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Saeid Jafari

Rome, Italy
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About Saeid
Saeid Jafari is an Iranian journalist and an analyst on Middle Eastern affairs. He is a contributor to various media outlets such as Al-Monitor, Foreign Policy, Atlantic Council, National Interest, Middle East Eye, and Euronews. He has also worked for many Iranian media outlets including Aseman, Mehrname, Khabar Online, and Entekhab, among many others. He has two Master's degrees, one in Middle Eastern Studies from Tehran, and the other in European Studies from the University of Siena in Italy.
Languages
English Persian (Farsi) Italian
Services
Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast) Content Writing
+5
Skills
Fact Checking
Portfolio

Will Iran’s Arab outreach aid the nuclear talks in Vienna?

18 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance issued a letter to state media emphasizing the importance of good neighborliness, particularly with Arab countries, and instructed media to avoid insulting or making controversial statements against neighboring countries' leaders. This directive comes as talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are set to resume.

Everyone Is Against Us: Iranian RFE/RL Listeners' War Worries

16 Apr 2024  |  www.rferl.org
Senior Israeli government ministers are reportedly debating their response to an Iranian attack involving over 300 missiles and drones. RFE/RL's Radio Farda listeners called for restraint from both sides, while a Harvard professor of international relations suggested that Israel is unlikely to respond immediately.

Death of Iranian Political Activist Sasan Niknafs in Prison Raises Concerns Ahead of Presidential Elections

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Iranian political activist Sasan Niknafs has died while imprisoned, with activists attributing his death to neglect of his health by the authorities. Judiciary officials have refuted these allegations. This incident adds to the existing claims of mistreatment in Iran's prisons and could pose a significant challenge to Ebrahim Raisi, the hardline chief justice and leading candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The news of Niknafs' death was first reported by his lawyer, Ali Sharifzadeh Ardakani.

Zarif tours Iraq with message of regional dialogue, de-escalation

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has concluded a two-day visit to Iraq, emphasizing the importance of Baghdad and Erbil in regional dynamics. The visit is also seen as a gesture of Iran's readiness to engage with Saudi Arabia, with upcoming talks scheduled in Baghdad between Saudi and Iranian representatives. During his stay, Zarif met with Iraq's top officials including President Barham Salih, House Speaker Mohammad Al-Halbousi, and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, as reported by Iraq's INA news agency on April 26.

Instagram's rise in Iran: Sex, celebrities and censorship

04 Apr 2024  |  middleeasteye.net
The article discusses the rise of Instagram's popularity in Iran during the COVID-19 lockdown, as traditional media's influence wanes. Despite government censorship, Instagram remains one of the few accessible social networks in Iran, where people can express themselves more freely. The article highlights the controversy surrounding explicit content in Instagram livestreams by Iranian celebrities such as Amir Tataloo and Sasha Sobhani, which has led to debates about societal norms and the potential for Instagram to be banned like other social networks. It also touches on the legal and societal repercussions for celebrities living abroad who push the boundaries of Iran's conservative culture. The piece concludes with insights from Iranian journalists and TV presenters on the need for media literacy and proper education for the younger generation in the face of such content.

The conflict at the heart of Iraq’s intra-Shiite deadlock

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article discusses the complexities and uncertainties surrounding the formation of Iraq's next government following the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections. It highlights the central issue of whether the Shiite Coordination Framework and the Sadrist movement will reach an agreement and the possibility of a majority government being formed. The Coordination Framework, now without the Sadrist leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, consists of Shiite factions that are contesting the election results. Influential figures such as Hadi Al-Ameri, Nouri Al-Maliki, Ammar Al-Hakim, and Haidar Al-Abadi are mentioned as key members of the Coordination Framework.

Iranian MPs under fire over proposed new Internet restrictions

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The Iranian Parliament, dominated by conservatives, is advancing legislation that would significantly tighten restrictions on social media access in Iran. This development has triggered widespread criticism from various sectors of Iranian society, especially from those who depend on social media for their work. During a session on July 28, a majority of the lawmakers present used Article 85 of the Iranian Constitution to expedite the bill's passage, reflecting the urgency and contentious nature of the issue.

Football, Nationalism, and Rivalry: The Persepolis Controversy

04 Apr 2024  |  middleeasteye.net
The article discusses the controversy surrounding the ban of Persepolis FC striker Issa Alekasir by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for a gesture deemed racist. The ban occurred just before Persepolis's semi-final match in the Asian Champions League against Saudi club al-Nassr. The situation was further inflamed by fans of Esteghlal FC, a rival Iranian club, who reportedly encouraged actions that would disadvantage Persepolis. Despite the controversy, Persepolis won the semi-final. The incident has sparked a debate in Iran about the intersection of sports rivalry, national allegiance, and the extent to which domestic sports disputes should be brought into the international arena, especially against the backdrop of tense political relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The article also touches on the complex relationship between football fandom and nationalism, as evidenced by the reactions of fans from different clubs.

Iran fights Iran at the Tokyo Olympics

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article discusses a significant event at the Tokyo Olympics where two female Iranian taekwondokas faced each other in competition. One of the athletes, Kimia Alizadeh, was part of the Refugee Team, while the other, Nahid Kiani, represented Iran. The match has sparked a strong reaction among Iranians and has been interpreted as more than just a sports event. It is seen as a reflection of the broader political issues in Iran, where the government is criticized for its treatment of national heroes who do not align with its ideology. The event has been framed as a lose-lose situation for the country, highlighting the complex interplay between sports, politics, and national identity.

‘Drones’, ex-mobster appear on table amid Turkey-UAE rapprochement

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is actively engaging in diplomacy within the Gulf region, emphasizing the need for dialogue and the resolution of misunderstandings. Erdogan's recent efforts have been directed towards improving relations with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. His statement came as he was on his way to Doha, where he and Qatar’s Emir oversaw the signing of 15 agreements covering various sectors, including health and diplomatic cooperation, during the Supreme Strategic Committee meeting on December 7.

Interview: Babylon Movement elbows out Iraq’s established Christian parties

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Ryan Al-Kildani, the founder of the Babylon Movement and commander of its armed wing, the Babylon Brigade, has become a notable figure in Iraqi politics. The movement was established in response to the Islamic State group's offensive in 2014, which targeted various religious groups including Christians. Kildani's movement, which operates under the Popular Mobilization Units and is linked to Iran's Quds Force, was sanctioned by the US in 2019. Politically, the Babylon Movement has grown, securing four seats in the latest parliamentary elections, increasing its influence within the Christian community. Kildani discussed the election results, allegations of non-Christian support, and his future plans in an interview with Amwaj.media.

