Archive for July, 2018

Iran’s Currency Crisis Is an Opportunity

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Donald Trump’s withdrawal from JCPOA (“Iran Nuclear Deal”) poses many problems for everyone, including both the U.S. and Iran.  The biggest problems for Iran are the economic crisis threatened by the loss of foreign investment and the currency crisis threatened by denial of access to the dollar denominated banking system, a vulnerability demonstrated by the Iranian rial’s 12.5% plunge last Saturday. The degree to which it can avoid the first depends on the willingness of international actors to resist American pressure, but the latter can be easily sidestepped if Iran will just apply modern technology to a classical Islamic economic principle on what constitutes valid money.

There is a hot debate over the future of cryptocurrencies. The blockchain technology on which they are built offers privacy, security, and an independence from both government intrusion and traditional banks. On the other hand they possess many of the same flaws as government fiat currency. They are not backed by anything tangible and their value is nothing more nor less than the confidence of people in the marketplace.

Crisis presents both danger and opportunity. Iran can be the first to offer a blockchain account for a currency denominated in a well established monetary unit and backed by a valuable commodity. They can create a blockchain cryptocurrency denominated in Islamic gold dinars (4.25 grams of gold) and payable in demand in Iranian oil at the current market price. This currency would combine the benefits of a backed government fiat currency with the benefits of blockchain accounting.

I identified the advantages of a backed fiat currency in an open letter to the then-president of Iran in 2008: “Such a currency will never lose its value as long the oil backing it is sufficient to buy back the currency in circulation. It will provide you with a non-inflationary way to share the oil wealth of Iran with its people. Once established, such a currency would be attractive to all the peoples of the world who would want to denominate their foreign debts in it as the world used to use the U.S. dollar before America foolishly abandoned the gold standard and silver backing, paving the way for their recurrent inflation and the current credit crisis.” By creating a blockchain account for the trade of such a currency, the international banking system would be completely bypassed.

That is not to say that such a currency is without risk. It is very dangerous to tick off the international banking community. We recall that the overthrow of Qaddafi was triggered by the U.S. “desire to quash the gold-backed African currency” he proposed. Iran, however, may not be easily intimated. Nor would regime change be as easy to implement in the case of Iran. Even if the regime were overthrown, any new regime might be reluctant to undermine the new currency for the same reason revolutionary governments usually honor the debts of the government they overthrow (not to undermine their own credit rating). Any successor Iranian government would have the additional incentive that the Iranian people themselves favor the nuclear deal that the American sanctions seek to undermine.

If Iran creates a gold-denominated blockchain currency account that they pledge to back with Iranian oil they will doing themselves and the world a favor. Of course, any other government, including the U.S., could do the same thing, but as long as they believe they can continue playing the same game of running up huge deficits they have no incentive to do so.  The current crisis provides Iran with a unique opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of monetary policy.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (7/30/18)

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Is Khan’s win “about growing up as a democracy; about maturing as a nation privileged with fundamental rights and liberties; about flowering as a society that is shrugging off the bitter past of a menacing State,” or has he “shown a soft spot for the powerful army and religious extremists”?

“Amnesty International described it in a statement last month as a “grotesque parody of justice” and called on authorities to drop all charges against those arrested for protesting peacefully”:

Israel released Ahed Tamimi and her mother but has hijacked a relief ship to Gaza:

To establish Israel “hundreds of thousands of indigenous individuals [were] driven from their ancestral homes and hundreds of others massacred by recent European immigrants (many of them atheists yet nevertheless claiming to be Jewish) with a tenuous connection to Palestine or ancient Israel”:

“[T]he first Muslims in New York, who arrived in the sixteen-hundreds, as slaves. More came as immigrants. ‘One of the first registered mosques in New York was started in 1907, in Williamsburg, by Muslim Lithuanians, Russians, and Poles'”:

“Thirty-five percent of Iranian women consider the hijab a Sharia-based value and 55 percent of them support the hijab as a [voluntary] cultural tradition” according to the parliament’s research center:

Not surprised that fellow citizens “put on the spot, confused and as some said ‘baited’ by Sacha Baron Cohen” this Kingman Muslim was disheartened that the city’s response “blatantly ignored and failed to mention the vibrant Muslim community that has been an integral part of Kingman for over 40 years”:

The order to release “reformist Iranian politicians Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest for seven years … [could] be vetoed in the next 10 days by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a dogged critic of their conduct after the disputed election nine years ago”:

“Through the MoU, the two governments are committed to establishing a number of family resilience programs, as well as intensifying efforts to protect women and children from all forms of violence and harassment, and to involve women in politics and economy”:

News and Analysis (7/28/18)

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

The U.S. plan to farm out its Middle East intervention will further destabilize the region:

Iran’s privatization plan will offer attractive prices and flexible terms as well as tax holidays for investors who agree to take over some of the 76,000 government projects which are unfinished or idle”:

“If Trump doesn’t choose regime change, he just might agree to a summit with Rouhani—brokered by Putin”:

“Barreto … repeatedly used the hashtag #BanIslam and … also shared a conspiracy theory that French President Emmanuel Macron was controlled by the Rothschild family and that Clinton and former President Barack Obama were controlled by investor and Democratic mega-donor George Soros”:

The Islamic practice of mahr (by which the groom who must give a gift to the bride) is the opposite of the practice known in the West as dowry. Muslim religious leaders are taking strong action to end the unIslamic practice of extorting money from the bride’s family:

“‘[T]hese pastoral communities are mostly Palestinian refugees, originally displaced from their tribal lands in the Negev. They should not be forced to experience the second displacement against their will” – Scott Anderson, director of operations in the West Bank for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees”:

In Philippines after four decades of violent conflict in Muslim demand for a full independence, there will be some peace in the southern part of the country after President Rodrigo Duterte signs a landmark law ensuring expanded autonomy. Now, young Muslims expect hearing their voice for their better life:

Millions of Muslims in China (Uyghur in western region of Xinjiang) suffer in detention without any trial as part of brutal crackdown. Muslims of all professions are emptied from their neighborhood and sent to internment camps:

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department revokes the license for the imports of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, including pistachios and caviar. Now the US will have to face a lawsuit by Iran National Carpet Center (INCC) in International Tribunals:

News and Analysis (7/27/18)

Friday, July 27th, 2018

“Israeli forces suppressed Palestinian crowds at return camps using live bullets and tear-gas bombs … [in a futile attempt to stop the] ‘Great March of Return’ protests … launched by thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza … to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands” …

… while Israelis offer claims that “stones and fireworks were thrown at the police forces” as the excuse for the attack on Palestinian worshipers “just a week after over a thousand Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound under the protection of Israeli occupation forces” …

… but back off of closure of the mosque after calls “for non-violent action/protest and prayed in front of lions gate until they open the Al-Aqsa mosque”:

Iran would be well-advised to denominate its planned cryptocurrency in gold and back it with oil, but only if it is not intimidated by the fact that the “plot to overthrow Gaddafi was fueled by first their desire to quash the gold-backed African currency“:

“[P]olitics are everywhere in the United States’ current approach to religious freedom … [starting with] President Trump’s indebtedness to conservative evangelical Christians for his election … including excessive deference to politicians and co-religionists who have shown hostility toward Islam”:

Rather than being held to different standards; Israel isn’t “held to any international legal standard at all. Israel has been criticized and condemned by numerous international bodies and foreign governments, yet there has been absolutely no sanctions or consequences for its illegal actions”:

Increasing isolation of Hamas and Iran drives their move to reconcile, but dictators in both Damascus and Cairo want to thwart it:

U.S. support for a brutal Saudi-led military campaign in the country has created a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions, while offering an opening for Iran to expand its influence in the country … [making] insurgents more reliant on support from Tehran and is turning civilians against U.S. partners”:

