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The Race for Iran

LEVERETT HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF FACTS AND AMERICA’S REFUSAL TO ACCEPT THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

As the debate over Iran’s nuclear program, the prospects for another round of talks between Tehran and the P5+1, and the possibility of an Israeli military attack rolls on, Hillary made two substantial media appearances earlier this week.  Yesterday, she appeared on Al Jazeera’a Inside Story; the other panelists were Geneive Abdo of the Century Foundation and Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, click on the video picture above or here

Hillary opened with an evaluation of Israeli calculations about a potential strike.  She then made the critical point that, even if the Obama Administration does not want an Israeli strike now, the United States (whether under a re-elected President Obama or under a new Republican administration) is on a collision course with the Islamic Republic—because it cannot accept Iran as a truly independent power in the region. 

Michael Rubin is part of that minority camp of neoconservatives who do not necessarily favor a military attack against Iran, but are extremely hawkish with regard to regime change.  (Michael Ledeen is another example of this.)  But, while Rubin may not support military action, he is also extremely skeptical about diplomacy with the Islamic Republic—because, in his view, diplomacy is a product of the Western Enlightenment, and anyone who has not been through and thoroughly internalized the Enlightenment cannot constructively and honestly engage in what Westerners call “diplomacy.” 

This is the sort of essentialist statement that, if applied to Jews, would (rightly) be described as anti-Semitic.  More sweepingly, it is a view which says that the West cannot engage in meaningful diplomacy with the Muslim world write large.  As Hillary points out, this is a “losing proposition” for the United States and its Western partners, especially where nuclear nonproliferation and the “grand bargain” of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are concerned.     

Although Geneive Abdo comes across as not favoring another war in the Middle East, she puts forward unsubstantiated assertions that the Islamic Republic has “not been transparent” about its nuclear program, has “changed and shifted its position over the years” and “concealed…for many years” its new enrichment facility at Fordo as justification for Israeli professed concern.  In a further twist, she all but blames Iran for a prospective Israeli attack by saying, “Khamenei has always believed either the United States or Israel would attack Iran, so it’s almost become a self-fulfilling prophesy.”

In response, Hillary recounts how, when the Islamic Republic agreed, in early 2003, to open its facilities at Esfahan and Natanz to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, the then-director of Israel’s Mossad and national security adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon flew to Washington to convey Israeli concern that the Iran should not be allowed the opportunity to be given a “good housekeeping seal of approval” by the IAEA.  She also points out that, from 2003 to 2005, the Islamic Republic suspended its uranium enrichment activities and voluntarily observed the terms of the Additional Protocol to the NPT, which allows more intrusive inspections by the IAEA; during this period, the IAEA found no evidence that Iran was working on a nuclear weapons program.   

Predictably, Western media are now reporting that Tehran has “denied” IAEA access to its conventional military facility—not a nuclear site—at Parchin, evoking Saddam Husayn’s dance with international inspectors in the run up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.  But the fact is, without the Additional Protocol to the NPT in force (the Iranian majles has never ratified it, so it is not binding on the Islamic Republic), the IAEA has no right to visit Parchin.  Indeed, one could argue that it has no right to make such an inherently prejudicial “request,” which is, of course, inevitably made public and then spun in many quarters as some sort of failure by Iran to live up to its obligations.  Tehran believes the IAEA is allowing the confidential information it gleans on Iran (including the names of its scientists, some of whom are then killed) to be passed to the United States and Israel—countries threatening to attack Iran, or in code, “keep all options [except diplomacy] on the table.”   Why would Iran want to provide the United States and Israel with real-time, on-the-ground virtual access to a conventional military site?            

In the course of the discussion, Hillary suggested to Rubin that his problem is not with safeguarded enrichment in Iran, but with the Islamic Republic—a point to which Rubin readily agreed.  In response to Rubin’s charge that Iranians are cut off from the Western world and do not understand American “red lines”, Hillary said that Tehran understands U.S. red lines very well; it just does not agree with them and will not accept being dominated by the West.   

Earlier this week, Hillary also did an interview with Scott Horton for Antiwar Radio, listen here.  Among other things, Hillary and the interviewer, Scott Horton, discuss Michael Rubin’s “fact free” efforts to delegitimate the 2003 Iranian non-paper that was passed to the George W. Bush Administration through Swiss intermediaries.  They also get into Iranian cooperation with the United States against Al-Qa’ida and the Taliban in Afghanistan; how the Islamic Republic is a threat to Israel’s regional hegemony, but not its existence; and why plans to use Syria as a conduit to effect regime change in Iran—an important part of “the current Kool-Aid in Washington”—are hitting the “wall of reality.”    

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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687 Responses to “LEVERETT HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF FACTS AND AMERICA’S REFUSAL TO ACCEPT THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN”

  1. James Canning says:

    FT report March 2nd, noted on next thread.

  2. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times story today by Rhoula Khalef, that I cited previously, notes: “So far there is no indication that [Khamenei] is ready to make any concessions.”

    Not mentioned is the fact Khamenei allowed Ahmadinejad to offer to stop Iranian enrichment to 20 percent.

  3. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    The “pundits” did a great deal to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq not that many years ago.

  4. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You appear to be unconcerned about public opinion in the US, the UK, and elsewhere. Not a sound viewpoint, in my estimation.

    In the Wall Street Journal Feb. 27th, Fred Kagan ii “America’s Iranian self-deception” wrote of “Iran’s . . . steadily expanding stockpiles of uranium enriched to 3.5% and 20% – - important stages on the road to weapons-grade uranium.”

    Kagan: “Americans are being played for fools by Iran – - and fooling themselves. There is no case to be made that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.”

  5. Karl says:

    James,

    Why do you keep pushing it then if its not you who thinks that? And who cares what so called “pundits” thinks?

  6. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I am not claiming Iran is producing “too much” 20 percent uranium. Others make that claim. Wall Street Journal. Politicians. Analysts. Pundits.

  7. Karl says:

    James,

    Ok so you take your claims not from IAEA but from news “pundits”?
    Also, on what premises is it “too much”. To say something is “too much” you must first know what the purpose is to enrich to begin with. Do you know that?

  8. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You ask who claims Iran is enriching “excessive” 20% U. Politicians make that claim, as do various commentators etc etc.

    It is curious that a clearer picture of how much 20% U was needed to operate the TRR for the past year is not readily available.

    Surely you have notice any number of quotes I have provided from one source ora nother, touching on “excessive” Iranian enrichment. The New York Times Feb. 25th had a front page story on this issue.

  9. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Iran’s 120 kg of 20% U is sufficient to operate the TRR “for at least ten years”.

  10. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Months ago, for Eric’s benefit I linked reports by nuclear scientists who said Iran had enough 20% U to fuel the TRR for from 6 to 21 years.

  11. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric,

    The line is fissile material. It’s a bright, unambiguous line. I’ve explained why I think it is the line.

    You have not justified another line.

    You have not argued my line is wrong.

    If anything, you’ve conceded that you cannot do either. If you have not, which can you do?

    I’ve engaged your absurd and irrelevant scenario more than enough. You agree it’s absurd, I’ve explained why it’s irrelevant: Japan has less provocative and more effective ways to accomplish everything your scenario accomplishes that are indisputably allowed under the NPT.

    We’re not arguing any more. You’re no longer attempting to defend your position.

    If you claim you won’t understand my position unless I say I agree with your absurd and irrelevant scenario, then you are absolutely lying. But stripped of the rest of this discussion, that one statement isolated might lead to a misleading understanding of my position. I’ve expressed my position very clearly, many times in my own words.

    You’re lying if you say you don’t understand my position. You constructed your absurd, irrelevant and misleadng-in-isolation scenario carefully around my position, proving you understand it.

    The line is the diversion of fissile material, as I’ve repeatedly said, and as you have not attempted to deny.

    As the NPT conceives it, there is no such thing as a “weapon” without fissile material. No judgment of intent, no evaluation of trust. No discrimination between countries Eric Brill is is more or less comfortable with.

    We’ve reached the point where we disagree but you no longer have an argument you can present that you think will withstand scrutiny.

    We’re done arguing, but you still disagree so you’re not done writing. Characterize my position as follows: “NPT violations require diversion of fissile material. While it is legal to take very provocative actions short of that, a country that wants to be provocative can legally do it more easily and effectively by just leaving the treaty.”

  12. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “Bottom line: I’d wait a while before assuming that Iran will reach the level of 20% uranium production implied by a continuation of its Natanz+Fordow production rate. It may well be, instead, that Iran phases out production at Natanz without an offsetting increase at Fordow.”

    I agree. That’s why I said it will be interesting what the IAEA report says once all the centrifuges are installed and running at Fordow.

    But even if they do run in parallel, it’s not clear whether ALL the Fordow production will be 20%, as the IAEA has asked what the plan is from the Iranians.

    And even if it is, as I indicated, it will take two years at the current rate to get their ten year supply, so we won’t know what they intend to do until then (or sooner if all the centrifuges to be installed are running 20%.)

    If they intend to produce for sale (or giveaway) to other countries in the region, then the issue will be if they actually make those sales and how much.

  13. Karl says:

    James,

    Eric wrote this to you:

    “This is getting more than a little frustrating. I ask you WHY you think Iran is producing excessive 20% uranium, and all you do is point me to someone else who believes the same thing? I don’t doubt that you believe what you say. Nor do I doubt that these other people believe what they say. I’m just asking you to give reasons WHY you believe what you say – and trying to nail down the facts a bit, by pointing out that Iran’s supply of 20% uranium is roughly 3 years (or 3+ years, if we properly take into account Richard’s observation earlier today about some limited additional production at Fordow between December and February) – not the 6-21 years you’ve been claiming.”

    And this to Richard:

    “If you read carefully the Nov. 2011 IAEA report’s mention of the “tripling of production” at Fordow, that refers generally to production at Fordow, not to production of 20% uranium at Fordow. Even if everything is tripled at Fordow, including 20% uranium, that doesn’t tell us how much 20% uranium will be produced at Fordow. The report doesn’t say how much, if any, is currently being produced at Fordow, and it appears that none is. Though this part of the report was not entirely clear, it appeared to me that Iran intends to triple overall production at Fordow, and that one of the consequences of that will be that it is able to stop making 20% uranium at Natanz. It intends to do just that. Nowhere, though, does the report indicate that Iran has any intention of increasing its current level of 20% uranium production.”

    He proved your wrong on 2 cases (“tripling” and your claim about “6-21 years”, still I havent got a reply by you regarding the questions.
    1. Who says it is excessive?
    2. On what premises? You cant say something is excessive if you dont know the purpose to begin with.

  14. masoud says:

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

    Eric,

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

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

  15. Masoud and Arnold,

    I promise I won’t mischaracterize the position of either of you in any future discussions. In return, I’d like to know what your position is. It would help me to determine that if each of you would read, once again, my 6:57 PM post, which I’ll repeat below, and directly answer my question at the end. Don’t tell me what I might have asked you instead, or what Japan might have done instead. Just read the post, ask me to clarify it if necessary, and once you’re sure you understand it, answer the question at the end.

    Thank you.

    6:57 PM EAB POST:

    Just to be clear what you’re saying is not an NPT violation:

    Suppose Japan is discovered manufacturing each and every component of a nuclear weapon. It freely admits that that’s exactly what it’s doing. It reports that it’s only got enough components for about 2 or 3 bombs so far, but insists it’s going to continue producing components until it’s got enough for about 100 bombs. Then it’s going to assemble all of them. It’s going to take the assembled bombs to missile silos where waiting missiles are already aimed at the United States, China, Russia and both Koreas. While this is going on, Japan reports to the IAEA that it’s also refining 5% uranium up to bomb-grade, in quantities sufficient for 100 bombs. When the IAEA asks why, Japan replies: “We’re thinking that we might build a reactor that needs 99% fuel, like Iran’s original TRR.” Other Japanese scientists, in the meantime, are researching ways to shape bomb-grade fuel into nuclear warheads, and building 100 identical machines that can do this, at the rate of one warhead every 5 minutes. The IAEA asks why, and Japan replies: “None of your business. There’s nothing in our Safeguards Agreement that prohibits this or entitles you to ask questions about it.”

    As I read your response, all this is OK. No NPT violation until the last 5 minutes?

    END OF 6:57 PM EAB POST.

  16. Rehmat says:

    Nasser – give us a break. Why some rational person would like to know what some Zioncons are debating at a Zioncon Csis think tank??

  17. Rehmat says:

    On February 28, Anti-Christ Abraham Foxman has called the leader of Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Saviours’ Day speech, “anti-Semitic diatribe”. The paranoid Jew says that Farrakhan claim that Jews control US government, media, finance and entertainment is nothing but show his hatred towards Jews.

    Frankly, the Israel Lobby’s annual conference this weekend will prove without any doubt that Minister Farrakhan is 101% right.

    Minister Farrakhan’s speech entitled “God versus Satan” can be read here. Farrakhan exposes the devilish plots targeting Barack Obama in order to push him into wars between America and the Muslim world for the benefit of Israel. A US Jewish editor even suggested that Israeli Mossad should assassinate Obama if Obama refuses to attack Iran.

    “There’s a degree of danger attached to telling the truth to those who have been deceived by lies and falsehood. There’s a degree of danger that every prophet had to meet in a world ruled by Satan, but the prophets never shrank from their duties to deliver the message,” said Minister Farrakhan.

    “America’s debt is over $15 trillion and with other obligations such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the debt really falls between $70 and $80 trillion. In fact, the debt could be higher than all the land, resources, structures, industries, and all they produce. Federal and state governments are selling buildings and lands to private owners while bridges, toll roads and sea ports are being sold off,” said Farrakhan.

    Minister Farrakhan then switched to the political environment within America. He told those gathered it has deteriorated like the weather, and methodically showed examples in which influential people in the political arena are hurling insults at President Obama and his family. This “avalanche of hatred” is creating a dangerous climate for President Obama and the members of his family, and could lead to a situation in which he could be assassinated.

    President Obama has been called “a racist, an anti-Semite, a socialist, a communist, a foreigner, an alien and a terrorist.”

    There have also been caricatures depicting the president as a witch doctor, Adolph Hitler and in Jerusalem, there was a poster showing him with an Arab kaffiyeh on his head calling him an “anti-Semitic Jew hater.”

    Despite Mr. Obama pledging fealty to Israel during a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) making the security of Israel a top priority, and increasing military financing to record levels, he cannot seem to get their support.

    “It’s hard to get him to a Black affair to say kind words and encourage us in our struggle, but he went to AIPAC like the rest of them, on their knees groveling to the Zionists,” said the Minister.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/farrakhan-irks-the-jewish-groups-again/

  18. masoud says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    What violation? If japan gives the appropriate notification and waits until the three month waiting period is up, there is no violation*. And why would Japan even think it necessary to justify enriching uranium to 99% by mumbling something about future reactor plans? They could just say, “We’re planning to leave the npt next fall, and we’re just trying to get all our ducks in a row”.

    I would draw that line Japan is allowed to tip-toe up to be that of ‘final assembly’, of componenets, but that’s just a nitpic, and you’ve got the main idea just fine.

  19. Nasser says:

    Dr. Suzanne Maloney and Michael Rubin debates “Are economic sanctions the key to resolving the nuclear dispute?”

    http://csis.org/event/poni-debates-issues-sanctioning-iran

  20. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    That weird scenario you is invented just as legal and probably more provocative than Japan just announcing it’s out of the treaty 90 days from now.

    Japan gets nothing from that scenario it doesn’t get from just leaving.

    You do know Japan can leave the treaty, right?

    If that doesn’t answer the question then I don’t understand the question. I definitely don’t see any remote relevance in the question to anything in real life.

  21. Arnold,

    Would you please just answer the direct question I posed in my 6:57 PM post, rather than accusing me of hobnobbing with martians?

  22. James Canning says:

    Russia Today reports that Iran’s central bank head said this week Iran will accept gold, or the national currency of the impoting country (for Iranian oil).

  23. Arnold Evans says:

    As I read your response, all this is OK. No NPT violation until the last 5 minutes?

    Your argument is either with the framers of the NPT, who didn’t take your most imaginative fantasies into account when devising the obligations of non-weapons states or with me if, though you admit you cannot, you find a basis in a ratified document for another definition of weapon.

    And while you’re almost invoking space aliens from mars to concoct a scenario where non-weapons state obligations are insuffient, how easy is it to show that right now the US is not meeting its actual obligations.

    Also instead of doing all that, Japan could have just announced it’s leaving the treaty 90 days ago. Shocking I know. Do you have an imaginative redefinition of the term ‘day’ or ‘leave’ to protect your fragile sensibilities from that reality?

  24. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Our disagreement is that we have different definitions of “weapon”.

    Mine is an explosive device with fissile material that the NPT was very cleverly and successfully designed to effectively forbid.

    Yours is one you seem to be making up as you go along, but with no basis in any document, unenforceable, arbitrary and discriminatory.

    That actual safeguards agreements were designed by very smart people doing very hard work to make sure that following them it is impossible to make an actual weapon, as they and I define it.

    You’re mad because you want to play judge and get to make up your own definition of weapon, but you promise you’ll be fair.

    If it was possible for you to be fair, we wouldn’t be having thiis discussion. You’d be comfortable that, as the NPT negotiators negotiated, as long as Japan observes its safeguards agreement, it cannot explode a device over a city.

    You want more from Japan and even more from Iran (and claim, repeatedly, totally irrelevantly, and quite likely falsely, that you’d want the same from Israel). If you could be fair, instead of trying to concoct new obligations for Iran and Japan, you’d be advocating the US meeting its own obligations.

    Anyone who is trying to invent a new treaty for Iran is disqualified as a judge.

  25. Arnold,

    “Shaping heu as an explosive device cannot be allowed under the safeguards and doing so is the bright unambiguous line by which an NPT violation must occur.”

    Just to be clear what you’re saying is not an NPT violation:

    Suppose Japan is discovered manufacturing each and every component of a nuclear weapon. It freely admits that that’s exactly what it’s doing. It reports that it’s only got enough components for about 2 or 3 bombs so far, but insists it’s going to continue producing components until it’s got enough for about 100 bombs. Then it’s going to assemble all of them. It’s going to take the assembled bombs to missile silos where waiting missiles are already aimed at the United States, China, Russia and both Koreas. While this is going on, Japan reports to the IAEA that it’s also refining 5% uranium up to bomb-grade, in quantities sufficient for 100 bombs. When the IAEA asks why, Japan replies: “We’re thinking that we might build a reactor that needs 99% fuel, like Iran’s original TRR.” Other Japanese scientists, in the meantime, are researching ways to shape bomb-grade fuel into nuclear warheads, and building 100 identical machines that can do this, at the rate of one warhead every 5 minutes. The IAEA asks why, and Japan replies: “None of your business. There’s nothing in our Safeguards Agreement that prohibits this or entitles you to ask questions about it.”

    As I read your response, all this is OK. No NPT violation until the last 5 minutes?

  26. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    South Korea does not want NK attacked. Nor does China. So “Israel Firsters” like John McCain can rant all they like.

  27. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Mr Hack appears to have established that Iran is producing betwen 11 and 12 kg of 20% U per month.

    Eric thought there was sufficient 20% U available late last year to operate the TRR for 3 years. Latest Wall Street Journal report said nuclear experts say there is enough on hand to operate the TRR for at least ten years.

    Where is it that you find me as “having been proved wrong”?

  28. Arnold Evans says:

    I’m really puzzled Eric.

    Japan is allowed to enrich to any level it pleases, yes. It can come up with a peaceful reason to enrich to 99%, for example to fuel a facility such as the original TRR which ran on HEU.

    It cannot shape it as an explosive device because explosive devices are banned by the NPT along with their subclass – nuclear weapons.

    Shaping heu as an explosive device cannot be allowed under the safeguards and doing so is the bright unambiguous line by which an NPT violation must occur.

    It could have been earlier, if the HEU was removed from a safeguarded location without supervision.

    No heu can get into an explosive device without an NPT violation. That’s how the NPT and safeguards agreement were designed.

    Without fissile material, no nuclear device can be made that will explode in the air above a city and kill massive numbers of people. In other words, no nuclear weapon can be made.

    Did you really not know this? That’s how the NPT works.

    So that’s the line.

    I see you want a different line, one you promise with all your heart you’d also apply to Israel but alas, Israel has not ratified the NPT.

    But alas, Japan never ratified that Eric Brill gets to make up new lines it cannot cross. You’re just as justified applying this new line you’re making up to Israel as to Japan or Iran.

    This is the third time I’m saying there’s a bright line and saying what it is.

    Other than your false earlier statement that I would allow Japan to put shaped fissile material on a table, you have not even attempted to argue against the line I’ve described. You also have not responded to my question of your basis to support any other line.

    There is no more progress to be made here. I just ask that when you come back to this subject you do not misstate my position.

  29. Karl says:

    Israel feel they need to speak out against any attempt to use diplomacy.
    “God forbid talks! Praise war, death, destruction!”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/senior-israeli-official-north-korea-pact-is-no-model-for-iran-nuclear-talks-1.415638

  30. Karl says:

    James,

    He proved you wrong.

  31. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:

    February 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Eric- what if leaders of Japan just think about a nuclear bomb, or talk about possibility of making a bomb if someone ever attacked them, are they violating the spirit or the letter of NPT, for having a possible intention. Or only a hard tangible evidence of a none dual use part is where your line is, if so how would you know the next person or judge will not move the line a little closer.

  32. Rehmat says:

    Karl – there many Israel-Firsters who like the US to bomb North Korea for having nuclear collaboration with Iran and Pakistan.

    The death of North Korean leader, Kim Jong II 69, gave some of these Israel-Firsters another opportunity to show their hatred. Prominent Republican Sen. John McCain was overjoyed at the news and said the world is better of now that North Korean leader is dead.

    “The world is a better place now that Kim Jong-Il is no longer in it. I can only express satisfaction that the Dear Leader is joining the likes of Qaddafi, Bin Laden, Hitler and Stalin in a warm corner of hell,” McCain said, (British Daily Mail, December 20, 2011).

    The idiot Zionist doesn’t know that Josef Stalin was a Crypto-Jew, whose all three wives were Jewish.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/mccain-kim-jong-ii-has-gone-to-hell/

  33. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    the answer to “is it the final assembly or the original clear intent?” is that violation is somewhere in between. Enough has been done towards a weapon to constitute provable intent.

    However, ‘provable intent’ has to be adjudicated by a jury of peers which excludes sworn enemies of the accused, and who themselves are not in clear violation of the spirit of NPT, and cannot be based on intelligence from historical enemies of the accused.

    e.g. In case of Japan, China and the Koreas would excluded.

  34. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I totally agree the US could made a deal with Iran.

    Fanatical “supporters” of Israel right or wrong are working 24/7 to prevent a deal.

  35. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Richard “debunked my claims”? How? Iran now has 120 kg of 20 percent uranium at hand. No one challenges that fact.

  36. Arnold Evans says:
    February 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    “To violate the safeguards agreement is to violate the NPT.”

    We agree on this. The question I’m focusing on is essentially the converse: whether it’s possible to violate the NPT – by building a nuclear weapon, for example – without violating the Safeguards Agreement.

    “So to answer the question, the point where fissile safeguard material is moved from the stockpile it is held in currently to be turned into a weapon is the point of the safeguards violation and the NPT violation.”

    Not trying to be picky here, but exactly what does this mean in my hypothetical? Are we entitled to take into account Japan’s bomb-making intentions when we evaluate its actions? If so, do you mean that the violation occurred the moment that Japan started running 3.5% uranium through centrifuges to refine it further to bomb-grade? It’s hard for me to believe that’s what you mean. I’ve always understood you to believe a country has a right to refine uranium to whatever percentage it likes, and nothing in Japan’s (or Iran’s) Safeguards Agreement says otherwise. Do Japan’s bomb-making intentions change a non-violation into a violation? If Japan denies any bomb-making intention, should we say it’s violated the NPT if it can offer no “peaceful” explanation for refining uranium above 3.5%, but that it has not violated the NPT if it can come up with a plausible “peaceful” explanation? In the latter case, of course, we may have no practical choice but to take Japan’s word for it (or not, if it’s instead Iran), since we won’t be able to prove bomb-making intentions, but does our inability to know Japan’s bomb-making intentions really mean that it hasn’t violated the NPT? Or does it mean only that we can’t prove this?

    Or did the violation occur when Japan shaped the bomb-grade uranium so that it could be inserted into the nuclear device to complete the bomb? Again, nothing in Japan’s Safeguards Agreement prohibits Japan from shaping bomb-grade uranium into whatever form it likes, and I’ve always understood you agree with this. Do Japan’s bomb-making intentions change a non-violation into a violation? If Japan denies any bomb-making intention, should we say it’s violated the NPT if it can offer no “peaceful” explanation for shaping the bomb-grade uranium into this particular shape? Or must we conclude that Japan hasn’t violated the NPT even then, since it hasn’t actually inserted the specially-shaped bomb-grade fuel into a nuclear device?

    Similarly, what if an IAEA inspector stumbles upon an undisclosed Japanese facility at which components are being manufactured which have only one possible use, as part of a nuclear weapon? Will Japan have violated the NPT if it admits that’s why it was manufacturing those components? What if Japan admits its bomb-making intentions but argues no violation has occurred because its Safeguards Agreement does not require it to disclose anything about such components, no matter what their intended use may be – has a violation occurred? What if Japan admits its bomb-making intentions but argues no NPT violation has occurred because it hasn’t finished building any nuclear weapon device yet – has a violation occurred?

    Or did the violation only occur when Japan’s technicians actually inserted the specially-shaped bomb-grade fuel into the nuclear device, finally resulting in a weapon capable of a nuclear explosion? If it’s not until then, you’re entitled to take that position – I’d just like to know whether that’s really your position.

    I think we agree that the absence of enforcement provisions in the NPT makes it easy for a country to hide bomb-making activities even while complying fully with its Safeguards Agreement. And it is unlikely, of course, that a country developing a bomb will ever admit its bomb-making intentions, at least until it becomes impossible to deny them. To me, though, all this means merely that a country might succeed in building a nuclear weapon without getting caught. It doesn’t mean that building a nuclear weapon is not a violation of the NPT. To the contrary, it is a violation – the only question being one of proof. As to proof, if a country is caught making components that can only have one use – in a nuclear weapon – I consider that evidence that the country is violating the NPT. Whether or not it is conclusive proof depends on the circumstances, of course, but it’s certainly evidence. If a country were caught with a warehouse full of such “single-purpose” components, for example, I would be strongly inclined to think it planned to use those “single-purpose” components for that single purpose. I’d remain open to counter-arguments, but I’d be skeptical.

    Nor would I be receptive to the country’s argument that, even though the components found in that warehouse could only be used to build nuclear weapons, the country had the right to keep on making more of those components, to its heart’s content, as long as it didn’t actually assemble them into a nuclear weapon. I gather you would disagree with me on that.

    I understand you believe this leaves Iran (or Japan, in my hypothetical) with vague guidelines. I don’t agree, and I seriously doubt you’d feel the same if I mentioned I’d apply exactly the same standards to Israel (assuming it had signed the NPT and a Safeguards Agreement). I emphasize that I don’t think either Japan or Iran is engaged in any bomb-making activity, and certainly am not aware of evidence that would make me suspect otherwise. All I’m saying is that, if I ever did learn of such evidence, I’d weigh it just as I, or any judge or jury, would weigh evidence in a typical case. I’d require a very high standard of proof before concluding that a country was building a bomb, but I certainly wouldn’t say that the country is free to go on its merry way, manufacturing “single purpose” components to its heart’s content, shaping bomb-grade uranium into nuclear warheads, merely because the country hasn’t yet produced a finished product, or because it’s not signed any treaty that makes it disclose such activities.

    If you really disagree with some or all of my position on this, that’s your right. I’m just trying to figure out where we disagree. I can’t help thinking that a great deal of our disagreement flows from your belief that a violation of the NPT occurs only if a violation of the Safeguards Agreement occurs.

  37. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Writing in The New York Times Feb. 25th (front page story), James Risen quoted a former intelligence official: “What has been driving the discussion has been the enrichment activity. That’s made everybody nervous. So the Iranians continue to contribute to the suspicions about what they are trying to do.” (Page A8, 25 Feb.)

  38. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Thanks. Clearly, Obama’s war planners see war with Iran as an unattractive option, for many reasons.

  39. fyi says:

    Karl says: February 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    The American diplomats negogiating with North Korea were given new directives.

    That is why the negogiations succeeded (so far).

    American diplomats – below the Secretary of State level – can forge a reasonable deal with Iran in less than a week; only if they are given the permission to do so.

    Not eveyone in Ameirca is a jingoistic fool.

  40. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I posted it to indicate that some US planners understand that US war against Iran does not make sense for the United States.

  41. Karl says:

    James,


    You seem to have trouble grasping the fact it is excessive production of 20 percent uranium that is direct cause of problems grwoing between iran and the UK. What is that so difficult for you to comprehend?

    Not only me apparently, the whole board reject your absurd arguments and you could instead of keeping this debate alive scroll down yourself to see where Eric and Richard debunk your claims.
    The question you should ask yourself is why Iran and UK is not partners today.

    “Are there any “warmongers” wanting an attack on North Korea? If any, they are very few are far between.”

    There are alot of neocons for example. But I meant warmongers regarding Iran. Here we see that US could make deals with Iran, North Korea etc no need for war.

  42. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric, where exactly was the first time you asked this question you’re now claiming I didn’t answer?

    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  43. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    The safeguards agreements are mentioned in the NPT as their mechanism for verification. To violate the safeguards agreement is to violate the NPT.

    So to anwer the question, the point where fissile safeguard material is moved from the stockpile it is held in currently to be turned into a weapon is the point of the safeguards violation and the NPT violation.

    A weapon (capable of a nuclear explosion) without a safeguards violation? Really physically impossible with foreseeable technology.

    So to indulge a physically impossible hypothetical, building a fissile explosive weapon is an NPT violation even if accomplished without a safeguards violation.

    Not sure of the relevance of this.

  44. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Cite the specific “debunking” you claim took place. Date and time, please.

  45. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Are there any “warmongers” wanting an attack on North Korea? If any, they are very few are far between.

  46. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You seem to have trouble grasping the fact it is excessive production of 20 percent uranium that is direct cause of problems grwoing between iran and the UK. What is that so difficult for you to comprehend?

  47. Karl says:

    All,

    The alleged North Korean/US deal must be seen as a blow to the warmongers.
    And that is exactly how a deal between 2 parties should be carried out like.
    North Koreans get something they want, the US get something they want. Now obama, just apply this to Iran, give them something of value and they will give you something of value.

  48. Karl says:

    James

    I think you should drop 2 arguments you always use

    1. UK is no enemy of Iran
    2. 20% enrichment argument

    Could you do that? You have been debunked. Regardless you could still think that but please dont flood this board with those arguments again.

  49. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon & Fara,

    Dr Lasha Darkmoon mocks the neocons for thinking Iraq could be defeated within six weeks. Actually, it was entirely obvious the Iraqi army etc could be defeated much more quickly than that. Problem was, what to do next? G W Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice all agree before war commenced that it was essential to keep the Iraqi army and security services intact, tp maintain public order. What happened? Without telling Rice or Powell, the moron L. Paul Bremer III disbanded the Iraqi army and security services! Creating civil war.

  50. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    the promoters of the proposed bill you just put up are fools, if one speaks kindly.

  51. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon & Fara,

    The PressTV report you linked quotes Dr Lasha Darkmoon as saying that David Cameron and William Hague “have swallowed the daft idea that Israel’s enemies are Britain’s enemies.” This statement is untrue, and it indicates Darkmoon lacks and adequate understanding of British foreign policy in the Middle East. Hague went out of his way to make clear the UK “did not view Iran as an enemy”. Full stop. And the UK sought to improve relations with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Whether Israel liked this or did not like it.

  52. Kathleen says:

    Senate Resolution 380
    Official Summary
    2/16/2012–Introduced.Affirms that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and warns that time is limited to prevent that from happening. Urges increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran to secure an agreement that includes:
    (1) suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities,
    (2) complete cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding Iran's nuclear activities, and
    (3) a permanent agreement that verifiably assures that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Supports:
    (1) the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, and
    (2) U.S. policy to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. Rejects any U.S. policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.

    IRAN HAS THE RIGHT TO ENRICH URANIUM UP TO 20% AS A SIGNATORY TO THE NPT. THEY WILL NOT GIVE UP THIS RIGHT TO ENRICH FOR PEACEFUL PURPOSES.
    THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO. INSANE DEMANDS

  53. Kathleen says:

    no no no to Senate Resolution 380. Call your Reps
    Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina (R) – U.S. Congress …www.opencongress.org/people/show/300047_lindsey_grahamCached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    U.S. Congress – Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina (R) … S.Res.380.

  54. Humanist says:
    February 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks. I’ll take a look later and get back to you, and, I hope, reply to your earlier comment to me as well.

  55. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You apparently asked me to comment on the claim that “Iran cannot hope to fight and win a war on her territory against the western powers.”

    General James Cartwright, former vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff (#2 US general), is quoted today in the Financial Times as saying the western powers could not stop Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme if they employed “all the weapons in the world.”

    Yes, “the West” could sink Iran’s navy, damage airfields, etc etc, but this would not be “winning” a war.

  56. Kathleen says:

    At the LA Times

    Obama likely to resist pressure to further toughen Iran stance
    The Israelis, along with GOP presidential hopefuls and senators and some hawkish Democrats, want Obama to keep Iran from potentially building a nuclear weapon.
    By Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    February 28, 2012, 6:06 p.m.
    Reporting from Washington— The White House indicated Tuesday that President Obama would resist pressure for a tougher Iran policy coming from Israel and some U.S. lawmakers who argue that Tehran should not be allowed to acquire even the capability to eventually develop a nuclear weapon.

    The push to toughen the administration’s policy comes ahead of a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As part of the war of nerves that the U.S. and Israel are conducting with Iran — and to some extent with each other — Netanyahu’s government has broadly hinted at using airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear sites should it determine that Tehran had developed the scientific knowledge and industrial means to build a nuclear bomb.

    That is a lower threshold than the Obama administration’s so-called red line of preventing Iran from building a nuclear device. Senior Pentagon and intelligence officials have told Congress that it would take Iran several years to build a deliverable bomb, and that they don’t believe Iran’s leaders have decided to do so.

    Several countries have the capability to build a weapon but have never crossed the line of trying to assemble one.

    The Israelis, along with Republican presidential hopefuls, GOP senators and some hawkish Democrats, want Obama to move toward that Israeli position. They all believe he is politically vulnerable to charges of being weak on Iran and have stepped up their pressure in recent days as Obama prepares for his meeting with Netanyahu and a speech he is scheduled to give Sunday to the country’s largest pro-Israel lobbying group.

    On Tuesday, however, White House officials said Obama would not make any public policy shift. Senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic moves, left open the question of whether the president might add new details on U.S. policy against Iran in his private conversations with Netanyahu.

    Both U.S. and Israeli officials call an Iranian nuclear weapon unacceptable and have vowed to prevent Iran from building one. Israeli officials have broadly hinted that they might launch an airstrike this year against Iranian atomic sites. The Obama administration has used the threat of Israeli military action to prod European and Asian allies, who fear a war in the region, to go along with tough sanctions against Iran. At the same time, American officials publicly have said they believe an Israeli airstrike would be a bad idea. Those remarks have ratcheted up tension between the two countries.

    Obama believes the current strategy of diplomacy and sanctions can still work and that a more explicit military threat is not helpful, the senior officials said. The sanctions, which have included strict new measures to limit Iran’s oil exports and isolate its central bank, have begun to severely harm Tehran’s economy, and Iran has made offers to renew negotiations over the nuclear issue.

    “Our policy remains exactly what it was,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “We are committed, as Israel is, to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

    FOLKS NEED TO CALL THEIR SENATORS…NO NO NO TO THIS RESOLUTION

  57. BiBiJon,

    “Having taken the time to read the hypothetical, I I’m permitting myself to ask at what point did that violation begin? The final assembly, or the original clear intent?”

    I appreciate your taking the time to read the hypothetical and to answer the first of the two questions. But Question 2 was for you to answer as well, not to ask. As I pointed out in my discussion, Arnold had tossed out several examples of less extensive activities, and asked me to opine whether those might amount to “manufacturing a nuclear weapon” in my view. As I explained, while I agree that is a proper subject, it was not the subject on which I was focusing, and so I declined to get diverted into that worthwhile but separate debate.

    I nonetheless threw a bone to Arnold with my Question 2, which essentially asks HIM (or you) to tell me where YOU would draw the line. If that is a debate that Arnold (or you) insists on having, rather than the differently focused debate which I explained I intended and prefer to limit myself to, my Question 2 presents a good opportunity to step into that second debate. It does require, though, that you, rather than I, say where you would draw the line. It was intended to, and does, eliminate the need for me to get into that debate by declaring my position on each of several different types of activities tossed out there by Arnold. As I hope I’ve finally made clear, I have no desire or intention to wade into that separate debate (which we’ve had here several times in the past), but, if others would like to, I’m happy to launch that separate debate by asking them where they’d draw the line in the detailed hypothetical I presented.

    That’s Question 2. If you’d like to engage in Arnold’s separate debate, I suggest you answer Question 2 to get that started. Don’t instead ask me to answer it, since I’ve made clear I’m not interested in engaging in some “line-drawing” debate. That wasn’t my purpose.

  58. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Yes, clearly Aipac wants to make it possible to force Obama to attack Iran even if Iran makes clear it does not want to build nukes and is not building them.

  59. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You linked comments by Gen. Norton Schwartz, who asks rhetorically what the objective of an attack on Iran would be. Eliminate the nuclear programme? Complicate it?

    General James Cartwright (former #2 US general) is quoted in the FT today saying “all the weapons in the world” cannot prevent Iran from continuing its nuclear programme.

  60. Kathleen says:

    This is one of the issues that Aipac attendents will be lobbying for during this weekends Aipac conference. Aipac should be required to register under the FARA. Foreign Agents Registration Act

    Tough Senate Bill Takes Aim at Iran
    As AIPAC Conference Nears, Push for Coordination With Israel

    Looming: With the AIPAC conference approaching, some lawmakers are pushing for a tougher American stance against Iran.

    By Nathan Guttman
    Published February 27, 2012, issue of March 02, 2012.
    Print Email Share TweetMultiple Pages Washington — With tension between Jerusalem and Washington on the rise over the preferred policy for dealing with Iran, supporters of Israel are urging lawmakers to back a resolution moving the goalposts in this debate closer to the views of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

    A proposed Senate resolution, supported by the pro-Israel lobby, would shift America’s red line in dealing with Iran from preventing the Islamic Republic’s acquisition of nuclear weapons to stopping it before it achieves “nuclear capabilities.” Authors of the resolution believe that it is the only way to ensure that Iran ceases to be a threat to the region.

    Opponents see it as moving America too close to a declaration of war.

    The resolution, now gaining signatures in the Senate, will be the legislative centerpiece of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as it convenes for its annual Washington conference, to take place in early March. The conference is expected to serve as the key arena for discussing American-Israeli differences over Iran as it hosts President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidates at a time when experts believe that Israel is nearing a decision on whether or not to launch a military strike.

    The Senate resolution, co-sponsored by South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, Independent Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman and Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, was officially rolled out February 16 after weeks of debate over its language.

    The resolution, which is nonbinding, urges the president “to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.” Co-sponsors of the resolution argued that it was merely giving weight to a commitment already made by Obama when he spoke out against allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons capabilities.

    “The purpose of this resolution,” Graham said in a February 16 Capitol Hill press conference, “is to say to the world, to our citizens and to the president, ‘We agree with you, and we have your back, Mr. President.’”

    While nuances in the new Senate resolution may seem minor, they could potentially change the way the United States acts in regard to the Iranian nuclear issue. Iran has been continuing its work to enrich uranium as part of a military nuclear program, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. But it has not yet reached a point of acquiring nuclear weapons. The point of achieving nuclear capabilities, however, is not clear-cut, and Iran may have already passed it. In that case, the Senate resolution could be understood as a call for immediate action against Iran.

    “It is a standard that in my opinion is more real and perhaps in some senses higher than saying ‘The red line is when they actually have nuclear weapons,’” said Lieberman, who explained that in his opinion, achieving nuclear capability means having the components to produce a nuclear weapon.

    But critics argue that the definition of “nuclear capability” is vague and that it points to top American intelligence and military officials who stated that Iran has not yet made a decision to use its nuclear capability for building atomic bombs. “This Senate resolution is essentially shrinking the space available for the administration to conduct diplomacy,” said Joel Rubin, policy and government director at the Ploughshares Fund, an organization focusing on nuclear nonproliferation. According to Rubin, if the administration adopts the policy suggested by the Senate, it will likely have to turn to a military option.

    Israel had urged the United States to view achieving nuclear capabilities as a red line. In a meeting of the American-Israeli strategic dialogue teams in late 2011, a joint statement used for the first time the term “nuclear capability.” The term, however, has not yet been adopted by the administration as an official policy.

    “We don’t see Iran as having pure intentions,” an Israeli official said. “If they’ll have the capability, they will be able to break out whenever they decide.”

    The Non-Proliferation Treaty does not prevent member states from developing nonmilitary nuclear capabilities as long as they keep their programs transparent and adhere to the treaty’s rules. Iran has argued that it therefore has the right to continue its nuclear activity, but the United States has made it clear that since Iran has not complied with NPT requirements, it should not be automatically granted the right to peaceful nuclear activity allowed under the treaty.

    A bipartisan slate of 32 co-sponsors has already signed on to the Senate resolution, and its supporters believe that the number will grow significantly in the run-up to AIPAC’s annual policy conference, which will begin on March 4. But in order to achieve Democratic support for the bill, authors were already forced to compromise, and the resolution underwent several changes in order to water down what was seen as too hawkish language. A clause stating that it is “within the power and capabilities of the United States government” to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capabilities was deleted after Democrats argued that it resembled an authorization for use of force. At the request of some Democratic senators, a sentence was added to mention diplomatic efforts as a means of reaching the goal. Still, several key Democrats from the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees have yet to sign on.

    In an attempt to highlight diplomacy and make clear that war was not a preferred solution, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina began circulating a letter in the House of Representatives, calling on the administration to do everything in its power to avoid war. “We’re not saying we should take military options off the table, we’re saying we should try to negotiate before bombs start flying,” Ellison said in a February 17 interview with the Forward. “We need to talk until we reach the conclusion that it cannot be solved, but I believe we can reach an agreement.”

    The letter is backed by dovish Jewish groups Americans for Peace Now and J Street, which also worked to try and change the language of the Senate resolution introduced by senators Graham, Lieberman and Casey. “It has been a long time since we tried negotiating with Iran, and it will be foolish not to use this tool,” said Dylan Williams, director of government affairs at J Street.

    But attention will turn in the coming weeks to other voices on this issue. AIPAC intends to have delegates participating in its annual conference lobby for the Senate resolution when they meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill. The conference is scheduled to take place at a time described by analysts as critical for Israel’s attempt to block Iran’s nuclear program. Israel, according to reports, is contemplating carrying out an attack possibly as early as this spring, and the United States faces a narrow window of opportunity to dissuade Israel from taking this route. Until now, AIPAC has been careful not to be seen as beating the war drums and has maintained an official position of supporting the Obama administration’s effort to first try and resolve the crisis diplomatically.

    Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com

  61. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Netanyahu is a Republican and of course wants Obama defeated in upcoming election.

  62. James Canning says:

    Geoff Dyer of the Financial Times has good report today, “Washington aims to quieten drumbeats for strike on Iran”.

    Dyer quotes Admiral William Fallon: “No one I am aware of thinks that there is a positive poutcome from a military strike [against Iran].”

  63. kooshy says:

    Regarding the ongoing discussion on spirit and letter of the NPT

    In my opinion Eric subjectively choses to describe his two table in the same room, as he explains one table contains all the manufactured parts that can be put together to make the housing for the fissile metal core from the second table, and once the two table are combined one will have the actual working bomb.

    Now let’s imagine that all the parts on table one, a spring that can also be used in a car, a rivet/screw that can be also used in aerospace industry, a metal tube that can also be used for a conventional military armament, etc. are available and spread in different manufacturing facilities all around the country, Mr. Abbasi who heads the atomic commission knows that if he wants he can acquire all these parts from different manufacturers and assemble the housing for a potential nuclear device. At the same time students at Sharif university’s nuclear physics department are researching and modeling how the nuclear device detonated over Hiroshima which made possible an enormous blast was put together, further Mr. Abassi also knows that if he wants, he now has the knowledge and the capability to further enriching Iran’s current stockpile of 3.5% enriched uranium to 95% purity and make it to a metal core.

    Considering these new sets of circumstances, where our two hypothetical tables are not in the same room subjectively in front of one’s eyes, but rather spread around for actual other uses, does this still means Iran is not fallowing the sprit or the letter of the NPT and should be subject to suspicion and be sanctioned till she agrees to let go of all her knowledge and manufacturing capabilities.

  64. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    btw, did you ever watch a Ted Koppel interview? He specialized in asking questions that took 10 minutes to ask and the interview was given 1 second before a commercial break to answer yes or no.

  65. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    Not being Arnold, nor WTF, my “YES” to your question is unsolicited, sorry.

    But, having taken the time to read the hypothetical, I gave myself permission to respond. YES, Japan having ratified NPT and thereby promised not to develop a weapon, has broken that promise and therefore violated NPT.

    Having tkaen the time to read the hypothetical, I I’m permitting myself to ask at what point did that violation begin? The final assembly, or the original clear intent?

  66. Kathleen says:

    Is the content of following video very important?.

    http://presstv.com/detail/228546.html

    In it does the American lawyer, specializing on international law really claims after revelation of 2011 NIE all sanctions against Iran are illegal?

    Has his argument any [legal] validity?”

    With what the new Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Dempsey had to say on Fareed Zakaria’s a week and a half ago about “the Iranian regime being a rational actor” and they have not determined that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

    And this past Sunday Dr.Zbigniew Brzezinski on Fareeds saying “no need to go to war” and that President Obama should tell Netanyahu that the US will not support such an attack etc. Lines are being drawn. The question is where President Obama have the balls to stand up to Netanyahu and draw the lines more clearly or will he get kicked in the cajones once again by Netanyahu and the I lobby?

  67. Kathleen says:

    Pirouz says:
    February 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm
    Yesterday, here in the SF Bay Area region, I noticed fuel prices for premium approaching $4.80 a gallon.

    Here’s a depressing take on the situation not being reported in our MSM:

    US throws itself over an Iranian barrel
    By Ardeshir Ommani

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NC01Ak01.html

    On both MSNBC’s Chris Hayes new program UP they discussed rising gas prices and the connection between Israel’s possible attack on Iran and the upcoming sanctions against Iran..how speculators are literally banking on a disaster. A Mr. Dickers was on talking about this on the Sunday UP program.

    Also on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Sunday GPS program a Mr. Stockman was connecting the dots for the audience about how a potential attack on Iran drives the price up as well as the upcoming implementation of the sanctions against Iran. Mr. Stockman said many things similar to what Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski said earlier in the program that President Obama needed to make it clear to Netanyahu during their March 5th meetings that the US would not support an attack in any way shape or form. Dr. Zbig also said Obama needed to make it clear that Israel could not fly through US controlled air space during such an attack on Iran. Both programs are worth the watch so you can hear for yourselves

    WILL OBAMA HEED ZBIGS RECOMMENDATIONS OR KEEP LISTENING TO DENNIS ROSS AND THE WARMONGERING CREW? Seems like Israel would like Obama to lose the next election.

  68. Humanist says:

    Eric,

    Is the content of following video very important?.

    http://presstv.com/detail/228546.html

    In it does the American lawyer, specializing on international law really claims after revelation of 2011 NIE all sanctions against Iran are illegal?

    Has his argument any [legal] validity?

  69. WTF says:
    February 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I thank you for all of your kind words, and forgive you for your less than kind ones, to which I’ll respond here.

    You write:

    “However, with your new ambiguous talk of what constitutes a ‘weapon’, … you have broadened the ‘idea’ of what constitutes a weapon in a way that would make John Bolton proud. I cannot imagine how you get past this Eric. … if we are to take your position on what constitutes a weapon, then Iran … would indefinitely be left trying to do the impossible and prove that it has not crossed some ambiguous red line.”

    If you reread my recent comments fairly, you’ll recognize that I was focused on a single question – whether manufacturing a nuclear weapon violates the NPT if this can be accomplished without violating the country’s Safeguards Agreement – while Arnold insisted on adding a second question – what is a “nuclear weapon?” – and addressing only that point.

    When one wants to focus on a single point in a debate, it is common to ask others to make certain assumptions about matters other than that single point. One who agrees to such a request does not thereby concede that the assumed facts are true. He merely assumes their truth temporarily, solely for the sake of discussion, just to sharpen the focus on the single point that is being debated. After the debate on that single point is complete, he will not be bound to acknowledge that those assumed facts are actually true. If he wants to make this crystal clear, he can even announce this: “I would like to make clear that the matters you asked me to assume were true, during our discussion, are not really facts that I believe are true. In fact, I would like to emphasize that I believe none of those matters is true.”

    I would have no objection at all to that, since the single point I was asking Arnold to consider (in expanded form) was this:

    Bearing in mind that the NPT includes no disclosure obligations at all but nonetheless prohibits Japan from manufacturing a nuclear weapon, if we assume solely for the sake of this discussion that Japan has manufactured a nuclear weapon, but has done so without violating any disclosure obligations or other obligations under its Safeguards Agreement, has Japan nevertheless violated the NPT?

    Rather than address that point, Arnold responded (with your approval), essentially as follows:

    “Sorry, but I WON’T agree to assume, in your hypothetical, that Japan has manufactured a weapon. Who are you to draw the line between “weapon” and “non-weapon?” What if Japan had instead done this, or this, or this, or this (giving several examples, such as weapons research, or the building of mockups)? Would you say that’s “manufacturing a weapon” too? And what if Japan didn’t agree with you about that, and I happen to conclude that Japan’s view is more reasonable than yours? Why should you get to decide, rather than Japan. Or why should the US get to decide? How can a country know when it’s “manufactured a weapon” under your loose definition?”

    Those are all valid points. All valid points, but points for another debate, on another day. They sidestep the single point on which I’d asked Arnold to focus.

    It may nevertheless be the case that I did not make this clear enough. Just in case, I’ll try to eliminate all doubt by replacing my “Japan hypothetical” with a new version that, I hope, will be more clear:

    Suppose Japan manfactures a device exactly identical in all respects to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, including the explosive nuclear material inside. Let’s suppose that Japan’s government announces to the world: “This is a nuclear weapon. We manufactured it. If you don’t agree it’s a nuclear weapon, come and see for yourself.” Suppose every human being in the world thereupon inspects the device, taking as long as he or she deems necessary, and concludes: “Yes, this is a nuclear weapon.” Let’s suppose that even Arnold and you agree: “Yes, this is a nuclear weapon.” As it turns out, even God announces his agreement: “Yes, this is a nuclear weapon, and I confirm that Japan manufactured it.” Lest there still remain any doubters, Japan transports the device to a remote area and detonates it. A huge explosion occurs, flattening every building, tree, and other object within a five-mile radius, and a mushroom cloud rises 20 miles into the sky. A thousand radiation detectors, monitored by scientists from every country in the world, measure a very sharp increase in radiation. One of the scientists is overheard saying: “Wow! Only one thing could account for that sharp uptick in radiation: the explosion of a nuclear weapon.” Several other nuclear scientists standing next to him, each of them from a different country, nod their heads in agreement.

    Now let’s suppose further that Japan’s spokesman says: “At all times while we were secretly researching and then manufacturing this nuclear weapon, we complied with all of our disclosure obligations and other obligations under our Safeguards Agreement. We even had IAEA inspectors watching us, 24/7, as we refined uranium to bomb-grade, and shaped it so that it would fit snugly into the nuclear device which we were building in the next room. Those inspectors were suspicious, and asked us what we were up to, but we told them: ‘None of your business. We’re allowed to refine uranium to whatever percentage we see fit, and to shape it into whatever forms we like.’ They stopped asking because they acknowledged that our Safeguards Agreement doesn’t prohibit us from refining uranium to bomb-grade, nor from forming that bomb-grade uranium into whatever shape we might like. Then we took those inspectors into the next room, where we had the components of a nuclear weapon laid out on a table. ‘What’s all this?’ one of them asked. ‘These are components of a nuclear weapon,’ we replied. ‘We manufactured each of them. It’s taken us several years of hard work. If we put them all together, and then insert the bomb-grade fuel we just showed you in the next room, we’ll have a working nuclear weapon. Watch!’ Our technicians thereupon assembled all of the components, right there on the table in front of the IAEA inspectors. This took a couple of minutes. When they were finished, they rolled the table, with the assembled device on it, into the room that contained the specially-shaped bomb-grade fuel. The inspectors walked with us into that room.”

    The Japanese spokesman continues: “Once we were back in the room where we kept the specially-shaped bomb-grade fuel, with the IAEA inspectors still watching, our technicians inserted the specially-shaped bomb-grade fuel into the nuclear device we had assembled in front of the inspectors in the next room. This took about 10 seconds, tops. Then we made our announcement: “This is a nuclear weapon. We manufactured it.”

    Let’s suppose that those IAEA inspectors, and the IAEA Director General, and the IAEA Board, and the UN Security Council, and the US government, the Prime Minister of Japan, and even God, all confirm the truth of everything that this Japanese spokesman has said.

    All this merely brings us to the starting point of my inquiry, the point where I ask you and Arnold and others – temporarily, solely for the sake of discussion and for no other purpose – to ASSUME that all of the foregoing is true. I don’t really want to discuss, not here and now, what other things Japan might have done, short of this or otherwise different from this, that might or might not have amounted to “manufacturing a nuclear weapon.” Nor do I want to discuss whether, if Japan happened to disagree that some other device was a “nuclear weapon” or that some other activity amounted to “manufacturing a nuclear weapon,” whether Japan’s view was more reasonable than mine, nor whether I should be the decision-maker if Japan and I have such a disagreement. I don’t even want to discuss whether what I’ve laid out in this assumption actually amounts to “manufacturing a nuclear weapon,” notwithstanding the agreement of Japan and every human being on earth, and even God, that it does. I am asking much less than this: I merely want you to assume that, for just this one brief moment, everyone agrees, including Japan itself, even Arnold, that (1) this device is (or at least was, until it exploded) a nuclear weapon; and (2) Japan manufactured it.

    That’s all. That merely gets us to the question I’ve asked Arnold and you to focus on, which I’ll break into two questions here to fit the new hypothetical more precisely:

    QUESTION ONE: Bearing in mind that the NPT includes no disclosure obligations at all but nonetheless prohibits Japan from manufacturing a nuclear weapon, if we assume solely for the sake of this discussion that Japan has manufactured a nuclear weapon, but has done so without violating any disclosure obligations or other obligations under its Safeguards Agreement, has Japan nevertheless violated the NPT?

    QUESTION TWO: If you answered “yes” to Question 1, which of the events in my hypothetical changed your answer from “no” to “yes?”

    If, this time, I’ve finally sharpened my focus sufficiently, I’d appreciate hearing your views, and Arnold’s views, on this narrow question. Arnold has emphasized that what Japan “ratified” related only to “fissile material,” while I emphasize what Arnold left out of that statement: Japan also ratified the NPT itself, which prohibits Japan from manufacturing a nuclear weapon. I am concerned that Arnold might believe Japan’s obligation not to manufacture a nuclear weapon is not violated as long as Japan properly discloses all “fissile material” under its Safeguards Agreement. I hope to learn whether that is the case, and my “Japan hypothetical” was and is intended to help me learn that.

  70. fyi says:

    Pirouz says: February 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    The Iranians pre-empted the EU oil sanctions and spooked the markets.

    Axis Powers confrontation with Iran has imposed costs on the rest of the world.

    There is political pressure on US-EU to resolve their confrontation with Iran by the rest of the world.

    [They cannot make good the losses of other states since the foundation of their finance-based economy disintegrated in 2011.]

    I expect there to be a sort of a cease-fire between Iran and the Axis Powers before US elections this Fall.

  71. Pirouz says:

    Yesterday, here in the SF Bay Area region, I noticed fuel prices for premium approaching $4.80 a gallon.

    Here’s a depressing take on the situation not being reported in our MSM:

    US throws itself over an Iranian barrel
    By Ardeshir Ommani

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NC01Ak01.html

  72. BiBiJon says:

    kathleen says:
    February 29, 2012 at 11:53 am

    It has become almost comical how in-your-face the supposed ‘ally’ of the US has become. As if we didn’t get the message when they humiliated Biden, when they go over Obama’s head to get drooling admiration/endorsement from Congress, etc. Now we are told we won’t even get a miserable heads up when the mid east is scheduled to be set on fire.

    With allies like this …. I would ask HAMAS, a democratically elected government, if they won’t give the US Navy basing rights in Gaza to effectively put a muzzle on the ally-beast.

  73. kathleen says:

    AP source: Israel won’t warn US before Iran strike
    Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

    By KIMBERLY DOZIER

    AP Intelligence Writer

    RelatedLive updates from the campaign trail | UW Election Eye
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    WASHINGTON —
    Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

    Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to convince them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran’s nuclear program.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the message to a series of high-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser, the director of national intelligence and top U.S. lawmakers, all trying to close the trust gap between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

    Netanyahu delivered the same message to all the Americans who have traveled to Israel for talks, the U.S. official said.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic negotiations.

    The White House did not respond to requests for comment. The Pentagon and Office of Director of National Intelligence declined to comment, as did the Israeli Embassy.

    Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the International Atomic Energy Agency has raised alarms that its uranium enrichment program might be a precursor to building nuclear weapons. The U.S. has said it does not know whether the government has decided to weaponize its nuclear material and put it on a missile or other delivery device.

    The secret warning is likely to worry U.S. officials and begin the high-level meetings with Israel and the U.S. far apart on how to handle Iran.

    But the apparent decision to keep the U.S. in the dark also stems from Israel’s frustration with the White House. After a visit by National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, they became convinced the Americans would neither take military action, nor go along with unilateral action by Israel against Iran. The Israelis concluded they would have to conduct a strike unilaterally – a point they are likely to hammer home in a series of meetings over the next two weeks in Washington, the official said.

    Barak will meet with top administration and congressional officials during his visit. Netanyahu arrives in Washington for meetings with President Barack Obama next week.

    The behind-the-scenes warning belies the publicly united front the two sides have attempted to craft with the shuttle diplomacy to each other’s capitals.

    “It’s unprecedented outreach to Israel to make sure we are working together to develop the plan to deter Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” and to keep Iran from exporting terrorism, said Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

    He traveled there with the intelligence committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., to meet Israel’s prime minister and defense minister, along with other officials.

    “We talked about the fact that sanctions are working and they are going to get a lot more aggressive,” Ruppersberger added.

    They also discussed talked about presenting a unified front to Iran, to counter the media reports that the two countries are at odds over how and when to attack Iran.

    “We have to learn from North Korea. All those (peace) talks and stalling and they developed a nuclear weapon,” he said. “We are going to send a message, enough is enough, the stalling is over. … All options are on the table.”

    Rogers told CNN on Monday: “I got the sense that Israel is incredibly serious about a strike on their nuclear weapons program. It’s their calculus that the administration … is not serious about a real military consequence to Iran moving forward.

    “They believe they’re going to have to make a decision on their own, given the current posture of the United States,” he added.

    U.S. intelligence and special operations officials have tried to keep a dialogue going with Israel despite the high-level impasse, offering options such as allowing Israel to use U.S. bases in the region to launch such a strike, as a way to make sure the Israelis give the Americans a heads-up, according to the U.S. official and a former U.S. official with knowledge of the communications.

    Cooperation has improved on sharing of intelligence in the region, according to one current and one former U.S. official. Israel is providing key information on Syria, for instance, now that the U.S. has closed its embassy and pulled out its diplomats and intelligence officials stationed there, the U.S. official said.

    AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan contributed to this report.

    Dozier can be followed on Twitter (at)kimberlydozier.

  74. nahid says:

    Asghar Farhad wins Oscar and scores for peace

    Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar speech was a small but important victory for the anti-war voice: “At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy. They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker–but because at a time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.” See the video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT1Xkl6xnsE

  75. BiBiJon says:

    Fara says:
    February 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

    must read. (Special note to James Canning)

    Nasty surprises await warmongers in Persian Gulf (by Stuart Littlewood, British Writer-Photographer)

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/229255.html
    ————————-
    And with reference to ,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/world/middleeast/us-sees-iran-attacks-as-likely-if-israel-strikes.html

    ———————-

    I imagine the following issues were resolved by Iranian national security big wigs some years ago.

    1) The decisions as to type/scale of retaliation if Iran is attacked must be formulated and adhered to well in advance of such attack. Iranian response cannot be left to emotions of hurt/anger/despair/fear which are likely to drown out all other rational thinking during the war.

    2) Iran cannot hope to fight and win a war on her territory against the western powers.

    3) Iran cannot rely on anyone’s help

    4) Therefore, Iran’s only option is deterrence. The deterrence must be credible, and devastating, and not subject to calibration. The overwhelmingly superior force Iran will have to contend with, including Israeli/American nuclear strikes does not leave time for progression from stage A to stage Z. Iran’s response needs to begin and end with stage Z.

    5) Iran’s retaliation must cause unimaginable, unbearable hurt to be credible. Closing the straits for a few weeks does not measure up to the task at hand.

    I think the capability of sinking ships in the Persian Gulf are not part of that deterrence, they are part of keeping the deterrence powder dry as long as possible. The BS that NY Times comes up with e.g. ‘terrorist attacks’ are nowhere in the Iranian plans as either tactical or strategic deterrence plans. In fact it is laughable to think B2s are running devastating sorties over Iranian cities, and Iran is detonating bombs in restaurants in response and hoping to win. Yeah, right!

  76. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    My point, which you seem not to grasp, are all the political constraints of Saudi Arabia.

    There is OPEC and there is a quoat system within it.

    Saudis will not pump extra oil in order to facilitate the wrecking of another OPEC member’s economy.

    If they do so, the ramification will be that OPEC is dead.

    They will not kill OPEC – an organization that they need – over US-EU political fantasies.

    And of course, then there is the matter of Iranian retaliation which would commence once Saudi Arabia joins US-EU in using oil as a weapon against Iran.

    Lastly, there is secular trend of rising oil prices – Saudis cannot address that.

    In fact, in a few year’s time, investment in Iranian oil fields will become a necessity for the world economy.

    There will be no choice.

  77. BiBiJon says:

    WTF says:
    February 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

    “recommending Iran go down the path of unilaterally being more cooperative than it is legally required to do – thus doubling down in the rigged game that is being played.”

    and …

    “Iran adhering to the AP [won't do] a damn thing to change the sheeple’s hearts and minds, unless it is done as part of a deal (in which it would be sold by the West as a major concession on Iran’s part). Otherwise it will be written off as another distraction by clever Iranians trying to buy time.”

    Very well put.

  78. Fara says:

    must read. (Special note to James Canning)

    Nasty surprises await warmongers in Persian Gulf (by Stuart Littlewood, British Writer-Photographer)

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/229255.html

  79. WTF says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 29, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Iran ratified the NPT, which prohibits it from manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Merely because the NPT has no enforcement provisions, and Japan’s Safeguards Agreement includes insufficient enforcement provisions because they focus only on fissile material, does not mean that Japan has no obligation to refrain from manufacturing a nuclear weapon. It means only that Iran might be able to violate the NPT without getting caught.

    That is my only point, which seems clear and uncontroversial to me.

    Eric,

    I have to say that I felt your line on Iran unilaterally ratifying the AP, while I don’t agree, was more reasonable than others were making it out to be. I understood that you were looking for something – anything – that Iran could do to gain confidence in “the world’s” eyes, thus taking some of the steam out of the push for war. As I said, I don’t agree with your position, mostly because I see the push for war as being manufactured and not based on any genuine nuclear concerns. I also don’t see Iran adhering to the AP doing a damn thing to change the sheeple’s hearts and minds, unless it is done as part of a deal (in which it would be sold by the West a major concession on Iran’s part). Otherwise it will be written off as another distraction by clever Iranians trying to buy time.

    However, with your new ambiguous talk of what constitutes a “weapon”, along with all of the hypotheticals, I am confused on how YOU even buy your line on the AP.

    Arnold says: “Since we are drawing a line short of a device that can explode, but don’t have a definition already agreed, we are setting up a dispute that can never be resolved.

    The United States is always going to be accusing Iran of having a “weapon” because the United States strategically does not want to tolerate Iran having materials and technologies that are uncontroversially legal in themselves. Iran will never be able to disprove the US accusations, because the US gets to draw a line where ever it wants.

    Again, you had said to Arnold: “Japan’s Safeguards Agreement includes insufficient enforcement provisions because they focus only on fissile material, does not mean that Japan has no obligation to refrain from manufacturing a nuclear weapon.

    Except the problem is that you have broadened the “idea” of what constitutes a weapon in a way that would make John Bolton proud.

    I cannot imagine how you get past this Eric. I read most everything that you write. I know you understand that the whole nuclear issue is being manipulated against Iran by Western governments and MSM. But now you are embracing such a loose definition of what even constitutes a “weapon”, that it becomes completely subjective – and certainly not “uncontroversial” – and at the same time recommending Iran go down the path of unilaterally being more cooperative than it is legally required to do – thus doubling down in the rigged game that is being played.

    Again, as Arnold has articulated very well, if we are to take your position on what constitutes a weapon, then Iran (or any other aspiring nuclear country who is being persecuted by an arrogant superpower) would indefinitely be left trying to do the impossible and prove that it has not crossed some ambiguous red line. I believe you sincerely have Iran’s best interest in mind, but that is the exact situation that those pushing for war are seeking. We cannot change how THEY will attempt to define a weapon, or spin the whole situation, but I would think that YOU would at least see the flaw in the logic of having Iran double down in that game.

  80. Rehmat says:

    Why MSNBC fired Pat Buchanan?

    In November 2011 article he called GOP a war party, praised Rep. Ron Paul and claimed that Tehran is not pursuing nuclear bomb – and that an US or Israeli attack on Iran will be disastrous for both the US and its allies in the region.

    “Israel and its Fifth Column in this city seek to stampede us into war with Iran. Bush should rebuff them, and the American people should tell their congressmen: You vote for 362, we don’t vote for you” – in column ‘A Phony Crisis – and a Real One’, July 15, 2008…….

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

  81. Arnold Evans says:

    How are we going to define weapon?

    One way to define weapon is a device that includes fissile material, that if detonated 600 meters over a city could explode and kill many people.

    If we define it that way, there is the benefit that the NPT effectively prohibits “weapons”. There is also the benefit that there is no ambiguity about what a weapon is or is not.

    Another way to define weapon is to draw some line short of a device that can explode.

    There are two problems with that definition.

    1) Now that we’ve defined weapon this way, the negotiators of the NPT knew when they were writing it that they were not effectively prohibiting “weapons”. But they write as if they were.

    2) Since we are drawing a line short of a device that can explode, but don’t have a definition already agreed, we are setting up a dispute that can never be resolved.

    The United States is always going to be accusing Iran of having a “weapon” because the United States strategically does not want to tolerate Iran having materials and technologies that are uncontroversially legal in themselves. Iran will never be able to disprove the US accusations, because the US gets to draw a line where ever it wants.

    Any other definition leads to ideas that clearly are absent from the NPT such as “intent” and “trust”, both arbitrarily applied concepts with great potential for discriminatory application, while the NPT explicitly affirms that nuclear technology is to be available without discrimination.

    Because of this, I don’t think it is reasonable to present the NPT as defining “weapon” independent of fissile material that the NPT itself provided would be safeguarded.

    So it looks like along with whether Iran should unilaterally implement the AP, we’ve found another area of disagreement.

    If in the future you choose to say some disagree with your definition, please say “Some disagree with my definition because they believe if weapon is defined to include fissile material then the NPT does effectively prohibit weapons while it does not otherwise. Also they believe there is only one definition that has been ratified by the states, while other definitions would have to be applied arbitrarily and introduce the danger that they are applied discriminatorily.”

    In other words, we have a disagreement. Please don’t mischaracterize my side of the disagreement if or when you come back to it later.

  82. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 28, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Depending on which way you see the following points, then different sets of opinions regarding what is/isn’t possible/crucial qualifies as foolish.

    a) Is the nuclear issue with Iran, in its entirety, pretextual?
    b) Is USG hostility towards Iran natural, or entirely manufactured/manipulated?
    c) Is MSM following or leading average American’s attitudes towards Iran?
    d) Is US position in the Mid East good/bad/ or completely untenable?
    e) Does US/Iran rapprochement make any difference to US position in Mid East?
    f) Does Iran need the US, or vice versa?
    g) Was Ay. Khomeini wrong when he said “there’s not a damn thing US can do?”

    My answer to above leads me to think it is imperative for US to seek accommodation with Iran, and that an immediate de-escalation of tensions is the only way out for US — all other options, including military or further tightening of sanctions will proximately lead to US’ irreversible demise. I am confident Iran will not say no. Friendship is part of Iranian DNA.

  83. Arnold,

    “Again, how do you justify a different line from the fissile material line that Japan ratified?”

    Iran ratified the NPT, which prohibits it from manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Merely because the NPT has no enforcement provisions, and Japan’s Safeguards Agreement includes insufficient enforcement provisions because they focus only on fissile material, does not mean that Japan has no obligation to refrain from manufacturing a nuclear weapon. It means only that Iran might be able to violate the NPT without getting caught.

    That is my only point, which seems clear and uncontroversial to me. If you disagree, so be it. I don’t see any point in continuing this discussion.

  84. WTF says:

    All this bluster from the Israelis is almost getting funny. Worth noting that at the time I am writing this there are 16 comments and responses on the Haaertz article, all critical of Netanyahu.

    Netanyahu will urge Obama to publicly back attack on Iran, sources say

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-will-urge-obama-to-publicly-back-attack-on-iran-sources-say-1.415428

    Netanyahu does not appear to be convinced by Dempsey’s backtracking, and considers such reports to be part of a coordinated campaign against an Israeli strike, according to sources. In Netanyahu’s view, this is all part of a goal to enlist both Israeli and U.S. public support against such a strike, sources say, and is part of what he considers to be U.S. interference in internal Israeli affairs.

    Netanyahu’s suspicions were apparently heightened by last week’s report in Haaretz that Peres will tell Obama that he objects to an Israeli attack on Iran. Since then, the relations between Netanyahu and Peres have been tense. Peres denied the reports, but Netanyahu and his staff do not seem to completely believe his denials.

  85. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Woah, this tone is way too confrontational. I hope my tone was not confrontational and if you took it as such, I apologize.

    If Japan is putting the table you describe together and is found out, but it says it is not, the God knows Japan has put the table together. Human beings are left with an accusation that may be proven or may not.

    It is also an accusation Japan has no obligation to disprove, we agree.

    Picture? Photoshop. Witnesses? Paid informant traitors. Inspections to make sure? Nope. We never ratified that we have sovereignty and a right to military secrets.

    God knows Japan actually put your table together. Japan can say it is not and be left facing an assertion. That’s not a straw man, Japan has it entirely within its power to turn any “found out” scenario into an “asserted” scenario.

    From there it goes in the direction I described.

    Shaping fissile material to fit a weapon happens to be a military use, enriching to that point or in Japan’s case having a huge stockpile of plutonium that does not have to be enriched to be fissile is not.

    If it takes five minutes to transport, shape and fit legally enriched fissile material, then Japan can be five minutes away from a weapon. Before you complain, the US still has not entered the good faith negotiations for full disarmament it ratified its commitment to more than a generation ago.

    The important issue is that Japan may well be able to get within one day of building a weapon, in real life. Maybe it has already and we just don’t know.

    Japan though has ratified a promise not to deploy an actual nuclear weapon and is keeping its promise, we know because all of its fissile material is safeguarded. We know Japan does not have a nuclear weapon right now. That’s really all we are promised by the NPT.

    We are not promised tomorrow, and we are explicitly told that Japan can be fully out of the NPT in 90 days. That’s the NPT that was negotiated and ratified by China, Brazil, the US, Canada and Iran.

    Again, how do you justify a different line from the fissile material line that Japan ratified? If, other than safeguarding fissile material, what you think is reasonable and what Japan’s leaders think is reasonable is different, why would anyone in Japan care what you think is reasonable.

    Do you think Japan violated the NPT if it studied North Korea’s possible paths to nuclear weapons and now has designs or workable mock-ups in its possession?

    If you think so, should anyone care that you think so, especially if Japanese leaders don’t think so?

  86. kooshy says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    February 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I think now you have it finely tuned to the core, correctly it’s not threat of a first strike attack by Iran that worries US, essentially is the existence of a possible second strike retaliation (by having a legal credible nuclear capability) that threatens US ability to change Iran’s strategic posture in her region, US calls this destabilizing (limiting US’s maneuver capability) and an existential threat to Israel. If Iran was an allied country of US like Pakistan or Israel this would not have been a threat or a problem up till when Iran becomes an opposition to US’s strategic regional policies.

  87. BiBiJon,

    I’m no longer dejected now that I recognize you weren’t being serious, and chose April 1 BECAUSE it is April Fool’s Day.

    You also wrote:

    “I do not see what difference this year or 10 years from now makes, other than on the current path, every passing year the bad blood will be that much thicker, and it will be even harder to reconcile.”

    It will be just as hard to reconcile in 10 years if, but only if, the US remains just as belligerent and just as strong, or if, in the meantime, Iran has given the US reason to believe Iran has, or is developing a nuclear weapon. On the other hand, if none of those three facts is true in 10 years, I think reconciliation will be both (1) easier; and (2) less important for Iran, since the US will have declined in power and belligerence sufficiently that Iran will no longer view its relationship with the US as a “confrontation” that must be resolved. It will strike a deal with the US if doing so serves the interests of both countries. Or else it won’t, because it won’t need to.

  88. Arnold Evans says:
    February 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    In my hypothetical that Japan is developing a nuclear weapon and someone “finds out,” what I meant by “finds out” was not merely that someone “asserts” Japan is developing a nuclear weapon. What I meant by “finds out” in that hypothetical is that Japan in fact IS developing a nuclear weapon and somebody “finds out” that it in fact is developing a nuclear weapon. Under that meaning (which, frankly, I think was clear) the question of whether Japan can – or must, or might, or may – disprove an “assertion” is irrelevant. I was asking you to assume that it was in fact happening, and that someone “found out” it was in fact happening, and asked you to acknowledge that Japan would in that event be violating the NPT.

    If this was not clear to you, my fault. If it was clear, your argument, based on “finds out” meaning that a mere “assertion” has been made, begging the question of what Japan must do, if anything, in response to that “assertion,” amounts to your setting up a straw man and knocking him down.

    You also wrote:

    “What does it mean to you that a country has violated the NPT in a way you admit the NPT does not require it to disclose?”

    The question nearly answers itself: It means to me that the country has violated the NPT, regardless of the fact that the NPT did not require it to disclose any of its activities that culminated in that violation.

    A central point of my long post this morning was that obligations stated in the NPT (in that post: an obligation not to manufacture or acquire a nuclear weapon) are obligations EVEN THOUGH there is no associated enforcement provision in the NPT – indeed, that is true even if there is no associated enforcement provision in the country’s Safeguards Agreement. This is hardly a disputable point. If you still doubt it, consider this:

    Suppose a non-nuclear weapon NPT signatory country announces that it has developed a nuclear weapon, ready to fire except for the nuclear material, which, it reports, has already been refined to bomb-grade and is ready to insert into the country’s nuclear weapon in about five minutes’ time. Let’s assume the country has previously made full disclosures about the nuclear material under its Safeguards Agreement (as you know, any country may refine uranium to bomb-grade without violating its Safeguards Agreement, as long as it discloses this to the IAEA, even though this obviously raises eyebrows).

    I think we both understand that nothing in that country’s Safeguards Agreement will have required that it disclose its nuclear weapon development (assuming it used no nuclear material in the development) – agreed? I think we also both understand that nothing in the NPT will have required that it disclose its nuclear weapon development (since the NPT includes no disclosure obligations) – also agreed? If no disclosure obligation existed – either under the NPT or the country’s Safeguards Agreement – would you, therefore, say that the country’s manufacturing of a nuclear weapon did not violate the NPT? I certainly would not. I would hope you agree with that.

    I think this example answers your “third point” too.

  89. BiBiJon says:

    WTF says:
    February 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Indeed Arnold characteristically gets to the core issue, which as you have pointed out, it is not a conjecture, but a published position paper by the Obama admin.

    A little before that, Benny Morris had opined in the NY Times that Iranians should pray that Israeli conventional arms are successful at destroying Irnian nuclear facilities so that Israel will not nuke Iran.

    The problem with this kind of crazy talk is that a) it is already assumed and factored in, and b) only delusional Turkeys and Brazils of this world would believe it is exclusively for Iran/N.Korea.

    Genocidal talk like this is a sign of deep insecurity and weakness, traits that cannot be remedied but confronted head on. This is what Iran is doing: confronting it head on.

  90. Arnold Evans says:

    I remember John Bolton saying in 2009 that the US could not have gotten regime change in Serbia if Serbia had been nuclear.

    http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2009/08/john-bolton-we-couldnt-have-gotten.html

    The US could not get Serbia-style regime change over Japan, because Japan, legal in the NPT, is “nuclear” not with a deployed weapon, but if the process of staging forces and getting UN resolutions and heightening tensions was to begin with Japan, Japan would prepare and be out of the NPT and likely have nuclear weapons before bombing of the country would start.

    When you say you trust Japan and not Iran, what you’re kind of saying, and what probably sound like in Iran is that you trust that China will not attack Tokyo but you don’t trust that the US or Israel won’t attack Tehran.

    So your lack of trust that Iran won’t find itself provoked to build a weapon is actually more reason for Iran to become legally capable of building a weapon. Maybe you know something Tehran doesn’t.

  91. WTF says:

    Sorry, I forgot to close a bold tag, but this line from Obama I think is important in this context:

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

  92. WTF says:

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

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

    Arnold, Eric, Bibijon,

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

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

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

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

    Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

  93. Humanist says:

    In my view Asghar Farhadi’s speech at Oscar ceremony was right to the point.

    “At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy— they are happy not just because of an important award, or a film, or a filmmaker, but because — at a time of tug of war, intimidation, and aggressions exchanged between politicians — the name of their county, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.— I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment. Thank you so much”

    For those of us here who speak Farsi the following video of “a look at how the film was made” is also interesting, especially from minute 15:00 to about 16:40 showing the scene where Nader is giving a bath to his father who is sitting on a wheelchair. There Nader is supposed to act as he is sobbing, setting his head on the shoulder of his father and cry……he, as this video shows dips in his role so deeply that he really cries….and the cameraman also cries….wipes his tear off with his fingers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FL-mCqAIHkY

  94. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    “I get a bit dejected when your “confrontational” approach results in you believing there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that any such thing will happen on April 1 (also known as “April Fool’s Day” in the US, by the way). Nothing like that will happen on April 1, nor on May 1 or June 1, nor on April 1 of next year, or the year after that.

    Seriously, we can have disagreements on this, but for you to imagine that the US is going to recognize “Iran’s rights” (presumably including its right to enrich uranium on Iranian soil) in the near future strikes me as so unlikely that it’s pointless even to discuss it. I highly recommend that you consider what you think makes sense on the assumption that no such thing will occur for a very long time.”

    Eric,

    I choose April 1st because it is April Fool’s Day. It is an oblique reference to my belief that only fools would persist beyond a $3 trillion defeat in Iraq, panicked exit out of Afghanistan(1), and a confrontation with Iran that everyday saps at American credibility as it forces Iran to defiantly rub US’ nose in the empire’s inability to coerce Iran, in turn forcing the US to attempt to coerce everybody else, and ultimately contemplate WWIII, a kind of imperial full monty on the global stage to Iran’s tune.

    I do not see what difference this year or 10 years from now makes, other than on the current path, every passing year the bad blood will be that much thicker, and it will be even harder to reconcile. To my mind, if its never possible, why not hope and pray for the impossible this year, on April 1st.

    If it doesn’t happen this year, I’ll just keep hoping n’ praying for another 12 months.

    (1) http://www.lobelog.com/blown-away/

  95. Humanist says:

    Richard

    re: your Feb 25, 6:32pm post

    Once again, the following is what crossed my mind as I read your comment. Please ignore this if I just don’t understand your ways when you disagree with the views of others.
    .
    You say “…At some point you just have to dismiss crap as crap, especially when the opponent’s sole strategy is to force you to repeat yourself over and over. The tactic is just repetition of one’s points until enough people buy into it. If you can’t beat ‘em, try to slip by them….”

    Opponents strategy? to force you?

    Don’t you think intellectual discussions or debates are not like wrestling or boxing? In intellectual discourse we listen carefully, think about what is said then we express our views in response. The only strategy! I can think of must be to keep the atmosphere of the discussion as calm, as friendly and as rational as possible.

    In any debating my prime objective is to learn something new or spot something I have overlooked etc. Just in case I sense the other side is trying to trick me or [to force me] to do something I don’t want to do I lose interest in the whole process and if the situation permits I might leave the room.

    “If you can’t beat ‘em, try to slip by them”?

    Don’t you think in any ‘intellectual’ discourse there are no winners or losers? This might sound condescending yet I dare to say it: The joy of Winning or the pain of Losing are primitive sensations we have inherited from the time when we were hunters gatherers. If the pray was brought down or killed then there were laud cheers of joy and if on the other hand any of the hunters were killed the feeling of sadness filled the atmosphere of the struggle.

    Similar to the rules in physics the sum of two opposing forces (vectors) can be around zero, while sum of the two vectors pointing to nearly the same direction is twice the size of each contribution. In my view that is why civilized coexistence is so constructive while fights and wars are always destructive.

    Don’t you think here in RFI environment, if one mixes his/her valid arguments with obscene words in a way he/she negates or neutralizes his/her positive points? People not only pay attention to substance of talk……they also subconsciously or otherwise, are influenced by the manners of the talker.

    Now if you accuse me of being a coward or hypocrite, I’ll reply “no, I really mean what I said above, since I firmly believe as time goes by we are going to see less fights, less aggressive behavior, less wars and so on….and in far future humans will look back at us in the same way we look at chimps who, according to Jane Goodall, organize and execute their tribal wars.

    In the lives of culturally evolved humans there is no room for aggressive dialog, none whatsoever……..

    And this is to make you lough:

    “I am sure in the future there will be no fight of any sort and no quarrel of any kind between the couples who live together because such fights are so dumb….smart people always solve their disputes in a calm surroundings!….this way is bound to ever-increasingly strengthen the bond between them while every fight chips away from their personalized Aphrodite statue making it ever-increasingly uglier! ”

  96. Humanist says:

    Eric,
    re: your Feb 25, 4:19pm post

    The video where Ben Netay overzealously defends the right of Israelis while, in essence, completely ignoring the basic rights of the Palestinians is, metaphorically, like a short line of words in a thick book of atrocities of humans towards each other. In my amateurish view the root cause of all the events portrayed in that book is simply because we are born with defective brains.

    In our childhood, about the complex world around us, we have evolved to unconditionally accept whatever our elders tell us. Recent findings show, before age of 21, if we are not taught analytical skills to evaluate any presented idea, then any absurd concept can be easily planted in our brains. Such a process of indoctrination of course can happen continually until we die, thought not as easily as we when we are young. This explains why someone who for example is born in a Catholic home practices Catholicism (and if necessary fights for it and dies for it).

    So is the case for myriad of other religious convictions where the believer is ‘certain’ he/she is ‘right’ and those who belong to other faiths are ‘wrong’. This is an exemplary paradigm of human foolishness since only ONE of the conflicting ideologies can be right and the existence of a large number of opposing ‘right’ doctrines is logically impossible..

    The defectiveness of our brain manifests itself in many other actualities. In the following I try to explain only what is relevant to Ben Netay’s overly assertive convictions.

    The tragedy of atrocities inflicted on our ‘tribe’ by other ‘evil’ tribes can be engraved deep in our minds. Such dept depends on our age, on the intensity of the drama and on our mental immaturity. If this happens in conjunction with the brainwashing about our superior rank among ‘other’ humans then the engravement will be deeper After WWI the imposition of the humiliating treaties on‘ Germans and spread of ideas about superiority of ‘Aryan’ race over others made most of German ready to accept Nazism. What happened next marked another dark spot on the history of the moronic brutalities of human beings.

    I see the heinous atrocities of Germans on Jews during WWII and the indoctrinations about the Jews being ‘God’s chosen people’as factors that somehow resemble the same intense conviction of Germans after WWI as being victims and belonging to a superior race. In my view those who have not developed an analytical mind can easily fall in the traps of such absurd ideas. Ideas that can make us immensely self-righteous, cruel, remorseless and at times fiercely deceptive.

    In my world view there are no evil tribes or evil persons. We all are born with defective brains where in it any barbarous idea can be planted thus altering the wiring or our brains. Our minds always guide our actions hence an indoctrinated person is bound to act differently. I strongly reject the notion that persons or people are the culprits. Can you blame a tiger who hunts or a killer who has been born with a deformed criminal mind? Can anyone dispute that it is our mind that. commands our actions?. Can anyone dispute that indoctrinations might alter our minds drastically?

    Naomi Klein or Noam Chomsky are also Jewish but they possess unbiased analytical minds. They believe in equality of races, in justice and fairness for all not only for their own tribe. Science shows such type of analytical persons are always constructive. Ben Netay and his type are pitiable characters who, for reasons of chance, could not escape the bastille of poisonous indoctrinations. Maybe if he was born in Klein’s family he was now another peace activist who was fighting for the rights of Palestinians. Instead he is now a ferocious deceptive warmonger who is totally indifferent to the sufferings of non-Jewish people.

    If I am allowed get high and roam in the dreamy skies of utopia I would sing a poem laud which signifies:

    “Maybe the priority of humanity, after providing food and shelter for all, should be teaching everyone (especially the children) how to be skeptical, deductive and accept or reject ideas based on their merits not on who says it”.

  97. Arnold Evans says:

    I read years ago, and I possibly might be still able to dig up, some guy on usenet asserted that Japan certainly has done nuclear weapons research, if only to be able to evaluate other programs and potential programs such as North Korea.

    Japan would not have had to disclose it and that research would be useful if Japan was to decide to build a weapon.

    The world knows Japan could build a weapon in a matter of weeks. One way or another. The amount of time it takes to build a weapon is pretty the only important consideration. Trust is meaningless. If Beijing attacks Tokyo, a few weeks later Beijing will be attacked in retaliation. Same for the US in a somewhat more far-fetched or long-term scenario.

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

    As long as the US does not attack Tehran, Tehran does not have a reason to build a weapon, but all the while, the fact that it could would be deterring not only the attack, but also the US would not set in motion a chain of escalation that carries a high risk of ever reaching that point.

    Japan having a Japan-option has actual value as a deterrent that the US wants to deny to Iran. That’s really what the dispute is about.

  98. Fiorangela says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    “I’m not sure why Iran would be giving the names of its nuclear scientists to IAEA inspectors. It’s not required to. If it’s volunteering this information, the recent assassinations ought to have persuaded it that it should stop doing so.”

    I did not say that Iran GAVE the names of its nuclear scientists to IAEA, I said IAEA ACQUIRED the names. You quoted my words — “acquisition by IAEA correlates with assassinations . . .”

    “Fiorangela,

    “The acquisition by IAEA inspectors of information including the names of Iran’s nuclear scientists has correlated positively with the assassination of those scientists.”

    Dr. Larijani discusses the problem (at about 5 minutes) in his conversation with Charlie Rose in Nov. 2011. “IAEA does not maintain confidentiality;” it leaks all over the place. http://www.charlierose.com/guest/view/7012
    It’s hardly likely that Iran would give information that it is not required to give, knowing that even required information is insecure.
    And THAT is one reason why Iran cannot sign the AP at this time.

  99. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Where we might disagree is on what happens if somebody finds out Japan has the weapons-component table. I’d say Japan has violated NPT Article II. I have always understood you would argue that it has not, since those components aren’t yet assembled into a nuclear weapon.

    This has two interesting aspects to me.

    The first is “finds out”. To find out basically means to assert, at least if Japan does not admit it.

    If somebody claims, asserts, their top secret intelligence tells them Japan has the table you’ve discussed, then what does that mean?

    Is Japan now in violation of the NPT until it disproves this secret intelligence? What obligation, if any, do you think Japan has in this circumstance?

    If this circumstance does not give Japan any new obligations, then in what sense does it even matter? Just purely a moral sense?

    The second, is similar. What does it mean to you that a country has violated the NPT in a way you admit the NPT does not require it to disclose?

    Oh a third: So you draw a different line than the bright no fissile line the Safeguards Agreements draw. How do you justify whatever line you draw? If a Japanese leader thinks an action crosses your line, but thinks it does not cross the line he or she thinks is reasonable, what makes your line, or what you think is reasonable, relevant compared to what a Japanese leader thinks is relevant – of course other than the line, don’t divert fissile material, that Japan actually ratified?

  100. James Canning says:

    Philip Weiss has another good one: “Dershowitz wants MJ Rosenberg fired for daring to stop Iran war push”. Feb. 28. Dershowitz dislikes the use of the term “Israel Firster” to describe necons conspiring to set up more wars in the Middle East to protect Israel.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/dershowitz-wants-mj-rosenberg-fired.html

  101. James Canning says:

    Ten reasons why Aipac is so dangerous”, by Medea Benjamin, who “explains how Aipac’s clout helps fule a never-ending cycle of violence in the Middle East.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/

  102. BiBiJon,

    “I hope and pray that come April 1st, that is precisely what will happen — Iran’s rights are recognized and Iran submits herself to a stringent inspections/reporting regime.”

    I get a bit dejected when your “confrontational” approach results in you believing there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that any such thing will happen on April 1 (also known as “April Fool’s Day” in the US, by the way). Nothing like that will happen on April 1, nor on May 1 or June 1, nor on April 1 of next year, or the year after that.

    Seriously, we can have disagreements on this, but for you to imagine that the US is going to recognize “Iran’s rights” (presumably including its right to enrich uranium on Iranian soil) in the near future strikes me as so unlikely that it’s pointless even to discuss it. I highly recommend that you consider what you think makes sense on the assumption that no such thing will occur for a very long time.

  103. Fiorangela,

    “The acquisition by IAEA inspectors of information including the names of Iran’s nuclear scientists has correlated positively with the assassination of those scientists.”

    I’m not sure why Iran would be giving the names of its nuclear scientists to IAEA inspectors. It’s not required to. If it’s volunteering this information, the recent assassinations ought to have persuaded it that it should stop doing so.

  104. James Canning says:

    At salon.com, Eitan Gilboa of the University of Souther Californian (and an Israeli university) is quoted: “the IAEA just announced that Iran has substantially increased enrichment which seems to contradict American statements that Iran has not yet made the deicision [to build nukes].” Moe enrichment proves intent to build nukes, in his view.

  105. Rd. says:

    Nima Shirazi is at it again;

    “Rivka Cohen, 78, who left Iran at age 15, was “surprised by the way people lived in their houses…Everyone had a fridge and a washing machine.”

    Meanwhile, some movie-goers weren’t even as enlightened as those above. Moshe Amirav, a political science professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said he “didn’t stop thinking about the bomb the whole time” he was watching A Separation. “I said, what a contrast that we see this Iranian film with such admiration, and then when we leave we think about how they want to kill us,” Amirav said.

    And that guy is a professor. Of political science. At a real university.”

    Great write up.

    http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2012/02/israeli-reactions-to-oscar-winning.html

  106. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Do you include Russia, China, India and Japan in the category “Western hegemonic powers”? Those countries oppose Iranian or Saudi nukes.

  107. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think the Saudis probably recognise that oil at $120 or moe a barrel will likely result in reduced demsnd for oil. Opec quota argument is your point? SA better not use portion of Iran’s quota?

  108. Fiorangela says:

    Eric A. Brill says: February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    “(3) since interacting with the US isn’t likely to produce any positive benefits for Iran any time soon, Iran should focus instead on presenting any worse down-side — such as getting bombed, for example — and consider doing what might reduce the risk that that will happen over the next few years, especially if there appear to be ways to accomplish that which don’t impose significant additional burdens on Iran?”

    Dr. M Javad Larijani has answered that a number of times: IAEA inspectors do not maintain the results of their more intrusive inspections in confidence. The acquisition by IAEA inspectors of information including the names of Iran’s nuclear scientists has correlated positively with the assassination of those scientists. If US were faced with the prospect of “getting bombed, for example,” would US consider the assassination of its young scientists an “insignificant additional burden” toward reduction of that risk?

  109. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    I do confess that I see the AP issue framed within an Iran-US confrontation. And, unfortunately that confrontation has seeped into the way IAEA conducts her business.

    AP would oblige Iran to disclose location/blueprints of nuclear material related sites as soon as the thought crosses Iran’s mind. IAEA leaks information so fast it puts a sieve to shame. Divulged information like that gives Israel a perfect opportunity to bomb ‘holes in mountains’ without the unpleasantness of radioactive fallout, and consequent global condemnation of such an act.

    I don’t mean to make a big deal out of this just to persist in an argument. I wish Iran could find a way of adopting AP and modified 3.1 while not giving any satisfaction to the ‘all options on the table’ crowd.

    I hope and pray that come April 1st, that is precisely what will happen — Iran’s rights are recognized and Iran submits herself to a stringent inspections/reporting regime.

    Soon after that, I hope US and Iran will develop a relationship that allows them to complement one another in a great many partnerships to their mutual advantage.

  110. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    There are political constraints on Saudi Arabia as an OPEC member on how much oil she can pump as well as how much she can cheat and pump.

    They will not pump additional oil now or in the foreseeable future and risk both OPEC cohesion and Iranians’ wrath.

  111. Rd. says:

    For every action, there is a reaction…..

    “BRICS also demands redistribution of quotas in the International Monetary Fund in the near future and intends to study India’s initiative on creating a South-South Bank.

    Representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa proposed a reform of the world financial system at their meeting in Mexico City which took place during the conference of G20 finance ministers and heads of central banks. “

    http://www.voltairenet.org/BRICS-prepares-world-banking

  112. Rd. says:

    Eric A. Brill says:

    I think people do NOT assume those tables are there in Japan.
    …..
    In sharp contrast, most people in the world DON’T trust Iran not to be working on nuclear weapons.

    Are you referring to people as in decision makers? Or general population?

    If general populations;
    I think there is a slight error on those two statements.. Why most people trust or do not trust? People not necessary make the judgment, their leaders (in most cases) do. And how the ideas are propagated thru the society (propaganda).

    And if people are the leadership, in that case I think it has long been established, it is a red herring.

    I assume the “world” referenced above may be limited to the so called west. Is there any reason to believe the entire population of the earth believes in this fairy tale?

  113. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Eric,

    1) ‘Trust’ is just a pretty concept. Hell, I don’t trust myself. I always ‘verify’ by end of February if I even remember any of my New Year’s resolutions. This year, I have an extra day to forget.

    2) Though I don’t know how the rest of the world feels about trusting Iran, I’m not quite ready to take your word for it, one way or another. Now if there was something Iran could do with a nuke that it could not do without a nuke, then I’d be interested in seeing that spelled out. If on the other hand, there’s no objective advantage, and/or use for nukes, then lack of trust is simply an obsession, a mental construct, etc. I don’t think any state should concern themselves with those kinds of passing fads.

    3) The ‘Japan model’, and my metaphorical use of your metaphor, ‘table’ was just a metaphor! I don’t think there is any question that Japan could put a bomb together “easily” and quickly. That, I understood to be the meaning of stuff laying on tables. At any rate, many, including US officials, and Mossad say Iran is pursuing the Japan model, i.e. the capability to, but refrain from the decision to build one.

  114. Karl says:

    James,

    Who cares what the western hegemonic powers think? Who are they to decide who should have nukes or not?

  115. BiBiJon,

    You seem to feel that Iran’s decision whether or not to observe the Additional Protocol has relevance only its “confrontation” with the US. That’s not the only frame. Many countries — not just the US and its allies — probably would prefer that Iran conduct itself just like nearly all other countries do: observe the AP and modified Code 3.1.

    Not everyone views this as some adolescent confrontation between Iran and the US, in which Iran’s agreement to conduct itself just like nearly all other countries would be viewed as backing down. It’s a lot simpler than that, really. They just don’t see any compelling reason for Iran to behave differently from other countries.

    I fully recognize that a few other nuclear countries don’t observe the AP (though Iran is the one and only country that doesn’t observe modified Code 3.1). Nonetheless, if you take the time to read the AP, you’ll discover it’s not really all that burdensome. It’s the “military” questions that Iran really finds objectionable, but those questions won’t be any more permissible if Iran starts complying with the AP than they are now. In fact, Iran’s agreement to observe the AP, followed by its continued objections to “military” questions, might make it more clear to people that those “military” questions do NOT become permissible merely because a country observes the AP.

  116. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    I think Iran’s looking mirror is telling her that most countries already see Iran’s unreciprocated flexibility, and support her position to some extent. Also, the mirror is telling her that the costs (economic/political) for the US is going to be unsustainable. Further, the mirror says so long as you have cash, and oil/gas, then economic sanctions only cause temporary inconveniences.

    The mirror could be lying, of course. But, in the meantime, Iran obviously does not see an upside to AP.

    I think the fundamental question to answer is whether it is Iran who’s in dire straights, or whether it is the west?

  117. BiBi Jon,

    “The very phrase, ‘the Japan model’ referring to ‘a screwdriver’s turn shy of a bomb’ is so prevalent in the media that one assumes the tables are very much there, and that their existence (in Japan at least) does not rise to the level of a controversy.”

    I disagree very strongly with that.

    I think people do NOT assume those tables are there in Japan. They trust Japan not to be working on nuclear weapons, even though everyone knows Japan could develop one easily if it chose to.

    In sharp contrast, most people in the world DON’T trust Iran not to be working on nuclear weapons. That’s a very important difference. Whether they SHOULD trust Iran is a separate question, but not the most important question. I do, though mostly because I think Iran would be foolhardy to be working on a nuclear weapon, given the consequences if its bomb-development effort were ever discovered (as it almost certainly would be, long before it had progressed very far). But most people in the world do not agree with me: they do NOT trust Iran, whether or not they should, and Iran needs to deal with that reality.

  118. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Western “hegemoic powers”, as you say, do indeed worry about loose nukes. And this is a primary driver for policy that Iran will not build nukes.

  119. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I just made clear I do not think states are likely to use nukes. Do not.

  120. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Some terrorists would see great merit in possessing a nuke or two.

  121. BiBi Jon,

    “Iran thinks US should take the first step, normalize relations, detoxify the atmosphere, etc. Otherwise she thinks giving in to pressure only invites more pressure; allowing more disclosures, would only increase the demand for even more disclosures, etc.”

    You and others always pose this as a confrontation between the US and Iran, one that must be resolved one way or the other sometime soon. Why?

    If you frame it that way, and the near-term resolution is likely to be bad for Iran (because political considerations will prevent any US leader from agreeing to any resolution that involves acknowledgement of Iran’s enrichment rights, and probably any easing of sanctions as well), why not frame it differently to allow Iran simply to go on its merry way for a few years (as “merry” as it can be, of course, given the reality of sanctions) and save the “confrontation” for another day?

    Isn’t Iran better off just recognizing that: (1) the sanctions aren’t going away any time soon; (2) the US isn’t going to recognize Iran’s enrichment rights any time soon; and, therefore (3) since interacting with the US isn’t likely to produce any positive benefits for Iran any time soon, Iran should focus instead on presenting any worse down-side — such as getting bombed, for example — and consider doing what might reduce the risk that that will happen over the next few years, especially if there appear to be ways to accomplish that which don’t impose significant additional burdens on Iran?

  122. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Eric,

    The very phrase, ‘the Japan model’ referring to ‘a screwdriver’s turn shy of a bomb’ is so prevalent in the media that one assumes the tables are very much there, and that their existence (in Japan at least) does not rise to the level of a controversy.

  123. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Yes James, people can dream up any number of nightmare scenarios, but ultimately it is the same thing. Nukes are useless in the hands of anyone.

  124. Karl says:

    James,

    “A number of people who post on this cite look forward to civil war in Saudi Arabia. SA with nukes would be a dangerous state of affairs.”

    You are unfortunately taking the view of what western hegemonic powers think. Also you buy into the notion that states will use nukes. Anyone know that they are used for deter others to use them against themselves.

  125. Arnold writes:

    “If your position is that countries are not allowed to make that table, but there is no obligation to demonstrate that they have not, then the difference between our positions is not meaningful in a practical sense.”

    We’ve always agreed that Japan has no obligation to certify that it hasn’t made that table (at least the table with the weapons components on it. It DOES need to disclose the table that has the bomb-grade nuclear material on it, as I’m sure you’d agree).

    Where we might disagree is on what happens if somebody finds out Japan has the weapons-component table. I’d say Japan has violated NPT Article II. I have always understood you would argue that it has not, since those components aren’t yet assembled into a nuclear weapon.

  126. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Curious notion on your part, that Iran “has not had a divil war in several thousand years”. Iran has been torn to pieces time and time again over the past several thousand years. Various componetns change this way and that, but war and civil war happened repeatedly over the centuries.

  127. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I think nukes add little to the military capability of either the UK or France, but having them does make it less likely an insane attack by a state actor, by nukes, could take place.

    British and French nukes do nothing to lower the danger posed by potentially “loose nukes”.

  128. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The danger seen is not civil war in Iran, but in another country. Clearly Syria is on the brink. True? And there are valid fears nerve gas may be captured by insurgents.

    A number of people who post on this cite look forward to civil war in Saudi Arabia. SA with nukes would be a dangerous state of affairs.

  129. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times reported today that Saudi Arabia is producing only 10 million barrels of oil daily at this time, and that an additional 1.5 million barrels could be produced right away, but are not (so far). 3 months needed to activate further 700,000 barrels per day of production.

  130. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    “The primary danger posed by nuclear proliferation is not the risk of use by a state, but instead their use by insurgents who capture the weapons from a state convulsed by civil war.”

    Yet another innuendo from an unnecessary appendage who must forever justify why US citizens should carry the burden of British/French (long lost) prestige and relevance.

    Iran has not had a civil war in a couple of thousand years, and anyway they are not developing nuclear weapons.

  131. James Canning says:

    Good piece, and very welcome, by Nick Cumming-Bruce in Feb. 28 New York Times, linked by BiBiJon. Quotes Ali Akbar Salehi reiterating Iran’s wish to get rid of all nukes globally. Good place to start, obviously is to pressure Israel to get rid of its nukes.

  132. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Does Japan have an obligation to certify that it doesn’t have the table you describe? (Other than the fissile material)

    From where?

    If your position is that countries are not allowed to make that table, but there is no obligation to demonstrate that they have not, then the difference between our positions is not meaningful in a practical sense.

  133. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You might do well to read a bit about some of the very dangerous situations involving nukes that arose in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. And that collapse of course was fairly peaceful.

  134. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The primary danger posed by nuclear proliferation is not the risk of use by a state, but instead their use by insurgents who capture the weapons from a state convulsed by civil war.

  135. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    At 9.15pm you claimed that “The UK, France and Israel…are unnecessary appendages to US power, influence and wealth.” Really? In fact, Britain and France are two key American allies in Nato, and their close association will continue for many many years.

  136. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    P.s.

    any shortcomings in NPT vs enforcement measures were highly relevant 40 years ago, not today.

    The era of nukes are over. Sarkozy didn’t fear Russia’s thousands of nukes when he started bombing Qaddafy. Iran doesn’t fear Israel’s nukes. And should the inhabitants of your hypothetical side-by-side tables copulate and form a bomb, then the biggest danger facing anybody would be side-splitting, lap-slapping laughter should Iran threaten to use it, in ANY circumstance.

    It is this reality — the sheer uselessness of nukes, particularly for new comers — is what gives the lie to all the hullabaloo around Iran vs West nuclear stand off.

  137. James Canning says:

    David Sirota had an excellent piece in many US newspapers recently, entitled “Forgetting the past, one military movie at a time” (or something like that). He quotes a filmaker, Mike McCoy: “I’d like to see the legacy of Vietnam put to bed. It was a really bad time in American history…” The US Civil War was also a “really bad time”, but does McCoy argue it should be forgotten too? Of course not.

  138. James Canning says:

    Worm in the apple,

    Many Jews were involved in the Bolshevik conspiracy to overthrow the Kerensky government in Russia, but they were almost to a man NOT Zionists.

  139. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Obama, General Dempsey, and the CIA see huge risks, costs, dangers, etc., from any attack on Iran.

  140. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    “In short, it’s a lot more complicated than either side frankly admits, and will inevitably require a great deal of good faith from both sides. At the same time, if I were Iran, I’d give up entirely, for the next several years at least, on any effort to reach political agreements with the US or the West in general. I consider those efforts an utter waste of time, and thus would focus my “political” efforts on strengthening Iran itself and its ties with non-Western powers and other countries. In the meantime, I’d limit my efforts at “accommodation” to showing a higher degree of cooperation within the narrow sphere of the NPT/Safeguards Agreement monitoring scheme.”

    The discrepancy is else where completely.

    Iran looks in the mirror and sees an untouchable rising regional power. She thinks any attempt at harming her will cause the aggressor to pay a heavier price than Iran will.

    US looks in the mirror and sees omnipotence, freedom of action. She sees any costs and adverse effects from policies she chooses as chicken feed, and temporary.

    Iran thinks US should take the first step, normalize relations, detoxify the atmosphere, etc. Otherwise she thinks giving in to pressure only invites more pressure; allowing more disclosures, would only increase the demand for even more disclosures, etc.

    US thinks who gives a damn what Iran thinks.

    One or both sides are looking at a lying mirror. No contract, no treaty, no safeguard agreement can function in such a toxic atmosphere.

  141. James Canning says:

    Gideon Rachman has excellent comments in the Financial Times today (“The case for staying out of Syria”). Rachman argues that military intervention in Syria would likely cause more deaths than are happening due to the government’s effort to maintain power.

  142. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    (3) at another table right next to the first one, may lay out bomb-grade uranium, properly shaped and ready to be inserted into the nuclear weapon whose components are lying on the next table;

    That’s the part that would violate the NPT because it would violate the safeguards agreement.

    But without that part there is not only no weapon, no explosive device, there is also no NPT violation.

    The NPT by its terms is to be if not enforced then at least assured by the safeguards agreement.

    If countries have an obligation to go beyond that, then there is no set limit how far, so hostile parties are free to arbitrarily invent obligations.

    If there is any limit at all, its the safeguards agreement and other agreement that countries can voluntarily ratify. If that’s not the limit, then states still have the obligation to prove negatives and no state can ever fulfill its obgligations given sufficiently motivated and resourceful adversaries, as Iran has.

  143. Arnold Evans says:

    K_W:

    The question of what is a nuclear weapon or other explosive device, meaning, can a country work on an item that has no nuclear component and is not explosive if that item would be helpful in making a weapon later is I guess controversial but I’m not sure why.

    The NPT (from memory) says article 2 is to be enforced by the safeguards agreement. It says states do not have obligations beyond the safeguards agreement unless they ratify them.

    The safeguards agreement safeguards fissile material. The NPT says the assurance states are to give that they have no weapons or other explosive devises is (sufficiently) that they have no unaccounted fissile material.

    So the idea that there’s no such thing as a nuclear weapon without nuclear material seems endorsed by the treaty.

    Brazil has, to my knowledge, never claimed that it has not or will not do research that could be applied to weapons. If Argentina concocts a laptop of death for Brazil, Brazil can say so what, which ratified agreement would that violate if it was true?

    So can Japan. On paper, so can Iran.

    This expansive definition of nuclear weapon or other explosive device to include devices that are not nuclear and not explosive is what the West wishes was the NPT, but not what was ratified.

    Until the UNSC resolution, Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA investigation beyond safeguarded fissile material was explicitly and uncontroversially “voluntary and non-legally binding”. Article 2 does not give the IAEA scope to look beyond fissile materials themselves, nor does it create for states an obligation to refrain, much less to prove they’ve refrained, from even nuclear weapons research that does not involve fissile materials or nuclear devices that can actually explode.

  144. k_w says:
    February 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Your quoting of Article II of the NPT suggests to me that we probably agree on what it means. I’ll quote it here again, since I discuss it at length below:

    NPT ARTICLE II:

    Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

    END OF NPT ARTICLE II.

    A Safeguards Agreement under the NPT focuses on “nuclear material,” and so the IAEA’s “military” questions under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement often amount to an overstepping of the IAEA’s bounds under that Agreement — unless, of course, the IAEA has good reasons for believing that “nuclear material” is to be found at a military location, in which case the IAEA staff can petition the IAEA board for special permission to visit military sites to check for that “nuclear material” (and, if such authority is granted, Iran and the IAEA can thereafter haggle over restrictions on those visits to prevent disclosure of Iran’s confidential information). But short of that, the IAEA must stick to “nuclear material” and has no right to seek to learn Iran’s military secrets. This would remain true even if Iran agreed to observe the Additional Protocol.

    Nevertheless, the NPT itself, as distinguished from a Safeguards Agreement under the NPT, is not limited to “nuclear material,” as is most evident in its Article II. Among other things, Article II prohibits a “non-nuclear weapon” NPT signatory, such as Iran, from acquiring or manufacturing a nuclear explosive device — even such a device that has no “nuclear material” at all in it.

    There are several arguments commonly made (most of which have been the subjects of debates here) against the proposition that NPT Article II prohibits Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. First and simplest – but weakest in my view — some point out (correctly) that the NPT does not have any enforcement provisions. Neither the IAEA nor any other international body was granted authority to enforce the NPT itself, as distinguished from a Safeguards Agreement under the NPT. Some argue that it is “understood” that the UN Security Council has this authority, but I find no support for that argument and I consider it appropriate and important to reject it: the UN Security Council has certain authority under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, on certain conditions, but no authority at all under the NPT or a Safeguards Agreement.

    Nonetheless, enforcer or not, the NPT does say what it says: no non-nuclear weapon NPT signatory may acquire or manufacture a nuclear explosive device. This inescapable fact usually leads to a different set of arguments, all focused on the questions of what constitutes a “nuclear explosive device” and what constitutes “manufacturing” or “acquiring.” I won’t bore you with all of the various line-drawings that the numerous variations of this argument yield, but I will mention that some press as far as this (and, I think, virtually all variations of this argument inevitably allow for this): without violating the NPT, a country (1) may perform any and all research it wants to build a nuclear weapon; (2) may manufacture each and every component of a nuclear weapon and lay out all of those components together on a large table, along with detailed and illustrated instructions explaining how the components fit together; (3) at another table right next to the first one, may lay out bomb-grade uranium, properly shaped and ready to be inserted into the nuclear weapon whose components are lying on the next table; and (4) may locate both of those tables right next to a missile-launching pad on which is located a missile specially designed to accommodate the assembled nuclear weapon and launch it toward any target within, say, a 5,000-mile radius. This, according to the extreme versions of the arguments involving what constitutes a “nuclear explosive device,” and what constitutes “manufacturing” or “acquiring,” is entirely permissible under the NPT. As long as those components and the nuclear warhead are not assembled into an actual nuclear weapon, no “nuclear explosive device” has been “manufactured,” even if it would take only five minutes to accomplish this.

    As probably is evident from my presentation of the extreme version of this argument in the preceding paragraph, my view is that such activity violates the spirit, and even (I believe) the letter of NPT Article II. To those who disagree, I usually point out that their counter-arguments, however carefully crafted, inevitably preclude the drawing of a line anywhere short of the hypothetical I presented in the preceding paragraph, and that, therefore, they must accept that such a hypothetical is permissible under their arguments. If they can accept that (some claim to, others don’t), so be it, but they must at least recognize that their arguments permit this.

    Setting aside broader questions about the antagonists’ true motives (regime change, for example) and thus assuming for the sake of discussion that Iran’s nuclear program is indeed the real issue, the crux of the friction between Iran and the IAEA (and the Western countries that goad it to press harder and harder against Iran) is that the enforcement provisions of the NPT/Safeguards Agreement scheme are woefully insufficient to monitor nuclear-weapon development activities other than activities that involve “nuclear material.” As I mentioned, the NPT itself has no enforcement provisions at all, and yet it is only the NPT, and not a Safeguards Agreement, that explicitly prohibits the acquisition or manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Nothing in Iran’s Safeguards Agreement really enables the IAEA to determine whether nuclear-weapon development is occurring within Iran as long as no “nuclear material” is involved. Nor would Iran’s agreement to observe the Additional Protocol effectively change this: It would sweep in other devices, facilities and materials, but the IAEA would still lack the practical ability to detect a very great deal of nuclear-weapon development activity.

    And that is why, much as I think Iran should hang tough when pressed with open-ended nosing-around IAEA inquiries about its military activities, I also think it should frankly acknowledge the all-but-irresistible temptation of the IAEA, and of the world in general, to try to fill the considerable “enforcement gaps” left in the NPT/Safeguards Agreement scheme. That temptation manifests itself in continual efforts by the IAEA to overstep its authority under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. At the least, Iran’s frank acknowledgement of this understandable temptation should induce Iran to extend its cooperation by observing the Additional Protocol and modified Code 3.1, good faith gestures that would not diminish Iran’s right to draw the line short of letting the IAEA poke around at Iran’s military facilities every time the IAEA gets a notion to do so. Even on “military” matters, I’d suggest that Iran make some accommodations now and then (and I note that Iran does so now and then – much less since 2008, but still to some extent), though I certainly understand Iran’s reluctance to go too far in light of the IAEA’s recent “Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile” behavior in this area.

    In short, it’s a lot more complicated than either side frankly admits, and will inevitably require a great deal of good faith from both sides. At the same time, if I were Iran, I’d give up entirely, for the next several years at least, on any effort to reach political agreements with the US or the West in general. I consider those efforts an utter waste of time, and thus would focus my “political” efforts on strengthening Iran itself and its ties with non-Western powers and other countries. In the meantime, I’d limit my efforts at “accommodation” to showing a higher degree of cooperation within the narrow sphere of the NPT/Safeguards Agreement monitoring scheme.

  145. BiBiJon says:

    Jay says:
    February 28, 2012 at 11:17 am

    BiBiJon says:
    February 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Quote
    …the American ambassador, Laura E. Kennedy, said Iran’s professed commitment to nuclear disarmament “stands in sharp contrast” to its failure to comply with international obligations.
    End

    Jay, duly noted, and I found ambassador Kennedy’s response illogical. The whole point of NPT is that there is no “contrast” let alone “sharp contrast” between “commitment to nuclear disarmament” and peaceful uses of nuclear technology including enrichment of uranium to peaceful ends.

  146. BiBiJon says:

    Worm in the Apple says:
    February 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

    IMHO, wherever one finds mindless tribalism, supremacist thought/action, and the consequent insatiable sense of entitlement at the expense of the ‘other’, one has found the nemesis of humanity.

  147. Worm in the Apple says:

    BiBiJon at 10:23 am wrote:

    “The idea that sanctions could reduce Iran’s oil revenues without boosting prices for oil-consuming countries was crucial to persuading policymakers in the United States and Europe to impose far-reaching restrictions on Iran’s oil sector.”

    _____
    In a video discussion in 2008 about Lebanon, Norman Finkelstein commented that “Jews never forgive; Jews never forget. I agree with that.” :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDe65-nF3FQ (at 6 min).
    Notice that Finkelstein “honors” Stalin and Communists because “they destroyed Nazis.” Finkelstein does not continue the thought that zionists were at the core of Communism at its origin, and that zionists were also at the forefront of organizing the destruction of USSR.

    In a discussion of his book, “They Knew They Were Right,” Jacob Heilbrunn told a group assembled at the Nixon Center that the first ‘neocons’ acted out of rage that the US had not come to the aid of Jews in Europe in the holocaust. :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/KnewT

    Americans and Europeans do not yet understand the full dimensions and ambitions of zionism. Zionists do not merely seek US and European political cover, financial support, and the blood and military activity of American and European (and more recently, Arab) troops in their project of ethnically cleansing Palestine and establishing zionist hegemony over the Middle East; zionists seek to destroy those ‘supporting’ countries as well. It is no more an accident that zionism and Rothschildian capitalism are destroying the United States and European economies than killing 1400 innocent people in Gaza was “collateral damage” — or that killing 100,000+ innocent poor German workers in firebombing in Dresden, Frankfurt and Berlin was “collateral damage.”
    It is part of the plan.
    American politicians are participating quiescently in the destruction of their own nation.

  148. Jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

    It is a small step. But note the American response to Iran’s call for disarmament is to level more accusations:

    Quote
    …the American ambassador, Laura E. Kennedy, said Iran’s professed commitment to nuclear disarmament “stands in sharp contrast” to its failure to comply with international obligations.
    End

  149. BiBiJon says:

    NY Times is starting to give a verbatim account of Iran’s contentions. This is a good omen for de-escalationists such as moi.

    Iran Calls Nuclear Arms Production a ‘Great Sin’
    By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE
    Published: February 28, 2012

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/world/middleeast/iran-calls-for-negotiations-on-treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons.html

  150. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Mr. Obama needs to get a deal with Iran so that he can rescind these sanctions.

    I suspect that Iranians will soon sanction Greece, Spain, and Italy as well to cause further damage to them.

    The article is a good one in describing the political reality of US-EU and the world economy and her players.

    This is a temporary distortion and the world will adjust.

    Also not that some of the export from Iran will never be restored to pre-2012 levels as by 2013 Iranians will be using more of their own crude to produce gasoline, jet fuel etc. domestically.

  151. BiBiJon says:

    Europe is about to lose a slice of the lucrative oil tanker insurance business
    ————————————————————————–

    Indian Shipping Secretary, K. MohandasMr said the Indian government may also study the CNF mode–cost, no insurance and freight–in which the buyer, instead of the transporter, is responsible for insurance cost. This mode will allow the buyer to choose a local insurance company of its choice.

    From http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204653604577250880309283756.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  152. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Talk about poorly advised and informed!

    “U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran’s crude oil exports and its central bank were not supposed to affect either the volume of oil available or its price, provided markets reacted “rationally”.

    That was the conclusion of an influential report on the “Oil Market Impact of Sanctions Against the Central Bank of Iran”, circulated by sanctions advocates at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

    The idea that sanctions could reduce Iran’s oil revenues without boosting prices for oil-consuming countries was crucial to persuading policymakers in the United States and Europe to impose far-reaching restrictions on Iran’s oil sector.”

    From http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/column-oil-sanctions-idUSL5E8DS4Q020120228

  153. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

    If US leaders were wise, they would not have escalted to this point.

    United States leaders are clealry unwise and, also equally clealry, are poorly advised and informed.

