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Tag Archives: Iran

Iran diary: bracing for all-out economic war

While the dogs of war bark, the Ancient — and New — Silk Road goes on forever and a civilization with a long and proud history gets on with life

The minute you set foot in the streets of Mashhad, the air smelling of saffron, a fine breeze oozing from the mountains, it hits you; you’re in the heart of the Ancient Silk Road and the New Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

To the east, the Afghan border is only three hours away on an excellent highway. To the north, the Turkmenistan border is less than four hours away. To the northwest is the Caspian Sea. To the south is the Indian Ocean and the port of Chabahar, the entry point for the Indian version of the Silk Roads. The Tehran-Mashhad railway is being built by the Chinese.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Iran-diary-bracing-for-al-by-Pepe-Escobar-Iran_Iran-Green-Movement_Iran-President-Hassan-Rouhani_Ramadan-180528-90.html

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Posted by on July 18, 2018 in Middle East

 

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As tensions rise, neither Iran nor Israel want war

The chain of events over Syria early on Saturday was the closest Israel and Iran have ever been to direct military confrontation. But the military punches between Israel-Syria-Iran also contained a few more “firsts”.

It was the first time an Iranian unmanned drone had penetrated Israeli space – in the past, Iranian-made drones that infiltrated Israel were operated by Hezbollah from Lebanon.

This time it was an all-Iranian operation led by the al Quds force: the decision, the launch and the operational control and guidance.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/tensions-rise-neither-iran-nor-israel-want-war-1461986195

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Middle East

 

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It’s time we saw economic sanctions for what they really are – war crimes

The first pathetic pieces of wreckage from North Korean fishing boats known as “ghost ships” to be found this year are washing up on the coast of northern Japan. These are the storm-battered remains of fragile wooden boats with unreliable engines in which North Korean fishermen go far out to sea in the middle of winter in a desperate search for fish.

Often all that survives is the shattered wooden hull of the boat cast up on the shore, but in some cases the Japanese find the bodies of fishermen who died of hunger and thirst as they drifted across the Sea of Japan. Occasionally, a few famished survivors are alive and explain that their engine failed or they ran out of fuel or they were victims of some other fatal mishap.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economic-sanctions-north-korea-syria-hospital-supplies-a8168321.html

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2018 in Asia, Economy, Middle East

 

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Trump’s escalating threats to Iran risk destabilising the Middle East

The US-Iran confrontation is already destabilising parts of the Middle East that were starting to settle down after the defeat of Isis in the second half of last year. “The escalating American threats against Iran mean that the Iranians will be more vigorous in safeguarding their position in Iraq and Syria,” said a former Iraqi minister who did not want his name published.

He warned that senior US officials, particularly those with a military background, “will do everything short of war against Iran”. They had convinced themselves that Iran’s clerical government was weaker than was really the case. “They believe that they just have to kick the system and it will collapse,” he said. This wishful thinking has been encouraged by the protests that have broken out in Iranian cities since 28 December.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/donald-trump-us-iran-nuclear-deal-middle-east-relations-diplomacy-hassan-rouhani-weapons-syria-a8162241.html

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in Middle East, North America

 

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European foreign ministers are being forced to side with Iran over Trump whether they like it or not

President Trump is trying to kill off the nuclear deal with Iran, but at the same time make the Iranians take the blame. Once again today he issued waivers reimposing strict economic sanctions on Iran, but threatened to pull out next time round unless Congress and European countries improve the terms of the agreement from the US point of view. He also announced sanctions against individual Iranian officials for alleged corruption and human rights abuses during the recent street protests in Iran.

But the real aim of US opponents of the nuclear deal signed by President Obama and others in 2015 is to make sure that Iran gets no “peace dividend” out of the agreement and is provoked into walking away from it. Probably, Iranian leaders are too clever to fall into the trap, but Iranian policy is the product of competing power centres in Tehran so what they will decide is neither certain nor necessarily very smart.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-trump-eu-leaders-side-with-regime-whether-like-it-or-not-a8156401.html

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2018 in European Union, Middle East

 

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Fabricating a war on Iran

US Secretary of State Colin Powell brandished a vial he claimed contained anthrax at the UN Security Council on 5 February 2003, and showed satellite photos of secret sites where chemical weapons were supposed to be manufactured. He later admitted the story was fabricated, but not before it had served as a PR launch pad for the Iraq war.

