April 23, 2008


Leader calls for strong Iran economy (Press TV, 23 Apr 2008)

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution says Iran must strengthen its economic foundation to protect the sovereignty of its nation.

Addressing workers on Wednesday, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said because of the Islamic Revolution the Iranian nation has ensured its political independence.

The Leader, however, added that in order to protect its sovereignty and political privacy, Iran must strengthen its economy.

Iran's agreement to talks on nuclear programs raises hopes (The Associated Press, 4/23/08)
The U.N. nuclear monitoring agency on Wednesday announced a "milestone" agreement with Iran that aims to provide answers about allegations Tehran tried to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a peaceful atomic program.

International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming divulged no details in a brief statement about the deal. But IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei called the agreement "a milestone" that — if successful — should signal the end of his organization's years of attempts to probe Tehran's secretive nuclear program.

Israel changes tune on Iran (Peter Hirschberg , 4/24/08, Asia Times)
In the clearest indication yet that Israel now believes Iran's nuclear aspirations will be curbed, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that efforts being undertaken by the international community will ensure that Tehran does not acquire nuclear capability. [...]

Talks in China last week looked not just at sanctions against Iran, but also "incentives" aimed at persuading Tehran to curb its nuclear pursuit. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that officials from the US, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, China and the European Union were looking "at the incentive side of the equation".

If Olmert now believes that the efforts of the international community will bear fruit, then his comments seem to reflect an Israeli conviction that diplomatic means will be central in stopping Iran from going nuclear.

Ayatollah Khamenei recognizes that Ahmedinejad and his nuclear posturing just serve as impediments to the economic reform that preserving the Republic requires.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 23, 2008 8:26 AM

I find it interesting that Ehud Olmert is suddenly an oracle. On any other point, he is derided as a fool.

Ditto for the IAEA. Al-Baradei has been an apologist for Iran since before Bush was President, but now he is a wise man?

And Khameini sounds desperate to me. The Islamic Revolution has preserved the political independence? But all could fail if the economy stagnates? Sure, he is recognizing reality, but I doubt if the degree of Islamism is going to preserve anything. It certainly hasn't helped the economy, and while Ahmadinejad's peculiarity makes things more obvious, no cleric (Rafsanjani, Khatami) is going to make things better.

It was a rebuke to Madmood, but Khameini doesn't have a clue if he is worried about "privacy". That just means he is afraid the whole house of cards is going to come tumbling down.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 23, 2008 10:58 PM

Olmert is a fool on every topic. It's his failure to understand Sharon's plan for a Palestinian state that has them bogged down.

Al-Baradei has always been wise. Recall that he had Iraq right too.

You're creeping towards wisdom of your own on Khamenei. He doesn't care about Mahmoud's/Khomeini's Revolution, only about his own Republic. If it doesn't get economics right it will fail.

Posted by: oj at April 24, 2008 7:15 AM

So when will Khameini give his 1956 Khruschev speech? Such a break is probably necessary to set the nation on the right path.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 24, 2008 9:25 AM

He ended the Revolution years ago. Khruschev never had the stones to end theirs. Talk is cheap.

Posted by: oj at April 24, 2008 4:38 PM

"He ended the Revolution years ago".

That is too glib by half. It really didn't have anywhere else to go, after the horrors of the Basij. He wants the spirit of Islamic Revolution, just not the messiness. They've probably had enough of that.

But nothing has really changed since the 80s, except that they aren't fighting an active war, and the various factions have become kleptocratic. Very predictable.

So they sit around and gnaw on old plots. The danger is that one faction might just hatch a new one. That is what Khameini has to deal with. And, like it or not, it is what we have to be prepared for.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 24, 2008 4:54 PM

You misapprehend the nature of revolutions. He evolved theirs into a rather liberal democratic republic, though he needs to add the capitalism. It's a brilliant achievement, though it owes much to the similarity of Shi'ism to Christianity.

Posted by: oj at April 24, 2008 7:50 PM

They aren't liberal and they aren't very republican, given the top-down control over who gets to be in the government. It's like a country club from the 1950s (to be polite).

A Rube Goldberg system may be fascinating, but it isn't brilliant. Especially when the disconnects begin to show. Iran is pretty much where it was in 1989.

Khameini cannot maintain the emotional nature of the revolution (the Islamism) and continue to prop up (or protect) the Guard without further alienating the people. He cannot risk continued economic isolation, but he cannot humiliate the hard-liners without some serious strife. And he cannot allow real political reform, because the kleptocrats and the various gangs have too much to lose. Plus, the twelvers want to help history along.

Eventually, there will be a settling.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 24, 2008 9:51 PM

Yes, America was more republican when run like a country club. You mean democratic, which is cancerous and well avoided.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2008 6:36 AM