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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘khamenei’

Iran Counting on Obama’s Weakness

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

With the P5+1 nuclear talks resuming in Vienna, many observers are sensing optimism that a deal with Iran is within reach. After dropping their insistence that Iran give up enriching uranium in order to gain Tehran’s acquiescence to an interim nuclear deal last November, the U.S. and its allies appear to be confident that another few meetings will produce an accord that will put an end to the confrontation with the Islamist regime over their efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The best they hope to achieve is an agreement that will lengthen the time Iran needs to convert its stockpile of uranium into nuclear fuel rather than the end of the program that President Obama promised during his 2012 reelection campaign.

But the administration and its supporters seem to think that rather than take the chance that the West will strengthen rather than weaken economic sanctions on it, Iran will do the smart thing and sign on the dotted line. While that won’t really end the nuclear threat, it will grant President Obama the appearance of a diplomatic victory and lead to the end of a sanctions policy that is already in danger of unraveling after the interim deal.

But rather than play ball with Obama, Iran’s leaders look to be playing hardball. As Haaretz reports, both Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani issued statements yesterday that make it clear they are in the talks to win them, not to merely acquiesce to a process that is already paving a path to nuclear capability for them.

In speaking to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Khamenei mocked the notion that the country would go along with any limits on its ability to produce and deploy ballistic missiles. Meanwhile, Rouhani, the man President Obama and other advocates of the talks have depicted as a “moderate” whose victory in a faux election last year set the stage for reform of the brutal theocracy, said the best the U.S. could hope for in the talks was “transparency” and that the Islamist regime would accept no limits on its nuclear technology.

While Washington will, no doubt, dismiss the statements as mere posturing for a domestic audience that won’t impact the talks, these declarations come at an inopportune time for the Obama administration. They raise the possibility that Iran is planning to back away from any deal, even one as weak as the interim accord signed by Secretary of State John Kerry last November, much in the same manner that it has torpedoed past agreements at the last minute. But even if that is not the case, these comments make it likely that the U.S. will have to ante up even more than Obama thought in order to get Iran to sign a deal that already amounts to appeasement.

It should be remembered that Rouhani’s credibility with the regime’s supposed hardliners rests with his exploits as a nuclear negotiator a decade ago when he took the West right up to the brink of a deal about enrichment and then backed away leaving the Bush administration and its European allies looking silly. Obama and Kerry were warned that this might happen again before they embarked on their most ambitious attempt at engagement with Iran. But while they still hope to get a deal, even if it is nothing more than a thin veil on Western approval for a robust Iranian nuclear program that could easily lead to a weapon, there’s every chance that the they’ve been led down the garden path by Khamenei and Rouhani.

Anyone wondering why Iran is acting with such confidence should look to Europe and Russia. Sanctions were already undermined by the interim deal, but with Europeans not interested in enforcing the existing restrictions, let alone tightening them to create an embargo that would give the West its only hope of spiking the nuclear threat, Iran is confident they are doomed. With Europe now facing the prospect of being forced to confront Russia after its aggression against Ukraine, there is even less appetite for squeezing Iran than even just a few months ago.

A Week after Phone Call, U.S., Iran, Exchange Doubts

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Entangled as he is, in a government shutdown in its fifth day, President Barack Obama devoted only a marginal portion of his interview with the Associated Press Saturday to his diplomatic outreach to Iran, in an attempt to bring an end to Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. A week or so after Obama’s phone conversation with President Hassan Rouhani—the first direct talk between American and Iranian leaders in more than 30 years, some of the initial excitement appears to have given way to pragmatism.

“Rouhani has staked his position on the idea that he can improve relations with the rest of the world,” Obama told the AP. “And so far he’s been saying a lot of the right things. And the question now is, can he follow through?”

Obama acknowledged that Rouhani is not Iran’s only “decision-maker. He’s not even the ultimate decision-maker,” he added, alluding to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Israel and other countries have questioned whether Rouhani’s public relations effort represents real change in Iran’s leadership.

