Shai Feldman – Ariel E. Levite – August 20, 2015 – Shai Feldman is the Director of Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Ariel E. Levite is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The other night we had a dream. We dreamed that the negotiations with Iran had produced a comprehensive agreement that not only credibly contained the country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons forever but also effectively checked its regional ambitions. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu came close to endorsing the agreement, taking credit for having pressed hard for some of the limitations that the agreement enshrines. President Obama received congratulations from almost every corner of the earth and even Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made a dramatic announcement of support, stressing that the agreement was a turning point in his country’s history. He noted that the deal represents the ultimate failure of those who have sought all along to topple Iran’s regime and that it would in no way diminish Iran’s deeply held suspicions of the “Great Satan”. Khamenei claimed that the agreement signed leaves his country as the acknowledged regional power and critical global power. He announced the appointment of the Head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force Genaral Qassem Suleimani as his personal envoy to promote a peaceful settlement in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, implying that even a long-term armistice with Israel could be part of this initiative, provided the “Zionist entity” would discontinue its “creeping annexation” of the West Bank and its “aggression” against Gaza.
MESOP BACKGROUNDER: The Hero of Baghdad’s Protests: Senior Iraqi Cleric ‘Saves’ The Government – And Iraq From Iran?
By Mustafa Habib , niqash – During last week’s protests, secret plans were made to use demonstrations to topple the government. But a senior Shiite spiritual leader seems to have stepped in at the last minute to save the country from chaos.At the end of July thousands of locals took to the streets of Baghdad to protest against the lack of state services – and especially the breakdown in electricity supply, which was making their lives very difficult in summer temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius. Most of the organisers of these demonstrations were civil society activists and other prominent local personalities and their aims were clearly stated. They wanted the Ministry of Electricity reformed and an end to corruption there.
EAST KURDISTAN (IRAN) ANALYSIS OF NEAR EAST POLICY FROM THE SCHOLARS & ASSOCIATES OF THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE
PolicyWatch 2475 – August 20, 2015 – By Nadav Pollak – Existing mechanisms for interdicting Iran’s arms shipments to its proxies have already been proven insufficient, so any concerted effort to push back against the flow of weapons will require additional measures.U.S. allies in the Middle East are concerned that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will embolden Iran’s aggressive behavior, particularly in terms of funding and arming militias and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Houthis. In recent weeks, the Obama administration has sought to assure these allies that the United States will push back against this behavior.
IRAN – IAEA lässt Atomanlage Parchin von Iranern prüfen (DIE ZEIT) 20 Aug 2015 / SEPARATVEREINBARUNGEN
Die Internationale Atomenergiebehörde will laut eines Dokuments eine iranische Anlage von einheimischen Experten prüfen lassen. US-Republikaner sind empört. (…)
Das von der AP eingesehene Dokument ist mit “Separate Vereinbarung II” überschrieben, was nahelegt, dass es eine weitere geben könnte. In dem Schreiben wird festgelegt, dass UN-Inspektoren nicht selbst zum Beispiel Proben nehmen, sondern dies iranischen Experten überlassen. Die UN-Inspektoren würden demnach nur als Beobachter teilnehmen – normalerweise übernehmen sie solche Überprüfungen selbst. Der Iran soll demnach den UN-Inspektoren Fotos und Videos der Anlagen liefern, darin sollen aber “militärische Erwägungen in Betracht gezogen werden”, heißt es.
By Robert Satloff – American Interest – August 19, 2015 – There are several potential reasons why the Obama administration is still insisting that the nuclear deal is perfect as is, and most of them are deeply problematic.
Why has the Obama Administration — in public, at least — rejected all suggestions to improve the Iran nuclear agreement? Last week, I proposed five specific improvements to the Iran deal (see http://washin.st/1UFsaM7). These included ways to repair flaws in the process of penalizing Iran for possible violations; to raise the cost to Iran of transferring sanctions relief funds to terrorist proxies; and to strengthen deterrence so Iran thinks twice before exploiting sunset clauses in the deal to sprint toward a nuclear weapon at a later date. Every one of these suggestions could be achieved either by unilateral U.S. action or coordination with our European allies. In other words, I argued that the agreement can be substantially improved without reopening its contents for renegotiation.
MESOP : THE FINAL RESULT / WORK IS DONE Russia & Iran reach agreement on S-300 air defense systems delivery – deputy foreign minister
20 Aug 2015 – RT / Novosti – © Alexander Vilf – Moscow and Tehran have reached an agreement over delivery of the S-300 long range surface-to-air missile systems. It’s a done deal, with some technical issues only left to be clarified, deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told RIA Novosti.
INSS Insight No. 737, August 20, 2015 – Oded Eran Oded Eran – The battle raging between the US President and Congress on the Iranian nuclear deal should not eclipse the story behind the future removal of US sanctions. The President has the power to remove Executive Order sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear activities after Implementation Day – when the IAEA verifies the implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures stipulated in the agreement. If the President withstands an attempt to override his veto (i.e., of the rejection of the agreement by Congress), his lifting of sanctions could prompt Republicans to try to make Congress pass countermeasures. The issue becomes more complicated if the President fails to prevent Congress from overriding his veto but remains determined to use his power and terminate sanctions on Iran. Given that the US is already in a presidential election campaign, Republicans may be attracted to unusual measures in the attempt to block the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. If that happens, against their will Israel and its supporters will enter into a bitter battle between a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democratic President who stands to lose a major battle on the Hill.
By GEORGE JAHN – Aug. 19, 2015 8:28 PM EDT – VIENNA (AP) — Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press. The revelation on Wednesday newly riled Republican lawmakers in the U.S. who have been severely critical of a broader agreement to limit Iran’s future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration, Iran and five world powers in July. Those critics have complained that the wider deal is unwisely built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.A skeptical House Speaker John Boehner said, “President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’ He claims it’s not built on trust. But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient – and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents.” Said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce: “International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period.”
MESOP: THE NEW IRAN / RUSSIAN COALITION AGAINST THE WEST – Iran to Russia: Where are those missiles you promised us?
Al Monitor – by Arash Karami 19 Aug 2015 – The trip by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Moscow to meet his counterpart Sergey Lavrov was front-page news in a number of Iranian newspapers. Many analysts and writers expect Iran and Russia’s economic and military ties to deepen following the nuclear deal.One of the hottest topics of discussion following Zarif’s trip was the long-awaited delivery of the long-range S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system, which is designed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles. Iran has already paid for the missiles, but Russia has held up the delivery over pressure from Western countries over sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program.
20 Aug 2015 – Russia will complete a deal, as early as next week, to sell the sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran despite longstanding American objections, Fox News reported today. An American defense official told Fox News that the S-300 “is a very capable weapons system that can bring down U.S. or Israeli jet aircraft.” It is believed that the missiles will be used to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities and may be deployed in an offensive capacity.
Russia originally agreed to sell the S-300 system to Iran in 2007, yet agreed to a moratorium on the sale after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 in 2010. In April of this year, Russia announced that it would no longer observe the moratorium. A week later, however, Russia said it would not deliver the systems in the near future.