The War on Terror Has United the Shi’a Horn: Daniel 8

Mehmet Alaca, Iran news, Iraq news, Islamic State terrorism, war on terror at 20, 20 anniversary of 9 11, US invasion of Iraq, Iraq militias, Middle East news, Iraq politics news, Qassem Soleimani assassination

The War on Terror Drove Iraq Into Iran’s Orbit

By Mehmet Alaca

September 13, 2021

© Andy.LIU / Shutterstock

After al-Qaeda targeted the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, then-US President George W. Bush declared his (in)famous doctrine of the global war on terror, which will continue to have a great effect on the Middle East and the world for the coming decades, if not centuries. The framework implemented an aggressive foreign policy against Iraq, Iran and North Korea, singled out as the “axis of evil” in the new world order.

After 20 years of the doctrine in action, which saw the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq that further ignited regional instability, President Joe Biden has withdrawn US troops from Afghanistan and is determined to end the combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year. Without concluding whether two decades of aggression succeeded in defeating terrorism, it can be said that the war on terror opened a new area of influence for one of the axis of evil, namely Iran in Iraq.

Opening the Gates

Thanks to its Shia population, Iraq has been a significant target of Iranian foreign policy since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Due to both geographic and sectarian proximity, Iran, which sees Washington as an enemy and a source of instability in the region, was suspicious of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. 

Deeming Baathist Iraq as a major threat to its national security, the regime in Tehran has meddled in its neighbor’s internal politics and strategic tendencies ever since coming to power. With the US toppling of Saddam Hussein, however, Iran succeeded in courting Iraq’s Shia population by taking advantage of its shared border and cultural, religious and economic ties.

The fact that significant Shia figures opposed to the Iraqi regime took refuge in Iran in the early 1980s strengthened Tehran’s relations with these groups in the post-invasion period. During this time, the Shia population has become influential in the Iraqi state and society. For example, Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organization militia, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the recently deceased vice president of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), count among some of the most prominent pro-Iranian figures in the current Iraqi political and military establishments.

The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shia resistance group headed by Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim hoping to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime, was established in Iran in 1982. It became a pioneer organization for various Shia militias and political groups with connections to Tehran, incorporating the Badr Organization, then known as the Badr Brigades. 

While Iran benefitted from the support of Iraqi militias during the inconclusive war with Iraq in the 1980s, Tehran redirected this mobilization against the US forces following the 2003 invasion. The Iraqi militia group Kataib Hezbollah was formed in early 2007, followed by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, as part of the campaign by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force against US forces.

Iran’s presence in Iraq came to light when the Americans captured several Iranian operatives in 2006 and 2007, among them Mohsen Chizari of the IRGC. Asaib Ahl al-Haq kidnapped and killed five US soldiers in January 2007, but two months later, coalition forces captured the militia’s leader, Qais al-Khazali, alongside an operative of Hezbollah, Tehran’s proxy in Lebanon, Ali Musa Daqduq. It is well known that the Jaish al-Mahdi militias led by Muqtada al-Sadr, who still has distant dealings with Iran, received intensive Iranian support to fight against the United States.

The disbanding the Iraqi army and establishing the interim government by the US after 2003 provided Iran with new opportunities to secure many significant positions in the bureaucracy. In this process, many members of the Badr Brigades were integrated into the new army and police forces, their political connections winning many rapid promotions. Today, Badr is still one of the most active groups within the police, the army and the Ministry of Interior.

Consolidation of Iranian Power

The Baghdad government was formed along ethnic and sectarian quotas. As per the country’s 2005 constitution, the presidency was allocated to the Kurds, the prime minister’s office to the Shia and the position of parliament’s speaker to the Sunnis. The allocation of the executive position to Shia leaders strengthened Iran’s elbow room in Iraqi politics.

The sectarian policies of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who held office between 2006 and 2014, disquieted the Sunni society further. In addition to the fact that the Shia occupied a central position in the administrative system, the American inability to understand Sunni expectations has marginalized Sunni society. Radicalization led to the resurgence of al-Qaeda and later the formation of the even more extreme Islamic State (IS) group in the Sunni regions or Iraq.

After capturing Mosul in June 2014, IS has taken control of almost a third of Iraqi territory. All Shia groups fighting against the new threat were united under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Units — an umbrella organization controlled mainly by pro-Iran armed groups — after Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for all those able to carry a weapon to take up arms.

The PMU militias were provided with American and Iranian-made weapons during their fight against IS. Pro-Iranian militias such as the Badr Organization, Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq dominated the PMU. Active support by the IRGC provided to Iraqi militias and the presence of Qassem Soleimani, a Quds Force commander, at the front lines pointed to Iran’s effectiveness in the field.

Integrating the PMU as a legal part of the Iraqi security mechanism in 2016 further legitimized Iranian influence in the political and military establishments. For instance, almost $1.7 billion was allocated to the PMU, which consists of some 100,000 militants, from the $90-billion Iraqi budget in 2021.  

Defeating the Islamic State

After the declaration of victory against IS in 2017, tensions between Iran and the US, placed on the back burner during the campaign, reignited. While US officials argued that the PMU completed their mission and should be dissolved, pro-Iranian groups reassumed their anti-American tone. 

Thanks to their active role in the fight against IS, Iran-backed militias secured their position in the military bureaucracy and were able to establish themselves politically. The Fatah Alliance, under the leadership of Hadi al-Amiri and backed by pro-Iranian militias, gained victory in the 2018 election, becoming the second-largest group in the Iraqi parliament. Iran has thus become one of the decision-makers in post-IS Iraq.

Tensions increased in 2018 after President Donald Trump decided to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the nuclear deal with Iran. Pro-Iranian forces began to attack US forces on the ground in Iraq. While Iran seemed to want to punish the US via the Iraqi militias, these attacks also aimed at forcing Americans to withdraw from Iraq. The situation has come to an apogee with the killing of Soleimani and Muhandis in the US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020.

The assassinations shifted the tensions to the political arena. On January 5, under the leadership of pro-Iranian groups, a resolution was passed in Iraq’s parliament to call on the government to expel foreign troops from the country. In addition to political pressures, as a result of ongoing attacks by pro-Iranian militias on American bases and soldiers in Iraq, the US abandoned many of its bases in the country. As a result of strategic dialogue negotiations with Baghdad, Washington decided to withdraw its combat forces and retain only consultant support. To a large degree, Iran managed to get what it wanted — to drive the US out and reassert its own influence in the region.

Pro-Iranian militias, already active in the Shia regions, started to show their presence in Sunni-dominated areas such as Mosul, Anbar and Saladin after the defeat of IS. Furthermore, Iran-backed groups pursue a long-term strategy to seize control of disputed areas between the central government and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Iran-backed groups, including the Badr Organization, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataib Imam Ali, Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada and Saraya al-Khorasani, have been active in the disputed territories since 2014.

At the same time, these militias under the PMU umbrella reject control by Baghdad and threaten the central government. So much so that Abu Ali Askari, a spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah, was able to say that “the time is appropriate to cut his ears as the ears of a goat are cut,” referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, while militias were able to flex their muscle against the government in the streets of Baghdad amid tensions leading up to the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination.

Make Sense of the World

Aiming to limit US influence, Iran has been gradually reshaping Iraq‘s internal and security policy since 2003. While millions are still paying the price of the war on terror in Iraq, which resulted in the collapse of the political and economic systems followed by a campaign of terror by the Islamic State, Iran continues to consolidate its power, both in military and political spheres. 

After an 18-year-long story of invasion and with the US poised to withdraw its combat forces, Iran’s hegemony over Iraq will inevitably come to fruition. The sectarian and ethnic emphasis within the framework of the government quota system not only prevents the formation of independent Iraqi identity but also keeps fragile social fault lines dynamic, an opportunity that Iran will, without doubt, continue to exploit.

Arming the German Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Germany and the Future of NATO Nuclear Sharing

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “Policy Roundtable: The Future of Trans-Atlantic Nuclear Deterrence” from our sister publication, the Texas National Security Review. Be sure to check out the full roundtable.

Nuclear weapons have made a return to the top of the agenda of world politics. All major nuclear powers have begun to invest in new capabilities or to modernize their arsenals. At the same time, attempts to curb nuclear proliferation have had, at best, a limited effect, while new technologies may undermine the assumptions on which traditional nuclear strategies have been based. With old rules eroding and new challenges emerging, a “second nuclear age,” marked by more actors and likely less stability, is taking shape.

Nevertheless, critics of nuclear deterrence are gaining ground in Western societies. The abolitionist movement, spearheaded by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, has stressed the humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapon use and has attempted to outlaw nuclear weapons. On Jan. 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weaponsentered into force. It is unclear what its consequences will be, as all existing nuclear-weapon states have rejected the treaty and most of the 50 participants are smaller countries. However, the treaty has already changed the debate in Western societies, particularly in Europe. What the late Michael Howard described in the early 1980s has become an even greater challenge today. The fact that engaging in deterrence is now seen by many as more dangerous than deterrence failure may result, as Howard wrote almost 40 years ago, from

the degree to which we Europeans have abandoned the primary responsibility for our defense to the United States; have come to take the deterrence provided by others for granted; and now assume that the dangers against which we once demanded reassurance only now exist in the fevered imagination of our protectors.

In other words, extended deterrence has become too successful, undermining its very foundations — the perceived need of protection.Become a Member

Together, this twin challenge puts NATO leaders in a tough spot. They not only have to respond to new nuclear challenges posed by adversaries, but they need to deal with domestic constituencies that are skeptical of nuclear deterrence. While it was far from easy to shore up domestic support for nuclear deterrence during the Cold War, as the Euromissiles crisis in the early 1980s demonstrated, it will likely be even more difficult to do so today. The transatlantic alliance is more heterogeneous than in the past, with some allies promoting a strengthening of NATO’s nuclear posture and others flirting with supporters of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The ongoing debate about the future of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement suggests that NATO policy rests on shakier grounds than often assumed. There is thus a real risk of a new nuclear crisis that could severely hamper NATO’s ability to deter or even endanger the long-term health of the alliance.

Unfortunately, NATO leaders are woefully unprepared for such a crisis. For a long time, many of them have preferred not to talk too much about nuclear deterrence. Apart from the general nod to the existence of nuclear weapons and NATO’s self-understanding as a “nuclear alliance” in official documents or summit declarations, nuclear weapons have hardly been discussed publicly. For many, nuclear deterrence seemed to be a relic of the Cold War. And those who believed it was important not to scrap it often preferred not to discuss it, thinking it would be better to let sleeping dogs lie. The deterioration of NATO’s security environment, as well as the rise of the abolitionist movement in Western societies, have arguably made this strategy unsustainable.

Officially, of course, NATO member states have repeatedly underlined their commitment to nuclear deterrence. Most allies hosting U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons have decided to invest in new dual-capable aircraft. Yet, both public opinion and significant portions of the elites in several NATO member states have become skeptical of NATO’s reliance on nuclear deterrence. According to a 2019 survey for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, public opinion in the four E.U. states that host U.S. nuclear weapons tends to support the removal of these weapons and is highly critical of the idea of equipping new fighter jets with a nuclear capacity.

The Risks of a German Exit

This view is particularly pronounced in Germany. A 2020 public opinion poll for the Munich Security Conference found that two-thirds (66 percent) of Germans supported the position that Germany should completely abandon nuclear deterrence. While the German government’s 2016 white paper on security policy — the Weißbuch, which is similar to America’s national security strategy — stresses the continued necessity of nuclear deterrence as long as nuclear weapons exist, it maintains that “the strategic nuclear capabilities of NATO, and in particular those of the United States, are the ultimate guarantee of the security of its members,” and underlines that “Germany continues to be an integral part of NATO’s nuclear policy and planning” through nuclear sharing, several prominent politicians have recently questioned the acquisition of new dual-capable aircraft needed to replace the ageing Tornados.

