The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for October 13th, 2010.

  • The Hill: Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies writes on The Hill‘s Congress Blog that Iran owns 15 percent of a uranium mine in Namibia, the third largest uranium mine in the world. Iran has owned a stake since the early 1970s and, according to Schanzer, does so using a loophole that needs to be fixed. He warns that “as the Iranian nuclear endgame plays out, oversights like these could give Tehran a dangerous advantage.” The Iranian stake in the mine is owned by the Iran Foreign Investment Company (IFIC), which, according the U.S. Treasury restrictions, cant’ do business with U.S. companies. Schanzer says Congress should ban business with Rossing, which manages the mine, and the U.S. should confront the company as well as the Namibian government about Iran’s involvement.
  • Reuters: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon brought harsh words from White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs. In response to a question about Ahmadinejad’s plan to travel to Lebanon’s border with Israel, Gibbs told reporters, “[Ahmadinejad] continues his provocative ways…even as he leaves his country further in economic distress and turmoil as a result of his actions that have led to international sanctions that are having great impact.” The visit to Lebanon is the first official state visit by an Iranian president. Gibbs said that the visit “suggests that Hezbollah values its allegiance to Iran over its allegiance to Lebanon.”
  • Washington Times: Reza Kahlili, a former CIA spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who writes in hawkish publications under a pseudonym, takes to the Times opinion page to declare President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon a “victory over Israel and the West in gaining control” over the tiny Mediterranean country. He says that U.S. withdrawal from Lebanon in the 1980s was “the beginning of the Islamic [Republic] regime’s dominance in the Middle East.” Even after Iranian ascent, he writes, “the West continues to provide legitimacy to terrorism and the terrorists’ criminal activity by maintaining its policy of appeasement and negotiation.” In June, Kahlili made a thinly-veiled call for war to unseat the Islamic regime in Iran.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.