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The Future of the Current World Order: Implications for Israel and the Jewish People

This will apply with particular force to the Kurdish issue, which has enormous potential to complicate U. Turkey is likely to emerge as a formidable power straddling the Middle East and Europe, as well as a potential model in a loose sense for the future development of Middle Eastern and Muslim polities. Domestic lobbies in the United States that denigrate Turkey's importance or attempt to obstruct the further development of U.

Turkey, like Iran, is a pivotal power in the region, and no durable structure of regional security can be established without its participation. Fourth, it is essential that the United States change its policy of unquestioning support to Israel and use of double standards, including on the issue of Israel's noncompliance with UN Security Council resolutions concerning Jerusalem, Jewish settlements and its treatment of the occupied population.

The United States should begin to treat Israel as a part of its foreign-policy calculus toward the Middle East rather than as an extension of domestic American politics, despite the pressure generated by both AIPAC and the Christian Right. Israel's security should be underwritten by the United States on Washington's terms and not those dictated by Israel.

The almost craven support extended to Ariel Sharon's policies by the Bush administration has left the distinct impression in many quarters that Israel no longer acts as America's proxy in the Middle East which was the perception during the Cold War years and into the s, and which the Arabs could understand if not appreciate but that America now acts as Israel's proxy in the region. Nothing has hurt American standing in the Middle East more than this perceived reversal of roles with the tail appearing to wag the dog. Time for a solution based on the two-state formula is running out fast, thanks to Israel's policy of creating new realities on the ground in the West Bank.

Washington will have to face much more wrenching choices once the Palestinian Authority collapses totally and the Palestinian demand shifts to a binational one-state solution. It would also intervention, and work with the major curb the growth of Islamist extremism that regional states, such as Iran and Turkey, feeds transnational networks like al-Qaeda.

The participation of Islamist political formations in open polities and the shift toward post-Islamism taken together will narrow the operational space for transnational extremist organizations and substantially reduce, if not eliminate, their recruitment pool in the Middle East. Therefore, while in the short run Washington may face greater problems in the relationship with some of the Middle Eastern governments that succeed today's authoritarian rulers, in the long term such changes will help the United States meet the terrorism challenge much more effectively than is possible either by military means or by supporting authoritarian regimes that claim to combat Islamism.

In short, it would be productive for the United States to abjure an overweening posture in the region, disavow unilateral intervention, and work with the major regional states, such as Iran and Turkey, not merely to ensure energy supplies at affordable rates but to prevent this strategic region from turning irretrievably hostile to wider American strategic and economic interests.

An essential precondition for such a collaborative endeavor would be to respect the strategic autonomy of important regional states and demonstrate sensitivity to popular opinion on issues such as Palestine that Middle Eastern populations consider to be vitally important.


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Public diplomacy cannot succeed unless the substance of policy undergoes an urgently required transformation. It is essential that the United States evolves a new paradigm and change the direction of its policies toward the Middle East immediately if it is to regain a position of trust and safeguard its strategic interests in the region.

It may be much too late by , or even by To look forward almost a quarter century, it may be useful to look back for a similar period to see if any trajectories can be discerned. Patterns of change that have unfolded over the past 25 years may not only have some bearing on the future, they may continue. It is improbable that if, indeed, trends have existed for a generation in national political and economic systems, in intraregional relations, in the roles of political Islam and political violence, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and in U. If such trends can be identified, therefore, they should provide useful baselines from which to assess future prospects.

In the early s, the Middle East was still in the twilight of the nationalist era. One-party regimes or absolute monarchies held sway in virtually all Arab countries. Political liberalization had yet to commence in earnest. In the one Arab republic that had experimented with political reform in the s, Sadat's Egypt, authoritarianism had quickly been reestablished. In the Gulf, only Kuwait had a functioning legislature. Turkey had recently experienced a military intervention into politics, and the high command retained substantial influence over Turgut Ozal's new government.