A leading rabbi is concerned that instead of exposing and countering extremists, European states are taking children away from their parents to teach European “‘values,’ including Christmas and Easter traditions”:

Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill to “prohibit Israel from using any of the billions of dollars in annual aid received from Congress for ‘the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill treatment of Palestinian children’ … has 28 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats”:

“Former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer…, who was for eight and a half years a chief propagandist for the catastrophic US war on and occupation of Iraq, appears to have learned nothing”:

News and Analysis (7/25/18)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

One of Ramadan’s accusers now admits that the date on which she claimed she was raped cannot be right, but the court which previously denied bail refuses to dismiss the charges:

If you thought Joe Walsh was willing to humiliate himself to suck up to Israel, wait until you see the depths to which Jason Spencer sinks …

… or for that matter, Donald Trump:

As dangerous as the Pompeo-Trump saber rattling may be …

… Iran isn’t falling for it, with Iran’s foreign minister tweeting back, “COLOR US UNIMPRESSED” …

… yet the debate over whether the U.S. is seeking to provoke a war with Iran should not obscure “how much of Mr. Pompeo’s speech was accurate, and whether in some instances — intentionally or not — he may have exaggerated, omitted facts or mixed facts with conjecture”

Small countries can evade Trump’s bullying by resorting to old fashioned barter …

… while an EU “law forbids European companies from complying with the US measures and allows them to recover damages arising from the sanctions “from the person causing them”:

“[I]n a softening of stand, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board … is expected to agree to codification of personal laws related to the issues of adoption and inheritance” and to meet with the commission “looking at codifying and reviewing personal laws with a ‘gender justice’ lens”:

As in the US:

Palestine’s ambassador to the U.N. says that the U.S. and Israel are “still denying we are a state. We walk like a state. We quack like a state. Therefore we are a state”:

“This behavior by Israel infringes on our diplomatic relations and is a further indication of the need for South Africa to implement the ANC’s resolution for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy as Israel. There can be no doubt that Israel is a hostile state to South Africa”:

“In court papers, the district attorney’s office argued that no one can be a good-faith purchaser of a stolen work”:

News and Analysis (7/23/18)

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

“[W]hite and rightwing terrorists carried out nearly twice as many terrorist attacks as Muslim extremists between 2008 and 2016″ but “attacks committed by non-Muslims (or where the religion was unknown) received an average of 15 headlines, while those committed by Muslim[s] … received 105 headlines”:

The Saudi “tie up with Britain’s Independent news website to launch services in Urdu, Turkish, Farsi and Arabic” seems to be the latest move in “a pattern of Saudi chequebook diplomacy that aimed to buy positive coverage of the kingdom by European, Middle Eastern and African media“:

The speaker said that Muslims should follow the Qur’an because it “gives meaning to life…, [that religion] is about transformation … [and] should not be used to repress others, saying this was the gist of the Qur’an’s message provided its verses are understood in their true context”:

The “bean pie … was developed by black Muslims in the Nation of Islam in the 1930s. The history of why they created it, and what it represents, tells one of the most essential stories about Muslims in America. And as you’ll see, it is extremely delicious”:

As with the murder of two Palestinians in Malaysia on Saturday the mysterious deaths in Tunisia appear to follow a pattern of “Palestinian scientists and experts around the world … killed in recent years in assassinations alleged to be carried out by Israel’s Mossad espionage agency”:

“The law would create a new, more autonomous political territory for the predominantly Muslim Moro people and other indigenous groups in western Mindanao island, capping 17 years of negotiations between Moro rebels and the government”:

“The deal came after Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in the Gaza strip on Friday”:

66% of Iranian women (compared to 25% of American women) have experienced domestic violence.

“Pompeo neglected to mention that a major cause of Iranians’ current economic plight is the Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally quit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after months of undermining its implementation”:

News and Analysis (7/21/18)

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

“But the Trump administration is using it to denaturalize citizens who’ve been living in the United States for decades, are married to American citizens, and have no criminal history.”:

“Al Jazeera has been told, off the record, that the US put pressure on Iraq not to pay the Iranians” provoking the electricity cutoff that sparked the protests:

“More than 65 Israeli laws already exist that discriminate against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories” …

… and now, “[p]rovocations by Israeli settlers in occupied Palestine happened days after Israel approved the nationality bill, which reiterates Jewish supremacy” …

… so, the ICC’s “surprising decision to establish outreach activities in Palestine is a welcomed step in the right direction”:

For the purpose  of destabilizing Iran’s economy, the US government will engage all possible groups even including listed terrorists to contributing to deterioration of Iran’s relation with the world to enhance its collapse:

The letter notes there is no written policy to justify the “pretext for the true motivation behind their conduct: discrimination against these children on the basis of their race, religion, and/or socio-economic status”:

“The Expediency Council, tasked with resolving conflicts between parliament and the Guardian Council, backed parliamentary amendments allowing members of recognized religious minorities to run for city councils”:

“According to Palestinians, the U.S. administration seeks to impose a political solution that calls for the establishment of a state in the Gaza Strip and a limited autonomy in the West Bank, with Israel retaining control over the city of Jerusalem”:

A former Indian ambassador condemns Nikki Haley’s “intemperate remarks”:

“For the last few years, we have not carried any meat while returning from our hometown in western Uttar Pradesh after Eid. Traditionally, we would carry our share of meat for our maids, drivers, helpers and other needy people in our vicinity”:

News and Analysis (7/19/18)

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

The atheist asked if his preference for church bells over the Muslim call to prayer is due to  his cultural upbringing. Fatima Bhutto replied, “No, it’s your bigotry,” and a former Winchester Cathedral chorister who finds “muezzin enchanting and profoundly evocative” calls Dawkins’ tweet “gratuitously vile” …

… but rather than apologize, Dawkins doubles down with a reference to “to suicide bombers shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ just before blowing themselves up,” demonstrating a remarkable inability to distinguish a call to the humble act of prayer from the maniacal ravings of suicidal murders:

Many call Donald Trump Putin’s puppet but according to Netanyahu the one who pulled his strings on the Iran deal was — Netanyahu:

When she correctly noted that the practice of repeating a declaration of divorce without attempting a reconciliation “is not the form of divorce that exists in the Quran” the Mufti reacted violently …

… and now another imam wants to silence the discussion that threatens to expose the religious establishment’s ignorance of the Qur’an:

With the passage of  the “Jewish Nation-State Law” “defining Israel as the exclusive nation-state of the Jewish people and demoting the official status of Arabic” Israel has abandoned any pretense that it is not an apartheid state:

Advocates of regime change fail to realize that Iran is run not by clerics, but by bureaucrats:

Palestine’s U.N. ambassador condemned Israel’s refusal “to allow several of the experts to travel from Ramallah to Jerusalem where the U.S. Consulate is located to check on their visas”:

Her lawyer denies the plea is an attempt to get a “free pass” for entering the mosque armed and “removing fliers and Qur’ans from shelves, bins and bulletin boards”; the  Islamic Community Center of Tempe “declined to comment on the settlement discussions”:

“Given the difficulty of running Iran under sanctions, Rouhani has no choice but to listen to the Guards” …

… and if “Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign succeeds, the volatile and rising gasoline prices that result could finally dent his approval ratings, even among hardline supporters, and spark a global recession”:

“For two decades, riflery was the only international sport open to Iranian women. Then, in the 1990s, a national soccer league was established…. [Now, a]  new regulation allowing 16-year-olds to train with senior clubs will be a huge aid in preparing Iranian women athletes for the 2022 Olympics”:

News and Analysis (7/17/18)