On 11 December 2017 the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, appeared with huge fragments of what she claimed was an Iranian missile that had missed its target. She maintained it had been fired from Yemen at a Saudi civil airport, ‘a G20 country’ and had ‘the potential to kill hundreds of innocent civilians in Saudi Arabia … Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK. Or the airport in Paris, London or Berlin.’ Never mind it could not have travelled that far. Once again, fear is being manufactured to justify war: 14 years after destroying Iraq, the US government has Iran in its sights.

https://mondediplo.com/2018/01/01iran

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Middle East

 

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When it comes to the Iran protests, be careful who you put your trust in

The international media has a poor record in reporting protests and uprisings in the wider Middle East since 2011. These complex struggles were presented as simple battles between good and evil, like a scene out of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Surprise and anguish were expressed when the supposed dawning of freedom and democracy in Libya, Syria and Yemen instead produced savage civil wars while Egypt and Bahrain became strikingly more authoritarian and repressive than before.

Whatever the causes of the failure of news organisations to understand developments in these countries, they had clearly got something very wrong about what was happening.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-protests-arab-spring-hassan-rouhani-sides-opposition-government-cia-false-information-us-trump-a8143736.html?amp

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Why is Trump’s man in Iran, Michael D’Andrea, missing from conversations about the protests?

Most of us know the extremely rare but slightly creepy feeling of driving down a road or seeing a hill or listening to a conversation and being overcome by the absolute conviction that we’ve seen it or heard it before. Perhaps in an earlier incarnation. Or maybe just a few years ago, though we may not be able to place the experience in a time frame. It took me quite a while before a trusted friend was able to pinpoint why I found Iran’s latest miniature street revolution so weird. And so familiar. And so chilling.

Let’s run through the sequence of events. A large number of young, disenfranchised and poor/unemployed young people take to the streets of a Middle East nation to complain about their poverty, the corruption of the regime, their own lack of freedom – and quickly, they turn against their own leaders. Perfectly justified. But within days, guns are being used against opponents of the government which both claims the people’s right to freedom of speech but warns that those who use violence will pay the price. At least 21 – two of them members of the security forces – are killed as protestors respond to the shoot-to-kill tactics of the governments’ armed supporters.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-protests-donald-trump-michael-dandrea-us-opposition-hassan-rouhani-reform-violence-riots-a8141271.html

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Middle East

 

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There’s no easy way for President Rouhani to end the Iran protests

Among the latest to die in the rising violence in Iran were an 11-year-old boy, a 20-year-old man and the first member of the security forces, from the Revolutionary Guard. Hunting rifles, commonly available in rural areas, were said to have been used in the shootings. The killings, if accounts of them are true, are a significant development in an increasingly volatile and incendiary situation.

The hardliners can use these deaths as evidence that extremists or foreign agents are behind the protests and demand a severe crackdown. Some of those who have been taking part in the demonstrations are themselves concerned that agent provocateurs are at work trying to sabotage their legitimate protests against economic hardship and corruption.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-protest-tehran-killed-hassan-rouhani-violence-arrests-not-easy-to-end-a8138286.html?amp

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Corruption and inequality fuelling protests in Iran as Rouhani faces pressure to crack down

Iran is seeing its most widespread protest demonstrations since 2009. They are still gaining momentum and some 15 people are reported to have been killed, though the circumstances in which they died remains unclear. The motive for the protests is primarily economic, but many slogans are political and some directly attack clerical rule in Iran which was introduced with the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.

The demonstrations began with one against rising prices on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city and the site of its most holy shrine, a place which is traditionally seen as a stronghold for clerical hardliners. It may be that these conservatives initiated or tolerated the protests as a way of undermining President Hassan Rouhani, seen as a political moderate, who was re-elected by a landslide last year. If so, the protests have swiftly spiralled out of the control of the conservatives and are erupting all over Iran, strong evidence of a high level of discontent everywhere in the country and possibly a sign of covert organisation by anti-government groups.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/why-iran-protests-demonstrations-violence-corruption-inequality-hassan-rouhani-donald-trump-a8137051.html

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in Middle East

 

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