21 September, 2019

My take on Iran’s outrageous hostage-taking policy, targeting Iranian dual citizens and foreigners

My take on Iran’s outrageous hostage-taking policy, targeting Iranian dual citizens and foreigners
نظرم درباره علل گروگان گیری توسط جمهوری اسلامی
İran rejimi nədən cüt tabiiyətli vətəndaşları və xariciləri gerogan tutur

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20 September, 2019

On UN General Assembly visa issuance delay by the U.S. for Iranian officials.

Amrika tərəfindən İran rəsmilərinə viza gecikməsi haqda

On UN General Assembly visa issuance delay by the U.S. for Iranian officials.
درباره تاخیر ایالات متحده در صدور ویزای مجمع عمومی سازمان ملل برای مقامات ایرانی صحبت کردم

18 September, 2019

Why Iran’s Khamenei pushes for higher birthrate?


Why Iran’s Khamenei pushes for higher birthrate?

Why Iran’s Khamenei pushes for higher birthrate?
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has again called on compatriots to have more children while calling on authorities to help families increase the population amid crippling economic sanctions, high unemployment and staggering inflation rates. Inspired by the size of the population in China and India, Khamenei urged for advancing Iran’s national power by doubling its current population of 83 million to 150 million. Khamenei urged Iranian couples to make more babies while giving three odd examples as role models: Prophet Mohammad, American family, and India and China.


It is interesting that the supreme leader made the above comments in a meeting with a group of newly married couples last March, however, his remarks were published four months later, on Monday, August 5. Another peculiarity is that Khamenei gave three examples as role models for Iranian youth, all of which are either inaccurate or irrelevant to today’s Iran.
  • A prophetic tradition

Describing marriage as a “prophetic tradition” advised by the Prophet of Islam, Khamenei urged the youth to get married and start a prolific family. However, the Prophet was not particularly prolific to be imitated by Iranian youth as an exemplar prolific person. Prophet Mohammad officially married thirteen times but had only one child, at least according to Shia sources. This doesn’t qualify him as a prolific person to be imitated by other Muslims.
  • American way

In another inaccurate comment, claiming that every US family has 15 to 20 children, Khamenei said: “They (Americans) encourage this (making more babies), and nobody censures them. But when it comes to us, it gets reversed and having less babies (is encouraged).”
Citing these hyperbolic numbers well indicates how far Khamenei is from the reality. Whoever is advising Iranian leader, seems to have obtained his facts from an American reality TV show called “19 Kids and Counting”, featuring politician and TV personality, “Jim Bob Duggar” and his wife “Michelle” who have 20 children together.
Khamenei ignores the fact that the US constitutes world’s largest economy and Iran is economically on the verge of collapse, partly due to US-imposed sanctions and partly because of rampant corruption and about 80 percent of the population is below poverty line. This is why young Iranian couples are struggling to even raise two kids. strangely enough, Khamenei, who almost always depicts the US as a “Great Satan” in his speeches, is now advocating this supposedly American way of life. He again ignores the fact that highly prolific couples like Jim Bob Duggar are rare and limited to some extreme Christian sects, who oppose all forms of birth control and avoid using contraceptives.
  • China and India model

The supreme leader presented China and India as examples of how countries with larger populations achieve more. Praising the two most populous nations and setting them as examples for Iranians, Khamenei argues that: “When a population is large, it necessarily features more competent people, and this ultimately contributes to a growth in available competencies.”
Khamenei boasted about achievements in China and India but eluded the fact that both countries have had population growth control policies in place for decades, despite some cases of recent ease. Khamenei ignores the fact that China’s economic miracle has lifted 500 million people from extreme poverty line over the last three decades, partly thanks to its one-child policy not unleashed population growth as he claims. Khamenei totally neglects to mention that China, and particularly India, are still poor and nearly half of India’s 1.2 billion people have no toilet at home.


There is no doubt that compared to the Islamic Republic’s first and second decade of existence, the sharp population growth has slowed down. However, compared to what is happening in industrialized countries, Iran is not experiencing a serious population decline. Population decline is a real problem in industrialized nations but not in Iran with 83 million population that is grappling with all kinds of economic, social and environmental problems including water shortage. Increasing the population to 150 million can only further complicate things as Iranian government has fallen short of providing its citizens with basic services such as employment, poverty, education and healthcare, especially since the recent years.
Regardless of the above so-called role models, Khamenei seems to desire to see a more populous Iran for three reasons: Ideological motives, Geopolitical considerations and conscription purposes.
  • Ideological motives

The Islamic system in Iran has an apocalyptic worldview where at some point, an Armageddon is inevitable, and Shiites need to be well prepared for that. According to this Shiite supremacist worldview, the Shiite forces of Imam Mahdi are going to literally fight the entire world as other religions and creeds, including Sunni Muslims, are wrong and sinful and the only truth and righteous path is Shiite Islam and more Shiites population means having stronger position in the decisive final battle of Armageddon.
  • Geopolitical considerations

Iran is located in a region where it still is at the center of attention for traditional major powers as well as energy-thirsty emerging powers that want an uninterrupted and cheap access to and a durable flow of oil from the Middle East. As geopolitical games for influence are being played in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, Khamenei thinks he can exploit the larger population for geopolitical considerations both against major powers and also against its regional Sunni rivals such as Saudi Arabia.
The leader sees the population growth as one of the elements of national power. However, he ignores other more important ingredients of national power including economy, technology, human resources, education, good governance and legitimate political power structure. Khamenei neglects the fact that, most cases of population growth do not necessarily lead to political power increase. A good example is two continents of Africa and Europe. While the former is experiencing a fast population growth, it is at the same time, suffering from extreme poverty and economic underdevelopment. Situation in the latter (Europe) is totally opposite: it is an economic and political powerhouse but for decades, is suffering from low birthrate.
  • Conscription purposes

Iran is a revisionist country that wants to project its power to the region and even the world. For Khamenei, a fresh young generation can be used for mandatory military service (conscription) purposes. He seeks to cultivate a new Jihadi generation of young zealots who are brainwashed to fight asymmetrical warfare and conduct suicide (istishhadi) operations against enemy targets and get ready for all possibilities, including a limited or a full-fledged war and a possibility of US military invasion.
In conclusion, rapid population increase policies are not unknown in Iran. The same policies have been tested in 1980s, when Iran and Iraq engaged in an eight-year-long war and, having conscription in their mind, Iranian authorities banned all forms of sterilization and contraceptives only to realize in 1990s that population explosion has created unbearable problems for the country and forced the Islamic Republic to reverse its population policy. This time is no exception. And increasing Iran’s population to 150 million or more, would only add to the pervasive corruption, poverty, environmental and other problems in Iran, forcing more millions to bear the brunt or flee the country and seek asylum in Europe and elsewhere.
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Ahmad Hashemi
Ahmad Hashemi is an Iranian freelance journalist and a senior expert in the Middle East region and global geopolitical trends. He has a bachelor's and a master's degree in politics from the University of Tehran. He is currently pursuing another Master’s degree in the Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, located in Washington D.C. metropolitan area. On Twitter: @MrAhmadHashemi

On Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s comments who said the US will 'defend' international rules-based order being 'undermined by Iran'

Amrika’nın Difa Vəziri Mark Esper’in ABŞ 'beynəlxalq nizamı' İrandan qorumağa hazırdır sözləri ilə bağlı
On Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s comments who said the US will 'defend' international rules-based order being 'undermined by Iran'
در خصوص سخنان وزیر دفاع آمریکا در خصوص دفاع ایالات متحده از نظم قانون محور بین المللی که مورد هجمه ایران است

17 September, 2019

On Iran’s involvement in two attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

On Iran’s involvement in two attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
Səudi Ərəbistan’ın nəft təsislərinə saldırıda İran’ın rolu haqda.
در خصوص نقش ایران در حمله به تاسیسات نفتی عربستان سعودی

15 September, 2019

On Netanyahu's Sochi trip and Netanyahu-Putin meeting on Iran

İsrail'in Başvəziri Benyamin Netanyahu'nun Soçi səfəri və İran-odaqlı Netanyahu-Putin arasında aparılan müzakərələr.

On Netanyahu's Sochi trip and Netanyahu-Putin meeting on Iran
در خصوص سفر نخست وزیر اسرائیل به سوچی روسیه و دیدار نتانیاهو و پوتین با محوریت ایران
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14 September, 2019

Will Netanyahu annex Jewish Settlements prior to September elections?

مقاله ام در خصوص احتمال الحاق بخش هایی از کرانه باختری به اسرائیل

Will Netanyahu annex Jewish Settlements prior to September elections?

Will Netanyahu annex Jewish Settlements prior to September elections?
Israelis will go to ballot boxes, on September 17 snap elections, to elect the 120 members of the Knesset. In the prior elections in April 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure a relative majority and did not succeed in forming a coalition government, the first such failure in Israel’s history.
Now Netanyahu needs a helping hand from his closest ally, the 45thU.S. President Donald Trump, in order to win over the much-needed right wing and far-right voters in Israel in the upcoming elections. According to sources in Netanyahu’s office, he is lobbying for public support, and is seeking a public declaration from President Trump, backing an Israeli move to extend its sovereignty over Jewish settlements, built in the occupied West Bank territories.
As part of his election campaign promise in April, Netanyahu pledged to gradually annex the West Bank Jewish settlements, a move long backed by nearly all lawmakers in his alliance of right-wing and religious parties, and said he hoped to do so with the U.S. support. Nevertheless, this is not the first time that Netanyahu is seeking a boost from Trump administration as the recognition on December 6, 2017, of Jerusalem as capital of Israel and the recognition on March 21, 2019, of Syria’s occupied Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory were moves partly to shore up Netanyahu’s right-wing government as well as to please Trump’s own Evangelical Christian Zionist base at home. Officials in Netanyahu’s office are confident that the US president will make declaration ahead of September vote, shoring up right-wing support for Israeli Premier. Thus, it is expected that Trump would, sometime in September, announce his one-sided so-called “Deal of the Century”.
There are several indications that Trump would go ahead with this move. For example, in an interview published by The New York Times in June, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman suggested that some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. According to him: “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”
Other American officials including U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt have confirmed comments made by U.S. Ambassador to Israel. However, Netanyahu might seek US’ recognition of the West Bank annexation by the Jewish state mostly for an election game and to secure him a win in the September elections. Within this context, Trump is expected to declare West Bank, most probably partially, such as Area C, as Israeli territory and this is exactly what Netanyahu needs to get in order to secure far-right and ultra-religions Israeli votes in the upcoming elections.
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Trump-Netanyahu alliance and the need for far-right appeasement

Both Trump and Netanyahu harbor elements of ultra-nationalism within their administrations and they both need votes coming from far-right corners. This can explain why, President Trump, despite his long history of anti-Semitic bias, unconditionally supports Israel, particularly its current right-wing government. They both have strong anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, nativist sentiments and their push for adopting exclusionist Identitarian far-right policies brings the two together.
Within the Trump Administration, notorious anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, far right, white nationalist figures such as Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka have served or are still serving in senior positions. This tendency can explain why President Trump hesitates to denounce far-right terrorists and reduces hate-inspired white-nationalist mass shooters to mentally-ill individuals.
In Israel too, the far-right politicians such as Ayelet Shaked, who has wished death for all Palestinians, including Palestinian children, or  “little snakes” as she prefers to call them, and Naftali Bennett who advocates for complete annexation of the West Bank, have had senior cabinet positions in different Netanyahu governments.
Furthermore, in another move to appease his ultra-nationalist voters, Netanyahu appointed on June 19, the chairman of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Rafi Peretz, as education minister and the leader of far-right National Union party, Bezalel Smotrich, as transportation minister of the interim government. Also, on August 20, members of Netanyahu’s Likud party joined an extremist faction’s legal bid to ban the Joint (Arab) List from running in the upcoming elections.

Implications of Trump’s likely West Bank move

Netanyahu would announce annexation of all or parts of the West Bank to Israel, right after Trump’s announcement. This is a win-win game for both Netanyahu and Trump as they both need each other in the upcoming elections. Unless Israel extends citizenship status to all Palestinians – which Tell Aviv is not willing to do so – this move would further isolate Palestinians as non-citizen subjects of the state of Israel. The West Bank annexation can add more fuel to the already volatile situation on the ground and it can also dissuade Trump’s Arab allies to whom Washington critically needs to keep Iran’s regional ambitions at bay. The following are some of the consequences of Trump’s likely West Bank move:
  • Higher chances of Netanyahu’s win in the August elections
A U.S. support would put Netanyahu in a better position to his rivals who are complaining about his corruption and his term in the office as the longest-serving prime minister after Israel’s founder and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion. Recent polls showthat unless something happens externally (meaning declaring Trump’s peace plan which is also going to include partial West Bank annexation), Netanyahu will fall in September as Israel’s two largest parties, Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Blue-White, each seem to have about 30 seats in the polls.
  • More Jewish settlements, less room for Palestinian statehood
If President Trump proceeds with Netanyahu’s demand and declares occupied Palestinian lands as parts of Israel’s territory, that would be interpreted as a green light by Netanyahu to more aggressively expand Jewish settlements at the heart of Palestinian cities and villages, making creation of a future sovereign Palestine almost impossible.
  • A guaranteed boost in Evangelical votes for Trump
About 80 percent of white evangelicals cast their ballots for Donald Trump in 2016, partly because Trump promised to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. Again, he is going to need those votes for a victory over rising democratic rivals in 2020 elections. President Trump cannot take the evangelical votes for granted, therefore, the West Bank move would greatly satisfy their Biblical fantasies and would further propel evangelicals to vote for Trump, again.
The bottom line is that Donald Trump seeks to be reelected in 2020 by appealing to his evangelical base and by guaranteeing the smooth flow of dollars from his Jewish mega-donors such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who requested embassy move in 2015 and later offered to help pay for the construction of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
  • Death of Palestinian statehoodaspiration
Trump seems to need to demonstrate a pro-Netanyahu gesture for the domestic consumption ahead of the 2020 elections. And emboldened by possible Trump declaration, Netanyahu may decide to hold on to his promise by officially annexing the West Bank. This annexation would bring to an end hopes of a two-state solution and a Palestinian statehood.
In conclusion, from what has been revealed so far, current U.S. administration seem to have moved beyond the traditional two-state framework in Israel/Palestine issue as it has not included statehood for the Palestinians in the Deal of the Century, which apparently envisions only a limited Palestinian autonomy. However, the dynamics in the Middle East are such fragile that even if some despotic Arab and Muslim governments can trade in this humiliation with a short-sighted economic or diplomatic gain, the nations and peoples of the region would hardly embrace the idea of an ever-expanding Israel at the expense of eternal Palestinian statelessness, manifested in the Deal of the Century.
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Ahmad Hashemi is an Iranian freelance journalist and a senior expert in the Middle East region and global geopolitical trends. He has a bachelor's and a master's degree in politics from the University of Tehran. He is currently pursuing another Master’s degree in the Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, located in Washington D.C. metropolitan area. On Twitter: @MrAhmadHashemi


13 September, 2019

I argued that Iran is an Apartheid regime on three levels

I argued that Iran is an Apartheid regime on three levels:
One- Religious: only Mullah-abiding Shiites are considered first class citizens.
Two- Ethnic/racial: only Persians (Fars) are first class citizens and other ethnicities/ nationalities including Azerbaijani Turks are treated as second class citizens and denied the right of education in their mother tongue.
Three- Gender: only men are entitled to have some limited rights including entering stadiums and women have to disguise themselves as men to enter stadiums.

در مصاحبه با "آذربایجان نیوز تی وی" گفتم رژیم ایران از سه جهت یک رژیم آپارتاید است:
یک- آپارتاید مذهبی: فقط شیعیان تابع دیکتاتوری ولایت فقیه شهروند درجه یک محسوب می شوند.
دو- آپارتاید قومی/ نژادی: صرفا فارس ها و فارس زبان ها شهروند درجه یک محسوب می شوند و ترک های آذربایجانی و دیگر ملت ها از حقوق اولیه از جمله تحصیل به زبان مادری و زندگی شرافتمندانه محروم هستند.
سه- آپارتاید جنسیتی: صرفا مردان می توانند از برخی حقوق محدود از جمله حضور در استادیوم ها برخوردار باشند و زنها برای ورود به استادیوم ها باید خود را به شکل مردان دربیاورند.
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10 September, 2019

On uranium traces found in a warehouse' in Turquzabad

Turquzabad anbarında tapılan uranyum izləri ilə bağlı danışdım.
On uranium traces found in a warehouse' in Turquzabad
در خصوص آثار اورانیوم یافت شده در تورقوزآباد
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08 September, 2019

My take on U.S. efforts to eliminate Iran’s oil export market and cut its oil exports to zero.

My take on U.S. efforts to eliminate Iran’s oil export market and cut its oil exports to zero.
Amrika’ın İran’ın nəft ixracat bazarını yox edmək ve nəft satışını sifirə endirmə çabaları barəde fikirlərimi paylaşdım.
نظراتم در خصوص تلاش های آمریكا برای نابود کردن بازار صادرات نفت ایران و كاهش فروش نفت آن به صفر صحبت کردم.