Iran's View » Mojtaba Mousavi http://www.iransview.com The Persian Prespective Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:56:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.20 Joint Action with Iran a Test for Independence of European Businesseshttp://www.iransview.com/joint-action-with-iran-a-test-for-independence-of-european-businesses/1781/ http://www.iransview.com/joint-action-with-iran-a-test-for-independence-of-european-businesses/1781/#comments Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:47:58 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1781 In light of US President Donald Trump’s decision to decertify Iran deal caused heated debate inside Iran about the Trump’s plan for the JCPOA and the best Iranian reaction to US disavowing the nuclear deal. Mojtaba Mousavi tried to discuss the issue with Barbara Slavin, an American expert on Iran and a President Trump critic who […]

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) attends a meeting with France's Emmanuel Macron (R), Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) president Pierre Gattaz (2nd-R) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (3rd-R) in Paris on January 27, 2016. AFP PHOTO

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) attends a meeting with France’s Emmanuel Macron (R), Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) president Pierre Gattaz (2nd-R) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (3rd-R) in Paris on January 27, 2016. AFP PHOTO

In light of US President Donald Trump’s decision to decertify Iran deal caused heated debate inside Iran about the Trump’s plan for the JCPOA and the best Iranian reaction to US disavowing the nuclear deal. Mojtaba Mousavi tried to discuss the issue with Barbara Slavin, an American expert on Iran and a President Trump critic who believes that the new US president is not a rational player. 

Barbara Slavin is an American journalist and foreign policy expert. She is a Washington correspondent for Al Monitor and acting director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. She is the author of a book about Iran–United States relations.

This interview originally appeared in the October 16, 2017 edition of Iranian Jamejam daily.

 

 

Q: How can Trump prevent the possible tension in US-EU relations while he increases pressure on Iran by introducing new sanctions and threatening to put an end to the nuclear deal?

Slavin: Trump cannot prevent tension in US-EU relations; on the contrary, his “decertification” of the Iran deal and threats to “terminate” the agreement if Congress does not act to address its flaws will increase US-EU tensions to a degree not seen since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Q: You talked about a possible dire US-EU tension. How can such tension influence the Middle East security and the West role in the region?

Slavin: Europeans will be less likely to work with the US on solutions to regional conflicts. This is a big opportunity for Iran to split Europe from the United States.
Q: Would you please elaborate more about the possible tension in US-EU relationship? Which aspects of the EU-US relationship are more vulnerable? Is that possible that such tension evolves into sort of a cold war between the two?

Slavin: I don’t see a ‘Cold War’ between the US and Europe; there are too many long-standing security, economic and people-to-people ties. I think Europeans will do their best to survive Trump and await more traditional and sensible US leadership after he’s gone.

 

Q: What would be the perfect role Iran can play in the above mentioned scenario?

Slavin: Iran, as I suggested, should avoid Trump’s trap and stay within the JCPOA. It should also work hard on internal reforms and make itself more attractive to foreign — and Iranian — investors by cleaning up corruption and getting rid of burdensome regulations. It should also stop jailing dual nationals on bogus charges as this chills the climate for investment and tourism. Forty years after the revolution, it is time for Iran to stop taking hostages.

 

Q: How likely is that the Congress would meet Trump’s expectations? How can the Congress (Maybe with the help of other JCPOA parties) address what Trump sees as the deal’s flaws?

Slavin: This is very hard to predict. Congress has struggled to deal with other issues, including health care, and any change in the current law on the Iran deal would require 60 votes in the Senate. Ultimately, this is Trump’s responsibility and he cannot foist it on Congress.
Q: Do you agree that Trump will not push the certain European states (France, Britain and Germany) to end their economic relations with Iran to keep them satisfied while the US is trying to force Iran to budge on non-nuclear issues?

Slavin: Europe is justly proud of its role in initiating negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue – at a time when President Bush would not talk directly with Iran without preconditions. European businesses have just begun to return to Iran and they do not want to jeopardize those contracts.

This will be a real test of the willingness of the international community to stand up to Trump’s intimidation and of the independence of Western businesses. I hope that Iran continues to abide by the agreement and that Europe – and US allies in Asia – also continue to implement the JCPOA.

 

Q: Part of Iranian establishment believes that JCPOA would be meaningless for Iran if US withdraws or refuse to abide by the agreement. They believe that EU will choose to stand by the US if Trump raise the cost of working with Iran (through financial and banking instruments). A few minutes ago Mr. Zarif told the Iran state TV that “If they revive the sanctions, we will decide whether to continue staying in the JCPOA or terminating it.”
Do you think, the Europeans can economically endure the Trump’s pressure if US withdraws the deal and introduce through penalties for those who do business with Iran?

Slavin: This is the key question – what European businesses do, not what European leaders say. However, I believe that there is so much anger toward Trump in Europe that there is a good chance that European businesses will remain in the Iran market and that they will be defended by their political leadership. There is also no certainty that Congress – or Trump – will re-impose secondary sanctions, no matter what Trump said on Friday.

 

Q: I see a quote from President Trump in which he says he has talked with Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron about Iran. “Don’t do anything. Don’t worry about it. Take all the money you can get. They’re all friends of mine,” he has said.
Does that mean sort of coordination between Trump and Macron on Iran deal? Many were hopeful that Macron can play a role in containing Trump. Do you see any ground for Macron and Trump to compromise on a modified version of the JCPOA so all parties including Trump’s US can stay in the deal?

Slavin: As for the influence of May and Macron, I would not count on it. Trump loves it when foreign leaders beg him not to do various things and then he goes ahead and does them anyway. He is a cruel person and the most incompetent American president I have seen in my lifetime.

