Getting serious

Making Tehran take notice


Getting serious
by Meir Javedanfar

After months of dilly-dallying, the Chinese government has finally decided to abandon its policy of "negotiations only" with regards to the Iranian nuclear program.

According to Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, China has now officially agreed to enter talks with Western powers about a new UN resolution against Iran, which aims to introduce new sanctions.

True, the Chinese have said they are willing to talk. They have not said that they are going to agree to new sanctions, yet. Nevertheless, this is still a step forward for the EU and the U.S., as China was not willing to even discuss sanctions until very recently.

The fact that Beijing has agreed to discuss these steps is bad news for Tehran. This is why Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, dispatched the top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to hold talks with the Chinese government. His hope is that it is not too late, and that he can find a way to persuade the Chinese to back away from the new UN resolution. A new oil deal here, a new gas deal there just might do the trick. It has worked before. It could do so again.

However, Khamenei may find that whatever he offers is too little, too late. The reasons could be related to developments some of which he has control over, and others which he doesn't.

First, there is his refusal to accept Obama's nuclear swap offer. This has made it more difficult to defend Iran's position in the international community. So has the recent exposure about a secret nuclear site in Qom.

There is also the fact that Khamenei may be mistaken about the importance of his country to the Chinese. Iran is important, but not important enough for China to lose out in other areas, which are more vital for its national interests. Taiwan is one example. So far, it seems that by backing Iran, the Chinese have provoked America into concluding a massive $6.4bn arms deal with Taiwan. This undermines China's security and reduces its military superiority in south-east Asia.

Then there is the question of North Korea and China's relations - something Khamenei has no influence over. However, events there have an impact on China's priorities, and the way the Iranian question fits into it them.

North Korea may be an economic basket case; nevertheless, China's influence and relations with Pyongyang play an important part in its regional balance of power competition with the US. There is also the fact that China and North Korea share a border. What happens there could have direct consequences on China's national security interests.

The recent mysterious sinking of the South Korean navy ship, which some believe was caused by a North Korean mine, has created new tensions with South Korea and its backers in the west. The Chinese will be needing their political capital to defuse a situation that is developing right on their doorstep. This could mean that at this very moment picking yet another fight against the west over Iran, a country thousands of miles away in the Middle East, may well be counterproductive for them and their need to resolve more pressing issues on their doorstep.

Therefore the best China may be able to do for now is to warn Tehran that it should take the option of negotiations seriously. Attending talks about new sanctions and even backing them is a powerful way of doing that.

The next question is: with China on board, is Khamenei likely to take notice of a new round of sanctions?

That depends. If Iran is less than two years away from crossing the technological threshold which would enable it to assemble a bomb, then it's unlikely any amount of sanctions would stop Khamenei in his tracks. He may well decide that as Iran is close to making the bomb, it would be worth absorbing the pain.

However, if Iran is five years away from reaching its goal, then sanctions - especially those targeting the regime and key parts of the economy under its ownership - may force the leadership to change its mind.

For now, sanctions, especially targeted ones, are a necessity - not just for the nuclear program, but also for the question of human rights in Iran. In its quest to survive, the Iranian government relies on human rights abuses more than the nuclear program.

To make Tehran take notice of the west's objections towards human rights abuses, the west needs to have leverage. Sanctions - especially those backed by the UN - provide the leverage needed to force the Iranian government to sit down and discuss this issue. Otherwise, there is no reason why Tehran would even bother to turn up to talk.

Meir is an Iranian born and Iranian and British educated Middle East Analyst based in Tel Aviv. This article first appeared in The Guardian.


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Ask the Native Americans

by glent on

It is the DUTY of Muslim nations to build the same type of weapons that Shatan has rewarded the cowardly reprobate hypocrytes with. These rats will always commit heinous crimes and unjust perpetrations against ANYONE who cannot fight back. They are mentally deficient and possesed of a psychotic lack of remorse indicating that they will never cease untill they are utterly rendered incapable.


