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The Race for Iran

MOHAMMAD JAVAD LARIJANI EXPLAINS THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN’S FIRST PRINCIPLES

Even Americans who think engagement with the Islamic Republic could be useful tend to focus on areas where the two countries’ security interests may overlap, such as over Afghanistan and Iraq.  They see the upcoming P5+1 talks with Iran, at best, as a possible venue for the United States and the Islamic Republic to trade concessions over a security issue.  Absent from the American debate is any interest in discussing, let alone coming to agreement on “principles”.  This is something Samareh Hashemi focused on in his recent interview with the Washington Post; the Wikileaks cables reveal that the Chinese advised the Obama Administration to focus its diplomatic engagement with Iran on “principles.”

“Principles” were also part of the approach that the United States followed with Iran in the dialogue we had over Afghanistan from 2001-2003.  In the wake of 9/11 and the removal of the Taliban from power, U.S. and Iranian diplomats worked together to develop an approach to Afghanistan that was based on preventing Afghanistan from being used to launch terrorist attacks and constructing a representative political order in Afghanistan based on a written constitution.  These two ideas for Afghanistan—that it become a representative constitutional political order and that it not be used to launch terrorist attacks—were suggested by Iranian diplomats, not merely acceded to by them.    

But President Bush’s designation of Iran in the “axis of evil” (in part due to Bush’s dismissal of Iran’s political system as authoritarian), the difficulty of building representative political orders in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the deeply negative American perceptions of Iran’s current president and political life there, have prevented most Americans from seeing the utility of engaging the Islamic Republic over principles.  Most Americans have come to think that the Islamic Republic’s approach to democracy and governance is fundamentally at odds with the American approach and, therefore, the two countries could never genuinely agree on foreign policy.   

Last week, in an interview with Charlie Rose, Dr. Mohammad Javad-Larijani, head of the Human Rights Commission of the Islamic Republic and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, tried to provide Americans a glimpse of how important supporters of the Islamic Republic regard the rule of law as a governing principle of their political order.  The interview is worth watching in its entirety, see here, but we highlight below the discussion of the principles animating Iranian politics. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  …The West tries to understand Islam.  What is it we don’t understand?  And where is Iran in Islam?  And how is Iranian and Shiite Islam different from Sunni and Saudi Arabia Islam?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, from the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, there were two biggest schools, even at his life.  Two biggest schools generated in the conception of Islam.  One was called Sunni, the other Shia.  The main difference is that in the Shia Islam, we believe that our social life and the political order also should be constructed in view of Islam.  Islam is not detached in the theoretical base. For example, just a concrete example.  We as a Muslim, always we should have sensitivity about the legitimacy of the government that we are working and living in it.  We should not ignore that question.  So, you see that we believe that Islam has, in the sense that it can generate in any situation a proper type of polity, social and political order. 

        For example, our system in the Iran is a representative democracy.  We incorporated, we learned a lot of things from the experience of the West.  For example, our system of presidency, we took it from American system … two four [year] terms. Our parliamentary, our separation of power is from the French tradition.  But we cooked all of them in hot pot of Islamic rationality, and we created a kind of good, which is best suitable right now, at this time for us.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Is it a theocracy?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Oh, this is a good question.  This is the greatest thing which leads to…misconception of our system.  Theocracy means the state of church should be supreme to the state, political state. 

We don’t have for church an institution.  In Shia Islam, there is no institution in terms of having rank and file in the church.  Church means in our school of thought, an academic structure which people who knows Islam — not more than that.  A state should have [its] own erection based on the legal thing. 

        For example, in our system of governance, we have three main posts of powers.  One is the leadership.  The leadership is by itself is an institution, a social political institution, and the leader is elected by a council of nobles it’s called — Council of Experts.  And this Council of

Experts of 67 people are elected by the people for five years, and [] they elect the leader and they can detach him from leadership.  For example, my brother Ayatollah Sadeq is a member of this council elected by a province.  Each year, they extend the mandate of the leader.  Look to his way of that is delivering and then they will mandate it. 

        Then we have the institution of presidency, which is generally all the executive branch is under his order, his auspices.  He is elected directly by the people.  The third one is the parliament, which is directly elected by the people.  I was myself for year’s member of the parliament from Tehran. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Is anybody challenging the leader in Iran?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Oh, definitely yes.  Definitely.  I mean, nobody is immune from challenge.  The thing which is sacred in our law, nobody should offend Islam… 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Yes.  But see, that is part of the problem right there. Because you define what it is to assault and offend Islam.  And therefore you can, if there is a lawyer you don’t like, you put him in jail because – and you charge him or her, her with offending Islam.  Correct?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  No, it is not correct.  Lawyers, as far as the professional act is considered, as far as they are pursuing the support and defense of their client, nobody will put them in jail for that purpose.   Offending Islam is another issue.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  A significant number or — it is said, lawyers who have been put in jail because they were defending clients who were not popular.  One lawyer who was defending a popular well-known international client fled to Norway.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  The lawyer who fled to Norway, in fact, this is a very good example.  It was supposed that this lawyer should always commute in the corridors of the court to help Sakineh Mohammadi…the poor lady which is indicted over there for capital punishment … But this guy never spent any moment in the corridor of the court.  []He flew to — he is flying from one capital to another to make interviews.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  He must have been flying away in fear.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, this is what he claims.  But even the client never met [] him.  He never signed anything to support as a lawyer, he has a case in the jail.  So this is misusing the title of lawyer and misusing the oath of the lawyer for this profession. 

        I want to tell you exactly that nobody is in jail because he is a lawyer defending anybody.  If a lawyer is defending one person, definitely that person should be accused of some crime.  So defending a person to be popular or not doesn’t matter.  A lawyer could defend a high – [] very notorious criminal person as well.  So this is not a bad thing for a lawyer.  But offending Islam, being a lawyer, being a peasant, being everybody, it has punishment according to our law.  And offending .

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Please define offending .

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, OK.  The offense of Islam is . 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Is talking to the foreign media .

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Everybody is talking to the foreign media.  And this is not the problem.  The problem is that when you undermine, you say, for example, this sacred part of Islam is something rotten, forget about it.  This is offense of Islam, yes.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  The U.N. resolution calls for Iran to end stoning.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, it is true.  I mean,this resolution is asking Iran a lot of unjust, unfair.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Why is it unjust to ask a nation to end stoning?  Why is stoning a just punishment?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, these are two questions.  Suppose there is a law in a country which considered by others unjust.  You cannot condemn that country because they have a law which others consider unjust.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Some people may consider hanging unjust or whatever it might be.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Yes, that’s quite true.  Let me make it clear that stoning, judges in Iran rarely, in two, three years, sometimes give this judgment on a stoning.  But adultery in the nation of 70 million obviously is — cannot be confined to two or three per couple of years.  So obviously, adultery automatically does not get a stoning. 

        But there is another main argument, which I think this is very important to look the differences.  In the eye of the Western media or legal experts, any bodily punishment is unjust.  Imprisonment is the most human punishment.  This is a presumption in all Western, accepted in all western community.  The previous head of judiciary, he was a very well-known scholar, Shahroudi.  He raised an argument that this may not be always true.  He compared, for example, a man condemned to 10 lashes because of a robbery or there is a choice — or six months in prison.  He compared these two.  Ten lashes will be in confinement of the police, nobody is aware of that.  And after half an hour, he will go home.  Perhaps only his wife will be aware of that.  But put him in jail for six months, everybody will be aware of the case .

        CHARLIE ROSE:  There will be social ostracism.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Plus the family will be deprived.  So he raised this argument that this presumption that imprisonment is always the best punishment is not warranted.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Ashtiani — what is going to happen to her?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  See, capital punishment in Iran should go through the first court, the second court, and the high court, and since it is capital punishment, it needs authentication process.  It means that the head of judiciary should have the option to revise the whole case.  This is number one.  Number two, Mrs. Ashtiani, the main crime was killing her husband. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  And has she admitted that or not?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Oh yes, well, I’m not going to say that she did it or not.  I don’t know.  This was the judge ruling that…

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But has she said that she did or has she said – has she denied it?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  She did not deny it as far as we reviewed the case of her.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But did she admit it?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, admitting is only one part.  I think the police …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  And were there extenuating circumstances if she was involved?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Yes, I mean, let us leave that to the judge because I don’t want myself to indict the person…

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But you have said — you’re trying to say — is your commission, your human rights commission trying to save her life?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Yes.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  And what are you doing to try to save her life?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Very good.  The capital punishment in Iran, 65 percent of that is not a public responsibility.  It is private responsibility.  What it means?  It means that when the judge rules that this person should get capital punishment, it is left to the first degree family.  If they forgive her or him, then he will be saved.  If not, not.  So this is the place that we as the Council of Human Rights, we will enter the game.  We go to the first degree family, we say look, your son has been killed by []his wife.  But there is no reason that you ask for the life of this woman.  We tried to get their consent.  Sometimes we raise funds to give to them.  In a lot of good cases, we are successful.  If it is done that we, I hope it will be done soon, then I think her whole life will be saved.  But it should — the first degree family should accept that.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Her life may be saved, but she will not be stoned.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  No, no, she won’t be stoned in that case.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But she won’t be stoned in any case, will she?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  I don’t think so.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  One thing I just want to mention.  That if you look to Iran through the media coverage in the West, you are losing a lot of sight.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  What are we losing?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, the reality over there.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  What is the reality?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  The reality is that Iran is a dynamic society.  People may have difference — different ideas on women.  On the women issue, there are more than 2,000 NGOs, women educated, more than 64 percent of university (inaudible).  So this is the reality.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Here’s also said to be the reality too, that you cannot communicate freely in Iran over the Internet and through other modern means of technology.  That you restrict that.  And that there, this is — this is part of what the human rights indictment against Iran by the United Nations resolution was about. 

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, first of all, this resolution should not be the base of judgment about Iran.  This resolution…

        CHARLIE ROSE:  The United Nations — it wasn’t one country.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, we should not be naive.  United Nations is a place that — it is in which countries like the United States, a number of western countries, they could use this system for their end.  In the same committee that the draft was set over there, strong voices was supporting Iran.  Very strong voices. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Political freedom.  If I came to Iran, could I interview Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Oh, definitely.  Definitely.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  No question?

MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Why not?  No question.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  So if I came to Tehran, I could see them, talk to them, they would have full opportunity to express…

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Definitely, I mean there are always talking to the western media through a lot of means.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  I haven’t seen an interview with Mr. Mousavi by the western media in a while.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, there is — just look to the BBC Persian and other Persian-oriented.  They are, the western — I mean the non-Persian language western media, they are not any more interested in him.  Otherwise they were covering his interviews.  And about Internet, I’m the person who brought Internet to the country about 18 years ago.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Why do you ban it, what are you frightened of?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  We are not frightened, it is [not] banned by law.  For example …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But why ban it?  What’s — that’s the idea of a free society.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI: Well, I think.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Not to ban.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, there is no absolute free society in the world.  I mean, recently the United States, they passed a law that they can stop the whole Internet in the country if it is considered necessary by the president.  Just signed the bill.  So they cite the security.  We cite the law.  For example, pornography, defamation about Islam materials, things like that should be banned.  It is against the law.

[And, for the run-up to resumed nuclear talks on Monday, we excerpt below Dr. Larijani’s comments on the nuclear issue.]

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Let me — Let me move to … the nuclear issue today.  Here is a quote, [from] Admiral Blair, who was a former director of National Intelligence, the man who used to be, who briefed the president every day and was the person who brought in the CIA intelligence and NSA intelligence and briefed the president every day was on this program recently.  He’s since left that position.  Here is what he said about Iran and the nuclear weapon.  [Rose cuts to video of his interview with Blair.]

        ADMIRAL DENNIS BLAIR:  If I had that one choice, but I wouldn’t bet my national policy on that.  I would make a national policy if I — if I were still in government that had the breadth to cover both possibilities.  Because as I said, Iran hasn’t made up its mind.  We don’t know who will win in this argument so we have to be ready either way.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Iran has not made up its mind. 

