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Should Iran Be Worried About Russia’s Coordination With “Israel” & The US In Syria?

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thealtworld.com

WEDNESDAY 17 MAR 21

Exclusive- Recent events very strongly suggest that Russia might be coordinating with “Israel” and the US in Syria in order to “passively facilitate” Iran’s forced withdrawal from the Arab Republic.

Russian-Iranian ties are excellent on the bilateral level but arguably marred by suspicion in Syria due to their differing visions of their shared ally’s post-war future. I provocatively wondered aloud late last month “Why Isn’t Alt-Media Asking About The S-300s After Biden’s Latest Syria Strike?”, during which time I shared a collection of my fifteen most relevant analyses over the past few years in order to back up my claim that Russia might be coordinating with “Israel” and the US in Syria in order to “passively facilitate” Iran’s forced withdrawal from the Arab Republic. That article and all of the cited pieces within it should be reviewed by the reader if they aren’t already familiar with them so that they can better understand my line of thought towards this very sensitive topic. I then published a follow-up piece titled “Top Indian News Site Exposed For Fake News About Russia, Syria, And ‘Israel’”, which debunked a viral disinformation narrative that wildly circulated earlier that month falsely claiming that the Russian Special Envoy to Syria threatened to shoot down “Israeli” jets even in international airspace the next time that the self-professed “Jewish State” bombs Syria.

Regrettably, an RT contributor didn’t come across my fact-checking piece in time otherwise they probably wouldn’t have published their factually inaccurate article about how “Continued Israeli Airstrikes On Syria Are Testing Moscow’s Patience, Jerusalem Would Do Well Not To Poke The Russian Bear”. The contributor in question fell for the earlier debunked viral disinformation narrative and even hyperlinked to another site that partially republished the original fake news report when citing what they wrongly believed was Russia’s “official statement” in the matter warning that it’ll shoot down “Israeli” jets. In the interests of professional integrity, I published a response to this on my Facebook wall in order to inform my audience that RT’s article was influenced by fake news, as surprising as that may sound consider the outlet’s otherwise stellar reputation. I concluded by writing that “I also sincerely hope that everyone in the Alt-Media Community uses this scandal as an opportunity to learn more about the reality of Russian-‘Israeli’ relations so that they don’t fall for obviously inaccurate misinterpretations such as this one the next time that they come across them.”

Lo and behold, my analysis was vindicated as expected by the latest “Israeli” bombing of Syria on Tuesday night. Russia once again didn’t allow Syria to use the S-300s to shoot down the attacking jets, nor did the Eurasian Great Power itself directly intervene to down them either contrary to the false expectations that many in the Alt-Media Community had as a result of last month’s viral fake news about this topic and RT’s associated article that was regrettably influenced by the former. Interestingly, this attack happened shortly after Hezbollah representatives met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow just a day before the “Israeli” Foreign Minister visited the same city to hold similar talks with the same diplomat. Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported earlier that day that “experts believe that it was crucial for the party’s members to find out whether Moscow’s position regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had changed.” Regardless of whatever Russia told those Resistance representatives, it sent what can likely be interpreted as a not-so-subtle signal by once again standing back and not reacting when “Israel” bombed Syria later that same night after their meeting.

The day after on Wednesday (which is also when the “Israeli” Foreign Minister visited Moscow), Al-Masdar News reported on an interview that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu gave to the Kazakhstani agency Tengrinews which was released on the same day. According to them, he said that “I will not hide to you that today in Syria, at the operational and tactical level, we have very close contacts with American colleagues. This may be a secret, and I reveal it: There are many contacts, many times a day, in the administration of the airspace, the implementation of measures in the air to combat terrorism.” The public disclosure of this self-professed “secret” (which really wasn’t so “secret” at all to those who closely follow Russia’s activities in Syria) at such a time very strongly suggests that Russia wants to send the signal that it might be coordinating with “Israel” and the US to “passively facilitate” Iran’s forcible withdrawal from the Arab Republic. After all, the Eurasian Great Power never does anything to stop their strikes against the IRGC and its allies there, nor does it ever allow Syria to use the S-300s to defend them either.

