Iran (February 13, 2021)

Iran (February 13, 2021)



The narrow path to agreement: How Europe should support the Iran nuclear deal

By Julien Barnes-Dacey, Ellie Geranmayeh

The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

February 10, 2021

„[…] After four years of instability and a constant risk of regional conflict under the Trump administration, it is now time for a unified transatlantic approach that is realistic about what is possible with Iran. Rather than complicating a US return to the nuclear deal in a fashion that risks closing the door to all negotiations, Europeans should declare clear support for a focused approach on preserving this critical agreement. By doing so, they would also widen the space for negotiations with Iran on regional security.“


Iran’s condition for returning to JCPOA commitments: Removing all sanctions

February 7, 2021

„[…] In this meeting, Imam Khamenei stated that the side with the right to set conditions for the continuation of the JCPOA deal is Iran, and its irrevocable condition is that the United States must remove all sanctions, and not just on paper but in action. Imam Khamenei stated, “If they want Iran to return to its JCPOA commitments, the US should remove all sanctions in action. After they have done this, we will check if the sanctions have truly been removed. Once this is done, we will resume our JCPOA commitments.” […]“


Khamenei Sets Conditions for Iran to Resume Its Nuclear Commitments

By Mehdi Khalaji

The Washington Institut for Near East Policy

February 8, 2021

„By stating initial terms that he knows Washington will not meet right now, the Supreme Leader is once again signaling his lack of interest in returning to full JCPOA compliance—at least not before President Rouhani leaves office in August. In one of his few in-person speeches since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated on February 7 that Iran would not pull its nuclear program back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action until “America lifts all sanctions.” Addressing an audience of air force commanders, he laid out his stance in no uncertain terms: “If they want Iran to return to its JCPOA commitments, America should lift the sanctions entirely, in practice not in words. Then we verify it and see if sanctions are properly lifted before we return to the JCPOA’s commitments…This is the Islamic Republic’s irrevocable and definitive policy, and a matter of consensus between the country’s officials.” He also responded to remarks that President Biden gave to CBS News earlier in the day: “Americans and Europeans have no right to stipulate and place conditions due to their violation of their JCPOA commitments. The party that should rightfully place conditions is the Islamic Republic, because it is committed to [the JCPOA].” […]“


Former Iranian Diplomats Issue Statement on Tehran’s Expectations of US

By IFP Editorial Staff

January 22, 2021

„A host of former Iranian deputy foreign ministers and ambassadors have issued a statement on Iran’s expectations of new US President Joe Biden.The full text of the statement follows […]


Iran is actually reducing its weapons-usable uranium inventory

By Robert Kelly

(„Robert Kelley is a veteran of over thirty-five years in the US Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex, most recently at Los Alamos. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and later was Director of the Department of Energy Remote Sensing Laboratory, the premier US nuclear emergency response organization. He was also seconded by the USDOE to the IAEA where he served twice as a Director of the nuclear inspections in Iraq in 1992 and again in 2001.“)

January 28, 2021

Iran is actually reducing its weapons-usable uranium inventory

„[…] The net result of Iran’s uranium metal factory would be to turn 20 percent enriched UF6 into another form that is not suitable for enrichment. That is a commendable nonproliferation goal. When the IAEA totals Iran’s inventories of LEU and different forms of material—such as UF6 or fuel compounds—the 20 percent material no longer in enrichable form should be inventoried as material no longer appropriate for a weapons program. However, there are a few other footnotes about Iran’s production of uranium metal that are concerning. Iran could gain industrial knowledge of how to make weapons metal that could be useful in the future. A first-generation uranium nuclear weapon uses about 12 kilograms of weapons-grade metal, according to open sources. That is a very small amount especially if one weapon per year is a goal. It can be done in a small industrial laboratory, not a factory. On the other hand, natural uranium—and depleted uranium—can be used in armor-penetrating conventional bullets. These bullets are deadly and effective in conventional engagements between tank armies,. The quantities needed for a military campaign are in the tens or hundreds of tons, as the US has demonstrated in places such as Kuwait and Kosovo. This requires a factory, but the material is not enriched at all and, thus, is completely different from a nuclear weapons program. Iran’s growing stockpile of 20 percent UF6 is far less worrisome when it is converted to a form not suitable for further enrichment. This is a nonproliferation victory.“


Middle East Roundup: U.S. and Iran Remain at Impasse & Iran Further Reduces Compliance in JCPOA

By the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

Febraury 12, 2021

„This week, a key figure in Iran’s security establishment signaled a potential change in the country’s nuclear calculations. Also, Iran further reduced its compliance in the nuclear deal and has detained another U.S. dual national. […]“