The junior partner in the current coalition, the Social Democratic Party, has repeatedly delayed a decision on a Tornado replacement, leading German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to announce her plan to buy American F-18s without being sure whether the Bundestag would support it. The Green Party, which has surpassed the Social Democrats in the polls, has its roots in the peace movement and calls for “a Germany free of nuclear weapons” and “a broad public debate about outdated deterrence doctrines of the Cold War” in its most recent party manifesto (although influential parts of the party argue for some flexibility). As a parliamentary majority without the Greens or the Social Democrats is highly unlikely, this issue will almost certainly be a stumbling block in coalition negotiations after the elections for the Bundestag in September 2021.

Proponents of a withdrawal of U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons from German soil argue that it would make Germany and Europe more secure and downplay the potential risks of such a decision. For them, Berlin’s refusal to continually host U.S. nuclear weapons and invest in the next generation of dual-capable aircraft would neither mean the end of nuclear sharing nor undermine NATO cohesion. They often try to distinguish between the so-called technical and political elements of nuclear sharing, arguing that ending the former would not necessarily affect the latter. Pointing to states such as Canada or Greece that once hosted U.S. nuclear weapons but got rid of them a long time ago and still participate in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group, they argue that Germany would still be able to influence NATO nuclear strategy, that the United States would still be willing to protect NATO, and that NATO and the nuclear sharing arrangement as such would continue to exist and function well.

These arguments are based on rather heroic assumptions. First, they assume that it does not matter what you bring to the table. According to Rolf Mützenich, chairman of the Social Democrats in the Bundestag, a withdrawal of non-strategic nuclear weapons from Germany “would not result in the end of the American nuclear guarantee nor of Germany’s say in nuclear matters … as it would still be guaranteed through its membership in the Nuclear Planning Group.” Yet, it would be very surprising if those states that actively contributed to NATO’s nuclear sharing mission didn’t have more influence than other member states. After all, it is well known that those NATO members that provide troops to allied operations (in particular those that carry special risks) have more influence on NATO strategy for a given operation than other member states.

Second, they implicitly or explicitly argue that it would not make much of a difference for the security provider, the United States, whether their protégésparticipate in the arrangement or not. After all, they argue, the United States does not need the few non-strategic nuclear weapons on European soil to provide effective deterrence for the whole of NATO. According to the critics, these weapons are militarily useless, because there is no realistic scenario for their use. Yet, many military experts disagree. They maintain that even the current generation of jet fighters could successfully carry out their mission. Moreover, from this perspective, jet fighters carrying gravity bombs provide a lot of operational flexibility and are valuable tools for strategic communication.

It could also be argued that these non-strategic nuclear weapons never really had much military use in a narrow sense. Rather, they have always been political symbols, linking European security to American security. It is important to recognize, though, that “symbolic” does not mean politically unimportant. In contrast, nuclear sharing has also meant reassurance and risk sharing. However, as former U.S. ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, notes, reassurance works both ways: “it’s a two-way street.” For the United States, it will thus make a huge political difference whether U.S. allies are willing to continue to share the risks associated with the nuclear umbrella. In an article for Der Spiegel, two experienced Europe hands, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Townsend, warned in no uncertain terms that “Germany walking away from this vow to share the nuclear burden, this expression of solidarity and risk sharing, strikes at the heart of the trans-Atlantic bargain.”

Third, the German proponents of a withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons underestimate the role of their own country. Germany, after all, is not just another member state. To begin with, the country’s role in NATO was a major reason for the very creation of this special arrangement. Its departure from NATO’s technical nuclear sharing arrangement would very likely trigger other “exits” and lead to transatlantic disruption. While the nuclear sharing arrangement may survive a Belgian or Dutch exit, it is hard to imagine that a German withdrawal would not bring about a general crisis of nuclear sharing. According to Flournoy and Townsend, “the bargain sustaining U.S. extended nuclear deterrence to Europe would collapse and the U.S. umbrella would essentially be decoupled from Europe.” At a time of upheaval for the transatlantic alliance and ongoing discussions about a potential “decoupling,” this promises to be a dangerous strategy with potentially far-reaching consequences.

The Road Ahead: How Can We Avoid Transatlantic Nuclear Disruption?

As the past few years have shown, a reactive communication strategy that tries to protect a very fragile elite consensus without rocking the boat is apparently not enough. Those in the strategic community who still believe that nuclear deterrence remains indispensable will have to make the case for it and be ready to engage in moral and ethical discussions. They should not be afraid of a debate with those who think that unilateral disarmament is the safer strategy. After all, the case can be made that supporting NATO cohesion and limited nuclear deterrence is the more promising path toward risk reduction, disarmament, and peaceful relations in the long run.

Most importantly, they need to be clear in communicating the risks of a unilateral end to nuclear sharing. They should also highlight the meager benefits of unilateral disarmament when other states are investing in new nuclear capabilities and doctrinal developments. In particular, Berlin’s allies need to pay attention to the German debate and stress the potential damage of Germany pushing for the withdrawal of U.S. non-strategic weapons. Germans may be less receptive to arguments about nuclear strategy, but they may listen to warnings that the end of nuclear sharing would present a major threat to multilateralism and could pave the way for a renationalization of security policy.

At the same time, proponents of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement will also have to make clear that they take seriously the valid points made by those concerned with the very real risks that come with nuclear weapons. For large parts of the Western public, it is far from self-evident today that relying on nuclear deterrence is indeed the best strategy to deal with a deteriorating security environment. Consequently, NATO leaders should engage with critics’ concerns that the alliance is just sticking with a dangerous relic from the Cold War because it does not know what else to do. They should also be open to thinking through potential alternatives to the current arrangement (which dates back to the 1960s) that would be able to fulfill the same role (i.e., serving as a link between U.S. and European security). And they need to find ways to combine efforts to maintain a necessary level of deterrence with a sincere commitment to nuclear risk reduction, arms control, and disarmament.

For instance, NATO leaders should be open to discussing proposals such as a five-year moratorium, during which neither Russia nor NATO would deploy new “destabilizing weapons to Europe until 2025,” giving NATO time to reassess the nuclear status quo and test Russia’s willingness to seriously consider mutual arms reductions. Likewise, following in the footsteps of NATO’s traditional dual-track strategy, they should also be open to adapting their capabilities if the security environment continues to erode further. Germany, in any case, would do well to discuss the difficult questions relating to the future of nuclear security within NATO, instead of incrementally phasing out its participation in the nuclear sharing arrangement.