Quite tellingly, “Israel” bombed Syria just hours before the interview was published and shortly after Hezbollah’s representatives concluded their meeting with Lavrov that Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported was partially driven by their desire to assess Russia’s true stance towards President Assad (which also indirectly concerns their and their Iranian allies’ post-war future in the Arab Republic). It’s unclear exactly what Moscow’s position towards the Syrian leader’s political future is, but it’s worthwhile to point out that a program on publicly financed RT Arabic scandalously claimed that secret talks are ongoing between Damascus and Tel Aviv over a potential peace treaty. The show also claimed that an “Israeli” rabbi might soon be invited to Syria, too. Publicly financed Syrian international media outlet SANA cited “a media source” condemning those reports as “no more than media and political fabrications” in a rare sign of public disagreement between Damascus and Moscow. Earlier, the influential head of the Aleppo Chamber of Industry Fares Shehabi tweeted late last month after “Israel’s” prior attack on his country how disappointed he is that Russia doesn’t ever stop such strikes.

Altogether, Iran certainly has legitimate reasons to be worried about Russia’s coordination with “Israel” and the US in Syria. The Eurasian Great Power seems to at the very least be “passively facilitating” their efforts to force Iran and its Hezbollah allies into withdrawing from the Arab Republic. Of additional relevance is the surprise scandal that erupted between Damascus and Moscow just a month or so before Syria’s upcoming presidential elections (the date of which has yet to be announced but will fall sometime between mid-April and mid-May) after an RT Arabic program claimed that Syria is in secret talks with “Israel”. SANA condemned those reports as fake news, yet observers are left wondering why RT – which is usually very reliable and trustworthy – would share such false information about its state patron’s regional ally, especially during such a sensitive time as the run-up to its next elections. One can only speculate about what might really be going on behind the scenes, but it surely doesn’t concern Russia playing “5D chess” against “Israel” and the US like some mistakenly believed. Rather, Iran arguably seems to be Russia’s true “5D chess opponent” in Syria, and perhaps always has been.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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MIDDLE EAST:

IRAN:

  • The torrent of Iranian oil that’s been gushing into China (the world’s largest crude oil importer) in recent weeks is crowding out imports from other nations – as Norway, Angola, and Brazil–and threatening to complicate efforts by the OPEC+ alliance to tighten supply in the global market. The increased Iranian flows are happening as the administration of President Joe Biden attempts to revive a nuclear deal with Tehran.

SOURCE: BNN BLOOMBERG


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SOUTH ASIA

INDIA:

  • India has begun importing Iranian oil, under the assumption that trade with Iran will resume. Meanwhile, the United States overtook Saudi Arabia as India’s second biggest oil supplier, as refiners boosted cheaper U.S. crude purchases to record levels to offset OPEC+ supply cuts, data from trade sources showed. Iraq continued to be the top oil seller to India. India is the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer.

SOURCES: SHAFAQ.COM OIL PRICE


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SOUTH ASIA:

PAKISTAN:

  • Pakistan offers Uzbekistan access to Karachi, Gwadar ports, as part of prospect of Pakis­tan’s Karachi and Gwadar ports becoming “the gateway to landlocked Central Asia as Pakistan provides the Central Asian republics the shortest route to international seas”. Gwadar on the Arabian Sea is under development in a joint project run by China and Pakistan. Not far along the coast, in Iran on the Sea of Oman, is Chabahar, a rival port being jointly developed by India and Iran, which is likewise being offered to Central Asian countries as a hub for trade flows.

SOURCE: INTELINEWS


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India Is Wrong To Blame The IRGC For Late January’s Attempted Terrorist Attack

10 MARCH 2021

India Is Wrong To Blame The IRGC For Late January

India knows that it’s being lied to by the US, “Israel”, and/or Saudi Arabia but is still going along with them anyhow because it naively expects to gain something in return.

