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Analysis: The good and the bad of Rohani’s election

Will Iran's president-elect prove to be a partner in advancing nuclear negotiations?; expert worries more moderate presentation will deter West from "effective response" to Teheran's foreign policies.

The election of cleric Hassan Rohani as president of Iran could damage Israel’s national interest, according to some analysts.
They argue that his promises to improve relations with the West and calm tensions at home will ease international pressure over Tehran’s nuclear program. Rohani’s description by some as a moderate has many in the West believing that negotiations may now bear fruit and as a result, sanctions could be lessened.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed as much on Sunday when he said that nothing significant has changed regarding Iran, as the same regime is still in power, ruled by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Analysts who support this view argue that at least Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke honestly and directly while Rohani will dissimulate and hide the regime’s true intentions – taking the international community for a ride as negotiations will continue until Iran has the bomb.
Daniel Pipes, the president of the Middle East Forum, wrote on his blog, Danielpipes.org, in an article titled, “Rooting for Jalili,” that the same logic holds for supporting the hardliner Saeed Jalili this time around, just as he wrote four years ago that he was rooting for Ahmadinejad. Pipes wrote that it “is better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep, even as thousands of centrifuges whir away.”
And in these elections, he said, the same is true regarding Hassan Rohani, who will be able to remove international pressure in the same way.
The process may already be under way, as he quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying, “We, along with our international partners, remain ready to engage directly with the Iranian government. We hope they will honor their international obligations to the rest of the world in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”
The international reaction seems to echo this sentiment.
The Washington Post ran an article titled “Iran’s next president, Hassan Rohani, seen as best hope for ending nuclear standoff with West.” The France 24 news website quoted various world leaders expressing their sense that negotiations would now have a chance. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he is “ready to work” with Rohani while a spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office hoped the new leader would “use the opportunity to set Iran on a different course.”

 Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council and the author of A Single Roll of the Dice - Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran, differed with analysts such as Pipes who see the election results negatively.

Parsi told The Jerusalem Post, “The election result is certainly not meaningless. It is understandable that those who fear peace more than they fear war are worried now,” he said going on to add, “For those forces, whether they are in Iran, Israel or the United States, they need a hard-liner in power in Iran in order to justify their own confrontational policies geared toward driving everything toward war.”
“Having Iran move in a constructive direction is their worst nightmare,” he said.
Pipes responded to Parsi by saying, “As I wrote in response to Rohani’s election, ‘I am pleased for Iranians but distressed for the outside world.’ I hope that Rohani might have a positive impact on such domestic matters as economics, the status of women and artistic freedom.”
“I am worried, however, that his less dour presentation of the same foreign policies – his government’s support for terrorism, its all-out backing of the Assad regime and the nuclear build-up – will mean an even less effective response by Western states,” stated Pipes.
“I wish very much that Iran would ‘move in a constructive direction.’ That, however, means not putting lipstick on Khamenei’s pig but ousting him and his wretched regime,” he said.
Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former senior advisor on Iran at the US State Department told the Post that in his view, Rohani is committed to the country’s nuclear program, “but he also sees the importance of Iran’s economy and the need for more serious negotiations.”
“However, this is no longer 2003 [the last time he dealt with this issue]. He is taking over the presidency at a time when the program is more mature and sophisticated,” said Takeyh.
Thus, he added, there are now important constituents behind the program, which will make it more difficult for him to find a compromise.
“As such, it is impossible for him to deal with some of the hard edges of the program: greater cooperation with the IAEA and perhaps curtailing production of 20 percent fuel. But beyond that, it will be tough going.”



