Iran

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An Afghan girl looks out of a damaged window of a shrine. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Keep foreign hands off Afghanistan

As the US slows down its troop withdrawal and China increases its involvement in Afghanistan, a warning that if the country is to see peace again, foreign meddling needs to stop.
When Australians hear about Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s dire warnings and counter-terrorism raids, they could lose historical perspective on the threat posed by Islamic State. AAP/Mal Fairclough

With jihadists among us, is IS more of a threat than communism was?

Dire government warnings and counter-terrorism raids in our suburbs paint a picture of the worst threat Western nations have ever faced. A little historical perspective is in order.
Sanctions intended to be biting have more often been toothless and about giving supporters the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from taking a principled stand. Cat dollar via www.shutterstock.com

Sanctions and divestment are feel-good policies that often fail

Sanctions have a terrible track record of success because they’re usually too weak to work and too easy to get around.
Foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Mohammad Zarif demonstrated a growing rapport between Australia and Iran in reaching agreement on some but not all fronts during her visit to Tehran. EPA

Ms Bishop goes to Tehran: a story of good news and bad news

Australia made progress on restoring trade and sharing intelligence on Islamic State in Iraq. Iran was less open to accepting the return of asylum seekers, which may prove a blessing in disguise.

Bishop’s Gambit in Tehran

We get the English word ‘chess’ from the Persian word Shah (king). The linguistic identification of this part of the world with chess belies its Indian origins, but in a country where the ancient nobility…
Iranians, who celebrated in the streets of Tehran following this month’s nuclear agreement, are keen to rebuild relations with the West. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Julie Bishop can reach out to Iran now that confrontation has failed

By reaching out to Iran, Australia can help end a long stand-off with the West that prevented solutions to many of the world's most dangerous problems, including Syria's civil war and Islamic State.
EPA/Laurent Gillieron

Jaw-jaw still beats war-war

Churchill’s famous aphorism that it’s better to jaw-jaw than to war-war has never been more apposite or timely. Although the usual suspects are queueing up to criticise the agreement between Iran and various…
The modern Saudi state rarely steps outside of its borders militarily unless it feels existentially threatened – as it is doing now in Yemen. EPA/Yahya Arhab

Saudi incursion in Yemen more about security than sectarianism

Saudi Arabia's incursion into Yemen is the latest manifestation of a long-standing struggle between it and Iran over statist issues of conflicting national interest, security and regional hegemony.

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