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The Race for Iran


The Atlantic continues to heat up its “bomb Iran debate” by highlighting the views of Elliot Abrams, Patrick Clawson, Martin Indyk, Karim Sadjadpour, and a few other like-minded Iran “experts.” It is remarkable how The Atlantic seems to have systematically excluded analysts who do not support either bombing Iran or active support for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.  It really is becoming Iraq all over again.  Below, and in subsequent pieces, we will feature the views of important analysts who should have been included in The Atlantic’s one-sided discussion to make it an actual “debate.”  We will break down the real debate into a series of important questions that are becoming prominent in public discussions on Iran in the United States.    

The first of these questions, on which we focus today, is:  Is there an orchestrated campaign to build public support—and political pressure—in the United States for a U.S. or U.S.-backed Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear targets?  For our part, we clearly believe that there is such a campaign—and that this campaign is being brought to you by many of the same journalists, public intellectuals, and organizations that spearheaded the campaign to “sell” the Iraq war to the American public in the years leading up to the March 2003 invasion.  From this perspective, we see Jeffrey Goldberg’s attention-getting article published last week by The Atlantic as an important step in what we anticipate will be an intensifying push for war against Iran over the next 12-18 months. 

Interestingly, James Fallows argues that Goldberg—Fallows’ colleague at The Atlantic—is not, in fact, making the case for a military strike against Iran: 

“I think that those reading the piece as a case for bombing Iran are mainly reacting to arguments about the preceding war.  Jeff Goldberg was a big proponent of invading Iraq, as I was not—and those who disagreed with him about that war have in many cases taken the leap of assuming he’s making the case for another assault.  I think this is mainly response to byline rather than argument.  If this new article had appeared under the byline of someone known to have opposed the previous war and to be skeptical about the next one, I think the same material could be read in the opposite way—as a cautionary revelation of what the Netanyahu government might be preparing to do.” 

We think, see here, that Goldberg’s reporting on why so many Israeli political and policymaking elites want a military strike against Iran should be read as a “cautionary revelation,” because the reasons adduced by Israeli elites for a strike are extremely weak, especially from the standpoint of American strategic interests.  With regard to Fallows’ argument just cited, Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Magazine—who scrupulously catalogued Goldberg’s history of journalistic malpractice during the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq—holds, see here, that

“Goldberg’s past work as a dishonest advocate for the Iraq War and his long service in support of the Israeli military (literally for a time, when he served in the Israeli Defense Force) makes Fallows’s argument harder to accept.  Goldberg has never seen an Israeli military action that he didn’t approve of. Can anyone honestly believe that Goldberg wouldn’t support an Israeli attack on Iran in the event that it came to pass?

“Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic is more balanced than his Iraq war ‘reporting’, which ranked with British propaganda from World War I about German soldiers bayoneting babies, but it’s awfully sympathetic to the Israeli point of view.  If Israel does attack Iran, its supporters will surely point to Goldberg’s piece as evidence for why such a strike was necessary, just as President Bush cited Goldberg’s work in making the case for war in Iraq.”

In this regard, we also highlight Glenn Greenwald’s arresting, “How Propaganda Works”

“Jeffrey Goldberg, in the new cover story in The Atlantic, on an Israeli attack on Iran: 

“‘Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program.  In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean-built reactor in Syria.  An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.’

“Good news!  Israel can successfully end a country’s nuclear program by bombing them, as proven by its 1981 attack on Iraq, which, says Goldberg, halted ‘forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions.’

“Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, 2002, trying to convince Americans to fear Iraq: 

“‘Saddam Hussein never gave up his hope or turning Iraq into a nuclear power.  After the Osirak attack, he rebuilt, redoubled his efforts, and dispersed his facilities.  Those who have followed Saddam’s progress believe that no single strike today would eradicate his nuclear program.’ 

“When it suited him back then, Goldberg made the exact opposite claim, literally, of the one he makes today.  Back then, Goldberg wouldn’t possibly claim what he claims now—that the 1981 strike permanently halted Saddam’s ‘nuclear ambitions’—because, back then, his goal was to scare Americans about The Threat of Saddam.  So in 2002, Goldberg warned Americans that Saddam had ‘redoubled’ his efforts to turn Iraq into a nuclear power after the Israeli attack, i.e.that Saddam had a scarier nuclear program than ever before after the 1981 bombing raid.  But now, Goldberg has a different goal:  to convince Americans of the efficacy of bombing Iran, and thus, without batting an eye, he simply asserts the exact opposite factual premise:  that the Israelis successfully and permanently ended Saddam’s nuclear ambition back in 1981 by bombing it out of existence (and, therefore, we can do something similar now to Iran).

“This is what a propagandist, by definition, does:  asserts any claim as fact in service of a concealed agenda without the slightest concern for whether it’s true.  Will the existence of a vast and menacing Iraqi nuclear program help my cause (getting Americans to attack Iraq)?  Fine, then I’ll trumpet that.  Now, however, it will help my cause (mainstreaming an attack on Iran) to claim that the Israelis permanently ended Iraq’s nuclear efforts in 1981, thus showing how well these attacks can work.  No problem:  I’ll go with that.  How can anyone take seriously—as a Middle East expert and especially as a journalist—someone with this blatant and thorough of an estrangement from any concern for truth?  Can anyone reconcile these factual claims?

“…[T]he core premise of Goldberg’s article—that Iran is currently pursuing nuclear weapons—is asserted, in the very first sentence, as indisputable fact without so much as acknowledging, let along resolving, the substantial evidence casting serious doubt on that scary claim…Goldberg’s latest historical assertion—that the 1981 Israeli attack ended Saddam’s nuclear efforts—is the precise opposite of reality:  Iraq had no genuine nuclear weapons program prior to 1981, but it was the Israeli attack which caused Saddam to conclude that he needed one.  That is what spawned the very substantial Iraqi efforts from 1981 to 1991 to develop nuclear weapons:  efforts which were actually ended by Operation Desert Storm and the subsequent U.N. inspection regime…Goldberg wants to obfuscate those facts lest one conclude:  just as happened with Iraq, nothing would spur an Iranian desire for nuclear weapons more than a bombing campaign against their country.” 

Drawing, in part, on the work of another blogger, Jonathan Schwarz, Greenwald insightfully describes Goldberg’s role in the current “propaganda effort” regarding Iran:

“Goldberg is not Bill Kristol or Charles Krauthammer, at least in terms of function.  He’s not going to run around overtly beating his chest demanding that the U.S. attack Iran (or that the U.S. support Israel’s attack):  at least not yet.  Although Goldberg did precisely that in the run-up to the attack on Iraq, his function now is more subtle, and more insidious.  He’s nothing if not shrewd, and certainly shrewd enough to know that if he spouts nakedly bellicose demands for a war with Iran, he’ll be quickly dismissed as a neocon fanatic, especially in light of his discredited and falsehood-filled campaign to persuade Americans to attack Iraq.  Indeed, Goldberg himself notes that even George Bush derided Kristol and Krauthammer as ‘the bomber boys.’  He’s much too smart to let himself be consigned to the lowly and limited (though important) role of fanning the flames of right-wing fanaticism; he’s intent on re-branding himself after what he did in 2002 and 2003 and preserving his mainstream influence.

“Thus, his pose is objective journalist.  He’ll feign ‘ambivalence’ about whether Iran should be bombed—thus showing how thoughtful and non-ideological he is—while infecting the discourse with the kinds of factual falsehoods documented here, all in service of skewing the debate towards ensuring an attack happens.  At its core, it’s only a slightly modified version of what he did with Iraq (I’m merely ‘reporting’ on Saddam’s extensive relationship with Al Qaeda and his nuclear program/I’m merely ‘reporting’ on the view of Israeli leaders that ‘a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people’).  

“It’s really one of the strangest and most revealing facts that the ‘objective journalist’ to whom America’s political elites most faithfully turn for ‘reporting’ on the Middle East is someone whose loyalty to Israel is so overarching that he actually went and joined the IDF (just try to imagine an American journalist reporting on this conflict for a large media outlet who previously joined the Iranian military or the military of any predominantly Muslim country).  There’s nothing wrong per se with his doing so or with maintaining loyalty to other countries; many Americans do so with all sorts of countries and for all sorts of reasons.  It’s also true that Goldberg’s intense, Israel-devoted agenda doesn’t preclude some good reporting; there are interesting and even revealing aspects in his article about how Israeli leaders think about Iran, or at least how they want Americans to believe they think about Iran.  

“But Jeffrey Goldberg is no more of an objective reporter on such matters than Benjamin Netanyahu is, and the fact that so many are willing to treat him as though he is provides a valuable testament to the ongoing vitality of the Supreme Law of Beltway Life:  Seriousness credentials, once vested, can never be revoked, no matter how grave one’s past sins of falsehood and error are.  The purpose of this Atlantic article is as obvious as it is odious:  to mainstream the debate over an Israeli or American attack on Iran by defending its rationale, all masquerading as objective reporting (I’m merely describing the substantial possibility that it could happen and, if it does, why it would be justifiable).  I’m tempted to say that anyone who falls for Jeffrey Goldberg’s act again deserves what they get, except that—as always—they’re not the ones who will pay the price for the fallout.” 

Greenwald also usefully underscores Goldberg’s frequent comparisons of Iran to Nazi Germany, reminding us “it was endlessly claimed that it was Saddam who was the New Hitler in order to ratchet up fear levels and justify an attack on that country, too.  How many times can we be persuaded to attack the New Hitler?”  (We have argued that the comparison of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hitler’s Germany is particularly misplaced; see here.)    

Finally, Flynt’s New America Foundation colleague Robert Wright, writing on The New York Times’ “Opinionator” blog, suggests that the main issue with regard to “Goldberg as propagandist” is the way in which his article helps to frame future public debate: 

“His piece leaves you thinking that Israel will attack Iran very soon unless America does the honors.  So the debate becomes about who should bomb Iran, not about whether Iran should be bombed. 

“And this is the way Israel’s hawks want the debate framed.  That way either they get their wish and America does the bombing, or, worst case, they inure Americans to the prospect of a bombing and thus mute the outrage that might otherwise ensue after a surprise Israeli attack draws America into war.  No wonder dozens of Israeli officials were willing to share their assessments with Goldberg, and no wonder ‘a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike be next July’…I’ve long felt that most ulterior motives are subconscious, and Goldberg seems to be a case in point.  Back in 2002, when he was vociferously arguing for an invasion of Iraq, he just wanted to believe that his Kurdish sources were giving him solid evidence of Saddam Hussein’s links to Al Qaeda—notwithstanding the fact that they, as fellow invasion advocates, had an interest in fabricating evidence.  Now Goldberg again seems eager to accept the testimony of people whose testimony is obviously suspect.” 

In a subsequent piece for www.RaceForIran.com, we will look at how the “bomb Iran” debate is shaking out on another important question:  what is the justification for what some euphemistically describe as “preventive war” against Iran?  Note:  Some advocates of starting a war with Iran use the phrase “pre-emption”, but this is a misleadingly inaccurate formulation.  Pre-emption means that there is an imminent threat—the gun is not just loaded, but cocked, and the “evildoer” is pointing the gun at an innocent victim with his finger around the trigger, preparing to fire.  A “preventive war” scenario means, by definition, that there is no imminent threat, but that a national government somehow concludes it should act anyway to prevent such a threat—which may not even be theoretically possible now—from emerging.  

We think that “preventive war” is itself a somewhat euphemistic formulation, which could be used, as Flynt’s former colleague Paul Pillar put it so well, to “make aggression respectable”.  Nevertheless, it is important not to let those making the case for initiating military action against Iran get away with labeling this “pre-emption”. 

But we will save a discussion of the case for “preventive war” with Iran—as we have written before, we think it is a very bad idea, on multiple levels (see, for example, here and here—for another day.  

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. James Canning says:


    You make a strong case for seeing gross stupidity on the part of the neocons who argued invading Iraq would lead to lower oil prices. These same idiots apparently fail to see that US policies toward Iran tend to keep oil prices higher than otherwise would obtain. Or they don’t care.

    Most Americans have no idea that the US in fact was the largest buyer of Iraqi crude, from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the UN sanctions.

  2. Mr. Canning: “Could the neocons have been so stupid as to believe Iraqi oil would be purchased at a discount, if the US replaced the government with one favorably disposed toward Israel? Obviously they knew Iran tried to get the highest possible price, even though the Shah was friendly toward Israel and the US.”

    Yes, they were that stupid. And they were proven stupid because the oil company executives had Bush issue a Presidential directive that the Iraqi government would follow OPEC price guidelines strictly, thus screwing the neocon plan. See Greg Palast’s articles on this, especially his classic 2006 article:

    Bush Didn’t Bungle Iraq, You Fools
    www dot gregpalast dot com/bush-didnt-bungle-iraq-you-fools/

    And his 2005 article:

    Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq’s Oil
    www dot gregpalast dot com/secret-us-plans-for-iraqs-oil/

    This proved, by the way, that the oil companies had more clout over Bush than the neocons did, at least with regard to that issue. No surprise there, Bush being from an oil family.

  3. Arnold: Agree with your post to Brill, except for this part: “an attack would cost more in US losses in the region than the US would gain. At least by my estimation and I’m pretty sure Iran’s leaders share this estimation.”

    The problem is: WHO is making the calculation and WHAT is considered “gain”? If it’s you and Iran and me, there’s no gain. If it’s the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the neocons, and Israel, oh, yeah, there’s plenty of gain no matter WHAT it costs the US in terms of taxpayer dollars, US military and Iranian civilian (and for that matter, US civilian) lives.

    The gain is called MONEY, and also POWER.

    And those two trump any other considerations almost all the time.

  4. Kooshy: ”

    Look Richard, this is exactly why that I asked, what do you mean by terrorism , because, as you see just about everybody has his or her own definition of terrorism specially for the side that has been “terrorized”,”

    Which is precisely WHY I SPECIFICALLY STATED I was talking about physical violence by Iranian agents in the mainland US. I wasn’t interested in arguing over the term “terrorism”. YOU started that argument and you continue it here. It’s not RELEVANT to the point I was making. You merely reacted against the word “terrorism” which is not the point here AT ALL. The point is that Iran MAY – not necessarily WILL – send agents to the US to conduct direct physical attacks against various targets. That’s all I was saying.

