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The Race for Iran

AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI ON THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC AND THE “BIG SIN” OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

As Israeli-Western hysteria over Iran’s nuclear program continues rising, mainstream media outlets routinely dispense the observation—either on their own or in the form of quotations from U.S. officials—that Tehran’s intentions about the program are murky and it is difficult to discern who is really making decisions about it.  As a counterpoint to this, we were struck by a speech that the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei delivered earlier this month to a gathering of Iranian nuclear scientists, see here.  We also reproduce the text below: 

SUPREME LEADER MEETS WITH NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS

“In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I am very happy to meet you dear people, the valuable brothers and sisters who are active in an arena of historic significance which is a source of national pride. We have said a lot of good things about you behind your backs and we truly respect you. And today is an opportunity to express our respect face to face. I am thankful to God. Of course, these are blessings from God. All these blessings are from the Creator. “And whatever favor is (bestowed) on you it is from Allah.” [The Holy Quran, 16: 53] It is a divine blessing to have competent, intelligent, scholarly, innovative and motivated manpower. It is a blessing from God. I am grateful to you and I am also thankful to Allah the Exalted for blessing this nation and this system with your existence.

One point is that everybody who is rendering services in a particular area should be well aware of the value of his services. If he appreciates the value of his services, he will continue his work in the best possible way. But if he fails to do so, he will naturally abandon his duty. If a person who is guarding a particular place fails to appreciate the value of his work, he will naturally let down his guard and fall asleep. Therefore, the first point is that we should be aware of the significance of the work we are doing.

Now I would like to say a few things in this regard. There are many different aspects to your work. One aspect of your work is that it instilled a sense of national dignity into this nation and this country, which is very important. Nations face serious trouble only when they lose their dignity, when they serve foreigners for free and forget their own value. This shows the importance of dignity. An oppressed nation – such as the nations in North Africa and other places – rises up only when it feels its dignity has been trampled upon. Then it rises up and no power can stand in the way of such a nation. This has already happened. This shows the importance of dignity. The Revolution instilled a sense of dignity into our nation and our country. They tried to discourage our nation on many occasions. They tried to convince our people that they were incompetent. “Yes, you carried out a revolution, but you cannot run the country by yourselves. You cannot make progress. You cannot keep up with the world.” Every scientific advance is a testimony to the competence of our nation. And your work in nuclear technology instilled a sense of dignity into this nation. This is one dimension of the significance of your work.

The value of such things cannot be measured with materialistic calculations. Of course, all these things are being measured with money in the materialistic world. All human values are finally reduced to money. And this is the affliction of the materialistic world and it will definitely bring materialistic people down. The truth is that there are certain things whose value cannot be measured with money. One may light-heartedly mention money just to make a comparison. I remember I had travelled to one of our provinces. One of the meetings that had been arranged was a meeting with our academics. It was a very enthusiastic meeting. One of the learned professors – whom I knew from before – delivered a speech at the meeting. A few people spoke at the meeting and this learned man was among them. In order to attract the attention of government officials and myself to the problems of the province, he mentioned the capacities that the province enjoyed. For example, he said that certain projects in the province were worth billions and that there was room for such and such investments. I told him that the things he mentioned were materialistic and that he himself was worth several billions more. A learned professor living in a city, in the capital city of a province – can this be compared with the materialistic advantages that the province enjoys? This is the value of ideas and outstanding personalities. You should know that the work you are doing is important.

Of course, as I said, your work has many different aspects. In their propaganda, they have been trying to say that the work on nuclear energy is ideologically motivated – that it has nothing to do with our national interests. This is while your work is directly related to our national interests. The work on nuclear energy is directly related to our national interests. The report that was presented by Dr. Abbasi explained certain aspects of the relationship between nuclear energy and our national interests. The work on nuclear energy is for the sake of the nation, the country and the future.

The arrogant powers of the world – which consider ruling the world as their right – refer to themselves as the global community. This is while they are not the global community. The global community consists of the people and their governments. There are a few countries that refer to themselves as the global community and they issue orders, speak, dismiss and demand on behalf of the global community. These countries have built their global hegemony on their monopoly on science and technology. Some of the uproar that they cause is because they do not want this monopoly to be broken. If the people manage to make progress in nuclear technology, in aerospace, in electronic areas and in different industrial, technological and scientific areas, there will no longer remain a way for them to maintain their bullying and coercive hegemony.

One of the biggest crimes that has been committed against humanity is that over the past two, three centuries – after the Industrial Revolution – knowledge has turned into a means for bullying. The English, who were among the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution, used their knowledge to shackle other nations around the world. Do you know what happened during the reign of the English in the vast and rich Indian subcontinent? And the events were not just limited to the Indian subcontinent. The whole of East Asia was under their boots for more than a century and they dominated the people of East Asia by using their knowledge as a tool. The people felt frustrated. Many people were killed. Many wishes were dashed. Many nations fell behind. Many countries were destroyed. This was how they used their knowledge. This is the biggest treachery to knowledge, just as it is the biggest treachery to humanity. They do not want this monopoly to be broken. Any nation that manages to stand on its own feet independently – and not with their permission and approval and under their yoke – will contribute to undermining this monopoly. Fortunately, this work has already started in Iran.

You should pursue this important field and this essential and great work in an absolutely serious way. Rely on Allah, and Allah the Exalted will help you. There are human and natural capacities. Fortunately, today there are political capacities as well. Sometimes there might be human and natural capacities, but political capacities might be lacking in a country: the hegemony of the enemy does not let such a country breathe and utilize its human and natural capacities. The Revolution took place and created these political capacities. You can – and you must – move forward.

The purpose of the uproar they cause is to stop us. They know that we are not after nuclear weapons. They already know this. I do not have any doubts that in the countries that are opposed to us, the organizations in charge of decision-making are fully aware that we are not after nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are not at all beneficial to us. Moreover, from an ideological and fiqhi perspective, we consider developing nuclear weapons as unlawful. We consider using such weapons as a big sin. We also believe that keeping such weapons is futile and dangerous, and we will never go after them. They know this, but they stress the issue in order to stop our movement.

We want to prove to the world that nuclear weapons do not bring about power. This is because the nuclear powers are suffering from the biggest problems today. They dominated the world through nuclear threats, but today such threats are no longer effective. We want to say that we are not after nuclear weapons, that we do not believe nuclear weapons bring about power and that we can break the kind of power that is based on nuclear weapons. By Allah’s favor, our nation will do this.

Of course, you know that the pressure they exert on us – the pressure of sanctions, threats, assassinations and other such things – is a sign of their weakness. It shows that whatever they do will only strengthen our nation. Their actions will only convince our people that they have chosen the right goal and that their movement is continuing in an appropriate way. As a result, the enemy has been infuriated.

This movement is not just a nuclear movement. Today their pretext is the nuclear issue. They use the nuclear pretext to impose sanctions on us. How long is it since the nuclear issue was first brought up? The sanctions have been there for thirty years. Why were they imposing sanctions on us when the nuclear issue did not exist? It is just a matter of fighting a nation that has decided to become independent, a nation that has decided to resist oppression, a nation that has decided to expose oppression, a nation that has decided to stand up against oppressors and oppression, a nation that is determined to convey this message to the entire world. We have tried to convey this message and by Allah’s favor, we will try even harder in the future. Sanctions, political pressure and other such things will not be effective. When a nation decides to stand firm, when a nation believes in divine assistance and its domestic power and capacities, nothing can stand in its way.

This is my advice: strengthen your resolve. Increase the motivation to continue this path in your organization and among the people who have taken on this important responsibility. Your work is significant. Your work is important and by Allah’s favor, it will determine the future of this country. The issue is not that we will be able to use the nuclear industry to promote our national interests. The issue is that this movement strengthens the resolve of our youth, our scientists and our people, and it makes them steadfast on their path. This is an important point. Keeping our people steadfast and motivated is more important than the direct rewards of the nuclear industry. You are active in this arena and God willing, Allah the Exalted will help you.

We will pray for you. We will definitely help and support you whenever necessary. We believe that by Allah’s favor, you will move forward and remove the obstacles from your path one after the other. By Allah’s favor, your future will be far better than your present.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.”

For those interested in learning more about Ayatollah Khamenei’s views on nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, his website presents a longer (and very rich) exposition, which he presented last year, see here

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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227 Responses to “AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI ON THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC AND THE “BIG SIN” OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS”

  1. Mohammad says:

    And another type: both “1987″s in my previous comments should be “1989″ which was the year when Iran’s constitution was amended, Ayatollah Khomeini died, and Ayatollah Khamenei was elected leader by the Assembly of Experts.

  2. Mohammad says:

    Oh, there was a typo in my last comment:
    In “Since 30/4500000000 = 1/150000, the impact of votes in different districts are similar under idealized assumptions” the numbers should be 30/4500000 = 1/150000, obviously.

    Also here’s an interesting link on the election campaign in the first Majlis election, 1980:
    http://www.fardanews.com/fa/news/186978/%D8%AA%D8%A8%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%BA%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA%DB%8C-%DB%B3%DB%B2-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B4%D8%B9%DA%A9%D8%B3

    It is the list of the candidates of the “Islamic Republic” party, published in their newspaper (yes, it includes Khamenei and Rafsanjani). They ultimately topped the results in a competitive election (see here for a nostalgic recount: www DOT uskowioniran DOT com/2012/03/fridays-elections.html). The party went inactive when Khamenei became leader in 1987, in order to avoid potential accusations of political cronyism.

  3. Mohammad says:

    Thanks to kooshy, Eric, masoud and Persian Gulf.

    First, a clarification: of course it is not possible to vote for one candidate 30 times (if someone does it, it would probably be counted as only one vote for that candidate, or it may even be counted as an invalid ballot, I’m not sure). Each voter can vote only once for each candidate.

    Second, I generally agree with kooshy on the desirability of limiting the voters to their district of residence, but from a practical perspective, it would entail huge administrative and also political costs. The ID certificates only contain the city of birth, and although many government agencies have databases containing the address and city of residence of Iranians, there’s no guarantee that they are complete or current. Making them so would be a huge undertaking. Moreover, this could bring these databases (and their maintainers) political significance which could potentially diminish public trust in the election, pave the way for corruption and result in bitter disputes (maybe similar to 2000 U.S. elecion?).
    Nevertheless this restriction is applied to the candidates themselves. As far as I know, they have to prove that they have lived at least for 6 months in the district whose seat they’re running for.

    Third, masoud brought forth an important and controversial issue, namely the distribution of Majlis seats among districts. Logically this should be based on the population of each district, but AFAIK there’s no specific mechanism to ensure this. Iran’s constitution allows for the addition of at most 20 seats every 10 years since the 1987 amendment (which has been applied only once since then), and the administration submitted a bill to Majlis last year to do this but it has not been passed so far due to disagreements and lobbying over the seat allocation and even addition of new election districts. The Khabaronline news site has some detailed reports on this (in Persian):
    khabaronline DOT ir/news-162496.aspx
    Google search yields many interesting reports. For example an article published in a local magazine of the northwestern city of Ahar (republished in this blog), based on a comparison with neighboring districts, argues that Ahar and Haris (an election district with one seat) should be split into two separate districts each with its own seat. It describes lobbying efforts by the local authorities and their MP in Majlis.

    It appears that some populous districts like Karaj and Qom (which are characterized by recent fast population growth) are underrepresented and many small districts are overrepresented in Majlis. I’ve even read some argue that population should not be the only determinant, for example less developed districts should be given precedence over well-developed ones like Tehran.

    But assuming that the seats are distributed evenly, each Tehrani has only one out of e.g. 4.5 million votes, each vote specifying at most 30 candidates. In small districts, each voter has e.g. one out of 150000 votes, each vote specifying one candidate at most. Since 30/4500000000 = 1/150000, the impact of votes in different districts are similar under idealized assumptions (i.e. that each voter uses all of his voting choices). But Tehranis are likely to be underrepresented since it’s more cumbersome to fill 30-choice ballots than 1-choice ballots. (and to masoud: that’s not “voting 30 times”! It’s voting one time for 30 candidates)

    Fourth, the turnover number shows the number of voters, as Eric already explained. And as Persian Gulf said, yes I’m sure that there’s no restriction on the place we vote (as I already described in the second item above). Even the election of local councils do not have that restriction. BTW, I don’t believe that currently this is a problem, since the candidates don’t have the means to entice voters from other cities to go on a trip only to vote for them. They would be better off focusing on their own constituency.

    Fifth, there’s a wealth of information on Iran’s election law and procedures on Persian-language websites (obviously). The website of the Guardian Council has a webpage dedicated to Iran’s election laws: www DOT shora-gc DOT ir/portal/Home/ShowPage DOT aspx?Object=News&ID=cd3c67a2-92b8-4135-a043-d0e5ba88a31e&LayoutID=26486264-caf3-4edb-b140-ba753a5c0890&CategoryID=ff0668dd-649c-4d53-a9ba-23ec1caed3be

    Rehmat,
    It’s wrong that “no political party exists in Iran”. There are, and many (like e.g. the decades-old Society of Combatant Clerics and the younger Mardomsalari party) actively participated in the election by promoting their preferred candidates, but they are generally weak and not influential, partly because Iran’s election laws do not assume the existence of parties and treat candidates only as individuals, partly because Iran’s political culture associates parties with cronyism and favoring party interests over national interests, and partly because some of the most influential reformists parties have been banned (Mosharekat) or forced into inactivity (Karoubi’s National Trust Party, although some of its members were allowed to run) in the aftermath of 2009 election, though these parties did not generally fare well even when they were not banned. For example, their candidates lost to Ahmadinejad in 2005 one of whose campaign platforms was that he was “not associated with any political group or party at all”.

  4. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    China and Russia think the sanctions against Iran were not the effective way forward, to resolve the dispute and ensure Iran does not build nukes. China and Russia have the same object as the US, to ensure no nukes are built by Iran.

  5. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I am fascinated by your contention a group of hugely rich Americans is conspiring to set up war with Iran, in order to get even richer, and Aipac need not do anything on its part to arrange affairs in that way.

  6. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “You may be right that a blockade will occur, but I’ll be very surprised. The US navy blocking a shipload of Iranian oil en route to China? Highly unlikely, it seems to me.

    You suggest the US might limit it to Iranian-flagged ships. That probably would strike China as no less objectionable.”

    This is how blockades work. How do you think they work? The whole point of a blockade is to prevent any revenue (or in general other assets) coming in to the nation under blockade. To do that, you have to block that country’s primary revenue source from going OUT.

    Israel’s Finance Minister already called for one late last year IIRC.

    “But suppose China decided to live with that, but sent a Chinese-flagged ship to pick up the next load of Iranian oil? What would the US do then? Block it and provoke China?”

    If they are serious about the blockade, of course they will. Otherwise as you say, it looks stupid. They won’t set up a blockade unless they mean it.

    The US is prepared to sanction Chinese companies which buy oil from Iran. The US is already conducting economic war against China. China is not going to go to war over a blockade of oil they can buy from someone else.

    Did Israel hesitate in boarding and actually KILLING PEOPLE on a Turkish ship? Turkey bitched and moaned. Did Turkey go to war?

    If the US doesn’t set up a blockade, they’ll have to find another way to start the war. The problem is the US wants Iran to start the war, preferably in response to some such provocation as a blockade.

    Look, the oil export sanctions go no where, as we all know they will, what is the US going to do then? Back down and stop complaining about Iran?

    When Hell freezes over… If the US does, Israel will have no choice but to start the war themselves, regardless of their preference to pressure the Iranians to start it or at worst the US to start it.

    The only thing the US can do at this point to pressure Iran further economically is by by attempting to cut off their oil revenue. Sanctions will NOT do that. ONLY a blockade will.

    But the real reason for the blockade is that if the US stops Iranian ships – or all ships – entering or leaving Iranian ports – Iran will have no choice but to extend the blockade to ALL ships by mining the Strait. This of course will be considered an “act of war” and the US blockade will be treated as a “sanction”, NOT an “act of war” despite being exactly that.

    “‘The Senate can’t agree to cross the street,’ Mr. Graham said. ‘Iran has done more to bring us together than anything in the world.’ Did he mean to say ‘Iran?’”

    Of course – the issue of Iran. In reality of course it is the US ruling elites which gave Congress its marching orders… The AIPAC crowd are wasting their time. Congress already wants an Iran war…

  7. Dan Cooper says:

    Watch a video interview with Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, discussing U.S. strategy toward Iran and the need for mass mobilizations to stop a new war and sanctions.

    Join us on Sunday, March 4, at 11am at Mt. Vernon Place (between 7th and 9th streets in front of the Convention Center) to demand: “No war on Iran! No sanctions! No intervention! No assassinations!”

    The demonstration is initiated by Occupy AIPAC and is being co-sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition and numerous other organizations.

    http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/video-brian-becker-discusses-iran-rt-03-02-2012.html

  8. Dan Cooper says:

    Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.

    In the Arab world, Iran is disliked but seen as a threat only by a very small minority. Rather, Israel and the U.S. are regarded as the pre-eminent threat.

    A majority think that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons:

    In Egypt on the eve of the Arab Spring, 90 percent held this opinion, according to Brookings Institution/Zogby International polls.

    Western commentary has made much of how the Arab dictators allegedly support the U.S. position on Iran, while ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the population opposes it—a stance too revealing to require comment.

    The nonaligned countries, a movement with 120 member nations, has vigorously supported Iran’s right to enrich uranium—an opinion shared by the majority of Americans (as surveyed by WorldPublicOpinion.org) before the massive propaganda onslaught of the past two years.

    China and Russia oppose U.S. policy on Iran, as does India, which announced that it would disregard U.S. sanctions and increase trade with Iran. Turkey has followed a similar course.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30701.htm

  9. Masoud,

    Thanks for the description of Iranian parliamentary elections.

    I have the same question you have: If there are spaces for filling in, say, 30 names, because the city is allocated 30 Majlis representatives, may a voter write down the same name 30 times and have that count as 30 votes for the same candidate? I didn’t understand Mohammad to be saying that, but he didn’t seem to rule it out either.

    On your other question: You asked whether voter turnout numbers should be adjusted to reflect the fact many voters don’t vote for all 30 possible slots. If someone votes for only 10, for example, should he be counted as only 1/3 of a voter in the turnout figures? I’d say no — he should be counted as one voter. Certainly it would be preferable if everyone voted for a candidate for all 30 slots (though I doubt I’d have done the necessary research, and so probably would vote for far fewer), but I think voter turnout numbers are principally examined to determine how many people show up at the polls, period. I’d leave it at that. Besides, if one were to make such “adjustments,” we’d inevitably have to rely on voters to tell pollsters how extensively they voted. My hunch is that many voters would exaggerate a bit, probably out of reluctance to admit they hadn’t done their homework before entering the voting booth, and we’d get unreliable numbers.

  10. Persian Gulf says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    March 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    well, I couldn’t vote more than once b/c one’s birth certificate gets stamped after casting a vote. I meant in different elections that I was temporarily away from where I used to live.

  11. masoud says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    March 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Eric,

    This is how Iranian parliamentary elections work, as far as I can tell. I would appreciate any corrections:

    In larger cities, the population is sometimes many time the guideline set for a region to have a representative. In the US, and the west in general, this problem is solved by cutting up cities into unnatural districts or ridings, and having seperate contests in each of these. In Iran, the entire city is treated as one riding, and the x top vote getters all make it to the parliament, were x is the number of districts the city would be cut up into if it was located in the west.

