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The Race for Iran

Playing for Time on the Iranian Nuclear Issue

The following piece was originally published on www.TomDispatch.com.  We append below Tom Englehardt’s introduction and our article.

Tomgram: Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, Playing for Time on Iran

Recently, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta finally said it. The U.S. is “fighting a war” in the Pakistani tribal belt. Similarly, observers are starting to suggest that “war” is the right word for the American air and special operations campaign against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in southern Yemen. (There have already been 23 U.S. air strikes there this year.) Call that a war and you’re already up to three, including the Afghan one.

But consider the possibility that a fourth (partial) American war is underway in the shadows, and that it’s in Iran. This seems more evident today because of a recent New York Times report on the release of Stuxnet, the advanced cyberworm President Obama ordered sent to destroy Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. Since the Pentagon has defined such a release as an “act of war,” it’s reasonable to suggest that the U.S. is now “at war” with Iran, too.

In fact, you could say that, since at least 2008, when Congress granted the Bush administration up to $400 million “to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran,” including “cross-border” operations from Iraq, war has been the name of the game. Meanwhile, U.S. special operations forces were secretly training members of M.E.K., an Iranian opposition-group-cum-cult that’s still on the State Department’s terror list, at a Department of Energy site in the Nevada desert; the CIA was running a large-scale drone surveillance operation against the country — and that just touches on the shadowy American (as well as Israeli) state of war vis-à-vis Iran.

Having relabeled those conflicts, it might also be worth considering the way we describe our ongoing nuclear mania about Iran. After all, the world is already chock-a-block full of nuclear weapons, including the thousands the U.S. and Russia still possess, as well as those of Pakistan, a country we seem intent on destabilizing. And yet, the only nuclear weapon that ever seems to make the news, obsessively, repetitively, is the one that doesn’t exist — the Iranian bomb.

In times long gone, when a Chinese dynasty took over the “mandate of heaven,” one of the early ceremonies carried out by the new emperor was called “the rectification of names.” The thought was that the previous dynasty had fallen into ruin in part because the gap between reality and the names for it had grown so wide. We are, it seems, now in such a world. Some renaming is surely in order.

This, in a sense, is the task Iran experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, who run the Race for Iran blog, take on in their first appearance at TomDispatch. They remind us, among other things, that an American president did once decide to bring names and reality back together when it came to another rising regional power (which actually had nuclear weapons) — and he traveled to China to do it, startling the world. Unfortunately, though our planet has its surprises, it’s hard to imagine that a second-term Obama or a first-term Romney would be among them when it comes to our country’s Iran policy, which, in terms of reality, is the saddest story of all. Tom

Deep-Sixing the China Option
How the Obama Administration Is Stalling Its Way to War with Iran
By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

Since talks with Iran over its nuclear development started up again in April, U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that Tehran will not be allowed to “play for time” in the negotiations. In fact, it is the Obama administration that is playing for time.

Some suggest that President Obama is trying to use diplomacy to manage the nuclear issue and forestall an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear targets through the U.S. presidential election. In reality, his administration is “buying time” for a more pernicious agenda: time for covert action to sabotage Tehran’s nuclear program; time for sanctions to set the stage for regime change in Iran; and time for the United States, its European and Sunni Arab partners, and Turkey to weaken the Islamic Republic by overthrowing the Assad government in Syria.

Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, Antony J. Blinken, hinted at this in February, explaining that the administration’s Iran policy is aimed at “buying time and continuing to move this problem into the future, and if you can do that — strange things can happen in the interim.” Former Pentagon official Michèle Flournoy — now out of government and advising Obama’s reelection campaign — told an Israeli audience this month that, in the administration’s view, it is also important to go through the diplomatic motions before attacking Iran so as not to “undermine the legitimacy of the action.”

New York Times’ journalist David Sanger recently reported that, “from his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons” — even though he knew this “could enable other countries, terrorists, or hackers to justify” cyberattacks against the United States. Israel — which U.S. intelligence officials say is sponsoring assassinations of Iranian scientists and other terrorist attacks in Iran — has been intimately involved in the program.

Classified State Department cables published by WikiLeaks show that, from the beginning of the Obama presidency, he and his team saw diplomacy primarily as a tool to build international support for tougher sanctions, including severe restrictions on Iranian oil exports. And what is the aim of such sanctions? Earlier this year, administration officials told the Washington Post that their purpose was to turn the Iranian people against their government. If this persuades Tehran to accept U.S. demands to curtail its nuclear activities, fine; if the anger were to result in the Islamic Republic’s overthrow, many in the administration would welcome that.

Since shortly after unrest broke out in Syria, the Obama team has been calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, expressing outrage over what they routinely describe as the deaths of thousands of innocent people at the hands of Syrian security forces. But, for more than a year, they have been focused on another aspect of the Syrian situation, calculating that Assad’s fall or removal would be a sharp blow to Tehran’s regional position — and might even spark the Islamic Republic’s demise. That’s the real impetus behind Washington’s decision to provide “non-lethal” support to Syrian rebels attacking government forces, while refusing to back proposals for mediating the country’s internal conflicts which might save lives, but do not stipulate Assad’s departure upfront.

Meeting with Iranian oppositionists last month, State Department officials aptly summarized Obama’s Iran policy priorities this way: the “nuclear program, its impact on the security of Israel, and avenues for regime change.” With such goals, how could his team do anything but play for time in the nuclear talks? Two former State Department officials who worked on Iran in the early months of Obama’s presidency are on record confirming that the administration “never believed that diplomacy could succeed” — and was “never serious” about it either.

How Not to Talk to Iran

Simply demanding that Iran halt its nuclear activities and ratcheting up pressure when it does not comply will not, however, achieve anything for America’s position in the Middle East. Western powers have been trying to talk Iran out of its civil nuclear program for nearly 10 years. At no point has Tehran been willing to surrender its sovereign right to indigenous fuel cycle capabilities, including uranium enrichment.

Sanctions and military threats have only reinforced its determination. Despite all the pressure exerted by Washington and Tel Aviv, the number of centrifuges operating in Iran has risen over the past five years from less than 1,000 to more than 9,000. Yet Tehran has repeatedly offered, in return for recognition of its right to enrich, to accept more intrusive monitoring of — and, perhaps, negotiated limits on — its nuclear activities.

Greater transparency for recognition of rights: this is the only possible basis for a deal between Washington and Tehran. It is precisely the approach that Iran has advanced in the current series of talks. Rejecting it only guarantees diplomatic failure — and the further erosion of America’s standing, regionally and globally.

George W. Bush’s administration refused to accept safeguarded enrichment in Iran. Indeed, it refused to talk at all until Tehran stopped its enrichment program altogether. This only encouraged Iran’s nuclear development, while polls show that, by defying American diktats, Tehran has actually won support among regional publics for its nuclear stance.

Some highly partisan analysts claim that, in contrast to Bush, Obama was indeed ready from early in his presidency to accept the principle and reality of safeguarded enrichment in Iran. And when his administration failed at every turn to act in a manner consistent with a willingness to accept safeguarded enrichment, the same analysts attributed this to congressional and Israeli pressure.

In truth, Obama and his team have never seriously considered enrichment acceptable. Instead, the president himself decided, early in his tenure, to launch unprecedented cyberattacks against Iran’s main, internationally monitored enrichment facility. His team has resisted a more realistic approach not because a deal incorporating safeguarded enrichment would be bad for American security (it wouldn’t), but because accepting it would compel a more thoroughgoing reappraisal of the U.S. posture toward the Islamic Republic and, more broadly, of America’s faltering strategy of dominating the Middle East.

The China Option

Acknowledging Iran’s right to enrich would require acknowledging the Islamic Republic as a legitimate entity with legitimate national interests, a rising regional power not likely to subordinate its foreign policy to Washington (as, for example, U.S. administrations regularly expected of Egypt under Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak). It would mean coming to terms with the Islamic Republic in much the same way that the United States came to terms with the People’s Republic of China — another rising, independent power — in the early 1970s.

America’s Iran policy remains stuck in a delusion similar to the one that warped its China policy for two decades after China’s revolutionaries took power in 1949 — that Washington could somehow isolate, strangle, and ultimately bring down a political order created through mass mobilization and dedicated to restoring national independence after a long period of Western domination. It didn’t work in the Chinese case and it’s not likely to in Iran either.

In one of the most consequential initiatives in American diplomatic history, President Nixon and Henry Kissinger finally accepted this reality and aligned Washington’s China policy with reality. Unfortunately, Washington’s Iran policy has not had its Nixonian moment yet, and so successive U.S. administrations — including Obama’s — persist in folly.

The fact is: Obama could have had a nuclear deal in May 2010, when Brazil and Turkey brokered an agreement for Iran to send most of its low-enriched uranium abroad in return for new fuel for a research reactor in Tehran. The accord met all the conditions spelled out in letters from Obama to then-Brazilian President Lula and Turkish Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan — but Obama rejected it, because it recognized Iran’s right to enrich. (That this was the main reason was affirmed by Dennis Ross, the architect of Obama’s Iran policy, earlier this year.) The Obama team has declined to reconsider its position since 2010 and, as a result, it is on its way to another diplomatic failure.

As Middle Eastern governments become somewhat more representative of their peoples’ concerns and preferences, they are also — as in Egypt and Iraq — becoming less inclined toward strategic deference to the United States. This challenges Washington to do something at which it is badly out of practice: pursue genuine diplomacy with important regional states, based on real give and take and mutual accommodation of core interests. Above all, reversing America’s decline requires rapprochement with the Islamic Republic (just as reviving its position in the early 1970s required rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China).

Instead, three and a half years after George W. Bush left office, his successor continues to insist that Iran surrender to Washington’s diktats or face attack. By doing so, Obama is locking America into a path that is increasingly likely to result in yet another U.S.-initiated war in the Middle East during the first years of the next presidential term. And the damage that war against Iran will inflict on America’s strategic position could make the Iraq debacle look trivial by comparison.

Direct link: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175559/tomgram%3A_flynt_and_hillary_mann_leverett%2C_playing_for_time_on_iran/#more.


226 Responses to “Playing for Time on the Iranian Nuclear Issue”

  1. delia ruhe says:

    “. . . Obama is locking America into a path that is increasingly likely to result in yet another U.S.-initiated war in the Middle East during the first years of the next presidential term.”

    Or slightly earlier — an October Surprise — depending on the polling.

    I cannot understand Obama’s arrogance vis-a-vis Iran. He consistently reminds me of pre-Iraq Bush (except that arrogance looked silly on Bush and looks serious and thus more dangerous on Obama).

    The rules of the NPT are clear, and it’s clear that Iran isn’t going to budge until it has secured its rights under the NPT. Obama knows that, which is why he’s practicing cyberwarfare.

  2. James Canning says:


    The Kennedy administration’s deal with the USSR, ending the Missile Crisis in 1962, called for the US not to invade Cuba or help others to invade Cuba. Most European countries have contempt for the continuing US sanctions against Cuba which have zero object of bringing down the Castro governemnt. The crucial element continues to be what compensation, if any, would be paid for properties expropriated after Castro took power.

  3. James Canning says:

    An unhappy indication of things to come? Robert McNally in today’s FT (“There is little time to lose in tightening the noose on Iran”), calls for a “quarantine” on Iran’s oil exports if Iran continues its “acceleration” of its nuclear programme.

  4. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    I don’t recall making any comment about any actress. I explained the general rule. One more time, if somebody who is nominally Muslim- for example by birth- and denies that there is such a thing as sharia/laws or denies a part of it- for example there is no such thing as obligatory daily prayers or fasting during Ramadhan- then there legal hukm is kafer. Keep thinking it’s not that complicated. Maybe a little twirling or a tune on the ney will help you out. Yes of course somebody can be a murderer and a Muslim. Your not making sense. Stick to strategic analysis.

    Love reading your posts. My view is that most concept that are Quranic or shari’ should not be translated, they should become part of the English language. “Jihade ebtedai” is such a case, there is no satisfactory English equivalent.

