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The Race for Iran

OBAMA’S CHARADE ON IRAN SANCTIONS

Today, the United Nations Security Council will adopt a new resolution (see, here) imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear activities.  Predictably, the Obama Administration is working to spin its “victory” in New York as both a great diplomatic achievement and a serious intensification of international pressure on Iran over the nuclear issue.  It is neither.      

The resolution will be adopted by a Security Council that is more deeply divided overthis resolution than over the three sanctions resolutions against Iran adopted by the Council while George W. Bush was in the White House.  It is particularly significant that Brazil, Turkey and Lebanon are refusing to support the resolution. In international political terms, this will very likely turn out to be a pyrrhic victory for the Obama Administration–the Administration will win a narrow, tactical battle today, but at great cost to America’s long term strategic position, in the Middle East and globally. 

Moreover, by any substantive criterion, the sanctions actually authorized in the resolution to be adopted today are remarkably weak—for the Obama Administration, embarrassingly so (although you won’t hear them admit it).  In the main body of the resolution, there are, literally, no sanctions limiting the capacity of the Islamic Republic to produce and export hydrocarbons.  The Obama Administration wanted energy sanctions, but China made clear that it would not support a resolution containing them.  So they were not included in the final text.  Likewise, there are no sanctions barring the extension of financial services, insurance, reinsurance, etc. to Iranian individuals and entities.   

In fact, the only mandatory measures in the resolution—that is, measures which all member states will be obligated to apply—are the following: 

–States will be required to block Iranian investments outside the Islamic Republic in uranium mining or the production of nuclear materials and technology. 

–States will be barred from supplying Iran with specified categories of heavy weaponry that could potentially be used in offensive military operations.  (States, however, will be free to continue supplying Iran with weapons and military equipment outside the specified categories—including, for Russia, the S300 anti-aircraft missile.) 

–States will be required to prevent individuals designated in an annex to the resolution (more on this below) to travel outside of Iran—except where such travel is justified on the grounds of humanitarian need or religious obligation.  This provision is similar to travel restrictions imposed on individuals designated in annexes to the previous sanctions resolutions.     

–States will be required to freeze assets of individuals and entities designated in annexes to the resolution (again, more on this below).  This provision is also similar to asset freezes imposed on individuals and entities designated in annexes to the previous sanctions resolutions.    

Beyond these mandatory sanctions, there are other, essentially “optional” measures which states may apply if they are so inclined: 

–States may impose limits on the extension of financial services to Iranian individuals and entities by financial institutions under their jurisdiction, if they believe that those Iranian individuals and entities are involved in “proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities” or “the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems”.  States may also, if they choose to do so, freeze whatever assets these individuals and entities have in their jurisdictions.   

–States may inspect ships on the high seas suspected of carrying restricted items to Iran—but only with the consent of the state under which any given suspect ship is registered (the so-called “flag state”).  Likewise, states may inspect any and all cargo going to and coming from Iran in their jurisdictions, if states determine that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe the cargo contains prohibited items.          

The Obama Administration has indicated that it anticipates these provisions will provide a legal basis for other states—like members of the European Union and Japan—to enact tougher national sanctions of their own.  But the United States is not going to get anything approaching universal compliance with these “optional” sanctions.  The net effect will be to accelerate the reallocation of business opportunities in the Islamic Republic from Western states to China and other non-Western powers.

There has been a remarkable amount of sloppy reporting by mainstream newspapers over the last 24 hours or so with regard to the annexes accompanying the new sanctions resolution.  In reality, there are four annexes to the resolution.  One lists the designated “individuals and entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities”.  Another annex lists “entities owned, controlled, or acting on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.  A third lists “entities owned, controlled, or acting on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines”.  Finally, the revised P-5+1 incentives package presented to the Islamic Republic in 2008 is once again included as an annex.  The first three of these annexes are largely the product of intensive negotiations between U.S. and Chinese diplomats. 

–Some journalists claim that there are forty-one new individuals captured in the annexes.  This is wrong.  In fact, there is one new individual listed; the other forty individuals are already listed in annexes to previous sanctions resolutions. 

–Among the entities “involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities”, the United States was able to win the agreement of China and other Council members to include only one bank that had not been previously listed—and that bank is a subsidiary to Bank Mellat, which had been previously designated by the United Kingdom and the United States.     

–Ostensibly, there are 15 entities listed as “owned, controlled, or acting on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.  But this is seriously misleading.  There is, in fact, only one Revolutionary Guard-affiliated entity captured in the annex—the Khatam al-Anbiya construction company.  The other 14 entities are all either subsidiaries of Khatam al-Anbiya or subsidiaries of subsidiaries of Khatam al-Anbiya.   

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that this resolution will confront Iran with the most significant sanctions it has ever faced.  But that statement seems to overlook the Iran-Iraq war, when the Islamic Republic was cut off from international trade and economic activity to a much greater extent than this or any Security Council resolution will ever achieve. 

The Obama Administration clearly has its talking points ready—it will claim that these sanctions are broader and tougher than any previous sanctions.  But this is all political theater.  No one in the Administration really believes that these sanctions will compel Tehran to alter is decision-making and behavior.  But the Obama Administration is no longer interested in finding a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue—if it ever was. 

As we predicted in a May 2009 Op Ed in The New York Times—before the Islamic Republic’s controversial presidential election—the Obama Administration has already “checked the box” to show that engaging Iran doesn’t work.  Now it has started the process of “checking the box” to show that the “broadest and toughest” sanctions ever imposed on the Islamic Republic don’t work.  And that will leave the Obama Administration with no other options except formal adoption of regime change as the explicit goal of its Iran policy—and/or military strikes against the Islamic Republic.     

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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89 Responses to “OBAMA’S CHARADE ON IRAN SANCTIONS”

  1. Rehmat says:

    Watosh

    The Zionist leaders have been fooling the world for over eight decades. If they had been sincere in accepting a two-state solution – they would have abided by the Balfour Declaration – authored by a Zionist Jew foreign secretary of England in 1917. The Zionist always had a dream of Jewish demographic homeland in Arab Palestine – even though Joseph Stalin created a Jewish state in Birobidjan in 1934.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/birobidjan-the-first-jewish-state/

  2. Billy Whitefeather says:

    The Palestinians must embrace gambling as we did for our European guests.

  3. Watosh says:

    Look at the map of Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine. Realistically Israel cannot afford to have a Palestinian State that almost cuts Israel in two. The existence of a Palestinian state in the West Bank is a threat to Israel by virtue of the geography, so that Israel will never allow a two state solution. Israel therefore has never intended that there be a Palestinian state on the West Bank, instead Israel has pretended to want to engage in a peace process with the Palestinian leaders, but Israel can never find Palestinian leaders to talk to who are acceptable, or alternatively Israel creates an incident that torpedoes any efforts to bring the two parties together. The peace process that never materializes provides a smokescreen Israel can use to colonize the West Bank. They have now reached a point at which there is no possibility of a two state solution. Israel has been moving to a one state solution, however the problem is there are still a number of Palestinians living in the West Bank. They can’t remain in the West Bank if the greater Israel that is the goal of the Israeli leadership contains only Jews. So the one state solution in which that one state contains both Jews and Palestinians is ruled out by Israel. To sum up Israel cannot abide having a two state solution and Israel cannot abide a one state solution either if that one state includes Palestinians. That means the only path out of this impasse is for Israel to make life so miserable for the Palestinians that they will leave (a lot have left already). And isn’t that what Israel is doing. Isn’t that the publicly stated aims of the Israeli government by a number of Israeli Prime Ministers. This is ethnic cleansing. It is a tactic the Nazi used initially to get the Jews to leave Germany. And there we are. The conventional wisdom is that we need to resolve Israeli-Palestine differences in order to bring peace and stabiltiy to the Middle East, when in reality the requirements of Israel make a resolution impossible.

  4. Roger Lafontaine says:

    Obama and Israel are literally burning their (our) bridges and preparing a war that only the insanely mad, i.e. religious fanatics, could contemplate. Turkey has offended Israel and without even a second thought the US is tossing this invaluable ally into the ditch. It’s as if a kind of malice has replaced the reasoning process in this country. A kind of craving for destruction.

  5. Qam says:

    Obama has no foreign policy. It is Hilary Clinton and Jewish americans who decides US foreign policy and definitely it is planned in Jerusalem. The US congress is more vocal and active to support Israel than even Knesset. Israel wants to destroy Iran the only muslim nation that is resisting its murder and destruction of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. So if Israel and US can destroy Iran as they did to Iraq, the destruction of palestine and others will be complete for the return of prophet Jesus(peace be upon him) as the racist bible belt of US hope and belive. The armageddon is on the way. But this is not the final war as history shows every empire has its downfall. United states of Israel will soon bring its own destruction like the others.

  6. Johnny says:

    Great article.
    Sadly, this is not the only charade being committed by our President, nor will it be the last I’m afraid, it’s just the latest.
    It staggers the mind to know that the vast majority of Americans have yet to catch on to the multitudes of the Presidents charade, while the rest of the world has had their eyes opened in a big way, and well before these garbage sanctions became so.
    Americas enemies are not those anywhere over there and they don’t hate us because we’re free. It appears that Americans are the only people who still believe these fairy tales.
    So, thank you for this piece, although the mainstream media will never speak the truth to power, thus keeping the American people ignorant by design, the more articles such as this one, articles that demonstrate truth instead of staying “on message”, perhaps someday the lions share of Americans will wake up and understand that they have been, and continue to be, deceived, regardless of the party in office.
    Democrat or Republican, two sides of the same coin, both playing the same game.

  7. Frederick says:

    The real agenda with the sanctions is to pave the way for an eventual bombing campaign either by the U.S or by Israel. The United States will accuse Iran of violating the sanctions and use this as the pretext and platform for war. The storyline will be that we have no other choice and that diplomacy and sacntions have failed.

    The real endgame is regime change in Tehran to a govt that is compliant and friendly to U.S interests. Our energy policy drives our foreign policy.

  8. James Canning says:

    PressTV has picked up this piece by the Leveretts and it shows online on their site today. PressTV.com

  9. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    June 10th 12:27pm Good summary point, and even excellent generally. However, is Israel in fact uniquely strategically vulnerable? Or does Israel pretend it is vulnerable in a unique way, and this story line is bought by many who hear it?

    I do not believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and as you say, the US seems to be taking the line that the US will not allow Iran to be in a position to develop nukes – - at least at this juncture, when Iran is helping the Palestinians to resist Israeli efforts to crush their legitimate national aspirations.

  10. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    Thank you, I have also learned tremendously and joyfully “enjoyed to learn” from your informed and realistic comment as well as other regular commentators like Eric, Cyrus, Alan, Lysander, Fiorangela, Pirouz………and will look forwards to your continued informed contributions to this site’s readers.

