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The Race for Iran

IS OBAMA PREPARING TO COMMIT THE UNITED STATES TO AN EVENTUAL WAR AGAINST THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN?

The next 72 hours are critical for President Barack Obama to make his case to America’s pro-Israel constituencies and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he will continue to follow their lead in dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran.   AIPAC’s annual policy conference opens tomorrow in Washington, DC, with an estimated 13,000 participants ready to get fired up and then fan out across Capitol Hill in a vivid display of the Israel lobby’s presumptive political clout.  Both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, will address the conference.  Obama will, too, in what will almost certainly be his most important statement to pro-Israel constituencies before America’s November 2012 presidential election.  His Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, will also address the crowd to assure them that the U.S. military, in Obama’s words, “has Israel’s back.” And, of course, on March 5, Obama and Netanyahu will meet at the White House for a conversation focused on Iran. 

President Obama, the notional “leader of the free world,” is desperate for Netanyahu not to derail his re-election campaign with a public dressing-down, either at the AIPAC conference or at the Oval Office press availability for their White House meeting.  Tellingly, Obama called in Netanyahu’s American scribe, Jeffrey Goldberg, earlier this week to put his opening offer for Netanyahu on the table.  Indeed, Obama starts the interview, see here, by declaring, “First of all, it’s important to say that I don’t know exactly what the prime minister is going to be coming with.” 

Obama makes clear that, whatever he might have said as a presidential candidate or in his initial weeks as president, he has disavowed any meaningful interest in “Nixon to China” rapprochement with the Islamic Republic and will continue to follow Israel’s lead on the issue.  This confirms our assessment, first advanced in a New York Times Op Ed in May 2009, see here, that Obama was never serious about engaging Tehran.  The assessment has since been confirmed by some of the Wikileaks cables, see here and here; moreover, at least two former Obama Administration officials—Reza Marashi and Vali Nasr—are at this point on record saying that the administration was never serious about diplomacy with the Islamic Republic. 

Now, Obama himself is telling the world that his campaign rhetoric about engaging Iran was a sham.  He recounts for Goldberg, “We, immediately upon taking over, mapped out a strategy that said we are going to mobilize the international community around this issue [the prospect of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon] and isolate Iran.”  This is important in dealing with Netanyahu, because Obama wants the Israeli prime minister to know that he harbors no ambitions for a diplomatic breakthrough with the Islamic Republic—not even in a second term. 

Obama then elaborates on a theme that former National Security Council Iran policy chief Dennis Ross and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon have been emphasizing for months:  the administration’s policy is not primarily about changing specific Iranian behavior (actual or potential), but rather about weakening the Islamic Republic.  On this point, Obama says, “We have been successful beyond most people’s expectations…Iran is isolated and feeling the severe effects of the multiple sanctions that have been placed on it.” 

Note that, in Obama’s presentation, the indicator of policy success is Iran’s purported isolation and suffering from the “severe effects” of economic warfare, not changes in any Iranian policy about which the United States has an objection.  Obama vows “to continue to apply pressure until Iran takes a different course.”  But he’s not talking about the Islamic Republic making or threatening to use a nuclear weapon—for Obama himself says that Iran has not even decided to make such a weapon.  The “different course” that Tehran must take, according to Obama, includes, among other items, to surrender its uranium enrichment program.  Such a surrender would eviscerate Iran’s claim to act as a genuinely independent power in the Middle East.  Following Israel’s direction, the real goal of Obama’s Iran policy is to make the Islamic Republic so weak that it could not ever act independently to constrain the United States or any of its allies from unilaterally using military force in the Persian Gulf or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Obama also makes clear that his apparent interest in meaningful outreach to the Muslim world, articulated in two 2009 speeches (one in Istanbul, the other in Cairo), and which Netanyahu saw as so threatening to Israel’s regional position, is all in the past.  Specifically, Obama says, “The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound.  It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons.  So now you have the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world, one that is rife with unstable governments and sectarian tensions.  And it would also provide Iran the additional capability to sponsor and protect its proxies in carrying out terrorist attacks, because they are less fearful of retaliation.” 

So, according to Obama, the “profound threat” that Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapon poses is that it could “protect” Islamist groups fighting foreign occupation and publics at risk of foreign invasion and abuse, from Lebanon to Bahrain.  (Contrast that to Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban and Al-Qa’ida; American Presidents don’t characterize that as a “profound threat,” or speculate at length about how Pakistan’s actual nuclear weapons could be given to the Taliban or Al-Qa’ida.) 

Obama then pleads for more time—because, of course, Iran hasn’t decided to make a nuclear weapon, so there is time—asserting that he is looking to resolve Israel and America’s problems with Iran’s nuclear program “permanently.”  Strikingly, Obama defines “permanently” by referring to two countries where denuclearization was achieved by the overthrow of existing political orders—apartheid South Africa and Libya.  Obama is surely not making those comparisons to persuade Tehran of his genuine interest in finding a diplomatic solution.  

Obama reminds Netanyahu that he stood with Israel, even when Israeli soldiers killed an unarmed American citizen (who was also a Turkish national) in the “flare-up involving the flotilla” that was trying to bring supplies to a civilian population in Gaza blockaded by Israel.  With evident exasperation, Obama asks, “Why is it that despite me never failing to support Israel on every single problem that they’ve had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?” 

It seems clear that Netanyahu is coming to Washington determined to extract from Obama a commitment to use American military power, not to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but at a future point (presumably after November 2012) when there is a general recognition that sanctions have failed to get the Islamic Republic to surrender on the issue of uranium enrichment.  That is the crucial bottom line.  The problem with Iran’s nuclear program, from an Israeli perspective, is not some threshold of nuclear development that Iran has yet to cross.  The problem is the program, as it currently exists and operates. 

From the Goldberg interview, we would surmise that it will not be that hard for Netanyahu to extract such a commitment from Obama.  But that is going to give Netanyahu bankable leverage over the American President after November 2012—whether that President is a re-elected Obama or a new Republican.  Congress, on a bipartisan basis, will be squarely behind the Israeli prime minister on this one.  As it becomes ever more evident that Tehran is not going to surrender its nuclear program, even in the face of escalating sanctions, Netanyahu will return to Washington at some point in the next 1-2 years—and he will want the Oval Office’s occupant to deliver on the commitment that Barack Obama is getting ready to give him. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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259 Responses to “IS OBAMA PREPARING TO COMMIT THE UNITED STATES TO AN EVENTUAL WAR AGAINST THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN?”

  1. Justa says:

    Great post, I believe people should learn a lot from this website its really user friendly. So much good info on here :D.

  2. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You inferred I claimed Iran announced it was trebling production of 20% U, and that this was untrue.

    I accept your concession that you withdraw your comment.

  3. James Canning says:

    AC__Ali,

    Gaddafi said that nuclear weapons are expensive and dangerous to the country that posseses them. This was good sense, and not a comment by a “coward”.

  4. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Is it not a bit ironic that Iran wanted to injure Jimmy Carter when Carter was so strongly in favor of ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza?

  5. condemn the racists says:

    {BUT, I will add one thing. I do have great respect for Jewish culture in comparison to Islamic culture.}

    Sassan exposed himself. He is really Nima Rashedan, zionist stooge and CIA agent who lives in czeck republic and he is racist like the zionists. Please review the following link to know his reactionary views on Israel.

    http://www.israel-iran.org/Articles/Articles-Rashedan.htm

    خوشتان بیاید یا نیاید، دوستی یا دشمنی اسرائیل ملاک انتخاب است میان تمدن و بدویت – این یک حکم راستگرایانه، نئوکنسرواتیو و غیرانسانی نیست.

  6. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Both accounts are wrong.

    Iranians wanted to make sure that Mr. Carter would not get any credit.

    They wanted to harm Mr. Carter to the very end of his presidency.

  7. AC_Ali says:

    One point about the post that is intended to offer friendly constructive troubleshooting:

    Libya abandoned nuclear ambition way before there was any talk of regime change. So that denuclearization was achieved unrelated to regime change.

    And Kadafi yielded to the US out of cowerdice. Which is what the Zionists are seeking to emulate with Iran and Mr. Obama is acting as the spokes person for them during that interview with Mr. J.Goldberg.

  8. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    Yes, which proves you are a Zionist stooge that speaks Hebrew which leads you to mistranslate a commonly used expression in the English language. Did you see my previous post? Thanks for illustrating your award winning stupidity once again.

  9. Karl says:

    James,

    “If you are lacking a key fact, such as the above, and need me to establish it for you, do let me know.”

    If you read the messages being directed to you here on the board you wouldnt asking such obvious questions. You could check the previous post by Leverette’s and I asked you the same thing.

  10. Sassan says:

    Ignoramus, I always use the phrase “far time”. You really need some mental help.

  11. M. Ali says:

    He also made that hilarious slip, “sanjak”…

  12. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    And the way you are still attempting to dodge the little slip you made at the beginning of this thread that I mentioned previously: “FAR TIME to liberate Iran”, you should really be more careful before you post in future to avoid slip ups like that. Don’t worry though; I am fully prepared to remind you of it in the future if it proves to be necessary.

  13. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    Note I did not say you were Jewish, I said you were a Zionist stooge, which you are. Funny how you assume I am Muslim, I guess that anyone who disagrees with you is assumed to be evil which to you apparently=Muslim…just another example of your intellectually deformed approach to the world. Also funny you loudly proclaim you are not a propagandist and than go on to utter the usual string of Zionist propaganda talking points about the superiority of Jewish culture, Muslims are evil, etc. Yes, that was very convincing, keep it up.

  14. Sassan says:

    lolololol @ you paranoid and deluded nuts. IF you’d like to think that I am a “Zionist” or a “Jew” go ahead and I wish you a very warm welcome. In fact, I am wearing a very nice Zionist yamika. IF in contrast you want to imagine me as a Kurd, go ahead and enjoy that too. Or maybe you think I am an MEK or a Bahai or some other delusion of your choice?

    In reality, I am MUCH worse. I am a kafar, a mohareb…an ATHEIST. Yes, a rationalist and free thinker. I do not believe in your evil celestial dictator and murderous “prophet” Muhammad. Like most Iranians, I was technically “born” a Muslim but also like most Iranians, fortunately I was not indoctrinated from the cradle to be brainwashed as you Hizbollis surely are and was not infested with the evils that constitute your minds.

    BUT, I will add one thing. I do have great respect for Jewish culture in comparison to Islamic culture. All one has to do is look at the list of Nobel Laureates and simply observe the contributions made by that culture to science and to the betterment and advancement of humanity. In contrast, there simply aren’t free thinkers constituting the Nobel Laureates from the Islamic world. Why might that be? Is it because that in Islamic societies they call all their non-believers as “apostates” and condemn them to death? Hence, any free thinkers in these countries more often than not escape to the west to continue their pursuits of science and research. It says a lot when it is estimated that 15-30% of Israelis are atheist Jews. They value their free thinkers rather than condemning them as “kafars”. It speaks volumes on cultures. Saying this, Iranian culture is not an Islamic culture but rather a Persian culture. Hence, Iranians in the west constitute great scientists including at positions at the most esteemed universities and institutions and especially at NASA and other high levels of scientific endeavors.

  15. down with zionist stooges says:

    Hamas rules out military support for Iran in any war with Israel}

    The hell with you and hamas. fu**k off

  16. down with zionist stooges says:

    that child marriage was legal in Iran in one thread and than}

    He is from the Kurdish terrorists who are under mossad to expand thier tribe. Child
    marriage and stoning is very popular among these terrorist and servant of zionists.

    These terrorists cannot be trusted. They are servants to whoever needs them to kill
    for them to expand their ……..

    bring down zionist stooges where ever they are. In north of Iraq or at the white H..

  17. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    Or is it based on total word count? Hmm…I may be onto something here. Do your supervisors know you copy/paste whole articles to meet the required daily word count rather than making any actual arguments?

  18. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    How much are you paid per post? Or do you receive a salary that requires you to make a minimum number of posts per day?

  19. Sassan says:

    Hamas rules out military support for Iran in any war with Israel

    Senior figures say Gaza-based Islamic militants would not launch rockets into Israel at request of Tehran, a key sponsor

    Hamas will not do Iran’s bidding in any war with Israel, according to senior figures within the militant Islamic group.

    “If there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war,” Salah Bardawil, a member of the organisation’s political bureau in Gaza City, told the Guardian.

    He denied the group would launch rockets into Israel at Tehran’s request in response to a strike on its nuclear sites. “Hamas is not part of military alliances in the region,” said Bardawil. “Our strategy is to defend our rights”

    The stance underscores Hamas’s rift with its key financial sponsor and its realignment with the Muslim Brotherhood and popular protest movements in the Arab world.

    Bardawil’s words were echoed by a second senior Hamas figure, who declined to be named. Hamas, he said, “would not get involved” in any war between Iran and Israel.

    Speculation in Israel about the repercussions of a military strike on Iran has encompassed the likelihood of the Jewish state coming under sustained rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Both organisations are routinely described by Israeli officials as “proxies” for the Iranian regime.

    However, Hamas has never given “complete loyalty” to Tehran, said Bardawil, pointing out that Iran’s population is overwhelmingly Shia, whereas Gaza is Sunni. “The relationship was based on common interests.”

    Tehran has withdrawn its patronage of Hamas over the Palestinian group’s refusal to support the Syrian regime against a year-long uprising. According to a Gazan academic who specialises in Islamic movements, this has included the termination of financial support worth $23m (£14.5m) a month.

    “Iran is very unhappy about Hamas and Syria, so it is punishing Hamas,” said Adnan Abu Amer of Ummah university. “They have stopped funding. Hamas has other sources – the Gulf states, Islamic movements, charities – but all of these together are not comparable to $23m a month.”

    Bardawil denied this sum, saying “the money that comes from Iran is very limited. In the early days of the [Israeli] blockade [of Gaza], the money was very good, but it was reduced two years ago.” The cut in funding “is not because of the Syrian revolution,” he added.

    Abu Amer, who had links to both Hamas and the Syrian government during three years in Damascus studying for a PhD, likens the rupture between the two sides to a divorce. “Syria has become the past for Hamas. It’s not a complete divorce, but the love will not return. Both sides understand this.”

    Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, was the second most important person in the country after President Bashar al-Assad, said Abu Amer. “The hotline between them was unique.” Hamas leaders in Syria were treated like members of state, he said. “The regime even allowed Hamas people to hold weapons. It was like a military base for Hamas.”

    But the uprising against the regime put Hamas in a critical position. “For 10 months, Hamas kept silent in public about the Syrian revolution, neither for it nor against it. But inside Hamas, there was another revolution – arguments within the leadership over the killing of Syrian people,” said Abu Amer.

    “The exiled leadership was frozen, because they had no other place to go. But others, in Gaza and elsewhere, wanted to speak out against the killings, especially the clerics. This was a burden on the leadership.”

    In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood in the region was openly critical of the Syrian regime and urged Hamas to break with Assad. In particular, the influential Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi put personal pressure on Meshaal, said Abu Amer.

    Bardawil confirmed the dilemma for the exiled Hamas leadership. “When the bloodshed increased, it was hard ethically not to express sadness. Hamas always stands with the people, not the regimes, but does that not mean holding a weapon to take part in military action against the regime.”

    The Muslim Brotherhood exerted an influence, he said. “Hamas has been part of the Muslim Brotherhood from the beginning. The leadership has a very tight relationship with the Brotherhood leadership.” The connection between the two organisations was based on ideology, he said, whereas the relationship between Hamas and Syria was strategic.

    Hamas has been careful not to completely cut its ties with Syria despite the relocation of the leadership to other countries. “There are still a few Hamas members in Damascus,” said Abu Amer. “And those who left have not made public statements against the regime. Both sides need back-up.”

    According to Bardawil, the Hamas office in Damascus “is still open and functioning, but is empty. We still haven’t found another country to move our office to.” The external leadership is now scattered across Jordan, Qatar and Egypt, with one politburo member, Imad al-Alami, returning to Gaza after a 20-year absence.

    Some observers say the fragmentation of the external leadership of Hamas has inevitably strengthened the hand of the internal Gaza-based leadership headed by the de facto Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahar. Frictions between the two sets of leaders have grown in recent months, particularly over the issue of political reconciliation between Hamas and its rival, Fatah. Meshaal has pushed hard for a rapprochement; Haniyeh and Zahar are resistant.

    In an unexpected and forceful show of solidarity in a speech in Cairo last month, Haniyeh saluted “the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform”. The move explicitly underlined Hamas’s rift with the regime.

    According to Abu Amer, the external leadership was uncomfortable with Haniyeh’s public stance. But more statements could be expected in the future, he said. “It will gradually become more public. But the clearer, stronger statements will come from Hamas in Gaza.”

    Hamas, he said, wants to be part of the Arab Spring. “The revolutions in the Arab world and the rise of Islamic movements affected Hamas. Hamas read it very well.” The organisation was realigning itself with ascendant Islamist movements which are more oriented towards elections and reaching out to the West than armed resistance. “Hamas cannot be asked to erase the history of 25 years in one day. But it’s coming.”

    Indicative of that was unofficial back-channel contacts between western officials and representatives of Hamas. Bardawil said that he and Zahar met a delegation of Europeans and Americans in Cairo last May, and there had been subsequent meetings with different Hamas representatives. He declined to give details but said: “We are asking to have those channels and connections to western countries. We want to tell our story.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/06/hamas-no-military-aid-for-iran?newsfeed=true

  20. James Canning says:

    “Obama trying to distance himself from war rhetoric against Iran”:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/230333.html

  21. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    Oh and Sassan also thinks that the word “Marg” should be translated as “death” in the context he gave when it should more appropriately be translated in that context as “end” or “down with.” Yeah, Sassan’s level of knowledge continues to (fail) to impress anyone with a brain.

  22. James Canning says:

    Lady Ashton announced Tuesday negotitations with Iran will resume. She was speaking for the EU, three of whose countries are included in the six parties.

  23. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    Yes and of course nothing has happened in the 11 years that have passed since that unsourced article made those claims has it Sassan? Of course not. Funny thing is that you yourself admitted that was a lie previously after posters on previous threads proved it was a lie…now you make a different claim, hmm…someone who is not a moron might find that does not enhance your credibility…

  24. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I asked you simply to confirm you are not aware that Iran announced in early June 2011 its intention to treble production of 20 percent uranium. What “conspiracy” are you talking about?

    If you are lacking a key fact, such as the above, and need me to establish it for you, do let me know.

  25. James Canning says:

    Miit Romney claims the election of Ronald Reagan prompted the mullahs to free the American hostages. Is it not correct to say Reagan operatives asked the Iranians not to release those hostages?

  26. Karl says:

    James,

    Please, your continued conspiracy theories you could keep for yourself. No one here appreciate it, you are just flooding the board with nonsense.

  27. Sassan says:

    Iran: Council Of Guardians Rules 9 Years Is Girls’ Marriage Age

    UN WIRE: unfoundation.org

    “The Iranian Council of Guardians has ruled that girls as young as 9 can be married with parental permission, quashing an attempt by the country’s reformist Parliament to raise the minimum age to 15 for girls and 18 for boys.

    The council, the oversight body that rules whether legislation complies with Muslim law, said the measure passed by Parliament late last month was contrary to Islamic law. Marriage has been promoted by Iranian authorities to prevent ’social corruption.’

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2872/is_1_27/ai_71563378/

  28. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    You know you are an idiotic Zionist stooge when…you use a phrase that connects time with distance which is not the correct expression in English but is a common concept in Hebrew.

    Behold!!

    “The Hebrew word olam means in the far distance. When looking off in the far distance it is difficult to make out any details and what is beyond that horizon cannot be seen. This concept is the olam. The word olam is also used for time for the distant past or the distant future as a time that is difficult to know or perceive. In the Hebrew mind it is simply what is at or beyond the horizon, a very distant time.”

    Source: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/27_eternity.html

  29. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    Do you realize you expose your assumed identity to be an absurdity when you repeat lies that were exposed as false in a thread just a few months ago which anyone can read? Oh that’s right, I forgot we were talking about you. Your stupidity is so immense it must take constant work and practice to maintain its current unmatched level.

  30. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    But Sassan since as you so correctly point out no one on this site can be trusted to provide a translation and we know you never tell a lie HOW DO WE KNOW WE CAN TRUST YOU. A true paradox that only someone with a mind like Sassan’s can solve.

  31. Sassan says:

    Child marriages is of course legal in Iran under the IRI. 9-year old girls can be wed off as long as they have had their menstruation and 12-year old girls can be sent off without even running it by the courts. This is a matter of indisputable fact. OF course 9-year old and 12-year old girls are not considered as “children” under Shariah law in Iran.

  32. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    No of course you don’t lie Sassan, that’s why you claimed that child marriage was legal in Iran in one thread and than made another absurd claim in the following thread when that was proven to be false…oh wait.

  33. BiBiJon says:

    “I think the Iranian decision to treble production of 20% U led directly to the Saudi effort to overthrow the government of Syria. The Iranian decision clearly was a blunder.”

    WRONG

    It was Iran’s decision to develop “1,000 megawatts of renewable energy, with a special focus on solar power.”

    http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3090

  34. James Canning says:

    k_w,

    Are you suggesting the Saudis decided to seek the overthrow of the government of Syria before Iran announced in early June 2011 that it would treble production of 20% U?

  35. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Are you actually stating on the record you are not aware that Iran in early June 2011 announced it would treble productioon of 20% U? Yes? No?

  36. BiBiJon says:

    Earlier I wrote:

    M. Ali says:
    March 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    When Likudniks went for broke propagandizing against Iran, they ran the risk that at some point too much becomes too damn much; preaching louder and louder to the choir does make the choir incensed, but at the risk of cheesing everybody else off.

    Likudniks have over played their hand.
    ———–

    Now this from http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2012/03/making-israel-the-issue-in-iran-affairs.html

    “And the more people learn about Israel’s role in pushing for a war on Iran, as well as the damage that uncritical US-backing of Israel has done to US national interests, the more isolated the lobby becomes, and the greater the popular backlash becomes, unless the lobby does something to contain this. They, and Netanyahu, have tried very hard to portray Iran as a danger to the US itself, rather than to Israel, and thus try to reframe their conflict with Iran as a US conflict with Iran. But as more Americans learn about Israel, the less likely they are to see Iran as the US’s problem.”

  37. Mohammad says:

    Sassan,

    Isn’t Iran, after all, a brutal, Orweillian, totalitarian police state where people are not even allowed to think freely, let alone to contact outside world, or God forbid, talk against the rulers of Iran? Do ordinary people really have access to telephones in Iran?
    Then maybe the people who called VOA were Sundis-drinking Bassij members trying to fool the viewers! Of course, they’re obviously the ones who are thirsty for a war, not the scared-to-death ordinary Iranian people or the peace-loving Israeli and American officials.

  38. expose Mossad's pawns says:

    {Next time they take calls from Iran (which I am sure will be very soon) simply have an Iranian speaker who is honest (not one from here) listen and translate for you what they say.}

    They are Kurdish terrorists who told the cia agent attack Iran and give us weapons so we can FIGHT AND KILL PEOPLE FOR the terrorist state of the united states and Israel. The kurdish pawns are trained by Mossad and they are terrorizing states in the region on behalf of the apartheid entity, Israel, بخیال خود قبیله خود را گشاد کنند .

