friends of an estimated one million Iranian-Americans to visit the United States. ››read more

Iran and Berlin warn Trump against building Mexico wall

(source: Sky News) January 29, 2017

Hassan Rouhani said the new US President had "forgotten the Berlin wall fell years ago" as he attacked the planned construction, aimed at tackling illegal immigration. "Today is not the time to erect walls between nations," he said in a speech carried live on Iranian state television. Separately, Berlin's mayor said his city, which was divided from 1961 to 1989, "cannot look on without comment when a country plans to build a new wall". ››read more

Trump banned refugees on Holocaust Remembrance Day. That says everything

by Cecillia Wang (source: Guardian) January 29, 2017

As demonstrated in ACLU litigation last year, only the most vulnerable Syrian refugees are resettled in the US and that only occurs after vigorous security screening by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, the Department of Defense, the Department of State and US Customs and Border Protection. Among those who may barred from entering the US is Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi man who worked as an interpreter for the US army’s 101st airborne division. According to Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi man “spent years keeping US soldiers alive in combat in Iraq”. He arrived at New York’s JFK airport on Friday evening and was detained. ››read more

Pre-Emptive Attack Iran Bill Active in US House

by Daniel McAdams (source: Ron Paul Institute) January 29, 2017

H.J.Res. 10, introduced in the House just as the new Congress began at the beginning of this month. The title of the bill tells the tale: a bill "To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons." This legislation, introduced by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), is as it appears: an authorization for the President to use military force against Iran. But it is much worse than that. Why so? Because it specifically authorizes the president to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran at any time of his choosing and without any further Congressional oversight or input. The operative sentence in the resolution reads, "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons." ››read more

Europe Will Fight to Safeguard the Iran Deal

by Eldar Mamedov (source: lob) January 27, 2017

Mogherini-ZarifMogherini-ZarifThere is growing uncertainty around the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran and, more broadly, intentions of the Trump administration regarding that country. Meanwhile, the world, including the American supporters of the agreement—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)— increasingly looks to Europe to safeguard it. The stakes could not be higher. Not only is the JCPOA a singular achievement of multilateral diplomacy and non-proliferation, but it also opens the way to re-engage with a key country at the intersection of the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, a huge region beset by radicalism, sectarianism, and terrorism. ››read more

        Editor's note: Eldar Mamedov has served as a political adviser for the social-democrats in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP) and is in charge of the EP delegations for inter-parliamentary relations with Iran, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, and Mashreq.

Why Coercion Is a Recipe for Failure with Iran

by Tytti Erästö (source: Lobelog) January 17, 2017

Opponents of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord have criticized the deal because it did not end uranium enrichment or limit missile development by Iran. With the Trump administration, some see an opportunity to undermine the agreement by imposing more non-nuclear sanctions on Iran. The assumption is that this could provoke Tehran to withdraw from the deal, snapping back the ‘crippling’ sanctions, which—according to common wisdom—brought the country to the negotiating table in 2013. Indeed, if such sanctions worked so well before, why could they not extract an even ‘better deal’ from Iran now? Others, such as the nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, seem to want to go back to the previous policy of “no uranium enrichment in Iran,” at least after the deal expires. ››read more

Mattis Breaks With Trump on Iran, Russia

by Paul D. Shinkman (source: US News) January 15, 2017

Trump IranTrump Iran Donald Trump's pick to lead the Defense Department appeared to break with the president-elect's insistence on revamping the agreement that President Barack Obama's administration brokered with Iran to constrain its nuclear weapons, saying Tehran's activities present a grave threat to the Middle East but that the U.S. ultimately must stand by its commitments. The nuclear deal "is an imperfect arms-control agreement. It isn't a friendship treaty," retired Marine Gen. James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing Thursday. ››read more

The Iranian Connection in the Age of Trump

by Rajan Menon and Tom Engelhardt (source: Tom dispatch) January 13, 2017

Trump and MattisTrump and MattisTell me if this sounds familiar: the leadership of a distant nation has its own ideas about whom you should vote for, or who should rule your country, and acts decisively on them, affecting an election. Such interference in the political life of another country must be a reference to… no, I’m not thinking about Vladimir Putin and the American election of 2016, but perhaps the Italian election of 1948, or the Japanese election of 1958, or the Nicaraguan election of 1990 – all ones in which the U.S. had a significant hand and affected the outcome. Or what about an even cruder scenario than just handing over suitcases of cash to those you support or producing “fake news” to influence another country’s voting behavior? How about just overthrowing an already elected democratic government you find distasteful and installing one more to your liking, as in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, or Chile in 1973? ››read more

Iran Agrees to Take Steps to Reduce Enriched Uranium Stockpile

by LAURENCE NORMAN (source: Wall Street Journal) January 11, 2017

According to people involved in Tuesday’s discussions, Iran has agreed to a plan that would see the facility cleaned out and enriched uranium taken out and degraded. When the nuclear deal was agreed to in 2015, Iran had an estimated 100 kilograms of enriched uranium stuck in the pipes and machinery at the plant.