The grip of Boumeddiene and the FLN in Algeria remained tight, Qadhafi's Libya was in an extremist, populist phase, and Tunisia was laboring under the whimsical authoritarianism of a virtually senile Bourguiba. Only Egypt had experimented with neoliberal economic reforms in the s, but that experiment had also been short-lived.

The established economic orthodoxy remained a teetering import-substitution industrialization, although by , it was clear that this was a dead-end. The political courage necessary to recognize this and take appropriate action had, however, yet to be mustered. Twenty-five years later, much has changed and, for the most part, changed for the better.

Both monarchies and republics have liberalized, if not democratized, their polities. In the Gulf, only the UAE is still without elections of any kind, while elected representative bodies at the local or national level now exist in all other GCC states, as they do elsewhere in the region. Leninist parties and one-party states, with the partial exceptions of Libya and Syria, are now extinct. Although opposition parties continue to confront uneven playing fields, they are on those fields playing the game of politics everywhere outside of the Gulf and Libya. The first Arab change of government through a free and fair election in virtually half a century occurred in Palestine in January A free and fair election brought an Islamist party to power in Turkey in One marred by governmental interference nevertheless brought a sizable Islamist opposition into the Egyptian parliament in December Iran has had two dramatic presidential changes brought about through free and fair elections.

The record, in sum, is clear. Over the past quarter century, Middle Eastern political systems have undergone substantial liberalizations and are now embarking, if hesitatingly, upon democratization. There is nothing to suggest that this trend will abate, although it is unlikely to be unilinear. But despite probable delays and intermittent setbacks, it would be surprising if a generation from now democracy was not reasonably well established in some states of the region and had made further inroads in others.

If it is true that democracies are less likely to wage war, especially against one another, than are countries with other forms of government, this change alone should have a substantial positive impact on regional relations, to say nothing of the political well-being of the region's inhabitants.

Just as political markets are gaining ground at the expense of states, so are economic ones. The Arab socialisms that helped prop up dictatorships have gradually evolved into quasi-market economies. Although economic playing fields, like political ones, continue to be tilted in favor of the state and its allies, more and more private actors are playing the economic game. Private-sector shares of investment and output are steadily rising.

Floor Remarks H.R. 1837, the United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act

Privatization of state-owned enterprises is now moving into the vital financial and even utilities sectors. Further reforms are necessary, such as in government employment, which remains too high as a percentage of total employment in most Middle Eastern economies. More important, residual effects of the legacy of socialism and side effects of the transition to neoliberalism, including poverty, inequality and unemployment, threaten to bring about backlashes against both political and economic reform.

But the oil boom and its spillover into much, if not most, of the region — given the likely continuation of high energy prices, increased growth rates as a result of economic reform, decreasing rates of population growth and the benefits of enhanced intraregional and cross-Mediterranean trade — are likely to be sufficient to prevent political economies from being swamped by reactions to neoliberalism. Even the rise of political Islam, especially if it follows the Turkish model, will reinforce rather than undermine the momentum for economic liberalization.

Economic reform has, if anything, been more rapid and thoroughgoing than its political equivalent over the past 25 years. And, as with political reform, there is nothing to suggest that the pace is slackening. Indeed, as the benefits flow through from those reforms, the pace may well intensify. This, in turn, suggests that, while the region's poorer states are not going to overtake the wealthy, hydrocarbon-exporting ones, their economies should continue to expand at respectable rates, thus reinforcing further reform and growth while enhancing the size and status of private sectors and middle classes, both of which are important to the consolidation of democracy.

Despite the February prognostication of the U. Defense Department in its quadrennial review that we are embarked on a "Long War" against terrorism, if the recent past is any guide, the overwhelming trend within political Islam is domestication rather than radicalization, or, to use Mohammed Ayoob's term, a shift from Islamism to Muslimhood. Twenty-five years ago, political Islam was in its infancy, being responsible in for the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the killing of Anwar Sadat in Egypt in , the birth of Shia radicalism in the South of Lebanon in the wake of the Israeli invasion in , and the launch of hostage taking, whether in Iran or Lebanon.

