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14 August 2019  

Syria's security reshuffle highlights Russia's consolidation of power

on Syria

July began with a major shake-up in the Syrian military and intelligence apparatus. In an attempt to consolidate power after regaining territorial control over most of the country...

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30 July 2019  

Geopolitics of Sudan Revolution - Presentation to AMEC

on Sudan

Sudan lies in the hotbed of the Horn of Africa, a region that has been plagued by decades of instability and ruin as a result of intense conflicts perpetuated by post-colonial vest...

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30 July 2019  

The December 2018 revolution and Sudanese professionals in the diaspora

on Sudan

WE LEFT SUDAN In drovesIn the late 80’s and 90’sIndeed, my generation of educated Sudanese professionals are scattered around the globe(Out of 200 medical graduates from Khartoum ...

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29 July 2019  

Geopolitics of Sudan Revolution - Presentation to AMEC

on Sudan

By Zeenat Adam 17 July 2019 Sudan lies in the hotbed of the Horn of Africa, a region that has been plagued by decades of instability and ruin as a result of intense conflicts per...

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08 July 2019  

A new cold war in Africa

on General Topics

By Mehari Taddele Maru Last month, the twelfth US-Africa Business Summit, a high-level event attended by eleven African heads of state and government and some 1 000 busi...

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23 June 2019  

Strategic implications of the 'deal of the century' and the…

on Palestine-Israel

Aisling Byrne interviews Abdel Bari Atwan Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (DoC) - whether in its actual or conceptual form - is ushering in a new strategic era, providing cov...

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14 August 2019  

Syria's security reshuffle highlights Russia's consolidation of power

on Syria

July began with a major shake-up in the Syrian military and intelligence apparatus. In an attempt to consolidate power after regaining territorial control over most of the country...

Read more

30 July 2019  

Geopolitics of Sudan Revolution - Presentation to AMEC

on Sudan

Sudan lies in the hotbed of the Horn of Africa, a region that has been plagued by decades of instability and ruin as a result of intense conflicts perpetuated by post-colonial vest...

Read more

30 July 2019  

The December 2018 revolution and Sudanese professionals in the diaspora

on Sudan

WE LEFT SUDAN In drovesIn the late 80’s and 90’sIndeed, my generation of educated Sudanese professionals are scattered around the globe(Out of 200 medical graduates from Khartoum ...

Read more

29 July 2019  

Geopolitics of Sudan Revolution - Presentation to AMEC

on Sudan

By Zeenat Adam 17 July 2019 Sudan lies in the hotbed of the Horn of Africa, a region that has been plagued by decades of instability and ruin as a result of intense conflicts per...

Read more

23 June 2019  

Strategic implications of the 'deal of the century' and the…

on Palestine-Israel

Aisling Byrne interviews Abdel Bari Atwan Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (DoC) - whether in its actual or conceptual form - is ushering in a new strategic era, providing cov...

Read more

14 June 2019  

Postponed: Unveiling of Trump's 'deal of the century' frozen as…

on Palestine-Israel

Touted by its architects as the ‘deal of the century’, US president Donald Trump’s plan for Palestine and Israel has had to again be kept hidden as Israel heads back to elections a...

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14 August 2019  

Syria's security reshuffle highlights Russia's consolidation of power

on Syria

July began with a major shake-up in the Syrian military and intelligence apparatus. In an attempt to consolidate power after regaining territorial control over most of the country...

Read more

23 June 2019  

Strategic implications of the 'deal of the century' and the…

on Palestine-Israel

Aisling Byrne interviews Abdel Bari Atwan Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (DoC) - whether in its actual or conceptual form - is ushering in a new strategic era, providing cov...

Read more

14 June 2019  

Postponed: Unveiling of Trump's 'deal of the century' frozen as…

on Palestine-Israel

Touted by its architects as the ‘deal of the century’, US president Donald Trump’s plan for Palestine and Israel has had to again be kept hidden as Israel heads back to elections a...

Read more

10 June 2019  

Teaching Palestine in South Africa

on Palestine

By Diana Block Reaffirming Internationalism in the Twenty-first Century In March 2019 I traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a conference – Teaching Palestine: P...

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08 April 2019  

Turkish local election outcome signals disillusionment with Erdogan

on Turkey

Turkey’s local election concluded with the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) incurring heavy losses in major cities, and the opposition Republican People’s ...

