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The Race for Iran


Flynt appeared yesterday on Ian Masters’ Background Briefing, a nationally syndicated public affairs program, to discuss the nuclear talks between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic; you can hear him here.  One of Flynt’s basic points is that the Obama Administration seems no more prepared to deal with the big issues that will determine diplomatic success or failure—namely, accepting the principle and the reality of internationally safeguarded enrichment in Iran and recognizing that a negotiated solution will necessarily entail significant sanctions relief—than it was during its initial experience in multilateral negotiations with the Islamic Republic during 2009-2010.  Until that changes, the chance for anything other than failure or, at best, an extremely narrow deal of little strategic significance—is negligible.   

Before the nuclear talks started again last month in Istanbul, Tehran calculated that American and European Union sanctions policies created at least as many problems for the United States and Europe as for Iran.  Oil prices have been going up even before the new sanctions go into effect (indeed, the Europeans have set a new standard for witlessly self-damaging policy choices by boosting prices while they are still buying Iranian crude).  An Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear targets would raise prices even more dramatically.  And, as Flynt notes, all of this is going on while President Obama is running for re-election.   

Against this backdrop, the Iranians assess that the Obama Administration has an interest in keeping the negotiations going at least through the U.S. presidential election in November.  As Flynt points out, they have been using the talks as a way of probing Western seriousness about a potential deal

We anticipate that Tehran will continue using the talks for this purpose for some time; at this point, neither side is taking an approach that, in the near term, is likely to prompt a complete breakdown.  There will be another round of discussions in Moscow next month, and it is easy to imagine further meetings through the summer and into the early fall.  But the talks are not going to produce anything of strategic significance unless the United States substantially alters its approach.      

Flynt goes on to explore the reasons for the Obama Administration’s reluctance to do this.  Of course, domestic politics is part of the story (as noted, the President is running for re-election).  But Flynt argues that an even more fundamental element is the Obama team’s ongoing commitment to American hegemony in the Middle East.  The conversation rounds out with a discussion of whether Saudi Arabia or Iran—that is, the Islamic Republic of Iran—is a more natural ally for the United States, and of the risks of a unilateral Israeli strike.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 



  1. Rehmat says:

    hans – You mean calling a duck, a “duck” – is ‘anti-Semitism’ in your book??

  2. Arnold Evans says:


    “Very near” and “very far” aren’t really technical terms. 20% is closer to 90% than 5% is. And 5% is closer to 90% than natural uranium is.

    Neither 20% nor 5% LEU can be used to make a practical explosive.

    If “scientists” say 20% uranium is closer to weapons grade than 5% they are right. If “scientists” say 20% has crossed some line to be “very near” weapons grade, they are wrong, but also where is this supposed line and on what basis is it formed?

    This is a totally irrational obsession on your part, that has nothing to do with Barack Obama’s stance that Iran must not enrich uranium at all.

  3. James Canning says:


    Too many among the “governing elite” in the US simply are not willint to take the pain that the ISRAEL LOBBY inflicts on those who do not toe the line set donw by Aipac and other extremist Jewish groups.

  4. James Canning says:


    Obama is worse than George W. Bush? While I think Obama blundered by ignoring Iran’s offer last September to stop enriching to 20 percent, Obama is not a stooge of the neocons in the way G W Bush was.

  5. James Canning says:


    Nuclear scientists say that 20% uranium is very near weapons grade, from standpoint of technical difficulty. 5% U is very far from weapons grade. Not a difficult equation to understand.

  6. James Canning says:


    Bravo. Rehmat undermines his credibility by failing to accept that much of the best criticism of Israel comes from Jews, as does a good deal of the best commentary on the Middle East.

  7. hans says:

    Rehmat says:
    May 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Stephen Lendman, a Jewish American investgating journalist, author and blogger.

    Stop this bigotry, we do not call you an Islamic/Muslim blogger on this site. Mr Stephen Lendman is an American patrioit and is well respected by PressTV for his intelligent contribution to investigative journalism.

  8. Arnold Evans says:


    FYI has in this comments section given a very good explanation of why the statement that the Islamic Republic depends on oil revenues to survive is wrong. In short, Iran has survived with very low oil prices, and much less oil revenue than is plausible with US sanctions. The sanctions are an irritation, but not threatening to the existence of the Islamic Republic. Not at all.


    As far as I can tell, you think 20% crosses a line because other people think so. Whether you claim those other people are the EU, Obama, Israel or least plausibly the pro-US stooge dictators of colonies like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE who you claim care more about Iran enriching to 20% than they do about Israel deploying hundreds of actual nuclear weapons.

    If you’re going to post dozens of times per day about 20%, please spell out your own reasoning of why 20% is qualitatively worse than 5%. I don’t think you can do that.

  9. Castellio says:

    It takes a while to realize, but it eventually comes, that the governing elite in the US is more committed to the legitimization and expansion of Israeli racism in the Middle East than it is to democracy in the US.

  10. Fiorangela says:

    Thank you, Empty.
    The key information was in the Arms Export Control Act, section 36(h)(2).

    But nowhere can I find an explanation of what is going on in the heads of US representatives who are giving away the American store. Has there ever in history been such a relationship between two countries?

  11. fyi says:

    Jay says: May 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    No, Mr. Obama is worse than Mr. Bush.

    Mr. Obama had the past experience of Mr. Bush and yet he decided on a policy coure that would have caused a war this Spring.

    As I said, no one seems to be able to learn from precedence.

  12. Empty says:

    …could explain, rather.

    [sorry about the mistakes. i hope it doesn’t detract from the meaning too much.]

  13. Empty says:

    …arrived at that conclusion, rather.

  14. Empty says:


    RE: How do you arrive at this conclusion: “That also means that if Israel takes any action on its own and gets damaged, it can sue the United States for all damages, reparation, and the like even if it is Israel that initiates something.”

    The lawyers in the house could definitely provide the type of informative explanation that I couldn’t possibly do. But I explain how I arrived at assessment. I read the HR-4133 and found many parts to be very general and non-specific in a way that they could be very broadly interpreted. Then Section 4, Part b caught my attention. In that section, it talks about “Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge” and puts the burden of assessing such “edge” on the United States and gives 180 days to the president of the US to provide that report. Then, I followed the definition the terms “qualitative military edge” which referred to another document, the Arms Export Control Act, section 36(h)(2).

    I found the text of that article [see here: ;http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/22C39.txt%5D. And here is what it says,

    (1) In general — Any certification relating to a proposed sale or export of defense articles or defense services under this section to any country in the Middle East other than Israel shall include a determination that the sale or export of the defense articles or defense services will not adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel.

    (2) Qualitative military edge defined — In this subsection, the term “qualitative military edge” means the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors.

    Please note that in the definition, it asserts that ability “to counter and defeat….while sustaining minimal damages and casualties…..” So, what if there is a disagreement between the US intelligence/military intelligence community and the Israeli intelligence/government? Who determines how much damage is “minimal”? Who determines how much casualties are considered “minimal”? From whose perspective? Is there a percentage?

    When I read a policy language, I tend to put the statement into a parallel clinical field situation to better understand the language. In this case, I took the US out and put a physician there and took Israel out and put a patient’s name there. Now, imagine numerous possibilities based on which the patient can sue the physician (from diagnosis to treatment to treatment of any potential individual with whom the said patient might develop a conflict to the neighborhood characteristics to you name it) if such policy were applied in the medical field and in a patient-physician relationship. To be honest, such relationship would be nuts especially if the patient is non-compliant, secretive, belligerent, aggressive, and altogether rather بی حیا [shameless]. The US is turning into another Germany that for the next 100 years, it will have to pay through its nose to Israel.

  15. Rehmat says:

    “America and Israel want imperial dominance. Iran wants to live free in peace,” Stephen Lendman, a Jewish American investgating journalist, author and blogger.


  16. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    May 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm


    In terms of practical political deeds in the international scene, Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush have followed nearly identically goals. Similarly for Mr. Cameron and Mr. Blair.

    I don’t speak for Iranian policymakers. However, it is my understanding that they recognize that at least since Bill Clinton, the manufactured perception of differences between political parties in the west has been mainly a tool for domestic “political mechanics”.

    Romney or Obama are distinctions with a difference! There is no leverage there.

    From what I understand, the working policy for Iran is to increase costs of all forms to the US and EU without being confrontational.

    A weakened EU, forcing the US treasury to continue to monazite mounting debt to float joint financial institutions, leading to lowered living conditions and a disenchanted populous in places like Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and eventually UK and Germany is where the real leverage is.

    The manufactured dispute has nothing to do with 20%, 5%, 3.5% or any other numerical value of any kind of enrichment. You must clear this hurdle first before you can see the obvious!

  17. Karl says:


    If you go back to UN resolutions in 2006 they demand Iran stop enrich at any number.
    So this has nothing to do with which percentage Iran enrich at, that havent been the reason neither given by the US, because as you know US havent been able to get more UN resolutions on Iran when it comes to sanctions.

  18. JohnH says:

    Did the 5+1 choose Moscow or did Iran choose Moscow?

  19. A concerned world citizen says:

    James, I was just wondering, can’t you just post whatever you want to say in one post instead of posting them in successive torrents?

  20. Empty says:

    James Canning,

    RE: A good case can be made for the argument that Israel poses a substantial threat to the national security of the American people, due to the foolishness of the US Congress.

    What do the acronyms CFI and LFI stand for?

  21. Empty says:

    James Canning,

    RE: I believe the UK is determined to have that production stopped, as part of a deal with some of the Persian Gulf countries.

    So, are you suggesting the UK made a deal with some Persian Gulf countries to go against the NPT and engage in illegal activities to deprive a member state of its rights under NPT? How do you feel about that?

    Also, if true and the UK “is determined” to deliver on this deal, what did some Persian Gulf countries promised to the UK in return? Would you mind bringing more evidence on that deal? It would be much appreciated. Specific names and dates will be extremely useful. Thanks a lot.

  22. Fiorangela says:

    Empty —

    How do you arrive at this conclusion:

    “That also means that if Israel takes any action on its own and gets damaged, it can sue the United States for all damages, reparation, and the like even if it is Israel that initiates something.”

  23. James Canning says:


    You fail to take into account the simple fact that the latest sanctions are the direct result of Iran’s ill-considered decision to treble production of 20 percent uranium. I believe the UK is determined to have that production stopped, as part of a deal with some of the Persian Gulf countries.

  24. James Canning says:


    Are you arguing that Iran should continue to stockpile 20 percent uranium, to pressure the US into openly accepting Iran’s enrichment to 5%?

  25. James Canning says:


    I presume Iranian leaders recognise that putting Mitt Romney into the White House would be contrary to Iran’s own interests.

  26. James Canning says:


    Catherine Ashton is not the foreign minister of all of the individual EU countries, and she has no standing to make a deal binding the individual EU countries. So, Iran’s demand that the sanctions be suspended as part of a deal was one she could not meet, even if she wanted to.

  27. James Canning says:


    Sanctions will not cause an overthrow of the government of Iran. Sanctions do result in Iran being less rich and powerful than otherwise would obtain.

  28. James Canning says:


    A good case can be made for the argument that Israel poses a substantial threat to the national security of the American people, due to the foolishness of the US Congress.

  29. Karl says:

    Arnold Evans,

    Bascially because Iran is dependent on their oil revenue to stay alive and when EU/US are going to cut this, it will in my book have a “biting” effect on Iran. So if they could accept a deal on lets say swapping versus more punitive measures like sanctions, there might be a chance they will accept a swap-deal.

    Iraq became a social mess after the sanctions and lead to its downfall which culminated when US attacked Iraq when it was too weak to defend herself.
    Cuba is only, from what I know, economically sanctioned by 1 state compared to Iran that involves many states and are much more extensive.
    UN sanctions on North Korea doesnt involve any economic strangulation.
    So there is really no comparsion between Iran and those states you mentioned.

  30. Empty says:

    What Hans referred to in his post, [HR 4133) could be accessed online at ;http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4133/text

    The act is titled United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 . Please read it carefully. Section 4, in essence, makes it illegal for the United States not to fully and unconditionally support Israel in events of any war and conflict be they military, financial, or in any other form. That also means that if Israel takes any action on its own and gets damaged, it can sue the United States for all damages, reparation, and the like even if it is Israel that initiates something.

    One cannot help but truly appreciate God Almighty’s tricks. Parallel in immunology, this would be called autoimmune disease….. Seriously dudes, with a friend like Israel, the US really doesn’t need any enemies (small or giant).

  31. Arnold Evans says:


    There’s a disconnect between “bite” and “hurt/lose the Islamic Republic”. You have to fill that step in.

    It seems to me Iran has demonstrated clearly that it will accept “bite”, whatever that means. You have to show how these sanctions might conceivably result in the loss of the Islamic Republic, when harsher sanctions did not result in the loss of Saddam Hussein’s government, Fidel Castro’s government or the governments of North Korea. You’re not going to be able to do that.

  32. Dan Cooper says:

    Rd. says:
    May 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    “Mr. Shariatmadari believes that the West has not been serious in striking a deal with Iran during these talks and instead is using them to keep the price of oil under control and prevent a major shock to their weakened and falling economies.”

