Israel, Morocco take baby steps on diplomatic, social, economic ties

Israeli President武汉桑拿论坛 Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this夜生活论坛 week, for a farewell visit ahead of the end of his term July 9. As part of his visit program, 21 ambassadors participated in a ceremony at the United Nations’ New York headquarters, honoring Israel’s outgoing president. One of the ambassadors invited was Moroccan envoy to the UN Omar Hilale, who surprised the other participants. Not only did he come to the event, but he also chose to address the gathering, referring publicly to the normalization agreements signed between Israel and Arab countries, including Morocco. Hilale noted he considered this development as historic, hailing Israel’s willingness to reach these agreements and expressing his optimism for the future of the region. He said there was no alternative to peace.

The public address of Hilale marks another step in the construction of bilateral ties between Isra武汉桑拿论坛 Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this夜生活论坛el and Morocco. Contrary to the rapidly developing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and with Bahrain, ties with Morocco are taking their time, even regressing at points.

For instance, on May 16, Morocco’s Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani appeared on Al Jazeera, stating that the kingdom “cate武汉桑拿论坛 Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this夜生活论坛gorically rejects all violations affecting the legal status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds Al-Shari,” and noting that “Morocco places the Palestinian issue and that of Al-Quds Al-Sharif at the top of its list of concerns and considers it to be just as important as its national cause.” On May 24, Othmani sent a letter to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, extending his “warmest congratulations” on “the victory achieved by the Palestinian people and the supreme resistance after the cease-fire agreement between the factions of the resistance and the Zionist entity.”

Jerusalem did not react directly to the statements of Othmani. A diplomatic source at the Foreign Ministry told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that no one in Jerusalem expects strong ties with Rabat to emerge overnight, as is the case with Abu Dhabi. “This will take longer, and in a different path. With the Emirates, we see an avalanche of economic projects and initiatives, as well as interesting ideas for cooperation between civil societies. This will probably not be the case with Morocco. Especially not vis-a-vis the Moroccan civil society, which is very much attached to the Palestinian cause.”

Evidently, Israelis of Moroccan origin and also the Moroccan envoy to Israel Abdel Rahim-Biod are not deterred by the slow pace of Rabat in developing its ties with Jerusalem. Shortly after the establ武汉桑拿论坛 Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this夜生活论坛ishment of diplomatic ties last year, head of the International Federation of Moroccan Jews Sam Ben-Shitrit initiated the foundation of the Committee for Israel-Morocco Friendship, with the goal of promoting cooperation between the two peoples. And on June 8, the committee held its first official meeting. Rahim-Biod participated at the festive event, alongside Israel’s national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and other Israeli public figures.

It is worth noting that the Liaison Office of the Kingdom of Morocco in Israel keeps a very active Twitter account, named Morocco in Israel. Searching the account, it is evident that Rahim-Biod is working tirelessly to reach different sectors within Israeli society, culture and economy. In June, for instance, he met with Bet Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch and the local Moroccan community, he visited the northern town of Afula, he visited Beersheba Ben Gurion University in the south and he met with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. The local press in Afula hailed the visit of Rahim-Biod in their city as historic, proudly noting this was one of his first visits to an Isra武汉桑拿论坛 Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this夜生活论坛eli town. It also noted that the Moroccan envoy conveyed to the Moroccan community of Afula warm regards from the king.

In parallel, things also advance on the economic level. Reports in recent years claimed Morocco had brought Israeli military communication equipment and even drones via third parties, such as French companies. Israeli companies are now hoping for deals like that to take place directly, without the involvement of third parties. An important tool in facilitating such deals is the June 18 decision by the Israeli public foreign trade risk insurance company Ashra. The company announced that it had allocated $200 million for insuring exporters to Morocco and $100 million for insuring exporters to Bahrain. T武汉桑拿论坛 Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this夜生活论坛he coverage should concern long-term financial and trade agreements and projects of up to 15 years.

Already in February, the Israel Export Institute held a special webinar on conducting businesses with the kingdom. Organizers noted at the time that many Israeli companies were interested and keen to learn more on how best to conduct business there on their own, without European mediators, directly with Moroccan partners.


In Biden meeting, Rivlin clears way for Bennett visit to White House

Reuven Rivlin and 武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛 known each other for 50 years. They first met in Jerusalem in 1971 when Rivlin served as deputy to the city’s legendary Mayor Teddy Kollek and Biden was a local Delaware politician planning a Senate run the following year. Rivlin took Biden on a wide-ranging tour of Jerusalem and apparently imbued him with some of his endless love for the city in which he was born. They have been friends since. They are contemporaries. Rivlin took part in the realization of the Zionist vision as Biden looked on in admiration. Biden made his famous remark about not having to be Jewish to be a Zionist in one of his meetings with Rivlin.

The friendship came full circle this week with the two presidents meeting at the White House. Biden, who took office this year, seems to offer an antidote to the chaos wrought by former President Donald T武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛rump. Rivlin, who leaves office July 9, came to pave the way for a White House visit by Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who replaced former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeks to establish calmer governance. According to meeting participants, Rivlin achieved his goal.

The Oval Office meeting was scheduled for 60 minutes, but spilled over into almost two hours. Biden’s secretary walked into the room three times and placed a note in front him alerting that he was running late. Biden, who clearly felt greatly at ease with his guest, read Rivlin the notes and both laughed. They reminisced and traded experiences, but did not steer clear of controversy.

The Israeli president is largely a ceremonial figure as head of state. Nonetheless, Rivlin was clearly on a diplomatic mission. He met prior to his departure for Washington with Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. At the White House, he expla武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛ined to Biden the new government’s need for his administration’s support and understanding.

Support is easy; understanding is a whole different ballgame. Contrary to what Netanyahu drills into his supporters, Israel’s new government does not really represent the political left. It is undoubtedly further right in its views, as can be seen in the compromise reached this week with settlers on the evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost of Evyatar. Nonetheless, the Democratic administration vastly prefers Bennett and Lapid over Netanyahu, who shaped much of his domestic popularity as a proud hard-liner on the back of Biden’s former boss, Democratic President Barack Obama.

Biden and his team seem to be trying to turn a page with Jerusalem, to adopt an intimate dialogue devoid of lies, spin and tricks, even when disagreements surface. They will find in Bennett and Lapid willing partners. In return, they will have to ease up on the Israelis regarding the Palestinian issue. The Iranian nuclear program is a source of deep disagreement between them that probably cannot be bridged. They appear to have decided to iron out and reconcile differe武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛nces wherever possible and under no circumstances to allow their disagreements to flare up as they did under Netanyahu.

Israel’s new government needs the Americans to realize that it cannot advance a significant peace process with the Palestinians and has conveyed its wishes to the Americans through various channels in recent weeks. Rivlin presumably did, too. Israel needs the United States to delay the reopening of its consulate in east Jerusalem, part of a plan to restore direct ties with the Palestinians, severed by Trump. Netanyahu will surely exploit the move to portray Bennett as an Amer武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛ican stooge compared to his own uncompromising stand vis-à-vis the United States.

Much of the Biden-Rivlin meeting was devoted to the impending agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. Rivlin came equipped with intelligence and evidence of the threat Israel sees in a swift US return to the 2015 agreement. Biden did not clash directly with Rivlin, but raised a question for which Israel does not have a real answer.

Sources quoted Biden as asking his guest, what do you suggest we do? After all, you convinced the previous administration to withdraw from the agreement and Iran is far closer today to a bomb than it was under it. Rivlin left it to Bennett to try to convince the United States, telling Biden he was there only to pave the way for Bennett to meet with him. Rivlin suggested moving forward rather than looking back, and Biden offered his usual reassurance that he would never allow a nuclear Iran on his watch. Rivlin politely avoided replying the obvious: that Israel’s goal is not to delay an Iranian bomb, it is to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions once and for all.

Biden asked to speak with Rivlin’s daughter Anat, who accompanied her father on the visit. She reminded Biden of Nechama, Rivli武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛n’s wife of almost 50 years who died in 2019 of lung disease. When Biden heard that the president’s chief of staff Rivka Ravitz was a mother of 12, he showed her a photo of his own mother. Despite their different mindsets, there is no distance between Biden and Rivlin. Even when they argue they do so without emotional outbursts.

Now the question is how Biden and Bennett will get along. Biden is 30 years older, the product of a bygone analog era, of a world in which politicians moved slowly and made their way to the top with Herculean labor. Bennett is a successful tech entrepreneur with a digital orientation who rose through a unique convergence of circumstances from a party with only six seats in the 120-seat Knesset. As the son of American immigrants his English is flawless, but he speaks a different language than Biden does on key issues such as Jewish West Bank settlements and the Palestinians’ right to a state.

Bennett will have to rehabilitate Israel’s relationship with the Democratic Party, erode武汉桑拿论坛Joe Biden have武汉夜生活论坛d under Netanyahu, as well as Israel’s ties with the mostly Democratic American Jewish community, in order to guarantee one of Israel’s most vital assets: bipartisan American support. It will not be easy.


Settlement evacuation compromise rocks Israeli coalition

“Terrorists,”武汉夜网论坛 Knesset member夜生活网论坛 Mossi Raz of Meretz described the settlers in the illegal outpost of Evyatar. His sharp remarks in an interview this week came in response to a compromise that the government reached with the settlers living in the outpost.

