Assad has revived his fortunes in the course of 2013 mainly because of the massive Iranian assistance he has received. Washington, which officially backs the opposition, appears to be sponsoring a conference which will crown this achievement.
So is the US in fact changing sides in the contest between Iran and those regional forces seeking to contain and turn back its advance?
Michael Doran of the Brookings Institute, suggested this week that Washington is in the first phase of seeking a ’strategic partnership’ with Iran, an ‘entente cordiale’ which would see a US-Iranian alliance forming a lynchpin of regional stability.
If this is indeed what the welter of evidence detailed above portends, then the Middle East is headed into a dangerous period indeed. As Doran also notes, there is no reason at all to think that Iranian designs for regional hegemony have been abandoned.
The effect of US overtures to Teheran and undermining of allies will be to build the Iranians’ appetite. This will serve to intensify their continued efforts at expansion. The corresponding efforts by other regional powers, Israel and Saudi Arabia chief among them, to resist this process will also increase. That, in turn, is likely to mean greater instability across the region. An eventual direct collision could result.
Post by TsarSamuil on Dec 14, 2013 16:35:28 GMT -5
Spirit of deal ‘violated’: Iran quits nuclear talks after US sanctions move.
RT.com December 13, 2013 17:04
Iran has halted fraught nuclear talks with the West, saying that Washington has acted contrary to the spirit of a ‘landmark agreement’ established last month. The US has widened its blacklists, adding further people and companies under current sanctions.
“The negotiations were halted by [the] Iranian delegation because of new American sanctions. The Iranian negotiating team has halted the talks at this stage and are headed back to the capital due to America's lack of commitment to the agreement,” Iranian news agency, Mehr, reported Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, as saying.
Iran had agreed to freeze sections of its program, in exchange for approximately $7 billion in relief from economic sanctions imposed by the West. However, it emerged that approximately a dozen international firms were blacklisted for evading US-imposed sanctions on Thursday, despite warnings.
Araqchi said that the US was “against the spirit of the Geneva deal,” and that Tehran was weighing up its ‘appropriate’ response.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that the recent nuclear deal struck between his nation and world powers would evaporate should the United States Congress impose new economic sanctions on Iran.
Russia fully backed Iran’s indignant sentiment: “The US administration's decision goes against the spirit of this document,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said, referring to the deal reached on November 24. Russia was among the six world powers brokering the talks.
“Widening American 'blacklists' could seriously complicate the fulfillment of the Geneva agreement, which proposes easing the sanctions regime,” Zakharova added.
US administration officials insisted that the timing was coincidental.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, stated that he still has every expectation that talks will continue over the next few days. He added that: “Folks feel a need to consult and take a moment.” A spokesperson for the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, also said that she expects the talks to resume soon and that both sides had headed home to conduct consultations.
The deal struck in Geneva was intended to allow time for Iran and the P5+1 to come to a final agreement that the US says should limit Iran’s nuclear program to peaceful uses, and that Tehran says should lead to rescinding all economic sanctions.
Sanctions have cost Iran US$120 billion in lost revenue since 2010, when the western powers imposed high hurdles on Iran and countries that engaged in trade with the Gulf state, according to the US Treasury.
Senator: We Can't Let Israel Determine When We Go to War.
Senator Feinstein causes outrage after declaring that "we cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war."
israelnationalnews.com By Elad Benari - 1/16/2014, 6:08 AM
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) triggered controversy with a fiery floor speech in the Senate on Tuesday night, during which she declared that "we cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war."
Breitbart reports that the speech was made during a debate on a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran if it fails to comply with the nuclear deal that was reached with it in November.
The bill includes a provision offering support to Israel in the event of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran.
Feinstein chairs the Select Committee on Intelligence and is considered pro-Israel, but her remarks, which echo those of anti-Israel critics, have provoked outrage, noted Breitbart.
In her speech, Feinstein said that "a vote for this legislation will cause negotiations to collapse," arguing that the six-month deal reached in Geneva and finalized on Sunday represented "the best opportunity in more than 30 years to make a major change in Iranian behavior."
The deal provides some sanctions relief in return for suspending parts of Iran's uranium enrichment program and allowing limited international inspections.
The sanctions bill, co-sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), provides for tighter sanctions in the event that Iran fails to comply with the Geneva agreement.
The Obama administration has vowed to veto the bill regardless, believing that it sends a message of confrontation.
The legislation has been gaining momentum and currently has 59 co-sponsors in the Senate, eight shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), however, has indicated he would not bring it forward at this time, saying he wanted to “wait and see how this plays out”.
Feinstein, according to Breitbart, warned in her speech that hard-liners in Iran would use the bill to "argue that the United States is not interested in nuclear diplomacy--we are interested in regime change."