Russia’s publicly financed international media outlet Sputnik published a piece on Monday titled “‘Asymmetric Warfare’: India’s Anti-Terror Unit Claims Iran’s Quds Force Behind Israeli Embassy Blast”. The article quotes an unnamed senior official at India’s National Investigative Agency who blames the IRGC for the non-lethal blast that occurred in the country’s capital in late January. Instinctively sensing a false flag attack, I immediately shared my concerns about this previously unconfirmed narrative that was bandied about at the time by Indian and “Israeli” officials in an analysis that I wrote for Pakistan’s Express Tribune asking “Did Iran Really Carry Out An Attempted Anti-Israeli Terrorist Attack In India?

Iran’s official response to these latest official Indian allegations was reported by Sputnik in its follow-up piece titled “‘Sinister Intentions of Enemies’: Iran Slams Report Claiming IRGC Behind Israel Embassy Blast”. That article quotes the statement released by the Iranian Embassy in India which suggests that “third parties who are angry and dissatisfied with the progress in the relations between the governments of Iran and India” were responsible for what happened. This conforms to my previous speculation that the incident was really a false flag attack that tried too hard to implicate Iran. The question naturally becomes one of who would have the interests and means to carry it out.

Pakistan can be safely excluded from the list of suspects because India would have already blamed it if there was even a shred of evidence that could be spun as implicating Islamabad’s involvement. The very fact that this didn’t happen speaks to the unquestionable absence of such evidence. Instead, the unnamed Indian official is quoted by Sputnik as saying that the investigation initially “hinted to the role of Islamic State” but that New Delhi eventually determined that the IRGC was really the true culprit. India could have stuck to the ISIS theory in order to avoid further complicating its increasingly complex relations with Iran but ultimately decided to pin the blame on the Islamic Republic, which advanced American, “Israeli”, and Saudi strategic interests.

Those three are therefore the most likely suspects, whether individually, in tandem, or altogether. It can only be speculated how one, some, or all three of them conspired to carry out that attempted attack, but there aren’t any other parties with both the interests and means. Even so, one must ask themselves why India would allow itself to be so obviously manipulated in such a crude manner by going along with the manufactured narrative that Iran was allegedly responsible. New Delhi knows that its statement risks worsening ties with Tehran, but it went ahead with it anyhow. This curiously coincides with new regional strategic developments that might explain the political calculations behind India’s decision.

Uzbekistan, the most populous state in Central Asia and the one with the most promising real-sector (i.e. non-energy) economic prospects, recently opted to go with Pakistan’s N-CPEC+ for connecting to the Indian Ocean instead of the eastern branch of the Indo-Iranian North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC). I wrote about this in my recent analysis for the Express Tribune which informed everyone “Why This Summer’s Central Asia-South Asia Connectivity Conference Will Be Crucial”. I explained that the agreement late last year to pioneer a railway between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan (tentatively described by me as the PAKAFUZ project after the first letters of each country’s name) makes the NSTC redundant, thereby basically dealing a deathblow to it.

With this observation in mind, India might have calculated that it had nothing more to lose by going with the flow and publicly blaming the IRGC for late January’s attempted terrorist attack in New Delhi. If anything, doing so might have been expected to improve India’s standing in the eyes of its new American, “Israeli”, and Saudi allies. Iran has no means to “punish” India for its provocative allegation since the South Asian state no longer purchases the Islamic Republic’s energy resources like before due to its fear of being targeted by the US’ so-called “secondary sanctions”, and the PAKAFUZ project pretty much put an end to the economic viability of the NSTC’s eastern branch.

