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Iran and Britain: Bracing for a New Era of Redefined Relations

Iran and Britain: Bracing for a New Era of Redefined Relations

Kourosh Ziabari - The Huffington Post: On July 14, 2016, precisely one year following the conclusion of the landmark nuclear accord between Iran and the six major world powers, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, British Airways, will be re-launching direct flights between London and Tehran. The service was suspended in October 2012 as the company officials believed the route was "no longer commercially viable." The decision by the British airliner to resume return flights to the Iranian capital comes on the heels of new steps taken by the governments of Iran and Britain to normalize and improve their precarious relations, which plummeted to an all-time low after the British...

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Rouhani’s charm offensive pays off in Europe and Iran

Rouhani’s charm offensive pays off in Europe and Iran

Kourosh Ziabari - Middle East Eye: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani kicked off his first official trip to Europe – excluding his journey to Davos in January 2014 to participate in the World Economic Forum – on 25 January by visiting Italy and concluded it on 29 January with the second leg of his European tour ending in France. He received a warm welcome and inked multi-billion dollar deals in both countries, making the headlines worldwide and blowing minds both at home and abroad. Visiting Europe is not by definition something unconventional or far-fetched for a foreign head of state. But for the president of a country besieged by more than a decade-long of grueling economic sanctions and inevitably ensuing political...

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Mission Accomplished: Tehran and Washington Trigger a Diplomatic Coup

Mission Accomplished: Tehran and Washington Trigger a Diplomatic Coup

Kourosh Ziabari - Fair Observer: The whole episode began in 2013 when a moderate, pragmatic cleric, popularly known as the “Diplomat Sheikh,” replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the president of Iran. Hassan Rouhani, who spearheaded Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the big three in Europe under President Mohammad Khatami, won the hearts and souls of Iranians thanks to his promise of “constructive engagement” with the international community. President Rouhani was intent on ending more than a decade of political and economic isolation, originating from the international community’s goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—a charge that Iranian officials had denied over and over again. The determination to...

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How Iran’s economy will look after ‘Implementation Day’

How Iran’s economy will look after ‘Implementation Day’

Kourosh Ziabari - Middle East Eye: Iran has complied with all of its technical commitments under the comprehensive deal it struck with the six world powers in July 2015 to curb certain aspects of its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief. As a result as much as $100 billion will pour into its scrambled economy and pave the way for more to come. It has shipped out 11,000 kilograms of its enriched uranium to Russia, reduced the number of its spinning centrifuges to reach the permitted limit of 6,105 active units, and dismantled the core of the heavy water reactor in the city of Arak and filled it with cement. Now, with the verification of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Yukiya Amano and...

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India-Iran: Bracing for a fundamental renewal of relations

India-Iran: Bracing for a fundamental renewal of relations

Kourosh Ziabari - Gateway House: As Iran and the six world powers gear up for the implementation of the historic agreement over the Tehran’s nuclear program concluded earlier on 14 July, Indian leaders and businesspeople share an equal, authentic concern: how to win the lion’s share of Iran’s lucrative market of 80 million consumers, surpass the avaricious international competitors eyeing the country’s energy industry and forge closer ties with a nation that is expected to emerge strong from more than a decade of paralyzing economic sanctions. Iran and India have historic, cordial and untroubled relations, despite some hiccups during the U.S. and European Union economic sanctions of the past 12 years. The bilateral is now...

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The IPC Terms Demonstrate a Big Improvement on Iran’s Old Oil Contract Model

The IPC Terms Demonstrate a Big Improvement on Iran’s Old Oil Contract Model

Kourosh Ziabari - Iran Review: Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum has recently introduced a new set of contracts for its upstream projects to draw international investment and rehabilitate the country’s injured oil and gas industry. The removal of sanctions placed on Iran over its nuclear program is imminent, and with the implementation of the comprehensive nuclear deal concluded in July 2015, international firms will be once more allowed to invest in Iran’s profitable energy projects. Oil and gas experts believe the new formula for the energy contracts, known as Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC), boasts many enticing provisions and persuasive advantages, including the exclusion of “buyback system” that had been in place for about...

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Is Iran’s Ahmadinejad seeking a comeback?

Is Iran’s Ahmadinejad seeking a comeback?