    I have to admit that in a “sensible “way I also would love to keep the hope alive but hope shouldn’t blind one’s vision, for that reason and as long as there is no restrictions or screening on free comments I shall state my thoughts wherever possible.

    More and more I now sense that this is no longer about Iran’s alone right to full fuel cycle, this struggle has become in a general term accepting full universal implementations of NPT fuel cycle rights for non nuclear states, especially considering Turkey’s new interesting stand.

  11. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I too deeply regret the loss of Helen Thomas from the White House press corp. And is there not something a bit pathetic, in Obama’s desire not to acknowledge Israel has nuclear weapons? Seriously pathetic, and dishonest?

  12. James Canning says:

    UsamaK,

    Turkey was close to achieving a peace deal between Syria and Israel, when Israel launched the murderous rampage on Gaza. For domestic political reasons, apparently.

    I think Obama needs to endorse the Saudi peace plan, but obviously he is reluctant even to say Israel needs to withdraw entirely from the West Bank.

    There seems little doubt that much of the hostility toward Iran is generated not by fear Iran will attack Israel, but by anger Iran is preventing the Israelis from crushing Palestinian nationalism.

  13. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I think a “peace deal” between Israel and the Palestinians can be achieved. And of course, by definition, this would not please the “Zionists” if your definition of “Zionist” is one who wishes Israel to keep parts of the West Bank and perhaps the Golan Heights too.

    Does it make economic or political sense for the government of Iran to wish to enrich a large amount of LEU at this time, when there will be no use for the LEU for many years?

  14. Arnold Evans says:

    Usama:

    If the United States is saying to Israel: “we’ll prevent an Iranian nuclear capability if you give up the settlements”, it is lying to Israel. The United States does not have any policy option that can prevent Iran from building its stockpile of LEU and keeping its uranium enrichment capability.

    If the United States is saying: “we’ll increase tension and hostility with Iran if you give up the settlements”, it’s doing a good job at increasing tension and hostility, but Israel isn’t giving up the settlements.

    I don’t think a peace deal that satisfies Palestinians and Zionists is possible, but certainly it is unlikely enough to be reached that US regional policy cannot depend on an assumption that a stable Palestinian/Zionist peace deal is in reach during this US presidential term.

    It is plausible that Obama disagrees and hopes to get maximum concessions from Netanyahu in exchange for increasing hostility with Iran. But what Obama and Netanyahu consider maximum concessions would not be enough to satisfy the Palestinians if they are allowed to vote freely (meaning without the threat of being starved if they vote wrong.) And a Palestinian acceptance that is not produced freely will not resolve the conflict.

    Once the concessions are made, after one point or another they will be rescinded if they do not lead to a stable resolution. And it is plausible, and maybe even most likely (if you don’t agree with me that it is certain) that they will not lead to a stable resolution.

    So in the end, Obama is at least taking on a high risk of increasing US hostility with Iran in exchange for nothing. That is good for Israel, not good for the United States. Obama, unfortunately, is not the person who could change that.

  15. UsamaK says:

    The Obama admin. inarguably is aware of the futility of these sanctions against Iran. Then why is it persisting? Could it be that the Obama team hopes to get leverage from these sanctions in their struggle to get Israel to take a final settlement plan seriously?

    Neither Turkey nor EU can help deliver a peace settlement. Only US can, but only if the Obama team can get the upper hand over the Israel supporters in Congress in forcing a choice on the Netanyahoo regime. I will appreciate any informed comment on this reading.

  16. Arnold Evans says:

    Alan:

    If Iran was concerned about these shortcomings in the November deal, it seems to me they should have raised them as such and sought reassurance over them, rather than step back to something some way behind where they started.

    This was not a communication problem. The shortcomings were intentional. The US does not now, and never did intend to deliver TRR fuel without an Iranian suspension. The mistake the US made was pretending to Turkey and Brazil that it was interested in a trade if some technical issues (that didn’t even make sense – for example if the fuel is actually delivered it does not make a difference if the fuel had been stored until that point at Natanz, Kish or Turkey) are resolved. Turkey and Brazil were fooled by Obama as much as anyone else and now, accidentally to tell the truth, have exposed his position so that one does not have be be as skeptical of US motives as I am to see clearly that the TRR deal presented by the US was designed to pressure Iran to suspend enrichment and would deliver fuel only as a side effect of that.

    Iran went public with its problems with the deal. There were no guarantees that it would get fuel. Obama, Clinton, Samore, Mullen, Gates, unnamed administration officials, people in private sector who are close to the administration all said, repeatedly, that it was a good deal as presented who terms were not subject to negotiation.

    Iran did not present a take-it or leave-it offer. The US did. This was openly the US position. The only difference between November and now is that the US has been forced to clearly state the conditions it would have preferred remain secret. The US position seems more reasonable if its conditions are not known.

    If the US can say the Iranians have to be paranoid to believe the fuel will not be delivered, it would prefer to do that. Now the US objects to measures honest third parties agreed to provide guarantees, it can only be because the US never did intend to deliver the fuel.

  17. Arnold Evans says:

    Kooshy:

    There are several people who comment here, you’re one there are a bunch of others, Eric, Fio, Pirouz, b, Lysander, Masoud, Liz, Rehmat, BussedIn, Dan Cooper, James, Iranian – and now I’ve forgotten some names so I’ll be apologizing both now in advance and later when I’m reminded – who I agree with very often, and whose posts I often read and appreciate but don’t leave a comment saying “you’re right”.

    I’m writing these long comments responding to Alan because I don’t know what exactly what it is that people who don’t understand the US and Iranian positions are missing, so I figure engaging Alan, which is by far the fairest presentation of a viewpoint somewhat sympathetic to the United States’ position that I can think of in this comments section will run me past what other people who are sympathetic to the Obama administration may be wondering.

    If left on my own, there is really not much changing, not much I have not already written.

    1) The US wants to keep Iran from having a Japan option.

    2) A Japan option is legal.

    3) The US motive in preventing Iran from having a Japan option is Israel’s unique strategic fragility, which US and Israeli strategists believe can only be compensated for by a regional monopoly not only in nuclear weapons, but in nuclear capability.

    4) The IAEA board’s procedures and findings have been warped and distorted in the service of this strategic goal.

    5) Iran is morally right to oppose the US program of using the IAEA and UNSC to achieve a goal neither was intended for.

    6) Iran has effectively reached a position that the US program of misusing the non-proliferation system will not be successful.

    7) Given that Iran having a Japan option cannot be prevented, it is better for the US to be less hostile with a nuclear capable Iran instead of more hostile.

    8) Obama is not independent enough of pressures, especially from pro-Israel factions of his administration to chart the better course.

    I feel like left on my own, I’ll just keep writing those eight points over and over and over, with no idea what to clarify, what is already well understood and what is still questionable. All eight points to me are the same, things that cannot be seriously disputed, but that I’ve already written multiple times.

    So Alan at least gives me a reason to discuss one point instead of another in detail. Hopefully the points I discuss with Alan are the same points other readers would want discussed in more detail.

    But I’ve learned a lot from you, Kooshy and the others I remembered to list and a lot of others I’ve forgotten to list.

    As an aside, if you or anyone I listed ever wants to write about something on my blog mideastreality (including Alan), I’ll make a guest account and be more than happy to put it there. No minimum or maximum length, any subject remotely related to strategic issues in the Middle East, you or I will pick a picture to put at the top to make it look pretty and we’ll leave the comment section there open.

  18. Alan says:

    Kooshy –

    “Alan like many others on this site still has too much hope in Obama”

    What total bollocks. Who else on this site believes that?

  19. Alan says:

    Arnold – I can’t argue with much of that. I think there are differences I wasn’t aware of in the November escrow offer, however I do think there were many potential complications on the Iranian side as well as those you allude to on the US side. If Iran was concerned about these shortcomings in the November deal, it seems to me they should have raised them as such and sought reassurance over them, rather than step back to something some way behind where they started.

    That said, I think they probably would have, but the political environment in Iran didn’t permit it at that time. Also, why revive it with Brazil and Turkey? Why not do so with the Vienna Group?

    Still, Iran will need the TRR fuel at some point. If they can make it themselves in time, there is a natural use for their LEU, and that in itself diminishes the problem at hand. If they can’t make it, they will be back looking for some. So maybe the problem is self-limiting in that respect.

    On enrichment suspension, I agree with your interpretation of the UNSCRs and the June 2008 offer. I’m still not convinced that the US wants a permanent end to Iranian enrichment though. It is neither logical nor remotely achievable. Many people believe, not just me, that a deal is possible around limiting enrichment to 5%. But despite how it would grease the wheels to a deal, I don’t think the US is likely to concede that position before they start talking. That would be one reason for the opacity. Also, it seems at least possible they may want the opacity to keep Israel on edge as well.

    There is no harm in a dialogue, not least because, if there is any space between the US and Israel, the lack of a dialogue will certainly close it.

  20. DWZ says:

    Gilad Atzmon on Chomsky: Chomsky is in fact, a liberal Zionist as well as a kibbutz enthusiast.

    {Interestingly enough, Chomsky is not exactly the harsh anti Zionist figure that Dershowitz wants us to believe. Along the years, Chomsky was flirting heavily with \
    Zionism. He was often visiting Israeli universities. I myself attended his Tel Aviv University lectures in the 1980’s. Chomsky was spreading some bizarre ungrounded ideas defying early Zionist commitment to the Jewish state. As American activist Jeff Blankfort pointed out recently, Chomsky has been dismissing the power of the pro-Israel lobby. He opposed the BDS movement and made some efforts to “dissuade people from using the term, apartheid, to describe Israel’s control over Palestinian society”. Chomsky also opposes the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution. Chomsky is in fact, a liberal Zionist as well as a kibbutz enthusiast. He may as well be the prototype of the righteous Jew and Zionist fig leaf. And in spite of that Israel denied the entry of the 82 year old American academic.}

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/planet-chomsky-vs-dershowitzs-orbit/

  21. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    You were right all along; Alan like many others on this site still has too much hope in Obama, they hope that he will eventually save America from the lobby, so whatever he says or does in their mind it will be explained in a way to fit to be for a good reason, that is a naivety for not to become disappointed and keep the hope alive.
    Did you read Obama’s comments on the resolution yesterday that I posted, he believes in Right to Access, like that you have right to transportation but you are not allowed to refine petroleum, from the beginning by the way he was allowed to select his advisers and cabinet it became obvious what policies will be implemented. .

  22. DWZ,

    My goodness, even Noam Chomsky is – how do you put it – a” Zionist puppet,” a “racist,” a “fifth-columnist,” one who spouts “rubbish” about Israel being a “client state”? I don’t even know what a “fifth columnist” is, since I usually stop reading when I see that term and have never bothered to look it up. But I have a strong hunch it’s not something you think one should strive to be. Professor Chomsky, have you no shame?