These factors help explain why India publicly accused the IRGC of being responsible for that attempted terrorist attack. Even so, India is wrong to have blamed Iran because it knows better than to believe that the Islamic Republic was truly responsible. This experience shows just how much of its supposedly cherished strategic autonomy India has surrendered to its new American, “Israeli”, and Saudi allies in recent years that it now unashamedly blames Iran for supposedly committing out an act of terrorism on its soil despite there being no compelling evidence to prove this. India knows that it’s being lied to by the US, “Israel”, and/or Saudi Arabia but is still going along with them anyhow because it naively expects to gain something in return.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: India, Iran, Pakistan, US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Terrorism, NSTC, CPEC, CPEC+, N-CPEC+, PAKAFUZ.


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America’s Following In Russia’s Diplomatic Footsteps In Afghanistan

9 MARCH 2021

America

US Special Afghan Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s new approach to resolving the War on Afghanistan follows in Russia’s diplomatic footsteps by encouraging the creation of an inclusive government between Kabul and the Taliban and including India as an official party to the international talks on this topic, though it also innovates upon Moscow’s proposed solution by suggesting that Turkey host such negotiations in the coming future.

Late last month President Putin’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov made headlines after proposing the creation of an inclusive transitional coalition government in Afghanistan between Kabul and the Taliban, yet the US is now officially following in Moscow’s diplomatic footsteps after its own Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad gave a letter from Secretary of State Blinken to the country’s top political leaders suggesting the same solution. I explained the Russian approach at length in my analysis at the time about “How Russia’s Special Afghan Envoy Wants To Save The Struggling Peace Process”, which should be reviewed by the reader in order to obtain a more solid understanding of the Great Power’s evolving position towards the conflict. As for the US, it seems to have realized that this outcome is inevitable and therefore decided to take the wind out of Russia’s diplomatic sails to an extent by attempting to take leadership of this political process. In addition, America is following Russia’s lead by including India as an official party to the international talks on this topic while innovating upon its proposed solution by suggesting that Turkey host such negotiations in the coming future.

New Delhi was already invited to participate in the Moscow peace process, but that round of talks couldn’t ever be as important as anything that Washington leads by simple virtue of the fact that America retains the largest foreign military force in Afghanistan. Although the US observed the talks in the Russian capital, it didn’t actively participate in them, though it seemingly learned enough to realize that it’s in the country’s grand strategic interests to ensure that India isn’t excluded from the latest round that it wants Turkey to host. This can be explained by the US’ efforts to continue courting India to its side against China in the New Cold War, which is all the more urgent for it after New Delhi and Beijing agreed to a synchronized de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last month. In my analysis at the time about “How India’s Regional Strategy Is Adapting To The Post-Trump Reality”, I attributed it to New Delhi’s uncertainty over Washington’s envisioned geostrategic role for it under the Biden Administration due to concerns about the impact of a possible US-Chinese detente and repeated threats to sanction the South Asian state over its decision to purchase Russia’s S-400 systems.

The diplomatic elephant in the room is unquestionably the global pivot state of Pakistan, whose consistently pragmatic approach to resolving the conflict by including the Taliban as a legitimate political party to the conflict’s solution (in spite of its official designation as a terrorist group by countries like the US and Russia) ultimately ended up being supported by everyone except India and Iran, both of which have a history of serious problems with the group. Nevertheless, those two are forced by diplomatic inertia to go along with events whether they like it or not, though the US doesn’t want them to feel left out of the process because it fears the political consequences that this impression could have on India’s anti-Chinese Quad activities and the recent push to revive the Iranian nuclear deal. Washington also knows how sensitive New Delhi and Tehran are towards the optics of Islamabad being right all along and even influencing Moscow of all parties to go along with its consistently pragmatic approach to resolving this conflict. There are also more indirect motives at play too which concern the Central Asian strategy that the Biden Administration inherited from Trump.

