Full Spectrum Dominance and Missile Defense

Considering all the dense rhetoric about the Iranian threat to Europe as justification for a U.S. missile shield next door to Russia, it is refreshing to hear adults discuss the subject:

More at The Real News

More on page 861

On Dan Rather’s upcoming production

Pat Lang: It should be no secret now that a massive political warfare campaign is underway that is intended to push the United States into war with Iran.

More on page 859

Lieberman Being Lieberman

Two weeks before talks are set to begin with Iran, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) told a Bipartisan Policy Center forum that “the possible use of military force needs to be put back on the table in our discussions with Iran.”

More on page 858

Does Iran want to be a pariah?

By Juan Cole at Salon:
Iran’s hard-liners are pushing their country into a dangerous and perhaps crippling isolation that could, if Tehran continues on this path, eventually make it another North Korea. Having damaged their legitimacy at home with a stolen election, which is still being actively protested in the streets months later, Supreme Leader Ali […]

More on page 856

More and more Jewish voices oppose Israeli promoted preemptive attack on Iran

By Allan C. Brownfield at Media Monitors:
“Israel’s new government has declared that it will not move ahead with the core issue of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon. The emerging Israeli position, announced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his […]

More on page 855

Iran was an easier enemy before we saw their faces

By David Bromwich via the Huffington Post
If you want to kill with a clean conscience, the faces of the enemy had better be blank. Start to see them as human beings and it becomes harder to blockade and bomb them, to mine, and pollute, and “destabilize.” President Clinton had no imagining of the disease he […]

More on page 854

Why I threw the shoe

by Muntazer al Zaidi
I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me […]

More on page 853

Missile Shield Tailspin

John Barry is still peddling the Bush Administration talking point that the missile shield in Europe was intended to protect Central Europe from Iran.
President Obama’s decision to scrap the missile interceptor planned for Central Europe doesn’t mean Europeans will be unprotected from Iran. They’ll just be protected from a system that actually exists—and works.
Barry does […]

More on page 852

Desperate, Screaming Headline from CSM

The Christian Science Monitor article title draws the conclusion in its piece titled, “Ahmadinejad says he won’t rule out  an Iran nuclear bomb,” from this excerpt:
In excerpts of an interview aired Thursday night on NBC News, Ahmadinejad said that “the enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes… will never be closed down here in Iran.” When […]

More on page 848

Ehud Barak: Iran is not an existential threat to Israel

Ehud Barak departs from past Israeli statements that pronounced Iran as an existential threat to Israel.  Regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program, Barak declared, “I am no among those who believe Iran is an existential threat to Israel.”

More on page 847

Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Folly

Farideh Farhi describes the effects of the fissures caused by the June elections in Iran on the nuclear energy issue.

More on page 846

Israeli warmongering is…Obama’s fault

Brett Stephens thinks Obama is to blame for an unprovoked Israeli attack on Iran. While the article directs all blame towards Obama and Iran, it portrays Israeli belligerence as unavoidable and in “Israel’s best interest.” Does Israel’s best interest serve the best interests of the U.S. and Iran?
The subtitle —”President Obama can’t outsource matters of […]

More on page 845

NIAC Urges for Human Rights to be Included in Diplomacy with Iran

via NIAC:
Washington DC - On the announcement of the P5+1 meeting with Iran on October 1 and the initiation of diplomatic talks, the National Iranian American Council issued the following statement.

On October 1, the P5+1, consisting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, are scheduled […]

More on page 844

The “Rambling” Meme

Adrian Blomfield describes Iran’s “rambling five page document presented to western diplomats last week.” I have noticed the frequent use of the word “rambling” to describe texts or speeches coming from Iran and in particular, Ahmadinejad.
A few examples:
In a very long (and rambling) opinion piece, Mike Baker describes Ahmadinejad’s speech to the U.N General Assembly […]

More on page 843

Updated Text of Iran’s Package to “5+1″ Group

Iran submitted its updated nuclear package to the six major powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) on Wednesday. The package was presented to the countries’ ambassadors or representatives in Tehran.
 
