Iran nuclear: next round

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preparatory meetings leading up to the 24 November deadline for agreement with Iran. US and Israel at variance. Chances of success around 50/50. Likely impact on oil prices. Note: we have bowdlerized a four letter word in the report below because some subscribers have filters which will not accept rude words. On 18 November Iran and …

Arab women and sport

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Increasing flow of stories about women’s sport – marginal interest, or leading to more substantial emancipation? Modern sport, previously little followed in the Arab world, has become a passion in this generation – football mania in particular. More recently, again following the non-Arab world, more attention has been paid to women’s sport. To understand the position of women in the Middle East it is often helpful for outsiders to recall their position in western society one, two or three generations ago, with all the conventions, restrictions and inhibitions …

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 …