The Israeli Defense Forces initially ordered the settlers to evacuate, but later on the government reached a compromise with them to be evacuated by 4 p.m. today in exchange for the government looking into the status of the land and verifying if it would be possible to regularize it. In other words, the residents would be removed, but their homes would not be demolished for the time being. The outpost was evacuated peacefully today.

“Bennett has just promised a government that is 10 degrees to the right of the previous government. It is insanity, plain and simple. It is letting criminal terrorists decide where a new military base will be located,” Raz raged.

If Raz had not been a member of the new coalition and if the leaders of his party d武汉夜网论坛 Knesset member夜生活网论坛id not hold key cabinet positions, little media attention would have been paid to his remarks. After all, Raz is a former head of Peace Now, a movement founded in 1977 to oppose the Israeli occupation of the territories. Now, he and the other members of Meretz find themselves in an impossible situation, expected to ignore their own banner issue.

Like Raz, Knesset member Gabi Lasky also once led Peace Now and has waged a long campaign against the occupation. She is also opposed to the compromise, calling it “whitewashing.” As a lawyer, Lasky frequently represented Palestinian plaintiffs in court cases targeting the wrongs of the occupation. Now she finds herself part of a coalition that is normalizing illegal Israeli outposts in the West Bank.

This pocket of opposition武汉夜网论坛 Knesset member夜生活网论坛 within the Bennett-Lapid coalition has created a volatile situation that has the potential to blow up the most polarized coalition in Israel’s history. After achieving its overriding goal of removing Benjamin Netanyahu from the prime minister’s office, the coalition must now confront the serious ideological divisions that were always expected to threaten its stability. It’s only surprising how early it has begun, just three weeks into the government’s term.

The members of Meretz are particularly infuriated by the way Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his right-wing allies tried to turn the compromise into a public relations victory for the settlers. They did so to win back supporters on the right, who abandoned them for forming a government with the left and the Islamist Ra’am Party.

The truth of the matter is that the compromise does look like a major victory for the settlers. The state folded and overturned an evacuation order issued by the IDF, which determined that Evyatar is an illegal settlement that must be removed. Sources in the IDF explain that the settlers provoked the local Palestinians, causing tension.

While Raz has referred to the people living in the illegal settlement as “terroris武汉夜网论坛 Knesset member夜生活网论坛r-two in Yamina and negotiated the compromise agreement, refers to them as “the pioneers of Evyatar, who take pains to show us what Zionism is all about.”

The compromise indeed suggests the government has surrendered to the settlers. After the reassessment of the land upon which it was built, it reads, “land deemed eligible will be declared state land, and the remaining land will be evacuated. Boundary orders and orders to remove existing structures will not be implemented until then.”

The compromise agreement also states that if the territory is declared state land, interested parties will be allowed “to establish a yeshiva on the site, with residences for its staff and students and their families.” Then, once “the requisite property and planning processes” are completed, the government will permit a permanent civilian presence at the site.

The agreement runs counter to everything Meretz stands for. The Evyatar outpost was established on land that makes up part of three Palestinian villages. In the last few weeks, four Palestinians were killed protesting the outpost. Furthermore, the legal status of the land upon which it was established is unclear, meaning that it is entirely possible that it was built on privately owned Palestinian land.

Although it is unlikely that the Evyatar compromise will escalate to the point that it brings about the collapse of the coalition, it makes it harder for the coalition partners to work together. It is certainly increasing tensions before July 5, when a bill on citizenship and entry into Israel is scheduled to be voted on by the Knesset. It’s one of the first hot-button issues facing the new government, because of its clause preventing family reunifications for Israeli Arabs who marry Palestinians from West Bank. The rule, which was first introduced as a temporary measure, has been confirmed annually by the Knesset since the law was first passed in 2003. The legislation is another major issue for Meretz, which petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the law when it was first passed as discriminatory and racist.

Yesterday Meretz’ leader, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, informed his Knesset faction that Meretz would be voting against the law. The party is currently considering having some of its members actively oppose the extension while others absent themselves from the vote.

“Meretz has always opposed the citizenship law. We demonstrated against it, we voted against it and we filed suit against it in the Supreme Court,” the party responded on Twitter. “A law that discriminates against a sector of the population for racial reasons武汉夜网论坛 Knesset member夜生活网论坛 and that was born of sin should not be brought before the Knesset. If, despite all this, it does come up for a vote, Meretz will oppose it. This reflects the values of Meretz. It is our position and will remain our position, regardless of whether we are in the opposition or the coalition.”

Meretz, Ra’am and Labor have all announced that they intend to vote against it. So far, efforts to reach a compromise within the coalition have failed. Thus, for the moment, the government does not have the majority needed to extend the legislation by another year. Nevertheless, Shaked still plans to bring it up for a vote on Monday. The current law expires on July 6.