    But there’s another twist: when voters go to fill out their ballots on election day, instead of having one blank space to fill in one name, they have x blank spaces to fill in x names, from a universe of about x*10 choices.I guess the intent behind this measure is to give the less prominent candidates running a fighting chance against those more well known.

    At the end of the day Tehran elects proportianately as many representatives as does the smallest village in Iran, so in that sense things kind of work out. On the other hand, I’ve always wondered what about how some side effects of this process. What happens when someone only wants to vote for one person(Mohhamad says he only voted for five). Is it possible just to repeat the same name thirty times? If I were to list two names fifteen times each, would that be the same as listing only two names once each?

    If the average Tehrani only fills in 10 out of a possible 30 names, should be be dividing the number of ballots cast by three to come up with the ‘actual’ turn out etc..?

  12. Persian Gulf:

    “you can vote anywhere you like which is, I think, a good thing! I did that in at least 3 different cities and districts in Iran!”

    I hope you don’t mean you voted three times in the same election.

  13. Richard,

    You may be right that a blockade will occur, but I’ll be very surprised. The US navy blocking a shipload of Iranian oil en route to China? Highly unlikely, it seems to me.

    You suggest the US might limit it to Iranian-flagged ships. That probably would strike China as no less objectionable. But suppose China decided to live with that, but sent a Chinese-flagged ship to pick up the next load of Iranian oil? What would the US do then? Block it and provoke China? Or let it through and acknowledge that the US blockade is nothing more than an annoyance that the US will soon abandon because it looks foolish to maintain it?

  14. From an article in today’s NY Times:

    QUOTE:

    “But Mr. Block and other former Aipac officials said that, as in previous years, the group would blanket Capitol Hill with its members — all of whom will carry a message about the Iranian nuclear threat.

    They will be pushing on an open door. Democrats and Republicans, divided on so much, are remarkably united in supporting Israel and in ratcheting up pressure on Iran. The Senate voted 100 to 0 last year to pass legislation isolating Iran’s central bank, over the objections of the White House.

    There are four bills in the House and Senate that call for tougher action against Iran or closer military cooperation between Israel and the United States. Mr. Graham is one of 32 Republican and Democratic sponsors of a resolution that calls on the president to reject a policy of containing Iran.

    “The Senate can’t agree to cross the street,” Mr. Graham said. “Iran has done more to bring us together than anything in the world.”

    END QUOTE.

    Did he mean to say “Iran?”

  15. On the “vote anywhere” discussion:

    Masoud: I don’t think anyone can vote “six times,” or more than once. Each person’s ID card has a unique number, which is scanned at the polling station. It’s impossible to prevent fraud entirely, but if these ID numbers are cross-checked, it wouldn’t be possible.

    Clearly there’s no reason to require local voting in presidential elections, and compelling reasons to require it in municipal elections. Which category should apply to parliamentary elections would seem to depend on whether Majlis representatives are elected “at large” nationwide, or by district. I understand it’s the latter. In that case, voters should be required to vote in the district.

  16. Reza,

    “Over at Enduring America, there is deep skepticism about the turnout figures for the election (65-68%).”

    They’re skeptical about the election at Enduring America? I’m shocked, shocked to learn this. Even Scott?

  17. James Canning says:

    Shimon Peres, quoted in The New York Times this week: “This is an unavoidable situation [need to attack Iran]. It’s not exactly the Nazi situation, but my God, what a catastrophe.” What catastrophe, Shimon? More 20 percent uranium stockpiled?
    And “not exactly” Nazi Germany in mid-1939. Really?

  18. James Canning says:

    ” Iranian tanker to discharge crude oil at Shell Singapore”

    Delivery of 1.5 million barrels.

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/229771.html

  19. James Canning says:

    “Is Obama giving in to Israeli pressure over Iran?”

    http://rt.com/usa/news/obama-iran-us-israel-709/

    Nothing new here, but worth quick read.

  20. James Canning says:

    Glenn Greenwald updates his piece underscoring inadequate media coverage of the Iran nuclear story:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/02/the_incomplete_media_debate_on_iran/?source=newsletter

  21. Rehmat says:

    Iran Election 2012: A slap to Zionist Bullies

    On the first day of Iran’s 9th Majlis (Parliament) election, 65% of the 48 million eligible Iranian voters hit the polling stations in a move deemed as a straight message to the USrael war rhetoric. However, the final official estimates will be available on Sunday.

    The high turnout is a slap to western Zionist-controlled governments (ZOGs) which funded anti-Ahmadinejad riots in June 2009. The western media had issued calls on behalf of discredited leaders of the Green movement to boycott the March elections.

    Lebanese Islamic Resistance, Hizbullah in a statement issued on Saturday, praised Iranian voters for their massive turnout proving once again their dedication to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and in the leadership of Ayatullah Ali Khamenei.

    On Saturday, Iran’s interior minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, announced that 135 candidates have been declared winners. The winners for the remaining 155 seats are expected to be released on Monday. Both the current Speaker of Majlis, Ali Larijani, and former Speaker of Majlis, Gholam Ali Hadad Adel, have retained their seats with largest majority.

    According to the Voice of Russia, Consrvatives have won majority of the 290-seat Majlis. The seats are contested by candidates affiliated with the United Front of Consrvatives and Islamic Revolutionay Front blocs – as no political party exists in Iran. Both of the blocs are supporters of Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, the Gurdian of 1979 Islamic Revolution. The new Majlis will certainly maintain Iran’s current official stand on nuclear program and the Zionist regime.

    American-Jewish Professor William Beeman (University of Minnesota) told Press TV that in the United States there are some people in some circles who felt that the sanctions on Iran would result in the Iranian people rising up and overthrowing their own government because they have been made so miserable and a number of us have pointed out how ridicules that scenario is.

    ”When a population is under pressure from the outside, they do not rise up and overthrow their own government, they rally behind their leaders and this is, I think in this particular case when we take a look at the elections, I think we will find that the Iranian people have not been discouraged by the sanctions that have been leveled against them, but in fact have shown their patriotism and their love of their own country,” said Beeman.

    Ralph Shoenman, a veteran American Jewish author and commentator in an interview with Press TV said that both the US and Israel are trying their best to discredit Iranian regime and destablize the country and dismantling its national sovereignty and national integrity. Ralph is author of the book The Hidden History of Zionism.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/iran-election-2012-a-slap-to-zionist-bullies/

  22. kooshy says:

    Eric 
    I think Massoud’s point is even more important than the concern I had

  23. Persian Gulf says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    March 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    “Mohammad, are you sure this “vote anywhere” rule applies to parliamentary elections?”

    Eric, I am not Mohammad!, but the answer for your question is yes it does. you can vote anywhere you like which is, I think, a good thing! I did that in at least 3 different cities and districts in Iran!

    I think only for municipal election one has to vote in his/her own district.

  24. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    It does appear that Israel is demanding that Iran be obliged to stop all enrichment. prior to any negotiations. As you say, Israel is demanding the US engage in a needless war. We’ve seen this before.

  25. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Did the IAEA team receive instructions not to visit Marivan? Seems possible from what you linked. Anyone with more on this?

  26. James Canning says:

    Annie Macoby Berglof in the FT today quotes the former head of UNSCOM, Rolf Ekeus: “Will Iran construct actual [nuclear] weapons? I don’t believe they’ve even made up their minds to go the full step.”

  27. Kooshy,

    Now that you bring this up, I do agree. In fact, I seem to recall reading that it was different for parliamentary elections, for just the good reason you mention.

    Mohammad, are you sure this “vote anywhere” rule applies to parliamentary elections?

  28. Richard Steven Hack says:

    By the way, a typo in my earlier post:

    “Because there’s no way a blockade can NOT stop a war” should of course be “start a war”.

  29. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Karl: To be precise, what the blockade will probably do is stop IRANIAN-flagged ships. It MIGHT not stop ships flagged under other countries. However, if Iran merely reflags its ships or it appears that most Iranian oil is going on ships flagged under other countries, then the US will stop them as well, and deal with the diplomatic problems later.

    The goal is to get a war by any means necessary, and the US ruling elites will do so.

  30. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Karl: “A blockade IS an act of war.”

    How many times have I said that?

  31. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This isn’t good, if true…

    WikiLeaks: Russia gave Israel Iranian system’s codes
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4196367,00.html

    “According to the leaked document, Israel gave Russia the “data link codes” for unmanned aerial vehicles that the Jewish state sold to Georgia, and in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for Tor-M1 missile defense systems that Russia sold Iran.”

  32. Richard Steven Hack says:

    ‘Missiles on Israel preferable to nuclear Iran’
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4197263,00.html

    Quotes

    A missile salvo on the greater Tel Aviv area, thousand of rockets fired at northern Israel, terror attacks against Israeli targets overseas, scores of Israeli casualties and countless others in bomb shelters – that is how a former top Israeli official described Iran’s possible reaction to an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities.

    According to a Thursday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the former official – speaking anonymously with the New York Times – detailed the formula by which Israel assessed the magnitude of Tehran’s response: “1991 + 2006 + Buenos Aires, times three-to-five.”

    In other words: The combined result of Saddam Hussein’s missile attack on Israel in 1991, Hezbollah’s missiles attacks on Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the terror attacks in Argentina’s capital in the early 1990s – times three.

    These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of Israelis and Jews and the damage to the Israeli economy amounted to billions of dollars.

    “Forty missiles fired at Israel are no small matter – but it’s better that a nuclear Iran,” he said.

    The New York Times said that the assessment is based on the premise that while Iran would aspire to meet any strike with force, it would prefer not to ignite a regional war.

    US defense experts, however, qualified the statement, saying the West’s ability to accurately predict Iran’s moves was limited.

    Washington, the report said, believes that a strike on the Islamic Republic would result in a missile barrage on Israel; but it also believes that Iran would try to somehow disguise its connection to such a counter-attack, possibly by promoting terror attacks on nations who support Israel.

    The Americans also believe it is likely Iran will use any such strike as a pretext to close off the Strait of Hormuz.

    US defense sources said that Tehran is likely to try and avoid a direct attack on American interests, because the regime knows that an American military strike will inflict significant damage.

    Washington does, however, think Iran will opt for an indirect assault against its interests worldwide, or against oil production facilities in the Persian Gulf.

    End Quotes

    Do these idiots in Israel really believe Iran will just fire a couple rockets at Israel, then back down? Iran would be stupid to do that.

    First, the minute Iran fires a missile at Israel, the US will attack Iran. I mean, the MINUTE! Forget all this Obama crap about “We might not retaliate unless US assets are threatened.” The US will attack the INSTANT – or BEFORE – ANY Iranian retaliation occurs.

    Second, Iran will need to show that it is prepared to defend itself against a direct attack. Failure to do so merely allows Israel to do MORE attacks. And Israel WILL do more attacks until it gets the US into the war.

    All this article shows is that as I’ve said Netanyahu is worried about the political blowback from an Iran attack which could negatively affect the Likud Party. This piece is an attempt to convince the Israeli public to accept the results of an Israeli attack.

  33. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Won’t take foreign pressure on Iran gas deal: FM Hina
    http://paktribune.com/news/Wont-take-foreing-pressure-on-Iran-gas-deal-FM-Hina-247960.html

    Can we get her to replace Clinton? She’s MUCH better looking… :-)

    Quote:

    “Pakistan is pursuing important projects with Iran, such as gas pipeline, electricity transmission, and also building a more robust trade partnership between the two countries,” Khar said. “All of these projects are in Pakistan’s national interest and will be pursued and completed irrespective of any extraneous consideration.”

    End Quote

  34. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Russia to try its best to ward off war in Iran: Putin
    http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/02-Mar-2012/russia-to-try-its-best-to-ward-off-war-in-iran-putin

    Good luck with that. You’re gonna have to step up…

  35. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Over at Enduring America, there is deep skepticism about the turnout figures for the election (65-68%). I fancy I may have to do another numerical analysis to determine whether or not the numbers for the candidates in the Tehran constituency have all been equally “inflated”. All the same, turnout in Tehran this time round is half that of 2009 presidential election, though about 50% more than the 2008 Majlis election.

  36. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This is interesting…

    Iran Questions IAEA’s Resolve and Impartiality
    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=50971

    Notable Quotes:

    In their recent visit to Iran, the high-level officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) missed a golden opportunity to resolve one of the lingering questions about Iran’s nuclear program, due to the personal intervention of the IAEA Director-General, Yukiya Amano, whose reports have raised suspicion of a “possible nuclear dimension.”

    According to a source close to the Iranian nuclear negotiation team in Iran, during the two-day visit on February 20-21, the IAEA team headed by Herman Nackaerts, the Deputy Director-General for Safeguards, was informed that even though the purpose of the visit was for discussion of a framework to resolve the “ambiguities,” they were invited to visit the site at Marivan, cited in the November 2011 IAEA report for suspected “high explosive” tests pertaining to nuclear weapons — a charge denied by Tehran. Instead of accepting this invitation, and thus putting to rest one of IAEA’s stated concerns, the IAEA team declined the offer after consulting with Mr. Amano in Vienna. Amano ordered the team to return to Vienna immediately.

    According to sources in Tehran, if Amano had permitted his team to inspect the Marivan site, then he would have had to mention the agency’s finding in his report due next week. “By personally intervening to torpedo a chance to lay to rest a key IAEA suspicions about Iran, unfortunately once again Mr. Amano proved his bias,” maintains the Tehran source.

    According to recent admissions by various top US officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Paneta, the United States has no evidence that Iran is attempting to produce nuclear weapons. This means the Iran nuclear crisis is a “crisis of choice” rather than “necessity,” and its resolution requires dexterous diplomacy on the part of both sides.

    [MY COMMENT: Well, if it's "crisis of choice", why do you think it CAN be resolved? Am I the only one, like George Carlin, who can ask the obvious questions? - RSH]

    End Quotes

  37. Richard Steven Hack says:

    A reminder of what is real…

    George Carlin ~ The American Dream
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q&feature=related

  38. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And yet another… Needless to say, David Sanger as “contributor”…

    U.S. Backers of Israel Pressure Obama Over Policy on Iran
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/world/middleeast/israels-backers-in-aipac-press-obama-to-harden-iran-policy.htm

    Notable Quotes:

    Specifically, Israeli officials are demanding that Iran agree to halt all its enrichment of uranium in the country, and that the suspension be verified by United Nations inspectors, before the West resumes negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program.

    {MY COMMENT: Which, of course, means that the only acceptable outcome is war. – RSH]

    The White House has rejected that demand, Israeli and American officials said on Friday, arguing that Iran would never agree to a blanket ban upfront, and to insist on it would doom negotiations before they even began. The administration insists that Mr. Obama will stick to his policy, which is focused on using economic sanctions to force the Iranian government to give up its nuclear ambitions, with military action as a last resort. But in his tone, at least, the president is working hard to reassure Israel.

    [MY COMMENT: I'll bet he is, since his handlers demand it. And once again, what does he do when the sanctions DON'T work? Does he think Israel will give him a free pass to back down? - RSH]

    In an interview published on Friday, Mr. Obama reiterated his pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon — with force, if necessary — and ruled out a policy of accepting but seeking to contain a nuclear-armed Iran.

    Mr. Obama will not lay down new red lines on Iran, even if he discusses them with Mr. Netanyahu, administration officials said. And he is not ready to accept a central part of Israel’s strategic calculation: that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be warranted to stop it from gaining the capability to build a nuclear weapon, rather than later, to stop it from actually manufacturing one.

    [MY COMMENT: If I thought Obama WASN'T a liar, I might believe that he doesn't want war, since Iran will never actually make a nuke, and therefore there will be no war. But I know better...Obama IS a LIAR. And even if he wasn't, Israel will still attack Iran. Or the next Republican President will. So Obama isn't even relevant. - RSH]

    But Mr. Block and other former Aipac officials said that, as in previous years, the group would blanket Capitol Hill with its members — all of whom will carry a message about the Iranian nuclear threat.

    They will be pushing on an open door. Democrats and Republicans, divided on so much, are remarkably united in supporting Israel and in ratcheting up pressure on Iran. The Senate voted 100 to 0 last year to pass legislation isolating Iran’s central bank, over the objections of the White House.

    There are four bills in the House and Senate that call for tougher action against Iran or closer military cooperation between Israel and the United States. Mr. Graham is one of 32 Republican and Democratic sponsors of a resolution that calls on the president to reject a policy of containing Iran.

    “The Senate can’t agree to cross the street,” Mr. Graham said. “Iran has done more to bring us together than anything in the world.”

    [MY COMMENT: When the ruling elites speak, the Congress listens... And the ruling elites want war. - RSH]

    End Quotes

  39. masoud says:

    Mohammad says:
    March 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I’ve got another question for you: Can you lay out for us how the votes in the larger electoral districts in Tehran are tabulated?

    If you’ve chosen to vote six times, did you just have six times the say that a voter in a smaller city would have, or six times the influence than a tehran resident that only chose to vote once? Or did you just give six thirtieths of a vote to each?

  40. kooshy says:

    Mohammad says:
    March 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Eric A. Brill says:
    March 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    “On whether you can vote anywhere you want, yes you can. There is absolutely no restriction on which district or polling station Iranian voters can vote. There is no pre-registration of voters. You simply go into a ballot station somewhere with your ID certificate (Shenasnameh) and vote, no matter if it is a presidential, parliamentary, Assembly of Experts or local councils election.”

    Mohammad / Eric

    Thank you for your replies, I personally don’t think it’s a good idea that one can vote in any polling station for the parliamentary elections, for presidential elections I understand and I think there not only there are no problems but actualy it’s a better system than the US, but for parliamentary district election I think the registration system which one have to vote in his/her own polling station is preferable, for at least 2 reason, one is the democracy issue which Eric brought up which in reality means that a party can send all his voters to a city and elect a person who in reality does not have the majority vote of his own district’s residence, second reason is as Tip O’Neil said all the politics are local and it should be kept that way for obvious reasons, I think Iran in future needs to keep the voting for parliamentary elections open only to local residence of the towns and even city districts. I welcome your ideas if they differ.

  41. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yet another article on how Netanyahu is going to wrestle Obama to the floor…

    Israel delivers ultimatum to Obama on Iran’s nuclear plans
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9121433/Israel-delivers-ultimatum-to-Obama-on-Irans-nuclear-plans.html

    Notable quotes:

    The threat is not an idle one. According to sources close to the Israeli security establishment, military planners have concluded that never before has the timing for a unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities been so auspicious.

    [MY COMMENT: They STILL have Hizballah to worry about... - RSH]

    Israel has always known that there would be an enormous cost in launching an attack on Iran, with the Islamist state able to retaliate through its proxy militant groups Hamas and Hizbollah, based in Gaza and Lebanon respectively, and its ally Syria.
    Each is capable of launching massive rocket strikes at Israel’s cities, a price that some senior intelligence and military officials said was too much to bear.

    [MY COMMENT: Exactly as I've been saying... - RSH]

    But with Syria preoccupied by a near civil war and Hamas in recent weeks choosing to leave Iran’s orbit and realign itself with Egypt, Iran’s options suddenly look considerably more limited, boosting the case for war.

    [MY COMMENT: Syria has not been weakened enough yet, and Hamas was never a real strategic factor. - RSH]

    “Iran’s deterrent has been significantly defanged,” a source close to Israel’s defence chiefs said. “As a result some of those opposed to military action have changed their minds. They sense a golden opportunity to strike Iran at a significantly reduced cost.” Not that there would be no cost at all. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas has chosen to throw its lot in with its closest ideological ally and forsake Iran and its funding, but it could still be forced to make a token show of force if smaller groups in Gaza that are still backed by Tehran unleash their own rockets.

