The latest round of mass protests in Iran erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman. She died on Sept. 16 at the hands of the so-called morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s rules on mandatory veiling in public.
Amini’s tragic death is yet another reminder of how the Islamist rulers in Tehran remain tone-deaf to the demands of the Iranian people. Opposition to mandatory wearing of the veil, or hijab, is one in a long list of public grievances.
The violence that led to Amini’s death was not accidental. It is part and parcel of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s attitude toward any political dissent.… Seguir leyendo »
Another round of nuclear talks ended late Thursday in Vienna. Nothing good, bad or even surprising has publicly emerged from the two-day talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries.
Given the overall trajectory of the nuclear talks in recent months -- to external viewers a dreary process of back and forth, bluster and stalling despite a shared desire to continue talking -- two outcomes appear more or less certain.
First, the much-anticipated November 24 deadline for a permanent deal will not be met.
Second, the talks will continue and the negotiating teams need to decide whether they need three months, six months -- or any other length of time -- to try to reach a final deal.… Seguir leyendo »
As U.S. President Barack Obama decides on the best strategy to deal with the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and beyond, his final plan of action will undoubtedly include the participation of like-minded allied countries and regional partners.
One such partner are the Kurds of northern Iraq who regard ISIS as the biggest threat since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003. The Kurds, however, are hoping for a more robust and lasting U.S. commitment as part of rekindled Kurdish-American cooperation.
Meanwhile, it might be timely for Washington to reassess its previous refusal to directly engage with Kurdish armed forces.… Seguir leyendo »
President Obama's decision to target militants from ISIS -- which is now calling itself the "Islamic State" or "IS" -- operating in Iraq comes as a huge relief to the Iranians. Officials in Tehran have been panic stricken since ISIS forces overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10.
All political factions in Tehran would like to see ISIS suffer and its latest advances rolled back. At the same time, contradictory statements made in Tehran make it clear that the Iranian authorities are divided about the implications of the American military's return to Iraq.
The moderates, the group of people associated with President Hassan Rouhani's presidential administration, are nudging toward an open admission that American military operations in Iraq compliment Tehran's policy goals.… Seguir leyendo »