Tagged Iran

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, began his first 2020 press conference with the following words: “The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil. We are living in dangerous times. Geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century.” His words brought me back to my January 2014 visit to the provincial city…

Geography and history, modern and older, internal fault lines as well as external interventions, have given rise to a perfect storm in the Eastern Mediterranean. In an arc of fire that stretches from Libya to Syria and can be extrapolated further North, all the way to Russia and Ukraine, a series of conflicts have made this an area of particular instability, for the world as a whole and more immediately for nearby Europe…

Following negotiations over several years, and a marathon session from 26 March to 2 April 2015, the six world powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, US) plus the EU reached agreement with Iran on key parameters for ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only. A Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will now be drafted, on the basis of the agreed parameters, by 30 June 2015 and implemented thereafter. The successful outcome of the negotiations was hailed as a “historic understanding” and a “good deal” by US President Obama.

Talks between the “six powers” (US, Russia, China, UK, France, Germany plus the EU) and Iran successfully concluded in Lausanne, Switzerland with agreement on key parameters to draft a of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to be drafted by 30 June 2015.   Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad…

Strange EU member silence on Yemen

As the Saudi-led air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen were starting on 26 March 2015, Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, issued a statement saying that she was convinced that military action was not a solution. Did anybody listen? Apparently not the UK and France, who along with the US are providing support to the Saudi-led coalition. In view, though, of the risks and inconsistencies involved, Europe should be taking the lead in bringing armed hostilities to a halt and convening the international community and the Yemeni parties for immediate negotiations within fair parameters.

Shlomo Ben-Ami is an old hand in Israeli and international politics. He has been Minister of Internal Security and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, and now serves as Vice President of the Toledo International Center for Peace in Madrid. This is a summary of a 30-minute discussion with him following the 17 March 2015 Israeli election. He talks about Mr. Netanyahu’s reelection, the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and possible steps by the international community to move things forward under the current circumstances.

On 16 March 2015 the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, was in Brussels for talks with High Representative Mogherini and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. This was part of the six-power talks (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) with Iran on the latter’s uranium enrichment programme. 16 March was also the day of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (EU Foreign Ministers) in Brussels, chaired by Ms. Mogherini.

Rediscovering a sense of right and wrong in international affairs

Three recent developments, two from the US and one from Europe, give us some reason to believe that a gradual end to hypocrisy and double standards may be coming about in the world of international affairs and diplomacy. They concern Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. In the latter case, you may have heard that the Swedish government decided not to renew a military cooperation agreement with the oppressive kingdom despite protests by the Swedish business community.

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