        DENNIS BLAIR:  Iran has not made up its mind.  The Supreme Leader has not yet spoken.  (END VIDEO)

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Here is the man who was in charge of reporting to the President and American intelligence, saying Iran has not made up its mind about whether it wants nuclear weapons and there are opposing arguments.  And that the Supreme Leader will decide.  Is that accurate?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, I’m sorry for the President for this bad advice.  We made our mind very, very clearly and very rigorously.  We do not want armament, nuclear armament.  This is definite.  We made our mind, we want the most advanced nuclear technology for a lot of peaceful use. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  If the argument is made that if in fact that’s all you wanted, you could easily convince the world, but you don’t try to convince the world of that.  Instead, because you think you have the right to do it, you know, even though you are a signatory, you do not try to convince the world.  Because you block efforts to learn more.  You have acknowledged concealment.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  No, the point is that the United States is saying that we are suspicious of Iran’s intention.  Fine.  They are suspicious of us.  We are suspicious of their intention as well.  But look — what we…

        CHARLIE ROSE:  It’s more than that, I mean it’s not the United States, it is the IAEA, not the United States.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, let us be concrete…

        CHARLIE ROSE:  An American does not head the IAEA, as you know.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, this is flag-leaded by the United States and supported by a number of prominent European members.  This is a reality.  So they are suspicious of us, fine.  How we should handle this suspicion?  The United States is saying OK, we are suspicious of you.  Halt everything.  Deprive yourself from any access and development of nuclear technology.  Wait until we get out of suspicion.  This is the most naive recommendation and request from Iran.  But what we say, we say OK, you are suspicious.  You are obliged to ask the legal body for more transparency.  That’s fine.  We are ready for absolute transparency.  But parallel to that, should be using all the possibilities of NPT on the buying the fuel for our nuclear plant and buying the equipment and getting technical help.  It’s not possible that we’re put in the suspicious chair and people say OK, wait until we get sure of you.  This is the worst argument.  This is the case in Iran.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  In terms of the acquisition of nuclear technology for peaceful uses, you should be proud of that.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  This is exactly we are proud of that.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But why don’t you act as if that is your only objective?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, I said the formula is …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  And it’s not –

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  …is transparency.  No more than that. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But there has not been transparency.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  We are …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  That’s the point.  And so therefore, you …

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, our record on transparency supersedes even Europeans.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Europeans, listen, the sanctions have been voted on by Europeans. 

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  I know.  But …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  It’s not Americans.  It’s Europeans.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, I want to say …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  It’s Russians.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  We have transparency …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  It is the Chinese.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  If transparency is the point, our record is very good.  But they don’t accept the logic of transparency.  Their logic is deprivation.  They say Iran should not have the capability.  Even George Bush said that openly.  They said this nation should not be having even capability. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  So there you go.  What you really want is the capability to have nuclear weapons.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, no. 

        CHARLIE ROSE:  That’s exactly what you are saying.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  No, capability …

        CHARLIE ROSE:  You want the capability to have nuclear weapons?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  No, not nuclear weapons.  You said — if we get advancement in nuclear science, the capability is obvious.  If you want to go to that — it’s like any other capability.  You cannot say to person you shouldn’t buy knife to cut the cheese, because if you get the knife, you may kill a person.  So you should cut the knife — the cheese by spoon.  This is the wrong logic.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  So you want the knife to cut the cheese. 

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Yes, exactly.  Saying — let me be frank on that.  We don’t have trust in United States and western countries.  And they don’t have trust in us, as they claim.  I believe Obama’s intelligence .

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But to trust you — you know, Ronald Reagan had a famous saying, which you know, do you know about it?

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  What was that?

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Trust but verify.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  Well, it is good.  Let’s be on that.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Trust but verify.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  OK.  The allegation against us, if they don’t have trust, let’s go on the way of verification.  Why we don’t have trust?

        CHARLIE ROSE:  Because you don’t let them verify.

        MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  No, we don’t have trust in the west.

        CHARLIE ROSE:  But it’s not about the west, it is about what your intentions are. 

         MOHAMMAD-JAVAD LARIJANI:  The trust — the trust is a two-way story.  It’s not a one-way story.

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135 Responses to “MOHAMMAD JAVAD LARIJANI EXPLAINS THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN’S FIRST PRINCIPLES”

  1. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    I agree that the Communist menace played a key role in causing Eisenhower to support the overthrow of Mossadegh, as he saw it essential for Britain to retain the revenues from its 60% share of Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. to prop up its extensive security system in the Middle East.

  2. James Canning says:

    Dear Pak,

    Clearly we agree it was and is reasonable to expect a crackdown on demonstrations etc that are seen as threatening the stability of a government. And I agree with you a government serves its own best interests better, if it can refrain from being too harsh in such a crackdown.

    However, it seems to me that reformers are doing their own interests harm, by being too noisy at a time Iran is under pressure from openly militaristic enemies abroad. Good sense would call for lowering the volume of dissent at such a time.

  3. Pak says:

    Dear Reza,

    Fair enough, but I think there is a gulf between the principles of the judicial system in Iran and the implementation of the law.

    Dear B-in-B,

    Obviously it is clear by now that we have a different perspective on events in Iran, so we would only be wasting time by discussing the treatment of “traitors” and “green slime”. I am happy to agree to disagree.

    Regarding Shariatmadari, I am aware that he was imprisoned and tortured by SAVAK, as were a number of current prominent politicians (including Khamenei). I believe Shariatmadari had his teeth pulled out, no? The point is that these men were subjected to incredibly harsh treatment during their days as opposition activists. I think this has led them to believe that torture is an acceptable tool to use against opposition, which is the opposite to what you think. Shariatmadari is at the end of the day an extreme hardliner who has called for the execution of Mousavi and Karroubi. Would he have supported this stance during the Shah’s reign, thus calling for his own execution? I doubt it.

    It is a similar story in Israel. Many Israelis look back to the holocaust and see how they were treated. This has skewed their perspective on what is humane and justifiable, which has ultimately led to the total mistreatment of Palestinians under the guise of victimhood.

    Both Israel and the regime were created to set new standards. Both Israel and the regime failed.

  4. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Pak,
    Just because these people say it’s so doesn’t prove anything. Anyway, it would be nice if you also considered the views of people who experinced torture under the Shah’s regime and who now have responsibility in the IRI. A good person to start with is Shariatmadari the editor of Kayhan. You underestimate the extent to which the experience of torture by leaders of the IRI during the Shah period has made them sensitive to this issue.

    Another person whose views who might want to consider is Ayat Shahrudi who experienced torture in Iraq from Saddam. According to him one of the many tortures he experienced was having his beard set on fire while he was tied naked to pole in the courtyard of the prison he was in. Again, I think you underestimate the level that people who themselves have experienced torture are sensitive to this matter.

    I don’t consider execution of traitors during war such the munafeqeen in the eighties as torture. I consider it a great cause for celebration. I also don’t consider execution after trial and multiple appeals and the efforts for the victims family to forgive, to be torture. I also don’t consider qisas punishment as torture if implemented after a trial by a shari court- in the case of the Islamic Republic a court that is part of the judiciary branch.

    Systematic is when torture (our definition of it) is conducted as a matter of the normal interrogation process by law enforcement and is approved as such by the government. In Iran, torture is not part of the standard interrogation process (unlike places like Egypt, Saudi or Turkey in the early eighties), nor is it in any way condoned by the judiciary or executive branches.

    “Occasional” means that torture occurs when outside of the normal procedures for arresting and processing suspects. This means that virtually every country with a police and court system experiences occasional torture and the ones commiting it are personally responsible for it, not the whole governement or state apparatus.

    The difference in our case is that Iran’s enemies and their green slime allies in Iran use occasional torture- which nobody denies occur in Iran as in most countries- to portary Iran as a systematic torture. At it’s most basic, this constitutes lying which is not surprising for enemies. What’s not acceptable is Iranians repeating these lies to further their own personal political and economic goals (of course always done in the name of wanting to help Iran). This is where we get in the territory of treason and sedition. I think if you compare other countries you will see that people were punished for far less things than some of lies our dear compatriots spew from themselves on a daily basis.

  5. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    Abusing people *is* against the law in Iran. Whether violations of the law occur is another matter entirely. Overall, the rule of law is observed in Iran and this is seen in the Kahrizak abuse prosecutions as well as for the attack on the student dormitory.

    As a Muslim who accepts Shariah, I agree with capital and corporal punishment but I also believe stoning is not based on the Qur’an ,which recommends 100 lashes for adultery (zinna), and only then upon the testimony of four credible witnesses.

  6. Pak says:

    Dear B-in-B,

    A number of political prisoners in Iran – who were also imprisoned under the Shah – claim that the scale of oppression in Iran’s prisons are now far worse than under the Shah.

    I do recognise the distinction, yet I would maintain that torture in Iran is systematic, because it did not suddenly come to light after the elections last year. There has been a continuous flow of information coming out of Iran’s prisons since the revolution, which indicates that torture is a common practice.

    Anyway, what do you constitute as torture? What do you constitute as systematic?

  7. Pak says:

    Dear James,

    It is not “reasonable to expect” per se, but it is one possible scenario. In fact, the paranoia of communism was the reason why President Eisenhower was convinced by the British to overthrow Mossadegh in 1953. While President Truman was just as paranoid, he also valued his relationship with Mossadegh and refused to help the British overthrow him.

    So responding with force is one possible scenario, but it is counter productive in the long-term.

  8. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Pak,
    You don’t understand the difference bewteen torture committed by law enfrcement as an exception or occasionally and SYSTEMATIC torture. In Iran torture is illegal and of course this means our definition of it- meaning executions and qisas are not torture. I know, according to you we should just accept your “rational”, “instinctive” (or whatever other qualifier you use) definition of torture. But alas, the definition of human rights, democracy, justice, torture- that’s really what the whole debate is about.

    So given our disagreement about the very definition of torture and your lack of understanding of the distinction between occassional torture and systematic torture- we will not get anywhere in this debate. I suggest to you that torture in Iran is not systematic nor a matter of state policy- unlike for example Iraq during Saddam or the Iran during the Pahlavi era. We can say that for example torture is occassional but not systematic in the domestic US prison system versus it being systematic and a matter of state policy in the US “War on Terror” secret prison system.

    If you are genuine about finding out the truth, this distinction will allow us to have a real debate. If you are a hack, it won’t.

  9. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    Is it not reasonable to expect that the vociferous agitation by many Israelis, delusional American “supporters” of Israel, and others, for an insane attack on Iran, would tend to prompt some sort of crackdown or repression? Remember the US back in the 1950s? Some of us do. “Witch hunts” for Communists, suspected Communists, or Communist “fellow-travellers”. Why? Because the USSR was seen as a threat to American national security, so anyone seen as sympathetic to enemies of the US was open for attack.

  10. Pak says:

    Dear Reza,

    Do you honestly believe what Larijani says in that Newsweek interview? Be honest. Dig deep into your heart and fight the urge to respond with rhetoric just to gain the upper hand against me.

    Forget about US human rights abuses. Forget about the UN censuring Iran. I only want to know whether or not you believe what Larijani says.

  11. Pirouz_2 says:

    Mr. Lucas;

    “1. It is not established who “clearly lost” the election.
    2. Even if they “clearly lost”, that does not mean the election was free from manipulation. That is a criticism which goes beyond the specific numbers any candidate actually received on 12 June.”

    Well this is precisely why people have a difficult time in believing that greens and those who support them are honest about their support for human rights. No one will take a person who tries to force his will over that of majority seriously when he or she claims that he/she is a civil right activist!

    “3. The protests have never been about the election; they have been — even before the election — about civil rights issues. You cannot use the election to dismiss those broader concerns.”
    Ok Mr. Lucas, I don’t know what to tell you except that you either know NOTHING about what has been going on in Iran, or that you willfuly disregard the solid facts. The “green” protests started in reaction the results of the elections.
    Do the following ring any bell?
    “Give me back my vote!”
    “Where is my vote?”
    “Mousavi Mousavi, take back my vote!”
    And no one will take a bunch of demonstrators seriously when they try to deny the overwhelming majority’s vote. If they want to be taken seriously about their claims of being supporters of civil rights, first they have to respect one of the most basic rights: the right of majority to determine the government. If they want to criticise Islamic Republic, if they want to be taken seriously when they cry: “Death to dictator!” first they must show that they themselves are NOT dictators! No one will take their cries of “death to the dictator” seriously when they try to deny the majority the right to vote (on behalf of foreign governments I might add)!

