Tag Archives: Iran – US relations

On the capture of US sailors & why #Iran hardliners are more scared of #Obama than the GOP

15 Jan

Last night I took part in a TV roundtable on i24 News about the capture of U.S sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, after they had accidentally entered Iranian water. I was joined by Middle East analyst Ali Waked, Tom Harb and news presenter Lucy Aharish.

Topics discussed include:

  • The reaction of the Iranian economy to the news
  • Why the hard-line revolutionaries in Iran would prefer an aggressive tough-talking Republican president to win the next U.S presidential elections
  • and the role of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Iran – U.S relations (yes you read that right)

America maintained 1996 sanctions against #Iran so that it could steal its #gas market share

15 Dec

Lets cut to the chase: according to a new article, one of the main reasons why the United States has kept the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) until today is because America wanted to steal Iran’s potential Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) customers.

The United States was able to do this as the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) targeted European and Asian firms investing more than $20 million for the development of oil in Iran. “While ILSA did not explicitly ban investments in LNG, it made those investments more challenging”, the new article states.

Meanwhile, the United States used the absence of Iran to give its:

“own extractive industries an opportunity to fill the market demand that would have instead been available for Iranian LNG exports.”

So while Iran was under sanctions, the US developed its LNG sector. As a result, Iran has a non-existent LNG sector and can’t export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), because of the sanctions, and yet the US in a few weeks will start its first LNG exports to customers around the globe.

You can read the entire article here.

Iran also helped Al Qaeda

20 May

In his new book, former Iran nuclear negotiator Dr Mousavian writes that the head of the IRGC Quds force warned him that after Iran’s cooperation with the US against the Taliban in 2001, the US could “betray” Iran.

Dr Mousavian says that IRGC Quds commander Soleymani told him:

If the United States decided to betray Iran afterward… the Americans would become trapped like the Soviets before them and eventually leave Afghanistan in defeat.

Dr Mousavian sees the lack of US response as a missed opportunity, one which boosted the hard liners in Iran.

I think thats only half the story.

3000 Americans had been killed in 9/11, and the IRGC (not the government) secretly gives refuge to a number of Al Qaeda leaders and operatives and bin Laden family members.  This is a clear sign that the IRGC which takes its orders directly from the supreme leader also had no intention of allowing cooperation over Afghanistan to develop into something bigger.

The hardliners in Iran had already stymied president Khatami’s (who was president back then)  repeated efforts to improve relations with the West on repeated occasions. This included the arrest of 13 innocent members of Iran’s Jewish community. They were not about to allow the brief cooperation between Iran and US over Afghanistan to turn into something bigger and sustainable.

The only thing that both the regime in Iran and the Bush administration wanted was for the Donkey to cross the bridge (I.e for the Taliban to fall). Once it did, they burned the bridge, because at that time bridge building was not in either side’s agenda.

Reject #Iran pick for the UN and move on

8 Apr

Iran recently nominated Hamid Aboutalebi as Iran’s next ambassador to the UN in NYC. However part of his background raised questions about his suitability for the post.

Barry Rosen was one of the US hostages.

According to an interview which Aboutalebi gave to the Tehran based Khabar on-line he stated that after the hostage taking, he interpreted some material into French for the hostage takers.

Would someone who helped the hostage takers of US diplomats, the very same people who illegally imprisoned and psychologically tortured US citizens for 444 days be a suitable pick for the position of Iran’s ambassador to the UN, which is based on US soil? Absolutely not.

According to former US hostage John Limbert, “it was a mistake for the Iranians to even consider sending Aboutalebi to New York given his connection, however peripheral, to the embassy takeover. This one’s got me scratching my head,” Limbert said.

But of course Iran is not the only one to make a mistake. According to the VOA, “the US once sent former CIA head Richard Helms to Iran while the Shah was still in power, Limbert added, “We live in a world of symbolism. They symbolism of that [sending Helms] was terrible [given the CIA role in the 1953 coup] and the symbolism of this [Aboutalebi] is also terrible.”

There are also other reasons why he would be a poor choice.The presence of Mr Aboutalebi as Iran’s UN ambassador would divert attention away from the recent progress made between Iran and the U.S. It would also give ammunition to those who want to discredit the negotiations.
Diplomacy is good and Iran has many diplomats. Iran should nominate someone else and both countries should move on. There are enough challenges ahead of both countries. Lets stay away from anything that symbolize ugly past incidents, a notable one being the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

US and Iran Doctors cooperate

27 Oct

This statement really got me:

“Infant mortality rates in the Delta region(of Mississippi) in some instances are the same as places like Syria or the Gaza Strip – in the heart of the United States – I was shocked.”

Those of us who don’t live in the US are often surprised by how bad the US health system is in some areas.

The comparison of the severe health challenges in Mississippi Delta to Gaza are the words of Dr. James Miller, director of Oxford International Development Group in Mississippi.

He is currently in Iran to study the country’s health system.One of the major reasons being that the Mississippi Delta region and Iran suffer similar medical challenges, and the Iranian health system may offer hints and ideas to Mississippi’s medics.

This is an absolutely fascinating story.

You can read the rest here on NBC’s website