I analyzed this last year in my piece about how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Succeed” where I explained how America is exploring the option of “economic diplomacy” to ensure its post-withdrawal influence in the Eurasian Heartland. Not only does it aspire to use N-CPEC+ as a means for enhancing its role in the region, but it also hopes that the eastern branch of India’s North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) through Iran to Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics can result in New Delhi counterbalancing Moscow’s and Beijing’s influence there afterwards. This explains why the US has always granted a sanctions waiving to India for its Chabahar port project. It also adds a new strategic dimension to Blinken’s written announcement that Turkey will hold Afghan talks in the coming future. Washington has an interest in seeing the Lapis Lazuli Corridor from Afghanistan to the EU via Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, and Turkey be completed in order to expand Turkish and European influence in this same space for geostrategic “balancing” purposes.

To be absolutely, neither Pakistan, India, Iran, nor Turkey have any intentions of expanding their influence in Central Asia via their respective “economic diplomacy” initiatives of N-CPEC+, the NSTC’s eastern branch, and the Lapis Lazuli Corridor in any “unfriendly” manner that goes against Russian and/or Chinese strategic objectives there, but the inevitable cumulative effect of more countries getting involved in the Eurasian Heartland will ultimately result in a greater “balance” of interests there. All relevant parties with the exception of India support the Golden Ring proposal that I elaborated on in my March 2018 analysis, “From ‘Bandwagoning’ Against Eurasia To ‘Circling The Wagons’ In The Center Of It”, but this ambitious vision of course requires very close coordination between each stakeholder which might still take some time to materialize. In the interim, the US hopes that it can encourage “emerging dynamics” of “natural (albeit ‘friendly’) competition” to take hold and therefore offset this scenario, especially relating to the exploitation of mutual strategic suspicions between China & India, and perhaps even to a lesser extent, Iran & Turkey.

It’ll be really interesting for observers to watch how America’s latest diplomatic initiatives in Afghanistan play out, particularly its push to include the Taliban in an inclusive government as well as the US’ encouragement of greater Indian and Turkish roles in this overall process, but it mustn’t be forgotten that Washington is basically following in Moscow’s footsteps when it comes to this political solution. It was Russia’s tacit embrace of Pakistan’s consistently pragmatic stance to include the Taliban as a legitimate party to the peace process despite its designation as a terrorist organization that inspired the US to change its position in response, as well as Moscow’s support of New Delhi’s involvement in all of this. The Turkish element is a unique twist that wasn’t foreseen but nevertheless aligns with America’s envisioned “economic diplomacy” towards the post-war region. The ideal outcome would be the peaceful establishment of a joint Kabul-Taliban government (at least for the time being) in parallel with tangible progress being made on building the Golden Ring in such a way that India could play a constructive role in it too, but the actual outcome is likely to be a lot more complex than that.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Russia, Afghanistan, Taliban, India, Turkey, Kabul, Balancing, Central Asia, CPEC, CPEC+, N-CPEC+, Lapis Lazuli Corridor, NSTC, Iran, Economic Diplomacy.


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • Reports say that the border towns of Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan which border Tajikistan are turning into new concentration points of foreign terrorists from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, and Eastern Turkistan, concerning the Russian leaders.  Some political experts suggest that the ISIS is restoring its strength in Afghanistan as part of an American and Western roadmap. They say its wins justification to the Western military presence in Afghanistan. For the US and NATO, the presence in Afghanistan will lead to the control of three important countries of Iran, Russia and China.

SOURCE: ABNA 24


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MIDDLE EAST:

IRAN:

  • Iran is reaching out to its old customers in Asia to gauge interest in its crude as the Persian Gulf oil producer ramps up diplomacy in a bid to get U.S. sanctions lifted. Prior to the penalties — put in place to pressure the country into renegotiating a nuclear deal — China and India were Iran’s biggest buyers in Asia, followed by South Korea and Japan. Iran’s crude shipments dwindled to a trickle after sanctions by the former U.S. administration in 2018 and the end of waivers for some countries in 2019, although a number of Chinese refiners continued to take some oil.

