Riyadh Pact: US & 55 Muslim-Majority States Pledging 34,000 Troops To Fight ISIS, Cooperation Against Iran

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Riyadh Pact: US & 55 Muslim-Majority States Pledging 34,000 Troops To Fight ISIS, Cooperation Against Iran

US President Donald Trump meeting with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh yesterday, on the second day of his visit to Saudi Arabia. An MOU was agreed on to tackle the financing of terrorism.PHOTO: REUTERS

The United States and 55 Muslim-majority states have signed a pact pledging to provide a 34,000-strong ‘reserve force’ for defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq, declaring Saudi Arabia a key regional player for conducting counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East and blaming Iran for destabilizing the region.

The document was signed during the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh in which US President Donald Trump participated.

According to the signed document, the participants of the pact agreed to “establish a Middle East Strategic Alliance, for which Riyadh will play host, and in which many countries will participate to contribute to peace and security in the region and the world. The establishment and the declaration of the accession of participating countries will be completed in 2018.

The leaders welcomed the readiness of a number of Islamic countries to participate in the Islamic Military Coalition to combat terrorism to provide a reserve force of 34,000 troops to support operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria when needed. They welcomed the progress achieved on the ground in the fight against ISIS, praising the participation of Arab and Islamic countries and their support for the International Alliance against ISIS.”

They also “welcomed the establishment of a global center for countering extremist thought to take base in Riyadh, and praised the center’s strategic objectives of combating intellectual, media and digital extremism and promoting coexistence and tolerance among peoples.

A significant part of the document is dedicated to Iran:

Confronting the sectarian agendas and interference in other countries affairs:

The leaders underscored the importance of the current cooperation between countries, the relations based on the principles of good neighborhood, non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries and respect of their independence, sovereignty and integrity of territories whereas:

1- The leaders stressed the rejection of sectarian agendas, citing their dangerous repercussions on the security of the region and the world at large.

2- The leaders confirmed their absolute rejection of the practices of the Iranian regime designed to destabilize the security and stability of the region and the world at large and for its continuing support for terrorism and extremism.

3- The leaders condemned the Iranian regime’s hostile positions and continuing interference in the domestic affairs of other countries in a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and good neighborhood, confirming their commitment to confront that.

4- The leaders are committed to intensify their efforts to observe the security of the region and the world at large, and firmly confront the subversive and destructive Iranian activities inside their countries and through joint coordination.

5- The leaders underlined the dangerous Iranian ballistic missiles program and denounced the Iranian regime’s continuing violations for Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

In case of its realization, this effort will determine the role of Saudi Arabia as a key “counter-terrorism” part of the US in the region and contribute to creation of an anti-Iranian alliance in the Middle East.

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  • John

    pffffft

  • George King

    They also “welcomed the establishment of a global center for countering extremist thought to take base in Riyadh, and praised the center’s strategic objectives of combating intellectual, media and digital extremism and promoting coexistence and tolerance among peoples.“

    Would not that require for all Wahhabi be removed from Saudi territory, beheaded along with their supporters of the not so Royal Family as a long lasting and final defeat of the terror and their creators?

    John, I second the “pfffft!

  • castle30

    This is a scam on so many levels. First of all the global center for countering extremism is a farce. The number one sponsors of terror are the Saudis and Qataris. Also, creating such a government sponsored crony enterprise will only lead to more terror, as all the people running such a center will need terrorism to justify their fat salaries.

    Besides that, the force they’re talking about is clearly not needed. Isis is on the verge of defeat. If things continue as they are, they will be defeated within a few months on all fronts, and territorially eliminated. The purpose of such a force is to clearly capture the Iraq-Syria border and isolate Iran from its allies in Lebanon and Syria. This has nothing to do with defeating Isis, and everything to do with the Saudis and Israelis fighting Iran. And the US is arming that fight to the tune of 100 billion. And taking a bribe, in a Trumpian transactional fashion, of billions in investments in America and in contracts for American companies. I’ll give him that at least the US is getting something in return and not simply being Riyahd’s and Tel Aviv’s whore, like in prior conflicts.

