A new bipartisan report by the Atlantic Council says that opening authorized banking channels for humanitarian purposes would make it harder for Iran's government to blame the US for the pain sanctions are causing ordinary Iranians, reports Barbara Slavin.
Javier Solana, former NATO secretary-general and foreign policy chief for the European Union, warns that the Syria war is threatening the unity of nations negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.
In their new book, authors Geoffrey Kemp and John Allen Gay warn that attacking Iran might actually speed up the Iranian nuclear program and cause a "multigenerational catastrophe" if the object is regime change.
Stuart Bowen, the US official in charge of monitoring $60 billion spent by the US on Iraqi stabilization and reconstruction, says 15% was wasted, millions were stolen and the US government is still not properly organized to carry out such operations, writes Barbara Slavin.
The rise of sectarian tensions as a result of the Syrian conflict, and Iran’s support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have contributed to negative perceptions of Iran in the region, according to a new Zogby poll, reports Barbara Slavin.
Speaking days before the second anniversary of his father’s detention, Mohammad Karroubi urges the Obama administration and the international community to focus more on Iran’s poor record on human rights but expresses optimism about upcoming nuclear talks which, he hopes, will lead to easing of economic sanctions.
Despite security and commercial ties with the United States, there is a growing trust deficit between Washington and Arab states on the Persian Gulf that fear the spread of Arab democratic movements and worry that the U.S. will sacrifice their interests for a deal with Iran.
Venerable US statesman and former secretary of state George Shultz has modest goals for Egypt and Syria, but urges a combination of bilateral diplomacy and more robust action short of war to deal with Iran.
Computer experts say they believe Iran is responsible for a barrage of attacks on the websites of US banks but that the Obama administration should reveal how it knows this and acknowledge responsibility for its own cyberattacks on Iran.
A new book by a veteran American journalist Caryle Murphy predicts that Saudi Arabia faces an “increasingly bumpy” two decades as its youth — who make up more than 60% of the population — demand jobs, economic justice and greater individual freedom.
Weeks of deliberations among the United States and its fellow negotiators have produced an offer to Iran very similar to the package Iran rejected last summer, casting doubt on chances for breaking the long stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program, Barbara Slavin reports for Al-Monitor.
Former US State Department official Fred Hof called for US military assistance to depose Syrian President Assad and praised the new Syrian opposition group, while noting that the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra “terrifies” many Syrians, Barbara Slavin reports from Washington.
Barbara Slavin, citing a report by the National Intelligence Council, writes for Al-Monitor that by 2030, Iran may be perilously short of water and find it even harder to market its major export, oil, in a world with a substantial surplus of crude and more extreme weather patterns.
Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin reports that the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, says his organization will share sensitive data with Iran “when appropriate," in a possible new bid to gain Iranian cooperation on allegations that it had a nuclear-weapons program.
Robert Ford, US ambassador to Syria who left Damascus in February, said the Obama administration has not decided whether to provide arms to the Syrian opposition and that the US priority remains a political deal, reports Barbara Slavin from Washington.
Zbigniew Brzezinski says the United States has “no implicit obligation to follow like a stupid mule” an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites and that a US or an Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic would be “the worst option” should negotiations fail, Barbara Slavin writes for Al-Monitor.
In an exclusive interview in Washington with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril describes Libya as a "stateless society" requiring assistance from the United States and other Western nations to begin a national dialogue among its disparate factions and to stabilize the country.
Iranian exiles including an Oscar-nominated actress have launched a new initiative to unite Iranians inside and outside Iran around a tolerant, nonviolent vision of their country’s future. “Charter 91” — named for the current Iranian year of 1391 — is both a document and a plea.
The United States is looking to renew multilateral talks with Iran about its nuclear program after the November elections, Barbara Slavin reports, but the window of opportunity is likely to be brief no matter who wins the White House.
Nearly two years after the start of Arab Spring uprisings, Arab women are facing the reality that toppling dictators was only the beginning of their fight for freedom and equality. Barbara Slavin reports from a recent conference, during which a group of young Arab women activists discussed and debated these challenges.