After all, without NATO cohesion, neither deterrence nor security will be achieved. Alliance management and balancing different assurance and deterrence needs within NATO will be major challenges for the coming years. Given the very heterogeneous threat perceptions and policy preferences within the alliance, discussions on the nuclear components of NATO’s next strategic concept and on a potential update of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review of 2012 will be difficult.

For a complete denial of deterrence, however, the transatlantic alliance will very likely be punished. A metaphor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once used in a completely different case may also apply to the nuclear umbrella: “throwing out [something] when it has worked and is continuing to work … is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”Become a Member

Tobias Bunde is a postdoctoral researcher at the Hertie School’s Centre for International Security in Berlin. He also serves as the director of research and policy at the Munich Security Conference.

This article was drafted for a workshop titled “Transatlantic Disruption” at Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania’s global affairs hub. The workshop was made possible by the Shapiro Global Workshop on Geopolitics Fund and Carnegie Corporation of New York. The author would like to thank the workshop participants as well as Christian Ruhl, Megan Oprea, and Freddy Ludtke for very helpful comments on a previous version of this article. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author

The UK and French Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

An F-35B fighter jet flies over HMS Queen Elizabeth as defence chiefs said the aircraft carrier will present a potent force when it teams up with the French carrier in the Mediterranean this summer. Getty
An F-35B fighter jet flies over HMS Queen Elizabeth as defence chiefs said the aircraft carrier will present a potent force when it teams up with the French carrier in the Mediterranean this summer. Getty

UK’s ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth’ to form powerful armada with French nuclear-powered carrier

Likelihood of Britain’s new warship flexing its might on maiden deployment is growing

Britain’s new HMS Queen Elizabeth warship will join France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to form a highly potent armada in the Mediterranean in the coming months, defence chiefs say.

The Royal Navy’s £3 billion ($4.25bn) carrier with its 18 advanced F35 jets and the French Navy’s 30 Rafale fighters will present a considerable force, particularly against any Turkish forays in the Eastern Mediterranean over the summer.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is also ready to meet any potential ISIS threat at sea, senior naval commanders confirmed, as her maiden operational voyage approaches.

The likelihood of HMS Queen Elizabeth demonstrating her strength when she heads on the six-month deployment in the coming days is growing, with strikes against terrorist targets in Syria and Iraq being considered.

To pack a punch: UK’s maritime strike force must double in size

Furthermore, the carriers could be used against potential Houthi anti-ship missiles installations in Yemen, if it was decided they posed an imminent threat.

Defence chiefs have emphasised that the 65,000-tonne warship will lead an extremely potent force when it teams up with the French nuclear-powered carrier.

“There will be a very significant link-up with the French Navy in the Mediterranean with the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier and Queen Elizabeth which will come together and exercise together,” said Angus Lapsley, the MOD’s Director General Strategy. “This will help among other things underline just how potent the UK-French combined expeditionary force can be.”

The united fleet of more than a dozen of the world’s most modern warships, including Britain’s Type 45 missile destroyers and Astute hunter-killer submarines, will be the strongest force seen in the Mediterranean for decades.

It will also be a symbolic moment of Anglo-French unity following a souring of relations post-Brexit that saw the two country’s warships on opposing sides during a fishing spat off the island of Jersey earlier this month.

This will help among other things underline just how potent the UK-French combined expeditionary force can be

The fleet will present an imposing sight and a dilemma particularly for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has tried to build up a reputation of Turkey’s military might with numerous foreign interventions.

The commander of Britain’s military operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key, also suggested that the fleet would be able to contribute to the campaign against terrorists. “I am entirely sure we can meet the threat of ISIS from the strike group,” he said.

Defence chiefs have also made it clear that the F35 jets will be used to strike the extremists to prevent them gaining a foothold in Iraq.

Once the carrier strike group composed of six warships accompanying HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves the Arabian Sea in the summer, it will sail east to make four lengthy stops in Asia, in Singapore, India, South Korea and Japan.

The potential for a further flashpoint will come when it enters the South China Sea. The British government has yet to confirm whether HMS Queen Elizabeth will make a highly symbolic but provocative passage through the Taiwan Strait, just off the coast of mainland China.

Germany States the Obvious About the Iranian Nuclear Horn: Daniel

Iran seeks production of weapons of mass destruction: German Intel Agency

April 27, 2021 11:03
DUBAI: Iran has sought to produce and source weapons of mass destruction in 2020, misleading the world about the nature of its nuclear program, Washington Free Beacon said on Monday citing a new intelligence report issued by a German government security agency.
Although Iran claims its nuclear program is peaceful, it has recently started enriching uranium to levels reaching 60 percent purity. It has also continued making and testing ballistic missiles, the report said.
Claims by Tehran’s leaders that Iran is not interested in building a nuclear bomb were also refuted in the report. The US State Department did not comment on the report, at a time where the Joe Biden administration works to lift sanctions on Iran and re-enter the 2015 nuclear agreement with the country.
Germany, meanwhile, has been one of the main proponents of the nuclear deal and normalizing business ties with Iran, the report said.
Tehran aimed to create business contacts with German companies in the high-tech field, the report said in its section about proliferation.
Iran also has a history of secretly working around US sanctions in order to get the technology it wants to fuel its nuclear research program. The country also made similar operations to “bypass sanctions on its oil trade,” a primary source of revenue for the hardline regime said.
The German report had also shown that Tehran is conducting espionage activities, with Germany being one of multiple European countries where Iranian spies are operating.
Tehran’s intelligence services are also taking part in “the observation of and fight against opposition groups, domestically and abroad,” the report said. This proves that Iran’s leadership continues to prioritize the monitoring of regime opponents living outside of the country, it added.
North Korea, Syria, and Pakistan were also engaged in similar Weapon of Mass Destruction efforts, the German report further noted.
The German intelligence agency’s findings reinforce “what has been revealed in scores of German intelligence reports each year after the woefully inadequate Iran nuclear deal was reached in 2015: Iran’s regime continues to seek technology for its goal to build a nuclear weapons device and expand its conventional missile arsenal,” Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Benjamin Weinthal said.
“If Germany is serious about the business of guaranteeing Israel’s security, Middle East stability, and fighting Iran’s state-sponsored eliminatory antisemitism targeting Israel, it would block any concessions to Iran’s regime at the Vienna-based Iran talks,” Weinthal added.