  154. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

    “I seriously doubt it. UK is broke.”

    Unfortunately, desperate irrational actions are never a function of strength, but almost always weakness. UK, France, and Israel have that inner weakness in common. And, all 3 are unnecessary appendages to US power, influence and wealth. At a time of belt-tightening and frugality US is most likely to jettison these appendages.

    UK, France and Israel banded together before over the Suez, and not only failed to suck in the U.S., they were commanded to cease and desist. Then it was the dusk of colonialism that had brought about Anglo-French last (colonial) hurrah. Today it is the evaporation of post-colonial order, the Arab Spring, which propels them into savagery.

    Whatever they start (and I wouldn’t put it past them to start something), I am confident US is wise enough not to join, if she fails to preempt them in the first place.

    That ‘preemption’ is ‘de-escalation’. I still hold to April Fools Day as the expiration date for all the manufactured tensions.

  155. fyi says:

    k_w says: February 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thank you for correcting me.

    I had been mis-informed.

  156. k_w says:

    @fyi:

    Article II

    Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

  157. fyi says:

    All:

    Iranians plan to replace 20 fuel assemblies inside the Tehran Research Reactor over the next 24 months.

    You only need to know how much fuel is needed for each fuel assembly to estimate the amount of 20% U-235 that Iran need to have at hand.

    Does any one here know the amount of fuel per assembly?

  158. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    IAEA is not a disarmament agency.

    Whether Iran has worked or is working on components of a nuclear weapons is not illegal under NPT.

    IAEA is just prusing a harrasment policy of Iran – at the instigation of US and EU with help from Russia and China.

    Keeping Iran vulnerable has been the name of the game and on that all the P5+1 agreed – including China.

    It was only when WWIII became a possibility that their brains finally managed to graps the extent of their escalation to strategic nowhere.

    I fully execpt a deal to be made within the next 3 months to begin the process of unwinding this dangerous confrontation.

    Really, when Mr. Ahmadinejad says “we want to share in management of the world.” he is being too modest.

    The current management that has brought the world to this junctions should be fired.

  159. Rd. says:

    State department /DHS in stress for Help Wanted!!!

    They must be so desperate for fresh thinking that now;

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been paying a defense contractor $11.4 million to monitor social media websites and other Internet communications to find criticisms of the department’s policies and actions.

    they must be hoping to get some new ideas from internet!! lol

    http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/homeland-security-dept-pays-general-dynamics-to-scour-internet-for-criticism-of-its-policies/

    hey you folks in DHS, kindly remove your heads from your back side. The fresh air might just help clear your thinking.

    F###king idiots, they claim there is no money, then waste more money to turn into more of a police state!!!!!!!!!!!

    Stop reading the soviet book of how to operate gulags, may be you get it right.

  160. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I seriously doubt it.

    UK is broke.

  161. Rd. says:

    James, is the %20 that big of a deal that you are sending a nuclear sub to Persian Gulf? or is it the delusion of taking over the oil fields once more?

  162. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    fyi, and rd.,
    This repartee I’ve been having with 20% James is convincing me that UK is now spearheading the proposed military action against Iran, as it is assumed that Britain has a tad more legitimacy than Israel for sucking the US in.

    james 020 may be upto something here;
    Britain draws up battle plan against Iran

    http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-02-26/news/31101630_1_nuclear-submarine-britain-bahrain

  163. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    ,http://iissvoicesblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/what-is-iran-hiding-at-parchin/

    Mark Fitzpatrick of IISS says:

    “[Iran] can’t answer all of the questions [about Parchin] honestly, because to do so would be to admit complicity in nuclear weapons development work, for which they would then be further penalised, unless the admissions came as part of a negotiation process that granted Iran immunity for admissions of past guilt.”

    ——–

    kooshy says:
    February 28, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Eric – regarding request to visit Parchin explained by Iran’s ambassador to IAEA

    Iran may grant access to military research sites – country’s envoy to IAEA

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

    —————

    The ambassador said they offered the IAEA delegation to visit the ‘very scarey’ steel chamber for high explosive testing that was cited in the annex of IAEA’s previous report. The IAEA delegation refused to take a peek.

    It seems Fitzpatrick’s conjecture has a reverse thrust too. If the IAEA delegation had visited the ‘scarey’ steel chamber, they would have had to report on their findings, which would open their ‘scary’ annex to more questions as to credibility of sources, and questions about IAEA’s methods for evaluating credibility of ‘intelligence’ provided to it.

  164. Karl says:

    Kooshy,

    Yes ,the envoy clearly support Eric Brill’s assesment about the Additional protocol. That IAEA cant just request any place without proof or more concrete why IAEA want to enter the area.

  165. kooshy says:

    Eric – regarding request to visit Parchin explained by Iran’s ambassador to IAEA

    Iran may grant access to military research sites – country’s envoy to IAEA

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

  166. kooshy says:

    Oh,boy

    Cushions to stem Iran oil price spike are proving elusive

    By Ed Morse

    “Efforts to deprive Iran of revenue may be reducing the volume of Iran’s oil sales, but higher prices are more than making up for reduced flows. Higher prices are also taxing consumers, jeopardising a precarious recovery.”

    Meanwhile, the two big cushions that had been counted on to stem a price increase appear to be elusive. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali Naimi, in an effort to calm markets, publicly detailed Saudi spare capacity. It turns out to be far less robust than the market thought. Of the 12.5m barrels per day of declared capacity, 700,000 b/d falls outside the widely agreed definition of spare capacity – it won’t be available for three months. And if the kingdom is currently producing 10m b/d, the immediately available capacity might be a paltry 1.5m b/d, far less than the safety valve needed to convince markets that prices won’t rise.”

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fa5a0fbc-613b-11e1-8a8e-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=published_links/rss/world_us/feed//product#axzz1ndkwgPRE

  167. kooshy says:

    Gav James this should be more important news for you than Iran’s trebling 20%U, do you think UK would be able to pay for oil if Iran was willing to lift the embargo on exporting oil to UK? I think Iranians might be willing to accept ancient Iranian artifacts taken from Iran if it can be arranged what do you think? If so, a fair appraisal is in order.

    George Osborne: UK has run out of money

    “The Government ‘has run out of money’ and cannot afford debt-fuelled tax cuts or extra spending, George Osborne has admitted.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9107485/George-Osborne-UK-has-run-out-of-money.html

  168. http://iissvoicesblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/what-is-iran-hiding-at-parchin/

    Mark Fitzpatrick of IISS says:

    “[Iran] can’t answer all of the questions [about Parchin] honestly, because to do so would be to admit complicity in nuclear weapons development work, for which they would then be further penalised, unless the admissions came as part of a negotiation process that granted Iran immunity for admissions of past guilt.”

    Mr. Fitzpatrick doesn’t explain how he knows this, but we must assume he wouldn’t say it if he didn’t have evidence for it.

    We must that, mustn’t we?

    Incidentally, the title of this piece at the IISS website is “What is Iran Trying to Hide at Parchin?”

    I don’t know the answer, but I suspect it’s something like the following:

    “Parchin is a large Iranian military installation. Iran doesn’t like to show outsiders large military installations for no good reason, because those outsiders might learn something about Iran’s military capabilities that Iran would prefer they not know.”

    Seems to go without saying, but just in case…

  169. James writes:

    “Jay Solomon, writing in the Wall Street Journal Feb. 25th noted that according to the IAEA, iran had 110 kg of 20% U on hand. ‘But nuclear experts argue that Iran’s stockpile already is large enough to fuel that facility for at least a decade.’”

    “Nuclear experts?” That sounds promising. Do they have names?

    I find this almost as exciting as your earlier reference to “actual facts” (the very best kind of facts, I’ve always said).

    The amount of 20% U Jay Solomon reports — 110 kg — obviously is about what I totaled up in my earlier email this morning.

    The question remains: How many years will that last? If Solomon’s unnamed (and therefore unchallengeable) “nuclear experts” are correct, Iran needs only about 11 kg a year. If Ahmadinejad’s speech gave accurate numbers (31.3 kg per year), those experts are off by quite a bit.

    I don’t recommend we simply take Ahmadinejad’s word for it. On the other hand, he does at least have a name, and tends to show his face when he gives speeches. For the time being, the same can’t be said for Solomon’s “nuclear experts?” Does any of them have other fine qualities that offsets his lack of a name and a face?

  170. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Jay Solomon, writing in the Wall Street Journal Feb. 25th noted that according to the IAEA, iran had 110 kg of 20% U on hand. “But nuclear experts argue that Iran’s stockpile already is large enough to fuel that facility for at least a decade.”

    This is a better picture, for those who argue Iran is not stockpiling “too much” 20% U.

  171. James Canning says:

    Eric.

    I’ll check. Didn’t Mr Hack post a comment saying Iran had almost 80 kg of 20% U as of last September?

    Fred Kagan claims it is silly to think Iran is willing to negotiate, but Kagan will not mention Iran’s offer to stop enriching to 20% – - which obviously was an attempt to negotitate.

  172. Kooshy,

    “I can see someone is about to pull his own hair…”

    Very perceptive of you.

  173. James,

    “Actual facts appear to be Iran had enough 20& U as of last September, to make fuel plates good for at least 20 years of opeations at TRR. Maybe 30 or more years.”

    Any link to those “actual facts?”

  174. Rehmat says:

    “Don’t attack Iran. Learn Talmud and G-d will save the people of Israel and send Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hell,” Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and founder of Israel Shas party which has minister in Benji Netanyahu’s cabinet.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/dont-attack-iran-g-d-will-send-ahmadinejad-to-hell/

  175. James Canning says:

    Michael Boyle, “The US must stop the strategic blunder of an attack on Iran”:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/27/us-must-stop-attack-on-iran

  176. James Canning says:

    Rick Santorum wants to “throw up” (be sick) when he thinks of John F. Kennedy’s agreement to keep church and state separate if he got into the White House?

  177. James Canning says:

    The Daily Telegraph reports Britain likely will pull 4 billion GBP worth of equipment out of Afghanistan via Kazakhstan, per new agreement.

  178. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I too think the US should listen to Brazil, Turkey, China and other countries. And Russia, for that matter.

  179. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Actual facts appear to be Iran had enough 20& U as of last September, to make fuel plates good for at least 20 years of opeations at TRR. Maybe 30 or more years.

  180. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Thanks for the good laugh your most recent post gave me.

  181. James Canning says:

    interesting piece by Mike Ludwig, involving peripherally a snior Statfor analyst. Did Halliburton target a Federal judge (Samuel Kent) to punish him for an adverse ruling?

    http://www.truth-out.org/wikileaks-disgraced-judge-says-he-was-targeted/1330373152

  182. Nasser says:

    Strange times indeed when Daniel Pipes is the one making the most strategic sense.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2012/02/syria-arguing-for-us-inaction

  183. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I can see someone is about to pull his own hair, I am just glad you are a lawyer trained in taking depositions and go around and around ……………
    For some of us this is becoming more interesting (like a good old Perry Mason episode) than the actual nuclear dispute.

  184. James writes,

    “Frederick Kagan cited Iran’s stockpiling of ever-larger amounts of 20 percent uranium as clear indicator of intent to build nukes.”

    Frederick Kagan says this? Well, why didn’t you say so earlier? Here I’ve been asking for facts – shame on me!

  185. BiBiJon says:

    fyi, and rd.,

    This repartee I’ve been having with 20% James is convincing me that UK is now spearheading the proposed military action against Iran, as it is assumed that Britain has a tad more legitimacy than Israel for sucking the US in.

    Generally, US needs to be warned that industrially/financially kaput countries (UK/France) and morally degenerate apartheid states (Israel) must be avoided because they will reflexively drown you with themselves.

    US ought to pivot and listen to China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and any other rising stars.

  186. Karl says:

    James,
    No need to quote, just scroll down if you have missed Eric and Richards debunking of your repetetive claims about “20%”. Could you do that and respond to each?

  187. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    “I am trying to clarify your thinking. You apparently are saying Iran should stockpile enough 20 percent enriched uranium to make fuel plates for the TRR to operate it for the next 100 years. Or even more.”

    I believe I said 500,000 millennium, no?

  188. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You also are implying Iran was wise to treble production of 20 percent uranium to bring on the latest sanctions against the central bank, etc.

  189. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I am trying to clarify your thinking. You apparently are saying Iran should stockpile enough 20 percent enriched uranium to make fuel plates for the TRR to operate it for the next 100 years. Or even more.

  190. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    “Apparenlty you think Iran does well for itself to pile up large amounts of 20% U, to frighten other countries, when according to you there is no other purpose for the stockpiled 20% U.”

    Every sentence, word, letter and punctuation in your deceitful parody above has been answered, ripped, and shredded many times over by numerous posters here.

    I just want to say this. James, if UK does not wish her arse handed to her, she ought to scrap her plans for sucking the U.S. into a war with Iran, under whatever guise you are promoting here repetitively, over and over again, and again.

  191. fyi says:

    Rd. says: February 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    This has been a painful process for Iran.

    But the implosion of the Finance Economy of Axis Powers had made it now possible for Iran to trade with others.

    You see, once that Finance-based Economy crumbled, the rest of the world has had to adjust.

    This was of seminal importance, akin to the Collapse of Communism in 1991.

    [Within a generation, the structures of East and West in the Cold War have crumbled.]

    One way would be to offer services to any and all who have hard assets.

    The full development of this “informal” economy is still several years out, however.

  192. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Apparenlty you think Iran does well for itself to pile up large amounts of 20% U, to frighten other countries, when according to you there is no other purpose for the stockpiled 20% U.

  193. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Please quote for me the specific statement by Eric you think “debunk” my claims?

  194. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    It may be fair to say Fred Kagan is not being truthful when he claims there is no evidence Iran is willing to negotiate, when Kagan fails to mention Iran’s offer to stop enriching to 20%.

  195. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    It is not a matter of my perceiving the danger (from stockpiled 20% U). The problem is perception of danger by others, who may be influnced by interests trying to harm Iran and employing this fact as strong evidence for that purpose.

    Obviously, Iran does not produce more medical isotopes by stockpilingnuclear fuel that will not be used for decades.

  196. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Frederick Kagan cited Iran’s stockpiling of ever-larger amounts of 20 percent uranium as clear indicator of intent to build nukes.

  197. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    “Your prayers are answered by this Wall Street Journal article:”

    ,http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577243510484523048.html?fbresult=add#articleTabs%3Darticle

    ——–

    The opening para says it all about the level of American discourse on the subject.

    “Americans are being played for fools by Iran—and fooling themselves. There is no case to be made that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. There is no evidence that Iran’s decision-makers are willing to stop the nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions or anything else. ”

    How Iran can be taken as fooling anyone when she has been pronouncing repeatedly her determination to achieve full-cycle nuclear energy which naturally means latent weapon capability, and routinely promising not to cower under pressure? Panetta, Clapper and Burgess are all on record attesting to Iran’s existing and increasing nuclear capabilities. It is not what Kagan & Zarif write, it is the presumed ignorance of WSJ readership that is astounding. Is there any wonder that 71% of Americans wrongly believe Iran already has nukes?

    Anyways, here’s a touché for you.

    http://walt(dot)foreignpolicy(dot)com/posts/2012/02/24/guest_post_using_religion_to_restrain_irans_nuclear_program

    Stephen Walt plugs a constructivist, Nina Tannenwald of Brown University, as help –any help– to stay the looming war.

    Again, let me point out the level of discourse. Nina proposes calling a holy man a “dissembler” and then proposes to use his ‘lies’ to snare him in a rhetorical trap just as she claims the US has done to other nations previously targeted for merciless demonization.

    Somehow, Nina finds Iran being surrounded by >45 US military bases, and her neck pinched in a tightening noose of sanctions, and dragged through a thorny bush by a politicized IAEA, the moving goalposts, etc. are not enough ‘entrapment’ already.

    Again, it isn’t so much the cods wallop that Nina writes, it is prof. Walt’s failure to see that entrapment upon entrapment, ain’t diplomacy. It is piling on.

  198. Rd. says:

    How Iran Changed The World

    It’s a bad global economy we are facing right now, but Goldman Sachs’ charts illustrate that Iran is still one of five nations in the N-11 pot whose “productivity and sustainability of growth” is above average

    Each step the US and EU take to hinder Iran’s flexibility is countered with an innovative solution – one that includes more and more non-western players who are keen to craft a new global order. They used to worry about that kind of confrontation with the west, but the collapse of the current order has left few obstacles in their paths – and even offers incentives.

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/how-iran-changed-world

  199. fyi says:

    Nasser says: February 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    A fantasy that purports to be “historical reality” is just a dangerous delusion.

    A vision, on the other hand, could be a positive inducement for change.

    I agree with you about Turkey.

    Israel is also similar in her insistence in being Western.

    You can only watch Israeli tourists in Europe to see that they are not Western – they are clearly uncomfortable in Europe.

    The Pashtuns of today are the descendants of the ancient Iranic people who were part of Rustam’s armies; no doubt.

    Their current destitute state – materially and spiritually – is a testament to how Iranian weaknesses over the last centuries has harmed people inside and outside of contemporary Iran.

    When the armed Qizalbash Khans outside of Isphahan declined to lift a finger to help save the Safavids and watched the sack of Isphahan I think they set into motion the chain of events that condemned Iran to multiple civil wars over a 300-year period and the Afghans to perpetual poverty and squalor.

  200. Kathleen says:

    sorry not getting the right link to go up. Again
    Fareed Zakaria GPS – YouTubewww.youtube.com/show/fareedzakariagps

  201. Kathleen says:

    Sorry somehow these links are not linking. Dr. Zbig “we do not have to go to war”Fareed Zakaria GPS – YouTube
    http://www.youtube.com/show/fareedzakariagpsCached – Similar

  202. Kathleen says:

    Dr. Zbig “we don’t need to go to war”
    globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com

  203. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    “Without Shia Islam, there is no reason for them [Azeris] to be part of Iran.”

    - I grudgingly must admit that you are probably right.

    - But Iran needs both fantasies to accommodate all its citizens. It should not adopt stupid policies like that of the Turkish state and only rely on force to clamp down on Sunni dissidents. That Ancient Iran myth is what allows it to accommodate these people. I believe you once described Iranian nationalism as flexible; one hopes it would stay flexible.

    - And I disagree about your earlier comment on Afghanistan. Pashtuns are more viciously anti Iran than any one else.

  204. Kathleen says:

    End Quote

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    Scahill on MSNBC Debating Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc.
    Here’s a nice, raucous, Sunday morning debate between Jeremy Scahill and Ann-Marie Slaughter on Up with Chris Hayes.
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/02/26/scahill-on-msnbc-debating-syria-yemen-iran-etc/

    This is the level of discourse on Syria… It’s pathetic.

    Scahill is correct that intervention would be a disaster. Ann-Marie Slaughter is just totally wrong on all counts and couldn’t care less as long as her “humanitarian moral status” is established for all to see.

    But there isn’t even a hint that anyone connects this to Iran, although the discussion is cut off before they can get to Iran.

    By the way, Kooshy, thanks for the reference to the moonofalabama article which led me to Joshua Landis blog. I posted a comment on the thread concerning his piece on Assad surviving into 2012 directing people over here to read my post which took apart his thesis.

    NO ONE apparently gets the connection to Iran and therefore NO ONE is able to predict how this is going to go – except me. To me, it is completely obvious what has to happen precisely because it has to happen in order for the US and Israel to get what they so obviously want – a war with Iran.”

    I watched this yesterday. Scahill rolled right over Slaughters spin with facts. She was beside herself interrupting others, repeating inflammatory rhetoric. She seemed desparate. Chris Hayes allowed her to get a last barb in by repeating the debunked hooey “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”

    Scahill even said “the elephant in the room was Israel’s massive un inspected nuclear weapon stockpiles.
    Chris Hayes went all brutal truthful on the horrific war in Iraq. Although he said “100,OOO Iraqi people had been killed” and did not mention the injured, the displaced. I thought the Lancet came out in 2006 and reported that at that point they had calculated that over 650,000 Iraqi people had been killed. Watching Chris Hayes UP program this past Sunday is a must
    upwithchrishayes.msnbc.msn.com/

    At one point Chris Hayes asked Anne Marie Slaughter if the US could do anything to stop an attack by Israel on Iran. Slaughter “no” Chris did not challenge her answer.

    But on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday program…Dr. Zbigniew Brezezinski had plenty to say about the possibility of Israel attacking Iran. He said that President Obama needed to take a much clearer stand with Israel and Netanyahu during his upcoming visit with Obama on March 5th. Dr. Zbig said Pres Obama needed to make it clear the US will no support any attack on Iran, will not back Iran up, and refuse to allow Israel to fly through US controlled air space in the region. This is also a must watch. Dr. Zbig had a great deal to say about Israel and Iran
    globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com

  205. James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    “Isn’t the specific danger that exists, potentially, the number of nukes that could be built from a given amount of 20% U?”

    Can’t you say exactly the same thing about 3.5% uranium? The only difference is that 20% uranium is closer to bomb grade. But the important fact remains that there is a peaceful use for 20% uranium, a well-understood peaceful use.

    The United States government is able and eager to stir up fears by pointing out that 20% is a lot closer to bomb-grade than is 5%. When its audience is the uninformed public, United States government is able to stir up even more fear by claiming that there is no peaceful use for 20% uranium. When its audience is the informed public (such as James), the United States government is still able to persuade many people that, peaceful use or not, Iran is making more 20% uranium than it needs.

    That leaves only a small audience that remains skeptical: those who BOTH (1) understand there is a peaceful use for 20% uranium; and (2) are NOT convinced that Iran is making more than it needs for that peaceful use.

    Most or all of this final, small group (of which I’m a member) is open-minded enough to be persuaded that it’s mistaken on the second belief — i.e. is willing to be persuaded that Iran is making “excessive” 10% uranium. We just want some facts — not merely repeated statements by James that he just “knows” it’s true, even when those statements include links to statements by others who also “know” it’s true.

  206. Richard (and others):

    This sentence appears in paragraph 26 of the Feb. 24, 2012 IAEA report:

    “In a letter dated 16 February 2012, the Agency requested Iran to provide details on how it intends to operate FFEP (whether to produce UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235, to produce UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235, or to produce a combination of both).”

    What this tells me is that Iran hasn’t yet decided how it’s going to allocate the Fordow centrifuges between 5% and 20% uranium. Probably by the time of the next IAEA report, we’ll know the answer to this question. We’ll also learn how much 20% uranium Iran has produced in the meantime at both Fordow and Natanz, and whether it’s followed through on its stated plan to wind down 20% uranium production at Natanz once 20% uranium production is up and running at Fordow.

    What we do know, per the IAEA, appears to be this:

    1. At Natanz, up to mid-February of this year, Iran had produced a total of 95.4 kg of 20% uranium.

    2. In addition, at Fordow, between December and mid-February of this year, Iran produced a total of 13.8 kg of 20% uranium.

    3. Adding these two totals, we come up with a grand total of 109.2 kg of 20% uranium.

    4. At Iran’s declared estimated usage rate (31.3 kg a year, taking into account its need to throw away 40 kg every three years), Iran has a 3.5 years’ supply of 20% uranium on hand to operate its Tehran Research Reactor.

    5. If Iran continues to make 20% uranium at BOTH Natanz and Fordow, which it has told the IAEA it does NOT intend to do (a statement on which the IAEA presumably will comment in its next report), at the same rate as Iran has been doing so since December 2011, Iran will be making just under 11 kg a month, or 120 kg a year, 4 times what it needs each year (31.3 kg).

    6. We don’t know, however: (A) whether Iran indeed will continue production at this rate, and we have at least its representation that it will stop making 20% uranium at Natanz once Fordow is fully operational for that purpose; or (B) if Iran does continue production at this rate, whether it will continue indefinitely or will instead slow down or stop once its stockpile reaches a certain size – nor what that stockpile size might need to be before Iran decides to stop.

    Items 5 and 6 are big unknowns at this point. All we DO know is that Iran, according to the IAEA, has a 3.5 years’ supply of 20% uranium on hand. That’s all we know. That doesn’t strike me as “excessive.” If it strikes James, Ollie Heinonen, or any of the other writers cited by James as excessive, I’d be curious to know whether:

    1. They think Iran’s supply is “excessive” because they don’t think Iran really needs a 3.5 year supply; or

    2. They agree that a 3.5 year supply is not excessive, but they believe Iran actually has substantially more than that — and if they believe that, WHY they believe that?

    James?

  207. BiBiJon says:

    Agent 20%, James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    “Isn’t the specific danger that exists, potentially, the number of nukes that could be built from a given amount of 20% U?”

    Dear Max (not so) Smart, only in your mind. There is no ‘specific’ danger when a country is geared towards peaceful uses of nuclear technology, has ststaed so, and her material is safeguarded according to NPT.

    You perceive this danger and try and impose you insomnia on everybody else constantly, repeatedly, and very very often.

    Shame on you.

    James, btw, those warships UK has dispatched to PG, and all the plans your beloved Tories are hatching to start a war with Iran to suck in the US and spare Israel is not ging to work no matter how much you infest this thread with 20% garbage.

  208. fyi says:

    Nasser says: February 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Ancient Iran will not be adequate for non-Persians.

    Take the time to read the poem “Heydar Babaye Salam”.

    That poem speaks to the Azeri life; a life and a culture that has more in common with the Turks of Central Asia than with Persian Iran.

    Without Shia Islam, there is no reason for them to be part of Iran.

  209. Karl says:

    James,

    I see a pattern by you and I dont understand why.

    - You claim one certain thing
    - People on the board question your claim and want to see proof/sources
    - At this time you have either left the conversation or counter with questions yourself
    - Even when people on the board, Eric and Richar the latest, debunk your non-sourced claim you either ignore or keep using the claim regardless

    Why dont you counter Eric and Richards thorough analysis of your “20%” argument?

  210. fyi says:

    Nasser says: February 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    What is bad about it is that it is a fantasy.

    Nothing wrong with accepting the idea of Iran-Shahr and thus including Jews, Christains, Sunni Kurds and others.

    Per-chance, even that unfortunate country called Afghanisatn could be brought into the fold of Iran-ness.

    But one cannot allow a fantasy to replace a reality.

  211. Nasser says:

    And fyi,

    Please don’t respond with “wrapping themselves in flag of Islam”. It doesn’t work, obviously. Ancient Iran is a far more effective glue.

  212. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    What’s so bad about the “fantasy” of Ancient Iran? How else do you accommodate non-Shia Iranic peoples like the Kurds or the Baloch?

  213. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    When the revolutionaries won in Iran in 1979, they most emphatically did not support diversity.

    They advised non-religious Muslims to leave Iran – there was no toleration.

    The revolutionaries were not different than other Iranians in their inability of unwillingness to be tolerant of diversity. They just had won the political power anc could indulge in their Shia Utopia dream.

    In the meantime, given the oil income of the state, they felt themselves to be invulnerable.

    On the other hand, there was no one who stood for Liberty among the political opposition.

    Not a single group expressed or supported belief in fee thought, diversity, tolerance etc.

    You see, that was the Iranian culture; such as it was.

  214. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Yes, but Greece is also another “lost soul”.

    For if Denmark is European, then Greece is most definitely not.

    Her music and her mores are closer to that of Turkey or Iran.

    And then there is a the made-up gap between contemporary Greece and the Ancient Greece.

    A gap that Christianity has filled but contemporary Greek thinkers are loath to admit.

    Just like the Iranian thinkers who conjure up the lie of an idyllic Per-Islamic Iran that was ruined by the “bad, bad” Arabs.

    I do not know which is worse; the Islamic Disaster or the fantasies of an Ancient Iran.

  215. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    My intent is not to offer assistance to neocon warmongers who seek to injure Iran so Bibi Netanyahu can continue his ethnic cleansing programme in the West Bank.

  216. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You are of course entitled to think Iran should stockpile whatever amounts of 20 percent uranium it wishes to accumulate.

    If you care not to consider how this programme adversely affects Iran, that of course is your privilege.

  217. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Isn’t the specific danger that exists, potentially, the number of nukes that could be built from a given amount of 20% U?

    The crucial objectivity is in setting out as accurately as possible how much U has been produced, how much is used, etc etc. The Institute has pointed out, I think, that Iran modified the TRR to lower the level of purity of the uranium used to fuel it.

  218. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I of course think the people of a country find their identity from understanding their past, however many centuries back this takes them.

    The Greeks are quite right to extol the accomplishments of Greek culture 25 centuries ago.

  219. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    “If you have anything that challenges the above Institute’s objectivity, please let me know.”

    Have you ever read an ISIS report that in the same paragraph does not quantify Iran’s current or future projected capacity in units of atom bombs, and never in terms of KW of electricity, or thousands of doses of nuclear medicine?

    ISIS is an ‘objective’ fearmonger, which in my book is worse than lying-through-your-teeth fearmongering because outlandish lies make people pause before swallowing.

    “I suggest you put forward your opinion as to how many years’ worth of 20% U Iran should stockpile for the TRR”

    I defer to Arnold, Eric, and RSH that the answer can only make sense in a context of need and supply. But, ignoring your noxious fearmongering, then for me the question does not arise. A sovereign country makes its decisions according to their perceived needs. What a gaggle of historical enemies of that country’s sovereignty say is immaterial.
    “I suggest you put forward your opinion as to how many years’ worth of 20% U Iran should stockpile for the TRR.”

  220. James writes:

    “Writing in the Financial Times (front page story) Feb. 25-26, James Blitz quoted Paul Brannan of the Institute for Sciene and International Security in Washington: ‘It is the stockpiling of greater and greater amounts of [20 percent] uranium there [at Fordow] that is really concerning’.”

    EAB COMMENT:

    This is getting more than a little frustrating. I ask you WHY you think Iran is producing excessive 20% uranium, and all you do is point me to someone else who believes the same thing? I don’t doubt that you believe what you say. Nor do I doubt that these other people believe what they say. I’m just asking you to give reasons WHY you believe what you say – and trying to nail down the facts a bit, by pointing out that Iran’s supply of 20% uranium is roughly 3 years (or 3+ years, if we properly take into account Richard’s observation earlier today about some limited additional production at Fordow between December and February) – not the 6-21 years you’ve been claiming.

    James writes:

    “Ollie Heinonen estimated this month that Iran can produce 15 kg of 20% U per month. You can google him if you want to see he is cited in many stories appearing around the world.”

    EAB COMMENT:

    Heinonen does say Iran “can” produce 15 kg a month. What we’re trying to figure out is how much Iran DOES produce, not how much it CAN produce. Ask yourself this, James: If a country CAN produce 3-4 times as much of something as it IS producing, is that evidence that the country is trying to produce “excessive” amounts of that substance? Or is it evidence (if of anything) that the country is exercising self-restraint, operating very far below capacity so that it does NOT produce excessive amounts? In other words, doesn’t Heinonen’s observation tend to help Iran, rather than hurt it?

  221. James Canning says:

    k_w,

    Bravo. Frederick Kagan deserves credit for helping to convince Obama to blunder badly in Afghanistan, and to squander many hundreds of billions of dollars on the ill-conceived military adventure there.

  222. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Norman freebooters, or mercenaries, who became kings, set up shop where opportunity happened to be found.

    Norman kings of England imported a new aristocracy from mainland Europe.

    Sicily had been divided between the Byzantine Empire (Greek Othodox), and Muslim states. The Norman kings were nominally Roman Catholic, but tolerated religious diversity, cultural diversity, etc. And their states grew rich as a direct result.

  223. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    The Norman Kings, Fredrick II and such others knew who they were.

    Who are the Turks?

    Who are the Arabs?

    Who are the Iranians?

    Who are the Afghans?

    Who are the Aceh?

    Who are the Paksitanis?

    And why should their respective states exist?

    These questions have not been answered.

    [I furnished one answer for Iran - the Mountain Fortress of the Shia, glued by Shia Islam and the Ideas of Ancient Iran.]

    But how about the others?

    What is the basis of the state?

  224. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The magnificent court of the Norman kings of Sicily and southern Iraly was also an amalgam of Islamic and Christian traditions. (The Normans took Sicily during the same period they conquered England – - 11th century).

  225. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Have you read much about Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor known as Stupor Mundi? Also titular King of Jerusalem. His court was an amalgam of Islamic and Christian traditions. His favorite area of residence was Apulia (southeast Iraly), and Sicily too.

  226. James Canning says:

    “New evidence casts doubt in Lockerbie case”:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/02/201222618624894299.html

  227. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: February 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, under the Monarchy and afterwards.

    Under Qajar, some thinkers sought refuge in wholesale adoption of Western ideas and system (themselves incompatible in their forms with Iranian culture) while others sought a restoration of Islamic piety of Early Islam and yet another group sought to emulate the Communist Russia.

    Under the Pahlavis these types of thinking continued.

    Regrettably, a few men who could chart a mid-course among these trends, such as the late Mr. Modarres or the late Mr. Mossadeq were removed from the scene.

    Now we are witnessing a painful process of learning from experience in Iran.

    Likewise, broadly speaking, was the situation in Egypt, or Turkey.

    But note this:

    The Western Civilization is the dominant civilization on Earth.

    Compared to it, all other traditions and civilizations are barbaric constructs; including Muslim Civilization.

    An appendage of the Oriental Civilization, called Japan, so far has been the only successful response to the ascendancy of the Western Civilization.

    But its response was only a draw.

    Iranians, Arabs, Turks, Pakistanis, Indonesians have been unable, on the field of ideas, to provide a response to Western Civilization.

    Their response to Christianity is to regurgitate what their thinkers dreamt-up a 1000 years ago.

    They have no response to Judaism.

    They cannot constructively engage either with Hinduism or Buddhism – again on the plane of ideas.

    They have no answer to Western God-less Modernity.

    They have no response – except force – to the ideas of personal liberty, personal development, to free inquiry, etc.

    In economic field they are either narrow-minded cunning mercantilists or fantasists that search for a Muslim Economic Utopia.

    Look at Iran: the first thing that the second Majlis does is to prevent un-married women to leave Iran for education.

    Look at the way they have systematically undermined free-enterprise system in Iran – Lenin’s NEP was better.

    And then you have a population that wants all the benefits of living in a country like Denmark yet unwilling to changes its traditional notions and norms.

    The best response that Muslim thinkers have produced, in politics, has been the late Mr. Khomeini’s “Islamic Government” that amalgamated the Principles of Islam with those of Republicanism.

    In Egypt, in Pakistan, the situation is much much worse.

    At least Iranians are thinking for themselves; elsewhere the Muslims are still relying on the garbage of the last millennium or the fatuous and inapplicable theorizations of Western thinkers (go to Tunisia and read the French language intellectual magazine of the Tunisian thinkers – no one there has read, for example, Ibn Khaldun in original Arabic.)

    Thank God for Americans; they are teaching Iranians to adapt and come up with empirically functioning responses.

  228. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I have seen nothing to indicate a lack of objectivity on the part of the Institute for Science and International Security.

    You may recall the Financial Times opposed the sanctions against Iran’s energy exports.

    If you have anything that challenges the above Institute’s objectivity, please let me know.

    I suggest you put forward your opinion as to how many years’ worth of 20% U Iran should stockpile for the TRR

  229. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    “A lot of experts whose opinion is important, say the 5% uranium is far less dangerous than the 20% U.”

    James, exactly the same experts in years past were having fainting fits over every increment of Iran’s progress towards self-sufficiency in peaceful nuclear technology. I think these experts have always been, and always will be crying wolf.

    I also think your nauseating repetition of 20% non-issue, often hiding behind biased ‘experts’ is agenda driven.

  230. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Your post of Feb. 27th 4.12pm on actual production rate of 20% U in Iran is of considerable merit.

  231. Are you sometimes frustrated that it’s usually necessary to read several different articles to come across all of the misstatements and exaggerations about Iran’s nuclear program? Why, you might ask, can’t someone just collect all of them for us in one pithy article?

    Your prayers are answered by this Wall Street Journal article:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577243510484523048.html?fbresult=add#articleTabs%3Darticle

  232. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    A lot of experts whose opinion is important, say the 5% uranium is far less dangerous than the 20% U.

    I am of course aware of remarkable stupidity (unremarkable?), of the US, is not promoting the nuclear exchange Brazil and Turkey put together. The FT reports Turkey is still trying to convince “the West” that compromise is needed on Iran’s nuclear programme.

  233. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    There is no disputing the fact Iran’s announcement last June (of an intent to treble production of 20% U), led directly to the latest round of sanctions. There is no disputing the fact Ahmadinejad saw the mistake that had been made, and tried to correct the problem (by offering to cease production of 20% U if the needed fule were made available by US or other country).

    I gather you think Iran may as well stockpile large amounts of unneeded 20% uranium, on grounds other issues will still exist or will come up?

  234. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    A number of independent institutions in Egypt that were helping to establish democracy (or prepare its way) under the monarchy, were suppressed under Nasser. Was that a good thing, in your view?

  235. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    I think Obama, and his ambassador in Moscow, want to continue to improve US relations with Russia. The Russians make sensible points regarding how to deal with Iran and with Syria. Putin, of course, does not have to deal with the ISRAEL LOBBY, at least in the way Obama is obliged to.

  236. Arnold Evans says:

    FYI:

    This is something we disagree on from time to time:

    Arabs have serious intellectual and conceptual problems – much much worse than what afflicts Iranians.

    Arabs, other than Iraq and Lebanon to some degree, do not have independent governments. Would you have claimed intellectual and conceptual problems of Iranians explained policy under the Shah?

    Egypt had conceptual problems under the monarch, then cured some of them with Nasser’s coup, then reacquired them under Sadat/Mubarak and hopefully may recure them this year?

  237. BiBiJon says:

    Agent 20% James Canning says:
    February 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    “Writing in the Financial Times (front page story) Feb. 25-26, James Blitz quoted Paul Brannan of the Institute for Sciene and International Security in Washington: “It is the stockpiling of greater and greater amounts of [20 percent] uranium there [at Fordow] that is really concerning”.”

    James, wasn’t it that long ago that adding additional centrifuge cascades were disconcerting? How long ago was it that accumulating stocks of 3.5% LEU was so disconcerting that people came up with the swap idea?

    Why do you keep trumpeting up the latest discomfiture/excuse as if it were unprecedented. Rest assured tomorrow it will be something else, and the day after it will be some other thing, else.

  238. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You asked “who” is claiming Iran is stockpiling too mcuh 20% U. Please read “Oil price surges on Iran nuclear fears”, in the FT Weekend (Feb. 25-26). Front page story. A senior analyst of a Washington-based group (see posts I previously made) is quoted.

    It seems fair to say you are reluctant to say how much nuclear fuel Iran should stockpile for the TRR. Another issue is whether it makes good sense to stockp[ile unneeded 20% U at this time.

  239. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The comments by Al Asghar Soltanieh that you posted at 7.22pm Feb. 26 are very useful. He says Iran may build more research reactors what would use 20% U for fuel.

  240. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times (front page story) Feb. 25-26, James Blitz quoted Paul Brannan of the Institute for Sciene and International Security in Washington: “It is the stockpiling of greater and greater amounts of [20 percent] uranium there [at Fordow] that is really concerning”.

  241. Voice of Tehran says:

    @ RSH

    Richard , as I had written earlier we have to evaluate current events on a daily basis and yesterday on IRIB there was a very interesting show on IRIB 2 with an expert on Afghanistan in the Tehran studio of IRIB and an Afghan political analyst who was live on the show from Kabul.
    It was utomst interesting to watch the Afghan analyst ( Mr. Moussavi ) , an utmost informed person with a brilliant mind and on top a virtuoso in his way of expression and analysing the current crisis in Afghanistan.
    Today when I read this article of M K Bhadrakumar in atimes the urgency in the words of the Afghan analyst became more evident to me.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/NB28Df02.html

    “”The killing of two high-ranking United States military officials in Kabul on Saturday and anti-American violence sweeping the country after US troops burned copies of the Koran elevate Afghanistan above Syria and Iran as the United States’ number one “hot spot”. Even after a White House apology and Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s call for calm, the ground beneath American feet in the Hindu Kush is shifting dangerously. “”

    Richard your ‘ work ‘ here is highly appreciated , however I think as a self-declared atheist , apparently you miss to see the *Signs* of how unshakable scenarios ( as you stick to them ) change with a blink of an eye , if they are ‘ ought’ to change.
    Keep your eyes open for much more to come…

  242. jay says:

    The latest dump by Wikileaks contains some fascinating reading for those interested in the incestuous web of media-government-corporate. Kamran Bokhari – referenced in the Stratfor intelligence exchanges (see link below) – is discussing the blast last November in the military installation near Tehran. Aside from the string of emails being interesting read – for example, the p.s.: “I find it offensive that we believe an Iranian over a Jew” – the characters are interesting to dig into. For example, Mr. Bokhari is often interviewed by VOA, NPR, AP and others as an expert. Reading the emails and the context of discussion, it becomes clear as to what the media calls an expert – someone who can give the US narrative an aura of credibility while maintaining credentials as a private sector individual. Some journalists have made a nice career playing this scam – why not Stratfor on a grand scale!
    Here is the link to one of the gems: http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/185945_re-alpha-s3-g3-israel-iran-barak-hails-munitions-blast-in.html

  243. fyi says:

    Irshad says: February 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I think that Arabs need to have enemies that are near and dear to them.

    They kept the ethnic Arab-Israeli violence running until they (and the Americans) lost control of it.

    They have been infuriating Iranians for more than 60 years by promoting the made-up name: “Arabian Gulf”.

    They supported Saddam Husein to the hilt in his war against Iran (excepting Oman).

    And now they are after weakiening Iran by overthrowing the Ba’athist state in Syria.

    Unfortunately, with the current crop of Arab leaders in the Persian Gulf area close cooperation is not possible for Iran.

    Arabs have serious intellectual and conceptual problems – much much worse than what afflicts Iranians.

  244. Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 27, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I confess I’d missed the portion of the Feb. 24 report that indicated Iran has started producing 20% uranium at Fordow. So that should be added to its ongoing production of 20% uranium at Natanz. I’m not sure, though, that it’s reasonable to assume that it will indefinitely remain appropriate to assume that Iran will continue to produce 20% uranium at both places. It stated in the Nov. 2011 report that it intends to stop making it at Natanz once Fordow is up and running to produce 20% uranium. While its simultaneous production at both sites from December to February arguably contradicts this stated plan, it may be that Iran just wanted to be sure everything was working well at Fordow before it shut down 20% U production at Natanz.

    Bottom line: I’d wait a while before assuming that Iran will reach the level of 20% uranium production implied by a continuation of its Natanz+Fordow production rate. It may well be, instead, that Iran phases out production at Natanz without an offsetting increase at Fordow.

  245. Richard,

    If you read carefully the Nov. 2011 IAEA report’s mention of the “tripling of production” at Fordow, that refers generally to production at Fordow, not to production of 20% uranium at Fordow. Even if everything is tripled at Fordow, including 20% uranium, that doesn’t tell us how much 20% uranium will be produced at Fordow. The report doesn’t say how much, if any, is currently being produced at Fordow, and it appears that none is. Though this part of the report was not entirely clear, it appeared to me that Iran intends to triple overall production at Fordow, and that one of the consequences of that will be that it is able to stop making 20% uranium at Natanz. It intends to do just that. Nowhere, though, does the report indicate that Iran has any intention of increasing its current level of 20% uranium production.

  246. BiBiJon says:

    David Bromwich is wrong to look for a spine in a crustacean
    =======================================================

    In prepared testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 16th, 2010, Gen. David Petraeus delivered a blunt message of the US military’s disaffection with Israel’s unpredictability. He said:

    The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas. (,http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2010/03%20March/Petraeus%2003-16-10.pdf)
    —–

    US intelligence agencies have been griping too. As Christopher Ketcham wrote:
    —–
    Scratch a counterintelligence officer in the U.S. government and they’ll tell you that Israel is not a friend to the United States. This is because Israel runs one of the most aggressive and damaging espionage networks targeting the U.S.. (,http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/03/12/israeli-spying-in-the-united-states/)
    —–

    These longstanding and serious complaints were assimilated by 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.

    Israel of course was not born yesterday. Right from the get-go they weren’t about to surrender their freedom of thought/action to the U.S. But, they were happy to get the goodies and they went along until limits had to be imposed, e.g. cancel joint military exercises.

    Obama uses his exoskeleton as a pot to stew new paradigms without negating any pre-existing ones. You see, you only need a spine if you wanted to confront and demolish the absurd idea that what is good for a tiny, dependent country 8000 miles away could possibly ‘always’ be good for a global power with all the attendant risks and obligations that the aforementioned pipsqueak is unburdened with. You don’t need a spine if you just want to institutionalize every dysfunction, domestic or foreign.

    Obama’s mistake was to put too much faith in his culinary skills. The pot is boiling over, and the stew is revolting, so are the stakeholders.

  247. Irshad says:

    fyi,

    Its easier to start a foreign war under the guise of “human rights” or non-exisitng WMD to protect the public from “rogue regimes” THEN it is to solve the serious economic problems at home.

    Hague’s Conservatives are making drastic cutbacks in public spending – whilst ensuring they are selling weapons to Gulf Arab regimes and still they are in an economic mess.

    Imagine if Iran and the Gulf Arab countries resolved their differences and the ARuabs stopped buying British weapons? You see how nad it can get for Britain.

    Now you know why Canning bangs on about 20%!

  248. fyi says:

    Irshad says: February 27, 2012 at 10:04 am

    The Axis Powers are in strategic quagmire.

    They are stuck in Afghanistan, indulgent of Israel, while supporting their own enemies – the Wahabis – in Syria and elsewhere in their misguided policy against Iran.

    In the meantime, China is rising and Axis Power economies erode.

    US-EU states have not yet accepted or internalized that they cannot be great military powers, great economic powers, and to – at the same time – protect their populations against global competition.

    There are 11 million jobs that were lost in US since 2007.

    Yet, US GDP is now close to what it was at the end of 2007 when the Great Depression II began.

    There are close to 50 million people in the United States that are dependent, for their physical existence, on US Government charity.

    In UK, you have places like Liverpool and the Midlands – as bad as any place such as Detroit in the United States.

    Yet, these states have leaders that think nothing of starting any number of wars.

  249. Irshad says:

    One for James Canning (aka. Agent 20%):

    “Robert Fisk: The new Cold War has already started – in Syria

    Saturday 25 February 2012

    If Iran obtains nuclear weapons capability, “I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons”.

    Thus thundered our beloved Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in one of the silliest pronouncements he has ever made. Hague seems to spend much of his time impersonating himself, so I’m not really certain which of Mr Hague-Hague’s personas made this statement.

    Flaw number one, of course, is Hague-Hague’s failure to point out that there already is another Middle East “nation” that has, in fact, several hundred nuclear weapons along with the missiles to fire them. It’s called Israel. But blow me down, Hague-Hague didn’t mention the fact. Didn’t he know? Of course, he did. What he was trying to say, you see, was that if Iran persisted in producing a nuclear weapon, Arab states – Muslim states – would want to acquire one. And that would never do. The idea, of course, that Iran might be pursuing nuclear weapons because Israel already possesses them, did not occur to him.

    Now as a nation that sells billions of pounds worth of military hardware to Gulf Arab nations – on the basis that they can then defend themselves from Iran’s non-existent plans to invade them – Britain is really not in a position to warn anyone of arms proliferation in the region. I’ve been to the Gulf arms fairs where the Brits show alarming films of an “enemy” nation threatening the Arabs – Iran, of course – and the need for these Arab chappies to buy even more kit from British Aerospace and the rest of our merchants of death.

    Then comes the historical killer in Hague-Hague’s peroration. He warns of “the most serious round of nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons were invented” which could produce “the threat of a new Cold War in the Middle East” that would be “a disaster in world affairs”. Now, I know that Hague-Hague sits in the throne room of Balfour and Eden – both pseudo-experts on the Middle East – but does he really have to mess up history so badly? Surely the most serious round of nuclear proliferation occurred when India and Pakistan acquired the bomb, the latter a nation which is awash with al-Qa’ida chaps, home-grown Talibans and dodgy intelligence men.

    Still, it was good to be reassured that “we are not favouring the idea of anybody attacking Iran at the moment”. Maybe later, then. Or maybe after President Assad eventually falls, thus depriving Iran of its only – and valuable – ally in the Middle East. Which is, I suspect, what a lot of the roaring and raging against Assad is all about. Get rid of Assad and you cut out part of Iran’s heart – though whether that will induce the crackpot Ahmadinejad to turn his nuclear plants into baby-milk factories is another matter. For here’s the rub. The mighty voices calling for Assad’s departure grow louder every time they refuse to involve themselves militarily in the overthrow of the same man. The more they promise not to “do a Nato” on Syria – every time they claim there can be no “no-fly” zones over Syria – they get angrier and angrier at Assad. Why doesn’t he just go off to retirement in Turkey, end the theatre once and for all, and stop embarrassing us all by bludgeoning his country with shells and sniper fire, killings thousands – journalists among them – while we rage on innocently from the stalls?

    Needless to say, Hague-Hague waffles on and on about Syria, too, while presumably not “favouring the idea of anybody attacking Syria at the moment”. And this is a real stinker for the Foreign Secretary. He was rightly denouncing the killing of Marie Colvin this week – I last saw her in the final, joyous days of the Egyptian revolution, heading, as usual, towards the crack of tear-gas grenades – but hundreds of other innocent human beings have been cruelly killed in Syria without so much as a whisper from Hague-Hague. And some of these were killed by the armed opposition to Assad; the murder of Alawites by Sunnis is becoming gruesomely familiar, just as the slaughter of civilians by Syrian government shellfire has become a template for this terrible war.

    No, we are not going to involve ourselves in Syria, thank you very much. Because the new Cold War in the region which Hague was blathering on about has already started over Syria, not Iran. The Russians are lined up against us there, supporting Assad and denouncing us. Just what reaction Putin expects from any Assad replacement is a mystery. Nor will a “new” Syria necessarily be the pro-Western democracy that Hague-Hague and others would like to see.

    The Syrians, after all, will not forget the way in which the Brits and the Americans silently approved of the infinitely more terrible massacre of 10,000 Syrian Sunni Muslims at Hama in 1982. Indeed, today marks the 30th anniversary of that onslaught, staged by the Defence Brigades of Bashar al-Assad’s Uncle Rifaat.

    But, like Hague-Hague, Rifaat also has a doppelgänger. Far from being the killer of Hama – a term he fiercely disputes – he is now a friendly and retired gentleman, living in style and protection quite close to Hague-Hague’s desk. Indeed, if Hague-Hague turns left outside the Foreign Office and nips through Horseguards Parade, he can drop by and meet the man himself in – where else would he live? – Mayfair. Now that would be a disaster in world affairs, wouldn’t it?”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-new-cold-war-has-already-started–in-syria-7440620.html?origin=internalSearch

  250. BiBiJon says:

    More on Indian calculus
    ======================

    “Get this: the West wants India to give up its strategic interests and foreclose a key source of ‘Shia oil’ from Iran – and instead source ‘Sunni Wahhabi’ oil from Saudi Arabia, which has done more than most other countries to spread the Wahhabi poison in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. No, thank you.

    If anything, India is uniquely placed to leverage this crisis to its advantage. Given Iran’s desperation, since the sanctions are beginning to bite, Iran is willing to offer oil at a discount to market price and accept Indian rupees from its second largest customer (after China). We should milk this opportunity for what it’s worth.

    Sure, India may have to live with Western name-and-shame efforts to make it feel out of step with the world on this issue, but if there ever was an occasion on which to stand firm to defend your strategic interests, it is this.”

    From http://www.firstpost.com/world/sunni-wahhabi-saudi-oil-for-shia-iran-oil-no-thanks-200415.html

  251. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: February 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

    re Putin’s lightbulb moment –

    Hillary Clinton has left a trail of breadcrumbs to the truth that Putin uncovered — the fact that the “Arab springs” and the attempt to “Spring” Syria and “Spring” Iran have as their goal the redistribution of markets.

    Clinton started by observing that the ‘rebellion’ was limited to an uprising in Homs, a very poor area, but that Assad would not be toppled until the wealthy and middle class, who still support him, were made to feel uncomfortable. Therefore, Clinton suggested sanctions.

    A few weeks later, Clinton said that wealthy Syrians were moving their families and money out of Syria.

    Last week a BBC broadcast interviewed a “wealthy Syrian” who had fled to London to protect his assets and his family.

  252. In any event, I think we’ve put the “excessive 20% production” propaganda to rest completely here.

    I just downloaded the current IAEA report and it says the following about the Fordow 20% enrichment efforts:

    Quote

    25. On 14 December 2011, Iran began feeding UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 that it had previously transferred from FEP into one set of two interconnected cascades in Unit 2 at FFEP, containing 348 centrifuges. Since the Director General’s previous report, Iran has installed 348 centrifuges in a second set of two interconnected cascades in Unit 2 and, on 25 January 2012, began feeding it with UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235. To date, all the centrifuges installed are IR-1 machines. Iran has estimated that, between 14 December 2011 and 17 February 2012, a total of 99.3 kg of UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 was fed into the two sets of interconnected cascades at FFEP and that approximately 13.8 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 were produced.

    26. As of 15 February 2012, in the four remaining cascades of Unit 2 and in the eight cascades of Unit 1, 2088 empty IR-1 centrifuge casings had been placed in position and all of the piping had been installed. In a letter dated 16 February 2012, the Agency requested Iran to provide details on how it intends to operate FFEP (whether to produce UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235, to produce UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235, or to
    produce a combination of both).

    End Quote

    In other words, between December 14 and February 17 – two months – Iran produced approximately 14kg of 20% enriched uranium.

    This works out to 6.9kg (13.8 divided by 2) of production per month using the new cascades at Fordow.

    This ALSO appears to be the origin of the “14kg per month” error. The news media took the 13.8 figure and assumed it to be from ONE month, which is incorrect. It is from mid-December to mid-February, which is TWO months.

    Now if you count the 4.3kg (from Eric’s calculation) produced at Natanz over the SAME two months IN ADDITION TO the amount produced at Fordow over the last two months, THEN you get a figure of 4.3 plus 6.9 to get a total CURRENT production rate of 11.2kg – which IS close to a “tripling” of production. So THAT part of the news media presentation is roughly correct.

    But Iran is not producing 14kg per month at this point, only 11.2kg.

    Recomputing the annual production as from now versus usage rates:

    Currently:

    Supply: 95.4 kg
    Annual need: 31.3 kg
    Years’ supply on hand: 3 (95.4 divided by 31.3 = approximately 3).

    In a year at current production rates:

    Annual Production: 11.2 x 12 = 134.4kg of 20% uranium
    Total stock in one year: 229.8kg (current 95.4 plus new production of 134.4)
    Years Supply on Hand This Time Next Year: 229.8 divided by 31.3 = 7 years.

    So Iran will have to produce for another TWO years at the current rate in order to acquire a TEN-year supply of 20% uranium.

    Iran does indicate with its placing of additional centrifuge casings at Fordow that it will increase production of processed uranium at the plant, BUT it has NOT been determined whether that will be 3.5% LEU or 20% LEU (or HEU depending on your definition.)

    It will be interesting to see what the IAEA report which comes out AFTER Iran has ramped up the additional centrifuges says as to how much of each type of LEU is produced.

  253. Putin: “‘That raises a thought that the tragic events to some extent had been driven not by concern about human rights, but a desire by some to redistribute markets,’ he said.”

    No duh…

    (For those English challenged: he’s right. That IS the extent of the motivation.)

  254. Eric: The figures from the IAEA report seem reasonable. But now I’m wondering where did the IAEA – or the news media – get the 14kg figure – the alleged “tripling” of production? According to your calculations from the latest report the other day, up to February 11, the figures show 4kg.

    Did someone just tack a one on the front of the four and “misreport” (deliberately or otherwise) the production rate?

  255. kooshy says:

    I wonder what happened to Mr. Obama’s Russian reset button.

    Putin warns West over Syria, Iran

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501714_162-57385568/putin-warns-west-over-syria-iran/

  256. kooshy says:

    Interesting editorial from China’s CP most important daily

    People’s Daily Online

    Is West genuinely trying to ‘save’ Syria?
    By Andre Vltchek (People’s Daily Online)

    http://english.people.com.cn/90780/7735525.html

  257. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 27, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I would also like if James can explain why he thinks Iran should buy the medical isotopes that she can produce at home from abroad, even if initially be they would more expensive to be produced in Iran, what’s so worrisome if IAEA has confirmed no diversion in the use of Iran’s 20% U and can confirm they are all counted for and are being used to be converted to reactor fuel.
    If it’s the knowledge of being able to make 20% that worries the westerners isn’t that too late at this stage?

    Isn’t it better for Iran and the world’s medical market if Iran can be allowed and be directed to be a peaceful producer of medical isotopes helping her own as well as the neighboring countries medical need? Why instead of encouraging Iran to be a peaceful member of medical isotope producers, we are try to introduce her as ill intentioned, who will benefit from this irrationality only god knows.

  258. Another observation on the Tehran Research Reactor/20% fuel issue:

    A couple of years back, an interesting technical article (I can’t recall the author) explained that the medical isotopes produced by the TRR have very short half-lives. They vary, but some were so short that a considerable amount would be lost merely in the time it takes to ship the stuff half-way around the world to Iran.

    The 20% fuel used in the TRR does not have such a short half-life, of course, but the radioisotopes produced in the TRR do. This fact should be kept in mind when one evaluates suggestions that Iran should simply buy its medical isotopes from outside sources, rather than produce them in Iran.

  259. James,

    Here is Paragraph 15 from the IAEA’s November 2011 report:

    QUOTATION FROM IAEA’S NOVEMBER 2011 REPORT:

    15. Between 13 and 29 September 2011, the Agency conducted a PIV at PFEP and verified that, as of 13 September 2011, 720.8 kg of low enriched UF6 had been fed into the cascade(s) in the production area since the process began on 9 February 2010, and that a total of 73.7 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 had been produced. The Agency is continuing with its assessment of the results of the PIV. Iran has estimated that, between 14 September 2011 and 28 October 2011, a total of 44.7 kg of UF6 enriched at FEP was fed into the two interconnected cascades and that approximately 6 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 were produced.

    END OF QUOTATION FROM IAEA’S NOVEMBER 2011 REPORT.

    If we accept the ongoing production rate estimated by Iran to the IAEA in its Nov. 2011 report (6 kg in a little over 6 weeks), it appears that Iran is adding to its 20% uranium stock at the rate of about 4 kg a month, approximately 1/10 of the 40 kg per month rate you mentioned the Guardian has reported. Iran’s more recent estimate, in Paragraph 19 of the February 24, 2012 IAEA report suggests this 4 kg/month rate has stayed roughly the same since last September: Iran reported production of 21.7 kg between the IAEA’s verified measurement on September 13, 2011 and February 11, 2012, which works out to about 4.3 kg per month. According to the February 24, 2012 IAEA report, this yielded a grand total of 95.4 kg of 20% uranium as of February 11, 2012. Although Iran has told the IAEA that production of 20% uranium will gradually shift from Natanz to Fordow, Iran has not reported any intention to increase the production rate when that occurs.

    The remaining question, of course, is how much 20% uranium does Iran need?

    As Kooshy pointed out a week or so ago, Iran estimates that, based on its current and anticipated operations at the Tehran Research Reactor, it needs about 1.5 kg a month, and that every three years it will need to throw away an additional 40 kg. That’s 18 kg per year plus a yearly average of 13.3 kg thrown away, which works out to an average of 31.3 kg a year.

