• U.N. Watchdog Inspects A Site Flagged As Suspicious But Possibly Too Late
The Wall Street Journal: The United Nations’ atomic agency has heeded calls by the U.S. and Israel to inspect a site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last fall was housing Iranian nuclear equipment and material, according to officials familiar with the agency’s work. But the visit may have come too late to yield proof of the claims.
The International Atomic Energy Agency first sent a team of inspectors to the site, which is in Tehran, in February, according to the officials. The agency’s staff took a series of environmental samples that are currently being analyzed, they said. It isn’t clear when the IAEA first asked for access to the site.
• Mike Pompeo Appeals For Unity To Confront Russia, China And Iran On NATO’s 70th Anniversary
The Telegraph: Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has appealed for unity to confront “great power” challenges from Russia, China and Iran on the 70th anniversary of Nato. “We have rightly sought peace through strength here in NATO. We must continue to do so, especially in this new era of great power competition from Russia, from China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he told a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers.
• Activists: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Fire on Protesters in Deadly Flood Confrontation |
Voice of America: Exiled Iranian opposition activists say Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has fired on protesters who tried to stop it from diverting floodwaters in a southwestern town, resulting in a protester’s death. The activists said the protester died after being shot by IRGC forces in Wednesday’s predawn confrontation in the Dasht-e-Azadegan district of Khuzestan province. They said minority Iranian Arab residents of the area, also known as Ahwazis, were trying to stop the IRGC from destroying a dyke and diverting floodwaters into their farmland.
• Iran Reports Massive Flood Damage To Farms
Reuters: Flooding has caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to Iranian agriculture, an official said on Thursday, as the parliament speaker questioned whether government funds would be adequate to compensate communities and farmers. About 1,900 cities and villages have been affected by floods and exceptionally heavy rains since March 19. The disaster, which has so far killed 62 people, has left aid agencies struggling to cope and seen 86,000 people moved to emergency shelters.
• Saudi Arabia Makes Inroads In Iraq To Curb Iranian Influence
Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia intends to invest $1 billion in development projects in Iraq and open a consulate in the capital, reversing a longstanding policy of disengagement there as it seeks to curb rival Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East. A Saudi ministerial and business delegation is in Iraq this week to discuss investment ideas for some of the kingdom’s biggest companies, including oil giant Aramco, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and the Maaden mining corporation, Saudi Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qasabi said in Baghdad.
• Qatar Is The Weakest Link In An ‘Arab NATO’ | National Review
It is a good idea in theory: Assemble a coalition of Sunni Arab states, call it the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), and create a multinational military force meant to serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, and extremism. Such an alliance would finally allow the U.S. to lessen its Middle East footprint, as the 2017 National Security Strategy recommended, and allow the Pentagon to redeploy some capabilities toward China and Russia – two of the “Big 4” countries that pose the greatest menace to the United States according to the latest U.S. intelligence community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment. It is also hoped that such a self-sufficient Arab military pact would help bring some much-needed stability to the region.
• Oxford Study Reveals Iranian Digital Network To Support Interventions In Arab Countries
Asharq Al-Awsat: Iran uses a network of websites, which are misleading and registered with “false” data, to spread its digital propaganda in the Arab world, according to a study published by Oxford University. The study, titled “Iranian Digital Interference in the Arab World,” points out that the network mainly attacks Saudi Arabia. The study was prepared by three researchers from the Project on Computational Propaganda (COMPROP) based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.