May 26, 2018

PRESSURE STARTS TO MOUNT ON IRAN: From the Wall Street Journal (scroll down for story).

Iran’s widening influence in the Middle East — already under pressure from the U.S. — also faces growing resistance from within its close regional allies, Syria and Iraq.

In Iraq, discontent among the country’s Shiite Muslim community with Iranian influence was reflected in cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s victory in this month’s election. Mr. Sadr, himself a Shiite, is a fierce nationalist whose supporters sometimes chant slogans criticizing Iran, the region’s top Shiite power.
Syrians in the largely secular capital, Damascus, have meanwhile accused Iran of stoking religious tensions. And Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s other main foreign partner, Russia, has showed impatience with Iran’s growing military presence in Syria, which Israel has moved to contain with airstrikes.

The pushback poses another challenge for Tehran as it tries to defend its gains in the region and avoid international isolation following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

Earlier this month the Israeli Air pushed back, unambiguously. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration starts to apply maximum pressure.

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