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1st Oct 2013

Iran: Who is responsible for Rouhani’s diplomatic offensive?

By Elie Chalhoub Many attribute Iran’s recent “charm offensive” toward the West to the election of President Hassan Rouhani. Upon closer look, it appears that the intransigent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the uncompromising Ali Khamenei were in fact the ones who … Continued

30th Sep 2013

Bahrain jails 50 activists for up to 15 years

A Bahraini court on Sunday sentenced 50 protest activists, many of whom were denied access to a lawyer and gave confessions under torture, to lengthy jail terms on terrorism-related charges, a rights group said. Separately, two police officers who were … Continued

29th Sep 2013

Iraq violence kills 11 near Baghdad

Violence that included attacks on security forces and their families killed 11 people in Iraq on Saturday, officials said. In Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, militants blew up four houses belonging to police and soldiers while people slept inside. Four people … Continued

29th Sep 2013

Iran media hails Obama-Rohani phone call as “the end of a 35-year taboo”

US President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani spoke by phone Friday in a historic and first direct contact between leaders of their estranged nations since the 1979. The stunning 15-minute call was the fruit of a diplomatic … Continued

29th Sep 2013

Lebanon: Deadly shoot-out erupts in Baalbeck

At least three people were killed in clashes in the Lebanese town of Baalbeck on Saturday after gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint manned by Hezbollah, security sources said. One Hezbollah member was killed and two others were wounded when … Continued

28th Sep 2013

Obama and Rouhani talk, first direct US-Iran contact since 1979

[Iranian President Rouhani smiling on the plane after taking a call from US President Obama. photo via @hassanrouhani] President Barack Obama and President Hasan Rouhani have spoken on the phone, the first verbal contact between the US and Iranian heads of … Continued

28th Sep 2013

UN Security Council approves resolution on Syria

The UN Security Council has approved a resolution on the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons program. The vote followed unanimous approval of the plan by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Members of the UN Security Council voted … Continued

28th Sep 2013

Bahraini police clashes with opposition protesters

Police clashed with protesters in a Bahraini village ahead of a demonstration called to demand the release of a prominent former MP, the interior ministry and witnesses said Friday. “Police were the target of a terrorist act of Molotov cocktails … Continued

28th Sep 2013

Qatar: Hamas Politburo on the road again

By Qassem Qassem Since Hamas decided to move its politburo from Syria to Qatar, its president Khaled Meshaal has been feeling like a prisoner, isolated from political developments in Palestine. The search for a new host country has begun, with … Continued

27th Sep 2013

US, Russia reach deal on UN resolution to rid Syria of chemical weapons

The United States and Russia have reached an agreement on a UN resolution aimed at destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Diplomats said the resolution will go to the full Security Council in the coming hours. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov … Continued

27th Sep 2013

US: Iran holds ‘constructive’ high-level nuclear talks with world powers

Iran and the US have heralded landmark nuclear talks as “constructive.” Attended by foreign ministers from Iran and six other world powers, they were the highest-level negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program since 2007. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif came … Continued

27th Sep 2013

Yemen: Dozen wounded by roadside bombs

Two roadside bombs exploded one after the other in the Yemeni capital on Thursday wounding 12 people, a security official said. The twin blasts were on the busy al-Rabat Street where the explosive devices had been hidden among piles of … Continued

27th Sep 2013

Iran calls on Israel to join nuclear non-proliferation treaty

Iran’s President Hassan Rohani on Thursday called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and put its widely suspected nuclear arms under international control. “No nation should possess nuclear weapons,” Rohani, whose country is accused by western countries of seeking … Continued

27th Sep 2013

Bahrain Center for Human Rights receives human rights award

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights, whose founder and director are both jailed, won Norway’s Rafto Prize for rights defenders Thursday for its fight against repression in the Gulf state. The award would “turn the spotlight on systematic violations of … Continued

27th Sep 2013

Syria: Assad: Syria is committed to chemical weapons convention

Syria is committed to the convention against chemical weapons it signed under a US-Russian deal and sees “no obstacles” to its implementation, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview broadcast Thursday. Speaking to Venezuela’s Telesur, the Syrian leader insisted that … Continued

26th Sep 2013

China, Russia issue joint statement on Syria crisis

BEIJING,  (Xinhua): The parliaments of China and Russia on Thursday released a joint statement on the crisis in Syria, stating that negotiation is the only feasible resolution to the issue. The joint statement was signed by the foreign affairs committees … Continued

26th Sep 2013

UN powers progress on Syria draft

There are signs the U-N’s five permanent security council members could be close to agreeing a resolution to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. The main points of a draft have reportedly been agreed, but Russia and the U-S still need to … Continued

26th Sep 2013

Iran’s Rouhani eyes nuclear deal ‘within months’

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani has told a US newspaper that he wants to reach a nuclear agreement with world powers sooner rather than later. The interview came ahead of a high-level diplomatic meeting on the issue. Rouhani told the Washington … Continued

26th Sep 2013

Iraq: Militant attack in north Iraq kills 14

Militants attacked local government buildings in north Iraq on Wednesday with suicide bombers and mortar fire and clashed with soldiers, leaving 14 people dead, an army officer said. Seven civilians, three soldiers and four militants were killed in the violence … Continued

26th Sep 2013

Yemeni lieutenant killed by car bomb

A Yemeni lieutenant colonel was killed on Wednesday by a bomb planted in his car, the state news agency said, the latest in a string of attacks on security officials blamed by government on insurgents. The Saba news agency said … Continued

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