 

Q: JCPOA is a very important deal and has implications for the international security. From the other point of view, we are witnessing Saudi’s intensified efforts to develop a nuclear program which, given to the Saudi’s aggressive behavior, can increase the regional instability.
How can this deal, if preserved, shape the future power structure of the region and the world? Do you see it necessary for the US to limit Saudi’s ambitious nuclear program?

Slavin: I am not well informed about Saudi Arabia’s nuclear intentions. Frankly, given all the challenges the Saudis face these days, I would not be too concerned about this.
Q: In a piece for National Interest, Joseph Nye wrote that the real challenge that the US is facing could be called “the rise of the rest”. Some authors such as Fareed Zakaria in his “Post-Americanism World” are pointing to the same challenge. In view of such analysis, do you think the US can overcome those challenges stemming from its power and hegemony? Or is it the Trump’s US has no clear awareness of such challenge?

Slavin: Long before Trump, other countries such as China were increasing their economic and geostrategic power. Trump has accelerated this process with his defiance of international treaties and other agreements such as the Paris accords, the Trans Pacific Partnership and now the JCPOA. He is not making America “great again.” He is diminishing our international role and it will take a lot of work by his successors to restore American leadership.

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Blockade, Bad for Qatar, Good for Iran: UShttp://www.iransview.com/blockade-bad-for-qatar-good-for-iran-us/1713/ http://www.iransview.com/blockade-bad-for-qatar-good-for-iran-us/1713/#comments Mon, 12 Jun 2017 07:07:01 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1713 The US secretary of state has called “inhumane” the sanctions imposed on Qatar by a number of Arab states and expressed concerns over the impacts of the sanctions on trade ties between his country and Qatar. This comes as Washington continues to put considerable efforts into applying illegal sanctions on Iran.

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The President of the United States of America Donald Trump

Just two days after the US Senate advanced Iran Sanctions Bill, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said putting Qatar under blockade had led to “unintended” humanitarian consequences and called on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt “to ease the blockade.”

“We’re seeing shortages of food. Families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school…Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other,” the US top diplomat said.

The call for easing Qatar’s blockade comes as, despite the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, the US Senate unanimously approved a bill to tighten Iran sanctions on Wednesday. The sanctions not only have significantly hampered Iran’s international trade, but also created serious obstacles in the way of importing medicines, endangering the Iranian patients’ lives over the past decades.

Meanwhile, the US senior officials have repeatedly accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism with no solid evidence. In the latest case, US President Donald Trump called the Tehran twin attacks the fruits of Iran’s support for terrorism. The attacks, which left 17 dead and dozens injured, were claimed by the ISIS terrorist group.

Trump’s statements which sparked international criticisms across the world stand in direct contradiction with his presidential campaign promises. During his campaign Trump repeatedly blamed his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for supporting Saudi Arabia. He also praised Iran and Russia for their fight against ISIS.

But Trump dramatically changed his positions since taking office and particularly after signing a $110b arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Now, he not only remains silent towards Saudi Arabia as the ideological hub of terrorism, but also accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism.

It seems that the US expresses concerns about terrorism and accuses certain states of sponsoring terror based on its trade ties with the regional states. With its significant trade relations with Saudi Arabia, the US has already closed its eyes to Riyadh’s dictatorship, violent acts and sponsoring terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda that was behind 9/11 attacks.

Interestingly enough, Washington is against Qatar blockade despite admitting its support for terrorists in Iraq and Syria. During his Friday statements, Tillerson said: “The nation of Qatar unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

He went on saying: “The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly.”

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How Iranian Reformists’ Victory Can Turn Into Defeat?http://www.iransview.com/how-iranian-reformists-victory-can-turn-into-defeat/1643/ http://www.iransview.com/how-iranian-reformists-victory-can-turn-into-defeat/1643/#comments Tue, 01 Mar 2016 19:26:35 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1643 the fact that Reformists could gain such a major support from the people is an undeniable reality for the political power sphere of the Islamic Republic and on the other hand this victory poses, at the same time, an opportunity and a threat for the winning Reformists.

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Reformist presidential candidate Hassan Rowhani Casting his vote in a polling station in holy shrine of Abulazim, south of Tehran.

Hassan Rowhani Casting his vote in a polling station in holy shrine of Abulazim, south of Tehran.

For Iranian reformists, the twin parliament and Assembly of Experts elections on February 26 were also a chance to blow new life to their presence in the power circle of the Islamic Republic which they lost after their rejection of the results of the 2009 presidential elections, leading to street riots and months of chaos in the capital city of Tehran.

Almost six years after those days, Reformists are cheering the election gains and are ecstatic about their unexpected wins in the ballot boxes and sweeping Principalists off parliament seats in the Tehran constituency.

However, the results in the other cities are different and both Principalists and Reformists have enough seats to be influential in the next parliament and the Assembly of Experts, but the fact that almost all of the Principalists’ prominent figures in Tehran failed to find their way into the Parliament (and in case of the Assembly of Experts, only Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati was elected ranking 16th out of the 16 seats reserved for the Tehran constituency) is a major blow to them which had the upper hand over the course of the past decade.

Though Reformists’ gain in the elections is also a result of their coalition with government supporters, known as the Moderates, as well as some moderate Principalist figures such as Ali Motahhari which led them to support coalition lists for the twin elections, the fact that Reformists could gain such a major support from the people is an undeniable reality for the political power sphere of the Islamic Republic and on the other hand this victory poses, at the same time, an opportunity and a threat for the winning Reformists.