    Then Fyi may the CATEGORICAL ASSERTION that this would NEVER happen. I disputed that.

    Then you jumped in with all this about “what is terrorism”, which is completely IRRELEVANT.

    “The main reason I brought this up is that in the western countries the meaning of terrorism has become as an “unjustified violent act” against the civilians or civilian infrastructures without willing to consider the context of the situation of by who, and why to imply this act as an unjustified and therefore a criminal undertaking by a group or an state that they are overtly or covertly fighting with.”

    All of which I’m entirely familiar with. Again, it was not relevant to my point.

    “For this reason if one really doesn’t mean an act of “unjustified violence against civilians should not use the word terrorist” should stay away from using the world

    But as I said, the term has applicability to the tactics, and possibly the strategy. Which is why I used the term initially. Declaring that Iran sending agents into the US to commit acts of violence which may or may not target civilians is not “terrorism” under your definition is not going to change anything. The fact is under the general usage of the term, it WILL be considered terrorism. So it’s pointless to try to make that distinction in the context I’m referring to.

    “As I mentioned before the past evidence shows that Iran did not engage in acting violently against civilian Iraqis although it was much easier, so there are no support that they may resume to violent acts against American civilians seven thousand miles away”

    Again, I don’t see the Iran-Iraq war as making it any sort of certainty that Iran might not export terrorism against the US. The two situations are different in many ways. Iran had a direct military confrontation with Iraq as neighboring states and with some reasonable parity in military capabiliy. Against the US, Iran can ONLY conduct asymmetric warfare against a vastly superior military. Therefore, Iran can and should consider using terrorism against the US mainland, if it can feasibly do so.

    “but as you have written in the past, there are plenty of evidence that US has continuously supported and supplied (Jundollah, Pjak, MKO) to resort to unjustified violent acts against Iranian civilians and infrastructure do you also call that terrorism, or do you believe that is justified in current cold war between the two nations.”

    I know that just about everybody calls the Jundallah and Pjak and PKK acts terrorism. It’s quite clear that the US supports terrorist groups when it serves the US’ purpose. There is no reason for Iran not to do so as well. While Iran would be smart to limit attacks on civilians, I doubt the IRGC sees it that way.

  5. James Canning says:


    I think the neocons were fully aware any Iraqi government would be sure to obtain the prevailing price for Iraqi crude or refined petroleum products, and that the obviously foolish argument that overthrowing Saddam would make cheaper oil available, was advanced as part of a scheme of duping the appallingly ignorant American public. And their incompetent politicians.

  6. James Canning says:

    The Iranian envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said today that Iran expects the IAEA to facilitate Iran’s further development of more nuclear power plants at Bushehr.
    Will Obama have to wait until after the fall elections, to accept Iranian enrichment of LEU?

  7. James Canning says:


    Re: Aug. 20th, 2:43am – – It seems clear the IAEA can effectively monitor the Iranian LEU, and to continue to confirm no diversion from the civilian nuclear power programme has taken place. This situation obviously is beneficial to Iran. And to the US, of course.

  8. James Canning says:


    Could the neocons have been so stupid as to believe Iraqi oil would be purchased at a discount, if the US replaced the government with one favorably disposed toward Israel? Obviously they knew Iran tried to get the highest possible price, even though the Shah was friendly toward Israel and the US.

    During the 2008 campaign, Norman Podhoretz (John McCain’s foreign policy adviser) said that the purpose of the Iraq War was to put in place a government that would ally Iraq with Israel and the US, and that would allow permanent US bases for the protection of Israel.

  9. James Canning says:


    Thanks for the text of Khamenei’s speech. He said that Iran ‘had bought [TRR fuel] ten, 16 years ago. There [was] no problem. As soon as [US and the west] realized Iran needed it, they started playing games and turned this into an issue.”

    Have we identified the arrogant fools who caused this turn of events? Do we see the hand of Dennis Ross? Or Martin Indyke?

  10. James Canning says:

    Doess the photo posted with this article show Elliott Abrams with Dick Cheney?

  11. kooshy says:

    Here is the entire text of Ayatollah Khamenei’s major policy speech of yesterday with regard to Iran US relation for those they haven’t read his entire speech translated by GOSC

    In the name of God, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate.
    (Opening remarks in Arabic)

