Category Archives: 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 Talks: Netanyahu May Win Again…….

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2012: “Following his speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that he is “pretty satisfied” with his trip to the U.S. to instigate World War III. “All in all, I think I accomplished my goal of pushing humanity toward the brink of complete and utter annihilation,” said Netanyahu, adding that his implicit calls for international military action against Iran, which would ultimately escalate the conflict to an Armageddon-level of death and destruction…………” 

2014: “Asserting the Middle Eastern nation’s right to a safe, peaceful energy program, members of the Iranian diplomatic team attempted to seek more favorable terms of a deal with the P5+1 global powers while openly assembling a nuclear weapon in the negotiating room, sources confirmed Monday. “Iran will not agree to any international accord without a total and immediate lifting of Western sanctions,” said Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to representatives from China, Russia, and the United States while inserting a U-238 tamper sphere into a thermonuclear weapon on the floor of Coburg Palace………….”

Benyamin Netanyahu is determined to come to Washington soon, an unwelcome guest at the White House. In the past Netanyahu had relished every occasion to kick Obama in the shin (someone else’s term). Now he has become more ambitious, he has been emboldened by the U.S. Congress and other Likudnik Americans to aim higher, literally and figuratively. He is seeking to inflict more pain on the president in his own capital. Congress is helping Netanyahu kick Mr. Obama (still President Obama) again, straight in the testicles. If you grew up playing soccer, you know that no kick is more painful than that.
The powerful war party in Washington may win its battle and the nuclear talks may end without “success”, unless Obama stands firm. Already the Iranian supreme leader Khamenei seems to expect this victory for the Israeli right-wing (and left-wing actually). He has talked almost in sync with some Americans: Khamenei said this week that it makes no sense to extend the nuclear talks beyond the current deadline.
Back to the beginning. Some Iranians, and most Arabs especially outside the Persian Gulf region, have always suspected that the harsh unilateral Western blockade pushed by the Israeli lobby and voted dutifully by a pliant Congress was about more than the nuclear program. That there was a broader and more ambitious Israeli and other regional agenda behind it. The way some hawkish campaign-fund-hungry senators of both parties speak almost openly about it, those Iranians are probably right. It has evolved into something more broad that is hard to dismantle, with a full bureaucracy in Washington that naturally seeks to survive.

So what next? The blockade has failed to bring the Iranians to heel. It has brought them to the table, but without the white flag of surrender. Like all economic blockades it has inflicted a lot of pain on the people and not the regime, but they seem resilient and have become experts at evading some of its consequences. Are ‘all option on the table’ as the conventional press-conference bullshit says? That depends on how far the U.S. Congress is willing to push the White House, which depends on how much pressure the Israeli lobby will apply to the Congress as the U.S. heads toward the crucial but very expensive 2016 general elections. Mucho dinero needed these days for a campaign, almost any campaign.

Good news is that Barack Obama has no more political ambitions. For the first time since 2007 he does not need to pander to anyone anymore. That is when some recent U.S. presidents have become truly presidential. We may hear from Mr. Obama on all these issues after 2016, after the fog of campaign needs is lifted.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Nuclear Iran: Israeli-Western Narrative and the Khamenei Narrative……..

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“Such a compromise would fall well short of the maximalist demands of Iranian hardliners, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who continue to believe that Iran should have a nuclear-weapons option, if not the bomb itself. It would also provoke outrage among sceptical members of America’s Congress and Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who insist that Iran’s record of cheating means it should have no enrichment programme at all. But that is the nature of compromises; neither side will get all it seeks……………”

The Economist narrative seems to have been taken straight from the mouth of Benyamin Netanyahu. Yet how do they presume to know the mind of Khamenei? To know what Khamenei thinks? They seem to quote him without actually quoting him: a neat journalistic trick (we bloggers also use it). Let us see what Khamenei has said publicly on Twitter (and let’s assume that he means it):
“Iran considers the use of WMDs as an unforgivable sin. Nuclear energy for all and nukes for none”
“We consider the use of WMDs as Haraam; we believe that it is everyone’s duty to secure humanity against this great evil.”  4/17/2010
“Islamic Republic of Iran considers the use of nuclear, chemical and similar weapons as a great and unforgivable sin.” 8/30/12
“Iranian nation is a victim of the use of CWs. That is why Iran is ready to counter WMDs by all its means. ” 

All sides in this argument dissemble (lie) about the nuclear issue. We know for certain that Mr. Netanyahu dissembles (okay, lies) regularly, almost everybody knows that. For twenty years he has been predicting an Iranian breakthrough to “the bomb” within ‘six months or a year’. He has slowed down now, for he used to do his predictions almost every two weeks. The West also dissembles in its claim that its focus is solely on the Iranian nuclear program. We know that is not true: there are regional strategic factors involved that have pushed the economic blockade, especially for the U.S. administrations. And not just the Israeli position or the pressures for war from some Arab princes and potentates (check Wikileaks cables).