On Monday, the opposition could toss the government a lifeline. If the law expires, it would be a blow to the coalition’s image. The government will not fall over the matter, but its principled ideological tensions will continue to wear away at it.


Israeli army bombs Hamas site after balloons start fires

The Israeli army武汉夜网论坛 said its fighter jets bombed Hamas targets武汉夜生活网 in the Gaza Strip early Friday in retaliation for balloon attacks launched from the Palestinian territory, casting further doubt on a recent cease-fire between the two sides.

“In response to the arson balloons launched from Gaza toward Israel today, IDF fighter jets struck a weapons manufacturing site used to research and develop weapons belonging to Hamas tonight,” the Israel Defense Forces tweeted. “The IDF will respond firmly against terror attempts from Gaza,” the army said.

There were no reports of injuries or casualties from the bombing, which came a day after balloons sent from Gazan territory caused four fires along Israel’s southern border.

Hamas, the militant Islam武汉夜网论坛 said its fighter jets bombed Hamas targets武汉夜生活网ist group that rules Gaza, confirmed the bombing. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for Hamas, described Israel’s retaliatory strikes as a “showy reaction.”

Farming towns along Israel’s southern border region have endured a wave of arson balloons since the cease-fire was reached between Hamas and Israel on May 21, ending 11 days of Israeli airstrikes and militant rocket attacks. More than 250 people were killed during the conflict, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

שוב בלוני תבערה בעוטף: בשעה האחרונה פעלו צוותי כבאות והצלה יחד עם צוותי קק”ל ב-4 שריפות במספר מוקדים בתחום מועצה אזורית אשכול. חוקר שריפות מכבאות והצלה לישראל מחוז דרום קבע כי כל השריפות נגרמו מבלוני תבערה.
צילום: משה ברוכי, סייר ביערות קק״ל@anataev pic.twitter.com/wvvb5XcPX5

— רדיו דרום (@radiodarom97) July 1, 2021
Hamas leader Hamad a武汉夜网论坛 said its fighter jets bombed Hamas targets武汉夜生活网l-Ragab told Al-Monitor last month that the incendiary balloons are meant to serve as a warning that the Palestinian militants will renew their hostilities should Israel provoke them or continue economic restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

Last week, Israel rolled back some economic restrictions imposed on Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized the territory in 2007. In recent days, Israel has permitt武汉夜网论坛 said its fighter jets bombed Hamas targets武汉夜生活网 entry of Qatar-funded fuel tanks and expanded Gaza’s designated fishing zone, allowances Israeli authorities said are conditional on the security situation remaining calm.


Israel activates third squadron of F-35 fighter jets

Israel’s Air 武汉夜网论坛Force will inaugurate a武汉夜生活 third squadron of F-35 fighter jets next week at the country’s Nevatim airbase.

The 117th squadron, designated “Adir,” will be activated as a training unit to prepare pilots to fly the highly advanced stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in combat, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The 117th is a re-activation of an older F-16 unit that partook in the successful bombing of Iraq’s Osiriak nuclear reactor in 1981. The unit marked the first-ever mid-air shooting down of another武汉夜网论坛Force will inaugurate a武汉夜生活 aircraft by an F-16 during combat with Syria’s air force just a month later.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Israeli press in January that his government was petitioning the Trump administration for last-minute approval for additional F-35 sales in order to form Israel’s third stealth fighter squadron.

Gantz suggested Israel may seek to expand its F-15 fleet after establishing the third F-35 squadron, but that decision may depend on surplus options made available by the United States. A spokesperson for Gantz’ office did not immediately respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment.

Israel already has two combat-ready F-35 squadrons, the 140th Golden Eagle Squadron, declared combat ready in 2018, and the 116th “Lions of the South,” which was inaugurated last year.

The IAF possesses 27 F-35s and is expected to receive a total of 50 by 2024 in a deal reached with the US government. IAF F-35武汉夜网论坛Force will inaugurate a武汉夜生活 pilots train regularly with their American counterparts, including in Italy for the first time in a joint multinational exercise earlier this month.

Earlier this week, F-35 pilots from the United States and United Kingdom joined their Israeli counterparts again for joint combat drills in an exercise called Tri-Lightning. US Marine Corps and Royal Air Force F-35s launched from the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier during the exercises, which included air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions over Israel’s southern desert.

The Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s largest warship, began launching airstrikes in June against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for the first time.

Israeli F-35 pilots have already gained combat experience against targets in Gaza and in Syria, where the IAF leads a campaign of strikes against Iran-linked targets Israel fears could develop into a threat near its borders.

Last month, some 120 US military personnel were evacuated from Israel amid the country武汉夜网论坛Force will inaugurate a武汉夜生活’s 11-day conflict with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The Navy and Marine Corps personnel were visiting to plan for upcoming joint exercises, the Pentagon said.


