Trump’s national strategy speech puts China, Russia on the defensive

U.S. President Donald Trump labeled China and Russia ‘rival powers’ to the United States in a Dec. 18 speech. / AP

 

U.S. major media gave secondary play to President Donald Trump’s national security strategy address Monday, but certain world leaders were all ears.

Russia said the U.S. strategic plan has an “imperial character,” while China decried what it called a “Cold War mentality.”

Trump’s strategy, which he unveiled in a Dec. 18 speech, says that China and Russia “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” Continue reading

They Know Nothing: How the Obama Administration Promoted ‘Misleading’ Narrative on Iran Nuclear Deal

Negotiations with Tehran began long before the timeframe presented by Washington, discloses Ben Rhodes; Israel, in the meanwhile, had to be persuaded not to attack the Islamic Republic’s nukes.

The dealings behind the agreement struck between Iran and world powers last summer were not exactly as presented to the public, Ben Rhodes, one of President Barack Obama’s top advisers, told The New York Times.

While the American public was led to believe that negotiations between the West and the Islamic Republic took off after the election of President Hassan Rohani, considered to be a moderate political force, negotiations with hard-liners began much earlier. The reason for the skewed presentation of the talks’ timeline, according to the Times’ report, was to enable the administration to sell the deal to a wider audience.    Continue reading

Competing for Business with Iran

TEHERAN/BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – Germany’s Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, will travel to Iran at the beginning of next week to initiate new business deals in a highly competitive market of the future. German authorities are doing all they can to insure that once sanctions are ended, Teheran will allot contracts to German companies. Besides Gabriel, for whom this will be his second trip to the Iranian capital in the past nine months, premiers or ministers of a total of six German states have either flown to Iran for talks or are planning to do so in the near future. The competition is intense. Asian countries – from China, via South Korea all the way to India – are currently by far the most important suppliers of this country that is exceptionally rich in raw materials. According to business circles, time is running out. Although Germany has good chances, in light of the strong competition from Asia, it cannot hope to reconquer its previous 30-percent market share in Iran’s mechanical engineering and plant construction. However, if business is not accelerated, they could fall far behind. The first steps have been taken. Siemens will build a high-speed railway line linking Teheran to Isfahan and modernize Iran’s electrical power supply.

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Power Struggle Between Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Ideological Camp And Rafsanjani’s Pragmatic Camp Intensifies – Part III: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Speaks Out Against Pragmatic Camp Leaders Rafsanjani, Rohani

In two speeches in as many weeks – one on March 30, 2016 marking a Shi’ite religious holiday and the other on March 20, marking Norooz, the Persian New Year – Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei focused on attacking his main political rivals – Iranian President Hassan Rohani, and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani, the leaders of the Iranian pragmatic camp.[1]

Khamenei’s Holiday Address, March 30

In his March 30 address, Khamenei called his old foe Rafsanjani “a traitor” for his March 24 tweet stating that “the world of tomorrow is a world of talks, and not of missiles.” Khamenei said that Iran cannot give up its missile capabilities, and termed this call to do so a plot by the Western enemy, headed by the U.S., which seeks to destroy Iran’s Islamic regime.[2] Khamenei’s statements were along the same lines as his criticism of Rafsanjani prior to the February 26, 2016 Majlis and Assembly of Experts elections, i.e. that Rafsanjani was trying to sell the U.S. to Iran.[3] Continue reading

The Radius of Germany’s Governance Policy

DAMASCUS/NEW YORK/BERLIN (Own report) – A German government advisor has been given a leading function in future negotiations to end the war in Syria. Volker Perthes, Director of the Chancellery-financed German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), will head one of the “working groups” recently created by Staffan de Mistura, the UN and Arab League’s Special Envoy to Syria, to create a framework for concrete talks between Syria’s government and opposition. Perthes, one of the most experienced German experts on the Middle East, attributes to Germany and the EU “primary governance responsibility” for those regions bordering on Europe in North Africa as well as the Middle East. He is supportive of possibly sending a “peacekeeping” military mission to Syria – even with German Bundeswehr participation. The SWP, under his direction, is researching the current “fragmentation of Syria” and the “development of political options” for that devastated country. Three years ago, the institute was still engaged – under the title, “The Day After” – in planning Syria’s reorganization with the Syrian opposition, in the aftermath of what, at the time was considered the eminent overthrow of Syria’s President Assad.

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Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal

Day after Obama urges Iran to seize ‘historic opportunity,’ supreme leader says US seeks to create insecurity

Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure. Continue reading

Netanyahu: Iran seeks nuclear arsenal of 200 bombs

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rohani’s victory in the recent elections demonstrates the hollowness of the argument that stiff sanctions would unite the Iranian people around the regime, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview published Friday in The Washington Post.

“The sanctions were often dismissed because it was said [that] they would get the Iranian people to rally around the regime. Continue reading

Iran begins vote to choose Ahmadinejad’s successor

Iranians began voting on Friday in a presidential election unlikely to result in seismic shifts in its troubled relations with the West and Gulf Arab neighbours, but which could bring a softening of the confrontational style personified by outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbours are also wary of Iran’s influence in Iraq next door and its backing for President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese allies Hezbollah in the Syrian civil war. The Sunni Arab kingdoms are backing the rebels in Syria. Continue reading