Iran

Spotlight on Iran (December 1 –15, 2019)

Iran is continuing to try to minimize the impact of the ongoing protests in Iraq on Iranian interests in the country, and particularly economic interests. Against the backdrop of ongoing Iranian efforts to entrench its foothold in Albu Kamal, on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Iraqi border, Arab media outlets reported about recent strikes carried out against targets linked to Iran and pro-Iranian militias. A Lebanese news website reported about an unusual deployment of Hezbollah and forces linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Qods Force near the town of Rankous on the Qalamoon mountain range, north of Damascus, ahead of a possible revenge attack in retaliation to IDF strikes in Syria.
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Spotlight on Iran (November 17, 2019 – December 1, 2019)

In response to the launch of rockets from Syria toward Israel on November 19, the next day, the IDF struck targets of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Syrian Army. Iran maintained ambiguity with regards to the IDF strike on IRGC targets. The American TV network, Fox News, published satellite imagery showing that Iran is rebuilding the Imam Ali base near Albu Kamal, on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Iraqi border. As part of the ongoing protests in Iraq, on the night of November 27, protesters torched the Iranian consulate in Najaf, southern Iraq. The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke with the Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
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Spotlight on Iran (November 3, 2019 – November 17, 2019)

Iran vociferously condemned the IDF’s targeted killing of the senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad Commander, Bahaa’ Abu al-‘Ata. In early November, Iran and Syria signed an agreement on cooperation in the electricity sector, which includes the expansion and rehabilitation of Syria’s electrical grid by Iranian firms. Iran is working to mediate between the Shi’ite factions in the Iraqi parliament to end the ongoing crisis.
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Spotlight on Iran (October 20 – November 3, 2019)

The responses of Iranian official to the assassination of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, reflected an Iranian attempt to minimize the significance of the American action and attribute it to domestic political calculations in the United States. Iran welcomed the agreement reached between the Russian and Turkish presidents concerning the withdrawal of Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria. Following the protests in Lebanon and Iraq, Iranian officials, chief among them Supreme Leader Khamenei, blamed the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia for fomenting the protests. Against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to end the war in Yemen, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs met in Tehran the spokesman of the Houthi rebels in Yemen and discussed the latest developments in the country and ongoing political negotiations concerning the settlement of the war in Yemen.
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Spotlight on Iran (October 6, 2019 – October 20, 2019)

Iran condemned the Turkish invasion of northern Syria and demanded that Turkey halt the operation. Iranian officials and media have been presenting the wave of protests that rocked Iraq in early October as a sign of a “Western plot” and blamed the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Western media for fanning the flames of the protests. In mid-October, over three million Iranian pilgrims arrived in Iraq to mark the ‘Arbaeen holy day, which marks the end of the 40 mourning days of the death of the Shia Imam Hussein (marked on the ‘Ashoura holy day).
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Iran’s Conduct in Recent Months Indicates a Shift to Direct Military Action over Use of Proxies

Since abandoning its “strategic patience” policy in May 2019, which Iran adopted following the announcement by U.S. President, Donald Trump, in May 2018, to withdraw from the JCPOA and re-impose sanctions against it, Tehran initiated a number of offensive operations in the Persian Gulf region
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