On neutrosophic αψ -supra open sets

04 Apr 2024  |  digitalrepository.unm.edu
The article discusses an advanced concept in the field of mathematical topology known as neutrosophic topological space, which is an extension of fuzzy topology. It focuses on the concept of neutrosophic supra topological space, which arises from dropping an axiom in the neutrosophic topological space. The main elements of study in this space are neutrosophic sets, which are characterized by their membership, indeterminacy, and non-membership grades. The paper introduces and explores the neutrosophic αψ-supra open set within these spaces and establishes its properties. Furthermore, the concept of neutrosophic αψ-supra continuity is introduced and examined in detail.

Iran Regains UN Voting Rights After US Allows Payment of Dues in South Korean Currency

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article reports on a development where the Joe Biden administration has authorized Iran to settle its outstanding UN membership dues using South Korean currency. This decision has enabled Iran to restore its voting rights at the United Nations, which were at risk due to the unpaid dues. The context suggests that this may be a gesture of goodwill from the United States towards Iran. The event took place during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, with former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivering a speech.

Why Iran’s parliament wants new limits on presidential candidates

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Iran is preparing for presidential elections, and a conservative-led bill proposing new restrictions on candidates has sparked controversy. The discussion around this bill started in August and by November, the Iranian lawmakers had voted in favor of amending the law that governs presidential elections. The bill has faced criticism from various political groups, especially Reformists and moderates, due to the additional restrictions it seeks to impose on candidates. The article also includes a photo by Seyed Mahmoud Hosseini via Tasnim News Agency, showing Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf addressing an open session of parliament in Tehran on February 19, 2021.

Without Zarif, chances of Reformist win in Iran vote slim

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was seen as a potential candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, has decided not to run. Despite efforts by Reformists and moderates to persuade him, Zarif has stood by his initial decision to not enter the race. With the deadline for candidate registration now passed, the Reformist camp will have to look to other individuals to represent them in the June 18 elections.

Amid deadlock, Iranian MPs expand conditions for JCPOA revival

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Over 250 Iranian MPs have requested

Covid-19: Positive test results are the new VIP party pass in Iran

04 Apr 2024  |  middleeasteye.net
The article discusses the trend of 'antibody parties' in Tehran, Iran, where young people gather socially on the condition that attendees have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies. The tests, which cost about $5, are seen as a way to bypass government restrictions and reclaim a sense of normalcy. The article highlights the experiences of individuals like Mitra and Mehrdad, who are tired of the pandemic's restrictions. It also touches on Iran's political stance on vaccines, mentioning the ban on imports from the US and UK, as declared by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the collaboration with Cuba for vaccine development. The article raises concerns about the effectiveness of antibodies in preventing reinfection and the risks associated with these parties, including the possibility of fake test results being used to gain entry.

Tehran Police Deny Ban on Non-Persian Store Names Amid Diversity Debate

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Tehran's police have retracted a statement that suggested a ban on non-Persian names for stores in Iran's capital, following significant public opposition. A senior police commander clarified that no such prohibition exists, despite earlier reports to the contrary. The incident has sparked a renewed discussion on the cultural diversity in Iran, which has many non-Persian ethnic groups. The confusion began after an interview with Colonel Nader Moradi, who mentioned government guidelines favoring Persian names for commercial establishments, was published by Mehr News.

Infighting set to flare as principlists seize Tehran City Council

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article discusses the outcome of the city council elections in Tehran, Iran, which took place on June 18, 2021. It highlights the victory of the conservative group, the Coalition Council of the Islamic Revolution Forces, known as 'Shana', which won all 21 seats. This shift in power marks a significant change from the previous four years, which were dominated by Reformists. The article implies that this change could lead to a new direction in Tehran's municipal administration.

Iraq’s Hakim does U-turn on armed groups amid battle for influence

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article discusses the political maneuvering of Shiite cleric and politician Ammar Al-Hakim and his Hikmah Movement following their losses in Iraq's October 10 parliamentary elections. Previously campaigning against armed groups operating outside of state control, the Hikmah Movement is now aligning with the political wings of these groups. The shift is seen as a strategy to maintain influence in the upcoming Iraqi government, especially after the movement's reduction from 19 seats in the 2018 elections to a lower number in the recent polls. The article suggests that this realignment is also a response to the rising tensions between Shiite factions close to Iran and the Sadrist bloc.

In Iran’s uphill battle against the coronavirus outbreak, an unlikely group of heroes has emerged as the saviour of many Iranians’ sanity.

04 Apr 2024  |  middleeasteye.net
The article discusses how pets have become a source of comfort and companionship for many Iranians during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the country's traditional and religious views that often discourage pet ownership. It highlights personal stories of individuals who have found solace in their pets amid the isolation caused by COVID-19 restrictions. The article also touches on the sociocultural shift in Iran, where attitudes towards pets are becoming more accepting, and the challenges of pet ownership, such as finding veterinary care and dealing with sanctions that limit access to medicines. The role of pets in modernizing Iranian society and the gradual transformation of Iranian identity are also explored.

Will Hemmati be a wild card in Iran's elections?

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article discusses the upcoming presidential elections in Iran, highlighting the Guardian Council's disqualification of most Reformist and moderate candidates, which has led to expectations of a non-competitive race. Despite this, the article notes that independent candidate Abdolnaser Hemmati is emerging as the main figure for the pro-reform movement in a conservative-dominated election. Hemmati's candidacy is seen as unlikely, as he was not initially considered a potential candidate before the registration process began in late May.

Who will become Iran's next foreign minister?

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
The article discusses the upcoming inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as the president of Iran and the speculations surrounding his cabinet selections, with a focus on the crucial role of the foreign minister. The choice is particularly significant in the context of the stalled indirect negotiations with the US to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The article suggests that the appointment of the foreign minister will provide insights into Raisi's policy direction and raises the question of whether the new foreign minister will continue to lead the nuclear negotiations under the conservative administration.

Rouhani blames hadliners for US sanctions in final cabinet meeting

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
In the final meeting of the outgoing Iranian cabinet, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized domestic hardliners for the persistence of US sanctions. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reflected on the engagement with the US and the 2015 nuclear deal as a lesson for the future, hinting at the approach the new administration under Ebrahim Raisi might take. The article covers the political dynamics in Iran as the Reformist-backed administration of Rouhani comes to an end and the conservative Raisi administration is set to begin.

