Tag Archives: Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Khamenei Does a Trump: MAGA becomes MIGA……

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“Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei fleshed out his vision of a “Made in Iran” economy Tuesday, calling for a ban on certain imports and an end to the $15-billion smuggling trade. The annual speech on the first day of the Persian year serves as a sort of Iranian equivalent to the US State of the Union address, and Khamenei used it to provide more details about his calls for a self-sufficient “resistance economy” that has been his main theme in recent months. “The importing of products where an Iranian equivalent exists should be considered religiously and legally haram (forbidden),” he told a huge crowd in the holy city of Mashhad. He took aim at Iran’s rampant black market in smuggled goods, which he said was worth at least $15 billion annually. “Some speak of $20-25 billion,” he said. “We want greatness for our country, social well-being and security at the national level. Without a strong economy we cannot achieve all that…..”

Ayatollah Khamenei sounds almost like a Trumpista, but only in the economics of trade sense. I am exaggerating a bit: clearly Khamenei does not believe in a trickle-down economy, now set to become a gushing-up economy under Trump. He does not have a gaggle of billionaires around him defining his own “populist” comfort zone in Tehran. He mostly favors fellow mullahs.

Not as bad as many other Middle East leaders these days. Some groveling Arab leaders are the worst offenders, effectively throwing their fellow Muslims under the bus to please Trump. Before the November elections they expected a resounding Hillary Clinton victory. Their Wahhabi-Liberal mouthpieces in the press and social media obediently excoriated Trump. But that was then.

Soon after Mr. Trump issued his first unconstitutional Executive Order banning many Muslims from travel to the USA, surprisingly including legal residents, some Arab kings and princes reacted positively. Particularly Saudi and UAE rulers, who have certain demands of Mr. Trump for their own regional agendas, quickly praised his move. Even as many Americans and the US courts stood against it. Their hasty positive reaction was uncalled for, it was voluntary, did not even wait for the US court decisions, which turned out as I had expected.

Khamenei is also applying some pressure on President Rouhani in his election year, distancing himself from an economy that has not done as well. Some Iranian officials have recently expressed disappointment that the Nuclear Deal has not helped the economy as much as they had expected.

But the Iranians have become good at managing under forced self-sufficiency. The long decades of mostly-American sanctions have forced them to produce many of the tools, equipment, and weapons they have needed. An unintended positive by-product of the economic siege. Even with the reduction and lifting of sanctions, their country will continue to produce many of the goods it has been forced to make under the economic siege.
So, maybe its is the other way around: maybe Mr. Trump’s “Made in America” message is an imitation of the forced “Made in Iran” policy on the other side of the world. Ali Khamenei has not uttered the term “Make Iran Great Again” (MIGA), but his occasional exhortations and policy statements sound similar to “Make America Great Again” (MAGA). Without the goofy red Trump hat.

More on this later, stay tuned.

M. Haider Ghuloum

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

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“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

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

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“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

Ali Shamkhani: an Old but Rising Iranian Arab Star…….

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“An intriguing figure is gaining prominence in the Iranian government just as regional conflicts in Iraq and Syria intensify and nuclear talks with the West move toward a Nov. 24 deadline. The newly prominent official is Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran’s national security council. He played a key role last summer in the ouster of Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister. In interviews over the past few weeks, Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese, European and U.S. officials have all described Shamkhani as a rising political player…………”

Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani is not exactly a new hand. He is an old hand within the Iranian regime. He is an ethnic Arab, not a Persian, from the Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran (Ahwaz, etc). He is not a new rising figure as is claimed here, he is an old rising figure in the regime. He served as Defense Minister of Iran during the 1990s. He is now chief of the Supreme National Security Council. I posted on him last year.

(FYI: There are other minority ethnic members in the top Iranian leadership. Iran’s  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is also non-Persian. He is an Azeri, from Azerbaijan).

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum