(March 21 to April 19)

Last week Venus came into harmony with Uranus. Now, it's Mars' turn to embrace the planet of unpredictability. Masks fall, bogeymen crumble away. You're free to love or even choose a new career path. You're looking to the future and, in some cases, abroad. March 12 and 13 are positive days for planning, listening to your heart or putting yourself back in the game without inhibition.

TEMPO: presto rivoluzionando

(April 20 to May 20)

Your sign wants to emerge from its chrysalis — this week, you will begin to experiment with your new wings. The last few miles of the tunnel show the light at the end; very soon, Venus will come into your sign. For now you're fumbling along, evaluating, and trying new ways to get out of past mistakes. The weekend is a good time to get excited.

TEMPO: marcia riflessivo

(May 21 to June 21)

Monday may bring some surprisingly good news. There are new collaborations that reactivate work-related affairs and new challenges will be placed in front of you: It could be a new job, or training opportunities. Some are not fully satisfied, but at this time it's best to take baby steps and accept some compromises. Try to leave work tensions at the door, as they are not good for couples. For lonely hearts, part-time emotions are possible.

TEMPO: andante in costruzione

(June 22 to July 22)

For some, thoughts about work will be at the center of discussion with your partner, along with financial issues. You could experience the feeling of never arriving anywhere and this creates stress. New meetings are made with some difficulty; next week, singles can expect to go back to dreaming.

TEMPO: adagio insoddisfatto

(July 23 to August 22)

Recent knowledge could give new importance to something — you'll realize this around March 12, when the thrust of Mars and Uranus makes your heart beat. It's a sky that also favors couples who have recently decided to make an important step, whether it's moving in together or an official engagement. Even at work, it's a fertile and lively week which rewards those who take initiatives with proposals and awards.

TEMPO: allegrissimo (se) spronato

(August 23 to September 22)

For those in crisis or a climate of doubt, it is not easy to decide on how to proceed. And this goes for both your work and personal life. In the professional field, it is time to jump into heated discussions or to make risky choices — which could be affected by a hint of impatience. Hang in there: This is the last week of "verification," and then a more challenging sky will bring action. Heavy clouds filled with stress will begin to thin out with the arrival of Venus from March 18.

TEMPO: lento dubbioso

(September 23 to October 23)

This weekend is marked in red again, with possible outbursts of anger. My advice goes mainly to couples in crisis: It's always better to talk before taking extreme measures. And this week centers on dialogue, especially for couples looking for a "compromise" on their projects. Even at work, many are struggling with negotiations or seeking arrangements for a new project that is hard to leave. Don't be put off: In the longterm, the sky will favor you.

TEMPO: adagetto indaffarato

(October 24 to November 20)

Work, work and more work. Jupiter's squaring in recent months has put you to the test and now, more than ever, you are looking for new solutions to chronic professional problems — and you may get some clarity within the next week. Love is uninspiring, especially for singles and for those who have recently begun relationships. Stress, commitments and distances (even geographically) are not making things easier. Family discussions are possible this week, especially with brothers and sisters, for a financial, legal or hereditary issue.

TEMPO: adagetto indaffarato

(November 21 to December 22)

This lunar cycle ends right in your sign and as a more open and prosperous time returns., so does your smile. You are able to optimistically accept take in your stride the many things this period brings. March 12 is a day to remember — there will be brilliant occasions, but also new promises that will leave their mark in your heart. It's a good time to sow the seeds of your future happiness.

TEMPO: allegrissimo cantabile

(December 23 to January 20)

You need to be especially careful now, caught as you are in a "tail" of nervousness that could create problems with your partner, especially if you are not able to remain silent. Much depends on the stability of the relationship, but tugging hard on the rope risks it all falling down. For new couples, a family member could be against the relationship. At work, there is mental and physical fatigue caused by a dispute that could happen on March 9 — just hang in there, next Monday will be better!

TEMPO: lento perplesso

(January 21 to February 21)

Here's an amazing week for lonely hearts. Friday 13 is not scary at all! It's a day that could lead to unforeseen opportunities by meeting someone. So don't resist it and look around. Couples are moving quickly with the desire for new projects in relation to life and family, which will take place after the summer. First, finances must be settled, with organization and a clear mind. Brilliant ideas come at work, which will reinforce new partnerships and agreements.

TEMPO: vivace allargando

(February 22 to March 20)

Mercury enters your sign from March 13, giving a boost to job opportunities. If nothing else, some goals will appear clearer — but there will still be some difficulty in everyday tasks. With force and conviction, but above all by avoiding controversy, you will get everything you want. In love, if in doubt, it is now possible to pretend that nothing has happened ... but it can't go on for too long. Keep anxiety at bay.