Dismantling the ‘sanctions wall’ myth

By Shervin Ghaffari

February 12, 2021

Dismantling the ‘sanctions wall’ myth

„Since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20, Iranian and U.S. officials have postured in public remarks over who should make the first move in returning to the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Underlying this debate, however, are questions of how each party can come back into compliance with the deal and what barriers stand in the way. Iran will need to reverse a number of steps it has taken in ramping up its nuclear program. The Biden administration, on the other hand, must contend with a series of sanctions and designations that were inherently designed to make returning to the JCPOA more difficult. Known as the “sanctions wall,” architects of the Trump administration’s Iran policy targeted entities subject to nuclear-related sanctions relief under the Obama administration with duplicative terrorism designations. They said this double layer could create a “sanctions wall of political and market deterrence” to undermine a future administration’s ability to ease or lift sanctions. But on closer examination, their efforts created less a “wall” than a transparent edifice built on political calculations. […]“


Joe Biden Adopts Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Strategy Towards Iran

By Salman Rafi Sheikh

February 11, 2021

„[…] Biden’s insistence on keeping US sanctions in place, which is itself a clear violation of the JCPOA, reveals that the new president has effectively adopted Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy and that he intends to use this to his advantage vis-à-vis Iran. For Iran, therefore, Biden is already no different from Trump. Again, Biden the-candidate thought differently of the “maximum pressure” when he said that recent developments have “proven that Trump’s Iran policy is a dangerous failure. At the United Nations, Trump could not rally a single one of America’s closest allies to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran. Next, Trump tried to unilaterally reimpose UN sanctions on Iran, only to have virtually all the UN security council members unite to reject his gambit.” Biden the-President, however, thinks that it is not a good idea for the US to return to full compliance and that Iran, which never violated the deal even once before the US sanctions were imposed, must return to full compliance. There is, therefore, little gainsaying that such a position can be only taken with a view to un-necessarily complicating an already complicated enough a scenario. […]“



The Fallout of the US-Iran Confrontation for Russia: Revisiting Factors in Moscow’s Calculus

By Abdolrasool Divsallar, Pyotr Kortunov

Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Middle East Directions Programme of the EUI Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Report

January 28, 2021

Klicke, um auf USA-Iran-Russia-Report.pdf zuzugreifen

„[…] This paper attempts to explore the cost-benefit calculations which would drive Moscow’s decisions in a US-Iran war scenario. In the first section, we analyze the possible benefits Moscow might derive from an open conflict emerging between the US and Tehran, while in the second we consider the downsides of such a scenario for Russian interests. The paper analyzes the implications of these benefits and costs on Russian Middle East policy. We argue that Moscow’s losses in such a war would be threatening to Russia’s core interests in the Middle East, and thus is probably the key factor defining the Russian response strategy.“


Assessing Iran’s Threat Potential to the UAE

By Kristian Alexander

January 26, 2021

„[…] From the Iranian government’s perspective, any war with a foreign country—especially one that is a close partner with the U.S. and militarily strong on their own—would be devastating at this point. It is clear that Iran’s government, while intent to continue sponsoring non-state actors across the Middle East to advance its strategic objectives, is not interested in full-scale war. The findings of a 2010 study still hold true today and are echoed by most analysts. “Iranian military doctrine is primarily defensive in nature and based on deterring perceived adversaries.” [22] Iran will very likely rely on its proxy allies (Lebanese Hezbollah, Afghanistan’s Fatemiyoun Division etc.) in order to project its power and deter others from attacking its territory. Iran will engage in subversion, deception, and covert operations against its perceived adversaries since they are low-cost, high-yield strategies [23]. Iranian leadership cannot succeed through direct confrontation against its regional adversaries and beyond, but must take a more indirect approach by creating confusion and disinformation about their capabilities and real intentions.“


The Biden Administration’s Security Challenges in the Gulf

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

January 27, 2021

Klicke, um auf 210127_Cordesman_Security_Challenges.pdf zuzugreifen

„The U.S. needs to make fundamental changes to its security efforts in the Persian/Arab Gulf and the Middle East. The U.S. has done more to destabilize Gulf security over the last four years than to establish a stable structure of deterrence and defense. At the same time, the threat in the region has evolved far beyond extremist groups, such as ISIS, and past assessments of Iran’s nuclear weapons efforts. If the Biden Administration is to succeed in creating a new structure of deterrence and defense in the Gulf, it must look beyond extremism and issues like the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – important as they are. It must rebuild and strengthen its security partnerships with Arab states and address a wide range of new security issues. There are no easy, “good,” or simple solution to these challenges, and many will require years of patient efforts meant simply to contain the problems involved, rather than to solve them. The U.S. does, however, have a wide range of options, and it can make progress in many areas. There is still much to build upon even if the Biden Administration acts promptly and consistently to address the full range of challenges involved. […]“