Following is the complete text of the package:
 
In the Name of the Almighty
Cooperation for Peace, Justice […]

More on page 842

Michael Ledeen…

Why is Michael Ledeen still allowed to “write” about Iran?
 If you haven’t actually read the Iranian letter, you should. To say that it is unresponsive to the endless ultimata issuing forth from the “Five plus One” (meaning France, Britain, Germany, China, and Russia, plus the United States), and all the leaks promising “tough sanctions” if […]

More on page 840

Throwing Ahmadinejad a Lifeline

Hossein Askari and Trita Parsi argue in the NYT:
In an effort to squeeze Iran into submission over its nuclear policy, Congress and the White House are edging toward a gasoline embargo. This would do nothing to force Iran into submission. In fact, it would be a blessing for the hard-line government to once again be […]

More on page 839

Cheney pushed for military strikes on Iran in waning days of Bush Administration.

Cheney: “I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues.”

More on page 838

Bolton claims only one country should have nukes: The U.S.

Nevermind that the U.S. is the only country to have used atomic weapons—twice…
BOLTON WATCH, courtesy of Steve Clemens:
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton appeared Wednesday this week on The Daily Show for a third time and got a ‘friendship bracelet’ from Jon Stewart for doing so.
Bolton is a smart war-monger who is careful […]

More on page 837

Learning From Iran How To Negotiate With The Israelis and Arabs

by Amjad Atallah via TPM Café:
Thursday is the 40th day commemoration of the martyrdom of Neda Agha-Soltan, an Iranian woman shot dead while peacefully protesting against the election results in Iran. Her murder was televised via the Internet around the world and has become a symbol for Iranians protesting Ahmadinejad’s victory. Iranian opposition leaders have […]

More on page 836

The Case for a Tactical Pause with Iran

Trita Parsi in Foreign Policy says:
No one said diplomacy with Iran would be easy. And now, before it even started, the Iranian election crisis has left Tehran politically paralyzed and Washington without a clear diplomatic path ahead. Iranian centrifuges keep spinning, leading some to think that September should be the deadline for Iran to accept […]

More on page 835

Iraq raids MEK camp

The MEK, a U.S. protected terrorist group in Iraq, was raided by Iraqi security forces.  Read Juan Cole’s comments here.
Iraq raids camp of Iranian opposition group U.S. protected
Laith Hammoudi and Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: July 29, 2009 08:06:40 AM
BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities raided the camp of a small Iranian opposition group living in […]

More on page 834

Robert Gates, Ehud Barak Meeting Focuses on Iran

Via Press TV:
Washington says Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to both Israel and the United States, reaffirming its ‘unbreakable bond’ with Tel Aviv.
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the comments in a joint news conference with the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Jerusalem (Al-Quds).

More on page 833

Vice-President Mashai Resigns, Rift Between Ahamdinejad and Khamenei

The AP reports:
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caved into pressure from hardline clerics and the country’s supreme leader Friday and allowed the resignation of his top deputy after a week-long standoff.
For days, the president had resisted pressure from hard-liners, including a direct order from the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to dismiss his […]

More on page 832

Israel’s Internet War

More on Israeli Internet Propaganda (”hasbara teams”) from Jonathan Cook:
The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems.
Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf […]

More on page 831

July 25: Global day of action

United4Iran, July 23, 2009 On July 25th in more than 80 cities worldwide, Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Betty Williams, Mairead Maguire, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Wangari Maathal, Lord David Trimble, Kim Dae-jung, joined by Dolores Huerta, Sean Penn, Dariush, Simin Behbahani, Ismael Khoie, 43 Arab Human Rights Organizations, […]

