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Tag Archives: Iran

A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani

The mysterious case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman facing federal charges in New York, has grown even stranger over the past couple of weeks.Zarrab, who is thirty-three, was arrested by F.B.I. agents, in Miami, last March. At the time, he was one of the flashiest and wealthiest businessmen in Turkey. He sported a pouf of black hair; owned twenty houses, seven yachts, and a private jet; was married to one of Turkey’s biggest pop stars; and counted among his friends Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s strongman President.The U.S. government, however, believes that Zarrab masterminded a sprawling operation to help the Iranian government evade economic sanctions that were put in place to hinder the country’s nuclear-weapons program. Zarrab’s operation—which relied on what the Turkish government claimed was a legal loophole in the sanctions—involved shipping gold to Iran in exchange for oil and natural gas, which Zarrab then sold. The scheme, according to prosecutors in New York’s Southern District, involved moving enormous amounts of cash, gas, and gold; at the operation’s peak—around 2012—Zarrab was buying a metric ton of gold and shipping it to Iran every day. The Obama Administration protested Zarrab’s operation, which the media dubbed “gas for gold,’’ but he carried on anyway. For the Iranians, the gold was as good as American cash, and it helped shore up the rial, Iran’s currency, whose value was collapsing.

Source: A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani – The New Yorker

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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Letter from Tehran: Trump ‘the bazaari’

The art of the deal, when practiced for 2500 years, does lead to the palace of wisdom. I had hardly set foot in Tehran when a diplomat broke the news: “Trump? We’re not worried. He’s a bazaari”. It’s a Persian language term meaning he is from the merchants class or, more literally, a worker from the bazaar and its use implies that a political accommodation will eventually be reached.The Iranian government’s response to the Trump administration boils down to a Sun Tzu variant; silence, especially after the Fall of Flynn, who had “put Iran on notice” after it carried out a ballistic missile test, and had pushed the idea of an anti-Iran military alliance comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. Tehran says the missile test did not infringe the provisions of the Iran nuclear deal and that naval drills from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, which began on Sunday, had been planned well in advance.

Source: Letter from Tehran: Trump ‘the bazaari’ | Asia Times

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2017 in Middle East

 

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The Poet Who Was Turned Away 

In the early years of the last decade, following the shock of 9/11, with George W. Bush in office and the U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan under way, security at American airports was beefed up considerably, under the newly created Department of Homeland Security. Travellers of all types were subjected to greater security checks, and immigration agents were more routinely frosty than they were before. Visitors of certain ethnicities and nationalities, especially Arabs and people from Muslim countries, were increasingly treated with mistrust by American immigration officials. Stories of humiliating episodes abounded and circulated widely in the Middle East. Some of them, sadly, were true.
http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-poet-who-was-turned-away?mbid=rss

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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After Donald Trump’s election, the death of Ayatollah Rafsanjani is grim news for Iran’s nuclear deal

The death of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani comes at a potentially difficult time for Iran’s relations with the international community, with Donald Trump and his team threatening to tear up the landmark deal over Tehran’s nuclear programme. It also means that the reformist president, Hassan Rouhani, has lost a highly important ally in a crucial stage of his struggle against powerful conservative clerics.
The two issues are not unrelated. Just as the American right, egged on by Israel and Saudi Arabia, has virulently opposed the agreement, so had the hardliners in Iran railed against President Rouhani and his government for what they saw as a surrender of the country’s sovereign rights on defence and security.

Source: After Donald Trump’s election, the death of Ayatollah Rafsanjani is grim news for Iran’s nuclear deal

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Middle East

 

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The Kurds Are Nearly There

The battle for Mosul has begun. For the past two years, Iraq’s second-largest city has languished under the harsh rule of the Islamic State (ISIS). Now a combined force of Iraqi army troops, Shiite militias, and Kurdish fighters, backed up by a US-led coalition of more than sixty nations, is pushing forward to retake the city. The stakes are high. Dislodging ISIS from the city where its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared his “caliphate” in 2014 promises to be a formidable undertaking, given the ferocity of resistance so far. But if the coalition manages to restore Iraqi government control over Mosul, it will certainly count as a major blow to the ambitions of the jihadists—even if final victory over them is still a long way off.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/12/08/the-kurds-are-nearly-there/

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2016 in Middle East

 

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Iran’s election: Is it going to be Ahmadinejad versus Rouhani? 