    Lastly, it is disgusting how they presume to have the right to intervene in Syria with such a force, when it is a sovereign country that has not consented. So the agreed terms are patently contrary to International Law.

    • Lobjidutu

      Alternative – this is a force formed to protect the Al Sauds from domestic unrest. The stated purpose is a deception for public consumption only.

      Don’t know if thats true, but I offer it as a hypothesis.

      • castle30

        Recent events in Syria suggest otherwise.
        There also might be more going on than what the eye or even an interpretation of the events can disclose. All reporting has indicated that it was Kushner who brokered this deal, and he happens to be the one to be in charge of brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace. So the calculation might be the following: Promise the Saudis support in their cold war against Iran, but in exchange demand that the impose huge pressure on the Palestinians to make peace with Israel. Then, hope that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine will largely defuse tensions in the region, including between Iran and Israel, which will result in Iran moving less agressively along the Shia crescent, which also will ease the tensions with the Arab countries polarized by such Iranian operations.

        last part is pure speculation, but I think what I explained in my comment before is pretty accurate. I don’t know if they will actually move on the Syrian side of the border, since Assad is already so close and it would be chaotic from the perspective of International affairs, but they will probably just try to seal Iran from Syria and Lebanon from the Iraqi side.

        • Jonathan Cohen

          SAA can prevent this by striking East from Palmyra with everything, without having to fight Norwegians in Al Tanf!

          • Justin Ryan

            PMU has almost got control of the border from the Iraqi side. The NEw Syrian Army are pushing east but these forces will soon be cut off from Jordan with this recent Syrian attempt to take over the border with Jordan and join the road to Iraq via al-tanf. By closing off the border with Jordan and reaching al-tanf, the NSA push east towards der-ezzor will come to an end.
            Its a good move! The US coalition will need to move fast to stop this.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            The US coalition will do whatever it takes to stop such a move, unless they can airlift what they need; but SAA can still beat them in a race if they abandon other offensives in the North and South and advance ONLY East from Palmyra and, with air supplied forces, from Dier Ezzor.

          • Justin Ryan

            I disagree! U seem very keen on getting to Deir Ezzor before the New Syrain Army does.
            The battle in the north (aleppo)
            The push east from hama and homs
            Enabale the SAA to shorten its front lines and assign more troops to other areas!
            Shutting off the southern border with jordan means the US coalition cannot logistically emable the NSA or feed its ISIS friends weapons!

            The only way for the USA to get to deir ezzor will be via the SDF captured region.
            But Turkey will not allow this! Turkey is very pissed with the USA as it has given kurds heavey weapons such as TOW’s Javelins and armoured vehicles!
            The entire reason for this “safe zones” is because turkey, iran, russia and syria agrees to it!
            This enabled the Syrians to free up forces to do what it is doing in the south and begin more new battle fronts!
            So the syrians will try to cut off the south and join with the damascus bagdad road (so iran can deliever hardware in future)
            The Turks will stop the US deliveries from Turkey!
            The Iranian PMU will
            Stop US delieveries
            From Iraq!
            Now the usa has a logitical nightmare! (Logistics wins wars)
            Eventually there will only be the SAA and allies Vs the SDF and allies.
            This is why the southern border is important and why al-tanf is important!
            deir ezzor will be flooded with isis (cia ruled) before the SAA get there!
            The key is to shut down the borders, have the tiger foces secure southern raqqa, and push for Deir Ezzor WHILST the turks (i believe this will happen) will make a move on Manbij (which will completely fuck up the coalition attack on raqqa).
            This is all set to happen! Turkey is in with Russia now (hence the rebels infighting)
            Dude, put the pieces together!
            This is chess, not checkers!

          • dutchnational

            It is chess, in that I agree. Russians (especially) and US are good chess players. Turks (and Erdogan most) are very bad chess players.

            So expect Turkey to get the worst out of all of this.

