One more run at engagement with Iran in Geneva



As diplomatic revelations unfold about the content of the Wikileaks documents, leaders in the Middle East seem to be understandably preoccupied with Iran. Some cables have even expressed a willingness to consider the use of force by the US to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.
Publicly, the Obama administration has said that all options are on the table in dealing with Tehran. But Washington has so far given priority to sanctions and, it seems, at least, one more run at engagement.
After more than a year, the US, along with the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany, the P5+1, are preparing for another round of talks with Iran next week in Geneva. American and Iranian delegations will also participate in the 7th annual Regional Security Summit, or "Manama Dialogue," organised by London's International Institute for Strategic Studies this weekend in Bahrain.
As two diplomatic arenas, Geneva and Manama provide opportunities for a re-start in US diplomacy with Iran about its nuclear programme, and for institutionalising a regional security agenda for the Gulf.
Let's start with Geneva, where the endgame for US-Iran nuclear diplomacy is Iran's full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in return for sanctions relief. The talks will take place following last year's Tehran Declaration, signed by the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Turkey, and Brazil, in which Iran agreed to ship 1,200kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for the delivery of 120kg of nuclear fuel for civilian medical purposes.
As Iran may be feeling the squeeze of US and UN sanctions at the moment, the US could consider a two-tiered agenda centred on the Tehran Declaration and an earlier 2008 P5+1 proposal to Iran for a "broad-based negotiation".
First, the Tehran Declaration, though flawed from a US perspective, should be considered a diplomatic breakthrough. Agreement on the fuel swap could allow Iran a face-saving win for its diplomacy, perhaps justifying a pause in its enrichment activities as called for in UN Security Council resolutions.
It could also set a precedent of Iran sending its uranium abroad for enrichment under IAEA supervision. If a compromise on a modified fuel swap (the US wants more than 1,200 kg of low-enriched uranium to be shipped out of Iran) cannot be reached next week in Geneva, the outcome should be intensive, sustained, working-level talks between Iran and the members of the "Vienna Group" (the US, Russia, France and the IAEA) as well as Turkey and Brazil, if Ankara and Brasilia are willing.
Secondly, a June 2008 proposal by the P5+1 to Iran states that a pause in enrichment and full cooperation with the IAEA could lead to a "broad-based negotiation" with Iran, including assistance with civil nuclear energy, a guaranteed nuclear fuel supply, and discussions about regional security and political and economic cooperation in other areas. An EU statement in July announcing sanctions on Iran noted that "proposals made to Iran in June 2008 are still valid". Another outcome of the Geneva talks might include working groups on aspects of this proposal.
In Bahrain, meanwhile, both the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will be speaking, albeit on different days, at the Manama Dialogue. The presence of both Mrs Clinton and Mr Mottaki, as well as ministerial delegations from the Gulf and worldwide, could provide an unusual opportunity for the US, Iran, Iraq, and the GCC states to present new initiatives for a Gulf regional security agenda.
Such initiatives could include inviting Iran to join GCC efforts to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone and the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the region; economic, environmental and maritime cooperation in the Gulf; regional support for Iraq and Afghanistan; and combatting trafficking in narcotics and persons.
To be effective, diplomacy must be sustained, not episodic. There will be no peaceful outcome absent negotiations with Iran. As such, the choice, more than ever, seems to be with Tehran.
The Wikileaks documents have revealed that private discussions among US and regional leaders convey an even greater sense of urgency and crisis than what is said in public about Iran's ambitions. Geneva and Manama may be among the last chances for a diplomatic complement to sanctions and the possible threat of force.
 
Andrew Parasiliti is the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies - US

Kill Bill Volume 1

Director: Quentin Tarantino
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Need to know

The flights: Flydubai flies from Dubai to Kilimanjaro airport via Dar es Salaam from Dh1,619 return including taxes. The trip takes 8 hours. 