On Monday, the office of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied that the Iranian president was interviewed by Al-Monitor. "Imagine my surprise to read that," Barbara Slavin writes — as she was there. She asked him questions, he answered them and she and other journalists taped the encounter.
Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin has these questions for the Iranian president, whose term ends next year: Were Iranians better off now than when he took office? And what had he learned in his nearly eight years as president, what were his achievements and what would he do differently?
The US removed a controversial Iranian opposition group from its list of terrorist organizations, Barbara Slavin and Laura Rozen report for Al-Monitor, after most of its members decamped from their base near Baghdad. The move does not mean the US condones the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, which has assassinated Americans and Iranians.
Patrick Tyler’s new book, Fortress Israel, makes it hard to believe Israel’s leaders will allow much more time for a diplomatic resolution in Iran, writes Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin. Their military background predisposes Israeli leaders to seek military solutions, argues Tyler, tactics which have turned the country into an isolated fortress.
Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin writes that by trying to push the US government to agree to “red lines” for Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is alienating US officials and many other Americans. Netanyahu should not overplay his hand and let his fear of Iran drag the US into a third war in the region in a decade.
While Tehran is actually becoming slightly more livable, pessimism reigns, Barbara Slavin reports for Al-Monitor. What's most striking is the growing feeling that life will not get better anytime soon. "We may as well enjoy life because who knows what will happen tomorrow?” was the way one Tehrani put it.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, Iran Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations would be "suicidal." The former chief Iranian nuclear negotiator also denied allegations that Iran has used a site called Parchin for nuclear work.
The Egyptian president's visit to Iran has not pleased his hosts as much as expected, Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin reports in Tehran. In a speech, Morsi highlighted the Syrian opposition’s struggle against the "oppressive system there," unnerving the Iranians, allies of the Syrian regime. Iranian newscasts omitted key bits in televised coverage.
In an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi praised the presence of Egypt President Mohammed Morsi after decades of Iranian-Egyptian estrangement.
As host of a summit of non-aligned countries, Iran hopes to prove that it has more friends than enemies at a time of multiplying sanctions and Israeli threats to attack its nuclear installations, writes Barbara Slavin from Tehran. One test of the conference's success from Iran’s point of view is how many heads of state actually show up.
More than a week after two earthquakes hit Iran, the US Treasury Department has issued a “temporary general license” that will permit American nongovernmental organizations to send up to $300,000 to Iran for humanitarian relief and reconstruction over the next 45 days. Barbara Slavin reports for Al-Monitor.
Uzi Rubin, the founder and first director of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization, tells Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin that he believes if Israel attacks Iran, the Israeli heartland could face retaliation from more than 10,000 missiles based in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
The Iranian Hemophilia Society and a Tehran-based banker allege that US-led sanctions are keeping needed drugs and medical products from Iranians with life-threatening conditions. At least one Iranian-American organization says they're right.
The Obama administration has refused blanket approval for humanitarian assistance that could help save the lives of thousands of earthquake survivors in northeastern Iran. An American well-versed about the issue told Al-Monitor that the White House is sensitive to election-year charges of being soft on Iran.
A new book by David Crist on the long confrontation between the US and Iran blames the George W. Bush administration for squandering opportunities to improve relations with Tehran, writes Barbara Slavin. The DOD historian includes accounts of infighting in the administration over Iran, as well as bad blood between France and the US.
As the US scrambles to establish ties with the Syrian opposition, it's also trying hard to avoid an exile-centric strategy that risks repeating the debacle of Iraq, write Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin and Laura Rozen. Still, on the heels of Kofi Annan's resignation as UN envoy to Syria, some insiders wonder if a transition plan will make any difference.
In an exclusive report, Barbara Slavin covers a "competitive influence" game meant to stretch the minds of the US military. The object of the game, she writes, was not to overthrow Assad, tame Hezbollah or stop Iran’s nuclear program, but to leverage US capabilities and alliances and better understand how the region’s many actors fit together.
Syria's president will answer for his crimes, but now isn't the time to refer him to the International Criminal Court, says the head of the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. In an interview with Barbara Slavin hours after Assad’s brother-in-law and defense minister died in a bomb blast, he said that Syria would try Assad itself.