Much more Islamist mobilization and violence was to follow, and it has by no means entirely abated, as Iraq attests. But, as Olivier Roy and other closer observers have noted, neo-Islamism has gradually replaced the more virulent and violent Islamism of the s and s in most countries of the region. The ballot box is proving to be more useful than the bullet, so one by one, country-based Islamist movements are abandoning the latter for the former. Transnational jihadis continue to roam the mountains of Afghanistan, the back streets of Baghdad, and the villages of northwest Iraq, but even in their strongholds, they are in confrontation with tamer, but more enduring neo-Islamism.

The history of revolutions, whether French, Russian, Cuban or Iranian, suggests that the wiser bet is always on the power and the limits imposed by a single state, rather than on the more romantic, internationalization of the revolution, as Trotsky and Che Guevara both discovered. States by their nature domesticate, turning revolutionaries into functionaries. And the lesson of the modern Middle East, probably also including Iraq, is that these states are here to stay.

Muslimhood is thus also here to stay. The future of radical, violent political Islam is much more uncertain, despite what the Pentagon planners have to say. Twenty-five years ago, large-scale, state-to-state warfare and protracted civil war were still a reality in many parts of the region. Indeed, from to , Iran and Iraq were locked in total war. Almost simultaneously, Israel invaded Lebanon, which was by then in its seventh year of civil war.

Although Egypt had in made peace with Israel, no other Arab state had. Indeed, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty shattered what remained of Arab unity. Calculations of the strategic balances in the region were done in terms of the numbers of aircraft, tanks and men at arms. Despite the present turmoil in Iraq and continuation within historic Palestine of conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, the Middle East is somewhat less Hobbesian than it was a generation ago. All-out, state-to-state warfare between the Arabs and Israel now seems virtually unimaginable, as it does between any of the Muslim states of the region.

Abiding hostility between Iran and Israel could trigger conflict, but the distance separating them renders total war impossible. Most border and other serious disputes between the countries of the Peninsula, including Yemen, have now been settled.

The U.S. Is Worried About China’s Investments—This Time in Israel

Violent conflict between them seems less likely now than at any time in their modern histories. Jordan has made peace with Israel, and Syria protests that it would also like to do so. In any case, it is in no position to wage war. Lebanon is tense, but for more than five years has been free from Israeli occupation forces if the Shebaa Farms anomaly is ignored.

The Arab world is not united, but it is also not divided by the single issue of Israel, as it formerly was. Iran under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad perplexes and challenges the other Muslim states of the region, but none contemplates a Saddam-style military venture against it. Nor, in so far as we know, does he contemplate one against them. This leaves the imbroglio in Iraq and the never-ending Palestinian-Israeli conflict as sources of endemic, if not really large-scale violence. But, even here, it would be wrong to be too negative about what the situation will be like 20 years from now.

As far as Iraq is concerned, the primary cause of violence — the presence of U. Political fragmentation within the three principal communities Shia, Sunni Arab and Kurd suggests possibilities for coalition formation that ultimately will cross and blur those lines, making stable, nonviolent, intersectarian politics possible. The sheer fact that Iraq may possess the second-largest reserves of oil in the world is an enormous incentive for all parties to make sufficient concessions to permit the exploitation of that resource.

And while it is all too obvious that rationality does not necessarily prevail in politics, it is a better bet in this case than one on a continuation of insurrection and violence for another generation. As regards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the distance already traveled is again a guide to both where we are now and where we are likely to be in the years to come. Although bloody and bitter, the struggle has now narrowed to the key issues, most vital of which is where the border between the two states is to be.

Can it take another 20 years for a mutually agreeable one to be established? One could argue that it took a century to arrive at the present juncture, so another fifth of one is not so long, especially in a part of the world notorious for long memories. But that, paradoxically, is a short-term view of the situation. The progression of the conflict over the past 25 years, despite the breakdown of the Oslo process in , suggests that the key parties have come to believe the issue can, in fact, be resolved. Difficult and unsatisfactory as that resolution may be to some, only a small minority on each side now reject the search for one through peaceful means, whereas rejectionist maximalists were probably still in the majority through some point in the s.