            The SDF seems to have the international chess internalised and are doing well. They will come out on top of this mess.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            I’m not convinced that the US will arm ISIS via Al Tanf, and that hope of mine is worth avoiding a superpower confrontation turning Al Tanf into Armageddon. SAA neds to go around to the North; Via Arak. Though the US does have heavy airlift capability, which would become the only alternative to Nuking Al Tanf.

        • Justin Ryan

          They will absolutely move into the Syrian side of the border. Israel is running this game Andrew they will not allow a land transit route between Baghdad and Damascus as this would enable transit of military hardware from Iran all the way to Lebanon.
          Keep in mind the the Golan heights (Syrian territory but under Israeli control) has recently disclosed a huge amount of oil.
          You can look this up. It was announced in March 2017.

          • Ronald

            Genie Energy Ltd. (NJ) and AFEC Oil and Gas (Israel) both owned by J. Rothschild .

      • castle30

        And I doubt it’s for public consumption only. Billions of dollars are being traded and moved around. When so much money and influence is involved it is very likely that they intend to do something substantial.

    • RamboDave

      Good stuff Castle30 ….. It seems like Jordan might be the key here. I read something about Jordan being reluctant to launch an invasion of Syria from their territory. Although , they did allow the US rebel training base. It seems like the “invasion” talked about in Riyadh would have to go right through that al Tanf boarder crossing area, which has been in the news.

      Jordan has a large Palestinian population, and they would be fools not to notice how the al Quds militia, made up entirely of Palestinian refugees from the Aleppo area, played a huge heroic role in the liberation of Aleppo.

      It also looks like some sort of deal has been made with Russia, because everything has quieted down in that al Tanf area. Was the deal made that the US would move (and is right now moving) it’s training base far up into Syria, and the al Tanf crossing will then be given back to Syria as soon as this is accomplished in a few days ?

      Here is a good interactive map of Syria, which allows you to zoom into that area.

      http://syriancivilwarmap.com/

      • castle30

        It really is hard to tell how it will play out, especially since there are so many forces at play in the US side alone. The Trump administration is not united on this, and many oppose such a war.
        Apparently, and I believe the reporting on this is accurate, after the missile strikes and the gas incident, McMaster pressured Trump to invade Syria (50.000 troops according to Bloomberg). Of course, the pretext for this was fighting ISIS, but it’s to cut the Shia crescent in half.
        Apparently Trump declined (and his relation with McMasteris reportedly very tense). Probably smart because it would be a political disaster for him (besides being immoral and illegal, but I do not presume to know Trump’s motives).
        After that, McMaster and Kushner brokered this deal with Saudi Arabia, which might be a plan B. That is, if the US wont intervene, maybe the Arabs will, with the US providing the weapons (not before sucking billions from the Saudis). But absent some major incident, I do not think the Saudis and Jordanians have the balls to invade Syria. Maybe they will use this “anti-ISIS” force to cut off Assad from Iran from the Iraqi side. I don’t know.
        At the same time you have Trump trying to cool down relations with Russia, and being viciously attacked by the national security bureacracy (through leaks) for it. That affects any consideration in Syria.
        Also, Trump has delegated so much authority to the Pentagon that a lot of these decisions being taken in Syria might not have his approval, and maybe the neocons are calling the shots. For all we know, Trump might not even be aware of the foreign policy consequences of the incident at Al-Tanf.
        I think we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out. IMO, I think if Assad plays his cards right he will force the US to concede the border with Iraq. Trump isn’t in a mood for a war in Syria, he also doesn’t want to completely erase the diplomatic progress made with the Russians, and the Saudis don’t have balls to outright invade Syria. I think the fight will move to the political side inside Iraq, with the PMUs and some sunni arab force duking it out for the control of Iraq, in order to achieve the goal of splitting the Shia crescent.

        • RamboDave

          I’ll bet Steve Bannon was against the Syrian “invasion” idea too.

          What makes me think that a deal has been made is, why aren’t we seeing a massive rush of Iraqi PMU and Iraqi Army, as well as Syrian SAA and Russian advisers directly toward the al Tanf area? ISIS has been pushed back at least 100 miles, and is not a factor.
          True, there are reports of small numbers of such forces, but why not all out massive movements?