According to a new book by veteran US and Israeli journalists, Israelis were behind the killing of five Iranian scientists connected to Iran’s nuclear program. Barbara Slavin writes that Spies Against Armageddon is an account of Israeli intelligence triumphs and fiascoes, covering both notorious and less-known operations.
Yasar Yakis, Turkey's Former Foreign Minister, said the situation between Turkey and Syria could get worse if Assad falls because chaos will hit Syria first and Turkey second, in an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin. He went so far as to say that the Syrian shoot-down of a Turkish plane could could lead to more communication.
Iraq’s once-battered oil sector is further eclipsing production in Iran, relieving pressure on world oil markets and facilitating the imposition of draconian new sanctions on Iran. While Iranian officials say they are ready for the sanctions, writes Barabara Slavin, American experts wonder if the assurances are exaggerated.
Barbara Slavin writes that both the US and Russia are circumventing the UN Security Council to deal with the worsening crisis in Syria — but neither is making much progress. While Russia tries to organize a group including Iran and excluding the Syrian opposition, the US is working through a “Friends of Syria” group that excludes Russia.
Iran has suffered a series of horrific crashes of old planes in recent years. Barbara Slavin writes that spare parts have been a perennial US offer to induce Iran to change its ways. While it's theoretically possible for Iran to buy spare aircraft parts directly from US firms, Iran faces nearly insurmountable hurdles in obtaining the parts.
Brent Scowcroft, a veteran Republican voice on US foreign policy, said the US “isn’t smart enough” to solve the Syria crisis and that intervening in Egypt "will create more problems in the long run” in an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, indirectly criticizing hawkish advisers to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, Richard Williamson, a foreign-policy adviser to Mitt Romney, says the US should be willing to intervene in Syria as Clinton did in Kosovo. He also demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment and said the US should be more loyal to Israel, which he said Obama has thrown "under the bus."
The Obama administration’s decision to cut Iran out of a group trying to resolve the Syria crisis may backfire, writes Barbara Slavin, encouraging Tehran to sabotage a post-Assad government and also undermining nuclear talks. Iran has shown time and again that if it is excluded from the regional security order, it will seek to undermine it.
Iran undercut its own negotiators by withholding from them key details of its nuclear program, according to a new book by a former senior Iranian diplomat. Barbara Slavin writes that the book makes the failed diplomacy of the past decade easier to understand, and concludes that the key is to improve US-Iran relations.
Russia won't give up its alliance with Syria, writes Barbara Slavin, but it may be convinced to detach from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While the Houla massacre didn't horrify Russian President Vladimir Putin as much as the West, it did raise stakes as the clock runs down on UN monitors and Ramadan approaches.
The Obama administration is decidedly undecided about Egypt's presidential election, publicly promising to work with the Egyptian people's choice, amid a sense that anything officials say could be irrelevant or backfire. But Barbara Slavin reports on deep concerns in Washington about Egypt’s choice between an Islamist and Mubarak’s last prime minister.
The US Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group wants a better grasp of its vulnerabilities, those of its adversaries and the consequences of US actions. Barbara Slavin reports on the body''s "competitive influence" game that will focus on the crisis in Syria. “You can tie every threat group around the world to the Levant,” said one participant.
In the lead-up to today’s negotiations in Baghdad, Iran has insisted it doesn't need a nuclear agreement with the international community and that its economy can survive more punishment. But one look at Iran’s currency suggests otherwise, writes Barbara Slavin. No government, however autocratic, can ignore its business interests.
Women are in danger of losing social, political and economic gains made under previous regimes in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, writes Barbara Slavin. At a recent conference, experts presented a mixed picture in which setbacks for Arab women outnumber gains. The problem is not that Islam is anti-women, but rather male chauvinism in its interpretation.
Chances for a US or Israeli strike on Iran are minimal before US presidential elections but increase early next year, said a panel of advisors to the Atlantic Council. Efforts at negotiation with Iran may yet show progress in limiting uranium enrichment. Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin reports.
As the nuclear crisis with Iran deepens, the United Nations Wednesday issued a detailed new report that accuses Iran of responsibility for grave human rights abuses including the highest per capita rate of executions in the world.
