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Latest Suzanne Maloney Items
Iran's supreme leader is supposed to be many things in the eyes of his followers: spiritual mentor, protector of the Islamic revolution, a moral compass above the regular fray. Political referee is not among them. Yet that is the unfamiliar role Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has adopted as the political mudslinging gets heavier ahead of elections in June to pick a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran has floated specific dates for reopening talks with the U.S. and other world powers about its nuclear program. At the same time, Tehran has left U.N. nuclear inspectors empty-handed when it comes to addressing Western suspicions that it's conducting tests related to nuclear weapons.
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so far has dodged questions about possible post-presidential roles with cryptic replies or inscrutable silence. Yet this much is clear: Despite his bravado at the United Nations and other international forums, he heads into the last months of his presidency politically wounded at home from skirmishes with Iran's ruling system.
U.S. leaders praised the European Union's embargo on Iranian oil Monday, even though it triggered a jump of more than $1 per barrel in global oil prices and signaled the potential for a rise in U.S. gasoline prices in the weeks ahead.
The 3-decade-old cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia may be heating up, as evidenced by a purported Iranian plot to kill a Saudi diplomat in the U.S., Middle East analysts say.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee will seek to hold the Obama administration's feet to the fire on the implementation of sanctions against Iran, undercutting the president's diplomatic efforts to stifle Tehran's nuclear ambitions.