Tag Archives: Iran and P5+1 negotiations

Survey: Majority of Israelis distrust latest Iran deal

4 Dec

According to a recent survey by the Tel Aviv University-Israel Democracy Institute Peace Index, majority of Israelis distrust the latest Iran nuclear deal.

According to the survey’s findings:

Fully 77% of Israelis say the nuclear agreement between Western powers and Iran will not end the Islamic Republic’s drive for nuclear weapons. Just 18% said they thought it would.

Therefore it seems that Netanyahu has the backing of majority of Israeli when it comes to his skepticism of the interim deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

However where the public don’t seem to back him is when it comes to relations with the US government.

At the same time, Israelis overwhelmingly welcome the alliance with the US. 

The survey asked bluntly: “Since 1967 the United States has been considered Israel’s most loyal and important ally. Do you think it still is?”

Israelis overwhelmingly said yes, with 71% saying they are “sure” (29%) or “think” (42%) it is. Just 26% said America is no longer Israel’s best ally.

My two cents:

After eight years of Ahmadinejad, known for his holocaust denial and calls for Israel’s elimination, as well as the recent attacks by the supreme leader against Israel, majority of Israelis are still very suspicious of the Iranian regime.

Yes Rouhani has tried to improve Iran’s image, by it will take more than two tweets from him to reverse so many years of damage.

But, if the interim deal is successful and the two sides live up to their commitments (especially the Iranian government), then I believe that the level of trust in Israel regarding a final deal with Iran could increase.

On Arak, France made the right decision

12 Nov

On why I agree with the French position in the latest round of nuclear negotiations with Iran.

To read click here

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What to look out for in the upcoming Iran – P5+1 negotiations

14 Oct

The first set of nuclear negotiations between the Rouhani administration and the P5+1 are upon us.

And if you ask me, the press and some politicians are getting way over excited about them.

Its a first date people, so lets not get into arguments about what the flower arrangements at the wedding should look like.

Personally, I am not expecting much.

But what I will be looking out for in this first session (in particular) will be the following:

From the Iranian side:

  • Willingness to discuss curtailment of enrichment levels
  • Willingness  to discuss shipping out existing levels of 20% enriched uranium.

When it comes to the latter, the Iranian side has said that this is a “red line”. We have to wait and see. I think this is merely a negotiating position. It could change.
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If Iran sticks to its position and insists that instead of shipping out, it will turn its 20% enriched uranium to oxide, then we will have problems. Because the Oxide can be turned back to enriched uranium after a 2- 3 week process.

And from the Western side:

If there is a new sanctions relief program on the table, and in return for which steps from Iran ?

Between the two sides, the onus is on Iran to prove that its serious about reaching a deal. Obama has shown and proven this time and again since 2008.

Iran’s trial balloon

20 Aug

Ayatollah Khamenei advisor Ali Akbar Velayati

In his recent interview with AP, Ayatollah Khamenei’s top foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati stated that Iran will be changing its tone and language with  the West. He also went on to say that:

“Tehran will never again suspend its nuclear activities.”

In my opinion, this is just a trial balloon by the Iranian government, in order to see what kind of a reaction it would receive from the West.

Reality is likely to be very different. The Iranian leadership tries very hard to put on a tough image. This is understandable. No one wants to start negotiations looking like the weaker party. This explains why Velayati also stated:

“If you have a country, like Iran, with 15 neighbors, you can’t impose effective sanctions. We could find solutions to make these sanctions useless”.

Despite a major PR effort by the regime to say that “Iran does not give in to pressure”, with Iran’s economy in deeper trouble every day, the West should be ready for compromises from Iran. The days of just the P5+1 offering compromises like the last round of talks in Almaty while Iran stands still are over.

The Iranian regime is rational and calculating. It knows its limits, which is why it continues to convert its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to oxide. This is a positive gesture as this process puts parts of its enriched uranium temporarily beyond use for making a bomb.

Iran at the Munich Security Conference

2 Feb

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) is one of the most important annual international security conferences. 

This year’s conference started on Friday 1 st of February and it will end tomorrow Sunday 3rd of February.

What is really interesting about this conference is that top security officials turn up and not just those from NATO countries. Countries such as Iran also participate.

This year Iran is represented by its foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi. Tomorrow he will take part in the “The Iranian question and the balance of power in the region” panel. The other participants will be the much respected Professor Vali Nasr who is the dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies Johns Hopkins University, and Ruprecht Polenz a member of the German Bundestag, and chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The moderator will be Georg Mascolo, the Editor-in-Chief of Der Spiegel magazine.

Today vice president Jo Biden stated that the US is ready to hold bilateral talks with the Iranian government, when supreme leader Khamenei “is serious”.

Lets see what Salehi says in response tomorrow even though we have to take what he says with a pinch of salt.

The reason being that when it comes to the nuclear program and the negotiations around it, the foreign minister does not have much of a say. The negotiation team is nominated by the Supreme National Security council and approved by Iran’s leader Khamenei. And as we have seen in previous cases, the main negotiation team does not include senior people from the Iranian foreign ministry. This explains the amateurish behavior of the team in some cases, which is why Iran’s former foreign minister Mohammad Mottaki recently criticized the negotiation team.

In any case it will be interesting to watch the session which starts at 9:45 am Munich time and it ends at 11:15.

The last session about Mali and Syria which starts at 11:30 should also be interesting.

You can watch the live stream of the conference on the conference website .
Full conference program can be found here.