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10 February 2019  

As Abbas Ages, Fatah Moves to Consolidate Power

on Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud Five years after spearheading what is inaptly referred to as a ‘government of national reconciliation’, Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, has finally&nbs...

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23 October 2018  

Jamal Khashoggi, small spark for a large fire

on Saudi Arabia

By Hassan Aourid Until last Saturday, I was hopeful that the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country’s consulate in Istanbul was not more than a case of c...

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19 October 2018  

Khashoggi murder: Killing dissent even from within

on Saudi Arabia

The gruesome murder of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was designed to be a clear and firm message for Saudi dissidents, and reflected th...

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08 July 2018  

As Hudaida falls to Saudi-Emirati coalition, peace for Yemen seems…

on Yemen

The recent and ongoing Saudi-Emirati offensive on the Yemeni port city of Hudaida will render UN special envoy Martin Griffiths’s ‘new’ solution to the five-year-long Yemeni crisis...

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18 May 2018  

Beyond Tradition and Modernity: Dilemmas of Transformation in Saudi Arabia

on Saudi Arabia

By Madawi Al-Rasheed Introduction The dominant narrative through which many observers understand Saudi Arabia depicts a progressive and modernist leadership struggling to gra...

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27 April 2018  

Chaotic Yemen: The deconstruction of a failed state and regional…

on Yemen

by Helen Lackner Yemen remains in the grip of its most severe crisis ever: the civil war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbuh ...

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12 December 2017  

How the Saudis Escalated Yemen Struggle Beyond All Control

on Yemen

By Justin Podur Yemen is a small, poor country in a region empires have plundered for centuries. This civil war is a local struggle that has been escalated out of control by the a...

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30 July 2019  

Geopolitics of Sudan Revolution - Presentation to AMEC

on Sudan

Sudan lies in the hotbed of the Horn of Africa, a region that has been plagued by decades of instability and ruin as a result of intense conflicts perpetuated by post-colonial vest...

Read more

30 July 2019  

The December 2018 revolution and Sudanese professionals in the diaspora

on Sudan

WE LEFT SUDAN In drovesIn the late 80’s and 90’sIndeed, my generation of educated Sudanese professionals are scattered around the globe(Out of 200 medical graduates from Khartoum ...

Read more

29 July 2019  

Geopolitics of Sudan Revolution - Presentation to AMEC

on Sudan

By Zeenat Adam 17 July 2019 Sudan lies in the hotbed of the Horn of Africa, a region that has been plagued by decades of instability and ruin as a result of intense conflicts per...

Read more

17 April 2019  

Bashir falls but the security apparatus maintains control

on Sudan

Since the military ouster of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, early on Thursday, 11 April, after three months of protests, different military factions have been jos...

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16 April 2019  

Haftar's march on Tripoli

on Libya

Khalifa Haftar’s 4 April announcement declaring his march on Tripoli, and the subsequent attack on the Libyan capital by his forces, threaten to gravely impact the a...

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16 February 2019  

Uncertainty follows Moroccan-Saudi spat

on Morocco

By Hassan Aourid Moroccan-Saudi relations have never been as cool and strained as they have become in the past week, following a report on the Western Sahara disputebroa...

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12 October 2018  

Ethiopia, Eritrea: An unlikely peace deal in a fractious region

on Ethiopia

The recent peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea, signed 16 September 2018, is set to have lasting consequences for both countries and for the Horn of Africa ...

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06 April 2017  

Ensuring Somalia remains in conflict: Trump’s expanded ‘war on terror’

on Somalia

By Afro-Middle East Centre The 29 March decision by the administration of US president Donald Trump declaring Somalia an ‘area of active hostility’ will likely ensure an escalatio...

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10 October 2016  

South Sudan: Beyond the logjam of UNSC Resolution 2304

on South Sudan

By Majak D’Agoôt and Remember Miamingi No country is entirely self-contained or lacking in interdependencies. These interlocking interests form the critical part of any country’s ...

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28 April 2015  

Nigeria’s elections and future challenges

on Sub-Saharan Africa

By Afro-Middle East Centre The election of General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president will see a renewed focus by the government on domestic challenges posed by endemic...

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26 September 2013  

Kenyan hostage crisis: The desperation of al-Shabab

on Sub-Saharan Africa

By Afro-Middle East Centre The hostage drama at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi over the past week has raised a number of questions about the Somali organisation al-Shabab. After the...

