Insider news & Analysis in Iran

On Thursday, the Washington Post published an article detailing the escalating tensions between the United States and supporters of the Assad regime in Syria, as ISIL power in the region continues to diminish. The article reiterates that ISIL’s de facto capital of Raqqa seems to be on the verge of falling, and that this development will send the Syrian Civil War into a new phase, with US-backed and Iran-backed forces competing directly for strategically significant swaths of reclaimed territory.

On Monday, Western media was abuzz with reports of the previous day’s ballistic missile strike that had been carried out in eastern Syria by Iranian forces. This was one of several recent stories that seemed to point to worsening tensions among various stakeholders in regional affairs, including Iran and its longstanding adversaries Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.

On Tuesday, NPR was among the outlets to report on recent remarks by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, commenting on the aftermath of last week’s ISIL-linked terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi claimed over the weekend that the mastermind of the attacks had been killed by Iranian security forces in a border region. He added that those forces had also broken up 25 terrorist cells in just the past three months.

It seems like the fight over Azad University with its 230-300 thousand billion tomans of wealth, seizing control of which has always been a source of conflict between regime’s rival bands, has stepped up following Rafsanjani’s death.

On Tuesday, the international media’s coverage of the Middle East was largely dominated by reporting on and discussion of the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a number of its fellow Arab states. Saudi Arabia and several of its regional partners broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday and also moved to isolate the country as completely as possible, grounding flights going to it from their own airports and cutting off land and sea routes as well.

Last week the Iranian Oil Ministry made a number of boastful statements regarding its prospects for increased production and exports. EA Worldview reported, for instance, that Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh had promoted plans for an increase of petroleum output from current estimated levels of 3.8 million barrels per day to 4.7 million barrels.

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