    Moving on to the next thread…

  5. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    June 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm
    James if the things that the us did to cuba are not in your opinion attempts to crush it then I would hate to see what you would consider crushing,what on earth would you consider the bay of pigs to be then?,the attempts on castros life,the numerous acts of terrorism and sabotage throughout the country by us backed groups,the harsh sanctions that continue even to this very day.It is very clear that the us wants to return cuba back to what it once was a us colony in everything but name,and in order to do that it is willing to inflict enormous suffering on the cuban people

  6. fyi says:


    I would like to draw your attention to the posting by Mr. Unknown Unknowns on
    June 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm.

    If what he articulates is ever realized it will be the first time in 800 years – since the execution of the last Abbasid Khalif – that a central authority is to emerge in Islam – albeit among Shia Muslims.

    We could be present at a truly historical moment.

    [I am not stating this in jest.]

  7. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    The woman you labeled “kafir” in an earlier post, the actrress from Northern Tehran, had she “consciously denied sharia or part of the sharia”?

    I think not.

    Yet you called her a “kafir”.

    Had a woman in Europe or North America dressed herself like that, Iranian media would have published her praises as “mohajabeh” etc.

    That criminal, the man who threw acid in the face of that poor grils, Ameneh, was he a Muslim?

    If so, why is he considred a Muslim and the woman in Northern Tehran a kafir?

    And if he is no longer a Muslim, is he now totally kafir? Or only partially?

    Just exactly how much law breaking does it take for some one to become a kafir?

    Clearly, as long as one does not “consciously deny sharia or part of the sharia” one could go on being a mass-murderer and still remain a Muslim.

    Like those two young men that were kidnapping, raping, and murdering little Afghan boys.

    No, God forbid that they be kafirs.

    They were executed as Muslims.

    I am sure that makes very many people pleased.

  8. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    BibiJon, fyi
    As a muqalid of the Supreme Leader, you can guess what my view is of his statement. I have only stated the musalam view among contemporary Islamic scholars- Shia and Sunni- that anyone who consciously denies sharia or part of the sharia has the hukm of kafer. What’s “in their heart” is of no legal concern to me and is between them and their Lord. Unfortunately some people do not understand the distinction between a legal and non-legal matter and this essentially has nothing to do whether we are talking about Islamic law or any other legal system.

    I’ve commented extensively on Soroush previously, please refer to previous posts. Again the musalam view among Islamic scholars is that the rules stated in the Quran are until the day of judgement, not limited to the time of the Prophet (sawas) one of the reasons being that they are stated motlaq, without qayd and this is asl in human communication, and anyone claiming the contrary has to bring a daleel of equal strength to overturn this asl.

    There are cases like hurmate zihar talaq mentioned the Quran which rarely occur today, but otherwise the asl is that the laws mentioned in the Quran are until judgement day.

    This would of course include slavery which in Islamic law occurs only in the context of jihad ebtedai- which for example Ayat. Khoi said is jaez in ghaybate kubra. The majority view remains that jihade ebtedai is not jaez in ghaybate kubra. I personally find Ayat. Khoi’s arguments convincing, but as a muqalid my personal view is not relevant.

    In terms of the takfiri suicide bomber question my explanations about the basis of tashrii in takwin answers fyi’s question if thinking about it doesn’t test the limits of his rationality.

    In terms of the Kermani guys- if they did it on their own without permission from their wali amr legally they are murderers and will be punished in the afterlife. If they did it on the orders of the waliye faqih they are legally not murderers- if the people killed did not deserve to be murdered in reality the guys will be punished in the afterlife. If the people killed deserved to be killed in reality the guys will get two sawabs in the afterlife- one for obeying their wali and one for killing those that deserved it.

    If the guys did it on the order of waliye masoom (as)- I think you can guess this one.

  9. James Canning says:


    The US has not tried to “crush” North Korea. And China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have serious concerns about NK’s nukes.

    US has not tried to “crush” Cuba. Politically influential Cuban-Americans have a property dispute with the Cuban gov,t, and they cause US policy to be what it is as pressure on Cuban gov’t.

  10. James Canning says:

    South Korea will stop buyiing Iranian oil within a few days. Lack of insurance for the oil tankers.

  11. Unknown Unknowns says:


    What do I think of the words of my Imam?

    OK, I’ll take a stab at that. (Fasten your seat-belt, Photi-san)

    My belief is informed by and in line with the views of Imam Khomeini and that of the overwhelming majority of the senior ulama and fuqaha of the faith (as usual), so what you are about to read is not just my opinion or belief (though that it is), but is the consensus view of Shi’a scholarship on your question.

    I believe him to be God’s Hujjat (or hujjah) for all humankind in the (physical) absence of the Imam of the Age (may God hasten his reemergence), i.e. in the Age of Occultation. I’m going to define that word, but bear in mind that the definition has historically been applied only to the Fourteen Impeccables (The Prophet, Hazrat Fatimah az-Zahra, and the 12 Imams – with all of whom be God’s peace), but that this has changed since the significant theological shift that was the triumph of Imam Khomeini’s movement. But it is imperative to bear in mind that there are lajor differences between a hujjat who is impeccable or inerrant (ma’sum) and one who is not.

    This word *hujjat* came up in Ayatollah Javadi’s book, and I tried to come up with even a half-way decent definition of it in the various encyclopedias that are out there (including those in the Persian language) for use in the explanatory footnote, and as I could not find a decent definition, I took a stab at lexicography myself, so please forgive the rough edges as lexicography is (obviously) not my province. Here is the paragraph in which the word first appears in the text:

    In a tradition of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq’s (with whom be peace) he is related to have said that if there were no more than two people left on Earth, of a certainty one of them would be an Imam and God’s hujjah or (necessary Existential and Testamentary) Proof (for Sentencing on Judgment Day), and that the last of the two to die would also be the Imam, for if the Imam is not present on Earth, it is possible to provide excuses before God (on Judgment Day) and ask of Him why He abandoned us on Earth without a (Voucher and) Proof (of His Existence and Design).

    And this is what I came up with:

    There are two complimentary sides to the meaning of this key word in the context of Shi’a theosophical fiqh. Firstly, a hujjah or hujjat; a hujjatollah or hujjat of God, is a living, breathing, talking (Qur’an-e natiq) embodiment of the wilayah of God on Earth, wilayah being His religio-ethical, legal and political authority to execute or implement His Divine Plan (as revealed through his Divine Writ, the Koran), on Earth, and hujjah or hujjat being the investiture of that wilayah (or authority to execute the Divine Writ) in bodily form in the person of the Prophet or one of the Imams. In this first sense, the Imam acts as a channel or conduit for the conveyance of God’s Will (his Plan of how man is and is not to conduct himself), and as such, the Imam must be ma’sum or be in possession of the quality known as ismat, which means that he must be inerrent, immaculate, protected from error and sin, for otherwise, he could not act as a proxy or perfect channel, thus defeating the purpose for his existence. And so, a hujjat is by definition a Perfect Man (always in perfect possession of his fitric nature), and as such, is luminous in the extreme. The Adamic and Muhammadan Light that exudes from his being and which resonates within the heart of each and every son and daughter of Adam reminds us of and takes us back (ta’wil) to our fitric (pre-eternal or azalic) nature, which we are wont to become heedless of (gheflah or gheflat), absent God’s hujjat on Earth (back to the Promise (mithaq) that we made on the Day of Alast, thereby taking on the onus of the Trust (amanah). It is this function (of bringing man back to himself, ta’wil) that is the primary meaning of this word, for having this thaumaturgic ability and function transforms the hierophant (Prophet or Imam) into a living and self-evident Divine Proof (hujjah) of the existence of God. Now the obverse meaning follows logically, for if one has been in the (physical and/ or spiritual) presence of the Perfect Man and the self-evident embodied Proof of God’s existence, and the Executor (wali) of his Will and Divine Writ (Sacred Communal Law), then one no longer has an excuse come Judgment Day for not having lived one’s life in accordance with that Will and Divine Writ (the personal obligations and social ordinances of the Koran), and if one is inclined to proffer pretexts as might come to mind at the time of Judgment, then God’s hujjat will be called to act as Evidentiary and Testamentary Proof against any and all transgressors of the bounds of the Sacred Laws of Islam (self-surrender unto God), before being dispensed with directly (forthwith: Do not pass Go, do not collect $200) to Hell. [4:165] [We sent all these] apostles as heralds of glad tidings and as warners, so that men might have no excuse before God after [the coming of] these apostles: and God is indeed almighty, wise.


    The *hujjat* of Imam Khamenei (may God preserve him) can be likened to the light of the moon which though not luminous in and of itself (in its essence) unlike the Sun, yet still radiates Mohammadan light (through a process of reflection) in the Age of Occultation which is the Night that is the result of the Sun having gone into a state of occultation. May God hasten the reappearance of the Sun of the Age. Ameen.

    And until then, may God increase the unity of the ayatollahs under Imam Khamenei’s wilayah and make fast their bay’at (pledge of fealty) to him, and make them realize that since the advent of the wilayah of the faqih, that it is no longer appropriate that the community be divided into different micro-wilayahs under the tutelage of each respective ayatollah, and that they must find their place under the tent and pyramid of the wali al-faqih, as they have pleadged, which can only mean that while they retain their function of mujtahid, they must subsume thier function of marja’iat under that of teh only true marja’ of the ummah, which is Imam Khamenei (may God preserve him and increase his nurturing shade over the community of believers). Ameen.


    * * *


    Professor: I did not know that about Ayatollah Khoi’s stance of Jihad-e Ebtedai. Interesting, reassuring, and yes, not, alhamdullah, surprising. I kicked that term around a little bit too, as it is usually translated by “Primary” or “Elementary” Jihad. Here’s my footnote for my rendering of the phrase, which I have not seen anywhere else, including the internet, which is, “Preemptive Jihad”:

    This phrase has not been translated into English with any frequency yet, but when it is, it is usually translated by ‘Primary Jihad’ or ‘Elementary Jihad’, which are both literal translations of the wrong sense of the intended meaning of the word ibtedai, which can mean primary or elementary, but can also literally mean instigative, initiating or initiatory. The basic sense is a declaration of war and going on the offensive, but an offensive that is provoked by conditions of tyranny, oppression and injustice that prevent God’s truth from having its day in the court of public opinion. Because it is the duty of the Moslem community to fight tyranny and arrogance, and because failure to do so would ultimately result in an existential threat to its own survival (through attrition), this duty is also a preventive survival measure. So it is instigative, but in a specific sense of the word ‘instigation’, namely preventive instigation. Hence, I have preferred the use of preemptive over instigative. In addition to its having the virtue of being more specific and accurate, it is also much less likely to be misunderstood, and does not lend itself as readily to those who have no respect for truth and would misuse the term as a means to their own deviant ends.

    There, BiBiJon, now you can mark today down on your calender as the day you learned *two* new things from your brother.

  12. Castellio says:

    So finally we have the source (a source?) of FYI’s continued misrepresentations of Protestantism, it’s critique of “revelation”.

    Historically, for those interested, the Protestant critique of revelation wasn’t anti-revelation, but anti-Papal authority as divine spokesperson for revelation. The Pope was considered infallible, both in worldly and religious judgements. To challenge corruption in the church and in the greater society was to run up against Papal authority, which, like the Egyptian military, ran the state and owned much of its wealth.

    The Protestant challenge, unrecognized by FYI, was that revelation had to be rediscovered in and separated from the historical accretions of institutional corruption.

  13. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: June 27, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Mr. Khamenei is an intellectual man and a literatti.

    [He used to frequent Shahabad street in Tehran book vendors hoping that a student (daneshjoo) would deign to engage him in a conversation.]

    He has tried, when he was president and since he has become the Supreme Jurisprudent to inject Rationalism into various discourses in Iran; specially as it pertains to issues of Revelation, Law, and Jurisprudence.

    So personally am very sympathetic to his position and his efforts.

    But you have to understand that Islam, like Judaism or Sikhism, is an emotional religion for an emotional people.

    Trying to get Iranians to think dispassionately and with the tools that Reason provides is very difficult indeed.

    There were many mullahs that shunned the late Mr. Khomeini (and his family) when he was teaching at Qum because he (Mr. Khomeini) also taught Muslim philosophy.

    In regards to Mr. Soroush: I think that some of his arguments are useful in causing people to think things out – one could hope.

