1) At the ITIC, Raz Zimmt analyses Iran’s reactions to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Iranian leadership and its backers expressed their support to Russia and blamed the war on NATO and the West. The reactions of senior regime officials, high-ranking clerics and conservative Iranian media reflect a position that asserts that the acts of NATO, led by the United States, posed a clear threat to Russia’s national security, and compelled it to make a move to preserve its vital interests. Alongside this, Iranian officials have voiced concern about the continuation of war and call for ending it as soon as possible.
Iran’s support for Russia is hardly surprising. In recent years, Iran’s increasing international isolation has encouraged it to adopt the “look to the east” policy. This trend became even more pronounced since the election of the hardline President, Ebrahim Ra’isi, who shares the point of view of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, which supports tightening ties with Russia and China as an alternative to ties with the West.”
2) At the INSS, Orna Mizrahi and Yoram Schweitzer discuss ‘Hezbollah’s Efforts to Restore its Domestic Standing: The Israeli Card’.
“It has become increasingly apparent that the domestic difficulties faced by Hezbollah exert growing influence on its behavior toward Israel. Along with restraining its military activity along the border in order to avoid military friction with Israel, the organization is waging a vigorous cognitive campaign to maintain the deterrence equation and to improve its public image as “the defender of Lebanon.” Hezbollah is constrained by rising domestic criticism of its role in Lebanon’s economic and political collapse, particularly in advance of the elections scheduled for May 15. The latest incident in the cognitive campaign included kinetic activity in the form of launching a drone that while unable to cause significant damage, was intended to validate the organization’s (empty) claims about its success in introducing a new deterrence equation against Israel in the aerial realm.”
3) Former US State Department Special Advisor for Iran Gabriel Noronha gives his view of the pending revival of the Iran nuclear deal.
“Reports out of Vienna indicate that a deal could occur within the next few days. While some issues are still being ironed out—such as whether the United States will grant Russia immunity from any economic sanctions relating to Iran, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has publicly demanded—the details that follow have been conveyed to me as finalized. My subsequent discussions with foreign diplomats—including those directly involved and those outside but close to the negotiations—confirmed their claims. Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, who led negotiations on behalf of Russia, has crowed that “Iran got much more than it could expect. Much more,” and bragged about how Russia teamed up with China and Iran to get dozens of wins over the United States and European negotiating positions.”
4) At the JNS, Maurice Hirsch looks at the meaning of a recent PLO declaration.
“Speaking after the recent meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), its deputy chairman, Ali Faisal, clarified that there is a binding Palestinian decision to “renounce… all agreements with Israel.” He added that from the point of view of the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinians “have entered a path of resistance in all its forms”—a phrase that clearly includes the use of violence and terror. […]
To understand the ostensible importance of this statement, it is necessary to explain what the PNC is and what authority it carries.”