Sustainable Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction and Encapsulation of Phenolic Compounds from Sacha Inchi Shell for Future Application

22 Feb 2024  |  mdpi.com
The study optimized ultrasound-assisted extraction of phenolic compounds from Sacha Inchi Shell (SIS), an underutilized by-product of oil processing, and investigated its encapsulation for food and nutraceutical applications. The extraction was optimized using response surface methodology, considering factors like time, temperature, and ethanol concentration. The extract showed high antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, particularly against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Encapsulation using gum arabic and maltodextrin was successful, with the microcapsules displaying desirable physical and chemical properties. This research supports sustainable food production and contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals by valorizing agricultural waste.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Economics Of Sanctions Evasion

15 Jan 2024  |  rferl.org
The article discusses a 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore involved in the clandestine trade of Iranian crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China discounted oil prices to compensate for the risks of sanctions evasion. This trade is crucial for Iran's economy but comes with significant costs and risks, including a potential 30 percent loss in oil revenue. The Iranian budget faces a major deficit, with oil revenues falling short of expectations due to lower prices and reduced export volumes. The article also touches on the competition from Russian oil and the evolving sanctions landscape, which targets entities involved in the illegal oil trade. The United States and other countries are considering enforcement actions against these dark fleets. The fluctuating global oil market and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East further complicate Iran's economic situation.

Iran's Dark Fleet And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

15 Jan 2024  |  rferl.org
The article discusses a 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore that is involved in the clandestine trade of Iranian crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions against Iran. This trade has been crucial for Iran's economy, providing necessary revenue but at a significant discount and risk. Iran's budget is heavily reliant on oil exports, and with a draft budget under debate, there is no certainty that reliance on China will remain sustainable. The article also touches on the competition from Russia, the evolving sanctions landscape, and the potential impact of Middle East tensions on oil prices. It highlights the challenges of enforcing sanctions against the dark fleet and the possible actions by governments to curb illegal oil trade. The article concludes with the uncertainty surrounding Iran's oil trade with China, as recent developments suggest a stall in the trade over pricing disputes.

The young Iranians fed up with nuclear talks, never-ending sanctions

01 Jan 2024  |  Middle East Eye
The article discusses the prolonged impact of Iran's nuclear programme negotiations on its citizens. Morteza, an Iranian from Mashhad, expresses his frustration over the 18-year-long talks that have resulted in economic sanctions and hardship for the people. The negotiations, which began in 2003, have seen various Iranian administrations and international powers engage in discussions with little progress. The current talks in Vienna aim to revive the JCPOA, with Iran's new negotiating team adopting a tougher stance. The article highlights the disillusionment of the Iranian public with the nuclear programme, as it has led to severe sanctions, unemployment, and a devalued currency, prompting many to flee the country. Iranians interviewed express a desire for improved living conditions over the pursuit of nuclear energy, fearing government reprisal for speaking out.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

27 Oct 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's oil exports to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers discounts to China for its oil, incurring significant costs and risks. The trade has supported Iran's economy but has also led to dependency on China. The Iranian budget faces a deficit, with oil revenues falling short of expectations due to lower prices and export volumes. The article also touches on the competition from Russian oil and the evolving sanctions landscape, which targets the illicit oil trade. The United States and other countries are considering actions against these dark fleets. The article includes insights from experts like Dalga Khatinoglu and Spencer Vuksic, and references data from firms like RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Castellum, Vortexa, and Kpler.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Economics Of Sanctions Dodging

26 Oct 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it exports crude to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China oil at a discount, incurring significant costs and risks. Tehran's dependency on this trade has grown, with 30% of potential oil revenue lost last year. The Iranian budget faces a deficit, with oil revenues falling short of expectations due to lower prices and the costs of clandestine trade. The upcoming budget anticipates further reduced oil revenue. Iran competes with Russia for the Chinese market, and sanctions enforcement is a challenge for the international community. The article also touches on the volatility of oil prices and the impact of Middle East tensions on the global oil market.

Iranian Activist Fatemeh Sepehri Back In Prison After Heart Surgery Earlier This Month

20 Oct 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it delivers Iranian crude to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China oil at a discounted price, incurring significant costs and risks. The Iranian budget is heavily reliant on this trade, with a potential deficit due to lower-than-expected oil revenues and additional costs. The article also covers the competition from Russia, the evolving sanctions, and the enforcement challenges faced by the international community. The United States and other countries are considering actions against these dark fleets. The fluctuating global oil prices and the geopolitical landscape, including Middle East tensions and U.S. sanctions, could impact Iran's financial situation and its trade with China.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

19 Oct 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it delivers Iranian crude to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China oil at a discounted price, resulting in significant revenue loss for Tehran. The Iranian budget is facing a deficit, with oil and gas sector revenues falling short of expectations. The article also covers the risks of Iran's dependency on China for oil exports, the competition from Russia, and the evolving sanctions aimed at curbing Iran's illicit oil trade. The United States and other countries are considering enforcement actions against these dark fleets. The article concludes with the uncertainty surrounding Iran's oil trade with China, as Tehran demands higher prices, potentially affecting the future of their economic relationship.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

19 Oct 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it exports crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China significant discounts on oil, incurring additional costs to disguise the oil's origin. Despite these efforts, Iran faces a potential budget deficit due to lower-than-expected oil prices and export volumes. The Iranian government is considering raising taxes and domestic energy prices to compensate for the shortfall. The article also touches on the competition from Russia's banned oil exports to China and the evolving international sanctions that aim to curb Iran's illicit oil trade. The United States and other countries are debating enforcement measures against the dark fleet, which could impact Iran's financial situation. Recent events, such as Iran's military movements and a bombing attack, have caused fluctuations in global oil prices, further complicating the situation for Iran's oil trade with China.

Fuzzy Soft Sets and Decision Making in Ideal Nutrition

15 Aug 2023  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses the importance of a balanced diet for maintaining good health and introduces the concept of soft set theory as a tool for decision-making in the presence of imprecise data. It outlines the six primary nutrients essential for health and references a table and food pyramid for daily dietary allowances. The article then delves into the application of soft set theory, fuzzy sets, and related mathematical concepts to address decision-making challenges. It reviews the work of various researchers who have contributed to the development of soft set theory and its applications in decision-making problems. The paper aims to enhance multi-observer multi-criteria decision-making using fuzzy soft sets (FSS) and presents an overview of fundamental findings in this area. It also discusses different approaches to parameter reduction in FSS, which is crucial for simplifying decision-making processes in situations with uncertain or incomplete information.

Iran, Israel Appear To Step Back From Moves To Spark Wider Regional Conflict

20 Apr 2023  |  www.rferl.org
Iran and Israel are de-escalating actions and rhetoric that could lead to a broader Middle East conflict following a series of retaliatory attacks. Tehran downplayed the impact of a suspected Israeli strike near Isfahan, which was reportedly in response to an unprecedented Iranian air attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet initially approved a dramatic strike but opted for a limited response due to internal divisions and warnings from allies. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stated that Tehran is investigating the incident but has not confirmed Israeli involvement. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed no damage to Iran's nuclear sites. The situation highlights ongoing tensions and the delicate balance of power in the region.

