Three Possible Scenarios for Iran’s Nuclear Talks

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tayebeh Mohammadikia
PhD Candidate of International Relations in Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehra

Iran‘s nuclear negotiations have reached their sensitive stage. Now, the time is ripe to review future prospects of these negotiations more accurately and talk about the final outcome of the nuclear talks with more precision. However, the way ahead is still surrounded by ambiguity and problems. Under the present circumstances, analysts focusing on these negotiations are faced with three main assumptions: inability of the two sides to reach an agreement, achievement of a final agreement, and finally, further extension of the negotiations. Each of these possible scenarios is discussed in more detail below.

1. Achievement of a final agreement

Any analysis of conditions that may surface after “achievement of an agreement” will be a function of the arrangement of powers on the two main sides of the equation; that is, Iran and the United States, as well as the analysis of other forces that have their own influence at international, regional and global levels. Here, possible options available to powerful political forces within domestic political scene of these two countries will be explained first before turning to major influential powers in international arena.

   1.1. Arrangement of powers in Iran and the US if an agreement is not achieved

A nuclear agreement has staunch supporters and proponents both in Iran and the United States. However, the other possibility, that is, inability to reach an agreement, has also its own important and influential proponents. Continue reading

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Iran News Round Up March 18, 2014

Nuclear power plant "Kernkraftwerk Emslan...

Nuclear power plant “Kernkraftwerk Emsland” (Photo credit: flokru)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by the AEI Critical Threats Project’s Iran research team. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online. 

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors

Nuclear Issue

Iran’s Middle Class on Edge as World Presses In

The New York Times

Prices on many imported goods are way up, reflecting a weaker Iranian currency.

By ROBERT F. WORTH  Published: February 6, 2012

TEHRAN — One measure of the profound anxiety now coursing through Iranian society can be seen on Manouchehri Street, a winding lane at the heart of this city where furtive crowds of men gather every day like drug dealers to buy and sell American dollars.

The government has raised the official exchange rate and sent police into the streets to stop the black marketeers, but with confidence in Iran’s own currency, the rial, collapsing by the day, the trade goes on.

“Am I afraid of the police? Sure, but I need the money,” said Hamid, a heavyset construction engineer who was standing by a muddy patch of greenery amid a crowd of other illicit currency traders here. “Food prices are going up, and my salary is not enough.” Glancing nervously around him, he added that he had converted almost all of his assets into dollars. Like many Iranians, he had also stockpiled months’ worth of rice and other staples.

The fuel for this manic trade is not an actual economic collapse — the new European oil embargo has yet to take effect, and there is plenty of food on the shelves — but a rising sense of panic about Iran’s encirclement, the possibility of war and the prospect of more economic pain to come. The White House announced a further tightening on Monday aimed at freezing Iranian assets and constricting the activities of Iran’s Central Bank.

Already, the last round of sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank has begun inflicting unprecedented damage on Iran’s private sector, traders and analysts say, making it so hard to transfer money abroad that even affluent businessmen are sometimes forced to board planes carrying suitcases full of American dollars.

Yet this economic burden is falling largely on the middle class, raising the prospect of more resentment against the West and complicating the effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program — a central priority for the Obama administration in this election year.

“For the past few months, our business customers have been coming to us saying their clients are giving up on them, because they believe they will not be paid,” said Parvaneh, a 41-year-old woman working at a Tehran bank. Like others interviewed for this article, she declined to give her full name, fearing repercussions for herself and her family. “They are starting to lay off employees. Iran’s economy has always been sick, but now it seems worse than ever.”

The rising economic panic has illustrated — and possibly intensified — the bitter divisions within Iran’s political elite. A number of insiders, including members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, have begun openly criticizing Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in recent weeks. One of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s aides indirectly accused Ayatollah Khamenei of needlessly antagonizing the West in ways that pushed down the rial’s value, the latest sign of a rift between the president and the supreme leader that is helping to define the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for March 2.

“They criticize Ahmadinejad and even the supreme leader by name now; it’s not like before,” said Javad, the 45-year-old manager of a travel agency in north Tehran.