The wizards of Armageddon are back: Revelation 16

Opinion: The wizards of Armageddon may be back

Opinion by
David Ignatius
May 6, 2021 at 6:03 p.m. EDT
Nuclear weapons are probably the last thing the Biden administration wants to worry about right now. But given aggressive Chinese and Russian efforts to build new systems, and America’s aging strategic force, the wizards of Armageddon may be back.
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Chinese and Russian advances were highlighted in last month’s annual “Threat Assessment” by the U.S. intelligence community. It said China was planning to double its arsenal of nuclear weapons over the next decade in “the most rapid expansion … in its history.” And it warned that Russia remains America’s closest strategic rival as it “expands and modernizes its nuclear weapons capabilities.”
Unpack this bland language and you see some genuinely scary new threats. China is deploying a truck-based mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, called the Dongfeng-41, that could strike targets in the United States. China also has an intermediate-range mobile missile, the Dongfeng-26, that’s “capable of rapidly swapping conventional and nuclear warheads,” according to Austin Long, a Pentagon strategic planner, in a recent article in War on the Rocks.

What this means for U.S. commanders is that in a crisis, China would have hundreds of hard-to-detect trucks roaming its highways, some carrying nukes and some not — and if the missiles were fired, the United States probably wouldn’t know which were which. That, as the Cold War strategists used to say, would be “destabilizing.”
Russia is tweaking the nightmare scenarios, too. President Vladimir Putin boasted in his April 21 address to the federal assembly that Russia now has a new Avangard hypersonic ICBM, a Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship missile and a Poseidon nuclear torpedo capable of devastating coastal cities. All these weapons have very short delivery times to defeat U.S. missile defenses. They, too, would destabilize the balance of terror.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is deliberating how to replace its 50-year-old Minuteman missiles technology, one leg of the “triad” of U.S. strategic forces. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that oversees strategic forces, told me he came away from a visit to a missile silo in North Dakota last weekend wondering, “How would you feel if your survival depended on a car you bought in 1970?”

The Pentagon’s tentative answer is a new silo-based missile known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. “I would say I’m convinced but not fully convinced” that this new ICBM is the answer, King told journalists after the visit. Some other analysts argue that the United States should instead emulate the Chinese with a mobile ICBM system of our own, though it’s doubtful any state would welcome this nuclear caravan now any more than when it was first proposed in the 1980s.
The Biden administration’s main interest in nuclear weapons so far has been limiting them. After just six days in office, Biden agreed to extend for another five years the New START treaty with Russia, which limits each country’s warheads. But the treaty doesn’t cover China, and that’s the problem. Beijing doesn’t want to talk about curbing its nuclear forces until it reaches parity with the United States and Russia.
“The Chinese are modernizing their nuclear deterrent, and ours is aging. That’s the big story,” argues David Finkelstein in an interview. He directs China and Indo-Pacific security studies at CNA, an independent research institute in Arlington.

Why is China moving so quickly to jettison its old doctrine of a “limited deterrent” and double its nuclear forces? U.S. analysts aren’t sure, but some judge that the Chinese may want to make any U.S. effort to defend Taiwan militarily exceptionally costly. Beijing wants a low-cost walkover in Taipei, not a bloody assault.
“The last thing on China’s mind is a D-Day style invasion” of Taiwan, contends Christopher Johnson in an interview. He’s a former top CIA China analyst who’s now the chief executive of China Strategies Group, a political risk consulting firm. He notes that China has halved its number of short-range missiles opposite Taiwan but boosted deployments of missiles for striking U.S. bases in Guam and Japan.
China’s accelerating nuclear program vexes American analysts. During the Cold War, the United States and Russia developed a language for thinking about nuclear weapons and deterrence. Leaders of both countries understood the horrors of nuclear war and sought predictability and stability in nuclear policy. China lacks such a vocabulary for thinking about the unthinkable.

Russia and America have some severe problems these days, but they know how to talk about arms control. Even as the Biden administration thinks about building a new generation of doomsday weapons, it needs to sit down and begin a conversation with China about strategic forces that’s becoming more urgent every day.

The Woes of Asian Nuclear Procurement

Procurement: South Asian Weapons Woes
April 25, 2021: India and Pakistan, two South Asian nations that have been military adversaries since the late 1940s, have both had difficulty developing local defense industries. That is still a problem but in the last five years (2016-20) both nations have made major changes in how they handle imports and local manufacturing. Pakistan has become almost entirely dependent on China for weapons, and is the major customer for Chinese military exports. India, in contrast, has cut military imports by a third, mainly by making major reductions in what it buys from Russia. In response to this, Russia has offered Pakistan weapons similar to what China delivers. Russia points out that having two main suppliers creates competition that great for the customer.

India wants to continue reducing its dependence on imports, even it means accepting clearly inferior (to Western and Chinese alternatives) weapons. During the Cold War India declared itself neutral but became a major importer of Russian weapons because they were cheaper, and Russia more willing to transfer manufacturing technology so India could build many of the Russian weapons under license. Pakistan obtained most of its imported weapons from European and American manufacturers.

After the Cold War both Pakistan and India made major efforts to develop and produce major weapons systems, and both largely failed. Except for nuclear weapons, which both nations developed internally by the late 1990s, and ballistic missile tech based on what they could obtain from China and Russia respectively, Pakistan and India have handled their failures to develop and build their own conventional weapons differently. India believes its nuclear weapons aimed at China will prevent major losses on the border while Pakistan, even with superior Chinese weapons, is not a major threat.

In contrast Pakistan, or at least the Pakistani military, has long considered India a military threat, despite the fact that India does not reciprocate. The only dispute the two nations have is over who should own the border province of Kashmir. Technically it belonged to India according to the 1948 agreement both nations developed to handle the separation of British India into Moslem and non-Moslem portions. Pakistan reneged on that deal at the last minute and grabbed about half of Kashmir. Pakistan has been fighting, unsuccessfully, ever since to obtain the rest of Kashmir. After three failed wars, in the 1980s Pakistan switched to a campaign of supporting Islamic terrorism in Kashmir. That failed as well but the Pakistani military insists on continuing to try.