...or they WILL get you also.

by glent on

Im hoping that anyone reading this has finally noticed that the average american(lower case letters) is possessed with a psychotic delusion that non-americans are put on earth by ALLAH to be judged, then categorized, then disposed of, by cowardly hypocryte americans. If you remain militarily weak, they WILL come to your land and do this to YOU.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

No Fear here's the definition of peaceful

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

It is peaceful if Israel does it. That's it. NO, it's not an oxymoron. It's just the way it is. You see, in the United States, this country doesn't have enough to worry about. We have to pay for policing enrichment facilities that American defense corporations (through sneaky subsidiaries) sell to Iran. 

It's working out really well if you can tell by the strength of the dollar and the rest of it. 

No Fear

Enrichment is the issue and its legal .. Benross.

by No Fear on

Are you trying to say if Iran has a peaceful nuclear activity, then the world will leave us alone? Is this what you are saying?

How do you decide if our program is peaceful or not? Where is the smoking gun? What evidence? Who is saying its not peaceful? What is Iran doing now that is considered illegal by international laws?

Do you realize that what you are saying is exactly the same non sense that is been pushed by US administrations and Israeli lobbyists? Its easy to claim the program is not peaceful , but you fail to point out how and which laws are broken.

The second part of your arguement is even more vague than the first part. You generalize too much without getting in the specifics.

You claim if Iran " joins the rest of the world " , then we will enjoy the same rights.  Care to elaborate how?  How far do you think we should bend over ?  Are you under the illussions that if we stop supporting Hamas, then the world will let us have our enrichment program?  Say yes if you think so.

Please be specific in your replies. Avoid over simplifications.



Much obliged

by benross on

You should have read what I wrote before asking this question but:

Why should any patriotic Iranian allow to forgo our nuclear rights which all countries in the world enjoy?

No patriotic Iranian should forgo its rights. Iranians are entitled to develop nuclear energy and have access to facilities for nuclear physics research. As I said, you should look what the nation needs for its nuclear energy (not you, someone expert in the field), and if there is something missing, formulate it exactly what it is and bring it to the table. The experts of IRI in initial deal did just that and agreed to a deal to ensure access to peaceful nuclear energy. So the international community has nothing against the well being of Iranian people and it proved it.

Why should we agree on less when the rest of the world have more?

You mean cookies? Is this how your mental is functioning about nuclear weapon? Canada, where I live, has nuclear facilities for peaceful purpose. Canada is not intensely regulated and observed by international community for its nuclear activities. Because it IS part of the rest of the world. And it is commited to its obligations about nuclear proliferation, specially after their big flop in selling a nuclear reactor to India without observation, which then became the basis for their nuclear weapon development. BTW that experience was the start of all these vigilant international observation on nuclear activities around the world, including Iran. Now they know better.

Iran had a vast project of developing nuclear energy prior to IRI. The world was competing for getting the contracts. It was not restricting it. Because Iran WAS part of the rest of the world. Unfinished Bushehr facility, 30 years later and counting, was supposed to be the first one.

You don't want to have less than the rest of the world? Join it first.

Your other option is to go to Abarmard for a crash course on 'anti-imperialism' rhetoric. Yours won't do!

No Fear

Benross ...

by No Fear on

Why don't you answer the question i put forward to you? 



I rest my case!

by benross on

For anybody who cares not to be manipulated. I'm somewhat relieved that no fear came to my rescue. It is getting increasingly harder to be manipulated!


Reader1: I share your

by Bavafa on

Reader1: I share your sentiment and fully agree with them on both posts.

A lot of name calling is going on here without any objective challenge to the points raised here which only serves to divide us.

As for whether Chinese will support the next round of sanction or not, it will remain to be seen. Another thing that remains to be seen is that if the new sanction will have any [real] affect on Iran's path on its nuclear program. One thing that is pretty clear to most is that any sanction will have some affect on the living condition of average Iranian living in Iran.

Another thing that is also clear is that if Iran tries to retaliate and reduce oil production it will surely affect the already weak economy here in US and else where.


