Tag Archives: Iran

Top risks 2015

27 Jan

200 million people without work around the world. Would you consider that a global risk?

Do you think it could affect your life?

We live in a globalized world. What happens in one country now affects many others. Iran and Israel may be physically disconnected, but they are not immune from global risks.

See below, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) top five risks for 2015. Short, sharp and to the point.

See which ones could affect your country. I know which ones are likely to affect Iran and Israel.

Interview: why I am against new #Iran sanctions

26 Jan

Don’t get me wrong, I think sanctions have worked so far. As I mentioned in my commentary piece for the Guardian in April 2013, they have forced the Iranian regime to change its stance. This is one of the main reasons why the regime changed course and allowed the Iranian government to show compromise at the nuclear talks.

But new sanctions while the talks or continuing? or passing sanctions which kick into effect if the talks fail, while we are holding nuclear negotiations with Iran? I am against them. We should wait until the deadline for the current talks, which is at the end of June 2015. We can wait that long.

I explained them in my latest interview with NPR. The audio file contains more of my comments than the text version.

You can listen to it here.

What does Putin think about #Iran and #Israel security concerns?

21 Jan

Vladimir Putin. Source: Wikipedia

Yesterday, Iran and Russia signed a military cooperation deal.

According to AFP:

The deal provides for joint exercises and military training, as well as “cooperation in peacekeeping, maintaining regional and international security and stability, and fighting against separatism and extremism,” the Iranian defence ministry website said.

It’s not clear whether Russia will finally supply the S-300 missiles as part of this latest deal. Some say a solution has been found but many in Iran will be forgiven for not trusting Russia. Time will tell.

It must be remembered that in 2007 Iran and Russia signed a $800 million agreement according to which Russia was supposed to have been delivered the S-300 missiles.

Since 2007, not only Russia has not delivered the missiles (which it had built), it even went as far as dismantling and recycling them. Iran decided to launch a lawsuit against Russia, demanding $4 billion in compensation.

There are people both in Israel and Iran who mistrust Putin. They see him as someone who can not be trusted.

The question is: what does Putin think about Iran and Israel’s security concerns? Does he dismiss them? Does he think Israel is exaggerating? Does he believe that Iran is the victim or the aggressor?

This segment of his interview which he gave to the Kremlin controlled RT shows his opinion. It was filmed in June 2013, before the Ukraine crisis. Nevertheless, I think it says a lot about his level of understanding regarding both countries, and their security concerns.

#Iran Foreign Minister Zarif and his domestic challenges

21 Jan

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Source: wikipedia

What is Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif up against inside Iran? What pressure is he under?

Is the pressure he faces at home bigger than the pressure he faces abroad?

Will the recent clashes on the Israel – Syria border affect the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1?

Did the Iranian General who was killed in Syria reportedly by Israel belong to the Quds force?

These are some of the questions I tried to answer in my interview with Allison Kaplan Sommer today for the TLV1 radio station.

You can listen to it here

In Tehran, a middle class family needs to earn $3700 per month

19 Jan

Shopping for basic products in Tehran. Source

Yet another interesting podcast from the Financial Times and from their wonderful Tehran reporter Najmeh Bozorgmehr.

In it you hear how life in Iran, especially in Tehran is becoming more expensive.

One person who was interviewed said that a middle class family needs to earn 10 million Toman = $3700 per month to maintain an honourable lifestyle.

And whats the average income in Tehran?

According to the recent government statistics, average yearly income for families living in cities in the Tehran province is 22 million Toman = $678 per month.

Life in Iran is becoming more expensive, one of the reasons being inflation. This makes it even more important for the people of Iran that sanctions are removed, as soon as possible.

You can listen to the podcast here

Reported #Israel attack against #Hezbollah: why now?

18 Jan

Leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah. Source

According to the Lebanon based Daily Star newspaper, today, an Israeli attack against a number of vehicles on the Syrian side of the Golan heights killed 9 people. Among them were senior members of Hezbollah and an Iranian field commander.

Why would Israel undertake such an operation? And why now?

There are a number of possibilities:

1 – It appears that in his recent interview on the 15th of January, Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah set a red line for Israel. He stated:

“The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria,” he told the Beirut-based Arab news television.

The “axis of resistance” which he mentioned is made up of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

In other words, any attack against Syria will now be considered as an attack against Hezbollah and Iran, as well as Syria.

This declaration would be considered as a new red line, for Israel.

When it comes to Syria, Israeli security officials seem to have an allergic reaction to red lines being drawn for Israel.

For example, at the end of January 2013, Iran drew a red line for Israel around Syria. According to foreign reports, it took Israel only a couple of days to cross that line.

2 – We are getting close to elections in Israel. There is the possibility that Netanyahu may lose. At the beginning a Likud lead government headed by Netanyahu looked certain. By as time has passed, Netanyahu’s challenger Isaac Herzog from the Labour party has started to catch up.

So a war just before elections may boost Netanyahu’s chances. And lets face it, it would not be the first time that a war was started just before elections here in Israel. And Netanyahu would not be the first Israeli leader to do this.

3- In his interview with i24 news tonight, Amir Oren of Haaretz newspaper stated that we are getting close to the anniversary of the assassination of former Hezbollah commander Imad Mighniye who was killed on the 12 of February 2008. Hezbollah may have been planning to retaliate, and Israel may have decided to take the initiative.

4 – Perhaps Hezbollah was planning to place some of its Iran made Fatah 110 missiles and its other new missiles which Nasrallah bragged about in his recent interview on Israel’s border with the Syrian side of the Golan heights.

These are all possibilities. Lets not jump to conclusions. We just finished a war in Gaza based on the assumption of some people in Israel that the Hamas central command in Gaza had ordered the kidnapping and killing of 3 Israeli teenagers. It turns out that it had not.

Video: Iranians get a taste for pastries

5 Jan

Iran has got its own local pastries, and they are delicious.

However as Iranians travel more abroad, they have started to develop a taste for foreign pastries.

In this video report from Tehran, the Financial Times local correspondent Najmeh Bozorgmehr reports on the increasing demand for western-style pastries, chocolates and ice-cream in Iran.


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