  12. James Canning says:

    Pirouz_2,

    How many of those who profess concern about “civil rights” in Iran, are only too happly to stand by and watch the illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank roger the Palestinians? Most of those professing concern about “civil rights” in Iran? Because they want to facilitate further rogering of the Palestinians by illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank?

  13. James Canning says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Do I take it you concede that, if all votes cast in the 2009 presidential election were posted online, Ahmadinejad would be seen as having won? So all the blather is about “civil rights”? Warongering neocons and other delusional “supporters” of Israel are conspiring to set up yet another illegal war in the Middle East, because they have concerns about “civil rights”? Rubbish.

  14. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas

    You are like a UFO buff. You can talk about the elections all you like, but no one who knows a thing or two about the facts will take you seriously. Ahmadinejad won a landslide, whether you, your government, or the greens like it or not. Regarding civil rights issues, Iranians don’t have to follow your “superior” views. Also, remember I wrote you are “like” a UFO buff, but in reality you know that you are being dishonest.

  15. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz_2,

    “If any one wants to HONESTLY defend human rights, he or she has to start by first criticising those who hijacked an election which they had clearly lost (with a very significant margin).”

    I let this go because — although you may not mean it this way — it is a diversion.

    1. It is not established who “clearly lost” the election.
    2. Even if they “clearly lost”, that does not mean the election was free from manipulation. That is a criticism which goes beyond the specific numbers any candidate actually received on 12 June.
    3. The protests have never been about the election; they have been — even before the election — about civil rights issues. You cannot use the election to dismiss those broader concerns.

    Best,

    S.

  16. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz_2,

    As I said, there are dozens of civil rights organisations in Iran which have continued to pursue those rights for all Iranians despite the challenges they face. Many of them are noted in our coverage on EA.

    For an overview of the situation re civil society and the challenges to it, see the work of Arseh Sevom.

    http://www.arsehsevom.net/

    For an opening case, perhaps we might discuss the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.

    S.

  17. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Scott Lucas:
    “There are numerous organisations in Iran — students, women, labour, lawyers, journalists, social activists — promoting human rights. They come from different parts of the political spectrum.”

    Mr. Lucas;

    My reply to you had two parts. You completely neglected the second part. If any one wants to HONESTLY defend human rights, he or she has to start by first criticising those who hijacked an election which they had clearly lost (with a very significant margin). For as long as one does not condemn those who tried to over rule the vote of the great majority, for as long as one has the gall to give one’s full support to those who tried to nullify the vote of majority, one does NOT have the right to claim to be a supporter of human rights. And still if someone does that, if someone does support the coup perpetrators and then he/she tries to claim that he/she defends human rights, then he/she will lose all his/her credibility!

    As for your reply to the first part of my comment:
    Again you did not name any specific “movement”. I asked you a simple question, which organisation(s) support human rights in Iran in a SCRUPLOUS way? What are these scruplous human rights defenders that you support in Iran?
    Ms. Sotoudeh? Is she a defender of human rights? What was her position on the green movement and the slogan of “give me back my vote”? Does she defend the right of majority to elect a president or if her president of choice is not elected she screams “give me back my vote”?
    You can generalize my question above to anyone of those whom you support! What was the position of those people whom you support in regard to the attempts of a minority to steal an election that they had lost?

  18. fyi says:

    Humanist:

    From the time of the Buyids until 1932, Arabs of the Persian Gulf and Levant were not organized into states that could be considered as historical actors. Iraq and Saudi Arabia did not exist until 1932, for example. And Modern Iran was born in 1500. And the wars of Modern Iran were with Ottomans and with Uzbeks. This notion of traditional Arab-Iranian enmity is not supported by historical record.

    However, the Iran-Iraq War, like WWI in Europe, has created a clevage that will only be healed when all of the states that were involved on the side of Iraq on that war are reconstituted under new regimes.

    I think until new governments and constitutional orders, based on the principles of Islam and Representative Government, are established in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, and Yemen the problems netween Arab states and Iran will persist. Iraq is just the beginning; God Willing.

  19. Binam says:

    Iranian,

    How exactly are the Leveretts standing up to the Americans? If they were doing what they are doing in Iran, only then would they be considered courageous. Only then would they be risking imprisonment. All they’re doing is saying “we don’t care about anything we just want these two countries to talk.” Well, that my friend, does not pave the way for real talks that will have real results. Would you have defended ANY IRANIANS who claimed that the American government is flawless and that we should talk to the Americans regardless?! I hope not, and I hope you apply the same standards to any Americans who claim the Iranian government is flawless as the Leveretts are doing time and again. Otherwise you’d be another self-hating Iranian who thinks Americans should have more of a say than Iranians, that an American dog should have more worth than an Iranian Shah (or Supreme Leader)!

    Your attacks on Scott Lucas are personal and obviously you haven’t been to his website much. He’s had more critical posts of American foreign policy in one month than the Leveretts in their entire existence.

  20. Humanist says:

    James, fyi

    To be fair you have to read John Limbert’s article first.
    ,http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/arabs-vs-iran/67432/

    As you might notice there are few major flaws in this post, I just elaborated on the main one.

    In the following, from FP, I cut and paste my comments on John’s post.

    Start of comment:

    JOHN IS MISSING A MAJOR POINT

    In my view John Limbert is a patriotic American. His knowledge on Iran, ME and his proficiency in Farsi is outstanding. Yet whenever I listen to his speeches or read his articles I notice critical objectionable points.

    I am sure John would agree that all trends in history are dynamic in nature. French and Germans fought perpetually during long centuries. After the WWII they discovered the folly of enmity and WAR, now they will be in peace for longer than the ““foreseeable future””. Thus past histories could become suddenly irrelevant when new compelling deadly circumstances arise.

    In general it is true what John says about the past history of conflicts among the Persians and Arabs. What is missing in this article is a full explanation of a very important reality that the people on both sides (people not the governments) have realized in recent times ie they have a formidable common enemy who is hysterically determined to annihilate or enslave them.

    Reliable Polls strongly demonstrate Iranians and Arabs feel a kind of ““brotherhood/sistership”” they NEVER had experienced before. Recent trip of Ahmadinejad to Lebanon partially confirms this assertion.

    Corrupt Arab rulers (and Israelis) are well aware of this fact. No one doubts that there must be something brewing behind the scene to neutralize such formidable force of UNION. However, as long as the deranged attitudes of Israeli/Westerners are enduring, I doubt the pro Israeli powers can achieve that formidable task. (Since I firmly believe such a task is impossible when the past of history of humanity is taken into account)

    My guess is most (if not all) of the Arab rulers realize staging a war with Iran (which is the only country in the region daring to challenge the common enemy of region’’s people) is another forceful stride towards speeding up their eventual crumbling.

    That is maybe why the nervousness of Arab rulers and their allies is so hard to hide.

    And that is why they, in the most serious way possible, are trying to destroy Iran….forgetting that with high probability, such endeavor might raise the tide so high endangering their own existence as the powerful hegemonists of the present time

    End of comment.

    As I’ve mentioned in my view John Limbert is sincere however, in the arena of “understanding other cultures”, no one can run beyond his/her capabilities.

    In the past I have commented some (most?) of the Western analysts are unable to fully feel the depth of the pains of the people of developing countries, maybe because they are unable to escape from the ugly arrogance planted in their minds when they were kids (America is the BEST, Deutschland ist uber Alles, etc). This barrier wont allow them to put their feet in the shoes of the bar-footers!. I think, on average John seems to be a nice man, he is probably as honest as a man can be in USA. I don’t agree he is a fool, yet as I have mentioned above he can’t get it right all the time, in other words he is just a human being….and as we all know “no one is perfect”.

    The role of Arrogance and Racism in the past evil acts of Westerners on weaker people deserves a lot more amplification….it is no small thing.

  21. Iranian says:

    Binam

    The Leveretts are courageous in that they stand up to the US political establishment and speak the truth (for the sake of America!). Scott Lucas on the other hand is just a self-promoting mercenary who is funded to do America’s dirty work and who is not even honest about his own CV. Otherwise, debate is fine.

  22. Humanist says:

    Kooshy

    Long ago I stopped reading Lucas’ comments. I have nothing to say to him, it is just more fun to watch Beck or listen to Limbaugh

  23. Binam says:

    Fiorangela,

    “I don’t know why Leveretts don’t say that, I’m not a mind reader. I would speculate, however, that since Iran’s internal struggles, its human rights violations, imprisonments, etc. might pale in comparison to human rights violations committed by Americans against Iraqis, Afghanis, as well as its own citizens; American imprisonment statistics that demonstrate that Americans imprison perhaps 3 times as many of its citizens as does Iran; that American media is controlled and censored to an extraordinary degree (shh, one mustn’t mention that persons who comprise 2% of the US population control 90+% of US media, and that criticism of that same group enjoys the unique protection of an office in the US State Department dedicated to ensuring that criticism of that group is met with punishment), all these factors would only highlight US hypocrisy in “acknowledging” Iranian internal discord.”

    Great. Still, it doesn’t justify them not acknowledging the internal problems of Iran and instead pretending that all is well and rosy inside the Islamic Republic. They could very well point out to the lies of the IR and their human rights abuses, then follow that by saying “this is not to say that here in the United States, we have our own share of human rights abuses and one could even argue that we have done more evil than the Iranians, but all that is besides the point, and we believe that at this junction, we should not be interested in pointing fingers and measuring who is more evil, we should solely be interested in DIRECT TALKS and engagements.”

    Would that be SO hard to say? The Leveretts are very one-sided and like PAK I find them extremely suspicious. As though they are careful not to piss the IRI. And anyone who is so passionately dedicated to any one government cannot and should not be trusted, because they are not even capable of seeing that government’s flaws.

    Re: Scott Lucas or Pak or myself being here… Surely without us your conversations would be very boring. We’re all here to sharpen our knives! Scott has his own share of reader and I’m sure he can live without an extra 20 visitors! Though it would be interesting to compare the Google Analytics of the two websites!

  24. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    As I understand things, WINEP is trying to arrange matters to that the Palestinians agree to Israeli retention of most of the major illegal colonies in the West Bank, in a preliminary agreement, so that Israel can then claim more settlement builing in those areas is not illegal. Then Israel will just continue to build, and build, and build. Under the delusional thinking the illegal Jews change the borders by their very presence. WRONG!

  25. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    Is it not fair to say that the more recent reversal in the course of gradual evolution of the Iranian government, owes a good deal to the relentless attacks by Israel and Israeli stooges in the US? In other words, delusional Jews trying to continue to roger the Palestinians, are adversely affecting Iranians who have no hostility toward Israel.

  26. Pak says:

    Dear Castellio,

    I agree that Iran has evolved since the revolution. Progress has definitely ebbed and flowed, as seen during the dark days of the 80′s and the resurrection during the 90′s Tehran Spring.

    Unfortunately 2009 demonstrated that the regime is not yet prepared to forgo political/economic/social dominance in order to fulfil the “Republic” aspect of the Islamic Republic. Iran needs accountability and transparency among others, especially to lay to rest some horrors that have occurred under the regime (such as the mass-executions of the 80′s, the chain murders, the Tehran University raids (x 2), the murder, torture and rape that occurred last year, and so on).

    So yes, political evolution has ebbed and flowed. Unfortunately I view the current situation as moving backwards, rapidly.

    Dear Humanist,

    Your silence speaks volumes.

  27. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I assume Pak would agree the government of Iran that we see today is not the same creature that we watched in action 30 years ago. It would be most unusual for a government not to evolve over such a long time.

  28. Scott Lucas: “I am asking the authors of RFI — as they have endorsed and promoted Larijani’s claim, “Lawyers…as far as they are pursuing the support and defense of their client, nobody will put them in jail for that purpose” — have any knowledge of the case.”

    So you’re admitting you’re acting like a troll here.

    Big surprise.

  29. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Satloff is an idiot. Iran is doing Israel a favor by insisting that Israel do justice to the Palestinians, meaning GET OUT OF THE WEST BANK!