Betting on a resolution of this conflict has been a guaranteed way of losing money for more than a century, but the relative progress of the past 25 years suggests that good money bet now might recover some of the bad previously lost. The United States started down the slippery slope of direct military involvement in the Gulf about 25 years ago. Since , the capacity to project U. It has become a major part of the problem, not the solution. The "over the horizon" approach, in which U. But the inexorable logic of military expansionism sucked U.

Previously, they had amply demonstrated their inappropriateness in Lebanon. The lavish provision of military assistance to Egypt and Israel is expensive, unnecessary and counterproductive to other U. The crushing defeat of Saddam's old Soviet-style military simply underscored the fact that this type of warfare is anachronistic and need not consume the time and energies of military planners focused on the Middle East. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's trip to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in February , for the purpose of enlisting those countries' support in the war against terrorism, underscores that the future lies not with large-scale deployment of military forces, but with carefully constructed and operated, intelligence-driven and politically sensitive counter terrorism operations.

The increasing U. The overstretched U. Its mission, we are instructed by the quadrennial review just mentioned, is going to be substantially altered, so force structures and postures will be profoundly affected. The deficit-ridden U. The political backlash against the American military presence offsets any advantages it has, especially when the primary threat is that of terrorism, not Soviet-era tanks. Thus the inexorable military logic that drove U. Thus, a prime irritant in the politics of the region will be gradually reduced.

If presently identifiable trends continue, the Middle East in will be a more democratic, economically developed and peaceful area than it is now. It is likely also to be one with a much-reduced U. But the Garden of Eden is unlikely to be restored to the region in 20 years — or ever, for that matter. It would be unwise to discount entirely the possibility of states failing, revolutions overturning established orders and violent state-to-state conflicts occurring. Instead of reaching accommodations with Muslimhood, the United States could take steps, including military ones, that would stimulate, rather than ameliorate, the putative clash of civilizations.


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But, from the vantage point of , the likelihood of such disasters is less than it was in the early s. The prospects for steady, sustained improvement in all vital areas have also improved. This change for the better is easily overlooked in a region which is still beset with problems, but they are less intractable than they were a generation ago. In , I was a member of a research team commissioned to predict what the world would look like twenty and thirty years later.

My brief was to examine economic, social, political and strategic trends in the Middle East and offer meaningful projections and "conclusions. Islamic radicalism was not seen as the main radical trend in those pre-Iranian-revolution days, a caution that we should keep in mind when projecting "moderate" and "radical" Islamism as the key trends twenty years hence. Other, as yet unknown, movements may emerge by then. I also recall hypothesizing that the Palestinian problem—the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict — would not be resolved, although limited agreements between Israel and neighboring Arab countries were likely.

At the time, the members of the team working on this project were relieved that, although our research began in mid, it did not conclude until early , well after the October war and the significant shifts in Arab-Israeli relations as well as in the U. We all recognized how dreadful it would have been if we had written the report in mid, only to have the October war upset our calculations and require that we start over again from scratch. Predictions are often based on configurations that can change overnight.

And so I read with interest Mohammed Ayoob's projections for the Middle East twenty years from now It is a region, he argues, whose strategic importance will be further enhanced by the ever-increasing value of its oil and natural-gas production. Stabilizing and democratically inclined Islamic movements will be key players in several countries even as radical Islam grows in some parts of the region.

Turkey and Iran will be pivotal regional powers.

Monday, July 1:

Saudi Arabia will be strained by the results of internal political liberalism. And Iraq will divide into two states. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will intensify, leading to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and to demands by Palestinians to be incorporated into Israel as equal citizens. Ayoob then prescribes how the U. Ayoob is brave to undertake this mental exercise, particularly as he rejects the easier solution of suggesting alternative scenarios. Nonetheless, there are problems with his approach — particularly the disjunction between his discussion of energy needs and production, his country-by-country delineation of political issues, and his prescriptive approach to U.

