Working for International Dialogue and Peace

Ignore the Tough Talk – Trump’s Iran Policy Will Be Much Like Obama’s

by Gareth Porter (source: Middle East Eye) February 15, 2017

The first public pronouncements by President Donald Trump’s administration on Iran have created the widespread impression that the US will adopt a much more aggressive posture towards the Islamic Republic than under Barack Obama’s presidency.

But despite the rather crude warnings to Tehran by now ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and by Trump himself, the Iran policy that has begun to take shape in the administration’s first weeks looks quite similar to Obama’s. ››read more

Trump will not be able to spark war with Iran: American scholar

(source: Press TV) February 11, 2017

US President Donald Trump is in no position to threaten Iran, and will not be able to spark a war with the country in the next couple of years as some analysts have suggested, says Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs. ››read more

A New Security Order Needed in the Persian Gulf

by Javad Heiran-Nia (source: Lobelog) February 8, 2017

History has already provided a model for Persian Gulf states to emulate. Philosopher Arshin Adib-Moghaddam has argued in several front-page interviews in the Iranian press that regional powers could learn from the Helsinki Final Act, which emerged from the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The treaty, agreed to by 35 countries in the midst of the Cold War, created a process whereby NATO and Warsaw Pact member states could conduct diplomacy, reduce tensions, and ultimately avoid military conflict on the basis of non-intervention in internal affairs and respect for legitimacy, borders, and territorial integrity. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is another regional organization whose mission and coordination could serve as an inspiration to the Persian Gulf area.

The history of the region demonstrates that security institutions that are not inclusive and collective, such as the GCC, increase tensions. In the Persian Gulf itself the security of the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula cannot be fully guaranteed if other littoral states such as Iran and Iraq are excluded. Lasting security requires institutions that encompass all stakeholders in the region and that are not tainted by the politics of identity. ASEAN and the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are good templates in that regard. ››read more

        Editor's note: Javad Heiran-Nia is the head of the international desk of Mehr News Agency (MNA), one of the biggest news outlets in Iran.

‘Emotion mustn’t override reason’: Russia questions Trump’s tensions with Iran & China

(source: RT) February 8, 2017

ChurkinChurkinCommenting on recent remarks by US President Donald Trump, who branded Iran terrorist threat No.1, Churkin pointed to the active role the Islamic Republic is playing in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). With Russia having close relations with Iran, while US-Iranian relations are increasingly strained, Churkin acknowledged that Washington and Moscow “have differences in a number of areas, including on the role of Iran.”

With that, Churkin believes that some of the recent US rhetoric on Iran might have been influenced by emotions rather than rational policy-making and cold, hard facts. ››read more

New US sanctions on Iran unacceptable: Russia

(source: Press TV) February 8, 2017

FlynnFlynnRussian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has expressed his regret over the new United States’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic, saying bans are not an appropriate means to resolve issues. ››read more

Anti-Iranism in the Trump Administration

by Paul R. Pillar (source: Nationa Interest) February 6, 2017

Paul PillarPaul PillarOne of the most direct indications of Donald Trump’s failure, or refusal, to understand issues involving Iran is his tweeted declaration this week that the Iranians “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” It supposedly should be an occasion for Iranian thankfulness when Iran, subjected to economic punishment, gains only partial relief from that punishment through difficult negotiations in which it subjects itself to greater restrictions and more intrusive monitoring than any other state has willingly accepted for its nuclear program, even though some neighbors unfriendly to Iran not only have nuclear programs without those restrictions but also nuclear weapons. No mention is made of Iran abiding by the agreement while most of the questions about compliance concern U.S. behavior and sanctions relief—which is why many Iranian hardliners argue that the nuclear agreement was a bad deal from Iran’s perspective. ››read more

Pentagon chief advocates restraint in response to Iran, China

by Missy Ryan (source: Washington Post) February 5, 2017

Trump and MattisTrump and MattisOn Thursday, Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters that the new administration was “officially putting Iran on notice.” He provided no details on what that may mean. But Mattis, a former commander of U.S. operations in the Middle East and a hawk on Iran, said the United States did not need to add military assets, potentially including additional troops or an aircraft carrier, to the region. ››read more

The Trump Administration Is Recklessly Escalating Tensions With Iran

by Phyllis Bennis (source: The Nation) February 4, 2017

Steven BannonSteven BannonThe Trump administration is continuing to make reckless threats against Iran. On Wednesday, in response to recent missile tests, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announced that the White House was “officially putting Iran on notice,” and refused to say whether military force is under consideration. The administration is now escalating sanctions against Iran, which will further ratchet up tensions—even though the missile tests are not a violation of the Iran nuclear agreement, and the White House hasn’t even tried to say they are. But that’s not stopping Trump. Just hours ago, he tweeted: “Iran is playing with fire—they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!” ››read more

        Editor's note: Phyllis Bennis, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ New Internationalism Project, is the author of Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.

Iran unmoved by US threats, relies on own defense means: Zarif

(source: Press TV) February 3, 2017

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran is “unmoved” by the United States’ threats and only relies on its own defense means amid hostile rhetoric against the Islamic Republic, including hints of military aggression, emanating from Washington. ››read more

        Editor's note: You can watch Zarif's speech on the Press TV page above.

White House Press Secretary Falsely Accuses Iran of Attacking US Navy Vessel, an Act of War

by Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons (source: The Intercept) February 3, 2017

Sean SpicerSean SpicerThe White House press corps wanted to know what being put “on notice” entailed, and Spicer responded by claiming that Iran’s government took actions against a U.S. naval vessel, which would be an act of war. “I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution, that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our Navy vessel are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take,” he said. “I think that we will have further updates for you on those additional actions.” Major Garrett of CBS News quietly corrected him, saying “a Saudi vessel,” and Spicer then responded almost inaudibly: “Sorry, thank you, yes a Saudi vessel. Yes, that’s right.” He did not in any way address his false claim that it was an Iranian attack, however. ››read more

Trump Stands for War

by Andrew Murray (source: Stop the War Coalition) February 2, 2017

The main fact which needs to be understood is this: Trump is a war president – there is no room for doubts of illusions on that point. His slogan of “America First” does not bear the isolationist interpretation it may have done in the 1930s and early 1940s. It is, in the hands of the Trump team, a slogan for aggressive imperialism. Let us count the ways in which this is true:

Third, Trump is set on confrontation with Iran, vowing to unpick the nuclear accord signed by Obama, one of his few progressive steps in foreign affairs. For many years, either a US attack on Iran, or a proxy attack by Israel seemed a present danger. That is now back on the agenda. ››read more

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.