Iran says awaiting US decision on revived nuclear deal

Iranian gover武汉夜网论坛nment spokesp武汉桑拿论坛erson Ali Rabiei 武汉夜生活said the Islamic Republic has now finalized its decision following six rounds of negotiations in Vienna over the revival of the Iran nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Our positions are absolutely clear to all the parties,” Rabiei declared at a virtual presser on June 29. According to him, Tehran is now awaiting a decision by the other sides, including the United States, which has been indirectly involved in the talks. The other parties are the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia.

Rabiei did not specify the nature of the Iranian decision, such as possible concessions or gains that Tehran has possibly agreed upon. The Iranian negotiators returned to their capital earlier this month for consultations. Any key decision at such a level is o武汉夜网论坛nment spokesp武汉桑拿论坛erson Ali Rabiei 武汉夜生活nly made with the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose greenlight allowed for the original JCPOA back in 2015.

Rabiei noted there is agreement on the lifting of the key oil and banking sanctions the United States reimposed on Iran following its departure from the accord in 2018. The punitive measures have triggered a sharp downturn in Iran’s economy and have seen the country’s national currency nosedive at levels not seen in Iran’s recent history.

Yet he noted that “unless there is agreement on all the agenda points, there is practically no deal.” The Iranian official seemed to be referring to sanctions imposed on individuals and entities linked to the office of Iran’s supreme leader, which according to diplomats have been a contentious point putting a brake on the intense Vienna talks.

Picking up on the official line that there is no rush for a deal, Rabiei hinted at the possibility that the talks may bear no fruit during President Hassan Rouhani’s remaining few weeks in office. In that case, he said, the ruling establishment could delegate the duty to the next administration under hard-line President-elect Ebrahim Raisi.

After Raisi’s victory in a low-turnout, controversial election on June 18, the Vienna武汉夜网论坛nment spokesp武汉桑拿论坛erson Ali Rabiei 武汉夜生活 negotiations were adjourned in what seemed to be Washington’s moment of contemplation on what lies ahead in light of new arrangements in Tehran’s corridors of power.

While Raisi has announced that he will pursue the JCPOA revival talks, his precise plans are still everyone’s guess. A complete in-house cleanup within Iran’s negotiating team, however, is a likely possibility the cleric is said to be weighing.

Speculations are currently rife that his main candidate for a new foreign minister is Ali Bagheri Kani. A close aide to the hard-line president-elect,武汉夜网论坛nment spokesp武汉桑拿论坛erson Ali Rabiei 武汉夜生活agheri Kani was Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator (2007-2013) in a team of uncompromising diplomats at the height of Tehran’s standoff with the West, when talks were characterized with one lengthy stalemate after another.


Raisi’s economic agenda may depend on Iran nuclear deal

Ebrahim Raisi’武汉夜生活网s election to武汉桑拿论坛 the Iranian presidency has raised significant concern about the future direction of Iran’s domestic and foreign policy trajectory.

As a Principlist conservative with close ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Raisi is an Islamic religious nationalist who sees the preservation of the Islamic Republic’s security and stability as key to his tenure as president.

Whereas Reformists and centrists like outgoing President Hassan Rouhani have advanced ideas of international economic integration, moderation and broader diplomatic ties as crucial to protecting武汉夜生活网s election to武汉桑拿论坛 the Islamic Republic’s longevity, conservatives like Raisi fear that those compromises will transform and weaken the foundational pillars of the revolution.

As such, Raisi is expected to support policies that promote economic independence and resilience, resistance and transactional outreach that ironically are paved through the rehabilitation of the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Raisi comes into office on the back of US maximum pressure sanctions imposed in 2018 a武汉夜生活网s election to武汉桑拿论坛fter the US withdrawal from the JCPOA. Having survived this pressure without economic or state collapse has been a boon to conservatives. Over the course of this period, Washington issued over 1,500 designations that severed the Iranian economy from its trade and financial linkages. These sanctions were designed to weaken and alter Iran’s regional support for nonstate actors in Arab states beyond its borders and to force Iran to return to the negotiating table to make further nuclear and regional concessions.

Rather than see any such shifts, Tehran began a maximum resistance campaign that accelerated its nuclear program and exported further instability to regional states. Moreover, despite the wave of economic pressure not seen since the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranian economy did not experience the predicted collapse. There were indeed many challenges seen ranging from the multiple currency devaluations, brutally suppressed protests in November 2019 over price rises, the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani and the downing of the Ukrainian airliner to name a few. But here, too, the political establishment felt buoyed by their ability to endure this period.

