Tag Archives: sanctions against iran

Robert Gates is also against new Iran sanctions

27 Jan

There are those in the US Congress who want to impose additional sanctions against Iran.

I am against such an idea. Iran has promised to implement the Geneva nuclear deal and we see that it has already started implementing its obligations. Punishing Iran for taking positive steps will push them away from moderation in the negotiations. Why would someone want to cooperate if they are punished for it?

Imposing new sanctions now will also say to the Iranians that the P5+1 is not an honest partner. After all, according to the new deal signed between the two, the P5+1 has promised not to impose new sanctions during the interim agreement. A deal is a deal. It’s equally bad when and if the US breaks it, as it is if Iran breaks it.

Don’t get me wrong, sanctions have been very successful in changing the Iranian regime’s nuclear stance. But now that they seem to be bearing fruit, we should give an opportunity for Iran and the P5+1 to show that they are both sincere and are willing to follow their promises with action. If Iran does not deliver then it would justify tougher sanctions.

Obama is also against new sanctions being passed at this moment. He wants to give diplomacy a chance. This morning his position was supported by two senators in a New York Times op-ed.

And now former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has joined them. Gates is a very respected man in the US Defence establishment. He is the only secretary of defence to serve under two consecutive presidents who represented opposing parties as he served under both Bush and Obama.  His words are worth listening to.

On Iran, Israel’s military intelligence disagrees with Netanyahu

22 Nov

In a meeting with the foreign press, Israel’s Military Intelligence has decided to publicly support the current P5+1 negotiations with Iran, “even one that relaxes the Western sanctions on Iran.” This is in direct contrast to Prime Minister Netanyahu who does not want the sanctions lifted.

Israel’s Military Intelligence has also decided to come out against Prime Minister’s current strategy of “Zero enrichment” on Iranian soil.

According to Josh Mitnick who attended the meeting:

While Netanyahu has demanded that negotiators seek the full dismantling of Iran’s nuclear capability, the military official said the intelligence branch does not think this demand is realistic. The international community isn’t talking about “deleting” Iran’s nuclear program, he said.

Furthermore, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has called Rouhani “a wolf in Sheep’s clothing” the military intelligence official sees his election as a sign of change:

“The fact that economic numbers are not good and that there is some kind of noise among the public – at least about the economic situation – makes challenges for the regime. That’s probably why Rouhani was elected in such large numbers more than anything else.”

When asked if the officer sees signs of real change in Iran, he said that such a shift depends on the outcome of negotiations.

As Josh Mitnick points out in the rest pf his article, Israel’s Military Intelligence already came out on this against Netanyahu two months ago, by telling Haaretz that his election is a sign of “undergoing significant, strategic changes”.

My two cents: As I have mentioned in my previous posts, in Israel there are always several opinions regarding each policy. The fact that the Military Intelligence has come out to dispute some of Netanyahu’s notable Iran policies speaks volumes about the presence of lively, free and uninhibited debate in the state of Israel about Iran. It also shows that there are important people and groups who disagree with Netanyahu’s current Iran strategy. In Israel, no one wants to see a nuclear armed Iranian regime. There is a shared goal, but there are differences regarding the most suitable strategy to get there.

You can read the rest of Josh Mitnick’s article here

Will China pay its debt to Iran?

29 Oct

China owes Iran 22 billion dollars for the purchase of oil over the last number of years. 

So it’s no surprise that Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani is on his way to China. Iran needs the money, and its parliamentarians are not hiding it.

The question is: will China repay its entire debt to Iran?

In my opinion its unlikely. Iran would be lucky if it gets part of it.

Transferring billions of dollars to Iran could anger the US which is trying to impose sanctions against Iran. It’s unlikely that China will want to risk its relations with the U.S over Tehran. Its simply not worth their while.

China has bigger concerns, such as its sea dispute with the Philippines (as well as other neighbors)   which the U.S is getting involved in. This is just one issue, among many which is more important to China than the Iranian government’s financial problems.

Dear Professor Dershowitz: Hagel appointment not a sign of weakness to Iran

7 Jan

Professor Alan Dershowitz

In an article entitled President’s Nomination of Hagel May Encourage Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions which was published today, Professor Alan Dershowitz writes:

President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense risks increasing the likelihood that Iran will develop nuclear weapons.  It poses that risk because Hagel is well known for his opposition both to sanctions against Iran and to employing the military option if necessary.

Professor Dershowitz is worried that Hagel’s appointment:

 Sends a mixed message to the mullahs in Tehran, who will likely interpret it as a change from a red light to a yellow or green one when it comes to their desire to develop nuclear weapons.

I beg to differ.

The nomination of Hagel will not send such a message to Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei.


1. Hagel’s predecessor Robert Gates also showed his opposition to an attack against Iran.

In October this year, Gates said:

“The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world,” Gates said.

Did that send the Iranian regime running to make a bomb?

No it did not.

And why not? because the regime does not want to strengthen the international consensus against it even more. These days even the Chinese and Russians negotiate against Iran in the P5+1. They don’t want to make the situation worst.

2. Being anti- military attack against Iran does not mean you are willing to see the Iranian regime armed with nuclear weapons

Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad called an attack against Iran “the stupidest thing” he has ever heard. Does that mean that he is willing to sit by and watch Iran become a nuclear state. Absolutely not.

Did the Iranian regime rush to make after he said that? no. Why? because the regime is far more scared of sanctions than a military attack. If continued, sanctions could turn into an existential threat, while a military attack would at most be a military setback. There is nothing that the Iranian regime would risk its survival for, not the nuclear program and certainly not Palestine.

3. The Iranian regime has heard president Obama loud and clear.

The Iranian regime has heard president Obama’s message that when it comes to Iran, “containment is no option“. What does that mean? that he will use whatever means to stop the regime acquiring nuclear weapons. Obama never said that “I will do everything except attack Iran “. And the Iranian regime is not the Taliban, living in caves. When it comes to knowing who has the final say in the White House, its pretty plugged in.

4.  Hagel’s opposition to sanctions will not mean removal of sanctions against the regime

Yes, Hagel was opposed to sanctions. But does that mean he will become the flag bearer for the anti-sanctions camp in the US after he is Defense Secretary? No.

If anything, after he is Defense Secretary, he is either likely to keep silent or in fact support sanctions. Why? because he now has a boss called Barack Obama who thinks differently.

Also he will have to work with the Congress. He will have more important things to do than picking fights right left and center over his opposition to sanctions against the Iranian regime.

And after he is appointed, its hardly likely that he will he be going around the different western capitals asking them to remove sanctions against Iran, is it? Not a bit of it.

So dear Professor Dershowitz, please don’t be concerned.

Many people in the US and Israel (including myself) are against war against Iran, but that does not mean that we want to see a nuclear Iran. And our opposition to war does not mean that the Iranian regime will rush to make a bomb. It has far bigger concerns.

An Iran Virus More Dangerous Than STUXNET

6 Oct

A virus more dangerous than STUXNET is lurking within Iran’s halls of power. 

My latest article for The Diplomat describes this virus and talks about its consequences.

To read please click here.