Democrats who wish to support the Obama administration's line are praising Feinstein's speech, the report said, and it will likely provide political cover to those who wish to oppose the bill but wish to do so without appearing to oppose Israel.
Meanwhile, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has called on Feinstein to apologize for her remarks, noting that the bill includes a proviso that: "Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran."
Adding that the Kirk-Menendez's bill's language on Israel is the same as that in another bill that Feinstein co-sponsored, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "We are deeply troubled to see Senator Feinstein making such incendiary and inaccurate remarks on the Senate floor.
“We call on her to retract this reckless and false charge and apologize to her colleagues and to the millions of Americans who support a comprehensive, robust strategy to prevent the Tehran regime from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability," he added.
Post by TsarSamuil on Feb 10, 2014 12:37:22 GMT -5
Iran dispatches warships to US maritime border.
RT.com February 08, 2014 15:11
Ships from the Iranian army’s naval fleet are headed towards the United States maritime borders as part of a longstanding protest against US vessels in the Persian Gulf, Fars News Agency reports.
"The Iranian Army's naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa," Commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, announced on Saturday.
The admiral, who also heads up the Iranian Army's 4th Naval Zone, added that the ships are approaching the United States' maritime borders, “and this move has a message."
The agency gave no details on the number or types of vessels deployed.
Sayyari first announced Iran would begin a naval buildup "near maritime borders of the United States" in September 2011. The move is part of Iran’s response to Washington’s sizeable naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
The US Navy’s 5th fleet, which is responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean, is based in Bahrain.
"Like the arrogant powers that are present near our maritime borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to the American marine borders," Sayyari said at the time.
Sayyari reiterated Iran’s plans to dispatch its naval forces to deploy along US marine borders in the Atlantic in September 2012, saying this would happen “in the next few years".
In September 2012 the admiral reiterated Iran's plans for sailing off the US coasts to counter the US presence in its waters in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian Navy has been boosting its presence in international waters since November 2008, when it deployed warships to the Gulf of Aden in response to the Somalia pirates’ threat.
OPINION: Russia Should Boost Military Ties With Iran Amid Standoff With West.
MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti) - Iran may become Moscow's number one choice in Russia's impending search for a new "reliable partner" in global defense and security affairs amid worsening ties with the West, a Russian military expert said on Friday.
Ties between Moscow and the West plunged to record lows in recent weeks by disagreements over the status of Crimea, which rejoined Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine last month. In the ongoing diplomatic strife that followed, NATO froze all practical aspects of its military cooperation with Russia earlier this week, while the US and EU imposed sanctions on Russian officials.
"The current state of affairs can re-ignite the Cold War between Russia and the West... In this situation, Russia is compelled to search for new opportunities to sustain global stability and to build mutually beneficial trade, economic and political relations with other global centers of power," said Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense monthly Russian-language magazine and head of the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade.
"I think, Iran may become a reliable partner," the expert said during a RIA Novosti roundtable.
He said that Moscow and Tehran should resume military cooperation if an expected agreement to lift international sanctions is reached during the forthcoming negotiations on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program.
"Once the military cooperation is resumed, [ Russia ] should revive the contract to sell S-300 air defense systems to Iran," the expert continued.
Russia agreed a $800-million deal in late 2007 to supply five S-300 systems to Iran, then suspended the contract in 2010 in response to a UN Security Council resolution that banned certain arms exports to Tehran as part of a new round of sanctions over its nuclear program. Iran responded by filing a $4 billion lawsuit with an arbitration court in Geneva against the Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
The head of the Center for Modern Iranian Studies, Radzhab Safarov, said he was "90 percent sure" that an agreement to lift sanctions against Iran will be reached during the April 7-9 meeting in Vienna, paving the way for military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.
"It looks like the third round of negotiations might lead to a breakthrough solution," he said.
The expert said that the standoff over Crimea, the worst since the end of the Cold War, would contribute to the Iranian talks, because "there will be a bitter struggle between Russia and the West to win Iran round."
Iran and the six-nation group - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany - have been negotiating a deal for Tehran to suspend parts of its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual end to crippling international sanctions.
In November 2013, the sides agreed on a set of temporary measures to limit the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities pending a broader agreement.
Sanctioned Russia and Iran sign 5-yr deal to ease Western pressure.
RT.com August 06, 2014 09:45
Moscow and Tehran have signed far-reaching deals, from energy to consumer goods, which are expected to undermine Western-led sanctions against the two countries.
Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak met with Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and signed a five year memorandum of understanding between the two governments, Russia’s Energy Ministry announced in a statement released on August 5.
The agreement envisages wider economic cooperation, which includes closer ties in the oil and gas sector, construction and rebuilding of generating capacity, development of power supply network infrastructure, machinery, consumer goods, and agriculture.