    Some other ones – like “Divine Inspiration” as a “natural” explanation for the Revelation – reminds me of the worst naturalisms of Protestant Christians in US and UK.

    He has a role to play perhaps in causing people to wake up from their intellectual slumber.

    It is funny, in a way, when both Mr. Khamenei and Dr. Ajoudani urge Iranians to think rationally.

  14. BiBiJon says:

    UU,fyi, and BiB:

    What do you think about Ay. Khamenei’s response:

    “Those who are employing “philosophy or pseudo-philosophy” to “pervert the nation’s mind” should not be dealt with “by declaring apostasy and anger” but rather countered with the “religious truths” that will falsify their arguments.”

    He was addressing Abdulkarim Soroush:

    “When a verse in the Koran or a saying attributed to Muhammad refers to cutting off a thief’s hand or stoning to death for adultery, it only tells us the working rules and regulations of the prophet’s era. Today’s Muslims are not obliged to follow in these footsteps if they have more humane means at their disposal.”

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/magazine/07wwln-essay-t.html?_r=1&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

  15. Rd. says:

    Wilbur says:

    ARTICLE 1:
    (a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by their subordination to Allah and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. The true religion is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human integrity.
    (b) All human beings are Allah’s subjects, and the most loved by Him are those who are most beneficial to His subjects, and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.
    (My comment: Notice the absence of the word “rights” but instead the use of “dignity”. Along with item B this clearly states Muslims have a higher standard/rights than non Muslims and the only way to attain equal dignity is of course to become Muslim.)


    Unless I missed something, where do you see the clear statement referring to “Muslims”? In place of “All human beings”?? Unless you equate all human beings as Muslims?

    Or did you miss-type the content of the ARTICLE?

    OR perhaps your lenses are somewhat COLORED?

    Please clarify.

  16. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 27, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I have used “sufi” in its vernacular usage and not the re-defined one that you have supplied.

    By that definition (yours) there has only been a single individual who has been a Sufi – Jesus, the Blessed son of Mary, the Immaculate Perfect Man.

    I confess that I do not have the detailed knowledge of Jaafari Fiqh that you seem to posess.

    If you could please, explain how Jaafari Fiqh deals with the issue of Slavery in Sharia?

    And please also explain why those Kermani young men who were murdering young men and women were wrong?

    And, based on your knowledge of Fiq, what is wrong with man who wlaks into a Shia mosque and explodes himself?

    He almost certainly believes that he will go to heaven since he is defending Sharia and Islam.

  17. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I am not sure what your point is; I was there in Kurdistan and saw the poverty as well.

    And I am glad that the Islamic Republic has done so much for so many all over Iran.

    No one is questioning that, I should hope.

    Certainly not I.

  18. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: June 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Iran and North Korea and Cuba are states that the United States has tried to crush for their independence.

    Just like the Ba’athist Iraq.

    Mr. Litwak understands all of that.

    The positive content of his piece is the open acknowledgement that US and EU do not have a War Option.

    The negative content is that he still think that US and EU have a sanctions options.

    Unfortunately, the Siege War against Iran has to continue for the next few years for the leaders of these states to acknowledge that they do not have Sanctions Option either.

    In the meantime, Islamic political movements will work through Arab states, dislodging all these bayonete-secularism governments.

  19. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: June 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    And I guess the Afghans who cultivate opium are crypto-Jews?

    Likewise the Mexican cartels are Zionist Front Organizationss?

    And the South Americans who grow coco?

    Please, stopy lying to yourself and others.

  20. Rehmat says:

    Speaking at a UN-sponsored conference commemorating the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Tehran – Iran’s first vice-president Mohammad Reza Rahimi, said that Zionists control international narcotics business which they use to destroy human societies across the globe.


  21. BiBiJon says:

    Need a compass to figure out which Korea belongs with Iran in the same sentence

    Marveling at how many times ROBERT S. LITWAK mentions “N. Korea” and “Iran” in the same sentence (,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/opinion/living-with-nuclear-outliers.html)

    Considering it a high honor to be badmouthed by the likes of Litwak in rags such as NYtimes, I felt South Korea is being unfairly under-accorded Litwakish accolades.


    Anyways there continues to be hope that in this world up will refuse to be down, and the correct spelling for “cause” is “e f f e c t”.

    Of all the squeaky (nuclear) clean countries, of course, it had to be pants-on-fire-South Korea which severed its economic relations with the “outlier” Iran.


  22. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi-san: What can I say? You got me! :) Or, alternately, No, what I meant was, she was na-mahram to Adam before they married, which is why she covered up. Yeah, that’s it. And I’m stickin’ to it.

    It is permanently unlawful for a man to marry the following (hence he will be considered *mahram* to them):

    a) Mother, grandmother, and on up
    b) Paternal grandmother, and on up
    c) Daughters, grand daughters, and on down
    d) All type of sisters (whether full or half)
    e) Maternal and paternal aunts
    f) Nieces (brother’s or sister’s daughters)


    In other news: Apparently we have a not-so-observant “Observer” in our midst:

    Squint-Eyed Observer says:
    June 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

    “The mentalities of Bussed-in Basiji and Unknown Unknowns (two self-proclaimed members of the Revolutionary Guards/Basiji)…”

    I don’t recall ever making such a proclamation. I think the level of information of this cretin is that any Iranian who does not fit into the slave-mentality mindset scripted by the Writer/Directors of the New Atlantis Reality Studio is a “Revolutionary Guards/Basiji”. Stupid.

  23. fyi says:

    Wilbur says: June 27, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Your staments are prejudiced and I have to rebut them through rhetorical devices.

    Where were you, Western people, when Germans, Poles, Italians, Hungarians, Ukranians, and Romanians were murdering Jews, gypsies, and many others all over Europe?

    Where were your parents and grandparents during the time period from 1876 to 1966 when blackmen were being lynched all over the United States?

    And pray tell me how was it that the Secualr Turkish Republic expelled one and all Pontic Greeks from ancestral lands but Ottoman Muslims let them be?

    And were where you when US was starving Iraqis to death; what did your Universal Declaration of Human Rights at that time? Where Iraqis not human?

    And while I am at it, I would ask you to tell me where were you when Hindu mobs were blazing a path of rapine, arson, theft and murder in Gujarat this past 2002?

    Historical record of Islam, over 1400 years, stands for more tolerance of alien religions than any society on Earth.

  24. BiBiJon says:

    “The Western-dominated system that is strangling Iran, can do the same to others should their geopolitics be deemed inconvenient. Iran today, could be Russia or Brazil tomorrow.”


    “What then, can the BRICS do? Apart from the already proposed multilateral BRICS Bank, should be a clearing union and insurance club to facilitate international trade, finance and transportation.”

    Read the rest of the article in James’ favorite source:

  25. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Apparently you did not see enough before the revolution. No please, I insist you speak to the Kermani gentleman and I want to see for myself how exactly you explain to him that the revolution is a disaster.

    You can also talk to the old Sunni Kurdish lady which my grandmother and mother picked up from the top of the trash mountain she was living on. My grandmother- you know the one that the haraamzadeh nasebi Bahai women tore the headscarf off her head as a child- my mother and my aunts spent the whole day washing and delousing her so she could help around the house, I insist you talk to the old Sunni Kurdish woman who was in that state back then and whose son today is an MD from Shahid Beheshti U (thats “Daneshgah Melli” for you taghutis)based on his merit and paid for by the Islamic Republic and the other son is an engineer from Sharif (that would be “Aryamehr” for the taghutis) based on his merit and paid for by you guessed it.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand this history is a fool.

  26. BiBiJon says:

    Wilbur says:
    June 27, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Could you please put a numerical value to, or otherwise quantify in some concrete terms, by religion of course, the numbers of:

    Square miles of territory / gallons of water / tons of minerals usurped
    People killed
    people economically/politically repressed by direct rule, and/or indirectly, e.g. propping up a local oppressive dictator.

    Thanks in advance.

  27. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Imam Khomeini was not a “sufi”, he was an arif. Your mistake is that you conflate the two.

    A sufi is one who deems himself so advanced that laws don’t apply to him anymore- divine, social, ritual, personal laws. An arif reaches Haqiqah through shariat and tariqah- meaning correct aqaid, hefze akhlaq, emtesale ahkaam.

    Whatever you have “tasted” as a sufi is only your nafs not Haqiqah, if it was not within the framework of fiqhe Jafari. Just a little friendly advise from one salik to another- one of the great urafa told me this many years ago- and he wasn’t even a mullah!

    What a great honor for me to be debating a person who has ascended to the highest realms of sufi experience, realms that even the Prophet (sawas) and Imam Ali(as)- the master of all Sufi orders- did not ascend to. They maintained that their spiritual rank did not allow them to abandon sharia. Apparently your rank allows you to do so. I’ll stick with the Prophet(sawas) and Imam Ali(as).

    And you have no idea what I have tasted or not tasted- nor is it your business- but don’t be surprised if Jesus (as)- “Ruhollah”- and I come into your dreams one night and kick your ass (a little “sufi” humor, with your permission).

    In terms of sharia, if you had a clue- which you apparently don’t- the Shia view is that there are things that are really/takwinan good or bad and based on that the Lawgiver legislates laws/shariat. This is different than our Sunni brothers and virtually all other religions which make the irrational claim that something is good or bad because God legislated it. (Which means that the criticism that atheists/secularists have of other religions on this matter is correct but not applicable to the Shias).

    So for example it is really/takwinan good that you spend time within the 24 hour cycle of night and day to remember God and based on this reality/takwin, God legislates/tashrii things like obligatory prayers. And as mentioned before your tashrii choice as an individual whether to pray or not, determines your takwini state- but does not change the underlying reality upon which the law was legislated. But of course you have progressed to higher levels and little twirling and a little tune on the ney are enough for you to ascend. Oh please teach me!

    Of course this also means that rationaly/inductively we can reach knowledge of what is really/takwinan good or bad by examining laws/sharia. For example in most western societies (with exceptions in the southern US states and southern Italy) it is “wrong” to marry your first cousin. If we look at sharia there is no such prohibition- we can “rationally” claim that marrying your first cousin is not “wrong”. That doesn’t mean you have to marry your first cousin or should be forced to which is what happens in many Arab societies- it just means there is nothing moral/ethically wrong if you do- contrary to the dominant “moral” view in the west.

    Same applies to the issue of 4 permanent wives with the conditions stipulated in the law and other examples. But given that the west now seems to be accepting two men being married, the 4 wives thing shouldn’t be so morally reprehensible- as Wilbur said, in the spirit of my close friend Jesus (as), if you are going to accept two men getting married please “accept” this one as well. OK?

    I think Wilbur has gotten the gist of it pretty well. Only thing I would add is that there is nothing virtuous about accepting falsehood and what’s worse is that he wants to do it in Jesus’ (as) name. I suggest that what Wilbur claims to be from Jesus (as) is not from Jesus (as). The true and real inheritors (warith) of Jesus (as) are the Imams (as). What you have as Christianity today is for your ameh.

    In other words, Jesus (as)- pardon me Hazrat Isa (as)- is on our team- “Team Hezbollah”.

  28. Karl.. says:


    I cant see it anything but but an endorsement, of course it will be more sanctions on Iran (that fact doesnt say anything about them being 1.Justified 2. Legitimate 3. Legal), what you do is to accept it and justify it, you even say Iran “blundered”, meaning Iran did wrong and sanctions is therefore justified.

  29. Wilbur says:


    Yes Islam of antiquity has shown tolerance of other faiths while Christians have not. The operative word is “tolerance” not acceptance. Islamic scripture makes it quite clear unbelief cannot be accepted but instead the umma must strive to eradicate unbelief until all worship is for Allah. That essentially means while they can tolerate non believers they cannot accept them. Instead we are a step below simply because we refuse to submit. It is why non Muslims are referred to as Kafirs otherwise know as concealers of the truth. When you take the aforementtioned sentence into context of the greater picture it essentially means we are guilty by virtue of our unbelief. This fact it easily verified by the actions of Muslims, their states, and organizational bodies who daily partake in propagating laws/norms that not only mandate but in fact institutionalize the discrimination of religious minorities. The treatment of Baha’is is not unique but to varying degrees applicable to all religious minorities across the Islamic world. The Copts you reference are a poster child for what happens to non Muslims under Islam. One only needs to google “persecution of Copts” to final a daily rundown of what they have to deal with. Likewise if you insert Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other faith and google persecution in some Muslim majority area you will find very similar circumstances of persecution and legalized human rights violations. It’s why human rights groups year after year always rank Muslim sates as bar none the world leaders when it comes to human and religious rights abuses.