    What bugs me the most about Noam Chomsky, though, is that he, unlike you, often uses lower-case letters in his writing. A major shortcoming of written expression is that it’s all but impossible to shout. Fortunately, a few writers are clear enough thinkers to recognize that God gave us capital letters FOR A REASON. You’ve lit our path, DWZ, and now others have no excuse not to follow.

  23. DWZ says:

    DON’T BE FOOLED BY EMPTY WORDS BY TURKEY. Turkey has targeted the popularity of Iran among Arabs with cooperation of the United States. This is US strategy to isolate Iran by crushing 30 years of Iranian suffering to change people’s attitute about war criminals in the region and to have the support of Arabs of the street behind Iran action while made the puppet Arab head of States bitter.

    Now, with the rise of Erdogan, the deated Arab head of states are standing behind ‘a Sunni leader’ to put another knife on Iran’s back out of anger since the Arab allyies of the United States are hated and impotent in the region like THEIR MATERS, ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES.

    {While Muslim states were always going to praise any leader who confronted Israel, Mr Erdogan’s personal role is one that will have lasting significance across the region. With his leadership, Turkey is once more becoming a powerful player in the Middle East to a degree that has not happened since the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick06102010.html

    At a rally in Beirut, thousands of Lebanese waved Turkish flags and nine coffins draped in the red banner were displayed to honour the Turkish flotilla dead. “Oh Allah, the merciful, preserve Erdogan for us,” protesters chanted, using language often reserved for Hizbollah’s popular leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who has praised Mr Erdogan’s stance.}

    TURKEY MUST BE UNITED WITH IRAN, SYRIA AND OTHERS FORCES IN THE REGION TO HELP PALESTINIAN AND PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE AND THEIR WEALTH AGAINS THE WAR CRIMINALS AND RACISTS WHO HAVE OCCUPIED OUR REGION AND ARE KILLING THEM IN LARGE NUMBERS EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  24. Arnold Evans says:

    Alan:

    32. Stresses the willingness of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States to further enhance diplomatic efforts to promote dialogue and consultations, including to resume dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue without preconditions, most recently in its meeting with Iran in Geneva on 1 October 2009, with a view to seeking a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution of this issue on the basis of the proposal made by China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States on 14 June 2008, which would allow for the development of relations and wider cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and, inter alia, starting formal negotiations with Iran on the basis of the June 2008 proposal, and acknowledges with appreciation that the June 2008 proposal, as attached in Annex IV to this resolution, remains on the table

    Dialog and consultations are without preconditions are aimed at reaching formal negotiations. Negotiations are to be on the basis of the June 2008 proposal – meaning after a suspension of all enrichment activities, as spelled out in the 2008 proposal.

    This is only complicated because you want it to be complicated. Obama and Obama administration officials are clear that they demand a suspension and that Iran will never have the right to enrich without US approval. They are willing to engage in dialogue about reaching that state. The state the US is aiming for is inherently unacceptable to Iran. There is no reason for Iran to discuss with the US how it can stop enriching and export most or all of its current uranium stock.

    Obama can say today: “Iran has a right to enrich uranium. If it suspends enrichment for a nominal period and ratifies the AP, the US would not oppose continued enrichment under IAEA supervision.”

    A statement like that, even passed through channels but not made publicly, would resolve the nuclear dispute if delivered credibly.

    That’s your position as I understand it, but that is far from Obama’s position. In Obama’s place you would be able to easily resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran.

    What your position does not do is ensure that Iran would not be able, as Japan, Brazil, Germany, Canada and dozens of others are able, to leave the NPT and relatively quickly build a bomb in an emergency. Israel is adamant that Iran not have that option and Bush, Obama and the US nuclear policy community, on Israel’s behalf, are pursuing that objective through IAEA resolutions, UNSC resolutions and most recently through the TRR deal.

    Interesting about the TRR deal. I don’t know if you still think the same deal was offered in November, but it seems Obama does not. Your link:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE6582W120100609

    The timeline for the full delivery of the fuel assemblies to Iran is unrealistic. The IAEA’s Project and Supply Agreement called for initial delivery of fuel within about one year to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the TRR, with remaining fuel to be delivered at a later date. The JD calls for all the fuel to be delivered in one year, which we are confident would be impossible to meet.

    The JD indicates that, if Iran decided unilaterally that the provisions of the arrangement were not being respected, Turkey would be obliged, upon the request of Iran, to “return swiftly and unconditionally Iran’s LEU to Iran.” Under the previous “escrow” proposal, the return of LEU would be justified if the parties failed to deliver fuel assemblies to Iran as agreed.

    First, the May deal obliged Turkey to return the fuel. The November proposal had no obligation at all, but apparently there is a condition in which the return would be “justified”. More interesting, the return would be justified, not obligatory, if the parties failed to deliver fuel as agreed. But the fuel is to be delivered “at a later date”. It is impossible to fail to deliver fuel by “a later date”.

    Also this US claim happens to just be a lie. It does not take a matter of years to produce 120 kgs of reactor fuel. France told Turkey it could be made in 10 months, which was why Turkey agreed to a one year deadline. But “later date” means the West isn’t even willing to commit to a two year deadline. The point is for the delivery to be held over Iran’s head forever – kind of like a suspension “until confidence is restored”.

    Now look at this:

    The JD does not account for Iran’s accumulation of LEU since the IAEA first proposed the TRR deal. Removal of 1,200 kg at present would leave Iran substantial stocks, decreasing the confidence-building value of the original proposal. The JD provides no alternative means of ensuring that the confidence-building element of the arrangement would be maintained.”

    Iran did not significantly change its rate of LEU production since September. If fuel had been shipped in December by the November terms, the confidence building element would already not be maintained. This is where the US and France, by the terms of the November proposal, could say unless Iran exports more uranium, the confidence building elements and/or stops enriching the necessary confidence building component is not being met, which will indefinitely delay the fuel delivery.

    Of course since it is only a delay, but the fuel is still to be delivered “at a later date” the return of the original fuel is not justified. Oh, and the fuel was to be no longer Iranian property by that point:

    The JD states that Iran’s LEU would be the “property” of Iran while in Turkey. The IAEA proposal stated the IAEA would maintain “custody” of the LEU throughout the process.

    If you still think the May deal was available in November, you not only disagree with me and the Iranians, you disagree with the US, the French and the Russians. The November proposal was designed to leave the US with leverage to use the return of medical fuel to pressure Iran to hold its uranium stock, either through a suspension or further exports at the “confidence building” level of less than one ton. The May deal does not leave the US with that leverage, so the US no longer supports it – exactly for that reason.

    For the US, the deal was an opportunity at best to pressure Iran to suspend enrichment and at worst, to just take 1200 kgs of uranium and give very little, if anything, in return. It was clear that this is how the deal worked and Iran reasonably did not agree until explicit guarantees were added that would prevent that. Now that guarantees have been added, the US has no interest in the deal.

    Now it was not clear to Iran in October 1 that this was how the deal was supposed to work. Iran on October 1 might have thought the deal would work the way the May deal ended up working. On October 1, Israel did not seem to me to be happy with the deal.

    By October 20 or so, when the formal proposal was made and Iran did not accept but said it had to go back to Tehran, possibly the deal had been adjusted by the US. Also, just as an extra touch, there was a major separatist operation that killed dozens of revolutionary guards, including high ranking generals in Balochistan.

    Possibly a change in terms, as well as orchestration of the attack were part of a campaign of push-back against any acceptable deal. But the October 20 deal, along with any November escrow modification proposed by the US were bad deals that Iran could not have been expected to accept.

    Obama at least failed to hold the deal to acceptable terms. The deal could have been a prelude to Obama publicly accepting that neither sanctions nor a military strike can prevent Iran from having enrichment technology and a significant stock of LEU and so the US can find acceptable terms for the US and Iran to interact given that reality.

    That’s what I hoped in early October. Obama turns out not to be a person who could deliver that. Two or six more years of hostility with Iran now seem to be in store until the US gets a new president who comes into office facing an Iran with 7000kgs of LEU instead of 700 and just maybe does not have visions of holding Iran permanently under 1000 kgs and ending its enrichment program.

    If not, the US will continue increasing hostility and importantly, Iran has to work to keep the US vulnerable at least in Afghanistan if not also re-introduce US vulnerability to Iraq and hold its options for disrupting gulf oil flows because those are Iran’s deterrents in the mean time, not its nuclear program which may provide a strategic deterrent for later generations of Iranians.

    If the US was to accept Iranian enrichment, as you suggest Alan, but every administration who speaks publicly, named or unnamed, vehemently opposes, Iran’s incentives would change in the region. Iran would have an interest in the US leaving a stable Afghanistan and Iraq behind. Instead, with today’s hostility, Iran has an interest in the US being tied in as many resource sinks as possible and Iran has options that it will use to pursue that interest.

  25. Alan says:

    Arnold – so you think clause 32 of the latest resolution when it “stresses the willingness of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States to further enhance diplomatic efforts to promote dialogue and consultations including to resume dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue without preconditions, most recently in its meeting with Iran in Geneva on 1 October 2009 …” does not drop the precondition of suspension of enrichment?

    I suppose it could be read that way. Hmmmmm. Still, I think it can only be in Iran’s interests to have those talks to make it clear one way or another. And as I already said, I think an element wanted to do that, and possibly the most hardline element too.

    By the way, this is the formal response to the TRR proposal from the Vienna Group:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE6582W120100609

    Regarding the Israel thing, I maintain Israel wants Iran bombed, the US doesn’t. Israel will up the ante until it gets its way. If the US doesn’t have a policy to counter that they have a big problem on their hands. But, yes, that is my hypothesis, I have no evidence Obama thinks that way, other than the moment when Israel first stiffed him over the settlements in September 2009 and he basically turned round and walked straight into a negotiation over the TRR. That must have been the last thing Israel wanted.

    To be honest, before that moment, drones in Pakistan and the Gaza blockade had written Obama off in my eyes. It gave me hope again, although you are doing your best to extinguish it.

  26. Arnold Evans says:

    This is anathema to Israel of course, but that is why it could be so important to the US.

    While a hypothetical President Alan very clearly would be looking for a pretext to reconfigure the US relationship with Israel, President Barack Obama has shown no sign that he is willing to go beyond symbolic measures in that direction.

    While the most recent sanctions resolution, along with the increased separatist activity in Iran during Obama’s administration, along with the murder of an Iranian scientist in Tehran, along with the abduction of an Iranian scientist while making a pilgrimage to Mecca, are tangible signs that Obama is actually, in tangible rather than symbolic areas, more hostile against Iran than George Bush was by the end of his term.