No Fear

Benross ...

by No Fear on

Were you dropped on your head as a child?  For someone who confesses that doesn't follow whats on the table in regards to our nuclear issue, you sure have some big ideas to recommend other Iranians on how to deal with our nuclear negotiations. Talk about hypocrisy for a change , it might do you good.

Just answer this one question;

Why should any patriotic Iranian allow to forgo our nuclear rights which all countries in the world enjoy? Why should we agree on less when the rest of the world have more?  


Dear Sargord,

by cyclicforward on

I feel you have a lot of anxiety and fear in your writing. That is very good and it should be like that since the life of privilege for you and your thugs will come to an end very soon and abruptly.



by benross on

Thanks for your concern.

It is very very dangerous to play the nationalist card on this issue. IRI played us around on this since its inception, just to stay in power and keep raping and torturing us. And that's what Abarmard wants.

One way of dissipating this danger without falling in IRI trap, as Iranian, is to first ask ourselves what we really need as a nation, in our nation interest, and if the international community is not offering a deal to satisfy our needs, then we can formulate what is lacking.

This is not the way IRI will ever let you to think about this subject. The issue, before nuclear energy and our need for the academic knowledge for the technology, is 'us' and 'them'. This is how Abarmard starts his argument. 'who are these imperialist bastards to tell us what to do etc. etc.". For Abarmard and his ilk, this is the content not the nuclear energy. The well being of Iranian people is never the content. Inflaming the tension between 'us' and 'them' is. You have to make people mentally paranoid and unstable to then stuff your garbage to them without resistance.

I didn't follow the details of the nuclear deal which was agreed upon and later dumped by IRI. It is a highly specialized field that only few experts know what is at the table. The mere fact that such highly specialized field is brought to the public discourse for a a crowd that have no idea what they are talking about, in itself should give you an indication how manipulative and dangerous the intentions are. My rational is that if the expert delegates of IRI, with all their political agenda, could initially reach an agreement, it means that what the Iranian nation needs for its nuclear energy and technology could be satisfied by what the international community can offer. And for our nation, that is what it counts doesn't it? Backing down from the initial agreement only justifies and validates the reasons for which there was conditions and restrictions imposed by international community in initial deal to begin with.

Please please, don't let be manipulated.


Zion's Whishful Thinking!

by Landan-Neshin on

Before anthing else, one hopes that the author would seize to claim a higher analytical ground concerning Iranian issues by the mere fact that he was born in Iran, in particular when writing for the western media whose readership mostly knows zilch about Iran.

Secondly, It would have been nice if the 'peace loving' and highly anxious resident of Tel Aviv had the courage to write a line or two about the nuclear arsenal of his new home! But of course he is well aware what awaits those citizens who get to close to the subject.

Thirdly, as a realatively new resident of the sole nuclear armed state in the region, Mr. Javedanfar is well advised to ponder on this dilema that how come his new home, with all its 'open secret' nuclear capabilities, has not enjoyed one month of peaceful existance in the last 60 years?

My humble conclusion can only be that the author, not only supports his new country to maintain its nukes but, also, firmly believes that it should stay the only Nuke power in the region, come what may! 

I don't know if the British educated author is familiar with this old English expression: " you might be in for a rude awakening"   



Come down to earth - bensross

by reader1 on


Much I appreciate your articulation on subjects of this nature, I just don't get you. I am an ordinary iranian born citizen of the west and I don't pretend to be an expert in political matter but I strongly object to your assertion that because there may be "some grounds
to be concerned about", they have the right to decide who can and who cannot have nuclear capability. You seem to forget that they also thought they had a good ground to attack Iraq. Hunderds of thousands innocent civilians were killed on the false  ground that Sadamm Husian had weapon of mass destruction. Where is his weapon of mass destruction? Iran may or may not be pursuing a nuclear weapon programme - I do not know and niether you.



Sargord Pirouz

Meir Javedanfar, the hasbara

by Sargord Pirouz on

Meir Javedanfar, the hasbara writer out of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Hey Meir, spare us your typical anti-Iran nonsense. How about surprising us one of these days, and write about the inhumane siege of Gaza or the hypocrisy of Dimona and Israel's 250 nuclear weapons.Who am I kidding: that sort of thing runs contrary to the purpose of the hasbara.


Oh, and Meir, congratulations on your successful recruitment of Neda's supposed fiance, and his recent trip to Israel. But sorry to say, not many were fooled. Most were appalled and even incensed. 

Better luck next time with your zionist "schmegegge."


Before anything define

by benross on

Before anything define "International community" for us. Five or six countries are not international community and that's as arrogant as those who claim the six are the world.

Hypocrisy is chronic in you Abarmard. You just 'happen' to be in U.S. You could easily be in any other part of the world, like Zimbabwe or Laos. The security council of U.N just 'happen' to have 5 defined permanent members. They could be picked-up at random from any member of U.N isn't it?

Those who are capable to reduce the danger of nuclear war, by actually making agreements and enforcing it, like the recent one between U.S and Russia, in cutting down the number of nuclear warheads, they are those who make the call on what needs to be done to ensure nuclear proliferation doesn't occur. And if they target a particular country, it's because there is grounds to be concerned about. They have no time, nor interest to jump on a particular country for the heck of it.

But of-course, you wouldn't know that. You live in Zimbabwe. And you don't speak English.


Sorry, I didn't read the rest of your comment. I don't understand your language. 


Does not look good

by reader1 on


I am just concerned about the number of passed resolutions
against Iran and not the substance of the resolution. Any action
against Iran may be argued as justified by saying that “Iran is in
defiance of n number of united nation resolutions”.  Military
action against Iran, even  a surgical one, will unite all Iranians
against the attacker. Much I dislike the current regime, I will
certainly join the regime against the aggressor. Looking at the
situation objectively, the country has a legitimate right to be in the
same position as Japan and Brazil, i.e. to have full nuclear capability
but  not to posses nuclear arsenal.  I just wish the Mullas had been
blessed with some degree of  intelligence to play the game right, even
though they do not have the legitemacy to present the country.


China will not yield

by bahramthegreat on

Chinese will not bulge to American demand for two reasons:

1) The recent American sale of advanced military equipments to Taiwan and 2) The recent meeting between Obama and The Dalai Lama the 73-year-old spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism last month. It is to the interest of China to hold on to Iran.


Wrong analysis based on anti Iranian agenda

by Abarmard on

You have mentioned that "First, there is his refusal to accept Obama's nuclear swap offer. This has made it more difficult to defend Iran's position in the international community." 

Before anything define "International community" for us. Five or six countries are not international community and that's as arrogant as those who claim the six are the world.  

Secondly, That is not Khamenei's choice. Personally as an Iranian born, I would be fully against that kind of swap. There was absolutely no guarantee anywhere anyplace in that contract in regard to West delivery of 20% nuclear fuel to Iran. Therefore do not blame where blame is not due. Also don't hold your breath as seeing Iran losing the battle, just yet. The Chinese as you have also mentioned, have not agreed with anything so far. And I do not see them give too much to a country that they might be competing for position and eyeing the same energy resources. That is an important factor. So, your analysis of imagining that whatever Iran is doing is too little too late, is biased, unfair, against Iranian interest, and puts the blame to where the blame is not due. Also, I can make similar claim that US might be doing too little too late.

China and US and most people who are in tune with the real issues are fully aware that Iran is not taking negotiations lightly, but the Western contracts are nothing but a joke. If you were in business of any kind and demand what you see in those contracts without giving anything in return but "Perhaps no more harsher sanctions", you would throw the damn contract in the party's face and say get lost. Why should Iran go under these demands, when we all know that this would be the beginning rather than the end. Meaning once you satisfy their unfair demands, you need to follow up. They are not offering anything but a possible, and that's an important word, "POSSIBLE" hold on future sanctions! That's a joke.

It is very important for Iranians who reside out of Iran to realize what it is that the West is pushing. Why doesn't Western countries swipe the fuel inside Iran and provide Iran with exchange on the spot? That's Iran's suggestion that is fair, balanced, and cuts the possible tricks from the West, as historically they have gotten our money and work Without ever delivering.