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Local Baluch fishermen push a boat to the shore at a fishing port in Tiss...

Commentary: The missing catalyst for Iranian democracy

Just before imposing new sanctions on Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the country’s “cabinet is in disarray, and the Iranian people are raising their voices even louder against a corrupt and hypocritical regime.” While this is clearly true, it’s also true that sanctions alone are unlikely to topple the government or force democratic reforms. For that to happen, foreign governments and domestic opposition leaders must take another critical step – to finally acknowledge the importance of the country’s ethnic minorities and develop policies to address their demands.

Iranian women gather during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's...

Commentary: Five reasons why Trump’s Iran sanctions will fail

The next round of economic sanctions on Iran, which will start going into effect on Nov.4, will mainly target the country’s oil and gas industries. These sanctions were eased after the 2015 signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, but are being phased back in following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord six months ago.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the...

Commentary: Why U.S. sanctions won’t change Iran’s foreign policy

The messages from Tehran are stark. On October 1, Iranian forces fired six missiles at Islamic State positions in eastern Syria. The weapons landed within three miles of U.S. troops in the country; one missile shown on Iranian state television carried the slogan: “Death to America, “Death to Israel, Death to al Saud.” A statement by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said the missile strike was retaliation for a September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, that killed at least 25 people.

U.S. President Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations...

Commentary: Trump and Rouhani flip scripts at the U.N.

The traditional scripts were flipped during Tuesday’s dueling addresses by U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly – the second of the Trump presidency. That should trouble anyone who cares not just about the United States’ global standing, but about the prospects for multilateral diplomacy to address the world’s very real problems with Tehran.

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council...

Commentary: Why Trump’s ‘Arab NATO’ plan won’t curb Iran

The first round of what U.S. President Donald Trump called “the most biting sanctions ever imposed” against Tehran went into effect on August 7. “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” Trump continued, in a tweet posted that morning. An even more damaging second round of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic, reinstated after Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, is expected to take effect in November.

Iranian women gather during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's...

Commentary: How to avoid U.S.-Iran conflict – and perhaps save the nuclear deal

While the world has been focusing on Donald Trump’s summits with NATO and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, tensions are escalating dangerously between Washington and Tehran. On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioned his U.S. counterpart not to “play with the lion’s tail.” Using the harshest words of his presidency, Rouhani told a gathering of Iranian diplomats that “America should know peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Trump responded by tweeting that Iran should “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN.”

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference at the...

Commentary: As U.S. sanctions loom, can Iran nuclear deal still be saved?

The exodus of international firms from Iran is accelerating as the August deadline for the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Tehran approaches. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the multinational Joint Comprehensive Place of Action, which lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, has left the 2015 accord hanging dangerously in the balance.

Iran's President Rouhani speaks about the nuclear deal in Tehran

Commentary: Beyond sanctions, how the U.S. can pressure Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week delivered a powerful speech that essentially defined U.S. policy objectives toward Iran by three noes: no nuclear program, no regional terrorism and aggression, and no domestic oppression. He offered a three-part strategy to achieve those goals, the central element of which is “unprecedented financial pressure” on Tehran. But even with Iran’s currency crisis and popular discontent, sanctions can only be one tool in a broader U.S. plan. Instead, Washington should build upon Pompeo’s approach to pursue a comprehensive strategy of pressure against Tehran.

Iranians shout slogans during a protest against President Donald Trump's...

Commentary: Did Korea progress strike final blow to Iran nuclear deal?

In an ironic twist, President Donald Trump’s diplomatic progress in North Korea may have played a major role in his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. The decision to withdraw the United States from the hard-won multinational Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action “sends a critical message,” the U.S. president said on Tuesday. “The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.”

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