Video report: Iran’s uncertain economy

1 Jul

People in Iran watching the current nuclear negotiations closely. They are eager to find out the results, as they will impact their livelihood.

Some in Iran are hopeful, which is why unlike two years ago, more people are buying the local currency, instead of foreign currency. Others are feeling uncertain.

The report below from Tehran, which was shown yesterday on Canada’s CBC talks more about Iran’s uncertain economy.

مئیر جاودانفر: شرکت در برنامه افق و گفتگو در مورد ایران, عربستان و اسرائیل

30 Jun
امشب در برنامه افق صدای امریکا شرکت کردم و همراه با آقایون علیرضا نوریزاده و حسین علیزاده در مورد تاثیر افشای اسناد دیپلماتیک عربستان بر پرونده اتمی ایران و خاور میانه تبادل نظر کردیم.

Video: Panel on #Iran with #Israel and UK specialists

28 Jun

Last week the UK based Jewish News, in conjunction with a number of other organizations (including BICOM) hosted a conference at Portcullis Houses in the UK parliament.

The conference looked at shared strategic challenges and opportunities between UK and Israel.

I had the honour of being part of the Iran panel. Other co-panellists were:

Emily Landau from the INSS, Shahshank Joshi from RUSI, Sir Richard Dalton (Chatham House and former UK ambassador to Iran), Sima Shine (the Head of Strategic Division at Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs). The moderator was Richard Pater (head of BICOM in Israel).

Among other things I give the reasons why I believe Iran would abide by a nuclear deal and that despite some claims in Israel, Iran has made a number of important compromises.

My segment starts at minute 21.

Nouri Al Maliki wants Vilayat-e Faqih for #Iraq?

18 Jun

Former Iraq PM Nouri Al Maliki

Iraq’s’ president Haider al-Abbadi is in Iran, again. This is his second visit in 10 months.

According to my colleague Imran Khan, he is in Tehran to:

seek reassurances from the Iranians that they will allow him to be in complete control of the armed forces.

By armed forces he is referring to the Shia militia umbrella group called Hashd Al Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF). It claims to have 100,000 fighters.

The PMF consists of Shia militia such as the Badr Brigade, Asaib Ahl Haq and others. It also includes a small number of Sunni tribal fighters. Their goal is to fight and destroy ISIS.

It is believed that until now Iran has exercised great control over the military command and activities of this group. It seems now that Iraq’s PM wants to e in charge, and not Iran.

What I find particular interesting in Imran’s latest article was the remark made by Mohammed Jasim al-Dadhim, who is a professor at the Islamic jurisprudence college at Baghdad University.

Professor Al Dadhim states that Iraq’s former president Nouri Al Maliki is trying to implement the Vilayat-e Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) system, which is currently ruling Iran. One of the most notable features of such a system is a supreme leader who has more political power than anyone else.

While its true that Al Maliki is close to the leadership in Iran, I think such an observation deserves to be questioned.

If Vilayat-e Faqih is implemented in Iraq, it would mean that if Maliki does return to power again as Prime Minister (something which many believe he wants to do) under the Vilayat-e Faqih system, he would be subordinate to the position of the supreme leader. However under the current system, he would hold the highest political office in his country.

Why would Al Maliki want to reduce his own potential influence? Why would any politician?

In #Iran, some are openly pining for the Shah

17 Jun

The late Shah of Iran, Mohamamd Reza Phlavi

Since 2009 I have been hearing from increasing number of reporters who have been to Iran that more and more Iranians are pining for the Pahlavi dynasty which ruled Iran until the 1979 revolution.

According to the article below from The Guardian’s Tehran Bureau, some Iranians are not just pining for the Shah and how life was comparatively better under him (compared to the current regime), they are now showing it by buying Pahlavi memorabilia from the Bazaars of Tehran and Shiraz.

According to the article, the Shah is also popular with some members of the younger generation, who were born after the revolution:

“Another time I struck up a conversation with a skate boarder in Laleh Park and he noticed it. “These fucking mullahs man, they don’t give a fuck about us,” he said. He had a septum piercing and tattoos up his right arm. “The Shah cared about his people. He was a real leader. ”

The Pahlavi regime was also corrupt and abused human rights. But the current regime is far more corrupt and far more ruthless with the people of Iran. Life after the revolution has gotten worst for so many Iranians. So I can fully understand why some in Iran would want to be ruled by the Pahlavis again.

You can the read the article “Why Iranians are lapping up Shah memorabilia” here

Al Qaeda vs #ISIS

16 Jun

Abu Qatada is an important authority in Al Qaeda

What if I were to tell you that right now as we speak, Al Qaeda and ISIS are involved in an unprecedented power struggle.

What if I were then to tell you that ISIS is attracting so much money away from Al Qaeda that in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, Al Qaeda:

“was reduced at one point last year to selling its laptops and cars to buy food and pay rent.”

Would you believe me?

How did that happen? How can a relatively new organization such as ISIS beat an established organization such as Al Qaeda in the race to attract money and support from Jihad supporters around the world?

This article from The Guardian explains. Its 10 pages, so make a cup of coffee, print a copy and enjoy one of the most interesting articles on the contemporary world of Jihad.

How ISIS crippled Al Qaeda

Video report: The women of #Yemen and the Arab Spring

15 Jun

Yemen is considered to be one of the most conservative societies in the Middle East. And one of the poorest ones as well.

Yet surprisingly, the women in Yemen played a role in the revolution against their country’s dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

This video report from the NYT explains. A must watch.

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