    Damned with the enemies of Iran including the Mossad’s pawns.

  39. Sassan says:

    k_w: I don’t lie or make things up. That is the responsibility for the rest of you on here. VOA was available for all to hear. Next time they take calls from Iran (which I am sure will be very soon) simply have an Iranian speaker who is honest (not one from here) listen and translate for you what they say.

  40. k_w says:

    @James:

    The Free Syrian Army fighters have been trained in Incirlik since May 2011.

  41. k_w says:

    @Sassan,

    Pahlavi Jr. refused to present the LoD documents to the media because he immediately recognized the forgery. It was done by the FTO-listed MEK. If there had been anyone decent enough to represent a majority he or she would have been found. There are dozends of Iranian Jews who go on holiday in Israel but no traitor-freedom fighter has been found so far who would have been willing to repeat your lies. You must be desperate.

  42. BiBiJon says:

    M. Ali says:
    March 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    When Likudniks went for broke propagandizing against Iran, they ran the risk that at some point too much becomes too damn much; preaching louder and louder to the choir does make the choir incensed, but at the risk of cheesing everybody else off.

    Likudniks have over played their hand.

  43. M. Ali says:

    In a previous comment, Eric posted about seeing a change in reader comments.

    I think I notice the same thing.

    Look at this,

    http://rt.com/news/iran-iaea-parchin-talks-987/comments/

    Out of the 10 comments, only 2 are against Iran, and both from the same person. Of course, I dont know much about rt.com

  44. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    I call on Iran to immediately intervene in Israel and overthrow its corrupt, murderous, despotic, oppressive, terrorist regime with any military force it considers necessary to accomplish that end. And remember Sassan, any civilian casualties caused by the Iranian military intervention are fine because I do not like the Israeli government and think it needs to be replaced with a more representative and democractic one that no longer oppresses its own population.

  45. BiBiJon says:

    Karl says:
    March 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Karl,

    Israel-firsters of various stripes are busy finessing Obama’s push back. But the string of interviews, speeches, press briefings etc are getting beyond wishful interpretation.

    The Obama administration does not want war. Period.

    The world economy, and particularly the US and EU economies can not maintain the brinksmanship over oil sanctions against the world’s 4th largest oil producer, nor can anyone afford to quarantine the word’s 26th (nominal) and 17th(PPP) largest economy.

    It would be ridiculous to not fight and not sanction, but also not avail the western nations to the economic opportunities in Iran. But, to do that the west must normalize relations with Iran.

    Israel can finesse the realities until the 11th hour. At that time, at that hour, Israel will adjust herself to the end of western hostilities towards Iran.

    Some here argue that is unlikely to the extreme, as if I were expressing a wish. My position is TINA: there is no alternative, for the west. But, it also happens to be my wish that US and Iran bury the hatchet.

  46. Karl says:

    Bibijohn,

    Clearly directed to the warmongers in Israel.

    BUT

    Aslong as Obama doesnt give Iran any ‘carrots’ such statements are useless.
    This is Haaretz take on it,

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/obama-warns-against-effects-of-premature-military-action-on-iran-1.416886

  47. Karl says:

    Sassan,

    What were they called? Something similar to Chalabi or Rajavi? Was it really a distant caller?

  48. Sassan says:

    I was watching some VOA Persian and people were calling from Iran overwhelmingly expressing their sentiments and hopes for military intervention.

  49. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Iran has to produce more than 1250 kg of 20% enriched U-235, suitable for the construction of 10 nuclear weapons, before that amount of U-235 could becomes a strategically meaningful.

    That is not taking place.

  50. Karl says:

    James,

    UK are against israeli assassinations?

    Facts
    UK have neither condemned, sanctioned or even made any links between Israel and assassinations/terror inside Iran.

  51. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    This was a tactical move to establish the ability of Iran to refine uranium to 20%.

    It was a way to put pressure on US-EU Axis by creating facts on the ground.

    The Iranians followed that by 2 other acts:

    1- manufacturing fuel rods
    2- moving their enrichment to Fordou

    They demonstrated the irrversibility of their status as a threshold nuclear weapon state.

    US-EU Axis responsed by escalating to strategic nowhere – hoping that someone or some faction in Iran will overthrow the government.

    Once that hoped proved to be futile, and war became a distinct possibility as Iranians stated so, they started back-tracking.

    Make no mistake: the US-EU leaders demonstrated absurd recklessness in their Iran nuclear policy in the past 7 months.

    They brought the world to the edge of economic ruin.

    They made World War III a distinct possibility.

    And these leaders in US-EU wish to claim to be the vanguards of Humanity?

    Hardly!

    Iranians have made enormous political gains as the future course of events will show.

    For they discredited US and EU at the global stage as states that are unbalanced.

    In the meantime, they have essentially established the recognition of their NPT rights.

    All of this could have been avoided in 2003, but the aim was always overthrow of the Islamic Republic, wasn’t it?

  52. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    March 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Please assure James Canning Iran also isn’t at this time trying to overthrow the government of U.K. Things may change if and when James loses the remaining 80% of his marbles.

  53. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    You wrote:

    “I do not think the UK is at this time trying to overthrow the government of Iran.”

    The key phrase is “at this time”.

    They failed in their attempt.

    Look, Iran and EU are of marginal utility and interest to one another.

    The events of the last 8 years have confirmed that to both sides.

    Iran can live without EU and EU can live without Iran.

    EU has Arabs and Turks to lord over.

    Iranians are establishing the first strategically independent Muslim state since 1918.

    They do not need Europe and they already have two or three Arab states on their side.

    And between themselves and Pakistanis they will dispose of the issues in post-NATO/post-US Afghanistan.

    They do not need EU (or US, or India or Russia).

  54. Karl says:

    James,

    Source please, since this is such a well known fact.

  55. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    IRAN ANNOUNCED THE INTENTION TO TREBLE. This is not an assertion made by other countries.

  56. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Take my word for it: Iran in early June 2011 announced its intention to treble production of 20% U. FYI will confirm this. Or could.

  57. James Canning says:

    Geoff Dyer, writing in today’s Financial Times (“Iran stance exposes Israel-US tensions”):

    “This was the first time Mr Amano had spoken in public about the rapid increase in Iran’s enrichment activities, which has stoked western and Israeli suspicions about Tehran’s agenda.”

  58. Karl says:

    James,

    I dont know, you tell me, I have in fact given you this question countless of times, you have never replied, so again who claim Iran have trebled and on what premises. Those must be easy questions for you, right?

  59. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Please explain to me the benefit to the people of Iran flowing from a trebled production of 20% U.

  60. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You in fact are a bit off-the-wall to call “absurd” facts clearly appearing in the historic record. When did Iran announce its decision to treble production of 20% U? You should be able to answer this easily.

  61. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    A convincing case can be made that “the West” has created something of a monster, in Israel, as you note. The situation is dangerous for many countries.

    I like to look back at the catastrophe of the First World War. Apparently Enver Pasha launched the Ottoman Empire’s surprise attack on Russia because Turkish generals were concerned about heavy rates of defection of Turkish Armenian soldiers along the Russian border.

  62. Karl says:

    James,

    “I think the Iranian decision to treble production of 20% U led directly to the Saudi effort to overthrow the government of Syria. The Iranian decision clearly was a blunder.”

    Your conspiracy theories getting more absurd by every day.

  63. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    The blunder was to try to have a detente policy with Saudi Arabia.

  64. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I do not think the UK is at this time trying to overthrow the government of Iran. Full stop. And the UK adamantly opposes Israel’s programme of assassination in Iran.

    Shia will control Iraq, no matter what the US or other “western” countries do or do not do.

    Shia power in Lebanon will continue to grow, simply due to demographics. “Western” countries cannot alter that fact.

    I think the Iranian decision to treble production of 20% U led directly to the Saudi effort to overthrow the government of Syria. The Iranian decision clearly was a blunder.

  65. BiBiJon says:

    Note to Emperor Akihito,

    Dearest excellency,

    I would like to bring to your highness’ attention that Yukiya Amano is bent as a corkscrew, and undeserving of being one of your subjects. Please strip him of his citizenship.

    Yours truly.

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9012151341

  66. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Axis Powers were trying to achieve several things:

    1- Keep Iran weak and vulnerable to WMD attacks in the future
    2- Prevent Iranian scientific/technical development
    3- Overthrow the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei Government.
    4- Destroy Iran’s position in Iraq
    5- Destroy Iran’s poistion in Syria
    6- Destroy Iran’s position in Lebanon

    Their method was one of graduated economic warfare and siege.

    They failed – but they took the world to the edge of economic ruin as well as World War III.

    Was it worth it? (several hundred billion dollars (low 2-3 hudred billion) in actual and opportunity loss).

    In my opinion “yes”.

    Just like the Taliban & Bin Ladin, the monsters created by US-Saudi-Pakistanis, the Axis Powers now have to contend with the delusional israeli leaders.

    That state’s wings have to be clipped.

    She is a dangerous state to the global security (the Axis Powers have nurtured a monster to the point that she is a danger to themselves.)

  67. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The cost to Iran, of the nuclear dispute, clearly runs into hundreds of billions of dollars.

  68. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Let’s be more specific? Iran will achieve acceptance of its control of the nuclear fuel cycle for the power plants. And continue to operate TRR and other civilian reactors.

  69. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The neocon notion that “what is good for Israel is good for the US” obviously is not true, as to the US. And one should note, the formula assumes as fact something obviously untrue. Israel continues to injure itself by not getting out of the West Bank, and that foolishness is encouraged by the US Congress – - thanks, of course, to the ISRAEL LOBBY.

    The essential lunacy of Bibi Netanyahu’s programme is his assumption Israel can engage in endless war or near-war, underwritten by US taxpayers, in insane effort to keep much of West Bank permanently.

  70. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Mr. Neo is correct.

    Iranians are winning in the limited sense that they are about to gain acceptance of their nuclear program, winning Iraq, and stablizing Syria.

    They have paid their strategic/political gains through economic losses.

    Such is the nature of all wars.

  71. James Canning says:

    Neo,

    Any “Grand Bargain” between the US and Iran will have to be largely off-the-record, implied, tacitly accepted, etc etc etc. Why? ISRAEL LOBBY.

    At 9.52pm you said, “Iran can be said to be winning this one.” Meaning? Selling less oil but obtaining the same revenue?

    Iran will need to promote minimal stability in Afghanistan, now that Nato clearly is on the way out.

  72. fyi says:

    Neo says: March 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    That is all fine; “growing together”.

    But I submit to you that the illogic of wasted lives, frustrated hopes, and damaged psyches cannot be compensated.

    For one’s youth – indeed one’s life – is irretrievable.

    As for myself, I am resigned to know that those who are growing may someday be where I had been – but decades later.

    I hope to live to see the day that girls can ride bikes in Tehran.

    Most likely not.

  73. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times today has an excellent leader: “Obama must be robust with Israel”.

    Quote: “Mr Obama should take a robust line, stressing what the US believes to be in its own interests regarding Iran and Palestine.”

  74. Neo says:

    fyi,

    Indeed. But we have to grow together. The modernists were just the same, removing women’s veils by force, mocking the traditionalists and imprisoning their leaders. And now look at the Greens: they lose elections and then riot in the name of democracy… There’s a lot of pointless bad blood on all sides.

  75. Neo says:

    Rehmat,

    That’s a great video by Anonymous. Really sound.

  76. Rehmat says:

    The Islamophobe Glenn Beck and the Zionist crowed are very mad at the hacker group ‘Anonymous’, who has declared war on Israel Lobby.

    Several Israeli propaganda websites have equated ‘Anonymous’ with Jew-hating Occupy Wall Street.

    “This is very frightening,” says Glenn after listening to the video (watch below) released by the ‘Anonymous’ group.

    “Citizens of the world, we are Anonymous. Just a few weeks ago, we declared our crusade against the government of Israel and all supporting counterparts for their involvement in war propaganda, crimes against humanity and the systematic genocide and expulsion of minorities, their crimes have resulted in the displacement of Palestinians who did not commit any crime but defended their homelands. Let’s also not forget the USS Liberty incident where Israel killed 34 American servicemen. AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee wants to lobby for more wars, more destruction, more deaths than they already have committed and unfortunately our president has decided to defend them for it. Our government’s foreign policy has no sovereignty to America. Its sovereignty is to the Israel. AIPAC is now our enemy. We’re calling for an occupation of AIPAC and for destruction of their websites. Make them pay for their crimes. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We must certainly not forget. Expect us or perish.”

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/anonymous-israel-lobby-is-our-enemy/

  77. fyi says:

    Mr. Bibijon:

    A sample of oppression

    http://www.payvand.com/news/12/mar/1054.html

    [It really has to do with who controls the womb...]

  78. fyi says:

    Neo says: March 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

    The majority – “Traditionalists” – have no right to impose their brain-dead religiosity on others.

    But to them, that impostion is “Islam”.

    The recognize no limit but their own mores.

  79. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    March 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

    FYI, you do your position a disservice by portraying exceptions as rules; by promoting crowd-pleasing rhetoric to operational reality; and by ignoring numerous societal trends nurtured by the government which are at odds with what you claim.

    If it’s improvement and progress you advocate, then only the dead-and-deceased might not share a desire for progress. If you’re suggesting Iranian society, government, and its Islamic underpinnings is incapable of progress, then you’re toying with untruths.

  80. Neo says:

    fyi,

    Because a majority in Iran are traditionalists who take offence at a liberal way of living, and are happy to use the state’s coercive forces to stop it.

    But time and demographics are against them. The traditionalists are destined to lose.

  81. Karl says:

    Richard,

    On Parchin. Exactly what I thought. Every time Iran bows do US demands the sanctions will not only be in place but will escalate. Because now US know that Iran isnt that deeply-rooted, they could be pushed with the help of sanctions.

    It makes no sense for Iran to grant entry to IAEA. None.
    Iran could maybe, as a goodwill gesture show parts of Parchin aslong IAEA provide credible proof and concrete information what they are looking for but only when they can be sure to get something in return. Iran opened Parchin some years back on temporary basis and got nothing but sanctions back.

  82. fyi says:

    Neo says: March 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Why was my brother arrested because his hair was too deemed too long to an envious low-class pharisee Muslim?

    Why are young stylish women harassed because they are wearing boots?

    Why is the Tehran Police Chief says: “Police will confront those who break their fast?”

    There is no legal (civic or Sharia) for this.

    Who is this man to create Law out of thin air to satisfy the misguided and virulently jealous religiosity of a people who clearly recognize no limit to their religious zealotary?

    And to whom are you going to complain about this arbitrariness?

    Of the 3 slogans of the Revolution – “Independence”, “Freedom”, “Islamic Republic” the “Freedom” has not been met.

    That was also one of the aims of the Constitutional Revolution.

    But what are you going to do when so many Muslims equate “Freedom” with “License” and “License” with “Chaos”.

    What are you going to do when hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world wish to put their minds on Auto-Pilot and are against freedom of thought.

  83. Neo says:

    Interesting take from Stratfor (sorry Pirouz!):

    “In the March 2 elections, Iran’s pro-clerical conservatives failed to re-establish the dominant majority they enjoyed in the 8th (2004-2008) and 9th (2008-2012) Majlis, or parliament. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad’s populist conservatives managed to win more seats than in previous elections but failed to secure the decisive victory they needed to entrench themselves in the government…It is to Ahmadinejad’s advantage that his term extends past the current legislative session… The presence of so many independents in the next Majlis might be a boon to Ahmadinejad, or at the very least it could be an impediment for the pro-clerical elites, something of which the president could take advantage.”

    http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/irans-domestic-struggle-continues-after-parliamentary-elections

  84. Neo says:

    fyi,

    I share your penchant for a secular and more liberal Iran, but I can’t agree that we are witnessing an Islamic ‘disaster’. If anything, the Iranian model seems to be getting more entrenched and even more support. Even on moral grounds, the Islamic model has several strengths – for example Khamenei’s position and fatwa on nuclear weapons. In what sense then (outside of our own personal preferences) is it a ‘disaster’?

  85. Photi says:

    masoud says:
    March 6, 2012 at 1:01 am
    Rashid Khalidi is a class act:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/5/debate_attacking_iran_aipac_israel_palestine

    Masoud, thanks for the link. Powerful debate between a rational actor and a paranoid schizophrenic.

    Rashid Khalidi: “The third thing to talk about is not the damage to Israel that would be done by such a war, whatever—there would undoubtedly be serious damage to Israel in such a war. It would be the damage that would be done all over this region, which is why the U.S. military is steadfastly against a war with Iran. A, we cannot fight it easily. B, it will be a disaster that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like tea parties. The military know this. They know what will happen in Afghanistan. They know what will happen in Iraq. They know what will happen in terms of terrorism. They know what will happen in the Gulf. They know what will happen to oil prices. A war with Iran would be a catastrophe for the Middle East. It really would make the Iran and Afghanistan—the Iraq and Afghanistan wars look like minor affairs by comparison.”

  86. Neo says:

    Richard,

    Seems to me that the Obama doctrine is quite different from that of Bush or the Cold War strategy before that. Despite what we have seen in Pakistan and Libya (the drone war), Obama can be said to be departing from an interventionist mode, and adopting a more cautious approach that encourages others to take a ‘lead’ (i.e. share the cost). This is how I interpret the ‘sanctions’ debacle that he keeps pushing. The sanctions can be seen more as a way of avoiding conflict until the time is ripe for a grand bargain between Iran and USA, since such a deal is basically required in this situation. After all, Iran is not Iraq, and Iranian power is fast on the rise. In fact, Iran can be said to be winning this one. With all the changes affecting the region on top of the economic vulnerability of the West, it is not prudent for USA to enter into a major conflict with an inevitably disastrous economic fallout.

  87. BiBiJon says:

    masoud says:
    March 6, 2012 at 12:25 am

    In an eralier post (http://www.raceforiran.com/leverett-highlights-the-importance-of-facts-and-americas-refusal-to-accept-the-islamic-republic-of-iran#comment-76269) I had opined:

    Obama who must have found the key in an observation by Col. Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff at the State Department soon after Walt/Mearsheimer publication of The Israel Lobby. Wilkerson said if neocons were to answer the question honestly they would say ‘what is good for Israel is good for the U.S.’

    Obama went to work to make sure that indeed ‘what is good for Israel is reliably to U.S’ benefit. He ordered an unprecedented level of cooperation with IDF, and Mossad making it unnecessary for Israel to steal secrets, and/or pervert American politics. They would be treated as full partners; invited to all closed-door meetings; CC’d on all classified documents; etc. In this way Israeli policies and actions would be coordinated with the U.S. in such a way that Israel’s perceptions of geopolitical realities a priori would be shaped to conform to mutual interests long before such (privately held) perceptions led to (undisclosed) policies, which in turn led to (unannounced) actions detrimental to U.S. interests.”

    ————-

    I’d like to further add that Obama, irrespective of intentionally or unintentionally, has wound up giving Likudniks enough rope to hang themselves with.

    Masoud’s portrayal of Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech as study in incoherence and certifiable delusions is a symptom of a larger problem. While one is busy cringing at the hyperbole being tossed out to demonize Iran, one could be forgiven for underestimating the discord this vile rhetoric is creating among American “security managers” and a growing faction of the political elite.

    Netanyahu says Iran is right, we are you (US) and you are us. He is affirming my hypothesis above. But, lost on the aging sociopath is that being joined at the hip requires deference to US’ national security perspectives for she plays on the global stage. No POTUS, Obama included, speaks/acts 180 degrees counter to the consensus opinion of US’ security professional managers. Netanyahu’s antiques surely have irreparably cheesed off the national security types in the US.

    Once again this is an opportunity for Iran. Quashing the verdict on the former Marine, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, was Iran’s way of once again probing the possibilities of detente.

    Also see this in response

    U.S. & others offer Iran nuclear negotiations
    ,http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/06/world/meast/iran-nuclear/index.html

  88. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: March 6, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Iranians waited until Mr. Amano made his remarks.

    Then they immediately undermined him by their declaration.

  89. fyi says:

    Binam says: March 6, 2012 at 5:15 am

    You do not understand historical processes.

    Iranians were oblivious to Liberty in 1979.

    They went on to create the Islamic Disaster.

    Now they are trying to work their way back to Reality – and some day – also to Liberty.

    I will be there, on that day, to greet them.

  90. Empty says:

    RSH says, So now the US can say, “See, the sanctions are working!”

    Well, the US also says that “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East” and “US is a force for good” and “US is working for world peace” and “Iran is evil” and so on….. when something is not true, it’s just a bubble of air waiting to burst.

  91. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Gary Sick makes the obvious point…

    Are we headed for a Bay of Pigs in Iran?
    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/05/opinion/sick-iran/index.html?hpt=op_t1

    Quote

    There is an inevitability about sanctions imposed for political reasons. Serious negotiations and compromise are precluded, and the appetite for ever-stronger sanctions grows with the realization that past efforts were a failure. If you set an impossible objective and then begin imposing sanctions to achieve it, the result is always more sanctions, until you arrive at the point where there are no more sanctions and only force remains.

    We are approaching that point.

    End Quote

  92. Empty says:

    Yes, a few more…..

    Tof bendaz ta toush shirjeh beram ["spit so that I could swim in it"] or ma khak_e zir_e patounim ["I am the dust beneath your feet"] or qadametoon roo cheshem ["step on my eyes"]

  93. Empty says:

    Yes…..

    ….there are ever so common expressions in Farsi that, when translated literally, sound so extreme. For example, a mother would tell her child, javoon-marg shi["may you die at a young age"] or jigareto bokhoram ["I shall eat your liver"] or fadat besham ["may I be sacrificed for you"] or qorbounet beram ["may I be beheaded/killed for you"] or zalil shi ["may you become crippled"] or zamin-gir shi ["may you not be able to get up from the floor"] and so much more…

    but…

    ….if one becomes a “believer” then, “God dislikes the utterance of bad language, unless you suffer injustice. God is hearer, knower.” [Translation/interpretation: Quran, 4:148]

  94. Rehmat says:

    ‘Release Pollard and Israel won’t push for war on Iran’

    Israeli prime minister Benji Netanyahu also raised the question of presidential pardon for the convicted Jewish spy during his meeting with Obama at the White House on Monday as reported by daily YNet. Netanyahu also presented Obama a copy of biblical ‘Book of Esther‘ to remind him Pollard’s wife Esther and the story of Persia’s (Iran) ancient young Jewish Queen Esther who tricked her husband with charm and sex to permit her cousin Mordecai and his armed Jewish militia for the slaughter of 75,000 innocent Persians to save Persia’s Jewish community from King’s chief adviser Haman, who considered Jews not trustworthy…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/release-pollard-and-israel-wont-push-for-war-on-iran/

  95. Jay says:

    M. Ali says:
    March 6, 2012 at 6:13 am
    Sassan, in that huge post you made, you scatter about like a headless chicken, but can’t come up with a simple answer to my simple question.
    _____

    Please don’t feed the troll!

    His word salad menu is fixed – he just shouts you one from the menu. Doesn’t matter what you say.

    Let the hungry troll go back to play with other gobbos.