    On the flip side when one googles persecution of Muslims in the West you find it but it is on a scale exponentially less than in the Islamic world. I attribute that to the fact that not only does Western civilization tolerate but more importantly acctually accepts Islam albeit on their own terms. We do so because we believe in free speech, freedom of religion, and equality of all regardless of what faith you follow. This acceptance in my opinion was reached because of the unique predisposition of the Christian and Judaic heritage to a separation of state and religion. Further evolution blending the ideas of Greek thought (critical thought) distilled this to what we have today. In short we are taught not only to tolerate but to accept others regardless of their beliefs with the red line being the Universal Decleration of Human rights. Islam rejected the universal declaration of human rights and authored their own called the Cairo Decleration of human rights which each Islamic state ratified. Below are some excepts from this declearation:

    ARTICLE 1:
    (a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by their subordination to Allah and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. The true religion is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human integrity.

    (b) All human beings are Allah’s subjects, and the most loved by Him are those who are most beneficial to His subjects, and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.

    (My comment: Notice the absence of the word “rights” but instead the use of “dignity”. Along with item B this clearly states Muslims have a higher standard/rights than non Muslims and the only way to attain equal dignity is of course to become Muslim.)

    ARTICLE 10:

    Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to force him to change his religion to another religion or to atheism.

    (My comment: This is the only mention of freedom religion. It conveniently leaves out the the death penalty for apostasy nor the prohibition of other faiths missionary work under Islamic law.)

    ARTICLE 17:

    (a) Everyone shall have the right to live in a clean environment, away from vice and moral corruption, that would favour a healthy ethical development of his person and it is incumbent upon the State and society in general to afford that right.

    (b) Everyone shall have the right to medical and social care, and to all public amenities provided by society and the State within the limits of their available resources.

    (c) The States shall ensure the right of the individual to a decent living that may enable him to meet his requirements and those of his dependents, including food, clothing, housing, education, medical care and all other basic needs.

    (My comments: What is vice and moral corruption under Sharia? That would be unbelief which is supposedly the well spring from which vice and corruption emminate.)

    ARTICLE 22:

    (a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

    1.. Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.

    (c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.

    (d) It is not permitted to excite nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form or racial discrimination.

    (My comments: Well free speech just went out the door on this one. This article clearly states this speech cannot be detrimental to Islam which means what you and I know to be critique of Islam is dead in the water with this article. Sadly it is what theocratic regimes such as Iran often use as justification for their many executions.)

    ARTICLE 24:

    All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.

    (My comment: This is the lynchpin of this whole document making it plainly clear only God’s laws are relevant which means the Islamic state can take ones life, deny free speech, impose laws mandating inequality, and a host of other nasties. )

    In summary my main point revolves around the notion of acceptance. When one considers under Islam that unbelief is the greatest evil, the well spring of all corruption, and is something a Muslim can never accept how long do you think tolerance can truly last? It can’t last very long because from the get go you were never truly accepted but in fact predetermined guilty because you chose to believe in something other that Allah. That my friend is a recipe for distaster and why the Islamic world has an endemic problem simply getting along with the other. On the contrary acceptance as an equal is a hallmark of modern Western civilization and why from a human development standpoint we are lights years ahead of the Islamic world. Sadly the Muslim world doesn’t see this simply because by theocratic mandate they are only able to view the world through the prism of Islam rendering any other truth moot. Instead they demand we tolerate the intolerant and do so knowing full well the rights Muslims in the West are guaranteed will never nor have ever been reciprocated to religious minorities under Islamic rule. They can’t because their religion demands it and of course since it is “perfect” it renders it moot in ever considering the fundamentals of their faith are in fact part of the problem.


  30. Unknown Unknowns says:

    An interesting (seemingly unattributed) snippet from the current lead article at Voltairnet:

    It has become clear that the worsening of the conflict has deeply shaken U.S. diplomacy, which was forced, in April 2012, to sound the retreat –albeit only verbally- from confrontation and to state that the U.S. was not engaged in a cold war with China. That came after a meeting between the Chinese Prime Minister and Kofi Annan, during which the latter was informed that China and Russia are now the leading world powers, ranking respectively first and second, and that he, Kofi Annan, had to coordinate with them. As a front-row witness to the unipolar world stretching from 1991 to the early 21st century, Annan would now have to witness the downfall of that same world, having to accept that Moscow and Beijing are henceforth in charge of issues relating to the Eastern Mediterranean.

  31. hans says:

    Rehmat says:
    June 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Even though, the late Mr. Khoemini, in a letter to his son, explicitly forbid him to deny the Truth of msyticism.

    Yasser Ali, a Mursi aide, told Reuters:

    There was never a meeting with the Iranian news agency Fars and what was taken as statements has no basis in truth.

    There seem to be a huge discrepancy between Fars News and it’s Fars News english-language site? Has Fars News been compromised?

  32. Wilbur says:


    Sadly it seems you are trapped in web of solipsism crafted by your own hands. As usual your response is indicative of a mindset that considers nothing else but what you have already rationalized as the the “truth.”. Instead all I have ever gotten back is evasion, moral equivocation, and well nothing!


  33. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: June 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I had thought my position is quite clear; evidently not.

    I am not opposed to Sharia – a body of Laws that has evolved over centuries.

    I believe that certain of its precepts ought to be re-formulated or changed.

    For example, if you recall, several years ago the blood money of Muslims, Jes, Christians, and Zoroastrians were equalized – after 1400 years.

    If that item could be altered, so could other rules and regulation.

    There is nothing holy or invioable about them, except those that have been directly and clearly been banned by the Quran.

    My position is this: conformance to Sharia is not tantamount to Righteousness’ it will not save you (rastegar).

    The Law is not a guarantee of Salvation or Ethical behavior.

    It is a way to protect the individual and regulate the interactions among them.

    Else men will be like wolves unto others.

    Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji and mr. Unknown-Unkowns are unwilling to accept that Sharia is not Islam and Islam is not Sharia.

    That the Law proceeded after the Revelation and not before it.

    What determines moral conduct is inside a person – there is no way that one can be certain that one’s actions are moral all of the time.

    It is for this reason that one begs of God to “guide me on the straight path”.

    And yet, in spite of all one’s efforts – one may act immorally – at times because God so wills it and leads men astray.

    For me (as well as all of those who have been raised in Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Sabean, and Muslim communities) the source of morality are the Revelations of God.

    The keystone is the importance of Man to God – an act of Faith in believing the Revelations on this point.

    This makes all men valuable to one another – not for reasons of profit or gain – but for the reason that all men are important to God.

    From this everything else follows.

    The evolutionary theorists of morality are speaking non-sense; in my opinion.

    They are trying to expunge Revelations (and therefore God) from the moral scene and base the moral sense on “Nature and her processes”.

    A Deist could argue that in this case God is action through natural forces to effect a change in Man.

    I am somewhat familiar with the works of these Evolutionary moralists on the Evolution of Alturism.

    I think that the models that they have – the computer models – are suggestive as well as contrived.

    I do not believe that they shed anylight whatsoever on morality as experienced in Western Asia and Western Eurasia.

    You see, the fundamental point is always the intrinsic value of the every single human being that has ever lived or will ever live in the Eyes of God.

    This is the basis that as I mentioned earlier everything else flows from.

    The computer models of the Evolutionary scientists cannot derive such a thing – this is a religious insight that we know as the Revelation.

    To go back to your initial comment; my disagreements with Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji and Mr. Unknown-Unknowns are very dear and near to my heart.

    For example, I believe it is best to assume that everyone is a Muslim (Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Shia, Sunni) as well as anyone who bears witness to be a Muslims or so states.

    Leave the final adjudication to God.

    Else there is no way that you can distinguish between Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji and the man who machine guns a bunch of Shia since he believes that the Shia are Kafir.

  34. Castellio says:

    from: http://www.haaretz.com/news/u-s-elections-2012/romney-says-regularly-updated-by-israeli-officials-on-mideast-affairs-1.443851?localLinksEnabled=false

    How US-Israel works

    “Mitt Romney told donors attending his campaign’s Utah retreat that he is briefed on the Middle East by Israeli government officials.


    Addressing the U.S.-Israel session were William Kristol, a founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel which recently ran ads accusing Obama of not doing enough to stop Iran; Michael Chertoff, the Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary, who is Jewish; and Norm Coleman, the former U.S. senator from Minnesota, who is also Jewish.

    To attend the retreat, donors either had to have donated $50,000 to the campaign or had to have raised $250,000.

    GOP stars such as tactician Karl Rove, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen Jon Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, were in attendance, a sign of a unified front after a rough primaries campaign.

    There was kosher food on hand, and a Shabbat dinner for Jewish attendees.”

  35. Rehmat says:

    On Friday, Israeli daily Ha’aretz, published a lengthy interview with Stuart E. Eizenstat in which the former US ambassador to European Union suggested that the nations which desire to join the European Union (EU), should be forced to pay compensation for crimes against the Jews (not Christians, Gypsies on non-Europeans). Eizenstat singled out Croatia which is set to join the EU next year.


  36. Persian Gulf says:


    It is interesting that you can’t live with this guy without serious disagreements, even in this virtual world. so, imagine what will be the situation in the actual world. may be within few days you could be just another nagger in the town!, anyway,

    I have a question for you. if you dismiss Sharia law outright, how do you then define moral from immoral? or right from wrong? I mean, what is your judgment based on for defining certain things as moral/immoral? and what is the source of morality in your analysis?
    in an evolutionary perspective, we are moral (moral in a sense that we tend to sacrifice in some circumstances, and often for people that we know of or have affiliation with…) as the immoral ones were extinct (or there is a perception of extinction) over the course of history and were unable to transfer genes to this day. the society could also not sustain if certain things that we call immoral were to continue unabated; e.g. killing. in that sense, the origin of morality can be evolution itself which doesn’t seem to be an absolute one, to me at least.

  37. James Canning says:


    I opposed the latest sanctions and thought Obama made a serious mistake when he ignored Iran’s offer to stop enriching to 20 percent.

    I recommend Gideon Rachman’s column in the Financial Times today, in which he says the threat posed by potential “loose nukes” in Pakistan is greater than the potential threat of an Iran armed with nukes.

    I do not see why you are annoyed that I mentioned my previous expectation there will be more sanctions if Iran continues to enrich to 20 percent. This is not an endorsement of the legality or good sense of those additional sanctions.

  38. Photi says:

    UU, i forgot to re-state the question. If Eve is mahram to all of humanity, why would she need to cover her hair in front of anyone?

    Does a grandmother feel the need to cover her hair in front of her grandchildren? Is she required to according to sharia?

  39. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    June 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    The word you were searching for is na-mahram (not mahram),

    Unknown Unknowns,

    No, actually, i used the word the way i intended. Eve is mahram to all of humanity. She is the mother of her children, and grandmother to the rest of us. Therefore she is mahram to all except Adam.

  40. fyi says:



    Iranians such as the authors of this essay are missing the strategic context; they are pleading and begging US leaders and planners…

    It will get them nothing.

    And men such as them are further marginalized in Iran…

  41. Kathleen says:

    Netanyahu’s campaign contribution for Romney

    Castellio says:
    June 26, 2012 at 1:51 am
    “A senior Israeli official recently told Reuters that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to attack Iran before the U.S. elections in November.”


    My prediction is that if Israel is going to pre-emptively attack Iran it will be between the Nov election and inauguration day. Like their illegal and immoral Gaza attack

  42. Unknown Unknowns says:


    It is good to see your comments on RFI (as infrequent as they are). I did not know the answer to your questions, but it seems the Gavner is well up to speed on that info. Its because of the Financial Times which he reads religiously, being a Gavner. Did you know that he has his butler iron the creases out of it for him? Nothing like a bit of Raj nostalgia (and the smell of napalm) in the morning.