In the real world, these issues are intertwined. They affect each other and cannot be separated. Moreover, the shift from projection to prescription, when Ayoob addresses U. Take, for example, the issue of energy. Ayoob presents a plausible case for the ever-greater importance of oil and natural gas from the Gulf states, which will make the Middle East even more important strategically to global political and economic interests than it is today. He does not link this oil power to the projections on internal stability or instability in the key countries or in their regional relations, beyond noting Turkey's likely increased need for Arab oil.

He also jumps to the conclusion that "Washington must begin treating oil suppliers not as clients or supplicants but as equal partners. While I heartily agree that such a paradigm shift on the part of the U. The United States — ever since its World War II military interest in accessing oil and its Cold War effort to deny the Soviet Union control over Middle East oil — has had difficulty viewing the Middle East governments as having the right to own and control that resource.

Instead, the United States and its allies have the "right" to that oil, by whatever means are necessary. Client states guaranteed access for many years. And yet, when the over-the-horizon approach collapsed in ,. The "right" to a military presence has been little questioned and duly camouflaged under the slogans of the "war against terrorism" and "spreading democracy" , even when its effectiveness is doubted.

There is no reason to expect that this mind-set will change. In fact, there seems a greater likelihood that the need for Middle Eastern oil and natural gas will deepen the control orientation and militarization of the U. When Middle Easterners react in anger to that control as in the case of Osama bin Laden regarding the. In that regard, Ayoob's idea that Washington might return to isolationism seems misplaced. Granted, enhanced dependence on oil, which draws the United States deeply into the region, will be balanced by public disillusionment with the fiasco in Iraq and the backlash of increased anti-Arab racism in the United States as the Iraqis themselves are "blamed" for the inevitable U.

Moreover, financial and military crises are likely to beset the U. Nonetheless, the wish to retrench and wall off the North American continent against the evil "other" will be more than balanced by the need to access Middle Eastern resources and the need to retain the image of a superpower, albeit by quite possibly a superpower in decline. One might also question Ayoob's hope that the U. This expectation has been dashed in recent months by Hamas's victory in Palestinian legislative elections, the strong showing by the Muslim Brothers in the Peoples'Assembly elections in Egypt despite massive police action to intimidate voters , and the victory of a hardliner in the Iranian presidential election.

Moreover, the fragmentation of Iraqi political life and its degeneration into a virtual ethno-religious civil war has undermined the U. Ayoob notes that political liberalization in Saudi Arabia "will inevitably mean [an increase in] anti-Americanism. This is not to devalue the benefits America derives from its European alliances.

NATO is an invaluable aspect of the U. Even without major allied military capabilities, the U. Israel has found allies in Eastern Europe precisely among the nations that vocally supported the U. The EU, particularly its stalwart Franco-German core, seems to find Israeli and American assertiveness equally distasteful. Oddly enough, the liberal international order has singled out for attack a member, Israel, under existential threat from those who would see the Holocaust reenacted.

The Israel-Lebanon War and Its Implications for Regional Security

It is remarkable that, despite being surrounded by hostile powers, Israel has managed to preserve the rights of all its citizens, Jew or Arab. Second World War America could not do the same. If international relations can be understood as an extended meditation on the philosophy of history, then Thucydides is its first philosopher. He writes of Plataea and Melos, two small polities caught in the maelstrom of great-power conflict between Athens and Sparta.

Plataea, abandoned by its Athenian benefactor, was devoured by Sparta and razed by Thebes. Melos clung to jus gentium and was similarly annihilated.

The Middle East in 2025: Implications For U.S. Policy

Neither Athens nor Sparta apologized for their alliances. Their leaders grasped the underlying realities of their political situation and accepted the price that power demands. As great-power competition resumes, the United States must face a new set of geopolitical facts. Contrary to what Robert Kagan implies, America cannot sacrifice a critical strategic alliance on the altar of ideological purity. Liberal niceties will not preserve American power. Auctoritas, non veritas, facit legem. He served as a naval officer and as a deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H.