More on page 830

Hagee’s Christians United for Israel hold annual D.C. summit

Another year, another CUFI summit. CUFI, lead by hardline evangelist John Hagee, is constantly pushing for war with Iran on ideological and religious grounds.
Hagee has argued for a preemptive nuclear war on to defend Israel. In this interview with Glenn Beck, Hagee attempts to explain how Russia and Iran are mentioned in the book of […]

More on page 829

Poor analogies and more crocodile tears

New GOP statement on a “slow” Obama response to the Iranian elections with the “stupidly” comment made by Obama about the MA police.  Obama is the U.S. President and his priority should be the affairs of the United States—not Iran.
“President Obama laid a bold accusation at Massachusetts law enforcement officers from the bully pulpit yesterday, […]

More on page 828

Save the Persepolis Tablets

NIAC leads a new initiative aimed at stopping the confiscation of priceless artifacts from Persepolis on loan to the  University of Chicago for shallow political motives.

More on page 827

He said, he said

Hamid Dabashi on cliched leftism below and AbuKhalil’s response here:

When a political groundswell like the Iranian presidential election of June 2009 and its aftermath happen, the excitement and drama of the moment expose not just our highest hopes but also our deepest fault lines, most troubling moral flaws, and the dangerous political precipice […]

More on page 826

How many Muslims has the US killed in the past 30 years?

Uncategorized

Stephen Walt responds to Thomas Friedman’s “fatuous” column in the NYT and offers his  “back of the envelope,” low-end estimate for the “why they hate us” question.

Irancove @ December 2, 2009

Demand an Apology from Fox for Insulting Iranian Player Haddadi

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Iranian Americans all over America are proud that there finally is an Iranian player in the NBA. But last night, that sentiment wasn’t shared by Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith, Fox Sports anchors, who hurled insults, including borderline racial slurs, at Haddadi.Speaking derogatory about Haddadi’s Iranian background, Lawler and Smith compared Haddadi to Borat.

According to Fox, Lawler and Smith have been suspended for one game due to their insulting remarks.

However, that is not enough. Email Fox Vice President Lou D’Ermilio and Dan Bell and demand an apology to Haddadi.

Remarks of this kind would never have been accepted had they been made against other minorities. As the Iranian-American community, we must show Haddadi that we will not permit him to be treated any differently.

Send your email to Fox Sports right away and notify your friends to do the same!

Update (11-23):

Fox issues apology:

 

Washington DC - Thank you for your speaking out against the insults made against the sole Iranian player in the NBA, Hamed Haddadi, by two Fox anchors. More than 2,000 people responded to our call. We have been in touch with Fox, and they have issued an apology per our request. We are still working to ensure that the apology is read on air as well. Below is the statement NIAC issued after discussing the matter with Fox.

The National Iranian American Council is proud that the Iranian American community stood in solidarity against the derogatory statements made recently on Fox Sports. A representative from Fox contacted the organization, after less than 12 hours of NIAC posting a complaint, to express their regret for statements made on air. The channel has issued an apology stating:

‘We regret the remarks made by Clippers announcers Michael Smith and Ralph Lawler during Wednesday’s telecast. While we believe that Michael and Ralph did not intend their exchange to be offensive, in retrospect, the comments were inappropriate. We extend our apologies to Hamed Haddadi of the Memphis Grizzlies and to anyone who was offended. We have addressed this situation with Michael and Ralph and have taken appropriate action.’

Irancove @ November 22, 2009

The smear of the National Iranian American Council

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Daniel Loban describes a series of emails between neocon, Kenneth Timmerman (who blames September 11 on Iran), and “journalist”/MEK operative Hassan Daioleslam — and their campaign to discredit NIAC:

Following up on our coverage of the campaign to destroy the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Josh Rogin at the Cable has more information on the background to the attacks. The most interesting revelation concerns Hassan Daioleslam, the Iranian-American journalist — accused by critics of ties to the Mujaheden-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group — who is being sued by NIAC for defamation and who appears to have been the source for the recent Washington Times hit piece on NIAC. Newly released documents make clear that Daioleslam (portrayed by his hawkish supporters as merely a concerned human rights and democracy advocate) has been only the public face of a group of Washington neoconservatives aiming to bring down NIAC as a way to undercut the Obama administration.