Pre-Invexity and Fuzzy Fractional Integral Inequalities via Fuzzy Up and Down Relation

15 Apr 2023  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses the significance of the Hermite–Hadamard (HH) inequality in various scientific disciplines, including statistics, electrical engineering, economics, finance, information sciences, and coding theory. It explains the HH inequality and its generalization, the HH–Fejér inequality, in the context of convex mappings. The article also touches upon the application of fractional calculus in depicting real-world phenomena and the role of fractional integral inequalities in various scientific fields. Furthermore, it highlights the work of Khan et al. in extending convex mappings to fuzzy-number-valued mappings and their contributions to the analysis of integral inequalities using fuzzy-order relations and fuzzy Riemann–Liouville fractional integrals.

Iran’s Cautious Approach to the Taliban’s Rise

05 Apr 2023  |  The National Interest
The article discusses Iran's cautious stance on the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, highlighting the historical animosity and ideological differences between the two, particularly after the 1998 attack on the Iranian consulate. Despite these differences, both share a common animosity towards the U.S., and Iran has had some contact with the Taliban in recent years. Iran's policy towards Afghanistan includes supporting intra-Afghan talks and a subtle approval of the Taliban's anti-Western stance. The article also touches on Iran's use of proxy groups, like the Fatemiyoun Division, and the potential for Iran to use these groups in Afghanistan post-U.S. withdrawal. The author, Saeid Jafari, suggests that while Iran has welcomed the U.S. exit and the Taliban's rise, it remains to be seen whether this will lead to favorable outcomes for Iran or pose new security challenges, especially with the potential for Saudi influence in Afghanistan.

Is Iran a failed state?

01 Apr 2023  |  euronews
Economist Daron Acemoglu, interviewed by Euronews, discusses the nature of Iran's regime amidst the country's largest anti-government protests in years, triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini. Acemoglu describes Iran's government as extractive and repressive, extracting resources to enrich a small elite, which could lead to a failed state. He compares the situation to other historical repressive regimes and suggests that peaceful protests may lose effectiveness against such overwhelming repression. Acemoglu also touches on the role of oil in Iran's crisis, the potential consequences of regime change, and the possibility of European countries taking a tougher stance against Tehran. He maintains a cautious optimism for Iran's future, emphasizing the importance of building better institutions for change.

Decision-Making Approach under Cubic Fermatean Fuzzy Sets with Confidence Levels

15 Feb 2023  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses the application of cubic Fermatean fuzzy numbers (CFFNs) in multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) processes, particularly in the context of inventory management. It highlights the limitations of previous studies that assumed decision-makers are fully confident in their judgments, which is often not the case in real-world scenarios. To address this, the article introduces the concept of confidence levels in the evaluation of alternatives using CFFNs. The study defines basic operations for CFFNs and proposes a series of weighted and geometric operators for MCDM issues. It also presents a decision-making approach under cubic Fermatean fuzzy sets with confidence levels, including a case study on inventory management for a food corporation. The approach is validated through various tests, and a comparative analysis with other types of fuzzy sets is provided.

Antioxidants and Quality Changes of Thermally Processed Purple Corn (Zea mays L.) Milk Fortified with Low Sucrose Content during Cold Storage

15 Jan 2023  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses a study on the effects of thermal processing on the phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity, and anthocyanin content of purple corn milk (PCM) samples. It was found that boiling negatively affects the total phenolic compound (TPC) and antioxidant activity, while steaming preserves these qualities better. The study also examined the impact of pasteurization and sucrose addition on the quality retention of PCM during storage. Pasteurization and higher sucrose levels were shown to preserve anthocyanin content, TPC, and antioxidant activity over 12 days of refrigerated storage. Additionally, the microbial quality of the PCM samples was maintained within acceptable limits, indicating good hygiene and prevention of cross-contamination during processing.

Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Bioactive Compounds from Cocoa Shell and Their Encapsulation in Gum Arabic and Maltodextrin: A Technology to Produce Functional Food Ingredients

15 Jan 2023  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses the use of Thermogravimetric (TGA) and differential thermogravimetric (DTG) analyses to study the thermal behavior of microparticles and wall materials. These methods measure weight changes in materials as a function of temperature. The study found that GAM, MDM, and GMM microcapsules exhibited different levels of mass loss at various temperatures, indicating the release of volatile chemicals and water, as well as the degradation of wall materials. The results suggest that GAM and GMM microcapsules, in particular, have high thermal stability, making them potentially useful in food processing applications where they would be exposed to high temperatures.

Microbial Inhibition by UV Radiation Combined with Nisin and Shelf-Life Extension of Tangerine Juice during Refrigerated Storage

15 Jan 2023  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses the use of UV radiation and nisin, a natural preservative, in preserving tangerine juice. It explains how UV radiation causes structural changes in microbial DNA, inhibiting growth and reproduction, and how nisin disrupts bacterial cell membranes. The study shows that increasing UV doses and nisin concentrations effectively reduce microbial populations in tangerine juice. The combined use of UV and nisin is particularly effective, showing a synergistic effect in maintaining juice quality and extending shelf life while preserving its physicochemical properties such as color, pH, and antioxidant content. The article also compares these nonthermal preservation methods with traditional pasteurization, noting that while pasteurization is effective in reducing microbial load, it can significantly reduce the juice's antioxidant compounds. The findings suggest that UV and nisin treatments could be viable alternatives to pasteurization for extending the shelf life of tangerine juice without compromising its nutritional quality.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Treacherous Waters Of Oil Sanctions

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it exports crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China discounted oil prices to compensate for the risks of sanctions evasion. This trade, while beneficial to Iran's budget, comes with significant costs and risks. Iran's economy is heavily reliant on oil exports, and the country faces a potential budget deficit due to lower-than-expected oil revenues and additional costs associated with the clandestine trade. The article also covers the competition from Russia in the Chinese oil market, the impact of sanctions on Iran's oil trade, and the potential consequences of Middle East tensions on global oil prices. The future of Iran's economy remains uncertain as it depends on oil sales to China, which recently stalled due to disagreements over pricing.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it exports crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China significant discounts on oil, incurring additional costs to disguise the oil's origin. Despite this, Iran faces a potential budget deficit, with a shortfall that could be the largest in its history. The Iranian government is considering measures such as increasing taxes and domestic energy prices to compensate for the lower oil revenue. The article also touches on the competition from Russia's banned oil exports to China and the evolving sanctions that aim to curb Iran's illicit oil trade. The enforcement of these sanctions and the volatile global oil market add to the uncertainty of Iran's financial situation. Recent events, such as the attack in Iran and the fluctuating oil prices, highlight the precarious nature of Iran's reliance on oil exports to sustain its economy.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Treacherous Waters Of Oil Sanctions Evasion

