U.S. Ambassador Rice Says Iran Sanctions Are Toughest to Date

NewsHour’s Ray Suarez interviews Ambassador Susan Rice about the United Nations Security Council’s newly passed sanctions on Iran. Rice says that this round of sanctions specifically targets industries that could facilitate the development of Iran’s nuclear program. The ambassador also said she hopes these sanctions are just the beginning and leaves it up to member nations to reinforce and bolster the UNSC’s crackdown on Tehran. Having trouble viewing this video? Click here to watch.

It is not surprising that discussions with government officials from member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council often dwell heavily on security threats. Terrorism remains a persistent concern of theirs even if some of the urgency they feel has passed. A conventionally armed Iran is a constant source of worry. And the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is an unending nightmare. Yet, among the most-senior leadership, there is also some perspective. The terrorism threat no longer feels existential, as a combination of effective security initiatives, internal cooptation and international cooperation have made their mark. On Iran, there is a sense […]

Iran Sanctions: Time for Engagement 2.0

The Obama administration has a number of reasons to be satisfied with the outcome of the U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution. To begin with, to the extent that the administration managed to successfully implement its stated plan over the past 18 months with regard to Iran, it is a political victory. Given the U.S. domestic opposition to initially engaging Tehran, and the subsequent challenges (Russia and China) to shepherding the resolution package through the Security Council, it’s even a significant political victory. And to the extent that the sanctions seem to stand up to scrutiny, it’s far from a hollow […]

Turkey, Brazil Break Ranks on U.N. Iran Sanctions

Wednesday’s “No” votes by Brazil and Turkey against the U.S.-driven Iran sanctions resolution in the U.N. Security Council was a milestone in the shift to a multipolar world. A long-time friend of the U.S. and a NATO ally openly defied the Obama administration in a vital diplomatic effort to put the squeeze on Iran — perhaps the international community’s last concerted non-military effort to prevent Tehran’s ruling ayatollahs from possessing nuclear weapons. There was little doubt that one or both countries would rebel against the U.S. following Washington’s rejection of the nuclear fuel swap agreement they negotiated with Iran last […]

RIO DE JANEIRO — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to the 40th Organization of American States General Assembly meeting on Sunday with two priorities, neither of which were published in the meeting’s agenda: to shore up support for Honduras’ re-entry to the OAS, and to gather momentum behind the Obama administration’s drive to impose sanctions on Iran through the U.N. Security Council. It was a program designed to confront, without naming, the country that has become the greatest challenge to the Obama administration in Latin America — Brazil. To be sure, Venezuelan President Hugo Ch├ívez has stood out as […]

One year ago, the Iranian people shocked their rulers, and their rulers, in turn, horrified the world. When the Iranian regime announced an implausible landslide victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just hours after polls closed on the country’s June 12 presidential election, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Iranians spontaneously poured onto the streets. The regime responded with brutality, and the course of Iranian history was suddenly put into play. One year ago, it looked as though the ruling regime stood inches away from a gaping precipice. Experts all but proved (.pdf) that the government stole the elections, and the […]

Palestine and Israel Need to ‘Buy In’

NewsHour’s Margaret Warner talks with former U.S. Middle East policy adviser Aaron David Miller who has recently become disillusioned by the peace process in the region. Miller says that he is willing to believe in the process again once Palestinians and Israels “buy in,” but for the time being, he remains skeptical. He continues that though President Barack Obama has recommitted U.S. leadership to solving this ongoing impasse, nothing of consequence can be done unless the solutions come from within the ranks of the Palestinian and Israeli camps. Having trouble viewing this video? Click here to watch.