With Raisi at the executive helm, a principle domestic objective will be to move beyond survival strategies to reactivate Iran’s flailing economic development agenda of social justice that has fallen to the wayside through the tough sanctions years. In his first press conference, Raisi stated, “We hope the acti武汉夜生活网s election to武汉桑拿论坛ons that we are going to take will improve the conditions of the lives of the people and return hope to the people, restoring the trust that has been undermined due to different reasons.”

Due to economic mismanagement, corruption and sanctions, poverty rates have increased in Iran. Inflation remains over 30%. Domestic reports published in 2020 revealed that one in two Iranians were living below the poverty line, and that 70% of ordinary workers could only afford 33% of their basic needs. Iranian economist Djavad Salehi-Isfahani has reported that Iran’s once burgeoning middle class is said to have shrunk by 8 million since 2011. The outbreak of the November 2019 nationwide protests sparked by rising gas prices was seen as a warning shot of further unrest to come.

With the executive branch now in conservative hands, the swiftest formula to address these economic challenges begins through the reviv武汉夜生活网s election to武汉桑拿论坛al of the JCPOA. Negotiations that are currently ongoing and at the end of their sixth round in Vienna have yet to yield agreement on the steps and sequencing of Tehran and Washington’s return to compliance, but expectations abound that an agreement can be reached before the end of the summer and Raisi’s early August inauguration. Full sanctions relief is not to be anticipated, but the removal of nuclear-related economic sanctions constraining Tehran’s commercial activities and access to liquidity would boost public spending and enhance government efforts to increase employment and combat inflation.

In addition to sanctions relief obtained through the JCPOA process, Raisi is expected to continue the bilateral regional discussions to lower tensions. Expressing the importance of regional ties, he stated that he is “determined to strengthen relations with all the countries of the world and especially neighboring countries. Our priority will be firming up relations with our neighbors.” Since 2019, Iran has also benefited from improved relations with the United Arab Emirates. Tehran regularly engages with Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Recent revelations about clandestine security led Saudi-Iranian meetings orchestrated and held in Baghdad point to a tactical recalibration away from the period of heightened tensions and acrimony experienced during the turbulent Trump years. While still in an early phase, these discussions are expected to continue after the hajj season and could, over time, pave the way for a more formal detente between Tehran and Riyadh after the 2016 severing of relations. Tehran would benefit from Saudi Arabia’s support for the JCPOA alongside the more formal resumption of ties. Moreover, such an about-face from Riyadh would diminish Tehran’s sense of regional isolation and directly decrease regional tensions. In turn, this shift would pave the way for Raisi to stabilize his economic agenda. To get there though, Tehran has to be willing to go beyond symbolic goodwill gestures and offer Riyadh tangible concessions such as shift away from its financial and military support for Yemen’s Houthis.

All this is easier said than done. For the JCPOA and regional de-escalation scenarios to be achieved, it is critical that the Raisi team not overplay their hand nor underestimate the international frustration with Tehran. Dragging out and haggling over the JCPOA reentry could very well lead American negotiators to conclude that Tehran is not a serious partner in the Vienna process and that the JCPOA is too tenuous to save. In such an outcome and after months of trying to hold the JCPOA together, European countries would more likely follow the Biden administration’s lead. Saudi Arabia is also hitching its Iran dialogue to the revival of the JCPOA. Moreover, without any meaningful modifications to Tehran’s support for the Houthis, these discussions could also fall to the wayside leaving Tehran back where it began — isolated, sanctioned and economically vulnerable.


Iran approves second Iranian-made COVID-19 vaccine

Iran’s Health武汉夜生活 Ministry has approved 武汉桑拿论坛a second domestically made COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The vaccine campaign in Iran has been relatively slow, and the country has been badly hit by the coronavirus.

Iranian Health Minister Saeid Namaki said Tuesday that the Pasteur vaccine completed its third phase of clinical trials and received “permission for its emergency use.” The vaccine was developed in partnership with Cuban scientists, the state-owned Press TV reported.

The COVIran Barekat vaccine, also made in Iran, received emergency authorization last w武汉夜生活 Ministry has approved 武汉桑拿论坛eek, prompting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to take it.

The Islamic Republic has been among the countries worst affected by the pandemic in the Middle East. The country is registering around 10,000 new cases a day among its population of more than 80 million.

The vaccine rollout began in February for medical workers, but it has been hindered by a l武汉夜生活 Ministry has approved 武汉桑拿论坛ack of supplies, long lines and crowded vaccine centers. This has left some people over the age of 70 who are eligible for the vaccine unable to receive it. The government has blamed the sluggish vaccine campaign on countries failing to deliver promised doses and international banking restrictions on Iran.

As of June 21, only 4.78% of Iranians had received one vaccine dose. The percentage increased significantly starting in late April but has since slowed, according to the Oxford University-based Our World in Data.

Iranian officials said on June 1 that a mass vaccine campaign for most of the population will begin in September. This constituted another delay.

