Category Archives: Ali Khamenei

A New American-Iranian Strategic Algebra Equation? All Options Are Not On The Table………

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“Iran’s supreme leader said Monday there would be neither war nor negotiations with the United States, and that the country’s problems were the result of government mismanagement more than renewed sanctions. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments add to the pressure on President Hassan Rouhani following a collapse in the currency and widespread protests over high prices and corruption. They also appeared to rule out any hope of fresh talks with Washington, which US President Donald Trump had proposed after walking out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions. “Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations… let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.,” Khamenei said via his official Twitter account in English…….”

Aug 13
Recently, U.S. officials have been talking blatantly about us. Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations. In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S….”

So, then: All Options Are Not On the Table, the Iranians are saying…..

A favorite American Middle East policy statement over the past decade or two has been the obvious threat that: “all options are on the table.

Meaning: you, an uncooperative foreign (always Middle Eastern) nation, do what we say OR we have other options to use against you. You agree with us or you get: war, regime change, missiles. That has been the jingoistic policy under George W Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Now Trump has in effect declared and is waging an economic war of choice against a country that has never attacked the United States. Mainly at the behest of a couple of other influential foreign regimes and the domestic lobbyists of these foreign regimes (rich tail wagging greedy dog).

Yet Ali Khemenai now claims to have unilaterally changed the American policy toward his country, he has unilaterally taken the big “STICK” out of the equation, just as the Trump administration has unilaterally taken the international “CARROT” out of the Nuclear Deal equation by re-imposing and tightening an economic blockade of Iran.

Thus Khamenei has resorted to, nay adopted, another American foreign policy jargon: exceptionalism. Iranian foreign policy exceptionalism now facing American foreign policy exceptionalism.

No fuzzy Math there. You reduce one variable on one side of an algebraic equation, the other side must reduce a variable from the other side of the equation. To maintain the mathematical equilibrium and accuracy.

Or so the Iranians think, and hope……

Or so the Arab oil potentates and absolute princes (and the Likudniks) fear…….

One of them can be wrong….


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Iran at a Brezhnev Crossroad: an Aging Revolution, a Younger Unhappy Population, a Sistani Alternative…….

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

On the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted this:
” @khamenei_ir
Dear prideful nation of #Iran! The greatness of your gatherings today, which, according to precise calculations, was more populated and morepassionate than previous years, was a resolute response to the enemies and oath-breakers….”
“Relying on their distorted false perceptions of Iran and Iranians, the enemies had spent all their propaganda efforts on trying to turn this year’s revolution celebration frigid or probably anti-revolution. You’ve exhibited the livelihood & dynamism of the revolution in practice…..”
Feb 11, 2018

This year’s anniversary of the last of the great popular revolutions of the twentieth century has been surrounded with interesting domestic developments. We know what happened with the other two revolutions, in Russia and China. In Russia they openly gave up on the ideology; in China they still pretend that the Communist system of Chairman Mao exists, but only as a means to legitimize one-party rule of a new oligarchy. In Iran, Ali Khamenei is trying to keep the flames of the old aging revolution alive. Did I leave out Cuba?

In a nation that is younger and wants more freedoms, more accountability, in an age of spreading social media and access to opinion. What to do?
Violent repression, for example Egyptian Sisi style, will not work anymore in Iran. During the recent protests a few weeks ago, many of the security forces were noticeably sympathetic to the protests. More subtle forms of protest continue. There will be more periodic protests; for years now people have been testing the limits of the freedoms allowed. And these limits have also expanded.

There has been gradual and incremental but unannounced openness by the regime, forced by the people. Giving in more publicly and at once will eventually open the floodgates to more encroachment of the feared global culture, and more demands for more openness and more freedoms.

What to do? Perhaps a Chinese solution? But the Chinese regime is now agnostic: politically Communist in the name of the one ruling party; economically and socially capitalistic and oligarchic to boot.

The Iranian ayatollahs pride themselves on some kind of “purity”, along the model of the old stubborn Soviet regime in the Brezhnev era, when all the revolutionary thrill was gone from the younger generation. But Iran is not a Soviet-style closed system: freedom of travel and emigration has never been curtailed. Social media thrive, as do international satellite television. Expatriate non-political Iranian exiles are freely allowed back into the country. All that has allowed a sort of safety valve but also created demands for more.

Rouhani is trying some short-term solutions. But that would only underline the need for a longer-term deal between the people and their government. The weak point is the position of the Supreme Leader. Chairman Mao is dead in China, but Ayatollah Khamenei is an unelected veto-holder. He is in a way selected by an elected assembly created to gate-keep access to power. But even so, he shares power with various other centers of power: the elected president of the republic (Rouhani), the elected and contentious parliament that takes its powers very seriously, other various senior clerics (more senior than Khamenei).

Then there is the ultimate theological marja’iya (last recourse in Shi’a theological matters) located in Najaf (Iraq). Najaf, where Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani is located, is like the Rome for Shi’a Muslims.

Ali Sistani does not support the idea of rule by the clergy, nor do many others, possibly most Shi’as. It is unlikely that this political ideology chasm between Najaf and Tehran/Qom will ever be closed on Tahran’s terms. If there is a closing, it will be Tehran and Qom moving closer to the Najaf school of thought in governing. A largely Islamic but diverse state with elected civilian non-clerical rule. That was the case in Iran under Mossadegh until August 1953, when his overthrow was engineered by Western intelligence agencies (CIA and British intelligence).

Iran has had at least one case of a Gorbachev in the past four decades. Khatami was paralysed by a conservative parliament, and the Supreme Leader. Rouhani may manage things better, but he has only a couple of years left of his presidency.

Meanwhile, the people, especially in the cities, will continue to chip away at the restrictions imposed by the clerics. The trend towards more openness will continue and accelerate; unless Donald Trump is talked by the hawks in the US Senate/Congress and by the Israeli likud and a couple of despotic Arab kings to start a new war. That will immediately lead to consolidation in Tehran. It happened before when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq started the eight-year war. He lost, but so did the people of Iran.

Oh, and forget about the regime change nonsense being peddled by frustrated hawks and chickenhawks in the USA. Remember: the 1953 Western intervention led to the current situation…….


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Iran Nuclear Duel: Supreme Leader Khamenei vs. Supreme Leader Netanyahu………

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15


“Iran said on Wednesday it would only accept a deal over its contested nuclear program if world powers simultaneously lifted all sanctions imposed on it. The comments by President Hassan Rouhani came the day after U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to give Congress a say in any future accord — including the right to veto the lifting of sanctions imposed by U.S. lawmakers……………”

The United States Congress, both houses of it, has finally managed to get hold of the pending Iran Nuclear Deal. The congressional jingoists are now in control of this issue. Which very likely means that as far as the United States is concerned this deal will remain ‘pending’ for a long time, at least through the 2016 general elections.
It will be fun but also painful to watch the major candidates from both parties doing contortions and pirouettes to avoid the pitfalls of taking any clear and definable position on this issue. That especially applies to the Democrats, since the Republicans have already abdicated and handed American Middle East policy to a foreign leader. A tail that effectively leads the dog now. A triumph of campaign money over national interest.

Now the nuclear deal, as far as bilateral American-Iranian relations are concerned, will be in the hands of two Supreme Leaders. These two will decide the outcome: (1) Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for Iran, and (2) Supreme Leader Benyamin Netanyahu for the United States. I suspect the latter will have more say in the final outcome, which may mean there will be no final deal.

Which might be irrelevant, since the blockade is already unraveling. Russia has decided to resume the delivery of defensive missiles to Iran (S300). The other major countries of BRICS and others have already started the framework of an alternative or parallel world financial system that will compete with the Bretton Woods bureaucratic institutions of IBRD and IMF. That might reduce the effectiveness of this recent clamor for blockades and sanctions that Western powers seem to impose with impunity.

It is a measure of the complete domination of the Israeli tail of U.S. Middle East policy that even members of Mr. Obama’s own party were ready to defy a potential veto. Now that the U.S. position seems to be in more doubt, the Iranians are also playing hardball.
Either way, the Western sanctions are being whittled away, as they should be. Worldwide economic sanctions and blockades on whole countries only harm the people, not their rulers…………

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Roger Cohen on Eschatology, Ayatollahs, the Mahdi, the Rapture, and God’s Promise to Congress……

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15


“First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, he has no power to conclude them because the supreme leader, who is basically keeping the chair warm for the Prophet, controls all matters of domestic and foreign security and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. (By the way, the supreme leader, whose name is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, thinks your letter to us is a sign your political system is “disintegrating” — if that’s any help.) So, in effect, the president is standing in for the supreme leader, who is standing in for the hidden imam, who disappeared in the ninth century but could show up whenever. We hope that is clear. In the case of a nuclear accord, it would no doubt be debated by our Majlis, a unicameral consultative assembly or parliament with 290 members, but the debate would not make a whole lot of difference to anything……….”

