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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Leader’

Iran’s Rafsanjani Reiterates ‘Israel Will Be Wiped Off The Map’

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Once again, a top Iranian leader is speaking out and vowing the Jewish State will be obliterated. However, in the meantime the West makes a lot of money by taking advantage of its existence, he says.

“The presence of the Israeli regime is temporary,” Iranian Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani assured the Hezbollah-linked Al Ahd news website in an interview on Monday.

“Eventually one day this alien forged existence that has been forced into the body of an ancient nation and an historical region will be wiped off the map.”

Rafsanjani is a former ‘centrist’ Iranian president and is the current head of the country’s Expediency Discernment Council, the advisory body to Iran’s Supreme Leader. He is known to be a longtime friend of current President Hassan Rouhani.

Rafsanjani told the interviewer that “even Tel Aviv knows well that Iran is not after acquiring nuclear weapons,” the Iranian state news service IRNA reported.

However, he said, by preventing an accord between Iran and the West, “the Zionists wish to keep Iran engaged in problems permanently, knowing that the Islamic Republic’s political, economic, cultural and propagation status will all improve after such an agreement.”

Rafsanjani said he believes that one day “the forged and temporary Israeli entity, which is an alien existence forged into the body of a nation and region,” will be “wiped off the map.

“Now when, and how that will happen, depends on the conditions which are rapidly changing. Those conditions can be provided very soon if the usefulness period of Israel will expire,” he said. “It might as well take very long, as both Israel and its supporters are trying their best to extend its existence period till a very remote future.”

He also said, however, that because Israel is a “multipurpose stronghold” those who protect Israel can benefit greatly.

“Of course they spend a lot for protecting Israel, but they are still gaining greater benefits from its existence. One way to be benefited from Israel is that the West is selling arms to the Arab world on that pretext very easily, and pretending it is doing them a great favor,” he said.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Nixing Terms for Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Iranian nuclear scientists are expected to maintain their pace and make good progress in the field – with or without sanctions or a deal for relief – according to a report on state TV.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it clear Tuesday that he has ruled out any freeze on sensitive nuclear work, state television reported.

The deal being offered by the six world powers (the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China) offers relief from sanctions imposed on Tehran, linked to verifications by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has halted its sensitive nuclear development program. The deal is to extend over a 10 year period.

In return, the UN is to lift the economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, using a step-down system linked to IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear plants and research facilities.

But Iran’s Supreme Leader has nixed all that, and demands that sanctions be removed immediately as well.

“Freezing Iran’s research and development for a long time, like 10 or 12 years, is not acceptable,” Khamenei responded in a speech that was broadcast live over Iran state television.

“Sanctions should be lifted immediately when the deal is signed and it should not be linked to verification by the UN watchdog body.

“Inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines.

“America is hoping to destroy our nuclear industry altogether. Our negotiators’ aim is to safeguard Iran’s integrity … and our nuclear achievements during the talks.”

It is Khamenei who has the authority to make the final decision on anything dealing with nuclear technology in Iran; thus as it stands now, it is likely that unless he suddenly changes his mind – or the delegation is willing to accept his terms — the deal is likely to be scrapped.

Or talks will again be extended, as they have been twice before.

Negotiations so far are scheduled to end – “one way or the other” – on June 30.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been pressuring the world powers to walk away from “this bad deal” and warning Iran would not keep its end of the bargain. It has already been discovered that Iran was increasing its uranium enrichment production during the nuclear agreement talks, even though it had already committed to halting such production as a good faith measure during negotiations.

Israel maintains that Iran cannot be trusted to fulfill its side of any future deal, either.

Pressure on Iran Picking Up to Sign a Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

US Senate to Vote on Sanctions If No Iran Deal, EU Sanctions Already Reinstated

The United States Senate has threatened to impose sanctions on Iran if President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not successful in shepherding a nuclear technology deal through talks between world powers and Iran.

The European Union has already reinstated sanctions against 40 Iranian companies, including dozens of shipping firms, in order to increase pressure on Iran to sign on the dotted line.

The EU General Court lifted the sanctions on firms that were linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines carrier (IRISL) in January, saying the EU had not proved the IRISL was actively supporting nuclear proliferation.

IRISL attorney Maryam Taher told the Reuters news agency the move was “purely politically motivated and not based on any proper evidence. The whole purpose of the EU sanctions is to leverage pressure on the Iranian government to come to an agreement in relation to nuclear proliferation.”

On Monday, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it could not state definitively that Iran’s nuclear program had no “military dimensions.” Issues meant to resolve suspicions of weaponization work remain, according to IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said in his report, despite what he called “good cooperation” from Tehran regarding the November 2013 comprehensive safeguards agreement.

However, he said, “We continue to verify the non-divergence of nuclear material declared by Iran, but we are still not in a position to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful purpose.”

If international negotiators come up empty-handed this time around (they have already missed one deadline), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday at a weekly news briefing “Another heavy dose of sanctions would be an appropriate remedy.”

If an agreement is signed, the lawmakers would pass a bill requiring the president to submit the deal to Congress for its approval. The bill also contains a provision that would temporarily remove Obama’s ability to waive sanctions.

Obama says he will veto both bills.

Negotiators took a break on Friday and reconvene this week as the March 31 deadline inches closer. World leaders will try again to close a deal with a nation whose Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Saturday for “Death to America,” while its President Hassan Rouhani expressed optimism that an agreement could still be reached.

Head of Iran’s Top Clerical Body Dies

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

After lying in coma for months, 83-year-old Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani has died, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

The ailing ayatollah was the head of Iran’s top clerical body, the only entity which has the authority to elect and dismiss the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, whose position is higher than that of the country’s president.

Kani’s death leaves a gap at the top at a time in which the Supreme Leader himself is also in poor health. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei underwent prostate surgery last month but has remained frail ever since.

