Tag Archives: Iran

The future of #Iran after Khamenei

23 Sep
So what is likely to happen after the death of AyatollahKhamenei? Are we likely to see much change in Iran?

President Rouhani visiting Ayatollah Khamenei at the hospital after his recent prostate operation

My latest opinion piece for Aljazeera America tries to answer this important question.


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

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


#Iran regime is worried about a new film

3 Sep

In 2009, the Iranian – Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who was working in Iran was arrested. He was questioned and kept in jail  for 118 days, part of that in solitary confinement.

His “crime” was being a journalist during the 2009 demonstrations which took place after Ahmadinejad’s fraudulent election. He took note of and witnessed some of the demonstrations.  He was also interviewed by some foreign media organizations and program, including Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”.

The regime not only mistreated him, it also tried to make a spectacle of him. He was threatened and was forced to give interviews to regime controlled channels, among them PressTV. This regime mouthpiece is in charge of propaganda for the regime and is run directly by regime officials. Its job is promoting regime ideology, and to attack whoever the regime views as its foes. It is not just anti-Israel but an antisemitic channel where its writers use antisemitic references such as the forged “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Because of its behaviour, the UK government approved OFCOM organization banned PressTV from operating in the UK.

John Stewart made a movie about Maziar Bahari’s experience in Iran’s jails. The authorities in Iran is panicking. They made a segment attacking and delegitimizing John Stewart and Maziar Bahari. Its classic regime propaganda where people it wants to discredit are accused of working for other governments.

I have included the preview of the upcoming movie and the clip aired on Iranian TV about the movie. Its with English subtitles.

Movie trailer:

Iranian TV’s report about the movie:


As an #Iran vs #Israel arena, #Gaza is losing its importance

1 Sep

Numerous things were learned from the recent Israel – Hamas war in Gaza.

One of them was that when it comes to being an arena where Iran and Israel faced each other off, Gaza is losing its importance.

Hamas has got a new Qatari patron and its not clear whether Iran will be able to woo it back.

My latest article explains.


Video: discover #Iran In 2 Minutes

28 Aug

There is so much misery in this region. There are wars, poverty, inequality, extremism. I could go on.

But there is also so much beauty. The Middle East is home to some of the most ancient cultures and traditions, religions and some of the most friendly and hospitable people. It has some of the most breathtaking mountains, deserts and beaches.

One of the most beautiful countries in this region is Iran. You may or may not have known this, especially since all most of what you hear in the news about Iran is negative: terrorism, nuclear program, abuse of human rights etc…

But never judge a country by politicians. This is especially true about Iran.

Remember the golden rule: whatever you think of Iranian politicians, the opposite is most probably true about the people and country of Iran. The latter have little control over the former. Very little.

But don’t let that stop you from learning and enjoying the sights and sounds of Iran. Its an amazing country, filled incredible people. The people of Iran are our friends and regional neighbours.

Enjoy this short and beautiful clip about the land of my birth.

Saying HAMAS is not = ISIS does not mean I support Hamas

26 Aug

Two days ago I wrote a blog in which I said there are some similarities between Hamas and ISIS, but there are greater number of differences between them. I

Not my idea of Hamas!

then listed the major differences to back my argument which concluded by saying that saying Hamas = ISIS is inaccurate.

And then it started. I was accused of all sorts of things, such as suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”, “looking at the nice part of the enemy (I.e Hamas), or that I want “Hamas to be treated differently”.


Have you guys read anything I have written in the past? To me Hamas has always been a terrorist organization. Saying it is not the same as ISIS does not mean that I have decided to think of Hamas as a bunch of tree hugging hippies.

Would you be happier if I just switched my brain off and agreed with everything that the government of Israel tells me?

Then whats the point of studying? Whats the point of thinking for yourself? Isn’t democracy meant to create a market place of ideas?

​I said it before and I will say it again: Netanyahu’s comparison is wrong.

Such inaccurate comparisons also hurt Israel.

When the leader of a country makes inaccurate comparisons, it hurts the credibility of the country and its legitimate concerns, in this case the fight against Hamas. Its important that our leaders don’t play fast and loose with the facts. Netanyahu has done this on other occasions as well, like when he said that in Iran they say “Death to Jews” and that Iran is the new Nazi regime.If we lose our credibility, our enemies win. And this is just one more reason why we have to be honest and exact in our comparisons.

So calm down, and please don’t accuse me of things I did not mean or say.


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