Tag Archives: iran nuclear program

The letter by 47 Republican Senators could increase chances of an #Iran deal

12 Mar

Republican Senator Tom Cotton (above) wrote the letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Picture: WIkipedia

47 Republican Senators recently signed a letter which warned the supreme leader of Iran that:

any deal negotiated by the current White House could be reversed by a new president “with the stroke of a pen’’ in as little as 22 months.

In other words: Dear Mr Khamenei, if you reach a deal with the current U.S President (Obama), such a deal could be considered as meaningless to the next leader of the United States.

Many are wondering what impact this latest development could have inside Iran.

In my opinion, it could end up strengthening the voice of those inside Iran who want a deal with the U.S.

It could also increase the credibility of Obama as someone Iran could reach a deal with.

My logic goes as follows:

Inside Iran, especially to those surrounding the supreme leader, it is most probably becoming increasingly clear what massive pressure Obama is facing at home. How his rivals are trying their level best to scuttle a deal with Iran.

More importantly, it is most probably becoming clear in Tehran how Obama is fighting tooth and nail to keep the chances of a deal alive. How he is going out of his to defend the negotiations, despite the massive and unending pressure.

And this could lead to the conclusion in Iran that:

Look at Obama’s efforts. He is someone we could do business with. He is our last chance to reach a deal to end the sanctions. It’s unlikely that someone like Obama will come to power in the U.S any time soon. So it’s now or never.

On #Iran: why I don’t agree with Netanyahu

26 Feb

I don’t want the current rulers of Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Not for a second. Not even for a Benjamin_Netanyahu_portraitnanosecond. Never. No, no, no, no, a thousand times NO to a nuclear armed Islamic Republic of Iran.

But at the same time, I don’t agree with the way Netanyahu has been managing the Iran question on behalf of Israel and Israelis. I know he is doing his job, but his method is causing damage to the credibility of Israel’s legitimate concerns regarding why it does not want the current rulers of Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

In my recent interview with SKY news, I have explained why.

The US has NOT stopped updating #Israel on #Iran talks

15 Feb

Today, the Times of Israel quoting Israel’s Channel 2 broke the news that:

The US has stopped updating Israel on progress in talks with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

According to the same report, Channel 2 characterized the move as:
revenge for Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next month, which has raised the ire of the Obama administration.
However, this report has been denied by Israel officials and now by US officials as well.

So nothing to see here. Move along.

#Iran: Rouhani’s most interesting speech to date

4 Jan

Hassan Rouhani


Most importantly because in his speech today, President Rouhani asked for or as the Financial Times put it, “threatened” to hold a referendum in Iran.

The Iranian president stated that Iran’s constitution allows such referendums for important issues such as economic, political, cultural and social related matters. Although he didn’t specifically say for which issue he wants a referendum, I think its safe to assume that he was talking about the nuclear program. This is right now the most important decision for the nezam or the system of the Islamic Republic to make.

So why would Rouhani call for a referendum?

Most probably because he is confident that the people would back his nuclear strategy, which is assumed to be more flexible than that of the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the hardliners around him.

Why propose a referendum now?

Here we are looking at two possibilities:

1 –  Rouhani is engaged in a behind the scenes tug of war with the hardliners regarding nuclear talks, and he believes that in a referendum the people would back him, thus tipping the balance in his favor.

2- give Ayatollah Khamenei a ladder to climb down from his current nuclear position. When it comes to face-saving, a referendum would provide the perfect excuse for the supreme leader. Ayatollah Khamenei could say that he didn’t want to compromise with the Americans, but as the people demanded otherwise, he had no other choice but to listen, “as he has always done” or so he could claim.

In the same speech today Rouhani also attacked monopolistic powers in Iran (in other words the Revolutionary Guards).

What next? – short-term

The Revolutionary Guards and the hardliners are not going to sit still. Rouhani should expect retaliation from them, perhaps in the parliamenet. They could dismiss yet another one of his minister.

What next? – long-term

Difficult to say. But if Rouhani feels confident enough to challenge the IRGC and the hardliners to a referendum, then it seems he is not as passive as some believed he was going to be (regarding the nuclear program). It also seems that the people could live with what the hardliners call “a bad deal”.

#Iran in 2014

26 Dec

In 2014, to foresee Iran’s behavior at the nuclear negotiations, we must look at domestic politics.
My latest article explains:

An Israeli debate about Iran’s nuclear program

16 Dec

How do Israelis see the latest deal between Iran and the P5+1? As far as Israel is concerned, what should a final deal with Iran look like?

These are some of the questions which Emily Landau and I discuss in Tel Aviv. Dr Landau is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program at the INSS institute in Tel Aviv.


Iran nuclear talks snag: could be related to domestic politics

13 Dec

Iran’s Parliament (The Majles)

According to Reuters, talks between Iran and the P5+1 have hit a snag.

The reason is believed to be the Iranian regime’s unhappiness with the US adding new companies and individuals to its list of sanction evaders.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi sees these additions as “new sanctions”. According to his statement published on Fars news (and reprinted in Reuters):

“We are evaluating the situation and Iran will react accordingly to the new sanctions imposed on 19 companies and individuals. It is against the spirit of the Geneva deal.”

Fact: these are not “new sanctions” as Mr Araqchi states. These companies and individuals were punished as part of existing sanctions. And the US is not breaking the Geneva agreement by continuing with the existing sanctions.

Its very possible that the Iranian side is doing this because the Rouhani administration is coming under increasing pressure at home from those in the Conservative camp who oppose the Geneva deal. With this latest maneuver, the Rouhani administration could be trying to earn some street cred among the hardliners, who are becoming increasingly vociferous.

John Kerry has reason to be thankful. This latest move by Tehran will hurt those in Washington and Jerusalem who accuse the Obama administration of being “desperate”, “naive” and “falling over itself to sign a deal with the Iranians no matter what”.

The reaction by the Iranian team can be used as clear evidence that the US is serious about maintaining existing sanctions, regardless of whether Iran’s leaders like it or not.


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