In Brief: US defence secretary visits Israel

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, forming part of a two-day visit to Israel. Austin tweeted that the US is committed to working closely with Israel, particularly on security and “threats posed by Iran”. He did not mention Iran or its nuclear programme on the visit, however. The[…]

Analysis: Iran nuclear site attack as Vienna talks commence

Iran last weekend began speeding up its nuclear enrichment programme – just days after talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action began in Vienna. But Tehran’s launch of banned advanced centrifuges at the secret Natanz plant appears to have been disrupted by a suspected Israeli attack early on Sunday morning. What[…]

Analysis: Iran and China seal $400bn economic and military pact

Iran and China signed a major 25-year economic and military partnership agreement at the weekend which could boost the Islamic republic’s sanctions-wracked economy by $400bn. The move comes as Tehran continues to resist efforts by the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal which Donald Trump withdrew from three years ago. What happened The[…]

In brief: Biden targets torturers in first sanctions imposed on Iran

The Biden administration targeted two Revolutionary Guard interrogators as it imposed its first set of sanctions on Iran this week. The secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, announced that two men – Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari – would be banned from entering the United States. The State Department cited their “involvement in gross violations of[…]

Analysis: Biden offers olive branch as Iran curtails inspections

In a carefully choreographed series of steps, the Biden administration has edged towards re-engaging with Iran – nearly three years after Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 accord which is designed to limit the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions. The moves came as Iran partially pulled back from a threat to this week halt international inspectors’[…]

In Brief: Iran threatens to push for nuclear weapon as Biden vows tough approach 

Iran’s intelligence minister has threatened that the Islamic republic will push for a nuclear weapon if international sanctions aren’t lifted soon. Mahmoud Alavi’s warning – reported by state television today – came as Joe Biden told Tehran the US wouldn’t ease sanctions until Iran complies with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. The intelligence[…]

In brief: Iran stepping up breaches of nuclear accord as Biden races to salvage deal

Iran is stepping up its breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal despite Joe Biden’s efforts to salvage the accord. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency obtained by Reuters this week confirms that Tehran is installing more efficient centrifuges to enrich uranium at its underground plant at Natanz. Speeding-up uranium enrichment allows Iran to acquire more quickly[…]

In Brief: Biden team to begin discussing Iran deal with Israeli officials

Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, held his first call on Sunday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat. They agreed to begin discussions between the new US administration and the Israeli government on a raft of issues of mutual concern, including the Abraham Accords, the Iran nuclear deal and the wider Middle East. The call came as Israeli media reported that the head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen,[…]

In Brief: Labour calls for new approach to Iran and tougher nuclear deal

A new tougher nuclear deal with Iran is needed, the shadow Middle East minister Wayne David has argued. In a piece for The House Magazine, David calls for the incoming Biden administration to rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and offer Iran relief from the crippling sanctions imposed by Donald Trump, arguing that the US has approach has[…]