Category Archives: Iran


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. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


Iran: Can Rouhani Deliver?


by Nir Boms and Shayan Arya
July 30, 2013 at 3:00 am

The Gatestone Institute

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.

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. Continue reading


Syria and Libya: Can Iran be next?

Nir Boms & Ehud Eilam

Academic Views, May 2013

Some parallels exist between the rebels’ situation in Syria and Libya – but also a difference that create two models for an uprising. Can Iran follow one of them too?

The effect of the Arab earthquake

It began in the squares:  Tahrir, Manama, Peral, Bourguiba Avenue. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Syrians marched to the squares before picking up other means of resistance. In Libya, it started on February 15, 2011 when security forces arrested Fathi Terbil, a prominent lawyer who represented families of some of the 1,200 prisoners massacred by Libyan security forces at Abu Slim prison in 1996. His arrest triggered a wave of demonstrations that, in turn, triggered a harsh response. The regime opened fire   and the people picked up arms in self-defense, a step that led to a full mutiny. The uprising in Syria likewise began with waves of peaceful protests that were met with brutal crackdown. This, in turn, resulted into mutual violence that turned into a brutal civil war.

The rebels in Libya were determined to end the brutal rule of a theatrical dictator that acted as an African Caesar that  was in power since 1969 and responsible to a Libyan dark age. The rebels in Syria wish to get rid of their oppressing dynasty, the Assad kingdom,  that controlled them with an iron fist since 1970. This dynamic  could repeat itself in Iran after the last presidential elections in 2009 – like the current elections today –  proved that the regime was willing to accept only a candidate of  “their own”.

The central lesson learned from the Arab earthquake was about the voice of the people. “The people,” it seems, are far less willing to accept an oppressive regime and will find the first real opportunity to bring a dictator down.

Continue reading