    I’m disappointed in Obama also, but that is not a reason to ascribe positions to him that do not exist.

    Iran would, for good reason, be more willing to negotiate with a hypothetical President Alan than it would with the President Obama we have.

    This depends on an Iranian willingness to negotiate, and sanctions sure won’t help that, but I’m not entirely convinced at this point that the Iranians are going to go back into their shell because of them.

    Here we should also talk about the meaning of “negotiate”. Obama administration officials have adopted a deceptive definition of negotiate that may have mislead you Alan. Formal negotiations require a suspension of enrichment. When the Obama administration says Iran is not willing to negotiate, it means Iran is not willing to suspend enrichment. This is the same thing Bush meant, Obama inherited both the policy and the language from Bush.

    If you read carefully your link from yesterday, the administration offers “dialog and consultations” without preconditions. These dialog and consultations are to be aimed at convincing Iran to suspend enrichment so that “formal negotiations” at that point could begin. Again, this is only different in the most superficial way from the policy under Bush.

    When Obama administration officials complain that Iran is not willing to negotiate, just as they did under Bush, they mean Iran is not willing to suspend enrichment – which is not a secret, except that Obama and Bush administration officials have some interest in obscuring their position on Iranian enrichment.

  27. DWZ says:

    Chomsky says:

    {Israel assumes that it can commit such crimes with impunity because the United States tolerates them and Europe generally follows the U.S.’s lead.}

    CHOMSKY IS A ZIONIST WHO PROTECTS INTEREST OF THE ‘JEWISH STATE’ BY ATTRIBUTING ISRAEL’S CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY TO SUPPORT OF ‘US IMPERIALISM’. CHOMSKY LIES WHEN PAINT ISRAEL AS A CLIENT STATE AND AN ASSET FOR US IMPERIALSIM

    TODAY THESE LIES HAVE BEEN EXPOSED. NO ONE BELIEVE ISRAEL IS AN ASSET EXCEPT THE ZIONIST SUCH AS CHOMSKY WHERE IS REJECTED BY MANY INCLUDING PHILIP GIRALDI.
    MOSSAD AGENT HAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT ISRAEL IS A **BURDEN TO THE UNITED STATES** BUT CHOMSKY CONTINUES HIS RUBBISH.
    THIS IS NOT THE UNITED STATES INTEREST. NO ONE HAS BENEFITED FROM THESE WARS EXCEPT ISREAL, RUSSIA, CHINA AND INDIA. NO ONE LISTENS TO CHOMSKY, A ZIONIST LIBERAL, ANYMORE AND HUNDREDS OF ARTICLES HAVE BEEN WRITTEN CONDEMNING CHOMSKY’S STATEMENT THAT ISRAEL IS A ‘CLIENT STATE’. WHO DENY THE ROLE OF JEWISH LOBBY ON FOREIGN POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES BY ZIONIST PUPPETS, BLACK AND WHITE?

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article143519.html

  28. Rehmat says:

    irshad ….

    The Western rulers are only good to teach the Judeo-Christian morality to others but hardly practice it themselves. Tehran is still waiting for its US$14 billion (worth more than US$26 billion now) frozen and later some of it distributed among the relatives of the 54 American spies put on house arrest by the Iranian students in 1980.

    As I said before, Russia and China don’t want to see a powerful Islamic neighbor on their borders – for the fear that it might support the Muslim resistance movements in Russia and China.

    Islamic Republic is the only country among 57 Muslim nation-states, which is now producing most of convential arms locally and I am sure, in the near future, it will find some way to bypass S-300, for which Tehran has already paid for.

    No matter what new measures the anti-Muslim ZOGs come up with- “Iran’s nuclear path cannot be be blocked,” Ayatullah Ali Khamenei

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/irans-nuclear-path-cannot-be-be-blocked/

  29. Dan Cooper says:

    Ron Paul: Iran Sanctions = Act of War

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIO-4v8qpYc&NR=1

  30. irshad says:

    Gues what everyone…?

    Well you wont be suprised, but according to the Russians, as a result of this sanction resolution, Russia is unable to supply Iran with the S300 SAM system..!!!!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/10281412.stm

    Talk about kicking a man when he is down or rubbing salt on someones wound…!

    If this is true, then Iran should let the Russians know what they think of them…and take actions such as emphasis the territorial integrity of Georgia…etc.

    I tell you all this double standard, makes me sick, especially, when a few weeks earlier, pirates attacked a civilian flotitlla taking humanitarian goods to Gaza, killing 9 and injuring countless others….and all we got was a call for an enquiry…

  31. Alan says:

    Persian Gulf – I think it could all change relatively quickly. For example, a negotiating process can include the passing of a new UNSCR to suspend the provisions of preceding UNSCRs in return for something like the re-adoption of the Additional Protocol.

    This is anathema to Israel of course, but that is why it could be so important to the US. Right now, there are all sorts of Israeli manoeuvres to up the pressure on Obama to attack Iran. The US negotiating and concluding a nuclear deal with Iran would squarely set Israeli policy at odds with US policy. Any subsequent action by Israel against Iran would be in blatant opposition to the US, and that, I suggest, would be a situation very much in the interests of the US.

    This depends on an Iranian willingness to negotiate, and sanctions sure won’t help that, but I’m not entirely convinced at this point that the Iranians are going to go back into their shell because of them.

  32. Dan Cooper says:

    ‘Israel may have ordered Kurdish terror attack’

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3899714,00.html

  33. Fiorangela says:

    T Power, are you living in opposite world?

    You wrote,
    “You can shout and call us war mongers, but your “republic” has never yet enjoyed a complete and peaceful existence.”

    true that; being invaded, warred upon, and having one’s government overthrown puts peace at risk. If only Iran could mimic the US model: offshore aggression; ensure that destruction and death are played out on another people’s land rather than their own; ‘fight them over there so we won’t have to suffer from the sight of blood and death over here.’

    You wrote: “Why would a counter that has enough oil to last hundreds of years pursue potential weapons of mass destruction before even considering living in peace?”

    The non sequitur in your sentence provided the answer: Other people are eager to acquire Iran’s oil without paying full price.
    Your suggestion that Iran makes a decision NOT to live in peace is even more infuriating than it is factually inaccurate; on what basis do you make such a foolish statement? Are you aware of the plans and development Iran has set in motion to provide for its citizens, plans that Israel and the US, as well as the British, have attempted to stymie at every turn? Don’t mount the pulpit of righteousness when you have no clue what you’re talking about.

    T Power wrote: “Iran: First become a peaceful citizen and join the world community and then get your “peaceful use” of nukes.”

    Perhaps you could suggest a model for Iran to emulate, T Power: Name the nuclear-armed states that “behave as peaceful citizens?”

  34. Dan Cooper says:

    The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla

    By Noam Chomsky

    June 08, 2010 “In These Times” – -Israel’s violent attack on the Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza shocked the world.

    Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime.

    But the crime is nothing new. For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats between Cyprus and Lebanon and killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes holding them hostage in Israeli prisons.

    Israel assumes that it can commit such crimes with impunity because the United States tolerates them and Europe generally follows the U.S.’s lead.

    As the editors of The Guardian rightly observed on June 1, “If an armed group of Somali pirates had yesterday boarded six vessels on the high seas, killing at least 10 passengers and injuring many more, a NATO task force would today be heading for the Somali coast.” In this case, the NATO treaty obligates its members to come to the aid of a fellow NATO country—Turkey—attacked on the high seas.

    Israel’s pretext for the attack was that the Freedom Flotilla was bringing materials that Hamas could use for bunkers to fire rockets into Israel.

    The pretext isn’t credible. Israel can easily end the threat of rockets by peaceful means.

    The background is important. Hamas was designated a major terrorist threat when it won a free election in January 2006. The U.S. and Israel sharply escalated their punishment of Palestinians, now for the crime of voting the wrong way.

    The siege of Gaza, including a naval blockade, was a result. The siege intensified sharply in June 2007 after a civil war left Hamas in control of the territory.

    What is commonly described as a Hamas military coup was in fact incited by the U.S. and Israel, in a crude attempt to overturn the elections that had brought Hamas to power.

    That has been public knowledge at least since April 2008, when David Rose reported in Vanity Fair that George W. Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Elliott Abrams, “backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.”

    Hamas terror included launching rockets into nearby Israeli towns—criminal, without a doubt, though only a minute fraction of routine U.S.-Israeli crimes in Gaza.

    In June 2008, Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire agreement. The Israeli government formally acknowledges that until Israel broke the agreement on Nov. 4 of that year, invading Gaza and killing half a dozen Hamas activists, Hamas did not fire a single rocket.

    Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire. The Israeli cabinet considered the offer and rejected it, preferring to launch its murderous invasion of Gaza on Dec.27.

    Like other states, Israel has the right of self-defense. But did Israel have the right to use force in Gaza in the name of self-defense? International law, including the U.N. Charter, is unambiguous: A nation has such a right only if it has exhausted peaceful means. In this case such means were not even tried, although—or perhaps because—there was every reason to suppose that they would succeed.

    Thus the invasion was sheer criminal aggression, and the same is true of Israel’s resorting to force against the flotilla.

    The siege is savage, designed to keep the caged animals barely alive so as to fend off international protest, but hardly more than that. It is the latest stage of longstanding Israeli plans, backed by the U.S., to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

    The Israeli journalist Amira Hass, a leading specialist on Gaza, outlines the history of the process of separation: “The restrictions on Palestinian movement that Israel introduced in January 1991 reversed a process that had been initiated in June 1967.

    “Back then, and for the first time since 1948, a large portion of the Palestinian people again lived in the open territory of a single country — to be sure, one that was occupied, but was nevertheless whole. …”

    Hass concludes: “The total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank is one of the greatest achievements of Israeli politics, whose overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel’s military superiority.”

    The Freedom Flotilla defied that policy and so it must be crushed.

    A framework for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict has existed since 1976, when the regional Arab States introduced a Security Council resolution calling for a two-state settlement on the international border, including all the security guarantees of U.N. Resolution 242, adopted after the June War in 1967.

    The essential principles are supported by virtually the entire world, including the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic States (including Iran) and relevant non-state actors, including Hamas.

    But the U.S. and Israel have led the rejection of such a settlement for three decades, with one crucial and highly informative exception. In President Bill Clinton’s last month in office, January 2001, he initiated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Taba, Egypt, that almost reached an agreement, participants announced, before Israel terminated the negotiations.

    Today, the cruel legacy of a failed peace lives on.