    [MY COMMENT: Again, Hamas is not a factor. Only Hizballah has the number of missiles and longer range missiles to be a factor in terms of Israeli public reaction. - RSH]

    Likewise, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, could seek to reunite his fractured country with military action against Israel.

    [MY COMMENT: Frankly, I doubt that. Assad doesn't want to engage Israel's military directly. No way, no how. He would lose and he knows it. He would break any agreement with Iran and stay out of the fight - if he could, anyway. Especially with having to deal with an internal insurgency supported by foreign powers. That's the whole point of the current Syria crisis. - RSH]

    Iran would almost certainly launch its long-range ballistic missiles at Israel, while Hizbollah, with an estimated arsenal of 50,000 rockets, would see an opportunity to repair its image in the Middle East, battered as a result of its decision to side with Mr Assad.

    Even so, it is not the “doomsday scenario” that some feared, and a growing number in the security establishment are willing to take on the risk if it means preventing the rise of a nuclear power that has spoken repeatedly of Israel’s destruction.

    “It won’t be easy,” said a former senior official in Israel’s defence ministry. “Rockets will be fired at cities, including Tel Aviv, but at the same time the doomsday scenario that some have talked of is unlikely to happen. I don’t think we will have all out war.” In itself, the loss of two of Iran’s deterrent assets would probably not be enough to prompt Israel to launch unilateral military action.

    [MY COMMENT: But the loss of Syria AND Hizballah would be perfect for Israel. And it never WAS a "doomsday scenario". It was a political doomsday Netanyahu wants to avoid - the blowback from angry Israelis who have to spend days in a bomb shelter...- RSH]

    The real urgency comes from the fact that Israeli intelligence has concluded that it has only between six and nine months before Iran’s nuclear facilities are immune from a unilateral military strike.

    [MY COMMENT: Once again we see this "immunity" nonsense. Iran was ALWAYS "immune" to anything short of an Israel nuclear attack. Israel could never set back Iran's energy program for long and it was never Israe's intent to do so. Israel's intent has ALWAYS been to drag the US into the war and let the US destroy much of Iran so it will take decades to rebuild, like it did Iraq.

    This "immunity" story is just a cover story. It's meaningless. It's just to justify Israel's demands that the US attack NOW, not later. It's pressure, nothing more. - RSH]

    Mr Obama is determined that beefed up US and EU sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank and energy sector be given the chance to work and is desperate to dissuade Israel from upsetting his strategy.

    [MY COMMENT: So what does he do when they do NOT work? No one bothers to ask...- RSH]

    Mr Netanyahu’s chief demand will be that Washington recognises Israel’s “red lines”. This would involve the Barack administration shifting from a position of threatening military action if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon to one of warning of the use of force if Tehran acquired the capability of being able to build one.

    Mr Obama will be reluctant to make such a commitment in public, though he might do so in private by pledging action if Iran were to expel UN weapons inspectors or begin enriching uranium towards the levels needed to build a bomb, according to Matthew Kroenig, a special adviser to the Pentagon on Iran until last year.

    [MY COMMENT: So Obama will lie to the US electorate again... And this is bullcrap. Israel AND the US know full well that Iran will never leave the NPT or start weaponizing uranium. So why would Obama and Netanyahu even HAVE this conversation? - RSH]

    Among the Israeli public, there is a sense of growing sense that a confrontation with Iran is inevitable. Overheard conversations in bars and restaurants frequently turn to the subject, with a growing popular paranoia fed by the escalation in bomb shelter construction, air raid siren testing and exercises simulating civilian preparedness for rocket strikes.

    Last week, Israeli newspapers fretted that the government was running short of gas masks, even though more than four million have already been doled out.

    [MY COMMENT: Which supports my contention that what Netanyahu fears most is an "expensive war" - one that threatens the Likud Party's political future... - RSH]

    End Quotes

    I see no change in the strategic imperatives here: Syria has to go, then Hizballah, then a blockade, then war. That’s the plan and nothing here will change that.

  42. James Canning says:

    Rolf Ekeus, head UN weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1997, is quoted in the Financial Times today (“An inspector recalls”): “The US and Iran share common interests in Afghanistan – - everybody forgets that the US turned to Iran to help with the Taleban after 9/11.”

    And: “[Iranians] may need to meet their obligations to the [IAEA] and we may need more effective inspections. But right now dialogue is still in everyone’s interest.”

  43. Karl says:

    Richard,

    A blockade IS an act of war.

  44. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I think some form of a deal will be necessary. I continue to think Sergei Lavrov’s proposal for a phased reduction in sanctions, in response to an Iranian concession, would be easier to accomplish. Aipac will prevent any “grand bargain”.

  45. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “If a shipload of Iranian oil is on its way to China, or India, or Japan, do you think Obama would order the US navy to block it?”

    Yes. That’s what a blockade means. The oil export sanctions are intended to do the exact same thing, but they rely on those countries voluntarily accepting those sanctions. Obama can always claim that those countries can get their oil from somewhere else, so it makes it hard for those countries to claim a blockade is an act of war against THEM. Those countries could retaliate in other ways, of course, especially China, but neither India nor Japan can afford to really alienate the US at this point over Iran. In any event, none of that matters to the ruling elites.

    The calls for a blockade, which I believe will begin next year depending on how things go this year with Syria, will be the litmus test for whether the US wants a war with Iran. Because there’s no way a blockade can NOT stop a war. If the US calls for a blockade, there can be no doubt the intent is an actual war.

    Not “slo-mo regime change” or any of the other excuses heard here, but actual war.

  46. Mohammad wrote to Kooshy:

    “On whether you can vote anywhere you want, yes you can. There is absolutely no restriction on which district or polling station Iranian voters can vote. …This is why the election authority can never be sure about the number of voters on each district before voting begins, and in districts which are weekend tourist destinations the number of voters could potentially get more than the population of the district if the turnout is high enough (as happened in 2009).”

    Shemiran, just north of Tehran, was considered to be the most pro-Mousavi district in all of Tehran, or very close to it. The vote there was heavily in favor of Mousavi. The number of people who voted in Shemiran in 2009 was 13 times the number of Shemiran residents eligible to vote.

  47. Mohammad says:

    kooshy,

    You’re welcome.

    Well the issue you described is only an issue in Tehran, as the next largest election districts are Mashhad and Isfahan with only 5 MPs. This is the reason that every actively participating political faction introduces its own 30-member “election list” of Tehran candidates to aid (and incline) voters, and much of the election debate and campaigning revolves around these lists. These election lists are mass published and distributed by the candidates and activists during the campaign in various forms and formats, including pocket-sized cards which many voters use as a guide in the voting day. This is perhaps similar to voting for parties in other countries (although these Tehran election lists do overlap much with each other and are pretty much temporary and unofficial, typically not outliving the election).
    The more politically-savvy typically choose to vote for their own hand-picked individual preferences rather than voting for an entire list, and this was a sentiment which many principlist (conservative) bloggers promoted in this year’s election, with their slogan being “No to list-based voting”. Of course this takes much effort to research individually about the candidates if you are not that much savvy to already know enough candidates in depth, esp. in the past when enough information on candidates was hardly available. Nowadays Google is a great aid to look into the past record of the candidates. The Majlis site also publishes the minutes of its meetings which could be used in examining the performance of candidates which have been MPs before. Personally, this year I only voted for 6 people of the 30 choices I had, since I couldn’t find enough time before the voting to research for myself, and I typically don’t trust the election lists outright. Anyway I don’t think that a large portion of Tehrani voters fill the complete 30-person ballot.

    It should also be noted that there are one or more complete alphabetically-sorted printed lists of all candidates of the district, with their complete names and codes in every ballot station. If you generally know the names of the people whom you want to vote for, there’s no problem finding their correct name and code for writing down on the ballot.

    On whether you can vote anywhere you want, yes you can. There is absolutely no restriction on which district or polling station Iranian voters can vote. There is no pre-registration of voters. You simply go into a ballot station somewhere with your ID certificate (Shenasnameh) and vote, no matter if it is a presidential, parliamentary, Assembly of Experts or local councils election. This is why the election authority can never be sure about the number of voters on each district before voting begins, and in districts which are weekend tourist destinations the number of voters could potentially get more than the population of the district if the turnout is high enough (as happened in 2009).

  48. Forgive me for quoting again the same passages from Obama’s Atlantic interview, but it just occurred to me that one probably should pay attention to Obama’s use of the phrase “the truth of the matter is…”:

    ***************

    GOLDBERG: Could you shed some light on your relationship with the prime minister? … It’s assumed that you have a dysfunctional relationship. What is it like?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: I actually think the relationship is very functional… — the truth of the matter is that the relationship has functioned very well.

    GOLDBERG: Are you friends? Do you talk about things other than business?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, the truth of the matter is, both of us have so much on our plates that there’s not always a lot of time to have discussions beyond business.

    ********

    In the context of these answers, at least, the phrase appears to mean essentially this:

    “The overall “truth of the matter” is that Netanyahu and I don’t get along. He doesn’t like me, and I don’t like him. We talk about nothing but business, and I doubt either one of us enjoys even those conversations. We aren’t going to be playing golf together any time soon. Nonetheless, if you will give me a few more seconds to think about your question by prefacing my response with a phrase such as “the truth of the matter is,” I’m sure I can think of some narrow response that you’ll find more to your liking and that will be, in its own narrow little way, factually correct.”

  49. James,

    “I think a permanent deal will have to accept Iranian control of nuclear fuel cycle for the power plants.”

    I think so too. After reading what Obama said in his Atlantic interview, does that make you wonder whether a “permanent deal” will be reached within the next decade or so?

  50. James,

    “The billionaire ownerr of the Atlantic, Mort Zuckerman, is a buddy of Netanyahu and we can be sure Zuckerman wanted Goldberg to obtain something flattering about Netanyahu from Obama.”

    I don’t think Goldberg needed any coaching.

  51. Karl,

    Thanks for the link to the article on the “Myth of Osirak.” While Larry Derfner (a long-time Israeli citizen and resident) gave a great explanation, I was struck most by the fact that it took 26 years for even a well-informed Israeli resident to figure this out:

    “Like all Israelis, I believed that the Air Force had knocked out Saddam’s nuclear program for good in 1981, and that this had certainly proved a wise and brave decision. That was until 2007…”

    The US interviewed those Iraqi nuclear scientists in 1991. They exposed themselves to a considerable risk of punishment by admitting they’d spent several years working feverishly on a nuclear weapon that might be used against the US or Israel, and by directly challenging the standard line (until then) that the Osirak bombing had caused Saddam Hussein to abandon his quest for nuclear weapons. To the contrary, they explained that Iraq’s nuclear program had been entirely peaceful until that bombing, but that Saddam had thereupon shifted its focus to bomb development.

    The scientists’ testimony was widely reported at the time (though it quickly dropped out of the news and these days is almost never mentioned). I’d understood that most of the informed world public no longer believed the old line that the Osirak bombing had put an end to Saddam Hussein’s bomb-seeking. As a result, whenever I read that old claim, I always assume the writer knows it’s not true but is asserting it anyway, appealing only to the (quite large) chunk of readers that has no clue about what really happened.

    What Larry Derfner’s piece taught me is that I have been kidding myself to assume that most people know the old assertion is not true. Even he believed it for 26 years, and there’s no reason to think that most people, less well informed than he is, have stopped believing it.

    Thus, this mistaken belief about Osirak falls largely into the same category as the “Iran has vowed to wipe Israel off the map” stories: not accurate, but sincerely believed by a large number of people.

    Speaking of stories believed by a large number of people, has anyone else noticed the admirable progress the “Saudi ambassador plot” story from “implausible and unsupported” to “indisputable truth?” It’s not quite there yet in most mainstream media stories, but many lesser publications already cite it without descriptors (such as “alleged”). Even reputable publications engage in a clever sleight of hand, using formulations essentially like this:

    “The alleged Saudi ambassador plot has caused many analysts to wonder: Why did Iran hire an incompetent automobile dealer to carry out the plot, and why did they get involved with the Mexican drug mafia?”

    None too subtle, of course, but at least it reflects a journalistic sense of duty to “truth” that obligates one to continue using “alleged” for a decent period of time before one “upgrades” a speculation to indisputable truth.

  52. Karl says:

    James,

    “I think a permanent deal will have to accept Iranian control of nuclear fuel cycle for the power plants.”

    Like the current state?

  53. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think a permanent deal will have to accept Iranian control of nuclear fuel cycle for the power plants.

    I think the US should have responded to the Iranian offer last September, to get rid of the 20% issue (and allow refueling of the TRR).

    Israel opposes any Iranian enrichment.

  54. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    The billionaire ownerr of the Atlantic, Mort Zuckerman, is a buddy of Netanyahu and we can be sure Zuckerman wanted Goldberg to obtain something flattering about Netanyahu from Obama.

  55. Karl says:

    James,

    “This statement may explain, or does explain, why the US did not respond to the Iranian offer to stop enriching to 20 percent.”

    What is the permanent deal about then?

  56. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I agree completely. Obama deflected the question, making it very clear his dislike of Netanyahu but without insulting the arrogant Israeli leader.

  57. James Canning says:

    “Will Bibi break Obama?”, asks Pat Buchanan:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/2012/03/01/will-bibi-break-obama/

  58. James,

    “Goldberg knows full well Obama and Netanyahu are not friends.”

    I understand that. Goldberg probably figured “Hey, I’ve got Obama on a roll here, claiming deep sympathy for Israel’s people. Let me see whether I can get him to express warm and fuzzy feelings about Netanyahu, even though we all know Obama won’t be sincere if he takes the bait.”

    Unfortunately for Goldberg, Obama didn’t take the bait, which tells me his dislike for Netanyahu may be even more pronounced than I’d previously understood. Whatever Obama’s other shortcomings may be, his answers to those questions were impressive diplomatic dodges.

  59. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    Jeffrey Goldberg was obliged to let Obama make his pitch. Goldberg has his own agenda too, of course.

    Many of the reporters who question Ahmadinejad during his visits to America are trying to block his effort to improve relations with the US.

  60. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Obama was quite clear: the US wants “to see if we can solve this thing [nuclear dispute] permanently, as opposed to temporarily.”

    This statement may explain, or does explain, why the US did not respond to the Iranian offer to stop enriching to 20 percent.

  61. Karl says:

    Vali Nasr on U.S.-Iranian Relations

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NaFC9WFUPfc

    Old video but arent sure it has been posted, nothing new really, kind of points out the obvious, diplomacy is the only solution.

  62. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Max Blumenthal is correct when he says Netanyahu wants Obama defeated in this year’s election.

  63. M. Ali says:

    US Presidents get such soft questions, compared to the rude, nonsense questions Ahmedinejad gets when he goes to the west. If Obama was an Iranian President, his questions would have been, “Mr President, is it true that you masturbate to pictures of Netanyahu?”, “Mr President, do you regret raping Jews because they found that you had a false birth certificate?”, “Mr President, are you black?”

  64. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    The Pakistani foreign minister is of course quite right to reject the foolish American effort to prevent an extension of the Iranian gas pipeline into Pakistan.
    Pakistan suffers from a chronic shortage of adequate energy supplies.

  65. James Canning says:

    Geoff Dyer, in today’s FT (“War with Iran a distraction, says Obama”), noted:

    “A negotiated agreement whereby Iran took nuclear weapons ‘off the table’ was still the best outcome, [Obama] said. “Our argument is goint to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily.’”

  66. Karl says:

    Brill,

    “PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, the truth of the matter is, both of us have so much on our plates that there’s not always a lot of time to have discussions beyond business.”

    Pretty much sums it up. Obama is no friend of this warmonger still Israel trying to portray that US loves israeli policies.

  67. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Goldberg knows full well Obama and Netanyahu are not friends. Netanyahu has been called Obama’s “least-favorite foreign leader”, for good reason.

  68. James Canning says:

    Financial Times leader today: “Iran’s fateful choice on nuclear option”.

    Quote: “The west must keep up this pressure to bring the regime to the negotiating table. Only when Iran is willing to talk will it be possible to thrash out a solution to the nuclear problem that the west and Iran’s neighbors can live with.”

  69. M. Ali says:
    March 3, 2012 at 2:20 am

    I think you’re correct. The US is likely to search for ways to punish Iran without directly confronting other powers, notably China. It’s one thing to make doing business a bit more inconvenient by interfering with banking transactions, but quite another to block a shipload of oil needed to heat thousands of Chinese homes in the dead of winter. In the latter case, the Chinese will find the US’ “unilateral” sanctions a bit less unilateral, a bit less amusing.

  70. Unknown Unknowns says:

    The Sundis and cake sure hit the spot.

  71. Castellio says:

    Empty: I agree with your caution on the portrayal of the situation. And I agree with BibiJon and you that letting the story tell itself is appropriate.

  72. From Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview of Barrack Obama in the Atlantic:

    GOLDBERG: Could you shed some light on your relationship with the prime minister? … It’s assumed that you have a dysfunctional relationship. What is it like?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: I actually think the relationship is very functional… — the truth of the matter is that the relationship has functioned very well.

    GOLDBERG: Are you friends? Do you talk about things other than business?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, the truth of the matter is, both of us have so much on our plates that there’s not always a lot of time to have discussions beyond business.

  73. Rehmat says:

    USrael: The ‘New Middle East’ project is derailed

    In June 2006, former US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice unveiled America’s ‘New Middle East’ project in Tel Aviv. The project’s blue-print was prepared in Washington-London-Tel Aviv. Its agenda was to redraw Muslim East map with regime changes by creating military conflicts, chaos, division and religious sectarianism in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen, Pakistan, etc., in order to further weaken those countries in case they ever pose a threat to Israel in future. The implementation of the plan began with Israel’s 34-day continued bombing of Lebanon. However, after unexpected military humiliation of Jewish army at the hands of Hizbullah, plan was put on hold. Last year it was reconstructed from Tunisia followed by Egypt and Yemen. However, it’s now being derailed again in Syria, Iran and Pakistan…..

    On March 1, 2012 – Pakistani foreign minister, Hina Khar, told reporters that Islamabad rejects US demands to end all energy ties with the Islamic Republic as they’re more in the interests of Pakistan than Iran. In September 2011 – US Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs, Ambassador Carlos Pascual (receiver of Torch of Liberty Award from National Conference on Soviet Jewry in 2003), had “advised” Islamabad to abandon its plan to import gas from Iran. USrael is pursuing the delayed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline project – to replace Iran-Pakistan (I-P) gas pipeline – which by-passes Iranian territory…..

    Both China and India have refused USraeli demands to stop importing Iranian crude oil. India is world’s second largest inporter of Iranian oil ($12 billion per year) after China. Between China, India, Japan and South Korea – amounts 60% of Iran’s total oil export. Professor Nicholas Burn (Harvard), a retired former US Zionist Jew diplomat decribed India’s decision to “walk out of step” with its old friends, the US, EU and Israel as “bitterly disappointing” and “a real setback” to US closer ties with India (against China and Pakistan). Washington lifted it ban on India’s nuclear program in 2008 and signed several billion dollars worth contracts with New Delhi. Washington still maintains its ban on Pakistan’s nuclear program.

    “Netanyahu not only wants a pro-Israel regime change in Iran, but also a regime change in the US,” says Max Blumenthal, a Jewish-American military analyst and author.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/usrael-the-new-middle-east-project-is-derailed/

  74. Karl says:

    I thought this was a good quotation.

