Iran: an end to isolation?

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The threat from IS is forcing the US and Saudi Arabia to reassess their long-standing policies of seeking to isolate Iran. Iran is ready to play. Israel sticks to a hard line, with support in the US Congress.  The fact that Iran, if only by geography, is in the front line against IS is …

Iran: nuclear talks extended

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On 18 July Iran and the P5 +1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany) decided to extend the deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme by four months, to 24 November. A report in the Economist dated tomorrow 26 July comments that the extension makes sense for all the negotiating parties and was widely …

The Arab world and Iran

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We circulate below a think piece on the big picture in today's Middle East by Rami Khouri, whose comments we have often quoted, which is unusual in that it finds some basis for optimism. Khouri is a Christian Palestinian/American and editor at large of the Beirut Daily Star; he is a prolific and wise commentator. …

Saudi Arabia and Iran

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Speaking at an Arab Economic and Cooperation Forum with Central Asia and Azerbaijan in Riyadh on 12 May the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal said that the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif had been invited to visit Saudi Arabia but had not yet responded. The Iranian Press TV channel reported his words, adding …

Iran nuclear: on track

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According to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (which apparently remains confidential) Iran has diluted half its higher-grade enriched uranium stockpile, fulfilling its obligations as agreed with the P5 +1 last November. The US has authorised the release of $450m in frozen Iranian funds. Iranˈs senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said yesterday 20 …

Iran: nuclear talks

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A first round of discussions between the 5+1 (permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) and Iran in Vienna went well, as confirmed in statements by Catherine Ashton on behalf of the 5+1 and Abbas Araqchi on behalf on Iran. Catherine Ashton said that in three very productive days all the …

The media, Israel and the Iran negotiations

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The Arab/Israel dispute has always been an exceptionally divisive issue for the international media. When Israel's politics were dominated by the left international support for Israel also came largely from the left; the opposite is now true, with support largely from the right. On top of examination of the dispute itself, the media have …

Iran nuclear: first stage agreed

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Iran and the P5 +1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany) have announced an interim agreement to begin on 20 January to implement the first step set out in the Geneva agreement of 24 November. Iran accepts some restrictions and reductions in its nuclear programme, in return for suspension of some international sanctions. According to the …

Saudi Arabia and Iran

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The competition between Saudi Arabia Iran for regional preeminence has a sectarian element: each claims to be the leader of one of the main tendencies in Islam. But the competition has other elements too. We thank Conflicts Forum for the two articles below published on successive days in the Dubai-based Gulf News in which President Hassan Rouhani …