It lays the foundation for a multi-billion dollar oil agreement between Moscow and Tehran, or the so-called oil-for-goods contract.
On Wednesday Novak confirmed that Russia may start delivery of Iranian crude oil.
“Concrete delivery volumes will be determined in accordance with the market demand,” he said.
Russia’s Energy Minister stressed that cooperation between Russia and Iran didn’t violate the UN Security Council resolution.
The oil trade portion of the cooperation deal could be worth $2.35 billion per year, Kommersant reported. In January, the media said Iran and Russia were poised to sign an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion per month.
Moscow may buy 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day which is well below the 1 million barrels per day allowed under the nuclear deal reached in January between the US, Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany, and Iran.
According to the newspaper, Russia and Iran agreed on the deal last September during a private meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Further contract specifics will be discussed at the next Russia-Iran intergovernmental commission meeting in Tehran on September 9-10.
The deal comes at a sensitive time for both Russia and Iran, as the two countries have been under the pressure of Western sanctions hitting their strategic energy sectors.
In the future, crude supplies from Iran can be accompanied by "petrochemical products, cement, carpets, processed vegetables and fruits," as ITAR–TASS quotes Levan Dzhagaryan, Russia's ambassador to Iran.
Russia-Iran trade is currently worth $5 billion a year. Oil reserves in Iran are among the world’s largest, fourth only to Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Iran is home to 18 percent of the world’s total natural gas reserves.
'Sanctioned birds' flock together
With the proceeds Iran intends to buy Russian products and services. According to the Mehdi Sanai, Iran's Russia ambassador, Tehran is interested in buying Russian machinery, rails, heavy trucks, metals and grain.
Kommersant sources in the Russian government said the United States "has tried to disrupt the deal, threatening Russian and Iranian companies with sanctions."
The White House in Washington DC is wary that that the deal could derail Iran’s plan to wind down its nuclear program.
Boosting cooperation between Moscow and Tehran could result in a strong backlash from the US.
"Moscow has exerted much effort for a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, and was ready to abstain from actions that could evoke a sharply negative US response. But the situation has changed," Andrey Baklitsky an expert from the PIR Center (Russian Center for Policy Studies) told Kommersant.
Now that parts of the Russian oil sector have also been sanctioned by America, Russia is less worried about violating the oil embargo on Iran, Baklitsky explained.
“Russia, at present, is far less disposed to heed US recommendations, and Iran, the importance of which for the West has considerably increased,” he said.
The US led sanctions against Iran a decade ago to try and curb development of the country’s nuclear program. The West stopped buying Iranian oil, and investment and finance are still limited.
American company World Eco Energy has signed a preliminary agreement to invest over $1 billion to generate electricity in Iran.
Post by TsarSamuil on Sept 2, 2014 16:15:44 GMT -5
Russia hails ties with Iran.
English.news.cn 2014-08-28 19:05:32
MOSCOW, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Russia said Thursday that its relations with Iran have been growing, citing shared approaches on several major international and regional affairs.
"The intensity of political contacts is growing and there is obviously positive dynamics in the areas of practical interaction," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary ahead of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's visit to Moscow.
Positions of the two countries coincide to a large extent on such issues as the Syrian crisis, anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan as well as the disputed Iranian nuclear program, it said.
In particular, Moscow sees good opportunity of moving forward in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear program based on the agreement reached in November 2013 in Geneva, which opened the door for another meeting due in November that could resolve the problem, the ministry said.
Russia also hailed Iran's intention to get further involved in issues concerning Afghanistan under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, saying Tehran's effort to curb drug-trafficking from that country deserves high praise.
"We are set to continue the comprehensive development of the entire range of mutually advantageous relations with Iran and to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the interest of regional stability and global security," said the ministry.
Earlier this month, Russia signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran over crude oil shipments. Details of the contract will be discussed when an inter-governmental committee on trade and economic cooperation meets in Tehran on Sept. 9-10.
In June, Moscow and Teheran finished negotiations on jointly building two new sections of nuclear power plants in Iran's southern port city of Bushehr.
Both deals have upset the United States as Washington accused Moscow of attempting to undermine international sanctions against Tehran.
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Nov 28, 2019 11:30:45 GMT -5
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Jan 10, 2020 14:27:01 GMT -5
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Mar 15, 2020 10:48:19 GMT -5
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Apr 19, 2020 4:29:09 GMT -5
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May 18, 2020 9:10:02 GMT -5
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Jun 5, 2020 14:56:11 GMT -5
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Jun 20, 2020 3:10:01 GMT -5
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Jun 28, 2020 13:54:49 GMT -5
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Jul 15, 2020 14:52:53 GMT -5
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Aug 30, 2020 13:48:17 GMT -5