White House Faces Internal Disagreements, Foreign Pressures Ahead of Nuclear Certification Deadline

US President Donald Trump is required to report to Congress on Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement by October 15. In September he indicated that he had arrived at a decision about whether to certify that compliance, but would not reveal that decision ahead of time. Previously, though, he had speculated that Iran would be declared out of compliance, adding that if not for input from his foreign policy advisors he would have withheld certification at the earliest opportunity.

Dual National Wins Lawsuit Against Iran, but Others Continue to Suffer

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that a US District Court judge in Washington DC had ordered Iran to pay 63.5 million dollars to Amir Hekmati, one of four American citizens who were released from the Islamic Republic of Iran in January of last year, in a prisoner exchange that coincided with the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The judgment brings renewed attention to the larger issue of Iran’s attacks on dual nationals and persons with notable connections to Western entities – an issue that certainly remains of serious concern to this day.

Iran Exploits Crises in Kurdistan and Elsewhere to Expand Regional Influence

On Monday, Reuters reported that the Iranian military had positioned a dozen tanks on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, in what Kurdish authorities described as a dangerous escalation of tensions. Those tensions began in earnest last week after the Iraqi Kurds held an independence referendum, which has caused the governments of Iraq, Turkey, and Iran to band together in opposition to the push for Kurdish independence. Prior to the tank deployment, Iran also reportedly stationed missiles near the border of the Kurdish region of Turkey, as well as carrying out threatening military maneuvers in coordination with the Turkish military.

Amidst Kurdish Crisis: More Regional Influence for Iran, and More Efforts to Oppose It

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that an Iraqi military delegation had traveled to Iran to discuss future strategic cooperation between the two countries. It was the latest in a long line of indicators of entrenched and deepening Iranian influence on the broader Middle East. The meetings between Iraqi and Iranian officials were apparently motivated by Monday’s independence referendum in the northern, Kurdish region of Iraq. That vote appears to be helping to tighten the connections not only between Iraq and Iran but also between those two countries and Turkey, which has traditionally had strained relations with the Islamic Republic.

Iran's "Defense Week" Sees Upsurge in Both Military and Economic Propaganda

On Monday, just days after it was reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had premiered the domestically-produced Khorramshahr ballistic missile in a military parade, the Associated Press reported that the IRGC also put the Russian-made S-300 missile defense system on public display in central Tehran. Both ceremonies were presented as part of Defense Week, the annual commemoration of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, which doubles as an annual outlet for anti-Western propaganda.

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