    Winep promotes various delusional Zionist schemes including calling for the dismemberment of Iraq and Iran, and Syria, etc etc etc etc.

  30. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela pointed to Executive Director Satloff speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. It’s at:

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/TripRep

    Either he or I is living in an alternate universe. He thinks there are many positive trends in the Palestine-Israeli negotiations, and the dominant problem in the Middle East is Iran’s growing influence.

  31. fyi says:

    Pak:

    I would not call a change in course – and only after the disintegration of the economic foundations of the internal colonial rgime in the former Confederate States of America, reform.

    As for Iran, she has never changed under pressure and security threats.

  32. Iranian says:

    Kamran

    “I forgot all about that! Where is Liz? She should rip him apart for this. I remember that Scott Lucas wrote in a previous thread a few months ago that the IT office at his university was slow at these things, but that he’d already asked them to remove it. The University of Birmingham is a government owned university. I assume what Scott Lucas is doing is not just just dishonest but illegal.”

    What can I say? Scott Lucas, like the US and UK governments, can break the law whenever he likes.

  33. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    “In dealing with Iran, it is best to set-aside the so-called regime change.”

    Agreed.

    S.

  34. Castellio says:

    Pak writes “The question is: is the Iranian regime capable of reform? We shall see.”

    Don’t you think that Iran has evolved since the revolution of 1979? Isn’t it correct to say that the Iranian regime has been evolving since 1979 in important ways and, while under duress, continues to do so?

    Do you think Iran static (or worse) since 1979?

  35. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz_2,

    “What is the ‘civil rights movement’ in Iran which is promoting human rights?”

    There are numerous organisations in Iran — students, women, labour, lawyers, journalists, social activists — promoting human rights. They come from different parts of the political spectrum.

    S.

  36. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas

    The information is out there. However, I for one don’t want to help you. As a producer of spin and propaganda, you are dishonest and you regularly twist the facts. It’s best to leave people like you who even lie about their CVs on their own.

  37. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    Under Iranian law, what crime has Mohammad Mostafaei committed?

    S.

  38. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela:

    At 10.27 you bring up the role of Dennis Ross and others in relation to “investing” (that is, buying assets) in the Middle East. I concur that is a large part of the drive to “free” (read, privatize) Iran, as it was to privatize Russia. In that case, we found out that the IMF vigorously supported Israeli interests in asset acquisition.

  39. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    I should have added that, according to Sotoudeh’s husband, the charge of membership in the Center for the Defenders of Human Rights (headed by Shirin Ebadi) was added at her second hearing. Sotoudeh is not a member of the Center; however, it is unclear why — under Iranian law — membership in that Center is illegal.

    S.

  40. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    According to Sotoudeh’s lawyer and her husband, she has been charged with spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security. To my knowledge, Iranian authorities have not publicly eludicated on those charges beyond Larijani told US TV that she was “a a “threat to national security” as “she indulged in propaganda against Islam”.

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/11/21/iran-videos-judiciarys-larijani-on-detained-sotoudeh-and-on.html

    As the trial is behind closed doors, the limited information available comes from witnesses such as Sotoudeh’s husband.

    You write, “I’d still like to know exactly what it is she allegedly did that caused the government to charge her with a crime.”

    So would I.

    S.

  41. Kamran says:

    Iranian

    I forgot all about that! Where is Liz? She should rip him apart for this. I remember that Scott Lucas wrote in a previous thread a few months ago that the IT office at his university was slow at these things, but that he’d already asked them to remove it. The University of Birmingham is a government owned university. I assume what Scott Lucas is doing is not just just dishonest but illegal.

  42. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    Your points highlight the fact that the US and UK governments were capable of reforming. Had the US for example ignored the civil rights movement, no-one knows what could have happened.

    The question is: is the Iranian regime capable of reform? We shall see.

  43. Castellio says:

    FYI: I find myself agreeing with you entirely in your statements way back at 1.13 and 1.21.

  44. Iranian says:

    Scott Lucas

    You’re a shameless liar. Didn’t you promise to remove the fraudulent claim that you’re an adjunct professor at the University of Tehran? Didn’t you say that the IT office will remove it? Well you actually fixed the link to the University of Tehran website that was broken when you said all this.

  45. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas:

    Clearly the White Americans did not find the maltreatment of the non-White populations in US to be worth replacing that dispensation.

    And when the English were first butchering and later starving the Irish to death, no one asked for that government to be overthrown.

    In dealing with Iran, it is best to set-aside the so-called regime change.

    Iranians are not capable of living according to the legal norms of the most progressive political systems of the world. But, they are not alone in this: neither are the Italians.

  46. fyi says:

    Castellio:

    What does Jahanpour expect?

    US and Iran are in strategic competition.

  47. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    I am not side-stepping at all: changes of governments, even in the case of egregious violations of civil rights, should not come from outside imposition. (There may be a case for intervention under international law in the event of genocide or mass murder but this — as the cases of “liberal intervention” have proven over the last 15 years — is extremely problematic and does not apply to a case such as contemporary US or contemporary Iran.)

    It is the populations of those countries that should have the lead in determining their political and legal future — that is true whether one speaks of the US in the 19th century or Iran in 2010.

    S.

    S.

  48. Jon Walker says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/flynt-and-hillary-mann-leverett/why-should-iran-trust-pre_b_791434.html

    Excuse me for all the links, but I think all three are worth reading/viewing.

  49. Pak says:

    Dear Humanist,

    My reference to the CIA and WINEP had less to do with the Leveretts’ current agenda (which is still highly suspicious), and more to do with their past training in manipulation. Thus my reference is still valid and your response is irrelevant.

    I do not dodge questions. I actually spend a lot of time responding to questions, which is why you think I spam this blog. In fact, I spent a lot of time responding to your questions on the article you linked to, but you never replied. Nobody has even replied to my current concerns regarding this particular article.

    By the way, I honestly laughed when you said that you suspect my aim is to “sabotage” this blog. And who do you suspect I am? There is definitely no shortage of paranoia on here.

  50. Castellio says:

    I think Professor Cole is taking into account the position of the Leveretts in his posting yesterday. Perhaps this has been discussed already, in which case, my apologies.

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/jahanpour-us-following-israeli-5-point-plan-on-iran-wikileaks.html

  51. kooshy says:

    Humanist

    “Go where the sheeple are……. go away”

    Scotts and associates form Enduring America like RFI, because they can easily post and not have to Waite for moderation for a permissible post, therefore I don’t see much chance that they would want to pass on the easy exposure. They can get here.

    I really wonder if Scott also will get to be moderated from home office.

  52. James Canning says:

    Helen Thomas once again said publicly that the Zionists control US foreign policy in the Middle East. Very true indeed, and a grave threat to the national security of the US, but her comments will be suppressed in “corporate” or “Jewish-controlled” American news media. Got to keep the ignorant, stupid American public in the dark, so that the Israelis can continue to roger the Palestinians.

  53. Humanist says:

    Pak

    Correction

    Instead of “has stopped” read “will stop”

  54. Humanist says:

    Pak

    Leveretts….CIA…..WINEP?

    On Nov.24, 9:54am comment (below) I wasted my time to explain to you “It matters who we are NOW ……not who we were THEN”.

    http://www.raceforiran.com/can-washington-read-iran%e2%80%99s-signals-in-the-leadup-to-resumed-nuclear-talks#comments

    You are not listening and you dodge serious questions ….who are you?

    Most of us here suspect who you can be……..so if you are trying to sabotage this site you must be naive since you can never succeed …. here we try to back our assertions with convincing evidence…not through baseless accusations, insinuations or insult .

    Go where the sheeple are……. go away….gradually all conscientious commentators here are going to ignore you. I am sure I am not the first who has stopped reading your posts.

  55. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Scott Lucas;

    “A civil rights movement in the US protested the discrimination and violence against African-Americans and indeed other groups. I believe strongly in that movement, and I believe it should have been supported and should continue to be supported.”

    Mr. Lucas;

    1)What is the “civil rights movement” in Iran which is promoting human rights? Can you explicitly say which “movement” it is that you are supporting?

    2)Since you seem to be so sensitive about human rights, one can argue that you should be concerned about one of the most basic ones: The right to vote and elect a government.
    Where have you made any criticism AT ALL about green movement and its supporters for trying to hijack an election which they had clearly lost? Are those who voted for Ahmadinejad entitled to these human rights or is it only for Israeli/US supporters?
    You are very sensitive when it comes to any violation of rights of the green supporters, but I don’t hear a peep from you when it comes to the violation of the rights of the majority who voted against your wishes, I don’t see anything from you other than full support for those who tried TO FORCE THEIR WILL upon the will of majority. Do you support coups?
    I suggest that you change this name of “human rights” into “green rights”, so that everyone can understand that only greens are entitled to those rights and no one else!

  56. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Great post. And yes, 2% of the American people can lead the remaining 98% around by the nose, thanks to their effective control of “corporate” media in the US, their packing of the “think tanks” that largely control US foreign policy formulation, etc etc etc. What a striking demonstration of their power, as seen in the recently leaked cables! Scarcely a mention of Israel in a critical negative manner! And we know why!

  57. James Canning says:

    Dear Pak,

    I certainly hope you are correct, and the Obama administration will no longer disrupt the effort to achieve better relations with Iran by banging on about various “human rights” issues – - when the purpose of interposing those issues, by their proponents in the US, was to block better relations between Iran and the US.

  58. Fiorangela says:

    Binam, thanks for your response.

    re: “Does not mean they ACKNOWLEDGE the internal struggle. Why can’t they in their assessment say “yes, there are internal struggles, human rights violations, imprisonment of students, filmmakers, activists, lawyer, etc., but that’s none of our business and we think US should talk to Iran REGARDLESS.

    I don’t know why Leveretts don’t say that, I’m not a mind reader. I would speculate, however, that since Iran’s internal struggles, its human rights violations, imprisonments, etc. might pale in comparison to human rights violations committed by Americans against Iraqis, Afghanis, as well as its own citizens; American imprisonment statistics that demonstrate that Americans imprison perhaps 3 times as many of its citizens as does Iran; that American media is controlled and censored to an extraordinary degree (shh, one mustn’t mention that persons who comprise 2% of the US population control 90+% of US media, and that criticism of that same group enjoys the unique protection of an office in the US State Department dedicated to ensuring that criticism of that group is met with punishment), all these factors would only highlight US hypocrisy in “acknowledging” Iranian internal discord.

    In the words of the New Testament, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Charlie Rose has expressed his outrage at the prospect that stones should be cast. So the Leveretts refrain from casting stones.

    re: “Look at how all of you are attacking Scott Lucas because he’s not picking YOUR side. Your attacks on him are personal because none of you can answer his questions. All ten or twenty of you gang up on him and at the end all you got is a set of personal attack and no real answers to questions like “What about Nasrin Sotoudeh?””

    I gather that part of your comment was directed at fyi. Lucas’s posts on this forum strike me as a way for him to drive traffic to his site. I choose not to play; Lucas is a sublime irrelevance. Fortunately, I don’t think he’s acquired enough mojo to cause much harm.

    ___________________
    On the previous article, the Leveretts’ “Part II” assessment of impact of Wikileaks, ffocusing on Obama’s disingenuousness in his Iran policy, I think something happened that was bound to occur: the photo the Leveretts selected missed the mark. The “game change” strategy that Obama is pursuing wrt Iran, that is, the fundamental concept that US will carefully craft proposals that Iran will have to refuse, whereupon US will point to Iran as refusing to negotiate — that strategy was crafted BEFORE Obama was elected. It is not unlikely that the germ of the tactic was devised before Clinton conceded the Democratic primary to Obama; as the report’s blurb notes, the strategy was proposed for the “next administration,” regardless who emerged the “victor.” Specifically, in September 2008, Christine Parthemore and James Miller published the paper that included inputs from Dennis Ross and Susan Maloney, titled, Game Changing Diplomacy: A New American Approach to Iran.