 

Will Reformists seize the opportunity?

After 2009′s post-election disputes and street riots, many Reformist leaders were arrested and many of their aides who spurred the public into street riots had to flee the country; subsequently, the leadership in Iran lost its faith in the movement and to loyalty of prominent Reformist leaders. This lack of confidence in the Reformist movement and absence of its leaders and forces beside consecutive defeats in the national and local elections pushed reformist figures out of the political scene, minimizing their role.

After Hassan Rouhani won the 2013 presidential election, he tried to pave the way for the return of Reformists to the country’s political circle, while, he himself is not a Reformist and even was a serious critic of them while he served as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

The full participation of the reformists in the recent elections (even Reformists’ leaders under house arrest invited their supporters to participate in the elections) and then the results of the recent twin elections and especially the landslide victory of the Reformists in Tehran showed that the movement is coming back into the political sphere of the country and will revive its status as a legitimate game-changer.

Now, it’s about time for Reformist leaders to engage in direct talks with the political leadership of the system and to iron out misunderstandings and address the existing issues with them. Overestimating their reemerging power and making the same mistake of playing the role of staunch opponents of the Islamic Republic can lead them to a process which will not have better results than they gain in recent years. But a negotiated resolution not only will recreate the confidence and trust of the Islamic Republic to them but will secure their return to highest levels of the power in the country.

 

Senior Reformist leader, Mohammadreza Aref

Senior Reformist leader, Mohammadreza Aref

 

Dangers of a victory

If one was to study the voting pattern of the Iranians in last three decades, they would see Iranians mostly (if not always) make pragmatist decisions and never support a particular group because of their theoretical aims and promising rhetoric. Iranians evaluate the records of an official and after providing them enough time, they would decide to whether continue their support or terminate it. Unexpected victories of the Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005 presidential elections are good examples of how different choices Iranian people can make due to their experience of the incumbent officials.

For this reason, Rouhani’s government- which turned to be a facilitator for the return of Reformism – will have a critical time for the rest of its tenure. Now the Parliament is also in line with the government and in case the government fails in fulfilling its promises, Principalists cannot be blamed as being the trouble makers! While people are hoping for a better economic situation after giving Rouhani more than two years to reach a nuclear deal, possible excessive concentration of Reformists on their political causes may undermine their ability to make significant and tangible changes in the life of ordinary people and so lose their votes in future Presidential elections, after less than two years.

In the words of the senior reformist leader Mohammadreza Aref during his campaign for the 2013 Presidential election, each time both government and the parliament was controlled by one party the outcome was not satisfactory.

Another threat to the Reformists is their inability in understanding the ordinary and the lower-classes especially in the small cities. They are the sources that provided Ahmadinejad with enough vote to win two Presidential elections against the robust rivals from the Reformist and Conservative circles. Today’s threat to Reformism is to make their usual mistake of confusing Tehran and large cities’ political tendency with national sentiments and ignoring lower- classes and ordinary people for who politics is not a priority.

Next presidential elections will be the scene of a critical completion between the Moderates/ Reformists who were controlling two important sources of power for at least two years and the Principalists who were out of power for the same period. I believe it will be the incumbent government’s economic record that will determine the next winner.

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Interview: Joseph Nye on Iran and the End of American Exceptionalismhttp://www.iransview.com/interview-joseph-nye-on-iran-and-the-end-of-american-exceptionalism/1592/ http://www.iransview.com/interview-joseph-nye-on-iran-and-the-end-of-american-exceptionalism/1592/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 17:24:30 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1592 Professor Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. is the former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He currently serves on the Harvard faculty as a University Distinguished Service Professor. Along with Robert Keohane, he founded the theory of “neo-liberalism” in international relations, and more recently coined the often-used phrases of “soft […]

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Professor_Joseph_Nye_(8719518195)

Professor Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. is the former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He currently serves on the Harvard faculty as a University Distinguished Service Professor. Along with Robert Keohane, he founded the theory of “neo-liberalism” in international relations, and more recently coined the often-used phrases of “soft power” and “smart power”. He is one of the world’s foremost intellectuals in the fields of political science, diplomacy and international relations. A 2011 TRIP survey ranked him as the sixth most influential scholar in the field of international relations in the last twenty years, and in October 2014 he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

following is the Interview of Mojtaba Mousavi with Dr. Joseph Nye which first published in the October issue of the Age of Reflection monthly. 

A quarter century has passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall – November 1989. Many strategic analysts believe that the United States is still using the same pattern of collapse of communism in the East bloc to confront Iran. In the “Soft Power: The Means To Success In World Politics”, you have pointed to the American experience as well as the designation of the Marshall Plan as the means to undermine the Soviet soft power components. Do you believe that the same pattern can be adopted from the Cold War to undermine Iran’s soft power?

I do not think the situation of Iran today is like the Cold War. Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union collapsed from it own internal economic contradictions. The Marshall Plan was forty years earlier and designed to help West European economies recover from the devastation of World War II. The Soviet Union lost soft power after its invasions on Hungary and Czechoslovakia.  If there is a lesson in this for Iran, it is to free up its markets and society, and beware of interventions in neighboring countries.

This rationale has major drawbacks: essentially because Soviet Russia and Iran are profoundly different in not just their ideological makeup but the nature of their soft power. Iran’s Islamic Republic draws its narrative from Shia Islam, while Soviet Russia was born from atheist Marxism. Several critics of the US actually believe the country has ignored those fundamental and philosophical differences which exist in between Iran and Soviet Russia. How do you understand Washington’s position vis-à-vis Iran and are we seeing a repeat of the Cold War strategy here? In which case can this approach really serve the US?