    In prayers about the month of Ramadan, which appear in the Sahife-ye Sajjadiyeh (a book containing the prayers of the fourth Shi’a Imam) and other prayers exclusive to this month, some features and characteristics have been mentioned in regard each of which need to be elaborated upon.
    In one case, this month has been mentioned as the month of repentance. I will say several sentences regarding this month of repentance. The phrase the “month of Islam” has been mentioned in the Sahife-ye Sajjadiyeh. In this case, the word “Islam” means the same thing mentioned in a holy verse (words rendered in Arabic) which talks about submitting one’s heart and soul and giving in to the divine will, order and sharia.
    In another case, this month has been described as a month in which there is a cleansing element which cleanses mankind. The word “cleanse” was also used as an infinitive which means a month of being cleansed from impurities.
    The month of Ramadan has also been described as a month of purity. For example, when someone puts a valuable metal such as gold into a kiln in order to separate it from other metals with which it is mixed, it is called purification. In the case of Ramadan, it means to separate the pure human nature from impurities and the unclean. These are some of the descriptions and features used to describe this month.
    As far as people are concerned, the month of Ramadan represents a month of the year in which people are praying and worshipping around the clock. In other words, Islamic laws provide an opportunity for us people who are surrounded and restricted by materialistic issues, to pray at prayer times at dawn, noon, afternoon, and evening. It is like a warning alarm and a kind of seclusion to brighten our heart and soul. This is what prayer does. Daily prayer times have been arranged in a way so that we are not drowned, and to escape from the imprisonment of materialism for a while, refresh ourselves and to think a little bit about morality. It has been arranged so that we don’t drown in materialism.
    It seems that throughout the year, the month of Ramadan creates such an opportunity for us. It allows the human spirit and divine spirit to breathe. This month of self-discipline is an opportunity for our spirit to escape for a while from the imprisonment of the materialist world surrounding us, to breathe and to become bright. The holy Islamic sharia has designed the month of Ramadan for such goals.
    Well, it is an opportunity. Among the aforementioned features, all of which are important, I found the issue of repentance more attractive to discuss with you who are officials of this country. This is a month of repentance.
    Repentance means stop treading the wrong path, doing wrong things, having a wrong thought. By inabah (Arabic, religious term) we mean referring to God, going back to God. The nature of repentance and inabah has a meaning within itself. When we say come back from the wrong path, it means you should recognize the wrong path. This is very important. As we go on we usually ignore our mistakes and wrongdoings. We don’t pay attention to our weak points. By us, I mean us as individuals and a society, our nation, our party, our wing. The nature of anything associated with an individual human being is usually not paid attention to. Therefore, others should inform us of our flaws. If we would be aware of our shortcomings and reform them then there would be no need for others to tell us about them. The first step for repentance and inabah is to pay attention to the root of the flaws and find out what we are doing wrong, where our mistake, fault, sin source from. We should start with ourselves and then social circles. But first we should evaluate ourselves to see find out about our mistakes. This is everyone’s duty, ordinary individuals like us who can have many flaws, faults and sins and even outstanding people, God’s pious human beings and even the prophets. The same is true with them. They needed repentance, too. There is a story associated with the prophet of Islam (Mohammad), peace be upon him and his household. This hadith (narration from Prophet Mohammad) has been narrated by Sunnis and Shi’is both. It quotes the prophet, saying (Arabic): “My heart is filled with fog and clouds- (he explains) the same way that a cloud covers the sun and the moon and creates darkness and covers that bright reflection- and I repent 70 times per day.” The prophet, that divine spirit, that pure nature (used to repent). There is another narration where Imam Sadeq (sixth Shi’i imam), peace be upon him, has said the prophet used to repent 70 times per day without having committed any sins. The prophet is innocent, why would he repent? Late Fayz, has said: (Arabic) In streets, markets and routine life the prophet could neglect something for a second. What may happen in our life all the time could have happened to him for a moment. He could have been busy with some permissible deed and, therefore, subject to repentance. Therefore, this (repentance) is not just for us. It’s for everyone.
    In other words, I and you who hold a responsibility and run some of the country’s affairs, or have influence over certain social issues in the country, have a bigger obligation and greater responsibility to repent before God. We should be very careful. Sometimes an offence may take place in bodies under your or my supervision. If we have carried out this offence, we are responsible. If a violation has taken place because for example we have failed to make an announcement or recruit a certain person, or we have been negligent in dealing with these offences, (Words rendered in Arabic) So, one can conclude that during the month of Ramadan we should do our utmost to correct our behaviour. We should correct our mind, words, and deeds. We should identify our faults and eliminate them.
    What should this correction be based on? This should be based on piety. (Words rendered in Arabic meaning that fasting should be for piety) So, these attempts we make during the month of Ramadan should serve to improve piety. I have made a note here about what I would like to say about piety. When we speak about piety, a person starts thinking about observing the Sharia laws such as praying, payment of the religious taxes, and not to lie. Of course, all of these are important. However, piety has also other aspects which we usually neglect.
    The prayer “Sharif” is about those aspects of piety. The prayer goes like this (prayer in Arabic). It asks God to dress him/her with clothes of the pure and adorn her/him with virtues of the pious. What is this dress of the pure? It explains (words in Arabic): The clothes of the pure means spreading justice and (words in Arabic) swallowing anger and (words in Arabic) putting out fires, fires that start between the members of a society. This means piety.
    (Words in Arabic) Try to gather individuals, who are from your tribe but have been isolated. This is one of the aspects of piety which is mentioned in the Sharif prayer. It is a very important prayer. I believe all officials should read this prayer and pay attention to its meaning. It is very educational. (Words in Arabic) And also instead of spying and fanning flames, and causing discord, one should bring reconciliation among Muslim brothers. This means piety.
    Note that these are our today’s issues. These are all our issues, spreading justice, and that includes administrative justice, judicial justice, economic justice, justice in selecting, justice in allocating resources and opportunities between groups, geographical justice. These are very important issues. These are all our needs. Spreading justice is the most important aspect of piety. This aspect holds a higher position than fasting on a hot summer day.
    A story says: When a ruler, the ruler could be any on you with authority over your lives, administers justice for one day, he has in fact prayed for 70 years. These are very important issues. They highlight the importance of justice and just behaviour. To swallow your anger: here we are talking about when you are with friends. (Verse in Arabic) Anger against enemy has been approved in the Koran. Anger against an enemy, who is against you and your identity, is considered a holy act. However, showing anger among the pious and towards those, whom we ought to treat in a Muslim fashion, is harmful. Making decisions, talking and working when angry, is harmful and is usually accompanied with mistakes. unfortunately, this is how many of us behave. To stop this anger, which causes deviation and mistakes in thought and action, is one of the aspects of piety.
    Some people have the mission to create political and factional discord, and I can see it happening in our country. Some people want to create conflict among various individuals and factions and cause friction among members of different factions. They want to create conflict, they enjoy doing it.
    This goes against piety. Piety means curbing destruction in the realm of humanity, ethics and spirituality, just as you would in the material domain. And also, (Verse in Arabic), maximum absorption and minimum repulsion. Of course, the criteria are values and principles. Not all humans are at the same level when their faith is concerned. We have, among us, those whose faith is weak but also those who have strong beliefs. We have to compromise. We cannot repel those with weak faith and only pay attention to those who have strong beliefs. We should also consider the weak. Those who regard themselves as strong believers should make allowances for those who are not. They should not repel them. They should try to bring to their senses those who, are part of the society but have been isolated due to neglect. They should advise them, direct them, show them the path and bring them back.
    These are fundamental issues. Now, this is called piety and these are ways of repenting. However, the interesting point is that fasting in the month of Ramadan is a collective activity. it is not an individual activity. In other words, we are all fasting, we are all involved and we, the Islamic ummah, are all sitting at the Iftar (fast-breaking) table. Imagine what would happen in the world of Islam and in the country, if we all regarded ourselves the addressees of the book and tradition and listened to and acted upon the advice that was given.
    We must appreciate this month. And that means that we should repent and purge ourselves. Well, this is the main thing I wanted to say in this meeting.
    As far the country’s current affairs are concerned, the President gave a very detailed, good and useful report. If we intend to make a correct analysis of the country’s current situation, we have to start by saying that there Islamic Iran is faced with an old opposing front which was created by a certain group. It’s an old front. These struggles, quarrels and fronts have existed for the past 32 years. It’s nothing new.
    Of course, the front which is opposing us has changed. But we haven’t changed. We are still using the same words, have the same ideals and going down the same path. We have found a path which we are quickly going down. We have indicated our goals. They were outlined very clearly from the very beginning in the Imam’s (Khomeini) comments. We are making progress as much as we can. But the other front has undergone changes. Some people have left or joined it.
    Two phenomena can be seen in the current lineup. One is that our opposing front is weaker than before. I mean that the front opposing us has got weaker and weaker. The second phenomenon is that the front we have created is getting stronger. These two phenomena can be proved. It’s not a slogan. It’s based on realities. I would like to make a short point about the front opposing us.
    What does the opposing front mean? In its propaganda, this front calls itself the world community. This is a big lie. They don’t represent the world community at all. They are a few countries. The main axis of this front is the Zionist regime and the United States of America. The rest either follow their (the US and Israel’s) policies, feel obligated to follow them, or are very weak countries who can’t do anything. Many of them do not agree with the two main axes (US and Israel). This isn’t the case only today and it has been the case over past years. Forget about the claims because the reality is what I’m saying.
    Now, based on what criterion do we believe these two government or entities to be our main enemies in the opposing front? What is the nature of this opposition? There are two kinds of opposition. One is fundamental antagonism and another is superficial antagonism. Superficial antagonism is when two countries have differences over their borders, trade issues and some policies.
    Fundamental antagonism is opposition to the existence of something. This means that two countries who don’t recognize each other’s existence. This is how we feel about the Zionist regime. We don’t recognize that regime’s existence. We believe it to be a fake regime which has been imposed and is like a deadly disease which the Middle East region doesn’t need. Without a doubt, this disease will be destroyed. I mean there is no doubt that it will not remain. At any rate, we are against it (Israel’s) existence and identity. That regime is also against the existence of the Islamic system. They would like Iran to be ruled by a monarchist system. But they hate the Islamic system. This is what fundamental animosity means.
    As far as the US is concerned, the United States’ approach toward the Islamic system is one based on non-recognition. We have fully realized this over the years. Of course, they themselves call for a change of behaviour. The change of behaviour they want – and which they don’t always necessary emphasize on – is in fact a negation of identity. It means that the main behaviours which are based on Islam have to change. Our approach toward America is one based on which we negate its arrogant nature. The American regime and government should be like other governments. As far as we are concerned, we reject the US’ arrogant nature and the fact that it is a superpower dominating the world. We don’t accept such a thing. This is fundamental antagonism.
    This fundamental opposition may sometime be active or passive. This fundamental opposition may also exist with other countries in the world, but in a passive form for various reasons.
    The opposition between these two governments (Iran and the USA) is an active one. This is a word on the opposition front. This opposition front is weakening. If we compare its (America’s) economic, political and social status as well as its influence and presence in the world with 30 years ago, we will realize that it has weakened greatly.
    There are some points that I have written here. First, our opposing front lacks popular support in the world, i.e. you do not find any country in the world where its people would support the regime of the United States or the usurping Zionist regime. They do not enjoy popular support.
    Even countries whose governments support them (the USA and Israel) with zeal, people oppose them (the USA and Israel). It is interesting that many of these people are non-Muslims. Today, you saw in newspapers that the head of the Zionist regime had gone to visit a European country, and the people – according to the news – had gathered in thousands asking him (head of Israel) to get lost and leave the country. The same applies everywhere. Wherever they go, they face the same situation, i.e. they do not enjoy popular support. The status of the Zionist regime is clear. But the American regime, despite all its political influence and use of force is still unpopular among nations.
    Apart from all this, they are hated by nations. The front opposing us is not just unloved, but is also hated. Their flags and pictures are burned and their dummies are stepped on. This is their situation. They (Americans) have a bitter experience of their military operations. America has a bitter experience of its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have failed. Concerning the Palestinian issue, the political efforts by America has led nowhere. They have failed. The Zionists’ failure during the 33-day war (against Lebanon) and their attack against Gaza is clear to everyone.
    Our opposing front is in a bad economic situation. Despite all their efforts, they did not succeed in overcoming their economic recession. They say that they have made progress. But the truth is that nothing positive has yet been done and they are under economic pressure. Their measures including injection of large amounts of money into financial institutions have not yet been effective and they are still in an adverse economic situation.
    They have failed in their Middle East policies in Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon. Their grave mistakes have made their governments incapable of decision-making. They are in a state of confusion. The Americans truly do not know what to do in Afghanistan today. They have differences among themselves. They cannot make a decision that would surely be in their interest. If they leave Afghanistan, they will face scandal and misery. If they stay in Afghanistan, they may fail and become miserable again. The same is more or less true in the case of Iraq.
    Iraq is similar. They do not know what to do in the case of Iraq. They interfere and make attempts but they do not get anywhere. Their officials’ self-confidence has sharply slumped as compared to the past. Compare today’s America (reception interrupted for two minutes)
    I do not claim that we have reached the level of advanced countries in terms of scientific progress. No. The point is we are accelerating forward. This is great news for a nation. If we continue to make progress at the same pace, in no time our nation and youth will achieve expected levels of advancement. The same is true about progress in technology and development in the country.
    Certain statistics were presented by the esteemed president here. These are correct figures. Great works are being done in the fields of construction, industry, energy, transportation and other fields. Compared to 30 years ago, when we started, and even 20 years ago, a great progress has been made. However, the country has not just made progress in material fields. The same is true in social and spiritual fields. Iran enjoys high spirits. Our youth have great incentives.
    The political arena is active. When there is an election, 40m people take part in it and 25m people choose (the president). These are important phenomena. Yes, bitter incidents took place following the elections based on their own reasons. Each incident was caused for certain reasons. But, the presence of people (at the polling stations) is a great issue and important development. Our opponents expected that 30 years after the revolution — and after 30 elections — people would gradually lose interest and enthusiasm in the elections. However, the election as a serious event was welcomed by the public. This is progress.
    Iran enjoys great support among Islamic countries. Our senior officials face the excitement and sensation of people in whatever country they travel to. The same does not apply to other countries. This is not particular to this time. The same has been true since the revolution. Wherever the officials of the country — including the president- – travelled, they were welcomed by people. Some of the countries that they travelled to did not have any commonality with us in terms of language, race, and geographical location.
    Nevertheless, people gather and express their respect (to Iranian senior officials). The Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys the same level of support — if not more — with world people. We have great hope for the future. We never expected to achieve this level of development in such a short time. With the grace of God Almighty, our youth today do things in the field of science and technology that were unimaginable to those who planned for the future of the country 20 to 25 years ago. This has been achieved today. This increases our hope in the future.
    We have successful experience in political fields. Contrary to the opposing front which has failed in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and various regions, we have had successful experience wherever we have gone to. Iran has even been successful wherever it felt that it was duty bound to go. This is confessed by everyone. This is why our opponents are very unhappy.
    One of our successes is in the fact that our opponents are captured in the hatred of the world. Therefore, two phenomena are outstanding, i.e. the image of our opponents is descending and ours is ascending. You may present a correct analysis for everything in the country when you approach the affairs from this angle.
    We think, analyse, and plan based on this line up. The enemy does the same. The enemy sits and plans on how to treat the Islamic Republic of Iran. It plans for every eventuality from both defensive and offensive perspectives. We have our own planning against the enemy. We should learn all this. We should proceed together in practice, as it has been so thus far.
    I will give you a quick idea of what the enemy does. Its plans are as follows: economic pressure, military threat, and psychological war in order to influence public opinion inside the country and at the international level. These are what they are doing, i.e. creating political disruptions and sabotage inside the country. Undoubtedly, there are certain centres inside the country that are inspired by the enemy. They do certain things under the inspiration and guidance of the enemy. Satans refer to their masters to be guided (previous sentence in Arabic).
    Along with all these activities, the Americans do not give up the slogan of negotiations. They have imposed sanctions against Iran, issued resolutions, imposed unilateral sanctions and threatened Iran militarily, at the same time they constantly say that they are ready to talk with Iran.
    The strategies of the enemy are not new. We should bear in mind that none of these measures are unprecedented. Sanctions have been imposed on Iran for 30 years. Threats of military action have existed during all rounds (of presidencies) before this one. I’ll explain to you and I am aware of them more than anyone else.
    During Clinton’s presidency, as I recall, the threat of military action was so strong that the esteemed president of the time used to tell me that we should be mindful not to allow the developments in the country be destroyed by a military attack. This meant that there was a significant possibility of attack at the time.
    During the presidency term, before the ninth round, (the eighth presidency term) military threats were sometimes so severe and repetitive by the enemy that the officials used to get very fearful. We held meetings, we have many memories of those days, I have made notes about those days.
    Military threats have always existed. It was not the case that threats were never made. Propaganda against Iran existed since the beginning of the Revolution. They levelled accusations against Iran over anything they could. They made accusations against Imam (Khomeini), people, communities and Friday prayers. All were subject to accusations and insults in the world by using the massive facilities that they had at their disposal. This is not limited to today. Threats exist now, but threats were no less in the past, in some cases they were even more severe.
    Sabotage inside the country is not limited to today. In the year 1382 (2003) after the Iraq issue, and the occupiers’ attack on Iraq, if you remember there was mayhem inside the country for a few days. For some reason they came out…(Pauses and changes tack) The black lady (Condoleezza Rice), the advisor to the American President at the time, who then became the American Secretary of State, explicitly announced that America supports any uprising or unrest in Iran. She explicitly announced this.
    They were hopeful and thought that something was happening in Tehran. This goes back to 1382, but even before then, similar incidents took place. In 1388 (2009) similar incidents also took place, everyone remembers them now and witnessed what happened.
    The threats that exist today are nothing new. I want to say a word regarding each and every one of these instances.
    But concerning negotiations and what is said about it, the offer of talks is nothing new to Iran; and Iran has always rejected talks. There is a clear reason for this, and that is that talks under threat and pressure cannot be called talks. If one side intends to act like a superpower, threatening the other side, putting it under pressure, and imposing sanctions on it — and showing an iron hand — and at the same time offering talks, this cannot be called talks. We will not hold such talks with anybody. This is how America has always called for talks.
    We have two short-term experiences. One was talks over Iraq. During my public speech, I said that we accept to take part in the talks. The officials then held the negotiations. The other was during previous governments. The Americans sent a message to us and said that they had an important security issue to discuss with us. The (Iranian) government accordingly sent a delegation and held two to three rounds of talks.
    These are our experiences of talks (with the Americans). According to our experience, when the Americans are unable to present a logical reasoning, they start bullying the other side. Since bullying has no effect on the Islamic Republic, they unilaterally announce that the talks are over. What sort of talks are these. We have this experience too. The same happened in both cases.
    Concerning the first case, I could already anticipate from the quality of the talks what the conclusion would be. I used to receive reports of the meetings. When they held two to three meetings, I told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop the talks. But before they could take their move, the Americans unilaterally stopped the talks. This is how they are.
    Therefore, while the esteemed president and others say that we are always ready for talks, this is true but not with America. (People chanting: “God is Great, Khamene’i is the leader, death to those who are against the vali-e faqih, death to America, Britain, hypocrites, atheists and Israel).
    The reason is that, contrary to an ordinary negotiator, America does not enter the talks as an honest interlocutor. It enters the talks like a superpower, and we will not negotiate with a superpower-looking figure.
    They (Americans) should forget this superpower attitude. They should put threats aside. They should put sanctions aside. They should not consider a specific objective and final for talks. I announced this a few years ago in Fars, in Shiraz while addressing the public. I said we have not sworn not to hold any talks forever. It’s because of such issues that we do not hold talks. They are not negotiators. They want to bully. (For example) just like (the story where) a rascal who liked honey and went to a shop and asked how much was a jar of honey. He said 100 tumans. Then he squeezed the guy’s (shopkeeper’s) hand hard and the poor shopkeeper got scared and said whatever you say. He said 30 tumans and the shopkeeper agreed. This is not a negotiation. This is not making a deal. If they can squeeze others’ hands to make them change 100 tumans to 30 tumans, it doesn’t mean the Islamic Republic would accept such a thing. It (Iran) will not accept these pressures. It (Iran) will respond to all pressures in its own way. (Crowd chanting slogans)
    They should not use bullying. They should come down the rotten ladder of superpower attitude and then there won’t be a problem. But as long as they are doing so, it would be impossible (to hold talks).
    Now, regarding the nuclear issue. One of the concerns is the nuclear issue. Fuel production cycle is our right. We will not give up this right and will not stop. This is our right. We want to produce fuel hopefully. We need thousands of megawatts of nuclear fuel. Nuclear power plants should be established and the fuel for these plants should be produced domestically. The country won’t manage its affairs if we are to depend on foreign countries to feed these power plants. We have to produce it domestically.
    Therefore, it is our right and we will pursue it. In response to this they say Iran need nuclear fuel and we would provide it, we will set up an international bank for it and provide it. This is nonsense. These are meaningless and unreasonable words. Regarding the 20-per cent fuel swap, their level of honesty became clear. We needed 20-per cent (enriched) fuel for this small power plant. This is something normal. They do this around the world. We had bought it some ten, 16 years ago. There is no problem. As soon as they realized Iran needed it, they started playing games and turning this into an issue.
    In my opinion this was a big mistake by the USA and the West. They made a mistake by acting so regarding the 20-percent fuel issue. First, by doing so they encouraged us to pursue the 20-percent fuel. We didn’t want to. We didn’t have the intention of producing 20-percent fuel. The 3.5-percent (enriched fuel) was enough for us. But by doing so they encouraged us, they forced us, they made us understand that we had to go for 20 percent and we did so. This was their first mistake. Their second mistake was that they proved it to the entire world and made it clear that the USA and others who can produce this fuel are not trustable for relying on them for fuel. Because as soon as it would be needed they will list their claims and demands and say you have to fulfil those to get the fuel. This is not a deal. Therefore, regarding the nuclear issue they don’t have anything to say. They don’t have any logic. We have found the path and we are moving forward and hopefully we will continue the same path.
    Regarding the military threat! It is not very like them to make such a stupid mistake. But if there were to be such a threat, everyone should know that the scope of such a confrontation will not be limited to our region. It will spread further. (Crowd chanting slogans)
    On the issue of the anti-Iranian campaign launched by America, I think that the enemy is taking the most unfair action. This is while the Americans are the worst violators of human rights themselves. That is the reality of it. When they are pursuing their interests, the lives of innocent human beings will become worthless for them. When it comes to them, they become demanding. When the occupiers attacked Iraq and Basra, they used 10-tonne bombs, the Americans, themselves called them the mother of all bombs, 10 tonnes! They killed many civilian people, women and children in Basra and elsewhere. In the same days, a few American pilots were arrested, the Bathist Iraqi regime interviewed them on TV, the Americans’ loud cries were raised saying that this was against international regulations and POWs should not be interviewed like this.
    They have double-standards and judgments, they are the biggest violators of democracy. In many countries the Americans have disrupted the obvious democratic election results, for example in Gaza and the Hamas government. There are other examples of this which happened in the past that I do not want to mention here. They are worst of all, but that is how it is.
    What needs to be acknowledged is that these attacks and enmities are not new and the Islamic Republic of Iran has certain policies against them. As for sanctions, fortunately officials have adopted very strong and appropriate policies. I asked the respected president for the economic ministers to come and provide a report. They provided me with a report on the measures they have taken against the UN Security Council resolution i.e. the sanctions and then the unilateral sanctions by America and Europe.
    Their decisions are very appropriate, and hopefully the decision by the officials is to turn sanctions into opportunities. In fact, the situation needs to be turned into opportunities. We need to increase domestic production and strengthen it. We need to get used to the consumption of domestic products, and improving the quality of our products. Of course, in this case, the government officials and lawmakers have a heavy responsibility. Regarding the management of imports, I advised the government officials and stress it now, too. I don’t say that imports should be stopped all together, because imports are necessary in some areas, but they should be properly managed. In some areas imports should be banned and in other areas they should be allowed. Imports should be carried out through management. Of course, the respected government officials said that the laws which have been ratified by the Majlis do not allow us to stop imports.
    I ask them to solve this issue; if in fact there are laws which stop the government preventing imports, they should amend this law so that imports can be managed. Domestic products should be increased, wise policies should be adopted on many issues, policy is very important, applying wisdom when making decisions is extremely important, decisions should be wise and brave. Wisdom should not be interpreted as a sign of fear, and retreat. Wisdom should be accompanied by bravery.
    Prophets were also the wisest human beings. One of the anecdotes of the prophet (of Islam) says: (words in Arabic) no prophet has been chosen by God before he reached the highest level of wisdom. Even if the same prophet, has carried out the most Jihad acts, struggle and took most risks. I mean bravery should be accompanied by wisdom, determination, no hesitation, and with consideration to the horizons. At the same time unity and sympathy should be maintained as well.
    I emphasize unity here. Unity and cooperation among the country’s officials is an obligation. Deliberate objection to it is considered against the Shar’ia today, especially when it is done at higher levels.
    Everyone should be careful. Enemies want to create a major issue out of trivial differences. You should not let that happen. It is not the case that any difference between two officials or two institutions is considered to be a disaster. After all, it is possible that the Majlis takes one approach in an area and the government takes a different view. They may have different tastes and opinions. This is not a disaster.
    Which of the Revolution’s main figures, supporters and enemies predicted 40 years ago that such a thing (Revolution) would happen in the country? Such a major incident! Such a high act! Who could have guessed? But it happened due to our reliance on Almighty God, strong determination, not fearing death, not fearing failure. We could have progress in the name of God and by reliance on God. It will be the same hereafter.
    Dear God, bestow your kindness and blessings upon the great imam’s (Ayatollah Khomeyni’s) spirit who put us on this path (Crowd chanting amen). God, give the dear martyrs the best of ranks (Crowd chanting amen). God, help the Iranian nation achieve its big goals and wishes (Crowd chanting amen). God, cut the enemy’s arm off this nation and this country (Crowd chanting amen). God, bestow your blessings and good wishes upon all those who serve the system and the people sincerely (Crowd chanting amen).

