Posts Tagged 'Mousavi'

Weekly roundup

Articles and reports from the past week
“UN sanctions passed without unanimity for first time”

The UN Security Council passed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran with 12 votes in favor, 2 against by Turkey and Brazil, and 1 abstention by Lebanon. No UNSC member had voted against any of the previous 3 sanctions. The US called the sanctions the “toughest” imposed on Iran, but Iranian leaders said their nuclear program would continue (Christian Science Monitor). AFP lists the new Iranian entities and individuals targeted by the sanctions (AFP).
Despite US claims of a diplomatic victory, analysts are calling the sanctions “remarkably weak” (Race for Iran) and “ineffective (Foreign Policy), and James M. Lindsay argues that division within the UNSC makes tougher sanctions in the future unlikely (Council on Foreign Relations).

“US, Iran avoid rejecting nuclear fuel swap deal”
Despite earlier warnings that new UN sanctions would derail talks on the proposed nuclear fuel swap, Iran has indicated would continue its cooperation with Turkey and Brazil (Today’s Zaman). Unnamed diplomats had previously stated that the Vienna Group (US, Russia and France) had rejected the fuel swap proposal (AP), but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reports the US is prepared to meet with Iran to discuss the Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement (Today’s Zaman).

“Iran sidesteps sanctions with shell companies, key alliances”
Jo Becker outlines some of Iran’s tactics for circumventing sanctions by using networks of shell companies (New York Times). Thomas Erdbrink and Colum Lynch write that Iran has also succeeded in building alliances with states such as Turkey, Brazil, India and Japan, though Karim Sadjadpour argues that these states will not jeopardize their relationship with the US for Iran (Washington Post).
The US has appointed a new Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control to oversee the implementation of all UN sanctions against Iran and North Korea (US Department of State).

“Iran threatens to downgrade relations with IAEA”
As the IAEA convened a quarterly Board of Governors meeting with Iran on the agenda, Iran’s parliament announced it will draft a bill to reduce relations with the agency (The National). IAEA head Yukiya Amano recently described Iran as a “special case” for the agency (AFP).
Mark Hibbs outlines the agenda of the Board of Governors meeting (Carnegie Endowment).

“Iran one year after Ahmadinejad’s reelection”
Foreign Policy magazine provides special coverage on Iran one year after the controversial reelection of President Ahmadinejad. A series of articles assesses the Western media’s coverage of Iran’s domestic politics and the significance of the Green Movement (Foreign Policy). Meanwhile, Abbas Milani, Gary Sick, Karim Sadjadpour and Steve Inskeep discuss the impact of last year’s elections (Carnegie Endowment).
Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the elections, but opposition leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have called off planned protests due to safety concerns (New York Times).
Trita Parsi argues that international pressure on Iran is helping the government sideline the domestic opposition (Bloomberg).


Weekly roundup

Articles and reports from the past week
“Companies feeling more pressure to cut Iran ties”

The New York Times reports that US efforts to pressure Western companies to isolate Iran are extending beyond banks and financial institutions and causing major manufacturers and service providers to reduce or end affiliations with Iran (New York Times). However, Simone Dinah Hartmann strongly criticizes Austria for cultivating its business ties with Iran and increasing exports by 6% in 2009, accusing Vienna of “appeasement” (Wall Street Journal).
Iran has passed new tax exemptions for foreign investment in its capital markets and raised its cap on foreign ownership of Iranian companies from 10% to 20% (Reuters, PressTV), and officials claim the Revolutionary Guard Corps has the technological know-how to replace foreign firms on major energy projects (Associated Press).

“Despite hard talk, Russia seeks to maintain Iran ties”
Foreign companies withdrawing from Iran include Russian’s Lukoil, which was involved in a major oil development project named Anaran, but Russian firms with fewer US ties, such as Gazprom, remain engaged in other development projects (Mianeh).
A Xinhua analysis argues that Russia is hardening its stance against Iran to facilitate improving ties with the US but remains unlikely to substantially cut ties with Iran (Xinhua). However, Iranian daily Tehran-e Emrooz speculates that Russia is now attempting to persuade Turkey to adopt an anti-Iran stance and support international sanctions (MEMRI).

