Tag Archives: sanctions

Interview: why I am against new #Iran sanctions

26 Jan

Don’t get me wrong, I think sanctions have worked so far. As I mentioned in my commentary piece for the Guardian in April 2013, they have forced the Iranian regime to change its stance. This is one of the main reasons why the regime changed course and allowed the Iranian government to show compromise at the nuclear talks.

But new sanctions while the talks or continuing? or passing sanctions which kick into effect if the talks fail, while we are holding nuclear negotiations with Iran? I am against them. We should wait until the deadline for the current talks, which is at the end of June 2015. We can wait that long.

I explained them in my latest interview with NPR. The audio file contains more of my comments than the text version.

You can listen to it here.

Iran nuclear talks snag: could be related to domestic politics

13 Dec

Iran’s Parliament (The Majles)

According to Reuters, talks between Iran and the P5+1 have hit a snag.

The reason is believed to be the Iranian regime’s unhappiness with the US adding new companies and individuals to its list of sanction evaders.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi sees these additions as “new sanctions”. According to his statement published on Fars news (and reprinted in Reuters):

“We are evaluating the situation and Iran will react accordingly to the new sanctions imposed on 19 companies and individuals. It is against the spirit of the Geneva deal.”

Fact: these are not “new sanctions” as Mr Araqchi states. These companies and individuals were punished as part of existing sanctions. And the US is not breaking the Geneva agreement by continuing with the existing sanctions.

Its very possible that the Iranian side is doing this because the Rouhani administration is coming under increasing pressure at home from those in the Conservative camp who oppose the Geneva deal. With this latest maneuver, the Rouhani administration could be trying to earn some street cred among the hardliners, who are becoming increasingly vociferous.

John Kerry has reason to be thankful. This latest move by Tehran will hurt those in Washington and Jerusalem who accuse the Obama administration of being “desperate”, “naive” and “falling over itself to sign a deal with the Iranians no matter what”.

The reaction by the Iranian team can be used as clear evidence that the US is serious about maintaining existing sanctions, regardless of whether Iran’s leaders like it or not.

Iran: the real cost of sanctions

29 Jul

Al Jazeera English has some of the best debates about what is going on inside and outside of Iran.

Here is an interesting debate about the cost of sanctions to Iran, which is increasing every day.

According to the head of the commission of imports for Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Iran has halted imports because:

over the past 25 days, no hard currency had been allocated for imports because of a dispute between the Central Bank and the Commerce Ministry.

As I wrote last year, I believe that sanctions will force Khamenei to compromise. I still believe that.

This particular debate on AL Jazeera was taped 3 days before the June 14 elections. It offers a range of views and is worth watching.

Sanctions have impacted Iran’s nuclear policy

22 Apr

The Iranian government has claimed on numerous occasions that sanctions can’t influence its nuclear policies and will not do so in the future.

However, its own behaviour tells a different story.

My latest article explains:


Was the Iran Non Aligned Conference a Success?

2 Sep

In the article “Nonaligned Nations Back Iran’s Nuclear Bid, but Not Syria”, the New York Times writes:

 “The final result of the Nonaligned Movement’s meeting, the biggest international gathering in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, amounted to the strongest expression of support for Iran’s nuclear energy rights in its showdown with the West. The unanimous backing of the final document undercut the American argument that Iran was an isolated outlier nation.”

I beg to differ. 

Despite their signatures, overwhelming number of the countries which signed that document are implementing the sanctions against Iran and will continue to do so.

Signing the NAM document in Tehran does not in any way mean that they are going to change their policies.

This is especially true about the Persian Gulf countries which were present at the NAM conference.

The Saudis and the Kuwaitis who it’d be reasonable to expect to have signed the document are one of the biggest advocates of the sanctions against the Iranian regime.

And soon after the conference a major gas contract between Iran and a Chinese company was suspended due to lack of funds. The sanctions are believed to be strongly related to this development. The NAM conference signatures do not seem to have helped one bit.

It takes far more than signatures to say that Iran is coming out of its isolation and that its nuclear program enjoys international support.

The NAM conference in Tehran and its consequences as well as Mitt Romney’s Iran policies are further discussed between my respected colleague Mr Matt Duss and myself on the latest edition of Bloggingheads.