  96. Richard Steven Hack says:

    UN inspectors get rare access to suspected Iran nuclear site
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2012/0306/UN-inspectors-get-rare-access-to-suspected-Iran-nuclear-site

    So now the US can say, “See, the sanctions are working!”

  97. Fiorangela says:

    M. Ali, thank you for the notes on cross-cultural understanding.

    When uur tour group went to Iran, we were told that if you go into an Iranian person’s home, you should be careful not to say, “O what a pretty vase,” or “this teapot is lovely” because your Iranian host/hostess would most likely insist that you take the item. Then you have the problem of, Do I accept it — is that what’s expected? If I do not accept it will I be thought rude? etc etc.

    Americans need to get out more. The world is bigger than just our little island between the Atlantic and Pacific; Iranians traveled from Venice to China a millenia before USA could spell demokrasy.

  98. Empty says:

    “O you who believe, when a wicked person brings you any news, you shall investigate; otherwise, you might hurt others through ignorance then regret what you have done.”

    [Translation/Interpretation: Quran, 49:6]

  99. Mohammad says:

    M.Ali,

    I note that Iranians themselves tend to translate those into “Down with …” rather than “Death to …”. I would say “Death to …” in English is too much harsher than “Marg bar …” in Farsi.

    On your last note (“death to the traffic”), that’s exactly the thing Rick Steves, the American author and TV personality on tourism, noted when he visited Iran in May 2009. I’m not sure if he noted this in the documentary itself or in a talk on the documentary which is available from FORA dot TV:
    fora DOT tv/2009/01/26/Rick_Steves_A_Perspective_on_Iran
    He said he had got surprised when he heard “Marg bar Traffic” and then had asked the Iranian who said that. He exactly talked about how “Marg bar …” slogans may have been misinterpreted in the West due to cultural differences.

    Nevertheless, I do not think the “Down with USA” is a good slogan. It fails to clearly distinguish between the atrocities of the government/elite and the ordinary Americans. “Down with Israel” is at least more consistent with Iran’s stated policy to force Israel to recognize the Right of Return of palestinians and conduct a referendum, thus making the “Zionist” regime automatically dissolved because of demographic realities. Iran has expressly rejected attacking Israel.

    english DOT khamenei DOT ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=73&Itemid=31

    “We hold a fair and logical stance on the issue of Palestine. Several decades ago, Egyptian statesman Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was the most popular Arab personality, stated in his slogans that the Egyptians would throw the Jewish usurpers of Palestine into the sea. Some years later, Saddam Hussein, the most hated Arab figure, said that he would put half of the Palestinian land on fire. But we would not approve of either of these two remarks.

    We believe, according to our Islamic principles, that neither throwing the Jews into the sea nor putting the Palestinian land on fire is logical and reasonable. Our position is that the Palestinian people should regain their rights. Palestine belongs to Palestinians, and the fate of Palestine should also be determined by the Palestinian people.

    The issue of Palestine is a criterion for judging how truthful those claiming to support democracy and human rights are in their claims. The Islamic Republic of Iran has presented a fair and logical solution to this issue. We have suggested that all native Palestinians, whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews, should be allowed to take part in a general referendum before the eyes of the world and decide on a Palestinian government. Any government that is the result of this referendum will be a legitimate government.”

    See also this:
    en DOT wikipedia DOT org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel#Interpretation_as_call_for_referendum

  100. M. Ali says:

    To western readers, I will not talk about things like “wiping Israel off the map” because well-informed western readers already know it was misattributed.

    However, I’d like to talk about “Death to…” so and so, which I think some of the western readers will find interesting.

    In a lot of comments on other sites, I’ve seen western readers very uncomfortable with a people calling death to them. On the surface level, I completely agree. However, unfortunately, things do get lost in cultural context.

    Iranians are a very emotive people. I remember as a kid, I’d wonder how come in western news channels, it would start with “Today’s headlines are…” while in Iranian news channels, it would start with a long greeting to its viewers, then read a version of quoran or poetry, thank them, and then finally get into the news.

    “Death to” or “Marg bar” is the same thing. To me, its more frightening when western politicians talk about “all options are on the table” because we know the true meaning of them is an actual case for killing Iranians, while Iran’s “death to” is just a way of Iranians to express a feeling.

    Look at some if the most basic Iranian exchanges. An Iranian will easily tell a stranger, “noykaretam”, which is “I’m your servant” or “chakeretam”, which is almost, “I am your butler”. Can you imagine Americans saying this to each other? I talk to my male friends saying, “Azizam”, which is “my dear/my love”. I’ve had male friends tell me, “kheili dooset daram”, “I love you a lot”. Or try buying something in Iran, you have to first go through a routine of him not accepting the money, which flowery statements such as, Its worth nothing, please be my guest, all the time swearing to God they mean it, but you both know, he doesn’t, its just “toarof”.

    Its incredible, the distance the language has from the west. The west tries to say as little as possible, Iranians say more than they need to say. Which culture readily has its people use statements such as, “man khakeh zireh patam”, which is, “I’m the dust under your feet”, to strangers, as a sign of respect?

    So, “Death to…” is not a call for murder. Its a expression. Iranians say death to everything. Iranians are a country in which, I’ve heard them say, “death to traffic” when they are stuck in it!

  101. Fiorangela says:

    http://ebookbrowse.com/war-and-peace-in-the-jewish-tradition-pdf-d140087241

    ” . . .permitted) to endanger their own lives to save others; they are so in
    war. In contrast to those who adduce the self-defense and pursuer
    model, R. Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv) and other authorities
    adopt a second approach, namely that there is a category of war in
    the Noahide laws that is far broader than these models.4
    Turning from non-Jewish armies to the issue of how Jews
    may justify their own going to war, it is clear that for Jews there is a
    distinct category of milhamah that is not reducible to self-defense
    or rodef. We begin with the fact that Jewish law utilizes two main
    categories of war: milhemet mitzvah (mandatory war) and milhemet
    reshut (discretionary war, e.g. a war to expand territory; Broyde calls
    it “Authorized War”).5 Milhemet reshut may not be waged today because
    a declaration of such a war must be approved by the king, the
    Sanhedrin, and the urim ve-tumim, the oracular breastplate worn
    by the High Priest. Although arguably the requirement of a king is
    fulfilled by having a government that is not monarchic, including
    one democratically elected,6 the other two institutions do not exist
    today. As for milhemet mitzvah, Maimonides understands this category
    as including the war against Amalek and the war against the
    Seven Nations. While these categories are not operative today, Maimonides
    adds another instance of mandatory war – one that would
    allow the State of Israel today to wage a milhemet mitzvah. He speaks
    of a war for the purpose of “saving Israel from an enemy that has
    taken aggressive action against them” – in other words, a defensive
    war (Laws of Kings 5:1).7 Maimonides does not require approval by
    a Sanhedrin or urim ve-tumim for the waging of a mandatory war.8
    Even if Maimonides does require a “melekh,”9 his view may be that
    a “king” is any Jewish government. Hence, if we follow Maimonides,
    Israel is justified in waging wars of self-defense in the full halakhic
    sense of “war.” Indeed, Israel is obligated to wage those wars.
    Many further questions arise. A particularly important one
    is whether a pre-emptive strike is justified in Jewish law, and if so,
    what actions on the part of the enemy justify the strike. The category
    of preemptive strike is mentioned in the Talmud in Sotah 44b (a
    war “to diminish the heathens so that they shall not come upon
    them”).10 There are different ways to understand this condition and to dissect the gemara that introduces it, but it has been argued that
    in the final analysis preemptive action is discretionary, a milhemet
    reshut, which would make it an inoperative category today due to
    the requirements of Sanhedrin and urim ve-tumim.11 The pursuer
    and self-defense rationales would apply; but, again, these rationales
    are too narrow to trigger the full license associated with a milhemet
    mitzvah. That said, it is possible that Maimonides’ formulation of one
    type of milhemet mitzvah, “helping Israel against an enemy that has
    taken aggressive action against them,” will in certain circumstances
    justify preventive actions under the rubric of milhemet mitzvah.
    For instance, according to some, actions designed solely to prevent
    future attack are justified by reference to milhemet mitzvah when
    those actions are undertaken in response to previous armed attacks.
    This principle holds even if those enemy attacks were responses to
    earlier preemptive actions that could be justified only by reference
    to self-defense and not by reference to the conditions for bona fide
    milhamah.12″

  102. Fiorangela says:

    insight into Jewish thinking relative to “red lines”

    “After the six-day war, a sense of euphoria engulfed the Jewish
    world awaiting the onset of a Messianic era. Following the collapse
    of the Soviet Union, the world anticipated the end of global hostility.
    Yet, it wasn’t too long before age old ethnic, religious and national
    conflicts resurfaced and hopes for peace gave way to cycles of violent
    conflicts in many regions of the world. . . .

    “the Orthodox community needed to
    mobilize its intellectual and spiritual resources and develop perspectives
    on war informed by moral sensitivity, political wisdom, and
    above, all fidelity to the Biblical and rabbinic tradition. The committee
    was drawn, in the first instance, to two questions: when is it right,
    justified or obligatory to go to war – the “jus ad bellum” question;
    and how war, once justified or mandated, must be conducted – the
    “jus in bello” question. But in further deliberations other questions
    emerged, questions which cut to the very heart of the Jewish value
    system with regard to violence and peace. . . .

    “Jus ad Bellum: Declaring War2
    Whether a particular U.S. military action is justified according to
    Jewish law might seem more difficult to determine than whether
    a Jewish polity is justified in fighting wars. There is a developed
    literature on when a Jewish state can go to war, owing heavily to
    the founding of the State of Israel in the twentieth century and the
    questions to which that gave birth. The literature on non-Jewish wars
    is far more limited. Even so, we can outline two basic approaches
    to jus ad bellum in the case of non-Jews. One approach maintains
    that non-Jews may go to war in a situation of self-defense or of rodef.
    The latter refers to a case where a pursuer is seeking to kill someone
    else; a third party, Halakhah stipulates, may intervene to stop the
    pursuer.3 On the analysis in question, then, we consider the situation
    of non-Jews who are in danger to be the situation of individual
    self-defense or rodef writ large – in other words, those justifications,
    it is suggested, apply to a group and not just an individual. The
    idea that an appeal to self-defense or rodef suffices to justify war is,
    however, problematic. Notably, Michael Broyde argues that Jewish
    law permits acts in war that cannot be justified via the self-defense
    or pursuer rationales. Rodef and self-defense, for instance, permit
    only the killing of a guilty party; they never permit killing innocent
    people, which sometimes is permissible in halakhically approved
    wars. Also, ordinarily people are not obligated (maybe not even . . .

  103. M. Ali says:

    Sassan, in that huge post you made, you scatter about like a headless chicken, but can’t come up with a simple answer to my simple question.

    Where did Khameini said, “Kill all jews”. Thats it. If I ever claim soneone said something, I will make sure to source it. If I can source it, I will tell you I can’t source it and apologize.

    I’m not talking about Ahmednijad, not talking about Khomeini, not talking about Israel, not talking about harshly talking to Jews, not talking about Zionism, I’m merely talking about a quotation you attributed to Khameini, and I’m asking you to source that quotation, that’s it.

  104. M. Ali says:

    I’m sorry for breaking up my posts, but I think they are different points,

    “Thanks for your story regarding Ahmadinejad. I take it people should have every reason to still love him, right? By your account, Ahmadinejad’s supporters should have swept the new Majlis. They should have won handily in droves.

    But they didn’t. ”

    I think one of the mistakes we usually make, is try to see things in black and white. As if candidates vore badges saying “Pro-Ahmedinijad” and “Anti-Ahmedinijad”. The western media is trying to present the situation like this, but this is why I mentioned before, the biggest flaw of western analysts, trying to see Iran’s political and social enviroment in west’s easy left-vs-right perspective. In the US Congress, candidates have (R) and (D) before their name. In Iran, there is no real Left Vs Right. Which is why opinion pieces on Iran’s elections are always such a mess. In 2009 elections, they wondered how in one city’s election the Left would win and in another they would lose, so it must be a fraud. I doubt strongly iranians think in terms of Right Vs Left the way Americans think of Democracts & Republicans, or UK, or Canada.

    This is why your claim that Ahmedinijad’s sister lost is such a huge hit against Ahmedinijad. To me, and I think most Iranians, it really isn’t that big of a deal. I don’t know what platform she was running in her province and who she was against, and I certainly don’t know which issues were important for voters for making their decisions, but I am at least sure that, that people didn’t go to the voting booth, merely to vote for people based on who they are families with. Again, this is the same point I mention before, lets respect the Iranians more. Don’t you think your countryman and woman would think of which candidate fits their needs better, rather than just voting someone because she is the sister of someone else?

  105. Mohammad says:

    M.Ali,

    I also agree that it’s very hard to characterize the so-called Green Movement (if it can be called a “movement”). Once I read an opposition blogger claiming that whoever was critical about any important institution of the Islamic Republic was a member of the Green Movement. That would include Khamenei himself! As he has in many occasions criticized for example the IRIB, or the officials for not being serious enough about fighting corruption, and in some occasions even publicly welcomed criticism of himself.
    I commented under the blog post that my definition of a member of Green Movement was anyone who believed in the invalidity of the 2009 election results. Yet that does not fit my recent comment in which I said that there are supporters of the GM who don’t support that assertion! In my recent comments I have simply assumed that anyone who considers himslef/herself a supporter of the GM is its member.

  106. Sassan says:

    M. Ali:

    Ahmadenijad constantly states “marg bar Israel” which means “death to Israel”. Ahmadenijad in a speech on February 20th, 2008 stated, “In the Middle East, they [the global powers] have created a black and filthy microbe called the Zionist regime.”

    More importantly, what comes out of the Supreme Animal’s Khamenei’s mouth? On December 15, 2000, he declared on Islamic Republic State TV: “Iran’s position, which was first expressed by the Imam [Khomeini] and stated several times by those responsible, is that the cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region.”

    During military parades, they have slogans draped “Israel must be wiped off the map” over the missiles in military parades. In addition, similar slogans and signs are present at every Friday prayer.

    In an address to the “World without Zionism” conference in Tehran on October 26, 2005, Ahmadenijad said, “Va Imam-e-aziz-e-ma farmudand ke in rezhim-e- eshghalgar-e Qods bayad az safhe-ye ruzegar mahv shaved. In jomle besyar hakimane ast” which translates to “Our dear Imam [Khomeini] ordered that this Jerusalem-occupying regime [Israel] must be erased from the page of time. This was a very wise statement”.

    In addition in the same speech he added: “Be-zudi in lake-ye nang ra az damane donya-ye Islam pak khahad kard, va in shodani’st” which translates to: “Soon this stain of disgrace will be cleaned from the garment of the world of Islam and this is attainable”.

    Further examples include a speech on April 14, 2006 which he stated, “Derakht-e khoshkide va puside’i ast ke ba yek tufan dar ham khahad shekat” which translates to: “A dried, rotten tree that will collapse with a single storm”. Furthermore during a military parade on April 17, 2008 referring to the U.S. and Israel he stated: “Mantage-va jehan amade-ye tahavolat-e bozorg va pak shodan az doshmanan-e ahrimani’st” which translates to: “The region and the world are prepared for great changes and for being cleansed of Satanic enemies”. Again, on May 14, 2008 in a city called Gorgan he stated: “Israel’s days are numbered” and that “the people’s of the region would not miss the narrowest opportunity to annihilate this false regime” and he continued, “Thanks to god, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off the face of the world”.

    THIS IDEOLOGY IS AT THE CORE OF THIS REGIME SINCE KHOMEINI as Khomeini always declared he would destroy Israel as the “reconquering” of Jerusalem is necessary for the “return of the hidden imam”.

    To go back to the Supreme Animal Khamenei, he stated on January 15, 2001 at a meeting with organizers of the International Conference for Support of the Intifada, “The foundation of the Islamic regime is opposition to Israel and the perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region” and in fact the original translation by Islamic Republic journalists were “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region”.

    One of Khamenei’s top Ayatollah’s, Ayatollah Shariatmadari stated on October 4, 2007: “Death to America and Death to Israel are not only words written on paper but rather a symbolic approach that reflects the desire of all the Muslim nations”.

    Ayatollah Janati: “The blind enemies should see that the wish of these people is the death of America and Israel”.

    General Safavi (Revolutionary Guards): “With god’s help the time has come for the Zionist regime’s death sentence” (February 2008). and in Hamadan on February 23, 2008 he stated: “Death of this unclean regime [Israel] will arrive soon following the revolt of the Muslims”.

    The thug Mohammad-Ali Ramin: on June 9, 2006: “Among the Jews there have always been those who killed god’s prophets and who opposed justice and righteousness. Historically, there are many accusations against the Jews. For example, it was said that they were the source for such deadly diseases as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to Christians and thus killed them”.

    Ayatollah Nuri Hamadani in April 2005, “One should fight the Jews and vanquish them so that the conditions for the advent of the Hidden Imam will be met” and he continued, “at present the Jews’ policies threaten us. One should explain in the clearest terms the danger the Jews pose to the [Iranian] people and to the Muslims. Already from the beginning the Jews wanted to hoard the world’s goods in their greed and voracity. They always worked in important professions and now they have hoarded all of the wealth in one place. And all of the world, especially America and Europe, are their slaves”.

    General Mohammad-Ali Jafari in February 2008 in a message to Hassan Nasrallah: “In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous microbe Israel by the strong and capable hands of the nation of Hizbollah”.

    Former foreign minister Mottaki on February 18, 2008: “The west has tried to impose a fabricated regime on the Middle East, but after sixty years, the Zionist regime [Israel] has neither gained any legitimacy nor played any role in this region”.

    Majles speaker Adel in February 2008 stated, “The countdown has begun for the destruction of the Zionist regime”.

    What the hell else do you want to prove this regime is a threat?? How about a documentary produced by the regime in which Khamenei, Hassan Nasrallah, and Ahmadenijad are portrayed as key members of the Hadith whom will usher in the return of the “Hidden Imam” in which conquering Jerusalem is a prerequisite and the end-goal is to spread Islam to “all corners of the Earth” in a worldwide chaos in which 2/3rd of humanity will “perish through death, havoc,and famine? And they believe that the Middle East freedom movements are all a part of an “Islamic Awakening” for this end…: http://youtu.be/WwiadYT-N9k

  107. M. Ali says:

    “M. Ali,

    Not sure how exactly Mohammad and Reza “refuted” what I had to say. All they did is take what I said out of context and twist my questions in order to completely avoid them. ”

    Binam, first you talked about how eligible voters for Tehran in 2009 and 2012 were different. I myself did not know the answer, so I even told you I was interested in having more info on it. Reza gave you an answer though. I did not notice you come back a corresponding argument.

    The second concern you had was the percentages when dividing the number. Mohammad said that the info you posted was not for the full votes counted. You also, did not reply to this anymore.

    If you think they made inaccurate points, I personally would love to hear your thoughts in response to them. I’m sure I will learn a thing or two.

  108. Mohammad says:

    M.Ali,

    I did not mean you, I was thinking about my own post when I wrote that comment. It’s always good to try to be fair.

  109. Mohammad says:

    Binam,

    “They didn’t because Shah Khamenei wouldn’t want it any other way. He’s done with Ahmadinejad. So as per his request – the new Majlis is made up of loyal ultra-right supporters.”

    Most of the people I voted for have fared well in the Majlis election, and last time I checked I was neither Khamenei nor on his order.

    Your view of Iranian politics is too black-and-white. What M.Ali said does not mean that Ahmadinejad will remain popular forever or everyone apparently affiliated to him would automatically win in elections. Other than that, 2010′s IPI opinion poll showed that the previous presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami, while allegedly “marginalized”, were still pretty popular (> 60% approval) with the people. Yet that does not mean that they should automatically win in every election, since there’s a possibility that their opponent is more popular.

  110. M. Ali says:

    “For the sake of fairness, I should mention that not all supporters of the so-called “Green Movement” were liars or propagandists.”

    I agree, and I apologize if I gave that impression. There were certain agents in leadership positions that were that. A lot were just misguided, as we saw how it fizzled out. And others were disillusioned, but their principles still exist, and when there is a leader or a party that meets their needs, they will follow it. Basically, I can’t really lump all of them into a certain Green entity with specific characterizations. So. yes, I agree, while it is easy to generalize, we shouldn’t, and I apologize for doing it.

  111. Binam says:

    FYI,

    “That tens of millions of Iranians did not share my position was not a surprise to me; but it was also not a cause for me to abandon my core values in this regard. Nationalist, Islamists, Communists, Socialists, Monarchists did not believe in Freedom and Liberty.”

    I am sorry to say that you ARE abandoning your core values. You are throwing in the towel without putting up a fight for Freedom and Liberty in Iran.

    And regarding the news piece you mentioned – I am yet to see any real corrupt persons involved brought to justice. This is just the tip of the iceberg that got out and as per Khamenei’s request they will not stretch it for long. As one of my favorite taxi-driver expressions goes: “koone hamashoon gohieh!” This is just as good as Majlis’ review of what happened in Kooy Daneshgah in 2009. Where is the report on that?! Were people who beat up and killed students ever brought to justice? Khamenei had asked them to “look into it” (wink wink). Even after the video evidence resurfaced no one was held accountable…

    M. Ali,

    Not sure how exactly Mohammad and Reza “refuted” what I had to say. All they did is take what I said out of context and twist my questions in order to completely avoid them.

    Thanks for your story regarding Ahmadinejad. I take it people should have every reason to still love him, right? By your account, Ahmadinejad’s supporters should have swept the new Majlis. They should have won handily in droves.

    But they didn’t.

    They didn’t because Shah Khamenei wouldn’t want it any other way. He’s done with Ahmadinejad. So as per his request – the new Majlis is made up of loyal ultra-right supporters. Does this mean people’s love for Khamenei is greater than their love for Ahmadinejad? When is the last time Khamenei visited your city? What has he done to earn this love of the people who have now allegedly risen up to defend him against the evil “deviant current?” When is the last time Khamenei answered to ANYONE, or had a two-way dialogue or an interview? Is this what earns the love of the people? Being in an unreachable position higher than that of God?

    In two years time, if the Islamic Republic still stands, if and when Ahmadinejad and Mashayi start facing the same predicament all previous Presidents and prime ministers have (be marginalized), would you still speak of how popular he was with the people, or how he won your vote, or would you do as you are doing now – defend the actions of the unelected Supreme Leader and justify his criminal activities?

    I refer you to Nourizad’s letters to the Leader. As a former hardcore supporter of the regime and Khamenei he best gets to the core of what is wrong with the regime.

  112. Mohammad says:

    Thanks to M.Ali and also Eric Brill.

    For the sake of fairness, I should mention that not all supporters of the so-called “Green Movement” were liars or propagandists. There were (and remain) some of them (although definitely not even close to a majority of the GM) who did not and do not support the assertion that the 2009 election was rigged, nevertheless they’re trying to find an avenue to protest and to reform. My previous post does not imply that all of GM supporters were dishonest. In fact this over-generalization is what I’ve been arguing against with some opposition supporters (e.g. Sassan or maybe someone else with this name has blatantly said in the past that “pro-Islamic Republic people simply do not exist in the Iranian population and those who do – are typically government agents”).

