Friday, July 31, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Hopes on the Horizon
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate
The agreement between Iran and 5 +1 on the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic has been coined as a major historical event which has changed the course of events not only with respect to relationships among these nations but also at the broader international level. This new page in history has brought into light the real image of Iran. Adversaries for a long time, used a name calling game to label Iran as a threat, as irrational and hostile in mainstream media, they had invested on creating a negative and fearsome image . Iran was portrayed as a source of instability and threat for the region, Iranophobia was advertised to ensure a constant sales of arms to the Sheikhdoms of Persian Gulf. Iran was excessively threatened and pressured for several years. Unnecessary and illegal sanctions were adopted against Iran, including chapter 7 resolutions which could take a country to military confrontation. A continuation of that trend would have eventually lead to escalation of conflicts in the very volatile west Asian region. While the sanctions did pressure the economy and environment in Iran, the nation withstood the pressures. Iranians were never prepared to submit or to relinquish their rights as a dignified member of the global community.
In the Presidential elections of 2013 the people of Iran voted for a change in both domestic politics and international diplomacy. They voted so that the nuclear issue would be resolved in a peaceful and balanced manner, protecting the rights of Iran to peaceful nuclear technologies but also addressing international concerns. Dr. Rouhani was elected by the people to change the previous trends and address both national and international challenges in a rational manner. In addition to the weight that the Rouhani administration gave to curbing inflation and improving conditions for the workplace and employment ,special emphasis was placed on environmental standards and mainstreaming sustainable development policy as well as a robust health care scheme which was implemented nationwide. As his government was tackling the very difficult internal issues, Dr. Rouhani mandated the Foreign Minister Dr. Zarif and his team to engage with the 5+1 for a serious resolution of the nuclear issue. According to many observers, the Iranian negotiating team were both very qualified and experienced but also knowledgeable on the technical matters, particularly since Dr. Salehi the current Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation joined them. A regional power negotiated competently for several months with six major global powers , even as the stream of events unfolded it became clear that Iranians, clear on their rights and objectives, are patient and polite and as Zarif noted clearly “ Iranians are not to be threatened”. After a lengthly process of negotiations where many issues were resolved and both sides made possible concessions, hardliners from both sides began a campaign to derail and spoil the processes. Also those who felt that their interests were undermined began a smearing campaign. The highest political will on all sides and specifically the support of the Supreme Leader, who indicated his full trust for the negotiating team, paved way for the final round and ultimate settlement.
A longstanding conflict between Iran and the West came to a settlement which can prevent a new war and military adventures in the region. Many clashes in the world have led to armed conflict and loss of human life, this is a new chapter in the international scene where a conflict is resolved through tedious and long months of negotiations. This is an example of a win win outcome where both sides believe they have gained. The strong message of peace and reconciliation that this agreement sends in a world marred by the terrible violence and killings of the extremists and terrorists, is a beacon of hope for the world and can serve as an example for others.
The Holy Quran has many lessons for humankind, it makes a clear reference to such examples in the verse Fuselat ayat 34 : “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.”
Friday, July 10, 2015
People and government have been celebrating the last Friday of Ramadhan as Quds day in Iran for 34 years. Many other nations have also embraced the celebration during these years. Millions march in support of the Palestinian cause and condemn the atrocities and oppression of the zionsts. The issue of Palestine stands today as a stark symbol of global injustice and mismanagement with no clear solution in sight.
The marchers of Quds day were mostly Shias supporting the cause of Palestinains who are mostly Sunnis. The march was a demonstration of unity and fraternity of all humanity against oppression and war. Muslims and all believers in righteousness and peace marched today to demonstrate their solidarity against oppression.
A group of researchers have done some valuable work to expose the extent and dimensions of the genocide in Gaza. It is notable that while the recent condemnation of the Gaza massacre in 2014 as genocide by the Human Rights Commission is a valuable action it is only the begining of a process which could shed light on this calamity.
Friday, June 26, 2015
I spoke at a session devoted to Iran this morning and made note of the fact that peacemaking is an example of enjoing what is good and forbidding what is evil, which is a basic precept of Islamic ethics and also prescribed by Abrahamic religions. I spoke about the internal policies of Dr. Rouhani in different areas including the environment and also referred to the various international overtures we have had in promoting diplomatic relations with our neighbors but also in engaging for a just settlement in the Nuclear talks with the 5+ 1. I took questions from the audience some of which were quite challenging.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Saturday, April 18, 2015
The five littoral states of the Caspian Sea are bound by only one modern international legal instrument,ie the Tehran Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment. This convention which was signed in 2004 in Tehran provides mechanisms for cooperation to protect biodiversity, coastal zone management, waste and pollution control.
Last week President Rouhani visited Gilan Province on the coast of the Caspian Sea. During this visit I delivered a report on the Anzali Wetland on the coastal zones of the sea.The wetland which extends over 19000 hectares and plays an important role in the ecosystem and livelihoods of millions has faced many challenges during recent decades. The government of Dr. Rouhani has laid much emphasis on the restoration programs for this wetland particularly in conjunction and support of the Government of Japan. In my report I noted that the restoration plan for Anzali is now prepared and will be underway this year. Prevention of soil erosion in the larger water basin including protection of forests, waste management, sewerage treatment and sustainable agriculture practices are all very important. Anzali and the Gilan province is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of the world. The President emphasised on the importance of protecting the wetland and promoting environmental standards in Gilan.