Iranian economy’s biggest vulnerability: Iran (Middle East Channel)
Patrick Barry provides a detailed outline of systematic weaknesses in Iran’s economic infrastructure, arguing that the US should refrain from imposing sanctions and allow Iran’s economy to deteriorate of its own accord. Barry adds that Iran’s plan to achieve self-sufficiency in gasoline in 2 or 3 years will nullify the effects of sanctions targeting gasoline imports.

Iran strikes secret nuclear mining deal with Zimbabwe (Daily Telegraph)
The Telegraph reports that Iran has signed a secret deal with Zimbabwe to obtain access to the latter’s uranium deposits in exchange for supplying oil.

Iran’s opposition urges protests on anniversary of disputed election (The National)
Leaders of Iran’s opposition Green Movement are calling reformist groups to file official requests to hold rallies on June 12, the anniversary of last year’s controversial election.

Weekly roundup

Additional articles and reports from the past week
Much Traction from Measured Steps: The Iranian Opposition, the Nuclear Issue, and the West (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Patrick Clawson argues that Western leaders and Iran’s opposition Green Movement should take modest steps toward supporting one another’s interests in order to pressure Tehran on the nuclear issue and human rights.

An Analysis of Multiple Polls of the Iranian Public (World Public Opinion)
World Public Opinion outlines their methodology and explains their conclusions that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection may have been legitimate and that the majority of Iranians, including the majority of supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, do not seek regime change. Their research indicates that support for dialogue and nuclear talks with the US was not limited to Mousavi supporters.

“Opposition hardens line in Iran”
Despite their conciliatory tone in recent weeks, Green Movement leaders issued harsh criticisms of the regime. Mousavi stated that the “roots of tyranny and dictatorship remain” (AFP, New York Times), while Mohammad Khatami called Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s support for a single political faction “a betrayal of Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolution and Islam” (Rooz).

Quadrennial Defense Review and Ballistic Missile Defense Review (US Department of Defense)
The US Department of Defense outlines their perceptions of the Iranian missile threat.

“Despite Iran opposition’s limitations, US conservatives push for regime change”

“Despite Iran opposition’s limitations, US conservatives push for regime change”
January 22-February 1, 2010
     Analysts disagree over the strength of Iran’s opposition Green Movement and its potential to bring about regime change. In recent weeks, opposition leaders such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mohammad Khatami and Mehdi Karroubi have each made conciliatory statements tacitly endorsing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency and shifting criticism away from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to other conservative clerics. While some suggest the government may be looking to resolve the domestic turmoil, Khamenei has reportedly not indicated any intention to compromise (New York Times), and the government announced that its recent executions of 2 protestors will soon be followed by 9 more (Al Jazeera).
     However, some US analysts see the Green Movement as a promising vehicle for regime change. Robert Kagan argues that regime change is now more likely than the prospect of Tehran giving up its nuclear program, and that a new government “not run by radicals with millennial visions” would be the “best nonproliferation policy”, even if they pursued nuclear weapons (Washington Post). Describing his switch from a “realist” to a neoconservative position, Richard Haass similarly argues that the West should emphasize human rights issues, open up technological and financial support to Iran’s citizens, and focus international sanctions on Iran’s leaders (Newsweek).
New York Times | Al Jazeera | Washington Post | Newsweek

Recent related posts:
“Green Movement uses language of reform but sparks hopes for revolution”

“Green Movement uses language of reform but sparks hopes for revolution”

“Green Movement uses language of reform but sparks hopes for revolution”
December 31, 2009-January 14, 2010
     Iran’s Green Movement received a small boost as a long-serving Iranian diplomat in Norway resigned in protest over the government’s violent crackdown on domestic opposition (Los Angeles Times). Analysts such as Ray Takeyh believe the Islamic Republic is a “transient phenomenon” that can no longer appease or eliminate the opposition. Citing US President Ronald Reagan’s strong approach to the Soviet Union, Takeyh urges the US to challenge the legitimacy of the Iranian regime while pursuing a nuclear deal (Washington Post).
     However, Hooman Majd writes that the opposition is not a revolution but a civil rights movement and that only a minority hope to overthrow the current regime. Majd argues that Mir-Hossein Mousavi is the established leader of the opposition and believes a compromise between the Green Movement and the government could be reached in 2010. Majd also suggests that the Revolutionary Guards could consider replacing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in order to protect the regime (Foreign Policy).
     In a recent statement in which he declares his willingness to die for the opposition movement, Mousavi calls for government accountability, free and fair elections, the release of political prisoners, freedom of the press and of association, and free access to media (BBC). A separate Green Movement manifesto issued by five prominent reformists living outside Iran adds explicit demands for the resignation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the holding of new presidential elections (Christian Science Monitor).
Los Angeles Times | Washington Post | Foreign Policy | BBC | Christian Science Monitor

“Reformists, conservatives pressure Ahmadinejad against nuclear deal”

“Reformists, conservatives pressure Ahmadinejad against nuclear deal”
November 2 & 3, 2009
     Michael Theodoulou attributes Iran’s negative response to the IAEA proposal [previously covered here] to domestic political divides. Theodoulou writes that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing strong domestic pressure over his support for the IAEA proposal; the reformists fear successful negotiations with the West will boost Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy, whereas conservatives see Iran’s LEU stockpile as a vital source of leverage against Western powers (The National).
     Michael Slackman adds that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would likely avoid risking his domestic credibility by accepting the deal. Michael Axworthy believes reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has criticized the deal, is using the nuclear issue to attack Ahmadinejad’s nationalist credentials. Trita Parsi and Alireza Nader state that Iran’s deep political divides could prevent even a deal that works to Iran’s benefit (New York Times). On Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sharply criticized the US, declaring Iran would “not be fooled by the superficial conciliatory tone of the US” (Agence France-Presse).
The National | New York Times | Agence France-Presse

“Sanctions debate heats up with familiar arguments”

“Sanctions debate heats up with familiar arguments”
October 4-15, 2009
     The US Congress has passed bills punishing companies with ties to Iran’s energy sector as calls for more sanctions against Iran are being raised in the US. John Hannah cites unnamed Iranian activists and Karim Sadjadpour to argue that, despite the negative effects of sanctions on Iranian citizens, the opposition Green Movement wants sanctions “in strong doses”, with some even supporting military action, to pressure and ultimately topple Iran’s leaders (Los Angeles Times). However, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi recently stated that the Green Movement opposes sanctions.
     Tarek El-Tablawy argues that sanctions may actually strengthen Iran’s leaders and the Revolutionary Guard, which is already deeply involved in the economy, by eliminating foreign competitors and leading to an expansion of the black market (Associated Press). Charlie Savage and Mark Landler argue that Iran is able to adapt to sanctions, outlining cases of sanctions violations and Iran’s shifting of business ties to Asian financial institutions.
     Michael Jacobson states that while sanctions cannot isolate Iran, they pressure Iran’s leaders to engage in international talks by increasing the cost of doing business (New York Times). Iran’s parliament will vote next week on a bill cutting energy and food subsidies to reduce the country’s vulnerability to sanctions. The proposed bill, which would likely increase inflation, could indicate that the threat of sanctions is having an effect (Reuters).
     Chinese and Russian leaders have indicated they do not support imposing new sanctions on Iran (New York Times (2)).
Los Angeles Times | Reuters | Associated Press | New York Times | New York Times (2)

Related posts:
“Green Movement urged to defend nuclear rights, oppose Western sanctions”