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In-depth Reports

By Heshmat Alavi

While an agreement allowing Iranian pilgrims to join this year’s hajj is good news, this is no leap forward to future success for the regime in Tehran. Quite obvious is the fact that this regime is facing a new balance of power in the Middle East and across the globe as the Trump administration has begun overhauling his predecessor’s disastrous Iran appeasement policy that allowed Tehran ignite the entire region in flames.

Turning point

The visit by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the US and meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House has been described as a turning point in Saudi-US relations.

By Heshmat Alavi

Iran made a lot of noise recently in announcing a new main battle tank built inside the country. Named Karrar, the tank is more a replica of an old Russian design and even more previous Western tank characteristics incorporated into various parts of nothing but a fancy-styled vessel most probably mocking something from a recent movie.

Despite all the brouhaha, Karrar is actually far behind anything considered modern and regardless of Tehran’s claims, entering production lines remains farfetched. Experts are even accusing Iran of using this entire scenario as a hoax aimed at gaining Russia’s consent into a tank purchase deal at a lower price.

With a growing dependence on China and Russia and budding geopolitical ambitions, Tehran is willing to make sacrifices

By David P. Goldman

Estimates of Iran’s military expenditure in Syria vary from US$6 billion a year to US$15-US$20 billion a year. That includes US$4 billion of direct costs as well as subsidies for Hezbollah and other Iranian-controlled irregulars.

Assuming that lower estimates are closer to the truth, the cost of the Syrian war to the Tehran regime is roughly in the same range as the country’s total budget deficit, now running at a US$9.3 billion annual rate.

Alarabiya by Tony Duheaume

When it comes to fighting terrorism, building walls and executing travel bans do nothing to deter hardened terrorists from pursuing their violent agendas, as it matters not what is put in their way, they will find their cannon fodder amongst the vulnerable, dispossessed and downtrodden on the streets of any inner city, including those of the US.

The ones who suffer the most from such draconian restrictions of movement, are the hundreds of thousands of innocent migrant Muslims left to suffer in abysmal conditions, after escaping from the terrible surroundings of wars, and end up being stigmatized as a “public enemy”.

The American Enterprise Institute by Michael Rubin

Prior to beginning nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Iranian economy had shrunk 5.4% according to Iran’s own statistics. The Iranian currency was in free fall and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless, simply to get Iran to the table, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry approved nearly $12 billion in incentives, an amount equal to more than twice the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ annual budget. When even supporters of the Iran deal say they believe it could have been better, the basis of their criticism is that Kerry and his team squandered the leverage provided by Iran’s financial desperation.

 AP — Iran's economy rebounded out of a recession after the nuclear deal with world powers, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, though uncertainty over future sanctions and problems plaguing the country's domestic banks could cause fiscal trouble ahead.

Iran's real gross domestic product grew by 7.4 percent, buoyed by the quick re-entry of Iranian oil on the international market, according to the IMF. Inflation also dropped to single digits while GDP growth is expected to stabilize around 4.5 percent, the IMF said.

By Heshmat Alavi

The discussion in the White House to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization remains very much alive. The US Congress has also witnessed many different plans weighed in this regard. Iran and its lobbies, on the other hand, terrified of the consequences, have taken to the media to depict an image of the US suffering from such a move.

Consequences for Iran

The political, economic, social and military consequences of the IRGC’s terrorist designation are quite significant, to say the least.

Alarabiya by Tony Duheaume

With North Korean leader Kim Jung Un having announced the detonation of the DPRK’s fifth nuclear device on September 9, 2016, which was said to have been a miniaturized nuke capable of being fitted to a missile, it came close to a time when Iran had openly admitted that it was accelerating its missile development program, making both Iran’s and Korea’s programs to run almost parallel.

But as well as the detonation of a nuke, it also became apparent that a missile launched by North Korea toward Japan on 14 February, 2017, had a solid fuel engine, which in turn, made it fully road mobile, and much quicker to prepare for launch.

IRGC is no straightforward military force, its influence stretches into all facets of Iranian society. (Reuters)

By Tony Duheaume

With new US President Donald Trump determined to completely rewrite the terms of the Iran Deal, the Iranian regime and commanders of its praetorian guard, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Force (IRGC), will no doubt soon have to decide whether to continue to pursue their ballistic missile program, which breaks the terms of the treaty, and will no doubt see it collapse,

By Heshmat Alavi

Support for international terrorism received a major boost the moment the mullahs hijacked Iran’s 1979 revolution. After a very short-lived period of a so-called open political atmosphere, their thugs organized in the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and paramilitary Basij militia, launched a campaign of oppression, arrests, torture and executions targeting not only dissidents, but anyone daring to raise a voice.