The trek: Make sure that whatever tour company you select to climb Kilimanjaro, that it is a reputable one. The way to climb successfully would be with experienced guides and porters, from a company committed to quality, safety and an ethical approach to the mountain and its staff. Sonia Nazareth booked a VIP package through Safari Africa. The tour works out to $4,775 (Dh17,538) per person, based on a 4-person booking scheme, for 9 nights on the mountain (including one night before and after the trek at Arusha). The price includes all meals, a head guide, an assistant guide for every 2 trekkers, porters to carry the luggage, a cook and kitchen staff, a dining and mess tent, a sleeping tent set up for 2 persons, a chemical toilet and park entrance fees. The tiny ration of heated water provided for our bath in our makeshift private bathroom stall was the greatest luxury. A standard package, also based on a 4-person booking, works out to $3,050 (Dh11,202) per person.

When to go: You can climb Kili at any time of year, but the best months to ascend  are  January-February and September-October.  Also good are July and August, if you’re tolerant of the colder weather that winter brings.

Do not underestimate the importance of kit. Even if you’re travelling at a relatively pleasant time, be geared up for the cold and the rain.

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Name:+Dukkantek 

Started:+January 2021 

Founders:+Sanad Yaghi, Ali Al Sayegh and Shadi Joulani 

Based:+UAE 

Number of employees:+140 

Sector:+B2B Vertical SaaS(software as a service) 

Investment:+$5.2 million 

Funding stage:+Seed round 

Investors:+Global Founders Capital, Colle Capital Partners, Wamda Capital, Plug and Play, Comma Capital, Nowais Capital, Annex Investments and AMK Investment Office  

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Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Company: Eco Way
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Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

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Company name: Mozn

Started: 2017

Founders: Mohammed Alhussein, Khaled Al Ghoneim, Abdullah Alsaeed and Malik Alyousef

Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Industry: FinTech

Funding: $10 million

Investors: Raed Ventures, Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq, Sukna Ventures and others

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Company name: Revibe
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Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
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Investors: Cornerstone Venture Partners and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

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Rating: 4.5/5

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

Salah in numbers

€39 million: Liverpool agreed a fee, including add-ons, in the region of 39m (nearly Dh176m) to sign Salah from Roma last year. The exchange rate at the time meant that cost the Reds £34.3m - a bargain given his performances since.

13: The 25-year-old player was not a complete stranger to the Premier League when he arrived at Liverpool this summer. However, during his previous stint at Chelsea, he made just 13 Premier League appearances, seven of which were off the bench, and scored only twice.

57: It was in the 57th minute of his Liverpool bow when Salah opened his account for the Reds in the 3-3 draw with Watford back in August. The Egyptian prodded the ball over the line from close range after latching onto Roberto Firmino's attempted lob.

7: Salah's best scoring streak of the season occurred between an FA Cup tie against West Brom on January 27 and a Premier League win over Newcastle on March 3. He scored for seven games running in all competitions and struck twice against Tottenham.

3: This season Salah became the first player in Premier League history to win the player of the month award three times during a term. He was voted as the division's best player in November, February and March.

40: Salah joined Roger Hunt and Ian Rush as the only players in Liverpool's history to have scored 40 times in a single season when he headed home against Bournemouth at Anfield earlier this month.

30: The goal against Bournemouth ensured the Egyptian achieved another milestone in becoming the first African player to score 30 times across one Premier League campaign.

8: As well as his fine form in England, Salah has also scored eight times in the tournament phase of this season's Champions League. Only Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, with 15 to his credit, has found the net more often in the group stages and knockout rounds of Europe's premier club competition.

How champions are made

Diet
7am - Protein shake with oats and fruits
10am - 5-6 egg whites
1pm - White rice or chapati (Indian bread) with chicken
4pm - Dry fruits
7.30pm - Pre workout meal – grilled fish or chicken with veggies and fruits
8.30pm to midnight workout
12.30am – Protein shake
Total intake: 4000-4500 calories
Saidu’s weight: 110 kg
Stats: Biceps 19 inches. Forearms 18 inches

RedCrow Intelligence Company Profile

Started: 2016

Founders: Hussein Nasser Eddin, Laila Akel, Tayeb Akel 

Based: Ramallah, Palestine

Sector: Technology, Security

# of staff: 13

Investment: $745,000

Investors: Palestine’s Ibtikar Fund, Abu Dhabi’s Gothams and angel investors

The Year Earth Changed

Directed by:Tom Beard

Narrated by: Sir David Attenborough

Stars: 4