December 7, 2011

Iran News Roundup 12/7

Details continue to emerge about fallen U.S. drone
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. drone that was recently downed in Iran was flying deep inside Iranian airspace when it crashed (Washington Post 12/7).  Additionally, the Huffington Post writes that drone was part of a “fleet of stealth aircraft that have spied on Iran for years from a U.S. air base in Afghanistan” (Huffington Post 12/6).  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal the US had plans to retrieve the drone inside Iran but opted against it because it could be considered as an act of war (Wall Street Journal 12/7).
Saudi Arabia pressing for sanctions while threatening to pursue nuclear weapons
Oil has risen for the fourth straight day due to concerns about supplies given considerations of an oil embargo against Iran (Businessweek 12/7). AFP reported last week, according to comments made by Senator Mark Kirk, Saudi Arabian officials are eager to help fill any production gap caused by an Iranian oil embargo, which would presumably lead to billions of dollars in additional profits.  Today the Associated Press is reporting that for the first time the Saudi’s, “in a remark designed to send chills through the Obama administration” publically threatened that unless steps are taken to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that they will pursue a nuclear capability of their own (Associated Press 12/7). 
Notable Opinion
In an Atlantic Council op-ed, Dominic Tierney says that the Iran Threat Reduction Act is an “insane plan to outlaw diplomacy with Iran.”

In an almost unprecedented move, the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 1905) includes a clause that reads, “No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that … is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran.”
The notion of outlawing contact with Iran is one of those ideas that at first glance sounds merely awful — and then upon reflection, seems truly dreadful.
The United States does not have formal relations with Iran but Washington engages in a variety of unofficial contacts, most of which would become illegal. The bill would outlaw discussion with Iran about ways to end its nuclear program, even though this is a supposed aim of U.S. foreign policy. It would also stop the United States and Iran from cooperating in areas like Afghanistan, where there is actually some overlap of interests in avoiding a Taliban resurgence.

To read the full piece click here.
Additional Notable News:

A Reuters article reports that the Obama administration does not know what Israel’s plans are regarding a future military strike against Iran.
The Washington Post reports that the Virtual Embassy created by the U.S. to forge a better dialogue with Iranian citizens, was blocked by the Iranian government less than a day after it was launched.
Haaretz reports that Australia has decided to expand Iranian sanctions “to target people and companies involved in Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs and will restrict Australia’s business with Iran’s petroleum and financial sectors.”
A piece in the NY Times states that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Salehi claims that Iran will take steps to ensure that attacks like that the one on the UK’s Embassy “will not recur.”

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