    But anyway, I hadn’t heard of “al-ibria” and got a kick out of it. You know of course that Iran and Hezbollah have Arabic-language news channels, but I suspect that the problem is getting access to Arab satellite platforms such as Hotbird and Nilesat. I guess it won’t be too long before Iran can launch her own TV satellite. Or maybe we already have it? Badr? Anyway, I think the problem the Iranian revolution faces, the main problem, is the size of the aperture of the average human mind (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor). The fact is that the Shi’a sensibility is something that even our Sunni brethren cannot understand, let alone Christian pedestrians such as fyi et al. Such is life.

  43. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi: Slander: The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

    TovioS: You either missed my post in response to Goli-san ragarding the issue of hijab, or you did not understand it. You wax indignant about minority rights. First off, it is not about minority rights, but even if it were, minority rights must, by definition, be granted a lower priority than majority rights. But like I said, it is not about minority rights (and the fact that those who control the Western reality studio choose to frame it as such, despite their knowing better gives you a clue as to what is really going on; but that is another story). It is about God’s rights over His creation. And it is about a nation of Moslems determined to abide by His wishes, a minority nation in the midst of a sea of ignorance and willfull transgression. You, like many other commentators here, are intelligent and well-intentioned, but because of the radical provinciality of your perspective (being American and all), you have not begun even to understand the nature (and complexity) of the issues at hand. I suggest you (re)-read my post and reformulate your response either to the Bussed-in Professor or to myself. If you choose to do so and my response is late in coming or is sparse, it is due to the constraints of time and not a lack of a desire to engage in a conversation (which is the case, say, with our fundamentalist Perennialist Christian, fyi)

  44. fyi says:

    Castellio says: June 26, 2012 at 12:53 am

    You are being too forgiving of him.

    He has usurped the Power of God – in Judying mmen and women – to himself.

    Like many other unthinking Muslims.

  45. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    You are correct that liberal order cannot exist among Muslim socities, not as long as people like you are there to label other kafirs.

    The Kermani fellow again?

    Well, I know of another group of Kermanis, those young men who went around and murdered young men and women who were spending time with each other in public.

    They had, like you, determined that those young people were kafir and murdered them.

    I tell you this again – you do not have the moral or spiritual authority to label anyone Kafir.

    In fact, on one does.

    That is all in the hands of God.

  46. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Sharia is just another body of Law.

    I have pointed out to you – albeit in hypothetical manner – that Sharia and Righteousness are not the same.

    I suppose in your mind they are.

    If that were in fact the case, no one would need to seek God’s help in remaining on Sarat al Mustaqim – rather all he or she would need to do was to follow Sharia and he would reach Paradise.

    The other point that I raised with you was the incosistency of the Sharia – among the Schools and also within.

    You have no answer; only slogans and threats of ex-communication/Takfir against those with whom you disagree.

    The Takfiris are not any different from you in substance; they are Sunnis who consider you and indeed all the Shia heretics deserving death.

    When they attack Shia in Pakistan and muder them, or the Hazara in Pakistan, or the Arabs in Iraq, remember that they are believing that they are doing God’s work and destroying Kafirs who deny Sharia.

    You are evidently also unaware of the fact that the late Mr. Khomeini was also a sufi, a practicioner of mysticism.

    You have no direct experiences with sufis or their experiences, that much is clear.

    So you deny it.

    Even though, the late Mr. Khoemini, in a letter to his son, explicitly forbid him to deny the Truth of msyticism.

    I disagree with what you think the later Professor Corbin has said.

    The disaster has been social.

    No one is against Islam or living in a moral society.

    Your methods of coercion, thuggery, and foolish and prejudiced harassment are the issue.

    You only repel people from religion.

    And I do not need to talk to that Kermani fellow; I had seen enough before the Iranian Revolution.

  47. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Don’t forget Latin America. Huge and ongoing inequalities and injustices doesn’t begin to describe it. I remember when I was a child before the revolution, when we used to go down to southern Tehran, there were entire slums of people literally living on mountains of trash. I will never forget it.

    Nobody cared about these people except Imam Khomeini and the hezbollahis, not the arrogant westernized liberals, not the deranged Soviet-loving communists, nobody cared about these people except the hezbollahis.

    If you ever come to Iran, I will take you to those areas and you can see what they have become today. It is the opposite of “disaster”.

  48. Karl.. says:

    James Canning,

    You are obviously a provocateur with your 20% diatribe – you know that the board already know your views and you have been refuted many times on this subject, still you coming here with the same argument. Drop it please!
    You are those Netanyahu, Obama, Hague loves, one that obviously could be fooled easy when you obviously think that the sanctions are legitimate and legal and justified. You approve these sanctions, you approve the unequal ‘dialogue’ and demands put on Iran.

    You seems to think that UK can do no wrong and protect it vehemently everytime one post a link with a statement by a UK politician.

  49. Castellio says:

    I don’t know how many of you are aware of this site, but I’m finding it very interesting. Take a look and scroll through it:


  50. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    June 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm
    James you continue to make silly statements like this without the slightest shred of evidence to back it up and even if it were true,and it is plainly not considering that the eu is going ahead with the implementation of sanctions that will do enormous harm to some of its weakest members,but even if the eu or some of its member states felt that way it is the us and israel that are calling the wests tune on this one and the eu has no choice but to dance to their jig like it or not.The wests goal at this point as crazy as it is is still zero enrichment,why else would they have made such insulting offers about aeroplane parts or help with nuclear safety,personally I think iran should have countered with its own outrageous offers ie we`ll only build 8 instead of 10 underground enrichment plants,we`ll limit our number of centrifuges to 150,000 and we`ll only build 2 not 5 rsearch reactors running on 90%heu.Personally I think FYI has it pretty spot on

  51. Castellio says:

    “A senior Israeli official recently told Reuters that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to attack Iran before the U.S. elections in November.”


  52. Castellio says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    June 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    As you probably correctly assume I don’t believe Muhammed is the last prophet nor that the Quran is the word of God. But in the post of 10.27 you get to the essential point. The religious cohesion represented a coherent push back against huge and on-going inequalities and injustices. The so called ‘fanaticism” is actually a hardening at a people’s last line of defense: their most basic identity. We saw it in VietNam, in Southern Lebanon, in Gaza, among the Jews of Eastern Europe, and, yes, in Iran. The fact that most westerners refuse to acknowledge Iranian history is no fault of yours.

    The Salafist movement is not that. It is well funded and politically protected, and used as ideological shock troops by both Saudi Arabia and the US-Israel.

    ToivoS should realize that the hardening also took place for identifiable reasons in Ireland, in parts of the Southern states after its defeat, etc. It is not to be feared, unless, of course, you aim to simply destroy it, rather than work to let it evolve. I think you’re about to confuse Shia political theory with Salafist extremism.

  53. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    June 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    “You appear to be urging Iran to enrich to 95%. How would this fit into Iran’s oft-stated programme of only enriching for domestic civil purposes?”

    No, urging on my part. But I do see it this way.

    EU/US/Israel have escalated. Iran’s past responses to such have been counter-escalation.
    95% fits in nicely with more efficient radio-isotope generating small reactors, as well as nuclear powered engines of naval vessels.

  54. Rehmat says:

    On Monday, the Zionist regime officials and Israeli media showed their concern at the victory of Muslim Brotherhood prsidential candidate Dr. Mohamed Mursi as the first elected President of Egypt.

    While both prime minister Netanyahu and his defense minister Barak issued careful comments on Sunday evening, however, former Israeli defense minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who was close to Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak, told Israeli public radio that Egypt would now be led “by a man who has never hidden his hostility towards Israel. We must seek dialogue with the Islamists, and at the same time be prepared for war“.

    On Sunday, after days of delay, the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) announced Mursi, Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, as the winner of the county’s presidential runoff. Head of the SPEC Farouq Sultan said that Mursi received nearly 52 percent of the votes, with over 13 million ballots while, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq won over 12 million votes.

    Dr. Mursi in an interview with Fars News Agency stressed his eagerness to further develop ties with Islamic Iran, and said, “It is part of my agenda”. A close relation between Egypt and Iran will create a strategic balance in the region, he stressed.

    Mursi also slammed the ruling junta for the dissolution of the Islamist-dominated elected parliament. “The dissolution of Majlis al-Sha’b (parliament) targeted me. When the generals saw that I have come close to the presidential post, they attempted to take away certain authorities in their own interest,” said Mursi.

    Mursi also rejected media news about his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, and said, “I have said nothing so and my first international trips after victory in presidential election have not yet been specified.”

    It’s also reported that Tehran is willing to pay $1.3 billion annual aid to Egypt once Cairo cancel its peace treaty with Israel.


  55. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    If you care about Iran, you should be thanking God everyday that the massive and glaring social and regional discrepancies that existed in Iran where resolved peacefully through the Islamic Revolution and the establishment if the Islamic Republic. And even then it wasn’t until the Ahmadinejad administration that this matter was structuraly and seriously addressed. The things that the Ahmadinejad administration did for non-Tehran Iran are among the most significant positive events in Iranian history-ever.

    No liberal political dispensation could have ever resolved these massive discrepancies. None. Would have been too busy worrying about the feelings of the kafer ladies in north Tehran. Then the Kermani gentleman and his like would have eventually stormed north Tehran and the mass killings would have started.

    Anyone who fails to understand this history is a fool.

  56. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The case of the Kermani man shows the complete poverty of your position…the appearance of tolerance, rationalism and freedom, in reality highly reactionary, classist, oppressive and irrational.

  57. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    A person who consciously denies sharia or part of it is kafer, this is the view of all contemporary Muslim scholars Sunni and Shia.

    This is distinguished with a person who does not deny sharia or part of it, but is unaware of the details of particular rulings. This person is not a kafer, but other Muslim have the obligatory duty to inform them of the ruling. Also the view of all contemporary Muslim scholars.

    And yes we do have a direct phone line to God in Shiaism which is what having an Imam of the Age means. According to Henry Corbin is precisely the thing that distinguishes Ithna-Ashari Imami Islam from all other religions. The Sufi-mufi version of Islam is for your ameh.

    I think I have been as “rational” as is possible in explaining my views to you. The offer to get you in touch with the gentleman in Kerman still stands. He might not be so “rational” in his response to you when you try to explain to him how the very thing that turned his life from serfdom to liberation is a “disaster”.

    I would really be interested to know how exactly you argue your case to this man specifically. If you decline, I can also get you in touch with one of my kafer lady neighbors in north Tehran and you can discuss the disaster with each other.

  58. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Please visit north Tehran and you will see many people living in a bubble as though they are in Paris or London, the only difference being that they have to dress “modestly” when they step out of their homes- modestly for western standards.. No mass arrests or executions in sight…and any “harassment” is quickly solved by giving a few thousand tomans to the poor policeman on duty.

    Let’s hope that the north Tehranis join the rest of us in Iran sometime in the future. In the meantime, as Chuck D used to say, don’t believe the hype.

  59. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Ayat. Khoi is one of the contemporary fuqaha who says jihade ebtedai is jaez in ghaybate kubra…he also has other interesting fatwas which belie the image as a so-called “quietist”.

    Let us also not forget that at the end of his life he constituted and was head of the revolutionary council in Iraq following the ’91 uprisings. I would argue that his actions are more revealing of his views than theoretical discussions that he might have conducted 60 years prior to these events.

  60. Rehmat says:

    An Israeli ‘chicken hawk’ group ‘Emergency Committee for Israel’ has recently put an advertisement asking Barack Obama to use Tehran’s refusal to accept USraeli demands at the recent talks with the P6+1 (US, Israel, France, UK, Russia and China) – as an excuse to bomb Iran before Iran’s non-existing ‘five bombs’ could ‘wipe Israel with 400 nuclear bombs off the map’.

    “Obama is still talking – and Iran has enough fuel for five nuclear bombs. Talking isn’t working. It’s time to act. Before it’s too late,” says the ad. Watch video below.


  61. fyi says:

    ToivoS says: June 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    It is just envy.

  62. fyi says:

    James Canning says: June 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm


    It will be a defeat for US, EU, Russia, China, Israel.

    Iranian diplomats must find a fig leaf for them to cover their defeat.