    International law cannot be enforced against powerful states, except by their own citizens. That is always a difficult task, particularly when articulate opinion declares crime to be legitimate, either explicitly or by tacit adoption of a criminal framework—which is more insidious, because it renders the crimes invisible.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25666.htm

  35. hamid says:

    Eric

    In an atmosphere that any political activist (let alone one affiliated to the western governments) who does not parrot the positions of the regime of Iran stands a risk of being imprisoned and labelled a spy or acting against national security, the Leveretts get a free pass to go and pay a happy visit with lots of kisses on the cheek and pats on the shoulder. And who is their contact? a so called Prof. Marandi who for anyone really aware of Iran issues is but a despicable propagandist who uses his fluent english to spew lies over disgusting lies. You see, for some of us Iran is not an abstract issue: It is our country and fate, and we call a spade a lying two-faces spade, no matter how well he speaks.

    I am sorry Eric, maybe you are an objective person after the truth (I dont know you), but from your question, it is clear that you are drawing (probably very intelligent) conclusions in a vacuum of information.

  36. Bussed-In Basiji says:

    Previously I tried to point out that sanctions have had two positive effects on Iran. First they have forced Iranians to develop their own tech know-how in various scientific, commercial and military fields unlike comparable countries such as Egypt and Turkey. Second the sanctions and the general antagonism with US and Europe has led to gradual and historic shift away from economic dependence on Europe and US which characterized Iran for nearly 200 years. According to Ministry of Commerce in Iran (reported on TV), there has been a fundamental shift in trade away from EU towards east in the statistics. These two factors are fundamental and structural changes which have occurred in the last thirty years and the blessings of sanctions have been a key element in this development. Of course those in Iran who view themselves as culturally western or those whose immediate economic interests are with maintaining economic dependence on the west- such as traders or those who represent western firms in Iran- are not happy about these macro developments. The political manifestation of these social and economic forces in Iran are the greenies and the Rafsanjani crew, as opposed to the majority of the working class population in the cities, traditional conservative middle class and bazaaris, former RevGuards and Basij and most of the rural population and younger religious intellectuals created by post-revolution mass education and energized by rise of Ahmadinejad govt. (versus Rafsanjani and Khatami govt. which energized liberal and secularized intellectuals).

  37. Arnold Evans says:

    Persian Gulf:

    Excellent question about how the sanctions eventually end. I think Colin Powell said sanctions either grow or weaken, speaking of Iraq. One rationale for the invasion is that sanctions had been part of the background and were, just through the passage of time becoming less psychologically important. The US was interested in enforcing them but nobody else was.

    They were approaching a state in which they existed on paper, but were not important in a practical sense.

    Iran does not need 30 tons of LEU, but even it did, may well not be able to produce more than that. At some point Iran will be able to suspend enrichment without compromising its strategic situation at all. That point actually may come relatively soon. If Iran accelerates its enrichment, than the Iranian president who follows may well be in a position to make that gesture to the West, in the interests of a new start or something.

    The US will still be interested in eliminating Iran’s stock of LEU but a stock of LEU that is safeguarded worries nobody but Israel and countries specifically aiming to secure Israel. Iran will be trading with the rest of the world fairly normally in a fairly short time.

    At some point Iran’s stock of LEU becomes something that is no longer provocative, but just the regional reality. By then a way will be found for the sides to agree on Iran’s civilian nuclear program without removing the strategic options Iran gets from its safeguarded stock of LEU. That may be in 10 or 20 years.

  38. kooshy says:

    Arnold / Eric and Specially for Alan
    Here is the key word from Mr. Obama; his key word is that he respects that “ALL COUNTRIES HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACCESS PEACEFUL NUCLEAR ENERGEY”
    In other words he does not recognizes the NPT as it currently is, this is why this policy will eventually fail

    Brazil, Turkey Defy US on Nuke Vote Against Iran
    by Thalif Deen, June 10, 2010
    “Melissa T. Labone, assistant professor of political science at Fordham University, dismissed the resolution as “pure window dressing.”
    “The (U.S.) State Department applied massive leverage with other countries,” she said, “I am loathe to imagine what kind of trade-offs it had to make to garner support, especially from China and Russia — or even to get the Lebanese to abstain, as opposed to voting no.”
    In remarks from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama described the resolution as “the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government.” “It sends an unmistakable message about the international community’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons,” Obama said. “So, there’s no double standards at play here,” he added, trying to implicitly respond to longstanding charges that Israel is not held to the same standards as Iran. “We’ve made it clear, time and again,” said Obama, “that we respect Iran’s right, like ALL COUNTRIES, TO ACCESS PEACEFUL NUCLEAR ENERGY.”

    http://original.antiwar.com/deen/2010/06/09/brazil-turkey-defy-us-on-nuke-vote-against-iran/

  39. jay says:

    Dear T.Power and your friends,

    I’d like to think that you are simply uninformed – let me help.

    With regard to nuclear energy you will find your answer in the article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences written by an excellent scholar (Roger Stern) from the University of Rochester. If you are of a quantitative and scientific bend, it includes facts and figures that with a little bit of mental effort you can analyze for yourself (if interested). You will find it at:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/1/377.abstract

    With regards to “peaceful citizen of the world community..”, Iran has not been involved in an offensive war for over 200 years. To make it more objective, go to the web, search for list of wars, and simply tally which countries have been involved in any war since 1945. As uncomfortable of an exercise this may be, you will find it enlightening to know that several of your favorite countries top the list! Iran is near the bottom.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_wars

    I realize that learning the truth is challenging for an average citizen nowadays – with all the media noise and having to do some reading and research yourself. That is what we are here for – to help you learn what is really going on.

  40. Persian Gulf says:

    Eric:

    you may call the sanction as an action that Obama Admin. can show it is doing something, but I am thinking in what circumstances Iran can get rid of these UN sanctions. after all, these sanctions are based on the order that must states accept at this juncture. what would be the way forward for Iran to legally bypass them? I assume even if the whole system is replaced peacefully, the sanctions are gonna be there still (alas, the greens need also to deal with them!). or, should we wait to see a complete decline of U.S power in the world? I am approaching 30th, but I am doubtful to see that eventuality in my normal life time. it seems, the U.S wants to contain Iran for indefinite time for whatever reasons that might be. talking about double speak seems to be more related to psychological relief than anything substantial.

    I personally think, unless Iran increases the price extraordinary high, she will not be able to bypass this trap. with what it does internally, it is locked somehow in going that far (the fact of the matter is, as much as Iran could be recognized as a wise actor internationally for certain issues, IR of Iran’s internal management are disappointing. I have always been surprised of this paradox in its policies).

  41. T. Power says:

    DMZ
    You can shout and call us war mongers, but your “republic” has never yet enjoyed a complete and peaceful existence.

    Why would a counter that has enough oil to last hundreds of years pursue potential weapons of mass destruction before even considering living in peace?

    Iran: First become a peaceful citizen and join the world community and then get your “peaceful use” of nukes.

  42. T. Power says:

    I agree with you Mr. E.A. Brill.

    The Leveret’s appear to be quite subjective; avoiding altogether to refer to The President’s overall and ongoing diplomatic efforts towards Tehran. While it is common knowledge that Iran’s “hegemony” under the current regime is progressive. It should be noted that the bungling erstwhile American administration repudiated a true international solution. So let’s not forget that current American foreign policy efforts “posturing” according to the Leveret’s, is a new approach that should have been adopted years ago. So as the President rightfully deploy intelligent diplomatic strategies, do consider today’s advance, and all others leading up to this achievement, demonstratively adequate, and though a decade behind, effective leadership where only posturing previously existed.

  43. Rehmat says:

    Sorry Eric A. Brill – like Gilad Atzmon, I am no fan of Israel Hasbara Committee – though one of my Canadian neighbors, Tarek Fateh is listed on that too!

  44. Hamid,

    “It is really interesting: this webpage is now “the” place to read the reaction of the Iranian regime in good English. The angrier the Leveretts are on an issue concerning Iran, the happier the ordinary people should be.”

    Why do you say that? I have never suspected that the Leveretts speak for anyone but themselves.

  45. hamid says:

    It is really interesting: this webpage is now “the” place to read the reaction of the Iranian regime in good English. The angrier the Leveretts are on an issue concerning Iran, the happier the ordinary people should be.

  46. Rehmat,

    You contribute many posts here and always provide a link to your own website, which in turn provides links to quite a number of other websites. Have you considered adding this one to your list of links?

  47. Rehmat says:

    Eric A. Brill….

    Being listed on Israel Hasbara Committee I would not expect any rational remarks from NYT. It could not stand the remarks from Helen Thomas without calling it ‘anti-Semitic’!

    With Helen Thomas gone – the Washington press corps is finally free of patriotic reporters asking politically wrong qestions, such as, at Obama’s first press conference as President, Helen tried to pin him down on Israeli nuclear weapon arsenal – by asking Obama if he knew of any country in the Middle East that possessed nukes. Obama stumbled in response saying he doesn’t like to “speculate”. Since that incident – Obama has refused to meet her.

    Helen Thomas: ‘Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine’
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/helen-thomas-tell-them-to-get-the-hell-out-of-palestine/

  48. John Earls,

    “Flynt and Hillary’s analysis here (and in previous articles on the theme) makes it clear that most countries have come to the conclusion that if the US is so obsessed with symbolic heraldry then let the elephant dance with Israel inside the abandoned house while the rest of the world goes on with the job of getting real things done in the back yard, where the elephant can’t trample them.”

    I agree. But it is important to make sure the elephant continues to enjoy dancing for as long as possible, so that it doesn’t wander into the back yard and start ruining everyone else’s fun.

  49. From NYT article on new UNSC sanctions:

    ““It would seem like a thin reed on which to base a policy,” said Steven E. Miller, the director of the International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. “I think that by default we end up with sanctions because we don’t know what else to do.””

    We should consider the possibility that sanctions help to maintain world peace. Pressing for sanctions makes the US feel it’s doing something useful, after all, and it’s beneficial for the rest of the world (notably Iran) that the US continue to feel it’s doing something useful. God only knows what might happen if the US should ever decide that sanctions are pointless and it therefore STOPPED pushing for more and more of them. It might come up with some other idea on how to deal with Iran. Best to have the US thrash around in the UNSC for as long as possible, and therefore best that we not minimize (at least publicly) what the US accomplishes there. (See also the concluding paragraphs to my 2:18 PM post today).

  50. I don’t find it terribly persuasive to emphasize that these new sanctions are not all that tough. They’re still sanctions, after all, substantially more than were there yesterday, and they were adopted by a 12-2 vote notwithstanding some wishful thinking that a few more temporary UNSC members would side with Brazil and Turkey (at least one commenter even suggested Mexico would oppose the US on this). What strikes me as more worth emphasizing is that this resolution, more so than earlier ones, contains a lot more of what the Leveretts properly call “optional” resolutions and invitations for countries to adopt even tougher resolutions on their own.