Rogin relays emails between Daioleslam and Kenneth Timmerman, in which the two plot strategy and discuss plans to leak documents to Times reporter Eli Lake. Timmerman, for those not familiar with him, is a notorious neoconservative hardliner and longtime advocate of regime change in Tehran. He founded the ultra-hawkish Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI) in 1995 with Joshua Muravchik and the late Peter Rodman, but became marginalized in mainstream circles after making a series of outlandish accusations. Notably, he accused Iran of having a role both in the September 11 attacks and the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings; he also alleged the existence of an “insurgency within the U.S. government” — a conspiracy centered on the CIA and State Department — that “sabotaged the [Bush] administration’s Iraq war plans” and was responsible for the failures of the U.S. war effort.

In one April 2008 email, Daioleslam wrote to Timmerman that he considered NIAC president Trita Parsi to be “the weakest part of the Iranian web” and that “destroying him will be the start of attacking the whole web.” Daioleslam continued (my emphasis): “This is an integral part of any attack on Clinton and Obama“. (The email was sent during the Democratic primaries, when it was not yet clear who would be the Democratic nominee.)

The email makes clear that the attacks on NIAC are simply a means to an end — the real goal being the sabotage of the Obama administration’s Iran policy. While it makes sense that the NIAC attacks have been picked up by the Weekly Standard set, one has to wonder whether the liberals who have aided and abetted them feel comfortable with participating in a campaign whose ultimate goal is to cripple a Democratic administration.

Support NIAC and learn more here.

Irancove @ November 16, 2009

MSM Doing Its Job

Uncategorized

After several years of relentless misinformation, the fluffing appears to be near complete. Via CNN:

“Nearly nine in 10 Americans say they think Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, according to a new national poll.”

“More than six in 10 men favor military action against Iran. Women normally tend to oppose military action in most situations, but they are split down the middle on Iran…”

Setting it up for Bolton:

 ”…unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran’s program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future.”

Irancove @ October 20, 2009

David Frum: Now that Obama won Peace Prize, he may not be able to attack Iran for Israel

Uncategorized

From the National Post:

Actually, Barack Obama might have benefited had the Nobel gone to someone else. The prize functions, as one contributor to my NewMajority.comwebsite quipped, as a form of “preventive diplomacy”: a pre-emptive intervention against possible future military actions by the Obama administration.

Can a peace prize winner authorize air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities?

With no sense of irony, Frum (Bush’s “axis of evil” speechwriter), complains about the hostile Norwegians and labels the Nobel Prize as a form of unwelcome foreign intervention:

We call it “lawfare” when hostile external or internal forces use a nation’s own legal system against it. Maybe the repeated attempt by the European left to use the prestige of the Nobel award to constrain U. S. power deserves a special title of its own: “prizefare.”

Irancove @ October 11, 2009

Khomeini guardian’s jarring question

Uncategorized

Helena Cobban gives a nice overview of the latest on Iran’s ongoing post presidential election shake up. She notes a rhetorical question posed by Mohammad Ali Ansari:

“How can we criticize a ban on holocaust investigations calling it an undemocratic act, and then adamantly deny a simple demand for a probe into a recent election in Iran?”

Read it all here.

Irancove @ October 9, 2009

Juan Cole, Seminar on Iran’s 2009 Election

Uncategorized

Irancove @ October 7, 2009

“It’s like the spin cycle on your washing machine…”

Uncategorized

KT McFarland explains the nuclear enrichment process:

Irancove @ October 6, 2009

Scott Ritter on Disinformation about Iranian Nuclear Program

Uncategorized

See it at The Real News.

