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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ayatollah’

Iranians Wonder, Is the Supreme Leader Fading?

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Iranian media has been showing photos of a very frail Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranians are wondering whether their Supreme Leader is fading.

It is the Supreme Leader who makes the sole decision about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear development policies.

Last month Iran’s the country’s top leader made a surprise announcement that he was asking for the country’s prayers because he was due to have surgery.

The operation on his prostate, according to his spokespeople, was to last “only 30 minutes” and was carried out “under local anesthesia.”

Nevertheless, the Supreme Leader has looked pale and frail in media images ever since, with every leader in his government seen visiting his bedside.

Questions are being bandied about over who will succeed him – and analysts say the questions are becoming more serious as the days pass.

Iran has had only two Supreme Leaders since the 1979 revolution, and any instability due to a vacuum at the top could mean a national security issue.

The Supreme Leader is elected by the Assembly of Experts, which is primarily comprised of religious officials. The country’s elite Revolutionary Guards, however, are also expected to influence any choice for Khamenei’s successor, when the issue becomes relevant.

When the Assembly met in early September, Khamenei called for unity. “There are differences in taste on political issues, on political issues small and large,” he said. “But these differences cannot destroy the unity of the country or empathy within the country. Everyone should be together.”

Supreme Leader Goes under Surgical Operation

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underwent what official state media called routine prostate surgery at a Tehran hospital on Monday morning.

“I have a surgery and I am now leaving for the hospital,” he said.

“There is no reason to worry; this, of course, does not mean that I don’t need people’s prayers, but God willing, there is no point to worry as it is a normal operation,” he added.

“God willing everything will go on well.”

The truth is we really are worried, but not about the surgery.

 

Khamenei: Islam Forbids Male-Female Chat Messages

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Islam forbids men and women chatting with each other on social networks, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, the Egyptian daily Al Ahram reported.

He issued a “Fatwa” religious decree that explained chatting between the sexes is immoral. The Islamic Republic has placed severe restrictions on use of the Internet and social networks, and it tried to close them down during the mass protests in 2009 against the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

Iran recently blocked a WeChat message that is used on smartphones.

The Day Mandela Went to Shul and Preached against Aliyah

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

One of the first things that Nelson Mandela did after being elected president of South Africa in 1994 was visit a synagogue and preach against aliyah at Cape Town’s Green and Sea Point Hebrew Congregation on the Shabbat after his election.

Here is an excerpt from JTA’s report:

“The congregants heard Mandela make an appeal from the pulpit for Jewish expatriates to return to South Africa.

“Pointedly excluding aliyah by saying he understands the Jewish community’s commitment to Israel, Mandela said, ‘We want those who left (for other countries) because of insecurity to come back and to help us to build our country.’

“He added that those who do not return should contribute their money and skills to South Africa.

“Mandela thanked the Jewish community for its contribution toward the development of South Africa and assured Jews they have nothing to fear from a government of national unity.

“He said he felt an affinity with the Jewish community, since it was a Jewish firm that gave him an apprenticeship in the early days of his law career, when discrimination was rife.

“He also said that he had befriended his Jewish defense counsel during the treason trial which led to his imprisonment in the 1950s and that he was still in contact with the lawyer.

“He stated that he recognizes the right to existence of the State of Israel, along with the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland.

“He noted that he considered it significant that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat last week signed an agreement in Cairo implementing Palestinian self-rule — the same week that South Africa elected its new leadership.

“At the reception following the service, some of the younger members of the congregation raised clenched fists in solidarity with the ANC, while the shul choir led in the singing of the country’s new national anthem, “Nkosi Sikelel’ IAfrika.”

Mandela often said Israel should be a “secure“ state, but on the other hand, his citing the Palestinian-Israel conflict as dating back to 1948 clearing showed his definition of “secure” as twisted.

He wrote Thomas Friedman of The New York Times in 1991, “You incorrectly think that the problem of Palestine began in 1967…. You seem to be surprised to hear that there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established ‘normally’ and happened to occupy another country in 1967.

“Palestinians are not struggling for a ‘state’ but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.”

Arabs in Judea and Samaria, who did not refer themselves as “Palestinians,” never ”struggled” for freedom under the Ottoman Empire, under the British Mandate and under the Jordanian occupation.

It was only when Jews re-established the modern State of Israel that they “struggled,” not for freedom but rather for the annihilation of Israel.

That explains how Mandela, more blind than the blindest American Secretary of State, could proclaim that Iran had no aggressive aims towards Israel. “We are indebted to the Islamic Revolution,” he one said while laying a wreath at the grave of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose idea of freedom meant a world free of Israel.

Mandela not only called Israel an “apartheid state” but also asserted that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was not a terrorist group.

He publicly supported violence against Israel during a visit to Yasser Arafat in Gaza in 1999, when he declared. “All men and women with vision choose peace rather than confrontation, except in cases where we cannot proceed, where we cannot move forward. Then if the only alternative is violence, we will use violence.”

US Betrayal Opens Great Opportunity for Israeli Saudi Alliance

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here at the Muqata think tank, we’ve been analyzing the changes happening around us, and envisioning what a new Middle East could look like, or turn into, if given the chance—based on the real state of affairs in our region. Obviously, we’re looking to develop the best possible realistic scenario for Israel as can be, based on current parameters.

America’s betrayal of long time allies, and its shifting of alliances to the worst of the worst of the Islamic fundamentalist governments, has encouraged a sea change for the entire region.

After U.S. failure to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state, it’s now turning to firmly prop up the Islamic Republic of Iran. The end result is that any hope for a popular uprising that would throw out the Ayatollahs is now lost.

A revitalized, aggressive, fundamentalist, and obviously nuclear Iran constitutes a clear and present danger to all the countries in the region, not just Israel.

The recent U.S. betrayal of its long time allies has taught Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf States the lesson of an exaggerated reliance on the world’s biggest super power.

America’s Middle East policy has always relied on the three legged stool of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. When America lost Iran, it tried to replace it with Iraq, then with Egypt, but each attempt resulted in unexpected consequences.

For the U.S., the Iran deal represents a much sought after return to an old and familiar Mid-East policy, never mind the fact that this time Iran and Turkey are very much Islamic, and have developed an imperialistic appetite that threaten their neighbors, most emphatically the Foggy Bottom stool’s third leg, Saudi Arabia, which isn’t buying any of it.

It’s no accident that there has been noise about the Saudis preparing to assist Israel in a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Gulf States, too, save for Bahrain, are in Israel’s corner, having had thriving business relations with Israel (and shhh, even Settlers) for years. They all view Iran as a radical menace and Israel as its stabilizing antidote.

At the Muqata think tank, we’ve come up with what could be a very realistic realignment, and a plan for a truly new Middle East (Tom Friedman, eat your heart out).

Saudi Arabia has money. Lots of money. Lots of oil too. And of course, lots of desert.

But they don’t have innovation, they don’t have technology, and they no longer enjoy that sense of security they used to have.

Israel has innovation. Israel has technology. Israel knows how to make deserts bloom. Israel has security. But Israel, while becoming energy independent, doesn’t have oil or money (on the Saudi scale), or the production capability to stand alone.

Actually, both states could use better production capabilities.

Both also have had the same reliance on the U.S. to supply them with military platforms.

It’s also no secret that Israel’s military technology and know-how is superior to that of the U.S., but the latter is making sure that the former not be allowed to compete with industries in the American military industrial complex.

And don’t get us started on Israel being forced to take the less than wonderful but shockingly expensive F-35.

Ask yourself, what would happen if Saudi Arabia were to change its buying habits?

Let’s say they decided to buy an Israeli designed advanced fighter jet. Let’s say Saudi Arabia invested in Israeli green tech, to make their deserts bloom.

Let’s say that Saudi Arabia made a new alliance with Israel, based on mutual defense and mutual interests.

It would require of the hyper conservative Saudis to do something brand new, something they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing only a five years ago, when their ambassador to the U.S. was considered an adjunct member of the Bush cabinet. But those days are gone, and the Saudis, perhaps more so than Israel, are fearing for their lives.

One could think of worse reasons than the will to live for cooperation between historic enemies.

If such a pact—which could be denied ad nauseam by both sides—were to happen, we would definitely see Egypt and Jordan joining in. Secretly (at first).

The new Middle East would include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf states, vs. Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Gaza.

Netanyahu at UN: If Israel Must Act Alone against Iran, We Will Do So

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the United Nations Tuesday afternoon that Israel will never allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons and that it will act alone to prevent a nuclear Iran if sanctions do not work.

He did not mince words in attacking the Iranian regime for being deceitful and anti-democratic, and he provided fact after fact to prove that the regime has been hiding behind “smooth rhetoric” in order to “have its yellow cake and eat it, too.”

The Prime Minister verbally knocked out Iranian President Hassan Rohani, comparing him with his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with one external difference.

“Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing; Rohani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community, but like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rohani’s words, but we must focus on Iran’s action,” Netanyahu said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the United Nations that Rohani is a servant to a “rogue” regime that wants to annihilate Israel and that Rohani simply cannot be believed when he says he wants negotiations over its nuclear program.

He pleaded with the international community not to let up on sanctions in return for “cosmetic concessions” that would allow Iran to race ahead to develop nuclear weapons when it wants.

Iran was quick to respond to what one delegate said was an “extremely inflammatory statement.” The delegate told the General Assembly that the “Prime Minister must not dare think about attacking Iran.”

He countered Netanyahu’s warning that Israel will defend itself by stating, “He should seriously avoid miscalculation against Iran. Iran’s century-long policy of nonaggression should not be interpreted as an unwillingness to defend itself.”

The delegate then tried to turn the tables on Israel, mocking it for demanding that Iran disclose its nuclear program while Israel needs to be “educated” for being the “only non-party” to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Without refuting the Prime Minister’s carefully outlined evidence that Iran is trying to gain capability to manufacture a nuclear warhead, the delegate said with a straight face, “We reject equating the peaceful pursuit of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons.”

The only kind words Netanyahu had for Iran was for the ancient Persian empire.

“Our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran…but I want you to know that this was not always the case,” he said. “Some 2,500 year ago, the great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people…[and] proclaimed the right of Jews to return to the Land of Israel and to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.”

He said this historic tie lasted for centuries but that in 1979, “a radical regime took over Iran” and “was busy thrashing the Iranian people’s hopes for democracy” while encouraging chants of “death to the Jews.”

The central theme of Netanyahu’s speech was that Rohani is a con artist who has been up to his neck in encouraging the secret development of nuclear weapons and is also an integral part of the Iranian regime’s policies of brutal suppression of domestic opposition and support of terrorist attacks against the West.

“He was on the Supreme Council from 1989 to 2003, during which time Iran gunned down opposition leaders and murdered 85 people in the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires,” Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted. He also fingered Iran for attack that cost the lives of 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut.

As for Rohani’s speech in the United Nations last week when he patted the Islamic Republic on the back for being “democratic,” Prime Minister Netanyahu retaliated,  “The regime he represents executes dissidents by the hundreds, kills them by the thousands,” and participates in Assad’s “massacre of tens of thousands of men, women and children” while propping up the regime that uses chemical weapons against its own citizens.

“I wish I could believe Rohani but I don’t because facts are …that Iran’s savage record contradicts soothing rhetoric,” the Prime Minister added.

He reminded the United Nations that Rohani, as the negotiator for Iran from 2003 to 2005, “masterminded the strategy that allowed Iran to seek nuclear weapons behind very soothing rhetoric.”

USA Today on Tuesday published evidence to back up Netanyahu’s accusations that Rohani and his Muslim superiors are trying to pull the wool over the world’s eyes.

Last Friday, President Barack Obama gushed over Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who the president said “has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.”