          • castle30

            I believe he was. All reporting indicated that. I think him, or someone in his sphere leaked to conservative press the Afghanistan surge idea also. So clearly there are people in the WH that do not like the neocon silent coup.
            There is a big rush to the border, but they can’t send everybody since there are many fronts. Part of the idea with the de escalation zones was to be able to send more troops to secure Eastern Syria (the rebels had to accept because they are getting crushed). But definetely a race from Niniveh by the PMUS’s., and by the SAA to beat back the FSA.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            SAA can bypass FSA/NewSA to the North and still reach PMU east of Dier Ezzor.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            Because SAA can reach PMU farther North so they don’t need Al-Tanf.

          • Ronald

            A large force out in the desert is far to exposed to USAF .

        • Jonathan Cohen

          Assad’s right cars are to race due East from Palmyra to Iraq and connect the crescent by fighting ISIS only, fast, and not Norwegians. Race Norwegians, don’t fight. Only fight ISIS.

          • castle30

            I read they are preparing to launchan offensive from Palmyra. So they very well might be preparing something like that. We shall see.

        • Ma_Laoshi

          With all this talk of how you just can’t fight westerners it seems everyone’s embraced the doctrine of the Chosen People, which in fact is a large part of what got us into this mess. Did we leave our minds in the enemy camp? The way I read Europeans: behind their reasonable facade, force is the only thing they still understand and respect. It’s at least another point of view that splattering those Norwegians all over the desert is exactly what’s needed right now. It’s not like the US would really care anyway.

          It’s Russia’s eternal weakness: always wanting to be loved by Europe but the more they beg for that, the more they’re seen as a joke.

      • dutchnational

        Jordan has a big problem.

        Only KSA and US money keep it away from being a failed state.

        They are reeling, economically and politically, under the influx of Syrian refugees, they are a divided country, being more then 50% palestinian but claiming to be beduin.

        They have almost no industry, a limited agriculture, no real services. They are broke and, economically, way overpopulated and with a bloated milirary.

        There is no future for Jordan unless they find a cnew structure, calignment or whatever.

        Maybe the way forward is a federation of Jordan and West Bank and a deal with Israel, with Israel, KSA amd US funding a massive development program.

        • RamboDave

          That 50% figure is correct. But, that idea of a Jordan/West Bank federation is actually an Israeli plan. “Jordan is Palestine” has been the Israeli mantra for decades. And when Netanyahu talks about a “one state” solution that is what he means. Israel and all it’s settlements with all connecting roads, will be one state ……. Jordan and remaining Palestinian West Bank enclaves, will be one state.

          • dutchnational

            The plan has been around for some time. Sometimes proposed by Israel, sometimes by Jordan, sometimes by others. Only the palestinians do not seem very enthusiastic.

            As the whole area used to be just one province (in Ottoman times) there is, given the almost amalgation of peoples, – even the kings wife is palestinian – it seems to me there is a lot to be said for it. Settlements are a big problem but, imo, surmountable. Some border adaptians and the rest would have to fall under the palestinians, just like there are now palestinians living in Israel.

            Would KSA give a bit of land to Jordan, around Aqaba, there could be real development there.

        • Jonathan Cohen

          Sounds like they need abortion rights courtesy of YPJ.

        • Ma_Laoshi

          “Development”? They no longer do that. The US of the Marshall Plan was a completely different creature than what’s in front of us today. I don’t mind national self-interest, as long as it’s pursued in an enlightened way. However, the US have not just given up on the enlightenment part, rather they don’t seem to see themselves as a nation any longer–just a bunch of oligarchs grabbing what they can.

          • dutchnational

            They will be, politically, not developing, but buying, in a way, peace I am sure the EU would also fund some of it. Firstly, they Do invest in development and secondly, they can save on the support of the palestinion refugees all over the region.

            Btw, the Marshall Plan was a loan. The Netherlands being one of the few countries to pay it back.

          • Ma_Laoshi

            “Btw, the Marshall Plan was a loan. The Netherlands being one of the few countries to pay it back.” <- well good for us! ;-) A loan is probably better than a bribe, especially if invested productively. I don't mind at all the US asking its money back; it was still help when needed most.

          • dutchnational

            correct.

      • Jonathan Cohen

        If they gave up al Tanf, they would have to airlift supplies and I doubt they want to do that. SAA needs to stay farther North. they can race to Iraq if they want, but well North of Al Tanf!

    • Jonathan Cohen

      A few months is too long to defeat ISIS. It needs to be done NOW! with every tank on earth! If the East and west factions deployed fully against ISIS instead of each other, ISIS would be crushed in DAYS! not months!

      • castle30

        It’s not so much about crushing ISIS, but about reaching the damn Iraqi border. They should muster as much as they can and cut the FSA from reaching the Euphrates valley and link up with PMUs eventually.

  • Barba_Papa

    Seems to me like one big ‘We all love Saudi Arabia’ club. Which basically boils down to ‘It’s good to have shitloads of money!’ and ‘Money walks, so bullshit talks!’

    It’s sad to see a US president prostitute himself and his nation just for a slice of Saudi money. Sole world super power indeed. If I were a US citizen with a child contemplating to join the US armed forces and seeing this I would move heaven and earth to stop that from happening. No way that my child would risk his or her life to b sent into harms way for Saudi money.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    Iran causing terrorism? What planet is Trump from? Oh yea, planet-Israel. Where the Jews are super-women and monotheist are the bad guys haha.
    Trump is owned by ((( Jared Kushner ))) and the whole world is making fun of him for it.
    Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and the UK are the bad guys here. And the US needs to ditch all of these people and form lasting genuine friendships with Iran and Russia and Greece and Ireland and India and Lebanon and Philippines and so forth.
    http://presstv.com/

    • Thegr8rambino

      I may actually be proud to be american again if they did what u said lol

  • Joe Doe

    This looks to me like another NATO or proxy, but created with Muslim nations and this is more about the money that americans industrial complex will benefits. This is also PACT to conquer other nations

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Didn’t we have a “pan-Arab army”, like, less than two years ago? They held desert drills, and spent a lot of money of course. Then they got their asses kicked in Yemen. Reality reasserted itself, none of them fancied trying their luck against the Russkies next, and the whole thing fizzled.

    As castle30 wrote, the existing forces mobilized against ISIS will resoundingly defeat it, *unless* they get fatally distracted by their (well-deserved) mutual distrust. As it is, the Empire is already too big and unwieldy to stay focused on one single enemy.

    • Barba_Papa

      Most Muslim countries are not that wealthy as Saudi Arabia. If it has the reserves to throw hundreds of billions around, I’m sure that poorer countries are more then willing to send some of its soldiers out to die in some godforsaken war on behalf of the KSA. Mind you, since the average Ahmed sent out die does not see a penny of that money, don’t expect much stellar performance out of him. But hey, at least the KSA can claim to be heading a multi nation alliance.

      • Ma_Laoshi

        All makes sense. So poor Arabs (too desperate) and sane Americans (too few) are not where the counter-pressure will come from. What about the Saud family at large? At the end of the day, I think it’s only their wealth which keeps their heads attached to their necks. Are they prepared to squander most of it for, say, five years of glory? Do they really imagine that invading Iran will be “the war to end all wars” in the Middle East?

        But hey, if Trump can make nice with Mohammed bin Salman, then sitting down with Kim Yong Un isn’t that much different really.

    • Jonathan Cohen

      Too slow. They need more force to beat ISIS IN A WEEK! Sure existing forces can do it in a year but ISIS doesn’t deserve a year! Time is important, competing forces need to RACE!

  • Mountains

    Planning to send 34-000 troops to Syria…Mainly to eastern Syria to secure the assets in Oil and Gas with American Troops. Assad is busy speeding towards the east but imo it’s to little to late

    • Jonathan Cohen

      Assad can do it if he sends everything to Palmyra and ignores Al-Tanf. He needs to Race the west but fight only ISIS!