William Scott Ritter, Jr. (born July 15, 1961) is noted for his role as a chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, and later for his criticism of United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter publicly argued that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Irancove @ October 6, 2009

The Cinematic and Political Evolution of Mohsen Makhmalbaf

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Via Cineaste by Rahul Hamid:

makhmalbaf1.jpg

The cinema of Mohsen Makhmalbaf reflects the turbulent times and dramatic transformations that the man and his nation have undergone in the last thirty years. Unlike most world-class filmmakers, Makhmalbaf has never settled into a signature style; his work is constantly changing, marked by a strong desire to explore and critique the political conflicts and social issues that define the Islamic Republic of Iran. Makhmalbaf has never merely been a commentator, making judgments from the sidelines, but rather an active participant, first in the 1979 revolution, later in the newly formed Islamic government, and finally as an exiled spokesman for reform. More on page 882

Irancove @ October 5, 2009

Elliott Abrams says Iranians would not oppose being attacked

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Responding to Fox News Poll (very scientific, I’m sure) where 59% of responders favored military force against Iran, Abrams said:

ABRAMS: It’s a very big question, Alisyn. My own view is that most Iranians now — after June, after the stealing of the election — would not rally around the flag. People used to say that — that if there’s an attack on Iran, you know the population is going to get patriotic. But that’s what Americans would do. I don’t know that it’s what Iranians are going to do, considering the way that regime is hated in Iran.

I’m not sure what qualifies Abrams to comment on Iran when he was personally involved with selling weapons to the Islamic Republic, using that money to support terrorism in Central America, and lying about it to Congress:

Abrams is best known for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. He was indicted by a special prosecutor for intentionally deceiving Congress about the Reagan administration’s role in supporting the Contras—including his own central role in the Iran-Contra arms deal.

Abrams was pardoned by the fist Bush on Christmas Eve 1992.

050217_assess_abrams.jpg

Irancove @ October 2, 2009

The Bottom Line

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Scott Ritter on Democracy Now!

The bottom line is it’s the United States and Israel which are the more aggressive of the players here. Iran is not an aggressor. Iran has not attacked anybody. Iran is simply trying to do that which it is legally allowed to do: produce enriched uranium for the purposes of nuclear power. It’s Israel, which, by the way, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, claims it will never be a signatory and has a massive nuclear weapons capability—it’s Israel and the United States which are creating a crisis out of nothing.

Irancove @ October 1, 2009

Role Play

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Glenn Greenwald:

Imagine if Iran had invaded, bombed and then spent the last eight years militarily occupying Canada and Mexico, only for Iranian media elites to keep insisting that it was the U.S. that was the rogue state run by aggressive fanatics who threatened world peace.

Irancove @ October 1, 2009

Iranian Opposition Warns Against Sanctions

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Via the Washington Post:

On the eve of talks Thursday in Geneva between representatives of Iran and six world powers, Iranian opposition leaders, politicians and analysts warned that new financial or other penalties would hurt ordinary Iranians rather than change the government’s behavior.

Will all those who were concerned for the Iranian people and supporting the opposition take notice?

Irancove @ October 1, 2009

Iran: Belief and Actuality

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Juan Cole labors through the list.

Irancove @ October 1, 2009

Perry’s article calling for military coup against Obama

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Newsmax published, then removed, an article by John L. Perry that called for “domestic military intervention” to remove Obama from power.

Perry, like other conservative spin doctors, tried to blame Obama for the possibility of Israel starting war with Iran:

So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?…Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?

According to Perry and Newsmax logic, to keep the Free World from being subjugated, the US military must stage a coup against the President of the United States.