    Distilling all this down to “supply” versus “need,” here is what it appears Iran has:

    Supply: 95.4 kg

    Annual need: 31.3 kg

    Years’ supply on hand: 3 years (95.4 divided by 31.3 = approximately 3).

    That’s 3 years – not 6-21 years, much less 30 years or 40 years.

    Does that strike you as “excessive,” given the difficulty Iran has had getting 20% fuel from anywhere else? While what is “excessive” is open for debate, of course, a 3 years’ supply does not strike me as excessive. Indeed, if I were Iran, I’d keep making 20% uranium at the same rate, or faster, until I had substantially more on the shelf.

    I’d appreciate your reaction to this, James.

  260. Rehmat says:

    Israel: As seen by an Israeli General’s son

    “Israel is not an occupation. It’s the ethnic-cleansings of the native Palestinians,” Miko Peled, son of Israeli Gen. Matti Peled and brother of Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan. Miko Peled is a former Israeli soldier. Last year Miko gave an interview to the Alternate Focus describing his experiences as a young soldier in the Jewish army. He also describes a confrontation with the same army on a recent visit to Israel and the West Bank. Watch the video below.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/israel-as-seen-by-an-israeli-generals-son/

  261. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio says: February 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm quoted:

    “Part of the answer was provided by Andrew Bacevich in a recent article. He wrote: “Strategy is a quintessential American Century word, ostensibly connoting knowingness and sophistication. Whether working in the White House, the State Department, or the Pentagon, strategists promote the notion that they can anticipate the future and manage its course …… Strategy is actually a fraud perpetrated by those who covet power and are intent on concealing from the plain folk the fact that the people in charge are flying blind”.”

    Where is the Israeli Andrew Bacevich?
    _____

    Our local newspaper printed Dennis Ross’s op ed from a few weeks ago, wherein Ross said Iran was “ready to deal,” having been sufficiently roughed up, ganster-style.

    The most compelling thing about Ross’s op ed was the notice at the end of it that Ross has been working on foreign policy in US government for 30 years.

    What does he have to show for that 30 years?
    _____

    Ephraim Sneh’s appearance on a panel with Trita Parsi the other day set off an orgy of research into that scoundrel, and he is a scoundrel. He and Netanyahu share a pathology; not sure which one passed it along to which.

    But studying Isreali and zionist leaders eventually forces one to confront an overarching reality: Israel does not now, nor does it ever appear to have had a genuine stateman in a leadership role. Jews have never successfully governed either themselves or other; Jews have never established an empire the likes of Cyrus’s Persia. Their only models for governance are those of Esther, Herod, the Maccabees, whom Herzl named as the model zionists (Truman erred when, upon instructing his delegate to vote FOR Israeli statehood in UN he proclaimed, “I am Cyrus.” It would have been more accurate for him to have said, “I am Mordecai.”)

    Instead of throwing US taxpayer money and weapons Israel’s way, if it were wise and generous, the United States would support Iran in setting up training sessions for Israelis on How to Govern a Multicultural State.

  262. Karl says:

    James, are you about to reply to my questions? I dont understand why you refuse to approach them? My questions were asked because of your claims.

  263. The article is a partial reprint by Fox of a Wall Street Journal which is behind a paywall.

    US bulks up Iran defenses
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/24/us-bulks-up-iran-defenses/

    Quote

    The U.S. military has notified Congress of plans to preposition new mine-detection and clearing equipment and expand surveillance capabilities in and around the strait, according to defense officials briefed on the requests, including one submitted earlier this month.

    The military also wants to quickly modify weapons systems on ships so they could be used against Iranian fast-attack boats, as well as shore-launched cruise missiles, the defense officials said.

    The changes put a spotlight on what officials have singled out as potential U.S. shortcomings in the event of conflict with Iran. The head of Central Command, Marine Gen. James Mattis, asked for the equipment upgrades after reviews by war planners last spring and fall exposed “gaps” in U.S. defense capabilities and military preparedness should Tehran close the Strait of Hormuz, officials said.

    End Quote

    Apparently they did some more analysis and found out they really CAN’T deal effectively with a thousand Iranian small boats… :-) Also they don’t have enough mine-clearing gear…

  264. Somewhat OFF-TOPIC: Wikileaks is going to publish five million emails from STRATFOR obtained by hackers…

    WikiLeaks to publish security think tank emails
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/27/wikileaks-stratfor-idUSL5E8DQ23P20120227

    George Friedman must be shivering in his shoes! Or not…

    Quote

    WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange told Reuters: “Here we have a private intelligence firm, relying on informants from the US government, foreign intelligence agencies with questionable reputations, and journalists.”

    “What is of grave concern is that the targets of this scrutiny are, among others, activist organisations fighting for a just cause.”

    Stratfor’s chief executive officer and founder, George Friedman warned on Jan. 11 that emails had been stolen but said the thieves would be hard pressed to find anything significant.

    “God knows what a hundred employees writing endless emails might say that is embarrassing, stupid or subject to misinterpretation… As they search our emails for signs of a vast conspiracy, they will be disappointed.”

    End Quote

  265. Not to mention that if Iran wants to sell the stuff, “excessive” would only be if Iran produced more than the world market could absorb in a year.

    This article discusses the radioisotopes used and the world market for same as of October 2011:

    Radioisotopes in Medicine
    :http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf55.html

    Quote

    A number of incidents in 2008 pointed up shortcomings and unreliability in the supply of medical isotopes, particular technetium. As indicated above, most of the world’s supply of Mo-99 for this comes from only five reactors, all of them 43 to 52 years old (in mid 2010). The Canadian and Netherlands reactors required major repairs over 2009-10 and were out of action for some time. Osiris is due to shut down in 2015. A major and increasing supply shortfall of Tc-99 is forecast from 2010, and the IAEA is encouraging new producers in Egypt, East Europe and central Asia. During the 2009-10 supply crisis, South Africa’s (NECSA) Safari was able to supply 25% of the supply of Mo-99. Australia’s Opal reactor has the capacity to produce half the world supply of it, but a much larger Mo production facility would be required. Also the processing and distribution of isotopes is complex and constrained, which can be critical when the isotopes concerned are short-lived. A need for increased production capacity and more reliable distribution is evident. The Mo-99 market is about $5 billion per year, according to NECSA.

    In 2009 the NEA set up the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) to strengthen the reliability of Mo-99 and Tc-99 supply in the short, medium and long term. It reviewed the Mo-99 supply chain to identify the key areas of vulnerability, the issues that need to be addressed and the mechanisms that could be used to help resolve them. It requested an economic study of the supply chain, and this was published in 2010 by the NEA. The report identifies possible changes needed. The historical development of the market has an impact on the present economic situation, which is unsustainable. The supply chain’s economic structure therefore needs to be changed to attract additional investment in production capacity as well as the necessary reserve capacity, and all supply chain participants worldwide need to agree on and implement the changes needed.

    The report predicts supply shortages from 2016, not simply from reactors but due to processing limitations. Historically reactor irradiation prices have been too low to attract new investment, and full cost recovery is needed to encourage new infrastructure. This will have little impact on end prices since irradiation only accounts for about 1% of product cost. Transport regulation and denial of shipment impede reliable supply. HEU use needs to be minimised, though conversion to LEU targets will reduce capacity. Outage reserve capacity needs to be sourced, valued and paid for by the supply chain. Fission is the most efficient and reliable means of production, but Canada and Japan are developing better accelerator-based techniques.

    The US Congress has called for all Mo-99 to be supplied by reactors running on low-enriched uranium (LEU), instead of high-enriched uranium (HEU). Also it has called for proposals for an LEU-based supply of Mo-99 for the US market. This supply should reach 111 six-day TBq per week by mid-2013, a quarter of world demand. Tenders for this closed in June 2010.

    End Quote

    The IAEA itself called for increased production in this undated article:

    IAEA calls for action on radiopharmaceuticals
    :http://www-naweb.iaea.org/na/diagnostic-isotopes.html

    This site claims “Demand for medical isotopes is projected to grow in the range of 8% to 20% per year for the next 20 years. Current U.S. production resources are not adequate to meet the increasing needs for use of the isotopes in research, diagnosis, and treatment.”

    :http://www.medicalisotopes.org/docs/faqs.html

    An October 2011 interview with Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh at Arms Control Association is here:

    :http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2011_10/Iran-Nuclear-Program-Interview-Iranian-Ambassador-Ali-Asghar-Soltanieh

    Quote

    Soltanieh: So far, according to this report of the IAEA, we have produced 70.8 kilograms. You know that if we had the negotiations [leading to a] successful agreement made by the Vienna Group, we were expecting to receive under that contract roughly 120 kilograms, the same amount that we received from Argentina over 10 years back. But during past years, the reactor was not working full days, full weeks, and [at] full power. Therefore, we were able to have that amount of material for about 10 years or so. But with these existing demands of the hospitals, one million patients almost, we need to produce almost weekly, this material is perhaps the maximum four or five years. Therefore, we have to make sure that we would not have any fuel shortage.

    Apart from [the TRR], we have been intending to have other reactors in Iran because unfortunately we have had many problems in receiving the radioisotope from some countries that have the monopoly. I remind you that, in the last two or three years, the world has faced the molybdenum crisis because of the Canadian reactors having problems, and others. These humanitarian aspects cannot be ignored. Therefore, we want our reactors to be able to produce [amounts large enough to meet] the demand. If we would be successful producing radioisotopes in large amounts, we have officially announced publicly that we would produce and give the radioactive isotope needed in neighboring countries in the region also.

    ACT: How much fuel does the TRR have left, or how much longer is the TRR able to run?

    Soltanieh: It is not working six days a week or so because we have to be cautious; we do not want to run out. We try to at least have some sort of continuity of producing radioactive isotopes. I don’t know exactly, but the time is running out. We have to speed up the production of fuel. But as you noticed, it was also in the IAEA report, we have had some achievement in working toward making the fuel rods on our own. Before this fuel is running out and the reactor will be shut down, hopefully we will be able to have the first fuel made by Iran in the core of the reactor.

    End Quote

    Based on the above statement (assuming it is true) that 120kg would last a maximum of four or five years at current cancer patient levels, and with the IAEA currently saying production is at 14kg per month and the current stockpile is at 110kg, then clearly Iran needs to produce at least another 100kg or some eight or ten months more production to reach a goal of a ten-year supply.

    Further, as the Ambassador, any amount produced above that could be given to medical facilities elsewhere.

    Since the TRR reactor is old, it is likely that Iran will produce another 100kg or so, then throttle back on production so as not to overtax the reactor.

    Clearly, however, at THIS point there is no such thing as an “excessive” level of 20% enriched uranium.

  266. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Good story. Putin makes good sense. As did Russia’s proposal for a stepped reduction in sanctions.

  267. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Surely you are aware Iran said the TRR was nearly out of fuel, back in 2009. Only this month was the TRR re-fueled. Obviously, the rate of fuel consumption was reduced.

  268. BiBiJon says:

    “We propose to recognize Iran’s right to develop a civilian nuclear program, including the right to enrich uranium” in exchange for placing the country’s nuclear activities under the tight control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the international nuclear safety watchdog, Putin said.

    From http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120227/171544784.html

  269. James Canning says:

    Eric

    Ollie Heinonen estimated this month that Iran can produce 15 kg of 20% U per month. You can google him if you want to see he is cited in many stories appearing around the world.

  270. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I linked sources to Eric several times in recent past. The Guardian reported Feb. 24th that Iran had produced 109 kg of 20% U. I’ll check the monthly rate of usage figures, but they depend in any event on the rate the TRR is operated.

  271. 4 responses and not one of them answered Eric’s question for hard numbers on how much 20% uranium is actually USED by the TRR monthly or annually and therefore which estimate of stockpile based on IAEA figures is valid. And there are no actual sources who make actual calculations cited.

    It jumps from 3 years to 22 years. Clearly no one knows – least of all Canning.

  272. Re Canning… I rest my case…

  273. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Any time you respond to me and I do not reply, please let me know.

  274. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I missed your comment that indicated Iran had a 3 -year supply of 20% U (for operating TRR) as of late last year. The piece I linked to you indicated Iran had between 6 and 21 years of operating from 20% as of late last year.

  275. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I invite you to cite a single question you have posed that I have not answered.

  276. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    You indicated you read the story in The New York Times last week about Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran will have 120 kg of 20% U by end of this month. 40 kg is sufficient to operate the TRR for 6 -8 years. I mentioned that an “unidentified European official” said Iran had enough on hand to operate the TRR for 22 years.

  277. Eric: In fact, it just occurs to me that Canning’s responses are like one of those faux artificial intelligence programs like the original ELIZA program that just regurgitates whatever you input so that it sounds like it understands what you’re saying and is responding to it. :-)

    Those programs would also toss in a question of its own at various points to simulate being part of a conversation. That would explain why Canning is always responding with a question of his own. :-)

    I think from now on I’m going to refer to Canning as “the Canning program”…

  278. Eric: You’re wasting your time with Canning. He’s constitutionally unable to make a coherent response.

    Even when I accuse you of evading my points in our arguments, at least you make a COHERENT evasion! :-) Canning can’t even do that.

    I just ignore Canning completely at this point.

  279. Karl: “If ban to Greece is true which I doubt, why is it idiocy?”

    I didn’t say anything about the BAN being idiocy. I said the Fars REPORTING is idiocy because the story keeps getting refuted by Iran officials.

  280. James wrote to Karl:

    “Do you think it necessary to have a 20-year supply? 30-year? 40?”

    James,

    I and others have long wondered, and have asked you repeatedly, why you say Iran has an excessive supply of 20% uranium. You may be correct; we just would like to know what your belief is based on.

    The only substantive responses you’ve provided have been links to other writings in which the author, like you, said that Iran has an “excessive” supply, without quantifying either Iran’s supply or Iran’s legitimate needs, or otherwise explaining why he believes Iran’s supply is “excessive.” In some cases, your sources really didn’t say that Iran’s supply was excessive at all.

    A week or so ago, with someone else’s help (I can’t recall who it was now, but my thanks to whomever it was), I pieced together information from several sources, including the November 2011 IAEA report, that led me to a conclusion that Iran probably has about a 3-year supply of 20% uranium on hand.

    I presented that estimate to you, with an explanation of how I’d arrived at it, and asked you whether you thought that was “excessive” (I don’t). Unless I missed your response, you neither responded nor disputed my numbers (i.e. that Iran has about a 3-year supply). Yet you’re back to claiming that Iran has an excessive supply. In fact, that “excess” seems to be growing every time you mention it.

    Can you just take the time to put an end to this once and for all by coming up with some hard numbers — supply numbers, need numbers — and arguments by others (others who themselves have the numbers at hand) as to why Iran’s supply is “excessive” in light of its needs (and in light of its good reasons to suspect that it won’t get much help from the rest of the world in supplying its Tehran Research Reactor).

    I respect what you write on other matters, but I continue to wonder about your views on this one. Surely you don’t want Arnold to call you “Agent 20%” for the next several years.

  281. Karl says:

    James,

    I dont understand why you just cant give an answer to my questions?

    1. Who is claiming it?
    2. On what premises?

    Could you give an answer to those 2 questions and then we could move on.

  282. Brett says:

    Wikileaks are about to release something major, on their twitter they hint about its about nuclear weapons…

  283. James Canning says:

    “No excuse for anti-Iran Obama stance”:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/228801.html

  284. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    It is not “obvious” the US “wants war with Iran”. Yes, a signficant part of the Israel lobby, many neocons, some liberal interventionists, want war with Iran to benefit Israel. But clearly Obama is trying to avoid a war. Unless Iran makes clear it intends to build nukes.

  285. yemi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    “Since you clearly have trouble with the English language, I suggest you improve it before commenting on anyone else’s command of the language.”

    I am not commenting on your command of English language.

    “And you don’t do either at all well.”

    I do better because i spotted you! And remember you are not the only one on this board.

    “You’re an idiot.”

    This shows your weakness,a frustrated type that cannot manage anger.

    “I’m not going to waste any more time on you since you clearly have great difficulty comprehending simple facts from straight forward English sentences.

    You better do!Because you lack the most fundamental logic to reason with others but do staunchly maintain your stance on any issue…Ego of a maggot!

  286. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    “Too much” 20% U is of course a subjective notion. Once again, do you think Iran should have 20 years’ worth on hand (for TRR)? 30? 40 years?

    I assume you are aware Iran has about 120 kg of 20% U at this time.

  287. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Sometimes the contradictory statements comming out of Iran simply reflect the differing opinions held by various people there who are trying to influence the course of events.

  288. Karl says:

    Richard,

    If ban to Greece is true which I doubt, why is it idiocy? If EU going to strangle Iran in June, why wouldnt Iran take steps to counter such actions by EU?

  289. Yemi: “A contradictory statements of yours!”

    Since you clearly have trouble with the English language, I suggest you improve it before commenting on anyone else’s command of the language.

    “I do not need to read well, but understanding is more important.”

    And you don’t do either at all well.

    “But you do post many things that want us to believe that attack on Iran is inevitable,a warmongering style of analyses!”

    You’re an idiot. If I believe an attack on Iran is inevitable, it does not logically follow that I am a “war monger”. A “war monger” is someone who ADVOCATES a war on Iran. I do NOT advocate any such thing.

    I’m not going to waste any more time on you since you clearly have great difficulty comprehending simple facts from straight forward English sentences.

  290. yemi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    “You obviously haven’t read anything I’ve posted here in months. I know all that.” AND “Agin, you simply aren’t reading my posts correctly.”

    A contradictory statements of yours!

    “You clearly don’t read English well. ALL my posts are in favor of Iran being left alone and there being no war. I NEVER post anything to the opposite position.”

    I do not need to read well, but understanding is more important.
    But you do post many things that want us to believe that attack on Iran is inevitable,a warmongering style of analyses!

    “You’re really naive.”

    To be naive is better than to sway the public into believing many of your wrong analyses and false assertions.

    Thanks.

  291. This is idiocy – someone in Iran needs to get their news straight…

    Iran Stops Shipment of Oil to Greece – Fars News Agency
    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2012/02/iran-stops-shipment-of-oil-to-greece.html

    First they say one thing, then they get refuted, then they repeat it.

    If Fars is supposed to be “semi-official”, how is it they get the news wrong on almost a daily basis? Don’t they have phones? Can’t they call the Oil Ministry and find out?

  292. Robert Naiman on Keith Ellison and Walter Jones Stand Up for Diplomatic Engagement With Iran
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/ellison-iran_b_1300255.html?ref=world

    Quote

    The media war fever for military confrontation with Iran has grown so great that even the media noticed. Writing in the New York Times, Scott Shane asked the reasonable question: how is it that we’re having a war fever with Iran, when polls show that after 10 years, the American public is weary of war?

    A key part of the story is that we’ve had a one-sided political debate about Iran. Major media are often ambivalent about the degree to which it’s really their responsibility to educate the public about basic facts — like the fact that the U.S. government is quite confident that Iran is not now trying to build a nuclear weapon. Instead, the media’s default position often is to reflect what they perceive to be going on in the political debate. And what the media largely perceive is that one side — the non-Ron Paul Republican presidential candidates, the Lieberman-Graham-McCain axis, and the pro-Likud lobby groups and think tanks — is pushing aggressively toward military confrontation, and the other side — the Obama administration — is saying, well, not so fast, without strongly and consistently challenging some of the core assumptions of the pro-war voices.

    Largely missing from the recent political debate, until now, has been a full-throated defense of diplomatic engagement with Iran towards negotiated agreements that would resolve or mitigate international concerns about its disputed nuclear program, thereby pushing back the prospect of military confrontation.

    End Quote

  293. Scahill on MSNBC Debating Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc.
    Here’s a nice, raucous, Sunday morning debate between Jeremy Scahill and Ann-Marie Slaughter on Up with Chris Hayes.
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/02/26/scahill-on-msnbc-debating-syria-yemen-iran-etc/

    This is the level of discourse on Syria… It’s pathetic.

    Scahill is correct that intervention would be a disaster. Ann-Marie Slaughter is just totally wrong on all counts and couldn’t care less as long as her “humanitarian moral status” is established for all to see.

    But there isn’t even a hint that anyone connects this to Iran, although the discussion is cut off before they can get to Iran.

    By the way, Kooshy, thanks for the reference to the moonofalabama article which led me to Joshua Landis blog. I posted a comment on the thread concerning his piece on Assad surviving into 2012 directing people over here to read my post which took apart his thesis.

    NO ONE apparently gets the connection to Iran and therefore NO ONE is able to predict how this is going to go – except me. To me, it is completely obvious what has to happen precisely because it has to happen in order for the US and Israel to get what they so obviously want – a war with Iran.

  294. k_w: “is it possible that the Iranians are not capable of producing 19,75% uranium but claim to do so to build up pressure in order to get the stuff from abroad?”

    No, I don’t think so. It wouldn’t have gone this far. It’s very straightforward. Iran couldn’t get the stuff, so they made it themselves.

    Thanks for the additional link about the issue of the missing 20kg of uranium metal which is unrelated to the 20% enriched uranium.

  295. Fiorangela says:

    compare and contrast:
    Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, On the Cyrus Cylinder, and 2600 years of Middle Eastern history:

    QUOTE
    “And that very night Cyrus, king of the Persians, entered Babylon and the whole regime of Belshazzar fell. It is, of course, a great moment in the history of the Jewish people. . . .
    Cyrus, king of the Persians, has entered Babylon without a fight — the great empire of Babylon, which ran from central southern Iraq to the Mediterranean, falls to Cyrus. And Cyrus makes a declaration. And that is what this cylinder is, the declaration made by the ruler guided by God who had toppled the Iraqi despot and was going to bring freedom to the people. In ringing Babylonian — it was written in Babylonian — he says, “I am Cyrus, king of all the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of the four quarters of the world.” . . .
    He goes on to say that, having conquered Babylon, he will at once let all the peoples that the Babylonians — Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar — have captured and enslaved go free. He’ll let them return to their countries. And more important, he will let them all recover the gods, the statues, the temple vessels that had been confiscated. All the peoples that the Babylonians had repressed and removed will go home, and they’ll take with them their gods. And they’ll be able to restore their altars and to worship their gods in their own way, in their own place. This is the decree, this object is the evidence for the fact that the Jews, after the exile in Babylon, the years they’d spent sitting by the waters of Babylon, weeping when they remembered Jerusalem, those Jews were allowed to go home. They were allowed to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the temple.
    It’s a central document in Jewish history. And the Book of Chronicles, the Book of Ezra in the Hebrew scriptures reported in ringing terms. This is the Jewish version of the same story. “Thus said Cyrus, king of Persia, ‘All the kingdoms of the earth have the Lord God of heaven given thee, and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem. Who is there among you of his people? The Lord God be with him, and let him go up.’” “Go up” — aaleh. The central element, still, of the notion of return, a central part of the life of Judaism. As you all know, that return from exile, the second temple, reshaped Judaism. And that change, that great historic moment, was made possible by Cyrus, the king of Persia, reported for us in Hebrew in scripture and in Babylonian in clay.
    Two great texts, what about the politics? What was going on was the fundamental shift in Middle Eastern history. The empire of Iran, the Medes and the Persians, united under Cyrus, became the first great world empire. Cyrus begins in the 530s BC. And by the time of his son Darius, the whole of the eastern Mediterranean is under Persian control. This empire is, in fact, the Middle East as we now know it, and it’s what shapes the Middle East as we now know it. It was the largest empire the world had known until then. Much more important, it was the first multicultural, multifaith state on a huge scaleAnd it had to be run in a quite new way. It had to be run in different languages. . . . it had to recognize their different habits, different peoples, different religions, different faiths. All of those are respected by Cyrus. .
    Cyrus sets up a model of how you run a great multinational, multifaith, multicultural society. And the result of that was an empire that included the areas you see on the screen, and which survived for 200 years of stability until it was shattered by Alexander. It left a dream of the Middle East as a unit, and a unit where people of different faiths could live together. The Greek invasions ended that. And of course, Alexander couldn’t sustain a government and it fragmented. But what Cyrus represented remained absolutely central.

    END QUOTE

    _______
    Navigating Perilous Waters: An Israeli Strategy for Peace and Security by Ephraim Sneh, 2002, 2005, Routledge, Curzon, an imprint of Taylor and Francis, New York.

    :http://www.amazon.com/Navigating-Perilous-Waters-Strategy-Security/dp/0714685186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330284441&sr=8-1#reader_0714685186
    page 2:

    “The third imbalance is that between Israel and its surrounding countries, and I will discuss it at some length. It is important to understand this imbalance, and especially the fact that it will continue to exist even when there is peace between Israel and all of its neighbors, a distant dream these days.

    First of all, one must remember that Israel will always be different from its neighbors in the region. Israel is a Jewish state in the composition of its population, in its character, and in the fact that the Jewish people as such does not enjoy sovereignty anywhere else in the world. Israel’s surroundings, both close and farther away, will always be Arab-Muslim, and the Middle East is known neither for its tolerance toward minorities nor for the ability of its minorities to survive here. The Lebanese Christians’ fate is but one example.”

    Israel’s perennial “otherness” will not change even if a state of warm, true peace – full of practical measures that strengthen and stabilize the peace – is achieved. It seems obvious to me that we, the Israelis have an interest in preserving this special identity, in not allowing it to disappear. Because Israel is, as I have noted, the only place where the Jewish people is sovereign, we must never forget that the difficulties Israel faces as a Jewish state in Arab-Muslim surroundings, even should they wane or fall dormant for many years, may one day reawaken. This is not paranoia, nor is it a desire to invent danger where none exists. It is, rather, the only responsible attitude for ensuring the continuation of a people that for most of its existence has not enjoyed sovereignty on its own soil, and was the victim of the most terrible and murderous cruelty known to the human race. Armed with this consciousness, we will be better able to discern just how inferior Israel’s position is to that of its neighbors, in terms of its population and its territory.”

    END QUOTE

    _______________

  296. Yemi: “I am so wondering that over the time you try to perfectly believe in any materials/reports you scoop out from web when it comes to anti-Iran issues. And you know truly that it is just them against the Evil westerners that can manipulate anything against them.”

    You obviously haven’t read anything I’ve posted here in months. I know all that.

    “Meanwhile, since you believe every analysis should be objective as much as possible which is true but what of if we are being presented here with false supporting documents/reports that you called facts.”

    That happens to be what I’m talking about.

    “At the same time i have read many of your comments and i tend to see that you try to present some analyses/reports/documents that supports Iranians stance and again you try to present MANY analyses/reports/documents against the stance to support the justifications of your ever-proclaiming war on Iran.”

    You clearly don’t read English well. ALL my posts are in favor of Iran being left alone and there being no war. I NEVER post anything to the opposite position.

    “And again you always call the people that against your views to be emotional BUT from what i can discern you are a gun-happy type that believe and want to see a Bully “goliathly” taken over another country showing its might!”

    Agin, you simply aren’t reading my posts correctly.

    “And when you quite know either you believe or not that falsehood cannot triumph over the truth and which is why they cannot win and NOTHING will ever happens to IRAN.”

    “Nothing will ever happen to Iran.” You’re really naive.

  297. Karl says:

    James,

    Yes I am asking you who claim it is too much and second question out of what premises?

  298. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    The Americans are creatng global inflaion to pay for their wars and inflation their economies.

    Likewise, soon, the EU states will do so – inflate the Euro.

    These are inevitable consequences of the bursting of their Financed-based economies.

    As you can see, bilatral deal are beng made among producers and consumers (of raw matrials, agricuktural products, finished goods, manufactured goods) use local currencies and avoid US dollar and Euro.

    I expet this trend to continue.

    There is $ 730 trillions of US-EU created financial instruments in the world economy.

    There is notng that could even concievably furnish a crediable backing of these instruments since World economy’s sixe is about $ 43 trillion.

    [Global retirements amount to about $ 148 trillions.]

    The G8 and G20 have failed to come up with credible plans to address this.

    In US, a country with GDP of about $ 13 trillons per year, there is a $ 54 trillio hole in the government finances due to he assumption of mortgage-backed securities by US Government.

    Each state is on h own in the current situation.

    Ironically – or perhaps due to the intervention of the Hidden Imam – Iranians have been shelered and protcted from the vagaries of the dissoluion of the Euro-Dollar Fianncial Empire becuase of the Axis Powers sanctions.

  299. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    what do you mean by “asking Iran”? Asking Iran if 120 kg of 20% U will allow fabrication of fuel plates for TRR sufficient for 20 years of operation?

  300. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Do I understand you think Iran has 20 years of fuel now avialble (20% U), for TRR?

    Are you asking if Iran may have other uses for 20% U?

  301. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I assume Leonard Fein is aware of polls showing that 64% – 65% of Israelis support Israel getting rid of its nukes?

  302. Rehmat says:

    Dr. Leonard Fein is co-founder of Jewish Moment magazine. This week the Jewish daily Forward has published his article entitled “What About Israel’s Atomic Weapons? which has some interesting “solutions” to Zionist entity’s problem with the Islamic Republic.

    Dr. Fein begins his discussion with the admission that the Zionist entity do have 400 nuclear bombs including the thermonuclear devices – but Israel’s chosen policy of “opacity” (amimut in Hebrew), neither affirming nor denying goes back to the secret agreement between US president Richard Nixon and Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in 1969.

    Then Dr. Fein admits that Israel along with India, Pakistan and North Korea are the only countries among 193 UN-members which has refused to sign the NPT and open its Dimona nuclear facility to IAEA inspectors.

    Dr. Fein suggests that Israel should announce its readiness to open its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspectors – on one condition. “That condition: That Iran do the same“. And what is the good news for the Zionist regime if it go along with Dr. Fein’s suggestion? Well, the moral Zionist Jew expect Iran will refuse to agree with Israeli condition which will provide a win-win situation for Israel. Israel’s position as a regional peace-maker will enhance its image in the world community. Furthermore, it will provide the required “smoking gun” to Jewish Lobby to convince Obama administration and Israel’s western allies France and Britain to attack Iran and bring a pro-Israel regime change in Tehran.

    I guess, the good Zionist scholar doesn’t know that Iran’s so-called “nuclear facilities” without nuclear reactors – had been frequently inspected by the IAEA official since the 1990s. Furthermore, it’s Tehran which has been demanding inspection of Israel’s known five nuclear weapon production facilities. However, since the P5+1, IAEA and United Nations are controlled by the Zionist mafia – no western government dare to point fingers toward the Zionist entity.

    Last week the US intelligence agencies reported that “Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so“.

    Dr. Fein, however, criticizes the warmongering Zionist leaders for attacking Iran immediately. “Just now, Israel and most American Jewish organization organizations are loudly beating the drums of war. But if war – or, more precisely, a massive aerial assault – happens, forget Special Forces, Navy Seals, Top Guns. The assualt extraordinary complex. Success is far from guaranteed. All of us of certain age have too often heard the golden promises of the generals only to discover that what’s been won is no more than pyrite.

    Dr. Fein concluded his article by saying: “In that, I have a distinct advantage over my friends in Israel, whose press cannot easily discuss these matters, whose public cannot debate them. My best guess: The proposal I have here outlined will have no echo whatever in the Israeli political establishment or in the Israeli press. If, by some fluke, it does, it will only be to dismiss it as naïve. And I am bound to confess: It may be naïve. But explaining why it is naive, and thereby delving into other options Israel has, are surely worthy goals”.

    That does prove Professor Daniel Bar-Tal’s (Tel Aviv University) 2009 study – that most of Israelis prefer to live in self-denial.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/jewish-scholar-how-to-neutralize-iran-without-a-war/

  303. Karl says:

    James

    First we have to establish 1. Who said its to much? 2. Too much for what purpose?

  304. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Do you think it necessary to have a 20-year supply? 30-year? 40?

  305. Karl says:

    James,
    But who thinks it too much and why? Have those who claimed such asked Iran for example?

  306. kooshy says:

    With regard to current oil price for the Eurozone countries one fact that often is overlooked or analyst prefer not to mention is, that when the price of oil was it at its highest in 2008

    Cost of each barrel of oil in euro was close to current price

    2008 – $ 147.00/PB = 95.47 euro per barrel in 2008 exchange rate
    Today- $125.60 /PB = 93.40 euro per barrel in current exchange rate

    The spread in euro is less than 2 euro while the spread in US currency is over $22 meaning the current price of oil has a lot more impact in euro zone than it does in US, or Europeans are paying almost similar price now to what they paid back in 08 while their economy was not yet as much in reassign as it is today

  307. James Canning says:

    I recommend Phil Weiss (Feb. 26th): “Surprise – - courageous Elizabeth Warren is craven on Israel lobby”:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/surprise-courageous-elizabeth-warren-is-craven-on-israel-lobby.html

    Quote: “Warren is ‘as PEP as theuy come (Progressive except Palestine).’”

  308. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I had missed your question. Thanks for the reminder.

  309. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Is “too much” 20% U something in the eye of the beholder? Clearly Iran already has enough to fabricate fuel plates to operate TRR for next 20 years.

  310. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Yes, Khamenei has made it clear Iran does not intend to build nukes. At least at this time. But FYI likes to point out that Khamenei can be replaced by someone with a different point of view.

  311. James Canning says:

    RS Hack,

    Re: “Washington” thinking odds of Israeli attack on Iran are highter than the odds figured by oil traders. A friend of mine who flew support missions during the Gulf War told me yesterday Israeli jets wanted to attack Baghdad and were in the air, but the US refused to give the code needed that day (to avoid being shot down by US). So Israel was unable to attack. (Add’l factor was deployment of Patriot missiles to Tel aviv, etcc.)

  312. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    There may be something in the notion that quietening things down with Iran will help to lower oil prices. Airlines get hurt, even bankrupted, if oil prices surge and they are not hedged properly.

  313. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Joby Warrick is correct that the IAEA reported Iran had trebled production of 20% uranium in recent months. Note should have been made that Iran announced its intention to treble production, last June.

  314. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    I also figured that Kissinger would only make comments of that gravity, when speaking with a reporter from a major newspaper, magazine, or other media.

  315. kooshy says:

    Joby Warrick Could Probably Become A Journalist

    “Someone up in the U.S. intelligence services has ordered to stop the current nuclear Iran frenzy.”

    “But it is not only probable but certain that Jody Warrick would need to take additional steps before being able to produce actual journalism.”

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/

  316. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    I thought the comments attributed to Henry A. Kissinger by “Alfred Heintz” were highly unlikely. And I figured that if Kissinger had in fact made those comments, they would have been repeated in newspapers etc all around the world by now. It had to have been a parody.

  317. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Abe Foxman of Anti-Defamation League worries that Israel will fail, if Israel keeps the West Bank. And Foxman worries about Israel, if Israel gets out of the West Bank.

  318. k_w says:

    On http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/iran-uranium-discrepancy-still-unresolved-iaea

    we read this:

    ——- 8< ——–

    In discussions with Iran this month about the discrepancy at the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory (JHL), the IAEA said it had requested access to records and staff involved in uranium metal conversion experiments from 1995 to 2002.

    "Iran indicated that it no longer possessed the relevant documentation and that the personnel involved were no longer available," the U.N. agency's report said.

    URANIUM ANALYSIS

    The IAEA said Iran had suggested the discrepancy may have been caused by a higher amount of uranium in the waste than had been measured by the U.N. inspectors.

    "In light of this, Iran has offered to process all of the waste material and to extract the uranium contained therein," it said. The IAEA said it had also begun taking additional analysis samples of the material involved.

    ——– 8< ——–

    This might debunk my theory :-).

  319. k_w says:

    RSH,

    is it possible that the Iranians are not capable of producing 19,75% uranium but claim to do so to build up pressure in order to get the stuff from abroad? When I first heard about this enrichment stage I was sure that there would be uranium missing from the TRR that would be used to present a fake result. Do you think this is possible?

  320. Fiorangela says:

    The Book of Esther

    Esther is the book in the TaNaKh that is the basis for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

    In 2007 Slate journalist David Plotz, acknowledging that he had never read the Jewish bible, blogged the Old Testament, one book at a time, on Slate’s website. Linked is his review of Esther.

    The book of Esther is so particularly distressing — to me, but not to many ‘Christians’ — because it is diametrically opposed to the verifiable facts of the history of relations between Persians and Jews. One would have to willfully suspend rational thinking to refrain from asking the question, “What other “facts” of history have been similarly distorted and ghoulishly celebrated for self-aggrandizing
    purposes?
    Plotz’s commentary on Esther continues the agenda of distorting the historical record, not least in his comment that

    “The story of Esther turns out to be a lesson in the virtue of diversity over sameness.

    But permit me to include the context that Plotz wrote immediately before he drew the moral conclusion noted above; here are Plotz’s words:

    “From Persia to Spain to the United States, Jews have always set ourselves apart from the societies where we live, following our own customs and laws (though also the laws of the host nation, too). That separation is what has allowed Jews to maintain their faith and culture through 2,500 years of diaspora. The question, of course, is what conclusion you should draw from that separation. In places with wise rulers, leaders recognized that Jewish separation posed no threat, because Jews contributed so much to the nation. But in other places, rulers exploited Jewish separateness as a threat and an opportunity. Jews could be scapegoated and attacked, and their difference treated as a menace to what should be a homogenous society. (See Inquisition Spain, or Nazi Germany.) The story of Esther turns out to be a lesson in the virtue of diversity over sameness. “

    END QUOTE

    Plotz has a serious problem with time frames. Esther was written in and about Persia in the time when, according to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Persian people were asked to contribute their gold and treasure to support the Jewish people, and they did. Moreover, as Ezra records, following counsel with Jeremiah, Cyrus proclaimed that he, Cyrus, would
    “build [Yahweh] a temple in Jerusalem. . .Whoever there is among you of all his people . . .let him go up to Jerusalem.”
    But fewer than half of the Jewish exiles in Babylon and the Persian empire returned to Jerusalem actually returned to Jerusalem; the majority remained in Babylon and Persia.

    Esther was written in the era of the Persian empire, the most diverse empire in history, which granted autonomy to all groups within its realm; Persians did not need lessons from Esther on how to be “diverse.”

    On the other hand, Elijah destroyed 450 priests of the gods of another people. Somebody needs a lesson in respecting diversity, but it’s not Iranians.

    Esther was written at least two millenia before the Nazi party governed Germany, and Germany before and during the Nazi era DID respect the “diversity” of the Jewish people, up until the time that “international Jewry” organized to “boycott” Germany with the intent of starving the German people and destroying their economy.

    Yesterday a friend and I enjoyed a simulcast of Metropolitan Opera’s live performance of Verdi’s “Ernani.” The story line is a romantic triangle set in the politics of Aragon and Castile in the 16th century. The aging Count Silva; the soon-to-be-Holy Roman Emperor Charles V; and Ernani– who is really Don Juan of Aragon, who has lost his title & everything else in war and has assumed the guise of a brigand, are all in love with Elvira. Elvira loves only Ernani, the robber-brigand. The theme that marks each of the relationships is loyalty and honor: Each character is called upon to choose between either satisfaction of his/her worldly desires, or honor. For example, Ernani must choose between marrying his beloved Elvira or taking his own life, as he had pledged on his word of honor he would do.

    In the dark of the theatre I scrawled on my libretto, “contrast Esther and Elvira.”

    I don’t know if any other mythology, or actually, dramatized history, of any culture in the world, perpetuates and celebrates a story quite like Esther.

  321. Rehmat says:

    Lobby: ‘Harvard wants to eliminate Israel’

    Interetingly, Harvard University’s current President Dr. Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust (her second husband, professor Charles E. Rosenberg, is Jewish), past President Dr. Lawrence H. Summers (2001-2006) was Jewish and so was his predecessor, Dr. Neil Rudenstine (1991-2001)……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/lobby-harvard-wants-to-eliminate-israel/

  322. Re: Rd. (February 25, at 11:06 am) Persia and the Jews says:

    Rd. says: February 25, 2012 at 11:06 am
    beware of the cylinder
    Today’s TEDTalk: Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through a single object, the Cyrus Cylinder.
    :http://www.ted.com/talks/neil_macgregor_2600_years_of_history_in_one_object.html

    The link is to the cover of the latest issue of the Swedish magazine “Judisk Krönika” (Jewish Chronicle):
    .. http://www.judiskkronika.se/

    The English translation of the text on the cover is roughly:
    The Purim tradition: A classic “feel good” tale whose message “we will survive our enemies” warms the heart of a people that throughout its history have confronted Haman in different shapes.

    “Feel good” about “pre-emptively” mass-murdering Persians (albeit a morbid fantasy of theirs)?? The frightening thing is that this “people” itch to act out this fantasy. Look at the cover: whips, knives and “rattles”! Is THIS “rational”??

  323. yemi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 26, 2012 at 3:37 am

    “Iran can’t win that game.”

    They will 100% win any game the IAEA or west is trying to play with them!

    WHY?

    Because if nuclear materials gone missing does it means you have diverted them to produce nuclear weapons within that short duration of time. And nuclear material gone missing is different from nuclear warhead gone missing…Do you think the Iranians are so daft that they wouldn’t know the answer to give in that respect.

    I am so wondering that over the time you try to perfectly believe in any materials/reports you scoop out from web when it comes to anti-Iran issues. And you know truly that it is just them against the Evil westerners that can manipulate anything against them.

    Meanwhile, since you believe every analysis should be objective as much as possible which is true but what of if we are being presented here with false supporting documents/reports that you called facts.

    At the same time i have read many of your comments and i tend to see that you try to present some analyses/reports/documents that supports Iranians stance and again you try to present MANY analyses/reports/documents against the stance to support the justifications of your ever-proclaiming war on Iran.

    And again you always call the people that against your views to be emotional BUT from what i can discern you are a gun-happy type that believe and want to see a Bully “goliathly” taken over another country showing its might! And when you quite know either you believe or not that falsehood cannot triumph over the truth and which is why they cannot win and NOTHING will ever happens to IRAN.

    Thanks.

  324. yemi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 26, 2012 at 3:37 am

    “Iran can’t win that game.”

    They will 100% win any game the IAEA or west is trying to play with them!

  325. Damn it, forget to neuter the links…

    Arnold: “I’m 99.9999% certain that whatever this is about, it is not safeguarded uranium.”

    The problem is the words “unaccounted for” which implies that it was being observed by the IAEA then it disappeared. That would imply that it was part of the declared nuclear materials the IAEA was monitoring, even if it was not enriched material.

    I just found some more details in this article:

    UN report heightens Iran nuclear fears
    :http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/24/iran-nuclear-fears-un-report

    Quote

    The IAEA also said it had not received a satisfactory explanation of how 20kg of uranium metal had gone missing from an Iranian research laboratory.

    Inspectors noticed its absence during an audit last August. When they tried to investigate in recent weeks, “Iran indicated that it no longer possessed relevant documentation and that the personnel involved were no longer available”, the report said.

    Some western government analysts believe the missing uranium metal could have been used to test the explosive components of a nuclear warheads.

    End Quote

    I also found a reference to 20kg of uranium metal in the following extract from a book on Iran’s laser experiments:

    Focusing on Iran’s Laser Enrichment Program
    :http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CFIQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranwatch.org%2Fprivateviews%2FFirst%2520Watch%2Fperspex-fwi-Laser.pdf&ei=COZJT-PUDamOigLww_DaDQ&usg=AFQjCNGXnoJ50YFBwAjayrQKbkqmcmh59g&sig2=TCk65pRW2LSiaRUbEKBWEQ

    Quote

    In 1993, the supplier that helped establish both the LSL and CSL also provided Iran with 50kg of natural uranium metal. Based on the best available information from the IAEA reports to date, Iran conducted at least two sets of experiments with this uranium. The first round at TNRC involved 8kg. It has not been reported exactly when this experimentation took place but the June 2004 IAEA report implies some time during the 1990s. The second set of experiments employed 22kg of the uranium metal and occurred from October 2002 to January 2003 at the Lashkar Ab’ad facility. It is not known if Iran experimented with the remaining 20kg or may have placed it at the
    radioactive waste storage facility in Karaj along with the other quantities of
    uranium metal.

    End Quote

    If that is the SAME 20kg of uranium metal, then again we’re talking about events that occurred WAY BACK in the 1990’s!

    If that’s true, clearly the IAEA is scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to charge Iran with…

    On the other hand, it might refer to this incident referred to in this IAEA report:
    :http://iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iaeairan/bog112011-65.pdf

    Quote

    “In August 2011, the Agency carried out a PIV at the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory (JHL) to verify, inter alia, nuclear material, in the form of natural uranium metal and process waste, related to the conversion experiments carried out by Iran between 1995 and 2002. The Agency’s measurement of this material was 19.8 kg less than the operator’s declaration of 270.7 kg. In a letter dated 2 November 2011, Iran provided additional information on this matter. The Agency is working with Iran to try to resolve this discrepancy.”

    End Quote

    That DOES seem to refer to the uranium metal used in the laser experiments back in the 1990’s.

    It’s beginning to look to me that these recent IAEA meetings were nothing more than a “setup” to allow the IAEA to produce another “damning report” (which is due March 5).

    For instance, the Guardian piece says the IAEA team presented Iran with a list of 65 items concerning alleged military dimensions. Iran returned with 65 “nos” according to a diplomat, saying it was all fabricated.

    Clearly this is the same crap the IAEA has been pulling for years now: present a list of “issues” fabricated by Mossad, without presenting ANY source material or anything Iran can prove is false, then when Iran says none of it is true, the IAEA sits back and says “Iran provided no evidence that this stuff is false” and bingo, we have another “damning report.”

    Iran can’t win that game.

  326. Arnold Evans says:

    Richard:

    Anyone know what this is about:

    “The IAEA said Iran also failed to explain properly what happened to around 20 kilograms of uranium metal that the agency says are unaccounted for and which it suspects could have been used in weapons work.”

    I’ve never heard of that before. Is that in the early days or recently? Is the IAEA making up stuff now?

    When I first read this what came to mind was that it is uranium that is not enriched or required to be safeguarded, but that Iran could use for experiments in metal-working – for example to make plates.

    That phrase “used in weapons work” is typically ominous but not meaningful. We’ll read in the next IAEA report if there is any evidence that safeguarded material has been diverted. I’m 99.9999% certain that whatever this is about, it is not safeguarded uranium.

  327. Dan Cooper says:

    James Canning says:
    February 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    It was sent to me by email. I cannot guarantee its authenticity.

    Having read the article again, has put some doubts in my mind.

    What prompts you to ask that question?

  328. Pirouz: “That means a potential war with Iran will come with a price tag of $7 to $9 a gallon, instead of the $6 to $8 we were previously calculating.”

    My suspicion is it will go to over $10/gallon and could go as high as $20/gallon if Iran succeeds in hitting enough of the Saudi oil fields somehow to reduce production OR really does manage to close the Strait for a sufficient time. With an expected oil price of $250/barrel, I don’t think $6-8/gallon is realistic – especially since the whole point is for the oil companies to use it as an excuse to jack up prices even higher.

    Supposedly the rule of thumb is that each $1.00 rise in a barrel of oil price results in a 3.2-cent rise in a gallon of gasoline price. So $200 oil would equal $6.00-plus gasoline. I think that’s too conservative if both the war effects and the oil companies also start holding back BOTH production AND deliveries to refineries as they allegedly did in the oil crisis back in the ’70′s. I think that rule of thumb only applies in “non-crisis” situations where no one is manipulating things too much.

    Also as the war continues, the odds are that oil production will go lower and REMAIN lower for several years, thus increasing the price over time. This might be offset by the economic effects of the high oil prices causing demand to fall over time as well. But initially I think $10/gallon is very reasonable to predict.

    Basically what I see as the “rule” is that we’re at say $10 over $100 and gas is approaching $5. So that’s FIVE PERCENT of the cost of a barrel or so. At $250/barrel, five percent is $12.50 a gallon. So I think $10/gallon will be easy to reach, if not $20.

    Best to assume the worst case will be worse than one imagines. Say $400/barrel, which would be $20/gallon.

  329. Castellio says:

    “Watching the United States stumble from one bad policy into another over the 10 years of the Afghan war, one went through a whole gamut of emotions ─ bemusement, puzzlement, anger, sorrow ─ but ending up with bewilderment overpowering the others. How could this great empire, with all the resources of knowledge, experience, intellect, research and analysis at its command, get it so consistently wrong? How could this “greatest democracy in the world” allow special interests to take over its policy-making to the grave detriment of the true interests of the country and its people?

    Part of the answer was provided by Andrew Bacevich in a recent article. He wrote: “Strategy is a quintessential American Century word, ostensibly connoting knowingness and sophistication. Whether working in the White House, the State Department, or the Pentagon, strategists promote the notion that they can anticipate the future and manage its course …… Strategy is actually a fraud perpetrated by those who covet power and are intent on concealing from the plain folk the fact that the people in charge are flying blind”.

    Another part of the answer comes from what happened to Bacevich. A former army officer, now a professor of history and international relations, he is one of the sanest people in America writing about current affairs. In recognition of that his writings were always welcome on the OpEd pages of the principal newspapers and in periodicals ─ until he started pointing out the folly in many of the policies being pursued by the US. He was then dropped like a brick. The only ‘experts’ who are now featured in both the MSM and scholarly journals are those who push the reigning narrative. Presumably, they are the only ones now read or heard in the corridors of power.”

    From: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2012/02/afghanistan-reality-and-the-way-out-fb-ali.html

    FB Ali’s thoughts on the future of Afghanistan

  330. Pirouz says:

    I paid $4.58 a gallon for fuel today.

    Yesterday, Obama said he had no silver bullet for the price of gas. It hasn’t occurred to any journalist to call him on the fact that reduced tensions with Iran would have prevented this rise in gas prices, in the first place.

    It is frustrating putting up with such a lame news media. Oh well, gas is going to cost five bucks this summer, and there’s nothing we ordinary Americans can do about it.

    That means a potential war with Iran will come with a price tag of $7 to $9 a gallon, instead of the $6 to $8 we were previously calculating.

  331. OFF-TOPIC – but very relevant to how the US public view the US MIC…

    Forgetting the Past, One Military Movie at a Time
    http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/12791/forgetting_the_past_one_military_movie_at_a_time

  332. US, Saudi maneuver to contain Iran oil market threat
    http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL2E8DO6X20120224?sp=true

    Reports on various measures the US and the Saudis are trying to cope with Iran stopping exports to various countries.

    Quote

    “It’s clear that Washington is holding its regular fire-drill on $4.00 gasoline. This means going through the laundry-list of policies they could use, including an SPR release,” said Bob McNally, a former White House energy adviser who now runs energy consultant Rapidan Group.

    “Iran is the added twist. The odds Washington places on an Israeli attack on Iran are higher than the odds given by the oil markets.”

    End Quote

  333. Israel leader tells ministers to stay mum on Iran
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501713_162-57384329/israel-leader-tells-ministers-to-stay-mum-on-iran/

    Netanyahu doesn’t want any leaks before his appearance before AIPAC.

  334. Retired general: U.S. can’t stop Iran from making nukes
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/24/retired-general-us-cant-stop-iran-making-nukes/

    It would be nice if these guys were knowledgeable enough and honest enough to note that Iran doesn’t HAVE a nuclear weapons program to delay…

  335. Another piece on a similar topic, citing similar events.

    Insinuation as War Propaganda
    http://blog.independent.org/2012/02/23/insinuation-as-war-propaganda/

    Quote

    If a war begins with Iran, it will largely be on the basis of propaganda believed by the public, propaganda that the government has never officially articulated. In the past, the U.S. thrived on outright lies for war: the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, Kuwaiti babies being ripped from incubators, and so forth. There has long been a fair share of unsubstantiated allegations involved behind major U.S. wars—the USS Maine being sunk by the Spanish, the Zimmerman Telegram posing an actual threat to the United States, the Serbians committing genocide of ethnic Albanians, killing many tens of thousands of civilians in the late 1990s, and so on.

    Yet today lies and unproven allegations are not enough. The U.S. warfare state appears to thrive on insinuation in its war propaganda. The U.S. war machine’s top brass never outright declare the most provocative claims about U.S. enemies. That way, when the war goes south and people begin accusing the political class of misleading them, the empire’s defenders can easily say (accurately in word if not in spirit): “Bush never claimed Saddam was behind 9/11! Obama never claimed Iran had nuclear weapons!”

    But don’t think for a moment that our rulers aren’t glad the American people believe what they do.

    End Quote

    This is even MORE reason to consider Eric’s claim the “influential people” could “somehow” make the US back off from war to be utter nonsense. As the article points out, at this point even the US CLAIMS are so vaguely worded that it doesn’t matter as long as the INSINUATION that Iran is some vague “threat” is enough to get a war started.

  336. Jacob Hornberger on the history of US “false flag” excuses for going to war.

    Don’t Northwoods Iran
    http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2012-02-24.asp

  337. Progressives Embrace Humanitarian Imperialism – Again
    DemocracyNow! Hosts a Non-debate on Syria
    http://original.antiwar.com/john-v-walsh/2012/02/24/progressives-embrace-humanitarian-imperialism-again/

    I read the transcript. He’s right.

    I also took apart Joshua Landis’ analysis of the situation in a recent post here.

  338. Syria unrest: Opposition seeks arms pledge
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17144805

    Quote

    “If the regime fails to accept the terms of the political initiative outlined by the Arab League and end violence against citizens, the Friends of Syria should not constrain individual countries from aiding the Syrian opposition by means of military advisers, training and provision of arms to defend themselves.”

    At least one other opposition group, the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC), is boycotting the meeting, saying it excludes some voices and leaves open the idea of military intervention, AFP news agency reports.

    Diplomats attending the conference say the UN will call for preparations to start an Arab/UN peacekeeping force for Syria, to assist with the political transition after the violence ends, the BBC’s Kim Ghattas reports from Tunis.

    The civilian police force would be deployed only in a “permissive” environment, under Chapter 6 of the UN charter.

    End Quote

    Yeah, right… Just another step along the path to a US/NATO air bombardment. No other option exists for the US and Israel to get what they want – a weakened Syria and Hizballah.

  339. Arya says:

    Oops..

    NYT:CIA found no move by IRAN to build bomb

    mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=917096&f=20

  340. You have to give Ayatollah Khamenei credit. You really can’t express it better than he did this week:

    “There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

    That’s about as clear as it gets. He’s unquestionably right and unquestionably truthful in that he really believes that – and that he knows the WEST KNOWS it’s true, too.

  341. Obama Commits to US Intervention in Syria
    US Can’t Be Bystander, President Insists
    http://news.antiwar.com/2012/02/24/obama-commits-to-us-intervention-in-syria/

    While the headline is overblown, Ditz is correct that the overall stance is one in favor of intervention, which will inevitably lead to military intervention since no other form is likely to be effective – not to mention from my viewpoint that no other form is even possible given the ultimate goal here.

  342. Jim Lobe, a long time NON-realist about the prospects of war, continues to grasp at straws…

    Despite War Drums, Experts Insist Iran Nuclear Deal Possible
    http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2012/02/24/despite-war-drums-experts-insist-iran-nuclear-deal-possible/

  343. Afro-Asia, Global South Reject Boycott of Iran
    http://www.juancole.com/2012/02/afro-asia-global-south-reject-boycott-of-iran.html

    Nice map explaining why the export sanctions won’t work… If you aren’t the US, Canada, the EU or Australia – basically you don’t give a shit…

  344. James Canning says:

    Good piece by Jeremy Hammend that you linked.

  345. ‘Major Differences’ with Iran on Nuclear Program – IAEA
    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2012/02/major-differences-with-iran-on-nuclear.html

    Quote

    The IAEA also said that Iran had tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to 20-percent purities since its last report in November. Iran was now producing around 14 kilograms of 20-percent uranium per month, with around 105 kilograms already stockpiled.

    End Quote

    Anyone know what this is about:

    “The IAEA said Iran also failed to explain properly what happened to around 20 kilograms of uranium metal that the agency says are unaccounted for and which it suspects could have been used in weapons work.”

    I’ve never heard of that before. Is that in the early days or recently? Is the IAEA making up stuff now?

  346. Foreign Policy’s Irresponsible Reporting on Iran’s Nuclear Program
    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/02/25/foreign-policys-irresponsible-reporting-on-irans-nuclear-program/

    Nice criticism of a poorly written Foreign Policy article.

    I posted a comment directing readers there to this site. Back me up, Eric, if you really think “influential people” need to know the truth! :-)

  347. France’s secret war against the Syrian people
    http://www.voltairenet.org/France-s-secret-war-against-the

    Quotes

    During the assault on the rebel stronghold in the Homs district of Bab Amr, the Syrian army took more than 1,500 prisoners, mostly foreigners. Of these, a dozen French nationals requested the status of prisoner of war, refusing to give their identity, rank and unit of assignment. One of them is a Colonel working for the DGSE transmission service.

    In arming the Wahhabi Legion and feeding it with satellite intelligence, France conducted a secret war against the Syrian army, which caused more than 3,000 deaths among the military, and more than 1,500 among civilians in ten months of fighting.

    This information was partially revealed by Thierry Meyssan during an appearance on the top Russian TV channel, on Monday, 13 February 2012, followed by an article published on Tuesday, the 14th, by Komsomolskaya Pravda and finally through a Voltaire Network TV video.

    France has sought Russia’s assistance to negotiate with Syria the release of its prisoners of war.

    Voltaire Network has found no evidence enabling it to confirm the allegations according to which 120 French nationals were taken prisoner in Zabadani. This rumor appears to be unfounded and, in any case, exaggerated.

    However, Voltaire Network questions the articles by French special correspondents in Homs which have been published in recent days: one week after the takeover of the rebel district, and with nothing but low intensity urban clashes still taking place, these reporters persist in depicting a fictional revolution scenario, obscuring the truth from their readers, thus making it possible for Alain Juppé to negotiate in secret the return of the POW’s.

    End Quotes

  348. Rehmat says:

    Canadian Mayor and journalist anger Israel Lobby

    I bet Mayor Gendron is not invited by Canada’s Israel-Firster prime minister Stephen Harper to dine with Israeli prime minister Benji Netanyahu on March 2 in Ottawa. Harper is a close ally of the Zionist regime against Iran. Harper told CBC last month: “Their statements imply to me no hesitation about using nuclear weapons if they see them achieving their religious or political purposes. And – I think that’s what makes this regime in Iran particularly dangerous“……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/canadian-mayor-and-journalist-anger-israel-lobby/

  349. Here we go again…

    Exclusive: State Department quietly warning region on Syrian WMDs
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/02/24/exclusive_state_department_quietly_warning_region_on_syrian_wmds

    Quote

    Syria is believed to have a substantial chemical weapons program, which includes mustard gas and sophisticated nerve agents, such as sarin gas, as well as biological weapons. Syria has also refused IAEA requests to make available facilities that were part of its nuclear weapons program and may still be in operation.

    Today, in response to inquiries from The Cable, a State Department official offered the following statement:

    “The U.S. and our allies are monitoring Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. These weapons’ presence in Syria undermines peace and security in the Middle East, and we have long called on the Syrian government to destroy its chemicals weapons arsenal and join the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the State Department official said. “We believe Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian government control, and we will continue to work closely with like-minded countries to prevent proliferation of Syria’s chemical weapons program.”

    End Quote

    If you can’t get ‘em on “humanitarian grounds”, go right back to “WMDs”… After all, Israel bombed a “nuclear plant” in Syria, right? (Of course not, zero evidence again – but who cares, right, as long as the MSM spin in correct?)

  350. Karl: “The Mousavi-case, could that be verified by another source?”

    Don’t know – that reference was the first I’d heard of it.