 That is correct, but remember that Shia Islam is a minority and Iran should be wary of intervening in sectarian disputes. I do not see this as a repeat of a Cold War strategy. President Obama expressed an openness to dialogue right from the beginning of his presidency. Iran was initially reluctant to engage in that dialogue.

Although the Soviet Union collapsed and communism was to some degree defeated – Russia after all came to embrace capitalism, Moscow nevertheless preserved its political independence by remaining a non-aligned superpower. Is it not possible therefore to envisage that Iran will accomplish such feat – in that its goals might stray from the initial “revolutionary mindset” but still act an opposition to American imperialism? After all there are more than one way to resist and challenge.

 Capitalism in Russia is highly distorted by corruption. As I show in my book, “Is the American Century Over?” Russia is heavily dependent on one “crop” (energy) for two thirds of its exports. It also faces a demographic decline. This is not good, because declining powers often take greater risks such as Putin engages in now in his invasion of Ukraine and his intervention in Syria. I have no idea what the future of Iran will be, but it would be a mistake to model it on Russia.

President Richard Nixon called the US’ negotiations with Soviet Russia a “victory without war”. What President Nixon introduced and President Ronald Reagan followed into was a series of non-military actions which led to the ‘internal collapse’ of a country.President Barack Obama alluded a similar strategy, when,  in an interview  he argued that the path taken by both Nixon and Reagan vis-à-vis the Soviet Union and China inspired his own policies. Taking into account that his comments were made on the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal do you think the US is looking for “containment” instead of a real rapprochement? Is Obama replicating a Cold War scenario?

As I said above, I do not think Obama is following a Cold War strategy. My personal view is that the Middle East is involved in decades long series of revolutions, primarily in Sunni areas, which outsiders like the United States have little capacity to control.  In that sense, containing the spread of ISIS and its successors makes sense, but large scale intervention like the war in Iraq does not make sense. Where Iran will fit in all this will depend on Iran’s behavior.

Will this Iran nuclear deal lead to an increase of America’s footprint in the ME and therefore see Iran lose influence?

I do not think the Iran nuclear deal will increase the US footprint nor necessarily erode Iran’s influence.  Much will depend on how Iran chooses to behave.

Do you think US’ efforts to increase its soft power and smart power in Iran will lead to a change in narrative within the country, in that Iranians will no longer look on America with suspicion and animosity?

In general, increased contacts can reduce the stereotypes of hostility that can develop among countries. I hope with time this will be the case between the US and Iran.  Soft power can be a positive sum game from which both sides gain.

In a recent piece for National Interest, you wrote that the real challenge that the US is facing could be called “the rise of the rest”. Some authors such as Fareed Zakaria in his “Post-Americanism World”, are pointing to the same challenge. There are also philosophers who believe that America as “the” world superpower is coming to an end – For example American philosopher, Richard Rorty wrote in a piece for Decent magazine: “The American Century has ended (…) The spiritual life of secularist Westerners centered on hope for the realization of those ideals. As that hope diminishes, their life becomes smaller and meaner.” In view of such analysis, do you think the US can overcome those challenges stemming from its power and hegemony? Or is it the US has no clear awareness of such challenge? 

Americans have worried about their decline since the early days of the founding fathers centuries ago. In the last half century there have been several cycles of declinism. This tells you more about American psychology than it does about relative power positions of countries. In my book, I explain why I do not think the American century is over. At the same time, the rise of transnational challenges like climate change, cyber terrorism, and international financial stability will require cooperation among countries. In that sense, the rise of the rest as well as the new transnational challenges will require the US to work with others.  There will be no American imperialism or hegemony, but as the largest country, there will still be a need for leadership in organizing global collective goods.

In his September 16 address at a meeting with the IRGC commanders in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said:  “cultural and political penetration is more dangerous than military and security threats.” You also referred to the ‘culture’ as one of the key elements of soft power – you mentioned both the US educational and popular cultures of America as powerful media – maybe here we could use the term Trojan horses. Iran’s leadership has repeatedly warned against such “cultural invasion”. Iranians have themselves naturally organized into movements to counteract Western cultural intrusion, thus manifesting a national trend. Do you see a situation where Iran would disappear to the US; or could it be that Iran will walk a different path than that of the Soviet Union?

Countries evolve over time, and I have no idea what future choices Iran will make, but I suspect that most of its future evolution will be determined from inside Iran.

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Gazprom after Iranian Savvy Developed Under Sanctionshttp://www.iransview.com/gazprom-after-iranian-savvy-developed-under-sanctions/1553/ http://www.iransview.com/gazprom-after-iranian-savvy-developed-under-sanctions/1553/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 09:23:59 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1553 The representative of the Russian oil giant Gazprom in the Iran’s International Oilshow says the company seeks to obtain the technological know-how and equipments Iran has acquired under the western sanctions.

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The representative of the Russian oil giant Gazprom in the Iran’s 20th International Oil, Gas, Refining & Petrochemical Exhibition says the company seeks to obtain the technological know-how and equipments Iran has acquired under the western sanctions.

“Iran has been in sanctions condition for the past 12 years, and Russia is sanctioned too; so we have some joint interests to discuss. I look over the Iranian market and we know Iran has great experiences in working in these sanctions conditions which is much favored by Russia,” Sergey Lasutenko said in an interview with IransView’s Mojtaba Mousavi.

He said Iran and Russia are two of the biggest oil and gas countries in the world; adding Iran has great oil and gas reserves as Russia does and both countries have some big experiences in exploration and production of crude oil and other hydrocarbon products.

“We have some very close views on the market. The idea is to unify our forces. It is work of professionals to promote these ideas but the potentials in political and economical situations are very big. I think it will be very fruitful to cooperate,” he added.

He said Gazprom does not have many activities in Iran at the moment but it will be doing major projects in the near future.

“In the field of exploration, we can cooperate with Iran. Iran has a lot of experiences in constructing some machines and tools for drilling under the sanctions,” he said.  

He added Gazprom is estimating the Iranian market to estimate the Iranian forcibility and work of equipment production.

“We have technologies and Iran has its own. We have a great experience in offshore works. Gazprom is very good at sea drilling. We know that Iran has two seas: the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea; the Persian Gulf is very rich with gas and oil reserves and we can cooperate in the field.”

Iran and Russia are much closer than Iran and the US, he said, adding Tehran and Moscow have some platform to discuss in the oil and gas sectors.

Both Iran and Russia have great experience in drilling. Russia’s Gazprom has the biggest pipeline systems in the world, he said.

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REPEAT:: Why Iran’s Leader Gives Rowhani Nuclear Free Hand?http://www.iransview.com/repeat-irans-leader-gives-rowhani-nuclear-free-hand/1502/ http://www.iransview.com/repeat-irans-leader-gives-rowhani-nuclear-free-hand/1502/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:18:32 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1502 The Leader would be happy see that his strategic decision has helped the administration manage to fulfill its promises and receive a palatable feedback from foreigners. However, if the government fails to get the desired response from the West by being more flexible, the Leader's warnings and pessimism against the US and enemies will be well substantiated.

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In a Tuesday meeting with senior commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (Sepah), the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei stated two issues in Iran’s internal and foreign policy grounds in an unprecedented clear-cut tone: that the Sepah should not necessarily step in political affairs of the country and that the he would favor a “heroic flexible” foreign policy approach.

According to the informed sources talked to Iran’sView, the new Iranian President, Hassan Rowhani, perceived to have won the June-14 elections by his moderation promises, is said to have requested the Leader to give him a modest free hand in the country’s foreign policy affairs, including the prolonged nuclear standoff, so that he will be able to tackle the Islamic Republic’s economic problems to some extent.

It is years now that Tehran is at odds with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) over its nuclear case due to irreconcilable views of the negotiating sides.

According to a Rouhani aide who has spoke to Iran’sView on condition of anonymity, he has promised the Supreme Leader he will be able to scrape a large part of the stifling sanctions imposed on Iran without damaging the nature of its nuclear program provided that the Leader permits the president to act more flexibly in the talks with the P5+1.

“I would agree with what I once called ‘heroic flexibility’, as it is a proper move at times,” said the Leader during his address to the Sepah commanders on Tuesday, seems to be an explicitly agreeing to the administration’s request. However, he cautioned the president to be wary of the “other side and the chief objective” in the talks while being more flexible.

irgc-commanders-leader

Though this was not the first time the Supreme Leader spoke of “heroic flexibility”.

“Artistic and heroic flexibility, softness and maneuver are accepted and welcome in all political grounds,” said the Leader in another meeting a fortnight ago with members of the Assembly of Experts. “But maneuvers should not be interpreted as a leave to cross the red lines or step back of fundamental strategies or neglecting the ideals.”

The Leader of Iran is still suspicious about the flexibility in international dealings of the new administration as it might be induced to cross some red lines (like direct and comprehensive talks with the US) or retreat from fundamental strategies of the Islamic Republic (like supporting Palestinian cause and the Syrian government as part of the resistance front).

The Leader once again reminded the administration in his Tuesday speech that it is not allowed to neglect the “objectives and ideals” of the Islamic Revolution with excuses like “The world or the trends has changed.”

According to political observers in Tehran, the Supreme Leader has allowed the administration to expand ties with European countries, engage in direct talks with the US over the Syrian conflict, and show more flexibility in nuclear talks. The Leader has decided to let Rouhani have his try in various fields, even though he (the Leader) is not optimistic about the West’s reaction to Iran’s flexible tone; which is why the Leader stressed in his Tuesday speech that the US and the West are seeking much greatest goals in Iran’s nuclear case and that it should be taken in and well analyzed by “challenging the hegemonic system by the Islamic Revolution”.

“We do not approve of nuclear weapons not because of the US or others, but because of our beliefs; when we say no one can have nuclear weapons, we would never seek such weapons ourselves; the dissenters of Iran are after something else. These countries would never let their nuclear energy monopoly be broken,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Tuesday.

“Diplomacy is the field of smile and calls for talks and negotiations; however, all these should be defined in the framework of our major challenge.”

Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly cautioned the new administration against the Islamic Republic’s red lines and fundamentals while exhibiting flexibility in its foreign dealings. In his earlier speech addressing members of the Assembly of Experts, the Leader certified that every “administration or person has their own methods and innovations, and are allowed to practice them in their work.”

As a key player in Iran’s power struggle during the past 34 years, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or Sepah, has aligned itself well with the Supreme Leader’s directions, and stood up to administrations which fail to follow the Leader’s directions. Besides, the construction projects as well as economic activities run by the Sepah are a powerful lever that can help every administration to materialize their domestic policies; which may be why the President Rowhani addressed Sepah commanders a day before the Leader to ask them to support the administration economically.

With regard to Rowhani’s concerns about acceptance of his “flexible” policies by Sepah commanders, the Supreme Leader called on Sepah top brass to temporarily step out of politics and view the developments from outside.

“Sepah is not required to meddle in political grounds, but guardianship of the Revolution needs precise understanding of realities,” the Leader said on Tuesday.