I admit it is funny, this tongue-in-cheek dabbling in Eschatology, assured to piss off the dour mullahs. A few mistakes: he does not keep a seat warm for the Prophet, nobody believes he will rise again: Roger Cohen got the wrong guy. It is Lent, but ‘His’ body did not rise and vanish, it is still buried in the old grave at Madinah. Unless the Saudi princes remove it to build a mall or a hotel.

But it comes from someone who possibly believes that GOD has promised all of Jerusalem and the West Bank to a certain ‘chosen’ people. Or most people around him do believe in some version of it. Someone who often writes about a Congress and Senate most of whose members also believe in it. As well as believe that when the Rapture occurs at the end of time, all others, especially the Jewish people, and maybe even Al-Qaeda and ISIS killers, will convert to the true faith and start speaking English and join mega-buck churches………..
Still, he makes the point……..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                         Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter


Khamenei on Washington: Deceit, Disintegration, Backstabbing, and a Zionist Clown……

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15


“Ayatollah Khamenei called the Republicans’ letter to Tehran ‘the ultimate degree of the collapse of political ethics and the U.S. system’s internal disintegration. The GOP’s insistence that any deal struck by president Obama could be null and void when he leaves office is a sign of America’s ‘tricks and deceits’. ………… The Supreme said a ‘Zionist clown’ had delivered a speech in Washington…………….”

The Ayatollah also knows a lot about American politics. He is not as naive and ignorant as he seems to Westerners. He has been around, knows the world. He is himself multi-ethnic and knows several languages, at least three, probably four or five: much more than any senator or member of Congress. He is just applying some new diplomatic pressure here, with the other world powers, especially the Europeans, in mind. With the the help of some foolish Republican senators who were too blinded by their own partisan passions to worry about the national interest.

One more thing: he is right about at least one thing. An Israeli clown did make a speech in Washington earlier this month. A repetitive stale speech.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Enter the Ayatollah as Spoiler: New Bi-Partisan Fascists of America…………

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter   KuwaitCox2

Saban     Adelson
   Haim Saban                               Sheldon Adelson
“Major Democratic donor Haim Saban said on Sunday that if he were running Israel he would “bomb the living daylights” out of Iran if the current nuclear negotiations produce a bad deal for Israel. Speaking at a conference of the Israeli American Council at the Washington Hilton opposite Republican casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Saban said that if he were in the shoes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the event of a deal with Iran that he judged to be dangerous with Israel, “I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.” Saban, a major Obama donor in 2012 and Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, also expressed deep skepticism of Obama’s policy towards Iran………..

I had written, just minutes ago, that:
“Even the wildest of the Iranian mullahs never say ‘bomb the hell out of Israel’, except maybe as retaliation’. These are two not-so-new faces of fascism in America: the new phenomenon of ‘ethnic’ fascists. They are jingoistic and racist and they don’t belong to any one political party. They are bi-Partisan”.
Of course just after penning this eloquent comment of mine, and before posting it, who should intervene but the big banana of Iran? I saw the following ‘inconvenient’ tweet by Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei: “Why should & how can Israel be eliminated? Ayatollah Khamenei’s answer to 9 key questions……….”

Which makes you wonder which side are all these guys on, and do they deserve each other? Blogging can be frustrating sometimes, no? No further comment for now………..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Mission Accomplished? the Ayatollah and the American Election Cycles……


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter      

“We support the movement in government’s diplomacy, including the New
York visit, since we hold trust in the … government and we are
optimistic about it, but some of what happened in the New York visit
were not proper because we believe the US administration is
untrustworthy, conceited, illogical and unfaithful to its pledges,” Ayatollah Khamenei said………”

Khamenei seems here to be eager for a nuclear deal, but he seems to be warning his people of the pitfalls of high expectations. Or perhaps he is also warning the American side of the pitfalls of declaring: “Mission Accomplished“.
No doubt
Khamenei has been following the Iran “debate” in the United States. No doubt he knows that it is controlled by long-term forces as well as by short-term election cycles. No doubt he, a speaker and reader of at least three languages, is aware of the current U.S. election cycle of 2014 and how it overlaps the next election cycle of 2016. No doubt he knows there is a very narrow window for diplomacy in the middle of this continuous election posturing and white noise. No doubt he is aware of the jingoist strain in the U.S. Congress that has been revived in recent years. No doubt he has serious doubts and misgivings about the chances of a deal that is acceptable to “all” sides, and I mean “all” sides including those not present at the table.
On the other hand, most American leaders and politicians feel the same way, even worse, about their Iranian counterparts. A small world, no?