    Ah, here we go, a LA Times piece from September 5, 2011:

    Iran offers new nuclear deal
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/05/world/la-fg-iran-nuclear-20110906

    Quote

    Iran offered on Monday to open its nuclear program to five years of “full supervision” by the U.N. atomic energy agency if the world body lifts its sanctions, but made clear that it would forge ahead with its programs for uranium enrichment regardless.

    “By lifting the U.N. sanctions … the International Atomic Energy Agency can have full supervision over Iran’s nuclear work for five years,” Abbasi told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.

    In the city of Qom, Iranian security analyst Mojtaba Bigdeli said Monday that Iran was trying to show the “transparency” of its nuclear programs.

    “So it is high time for Western countries to stop their stubborn stance and grasp the golden opportunity provided by Iran’s goodwill,” Bigdeli said.

    End Quote

    So, yes, it is second sourced beyond Mousavi.

  351. Eric: Once again, in case you missed it, I’d like you to check out the international law arguments regarding what constitutes an acceptable form of state “retaliation” or “countermeasure” under international law when a member of a treaty is allegedly found in breach of that treaty to which others must adhere.

    This is in reference to my post on February 25, 2012 at 7:10 am below.

    This goes to the legal legitimacy of a state imposing unilateral sanctions on another state when the other state is allegedly in breach of a treaty adhered to by both states. Because if those sanctions are not appropriate countermeasures under international law, then the US is in breach of international law in imposing sanctions on Iran.

    Not that it matters to the external reality, of course, but I’m just wondering if you had any legal comment on the legal arguments invoked in the articles I referenced in my post.

  352. Karl says:

    Richard,

    The Mousavi-case, could that be verified by another source?

  353. “Note the expected (by US-EU planners) for full pain of sanctions: 18 months from now – late Summer of 2013.”

    That gives them time to get rid of Syria and Lebanon – assuming they work it right, which is not certain they will.

    I’d say the time table is pretty clear. Once the oil export and other sanctions have failed, and the new US President has time to get his act together (whether it’s a re-elected Obama or someone else) than the push for a naval blockade will begin sometime in 2013. Depending on how long it takes to get set up – and right now they have plenty of ships there to enable it, so it depends on whether the same level of naval power is there at that time or how long it takes to assemble it again if it is not – we should get an Iran war sometime in late 2013 or perhaps sometime in 2014.

    No guarantees made, of course, but that timing seems reasonable.

  354. Karl: “While I really appreciate a review from you how to (I suppose) on how read the law/paragraphs, arent you too picky though when it comes to reality, facts on the ground?”

    Eric will speak for himself, but I do agree with him that it’s important to have your legal ducks in a row, even if you’re up against a corrupt “judiciary”. If you’re wrong, it’s too easy for them to fixate on that and defeat you. Might as well make them work for it…

    “In what case according to you could the IAEA possibly enter Parchin since it cannot or isnt possible through the Additional protocol?”

    Simple: Iran lets them do it anyway, as they did the two times the IAEA DID visit Parchin. If the deal I referenced in an earlier thread had come about, I suspect Iran would have let them see that steel tank, even if it was not relevant to the nuclear program and even if it was related to military activity. I think Iran would calculate that whatever the IAEA learned – and more importantly, passed on to the CIA – from that tank would not materially change the strategic balance, and the PR for allowing them to do so would be worth it.

    But ONLY if by adhering to the AP – or voluntarily allowing AP-level inspections without the AP, as they did for 2.5 years earlier – they managed to get some REAL benefit from it other than just PR.

    Because the PR goes no where if the the West’s MSM spins it negatively – which it always will as long as the MSM is following the government’s lead. And even the IAEA spun that tank incorrectly, as former IAEA inspector Robert Kelly explicitly said.

    But if Iran got a real legal and economic benefit such as some of the sanctions lifted, it might be worth it to Iran to do that.

    But it’s not going to happen. We are well past that sort of deal. Only if the US is seriously willing to walk back its hostility could something like that happen now. And there is ZERO evidence of that. Look at the deal Mousavi said Iran offered just a few months ago – full implementation of the AP and full transparency for five years – IF the sanctions were lifted. The US ignored that.

  355. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Was the piece by Alfred Heintz you linked, satire? (A joke of sorts)

  356. Humanist: “in my view Netanyahu is a bit more than that. Just watch the following video showing how ‘articulate’ he was when he was 28 years old.”

    Articulateness is not important. We have dumb speaking front men like George Dubya and slick talking front men like Obama. What matters is whether they have the power on their on or whether they need rich supporters to get where they are.

    Most politicians these days who aren’t as independently wealthy as those persons who are running large corporations or banks or are members of wealthy families are just front men. It doesn’t matter if a politician like McCain, who married into wealth, has that amount of wealth, say, a few million. What matters are those people who are controlling billion-dollar corporations.

    Obama is a perfect example. He didn’t come from a wealthy family. He required the support of the Crown and Pritzker families in Chicago to get where he is today. Without them he’d be just another token black politician in Chicago, no matter how slick he talks.

    “Next time I’ll make sure I write my comments when, metaphorically, I am not high.”

    That usually helps… :-) I wonder if Dr. Tim Leary, one of my muses, wrote most of his stuff that way.

    “When you use harsh words like ‘crap’ tell the readers WHY it is a crap.”

    I do. I only use a term like that when I’ve ALREADY explained the reasoning behind it over and over in previous threads or the current thread and yet the person I’m arguing with has ignored my points and is just repeating himself yet again. Eric has been very guilty of this behavior over his AP “crap”.

    At some point you just have to dismiss crap as crap, especially when the opponent’s sole strategy is to force you to repeat yourself over and over. The tactic is just repetition of one’s points until enough people buy into it. If you can’t beat ‘em, try to slip by them… It’s intellectually dishonest and irritates me. It’s a politician’s trick and most politicians are lawyers, so that’s probably why Eric uses that tactic.

    I give Eric much credit for being good at using his legal training to analyze things like the legal requirements of the NPT or the Safeguards Agreement, as he has done in this thread. It’s when he resorts to lawyer’s debating tricks instead of dealing directly with a criticism that I get irritated.

    Intellectual integrity and a clear perception of reality is something I have tried to adhere to all my life and it is very important to me, mostly because it is so very rare in humans.

  357. James,

    “I think the British have been trying to draw the same distinction, to lessen tensions. They do not want war simply because Iran is producing too much 20% uranium.”

    As Ronald Reagan liked to say in campaign debates: “There you go again.”

  358. Karl says:

    James,

    “too much” uranium according to who? And maybe most interesting, according to what premises is it too much?

  359. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I think the British have been trying to draw the same distinction, to lessen tensions. They do not want war simply because Iran is producing too much 20% uranium.

  360. Karl,

    “You mean that, when BOG send its file on Iran to UNSC that this is not according to what the law says?”

    I should clarify my earlier response. Clearly the IAEA Board may “report” Iran to the UNSC – any time it feels like doing so, as the IAEA/UN cooperation agreements make clear. And just as clearly, if that happens (or even if it doesn’t happen), the UNSC has authority to take action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if — but only if (which has never happened) — the UNSC determines that Iran’s nuclear program is a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.”

    What is NOT the case, however, is that the IAEA Board’s “referral” of Iran to the UNSC any authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. It does not. Nor does that referral increase the potential penalties under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Nor does it authorize the UNSC to direct the IAEA to take any action (and, if you read the UNSC’s Iran Resolutions carefully, you’ll notice the UNSC has never actually done so). All that the “referral” accomplishes is what it was intended to accomplish: it puts the UNSC on notice that (in the IAEA’s view) reasons may exist for the UNSC to consider whether Iran’s nuclear program is a “Peace Threat.” It doesn’t eliminate the requirement that the UNSC determine whether Iran’s nuclear program in fact is a “Peace Threat,” nor does it give the UNSC any powers it did not already have. The UNSC’s powers, before and after such a referral, are whatever they are stated to be in the UN Charter, and those powers, before and after such a referral, do not include any authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement — nor to do anything else, for that matter, unless and until the UNSC determines that Iran’s nuclear program is a “Peace Threat” — a condition that must be satisfied before any UNSC powers arise under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

  361. James,

    “I think the NYT article helps make the case for not attacking Iran…”

    It doesn’t hurt, I agree. But the shifting of the red line from “developing a nuclear weapon” to “nuclear capability,” coupled with arguments that there is not much difference between the two (including even absurd “a bomb in one week” arguments such as that put forth by Patrick Clawson) considerably reduces the impact of that article.

  362. Karl,

    “You mean that, when BOG send its file on Iran to UNSC that this is not according to what the law says?”

    Correct. That is what I mean.

  363. James,

    “How do you explain the offices of the IAEA at the UN in New York and in Geneva?”

    I suggest you take a look at the IAEA/UN cooperation agreements.

  364. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I think the NYT article helps make the case for not attacking Iran even though Iran is enriching more 20% U than needed to fuel the TRR, etc etc.

  365. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Re: today’s NYT article. I think the effort is to lessen tensions by distinguishing between Iran’s being able to pursue nuclear weapons more quickly, and Iran’s actually being the process of building nukes (or getting ready to build them). This is a good thing.

  366. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    How do you explain the offices of the IAEA at the UN in New York and in Geneva?

  367. James Canning says:

    Those who read today’s story on the front page of The New York Times, about Iran’s nuclear programme and the related dispute, should notice that it does not mention Iran’s offer last September to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent. One unnamed Europaean official is quoted as saying Iran has enough 20% U now to operate the TRR for 22 years.

  368. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    Part of the IAEA is the BOG ties to UNSC which in fact have imposed sanctions due alleged non compliance by Iran. You mean that, when BOG send its file on Iran to UNSC that this is not according to what the law says?

  369. Karl asks,

    “In what case according to you could the IAEA possibly enter Parchin since it cannot or isnt possible through the Additional protocol?”

    Cyrus answered that question well yesterday. Essentially, the IAEA staff must present evidence to the IAEA Board that supports its suspicion that “nuclear material” is present at Parchin. If the IAEA Board agrees that a sufficient case has been made (which has never happened), the IAEA Board can grant special permission for an inspection of Parchin. If Iran thereupon objects, Iran’s Safeguards Agreement calls for the IAEA and Iran to work out some arrangement under which the IAEA can get the information it’s entitled to get under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement without unnecessarily intruding on Iran’s right to protect its confidential information. Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and the Additional Protocol, are chock-full of provisions highlighting the importance of the IAEA being sensitive to a country’s natural desire to protect its confidential information.

    Bear in mind that Iran’s recent refusal to allow an inspection of Parchin did NOT follow the procedure I just summarized. There is nothing wrong, of course, with the IAEA simply asking Iran, informally, whether it will allow the IAEA to visit Parchin. But if the IAEA takes this informal approach, there is nothing wrong with Iran — “informally” but firmly — saying “no.”

    The IAEA staff is always free, of course, to follow the procedure outlined above to get access to Parchin. The very fact that it has not done so should suggest to you that it does not believe it has any right to visit Parchin. As Cyrus pointed out, even if Iran were to adopt and implement the Additional Protocol, that would still remain true.

  370. Karl asks:

    “How is IAEA not a part of the UN?”

    Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to ask another: “Is the Cedar Rapids, Iowa city council part of the UN?”

    The point is simple: To be “part of the UN,” or part of anything, somewhere it must be written that that is the case. It is not so merely because people believe it’s so, nor because many people find this mistaken belief useful because it transforms the IAEA into a “step-and-fetch-it” enforcement arm of the UN Security Council, authorized and directed to do whatever the Security Council decides it ought to do.

    What the IAEA is (and is not) is quite clear in the IAEA Statute, which says nothing about it’s being “part of the UN.” Nor do any of the “cooperation” agreements between the IAEA and the UN. Though they call, as they should, for various specific forms of cooperation, and general cooperation, they also make clear that the two organizations are separate. Each has its own exclusive authority. Neither body can order the other body to do anything, nor can it take it upon itself to do what only the other body is authorized to do. Even if that other body does not object to such over-stepping, the countries that are subject to that other body’s authority have a right to complain when this occurs, since they never agreed to that.

    The UN Security Council is granted certain powers under the UN Charter. Those powers do not include any authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguard Agreement. If the Security Council ever determines that Iran’s nuclear program is a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression,” which it has never done, then it will have broad powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter — not under Iran’s Safeguard Agreement, even then — to take punitive actions against Iran.

    But not until then. Until then, only the IAEA has authority over Iran’s nuclear program, under Iran’s Safeguard Agreement. Even after the IAEA “reports” Iran to the Security Council, as it has done — even after that — only the IAEA will have authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguard Agreement, and the only remedies it will have available to do so are those remedies specified in Iran’s Safeguards Agreement (which do include a few remedies stated in the IAEA Statute, incorporated by reference in Iran’s Safeguards Agreement).

    That’s all that Iran (or any other country) signs up for when it signs a Safeguard Agreement. It doesn’t give the IAEA carte blanche to give carte blanche to the UN Security Council to impose whatever additional penalties might come to mind. The IAEA’s powers are not enhanced, nor assigned to the UN Security Council, when the IAEA “refers” a country to the UN Security Council. The IAEA’s powers remain the same, and remain exclusive and non-assignable. The UN Security Council’s powers also remain the same, and also remain exclusive and non-assignable. The IAEA’s powers come from Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. The UN Security Council’s powers come from the UN Charter. Period.

    While I recognize this comes as news to many people, it is not at all ambiguous to anyone who takes the time to read the documents that created the IAEA and UN Security Council, and to lay out their respective authorities and their relationship with one another. Those who are pleased that the UN Security Councils’ “Iran Resolutions” have been almost universally accepted as valid and binding are equally pleased that very few people bother to do this.

  371. fyi says:

    All:

    The International Crisis Group Report on Iran nuclear file and recommendations for the way forward

    http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iran%20Gulf/Iran/116-in-heavy-waters-irans-nuclear-program-the-risk-of-war-and-lessons-from-turkey.pdf

    Note the expected (by US-EU planners) for full pain of sanctions: 18 months from now – late Summer of 2013.

  372. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    Netanyahu is indeed a good speaker and with that comes a good charlatan. Watching the old clip it almost seems that hes playing a game or a role in movie, I bet hes training alot in front of the mirror and know that propaganda and rhetoric is vital.

  373. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    While I really appreciate a review from you how to (I suppose) on how read the law/paragraphs, arent you too picky though when it comes to reality, facts on the ground?

    Governments, even IAEA will never do such a thorough analysis and review of what their own paragraphs say. They have, maybe like myself a much more simplified view of the Additional protocol and view it, like myself, that Iran have to show such sites as Parchin, unless Iran want to keep getting “While we cant guarantee undeclared sites in Iran…” statements by IAEA and keep getting sanctions.

    I got two questions for you.

    In what case according to you could the IAEA possibly enter Parchin since it cannot or isnt possible through the Additional protocol?

    How is IAEA not a part of the UN? It was started through the UN and is the only organ that could impose sanctions and de facto enforce states to comply with the NPT.

  374. Humanist says:
    February 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    That video of the 1977 debate between Benjamin Netanyahu and Fouad Ajami indeed was interesting. It’s hard to deny that Netanyahu (who then went by “Ben Nitay”) was quite articulate. Ajami, however considerable his other talents may be, clearly was no match for Netanyahu in that debate.

    To his credit, though, Ajami nonetheless did hammer away on one weak point in Netanyahu’s argument. Netanyahu had said, unambiguously, that he favored full human and political rights for Palestinians living in Israel, or (and here is the key part) wherever they might live in whatever state or states were established in a “final settlement” of the Israel/Palestine dispute. Ajami saw his opening and pressed Netanyahu to say whether he really meant this with respect to the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu belatedly tried to narrow his focus back to Israel proper, but Ajami would not let him. And so Netanyahu ultimately, to his credit, confirmed — twice — that indeed he would favor full human and political rights (including the right to vote) for Palestinians in whatever state or states emerged from a “final settlement.”

    It’s worth noting that he first gave this confirmation after pointing out that recent population figures indicated to him that the Arab birth rate was declining sharply. A bit later, though, perhaps concerned that his audience might conclude that his approval of Palestinian voting rights was conditional on his expectation that they would remain a minority, he confirmed his belief that the Biblical directive to “go forth and multiply” applied fully to Palestinians, and that his approval of their right to vote would not depend on how many of them there might be.

    Correct me if I’m misinterpreting this, but if the “final settlement” (assuming one ever occurs) amounts to a “one-state solution,” hasn’t Netanyahu committed to allowing the Palestinians full voting rights in that “one state,” even if Palestinians outnumber Jews? If I’ve interpreted correctly what Netanyahu said in that 1977 debate, does he still believe this today?

    If I have this right, that would appear to rule out a one-state solution for Netanyahu. He’s made abundantly clear (and did also in this debate) that he doesn’t think much of a two-state solution either. That would leave, it appears to me, a no-state solution for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaze. In other words, what we have today.

  375. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/world/middleeast/us-agencies-see-no-move-by-iran-to-build-a-bomb.html?ref=global-home

    James,

    You mentioned the New York Times article cited above, which reports skepticism in the US intelligence commnunity that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb. I agree the article is helpful, but I don’t think it will do much to slow down those who are pressing for a US attack on Iran.

    Consider this key passage in the article:

    “In Senate testimony on Jan. 31, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, stated explicitly that American officials believe that Iran is preserving its options for a nuclear weapon, but said there was no evidence that it had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon. David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director, concurred with that view at the same hearing. Other senior United States officials, including Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have made similar statements in recent television appearances.

    ‘They are certainly moving on that path, but we don’t believe they have actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon,’ Mr. Clapper told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.”

    This might matter a great deal if the acknowledged “red line” remained today where it was a year ago: evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb. But the “red line” has been moved by nearly everyone pressing for an attack – back to mere “nuclear capability” (where, I acknowledge, the line has been for a long time for the more zealous war-mongers). That new red line is phrased differently in different places – in this NYT article, for example, it is written: “Iran is preserving its options for a nuclear weapon.” But however phrased, that is the new red line we are all now expected to accept.

    At the same time, those pressing for an attack strive to show that the difference between “nuclear capability” and “possession of a nuclear weapon” is a very, very slight difference indeed. For an example so extreme as to be almost laughable, in the televised Russia Today “Cross Talk” debate mentioned earlier in this thread, Patrick Clawson insisted that, even if Iran takes no steps at all toward developing a nuclear weapon, it can have a deliverable nuclear weapon in “a week” if it ever decides it wants one. I wish I were making this up, but I am not: it is only the absurdity of such a remark that will (one hopes) persuade those who heard it that it as an absurd remark.

    In any case, in a nutshell, this appears to be the new approach for those who press for war on Iran:

    1. Argue that Iranian “nuclear capability” is sufficient to justify an attack on Iran, even if no evidence is ever found that Iran is actually working on a nuclear bomb, and add that Iran will soon have that capability if it doesn’t already.

    Because:

    2. Once Iran has “nuclear capability,” the only things remaining between that status and a deliverable nuclear bomb are (a) a decision to build a bomb; and (b) one week’s time.

  376. James Canning says:

    At HuffingtonPost.com/world/ today, Trita Parsi has a piece worth reading (six questions reporters should ask, re; war with Iran).

  377. Humanist says:

    Richard,

    Re: Your February 19, 8:29 pm comment (previous thread)

    I know how most leaders are just the ‘front men’. I usually attack ‘the powerful, extremely wealthy psychopaths who pull the strings [of war]’. Ronald Reagan was a front man but in my view Netanyahu is a bit more than that. Just watch the following video showing how ‘articulate’ he was when he was 28 years old. The video is also a supplementary document on why Israel’s proposal of two state solution might not be a genuine bid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lixYEZ9M_dU&feature=youtu.be

    When I re-read my post, I found (as usual) a few other weak points. However, thanks for your valid criticism and your profound assessment. Next time I’ll make sure I write my comments when, metaphorically, I am not high.

    Apart from the above, I dare to make a suggestion on your style of debating with other commentators (dare because web is not a real space, you can’t punch me on nose here!). My proposal is this: When you use harsh words like ‘crap’ tell the readers WHY it is a crap. Using that kind of language is not my style but I don’t have any objection for those who use it provided similarly strong reasons (or references to relevant arguments) follow those unnecessarily ‘bellicose!’ words.

  378. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Great post (Feb. 24 7.14pm). You quote Patrick Clawson as saying that the EU has told Iran: “Look, you can either have your nuclear weapon or you can stay in power.” This obviously is not correct. The EU clearly does not want Iran to build nukes.

  379. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I commend your post of Feb. 24th 8.18pm – - all should read it.

  380. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Surely Alan Hart is aware that every Arab country has agreed to accept Israel within its pre-1967 borders.

  381. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    That was excellent piece by Alex Kane on Mondoweiss.net site Feb. 24th, about Aipac effort to set up war with Iran. And reminding us that Aipac worked hard to set up the illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  382. James Canning says:

    The New York Times today on its front page has a major story on Iran’s nuclear programme. Nothing not already discussed here, jusging from a quick read. But it underscores the continuing belief of US intelligence that Iran is not building nukes at this time or getting ready to build them.

  383. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    You linked a remarkable piece about Henry Kissinger. Has this story been confirmed elsewhere?

  384. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    The US is “cleaning up”? Meaning, the US profits from the nuclear dispute with Iran? From the idiotic Iraq War? From the military adventure in Afghanistan? China and Russia benefit from stability in Afghanstan and they are not having to pay for the effort to achieve it.

  385. Karl says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

    EAB Comment:

    Karl,

    Thank you for quoting that paragraph from the IAEA’s November 2011 report, referring to Iran’s refusal to observe the Additional Protocol. It is a standard paragraph in IAEA reports, a narrower version of an even more important standard paragraph that has appeared near the end of every IAEA report over the past several years.

    In the latter standard paragraph, the IAEA complains generally about Iran’s lack of cooperation, which prevents the IAEA from verifying that there are no undeclared nuclear materials in Iran. I’ve quoted that paragraph below, from the November 2011 report, and note that it appears in identical language at paragraph 50 and footnote 46 of the IAEA’s just-released (February 24, 2012) report:

    QUOTATION FROM NOVEMBER 2011 IAEA REPORT:

    52. While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency 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.[footnote 42 reference].

    [Footnote 42 text:] The Board has confirmed on numerous occasions, since as early as 1992, that paragraph 2 of INFCIRC/153 (Corr.), which corresponds to Article 2 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, authorizes and requires the Agency to seek to verify both the non- diversion of nuclear material from declared activities (i.e. correctness) and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in the State (i.e. completeness) (see, for example, GOV/OR.864, para. 49). [Emphasis added.]

    END OF QUOTATION FROM NOVEMBER 2011 IAEA REPORT.

    EAB comment continued:

    As an aside, it’s worth noting that the IAEA could, if it chose, write exactly the same thing about several other important nuclear countries – Brazil or Argentina, for example – without changing a single word other than the name of the country. The IAEA chooses to include this paragraph only when it writes about Iran.

    In some branches of the IAEA staff organization, no high premium is placed on precision of language. Its public relations staff, for example, appears to have persuaded most journalists around the world, and many others, that the IAEA is “a UN agency,” even though the two international organizations are entirely separate (albeit with important cooperation agreements in place), with neither having any authority whatsoever over the other.

    But that is another topic for another day. When the IAEA staff writes its Director General’s or Board’s reports, though they do stretch language a bit in places, they nevertheless make what appears to be a sincere effort to keep it within the bounds prescribed by the Safeguards Agreement of the country in question. Both its effort to stretch, and its grudging respect for those bounds, are evident in the phrase “seek to” that I have highlighted in footnote 42 from the IAEA’s November 2011 report, quoted above. As should be obvious to informed readers, the point of that footnote, and of paragraph 52 above it, is to create the mistaken impression that because (1) the IAEA is required to “seek to” verify that a country has no undeclared nuclear material, it follows that (2) the country has an obligation to disclose whatever information the IAEA considers necessary for the IAEA to succeed in that effort.

    That does not follow. For many countries, not only Iran, the IAEA has simply concluded that it cannot verify that the country has undeclared nuclear material. Sometimes the IAEA reports this frustrating outcome of its “seeking” to the UN Security Council, as it has done for Iran. Sometimes it does not, as has been the case for nearly every other country in the world – and remains the case today for several important nuclear countries other than Iran.

    With respect to Iran, as Peter Jenkins noted in his recent interview mentioned in my earlier comment, the IAEA “referred” Iran to the UN Security Council, in 2006, in the apparently sincere but mistaken belief that the UNSC has authority – authority that the IAEA itself lacks – to impose penalties on a country for a violation of its Safeguards Agreement that are prescribed neither in the Safeguards Agreement itself nor in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (“NPT”) on which the Safeguards Agreement is based.

    As I pointed out in that earlier comment, however, such a “referral” does not authorize the UNSC to impose any penalties under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. As is clear from Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and the NPT, only the IAEA, not the UNSC or any other body, has authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and the available remedies are to be found only in the Safeguards Agreement itself. An IAEA “referral” to the UNSC merely enables the UNSC to consider whether Iran’s nuclear program is a “Peace Threat” under Article 39 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, in which case the UNSC will have strong remedies available to it under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The latter document – it is important to remember but often ignored – is the one and only source of the UNSC’s authority over any matter. Various international treaties, statutes and other documents, not only the IAEA Statute, call for the “reporting” of various matters to the UNSC. But once those “reports” reach the UNSC, from whatever source, its authority to act on the reported information is derived solely from the UN Charter.

    As I pointed out in that earlier comment, the UNSC has never determined that Iran’s nuclear program is a “Peace Threat.” (The detailed argument by which I reached that conclusion appears in Part 2 of my article, not quoted earlier or here, but my conclusion on that point was mentioned in the quoted portion of my article in my earlier comment.) The UNSC has nonetheless taken it upon itself to transform various IAEA requests for Iran’s “voluntary cooperation” into “obligations” under each of the five “Iran Resolutions.” The IAEA, in turn, bolstered by the UNSC’s declaration of these Iranian “obligations,” has confronted Iran with more determination each time, pointing out that Iran now is ignoring not only IAEA requests, but also UNSC demands (authorized or not – a question that the IAEA does not trouble itself with any more than did the UNSC when it made those demands). Another journey around the diplomatic circle thus begins, inevitably concluded with another IAEA knock on the UNSC’s door, inevitably followed by a still-stronger UNSC resolution. And so on, to where we are today (though it has become unclear whether China and Russia will permit yet another journey around the circle).

    Several logical “sleights of hand” have been necessary to get us where we are in the Iran nuclear dispute. But the most important one here results in the mistaken impression created by the standard IAEA-report paragraph quoted above. That paragraph (read with its footnote) correctly states that the IAEA is obligated to seek to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material in Iran, but leads most readers to the incorrect conclusion that, therefore, Iran is obligated to provide whatever information and cooperation the IAEA may request in order that the IAEA’s “seeking” be successful.

    Iran is required to provide only what it has agreed to provide under its Safeguards Agreement – no more, no less – and the IAEA routinely confirms that Iran is providing the information required under its Safeguards Agreement. That excludes, of course, a great deal of additional information that the IAEA would like to have – notably information about Iran’s military facilities and activities – that Iran declines to provide (and that the IAEA does not ask other countries to provide). The simple fact remains that the IAEA is not entitled to whatever information it feels like asking for. If the information provided by Iran in compliance with its Safeguards Agreement proves to be sufficient for the IAEA to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material in Iran, so be it. If it is not sufficient, so be it. The IAEA routinely declares, of course, that it is not sufficient – not merely for Iran, but for any country that does not adopt and implement the Additional Protocol. Where the IAEA oversteps its bounds (or comes close: it actually doesn’t argue this explicitly) is when it suggests that, because observance of the Additional Protocol is required for the IAEA to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material in Iran, it follows that Iran is required to observe the Additional Protocol.

    Iran is not required to observe the Additional Protocol. (I think it should, as I’ve explained elsewhere, but I agree that Iran is not required to do so.)

    These points, and others, are made clearly, I believe, in the “hypothetical arbitration argument” that appears in Part 3 of my article on the Iran nuclear dispute, quoted below. In essence, this is what I believe Iran’s lawyers could and should argue if (however unlikely it may be) certain key questions under the Iran nuclear dispute were presented to an impartial international judicial body for decision.

    QUOTATION FROM 2010 EAB ARTICLE ON IRAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE:

    Contrary to the IAEA’s assertions, it is not “required by the Safeguards Agreement… to verify that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”[43] It is required only to determine whether or not it can make such a verification, and to do so if it can. If it cannot, the IAEA has authority to take certain actions and make certain reports, and it must report to the Security Council, among others, if it finds Iran is in “non-compliance” with its Safeguards Agreement.
    Only once, in February 2006, has the IAEA reported Iran’s “non-compliance” to the Security Council. Although the IAEA Statute also required the IAEA Board to “call upon [Iran] to remedy forthwith any non-compliance which it finds to have occurred,” the IAEA Board did not do so – for a very good reason: Iran’s reported “non-compliance” was based entirely on disclosure violations that, according to the IAEA itself, had ended more than two years earlier.[44] Although those violations have led the IAEA to examine Iran much more carefully ever since, it has never found “non-compliance” based on Iran’s conduct of its nuclear program since 2003.[45] Instead, it misrepresents to the Security Council that Iran is “required” to take various actions that the IAEA itself acknowledges are entirely voluntary. The IAEA asks the Security Council to transform these voluntary steps into obligations by insisting that Iran’s long-ago disclosure violations now require it to provide whatever information, and to accept whatever restrictions, the IAEA deems necessary to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material.
    The IAEA has no such authority under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement – nor does the Security Council or anyone else. Although the IAEA now insists it is unacceptable, indefinite uncertainty about undeclared nuclear material is not only an acceptable outcome under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, but one that plainly was contemplated when the Agreement was drafted by the IAEA decades ago. Article 98(O), for example, explicitly excludes uranium “ore” from the definition of “nuclear material” that must be declared, and Article 33 states: “Safeguards under this Agreement shall not apply to material in mining or ore processing activities.” Such exclusions would never appear in an agreement whose purpose was to detect undeclared nuclear material. Undoubtedly that is why the IAEA sought to remove them when detection of undeclared nuclear material became important to the IAEA many years later. Article 2(v) of the Additional Protocol, for example, requires extensive disclosures about uranium mines.
    Iran’s obligations under its Safeguards Agreement may not be increased without its consent merely because the IAEA decided, many years later, to place greater emphasis on detecting undeclared nuclear material and devised a more burdensome inspection scheme to accomplish its new goal – including, for example, the Additional Protocol and revised Code 3.1. Much less does the IAEA’s belated emphasis on detection entitle it to venture even beyond the Additional Protocol to ask unending questions about the so-called “alleged studies” files delivered to the IAEA by third parties several years ago. As the IAEA itself acknowledges, even if those files were not entirely fabricated, none of them suggests that Iran has diverted or failed to declare nuclear material, the subject matter of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Although Iran nevertheless has answered many questions about those files, it is not willing – much less obligated – to reveal sensitive information about its conventional military capabilities merely because the IAEA considers this necessary to satisfy itself about the “alleged studies.”
    Iran does not dispute that it must declare its nuclear material as required under its Safeguards Agreement, and it has declared all of it. If the IAEA is not persuaded, Article 19 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement requires it “to afford the Government of Iran every reasonable opportunity to furnish the [IAEA] with any necessary reassurance” that Iran has not diverted nuclear material to non-peaceful purposes. The IAEA has afforded many such opportunities to Iran since 2003, and Iran has availed itself of many of them. But Article 19 does not require Iran to continue accepting every opportunity the IAEA may choose to offer. At some point – and that point was reached long ago – Iran fairly may ask that the IAEA accept the same inescapable fact it has accepted for many other countries: No matter what more Iran might disclose, it can never prove that it has no undeclared nuclear material, just as no other country can ever prove this. For dozens of countries, the IAEA has concluded that it cannot determine whether undeclared nuclear material exists. It claims to have reached the same conclusion for Iran. Just as for other countries, such a determination does not mean that Iran has violated its Safeguards Agreement, nor does it give the IAEA a right to impose additional obligations on Iran.
    Iran’s Safeguards Agreement authorizes the IAEA to report certain matters to the Security Council, but it does not authorize the Security Council to enforce or interpret the Agreement. Only the IAEA[46]… has that authority. Iran acknowledges that the Security Council may act under the UN Charter if it determines Iran’s nuclear program is a Peace Threat [, which it has never done]. When the Security Council next considers that threshold question, it should be told clearly what has been kept obscure in the past: Except for the parties’ Code 3.1 disagreement, the IAEA does not claim that Iran’s nuclear program has failed to comply with its Safeguards Agreement since late 2003, and Iran has no obligation to implement the Additional Protocol or to suspend enrichment or reprocessing. Nor, in Iran’s opinion, is it required to observe revised Code 3.1.

    END OF QUOTATION FROM 2010 EAB ARTICLE ON IRAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE.

  386. Dan Cooper says:

    “Mr Kissinger: “We told the military that we would have to take over seven Middle Eastern countries for their resources and they have nearly completed their job.

    We all know what I think of the military, but I have to say they have obeyed orders superfluously this time.

    It is just that last stepping stone, i.e. Iran which will really tip the balance.

    How long can China and Russia stand by and watch America clean up?

    The great Russian bear and Chinese sickle will be roused from their slumber and this is when Israel will have to fight with all its might and weapons to kill as many Arabs as it can.

    Hopefully if all goes well, half the Middle East will be Israeli.”

    Henry Kissinger: “If You Can’t Hear the Drums of War You Must Be Deaf”

    http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/index.php?news=3089

    your views on this sick old man is much appreciated.

  387. Rehmat says:

    Within less than two months after Hitler took power, American-British militant Jewish organizations and their boot-licking Christian Zionists declared war against German people on March 24, 1933 – as they’re repeating similar sanctions against Iranian people. They called for ‘crippling boycott’ of German goods as part of blackmailing the new German government to help World Zionist movement to establish the Zionist entity in British mandate Palestine. As result of severe western economic sanctions, in August 1933 – the Hitler regime agreed with Chaim Arlosoroff of the World Zionist Organization to let tens of thousands of German Jews to migrate with their wealth to British occupied Arab Palestine. This agreement is known as the Haavara (Hebrew for “transfer”). The Agreement allowed 60,000 German Jews to imigrate to Palestine and settle on Arab land during 1933-1941.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/zionist-hitler-haavara-transfer-agreement-1933/

  388. hans says:

    Haniyeh told several thousand cheering people who attended a rally in support of the Palestinians and Syrians:

    I salute all the people of the Arab Spring, or rather the Islamic Winter. I salute the heroic Syrian people, who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform.

    The protesters chanted in response:

    No Iran, no Hezbollah! Syria is Islamic!

    Yep this same weasel was so warmly received by the Supreme Leader? Is his grip slipping? yet again the Palestinians will be let down by their leadership, probably will be forced out of Syria and Lebanon.

  389. Rd. says:

    beware of the cylinder

    Today’s TEDTalk: Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through a single object, the Cyrus Cylinder.

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

  390. kooshy says:

    This is interesting news regarding US-India nuclear cooperation read it

    We will find ‘facts’ says US after Manmohan blames US NGOs
    Press Trust Of India
    Guwahati/New Delhi, February 25, 2012

    “In an interview to the US-based ‘Science’ journal, Singh had said, “The atomic energy programme has gone into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the US, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply,” while referring to Kudankulam where commissioning of two 1000-mw nuclear reactors has been stalled due to protests.”

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/We-will-find-facts-says-US-after-Manmohan-blames-US-NGOs/Article1-817079.aspx

  391. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    Last report on Iran (november) said this about Additional Protocol.

    “48. Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran is not implementing its Additional Protocol. The Agency will not be in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran unless and until Iran provides the necessary cooperation with the Agency, including by implementing its Additional Protocol.39″

    Atleast IAEA thinks Additional Protocol will make some difference although they say “including” which also points that Additional Protocol is not enough for IAEA.

  392. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    “I understand that political considerations require that Obama have given this reason for his apology. But if we set those political considerations aside — as we have the luxury of doing here — does that reason for the apology strike anyone as likely to infuriate Afghans still further? Does it not imply that no apology would have been forthcoming were Americans not exposed to possible retaliation?”

    Eric-
    Watching new clips coming out of Afghanistan showing the Afghans fighting and demonstrating outside of US military bases for burning of Koran, the clips show the Americans are scared and taking refuge in the bases while the Afghans like the Indians in old western movies are circling the fort with no effective weapon shouting, while the white folks in the camp are presented as the real victim since the backward Indians are not accepting the white folks to settle on their land and spread their way of life. The white American way of life not only didn’t change in 200 years it is now trying to spread it in other part of world in same way it did here.

    Here is a clip with usual fire outside of the fort, a lot of hand shaking in the air by the Indians (Afghans) and rifle fire coming Indians way from the fort (Bigram)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/21/us-afghanistan-burning-qurans-base

  393. Kathleen says:

    Sunlight on the lobby: In ‘Atlantic’ magazine blog … – Mondoweissmondoweiss.net/…/sunlight-on-the-lobby-aipacs-push-for-war-expos…

  394. Kathleen says:

    Mondoweiss has a very important piece up by Alex Kane
    Sunlight on the lobby: In ‘Atlantic’ magazine blog … – Mondoweissmondoweiss.net/…/sunlight-on-the-lobby-aipacs-push-for-war-expos…

  395. Rd. says:

    Emails said to reveal dismay among Al-Jazeera staff over its “biased and unprofessional” coverage of Syria have been leaked by pro-Assad hackers.

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria%E2%80%99s-electronic-warriors-hit-al-jazeera

  396. Empty says:

    Segments of Ismail Hanieh’s speech have been deliberately taken out of context to portray a false picture of what he actually said with respect to Syria. He specifically referred to the movement in the context of reform process.

  397. Eric: Thanks for citing your 2010 article and reminding us of the legal situation.

    But could you comment on what the UNSC and/or the IAEA could be THINKING to cause them to do what another analyst described as “in discordance if not actually in breach of” the legal responsibilities and obligations of the NPT with regard to Iran?

    In another thread, I linked to a couple articles relating to the obligations of nations in treaties under international law, specifically:

    Non-Proliferation law & Countermeasures: Their FUnction and Role In Determining The Status of a Special Regime by Sahib Singh
    :http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1961941

    and a paper by the same author derived from that called “Iran, The Nuclear Issue & Countermeasures”
    :http://www.ejiltalk.org/iran-the-nuclear-issue-countermeasures/

    This stuff was pretty convoluted and was hard for me to follow since it depended on some notion of apparently standard terminology in international law.

    The main conclusion I found in the paper was as follows:

    Quote

    Conclusion

    Worryingly, it emerges that it is difficult to find a legal basis for standing to take countermeasures for the assumed Iranian breaches of Articles II and III(1) NPT, for the likes of NPT state parties such as the US, certain EU member states, Japan and many others taking economic sanctions. This difficulty arises from the expedient but logically inconsistent transference of a treaty law conceptualization almost directly, without much modification, into the law of state responsibility. There are two ways to read Article 42(b)(ii), namely: (1) it provides standing to the aforementioned states because it is premised on the broad understanding of interdependent obligations in the law treaties – and such an understanding of the concept should be read into the Article. (2) it must pertain solely to the situation where it is concerned with the modification of the future performance of the same specific obligation that has been breached; this is the only conceptually coherent reading available if one it to maintain the methodology of the ILC Articles on State Responsibility. I personally fall into the latter camp, because Article 42(b)(ii) must be conceived of as articulating a rather novel legal position based on conceptualizations with significant intellectual baggage – the relevance of this baggage to the particularities of the law of state responsibility is perhaps to be doubted.

    Needless to say, such a conclusion is not particularly favorable to supporting unilateral sanctions by the US and other States against Iran, within the context of the NPT.

    End Quote

    The comments to the paper included a post by Dan Joyner, who has written on the legal aspects of the Iran nuclear issue before and I believe you’re familiar with his work. I assume you’ve seen his article at Jurist to which I think I posted a link in an earlier thread:

    Iran’s Nuclear Program and the Legal Mandate of the IAEA
    :http://jurist.org/forum/2011/11/dan-joyner-iaea-report.php

    Apparently he’s written a 2009 book on the topic entitled “International Law and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” and a 2011 book called “Interpreting the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty”.

    Another poster to that paper declared that based on Saheb’s work, the sanctions imposed by the states cannot be considered legitimate “countermeasures” under the law of treaties.

    Would you mind taking a look at those articles and see if you can derive anything useful from them?

    There’s also an interesting article I just found from a Dr. Christopher Ford which argues that the NPT does not grant any state a right to enrich. He takes issue with Joyner’s analysis:

    Misinterpreting the NPT
    :http://www.newparadigmsforum.com/NPFtestsite/?p=1100

    You might want to comment on that as well.

  398. yemi says:

    hans says:
    February 25, 2012 at 6:01 am

    That is just the behavior of an average Arab with no sense!

  399. hans says:

    And in a blow to Assad, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas turned publically against their long-time ally on Friday. “I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom democracy and reform,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said.

    Yet again the Palestinians have been let down by their leadership. Syria is the only country in the Arab world who actually allows the Palestinians refugees equal status. Everyone is presuming that Assad and his government is going to loose. What do you think will happen to the Palestinians? The weasel Ismail Haniyeh openly supporting the terrorists in Syria, this same weasel was welcomed by the Iranian establishment. What gives UU. Yet another blunder by Iranian political establishment?

  400. Comment on Peter Jenkins Interview (February 22)

    http://www.fairobserver.com/article/diplomatic-miscalculations-and-threat-war-part-1?page=1

    EAB COMMENT:

    The link above (first provided here by Richard Hack) is to the first part of what promises to be an interesting three-part interview with Peter Jenkins, a former British diplomat and representative to the IAEA. Peter is very bright, articulate, highly experienced, and decent, and he has helped me personally in some of my own thinking and writing. I agree with nearly all that he says in this interview. My very few disagreements are on subtle but important points – subtle enough that I can get across my concern best by quoting below some passages from my 2010 article on the Iran nuclear dispute. I ask for the reader’s indulgence here, as I concede I am ignoring my own advice to keep posts short. But I think many readers will find this useful and interesting.

    QUOTATION FROM 2010 EAB ARTICLE ON IRAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE:

    Part 1. The Security Council Has No Authority to Enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement

    The Islamic Republic of Iran rarely sees eye to eye with the United States, the United Nations Security Council or the International Atomic Energy Agency. But all agree on this: On certain conditions, the IAEA may “refer” Iran’s nuclear “file” to the Security Council for enforcement action. They disagree strongly on whether the conditions have been satisfied. Although the IAEA has never accused Iran of diverting nuclear material to non-peaceful purposes or of engaging in an activity prohibited by the NPT or Iran’s Safeguards Agreement (facts that may surprise many readers), the IAEA referred Iran’s nuclear file to the Security Council in 2006 based on disclosure violations that had occurred during the last two decades of the 20th century and ended in 2003 (see footnote 10). Iran’s file remains with the Security Council, which has adopted five increasingly punitive resolutions over the past four years – numbers 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803 and 1929 (the Iran Resolutions).

    The two international bodies have worked well together. The IAEA periodically reports Iran’s alleged shortcomings to the Security Council, which transforms IAEA requests into iron-fisted Security Council demands and adds a few of its own. The IAEA presents the expanded demand list to Iran and, after a decent interval, reports back to the Security Council. If Iran has not responded as desired – always the case so far – the process is repeated, ratcheted up a notch each time.

    One naturally assumes that something is written, somewhere, authorizing the Security Council to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Perhaps in the UN Charter, or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), or the Safeguards Agreement between Iran and the IAEA, or the statute that established the IAEA (the IAEA Statute), or the several IAEA/UN cooperation agreements (the IAEA/UN Cooperation Agreements). If not in one of these documents, certainly somewhere else.

    In fact, no document grants the Security Council any authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Nothing but baseless assumptions, wishes and imagination support this belief. There is no such thing as a “referral” process under which the Security Council has authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, under any circumstances. Iran is just as mistaken as its adversaries to believe there is.[1] The two sides are not alone.[2] Nearly all commentators focus on whether the IAEA’s “referral” of Iran to the Security Council was warranted, or the conditions on which Iran’s “file” or “dossier” ought to be “returned” to the IAEA.[3] Very few recognize that it never left, that the IAEA will always remain the only body with authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.

    Several documents do authorize[4] – sometimes even require[5] – the IAEA to “report” certain matters to the Security Council. There is an important purpose for those reports, but it is not to enable the Security Council to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. The purpose is to notify the Security Council that reasons exist (in the IAEA’s view) to consider whether Iran’s nuclear program is a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” under Article 39 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter (a Peace Threat).

    If the Security Council determines that a Peace Threat exists, it may take many measures against Iran under Articles 40 and 41 – possibly even military action under Article 42. It may decide, for example, that imposing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will help to “maintain or restore international peace and security.” If so, it will not matter whether those restrictions are authorized by Iran’s Safeguards Agreement or go beyond it, since the Security Council will be acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, not under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. On the other hand, if the Security Council has not determined that Iran’s nuclear program is a Peace Threat (which it has not – see Part 2 of this article), it has no authority to take any action under Chapter VII.

    Because a Security Council resolution adopted after it has considered an IAEA report is likely to involve matters also covered by Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, it is understandable that many people mistakenly believe the Security Council has authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. The distinction between the Security Council’s authority under Chapter VII (very substantial, if it determines that a Peace Threat exists) and under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement independent of Chapter VII (none) becomes clear only when the Security Council has no authority to act under Chapter VII. To highlight the distinction, suppose that the Security Council reviews an IAEA report on Iran, agrees that Iran is not complying with its Safeguards Agreement, but explicitly determines that no Peace Threat exists and so concludes (as it must) that the Security Council has no authority to act under Chapter VII. This properly narrows the question: Setting aside its authority under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, does the Security Council have authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement? Indisputably the answer is “no” – no matter what Iran may have done or not done.

    Even commentators who acknowledge that the UN Charter is the sole basis for Security Council authority often devote considerable attention to a question that does not matter: whether the IAEA’s “referral” was warranted under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.[6] The IAEA may report more or less whatever it likes to the Security Council, at any time.[7] Rarely do commentators address the important question that must be answered under UN Charter Article 39 to determine whether the Security Council has authority to act: Is Iran’s nuclear program a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression?”[8]

    Some may believe that a Peace Threat determination is implied by the IAEA’s mere act of “reporting” that it cannot determine whether a country has “diverted” nuclear material, or that the country is in non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement. If so, they are mistaken. Apart from the IAEA’s obvious lack of authority to make a Peace Threat determination on behalf of the Security Council, IAEA reports of non-compliance do not always result in Chapter VII action. When the IAEA reported North Korea’s non-compliance in 1993, the Security Council made no Peace Threat determination and its response (Resolution 825) was not based on Chapter VII. After the IAEA reported Romania’s non-compliance in 1992, the Security Council adopted no responsive resolution at all. The same was true for Libya in 2004.[9] When the IAEA reported Iran’s non-compliance in 2006, the Security Council’s likely reaction was far from certain – especially since the IAEA’s finding was based expressly on disclosure violations that had ended years earlier and had had nothing to do with nuclear weapons.[10]

    Conversely, nothing in Chapter VII requires an IAEA report before the Security Council may act, and it has adopted several nuclear-related Chapter VII resolutions without any recent IAEA report having been made.[11] In short, though the IAEA’s expert views deserve and receive careful attention, it is the job of the Security Council, not the IAEA, to determine whether a Peace Threat exists and to take appropriate action if one does. It is the job of the IAEA, not the Security Council, to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.

    Despite this clear separation of authority, there is almost no disagreement among commentators that the Security Council may enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, their only disagreement being whether its exercise of that authority has been warranted. Where do they claim to find such authority? Most cite no basis at all. They may assume that the UN Security Council has implied authority to intervene in any international dispute that interests it, and that it has sufficiently declared its interest here by “reaffirming its commitment to the [NPT]” in the preamble to each Iran Resolution. From those who understand that the Security Council has no such implied authority, the most common answer is that Article 19 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement grants the Security Council authority to enforce the Agreement. Article 19 provides:

    If the … [IAEA finds it] is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement, to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, it may make the reports provided for in … [Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute.]

    Article XII.C plainly authorizes the IAEA to report such a finding to the Security Council. Just as plainly, Article XII.C does not grant the Security Council authority to take any action under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Nor does any other provision of that Agreement or any other document. The Security Council may act under Chapter VII in appropriate circumstances, but only the IAEA has authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. It is not a subsidiary or other affiliate of the United Nations. Though the two bodies cooperate in many ways,[12] they are entirely separate and neither has a right to exercise any authority granted to the other – even if the other body asks for help. If Iran breaches its Safeguards Agreement, the IAEA may terminate assistance, or demand the return of materials and equipment, being provided to Iran under the IAEA Statute. If its violations persist, Iran may even be expelled from membership in the IAEA. These are the remedies available for Iran’s violation of its Safeguards Agreement, and only the IAEA may enforce them.

    There is at least one more argument, different but no stronger, under which the Security Council is said to have authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement – or at least the NPT. An Iran analyst insists that:

    The general understanding was and is that the UN Security Council is responsible for enforcement [of the NPT], and this was reaffirmed in 1992 when the president of the Council declared that proliferation was a threat to international peace and security.[13]

    He cites no authority, with good reason. The negotiations leading to the NPT’s adoption do not suggest that such an “understanding” – “general” or otherwise – was reached or even discussed.[14] Nor can any hint of it be found in the UN resolution memorializing the adoption of the NPT[15] – nor in the NPT itself, Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA/UN Cooperation Agreements, the UN Charter or any other document. This leaves only the unofficial 1992 remark by the Security Council’s president, which the commentator characterizes as a universal Peace Threat determination with no expiration date, eliminating the Chapter VII requirement that the Security Council consider an actual situation and determine whether it amounts to a Peace Threat.

    This analyst noticed that the NPT is missing not only an enforcer, but remedies as well. He fills this void too – this time by concluding that NPT Article II (which essentially prohibits a non-nuclear weapons country from manufacturing, acquiring or seeking nuclear weapons) authorizes the Security Council to take away a country’s enrichment rights on certain conditions that, not surprisingly, he finds Iran has satisfied:

    Because Iran has been found noncompliant with its [Safeguards Agreement] obligations and has not enabled the IAEA to verify its compliance with the core Article II obligation that conditions all rights to nuclear energy, Iran has lost, at least temporarily, the full enjoyment of its original nuclear rights.

    In other words, once the IAEA finds a country is in “non-compliance” – even if the non-compliance was a disclosure violation that ended several years ago and had nothing to do with nuclear weapons development or any other prohibited activity[16] – the country loses its enrichment rights unless and until the IAEA verifies that it is not manufacturing, acquiring or seeking nuclear weapons. He cites no authority for this guilty-until-proven-innocent presumption, much less for the IAEA’s authority to decide whether the imaginary presumption has been rebutted.[17] The NPT provides no such thing – nor that the IAEA has authority to enforce the NPT even if it did include such a provision. Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and the IAEA Statute specify several remedies for non-compliance, but those remedies do not include a suspension of enrichment rights.[18]

    In short, this analyst concluded that the NPT and Iran’s Safeguards Agreement lack adequate remedies, and so he deemed it necessary to invent some more – and to authorize the Security Council and IAEA to enforce them. Many other writers have done the same.[19] But if these remedies are insufficient, they nevertheless are what they are, not what these writers wish they were or imagine them to be. Nor is Iran to blame for any insufficiency. Though it is not obvious, the fault lies with the several world powers who have failed for decades to perform their obligations under the NPT. Many consider the NPT and its associated Safeguards Agreements to be nothing more than an intrusive monitoring scheme aimed at restricting membership in the nuclear weapons club. But most countries that signed the NPT decades ago were focused on its loftier stated goals: a world in which all countries would be encouraged to produce peaceful nuclear energy with the assistance of experts from countries that already know how, in which rogue countries that have secretly developed nuclear weapons would be pressured to give them up and sign the NPT, in which even the five original nuclear-weapons states would take steps to disarm. These expectations, backed by clearly stated commitments from several world powers, are what induced countries like Iran to sign the NPT – not the prospect of filing detailed reports and answering numerous questions from nosy inspectors, though they were prepared to accept those burdens in exchange for the benefits they expected the NPT would bring.

    Had the NPT produced these benefits, its early signers would want very much to retain them. The IAEA’s authority to take them away would be a powerful enforcement weapon. But so far the NPT has not brought these hoped-for benefits to Iran. Four decades ago, enthusiastic American and European nuclear salesmen descended upon Iran, urging it to prepare for the inevitable exhaustion of its oil and gas reserves before it was too late, offering to help in any way they could. But since the fall of the Shah in 1979, offers of help have dried up, many millions of dollars in down payments have been pocketed, and descendants of those same eager salesmen now ask in suspicious tones why such a petroleum-rich country as Iran needs to develop nuclear energy. More countries than before have nuclear weapons, and new members of the nuclear weapons club either decline to sign the NPT (India, Pakistan, Israel) or simply withdraw when it becomes inconvenient (North Korea). The original five nuclear states have many more nuclear warheads than before the NPT was adopted, and show no inclination to give them up. From Iran’s point of view, all that remains of the NPT is a burdensome enforcement scheme imposed upon it by countries that unapologetically ignore their own obligations. It is not surprising that the IAEA’s authority to take away Iran’s benefits does not frighten Iran very much – indeed, Iran might prefer that, since its burdens would end as well.

    The anticipated benefits of the Non-Proliferation Treaty can still be achieved. The IAEA’s authority to take them away can still become the effective enforcement remedy it was intended to be. Iran can and should contribute to this welcome change, but it lies principally in the hands of the nuclear energy “haves,” who must reconfirm, and then carry out, their solemn commitments to help the “have nots” achieve a worthy goal for which the NPT was adopted – peaceful nuclear energy for every country that wants it.

    END OF QUOTATION FROM 2010 EAB ARTICLE ON IRAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE.

    EAB COMMENT CONTINUED:

    This portion of my 2010 article explains how “voluntary and non-legally binding” steps requested by the IAEA were subtly tranformed into “obligations” when the IAEA “referred” Iran to the UN Security Council in early 2006:

    QUOTATION FROM 2010 EAB ARTICLE ON IRAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE:

    The Iran nuclear dispute is often presented less than clearly in the lengthy preambles to the Iran Resolutions. A good example began with the IAEA Board resolution that formally “referred” Iran’s nuclear file to the Security Council in early 2006 (GOV/2006/14). The IAEA Board stated that, in order for “confidence [to be] built in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s programme,” the Board “deems it necessary” for Iran to take several “confidence building measures:” suspend enrichment and reprocessing, reconsider whether to build a heavy water reactor, ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, and take various “transparency measures…which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals [and] documentation … as the Agency may request….” The Board expressly acknowledged that each of these “confidence building measures” would be “voluntary and non-legally binding.” For this reason, it could not and did not require Iran to take any of them. But the Board instructed the Director General to tell the Security Council just the opposite: “The Director General [shall] report to the Security Council of the United Nations that these steps are required of Iran by the Board….” (Emphasis added.) The dutiful Director General’s misstatement to the Security Council was soon reflected in Security Council Resolution 1696: “The Security Council … calls upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14….[and] demands that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities….” (Emphasis added.)

    Since then, as the Iran nuclear dispute has moved up and down the imaginary chain of command (see Part 1 of this article), Iran’s failure to take these voluntary steps has been repeatedly cited by both the Security Council and the IAEA as a serious violation of the resolutions adopted by both bodies. By the time the Security Council adopted Resolution 1929 four years later, its displeasure had ballooned to this:

    Noting with serious concern that, as confirmed by the reports of 27 February 2006 (GOV/2006/15), 8 June 2006 (GOV/2006/38), 31 August 2006 (GOV/2006/53), 14 November 2006 (GOV/2006/64), 22 February 2007 (GOV/2007/8), 23 May 2007 (GOV/2007/122), 30 August 2007 (GOV/2007/48), 15 November 2007 (GOV/2007/58), 22 February 2008 (GOV/2008/4), 26 May 2008 (GOV/2008/15), 15 September 2008 (GOV/2008/38), 19 November 2008 (GOV/2008/59), 19 February 2009 (GOV/2009/8), 5 June 2009 (GOV/2009/35), 28 August 2009 (GOV/2009/55), 16 November 2009 (GOV/2009/74), 18 February 2010 (GOV/2010/10) and 31 May 2010 (GOV/2010/28) of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has not established full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related projects as set out in resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) nor resumed its cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol, nor cooperated with the IAEA in connection with the remaining issues of concern, which need to be clarified to exclude the possibility of military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme, nor taken the other steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors, nor complied with the provisions of Security Council resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) and which are essential to build confidence, and deploring Iran’s refusal to take these steps,…. (Emphasis in original.)

    A casual reader may be forgiven for not noticing that neither the preceding paragraph, nor any of the IAEA reports or Security Council resolutions it cites, states that Iran is breaching any obligation under its Safeguards Agreement.[31] …

    In a proper exercise of its Chapter VII authority, of course, the Security Council need not find non-compliance by Iran with its Safeguards Agreement. The Security Council could determine that Iran’s nuclear program – compliant or not – is a Peace Threat and take IAEA-recommended measures against Iran simply by declaring them necessary “to maintain or restore international peace and security.” Nonetheless, if the Iran Resolutions had not included preamble language suggesting that Iran was not complying with its Safeguards Agreement, it would have been very difficult to discern any valid basis for punishing Iran under Chapter VII.

    END OF QUOTATION FROM 2010 EAB ARTICLE ON IRAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE.

  401. Eric: “You’re missing my point entirely, which, at this late stage, both disappoints me and amazes me.”

    Oh, please… I have NEVER missed your point. That is just another one of your evasions of your inability to respond to both mine and Arnold’s arguments on the AP issue.

    “My point is…such an agreement has virtually no bargaining-chip value.”

    No, that is NOT your point. Your “point”, which you have explicitly enunciated here over and over, is that Iran should unilaterally adhere to the AP BECAUSE IT WOULD BENEFIT FROM THAT ACTION.

    And I have ALWAYS agreed that the US will never agree to an Iran offer of that type. Your attempt to set me up as believing that is intellectually dishonest. That is exactly WHY I pointed out this amazing Iranian offer and the US’ deliberate refusal.

    Your PROBLEM – which you have NEVER managed to explain – is EXACTLY HOW Iran would benefit.

    All you’ve done is wave your hands and proclaim that “somehow” “some” “Influential people” (how many more quoted, i.e., unexplained, parts of your argument can I come up with?) – unnamed, unknown and uncounted – will “somehow” force the US (and you never even MENTION ISRAEL!) to back off for “some” unknown amount of time until the US “somehow” loses enough military strength to attack Iran.

    THAT is your “point”. You have been very clear about it in numerous posts and I understand it perfectly.

    And it’s bullshit.

    It’s on a par with Canning’s 20% crap. At least he has some kind of BS “timeline” he can claim in support of his argument. You’ve got ZIP. ZERO. NADA. Nothing but hand waving and speculation all of which is DESTROYED by the prevalence of the polls which show overwhelming support for the US description of Iran’s nuclear program.

    You see, what gripes me – and which is WHY I become “rude” in matters like this – is your continual insistence on this “point” while simultaneously being utterly unable and totally unwilling to address MY (and Arnold’s) points.

    That is a pure example of intellectual dishonesty and I don’t much like it. So don’t expect me to cut you any slack on this issue whatsoever.

    Either you own up to the clear fact that you have NO CLUE HOW Iran could possibly benefit from adhering to the AP unilaterally or expect me to dismiss you completely whenever you bring it up.