The supreme leader Khamenei himself said on Saturday that he supports Rouhani’s attempts at moving closer to the West, but said that the U.S. leader is “untrustworthy, arrogant, illogical and a promise-breaker.”

He could probably win if he ran on a Republican ticket in most southern and mid-western states…

“We support the movement in the government’s diplomacy, including the New York visit, since we hold trust in the government and we are optimistic about it, but some of what happened in the New York visit were not proper because we believe the U.S. administration is untrustworthy, conceited, illogical and unfaithful to its pledges,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a cadets graduation ceremony in Tehran on Saturday.

Obama was careful to distance U.S. assessments of when Iran might have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon from what Israel is predicting. Israeli officials have been saying that Iran is a mere months away from building a bomb, but Obama said today that Tehran is at least a year away from having that capability.

The president used the same time frame last March, before his visit to Israel.

The Fars News agency reported that, in their phone conversation, Presidents Rouhani and Obama stressed the necessity for mutual cooperation on different regional issues. Then Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary Kerry were commissioned to begin follow up talks between the two countries.

“But after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, the US president made a U-turn, and said that ‘we take no options off the table, including military options,’” Fars complained, saying this “revealed the U.S. administration’s lack of independence and decision-making power.”

Oh, Bibi, Bibi, why must you rule so harshly over poor President Obama…

And the Winner is… Iran’s Nuclear Program

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Khamene’i has again proven what a great master strategist he is. He has succeeded in pacifying the West and his own people, thus buying the time his scientists need to complete his nuclear project.

The Iranians are the best strategists in the Middle East, better than those in the West, and the reason the Iranians constantly succeed in out-maneuvering the West.

In the West, we constantly look for ways not to engage in military conflict; the Iranians are more than willing to offer us those ways. We will almost assuredly give the new president Hasan Rouhani time to “consolidate” his position, thereby granting Iran even more time to develop its nuclear weapons capability. That is the meaning of this Iranian presidential “election.”

Of the 686 men who wanted to run for president, the Guardian Council, totally under Khamene’i’s control, chose eight candidates. All of them clearly supported Khamane’i’s continued rule, which so many of the Iranian people, including senior clerics, loathe. So the choice for Iranian voters was not between candidates with widely differing views. Nevertheless, within that narrow framework, there were differences. Whoever the people actually voted for (we have no way of knowing how free and fair the election was), this result was one of the best of all possible outcomes — for the Iranian regime.

Since Rouhani spoke “moderately” during the campaign and had a previous reputation for being “moderate,” having him win almost guaranteed that the Iranian people — who came out into the streets after the previous elections were stolen from them — would not this time protest the election results. Rouhani’s “election,” therefore, pacifies the reformers who clearly will not demonstrate against him, thereby sparing the Iranian regime having to suppress, arrest, and murder people, actions which had horrified the international community.

Moreover, the West could lull itself into believing that since Rouhani is a “moderate,” maybe he is someone we can “deal with.” The election result, therefore is a huge win for Khamene’i and his clique, and a defeat for the West, Israel, and the Iranian people.

* * *

What can we learn from past experience about dealing with the results of this “election”?

During the early stages of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, we negotiated with the then Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr, even though anyone who understood the Iranian revolution would have realized that Bani Sadr, despite his title as President, had no power. The real and only power was Ayatollah Khomeini, called the rahbar (guide or leader). Probably the best translation of that word into any Western language is the German word Führer, the term the Germans used to describe Adolf Hitler.

Khomeini, Iran’s Führer, hated us. But we in the U.S. ignored him and concentrated our negotiating efforts on Iran’s President Bani Sadr. After all, having had a president by then for almost 200 years, we knew what powers a president had. We consequently ascribed those same powers to Iran’s president. We negotiated with him — but he was powerless to make decisions. Only Khomeini could decide. So while we wasted time, we handed Iran a huge victory. During that period, the U.S constantly made concessions to the Iranian regime. In Middle Eastern terms, these enabled Iran to shame the U.S., and consequently gain huge numbers of supporters — both Shi’ites and Sunnis — throughout the Muslim world.

