Eye on Iran: US Air Force Official: Missile Targeting Saudis Was Iranian

TOP STORIES

US Air Force Official: Missile Targeting Saudis Was Iranian | Associated Press

Iran manufactured the ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Shiite rebels toward the Saudi capital and remnants of it bore "Iranian markings," the top U.S. Air Force official in the Mideast said Friday, backing the kingdom's earlier allegations.

Iran: We Can Resume High-Level Enrichment within Days If Trump Annuls Deal | Ahmad Majidyar for Middle East Institute

The top Iranian nuclear official has warned that Washington wants to “annihilate” the nuclear deal and blame Iran for it, the Iranian media reported...The Iranian nuclear negotiator reiterated that the country can resume 20 percent nuclear enrichment at Fordow facility within days.

Iran Building Permanent Military Base In Syria – Claim | BBC News

Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria, a Western intelligence source has told the BBC.

UANI IN THE NEWS

Hostages in Iran Must Not Be Forgotten | UANI Advisory Board Member Barry Rosen for the Washington Examiner

In October, President Trump chose not to recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, giving Congress 60 days to decide on the future of the agreement. As Congress weighs action and the administration consults with our European partners, policymakers must consider Iran’s history of holding Americans and dual-nationals hostage, including those held captive today. On the 38th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis, it’s the least we can do.

Iranian Aggressors Still Target American Troops in Iraq | UANI Advisory Board Member Michael Pregent for the Hill

On October 1 of this year, Army Specialist Alexander Missildine was killed by a highly lethal roadside bomb known as an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) in the Ninawa Province of Iraq. EFPs are the signature weapon of two Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-led militias in Iraq and the reappearance of this weapon after six years demonstrates that the Islamic Republic of Iran continues its campaign to kill American service members.

The Lebanese Powder Keg | UANI Research Analyst David Daoud for the UANI Blog

When Saad Hariri resigned his post as prime minister of Lebanon last week, the move surprised even his closest associates. The normally soft-spoken premier lashed out at Iran and Hezbollah, accusing them of plotting his assassination, and vowing that the region’s reawakened Arabs would “cut off” Tehran’s arms. The unusual resignation came amid internal upheavals within Saudi Arabia and escalating Saudi-Iranian tensions over Lebanon and Yemen, fueling speculation that all were somehow related. Below is context on what happened and analysis for what comes next for the key players in the dispute after a transformational week in Lebanon.

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

The Iran Nuclear Deal Weakness that Even Republicans Ignore | Michael Rubin for Washington Examiner

Whether through arrogance or ignorance, the Obama administration falsely assessed the ability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curtail Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. Even from day one, the deal they presented fell far short of the red lines to which President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry swore they would uphold. Far from creating the most robust inspections and monitoring regime, Obama and Kerry watered down on precedent to create a far weaker standard for all future non-proliferation deals, notwithstanding the politicized and corrupt analysis from groups such as the Arms Control Association.

Nuclear Watchdog Chief Gains U.S. Envoy Nikki Haley's Support | CBS News

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano met Thursday in New York with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for a second time on Iran's nuclear program with the Trump administration's next move on Iran at stake.

EU and Iran Defend Nuclear Deal, under Fire from Trump | Reuters

Senior officials from the European Union and Iran spoke up on Friday in defense of the agreement limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, as the pact comes under heavy pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS

Ex-CIA Director Woolsey Explains why Iran Needs to Be Taken down a Notch | Jerusalem Post

The US should destroy virtually all of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps infrastructure as well as Iran’s nuclear facilities to reduce its terrorist and nuclear threats, former CIA director James Woolsey told The Jerusalem Post in an interview. “

TERRORISM AND EXTREMISM

Analysis: Why Saad Hariri Faced Threat from Both Iran and Hezbollah | Tony Duheaume for Al Arabiya

While considering the manner in which Saad Hariri had to resign as Lebanon’s prime minister, it has to be realized that Hezbollah controls around 25 percent of that country’s territory and that its militia has grown more powerful than the Lebanese army. The level of interference by both Hezbollah and Syria in Lebanese politics at the behest of the Iranian regime, particularly Hezbollah’s proven record of assassinating those speaking out against it or its Syrian and Iranian patrons, must have been a major cause behind Saad Hariri’s decision to leave the country before announcing his resignation.