While cheering war and a military coup against his president, Perry was careful to draw a distinction between “civilized” America and the uncivilized Third World:

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized.

perry.jpg

Irancove @ September 30, 2009

The Devil is in the Details

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Former Iraq UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter untangles some of the mess:

Beware politically motivated hype. While on the surface, Obama’s dramatic intervention seemed sound, the devil is always in the details. The “rules” Iran is accused of breaking are not vague, but rather spelled out in clear terms. In accordance with Article 42 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements (also known as the “additional protocol”) to that agreement, Iran is obliged to inform the IAEA of any decision to construct a facility which would house operational centrifuges, and to provide preliminary design information about that facility, even if nuclear material had not been introduced. This would initiate a process of complementary access and design verification inspections by the IAEA.

This agreement was signed by Iran in December 2004. However, since the “additional protocol” has not been ratified by the Iranian parliament, and as such is not legally binding, Iran had viewed its implementation as being voluntary, and as such agreed to comply with these new measures as a confidence building measure more so than a mandated obligation.

In March 2007, Iran suspended the implementation of the modified text of Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part concerning the early provisions of design information. As such, Iran was reverting back to its legally-binding requirements of the original safeguards agreement, which did not require early declaration of nuclear-capable facilities prior to the introduction of nuclear material.

While this action is understandably vexing for the IAEA and those member states who are desirous of full transparency on the part of Iran, one cannot speak in absolute terms about Iran violating its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. So when Obama announced that “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow”, he is technically and legally wrong.

Read the whole article at the Guardian.

Irancove @ September 29, 2009

Translation of Revolutionary Guards Statement

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Translated by the USG Open Source Center at Informed Comment:

And now here’s something you won’t read in major American newspapers or see on American television.

The USG Open Source Center translated remarks to Iranian television of General Hoseyn Salami, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force concerning Iran’s Monday missile tests (Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN), Monday, September 28, 2009):

Gen. Salami said, “as long as our enemies act within a political domain, our behavior will be completely political. However, if they want to leave the domain of political action and enter the domain of military threat, then our action will be exactly and completely military.” . . .

Many Western media reports implied that the missile tests were launched along with threats to wipe out Israel. But note that the commanding officer overseeing them explicitly restated Iran’s “no first strike” pledge. To my knowledge, no current high official in the Iranian executive has threatened war against Israel, which in any case would be foolhardy given Israel’s nuclear arsenal (see below). Iranian officials do say they hope the “Zionist regime” will collapse as the Soviet Union did.

Irancove @ September 29, 2009

The Most Dangerous Nuclear Facility in the Middle East

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Juan Cole:

There is no good evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. It has offered to allow regular International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of the newly announced facility near Qom, which would effectively prevent it from being used for weapons production.

There is a secret nuclear facility in the Middle East, however, producing plutonium and not just enriched uranium, which has the capacity to make 10 nuclear warheads a year.

It is Israel’s ongoing nuclear weapon production that drives the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Saddam wanted a bomb because Israel had one. The Iranians were then worried both about an Iraqi and an Israeli bomb. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others are annoyed at their geostrategic helplessness in the face of Israeli nukes.

Irancove @ September 28, 2009

Kyl wants war

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Kyl wants to “get a regime change with a group of people in there that are more representative of the Iranian people.”

Kyl also cosponsored the Lieberman-Kyle amendment last year, which was designed to push the U.S. into starting another war.

jon-kyl-121708l_1.jpg

Irancove @ September 27, 2009

Why Iran’s nuclear drama took center stage

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Sharmine Narwani at the Huffington Post lays down a fact that is absent from almost every MSM news about the latest iteration of the Iranian nuclear program. Excerpt:

Fact: The current rate of inspection of Iran’s nuclear
facilities is an inspector’s visit every other week. It is by far the
most heavily enforced inspections regime in IAEA history. Approximately
half of these visits are unannounced.

Per the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), member states have the right
to enrich uranium. Iran signed onto the treaty the year it became open
for signature, in 1968, a year after the United States provided Iran
with its first nuclear plant, and two years before the NPT came into
force. In 2002, it became known that Iran was pursuing a nuclear
enrichment program, which it acknowledged in 2003, and subsequently
opened its doors to the IAEA to place these facilities under the
required safeguards.

