Podcast interview with Meir Javedanfar: #Iran drought and nuclear negotiations

19 Sep

One of the reasons I have believed why there could be a deal with Iran is because of the worsening drought in that country.

Its scale and possible severe consequences mean that the Iranian government must act now, and to do so, major investment is needed.

To be able to invest the vast sums required, sanctions must be removed and this is why I believe that chances of a deal are still alive. Failure to remove sanctions and the continuation of the drought could mean the loss of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs in Iran’s agriculture industry. Thats only one of many possible consequences.

Of course I could be wrong and Iran’s supreme leader may ultimately decide that reaching a deal with the US could be more dangerous to his regime. Nevertheless, the impact of water on Iranian history, geography, ethnic make up and geopolitical considerations is impossible to ignore. This is why I believe that it could be a factor, one which the leaders of the regime and the government in Tehran could ignore at their own risk.

I discussed these issues in my podcast interview with the Jerusalem Post. It starts at the 8th minute.

You can listen to the interview here

Former Netanyahu and Obama NSC chiefs talk #Iran

18 Sep

Yaacov Amidror (about whom I wrote about a couple of days ago) was Netanyahu’s National Security Council (NSC) advisor.

Thomas Donilon was President Obama’s National Security advisor.

They worked together extensively on a number of issues, chief among them was the Iranian nuclear program.

On September 16th they got together at Harvard University and talked about their cooperation on the Iranian nuclear file, their differences over the current talks with Iran (especially sanctions), and what would happen if Iran rejects the deal.

Professor Gary Samore who is also at Harvard talked spoke from the audience as to why the Iranian supreme leader may ultimately reject such a deal.

You can watch the panel below. I highly recommend it.

Majority of people in the Middle East are likely to support an independent Scotland

17 Sep

The logo of the Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum

Tomorrow the people of Scotland will take part in a historic referendum to decide whether they wish to stay in the United Kingdom, or to become an independent state.

In my opinion, and this is not based on any particular survey, majority of the people of Iran will support those in Scotland who wish to break away from the United Kingdom.

There are several reasons behind this. Foremost among them is British colonialist ambitions in and around Iran. Now you could say that the Brits also include the Scots. True. But in Iran, Great Britain is usually synonymous with England. When referring to the UK, majority of people say Ingilisi-ha meaning the English, or Ingilis, meaning England.

So the Scots getting independence would be sweet revenge after the Ingilisi-ha helped former Iranian colonies in Afghanistan and Bahrain gain independence.

In fact I dare say that there is a good chance that majority of Arabs and those living in Arab countries will support the pro-independence front in tomorrow’s Scottish referendum.

Again this would be due to a range of reasons.

One is that after the 2003 Iraq invasion, the UK government is not very popular in this region.

There is also the historic baggage. Many people in this region still hold the British government responsible for the Sykes Picot agreement of 1916 as well as the Balfour declaration of 1917. So there will be those who want revenge by seeing the UK carved up.

There are of course also those who want independence in this region. These include the Kurds and the Palestinians. A Scottish victory and a new Scottish state is likely to energize them even more.

Podcast: Why India’s Muslims are so moderate

17 Sep

India has approximately 153 million Muslims.

After Indonesia and Pakistan, its has the world’s third biggest Muslim population.

It has a thriving Shia population. Professor Juan Cole has written a very well reviewed book about Shia Islam, and it includes extensive information about India’s Shia community. The book is called “Sacred Space And Holy War: The Politics, Culture and History of Shi’ite Islam“. India of course also has a thriving Sunni Muslim community as well.

On September 4th, Al Qaeda declared that its opening up a new branch in India.

In the podcast below, the Economist magazine explains why its unlikely that Al Qaeda will find many recruits among India’s Muslim population.

You can listen to the podcast here

On Gaza: The words of a former Netanyahu adviser

15 Sep

General Amidror

General Yaacov Amidror was the chief of Israel’s National Security Council (NSC) under Netanyahu. He resigned last year from the post, due to conflict of interest.

According to Haaretz, ” he has been considered among the prime minister’s closest confidants”. This is why I always read his articles.

The fact that his latest article was published at the Bar Ilan University’s Begin Sadat Centre site gave it even more importance. In my opinion, the writings of this centre also reflect current thinking in the Netanyahu government .

I highly recommend his article “We have to be prepared“.

And the ticking sound you hear is that of the countdown timer until the next war. The reason? in the article you do not find any diplomatic or political recommendations. The same applies to Netanyahu and his way of dealing with the Israel – Palestine conflict.

FT Podcast on #Iran drought challenge

14 Sep

I have said it before and I will say it again: Iran’s biggest challenge is not the sanctions, high inflation, very high levels of pollution or high drug usage. Its something more simple and far more deadly: the coming drought.

As I mentioned in my piece for Al Monitor November last year, this drought could also have demographic and geopolitical implications for Iran. The reason being that some of the worst hit areas are populated by minority groups residing in Iran’s periphery – border areas. These include areas populated by the Azeris, the Baluch and Iranian Arabs.

On August 21st 2014, the Financial Times published a podcast from my ancestral city of Esfahan where the main river, Zayande Roud has dried up. As I mentioned in my piece, my father nearly drowned in this river. These days its so dry some go horse back riding in the area that once was this flowing river.

The drought is another reason why I believe that ultimately, Iran’s most powerful man Ayatollah Khamenei will agree to a deal with the P5+1 in November this year. If he rejects, he will have additional sanctions and this devastating drought to deal with.

You can listen to the podcast below.

You can also read my more extensive piece about this challenge here


Panel video: #Iran PressTV correspondent in #Israel and Meir Javedanfar

10 Sep

As I mentioned two days ago, I took part in a TV panel with the correspondent of the Iranian government owned PressTV station in Israel at the i24news channel studio in Yafo, Tel Aviv.

Below you can watch the panel, where we talked about ISIS, Iran, the Saudis and how Israel should react to the threat posed by ISIS.

Enjoyed meeting and exchanging opinions with Mr Hamad Awidat. And a special thanks to Lucy Aharish for being such a gracious moderator.


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