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.”
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.”
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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).
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 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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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.
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.’
Following up on ourcoverage 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.
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.”
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?”
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.
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
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.
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.