  113. M. Ali says:

    Eric, isn’t it after midnight in USA? Why is a lawyer awake at this time on a weekday? Are you working on a big case, but keep getting distracted by RaceForIran? ;)

  114. Most readers will notice that I mistakenly wrote “Iraq” rather than “Iran” in the last paragraph of my preceding post.

    I am confident that most readers will understand how easily such a mistake can occur.

  115. Masoud,

    Your review of Netanyahu’s speech definitely persuades me I should make time to watch that YouTube clip with everything you say in mind.

    I noticed a comment at that YouTube page that is similar to other reader comments I’ve seen lately (though ONLY lately, which is why such comments are so pleasing):

    “Show us the proof, Israel [that Iran is developing nuclear weapons]. Show us REAL intelligence that wasn’t doctored. If they could show proof of intention and proof of what they claim I might support them.”

    Until recently, most writing on the Iran/US/Israel nuclear dispute has been framed essentially as follows, even by those who “support” Iran:

    “Both sides suspect that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and that some action must be taken to stop it, but those favoring a diplomatic solution insist that an attack on Iran is unnecessary and could have disastrous unforeseen consequences.”

    If comments like the one on that YouTube site suggest any sea change, we may someday see the dispute framed instead like this:

    “Those who favor an attack on Iraq assert that it is developing nuclear weapons and cannot be stopped in any other way, while those favoring diplomacy stress the absence of evidence that this is occurring, and insist that a diplomatic solution is possible and preferable even if such evidence were ever presented.”

  116. Mohammad and M. Ali,

    I found each of your recent long posts, recounting the evolution of your reaction to the 2009 election results, to be very interesting. Thanks.

  117. M. Ali says:

    Sassan, I’m still waiting for your to find me the quote where you claimed Khameini said, “Kill all Jews”

  118. M. Ali says:

    Mohammad, regarding your post on,

    “March 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm”

    I have to say that I was in the same boat. I voted Mousavi. However, I liked Ahmadenijad somewhat up to that point, but I thought Mousavi might bring a better change. Also, I kinda liked Rezai’s pragmatic campaign, but I knew he had no chance. Karoubi was, frankly, almost a joke, even though I kind of thought it would be fun having him at the UN…haha.

    Anyway, I voted Mousavi and I was sweeped in the post-election mania, and only months later did I finally realize how much I was duped. I mean, in retrospect, I should have been smarter. When the voting results were announced, we were SURE there was a fraud, and protests happened next day morning. How could anyone know for sure there was a fraud immediatly after the election? Even if there WAS rigging, how could anyone be sure immediatly after the results?

    Since then I’ve been very interested in media bias & propaganda tactics. I read books on self-improvement, not because of the help they provide, but because of how they manipulate the reader, and in all this, I have found a fasinating field.

    The Green so-called revolution could have destroyed the Iranian republic and set us back for decades. Look at the regional democracies, they are a mess. Pakistan constantly has military coups, so does Thailand, does the rest. If the Greens had succeeded in annuling the elections, we would have created something that would have destroyed the decades, or I am say, century-old, quest for people’s ability to effect their government’s policy. After that, each politician would have tried to win by such methods, disrespecting the policy on the whole. What would have happened in the next election after that, if the losing party had the backing of the military, made millions of its supporters raise up, and had the military intervene to “save the day” and annul the elections?

    What the fanatic oppositions fail to understand is that Iran is a constantly changing political enviroment, which is fantastic. In certain governments, there is no real change year after year. Look at the gulf countries. Look even at “model” democractic countries such as US. They are stuck in a two-party system for a long time now and no hope of it ever changing. But in Iran, western media analysists have such a tough time even writing about Iran’s politics, because they try to fit everything in two-party way of thinking. When the reformists were there, they tried to make it left-vs-right, but suddenly, when they were more and more insignificient, they tried to present conflicts within the system, but what was it now? Left vs left? Or as they try to brand it, conservatives vs neo-conservative? How is Ahmedinijad even neo-conservative, when his policies have usually been new and different from the past. Was he “reforming” certain laws? Is he a reformist then?

    THe opposition has no respect for the Iranian people, which is why I am ashamed for ever considering myself Green. They lied, they manipulated, they used propaganda, and they were from an aging dinasour politic bloc, which we have no need for anymore. The Greens had some blatant hoaxes, such as Taraneh Mousavi. Some of the mouthpieces of of Mousavi have, since then, moved to western countries and make their statements from there. Their supporters are not even willing to respect people’s wishes. They say things like, “This election was false, but even if it wasn’t, they couldn’t vote for who they wanted, and even if they could, it wouldnt have mattered because they wouldn’t have made a difference, but even if they could make a differencer, it wouldn’t…” and so on. They make an argument which if you try to refute, they follow it up with, “Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway because” and then try a new tactic.

    Binam is using that same method here. He says the elections numbers were fake (he made two assertions, one was refuted by Reza, the other by Mohammad), but he says, “Well, even if it were real, it doesn’t matter”. They already have made the conclusion. THe conclusion is the hell with the people, lets do what WE WANT. I’m always embarrassed by the Green’s assertion that Iranians go to protests to get free juices and cakes. This is why the Greens lost, this is why they don’t get Iranians. They have no respect for the Iranian people, they have no respect for their countrymen. These are the same elite Tehranis that mock the sharestanis (provinces).

    In my Sunni city, we were the only city, among our Shia neighbours, that Ahmedinijad lost in. While our neighbours were 60% Ahmedinijad, we were 60% Mousavi. But last year, Ahmednijad viisted our city, being there for the opening ceremony of Maskaneh Mehr (the housing complexes the government made to help the people). It was the first time in the history of our city’s history, a head of state had ever visited us! And to be chosen as the first city, in all the cities of Iran, to introduce the opening of the Maskaneh Mehr was a huge honor for us, specially given that we were a Sunni city. We have a significient diaspora outside our city (in Iran & outside Iran), our own city’s live in population probably doesn’t even reach 20,000. We are not really that important for any election, for anything related to a government’s success, and we are a minority religion to booth, but a head of state still decides to visit us. After that, a significient group of our community loves him. Did Khatami ever visit us? Would Khatami and Karoubi even find us on the map? The young working couples of our city have benefited a lot from the housing complex. THIS IS why Ahmadeinijad has support and the Greens don’t. While they spout ideals and slogans, Ahmadeinijad was working hard, day in and day out. People outside north of Tehran benefited.

    Even if they did not benefit directly, just to be noticed and listened to, was sometimes more than enough. The Ahmedinijad group respected its population by its actions. The Greens & and its supporters, by constantly claiming that the Iranians prostitute their principles for a biscuit should not be suprised if they are not succeeding in the social life of Iranians.

  119. Sassan says:

    I don’t want Israel to attack Iran – I think it would be unwise as any attack must be led by the west and its target should not be solely the nuclear sites but needs to target the apparatus of the regime itself…BUT, if Israel does end up taking the lead to strike the Islamic Republic, I don’t blame anyone but the terrorist regime of the IRI themselves. This is a regime that threatens to wipe out Israel and has been involved with terror attacks against Israel and at their core, want to kill every single Israeli. I don’t blame Israel for being defensive and feeling that time is ticking and the fact that they feel the need to protect themselves in avoiding a future Holocaust.

  120. masoud says:

    Netenyahu at AIPAC:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH9HfEiSz_w

    He seems to get dumber with every speech he gives. I used to think he was a fairly effective communicator, but that was only because of the staged sound byte answers to prearranged questions he was able to deliver on forums such as Larry King.

    He had the body language and overall demeanor of someone who had just been kicked in the balls. Hard. Conspicuously absent from his speech was any mention of nuclear capability as a red line. He dutifully parroted Obama’s climbdown of red-lining actual possession of a bomb from some days earlier in front of the same forum. Actually, “speech” is kind of charitable. He spent a good fifth of his time on shout-outs to various audience members and congressional tools. Half of what remained was taken up with poorly thought out filler, warning how emboldened Iran’s allies would become and how Iran would have cart-blanche to fiddle with oil prices when it develops a nuclear bomb. It seemed largely improvised, and it proved an embarrassing contrast with the canned holocaust-mongering that constituted the rest of his speech, which reached a climax when he produced letters from the US War Department to some Jewish group explaining that they didn’t really give enough of a damn about the holocaust to stop it. I couldn’t work out how he meant his claim that he always kept those letters in his desk to be taken. He came across as some kind of psychotic prop comic. I took his maniacal claims about how his regime reserved it’s right to preemptive genocide in the same light as his opening crack about Jerusalem: tough talk to mask an ignominious defeat. The audience was so discombobulated at the end of it all, Netenyahu had to browbeat them into applauding Esther, who’s got an entire book named after her in the Talmud.

    I expect that in the coming months, Adelson and his ilk will be signing quite large number of checks.

  121. kooshy says:

    “The Iranian Interior Minister says a total of 225 candidates have secured the required majority of votes to win parliamentary seats in the first round of the 9th Majlis elections.”
    “According to Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, 130 candidates will compete in the runoff vote for the remaining 65 remaining parliament seats in 33 constituencies.”

    One wonders why would the government of Iran go through trouble of conducting the runoff elections for the remaining undecided parliamentary seats if elections according to the expatriate opposition is preselected (Farmayshi), my own sister in law (elementary Scholl teacher) tells me she voted for only 5 of 30 candidates she cared for and left the remaining spots blank.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/230093.html

  122. fyi says:

    Mr. Binam:

    This would have never occured under the monarchy in Iran:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/iran-lawmakers-4b-taken-central-182251797.html

  123. ToivoS says:

    The Hack dogmatically asserts: “The US wants a war. Israel wants a war.”

    No you are wrong. There are important forces inside the US — the administration, most of the military, the CIA, State, many individuals in position of influence — who do not want war with Iran. To be sure, the War Party,consisting of the Israel lobby, neocons, many “think” tanks and the Republican Party, have made their case for the war. But they have just suffered a set back. Today the chances for war are less than they were last week.

    The situation remains dangerous and war could still break out but it not because that is something desired by the current administration.

  124. kooshy says:

    USA TODAY ” Obama tells Netanyahu: US ‘will always have Israel’s back’”

    For Israel’s and Bibi’s sake one just can hope Obama is not from Ghazvin

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-03-05/aipac-obama-israel-netanyahu/53374782/1

  125. Richard Steven Hack says:

    You people are STILL engaging Canning over this 20% bullshit?

    We put that to rest a couple threads ago.

    Stop wasting our time.

  126. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Amazing how many suckers are falling for Obama’s lies at the AIPAC dog and pony show…

    Nothing has changed from last Friday or last year…

    The US still wants a war with Iran. It will get it. The only question is when and how.

    How many times do I have to bring up the obvious fact that the Iran “WMD crisis” has a shelf life? The US and Israel CANNOT keep pushing the “WMD” issue for the next decade without a resolution. Either Iran or the US (AND Israel) HAVE TO blink – and Iran won’t.

    How many times do I have to bring up the obvious fact that you don’t ramp up for a war and then not have one? There is no way the US AND Israel will walk back the current situation.

    A week ago it was argued that if the US doesn’t attack Iran, then Israel will. Well, now Obama says (lies) that he won’t attack Iran. If he won’t attack Iran before it actually builds a nuclear weapon, then the US will NEVER attack Iran because Iran will NEVER actually build a nuclear weapon.

    We all know that. Obama knows that. ISRAEL knows that. So what’s the point of making all this preparation for war and then saying we’ll never have a war?

    Clearly something is wrong with this picture.

    Since we all know that the real goal is weakening Iran so it is no longer an effective actor geopolitically in the region, and thus the entire Iran WMD story is nothing but “the excuse”, how is it that it MATTERS whether Obama says he will go to war (or not) if Iran does something we all know Iran will NEVER DO?

    Since we all know that the only way to weaken Iran seriously is via military action, and that sanctions won’t do it even if the sanctions run for the next decade as in Iraq, and since Obama KNOWS that, and even ISRAEL KNOWS that, how is it that it matters whether Obama says he wants the sanctions to be given time to work?

    What’s wrong with THAT picture?

    What’s wrong with the ENTIRE picture?

    The answer is simple. Nothing has changed. The US wants a war. Israel wants a war. The EU wants a war. Saudi Arabia wants a war. The GCC wants a war. They’re all working together to get a war. The only question is when and how.

    Everything else is a lie or a con game. Ignore it.

  127. Excerpts from David Remnick’s long comment on Israeli democracy in the current issue of The New Yorker:

    EXCERPTS FROM NEW YORKER COMMENT BY DAVID REMNICK:

    …There is another state in the region that is embroiled in a crisis of democratic becoming. This is the State of Israel. For decades, its citizens—its Jewish ones, at least—have justifiably described their country as the only democracy in the Middle East. … And yet, as an experiment in Jewish power, unique after two millennia of persecution and exile, Israel has reached an impasse. An intensifying conflict of values has put its democratic nature under tremendous stress. When the government speaks daily about the existential threat from Iran, and urges an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, it ignores the existential threat that looms within. Reactionary elements lurk in many democracies. … But in Israel the threat is especially acute. And the concern comes not only from its most persistent critics. The former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have both warned of a descent into apartheid, xenophobia, and isolation.

    The political corrosion begins, of course, with the occupation of the Palestinian territories—the subjugation of Palestinian men, women, and children—that has lasted for forty-five years. Peter Beinart, in a forthcoming and passionately argued polemic, “The Crisis of Zionism,” is just the latest critic to point out that a profoundly anti-democratic, even racist, political culture has become endemic among much of the Jewish population in the West Bank, and jeopardizes Israel proper. The explosion of settlements, encouraged and subsidized by both Labor and Likud governments, has led to a large and established ethnocracy that thinks of itself as a permanent frontier. In 1980, twelve thousand Jews lived in the West Bank, “east of democracy,” Beinart writes; now they number more than three hundred thousand, and include Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s wildly xenophobic Foreign Minister. Lieberman has advocated the execution of Arab members of parliament who dare to meet with leaders of Hamas. His McCarthyite allies call for citizens to swear loyalty oaths to the Jewish state; for restrictions on human-rights organizations, like the New Israel Fund; and for laws constricting freedom of expression.

    … There are sickening reports of ultra-Orthodox men spitting on schoolgirls whose attire they consider insufficiently demure, and demanding that women sit at the back of public buses. …Dov Lior, the head of an important West Bank rabbinical council, has called Baruch Goldstein—who, in 1994, machine-gunned twenty-nine Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron—“holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust.” Lior endorsed a book that discussed when it is right and proper to murder an Arab…. Men like Lieberman, Levanon, and Lior are scarcely embittered figures on the irrelevant margins: a hard-right base—the settlers, the ultra-Orthodox, Shas, the National Religious Party—is indispensable to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

    A visitor to Tel Aviv and other freethinking precincts might overlook the reactionary currents in the country, but poll after poll reveals that many younger Israelis are losing touch with the liberal, democratic principles of the state. Many of them did their military duty in the Occupied Territories; some learned to despise the Occupation they saw firsthand, but others learned to accept the official narratives justifying what they were made to do.

    Last year, a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute found that fifty-one per cent of Israelis believed that people “should be prohibited from harshly criticizing the State of Israel in public.” Netanyahu encourages the notion that any such criticism is the work of enemies. …

    [Netanyahu's] gestures toward Palestinian statehood are less than halfhearted. (After he spoke of giving Palestinians their own state, his father, the right-wing historian Benzion Netanyahu, shrewdly observed, “He supports it under conditions that they will never accept.”) … Netanyahu knows that young American Jews are split, with the growing Orthodox community solidly in his corner, and the less observant and secular majority—a majority that is increasingly assimilated and uninterested in Jewish learning—losing their attachment to Israel. The Prime Minister clearly feels that the fervor of the few offers him more than the disillusion and drift of the many.

    “The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation,” Obama has said. Netanyahu and many of his supporters believe otherwise….

    END OF EXCERPTS FROM NEW YORKER COMMENT BY DAVID REMNICK.

  128. Rehmat says:

    Russia: ‘Putin wins, western ZOGs fret’

    On Monday morning, Dr. Ahmadinejad congratulated Vladimi Putin on his resounding 64% victory in the country’s presidential election on Sunday.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/russia-putin-wins-western-zogs-fret/

  129. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says: March 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    “Obama clearly does not want to attack Iran. But, if Iran stockpiles enough 20% uranium, Obama may be pressed into attacking Iran.”

    James, How much is “enough?”
    If Iran stockpiles almost enough, then what will Obama do?

  130. James Canning says:

    Mearsheimer and Walt, in the FT today: “The best hope is that Mr Obama will continue to deflect pressure for military action, no matter what he says in public. Meanwhile, the greatest danger to Israel – - the occupation – - continues unchecked.”

  131. James Canning says:

    AlterNet was barred from attending the Aipac annual meeting. May well have something to do with AlterNet’s resistance to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

  132. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    It is indeed an improvement, for NYT and numerous other US newspapers.

  133. James Canning says:

    “Iran seeks Middle East domination, must be stopped: Peres”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/230078.html

  134. Dave Lari says:

    > Subject: Neil MacGregor: 2600 years of history in one object | Video on TED.com

    http://www.ted.com/talks/neil_macgregor_2600_years_of_history_in_one_object.html

  135. My goodness — credit where credit is due.

    The NY Times may not be entirely beyond redemption after all. Consider this sentence in today’s NYT article, followed by my “reworking” of that sentence to read as it probably would have read several months ago (or even a few weeks ago).

    ACTUAL SENTENCE:

    “And while many Western leaders suspect that Iran is secretly working to achieve that ability [i.e. nuclear capability] through its uranium enrichment activities, American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.”

    HOW THE SAME SENTENCE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN WORDED IN THE PAST:

    “And while Western nations believe that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapon, many American intelligence analysts believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has made a final decision to build a nuclear bomb.”

  136. James Canning says:

    Chris Hedges at Truthdig today: “One of the greatest purveyers of this demented ideology [global security state] is Aipac.” Very true.

  137. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Obama clearly does not want to attack Iran. But, if Iran stockpiles enough 20% uranium, Obama may be pressed into attacking Iran.

    So, is it an excellent idea, for Iran to demonstrate it is not subservient to “hegemonic powers, and possibly set up an attack that otherwise would not take place?

  138. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Congressman Emanuel Cellar of New York told Harry Truman that if he delayed recognition of Israel, Cellar and his rich friends in New York would ride Truman out of town on a rail.

  139. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Masoud: “quotes Truman in support of the American-Israeli relationship.”

    That’s particularly amusing since Truman was incensed over the amount of pressure on recognizing the state of Israel he got from the rich Jews in the US. This is a known fact which Obama clearly decided to ignore completely.

    “The main is a complete chameleon, lacking any type of authenticity whatsoever.”

    Yup. He’s a born liar as I’ve said often. He’s your typical slick lying black hustler, nothing more.

  140. Karl says:

    Sassan,

    2 things

    1. Stop pasting whole articles
    2. Stop using racist, islamophobic extreme right sources, it doesnt add up your “democratic/freedom”-aura.

  141. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: March 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    This is not surprising.

    Hindus in India have a deep and abiding anti-pathy to Islam.

    They also are in awe of Israel.

    And they aspire to be junior Imperialists to Big Imperialists.

    They will march down that path until it becomes clear that the gains from US were not worth their costs to India.

    We are still several years away from that.

  142. Sassan says:

    German defense expert: Iran tested bomb in N. Korea
    By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
    03/05/2012 15:51
    ‘Die Welt’ article claims that intelligence agencies believe N. Korea detonated Iranian atomic weapons device in 2010.

    BERLIN – Iran may have tested a nuclear bomb in North Korea in 2010, Hans Rühle, who directed the planning department of the German Defense Ministry from 1982 to 1988, wrote on German daily Die Welt’s website on Sunday.

    According to his article, many intelligence agencies believe that of the two nuclear tests carried out in North Korea in 2010, at least one detonation was an Iranian atomic weapons device. Some intelligence agencies believe that North Korea used its nuclear weapons expertise to test a weapon of mass destruction on behalf of the Iranians .

    Rühle, who is widely respected among defense and security officials, writes that “Iran’s military was capable of testing a nuclear warhead in North Korea in 2010. It is therefore not surprising if some intelligence agencies are now of the view that North Korea, in fact, in 2010, conducted at least one nuclear test for Iran.”

    He continues that “for a number of years intelligence agencies have registered close work between North Korea and Iranian experts in connection with the preparation of nuclear tests. The suspicion up until now has been of an underground nuclear weapons test on Iranian territory.”

    In connection with the North Korean test of an Iranian nuclear weapon, the former German defense official Rühle noted that it is not atypical for countries to test nuclear devices for foreign countries. He cites a list of examples,including the United States conducting tests for the United Kingdom in the 1990′s in the state of Nevada. He added that China tested Pakistan’s first nuclear weapons in its territory Lop Nur in 1990.

    It is unclear which intelligence agencies Rühle is referring to regarding the possible Iranian test in North Korea. He did not cite the sources for the intelligence data.

    He provides evidence from a report in last month’s scientific journal Nature. According to the article, the Swedish nuclear physicist Lars-Erik de Geer , who works for the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm, evaluated data in connection with nuclear tests. According to de Geer’s conclusions, North Korea likely conducted two secret nuclear weapons tests in 2010. Rühle wrote that Iran’s uranium production between 1998 and 2007 has not been accounted for, suggesting that the material was used in North Korea to test a nuclear device.

    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=260534

  143. fyi says:

    All:

    http://csis.org/files/publication/120305_Iran_Chapter_XI_Europe.pdf

    Or why I use the phrase “Axis Powers” to describe US-EU.

  144. fyi says:

    paul says: March 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    That was my sense of it as well.

    I base it on responses I had received from die-hard opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran abroad; they seemed – in retrospect – to have been aware of something cooking before hand.

    One specific web site, seemed to be ready with lies and mis-information and quickly began disseminating it.

    I think the real aim was the annulement of the elections.

  145. paul says:

    Whether or not the 2009 Iran election was stolen by Ahmadinejad, the one thing that was clear was that the NARRATIVE that it had been stolen was pre-concocted and ready to roll long before the election itself.

  146. fyi says:

    All:

    The current IAEA glossary defines that threshold amount for HEU as 25kg of U-235 in HEU.

    For Iranians to have enough material 20% enriched U-235 to forge a nuclear weapon, they would need 125kg of 20% enriched U-235.

    To match Israel or Pakistan’s arsenal, they would need 10 to 15 nuclear weapons – they would need to produce and store in Iran something like 1250 kg to 2000 kg of 20% enriched U-235.

    That is not where the Iranians are.

  147. Mohammad says:

    Binam and Sassan,

    Oh no you don’t, not this time.

