Tag Archives: Hassan Rouhani

The 2017 #IranProtests: the view from #Iran, #Israel, and the UK

4 Jan

Yesterday I took part in this TV debate alongside Ghanbar Naderi who is a reporter at Iran’s Press TV in Tehran, and Professor Anoushiravan Ehteshami from Durham University.

The panel topic was:

What’s behind Iran’s protests? Domestic challenges or foreign instigation?

Hope you find it interesting.

#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”.

Rouhani’s decision to honor fallen Iranian Jewish soldiers deserves praise and respects

19 Dec

The recent decision by the government of President Hassan Rouhani to unveil a memorial in Tehran to Iran’s fallen Jewish soldiers deserves commendation and respect.

The graves of two of the Iranian Jewish soldiers who fell during the Iraq – Iran war. Source

With this decision, President Rouhani has honored the memory of Iranian Jewish soldiers, who like their other Iranian compatriots gave their lives to defend their country against Saddam’s army.

In Iran, during the war against Saddam, we were all one. Iran was our country and we loved and defended her as loyal citizens, no matter what religion we belonged to. And some, like the fallen heroes who were martyred, were willing to pay the ultimate price.

Saddam did not discriminate either. His planes used to bomb civilian areas of my city in Tehran in the most indiscriminate manner. His missiles used to flatten houses no matter what denomination you belonged to. Their goal was to kill as many Iranian civilians as possible. We were all one big target for him. I will never forget the seven years of war which we lived through in Iran, from 1980 – 1987. Nor will millions of other Iranians, some of whom are still grieving over the loss of their loved ones.

I have criticized president Rouhani’s decisions when I have disagreed with them. And I will continue to do that. But his latest decision is one which deserves nothing but praise and respect.