Kourosh Ziabari - Middle East Eye: Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still being harshly criticised in public, especially by the pro-reform, outspoken officials of President Hassan Rouhani's administration. Rouhani, a centrist cleric, has himself opted to keep a restrained, inconspicuous stance in regard to the policies of the previous administration. However, several high-profile figures in Rouhani’s cabinet do not shy away from candidly chiding Ahmadinejad over a number of issues: from his adventurous, outlandish foreign policy to his economic mismanagement, which pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. The First Vice-President of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri has said Ahmadinejad squandered $950 billion of...

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Why Iran and Saudi Arabia need to slam on the brakes

Why Iran and Saudi Arabia need to slam on the brakes

Kourosh Ziabari - Middle East Eye: Tensions between Iran and the Arab world – not just Saudi Arabia – are spiralling out of control. The execution of the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudi government and the subsequent eruption of anger in Iran, the largest Shia country in the world, marked by the unwarranted assault by a mob of hardliners on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in northeastern city of Mashhad, has resulted in a dismal diplomatic rupture distancing Iran from the Arab world further. In response to the violent attack on the Saudi diplomatic offices in Iran, in which the fanatics – described by President Hassan Rouhani as "a group of headstrongs"– caused destruction to the...

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A Blame Game: The Worst Thing Iran and Saudi Arabia Can Instigate

A Blame Game: The Worst Thing Iran and Saudi Arabia Can Instigate

Kourosh Ziabari - The Huffington Post: Iran and Saudi Arabia have been embroiled in a bitter diplomatic spat over the past days. The face-off was triggered when the kingdom executed 47 people in a day, including a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric, who is claimed to have incited unrest by taking up arms and calling for foreign intervention in the country. The claim is refuted by many journalists and commentators who have reported that Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a non-violent preacher and simply advocated greater freedoms for the suppressed Shiite minority of Saudi Arabia. In the wake of the provocative execution, a mob of angry protesters -- totally unduly and unjustifiably -- attacked the diplomatic compounds of Saudi Arabia in the Iranian...

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To combat ISIS, does the US need to punish Iranians?

To combat ISIS, does the US need to punish Iranians?

Kourosh Ziabari - Your Middle East: The bloody Paris attacks and the heartrending San Bernardino shooting spree – which were ultimately blamed on “Islamist terrorists” – have panicked the United States, and anti-Muslim sentiments are now on a seismic, mind-boggling surge across the country. Severed pig heads and burnt pages of the Holy Quran are thrown at the doorsteps of mosques in Philadelphia, Austin and elsewhere; Islamic centers are on the receiving end of threatening phone calls while their walls are being spray-painted with racist mottos by the xenophobic vandals; and profiling of Muslims at U.S. airports and removing of Muslims passengers from flights have resurfaced again. Even the Sikhs have been assaulted on the...

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Donald Trump’s Comments Are Inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution: Tayyib Rashid

Donald Trump’s Comments Are Inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution: Tayyib Rashid

Kourosh Ziabari - Truth NGO: The incendiary statement made by the Republican U.S. presidential contender Donald Trump in December 2015, who called for the “complete shutdown” of all Muslims from entering the United States, provoked outrage and dismay across the world and underlined the rise of an Islamophobic trend in the campaign season rhetoric in America. Many American Muslims reacted to Trump’s comments by saying that his prejudiced conviction was unconstitutional and un-American and ran counter to the principle of freedom of religion sustained in the First Amendment. Prior to that, Donald Trump had called for the profiling of American Muslims in special databases and demanded that they should carry identification cards...

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The U.S. Best Selling Poet … Is a Persian!

The U.S. Best Selling Poet … Is a Persian!

Kourosh Ziabari - Huffington Post: For those who are not closely familiar with the history of what is called the Middle East today, "Persia" mostly sounds like a weird and eccentric name that has to be looked for in the encyclopedias and textbooks. There are people to whom the word Persia resonates with some ancient geographical territory, but they're unable to locate it on the map. And of course there are people who are well aware that the word "Persia" was used since the fifth century BCE to describe one of the world's longest-standing and most venerable empires, inherited to the modern-day country that George W. Bush once said was part of an Axis of Evil: Iran. The Persian culture and its manifestations, which continue to...

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