Key Points

The importers of Iranian petrochemicals continue to include both U.S. allies as well as rivals. Countries that share a land border with Iran – including Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan – remain among its best customers; so do two Persian Gulf states – the UAE and Oman – that share maritime borders. This geographical proximity means that Tehran could easily smuggle payments back home in the form of either foreign currency or precious metals. Curbing Iran’s petrochemical exports will require intense negotiation with countries that are prepared to find new suppliers. An aggressive use of sanctions and other punitive measures may be needed for those who refuse to comply.

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Afghanistan is a battle in a war that began in the distant past; a war that we’re not yet winning; a war that is likely to go on for years to come. Many Americans and Europeans find the prospect of such an “endless war” intolerable. Our enemies, by contrast, are patient and determined. The advantage that gives them should not be underestimated.

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s representatives have also repeatedly bombed Shiite civilians at mosques and other locales in Kabul.

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Khalilzad claims that a “draft” agreement is in place with the Taliban on two key issues: the US withdrawal and the Taliban preventing Afghanistan from being used by terrorist groups to attack other countries. Mujahid, in a statement released on March 3, said that “no understanding has so far been reached about any agreement or document.” For the past two decades, the Taliban has refused to denounce al Qaeda, its key ally, and is unlikely to do so as it senses US desperation to withdraw.

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