    I believe Mr. Shariatmadari is right on the money with his analysis.

    The US November Election a also a significant factor.

  33. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Karl says:
    May 27, 2012 at 8:26 am

    “If EU impose its embargo and if a majority of states have already cut their imports of iranian oil and will keep doing that and at the same time US put SWIFT-ban and sanctions on the central bank, how could this not hurt Iran?”

    A “majority” of states have not cut their imports of Iranian oil and they will not do so in the future. With respect to the SWIFT “ban” this is something that is fairly easy to deal with, as is the issue of insurance.


    “Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mahmoud Bahmani says the country has designed and implemented a new system for conducting international transactions.”

    “Bahmani said on Saturday the new system, which has already been activated, would replace Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)”

  34. Karl says:

    Arnold Evans,


    Yes I think there is a possibility that, if choosing between accepting a swapdeal which they have showed interest in before versus HURTING/LOSING the Islamic Republic I think they will accept the former. That isnt to say they will bow down, rather making the best out of a situation. Basically acting advised.

  35. Karl says:

    Arnold Evans,

    How come sanctions will not bite?
    If EU impose its embargo and if a majority of states have already cut their imports of iranian oil and will keep doing that and at the same time US put SWIFT-ban and sanctions on the central bank, how could this not hurt Iran? Where will they get the money when their buyers have gone to other oil exporters?
    Various iranian officials have already said that it has been tougher and that the sanctions is a problem for them.
    Yes I think there is a possibility that, if choosing between accepting a swapdeal which they have showed interest in before versus keeping the Islamic Republic alive I think they will accept the former. That isnt to say they will bow down, rather making the best out of a situation. Basically acting advised.

  36. hans says:

    Photi says:
    May 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Why would American officials update the Israeli government on the talks in Baghdad before updating the American government?

    House Passes HR 4133 Binding the USrael War Agenda
    Without any mainstream media coverage at all, the House of Representatives passed the USrael Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. The USIESC, written by Eric Cantor, claims there is a need to provide Israel with unlimited military and financial aid as a result of the disturbances caused by the Arab Spring. Israel will have an essentially unlimited amount of funds allocated to them through the Federal Reserve Bank.

    This USIESC asserts that “supported by the US people” the US government will “repeatedly affirm the special bond between USrael” and that the two countries have “shared values and shared interests.”

  37. A concerned world citizen says:

    So much for “tough” US sanctions..Japan just took another turn in the reight direction..This new set of US/Sanctions where so self destructive to begin with. They’ll suffer the effects more..Can you imagine Europe starting their self-embargo on Iranian oil in July? Given all the economic mess they’re in?


  38. Arnold Evans says:


    The sanctions will not bite as hard as the 1990s sanctions bit Iraq, nor will they bite as hard as Cuba was hit after the fall of the USSR. Nor will they bite as hard as North Korea has endured for decades.

    Sanctions do not threaten governments. The idea that preserving the Islamic Republic will cause Iran to submit to US demands to avoid sanctions is backwards.

    We may have to clarify our ideas of what the US is after. Perkovich is right that the US is foregoing opportunities to contain Iran’s nuclear capability to a smaller rather than larger degree. But this is not important to the US. What is important to the US is:

    1) the principle that countries that do not accept Israel are sanctioned as stringently as possible under any available pretext

    2) as a binary matter, no country other than Israel in its region can have nuclear capabilities. Perkovich’s two years is not importantly different from the months Iran will have achieved in a few years or the trivial capabilities the US rejected Iran’s offers of in 2006

    Iran has made a decision that it will accept sanctions rather than give up its nuclear capabilities. I guess you hope it will change its mind after more sanctions hit. Perkovich is right that Iran has been here before, and always increases its nuclear program after these provocations. On the one hand, your hope does not have much foundation in Iran’s behavior so far, on the other hand, if all nuclear capability is about the same, then Iran having increased capabilities does not count to the US as a major cost.

    One of the real effects of this process is that the US is cementing itself and its allies especially in the EU as the enemy of Iran on Israel’s behalf, while at the same time making coerced or imposed regime change more and more remote as it spurs Iran to increase its nuclear capabilities. Today’s choice to be more rather than less hostile toward Iran is likely ultimately to be something the US comes to regret.

  39. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    In regards to your point about 20%…

    That is fine but the reciprocal steps from P5+1 were evidently lacking.

    In business, we have a saying: “Give the Customer what he wants.”

    P5+1 refused to do so in Baghdad.

    P5+1 repeatedly come to these meetings after sanctions have been imposed, expecting to find Iranians malleable.

    They have been disappointed so far, over 6 years.

    May be they thought they would get lucky this time.

  40. Jay says:

    Rd. says:
    May 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I think Mr. Sharaitmadari is correct! For the reasons I have stated in my posts earlier, the only option viable to the west at the present is to stall.

    However, I disagree with Mr. Shariatmadari’s response to the west. The time to go on offense is when your opponent has defeated himself or herself!

    Earlier I speculated that a potential next move for Iran could be hardball behind the scenes. For example: increase the cost of sanctions to EU. A $10 price movement translates to $10bln direct extra cost to the top 7 EU economies roughly every 2 months. The indirect economic consequences could be very serious for the EU at this juncture. No US president has been reelected so far when there has been a noticeable price spike in oil prior to elections.

  41. Arnold Evans says:


    Israel has been very clear that it is considering attacking Iran this year unless Iran abandons its nuclear program, for many years now. Far more clear than Obama is.

    Your claim that Obama will attack Iran over 20% remains unsupported.

    In your hundreds of 20% posts, you still have never supported your idea that 20% crosses some line that 5% does not.

    Yes, 20% is closer to 90% than 5% is. But what makes 20% so close that Obama would, should, or would be forced to attack? (If you had an answer, you would have answered by now.)

    I don’t believe a country that would not attack over 5% would attack over 20%. You don’t have an argument that I’m wrong, and yet, with no argument, you’re repeating this 20% stuff ten or twenty times a day for months now.

  42. Photi says:


    From Haaretz:

    According to the U.S. official, the Israeli government was the first to be updated by them on what happened in Baghdad after the talks were over. “We updated the Israelis in detail before we updated our own government,” the official said.

    “This shows how much trust and security we have in our ties with Israel.”

    Really? Is that what that shows? Because it kinda looks like fealty to me. Why would American officials update the Israeli government on the talks in Baghdad before updating the American government?

    And this quote: “According to the official, the U.S. government does not feel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to pressure it over negotiations with Iran.”

    Seriously, why even pretend anymore. Clearly this is a negotiation between Israel and Iran. Why can’t we call it what it is?

  43. yousaf says:

    Re. Parchin:

    From Bob Kelley, who was an ex-IAEA inspector and is a nuclear engineer — properly debunks the false hysteria:


    “[T]he IAEA…. appears to be willing to risk its technical credibility by insisting on visiting a military site called Parchin, near Tehran.”


    “The massive steel explosives containment chamber in the building is said by the IAEA to be able to contain an explosion of 70 kg of high explosives. This is a world-class facility, especially as it was designed 15 years ago with the help of a former Soviet engineer. It is more likely that the container will hold about 10 kg of high explosives detonation. In any case, there are few if any tests involving uranium and high explosives that Iran needs to conduct in a container that is only there to hide traces of uranium.

    In fact, the chamber is far too small to contain explosive proof tests of a full scale mock-up, and far too big to contain smaller tests of research interest. Thus, a container of this size is irrelevant to an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Some say that a container for explosives tests is a clear and unequivocal indication of nuclear weapons development. This is incorrect. Most nuclear weapon development tests have been carried out in the open air for obvious technical reasons. The IAEA is therefore risking its technical reputation on tenuous premises.


    “The container described by anonymous sources has a massive concrete collar around the middle to contain the huge blast and make it useful for experiments. This collar makes it difficult if not impossible to make the scientific measurements that Iran needs to make in the chamber that was designed. Flash x-ray, optical and especially neutron measurements would be difficult or impossible because of the collar.

    The container has wash-down systems and a vacuum pump system that are appropriate for nanodiamond production rather than for explosives tests. It was supposed to have been built by an Iranian company with the capability to build relatively thin-walled pressure vessels for the oil industry. This company could not build a small chamber appropriate to contain a large blast so they would have built a larger, but thinner-walled chamber, to offset the weakness of their vessels.

    Since November 2011 there have been press reports that the Parchin site has been ‘sanitized’ to remove traces of uranium. Uranium signatures are very persistent in the environment. Stories that bulldozers are being used to sanitize the chamber are irrelevant.”


    Ultimately the IAEA is trying to force Iran to grant access to a military site where they have been told that nuclear-related activities have taken place. It is unlikely that the alleged chamber is being used for nuclear activities, if it even exists. If the IAEA succeeds in visiting the site and does not find evidence of nuclear weapons activities, its credibility will be seriously damaged and it will be unable to persuasively make the case for visits to more serious sites of concern inside Iran.”

    Robert Kelley is a SIRPI Associated Senior Research Fellow and a veteran of over 35 years in the US Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons complex, most recently at Los Alamos. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and was later Director of the Department of Energy Remote Sensing Laboratory, the premier US nuclear emergency response organization. He was also seconded by the USDOE to the IAEA where he served twice as a Director of the nuclear inspections in Iraq, in 1992 and 2001.

  44. yousaf says:


    not sure what you mean when you say “the weakness in your argument is simply that the P5+1 might accept Iranian enrichment to 5%, but if Iran continues to enrich to 20 percent, it will almost certainly get attacked.”

    What I am saying in my piece is that if P5+1 is really worried about Iranian enrichment then they have a really weird way of showing it: Iran basically offered P5+1 to suspend 20% enrichment and they could not take yes for an answer.

    For others who are wondering what we are talking about my OpEd in CSMonitor is here:


    Happy to discuss further.

  45. Rd. says:

    Karl says:

    “Why wouldnt Iran accept more talks? Whats the alternative? None.”

    I don’t see the English version on keyhan yet..

    “Hossein Shariatmadari, the influential editor of Kayhan, the leading conservative newspaper in Iran, and one of the shrewdest journalists in the country has called for a boycott of all future talks with the six major powers, including the Moscow Talks scheduled for 18-19 June. Mr. Shariatmadari believes that the West has not been serious in striking a deal with Iran during these talks and instead is using them to keep the price of oil under control and prevent a major shock to their weakened and falling economies. That is, until they find a comprehensive way on how to deal with a host of issues, including Iran and the uprisings in the Arab world.”


  46. James Canning says:


    James Blitz of the FT was in Baghdad for the talks. He reports that the P5+1 “put a poroposal to Iran that would have seen Tehran freeze its production of [20% U} in return for a package of inducements. . .” If you are not able to discern a tight focus on the production of 20% U, you are not looking.

  47. Humanist says:

    A must hear Radio piece where Scott Horton interviews Flynt Leverett:


  48. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    May 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm


    You are quite wrong again in reading and interpreting plain language! I never said what you said I said!!

    US+UK want a deal on their terms – capitulation on independent influence and policy. The tricky part is get Iran to accept the surrender!

    The manufactured dispute has nothing to do with 20%, 5%, 3.5% or any other numerical value of any kind of enrichment.

    Iran was being sanctioned before enrichment. Iran was being sanctioned while Iran was willing to make a deal. Iran was sanctioned after it signed the Turkey-Brazil brokered deal that the US asked for. How many other instances does one need to decode the pattern?!

  49. Karl says:

    Arnold Evans,

    I am not so sure. The sanctions will bite, really hard. In such a situation there is a chance Iran might compromise for the benefit to keep the Islamic republic intact. Iran have survived many harsh imposition of sanctions, isolation and such and today I read they have worked around the SWIFT-ban, if this is correct remains to be seen though.

    I think Iran, like US, think they could get a better deal. Iran feel they could get a better deal by urging firmly, their rights under the NPT during the talks. US think they could get a better deal when these extensive sanctions are in place. Iran might compromise after 1st July (more than US may do because Iran have more to lose in that situation) and maybe US or EU will give Iran something valuable back in return that Iran could accept. It wont be a final settlement, maybe just a temporary ceasefire.

    We must also remember that the government is advised, their strategy is to keep Iran the Islamic republic. Also Iran have also said that they would be open for swap thus have atleast given the possibility to end this higher LEU enrichment. But then as you say sanctions must be lifted, all of them and this issue must be once and for all buried. And thats the crucial thing as more and more anlysts say – US must end sanctions in a deal and they must put forward it on the table as soon as possible so Iran, if US want, know that US may be serious in a deal.


  50. Fiorangela says:

    NIAC Discusses the Baghdad Talks

    Participants: Moderator: Trita Parsi; P J Crowley; George Perkovich, Bijan Khajehpour, managing partner of Atieh International.

    Khajehpour “said that the lack of deliverable results in Baghdad was due to “trust deficit” between the parties and a “mismatch between expectations from Tehran and what was feasible here from Washington and also in the EU,” regarding the easing of sanctions.”

    Aaron David Miller said:

    “Aaron David Miller, a long-time top State Department advisor on the Middle East now based at the Woodrow Wilson Center, suggested domestic political factors were the ultimate drivers of the diplomatic process. “I would argue that failure – however grim and catastrophic it may appear – is not the most important concern right now of either the President of the United States or the Supreme leader. It is each, in their own way, regime preservation and survival. For the President of the United States, there is one major priority between now and November and that is clear to everyone.”