It is Khamenei who formulate’s Iran’s nuclear policy and he who makes all final decisions regarding any limits the country might accept on its future nuclear development.

He also wields a great deal of authority in deciding where and how to deploy the nation’s elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who are currently fighting alongside Syrian government forces defending President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran also generously patronizes the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization, as well as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups, both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria.

There have been only two Supreme Leaders in Iran since the country’s Islamic Revolution took place in 1979.

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…

Rouhani Says Ice Beginning to Break with the West, Bibi Not Impressed

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that the ice was already “beginning to break” between his country and the West. This despite the fact that there has been no meeting, no hand-shake, not even a polite nod in passing between himself and President Barack Obama in the UN halls in New York City.

White House officials confirmed on Tuesday that no meeting would take place, indicating that meeting would be “too complicated” for the Iranian when he goes back home.

Rouhani addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, and then sounded conciliatory in a CNN interview. He said there had been “some talks” to arrange a meeting to give himself and Obama an opportunity to “talk with each other” but there was not sufficient time to coordinate such a meeting.

There you go, it wasn’t obedience to the ayatollah back home, it was just bad timing.

Asked whether he has been “authorized” by the Iranian supreme leader to improve ties with the West, Rouhani said he has the authority to do what he wants, according to national interests.

The supreme leader, he said, is not opposed to negotiations if they are necessary for the national interests of Iran.

“But speaking of the ice-breaking you mentioned, it’s already beginning to break because the environment is changing. And that has come about as a result of the will of the people of Iran to create a new era of the relations between Iran and the rest of the world,” Rouhani told CNN.

While the centrifuges keep on churning and while Iran is putting together warheads. A brave, new era, indeed.

When the CNN host asked him to deliver a message directly to the U.S. public, Rouhani said in English, “I would like to say to American people: I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed President Obama’s call for Iran’s recent “conciliatory words” to be “matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.”

A JTA report suggested that Netanyahu’s insistence on dismantling any Iranian nuclear capacity as a condition for stopping the boycott against it could signal a major difference with the Obama administration as the U.S. engagement with Iran advances.

Iran: Can Rouhani Deliver?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

By Nir Boms and Shayan Arya

Last week, more than 250 Iranian steel workers gathered in front of the Supreme Leader’s residence in protest against unjustified layoffs and unpaid salaries. They were not the only ones. Reports from the past week revealed a dozen other such protests and strikes that range from a tire company, cable workers, the cinema association and even employees of Iran’s Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Protests and demonstrations are not that common in Iran; their last wave was met with harsh repression and violence. Now they have spread again and become more brazen. Signs again read “Down with the dictator,” while police used tear gas in an attempt to scare protesters away.

A combination of international sanctions and domestic mismanagement has resulted in rapidly rising unemployment and restive unemployed youth. The worsening economic conditions were also a key driver for the vote for change which took place in Tehran during the last Presidential election. But change is still a long way off.

Rouhani’s victory by such a wide margin was not just a testament to his politics, but seemingly a total rejection of the more conservative candidates more closely aligned with the widely despised supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Rouhani’s campaign symbol was a giant golden key, which he waved at rallies to symbolize his ability to open locked doors. To an Iranian electorate all too familiar with locked doors in every aspect of their lives — both domestic and international — even the remote possibility of things getting better was irresistible. But now that Rouhani has been elected, he may find it difficult to deliver on his promise.

Rouhani, to be sure, will face a mountain of problems, even compared to those of his predecessors. Iran’s international isolation has never been so severe. There is virtually no segment of Iran’s economy, or for that matter of Iranian society, that has been immune to the ill effects of the economic sanctions. In less than a year, Iran’s currency has lost two-thirds of its value against the dollar; and even by the most optimistic estimates, inflation is above 30%, with unemployment reaching similar proportions among urban youth.

Iran’s economy is under attack from two major fronts: international sanctions and domestic mismanagement inherent in the Islamic system.

Sanctions are not a new phenomenon there. Previous sanctions were imposed in response to the Islamic regime’s international support for terrorism and Iran’s dismal human rights record. But the more stringent sanctions now afflicting Iran were levied in response to the country’s nuclear program — and these are the crippling sanctions Rouhani needs to undo. To accomplish such a change, a change of policy is required. In addition to the nuclear issue, any negotiations for lifting sanctions obviously need to include Iran’s abandoning support for Hezbollah, its involvement in Syria, its continued support of other terrorist groups, as well as the Assad regime that continues to slaughter its people.

Rouhani’s first challenge is that he does not hold the keys to most of these issues. Iran’s policies on the nuclear issue, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, international terrorism and supporting the Assad regime are the sole purview of Iran’s supreme leader. No president has ever been able to enter these domains in any meaningful way, let alone alter them substantially; these issues have, in fact, always been sources of tension and discreet friction between presidents and the supreme leader.

Another challenge lies in the United States Congress. As many of the sanctions against Iran have been embedded in laws, it would take a Herculean effort on the part of President Obama to convince the legislative branch to change them. Even if the president were to decide to “trust” Rohani, he would still need to convince Congress. Given the political atmosphere in Washington, it is unlikely the president would even consider risking his remaining political capital on lifting sanctions without being able to demonstrate substantial progress in changing Iran’s course.

A third challenge lies on the domestic front. Here Rouhani must face an endemic system of corruption, in addition to gangs of Revolutionary Guards [IRGC], who have extended their control over almost every aspect of Iran’s economy, government, military and security apparatus. To change that, Rouhani would have to tackle the IRGC and their powerful ally, the Supreme Leader Khamenei, who sees them as his extended arm for controlling Iran and key to the Islamic regime’s survival.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/iran-can-rouhani-deliver/2013/07/31/

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