درگیری نیروی انتظامی با مردم در میدان هفت حوض

خبر فوری

جمهوری اسلامی از شادی مردم می ترسد و حتی در روزی که ملت برای راه یابی تیم فوتبال ایران به جام جهانی فوتبال که قرار است در برزیل برگزار شود، دست به خوشحالی زده اند نیز، دست از سرکوب برنمی دارد و برای چندمین بار در روزهای اخیر، احساسات مردم را سرکوب و شادی را از آنان گرفته است.
ساعاتی قبل، جمعیت بسیار زیاد از مردم که در میدان هفت حوض نارمک مشغول به شادی برای راه یابی تیم ملی فوتبال ایران به جام جهانی فوتبال (برزیل) بودند که، مورد هجوم نیروهای انتظامی و بسیجی ها، قرار گرفتند. طبق گزارشی که یک شاهد عینی در اختیار بنده قرار داد، مطلع شدم که نیروهای یگان ویژه و پلیس دور میدان هفت حوض را در اختیار خود درآورده و به مردم حمله ور شده بودند. در این میان عده ای زیر دست و پا مانده اند و عده ای نیز مورد ضرب و شتم قرار گرفته اند و تا به این لحظه هیچ گزارشی از دستگیری دریافت نکرده ام.
به محض دریافت هر گونه اخبار جدید در این رابطه شما را در جریان قرار خواهم گذاشت.
لطفا این خبر را به اشتراک بگذارید.


Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria

World Exclusive: US urges UK and France to join in supplying arms to Syrian rebels as MPs fear that UK will be drawn into growing conflict