  12. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper:

    All true but clearly a decisive majority of Americans do not mind this at all.

    I think you have to accept that as a feature of this polity.

  13. Dan Cooper says:

    Jeffrey Goldberg’s current cover story in The Atlantic, “The Point of No Return,” achieved massive distribution across a broad spectrum of old and new media in the United States.

    Some observers – including Glenn Greenwald in “How Propagandists Function” – noted how well the methodology and message of Goldberg’s piece serves the Israeli government’s efforts to push U.S. military action against Iran.

    Gareth Porter views it as part of an overarching strategy to keep the U.S. from restoring productive relations with Iran.

    A huge trove of newly declassified documents subpoenaed during a Senate investigation reveals how Israel’s lobby pitched, promoted, and paid to have content placed in America’s top news magazines with overseas funding.

    The Atlantic (and others) received hefty rewards for trumpeting Israel’s most vital – but damaging – PR initiatives across America.

    Unlike today, back in the 1960s Israel and its lobby were battling mightily to draw American attention away from the entire subject of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

    A secret executive report [.pdf] subpoenaed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigation into the American Zionist Council, or AZC (AIPAC’s parent organization), reveals the lobby’s careful tracking of and satisfaction with most mainstream U.S. media coverage about the Dimona nuclear weapons facility

    The Jewish Agency, an Israeli quasi-governmental organization with pre-legislative review powers and access to Israeli government tax revenues, laundered overseas tax-exempt charitable relief funds into U.S. public relations and lobbying through its American section.

    The AZC was incapable of independently raising its own revenue and received $5 million ($36 million in 2010 dollars) from the Jewish Agency over two years for public relations and lobbying.

    The Jewish Agency received AZC bi-monthly media action reports. Up to $6,300 ($45,360 today) was budgeted for reprints of “The Arabs of Palestine,” which erroneously concluded that “Palestinian refugees will merge into the Arab nations, because the young will insist on real lives instead of endless waiting.”

    It is clear from contemporary news reports and the heavily redacted Senate record that the AZC and the Jewish Agency seriously violated IRS regulations and the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    The Senate investigation ultimately failed in its efforts to regulate secret foreign media manipulation and lobbying.

    The AZC transformed into AIPAC, and today The Atlantic is virtually alone among remnants of the battered magazine industry in its return to profitability.

    Jeffrey Goldberg’s prolific work no doubt helps propel that bottom line. But readers should remember the origin of deceptive waves of content that washed ashore in American magazines.

    Massive Israeli Manipulation of US Media Exposed


  14. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Arnold Evans:
    I just noticed your message in another thread (I believe it was a reply to Nasser/Cengiz). It was a very funny message. You made me laugh by yoour comparison of Shah-Sadat-Ozal to david duke. I must say however, that the best analogy to Turgut Ozal, would be Bernie Madoff. :D

  15. Castellio says:

    No need to worry… there is time. So, why the sanctions? Are they really aimed at the ‘nuclear weapons program’? Or are they aimed, more generally, at the ‘regime’?

  16. fyi says:


    This is interesting in that it paints a vision of Iraq’s future as US partner against Iran.


    I think the implications in terms of Iranian response are quite clear.

  17. Liz says:

    A number of interesting picture taken during Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech the day before yesterday.


  18. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric, just to clarify things a little:

    1. The US believes that “breakout detection” time will be short.

    2. The US believes that Iran’s “finishing up” time will be long – long enough that the US will not need to decide on a military attack before an actual breakout occurs.

    1: Breakout detection time means time for the IAEA to notice that Iran is enriching uranium to a higher level than 20%. You may think that the AP impacts your breakout detection time. It does not. AP or not, the IAEA will detect both when Iran has a bomb worth of uranium at 20% and it will detect, by CSA mechanisms already in place, if Iran takes its 20% uranium and increases it further. That’s what Samore is talking about. Breakout detection time is for the most part a constant and will be the same regardless of what Iran discloses.

    2: Finishing up time is also not really a function of disclosure. At least directly. It is a function of Iran’s ability to produce and activate centrifuges, especially under conditions of open hostility. What disclosure can do is give the US more information that it can use to sabotage Iran’s centrifuge industry and estimate the effectiveness of its efforts to do so.

    Finishing up time is also going to decrease from now on. A decade from now, it will be certainly less than it is now as Iran’s nuclear industry stabilizes and matures. Iran does not face a short-term threat from the US for now because an attack would cost more in US losses in the region than the US would gain. At least by my estimation and I’m pretty sure Iran’s leaders share this estimation.

    Medium or long term, over the same decade that we will see Iran’s nuclear industry mature, who knows what will happen. Possibly the US will feel able and willing to occupy Iran the way it did Iraq. Who knows. An Iranian ability to produce a weapon would certainly impact US calculations in that case – as Japan’s ability does. The US wants assurance that Iran’s nuclear industry will not reach the point that it is an effective deterrent to a US attack. Iran wants the opposite.

    As uncomfortable and worried as it makes you, Obama and Netanyahu, Iran will reach, probably before it needs it – and it is not clear that it ever will need it, but it is a contingency that is being planned for on each side – a position that the US is not confident that it could destroy Iran’s nuclear program faster than Iran could make a weapon. What I call an effective Japan option to make sure we stay clear that we are talking about a state that is within the legal rights of an NPT signatory. That will impact US strategic calculations to Iran’s benefit.

    To prevent that from happening, Iran would have to accept the US position that it cannot enrich and cannot hold a stockpile of uranium under its control. Your position would not prevent that from happening, which is why Obama does not advocate your position. In fact nobody in authority in the US or Israel has indicated that the West would accept Iran your or Alan’s suggestion of Iran continuing to enrich as it is with more disclosure. That position of yours is really not practically relevant. You also have not said you yourself would accept Iran with a Japan option if Iran made more disclosure. Every indication is that you would not – which makes your position incoherent.

    To be coherent over the medium and long terms you’re either going to have to figure out a way to resolve your worries of Iran having the same capabilities as Japan and Brazil, or join Bush, Obama and Netanyahu in calling for severe and permanent or at least long term restrictions in Iran’s nuclear program.

    Without that, calling for increased disclosure, as a practical matter, is calling for Iran to accommodate the US efforts, whose goal (preventing an Iranian Japan option) you’ve expressed agreement with, to sabotage its nuclear program.

    I’m quite sure nobody in Iran agrees that over the medium and long term that is the relevant issue of discussion, that Iran should help the US feel secure that the US could successfully sabotage or destroy its nuclear program by military means. Only because you’re American do you not see immediately how ridiculous that sounds.

  19. kooshy says:


    I think it would have been reasonable if you would have included the fallowing paragraph from the same NYT article that you commented on earlier

    “Now, American and Israeli officials believe breakout is unlikely anytime soon. For one thing, Iran, which claims it is interested in enriching uranium only for peaceful purposes, would be forced to build nuclear bombs from a limited supply of nuclear material, currently enough for two weapons. Second, such a decision would require kicking out international weapons inspectors, eliminating any ambiguity about Iran’s nuclear plans.”
    “Even if Iran were to choose this path, American officials said it would probably take Iran some time to reconfigure its nuclear facilities to produce weapons-grade uranium and ramp up work on designing a nuclear warhead. “

  20. Iranian says:


    You’re right. Whenever they need the right sort of information they will feed it to the NIE.


    What do you expect? Do you expect the American’s and Obama to actually care about human rights, let alone Afghani lives? The western media only cares about wstern interests and the lives of their own people and soldiers and they will repeat the official narrative as much as possible. Look at this:


  21. kooshy says:

    To me the most interesting sentence on the article was

    “American officials said new intelligence information was being fed into a long-delayed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program.”

    That really means the NIE is delayed and is fed (you read cooked) for propaganda political reasons just like the last one, when time is ripe and we need excuse to take or not take an action.

  22. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    I think others have already said that debating with you is a waste of time. Perhaps you fear that if you take a more rational approach, you will receive less “support” from your “friends”. I don’t know. We’ve already seen you humiliated time after time in different threads on this website anyway.

  23. Scott Lucas says:

    Full text of the Supreme Leader’s speech on Wednesday:

    http://enduringamerica dot com/2010/08/20/iran-document-supreme-leaders-speech-on-us-iran-relations-and-the-internal-situation-18-august/

  24. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Liz,

    You make me smile, but I don’t want to intrude on the thread. So when you can offer a concrete example of information or analysis which you have read outside the confines of RFI, then I will respond to that, rather than your white noise.

    Bless you,


  25. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    I have read more than enough of your material and to be honest as time moves on you get worse and worse, because your material looks more and more like sheer prpaganda. Your problem is that on the whole your writings have a significant amount of hypocracy, double standards, and dishonesty within them. However, more importantly, you regularly write about things that you have little knowledge of and I assume that you rely on a couple of hot-headed Iranian kids who leave a green glow on the ground when they walk. This often makes you look foolish, as we have seen over the past few months on this website. Try to be honest from now on, and when you write about Iran at least, try to wipe that green glow off of your keyboard before writing. :)

  26. Scott Lucas says:


    Thank you for picking up on today’s NYT article and bringing it to everyone’s attention.


  27. A surprisingly reasonable NYT article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/world/middleeast/20policy.html?_r=1&hp

    Not without blemishes, including a paragraph that frames the internal debate among Iran’s leaders as involving two choices – both of which cast Khamenei as a liar when he claims that Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons and never will:

    “The current draft of the intelligence report also describes considerable division in Iran about whether the goal of the nuclear program should be to walk right up to the threshold of building an actual bomb — which would mean having highly enriched uranium on hand, along with a workable weapons design — or simply to keep enough low-enriched uranium on hand to preserve Tehran’s options for building a weapon later.”

    Nonetheless, the following paragraph strikes me as the most important in the article:

    “American officials said the United States believed international inspectors would detect an Iranian move toward breakout within weeks, leaving a considerable amount of time for the United States and Israel to consider military strikes.”

    If this correctly states American officials’ beliefs, it may calm the fears of many Americans (and others) that the US might attack Iran even if no actual breakout occurs. It undercuts assumptions that Iran would have sufficient time – after breakout and before a US attack – to put the finishing touches on its first nuclear bombs and delivery systems.

    If these time estimates are reasonable – breakout detection “within weeks,” followed by “a considerable amount of time for the United States and Israel to consider military strikes” – what sound bases are left to believe that Iran can ever attain “don’t mess with me” respect by pressing its nuclear program beyond peaceful nuclear energy (which Khamenei insists is its sole purpose) to achieve the “nuclear option” that American officials believe is Iran’s real aim?

    There will remain at least this argument:

    After a US attack, Iranian scientists will scurry around in widely dispersed underground facilities and turn out a deliverable nuclear bomb, which Iran will thereupon fire at its enemies without regard to the predictably severe consequences. The fear of such a post-attack “secret bomb” will persuade the US not to attack Iran in the first place.

    This argument has been debated at length on this site, and each reader can decide for himself whether it has merit. I don’t think it will have much effect on US decision makers. If this NY Times writer’s two time estimates are reasonable, and I am correct to believe that the US, notwithstanding whatever “secret bomb” fear it might have, would attack Iran well within the “considerable amount of time” available to it after a breakout, is there any reason to expect that Iran will ever pose a nuclear threat?

    None comes to my mind. If not, it appears that the US fear of an Iranian “nuclear threat” is likely to increase only if one or both of this NYT writer’s time estimates ceases to seem reasonable to the US: if it appears that detection could take significantly longer, or that Iran’s “finishing up” time could be significantly shorter, or both, so that the US concludes it may have insufficient time to launch a pre-emptive attack if it waits for an actual Iranian breakout.

    If this analysis is sound, the risk of an unjustified US attack will be lower to the extent that one or more of these three facts are true:

    1. The US believes that “breakout detection” time will be short.

    2. The US believes that Iran’s “finishing up” time will be long – long enough that the US will not need to decide on a military attack before an actual breakout occurs.

