Basking in the afterglow of his apparently constructive meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump said that he'd soon like a "real deal" with the U.S.' other long-time enemy Iran.
German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has stopped one of two feeder services to Iran and will decide on the remaining one before a Nov. 4 deadline imposed by the United States, which has reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
U.S. President Donald Trump's Republican allies in Congress are moving to block his deal to put Chinese telecom giant ZTE back in business if it pays $1 billion more in fines for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran… Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said they believe ZTE's sales to Iran represent particularly "dangerous" breaches of U.S. national security. Legislators said they are planning to block the ZTE deal in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, a big defense policy bill the Senate is due to debate this week.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Smart negotiations with Kim could help to rein in North Korea’s nuclear activities and significantly disrupt Iran’s efforts to improve upon its ballistic missile capabilities.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, and to relentlessly pressure the Islamic Republic, has elicited a predictable response. Critics cite history, particularly a counterproductive 1953 coup, as a reason to oppose the strategy. But looking more closely at the past shows that a regime-collapse containment policy is the best way to effect change.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Tehran had hoped for high profits from deals with Europe and U.S. companies - but now the regime faces abandonment by them - and the economic woes have started to create pressures on Tehran. The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull his country out of the Iran nuclear deal has already wreaked widespread economic damage to Iranians.
The new sanctions regime would give much less leeway for Iran to act like a rogue state. There is no need to negotiate with Iran's government directly and wait for it to comply with the U.S.-UN sanction swap. With bold U.S. leadership and determination to act, the international community can make that call for Iran and push the country towards a better, less belligerent future.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
OPEC members are expected to consider increasing oil production at their June 22 meeting in Vienna, something the United States reportedly has unofficially requested of some OPEC members. International media have reported that the United States asked Saudi Arabia and a number of other OPEC members to cover the deficit that might occur on the international market due to US President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
NORTH KOREA & IRAN
Iran warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to trust U.S. President Donald Trump who, it said, could cancel their denuclearization agreement within hours.
SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has criticized a top Iranian general for comments he reportedly made recently in which he praised Iran-backed groups for making gains in last month’s parliamentary elections… Hariri told reporters later Monday that the comments are “regrettable,” adding that interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs is “not in their (Iran’s) interest, nor those of Lebanon or the region.”
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
In May 2016, the Reformist Hope faction participated in its first intra-parliamentary vote, for speaker, a few months after its overwhelming victory in legislative elections. Mohammad Reza Aref, head of the List of Hope, a coalition of Reformists and moderates supporting President Hassan Rouhani, lost his bid for the speakership. Instead, Ali Larijani, the conservative who had long held the post, was re-elected with 173 votes to Aref’s 103.
CHINA & IRAN
China and Iran have agreed to strengthen strategic cooperation during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to China, possibly paving the way for steady crude flows between the two countries. The meeting with China's president Xi Jinping took place on Sunday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao, and comes at a time when Iran faces reimposition of sanctions by the US, which could impact its crude oil exports.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
Politicians in the northern German city of Hamburg rekindled on Monday a call from last year to cancel the city’s contract with an Iranian-regime controlled institution because it participated in the annual al-Quds Day rally in Berlin, which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
With Iran’s belligerence in the Middle East growing daily, through its interventions in Iraq and Syria, where it has put in place a land corridor for which to supply its terror proxy Hezbollah, in a bid to make it easier for its Quds Force to penetrate the Gulf states, it has to be remembered that past actions can often reflect on the shape of things to come. Almost 22 years on, from the 1996 June 25 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Saudi Arabia, in which the role of the Iranian-backed Saudi Hezbollah al-Hejaz’s was highlighted in US and Saudi intelligence reports; with the US pulling out of the Iran Deal, it could herald an aggressive Iranian regime planning similar attacks in the near future.
IRAQ & IRAN
Iran’s efforts to interfere in Iraq’s political affairs appeared again Monday after reports that Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force, made attempts to unite Tehran’s allies ahead of the formation of the biggest parliamentary bloc in Iraq which would be responsible for forming the new government.
Iran’s decision to cut the flow of water from Lower Zab River into northern Iraq has exacerbated water crisis in the Kurdistan region. According to Arab and Kurdish media, residents of Qaladze, a city of about 140,000 inhabitants located north of Sulaymaniyah, staged protest rallies last week condemning the Iranian decision and calling on government authorities to address the issue.
The battle to determine the composition of the next Iraqi government has not yet been won, but Iran could secure a strategic victory in the face of lackluster engagement by the United States. Senior U.S. foreign policy officials are distracted by the upcoming summit with North Korea, while those assigned to push back against Iranian influence are solely focused on re-imposing sanctions – failing to appreciate the significance of this potential turning point for Tehran’s regional influence.
As Washington mulls sanctions on Asaib Ahl al-Haq and similar groups, it should mind the volatility of Baghdad’s near-term political situation and the questionable efficacy of ‘wing’ distinctions.
The attendance of President Hassan Rouhani at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in China had one primary goal: to push China and Russia to do what they can to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which the U.S. abandoned in May. Unsurprisingly, as foreign companies increasingly leave Iran under American pressure, Rouhani's tone at the SCO gathering hinted at Iranian desperation.