SOURCE: BBN BLOOMBERG


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Biden’s Playing Hardball With MBS

2 MARCH 2021

Biden

The promulgation of the US’ so-called “Khashoggi ban” in response to its intelligence agencies determining that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was behind that dissident journalist’s brutal killing shows that the Biden Administration is playing hard ball with the Kingdom’s future ruler, though there’s only so far that it’ll go in this respect since it’s still important for America to still retain some degree of regional strategic “balance” despite its newfound willingness to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear deal.

US-Saudi relations are drastically changing under the Biden Administration as evidenced by its promulgation of the so-called “Khashoggi ban” in response to American intelligence agencies determining that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was behind that dissident journalist’s brutal killing. This shows that the Biden Administration is playing hardball with the Kingdom’s future ruler, though there’s only so far that it’ll go in this respect. As it stands, the pro-Democrat members of the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) that pull the President’s strings intend to diversify their country’s hitherto regional strategic dependence on Saudi Arabia in line with former President Obama’s vision by improving relations with Iran. Nevertheless, there’s only so far that they’ll go in this respect since it’s still important for them to retain some degree of “balance” so as not to push the Kingdom further into Russia and China’s arms.

On the one hand, the US wants to make it clear that the days of Saudi Arabia calling the shots are over. Washington will no longer allow its regional strategy to be led by Riyadh. This also explains Biden’s pragmatic recalibration of his country’s policy towards Yemen, which was also influenced by the desire to send a goodwill signal to Iran about Washington’s willingness to re-enter into negotiations on the nuclear deal. That arguably went against Saudi regional strategic interests, yet the Kingdom was powerless to stop its patron from implementing this policy reversal, at least for the time being. In parallel with this, American intelligence decided to punish some Saudis for Khashoggi’s murder, which was also intended to further erode the Kingdom’s already damaged reputation, and MBS’ personally. The tangential objective is to put pressure on MBS to comply with the US’ new regional policy instead of opposing it lest he risk the ever-present threat of a palace coup.

On the other hand, however, American strategists are aware that these moves will only encourage the Kingdom to intensify its growing relations with Russia and China. It already cooperates real closely with Moscow on energy issues (OPEC+) and Beijing on military (drones) and investment (Vision 2030) matters. Saudi Arabia also agreed to an arms deal with Russia a few years back during King Salman’s historic visit to Moscow which eventually saw the Eurasian Great Power delivering state-of-the-art rocket launchers to the Kingdom that presumably saw action during the ongoing War on Yemen. The US fears these two Great Power’s multipolar coordination in courting the Kingdom to their side in the New Cold War, especially as it relates to the possibility of Riyadh supporting Beijing’s plans for the “petroyuan”, so it knows that it’ll either have to hold back on playing hardball with MBS or move forward with replacing him in the worst-case scenario.

This “deep state”/geostrategic dynamic explains why American intelligence agencies publicly blamed MBS for Khashoggi’s killing yet Biden backed off from personally punishing him for this. It’s a “good cop/bad cop” type of play, but one which is being made in order to put Saudi Arabia back in place after it ran the former Trump Administration’s regional policy in partnership with its unofficial “Israeli” ally. Those two players stand in the way of the Biden (Obama 2.0) Administration’s risky gambit to restore “balance” to their country’s regional strategy by reaching out to Iran through “nuclear diplomacy” and other means, though all the while retaining pressure on the Islamic Republic as well as can be seen by Biden’s Syria strike last week. If clumsily executed, however, then the US might ultimately end up provoking a so-called “polar reorientation” whereby Saudi Arabia and “Israel” “jump ship” by siding with Russia and China in response to any meaningful US-Iranian rapprochement.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Saudi Arabia, Biden, MBS, Iran, China, Russia, Israel, Balancing.


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MIDDLE EAST:

NUCLEAR DEAL:

  • Iran rejected a European Union offer to arrange direct nuclear talks with the US, saying it wanted a guarantee first that the US would lift some sanctions. However, the Biden administration had refused to provide sanctions relief before face-to-face negotiations with Iran had taken place.

SOURCE: ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


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