    As the Leveretts predict, I can’t imagine a lot of countries are going to go out of their way to comply with the so-called “optional” resolutions. Maybe the US Congress will adopt a few for the US just to show they’re tough, though I haven’t followed that effort since the Obama administration asked Congress to table that a few weeks back while the UNSC was hammering out its sanctions resolution. Other than that, I’ll be surprised.

    As for the even more forward step – adoption by a country of sanctions that go beyond even the “optional” sanctions suggested by the UNSC – I suspect a quadruple amputee has enough fingers and toes to count the number of countries that will adopt them.

    If my hunches turn out to be correct, or nearly so, the next time the UNSC adopts a sanctions resolution that includes a bunch of “optional” resolutions and encourages countries to adopt even more on their own, readers may well conclude that they can simply skip that part entirely. They may also re-assess this resolution the same skeptical attitude – as the Leveretts properly have done for us already.

  51. James,

    Thanks. Good article.

  52. James Canning says:

    DWZ,

    I would not be too surprised to learn that Israeli operatives were working with Kurdish separatists active within Turkey.

    However, it should be noted that while Joe Biden initially thought Peter Galbraith’s proposal for a partition of Iraq was worth considering, he later decided it was not a good idea. By the time Biden was selected as the candidate for VP, he opposed partition of Iraq.

  53. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    The link is to the FT (Daniel Dombey and Delphine Strauss) June 9th. I’ll see about other links.

    Brzezinski sees the lack of strategic sense that seems to be a problem with the Obama administration.

  54. James,

    “Zbigniev Brzezinski thinks Obama is blundering by not making use of Turkey to accomplish American goals in the Middle East.”

    Do you have a link?

  55. Trashandsend,

    In the preceding thread, you wrote:

    “Sound piece, except for chronic reference to Iran as “the Islamic Republic.” It makes you sound like sycophants, just as would an AIPAC characterization of Israel as “the Judaic Democracy.””

    I don’t draw the same conclusions from this, and the obvious response from the Leveretts would be: “That’s its name.” Nevertheless, I have thought more than once that the Leveretts ought to take your advice and just call it “Iran,” so that others like you aren’t offended. I don’t think doing so would be at all disrespectful to the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” any more than using “China” is disrespectful to the “People’s Republic of China” or “US” or “United States” is disrespectful to the “United States of America.”

    It’s hard enough for the Leveretts (or anyone else) to persuade people that their views on Iran are correct, and I applaud their persistent efforts to do so. It might be marginally easier if they used “Iran,” perhaps after an initial reference to the “Islamic Republic of Iran.”

  56. Riegart Vonrath says:

    Obama’s statement was very hypocritical and full of lies,
    obvious to any thinking person

    But some very important nonthinking people needed to be thrown a bone,
    The Israeli bought and paid for, owned and operated U.S. Congress and Senate

    These foolish puppets had decided to blindly support much worse sanctions that technically and legally would rapidly lead to war with Iran

    By Obama throwing these fools a bone they might just not act so foolishly and the momentum for this war might actually have slowed down at least for this summer
    The final sad word will be What does AIPAC say

  57. James Canning says:

    Lysander,

    Turkey and Iran are the two largest investors in Syrian business. Which makes sense.
    And as you note, there is much business for Turkey to do in Iran.

    Obama apparently thinks it is better to have Chinese companies supply inferior oil and gas equipment to Iran, than to have such business enjoyed by German, Italian and American companies.

  58. James Canning says:

    Has anyone seen reports that Israeli retired military and intelligence people are working with Kurdish separatists in Iraq, for operations in Turkey? On its face, this would seem to present a problem (if true).

  59. Lysander says:

    DWZ,

    I have to disagree with you regarding Turkey. When there was a diplomatic flap a few months ago involving Danny Ayalon and the Turkish ambassador, I thought, “yes, this might be staged.”

    But since then a lot more has happened. Turkey helped Iran with the BTI deal. There is no question that it put the US in a more difficult position and presented Iran in a very positive light. There was the very dramatic breach between Turkey and Israel over the Mavi Marmara raid. This does not appear scripted at all. It was a blow to Israeli prestige and a serious threat to their Gaza blockade. I don’t think Israel would take it lightly at all. Then there was the dissenting vote at the UNSC. Not an abstention as Lebanon, which would still be occupied by Israel were it not for Iran, did.

    I’m beginning to believe that there is a fundamental change of how Turkey perceives its interests. Iran’s natural gas can guarantee Turkey’s energy security. It is a large market for Turkish exporters. In the future, a potential gas pipeline from Iran to Europe through Turkey will be very advantageous to both nations.

    Turkey is not perfect. No country is. It will not ever be at war with Israel and eventually diplomatic relations will be repaired. But I don’t think they will ever be as they were. I’m not even sure the Turkish military seriously opposes the current changes, or is as close to Israel as it used to be.

    In short, I think Iran and Turkey have several common interests and not many critical differences. While Iran must always remain cautious, recent changes in Turkish policy will likely prove beneficial to Iran.

  60. Liz says:

    No real Iranian (or decent human being) would support the sanctions.

  61. John Earls says:

    It occurs to me that the innocuous sanctions on Iran just approved reflect the increasing irrelevance of the UNSC and perhaps of the UNO itself. I was surprised that both China and Russia did not at least abstain and that Lebanon only abstained.

    Flynt and Hillary’s analysis here (and in previous articles on the theme) makes it clear that most countries have come to the conclusion that if the US is so obsessed with symbolic heraldry then let the elephant dance with Israel inside the abandoned house while the rest of the world goes on with the job of getting real things done in the back yard, where the elephant can’t trample them.

    This requires the creation and consolidation of networks linking countries in organisations that can take decisions on real issues in some specific domain. The Brazil-Turkey-Iran initiative is just the most recent example. They are coming about everywhere: BRIC, the Turkey-Syria-Iran, the Asian group which just met in Istanbul, ALBA, UNASUR, etc. Some are formally defined others are not.

    How this process will develop is for the network theorists to study – probably by way of simulation models – but this is the emerging new multi-polar world.

    The old US dominated groups are also becoming irrelevant: the Organization of American States (OAS) has just reaffirmed its irrelevance in Lima, and Turkey is just the first to confirm NATO’s irrelevance.

    Let the elephants dance alone in the house they have wrecked.

  62. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Sorry Leveretts! I disagree with your conclusions here. “And that will leave the Obama Administration with no other options except formal adoption of regime change as the explicit goal of its Iran policy—and/or military strikes against the Islamic Republic”.
    Iran has way too many levers too pull in case of a strike, be it nuclear or not. Any strike will put the world in downward economic spiral that it may never recover from. You think Greece, Spain, and Portugal have problems now. Wait till oil hit $150. And, as for regime change, you have to take Shia Islam out of the character of an Iranian before that happens. Regime modifications and reform, maybe, change NOT.

    Wet dreams WigWag! Wet dreams!

  63. DWZ says:

    {As an Iranian I wanted to thank the US for imposing sanctions on the most cruel government of all, I would love to see more sanctions ….}

    YOU ARE NOT IRANIAN, YOU ARE A PETTY ZIONIST SERVANT OR ISRALII PAWN, A KURD, WHO ARE TRAINTED BY MOSSAD TO CARRY OUT ISRAEL’S TERROR AGAINST GOVERNEMENTS in the region ACCORDING TO ODED YINON TO ERECT “GREATER ISRAEL”.
    You terrorists are the only group who supported zionist raid on the Ship against international humanitarian activists. You have NO CREDIBITLITY AND NO ONE PAYS ANY ATTENTION TO YOU AS RACIST AND TERRORIST. WATCH THE FOLLOWING VIDEO TO KNOW ONE OF YOUR KIND.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAZmO80dLfE

    Turkey, Erdoghan, has just said: Iran should stop enrichment to enter negotiation. I don’t understand why American are so simple minded to know that TURKEY IS PALYING A GAME TO STEAL IRAN’S POPULARITY AMONG ARABS TO MOBOLIZE THEM BEHIND TURKEY protect Turkey and the United States’ interest against Iran and other states in the region. Turkey is using Palestinian people to target Arab Population to mobilize them against Iran. The corrupt Arab head of States have no choice but to follow this plan since they are hated by the Arab population in the region due to their services to both the US and Israel. Turkey has relations with Israel and never compromises it even when Israel was killing Muslims and Palestinians in thousand. While Israel was conducting Gaza genocide, Turkey bought military equipment worth of $200 millions from Israel and never called her ambassador back EVEN FOR ONE DAY OR ONE HOUR, but Chavez from another continent called her ambassador back. Turkey through Erdoghan limited only to exchange of a few cheap words. Words are very cheap and anyone can do it, on the other hand Iran for the last 30 years have supported Palestinians cause without pause and has received so many sanctions and threat of war. Where was Turkey then? Turkey on the other hand continued to have military exercise with the Zionist mass murderers and enemy of Muslims worldwide. Turkey is the only country who betrayed Muslims all over the world. Now, Turkey is targeting Iran’s popularity and hard work for the past 30 years to gain more concessions from the Mulish enemy. No one should trust Turkey.
    Although Turkey did not vote for the sanction, I think with US agreement since they are carrying out a game against Iran, Why Turkey should ask Iran to stop her enrichment to enter negotiation. Doesn’t Turkey know that Iran during Khatami stopped the enrichment for 2 years and half and received NOTHING BUT AN AWARD FOR BEING ‘AXIS OF EVIL’? The EU with US on board wanted the enrichment becomes PERMENENT. Thus, Iranian people elected Dr. Ahmadinejad to protect the LEGAL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM OF IRAN AND TELL THE WAR CRIMINALS GO TO HELL. Iranians will support Ahmadinejad to the end. Turkey should not carry any game with US against Iran, otherwise it will be BACKFIRE AGAINST THE INTEREST OF TURKEY.
    Hillary Clinton, a Zionist imposter and servant, want to show that She can destroy Iran to have Zionist fifth column behind herself since SHE IS GOING TO RUN FOR THE FUCKING PRESICENCY WHICH IS NOTHING OTHER TO BE A PETTY SERVENT FOR THE INTEREST OF ISRAEL AGAINST AMERICAN’S INTEREST.
    Turkey should shut up and mind her own business because Iranians are not going to be fooled by their game where Americans approves. Iran should not trust Turkey to send her LEU to Turkey to be used as ‘credit’ by Turkey, like racist and terrorist Russians, to gain concessions from both US and European Union. Down with Zionists and their servants, Black and White. Obama was selected by the fifth column, Israel Lobby, for nothing but HIS BLACK SKIN since all the targeted countries are located in the M.E., central Asia and Africa. SHAME ON ZIONIST SERVANTS WITH A CHAIN MADE OF STARS OF DAVID AROUND THEIR NECK AND ANCLES.
    In other countries, the fifth column will be taken to court, if convicted all will be executed one by one.