Iran and Cuba have worked together to fight the virus throughout the pandemic. 武汉夜生活 Ministry has approved 武汉桑拿论坛In addition to teaming up on the Pasteur vaccine, Cuba sent 100,000 doses of its Soberana vaccine to Iran in April for the third phase of its trial.


The Takeaway: Iran deal on front burner before Raisi takes office

Everything or武汉夜生活 nothing? The pa武汉桑拿论坛rties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as well as the United States (which withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018), may soon convene in Vienna for the seventh and perhaps final round of talks to bring the United States back into the JCPOA fold. There is anticipation of a possible accord, and declarations of low expectations. An Iranian government spokesman said this week that “unless there is agreement on all the agenda points, there is practically no deal,” apparently referring not just to relief from banking and oil sanctions, as we report here, but also those sanctions imposed on individuals and entities linked to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and maybe even incoming president Ebrahim Raisi, who takes office Aug. 3. A US official said June 24 that “serious differences” remain to be bridged in the talks.

Here come the Hezbollahis. 武汉夜生活 nothing? The pa武汉桑拿论坛Timing is of the essence. Raisi is part of a wave of “Hezbollahis,” the vanguard of what Khamenei calls the “second revolution” to cultivate “a faithful, revolutionary, professional and confident manpower.” Ali Hashem writes that “while the decision to engage with the West will not change” under Raisi, “the tone, expectations and ceiling are going to see a clear shift.”

Raisi’s window. Before that happens, Raisi and Iran’s outgoing president, Hassan Rouhani, could score a win-win if they can revive the JCPOA in some form. Rouhani wants the win for his own legacy, as the deal was both his greatest achievement and, after the Trump administration withdrew from it, a mortal blow to the moderate-reformist camp. Raisi, as Sanam Vakil writes, knows that “the swiftest formula” to address Iran’s deep economic challenges “begins through the revival of the JCPOA.” If Iran can close the deal before he takes office, Raisi can reap the benefits while not having to be seen as compromising with the West.

Israel: Netanyahu plots his comeback

Since leaving office, Benjamin Netanyahu has posed for selfies, answered to the ti武汉夜生活 nothing? The pa武汉桑拿论坛tle of “prime minister,” and enjoyed the perks of his former job — all while plotting to dismantle the newly formed Israeli government.

As Ben Caspit writes, Netanyahu “is acting like a man possessed, hanging on to the remnants of his past glory and trying to fuel his popularity and his standing as a leader only temporarily out of office.” Netanyahu hopes the government led by his former protege, Naftali Bennett, will quickly fail, and in the meantime has tried to drive a wedge between Israel’s new leaders and the White House.

As Netanyahu fights for his political survival, his Likud party is gearing up for a war of succession. Afif Abu Much looks at who among Likud’s leadership is most likely to challenge Bibi for control of the party and whether his rivals have what it takes.

Gaza: Fatah members resign

Amid growing frustrations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, members of his Fatah party in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip have announced their resignations.

Mai Abu Hasaneen writes, “The resignations come at a tense time for Abbas and Fata武汉夜生活 nothing? The pa武汉桑拿论坛h, with critics claiming the authorities employ a policy of alienation and exclusion against whoever opposes the octogenarian president’s policies.” The resignations followed Abbas’ recent dismissals of several Fatah figures, as well as the killing of Nizar Banat, a political activist and Palestinian Authority critic who died in PA custody.

For more news out of Gaza, check out this this deeply reported story from Hasaneen on the uptick in violence against women and how Palestinian feminists are pushing for changes to the law.

Jordan: Can post-Bibi Israel rebuild ties with Jordan?

Osama Al Sharif looks at what the departure of Netanyahu means for Jordan’s ties to the Jewish state. Relations were strained under Netanyahu, with Sharif writing, “It was no secret that King Abdullah had lost trust in Netanyahu who, in Amman’s view, violated every agreement and understanding reached with Jordan over the years.”

Jordan has yet to comment publicly on the formation of Israel’s new government, perhaps because Bennett is no less right-wing than his predecessor on key issues. Bennett’s Yamina party rejects a two-state solution in which Israel and an inde武汉夜生活 nothing? The pa武汉桑拿论坛endent Palestine would coexist, and supports expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Iraq: Baghdad scene of history-making summit

Ali Mamouri breaks down the tripartite talks in Baghdad that brought together Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Sunday.

The meeting, which focused on economic, political and intelligence cooperation among the three countries, marked the first official visit by an Egyptian head of state to the Iraqi capital since 1990. Mamouri writes that the agenda covered security threats such as the Islamic State and regional conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Turkey: Will Afghanistan help save US-Turkey ties?