  51. James Canning says:

    Reuters report (on politico.com site), regarding Wendy Sherman’s visit to Israel: “The US has gradually tempered its demands for an immediate and complete halt to Iran’s ability to make nuclear fuel. . .”

  52. Empty says:

    Actually, Iran could begin a period of censure-suspension of IAEA with clear demand that it begins to fulfill its obligation to Iran and her rights as a member. The less cooperative IAEA becomes, the more Iran should tighten the screw.

  53. James Canning says:


    Interesting story you linked, by Russia Today (that Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak refused to meet with Wendy Sherman, the US representative at the Baghdad talks with Iran).

  54. James Canning says:


    I think you are quite wrong to believe the P5+1 do not want a resolution of the dispute with Iran. The tricky part of it is to get a deal that Iran will accept, that does not pose a threat to Obama’s re-election chances.

  55. James Canning says:


    Obama has said very clearly the time for negotiations is limited. Very clearly. And the P5+1 made VERY CLEAR that step number one is for Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent.

  56. Arnold Evans says:


    This idea that the US might get a better deal after sanctions have started is really backwards. I’ll let George Perkovich explain from a link someone else provided earlier:

    George Perkovich, director of nuclear nonproliferation at the Carnegie Institute for Peace, warned that, without a U.S. or European willingness to ease sanctions—particularly with stringent oil export sanctions set to go online in July—there was little hope for a deal and the conflict could escalate.

    “One thing we know from looking at Iranian decision making and actions since 2005 is, when there is a big disappointment or the next turn of the ratchet, they increase the activity that we are most concerned about,” he said.

    I don’t know exactly what Iran’s response will be to increased sanctions, but if I were to guess, it would be an increase in the rate of its 20% enrichment and the announcement of at least one new better-shielded facility.

    Iran is not going to suspend anything, especially 20% enrichment without an agreement with the US, so if that agreement will not come until summer 2013, by that time Iran may have four or five hundred kgs of 20% LEU instead of slightly more than 100 kgs it has now.

    Which brings up another point jointly raised by Perkovich and Bijan Khajehpour:

    Khajehpour called for engagement and easing of sanctions to change Iran’s behavior, saying the pressure-focused approach to Iran “has compelled Iran to do things that were not in the Iranian strategy to start with.”

    For example, he noted that “in 2005, Iran was begging the Europeans to have 174 centrifuges, a research and development facility to be able to say to say to their own public that ‘we have an enrichment program.’ The European reaction? ‘You can’t even have one centrifuge.’ Today, Iran operates more than 10,000 centrifuges.”

    Perkovich noted that Iran already has nuclear know-how that cannot be eliminated militarily, and said Iran would not surrender the right to civilian nuclear enrichment. He argued that the only workable end-goal was an inspections-based solution in which Iran did retain what could be considered a latent nuclear weapons capability, but with at least a two-year breakout window.

    He maintained there must be an effort to “define in concrete terms what it means to not acquire nuclear weapons,” in greater specificity.

    “They will have to satisfy the International Atomic Energy Agency [and] intrusive inspections, but at the end of the day, we have to understand that where that gets you is Iran within two years of nuke.”

    Japan is, of course, famously less than weeks away from nuclear weapons if it chooses. Iran will never be two years from a nuke again. That’s not where it will be if the US imposes new sanctions and Iran accelerates its enrichment and then the sides come to the table a year from now.

    Iran will have a large enough and well protected enough stockpile of LEU by the time the US has a president who is actually able to engage, that it will be a lot closer to Japan than it is to Perkovich’s idea.

    Interestingly, if Perkovich had been setting US policy, Iran might have slowed its enrichment program further away from nuclear capability than it is now. Instead, the US is trading sanctions for Iran achieving the ability, in a crisis, to build nuclear weapons in a matter of months. Iran doesn’t even necessarily want this trade, or want to get an even shorter potential time-frame until it could build weapons in a crisis. Barack Obama is essentially forcing this trade on Iran.

    Hopefully for many people, Iran will never reach the point that is has tangible reason to be glad Obama did.

    On the other hand, Japan being weeks away from building a weapon in a crisis does have strategic benefits for Japan. The move from a matter of years to a matter of months that it would take for Iran to be able to build a weapon is likely to have strategic benefits that future generations of Iranian policy-makers may thank Obama for.

  57. Arnold Evans says:


    Obama has never said the US would attack Iran if it continues to enrich to 20%. Obama has said the US’ line for attacking is Iran building nuclear weapons, not capability, not 5%, not 20%.

    You claim to be certain Iran will be attacked for enriching to 20%:

    1) Nobody is certain except you. The reason for that is you have not presented any evidence or argument supporting your position.

    2) You also have not provided a reason that you think an attack over 20% would be more reasonable than an attack over 5%. 20% is closer to 90% than 5%. Yes. But 5% is closer than natural uranium. You’ve drawn a line at 20% that you just as easily can have drawn at 5%, and that Israel and the Barack Obama administration in fact do draw at 5%.

    This is silly. We get it. You don’t like 20% enrichment. Iran doesn’t care what you like. Iran is much less worried about your threats that it will be bombed if it does not stop enriching to 20% than it is about Israel’s threats (over the last 5 years!) to bomb it over 5%. And Iran doesn’t even seem worried about Israel’s threats.

    Everyone else:

    Here’s a fact about Egypt. Two people participated in Egypt’s historic first round presidential debates, Abdelmoneim Abol-Fotouh and Amr Moussa. The other candidates were excluded.

    Those two candidates came in fourth and fifth place in the election.


    It looks most likely that Mohammed Mursi will defeat Ahmed Shafiq in the run-off to become Egypt’s President and to complete the Muslim Brotherhood’s sweep of Egypt’s elections.

    The US is still buying influence over the Egyptian political process by means of secret payments to the military establishment. Barack Obama’s decision to keep US payments to the Egyptian military secret from Egypt’s parliament and people is typical of Obama, but also unconscionable.

    The secret payments are an important lever maintaining the colonial relationship the US has with the pro-US dictatorship and the key to US hopes that this relationship can effectively continue after an elected officials have formally taken office.

  58. Empty says:

    hummm….I guess I spoke too soon. The posts didn’t show in my browser even though I pressed the refresh button. Anyway…

  59. Empty says:

    Karl, Rehmat, and fyi…I posted a response to your comments. The one to Karl was quite extensive. It awaited moderation for hours and now none is posted (it was prior to all the other posts). Sorry, I don’t wish to re-write the points all over again.