That situation is almost exactly the one we face today. Just as with Khomeini, Khamene’i is today the only decision-maker in Iran. The Iranian president is nothing more than a figurehead who carries out of the will of the rahbar, or suffers the consequences of not carrying it out.[1]

By pinning our hopes on President Rouhani, and parsing his every word, we will find ways countless to give him time to “consolidate his power,” as if he really has power, while we will be less demanding of Iran as it races to cross the nuclear threshold.

Most likely, we will obtain the same results we did when we negotiated with Bani Sadr. We will therefore almost assuredly give Iran the time it needs to cross the nuclear threshold. Just as with Bani Sadr, we will ignore the fact that he is basically powerless and that it is only Khamene’i who rules the country.

Making Rouhani the president was a brilliant strategic move for Khamene’i — not just to pacify the West, by also to pacify the Iranian people, who want nothing more than Iran to be accepted as a normal country and regain the international standing it had before the Islamic revolution.

Rouhani’s more religiously “moderate” rhetoric led the Iranian people to believe he would be able to negotiate Iran out of the catastrophic economic reality they face. So the “reformers” pin their hopes on him, instead of going out into the streets and demonstrating against him and the regime, as they did after Iran’s previous presidential “election.”

Khamene’i has again proven what a great master strategist he is. He has succeeded in pacifying the West and his own people, thus buying the time his scientists need to complete his nuclear project. This is, in short, a “win” for Khamene’i and a “lose” for the West, Israel, and the Iranian people who have shown many times how much they want to be rid of the regime’s tyranny.


[1] Bani Sadr eventually escaped Iran partially because he realized he was powerless. Subsequent Iranian presidents have realized that they either bow to the will of the rahbar or suffer the consequences. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s outgoing President, tried to do things his own way, but was humiliated by Iran’s governmental system, controlled by Khamene’i. Ahmadinejad was hauled before the Iranian parliament, then publicly questioned and humiliated. It remains to be seen how the newly “elected” Iranian President Rouhani will handle similar situations.

Ayatollah Launches Submarine as US Conducts Gulf Exercise

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Tensions between the US and Iran increased Tuesday, as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei order the launch of a Tareq-901 submarine and a Sahand navy destroyer into the Persian Gulf Iran as US and allied navies held drills there to practice keeping shipping lanes open.

The report was made by the official IRNA news agency.

The United States, Britain, France and a number of Middle Eastern states are conducting a naval exercise in the Gulf this week in response to repeated Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a prime route for oil transport from the Persian Gulf, if Israel attacks Iranian nuclear sites.

Khamenei visited the northern coastal city of Nowshahr on Tuesday to attend naval exercises involving planting mines, destroying enemy vessels, and freeing hijacked ships.

Eight Reasons why Containment is not an Option with Iran

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

1. Iran’s regime is outspokenly dedicated to the goal of destroying the State of Israel. Iranian political, religious, and military leaders have expressed their desire to annihilate Israel at every opportunity they have received. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says that the physical elimination of Israel is a religious duty. It would be criminally negligent to disregard Iran’s official state ideology and gamble with the lives of millions of Israelis on the unproven assumption that Iran will behave rationally as a nuclear-armed actor. For Israel, the struggle to keep Iran from going nuclear is not about regional influence or ensuring an edge over its enemies. It is about Israel’s Right to Life.

2. The Iranian regime is filled with quarrelling factions that could in the future lead to a destabilization of the government, the military, and the Islamic Republic Guards Corps.