    I had my own doubts in the 2009 election, at the beginning (I did not vote for Ahmadinejad). I vividly remember those days, when I had left all my assignments and was instead reading and searching the Web about the election on a full-time basis. Every kind of purported evidence that the election was rigged were coming out of the supporters of Mousavi and Karoubi. Since before the results were announced, I was aware of the May 2009 Terror Free Tomorrow poll (which predicted Ahmadinejad’s victory), I did not accept the accusations outright but I was rather skeptical. It was really hard to resist the furious “Green movement” supporters who breathlessly listed such evidence and cried about how their vote had been “stolen”. So I decided to spend much time researching most if not every such evidence, trying to look from as a neutral as possible perspective (I preferred Mousavi to Ahmadinejad), taking into account every possibility and reputable analyses. Several months later, I found myself slowly realizing that the announced results were quite reasonable and there was overwhelming evidence in their favor, to the extent of becoming absolutely sure that Ahmadinejad was the true winner of the election (not discounting the possibility of limited-scale decentralized rigging). Of all hypotheses, this was the hypothesis which could handle the largest possible subset of all publicly available evidence on the 2009 election. I firmly stand by that conclusion, and welcome any new argument or evidence to the contrary. I have commented on this site on several occasions about my conclusion on the result of the 2009 election (google “Mohammad says” in raceforiranDOTcom). The last of those was here where I’m still waiting for Sassan’s response.

    The Green movement partisans used bombardment by purported “irregularities” in the election and the laziness of the uninformed targets of their propaganda to research for themselves, to advance their view and win sympathizers. That’s an old trick by now. You’d be better off finding more valuable “evidence” of fraud than cling to tongue typos and inappropriately using mid-count election numbers to discredit the election results. At least you used better arguments in the last election. This time it took only 5 minutes to refute the “evidence” you linked to. (26m votes referred to 40thousand ballot boxes, not all of them. The final number of voters has been announced at 31m. And 26/31 ~ 40/46)

    The 2009 election opened my eyes into the thinking of some apparently reasonable and “well-educated” people who were suddenly turned into uncritical propagandists after the election. Some of them were, and remain, my best friends. Fortunately one of them was honest enough to recently (and privately) admit to me that he now felt he was tricked at that time into believing claims of vote rigging. And he is a brilliant graduate in computer science who has published in a well-respected peer-reviewed academic conference and recently been admitted to PhD programs at two respected U.S. universities, and waiting for more admissions to come (in order to choose one to pursue).

  148. fyi says:

    All:

    An Iran opinion piece from 2010 – its stupidity speaks for itself.

    http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/future-irans-green-movement

  149. Karl says:

    James,

    Here you go again, using 20%-argument to provoke the board here. Whats your point?

  150. James Canning says:

    In “Obama warns of ‘loose talk’ on Iran, in the Financial Times March 5th, Geoff Dyer notes that in his address to Aipac on Sunday, Obama declared: “I do not have a policy of containment, I have a policy of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

    So, no need to “contain” Iran, provided current policy of not building nukes continues. Wild card is if Iran piles up large amounts of 20 percent uranium (by not fashioning it into rods, and building fuel plates).

  151. James Canning says:

    Tobias Buck has good piece in today’s Financial Times: “Israel finds itself exposed and isolated over Tehran”.

    Quote: “Israel has been warned not to attack Iran by the US, Germany, France and Britain”.

  152. Rehmat says:

    India to deport pro-Iran Israeli Jewish writer

    Regarding US-Israel problems with the Islamic Republic, Susan Nathan has this to say.

    “I am supporting Iran. I come from a country (Israel) that the world knows has nuclear armaments. How can I deny the same right to develop nuclear power to another country? How do we know for certain that the nuclear power is not meant for peaceful purposes?”

    Susan believes that western media has been propagating lies about Iran and its president Ahmadinejad for calling for “Wipe Israel off map” or “we will push the Jews into Sea”.

    “I think it’s very wrong for any government Jewish or otherwise to become hysterical over what people say. It is not what people say that matters it is what people do. Therefore I am taking it all very calmly. That’s what I suggest the rest of the world should do too,” said Susan.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/india-to-deport-pro-iran-israeli-jewish-writer/

  153. James Canning says:

    Writing in today’s Financial Times (“Mr Obama must take a stand against Israel over Iran”), John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt on right on target: “[Obama] should remind Mr Netanyahu that the true danger to his nation lies in the refusal to allow a viable Palestinian state.”

  154. fyi says:

    Binam says: March 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I do not believe that it is my place to defend the Majlis – the Iranian electorate, by participating in those elections, clearly has demonstrated its belief in the efficacy of those elections.

    I agree that the elections are restricted and I would be the first to recommend the restoration of the electoral law to what obtained in 1980. But that does not make the elections a sham.

    In regards to the house arrests; I am opposed to it because I believe Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karrubiu should have been tried on charges of sedition and sentenced accordingly. For they lied and created a political crisis without any shred of evidence.

    I do not know the basis of your statement that I have questioned the first 27 years of the existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Please clarify your statement before I can answer.

    My position has been constant for decades: belief in (civil) Liberty and Freedom.

    That tens of millions of Iranians did not share my position was not a surprise to me; but it was also not a cause for me to abandon my core values in this regard. Nationalist, Islamists, Communists, Socialists, Monarchists did not believe in Freedom and Liberty.

    All I could do was to watch in frustration while men (and women) searched for the means to realize their fantasy projects.

    Where are men such as Mossadeq and Modarres when you needed them the most?

  155. BiBiJon says:

    Z.P. says:
    March 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

    “What do you say about this piece from STRATFOR?”

    As a snapshot it’s O.K. The wider context plays overtime stretching backwards, and forwards into the future.

    On managing perceptions, Iran is trying to convince anyone who’s willing to look/listen that she will not accept diktats, or preconditions, or any kind of discriminatory treatment, etc. Since 2005 it has become her policy to answer insults with insults, answer diktats with defiance, etc.

    U.S. has lost some credibility in issuing red lines, or as Bromwich says standing back while MSM issues red lines, and then year-after-year no shock’n'awe happens. US needs to stop drawing red lines, and start de-escalaing and negotiating.

    I agree with fyi, that the cost/benfit favors Iran and US’ expense in the long run.

  156. BiBiJon says:

    Oh, oh. Joe Klein demands “containment” option be put back on table
    ==============================================================

    http://swampland.time.com/2012/03/05/iran-notes/

    He interprets the AIPAC speech as foreclosing the possibility of a state of permanent confrontation between the US and Iran. Joe is worried Obama potentially could be intending to ‘solve’ the Iran nuclear issue, close the IAEA file, and make all UNSC resolutions null and void. Help!

    We cannot have this. We have to provoke Iran until it damn well makes the damnable weapons. And then neocons can relax into an auto-piloted “containment” strategy.

    Look Joe, folks with US’s interests at heart desire some level of rapprochement with Iran, not encroachment into Iran.

  157. Sassan says:

    AEA: Iran tripled higher-grade uranium production
    By REUTERS
    Last updated: 03/05/2012 14:45

    Amano voices “serious concern” over Tehran’s nuclear program to UN atomic watchdog’s 35-nation governing board.

    VIENNA – Iran has tripled its monthly production of higher-grade enriched uranium and the UN nuclear watchdog has “serious concerns” about possible military dimensions to Tehran’s atomic activities, the agency’s chief said on Monday.

    Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also told the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors about the lack of progress in two rounds of talks between the Vienna-based UN agency and Tehran this year.

    US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were to meet shortly in Washington to discuss Iran, deeply at odds over the timing for possible last-resort military action against Iran’s nuclear program.

    Even though Obama offered assurances of stiffened US resolve against Iran before the White House meeting, the two allies remained far apart over explicit nuclear “red lines” that Tehran should not be allowed to cross.

    During meetings in the Iranian capital in January and February, Iranian officials stonewalled the IAEA’s requests for access to a military site seen as central to its investigation into the nature of the Islamic state’s nuclear activity.

    “The agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme,” Amano told the closed-door meeting, according to a copy of his speech.

    The IAEA “is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he added.

    A report by the IAEA to member states last month said Iran was significantly stepping up uranium enrichment, a finding that sent oil prices higher on fears that tensions between Tehran and the West could boil over into military conflict.

    Since the IAEA’s previous report in November, Amano said Iran has tripled monthly production of uranium refined to a fissile concentration of 20 percent – well above the level usually needed to run nuclear power plants.

    Though indicated by the IAEA’s confidential report last month, it was the first time Amano spoke in public about this rapid increase in Iran’s enrichment activities, which has stoked Western and Israeli suspicions about Tehran’s nuclear agenda.

    Despite intensive discussions with Iran, Amano said, there had been no agreement on a “structured approach” to resolve outstanding issues with its nuclear programme during the talks held in January and February.

    Iran “did not address the agency’s concerns in a substantive manner,” Amano said.

    Making clear, however, that he would keep trying to engage Iran on the issue, he added: “Regarding future steps, the agency will continue to address the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and in a constructive spirit.”

    Amano: Syria asked IAEA to understand ‘delicate situation’

    Amano also said that Syria had asked the UN nuclear watchdog for understanding of the country’s “delicate situation” in response to requests for Syrian cooperation with an investigation into suspected illicit nuclear activity.

    The Syrian comments cited by Amano were an apparent reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to stamp out a popular uprising, in which over 7,500 people have died by a UN count.

    Amano made clear that no progress had been made in the UN agency’s almost four-year-old investigation regarding Syria. The IAEA has been seeking access to a desert site at Deir al-Zor that US intelligence reports say was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor intended to produce plutonium for atomic weaponry before Israel bombed it to rubble in 2007.

    The Vienna-based watchdog has also been seeking information about other sites that may have been linked to Deir al-Zor.

    Amano said he had written a letter to Syria in November last year urging it to address the agency’s questions.

    “I received a reply from Syria dated 20 February 2012, which asked for understanding of ‘the difficult circumstances and the delicate situation that Syria is passing through,’” Amano said, according to a copy of his speech to the closed-door meeting.

    “The letter pledged that Syria would continue to cooperate with the Agency to resolve outstanding issues.”

    Syria says Deir al-Zor was a non-nuclear military facility but the IAEA concluded in May 2011 that it was “very likely” to have been a reactor that should have been declared to inspectors.

    In June last year, IAEA governors voted to report Syria to the UN Security Council, rebuking it for failing to cooperate with the agency’s efforts to get concrete information on Deir al-Zor and other sites. Russia and China opposed the referral, highlighting divisions among the major powers.

    “The agency continues to seek full access to other locations which the agency believes are functionally related to the (Deir al-Zor) site,” Amano said. “I urge Syria to cooperate fully with the agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Deir al-Zor site and other locations.”

    http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=260522

  158. Binam says:

    FYI,

    “Until and unless the siege war against Iran ends, I am afraid, the present political situation in Iran will be a necessity to maintain her independence.”

    That I could agree with. However don’t tell me the elections were fair or that the people had real choices in this election. You still haven’t answered my question regarding what difference does it make who gets elected in this election? You speak of Rule of Law and yet you refrain from defending it. Illegal house arrests of Mousavi and Karoubi and illegal imprisonment of political prisoners does nothing to put the country in a direction we can both be proud of.

    I agree that the IR has had some accomplishments in its 33 year existence. To deny that would be to suggest that my parents’ generation accomplished nothing with the revolution that they all participated in. You’re the one who questions the first 27 years of its existence.

  159. Irshad says:

    The economist has an interesting article re: the type of concrete Iran uses in building its underground nuclear facilities

    As fyi likes to say: “God will turn their tricks against them…”

    Bunker-busting
    Smart concrete
    Iran makes some of the world’s toughest concrete. It can cope with earthquakes and, perhaps, bunker-busting bombs
    Mar 3rd 2012 | from the print edition

    DUAL-USE technology is one that has both civilian and military applications. Enriching uranium is a good example. A country may legitimately do so to fuel power stations. Or it may do so illegitimately to arm undeclared nuclear weapons. Few, however, would think of concrete as a dual-use technology. But it can be. And one country—as it happens, one that is very interested in enriching uranium—is also good at making what is known as “ultra-high performance concrete” (UHPC).

    Iran is an earthquake zone, so its engineers have developed some of the toughest building materials in the world. Such materials could also be used to protect hidden nuclear installations from the artificial equivalent of small earthquakes, namely bunker-busting bombs.

    In this section
    »Smart concrete

    Unusual suspects
    Life begins at 45
    Surviving fallout
    Reprints

    ——————————————————————————–

    Related topics
    Iran
    To a man with a hammer…

    Leon Panetta, America’s defence secretary, seems worried. He recently admitted that his own country’s new bunker-busting bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP, pictured above being dropped from a B-52), needs an upgrade to take on the deepest Iranian bunkers. But even that may not be enough, thanks to Iran’s mastery of smart concrete.

    UHPC is based—like its quotidian cousins—on sand and cement. In addition, though, it is doped with powdered quartz (the pure stuff, rather than the tainted variety that makes up most sand) and various reinforcing metals and fibres.

    UHPC can withstand more compression than other forms of concrete. Ductal, a French version of the material which is commercially available, can withstand pressure many times higher than normal concrete can. UHPC is also more flexible and durable than conventional concrete. It can therefore be used to make lighter and more slender structures.

    For this reason, Iranian civil engineers are interested in using it in structures as diverse as dams and sewage pipes and are working on improving it. Mahmoud Nili of Bu-Ali Sina University in Hamadan for example, is using polypropylene fibres and quartz flour, known as fume, in his mix. It has the flexibility to absorb far heavier blows than regular concrete. Rouhollah Alizadeh may do better still. Dr Alizadeh, a graduate of the University of Tehran, is currently working at Ottawa University in Canada on the molecular structure of cement. Once again, this research is for civilian purposes and could pave the way for a new generation of UHPC with precisely engineered properties and outstanding performance.

    One way to tamper with the internal structure of concrete is to use nanoparticles. Ali Nazari and his colleagues at Islamic Azad University in Saveh have published several papers on how to do that with different types of metal-oxide nanoparticles. They have worked with oxides of iron, aluminium, zirconium, titanium and copper. At the nanoscale materials can take on extraordinary properties. Although it has been demonstrated only in small samples, it might be possible, using such nanoparticles, to produce concrete that is four times stronger than Ductal.

    All of which is fine and dandy for safer dams and better sewers, which threaten no one. But UHPC’s potential military applications are more intriguing—and for many, more worrying. A study published by the University of Tehran in 2008 looked at the ability of UHPC to withstand the impact of steel projectiles. These are not normally a problem during earthquakes. This study found that concrete which contained a high proportion of long steel fibres in its structure worked best. Another study, published back in 1995, showed that although the compressive strength of concrete was enhanced only slightly by the addition of polymer fibres, its impact resistance improved sevenfold.

    Western countries, too, have been looking at the military uses of UHPC. An Australian study carried out between 2004 and 2006 confirmed that UHPC resists blasts as well as direct hits. The tests, carried out at Woomera (once the British empire’s equivalent of Cape Canaveral), involved a charge equivalent to six tonnes of TNT. This fractured panels made of UHPC, but did not shatter them. Nor did it shake free and throw out fragments, as would have happened had the test been carried out on normal concrete. In a military context, such shards flying around inside a bunker are a definite plus from the attackers’ point of view, but obviously not from the defenders’.

    Those people who design bunker-busters no doubt understand these points and have their own secret data to work with. Nevertheless, during the Gulf war in 1991 the American air force found that its 2,000lb (about a tonne) bunker-busters were incapable of piercing some Iraqi bunkers. The bomb designers went back to the drawing board and after two generations of development the result, all 13 tonnes of it, is the MOP. So heavy is it that the weapon bays of B-2 stealth bombers have had to be strengthened to carry it. It can, reportedly, break through over 60 metres of ordinary concrete. However, the bomb it is less effective against harder stuff, penetrating only eight metres into concrete that is just twice as strong. It is therefore anyone’s guess (at least, anyone without access to classified information) how the MOP might perform against one of Iran’s ultra-strong concretes.

    America’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the organisation that developed the MOP, has been investigating UHPC since 2008. This investigation has involved computer modelling and penetration testing. The agency’s focus appears to be on the idea of chipping away at a target with multiple hits. However, this approach requires great precision; and the air force is ordering only 20 MOPs, so there is little room for error.

    Deep bunkers can be tackled in other ways. The DTRA has looked at what is known in the jargon as functional defeat, in other words bombing their entrances shut or destroying their electrical systems with electromagnetic pulses. They are also working on active penetrators—bombs which can tunnel through hundreds of metres of earth, rock and concrete. Development work is also under way on esoteric devices such as robot snakes, carrying warheads, which can infiltrate via air ducts and cable runs.

    In the meantime, though, the Pentagon is stuck with the “big hammer” approach. The question is how reliably that hammer would work if the order were given to attack Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. It would be embarrassing if the bunkers were still intact when the smoke cleared.

    Clarification: The original version of this article might have been read as implying that the named Iranian concrete researchers were knowingly involved in non-civilian research. They are not. The text was changed to reflect this on March 3rd.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21548918

  160. Irshad says:

    Robert Fisk has managed to write an article contextualising what is happening/happened in Homs and in Syria. Its intersting to read Mustafa Tlas is from Homs (former defense minister) and is Sunni. Assads wife is Sunni. When one reads the crap of “Allawites this and that” – I wonder why the West has to/likes to view the ME through a racist/sectarian lense – something unthinkable to do when looking at US/EU – i.e. Obama – the black – president of US….Cameron – the Protestant christian…….Sarkozy the crypto-Jew……etc

    Anyway the article is brilliant and well worth reading:
    __________________________

    “Robert Fisk: The fearful realities keeping the Assad regime in power
    Nevermind the claims of armchair interventionists and the hypocrisy of Western leaders, this is what is really happening in Syria

    In my 1912 Baedeker guide to Syria, a page and a half is devoted to the city of Homs. In tiny print, it says that, “in the plain to the south-east, you come across the village of Baba Amr. A visit to the arcaded bazaar is worthwhile – here you will find beautiful silks. To the north of Homs, on a square, there is an artillery barracks…” The bazaar has long since been demolished, though the barracks inevitably passed from Ottoman into French and ultimately into Baathist hands; for 27 days last month, this bastion has been visiting hell on what was once the village of Baba Amr.

    Once a Roman city, where the crusaders committed their first act of cannibalism – eating their dead Muslim opponents – Homs was captured by Saladin in 1174. Under post-First World War French rule, the settlement became a centre of insurrection and, after independence, the very kernel of Baathist resistance to the first Syrian governments. By early 1964, there were battles in Homs between Sunnis and Alawi Shia. A year later, the young Baathist army commander of Homs, Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Tlas, was arresting his pro-regime comrades. Is the city’s history becoming a little clearer now?

    As one of the Sunni nouveaux riches who would support the Alawi regime, Tlas became defence minister in Hafez al-Assad’s Baathist government. Under their post-1919 mandate, the French had created a unit of “Special Forces” in which the Alawis were given privileged positions; one of their strongholds was the military academy in Homs. One of the academy’s most illustrious students under Hafez al-Assad’s rule – graduating in 1994 – was his son Bashar. Bashar’s uncle, Adnan Makhlouf, graduated second to him; Makhlouf is today regarded as the corrupting element in the Assad regime.

    Later, Bashar would become a doctor at the military Tishreen Hospital in Damascus (where today most of the Syrian army’s thousands of victims are taken for post-mortem examination before their funerals). Bashar did not forget Homs; his British-born Sunni wife came from a Homs family. One of his closest advisers, Bouthaina Shabaan, comes from Homs; even last year the city was too dangerous for her to visit her mother’s grave on the anniversary of her death. Homs lies deep in the heart of all Syrians, Sunni and Alawite alike. Is it surprising that it should have been the Golgotha of the uprising? Or that the Syrian authorities should have determined that its recapture would break the back of the revolution? To the north, 30 years ago, Hafez Assad created more than 10,000 “martyrs” in Hama; last week, Homs became a little Hama, the city’s martyrdom predicted by its past.

    So why were we so surprised when the “Free Syrian Army” fled the city? Did we really expect the Assad regime to close up shop and run because a few hundred men with Kalashnikovs wanted to stage a miniature Warsaw uprising in Homs? Did we really believe that the deaths of women and children – and journalists – would prevent those who still claim the mantle of Arab nationalism from crushing the city? When the West happily adopted the illusions of Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron and Hillary Clinton – and the Arab Gulf states whose demands for Syrian “democracy” are matched by their refusal to give this same democracy to their own people – the Syrians understood the hypocrisy.

    Were the Saudis, now so keen to arm Syria’s Sunni insurgents – along with Sunni Qatar – planning to surrender their feudal, princely Sunni power to their own citizens and to their Shia minority? Was the Emir of Qatar contemplating resignation? Among the lobbyists of Washington, among the illusionists at the Brookings Institution and the Rand Corporation and the Council on Foreign Relations and all the other US outfits that peddle New York Times editorials, Homs had become the new Benghazi, the start-line for the advance on Damascus.

    It was the same old American dream: if a police state was ruthless, cynical and corrupt – and let us have no illusions about the Baathist apparatus and its panjandrum – then its opponents, however poorly armed, would win; because they were the good guys. The old clichés clanked into focus. The Baathists were Nazis; Bashar a mere cipher in the hands of his family; his wife, Asma, variously an Eva Braun, Marie Antoinette or Lady Macbeth. Upon this nonsense, the West and the Arabs built their hopes.

    The more Sarkozy, Cameron and Clinton raged against Syria’s atrocities, the more forceful they were in refusing all military help to the rebels. There were conditions to be met. The Syrian opposition had to unite before they could expect help. They had to speak with one voice – as if Gaddafi’s opponents did anything like this before Nato decided to bomb him out of power. Sarkozy’s hypocrisy was all too obvious to the Syrians. So anxious was he to boost his chances in the French presidential election that he deployed hundreds of diplomats and “experts” to “rescue” the French freelance journalist Edith Bouvier, hampering all the efforts of NGOs to bring her to safety. Not many months ago, this wretched man was cynically denouncing two male French journalists – foolhardy, he called them – who had spent months in Taliban custody in Afghanistan.

    French elections, Russian elections, Iranian elections, Syrian referendums – and, of course, US elections: it’s amazing how much “democracy” can derail sane policies in the Middle East. Putin supports an Arab leader (Assad) who announces that he has done his best “to protect my people, so I don’t feel I have anything to be blamed for… you don’t feel you’re to blame when you don’t kill your own people”. I suppose that would be Putin’s excuse after his army butchered the Chechens. As it happens, I don’t remember Britain’s PM saying this about Irish Catholics on Bloody Sunday in 1972 – but perhaps Northern Ireland’s Catholics didn’t count as Britain’s “people”?

    No, I’m not comparing like with like. Grozny, with which the wounded photographer Paul Conroy drew a memorable parallel on Friday, has more in common with Baba Amr than Derry. But there is a distressing habit of denouncing anyone who tries to talk reality. Those who claimed that the IRA would eventually find their way into politics and government in Northern Ireland – I was one – were routinely denounced as being “in cahoots with terrorists”. When I said in a talk in Istanbul just before Christmas that the Assad regime would not collapse with the speed of other Arab dictatorships – that Christian and Alawite civilians were also being murdered – a young Syrian began shrieking at me, demanding to know “how much you are being paid by Assad’s secret police”? Untrue, but understandable. The young man came from Deraa and had been tortured by Syria’s mukhabarat.

    The truth is that the Syrians occupied Lebanon for almost 30 years and, long after they left in 2005, we were still finding their political claws deep inside the red soil of Beirut. Their intelligence services were still in full operation, their power to kill undiminished, their Lebanese allies in the Beirut parliament. And if the Baathists could smother Lebanon in so powerful a sisterly embrace for so long, what makes anyone think they will relinquish Syria itself easily? As long as Assad can keep Damascus and Aleppo, he can survive.

