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TOPIC: ali khamenei

Geopolitics

Unnerved By Protests, Tehran Is Now Hounding Foreign Embassies And Iranian Ex-Pats

Amid increasing tensions prompted by ongoing anti-government protests, reports from Tehran show increased surveillance of some foreign embassies. Iranian agents are said to be particularly curious about visas to get out of the country.

As anti-government protests in Iran persist, well-informed sources in Tehran say state authorities have begun tracking and intimidating more targets it deems suspicious, which now includes intensified surveillance of foreign embassies.

One source told Kayhan London this week that Iranian employees of the British and German embassies have received threatening calls from unidentified private numbers, thought to be Iranian security officials, summoning them for questioning The practice of sinister invitations to undocumented interrogations has become standard in the 40-year regime of Iran's Islamic Republic.

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Why Iran Is Pushing So Hard For A Russian Victory

The Supreme Leader's advisers in Tehran argue the Islamic Republic must back Russia in Ukraine because Russia is fighting a common enemy: the Western alliance.

-Analysis-

When he welcomed visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reassured his guest that Moscow rightfully defended itself when invading Ukraine. Speaking in Tehran, Khamenei declared: "Westerners are entirely opposed to a strong and independent Russia," and termed the NATO alliance "a dangerous creature."

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His rambling speech continued, filled with baseless claims about NATO, saying the Western military alliance "knows no limits" and "would have provoked this same war, with Crimea as its excuse," if Putin hadn't acted first.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the conservative Tehran paper Kayhan, which reputedly reflects the Supreme Leader's thinking, wrote in an editorial a week after Putin's visit and evoked a "celestial perspective" that could see the realities behind "the curtain" of the war. Khamenei, the editor wrote, knows that if America were to win this war, Iran would become its next target, which is why he considers the Russian "resistance" in Ukraine as tied to the Iranian regime's own security.

Thus, he concluded of Khamenei: "logically and naturally, he backs it."

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Iran Nuclear Deal, Another Victim In Putin's Strategy Of Chaos

Nuclear talks between Iran and the West are stalled, as Russia signs deal with Tehran for drones. But does the increasingly isolated Iranian regime risk becoming another Russian vassal like Syria or Belarus?

-Analysis-

On a trip last month to Europe, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke at the Vatican about Iran's unfinished talks with the West over its nuclear program. Tehran, he said, had proposed initiatives and shown flexibility in talks that had taken place in Vienna. According to Amir-Abdollahian, it was now time for the Americans to be "realistic" and facilitate a deal to replace the 2015 Iran nuclear deal framework.

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If his position seems to have softened, it can only be with permission from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. And that in turn has to do with the country's dire economic conditions. Yet there is also the international context, which has been shaken up by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, though not all is as it seems.

The Iranian regime had notably softened its earlier demands that a deal must be binding for future U.S. administrations and the West must remove the Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, from the list of international terrorist organizations.

Still, not all Iranian officials are sold on moderation: Some Western observers believe Amir-Abdollahian's positions are at odds with those of his deputy and chief Iranian negotiator in Vienna, Ali Bagheri Kani, reputedly a hardliner opposed to any negotiation on the nuclear program.

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Putin In Tehran, Record Heat Across Europe, Dinosaurs In The City

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin heads to Tehran to meet with the Iranian and Turkish leaders for his first trip abroad since the start of the Ukraine war, the UK records all-time-high temperatures and dinosaur footprints are found in a Chinese restaurant courtyard. Meanwhile, a Japanese ice-skating legend retires and a new Australian report quantifies the dire state of the environment.

[*Breton, France]

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Geopolitics
Roshanak Astaraki

Dismissal Of Iran Spy Chief Shows A Regime In Disarray

The recent departure of a top Iranian military intelligence chief, supposedly over security lapses and bad decisions, reveals regime weakness in an area key to its survival: espionage and state intelligence.

-Analysis-

LONDON — The removal in Iran of the Revolutionary Guards' head of intelligence, Hossein Taeb, was the important event of recent weeks in the Islamic Republic. Taeb was replaced in late June by General Muhammad Kazemi. Three days later, Ibrahim Jabbari was made head of personal security for the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

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Geopolitics
Ahmad Ra'fat

Why Ukraine War Won't Slow Iran's Quest To Become A Nuclear Power

A new round of comments from inside Iran's leadership ranks reaffirms its intention to produce a nuclear bomb, a decades-long cat and mouse game between the regime and an ever cautious West that hasn't seemed to change even as the Russia-Ukraine war brings in a new world order.

-OpEd-

Ali Mottahari, a former deputy-speaker of the Iranian Parliament, recently revealed that "right from the start of our nuclear activity, our aim was to build a bomb and strengthen our deterrent force. But we couldn't keep this a secret." It appeared he was admitting to what regional and Western states have long suspected and Iran's regime denies — that it wants to make nuclear bombs.