  60. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    May 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Mr. Blitz is only superficially correct!

    The entire cadre of western negotiators are engaged in a formal (metaphorical) diplomatic dance with Iran’s negotiators. Once we are past Summer/Fall and strategic reserves can be used to temporarily avoid the potential gas price shock, Mr. Obama will ratchet up the rhetoric – followed by the usual mimeograph by the UK.

  61. Jay says:

    Photi says:
    May 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Mr. Ross’ 12 step program is a reworking of the Art of War (I believe Chap. 4). In fact, the book, as I recall, is much better!

  62. Karl says:

    Amazing, US have gone great lengths and have forsaken alot on their confrontation with Iran on behalf of the wishes in Israel, and this is the thanks by Israel? Could be rumours since the source is d*bka.

    Bad news unwelcome: Israel refuses to listen to US envoy’s report on Iran

  63. James Canning says:

    I recommend “The Missed Opportunity in Iran That Wasn’t (II)”, by Daniel Larison (May 28th)


    Charles Krauthammer, the neocon warmonger, is angry Obama did not arm the opposition in Iran after the so-called “stolen” election in 2009.

  64. Photi says:

    Dennis Ross’ 12-step program to better negotiation:

    1. Know what you want, know what you can live with

    2. Know everything there is to know about the decision maker(s) on the other side

    3. Build a relationship of trust with the key decision maker

    4. Keep in mind the other side’s need for an explanation

    5. To gain the hardest concessions, prove you understand what is important to the other side

    6. Tough love is also required: understanding and empathy is good but only goes so far–make sure they understand also there are consequences

    7. Employ the good cop–bad cop approach carefully

    8. Understand the value and limitations of deadlines

    9. Take only calculated risks

    10. Never lie, never bluff

    11. Don’t paper over differences

    12. Summarize agreements at the end of every meeting

    http://books.google.com/books?id=A69u9ZhEzTQC&num (Ch.9)

  65. James Canning says:

    “[F]ailure at Moscow w[ould] force Mr Obama to ratchet up the rhetoric against the regime in order to counter Republican accusations that he is being strung along by Iranian prevarication.” James Blitz in the FT today. This obviously is a correct assessment.

  66. James Canning says:

    Yoursaf Butt,

    The weakness in your argument is simply that the P5+1 might accept Iranian enrichment to 5%, but if Iran continues to enrich to 20 percent, it will almost certainly get attacked.

  67. James Canning says:

    Yousaf Butt,

    From reading your comments that you linked, I take it you think Iran should continue to stockpile 20 percent uranium, in order to pressure the P5+1 into lifting some of the sanctions. The P5+1 made clear they expected Iran to suspend enriching to 20 percent, to “build confidence”, and that this suspension could not be used as leverage to force a lifing of some sanctions.

  68. James Canning says:


    How has Iran’s power in the region increased, due to stockpiling 20 perecent uranium?

  69. James Canning says:

    Financial Times today reports that according to the IAEA, Iran now has 145 kg. of 20% U, up from 73.7kg in February. Stockpiling 20 percent uranium is an excellent way for Iran to portray itself as wanting to be able to build nukes quickly, and therefore to invite a US attack.

  70. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: May 26, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Iran already has repeatedly announced vague plans for building more nuclear reactors etc.

    I do not think very many of those announcements have been pursued with any vigor.

    I would be curious to see if they can build the reactor at Darkhovin – that is where Iranians have to be able to demonstrate their capabilities.

    Iran has many tactical choices; one would be announcing that she will leave NPT unless all sanctions are removed within the NPT Withdrawal period – 2 months.

  71. Unknown Unknowns says:

    We-B-Weasels* signed a deal with its puppet in Afghanistan to stay there for another 10 years? What’s going on?

    * I’m still refraining from using “Uncle Weasel” to see if the vacuum created by this sorely missed moniker will suck Dennis Ross and that threequarter-lizard Billary into the RFI site and thereby bring about a change in US policy. Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath.

  72. Empty says:

    fyi says,

    Iranians have done an excellent job of diplomacy but the actions of P5+1 in Baghdad clearly has been detrimental to the P5+1 Public Diplomacy.

    I agree. In addition, the US house bill and immediate travel to Israel by the US delegate were very clear. But I also think these actions were quite useful to demonstrate some concrete points to specific groups inside Iran who are “talks for the sake of talks” sort of “thinkers”.

  73. Empty says:

    Rehment says,

    As my Jewish blogger friend, Glad atzmon, wrote in 2010: “Iran must develop a nuclear bomb, sooner the better, to shut these warmongering Israeli poodles”.

    Not gonna’ happen.

  74. Empty says:


    RE: Why wouldnt Iran accept more talks? Whats the alternative? None. How is US and EU in a weak position and Iran in a strong? Especially after 1st of July/embargo?

    As for talks, because there is a clear evidence that the other side is not genuine at all and is not making good faith efforts. The evidence is such that if Iran ignores it, it’d be detrimental to her security.

    As for alternatives, 1) not talking is not only a good alternative sometimes but an absolutely necessary one. If done strategically and appropriately, silence is sometimes more powerful and effective than continuing to talk especially when it turns out to be no more than a verbal diarrhea or when the opposing side uses it as a means to wait out some vulnerability. 2) Iran’s conduct is not just followed by the P5+1 societies. There is world beyond the west, Russia, and China. That world matters to Iran far more than the west, Russia, and China. They are watching and taking notes.

    Sometimes, you just have to hang up on the idiot who is on the other side of the phone.

    Re; the July/embargo, we just have to wait and see who is going to feel more pain: the nail or the toe that just got smashed by the hammer. As a saying goes, اونها هنوز گرمند و حالیشون نسیت که چی شده. [The Europeans are right now on that period that they have realized they have smashed their own toe but the warm rush of adrenaline is not allowing them to feel the real pain yet. The throbbing will begin shortly.]

    Re; Iran being in a strong position: 1) Iran is in an extremely strong defensive position and has resisted any and all temptations to engage in some sort of offensive adventures (enough of analytical history is not written to illuminate this single and most powerful point); 2) Iran is one of the extremely rate countries in the world in which the ratio of its resources to its people is nearly 5:1. And through careful planning and wise management, she can maintain that for the next few centuries. It’s like having a huge farm with all the water, land, fruit trees, animals, etc. and worrying that the supermarket around the corner is not selling you the fruits (the very fruits that you are growing in your own garden and in vast quantity at that). 3) Iranian leadership has more wisdom and prudence to care for its population than all the P5+1 leaders combined.