However, the newspaper cited research from MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) that no such fatwa exists.

“An exhaustive search of the various official websites of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei turned up no such fatwa, either on his fatwa website or on his personal website,” according to MEMRI.

The research group “says the fatwa was first mentioned by Sirius Naseri, an Iranian representative to a meeting of the U.N.’s nuclear agency in 2005, but is not listed among the hundreds of fatwas that Khamenei has issued on his official or personal website,” USA Today wrote.

Netanyahu clearly spelled out Iran’s history of being caught “red-handed” at least twice building underground nuclear facilities and pointed out that it is developing Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), which he said are for the “sole purpose of carrying nuclear warheads.”

He reiterated his demands in last year’s speech at the United Nations that Iran must dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, turn over is stockpile of enriched uranium and stop all enrichment before sanctions can be lifted.

He said sanctions are working and that Rohani was elected to remove  the sanctions while continuing to develop nuclear weapons and declared, “Rohani thinks he can get away with it because he has gotten away with it before.”

It’s Official: Iranian Presidential Elections a Sham

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The names have now been announced of who will be allowed to run for president of Iran by the regime in the June 14 elections. Six of eight are supporters of the current ruling faction; the rest are two weaker candidates of the other two factions. he outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tumultuous time in office has left many dissatisfied especially since he has mismanaged the economy and made Iran’s international situation worse by his provocative behavior.

With less than a month to go before the elections–the campaign is only three weeks long to make things harder for the opposition–it is now clear who the candidates are and all those disagreeing with the dominant faction have been vetoed by the six-member Council of Guardian. This council is controlled by the country’s real ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the complex maneuvers leading up to the election have given him a huge political headache.

The core of the problem is that there are three factions. Khamenei doesn’t want two of the factions– the super-hardliners and the reformists—to win but only the third group, his hardliners.

The super-hardline faction’s candidate was Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s son-in-law and man widely seen as a puppet for him. Khamenei hates Mashaei and Mashaei was disqualified.

Also disqualified was the potential “reform” candidate, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjan. One must hesitate to call him a true reformer. Rafsanjani is an insider, indeed a former president (1989-1997), who used to be an ally of Khamenei but now is a fierce rival.

Rafsanjani is pragmatic and reportedly conspicuously corrupt. He does not want to overturn the regime but change its direction, keep it more out of international trouble, and find some way to shed the sanctions imposed to stop Iran’s nuclear program. He might have tried to pull Iran back from international confrontations. The 78-year-old Rafsanjani is a dubious hero. He is not part of the reform movement yet he was the best bet they have. The Iranian ruling elite hates him, too. There are genuine differences between him and Khamenei about the country’s direction.

So who does the elite fix the election for as winner? There are eight candidates left in the election:

There is former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati who is close to Khamenei.

Then there is Muhammad Bagher Ghalibaf the mayor of Tehran and close to Khamenei.

Of course there is Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. He is very close to Khamenei, perhaps his favorite though he has no administrative experience. .

Or perhaps you like former speaker of parliament Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel who is close to Khamenei.

Some might prefer Asan Rowhani, former nuclear negotiator and Khamenei’s man on the National Security Council.

But if you want someone else there is Gholam Ali Haddad Adel whose daughter is married to Khamenei’s son.

There are two candidates not from Khamenei’s faction. Muhammad Reza Aref is former vice-president and represents the reform group. Mohsen Rezaei, former commander of the Revolutionary Guard is a stand-in for the Ahmadinejad faction.

You might think that six Khamenei followers might split the hardline vote but don’t worry as that will be taken care of in the ballot-counting if necessary.

Ironically, the main impact of the Iranian election may be on the West. Articles and arguments had been already appearing claiming that a post-election Iran would be more moderate and that the next Iranian president would be willing to abandon the regime’s subversive foreign policy and nuclear weapons’ program. Western negotiators wanted to say: Give Iran a chance. That will be much harder now.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/its-official-iranian-presidential-elections-a-sham/2013/05/22/

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