Ellie Geranmayeh

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Technicians work at the Arak heavy-water reactor's secondary circuit, as officials and media visit the site, near Arak, Iran, in December 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP) (AP)

Last month, the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran said that nuclear talks with Tehran were unlikely to continue anytime soon. “If these negotiations are not happening, it’s because of Iran’s position and everything that has happened since [September]”, said Robert Malley, citing Iran’s crackdown on protests, its transfer of drones to Russia and its continuing imprisonment of American citizens.

His comments, which echoed a widespread unease with Iran in the West, are understandable. And yet none of the issues he cited changes the grim reality that Iran is now just days away from having enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb — and that the international community is doing nothing to stop it.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Iranian man looks at exchange rates in Tehran on June 15. ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

The Iran nuclear deal recently marked its seventh anniversary—but it may well turn out to be its last. Despite a year of negotiations in Vienna, which nearly delivered an agreement on how the United States and Iran would return to full compliance with the nuclear deal, the process is now on the verge of collapse.

All parties to the deal share blame, and they all stand to lose. For the West, there will be a dramatic setback for nonproliferation efforts in the Middle East. The failure of the nuclear deal also risks military escalation in a region playing a crucial role during the global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le défi intérieur lancé au président Hassan Rohani par les manifestants a braqué les projecteurs sur les profondes frustrations économiques et politiques de la population, et ce à un moment délicat de la politique étrangère du président liée à l’accord nucléaire. Le président Donald Trump a remis en question le maintien de cet accord et dénoncé les dirigeants iraniens. Il devra décider dès la mi-janvier s’il donne son accord à la poursuite du processus de levée des sanctions, condition sine qua non pour que l’Iran puisse réintégrer l’économie mondiale. L’administration américaine n’a pas encore arrêté sa position et certains signes indiquent que les manifestations en Iran pourraient peser dans la décision finale.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman holding an image of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric, during protests after his execution by Saudi authorities. Mohammed Al-Shaikh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Throughout decades of ferocious rivalry, Iran and Saudi Arabia have, even while backing competing forces across the Middle East, generally maintained one red line: They wouldn’t interfere directly in each other’s domestic security. Policy makers in Riyadh and Tehran have known that backing militant groups among their rival’s Shiite minorities in Saudi Arabia or Sunni minorities in Iran could lead to an escalation for which neither country is ready.

But that tacit agreement might be unraveling.

While no hard proof has been presented, in the past month Iran has ratcheted up claims that Saudi Arabia is supporting groups working to overthrow the government in Tehran or to destabilize the country, in particular opening a new front with Kurdish separatists.…  Seguir leyendo »

America and Iran took a step toward a final nuclear deal on Jan. 18, but they should be making leaps. The negotiators have proposed some creative solutions but major political compromises are sorely needed, and soon.

If a framework agreement can’t be reached in March, the talks could become mired in stalemate. Those who oppose any diplomacy between Iran and the West are already seeking to end the process altogether. With time, they will gain further ammunition.

Spoilers have been striking from Tehran, Washington and Tel Aviv. Some are trying to limit the ability of President Barack Obama (or whoever succeeds him) to deliver a reasonable sanctions-relief package to Iran.…  Seguir leyendo »