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses a 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore involved in the clandestine trade of Iranian crude oil to China, which helps Iran circumvent international sanctions. Despite the economic boost from this trade, Iran offers China significant discounts and incurs additional costs, leading to a loss of potential revenue. The Iranian budget is facing a deficit, with lower than expected oil prices and export volumes. The article also touches on the competition from Russia's banned oil to China and the evolving international sanctions that aim to curb Iran's illegal oil trade. The United States and other countries are considering enforcement actions against these dark fleets. The article concludes with the uncertainty surrounding Iran's oil trade, including fluctuating oil prices and China's recent stalling of oil trade with Iran.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses a 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore involved in the clandestine trade of Iranian crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers discounts to China for its oil, incurring significant costs and risks. Despite contributing to Iran's budget, this trade has led to a potential 30% loss in oil revenue. The Iranian parliament is debating the next fiscal year's budget, with concerns over deficits and reliance on China for oil exports. The article also covers the competition from Russian oil and the evolving sanctions aimed at curbing Iran's illegal oil trade. The United States and other countries are considering enforcement actions against these dark fleets. The fluctuating global oil market and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East could impact Iran's financial situation and its oil trade with China.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore that facilitates the clandestine trade of Iranian crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. This trade is crucial for Iran's economy but comes with significant discounts and risks. Iran's budget is heavily reliant on this oil revenue, which is threatened by sanctions and competition from Russia. The Iranian government is considering measures to address a potential budget deficit, including raising taxes and domestic energy prices. The article also touches on the global 'dark fleet' expansion, the role of independent Chinese refiners, and the challenges of enforcing sanctions against illicit oil trade. Recent events, such as the U.S. removal of sanctions on Venezuelan oil and Middle East tensions, have influenced oil prices and may impact Iran's financial situation. The article concludes with the uncertainty of Iran's oil trade with China due to stalled negotiations and Tehran's demand for higher prices.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it delivers Iranian crude to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China significant discounts on oil, incurring additional costs to disguise the oil's origin. Despite this, Iran faces a potential budget deficit, with lower than expected oil revenues. The Iranian government is considering raising domestic energy prices and taxes to compensate. The article also touches on the competition from Russian oil and the evolving sanctions that target Iran's illicit oil trade. The United States and other countries are debating enforcement measures against these dark fleets. The article concludes with the uncertainty surrounding Iran's oil trade with China, as Tehran demands higher prices, potentially affecting their economic relationship.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses the 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore, which is crucial for Iran's economy as it exports crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers China significant discounts on oil, incurring additional costs to disguise the origin of the oil. Despite these efforts, Iran faces a potential budget deficit, with lower than expected oil revenues and prices. The Iranian government is considering raising taxes and domestic energy prices to compensate. The article also highlights the competition from Russia's banned oil exports to China and the evolving sanctions that aim to curb Iran's illicit oil trade. The United States and other countries are debating enforcement measures against these dark fleets. The fluctuating global oil market and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East add to the uncertainty of Iran's financial situation, with recent events affecting oil prices and Iran's oil trade with China.

Iran's 'Dark Fleet' And The Perilous Trade Keeping Its Economy Afloat

03 Jan 2023  |  rferl.org
The article discusses a 'dark fleet' of oil tankers off the coast of Singapore involved in the clandestine trade of Iranian crude oil to China, circumventing international sanctions. Iran offers discounts to China for its oil, incurring significant costs and risks. The trade is crucial for Iran's economy, contributing to its budget but also making it vulnerable to changes in Chinese demand and international sanctions. The Iranian budget faces a deficit, with oil revenues falling short of expectations due to lower prices and export volumes. The article also touches on the competition from Russian oil and the potential impact of sanctions enforcement on the illegal oil trade. It highlights the role of ship-to-ship transfers and rebranding of Iranian oil to evade detection. The future of Iran's economy remains uncertain, with fluctuating oil prices and the reliance on a single partner like China for its oil exports.

Why Iran-Russia relations likely won’t go beyond cooperation in Syria

27 Jul 2022  |  al-monitor.com
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tehran on July 19, marking his second foreign trip since the invasion of Ukraine. The visit was significant as it showed a warm reception from Iranian officials at a time when Putin is facing global criticism for the invasion. High-ranking Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, met with Putin, providing him with a platform that lent credibility amidst widespread international condemnation. The article suggests that while the visit was celebrated by Iranian hardliners, it was Russia that primarily benefited from the diplomatic engagement.

Why IRGC issue won’t go away

09 Jul 2022  |  al-monitor.com
Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, visited Tehran to follow up on discussions aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Despite the ongoing talks, which have been facilitated by the European Union and included indirect discussions between Washington and Iran in Doha, there has been no significant progress on the contentious issue of removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the US terror list. The EU's Policy Chief, Josep Burrell, also visited Tehran in late June as part of these diplomatic efforts.

Saudi students attend school during Ramadan for the first time in 14 years

03 Apr 2022  |  amwaj.media
For the first time in 14 years, students in Saudi Arabia are attending schools and universities during the holy month of Ramadan. This marks a significant change from the previous practice where the Saudi education ministry would schedule academic semesters to avoid coinciding with Ramadan. The decision to have students attend school during Ramadan is part of broader efforts by the Kingdom to reduce the influence of Islam on Saudi society. The Saudi Ministry of Education confirmed that students attended the first school day of Ramadan on April 3, 2022.

Iran's new administration faces accusations of nepotism

30 Nov 2021  |  al-monitor.com
The article discusses the issue of nepotism in Iran, particularly under the presidency of Ebrahim Raisi, who took office less than four months ago. Criticism has arisen from within Raisi's own political faction, the Principalists, due to apparent widespread nepotism. President Raisi addressed these accusations publicly for the first time during a parliamentary session on November 16. The session was convened to discuss the appointment of Massoud Fayazi as the Minister of Education, who is notably the son-in-law of Alireza Zakani, a hardline politician who had stepped down to support Raisi's presidential campaign.

Iran's Middle East Influence May Be Declining

08 Nov 2021  |  realclearworld.com
The article discusses the challenges faced by Iran's foreign policy, particularly in light of the global dissatisfaction with its nuclear program and the delays in resuming negotiations. It also touches upon the geopolitical developments in the region that are affecting Iran's stance and its claims of increasing influence through a strategy of 'resistance'.

Iran's Foreign Policy Challenges Under President Raisi

05 Nov 2021  |  atlanticcouncil.org
The article discusses the challenges facing Iran's foreign policy under President Ebrahim Raisi, particularly in relation to its nuclear program and regional influence. It highlights the skepticism of Iran's intentions by neighboring countries and the setbacks Iran has faced, such as the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the reduced influence in Iraq's parliamentary elections, and tensions with Azerbaijan. The article also touches on the potential détente with Saudi Arabia and the necessity for Iran to resolve global issues, including financial transparency and US sanctions, to improve regional relations. The author, Saeid Jafari, is a Middle East analyst who suggests that Iran's regional problems are part of broader difficulties that need to be addressed for Iran to succeed in its foreign policy objectives.