Some factions are influenced by radical Shi’ite ayatollahs such as Mezbah Yazdi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor. Yazdi not only says that Israel is the embodiment of evil on Earth, he has also called for the production of nuclear weapons. In any future destabilization of an Iranian regime armed with atomic bombs, a hardline faction could seize control of nuclear missile bases and order an attack. The security of Israel, the region, and the world would be held ransom to the outcome of domestic Iranian power struggles. No country can be expected to accept such a threat

3. Despite all of the above, some commentators continue to insist that facing a nuclear Iran can be compared to the superpower rivalries of the Cold War, which pitted the U.S. and the Soviet Union against one another, and resulted in both sides refraining from resorting to nuclear force, due to the threat of mutually assured destruction (MAD).

The analogy, however, does not work. Ideologically, there is a stark difference between hardline Shi’ite Iranian ideology, which adores the concept of martyrdom, and the secular Soviet ideology, which dismissed with contempt notions of religious war and ideas about divine rewards in the afterlife.

4. Even if we set aside difference in ideology, there are other reasons MAD is not applicable in Iran’s case. Moscow and Washington established lines of direct communications that allowed them to deescalate standoffs. The open channels allowed the superpowers to walk away from the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, thereby sparing the planet from a nuclear holocaust. Jerusalem and Tehran have no direct lines of communication whatsoever, and no way to deescalate future crises, which will surely arise.

5. Iran’s territory is 70 times larger than Israel, a disparity that will form a constant temptation for Iranian leaders to realize their fantasy of destroying Israel. Iranian former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, considered an Iranian “reformist,” formulated this thinking, when he said in 2001: “If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the… application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”

With 70% of the Israeli population concentrated in cities on the Mediterranean coastal plain, Iranian leaders face the constant temptation of initiating a nuclear attack based on Rafsanjani’s calculation. Israel has a population of 7.8 million. Iran has a population of 74.8 million.

6. Once Iran breaks through to the nuclear arms stage, it would automatically spark a Middle Eastern arms race, as Iran’s frightened Sunni rivals would rush to get their own atomic bombs. Sunni states suffering from chronic instability, such as Egypt – already under Islamist rule – as well as other Sunni powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia would end up armed with nuclear weapons, too.

With the Middle East at its most unstable phase to date (the dissolution of Syria and concerns about its chemical weapons as a case in point), nuclear armed states could experience severe turbulence that would compromise the security of their nuclear arsenals, putting them within reach of fanatical factions or terror organizations.

7. Iran remains the region’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. Operating through its extraterritorial covert elite unit, the Quds Force, Iran provides arms, tends of thousands of deadly rockets, explosives, cash, and logistical support to its Shi’ite proxy Hezbollah, as well as Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and several additional radical non-state actors around the region.

Ayatollah Khamenei Praises President Obama

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

RT.com reports that:

Ayatollah Khamenei, the highest authority figure within the Islamic Republic of Iran, is publicly applauding US President Barack Obama over the American commander-in-chief’s insistence in postponing any military pressure overseas. Although Israel and America have both expressed concern over the possibility of a nuclear warhead procurement program in Iran, President Obama has insisted on relying on diplomatic sanctions to squash any WMD projects, much to the chagrin of trigger-happy Israelis and the president’s Republican Party rivals.

Discussing Obama’s insistence on relying on sanctions over strikes, Khamenei was quoted on his website this week as saying that “This talk is good talk and shows an exit from illusion.”

Except that the praise is not without some rebuke. Khamenei said: “But the US president continued saying that he wants to make the Iranian people kneel through sanctions, this part of this speech shows the continuation of illusion in this issue.”

Saudi Arabia Blocks Ayatollah Khameini’s Website

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Iranian news website Shafaf reported that Saudi Arabia has blocked the official website of Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The website was reportedly blocked ahead of Khamenei’s sermon for Friday Prayers last Friday.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have recently escalated as a result of Iran’s alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US..

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/saudi-arabia-blocks-ayatollah-khameinis-website/2012/02/05/

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