“The organization that is deemed as the Revolution’s guardian arm cannot be expected to be alien to derivative political currents,” said the Leader, stressing that under the current circumstances Sepah must, of course, identify and counter all adversaries of the Islamic Republic.

The Leader is evidently giving the administration a free hand to remedy the country’s economic and political headache by putting into effect its innovations. Likewise the Leader would be happy see that his strategic decision has helped the administration manage to fulfill its promises and receive a palatable feedback from foreigners. However, if the government fails to get the desired response from the West by being more flexible, just like the Reformist administration of Mohammad Khatami, the Leader’s warnings and pessimism against the US and enemies will be well substantiated. 

“The revolution’s future is glorious for sure, but the time of its happening depends of the performance of the nation and officials. If we are united, integrated and decisive, such a future is soon realized, but if we are infested with indolence, arrogance and other such stuff, that future will be late to come.” Ayatollah Khamenei said to the top commanders of Sepah.

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Arming West Bank only Way to Save Palestinehttp://www.iransview.com/arming-west-bank-way-save-palestine/1487/ http://www.iransview.com/arming-west-bank-way-save-palestine/1487/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 10:48:49 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1487 The photos of Palestinians fighting back Israeli military by throwing stones may give one a better idea when those stones are to be replaced by weapons provided from Iran or other supporters of Palestinians freedom fighters.

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Watching the Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Riyadh Mansour walking pessimistically outside the UN Security Council chambers on late Thursday meant the council failed once again to play its role on the Gaza crisis.

While more than 1,600 Palestinians have been killed and another 8,000 injured and more than 200,000 internally displaced persons are sheltered in UNRWA since Israel launched an full scale air attack against the tiny strip of Gaza on July 8, yet the international community failed to stop Israeli indiscriminately offensives .

UN’s human rights council passed a resolution condemning the Israel’s military actions; resolution was adopted by 29-1 vote. The sole “no” vote was the United States. Strong US support for Israel and Israel’s powerful lobby prevented any effective decision being made by the international organizations. Same was for more than last six decades of Israel – Palestine conflict.

Smoke billows from the rubble of the Imam Al Shafaey mosque, destroyed in an overnight Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip on August 2, 2014. Photo: PressTV

Smoke billows from the rubble of the Imam Al Shafaey mosque, destroyed in an overnight Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip on August 2, 2014. Photo: PressTV

In such circumstance when Palestinians see none of political efforts could protect them against the well-armed regime of Israel, in the Gaza strip, they prefer to resist rather than to continue living under an inhuman blockade.

Palestinians who lost of most of their land due to Israeli occupation since 1946, now only rule in the West Bank and Gaza strip. Two separate landlocked territories with two different ruling systems.

The Gaza under Hamas has chosen military resistance to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation. On other hand, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the West Bank recognized Israel In 1993 and accepted to stop fighting against Israel and engage in a peace process which went nowhere so far.

It was only after PLO put down its weapon that the Palestinians lost their control over the West Bank and Israel occasionally conduct crackdown in the region, arrest or kill civilians.

Looking at the West Bank as a sample of setting back from military resistance, Palestinians don’t see a successful experience while on other hand Lebanon’s Hezbollah successfully defeated Israel and ended the Israeli occupation of Lebanese territories in 2000 make resistance in Gaza more meaningful.

Like Hezbollah, Hamas is fighting Israel with military and financial support from Iran. It was Iranian missiles and arms that led Hamas to stop Israel in the 2008 and 2012 conflicts.

Despite Iran and Hamas’ strained relations over the Syrian war, Iran’s political and military officials have stressed their unconditional and strong support for Palestinian resistance groups including Hamas.

The letter of the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force to the Palestinian freedom fighters on July 31 is the latest exemplar of the support for Palestinians resistance from Iran.

“Before the almighty God, we take an oath with the martyrs that we will remain bound to and not change, just like we are and have been in doing our religious duty in supporting the resistance. We emphasize that we continue to insist on the victory of the resistance … until the ground, the sky, the sea for the Zionists turns into hell,” Qasem Soleimani wrote.

While Israel and US are trying to disarm resistance movements, Iran called on the world to help arm Palestinians in the West Bank.

“Everyone, whoever has the means, especially in the Islamic world, they should do what they can to arm the Palestinians [in the West Bank] too,” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei said on July 29.

“Iran will also do its best to form military resistance in the West Bank. But obviously we won’t deal with Abbas and its people, we will work with real resistance groups,” Abdollahi who is familiar with the Iranian strategy in Palestine told Iran’s View.

Soleimani excluded Fatah and PA in his statement while naming Palestinian groups and leaders and praising their resistance.

But what an armed West Bank would mean for Israel?

Palestinians protesting against Israel in West Bank. Photo: Vice.com

Palestinians protesting against Israel in West Bank. Photo: Vice.com

West Bank has a population of more than 2,000,000 Palestinians who anxiously follow the events in Gaza and show their support from the resistance movement by protesting against Israel.

The photos and videos of Palestinians protesting and fighting back Israeli military by throwing stones may give one a better idea when those stones are to be replaced by weapons provided from Iran or other supporters of Palestinians freedom fighters.

In this case, Iran expects Palestinians to defend themselves against Israel in a more balanced battle.

The final solution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict however is seen differently by Iran.
Iran suggests that all current and former inhabitants of the Palestinian territory should participate in a referendum and decide on their fate and future.