Bush administrations. More articles. Previous articles. American and Israeli flags outside the U. S Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. Most Popular. White House. By Victor Davis Hanson.

Gaza Flotilla Incident: Implications for Middle East Peace

What do the Kavanaugh hearings, Jussie Smollett, the Covington kids, the Mueller investigation, and now the Trump phone call all have in common? Staged melodrama, media collusion hysteria, progressive demands that justice be served immediately, promises of walls-are-closing-in blockbuster revelations from new Read More. By Jim Geraghty. With the news that President Trump "completely blindsided" the Pentagon according to Fox News by suddenly deciding to withdraw U.

They're facing charges. He also urged all parties to "avoid escalation," saying the development "causes regret, but shouldn't be overdramatised". British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he was "deeply worried" after Iran said it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under its agreement with major powers, but said that Britain still backed the deal.

UK remains committed to making deal work and using all diplomatic tools to de-escalate regional tensions," Hunt said in a tweet.

The Israel-Lebanon War and Its Implications for Regional Security - Institute of Policy Studies

The United Nations' atomic watchdog agency confirmed Iran has surpassed the stockpile of low-enriched uranium allowed under the nuclear deal with world powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA said Yukiya Amano, the watchdog's director general, had informed its board of governors that the organisation had verified Iran's stockpile of uranium enriched up to 3. Iran earlier in the day had announced that it had exceeded the limit, as it threatened it would.

Iran will soon exceed an enriched uranium limit under its nuclear deal, after remaining signatories to the pact fell short of Tehran's demands to be shielded from US sanctions, the semi-official Fars news agency cited an "informed source" as saying. Iran is determined to cut its commitments to the deal and the kg enriched uranium limit will be soon breached," the unnamed source said, according to Fars. The ball is in Europe's court to shield Iran from US sanctions and prevent it from further scaling back compliance with its nuclear agreement with world powers, Iranian state TV said, with days remaining on Tehran's ultimatum.

Iran stopped complying on May 8 with some commitments in the nuclear deal after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in and reimposed sanctions. Are Paris, London and Berlin going to again waste a chance under the influence of U. President Donald Trump, or use the remaining opportunity to fulfill their promises and act on their commitments under the nuclear deal ," Iranian state TV said in a commentary. The European Union has said a new trade channel that aims to circumvent US sanctions on Iran is operational. Formally known as INSTEX, the mechanism was set up by Britain, Germany and France, who have said it would first be used for the trade of humanitarian goods, which are not affected by the sanctions.

Diplomats met in Vienna on Friday in a bid to save a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which has come under increased strain since the US unilaterally withdrew last year and reimposed harsh sanctions on Tehran. Iran has warned it would scale back its compliance with the deal and breach some of the limits unless the remaining signatories did more to alleviate the negative effects of US sanctions.

A Chinese official said Beijing would keep importing Iranian oil in defiance of US sanctions on Tehran, in comments made a day before a scheduled meeting between US and Chinese leaders aimed at resolving thorny trade disputes. Iran has formally filed a complaint to the United Nations against the United States over the drone incident, according to Iranian news agency Tasnim.

The complaint alleges that the unmanned US drone violated Iranian airspace and that Tehran has the right to respond similarly if it happens again, Tasnim reported. There are right now no oil waivers in place," Hook told reporters in London when asked about the sale of Iranian crude to Asia, adding that the United States would take a look at reports of Iranian crude going to China. Iran said Friday's meeting in Vienna between the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal was the "last chance" to save the accord after the US withdrawal last year and warned Tehran would not accept "artificial" solutions to US sanctions.

European powers are limited in their ability to shield Iran's economy from US sanctions, and it is unclear what they can do to provide the large economic windfall Tehran wants. Mousavi said despite supporting Iran's stance in several statements, the remaining signatories - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - had failed to take any action.

Senior officials from Iran and the remaining signatories to its nuclear deal with world powers have gathered in Vienna as tensions in the Gulf simmer. The regular quarterly meeting of the accord's so-called joint commission, which brings together senior officials from Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China and the European Union, is meant to discuss the implementation of the deal. Iran is insisting it wants to save the deal and has urged Europeans to start buying Iranian oil or give Iran a credit line. The United States withdrew from the accord last year and has imposed new sanctions on Iran to cripple its economy.

Diplomats, citing UN inspectors' data, said Iran was on course to exceed the nuclear deal's limits soon by accumulating more enriched uranium than permitted but it had not done so by Thursday, its stated deadline. There's absolutely no time pressure. I think in the end, hopefully, it's going to work out. If it does, great - and if it doesn't, you'll be hearing about it," he added. Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Gulf region was "standing at a crossroads of war and peace", calling for calm, restraint and talks to resolve the issue.

European Council President Donald Tusk, also at the G20, expressed concern about Iran potentially breaching the pact, saying the European Union would continue to monitor Tehran's compliance. Iran's main demand in talks aimed at saving its nuclear deal is to be able to sell its oil at the same levels that it did before Washington withdrew from the historic nuclear accord a year ago.

Our demand is to be able to sell our oil and get the money back. And this is in fact the minimum of our benefit from the deal," an Iranian official told reporters on condition of anonymity. We only want to sell our oil. Europeans should either buy oil from us or give its money [price] to us," the official said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for a de-escalation of tensions in the Gulf and the preservation of the nuclear deal with Iran. He told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan the deal was a factor of stability and "it will be very important to preserve it".

He said avoiding a confrontation in the Gulf was a major concern for key players attending the G Iran's foreign minister warned Trump he was mistaken to think a war between their countries would not last long. Read more here. Together with Germany and other European allies, France made a plea to uphold the Iran nuclear accord.

Iran will not exceed a uranium stockpile limit agreed under a nuclear deal with world powers, contrary to what Tehran said earlier this month, according to a diplomatic source in Vienna. The source suggested there might be a "political reason" for this, given the intensified efforts by European governments in recent days to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region. There was no indication to suggest the agreed limit would be exceeded this weekend either, the source added, underlining that Tehran can suspend its uranium enrichment activities at any time.

Iran said 10 days ago that it would surpass the agreed kg pound reserve of enriched uranium on June 27 because it no longer felt bound by the deal which the United States unilaterally pulled out of in May The US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, is meeting with top French, German and British diplomats in Paris for talks on the Persian Gulf crisis at a time when European powers are trying to save the nuclear deal struck with Tehran. European countries want to avoid a further escalation in tensions between the US and Iran and are trying to persuade Iran not to leave the nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last year.

On Wednesday, Iran's UN ambassador urged Britain, France and Germany to take "timely" practical steps to preserve the agreement, "which is now in critical condition". The three are finalising efforts to put in operation a complicated barter-type system known as INSTEX to keep up trade with Iran and avoid US sanctions, as part of efforts to keep the nuclear deal alive.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he will try to convince US President Donald Trump to suspend some sanctions on Iran to allow for negotiations to de-escalate the crisis in the region. Macron said the idea would be to begin a discussion and set up the parameters of talks ranging from Iran's nuclear activities to its wider role in the region.

Iranian authorities called for "resistance" against archfoe the United States as large crowds mourned soldiers who died in the war with Iraq more than three decades ago. Iran regularly organises funerals for soldiers killed in the war whose remains are either returned by its neighbour or found in former combat areas, which were mainly in Iran.

Mourners gathered in front of Tehran University around marquees erected on Enghelab Revolution Street to shelter the coffins of nearly "loyal companions" under a scorching sun, according to AFP news journalists. Iranian media reported that the dead included two "volunteers" who went to fight in Syria where Iran provides military support to President Bashar al-Assad. Portraits of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei were seen among the crowd along with white, red and pink gladiolas. It is this blood that has watered the great fruitful tree of the Islamic revolution," he added.

