Report

Iranian Supreme Leader Weighs in on Nuclear Deal Days Before Deadline

With a week before the June 30 deadline for the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a televised address to the government presenting hard demands for a potential deal. In particular, he singled out limits on Iran’s research and development program, access for inspections, and the timeline for sanctions ...

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With a week before the June 30 deadline for the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a televised address to the government presenting hard demands for a potential deal. In particular, he singled out limits on Iran’s research and development program, access for inspections, and the timeline for sanctions relief as important issues of contention. “Freezing Iran’s research and development for a long time, like 10 or 12 years, is not acceptable,” Khamenei said, according to Iranian TV. “All financial and economic sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. Congress, or the U.S. government should be lifted immediately when we sign a nuclear agreement.”

Experts parsing the speech say it could be a setback for the negotiations, but that the speech’s audience suggest it could have been delivered “chiefly to mollify hard-liners and military leaders,” the New York Times reports. It is also seen by some as posturing to reach last-minute concessions in a critical phase for the talks. “My best judgment is that this is about leverage,” Cliff Kupchan of Eurasia Group told the Times. “This is the last time to get the best possible deal. I think what he’s shooting for is the most sanctions relief he can get as soon as he can get it, and the least intrusive inspection regime going forward.”

Islamic State Releases Gory Execution Video

The Islamic State released a particularly brutal video yesterday, depicting the executions of 15 men accused of being spies. Groups of men were killed by being shot by a rocket-propelled grenade, being drowned in a cage, and being decapitated with explosives. The Islamic State said the video was a reprisal for recent airstrikes in Mosul conducted by the international coalition.

Headlines

  • On Monday, a crowd of more than a hundred Druze residents of the Golan Heights swarmed an Israeli ambulance transporting two wounded Syrians for medical treatment; one of the wounded Syrians was killed and the other severely injured in what an Israeli police spokesman described as “probably a lynch.” Israeli police have made several arrests.

 

  • Islamic State fighters destroyed two ancient shrines, though not the monumental Roman ruins, in the Syrian city of Palmyra.

 

  • Militias fighting against the Houthis in Yemen have seized the Wadee’ah border crossing in eastern Hadramawt province and thousands of refugees are now waiting at the border.

 

  • The U.S. Defense Department clarified that it is not cooperating or interacting with Iranian forces working from the same Iraqi airbase as a deployment of U.S. trainers and that it has requested that the Iraqi government transfer the Iranians elsewhere.

 

  • At least 3,000 people have been diagnosed with Dengue Fever in Yemen since the start of fighting in March, exacerbating the country’s already severe health crisis, reports the World Health Organization.

Arguments and Analysis

Iran’s Economic Reintegration: Sanctions Relief, Energy, and Economic Growth Under a Nuclear Agreement with Iran” (Elizabeth Rosenberg and Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, Center for a New American Security)

“Iran’s economic reintegration will not occur quickly or with tremendous ease, and this will test the credibility of a potential deal between Iran and its international negotiating partners — the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, or the P5+1 — as Iran is likely to view its economic opening as insufficiently rapid or substantial. While officials can agree to rescind or suspend sanctions by certain dates, many international investors will remain cautious about engaging Iran, moving slowly to avoid the risk of losing investments or becoming the target of sanctions if a nuclear deal collapses and sanctions are re-imposed.”

 

The Islamic State’s Varying Fortunes in North Africa” (David Gartenstein-Ross and Nathaniel Barr, War on the Rocks)

“The Islamic State’s growth has been particularly worrisome in Libya, with its toxic blend of civil conflict and weak governance. The group was never as militarily strong there as some observers believed — a fact underscored by the deep setbacks it has recently experienced in Derna — but the group has made real advances, and Libya is the Islamic State’s most significant foothold outside of Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State also may experience a surge of support in Tunisia, as the vast majority of the approximately 3,000 Tunisian foreign fighters who traveled to the Syria-Iraq theater fought with the group. Though the top-tier leaders of major Tunisian jihadist organizations are loyal to al-Qaeda, the fact that so much sympathy for the Islamic State exists at the foot soldier level makes the group’s growth in the country likely. But while the Islamic State is in a strong position in Tunisia and Libya, it is not faring well in Algeria, where recent counterterrorism operations dealt the group a significant blow. Absent major defections from other jihadist organizations, it will take the Islamic State some time to reestablish a foothold in that country.”

-J. Dana Stuster

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

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