Strategic Pause in Iran’s Nuke Program Likely

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By Arch Roberts* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - The new round of talks opened on April 8 marks another step in the race against time to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The powers have given Iran until July 20 to reach comprehensive agreement on denuclearization. But what if Iran believes it has enough nuclear potential and the time has come for a strategic pause in its nuclear program? From a technological standpoint, Iran is in much the same class – in the sense of possessing the technical ability to build nuclear weapons – as Germany, Brazil, Japan, Korea and some 10 other nations. Iran grabbed the golden ring against fierce opposition, with a lot of help from A.Q. Khan of Pakistan, and is hardly likely to relinquish its nuclear gains after investing an estimated $100 billion.

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Death Sentences in Egypt ‘Mockery of Justice’

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By Jaya Ramachandran

NEW YORK (IDN | UN News) - A group of eight United Nations human rights independent experts have urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 529 death sentences announced in Egypt and give the defendants new and fair trials, in line with international human rights law.

“The right to life is a fundamental right, not a toy to be played with. If the death penalty is to be used at all in countries which have not abolished it, international law requires the most stringent respect of a number of fundamental standards,” the experts said in a news statement.

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Shale Oil Gas Pitches US Against Saudi Arabia

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By Joergen Oerstroem Moeller*

SINGAPORE (IDN | YaleGlobal) - Shale oil and gas has been labeled a game changer. Statistics would suggest that, yes, the new technologies and discoveries associated with hydraulic fracking change the energy picture and economic outlook, in particular for the United States, but less so than predictions would have it a year or two go.

The greater impact won’t be on the US economy, but rather US-Saudi relations and stability for the Middle East. President Barack Obama met King Abdullah March 28, and both leaders recognize that the geopolitical ground shaped by their common interest in stable oil prices has shifted, creating a new imbalance that could spill over into Mideast security policy.

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Iranian Scientists Break New Grounds

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By Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - During the Iranian calendar year, 1392 (March 21, 2013 to March 21, 2014), the world of science and technology witnessed major breakthroughs made possible through the endeavors of Iranian scientists. These researchers made great progress in different scientific fields in various parts of the world, which made them a cause of honor for every Iranian anywhere in the world.

Scientific achievements of a group of researchers of Iranian origin in the United States, Australia and the UK in such scientific fields as medicine, energy, electricity and computer, helped these human sciences to move a step forward. Among their achievements one can point out the production of hepatic cells from skin cells, production of metamaterials, as well as the discovery of a whole new category of antibiotics.

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Working With Iran Is In Western Interest

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News Analysis by Shireen T. Hunter*

WASHINGTON D.C. (IDN | Lobe Log) - Not long after the outbreak of the crisis over Ukraine and Crimea, many observers began asking the following question: what impact could renewed Russo-Western tensions have on the fate of the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program? Will the Russians encourage Iran to become more obdurate and change its current and more flexible approach to negotiations with the P5+1 countries (the US, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany), stop complying with sanctions on Iran, or even help it financially and militarily, for example by delivering the promised-but-withheld S-300 air defense system or even shipping the more advanced S-400?

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Iran Considering 'Active Neutrality' in Ukraine

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By Kayhan Barzegar* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TEHRAN (IDN | Al-Monitor) - As a consequence of the crisis in Ukraine, dubbed rightly as a geostrategic rivalry between Russia (East) and the West (America) for defining their regional and global role and influence, the traditional debate of looking to the East or the West has once again become an issue in Iran’s intellectual and policy circle, and this has provoked the question of what actually should be Iran’s policy in dealing with such a crisis.

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Cautious Move To Open A New Chapter in Iran-EU Ties

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By Said Khaloozadeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TEHRAN (IDN) - Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, paid a two-day official visit to Iran on March 9-10, 2014. During her stay, she met with the Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani, President of Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research Ali Akbar Velayati, and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. Her visit to Iran was a very important development, which can be analyzed from various angles.

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Iran-UAE Three Islands’ Dispute Unresolved

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By Bernard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

CAIRO (IDN) - The sigh of relief some two months ago that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran had reached an agreement on the three disputed islands near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, was rather short-lived. Only six days later, the report was denied by Iran. Now on March 10, the 22-nation Arab League has slammed Iran for refusal to accept the UAE’s sovereignty over the three islands in the strait between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, through which about 20% of the world's petroleum, and about 35% of the petroleum traded by sea passes.

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‘Now Is The Time’ For Middle East Nuke-Free Zone

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By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) - The eminent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has revived the issue of a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone (NWFZ), first proposed in 1962. Discussions on the subject have been frozen since the last quarter of 2012, when a planned United Nations conference on the region came to naught in the face of Israel’s opposition.

In fact, if further proliferation is to be prevented in the Middle East, and regional security enhanced, “now is the time to convene the conference mandated by the 2010 NPT Review Conference,” says Tariq Rauf in an essay posted on the SIPRI website.

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Egypt - Part III: A Providential Leader?

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By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay

This is the last of a three-part series reflecting on the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of January 25, 2011, launched by millions of people from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds, demanding the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had been at the helm of affairs since 1981. Click here to read part one and part two.

ALEXANDRIA (IDN) - In its hour of anger and loss, Egypt is turning to General Abdel Fattah El Sissi, who has just been given the title of Field Marshal, and who is leaving his post as head of the Armed Forces to become a candidate for the presidency under the newly approved constitution. Barring some totally unforeseeable event, it is a foregone conclusion that he will sweep the polls in a landslide. He will become Egypt’s next elected president.

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Egypt - Part II: Enlightened Despots and the Road of No Return

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By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay

This is the second of a three-part series reflecting on the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of January 25, 2011, launched by millions of people from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds, demanding the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had been at the helm of affairs since 1981. Click here to read part one.

ALEXANDRIA (IDN) - Whether or not those who control political power wanted it, they now find themselves at the helm of an increasingly autocratic and repressive regime. That paves the way to dictatorship.  Dictators are sometimes claimed to be enlightened despots, but to me the emphasis has to be on the word despot. Despotism is the opposite of democracy, and it has never been compatible with respect of human rights. Soon the autocratic regime throws its net wider, captures more and more of the opposition that it can label as terrorists or terrorist-sympathizers. Soon all opposition is suspect.

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