Iraq will not take sides amid tensions in the Middle East, the Iraqi deputy prime minister said, as a row between the United States and Iran escalated. Recent events in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf of Oman, "posed a serious threat to peace in the region and the free and uninterrupted passage of oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz," he told the CWC Iraq Petroleum Conference. French President Emmanuel Macron warned Iran not to quit its nuclear deal or give signals that it intended to do so, and said he would discuss efforts to avoid military escalation with US President Donald Trump.

European countries, which disagreed with the US decision to withdraw from the pact but share US concerns about Iranian behaviour, have been caught in the middle, expressing increasing concern that a mistake on either side could trigger war. Macron said he had two priorities: keeping Iran inside the nuclear deal and avoiding military escalation.

The second thing, and I will discuss it with President Trump tomorrow, is to do everything to avoid a military escalation," Macron said. British Prime Minister Theresa May says G20 leaders must show solidarity against Iran but focus on the "urgent de-escalation of tensions" with Tehran. Iran warned the United States against violation of its borders, with parliament speaker Ali Larijani threatening a stronger reaction, the Tasnim News Agency said, a week after Tehran shot down a US drone, spiking tension between them. Six European countries said preserving the nuclear deal has become "more important than ever" amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran.

In a joint statement, the countries said they "regret" the US's decision to withdraw from the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. They also said they were "extremely concerned" by Iran's decision to scale back compliance with the deal. The US president said he was "fine" if there was no new agreement with Iran, adding that he had "unlimited time" to try and reach a deal with Tehran. Iran's UN envoy described his country's nuclear deal with world powers as being in "critical condition" and warned "Iran alone cannot, shall not and will not take all of the burdens anymore to preserve" the agreement.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Iran and world powers including the US needed to find a way back into talks that restore trust and defuse a dangerous escalation in tensions. Macron told Japan's public broadcaster NHK he shared Trump's goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons but at times disagreed with his methods. Macron said Paris and Washington wanted to negotiate a new, more stringent deal.

But first, he added, little gestures were needed to defuse tensions. Trump said he doesn't want war with Iran but if there was one, "it wouldn't last very long" because the US has military superiority. He also hinted that any conflict would be waged with air strikes, saying there would no US boots on the ground. Asked whether a war was brewing, Trump told Fox Business Network: "I hope we won't but we're in a very strong position if something should happen.

I'm just saying if something would happen, it wouldn't last very long. A statement on the cleric's website quoted him as calling the Trump administration "the most sinister" US government. Khamenei was also quoted as saying that "the most hated figures of such an administration accuse and insult the Iranian nation. Iranian nation will not budge and will not withdraw because of the insults".

The Iranian nation will not give in and retreat in the face of such insults," Khamenei said. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned the US it was pursuing "an incorrect path" by withdrawing from the nuclear deal and imposing sanctions on Tehran. European signatories have not done enough to preserve the landmark nuclear deal and it would be in the benefit of European countries and the US to stick to their promises under the deal, Rouhani said. Iran will speed up enrichment of uranium after a deadline given to European countries to prevent this ends on Thursday, the spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said, according to the IRIB news agency.

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran "never seeks war" with the US and was committed to regional peace and stability. Rouhani was speaking by phone to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, as Tehran and Washington engaged in an escalating war of words following Iran shooting down a US drone last week. Tensions have spiked between Iran and the US after the Islamic Republic shot down a US drone they claim was flying over their territorial waters last Thursday.

Washington says the drone was in international airspace. Wanna know why those with proven record of detesting diplomacy are suddenly interested in talks? That would be a good first step," Esper said, when asked during his flight to Brussels what he wanted to see from allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. What we're trying to do, what we want to do, to close the door to conflict and open the door to diplomacy.

This action will increase the unity of Iranian people," he wrote in English. This action will increase the unity of Iranian people.