Why Tehran is reestablishing close ties with Venezuela

29 Oct 2021  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
Iran and Venezuela have agreed to a 20-year cooperation roadmap, reinforcing a partnership with roots in the era of former presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez. This relationship, characterized by anti-American sentiment and a shared interest in opposing U.S. influence, had waned under the more moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who sought to reduce tensions with the West. However, following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the imposition of sanctions, Iran has sought to circumvent these restrictions by deepening ties with Venezuela, including sending oil and opening an Iranian supermarket in Venezuela. Payments for these transactions are reportedly made in gold due to the sanctions on both nations. The current Iranian government, led by President Raeisi, continues to prioritize strategies to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions, which includes bolstering relations with Venezuela as part of an anti-American foreign policy approach.

Iranian public fears government plan to restrict cyberspace

22 Oct 2021  |  al-monitor.com
Iranian lawmakers are considering a plan known as 'Protection of users’ rights in cyberspace and organizing social media,' which aims to increase government control over the Internet. This plan has been under discussion for nearly a year and has garnered support from hardline members of the parliament. However, it faces widespread opposition within Iranian society, where many are concerned about the implications for internet freedom and rights.

Biden Needs to Move Fast if He Wants a New Deal With Iran

03 Dec 2020  |  foreignpolicy.com
The article discusses the challenges President-elect Joe Biden will face in his attempt to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). With the moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's term ending soon and the likelihood of a hardliner succeeding him, Biden has a narrow window to act. The article outlines the political landscape in Iran, where hardliners are poised to gain power if the nuclear deal is not restored, which could influence the upcoming presidential election in Iran. It also mentions the potential consequences of low voter turnout and the hardliners' opposition to negotiations with the U.S. The article highlights the importance of the JCPOA for moderates in Iran and the risks of Biden setting non-nuclear preconditions for re-entering the deal. It concludes with the possibility of hardliners engaging in disruptive actions to prevent a new agreement and the challenges Biden's foreign-policy team will face if a conservative government comes to power in Iran.

The new American conservatism breaks type: pro-worker, anti-endless war

01 Oct 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses President Trump's foreign policy, which is characterized by 'America First' and a reluctance to engage in new wars, reflecting a potential shift in Republican foreign policy post-Trump. It contrasts traditional Republican hawkishness with a new 'working class conservatism' that prioritizes domestic interests over international assertiveness. The article suggests that the Republican Party should adopt foreign policies that align with working class interests, such as reducing military spending and avoiding unnecessary wars, while focusing on domestic prosperity and constitutional governance. It also touches on the intra-party debate between traditional conservatives and new nationalists, and the need for a foreign policy that respects the Constitution and is more responsive to domestic needs, as indicated by public opinion polls.

Punishing Iran wasn't all it was cracked up to be

01 Oct 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article criticizes the Trump administration's 'maximum pressure' campaign against Iran, labeling it a failure. It explains that the strategy, which aimed to force Iran to negotiate a new agreement by crippling its economy with sanctions, has not yielded the intended results. Instead of capitulating, Iran has responded with 'maximum resistance.' The article notes that Iran's economy has suffered significantly, but the government remains defiant, even gaining leverage by increasing its enriched uranium stockpile. The author suggests that the U.S. must acknowledge the policy's failure and seek de-escalation, while Iran should control its militia in Iraq and continue to allow IAEA inspections. The piece implies that without such steps, relations will worsen, posing greater security risks.

American democracy is in grave danger

01 Oct 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the perceived threat to American democracy posed by the actions of President Donald Trump and his supporters as they attempt to discredit the electoral process in anticipation of a potential defeat in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. The author, a U.S. citizen concerned about foreign policy, makes four observations linking the current crisis to foreign affairs. The article highlights the fragility of democracy, the subtle shift towards authoritarianism observed in other countries, the impact on America's global influence, and how Trump's rhetoric aids foreign adversaries like Russia. The author criticizes Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters and manipulate the electoral process, citing specific examples in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The article concludes with a call to action for citizens to recognize the gravity of the situation and for Republicans to reflect on the value of democracy.

Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict Stirs Nationalism in Turkey and Iran

30 Sep 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the impact of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on Turkey and Iran, highlighting Turkey's support for Azerbaijan and Iran's concerns over its own ethnic minorities. Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been using the conflict to rally nationalist support and distract from economic issues, while Iran is wary of the conflict stirring unrest among its sizeable Azerbaijani population. Iran's traditional support for Armenia is also causing tension with Azerbaijan, especially over issues like Russian weapon shipments. The article suggests that neither Turkey nor Iran is likely to play a constructive role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, especially as the world is distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises.

How will Iran respond to closer Persian Gulf-Israel ties?

30 Sep 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the recent normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states in the Persian Gulf, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and the implications for Iran. It highlights Iran's concerns over being encircled by Israel's growing alliances in the region, especially in light of the U.S.'s maximum pressure campaign. The piece explores the changing balance of power in the Middle East, citing the 'balance of threat' theory by Stephen Walt. It also examines the potential for a cooperative relationship between Iran and Turkey in response to their shared security concerns, particularly in Syria and Iraq. The article suggests that while Israel is tightening its diplomatic and economic siege on Iran, Iran's influence in the Arab world and its strategic position in Syria could lead to increased regional tensions and the possibility of military conflict.

UAE gambles on a shaky promise that Israel suspend formal West Bank annexation

13 Aug 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the announcement by President Trump of a normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, marking it as a significant diplomatic achievement. The agreement entails Israel suspending its annexation plans in the West Bank in exchange for formalized ties with the UAE, making it the first Gulf State to do so. The article highlights the different narratives and political stakes for Trump, Netanyahu, and Mohammed bin Zayed, with each leader facing domestic pressures. It also touches on the potential benefits of increased cooperation between Israel and the UAE, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery. However, the article points out the delicate position of the UAE should Israel decide to resume annexation plans, and the potential regional implications of the agreement, including its effect on the UAE's relations with neighboring countries and the broader Middle East.

Strategic Shifts in Iran: The Chabahar Port Project and the China-India Rivalry

13 Aug 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the geopolitical implications of a potential strategic agreement between Iran and China, particularly in light of India's interests in the region. India had previously signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to develop the Chabahar port and a railway project to enhance connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asia. However, due to funding delays and India's alignment with U.S. sanctions against Iran, Tehran has excluded India from the railway project. The article explores the reasons behind Iran's decision, the rivalry between India and China, and the potential for China to increase its involvement in the Chabahar port project, which could undermine India's strategic interests in the region.

Assume Joe Biden wins the presidency.

