IranInsight|Showcasing a Multifaceted Iran

While opposing many policies of the Iranian government, Trump administration officials have frequently claimed to care for the Iranian people.

But such sentiments are belied by the feeble US official response to a massive earthquake that has killed more than 500 Iranians in a remote area on the Iran-Iraq border.

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Wind turbines are seen in Manjil in Iran’s Gilan province in this 2013 photo. (Reuters/Michelle Moghtader)

Doubts cast by US President Donald J. Trump about the future of the nuclear deal with Iran, US sanctions that have restricted access to foreign financing, and a tight budget have hampered the Islamic Republic’s ability to secure significant investments in renewable energy.

International banks have been reluctant to finance new energy projects in Iran as a result of Trump’s criticism of the nuclear deal that was reached between Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, and the United States in 2015. This reluctance is compounded by the fact that numerous Iranian energy companies are supervised by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is subject to US sanctions.

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Saudi Arabia and Iran could be headed toward a major war.

Recent power struggles in Riyadh, the shooting down of a Yemeni missile over the Saudi capital, and rising Saudi alarm over Iran’s strengthening position in the Middle East have created a potentially deadly brew of instability.

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Relatives of an imprisoned Iranian-American father and son are urging the Trump administration to open a direct channel to the Iranian government to discuss trading the detainees for Iranians imprisoned for sanctions violations.

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As Congress debates what if anything to do about the Iran nuclear deal, a growing number of experts – including the former head of Israel’s atomic energy agency -- is urging legislators to make sure that the United States continues to comply with the accord.

“The bottom line is the agreement is good for Israel,” Uzi Eilam told a small group in Washington on Tuesday assembled by the liberal Jewish group, J-Street.

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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is arguably the most comprehensive and verifiable non-proliferation agreement since the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It not only ensures against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but also recognizes the right to a peaceful nuclear program.

As more countries, including members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) develop nuclear infrastructures to meet growing energy demands, it is essential to build on the JCPOA and further enhance the NPT by pursuing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Free Zones with the objective of inhibiting proliferation, as well as ensuring the peaceful nature of new nuclear programs.

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The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the most powerful security and military organization in Iran, recently presented its analysis of Trump’s new strategy toward Iran as laid out in his October 13 speech de-certifying the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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As President, Donald Trump has always had the power to blow up the Iran nuclear deal for any reason or no reason at all.

On Friday, he sought to foist that responsibility on the US Congress but the decision ultimately remains with him.

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Tension is building in Washington and Tehran as the date for re-certifying Iran as compliant with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nears.

Certification of the agreement every 90 days by the American administration is not part of the JCPOA. Rather, it was imposed on the Obama administration by the Republican-led Congress, which passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) in 2015 to increase leverage on Iran to stick to the deal’s requirements. President Trump certified Iranian compliance twice, but he appears reluctant to do so again by an Oct. 15 deadline.

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As President Trump weighs whether to re-certify Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), one of the major arguments used by opponents of the deal is that Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles.

The US views those missile tests as provocative, and while technically not a breach of JCPOA, they come in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons…”

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