      • Mountains

        I heard that ISIS have good positions in As-Sukhanal and that offensive could lead to ISIS taking out alot Pro-regime forces. they have hill tops and minor mountains which could be unfavorable to Assad forces but I haven’t checked myself to verify these claims but I have heard it once before which is why Assad favored to go the other route to Al-tanf which was even worse since there is NATO, Free Syrian Army and Jordanians.

        I will verify the terrain in As-Sukhanal later on the night using google map

  • 35MK

    US,Turkey and the gulf kingdoms funded and armed Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and then blame others for terrorism……..Typical….

  • adzsiam

    Now if the KSA can’t win over the Houthis after getting all of this, then its a done deal they are only good for ‘hot air’ production.

  • George King

    (May 2017) Now that Russia has been invited to the Port of Aden the US MIC will fleece Saudi Arabia for all it can before the collapse of the ruling Royal Family and Mecca & Medina is returned to both Sunni & Shia eliminating the divide and conquer of Empire’s forces. This will restore the nations Treasure, Commons and Inalienable Rights to all Muslim nations who have the wisdom to shed the shackles and reclaim their birth rights. It will be the new Silk Road of multi polar development that brings this to their land. See:
    Putin Out Maneuvers Puppeteers of ISIS, Declares War under UN Charter!

    https://www.opednews.com/articles/Putin-Out-Maneuvers-Puppet-by-George-King-Energy_Isil_Isis_Isis-Beheading-151121-284.html

    Russia is mediating negotiations for a political solution to the Yemen conflict outside of UN channels as a means to secure naval bases in Yemen. Russia is pursuing political negotiations with the UAE and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh by beginning to discuss the future consensus Yemeni government. Saleh’s support for the Houthis is critical for the al Houthi-Saleh bloc to retain its influence across northern and central Yemen. The UAE may see this settlement as a way to halt the expansion of Iran’s influence in Yemen and to limit bearing further costs associated with the Yemeni war. Saleh previously expressed willingness to grant Russia military basing rights in Yemen. This basing would allow Russia to project power into one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab strait, a global maritime chokepoint.
    Back in August 2016 the former Yemeni president Saleh had indeed made an offer to Russia:

    “In the fight against terrorism we reach out and offer all facilities. Our airports, our ports… We are ready to provide this to the Russian Federation,” Saleh said in an interview in Sanaa.
    No one (but Russia?) took Saleh serious at that time. He was not, and is not, in a position to achieve control over Aden in southern Yemen nor any other relevant Yemeni port.

    I also doubted the recent report. Yes, until the early 1990s the Soviet Union had bases in southern Yemen and thousands of military advisers and trainers worked in the country. But Russia currently does not have the naval resources, nor the immediate interest, to open a new base in the area. Or so I thought.

    But a well-informed source in Yemen dispelled my doubts. It confirmed the report. Russia is negotiating with the UAE, the Houthi/Saleh alliance and the various southern groups in Yemen over a peace deal and has been doing so for the last six month. The deal would include Russian naval basing rights in Aden.

    Tyler Durden’s article in Mar 26, 2015 7:51 AM
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-26/saudi-arabia-imposes-naval-blockade-red-sea-strait-deploys-150000-troops-iran-condem

    As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping choke point in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Saudi Arabia’s attempt at preserving the critical logistics of oil supply is hardly surprising that as Egypt’s Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Storm coalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy’s western fleet has also secured Yemen’s main ports including Aden and Midi.

  • Pavel Pavlovich

    “The leaders underlined the dangerous Iranian ballistic missiles program”
    The leaders – and most of all the USA – is afraid that Iran can turn their bases

    in the region up to a few thousand kilometres into burning derelict projects.

  • NeoLeo

    U.nited S.audi A.rabia coalition, nothing to do with ISIS, this is entirely against Iran.

  • Roddy Wehrmacht

    LOL @ Saudis projecting their crimes on Iran.