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Worldfocus’ Daljit Dhaliwal spoke with Flynt Leverett, director of theIran Project at the New America Foundation for some insight into theIranian leadership’s reservations about the IAEA’s recent proposalwhich would send low-enriched uranium first to Russia to be enrichedthen to France for further processing.

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Great stuff, as usual, from Yigal Schleifer, on the ways in Turkey’s foreign policy ambitions are driving Ankara to resolve formerly taboo issues. For Turkey, the lingering standoffs with Armenia, the Kurds (both domestically and in Iraq), and in Cyprus significantly diminish Ankara’s credibility on a number of fronts: as an EU aspirant, as a regional power able to mediate crises, and as a regional authority (in political terms). The key here is the “soft power” deficit incurred when a country is perceived as talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Of course, in Turkey’s numerous neighborhoods (the Middle […]

The U.S.-UAE 123 Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is set to come into force now that the mandatory 90-day period of congressional review has passed. The deal has the firm backing of the Obama administration, which sees it as a model for countries looking to introduce nuclear energy to their territories. For the UAE, the deal represents a reaffirmation of its close ties to the West as well as a gateway to developing a source of energy that, for a number of reasons, makes sense for the Emirates. The third-party beneficiary of the agreement, of course, is France, with its […]

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Qatar, along with the rest of the United Arab Emirates, has always been known for its wealth of natural resources such as natural gas. Though Qatar’s development has hinged on this direct flow of revenue, the state is now working to diversify their economy through the arts, particularly through a growing film industry. Qatar will try to reach their goal of zero percent natural gas reliance by 2030, though a new gas plant was recently built.

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We still don’t know the substance of Iran’s response to the proposal for multilateral enrichment cooperation on its experimental reactor. But this, from the NY Times, jumped out at me: . . . Some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s conservative rivals have alreadycriticized the plan as a risky concession to the West, and on Thursday,the opposition leader Mir-Hussein Moussavi joined them, suggesting thatany response to the plan would have negative consequences for Iran. “Ifthey are put in place, all the efforts of thousands of scientists willgo to the wind,” Mr. Moussavi said of the proposed plan’s conditions,according to opposition Web sites. “If […]

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One of the most reliable lessons one gleans from observing intra-Palestinian politics is the need to always expect the unexpected. Important events have a tendency not to unfold according to plan. We should keep that in mind when considering Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ sudden call for new parliamentary and presidential elections to be held on Jan. 24. Less than three weeks ago, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced that, at long last, the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah would sign a reconciliation agreement in Cairo on Oct. 26. Egypt, as the mediator that helped craft the deal, […]

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Dare I say it? A few shards of optimism coming out of Iran and Afghanistan? Yes, according to two videos we posted in our video section today. The first video, from Al-Jazeera, looks at a new Persian film, “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” which tells the tale of a young man and woman who try to form a band after being released from prison. Their efforts take us through the underground rock scene of Tehran where the city’s youth fight for their jams. Though the story is fictional, actors from the film (now in exile in the U.K, after […]

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Iranian film “No One Knows About Persian Cats” offers a look inside theworld of Tehran’s youth. Sixty percent of Iran’s population is underthe age of thirty and this film, debuting at the London Film Festival,aims to show the trials and triumphs that face Tehran’s music-lovingyounger set while they participate in an illegal underground.

Almost 30 years ago to the day, the United States broke off relations with Iran in response to the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. In doing so, the U.S. lost its most valuable source of information about the Islamic regime. To fill the void of knowledge resulting from 30 years of diplomatic estrangement, the Obama administration has turned to scholars and experts for insight into the Persian nation. Indeed, President Barack Obama’s policy of outreach toward Tehran has been decisively shaped by the wide array of Iran experts, both within the administration and without, from whom he has […]

If you ask Spc. Daniel McBroom of the Army National Guard, the hardest part of war was the wind. “Physically and mentally, the wind was the worst,” he recalls. “This endless hot wind, like 100-degree fans turned toward your body.” But McBroom, 23, who returned in June after serving a year in Iraq, says that the toll of war will be different for everyone. “There’s no doubt it will mark you, change your body. But I don’t think anyone can predict what that change will be.” McBroom is one of nearly 1.5 million Americans enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, […]

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I was going to write this post this morning, but decided to hold off until Iran responded to the IAEA draft agreement on outsourcing the uranium enrichment for its experimental reactor. Good thing I did, because it’s actually an easier argument to defend now that Iran has initially declined to accept the deal. (For Iran, that’s not the same thing as rejecting it. But the argument stands nonetheless.) My original thought was to how it was that my pessimism before the first Geneva meeting earlier this month had been so off the mark. At the time, the revelation of the […]

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It is illegal for a religious group to interfere with politics in Turkey, a strictly secular governing system, but religious groups are on the rise and challenging this paradigm. Nilufer Narli, a sociology professor at one of Istanbul’s universities, equates religious movements such as Gulen and Mustazaflar-der (Association for the Oppressed) to the evangelical movement in the United States. Worldfocus’ Gizem Yarbel reports on the rise of religion in Turkey.

When mass protests erupted in Iran following charges of fraud in last June’s presidential election, Western leaders — particularly U.S. President Barack Obama — took pains not to taint those domestic disturbances with foreign fingerprints. To foreigners concerned about Iran’s nuclear aspirations, the sight of muscular internal dissent suddenly presented new and intriguing thoughts: International opposition to the Iranian nuclear program is not the only problem faced by the ruling powers in the Islamic Republic. The disturbances revealed one of Iran’s great weaknesses: widespread discontent with a regime of questionable legitimacy. Now that the regime has suppressed the protests, however, […]

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New York Times Columnist Roger Cohen says Israel needs to tone down their rhetoric in dealing with Iran. The seasoned journalist talks to Charlie Rose and says that it would be unlikely for Israel to take military action against Iran while President Obama is in office. He also discusses the contested definition of a war crime with regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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After briefly discussing Afghanistan’s election woes, President Obama turned his attention to progress in Iraq during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Obama and Maliki celebrated a new dimension of their relationship – the prospect of doing business. The two emphasized a shift in focus from military cooperation to more financial pursuits as Iraq gears up to hold its first business investors conference.

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Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation interviewed Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus. “Hamas has announced that it is ready to cooperate with the law and with any international or regional effort to reach real peace in the region,” said Khaled during the interview.

On Oct. 19, at a multilateral meeting in Vienna focused on nuclear transparency, U.S. and Iranian representatives will meet for the second time in a month in the hopes of working out the modality by which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will inspect Iran’s newly revealed enrichment facility known as Fardo, near the holy city of Qom. This particular issue is relatively straightforward, and the negotiations will likely result in the Fardo facility being placed under the IAEA’s regular regime of inspections, already firmly in place with respect to Iran’s other nuclear facilities. But it is nonetheless tied in […]

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