Iran Primer's Blog
Arabs hold complex and sometimes conflicting views of Iran, according to a new report by the United States Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. Attitudes toward Iran in countries with large Shiite populations such as Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain tend to fall along sectarian lines. But Sunni Arab populations elsewhere have a more complicated view of the Islamic Republic.
Polling has shown that individuals who feel threatened by Iran can simultaneously admire it. Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have consistently named Iran the third most threatening state after Israel and the United States in polls since 2009. Yet Tehran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas has won it popularity in the Arab world, according to the report. Egyptian and Tunisian Sunnis have consistently expressed affinity with the Islamic nature of Iran’s government. But they are still concerned with Shiite influence.
The report concludes that Iran will probably have ample opportunity to influence regional politics in the absence of a “stable, popular, and credible” Egypt that can lead the Arab world. The following are excerpts from the report, with a link to the full text at the end.
Click here for the full report.
Iran and the P5+1 were unable to negotiate a settlement in three meetings in 2012. The first was in April in Istanbul, followed by another round of talks in Baghdad in May. The last meeting was held in Moscow in June 2012.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the P5+1 will present an “updated and credible offer” in Kazakhstan. But the “onus is on Iran to respond seriously and turn its declared willingness to negotiate into concrete action,” he warned on February 6. The following are remarks by key Iranian officials on the upcoming negotiations.
Iran has begun installing new centrifuges for enriching uranium at the Natanz nuclear facility, according to a new report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Tehran had informed the United Nations in January 2013 that it would install the advanced models, which can enrich uranium two or three times faster than the old centrifuges. The installation of the centrifuges would be "a further escalation and a continuing violation" of Iran's international obligations," said State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland on February 21.
Iran has not granted U.N. inspectors adequate access to all of its facilities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was unable to conclude "that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” The report also urged Iran to grant access to the Parchin site. The agency received information indicating that Iran may have conducted experiments related to nuclear weapons development at that location. The following is a summary from the new report, followed by a link to the full text and remarks from the State Department.
Saudi Arabia would probably not rush to acquire a nuclear weapon if Iran builds one, according to a new report by the Center for a New American Security. It is widely assumed that Riyadh would rush to develop its own bomb or acquire weapons from Pakistan. But the report argues that “risks of the worst-case Saudi proliferation scenarios are lower than many contend.” By pursuing nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia would risk becoming a target of international sanctions and rupturing its strategic ties with the United States. Riyadh is more likely to bolster its conventional defenses and rely on the United States for its defense. The following are excerpts from the report, followed by a link to the full text at the end.
About 83 percent of Americans ranked Iranian and North Korean nuclear ambitions as the greatest threats to U.S. interests, according to a new poll by Gallup. The development of nuclear weapons by the two nations tied for the top spot on a list of nine potential threats.
Democrats and Republicans largely shared their concern about North Korea. But 12 percent more Republicans than Democrats viewed Iran’s development of nuclear weapons as a critical threat. The most significant partisan split was on Islamic fundamentalism. About 70 percent of Republicans viewed it as a critical threat, while only 46 of Democrats did. The following are excerpts from the survey, with a link to the full report at the end.
This year's poll marked the first time Gallup asked about North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons specifically. In 2010 Gallup asked about the two countries' "military power," and found 61% rating each as a critical threat to the United States, second only to international terrorism. In 2004, the "spread of weapons of mass destruction to unfriendly powers" ranked second only to terrorism. Thus, Americans have previously seen North Korea and Iran, and nuclear weapons in general, as serious threats to the U.S….
The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
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