13 Aug 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article presents a hypothetical action plan for Joe Biden, assuming he wins the presidency and intends to address the damage sustained by the U.S. and the challenges of 2020. The plan outlines a series of steps for Biden's first two weeks in office, including closing his Twitter account, planning a modest inauguration, developing a COVID-19 strategy, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, recommitting to the Iran nuclear deal, halting the border wall construction, reforming American diplomacy, reevaluating the military's global posture, and engaging in personal diplomacy to prevent a new Cold War with China. The article suggests that these actions would set a tone of humility, hard work, and a departure from the previous administration's policies. It also touches on the importance of addressing racial justice, climate change, and international relations.

Trump Has Pushed Iran Into China’s Arms

08 Aug 2020  |  Foreign Policy
The article discusses the shift in Iran's international relations, particularly under President Hassan Rouhani's administration. Initially, Rouhani aimed to de-escalate tensions with the West and negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, which eased sanctions on Iran. However, the withdrawal of the US from the nuclear deal under President Donald Trump and subsequent economic pressures have led to a pivot towards the East, with Iran now negotiating a 25-year accord with China. This shift indicates a power struggle within Iran between reformists, who favor Western alignment, and hard-liners, who advocate for closer ties with authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The article suggests that the hard-liners are gaining ground, as evidenced by the potential economic and military cooperation with China, despite Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's dismissal of some of the more controversial aspects of the agreement. The article implies that the reformists are losing political influence and that Iran's future may see a stronger alliance with China.

To craft a better approach to North Korea, remember the origins of the conflict

27 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article reflects on the 67th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, emphasizing the ongoing impact of the war on current U.S.-North Korea relations. It discusses the historical context of the conflict, the devastation in North Korea, and the country's subsequent development into a garrison state with a significant military focus. The piece critiques the aggressive rhetoric from U.S. leaders and suggests that a change in tone could help build trust. It also examines the challenges in denuclearizing North Korea, highlighting the need for creative thinking in U.S. foreign policy. The article underscores the importance of remembering the war's legacy to inform new strategies towards achieving peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Killing democracy in America: The military-industrial complex as a cytokine storm

27 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the concept of 'forever wars' and the impact they have on American democracy. It reflects on the United States' history of engaging in prolonged conflicts, such as the Vietnam War and the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and criticizes the military-industrial complex for perpetuating these wars. The author argues that these conflicts are not only unnecessary and costly in terms of human life and resources but also undermine the principles of democracy by fostering militarism and authoritarianism. The article also draws parallels between the U.S. military's actions and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that just as the virus requires a vaccine, America needs a strategy to end its perpetual wars and reduce military spending to preserve its democratic values.

Congress is actually debating new nukes testing amid a devastating pandemic

26 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by Congress, authorizing $740 billion for the Pentagon despite the COVID-19 crisis. It criticizes the rejection of a proposed 10 percent cut to the Pentagon budget that could have been redirected to community needs. The article highlights the inclusion of $22 billion for nuclear weapons in the NDAA and the controversial amendment by Sen. Tom Cotton to allocate $10 million for nuclear test preparations. The House version of the NDAA includes an amendment opposing explosive nuclear weapons testing. The article also mentions local opposition to nuclear testing, particularly in Nevada, and criticizes the government's prioritization of military spending over public health and safety, especially during the pandemic. It concludes by emphasizing the need for human security and health over military dominance.

Iran, sanctions, and the COVID-19 pandemic

25 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
Iran is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 infections following the easing of its lockdown, leading to the highest single-day death toll since the outbreak began. The pandemic has exacerbated the country's economic struggles, with a 13% drop in the value of Iran's currency. The article discusses the challenges Iran faces in managing the health crisis amid US sanctions, which have limited the government's ability to provide financial support. Iran's initial response to the virus was marked by hesitation and errors, contributing to the spread of COVID-19. Despite this, Iran's healthcare system and demographic advantages have played a role in its response. The government has offered some financial support, but there is concern over hyperinflation and the potential for protests. The article suggests that Iran's resilience to sanctions is being severely tested by the pandemic, and while a second lockdown is not currently planned, the situation remains precarious.

How will Iran respond to renewed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

24 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which has now spread to Armenian territory. The historical context of the conflict is rooted in the Soviet era, with current clashes reported in the Tovuz district. The conflict poses a challenge for Iran, which shares borders with both countries and is trying to mediate. Iran's official stance is to resolve the issue through dialogue, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offering to mediate. The situation is complicated by Iran's opposition to war, its support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, concerns over Azerbaijan's arms purchases from Israel, and the pressure from Iran's own Azeri population. Despite these complexities, Iran is seeking a peaceful resolution to avoid further regional instability.

Is this when US global leadership died?

01 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global perception of the United States, particularly under the leadership of President Donald Trump. It highlights Trump's disengagement from the pandemic response, his political activities that undermine efforts to control the virus, and the absence of U.S. leadership in the global crisis. The European Council on Foreign Relations' poll indicates a significant decline in Europe's view of the U.S. as an ally during the pandemic. The article contrasts Trump's response to the pandemic with potential responses from different leadership and reflects on the implications for America's standing in the world and its ability to lead in future crises.

Saudi Arabia's NEOM Project Pushes Ahead Despite Economic and Human Rights Concerns

01 Jul 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
Saudi Arabia's NEOM, a planned $500 billion smart city, has faced skepticism due to economic challenges and human rights concerns, particularly after the killing of tribal leader Abdulrahim al-Huwaiti. Despite austerity measures impacting Vision 2030, NEOM is pushing forward, hiring the PR firm Ruder Finn to improve its image. The firm's $1.7 million contract aims to address the reputational damage from the al-Huwaiti incident and promote NEOM as a socially responsible project. The article also touches on Saudi Arabia's attempt to acquire Newcastle United, complicated by TV piracy issues and the country's human rights record. The WTO report on Saudi piracy led to action against BeoutQ, which pirated broadcasts from Qatar's BeIN. NEOM's initiatives, such as offering English-language lessons and compensation for displaced locals, are part of its effort to demonstrate social responsibility, though critics remain skeptical of the project's viability and impact on local communities.

Iran may exit the nuclear accord if the US succeeds in extending UN arms embargo

30 Jun 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The United States is pushing to extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire in October 2020. This embargo was part of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), involving Iran and several world powers. The U.S. draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council aims to prevent Iran from engaging in arms transfers and calls for member states to inspect and potentially seize illegal arms from Iran. Iran has condemned the U.S. proposal, arguing that since the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA, it has no right to trigger the deal's sanctions snapback. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that extending the embargo would be a mistake with severe consequences, and it could lead to Iran's withdrawal from the JCPOA. The situation is further complicated by Rouhani's need to secure a positive legacy before his term ends, with the lifting of the arms embargo being a significant achievement for his administration.