    THE LATEST SANCTION IS NOTHING BUT CALLING FOR WAR. IRANIANS AND PEOPLE OF THE REGION FROM INDIA TO NORTH AFRICA MUST BE READ AND UNITED AGAINST T WAR CRIMINALS AND ZIONIST PUPPETS.

  64. kooshy says:

    This says it all, Mr. Obama is clearly boxed in his own making

    Obama’s efforts on Iran sanctions fall short of expectations

    By Glenn Kessler
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, June 9, 2010; 1:47 PM

    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — The 12-2 vote in the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to impose a modest tightening of sanctions on Iran poses a conundrum: How could an administration that spent months reaching out to Iran and its allies to build international unity end up with a worse result than when George W. Bush was president?

  65. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Of course I agree Obama should have endorsed the Brazilian/Turkish initiative. Was Obama told he needed to get a “win” posted in the “win column”? I’m afraid this is what it came down to.

  66. Liz,

    “Eric: Add it to this thread.”

    HERE IT IS:

    Arnold,

    “Leaving the NPT would be the type of risky move that is not necessary for Iran. It would give the US a different set of options and would not effectively change Iran’s options.”

    Glad to hear you say this.

    It irks me as much as anyone else to read a sanctions resolution in which the UNSC purports to exercise authority it plainly doesn’t have – that being authority to enforce the NPT and Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. I usually (not today, as will soon become clear) catch myself before pointing this out because I recognize that the two possible outcomes of that argument are both bad. Either:

    (1) the UNSC would reject the arguments (highly likely) and keep exercising this authority that it doesn’t have; or

    (2) the UNSC would acknowledge its lack of authority, which would leave the US no less intent on blocking Iran’s nuclear program but now uncertain of its legal right to do so.

    The UNSC, under #2, would first cast about for some other legal hammer. Sooner or later, it would recognize that:

    (A) Nobody – not the UN, IAEA or anyone else – has been expressly granted authority to enforce the NPT apart from safeguards agreements made pursuant to the NPT. The UNSC has implicit authority to do so, at least in extreme cases, by declaring under Article 39 of the UN Charter that Iran’s non-compliance with the NPT amounts to a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression,” or (arguably) by adopting a weaker resolution under Articles 40/41 of the UN Charter (more on this below). The fact remains that the UN has no expressly granted authority under the NPT, Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, the IAEA Statute, the UN Charter, or any other treaty or agreement that is binding on Iran, to enforce the NPT or Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. (If anyone argues otherwise, ask him or her to cite that authority for you.)

    (B) The only enforcement authority under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement is held by the arbitrator described in Article 22 of the Agreement or by the IAEA itself, under Article 19 of the Agreement (and, by reference, under Articles XII-C and XIX of the IAEA Statute) – powers which, in the end, amount to no more than a right to kick Iran out of the NPT club, a prospect that probably doesn’t frighten Iran a great deal (somewhat like Brer Rabbit being tossed into the briar patch).

    (C) Item B above obviously implies that the UNSC has no authority to enforce Iran’s Safeguards Agreement (different from the point made in A above, which dealt only with the NPT apart from safeguards agreements), and that is indeed the case. The right or duty of the IAEA to “report” certain matters to the UN under Article 19 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement is not coupled with any grant of enforcement authority to the UN in response to such a report. In the absence of such an authority grant, the purpose of such an Article 19 report can only be to put the UNSC on notice so that it can consider, if it so chooses, whether to adopt a “peace threat” resolution under UN Charter Article 39 or a “prevent aggravation of the situation” resolution under Articles 40 and 41 – the latter of which the UNSC has done several times in the past and plans to do again today.

    But an Article 40/41 resolution begs this question, so far not clearly presented, much less answered: Exactly what “situation” is it that the UNSC’s resolution is addressing, and is a sanctions resolution under Articles 40/41 really an appropriate way, at this stage of the IAEA/Iran dispute, to prevent that “situation” from being “aggravated”? Has Iran, for example, been found to have violated its Safeguards Agreement by an arbitrator under Article 22 of the Agreement, or by the IAEA itself under Article 19 – the only two ways in which such a violation can be found under that Agreement? No; the IAEA has side-stepped that decision, in carefully worded resolutions, by “referring” the matter to the UNSC, a body which nowhere has been granted any authority to make the decision. Absent an actual finding of a violation, then, the “situation” can fairly be characterized as nothing more than the IAEA’s ongoing unwillingness to decide under Article 19, or to demand under Article 22 that an arbitrator decide, whether Iran is or is not violating its Safeguards Agreement.

    What is the appropriate way for the UNSC to “prevent aggravation” of that “situation?” If the UNSC were a court and the “referred” matter were a contractual dispute – which this is, after all – between two private parties rather than between the IAEA and Iran, the court almost certainly would say: “Well, look here, this is fortunate indeed: your contract spells out precisely how disputes are to be resolved: arbitration under Article 22 for most disputes, or by IAEA unilateral action under Article 19. Have you sought to enforce your contractual rights in one or both of these ways, as you agreed to do, Mr. IAEA? No? Well, I suggest you do so, and let me know afterwards whether you’re still having trouble that I can help to resolve.”

    Indeed, if this were a dispute between two UN member states subject to UN Charter Chapter VI, that is precisely what the UNSC would be expected to do. See, for example, Article 36(2) of the UN Charter: “The Security Council should take into consideration any procedures for the settlement of the dispute which have already been adopted by the parties.” UN Charter Chapter VI is technically not applicable here, of course, since the IAEA is not a UN member state, but that makes the approach suggested by Article 36(2) no less sensible in the IAEA/Iran dispute.

    In this light, if the UNSC really wanted to “prevent an aggravation of the situation,” the ostensible justification for an Article 40/41 resolution, would it not make more sense for the UNSC to give the same advice to the IAEA and Iran that the imaginary court above would give to the two parties in a private contractual dispute? I think the answer to that question goes without saying.

    Here’s the hard part, though. If the (obvious) implication of this is that Iran might take the wind out of the UNSC’s sails by pointing all this out and then insisting that its disputes with the IAEA either be arbitrated under Article 22 of its Safeguards Agreement or be definitively decided by the IAEA (not the UNSC) under Article 19 of the Agreement, with the resulting remedies to be those prescribed in the Safeguards Agreement or in Articles XII-C and XIX of the IAEA Statute, should Iran take these steps?

    That question refocuses attention on the second of two possible outcomes of pressing this “legal” argument (that the UNSC is overstepping its legal bounds in adopting sanctions resolutions) – see #2 far above. On the off-chance that the UNSC would not dismiss such a legalistic (though perfectly sound) argument by Iran out of hand, the US would be left to conclude that it had no authority under the NPT or Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, no authority to act in good faith under UN Charter Articles 40/41 (on which it nevertheless has exclusively relied for its sanctions resolutions so far) since “good faith” fairly requires that the UNSC first urge the IAEA and Iran first to try (as they have not so far) to resolve their dispute in the manner explicitly laid out in the Safeguards Agreement, and thus that the only “legal” authority available to the UNSC is its authority under Article 39: to adopt a “peace threat” resolution under UN Charter Article 39. A narrow platform of legal authority indeed.

    If the US could persuade China and Russia (not to mention the requisite number of temporary members of the UNSC) to adopt an Article 39 resolution against Iran, rest assured it would have done so long ago. It presently appears likely that the US will have no greater success in this effort in the future.

    The outcome of this analysis might sound very promising for Iran, if we could ignore the likely result of the US’ finding itself in the dilemma posed by outcome #2 far above. That is not the case, however. The question that dilemma would pose for the US is simple: “If we (the US) can’t do anything to Iran under the NPT or its Safeguards Agreement, and we can’t keep passing Article 40/41 resolutions because Iran has called our bluff by pointing out that the “situation” can and should be resolved as the IAEA agreed to resolve disputes under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and we can’t persuade China and Russia to sign up for an Article 39 resolution, what CAN we do?

    One answer, of course, might be “nothing,” but I strongly doubt that is an answer the US will find acceptable. There is another obvious answer the US is likely to find more pleasing: send in the bombers. For that very reason – i.e. because the US might conclude that its lack of “legal” bases for action “forces” it to take military action, rather than wait around for a mushroom cloud to prove its long-standing suspicions about Iran – Iran might be better off letting the US, and the UNSC, continue to operate under the delusion that the UNSC has sufficient authority to act under some mushy combination of the NPT, Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and Articles 40/41 of the UN Charter.

  67. Castellio says:

    I don’t understand your position, James. If Obama didn’t want to be ‘boxed’, given his recent letter sent to Brazil and Turkey, why not accept the Iranian offer as a confidence building step in the right direction? Do you mean to say he has no ‘power’ in foreign affairs, and we should ‘understand’ that?

  68. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    There are many players in this game who are trying to set up yet another US war waged on behalf of the Israeli government to enable continuing suppression of the national aspirations of the Palestinians. However, this is not Obama’s own object.

    Obama is being “boxed in” by various pressure groups, and some of those groups want to see a US war with Iran, and some want to see Iran abandon its support for the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinians.

    It is a mistake to lump all the actors together and assume they all pursue the same object. Especially given the fact Obama himself does not want war with Iran.

  69. Humanist says:

    @ Dan Cooper and all

    About the abduction of the Iranian nuclear scientist I’ve collected lots of info.

    Using the two Youtube videos I quickly translated the Farsi texts to a rusty English.

    I am puzzled and have quite a few crucial questions. I’ll let you know as soon as I find unbiased credible answers to any of those questions.

    Here is a quick the translation form video provided by Iranians:

    ………………
    Today is 17th of Farvardin 1389 (April 5, 2010)… right now I, Shahram Amiri, professional (expert) and researcher of the University of Malek Ashtar am in Tucson Arizona USA.

    I was kidnaped on 13th of Khorad 1388 (May 3, 2009) in a joint operation of Terror and Kidnaping teams of the Intelligent Services of CIA and Estekbarat? of Saudi Arabia.

    I was transferred to an unknowable (unknown) house in Saudi Arabia. Inside this house I was injected with drugs for making me unconscious. When I woke up I was next to a Big American person on my way to USA.

    During the eight months that I was kept in USA I was subjected to severe torture and psychological pressures by Interrogation teams of US Intelligent Agencies. The main aim of the pressures by these teams …by torturing me….in fact the objective was ….they were demanding I should take part in a TV interview with one of the US News Services….and confirm (claim) that I am an important verification of the Iranian Nuclear Program…and….I defected to USA with my own request….and…in this message of defection I carry a series of very important documents and credentials from my country together with a Laptop (computer) that contains secret document of Iranian Military Nuclear Program.

    The main goal of all this is to exert political pressure on Islamic Republic of Iran…in fact…convict (condemn) Iran…..also proving (verifying) these lies that US is continuously presenting against Iran.

