Thursday, March 29, 2007

Who is telling the truth?

As time goes, the Anglo-Iranian conflict becomes more complex and silly. The British seem to have no doubt that the Iranians have snatched their navy personnel while they were performing their duties under a UN mandate in Iraqi water. On the other hand, the Iranian authorities have maintained that the British forces have violated their sovereignty and hence, should apologize. The British says, over our dead body, release our boys and girt, or face the consequences. No one knows what might these "consequences" be if the Iranians do not release them. However, it is interesting to note that the British authorities have failed to obtain the support of the US in the UN for a strong condemnation of Iran or for a demand for the immediate release of these personnel and that, in my mind, may reveal the real story behind this silly dispute. Could it mean that the Iranians are in fact telling the truth? The British have actually been in the Iranian waters, but, are not prepared to accept it. What is interesting however is that the British TV and press today were full of stories about these "barbaric" Iranians who have even refused consular access to these British citizens, and none, however, mentioned the fact that the five Iranians who had been arrested by the US, still in detention in an unknown location, had been denied this right too since their arrest. It seems that we mey be dealing with a tit for tat situation. However as far the reporting ot this conflict goes, it appears that in the eyes of these writers and broadcasters, all are equal but some are a little more equal. This said, from other sources, we know that the US is busy with quite a lot of secret missions inside Iran- probably in preparation for military attacks- and hence, the Iranians are a little sensitive to this type of intrusion into their country. Another reason that might shift the argument in favour of the Iranians position is this, if the British sailors were doing their duties on the Iraqi side of the water border, as we are told by the British government and in fact, been snatched by the Iranians, why then their supporting carriers, HMS Cornwall did not intervene to prevent their seizure by the Iranians? Could it be that given a potential violation by these sailors, it would have been an open declaration of war against Iran. In view of this, the HMS Cornwall did nothing, because the British has already discovered at an enormous costs what of fool they made of themselves by going into Iraq and Afghanistan! Iran is a far greater country, and much better organised. Whatever the real situation, I really hope that these personnel are released without further delay and returned to their families and friends. I am sick and tired of politicians of whatever colour and flag. The hell with the lot of them. It seems to me that they can only make life more difficult for everybody, and I really mean everybody.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iran & the EU sanctions!

While the Iranian Information Minister in a press conference referred to a “psychological war” by the West against Iran, it was also reported that an Iranian bank, Bank-e Sepah- has stopped its dealings in foreign currency. Until further notice this bank would not issue any LC’s and would not conduct any other international activities. The minister had issued threats against the “internal forces” helping the “ enemy”, but did not clarify further. A top official in the Central Bank has stated that his bank had taken the necessary steps to deal with the “threat”, however, he did not spell out what these measures were likely to be. It was, however, revealed that the Central Bank has also stopped using the US dollars in its dealings. In addition to Bank-e Sepah, Bank-e Saderat has also been black listed by the US. What is worrying, however, is the fact that Iran and its financial sector seems to be totally unprepared to deal with the fall outs of the eminent EU sanctions. If the structural weakness of the economy is also considered, I fear that a lot sooner than many people believe, economic sanctions would break the back bone of Iran. As it is always the case, the heavy price at the end would be paid by the people of Iran. This is what really, really angers me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Iran and the UN.

News from Tehran indicate that President Ahmadinejad would not be able to attend the Security Council meeting of the UN. An internet source close to Mr Reza-ee the former commander of the Islamic Guards has said that the US has deliberately delayed the visa so that Mr Ahmadinejad would not be able to attend the meeting. As someone who was not so keen about this visit, I am pleased that he would not attending. Judging by his recent speeches, I was not sure if he would not make things even worse for Iran. Mr Ahmadinejad has said recently that he would like to offer new suggestions to address the dispute. If that was the main reason for his plan to attend, the Iranian representative in the UN could very well convey the message. I can only hope that both sides come to their senses and find a diplomatic solution for the stand off. The other day, the Supreme Leader, had mada a very inflamatory speech in Mashhad. To say that what the Security Council does in "illegal", and if they continue with this "illegality", we would also resort to "illegal"acts, was not very wise in my view. This type of statement plays very well in the hands of those who wish to embark upon another military adventure in the Middle East, no matter the cost, both in terms of greenbacks or body bags.

Monday, March 19, 2007

With a "President" like this, who needs an enemy?

President Ahmadnejad is quoted as having said: “The western countries and superpowers have said that they wish to isolate the Iranian nation. What is your position in the world to wish to isolate the Iranian nation? In fact, the Iranian nation has isolated you”.
Does anyone understand what he is trying to say? What does he mean by saying that Iran has isolated the rest of the world? What is the literal meaning of the term “isolation” in English or its equivalent in farsi " monzavi kardan"? Can a single country isolate many? Or it is always, that “many” who isolate a single country?
Furthermore, if that is the case, why on earth he is planning to go to New York? Does he want to bring them out of “isolation”, or, generally speaking, what he wishes to do there?
I am really, really frightened.
I am almost sure that he makes things a lot worse.
With a President like this, do the Iranian nations need any enemy?

Friday, March 16, 2007

President Robin Hood!!

In the last two years, Mr Ahmadinejad have travelled extensively inside Iran. At the time of writing, he and members of his cabinet are in the province of Yazd. What they do in these trips is not very clear to me. Wherever he goes, he makes speeches in which he would insists that Iran would not negotiate on her right to have nuclear energy ane every now and then have a go at Israel too. He would also have his cabinet meetings in these provincial cities and comes up with massive amount of financial commitments for the state. For instance, during this current tirp, it was revealed that they have considered and made decisions on110 projects. For most, and in some cases very very exensive ones, no figure was given, but on thost where a figure was attached, the sum comes to a little over 11 trillion rials!
There are two issues here:
- Given the overall tendency of the IR to privatise everything in the economy- ie. the review of Article 44- it seems inconsistent that Ahmadinejad is committing the state to expand in this way.
- Either this budget is already allocated and confirmed by Majlis [Parliament], or, these are new monies. In the first case, it is totally deceitful to reannounce them again. On the other hand, if these are new monies, then, I can only say, God save Iran.
I do not think anyone else can.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Foreign Direct Investment in Iran.

An Iranian minister said that " newspapers frighten off foreign direct investors from Iran". It is not the first time that ministers make this type of silly comment. Sometimes ago, the official spokeman of the President, blamed newspapers for " growing inflation". As to this new claim, it should be said that foreign direct investors are not coming to Iran, because the economy of Iran is not governed by the law of the land. Frankly, there are too many law breakers in Iran at the various, including the top levels of governmet. There are too many "centres" for decision making. There is no free and fair election, be it for parliament or for Tehran Chamber of Commerce. In short, it has a " capitalist" exchange relations with a " pre-capitalist" political structure. This will not do. Unless this vital inconsisteny is resolved, I am afraid to say that foreign direct investors would not come to Iran.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I.... the superman....

If I ever had any doubt, I don't have it now that Mr Ahmadinejad is confused and do not understand international politics. The spokeman for his government informed the public that when the UN sit to discuss the question of Iranian Nuclear programme, he would like to attend the meeting to " defend the national interest of Iran". As a cheap propaganda, it is fine, but in the real world, Mr Ahmadnejad or any such leader should be invited to attend by the members- and he does not have that invitation- and if such invitation is not forthcoming, it is most likely that the US may refuse issuing visa for him to visit New York. Just imagine, the "Iron" president of the Islamic Republic of Iran,wishes to " conquer" New York, and the equally " Iron" president of the United State, says, " nay"....
It would be fun to watch....
p.s: put yourself in the shoes of Iranian diplomats, who are supposed to attend these meetings to defend the national interest. The president seems to be saying, sit aside, I , the superman, is coming!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

When a government becomes nervous....

News from home are particularly worrying. The brutal arrest of 33 women activists in Tehran-very close to the 8th March- is a clear signal that the government is nervous and somewhat confused. The UN may come up with another resolution and more economic sanctions and given the dire economic situation in the country, more sanctions would be especially painful. On the other hand, the internal quarrels are getting out of hand. Mrs Rajabi the wife of Dr Elham- a cabinet minister- in her latest article launched an " undiplomatic" attack on the chief of Iranian national TV and Radio- directly appointed by Mr Khameni-ee. While at the same time, in another case, a member of parliament, who is usually critical of the President, has been summoned to appear in court,accused of " subversion". In another recent piece, Mrs Rajabi has effectively confirmed everything that the opposition has been saying all these years about the Islamic Republic of Iran. The level of corruption and nepotism that she confirms in this piece, leaves little room for optimism by the supporters of the regime. However, the nervousness of the government is a real cause for concern. As government when nervous becomes a lot more irrational and even brutal and oppressive.
You might say, come on Iraj, this government is oppressive enough, and it cannot become more oppressive.
I beg to differ. To me, while there is no limit to the good side of human nature, the horrible side of it has no limit either. And, this is why, I am so frightened of what might happen in my beloved home land.
I wish I knew what to do to help the situation?