    After all, the sadistic ex-secret police boss Najibullah clung on as leader of Afghanistan for years when all he could do was fly between Kabul and Kandahar. It might be said that, with all Obama’s horses and all Obama’s men on his side, this is pretty much all Hamid Karzai – with his cruel secret police, his regime’s corruption, his bogus elections – can do today. But that is not a comparison to commend itself to Washington, Paris, London, Doha or Riyadh, or even Istanbul.

    So what of Bashar Assad? There are those who believe that he really still wants to go down in history as the man who gave Syria its freedom. Preposterous, of course. The problem is that even if this is true, there are those for whom any profound political change becomes a threat to their power and to their lives. The security police generals and the Baathist paramilitaries will fight to the death for Assad, loyal to a man, because – even if they don’t admire him – they know that his overthrow means their own deaths. But if Assad were to indicate that he intended to “overthrow” himself – if the referendum and the new constitution and all the “democratic” changes he talks about became real – these notorious men would feel both fear and fury. Why, in this case, should they any longer remain loyal?

    No, Bashar Assad is not a cipher. He is taking the decisions. But his father, Hafez, came to power in 1970 in a “corrective” revolution; “corrections” can always be made again. In the name of Baathism. In the name of Arab nationalism. In the name of crushing the al-Qa’ida-Zionist-Islamist-terrorist enemy. In the name of history.”

  161. BiBiJon says:

    Yet another BIG push, yet another fizzle
    =======================================

    Whether it is the Goldberg interview, or the AIPAC speech afterwards, everybody seems content to read into it as they like.

    Our own Leveretts worry that regime change is being implied.

    “Obama defines “permanently” by referring to two countries where denuclearization was achieved by the overthrow of existing political orders—apartheid South Africa and Libya. Obama is surely not making those comparisons to persuade Tehran of his genuine interest in finding a diplomatic solution.”

    I interpret Obama’s remarks as meaning that abstinence from developing nuclear weapons CANNOT be guaranteed by anything other than a respective nation’s own calculations leading it not to want nuclear weapons. I read the same passage and come away thinking Obama is emphasizing free will over coercion.

    David Ignatius is struck about “Obama’s clarity about establishing a “red line” between an Iranian civilian nuclear program (acceptable) and a weapons program (unacceptable).”

    see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/decoding-obamas-message-on-iran/2012/03/02/gIQAhtcSnR_blog.html

    Personally, I am struck by the “red line” Obama is drawing around hawks. He is repeating the Chairman of Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of defense, and various intelligence officials’ recent messaging that nuclear weapon “capacity” in of itself will not sway his administration unto a war footing.

    Jim Lobe was seeing a Bibi-conspiracy to the manufactured tensions with Iran: unseat Obama by high gas prices. see ,http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2012/03/03/will-bibi-have-barack-over-a-barrel-of-oil/

    It was interesting that Obama’s AIPAC speech turned the conspiracy on its head:
    “Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program.”

    Some might have wished that Obama sound even a more strident anti-war, pro-diplomatic tone to the imbroglio. But, given the boiling temperature with MSM’s war-mongering, I think Obama delivered the required level of stridency by in effect just shrugging his shoulders at AIPAC.

  162. Irshad says:

    In regards to my below post re: submarines – I just got to say,

    The screwing of the gentiles continues both financially and in blood (yo USA/EU go figth nation X as its a existential threat to Isreal!)

  163. Irshad says:

    Browsing the Independent newspaper – I came across this letter sent to the paper which was published:

    Letters: Ironies of Israel’s new submarine

    Saturday 03 March 2012

    “Your report concerning the possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by Israel (29 February) might have alluded also to Israel’s apparent attempt to obtain “second strike” facility.

    Currently undergoing sea trials is a new Dolphin class submarine built for Israel by a subsidiary company of ThyssenKrupp in Kiel – one of three to be delivered. This submarine, 68 metres in length and understood to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, is the largest submarine built in Germany since the Second World War. It is claimed in the German press that these new submarines have the advantage both of being more difficult to detect, and to have less need to break surface, as they run on fuel cells. The apparent intention is to mount a permanent patrol off the coast of Iran.

    Perhaps of equal interest is that one third of the purchase price of a third submarine to be built will be paid for by Germany, up to a maximum of €135m as part-reparation – this was revealed in a Wikileaks report from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. The reparation element seems to relate to Israeli claims against the GDR before reunification.

    The disparity between reporting of Iran’s nuclear policy and the almost total silence concerning Israel’s nuclear weapons and its refusal to either join the Non-Proliferation Treaty or even to allow international inspection must be a matter of incredulity in Middle Eastern states, if not in Europe.

    And just to heap irony upon irony, according to the Jerusalem Post in 2010, the Iranian state holds a 4.5 per cent stake in ThyssenKrupp.

    Wade Mansell

    Professor of International Law

    University of Kent Canterbury”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-ironies-of-israels-new-submarine-7499645.html

  164. fyi says:

    am says: March 5, 2012 at 5:06 am

    I do not believe your insinuation that the Majlis is “farmayeshi”.

    Clearly, tens of millions of people in Iran over the last 33 years do not agree with you either.

    Empirically, one must conclude that they see utility in their votes and their choices of representatives.

    And it is clear to me that power is distributed in Iran among various organs of the state.

    However, contrary to the West, Majlis is not sovereign.

    I have always stood for Liberty and the Principle of the Rule of Law.

    But, the establishment of the Rule of Law, after centuries of lawlessness, cannot be completed during 33 years of the nationalist government of the Islamic Republic.

    You can review the situation in very many South American countries and ask yourself in what manner has their adherence to the Rule of Law has been superior to Iran’s.

    The Rule of Law, Representative Government, Liberty must be understood in relative terms.

    The United States was not a country that adhered to the Rule of Law until sometime after 1880s.

    And in England there has been – for centuries – more of a Rule of Law than France or Spain (to this day).

    While I fault the Islamic Republic for absence of Liberty; I am not unsympathetic to her predicament.

    The fact is that the liberal governments in the Dominican Republic, in Iran, and in Chile were overthrown by the United States and her allies.

    The fact is that Cuba, before the dictatorship of Dr. Castro, was a country whose control rested with US-based organized crime.

    For Axis Powers have no compunction against using Democracy to destroy sovereign governments that they do not like.

    Until and unless the siege war against Iran ends, I am afraid, the present political situation in Iran will be a necessity to maintain her independence.

  165. Photi says:

    And let’s be clear here. Israel has NEVER militarily had an Iran-option; the “window of opportunity” in Iran has never been open to the Israelis.

    The Israeli calculation against Iran has ALWAYS assumed America will be there the next day to clean up the aftermath. Israeli “freedom to maneuver” is dependent not on Iranian capabilities but rather on the Israeli ability to manipulate American politics. From that angle, the Israelis should be attacking American politics.

    Oh wait. They are.

  166. Pirouz says:

    ToivoS says:
    March 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I am not U.S. military, sorry if I gave you that impression.

    I was referring to a number of former U.S. military officers (and one currently serving) officer.

    I think a number of U.S. military commanders have also come out stating in public comments that attacking Iran really isn’t a good idea. Statements from GEN Dempsey, Gen Hayden and RADM Shoemaker have taken a non-aggressive stance on the issue.

    By the way, COL Gentile recently penned a cautionary piece on the situation in Syria, as well.

    It’s encouraging, we seem to have cooler heads in the U.S. military then we do in the civilian leadership, which is the opposite of what we saw during previous situations such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  167. Fiorangela says:

    Obama’s speech at AIPAC sounded like a man pleading for his life.
    I can’t remember the name of that Stephen King novel/movie — a key scene takes place in an empty indoor swimming pool used as a ‘Roman coliseum’ where a kidnapped man has to beat up and kill another guy or else his daughter will be harmed.
    Netanyahu is the madman/kidnapper; don’t know what horrible thing Obama is being threatened with — he made a Mephistophelian bargain and now he is required to pay up. “I did what I said I would do . . .” he pleaded to the AIPAC mob.

    ___
    Ever notice that very few of the presidents in the 20th-21st century had sons?

  168. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Hebrew pronunciation of Sassan: “Shashan”
    Sassan-san= “Shashan-shan”

  169. nahid says:

    Hegemonic powers always distort realities particularly when they are to their detriment,

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/230058.html

  170. k_w says:

    @Sassan: “Nim Chimpsky”

    You are an anti-Semitic Zionist.

  171. Sassan says:

    Iranian human rights lawyer jailed for 18 years

    Abdolfattah Soltani has been banned from practising his profession for 20 years, in addition to his 18-year prison sentence.

    A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Tehran revolutionary court, his daughter said on Sunday.

    Abdolfattah Soltani was also banned from exercising his profession for 20 years and will be sent to a remote prison where it will be difficult for his family to visit him, Maede Soltani told the Associated Press. “It is a harsh and heinous sentence. The trial was completely politically motivated,” she added.

    Soltani, 58, co-founded a human rights group with Iranian Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. He was arrested last year and has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison.

    Her father’s lawyer was informed of the sentence on Sunday, but her family do not know when the court made its ruling, Maede Soltani said. The family will seek to appeal against the ruling. “We hope this unfair sentence will be overruled,” she added.

    Soltani says her father was charged with co-founding the Center for Human Rights Defenders, spreading anti-government propaganda, endangering national security and accepting an illegal prize – a reference to a German human rights prize he was awarded in 2009.

    Maede Soltani, who lives in Germany, said she did not know whether her father already knew about the sentence. Her mother is allowed to visit him in prison every two weeks and he did not mention it during their last encounter, she added.

    The revolutionary court also ruled that Soltani will be transferred to a remote prison in the city of Borazjan, about 620 miles south-west of Tehran.

    Soltani was arrested in 2005 and again during 2009′s disputed presidential elections on “politically motivated” charges, according to Amnesty International. “Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the bravest human rights defenders in Iran,” the organisation said following his detention last September.

    Working alongside Ebadi, the lawyer also represented the family of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian of Iranian origin who was arrested for taking photographs in front of Evin. She died several days later in the prison, possibly after being tortured.

    An investigative panel concluded Kazemi died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage caused by a physical attack, but the findings were rejected by Iran’s conservative judiciary.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/04/iranian-human-rights-lawyer-jailed?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

  172. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold,

    “What’s being envisaged is the US attacking Iran, and then attacking continuously as Iran reconstitutes its nuclear program.”

    ‘Envisaged’, or fairly unambiguously pooh-poohed?

  173. BiBiJon says:

    Excerpts from Obama’s speech at AIPAC
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/04/obama-aipac-speech-read-text?newsfeed=true

    ———————–

    But both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons. That’s what history tells us.

    as part of my solemn obligation to the American people, I will only use force when the time and circumstances demand it.

    For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built.

    —————————————

    Folks, I’m doubling down on my ‘de-escalation by April Fools’ bet.

  174. Binam says:

    Dear M. Ali,

    No Reza’s answer was not satisfactory. A simple math of numbers released by vezarat keshvar (not released by BBC, CIA, MUSSAD – by State Department) yields 54% participation. 10% below the official numbers. Add to this other manipulated numbers reported by various domestic news sites and you’d have to be a total idiot not to suspect an engineered election.

    And even if the elections were fair and not engineered, it still wouldn’t make much of a difference. It’s a one-party system now.

    FYI,

    You still didn’t answer my question. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE WHO GETS IN THE PARLIMENT? At the end of the day they will be at the service of the unelected (religiously unqualified) Supreme Leader. Majlese Farmayeshi. Most Iranians know this and those who vote are doing it either because they are religious and consider it their duty (respectable enough) or need a stamp in their Shenasname in order to keep their jobs (also respectable). But they all know it doesn’t make a difference who gets elected and who doesn’t. Even the Supreme Leader suggested this by stating that it doesn’t matter who they vote for, for as long as they show up to vote!

    And suppose it does make a difference and let us assume Iranians do like piety. Where is their love for Ahmadinejad now??? Parvin Ahmadinejad didn’t get elected. Most his supporters from the so-called “deviant current” didn’t get elected. Which isn’t surprising – because he has fallen out of favor with the Supreme Leader. At the end of the day all this is to serve him and his interests only. I wouldn’t be surprised that he uses this very parliment to abolish Presidency altogether and settle for a more controlable puppet prime-minister.

    I find it humorous that you speak so highly of the Islamic Republic and all it’s accomplishments in the past 33 years, and yet in the same sentence you associate all it’s leaders and thinkers of the first 27 years with enemies of Iran, the West, CIA, etc. etc. You see nothing wrong with illegal house arrests of Mousavi and Karoubi who are being held without charge or trial. And you see nothing wrong with the political prisoners – from lawyers and students to filmmakers, activists and former politicians. And I assume by this time next year when Ahmadinejad himself is on house arrest of sorts you’d abandon him too. Because your narrative only works if you stay loyal to the unelected Supreme Leader…

    If you care to cough up $4 you can buy this article from the New York Times:

    “Iranians Cast One-Party Ballots For Shah’s National Assembly”

    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30916FF385F1B7493C3AB178DD85F418785F9

    Dated June 20, 1975. The Shah created one-party-rule on March 2nd 1975 (ha! go figure!). They claimed 70% of those eligible to vote registered with the party (I guess 70% seems like a good fabricated number with most dictators). And the elections were held without any problems…

  175. kooshy says:

    Iran, Threats and the UN Charter

    By Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30716.htm

  176. ToivoS says:

    Pirouz, are you military? I agree with you. I certainly have found it humiliating to see Obama, our CiC, prostrate himself before the Israels. I think Ike was the last American president who had the guts to stand up against the Zionists.

    I do have the strong sense that today the US military is trying to separate themselves from these crazed Israeli policies. After all, they are the ones that have to fight Israelis wars. These are wars that are lost from day one, at least from our perspective, maybe not from Israel’s.

  177. Pirouz says:

    ToivoS says:
    March 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I’d like to think the same. Only time will tell.

    And I have to admit here that while I personally consider the Iran issue an important one, there are other issues that interest me – domestic ones – that I also consider important.

    Regarding the speech, however, I and a number of ex-U.S. officers that write on the blogosphere find it vexing that the C-in-C finds the need to grovel up to a foreign interest group the way he does. Heck, Ike told the Israelis they had to get out of Sinai in ’56, and LBJ had the US vote in the UN to expel the Israelis from the occupied territories (which the Israelis ignored). Fast forward to ’2012 and we have a situation where our U.S. ME policy is pretty much held captive to a foreign interest under penalty of political non-electability. Talk about a very particular loss of sovereignty.

  178. masoud says:

    This is the result of Obama being surrounded with only Israel-firsters and not being particularly smart himself.

    No argument that Obama has been surrounding himself with Israel firsters. But what we’ve been seeing recently is interesting.

    I think what we’ve been seeing a kind of civil war within the Israel establishment in the US. As of late, we’ve seen card carrying members of the Israeli Lobby like Dennis Ross and Andrew Golberg, and even the Canadian leadership, which is second to none in slavishness towards Israel, rally around Obama’s position over Netenyahu’s. It’s all very sureal. This current mini-split, which is probably a direct response to Adelson’s donations to Gingrich’s campaign. We’ve seen splits like this before, (MJ Rosenburg, J-Street), but this is being acted out inside the top echelons of Israeli, US power. The whole thing is kind of like watching a car crash in slow motion.

  179. Arnold Evans says:

    I’d call this the most interesting excerpt of the Atlantic interview:

    In that context, our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily. And the only way, historically, that a country has ultimately decided not to get nuclear weapons without constant military intervention has been when they themselves take [nuclear weapons] off the table. That’s what happened in Libya, that’s what happened in South Africa. And we think that, without in any way being under an illusion about Iranian intentions, without in any way being naive about the nature of that regime, they are self-interested. They recognize that they are in a bad, bad place right now. It is possible for them to make a strategic calculation that, at minimum, pushes much further to the right whatever potential breakout capacity they may have, and that may turn out to be the best decision for Israel’s security.

    The first part is constant military intervention.

    What’s being envisaged is the US attacking Iran, and then attacking continuously as Iran reconstitutes its nuclear program.

    There would be tremendous problems with this. One is that none of the attacks would be authorized by the UNSC. Another is that we’re talking about a general war with Iran that would look like Iran/Iraq minus the ground troops or like Israel/Lebanon 2006. But neither of these scenarios could ever stop to the US’ satisfaction.

    The US would need not only regime change, but regime change to a government that abandons the overwhelmingly popular policy that Iran should have full access to nuclear technology.

    This game ends, certainly with Iran’s government still in power. Ten years after the first attack, Iran would certainly have a more developed nuclear weapons program than it did when the first attack happened. In the mean time, Iran would have exacted maximal damage on US allies and on the world oil supply.

    The second interesting thing is that Obama says Iran should be much further from able to make a nuclear weapon than it is now. Not only must Iran permanently commit to not have Japan’s capabilities. It must commit to not have the capabilities it already has.

    This is the result of Obama being surrounded with only Israel-firsters and not being particularly smart himself.

    What Obama describes as “at minimum” is outrageously more than any sovereign government could commit to. The idea that 50 years from now, everybody can enrich and stockpile uranium except Iran because Khamenei submitted to the pressure of sanctions in 2012 is preposterous. But if it sounds reasonable to Dennis Ross and Hillary Clinton, it sounds good to Obama.

  180. ToivoS says:

    The Leverett’s pose the question in the headline and seem to lean towards Yes — Obama is preparing to commit for war against Iran. I have a little more optimistic interpretation of Obama’s speech. This talk was pure politics and directed towards an important constituency in the US and was not a diplomatic message to the Iranians. Certainly, the Iranian FM should see it that way.

    Obama thunders away with no option left off the table, we will go to war to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons and so on. But the positive signs from his speech is that he criticizes loose talk about war and, more importantly, the war threshold is nuclear “weapons” not nuclear “capability”. From this little nugget I do not believe Obama will give any assurances to Netanyahu that the US will go to war against Iran if they do not stop enriching U235. This entire enrichment question can be dealt with through negotiation and diplomacy.

    This is not to criticize the Leveretts — they remain a rare voice of sanity in this whole discussion. And I have to admit that my optimism here is based on feelings, even if Obama is trying to avoid a war, that does mean he is not playing a very dangerous game and could very easily stumble into war through some surprising circumstance.

  181. Humanist says:

    On the issue of recent bombing in Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok new lights are being shed on who was behind the bombings. Gradually what progressive Iranian bloggers were alleging (based on past experiences) is being substantiated.

    Israel was behind the bomb plots.

    Read this article from Gareht Porter to find out why: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/03/03/who-was-behind-anti-israel-bomb-plots

    In the following I copy and paste my comment here in RFI on this subject dated February 15, 9:23pm

    —-

    Watch the following video where an Indian journalist interviews the Israeli ambassador in India.

    ,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H3wSwj8D5c&feature=player_embedded#!

    In about minute 5 the journalist after pointing to the good relations between India and Iran asks “ were you surprised that Iran will do something like this on Indian soil?”

    Here is the Israeli ambassador’s reply:

    I have to say that my personal opinion about this is, the minute the country, group of people or individual crosses the path of ultimate evil which in my eyes is planning to killing of a fellow human being, there are no limits to what such a person or group can do…and it does not really matter if it happens in the Washington as I said [recent Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador] or Buenos Aires or in Delhi or in Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem. This is an international menace and it can be tackled only by us….all of us…not only Indians and Israelis….all of us working together to fight it “

    I could see the picture of the ambassador’s mind similar to the Picture of Dorian Gray. It wasn’t a pleasant view.

    I guess if you ask him “so you believe the killing of a fellow human being is ultimate evil?” He would say of course since in his mind Palestinians, Iranians or anyone who is Israel’s adversary IS NOT a fellow human being and as we have often heard they are terrorists (or cockroaches).

    What an astounding arrogant world view in this age when science strongly rejects the superiority of any race over the others.

    I wonder what he would have said when asked “recently US government alleges Israel uses MEK to assassinate Iranian scientists…aren’t they human beings?”. Most probably he would dodge the answer. He might then say”We Israelis are ready to defend ourselves in any way and anywhere we see fit”. Then if asked “in case of any occupation who has more right to defend itself….the occupiers or the other side?”. One can safely wager that he will abort the Interview and angrily walk out of the room.

    More interesting is when he says “[Iran] is an international menace”. Doesn’t he believe in Polls? Does he know the majority of people outside Israel and the Western countries believe “Present day Israel is the most dangerous country in the world” (European too, 60% blame Israel for the major problems especially the ones in the ME). Doesn’t he know in those polls Iran is almost in the bottom of the list of the countries who are the ‘threat to the world’?

    —-

    The zealous and/or right-wing Israeli officials assume the public is so stupid any outrageous gross lie can be easily shoved down their throat just by using Goebellsian methods of propaganda. I can list dozens of such lies targeting Iran.

    There is a clear element of extreme hubris and self-righteousness in what Israelis are doing for achieving their objectives. One wonders what is going on their minds. Can’t they realize with advent of new technologies sooner or later people will find out about their lies? Or they just aim to achieve their short term goals and ignore how history is going to judge them in the future?

    What an unfathomable shortsightedness. In the past, for other deceptive or apartheid regimes chicanery had done nothing but hastening their inevitable crumbling. Why Israeli officials can’t see this undeniable historical reality?

  182. masoud says:

    Obama’s AIPAC grovelling.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0rFbP6KvxY

    I stopped watching Obama’s speeches because I could feel my blood pressure going through the roof. For some reason that slipped my mind, and I ended up subjecting myself to another half hour of unadulterated masocism.

    In Cairo, he boasted that he hails from a family with generation upon generations of Muslims, and how he had known Islam on three continents before visiting the land of it’s birth, and he quoted John Quincy Adams in support of the American-Muslim relationship. At the Aipac conference, he feels compelled talk about his tradition of observering the passover seder, and how the concept of Tikun Olam has enriched and guided his life, and quotes Truman in support of the American-Israeli relationship. The main is a complete chameleon, lacking any type of authenticity whatsoever. I think even normal American politicians would be ashamed of this level of pandering. I couldn’t decide today whether he was running for a second term as President of United States of America, or whether he was maneuvering for a cabinet position in a post Netenyahu government lead by Avidgor Lieberman.

    I would go as far as saying the ease with which Obama lies might be indicatative of a state of clinical psychopathy. He seems to have no feeling, one way or the other, about the moral consequences of his of actions for other people. He is completely devoted to his legacy. During the 2008 campeign, he trew his long time pastor under the bus faster than chucked his Islamic roots after his Cairo visit.

    But I don’t see a reason why Jews would necesarily fare any better. The proffessional foreing policy comentariat is increasingly restelss, and even the main stream media has been meticulously walking back Iran’s eminent “Nuclear Weapon”, and have started reffering to Iran’s pursuit of the Japan option. Obama himself made reference to Khameini’s reiteration of his fatwa against nulcear weapons. Obama is backed by wallstreet money, and corporate super pacs are bound to displace traditional Washington lobbying. Netenyahu and Adelson are set to politicize their grip on US domestic politics in unprecedented ways. I think by the time the next midterm election cycle comes around, we could find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a a great unwinding.

  183. Jay says:

    Please don’t feed the troll!

    His word salad menu is fixed – he just shouts you one from the menu. Doesn’t matter what you say.