    The underlying thesis of the Ross-Maloney-Vali Nasr etc. crafted strategy was:

    “The starting point for developing a strategy to cope with Iran’s nuclear program is to define U.S. interests, and establish realistic objectives in support of these interests that take into account Iranian perspectives. After addressing these issues, this chapter describes and makes the case for the next administration to pursue game-changing diplomacy with Iran, which involves de-emphasizing near-term threats of military action, giving first priority to getting comprehensive
    verification in place for Iran’s nuclear
    U.S. proposals would be designed to be credible to international audiences including the Iranian people. Prior and ongoing consultation with American friends and allies would be critical to the success of this approach. . . .

    “It is important to understand that game-changing diplomacy is not “game-ending” diplomacy. The Iranian government may reject U.S. overtures, or may appear to accept them and then cheat or renege on them. Key to fashioning an effective game-changer is ensuring that the interests of the United States and its allies are well protected no matter how Iran responds. . . .”

    I did not find any explanation in the document that described a US relationship with Iran that was a. based on facts rather than hyperbole and propaganda; or envisioned an outcome in which US respected Iranian rights to its sovereignty, and to enrich uranium. Those options were not even considered.

  59. James Canning says:

    I think Larijani did a great job in responding to Charlie Rose’s apparent effort to argue, through the comments of Admiral Dennis Blair, that the government of Iran has not decided yet whether to pursue nuclear weapons, when this was decided years ago in the negative.

  60. Pak says:

    Dear James,

    No – I am suggesting that the US should engage Iran based on the principles we already discussed, i.e. mutual interests, so on and so forth. I think it is clear that the US, especially the Obama administration, has basically given up on using the human rights/democracy issue against Iran.

    Dear fyi,

    I personally support a secular republic, which I believe will help Islam and not target it, because religion will be free from political manipulation. However, I cannot claim to be the voice of the majority and I am realist, therefore I support reform within the current structure. I basically believe in real democracy, whether “Islamic” or not, as long as the government is accountable to the people. At the moment it is not.

  61. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    You raise a good question: what is an “Islamic” republic? What was a “People’s” republic? Did the “people” have much say in governing the latter? I don’t think so.

  62. fyi says:

    Pak:

    I apologize for having attributed to you an opinion that you do not hold.

    I assumed that you were supporting a secular republic.

  63. James Canning says:

    Dear Pak,

    I hope you are not suggesting the US should be hostile toward Iran because Iran has a government in which religious leaders play a significant role?

    The primary issue at hand is whether Iranian production of LEU constitutes a threat to the national security of Israel.

    If the US treated Iran with greater respect, and if US leaders stopped their foolish talk of “carrots and sticks” etc etc etc, I assume the governmental controls would tend to be loosened.

  64. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    There is absolutely no need to target Islam. Why do you even suggest it? Do you believe the regime = Islam?

    And I am well aware that mullahs have been involved in Iranian mass-movements. Take a look at Iran now: who are the regime’s vocal supporters? Jannati, Yazdi, Ahmad Khatami? Hardly popular mullahs. Which mullahs support the opposition? Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, Grand Ayatollah Sanei? There are many more that are neither for nor against the regime, which basically amounts to being against, considering the regime is supposedly an “Islamic Republic”.

  65. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    John Limbert is an idiot. Why not say the English and the French have been enemies for centuries upon centuries? War after war after war?

    The French were even hostile to the English in the years leading up to the First World War. As Prince of Wales and then King, Edward VII did a great deal to improve relations between the UK and France.

  66. Pak says:

    Dear James,

    The “principles” identified in Larijani’s interview have little to do with the principles you are discussing. As I said before, engagement based on the interests of Iran as a nation is needed, not based on the interests of the regime. So yes, Iraq and Afghanistan are relevant topics and shared principles.

    But the “principles” identified in Larijani’s interview included imprisoning lawyers because they supposedly threaten the regime, or stoning adulterers, among others.

    So why should the US abide by these “principles” when engaging Iran, when Iran does not abide by US principles (such as individual human rights, liberalism and secularism)? It is a non-question. The Leveretts have posted an irrelevant article simply to propagate the regime’s flawed “principles”.

    Which leads me to question their integrity.

  67. fyi says:

    Pak:

    To target the regime, as you stated, you and anyone else sharing your sentiment has to traget Islam – there is no otherway for your project. Such an endeavor has no chance of success.

    Please also be advised that the mullahs have been either leaders or decisive contributers to all political (mass) movements of the last 150 years: Tanbaku, Revolution of 1905, Oil Nationalization, and revolution of 1979. There can be no change of regime in Iran without their approval or their participation.

    Furthermore, you and your cohorts are consistently ignoring the case of Azeris in Iran. Without them, also there could be no change in Iran and they did not support the Green Movement’s lies when it lost the election.

  68. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I am confident you are quite mistaken in thinking it has been a good thing for Iran, to have pervasive ignorance about the Middle East be typical even among supposed “educated” Americans. In fact, the Israel lobby succeeds in demonising Iran precisely because gross ignorance is the leading characteristic of most “educated” Americans, when the issue is the Middle East. Read some of Rick Steves’ comments (he has a website). Steves is a tour leader cum promoter of understanding among the peoples of the world, and especially understanding of Iran and the Iranian people — by middle-class Americans.

  69. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    If Mohammad Mostafaei is anything to go by, there are almost certainly some Iranian lawyers who are more interested in playing politics than actually serving their clients. Many work with exiled “human rights groups” linked to the “green movement” and western organizations in order to publicize cases like that of Sakineh Ashtiani and so give succor to a sustained propaganda campaign against Iran. They prefer to divulge confidential matters relating to the client, and which can compromise their case, for the purpose of scoring political points. Clearly, Iran’s legal system is being exploited and infiltrated from the outside to whip up many of the stupid tabloid headlines about the country. I can’t see the authorities doing nothing in such circumstances.

    Larijani is right in that everyone is entitled to legal representation even if they are charged with treasonous offenses. As long as lawyers actually do their job, they are not going to be harassed.

  70. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    Doesn’t Iran support the territorial integrity of all the countries in the Middle East. Surely this is a principle held by the US. Iran supports keeping the Persian Gulf open to maritime traffic from all nations, in absence of war. Here again, surely this is a principle held by the US.

  71. Pak says:

    Oh and ‘Islam’ or ‘foreign threat’ are trump card that have been badly overused. They only really convince the less-educated, morally corrupt or beneficiaries of the regime.

  72. James Canning says:

    Some of my friends in the UK use a spoon for serving cheese, when it is a Stilton drum. I think the analogy is on target, that Rose does not want Iran to be able to build nuclear weapons, should Iran choose to do so. Which of course leads back to the issue of verification.

  73. Ali H. says:

    Larijani did a good job, but he should have been more aggresive.

    It’s interesting how some people in the name of freedom can’t even tolerate seeing the transcript of an interview with an Iranian on a website or even a translation of an Iranian article on Iran’s nuclear program. We should be thankful that there are still people like the Leveretts around.

  74. Pak says:

    Why is nobody discussing the major flaw in this article? There is no justification to the Leveretts’ argument that the US should abide by Iranian “principles”; the Iranians will never take into account “US principles”. It is irrelevant to be honest, and sticks out like a sore thumb considering this blog’s realpolitik nature.

    Which leads me to my next point, which should also refute Fiorangela’s argument: this article has everything to do with internal Iranian affairs and nothing to do with external international relations. The Leveretts have no right to interfere in internal Iranian affairs. Their manipulative skills, which were no doubt picked up during their abundant CIA and WINEP training, are retarding the political evolution of Iran. I support engagement in principle, but engagement based on the interests of Iran as a nation, not Iran as a regime represented by the likes of the corrupt Larijani family.

    And Professor Lucas, I hope nothing will get in the way of your work. Iranians, especially those on this blog, have a serious complex about criticism. The regime portrays itself as a great superpower that promotes justice, yet it curls up into a little ball as soon as someone points out the obvious. Nobody will answer your queries about the numerous imprisoned lawyers because they have no answer. And despite your thorough analyses of Egypt, Israel and other relevant states, people on this blog will only ever notice your work on Iran, because with instability and short-sightedness comes paranoia. Remember the Shah?

    The regime’s extreme fear of an overthrow simply exposes the fact that they recognise their own illegitimacy. The Iranian people do not want to go through another revolution or war, which would only waste years of development and cause unnecessary pain and hardship. But the regime, being ideologically driven, corrupt and power-hungry, will keep a tight noose around Iran, because reform means weakening their own power.

    Does the regime really have the interests of the Iranian people at heart? Of course not.

  75. kooshy says:

    Fyi

    “I think it behoves you and other Iranians to think and consider the rest of the world before nagging why the sky is blue.”
    I think it was last week that, based on my own recent experience debating this issue with some green friends I wrote on this blog, that the comparison with other systems is no longer accepted in debating with the greens, although they would want to keep the western standards but not comparing with the existing experience in the west, that as you know in Persian is called “Ham Khar va Ham Khorma”

  76. fyi says:

    Humanist:

    The historical knowledge of the Middle East is very weak among even learned people in US & EU.

    Limbert’s assertion that ” …enemies from the begging of time…” is symptomatic of that.

    That is like saying that Germans and Italians have been enemies since the time of Christ with exactly the same veracity and analytical content.

    In a way, I am grateful for this ignorance; US would have been a much more formidable opponent if her leaders and planners had understood the Middle East better.

  77. James Canning says:

    Shouldn’t Charlie Rose pay more attention to warmongering neocons and other largely Jewish groups trying to use US power to injure Iran and the Iranian people, even if Iran poses no threat whatever to the US?

  78. Voice of Tehran says:

    Binam let me give you my personal and frank opinion regarding your comment in which you raise many issues among them the fate of Nasrin Sotoudeh.
    For my part , I don’t care at all what her case is and what would happen to her , whether she is right or not.
    I am an Iranian and all I see , is that, unprecedented in recent history , a country like Iran is intentionally and brutally demonized and bullied by a self-declared human rights champion and its allies , which have all possible means at their disposal and the declared will to ‘ smash ‘ the ‘ enemy ‘ ( no matter whether Iran is right or not )
    *Billions $ spent on destabilizing Iran by all means and in all ways
    *Spreading lies , half-truth and using all media power at its disposal
    *Supporting terrorism against Iran , provoce its neighbors etc.etc. etc.

    and many other aspects , which are all known to us.
    Where is only the remotest sign , that the murderers of hundred of thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan , Iraq , Pakistan , Yemen etc. are being prosecuted in a proper and international accepted procedure , only then I will look in the cases of Sotoudehs in my own country.
    Scott Lucas e.g. is a complicit in this mass- murder process and enduring America is just another form of enduring mass murder on global level
    P.S. Teresa Lewis is damned dead and Mrs. Ashtiani damned alive , this is the REAL difference

  79. James Canning says:

    Wasn’t David Frum the incompetent Bush speechwriter who suggested Iran be rewarded for its assistance with the situation in Afghanistan, by being labelled a member of an “axis” of evil? The word “axis” may have come from another fool working in the White House.

    We should keep in mind the stupidity of Bush and Condi Rice, regarding Israel’s efforts to steal significant portions of the West Bank and acheive protection by the Apartheid Wall – - which Rice, in a typtical act of gross stupidity, approved!

  80. Humanist says:

    Most of us here know about the Brookings’ compelling poll on Arab Public Opinion.
    :http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0805_arab_opinion_poll_telhami.aspx)

    In the following video Noam Chomsky refers to it in an interview with Amy Goodman discussing the Wikileak fiasco.

    ~http://www.democracynow.org/2010/11/30/noam_chomsky_wikileaks_cables_reveal_profound

    Chomsky’s devastating assertions (similar to Leveretts’ recent assertive posts) must have sounded some kind of alarm in the camps of Zionists and/or among the Israeli-firsters here in the US. So, unsurprisingly, Jeffrey Goldberg (one of their articulate foot-soldiers) jumps on the arena to nullify its impact or to reduce the damage.

    Today Jeffrey has published the following article in the Atlantic:

    ~http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/arabs-vs-iran/67432/

    In that article Jeffrey (desperately?) refers to another article by John Limbert published in the Foreign Policy blog where John repeats the old cliche “..they (Arabs and Iranians) have been enemies from the begging of time..”.

    If you read Jeffrey’s post click on the link to read John’s flawed argument.

    In John’s blog I wrote a commentary maintaining why John is missing a major point. If you read that comment I’ll appreciate letting me know your views. Maybe. I too, am missing another major point.

