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Working for International Dialogue and Peace
There is media confusion about what is going on in Yemen and the broader Middle East. Pundits are pointing out that the US is looking schizophrenic with policies that back opposite sides of the fight against al-Qaeda-style extremism in Iraq and in Yemen.
But it isn’t that hard to understand the divergent policies once you comprehend the underlying drivers of the fight brewing in the region.
No, it isn’t a battle between Shia and Sunni, Iranian and Arab or the much-ballyhooed Iran-Saudi stand-off. Yes, these narratives have played a part in defining ‘sides,’ but often only in the most simplistic fashion, to rally constituencies behind a policy objective. And they do often reflect some truth. ››read more
As the P5+1 and Iran agree to continue talks on a possible joint statement past a midnight deadline into Wednesday, the most contentious issue in Lausanne still appears to be how and when sanctions on Iran will be lifted. ››read more
Conceding to a federal lawsuit, the US government agreed to release a 1987 Defense Department report detailing US assistance to Israel in its development of a hydrogen bomb, which skirted international standards. ››read more
The new war in Yemen, led by the most reactionary state in the Middle East, can only end in disaster ››read more
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory—The Case for U.S.-Iranian Rapprochement That Obama Must Still Makeby Flynt and Hillary Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) March 28, 2015
As the Iran nuclear talks reach a critical juncture and Saudi Arabia invades yet another neighboring in its increasingly desperate efforts to contain the Islamic Republic’s rising regional influence, The National Interest has published our latest article, “Busted Stuff: America’s Disastrous Iran Policy,” see here; we’ve also appended the text below. The piece explains how the Obama administration, because of its continuing unwillingness to engage the Islamic Republic as a truly rising power, risks turning a possible nuclear deal with Tehran—which should be the greatest triumph of American diplomacy since the U.S. opening to China in the 1970s—into something that actually “ends up exacerbating America’s ongoing marginalization in the Middle East.” ››read more
Saudi Arabia‘s US-backed aggression against the sovereignty of Yemen is a textbook example of how local conflicts are internationalized – and become tripwires for regional wars and even global conflagrations. ››read more
Ever mindful of the public relations campaign, Saudi officials, and their US backers, are presenting the Saudi attack on Yemen as part of a “proxy war” against Iran.
Relatively recent claims that the long-standing Houthi rebellion in northern Yemen are receiving some unspecified “aid” from the Iranian government are being presented unquestioned as the pretext for a Saudi invasion, but are a flimsy pretext indeed. ››read more
Appearing on RT’s CrossTalk, click on the video above or see here and (for YouTube) here, Hillary explored the anti-Muslim bias and even outright racism driving some aspects of the opposition to a prospective Iran nuclear deal here in the United States. (Her foil on this point was Fred Fleitz, former CIA analyst who established his neoconservative foreign policy credentials as chief of staff to John Bolton and Bob Joseph during their tenures as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.) ››read more
What Netanyahu wants is to have no deal whatsoever.
That is why President Obama has undertaken to deal with Iran carefully and patiently. He is trying to test Iran by considering what Iran might accept and what the United States could consent to. Netanyahu wants new crippling American sanctions on Iran that could possibly lead to a catastrophic war. ››read more
In response to the recent letter by Republican U.S. Senators to Iran, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has questioned the letter’s core argument regarding the future reversibility of any final nuclear deal by stating that any future U.S. move to revoke or modify the deal would be deemed a violation of international law since “it will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.” ››read more
Israel was not only providing medical treatment to fighters, but also “[i]t’s a channel of communication ….they’re talking to them and likely sharing intelligence in the full knowledge that these rebel units cooperate with Nusra against the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and the IRGC.” ››read more
The Iranian Foreign Minister added that “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.” He continued “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with ‘the stroke of a pen,’ as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.” ››read more
“[President Obama] has gone down this road of negotiations—real, serious, intense negotiations—with Iran, in some ways taking a page from my book, [Going to Tehran]: that the only way you can really deal with a rising Iran is to have constructive relations with it. President Obama is seriously engaged in that prospect, to have a constructive relationship with Iran. He can’t just have it by coming to a good agreement with Iran. He’s going to have to break crockery and actually tell the Israelis that it’s just a good [U.S.] relationship with Iran. It’s going to be a different sort of [U.S.] relationship with Israel. That, potentially is revolutionary for the United States, and could be enormously productive… ››read more
Western news media has feasted on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s talk and the reactions to it as a rare political spectacle rich in personalities in conflict. But the real story of Netanyahu’s speech is that he is continuing a long tradition in Israeli politics of demonizing Iran to advance domestic and foreign policy interests. ››read more
Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke with NBC News' Ann Curry Wednesday. Below is the complete interview: ››read more
In September 2002, then-former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a U.S. congressional committee "there is absolutely no question whatsoever" that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was developing nuclear weapons at "portable manufacturing sites of mass death." Once Hussein had nuclear weapons, Netanyahu warned, "the terror network will have nuclear weapons," placing "the security of the entire world at risk."
Fast forward to this week, and Netanyahu was back, this time as prime minister, to make virtually identical claims about Iran. Yet not only has the U.S. intelligence community disagreed with Netanyahu's assessment of Iranian nuclear intentions, so does Israel's, according to leaked documents. Indeed, more than 200 retired security officers have publicly criticized Netanyahu as a danger to Israel's security. Sadly, Netanyahu's presentation reinforces caricatures regularly advanced by American and Gulf Arab pundits -- caricatures of Iran as aspiring Middle Eastern hegemon, bent on overthrowing an otherwise stable regional order. It's a misguided perspective that is actually hurting the United States. ››read more
Editor's note: Hillary Mann Leverett, co-author of "Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran," served at the National Security Council under Presidents Clinton and Bush.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a much-anticipated speech before a partially vacant US Congress, notwithstanding the boycott by a large cross-section of lawmakers, that ought to give big shivers to George Orwell in his grave. Leading a rogue nuclear state that refuses the slightest inspection of its clandestine nuclear facilities, Netanyahu was perhaps looking in the mirror when he jotted down the line accusing Iran of “sparking a nuclear arms race in the Middle East” or harboring “voracious appetite for aggression,” given Israel’s long history of aggression against its Arab neighbors. ››read more
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoyed a minor boost in his polling for the upcoming election, but to the extent that his speech to the US Congress was an effort to kill US diplomacy with Iran, it appears to have failed, and support for the bill is drying up. ››read more
In our view, Mr. Netanyahu has consistently used these false alarms and outlandish claims both to serve his domestic political maneuvering and to create a smoke screen that relegates the Palestinian question to the margins. We have noted how his rhetoric has intensified in proportion to the international pressure on Israel to stop the settlement activity and end the occupation of the Palestinian territory.
The paradox of the situation is that a government that has built a stockpile of nuclear weapons, rejected calls to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, made military incursions into neighboring states and flouted international law by keeping the lands of other nations under occupation, now makes such a big fuss over a country, Iran, that has not invaded another country since America became a sovereign nation. ››read more
Editor's note: Gholamali Khoshroo is Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The threat to nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East was issued long ago—not by Iran, but by Israel’s own internationally known but carefully denied nuclear arsenal. It is Israel, not Iran, whose hundreds of nuclear weapons threaten a potential nuclear arms race in the region, threaten its neighbors, and threaten the world. ››read more