    Let the hungry troll go back to play with other gobbos.

  184. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pirouz: “the best I can say of him is he hasn’t launched a war of aggression against Iran.”

    No – just against everyone else in sight… He’s ramped up more military operations in other countries than any other President, I suspect. The difference, as Jason Ditz says in the article I linked to below, is that most of them were “covert” wars rather than new “hot” wars.

    He’s advanced the rhetoric and preparations for war with Iran more than George Bush ever did. Back in 2006, every time I mentioned the likelihood of war with Iran, I was pilloried for even suggesting the POSSIBILITY. NOW we’re talking about whether it will be THIS year or NEXT year.

    This “he hasn’t done it YET” argument is one of the dumbest that can be advanced. It has no logic behind it whatsoever. How many times do I have to say that wars do not start because the President wakes up one Saturday and says, “Hey, kids! It’s Saturday morning! Let’s start a war!”

    If Obama wins re-election, and I’d say that is quite likely given the freak shows the Republicans are considering nominating, where do you think he’s likely to be on Iran FOUR YEARS FROM NOW, given where he is RIGHT NOW?

    Do you really believe he’s going to be at the current status quo with Iran four years from now? Or even less likely, that he’s going to walk back all this?

    Fyi does. He’s nuts. Never happen. No way, Jose.

  185. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Jim Lobe once again grasping at straws…

    Will Bibi Have Barack Over a Barrel (of Oil)?
    http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2012/03/03/will-bibi-have-barack-over-a-barrel-of-oil/

    The thesis is that an increase in the price of gas at the pump will hurt Obama’s re-election chances, as it allegedly did in 2008 for the Republicans. And that Netanyahu can keep those prices high by either attacking Iran or merely continue threatening to attack Iran.

    Who knows? I don’t.

    I tried analyzing what Obama, Netanyahu and the US ruling elites might do, and it’s basically impossible without being on the inside and seeing all the players moves. I don’t have that computer model set up, so it’s impossible to guess how things will go.

    I can only go by where things are and what the strategic imperatives are. But those imperatives might not be the same for all factions of the ruling elites.

    So I can only continue to predict that the goal this year is to take out Syria and Lebanon, and attack Iran later. I think Netanyahu would prefer this, and so would Obama – unless the latter is scared any new war this year might go sideways and imperil his re-election chances. But Obama could also believe he needs a “war boost” to defeat the Republicans who will be harping on his military failures and “weakness” over Iran.

    I think the main issue is that Syria will continue to get worse and can’t be put on hold indefinitely. If Israel wants Syria and Lebanon taken out before an Iran war. then they and the US/EU ruling elites need to get on with it. They can’t wait until after the US elections. By that time, Assad may have gained the upper hand, despite the fact that the insurgents are supported by a safe haven.

    So I still see a US/NATO air campaign against Syria by or during summer and an Israeli attack on Lebanon during or after that event.

    I doubt Netanyahu will attack Iran this year – but I could be wrong about that point.

    What I DO KNOW is that IF Israel attacks Iran this year, the US WILL join in. Otherwise I think the US ruling elites will wait until after the elections to start the Iran war, with some preparation such as a blockade to lend some further “justification” for the war.

    However, as Ditz suggests in the article mentioned below, there is a possibility of a completely surprise attack by the US on Iran. I just think it’s very less likely than either an Israeli surprise attack or a prepared US attack.

    Fyi’s notion that this is all “somehow” going to be walked back is just ridiculous. No one makes any money from a resolution of this made up crisis. And that’s what matters.

    None of the ruling elites gives a damn about “$5 gas”…

  186. Pirouz says:

    Karl says:
    March 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    We had international monitors here in the US during the ’04 presidential election, if memory serves me correctly. We received an exemplary rating, which is sort’a odd given the fact the ’00 election demonstrated how the system could be successfully rigged against the actual winner.

    I haven’t the patience to watch Obama’s speech before AIPAC. Still, the best I can say of him is he hasn’t launched a war of aggression against Iran. True, he has acquiesced to an escalation of economic warfare. But it hasn’t (yet) come down to a contest of cold steel versus cold steel, which is something in my book.

  187. Sassan says:

    Karl: because we live in a free society. We do not operate under totalitarianism. You cannot put on equal footing that of a free western democracy in comparison to that of a theocratic fascist one that rules with impunity.

    And “Humanist”, I find it comical you quote Nim Chimpsky when in contrary to what you state, he has never been right on linguists let alone on political matters. He gained fame with his supposed “Language Acquisition Device” which despite numerous years of research has not shed the slightest evidence for its supposed existence. Nim Chimpsky is no Christopher Hitchens. He is a joke and a loser of the far left that no rational political observer takes seriously for the very fact that he is a fringe individual who has no real understanding of world political affairs.

  188. Sassan says:

    To the idiot whose comments were directed towards me: the murderous regime did not stop in their continuous cycles of murder, torture, and imprisonment leading up to the fake elections held the other day. In fact, they stepped up their terror in imprisoning more journalists, students, and dissidents in the days leading up to the election as cited by Amnesty International.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/us-iran-amnesty-idUSTRE81R0NX20120228

  189. Richard Steven Hack says:

    I hope no one paid any attention to Obama’s speech, given the amount of lies in it…

    Here is what is more relevant…

    Will Obama Warn America Before Attacking Iran?
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/03/04/will-obama-warn-america-before-attacking-iran/

    Ditz makes a good point. Obama is one of the most secretive Presidents in US history. He prefers to stab you in the back rather than announce his intentions… This makes sense given his “Uncle Tom” nature…

    Ditz also makes this valid point:

    “Obama has never seemed anywhere near so interested in conning the public into supporting his wars. In December 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly mocked the notion that massive public opposition could affect US foreign policy, insisting no amount of popular discontent would keep them from continuing to occupy Afghanistan. In this environment of secrecy the American public may well be the last to know about a US attack on Iran.”

  190. Rehmat says:

    Chris – the missing elephant is that the Zionist entity has 240-400 nuclear bombs – the result of nuclear program built on 220 kilogram of highly enriched uranium (enough to make 4-5 nuclear bombs) stolen from NUMEC laboratory in the US in the 1960s.

  191. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Your predictions have considerable merit. I personally think the chances of them proving accurate will be higher if Iran does not stockpile scores more kilograms of 20 percent uranium.

  192. Chris says:

    From President Obama to the ordinary American, we hear talk about the possibility of an Israeli/US attack on Iran’s Nuclear project. What is completely missing is the fact that such a move will be ILLEGAL under international law.

    Even the president, who has been a professor of law, does not address the issue…and American journalists all seem to have acquiescent to the campaign of the war mongers.

  193. SassanIsAZionistStooge says:

    And how, oh wise Sassan, if all the “regime” does is murder and terrorize, does it manage to hold elections. Strange it stopped its unrelenting campaign of murder and terror to do that. If I didn’t know better I would suppose you are an idiotic, lying zionist stooge spewing disinformation but based on your previous record of unerring truth telling we know that is impossible.

  194. Karl says:

    Another delightful hypocritical statement by Saudi arabia.

    Saudi FM says Syrians have a right to defend themselves; Red Cross delivers aid in Homs

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/fresh-assault-on-homs-as-red-cross-seeks-access-to-bloodied-baba-amr-district/2012/03/04/gIQAHhjtpR_story.html

    Really? Why then did Saudi arabia Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain slaughtered demonstrators at home?

  195. Karl says:

    Sassan,

    Sorry but you didnt reply to neither of my questions.

    What is the correct number? You took a guess thats not based on facts (based on what)?

    Why arent their monitors in the US?

  196. Humanist says:

    I remember about two decades ago Scientific American magazine started a new column entitled something like “the great minds of our time”.

    They picked Noam Chomsky as their first ‘candidate.

    Despite the fact that majority of Chomsky’s assertions or predictions have proven to be RIGHT he is despised by psychopathic warmongers and greedy capitalists and he is practically ignored by corrupt Western media. (which is both expected and is indeed very telling)

    In the following article, entitled “What are Iran’s Nuclear Intentions” Chomsky discusses, among other issues, the importance of materialization of nuclear free middle east:

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/12821/what_are_irans_intentions

    Here are just a few notable segments of the first part of the article:

    “The media resound with warnings about a likely Israeli attack on Iran while the U.S. hesitates, keeping open the option of aggression——thus again routinely violating the U.N. Charter, the foundation of international law”

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

    ……
    “Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace“

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

    ……
    “A prime concern right now is that Israel will seek to provoke some Iranian action that will incite a U.S. attack “

    On the basis of facts on modern history of Iran, especially about the substantial number of Iranian stooges (placed in important layers of Iranian ruling system), Chomsky’s ‘prime concern’ is indeed a the prime concern of many progressive Iranians.

  197. Sassan says:

    Karl says:

    “What is the correct number? 65 isnt that high to begin with, people who fake elections will rather put 90-95%.

    Why would they need “international observers” by the way? Does America have that for example?”

    Karl, the number they “predicted” before the elections was 65%. So “close” was their prediction..

    The fact that any individual who works with the government or has any position connected to the government (such as banks) is required to vote or risks getting fired – approximately 30% would be a more appropriate type of number. Ironically, this is the approximate number cited by the election commissioner on live television in his mix-up with the real numbers and the falsified numbers.

    In addition, you don’t compare rogue and terrorist regimes with that of free western democracies. You need international observers with elections in such regimes due to the nature of their totalitarian and rogue regimes.

  198. Karl says:

    Sassan:

    What is the correct number? 65 isnt that high to begin with, people who fake elections will rather put 90-95%.

    Why would they need “international observers” by the way? Does America have that for example?

  199. Sassan says:

    To the idiots who believe in the “official numbers” provided by the regime. Were there international observers involved? NO. Sorry, but rational observers don’t believe in nonsense and lies given by a regime that does nothing but lie, murder, and terrorize.

    Here is an election official even tripping over the false numbers! Exposing the regime’s lies..: http://youtu.be/A0wTaZI4weg

  200. fyi says:

    All:

    From the Financial Times:

    February 27, 2012 1:50 pm

    Sanctions offer Iran business unlikely boost

    By Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran

    As Iran’s youth unemployment soars, factories close and inflation surges, struggling local businesses are looking to an unlikely source for help: tightening international sanctions.

    While the mainly western architects of the new punitive measures aim to put pressure on Tehran and sow unrest among Iranians by stifling imports, local manufacturers hope to benefit from the reduced competition from foreign products.

    More

    On this story
    Reformists say Iran poll is meaningless
    Iran Speaker vote tests balance of power
    US faces first test of Iran sanctions resolve
    Global Insight Israel faces resistance over Iran strike
    Israel gets ready for Iran retaliation

    On this topic
    Obama says Iran attack ‘a distraction’
    Global Insight Poll will gauge Iranians’ mood
    Tehran considers trade payments in gold
    Iran’s elite counts on poor to erase bad memories

    IN Middle East & North Africa
    UAE expels Syrian protesters
    Syria urged to allow humanitarian access
    Israel to test improved missile system
    Syrian opposition forges military links

    Embattled Iranian industrialists – already boosted by a collapse in the value of the rial that has made overseas goods more expensive – see a fresh, if perhaps shortlived, upside in the potential for a still-harder international financial squeeze to cut outside supplies of some goods altogether.

    “Small and medium-sized industries are happy with the impact of sanctions on the currency market,” says one economic analyst. “Now some big industries – like producers of spare parts for cars, tiles, ceramics and household goods – are pleased that imports could be finally curbed.”

    Farmers, who have also griped about competition from imports, might also see a temporary benefit from the country’s international isolation.

    “Sanctions will make the agriculture sector have a false growth and farmers will benefit for one year or so but will lose in the medium and long term,” says Issa Kalantari, a former agriculture minister.

    The US and European Union recently stepped up their measures against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, part of a programme Tehran says is for civilian purposes but outsiders allege is designed to produce nuclear weapons.

    The impact of international sanctions has been felt harder than ever by Iranian consumers in recent months. The rial has plummeted by about 40 per cent since October, making imports much less affordable.

    The sanctions have made international financial transactions for the government and Iran’s business community more costly and time-consuming, involving middlemen and informal currency traders.

    But some businessmen see matters differently, hoping that a sliding currency and falling imports can make their companies competitive. “If imports do not stop, which I hope they will because of sanctions and the expensive dollars, then we have to stop [producing],” says one medium-sized producer of industrial goods.

    Hefty oil revenues in recent years made Iran open its doors to record levels of imports, in an apparent move to curb inflation.

    According to the latest Central Bank figures, the government of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad earned $447.5bn in oil revenues from 2005, when it swept to power, until the end of the last Iranian calendar year on March 20 2011. Imports over the same period hit $356.8bn.

    A contradictory mixture of both open market and socialist policies – high levels of imports alongside distribution of cash and cheap loans to the poor – led many economists to accuse the government of sacrificing long-term development plans for short-term political gains.

    The approach made many Iranian industrial operations function at less than half their capacity, leading to redundancies that increased the already high level of unemployment, which stands at 26.1 per cent among those under 25, according to the Iran Census Centre.

    Underdevelopment and dilapidated machinery in Iran’s industrial and agricultural sectors mean the prices of finished goods are relatively high, affecting the purchasing power of consumers who already struggle with inflation that official figures put at 21.6 per cent.

    The critical situation is believed to have been exacerbated by a cut in state subsidies since late 2010, which has increased energy bills significantly.

    Mehdi Mir-Abdollahian, the secretary of the Association of Tehran Province Industrialists, said recently that 25 per cent of the province’s industrial facilities were closed, 16 per cent were about to shut down and 21 per cent were “half active”.

    But for now, analysts say, developments that benefit domestic producers will be met with stiff resistance by the vested interests of many importers, some of whom are said to be affiliated to the regime and enjoy monopoly status.

    The state has promised to provide importers with hard currency at the official exchange rate – more than 30 per cent lower than the open market rate – to try to prevent rapid increases in prices.

    “The sanctions can help domestic producers only if the government decides to support them by banning [imports] of anything that can be produced at home,” says one analyst. “But those importers who have access to cheap hard currencies will resist as much as they can.”

  201. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    US needs to extricate herself from the corner she has painted herself.

    Clearly, the Syrian operations have faild.

    The sanctions on Iran have backfired as they have incrased gasoline prices to $ 4.00 and are in the process of rising and further harming US, EU, and the rest of thee world economy.

    The American leaders hve observed that their red lines are:

    1- No nuclear weapons in iran.
    2- No cloing of Straits of Hormuz

    Iranians have statd:

    1- They will never buil nuclear weapons (this repeatedly from the highest authroity of the state)
    2- They will not close the Straits of Hormuz (unless they cannot sell their oil)

    The way forard is clear:

    US-EU will start back-tracking on their attempts to prevent Iran from selling oil – this is now a necessity for them.

    US-EU will find a way to walk out of the P5+1 negogiations in April with a fig leve that they can proclaim as a victory.

    The US santions on Iran will remain on the books.

    Iranians (and the rest of the world) will work around such sanctions and US will resume her departure out of Aghanistan and the Middle East.

    The winner: Iran.

    The draw: US

    The loosers: EU, Qatar, India, Saudi Arabia, Israel

  202. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: March 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I understood your comment to be initially about the population of Northern Tehran and like-minded people in other parts of Iran – no matter how small a percentage.

    They have a right to be heard and participate in the political life of their country.

    It is better to have them within the political system than without.

    I am not talking about Iranians abroad.

    [The 3-5 million is large.

    In US, that number is closer to 300,000 - excluding children born to Iranian parents.

    US is 300 million souls.

    EU is 700 million souls.

    So, assuming similar ratios, the total Iranian population in US & EU should be close to 1 million - again excluding the children born in those states.

    And I am excluing the children because they will assume the identity of their respective socisties.

    In the rest of th world, let us say another 1 million.

    Total: 2 million - excluding children born to Iranians abroad.]

  203. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree with you Obama sees that war is not a good option. But he does need to win re-election. And there is no reason to doubt he is serious that no country in the Middle East will build nukes.

  204. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Clearly you are quite right to say the Greens “harmed Iran in their pursuit of political gain.”

  205. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Obama is not allowed to “cut Israel down to size” in his speech before Aipac. Powerful Democrats in the US Congress would not tolerate it.

  206. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    March 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    whether a grave mistake or not, this is a fact on the ground. based on what I have seen out of the country, there is no point trying to appease the majority of these people (when I say majority something around 70-80% of them). and Ahmadinejad was probably naive in doing so. the majority of those 3-5 million do not want anything other than the change of the system altogether. and I think Pirouz well described them. Castellio also gave a sound psychological explanation for their actions.

    I think IR should be selective in dealing with these people. As the experience of the last election show, the damage of doing otherwise can easily supplant its intended benefits.

  207. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: March 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    It is a grave political mistake to exclude 3 to 5 million people from the political process of the country.

    This is both a domestic and foreign political risk to the Islamic Establishment.

    Mr. Ahmadinejad unerstood this and tried to create the political space by speaking of the “Iranian School” – Maktab-e Eslami.

    His political enemies destroyed that.

    Let us see how the new Majlis is going to govern.

  208. Persian Gulf says:

    oops! “there are 3 to 5 million Iranians abroad…”

    sorry “abroad” is missing

  209. Persian Gulf says:

    M. Ali:

    As you know there are 3 to 5 million Iranians who do not vote for parliamentary elections. This number should be excluded from the eligible voters.

    Only 300,000 of them voted in the last presidential election.

  210. M. Ali says:

    fyi, I think the major weakness of Green minded people and the diaspora is they they are not constructive. Iranian government and its law has been changing every year since the revolution. There are prominent lawmakers who are constantly doing their best to match people’s needs. What have the greens done since losing the elections except whine, complain, and help the american propaganda war against Iran?

  211. fyi says:

    Binam says: March 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    You do not understand the Iranian people; they crave piety.

    That i why they chose Dr. Ahmadinejad twice.

    And please do not repeat the lies of the so-called Green Movement here about stolen elections etc.

    The Green Movement leaders never supplied any evidence of fraud.

    Their hope was to create political chaos and cancel the elections.

    And even when 10% of vote was recounted, they did not admit that they were wrong.

    I have no sympathy for them and their ilk; they harmed Iran in pursuit of their political agenda.

    And Mr. Khatami, inspite of his mandate, ultimately was not nerly as brave as Mr. Ahmadinejad who actually did go against the same clique that had divided iranians into “khodi” and “gheyr-khodi”.

    I do not have any antagomism or objection towards the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent.

    That office has been instrumenta – in my opinion – in preserving representative constitutional rule in Iran; the longest of such rule in any Muslim country.

    The only narrow area on which I could agree with you is the “Electoral Laws” as passed by the Second Majlis.

    It caused the representative system in Iran to become a restricted representative system.

    That is a very valid and substantial criticism since it creates resentment in the country by denying, in effect, franchise to a segment of the population.

    The Eight Majlis, in my opinion, has compunded that mistake by further narrowing the choices to those who have a college degree.

    I hope that some day Majlis will revert back to the election law of 1980.

  212. M. Ali says:

    Binam, were you satisfied with Reza’s reply to your concern about the difference regarding eligible voter difference for Tehran?

  213. Binam says:

    fyi,

    Actually I can explain. The reform candidates split the votes and Ahmadinejad fell through the cracks.

    People have at times believed that elections make a difference. They elected Khatami in a landslide twice for that reason. And it did make a difference.

    They participated again in 2009 thinking it will make a difference. But let’s not get into the aftermath of that election…

    The circle of “khodis” is getting smaller and smaller and now when the choice is between conservatives and ultra conservatives, there’s not much of a choice. As a “baghayrat” south Tehrani please explain to me what difference does it make who gets in the Majlis this time around? They will all serve the needs of the unelected Supreme Leader. It’s a one party system now. And just as 70% participation during “elections” of the Shah’s Majlis didn’t help him stay in power, these sham elections won’t do much to keep a dictator like Khamenei in power.

    For your viewing pleasure – the ultimate Freudian slip on 34% participation!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Kr5ONtE86o

  214. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    Obama is “sad, pathetic, desperate”? He does have to grovel, to a degree. And he has to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the campaign this year. Guess who stumps up most of that money?

  215. fyi says:

    Binam says: March 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    This is silly.

    You & others like you cnnot explain why tens of millions of ordinary Iranians participate year after year, decade after decade, in elections.

    For your implicit position is that the election are sham.

    You cannot explain why people did not vote for Mr. Moin – the “Reform” presidential candidate back in 2002 and instead voted for Mr. Ahmadinejad.

    You cannot accept that there are tens of millions of people in Iran that clerly believe that their votes does make a difference in their lives.

    They are not goinbg to listen to a bunch of bache soosool from Northern Tehran.

  216. Karl says:

    James,

    “Israel’s open effort to block any negotiations with Iran, unless Iran stops all enrichment, clearly deserves strong condemnation globally.”

    Absolutely, here they outright reject diplomacy and push for war, such despicable behaviour must indeed be condemned. The fact is, west could easily stop Israel if they want.

  217. James Canning says:

    Tehran was in fact prepared to “surrender” part of its nuclear programme, as recently as last September. Ahmadinejad’s offer to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent obviously had been made with support from Khamenei.

  218. Binam says:

    Eric,

    Very well. Could you please stick to the “facts” as reported by State Department and do a follow up? Our disagreement after all was what you considered facts and I fiction. It all becomes relative when you do a report from here where there is no paper trace and even the State Department continues to change its numbers to fit their narrative…

    Since Friday (and even prior to Friday) the State Department and all official reports have been claiming a 64% participation. But if you do a simple division of the VERY NUMBERS the State Department has released on people eligible to vote vs. votes cast you come to 54% participation – and not 64%.

    Such errors are all over the place. Perhaps since the Leveretts swore by your previous report you could do them the favor of doing a factual report on this year’s elections. Better hurry before the facts change!

    Two screenshots from State Department – side by side. Yeah it’s on JERS website, but live with it, I have no other way of sharing it:

    http://www.rahesabz.net/picstories/rrr.jpg

    Also keep in mind that everyone is talking about percentage of participation and not the candidates and what they stood for. Because there’s not much of a difference between the conservative and ultra-conservatives. It doesn’t make a different who ends up in the parliament – they will all be at the service of the Leader. It’s one party rule all over.

  219. fyi says:

    All:

    Once again, I repeat, there will be no war.

    Now or after the US elections.

    But this theatre in US is exhibiting the degeneration of US politics and polity – war is cheap and peace is expensive.

    In my opinion, Mr. Obama has staked out a position that clearly indicates that he understands that war is expensive.

    But he also knows that peace would be expensive as well.

    So, the way forward for him is to rely on P5+1 negogiations with Iran to salvage the situation.

    Bottom line: Americans are on their way out of the Middle East and need to reach a deal with Iran – the degeneration of their domesti politics not withstanding.

    [US has very very serious social and economic and political problems internally. She will be absorbed by them for many decades.]

  220. James Canning says:

    Israel’s open effort to block any negotiations with Iran, unless Iran stops all enrichment, clearly deserves strong condemnation globally.

  221. fyi says:

    M. Ali says: March 4, 2012 at 4:50 am

    If you are a marriage-minded man in Los Angeles area of the United States, you can have/marry any woman from any ethnicity/nationality.

