Tag Archives: Iran

The man who negotiated over each centrifuge with #Iran

10 Apr

Professor Ernest Moniz

Professor Ernest Moniz was a late addition to the U.S negotiation team with Iran . He joined the negotiations only recently.

He is an MIT educated physicist, and the current U.S energy secretary. And in the negotiations with Iran, he sat opposite Dr. Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran (AEOI). Together they worked on the reconfiguration of the Arak heavy water reactor as well as Iran’s centrifuges at a very technical level.

They also worked on the inspection regime of Iran’s nuclear program.

Lets hear what he has to say about the recent draft agreement between Iran and the P5+1. Will Iran be prevented from making a weapon? Will inspectors be able to monitor Iran’s nuclear program effectively?

#Iran: a more conservative response to the draft nuclear agreement

7 Apr

Professor Mohammad Marandi

 

Last night I posted an Al Jazeera discussion which showed three different views from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.S towards the recent draft nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1.

The Iranian view was presented by Professor Zibakalam, who is a reformist.

In this clip, CCTV America has interviewed Mohammad Marandi who is more conservative. Dr Marandi has a PhD in English literature from Birmingham University and since 2005 he has been the head of the North American Studies Department, University of Tehran.

His father is close to Ayatollah Khamenei. He was the head of the medical team which oversaw the Supreme Leader’s recent Prostate operation. He is very well-connected inside the regime.

It’s an interesting interview. It’s worth watching to hear what the more conservative side of Iranian politics thinks about the recent deal.

TV debate: #Iran framework agreement- the view from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.S

6 Apr

So what do the people of Iran think about the latest nuclear framework agreement?

What about the Saudis? what is their view and concerns?

And the Americans?

Three persons from these three countries gave their view on Al Jazeera English.

From Iran: Sadegh Zibakalam, professor of Political Science at Tehran University.

From the US.: Michael Brooks, producer of Majority Report, a political talk and analysis show.

From Saudi Arabia: Turad El Amri, strategic analyst and chairman of the Saed Elamri Strategic Centre.

It’s definitely worth watching.

#Hamas and #Iran growing apart, again

30 Mar

The Hamas logo. Source.

For many years, Hamas and Iran were close. The Iranian regime supported Hamas and was proud of it. And Hamas was proud of being aligned with the regime in Tehran.

Then came the civil war in Syria.

Hamas as a Sunni organization could not support Iran’s position in that war. Iran was backing the Alawite Assad regime, who carried out massacres and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in different part of Syria. Hamas eventually broke ranks with Assad and the Iranian regime over their policies in Syria.

However recently, especially after the recent Israel – Hamas war, Hamas and Iran slowly but surely tried to repair their relations.

But, it seems that once again, their relations could suffer yet another blow.

According to YNET:

Hamas took a significant risk on Saturday, when it released a message of support for ousted the Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and as a consequence its support for the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen against the Shiite Houthi rebels, Iran’s allies, who have captured massive parts of the country and brought down the Sunni regime.

Hamas already supported the opposite side to Tehran in the Syrian civil war. Its now doing it again in Yemen. This will not go down well in Tehran.

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

27 Mar
Benjamin_Netanyahu_portrait

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.

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