Israel opens fire on largest West Bank protest in a decade. Photo: vice.com

Israel opens fire on largest West Bank protest in a decade. Photo: vice.com

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Incoherent P5+1 Hinder Iran Nuclear Talks Progresshttp://www.iransview.com/incoherent-p51-hinder-iran-nuclear-talks-progress/1430/ http://www.iransview.com/incoherent-p51-hinder-iran-nuclear-talks-progress/1430/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 12:22:04 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1430 The progress for Iran to reach a long-sought deal with world powers is hindered as French Foreign Minister hindering the progress by defying a preliminary deal Iran reached with the US and the UK over its nuclear issue.

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EU's HR Catherine Ashton holds trilateral meeting with French FM Fabius and Iran FM Zarif, in Geneva.

EU’s HR Catherine Ashton holds trilateral meeting with French FM Fabius and Iran FM Zarif, in Geneva.

The progress for Iran to reach a long-sought deal with world powers is hindered as French Foreign Minister undermines a preliminary deal Iran finally managed to clinch with the US and the UK over its nuclear issue, by finding “serious stumbling blocks”.While foreign ministers of the P5+1 spontaneously join the ongoing Geneva talks between Tehran and the world powers, rising optimism that a deal would be reached at the end of a long-sought nuclear dispute with Iran, hopes for a significant progress in talks fade away as reports say France and other powers have found “serious stumbling blocks” in Iran’s proposed package.

While foreign ministers of the P5+1 spontaneously join the ongoing Geneva talks between Tehran and the world powers, rising optimism that a deal would be reached at the end of a long-sought nuclear dispute with Iran, hopes for a significant progress in talks fade away as reports say France and other powers have found “serious stumbling blocks” in Iran’s proposed package.

Reports from Geneva say French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has refused to agree with the draft of Iran proposed joint statement. Fabius’ remarks came as the extended talks entered their third day on Saturday and a lot of progress was obtained with the US and the UK, two major powers previously believed to be the strictest of other powers regarding Iran’s nuclear issue.

In an interview with Al-Monitor’s Laura Rosen, a senior P5+1 diplomat has spoken of a disparity between members of the group. since last year, Iranian negotiators have repeatedly complained about the lack of unity in the group which has deterred reaching a solid agreement with Tehran.

French negotiators are said to take the strictest position in the talks against Iran, witnesses of the talks have said, and their bald statements have repeatedly derailed the progress of the talks.

A member of the Iranian negotiating team told IransView that during Almaty I and II talks which took place in February and April 2013 in Kazakhstan, French Foreign Ministry Director-General for Political and Security Affairs Jacques Audibert, who served as the French top negotiator then, prompted Saeed Jalili to warn of leaving the talk session.

“While Jalili was elaborating on a PowerPoint slideshow provided by the Iranian team, Audibert undiplomatically reactioned to a slide titled as ‘Common grounds of Iran – P5+1 cooperation’ and said they had not come to cooperate with Iran to reach a deal, but to stop Iran’s nuclear program,” the diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “In response, Jalili said he would leave the room if the group is seeking to fight in the talks.”

The diplomat further added that Ashton and even Americans were dissatisfy with french positions and P5+1 tried to stop Audibert from making such statements during the next rounds of talks.

Observers in Tehran say that France take a stark position towards Iran while the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has invited French officials to cooperate with Iran several times.

“I would like […] to point out that officials of the French government have been openly hostile towards the Iranian nation over the past few years and this is not a clever move by French government officials,” said Ayatollah Khamenei during a speech on March 21, 2013.

“A wise politician should never have the motivation to turn a neutral country into an enemy. We have never had problems with France and the French government, neither in the past nor in the present era. However, since the time of Sarkozy, the French government has adopted a policy of opposing the Iranian nation and unfortunately the current French government is pursuing the same policy. In our opinion, this is a wrong move. It is ill-advised and unwise.”

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Iranian Nuclear Talks Suggest Progresshttp://www.iransview.com/iranian-nuclear-talks-suggest-progress/1400/ http://www.iransview.com/iranian-nuclear-talks-suggest-progress/1400/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:29:35 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1400 On the First day of the latest round of Iran and P5+1 ( Iran and the USA, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) nuclear talks in Geneva there was hope brought by international observers for a breakthrough in the decade long nuclear negotiations.

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The latest round of Iran and P5+1 nuclear talks finished on Wednesday night. the next round of talks will be held in Novomber 7 and 8 in Geneva.
At the end of the talks Iran and P5+1 issued a joint statement for the first time. read the full text of the statement here.
On the First day of the latest round of Iran and P5+1 ( Iran and the USA, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) nuclear talks in Geneva there was hope brought by international observers for a breakthrough in the decade long nuclear negotiations.
 
On Tuesday, after Iran presented a new proposal and answered questions from the P5+1 in  two plenary sessions in the morning and afternoon, a surprising bilateral meeting between members of Iran and the US delegations took place. According to the Iranian Deputy FM Abbas Araghchi who led the Iranian delegations, only issues related to the nuclear talks were discussed in the one hour long meeting.
 
“We saw a change of tone from the other side but we are not witnessing any change in their approach so far,” said Araghchi who was briefing Iranian media after the bilateral talks with the American delegation late Tuesday.
“It is difficult for Iran to move forward if it does not see changes in the P5+1′s approach [towards Iran],” he said to journalists in the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Geneva.
 
Describing the features of the Iranian new proposal he added, ” Mutual and equivalent confidence building steps are defined as the first steps and then in the second step we will try to prevent exacerbating the situation to meet the immediate concerns of the both sides in the third step.”  
 
Political observers in Tehran believe that the first step which Iran expects to last for six months, the country is seeking some sanctions relief (Banking and Petrochemical sanctions for example) in return for slackening Iran’s nuclear program including limiting the level of uranium enrichment.
 