Global Insider: Iran-India Energy Relations

India and Iran are discussing a new underwater pipeline project that would circumvent a stalled pipeline project involving the two countries and Pakistan. In an e-mail interview, East West Institute Vice President of Programs Dr. W. Pal Singh Sidhu explains Iran-India energy relations. WPR: What is the current energy relationship between Iran and India? Pal Sidhu: India is the world’s fifth-largest consumer of energy resources and heavily dependent on imports. Its energy consumption is estimated to rise to 27.1 quadrillion BTUs by 2025 — the largest expected increase in energy use after China. Even with new domestic oil and gas […]

The recent diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel is only the latest episode illustrating broader shifts in Turkey’s foreign policy and international relations. A good deal of attention has been paid to renewed Turkish aspirations in Central Asia as well as efforts to engage its neighbors — Syria, Iraq and Iran. But less-noticed has been the new, enhanced role that Turkey is playing in the Gulf region, and in particular, its growing ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Turkish involvement in this area has represented one of the key features of its renewed attention to the Middle East. For many […]

One week later, the repercussions of the tragically botched Israeli commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla spearheaded by a Turkish NGO continue to reverberate worldwide. Much of the raid’s fallout has played out in the realm of foreign affairs, particularly regarding its impact on the already sorry state of Turkish-Israeli relations, as well as on Washington’s plans in the Middle East. But the flotilla incident and Ankara’s response to it also has a very strong domestic component. The domestic political context relates to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s desire to fend off political attacks from both Islamist […]

The Israeli assault on the Gaza aid flotilla immediately brought to mind Talleyrand’s famous observation: It was worse than a crime; it was a mistake. Now the only way that Israel can move forward from this latest and tragic mistake is to understand its root causes. The strategic rationale that made a naval commando assault on a civilian vessel seem legitimate is the same strategic rationale at the root of all of Israel’s current difficulties: a narrowly defined perception of the country’s security as the end goal, with a strong deterrence posture that, in the words of David Grossman, depends […]

Over the past week, the Obama administration’s position on Israel exhibited what, in U.S. domestic political terms, amount to tectonic shifts. First, at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference last week, the United States chose not to block language that identified Israel’s undeclared nuclear program as a barrier to stemming proliferation in the Middle East. Then, earlier this week, Washington permitted a U.N. Security Council presidential statement condemning the Gaza flotilla incident to go forward. When combined with public and direct criticism a few months back of Israel’s settlements policy, it adds up, in the eyes of many U.S. politicians […]

Turkey: The France of the Middle East

There’s a real bitter irony to the fact that the historic visit of Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, to Ankara was overshadowed by the diplomatic firestorm over the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. In many ways, Turkey’s success in 2007 in getting the Bush administration to take seriously its concerns over Kurdish PKK militants camped out in northern Iraq was a turning point in Turkey’s emergence as a diplomatic force to be reckoned with in the region. That campaign included a very loud phase of sabre-rattling that culminated in the U.S. holding Barzani back […]

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds itself, yet again, in the midst of a major diplomatic crisis. In the wake of the disastrous May 31 raid on the Mavi Marmara — part of the flotilla that sought to break the blockade of Hamas-run Gaza — the country has unsurprisingly come under furious diplomatic fire. So far, though, personal criticism of Netanyahu’s leadership has not become the primary focus of the attacks, as international charges have targeted the country, rather than its leader. The diplomatic disaster, however, presents Israeli opposition politicians with an opportunity, and a most delicate […]

Since his return to Egypt and dramatic entry into the Egyptian political spotlight, Mohamed ElBaradei has attracted support from various political blocs, as well as from the Egyptian people, who tout the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a hero. However, the enthusiasm with which many Egyptians, especially the young and marginalized, have joined his campaign is based largely on frustration and a desire for social and political change, rather than actual support for ElBaradei himself. Indeed, ElBaradei’s strategy so far has resembled an effort to be all things to all people, in order to satisfy the […]

Turkey’s Double Talk On Nukes

As the Turkish government continues to condemn Israel’s nuclear program, they are very much silent on their own nuclear involvement. As a founding member of NATO with strategic geography, Turkey has NATO nuclear weapons stationed on its soil. The contradiction is not going unnoticed and some domestic analysts say the denuclearization of the Middle East could start with Istanbul.

Syria’s Al-Assad Says Iran’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words

PBS’s Charlie Rose spoke to Syria’s President Bashir Al-Assad for perspective on Iran. Al-Assad says that though Iran publicly denies Israel’s right to exist, its approval of Syria’s mediation attempts show tacit recognition. Having trouble viewing this video? Click here to watch.

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