    The fact that a reelection of corrupt and unscrupulous “leaders” such as Obama should figure so prominently into and be so detrimental to the future of a nation for the next few hundred years is just beyond tragic. As if these societies have forgotten that a leader is in fact there to act as a servant to people’s best interest (intra- and inter-generational interest, that is).

  75. Karl says:

    Some analysts say that the Moscow meeting is critical. Really?
    Why would US accept a deal with Iran when they might get a better deal after the embargo have kicked in?
    Or the reversed, why would Iran accept a deal if lifting of sanctions nor embargo is on the table?

    US/EU are playing with too high stakes for their own good and interest. Either they should strike a deal or announce their war plans. They cannot ditch diplomacy and still say a military action isnt in their interest/possible.

    Another what I would say critical thing is the development of the IAEA/Iran talks, then the P5+1 talks would be finished and this could be buried.

  76. Rehmat says:

    On May 25th. Lebanese celebrated 12th anniversary of liberation of South Lebanon from Israeli occupation forces and their Christian (Phalangists) collaborators. Lebanon’s Islamic Resistance, Hizbullah, fought the Jewish invaders and their Christian agents for nearly 22 year and finally forced them to withdraw from South Lebanon except for the land of Shebaa Farms, which remains under Israeli control, in May 2000.

    Addressing massive crowds which were marking the twelfth anniversary of Liberation in the southern city of Bint Jbeil, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the weapon of the resistance had defended Lebanon against the Zionist entity, adding that May 25 of the year of 2000 had hammered the last pin of the so-called Greater Israel, coffin.

    Iranian President, Dr. Ahmadinejad, in a letter to Hizbullah leader Sheikh Nasrallah praised Hizbullah and Lebanese people on their first victory over the powerful Jewish army.

    May 25th not only represents a day of pride for the Lebanese people but the entire Arab world – as it demonstrates how a small group of dedicated Muslim freedom-fighters succeeded in defeating world’s fith most powerful army. The Jewish army was later suffered another defeat when it launched its Nazi-style invasion of Lebanon in what is called the 34-day War in 2006.

    With the expulsion of Israeli troops from South Lebanon in May 2000, hundreds of Lebanese Christian collaborators and their families fled with the occupiers. Many have since returned and faced reduced prison sentences, others remain behind the wall that Israel is erecting to block the view of a land where it once roamed. The remaining collaborators are used by the Zionist regime as the first line of attack against Syria, Hizbullah and Iran.

    The Phalange Party was created by pro-Israel Zionist Christians in Philadelphia, Pa. on September 14th, 1985. Its official website proudly says: “Islam is the Enemy of Western Civilization“.


  77. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I’ll see if I can come up with something in response to your post about the ‘world as crypt’ cosmology, as I put it. I googled it in quotes and was very surprised to see only five true results, all of them being references to my own posts right here on RFI! So I can’t refer you to anyone other than Hans Jonas, (,http://isohunt.com/torrent_details/94421429/?tab=summary) the master Gnostic himself, and myself.

    But forget him. Here, try this one from a homeboy a while back (about a thousand years): http://www.amiscorbin.com/textes/Ebook.pdf

    Proceed directly to page 16. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Enjoy!

  78. A concerned world citizen says:

    Seriously, I think Iran should boycott the next meeting in Moscow until the P5 + 1 are really ready and serious about lifting sanctions.From the recent talks, it appears they want something for nothing. It’s also their PR way of “looking good” to their domestic audience and their assorted lobby groups.

    Iran’s nuclear program’s come a long way to be bagged and shipped to “neutral” countries. Look at Turkey today. Are they on good terms with Iran? What’s to say Turkey will refuse Iran access to their own nuclear materials, given Turkey’s latent hostilities to Iran lately over Syria and Iraq? In such a short time, Turkey’s almost burn almost half her bridge in a confrontation with Iran over Syria and accepting NATO radar on their soil. Wise move Iran didn’t ship her stuff to Turkey in 2010.

    They funny thing is, for the West, a nuclear capable Iran is a nightmare scenario for their Middle East domination plans. Instead of persuading Iran not to take that path, they’ve rather resorted to childish threats and confrontation which only bolsters Iran’s clout both domestically and in the region. Will they ever learn?

  79. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I stated earlier that the annual volume of non-oil exports had reached $45 billion last year (1390), up from the pathetic annual peak of $6 billion reached by the administrations of that Captain of Industry Rafsanjani and that Occimanic Advocate for the Intercourse of Civilizations (but not, alas, of trade). I had also related that the government’s prediction for fiscal 1991 is at a whopping $60 billion. That is an order of magnitude larger than the level at which “the incompetents” in the Achmanimabob administration took over the helm.

    Let me repeat that: The most important economic indicator and leading indicator demonstrating the genuine decoupling of the Iranian economy from its oil and gas sectors is set to improved by an order of magnitude in the last seven years.

    But that is not news. I also predicted that this trend would continue and annual trade volume would probably reach $600 billion in the next 10-15 years. Well, IRINN is now reporting that the government is eying a rate of $160 billion. They did not specify a timeframe, but I suspect that this is based on actual deals that are “in the pipeline”, if you’ll forgive the expression. I suspect that they have a deal cooking where they will sell their reconditioned F-4 Tomcats to the Saudis and the UAE for another $100 billion. Hey, what’s good for the weasel is good for the gander.

    Another prediction: Moscow will fail, and Iran will announce plans to build a dozen or so nuclear reactors as part of the next two five-year plans using indigenous technology. I think it would be foolhardy in terms of any and all cost-benefit analyses, but I said we don’t EAT pork; I never said we weren’t pigheaded.

  80. M. Ali says:

    Interesting interview with Iranian nuclear negotiator from Khatami’s time,


  81. Anon says:

    OpEd in CSM —


    “By not lifting sanctions, West and Obama are helping Iran enrich uranium….

    The West just blew its latest chance to rein in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Though Iran expressed willingness to compromise on key demands, by refusing to ease sanctions, the P5+1 nations offered no meaningful reciprocity, derailing the possibility of a deal with Tehran.”

  82. fyi says:

    Empty says: May 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    As a negotiating strategy what you suggest makes sense.

    That is, during the first session of the meetings in June, if Iranians do not get what they want (whatever that is) they should just walk out of the hall and leave for Tehran.

    That action would “concentrate the minds of their interlocutors like a death sentence” and almost certainly lead to a change in their negotiating position.

    I agree with you that Iranians will no longer participate if there are no possibility of any gains – even small tactical gains.

    We would know before June is out.

    Clearly, the tables are turned now and P5+1 – certainly US and EU – are considered the problem.

    Iranians have done an excellent job of diplomacy but the actions of P5+1 in Baghdad clearly has been detrimental to the P5+1 Public Diplomacy.