    “New York Times casually open its op-ed pages for Israeli officials or former Israeli officials to call for and agitate for bombing of Iran, or some Arab country. Would the New York Times allow Arabs to write “opinion pieces” in which they call for bombing of Israel?”

    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-york-times.html

  75. Persian Gulf says:

    M. Ali:

    who cares! what else do you expect from them to do?

    64.2% participation is revealing enough considering all the discouragement campaign that the radical oppositions ran over the past year or so.

    Based on the results of the four top candidates I have seen so far, I guess the turnout in my hometown that has two seats in the parliament was above 90% (probably above 95%).

  76. M. Ali says:

    PG, the english speaking blogs about Iran are going crazy. Their only line seems to be that all polls were empty, the government is lying about the turnover, and no one voted.

    So sad.

  77. Persian Gulf says:

    اینم غزل خداحافظی برای رفسنجانی!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2HIfgyQ5dc

  78. Persian Gulf says:

    تو این جور مواقع چهره سبزها دیدن داره. اونایی که من میشناسم از ناامیدی دارند به زمین و زمان فحش می دند. هر چی هم بهشون میگی قبول نمی کنند، انگار که نبض ملت ایران دست ایناست.
    ROFL

    رفسنجانی هم که دیگه کارش از دسپرشن گذشته.

  79. M. Ali says:

    I’d really like to see this table the American politicians always talk about.

  80. Karl says:

    I wonder what the next step US/Israel plan on Iran. We have the aipac warmongering convent the days ahead, we have netanyahu, peres, barak in the US to meet with US officials that will push their warmongering plans further, basically a propaganda injection that will unfortunately last some weeks. Then we have on monday the 5th the IAEA BOG meeting on Iran so we will definately see a worse escalation in march.

    Also Panetta, Obama, Romney etc will all speak on aipac convent so there will be alot of recycled warmongering. Also what will Obama say this year? More than the usual

    “Let me be clear, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon. And let me be clear to Iran, all options are on the table. America will never put Israel in danger, our bounds are unbreakable”

    I think he will ante up, but how? Threatening with more military actions?

  81. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio,

    For the sake of brevity I’m going to dispense with a lot of ‘perhaps’, possible’, type of caveats in the following. Nonetheless I mean it as a conjecture.

    Simply put the old paradigms of the hapless, disorganized and divided sheeple battling Goliath is over. The west, as the saying goes, has won every military battle all the way to losing the war (1). The west’s decline/defeat which has been long mused about in western progressive circles is a matter of tangible reality in mid east ushering in significant realignments. Mid East is a Vietnam that has won the war. Whatever alliances/groupings/etc that made sense for the combatant, is now a distraction for the victor.

    I am proposing new realities drive the various actors, not the old prerogatives. But, I agree with Empty. Some stories are better left to tell themselves.

    (1) http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175510/tomgram%3A_andy_kroll%2C_the_unlikely_oracle_of_occupy_wall_street/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tomdispatch%2FesUU+%28TomDispatch%3A+The+latest+Tomgram%29

  82. Empty says:

    “reliably sourced” rather….

  83. Empty says:

    Castellio,

    I’d be very interested to see a direct (and reliable sourced) statement from Hamas (and Hanieh in particular) in which they assert an overthrow of Assad. If you have, please link it and let’s look at the details together and see if we, too, end up with the same interpretation and reach the same conclusion as some of the articles that have been circulating in the past couple of weeks. I think the first step would be to see if we have the facts correct and then we move from there.

  84. Castellio says:

    Empty, BibiJon….

    How on earth is Hamas’ support for the overthrow of Assad a possible strengthening of Hizbollah-Hamas? And whatever weakens Hizbollah-Hamas weakens both of them separately… no?

  85. Empty says:

    Castellio,

    I only tacitly concurred with the “spirit” of what BibiJon stated. I hold a different view about the mechanics.

  86. M. Ali says:

    Of course, with any good article, there are astoundingly unbalanced ones like this,

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NC02Ak01.html

    All one needs to look at is the language of the post, to know its not worthwhile, An example being,

    “The economy is a disaster, to a certain extent because of Western sanctions but most of all because of the Ahmadinejad administration’s cosmic corruption and astonishing incompetence.”

    “Cosmic” corruption? “Astonishing” incompetence? More adjectives please.

  87. M. Ali says:

    An unrelated PS, I’ve found Asia Times Online to be, probably, the best news outlet. I like how their articles are usually detailed, comprehensive, intelligent pieces, with lots of sources.

  88. M. Ali says:

    Eric,

    “If a shipload of Iranian oil is on its way to China, or India, or Japan, do you think Obama would order the US navy to block it?”

    I think this is the most important factor, because it wouldn’t be a slap in the face of Iran, but against those countries. How would they take it, specially China, if suddenly USA is stopping their incoming shipments?

  89. Castellio says:

    M. Ali… There is an excellent case to be made that democracy is more alive and integrated into Iranian society at the federal level than in the US.

  90. M. Ali says:

    Eric, because I think Obama’s “I don’t bluff” message was supposidly to Iran AND Israel, one could also see it as a message to the latter (moreso, I’d argue), to say, listen guys, I promise I’ll do something, simmer down.

    But frankly, it is pathetic the way US presidents always seem to grovel for Israel’s approval. I don’t want to look for the exact interview, but the part in that interview where he says something along the lines about how, in the last 3 years, he has always supported Israel, sounds sad. Israelis never talk like this when it comes to US.

    Does Israel have naked pictures of every US president ever to have them bow down so much to a tiny country they themselves have been supporting all these years?

  91. Richard,

    “I believe Obama WILL give Netanyahu an assurance that the US WILL attack Iran via a US oil blockade.”

    Interesting. You may be right, but this strikes me as unlikely. If a shipload of Iranian oil is on its way to China, or India, or Japan, do you think Obama would order the US navy to block it?

  92. M. Ali says:

    Another interesting comparison, I think, is that in Iran, there is no two-party system. Which is why it is so hard for western analysists to grasp Iranian politics. In the west, even aside from US, all elections usually come down to two parties, the left or the right. But in Iran, it is so a mishmash of so many many lefts and rights, that when they try to write their opinion pieces on Iran, they get mixed up. For example, they try to split Iran into reformists & conservatives, and then suddenly, when the reformists were seen as less significient, they had to split Ahmedinijad’s bloc with other people in the government, but they had called them both conservatives, so how do they label them now?

  93. The Jeffrey Goldberg interview of Obama in The Atlantic is well worth reading.

    Encouraging, I think.

    As I’ve noted (hardly alone in this), the “red line” has almost undeniably been moved in the last several months by those who press for an attack on Iran — from “Iran must not obtain a nuclear weapon” to “Iran must not attain nuclear capability.” Indeed, unless I’ve overlooked one somewhere, I’ve not read or heard anything by a well-known pro-war figure, nor by any Israeli official, in at least the last couple of months that refers to the old “red line.”

    With one major exception – an exception that matters a great deal. If you read carefully the Goldberg interview of Obama, amidst all the “I don’t bluff” tough talk and bluster, Obama carefully sticks to the old red line: “Iran must not obtain a nuclear weapon.”

    As long as Obama sticks with that, I’ll remain confident that the US isn’t going to attack Iran. If and when Obama shifts to the new formulation — as Netanyahu undoubtedly will goad him to do — then he will have boxed himself into a corner. As I’ve written before, I’m never quite sure what people mean by “nuclear capability” (and please: no one jump in to educate me on that — I’m quite familiar with virtually every version), I am quite sure that, whatever it is, those who favor an attack on Iran will have no difficulty establishing that Iran’s got it — either right now or within the next several months at most.

    Certainly even the old red line — possession or active development of a nuclear weapon — poses risks for Iran, since many critics claim Iran has already crossed even that line. But I don’t think Obama has been persuaded by the evidence-free evidence offered so far by such critics (and I hope no solid evidence ever does turn up).

    And that’s why I think it’s important that Obama still appears unwilling to take the bait, to move the red line from “nuclear weapons” to “nuclear capability.”

  94. M. Ali says:

    I think that is the main problem with US elections, Castellio. Western analysists complain t hat Iran’s elections are not as legitimate as the west due to candidates being vetoed out, but in US, candidates are also indirectly vetoed out due to two main reasons:
    1) How much money they have
    2) How much they tow the party line of the two parties

    Low turnout in US is probably because people doubt much will change. In Iran, the important thing seems to be that people believe that voting affects their lives, so they participate.

  95. Castellio says:

    M. Ali… the big money in elections turns people off. It doesn’t inspire them. It depresses them.

  96. M. Ali says:

    US Elections have huge billion dollar expenses on campaiging and yet, the turnouts are usually much less than Iran’s tiny campaigns.

  97. M. Ali says:

    Kooshy, thats probably why I didn’t want. I think of myself as politically knowledgable but how will I know which 50 to vote for from a huge list of candidates?

    But I guess, the political nature of Iran is something completely unique. I can sit with my countrymen and win the battle of wits when it comes to international politics and the Big Picture, but people here know who to vote for based on family discussions.

    It is interesting to note that what is most unique about Iran is how important Iranians consider voting, specially the older generation. A taxi driver today asked me if I voted, and he was so excited, that I honestly felt embarrassed not to have, so I gave a white lie, and said I did. He said it was the duty of every Iranian to vote and said he was the first person in line to vote, and smiling, he said his son was the last person to vote.

  98. Castellio says:

    When a tree grows bent to the prevailing wind, its shape is both natural and appropriate.

    Obama believes his pro-war position on Iran rational and measured.

    Those who can’t see the prevailing winds think the shape odd, and expect the tree, when asked, to stand straight.

    As RSH might say, “Good luck with that.”

  99. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Not Bluffing on Iran – Obama
    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2012/03/not-bluffing-on-iran-obama.html

    Obama once again makes it clear that he is perfectly willing to go to war with Iran over THREE PERCENT ENRICHMENT…let alone 20%…

    HE wants to start the war…He doesn’t want Israel to do it…

    Either that or he’s simply lying (again) and just wants to not be BLAMED when Israel attacks Iran or HE does…

  100. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Castellio: Re http://www.countercurrents.org/avedis010312.htm

    The Palestinians are going to regret that.

    Never trust a “revolutionary leadership”. They always sell you out. This is the history of almost every revolution.

    Once Syria and Hizballah are weakened, Israel will go after the Palestinians with renewed violence. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar can’t do a damn thing about it (although it would be nice if Qatar sent some of those Milan antitank missiles via Egypt into Gaza like they did in Libya…Fat chance…)

  101. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “the argument is that (1) Israel’s window of opportunity closes sooner than the US’ window because Israel’s lesser military capability denies it the luxury of waiting as long as the US can afford to wait, and so Israel must either attack Iran very soon or place its well-being entirely in the hands of the US; (2) Israel is not willing to place its well-being entirely in the hands of the US unless the US commits now to attack Iran if (translate: “when”) the US concludes that all other options have failed; and (3) therefore, unless the US gives Israel that iron-clad commitment right now, Israel will attack Iran very soon and it will be all the US’ fault.

    An unstated “Part 4″ to the argument: (4) Since it will be all the US’ fault if Israel attacks Iran very soon, the US will have no moral choice but to step in and help Israel in the attack that was all the US’ fault.”

    This is actually a very effective argument. Given the US Congress sentiments on Iran (loosely translated: Attack now…or at least soon…), this argument will work.

    I believe Obama WILL bend to this argument to some degree, if not to the point of endorsing a US attack on Iran THIS year. I believe Obama WILL give Netanyahu an assurance that the US WILL attack Iran via a US oil blockade.

    The blockade is the kicker. This is the one act the US can take which GUARANTEES that Iran will take an aggressive action to retaliate, i.e., mining the Strait. Thus Obama can GUARANTEE to Netanyahu that Iran will be attacked while at the same time making it seem that IRAN is at fault.

    And a blockade is the only remaining option to pressure Iran with. Any other sanctions will be unlikely to be as effective as the ones already in place.

    But Obama will tell Netanyahu that he has to wait until the end of the year to be able to say with assurance that the oil export sanctions have failed and thus require a blockade. This allows Obama to get through the elections with only Syria to worry about and not Iran – and without an Israeli attack on Iran.

    I think Netanyahu will accept Obama’s assurance that the US will engineer a war with Iran in his second term and thus hold off on attacking Iran until the US does.

    Netanyahu will make the same deal with the Republican candidates, even though I view it as unlikely any of them can defeat Obama.

  102. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Fiorangela: “Cows coming home with a badass Sunburn – What Nasty Surprises Await Our Warmongers in the Gulf?”

    If Iran has Sunburns, no one has seen them, as I’ve said before. Not really much evidence for it other than rumor. If they had them, they would be wise to show them off in tests or on parade as a deterrent. Of course, people CLAIMING they have them is a useful deterrent as well…

  103. Castellio says:

    BiBiJon… a certain amount of brave humour is required, I agree.

  104. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Kooshy: “if bunch of Iranian strategist seat down and talk about if someone attacked the country, they recommend the country to go and build a nuclear weapon to retaliate, aren’t they defying the spirit of the treaty, they sure are just like when US military says they do have contingency plans to attack Iran, aren’t they defying the spirit of UN charter, they sure are, never less at the end of the day that’s how the world functions.”

    You raise an interesting point here.

    If Iranian strategists recommend building a bomb to counter an IMMINENT threat of attack by another nation, really, the NPT doesn’t prohibit this. A nation’s sovereign right to self-defense by any means overrides any such treaty. All Iran has to do in such a situation is give notice that it is leaving the NPT and then do so.

    Iran can leave the NPT legally at any time it believes it is being imminently threatened by nuclear or even conventional attack. The current situation in fact probably qualifies given the number of threats Israel has made.

    Wikipedia:

    Quote

    Article X allows a state to leave the treaty if “extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country”, giving three months’ (ninety days’) notice. The state is required to give reasons for leaving the NPT in this notice.

    NATO states argue that when there is a state of “general war” the treaty no longer applies, effectively allowing the states involved to leave the treaty with no notice. This is a necessary argument to support the NATO nuclear weapons sharing policy, but a troubling one for the logic of the treaty. NATO’s argument is based on the phrase “the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war” in the treaty preamble, inserted at the behest of U.S. diplomats, arguing that the treaty would at that point have failed to fulfill its function of prohibiting a general war and thus no longer be binding.[23] Many states do not accept this argument. See United States-NATO nuclear weapons sharing above.

    End Quote

    This is what North Korea did in 1993. The world questioned the legitimacy of their reasons, and would do so with regard to Iran, but technically it is not illegal depending on one’s interpretation of the phrase “supreme interests” which is, of course, deliberately vague and was so because of the US sharing of nuclear weapons with other nuclear states, which technically violates the NPT.

    There is little doubt in my mind that some people in the Iran government would like it to develop and DEPLOY nuclear weapons. In some future administration by some other hardliner cleric than Khamenei, they might do so. But at this point, that is speculation. It would be necessary for any such future cleric to have to walk back Khamenei’s fatwa. This is quite possible but might prove difficult. In any event, it would have to be done first, and then Iran would have to explicitly leave the NPT.

    At that point, Iran would STILL have to take some months and more likely several years to produce both a useful number of weapons as well as usable delivery system. So the world would have plenty of time to react effectively if it wanted to.

    But in terms of “nuclear capability”, the mere suggestion that Iran should consider building nuclear weapons – which they allegedly did, according to the DIA analysis prior to the 2007 NIE – has to be considered “due diligence” for any country potentially threatened by other nuclear states, including Israel, and the US, and in the case of the alleged Iranian program, Iraq.

    This cannot be considered a violation of the NPT as stated. A nuclear weapons “research database” is not a legal violation of the NPT in my opinion. And based on the clause which allows a nation to leave the NPT, I can’t agree that it is even a violation of the SPIRIT of the NPT – unless the state goes so far as to actually construct a FUNCTIONING weapon (but without the fissile material). That latter action would be a violation of the spirit of the NPT, but not necessarily the letter until fissile material is introduced.

    I think weaponizing uranium to 90% would also qualify as a violation of at least the spirit of the NPT, if not the letter.

    All of which is utterly irrelevant since Iran for the foreseeable future has no intent or interest in doing any of that. And I believe that would remain true even if Iran is attacked by the US and/or Israel since a nuclear weapons program by definition would then be next to useless as Iran would never be able to develop a deployable delivery system under war time conditions. You can’t test missiles when they’re being bombed…

  105. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    March 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I didn’t want to include the charter members in my hypothesis.

  106. Sassan says:

    Must watch this special on Al Jazeera! You see the beautiful nature of the regime with such scum as the Kian Hizbolli from the Islamic Republic regime whom was on this program. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you Al Jazeera. This is a much watch for all those who value freedom! You see the thuggery beautifully in display on this program!

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2012/03/20123282513580403.html

  107. Fiorangela says:

    this passage is from “The Monster of Florence,” by Douglas Preston. The book is the true story of a serial killer in the 1980s in Italy, and of the further drama of judicial and prosecutorial malfeasance in the investigation of the crimes. Preston explains his developing apprehension of the nature of evil:

    QUOTE:

    “In the days following 9/11 many commentators on the television and the newspaper pontificated on the nature of evil. Literary and cultural lions were called upon to express their grave and considered opinions. Politicians, religious leaders and psychological experts all waxed eloquent on the subject. I was struck by their perfect failure to explain this most mysterious of phenomena and I began to feel that the very incomprehensibility of evil might be, in fact, one of its fundamental characteristics.
    You cannot stare evil in the face; it has no face. It has no body, no bones, no blood. Any attempt to describe it ends in glibness and self-delusion. Maybe, I thought, this is why Christians invented the devil and monster investigators invented the satanic sect. they both were, as the poem goes, some kind of solution. During that time I began to understand my own obsession with the monster case. . . .

    . . .The case was the purest distillation of evil I had encountered, on many levels. It was, first of all, the evil of the depraved killings of a highly disturbed human being. But the case was about other kinds of evil as well: some of the top prosecutors, investigators, and judges in the case charged with the sacred responsibility of finding the truth appeared to be more interested in using the case to leverage their power to personal glory. Having committed themselves to a defective theory they refused to reconsider their beliefs when faced with overwhelming contradictory evidence. They cared more about saving face than saving lives; more about pushing their careers than putting the monster behind bars. Around the monster’s incomprehensible evil had accreted layer upon layer of additional falsehood: vanity, ambition, arrogance, incompetence and fecklessness. The monster’s acts were like a metastacized cancer cell tumbling through the blood to lodge in some soft dark corner, dividing, multiplying, building its own network of blood vessels and capillaries to feed itself. Swelling, expanding, and finally, killing.”

    END QUOTE

    Preston’s assessment of the “prosecutors, investigators, and judges” seemed to define the Brookings panelists, as well as many other “pontificators” on the Iran file.

    In the next passage in the book, Preston narrates the insights his Italian partner, Mario Spezzi, developed about evil, with the guidance of Fr. Galileo, a Franciscan monk, contemplative, and psychoanalyst.

    A major take-away from Preston’s book is that political activism is not a game; there is a price to pay if a cause is to be pursued with passion and effectiveness.

    later

  108. Castellio says:

    BiBiJon writes: “HAMAS leader went to Tehran to confer on the next set of moves. What is transpiring is with mutual agreement with Tehran, Cairo, Riyadh, Qatar, Istanbul, New Delhi, and Islamabad.”

    And Empty concurs.