Turkey is trying to shore up regional support for its offer to safeguard Kabul’s civilian airport after the US and NATO withdrawal. Fehim Tastekin has the latest on Ankara’s outreach to Pakistan and Iran, as well as the Joe Biden administration, which has welcomed a “lead role” for Turkey in securing the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Turkey’s proposal comes at a tense time for US-Turkish ties, which are strained over a range of issues, including Ankara’s purchase of Russian defense systems. Semih Idiz writes that during their recent face-to-face meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Biden made progress on Afghanistan but little else.

One cool thing: Egyptian woman trains male boxers, shattering social barriers

In the south of Egypt, Sabah Abdel Halim trains male boxers on the latest techniques. Women boxers are uncommon in Egypt; women coaching men, in boxing no less, is unheard of. Rasha Mahmoud has the story here.

ICYMI: Lebanon running on fumes

Extremely long lines at gas stations have become a common sight in Lebanon, where crippling fuel shortages are deepening the country’s financial crisis. Gasoline-filled storage containers are causing fires in homes, and gas station workers have become the targets of near-daily attacks by people seeking the rationed fuel. Abandoned cars are scattered across the country’s streets. Hanan Hamdan examines what caused the crisis, why people are turning to the black market for gas and how Lebanon’s government is trying to stop the smuggling of fuel to neighboring Syria.

What we are reading: “Learning poverty” in the Middle East

More than half of children living in the Middle East and North Africa experience “learning poverty,” meaning they can’t read or understand age-appropriate text. The gender gap is profound, with boys far more likely to be in learning poverty than girls in the region. A new World Bank report explores how Middle East countries can better teach the Arabic language, specifically Modern Standard Arabic, to young children. Read the full report here.


Meet Iran’s US-sanctioned new judiciary chief

Iranian 武汉洗浴Supreme Leader 夜生活论坛Ayatollah Ali Khamenei named Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei the country’s new judiciary chief July 1. Mohseni Ejei will succeed Ebrahim Raisi, who is busy preparing to take office as Iran’s president in a few weeks following his landslide victory in a low-turnout election June 18.

In his letter of credentials to the new chief justice, Khamenei advised his pick to tackle corruption, and ensure the rule of law and justice, after describing the cleric as a man with “in-depth understanding and a brilliant record.”

Under Article 157 of Iran’s theocratic constitution, the unelected supreme leader directly appoints the head of the judiciary, one of the three branches of power along with the executive and the parliament. As the same laws require the judiciary head to be a cler武汉洗浴Supreme Leader 夜生活论坛ic, the post has in the past three decades been held by relentless hard-liners close to Khamenei.

Iran’s judiciary has long been accused of rights violations and has represented to many Iranians an institution defined by lack of transparency and plagued by inner corruption. Mahmoud Shahroudi famously declared upon his appointment as chief justice in 1999 that he had inherited an institution that was in ruins.

What perhaps distinguishes Mohseni Ejei from his predecessors is his repeated movements between the judiciary and the intelligence apparatus. As an interrogator in the early years following Iran’s 1979 revolution and later the judiciary’s representative in the Intelligence Ministry, Mohseni Ejei is accused of cl武汉洗浴Supreme Leader 夜生活论坛se involvement in the mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s as well as the so-called “chain assassination” of Iranian dissidents and intellectuals in the late 1990s.

In 2005, Mohseni Ejei was named Iran’s intelligence minister, a post he maintained for four years before his promotion to prosecutor-general. His transition between the two key posts coincided with the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on the 2009 postelection protests. The unrest saw hundreds killed and thousands placed behind bars, many of whom shown confessing in mass televised trials as the ruling establishment was poised武汉洗浴Supreme Leader 夜生活论坛 to crush a fledgling Green Movement. Mohseni Ejei’s role in the state-led clampdown triggered his inclusion as a rights violator in separate blacklists issued by the European Union and the US Department of Treasury.​

In 2004, the cleric became known as “the biting judge” after he expressed his intolerance of criticism by severely attacking and leaving a bite mark on the shoulder of a senior Reformist journalist during a weekly meeting.

The figure of a man known for his inflammatory speeches and overt disregard for press freedoms is already sending shivers down the spines of members of Iran’s civil society, who are sharing across social media platforms their experiences with the ultraconservative judge.

“It would be a step backward,” wrote rights activist and lawyer Ali Mojtahedzadeh before the official appointment as he hoped for the rumors to be untrue. “As we continue to deal with crises on a daily ba武汉洗浴Supreme Leader 夜生活论坛sis, the replacement of a bad chief justice with one who is worse is little less than a surprise,” tweeted another Tehran-based lawyer.

Mohseni Ejei’s appointment also marked yet another move toward a further tightening of the hard-liners’ grip on power in Iran. All the three branches of the Islamic Republic establishment are now in full control of men effectively handpicked by the country’s supreme leader.