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23 January 2013  

French military intervention will add to Mali’s problems

on Sub-Saharan Africa

By Afro-Middle east Centre   The north of Africa was plunged into yet another international conflict with France’s invasion of Mali on Friday, 11 January. Without im...

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23 April 2019  

India in Kashmir: Risking peace as an antidote to war

on South Asia

By Ranjan Solomon On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber ...

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28 August 2015  

Does Pakistan’s refusal to join Saudi Arabia in Yemen indicate…

on Pakistan

By Afro-Middle East Centre Allegedly, the current Saudi-led onslaught on Yemen has already caused destruction that resembles the destruction wrought in Syria over the la...

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31 March 2012  

The feasibility of a continued United States presence in Afghanistan

on South Asia

By Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn Recent events in Afghanistan have fuelled speculation over the ability of international forces to continue their presence in the coun...

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28 February 2012  

Dangerous uncertainty in Pakistan

on South Asia

By Junaid S. Ahmed With relations between Pakistan's civilian government and military incredibly tense, speculation is rife in the Pakistani and international media of a looming m...

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30 May 2011  

Pakistan-USA relations in the post-Usama era

on South Asia

By Junaid S. Ahmad The assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by US Special Forces was supposed to have been a landmark triumph that would bring peace and stability to the r...

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13 December 2010  

Kashmir and Obama's Indian appeasement

on South Asia

By Mohammad Abdullah Gul Obama's recent jive with school children in Delhi symbolises the nature of the new relationship that is emerging between India and the United States of Am...

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26 April 2017  

IS reorganising to face new challenges

on Political Islam

Reports in January 2017 that the leader of the Islamic State group (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed, reports that he had been captured by Russian troops in Syria, and th...

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07 March 2017  

IS in Africa: Containment and fragmentation

on Political Islam

By Afro-Middle East Centre With the Islamic State group (IS) losing territory in Syria and Iraq, many believe that the group will use the territory it controls in Africa as a fall...

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14 May 2016  

The Paradox of Survival and Expansion: How the Islamic State…

on Political Islam

Omar Ashour This paper examines the reasons for the military steadfastness of the Islamic State group (IS) in the face of local and international forces that are larger in numbers...

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19 December 2015  

ISIS in Africa: Reality far different from IS propaganda

on Political Islam

By Afro-Middle East Centre The revelation that the alleged mastermind of the 13 November Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group (IS) was of Moroccan descent, the tur...

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20 July 2015  

Remaining and expanding: Measuring the Islamic State group’s success in…

on Political Islam

By Afro-Middle East Centre Since its declaration of a ‘caliphate’ on 29 June 2014, the Islamic State group (IS), the brutal successor to al-Qa'ida, has gone from stren...

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31 January 2012  

The rise of 'Ikhwanophobia': Fear of the Muslim Brotherhood

on Political Islam

By Dr. Mohsen Saleh Introduction Fear of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanal-Muslimoon), the leading Islamist movement, has gained unprecedented international prominence since the b...

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18 February 2018  

Africa and the problem of foreign military bases

on 'War on terror'

At the establishment of the African Union (AU) in May 2001, discourses about human security and counter terrorism were ubiquitous both globally and on the continent. In Africa, the...

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21 November 2015  

The Paris attacks: Aftermath and the Islamic State group’s future

on 'War on terror'

By Afro-Middle East Centre The terror unleashed on Paris streets on 13 November reverberated throughout the world. From the G20 summit in Antalya to social media debates about how...

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28 May 2010  

Al-Qaeda in the New National Security Strategy

on 'War on terror'

By Mark Lynch The Obama administration's new National Security Strategy has been released today. It goes a long way towards providing a coherent framework for American foreign pol...

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16 February 2010  

Pakistan’s attitude towards Obama’s plan to negotiate with the Taliban

on 'War on terror'

By Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan has generally been welcomed in Pakistan. It is being seen as a vindication...

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07 February 2010  

Mission Absolute: American hegemony in space

on 'War on terror'

By Sourav Roy Come April 2010, officials from the sleepy Polish municipality of Morag will be gearing up for perhaps their most critical assignment in the new decade. Their job wi...