Hezbollah Says Saudi Declares Lebanon War with Hariri Detention | Reuters

Hezbollah’s leader said on Friday that Saudi Arabia had declared war on Lebanon and his Iran-backed group, accusing Riyadh of detaining Saad al-Hariri and forcing him to resign as Lebanon’s prime minister to destabilize the country.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

France's Macron Treads Fine Line in Iran-Saudi Minefield | Reuters

With U.S. President Donald Trump tightly aligned with Saudi Arabia against Iran, France is positioning itself as a broker between the Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslim rivals, but neutrality may leave it with little leverage.

French President Says Iran Behind Yemeni Missile Launch, Calls for Talks | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

French President Emmanuel Macron is blaming Iran for a ballistic missile launch by Yemeni rebels targeting Riyadh last weekend, and said it illustrates the need for negotiations with Tehran over its missile development.

Arab League to Meet on Iran At Saudi Request | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

The Arab League will hold an extraordinary meeting next Sunday at the request of Saudi Arabia to discuss “violations” committed by Iran in the region, according to a memorandum.

Iran Drawing Closer to Azerbaijan | Maysam Bizaer for Al Monitor

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the formation of a series of republics in the Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Since these states' independence, Iran, which regards the Caucasus as a strategic region, has sought friendly relations with them... In the case of Azerbaijan, bilateral relations have been maintained despite political tensions primarily revolving around Baku’s ties with Israel. In recent years, however, Tehran and Baku have begun to develop more extensive relations than those between Iran and the two other Caucasus nations.

PROXY WARS

Rex Tillerson Warns against Saudi-Iran War in Lebanon | Washington Examiner

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Friday that Lebanon is at risk of becoming a new focus of violence as tensions rise between Saudi Arabia and Iran. “The United States cautions against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country,” Tillerson said in a Friday statement.

As Saudi Arabia-Iran Tensions Rise, Lebanon Is Caught in the Middle | CBS News

Tensions are escalating between two of the biggest powers in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia ordered all citizens to leave Lebanon after the country's prime minister mysteriously announced he's stepping down. He made the announcement while in Saudi Arabia. Lebanon is currently on the front lines of a regional conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States has been assured that Prime Minister Saad Hariri is not being held against his will.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, AND IRAN

Deep in Yemen War, Saudi Fight against Iran Falters | Reuters

More than two years into a war that has already left 10,000 dead, regional power Saudi Arabia is struggling to pull together an effective local military force to defeat the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement that has seized large parts of Yemen.

Saudi Arabia Won’t Comment on Whether It’s Working with Israel to Combat Hezbollah | CNBC

The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has refused to quell rumors that his country is working with Israel to tackle the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah. Abel Al-Jubeir said Thursday that Hezbollah, a political and militant Shia-Islamist group, has hijacked the system in Lebanon and is spreading a malign influence throughout the Middle East.

An Overview of the Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Its Neighbors | Philip Bump for Washington Post

Earlier this week, buried in all of the other news that’s a constant feature of the modern world, there was an unusual pronouncement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Gulf-affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said Monday that the Lebanese government would be “dealt with as a government declaring war” on his country — raising the specter of a new armed conflict in the already tense region.

Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Pipeline Attack | Associated Press

Iran has denied allegations it was behind a militant attack on a pipeline outside Bahrain’s capital.

IRANIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS

Exclusive: 'Spit Out Your Insults, Come On Now!' Iranian Women Film Themselves Standing Up to Men Who Order Them to Wear Head Scarves As They Walk in The Street Without Hijabs | Daily Mail (U.K.)

Footage has emerged of women standing up to police and strangers in Iran after defying laws by walking the streets without hijabs. Women filmed themselves without veils to capture some of the abuse they face for failing to adhere to Iran's strict religious rules. At one point a female campaigner shouts 'spit out your insults' after being told to cover her head while a second film shows a man threatening to slap a young woman for breaking the law.