But, after enduring years of scrutiny, Iran started complaining that
the cycle of questions never ends. In a letter to the Agency’s board of
governors on June 17, 2009, the Permanent Representative of the Islamic
Republic of Iran to the IAEA argued:

“After six years of the most robust and intrusive
inspection in the history of the Agency, and in spite of the continuous
declaration of the Director General (of the IAEA, Mohammad El Baradei)
in over 20 reports to the Board of Governors, that there is no evidence
of diversion of nuclear materials and activities to prohibited purposes
(i.e., weaponization), the issue is still on the agenda. The simple
question is: why?”

 She continues:

So what’s with the relentless scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear intentions?
Let me go out on a limb here: Iran, which is a major oil producing
state in a strategically important region, has a very independent
foreign policy stance on issues that are of concern to the United
States and many of its allies. They don’t like that. Israel, the US’s
main regional ally, needs to keep itself relevant to Western powers now
that the Cold War is well and truly over, divert attention from it’s
own covert nuclear weapons stash, and avoid accountability for its
failure to address the Palestinian issue. It needs a big old bogeyman.
Enter Iran, the convenient scary kid on the block. Iran isn’t exactly
an angel — it has powered up its anti-Israel rhetoric to stay relevant
on the Arab and Muslim Street. These two blocs clash, and they seek
continuously to curb the other’s influence.

Irancove @ September 27, 2009

He who screams loudest

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Gareth Smyth reports on the details of the nuclear commotion from the Tehran Bureau. Key paragraphs below:

Under the basic requirements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT), a state is obliged to tell the IAEA about any site 180 days before any nuclear material is introduced.

In 2003, Iran agreed to a stiffer requirement, the so-called Code 3.1, which required the agency be told when a new facility came into construction. This was also a time of substantive talks between Iran and the European Union — and was also the year when Iran signed the Additional Protocol (AP) to the NPT, which gave the IAEA powers of snap inspection. More on page 866

Irancove @ September 26, 2009

Greenwald: Should any Iraq lessons be applied to Iran?

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Glenn Greenwald’s excellent post about the latest rash of Iranophobia says it all.

Irancove @ September 26, 2009

Milhollin on Iran, a Hangover from Iraq

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In a short piece in the NYT, Gary Milhollin argues for pressing sanctions against Iran for its nuclear energy program. Milhollin is the editor of “Iran Watch: Tracking Iran’s Mass Destruction Weapon Capabilities.” Before Iran Watch, Milhollin published “Iraq Watch,” a site dedicated to “tracking weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” (the site is “no longer being updated”).

In 2002, Milhollin called Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, “timid.” When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq and some voices were calling for more inspections before going to war, Milhollin argued that inspections could never work (citing reasons like Saddam’s mobile labratories).  He concluded the article with:

For inspectors to do their job, they have to have the truth, which can only come from the Iraqis. As President Bush told the United Nations last week, the world needs an Iraqi government that will stop lying and surrender the weapons programs. That is not likely to happen as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power.

In Januray 2003, months before the Iraq invasion, Milhollin labeled the UN weapons inspector tasked with finding weapons of mass destruction, “irrelevant.”

Eventually, weapons of mass destruction could be found in Iraq as promised.

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Irancove @ September 26, 2009

World’s top nuclear powers “demand Iran nuke site opened”

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Will they demand the same of themselves?

According to the Telegraph:

Building work “started in earnest” in the middle of 2006, sources said, with workers tunneling into the side of a mountain to excavate a space large enough for around 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium.

While that may sound large, sources say it is “insufficient for a civilian fuel reactor,” particularly using the old P1 centrifuges based on a 1970s design developed by the Pakistani programme run by AQ Khan.

Irancove @ September 25, 2009