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Middle East Analyst is a subsidiary of The Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company (meepas). Its main goal is to analyse contemporary political and economic affairs of the region. RSS Subscribe to RSS

Was Rigi’s arrest by Iran staged?

Yesterday, the Iranian government claimed that it had arrested the wanted militant Abdolmalek Rigi, by forcing his aircraft, which was overflying Iranian territory, to land. New evidence suggests that this operation could have been staged for the cameras. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/02/was-rigis-arrest-by-iran-staged.html

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Posted on : Feb 24 2010
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Posted under Iran- Defense |

Is Khamenei Dead?

There are numerous rumors circulating in the internet which suggest that Ayatollah Khamenei is in a coma. Others say that he is already dead. The piece below analyzes the rumor and its sources.


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Posted on : Oct 15 2009
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Posted under Iran- Defense |

Iran’s Nuclear Dilemma

The analysis below looks at why Iran has suddenly decided to improve its relations with the IAEA, the problems ahead, and the path which Khamenei is likely to take. http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/08/24/irans_nuclear_dilemma__97091.html

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Iran’s crisis has nuclear fallout

Many Iranians will now start to see their nation’s nuclear programme as a tool of the regime’s leadership, not of the people.


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Posted on : Jul 23 2009
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Posted under Iran- Defense, Uncategorized |

Did Israeli drones disrupt Iran’s satellite launch?

The article below in Haaretz looks at a recent report from Iran that hostile unmanned aerial vehicles disrupted the communications systems at the launch site of a missile carrying Iran’s first satellite to space.

The question is, who was behind this?

To read the article, click below:


Posted on : Mar 12 2009
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Posted under Iran- Defense |

Israel’s Concerns About Sale of S-300 Missiles To Iran

By: Meir Javedanfar


This morning I was interviewed by BBC Persian about the recent Israeli response to reports that Russia may be about to sell advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Iran. The interviewer, asked a very valid question: “These weapons are for defensive purposes only. They can not be used to attack Israel. So why is Jerusalem against their sale?”.

This is a valid point and a very fair question to ask. Iranians have every right to know why a foreign government opposes the sale of a weapons system, which is to be used for the defense of their country.

One of Israel’s concerns is that the system would make it much more dangerous for Jerusalem to attack Iran’s nuclear installations, if it decides to. Although the prospect of a military strike is the last and worst option, its still an important tool in the carrots and sticks package which is being offered to Iran. What must be noted however, that this is a long term problem.

The more immediate problem presented by the sale of the S-300 is that it could boost the confidence of Ayatollah Khamenei to the point that he will not take negotiations with the EU, and more importantly with the US seriously. For Israel, the best outcome is if Obama solves the nuclear crisis through negotiations. But if Ayatollah Khamenei knows that there is little which Obama and Israel can do economically, and now militarily thanks to the missiles, then he will be less inclined to take up Obama’s offer for talks, and to reciprocate American gestures. And this would make pre and post nuclear Iran, a much more difficult country to deal with, not just for Israel, but for the Western world.

In Iran, we used to see Russia as a bigger enemy than the US, because over the centuries, Moscow has been responsible for so many land grabs which have cut the size of Iranian territory by thousands of kilometres. Today, some Iranians can be forgiven for thinking that Russia wants to sell these missiles to Ayatollah Khamenei’s government, precisely because it does not want US – Iran talks to succeed. Because if they do, it could come at a cost to Russia’s influence over Iran. An influence, which many Iranians find unfair, and harmful.

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Posted on : Dec 19 2008
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Posted under Iran- Defense, Uncategorized |

Threat of Preemptive Strike By Iran Against Israel

By: Meir Javedanfar


This morning, Haaretz ran a story entitled “Top Iran officials recommend preemptive strike against Israel”.

Among other things the article said:

Senior Tehran officials are recommending a preemptive strike against Israel to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors, a senior Islamic Republic official told foreign diplomats two weeks ago in London”.

The given reason behind this view in Tehran is given as:

The official, Dr. Seyed G. Safavi, said recent threats by Israeli authorities strengthened this position, but that as of yet, a preemptive strike has not been integrated into Iranian policy.”

As mentioned in the article “Livni Worries Tehran”, threats by Tehran strengthen the hand of right wingers in Iran.

However, in my opinion, the biggest reason behind the strategy of calling for a preemptive strike, which I believe is backed by the extreme right in Tehran, is the US, and not Israel.

Currently in Tehran, there is a guessing game going on between the public, about the possibility that that Bush may use the last few weeks of his administration to attack Iran. In fact, Iranians are more worried about an attack from the US, than Israel. They know that Israel would not embark on such an operation, without US approval. And if the US approves such an operation, chances are that it would take part as well.

To some analysts in the West, this may be far fetched. Not to the people of Iran. There is real and genuine concern.

Naturally, the Iranian government would want to allay such fears. One way to do this is to emphasis Iran’s wild card of launching a preemptive strike. Although the mere mention of such a possibility works against Iran’s interests in the media, nevertheless, such messages show how concerned the administration in Tehran is about an attack by the US. Tehran won’t breath a sigh of relief until Obama enters office.

Why threaten Israel?

In this case, Israel is an easier target to pick on, in terms of rhetoric. To threaten US troops directly or US interests would be too costly for Tehran. Israel is one bag which has been punched many times before, in Iran’s array of threats. To the Iranians, one more punch won’t make that much difference.

Posted on : Oct 22 2008
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Posted under Iran- Defense, Uncategorized |

Iran: The Baseej Gets Its Own Air Force

By: Meir Javedanfar


Since the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, the people’s militia, known as the Baseej in Farsi, has been increasing its prominence inside Iranian military circles.

Until recently, the Baseej’s military capability, comprised mostly of light weapons. Unlike the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) or the army, the Baseej does not have an air force, nor does it have heavy mechanized weaponry such as Tanks. In fact, during the eight year war against Iraq, almost all Baseejis were used as foot soldiers, carrying weapons no heavier than Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG). Many of its soldiers were considered to be cannon fodders for the IRGC. In some cases, instead of using mine clearing equipment, brain washed Basijis were told to walk over the mines. They were told that by doing so, they would become martyrs, and thus go to paradise. Also, its officers did not have senior positions inside the military hierarchy.

However since Ahmadinejad became president, he has made Hejazi, a former Baseej commander, second in charge of the all powerful IRGC. This is a serious boost for the militia force. And now, according to the Iranian news agency Shahab News, he has started to put together an air force for the Baseej, thus boosting the Baseej’s position even more.

Why is Ahmadinejad doing this? Because he prides himself of being a former Baseeji. Not that he fought alongside them during the war. His association with the Baseej came after the war, when he used their extensive networks inside Iran to push through his projects in remote places such as Ardebil province in north Western of the country, where he was a governor.

It is no secret that the three million strong Baseej has unprecedented reach inside Iran. Their presence in remote places, helped him win the 2005 presidential elections. And now, with one year to go before the next elections, he is hoping to use their influence to win the elections again.

Also, some of the senior IRGC officers are concerned about his right wing talk, which could justify war against Iran. In the Baseej, he gets no such opposition. The Baseej’s loyalty and support to him will be very useful in counter balancing opposition against the president in important circles of power.

Last but not least, being the most ideological and loyal members of Iran’s military structure, their growth will strengthen Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad’s defenses against the much feared “velvet revolution” against the regime.

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Posted on : Sep 25 2008
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Posted under Iran- Defense |

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