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'Getting to Yes' with Iran

By Peter Jenkins

The US and its European partners are continuing to set stiff conditions for recognising Iran's nuclear rights and addressing issues of concern to Iran. That is the implication of the stress in recent statements on Iran 'meeting its international obligations', since it must be assumed that Western capitals believe that the UN Security Council has turned various demands made of Iran by the IAEA Board of Governors into 'international obligations' (though whether they are right to believe that can be disputed). These demands include suspending uranium enrichment work at Natanz and Qom and reactor construction at Arak, re-applying and ratifying the Additional Protocol, and transparency measures that extend beyond the formal requirements of the standard IAEA safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol. These stiff conditions make it hard to be optimistic about the P5+1/Iran talks that are due to resume later this month. Iranian spokesmen have been reiterating that they are not prepared to discuss a halt to uranium enrichment. Tehran's unwillingness to re-apply the Additional Protocol as long as Iran remains subject to UN sanctions is well-documented. And experience suggests that Iran's leaders are resilient enough to withstand the 'pressures' (sanctions) to which they have been subjected.

 

Back in 1981 two Harvard academics, Roger Fisher and William Ury, produced a guide to success in negotiations: Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement without Giving In. They argued against what they called 'positional bargaining' and in favour of 'principled bargaining'. The essence of principled bargaining, they maintained, is to focus on interests, not positions, and to invent options for mutual gain. Their book is still in print, over two million copies later, and their thesis has stood up well to the test of experience.

For confirmation of the sterility of positional bargaining one can do worse than study the last five years of negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue. The West has not varied its core demands. Iran has as steadily insisted that these demands infringe Iranian rights and amount to an illegitimate elaboration of the NPT.

So a switch of approach is overdue. It is time to give principled bargaining a try.

Western negotiators would not have to look far to find areas where Iranian and Western interests overlap. Both sides have an interest in Iran addressing and resolving questions that still hang over aspects, past and present, of its nuclear programme. Both sides would benefit from measures to mitigate the fears that Iran's nuclear activities have aroused in neighbouring Arab states, as these fears could lead some of those states to seek nuclear weapons or a nuclear weapons capability. (References to Saudi Arabia in the new Iranian foreign minister's first press conference suggest that this is well understood in Tehran.)

The challenge would be to give expression to these shared interests in ways that were mutually acceptable. In 2003 application of the Additional Protocol was both an obvious and a mutually acceptable way for Iran to set about accounting for 18 years of undisclosed nuclear activity. Now alternative arrangements, to allow IAEA inspectors to complete their audit, would have to be devised, as in Iran the Additional Protocol has become a symbol of Western double standards and duplicity. It would be surprising if a formula could not be found.

To mitigate fears and reduce proliferation risks negotiators could draw on past non-proliferation and US/USSR arms control practices. Nuclear weapon free zones now cover much of the Non-Aligned world. They have proved their worth as neighbourhood reassurance schemes. They do not have to be regional in extent; a variant which covered part of a region could serve as well.

Equally, arrangements for mutual reassurance through reciprocal inspections or visits have acquired a sound diplomatic pedigree. They do not depend on the elimination of all the issues that divide pairs or groups of states, or on old enemies discovering the blessings of friendship.

Of course the chances of any of this coming to pass are close to nil. As was pointed out on this site and elsewhere last month, the Obama administration appears to have lost whatever appetite it may once have had for a creative approach to the Iranian nuclear issue. Its instinct is to play safe. 'Playing safe' means sticking to well-established positions, reiterating familiar demands, offering Iran 'incentives' that Iran is bound to reject, proclaiming Iran 'intransigent' when the rejection occurs, and ratcheting up 'pressure' a further notch.

This is understandable. The average Congressperson views Iran's Islamic regime with deep suspicion and even deeper distaste; he or she would sooner engage in principled negotiation with the devil. US media comment and reporting rarely deviate from a line honed in Israel: the Islamic regime has firm plans to acquire nuclear weapons and is a mortal threat to all that Americans hold dear. Prime Minister's Putin's statement on Larry King Live on 2 December ("we do not have grounds to suspect that Iran aspires to possess nuclear weapons") seems to have passed almost unnoticed. (It is unlikely that on a matter such as this the Russian Prime Minister would be less well-informed than the President of the USA or the Prime Minister of Israel.)

Yet it is a mistake to imagine that for the US or Europe playing safe is a low-cost option. It is not. The longer a majority of Americans are left believing that Iran is a nuclear threat, the greater the risk that the White House will have to bow to pressure for extreme measures to deprive Iran of its enrichment capability. At least one of the current crop of aspirants to the Presidency would require little inducement to declare Iran guilty as charged and round up a lynching party. The likely consequences for the US and Europe of a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities have been spelled out often enough for readers to need no reminder.

