Iraq’s Parliament Just Passed a Law Criminalizing Ties with Israel

Last week, Iraq’s parliament passed a law titled “Criminalizing Normalization and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity,” which is set to take effect within the next two weeks. It significantly expands upon a similar law passed in 1969, which made “normalizing ties with Israel” punishable by death. As the editors of the Jerusalem Post note, the move runs counter both to the growing trend among Middle Eastern countries to improve relations with the Jewish state, and to the wishes of many Iraqi leaders.

Last September, some 300 courageous Iraqi leaders, including prominent Sunni and Shiite figures, met at a conference organized by the Center for Peace Communications, a New York-based think tank. It took place in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and called for the normalization of ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords.

Although many of these leaders faced retribution, their act was a sign that there are rational members of the Iraqi population and leadership who want to move forward and create a better world.

The anti-normalization law was proposed by the populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party, which has a majority in the Iraqi assembly, opposes ties with both Israel and the United States. It appears to be a message directed mainly toward Iran and Sadr’s Shiite home base.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Iraq, Israel-Arab relations

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy