Iran’s plans to violate a central tenet of the 2015 nuclear deal by exceeding limits placed on enriched uranium “will be the final blow to an agreement that the United States mortally wounded a year ago,” according to Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative

The nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—was signed between Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and China on July 14, 2015. The deal required Tehran to freeze aspects of its nuclear weapons program. In return, the other signatories would provide sanctions relief. On May 8, 2018, US President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA over concerns that it did not do enough to stop Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon or its “malign activity” in the Middle East.

Read More

Iranian supreme leader rebuffs Japanese prime minister’s attempt at mediation

Iran is unlikely to agree to negotiations with the United States in the absence of US concessions, according to Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has offered to serve as a mediator between Washington and Tehran, traveled to Iran this week—the first Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in nearly forty years—in an attempt to facilitate negotiations. However, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rebuffed Abe’s effort.

Read More

Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is just the beginning of Moscow’s designs on the wider Middle East, Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, warned on May 30.

“Syria is a prime example of Moscow’s efforts to influence world events for its own advantage and prestige in a manner that contributes nothing but additional instability to the region and beyond,” Wheelbarger said in remarks at the Atlantic Council in Washington. In addition to rebuffing US efforts to support the political opposition to Assad, Russia’s actions in Syria provided Moscow an “opportunity to reestablish its great power status in the region, assert its pragmatic brand of security cooperation and assistance, demonstrate and improve its military capabilities, and expand its access to hold NATO’s southern flank at risk,” she explained.

Read More

Since his election, US President Donald Trump has pursued a maximum pressure policy toward Iran, in an attempt to push Tehran back to the negotiating table. Yet, despite increasing US pressure on Iran, tit for tat statements, and subversive operations in the Persian Gulf, Tehran is far from willing to antagonize Washington to the point of no return.

Read More

If your allies and your own military and intelligence experts are telling you you’re wrong, they may have a point. 

The Trump administration’s warning about an imminent attack by Iran in the Middle East appears to be unfounded and its escalation of pressure on Tehran part of a strategy to win concessions from the Islamic Republic.

Read More

Rising tensions between the United States and Iran are causing grave concern in Iraq. Iraq’s security and political stability will suffer greatly if this tension erupts into a violent conflict. Iraq has only just snatched a difficult victory from the jaws of an existential terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and is coping with post-conflict challenges that range from the reconstruction of destroyed cities—where more than a million internally displaced people are still unable to return to their homes—to the rebuilding of its battered economy and the revival of its energy, agriculture, education, housing, transportation, and healthcare sectors. If a new conflict erupts in the region, it will complicate the situation for Iraq in some unimaginable ways, even if Iraq is not directly involved.

Read More

Berlin — Europe will provide Iran with concrete economic and political support over the next two months in an effort to keep Iran compliant with the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Europeans will also try to stave off the threat of war in or around the Persian Gulf and are rejecting US claims of an enhanced threat from Iran or Iran-backed forces in the region.

These are the main points derived from my meetings this week with European officials who focus on the issue of Iran and Middle Eastern stability more broadly.

Read More

As Washington looks to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and interference in the 2016 US elections, economic sanctions can be a useful tool, but they must fit into a coherent US strategy in order to be effective, Atlantic Council experts told US lawmakers on May 15.

“Sanctions can be a useful, precise, and effective tool of US foreign policy, so long as they are treated as a tool to implement a clear policy and a thought-out strategy,” David Mortlock, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center explained.

Read More

We’ve been here before. The Trump administration, like every US administration since Jimmy Carter was president, is dealing with a hostile Iran bent on undermining US and regional security interests across the Middle East and beyond. We had a brief three-year respite from Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, thanks to the Obama administration, but the Trump administration has put that period of relief in grave doubt. 

Read More

Drones purportedly flown by Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked Saudi oil pumping stations on May 14, creating a new flash point in a region already on edge over rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

A Houthi military official claimed the group launched multiple attacks against “vital Saudi installations” using drones to deliver bombs. The Houthis have been fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen since 2015.

Read More



    

RELATED CONTENT