Why the Mullah is Smiling

by Nir Boms and Shayan Arya

 Gatestone Institute

Although physically weak from recent routine prostate surgery, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, emerged smiling from his hospital bed — and for a good reason. He has never been stronger. From Syria to Iraq, from Tehran to Gaza and UN headquarters in New York, he feels empowered and this shows nowhere better than in Geneva.

Khamenei has many reasons to smile. The sanctions that were crippling his regime just a year ago appear to be receding. Companies from Europe to Asia are lining up to do business in Iran. His significant efforts to assist Bashar Assad in Syria and to keep Hezbollah afloat have paid off as well. Many in Washington have begun to see Assad as a potential ally against what they believe to be the real threat, namely ISIS. His disciple, President Hassan Rouhani, has just met British Prime Minister David Cameron in New York. Rouhani appears to be making new friends.

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Ukraine, Iran and the Cold War

 

The Cold War is long gone, says the American  president, and the Ukrainian affair is not a“ Cold War chessboard.” Syria and Ukraine, he adds, are about “expression of hopes” rather than acts of regional powers. After all, the people – 96% of them to be exact – have spoken!  And so goes for Iran:  “If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.” But the parallel between past and present deserves closer inspection, especially given the president’s reluctance to intervene in any battle, be it Ukraine, Syria or Iran. Apparently, there is a difference between battles of ideas to one of “international law” and perhaps this is what Ukraine might teach us about Iran.
But this parallel between past and present deserves closer inspection, especially given the president’s reluctance to intervene in any battle, be it Ukraine, Syria or Iran. Apparently, there is a difference between a battle of ideas and one of “international law.”

America and its allies in Europe never forgot their united opposition to the Soviet Union, and to its world view, so inherently incompatible with their own. They recognized, correctly, that the Soviets had a clear ideology juxtaposed with global ambitions, in which a free world had no place. They also recognized that, left unchallenged, those ambitions would weaken the free world, and perhaps completely destroy it. View full post…

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An Iranian Lesson for Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing one of the most serious challenges yet to his undisputed 11-year dominance. Recent charges of money laundering, gold smuggling and bribery have tarnished Erdogan’s carefully crafted image.

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which means “white” or “pure” in Turkish, has also come under scrutiny. The root of Erdogan’s problems and his recent scandals lie not in Turkey but with its arch-nemesis, Iran.

Corruption is nothing new in Iran.

But the magnitude and institutionalization of corruption in Iran’s Islamic regime are unprecedented. So is the amount of money involved in the recent Iranian-Turkish affair. Two Iranian businessmen, Reza Zarrab and Babak Zanjani (both now arrested), allegedly laundered close to $100 billion of Iranian oil money. View full post…

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A History Worth Remembering – a short review of Iranian engagements

International news outlets bolstered the recent round of 5+1 negotiations in Geneva, with the BBC reporting an “upbeat mood” and CNN and Reuters speaking of “cautions optimism”, calling the talks “serious.” President Barack Obama has just urged Congress to halt new sanctions on Iran and an Iranian official pledged a “new approach” to the long-stalled talks. President Rouhani, a thirty-five-year veteran of the Islamic regime’s national security, is now the master of a new form of Iranian engagement that is gradually being adopted by both the United Nations and the White House. Is this a new era? Or is it perhaps a repeat of a forgotten one? There is a pattern to the way of the Mullahs. A brief review of history can shed some light on the recent Iranian rhetoric. View full post…

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