France, Iran and the Arabs

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When the P5 +1 talks with Iran ended on 9 November without full agreement (but with agreement to resume on 20 November) the media reported a split between France and the other Western powers, although this was not confirmed in statements by John Kerry, William Hague, Catherine Ashton etc. The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told …

Iran negotiations: tempers flare

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The P5 +1 negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue reconvene on 20 November in Geneva. The White House told the BBC on 14 November that a deal was extremely close and the US was willing to offer a "modest degree of relief" from sanctions in exchange for the beginning of a rollback of Iran's nuclear programme, …

Détente with Iran: the impact

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Although the Geneva talks between Iran and the P5 +1 ended without agreement, the main participants have emphasised that it was extremely close. There are conflicting reports on exactly why and who was responsible for the failure to reach agreement, with some fingers pointed at the French: according to John Kerry “progress was made. The P5+1 was united”, but “Iran couldn’t take it at that particular moment; they weren’t able to accept that particular agreement.” Another meeting has been fixed for 20 November. Britain is reviving diplomatic relations two …

Iran: talks going alarmingly well

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The P5 +1 (or E3 +3) talks with Iran in Geneva appear to have gone well. According to a brief joint statement by Catherine Ashton of the EU and the Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif, Iran presented a plan as a basis for negotiation which is being carefully considered and was followed by …

US/Iran: have a nice day

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The BBC reported that after the telephone conversation between Presidents Obama and Rouhani on 27 September the social media fizzed with excitement; ‘One of the most extraordinary tweets from the @HassanRouhani twitter account was: "In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @hassanRouhani: "Have a Nice Day!" @BarackObama: "Thank you. Khodahafez [Goodbye]." ’ …

Spotlight on Iran

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It has long been a commonplace that Arabists are said to see the Palestine problem as the magic key which could unlock the other problems of the Middle East region. Temporarily at any rate this central role seems to have passed to Iran. As Martin Chulov writes in the Guardian today 25 September "Hassan Rouhani’s overtures to the …

Iran responds

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On 18 September President Hassan Rouhani of Iran told NBC News that Iran would never develop nuclear weapons (video clip at link), and spoke positively about the letters he had exchanged with President Obama. He is due to speak at the UN general assembly in New York of 24 September. The unexpected developments of the last …

Syria, Israel, Iran

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A striking feature of recent developments over Syria is that US congressional and public opinion appears not to have been much influenced by an intensive campaign by the Israeli lobby led by AIPAC to make the administration stand by its earlier determination to use force in Syria. This is unprecedented in recent years. Since it appears to reflect …

President Rouhani of Iran

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Since our posting of 4 August there has been much international debate about Iran under its new president. As a comment by Reuters put it, "Iran’s recent elections produced a striking result. In a six-man race, one candidate won an easy victory without the expected runoff. More to the point, Hassan Rohani campaigned for policies of negotiation …

Iran: a new page

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The election of President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has been widely welcomed, with the reservation that Iran is not run by its President. We circulate below three reports assessing the outlook for change, the first from the Voice of America by Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council, the second from The National Interest by former CIA official …