An Iranian Lesson: How to Leave Office Unlamented and Unmissed…….


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter      

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is gone, and nobody seems to miss him, except maybe Benyamin Netanyahu, and nobody seems to regret his departure, except probably himself.
I suspect that when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, departs he will be publicly missed, no doubt, and there will be public rituals of mourning. But the average Iranian will probably not care that much. A cult of personality is not usually encouraged in Iran, and it would be hard for one to take hold anyway. Probably the Islamic nature of the regime does not encourage personality cults, at least not lasting personality cults. After all, how can any person compete with God in people’s hearts and minds? Besides, there is surely a strong desire everywhere for change: a supreme leader lasting in office for life is the best protection against a personality cult. Just look at Bahrain: the most hated person is the prime minister who has been in office for 42 years. People get tired of the same old, same old, no matter how amenable and lovable that same old, same old is (FYI: Shaikh Khalifa Al Khalifa is not amenable or lovable, never has been).
In this there is also a lesson for Arab kings, princes, and shaikhs and assorted dictators and kleptocrats (is there any other kind?). The longer you cling to power and the office, the easier the people will breathe when you are forced to leave. The louder the cheers you’ll hear when you leave office (most likely involuntarily).


Iranian Official: Could Have U.S. Relations before Judgment Day and Rapture and Mahdi, Feasible Options on the Table…………


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter      

“The Supreme Leader will give permission for bilateral talks with the United States if he deems it necessary, the director of the Strategic Research Center of Iran’s Expediency Council said on Wednesday. The relationship with the United States is different than the relationship with other countries because the United States has always been hostile toward the Islamic Republic of Iran after the Islamic Revolution, which can be established through coordination by the Supreme Leader in the proper circumstances and if it meets national interests,” said Hassan Rohani, the Supreme Leader’s representative at Supreme National Security Council, whose secretary is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. It is not the Supreme Leader’s view that Iran and the United States should not have negotiations and relations until the Day of Judgment………………….”

What he is saying is that we will not necessarily have to wait for the return of our Mahdi, or the Rapture if you prefer, before Iran and the United States can sit down and negotiate bilaterally. It looks like there is some softening in the Iranian position, most likely a reaction to some softening in the Western position. Possibly a result of the Western realization that although the blockade is hurting the Iranians, they can survive it.
Possibly a result of the realization that all the political talk of “all options are on the table” rings hollow: all options are NOT really on the table, only FEASIBLE options are. Only last month Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed the idea of direct bilateral negotiations with the USA (which probably means indirect negotiations with Israel as well on this nuclear case). But then the Iranians are diverse, there are various opinions expressed on each issue through their media. And this is an election year: not every opinion expressed represents a consensus. Maybe they ought to get a negotiator like William Shatner to mediate.


Iraq: Ali Sistani’s Successor, Iranian Mullahs, and the Saudi King in Bahrain………


    Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter    
As the top spiritual leader in the Shiite Muslim world, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has instructed his followers on what to eat and how to wash, how to marry and to bury their dead. As a temporal guide, he has championed Iraqi democracy, insisting on direct elections from the earliest days of the occupation, and warned against Iranian-style clerical rule………… Frail at 81, he still greets visitors each morning at his home on a narrow and sooty side street here, only steps from the glimmering gold dome of the Imam Ali Shrine. But the jockeying to succeed him has quietly begun, and Iran is positioning its own candidate for the post, a hard-line cleric who would give Tehran a direct line of influence over the Iraqi people, heightening fears that Iran’s long-term goal is to transplant its Islamic Revolution to Iraq………..”

This is truly nonsense, and shows complete Western ignorance of the degree of independence the Shi’a Hawza has of any government. Even the intrusive Baathist regime could not meddle directly in its affairs. Even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei can’t intervene in the selection of Iranian religious leaders, let alone the Hawza in Iraq. The Najaf Hawza selects its own top Marj’e, the top Shi’a theologian, based on his scholarship, seniority, and how other clerics judge him. It is completely independent of any regime. This is not like the Saudi king appointing and firing his own palace Mufti at will or appointing the members of the Ulema (senior clerics) Council.
FYI- speaking of the Saudi king: soon he may be able to appoint the king of his new province of Bahr
ain and fire him at will.