Follow us on social

Shutterstock_1240899265-scaled

Iranian activists slam Natanz attack, call for diplomatic response

Nearly 300 Iranian artists, authors, and academics urged their government to stay on course for JCPOA reimplementation.

Reporting | Middle East

Hundreds of Iranian civility society activists have condemned the recent attack on the country’s nuclear facility, which they say was aimed at derailing talks in Vienna on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA.

Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran, and Russia are currently meeting in Vienna to reach an agreement on the necessary steps for bring the United States and Iran into compliance with the 2015 accord. A U.S. delegation is also in Vienna but not talking directly to Iranian diplomats.

In a collective statement, nearly 300 prominent Iranian academics, artists, authors, and pro-democracy activists described the recent sabotage at the country’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility as “nuclear terrorism.”

Accusing Israel of being behind the attack, the activists say that the operation’s ultimate goal was to scuttle diplomacy between Iran and world powers on how to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, which former President Trump unilaterally abandoned in 2018. After withdrawing from the deal, the United States reimposed stringent economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the JCPOA in return for the country scaling back its nuclear program.

Many in Iran’s pro-democracy movement believe that U.S. sanctions have taken a particularly heavy toll on the country.

Both before and after the JCPOA’s finalization in July 2015, many leading Iranian dissidents, activists, and political prisoners wrote letters to former President Obama and Congress expressing their support for diplomacy and the removal of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

According to the recent civil society statement, there are strong signs that the recent attack on the Natanz facility may have been an attempt to provoke Iran into withdrawing from the talks in Vienna. The activists urged their government to exercise caution in response to the attack on the Natanz facility and to pursue the matter through the U.N. Security Council. The “most logical and powerful response” to such an attack, they insist, is progress in talks on the JCPOA’s revival. They also call on the United Nations to launch a probe in order to prevent similar attacks from taking place in the future.

Despite the support of prominent civil society groups for the lifting of sanctions and the revival of the JCPOA, proponents of hawkish policies continue to point to Iran’s human rights record and democratic deficit as justification for more sanctions on Iran.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (Photo: Alexandros Michailidis via shutterstock.com)
Reporting | Middle East
Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

QiOSK

This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered his starkest warning yet about the need for new military aid from the United States.

“It’s important to specifically address the Congress,” Zelensky said. “If the Congress doesn’t help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war.”

keep readingShow less
Biden should not follow Netanyahu into war with Iran
photo : U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Biden should not follow Netanyahu into war with Iran

Middle East

The U.S. and Israel have been raising the alarm of a possible Iranian retaliatory strike in response to last week’s Israeli attack on an Iranian diplomatic facility in Damascus. The president once again pledged “ironclad” U.S. support for Israel in the event of an Iranian response, and the head of Central Command, Gen. Erik Kurilla, was reportedly headed to Israel Thursday to coordinate with Israeli leaders ahead of the expected strike. The administration is moving in the wrong direction. The U.S. ought to be distancing itself from Israel’s illegal attack, but instead the Biden administration is moving to shield Israel from the consequences of its own actions.

Israeli forces have routinely struck Iranian and other targets in Syria for more than a decade, but the attack on the consulate in Damascus was a major escalation both in terms of the location and the rank of the Iranian officers that were killed. The Israeli government appears to want to goad Iran into a military response to divert attention from the slaughter and famine in Gaza and to trap the U.S. into joining the fight. The president has made it that much easier for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by volunteering to walk into the trap.

keep readingShow less
Shutterstock_1761729383-scaled
House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (Photo: VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com)
House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (Photo: VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com)

Top House Dem blasts 'nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine' approach

QiOSK

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) offered a rare Democratic rebuke of the Biden administration’s rhetoric on the war in Ukraine during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Smith, the ranking member on the committee, was following up on questions from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) to Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, on whether the administration considered the repatriation of Crimea and the Donbas as necessary for a Ukrainian victory.

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest