ICYMI: Netanyahu reverses #Israel stance re: #Iran enrichment

27 Mar

A positive move by the Prime Minister which is likely to strengthen Israel’s position.

Israel’s policy has always been that Iran must not be allowed to retain any enrichment capacity. Zero enrichment, zero centrifuges.

In fact this was one of the linchpins of Netanyahu’s speech before the Congress. One of the main reasons why he lambasted the negotiations was because they would allow Iran to have limited enrichment capacity on its soil.

However, two days after his election as Prime Minister, in an interview with MSNBC, Netanyahu suddenly changed course.

According to the JTA, quoting the MSNBC interview:

In the MSNBC interview, however, he made a significant concession, saying Israel could tolerate a limited uranium enrichment capacity for Iran, although with a number lower than the 6,500 reported to be part of an emerging deal.

“A smaller number is something Israel and its Arab neighbors wouldn’t love but could live with,” he said.

By the look of things, not only Netanyahu’s Congress speech failed to convince any Congressmen to change their mind regarding the Iran deal, but as it turns out the only person who seems to have changed their stance towards the Iran negotiations since then is Prime Minister Netanyahu himself.

Welcome to the world of Realpolitik Mr Netanyahu. No one wants the Iranian regime to have nuclear weapons. But your zero enrichment demand was so unrealistic that it hurt  Israel’s credibility.

And no, limited enrichment capacity under tough inspections will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons as soon as it chooses. Robert Einhorn, one of the world’s foremost experts in this subject explains succinctly why in this op-ed.

For for the record, your truly and Brigadier General Shlomo Brom were the first Israeli specialists of this topic to have the guts to go on the record as far back as in October 2012 to state that Israel could live with limited enrichment on Iranian soil. This was not an easy statement for two Israelis to make as back then Ahmadinejad was still in office and we  were still being subjected to his vicious anti-Israel rhetoric.

Will Yemen split up again?

25 Mar

The situation in Yemen is deteriorating. The Shia Houthi rebels are making advances in their battle

The flag of Yemen

against the elected Sunni president Abd Rabbu Hadi.

The Financial Times interviewed its Persian Gulf correspondent Simeon Kerr about the conflict.

One of the things he addresses is how some Yemenis are discussing the idea of Yemen splitting up again, to North and South, as was the case until 1990. Until then there was North and the Communist South Yemen.

Today’s warring factions are mainly the Sunnis and the Zaidi Shia. The Sunni side, which are Saudi backed are mainly concentrated in the South of Yemen. The Zaidi Shia reportedly supported by Iran are based in the North.

So if Yemen is going to split again, this time instead of using geographical terms (North and South) why not become franchised. Something like “Saudi Yemen” and “Iranian Yemen”. Just a thought.

You can listen to the entire 7 minutes podcast here

Former Mossad chief stated Netanyahu behavior could be interpreted by U.S as spying

24 Mar

A new row has broken out between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations.

Former head of the Mossad Meir Dagan. Source

According to the Guardian:

The US has accused Israel of spying on international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Meanwhile according to the Wall Street Journal which first broke this story, its not just the alleged spying thats really upsetting the Obama administration:

“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.

This new story reminded me of a quote which I read, by Meir Dagan the former chief of the Mossad.

In an interview with the Yediot Ahronot newspaper on the 27th of February he stated:

“What message does it send when our prime minister says that we don’t need information from the talks and that we have our own sources? Is he implying that we are spying on the United States?”

What this statement possibly tells us is that there were already concerns in Israel that Netanyahu’s statements alone, for whatever reason, could make the Americans think that Israel was spying on them.

The fact that this concern was aired in Israel 3 weeks before the Obama administration made the accusations is certainly noteworthy.

These are just assumptions. But what is not an assumption is that every week many of us think Israel – US government relations can’t get any worst, and every week reality proves us wrong.

This has got to stop.

#Iran: Nowruz and the economy

22 Mar

Cartoon which shows the Iranian consumer suffering under the heavy weight of Nowruz costs. On the Goldfish its written “inflation”. Source

Yesterday was Nowruz, the Iranian new year.
During the new year holiday period, many people visit family and friends.
Others go on holiday. Many buy Goldfish as a symbol of the new year.
So what is the economic situation of people in Iran this Nowruz, compared to the last one?
Has their purchasing power increased, or decreased?

In this interesting video report for the Financial Times, Najmeh Bozorgmehr talks with Iranians, from the medium and the low-income classes of society.

Happy Nowruz from Tel Aviv, #Israel. Now PUMP UP THE VOLUME

21 Mar

Happy Nowruz, in Hebrew. Its also celebrated here in Israel by Kurds and Persians.

Today is Nowruz. Its the first day of spring and the beginning of a new year in the Persian calendar.

This festival is celebrated not just in Iran, but also by Kurds everywhere and in lands as far away as Kazakhstan and India.

I wish that in the year ahead, the animosity between the Iranian government and Israel ends. I also hope and pray that the people of Israel and Palestine will move closer to peace.


Yes, I mean YOU.

Its time for another Nowruz tradition, which is to dance and be happy. This is a fantastic Nowruz song by the UK-based Iranian band AJAM. LOVE IT!


چرا و چگونه نتانیاهو دوباره پیروز شد ؟

19 Mar
- قبل از انتخابات اخیر اسرائیل, نتانیاهو خودش ابراز شک و تردید در مورد پیروزی حزبش در انتخابات کرده بود. Benjamin_Netanyahu_portrait
- بر اساس تمام نظر سنجی های قبل از انتخابات, لیکود از رقیبش عقب بود.
- در اسرائیل تعدادبسیاری از مردم از وضع اقتصادی کشور ناراضی بودند.
پس چرا مردم اسرائیل دوباره به نتانیاهو رای دادند؟ 
نتانیاهو چگونه آنها را دوباره متقاعد کرد؟ 
در میزگرد اخیر برنامه افق صدای امریکا, همراه با آقای رسول نفیسی و منشه امیر در مورد این سوالات گفتگو کردیم.


Yesterday was a bad day for those who say #Israel is an apartheid state

19 Mar

This tweet seems to have touched a raw nerve with those who insist that Israel is an apartheid state. And I am glad it has. Because they are wrong. I am not saying there is no racism in Israel. There is. But apartheid? no. I have explained more in details here.


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