Mottahari's father, Morteza Mottahari, was a prominent theologian and confidante of the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. This has allowed his son to speak with relative freedom under the Islamic Republic. In comments to a local press outlet broadcast on April 22, Mottahari blamed the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a Marxist opposition group, for revealing Iran's supposed nuclear plans.

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Geopolitics
Ahmad Rafat

Quds v. Revolutionary Guards: Why U.S. Sees Iran's Two "Terrorist" Forces Differently

Is there calculated diplomacy or just confusion behind the Biden administration's ambivalent positions on what can only be defined as 'terrorism' of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards?

-OpEd-

For weeks now there has been talk of removing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from the West's list of international terrorists, to meet one of Iran's conditions for renewing the 2015 pact on its nuclear program, or agreeing on a similar pact. Tehran says removing the terrorist label from the Guards and lifting all sanctions on this key military force constitute a 'red line' that must be included in any deal in ongoing, though stalled, talks on its program.

Recently U.S. President Joe Biden and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, voiced opposition, without specifically citing the Revolutionary Guards, to ending the terrorist label for one particular unit of the Guards, the Quds Force. This is a regional task force suspected of meddling in the affairs of several neighboring states, and the previous U.S. administration of President Donald Trump took out its powerful leader Qassem Soleimani in 2020, saying he was a threat to U.S. forces.

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Geopolitics

Iran's Secret 25-Year Trade Pact With China May Really Be A Military Deal

Iranians only have online speculation to guess how much the country's clerical regime has conceded to China as part of the New Silk Road initiative. There are now reports of 5,000 Chinese security agents being deployed in Iran to "protect" Chinese personnel working in the oil sector.

A member of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce recently cited unconfirmed reports of some 5,000 Chinese security agents deployed in Iran, under the pretext of protecting Chinese personnel working in the oil and gas sectors.

The presence of Chinese forces inside Iran would be within the framework of the 25-year cooperation pact between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People's Republic of China. Reza Padidar, head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture's energy committee, says the reports are fueling concerns about the mechanics of implementation of the Iran-China pact.

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Geopolitics
Shahram Sabzevari

Don't Underestimate Russian Influence Over Iran's Military

Russia's role in in Iranian affairs goes to the highest levels of its military and security structures. But will anyone in Iran dare question Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in spite of the grave risks to the country's national security?

-Analysis-

LONDON — Several sources recently reported on the sale of 24 Russian Su-35 fighter jets to Iran. These were initially to be sold to Egypt, but that deal was thwarted by the threat of U.S. sanctions on Egypt. Since 15 of the planes were reportedly ready for delivery, they may be sent to the Iranian regime in early 2022.

Reports of sales of Russian commercial or military planes to Iran are not new, though some now qualify them as a consolation for Tehran to make amends for Russia's suspected approval of the strikes that have targeted Iranian Revolutionary guards bases, allied militias and Iranian war material in Syria.

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Geopolitics

Taliban And Iran: The Impossible Alliance May Already Be Crumbling

After the Sunni fundamentalist Taliban rulers retook control of Afghanistan, there were initial, friendly signals exchanged with Iran's Shia regime. But a recent border skirmish recalls tensions from the 1990s, when Iran massed troops on the Afghan frontier.

The clashes reported this week from the border between Iran and Afghanistan were perhaps inevitable.

There are so far scant details on what triggered the flare up on Wednesday between Iranian border forces and Taliban fighters, near the district of Hirmand in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province. Still, footage posted on social media indicated the exchange of fire was fairly intense, with troops on both sides using both light and heavy weaponry.

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Society
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Iran's New Law To Boost Birthrate Takes Aim At Condoms, Raises HIV Risks

An Iranian public healthcare official warns that a parliamentary bill to boost birth rates will cut access to condoms, and could fuel sexually-transmitted diseases like AIDS.

TEHRAN — Facing the lowest birth rate in the Middle East, the Iranian government has passed legislation that will end the distribution of free contraceptives in the public health care system unless a pregnancy would threaten the woman's health.

The law, called Rejuvenate the Population (Tarh-e javani-e jam'iat), has already faced pushback from NGOs for its attempt to undermine woman's reproductive rights. But now an Iranian public health official has also voiced his opposition, warning that discouraging the use of condoms will increase the spread of AIDS/HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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Sources
Roshanak Astaraki, Hamed Mohammadi and Azadeh Karimi

Iran’s Fixed Elections And The State Of The Islamic ''Republic''

By denying the right to moderate candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, the regime shows it has little interest in even a semblance of democracy.

-Editorial-

The failure of reformist candidates to win vetting approval for Iran's 13th presidential elections slated for June 18 is dividing reformists, and pushing them further away from participating in Iran's politics.

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