The same perception – that Iran is a nuclear threat – appears to be driving, at least in part, costly investments in a missile defence screen for Europe, with unhelpful implications for NATO/Russian relations. In time it may also, if left unaddressed, drive proliferation in states neighbouring Iran – the very outcome that the West has long sought to avert.

Non-Aligned support for the Western position is a pale relic of what it was in 2003. Most NAM states have come to doubt that Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. They dislike the Western emphasis on suspending or halting enrichment, because they cannot find justification for it in the NPT, because they detect a whiff of victimisation, and because they see a glaring double standard. So Western handling of Iran is not consolidating NAM support for the NPT; it is sapping it.

As the executive-director of the International Energy Agency warned in October, sanctions are hampering much-needed investment in Iran's oil and gas sectors, and this threatens global energy security and price stability. The ability of non-Western companies to make up for the absence of Western investment is uncertain. Meanwhile, in other sectors, as a result of sanctions, Western companies have lost market share to Newly Emerging competitors. The impact on employment in the West, on corporate profits and on economic growth is measurable.

Playing safe is also a lost opportunity. America's reputation has suffered over the last decade. America's moral authority – a belief in the US as a force for good – used to win respect for US leadership in most parts of the world. That stock of moral authority is now lower than it once was. The Iranian nuclear issue offers an opportunity to replenish it (and quell criticism of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee's 2009 choice). An agreement with Iran that reduced the risk of conflict and proliferation in South West Asia, in the teeth of populist American prejudice, would be seen far and wide as a fine achievement.

I am not advocating the resolution of all the West's differences with Iran. There is no reason to think that at this stage the Islamic regime is ready to recognise Israel's right to exist, or to cut off support for Hezbollah and Hamas, or to start complying with human rights obligations. I am merely making a case for taking the first steps in an incremental process, as President Nixon did when he went to China in 1972, and as President Kennedy did in negotiating the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty. Even if the first fruits of a 'principled' negotiation with Iran are modest, as they probably will be, a negotiation can generate significant cost savings (see above) and political gains.

Nor am I suggesting that Iran should be allowed to violate its NPT obligations. Demanding full compliance with the NPT is one position that the West may legitimately, and should, hold firmly. There needs, however, to be a better understanding that NPT obligations are not synonymous with the 'international obligations' to which Western speakers like to allude. The NPT requires Iran to accept IAEA safeguards on all source or special fissionable material in its possession, and to refrain from the manufacture or acquisition of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices. It does not require Iran to refrain from enriching uranium or to abandon construction of heavy water reactors. It requires Iran to re-apply Code 3.1 of its Subsidiary Arrangement; it does not require Iran to re-apply the Additional Protocol or implement exceptional transparency measures.

Finally, I am not proposing that the West drop its guard. On the contrary the West should maintain all the measures that are in place to complicate Iran's acquisition of nuclear and ballistic missile technology (just as it did after taking the first steps towards détente with Russia and China). The US should continue to extend protection to any state that feels threatened by Iran. And Iran's leaders should have impressed upon them that, were evidence to emerge that they were attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, all but a handful of states would be united in making them regret their folly.

* Peter Jenkins is a partner in ADRgAmbassadors, an international dispute resolution partnership, and a former member of the British diplomatic service who served as the United Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency from 2001 to 2006 – a critical period in the development of the Iranian nuclear issue.

** This article was first published in raceforiran.com

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22 July 2019  

Sudan Seminar: Sudan struggling for democracy resisting…

Events in the Sudan since the ouster of long-time ruler Omar Al-Bashir have developed into a stalemate as protesters and military jostle for control.  With the army increasing using violence against t...

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14 June 2019  

Conference on Migration that AMEC co-hosted with the…

Throwback to May 15, when IFAS-Recherche had the pleasure to organise a conference hosted by specialists of migrations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle-East.The first panel composed of Tanya Zack ...

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03 June 2019  

Ebrahim Deen on Resignation of Algerian President Bouteflika

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has resigned...that's according to STATE TV. The ailing 82-year-old Bouteflika has been clinging to power despite weeks of protests that first erupted in Februa...

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16 April 2019  

Khalifah troop Invasion of Tripoli

Libya's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg has labelled Khalifa Haftar's troop invasion of Tripoli as a coup. Maiteeg says Haftar is trying to take power by force, to control the city and get back to...

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