    3. An actual breakout does not occur.

    Only Iran has control over Number 3, of course. Both the US and Iran have some degree of control over Number 1 and Number 2. Iran certainly has no “legal” or “moral” obligation to “enhance” Number 1 or Number 2, as many on this site have correctly emphasized. Nonetheless, it might be in Iran’s best interests to try. I need not repeat what I think Iran can and should do to “enhance” Number 1 – i.e. shorten the perceived “breakout detection time” – nor what Iran can and should avoid doing in order to “enhance” Number 2.

  28. kooshy says:


    “I wasn’t arguing that point in the first place. I said Iran would use terrorism, you questioned my definition of terrorism, so I gave you the definitions of terrorism. Now you don’t care what the definition is. Fine, so my point stands: Iran MIGHT decide to use terrorism in the US, however you define it.”

    Look Richard, this is exactly why that I asked, what do you mean by terrorism , because, as you see just about everybody has his or her own definition of terrorism specially for the side that has been “terrorized”, see Israelis feel they are terrorized and also do Palestinians, who is right, I think they both are simply because they are fighting for a piece of land in any which way they can, and with whatever tools available to them including underwear and belt bombs, there are no legal wars are wars are illegal at least to the oppressed side, in that content a partisan guerilla warrior is a freedom fighter but at the same time is a terrorist. The main reason I brought this up is that in the western countries the meaning of terrorism has become as an “unjustified violent act” against the civilians or civilian infrastructures without willing to consider the context of the situation of by who, and why to imply this act as an unjustified and therefore a criminal undertaking by a group or an state that they are overtly or covertly fighting with. For this reason if one really doesn’t mean an act of “unjustified violence against civilians should not use the word terrorist” should stay away from using the world

    “As you say, it will be people putting on bomb vests and getting revenge – except they’ll be doing it in Times Square. And in fact, that’s likely to happen whether Iran actually sends them here or not, they’ll come on their own if they have to.”

    As I mentioned before the past evidence shows that Iran did not engage in acting violently against civilian Iraqis although it was much easier, so there are no support that they may resume to violent acts against American civilians seven thousand miles away, but as you have written in the past, there are plenty of evidence that US has continuously supported and supplied (Jundollah, Pjak, MKO) to resort to unjustified violent acts against Iranian civilians and infrastructure do you also call that terrorism, or do you believe that is justified in current cold war between the two nations.

  29. paul says:

    It’s hardly reality. It’s screaming double speak, essentially admitting what critics of Obama’s warmongering Iran ‘policy’ have been saying all along, that for Iran to build a bomb it would have to kick out the IAEA for starters, and then it would have a long technical road ahead of it. If anybody on the Left gave a damn about anything other than partisan politics, they’d be pretty angry with Obama for essentially admitting that this whole relentless buildup to war has been about nothing – but then, if they were capable of such principled advocacy for peace, they’d have figured this out long ago.

    So, barring a real change in Obamian policy towards Iran, what we are seeing here is the latest installment in plausible deniability….


    …. The Obama Regime continues to say “peace” while pursuing war.

  30. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Liz,

    Thank you for repeating the link but the Tajzadeh video on Fars — at least for me and numerous colleagues — has not loaded since Wednesday.

    Since you have not read any of my work beyond the comments on RFI, you have no idea of what I have written for many years about human rights violations.

    (But that’s OK, because you will always be my Queen of the Non Sequitur.)



  31. Pirouz says:

    Well, Richard, there’s two elements to this WH statement. One, it’s a public red light to the suggestion that Israel needs to launch an attack by July 2011. And second, for domestic political considerations, it still postures itself as being very tough on Iran. So therefor, all the motions are put forward of how weak the Administration has rendered Iran’s leadership through sanctions and subterfuge. But, at the same time, it refutes the notion of imminent threat, using language and tone that absolutely minimize any potential opening for the hawks and opposition to jump on.

    Personally, I think it injects a squirt of reality to an issue that otherwise meant to be manipulated, from out of the control of the actual policy makers, and into the hands of hawks, neocons and lobby.

    Hopefully, score one single point for peace, over that of war.

  32. A VERY interesting New York Times article on Iran. Everyone should read this.

    U.S. Assures Israel That Iran Threat Is Not Imminent

    This is some VERY subtle propaganda. The article quotes the usual unnamed “US officials” claiming that Iran CANNOT “break out” in less than a year because Iran is “having trouble with their centrifuges”. The article also claims the US and Israel have been “sabotaging” those centrifuges.


    Several officials said they believed the mounting cost of the economic sanctions, especially those affecting Iran’s ability to import gasoline and develop its oil fields, has created fissures among Iran’s political elite and forced a debate about the costs of developing nuclear weapons.

    “The argument is over how far to push the program, how close to a weapon they can get without paying an even higher price,” said the senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because American assessments on these debates are classified. “And we’re beginning to see a lot of divisions inside the leadership on that question.”

    End Quote

    Note how the assumption is that the Iranian leadership in fact DOES want nuclear weapons, without providing a shred of evidence for this assertion.


    The current draft of the intelligence report also describes considerable division in Iran about whether the goal of the nuclear program should be to walk right up to the threshold of building an actual bomb — which would mean having highly enriched uranium on hand, along with a workable weapons design — or simply to keep enough low-enriched uranium on hand to preserve Tehran’s options for building a weapon later.

    End Quote

    This is in reference to the delayed NIE. The assertion essentially says that the US doesn’t know if Iran really wants a “Japan option” at all, which pretty clearly shows it’s pure speculation. The article also fails to note how many OTHER countries such as Japan, South Korea and Brazil are in exactly the same position as Iran.

    All in all, it’s hard to gauge what this article is intended to convey. On the one hand, it seems a cautionary tale for Israel to suggest that Israel should not consider an early attack on Iran, perhaps as a response to Goldberg’s piece last week ramping up the rhetoric. Or it might be disinformation intended to distract those opposed to an Iran war by suggesting the US and Israel aren’t really intending to attack Iran, while at the same time reinforcing the notion that Iran really does want nuclear weapons.

    Definitely a subtle piece of propaganda.

  33. Kooshy: “hy? who cares if it’s a legal war or not or a legal definition of terrorism or not”

    I wasn’t arguing that point in the first place. I said Iran would use terrorism, you questioned my definition of terrorism, so I gave you the definitions of terrorism. Now you don’t care what the definition is. Fine, so my point stands: Iran MIGHT decide to use terrorism in the US, however you define it.

    As you say, it will be people putting on bomb vests and getting revenge – except they’ll be doing it in Times Square. And in fact, that’s likely to happen whether Iran actually sends them here or not, they’ll come on their own if they have to.

  34. Mr. Canning: “I think the Israeli angle was to enable Israel to keep the West Bank and the Golan Heights, by taking out or intimidating any country supporting the Palestinian resistance.”

    Well, yes, that’s what Israel’s interest was, as I indicated. The neocons had further interests beyond that, however, cheap oil being part of it and American hegemony in general. And it was more than just Saddam paying off suicide bomber’s families. Israel wants ALL the Arab countries fractured and under their control or the control of the US, starting with Iraq and Iran. As General Wesley Clarke said, the Pentagon had a list of SEVEN countries the neocons wanted to attack..

  35. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning, re PKK, Reese Ehrlich travelled in PKK controlled regions in Iraq and in Iran. He talks about it here. http www dot c-spanvideo dot org/program/201558-1

    somebody wrote that today would have been the 18th birthday of an Iraqi girl who was brutally killed 4 years ago.

  36. kooshy says:


    ““for example do you think with cooked up evidence illegally attacking a sovereign nation is a form of international terrorism”
    “No, that’s illegal war by a state, which is not terrorism in the legal definition.”
    Why? who cares if it’s a legal war or not or a legal definition of terrorism or not, do you think Iraqi presents who lost everything they had care if the war was legal or not , no they think somebody for reasons still unknown to them invaded their land and killed their suns and daughters, they are not even thinking of winning or losing a classical war they are after getting revenge any which way which they can which may include strapping a bomb belt and blowup a plane or two , is that what we want, that is why I said wars are not Nintendo games .
    I understood what you meant but then that is a wrong way of focusing on this whole subject if there is an object to be achieved here is the definition of a “win” for an illegal war by one of the warriors.

    “Victory in Iraq! (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, . . .)”

    By Thomas DiLorenzo

    “August 19, 2010 “Lew Rockwell” — In a good example of D.C.-style math, King Obama has announced that he is pulling all combat troops out of Iraq, but 50,000 will remain there. Of course, all troops are trained for combat; calling them “non-combat support personnel” is simply B.S. King Obama wants to campaign for Democrats in the fall by lying about ending combat in Iraq.

    Mor absurdly, the Faux News Channel interviewed an army officer this morning by first congratulating him and his fellow soldiers for “making Iraq a safe and secure place.” Before he said this, the network announced that they could not reveal the location of the interviewer “for security reasons.” The interview took place at a location where they were completely surroundedd by ten foot high piles of sandbags. This is how D.C. spells “secure.”

  37. James Canning says:


    I may have a citation or two supporting the contention re: real reason for invasion of Iraq. I think the Israeli angle was to enable Israel to keep the West Bank and the Golan Heights, by taking out or intimidating any country supporting the Palestinian resistance. In other words, taking out the Syrian and Iranian governments. Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith were all paid consultants to Bibi Netanyahu in 1996. And all three played crucial roles in setting up the illegal invasion of Iraq based on knowingly false intelligence.

  38. Mr. Canning: “I think Philip Giraldi may believe that stopping the suicide bombers attacking Tel Aviv was a primary object of the invasion of Iraq.”

    Well, that may be his opinion, I have no information on that. What I do know is that the Iraq war was about the neocons wanting to get rid of one of Israel’s main enemies in the region, as well as laying the groundwork for attacking Iran as part of the neocon plan to break up and dominate the region for the benefit of the US and Israel, and also about the neocons wanting to break OPEC and achieve cheap oil from Iraq (something the oil companies themselves however did NOT want, or more precisely, the oil companies wanted to control Iraqi oil but keep the prices high – see Greg Palast on that.) And of course the military-industrial complex wanted money from the need to replenish all the armament expended during the war, as usual.

    I’m sure Israel wanted Saddam to go away for a lot more reasons than just his paying off suicide bombers families. Giraldi’s pretty sharp so I think he would agree with that.

  39. Kooshy: “Again all depends on what you believe the definition of “wining” in a war is, for example do you believe US won the Iraq war just because she was able to capture and occupy Iraq,”

    Of course not. I’m simply talking about the simple fact that Iraq’s military forces were in no position to defeat US military forces on the conventional battlefield, and neither are Iran’s.

    That’s all I’m talking about. As everyone else expects, this will necessitate Iran using asymmetrical, Fourth Generation War strategies, which in my view COULD, not necessarily WILL, involve exporting terrorism of one sort or another to the US mainland.

  40. Kooshy: “This all depends on what do you believe the definition of terrorism is,”

    In the context of the discussion, I’m speaking of physically attacking using violent methods state and non-state (infrastructure and perhaps civilian) targets in another state using infiltrated agents one’s own state.

    The classic definition of terrorism was the one used by the Russian revolutionaries which entailed non-state actors using violence directed against the state for the purpose of terrorizing the functionaries of the state. By that definition, a lot of acts over the decades since would not fall under the term terrorism.

    The term “state terrorism” applies to states engaging in violence against their own or another state’s civilian population (as opposed to the other state’s military forces). In this regard, I think Iran sending its agents into the US to engage in violent attacks against state and non-state targets would be considered “state terrorism”.

    “for example do you think with cooked up evidence illegally attacking a sovereign nation is a form of international terrorism”

    No, that’s illegal war by a state, which is not terrorism in the legal definition. Not relevant to what I’m talking about in this context. Since all war these days results in massive civilian casualties, we have to distinguish these effects of war from the deliberate attacks by a state against another state’s civilian population as defined by “state terrorism”. But the definitions tend to blur if both attacks on civilians and military conflict are both ongoing.

    ” or if the French partisans were terrorist”

    That would be a good question. Since the partisans were non-state actors, and were directing their actions against an occupying state, it might fit under the wider classic definition of terrorism. Any non-state actors engaging in covert violence against a state fits the more general definition of terrorism. On the other hand, that also fits the definition of nationalist resistance movement. So I think the primary defining characteristic is whether the target of the attacks is an occupying power. In that case, the French partisans would not be terrorists under the more limited definition. They would be a national resistance movement.

    “or do you believe Hezbollah is a terrorist organization just because western countries think so,”

    Hizballah is not a terrorist group, in the same sense that the French resistance are not terrorists, although it can and perhaps has engaged in specific operations which might fit under that definition, just as I’m sure the Nazis considered the French resistance terrorists. \

    One can also distinguish between “terrorism” as a strategy and “terrorism” as a tactic. The French resistance and Hizballah may not be using “terrorism” as a strategy. Instead they are using “guerrilla war”. But some of their tactics might be considered “terrorist” if they are intended to bring terror to either the state functionaries or to the civilian populations they are opposing.

    “for this same definition I think every Arab and to an extend every Muslim believes that US is a terrorist nation can you accept that?”

    Yes, but again illegal wars are not technically state terrorism. One could say, however, that the US attacks in Pakistan are “state terrorism” since they target non-state actors in another sovereign state. Since Pakistan appears to be complicit in these attacks, however, it muddies the waters. Essentially both Pakistan and the US are engaged in state terrorism against Pakistan’s own population, while the US is engaged in an illegal war against Afghanistan, or more precisely, the former government of Afghanistan in exile. Certainly the Taliban qualify as a national resistance movement against an occupying state. But they also certainly use methods which would be considered “terrorist” since they engage in violence against Afghan civilians.

    “But there is existing evidence that during the Iran –Iraq war of the 80’s unlike the Americans in Iraq, Iran did not resort to harming Iraqi civilians if that is what the definition of terrorism is, although it was much easier there by crossing the border, then resorting to terrorism inside America if hostilities between the two countries brakes out,”

    That’s a good point. However, it’s not clear that during that war whether Iran was in a position to elicit the support of the Shia population. It was my impression, right or wrong, that the majority of Iranians including the Shia supported Iraq’s war against Iran at least in terms of not engaging in resistance operations against Saddam in Iraq. There were exceptions, the Shia political parties were operating against Saddam from inside Iran.

    But my point is that Iran for whatever reason may not have been able, or simply did not choose to, engage in such operations against Iraq. Since there was a direct military confrontation against a country which borders it, Iran may have felt there was no specific need to engage in terrorism inside the country.

    It’s also not certain whether Iran conducted gas attacks against Iraqi civilians – the famous case of Halabja being a possible example, since I believe it’s not clear whether Iraq or Iran – or both – gassed that town. That would fit the definition of state terrorism.

    Certainly Iran and Iraq’s attacks on civilian shipping during the Iran-Iraq war constitutes “state terrorism”.

    Also, I’ve read some articles that say that Iran conducted terrorist attacks against French and American embassies in Kuwait during the war because of the West’s support for Iraq and because Kuwait supported Iraq.

    So clearly Iran did engage in SOME terrorism in the region during the Iran-Iraq war, if not directly against Iraqi civilians in Iraq proper. Given the tight control Saddam had on Iraq during his reign, I’d suggest this was a matter of lack of convenience rather than lack of desire.

    “so if that can be served as an example I don’t see why would Iran go out of his way trying to harm American civilians inside the US when there are plenty of American military personnel and merchant supply ships nearby.”

    Certainly it would be easier to attack US interests in the region and I don’t suggest otherwise. I’m simply saying that it would be POSSIBLE and PROFITABLE for Iran to engage in terrorist attacks in the US IF the situation was that the US was killing large numbers of civilians and intent on regime change.

    I think the problem some people have is that the term “terrorism” has “gotten a bad name”, since it has been applied to all sorts of situations other than the classic Russian revolutionary definition. So people object to being called “terrorists” because it provokes a knee-jerk negative response from people who are uninformed about the history of terrorism.

    Actually, terrorism under the Russian revolutionary definition is one of the most effective and least socially harmful methods of effecting violent change, at least when it’s done properly. Unfortunately, throughout history it has mostly been applied improperly and incompetently, when it isn’t being applied by state agents who are the ones who are supposed to be the targets of terrorism.

    To use my usual example, the Palestinian groups use terrorism against Israeli civilians, which is an inappropriate method. Instead of blowing up buses of civilians, they should be blowing up the leaders of Israel. That would be a proper application of terrorism.

    In any event, all I’m suggesting here is that if the US and Iran engage in what is referred to as “total war”, Iran would be foolish not to send agents into the US to engage in violent attacks on the US state and US infrastructure. I think Iran should avoid direct attacks against US civilians, but I’m not sure the Iranians would make that distinction if large numbers of Iranian civilians are being killed by US aerial bombardment.

  41. James Canning says:


    I was not thinking of marriage particularly, but rather the courts. Are there civil courts in Lebanon? I assume so. Reza Shah established civil courts largely independent of the religious authorities, in Iran in the early 1930s.

  42. James Canning says:

    PressTV is carrying a story today, in which the Turkish foreign minister says the Turkish PM cannot be talked to in the manner claimed in the Financial Times report the other day. It also mentions that Israeli firms are active in the Qandil Mountains where the PKK seeks shelter (for its terrorist attacks in Turkey).

  43. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that the US has inflicted as much damage on itself in this past decade, due to idiotic military adventures in the greater Middle East, as the US inflicted on itself with its insane military adventure in Southeast Asia in the 1960s and early 70s.

  44. James Canning says:


    I think Philip Giraldi may believe that stopping the suicide bombers attacking Tel Aviv was a primary object of the invasion of Iraq. Obviously, WMD were known not to be the problem that supposedly would be addressed by the invasion, by the conspirators who set up the illegal invasion of Iraq.

  45. James Canning says:


    South Korea may discern that the US effort to isolate Iran is not aiding the effort to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. Not that SK would want to anger the US.

  46. kooshy says:


    “Face it, Iran cannot “win” a conventional war with the US in any real aspect.’

    Again all depends on what you believe the definition of “wining” in a war is, for example do you believe US won the Iraq war just because she was able to capture and occupy Iraq, it is time for the Americans to start learning that wars are not Nintendo games and can’t be fought by simulators, some may believe that both Iraq and US are losers of the war, I believe US has inflicted a great damage to herself with this last decades of war greater then what was done in 60’s and 70’s both in terms of economic , political and self social. What do you think of that?, in tune with Helen ready “that Ain’t no way to win a war baby”

  47. Rehmat says:

    Castellio – if you have watched Ken O’Keefe being interviewed on BBC’s Panorama, you would have found out what “agent provocateur” means in English.


  48. kooshy says:

    “Also, consider the fact that Iran cannot do ANYTHING outside of its borders (other than launching missiles) which can affect the wider region EXCEPT various forms of terrorism. Iran has no means of projecting military force outside its borders except terrorism.”

    This all depends on what do you believe the definition of terrorism is, for example do you think with cooked up evidence illegally attacking a sovereign nation is a form of international terrorism, or if the French partisans were terrorist, or do you believe Hezbollah is a terrorist organization just because western countries think so, for this same definition I think every Arab and to an extend every Muslim believes that US is a terrorist nation can you accept that?

    But there is existing evidence that during the Iran –Iraq war of the 80’s unlike the Americans in Iraq, Iran did not resort to harming Iraqi civilians if that is what the definition of terrorism is, although it was much easier there by crossing the border, then resorting to terrorism inside America if hostilities between the two countries brakes out, so if that can be served as an example I don’t see why would Iran go out of his way trying to harm American civilians inside the US when there are plenty of American military personnel and merchant supply ships nearby.

  49. Liz says:

    Any US attack on Iran would be the worst form of terrorism. In fact, even US threats against Iran are made to terrorize Iranians. Of course, freedom fighters like Scott Lucas have more important things to do than to attack such human rights violations. :)

  50. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    You are a waste of time. However, just to prove that you are either dishonest or ignorant or both, I have provided everyone here with the Fars video that you dishonestly claim has been pulled from its website.


    Your audio engineer’s finding are just as credible as you are.

  51. Castellio: “French for “inciting agent(s)” according to Wikipedia.

  52. Castellio says:

    I’ve often wondered what “agent provocateur” means in English.

  53. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    I respectfully decline to continue this unprofitable line of discussion.

  54. Fyi: “Iran can only use “terrorism” outside of her borders to attack US. Attacks inside US can only be “terroristc”. Ergo: Iran would use terrorism inside US. Well, I think this is an invalid syllogism.”

    Well, you’ll have to explain why, because I can’t see your point. How does Iran PHYSICALLY attack the US inside the US without resorting to terrorism of some sort? For that matter, how does Iran PHYSICALLY attack ANYBODY outside its borders (with the exceptions of Iraq and Afghanistan which are ON its borders and thus susceptible to military encroachment) without resorting to terrorism (or missiles)?

    Iran cannot attack the US with missiles or any conventional military armament not man portable, and it cannot attack Israel except by missiles and not any other armament not man portable. So how does Iran harm any state without resorting to terrorism?

    Or are you just quibbling over the definition of terrorism?

  55. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    “Could” does not mean “would”.

    I think you are making the following syllogism:

    Iran can only use “terrorism” outside of her borders to attack US.

    Attacks inside US can only be “terroristc”.

    Ergo: Iran would use terrorism inside US.

    Well, I think this is an invalid syllogism.

  56. Scott Lucas says:


    The Tajzadeh camp’s refutation of the Fars “evidence” has already been put before you: they put their position with the Q&A which implied that the Fars video/audio had been doctored by manipulating a 2008 statement of Tajzadeh and with the video of Tajzadeh, just before he was returned to prison, in which he clearly stated he did not believe the fraud was legitimate. Sources confirm that was the strategy. In addition, you have the audio engineer’s finding pointing to manipulation of the audio.

    The Fars video has been pulled from its website.


  57. Fyi: “Your statement “…cannot do ANYTHING outside of its border…” leaves me to wonder if you even grasp, at a very primitive level, how much US and her allies are suscpetible to harm in the Levant, the Persian Gulf, and other areas.”

    You are as usual completely missing my point.

    Iran can certainly do harm to US interests in the region. I’m completely aware of that. However, other than launching missiles, Iran can not do that in any physical, violent sense without resorting to terrorism. There is no reason they can’t also export that terrorism to the US mainland for the exact same reasons they would attack US interests elsewhere in the world.

    Please read what I write carefully before responding.

  58. Mr. Canning: “My understanding is that the real reason for the US invasion of Iraq was to stop Saddam Hussein from rewarding the families of suicide bombers attacking Tel Aviv.”

    No, not even close. That’s a ridiculous theory.

  59. Mr. Canning: “Hezbollah has made very clear that it is not the enemy of the US or the enemy of the American people. I agree with fyi that Hezbollah attacks in the US would be most unlikely.”

    Hizballah is not the enemy of the US. But if the US attacks one of its main allies in the Middle East, Hizballah will decide the US is the enemy of Hizballah. Especially if Israel also launches an attack on Lebanon as well. Also, Hizballah has a certain amount of plausible deniability. It can easily lend its cells to the Iranians, at least as far as supplying logistical and intelligence support, if not direct attacks.

    The Iranians can of course send as many agents as they wish into the US to do all this themselves, and they probably will. But Hizballah’s cells in the US would be a help. We can’t know for sure that Hizballah even really has cells in the US, but it’s not unlikely.

    I’m just saying that terrorism in the US is a feasible Iranian option which could pay big dividends for Iran in the event the US seriously prosecutes a war in which hundreds of thousands of Iranian civilians die and the US goal is regime change a la Iraq.

    Iraq’s government was too dependent on Saddam and thus fell too quickly for Iraq to gain any benefit from exporting terrorism to the US. This is not the case in Iran. Iran will not fall quickly and Iran has literally scores of thousands of persons who could be sent to the US covertly to engage in terrorism. And as I’ve said, it wouldn’t take many to do some serious damage if they plan correctly.

  60. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    Iran does not have to win in any conventional way.

    US will be taking war to a country 7000 miles away from her shores while Iranians will be in their own country defending it.

    All she needs to do is to continue harming US.

    Your statement “…cannot do ANYTHING outside of its border…” leaves me to wonder if you even grasp, at a very primitive level, how much US and her allies are suscpetible to harm in the Levant, the Persian Gulf, and other areas.

    And US does not have the power to overthrow the Iranian government conventionally.

    Really, this is a waste of time to keep making journalistic threats when the splendid examples of Lebanon, Iraq, and now Afghanistan are for everyone to see.

  61. Fyi: “That is because such attacks would not make military sense.”

    Actually they would make great sense if the US were intent on overthrowing the regime in Iran. The Iranian government really has nothing to lose in that situation.

    Face it, Iran cannot “win” a conventional war with the US in any real aspect. Iran’s only option is to make the US pay such a high price for the US’ conventional victories that the US calls it off. Certainly terrorism is not the main way for Iran to do this, but it could well be an effective method to assist in that goal.

    Also, consider the fact that Iran cannot do ANYTHING outside of its borders (other than launching missiles) which can affect the wider region EXCEPT various forms of terrorism. Iran has no means of projecting military force outside its borders except terrorism.

  62. Castellio says:

    An interesting article on how the sanctions are being imposed among US allies…

    “Among U.S. allies across the world, Korea faces perhaps the biggest dilemma over the U.S.-initiated sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development program. Iran is Korea’s biggest export market in the Middle East and joining in the sanctions will instantly affect the trade with a two-way volume of $1 billion. But Seoul, on the joint front with Washington in the hard process of denuclearizing North Korea, cannot afford to lose U.S. confidence in its support for the global nonproliferation efforts.”


  63. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Lebanon is a confessional-based system.

    It is not secular in the way you imagine.

    You cannot get secularly married in Lebanon, as opposed to US.

    By the way, Israel also does not have secular marriage – it is a country of Jews for Jews.

    By the way, the future Palestinian state will also be just like Lebanon with PM a Jew, the President a Muslim, and the Speaker of the House a Christian or a Druze or Muslim or a Jew.

    Iraq is not secular. Shia Doctors of Religions have enormous power in that state, sort of like the Rabbinate in Israel.

    And her constitution mentions Islam (at least) as a source of legislation.

    I know that I am a minority of one saying that Muslim states cannot be secular, but such is the world in my opinion.

  64. James Canning says:


    Reza Khan would have supported a republic in Iran, and a number of Qajar princes and other aristocrats also favored a republic. The opposition from Iranian religious leaders was too strong (coupled with the fact the mass of ill-educated Iranians in the countryside did not understand the constitutional issues at stake). The religious leaders in effect imposed the Pahlavi dynasty on Iran.

    Aren’t church and state separate in Lebanon? Doesn’t the Iraqi constitution separate church and state?

  65. fyi says:


    I have stated my opinions.

    You can state yours.

    Turkey is an interesting case but so far, that state, is still bayonet-secular and opposed to Islam, in my opinion.

  66. Pirouz says:

    Honestly, FYI, you’re going overboard with this.

    America’s “secular democracy” is not the same as it was in 1960 (blacks prevented from voting in the South), or 1900 (women not allowed to vote), or 1800 (only white male landowners allowed to vote).

    True, you can focus only on the “separation of church and state” aspect. But what of Turkey? They have separation of church and state- and a religious political party in power.

    Likewise, there are religious based political groups in the US, and in European countries.

    These sweeping statements of yours concerning politics and Islam are really narrow minded and short sighted.

  67. Scott,

    Any progress on the Tajzadeh truth-seeking mission? In case you’ve forgotten, my suggestion was to have one of your trusted “Enduring America corresponents” ask Tjzadeh these three questions:

    1. Did you say the words attributed to you in the video?
    2. Were you in Evin Prison when the video was recorded?
    3. Which election were you talking about?

    None of us wants to diminish the importance of your “concerns” and “doubts” and “suspicions,” or your concern with the reactions of various groups to these “allegations.” Every now and then, though, this irresistible urge strikes us to find out whether Tajzadeh actually said what’s attributed to him, and where he was when he said it.

  68. James,

    “My understanding is that the real reason for the US invasion of Iraq was to stop Saddam Hussein from rewarding the families of suicide bombers attacking Tel Aviv. (They received $25,000 US.) All the hoopla about WMD was window-dressing to conceal the actual purpose of the invasion.”

    Humorous reminder. I recall one or two articles that reported what Saddam was paying (which ranged from about $10,000 to $25,000, depending on the article) that also reported what Iran was paying. The article I remember best said that Iran was paying $20,000 per family member – not per bomber, but per family member. I remember my reaction: “Why would anyone do business with Saddam?”

  69. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Yes, you are right that the Mullah’s opposed the Republic.

    But your formulation is not a good fit for Muslim polities since there is no Church as such. Jesus, the Blessed Son of Mary, had told Saint Paul: “I will build my Church on You.” There is nothing equivalent in Islam.

    Furthermore, in another famous of Hadith of Jesus, he is believed to have said: “Give that which is Kaiser’s to Kaiser and that which is God’s to God.”

    Christians subsequently used these Hadiths to argue for the separation of Church and State and Politics and Religion.

    Although I do not understand then how Christian Democratic parties in European and South American states could then be explained!

    But, theoretically, such a separation between Politics and Religion can never obtain in any Muslim polity unless forced by bayonets of assorted military-backed regimes.

    I am making these statements to indicate what type of political dispensation is possible among Muslim people; that a religious-based (Islam as the source of the legitimacy of the state and its legal structure) representative government is the only such system that can flourish among Muslim people – in my opinion.

    A vision of secular democracy among Muslims is untenable, as the events of the last 100 years in any number of Msulim states have demonstrated.

  70. James Canning says:


    Re: Aug. 18th, 9:35pm – – Yes, by all means let’s have the US engage in aggressive unnecessary war, to protect the quality of life in Israel and enhance the Israeli economy.

    My understanding is that the real reason for the US invasion of Iraq was to stop Saddam Hussein from rewarding the families of suicide bombers attacking Tel Aviv. (They received $25,000US.) All the hoopla about WMD was window-dressing to conceal the actual purpose of the invasion.

  71. James Canning says:


    Re: Aug. 18th, 8:57pm – – The UN Security Council would not approve a third resolution on Iraq, to clear the way for the invasion in 2003. The Bush administration knew this. That is why the US double-crossed France and Germany, and went to war without the third resolution. The US had expressly assured Germany and France that if they voted for the second Iraq resolution, the US would not go to war without first obtaining a further resolution.

  72. James Canning says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    Hezbollah has made very clear that it is not the enemy of the US or the enemy of the American people. I agree with fyi that Hezbollah attacks in the US would be most unlikely.

  73. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that too much is made of the events of 1953. Didn’t Ahmadinejad say in effect those events are water under the bridge, and not a current concern of Iran?

  74. James Canning says:


    The Mullahs blocked the effort to set up a republic in Iran, in the early 1920s. They were unhappy with the separation of church and state imposed in Turkey under Kamal.

  75. Scott Lucas says:


    Thank you for your thoughtful and useful comments.


  76. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas:

    Mr. Takyeh’s article is an interesting point-of-view the truth of which, I should think, will be decided by an army of historians over the next few decades.

    But the fact remains that US and UK employed the same techniques against the nationalist government of Mr. Mossadeq as US later employed against that of Allende.

    One could argue then who was responsible for what and to what extent in what unfolded over the next 25 years.

    But this discussion about Mr. Mossadeq misses the point: just like Abraham Lincoln, Mossadeq has become a political saint and therefore untouchable.

    The article also is inaccurate in the sense that Iranians started, in the 19-th Century, by opposing foreign influences in Iran and later moved on to the opposition to autocracy.

    And in both cases it was the so-called Mullahs who were the leaders of those movements. In my opinion, the first revolution, in 1905, had more to do with a yearning for the Rule of Law than with Representative Government. In fact, it was the non-Mullah’s who pushed for that sort of government as the method for establishing the Rule of Law.

    From 1905 till now, the Rule of Law has not been achieved in Iran; under the Qajar Constitutional Monarchy, under Pahlavi I Dictatorship, under the Occupation, Under Pahlavi II Constitutional Monarchy, under Pahlavi II Dictatorship, and now under the Islamic Republic.

    Furthermore, even the restricted representative government system of the Islamic Republic owes its existence to one man: Ayatollah Khomeini. Without him, and later the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent to adjudicate power struggles among these potentially murderous fractious Iranian leaders, even this rickety system would not and could not have existed.

    One needs only to look at the assassinations of the leaders of 1905 Revolution and the chaos in Iran to appreciate that office. Or one can look at Syria during 1950s when it was, for a while, a democracy. There is a problem in Islamic polities, it seems to me and it cannot be put on the feet of the Mullahs alone.

    By the way, it was the non-Mullahs in the second Majlis that altered the electoral law and restricted representation to those who “visibly conform to Islam”. It was they who planted the seed of the 2009 electoral crisis. The most one can argue is that Ayatollah Khamenei made a mistake when he quashed the attempt to rectify that mistake during Mr. Khatami’s presidency.

    Overall, I do not think that the strategic competition of Iran and US hinges on the events of 1953. I think 1953 is another milestone in the sordid relationship of Iran and outside of powers. One could argue that the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, a declared neutral country in World War II, in 194, has more to do with her current posture than the events of 1953.

  77. fyi says:


    US is an interesting country in which a small group of people decide to go to war and then she does.

    Mr. Hearst had his war with Spain, no?

    Sometime in April-May of 1948, a Mr. Bernard Baruch and a “committee” of like-minded people decided that it be the policy of USG to go to war with USSR.

    It was only because of the opposition of Gen. George Marshall that USA did not go to war with USSR.

    I think similar cliques may take US to war with Iran.

    Since US military is an all-volunteer force and there is no draft, the pain of these wars is not equally shared across all classes.

    If people’s children or relations were to be drafted and send to be killed or maimed over-seas, may be they would not be so cavalier about starting wars that would go on for years.

    People seems to learn only through pain and suffering, I am afraid.

    Americans also have to learn the limits of US power the hard way.

    There is no other way.

  78. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    I can state with metaphysical certainity that there will be no terrorist attacks inside the United States by Hezbullah or Iranian agents ever.

    That is because such attacks would not make military sense.

  79. This is a good point:

    It is ILLEGAL for Israel to attack Iran – Violation of IAEA Resolution 533
    deadlinelive dot info/2010/08/19/it-is-illegal-for-israel-to-attack-iran-violation-of-resolution-533/

    Although I suppose Israel would make the case that since it has not signed the NPT, Resolution 533 does not apply. But it DOES apply to the United States.

    Also submitted in 2009 by Iran:

    Memorandum submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the IAEA
    www dot voltairenet dot org/article161733.html

  80. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas

    What makes you assume that we are suffering? Do we suffer more that Americans? How do you know?

    I believe most Iranians would be deeply offended by this sort of language. We are living ordinary lives, we have much stronger family and social bonds than American, and we are proud that unlike most other countries Iran is independent of the US.

  81. Iranian@Iran says:

    As an Iranian, I don’t feel that I’m suffering. Maybe you as an American are suffering.

  82. Scott Lucas says:

    A Response to Takeyh posted this morning: “Rewriting Iran’s History: The 1953 Coup, the CIA, the Clerics, and ‘Democracy'”

    “Is Takeyh consciously trying to establish a wider historical context for the belief that Iran’s suffering is entirely self-inflicted by the “Mullahs”? Clearly this will resonate well with many opposed to engagement between the US and Iran.”

    http://enduringamerica dot com/2010/08/19/rewriting-irans-history-the-1953-coup-the-cia-the-clerics-and-democracy-emery/

  83. Pirouz says:

    Iranian@Iran, unfortunately, it’s worse than that. You’re often dealing with an exile mentality and all that that encompasses- which is overwhelmingly biased toward the negative.

    That’s where we’re mighty fortunate to have the Leveretts as a voice of reason, albeit harkening from the veritable wilderness. They fight the good fight, as well intentioned Americans.

  84. Flynt and Hillary deserve special credit for noting Robert Wright’s principal contribution here – and Wright, of course, deserves even more credit for making the contribution:

    “But the main charges against Goldberg [are]… about framing the future debate. His piece leaves you thinking that Israel will attack Iran very soon unless America does the honors. So the debate becomes about who should bomb Iran, not about whether Iran should be bombed. And this is the way Israel’s hawks want the debate framed.”

    Several critics argue that Goldberg doesn’t make a strong case for Israel to bomb Iran; some even argue he makes a strong case against it. As Wright’s “debate-framing” observation highlights, however, Goldberg stands to “win” either way by moving the battle to a new field where it will be much easier to win next time, or maybe the time after that.

    Though Wright points out clearly the principal danger posed by Goldberg’s article, much of the critical reaction to Goldberg suggests that he may get away with it. For example, when one reads a well-reasoned argument concluding that Israel is probably bluffing, or probably not, or that the US will take the bait and attack Iran itself, or that it won’t, or that the US will certainly jump in if Israel attacks, or that maybe it won’t, or at least it shouldn’t, or that Israel will regret attacking because the world will sympathize with Iran, or that Iran will hunker down and build a bomb for sure if Israel attacks – aren’t all of those counter-arguments, without exception, presented in Goldberg’s narrow new frame: somebody will attack Iran (which, therefore, must deserve it), and so the only questions left are who will attack and what will happen afterward?

    All of these criticisms of Goldberg do exactly what he did in the opening of his article: skip right over a question that ought to be answered before the argument even begins:

    Has Iran done anything that warrants its being attacked, by anyone, ever?

  85. Iranian@Iran says:

    Ray Takeyh’s knowledge about Iran is very limited abd his attitude towards the country has always been negative. The problem with these Iranian-Americans who are close to the US government is that they are often more hostile towards Iran than most others in order to prove that they are true Americans.

  86. Castellio says:

    talking about wikipedia, this may interest some, as Israeli forces engage in rewriting multiple narratives



    turcopolier dot typepad dot com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/08/the-rights-latest-weapon-zionist-editing-on-wikipedia-haaretz dot html

  87. Patrick says:

    I would submit this article (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/13/trita_parsi_jeffrey_goldberg), by Trita Parsi, as a valuable contribution to the debate you seek.

    /quote/ It is important to note that the aim of this unfolding campaign may not be to pressure Obama into military action. It could just as much serve to portray Obama as weak and indecisive on national security issues that are of grave concern to the U.S. and that are of existential nature to Israel. This portrayal will give the Republicans valuable ammunition for the November congressional elections as well as for the 2012 presidential race.

    Indeed, the likely political motivation for this unfolding campaign should not be underestimated. Just as much that the building blocks of the Iraq war were put into place under the Clinton years — most importantly with the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 — serious preparation for selling an Iran war to the American public under a Republican president (Palin?) in 2013 must be undertaken now, both to establish the narrative for that sell and to use the narrative to remove any obstacles in the White House along the way. /endquote/

    Parsi’s point about Israeli/Iranian cooperation also lends support to the Leveretts’ long-held contention about Israel being one of the prime beneficiaries of an American/Iranian rapprochement.

    /quote/ In 1982, Ariel Sharon (then Israel’s defense minister) proudly announced on NBC that Israel would continue to sell arms to Iran — in spite of an American ban on such sales. This occurred while Iran routinely introduced resolutions to expel Israel from the United Nations — to which the Israelis responded by selling more arms to the Khomeini regime. /endquote/

  88. Castellio says:

    that’s an important post, Kooshy. Efforts will be made to have this “history” placed on Wikipedia, etc.. rewriting the story… and if not taken completely at face value, will be “triangulated” into the narrative somehow.

    As for the editorial integrity of the Wapo… well, people tell me it once was real… but I don’t know…

    Are you writing a rebuttal?

  89. kooshy says:

    One wonders how this P*S* CIA Asset, dares to rewrite history of 1953 Anglo American coup, there are hundreds and hundreds of intensively researched chronicles of this coup by Iranian and non Iranian historians which this “fellow” of the council on foreign relations on order of his coffers ignores.

    Clerics responsible for Iran’s failed attempts at democracy
    By Ray Takeyh
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010


  90. Kathleen says:

    Paul have never heard Cole support more aggressive actions towards Iran. Could you provide some evidence that would back up those claims

  91. Castellio says:

    A must look, not long. Margolis on testimony at the Chilcot Inquiry of M-15 knowledge prior to the Iraq invasion.


  92. Fiorangela says:

    On the one hand — according to Jonathan Cook, Netanyahu “quietly” added twenty years to the time Israeli archives will remain sealed. http www dot jkcook dot net/Articles3/0516.htm#Top

    On the other hand — Kevin Barrett and William Cook discuss 500 pages of archival material Cook have studied that discloses Israeli intent to wipe out Palestinians in 1948.http://edwardrynearson.wordpress.com/kevin-barrett-converses-with-william-cook/

  93. Dan Cooper says:

    If the government will lie to you about Iraqi weapons of mass production, Iranian nukes, and 9/11, why won’t they lie to you about the economy?


    We now have an all-time high of Americans on food stamps, 40.8 million people, about 14% of the population. By next year the government estimates that food stamp dependency will rise to 43 million Americans. So last week Congress cut food stamp benefits. Let them eat cake.

    Wherever one looks–food stamps, home foreclosures, bankrupted states, mounting joblessness, the message to long-suffering Americans from “their government” is the same: go eat cake, while we fight wars for Israel that enrich the military/security complex and while we bail out banksters whose annual incomes are in the tens of millions of dollars and up.

    It is impossible to get any truth out of the US government about anything. If private companies used US government accounting, the executives would be prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated.

    “Our government” is committed to fighting wars to enrich the military/security complex and Israel’s territorial expansion at the expense of cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

  94. Interesting piece by Robert Wright in today’s NYT, entitled “Why Not to Bomb Iran:”


    Wright cites with approval the Foreign Policy piece by Flynt and Hillary Leverett and lays out some good analysis in the same vein, including several points not made in what else I’ve read. For those who don’t read the whole article, I’ll quote Wright’s interesting reaction to Goldberg’s “brain drain” argument for bombing Iran. Others have already made his point that the threat of nuclear missiles probably won’t add noticeably to the brain-draining discomfort already resulting from “periodic flurries of missiles from Lebanon or Gaza” (though not all observers agree with him that the effect of those missile flurries is negligible). But his observation in the second paragraph is new – to me, at least.