Officials say there are various ways the facility could be cleaned out including, for example, flushing the pipes with chemicals to create a liquid waste that would be very hard to turn back into powder form for enriching into weapons-grade uranium. ››read more

Poll: Nearly 2/3 of U.S. Public Opposes Withdrawing from Iran Nuclear Deal

by Jim Lobe (source: Lobelog) January 5, 2017

TrumpTrumpAmid growing speculation about a Trump administration’s intentions regarding the Iran nuclear deal, a new poll has found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. public opposes withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated 18 months ago between Iran and the P5+1.

The poll, part of a much larger survey by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC) about public attitudes about the U.S. role in world affairs, was released Thursday to foster better informed debate about the issue in advance of Trump’s inauguration. It included 2,980 respondents and was conducted December 22-28.

“Though President-elect Trump campaigned on ripping up the deal and seeking to negotiate a better one, the majority of Americans would rather continue with the deal as long as Iran continues to comply with its terms,” said PPC’s director, veteran foreign-policy pollster Steven Kull. ››read more

Scientists to Trump: the JCPOA Is Working

(source: Lobelog) January 5, 2017

Yesterday, a group of 37 American scientists–including Nobel laureates, nuclear specialists, and former White House advisers–sent an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump in support of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA). Trump made his opposition to the JCPOA quite clear during the presidential campaign, at one point calling it “the worst deal ever negotiated,” and his appointment of the virulently anti-Iran Michael Flynn to serve as his National Security Advisor does not bode well for the deal’s future. However, there have been indications since Trump’s election that he may seek to change the deal but will not look to simply eliminate it. In light of that, this letter argues that the JCPOA is working as intended to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and urges Trump not to do away with it once he takes office. ››read more

Syrian army announces halt to fighting by midnight

(source: Press TV) December 29, 2016

SyriaSyriaThe Syrian military has announced a nationwide halt to fighting starting at midnight, in a move that could promote the diplomatic efforts aimed at ending years of Takfiri violence in the Arab state. ››read more

Israel’s Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Slam

by Juan Cole (source: Informed Comment) December 26, 2016

NetanyahuNetanyahuNetanyahu began announcing settlement expansion to coincide with the visit of high American officials, just to humiliate them. Later on in another round of talks, Secretary of State John Kerry was publicly insulted as “messianic” for trying to pursue the negotiations. In the end they collapsed. In the meantime, Netanyahu publicly humiliated President Obama on several occasions, lecturing him at a joint appearance at the White House, openly campaigning for Romney in 2012, and then trying to get Congress to derail Obama’s Iran negotiations. Netanyahu actually ran the last time on the issue of no Palestinian state, and has made it clear he wants to send hundreds of thousands more Israelis into the Palestinian West Bank, where they will steal Palestinian land. ››read more


by Rebecca Vilkomerson (source: Jewish Voices for Peace) December 26, 2016

There is an increasing understanding among U.S. political leaders, thanks to ongoing grassroots pressure, of the need to hold Israel accountable to international law. The U.S. abstention from this resolution is a welcome sign in that regard. As the only country that abstained, the evidence of the U.S.’s isolation from the global consensus during the vote was stark. However, halting settlement construction is a necessary but not sufficient step toward Israel changing its policies and Palestinians realizing their rights. ››read more

        Editor's note: Statement by Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson on UN Security Council vote to condemn Israeli settlements.

U.S. abstention is a message to Europe: End Israel’s impunity

by Amjad Iraqi (source: 972 Magazine) December 26, 2016

Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin NetanyahuThe U.S.’s abstention is therefore not so much about sending a message to Trump or Netanyahu, both of whom will ignore the resolution the moment Obama leaves office. It is instead a message to other international actors – particularly its allies in Europe – about the need to end Israel’s impunity. As the world braces itself for a more bellicose and unpredictable foreign policy under Trump, it has become more vital for the EU and non-member European states to pressure Israel through their extensive political and economic ties which, despite diplomatic tensions, remain a centerpiece of Israel’s international relations. ››read more

US Easing Medical, Agro Exports to Iran

(source: Financial Tribune) December 24, 2016

TehranTehranThe US Treasury Department unveiled new regulations on Dec. 22, which make it easier for pharmaceutical, medical device and agricultural sectors to more easily sell their products in the 80-million-strong Iranian market. In a first, the Office of Foreign Assets Control is also allowing relevant companies to send Americans to Iran to help with their operation and maintenance. “In response to feedback from the regulated public regarding improving patient safety,” the regulation states, “OFAC is … expanding existing general licenses to authorize the provision of training for the safe and effective use or operation of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices.” ››read more