  81. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill:

    Understood about your comments.

    But please note that the scope of Retribution in Islamic Law is not just confined to capital cases and involves other criminal situations such as willful and wanton physical injury. In such cases, the courts in Iran issue a “Qesas” finding – granting the victim who might have lost a limb or other organ to exact an equal harm. To do this, you will need executioners or physicians who will amputate these organs in question.

    An application of the right to Retribution, in my opinion, could have profitably been made in case of Rodney King. The officers in questions could have been sentenced to “Qesas” and been beaten by Mr. King and that would have been the end of that. No further need to expel from the police force or ruin their careers for a temporary lapse of judgement.

  82. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas:

    You have side-stepped my question.

    Once again I ask, in your opinion, did the lynching of Black men, in the United States, for 100 years, justified the call for the overthrow of the legally & duly constituted government of the United States?

    If not, why not?

    Alternatively, the deplorable illegal actions of Andrew Jackson in regards to the Cherokee Nation; should have there been a call for overthrow of the United States at that time?

    Or the internment of the Americans of Japanese descent from 1941-1946?

    Why did not anyone call for the overthrow of the government that so flagrantly was violating the intrinsic constitutional rights of her citizen?

    Please answer.

  83. fyi says:

    Binam:

    The Islamic Republic of Iran is the best government that the people of the Iranian plateau have enjoyed for the last 3000 years. Furthermore, it has been duly and legally constituted based on referenda and public plebestice.

    I am not going to go against the Will of the Iranian perople, against Islam or against Iran and oppose Islamic Republic for its shortcoming on the application of the Rule of Law and of the Free elections.

    Mexico had 70 years of restricted representative government without her citizens running around demanding its overthrow (by US or some one else).

    To this day, there is no bail available under the Mexican legal system – Iran has it.

    And India, the world’s largest democracy, is where Sikhs and Muslims have been killed with impunity during Hindu Mob attacks, lead and encouraged by government officials.

    Yet no Indian, Hindu or Muslim, advocates the overthrow of her duly constituted order. And please note that during the mass murder of Muslims in Gujarat, local government officials – all Hindus – were leaders of these murders and the Indian Federal Government, by not dismissing the Gujarat Chief Minister, essentially condoned it.

    I think it behoves you and other Iranians to think and consider the rest of the world before nagging why the sky is blue.

  84. Binam says:

    Fiorangela, fyi,

    “Iran’s internal struggle if for the Iranian people to decide, to fight for, the choose up sides and to make their best case. In my assessment, the Leveretts are not are will not engage in that struggle. You are annoyed with the Leveretts because they will not take YOUR side and fight YOUR battle for you.”

    I couldn’t agree more that there are two struggles; internal and external. But you can’t possibly deny that the Leveretts are simply ignoring the internal struggles and in fact turning a blind eye towards it IN ORDER to make their case for the external struggle. I don’t know about you, but to me saying this:

    “…Dr. Mohammad Javad-Larijani, head of the Human Rights Commission of the Islamic Republic and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, tried to provide Americans a glimpse of how important supporters of the Islamic Republic regard the rule of law as a governing principle of their political order.”

    Does not mean they ACKNOWLEDGE the internal struggle. Why can’t they in their assessment say “yes, there are internal struggles, human rights violations, imprisonment of students, filmmakers, activists, lawyer, etc., but that’s none of our business and we think US should talk to Iran REGARDLESS.” I would have ALL the respect in the world for them if that were the case. But time and again, all they do is try to paint a WRONG picture of Iran and Iran’s internal politics and struggles. Regardless of whether the opposition and their supporters are a minority or not in Iran, they are still part of Iran and should be considered in any sane assessment. What the Leveretts are doing is essentially saying all is good in Iran and people are behind their government 100%! How is THAT helpful?!

    And also… Look at how all of you are attacking Scott Lucas because he’s not picking YOUR side. Your attacks on him are personal because none of you can answer his questions. All ten or twenty of you gang up on him and at the end all you got is a set of personal attack and no real answers to questions like “What about Nasrin Sotoudeh?”

  85. kooshy says:

    Kamran- to continue on my last comment

    Interestingly enough when you become involved with this kind of enduring business, endearment will kicks in, from there on everything and everyone including all related principles becomes spendable and can be thrown under the bus at one’s pleasure, this is the stage that & and Associated Green Co. are currently stocked at.

  86. Iranian says:

    A great debate:

    http://rt.com/programs/crosstalk/crosstalk-tehran-tango-farce/

    Apparently, Charles Small is not used to having someone give logical and reasonable responses to his accusations. I guess he’s used to being on American news programs.

  87. kooshy says:

    KAMRAN

    “Don’t say that you have criticized all of these states, because we all know that there is no comparison to be made against your constant attacks against the Iranian people and all of these other countries combined.”

    Don’t you get it, his site is called “Enduring America” this by all means, to specially include and continue on double standards if that is what is necessary to increase and endure the longevity of the current system, that’s where Scott services comes in.

  88. Scott,

    “A short summary of the 2nd hearing in Sotoudeh’s trial…. [link omitted]”

    With all due respect, I just read this one too, Scott, and it, like the other link you cited, explains nothing about the charges against Ms. Sotoudeh — other than a brief mention that a minor charge was recently added based on her membership in some organization I’d never heard of. (She apparently responded that she isn’t a member, and that membership in the organization isn’t illegal even if she were.)

    I don’t challenge the right of anyone to complain that his or her imprisonment, or other treatment by a criminal justice system, is improper. Criminal defendants should not be abused even if guilty. I have no idea whether Mr. Sotoudeh’s allegations of abuse are well-founded or not (though I suspect the Iranian government has disputed her allegations — its side of the story never appears in the sources you cite).

    But I’d still like to know exactly what it is she allegedly did that caused the government to charge her with a crime — something other than just your allegation that she was defending unpopular defendants. That indeed may be all she’s done, in which case I’d side with her in a heartbeat, but I’d like to hear, in some detail, what the government has claimed about her conduct.

    Again, Scott, do remember that you get one “free” link per post without disguising the “dots.” Here’s your link:

    http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/11/sotoudeh-second-trial-news/

  89. Scott,

    “A quick summary of Sotoudeh’s case, for those who do not know of it, is at [link omitted].”

    I just read that page. There is no summary of Sotoudeh’s case there. It reports serious allegations of harassment, and I’m not in a position to comment on those allegations since I know nothing about the charges against Sotoudeh. But what little I knew about those charges did not increase at all from reading the “quick summary” you cite, since it includes merely a couple of brief phrases about those charges, with no explanation whatsoever.

    Can you point us to some details of what the Iranian government claims Sotoudeh has done wrong? I certainly don’t mean to say that I agree (or disagree) with those charges — I’d just prefer to read them myself than simply to accept someone else’s conclusion that the charges are entirely unfounded.

    By the way, Scott, do remember that you get one link per post without needing to disguise the “dots” in the link. Your link is here:

    http://www.fidh.org/Ongoing-judicial-harassment-against-Ms-Nasrin

  90. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas

    The version of events that is provided by sources funded by western governments has little credibility. You are all a part of a propaganda campaign, so why should we trust you? You have often lied, you have shown that you have little concern about the crimes and abuses carried out by your government, you have shown no concern about the horrific situation in Bahrain (towards the Shia majority), Saudi Arabia (regarding women), Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Israel and most importantly you have shown little outrage at your government’s support for all these regimes. Don’t say that you have criticized all of these states, because we all know that there is no comparison to be made against your constant attacks against the Iranian people and all of these other countries combined.

    You can’t be a mercenary and a hero at the same time.

  91. Jon Walker says:

    Scott Lucas doesn’t want to understand that everyone sees through his one sided version of history. I must admit that for the first few week after the election he had me fooled, but time reveals all things.

  92. Scott Lucas says:

    A short summary of the 2nd hearing in Sotoudeh’s trial….

    http://www dot iranhumanrights dot org/2010/11/sotoudeh-second-trial-news/

  93. Iranian says:

    Scott Lucas

    Your one sided propaganda no longer has any effect. All of your material is just summarized garbage from a handful of Persian websites that are all funded by your government. Every single one of them.

  94. Iranian says:

    Scott Lucas:

    You’re lying of course. Your objective from almost the very start was to work alongside many others to help steal the elections from the Iranian people. You have failed utterly and you have left your own reputation in tatters. You’re no longer an academic, you’re merely a third rate spin doctor.

  95. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz/Eric,

    For months, we have covered the detentions of many lawyers — examples such as Sotoudeh, Oliyifard, Seifzadeh, Dadhkah, Sabaghian, Kianarsi, and Kian — and the exile of others — example: Mostafaei. This is not just a case of an individual lawyer being detained over a supposed insult to Islam but an attempt to break effective legal representation for detainees through jailing and harassment of attorneys.

    Even a brief search through the rolling updates will offer examples of this campaign. A quick summary of Sotoudeh’s case, for those who do not know of it, is at http://www dot fidh dot org/Ongoing-judicial-harassment-against-Ms-Nasrin.

    Eric, this discussion is certainly not about the authors of RFI. However, if they wish to uphold Larijani’s comments such as those on the treatment of lawyers, then I think that they should show knowledge of the situation. (I.e., in the way that they have shown knowledge of geopolitics when they have upheld Iran’s regional strategy.)

    S.

  96. Jon Walker says:

    Iranian

    I would be lying if I said yes, but I understand how you arrived at that conclusion. Jealousy is what drives some people to attack the Leveretts on a daily basis. Anger is what drives others, because this husband and wife are myth breakers.

  97. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    Thank you for an excellent question.

    A civil rights movement in the US protested the discrimination and violence against African-Americans and indeed other groups. I believe strongly in that movement, and I believe it should have been supported and should continue to be supported.

    Supporting that movement from outside the US — for example, calling for the abolition of the death penalty, protesting economic inequality, and denouncing the restrictions on civil liberties imposed by the Government in recent years — is not a call for “regime change”. It is support of Americans who wish to bring out the best in their system.

    S.

    Scott Lucas:

    Until the middle of 1960s in the United States, Whites could kill a blackman in many instances with impunity.

    Lynching of Black Americans was a practice established all over the United States from at least the time of Reconstruction, say 1870.

    Why did no American advocate the overthrow of the United States Government over the murder of Black men?

    In your opinion, should a policy of regime change in the United States been the policy of Great Britain? Or dissidents (if any) at that time in the United States?

  98. fyi,

    “The Iranian system of Justice had always included the “Right of Retrubution” (Victims’ Rights) even under the Shah. It is traceable to the Quran and from there to the tribal practices of Arabs. I think US system can benefit from it – but its incorporation would require the creation of the role of executioner again.”

    Two comments:

    1. I did not mean to equate bribing an airport security guard with Iran’s “Right of Retribution,” and I apologize for implicitly criticizing the latter — which I think has a great deal of merit and should be very seriously considered in the US.

    2. The incorporation of “victim’s rights” provisions in the US criminal justice system would not “require the creation of the role of executioner again.” The executioner is already alive, well and active in most US states. Though Charlie Rose (properly, in my view) condemns stoning in Iran, I’m not aware that he protests any of the execution methods used in his own country. Depending on the state, death-sentence prisoners are electrocuted, asphyxiated by poison gas, poisoned by lethal injection, hung by their necks, or shot by a firing squad. Recent legal attacks on capital punishment have largely been limited to the question of whether the substance used to poison the prisoner, or the manner in which the poison is administered, is “cruel and unusual.”

  99. Pirouz says:

    Yes Scott, and if you have references to the Nasrine Sotoudeh matter, post your links to EA and provide a brief comment. If we’re interested in it, we’ll check it out.

    Or if you find flaws in Larijani’s discussion, specify them. You don’t have to resort to “information sought” antics.

  100. Scott,

    “Thanks to all for replies but remember, the discussion isn’t about me. It’s about Nasrine Sotoudeh as a case to test Mr Larijani’s assertion (and its endorsement by the authors of RFI)…”

    I’ve not gotten involved in this latest spat, Scott, but I will ask this: You say “the discussion isn’t about me,” but would you say it’s fair that you’ve been a tad guilty of making it “about” the Leveretts? I don’t see any “endorsement” in what they’ve posted — just a short lead-in followed by the verbatim transcript of Larjani’s interview.