Biden can reverse Trump's failures on Iran

24 Jun 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the state of the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under President Donald Trump's administration and the potential policy changes if Joe Biden were to be elected. It criticizes Trump's 'maximum pressure' approach, which led to increased tensions and a reversal of the progress made under the Obama administration. The author suggests that a Biden administration should swiftly rejoin the JCPOA without preconditions, aside from Iran's return to compliance, to restore international confidence and U.S. credibility. The article also proposes that the U.S. should pursue broader diplomatic efforts to resolve regional tensions and conflicts, and it compares the JCPOA to the Affordable Care Act as a pragmatic step that faced Republican opposition but could be built upon by Biden.

Calexit: the new anti-American fixation of Iranian hardliners

12 Jun 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the changing attitudes among Iranians towards the country's anti-American stance, highlighting a growing skepticism among the younger, middle-class population. Despite calls for reform and better relations with the U.S., hardliners continue to dominate Iran's power structures, spreading anti-American propaganda. The article also covers the involvement of Iranian hardliners in the 'Calexit' movement, which advocates for California's independence from the U.S. It mentions the role of the political action committee 'Yes California' and its founder Louis J. Marinelli, as well as the movement's ties to Russia. The article suggests that Iranian hardliners are using the 'Calexit' campaign to spread misinformation and weaken the U.S., while avoiding official diplomatic relations. It also touches on the constitutional challenges of a state seceding from the U.S., referencing the Supreme Court ruling in Texas v. White.

Why the US should allow Lebanon's IMF loan application

11 Jun 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
Lebanon has applied for assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amidst a severe economic crisis, political instability, and the impact of COVID-19. The country's economy is in a dire state with a defaulted foreign debt of $31 billion, a financial system with significant losses, and a rapidly devaluing currency leading to inflation and loss of purchasing power for its citizens. The U.S., a major contributor to the IMF, may be hesitant to support aid due to the involvement of Hezbollah, a group it designates as a terrorist organization, in Lebanon's government. However, the article argues that withholding support could lead to further deterioration of Lebanon's state institutions and a humanitarian crisis. It suggests that international support should focus on anti-corruption and accountability reforms, leaving the decision of Hezbollah's role to the Lebanese people in future elections.

Iran's new hardline parliament has adopted a more radical foreign policy approach

10 Jun 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the hardline stance of the new Iranian parliament, led by speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, towards the United States. Ghalibaf, a former military commander and national police chief, has described talks with the U.S. as 'fruitless' and emphasized a strategy of revenge for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. The parliament, which saw the lowest voter turnout since the revolution, is focusing on foreign policy issues, particularly the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the re-imposition of sanctions. The article also mentions the public's dissatisfaction with the government's performance on economic issues and the influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the new parliament's decision-making. Relations between Tehran and Washington are at a low point, with hardline rhetoric becoming increasingly popular in Iran.

Why are we continuing to sell arms to repressive regimes amid a pandemic?

15 May 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article discusses the divergent paths the world may take post-COVID-19, focusing on the choice between cooperation or isolationism. It criticizes the Trump administration for continuing arms sales during the pandemic to repressive regimes, highlighting sales to the Philippines, Egypt, the UAE, India, and Hungary. The article mentions human rights concerns and the potential impact of these sales on repressive actions by these governments. It also notes Congressional efforts to limit arms sales and suggests that the pandemic has shown the need to invest in health and welfare over military spending. The author argues for a reevaluation of U.S. arms sales policies, especially in light of reduced military budgets worldwide due to the pandemic.

Creating the enemies they need: US militarism’s strange bedfellows

23 Apr 2020  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
The article critiques the U.S. military's foreign policy, particularly the increase in military presence in Latin America as admitted by Admiral Craig S. Faller of SOUTHCOM. It argues that the U.S. is creating a narrative of 'malign state actors' such as Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela to justify its actions. The author suggests that U.S. policies are driving these countries into alliances that are historically unnatural. The article also discusses the U.S.'s role in shaping international relations through its actions, such as Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the consequences that follow. The piece implies that U.S. foreign policy is either intentionally creating enemies to control the public and profit the military-industrial complex or is counterproductive due to incoherence and chaos in Washington.

With election rivals barred, Iran’s hard-liners resort to infighting

15 Feb 2020  |  al-monitor.com
The article discusses the upcoming 11th parliamentary elections in Iran, which are expected to be unusual due to the dominance of one political faction. The Reformist camp in Iran has been largely excluded from the race following a purge by the vetting body, the Guardian Council. As a result, the Reformists have expressed hesitation in putting forward candidates for important constituencies such as Tehran and Isfahan. The article implies a lack of political diversity in the forthcoming elections, with the Reformist camp being sidelined.

Will ties with Iran change under Oman’s new sultan?

13 Feb 2020  |  al-monitor.com
The article discusses the historical close relations between Tehran and Muscat, which have persisted for decades, including after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. It notes the recent death of Oman's long-serving leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, on January 10 and raises questions about the future of the cordial relationship between Iran and Oman in light of this event.

Iran Pares Election Roster in Favor of Hardliners

29 Jan 2020  |  realclearworld.com
The article discusses the recent actions of Iran's Guardian Council, which has significantly impacted the upcoming parliamentary elections. The council has excluded many Reformist candidates, including current incumbents, from the list of potential candidates. This move by the powerful body is likely to influence the political landscape and the nature of the elections, as it appears to be a purge of those aligned with the Reformist movement.

Iran pares election roster in favor of hard-liners

24 Jan 2020  |  al-monitor.com
The article discusses the disqualification of many Reformist candidates, including 90 current legislators, from the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran by the Guardian Council. The council, which is known to be controlled by hard-liners, is responsible for vetting candidates in Iranian elections, with the exception of city and village council polls. The spokesman for the council, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaee, mentioned that the disqualifications were based on 'multiple grounds' such as corruption, embezzlement, drug use or dealing, and other forms of misconduct.

Discrete Gravity in Emergent Space Theory: Hidden Conical Defects and Teleparallel Gravity

01 Sep 1997  |  mdpi.com
The article discusses a theoretical physics concept known as Partially Negative Dimensional Product manifolds (PNDP-manifolds) and their role in understanding gravity at a microscopic level. It explores the idea that spacetime may not be continuous but discrete, and how this affects low-energy symmetries. The paper delves into the PNDP approach to conical defects, teleparallel gravity theory, and the implications of these theories on the understanding of gravity. It suggests that at a fundamental level, spacetime could be composed of an 'irregular forest' of cones, each representing a conical defect. These defects are hypothesized to be responsible for gravity and are linked to the concept of 'parallelism defect', which gives rise to effective curvature at macroscopic levels. The article also touches on the historical context of discrete spacetime theories and their potential experimental testability.
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