    I have no idea why you’re obsessed with this notion and I don’t care. I assume it has something pathological to do with just being a lawyer…Lawyers are always recommending self-destructive courses of actions to their clients in order to demonstrate their “indispensability” or other ulterior motives… Which is why there are more lawyers in prison than any other profession…

  402. Persian Gulf says:

    The Trap – 3 – We Will Force U 2 Be Free

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFjCJFsbS0U

  403. BiBiJon: “Richard, I think we both liked One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

    Never read it, never saw it! :-)

    I DO like the line “You can’t handle the TRUTH!”, though – it really applies to most people.

    I like the Firesign Theater comedy troupe whose album back in the ’70′s was entitled: “Everything You Know is WRONG!”

    Which is almost literally true for most people.

  404. Richard,

    “Instead of what REALLY is important here: that Iran just offered the nuclear issue equivalent of a “Grand Bargain” – and the US turned it down flat!”

    You’re missing my point entirely, which, at this late stage, both disappoints me and amazes me.

    Of course the US turned it down flat. The US never has, and probably will not for at least the next decade, give anything significant in exchange for Iran’s agreement to observe the AP. I should be citing the example you give here — not you.

    My point is that, while you and many others think that Iran’s agreement to observe the AP and new Code 3.1 has some bargaining-chip value and should not be given “for nothing,” I think such an agreement has virtually no bargaining-chip value. You’ve given a perfect example: While you believe Iran should dangle such an agreement in front of the US, in exchange for the US’ agreement to formally recognize Iran’s enrichment rights, the US wouldn’t even agree to a deal that would have required much less from the US: merely lifting the sanctions, not recognizing Iran’s enrichment rights. If the US wouldn’t take even that deal, why do you or others continue to harbor illusions that the US would ever take a deal that also requires the US to recognize Iran’s enrichment rights?

    The US will not give anything significant to Iran (meaning recognition of its enrichment rights and/or lifting of sanctions) in exchange for Iran’s agreement to observe the AP and new Code 3.1, at least not for the next decade. Any president who approved such a deal would never be re-elected, and his opponents might even search for excuses to impeach him. For that reason, Iran should make that agreement if and only if Iran concludes that it can get something valuable in exchange OTHER than the US’ formal recognition of Iran’s enrichment rights and/or a lifting of the sanctions.

    I think that can be accomplished, and that Iran should try (in part because I don’t consider compliance with the AP and new Code 3.1 to be all that burdensome: it still leaves Iran free not to answer any “military” questions, which has always been its main complaint). I think Iran’s agreement could be parlayed into a great deal of valuable “delay” time, for detailed reasons I’ve laid out several times and won’t burden you with again.

    You disagree, which certainly is your right. But at least understand my argument correctly. That’s fair to ask of you, and when you make a statement such as the one quoted above, you indicate clearly that you do not.

  405. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Richard, I think we both liked One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    Of his subsequent movies, probably your favorite line is “You can’t handle the TRUTH!

    But mine is: “I’m drowning here, and all you’re doing is describing the water.”

  406. Dan Cooper says:

    Iranophobia Is Totally Unwarranted

    http://www.iranaifc.com/public1.php?id_news=1257

  407. Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks, Richard. I’ll take a look.

  408. Interview with Peter Jenkins…

    ERIC: You should read this and weigh in on Jenkins comments about how and why the original Tehran Agreement broke down and whether the referral to the UNSC was legitimate. He argues that it was. Although he DOES discuss the difference between Article 39 and 41, so he seems to be arguing both ways. He thinks the UNSC is a “parliamentary body” so it can rewrite its own rules as it wishes…

    http://www.fairobserver.com/article/diplomatic-miscalculations-and-threat-war-part-1?page=1

  409. Some women, children evacuated in Homs: ICRC
    http://news.yahoo.com/friends-syria-demand-ceasefire-aid-access-010336021.html

    Important quotes:

    Speaking at the meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Feisal said he supported arming the rebels.

    “I think it’s an excellent idea,” he said at the start of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who warned Assad would pay a heavy price for the violence in Syria and said he must allow in urgent humanitarian relief.

    After the talks in Tunis, Tunisian foreign minister Rafik Abdessalem said the meeting of more than 50 western and Arab countries had backed an Arab League demand for a joint Arab and United Nations force to help end the violence in Syria. However, this point was not included in the meeting’s final communique.

    Abdessalem, who chaired Friday’s inaugural “Friends of Syria” meeting in the Tunisian capital, also said western and Arab powers would probably recognise the opposition Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people during the their next meeting in Turkey.

    “We have gone half the way and we will probably do the other half in Turkey,” he said.

    But in a sign the international community is seeking ways around the Security Council deadlock, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would dispatch former U.N. chief Kofi Annan to Syria as a joint U.N.-Arab League envoy.

    And in a blow to Assad, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas turned publically against their long-time ally on Friday. “I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom democracy and reform,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said.

    French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the European Union, which has already imposed sanctions on Syrian officials, businesses and oil exports, would freeze assets of the Syrian Central Bank from Monday.

    End Quotes

    How long did it take for Iran’s Central Bank to be sanctioned? The EU is doing it to Syria in a matter of days… Fast track to war…

  410. EU ban on Iran oil may be bonus to Tehran’s fields
    http://en.trend.az/news/nuclearp/1996367.html

  411. Abbas: “Out of Romney Santorum and Gingrich which would enter into military conflict with Iran quickest by directly or offering full backing to the Israel?”

    Hard to say, but my guesstimate would be: Santorum first, Gingrich next, Romney last.

    Santorum is a freak show, that’s for sure. Gingrich has more political experience and would probably finesse the Iran war a little more. Romney is the Republican Party leadership’s “designated nominee” – meaning the money people want him because he’s more “electable” – so he would probably finesse the Iran war more than Gringrich.

    But all three will lead the US straight to an Iran war, probably within their first year or two of their Administration. So it really doesn’t matter who would do it “first”.

  412. Rehmat says:

    Alan Hart: ‘Israel makes Holocaust II inevitable’

    Alan Hart, who has been involved in Middle East conflict for over three decades, believes “Israel has no right to exist”. In August 2007, Alan wrote to then leader of British Opposition, Israel-Firster David Cameron: ““The Zionist state which came into being as a consequence of Zionism terrorism and ethnic cleansing had no right to exist and more to the point could have no right to exist unless it was recognized and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law, only the Palestinian could give Israel the legitimacy it craved“.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/alan-hart-israel-makes-holocaust-ii-inevitable/

  413. Re Pepe Escobar’s latest on Iran’s internal issues (which don’t interest me and I have no comment on whether Pepe is right about any of it”.

    This quote, however, is IMPORTANT!

    Quote

    A former spokesman for the Iranian nuclear negotiation team, ambassador Hossein Mousavian, brought this confrontational mood up to date – to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team’s October 2011 visit to Iran, led by deputy director general Herman Nackaerts – the same Nackaerts who was back in Iran this week.

    According to Mousavian, “during the visit, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, offered a blank check to the IAEA, granting full transparency, openness to inspections, and cooperation with the IAEA. He also informed Nackaerts of Iran’s receptiveness to putting the country’s nuclear program under ‘full IAEA supervision’, including implementing the Additional Protocol [of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] for five years, provided that sanctions against Iran were lifted.”

    Guess what was Washington’s reaction; forget about dialogue, we want sanctions. That set the scene for Washington’s next steps; the Fast-and-Furious plot trying to frame Tehran for the assassination attempt on the Saudi ambassador to the US; the pressure to divert the IAEA’s November 2011 report on Iran by adding a spin on a “possible” military angle to the nuclear program; the oil embargo; the sponsoring of a United Nations resolution against Iran on terrorism; and the list goes on.

    End Quote

    I was not aware that Iran had offered a full five year AP agreement in exchange for lifted sanctions!

    Here is Iran doing what Eric wants them to – offering “full transparency” and the AP for five years!

    Oh, but wait! Eric wanted them to do this for NOTHING! Whereas Iran wants the lifting of the sanctions for that period.

    And as Pepe says, what did the US do? FERGEDDABOUDID! WE WANT SANCTIONS!

    So now Eric will chime in and say Iran should have offered to do it for NOTHING… And suddenly unnamed, unknown and uncounted “influential individuals” will magically force the West to back down for another decade or two until the US “somehow” loses enough military strength to attack Iran…

    Instead of what REALLY is important here: that Iran just offered the nuclear issue equivalent of a “Grand Bargain” – and the US turned it down flat!

  414. Abbas: “will an attack on iran weaken America? how?”

    Fairly obvious that it will in geopolitical terms. It will deepen the distrust of Muslim countries – and even many other countries – for the US and weaken US influence and thus US business in many places.

    The US military-industrial complex and the oil companies don’t care about that latter effect because they get their money directly from the US taxpayer and motorist. They don’t have to “compete” with anyone else in the world for business for the most part (other than equivalent companies in the EU who also don’t compete generally and rely on government extorted taxpayer money.)

    And of course there will be a direct impact on the US economy. The US has wasted one to three trillion dollars over the last ten years on wars which no useful outcome for the US EXCEPT profits for the MIC “deep state”. An Iran war will at least TRIPLE that wealth transfer from the US taxpayer – individual and business – to the MIC and the oil companies and the banks. This will be a disaster for the former and a windfall for the latter.

    “Will an attack on iran eventually cause regime change in Iran?”

    Doubtful. It may cause in the long run some increase in Iranian discontent – no one likes being under bombardment because your government couldn’t figure out a way to stop it – but overall the regime should be strengthened by a US attack on it. Most of the population already blames the US and Israel for Iran’s economic problems and a war certainly won’t change that opinion much.

    “If it’s a bad idea for the West and Israel, it has to be a good idea for someone besides oil companies and weapon manufacturers.”

    I assume the Saudis and the rest of the Sunni Islamists will be happy to see Iran beaten up on. But they’re not calling the shots, they’re just side beneficiaries.

    China and Russia – especially China – will be pleased to see the US geopolitical influence and economic influence drop further while its own increases. But again, they are merely side beneficiaries.

    Really the main beneficiaries are the people I always list: the US and Israel MIC-national security “deep state”, the oil companies, the banks, the Zionist freakshows, the neocons, the corrupt politicians, etc., etc., i.e., “the usual suspects”. The same people who profited from every war in the last hundred years…

  415. Castellio: “http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/24/the-slide-to-war/”

    Conn Hallinan gets it…

    Quote

    Wars are fought because some people decide it is in their interests to fight them.

    But Israel does have an interest in keeping the Middle East a fragmented place, riven by sectarian divisions and dominated by authoritarian governments and feudal monarchies. If there is one lesson Israel has learned from its former British overlords, it is “divide and conquer.”

    In the Netanyahu government’s analysis, beating up on Iran would weaken Israel’s local enemies and at little cost. Tel Aviv’s scenario features a shock and awe attack, followed by a United Nations mandated ceasefire, with a maximum of 500 Israeli casualties. The Iranians have little capacity to strike back, and, if they did attack Israeli civilian centers or tried to close the Hormutz Strait, it would bring in the Americans.

    Of course that rose-colored scenario is little more than wishful thinking.

    The European Union (EU) has joined the sanctions, although France and Germany have explicitly rejected the use of force. Motivations in the EU range from France’s desire to reclaim its former influence in Lebanon to Europe’s need to keep its finger on the energy jugular vein. In brief, it isn’t all about oil and gas but a whole lot of it is, and, as CounterPunch’s Alexander Cockburn points out, oil companies would like to see production cut and prices rise. A war would accomplish both.

    End Quotes

    This is pretty much what I’ve been saying over and over. SOME people – the ruling elites – want a war REGARDLESS of what it does to everyone else. And THOSE people – the ruling elites – are calling the shots in Israel, the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia and the GCC. And THOSE are the people who “matter” when it comes to whether a war starts. And they don’t have to be CORRECT that things will work out as they INTEND them to work out in order to get a war started.

  416. James Canning says:

    At the Republican debate last night, did Neewt Gingrich actually say: “The Chinese have a big problem because you ain’t going to have any oil”? As if Iran would try to keep China from buying oil in the Gulf. Amazing.

  417. Kooshy: “It all doesn’t sound that the FOS( friends of Syria) was very successful to obtain anything worth mentioning”

    This sort of thing is “geopolitical theater” just as the Libya version of this group was. It’s just window dressing to give some geopolitical legitimacy to the coming ILLEGAL war.

    “is this also framed as “International community””

    Always, because the real Non-Aligned Movement countries are all against this stuff. More window dressing.

    “Saudi minister leaves Tunis meeting over “inactivity”: TV”

    The Saudis are really pushing for Syria regime change. They’ve demanded foreign intervention and will do so more loudly as time goes on. No surprise there. What matters is how fast the Europeans start demanding foreign intervention – some already have – and how fast the US thinks it can switch its PUBLIC stance against direct intervention the same way it did in Libya. My guess is within a couple months – if that long.

    What’s driving this, however, is something that isn’t even on the radar. It’s Israel’s time table that matters. Israel wants to attack Iran SOON. So it’s pressuring the US and the EU – behind the scenes and not publicly – to move against Syria, so Israel can move against Lebanon. The US backs that and the EU probably does as well. But neither the US nor the EU can publicly say so.

    Also, Obama would like a Syria war in order to give him another war bump in the polls once the election campaigning starts. So he’s in favor of getting one going by the time the campaigning starts. All this “Obama doesn’t want a war in an election year” is so much nonsense. He may not want an IRAN war this year but he definitely would have no problem with a Syria war – as long as it doesn’t go sideways a couple months before the elections when voters would have time to switch to the Republicans.

    There’s plenty of time between now and the campaigns for a Syria war to start. They’ve been fast tracking Syria for the last couple months. The important thing for Israel is that Syria and Lebanon get taken out THIS year if at all possible so they can start a push NEXT year for the Iran war (give or take some months depending on how things go.)

  418. Fiorangela says:

    Abbas says: February 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Who will launch war for Israel more quickly?
    ++++

    In this order:
    Santorum
    Romney
    Gingrich

    Santorum is a true hater/believer; he may well have invented the term ‘Islamofascist.’ When Pennsylvanians voted him out of office in 2008 (? or so), that was one of his main offenses against the sensibilities of the voters.

    Romney says and does what his moneymen tell his will cause the cash register to ring. Romney is a bottom-line kinda guy. His father manufactured and sold new cars, and walked Avanti into bankruptcy; the son is a used car salesman.

    I have a suspicion Gingrich’s zionist donors are disaffected with him and have closed the checkbook. No money No Newtie. He’s had his 15 min +, now he’ll retreat and find some other decrepit castle to haunt.

  419. BiBiJon: “I’m gasping for some value, worth, or logic to your assertions.”

    Because you don’t WANT to due to your emotional inability to see reality.

    “Alright then, how does this predict anything?”

    Do you have any memory of the last ten years of US behavior? Try that.

    “If I fall for your incessant insistence, how would I know when war will break out,”

    I’ve told you: When the conditions enabling the ruling elites to get from Point A to Point B are fulfilled. While not all of those conditions can be known to us, most of them can be. Just look at the past ten years of US behavior. When did we attack Afghanistan? When did we attack Iraq? When the conditions were ready. What conditions were those:

    1) The public was ready.

    2) The military was ready – and by ready I mean in position, not just “agreeing”.

    3) There was nothing else going on in the world sufficiently large that would distract the US military from doing the job.

    “how long would it last”

    Now you want precise predictions on how long a war will last? Why? What does it matter? It will last like all wars: until one side gives up either due to defeat or to running out of money or running out of popular support… Do I have to school you in the obvious?

    “will US/Israel be in a stronger/weaker position after such mid eastern wars”

    I assume the US and Israel will be in an OBJECTIVELY WEAKER position after the coming wars. However, I ALSO assume that the US ruling elites will be in an OBJECTIVELY STRONGER position, at least in terms of THEIR intentions, i.e., more profits, more control of the US population, richer, and still in control of the US government. Israel will have weakened its three most powerful enemies – Syria, Lebanon and Iran – and probably have seized more territory (southern Lebanon and maybe even more of Syria depending on how that part of the war goes) and will probably have used the distraction of the war to seize more of the West Bank and perhaps have attacked Gaza again, weakening the Palestinians further.)

    But OBJECTIVELY this will have brought the US and Israel closer to being condemned as pariah states by much of the world, and even MORE efforts to damage both states will be in the wings by even more actors. And so it goes… Eventually both imperialistic states will be brought down, Israel probably by nuclear attack with one of its own weapons, and the US by complete economic collapse and/or losing a war with China.

    “Bearing in mind that a respectable level of safety/security, and equitable access to resources can also be accomplished by defusing tensions”

    The ruling elites are not and never have been interested in “equitable” anything – and the only safety they believe in is complete and total dominance. Such things aren’t even in their lexicon.

    “which brings us back to the social order of an understaffed mental asylum.”

    By George, I think you’re getting it…

    “And, again, while we all lament the possibility of rule of chaos, none of us want to resign to it, no matter how much you want to smack us down as dreamers.”

    Thank you for finally admitting that it is solely your emotional needs that prevent you from seeing reality. I think we can agree to stop the discussion now, right?

    “In the unlikely event that the current disturbances will not be tamped down, and Syria becomes centrally ungovernable, then a core does exist, and will continue to exist which for want of a better analogy will function like Lebanon’s Hezbollah.”

    The majority in Syria is SUNNI, not Shia. The Assad core is NOT a MAJORITY as the Shia are in Lebanon. Which means the Shia in Libya are going to lose. When the Sunnis take over – IF they take over, which is not certain, as I’ve said – the end result will be a WEAKENED Syria. It doesn’t matter WHO is in charge of Syria, as far as Israel is concerned, as long as Syria is NOT AN EFFECTIVE ACTOR.

    That was my main point. While Israel would like a nice US- and Israel-client state in Syria, that isn’t important. What is important is that neither Syria nor Lebanon can in any significant way threaten Israel while Israel is dealing with Iran.

    Again, whether Israel WILL achieve that situation is NOT CERTAIN. Both Hizballah and Syria may be able to blunt the US/NATO/Israel moves sufficiently to avoid that outcome. But it’s doubtful in Lebanon’s case and VERY doubtful in Syria’s case. It all depends on how much force the US/NATO/Israel apply to those countries and how well prepared those countries are to resist that force.

    And we don’t know either of those facts until the conflict happens.

    Which is irrelevant to the fact that it WILL happen because the US/NATO/Israel have an agenda – war with Iran – and to achieve that agenda they MUST ATTEMPT to do these things even if the outcome is not certain.

    And again, it doesn’t cost THE RULING ELITES ANYTHING to TRY.

  420. Fiorangela says:

    Patrick Clawson was my introduction to the Hate Iran agenda. About 5 years ago a group called Iran Task Force, underwritten by 12 national and international zionist organizations. The goal stated on the flier they distributed was to “Educate people in [my town] about the threat of a nuclear Iran.” The banner on the flier said, “Iran: A threat to humanity.” The flier was black, and had a flame-colored mushroom cloud under the caption.

    Several days before the event I had just watched “Gandhi.” Clawson, tall, lanky, red haired, reminded me of the character Reginald Dyer, the British general who order troops to fire on civilian men, women, and children in and enclosed courtyard in Amritsar in the Punjab. His speech and the way he handled himself was extremely unpleasant; he was sarcastic and nasty. His speech was the standard “carrots and sticks” spiel.
    I attended the event with friends from Physicians for Human Rights and Pax Christi. One of the physicians with us, a retired gentleman who is partially deaf, challenged the veracity of a statement Clawson made. Clawson told him to be quiet, it was Clawson’s forum, not his; within less than a minute a representative of one of the sponsoring organizations leaned over me, took hold of Dr. D’s arm, told him to remain quiet or he would call the City policeman stationed at the door to remove him.

    I listened very carefully to the discussion among Doctorow, Bahgat, and Clawson; Eric Brill’s assessment of Clawson as a lightweight is generous. His appearance today reminded me of Dennis the Menace, with a scrawny neck substituting for the cute. He’s really not very bright, poor thing; Dennis Ross must be paying for quantity not quality these days.

    Among several other important points that were raised, Gilbert Doctorow made this very significant statement: (at about 5:00)
    “I think this is off the mark [discussion of IAEA inspections etc]; the issue has moved on considerably from the starting point of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And now what were side issues have become the central issue; that is, the economic warfare that is being entered into against Iran. The ratcheting up of sanctions which at a certain point the quantitative element becomes a qualitatively different relationship and become an existential threat to Iran. We are approaching that point. And the issue of its nuclear ambitions or what has been proven, has fallen into a subsidiary position.
    I can see that coming out in the dispute between the Pentabon and the State Department because there is a significantly more restrained Pentagon under present leadership, under Leon Panetta, as opposed to the very hawkish position of the State Department and the foreign policy community supporting the State Department.”

    Lavelle said: “It seems to me that Israel and Iran are already at war, we’re just ratcheting it up.”
    To which Clawson replied, “Yes.”
    Clawson expanded: “Indeed, as your guest from Brussels was explaining the United States and the European Union and its allies have launch[ed] what is in effect an economic war against Iran, saying to the Iranian leadership, Look, you can either have your nucular weapon or you can stay in power. You get to choose. And and the Iranian leadership has to decide: they can either keep their nucular weapon or they can stay in power. That’s the choice that’s before them. And they have to make that choice. And we will see this year which . . . [sic]//{interrupted}

    In Doctorow’s assessment, “economic warfare is being entered into against Iran; it is approaching the quality of an actual — not ‘threatened’ or ‘feared’ or ‘perceived’ but actual existential threat to Iran; and, if I my enfold a later comment of Doctorow’s, the aim of the acts is a violation of the sovereignty of Iran.

    Clawson agrees with Doctorow, and justifies the scheme on the basis that “everybody is doing it.”

  421. Rehmat/Fiorangela: Re the people BEHIND Netanyahu which I was interested in wondering about, thanks for the link which lists these people:

    Quote

    Goren and Berkovitch report that Haagen-Daz founder Reuben Matheus, who contributed (until his death sometime last year) millions of dollars to Rabbi Meir Kahane’s fascist political party and to the Jewish settlement in Hebron, also contributed to Netanyahu. Marvin Josephine, the head of ICM, one of the biggest publishing companies in the U.S., is considered a major contributor to the Likud, and more specifically to Netanyahu. Another donor is Barry Slotnik, an attorney who has among his clients the Italian and Russian Mafias. (Slotnik was also a friend of Kahane, acclaiming him one of the biggest heroes in Jewish history.) Ted Arison, who owns cruise lines in the U.S., is considered not only a friend, but a confidant. His Calridge-Arison group is interested in purchasing “Bank Hapoalim,” the second largest in Israel.

    Contributors and political allies from Australia—Joseph Brender, Bernard Moss, Mark Bissan and Jack Mendel—wish to invest in Israeli real estate and the textile industry. Mendel, one should note, lets Netanyahu use his luxury condo in Tel-Aviv. Sandy Eisenshtat, who allows Netanyahu to use his Jerusalem condo, owns an Israeli oil and gas company. In London, Netanyahu often stays with Rupert Murdoch.

    Finally, Netanyahu has an ally in Ronald Lauder of the Este Lauder cosmetic dynasty who ran for mayor against Rudolph Giuliani. During his unsuccessful election campaign, Lauder called Giuliani an impostor who was not conservative enough to be a member of the Republican Party. Lauder is founder, major contributor, and chairman of Shalem Institute, a right-wing think tank located in Jerusalem. Dr. Hazoni, the Institute’s director, told Hanna Kim of the Israeli dailyHa’aretz that the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC and the Center for Social Policy Studies in London are his models. Like Heritage, which is thought to have developed Reaganomics, and the Center for Social Policy, which designed what is now called Thatcherism, it seems that Shalem Institute will introduce what in years to come will be known as Netanyism.

    End Quote

    I don’t know if all these people qualify as “ruling elites” but they definitely have connections with those who are – especially characters like Rupert Murdoch.

    Like I’ve been saying, the people with the money are the ones who count. Demagogues like Netanyahu are just the “front men” or “face men”.

  422. James Canning says:

    It was Feb. 21st, this week, that the Wall Street Journal attacked General Dempsey for saying Iran’s government is rational.

  423. James Canning says:

    “Mainscream: US media Iran hysteria”:

    http://rt.com/news/us-mass-media-iran-095/

  424. Rehmat: “Zionist entity’s prime minister, spook-terrorist Benji Netanyahu while talking to reporters in Switzerland on Wednesday, said that the coming Israeli attack against Lebanon will be supported by United States and its Arab allies. Benji stressed that once the Jewish army has done its job, “there would be no Lebanon in the new world map”……

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It clearly supports what I’ve been saying: 1) that Israel is ratcheting up the rhetoric against Lebanon as part of the anti-Syria program, and 2) in preparation for Israel’s later attack on Lebanon using Syria as the excuse.

    You can have to give Netanyahu credit for “chutzpah” – saying Lebanon would be “wiped off the map” – and literally mean it – while criticizing Ahmadinejad for saying something that wasn’t even close to being that literal.

    We probably will hear some denials that Netanyahu actually said what he is reported to have said, but there can really be little doubt that’s exactly what he means – and what he will try to do.

  425. A-B says:
    February 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I neglected to mention one of Patrick Clawson’s most interesting remarks.

    In support of the recent none-too-subtle tendency among Washington-based Iran pundits to redraw the “red line” at “nuclear capability” rather than “nuclear weapon development,” Clawson assures us that there’s really not much difference between the two. In his opinion, if Iran’s got enough nuclear fuel for a bomb, but hasn’t begun to build an actual bomb, it can build that actual bomb in “a week.” I suppose Iran should take that as a sign of respect.

    If it’s really that easy, though, I’m wondering whether even I could do it. I’m not saying I’d ever use it — let me clear about that — but that guy who lets his dog do his business on my front sidewalk every morning might think long and hard about that next time if he happened to find out that I have a bomb.

  426. A-B says:
    February 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I watched the RT program (thanks again for the link), and indeed did notice that Peter Lavelle handled this well. Contrary to what I’d understood (misunderstood) from your earlier post, he certainly did not tacitly accept Clawson’s assertion.

    I thought the other two panelists came across much better than Clawson, though one has to concede that Lavelle was hardly unbiased. It’s about time, though, that a moderator declined simply to nod his head respectfully at remarks that don’t deserve respect.

    Clawson is a bit of a lightweight. I’d never seen him before.

  427. Abbas says:

    individually, you’re spice for war. emotion. rage. paprika. room for only one regional superpower and a 33 year old smile.

  428. A-B says:

    @ Eric A. Brill (February 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm)

    Maybe you have already watched RT’s Crosstalk and noticed that Peter Lavelle did exactly what you liked him to do. Lavelle very firmly stops Clawson just when he’s starting the now not-so-subliminal war propaganda (mentioning “nuclear” + “weapon”) and demanded of him to either come up with proof or stop derailing the discussion, while telling the viewers in equal “subliminal” way that Clawson is an irrational fear/warmonger. Clawson is clearly taken by this. This, I think, is rarely seen. Not that I think this program is a “game changer”…

    Also, it’s a delight to see a rational person like Doctorow very succinctly and with composure totally thrash hysterical and verbose hate/warmongers that have no control over their voice or limbs (the likes of Rubin).

  429. Abbas says:

    typical Westerners.

  430. James Canning says:

    hans,

    I like Escobar’s quoting Maj. Gen. (ret’d) Mohsen Rezai, on how Iran tried for years to improve relations with the US, but in 2002 George W Bush–the moron in the White House, in my view– lumped Iran in with Iraq and North Korea in the “axis of evil”.

  431. Abbas says:

    Out of Romney Santorum and Gingrich which would enter into military conflict with Iran quickest by directly or offering full backing to the Israel?

  432. hans says:

    What is Pepe Escobars game with this article?

    What is Iran’s Supreme Leader’s game?

  433. Abbas says:

    I have a questions for all of you will an attack on iran weaken America? how?

    Will an attack on iran eventually cause regime change in Iran?

    because everybody’s talking about how an attack is a bad idea, but a bad idea for who? If it’s a bad idea for the West and Israel, it has to be a good idea for someone besides oil companies and weapon manufacturers.

    thank you

    Abbas

  434. Rd. says:

    SO putin is pouring cold water on any IAEA attempt to publish propaganda on iran nuke program.

    West Seeks Regime Change in Iran – Putin

    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120224/171516114.html

  435. Nasser says:

    YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!!!!!!!!

    “Iran builds turbofan engines for UAVs” A remarkable achievement indeed.
    http://presstv.com/detail/228421.html

    P.S. Why does Iran call all its long range cruise missiles UAVs? Political reasons??

  436. According to a White House spokesman, President Obama’s apology to Afghan President Karzai for the burning of Korans by American soldiers was motivated by a concern for the safety of American soldiers in Afghanistan.

    I understand that political considerations require that Obama have given this reason for his apology. But if we set those political considerations aside — as we have the luxury of doing here — does that reason for the apology strike anyone as likely to infuriate Afghans still further? Does it not imply that no apology would have been forthcoming were Americans not exposed to possible retaliation?

  437. Rehmat says:

    On February 17, 2012 – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev bestowed the Pushkin medal – named after Russia’s national poet – on Ali Okla Orsan at a grand ceremony in Moscow. The said award is to recognize foreigners who worked to promote relations with Russia.

    The award has angered many American Jewish groups supporting anti-government rebels in Syria who are killing both civilians and security forces to established a pro-Israel regime in Damascus.

    The international Jewish policeman, Abraham Foxman, national director has slammed Russian President for awarding to a Israel-hating Muslim poet.

    In a letter to the President Medvedev, ADL said that Russia should rescind the award immediately.

    Abe Foxman’s problem with Ali Okla Orsan is that Orsan agrees with American Jewish professor Alan Sabrosky that Israel did 9/11 and Jewish elites control American government. Abe Foxman also blames Orsan for comparing the Zionist entity with British novelist Shakespear’s Shylock Jewish character: “The covetous, racist and hated Jew Shylock who cut the flesh from Antonio’s chest with the knife of hatred, invades you with his money, his modern airplanes, his missiles and his nuclear bombs”.

    Orsan who is the former chairman and current advisor of the Arab Writers Union of Syria – accepted the award with gratitude and praised Russia for its opposition to attempts to “meddle in the internal affairs of other states and people in the context of a unipolar world”.

    Speaking to AFP in Damascus, Orsan criticized the opposition fighting Assad’s regime but vehemently denied that he had ever praised the September 11 attacks.

    “The militarisation of the opposition will take Syria towards civil war and destruction and bring the country unbearable consequences. If we are at war for years on end we shall lose everything.”

    But he added: “While the Americans had taken up very bad positions, we stand in solidarity with the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.”

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/russia-awards-syrian-writer-israel-lobby-frets/

  438. Fiorangela says:

    re Peter LaVelle and “Iranoia,” on RT interviewing Gilbert Doctorow, Gawat Baghat, and Patrick Clawson.

    Clawson is in Montreal for this interview.
    Real men go to Tehran. Clawson goes to Canada.

    more to come

  439. Fiorangela says:

    Empty — I meant to say also — I’m still smiling at the image of Rubin’s ears like two beets on the side of his head.

  440. Fiorangela says:

    Empty, thank you for your thoughtful responses yesterday. You provided much to think about.

  441. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Conn Hallinan is quite right to say the First World War started because some countries saw war as being to their benefit. Delusional thinking. Consder the Ottoman Empire, which launched surprise naval attack against three Russian cities, at the behest of Germany. Enver Pasha thought Germany could help the Ottomans keep the increasingly restive Arab provinces.

  442. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    I don’t know why the Leveretts have not appeared on Morning Joe.

    Haass’ chance of tune, if we call it that, is welcome. I agree he has done a fair bit to inflame things, in the past.

  443. Kathleen says:

    Karl know that this is not new on Feingolds part. Just bringing attention to his comments and war drum beating.

  444. Kathleen says:

    “James Canning says:
    February 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    Richard Haass argues that Iran should be encouraged to produce the fuel plates for the TRR, with the 20% U on hand. Sensible. He was tactful, and did not mention that Israel assassinated the Iranian scientist in charge of building the plant where those plates are to be made.”

    I have heard Richard Haass on MSNBC’s Morning Joe do more than his share to inflame the situation with Iran based on unsubstantiated claims. Have Flynt and Hillary been invited on the Morning Joe program? No no no. Why?

  445. Karl says:

    Kathleen:

    That is nothing new, Feingold is tied with aipac which have the first and foremost goal to portray the american and israeli interest in the middle east as the same. Why? Because its not a good look to say you are going to war because to protect Israel, not to mention the american people is to belive that Iran pose a threat to them and therefore trying to gain support for war.
    People like warmonger like this is brainwashed and not sane.

  446. Kathleen says:

    The interviewer above ask the guest “how do Americans get the correct message” By the MSM actually having individuals who have insights about this situation based on facts…When will more MSM outlets have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on their programs to inform the public. Contact them. Amazing that the Diane Rehm has yet to have them on. Telling

  447. fyi says:

    All:

    Another assessment of the strategic situation (that I posted earlier).

    http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/world-depends-future-greece-and-iran

    Mr. Ullman too seems to have found his way back to Reality.

  448. Kathleen says:

    Hillary: Iran “allowed intrusive inspections”

    Geneive objects to being interrupted then interrupts.

    Hillary “trust and verify”

    Rubin has the nerve to say something about that you can not assume that Iran has “western morals and western values” Does that mean those values that propelled the US to unseat a democratically elected leader in Iran or invade a country like Iraq based on a “pack of lies” and hundreds of innocent people are killed, injured and millions are displaced. Those morals and values. What an absurd statement by Rubin. Fueling a myth.

    Former Senator Feingold was on CSpans Washington Journal this morning. He actually said that Iran poses a direct threat to the US as well as to Israel. This seems to be the new mantra being repeated as well as the falsehood that negotiations with Iran have been exhausted. Was able to get in a comment about General Dempsey on Fareed Zakaria’s program and question with Feingold 31:34.

  449. Castellio says:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/24/the-slide-to-war/

    the final two paragraphs read:

    “The sobering thought is that the three most powerful actors in this drama—Israel, the U.S. and its European allies, and the Gulf Cooperation Council—have many of the same interests, and share the belief that force is an effective way to achieve one’s goals.

    On such illusions are tragedies built.”

  450. Karl says:

    Once again the report on Iran have been leaked.
    Once again ridiculous headlines that doesnt add up to the report itself.

    The german foreign minister put the blame on Iran saying:

    “We think Iran should understand the key to ending sanctions is in their own hands, they have a duty to co-operate with the international community,” he told reporters in Tunisia.”

    Like sanctions would ever be removed on Iran by the west…

  451. James Canning says:

    “An inside look at Russia’s aging, lonely leader”:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0%2c817138%2c00.html

  452. kooshy says:

    Here is a comment that cut my eyes reading a news article on Lebanon not attending the “Friends Of Israel” conference in Tunisia today, which I thought this guy fond the real appropriate name for this conference.

    “John from Koura (Guest)2 days ago00
    Majority of the countries attending are friends of Israel (ENEMIES of Syria) and their Arab tyrant puppets.”

  453. kooshy says:

    It all doesn’t sound that the FOS( friends of Syria) was very successful to obtain anything worth mentioning, is this also framed as “International community” since only 70 of 198 UN countries attended, excluding Iran, Russia, Lebanon, Iraq, China

    Saudi minister leaves Tunis meeting over “inactivity”: TV

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/us-syria-meeting-saudi-idUSTRE81N19720120224

    DUBAI | Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:46am EST

    DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s delegation walked out of a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunis on Friday over what it saw as the gathering’s “inactivity”, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said, but a Saudi official said it had only left to attend bilateral talks.

    “Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour assured Tuesday that Lebanon will commit to its decision to disassociate itself from the developments in Syria and from all the Arab decisions against the neighboring country, and will not attend the “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunisia.”

    :http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=46329&cid=23&fromval=1&frid=23&seccatid=14&s1=1

  454. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Do you think Netanyahu actually said that “the state of Lebaon does not exist on the new world map”?

  455. James Canning says:

    The Wall Street Journal reported today that India’s crude oil imports from Iran this year will be at same level as 2011. India is seeking to increase oil imports from Saudi Arabia.

  456. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    I did not know that. Are the sanctioning Iran or themselves?
    ”For centuries, the citizens of Nuremberg have celebrated their petite bratwurst, which are often served up by the half dozen on heart-shaped plates. But one local producer says his costs have nearly tripled in the past 18 months, due to the rising costs of one key ingredient: sheep’s intestines from Iran.”
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,817372,00.html
     
     

  457. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    “Do you comprehend this now: Whether Israel CAN achieve that is NOT RELEVANT. I repeat, NOT RELEVANT. What is relevant is that this is Israel’s INTENTION and this is Israel’s BELIEF.”

    I’m gasping for some value, worth, or logic to your assertions. O.K., so (alleged) intentions are relevant and practicality of goals, “wall of reality”, etc. is not. Alright then, how does this predict anything? If I fall for your incessant insistence, how would I know when war will break out, how long would it last, will US/Israel be in a stronger/weaker position after such mid eastern wars, etc? Bearing in mind that a respectable level of safety/security, and equitable access to resources can also be accomplished by defusing tensions, which net-net has a superior cost-benefit ratio. I know, I know, costs, benefits, and rationality of any kind is irrelevant, which brings us back to the social order of an understaffed mental asylum. And, again, while we all lament the possibility of rule of chaos, none of us want to resign to it, no matter how much you want to smack us down as dreamers.

    On Syria:
    ——–

    “First of all, Hizballah was born out of an Israeli invasion and occupation. It took years for it to emerge and years to remove Israel from Lebanon. The two situations are not identical.”

    I disagree. Syria has the following equivalents with Lebanon:

    Sheba Farms, Golan heights
    substantial non suni population
    A patron

    Unlike Lebanon, Syria has an existing professional military.

    In the unlikely event that the current disturbances will not be tamped down, and Syria becomes centrally ungovernable, then a core does exist, and will continue to exist which for want of a better analogy will function like Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

  458. Fiorangela says:

    Rehmat’s comment at 8:44 am contained a link to a 1996 WRMEA dossier on Benjamin Netanyahu. The dossier discussed the fact that Netanyahu aka Jay Sullivan aka Ben Nitai holds dual citizenship in Israel and in the US, and it traced his numerous international business connections, most of which have a nexus in Israel.

    I don’t know anything at all about international law, but it seems to me the protections of law become less reliable and more costly when dual citizenship becomes an element. In a global world and marketplace, international trade becomes extremely complicated and expensive when dual citizenship is prevalent.

    Perhaps its usual for sovereign states to have laws like Israel’s

    Foreign Judgments Enforcement Law – 1958
    1. In this Law:
    “Foreign judgment” – a judgment given by a court in a foreign state in a civil matter, including a judgment for the payment of compensation or damages to an injured party even though it may not have been given in a civil matter.
    Definition

    2. A foreign judgment will not be enforced in Israel save under this Law.
    No Enforcements Save Under This Law

    3. A Court in Israel may declare a foreign judgment enforceable if it finds that the judgment complies with the following:

    (1) The judgment was given in a state the courts of which were, according to its laws, competent to give it; and

    (2) the judgment is no longer appealable; and

    (3) the obligation of the judgment is enforceable under the Statues of Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Israel, and the content of which does not contradict the public policy in Israel; and

    (4) The judgment is executory in the State in which it was given.

    An
    Conditions of Enforcement (Changed 1975)
    4. (a) A foreign judgment will not be declared enforceable if it was given in a state the laws of which do not provide for the enforcement of judgments of Israeli Courts.

    (b) The Court may, on the application of the Attorney General, enforce a foreign judgment even where reciprocity, within the meaning of subsection (a), is not accorded.

    Since this law has been in effect since 1958, and since numerous American companies and indeed American states and cities have trade relations with Israel, we must assume that Israeli courts function in an equitable manner. I would have a hard time doing business with and Israeli entity, based on the reasoning that How can anybody credibly and confidently do business with Israel when it is known that Israel disclaims obligations to subscribe to international law in substantial ways; for example, since 1967 Israel has ignored and violated the international constraint against an occupying power settling civilians in lands taken in war. Israel has no declared international borders. How can anyone do international business with a state that does not have an ‘international’ definition, and has not had for over 40 years, if not 64 years?

    Israel has not paid debts and (mediated) judgments owed to Iran, in cases that Israel dragged on for over twenty years in courts and before arbitrators in several European states. Yet Israel grants itself the right to harry the citizens of other nations — including the United States, where an Israeli law/political action firm sued Jimmy Carter’s publisher and claimed massive damages.

    Plans have been announced to publish an English version of a 2011 text, “Foreign Judgments in Israel: Recognition and Enforcement

    “A judgment in a civil matter rendered in a foreign country is not automatically recognized in Israel. Before a judgment will be recognized or enforced, it must first undergo a domestic integration process. A declaration that the judgment is enforceable is dependent upon its meeting certain conditions specified by statute, irrespective of whether recognition of the foreign judgment is indirect or direct. If these conditions are met, the judgment is valid in certain matters. They serve as the main route for giving validity to foreign in rem judgments and to personal status judgments, which cannot otherwise be enforced; recognition of a judgment as enforceable, however, enables it to be executed.
    Integration of a foreign judgment is subject to a series of conditions and qualifications set forth in the Foreign Judgments Enforcement Law – 1958. If these conditions are not met, the judgment will not be enforced in Israel, and occasionally it will not be recognized even for limited purposes.”

    When dealing with Israel, caveat emptor. The law may not necessarily protect you.

  459. BiBiJon says:

    November 2007 redux: The Intelligence Community leaks over the head of the White House
    =========================================================================

    “The most recent report [the wording suggests a report more recent than 'early last year' cited in preceding paragraph], which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.

    Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.”

    From http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-intel-20120224,0,1164870,full.story

  460. Empty says:

    Fiorangela [thank you] linked to, summarized, and highlighted a panel discussion in which Sneh said the following: “When there is a secular and democratic Iran, let them have all the technologies in the world, whatever they like. Not this regime. Not this regime which despises the culture and the values of your society, if you don’t know it.”

    I do believe Sneh is more right (not the way he wants to) than he thinks. In fact, the evidence suggests that the culture and values that Sneh is referring to is in direct opposition to what the current decision makers in the Iranian “regime” believe. The following is a sample and an example of the values and culture that the “regime” Sneh refers to as they related to nuclear weapon R&D. This is a translation/interpretation of an excerpt from the article by H.I. Ahmad Moballeqi regarding Ayatollah Khamenei’s Fatwa banning nuclear weapons. [Extracted from: http://farsi.khamenei.ir/others-note?id=9222

    START of the TRNASLATION/INTERPRETATION

    “Fiqhi” [Islamic Jurisprudence] Justification for a Nuclear Weapons Ban”

    “…while the ‘fiqh’ justifications for this ’fatwa’ is manifold, three principles, in particular, are highlighted here:

    The Principle of ‘Vezr’ [Burden]

    Based on the principle of ‘Burden’ [و لا تَزِرُ وازرةٌ وزرَ أُخری –Quran, 17:15—Translation/Interpretation: ‘No soul shall carry the burden of another soul’], the extent and scope of a punishment shall not be such that it goes over and beyond those who are the culprits and deserve such punishments. In other words, no person/people should be afflicted with any consequence the cause of which is another person/group. Use of nuclear weapons violates this principle in a repeated manner and on a massive scale. Such weapons fail to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. Even more decidedly, the dire consequences are also trans-generational and spread to the subsequent/future generations. Their destructive nature is generatively sustained [through genetics and persistence] affecting a vast collection of humans beyond one generation.

    The Principle of a ban on ‘Sa’y bar Fesad’ [Attempt to Corrupt]

    The blessed verse, و إذا تولّی سَعی فِی الأرضِ لِیفْسدَ فیها و یهْلكَ الْحَرْثَ و النَّسْلَ [Quran, 2:205—Translation/Interpretation: ‘when he turns away, he attempts to corrupt the earth and destroy both properties and generations/offspring’] is the foundation of this principle. When a path is proposed to be taken that would eventually ends up corrupting the earth, the attempt itself [to corrupt] is the evidence and the subject of this principle and therefore is adjudged to ban. The strategic studies all indicate that the very pile up and storage of nuclear weapons are a step toward their use. The studies also indicate that the moment these weapons are used, a sustained escalation without management and control occurs that leads to fueling the fires of wars as a consequence of which the corruption of earth is materialized. Therefore, based on the principle of the ‘ban on attempts to corrupt the earth’, taking steps toward production and injection of an arms race, for the consequences that it entails, is wrong and from ‘Fiqh’ perspective rejected.

    It is interesting to note that Quran, in this verse, has brought up the concept of an ‘attempt that would lead to corruption in properties and generations.’ In other words, the ban is on the ‘attempt’ without considering whether in actuality such an attempt would end up materializing or not.

    The Principle of a ban on ‘Ethm’ [a Grave Sin]

    According to this principle, if ‘Ethm’, that is an ugly and grave sin, when in cost-benefit analysis of an act, when the ugliness/dire consequences/graveness of the sin is so evident, then it must be banned. Nuclear weapons are the very embodiment of such principle. These weapons, quite clearly, are such grave sins that even the ‘thought’ of/imagining such conflict removes any doubts about their applications. It is therefore based on wisdom and clarity of awareness about the ugliness/wrongness of making use of such weapons that even their formation cannot be considered prudent.

    The spread of weapons of mass destruction, too, is subject to similar orders. For they, by design, cause a race and exponential escalation. Such dangerous race, that an escalation logic propels it, causes a grave sin as, without a doubt, the possibility of even an accidental conflict is quite high.

    The verse إثمُهُما اَكْبَرُ مِنْ نَفْعِهِما [Quran: 2:219 –Translation/Interpretation: ‘its sin exceeds its benefits’] although is discussed in the context of alcohol and intoxicants, but in essence is the principle that is transferable to other ‘ethms’ [sins] and caution must be exercised. With relation to ‘alcohol and intoxicant’, the holy shari’a has announced the superiority of its corruptive potential [sins] to its benefit. With weapons of mass destruction, the corruption [sin] is to such massive and inherently escalating corruption that a ‘ban’ becomes the principle.”

    END of the TRNASLATION/INTERPRETATION

  461. Rehmat says:

    Zionist entity’s prime minister, spook-terrorist Benji Netanyahu while talking to reporters in Switzerland on Wednesday, said that the coming Israeli attack against Lebanon will be supported by United States and its Arab allies. Benji stressed that once the Jewish army has done its job, “there would be no Lebanon in the new world map”……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/bibi-israel-to-wipe-lebanon-off-the-map/

  462. Karl says:

    Like Libyan rebels, Syrian rebels admit that they smuggle weapons even from western states while western states turn a blind eye to it.

    TUNIS Feb 24 (Reuters) – Western and other countries are turning a blind eye to weapons purchases by Syrian exiles who are already smuggling light arms, communications equipment and night vision goggles to rebels inside Syria, a Syrian opposition source said on Friday.

    Syria rebels get arms from abroad -opposition source
    http://af.reuters.com/article/tunisiaNews/idAFL5E8DO4PO20120224

  463. Karl says:

    Like Libyan rebels, Syrian rebels admit that they smuggle weapons even from western states while western states turn a blind eye to it.

  464. Karl says:

    Like Libyan rebels, Syrian rebels admit that they smuggle weapons even from western states while western states turn a blind eye to it.

  465. Another call for foreign military intervention in Syria from the EU…Also fast tracking the sanctions.

    Powerless EU set to slap more sanctions on Syria
    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=50816

    Quote

    Condemning the killing of two Western journalists in the flashpoint city of Homs on Wednesday, Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and head of the liberals in the European parliament, called on the international community to act urgently, including by the use of force.

    “If Bashar al-Assad refuses to end the bombardment of civilian zones, the state members of (Friends of Syria) must be ready to use force to protect the civilian population,” he said.

    End Quote

  466. Dan Cooper says:

    Sassan

    Israel without a doubt is the biggest existing terrorist nation and the greatest threat to world peace.

  467. Karl says:

    If correct, another backlash on oil embargo.

    EU ban on Iran oil may be bonus to Tehran’s fields
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/iran-oil-reservoirs-idUSL5E8DO2XW20120224

    Also.

    Europeans entered talks to buy Iranian oil
    eutimes.net/2012/02/europeans-entered-talks-to-buy-iranian-oil/

  468. A-B says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    “Recommended viewing: RT’s Crosstalk February 22 “Iranoia”. Peter Lavelle is excellent in moderating Patrick Clawson …When Clawson repeatedly says “Iran’s Nuclear Weapon” Lavelle interrupts him and with a, sort of, contemptuous look reminds this warmonger that war is the worst possible thing that could happen (@8:10).”

    COMMENT: I’ll take a look. I’ll note, though, that I consider it not helpful to Iran when such an exchange occurs. Distilled to its essence, such an exchange amounts to this:

    IRAN CRITIC: Iran has nuclear weapons and so it must be dealt with, one way or another.

    MODERATOR: War is a bad way for dealing with such matters.

    That’s bad for Iran because the IRAN CRITIC and the MODERATOR are disagreeing only on remedies. The moderator is tacitly accepting the critic’s assertion that Iran has nuclear weapons. If the moderator were doing his job right, such an exchange would go more like this:

    IRAN CRITIC: Iran has nuclear weapons and so it must be dealt with, one way or another.

    MODERATOR: What makes you say Iran has nuclear weapons?

  469. Richard,

    Thanks for the link to the Christian Science Monitor article by Muhammad Sahimi and Richard Silverstein on the allegedly tit-for-tat attacks on Israeli and Iranian civilians. I reserve judgment on who was responsible for any of those attacks, but somehow I can’t help thinking that Iranian scientists may be a bit safer these days.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2012/0221/Israeli-Iran-attack-What-goes-around-comes-around.

  470. Irshad says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    The Russians have let it be known that they will seek to re-establish a base in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam AND in other parts of the world (Cuba?Venezuela?) IF the US navy moves in to the Black Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

    The chief of staff of the Russian military stated this to the media.

    No doubt , as per fyi’s assetion of “we have 3400 ships”, the Americans WILL be steaming in to the Black Sea – is Missle Defence not in Bulgaria/Romania? – and US demoncrazytic friendly govt in Georgia.

    The Russians have tried to pre-empt these move – and one of the many reason we had the 2008 Russia-Georgia war – allowing the Russian navy to have access to a deep water naval base in Abkhazia’s main city of Sukhum.

    This is now the closest naval base to the Bosphurus and the Med. sea for the Russian navy. No doubt the Russians are upgrading and modernising the naval facility there aswell as building 9 (or could be 8 I cannot exactly remember) NEW submarines solely for the Black Sea fleet to protect her interest there as well as the new South Stream gas pipeline.

    With all the scrambles going on for the vast energy and mineral riches in the Arctic area – without shadow of a doubt expect a greater presence of the US Navy there – the Canadians are already active there and hey if the Canadians can be there why not USA?

    So the opening of a Russian naval base in Vietnam is very highly likely to happen.

    Lets connect the dots now:

    > Russian navy main base in Black Sea – Sevastapool

    > a new major naval base is being built in Kharkov close to the sea of Azov again on Black sea (in case if the Russians have to leave Sevastapool)

    > a mssive re-armamnent programme upto 2020 including new ships and subs which will see Russian ships and subs in the oceans of the world

    > Sukhum in Abkhazia now added as a naval base being the closest deep water port to the Bosphurus (forgot about Georgia ever getting it back)

    > Tartous in Syria (hence either Assad regime survives or a pro-Russian leader replaces him) – ideal stopping place to refuel, re – stock and recouperate for the sailors

    > carry out “anti” piracy operations in Gulf of Aden and Indian ocean (when Saleh was in power he offered the Russians to re-open their naval base their especially on the island of Socotra – I dont know what the new thug in power will say about this now hence instability is not in Russias long term interest – and having a base here will be ideal)

    > NOW either the ships can return to their naval bases in the Black or Baltic Sea OR conitnue eastwards to get to ther naval bases on the Pacific in Vladivostok – this is where Cam Ranh Bay will come in handy.

    Also if there is ever an emergency/accident – at least the Russians can have boats/aircrafts close by instead of having to come from Murmansk, Kalaningrad or Sevastapool – a faar longer journey.

    So its logical to expect the Russians to go ahaead and open it soon.

    They will be opening a factory to produce super-sonic missles in Vietnam – a deal worth $250-300m.

    If they want to go West they can easiliy re-open their bases in Cuba or open a new facility in Venezuela.

    That will make Uncle Sam mad!

    Hence one way or another this needs to be nipped in the bud – Tartous and Assad must go to get at Ivan in Moscow and to get at the “mad mullahs” in Tehran!!!

  471. Liz says:

    Sassan,

    You should go and see a doctor. Seriously.

  472. Sassan says:

    February 23, 2012
    The Iranian Plan to Annihilate the Jews
    By Reza Kahlili

    For many years, I have tried to raise awareness not only of the threat posed by the fanatics ruling Iran, but also of the injustices done to the Iranian people. This has drawn the ire of the mullah-appeasers and those in alliance with the criminal Islamic regime in Iran.

    Recently, I revealed a shocking piece, “Ayatollah: Kill All Jews, Annihilate Israel,” in which a well-known strategist within the Iranian government introduced a new doctrine not only to destroy Israel in a preemptive attack, but also to commit to genocide and kill the Jewish people. The piece got international attention and made headlines across the world.

    The facts in my piece were an exact copy of the original piece, which was published in Iran. I even left a link to the Iranian piece that interestingly was not only written in Farsi, but also translated into English. I wanted to make sure that the world could see that my piece was a true and accurate reflection of what was said in Iran.

    I wanted the world to see that the jihadists in Tehran had no shame in openly calling for the mass murder of the people of another nation. I wanted the world to realize that we were once again dealing with madmen who had no interest in humanity, love, or peace, and that they were determined to commit a grave crime, based on their belief in glorifying Allah.

    Even though I did my best to make it easy to verify the facts, many Islamists, and those supporting negotiations with the regime in Iran, launched an attack against me and my article and did not hide their hatred for Israel and the Jewish people.

    In their attacks, they not only tried to assassinate my character, but also tried to deceive the readers, claiming that my piece was a lie and that no one in Iran was calling for the killing of the Jewish people.

    These people failed to mention that just recently, the Iranian supreme leader once again called Israel “a cancerous tumor that should and will be cut” during his recent Friday prayer sermon. One must be living in a cave not to have heard Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other officials of the Islamic regime call for the destruction of Israel and how this “cancerous cell” needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

    But the clarity is in the piece that was published in Iran, which has a full paragraph with the title “Israeli People Must be Annihilated.” All Iranian state media are strictly pro-government and highly sensitive to any statement that might cause the regime problems. The original piece was published in over 28 major official media sites of the Islamic regime, including the Revolutionary Guards’ Fars News Agency and Mashregh News. It does represent the official view of the Islamic regime.

    The site, Alef, which ran the piece, belongs to Ahmad Tavakoli, a hard-line parliamentarian and a close ally of Khamenei. The author, Alireza Forghani (who recently resigned his post as governor of southern Iran’s Kish Province over tensions with pro-Ahmadinejad circles), entered the Basij forces when he was 14 and served one of the most fanatical elements of the regime, the Ansare Hezb’allah in the city of Mashhad, from age 17 to 21. He continued his education in the field of analytical strategy. He was one of the first within the Iranian government to call Khamenei an imam, and is an analyst and a strategy specialist in Khamenei’s camp. He has the following in his bio on his blog:

    Favorite book: The Absolute Rule of the Jurisprudent

    Favorite sport: Jihad in fierce war

    But let’s take direct quotes from the original piece, which was published in English:

    In the name of Allah
    Iran must attack Israel…

    The necessity of Israel annihilation … :

    Today, the first Qibla of the Muslims has been occupied by Israel, a cancerous tumor for the Middle East. Today, Israel is causing division using all evil means. Every Muslim is obliged to equip themselves against Israel. … and since the potential danger is facing the foundations of Islam, it is necessary for the Islamic governments in particular and other Muslims in general to remove this corrupting material by any means. All our troubles are due to Israel! And Israel results from America too.

    Military Aspects of Iranian Attack on Israel

    In order to attack Iran, Israel needs western and U.S. assistance, permission and coordination. In the current situation and passiveness of U.S. and the West, Iran should wipe out Israel.

    … Based on preemptive defense doctrine, Israel should get under heavy military strikes through first and final strikes. In the primary step of first scene, ground zero points of Israel should be annihilated by Iranian military attacks. To get this end, Iran can use long-range missiles. The distance from Iranian easternmost point to westernmost point of Israel is about ۲۶۰۰ km (2,600km). Strategic targets deep inside Israeli soil are in the range of Iranian conventional missiles.

    Israeli People Must Be Annihilated

    Israel is the only country in the world with a Jewish majority. According to the last census of Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, this country has a population of ۷.۵ (7.5) million including ۵.۷ (5.7) million Jews …

    Residents of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa can be targeted even by Shahb ۳ (3). Population density in these three adjacent areas composes about ۶۰ % (60%) of Israeli population. Sejjil missiles can target power plants, sewage treatment facilities, energy resources, transportation and communication infrastructures; and in the second stage Shahab ۳ and Ghadr missiles can target urban settlements until final annihilation of Israel people.

    There is no need to post the whole piece, as the link here is available for all to see.

    The point is that my piece was a true reflection of this new doctrine and shocking ideology of genocide of the Jewish people.

    However, in order to see the truth, one must be faithful to one’s spirit. In Iran, Basiji bullies, Revolutionary Guards armed to the teeth, and Ansare Hezb’allah thugs with chains and knives attack those bold enough to reveal the truth. In America, the mullah-appeasers attack and character-assassinate those who reveal the truth about this criminal regime. There’s no difference between the two.

    I do not take these attacks on me to heart, as I choose truth over lies, love over hate, justice over injustice, and light over darkness. I choose to be the voice of the voiceless. Although it is a constant battle on many fronts, I know that in my heart that I walk the path of My Lord.

    I do not expect those who have chosen evil to understand, but again, if they had any dignity, if they had respect for humanity, then they would not support a regime that stones women to death, a regime that rapes and tortures Iranian boys and girls to suppress their desire for freedom, a regime that chops off hands and feet in punishment for stealing, a regime that lashes Iranians as punishment for not adhering to Islamic rules and savagely attacks anyone opposing it. This is a regime that is at the helm of worldwide terrorism in which many of its officials are wanted either by Interpol or courts around the world for terrorist acts and assassinations.

    Though it saddens me to know there are such individuals among us — individuals who profess loyalty to a barbaric regime — I am happy to report that even they will not be able save the criminals ruling Iran. Their final outcome is in the hands of God.

    Long Live the Iranian People.

    God Bless America.

    Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book A Time to Betray. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/the_iranian_plan_to_annihilate_the_jews.html

  473. fyi says:

    Nasser says: February 24, 2012 at 1:45 am

    No it is not an excuse; their national anthem sings of the “longing in the soul of a Jew”.

    The 2002 plan was not a plan; it was a vision without substance.

  474. Nasser says:

    fyi says: February 24, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Is that why they keep insisting on being recognized as a Jewish State? I always thought it a mere excuse to continue their land grab.

    If you are right though, then why would they turn down the Saudi Peace plan? I am sure this “non acceptance” bothers and perhaps is insulting to them, but I fail to see why that is so important.

  475. Ah, I didn’t read far enough down. This explains much of it:

    “Mr. Daqduq is accused of conspiring with several groups, including the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, to train Shiite militias to use roadside bombs and other insurgent tactics.”