    You properly ask that those who disagree with you stick to the subject matter, not attack you personally. That’s good advice.

  101. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas:

    Until the middle of 1960s in the United States, Whites could kill a blackman in many instances with impunity.

    Lynching of Black Americans was a practice established all over the United States from at least the time of Reconstruction, say 1870.

    Why did no American advocate the overthrow of the United States Government over the murder of Black men?

    In your opinion, should a policy of regime change in the United States been the policy of Great Britain? Or dissidents (if any) at that time in the United States?

  102. fyi says:

    Fiorangela:

    Correct but Iranians like Binam are not going to be persuaded by your comments.

    They see the world in Black & White and will nag incessantly no matter what.

    In an anlogous manner, Indians in US complain all the time about the United States – one wonders why.

  103. Scott Lucas says:

    Thanks to all for replies but remember, the discussion isn’t about me. It’s about Nasrine Sotoudeh as a case to test Mr Larijani’s assertion (and its endorsement by the authors of RFI), “Lawyers, as far as the professional act is considered, as far as they are pursuing the support and defense of their client, nobody will put them in jail for that purpose.”

    Once more: Why was she detained in September, and why is she is now on trial if it was not for “pursuing the support and defense of her client”?

    S.

  104. Let’s give credit to Scott where credit is due: at least his December 3 article on the Sotoudeh case included a link to this website:

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/3/iran-feature-a-cartoon-reply-to-tehrans-apologists-over-huma.html

  105. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill:

    The Iranian system of Justice had always included the “Right of Retrubution” (Victims’ Rights) even under the Shah.

    It is traceable to the Quran and from there to the tribal practices of Arabs.

    I think US system can benefit from it – but its incorporation would require the creation of the role of executioner again.

  106. From Meir Javedanfar’s article in The Diplomat (link provided in earlier comment):

    “Iran’s goal in the short term is to get its hands on the bomb.”

    Well, I’m glad Mr. Javedanfar has cleared that up for us. A few of us have yet to see any evidence of this.

  107. Fiorangela says:

    Pak and Binam, you attack the Leveretts for failing to choose YOUR side in Iran’s INTERNAL conflicts.

    Your analytic blueprint is flawed.
    On the most basic level,There are at least two conflicts taking place involving Iran, an internal struggle in which Iranians are attempting to define and reform their form of government, and an external struggle in which the US, complicit with Israel in several ways, is attempting to gain control over Iran’s financial, resource, economic, and intellectual/people capital. The Leveretts have pretty clearly defined their analytic approach to Iran: they argue, relentlessly and courageously, that US should engage Iran because- and in ways that- advance US interests.

    Iran’s internal struggle if for the Iranian people to decide, to fight for, the choose up sides and to make their best case. In my assessment, the Leveretts are not are will not engage in that struggle. You are annoyed with the Leveretts because they will not take YOUR side and fight YOUR battle for you.

    What the Leveretts are attempting to accomplish is to create space for Iranians to carry out that process of defining and creating their own government and economy. In that, they are doing courageous work for which you should thank them rather than bash them.

    Dennis Ross was on NPR this morning and tipped the hand of zionist financiers whom he represents and who are salivating at the prospect of gaining control of Iran: “If Iran changes its behavior, it can realize tremendous financial and technological support from the international community; if Iran does not, it will find itself squeezed even further.” Susan Maloney echoed the theme of the NPR report: “The US is sincere in its offer to negotiate with Iran; it is obvious that US is sincere inasmuch as so many other nations have joined the US; they would not have gone along with US if they thought US was acting in bad faith.”

    Balderdash.
    Russia and China are on board because it may suit their interests for the moment. But ask yourself this: last week, it was announced that Russia and China will begin trading in their own currencies, not in the US dollar. Why haven’t you heard as much about that enormously important event, but you’ve heard ad nauseam that Iran is evil and everybody thinks so; Wikileaks prove it?

    As for Susan Maloney, she gets her 15 minutes at the microphone because, and only to the extent that, she mouths the zionist/Dennis Ross scripted party line. Americans have been shut out of the right to speak if their speech is contrary to Israeli interests. Some, like Maloney, like Patrick Clawson, like J Scott Carpenter,* have chosen the Quisling role in a bid to advance their fortunes and careers, but when the Israelis are finished with them, they will be tossed under the bus, there to join Haim Saban’s mouthpiece, Hillary Clinton.

    How does this not signal that Ross’s agenda is that of a two-bit gangster thug? The Leveretts are attempting to make the case and to persuade the American people that the Ross scheme is contrary to American values and works contrary to American interests. I support them and thank them for speaking for me.

    * J Scott Carpenter was the goyim member of the delegation of New York city financiers and venture capitalists, who are also WINEP trustees, whom David Makovsky and Robert Satloff led on a mission to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Ramallah late last month. Understand what is going on: Wall Street banks are glutted with cash; they are still not lending to ordinary Americans. The Fed has floated another $600 billion in bonds — IOU demands on US taxpayers — to fatten those bank reserves and drive down the cost of assets that Wall Street “venture capitalists” can snatch up. Dennis Ross, David Makovsky, Robert Satloff are positioning Israelis to be first in line to use the funds stacked up in their coffers AND to buy up Palestinians and Iranian resources, assets, markets, and labor. Wake up, Binam and Pak.

  108. Pirouz,

    Your story about your family’s payment of “blood money” to get an elderly relative released from incarceration, and your thankfulness that that alternative had been available, brings to mind a story about one of my own distant relatives. He had been arrested at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya, for having a substance in his pocket that he probably ought not to have had in his pocket. It turned out that the airport security guards were amenable to an alternate form of “justice.” He was able to complete the transaction quickly enough that he didn’t even miss his flight. I doubt he has since carried that substance in his pockets at any airport check point.

  109. Iranian says:

    Pirouz

    The problem with Scott Lucas is that he’s hyperactive. He types, submits, and them starts thinking. That’s why he’s constantly contradicting himself and trying to get himself out of a hole of his own making. Of course, being dishonest doesn’t help him either.

  110. Jon Walker,

    An interesting quote from Helen Thomas in the article you cited:

    “Israel has Jewish-only roads in the West Bank,” Thomas said. “No American would tolerate that — white-only roads.”

    I suspect many people will believe this claim is nothing more than a 90-year-old’s delusional rant.

  111. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas

    Your dishonesty has been exposed a long time ago. No one sees you as credible and when your greenback funds for backing greens dry up you will be left with nothing.

  112. Iran and the P5+1: Dual Track Clash

    by Meir Javedanfar

    December 03, 2010

    “With suspicion high on all sides, the latest round of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme look doomed before they start. So why is anyone bothering?”

    http://the-diplomat.com/2010/12/03/iran-and-the-p51-dual-track-clash/

  113. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz,

    I am interested in any information and discussion with readers to match up with our coverage of the Sotoudeh case (and indeed of many other cases of detained lawyers).

    We have numerous items on the site, including an earlier interview (posted 21 November) in which Larijani talked about the Sotoudeh case. All the information can be found by putting the keyword “Sotoudeh” into the Search box on the homepage.

    S.

  114. Pirouz says:

    But Scott, you wrote “information sought” on your previous comment. That means you were seeking information not querying if readers here have been informed of such.

    Hey, if you wish to draw attention to your EA article(s) on the subject, post a link. If persons are interested, they’ll check it out.

    Otherwise, if you’re simply trying to play a game of contradictions, Scott we could play that game with just about any CJ system. None are perfect.

  115. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Pirouz,

    I have a wealth of information on the Sotoudeh case, having followed it closely — with correspondents inside and outside Iran providing material — since authorities raided her office this summer.

    My original post was to find out if readers here have any knowledge of the case.

    More importantly, I am asking the authors of RFI — as they have endorsed and promoted Larijani’s claim, “Lawyers…as far as they are pursuing the support and defense of their client, nobody will put them in jail for that purpose” — have any knowledge of the case. I doubt they do, but I await any indication that this is not so.

    Best,

    S.

  116. Pak says:

    What a joke. For the Leveretts to believe this crap is proof that they are either in the pockets of the regime or have some skewed hidden agenda. To say that there is political freedom and a fair judicial system is insulting the integrity of the Iranian people, which is probably the main reason why the regime is hated so much (come on – at least admit you are authoritarian so we can sleep a little easier!).

    Congratulations Leveretts. Just out of interest, if you expect the US to engage Iran based on Iranian principles, should the US not base engagement on its own principles too? That being: individual human rights, liberalism and secularism among others.

    No? Thought not.

  117. Pirouz says:

    Scott, why are you seeking details of judicial proceedings here in the comment section of RFI? You’re a journalist now. You need contacts within the Iranian CJ system. Don’t you have any? What about contacts with Iran’s diplomatic mission at the UN and Larijani?

    If EA weren’t so obviously bent on fostering sedition, maybe these avenues of info would be made more available. But have you even tried them? It would come as no surprise if your requests were denied, given the obvious bent of EA.

    Still, it surprises me you have no indirect contacts familiar with the proceedings of the CJ system in Tehran. Or any at NAJA. Maybe you should work on your organization a bit. That’s my suggestion, instead of making insincere requests here at the comment section of RFI.

  118. Kamran says:

    Excellent interview. Dr. Larijani did a great job. The Helen Thomas link was also excellent. Although he would barely let Larijani finish a sentence, Charlie Rose is still more open than almost everyone else on American television.

  119. Rehmat says:

    American and Iranian interests in Iraq and Afghanistan are totally different. The US and its western allies invaded both countries as part of their new imperialism – for strategic locations (security of Israel and containment of Iran and China) and exploitation of natural resources of those countries. Both countries are not American neighbors.

    Iran’s interests in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the other hand, are based on history, religious and being next-door neighbors. While the US has already looted billions of dollars of oil (Iraq) and heroin (Afghanistan) – Islamic Republic has pored in hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Iraq (1500 million) and Afghanistan (500 million).

    As far “principles” are concerned – a study of western history from some objective sources – will show that the West never acted on “principles” – but on deceit and greed.

    Afghanistan – Blaming the Puppet, eh!
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/afghanistan-blaming-the-puppet-eh/

  120. Iranian says:

    Jon Walker

    Thanks for the link. By the way, were you alluding to the Oxymoron song? If yes, you hit the nail on the head.

  121. Jon Walker says:

    Scott Lucas

    You’re a bore and you’re not fooling anyone. You’re obsession with Iran is driving you mad.

  122. Scott Lucas says:

    Information sought: why was defense attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh detained in September, and why is she is now on trial if it was not for “pursuing the support and defense of her client”?

    S.

  123. Jon Walker says:

    A very interesting interview. It seems Larijani had a lot to say. Too bad Charlie Rose didn’t let him say much.

  124. Pirouz says:

    I found Larijani’s brief explanations of the Iranian criminal justice system fascinating. I really wish Mr. Rose hadn’t persisted in cutting off his explanations.

    I frequent the comment section of my local major metropolitan newspaper’s online site, which is probably the best developed in the US. Many Americans are fed up with the cost of our criminal justice system and incarcerations. Although I don’t think it is viable here and I’m in no way necessarily advocating it, I can certainly see the cost savings to the state of 10 lashes versus 6 months incarceration. And in the US system, there is a very high rate of repeat offenders. I wonder what the repeat offender rate is in Iran after a lashing sentence is carried out. I really wish Rose had asked that, but his intent was not to explore Iran’s CJ system in such an exploratory manner.

    My Iranian family actually has rather recent recent dealings with the Iranian CJ system. We paid what some detractors refer to as “blood money” to have an elderly family member released from incarceration. Although some in the family were critical of this turn of events, I was relieved this option was actually available. (the family member passed away a couple of months later) Personally, I couldn’t understand why other family members were critical of this option.

    Even though Rose overstepped many of Larijani’s answers, it was still a good interview and Larijani is an impressive conversationalist. I’d like to see more of him and his explanations of Iran’s CJ system.

  125. Charlie Rose is an idiot, like most media interviewers. He thinks he is being tough, but he’s actually being stupid. His questions aren’t even coherent.

    Larijani of course is limited in the amount of criticism he can do of Iran’s policies, just like any individual with a job in the US.

