Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Eye on Iran: Poll Finds Broad Support for Renegotiating Nuclear Deal with Iran

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A strong majority of voters - including most Democrats - said the U.S. should renegotiate the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran, according to a recent poll. Furthermore, there is broad support for any new deal to be ratified by Congress, rather than implemented as an executive agreement, as former President Obama did in 2015. According to the latest Harvard-Harris survey, 70 percent of respondents said the 2015 Iran deal should be renegotiated and verified by Congress, including 85 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and 57 percent of Democrats. Overall, 60 percent of polled voters said the deal is a bad one for the U.S., with two-thirds of voters saying Iran has not complied with the terms of the agreement. Half of Democrats agreed that Iran has not held up its side of the bargain.

President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that Iran's position in the Middle East had never been stronger but that the regime was at risk unless infighting between political factions was curbed. "The greatness of the nation of Iran in the region is more than at any other time," Rouhani said in a speech in Tehran, carried by the state broadcaster. "In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, northern Africa, in the Persian Gulf region - where can action be taken without Iran?" 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took the Trump administration's case for isolating and containing Iran in the Middle East and beyond to two Gulf Arab nations on Sunday, pushing for Saudi Arabia and Iraq to unite to counter growing Iranian assertiveness. He also called for a quick resolution to the ongoing crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, which he said was unintentionally bolstering Iran. In Saudi Arabia and later Qatar, Tillerson denounced Iran's "malign behavior" and urged nations of the region and elsewhere, notably Europe, to join the administration to halt any business they do with Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard. He also demanded that Iranian and Iran-backed Shiite militia in Iraq either return to their homes, integrate into the Iraqi army or leave the country. "Those fighters need to go home," Tillerson said. "Any foreign fighters need to go home."


The battles for Raqqa and Kirkuk reveal much about the mistakes in U.S. strategy for defeating ISIS, and the consequences of not supporting Iraqi Kurdish efforts to establish an independent state. Most importantly for Washington, Raqqa and Kirkuk demonstrate that Tehran's regime is on the march, while American policy stands in disarray, even while President Trump rightly condemned Iran's continued regional belligerency and support for global terrorism... Existing policies, on auto-pilot as always when new presidents take office, especially when Republicans replace Democrats, persisted after Jan. 20, without being subjected to searching review and modification.


There is absolutely no doubt that a deal between Western powers and Iran to curb its nuclear program will survive despite the U.S. decision not to recertify the deal, Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Monday... U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood said on Monday Washington would "continue to meet its commitments under the JCPOA and will hold Iran strictly accountable for each and every one of its commitments as well."

Asking Congress to examine the Iran nuclear deal is a thoughtful means to get the United States to re-assess our greater Middle East policy in general and our relationship with Iran specifically.  President Trump's October 13 request also included an outline of a new Iran policy, which is the culmination of executive orders issued early in the administration.  To change Iran policy intelligently, we must understand the nature of the Iranian regime now in power. Only then will we be able to adopt a sound counter Iranian policy rather being stuck with the current disjointed appeasement-like policy we inherited at the start of the year.


Pushing its multibillion-dollar Iran venture on several fronts, French energy firm Total will continue its presence in the Iranian market as long as Tehran's nuclear deal is in full force, according to the company's president for Middle East, Exploration and Production Division... He reiterated Total's interest in maintaining ties with Iran but echoed CEO Patrick Pouyanne's comments that the introduction of new restrictions by Washington can jeopardize Total's interests in Iran.


Fleeing grinding poverty and unemployment, thousands of Afghan Shiites have been recruited by Iran to defend Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, former fighters and rights activists say. Afghan men and boys as young as 14 are signing up to fight on the promise of money and legal residency in Shiite-dominated Iran, Assad's regional ally, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended the role of an Iranian-backed paramilitary force at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday in Baghdad.  Tillerson arrived on Monday hours after the Iraqi government rejected his call to send home the Popular Mobilisation, an Iran-backed force that helped defeat Islamic State and capture the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.  In his opening remarks at the meeting with Tillerson, Abadi said Popular Mobilisation "is part of the Iraqi institutions," rejecting accusations that it is acting as an Iranian proxy.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson slipped into Iraq Monday night after having spent the morning in Afghanistan, but his welcome in Baghdad was far less effusive as the Trump administration pushes to isolate Iran, an important Iraqi ally.

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email press@uani.com.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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