    They will say “yes”.

    Then you have the Iranian women there whose demands and expectations from a man are so high that a norml man could not possibly be an acceptable marriage candidate for them.

    Additionally, you have to deal with their utter lack of “sense” – they mentally live somewhere that is not shared by most people.

    I feel sorry for them; they will be spinters in no time at all.

  222. Karl says:

    Rabid likudnik blast Obama’s speech.

    Forget ‘crippling’ sanctions, now iranians must be punished with ‘paralyzing’ sanctions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Wp8rtlZxapk

    These paranoid sickos arent satisfied until Obamas not only bomb nuclear facilities but bomb the “regime” itself.

    For what? Non existent nukes.

  223. Fiorangela says:

    Bob Marshall says:
    March 4, 2012 at 4:59 am

    “Israel is believed to have at least 200 nuclear warheads.how many does Iran have and where is the proof?”

    Chris Hedges spoke at the Occupy AIPAC conference in DC yesterday. He said “Israel has between 400 and 600 nuclear warheads, plus submarines with nuclear weapons capability (or words to that effect).

    A transcript of his speech will be posted on the OccupyAIPAC website. I’ll post audio as soon as I figure out how to do it, and if I need permission.

  224. Humanist says:

    Great absorbing post. It draws intense attention to so many critical issues about incredible current events in Israel and US.

    As the article portrays, the US is at a critical crossroad. Will Netanyahu get everything the powerful warmongers want? I thing whatever the outcome US will not be exactly the same as it was before, especially if Obama disappoints the embittered American public.

    I printed this post, I want to study it further. I am looking forward to read some thoughtful comments.

  225. Castellio says:

    I’ve been thinking of your first comment on this thread, Pirouz.

    For those who need an enemy to maintain collective cohesion, and who believe collective cohesion to be a paramount virtue, then hate is a powerful tool to achieve the desirable.

  226. Karl says:

    Transcript of obamas speech.
    Typical warmongering but felt very old, could have been written 2005.

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/text-obamas-remarks-aipac/408866

    Nothing new really some obvious lies and propaganda.

    1. Obama take for granted that Iran is behind bombings in Asia.
    And of course makes no mention that Israel and US support terror inside Iran, support for the Mek and Jund-Allah.

    2. Obama said:

    “Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs”

    Not true, Israel have no legal right to strike Iran. If any, the following UN resolution proved such after the Osirak bombing. As a lawyer Obama is a failure, an israeli, american attack is a war of aggression, “the crime against peace”.

    3. Obama said:

    “But both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically.”

    Not true, Netanyahu have made clear he is against diplomacy. Also what diplomacy? What carrots have you used with Iran obama mere than vocal propaganda?

    4. Obama said:

    “And the Arab Spring has only increased these trends, as the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is exposed, and its ally – the Assad regime – is crumbling. ”

    But supporting Al Qaeda in Syria, Libya, to wage a illegal war in Libya. To support arab dictators in humm lets see, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Saudiarabia, Kuwait and to support the last colonial outpost Israel with gun worth billions is not hypocrite while saying you support the “people” of the middle east?

    5. Obama said:

    “And so from my first months in office, we put forward a very clear choice to the Iranian regime: a path that would allow them to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their international obligations”

    Not true, you said that you would talk with any “enemy” state without preconditions. You havent dont either.
    1. No talks with Iran.
    2. You urge Iran to ALOT of preconditions or rather conditions.

    Anybody knows obama isnt welcoming Iran to “rejoin” anyhting unless Iran turn into a pro-shah pre 1979 kind of state. That is dismantling of Islamic republic and end of resistance to US illegal wars and israeli occupation.

    6. Obama said:

    “It is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world.”

    Really? If you are so worried about arms race why then dont you plug the whole of problem of everything – israeli nukes/israeli occupation.
    The fact that Obama didnt utter a single word about the illegal actions of Israel, its refusal to recognize Palestine, its refusal to accept some 40 binding UN resolutions, its support for Jundallah, its terror inside Iran etc makes clear that Obama will, could do NOTHING to stop the warmongers in Likud.

    7. Obama said:

    “Let’s begin with a basic truth that you all understand: no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction.”

    Let turn that around:

    “Let’s begin with a basic truth that you all understand: no Iranian government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Nakba, threatens to attack Iran, and sponsors terrorist groups like Jund-Allah and the MEK committed to Iran’s destruction.”

    Please Obama you arent fooling anyone with lies, warmongering and hypocrisy.

  227. Rehmat says:

    Ben-Obama has no other choice but to drop on his knees in front of Bibi and say: “Master, give me a little more time to fulfil your wishes in Iran”.

    If one study Obama’s political career from objective source – he will find out that Obama has always been committed to Israeli dictation.

    In September 2011 – John Heilemann writing in the New York Magazine called Barack Obama “The First Jewish President“.

    Obama is a product of Jewish elites, from AIPAC to the Wall Street. To prove his Jewish credentials, some of Obama’s recent actions include his criticism of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, playing midwife to Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador in Washington and freezing $60 million aid to UNESCO for admitting Palestine as a member of the organization……

    Nancy Pelosy even called Obama “the promised Jewish Messiah” in 2008.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/obama-jewish-president-messiah-or-g-d/

  228. paul says:

    Lobe and Porter have labored long and hard to suggest that Obama has been a brave peacenik desperately trying to hold the neocons back from war. This is a blatant falsification. Obama has done nothing but walk steadily towards war whilst mumbling, barely audibly, “peace”.

  229. Photi says:

    re: President Obama’s AICPAC speech

    It sounds pretty clear the “red line” is still at Iran obtaining an actual weapon, so all this talk of “capability” can be thrown out the window, correct? As Dr. Larijani explained last fall on Charlie Rose, “weapons capability” is a simple and primitive matter. The higher pursuits of nuclear technology are what the Iranian people are interested in acquiring. Thankfully, we have Ayatollah Khamenei recently reaffirming that nuclcear weapons are a “big sin” in the Iranian and Islamic view.

    In Obama’s speech, he prescribed “pressure and diplomacy” towards Iran. The “pressure” the US has brought to bear over Iran is clear, where is the diplomacy? Have the Leveretts been commissioned to Tehran on behalf of the diplomacy Obama is speaking of?

  230. masoud says:

    Sassan says:
    March 4, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Actually, it’s “FAR TIME”. Learn your English buddy.

    That’s definitely not standard North American or British english. In your defence though, I have heard that expression used quite a number of times by Israeli expats, maybe it’s a direct transposition of a related hebrew expression?

  231. Binam,

    “As much as I disagreed with much of what you said in 2009, I would like to see if in YOUR opinion today’s numbers add up.”

    It appears Reza Esfandiari has the analysis of the parliamentary election well in hand.

    You implicitly mischaracterize our disagreement over the 2009 election as a mere difference of “opinion.” I certainly express opinions from time to time, but my study of the 2009 election stuck to facts — carefully distinguishing, for example, between the election itself and the protests and crackdown that followed (which you typically treated as if they were all one and the same event).

    You simply chose to ignore the election facts — not merely to express a different “opinion.” You have a right to do that, of course, but we would appreciate an accurate characterization of what you did.

  232. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Sassan:

    In case you didn’t notice, over 30 million Iranians have freely cast their ballot and chosen their representatives. I think you need to liberate your own mind and open it to this reality.

    Reza

  233. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Binam:

    This is plain silly. 2.5 million eligible voters are not missing. In the last election, there were 6.4 million for the Tehran, Shemiran, Reyy and Eslamshahr constituency, of whom 5.4 million were in Tehran city proper.

    http://www.brandeis.edu/crown/publications/meb/MEB29.pdf

    This talk of including Karaj into the Tehran constituency is just plain wrong – it is in Alborz province. However, the authorities appear to be calculating turnout percentages based on Tehran city only, and not the adjoining suburbs of Shemiran etc.

  234. Richard Steven Hack says:

    M. Ali: “Its sad, its pathetic, its desperate.”

    And it’s mostly an act.

    Part of it is real – the part, as I say, where Obama learns (if he has) that selling his soul to the ruling elites to become President isn’t worth the price if he’s still just someone’s house boy and his decisions have already been made for him.

    Part of it is just an act. Part of the “good cop, bad cop” routine the US and Israel are playing to try to get the other to shoulder the blame for the next war mess but in any case to make sure the public never misunderstands that the purpose is war by one party or the other.

    “Oh, please don’t throw me in that briar patch! I don’t want to start a war!”

    Yeah, right… He’s a lying SOS who couldn’t care less if the US goes to war on his watch or not. The ruling elites have evidently decided that sometime in the next couple of years is “the time” for the war to start – and he’s stuck with being the President who’s in power during that time who has to start it.

    That’s all he’s complaining about – that he will go down in history like George Dubya as the dumbest President in US history for starting an even worse war than Iraq and Afghanistan – and after he failed in Afghanistan to boot, which makes him EVEN dumber than Bush…

  235. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Notable Quotes from the Leveretts’ post.

    “Indeed, Obama starts the interview, see here, by declaring, “First of all, it’s important to say that I don’t know exactly what the prime minister is going to be coming with.””

    In other words, Obama STARTS by LYING… That’s telling…

    ““We, immediately upon taking over, mapped out a strategy that said we are going to mobilize the international community around this issue [the prospect of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon] and isolate Iran.” This is important in dealing with Netanyahu, because Obama wants the Israeli prime minister to know that he harbors no ambitions for a diplomatic breakthrough with the Islamic Republic—not even in a second term.’

    Good call. It’s war – or nothing. Because Iran ISN’T going to surrender.

    “the administration’s policy is not primarily about changing specific Iranian behavior (actual or potential), but rather about weakening the Islamic Republic.”

    And this is not the end of it. This is NOT “slo-mo regime change”. The goal is to weaken Iran MILITARILY so that it is no longer an effective actor in the Middle East – like Iraq and Libya – and soon to be Syria and Lebanon.

    “Islamic Republic so weak that it could not ever act independently to constrain the United States or any of its allies from unilaterally using military force in the Persian Gulf or elsewhere in the Middle East.”

    Precisely, And Obama KNOWS that sanctions can never do this. Never. It requires MILITARY ACTION to accomplish this goal.

    “Specifically, Obama says, “The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound.”

    As the Leveretts note, this is another deliberate LIE as no sovereign state will ever allow its nuclear weapons to fall into terrorist hands. Not to mention that Obama KNOWS that Iran will NEVER have nuclear weapons even if he does nothing.

    “(Contrast that to Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban and Al-Qa’ida; American Presidents don’t characterize that as a “profound threat,” or speculate at length about how Pakistan’s actual nuclear weapons could be given to the Taliban or Al-Qa’ida.)”

    Actually, on occasion they do. And there is some speculation that the US attitude and operations against Pakistan are predicated on the deliberate intent to destabilize Pakistan in order to justify a US attack to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. But the purpose isn’t due to worry about Islamists getting them – it’s to defuse the possibility of a Pakistan-India nuclear war (among other reasons.)

    “Obama then pleads for more time—because, of course, Iran hasn’t decided to make a nuclear weapon, so there is time—asserting that he is looking to resolve Israel and America’s problems with Iran’s nuclear program “permanently.” Strikingly, Obama defines “permanently” by referring to two countries where denuclearization was achieved by the overthrow of existing political orders—apartheid South Africa and Libya. Obama is surely not making those comparisons to persuade Tehran of his genuine interest in finding a diplomatic solution.”

    Correct. Obama KNOWS that there is only one goal here: regime weakening or change by means of war.

    “With evident exasperation, Obama asks, “Why is it that despite me never failing to support Israel on every single problem that they’ve had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?” ”

    The amusing thing is that Obama isn’t even relevant. He was selected by the ruling elites to become President (if McCain couldn’t do it, of course.) He is owned and operated by the Crown and Pritzker families. He will do as he’s told.

    But as I’ve said before, he is just the slave foreman of the plantation. He will do as he’s told, but he will slack off and do it in his own sweet time because that is necessary to salve his knowledge that despite being the President of the United States, the notional “most powerful man on Earth” (not even close, in reality), he still is nothing more than someone else’s farm hand.

    And now one faction of the ruling elites are pulling the reins in tight.

    “It seems clear that Netanyahu is coming to Washington determined to extract from Obama a commitment to use American military power, not to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but at a future point (presumably after November 2012) when there is a general recognition that sanctions have failed to get the Islamic Republic to surrender on the issue of uranium enrichment.”

    Precisely.

    “That is the crucial bottom line. The problem with Iran’s nuclear program, from an Israeli perspective, is not some threshold of nuclear development that Iran has yet to cross. The problem is the program, as it currently exists and operates.”

    Actually, it’s not the program at all. It’s the very EXISTENCE of the Iranian Republic. The nuclear energy program is just “the excuse”. We must never forget that.

    “From the Goldberg interview, we would surmise that it will not be that hard for Netanyahu to extract such a commitment from Obama. But that is going to give Netanyahu bankable leverage over the American President after November 2012—whether that President is a re-elected Obama or a new Republican. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, will be squarely behind the Israeli prime minister on this one. As it becomes ever more evident that Tehran is not going to surrender its nuclear program, even in the face of escalating sanctions, Netanyahu will return to Washington at some point in the next 1-2 years—and he will want the Oval Office’s occupant to deliver on the commitment that Barack Obama is getting ready to give him.”

    Exactly. And there will be no more sanctions left to give as alms to Israel.

    The only option left will be war. And if the US President doesn’t start it, israel will. And Israel will do it in a manner that GUARANTEES the US will be dragged into it, regardless of any nonsense about “refusing to join in.”

    It pleases me to see that there appears to be no longer any trust in Obama left in the Leveretts. They have clearly seen that this President is a weak, manipulated liar who is doing the bidding of his handlers. A lot of pundits haven’t gotten to that point yet and are still babbling about how Obama “doesn’t want a war” or suggesting that any sort of diplomatic resolution is still feasible.

    This week should lay that to rest…but of course it won’t because people don’t pay any attention to reality until it kicks them in the balls.

  236. BiBiJon says:

    I just wonder what the rest of the world thinks? For the US this is par for the course; Yet another AIPAC conference, yet another set of speeches that artfully, powerfully and convincingly lay American mid east policies at Israel’s feet.

    Turkish, Russian, Indian, and Chinese perspectives on Iran be damned. US only considers Israeli’s prerogatives.

    I just wonder what the rest of the world thinks? Will they go along? The answer is they won’t. They have seen the disastrous dislocations that Operation Iraqi Freedom caused. For a set of economic and national security reasons Turkey, Russia, India and China will dish up humiliation so that Obama’s binge on humble pie is not exclusively on Israeli cuisine.

    I think Obama knows the rest of the world will be listening. I think he might wise up and draw bright red lines for Israel in his speech at AIPAC. The rest of the world will ignore his bluster on Iran, they will only notice whether or not he cuts Israel down to size. If he doesn’t, he will have signaled the end of American leadership in the world, and the start of the American menace.

  237. k_w says:

    @Sassan wrote:

    “People like you provide justifications for the most oppressive regime in the world. You are an individual who has no shame in coming on here in defending the most brutal of evil men instead of being an advocate for freedom and democracy.”

    This is off topic. We are not talking about Israel.

  238. M. Ali says:

    According to a sourced link at wikipedia, eligible voters for 2009 elections were:
    46.2 million eligible voters

    In an article in PressTv, its 48,288,799 for 2012.

    However, I didn’t compare city by city, which might shed some more light

  239. M. Ali says:

    Binam, that’s an interesting observations. Can you provide links to them? I’d be interested to also look at them myself too.

  240. Binam says:

    Eric,

    Would you be so kind to do a follow-up to your 2009 Iranian elections report by doing one about last Friday’s elections? As much as I disagreed with much of what you said in 2009, I would like to see if in YOUR opinion today’s numbers add up. Do they throw off your 2009 report or re-confirm your conclusion that all elections are fare and we should take the Islamic Republic at face value. If for example this year they reported 2.5 million less eligible voters for Tehran alone, would that mean there are now more than 2.5 million people missing, migrated or dead – without a single new eligible voter being added?

    Just compare the numbers from State Department (Vezarat Keshvar)…

  241. M. Ali says:

    One of my favorite pastime is coming across ridicolous propaganda articles against Iran.
    Look at this,
    http://www.economist.com/node/21549011?fsrc=rss%7Cmea

    Look at the sub-heading, “The regime fails to shut out comedy”, making Iran look like some big grouch who hates comedy (even though, internal Iranian comedy shows & movies have been fairly popular amongs the population).

    Then look at this paragraph,
    “The arrival of an animated monkey has changed that. As the eponymous star of Dr Copy, a smash-hit entertainment show, this iconoclastic simian has taken the nation by storm since the programme was launched in 2011.”

    Taken the nation by storm? I honestly don’t know how many people watch Dr Copy, I’ve seen it, its crap. The article itself shows an example of the level of comedy the show is capable of,
    “A recent episode commented on Tehran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz. It had the monkey suggesting that Hassan Firouzabadi, the corpulent head of Iran’s combined armed forces, could be jammed into the narrow waterway at the mouth of the Gulf.”

    Did you fall over laughing out loud?

    Now, Iranian satire against the government has been attempted by the diaspora since the 90s, but I think the only one that one could call kind of successful would probably be VOA’s Parazit, but even that, I’d imagine amomg only a certain group of young viewers. I’ve seen it, and like it, while I don’t agree with VOA’s usual content, props to the show for being edgy and fun. But Dr Copy is pure trite, even though I’d say that Manato1 is one of the best Iranian diaspora satellite shows (I love their Befarma Sham show, enjoyed their Googoosh academy awards, and they have interesting documentaries). But Dr Copy is crap.

    “With state television churning out dreary, censored fare, Iranian viewers have switched in their millions to satellite channels beamed from abroad. Moralising mullahs and periodic campaigns against satellite dishes, which are officially illegal, have done nothing to stop the drift. ”

    I think the Iranian government is not that serious about banning satellite tv. All they have to do is jail a few people who use it, and its use will drastically fall down. The most they do is confiscate it, and then you’ll get a new one the next day, but personally, I’ve never had mine confiscated.

    “Channels based in Tehrangeles, as the Iranian community in California jokingly calls itself, have long broadcast a treacly diet of Farsi music videos and variety shows.”

    Interestingly, channels based in US have been the weakest of the lot. In the 90s, they suddenly become popular, because Iranians had an alternative, even though it was low budget political propaganda. But then, Iranian TV suddenly had many hit shows, drama & comedy, that had people lose interest with them. Only recently, channels changed their tune, and became purely entertainment channels with little to no political content (at least, overt), which became somewhat more popular such as Farsi1, PMC (both music & Family), GemTV (again music & family), Manoto, etc. Interestingly, the music channels always go off air on religious holidays (which is an important question to certain diaspora members, even Iranians are almost all suddenly athiests, why does a music channel, broadcast out of Iran, respect its viewers, who one would say are relatively more liberal, with shutting down their music on religious days?)

    Anyway, none of those channels that I mentioned are in US. PMC & Farsi1 are based in Dubai, ManatoTV is in UK, and GemTV is in Malaysia.

    “BBC Persian has become an indispensable news source, doubling its audience in Iran since 2009 to 6m and now reaching as many as one in ten Iranian viewers.”

    The diaspora and anti-Iranian propaganda machines love doubting every single statistics that go against their party line, but they love coming up with their own. Does BBC have 1 in 10 Iranian viewers? 21% of Iranians are aged 0-14, so I strongly doubt they are huge fans of BBC Persia. You remove that, and imagine the number of people who dont have satellite dishes, live in remote areas without access, idealogy don’t want to watch British news, and does one seriously believe in 1 in 10 Iranians no?

  242. Bob Marshall says:

    how many innocents will have to die to satisfy the war hawks in the White house and corporate America. Not tO mention Benjamin Netanyahu and many in the Israeli cabinet. Israel is believed to have at least 200 nuclear warheads.how many does Iran have and where is the proof? Is it the same kind of proof that led to the illegal Iraq war in which almost 1.5 million innocent civilians were killed and because of the sanctions by the U.S. before the war 500,000 Iraqi children died from starvations and diseases. Then we have the 500,000 babies born deformed because of the use of depleted uranium by the U.S. military industrial complex. it is about oil and natural gas fields in Iran and the continuation of Which Way To Persia. It is about the Iran-Pakistan-India pipe line which the U.S. has opposed from the start. War is never about just one thing. General Smedly Butler said “War is a racket.” The White Houses pattern never changes. f assassination or training and supporting terrorist groups don’t work to over throw a government, then sanctions and freezing of funds of that country is next, If these don’t work, it is only a matter of time before the bombs start dropping and the missiles start flying followed by the invasion by our troops. “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Henry Kissinger.the real winners in war are the contractors and those corporation who make war materials. Our industrial military complex has become the protector of corporate America. At one time during the Iraq war there were 200,000 contractors in Iraq. Our troops and many innocents died and others were wounded while these corporation became wealthy. How many U.S. troops died from exposure to D.U. dust? How many from friendly fire and accidents? Why doesn’t the government tell the people?

  243. Photi says:

    Sassan,

    Americans established freedom and democracy by shedding the yoke of foreign control. Isn’t that what Iran is doing, rejecting foreign control of its internal affairs? Don’t tread on me, Go home King George.

  244. M. Ali says:

    “Have to say, the diaspora never ceases to be a source of embarrassment. So many of you are so culturally awkward, in addition to being perennial chickenhawks.”

    Its amusing to see the stereotypes that the Iranian diaspora have created for themselves in other countries. In a South Park episode, the Persians were shown as extremely vain and shallow people, wearing open collar shirts, with gold necklaces and sunglasses.
    http://southparkstudios.mtvnimages.com/shared/downloads/images/season-11/1106/1106_angry-persians.jpg

    Haha.

  245. M. Ali says:

    No matter how many times I read Obama’s “Why is it that despite me never failing to support Israel on every single problem that they’ve had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?”, I still feel sorry for him.

    How pathetic does he sound? Iran, with its significiently weaker reach, never talks that way about their allies. Imagine Khameini or Ahmedinijad answering a question saying, “Why is it that despite me never failing to support Syria/Palestine/Lebanon on every single problem that they’ve had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?”.

    Its sad, its pathetic, its desperate.

  246. Sassan says:

    Actually, it’s “FAR TIME”. Learn your English buddy.

    People like you provide justifications for the most oppressive regime in the world. You are an individual who has no shame in coming on here in defending the most brutal of evil men instead of being an advocate for freedom and democracy.

  247. Pirouz says:

    Sassan, the expression is “high time” not “far time.”

    Have to say, the diaspora never ceases to be a source of embarrassment. So many of you are so culturally awkward, in addition to being perennial chickenhawks.

  248. Pirouz says:

    I spent Saturday helping an elderly family member out on the California coast. There’s an old fashioned Main Street there, on the way to her house, and in the middle of the square there was a group of elderly women holding a vigil for peace. When I saw ‘em, I thought what higher purpose in life could top peace?

    There’s another mixed group of elderly that demos for peace on a busy street here on the San Francisco peninsula. I toot my horn whenever I pass ‘em by.

    It really does amaze me when I run across haters of other people’s countries, and war advocates. To me, it just doesn’t make any sense.

  249. Sassan says:

    It’s FAR time to liberate Iran.