    And “Officials have expressed concerns that the government of Iran may pressure Iraq to release him.”

    The Hizballah connection is probably not as important as the Qods Force connection.

  476. This *may* be significant…

    Iraqi Prisoner Tied to Hezbollah Faces U.S. Military Charges
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/world/middleeast/us-approves-military-tribunal-case-for-detainee.html

    First, this expands the us of US military tribunals to charge people unconnected to Al Qaeda.

    More importantly, it is being explicitly used against a guy charged with being a Hizbllah operative (in Iraq).

    I see that as “setting a precedent” in some way towards future US hostility toward Hizballah IN LEBANON, possibly during the upcoming Syria campaign.

    Of course, the US already blames Hizballah for the Marine barracks bombing and much else, so maybe I’m over-reacting. But this sort of thing raises my suspicious nature.

  477. And the REAL reason – besides Iran – that Israel wants Hizballah destroyed and Lebanon fractured…

    As usual, huge oil and gas reserves between Israel and Lebanon.

    Part I: Israel’s Levant Basin—a new geopolitical curse?
    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2012/02/19/the-new-mediterranean-oil-gas-bonanza/#more-12276

  478. A more detailed analysis of the possibility that Iran was involved in the Thailand and India and Georgia attacks.

    Convoluted fuse to Bangkok bombs
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/NB24Ae01.html

    Suggests that the most likely suspect is MEK rather than Iran or Israel.

  479. Moscow stirs itself on Syria
    By M K Bhadrakumar
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NB24Ak03.html

    Quote

    But that is not how Moscow views the developing paradigm. It estimates that Tunis with its Mediterranean climate and languid look has been carefully chosen as a deceptive location for the West to launch a concerted assault on the citadel of President Bashar al-Assad and to legitimize it in the world opinion. Moscow senses that the final assault on Syria by the United States may not far off, although the US propaganda makes it out to be that the Barack Obama administration is on the horns of a dilemma, torn apart by an existential angst.

    According to some information, a small group of countries, without knowledge of others, will be asked to simply stamp a document that is already in the process of being written … it seems that we are talking about slapping together some kind of international coalition as was the case in organizing the Libya Contact Group in order to support one side against the other in an internal conflict.

    Abdullah made it clear that Riyadh has a closed mind on Syria and nothing short of a regime change in Damascus will satisfy the House of Saud.

    The Iranian account was more forthcoming.

    “Given their common views and positions, Iran and Russia must make more effort to help establish peace in the region and prevent foreign intervention,” Ahmadinejad said.

    Medvedev, for his part, said certain trans-regional powers seek Syria’s disintegration, which is a threat to Middle East security. The Russian president added that Iran and Russia can cooperate to peacefully resolve the crisis in Syria.

    End Quotes

    Clearly Russia sees the same scenario I do unfolding in Syria.

  480. fyi says:

    Nasser says: February 24, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Think about it: they cannot stroll in Isphahan, visit Tehran, or go to Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad.

    They are stuck in their little enclave all the time pretending to be a Western country.

    They are not a Western people by virtue of both religion and culture.

    If you look at India, there are Parsis and Jains there – not Hindu but Indian nevertheless.

    That status is beyond their reach.

  481. More on the background about the alleged Iranian espionage in the Caucasus states…

    Hidden war in the South Caucasus
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NB23Ag01.html

    Given that Israel reportedly wanted Georgian air fields from which to conduct air strikes on Iran a couple years back, I really don’t think giving any credibility to Saakashvili is a good idea…

  482. US, Israel fully coordinated on Iran, US ambassador reaffirms
    http://news.monstersandcritics.com/middleeast/news/article_1692547.php/US-Israel-fully-coordinated-on-Iran-US-ambassador-reaffirms

    Quote

    The Jerusalem Post daily quoted him as telling US Jewish leaders meeting in Jerusalem that while diplomatic and economic sanctions were the preferred strategy to counter Iran’s nuclear weapon drive, ‘all other options are on the table.’

    ‘More than that, the necessary planning is being done to ensure that those options are actually available if at any time they become necessary,’ he warned.

    He rejected reports of a rift between Israel and the US over Iran’s alleged nuclear programme, telling his audience that ‘whatever one reads in the paper, I cannot think of any issue on which we are better coordinated than on the issue of Iran.’

    ‘It is often the case that those who talk don’t know and those who know don’t talk. Much of what is written on this topic is pure speculation and much of it is wrong,’ he added.

    Israeli President Shimon Peres, reinforced Shapiro’s comments.

    ‘The state of Israel is an independent, sovereign state, and has the right to defend itself. When we say all options are on the table, we really mean it,’ he said.

    The president also denied a report, which appeared in the Ha’aretz daily Thursday, that he planned to tell President Barack Obama that he opposed a possible Israeli attack on Iran.

    End Quote

  483. Pirouz says:

    Arnold, are you still able to post comments at Arms Control Wonk?

    I think I may have been banned without notification. My comments don’t make it past the moderation, even without inserted URLs.

    Y’know, it’s weird. I’ve never had a problem presenting perspectives at sites run by former U.S. military officers or even certain affiliated DOD or former CIA officials. They’re quite engaging. And open minded, up to a point.

    But NGOs and even certain academics have far less tolerance. Amazing, isn’t it?

  484. Why a “peacekeeping force” in Syria is a non-starter…Much of the argument also applies to “humanitarian corridors”.

    Syria requires much more than ‘peacekeeping’
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1133569–syria-requires-much-more-than-peacekeeping

    To be clear, I don’t anticipate either “peacekeepers” OR “corridors” to be established. These are just “feints” before the real game of an air campaign is brought up.

  485. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Empty says: February 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm
    Empty, you wrote to Fiorangela:
    ”Or perhaps because she is a woman. That man didn’t have a chance. By the time the session was over, two beets were hanging from where his ears used to be.”

    I don’t know, but I could have sworn there was a sound of a whip cracking in background. Not sure if it was soundtrack from Devo’s Crack That Whip, or the Blues Brothers. She was whipping! Anyway, for the format of the show and the two against one, Hillary came across as well reasoned and to the point. I for one am happy that she on the side of reason for her country to come to it’s senses and have a dialog that serves both US and Iran. To me, it didn’t matter whether this was an MSM outlet or not.
    Well done Hillary! Very smart way of rolling out your arguments! Independent Iranian power is the correct argument. It never was about enrichment.
    Kudos for getting Rubin to wag his finger for lack of strength in his argument. He sure is “enlightened.” Not.
    Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’… keep on rollin’ , rollin’…rawhide… giddyup…

  486. This article says nothing we don’t already know.

    The kicker is it appears in the Cleveland Jewish News…

    Allow Iran to enrich uranium
    http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/opinion/op-eds/article_56abe920-5c9b-11e1-88cc-001871e3ce6c.html

  487. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Re, long posts on this site.
    I’ve been reading every word of every post and sometimes, the posted links (OK, except the one’s posted by the trolls) and I think I am the better for it.
    Speaking of trolls, Castellio, not to stir the ghosts, but, it’s been quiet like I predicted.

  488. So what happens when it’s clear the oil export sanctions have not significantly hurt Iran? The shortfall in sales will likely be made up in the higher price as a result of tensions.

    UPDATE 2-Iran oil output steady despite sanctions
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/iran-production-idUSL5E8DN42020120223

    Production was expected to fall but some suggest Iran is storing the excess oil but will be unable to do so for much longer.

    Quote

    Traders expect Iran to seek to maintain exports through discounts and barter.

    “Iran will try hard but the Americans are watching very carefully what goes where. There will be sporadic cargoes here and there but it is impossible to dodge sanctions with very large volumes,” said a trader with a big European trading house.

    The first sign that Iran is holding more oil than normal at sea came on Thursday. Iranian supertanker The Delvar anchored off Karimun Island, an Indonesian island in the Singapore Strait, Reuters shipping data showed.

    And data from broker ICAP shipping shows Iran is also now storing crude oil on two very large crude carriers in long term storage.

    End Quote

  489. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    “The worst thing for Israelis is that the doors to the House of Islam is closed to them … This is what burns them.”

    - I have only before heard Ambassador Freeman mention this by pointing out how Israelis are shut out from the societies of the region.

    Why is this significant? Why should Israelis care about this, beyond some psychological gratification?

    Please expand a bit on your thoughts.

  490. Nasser says:

    US Policy Options on Iran: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/304552-1

    Paneslists include Ret. Admiral William Fallon, Ret. General James Cartwright and David Sanger.

  491. Muhammad Sahimi and Richard Silverstein join forces to warn of consequences to “tit for tar” operations

    Israeli Iran attack? What goes around comes around.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2012/0221/Israeli-Iran-attack-What-goes-around-comes-around.

  492. And Peres walks back from his suggestion earlier that an Israeli strike would be unwise…

    Peres: A nuclear Iran would be a catastrophe
    The president stresses that Israel has the right to defend itself against dangers after Haaretz reported earlier that Peres is due to tell Obama that he objects to an Israeli attack on Iran.
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/peres-a-nuclear-iran-would-be-a-catastrophe-1.414417

  493. Lieberman: U.S., Russian warnings against Iran strike will not affect Israel’s decision
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/lieberman-u-s-russian-warnings-against-iran-strike-will-not-affect-israel-s-decision-1.414199

    No surprise here either. Maybe I shouldn’t have posted this as a result. What do you think?

  494. Deconstructing Lieberman’s Iran Resolution
    Muhammad Sahimi goes line by line.
    http://original.antiwar.com/muhammad-sahimi/2012/02/23/deconstructing-liebermans-iran-resolution/

    Nothing we don’t know, so maybe I shouldn’t bother posting this. What do you think?

  495. Another example of how the MSM spins Iranian news…

    WSJ Iran Propaganda Is As Simple As That
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/02/23/wsj-iran-propaganda-is-as-simple-as-that/

    Huge headline about “Iranian Leader Promotes Nuclear Plans”.

    Then:

    Quote

    In the last paragraph – the very last paragraph and the second to last sentence – the Wall Street Journal chose to include:

    Iran isn’t pursuing a nuclear-weapons program because it would be “sinful,” he said.

    Buried lede much?

    End Quote

    Hillary goes on Antiwar Radio and Al Jazeera and gets heard by what, a few thousand people. Meanwhile, X million read the WSJ headline…

    As I’ve said, there’s no winning that game.

  496. Syrian opposition warns outside military intervention may be ‘only solution’ to crisis
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9099081/Syrian-opposition-warns-outside-military-intervention-may-be-only-solution-to-crisis.html

    Quote

    The SNC, the largest opposition group, will ask the conference to support a seven-point plan for establishing “humanitarian corridors” to cities and surrounding areas under sustained assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces where food, water and electricity are becoming scarce.

    It proposes establishing safe passages from Lebanon to the besieged city of Homs, from Turkey to Idlib and from Jordan to Deraa.

    Russia, one of the regime’s few remaining allies, said it now supported a Red Cross proposal to allow limited daily access for aid convoys, though not fully fledged “corridors”.

    End Quote

    Russia understands that a “corridor” can be used for other purposes than medical relief… They also work to the advantage of an insurgency because counterinsurgency operations cannot be conducted in them while insurgent operations and preparations for same CAN be. They are by definition more useful to the insurgency than to the opposing military.

    Once again, what we are seeing here is the West trying to make cracks in Syria’s ability to defeat the insurgency under the guise of “humanitarian” concerns as well as a rapid hardening of positions towards foreign military intervention.

    All this over a couple weeks. Where will we be in six months? Bombing, I predict. How long did it take the US and NATO to go from “we have no plans” to actual bombing in Libya?

  497. Unknown Unknowns: Appreciate your “two cents” – I’d even raise that to a dime. :-)

  498. Gareth Porter on the details of the Parchin controversy.

    Iran Holds Up Access to Parchin for Better IAEA Deal
    http://www.truth-out.org/iran-holds-access-parchin-better-iaea-deal/1330011159

    Neatly recaps the situation between the IAEA and Iran on the question of Parchin and related matters such as the steel tank. In other words, debunks the Western spin completely.

  499. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    February 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I sent an email asking them not to filter your site. (Blogs are generally filtered. I think that is the default for many if not all popular blog platforms.) I’ll let you know when and if I hear back from them. I’m pretty sure they will respond, and respond positively, but can’t say how long it will take.

    *

    Richard et al:

    My two cents worth:

    First cent: I personally value the “reader’s digest” versions that you provide. Like you said, it does away with a lot of the legwork, especially as your bullshitometer is pretty well-calibrated :)

    Second cent: Evidently you are pushing the envelope here according to some other participants, but compared to the tone and tenor that obtains in the average site, I would characterize your snide remarks as positively cordial.

    And I want to second Arnold’s excellent idea about you starting your own blog. I would love to see you make an outline of the ideas you have expressed here, then spend some time going through the archives and paste your comments into that outline to flesh it out. There is actually enough material there for a book. But good luck getting it past your friendly Jewish publisher.

  500. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    The worst thing for Israelis is that the doors to the House of Islam is closed to them.

    They can huff and puff as much as they like and complain about Arabs and Muslims but the fact remains that they are not accepted or wanted from the Mediterranean sea to Hindu Kush.

    This is what burns them.

  501. i probably shouldn’t post this as it’s way too technical for the layman but if anyone is interested in how Stuxnet worked and how it was determined that the Natanz facility was the target, this video presentation by Ralph Langer at the S4 conference is the definitive exposition so far.

    Langner’s Stuxnet Deep Dive S4 Video
    http://www.digitalbond.com/2012/01/31/langners-stuxnet-deep-dive-s4-video/

    Even if you don’t know computer lingo, it’s still a fascinating talk which really isn’t THAT technical. You can definitely get the gist even if you’re clueless about coding. How he determined that Natanz was the target isn’t really technical – it’s just matching some Stuxnet structure code with the known facts of the cascades at Natanz – including pictures right from Ahmadinejad’s Web site! Really good detective work.

  502. The Carnage in Syria: Could the Russians Come to the Rescue?
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2107541,00.html

    These are the important points:

    Quote

    United Nations investigators have rushed out a report in Geneva alleging there is “credible and consistent evidence” that top Syrian officials — including perhaps President Bashar Assad — had ordered soldiers to kill protesters and to use machine guns and tanks to staunch the uprising in civilian neighborhoods.

    The report, which investigators are due to be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Commission next week, is clearly aimed at preparing indictments for the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague. It accuses security officials directly accountable to Assad of “crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations.” That mirrors the legal language used in ICC indictments last year against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam.

    End Quote

    Quote

    Colvin and Ochlik’s deaths have raised the heat in the Syria debate, with British Prime Minister David Cameron expressing his shock in parliament on Wednesday, and a visibly shaken French President Nicolas Sarkozy telling reporters in Paris, “This is enough. This regime must go.”

    End Quote

    Oh, really? How many journalists did the US kill in Iraq during the invasion?

    And this:

    Quote

    The Saudi King declined to discuss strategy on Syria with the Russian president, according to the Saudi reports, which quoted him saying that Russia “should have coordinated with the Arabs” before vetoing the U.N. resolution. Now, the King was quoted saying, “dialogue about what is happening is futile.”

    End Quote

    So clearly Saudi Arabia is behind keeping the chaos going and is fully on board with foreign intervention.

    And this is bullcrap:

    Quote

    British Foreign Minister William Hague, who pushed strongly for last year’s NATO bombing in Libya, told BBC Radio on Thursday that the killings in Syria would need to be “on a vastly greater scale” than Libya, in order to warrant military intervention.

    End Quote

    There WAS NO significantly higher killings going on in Libya when the West intervened. Hague is just lying here.

    Virtually everyone involved in this situation is lying around the clock. We’re hearing all the same crap we heard before the West pushed for a UN Resolution on Libya and then ignored it to begin a program of regime change.

    And yet now we’re supposed to believe they don’t intend the same thing in Syria? When they are KNOWN to be intervening by training the insurgents and supplying them with arms and Libyan mercenaries?

  503. Fiorangela: “What we are looking at is a primitive, militant, tribal group with a gangster moral code and loyalties; self-proclaimed disdain for the rule of law; and a psychotic mindset that grants itself permission to kill those who get in the way of working out its ideology; and the belief that it was chosen by god to be the moral leaders of the world, demanding that another nation subscribe to the values of the “European Enlightenment and democracy” and learn to do so from the “example” of the world’s two biggest killers of innocents, the United States and Israel.”

    Now THAT was a nice recap of the situation! I wish I could quote that on Twitter!

  504. Arnold: “I’d appreciate any feedback you can offer for an article I wrote about Syria today.”

    I posted a comment there, which I repeat here that basically I agree with the post completely especially the part about how the West would like to see Syria crippled “as the next best thing”, which is exactly what I’ve said here.

  505. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold, would you consider adding ‘wings’ to your blog — for example, permitting RSH to have a page or subset or guest-posts?

  506. Fiorangela says:

    in view of the chatter here about lengthy comments that no one reads anyway, and since I think this comment of Ephraim Sneh’s provides and insight into the world view of Israelis and American Jews (though not of American Christian zionists, whose worldview is antiIranian but they don’t know why — just because that’s what they’re told by the voices in their heads, perhaps).

    Ephraim Sneh was a member of Israel’s Knesset and Deputy Defense Minister. Sneh is the person who, in 1992, made a series of PowerPoint presentations to the Knesset alleging that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. After some resistance, he convinced Knesset that Israel’s defense budget should be increased to counter Iranian nuclear threat (remember — Sneh was Deputy Defense Minister, in charge of defense budget). In 1992, Knesset agreed: Iran was a serious nuclear threat to Israel. In short order, the message was communicated to Israel’s unregistered foreign agents in the United States, AIPAC et al, who raised the alarm in the Clinton administration. By 1995, Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order sanctioning Iran, which caused US corporation CONOCO to have to cancel a very favorable contract to develop Iranian oil fields. Fearing that an executive could be a temporary thing, undone by a subsequent executive, in 1996, AIPAC maneuvered several senators, notably Alfonse D’Amato, to push through the ILSA 00 Iran Libya Sanctions Act. etc etc etc.

    The point: Ephraim Sneh got the ball rolling in 1992.

    Who is Ephraim Sneh? A physician who was on the hostage rescue mission in Entebbe in 1976 during which Yoni Netanyahu, brother of Benjamin, was killed. Sneh tried to save Yoni’s life but failed. The impact of the death of Yoni on Bibi — and Sneh — cannot be overestimated. The surviving Netanyahu brother has ever since felt like the lesser son in his father’s eyes.

    Tales of conflict-filled relations between fathers and sons run all through the Tanakh, Jewish scriptures. In almost every instance, the older son, whom one would expect to be the successor to his father and first to inherit, is instead rejected by the father and the mantle passed to the second son. It’s probably a good idea to bear this lore in mind when thinking about Bibi and his beliefs about himself and his struggles to prove to his father that he, the living, surviving son, is as courageous as his dead brother, the Hero of Entebbe. This provides some of the motive force behind Bibi’s ‘divinely ordained’ mission to take up the mantle of his father, who was Vladimir Jabotinsky’s chief administrative officer. If Bibi can’t die for the zionist cause, at least he can ensure that a whole lot of other people do.

    For his part, Sneh is bound by the blood of hero Yoni to the Netanyahu clan and ideology. This is tribalism with nukes, ladies and gents, and Sneh is the Medicine Man of the tribe.

    In my view, Sneh’s statements below, in bold, provide a keen insight into what Israel really requires of Iran: Sneh, and Netanyahu, and as I will show later, Israel’s former ambassador to US Danny Ayalon, demand that Iran change its culture. Iran MUST become “democratic and secular,” in Sneh’s formulation; must adopt “European democratic values” in Ayalon’s formulation; must take on “Enlightenment values” in Michael Rubin’s view.

    Here’s what Sneh said:
    Now, because the sanctions of this administration started to be effective — started to be effective — now they’re asking, ‘Let’s go back to the game of gaining time.’
    No ma’am. NO. No.
    When there is a secular and democratic Iran, let them have all the technologies in the world, whatever they like. Not this regime. Not this regime which despises the culture and the values of your society, if you don’t know it.”

    Be aware that earlier, Trita Parsi, an Iranian, conducted an extremely sophisticated but powerful exchange with Sneh in which Parsi told Sneh that his understanding of the Iranian people was inaccurate (Parsi was a model of elegant force; I would have felt inclined to tell Sneh to stick it where the sun don’t shine.)

    Later, as I quoted below, Sneh told an Iranian woman that the leaders of her country “despise Iranian values; you don’t know it but they do.”

    In January Danny Ayalon told an audience at Chatham Center in England:

    I think the danger that we face today is that the Iranian Revolution may be replicated all over the Middle East and none of us – and I’m not just talking about Israel – none of us in the international community can afford another Iran in the Middle East. So this is something that has to be quite understood and emphasised. . . .First of all we need to see a cultural change: this is taking a long time. . . . democracy needs maybe first and foremost institutions, the rule of law and also a strong civil society, let alone all the freedom of the press, freedom of religion and the protection of minorities. . .
    we see real democracies that are accountable to the people because we know in never in history has a real democracy started a war on another democracy – checks and balances, public opinion and what have you. So our interest is that this tumult, or this development in the Arab World, will consummate in – I’m not ashamed to say – European-style democracy. Whether it is achievable and how long it will take is of course the big question. I believe that the international community as a whole can help somewhat. First of all by leading through example.

    What we are looking at is a primitive, militant, tribal group with a gangster moral code and loyalties; self-proclaimed disdain for the rule of law; and a psychotic mindset that grants itself permission to kill those who get in the way of working out its ideology; and the belief that it was chosen by god to be the moral leaders of the world, demanding that another nation subscribe to the values of the “European Enlightenment and democracy” and learn to do so from the “example” of the world’s two biggest killers of innocents, the United States and Israel.

    One is tempted to recite some Shakespeare at this point, “More need they the divine than the physician,” but in this situation, it is the influence of the divine and the physician that is causing all the problems.

  507. Arnold: “Richard, do you have a blog? I think it would be really good for your longer writings to be in one place, including with titles.”

    I’d like to, I’ve been meaning to, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Partly because I haven’t fully figured out what I’d like the blog to focus on. On the one hand, I could use a blog in my computer support business, but that would need to be separate from any political or Transhumanist focus.

    “For example. I remember you doing a very thorough examination of the idea that Iran’s leadership accepted the initial TRR deal and then changed its mind in 2009, but I’d have no idea how to find it now.”

    Yes, it would be good to have a place I could link to which would focus on specific topics like that. Excellent idea.

    “I will say that blogger blocks a lot of comments as spam so if you allow comments you’d have to constantly be looking for that.”

    Actually the odds are I would disable comments completely. I really don’t have any real desire to engage in arguments there as well as here or elsewhere. I’d rather just use it to make pronouncements, let other people argue on THEIR blogs and then respond on MY blog – which is what most of the “pundits” do.

    Almost none of the “pundits” allow themselves to engage directly with their readers – mostly because they’d get killed in the arguments…

    “But I strongly encourage you to start a blog that you can point people to here.”

    I’ll definitely take that under advisement.

    “I scroll past a whole bunch of your posts and read some but I’m not very bothered so far. But you do post a lot and a lot of long posts that I understand would lead someone to think lowers the quality of the comments section.”

    I’d like to avoid some of those long posts myself. The problem is that it’s hard to be precise without 1) quoting what one is responding to directly, which lengthens the post, and 2) going into minute detail, otherwise everyone ignores some vital point and jumps off on some nonsense.

    I try to be extremely careful how I words my arguments so there can be no misunderstanding what I’m saying, but invariably I have to repeat myself over and over because the arguer just ignores what I’ve said.

    I could reduce some of the link posts I make that don’t require comment from me. I’ll try to do that in future. Sometimes I’ll post a link to an article that has something to do with what other posters here have talked about that I haven’t talked much about – such as Iran’s economic situation. I posted stuff about the China oil deal mostly because Eric and others were wondering about the exact figures.

    I’ll try and drop that stuff from now on if it will help.

    Again, though, most of what I post is very relevant to ongoing events and the motivations behind them. That’s why I’m posting them – because I think they’re IMPORTANT.

  508. Re Joshua Landis assessment on Syria, some comments.

    “no countervailing force has yet emerged that can take it down.”

    The operative word is “yet”.

    There is also the issue of whether regime change is actually in the cards – or merely enough chaos to weaken the Syrian military. As I’ve said before, if the intent is merely to weaken Syria enough that it can not be an effective anti-Israel actor in an Iran war, that would be sufficient to justify the situation in the eyes of the US and Israel, if not for the Saudis and Qatar or the insurgents themselves.

    This is a point that everyone including Landis appears to be missing because they are assuming that the Syria crisis is IDENTICAL TO, rather than SIMILAR TO, Libya or the other Arab Spring uprisings.

    I say it’s not.

    “Four elements are important in assessing the regime’s chances of surviving to 2013: its own strengths, the opposition’s weaknesses, the chances of foreign intervention, and the impact of sanctions and economic decline.”

    I agree with this delineation of elements.

    “1. Asad remains strong militarily.”

    I agree that the Syrian military and security apparatus appears to be intact at this point and is likely to remain so given the heavily Alawite presence.

    However, the question of whether Assad can DEFEAT the insurgency is another matter altogether.

    Remember, in an insurgency what matters is that the insurgents do not lose. If they do not lose, they win even if their ultimate objectives are not achieved to date.

    In other words, unless Assad can utterly CRUSH the insurgents and dispel the violence, he loses. And to date, he does not appear to be able to do so.

    And there are two reasons he is unable to do so:

    1) He cannot afford to use the level of force his father used because it will only aggravate the international community further into intervening.

    2) The insurgents are being hosted outside Syria in Turkey and Lebanon and are being supplied by external forces, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Britain, France, and probably the US as well as Libyan mercenaries and arms and radical Islamists from Iraq and elsewhere.

    These two facts guarantee that the chaos will continue and likely grow.

    This point Landis misses completely.

    “2. The opposition is weak.”

    Here again, the point is missed. It’s not the insurgents that Assad has to be worried about. The Free Syrian Army is weak, the other insurgent militias that are forming are weak, and the Syrian National Council is divided and does not control the other opposition groups. All this is true.

    “They have limited command and control, no dependable communications, and offensive capabilities that are restricted by their lack of heavy weapons.”

    First, the US and Turkey are directly supporting the Free Syrian Army from the US Incirlik air base in Turkey. More and more weapons are being flown in from Libya and elsewhere. Sooner or later those weapons will include antitank weapons, heavy machine guns, and the materials to make IEDs. In an insurgency, these weapons are FAR more powerful than any “heavy weapons”.

    Qatar shipped antitank weapons to the Libyan insurgents. Can we doubt they are doing the same in Syria?

    Heavy weapons are mostly useless in an insurgency unless you’re willing, like Assad’s father, to kill EVERYONE in the neighborhood to get a few insurgents. And when you do, you usually create more insurgents. So the fact that Syria has tanks, artillery, mortars, etc., is mostly irrelevant.

    Sooner or later the tanks will be taken out by antitank weapons which are cheaper and easier to use than the tanks themselves, especially in an urban environment.

    It’s also irrelevant because the more those heavy weapons are used, the more international outrage and calls for intervention are produced.

    Another point Landis has missed completely.

    “In fact, Western authorities have been pleading with the Syrian opposition not to militarize, for fear that the insurgency will actually weaken the opposition rather tahn strengthen it.10″

    This is completely wrong. While some portions of the West might have done so, you can be sure that there would not be a flow of Libyan mercenaries and arms to the insurgents if the bulk of the West did not want it to be happening. The US could easily require Turkey to prevent such weapons from going to the insurgents. It’s not happening.

    There is also extensive smuggling going on between Lebanon and Iraq into Syria. These smuggling routes are undoubtedly being supported by both radical Islamists such as Al Qaeda as well as the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Iraq is trying to suppress those routes – presumably on orders from Iran – but will have little success.

    Landis is making the same mistake most people do – taking politician’s pronouncements at face value.

    “Whether peaceful or armed, the opposition cells in Syria work independently.”

    Which makes it harder, not easier, to suppress them. Landis misses this point, treating it as a weakness, rather than as a strength. But in insurgency, coordination is not always a strength.

    “The incident weakened Ghalioun and caused many secular and left-leaning opposition members to worry that they may become increasingly marginalized by the revolution as Islamists assert themselves, as happened in Egypt.”

    And this, too, makes stopping the insurgency harder, not easier. Which makes it a strength, not a weakness.

    “All the same, the opposition is becoming more capable, more numerous and better armed with each passing week.”

    And that will continue if Assad is not able to crush the insurgency – and at this point there is no evidence that he can in the same manner as his father did.

    “As the uprising drags on in a stalemate, opposition leaders are seeing the limits of their capabilities and becoming increasingly eager to get foreign powers involved.”

    Correct.

    “3. The international community is unlikely to intervene.”

    And here is where he goes utterly wrong.

    First, because the West has ALREADY intervened as British and French Special Forces are on the ground in Turkey training the insurgents, as they did in Libya. And as I noted above, the US is supporting the insurgents from Incirlik.

    So where does he get the notion the West is NOT intervening.

    If he means intervening with a direct military air campaign as in Libya, well, let’s see…

    “In the United States, Europe and the Arab world, there is only limited support for intervention in Syria. However, the same could also have been said in the lead-up to operations in Libya. Only weeks after Washington’s intervention there, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confessed that, if anyone had told him two months previously that the U.S. military would be involved in Libya, he would have asked them what they were smoking.”

    This alone should tell him not to take the pronouncements of politicians at face value… At least he acknowledges that he, like most others, did not understand the full dimension of the West’s interest in intervening in Libya.

    The same applies to Syria, as I’ve been saying all along. People don’t understand WHY the West will intervene in Syria, because they are focused on the “humanitarian” aspects which were IRRELEVANT in Libya and even more so in Syria.

    “Although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has done an admirable job of isolating Syria and mobilizing the Western world and Arab League against it, she has discouraged the notion that the United States will intervene.”

    Seriously? He’s believing HILLARY CLINTON now? That alone destroys his credibility…

    “Syria will be a much harder nut to crack than Libya. In some respects, it remains in the realm of “too big to fail.”"

    No, it’s not. And if it is, it’s not “too big to weaken”… There’s a difference.

    “One U.S. military intelligence officer who spent four years in Iraq recently explained to me that, if Iraq slips back into civil war at the same time as Syria fails, the region would face a “hell of a mess.”"

    Irrelevant. First, there’s no proof that will happen in Iraq “at the same time” and second, it would be irrelevant in terms of the geopolitical situation because Iraq would be a more or less “closed civil war” whereas Syria is intended to be an “intervention”. The US might or might not attempt to intervene in Iraq again. But it has definite reasons for wanting to intervene in Syria which are entirely different.

    “Europe is sidetracked by its financial crisis, and President Obama is touting his success in withdrawing U.S. troops from the Middle East as part of his reelection campaign. He will not want to step on his own message of withdrawal by launching another U.S. military intervention.”

    That’s ridiculous. Obama had no problem justifying his intervention in Libya. Despite the fact that it’s an election year, Obama will have no problem justifying an intervention in Syria on the same grounds.

    No one is talking about “boots on the ground” in Syria, so whether US troops are “being withdrawn” – which they aren’t anyway, just being relocated to Kuwait, which Landis misstates – is irrelevant to Syria. What is being considered is an air campaign as in Syria because that’s all that would be needed.

    “Saudi Arabia and Qatar are constrained from leading an intervention for fear of their Iranian neighbor.”

    Say what? Is Landis saying Saudia Arabia and Qatar are afraid Iran will attack them if they support an intervention in Syria? That’s ridiculous. That would be a quick way to get the US and Israel to attack Iran and Iran isn’t that stupid.

    “Turkey has little to gain from intervention, despite Erdogan’s tough talk about democracy and Bashar’s tyranny. Turkey’s Kurdish problem is again on the upswing, and Iraq is becoming less stable. Ankara does not need a war with Syria.”

    First of all, why DOES Erdogan talk tough if he doesn’t want to support a Syrian intervention? It was Turkey who suggested a “humanitarian corridor” which by definition requires an armed intervention.

    Second, who says Turkey will go go war with Syria? The function of Turkey is to provide a safe haven for the insurgents. That is sufficient to keep the chaos going and to prevent Assad from being able definitively crush the insurgency.

    “Most important, foreign powers are unlikely to intervene if Syrians cannot unite and build a military force capable of providing, at the very least, a credible promise of stabilizing Syria on its own.”

    And here he is utterly wrong. Because the point of a Syria intervention is primarily to WEAKEN Syria, not necessarily to replace it with a functioning regime. If the West can do so, it would be happy to put a client government in power, but that is not necessary.

    The purpose of the Syria crisis is to weaken Syria and Lebanon in order to enable an Iran war.

    Landis just doesn’t understand that, even though it’s blindingly obvious to anyone who sees that the West and Israel want an Iran war.

    “Instability in Syria presents Washington with the opportunity to undermine Iran’s regional posture, to weaken or change the leadership of one of its key allies, and potentially to downgrade the Islamic Republic’s role in the Arab-Israeli conflict through Hezbollah.”

    Exactly! And yet Landis doesn’t see the direct path from that to how the Syrian crisis HAS TO GO if the West and Israel are to achieve those goals. It’s willful blindness.

    “Both NATO and the United States have stated in no uncertain terms that they will not intervene in Syria.”

    After he just admitted earlier that they SAID THE SAME THING before Libya! This is just stupid on his part.

    “What is more, Russia and China have vetoed efforts in the UN Security Council to condemn Syria.”

    Which is irrelevant. The West went to the General Assembly and got overwhelming support condemning Syria. They will use this as their justification to commit yet another illegal war.

    The UN Resolution on Syria NEVER authorized the lengths the US and NATO went to in Libya – but it happened anyway. Why are we to believe it won’t happen again?

    “For these three reasons, Syria’s opposition may be asking for intervention in vain, at least for the time being.”

    Again – the operative word is “yet”.

    “4. The economy is problematic.”

    And irrelevant. The worse it gets, the better for the West and Israel.

    Bottom line: Landis doesn’t get it. The Assad regime has been targeted for overthrow or at least weakening by the West and Israel, in order to remove it as a viable actor in an Iran war and to enable Israel to attack Hizballah effectively in Lebanon to remove Hizballah as a viable actor in an Iran war.

    Landis doesn’t get this at all. So almost nothing he says is relevant. Which is why the Syria crisis will continue to get worse and will lead inevitably to an intervention by one of more parties of the US, NATO, the Arab League, Israel or all of them at one point or another.

  509. Karl says:

    Richard:

    Karon?
    Unfortunately some here seems to belive Iran would be immune from any inspection while the paragrahps of Additional agreement is very clear cut, its wishful thinking and wont benefit the anti-war camp.

  510. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I am aware of what Japan would be able to do. I doubt it is realistic to expect Iran to be able to copy Japan in this regard.

  511. Rehmat says:

    IAEA: “No ‘smoking gun’ in Iran’s nuclear program”

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/iaea-no-smoking-gun-in-irans-nuclear-program/

  512. Fiorangela: “(Based on Sneh’s Cheshire cat response to Slavin; on his reference to Iran’s missiles; and on the fact that Mossad –most likely– has attacked Iranian missile plants, it’s reasonable to speculate that Israel is NOT planning an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities but on Iran’s missile emplacements/factories, etc.)”

    You raise an excellent point. While the main goal of an Israeli attack on Iran would be to push Iran into retaliating against Israel and hopefully (from Israel’s perspective) on US assets in the region, thus dragging the US into the war, it would also seem to be necessary to suppress Iran’s retaliatory capability against Israel.

    In any air campaign envisioned by the US, the US would concentrate its first attacks on Iranian air defense systems. Israel would need to do some of that in an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Some fighter bombers would have to hit the air defense facilities around those nuclear facilities as part of the operation.

    What Israel could ALSO do – if it has enough bombers in the sortie or is willing to engage in a second or more round of sorties – would be to attack any identified Iranian ballistic missiles bases that are capable of reaching Israel.

    It would have to do so immediately or risk immediate missile retaliation by Iran. Also, it would be difficult to do significant damage to those missile bases since much of Iran’s missile facilities are in bunkers or on mobile launchers hidden in bunkers.

    So I doubt Israel would be effective in terms of blunting the Iranian missile retaliation on its own. But Israel might try. And certainly if the US gets involved, it will do so to a much greater degree of effectiveness.

    Whether either Israel or the US can do enough to allow Israel to “manage” Iran’s ballistic missile retaliation is unclear, but I would guess it’s worth the shot to them.

    Which is why it is also important to defang Syria and especially Hizballah. As I’ve indicated before, Netanyahu doesn’t want the political blowback from starting an Iran war if it means having to contend with missiles strikes from ALL THREE countries. But this doesn’t mean he doesn’t intend a war – it means he has to find a way to minimize that threat before starting the war. And the US is backing him on that which is why the Syria situation is as it is.

  513. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The Soviet Union used Cam Rahn naval base, after the US pulled out of South Vietnam and the country was reunified. The Americans continued to build the base even when it was obvious the USSR would be using it, rather than the Americans.

  514. Eric: “Answer: Yes. Almost anyone who’s well-informed about the AP would be easily convinced.”

    Hah! We just established that NO ONE IS “well-informed about the AP”! If a veteran and careful reporter like Tony Karon isn’t, who do you think IS?

    It’s ridiculous…

  515. Arnold Evans says:

    I hope everyone doesn’t mind. I’d appreciate any feedback you can offer for an article I wrote about Syria today.

    http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-role-is-us-playing-in-syria-and.html

  516. Eric; Re February 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Good catch on Karon’s being wrong about the AP allowing visits to military sites. I missed that, too, although I do know the AP doesn’t require such.

    So that means Karon needed to be more accurate about that as well as the steel tank.

    It’s symptomatic of how ignorance of the NPT and the IAEA and the various levels of inspection are complicit in making people think Iran is doing something wrong. Rubin and the other guest in the Al Jazeera debate relied on that ignorance.

    Which is why Iran unilaterally adhering to the AP would be irrelevant, too. :-) Gotcha on that one! :-)

  517. Irshad: That’s interesting about a possible Russian base at Cam Ranh. I would think China might not be happy about that, though. On the other hand, Vietnam might be happy as it would bring in some local revenue and the fact that China didn’t like it would be a plus. China also might not care all that much as having Russian ships in the region would go a way toward countering the overwhelming US presence.

    I was stationed at Cam Ranh for nine months in 1967-1968. It’s a big place. Major air field there, too. It was one of the and maybe the largest US facilities in Vietnam.

  518. Dan Cooper says:

    Iran Will Never Seek Nuclear Weapons:

    “Sanctions have been in place since the victory of the Islamic Revolution while the nuclear issue is a matter of the past few years; therefore their (the West) real problem is with a nation that has decided to be independent.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30627.htm

  519. Kooshy: “What Iran’s Inspection Rebuff Says About Prospects for Nuclear Diplomacy”

    Karon mostly reported that correctly except for the one sentence about the “steel tank”. To be accurate, he should have noted that 1) the steel tank *might* have been used in 2000, well before 2003; and 2) I believe Robert Kelly said that tank could NOT have been used for nuclear work; and 3) I believe that is the steel tank which might have been used for Iran’s nanodiamonds work.

    See, if one leaves out ALL the details of things like that, the overall impression is that Iran still have some explaining to do. With the details included, that becomes a much weaker argument.

    Karon is generally pretty good in his reporting but he always manages to leave just a trace of suspicion against Iran in the reader’s mind – as he is required to do if he wants to keep reporting for Time. He knows he can’t really push a fair reporting or he’ll be replaced by some idiot like Bill Kristol.

  520. Arnold Evans says:

    Richard, do you have a blog? I think it would be really good for your longer writings to be in one place, including with titles.

    For example. I remember you doing a very thorough examination of the idea that Iran’s leadership accepted the initial TRR deal and then changed its mind in 2009, but I’d have no idea how to find it now.

    I will say that blogger blocks a lot of comments as spam so if you allow comments you’d have to constantly be looking for that. But I strongly encourage you to start a blog that you can point people to here.

    I scroll past a whole bunch of your posts and read some but I’m not very bothered so far. But you do post a lot and a lot of long posts that I understand would lead someone to think lowers the quality of the comments section.

    I’m not agreeing with that sentiment but saying that I understand it.

  521. Eric: “1. Quality over quantity.”

    That is what I’m doing. I don’t post links to article that just regurgitate what we already know. I post links to articles which either bring out new current facts or which support the lines of argument I’ve been espousing concerning upcoming events.

    “too much work is being left to the reader to sift through what you write to find the gems.”

    Mining is hard work. On the other hand, you post several paragraphs of general claptrap in order to get to the point where you push your unilateral AP nonsense. Which is why I skimmed that post since I knew what you were doing.

    If no one wants links to relevant articles, I’ll stop posting them. It’s a lot of work for me to run through my RSS feed and sort out the useful ones. Admittedly, I’d do it anyway since I save these articles on my hard drive for later reference. But it would be easier if I didn’t post them.

    I would urge readers to read most of them because you WILL NOT understand what is going on unless you pay attention to the moves being made by the West against Syria and Iran. A lot of the people here are just clueless about the reality apparently because they are not following the events and the alternative analyses being made of them.

    “2. Civility toward others.”

    I’m civil to the people here who deserve it. As I mentioned to Humanist earlier, I’m not civil to people who are completely irrational and argue with no basis in fact for their arguments.

    And also people who continue to repeat the same arguments over and over without having the courtesy to address my counterpoints because they know they can’t. You know who you are…

    I don’t particularly understand why I have to deal nicely with snark, stupid arguments which avoid facts and engage in innuendo just to be “winning” while many others here don’t have to. I’ve never accepted that and I don’t intend to start now. If others here want to engage in less than intellectually honest debate, they can expect no mercy from me.

  522. Eric: “means you must have read my long post to the end.”

    No, I skimmed it looking for the words “AP” or “Additional Protocol” since I knew immediately with all the claptrap in the early paragraphs that you would inevitably end up pushing that crap at some point in the post. You are entirely predictable at this point.

    And your opinion on this is still completely worthless and also utterly irrelevant since it will never happen.

  523. BiBiJon: “Why do you think chaos, bloodshed, and civil war in Syria will be good for Israel? The chances are far better than even that a Syrian Hezbollah will emerge with political backing of Christians, even more allied with Iran.”

    First of all, Hizballah was born out of an Israeli invasion and occupation. It took years for it to emerge and years to remove Israel from Lebanon. The two situations are not identical.

    Second, keep in mind that what Israel believes and what it may achieve are two different things. I keep repeating that but as usual everyone ignores the difference.

    What is important for Israel is to weaken and if possible break up into warring factions all of the countries in the Middle East so that none of them can ever be a military threat to Israel and preferably unable to even intervene effectively geopolitically to thwart Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and Israel’s seizure of or control over resources in the Middle East.

    In short, the Zionist rulers of Israel want Israel to control the entire Middle East, as they say, “from the Nile to the Euphrates” – and beyond if we consider Iran.

    To do this, they must accomplish the task I outlined – destabilization, destruction or control via Israel or its US ally of all the nations in the Middle East which are capable of posing ANY sort of threat or even inconvenience to Israel.

    Whether Israel CAN achieve that is NOT RELEVANT. I repeat, NOT RELEVANT. What is relevant is that this is Israel’s INTENTION and this is Israel’s BELIEF.

    You people continue to make the assumption that everyone is a rational actor and therefore they will never do anything that won’t work. Well, the US has PROVEN FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS that it is NOT a rational actor! When will you comprehend that?

    The US and Israel are only rational actors in the sense that they engage in actions which are “rational” GIVEN THEIR INTENTIONS – which intentions are NOT rational.

    Do you comprehend this now?

  524. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    February 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Arnold,

    Doesn’t the NPT prohibit nukes, for Japan? And Turkey, and Iran, etc.?

    Yes is does prohibit nuclear weapons. It does not prohibit technologies or materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons. Japan legally has the capability, if it was provoked to make nuclear weapons. It just does not have them now.

    Given planning in advance, Japan could probably make a nuclear weapon the same day it stopped observing its safeguards agreement. There is nothing Japan has ratified that requires it to disclose any efforts it takes in that direction.

    That’s legal. What Japan certifies is that it does not have a weapon right now.

    Japan certainly would be entirely free of any obligation not to build a weapon if it decides some threat causes it to consider it necessary to leave the treaty in 90 days.

    I thought you would be aware of this given the amount of time you’ve spent here.

    Anyway, the position Japan has reached legally is one Barack Obama would attack Iran for if he could. I don’t think there exists one person on Earth who favors attacking Iran today but would not favor attacking Iran if Iran had the same program, with the same cooperation, obligations and technologies that Japan has.

    One reason for that is that Japan is much, much closer to making a weapon than Iran is and everybody who is even somewhat informed about the nuclear issue, including US and Israeli leadership knows this.

  525. Cyrus says:
    February 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I should add that you’ve provided additional useful information.

    I described a hypothetical IAEA visit to Parchin following an IAEA request unsupported by any evidence. As you point out, it wouldn’t be that easy in real life. The IAEA staff would need to ask the IAEA Board for special permission, which would require submission of evidence to suspect that nuclear material is present at Parchin.

    While it’s possible that the IAEA staff and/or Board would abuse this authority, it’s worth noting as you do that this has never happened. So far at least, they’ve respected the “nuclear material” focus of the NPT, Safeguards Agreements and the Additional Protocol. To be sure, the IAEA pressed for more (and more) when Iran was volunteering cooperation on the “alleged studies” and other military matters, but even then the IAEA didn’t claim that Iran was required to provide that information. It acknowledged that Iran’s cooperation was voluntary.

    The IAEA nevertheless does fuzz the difference at times, as is evident in the closing of its November 2011 report:

    “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency 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.”

    Such a statement suggests to many readers that the IAEA is duty-bound to verify that a country has declared all of its nuclear material – a non-existent duty that arguably implies a non-existent obligation for a country to help the IAEA give that verification. Certainly a country should declare all of its nuclear material, but the IAEA has no obligation to verify that it has done so – much less a right to demand more information than a country has contractually agreed to provide merely because the IAEA considers that information necessary for the IAEA to give this verification. The IAEA is required only to determine whether or not it can make such a verification, and to do so if it can. It has declined to give such a verification for many countries other than Iran (Brazil and Argentina, for two prominent examples).

  526. Fiorangela says:

    edit:

    “Sneh played cagey; “I have to walk the line between an ethical** and a moral MILITARY answer.”

  527. kooshy says:

    US regime’s state sponsored media likes of WP, NYT, WSJ, are not reporting that China and Russia refused to attend Friday meeting on Syria, but b does.

    Landis on Syria – The Regime Will Survive

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/

  528. Fiorangela says:

    Trita Parsi, Ephraim Sneh, and Gaith al-Omari were panelists on a Woodrow Wilson Scholars discussion on Iran, moderated by David Aaron Miller
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/IsraelIra

    Sneh is stuck in precisely the same concrete-brain mindset that he articulated in 2008 at an AIPAC conference: the Iranian people are incapable of overthrowing their rulers; their rulers MUST be overthrown; therefore, we should cause Iran’s rulers to worry about the starvation of their 70 million citizens. (the 2008 conference = :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/USIsraelRelations35 at about 55 min iirc )

    Parsi told Sneh that his was a curious kind of concern for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people that Sneh was willing to impose suffering on them to bring it about, and further, that Parsi had more faith in the Iranian people than Sneh did — they had demonstrated time and again that they were able to shape their government they way they wished to do. Parsi made two more points: 1. in only one instance in which sanctions have been imposed to intentionally strangle a nation has a democracy emerged from the tactic, and that instance was South Africa. 2. Sanctions on Iran are exactly counterproductive because it forces the government to be more repressive, not less, and it forces the government to increase militarization rather than the opposite. It constricts the space that reformists have to function in. Parsi pointed out that Iran’s reform parties gained most leverage in 2009, BECAUSE the US REDUCED pressure on Iran.

    Barbara Slavin asked if Israeli military & govt planners have made an assessment of the toll in deaths and injuries of Iranian people who will be killed or injured if Israel attacks Iranian nuclear facilities and releases nuclear materials.
    Sneh played cagey; “I have to walk the line between an ethical** and a moral answer. . . . We have taken it into account. We are prepared to take all precautions so that civilians are not harmed . . .(or words to that effect).
    From the audience Slavin retorted, “How do you protect civilians from nuclear fallout if you destroy a nuclear facility?” (owtte)
    Sneh got really cagey here — “I can’t tell you . . .”
    Later, Sneh referred to the other threat Iran poses to the world: Iran has missiles that can reach the capitals of Western Europe . . .
    (Based on Sneh’s Cheshire cat response to Slavin; on his reference to Iran’s missiles; and on the fact that Mossad –most likely– has attacked Iranian missile plants, it’s reasonable to speculate that Israel is NOT planning an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities but on Iran’s missile emplacements/factories, etc.)

    sidebar:[this is a point that Bibi makes every time he talks to US lawmakers, starting about 25 years ago: "In 5 years Iran will have missiles that can strike NYC." Yochi Dreazen repeated the line on C Span a few days ago: "Iran will soon have missiles that can strike NYC." -- In "The War Lovers," Teddy Roosevelt expressed keen eagerness that Germany or Britain -- somebody, anybody, attack New York City, so that he could 'get a war on' and prove the mettel of the American spirit, grown flabby from too much white-collar work. As well, TR had been employed in a police or reform capacity in NYC and hated it; perhaps he say a foreign attack on Iran as "urban renewal." "Creative destruction."]

    An Iranian woman — a diplomat whose credentials I do not recall — said, in effect, that the Iranian people were capable changing their own government and that sanctions were counterproductive; that Iran was entitled to enrichment and would not negotiate it away. She asked if Israel would accept Iran with Enrichment capabilities. Here is Sneh’s reply (which concluded the conference):

    QUOTE
    “You represent the European parliament, in a sense. For years — the last 15 years, during, I think 10 years European countries did exactly that, negotiated with the Iranian regime about enrichment, about variations and finally they came to the conclusion that the smart–very smart ayatollahs used this negotiation to gain time.
    You call it critical dialog, but in a certain point all the west European leaders — the French, the German, the British — who so advocated, that this dialog, this negotiation about enrichment, they discovered that they were cheated.
    They used their — the regime used the time to progress toward weaponized uranium. So there is no sense to go back to this futile talks about enrichment, it’s not a game.
    Now, because the sanctions of this administration started to be effective — started to be effective — now they’re asking, ‘Let’s go back to the game of gaining time.’
    No ma’am. NO. No.
    When there is a secular and democratic Iran, let them have all the technologies in the world, whatever they like. Not this regime. Not this regime which despises the culture and the values of your society, if you don’t know it.”
    _______
    ** In an earlier exchange (transcript still in process) Parsi tells Sneh that sanctions or a military attack on Iran will not result in Iran’s relations with the Jews becoming the same as it once was. This is at the heart of the angst of Israeli Jews’ obsession with Iran.
    In “The Secret War with Iran; The 30-Year Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power,” Ronen Bergman discusses Operation Seashell, Israel’s weapons sales to Iran AFTER the 1979 Revolution. His comments are noteworthy in that they mention how destabilized Israelis felt at the loss of its information and influence gateways to Iranian society and political power, and what little regard Israelis paid to ethical concerns. Bergman writes:

    There were four main reasons why Operation Seashell went forward. First, Israel could not come to terms with the military, intelligence, and diplomatic losses that it had sustained with the disruption of relations with Iran after the revolution. Arms exports would at least give it a foothold in Tehran. In Israel’s defense establishment, the lesson had been learned from many cases over the years that swiftly supplying weaponry and military know-how to a totalitarian state will bring the supplier as close as possible to the rulers, because the weapons are their means of holding on to power.

    Two broad understandings about the zionist mindset can be gleaned from this passage:
    1. Niall Fergusson mentions in his biography of the Rothschilds that their main levers of power were access to the highest authorities in a nation, and control over information IN and information OUT.

    2. Zionism knows no other way of relating to its neighbors than by force and militarization. Author Stephen Green discusses a speech by Shimon Peres in 1963 in which Peres fairly reduces to policy the notion that Israel’s national character and philosophy toward foreign relations is based on belligerence and military might. The concept of living with neighbors in respect and peace does not occur to Peres.

    Back to Ronen Bergman:

    Second, it was hoped that the infusion of weaponry would intensify the Iran-Iraq War and lead to the mutual destruction or, at least weakening, of two enemies.

    Note that Israel and Iran had been best of friends just months earlier, and were still engaged in weapons trade that produced a significant revenue stream to Israel. Take a lesson, o ye US Congressmen.

    Bergman again –
    Third, Israeli officials feared a victorious Saddam Hussein. Finally, more than anything else, the weapons industry wanted to make money. As one Israeli Defense Ministry official, a key figure in Operation Seashell, recalls: “I do not remember even one discussion about the ethics of the matter. All that interested us was to sell, sell, sell more and more Israeli weapons, and let them kill each other with them.” “

    This passage from Ronen Bergman’s book, partnered with Ronen Bergman’s comments on NBC television on Feb. 9, 2012, about the “morality” of Israel’s assassination campaign against anyone that Israel’s elites “identify as Hitler,” should answer Barbara Slavin’s questions about Israel’s “ethical considerations” about the deaths of Iranians that might occur in the event of an Israeli military attack on Iran.

  529. Cyrus says:
    February 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for the confirmation, Cyrus. I was a bit surprised such a simple assertion had generated such disagreement.

  530. fyi says:

    mes Canning says: February 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    The divisions in US Government are even worse.

  531. James Canning says:

    “Peres: Stop war rhetoric against Iran”:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/228218.html

  532. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    “they needed to do a lot more than that. If Iran let IAEA inspectors inside the Parchin complex at all — because, for example, the IAEA argued persuasively that it couldn’t get accurate radiation readings by standing outside the front gate — Iran certainly would have no obligation under the AP to let those inspectors look at anything that would leave them “satisfied that no military nuclear work had been undertaken there.”

    According to the Additional Protocol, the protocol puts no such obligation on the IAEA regime. They dont have bullet-proof evidence to carry out such “sample taking”.

  533. James Canning says:

    “McCain sides with Netanyahu against top US general”

    http://rt.com/usa/news/mccain-dempsey-netanyahu-iran-063/

    Netanyahu attacks General Dempsey, and Lindsey Graham and John McCain fail to defend the top American general. What a surprise.

  534. James Canning says:

    The Wall Street Journal in a Feb. 23rd report on the nuclear dispute with Iran, noted that it may be more difficult to make a deal because there are divisions of opinion within the Iranian government.

  535. Cyrus says:

    Just FYI folks — Parchin would not be open to inspections even under the Additional Protocol, which is still limited to inspections of nuclear material/facilities.

    If the IAEA has actual, factual suspicions that there is undeclared nuclear material/activities in Parchin, all they have to do is go to the IAEA Board and obtain permission for “special inspections’ that Iran is required to permit. THis has never happened because the alleged activities in Parchin do not involve nuclear material, and as such fall outside of the IAEA’s authority — regardless of whether the AP is in force or not. Lets also not forget that the IAEA has already been to Parchin — twice, with nothing found — and that Iran voluntarily implemented the AP for 2.5 years, again with nothing found. And FYI Egypt, Argentina and Brazil are amongst countries that refuse to sign the AP.

  536. Karl,

    “If IAEA want to go to Parchin to check samples they have the right to it according to Additional protocol.”

    If the IAEA wants to do some environmental sampling at Parchin, during “regular working hours” (to which the AP explicitly allows Iran to limit the IAEA) and Iran doesn’t declare that it’s “unable to provide access,” then you’re correct. If Iran, on the other hand, does declare that it’s “unable to provide access” (for example, because it desires to protect confidential military information), then it may make other arrangements that enable the IAEA to accomplish its legitimate purposes under the AP.

    But let’s assume Iran doesn’t claim that it’s “unable to provide access.” Frankly, though Iran would probably find it annoying, it wouldn’t surprise me that Iran might allow IAEA inspectors to visit Parchin, during “regular working hours,” to take environmental samples or readings. But that’s not at all what most people — including Tony Karon (and, apparently, you) — have in mind would occur during that visit. Consider again Mr. Karon’s sentence below:

    “Indeed, agency inspectors twice visited Parchin during the period that Iran voluntarily observed the Additional Protocol, and declared themselves satisfied that no military nuclear work had been undertaken there.”

    He’s not talking about some IAEA inspector showing up at Parchin during “regular working hours” to check for radiation or take away a few environmental samples for further testing. Obviously, to reach the conclusion those IAEA inspectors reached during their visits to Parchin — “that no military nuclear work had been undertaken there” — they needed to do a lot more than that. If Iran let IAEA inspectors inside the Parchin complex at all — because, for example, the IAEA argued persuasively that it couldn’t get accurate radiation readings by standing outside the front gate — Iran certainly would have no obligation under the AP to let those inspectors look at anything that would leave them “satisfied that no military nuclear work had been undertaken there.” Even if there were no practical way to let the IAEA inspectors inside without having them walk past something Iran doesn’t want them to see, the limitation to “regular working hours” would permit Iran to hide or disguise whatever it might feel the need to hide or disguise. (More likely, of course, Iran would just limit the inspectors’ access to places where adequate tests or sampling could take place — radiation is awfully hard to hide, after all.)

    You need to read the whole AP, and Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and the NPT, to understand that the focus of each of them is on “nuclear material.” Iran can (and should, in my view) cooperate very extensively with the IAEA in its efforts to figure out whether Iran has any “nuclear material,” but that does not require access even approaching what would be necessary for the IAEA to determine “that no military nuclear work had been undertaken there.” Maybe the NPT and Safeguards Agreements and the AP should have been designed to permit the IAEA to determine that (there are good historical reasons why they were not), but the fact remains that they don’t. And that is why Iran’s agreement to the AP wouldn’t enable the IAEA to nose around Parchin.

  537. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Doesn’t the NPT prohibit nukes, for Japan? And Turkey, and Iran, etc.?

  538. Arnold Evans says:

    More broadly, people who want to attack Iran want to believe attacking Iran is justified. I’m sure they will both interpret Iran as not complying with the AP and not be convinced by any text that says otherwise.

    There are people who want to attack Iran to prevent it from gaining legal nuclear weapons capabilities. There are people who would attack Japan if it was located where Iran is and had a population that did not consider Israel legitimate as Iran does.

    Legality has nothing to do with it. Legality comes later, they make up justifications for the position they want for entirely different reasons.

    Barack Obama is one of these people. Barack Obama would attack Iran if he could to prevent a country with a population that does not accept Israel from having legal nuclear weapons capabilities. He’d tell whatever lie he needed to, pretend to believe or ocnvince himself of any false statement necessary.

    The legality of the AP, or of Iran doing or not doing what some other country does does not play into it at all. As I said, Barack Obama would more urgently (much more urgently) be pressed to attack Japan if it was in Iran’s position and Japan implements the AP.

    Most Americans are like Barack Obama, right now. Right now most Americans have no moral opposition to attacking Iran.

    Barack Obama does not attack Iran because the cost would be too high to America. If the costs can go even higher, attacking Iran will become even less likely. If the cost becomes lower, attacking Iran will become more likely.

    For me, if the AP is relevant at all, is relevant in that if Barack Obama is confident he knows where all of Iran’s centrifuge components are, he is more confident that attacking Iran is worth it, and thereby more willing to attack.

  539. Arnold Evans says:

    I don’t know specifically what Gary Samore is saying, so I can’t answer. What I do know, though, is that many people who make the arguments you attribute to Samore find it very useful to point out, correctly, in the course of those arguments that Iran is not disclosing what other countries disclose.