    One ‘existential’ threat that Israel’s policy elites do seem to take seriously is that a nuclear Iran might render Israel such a scary place to live as to induce a brain drain. ‘The real threat to Zionism is the dilution of quality,’ defense minister Ehud Barak tells Goldberg. Here again, I think the threat is overstated. After a year or two, Iran’s possession of nukes would become background noise for the average Israeli, less salient than periodic flurries of missiles from Lebanon or Gaza — flurries that so far have failed to noticeably drain Israel of intellectual capital.

    The brain drain’ issue illustrates what weak ‘propaganda’ much of Goldberg’s piece is: America is supposed to support — or even conduct — a military attack designed to keep talented people from immigrating to America? If I were Israel, I’d hire a new propagandist.'”


  95. Dan Cooper says:

    George Galloway Interview With President Ahmadinejad,,,,,, Part 1/2


    George Galloway Interview With President Ahmadinejad,,,,,, Part 2/2


  96. Rehmat says:

    It’s would be naive to think of a FAIR debate about the Islamic Republic in the US – because that would be the end of ‘Islamophobia’ and Israel Lobby’s (AIPAC) grip over the White House, Congress and Senate. Same goes for Israel, which cannot survive much longer with being involved in conflicts and wars with its neighbors. Peace for both the US and Israel would be a death blow.

    The Gallup Poll released on Friday – show what the American think of country’s mainstream media.


  97. paul says:

    Leveretts say …

    “We think that “preventive war” is itself a somewhat euphemistic formulation, which could be used, as Flynt’s former colleague Paul Pillar put it so well, to “make aggression respectable”.”

    Yes, absolutely, and let’s take it a step further: the UN Security Council is itself being abused as a mechanism to “make aggression respectable”, just as the barely legitimate (if legitimate) concept of ‘preventive’ war is being abused to “make aggression respectable.

  98. Anthony says:

    Here is an interesting find:

    A huge trove of newly declassified documents subpoenaed during a Senate investigation reveals how Israel’s lobby pitched, promoted, and paid to have content placed in America’s top news magazines with overseas funding. The Atlantic (and others) received hefty rewards for trumpeting Israel’s most vital – but damaging – PR initiatives across America.


  99. paul says:

    More widely, virtually all the ‘left’ oriented alternapundits are selling a lie, a perverse Orwellian Lie, in which Obama’s warmongering is portrayed as peace.

    So I’m not quite sure who you get to argue against war at this point…this is what always seems to happen with Dems in power. The antiwar movement instantly thins out.

  100. paul says:

    Oops, I meant to say that Cole corrected the mistranslation when it was the Pubs in power and pushing towards war.

  101. paul says:

    Kathleen, you are wrong to look to professor Cole for another view on Iran. He deserves credit for correcting the mistranslation of Ahmadinejad’s supposed determination to ‘wipe Israel off the map’, but that happened with Dems in power. Since the Dems took over, I’d say he’s been more of a supporter than a detractor to Obama’s march to war.

  102. paul says:

    We get a bunch of articles hyping the possible immanent war, and a bunch of articles counseling that anyone who is concerned about that is a hyperventilating alarmist, and the result is public paralysis in the face of a steadily looming war.

    And it is THAT PARALYSIS that makes the war inevitable.


    fyi, this is one of the best comments i’ve seen here:

    “The debate, if any, ought to be at a more fundamental level.

    That is: “Why is the United States in the business of overthrowing sovereign states and governments?””

    Well said. I’ve not seen a better nutshell comment about this.

  103. James Canning says:

    Robert Wright’s point, in his piece at nytimes.com (“Why Not to Bomb Iran”), is a good one: that Goldberg’s piece leaves one thinking Israel will bomb Iran unless the US does so, so the issue is not whether to bomb Iran, but how to get the job done. Vicious propaganda, in my view.

  104. Kathleen says:

    “It really is becoming Iraq all over again”

    Before the invasion of Iraq I was in shock when a southeastern Ohio mother of 3 (me)could hear Scott Ritter on the Diane Rehm show, Ray McGovern and other former Cia middle east analyst questioning the vaildity of the pre war intelligence on Democracy Now, Talk of the Nation and a few other places before the invasion. Turn on the evening news and you would hear Wolfowitz, Rice, Cheney, Bolton, Kristol, Frum, Gaffney, Micheal Rubin etc etc repeating the false intelligence. The MSM talking heads would not challenge or go deep. Just rolled over

    Then El Baradei came out in early March of 2003 and said the Niger Documents were forgeries and bad ones at that. And the invasion moved forward. I was in shock.

    Millions of Americans marched against the invasion in New York, WAshington D.C. and across the nation with no effect. The MSM basically ignored us.

    Then immidiately after the invasion. Bascially the same group of people started repeating the unsubstantiated and inflammatory claims about Iran. Heard them repeated on Chris Matthews, This week (Stephanapoulous was host) Face the Nation (heard both McCain and Obama repeat some of these statements) John Bolton on Talk of the Nation, Bill Kristol and Krauthammer etc on Fox, heard quest on NPR’s Fresh Air with host Terry Gross not only allowing guest to repeat the debunked “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” hooey I heard Terry Gross repeat this statement numerous times herself along with repeating that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. I heard NPR’s host Neil Conan allow John Bolton nto get away with repeating these false statements. I have heard Rachel Maddow repeat “iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”

    No one challenged these unsubstantiated claims. NO ONE. Well until I heard Charlie Rose repeat some of these claims during an interview with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett and Flynt corrected the stirred up Charlie Rose.

    The MSM host have not challenged these statements for over seven years. It is not surprising that over 50% of Americans believe that Iran all ready has a nuclear weapons program. It has endlessly been repeated with with very few challenges.

    The stage has been set.

    Wondering why those so called progressive host like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed, Dylan Ratigan etc do not have Flynt or Hillary mann Leverett on. Or Professor Juan Cole on for another view on Iran. Seems like RAchel as well as other MSM host are promoting myths about Iran.

  105. Kathleen says:

    To think that hundreds of thousands dead, injured, millions displaced in Iraq, innocents killed by American drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan are not enough for the warmongers who lied our nation into Iraq. John Bolton, Bill”blody”Kristol, Micheal Ledeen, Cheney, Micheal Rubin, Reuel marc Gerecht, Feith, Liebermann, etc etc want to take out Iran also.

    Based on more unsubstantiated claims. These folks will surely burn in hell if there is such a place after life on earth which is a hell for some folks.

    Prof Cole (over at Inromed Comment
    “Moreover, the reactor is being actively inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which continues to certify that no nuclear fuel is being diverted by Iran to weapons purposes.”

  106. Eric: “Can you explain to me?”

    That should be obvious, based on their current views.

    M. J. Rosenberg used to work for AIPAC if I remember correctly, but he changed his views and left. It doesn’t matter where someone used to work, but whether they still hold the views of that organization.

  107. Fyi: “What he means is US assets and allies within Levant and the Persian Gulf will be harmed. This includes the Southern Persian Gulf states, US bases there, and any and all infrastrcuture.”

    No, he said “our region” – that includes the Levant and the Persian Gulf. He said OUTSIDE of that region.

    “There is zero chance of US experiencing terrorist attacks by Iranian agents.”

    Glad you think so, but you can’t rationally say that with certainty. It is reported that Hizballah has cells already established in the US, and I would not be surprised that Iran also has cells here.

  108. James Canning says:


    Shouldn’t the question be: why is the US conspiring with Israel to overthrow governments in the Middle East? Elliott Abrams conspired with Israel to set up the coup against Hamas in Gaza (triggering the Hamas counter-coup).

    Israel was deeply involved in the illegal war in Central America run “off the books” by the White House. Elliott Abrams was very much involved in this scheme too.

  109. James Canning says:

    I agree with fyi that Iranian agents would not perpetrate terror attacks in the US, even if the US were so stupid as to attack Iran. Global economic chaos would be virtually guaranteed from closing of the Gulf.

  110. James Canning says:

    I thought Glenn Greenwald did a good job of ripping Jeffrey Goldberg to shreds. I too see the Goldberg piece as part of an effort to facilitate an Israeli or US attack on Iran. It provides in effect “deniability” as the Leveretts point out.

  111. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, Corinthians 13, 11

    Mann Leverett gets it
    Clawson doesn’t

  112. Eric says:

    Richard–I don’t understand why CLawson is disqualified for working for WINEP, while Hillary Leverett worked for both WINEP and AIPAC. Can you explain to me?

  113. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    What he means is US assets and allies within Levant and the Persian Gulf will be harmed. This includes the Southern Persian Gulf states, US bases there, and any and all infrastrcuture.

    There is zero chance of US experiencing terrorist attacks by Iranian agents.

  114. Eric: As the Leveretts pointed out in their earlier post:

    Sadjapour is “one of the most prominent Iranian-American cheerleaders for the Green movement, whose analysis of Iranian politics over the last year and a half has regularly been at odds with reality…”

    And Clawson is “the senior Iran analyst at a Washington, DC think tank founded out of AIPAC Clawson), who is a public supporter of both regime change in and military action against Iran”

    You’ll note that the Leveretts specified in their post above that they were referring to “analysts who…support either bombing Iran or active support for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.” Sadjapour apparently qualified for the latter, while Clawson qualified for both.

    So, no, the post is not “silly.”

  115. fyi says:


    Mr. Sadjadpour seems to credit, very strongly, the possibility of regime collapse in Iran.

    I personally found his views, post 2009 election in Iran, to be partisan (regardless of mis-government in that country.)

    His views, it seems to me, correspond very well with the current US polciy which seems to be predicated on the high probability of Iranian surrender.

    I think he is just wrong; he sees the Greens but not the many more millions who owe everything they have to the Islamic Republic.

    Americans are ill advised to listen to him; he lacks the basic and fundamental understanding of Iran as a religious Shia polity. [All analysis of Iran has to start from there.]

  116. Yes, the big news of the day is that Khamenei says Iran will not hold any talks with the West on the nuclear issue until the West drops the sanctions and stops making threats.

    From The Associated Press report:


    “If the U.S. puts aside threats, sanctions and its superpower display and refuses to set goals for the talks, then there will be a possibility of talks. But under the present conditions and given the threats and pressures, no talks with be held at all,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.

    End quote

    Despite some criticism of this approach here, I see it as the most appropriate and correct approach for Iran to take: put the onus on the US to stop behaving badly. I am not, however, naive enough to believe that the US will modify its behavior, and indeed I expect the US to use the Iranian intransigent approach against Iran in the court of world opinion. But the US would do that anyway. Therefore Iran can improve its posture in the region and with the Non-Aligned Nations by resolutely standing up for the nation’s rights. Taking the case to the UN as Iran has now done is the right approach. The UN Charter and regulations are on Iran’s side in this matter.

    Khamenei also said Iran will not give up its nuclear activities.


    “The U.S. and some Western countries have no logic in this issue and the Islamic Republic of Iran will never give up the cycle of nuclear fuel,” state TV quoted him as saying.

    End Quote

    This also is the correct approach. Iran has made it clear to the West that its legal rights are not in question and will not be bargained away just to avoid an illegal military assault. By being rigidly intransigent on this fact, Iran forces the US to make the fact that the US is threatening Iran over a LEGAL nuclear energy program perfectly clear. It again puts the onus on the US to prove its case rather than on Iran having to prove a negative.

    Unfortunately, it is true that the US will spin that approach as a case of Iran “defying the international community” which is far from the case.

    Equally important, Khamenei hinted at what Iran was prepared to do if attacked:


    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Wednesday that Iran’s response to an attack would not be limited to the region, suggesting Iran would target U.S. interests beyond the Persian Gulf.

    “It’s unlikely that they (U.S.) will make such a stupidity (to attack Iran) but all must know that if this threat is carried out, the field of the Iranian nation’s confrontation will not be only our region,” Khamenei told state TV. “The area of confrontation will be much wider.”

    End Quote

    This to my mind suggests that, in addition to Iran ratcheting up attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably Lebanon – all of which to my mind is in “our region” – Iran will export terrorism to the United States mainland and/or against US and Israeli interests in Europe and elsewhere.

    The US has never really experienced effective terrorism. Effective terrorism is chronic terrorism, the sort of terrorism conducted by the Red Brigades in Italy, the Grey Wolves in Turkey, and the IRA in Northern Ireland. Something like 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombing occurs once a decade. Other than the size of the event, this is not effective terrorism. If Iran should decide to deliver chronic terrorism to the US mainland, the US will be in a world of hurt. Despite the most effective law enforcement infrastructure in the world, Iranian terrorists could seriously affect the US economy and social structure in ways Al Qaeda can’t begin to approach.

  117. Eric says:

    THis was a silly post. Sajapour and Abrams were on opposing sides of the debate, how are they likeminded?

  118. “It really is becoming Iraq all over again.”

    Yup. ‘Nuff said. (Which won’t stop me from adding more.)

  119. Nasrin (I'm Liz! :)) says:

    This is a summary of the Persian:


  120. Fiorangela says:

    As Grant Smith details, this is not a new tactic for Atlantic magazine:

    “A huge trove of newly declassified documents subpoenaed during a Senate investigation reveals how Israel’s lobby pitched, promoted, and paid to have content placed in America’s top news magazines with overseas funding. The Atlantic (and others) received hefty rewards for trumpeting Israel’s most vital – but damaging – PR initiatives across America. . . .

    Smith discusses how Atlantic and others were used by Israel advocates to conceal/distract from Israel’s nuclear weaponization in the 1960s; to distract from the Lavon affair, and to distort perceptions of Palestinians.

    In other words, business as usual, with this difference: until 1979, Israel was friendly with Iran. Now that’s changed giving Atlantic the opportunity to rifle thru its Iran archive and generate a fresh revenue stream. Business is business.

  121. Liz says:

    Thank you for this moral, reasonable and logical piece.

    We have our own midget Elliot Abrams, Patrick Clawson, Martin Indyk, Karim Sadjadpour, and Jeff Goldberg. His name is Scott Lucas!

  122. Iranian says:

    Well written.

  123. fyi says:


    The debate, if any, ought to be at a more fundamental level.

    That is: “Why is the United States in the business of overthrowing sovereign states and governments?”