As for Iranian officials, some of them would like to have “the bomb” and to have an excuse to clamp down even more on dissent and to block potential Western cultural influences. Toward that target they would be happy to scuttle the talks. As would many politicians in the United States and most if not all of the political and media elites in Israel.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Comrade Khamenei at Patrice Lumumba? a Manchurian Ayatollah?………


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“Is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a graduate of the Patrice Lumumba People’s Friendship University in Moscow? Did the KGB recruit Khamenei as a spy in the 1960’s? Is Soviet indoctrination and ideological training to blame for Khamenei’s hatred of the United States? The Persian blogosphere is boiling over with speculations about Khamenei’s alleged Soviet connections. The affair started Wednesday, as Iranian bloggers discovered Russia Today’s February 5, 2010 report on the 50th anniversary of the People’s Friendship University in Moscow, in which Khamenei is mentioned among the university’s “most notable graduates.” A claim also appears on Russia Today’s website, although the reference is made to “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini,” an obvious mistake. Subsequently, Iranian bloggers identified other Russian sources making the very same claim: The November 25, 2003 issue of Kommersant presents Khamenei as a People’s Friendship University graduate…………….”

Patrice Lumumba University was named after the murdered first Congolese prime minister after independence from Belgium. Lumumba was allegedly killed by Congolese rivals and Western intelligence services. I believe that to be true: Lumumba was perceived as a ‘communist’ by the West during the peak of the Cold War. The Soviet university attracted many third world students, and it is possible that a young Khamenei was among them, but it is highly unlikely. I doubt it very much: he must have started as a student of Islamic faith at a young age. Or maybe he was groomed as a communist mole inside Qom, a potential Manchurian Ayatollah. If true this would mean that Khamenei also speaks Russian in addition to Persian, Arabic, and Turkish. He is as much a communist as the Saudi Mufti is a secret Shi’a, as much as Bashar al-Assad is a Salafi.


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On Arab Uprisings and Crazy Illusory Iranian Ideas, Salafi Money vs. Salafi Opium………

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The recent popular uprisings and revolutions in the region and massive popular protests throughout the world have been inspired by the Iranian nation’s Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said……. In a statement released on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the IRGC said that Iran’s revolution has presented the discourse of the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian nation to human communities, Muslim nations in particular. “The Islamic Awakening and popular revolutions in North Africa and the Middle-East and collapse of tyrants and dictators in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and, God-willing, in other lands and also the waves of awakening in the heart of Europe and the United States and the confrontation between Anti-Capitalism (Occupy) movements with criminal and Zionist rulers in the West are undoubtedly among the achievements of the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian nation’s leadership in promoting awareness (of the other nations) and in the campaign against the arrogant powers, the statement said……………..


the Iranian media publicize these incredible reports as propaganda, which is okay, it is normal. The danger is if Iran’s leaders actually believe this stuff they publish, that the Arab revolts look to imitate an Iranian system. Yet that is against all the evidence. The rebellion in Egypt led to a Muslim Brother and Salafi parliament. Salafis are the sworn enemies of Shi’a Iran and of all Shi’as anywhere. Salafis hate Shi’as and Jews and Methodists and Hindus and Mormons and Episcopalians and even pagans. Salafis worship Mohammed Bin Abdulwahhab the Nejdi cleric (not the late Egyptian singer Mohamed Abdelwahab). They also nearly worship Saudi princes (especially the Gulf Salafis do). They agree with the Iranian mullahs on one thing (in addition to the Five Pillars of Islam): they both hate and fear Barbie Doll.
In all other Arab states the uprisings were started by young secularists but were hijacked by Salafis or other fundamentalists who are also not eager to have an Iranian style system. In fact, the Salafis admire the Saudi system more than any other system in the whole wide world (well, the Taliban are a little more puritan now than the Saudis, but they have no money to give away; they only have opium).

I think I shall tweet Ayatollah Khamenei (I follow him on Twitter) and correct this Iranian misunderstanding before they go too far with it. All this does is terrify the Saudi potentates who “might” be naive enough to believe it, then they will redouble their efforts to get their American and Israeli allies to attack Iran. It also makes them crack down harder on the oppressed people of Bahrain and Qatif.

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Mohsen Makhmalbaf: an Iranian Icon on the Run, Weaver of Velvet………

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Mohsen Makhmalbaf, one of Iran’s most high-profile film directors, has been on the move for six and a half years. He left Iran in 2005 to avoid restrictions on his film-making and has since moved to Afghanistan, Tajikstan, India, Paris and finally London. Makhmalbaf’s films include the 2001 film “Kandahar,” which won an award at the Cannes Film Festival and was listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 best movies ever. He has won more than a dozen international awards for his films…….”I moved from Iran about six and a half years ago to make more films because at that time the Iranian government doesn’t let me make more films in Iran”……… Leaving his country, Makhmalbaf said, was the price for continuing to make films, but it was a decision he did not take lightly. He said: “When we are out of our country somehow we become a little depressed, we lose our root in our culture but we will find something more. We could see our nation from outside from different angles.”Being out of Iran, out of the Middle East, is not easy for me really because I belong to that part of the earth…………..

His last name in Persian means “velvet weaver” or “weaver of velvet”, as his films are……


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