With Iran now importing as much rice and other food staples as it grows at home, trade obstacles could become far more significant in the coming months. Most Iranian traders discount the possibility of real food shortages, saying Iran is already reorienting its trade eastward and has always found ways around sanctions in the past. But with more avenues closing off every month, those evasive measures are likely to be ever more cumbersome and expensive.

Ordinary Iranians complain that the sanctions are hurting them, while those at the top are unscathed, or even benefit. Many wealthy Iranians made huge profits in recent weeks by buying dollars at the government rate (available to insiders) and then selling them for almost twice as many rials on the soaring black market. Some analysts and opposition political figures contend that Mr. Ahmadinejad deliberately worsened the currency crisis so that his cronies could generate profits this way.

Javad’s travel agency is a striking illustration of Iran’s current plight. With six weeks left before the Persian New Year, the phone should be ringing off the hook with reservations for holiday travel, he said. Instead, “there’s been no business for the past three weeks.”

It’s not just that would-be travelers are frightened. The agency cannot price its holiday packages, because with exchange rates fluctuating wildly, they do not know what rate to use.

“Every day it’s something new,” Javad said, gazing up at a tourism poster of China on his office wall. Foreign travel to Iran has almost entirely disappeared. Two years ago, Javad’s foreign clients were mostly Europeans; now they are entirely Russians and Chinese, and even they have been scared off in recent weeks, with Iranian officials threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and rising fears of a war. (Russia and China remain Iran’s only supporters in the United Nations Security Council.) Continue reading

Pahlavi Reports Iran Leader Ali Khamenei Crimes Against Humanity to UN

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On January 24th, author and Iran exile Reza Pahlavi submitted a full report to the United Nations Security Council accusing Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of crimes against humanity and detailing those crimes to the council.

In the report, Reza describes the attacks against unarmed civilians during the popular uprising following the fraudulent re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad in June of 2009.

Mr. Pahlavi called upon the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to initiate a full investigation of those crimes, and to fully prosecute Iran’s “Supreme Leaders” under Article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute.

The 2009 Iranian Uprising

Oddly enough, there were not many U.S. media reports covering the 2009 Iranian uprisings and the subsequent bloodbath. Short of the Huffington Post’s coverage – one of the few U.S. media outlets with it’s origins as an independently owned media blog – published a report on the Iranian blogger posts on the massacre. The Daily Beast also published numerous amateur videos from the civilian Iranians suffering under the attacks.

The BBC, the Guardian and many other non-U.S. media outlets did cover the event in detail.

In a June 2009 article titled “Iran Uprising Turns Bloody”, covered the initial shooting, where it was estimated that 500,000 Iranians had converged in Azadi Square to protest the results of the election, which most believed to be fixed.

Leaked photos of the scene showed one man shot and several other Iranians covered with blood and suffering from bullet wounds. Witnesses claimed that the attack came from Basij militiamen loyal to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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Continue reading

Iran: Parliament motion to question Ahmadinejad back on track

10/30/11 Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iran’s Parliament announced today that the motion to question the president has been officially revived and will be put on the parliamentary agenda. LNA reports that Mohammadreza Bahonar, the deputy head of Parliament, announced that the motion now bears 74 signatures, making it eligible for consideration.

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The motion to question the president requires the support of a quarter of the house, or 73 MPs.

A previous announcement said a number of MPs had withdrawn their support for the motion but then reconsidered their withdrawal. Another MP supported the motion for the first time, bringing the number of signatures to 74.

Continue reading

Hizbollah confirms broad aid for Hamas

By Anna Fifield in Beirut

Published: May 12 2009 13:50 | Last updated: May 12 2009 22:11


Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy secretary-general of Hizbollah, gives a rare interview to the FT, sitting beneath tapestries showing Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late Supreme Leader

Hizbollah has been providing the Palestinians in Gaza with “every type of support” possible for some time, the deputy leader of the powerful Lebanese Shia movement has said, in a remarkable admission of a widening regional role.

Sheikh Naim Qassem’s frank comments to the Financial Times are the first clear confirmation of Hizbollah’s broad assistance to the Palestinian Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Continue reading