  83. yousaf says:

    You may be interested in my take on the Iran/IAEA/P5+1 negotiations and sanctions,
    in the CSMonitor —


  84. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Interesting post at Iran Affairs:

    First extract (quoting a 2003 article)

    “In general this document [the EU offer belatedly made to Iran pursuant to the Paris Agreement deal of 2003] is vague on incentives and heavy on demands. It proposes
    new processes of further dialogue with the potential for cooperation in a number of
    areas, but few concrete offers. The demands upon Iran in contrast are specific and

    As the post mentions, exactly similar to the demands being made today, on one hand arrogant, absolutist demands that Iran must bow to the will of the US, and on the other vague promises that the US may do something at some point in the future if it feels like it and Iran is really nice.


  85. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    kooshy says:
    May 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    An especially revealing extract from the article:

    “In fact no “right” to process uranium exists under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and multiple resolutions of the U.N. Security Council have ordered Iran to cease enrichment. The Obama administration rightly has taken the position that it will consider accepting Iranian uranium enrichment only at the end of a negotiating process; even then such a concession would be highly risky and probably unacceptable to Israel.”

    Completely open, shameless lying that can be revealed as such by anyone who actually takes the time to look at the terms of the NPT, by one of the self described leaders of the MSM in the US.

  86. Rehmat says:

    Several pro-Israel Jewish groups lead by Abraham Foxman have urged Jordanian government to take action to ensure that the recent Arabic translation of Jewish Talmud is not used to teach hatred of Jews and Israel among the Arabs.


  87. Rehmat says:

    Empty – It’s high time Iranian leaders wake-up to the P5+1 agenda – A PRO-ISRAEL REGIME CHANGE IN TEHRAN – which no different what the US-Israel-France-Turkey-Saudia are doing in Syria.

    As my Jewish blogger friend, Glad atzmon, wrote in 2010: “Iran must develop a nuclear bomb, sooner the better, to shut these warmongering Israeli poodles”.

  88. kooshy says:

    It seems that WP a news print closely associated with US military and security services in its recent editorial it shows disappointment that Iran did not accept the western offer to halt her higher enrichment and insisting on her NPT rights, but the Post like the US military still prefers fruitless negotiations to war, one wonders what caused Post’s editorial board change of mind from just a few months back when they were suggesting there remains is no other way forward except war.

    Iran’s hard bargain
    By Editorial Board, Friday, May 25, 4:35

    “While an interim bargain that arrests what has looked like a slide toward war remains desirable, Iran cannot be granted much more time to build and install centrifuges. The next round of talks must be more productive.”


  89. Karl says:


    Why wouldnt Iran accept more talks? Whats the alternative? None.
    How is US and EU in a weak position and Iran in a strong? Especially after 1st of July/embargo?

  90. Empty says:

    RE: “We anticipate that Tehran will continue using the talks for this purpose for some time; at this point, neither side is taking an approach that, in the near term, is likely to prompt a complete breakdown.”

    I think you are mistaken/misreading Iran’s position with respect to the talks. Iranian leadership made a decision to engage in talks for a specified and limited period of time. June 19/20 is when that period ends. I would be greatly surprised if Iran agrees to any future talks. I do not believe US/EU truly appreciate/recognize in what weak position they are and what strong position Iran is.

  91. Empty says:

    LOL…I guess we got so habituated with a McDonald mentality of fast posting that it would take us a while to get used to waiting for a well prepared cuisine.

  92. Empty says:

    James Canning says,

    RE: “Saudi Arabia spends tens of billions of dollars (pounds) on British and American weapons. This, plus ISRAEL LOBBY, explains a good deal.”

    Saudi Arabia, Britain, US, and Israel Lobby…….a distinction without a difference.
    کبوتر با کبوتر باز با باز…کبوتر کی کند با باز پرواز؟ …… in other words, birds of a feather flock together.

  93. James Canning says:


    I of course agree with you the ISRAEL LOBBY is the primary driver behind the sanctions against Iran.

  94. James Canning says:


    Have the Europeans been fighting “Afghanistan” the past ten years? No. Fighting in Afghanistan, yes.

    Same in Iraq. US was not fighting “Iraq” more than a matter of weeks. Fighting in Iraq for year after year, of course.

  95. James Canning says:

    “The last five times gas prices have spiked during a U.S. presidential campaign, the incumbent party has lost the election.” Uri Friedman, May 24th (in foreignpolicy.com).

  96. Karl says:

    If it wasnt for the lobby we wouldnt be on the verge of war. That isnt to say that america and iran would be best buddies, but there wouldnt have been any sanction and obviously no UN sanctions. Iran is simply to powerful in the region to neglect or even wage war against from an american perspective. Much more so than Saudi arabia. Just take any topic in the middle east and realize that the resistance-states have ties everywhere to Iran.

    Its amazing that not only americans but also europeans are so short-sighted and stubborn. They wage wars agains Iraq and Afghanistan, the first ended with a pro-Iran government the second still fighting with no end in sight. Which impacted the financial crisis 2008 and still impact the economy today. Trillions of dollars.
    When it comes to the EU its even worse their EU-project is fragile to say atleast with more and more states probably going bankrupt in the coming of years, banks getting down graded every month from basically every state. Now these same states EU and US want to use the oil embargo?! While will burden them even more! And not only that they have obviously not reached the obvious conclusion that war wouldnt be in their interest when they obviously cannot even fix the previous ones!

    US need to think rational, the outspoken politicians and defense clientele (like Panetta and Dempsey) must take a more firm stance and make clear that there will be no war and a diplomatic solution is the only way. A diplomatic solution that is serious and based on both sides wishes.

    Now if Obama win the election he have obviously more room use. Will he then adhere more to the military action argument or could he get more serious about a deal with Iran? Atleast what we here call a temporary ceasefire in 2013?

  97. James Canning says:


    Saudi Arabia spends tens of billions of dollars (pounds) on British and American weapons. This, plus ISRAEL LOBBY, explains a good deal.

  98. James Canning says:

    Iran is not a “stronger” or “richer” country if it produces its own nuclear fuel for power plants.

    The primary issue is whether Iran stops enriching to 20 percent. Apparently the rate of production has been reduced considerably in recent months (judgm ing from the amoutn of 20% U now held by Iran). Anyone with special knowledge on this point?

  99. Empty says:

    Indeed a really good question raised. “I guess at the end of the day you have to ask the question: who would we better off allying ourselves with, the Sunni kings or the Shi’a revival?”

    Evidence suggests that دیزی قل می خوره درش رو پیدا می کنه [the pot rolls and finds a lid that is a perfect fit.] The US Inc. have more in common with SA kings than with Iran. Certainly, they feel more comfortable working with those who are their kindred spirit.