TEMPO: adagio ansioso

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Iran-Saudi Arabia Rivalry May Be Set To Ease, Or Get Much Worse

The Saudis may be awaiting the outcome of Iran's nuclear talks with the West, to see whether Tehran will moderate its regional policies, or lash out like never before.

Military parade in Tehran, Iran, on Oct. 3


LONDON — The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said earlier this month that Iranian and Saudi negotiators had so far had four rounds of "continuous" talks, though both sides had agreed to keep them private. The talks are to ease fraught relations between Iran's radical Shia regime and the Saudi kingdom, a key Western ally in the Middle East.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said that the talks were going in the right direction, while an Iranian trade official was recently hopeful these might even allow trade opportunities for Iranian businessmen in Saudi Arabia. As the broadcaster France 24 observed separately, it will take more than positive signals to heal a five-year-rift and decades of mutual suspicions.

Agence France-Presse news agency, meanwhile, has cited an unnamed French diplomat as saying that Saudi Arabia wants to end its costly discord with Tehran. The sides may already have agreed to reopen consular offices. For Saudi Arabia, the costs include its war on Iran-backed Houthis rebels fighting an UN-recognized government in next-door Yemen.

The role of the nuclear pact

Bilateral relations were severed in January 2016, after regime militiamen stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Amirabdollahian was then the deputy foreign minister for Arab affairs. In 2019, he told the website Iranian Diplomacy that Saudi Arabia had taken measures vis-a-vis Iran's nuclear pact with the world powers.

It's unlikely Ali Khamenei will tolerate the Saudi kingdom's rising power in the region.

He said "the Saudis' insane conduct toward [the pact] led them to conclude that they must prevent [its implementation] in a peaceful environment ... I think the Saudis are quite deluded, and their delusion consists in thinking that Trump is an opportunity for them to place themselves on the path of conflict with the Islamic Republic while relying on Trump." He meant the administration led by the U.S. President Donald J.Trump, which was hostile to Iran's regime. This, he said, "is not how we view Saudi Arabia. I think Yemen should have been a big lesson for the Saudis."

The minister was effectively admitting the Houthis were the Islamic Republic's tool for getting back at Saudi Arabia.

Yet in the past two years, both sides have taken steps to improve relations, without firm results as yet. Nor is the situation likely to change this time.

Photo of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2020

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2020

Riyadh's warming relations with Israel

Iran's former ambassador in Lebanon, Ahmad Dastmalchian, told the ILNA news agency in Tehran that Saudi Arabia is doing Israel's bidding in the region, and has "entrusted its national security, and life and death to Tel Aviv." Riyadh, he said, had been financing a good many "security and political projects in the region," or acting as a "logistical supplier."

The United States, said Dastmalchian, has "in turn tried to provide intelligence and security backing, while Israel has simply followed its own interests in all this."

Furthermore, it seems unlikely Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will tolerate, even in this weak period of his leadership, the kingdom's rising power in the region and beyond, and especially its financial clout. He is usually disparaging when he speaks of Riyadh's princely rulers. In 2017, he compared them to "dairy cows," saying, "the idiots think that by giving money and aid, they can attract the goodwill of Islam's enemies."

Iranian regime officials are hopeful of moving toward better diplomatic ties and a reopening of embassies. Yet the balance of power between the sides began to change in Riyadh's favor years ago. For the kingdom's power has shifted from relying mostly on arms, to economic and political clout. The countries might have had peaceful relations before in considerably quieter, and more equitable, conditions than today's acute clash of interests.

For if nuclear talks break down, Iran's regime may become more aggressive.

Beyond this, the Abraham Accord or reconciliation of Arab states and Israel has been possible thanks to the green light that the Saudis gave their regional partners, and it is a considerable political and ideological defeat for the Islamic Republic.

Assuming all Houthis follow Tehran's instructions — and they may not — improved ties may curb attacks on Saudi interests and aid its economy. Tehran will also benefit from no longer having to support them. Unlike Iran's regime, the Saudis are not pressed for cash or resources and could even offer the Houthis a better deal. Presently, they may consider it more convenient to keep the softer approach toward Tehran.

For if nuclear talks with the West break down, Iran's regime may become more aggressive, and as experience has shown, tensions often prompt a renewal of missile or drone attacks on the Saudis, on tankers and on foreign shipping. Riyadh must have a way of keeping the Tehran regime quiet, in a distinctly unquiet time.

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