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018
There may be more Muslims running for office than ever before in the U.S. but they face challenges that range from haters to admirers who won’t support opponents because they fear that Muslims just can’t win:
By responding to the question of cooperation with Russia on Syria that both U.S. and Russia “work very well together with Israel, and Israel’s security is a driving issue” Trump “reduced this to an Israeli issue rather than the broader regional conflict that it represents” …

… meanwhile, by appealing to Joe Walsh’s eagerness to suck up to Israel, comedian Sasha Baron Cohen tricks the radio show host and former Congressman into supporting a ludicrous plan to arm three-year-old children:

They don’t like it, but with Israel taking away their water and preventing them from holding jobs in Israel, for many Palestinians growing tobacco is the only option …

… and in violation of the Geneva conventions Israel has kept bodies in morgues, in military cemeteries and “at the infamous ‘cemeteries of numbers‘”:

“A group of American Jews visiting Israel on a free Birthright trip walked off the tour during a visit to the City of David in Jerusalem to visit a Palestinian family who is facing eviction from their eastern Jerusalem home”

There is a “fear that Trump, egged on by the Saudis and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, … may privately offer de facto US recognition of Crimea’s annexation and an easing of Ukraine-related sanctions” for “Putin’s agreement to push Iran out of Syria, thereby safeguarding Israel’s border”:

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of US contempt for diplomacy & legal obligations. It’s imperative to counter its habit of violating int’l law”:

China wields “an iron fist to weed out what it calls “religious extremism” and “separatism” in the wake of deadly unrest, throwing ethnic Uygurs into shadowy re-education camps without due process for minor infractions such as owning a Koran or even growing a beard”:

“The country which is often in the spotlight for its Islamophobic social policies won the ultimate footballing prize with a team that is one-third Muslim”:

“Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said the city was wrong to use a vaguely-worded policy to bar Muslim kids wearing cotton shirts, shorts and headscarves from the city’s Foster Brown pool”:

News and Analysis (7/14/18)

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

FDD helped “propel the administration to unapologetically implement a widely unpopular policy … [thanks to] ties to powerful administration insiders … combined with a seemingly open-ended invitation to testify before Congress, … [and] close ties to the GOP establishment and hawkish Democrats”:

They were told they had to leave the pool because they were wearing cotton and/or because it was over capacity, but other who were wearing cotton and/or had been there longer were not asked to leave:

After killing a 15 year-old and a 20-year old at the Gaza border demonstrations, the Israelis launched air strikes that killed two more teenage civilians and provoked a response of rocket attacks by Hamas …

… while Jewish settlers will now be allowed to build on lands of a Palestinian neighborhood in Silwan whose “nearly 4,000 Palestinian residents … have been prevented for years by the Israeli government from any type of building or construction work under the pretext of preserving the national park” …

… and by refusing to let “foreign nationals … add value to the community, by not letting them come in, the quality of life is reduced and that is more suffocating for Palestinians forcing them to leave the country” …

… and the Episcopal Church passed six of fifteen resolutions on “the plight of Palestinian children, the status of Jerusalem, the disproportionate use of lethal force on both sides and ways the Episcopal Church can press for peace through its investment decisions”:

President Trump seems heading to another devastating war with Iran. Any armed conflict with Iran will bring another ugly consequence like Iraq for the US as well as for the Middle East and the world at large:

In Muslim majority Pakistan, it is hard for the non-Muslims to be elected to voice their demand in the parliament. If they have their problems in their neighborhoods, it is not easy for them to press the government to solve them:

The U.S. allows a favored Chinese firm to do business with Iran …

… even as it rebuffs European allies …

… but preventing Lloyd’s from using a partly U.S. owned platform for IT may create new business opportunities for non-U.S. companies:

London streets showed anti-Trump demonstrations when Muslims gathered to pray together on Friday and protested Trump’s policies against the Muslims when he was on an official visit to London …

… which, Rohani says, only shows how “America’s illegal actions … have even isolated it among its own allies”:

Nationalizing a Hindu school and then allowing Muslim teachers to dress as they please in it has stoked tensions in Sro Lanka: