Biden’s Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel

Introduction   As President-elect Joe Biden gets ready to take over, he faces numerous foreign policy challenges. One of the most complex issues is likely to be Washington’s approach vis-à-vis Tehran. A lot of analysis has focused on how Biden has spoken about conditional entry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)/Iran agreement from which Donald Trump … Continue reading Biden’s Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel

Biden’s newest foreign policy challenge: Iranian and Israeli hardliners

Introduction After the triumph of Ebrahim Raisi in the June 2021 Iranian Presidential election, the US and other countries, especially the E3 (the UK, Germany, and France), which are party to the JCPOA/Iran Nuclear deal would have paid close attention to his statements, which had a clear anti-West slant. Raisi has made it unequivocally clear … Continue reading Biden’s newest foreign policy challenge: Iranian and Israeli hardliners

Will the US and Iran find common ground in Afghanistan?

Introduction On July 7, 2021 Iran hosted talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban (the Taliban delegation was led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai). The same day, the Taliban attacked the Badghis provincial capital Qalat-i-Naw (Badghis is one of thirty-four provinces in Afghanistan). Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif emphatically stated that the Afghan people … Continue reading Will the US and Iran find common ground in Afghanistan?

Iran, the US, nuclear deals, and South Asia

In the coming months, US-Iran relations will be watched closely in South Asia (the region’s geopolitical landscape will be significantly impacted as it is by the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan). India’s ties with Iran are economic and strategic. It has, for example, invested in the Chabahar Port project (during PM Modi’s … Continue reading Iran, the US, nuclear deals, and South Asia

Is a Persian-Saudi thaw on the horizon?

Introduction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s (MBS) recent comments, where he batted for better bilateral ties with Iran, have understandably drawn attention given that, in recent years, ties between both countries had hit rock bottom. Said MBS in a television interview on April 27, 2021: At the end of the day, Iran is a … Continue reading Is a Persian-Saudi thaw on the horizon?

The Al Ula Accord: Qatar’s gains, the UAE’s losses, and Iran’s quiet win

Introduction  Days after the signing of the solidarity and stability agreement – the Al Ula accord – between Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia’s allies, the Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, made it clear that Doha would continue to pursue an independent foreign policy driven by its own national interest. The Qatari Foreign Minister was alluding … Continue reading The Al Ula Accord: Qatar’s gains, the UAE’s losses, and Iran’s quiet win

The Saudi-Qatar thaw

Introduction On January 5, 2021, at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, at Al-Ula, an agreement was signed between Saudi Arabia (along with its allies) and Qatar that restored diplomatic ties. Blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt had imposed a trade, travel, … Continue reading The Saudi-Qatar thaw

On Joe Biden and America’s relationship with Iran

One of the important foreign policy priorities of President-elect Joe Biden, which will have an impact not just on the US but a number of its allies in the West – such as the UK, Germany, France (the E3), India, and Japan – is Washington’s ties with Iran.  It will be interesting to see the … Continue reading On Joe Biden and America’s relationship with Iran

Despite pressure from Trump, Iran’s world role will continue to be important

Introduction Ever since taking over as President, Donald Trump’s approach towards Iran has been excessively rash and lacking in nuance. The US withdrawal from JCPOA (Joint Comprehension for Plan of Action), the imposition of sanctions, and brash statements by Trump have heightened tensions between both countries. Allies of the US, including EU member states (especially … Continue reading Despite pressure from Trump, Iran’s world role will continue to be important

Iran-US tensions: Why Tokyo and New Delhi should arbitrate (But will they?)

After the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities Iran’s ties with the rest of the world, especially Washington, have witnessed some interesting developments in recent weeks. While there was a possibility of a thaw between Washington and Tehran after the G7 Summit (held in August 2019 at Biarritz, France) with both sides making the right … Continue reading Iran-US tensions: Why Tokyo and New Delhi should arbitrate (But will they?)

The American objective of isolating Iran continues to be a failure

Recent days have been witness to important events; The Middle East Conference at Warsaw, co-hosted by Poland and the US State Department on February 13 & 14, and the Munich Conference. Differences between the EU and the US over dealing with challenges in the Middle East, as well as Iran, were reiterated during both these events. The … Continue reading The American objective of isolating Iran continues to be a failure

India’s near-abroad: Iran’s regional moves

Close attention was paid by sections of India’s strategic community (and understandably so) to the statement of Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Javad Zarif, during his visit to Pakistan, in which he extended an invitation to Pakistan to join the ambitious Chabahar Project (about 70 kilometres from China’s ambitious Gwadar Project). Zarif, while delivering … Continue reading India’s near-abroad: Iran’s regional moves

What the rise of Raisi means for regional security and nuclear bargains

Introduction  The triumph of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi in the recently-held Iranian Presidential election is likely to pose a challenge with regard to the renewal of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action JCPOA/Iran Nuclear Agreement (in 2019, US had imposed sanctions on him for human rights violations). Raisi, who has been serving as Iran’s Chief Justice … Continue reading What the rise of Raisi means for regional security and nuclear bargains

Beijing and the India-Pakistan conundrum

During the course of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in China, and days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in China for his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, an editorial in Pakistan’s premier English-language daily (Daily Times) titled ‘China’s re-assurance on CPEC‘ made an interesting point: If anything Beijing has been asking … Continue reading Beijing and the India-Pakistan conundrum

India-US relations and engaging with Trump

Ivanka Trump jointly inaugurated the GES Summit in Hyderabad (November 28-29) along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and she lauded the latter for his phenomenal rise. Modi had invited Ivanka during his US visit in June 2017. The US President’s daughter and Adviser was quick to accept the invite, and tweeted: Thank you, Prime Minister … Continue reading India-US relations and engaging with Trump