    Well, well. Tehran, New Delhi, Qatar and Riyadh all on the same list, and Istanbul and Islamabad, too, and all, apparently, sharing a wave length. And Cairo. I hope its true…

    Would it be inconvenient to ask why Baghdad and Damascus aren’t on the list as well?

  109. kooshy says:

    Mohammad-

    Sorry one other question I read that Mr. Khatami voted in a town in Damavand where his brother owns a villa, I was wondering how that works if he is resident of Tehran how can he fill and vote in Damavand where the name of candidates for Damavand is on the ballot , does that mean one can go to any polling station and vote for candidates on that district or do he or she will need to vote for candidates on the ballot where he/she resides? Is easy how it works for presidential election but can’t see how it works for the provincial/ district elections

    Thanks

  110. Fiorangela says:

    PS Susan Maloney was over the top in her hateful, arrogant, and hubristic comments about Iran, as one would expect, given that she must please her paymaster, Haim Saban. Saban got his money’s worth and more. sorry, a spray of adjectives is all I can say. She was just unbelievably uninformative, ideologically skewed.

  111. Fiorangela says:

    ames Canning says:
    March 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm and at 7:43 pm

    That’s even more frightening, or I guess I already expressed that fear, that the future leaders of the US were being taught by ossified and muddled thinkers.

    Bloomberg is mostly accurate, but not completely — Gallucci walked down one track, then walked the cat back, then retrod the same path, then wound up saying that “At some point someone in Tehran will smack palm to forehead and agree to US demands as being their best political option — agree to intrusive inspections, sign AP, have inspections that scour Iranian facilities so that ‘the world community’ is assured that they’re not making weapons . . .

    At first, Gallucci did say that Iran could only be stopped by repeated air raids and that only the US had the capacity to carry out this action.

    When questioned on the matter by Andrew Pierre of Global Insights who said: “Israel has 80 to a hundred nuclear weapons and has a US guarantee for its existence”
    We can deter Iran from harming Israel; why is that not considered?”

    Gallucci responded:

    Gallucci” I think we get that, that deterrence can work. But Iran’s regime is, shall we say, “less rational than we are, they have an ‘interesting’ leadership.” [titters in the audience].
    Gallucci continued:
    “Nuclear weapons will be a Persian capability and Arabs will not be pleased and will seek their own, so ME will become a more dangerous place than it is now. That’s the domino.”
    my thoughts: [does SA like Iran right now without nukes? Isn’t SA heavily armed, by US?]

    back to Gallucci:

    “I do not believe Iran would launch an attack on US with missiles should it get missiles, I’m not terribly worried about that. I do believe Israel’s in a different circumstance; I do believe there’s a certain history, there’s been a certain character of discussion that has been very troubling to me and I know it is to Israel. So while I was on the edge of discounting N Korean use of nuclear weapons, I’m slightly more guarded in the Iranian case and Israel. And the reason Israel would regard this – and they use that uh these various words to capture uhh the transcendent character of this threat, I can understand that.

    {I suggest that Gallucci does not have the beginning of an understanding of the relationship between Israel and Iran, since he obviously grants unconditional virtue and acceptance to anything and everything Israel does, and unconditional hatred for everything Iran is and does, even tho his remarks reflect that he really has no idea of the shared history of the two.}

    Gallucci: “But I’m really edging up to a point which was my first point — I’m concerned about transfer. I’m prepared to embrace deterrence. But let me tell you that if you don’t know who whacked you and they think you won’t find out who whacked you , it’s hard to deter them. Second,
    1:02: “If you’re dealing with someone who values your death more than their life, they’re hard to deter.

    {If Gallucci’s bilious blue necktie was not sufficient clue that he is “whacked out” on ziocaine,” this last statement oughta do it. When is the last time an Iranian who “valued your death more than their life” assassinated an American nuclear scientist, or an Arab diplomat, for that matter? Gallucci does not even know his history, or read anything other than Washington Times. He says he “read a lot.” Has he read Ronen Bergman’s book that describes how Israelis assassinated numerous Iranian diplomats because the Israelis thought they MIGHT have some knowledge of where Rod Arad was — Arad was an Israeli pilot whose plane went down over Lebanon (iirc) and whose rescue Israeli forces fubared; his copilot was rescued but Arad has never been found/recovered. Unlike barbaric Iranians, life is sacred to Israelis, and they pull out all the stops to rescue their own, including killing Iranian diplomats who had nothing to do with Israel’s screw up that lost Arad.

    Gallucci: ” We got two really big kinds of problems with deterrence in a world of nuclear terrorism. So one I worry that a country will conclude that one, transfer will not be discovered and that our capability to attribute material in a nuclear device either before it’s detonated or after it’s detonated is less than absolute. We have forensic means of doing that, we have all kinds of ways, but we haven’t created that in an absolute way so that I can absolutely tell you right now that if anyone transfers anything somewhere else, then that somewhere else turns out to be the place where a nuclear weapon is fabricated, and then it’s detonated in New Jersey, I’ll be able to tell you who did it – I can tell them before hand and we can construct a system of deterrence and {no wonder US is in the bad economic shape it is in. These guys are fundamental failures at rational thought. They are bigots. They have imbibed way too much propaganda. And way to Israel-centric. Challenge your assumptions. Analysize this conversation in terms of the “Decision making” program. These guys should have brains the shape of footballs.}

    Strobe Talbot: 1:04 [The reason Iran is so hard to deal with] “has to do with the dangerous and pernicious nature of the regime itself. . . .”

    What a racist bigot. He’s head of Brookings — used to be the most prestigious think tank in Washington. sad.

    {Talbot does not seem to know that UAE is building a nuclear plant — at least that’s what Yochi Dreazen reported on a C Span program Feb 9 2012 +-. Talbot is not intellectually competent.}

  112. Sassan says:

    And in the villages they are so desperate that they offer those poor people food and meat to even vote. Quite comical.

  113. Sassan says:

    To all the dolts: in Iran if you have some type of government job you are required to vote or you get fired. This regime has ZERO legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people and the free world.

    And to the idiot quoting the guy with the 250,000 rials comment. Obviously it is a typo or the sort. It was obviously referring to 250,000 tomans which is right on mark.

  114. James Canning says:

    The Guardian reported March 1 that Netanyahu will pressure Obama to make an explicit threat to take military action if sanctions do not __________. Do we know? Will Bibi demand the US attack if Iran continues to enrich to 3.5%

  115. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Gallucci was dean of Georgetown U’s foreign service school, then became head of John T MacArthur Foundation.

  116. James Canning says:

    Fioragela,

    Bloomberg report March 2nd: Robert T. Gallucci said today “he believes there is ‘no ambiguity’ that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and that ultimately it cannot be stopped without military action.”

  117. Empty says:

    BibiJon,

    Re; your post on March 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm, I do not believe the analysts to whose article Castellio linked have seen the new light yet. They are using the indicators of yesteryear to imagine the pieces the new puzzles. I saw someone writing something about the subject a few days ago and began to write a response with details but changed my mind. Sometimes some stories just need to tell themselves in their own good time.

  118. kooshy says:

    Mohammad says:
    March 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Mohammad-

    Thanks for sharing your observations, the question I have is how hard is it to fill the ballot with name of 30 candidates and if you don’t name all you can isn’t it that you are giving away some of your rights, if I understand correctly you need to remember name of 30 individuals from a list of 500 and write their names and codes correctly on the ballot, this sounds a tedious and complicated job for average person who wants to quickly cast a vote and get out, how long would it take to do that specially for a large city like Tehran, I think that eventually has to be worked out to be easier and faster

    Thanks

  119. Fiorangela says:

    photi says:
    March 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    hope your workday goes very well, photi, because the Brookings panel is going to test your capacity to tolerate stress.

    “Without a vision the people perish,” and those who brand themselves the public intellectuals and policy experts in our country are ossified thinkers. That’s the older generation represented by that panel — Suzanne Maloney, Strob Talbott, Bob Gallucci (whoever he is). Martin Indyk in the audience asked a predictable question — I couldn’t quite hear if he said “I HAVE been drinking this morning” or “I have NOT been drinking this morning,” but he had the appearance of a sleazy old apparatchik. One or two other audience members/questioners were rational, but the panel was so stuck in its unspoken assumptions — that Iran’s government is somehow unworthy — “needs to be changed,” “will slap their heads and realize” they have to do it our way; “are not rational,” “want to kill us more than they want to live.” Where do these supposedly intelligent people get these ideas?

    What is worse is that they teach the next generation of foreign policy makers of the US.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Flynt and Hillary: eat an apple every day; get plenty of sleep. Don’t go out in the rain without your galoshes; don’t get too much sun. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES. We need you.

  120. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    March 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I disagree with the article that scratches the surface and finds the situation with HAMAS wanting from a ‘revolutionary’ perspective.

    HAMAS leader went to Tehran to confer on the next set of moves. What is transpiring is with mutual agreement with Tehran, Cairo, Riyadh, Qatar, Istanbul, New Delhi, and Islamabad.

    The game has changed. US, and EU are out, and the regional countries are busy forming the outlines of what things would look like after US-EU’s complete exit. Nobody needs a sectarian, or ethnic divisions tearing the region asunder. The big game has no room for small players, or petty grievances. Israel will be made to heed the regional realities by far greater forces than paramilitary groups. Everything is folding into a consensus which appears to be geared towards operating from a position of strength: slowly, deliberately, consensually, and politically. No excuse will be provided for a military confrontation with West/Israel in the short to medium term.

    The first thing I point to for proof, is Bibi’s hair. Look, it’s on fire.

  121. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Israel will never be secure in the Middle East.

  122. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I do not know what is in the heart of UK PM.

    I only can judge what that state is doing.

    I stand by what I have said.

    The US-EU have reaced the cul-de-sac of their policy of corecion against Iran.

    They ahcieved a status of near-war.

    Now they are retreating.

  123. James Canning says:

    At truthout site today, Noam Chomsky has interesting piece: “What are Iran’s intentions”. Zeev Moaz, a leading Israeli security analyst, says Israel would be more secure with an agreement banning all WMD in the Middle East, including nukes.

  124. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Yes, I agree completely, that Iran offered to stop enriching to 20 percent provided the nuclear fuel was sold by the US or another country. Iran would continue to operate the TRR (and replacement), and continue to enrich to 3.5% or so.

  125. Karl says:

    Short but good article on the myth of Osiriak. Israelis and the their supporters think Osirak bombing stopped Iraq, the truth is of course that it didnt stop, but started the nuclear process.

    The myth of the Osirak bombing and the march to Iran
    http://972mag.com/the-myth-of-the-osirak-bombing-and-the-march-to-iran/36911/

    Poll: Huge majority opposes unilateral Israeli war on Iran
    LINK 972mag.com/poll-only-19-of-public-supports-unilateral-israeli-war-on-iran/36891/

    32% are against war, 19% are pro-unilateral strike…doesnt seems to be a people frighetened that “to be wiped off the map” like israeli leaders like to put it…

  126. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Israel and Aipac clearly want the “Khamenei-Ahmadinejad” government overthrown. This was not the object of the UK when it reacted to the Iranian announcement last June of an intent to treble production of 20 percent uranium.

  127. Rd. says:

    Who was behind the Delhi bombing?

    But a review of the evidence uncovered thus far makes the link to Iran begin to look very dubious. Instead, it points to the distinct possibility that the Israelis planned a carefully limited bomb attack that was not intended to cause serious injury to Israeli diplomatic personnel, but that would advance the larger Israeli narrative on the need to punish Iran.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/02/201222985228671645.html

  128. Castellio says:

    Sorry. It should have read at the end “…and Hamas and Iran.”

  129. Castellio says:

    Perhaps someone has pointed to this article already. In any case, I find it extremely important. It treats of the relation between Hamas and Syria and by inclination Hamas and Hezbollah and Hamas and Syria.

    http://www.countercurrents.org/avedis010312.htm

  130. Mohammad says:

    M.Ali,

    On that PBS comment, even if we change Rials to Tomans (or add a zero to the numbers), it doesn’t still add up. But the commenter is probably right that the subsidies cover the increase in utility expenses, as that’s the case for our own household and many others I’ve seen (especially the poor who use less energy and water).

    On the election, I’ve seen a report in Iranian media on an opinion poll which estimated overall turnout nearly at 60% and in Tehran, 40%, which would be pretty much in line with previous Majlis elections. My prediction for overall turnout is between 55% and 60%, but I now have the impression that my guess was a little bit pessimistic.

    The largely decentralized, volunteer-run and open election process in Iran limits the possibility of rigging to a large extent, and there’s no possibility of wide-scale coordinated fraud. Most Westerners and people in the opposition don’t realize that. The only major problem with the Iranian election lies in the candidate vetting process, not the voting and vote-counting itself. I’m saying this as someone who has lived in Iran for almost his entire life, voted in almost every election, and has observed Iranian politics from a diverse set of domestic and foreign media for some years. And not to mention independent opinion polls which, as far as I’m aware, have always yielded similar results to the official election results.
    The fact that Khatami – one of the leaders of the reform movement – voted today speaks volumes.

    kooshy,
    Indeed a large portion of people at the ballot stations are women, mainly school teachers. I voted at a nearby school (which along with mosques are extensively used as ballot stations in Iranian elections), there were two or three men and five or six women at the table, two male security guards (one of them outside the building), some other people behind the table and a teenage boy at the end of the table who after the paperwork had been done, was in charge of only holding and giving back the identity certificates after people cast their vote.
    Since I went there very late (after the voting time had been extended three times) there were few other voters and the people at the table, perhaps after a busy day, were talking with each other and joking; the atmosphere was pretty festive. They were eating pistachios when I arrived – obviously at a time when they could take a rest before counting was to begin – and jollily offered some to me, though I only thanked and didn’t take it as it was obviously only a taa’rof!

  131. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Irrelevant.

    The Axis Powers tried to use the nuclear file as a wedge to cause the overthrow of the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad government.

    They brought the Middle East, and the world, to edge of disaster.

    Is there somewhere the rest of the world to go to drag these leaders to trial?

  132. photi says:

    bibijon, ya sure you betcha. I was on the way out the door to work when the brookings panel began. I hope to catch it later

  133. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Tehran never promised to stop enriching process unless some reliable country coomit itself to supply nuclear fuel to Iran without preconditions. Furthermore, stopping enrichment facility doesn’t mean canceling Iran’s nuclear program as per NPT.

  134. Rehmat says:

    Dan Cooper – Pat Buchanan is no friend of Muslims. He is is committed Islamophobe. However, as a White national supramacist and doesn’t like Americans fighting wars for the security of a foreign country.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/why-msnbc-fired-pat-buchanan/

  135. Dan Cooper says:

    Will Bibi Break Obama

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30692.htm

    By Pat Buchanan

    The prime minister of Israel is angry with Barack Obama and is coming here to force a hardening of U.S. policy toward Iran.

    “Bibi” Netanyahu had his anger on display at a meeting in Israel with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

    McCain emerged saying he had never seen an Israeli prime minister “that unhappy.” “He was angry,” said McCain. “I’ve never seen U.S.-Israel relations at this point.”

    “The Israelis are unnerved,” said Graham. “They think the administration is sending the wrong signal, and so do I.”

    What has so enraged Netanyahu? The Obama policy of tightening sanctions on Iran while holding out the opportunity for Tehran to negotiate and provide guarantees that its nuclear program is not aimed at an atomic bomb.

    The U.S. intelligence community unanimously believes that Iran is some time away, perhaps years, from being able to produce a nuclear weapon and has not made the command decision to build one.

    Israel retorts that Iran is entering a “zone of immunity,” when Israel will lack the ability to attack and abort Iran’s nuclear program, as new nuclear sites are being moved underground. Netanyahu’s government is also angry at what it sees as U.S. leaders’ distancing themselves from Israel.

    When that fifth Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated and Tehran accused America and Israel of complicity, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the murder, leaving Israel as prime suspect.

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta leaked to columnist David Ignatius that Israel might strike Iran in April, May or June, leaving no doubt as to who wants a war, while ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden openly disparages Israel’s capacity to cripple Iran’s nuclear sites: “They only have the ability to make this worse.”

    Adm. William Fallon, who headed U.S. Central Command, has been categorical: “No one I am aware of thinks that there is a positive outcome from a military strike” on Iran.

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey has called Iran a “rational actor” and told the Israelis that for them to attack Iran now would be “premature,” “destabilizing” and imprudent.

    Netanyahu said that Dempsey’s remarks “served Iran” and the general was “unwilling to aid Israel.”

    Like Panetta, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said he does not believe that Iran has decided to build a bomb, while National Security Adviser Tom Donilon spent three days in Israel, reportedly arguing against an Israeli attack.

  136. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times report today, previously noted, states that “The supreme leader already appears to have taken the decision to resume negotiations with world powers.”
    “So far there is no indication that [Khamenei] is ready to make any concessions.”

    Not mentioned is the fact that Khamenei within the past six months allowed Ahmadinejad to offer to hve Iran stop enriching to 20 percent.

  137. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    A number to top leaders of the UK and the US doubted very much Iran could be forced to stop enriching uranium, by applying sanctions.

    Iran offered to stop enriching to 20 percent, just within past six months.

  138. BiBiJon says:

    Economic warfare against Iran won’t change its nuclear policy and will lead to severe worldwide repercussions. Overt war would be even more foolish and disastrous. There is a reasonable way out of all this and it is already on the table
    by Gary Sick

    from http://mondediplo.com/2012/03/05usiran
    h/t iranaffairs . com

  139. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    US, I agree, has zero desire to occupy Iran. And #2 US general (until recently) said all the weapons on the planet cannot stop Iran from enriching uranium.

  140. James Canning says:

    At foreignpolicy dot com site, Dmitry Trenin has perceptive piece: “Putin the peacemaker”. Trenin notes that Vladimir Putin would like to be America’s partner. Very true.

  141. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    It was known that ironclad guarantees for the Iranian securiy was not forthcoming; not US, not EU, not China were not going to address Iranian security interests.

    It was also known that no system of inspections could guarantee that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon.

    It was also known that only occupation of Iran by a foreign force could prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon had her leaders determined that such was needed for her safety and seucrity.

    US, certainly did not have the soldier to permanently occupy Iran and the Russian Federation was not going to sit idle and let it come to fruitation.

    Nevertheless, the US, EU, and India proceeded on the path of confrontation since their calculation was that Iranians could be easily intimidated into giving up their sovereign right.

    When that did not happen quickly, they had to keep on escalating to strategic nowhere – specially since they lost Iraq.

    So they are where they are now – a hostile political structure/formation from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea which did not exist before.

  142. Karl says:

    Eric,

    About the election as you mentioned…

    Its interesting to note the western media approach to the election.
    Atleast 3 things stands out in my opinion.

    1. “Iranians reject their leadership”, – while not all support the current power alot of people obviously do. But when people actually vote its becuase “they are paid to do so”, “they are bussed out by the regime”. So it doesnt matter how many support the man or politics in powers, people in west will try to come up with reason to delegitimize it.

    2. “The opposition is excluded” – First this imply that the western pundits that claim such have deep insight in the process in who is excluded respectively included in the voting. For example could anyone of these pundits name these excluded “reformits”? Could they name any person on the list at all? I doubt that, still they use this phrase to delegitimize it.

    3. “Mousavi and Karoubi is in house arrest” – No doubt however Mousavi and Karoubi are not seeking a seat in parlament right, they are presidential candidates? So what matter does it do for the election for a parliament if 2 presidential candiates are in house arrest? Makes no sense, although just another way to delegitimize the election.