There are nine months until the next Iranian presidential election in May 2017, and analysts and supporters of President Hassan Rouhani are beginning to ask whether he will win a second term.
Widespread public frustration at the lack of economic benefits, after sanctions were supposed to be lifted following last year’s nuclear deal, has dented his popularity and boosted the chances of a come-back by conservative and anti-Western former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A scandal over the high pay awarded to top government officials has also not helped the incumbent president.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/essays/irans-election-it-going-be-ahmadinejad-versus-rouhani-739004464

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Middle East

 

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US ‘terrorising’ European banks into steering clear of Iran

The US Treasury has “somewhat terrorised” European banks into not resuming business with Iran in spite of Western promises to lift sanctions, a senior Iranian official has told Middle East Eye.Amir Hossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for trade and international affairs, accused the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the US sanctions programme, of deliberately not clarifying how European banks and investors are allowed to operate in Iran without falling foul of US law.Multilateral sanctions mandated by the UN Security Council were lifted in January, but the US still enforces a number of its own, which complicate the business of doing business.“The European banks have some reluctance, let’s say, in terms of not being certain as to what OFAC’s decision will be if they get engaged. It’s more of a psychological problem than a legal one”, Zamaninia said.

Source: US ‘terrorising’ European banks into steering clear of Iran | Middle East Eye

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Middle East

 

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ANALYSIS: Iranians confident Saudi Arabia’s regional role is declining

In a booth outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran a lone policeman keeps guard. He hardly needs to bother. There are no diplomats left, and the building is a ruin. The metal doors on the first-floor balcony of the abandoned villa hang open. The windows’ broken glass has not been replaced, and pigeons now nest inside.The flagpole is empty and on the front wall an oval-shaped piece of brighter paint shows where the diplomatic crest used to be. A crowd of more than a thousand Iranian protesters had demonstrated outside the embassy on 2 January. Some threw petrol bombs and set part of it on fire.

Source: ANALYSIS: Iranians confident Saudi Arabia’s regional role is declining | Middle East Eye

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Middle East

 

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Hillary, Queen of War: The Road Map Ahead 

It all starts with a Wahhabi-Zionist lovefest.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry was forced to go on a non-denial denial overdrive about a visit to Israel on July 22 by a delegation led by retired Gen. Anwar Eshki.
Eshki happens to be close to Saudi intel superstar and onetime close Osama bin Laden pal Prince Turki bin Faisal, who recently met in the open with former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) generals Yaakov Amidror and Amos Yadlin.
While in Israel, Eshki met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, and Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the top IDF honcho in the West Bank.

http://www.opednews.com/populum/pagem.php?f=Hillary-Queen-of-War-The-by-Pepe-Escobar-AIPAC_Hillary-Clinton_Hillary-Clinton-Foreign-Policy_Iran-160805-118.html

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Middle East, North America

 

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How to Be a Woman in Tehran 

Whenever my mother would talk to me about her thirty-five years of marriage to my father, she’d end on a familiar refrain: “I was always my own woman. And I was always my own man too. You see, I had to carry my own weight every day of every year, and I mean every bit of it.”

I understand what my mother says. Iran: it’s the country I was born in, went to school in, and have worked as a professional journalist in for twenty years; a country where authority, religion, and fate would have it so that even someone like my mother had to pull a permanent double shift as both a woman and a man throughout her entire adult life. I can’t say if, as a country, Iran is unique in this way, but I do know it is one place on earth that is emphatically this way—a place where women are in every measure equal to men, and in every measure not.

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I had to dig deep into my backpack before I found the acetone polish remover and cotton pad that would save the day. My nail polish was hardly head-turning. After many days of dishwashing and cooking, the color was like a faded stain. I wasn’t going to tempt any man to his doom with seductive fingernails, but I was headed to see a cleric for an official interview at the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Division of Topography. Neither the cleric nor the Division of Topography would be amused at the sight of any color on me, faint or not. So I rubbed those nails with everything I had and then stuffed the sharp-smelling cotton in a pocket of my backpack. Next I put on a proper hijab; there was no way they’d let me in with a simple shawl. I secured it over my head so that no hair would show. As I prepared myself, the rest of the passengers in the taxicab barely gave me a glance. This, after all, was not an unfamiliar scene.

As I’d expected, the Topography Division had separate entrances for males and females. I took a deep breath and stepped inside. A woman wearing a chador asked what my business was there. I told her. She asked if I was sure that Haj Aqa was in today. “This is not a day he usually comes in.” I repeated that I had a 10 a.m. appointment with Haj Aqa and it was already getting late. The woman gave me another once-over. Then she said, “Your manteau is too short. You also have makeup on. No, you can’t go inside.” My manteau came below my knees and I wasn’t wearing any makeup. I looked at her. My cell phone rang; it was Haj Aqa himself. He wanted to know if I’d arrived. He was flying to Mecca later on that day and couldn’t afford any sort of delay. I told him that I was stuck downstairs at security and they weren’t letting me in. “They say I don’t look proper.” He was surprised, then became angry. He told me to wait right there and in a minute he was downstairs.

https://www.guernicamag.com/features/how-to-be-a-woman-in-tehran/

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2016 in Middle East, Reportages

 

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