However according to the explanation by Araghchi, working for the ultimate solving of differences and disputes will require a  fourth and final step which is in Iran’s proposal and this last step is implementing agreements reached between two sides during the process.
 
Araghchi said the Fatwa of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei against building and the use of nuclear weapons is an important element of the last step. Political observers believe that the Fatwa can justify limiting aspects of Iran’s nuclear program and implementing additional supervision to Iran’s nuclear facilities.
 
However it is not clear yet whether Iran would accept to implement the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which allows unexpected inspections into Iran’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
 
The official Iranian News Agency IRNA quoted Araghchi on Tuesday morning saying the Additional Protocol is not part of Iran’s proposal although the Iranian Student’s News Agency reported on Wednesday morning that Araghchi confirmed that discussing the Additional Protocol is part of the last step in Iran’s proposal.
 
Jasmin Ramsey of IPS also interviewed Abbas Araghchi and got the confirmation that the Additional Protocol is part of the final step.
Iran had voluntarily implemented the Additional Protocol between 2003 – 2005 but suspended it after the West issued resolutions against Iran despite their earlier promises and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani who was in charge of the country’s nuclear negotiations in 2003, came under criticism for actually halting the nuclear program.
 
“Iran will not accept the Additional Protocol [again],” says Mansour Haghighatpour, deputy chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iran’s Parliament in an interview with Nasim news site.
 
In return for Iran accepting additional supervision and limitations to its nuclear program but “still continuing enrichment and keeping active the nuclear facilities including the research reactors, all of the sanctions issued by UNSC, US and EU should be removed in the last stage,” Araghchi said to the Iranian journalist covering the negotiations in Geneva.
 
Iran’s readiness to accept the Additional Protocol in return for comprehensive sanctions relief is seen as a significant change in Iran’s approach toward the nuclear talks by [Iranian] observers which can be interpreted by what Iranian supreme leader described as ‘Heroic flexibility’.
 
The second day of nuclear talks in Geneva began with a few hours delay on Wednesday noon. This was requested by the P5+1 to answer Iran’s questions regarding the P5+1′s positions is on the agenda.
 
Iranian delegation members also had bilateral meetings with the French and British delegations this Wendesday morning. “High Representative Ashton convened a meeting this morning of Political Directors from the E3+3. There have also been bilateral meetings during the course of the morning,”  said Michael Mann spokesperson for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.
 
In a bilateral meeting with Russia’s top negotiator Sergey Ryabcov, Abbas Araghchi also discussed regional issues including the Syrian conflict and the Geneva II talks. “In the meeting Ryabcov said the Americans couldn’t satisfy the Syrian opposition to attend the Geneva II talks yet,” Araghchi said.

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Iran’s 5-Step Geneva Package:Realistic, Promisinghttp://www.iransview.com/irans-5-step-geneva-packagerealistic-promising/1393/ http://www.iransview.com/irans-5-step-geneva-packagerealistic-promising/1393/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:55:56 +0000 http://www.iransview.com/?p=1393 Iran and the five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany gathered in Geneva for the fourth time to discuss the protracted nuclear case of the Islamic Republic.

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Iran and the five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany gathered in Geneva for the fourth time to discuss the protracted nuclear case of the Islamic Republic.

Today, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, who is in charge of the nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 since the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani took the office in the June 14 presidential election, presented a new proposal from Iran during the 1st round of talks and left his deputy Abbas Araghchi in room to lead the Iranian negotiating team.

Iranian diplomats also began lobbying to the P5+1 few days before the talks when Morteza Sarmadi another deputy of the Iranian foreign minister visited Beijing on the eve of the nuclear talks.

Abbas Araqchi also had a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ryabcov on the sidelines of the plenary meeting on Tuesday morning.

Russia and China, as two members of the P5+1 play a key role in balancing the group’s stance towards Iran.

During the talks, having been previously headed by hardliner Saeed Jalili, Iran and the P5+1 failed to reach a consensus even on what topics they should focus on.

Political observers in Tehran maintain that one of the most important obstacles in the former rounds of talks was that the two sides did not have a common objective and the talk sessions proceeded with unrelated, disorderly discussions.

Iranian FM deputy Abbas Araghchi briefing media after first plenary of Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks in Geneva. October, 15, 2013.

Iranian FM deputy Abbas Araghchi briefing media after first plenary of Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks in Geneva. October, 15, 2013.

Tehran and the P5+1 members have agreed to keep Iran’s new nuclear proposal which is titled as “An end to a unnecessary crisis, a beginning to a new horizons”  as confidential. Iran also kept its Baghdad proposal presented last year to the P5+1 confidential until the group rejected that months later in Almaty.

Iranian diplomat described the major steps Iran has assumed for reaching an agreement with the other side of the talks were said this morning through a Powerpoint presentation by Zarif.  The steps can be summarized  as being:

- Accepting Iran’s nuclear right for developing, investigating, producing and using nuclear energy;

- Employing truth-finding strategies;

- International cooperation for fulfillment of Iran’s rights;

- Halting all the sanctions imposed on Iran; and

- Cooperation in common interests and concerns.

Both sides of the talks are sending positive signals about the nature of today’s negotiations. But the most important change we are witnessing is the realistic viewpoint of the parties and expectations is balanced as we hear from the early statements of the officials.

 “We will try to reach preliminary results by tomorrow morning, but anyway we do not expect to reach a final solution by tomorrow,” said Abbas Araghchi while briefing Iranian media after the end of first plenary today morning.

He also expressed hope for next round of talks to take place less than one month later.

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