The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for October 8, 2010.

  • The Wall Street Journal: Dow Jones Newswire reporter Benoit Faucon writes that oil companies Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell contacted Iranian authorities last week to reassure Tehran that their long-term business interests in Iran will remain. The messages to Iranian authorities appear to have been intended to assuage concerns over the Obama administration’s announcement that the two companies had no further investment plans in the Islamic Republic. European nations have historically had a different take on sanctions. “Given the size and global importance of Iranian hydrocarbon resources, Shell finds it hard to see a future in which production of these resources would not, at some point, play an important role in the global energy supply and demand balance,” Shell said in its 2009 annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to Faucon.
  • The Washington Times: Ben Birnbaum reports that Bahrain’s ambassador to the U.S., Houda Nonoo, told the paper she “fears her country” would be a target for a nuclear-armed Iran, given its proximity to Iran and past Iranian claims on its territory. Bahrain is also home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. While Nonoo only expressed concern about Bahrain’s security, Birnbaum interviews hawks from both the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Israel-based Institute for Policy and Strategy Studies, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who expressed their positions that the U.S. has not gone far enough to remove the Iranian nuclear threat.
  • The Guardian: Iranian-born Israeli Meir Javedanfar does a round up of views on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s upcoming trip to Lebanon. He cites the Israeli and U.S. governments, as well as a bloc in Lebanon’s parliment, who describe the trip as possibly “provocative”. He says the trip could confirm some Israeli fears “that the Iranian regime has truly arrived on its doorstep.” But ultimately, he writes, the trip is about Iranian domestic concerns with Israel and the US “further down his list of priorities”: “The Iranian president is visiting Lebanon mainly because of his growing unpopularity at home.” He says another goal of the trip is to help solidify a somewhat weak anti-Israeli sentiment within Iran; the opposition has been explicit that they are more concerned with their own fates than those of the Palestinians. Javendanfar concludes that the trip may cause “more trouble and headache for Hezbollah, both at home, and in the Arab world.”

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.