The foreign ministers of Iran and Qatar met in Tehran to discuss Afghanistan as the Taliban takeover prompts a flurry of diplomatic activity among neighbors scrambling to work out their response. Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, spoke at Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about trade and regional issues, including the new government in Kabul, according to a ministry statement.
European powers and the US will decide on Friday whether to censure Iran in response to a damning report by the UN nuclear inspectorate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showing that the new hardline government in Tehran had made it impossible for inspectors to oversee the country’s nuclear programme. The Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, has warned any such censure motion, or a reference to the UN security council, could delay or prevent Iran returning to the talks in Vienna on how the US and Iran could come back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Thursday used artillery and drones to strike Kurdish militants based in neighbouring Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region, the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported. "In this operation, the headquarters of those conspiring against Iran's national security was destroyed," IRIB quoted the Revolutionary Guards as saying about the latest attack on the rebels based in neighbouring Iraq.
UANI IN THE NEWS
… I put the same question to the Lebanon watcher David Daoud, who was born to a Jewish family in Beirut and lives in Washington, D.C., where he works with the Atlantic Council and the advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran. Hezbollah has never wanted Lebanon to be a prosperous state “like Israel or Singapore,” Daoud said, because that would limit its autonomy. But at the same time, he said, the organization’s interests aren’t served by another civil war or the kind of state collapse that would be hastened by a war with Israel at this moment.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
The new government in Tehran is reaching out to its Gulf neighbors, as talks over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. looks increasingly shaky. In the past 24 hours, recently-appointed foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has held talks with at least two of his counterparts in the region, with speculation that other meetings will follow. Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman al-Thani was in Tehran on August 9 for a meeting with Amir-Abdollahian. Local media in Iran noted that the visit came soon after Sheikh Mohammad had held talks with U.S. secretary of state Anthony Blinken and secretary of defense Lloyd Austin in Doha.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt called for a “rapid and comprehensive inspection” of all Iranian nuclear sites on Thursday. Gathering on the sidelines of an Arab League session in Cairo, ministers from the four countries also discussed stopping Tehran’s destabilizing policies that threaten global security and stability. The meeting on Thursday, chaired by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, also discussed strengthening joint coordination to stop Iranian interference in the region and its financing of the Houthi militia in Yemen and other terrorist groups.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
The newly appointed vice president for women and family affairs in the Islamic Republic of Iran advocates the marriage of children in defiance of human rights critics who see the practice as sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls. The Iranian regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi designated Ansieh Khazali in early September as the new official for women’s affairs. She confirmed the announcement in a September 2 tweet to her 589 followers as of Thursday. She tweeted an Arabic verse from the Koran, according to the news website IranWire.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Israel will continue to defend itself against Iranian actions in Syria, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in Moscow, following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, amid concerns about Russian moves to curb Israeli strikes. “Israel will not sit by quietly while Iran builds terror bases on our northern border [with Syria], or while Iran supplies advanced weapons to terror organizations – weapons intended to be used against us,” Lapid said.
AFGHANISTAN & IRAN
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in pursuit of what it saw as its ultimate enemy: Al Qaeda. And then it stayed. Twenty years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the United States and amid its chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden has declared the end to an era of major military interventionism. America’s rivals and adversaries have been taking notes throughout. Russia, China and Iran view recent developments as a clear demonstration that American international influence, which appeared unassailable after 9/11 garnered America almost universal international support and sympathy, is on the wane.
Iran has emphasised its calls for the formation of an “inclusive” government in neighbouring Afghanistan, shortly after the Taliban formed what it said was an interim cabinet. On Wednesday, a day after the Taliban announced the formation of the new Afghan government, which was dominated by its old guard and included no representation for women or members of the Shia community, the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries – including Iran, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan – held a virtual meeting.