Washington’s decision to arm Syria’s Sunni Muslim rebels has plunged America into the great Sunni-Shia conflict of the Islamic Middle East, entering a struggle that now dwarfs the Arab revolutions which overthrew dictatorships across the region.
For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East.
The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.
In years to come, historians will ask how America – after its defeat in Iraq and its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for  2014 – could have so blithely aligned itself with one side in a titanic Islamic struggle stretching back to the seventh century death of the Prophet Mohamed. The profound effects of this great schism, between Sunnis who believe that the father of Mohamed’s wife was the new caliph of the Muslim world and Shias who regard his son in law Ali as his rightful successor – a seventh century battle swamped in blood around the present-day Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala – continue across the region to this day. A 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbott, compared this Muslim conflict to that between “Papists and Protestants”.
America’s alliance now includes the wealthiest states of the Arab Gulf, the vast Sunni territories between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey and the fragile British-created monarchy in Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – flooded, like so many neighbouring nations, by hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – may also now find himself at the fulcrum of the Syrian battle.  Up to 3,000 American ‘advisers’ are now believed to be in Jordan, and the creation of a southern Syria ‘no-fly zone’ – opposed by Syrian-controlled anti-aircraft batteries – will turn a crisis into a ‘hot’ war.  So much for America’s ‘friends’.
Its enemies include the Lebanese Hizballah, the Alawite Shiite regime in Damascus and, of course, Iran. And Iraq, a largely Shiite nation which America ‘liberated’ from Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority in the hope of balancing the Shiite power of Iran, has – against all US predictions – itself now largely fallen under Tehran’s influence and power.  Iraqi Shiites as well as Hizballah members, have both fought alongside Assad’s forces.
Washington’s excuse for its new Middle East adventure – that it must arm Assad’s enemies because the Damascus regime has used sarin gas against them – convinces no-one in the Middle East.  Final proof of the use of gas by either side in Syria remains almost as nebulous as President George W. Bush’s claim that Saddam’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
For the real reason why America has thrown its military power behind Syria’s Sunni rebels is because those same rebels are now losing their war against Assad.  The Damascus regime’s victory this month in the central Syrian town of  Qusayr, at the cost of Hizballah lives as well as those of government forces, has thrown the Syrian revolution into turmoil, threatening to humiliate American and EU demands for Assad to abandon power.  Arab dictators are supposed to be deposed – unless they are the friendly kings or emirs of the Gulf – not to be sustained.  Yet Russia has given its total support to Assad, three times vetoing UN Security Council resolutions that might have allowed the West to intervene directly in the civil war.
In the Middle East, there is cynical disbelief at the American contention that it can distribute arms – almost certainly including anti-aircraft missiles – only to secular Sunni rebel forces in Syria represented by the so-called Free Syria Army.  The more powerful al-Nusrah Front, allied to al-Qaeda, dominates the battlefield on the rebel side and has been blamed for atrocities including the execution of Syrian government prisoners of war and the murder of a 14-year old boy for blasphemy.  They will be able to take new American weapons from their Free Syria Army comrades with little effort.
From now on, therefore, every suicide bombing in Damascus - every war crime committed by the rebels - will be regarded in the region as Washington’s responsibility. The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration. This terrible irony can only be exacerbated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adament refusal to tolerate any form of Sunni extremism.  His experience in Chechenya, his anti-Muslim rhetoric – he has made obscene remarks about Muslim extremists in a press conference in Russian – and his belief that Russia’s old ally in Syria is facing the same threat as Moscow fought in Chechenya, plays a far greater part in his policy towards Bashar al-Assad than the continued existence of Russia’s naval port at the Syrian Mediterranean city of Tartous.
For the Russians, of course, the ‘Middle East’ is not in the ‘east’ at all, but to the south of Moscow;  and statistics are all-important. The Chechen capital of Grozny is scarcely 500 miles from the Syrian frontier.  Fifteen per cent of Russians are Muslim.  Six of the Soviet Union’s communist republics had a Muslim majority, 90 per cent of whom were Sunni.  And Sunnis around the world make up perhaps 85 per cent of all Muslims.  For a Russia intent on repositioning itself across a land mass that includes most of the former Soviet Union, Sunni Islamists of the kind now fighting the Assad regime are its principal antagonists.
Iranian sources say they liaise constantly with Moscow, and that while Hizballah’s overall withdrawal from Syria is likely to be completed soon – with the maintenance of the militia’s ‘intelligence’ teams inside Syria – Iran’s support for Damascus will grow rather than wither.  They point out that the Taliban recently sent a formal delegation for talks in Tehran and that America will need Iran’s help in withdrawing from Afghanistan.  The US, the Iranians say, will not be able to take its armour and equipment out of the country during its continuing war against the Taliban without Iran’s active assistance.  One of the sources claimed – not without some mirth -- that the French were forced to leave 50 tanks behind when they left because they did not have Tehran’s help.
It is a sign of the changing historical template in the Middle East that within the framework of old Cold War rivalries between Washington and Moscow, Israel’s security has taken second place to the conflict in Syria.  Indeed, Israel’s policies in the region have been knocked askew by the Arab revolutions, leaving its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, hopelessly adrift amid the historic changes.
Only once over the past two years has Israel fully condemned atrocities committed by the Assad regime, and while it has given medical help to wounded rebels on the Israeli-Syrian border, it fears an Islamist caliphate in Damascus far more than a continuation of Assad’s rule.  One former Israel intelligence commander recently described Assad as “Israel’s man in Damascus”.  Only days before President Mubarak was overthrown, both Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Washington to ask Obama to save the Egyptian dictator.  In vain.
If the Arab world has itself been overwhelmed by the two years of revolutions, none will have suffered from the Syrian war in the long term more than the Palestinians.  The land they wish to call their future state has been so populated with Jewish Israeli colonists that it can no longer be either secure or ‘viable’.  ‘Peace’ envoy Tony Blair’s attempts to create such a state have been laughable.  A future ‘Palestine’ would be a Sunni nation.  But today, Washington scarcely mentions the Palestinians.
Another of the region’s supreme ironies is that Hamas, supposedly the ‘super-terrorists’ of Gaza, have abandoned Damascus and now support the Gulf Arabs’ desire to crush Assad.  Syrian government forces claim that Hamas has even trained Syrian rebels in the manufacture and use of home-made rockets.
In Arab eyes, Israel’s 2006 war against the Shia Hizballah was an attempt to strike at the heart of Iran. The West’s support for Syrian rebels is a strategic attempt to crush Iran. But Iran is going to take the offensive.  Even for the Middle East, these are high stakes. Against this fearful background, the Palestinian tragedy continues.