    Here I ask the Human Rights Organizations and those who are involved in freeing the captives kept in foreign countries to take this case….in fact I was unjustly kidnaped from a third country and was brought to USA. My request is to use all their power and influence (actions) in order to free me.. facilitating my return to my beloved country of Iran.

    Now I direct my message to my endearing family…….if one day….really they see this (video) and hear my last words…I ask them to be patient.
    ……………………

    The translation from the other tape (source unknown)

    ………………………………
    Greetings and thanks to opportunity given to me enabling me to directly talk to international community.

    I, Shahram Amiri citizen of Islamic Republic of Iran [currently] reside in USA and intend to continue my education here. Here I am free and assure everyone that I am safe and secure. The objective of this declaration is to put an end to all rumors and accusations presented against me during the last year.

    I am an Iranian and have taken no step against my country. My desire is to see Iran and its people on the peaks of progress and success.

    Politically I am neutral and have no interest in political topics or discussions on any government or country. I don’t postulate (believe) in armament research and have no knowledge or experience on that field. I am just a simple researcher on health related physics studying and researching in the field of protection against radiation. During my stay in USA my goal is to obtain PhD in health related physics in order to promote the level of health and security of Iranians as well as the international community. After completing my education if I am provided safe and secure travel…(he didn’t complete this sentence). I hope my education here could be beneficial to Iranians and international educational and scientific communities.

    In this period of my educational and scientific activities here I am ardently missing my endearing wife Azar and my son Amir Hossein I know government of Islamic Republic of Iran will take care of my family and protect them. I want them to know that I will never leave them and always love them affectionately. My desire is, after finishing my education, to see them and join them again.

    I am appealing to everyone to stop presentation of untrue assumptions.

    Finally, I am thanking and appreciating the understanding and proper support of the international community for the positive achievements of Iran and the successes of its glorious (proud) inhabitants.

    Thanks.

    ………………………………

  70. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I agree with you that the latest sanctions measure is not necessarily a step toward war with Iran. For that matter, I think diplomacy still can succeed, though Obama’s foolishness in failing to support the Brazil/Turkey initiative hardly facilitates the matter.

    Zbigniev Brzezinski thinks Obama is blundering by not making use of Turkey to accomplish American goals in the Middle East.

  71. James Canning says:

    Bravo! In the Financila Times today (“Turkey -US tensions rise over UN vote on Iran”)”US officials describe what they say is constant pressure from the White House to secure a sanctions resolution and put ‘something in the “win column”‘.

    Childish enough? Put something in the “win column”! Regrettably, that probably is how Obama sees the issue.

  72. Rehmat says:

    YES – ground is being prepared for another American War for Israel. The more strict sanctions – the more Islamic regime will be pushed by public out-cry for the revival of military nuclear gram abandoned in 2003. It’s also possible that the Rehbar, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei may reconsider his ‘fatwa’ the WMDs are HARAM under Shari’ah.

    Is Iran searching for new source of Uraniam? Well, one has to watch Israeli spin, which had claimed that Dr. Ahmadinejad is Jewish, only last year. The Israeli Hasbara Committee mainstream media has already spread the rumour that Ahmadinejad had secretly made a deal with Robert Mugabe for Iran’s right to mine uranium in Zimbabwe.

    Mugabe’s journey from Tel Aviv to Tehran
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/mugabes-journey-from-tel-aviv-to-tehran/

  73. Liz says:

    I think we should definitely be prepared for confrontation and even war. For Iranians Obama is now just another Bush, if not worse.

  74. Liz says:

    Eric:

    Add it to this thread.

  75. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Arnold Evans:

    “But I disagree that these sanctions are a step toward open war with Iran.”

    I disagree with you on that point. In my opinion it is indeed a step toward open war with Iran.
    Towards the end of the second Bush administration, it had become obvious that at its current course (as of 2006-7), US was on a collision course with Iran (militarily).
    My hope was that the IQ level of Mr. Obama, and the OBVIOUS failures of the Bush policies in the Middle East, would make him(Obama) see the light and change US course from a disasterous collision with Iran, and would acknowledge the clear right of Iran to domestic Uranium enrichment and full fuel cycle and instead would just guarantee measures which would guarantee the Iranian non-diversion of its civilian nuclear program into a military one.
    Unfortunately my “hope” did not materialize. There is a saying in the “Gilaki” dialect of Persian which goes as “when the time comes for the rooster to be culled, it starts to peck the foot of the farm owner”. I am afraid the time for “culling” of USA is fast approaching and it has already picked its own doom.

    So here is my prediction for the next 5 years events:

    US will attack Iran and initiate an open war with Iran. The result of that war will be fairly similar to the Israeli misadventure against Lebanon in 2006:

    It will lay Iranian civilian infrastructure in ruins with thousands of civilian dead. This will happen at the cost of ME turning into a ball of fire and war.
    However, the most important historic aspect of this war will be the completion of the death of the American empire. THIS WILL BE THE LAST WAR OF AGRESSION THAT USA WILL WAGE AND IT WILL BE THE HERALD OF THE END OF USA AS A SUPERPOWER AND AS A DIRECT RESULT THE END OF THE ZIONIST OCCUPATIONAL ENTITY.

    Meanwhile in the due time Iran will rebuild itself (just as Lebanon did), Iran already has the most important requirement for full recovery from the damage of that war: “Independence and an unshakable will to sovereignity”.

    One last point, this war -if it ever comes- will be the official date for Iran becoming the 10th state with nuclear weapons.

  76. For anyone who’s interested, I just posted a long comment regarding sanctions on the preceding thread (with Obama’s photo) that I had intended to post here.

  77. Castellio says:

    If one were cynical, heaven forbid, one might say that the current administration will use its “war” with Iran to drive its re-election bid in 2012.

  78. Arnold Evans says:

    The demand that other countries not cooperate with Iran for mining just means that Iran cannot have a normal nuclear industry without western approval. That is being held as a bargaining chip. For the purpose of a nuclear option, Iran has more than enough uranium in its domestic stock.

    http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2010/05/irans-situation-today.html

    As far as Iran’s stock of uranium, Iran has plenty of uranium for strategic purposes. Westerners estimate that Iran has produced over 500 tons of the uranium compound that is fed into centrifuges for enrichment. The IAEA reports that by late 2009, 21 tons had been processed in Iranian centrifuges which yielded about 1800 kgs of low enriched uranium. If we roughly estimate that 15 tons of unenriched uranium in that form can yield an amount of low enriched uranium that could be further processed to make one weapon, then Iran has enough uranium that can be fed to centrifuges for over 30 weapons. There really is not a significant issue of Iran running out of uranium for strategic purposes.

  79. Iranian@Iran says:

    Iran will not back down. In fact, public opinion will demand that the Iranian government inflict the same amount of pain on Iran’s enemies.

  80. irshad says:

    Arnold Evans,

    Maybe unofficially, the Americans and Europeans are allowing the Iranians to accelerate their enrichment – in the hope that over the next couple of years – if not earlier – Iran will run out of its own indigenous Uranium thats mined in Iran.

    The part of the new sanctions, where it forbids Iran from investing in foregin Uraniums mining in other coutnries, led me to think this…what do you think?

  81. Arnold Evans says:

    I didn’t expect any sanctions resolution at all in 2010, even a mild one, because all it would do is accelerate Iran’s enrichment program.

    One thought that made me uneasy is that Iran has already passed the red lines. In 2008, Iran could threaten to increase its enrichment rate, which would cause Iran to reach 1.5 tons months faster than it would otherwise. In 2010, if Iran increases its rate by 50%, it will have maybe 7 tons at the end of Obama’s first term in office instead of 5. It isn’t as important a difference. An Iranian threat to increase its LEU production has become less powerful.

    The next semi-important expansion in Iran’s nuclear program will be storing some uranium in dispersed bomb-resistant locations and possibly casting uranium in metal form. The next very important expansion will be activating the Arak plutonium reactor. If it is possible to accelerate that, I expect to see an acceleration in the wake of this resolution.

    Outside of the nuclear issue, the Obama administration has just invited increased hostility from Iran in Afghanistan. At least some parties fighting the US will find themselves better equipped and armed because of this resolution, more effective at fighting US troops.

    With the US already not secure that its strategic goals in Afghanistan could be met given US resource capabilities, not only can this push the US over the edge to failure, but Iran now has a reason to actively work to make sure the US position in Afghanistan becomes a steady, permanent and unsuccessful drain on US resources. Today it became much less likely that Obama would ever be able to point to Afghanistan the way Bush pointed to Iraq (after the de-escalation of hostilities with Iran) and claim it is a success.

    But I disagree that these sanctions are a step toward open war with Iran.

  82. Kathryn says:

    American and NATO troops in Afghanistan and Iraq will be the one’s that pay the ultimate price for these sanctions. Anyone think it was a coincidence that a NATO chopper was shot down last night?

  83. WigWag says:

    “…before the Islamic Republic’s controversial presidential election—the Obama Administration has already “checked the box” to show that engaging Iran doesn’t work. Now it has started the process of “checking the box” to show that the “broadest and toughest” sanctions ever imposed on the Islamic Republic don’t work. And that will leave the Obama Administration with no other options except formal adoption of regime change as the explicit goal of its Iran policy—and/or military strikes against the Islamic Republic.” (Mann-Leverett/Leverett)

    Precisely.

  84. Dan Cooper says:

    Can anyone solve this Mystery?

    Mystery of Iranian Nuclear Scientist and the Duelling YouTube Videos

    Aljazeera English reports on the two contradictory videos that have surfaced, in one of which Dr. Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist, maintains that he was kidnapped while on pilgrimage to Mecca and is being held against his will in Arizona (an irony, since he would then be an involuntary illegal alien in a state that seems to mind the latter). The second video, also put up at YouTube, contradicts the allegations the first.

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/06/mystery-of-iranian-nuclear-scientist-and-the-duelling-youtube-videos.html

  85. Serifo says:

    The Obama administration was never interested in real engagement with Iran , it was all pure propaganda by a president who promised an engagement based on ” mutual ” interest and respect ! As the authors observed , the new U.S led sanctions don`t fit into the category of ” crippling sanctions “. Nevertheless I hope Iran will device its own strategic response , that will punish the U.S and its allies in the region.

  86. kooshy says:

    Nice video

    US, Israel seek regime change in Iran – Former CIA officer

    http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-06-09/us-regime-change-iran.html

  87. “The net effect [of the "optional" sanctions] will be to accelerate the reallocation of business opportunities in the Islamic Republic from Western states to China and other non-Western powers.”

    And if that’s the likely net effect of the optional sanctions to be adopted by the UNSC, one can only imagine how eager countries will be to run out and adopt additional sanctions on their own.