Tag Archives: iran nuclear program

Is the #Iran regime still operating a secret nuclear program?

12 Jul centrif

With the anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal coming up this Thursday 14th of July, the Financial Times, quoting the German domestic intelligence agency published this important and worrying story:

“Iran has attempted to acquire nuclear technology in Germany even after the atomic accord it reached with western powers in Vienna last July, according to the German domestic intelligence agency.

The annual report of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) said that illegal Iranian attempts to procure technology “continued on a quantitatively high level by international standards” in Germany in 2015.” (I emboldened the important parts)

The American response? According to State Department spokesperson John Kirby:

We have no information to indicate that Iran has procured any materials in violation of the JCPOA.  More generally, the IAEA has reported that Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments under the deal.  We understand that Germany shares this view and is not suggesting that Iran has violated its JCPOA commitments.

Kirby then went to state:

We understand the BFV report is mainly about missiles; and while it does mention nuclear dual-use technology, it covers all of 2015 and makes no distinction about whether the reported activities occurred prior to the JCPOA coming into effect.

So whom should we believe?

The nuclear deal was signed on the 14th of July 2015, and it came into effect (also known as implementation day) on January 16 2016.

Even if the reported activities took place before the recent nuclear deal came into effect, we still have much to worry about. The reason: Iran was illegally trying to purchase equipment for its nuclear program, which to me says that Iran was at least until recently pursuing the secret part of its military nuclear program. If these purchases were for civilian purposes only, then why was the Iranian regime trying to hide them?

The Germans would have much to lose by publishing such a report, as the have many impending business deals with Iran. The fact that they have published these reports shows their level of concern.

And if these purchases did take place after the atomic deal with Iran, then at the very least, Iran is not only showing dishonesty, with such behavior it will be pushing investors away. After all, who would want to invest in a country which is sailing so close to the winds of new sanctions?  

The letter by 47 Republican Senators could increase chances of an #Iran deal

12 Mar

Republican Senator Tom Cotton (above) wrote the letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Picture: WIkipedia

47 Republican Senators recently signed a letter which warned the supreme leader of Iran that:

any deal negotiated by the current White House could be reversed by a new president “with the stroke of a pen’’ in as little as 22 months.

In other words: Dear Mr Khamenei, if you reach a deal with the current U.S President (Obama), such a deal could be considered as meaningless to the next leader of the United States.

Many are wondering what impact this latest development could have inside Iran.

In my opinion, it could end up strengthening the voice of those inside Iran who want a deal with the U.S.

It could also increase the credibility of Obama as someone Iran could reach a deal with.

My logic goes as follows:

Inside Iran, especially to those surrounding the supreme leader, it is most probably becoming increasingly clear what massive pressure Obama is facing at home. How his rivals are trying their level best to scuttle a deal with Iran.

More importantly, it is most probably becoming clear in Tehran how Obama is fighting tooth and nail to keep the chances of a deal alive. How he is going out of his to defend the negotiations, despite the massive and unending pressure.

And this could lead to the conclusion in Iran that:

Look at Obama’s efforts. He is someone we could do business with. He is our last chance to reach a deal to end the sanctions. It’s unlikely that someone like Obama will come to power in the U.S any time soon. So it’s now or never.

On #Iran: why I don’t agree with Netanyahu

26 Feb

I don’t want the current rulers of Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Not for a second. Not even for a Benjamin_Netanyahu_portraitnanosecond. Never. No, no, no, no, a thousand times NO to a nuclear armed Islamic Republic of Iran.

But at the same time, I don’t agree with the way Netanyahu has been managing the Iran question on behalf of Israel and Israelis. I know he is doing his job, but his method is causing damage to the credibility of Israel’s legitimate concerns regarding why it does not want the current rulers of Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

In my recent interview with SKY news, I have explained why.

The US has NOT stopped updating #Israel on #Iran talks

15 Feb

Today, the Times of Israel quoting Israel’s Channel 2 broke the news that:

The US has stopped updating Israel on progress in talks with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

According to the same report, Channel 2 characterized the move as:
revenge for Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next month, which has raised the ire of the Obama administration.
However, this report has been denied by Israel officials and now by US officials as well.

So nothing to see here. Move along.

#Iran: Rouhani’s most interesting speech to date

4 Jan
Hassan_Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

Why?  

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”.

#Iran in 2014

26 Dec

In 2014, to foresee Iran’s behavior at the nuclear negotiations, we must look at domestic politics.
My latest article explains:
http://www.thejc.com/news/israel-news/114255/to-predict-nuclear-talks-watch-iran%E2%80%99s-domestic-politics-closely

An Israeli debate about Iran’s nuclear program

16 Dec

How do Israelis see the latest deal between Iran and the P5+1? As far as Israel is concerned, what should a final deal with Iran look like?

These are some of the questions which Emily Landau and I discuss in Tel Aviv. Dr Landau is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program at the INSS institute in Tel Aviv.

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/23959?in=00:00&out=41:00