Why Israel is joining the Pentagon’s ‚Arab Nato‘

By Jonathan Cook

February 2, 2021

„Israel’s inclusion in Centcom will further harm the Palestinian cause, drive a wedge between Arab states and raise the heat on Iran. […]“

„[…] It will align US security interests in the region even more closely with Israel’s, at the expense of its Arab neighbours. It will aid Israel’s continuing efforts to crush the national ambitions of the Palestinians, with many Arab states’ either explicit or implicit cooperation. It will accentuate political tensions within the bloc of Arab states, further weakening it. And it will help to build pressure on recalcitrant Arab states to join the broader consensus against Israel’s one remaining significant regional foe: Iran.

It is significant that Washington’s long-standing concern about Israel’s presence in Centcom damaging US relations with the Arab states has apparently evaporated. […]“


Russia and Iran in Syria and Beyond: Challenges Ahead

By Andrey Kortunov, Aleksey Khlebnikov, Mehdi Sanaei, Mahmood Shoori

RussiaWorking Paper #59/2020

RIAC and the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies

December 22, 2020

Klicke, um auf Russia-Iran-Syria-Paper59-En.pdf zuzugreifen

„This paper aims to analyze the pivotal points of the Middle Eastern crises and to which extent the interests of Moscow and Tehran overlap or contradict each other. Some of the key issues of the political situation in the region were assessed, such as the situation in Idlib, the prospects for a political process in Syria, Israel’s role in the region’s future, the path to Syria’s reconstruction and the impact of U.S. policies on the emerging new order in the Middle East. Both Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran regard each other as necessary components of the regional architecture that they envision for the Middle East. The paper attempts to shed light on the views of Moscow and Tehran on these issues.“


Western intel, Daesh chiefs meet to coordinate future plans: Sputnik

By Press TV

13 February 13, 2021

„Western intelligence services and the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group have agreed to launch terrorist attacks in war-ravaged Syria following a series of meetings, according to an informed media source. The meetings, which have been held since the beginning of the year, were attended by field leaders of Daesh and other terrorist groups as well as representatives from the security agencies of the US, France, Britain and a number of regional countries in Syria’s southern al-Tanf region, Russia’s Sputnik news agency, citing the source, said in a report on Friday. In their meetings, they discussed “intensifying attacks on Syrian government forces and Russian military bases in Syria” and what they claimed to be armed groups loyal to Iran, the source said. „Christian churches, mosques and places of worship for different sects have been included in the list of targets,“ Sputnik news agency quoted the media source as saying. „Within the framework of the agreements reached on coordinating actions, terrorist groups should be provided with funding, technologies, ammunition and modern weapons systems.“ The source said Daesh terrorists, who are being transferred from Iraq and released from prisons and temporary detention camps in the Kurdish-controlled areas in the west of the Euphrates River, are “undergoing special training under the supervision of American forces and will be used to launch raids” against the specified targets. […]“


The Gulf and Iran’s Capabilities for Asymmetric Warfare

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

January 13, 2020

„[…] This analysis focuses on both Iran’s overall capabilities for asymmetric warfare and the overall military balance in the Gulf – including U.S. and Gulf Arab military forces. It provides a wide range of maps, charts, and tables to illustrate key aspects of Iran’s capabilities and the regional balance. It looks at Iran’s overall mix of forces, rather than focusing on the Quds Force, and draws on a wide range of outside sources to illustrate the range of different expert views – including work by the IISS, SIPRI, work by the CSIS Missile Defense Project, and material drawn from other think tanks and key news reports. […]“



Plane carrying Iranian refinery materials lands in Venezuela

A plane carrying Iranian catalysts has landed in Venezuela to help jump-start the oil refineries in the South American country amid a fuel crisis, a report says.

By the Iran Project

February 13, 2021

Plane carrying Iranian refinery materials lands in Venezuela

„[…] The plane was carrying catalysts intended for the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), said the three people, who were speaking on the condition of anonymity, adding that over a dozen further similar flights are expected. Last year, Iran sent more than a dozen flights to help restart the 310,000 bpd Cardon refinery and alleviate acute gasoline shortages in Venezuela. It also dispatched three flotillas of vessels carrying fuel to the Latin American state. […]“


US sells over a million barrels of seized Iranian fuel headed for Venezuela

February 11, 2021

„The United States has sold more than a million barrels of Iranian fuel seized under its sanctions program last year, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing the US Department of Justice. […]“