    It’s all quite irrelevant to the main issue which is US bullying of any weaker nation that doesn’t toe the US line. This originates from the US entirely and nothing any other country does internally is relevant to that fact.

    The entire Iranian nuclear issue is a red herring from day one. There is absolutely zero legitimacy to it, and this fact completely eviscerates any need to be concerned about what the US does or not think about it.

    The entire goal here is for the US to, at the very least, force Iran to comply with ALL its demands relative to the region (i.e., demands about oil prices and access to Iranian oil, Israel, support for Palestinians and Hizballah, etc., etc.), and failing that, to bring about regime change in Iran, and failing that, to destroy Iran in the same sense that Iraq was destroyed.

    There is no other agenda. The entire course of events here was predicted in the PNAC documents that the neocons generated back in the ’90′s and in principles laid down for US goals in the Middle East that probably go back to the 1950′s or earlier. And the real reasons go back ten thousand years to the founding of the nation state.

    Therefore one must interpret the progression of events as follows:

    1) The US demands Iran comply with its demands – not just on the nuclear issue but on all issues. This sequence starts back when the Shah fell in the 1970′s at the least and actually goes back probably to before Mossadegh. But the Shah was a US puppet, so the US got what it wanted to that point. Then the Iranian Revolution happened and the current sequence begins.

    2) The US tries sanctions. That started thirty years ago and continues today. The justifications are “terrorism” back then (and now) and “nuclear weapons” now (and actually for the last 25 years – the only difference now is that Iran actually has a nuclear energy program it didn’t have 25 years ago). It’s irrelevant what the alleged reasons are.

    3) Failing sanctions to work, the US will start a war.

    This is the exact same progression the US followed in Iraq and Afghanistan – and for that matter, Vietnam and the Cold War except there it was competing with Russia and China who were vying with the US for the right to be the sole bully.

    It’s that simple. The progression will continue until the US gets what it wants – or, more likely, utterly fails to get what it wants.

    What is more important is the hidden agenda. The hidden agenda is that the people who control the US economy and the US government get WHAT THEY WANT. And what THEY want is money and power. All the demands the US makes on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, whoever are just METHODS by which those who run the US get money and power. The demands themselves are not real for the most part – although of course certain factions will profit if some of the demands are met.

    But the bottom line is that the METHODS by which the DEMANDS are attempted to be met are the MEANS by which those in power get more money and power. The demands are thus not really relevant except where they lead directly to someone getting money and power.

    For instance, the demand that Iran “stop supporting terrorism” is an excuse, not really a demand – because no one in the US will really profit from Iran doing that (assuming Iran even could or even was “supporting terrorism” – which it isn’t). In fact, the opposite is true – people who profit from the US security industry would have a heart attack if Iran actually stopped supporting Hamas or Hizballah, as it might reduce the requirement for their services and would undermine their efforts to get even more money and power by fomenting a war with Iran.

    This is the same process that has worked for every nation state for ten thousand years. It can’t change because the nation state is organized by the rich for the acquisition of more money and power. The US is no different than Czarist Russia, Communist China, Nazi Germany, or Idi Amin’s Uganda in that respect. Only the “front” and the ideological excuses change.

    People who don’t understand this process of one nation bullying another in order to get benefits will never understand the Iran situation and their predictions of what will happen in the future are worthless as a result.

    Arnold, I’m looking at you here.

  126. hans says:

    Do Iranian journalist have the facility to interview American politicians? Where could I get a transcript if any? Charlie Rose a typical Zionist shill!

  127. kooshy says:

    NYT Stokes Fear of Iran

    Posted By Ray McGovern On December 2, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

    From the very large photo dominating page nine of the New York Times of Nov. 29, you can just tell from the look on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s face, not to mention the endless ranks of military officers standing in rows behind him, that Iran is determined to build a nuclear weapon. Anyone can tell. It’s obvious, right?

    Never mind the doubting Thomases in those 16 U.S. intelligence agencies who — this time at least — have been demanding actual evidence before reversing their “high confidence” three years ago that Iran had stopped work on the warhead in the fall of 2003 and their belief that the work hadn’t resumed.

    But can’t everyone tell from the defiant look on Ahmadinejad’s face that the Iranian president is a menace to us all?

    I know someone will ask about those 19 advanced missiles Iran supposedly bought from North Korea. After all, we have a photo of them in a parade in North Korea, which proves this “mystery missile” really exists — despite some missile experts believing the North Koreans were just wheeling around a mock-up of the missile, not the real thing.

    But the missiles — or the mock-ups — still looked real enough to be cited by the likes of Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman to highlight the grave threat from Iran.

    And the New York Times editors don’t want to let up on what’s become their long campaign to rally the nation behind regime change for Iran, much as the Times and many other leading U.S. newspapers pumped for regime change in Iraq. [See Consortiumnews.com's "NYT Pushes Confrontation with Iran."]

    So, with the new WikiLeaks documents, the Times highlighted how Sunni Arab leaders and Israelis alike have “Sharp Distress Over a Nuclear Iran,” as the Times offered little context regarding the long history of the often hysterical hostility against Shiite-ruled Iran that has emanated from Riyadh as well as Tel Aviv. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Cables Hold Clues to US-Iran Mysteries."]

    If you’re a Times editor who knows it’s smart to go with the flow, don’t forget to post the missile-parade photo in color on the NYT‘s Web page, making the menacing missiles seem even more dangerous, dripping with bright red blood-color paint on the payload tips. Yes, and give it a scary title, say, “Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea.”

    And don’t forget to tell the reader that “advanced missiles from North Korea … could let [Iran] strike at Western European capitals and Moscow and help it [sic, presumably Iran, not Moscow] develop more formidable long-range ballistic missiles.”

    Lusting After Real Evidence

    It’s just too bad that U.S. intelligence can’t snap some satellite photos showing those missiles actually being in Iran. It’s a sure bet that if Washington had such images, they’d be all over the place, whether “classified” or not.

    Though Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may be long gone, his dictum still applies: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” No satellite images or other hard evidence? No problem.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could perhaps track down those graphic artists who offered up the “renderings” of Iraq’s non-existent mobile biological weapons labs that Secretary Colin Powell cited in his infamous United Nations speech in 2003.

    And if war with Iran does comes – as many powerful people around the world apparently hope – and if there’s no subsequent discovery of any nuclear weapons program, perhaps President Barack Obama can blame the Iranians for not proving their program didn’t exist, much as President George W. Bush blamed Iraqi leaders for not convincing him that they really didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

    Or retired Gen. James R. Clapper, who’s now Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, might reprise his explanation for not finding any WMD caches in Iraq, namely that they must have been shipped to Syria — or in Iran’s case, perhaps Turkmenistan.

    Consider that the Times had several weeks to get the “long-range missiles from North Korea” story right, or at least to include the doubts from missile experts. But authors William J. Broad, James Glanz and David E. Sanger decided to cherry-pick the evidence within one WikiLeaks-released cable to highlight one version — the version U.S. officials were pushing with their Russian counterparts who didn’t believe them.

    And the Times has yet to let its readers in on the fuller story.

    To its credit, on Dec. 1, the Washington Post decided it had to be a tad more honest. “Experts cast doubt on Iran missile cache” was the headline of a surprisingly contrite article placed above the fold on page one, no less!

    Post writers John Pomfret and Walter Pincus laid out so many problems with the U.S. side of the case that readers should have been just as incredulous about the missile claims as the Russians were.

    “There is no indication that the Musudan [the "missile" paraded by the North Koreans on Oct. 10] is operational or that it has ever been tested,” the Post article noted. “Iran has never publicly displayed the missiles, according to experts and a senior U.S. intelligence official, some of whom doubt the missiles were ever transferred to Iran. Experts who analyzed Oct. 10 photographs of the Musudan said it appeared to be a mock-up.”

    Later, the Post‘s article quotes a senior U.S. intelligence official saying, “There has been a flow of knowledge and missile parts” from North Korea, “but sale of such an actual missile does not check out.”

    And those familiar with the dubious reputation of the German tabloid Bild Zeitung may be more than a little surprised that U.S. government officials told their Russian counterparts that Washington was relying “on news reports” — specifically from Bild Zeitung “as proof” of the sale of 19 advanced missiles by North Korea to Iran.

    It turns out that U.S. officials were being even more imaginative than Bild, which quoted German intelligence sources as saying that Iran had purchased 18 kits made up of missile components — not 19 of the missiles themselves.

    Thielmann Comments

    Greg Thielmann, formerly State Department intelligence director for strategic systems and now with the Arms Control Association, posted his own take on the case of the “mysterious missile” on Nov. 30:

    “Bilateral interagency discussions about Iranian and North Korean missiles with a Russian delegation in Washington on December 22, 2009, revealed significant differences between U.S. and Russian assessments of the threat, according to a SECRET State Department cable released by Wikileaks.

    “The substance of the detailed discussions challenged some of the missile threat estimate timelines most commonly heard in U.S. political circles…

    “So far, the U.S. press seems to have passed over some of the most interesting elements in the cable, highlighting instead the U.S. claim that Iran had obtained 19 missiles from North Korea, based on the R-27 (SS-N-6), a Russian submarine-launched design from the 1960s. Notable exceptions to this common story line can be found in the commentary of David Hoffman and Gareth Porter.” [See Consortiumnews.com's "NYT Takes US Side in Iran Missile Flap."]

    Thielmann continued: “Both the New York Times and the [initial] Washington Post coverage led with the 19 imported missiles angle and left an impression of imminent danger not merited by the specifics in the cable. For example, the New York Times declared: ‘[Iran] has in its arsenal…’

    “The Washington Post carried an Associated Press story, leading with: ‘[Iran] has received advanced North Korean missiles capable of targeting Western European capitals and giving the Islamic Republic’s arsenal a significantly farther reach than previously disclosed.’

    “This language implies that those missiles are ready for operational use. However, the text of the cable makes clear this is not the case. Moreover, independent studies such as the May 2010 IISS dossier, ‘Iran’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities’ and the report’s principal drafter, Michael Elleman, have noted that Iran or North Korea would have to introduce some ‘very significant changes’ and conduct multiple flight tests if they wanted to use this missile type as a mobile platform …

    “According to the leaked cable, the U.S. admitted it had not seen the missile in Iran and both sides agreed there had been no flight tests of the system in Iran or North Korea; the Russians even expressed doubt that the missiles exist.

    “Experts will differ on whether Moscow’s focus on current operational threats or Washington’s on technically feasible future threats is most relevant for policy makers. But looking back on a cable reporting a meeting from the end of last year, Russian skepticism about U.S. projections for Iranian capabilities seems warranted.

    “With regard to the most capable solid-fueled MRBM Iran has flight-tested to date, the Sejjil-2, ‘The U.S. said that it would not be surprised if a two-stage [solid] system with a range up to 2,000 km were fielded within a year, at least in limited numbers.’ That system was not fielded in 2010. In fact, the Iranians did not even conduct a single flight-test of any medium-range ballistic missile all year long.”

    And so it goes.

  128. JohnH says:

    Uncharacteristically, Charlie Rose was an embarrassment on this show. He barely let Larijani finish a sentence, eager as he was to shove the party line down Larijani’s throat. It was a pretty shocking appearance on Rose’s part.

  129. Binam says:

    “Last week, in an interview with Charlie Rose, Dr. Mohammad Javad-Larijani, head of the Human Rights Commission of the Islamic Republic and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, tried to provide Americans a glimpse of how important supporters of the Islamic Republic regard the rule of law as a governing principle of their political order.”

    Congratulations Leveretts, this is a new low for you. In no time you’ll see hallows around Ahmadinejad’s head and will start writing letters to the missing 12th Imam and dropping it in Jamkaran and that will be your recommended US foreign policy. Way to go! It doesn’t get any more idiotic than taking this guy at face value and suggesting he gives anyone – let alone Americans – a “glimpse” of how supporters of the Islamic Republic (read baton wielding Basijis, rapists at Kahrizak, corrupt politicians and mullahs, etc) regard the rule of law (Allah forbid – killing people, running them over with cars, breaking into people’s homes, hundreds of political prisoners, jailed journalists, students, activists, none of these are breaking laws by any means).

    A glorious F You.