With President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu both addressing AIPAC this week in Washington, it is already clear that US and Israeli policies on Iran will continue diverge in key respects. Al-Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin talks to veteran peace negotiators about what's next.
Experts warn that it may soon be too late to prevent a nuclear Iran, necessitating an American military intervention for which Israel may bear the blame, reports Barbara Slavin from the J-Street convention. A prolonged conflict could both weaken the Israeli-US alliance and be detrimental to US interests.
The West’s current goal in dealing with Iran is not to resolve the crisis but to manage it by preventing the development of Iranian nuclear weapons. The best way to reassure the P5+1 that Iran cannot “dash to a bomb” is by freezing its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, especially at the well-protected Fordow facility. Barbara Slavin reports.
President Obama has insisted that “containing” a nuclear Iran is not an option. Anything less has come to be viewed as appeasement. But containment has been US policy toward Iran for the past 33 years and is likely to continue to be for the foreseeable future, especially if negotiations due to resume in May fail and Iran actually builds nuclear weapons.
In the aftermath of its latest meeting with international supporters, the opposition Syrian National Council faces a crucial test: whether it can spend millions of dollars in foreign aid efficiently and without corruption.
Outnumbered six to one, Iran deftly maneuvered this weekend to restart negotiations that could yield formal recognition of its uranium enrichment program, and postponement of more crushing economic sanctions or a military attack. But at some point, Iran’s leaders will find it more advantageous to play ball than to play games.
While opposition to Israel is hardly new, the current campaign among Western civil society groups and on college campuses dates to the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in 2000 and the second intifada. Barbara Slavin on the rise of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have concluded that Barack Obama will be re-elected in November and that Israel would jeopardize its ties with his administration if it attacks Iran before then.
US influence on a rapidly changing Middle East is questionable. Nevertheless, several politicians from the region visited Washington this week in hopes of attracting support for their causes, showing that regional figures still care about US opinion and find embarking on such charm offensives worthwhile. Barbara Slavin reports.
Al Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin cites numerous developments inside and outside Iran that suggest new possibilities for negotiations over Iran's nuclear program--and a general decline in tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Qubad Talabani, representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Washington, spoke to Al-Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin during CERA week on his region’s oil prospects and political developments.
Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns is deeply engaged on Middle Eastern issues, in particular the challenges and opportunities of the Arab Spring. In an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, Burns called the Egyptian Revolution "a moment of opportunity."
Al-Monitor correspondent Barbara Slavin interviews Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who has become a major figure in the debate over whether and when Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Goldberg recently became embroiled in a Twitter duel with blogger Peter Beinart over the wisdom of boycotting products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Pete Beinart, the author of "The Crisis of Zionism," spoke with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, warning that Israel is “sleepwalking to a one-state solution." He suggests slowing settlement expansion through a boycott of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the funding of Jewish education for American Jews.
Al-Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin recently interviewed former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former State Department policy planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter about the challenges facing the United States in the Middle East during this U.S. presidential election year. Excerpts from those interviews follow:
Newly released correspondence from Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan contradicts U.S. assertions that al-Qaeda has a close relationship with Iran. Barbara Slavin on how being "the enemy of my enemy" doesn't necessarily make the two friends.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday that bars anyone who violates existing U.S. sanctions against Iran and Syria from gaining access to U.S. financial and commercial systems. Barbara Slavin and Laura Rozen analyze whether Iran will get the sanctions relief it is seeking from nuclear talks scheduled for later this month.
The co-Chair of Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board and former Senator talks to Al Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin about scenarios that could prod Israel to act on Iran, the GOP candidates' obsession with threats to bomb Iran, Assad’s inevitable fall and Obama's plans on Mideast peace.
Al-Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin spoke on March 6 with Bijan Khajehpour, Managing Partner, Atieh International GmbH, a Vienna-based international strategy and consulting firm. Khajehpour chaired the Atieh Group of strategic consulting companies in Tehran from 1994 to 2010 and is an expert on the Iranian energy sector. Their subjects: oil prices, Iran, Syria and the outlook for the pipelines and regional cooperation.
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