Iran

Pompeo condemns Kerry

Featured image Yesterday morning I revisited former Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry’s coaching of the powers that be in Iran on the fine art of resistance to the Trump administration. Yesterday afternoon Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked at a press conference (transcript here) about Kerry’s freelance diplomacy, as Michael Rubin calls it in this excellent New York Post column. Pompeo responded: “What Secretary Kerry has done »

Iraqi protesters torch Iran’s embassy in Basra

Featured image Protesters in Basra stormed the Iranian Consulate yesterday and set the building on fire. The protesters, who also set fire to headquarters of pro-Iranian militias as well as many government buildings, chanted “Iran out.” They also trampled portraits of Iran’s ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei Basra is a majority Shiite city. Thus, as the Washington Post says, the attack on the consulate. . .upended notions of solidarity between Iraq’s Shiite heartland and »

The sound of mullahs whining

Featured image “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” is one of the great lines in Apocalypse Now. Can we adapt the line to Trump foreign policy? In the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I love the sound of mullahs whining all day long. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s oil exports are dropping faster than expected before the Trump administration’s new sanctions are scheduled to »

Bolton’s zero option

Featured image Barack Obama and his foreign policy team led us into an upside down world in which friends were treated as enemies and enemies treated as friends. President Trump has led the great undoing of Obama administration policies on the home front. Senior Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton are instrumental to the great undoing of Obamaian foreign policy. When it came »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 81: The Next Iranian Revolution?

Featured image By the time this episode of the Power Line Show went live, I had scrammed from town on an old-fashioned American-style summer vacation, with the kids in a van, a total-dad roof stack/packing job, lots of fast food, lots of discoveries of local awesome eating joints, etc. Anyway, posts are going to be a bit intermittent this week because I’ll be driving too much. I don’t actually take real vacations »

Iran On the Ropes?

Featured image I confess that even after I boarded the Trump train–basically, when no alternative was left–I didn’t imagine that Trump would prove to be a foreign policy genius. But isn’t that what we are seeing? Improving our trade deals, finally doing something about North Korea, standing up to Putin’s Russia, pushing back against Chinese theft of intellectual property, exposing anti-Semitism and fecklessness in the U.N., getting more contributions from NATO allies–it’s »

Message to the mullahs

Featured image President Trump’s tweet to President Rouhani carried a message to the mullahs. New York Times reporter Austin Ramzy drily observes: “Mr. Trump’s message was apparently in response to a speech on Sunday by Mr. Rouhani, who warned the United States that any conflict with Iran would be the ‘mother of all wars.’” Well, yeah. To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES »

Pompeo tells the truth about Iran

Featured image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered remarks last night in a speech titled “Supporting Iranian Voices” at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. I have posted the video below (about 25 minutes). The State Department has posted the text of the speech along with its own video of Pompeo’s remarks here. The Los Angeles Times covered the speech here. The place suggests the weight placed on the speech. President »

Inside Israel’s Tehran heist

Featured image Last week the Israeli government briefed a few select reporters on the dramatic Mossad heist of documents from Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The government invited these reporters to review key documents from the heist. The government briefing included either David Sanger or Ronen Bergman from the New York Times and Gerald Seib from the Wall Street Journal. The Sanger/Bergman account of the heist is published as “How Israel, in Dark »

Anti-Iran protests rock southern Iraq

Featured image I wrote here about an emerging strategy to undermine the Iranian regime. A key element is making the regime pay for its regional adventurism, which has become quite unpopular with the Iranian population. This can be accomplished by making Iran’s adventurism increasingly costly and humiliating the regime by thwarting its ambitions. As Jonathan Speyer explained it: A strategy seeking to contain further Iranian gains and then to roll Iran back »

From the Islamic Republic

Featured image Herewith a round-up of recent news items from President Obama’s friends in the Islamic Republic of Iran. If the authorities of the regime weren’t terror-loving murderers giving their all for Allah, they might be funny: • AFP and Times of Israel staff, “Iranian general blames water woes on Israeli ‘cloud theft.’” Excerpt: An Iranian general on Monday accused Israel of manipulating weather to prevent rain over the Islamic Republic, alleging »

A Trump-Putin deal on Syria?

Featured image According to David Ignatius of the Washington Post: “The catastrophic war in Syria is nearing what could be a diplomatic endgame, as the United States, Russia and Israel shape a deal that would preserve power for Syrian President Bashar al -Assad in exchange for Russian pledges to restrain Iranian influence.” Is this true? The words “is” and “could be” leave me unclear whether Ignatius is speculating or reporting what he »

Will Trump Topple the Ayatollah?

Featured image Barack Obama pursued the fantasy of a U.S.-Iran alliance and sought to build up Iran as a regional power. Beyond sheer perversity, it was hard to see a rationale for this strategy. President Trump has sensibly reversed it. Seeing Iran’s mullahs as our bitter enemies–let’s not overthink this, “Death to America” does not lend itself to a subtle, counterintuitive interpretation–Trump has sought to weaken them both externally and internally. This »

Netanyahu congratulates Iran’s soccer team

Featured image Iran’s national soccer team received a hero’s welcome on its return to Tehran from the World Cup. The team missed out on the Round 16, but only narrowly. It defeated a decent Moroccan team, drew with Portugal, the current European champs, and lost 0-1 to Spain, one of the tournament favorites. That defeat could easily have been a draw or even a victory. Benjamin Netanyahu, a soccer fan, praised the »

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar shuts down as protests mount

Featured image Tehran was rocked by protests today. Protesters confronted police officers in front of parliament and swarmed Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, forcing its closure (according to this account, though, merchants themselves initiated the shutdown to protest skyrocketing prices). Rising prices and other economic woes are, indeed, at the heart of the protests, which in recent days have also forced the closure of major shopping centers in Tehran. Iran’s economy seems to be »

Watching soccer in Tehran

Featured image Did you know that, for the past 38 years, women in Iran haven’t been allowed to attend men’s soccer matches? I didn’t, though I wasn’t surprised to learn that this is the case. The ban was finally lifted yesterday, for Iran’s second World Cup match. At the last minute, the government decided to admit women to the Azadi Stadium in Tehran to watch a broadcast of the Iran-Spain match, played »

The Iran factor revisited

Featured image In its 2004 report the 9/11 Commission compiled and summarized the evidence of Iran’s links to al Qaeda. The report is accessible online here and easily searchable. Middle East Quarterly highlighted the commission’s findings on each of four threads concerning Iran here. Iran has always denied any involvement with al Qaeda. See, for example, the 2017 CBS News report “CIA docs from Osama bin Laden raid suggest Iran-al Qaeda link.” »