India considered the Pakistani efforts to regain Kashmir a secondary defense concern as India had more problems with leftist rebels in eastern India and tribal separatists in the northeast. The Pakistani Islamic terrorism policy eventually, over the last two decades, led to an end of American military imports and total dependence on China. During that period China renewed long (since the 1950s) dormant claims on portions of the Indian and Pakistani border territory. Pakistan gave up what China wanted while India refused. Now China and India are confronting each other in disputed border areas, with a growing number of violent clashes. This made it clear that China was militarily superior to India while India maintained its military superiority versus Pakistan. China did not become a military ally of Pakistan because China does not have allies, it has foreign customers for Chinese products, including weapons and will adjust its diplomacy to further that. China has a military defense treaty with North Korea, but that is only to ensure that North Korea remains a compliant neighbor of China and nothing else.

During and after the Cold War (1948-1991) Pakistan and India relied on importing many of their weapons. This was unpopular in both countries, especially since much smaller nations, like Israel and South Korea were becoming developers and manufacturers of world-class defense equipment and weapons while India and Pakistan largely failed to do so. What was particularly embarrassing for India was that China, with the same population as India has, since the 1990s, far surpassed India in economic growth and the ability to manufacture world class weapons. Back in 1948, when India became independent of British colonial rule and China was reunited after two decades dealing with invasion and civil war, India had a larger GDP and more modern military. Pakistan consisted of Moslem majority portions of British India and became an independent state because Moslem leaders in British India insisted and the rest of India was willing to go along with that. Since 1948 India evolved into the world’s largest democracy with the military firmly under government control while Pakistan evolved into an army with a country attached. While both nations are democracies with fair voting and many political parties, the Pakistani military has become a major, if technically illegal power broker in Pakistani politics.

Another major development in the past five years it the Pakistani government budget and economy undergoing a crisis caused by unwillingness to control corruption and military spending. The problem has been building for years but has now created a fiscal disaster as Pakistan ran out of nations willing to provide military aid or loans. As a result, Pakistan has had to cut back on military imports and instead pay more attention to upgrading or refurbishing existing equipment. That was a serious problem because the foe the Pakistani military is preparing to fight has a lot more money, people and creditworthiness. This made Chinese offers to supply cheaper weapons and massive investments in building needed infrastructure projects palatable. The billions in Chinese investments went to build rail, pipeline and road links from China to Pakistan and the Indian Ocean. Many Pakistanis opposed this policy but the military insisted and that was that.

The Pakistani generals still pushed the idea that India might invade with non-nuclear forces. Anyone paying attention to Indian media and politics would realize that isn’t true but the Pakistani military needed to maintain the illusion of an Indian “threat” to justify its relatively large military budget. With that Pakistan maintains an active-duty force of 650,000 troops using a large number of older, but upgraded, tanks and warplanes. India has more modern equipment and a million troops on active duty.

The Indian population is six times larger and the Indian economy (GDP) is ten times that of Pakistan. India spends nearly $66 billion a year on defense, the fifth largest defense budget on the planet, right behind the United States, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan barely makes the top 20 with $12 billion. Indian spending is 3.1 percent of GDP while Pakistan is now at four percent. The usual general financial support for the military did not survive the Pakistani debt crises of 2019, and now the Pakistani military has lost most of its recent budget gains and is likely to lose even more.

Pakistan has fought several wars with India since 1948 and lost all of them. What Pakistan does have going for it is Chinese claims on a lot of Indian territory. India and China fought a brief border war in 1967 which India lost, along with some territory high in the mountains where most of the India-China border is. Both China and India have nuclear-armed ballistic missiles aimed at each other so if there are going to be any wars, they will be small scale and brief ones on this high-altitude mountain border. Unlike Pakistan, China is a real threat to India.

At the same time, India and Pakistan share a border that contains lots of flat, lowland terrain that has been the scene of tank battles in the past. As a result, Pakistan tries to maintain a force of tanks equal, at least in numbers, to the more modern Indian tank fleet.

All this leaves Pakistan on its own to maintain a credible force of armored vehicles to face the “Indian threat.” The Pakistani air force is largely dependent on F-16s bought from the United States over the last few decades and upgraded somewhat since then. But now with American aid gone along with cash for additional (and often much needed) refurbishment for the 78 remaining F-16s, Pakistan is more dependent on a hundred or more of the Chinese JF-17s. This is a Chinese design that is similar to the F-16 but only Pakistan uses it. China prefers other aircraft it has designed and only got the JF-17 into production so Pakistan could assemble most of them in Pakistan and call them “Pakistani built” fighters. Most Pakistani fighters are about 600 older French and Chinese models.

There was a similar situation with tanks but early in 2019, Pakistan decided to get out of the tank design/development/manufacturing business, at least for now. Because of that, the army placed an order for a hundred Chinese made 52-ton VT4/MBT-3000 tanks. This order is now on hold because of the budget cuts. The VT4 is an updated version of the 330 46 ton VT1/MBT-2000/Al Khalid tanks Pakistan already has. The Al Khalid was a joint China-Pakistan project to create a Pakistani tank that built in Pakistan. Basically, Al Khalid was a variant of the Chinese VT1 (also known as the MBT2000). The VT1 was the export version of the Chinese Type 90 tank. Actually, the Type 90 (an improved T-72) was not accepted by the Chinese army which preferred the 54-ton Type 99, a superior T-72 variant that entered service in 2001 and underwent a major upgrade (the 58-ton Type 99A) in 2011 and is still in production.

The rest of the 2,000 Pakistani tanks are based on much older (1950s) Russian models, with some upgrades. Pakistan also looked at the latest Ukraine had to offer but decided to go with China, which has access to more advanced tech than Ukraine and is willing to be competitive when it comes to price. This confidence in China was based on how the 2012 agreement worked out. For that deal, Pakistan and China also agreed to jointly market the Al Khalid tank but had limited success. That was because there were a lot of improved T-72s on the market, including the Chinese MBT-2000. Al Khalid was more expensive to develop as Pakistan began the project in 1991 and made a lot of mistakes. The Al Khalid ended up costing ten percent more than the MBT-2000, and Pakistan was unable to keep its costs under control when it came time to develop and a major upgrade for Al Khalid. It was pointed out that China already had what Pakistan wanted in the VT4. In the end the Al Khalid demonstrated why Pakistan has never been a major player in the arms export business and this deal with China was more for show than anything else.

Because of the current budget crisis, the military released a long list of alternate procurement plans that rely on items that can be produced locally. The air force plans to increase JF-17 production from 16 a year to 24. Work will also continue on developing UAVs and building them in Pakistan. Design and development will also continue on the AZM fifth generation (stealth) fighter. This is largely a propaganda effort because Pakistan expressed interest in buying one of the two new Chinese stealth fighter designs but could not afford it, and China has reduced its own construction plans because of performance issues. Most of the local procurement will be rebuilding or refurbishing older armored vehicles with local electronic or mechanical items. This does not improve the Pakistani arsenal as much as it tries to maintain what it has. In this respect, Pakistan has something of an edge over India. The military procurement bureaucracy India is burdened with is spectacularly inefficient and a major reason why India does not have much better weapons than Pakistan. The Indian military knows this but Indian politicians refuse to recognize the problem, which is a tremendous benefit for the Pakistani military. Even with that, and the Chinese threat to India, Pakistan is still not a major conventional military threat to India.

With China the major threat, India has to obtain the best weapons possible to deal with that. As a result, the remaining imports, which are still substantial, concentrate on systems India cannot produce at all. This includes first-line jet fighters like the Russian Su-30, and French Rafale. India still buys air defense and electronic items from Israel and specialized UAVs from the United States. Russia has a more modern and recent fleet of the latest Russian tank models. In fact, India has more of these T-90 tanks than Russia. India is trying to eliminate its dependence on Russia for modern warships but continues to encounter problems with Indian built nuclear submarines. Indian ballistic missiles appear to be competitive, as are their nuclear weapons. New restrictions on military imports are forcing the armed forces and Indian manufacturers to catch up in the areas of developing and manufacturing competitive modern weapons. This isn’t easy because India has a long, and growing, list of locally developed systems that failed, even after several generations of “improved” models.

Iranian Horn says 60% uranium enrichment response to Israel’s ‘nuclear terrorism’

Iran says 60% uranium enrichment response to Israel’s ‘nuclear terrorism’
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh April 13, 2021 14:05
TEHRAN/JEDDAH: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday Tehran’s decision to boost uranium enrichment to 60 percent was a response to Israel’s “nuclear terrorism,” three days after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility.

“Enabling IR-6 (centrifuges) at Natanz today, or bringing enrichment to 60 percent: this is the response to your malice,” Rouhani said in televised remarks. “What you did was nuclear terrorism. What we do is legal.”

The new move casts a cloud over talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, after former US President Donald Trump abandoned it three years ago.

Enriching uranium to 60 percent from Iran’s current 20 percent would take the fissile material closer to the 90 percent required to make a nuclear bomb. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi also said it would activate 1,000 advanced centrifuge machines at Natanz, which was crippled on Sunday by an explosion that knocked out its power supply. Israel’s Mossad spy agency is thought to have been behind the attack.

The blast at the underground Natanz plant was a “very bad gamble” that would boost Tehran’s leverage in the talks to salvage the nuclear deal, which resume on Thursday in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

“I assure you that in the near future more advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges will be placed in the Natanz facility,” he said.

The Vienna talks began last week, when Iran and other signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) held what they described as “constructive” discussions about salvaging the deal, which collapsed when Trump reimposed economic sanctions on Tehran and Iran began breaching its limits on uranium enrichment.

Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has said he will ease sanctions when Iran returns to compliance with the deal. Iran insists sanctions must be lifted first. In addition, Israel and US allies in the Gulf oppose any revived agreement that does not address Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional meddling through proxy militias in Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.

The JCPOA had capped the level of purity to which Iran can enrich uranium hexafluoride, the feedstock for centrifuges, at 3.6 percent, far below the 90 percent needed for bomb-grade material.

Iran in recent months has raised enrichment to 20 percent purity, a level at which uranium is considered to be highly enriched and is a significant step toward weapons grade. Civilian nuclear power plants, which Iran claims are its only objective, only require enrichment to between 3 percent and 5 percent.

The biggest obstacle to producing nuclear weapons is accumulating sufficient quantities of fissile material, either 90 percent enriched uranium or plutonium, for the core of a bomb. Western intelligence services believe Iran had a clandestine nuclear weapons program that was suspended in 2003.

Iran’s technical decision to make a nuclear bomb: Daniel 8

Iran says method change in enriching 60-pct uranium “technical decision”

April 24, 2021

The recent change in the method of 60-percent uranium enrichment in Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility is a “technical decision,” which the International Atomic Energy Agency was informed of, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to the international organizations in Vienna, said on Friday.

“There is no need for odd speculations. Change in the mode of 60-percent enrichment is a technical decision,” Gharibabadi tweeted.

In the new mode, two IR-6 and IR-4 cascades of centrifuges are coupled, and two different products of 60 percent and 20 percent are accumulated, the Iranian envoy explained.

“Enrichment operation became more efficient,” he noted.

On April 16, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced the start of producing uranium enriched at a 60-percent purity after a blackout struck the country’s central Natanz enrichment facility.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn and the Relevance of Nuclear Terrorism

Revival of Iran Nuclear Deal and the Relevance of Nuclear Terrorism

Nimra DawoodFebruary 18, 2021

The recent cyber-attack on eight meter underground  Natanz nuclear facility of Iran caused damage to the centrifuges operating in the installment, for which they allegedly blamed Israel, is seen as a threat for the revival of negotiations between P5+1 and Iran on JCPOA. Iran terms it as “nuclear terrorism” for which it will respond by increasing the nuclear enrichment up to 60%, though not enough for producing nuclear weapon but is very huge deviation from the 3.76% enrichment allowed under JCPOA. This article tries to understand the possible reasons behind these attacks along with the impacts that would be caused on the revival of JCPOA through such attacks.

JCPOA under Trump Administration:

JCPOA was thought to be a great success of Obama administration as it enabled a formal negotiation among P5+1 members and Iran that would prevent another state from acquiring nuclear power. This concern was more prominent in context of Iran because after 1979 revolution, it was thought that Iran cannot properly handle such a big responsibility especially when it sponsors extremist groups and militias in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. Along with this, the tussle between Iran and its regional rivals like Saudi Arabia and its allies particularly Israel, from which it is fighting through groups like Hezbollah and Hamas was also a reason. Trump after becoming President withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 due to the flaws in the deal itself. According to him, the nuclear deal did not mention permanent solution to get rid of Iran’s nuclear designs and also had no mention of the development of ballistic missiles and support to militias in the Middle East. The imposition of sanctions on Iran caused an internal pressure for Iran which was mitigated by carrying out secret and covert sites for the enrichment of uranium. Such sites were exposed by Israel in 2018 by leaking out thousands of secret documents containing details of Iranian ambitions and deviation from the terms and conditions of JCPOA.

Why is Israel against this deal?
If JCPOA is a deal that would curtail the nuclear ambitions of Iran then why would it’s archrival, Israel condemns this deal with several attempts (claimed by Iran) to sabotage the key nuclear sites and assassinate the scientist of Iran? Netanyahu has mentioned frequently that this deal comprises of several flaws including short term agreements, no mention of ballistic missiles, weak focus on checks and inspections by IAEA and an upper hand to Iran on economic front after the implementation of this deal which can result in heavy support of militias against Israel or re-operationalization of covert struggles for acquiring nukes. This would also threaten the strategic military edge of Israel and its regional nuclear hegemony.

Non-Compliance by Iran:

IAEA has verified that Iran had crossed the limits set under JCPOA to maintain the stockpiles of uranium and heavy water in Nov, 2019 and since then has increased the amount of uranium percentage from 3.67 to 4.5 percentage per Uranium-235. Later on, under the new nuclear law passed by the Iran Guardian Council the enrichment percentage of uranium up to 20 with abundance of stockpiles was permitted. Iran has responded to the concern shown by other members of the deal by affirming reversal from this law if US rejoins JCPOA along with the withdrawal of all sanctions. We can say that these changes are made by Iran to get attention from the major powers in order to get US again into the deal, ensuring an end to the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. Iran wants to have good economic conditions but no state is willing to trade and start developmental project due to the pressure from US. Same was the case of India which had to stop work on Chahbahar port in Iran although it was very crucial for it to develop trade links with central Asian republics and balancing the effects of CPEC.

Historical Relevance:

In 2010, the world first digital weapon was discovered which was used to disrupt the Iranian centrifuges in the Natanz site. The virus was known as Stuxnet that caused a physical damage to the computer rather than mere hijacking and controlling. It is now widely accepted that Stuxnet was a joint venture of Israel and USA that started under President Bush and continued during the Obama presidency. The attack however was never accepted by officials of both countries but a video surfaced in 2011,celebrating the retirement of Israeli Defense Forces head which declared Stuxnet as one of his great successes. The purpose of that attack was to derail the Iranian program for achieving its aim of forming a nuclear weapon. Similarly, the purpose of recent attack was to weaken the position of Iran in the negotiation talks occurring in Vienna and expose the vulnerability and economic costs of standing against major powers.

The Foreign Minister of Iran, Saeed Khitabzadeh responded to the concerns put forth by the GCC countries, demanding a proper response to the latest announcement of Iran for the enrichment of Uranium as “immature and irresponsible.” And various sources have confirmed that second round of nuclear deal negotiation are taking place as it was scheduled earlier, with apparently no impact of recent attacks on Natanz. However, Israel is not a participant to these talks and extreme internal pressure is exerted on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take constructive measures against their “existential threat” and confront the reality.

 It has become crucial for all involved parties to act proactively and gain maximum interests out of it, where Iran on one side does not want to appear aggressive for uplifting the sanctions and reviving the talks with USA, they are also facing severe economic downfall with rapid declining foreign investments and oil trade. This deal is needed to mitigate both internal pressure as well as for running the proxies in various countries of the Middle East. Biden had run his election campaign by stressing on the importance of multilateralism and regaining the role of US in the world. This would require it to play a significant role in the revival of JCPOA and most importantly making it favorable for the US. In between these two states, Israel is facing a dilemma as its involvement in any substantive or military engagement with Iran can make the situation worse but remaining silent would affect their stance of Iran and its approach to Iranian Nuclear deal. In case of sabotaging the nuclear deal, Israel will cause harm to the national interest of US, which Netanyahu would not want to do in context of Israel’s internal political situations. So it can be concluded that the current negotiations will continue despite these attacks but to predict the nature and objectives of the new draft resolution is difficult and immature.

Iran Unifies with the Pakistani nuclear horn: Daniel 8:8

Iran urges boosting trade, security cooperation with Pakistan

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for the enhancement of security and economic cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad.

“Security is a common concern for the two countries, and it is essential to boost cooperation in this regard,” Rouhani said in a meeting on Wednesday with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

He also stressed the need to promote security along the Iran-Pakistan borders, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Iranian President urged for the promotion of Tehran-Islamabad ties in trade, energy and border markets, adding it is necessary for both sides to implement the signed agreements to further cooperation.

Also, Iran stands ready to work with Pakistan towards the peace process in Afghanistan, he noted.

Also Read | Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says parliament nuclear bill ‘harmful’

The Pakistani Foreign Minister, for his part, hailed the relations between the two countries as “cordial” and called for the promotion of all-out ties.

Iran and Pakistan will hopefully witness a new chapter in their ties, especially in the fields of trade and economy, said Qureshi.

He also backed the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a “big diplomatic achievement”.

“We are very happy that the JCPOA has been preserved with the efforts of Iran, and today we are witnessing negotiations again to revive this multilateral agreement,” the Pakistani diplomat said.

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to establish joint border markets in efforts to strengthen cross-border economic exchanges.

The agreement, which was signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Qureshi, aims to promote economic relations between the two countries and the welfare of border residents.

The border markets will be administrated based on the agreements and protocols between the two sides.

Qureshi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a three-day official visit.

Earlier on Wednesday, the third joint border crossing between the two countries was opened.