Blogs

Team Obama's PR Blunders on the $400 Million for Iran

On August 5, I wrote in these pages that the Obama administration's $1.7 billion settlement with the Iranian government—coinciding with the transfer of five Americans from Iranian custody in exchange for seven Iranians in U.S. custody—was being politicized by congressional Republicans and used as a way to further bludgeon President Barack Obama's foreign policy in an intensely competitive election year.

3 Reasons Russia's Bombers in Iran Were a Big Deal

What are we to make of the Russian military's use of an Iranian air base last week as a staging point for airstrikes in Syria? U.S. intelligence officials have been working on this question and the U.S. State Department was caught flat-footed by the development. “[W]e’re trying to get a better assessment of what’s going on,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in a briefing on August 17, but “fundamentally this isn’t helpful.”

Saving Face in Tehran

Well, that didn't last long, did it? Barely a week after the announcement that Russian warplanes were using a base in Iran to launch airstrikes in Syria, Iran withdrew its permission to use the base. This development underscores how the Russian use of the base did not indicate some new “alliance”, as much commentary suggested. Iranian officials were not using that term. As I wrote after the announcement, Russians and Iranians were still not buddies.

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