    I can’t remember seeing this. I don’t see it in articles advocating attacking Iran. Can you post a link to an example of “many people who make the arguments you attribute to Samore find it very useful to point out, correctly, in the course of those arguments that Iran is not disclosing what other countries disclose”?

  540. Arnold writes:

    “Eric: Can we be confident that Amano, who is very pro-US and anti-Iran would not claim the AP allows an inspection of Parchin?”

    Answer: I doubt he would claim that, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

    If he does, would you expect to be able to convince anyone that Amano is wrong?

    Answer: Yes. Almost anyone who’s well-informed about the AP would be easily convinced.

    “If he does not, would you expect to convince Americans that the US officials such as Gary Samore are wrong when they deliberately conflate Parchin with Iran’s “obligations” and lead audiences to wrongly believe that Iran is violating the AP by not allowing inspections there?”

    Answer:

    I don’t know specifically what Gary Samore is saying, so I can’t answer. What I do know, though, is that many people who make the arguments you attribute to Samore find it very useful to point out, correctly, in the course of those arguments that Iran is not disclosing what other countries disclose. If they’re inclined to “conflate” Iran’s refusal to observe the AP with Iran’s refusal to permit visits to Parchin, Iran’s refusal to observe the AP makes that very easy to do. If that argument were taken away from people like Samore, one could simply respond to such arguments: “No. That’s incorrect. Iran is disclosing as much as other countries are disclosing, if not more.”

    You rely to a great deal on the presumed stupidity of people. I’m well aware of old sayings such as “There’s a sucker born every minute” or “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Nonetheless, I think there are very many Americans, and others around the world, who are intelligent enough to grasp clear arguments that Iran might make — that Iran might make, that is, if it were in a position to make them, which it presently is not because its enemies are able to “conflate” its refusal to observe the AP with its refusal to answer military-related questions.

    That works. You know that and I know that. If it weren’t already clear to you, Karl’s recent responses should make it clear, and he appears to be someone who takes the time to read (albeit selectively) the actual text of the AP. It’s child’s play for the US government to persuade most Americans, very few of whom know or care enough to even look at the AP.

    Bottom line: Complying with the AP would not add much burden to Iran, and I don’t recall Iran ever complaining otherwise during the short time it voluntarily complied. Its complaints related to IAEA questions about the “alleged studies” and other military matters — not to compliance with the AP. Doing so would enable Iran to (1) point out that its disclosures match (if not exceed) those of all other (non-weapon) NPT countries; and (2) point out that the AP doesn’t require Iran to answer the IAEA’s military-related questions, just as other AP-observant countries don’t answer those questions.

    I doubt we really disagree on this. I think our disagreement lies more in our differing perceptions about how much this will matter. That, again, turns on (1) whether the US public is really as stupid as it often appears to me you think they are; and (2) whether it matters one way or another what they US public thinks. I think (1) they’re not as stupid as you apparently think; and (2) it does matter what they think — not enough to prevent forever a war on Iran, but enough to slow down the US government long enough that other geopolitical forces will prevent a war.

  541. Nasser says:

    Stratfor has an article up that explains Japan may be looking over time to decrease its dependence on nuclear energy and rely more on LNG imports instead. With Iran’s South Stream projects destined to come online soon I think this has excellent implications for Iran. F*** Europe!

    http://stratfor.com/analysis/japans-energy-vulnerability-after-nuclear-disaster

  542. Fiorangela says:

    Trita Parsi is taking Ephraim Sneh to the woodshed.
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/IsraelIra
    toss Ghaith al-Omari in with him.

    and lock the door please.

  543. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    Of course an Additional Protocol signed by Iran will generate something than having it not signed. Regardless of what reason IAEA might give or use. I mean IAEA on behalf of Israel/US want of course to gather intelligence on iranian military compounds but they will use the reason to enter on the basis that IAEA suspect nuclear activity and frankly thats whats matter.

  544. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Can we be confident that Amano, who is very pro-US and anti-Iran would not claim the AP allows an inspection of Parchin?

    If he does, would you expect to be able to convince anyone that Amano is wrong?

    If he does not, would you expect to convince Americans that the US officials such as Gary Samore are wrong when they deliberately conflate Parchin with Iran’s “obligations” and lead audiences to wrongly believe that Iran is violating the AP by not allowing inspections there?

  545. Karl writes:

    “If Iran sign the Additional Protocol of course they have to show Parchin, what else would further agreements with Iran generate if not such cases?”

    EAB Comment:

    They’d generate nothing — which is one of several reasons I seriously doubt the US would give up anything of significance in exchange for Iran’s agreeing to the Additional Protocol. The US government knows this. Iran knows this. Informed observers know this. But — and here’s the key point — as long as Iran refuses to observe the AP, the US government can persuade people that such an agreement indeed would (even though it would not) require Iran to permit visits to Parchin and other military facilities.

    But setting “agreements” aside for this reason (i.e., since there won’t be any such “agreement”), Iran’s voluntary decision to observe the AP would have considerable value for Iran (without much burden, I might add). It would enable Iran to point out that it’s doing exactly what the world has long demanded from it: comply with the AP, just like nearly all other nuclear countries. When people naturally respond: “Well, doesn’t that mean you have to let IAEA inspectors visit your military installations if they claim to suspect nuclear-related military activities are taking place there?”, Iran can give a correct answer that will come as a surprise to nearly everyone:

    “Nope. The AP doesn’t require that at all. If you don’t believe us, go ask any of the dozens of other countries that have also signed the AP. Ask those countries whether that gives the IAEA access to any locations where the IAEA claims to suspect that nuclear-related military activities are taking place in the country. Let us know what those other countries tell you.”

    What those other countries will reply, of course, is that the AP does NOT give the IAEA a blank check to nose around at the country’s military installations, merely because the IAEA (with a little coaching from the sidelines) claims to suspect that “nuclear” activities are going on there.

    Karl writes:

    “Let’s say Iran sign the Additional Protocol but then keep refusing entry into Parcin, the West won’t buy that.”

    EAB Comment:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, if by “the West” you mean the US government. But if you mean the “US public,” I predict you’d learn that most Americans are ill-informed about what the Additional Protocol requires. I’m highly confident that nearly all Americans mistakenly believe (as you apparently do) that the AP requires a country to let the IAEA inspect any military installation based merely on the IAEA’s stated suspicion that something “nuclear” might be going on there, and that the country has an obligation to establish that nothing “nuclear” is going on there. It will come as a shock to most of the US public (and others around the world) that that is not true. At least some people will come to understand that Iran has been correct all along when it claims that Iran is being asked to disclose a lot more than other countries are asked to disclose. Right now, unfortunately, while Iran refuses to observe the AP, it’s difficult for Iran to press that point very forcefully: While it IS being asked to disclose more than other countries about military matters, Iran is nonetheless REFUSING to match other countries’ disclosures about non-military matters — that’s precisely why I recommend Iran should start observing the AP.

    Although the US government undoubtedly will continue to argue that the AP requires Iran to let IAEA inspectors nose around at Parchin and other military sites, sooner or later someone who understands the AP very well will explain, clearly and persuasively, that the AP requires no such thing, that Iran is correct on that point and the US government is incorrect. Others may add that the IAEA doesn’t nose around military sites in other countries that have signed the AP.

    The US government, of course, eventually will find other ways to persuade much of the US public that Iran is nevertheless a very bad country. But that will take more time, which is what Iran needs, and the US government will inevitably be left with even more skeptics among the US public — those who will have come to understand that what Iran is saying about the AP is correct, and that the US government has long been misleading the US public to believe that Iran is required to provide military-related information, and permit inspections of military facilities, whenever the IAEA claims to suspect that nuclear activities are occurring there.

    None of this will be possible unless and until Iran commits to the AP (and modified Code 3.1). Until then, the US government will continue, almost effortlessly, to persuade the US public that “Iran’s refusal to disclose what other countries disclose” can only mean that it’s hiding a nuclear weapons program.

  546. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    “State provision of information about, and IAEA inspector access to, all parts of a State’s nuclear fuel cycle – including uranium mines, fuel fabrication and enrichment plants, and nuclear waste sites – as well as to any other location where nuclear material is or >>>>> may be present <<<<>>>> all buildings <<<<>>>> access to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material or to resolve questions or inconsistencies in the information a State has provided about its nuclear activities <<<<>>>> beyond declared locations when deemed necessary by the Agency <<<<<. ”"

    If IAEA want to go to Parchin to check samples they have the right to it according to Additional protocol.

  547. Karl,

    “Which means Iran have to show Parchin if requested by the IAEA.”

    You reach that conclusion after quoting portions of the Additional Protocol that don’t point to that conclusion at all.

    It’s not ambiguous: the AP does not require Iran to permit visits to Parchin.

  548. Rd. says:

    demonstrations in Turkey In Solidarity with Syria, /Assad.

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

  549. Arnold Evans says:

    Writing a post about Syria at mideastreality.blogspot.com I came across the 2006 Readers Digest Poll of Iran again.

    http://www.rd.com/images/content/071306/iranpollresults.pdf

    Here’s a result I hadn’t paid attention to:

    10. If the price Iran paid for its nuclear program was a worsening of its economy, would you be more inclined or less inclined for Iran to continue with the program?

    More inclined 51.6%
    Less inclined 37.3%
    NS 11.1%

    I find that amazingly interesting. If the West is willing to harm Iran’s economy that makes Iran’s population, (at the time, assuming the poll is accurate) _MORE_ enthusiastic in its support for the program.

    It does make a kind of sense. What does the West plan to do that it is threatened by Iran being able, if it bombs the capital or stages troops at its border, to leave the NPT and build a weapon under that provocation?

    If Iran having the legal nuclear weapons capabilities that Brazil has would be a problem for the West, then even without knowing why, that is a strong argument that Iran should get those capabilities, even if it requires economic harm.

  550. Karl says:

    Eric Brill:

    If Iran sign the Additional protocol of course they have to show Parcin, what else would further agreements with Iran generate if not such cases? Lets say Iran sign the additional protocol but then keep refusing entry into Parcin, the west wont buy that. And frankly thats what matter these days regardless how much we reject such big-stick argumentation.

    According to IAEA additional protocol demands:

    “Measures under Additional Protocols

    “State provision of information about, and IAEA inspector access to, all parts of a State’s nuclear fuel cycle – including uranium mines, fuel fabrication and enrichment plants, and nuclear waste sites – as well as to any other location where nuclear material is or may be present.

    “State provision of information on, and IAEA short-notice access to, all buildings on a nuclear site. (The Protocol provides for IAEA inspectors to have “complementary” access to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material or to resolve questions or inconsistencies in the information a State has provided about its nuclear activities.”

    “IAEA collection of environmental samples at locations beyond declared locations when deemed necessary by the Agency. ”

    Which means Iran have to show Parchin if requested by the IAEA.

  551. kooshy says:
    February 23, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Kooshy,

    EAB comment:

    Thank you for the link to Tony Karon’s article. But Mr. Karon is dead wrong on a key observation. He repeats a very common misperception of the scope of IAEA access granted under the Additional Protocol:

    QUOTATION FROM TONY KARON ARTICLE:

    “Tehran would have been obliged to grant access to Parchin were it still voluntarily abiding by an Additional Protocol to its NPT safeguards agreement that it had accepted in December of 2003, granting more intrusive and short-notice inspection powers to the IAEA. Indeed, agency inspectors twice visited Parchin during the period that Iran voluntarily observed the Additional Protocol, and declared themselves satisfied that no military nuclear work had been undertaken there.”

    END OF QUOTATION FROM TONY KARON ARTICLE.

    EAB comment continued:

    That is flatly incorrect: The Additional Protocol did not require Iran to let the IAEA visit Parchin when Iran permitted those visits several years ago, nor would the Additional Protocol require Iran to let the IAEA visit Parchin if Iran started observing the Additional Protocol again. I suspect that you and very many others share Mr. Karon’s mistaken understanding. I do not, which is why I, unlike many others, understand it would not be such a big deal for Iran to agree to observe the Additional Protocol once again. Questions (and inspections) relating to the “alleged studies” and other “military” matters would still be off-limits, as they are today.

    It’s true that Iran allowed inspectors to visit Parchin during the time Iran was observing the Additional Protocol. It is NOT true, however, that Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit Parchin BECAUSE Iran was observing the Additional Protocol. That is the key point that nearly all observers miss. Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit Parchin because Iran, at the time, was also cooperating – beyond what the AP required of it – by answering questions about the “alleged studies” and other “military” matters posed by the IAEA. Had Iran not been cooperating in that way, the AP would not have required it to permit the Parchin visit.

    As Mr. Karon noted, the AP does shorten the advance-notice period for some IAEA inspections. But that is not the key point, which instead is this: The AP does not give the IAEA a blank check to inspect wherever its inspectors might like – especially military sites that Iran does not want to show the IAEA and is not required to show the IAEA. Article 5 of the Model AP specifies (and thus limits) what places the “COUNTRY” must give IAEA inspectors access to:

    QUOTATION FROM AP ARTICLE 5:

    Article 5

    COUNTRY shall provide the Agency with access to:

    a.

    (i) Any place on a site;

    (ii) Any location identified by COUNTRY under Article 2.a.(v)-(viii);

    (iii) Any decommissioned facility or decommissioned location outside facilities where nuclear material was customarily used.

    END OF QUOTATION FROM AP ARTICLE 5.

    EAB comment continued:

    The list includes “any location identified by COUNTRY under Article 2.a.(v)-(viii),” which I’ll get to farther below. But subsections (a)(i) and (a)(iii) are the principal categories on this “IAEA-access” list. While a term such as “site” might sound hopelessly vague and broad, each of those “IAEA-access” locations – including “site” – is specifically defined in Article 18 of the AP, and those definitions do NOT encompass whatever location an IAEA inspector might find interesting because he happened to drive by it one afternoon, or because he overheard it being discussed in the hotel restaurant where he had breakfast one morning.

    Here are the relevant definitions of “IAEA-access” locations. As you read them, ask yourself whether Parchin even arguably falls within any of those definitions, as Mr. Karon claims in his article. I think you’ll agree it does not, under any stretch of those definitions:

    DEFINITIONS OF “IAEA-ACCESS” LOCATIONS IN ARTICLE 18 OF ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL:

    b. Site means that area delimited by COUNTRY in the relevant design information for a facility, including a closed-down facility, and in the relevant information on a location outside facilities where nuclear material is customarily used, including a closed-down location outside facilities where nuclear material was customarily used (this is limited to locations with hot cells or where activities related to conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication or reprocessing were carried out). It shall also include all installations, co-located with the facility or location, for the provision or use of essential services, including: hot cells for processing irradiated materials not containing nuclear material; installations for the treatment, storage and disposal of waste; and buildings associated with specified activities identified by COUNTRY under Article 2.a.(iv) above.

    c. Decommissioned facility or decommissioned location outside facilities means an installation or location at which residual structures and equipment essential for its use have been removed or rendered inoperable so that it is not used to store and can no longer be used to handle, process or utilize nuclear material.

    d. Closed-down facility or closed-down location outside facilities means an installation or location where operations have been stopped and the nuclear material removed but which has not been decommissioned.

    i. Facility means:

    (i) A reactor, a critical facility, a conversion plant, a fabrication plant, a reprocessing plant, an isotope separation plant or a separate storage installation; or

    (ii) Any location where nuclear material in amounts greater than one effective kilogram is customarily used.

    j. Location outside facilities means any installation or location, which is not a facility, where nuclear material is customarily used in amounts of one effective kilogram or less.

    END OF DEFINITIONS OF “IAEA-ACCESS” LOCATIONS.

    EAB comment continued:

    Do you see Parchin described anywhere in those definitions?

    This leaves the third category of “IAEA-access” locations within Iran: “any location identified by COUNTRY under Article 2.a.(v)-(viii).” As you read those AP provisions, quoted immediately below, ask yourself the same question:

    Do you see Parchin described anywhere?

    QUOTATION FROM ARTICLE 2.A.(V)-(VIII) OF AP:

    [Article 2.a.] (v) Information specifying the location, operational status and the estimated annual production capacity of uranium mines and concentration plants and thorium concentration plants, and the current annual production of such mines and concentration plants for COUNTRY as a whole. COUNTRY shall provide, upon request by the Agency, the current annual production of an individual mine or concentration plant. The provision of this information does not require detailed nuclear material accountancy.

    [Article 2.a.] (vi) Information regarding source material which has not reached the composition and purity suitable for fuel fabrication or for being isotopically enriched, as follows:

    (a) The quantities, the chemical composition, the use or intended use of such material, whether in nuclear or non-nuclear use, for each location in COUNTRY at which the material is present in quantities exceeding ten metric tons of uranium and/or twenty metric tons of thorium, and for other locations with quantities of more than one metric ton, the aggregate for COUNTRY as a whole if the aggregate exceeds ten metric tons of uranium or twenty metric tons of thorium. The provision of this information does not require detailed nuclear material accountancy;

    (b) The quantities, the chemical composition and the destination of each export out of COUNTRY, of such material for specifically non-nuclear purposes in quantities exceeding:

    (1) Ten metric tons of uranium, or for successive exports of uranium from COUNTRY to the same State, each of less than ten metric tons, but exceeding a total of ten metric tons for the year;

    (2) Twenty metric tons of thorium, or for successive exports of thorium from COUNTRY to the same State, each of less than twenty metric tons, but exceeding a total of twenty metric tons for the year;

    (c) The quantities, chemical composition, current location and use or intended use of each import into COUNTRY of such material for specifically non-nuclear purposes in quantities exceeding:

    (1) Ten metric tons of uranium, or for successive imports of uranium into COUNTRY each of less than ten metric tons, but exceeding a total of ten metric tons for the year;

    (2) Twenty metric tons of thorium, or for successive imports of thorium into COUNTRY each of less than twenty metric tons, but exceeding a total of twenty metric tons for the year; it being understood that there is no requirement to provide information on such material intended for a non-nuclear use once it is in its non-nuclear end-use form.

    [Article 2.a.] (vii)

    (a) Information regarding the quantities, uses and locations of nuclear material exempted from safeguards pursuant to [paragraph 37 of INFCIRC/153];

    (b) Information regarding the quantities (which may be in the form of estimates) and uses at each location, of nuclear material exempted from safeguards pursuant to [paragraph 36(b) of INFCIRC/153] but not yet in a non-nuclear end-use form, in quantities exceeding those set out in [paragraph 37 of INFCIRC/153]

    [Article 2.a.] (viii) Information regarding the location or further processing of intermediate or high-level waste containing plutonium, high enriched uranium or uranium-233 on which safeguards have been terminated pursuant to [paragraph 11 of INFCIRC/153]. For the purpose of this paragraph, “further processing” does not include repackaging of the waste or its further conditioning not involving the separation of elements, for storage or disposal.

    END OF QUOTATION FROM ARTICLE 2.A.(V)-(VIII) OF AP.

    EAB comment continued:

    The Additional Protocol is not easy to wade through. But when one does, it becomes clear that it is NOT the “blank check” that many otherwise well-informed writers, such as Tony Karon, apparently believe it is. I suspect many people mistakenly believe otherwise simply because Iran, at the same time it was voluntarily observing the Additional Protocol, was also voluntarily cooperating with the IAEA to answer questions about the “alleged studies.” Most observers naturally assumed that Iran was doing the latter because it had agreed to do the former. But that was not the case. Those two forms of cooperation were separate from one another. Iran could have done one without doing the other, but it chose to do both. What I suggest now is that it do one, but not the other – that it observe the Additional Protocol, but that it not let the IAEA, the UN, or anyone else, poke around at its military installations.

  552. Karl says:

    James,

    Sorry I meant Kosovo.

  553. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    PBS showed a documentary on the Clinton administrations recently. The programme stated that 250,000 civilians had been killed in the former Yugoslavia, before Bill Clinton authorized the US to back the several European countries involved in trying to stop the hostilities.

  554. Karl says:

    Hillary Clinton keep the fire and civil war alive in Syria, even admitting she want to see a stronger resistance ‘so fewer people will die’.
    Thats the exact same reason we heard in Bosnia from her husband only leading to more casualties in fact the majority of all casualties that were killed during the conflict.
    Thats the exact same reason we heard before US went in in Libya prolonged at civil war for atleast 6 months. Have she so shame with these incitements? Have she no shame urging violence that I am pretty sure is not in the interest of the majority of syrian people?
    I wonder what Clinton would do if a salafist violent uprising began in the US and if Syria supported the uprising. That wouldnt be any less than terrorism according to Clinton that would use firepower no doubt.

    Syrian opposition will become increasingly capable-Clinton
    http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/syrian-opposition-will-become-increasingly-capable-clinton

  555. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    Good post on the antiquity of diplomacy, and skewering the silly notion of Michael Rubin that diplomacy is something that developed only in recent centureis in certain European countries.

    Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire survived for a thousand years, in part due to good diplomacy (as you mention). Had it not been for the schism iwth Rome, it might have lasted for centuries longer.

  556. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Bashar al-Assad offered peace to Israel for ten years after taking power.

  557. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    The transcript you linked, of debate on Iran in the House of Commons, is well worth reading. Stewart Jackson wanted John Baron to name “any experts” who “would explain how enrichment to a 20% threshold…could plausibly be for civilian and not military use.” Amazing.

    Baron said there is “circumstantial evidence” of a possible Iranian nuclear weapons programme, according to Sir Malcolm Rifkind, but there is no “concrete evidence” of such a programme.

  558. Arnold Evans says:

    If Assad falls a sunni gov will emerge that will pretty much be a saudi/qatar client state.

    Elections couldn’t produce a Saudi/Qatar client state even in Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Elections also in the 2010 prevailing theory of government cannot be avoided. So Syria as a pro-US client or colony like Saudi Arabia, Egypt (for now), Jordan, Kuwait, UAE and others is not a plausible outcome.

    What is plausible is the destruction of Syria like the destruction of Iraq.

    But it would take a lot of destruction to make it so Syria would not be able to fire missiles that are already deployed at Israel. Destroying the country but leaving Assad (or any non-client) in power would not be helpful, as far as I can see for Israel, unless the missile bases are overrun but we are a long way from there.

    Between now and then, if Syria actually starts losing, it might just fire its missiles to bring Israel into the war for PR purposes as Saddam Hussein did in 1991.

    Syria can become a really messy situation without becoming a beneficial one for the US or Israel.

  559. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    True but irrelevant to my point.

    Weapons were being funded by Coratians in Canada – was that without the knowledge of US and Canadian governments?

    Yes, the Yugoslav state had many problems, but just like Iran under Mr. Mossadeq, it was foreigners that brought her down; her erstwhile allies – in fact.

  560. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Interesting piece by Charles Freeman you lined (Feb. 23rd, “The China Bluff”). He makes many good points. And I agree with Zbigniew Brzezinski who says the proper role of the US in Asia is to facilitate good relations between the other powers.

  561. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind told Radio4 on Feb. 20th that the UK needed to say “all options remain on the table” to avoid making an Israeli attack on Iran more likely.

    We can of course remember that Obama in March 2009 said that making threats did not help diplomacy.

  562. Rahmat Haghshenas says:

    In response to Rubin’s fetishism re “enlightenment”, it would’ve been best to remind the rascal that Iran’s most enlightened national leader ever, prime minister Mosaddegh, was overthrown violently by the CIA, an agency whose vicious role all over the globe doesn’t seem in Rubin’s view to disqualify the US as an enlightened actor.
    If the Iranian nation, of which the Islamic Republic is a genuine product, is anti-enlightenment, superstitious or whatever, how could someone as genuinely enlightened as Mosaddegh been so overwhelmingly popular?

    In fact, the fact that the American enterprise Institute and the likes of Michael Rubin are influential in the post-Reagan era is all the evidence we need to know that the US is sliding ever further away from enlightenment.

  563. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Is it not true that Muslim countries provided weapons to Muslims in Bosnia?

  564. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The specific point was whether the collapse of Yugoslavia was promoted by countries hoping somehow to affect Russian interests adversely. This was clearly not a factor, and internal problems were the primary driver of events.

    Is it not true that Serbs comprised most of the higher levels of the officer corps of the Yugoslav army?

  565. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The UK tried to help or encourage Bashar al-Assad to widen his government and improve public access to various institutions in Syria, over a period of ten years.

  566. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Nyet!

    US-EU had a lot to do with her collapse.

    I suppose flow of weapons to Coratia – even before the crisis started – was just an internal development.

    Or the arming of that group of Muslim thugs called Kosovo Liberation Army?

    Not to mention the denial of funds to Yugoslavia – needed for the stablization of her economy?

    [They EU states can strangulate the Turks in the same manner.]

  567. James Canning says:

    Lysander,

    The Russians want a negotiated resolution of the unrest in Syria.

  568. fyi says:

    A-B says: February 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I think these and other such programs are useful in convincing Iranians to increase their deterrence power as well as latent military power.

    The Iranian leaders will not forget that – journalistic threats of war for 10 years.

  569. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Haass has been helpful, I agree. The Economist has a cover story this week, on Iran, and opposing any military resolution of the dispute.

  570. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Yugoslavia collapsed after the Soviet Union collapsed. The reasons Yugoslavia collapsed had nothing to do with an effort to hamper Russia in one way or another.

  571. A-B says:

    Recommended viewing: RT’s Crosstalk February 22 “Iranoia”.

    Peter Lavelle is excellent in moderating Patrick Clawson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) in his spreading war-propaganda. When Clawson repeatedly says “Iran’s Nuclear Weapon” Lavelle interrupts him and with a, sort of, contemptuous look reminds this warmonger that war is the worst possible thing that could happen (@8:10). The question of who is rational and who is not, is also brought up here. But, note that it is the host of the Al Jazeera who brings up (Rubin’s own) notion of Iran’s irrationality and Rubin says thank you very much. Kudos to Peter Lavelle! His other guests Gawdat Bahgat and especially Gilbert Doctorow are outstanding.

    (Can’t help it but, Rubin’s posture in the picture above reminds me of a kid who has created a sand castle only he thinks is a masterpiece, pleading Hillary to not come too close with her logic and other rational stuff. It is too fragile!!)

  572. kooshy says:

    Karl says:
    February 23, 2012 at 11:53 am

    The problem with your theory is not the majority of the ethnic groups in Syria who become entitled to take power in Syria, the problem you encounter is the Syrian army that a new incoming group/ ethnicity would need to dismantle and make a new one based on a totally different ideology that will take years, unlike in Iraq when it was invaded and her army dismantled Syria doesn’t have a care taker till a new army with new ideology materialize, Russia, Iran, China may agree for Assad to go but will not allow for army’s ideology to change. Before you see that to change you will see a cope like in Turkey.

  573. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    Thank you for your extended response. Your response includes so many critical pieces, examples, and thought-provoking questions that I think I have to write a book to even touch on half of them. I do not find myself to be in a disagreement with pretty much most of what you’ve written as the evidence supports your frustration. I’d like to just briefly share specific views I have about some of what you wrote.

    RE: I have no clue what “external population validity error” means; I suspect it has arrows that point to “overgeneralization” or “bigotry” or “antisemitism.”

    It only means to generalize to the whole population a characteristic that is true only in a sub-sample. For example, when someone says “women are deceitful” based on specific examples that some women have been deceitful, then, that statement suffers external validity.

    It does not mean anti-Semitism or bigotry.

    RE: I’m not well educated therefore I am most often unable to articulate points that I think are important.

    a) I am not too sure what you mean by not being “well educated.” If you mean you do not have a piece of paper that says so, then I must say that I put very little value in those sorts of papers since I know people with quite a few pieces of papers supposedly indicating that they are highly educated yet they are less educated than a jack ass. I also know the most revered and complete human being, based on my believe system, who brought forth (if one is inclined not to believe the source to be Divine) the most magnificent book, who also was not considered formally educated.

    b) The breadth and depth of the material you present and many occasions that I have seen examples of a deep and dynamic intellectual curiosity suggest to me that your statement about not being “well educated” is not correct. Like yourself, I cannot ignore the facts.

    c) As for “unable to articulate points”, well, join the club. Now you can empathize with us more (though I have always appreciated your empathy more than you could imagine).

    RE: My complaint is not about Hillary Mann Leverett; I love her to pieces. I recognize that hers is one of the very few voices that DOES speak for Iran — the Islamic Republic of Iran. That is the point that your comments validated: Hillary Leverett IS a Jews; Hillary Leverett runs this blog.

    I know.

    RE: Do you think for one minute that a non-Jew would be permitted to talk back to Michael Rubin the way Hillary did?

    A more critical question that I would ask is why would a non-Jew perceive himself/herself needing or asking for a permission in the first place. Once all points have been considered honestly, justly, and truthfully, then you would talk if you believe it is important to talk.

    RE: Look at what happened to Chas Freeman. Look at what happened to Helen Thomas.

    Yes. There are consequences to independent thought and independent actions based on truth and justice. Standing up to bullies usually gives one a bloody nose. I am a Shi’a and an Iranian and getting a bloody nose to me is more honorable than yielding to untruthful and unjust bullies. So, good for Chas and Helen.

    RE: Look no further than the previous forum article, Flynt Leverett’s appearance on PBS’s News Hour. Study that PBS session very carefully and observe the power dynamics: Ray Suarez opened the segment by framing the discussion with a negative bias; Ray Takeyh, who shared and amplified Suarez’s bias (have you noticed that no Iranian-American who does NOT express some form of an anti-Iran bias finds his way to an American microphone?), was given more time (15 seconds more, according to my back-of-the-envelope calculation) to speak than was Flynt. Suarez was deferential to Takeyh — after Takeyh spoke, Suarez paused for a heartbeat before saying anything, assuring himself and the audience that Takeyh had completed his thought. In contrast, Suarez interrupted and cut off Dr. Leverett’s comments in mid-sentence, and re-directed the thought to Takeyh. Takeyh could have read a column from the Boston phonebook and he would have been validated; he could spew any non-facts that popped into his head. Leverett, on the other hand, had to first, refute the junk that Takeyh put on the table, reducing the already reduced time that Leverett could use to make his own case. Leverett was forced to remain calm, restrained, deferential, obliging. Flynt could not make more than one point because in order to drive that point home, it had to be repeated, and he was not allotted enough time to argue for and then repeat more than one point.

    Well, what do you expect? Flynt is a man. Men cannot talk.

    (LOL)

    RE: That didn’t happen to Hillary, and I suggest it did not happen precisely because she is Jewish.

    Or perhaps because she is a woman. That man didn’t have a chance. By the time the session was over, two beets were hanging from where his ears used to be.

    RE: My complaint, that I will not keep silent about, by the way, is that for too many years too many Jewish people like Michael Rubin have kept people like those named above out of the debate and have skewed ‘public opinion’ such that what is cloaked as an “American” consensus is actually the manipulated view of a minority imposed upon “Americans.”

    Indeed a legitimate concern.

    RE: It is because of the power and influence of the groups that support Rubin and CAMERA, etc. that outlets like PBS Newshour and C Span Washington Journal, which used to be useful sites for gathering information, are now monitored and minded to ensure that Israel is never called to account, and any rhetoric in support of Iran is deemed anti-Israeli.

    Yes and ditto for the next two paragraphs.

    RE: I’m sticking to my initial assertion: “Americans” do not refuse to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jews do.

    Jimmy Carter refused to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran. So did Regan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush. Clinton faithfully renewed ILSA. And Obama has been the most hostile. They could not have been elected to the office of presidency unless they were considered “Americans”. The candidates for the next round all are considered Americans. Of 100 US senators, 87 are non-Jews. Of 435 US representatives (voting members), 399 are non-Jews. My point: if they refuse to bend over, they cannot be ridden like good boys.

    RE: Americans have become merely the applausometer for the dramatic playing out of this Jewish identity crisis. We have ceded the narrative to Jewish dramatis personae, and I think it’s time we write our own script…..

    Excellent plan.
    RE: Francis Bacon ushered in the English Enlightenment when he rejected the authority of the Church as the arbiter of first premise in the process of thinking rationally. Bacon insisted that the first premise of knowledge should be found in observations of the natural world — of reality, not ‘revelation’ and doctrine from books, enforced by self-appointed authorities who embue themselves with ‘divine’ claims and rights.

    Arrogance serves as an obstacle for humans to excel to a higher state of existence. It can wear the clothing of race, religion, ethnicity, progress, science, gender, age, looks, and even the very claim to enlightenment.

    RE: If the information is not true to the facts, if it is a lie, then the entire enterprise is built on falsehood and can only collapse on itself.

    You said it very well.

    RE: On every occasion when Bernays’s methods of propaganda have been deployed against an “Other” — Germans, Viet Namese, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians — Americans have dutifully marched to war.

    Fooled me once, shame on you. Fooled me twice, shame on me.

    RE: So my question/quest is fourfold: how can we stop the process of propaganda from being played out against Iran; and how can we hope to do that if we do not drill to the source of the disinformation campaign and recast the narrative on an American foundation; and how can we simultaneously recognize that zionist interests are involved at the heart of this propaganda campaign and push back against it WITHOUT ending up at the reverse pole of demonizing the Jewish people? How can we do it differently this time?

    Excellent questions. You saved the best for last.

  574. Karl says:

    Bibi john:

    “The non-salafi Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, and non-Arabs are likely to coalesce around a Hezbollah-like grouping should the central government collapse. If not, why not?”

    Why not? You tell me you are the one who claim such arguments.

    Hizbollah is a resistance army and party, there is no connection between ethnic groups in Syria and Hizbollah. Even if it was true the point was that no pro-Iran, pro-Shia gov would emerge in Syria regardless of a opposition.

  575. Bart says:

    The word is nuclear, Hillary — not nucular. You would have come off just a tad more intelligent if you had gotten that right…

  576. BiBiJon says:

    Karl,

    According to the state dept info on Syrian demography:

    “Major ethnic groups: Arabs (90%), Kurds (9%), Armenians, Circassians, Turkmans.
    Religions: Sunni Muslims (74%), Alawis (12%), Christians (10%), Druze (3%), and small numbers of other Muslim sects, Jews, and Yazidis.”

    The non-salafi Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, and non-Arabs are likely to coalesce around a Hezbollah-like grouping should the central government collapse. If not, why not? No more assertions of previous assertions, please. If you have reasons why a well-armed/trained minority with deft social policies will not end up as a force to reckon with, exactly like Lebanon’s Hezbollah, or Iraq’s Badr brigade, and Sadr’s Mehdi army, then beyond assertions of your certitude, give us your take on the likely dynamics that preclude such eventuality.

  577. Irshad says:

    Lysander says:
    February 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Tartus is important for Russia for the very reason that it is a warm water port outside of any choking point that the Russian navy may have to travel through (Gibraltar and Bosphurus). Tartus allows Russian ships to be based their on extended missions. This is something that no other country in the Med region can offer Russia. Remember Yugosalvia was destroyed to cut the Serbs off from the Adriatic and hence ther Russians.

    I read in one of M.K Bhadrakumars post that Russia is now making noises to re-open the former Soviet naval base in Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam:

    http://rt.com/politics/navy-vietnam-base-warships/print/

    If the Russians open their naval base in either Cuba or Venezuela – this has now allowed the Russian navy to have deep see warm water ports in distant regions – allowing her ships and submarines to go on long term patrols. The Russians will be spending over $700b until 2020 on a re-armament programme which includes building new ships and subs including the purchase of the Frecnh class of warships the Mistral.

    Putin will be a fool to lose Tartous – and he is a clver man and knows and understands the games the Western oligarchs are playing in trying to strangle the energy regions of the world for themselves.

    Looking at Russia’s future plans and its re-armament programme – to me atleast – Russia must not lose Tartous – it will be akin to UK losing their military base in Cyprus or America losing Hawaii.

  578. fyi says:

    All:

    Latest assessment from Dr. Cordesman:

    http://csis.org/files/publication/120222_Iran_Gulf_Mil_Bal_II_WMD.pdf

    The last 2 pages are noteworthy in that even he realizes the danager that Axis Powers escalations are posing to the world and recommends political negogiations.

    It seems to me, based on his remarks and those of Mr. Haass in WSJ, that some US planners are at least beginning to take into account the increased Iranian power – thanks to US – since 2004.

    It is a start.

  579. Karl says:

    bibi john:

    I have nothing more to add than the previous message I directed to you. Syria have no pro-shia, pro-Iran base (alawi excluded) and therefore no alliance will be established. You must understand that the sunni which is partly extreme (violent resistance) even have ties with salafists.

    I wouldnt count on that survey it has been debunked as not realistic unless you think 97 syrians is a credible number to generalize from.

    Syrian poll backing Assad has no credibility
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/19/syrian-poll-assad-no-credibility

  580. hans says:

    I say the situation is coming to a critical stage see :http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html

    How long before the murderous festival Purim celebrated by the crazies of Israel? Sunday decisions will be taken soon after that the escalations will begin and spread chaos death and unnecessary destruction. Please Syrians be prepared!

  581. kooshy says:

    Eric- this may interest you, since it discusses the AP issue

    What Iran’s Inspection Rebuff Says About Prospects for Nuclear Diplomacy
    By Tony Karon |

    http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/02/23/what-irans-inspection-rebuff-says-about-prospects-for-nuclear-diplomacy/

  582. Rd. says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:

    ” I don’t think their ballistic missiles are accurate enough to be effectively used against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

    to add, given the distance, you have to wonder the effective payload??

  583. ToivoS says:
    February 23, 2012 at 2:08 am

    “I must say that richard steven hack has so spammed this blog that there is no room for other comments. Leverettes have you noticed that this idiot has taken over your comments section.”

    I certainly have noticed, so at least two of us do. Richard, may I respectfully suggest two changes in focus?

    1. Quality over quantity.

    I think readers would pay much more attention to what you write if there were less of it. You sometimes make useful contributions, but one always feels that too much work is being left to the reader to sift through what you write to find the gems.

    2. Civility toward others.

    I often stop reading your comments just because you’re rude, and I’ve noticed a number of others have made the same point. Does your rudeness accomplish something that you’re not capable of accomplishing in any other way? I doubt you really believe it does, and I can assure you that others find it so annoying that they ignore much of what you write — good or bad — because of that.

  584. BiBiJon says:

    Karl,

    When asked: parlez-vous français? and the person answers:Ich spreche kein Deutsch, then the chances are his strong suit is neither French nor German.

    You have just demonstrated the extent of your knowledge of Lebanon’s 1975-2012 history, as well as Iraq’s 2003-2012. The “wall of reality” is Syria has all the elements that Lebanon, and Iraq had, and then some. The >50% Syrians who now express support for Assad in opinion polls, and a Syrian military that has not splintered, will make for a quasi state within a state almost identical to Lebanon’s Hezbollah all but a given. Without the restraints associated with the trappings/assets/targets of a ‘state’, the Syrian Hezbollah will be far worse for US/Israel/KSA than the current Syrian government.

    And, as for Iran, surely focusing her assistance to a loyal subgroup is far more cost effective, than trying to prop up the entire Syrian state and attempt at herding cats.

    No? Why not?

  585. Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:30 am

    “Eric is back with his unilateral AP crap…”

    Richard,

    Hard is this may be for you to believe, I take this as a compliment: For you to recognize that I made that point once again means you must have read my long post to the end.

  586. Lysander says:

    I suspect Tartus is important to Russia’s future plans. Putin almost certainly wants Russia to become a serious international player again, and they will need a Mediterranean base for that. If they are expelled now, it will be very hard to get back in in the future.

    In advance of a NATO attack, Russia can if it wanted to (maybe they already have) place SAM batteries in Syria under Russian control. Officially this would be denied. The western press would howl but I doubt any western official will say anything. Nobody wants a war with Russia.

    NATO does not want to risk the loss of several aircraft to Syrian (even if they are Russian) air defenses. The blow to prestige would be enormous. And pictures of British, French, American pilots being paraded about changes the narrative from Assad the bloodthirsty dictator, to Assad the freedom fighter defending his country against the west.

    So the point is Russia has the option of raising, in dramatic fashion, the price of western intervention in Syria. I don’t know if they will choose to exercise it, but they certainly can.

  587. Karl says:

    bibi john:

    Not sure what you mean.
    In Iraq the opposition (pre invasion) was shia so obvioulsy a shia gov would emerge there. In Lebanon, if it wasnt for the rise of Hizbollah there wouldnt be any strategic ties between Iran/Lebanon. A western leader like Hariri would probably have ruled. In Syria you lack all such premises.

  588. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Regardless of their capabilities; they are supreme realists.

    They will not attack Iran, they prefer the stupid goyim to do their dirty deeds for them.

    Their reputation as a military power rests on events that happened over 2 generations ago (40 years).

  589. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I just don’t believe Israel has the capability to launch an airstrike deep into Iranian territory. Moreover, I don’t think their ballistic missiles are accurate enough to be effectively used against Iranian nuclear facilities.

  590. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 23, 2012 at 9:13 am

    You have to alter the mind-set of the schismatic Christains in the United States.

    Their love-affair with (Ancient) Israel has brought US to the point of a march towards WWIII.

    This point must be emphasized; US cannot win against Islam.

  591. BiBiJon says:

    Karl says:
    February 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Great. Thanks for your certitude. Could you please explain why what obtained in Iraq and in Lebanon, will not obtain in Syria?

  592. Fiorangela says:

    Empty says: February 23, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I have no clue what “external population validity error” means; I suspect it has arrows that point to “overgeneralization” or “bigotry” or “antisemitism.” I’m not well educated therefore I am most often unable to articulate points that I think are important.
    My complaint is not about Hillary Mann Leverett; I love her to pieces. I recognize that hers is one of the very few voices that DOES speak for Iran — the Islamic Republic of Iran.
    That is the point that your comments validated: Hillary Leverett IS a Jews; Hillary Leverett runs this blog.

    Do you think for one minute that a non-Jew would be permitted to talk back to Michael Rubin the way Hillary did? Look at what happened to Chas Freeman. Look at what happened to Helen Thomas. Look no further than the previous forum article, Flynt Leverett’s appearance on PBS’s News Hour. Study that PBS session very carefully and observe the power dynamics: Ray Suarez opened the segment by framing the discussion with a negative bias; Ray Takeyh, who shared and amplified Suarez’s bias (have you noticed that no Iranian-American who does NOT express some form of an anti-Iran bias finds his way to an American microphone?), was given more time (15 seconds more, according to my back-of-the-envelope calculation) to speak than was Flynt. Suarez was deferential to Takeyh — after Takeyh spoke, Suarez paused for a heartbeat before saying anything, assuring himself and the audience that Takeyh had completed his thought. In contrast, Suarez interrupted and cut off Dr. Leverett’s comments in mid-sentence, and re-directed the thought to Takeyh. Takeyh could have read a column from the Boston phonebook and he would have been validated; he could spew any non-facts that popped into his head. Leverett, on the other hand, had to first, refute the junk that Takeyh put on the table, reducing the already reduced time that Leverett could use to make his own case. Leverett was forced to remain calm, restrained, deferential, obliging. Flynt could not make more than one point because in order to drive that point home, it had to be repeated, and he was not allotted enough time to argue for and then repeat more than one point.

    That didn’t happen to Hillary, and I suggest it did not happen precisely because she is Jewish. I’m grateful that she has taken the position that it is in the best interests of the American people to engage with Iran, and I am not at all insensitive to the personal courage required of her as a Jewess; I am not unaware of what happened to Judge Goldstone. I want to know why John Entelis and John Tirman and John Mueller and Walter Hixson and John Esposito and Chas Freeman are not front-and-center in the debate about the relationship of the people of the United States to Iran; why are they marginalized? Why do Americans tolerate that groups like CAMERA impose a chilling effect on debate about US-Iran relations.

    My complaint, that I will not keep silent about, by the way, is that for too many years too many Jewish people like Michael Rubin have kept people like those named above out of the debate and have skewed ‘public opinion’ such that what is cloaked as an “American” consensus is actually the manipulated view of a minority imposed upon “Americans.” It is because of the power and influence of the groups that support Rubin and CAMERA, etc. that outlets like PBS Newshour and C Span Washington Journal, which used to be useful sites for gathering information, are now monitored and minded to ensure that Israel is never called to account, and any rhetoric in support of Iran is deemed anti-Israeli.

    Because Americans have been subjected to such a biased stream of reporting, not only from the hateful Fox and Limbaughesqe media but also from even the “credible” media outlets (in addition to popular novels, Hollywood movies & television, and even the public education system, all of which demonize Iran), due to the influence of Jewish and Israel advocates, they are misinformed about Iran. The mountains of polls do not show what Americans “know” or have processed on any level approaching critical analysis about Iran, but only the effects of smothering layers of Bernays sauce on the US body politic.

    I’m sticking to my initial assertion: “Americans” do not refuse to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jews do. “Iranophobia” is a uniquely Jewish and zionist “obsession;” Haggai Ram has discussed the obsession in his book, “Iranophobia,” and Gal Eyal has plumbed the psychosocial sources of mizrahanut in “The Disenchantment of the Orient: Expertise in Arab Affairs and the Israeli State.” Most Americans have no clue about the profound identity crisis Iran provokes in many Jews and particularly Israeli Jews. Rubin’s comment about the Enlightenment encapsulated a core of zionism’s beliefs about itself: in stark contrast to the hated and feared mizrahim, (in whom, Ram and Eyal explain, European Jews see and fear their own mirror image) European Ashkenazi Jews represent the pinnacle of Western civilization, and it is zionism’s god-ordained mission to drag benighted “orientals” kicking and screaming into the world of German high culture that Jews assume they now represent.

    Americans have become merely the applausometer for the dramatic playing out of this Jewish identity crisis. We have ceded the narrative to Jewish dramatis personae, and I think it’s time we write our own script based on genuine Enlightenment values, not on Rubin’s preemption and exploitation of them.

    Francis Bacon ushered in the English Enlightenment when he rejected the authority of the Church as the arbiter of first premise in the process of thinking rationally. Bacon insisted that the first premise of knowledge should be found in observations of the natural world — of reality, not ‘revelation’ and doctrine from books, enforced by self-appointed authorities who embue themselves with ‘divine’ claims and rights. Bacon’s notions formed the foundation of Madison’s thinking, and Madison asserted that “A people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” and that knowledge comes from access to information. If the information is not true to the facts, if it is a lie, then the entire enterprise is built on falsehood and can only collapse on itself.

    Madison made the comment in a letter to W T Barry,endorsing public education. A century after Madison made his argument for public access to sound information and knowledge, Edward Bernays effectively reversed the Enlightenment project that Francis Bacon initiated; he argued that a secret elite operating behind the scenes should “mold our minds” and shape our culture. Bernays and his theories, coupled with Freud’s theories of how masses of men could be controlled by appealing to emotion, were the mainspring of the first US information campaign deployed by Woodrow Wilson’s administration to motivate the American people to sufficiently hate Germans that they would be willing to go to war to kill them. Bear in mind that in the early 1900s, persons of German origin made up the second-largest portion of the American population, persons of English origin being the largest. Bernays’ and Freud’s methods were so effective that the “masses were mobilized” to wage war on their own brothers. The same tactic was deployed to gin up war fervor beginning in 1933, when Samuel Untermyer, perhaps Michael Rubin’s ideological forebear, declared that “Jews are the aristocrats of Germany . . .[Germans] are equivalent to barbarians.” On every occasion when Bernays’s methods of propaganda have been deployed against an “Other” — Germans, Viet Namese, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians — Americans have dutifully marched to war.
    So my question/quest is fourfold: how can we stop the process of propaganda from being played out against Iran; and how can we hope to do that if we do not drill to the source of the disinformation campaign and recast the narrative on an American foundation; and how can we simultaneously recognize that zionist interests are involved at the heart of this propaganda campaign and push back against it WITHOUT ending up at the reverse pole of demonizing the Jewish people? How can we do it differently this time?

  593. fyi says:

    Karl says: February 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Without Iran, US-EU Axis cannot have stable Middle East.

    US-EU geo-political agenda is the destruction of the current dispensations in Syria and Iran.

    They will fail but the Axis Powers (“We have 3400 warships!”) think that they can succeed.

    If they were smart, they would listen to the advise of Ambassador Freeman.

    But they are not and we will go through more convulsions.

    See, for Axis Powers playing in the Middle East is still cheap.

    There is not state powerful enough to counter their games.

    And they are games, since the Middle East is not germane to their security.

    It is an area that they are accustomed to playing, they are not going to stop playing until they are hurt plenty.

  594. fyi says:

    All:

    Another strategic assessment by Ambassador (Ret.) Chas Freeman

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-china-bluff-6561

  595. Karl says:

    Bibijohn/Richard:

    A fall of the Assad will definately benefit Israel, as far as Iran will loose an allied partner just as Hezbollah. If Assad falls a sunni gov will emerge that will pretty much be a saudi/qatar client state. That isnt to say that a new Syria wouldnt have friendly ties to Iran and Hezbollah but it will end there.

  596. BiBiJon says:

    The spell checker put words in my mouth.

    It shoul be incorruptible, not uncorrectable.

  597. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 23, 2012 at 2:57 am

    “Main point about “wall of reality” was brought home by her saying that the end result of the Syria situation is likely to be just more bloodshed and chaos to no one’s benefit.

    The problem with that is that is precisely the benefit Israel and the US seeks. Syria chaos means Syria is removed as an effective actor in an Iran war. This is the strategic goal of the Syria situation (as well as introducing the same chaos in Lebanon to defang Hizballah.)”

    Richard,

    Lebanese chaos, bloodshed, and civil war gave birth to a an uncorrectable Iran ally, the Hezbollah.

    Iraqi chaos, bloodshed, and civil war gave birth to a constellation of political, paramilitary, Shiite groupings that dominate in Iraq and are unopposed to Iran.

    Why do you think chaos, bloodshed, and civil war in Syria will be good for Israel? The chances are far better than even that a Syrian Hezbollah will emerge with political backing of Christians, even more allied with Iran.

  598. jay says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:33 am

    RSH, Thanks, I have read your predictions and assertions. But you did not offer any analytically quantifiable answer. Maybe there is none in your view.

    In any case, I sense frustration in your responses so I won’t belabor the discussion at this juncture. I am happy to discuss points supported by analysis at some future point.

  599. Empty says:

    “as is” rather.

  600. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    RE: I agree that “facts” are important in discussing relations with Iran, which is why I take exception to the second part of the title of this article. “Americans” do not refuse to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jews do.

    Factually speaking, Hillary Mann-Leverett is a Jew. There is ample evidence that suggests she advocates accepting the Islamic Republic of Iran as it is. There is also ample evidence that she recommends negotiation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. And there is evidence that she has consistently used the correct name, the Islamic Republic of Iran (instead of just Iran) in her discussions and debates. If I am not mistaken, she also has a website dedicated to exactly that.

    I would, therefore, suggest that the statement I quoted errs and suffers from external population validity.

  601. Fiorangela says:

    I agree that “facts” are important in discussing relations with Iran, which is why I take exception to the second part of the title of this article. “Americans” do not refuse to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jews do. Americans have not been given a choice, and to the extent that they attempt to voice their opinion, they have been shouted down or threatened or called names or censored and frozen out of the debate. Those Iranian-Americans whose voices are heard are handed a microphone only if they join in the chorus of anti-Iranian lies and rhetoric.


    In 1822, James Madison wrote that

    “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

    In 1928 Edward Bernays reversed the direction of the flow of knowledge, disarming and thereby disempowering the American people. Bernays began his treatise on Propaganda with these words:
    Organizing Chaos
    The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

    In 1935, the Jewish Daily Bulletin quoted Vladimir Jabotinsky who said:
    “There is only one power which really counts. The power of political pressure. We Jews are the most powerful people on earth, because we have this power, and we know how to apply it.”

    The message that Americans have been bombarded with about Iran for almost a century has not been factual information, as Madison proposed, but has been filtered through Jewish lenses, and those lenses are getting blacker and more distorted as times goes by. Witness the hateful rhetoric of Michael Rubin who has the arrogance to presume he speaks for Enlightenment values, when in the next breath he insists that the war of demonization of Iran MUST continue. His statements are offensive because they are equal parts ignorant of the great historical and cultural debt “Western civilization” — and most of all the Jewish people– owe to Iran; and also because they are exquisitely antithetical to American values, not representative of them.

    Mrs. Leverett’s rebuttal, in this article, that Rubin’s statement was offensive based on the norm of how it would have been construed if the same statement had been directed at Jews is a case on point. The Israeli reaction to the 2007 NIE; to the efforts of Leon Panetta to restrain Israel; to Gen. Dempsey’s caution to Israel fatten the evidence portfolio: The standard for decision making on US relations with Iran has become “how does it affect Jews.” The standards are no longer American values — Enlightenment values in which the creators of the United States WERE thoroughly versed a generation before Emancipation in 1789, and for which they committed “their lives, their treasure, their sacred honor.”

    This is the United States, and if Jewish people wish to live in the United States and become part of American Enlightenment culture and society, then it is incumbent upon Jews to respect the norms and foundational principles of the American people, not the Jewish people.

  602. Karl says:

    I recomend all read the transcript of a debate in the UK parlament on Iran.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120220/debtext/120220-0002.htm#12022015000001

    That gives you a direct insight on how top politicians argue.

    Mr Baron is pretty much the only one knowing the facts, hes coming out as a Ron Paul:ist, he debunk the obvious disinformation and taking some good stances while many others keep using a hardline attitude using claiming antisemitism and claim that Iran obviously is seeking nuclear weapons.

    Hague urge Iran to deny its rights by urging entrance in Parchin, which of course Iran has no obligation to do under current agreement with IAEA.

    “We also play a leading role at the IAEA and support its efforts to work with Iran to address the concerns about the military dimensions of its programme. Senior IAEA officials are visiting Iran today and tomorrow. They are seeking co-operation from Iran in addressing the agency’s findings about the “military dimensions” of the programme, including access to a sensitive site at Parchin. We urge Iran to co-operate with the IAEA and to permit access to that site. ”

    Jack straw say something intresting about an alleged nuke race. According to him Saudi Arabia is bluffing.

    “Finally, I urge caution. I hope that we hear less of the suggestion that were Iran to get a nuclear weapons capability, there would automatically be an arms race in the middle east. I do not believe that. A senior Saudi diplomat said to me, “I know what we’re saying publicly, but do you really think that having told people that there is no need for us to make any direct response to Israel holding nuclear weapons, we could seriously make a case for developing a nuclear weapons capability to deal with another Muslim country?””

    An Alec Shelbrooke use the same lame rhetoric:

    “It appears that President Ahmadinejad likes to cherry-pick his arguments. Clearly, he is an anti-Semite who is intent on getting rid of the Jewish people by denying the holocaust. He also talks about getting rid of the occupation of Jerusalem, but that is just looking at the past hour’s news. Look at the years before that, when the Jews were there before the Muslims. When President Ahmadinejad makes such statements, his intent towards the Jewish people is clear.”

  603. Just listened to Hillary’s Antiwar Radio interview.

    Main point about “wall of reality” was brought home by her saying that the end result of the Syria situation is likely to be just more bloodshed and chaos to no one’s benefit.

    The problem with that is that is precisely the benefit Israel and the US seeks. Syria chaos means Syria is removed as an effective actor in an Iran war. This is the strategic goal of the Syria situation (as well as introducing the same chaos in Lebanon to defang Hizballah.)

  604. ToivoS: “I must say that richard steven hack has so spammed this blog that there is no room for other comments. Leverettes have you noticed that this idiot has taken over your comments section.”

    First, there is always room for more comments, as some of the insanely long previous threads have shown.

    Second, I’m trying to make as much relevant news available in one place so people don’t have to hunt all over for it. I could post more but I try to keep it newsworthy.

    Third, if you want to complain about someone, complain about Canning’s multiple one liners. I may post multiple responses but I try to make them significant responses, not just random one-liner questions…I also combine responses where that makes sense.

    Fourth, since you’ve made very few posts – I suspect in the low single digits – so far, it’s a bit much to suggest you have no room for comment since you’re not even commenting.

  605. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 23, 2012 at 1:43 am

    The 10 Most Excellent Reasons to Attack Iran
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29414

    Sounds like the 7.b was contributed by Michael Rubin

    “7. b. Oh, and stupid people should be bombed. They’re not civilized.”

  606. ToivoS says:

    I must say that richard steven hack has so spammed this blog that there is no room for other comments. Leverettes have you noticed that this idiot has taken over your comments section.

  607. b says:

    Ali Khamenei yesterday reconfirmed his Fatwa against nuclear weapons in a speech to nuclear scientists.

    /quote/
    We believe that using nuclear weapons is haraam and prohibited and that it is everybody’s duty to make efforts to protect humanity against this great disaster.
    /endquote/

  608. Hans Blix weighs in… Good luck with that…

    Ex-IAEA Chief Urges Talks to Defuse Threat of Attack on Iran
    http://original.antiwar.com/ramsey/2012/02/22/ex-iaea-chief-urges-talks-to-defuse-threat-of-attack-on-iran/

  609. Bangkok’s $54 Plot
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/02/21/bangkoks-54-plot/

    The idea that Iran was behind this is idiotic…

  610. Treat this as either humor or satire…your pick…

    The 10 Most Excellent Reasons to Attack Iran
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29414

  611. ‘SWIFT Boating’ Iran: Economic War a Prelude to Military Attack
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29402

    Quotes

    The IAEA’s board of governors “is scheduled to convene on March 5 in Vienna, the same day on which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to give a speech in Washington at a meeting of the annual policy conference of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,” Haaretz disclosed.

    Talk about coincidences!

    Sometime in March, the USS Enterprise, along with a large contingent of U.S. Marines will join two other aircraft carrier battle groups and NATO warships and enter waters off Iran’s coast.

    Earlier this month, the Enterprise and NATO military units, including forces from Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand concluded maneuvers, including large-scale amphibious landings against an unnamed “hostile power.”

    The menacing tone of U.S. rhetoric was matched by the deployment of American firepower. The Associated Press reported last week that U.S. Fifth Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Mark Fox said that the Navy has “built a wide range of potential options to give the president” and is “ready today” to confront any hostile action by Tehran.

    “We’ve developed very precise and lethal weapons that are very effective, and we’re prepared,” AP reported. “We’re just ready for any contingency.”

    As the World Socialist Web Site recently pointed out, what Fox and other Pentagon big wigs have “outlined is the classic scenario for a US provocation that could provide the pretext for war–the appearance of ‘Iranian’ mines, an inflammatory media campaign and a US attack on Iranian naval assets that rapidly escalates into all-out conflict.”

    “The US has a history of manufacturing naval episodes to serve as a casus belli,” Peter Symonds warned. “The notorious Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, in which Vietnamese PT boats allegedly attacked a US destroyer, was exploited to obtain congressional approval for a massive US military intervention in Indochina.”

    End Quotes

  612. An attack on Iran would be an act of criminal stupidity
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/21/attack-on-iran-criminal-stupidity

    Which is of course why it’s highly likely…

    Quotes

    After a decade of calamitous western wars in the wider Middle East, the signs are becoming ever more ominous that we’re heading for another. And, hard as it is to credit, the same discredited arguments used to justify the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan – from weapons of mass destruction to sponsorship of terrorism and fundamentalist fanatics – are now being used to make the case for an attack on Iran.

    War talk about Iran and its nuclear programme has been going on for so long it might be tempting to dismiss it as bluster. The mixed messages about Iran coming from the US and Israeli governments in recent weeks have become increasingly contradictory and bewildering. Maybe it’s all a game of bluff and psychological warfare. Perhaps Iran’s offer of new talks or this week’s atomic energy inspectors’ visit might lead to a breakthrough.

    But the mood music has become more menacing.

    When i