    The problem stems from the fact that western powers obviously dont respect the sovereignity of the Islamic republic. And this is something people always miss, the problem isnt nuclear proliferation, its about as Leverettes and like we all know, is about Iran itself and its policies in the region.
    The obsession with Iran covers all aspects of Iran today covers every small area, even to the pathetic attempt to block people from jobs just because they are iranians.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/06/wikileaks-rajenendra-pachauri-iran-un-climate

  143. Karl says:

    All,

    Could anyone tell me why israeli leaders are so glorfied and hailed in America? Remembering seeing Netanyahu doing a speech last year in the congress, this man got more applaudes than Obama himself! Netanyahu is probably more popular than Obama himself! How come people give so much support for a man that it even overreach their support for their own president, own interest?!

    While the lobby is of course strong in the US this doesnt really explain this hailing for a man and his state to this absurd, brainwashed approach.

  144. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Your post of 12.37 pm said it has been known since 2002 that “the power to undo nuclear Iran” does not exist. Meaning? Iran will insist on controlling fuel cycle for the power plants? And inist on continuing to operate civilian nuclear research reactors? Enriching to 20%?

    Ahmadinejad, with at least tacit support from Khamenei, offered to stop enriching to 20% half a year ago.

  145. M. Ali says:

    I stopped reading certain other sites, because of how ignorant it is, but sometimes I’m curious how propaganda works.

    Look at this:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2012/03/live-blog-parliamentary-elections.html

    Read this quote,
    “”I make 250,000 rials a month. I have two kids at university. I pay 100,000 for rent and use the subsidy money to pay for utilities and the rest is for our expenses. The money I make is gone just like that when you have to buy everything at Tehran prices.”

    Technician | 50″

    Is there any actual Iranian in Iran that will not laugh at this? The technician makes 25 thousand TOMAN in Iran? Even 2,500,000 rial is almost unbelievable, but 250,000 rial a month is a JOKE. To non-Iranians, this amount is 12 dollars a month, and no one makes that amount. Most low-paying jobs in Iran are at least 20 times that (4,000,000 rial). And where does this guy stay, where he pays 100,000 IRR for rent, because I’d love to move there.

  146. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You linked “Netanyahu warns against diplomacy with Iran”. A dangerous man indeed, Bibi Netanyahu.

  147. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    The captions of the stories are not inconsistent.

  148. James Canning says:

    Roula Khalef, writing in the Financial Times today (“Even a flawed vote has some relevance for Iran watchers”), quotes Trita Parsi: “Now that the US administration wants to get back to engagement because it wants to stop the Israelis from attacking Iran, it’s pretty important to have a party on the other side that can negotiate.”

  149. M. Ali says:

    It seems the usual anti-Iranian culprits are posting about how there is no voter turnout in Iran.

    I didnt vote, because frankly, I don’t know who to vote for in a Majlis election, but parliament elections have extremely low turnouts in most countries, so we having this much turnout in Iran is nothing short of amazing.

  150. M. Ali says:

    Doing a search on Syria in google news, I noted these two headlines, probably about the same story:

    “Putin Defends Russian Stance on Syria” from Washington Street Journal
    and
    “Russia’s Putin backs away from Syria’s Assad‎” from Toronto Stars

    Truth is relative.

  151. BiBiJon says:

    Photi says:
    March 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Photi, thanks for the heads up. I watched it.

    Did you catch the part towards the end where a US Air force officer asks why we are delaying (with all these sanctions) a rapprochement with Iran that would be so helpful to US military objectives, and US interests generally? Did you also see how the panel had no answer for him?

  152. M. Ali says:

    Elections:

    For those interested, I just a call from my hometown, where a family member was at the ballots (he’s there as a volunteer to help) and he says that it is been very crowded today and still open. People have to realize that my hometown is a small sunni city, so if it is this active in our place, it has to be active everywhere.

    Again and again, we see that majority of the people believe in the legitimacy of the government. Iranians who are against the government should first realize this, and then if they want to change the direction of the country, change the people’s perceptions. But refusing to accept this, and then crying and whining, will not change anything, the people and the government will just continue on their path.

  153. Karl says:

    Netanyahu once again outright reject talks to solve this non-issue.
    http://www.courant.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-israel-iran-netanyahutre8211a4-20120302,0,5364534.story

    Well then its only one option left for Netayahu, war. This man is truly insane a threat to world peace.

  154. Fiorangela says:

    how naive you are kooshy, to think that voting somehow represents democracy. one more bit of evidence that the people of the Middle East simply don’t have the capability to function in a democracy.

    But Danny Ayalon can teach you all you need to know. Listen up:

    “we have to remember that democracy doesn’t start, nor does it end, with an election. Democracy foremost is a frame of mind, it is a set of values, it is an understanding of the individual and as a society as a whole about what is right and what is wrong, what is decent and what is not. And I think they are usually accepted, I think, what are the norms for democracy and its values. This is something which is very important to understand.
    First of all we need to see a cultural change: this is taking a long time. It could be generational or it could be more then generational; I don’t know. Certainly we have to remember that democracy needs maybe first and foremost institutions, the rule of law and also a strong civil society, let alone all the freedom of the press, freedom of religion and the protection of minorities. This is something that this is very important and maybe has somehow been overlooked. There are dangers to minorities throughout the region whether it is Kurds, whether it is Christians or others. [might "others" include Palestinian Muslims?? Yes? No?] This is something that we all have to be mindful of before we try and help the situation and set some kind of a vision to this region.
    To sum up I would say the real opportunity, including for Israel, is that we see real democracies that are accountable to the people because we know in never in history has a real democracy started a war on another democracy – checks and balances, public opinion and what have you. So our interest is that this tumult, or this development in the Arab World, will consummate in – I’m not ashamed to say – European-style democracy. Whether it is achievable and how long it will take is of course the big question. I believe that the international community as a whole can help somewhat. First of all by leading through example, but that is not enough – we need resources.”

    So we know from Mr. Ayalon that your culture is kaput and simply has to be changed, and Ephraim Sneh has graciously volunteered Iranian and American blood and treasure to gin up a revolution to bring about that change, (see here: :http://www.c-span.org/Events/Experts-Discuss-the-Middle-East-Israel-Iran-and-the-Arabs/10737428442-1/ so I really don’t understand why you people over there don’t get this whole democracy bit, with all the assistance the US, Great Britain, Israel, France and Germany are generously supplying (not to mention the depleted uranium), and the exquisite example — the MODEL of “European-style democracy,” just like Americans have, and Israelis live out every moment of every in the “only democracy in the Middle East.”

    No Nobel prize for YOU, boy oh boy.

    SARCASM ALERT

    In other news, Americans protest

  155. Voice of Tehran says:

    @All

    Iran’s election officials have extended voting time for the ninth parliamentary election, which was originally set for 18:00 local time, by four hours.
    Press TV learns over 31 mn ballot papers used by 21:00 local time.

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/229624.html

  156. kooshy says:

    One can’t expect to bomb this people and think they will seat quite, I think Mr. Obama and his lapdogs in Europe will finally get the message, never less one can’t imagine how will the people in Saudi Arabia , Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, etc. will feel with their own country’s system of governance once they see this pictures.

    http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=1549478

    :http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=1549535
    :http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=1548486
    :http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=1549377

  157. kooshy says:

    For the record It’s interesting to know that 40% of Guardian council’s polling station observers overseeing the Iran’s parliamentary elections are women, according to guardian council’s spokesperson there are 250000 local observers in over 47000 polling stations, that’s like 5 observer for each ballot box.

    http://www.irna.ir/NewsShow.aspx?NID=80017903

  158. Photi says:

    “Nuclear Proliferation” live on CSPAN 1, just now starting, sponsored by brookings. Iran is on the table.

  159. fyi says:

    hans says: March 2, 2012 at 1:07 am

    All these thrrats and the actions of US Congress and EU states are acts of desperation and anger.

    They know that they cannot act on their threats without harming themselves.

    They are upset since they are frustrated.

  160. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: March 2, 2012 at 12:37 am

    It has been well-known since 2002 that the power to undo nuclear Iran does not exits in the international arena.

  161. An Iranian View says:

    Former President Rafsanjani and former President Khatami along with a host of senior reformists cast their ballots today. This is very significant.

    That basically means that:

    1. They accept the electoral system, its legitimacy, and its reliability. Hence, they effectively negate the baseless claim that there was fraud in the previous election.

    2. US and Western threats are pushing more reformists towards the center and creating greater unity among Iranian political elites.

  162. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: March 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Muslims (and Catholic Croats) were fools to have sought the break-up of the Yugoslav Federal Republic.

    That state was a good country; multi-ethnic, mutli-cultural, and had just begun exporting cars to the United States.

    It had its political problems that in time (in my opinion) could have been resolved.

    It certainly was a much better place than these little ethnic enclaves that replaced it.

    And from the standpoint of political power, Yugoslavia was more capable of defending the interests of its various ethnicities via-a-vis larger powers than those mini-states that replaced it.

    I do feel sorry for Serbs; they were provoked and poorly treated by the Axis States.

  163. BiBiJon says:

    The Speech
    ==========

    President Obama’s DNA does not have the building blocks for synthesizing rules and laying them down. But, his speech at AIPAC will be his make or break. Whatever his genetic makeup may lack, US interests in the middle east cannot be dictated by Netanyahu who represents a minority of Israelis (1), themselves a tiny minority of the world’s population.

    This is what he needs to say at AIPAC:

    Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished guests, and … Bibi,

    I have said many times Iran, like any other nation, is entitled to a peaceful nuclear energy program. The United States, and the international community has not, and does not impose sanctions on Iran for any other reason than to convince the Iranian government to prove that their nuclear activities are for purely peaceful purposes. A clear opportunity exists for a negotiated settlement starting with the P5+1 resumption of talks shortly. The current sanctions as devastating as they currently are, will be made to be catastrophic if the Iranian government does not avail itself to this opportunity.

    Iran is not making a nuclear weapon. It is the assessment of our intelligence agencies as well as our allies and partners that Iran has not made the decision to make a nuclear weapon. But, Iran, and the rest of the world must understand that my government will not tolerate Iran developing a nuclear weapon. The United States will regard Iran’s attempt to make a nuclear weapon as a declaration of war.

    (1) http://www.juancole.com/2012/03/dear-president-obama-on-iran-listen-to-the-israelis-not-the-likud.html

  164. Reza,

    The standard Western line toward the Iran parliamentary election is: No coverage because: (1) key opposition figures are under house arrest; (2) the opposition is boycotting it; and (3) the candidates are all hand-picked puppets of the regime, so it doesn’t matter who wins.

    You’ll notice that those reasons don’t include any complaints about the election-day voting or vote-counting process, eliminating any need for the critics to establish that that process was unfair.

  165. Rehmat says:

    Richard Foyer is American Jewish writer and former Zionist supporter of Israel. He is author of recent book ‘Breakthrough’. In the book, Richard, records the evil policies of the Zionist regime in the Middle East for years and also analyzes why and how the Zionist government of Israel and their supporters in the US create fear against the Palestinians to gain support. Until a few years ago, he was blind supporter of Israel. He had believed that Israel was right in invading Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-09. The two Israeli invasions resulted in killing more than 2,500 civlians, creating over one million refugees and destroying infrastrucures in both countries.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/richard-foyer-israel-firster-to-anti-zionist-regime/

  166. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I hope RFI will cover the elections in Iran. There hasn’t been too much coverage of domestic politics which does have a significant effect on the nuclear issue.

  167. Fiorangela says:
    March 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Interesting post on Cirincione’s review of “Arsenals of Folly,” especially its recounting of the exaggeration of the Soviet threat in order to scare the US government into spending more on weapons. But even this account, and others, leaves out some of the wilder exaggerations from those days, which often varied from hawk to hawk, year to year.

    For an amusing example, I attended a talk by former Senator Strom Thurmond in 1969 (he was old even then, but lasted several more decades in the Senate). He devoted most of his speech to what he described as a “super bomb” recently developed by the Russians. This, he argued, was the answer to those limp-wristed American peaceniks who were arguing that the US should not waste money on more nuclear missiles since we already had enough bombs to kill every Russian many times over.

    That “many times over” argument was no longer valid, Thurmond argued, since the Russian “super bomb” was so powerful that the shock wave (and some super-duper new kind of radiation that he wasn’t at liberty to tell us very much about) from just five or six of those super bombs would totally wipe out the control system in every nuclear missile in the US arsenal, so we wouldn’t even be able to launch them in retaliation.

    It was clear, he concluded, that the US had better develop its own “super bomb,” and pronto.

    Some snot-nosed college student raised his hand and asked: “If those super bombs wipe out all of our missiles’ control systems, so that we can’t launch any of them back at the Russians, what difference will it make whether we have super bombs or just plain-old nuclear bombs capable of killing ever Russian many times over?”

    It was clear that old Strom hadn’t thought of that, and he didn’t respond to it at all. That was the last question he took from the audience.

  168. hans says:

    Rd. says:
    March 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    to add;
    Syrian fighters withdraw from Homs district

    Watch the correlation between Silver and Syria
    http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html

  169. hans says:

    James Canning says:
    March 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind notes that the UK and the US need to employ “all options remain on the table” as a device to restrain Israel from attacking Iran.

    Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, made a courageous and very important statement last week about the rising threat of a military attack on Iran. He asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to weigh in on the legality of a threatened military strike against Iran.

    “One sometimes hears the expression, ‘all options are on the table.’ But some actions are contrary to international law,” said Patriota.

    The people who keep saying “all options are on the table,” with respect to Iran, include various U.S. and Israeli officials, and most importantly President Obama himself.

    And everyone knows what they mean when they say “all options are on the table”: they reserve the “right” to bomb Iran if they don’t get what they want through non-military means, including economic sanctions.

    But such an action would indeed be “contrary to law,” as Patriota suggested. In fact, it is a very serious crime under international law, and a clear violation of the United Nations Charter (Article 2). Even threatening to use military force against another UN member state – which President Obama and the Israeli government have done– is a violation of the UN Charter. [...]

  170. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/opinion/israels-last-chance-to-strike-iran.html

    One of the Israeli pilots who bombed Osirak in 1981 wrote an op-ed in today’s New York Times.

    As is common, he claimed that attack effectively ended Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, even though several defecting Iraqi scientists (with no incentive to lie) said just the opposite: Iraq’s nuclear program had been entirely peaceful until then, but the attack on Osirak caused Saddam Hussein to order a 180-degree change in focus: build a bomb. The 1991 Gulf War put an end to that, of course, but those defecting Iraqi scientists nonetheless reported, without exception, that it was the Israeli attack on Osirak that got Iraq’s bomb-making program started.

    It’s been a number of years, of course, since the New York Times last mentioned the testimony of those Iraqi scientists.

    This op-ed is also interesting because the writer states what he understands will be Netanyahu’s objective when he talks with Obama next Monday (March 5):

    “What is needed is an ironclad American assurance that if Israel refrains from acting in its own window of opportunity — and all other options have failed to halt Tehran’s nuclear quest — Washington will act to prevent a nuclear Iran while it is still within its power to do so.”

    A bit more fleshed out, the argument is that (1) Israel’s window of opportunity closes sooner than the US’ window because Israel’s lesser military capability denies it the luxury of waiting as long as the US can afford to wait, and so Israel must either attack Iran very soon or place its well-being entirely in the hands of the US; (2) Israel is not willing to place its well-being entirely in the hands of the US unless the US commits now to attack Iran if (translate: “when”) the US concludes that all other options have failed; and (3) therefore, unless the US gives Israel that iron-clad commitment right now, Israel will attack Iran very soon and it will be all the US’ fault.

    An unstated “Part 4″ to the argument: (4) Since it will be all the US’ fault if Israel attacks Iran very soon, the US will have no moral choice but to step in and help Israel in the attack that was all the US’ fault.

  171. Fiorangela says:

    Joseph Cirinicione’s 2008 review of “Arsenals of Folly” and three other books is worth re-reading, if just for this reminder that we know who the usual suspects are who have been misdirecting US nuclear policy since the Truman administration to the Iran debacle.

    QUOTE

    Arsenals of Folly examines the cold war arms race not by recounting treaty negotiations but by studying the psychology, physics, and politics of the era. Perhaps Rhodes’s most valuable contribution is his meticulous documentation of how American officials frequently and deliberately inflated their estimates of military threats facing the United States, beginning with the 1950 report to President Truman, known as NSC-68, that exaggerated Soviet military capabilities. As we know from misleading assessments about Iraq and now Iran, threat inflation has continued to this day.

    America faces real threats that need no embellishment. But as Rhodes shows, politicians have often exaggerated threats for political advantage. “Fear is a very dangerous thing,” said British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin after World War I. “It is quite true that it may act as a deterrent in people’s minds against war, but it is much more likely to act to make them want to increase armaments….”

    The manipulation of fear to promote programs that Americans would otherwise not support is different from honest disagreement over the scale of the threats. Rhodes shows how Paul Nitze, the principal author of the 1950 NSC report, intentionally exaggerated Soviet nuclear capacities and minimized those of the US in order to “bludgeon the mass mind of ‘government’”—as Nitze’s superior, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, admitted years later. Although the Soviet Union had lost at least 25 million people and half its industry in World War II, Nitze portrayed the USSR as a fanatical enemy that, within a few years, would threaten America with an estimated two hundred nuclear weapons. According to his report, the then American stockpile of 1,400 weapons would be insufficient to counter such a threat. Nitze’s report came at a time when international events, including the Korean War, seemed to validate this dark vision. In response, Truman quadrupled the defense budget and began a strategic program that would increase the US nuclear arsenal to some 20,000 thermonuclear bombs by 1960 and 32,000 by 1966.

    The threats were real, but the aggressive American buildup created new dangers without diminishing the Soviet problem. When Richard Nixon began his policy of détente with the Soviets to reverse these trends, Nitze formed, with Albert Wohlsetter at the University of Chicago, the Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy. It was the first of several private organizations that recruited young graduate students, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, with the explicit aim of subverting any plans to reduce the nuclear arsenal. “In doing so,” Rhodes writes, Nitze “unleashed a team of sorcerer’s apprentices whose trail of wreckage extends well into the present century.”

    In 1976 George H.W. Bush, then the director of the CIA,** set up a “Team B” of private analysts hand-picked by Nitze’s group with the blessing of Dick Cheney, then President Gerald Ford’s chief of staff, and Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense. Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard directed the team, which in December of that year produced a wildly exaggerated portrait of a Soviet empire bent on world domination.

    Although the newly elected president Jimmy Carter rejected the report and disbanded the group, Team B continued its activities by forming a new Committee on the Present Danger whose members included Norman Podhoretz, Edward Teller, William Casey, and Jeane Kirkpatrick. The committee popularized the notion that the United States had a “window of vulnerability” in its nuclear arsenal because, they claimed, the Soviet Union could eliminate in a first strike all of America’s nuclear weapons. In fact it would have been impossible for the Soviets to do so, since nuclear submarines and aircraft equipped with weapons would have escaped any land attack; the submarines were invulnerable and their ability to launch a counterattack would have maintained an effective deterrent if the Soviets were foolish enough to consider a first strike.

    The historian Anne Cahn has shown that every specific claim about the Soviet arsenal in the Team B report was wrong, including the assertion that there was a super-secret Soviet facility that was developing a nuclear-powered laser beam (later shown to be a rocket engine test site).2 Nonetheless the claims of Team B contributed to the image of Carter as a weak president unwilling to stand up to Soviet threats; this helped secure Reagan’s victory in the 1980 election and the arms buildup that followed. That and the manipulated Iran hostage situation.

    Subsequent groups have copied the Team B strategy. In 1998, the Republican-controlled Congress established the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, led by Donald Rumsfeld. By consistently applying worst-case assumptions, the Rumsfeld Commission warned that Iran and North Korea could hit the United States with missiles within five years.*** The assessment was simply wrong. North Korea does not have, and is unlikely to have anytime soon, a nuclear missile that can hit the United States; Iran is even further away from such a capacity. Indeed, the overall threat from ballistic missiles has declined, with fewer nations and fewer missiles threatening the United States today. The report, however, was successful in persuading Congress to boost spending on antimissile systems from $3 billion annually to $11 billion in 2007.

    In 2000, the Rumsfeld Commission on space weapons again used a series of worst-case assumptions to conclude that the country faced an imminent “space Pearl Harbor.” That report led to the current US strategy to deploy new weapons—such as orbiting interceptors to target other nations’ satellites and missiles—for total US domination of outer space. In fact, no nation credibly threatens the vast US satellite system.
    Under President George W. Bush, the practice of exaggerating threats to the United States in order to justify aggressive military policies has been taken to alarming extremes. The Bush administration came into office in 2001 openly scornful of the nuclear policies of its predecessors, Republican and Democratic. The problem, it said, was not controlling and eliminating existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons but dealing with the evil regimes that are trying to acquire them. The answer was not negotiated agreements but the forceful overthrow of those regimes. ** Rumsfeld and his aides put forward a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in 2002 that made bald claims about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and helped stampede the nation to war.

    As with Team B, the report was wrong in every single assertion . . .”

    END QUOTE

    Pres. Obama’s national security policies are not substantially different from those of Team B + Bush/Netanyahu.

    ** in 1978 G H W Bush and George Shultze attended a conference on Combatting Terrorism organized by Bibi Netanyahu and named in honor of his brother Yoni who was killed in Israel’s raid at Entebbe. Netanyahu’s theories on terrorism are spelled out in a book he wrote while mourning the death of his brother. Bibi’s thesis locates the source of all the world’s evils in “evil regimes” that form a “network of terror.” He advocated “the forceful overthrow of those regimes,” chief among them, Iran. The one critical review of the book, by a graduate student who had been assigned the text, implied it was simplistic and failed to address the causal issue in the Middle East — zionist oppression of Palestinians.

    *** In almost every appearance before an American audience or congressional group, Bibi reminds that “Iran has (or will have in 10, 5, 3, 2 years) missiles that can reach the East Coast of USA.

    ______

    Elsewhere in the review, Cirincione mentions that in his 2008 bid for nomination to the US presidency, Mitchell Reiss was Romney’s advisor on nuclear policy. In 2010 Reiss was selected to be president of Washington College in Eastern Maryland, a very fine liberal arts college. Among other things, Reiss had participated in resolving the conflict in Northern Ireland. Here’s how he conducted himself in that situation:

    QUOTE (from Wikipedia)

    “As a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, he has played an important role in the Northern Ireland peace process. However, after Reiss denied Gerry Adams a visa to the United States to spur the endorsement of policing and justice in Northern Ireland by Adams and his political party, Sinn Féin, Adams criticized Reiss on March 16, 2006 saying, “I don’t have high regards for Mitchell Reiss’s input into this process” and “If it is he who is advising the president, it’s very very bad advice.” Reiss responded “We try very hard to be an honest broker. I think if you look at the record, it demonstrates quite clearly that we don’t play favorites – that we call it as we see it… We try to keep our eye on the main objective here – which is moving the peace process forward and keeping the focus on the people of Northern Ireland.” Less than a year later, in January 2007, Sinn Féin formally endorsed policing and justice, thereby paving the way for the historic power-sharing arrangement with Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party on March 26, 2007.”

    END QUOTE

    Imagine. Trying to be an honest broker.

    This time out, Robert Kagan provides national security advice to candidate Romney. Less “honest broker” but enhanced possibility of achieving the presidency.

  172. Photi says:

    To the Young Lady who just interrupted President Obama’s speech in New York City by exclaiming “No war on Iran!”, you are my hero. Thank you for making sure our President KNOWS how so many of us feel.

  173. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Lol, Tom Engelhardt – another of your supramist Zionazi Israel Hasbara Committee member!!

  174. Rehmat says:

    On March 1, the Muslim-majority in Basnia-Herzigovina celebrated the 20th anniversary of the declaration of independence from the humpty-dumpty Yugoslavia.

    The 1992-95 war imposed on Muslim-majority state of Basnia-Herzigovina by Serbia and Croatia with the help of western countries resulted in the death 100,000 Muslims; 60,000 Muslim women raped and around half of the population made refugees.

    “There are only a few countries in which the International Community invested so much energy, money and time. But certainly, looking back over a distance of 20 years, we can say that there was not enough resolve. They recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina. They asked us to declare ourselves, and after we did they introduced the weapons embargo, knowing that it would only affect the defenders. Not protecting them was to leave them to be slaughtered,” says Bakir Itzetbegovic, the Muslim member in a tripartite presidency and son of the independent Bosnia-Herzegovina’s first President Alija Ali Izetbegovic.

    The 43-month war for the establishment of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent state ended without a victors and vanquished. The so-called ‘Dayton Peace Accord’ was a reflection on this ‘drawn match’ – western inborn fear of a Muslim-state inside Judeo-Christian Europe.

    Kathryn Bolkovac, a former US police officer who served as a peace-keeper in post-war Bosnia in 1999 had slammed the UN for covering up the huge sexual abuse of Muslims. Watch her documentary, The Whistleblower’, below.

    Islamic Iran was the only Muslim country which helped Bosnian army with light arms and training with the help of Croatia.

    The Western-imposed Dayton agreement providing for a multiethnic state might have had more hope of success had crimes against humanity not been committed on such a scale. But the country’s Muslims, Croats and Serbs have never been reconciled. Political and economic turmoil is the norm. Half the population live very poorly.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/bosnian-holocaust-after-20-years/

  175. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon at 7:32 pm –

    Cows coming home with a badass Sunburn –

    What Nasty Surprises Await Our Warmongers in the Gulf?

  176. BiBiJon says:

    ToivoS says:
    March 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    “Khamenie can say except “I surrender.”

    There are couple of spectacular evens before Khameneie on behalf of Islam, and Iran will utter those words:

    a) Hell will freeze over
    b) All the cows will have arrived home

  177. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    How much of the noise Israel makes about Iran is in fact an effort to distract world attention from on-going ethnic cleasing programme in the West Bank?

    I think there are a number of leaders in the US and the UK who recognise this fact. Even if they can’t say anything about it publicly.

  178. James Canning says:

    I recommend “the End in Afghanistan?”, by Tom Engelhardt:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/the-end-in-afghanistan/

  179. Rehmat says:

    The Artist Formerly Known as Bussed-in Basiji – Jewish population in Palestine was 7,000 in 1914 and they owned 2.5% of the land. In 2011 – the Jewish population in Palestine is 5 million and they own 78% of the land.

    Even if having 400 nuclear bombs still makes the Israeli Jews scared of Hizbullah or Iran – let them dig their own graves.

  180. Rehmat says:

    Republican ‘Holocaust denier’ for Congress

    “AIPAC was bragging on their website how (Lipinski) is ‘spearheading’ the effort in the House of Representatives with a Jewish congressman from Virginia named Frank Wolf,” Jones said. “The two are spearheading an effort in the House to get tough with Iran, including closing off any oil exports to China that could lead to World War III.”

    “These war-mongering fools in congress like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney – we can’t let Iran have one nuclear weapon but we let Israel have all the nuclear weapons they want,” Jones said. “This is ridiculous.”

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/republican-holocaust-denier-for-congress/

  181. The Artist Formerly Known as Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Delia-jan,
    Some thoughts on Iranian phallic power:
    Iran population before revolution 1978: 35 million
    33 years later: around 75 million
    And remember we had a huge war in there which nearly wiped out a generation
    Let them have their nuclear missiles…if it makes them feel better about themselves.

  182. ToivoS says:

    I have to agree with those here that are maintaining that Khamenie means what he is saying. It would be political suicide for him to say this and then go back on his word later.

    But it is almost pathetic. The real audience for this message is not the Iranian people, but Israel and her backers that are hell bent on war. They are all for regime change and there is nothing that Khamenie can say except “I surrender” that they will accept.

  183. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind notes that the UK and the US need to employ “all options remain on the table” as a device to restrain Israel from attacking Iran. Netiher country would use nukes on a first-strike basis.

  184. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    There is zero chance Obama would attack NK or Iran, or any other country, using unkes. Unless another country attacked with nukes first.

    Chances of a US attack on NK are quite low.

    Bear in mind that Obama is attacked daily, in the US, as being weak, spineless, etc etc regarding Iran.

  185. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “It sure hasn’t been a good couple of days for KSA!”

    to add;
    Syrian fighters withdraw from Homs district

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/03/20123175034166718.html

  186. BiBiJon says:

    Voice of Tehran says:
    March 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    It sure hasn’t been a good couple of days for KSA!

    Saudi Arabia May Be Tied to 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say
    =========================================

    Former senator, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/us/graham-and-kerrey-see-possible-saudi-9-11-link.html#h

  187. Fiorangela says:

    delia ruhe says: March 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    you’ve enrolled in one too many gender rights programs, dearie.
    suggest you take two donuts and call back in the morning.

  188. Voice of Tehran says:

    Breaking News , Richard where are you ?

    “Explosion destroys oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia’s Awamiya”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/229494.html

    and here :

    “World War 3: Protestors in Saudi Arabia blow up major oil pipeline. Get ready for higher gas prices!

    Posted on March 1, 2012 by Aaron Hutchins

    Anti-U.S. demonstrators have blown up a major oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

    The anti-U.S./Saudi regime movement has been building since the beginning of 2011, yet ignored by the mainstream U.S. media (which has focused only on Libya and Syria)!

    The pipeline is near the city of Awamiyah (Al-Awamia). The city has seen increased protests, and increased brutality by the pro-U.S. Saudi regime. Yet, no mention by U.S. media, or U.S. officials!

    Since the beginning of February 2012, dozens of protestors have been arrested, and several killed. Awamiyah is a port city, on the Persian Gulf. It is a famous tomato growing area, but is surrounded by oil pipelines. More than 2 million barrels of oil pass through the area everyday!

    //http://www.blindbatnews.com/2012/03/world-war-3-protestors-in-saudi-arabia-blow-up-major-oil-pipeline/11258

  189. Karl says:

    James,

    Obama have stated that he could use nukes against Iran and North Korea.

  190. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Israel does not.

    That is sufficient to make it irrelevant.

    Arabs and other Muslim states cannot fight Israel and cannot live with her.

    Iran has stated her position.

  191. BiBiJon says:

    WTF says: From previous thread
    February 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Arnold Evans says:
    February 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    The US would like to know it can attack Tehran without retaliation in a way that China could not attack Tokyo. Iranian leaders disagree with US leaders, and it looks like with you, about whether or not US planner should have that confidence.

    Arnold, Eric, Bibijon,

    I think that this point that Arnold makes is extremely important and cannot be over emphasized. You don’t hear a lot about it in the MSM, but there are obscure reports of the US having contingency plans of a nuclear first-strike on Iran under certain circumstances – Obama said so much in 2010.

    Looking at this in the context of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (in which Iran and N Korea were singled out for potential nuclear attack), it would seem irresponsible for Iranian leaders to not be prepared for the possibility that their Nation could become the second victim of offensive nuclear weapons (being that they are threatened by the only country to ever resort to an offensive nuclear attack).

    Without getting into the metaphorical “tables”, it is quite obvious that the US (and Israel) are vehemently opposed to an Iranian CAPABILITY to produce nuclear weapons – legal or otherwise – thus their refusal to accept Iranian enrichment.

    I strongly recommend that you all study Obama’s words from 2010 (about the Nuclear Posture Review). I know that you guys were initially discussing “legal” issues, but I would humbly suggest that the legalities are hardly relevant in analyzing the nuclear dispute. Obviously the US is seeking to topple the Iranian Government, but I think that there is also a genuine issue with an Iranian nuclear weapons capability – and that is the deterrence that would be inherent.

    Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/world/06arms.html?pagewanted=1

    The most immediate test of the new strategy is likely to be in dealing with Iran, which has defied the international community by developing a nuclear program that it insists is peaceful but that the United States and its allies say is a precursor to weapons. Asked about the escalating confrontation with Iran, Mr. Obama said he was now convinced that “the current course they’re on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities,” though he gave no timeline.

    He dodged when asked whether he shared Israel’s view that a “nuclear capable” Iran was as dangerous as one that actually possessed weapons.

    But Mr. Obama rejected the formulation sought by arms control advocates to declare that the “sole role” of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack.

    Mr. Obama was asked whether the American failure to make North Korea pay a heavy price for the aid to Syria undercut Washington’s credibility.

    “I don’t think countries around the world are interested in testing our credibility when it comes to these issues,” he said. He said such activity would leave a country vulnerable to a nuclear strike, and added, “We take that very seriously because we think that set of threats present the most serious security challenge to the United States.”

  192. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You are dead wrong to think Obama actually threatened to use nukes against Iran. Full stop. Obama has to deal with idiot Republicans in the US Congress and, of course, the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  193. James Canning says:

    delia ruhe,

    Polls have shown that about two-thirds of Israelis favor getting rid of Israel’s nukes.

    Reagan proposed the US and the Soviet Union get rid of their nukes. US and Russia are working on another round of great reductions in numbers of nukes. Which are expensive and dangerous things to have around.

  194. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Every Arab country, and all Muslim countries not Arab (apart from Iran), accept the 2002 Saudi peace plan.

  195. delia ruhe says:

    The Iranians are super-aware of the symbolic value of nuclear weapons in the West: no weapons, no phallus. And phallic power is always central to over-militarized cultures, such as the US and Israel — in this, they are no different than the ancient Romans.

    So far as I understand the NPA, Iran isn’t breaking any international laws and have the right to enrich uranium — up to 95 percent, if they so wish. But it’s not the law that the US and Israel are worried about; rather, it’s the challenge to their hegemony, their “masculinity,” their possession of phallic power. That is worse than the breaking of any international law.

  196. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: March 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    There are several processes that are at play here:

    1. US (and UK) love affair with Israel – caused by the schismatic Christians who are in love with Biblical Israel

    2. The rise of Iran (and the Shia) after the US destruction of the Ba’athist Iraq

    3. Strategic defiance of Iran to which began in 1979 due to the deep anger against US – Mossadeq, Shah, etc.

    4. Iran’s support for Palestine as a pan-Islamic cause against Israel- which pits her against US-EU states and their semi-religion of Shoah

    5. The manipulation of the US polity by Champions of Israel – Jews and Christians

    6. The destruction of US-EU positions in Iraq and soon in Afghanistan

    7. Collapse of Finance-based economies of US and EU – specially by the end of 2011(akin to the Collapse of Communism in 1991)

    8. Nuclear fuel cycle in Iran

    All of these factors are at play at any given time and depending on the time period, their contribution varies.

    I think that factors 2, 7, 1 are dominant at this stage with factor 8 a distant fourth.

    I think the rise of Iran and the Shia has destroyed the balance of power across the Middle East. At the same time, the collapse of the economic basis of US-EU states has made them even more desperate to try to destroy the power a strategically independent Iran.

    I think the 3 factors 2, 7, and 1 will lead to the systematic removal of EU leverage over Iran – just like US sanctioned herself out of influence with Iran.

    I think there can be no reconciliation with US or EU – Iran is now publicly and at the highest level is committed to support those who fight Israel.

    This cannot be sublimated in some sort of diplomatic language.

    Because of the systematic destruction of US and now EU leverage over Iran, the dangers of accidental war increases for all sides since there is, as it were, nothing too loose anymore if one only considers bilateral relations between US-Iran or EU-Iran.

    But the confrontation of the Axis Powers with Iran has global security ramifications for Axis Powers; one of them is a war that could lead to WWIII.

    The Axis Powers need to remove the trigger for that – the Iranian nuclear file – which they themselves helped create.

    China and Russia also understand the inherent strategic dangers in this prolonged confrontation.

    They, like the Axis Powers, have to their best to remove this trigger.

    I expect that this is what will transpire in the coming weeks and months.

    I therefore think that Israel is not a significant factor at this moment in time.

    [I never believed that they would attack Iran by themselves.]

  197. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Kooshy jan,

    as far as I’m concerned, today NPT stands for [N]o longer [P]ertains to [T]his world.

    The bargain was that non-nuclear state would not be nuked by a nuclear weapon state, and Obama’s posture paper and his later interview makes crystal clear he feels no inhibition to nuke Iran if HE decides Iran isn’t in good standing with NPT, whatever that means.

    The bargain was that countries submit to onerous reporting and other requirements of safeguard agreements, and in exchange they’ll get nuclear technology assistance. Well Iran could not even pay for fuel to keep 40 year-old reactor from shutting down and creating all manner of hassle for a million cancer patients.

    IAEA and its inspectors were supposed to be apolitical, and not start and stop wars, and sanctions, and well even el-Baradai didn’t use strong enough language on ‘uranium from Niger’ to avert a war. Let alone the current DG who’s bent as a two-bob note.

    fyi has long maintained one by one the West is destroying international institutions. I guess they feel it is their prerogative as in their arrogance they feel they created them in the first place.

    It is an interesting challenge for Iran to save herself and NPT’s skin in the bargain.

  198. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Surely Tony Karon should mock Republican claims that Iran is a “reconstituted Nazi menace”. Germany was fast developing offensive military power intended to allow conquest of Europe. Does anyone thing Iran could take control of Afghanistan? Occupy Iraq? The notion of Iran as equivalent to Germany in mid-1939 is beyond preposterous.

  199. James Canning says:

    At salon.com today, Glenn Greenwald has excellent reminder of how a number of retired US generals and other officers were paid handsomely to pose as objective analysts, as part of the effort to set up the illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq. Some of them are at it yet again, this time regarding Iran.

  200. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:
    March 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    With regard to a possible intention on wanting to have a nuclear weapon, I brought up a similar question yesterday which Eric didn’t bother to reply, I asked where would you draw the line, is it a hard tangible evidence that you are after to merely if bunch of Iranian strategist seat down and talk about if someone attacked the country, they recommend the country to go and build a nuclear weapon to retaliate, aren’t they defying the spirit of the treaty, they sure are just like when US military says they do have contingency plans to attack Iran, aren’t they defying the spirit of UN charter, they sure are, never less at the end of the day that’s how the world functions.

  201. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    Have there been “nuclear threats” in the Middle East? I don’t think so. Talk of “all options being on the table” as a practical matter does not include using nuclear weapons.

  202. James Canning says:

    It is good to have Khamenei denounce nuclear weapons. But which countries are trying to preserve a monopoly on scientific or industrial information? Is China one of those countries?

  203. BiBiJon says:

    fyi,

    Tony Karon uses a lot of words to describe the following:

    US policy makers since 2009 have embarked on a downhill path, that gets progressively narrower and steeper and ends at a cliff’s edge. Oh, and a big round rock (Netaniahu) is chasing them downhill and leaving them no room to stop running down, let lone backtrack and climb back up.

    And, the same folks insist on being trusted to manage other world affairs.

    http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/03/01/why-netanyahus-visit-to-discuss-iran-puts-obama-in-a-political-minefield/

  204. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    You posed a metaphorical question and asked everyone to ignore all sorts of issues, and for the sake of the argument assume all sorts of things temporarily so that, like a Koppel interview, you elicit a ‘yes or no’ response.

