For Iran, Exerting Force While Making Nice Is Part of the Plan

(New York Times) Thomas Erdbrink - Just as opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran had warned, Tehran seems to be moving aggressively to expand its regional influence while working to counter American interests throughout the Middle East. Iranian generals are directing the ground war in Syria. Iranian advisers are training Shiite militias fighting in Iraq and Syria. Iranian arms and other support help the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Yet, just as proponents of the deal had promised, Iran is also slowly opening up, cutting deals with Western businesses and welcoming hordes of European tourists. On the battlefields of Syria, Iranian advisers and "volunteers" - often Afghans and Shiite militias - are fighting and dying alongside Syrian government troops to drive rebels out of Aleppo. Near Mosul, Iraq, the Popular Mobilization Forces, another name for dozens of Shiite militias, are taking cues from advisers associated with the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards. At the same time, Ayatollah Khamenei said last week that "problems between Iran and the United States will never be resolved."

2016-10-26 00:00:00

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