Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Eye on Iran: As U.S. Pushes To Isolate Iran, Rouhani Fights To Keep His Top Diplomat

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani scrambled Tuesday to avert a political crisis from the resignation of the country's top diplomat, praising his fellow moderate foreign minister on live television and dispatching senior officials to urge him not to quit.  Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, an architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, resigned unexpectedly Monday on Instagram. His exit was prompted by his exclusion from an unannounced visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian officials said, and will likely embolden conservatives opposed to the nuclear deal.

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, has announced the development of a new accurate missile, which said it is capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Netanya in the center of Israel, threatening to turn Israeli cities into "hell" in any future confrontation. In a documentary broadcast on Iranian television, the Brigades' military spokesman said that the missile was made with the help of Iran, adding that the first missile to be launched by the movement towards Tel Aviv "will be Iranian-made."

Japanese refiners are in a rush to buy as much Iranian crude as they can before the sanction waiver window granted by the U.S. Treasury Department closes in May, S&P Global Platts reports, citing unnamed sources. The sources said local refiner Cosmo Oil had ordered a cargo of 900,000 barrels of Iranian heavy crude, to be loaded early next month and this will likely be the last cargo of Iranian crude to be shipped to Japan.


This week, the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi will serve as the backdrop for President Donald Trump's anticipated second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Observers have speculated that the talks will center on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula - which Trump has repeatedly called for since his first visit with Kim. As the president deals with Kim, he understands that North Korea cannot be viewed in a vacuum. He must also consider the repressive, theocratic regime in Iran - especially in the context of successful actions he has taken against the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

In the 40 years since the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran's unelected management - namely the supreme leader and his mullahcratic appointees - has been consistently anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Semitic.  In contrast, the elected leadership - the president and the speaker of parliament-have been more malleable, and, in many cases, yesterday's hardliners have become today's moderates and vice versa. But in the end, the revolution always trumps political evolution in Tehran.


Indian traders will export raw sugar to Iran for March and April delivery, five trade sources said, the first Indian sugar sales to Tehran in at least five years as Iran struggles to secure food supplies under sanctions imposed by the United States. Under the sanctions, Iran is blocked from the global financial system, including using US dollars to transact its oil sales, Reuters reported on Tuesday. 

Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan continues to keep oil exports and economic relations with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions on Tehran, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has said. "We cannot abandon our historic connection just because of a political decision," the NRT news outlet quoted KRG spokesperson Safin Dizayee as saying to Jame Kurdi. Kurdistan and Iran have common economic, political, security, social, and cultural interests, according to the KGR spokesman.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected the resignation of his top diplomat Wednesday, in a bid to quell the political turbulence growing around the government as it comes under intensifying pressure from the U.S. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, an architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, quit late Monday apparently angry at being excluded from an unannounced visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. His resignation threatened to throw the Rouhani government deeper into crisis and strengthen the country's hard-liners.

Iran's parliament will look into the resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a meeting on Tuesday, the assembly's news website ICANA reported. "With attention to the internal and international situation, sanctions and the pressure from America, I emphasize that more than any other time we need internal unity and solidarity," said Ali Najafi Khoshroodi, spokesman for parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission which will hold the meeting.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh is not resigning, a spokesman for his ministry said on Tuesday, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).  The comments from the spokesman, Kasra Nouri, came after an Iranian parliamentarian said Zanganeh had submitted his resignation, one day after Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced he was resigning.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday was set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss how to prevent Iran from "entrenching in Syria". "From our point-of-view, the focus of the talks will be preventing Iran from entrenching in Syria, the entrenchment of a country which explicitly says that its goal is to wipe us out," Netanyahu said before his trip, according to his press-service. Iran, Hezbollah and Russia are allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


The Houthi militia's occupation of parts of Yemen has increased people's suffering, which has been falsely blamed on a "Saudi blockade," said the British ambassador to Yemen. "It's no coincidence that the number of people in need of aid, now at a staggering 24 million, has increased enormously since the Houthis took over parts of the country," Michael Aron told Arab News in an exclusive interview.


President Trump kicked off a round of high-stakes summitry with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his trademark improvisational style-with a one-on-one pre-dinner chat at a hotel in the Vietnamese capital on Wednesday. The two leaders' meetings here present a serious test of their ability to make tangible headway toward curbing Pyongyang's nuclear programs, after their first meeting last year in Singapore yielded plenty of bonhomie but little concrete progress.

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

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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