#Palestine is on its way

9 Apr

Well, the negotiations are over. And as far as the Americans are concerned, both sides are to blame, but emphasis has been placed on Israel.

Kerry put it very succinctly:

“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.

We have to remember that building in the settlements, as much as I disagree with them was NOT part of the deal. But what was part of the deal was the release of the prisoners.

Now you may agree or disagree with the release of convicted terrorists who have killed innocent people, but, a deal is a deal. Netanyahu reneged on his deal. Netanyahu may think that he didn’t because he believes that the deal did not include release of Arab Israelis, but it was never agreed that it would not include them.

So as far as the world is concerned his government broke the deal.

What makes the situation more absurd is that instead of releasing terrorists, Netanyahu could have halted settlement expansion. But no, to him and his allies, between the two options, releasing people who have killed innocent Israelis is preferable to the option of ceasing settlement expansion.

The Palestinians would never beat Israel in the military arena. Where they could beat Israel is in the diplomatic arena. And now that Israel has been given the lion share of the blame for the failure of the talks, they have the upper hand, and they will use it to their advantage. The world is sick and tired of our behaviour and our side of the story. Israel is seen as the country that does not want peace. The Palestinians don’t even have to convince anyone of that. Netanyahu and his allies do a much better job.

And with this advantage in the diplomatic arena, the Palestinians can and will have their own state. Their chances have never looked better. Palestine is on its way.

Reject #Iran pick for the UN and move on

8 Apr

Iran recently nominated Hamid Aboutalebi as Iran’s next ambassador to the UN in NYC. However part of his background raised questions about his suitability for the post.

Barry Rosen was one of the US hostages.

According to an interview which Aboutalebi gave to the Tehran based Khabar on-line he stated that after the hostage taking, he interpreted some material into French for the hostage takers.

Would someone who helped the hostage takers of US diplomats, the very same people who illegally imprisoned and psychologically tortured US citizens for 444 days be a suitable pick for the position of Iran’s ambassador to the UN, which is based on US soil? Absolutely not.

According to former US hostage John Limbert, “it was a mistake for the Iranians to even consider sending Aboutalebi to New York given his connection, however peripheral, to the embassy takeover. This one’s got me scratching my head,” Limbert said.

But of course Iran is not the only one to make a mistake. According to the VOA, “the US once sent former CIA head Richard Helms to Iran while the Shah was still in power, Limbert added, “We live in a world of symbolism. They symbolism of that [sending Helms] was terrible [given the CIA role in the 1953 coup] and the symbolism of this [Aboutalebi] is also terrible.”

There are also other reasons why he would be a poor choice.The presence of Mr Aboutalebi as Iran’s UN ambassador would divert attention away from the recent progress made between Iran and the U.S. It would also give ammunition to those who want to discredit the negotiations.
Diplomacy is good and Iran has many diplomats. Iran should nominate someone else and both countries should move on. There are enough challenges ahead of both countries. Lets stay away from anything that symbolize ugly past incidents, a notable one being the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

Video: Panel on #Iran nuclear deal in #Israel

7 Apr

“A nuclear deal with Iran: identifying areas of agreement and tension”.

This was the title of the panel which took place last week in Jerusalem.

The panel was arranged jointly by the Israeli NGO “MOLAD” and the Washington based Centre for American Progress (CAP).

Participants (Left to Right): Mathew Duss (moderator), Heather Hurlburt, Helit Barel, Shlomo Brom, Meir Javedanfar.

The panel discussed a number of issues regarding Iran, including how the interim nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran was viewed in Israel, and why.And what a final deal with Iran should look like.

It also discussed the US angle as well as the domestic Iranian viewpoint.

In #Iran Wednesday is National Nuclear Technology day

6 Apr

After entering office in August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the 20th day in the month of Farvardin (9th of April) as “National Nuclear Technology day”.

During his 8 years in office, he used this day to declare and celebrate new advancement in Iran’s nuclear program.

For example during the 2008 National Nuclear Technology day celebrations, Ahmadinejad declared that “Iran was ready to install some 6,000 new centrifuges at the nuclear facility in the central province of Natanz”.

This coming National Nuclear Technology day (this Wednesday) will be the first since he left office.

According to the Tehran based “Khabar on line”, this year there won’t be any government officials who will be attending this ceremony, which is scheduled to take place in the city of Esfahan.

The most important official who will attend will be Saeed Jalili, who is the supreme leader’s representative in the Supreme National Security Council. He is not an elected official, nor is he part of the government.

His attendance shows that although this day was celebrated after Ahmadinejad came to office, it is one which the Supreme Leader identifies with and wants to continue.

Therefore there is every chance that despite the report in Khabar online, members of the government end up attending the event.

The conservative press such as 598.ir which is already calling for Iran to walk out of the nuclear talks because of a recent dispute with the EU over the issue of human rights is likely to use this occasion to attack Rouhani.

Iran’s president has many enemies inside the Iranian regime, and they will use every opportunity to attack him. Even though his government has handled the nuclear program with far more expedience in less than one year, than Ahmadinejad’s government did in 8.

#Iran – A Roadtrip

3 Apr

Today was a teaching day for me.

Seminar topic -  Post revolution Iranian foreign policy: history and influencing factors

To simplify what was a long seminar, when it comes to influencing factors, first and foremost there is domestic politics, and then the economy. The same as almost every other country.

So while I was trying to teach how domestic Iranian politics influenced Iran’s foreign policy in Africa during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, I thought to myself “after this I am going to need a break”.

And when I do get a break, YouTube is my sanctuary.

And thats where I found this beautiful video of a recent 5000 km road trip in Iran. Its made by the Dutch based Beyond Borders Media.

Its absolutely breathtaking. I will be sharing it with my students as well, especially those from Israel. It would be a tragedy for them to judge Iran by its politicians. Not just Iran in fact. You could say that about many countries, yet it holds true when it comes to Iran, more than many others.

You can also watch their photo album here. Very beautiful.


گزارش تلویزیون هلند از اصفهان و جامعه یهودی این شهر

2 Apr
کانال تلویزیونی هلندی “نیوز آور” اخیرا به ایران سفر کرد, و ٣ گزارش از تهران, قم و اصفهان تهیه کرد.
در شهر اصفهان, خبرنگاران این شبکه از یکی از کنیسا های این شهر  گزارش تهیه کردند.
برای من خیلی جالب بود, چون هم فامیل پدرم و هم مادرم اصفهانی هستند.در طول چندین نسل اجداد من در این شهر زندگی کردند و در کنیسا های ان نماز خواندند.
دیدن این گزارش برای من جالب بود. برای من اصلا یک معجزه است که هنوز کنیسا ی اصفهان فعال هستند, چون تعداد یهودیان این شهر خیلی کم شده.
مصاحبه با قشر جوان این شهر هم جالب بود.
چند دقیقه اول این گزارش به زبان هلندی است, و بعد از ان به فارسی.
در ضمن, شعار های مرگ بر امریکا و مرگ به اسرائیل بیشتر از همیشه پوچ و مسخره به نظر میایند.

Watch live: #Iran panel in #Israel

1 Apr

Today, Tuesday April 1st I will be taking part in a panel in Jerusalem entitled:

A Nuclear Deal with Iran: Identifying Areas of Agreement and Tension

The conference has been sponsored by the Washington based Centre for American Progress (CAP) and the Israeli Think Tank Molad.

The panel will start at 11:00 EST – 18:00 Israel time.

You can watch the event live here

For more information regarding the conference click here

Please share with family and friends. I look forward to hearing your feedback and participation on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter Hashtag – #MoladCAP


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