    I responded “yes” because I think the ‘non’ part of ‘nonproliferation treaty actually means ‘none.’ As I have never witnessed a patch of wetness, and shards of porcelain on the floor gather themselves up and jump off the floor onto a table in the shape of hot steaming cup of chai, I believe it is correct (according to laws of thermodynamics and entropy) to assume the components of a weapon did not wind up on Japan’s table without, at some point, an NPT-defying intent.

    That ‘point of intent’, I agree with RSH, is not reached when a nation may be experimenting to see if any possible future exigencies (e.g. a meteor on a path of impact on Tokyo) can be averted by a particular type of an explosive device.

    Therefore, when is the intent provable, is not unlike asking how long is a piece of string. It is circumstantial evidence that win the day in court. Which is precisely why so many ‘mistranslations’, and other intelligence forgeries litter MSM, IAEA, etc. to try and convict Iran of having a prohibited weapon intention.

  205. Rehmat says:

    Baroness Jenny Tonge (born 1941), member of British House of Lords, has angered leaders of British government of Israel-Firster, David Cameron, and the Opposition lead by Jewish Ed Miliband as result of her statements made at a student panel at Middlesex University last month. The Jewish lobby groups have demanded that Nick Clegg, leader of her Liberal Democrats, should apologize for her remarks and take disciplinary action against her for making such anti-Jewish remarks. Some UK media has reported that Baroness Jenny Tonge has refused to apology and rather has resigned from the party. However, she will remain member of House of Lords under its current system.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/baroness-tonge-israel-will-not-go-on-for-ever/

  206. Rehmat says:

    Ayatullah Ali Khamenei is repeating the earlier Fatwa by the ‘Imam of Sun’ Ayatullah Khomeini gave over 27 years ago. Imam Khomeini also said:

    “Today the war between truth and falsehood; the war between the rich and the poor; the war between the weak and the arrogant – has started. I kiss the hands of all who have stoof up to fight throughout the world in the path of Allah and in the path of giving dignity to the Muslims. I give my sincere greetings to the free sparrows, to the dear nation…,”

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/khomeini-imam-of-sun/

  207. Arnold,

    I have never intentionally misstated your position, and plan never to intentionally misstate your position. Frankly, I have rarely purported even to state your position, and expect to continue in that practice.

    Nonetheless, you have occasionally accused me of having misstated your position on this issue. I don’t agree that I have ever actually done that, but you nonetheless have accused me of doing so. For that reason, it would have helped me to know what your position is. I felt, and still feel, that the final hypothetical I framed was a clear illustration of the difference between my view and what appeared to be your view. As I explained there, it seemed to me that your view dictated a “no” answer to the question I posed at the end. (Needless to say, my answer was “yes.”) I asked simply for either (1) a confirmation (i.e. a “no” answer, as your arguments seemed to dictate); or (2) a frank acknowledgement that your expressed views dictated a “no” answer, followed by a frank reconsideration of your views because of that.

    You had no obligation to clarify your position, and I understand you believe you made it clear enough. I think you should have frankly considered the implications of your expressed views a bit further, far enough to recognize that they compelled a “no” answer to the fair question I’d posed. You didn’t. It’s as simple as that.

  208. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Friedman’s latest analysis (lacks direct discussion of the implosion of the finance-based economy of the Axis Powers)

    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/state-world-explaining-us-strategy

  209. JohnH says:

    Channeling Sassan: Netanyahu “of course is a liar as he has always been but Zionism assists him in this matter…you can lie for your faith if you believe that it is in danger and to advance the cause of [Zionism]. Deceit is the game ans has been the game ever since the inception of this regime.”

    Sassan knows exactly how Khamenei would think, if he were in Khamenei’s shoes, because that’s how he and Netanyahu think. It’s called projection…

  210. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    As I said with more words in the last post, you can refrain from misstating our positions even if we don’t directly answer that question. One way is to just copy our actual words.

    I’m a little annoyed by what somewhat looks like a threat, you’ll feel free to inaccurately present positions that oppose yours unless we directly answer it.

    I expect you not to misstate my position in the future. I will be offended and consider you dishonest if you do.

    I’ll also note 1) you put a lot more effort into that scenario than you have into trying to defend your actual position 2) there are plenty of direct questions you haven’t answered.

  211. Empty says:

    Translation/interpretation of some extracts from an interview with Major General Safavi. Source: ;http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901118000986

    “During ’59 [1980-1981] when Iraq had attacked Iran, Kuwait supported Iraq quite significantly. During that year and in ’60, Kuwait gave $1 billion to Iraq to fight us. During one of the Supreme Council for Defense meetings, in which, agha [Ayatollah Khamenei] was Imam’s representative on the council, it was discussed whether we should also respond to Kuwait or not. In fact, what should be our position with respect to Kuwait? His Excellency was of the opinion that we should not expand the scope of the war and, in addition to Iraq, get into conflict with Kuwait. He also said that Iraq has claims toward Kuwait and it’s possible that this same Iraq would one day go after Kuwait. This was his Excellency’s statements in ’59-’60 at a time a year had not even passed from the war [Iraq-Iran war] and none of the council members were of such opinion that perhaps one day Iraq would go after Kuwait. Such belief did not exist among other members.”

    “In any case, about a month before the military attack by Iraq against Kuwait, a formal report was submitted to his excellency by then head of the revolutionary guard. According to the report, there was a built-up of 12 army divisions in Iraq from Basrah to Fav, in the southern part of Basrah that either are intending to attack Iran or they intend to attack Kuwait. The report also included some recommendations.”

    “At that time, I was the vice chair of the Guard and some discussions also took place at the national security council meeting. Ayatollah Khamenei was the leader and commander in chief and Mr. Hashemi was the president. Iran’s position was quite clear in facing this crisis. Iran was in fact the first country that made its position clear and transparent with respect to its foreign policy and made preparation to act accordingly in the international and regional scene. The leader clearly condemned the military attack by Iraq against Kuwait.”

    “The discussions began with the letter from the [Revolutionary] Guard to the leader and the leader forwarded the subject to the national security council. In a few sessions, various aspects of Iraq’s potential attack against Kuwait were discussed. Iran’s position and potential actions, too, were discussed. At that time, there were diverse opinions inside the country with respect to Iraq’s attack against Kuwait and then US attack’s against Iraq in 1991. Some inside the country believed Iran should support and defend Saddam. Even in Majlis some openly expressed their opinions and insisted that Saddam should be supported against the US attack. However, the leader, quite wisely condemned US attack against Iraq and refrained from supporting Saddam’s regime. Certainly the passage of time proved the correctness of Ayatollah Khamenei’s views and unmasked Saddam’s true nature. I remember that the Americans advanced into Iraq to a point in pushing them out of Kuwait. At that time, Iraqi people, given the weaknesses of Iraqi Army, rose up, especially in the southern regions of Iraq. This became known as Sha’banieh Intefaza. When the Americans realized that the Iraqi people had risen up, they suddenly stopped their attack against the Iraqi army since they did not want to overthrow Saddam at that time. They thought such uprising by the Iraqi people would be concluded in Iran’s benefit. Therefore, right in the middle of their bombing campaign, they stopped dismantling the Iraqi army. It was exactly at that time when the regime was able to take back all the cities that had now fallen in the hands of the revolutionaries and committed the most horrific and repressive acts.”

    “The leader who had condemned that Iraqi attack against occupation of Kuwait, right after the dishonorable attacks against Karbela and Najaf and the massacre of the Shi’a in southern Iraq, announced a national mourning against these crimes.”

    “Taliban had gained power and was ruling in Afghanistan for a few years. And with respect to Afghan Shi’a and even regarding Iran, they were behaving in a very crude, illogical, fanatical manner with incorrect understanding of Islam. They even martyred 13 of our diplomats, including honorable martyr Nasseri. I was among the group that went to see his excellency in Mashhad. At that time, I was the head of the Revolutionary Guard. Within 48 hours, we had lined up two of guard’s divisions at the Taybad border. We also had prepared an operational plan. I took and submitted it to his excellency. I asked for permission to advance toward Herat (which is approximately 130 km from the border from us). I said, ‘permit us to take a few of the divisions to go to Heart and destroy a few things and punish Taliban and return.’ His excellency opposed my plan. He said, ‘Firstly, Taliban have not entered our land and they have not aggressed against us inside of our country; Iran’s entrance into Afghanistan would prompt reactions in others, too. In addition, now 13 people have been martyred and you’re going to revenge. This military mobilization itself, too, would lead to much more than the previous 13 people to be martyred. It’s not like you could just kill them. They could kill you, too.”

    “I asked for permission to submit a different plan. I did. And we ended up limiting our operations to a short time period at the border and the military stations at the borders…..our operations were quite successful. After that operation, the Taliban sent us a message that it was a mistake on their part and they would not act against Iran or the Iranians.”

  212. BiBiJon says:

    As per Daniel Larison:

    “… why would Iranian authorities repeatedly insist in public not only that they are not pursuing such weapons, but also state that they are absolutely prohibited from doing so according to the religion on which the regime claims to base so much of its legitimacy? If most Iranians accept these statements, and the government then develops and tests a nuclear weapon, would they not be directly attacking the foundations of the legitimacy and credibility of their entire system?”

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/2010/05/08/questioning-our-assumptions-about-iran-ii/

  213. Richard Steven Hack says:

    By the way, he also claims that the West KNOWS Iran is not pursuing nukes. I agree about that, as well.

    Certainly Israel does, since they’ve had to MANUFACTURE most of the “evidence” out of whole cloth. And as Seymour Hersh pointed out in one of his articles, the US has spent millions trying to find the non-existent “parallel nuclear weapons program” and has found nothing.

    So if the senior members of the intelligence and military community don’t KNOW that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, they need to resign. Because otherwise they’re in the same situation as having over-estimated the Soviet military potential in the ’70;s and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the ’80′s and ’90′s.

    Although it’s opinion did not make it into the 2007 NIE, the DIA believed the only time Iran had a “nuclear weapons program” was a research study back when it thought Saddam had one. Once Iran was invaded in 2003, that program stopped quite logically since there was no more need for it. Iran didn’t even care at that time about either the Israeli or US nuclear arsenal because it knew the few weapons it might be able to develop would have ZERO value as a deterrent against either country in either a conventional or a nuclear attack. The only threat they were concerned about was Iraq.

    The only reason the DIA analysis didn’t make it into the NIE is because it was too “logical” and wasn’t “politically correct”.

    At this point, I don’t think Iran even cares if it is “nuclear capable”, let alone has an actual weapons program. And even if Iran has already done the research and design work to produce a bomb design, then it still has quite some time ahead of it to make a DELIVERABLE design which is the only nuclear weapon worth having now or in the future.

    I think Iran is fixated on ballistic missiles as it’s primary deterrent. Unfortunately that is a limited deterrent until you have nearly as many launchers as you have missiles, and you need literally thousands of missiles – at least two thousand – with sufficiently large warheads and range to hit your primary likely enemy. It will likely take Iran another one to two decades to reach that level. And Israel will never allow that to happen either before attacking.

  214. Neo says:

    Observer, excellent observation. totally agree with you.

    Hans, no one cares what the West thinks or claims. I would not listen to their leaders.

  215. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Sorry for being missing for the last three days – I’m sure you’re all broken up about it… :-)

    I had the two hard drives originally installed when I bought this machine crash – one Monday, the other Tuesday after I spent all day reloading the OS on it… I’m operating now on the remaining 1TB drive which is maybe a year newer and hopefully will continue functioning until I can get enough money to replace the two 500GB drives with a new 1TB… Hard drive prices are much higher these days due to flooding in Thailand last fall – production is only getting ramped up to 80% of normal during this quarter and prices won’t fall back until the summer…

    No data lost – everything backed up to an external 2TB Western Digital MyBook. But I don’t trust those either, as I’ve seen many of those die within a year or so…

    I don’t think I’ll be taking part in Eric’s scenarios about Japanese nuclear capability, since as I’ve indicated before I don’t like hypotheticals since they can be configured to prove anything you want. As long as the NPT doesn’t explicitly state what a “nuclear explosive device” is (the only ones I know about that aren’t “weapons” are nuclear demolition charges and apparently none actually exist outside the military) I think the entire argument is moot.

    I will say that IMHO if Iran or any state designs the nuclear shell, the explosives chain and the nuclear trigger as well as all the other components of a nuclear weapon and and even goes so far as to construct and TEST all of these parts – because it, like ANY state, would HAVE TO in order to be assured of the ability to construct a weapon in the future – but never actually CONSTRUCTS the DEVICE IN TOTO as well as never actually introducing fissile material into it, then it has not violated the NPT EXPLICITLY.

    I DO think it will have violated the SPIRIT of the NPT, however. And I suspect that a number of states including Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Sweden have already done so. You can NOT say, like Japan has, that you can construct “thousands of nuclear weapons quickly” WITHOUT having done the research and design work to back that up.

    But since the nuclear weapons states have violated the spirit of the NPT by not disarming, I’d say that is a moot issue as well.

    Until there is an explicit definition in the NPT or any other legal or technical document related to the NPT which specifies what sort of device constitutes a violation of the NPT, it’s pointless to try to decide what actually does constitute such a violation.

    My opinion means nothing and neither does the opinion of anyone else, absent such a specification.

    And such a specification would undoubtedly be more political than technical, because any technical specification probably would be accused of being able to be evaded by being insufficiently general. Which brings us back to the fact that Japan would probably evade it and Iran would not, due to political reasons.

    As for the Ayatollah’s speech, I think I quoted this before. He’s not only clear that Iran doesn’t WANT nukes, he’s also clear that Iran does not NEED nukes and that nukes would only cause Iran more geopolitical problems (even leaving out an obvious attack by Israel and the US.) I’ve said this over and over again as the reason I KNOW Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and it’s nice to get confirmation yet again, in addition to the other Iranian officials and observers who have said so, that this is the official Iran position on that.

    And while as an anarchist I don’t believe ANY state official when they open their mouth, in this case I think the strategic and geopolitical logic backs up the claim. If it didn’t, I’d be a bit more suspicious. As it stands, I think he’s being entirely truthful.

  216. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan, interested to know if you take Julius Caesar at face value?

  217. hans says:

    Observer says:
    March 1, 2012 at 5:47 am

    … If he claims (and he does so vehemently and convincingly) that the Iranian nation under his leadership will not pursue nuclear weapons, than simply IT MUST BE SO! He would be discredited forever in the eyes of the nation, the scholars and scientists.

    It will not matter one iota, the West will still pursute the line that Iran want a nuclear weapon, that is Israel’s line and It is gunning for Iran.

    Remember the Vatican representive in Libya, he was contanantly telling the world that NATO air raids were killing innocent civilians. The West accussed him of supporting Qaddafi and his regime.

    So I would not take too much notice what Iran’s supreme leader says.

    BTW the Iranian regime supported the bigots and Rats!

  218. Sassan says:

    Quite comical. First the Leverett’s use that pro-regime hack in Tehran as a source for the “polling data” in Iran and refer to him as their “colleague” and now they seem to imply they take Khamanei at face value in “nuclear weapons being haram”. It seems as if they were alive under Hitler’s reign, they would take Hitler at face value as well.

    BTW, Khamanei of course is a liar as he has always been but Islam assists him in this matter. IT is called Taqiyya in that you can lie for your faith if you believe that it is in danger and to advance the cause of Islamic fascism. Deceit is the game ans has been the game ever since the inception of this regime. Hence, Khomeini started it before he even landed in Tehran. He had stated that he would simply be a “spiritual adviser” and “go sit in qom and not interfere in politics”.

  219. Empty says:

    Thank you, Leveretts.

    “We want to prove to the world that nuclear weapons do not bring about power. This is because the nuclear powers are suffering from the biggest problems today. They dominated the world through nuclear threats, but today such threats are no longer effective. We want to say that we are not after nuclear weapons, that we do not believe nuclear weapons bring about power and that we can break the kind of power that is based on nuclear weapons. By Allah’s favor, our nation will do this.” Inshallah.

  220. Observer says:

    The more I study the writings and comments of Iran’s supreme leader, the more it occurs to me that this man cannot afford to lie to his nation about the intentions of the Iranian government. If he claims (and he does so vehemently and convincingly) that the Iranian nation under his leadership will not pursue nuclear weapons, than simply IT MUST BE SO! He would be discredited forever in the eyes of the nation, the scholars and scientists. Moreover, those that are already opposing him and want him removed (rest assured that he faces not insignificant opposition in Iran) would use this no doubt as a means to topple him.
    If Iran ever were to develop nuclear weaponry, the reputation of the supreme leader and his office would be destroyed and the whole revolution would be called into question by sincere Muslims everywhere. He would be exposed as a liar. That he could never afford.
    The way I see it – for the above reasons (and others), Iran has decided not to develop nuclear weapons technology!

  221. Binam says:

    The problem is, he also claims that in Iran people are free to criticize him and to hold rallies as his opposition. He also claims there’s total freedom of the press and freedom of speech. But the reality tells a different story. There are still jailed journalists, students, lawyers, activists, etc. Leaders of the opposition are illegally on house arrest without trial or charge.

    So why should anyone trust him if he continues to lie? Even ONE lie would make him an untrustworthy Leader. With him the lies are just piling up.

    The Leveretts are just too blind to see it. Here once again they are serving as a mouthpiece of the hardliners in Iran with utter disregard for democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. They are once again on the side of an unelected low-ranking mullah who serves for life as a Supreme Leader whose power absolute and goes unchecked.

  222. masoud says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    You asked for my opinion, I offered it as best I could. I wasn’t even considering whether or not that affords you an effective platform to promote your own views on the issues you’ve brought up. I’m confident you understand my position quite clearly, but prospect of you *mis-stating* it doesn’t really keep me up at night.

  223. Masoud,

    I asked for a direct answer. I think the question was framed clearly enough for that to have been a fair request. Would you say you gave a direct answer? If so, I confess I have no idea what it is.

    That’s fine. But on the off-chance that I characterize your position in future discussions, please be fair enough not to claim I’ve “misstated” your position.

  224. masoud says:

    **AIRLIFTED FROM PREVIOUS THREAD**

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Eric,

    As I told you before, I generally understand the red line of ‘manufacturing’ a weapon to mean final assembly. If we edit your post so that the instead of having a fully assembled warhead minus pit we have all essential components of a warhead laid out on a table side by side with instrucitons on how to put them together, then you are correct and there is no violation ‘unitl the last five minutes’. With the example as you give it, i’m tempted to give the same answer, but if I were to answer honestly, I’d say it falls into a fuzy area of my understanding of the npt.

    As I understand international law(which isn’t very well), treaty obligations are inevitalby interpreted under the terms of the subject country’s national legal frameworks. We know, through the negotiation record of the npt, that the Article II of the NPT was explicity drafted to preclude the outlawing of steps neccesary to ‘prepare to manufacture’ a nuclear weapon, as opposed to it’s current formation which simply bans the ‘manufacture’, which I read to mean final assembly, of nuclear weapons. So that’s the intent of the artcile, what that means for interpretation of the treaty in the legal framework of a particular member nation is a big question mark for me, though I would wager it has a lot to do with the country in question. I don’t know much about Iran’s legal system, and even less about Japan’s, so that’s as far as I can take your question.

  225. Pirouz says:

    Last week, I’d been looking for this. Thanks for posting it.