    But that is all hypothetical.

    Iranians have successfully turned the nuclear enrichment in Iran into one of Sovereignity of States vs. (Illegal) P5 Edicts.

    This confrontation is no longer resolvable without one side loosing.

    A few decades from now, when UNSC sanctions against Iran have become ancient history, they could be quietly dropped.

    But not anytime soon.

  63. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Yes, the idea of Adam and Eve being an archetype is interesting. If true, it would open Muslims up to an understanding of biological evolution in a way in line with our beliefs.

    Or possibly an understanding of the souls of Adam and Eve as being distinct from their evolved biology.

    Anyway, i am leery of speculating as i believe in the Holy Qur’an as the words of Allah and do not want to contradict those words.


  64. ToivoS says:

    As one who was attracted to this site because I am against a war with Iran I have found a number of Iranian voices interesting and illuminating. I also see much evidence based on Bussed-in Basiji’s comments that the West really cannot have normal relations with Iran even if a real peace is negotiated between the US and Iran. The gross superstition and religious intolerance is utterly appalling. The open hatred for Iranian citizens living in North Tehran is very chilling. We can see indications here of mass arrests and executions of citizens for just trying to live secular lives. I first thought that he was a Zionist troll, but over time it seems to be an authentic voice Shiite intolerance.

  65. James Canning says:


    Fine piece by Peter Jenkins that you linked. Can be viewed on Lobelog.

  66. James Canning says:


    You appear to be urging Iran to enrich to 95%. How would this fit into Iran’s oft-stated programme of only enriching for domestic civil purposes?

  67. James Canning says:


    You may recall I said that there will be more sanctions if a deal is not reached, for Iran to suspend enriching to 20%, etc.

  68. James Canning says:


    I think most EU countries would accept Iranian enrichment to 5 percent. Would this acceptance be “defeat” for those countries, if it became policy of P5+1?

  69. James Canning says:


    Chris Patten is quite right to critcise the US sharply regarding the unilateral sanctions.

  70. James Canning says:


    Iraqi oil production prior to Gulf War was 3.5 million barrels per day. Current oil production is 3 million per day. Government hopes to double that, and more, in coming years.

  71. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Bussed-in Professor:

    I agree with much of what you wrote in your two posts addressed to me. On “sufigari-e shi’eh”, which is a contradiction in terms, and the whole psedo-spirituality that it entails, our ulama got it right as usual: the best spirituality is one’s daily practice of his or her religion, attending Friday prayers, attending to the needs of one’s community, being a good father and a good husband, and a good friend to those in need. That is a tall order right there. And if you can fulfill its requirements, God will advance you in your journey toward him. How can any sane person think that going to some khaneqah (hospice) and doing some chanting and acting with slavish obedience toward some Moslem guru is going to do anyone any real good, especially when he neglects his basic duties at home and to his community? I guess the Greater Jihad is not enough of a task for these pseudo-spiritual types.

    The Sunnis made the massive error right up front of capitulating to tyranny, which basically took the legs out of their religion as an Islam that does accepts tyrannical rule and does not go out to fight for justice and to establish an order than is equitable is no Islam at all. The Prophet might as well have stayed home, kicked back and enjoyed Lady Khadijah’s home cooking. So what if they are worshipping idols in the Ka’ba. It’s funny when you put it this way, but that is exactly what the vast majority of the Moslem community did, and continues to do. So yes, the Ahl al-Bayt is the only “real deal” as George Galloway would say. And even among us Shi’a, there are still ayatollahs (though their numbers are very few) that have not woken up and smelled the coffee, and still prefer continue theie millenial tradition of “quietism” ans spin law in a vacuum, divorced from the reality of actual (enforced) legislation and rule. But even these remnants of the Kho’i mindset (recall that Sistani was Khoi’s best student) do not believe – contrary to popular thinking – in the separation of mosque and state. That would be unthinkable in Shi’a Islam. Sistani’s position as I understand it is that in the Age of Occultation, the fuqaha have a merit-priority claim to over the wilayah (governance) of the community (and that the non-faqih’s rule is illegitimate), and that the difference between his position and that of the vast majority of ulama (after Imam Khomeini’s triumph) is that

    1. Because it is just a claim of priority based on merit and not a DUTY (wajeb), there is no compulsion for the faqih to get involved in politics. (In my opinion, the moral bankruptcy of this position is all but clear within the community and Mr. Sistani will take it with him to his grave, for all intents and purposes)

    2. That the fuqaha have priority based on merit, but that there is no *divine designation* (entesab, nasb) of the class of fuqaha in the Age of Occultation, which everyone else has now come to believe (based on the same logic of our tauhedic vision which necessitates a Proof (hujjah), and Imam to convey God’s Plan for His Creation. In the absence of an Imam, the designation of the next best thing which is available, i.e. the fully-qualified faqih, as imam or leader of the community of those who have attained to faith (mo’menin) becomes a logical necessity.

    I went way off on a tangent, but that, boys and girls, is Imam Khomeini’s rational proof for his principle of the wilayah or governance of the faqih.

  72. fyi says:

    Lysander says: June 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Several decades into the future, plausibly.

    There has been hope for expanded oil-production in Iraq for many decades but somehow it was never realized.

    Iraq was developing – socially and economically – under Ba’ath and had the Ba’ath and the late Saddam Hussein not attacked Iran, Iraqis would have been the most advanced Arab country.

    They could harvest twice a year, they had money from oil to underwrite education and industrial projects, and to bribe the Kurds to keep quiet.

    But the ambitions of her leaders were akin to a sort of Medieval Militarism – the best jobs in Iraq of the Ba’ath were in her armed forces.

    The delicious irony is that 200 years after the sack of Kerbala by the Wahabis, Mesopotamia is controlled by the Shia.

  73. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Just slogans, as always not Rational discourse.

    Why I am not surprised.

    So the woman in Northern Tehran is Kafir – according to Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji.

    Why, do you have a phone line with God and he so informs you?

    It is not for you to judge whether this or that person is a Muslim or not.

    Everyone is a Muslim; no doubt.

  74. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: June 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    In regards to the bomber, you have not explained anything – you only have supplied a label for them. You have not stated why and how their position is morally wrong and their actions despicable.

    The Afghans are burinig crosses because copies of the Quran are burnt by US tropps; yet not a peep out of them when the Shia are attacked in Iran, in Iraq, or in Pakistan.

    Are they all Khwarej?

    In regards to Zoroaster; I think that the authentic sayings of the Prophet Zoroaster plausibly were lost during the millenia or otherwise corrupted.

    You can see an analogous process at work in US among very many protestant Christians – their God is now becoming a God of Good and Evil is attributed to Who-Knows-Whom.

    But the Quran states that the magi are people of the Book.

    That should be sufficient for you.

    In regards to your other statements – really slandering me – I respectfully decline to respond.

  75. Lysander says:

    Somewhat off topic but I wanted the input of the other commenters, particularly fyi, BiB, UU, as well as all others.

    Does anyone anticipate sometime in the future Iraq regaining/surpassing its pre first gulf war oil production levels? If so, would Iraq be wealthy enough to counter KSA/Qatari money? Would it be able to fund its own media to counter Al Jazeera/ Al Arabia (or Al ‘Ebria as many like to call it)? Would it be able to fund candidates in other country’s elections? Buy off politicians? Wean off countries dependent of KSA/Gulf Arab money?

    Because it would be a delicious irony if that happened.

  76. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Hezbollah alone will prevail. Take it up with God if you believe in the Holy Quran as the final revelation. If you don’t, we have nothing further to discuss on this subject.

    The man from Kerman who was an illiterate serf 40 years ago and now is literate and the duly elected head of the village shura is much more important than the kafer lady in north Tehran who acts as though she lives in Paris or London. If you want, I can send you the man’s phone number and you can bore him about how the Islamic Republic has been a disaster. I’m certain he won’t be as pleasant as I am in his response to you.

    Stick to strategic analysis.

  77. Fiorangela says:

    Observer says:
    June 25, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Observer, if you had read all of what I wrote rather than cherry-picking and wrenching the words out of their context, you might — just might have gotten the message that addiction — to alcohol or to drugs, or any other form of physical as well as ideological addiction — is its own form of punishment.

    Addiction ‘beheads’ or otherwise takes the life of the addicted long before the state intervenes.

    You assert that agents of the Iranian state kill people who have been caught drinking. Unfortunately, because your commentary is so biased, it is not credible. It may be true, maybe not that Iran executes alcoholics. If you have good evidence, with full context, put it on the table for fair minded people to evaluate.

    In the U.S., we engage in numerous activities designed to addict our young people to life-destroying behaviors; Benjamin Netanyahu urged the US Congress to deploy against Iranian young people one of the means for debasing and addicting American young people that already has a firm foothold in American culture: television & movies that cause young people to pine for big houses (can you say bank bailout?) and swimming pools and fancy clothes; “that’s subversive,” Mr. Netanyahu told the U.S. Congress. It is also essential to keep an economic system posited on conspicuous consumption rolling along. You may have noticed that the MSM news about the election of the “Islamist” president of Egypt was greeted with a “sigh of relief” by the business and investment community: that may provide a clue what the pre-revolution* was all about: a new cadre of capitalist elites is eager to milk Egypt’s resources and work force, turning them into consumers and wage slaves, as has been done to the American people.

    * pace, Castellio. It appears the real revolution has not yet taken place in Egypt. For one thing, Egypt’s military is still in charge of every decision making body. The president, should he survive, must walk an extremely fine line, and the military only allows the demos to protest as long as they stay within invisibly but very really prescribed bounds. For another thing, Jeff Feltman is at large and will soon have a massive budget at his disposal.

  78. Unknown Unknowns says:


    The word you were searching for is na-mahram (not mahram), but yes, as to your question: it is not one that has been settled in my mind either: the question as to whether Adam and Eve were *actual* persons or archetypes. I guess I should ask an ayatollah or two about their opinions on the matter, though I have not done so to date as I am pretty confident that the response I get, while satisfactory to their usual flock of sheep, will be intellectually disappointing. These folks are not infallible, but, they are the best and in fact only thing that we have. With the revolution of Imam Khomeini and the drive to fuse the universities with the ‘howzehs’ (religious seminaries), it is possible, after the passage of a century or few, and the issuance of ijtihad doctorates in biology and chemistry and physics and neurology etc. that we (the Shi’a community) will produce a genius who will stand on the shoulders of all of those doctors and have access to a higher perspective which he will be able to convey to the rest of us mortals. But that will not be during any of our lifetimes. And if such a person is produced, like Imam Khomeini (may God be pleased with him), he will be ‘of the Tribe of the Prophets’, meaning that he will wear a black turban. And I am afraid that this is what we will have to look forward to, rather than the advent of the Mahdi, whose reappearance I personally feel is something that is well into the future (if I am reading the signs of the script correctly).

  79. Karl.. says:


    You are right, US and EU are in corner, they are afraid loosing credibility if they lower their guard just one bit. Now they push forward and forward while never understanding why.

    In the 90s EU had some independence and dared to take a stance, nowadays they have lost its independence big time.

    EU slams U.S. extension of Iran and Libya Sanctions Act

  80. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I really should not discuss religion with a Christian such as yourself, as you have demonstrated on repeated occasions that you are incapable of advancing beyond your Will Durant-like province, and so this is addressed to others who might either be misled by your repeated false ejaculations on religion.


    “Please explain to me – “the deviant of the deviants” – why that man is damned to burn in Hell as well as those who sent him. Are they not following Sharia and the Quran?”

    No, they are not. In the four Sunnite and two Shi’ite (Ja’fari and Zaydi, which borrows heavily from Abu Hanifah), killing of innocents is forbidden. Obviously. I mean this is such a simple, basic thing, that anyone who does not know these basics should not permit himself to opine on religious matters. I mean it would be ok of you didn’t know anything else either, but you do: your province is international relations, and although you are bored and you use this forum as your group therapy, you should really try (and I mean hard) to stick to your province, as all the other verbal diarrhea that you spew just takes away from your (otherwise) good name.

    I think what you are failing to do is to make the distinction between Sunnis (who believe in the *necessity* (wujub) of taqlid from one of the four eponymous founders of their madhhabs in the branches of the religion(furu’ as-din), and the neo-kharejite wahhabi/ salafi/ takfiri vermin who believe (like New Age Christians such as yourself) that taqlid is proscribed (haram), and that each idiot should dance to his own tune, so that wolves can skim the cream. In other words, the exact opposite of the message that all of the prophets were sent to convey: that the righteous believers should follow the commandments of God and band together as brothers to fight the tyranny and injustice of the unbelievers. It is these laa-mazhabs such as yourself that, not having the safety net of their mazhab and shariah, fall prey to absurdities such as the belief that killing oneself and a bunch of innocents will get him to heaven. It is the distinction between the kind of thinking that can and cannot obtain in a community of believers who share not just the same creedal beliefs but also have in common a strict adherence to laws whose details have been painstakingly crafted by the best minds of our civilization and have passed the test of centuries of examination and re-examination. And the kind of radical individualistic thinking that these neo-khawarij share with the bohemians and anarchists of the modern era.


    “…one may conclude that the Revelations of Zoroaster/Zarathustra 8500 years ago were the first instance of revelatory religion.”

    No. The first instance of revelation was to Adam, who was the first Prophet. Zoroaster, by the way, was not a recipient of revelation. If you read the very few gathas that are extant and are reliably attributable to him (yes, I know, it is a little difficult to part from the dog-eared Will Durant book of yours, even for a minute, but still…), you will see that his cosmology is distinctly and unmistakeably dualistic. It was only after the cleansing influence of Islam that those Zoroastrians who did not convert started to give their beliefs a monotheistic spin. And now fools like you (who have no grounding in religion) try to spew the nonsense that it was Zoroaster who was the first monotheist. Pitiful shtuff. Your adopted religion of Christianity is up to the same tricks. For centuries it prided itself on the “mystery” of its trinitarian hokey-doke. With the advent of Islam that does not countenance the irrational or the absurd, it has had to try to sweep that shit under the rug and minimize it, just as your missionaries in Africa and Asia and Latin America have to minimize the embarrassments of gay marriage that idiots like you are so proud of in the oh-so-advanced West. Or are you against that? Oh I forgot. What am I saying? You don’t really believe in anything as what you believe changes from day to day. Christians… Whaddaya gonna do?

  81. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Observer says:
    June 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Someone who constantly takes obvious lies off the internet and than claims they are absolute truth, and ignores responses that prove they are lies is in no position to talk about “rationality”. It is also funny that our “rationalist” supports every religion except Islam and openly admires them. Yes, throughout the world most “atheists” commonly support extreme Christianity, all forms of Judaism and Bahaiism and only attack Islam. Do you support Scientology as well? Compared to you, every other poster here has advanced their arguments in a rational and logical way.

    Second, you do not get to decide who does or does not have a “place on the world stage” for any reason whatsoever. And finally you have no problem justifying evil when it is done in the name of Western imperialism or Zionism and supported by the holy scripture of Reza Kahlili. Yep, yet another area where the opinions of our resident “rationalist” do not stand up to any critical examination.

  82. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 25, 2012 at 7:53 am

    You conveniently disregard the repeated attacks of Muslims against Hindu India and South Eastern Europe in search of booty and slaves.

    When Muslim polities were vigorous, they were behaving as imperiastic as the Western Christians.

    And one has to recall the raids of Central Asians – fellow Muslim brothers – into Khorasan that lasted until the Eastern Orthodox Russian Empire put an end to it.

    Selective historical amnesia is not conducive to the search for Truth that could help us all to a less destructive world order – in as much as Fallen Men are capable of doing so.

  83. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    June 25, 2012 at 2:49 am

    “As was Eve’s, who – trust me on this one – covered herself as soon as she step foot ‘East of Eden’, as it were.”


    Eve is mahram to all of humanity except Adam, to whom she was married. why would she have needed to cover her hair? Also, who did their offspring marry if not each other? Clearly some of the laws must have been different at the time of Eve, or at least not yet revealed.

  84. fyi says:

    Karl.. says: June 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

    The EU states have an alternative, which is to break with US and admit that Iran has the sovereign right to enrich uranium under NPT.

    If they do so, hwoever, it will be an admission of defeat; that steadfastness on part of Iran (or any other state) is the most optimal policy choice.

    That would futher mean that their policy of 10 years of diplomatic corecion had been a failure and would give a victory to Iran.

    So, considering all of these, rationally, they have to continue on their policy of escalation to strategic Nowhere.

    The EU states are also very very uncomfortable with religious-based political orders. [Their intellectuals loved Mao and Stalin with the Gulags and mass-starvation etc.]

    They are acting eminently rationally starting from their faulty assumptions about the World, the Nature of Man etc.

  85. Karl.. says:

    Another irrational and aggressive tone by the UK.

    EU will ‘intensify’ Iran sanctions without progress in P5+1 talks: Hague

    Adding more and more sanctions is as rational as banging your head into the wall, sooner or later it will backlash.

  86. fyi says:

    Observer says: June 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Men crave Rationality but are incapable of it.

    Americans are attached to the cause of Israel, a fantasy project of Jews in Palestine, for no discerible benefits to the United States.

    This is an emotional attachment.

    Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji and Mr. Unknown-Unknowns are not irrational, in my judgement.

    They are afraid, like yourself, in following Truth.

  87. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: June 25, 2012 at 2:49 am

    There are 5 major schools of Jurisprudence in Islam.

    They differ on very many items.

    The position that states Law emanates from God must then explain the contradictions among these schools.

    Is then God imperfect?

    Case among Shia: Mr. Sistani states that Chess is Haram.

    Were did God so ordain?

    Please, next time, supply a response that respects the intellect of the questioner.

  88. fyi says:

    Observer says: June 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Based on Greek and Roman texts, one may conclude that the Revelations of Zoroaster/Zarathustra 8500 years ago were the first instance of revelatory religion.

    The messager of Zarathustra and the Wise Lord predates Judaism by thousands of years.

  89. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for your comments.

    I am not a fan of the late Dr. Schoun although I think his ideas are stimulating and worth discussing with others.

    I imagine by “seyyed” you meant Dr. Hussein Nasr; again, I think he does not understand Christianity; which of course means that I do.

    And I have a response to Christianity based on the ideas of sufis.

    But enough of this.

    I demonstrated to you a very specific example/situation in which Sharia and Righteousness are not identical.

    And I did not even mention Slavery in Sharia.

    You declined to respond and I think that is because you admit – to yourself – that there is an issue there and furthermore, that you cannot think of a rational response (Reason applied to Revelations).

    Now, a man wraps himself with explosives, walks into a Shia mosque, and explodes it – killing scores of non-combatants, women, children, old men.

    He does it in the name of True Islam – not all that rafezi, heretical deviant Shia stuff.

    He and those who send him claim to be the most excellent Muslims – following the Sharia (Hanbali let us say) to the letter of the Law and read the Quran every day.

    They believe themselves to be righteous.

    Please explain to me – “the deviant of the deviants” – why that man is damned to burn in Hell as well as those who sent him.

    Are they not following Sharia and the Quran?

  90. imho says:


    Just to say that I deeply respect Iranian women that have no fear to defend their rights and I truly believe that they will have enormous impact to create social changes in Iranian society, art, science and culture as recent history showed us. And I think their men should give up their “rights” voluntary each time it makes their women worth “half of them” (if they are real men). Social changes begin at home.

  91. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Observer says:
    June 25, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Yes, it is comical that someone who supported the brutal extermination of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, and supports a brutal imperialist invasion and conquest of Syria and Iran that would kill 100,000s or millions in each case, thinks he can talk from a morally superior position. Note to “observer” when you learn to “observe” the real world, and learn basic principles of rationality and logic you will “observe” how comically absurd your arguments are.

  92. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Observer says:
    June 25, 2012 at 1:46 am

    And so the absurd lies start again. A rational person, not obsessed with demonizing the Islamic Republic of Iran and also not obsessed with commenting on this website, can clearly see who is responsible for the epedemic of drug smuggling into Iran that has forced Iran to take drastic measures to deal with it. And I wonder which absurd source “Observer” (the only problem with using that name is that our resident troll previously used it in some of his abusive spam posts) will cite to justify his latest ludicrous claim. Reza Kahlili? And just to anticipate, when that claim is refuted and disproven, he will never ever admit the claim he made is false, and will than just produce another absurd claim, etc, etc.

  93. Observer says:

    The mentalities of Bussed-in Basiji and Unknown Unknowns (two self-proclaimed members of the Revolutionary Guards/Basiji) beautifully exemplify why this regime is not a rational regime and why negotiations with such a regime are fruitless. They do not think or base their “rationality” on “this world” but rather from ancient scripture and Hadith in a “different world” or the “afterlife”. Therefore, they have no rationality. This is the point I have always made. Those who base all their thinking and decisions on such irrationality have no place on the world stage. Their deluded beliefs are ingrained within the concept of Islamic Imperialism and “Imam Mahdi” (or the 12th Imam). This is what they think on a daily basis as their “rational” basis of world events and regime objectives.

    With such irrationality and mentalities, all evils can be done because “not because we said so” but because “Allah wrote it down”. And all this in primitive scripture that is irrelevant in today’s world except for religious fanatics and zealots.

  94. Observer says:

    Dan Cooper says: “On the one hand, you support the man-made Bahai religion, on the other, you condemn the Islamic rules.”

    I support freedom of religion and separation of religion and government. How is it hypocritical for supporting the Bahai people’s basic human rights? Quite comical. :)

  95. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    This is why great urafa- like Allameh Qazi, Allameh Tabatabi’s teacher, you know the one our friend likes to quote- only accepted mujtahids as students of irfan. Refraining from haraam and fulfilling the wajib is the nursery school for any sort of spiritual advancement. But apparently the haraamzadeh Bab, Schuon and various other spiritual clowns have figured out something that the Prophet (sawas) and Hazrat Ameer (as) haven’t.

  96. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Thanks, brilliant as always, may God “hefz” you…

    At the beginning of Christianity there was a major goh-mali by Paul (you know the ex “Pharisee”, our friends favorite term of derision for my ilk) where “it was decided” that gentile converts to Christianity don’t have to get circumcised. This eventually led to a Christinanity that was light on laws, heavy on emotion and phantasy- you know things like God being three-in-one.

    Western, Christian imperialism of the last centuries spread the Pauline goh-mali around the world and has affected the brains and souls of many unfortunate people. The reality that tashrii choices determine your takwini state only exists today in it’s pure form in the Islam of Ahlul Bayt.

    It deals a fatal blow to both the Sufi, perrennialist takhayoli types as well as to the dry, rigid soulless Wahabi types.

  97. Dan Cooper says:

    Observer says:
    June 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    There are discrepancies in your posts.

    On the one hand, you support the man-made Bahai religion, on the other, you condemn the Islamic rules.

    You are a hypocrite, you blame Assad for everything in Syria but deliberately ignore the arming of the oppositions by America and its client states Qatar & Saudi Arabia who are responsible for the massacres.

  98. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Further to the earlier conversation with BiBiJon and Empty regarding the meaning of velayat or wilayah, and now that the Bussed-in Professor has brought up the takwini-tashri’i distinction, I thought I’d share this translation of mine with the group in case people were curious to know what those two terms mean. The passage will also serve to shed light on what I was saying to Goli earlier about the fact that not even the Prophets have the power of legislation (but rather act as agents or proxies for God, for whom it is impossible to appear in time and space “in person” (being infinite and all..). I apologize for the completely excessive use of parentheses, the contents within which are my own additions/ interpretations. What is being pasted here is a draft of a work which it is intended will appear with the parentheses removed in its final form. The original words and thoughts are those of Ayatollah Javadi-e Amoli.

    2. What is Wilayah?
    Wilayah is an Arabic word that is derived from the word waliyy, which carries the meaning of something following after (or in the train of) something else without an interruption, which attribute (of contiguity) necessarily entails the closeness or proximity of the two objects to one another. This word has thus been variously used to mean ‘love and friendship’, ‘help and support’, ‘following and obeying’, and ‘guardianship or wardship’ [سرپرستی], and all of these meanings share the common element of non-physical intimacy [حب معنوی].

    What is intended by the word wilayah in the context of our discussion of the Wilayah of the Faqih is this latter usage of the word, i.e. ‘guardianship’. Now wilayah in the sense of guardianship has its own subcategories, each of which must be defined and explained in order for it to be clear which particular meaning in this subset is what is intended in discussions relating to (the theory of government known as) the Governance of the Faqih.

    3. Cosmic Authority (ولایت تکوینی), Legislative Authority (ولایت بر تشریع), and Administrative Authority (ولایت تشریعی)

    There are different orders (or better, ranks) of wilayah (authority vested in guardianship), and the meaning of each will vary depending on the subject over which their authority obtains. The authority vested in guardianship can either be (1) Cosmic Wilayah (or Authority , which is Intrinsic and Absolute, and is so called as it is a kind of ‘Authority in Possession’ over all orders of creation) (ولایت تکوینی), (or it can be one of two classes of Extrinsic or Conditional [اعتباری]Wilayah, namely), (2) (Divine Agency or Proxy) Legislative Authority (ولایت بر تشریع), and (3) Administrative or Executive Authority (ولایت تشریعی). Now because (the operative dynamic in) Cosmic Wilayah (authority over all orders of creation) pertains to (the power behind) the causation of objects in the physical world [تکوین و موجودات عینی] and there is a real (physical) relation between the two elements in the relationship, this Wilayah is said to be Real. Contrarily, (Divine Agency) Legislative Authority (ولایت بر تشریع), and Administrative or Executive Authority (ولایت تشریعی), together with their two sub-categories – which we will explain in the next pages, are Conditional (or contingent as their mode and function is conventional and stipulative), meaning that the relationship is one between Guardian and Ward, and is not intrinsically contiguous as in a causal relationship (between cause and effect).

    3.1 Cosmic Wilayah refers to sovereignty over all created beings in creation and having actual, (unmediated) control and charge [ تصرف عینی] over them, (in a fashion) similar to the sovereignty [ولایت] that a person enjoys over his or her (voluntary) nervous system. Every person has control over [ولایت] his or her faculties of intellection such as the faculty of understanding and the faculty of the imagination, as well as over his or her tempers such as lust and anger; just as he or she has control over his or her healthy limbs and body parts: if he commands the eye to see, it will obey; and if he issues the command to hear, his ears will hear; and if he orders something be picked up, his hand listens and obeys. Of course, this obedience to command assumes that the body parts are without defect… So this class of Cosmic wilayah obtains at the (cosmic) level of cause and effect [علت و معلول], and based on this relationship, each cause is the waliyy and Guardian of its effect, and each effect is governed by and under the (complete) control and charge of its cause.

    Thus, Cosmic Wilayah (with its) relationship of cause and effect, can never be violated, (again, just as) when one intends to picture an image in one’s imagination, the intention (to do so) is coterminous with its (appearing in the) imagination. (In this sense), the human soul is a manifestation of God’s (Being:) [36:82] His Being alone is such that when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, “Be” – and it is. God is the only real and true sovereign (waliyy) of everything and of every person, (the free agency of) each of whose souls are (vital) symbols of His (Absolute) Sovereignty, just as the Koran has limited sovereignty in God’s Being: [42:9] But God alone is Sovereign [over of all that exists].

    3.2 (Divine Agency) Legislative Authority (ولایت بر تشریع) is authority over instituting legislation: the forging of laws; their principles, (interpretation and) application (guidelines, and so on). Now because the wilayah of the Divine Agent or Proxy (waliyy) is absolute in its own ambit – that is, the waliyy’s (mere) intention to forge legislation will (automatically and) seamlessly result in its forging – and because the compass of his wilayah is (limited to the field of) legislation, and its ambit does not include (actual control and charge over any of) the creatures in (God’s) creation, when it comes to (assuring) compliance, the possibility of violating and trespassing those laws arises. In other words, it is possible that some human beings will comply with the laws of a (divinely-sent) lawgiver while others reject it and rebel against it; for unlike the creatures of the animal kingdom, humans are born free and are capable of choosing between obedience and rebellion and acting in accordance with that choice. Earlier we said that the only complete and suitable law for man is that which has been forged by his Creator, and the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, Who is Omniscient and Absolutely Wise, (and this is why this Legislative Wilayah is qualified as Divine Agency Legislative Authority), for lawgiving (for mankind is a function that properly) belongs only to God, (and in their capacity as lawgivers His Prophets are acting as his Agents or Proxies): [12:67] None can command but God.

    3.3 Administrative or Executive Authority (ولایت تشریعی) is a category of guardianship authority distinct from either of the two discussed above which has to do with the function of Sacred Law, and which itself has two sub-categories: (1) guardianship over incompetents and (2) guardianship over persons competent (under the law).

    We shall proceed in the next two sections to discuss each of these two in some detail, but before we embark on that, it is important to remember that (the wilayah relationship) in neither this Administrative or Executive Authority (with its two subsets) nor in (Divine Agency) Legislative Authority obtains at a cosmic level or (functions at the basic level) of cause and effect, but rather, is Extrinsic and Conditional ; of course, as pointed out earlier, (Divine Agency) Legislative Authority is one rational argument [تحلیل عقلی] remove from (being identical to) Cosmic Wilayah, for the scope of (Divine Agency) Legislative Authority is none other than the action of the Creator (i.e. it is the will of the Creator that is being enacted in legislation through His Agent or Proxy): He has authority over (His Legislative Agent and the latter’s) intention to legislate, which is (technically) referred to as ‘Legislative Will’ [اراده التشریع] as opposed to ‘the Will to Legislate’ [اراده ی تشریعیه] (in order to mark the nuanced distinction between the Will of the Legislator and that of His Legislative Agent).

  99. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I guess I forgot the second part of my response to the issue of the pre-existence of hijab… Just because something existed prior to Islam (which, as I explained, is never the case anyway, but for the sake of the argument…) does not *necessarily* make it non-Islamic. For example: prayer existed “prior to” [your conception of] Islam. Does that make it un-Islamic? Obviously not. Historicist orientalists point to the existence of ahadith (traditions, narrations) about the occultation (ghaybah) of the 12th Imam prior to his occultation as “evidence” that he did not go into occultation. But that is like saying that because others were crucified before Jesus, that he, therefore, was not crucified. But perhaps that is a bad example, because of course of a certainty he was NOT crucified (but was made to appear so), per the Koran, which is the infallible Word of God. Also according to the “apocryphal” (and newly re-discovered) Gospel of Barnabas.

    Men covered their private parts in public before the advent of Mohammad in Arabia, and you got it, that too is an Islamic law. Who knows, maybe, in accordance with Neo-Darwinian “evolution” theory, the Castro District will be witness to the ‘catchers’ covering their hair as a [divinely-ordained] courtesy to the ‘pitchers’? Hey, don’t laugh – you never can tell with New Age religions.

  100. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Goli Khanum:

    As Billy-Boy would say, ‘I feel your pain’.

    The thing is that in Islam – and this is a key difference between the world that the Bussed-in Professor and I inhabit and the world of the Western mindset – …Moslems do not legislate the laws which we live by. Those laws are given to us by God, through His Apostle Mohammad (with whom be peace), and interpreted and personified by his Impeccable (ma’sum) House (bayt, itrah), and, in the absence of the final Imam, i.e. in the Age of Occultation, by the learned and fully-qualified faqih (faqih-e alem va jame’ ol-sharayet). This difference is actually deeper than that, because in Islam, (Divine) legislation precedes society itself, whereas in the West, society obtains as a grouping of individuals, who then proceed to forge laws so that their affairs can run less chaotically. Anyway, that is a very detailed discussion; the point is that the Guardian Council *does not have a choice* in the matter of hijab, just as they have no latitude in the matter of, say, the number of times a person must pray. And as to your concern that hijab is (possibly?) non-Islamic as it existed “before” Islam, I will respond in two ways. First of all, nothing existed before Islam. Islam is pre-eternal, azalic, existed prior to creation. When Adam, the primordial man, was created, his ‘Adamic Nature’ or *fitrah* (primordial disposition) was Islam, the self-submission to the will of God. As was Eve’s, who – trust me on this one – covered herself as soon as she step foot ‘East of Eden’, as it were. And by coverage I am not talking about a thong and a wet t-shirt; she covered her hair, just as all Jews and Christians used to do. Remnants of this fitric inclination can even be seen in Buddhist countries where headwear is provided outside of their temples for the use of female congregants.

    So Moslems believe that it is a law and not an option, and to think of it as such betrays a lack of understanding of what it is that your Creator has willed for you. So that is the rational explanation, which obtains only if your reason leads you to God’s revelation. And if it does not, then there is not sufficient common ground for mutual understanding, other than to agree to disagree…

  101. Observer says:

    Fiorangela says: “In the United States, alcoholics & drug addicts are sentenced to life”

    Yes, those who kill others in DUI’s are sell hard drugs in large quantities are are repeat offenders (three strikes law). In contrast, in the Islamic Republic they get the noose not only for drug dealing, but youth who are caught drinking alcohol on three separate occasions. This includes at parties, at gatherings of friends, or even in the “privacy” of their own home.

    Are you really trying to make some type of moral comparison here? Quite comical. Just like the other poster below who said in the U.S. Native Americans cannot practice their “religious belief”. If the religious belief includes drugs to children or refusing blood transfusion, that is correct. You cannot harm a child due to your religious belief. But in contrast, the Bahai people in Iran are prosecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and even executed simply for having a religious belief; and more specifically, a religion that came “after Islam”. You moral relativists never seem to not amaze us rationalists by the type of excuses and comparisons you try to make to justify the actions of those all people with reason would consider evil, barbaric, and primitive.

  102. Castellio says:

    Observer, to be accurate about it, the bronze ages (early, middle and late) are from 3300 BCE to 1000 BCE. Closest we have to a bronze age religion still alive would be Judaism, which is founded on devotion to a tribal god with universal attributes.

  103. BiBiJon says:

    “What’s less obvious is what motivates Iran to help spin out talks that are going nowhere.”


    Though Amb. Jenkins suggests some wishful thinking that might motivate Iran to play along. The situation, imo, favors an Iranian counter-escalation.

    Which brings me to Eric’s conjectures about an ‘explosive device’ without fissile material. As you recall Eric was wondering aloud if EDWF is allowed.

    With the current state of provocations, it would have been more provident to muse about an HEU fissile core without the explosive device. Another words, the IAEA having a politicized hand in forcing a country to make 95% HEU as a bargaining chip. When? By Winter Solstice.

  104. Fiorangela says:

    Observer says:
    June 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    truly brutish behavior.

    In the United States, alcoholics & drug addicts are sentenced to life — on the streets eating from dumpsters, or under a bridge, or behind bars.
    So much more humane.

  105. Castellio says:

    Thanks Fiorangela.

    I recently finished reading Ostkreig by Stephen Fritz and I strongly recommend it. I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned it or not.

  106. Fiorangela says:


    An Apple store employee refused to sell an iPad to a 19-year old Iranian-American, because she spoke in Persian.

  107. Observer says:

    This is what Bussed-in-Basiji’s people do: “Alcohol drinkers sentenced to death” (http://www.radiozamaneh.com/english/content/alcohol-drinkers-sentenced-death)

    Does one really think you can negotiate with such a regime that guides all their decisions and “thinking” with bronze-aged religion in the way this “Bussed-in-Basiji” does? No longer can one even consider a semblance of rationality; and can see exactly where this concept of Islamic Imperialism and the “hidden imam” come from.

  108. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    It’s not my position, it’s God’s position if you believe that the Holy Quran is the final and perfect word of God- which I do and you don’t. What you and I “think” is irrelevant.

    There is so much to discuss about the simple verb “think” that you use so non-chalantly, and just for the record, the way I make a living is by “thinking”. I know a thing or two about “thinking”.

    Like it says, Hezbollah alone will be victorious, if you don’t like it take it up with God. I’ll keep reading the Holy Quran, you keep reading Frijtof Schoun and the unfortunate Iranian Seyyed that crawled up his backside many decades ago and we will see “prevails”.

    Like I told you before, the reason you- let’s call it “deviated”- and whilst I’m reading the Holy Quran today, is that when your homeland was occupied, you busied yourself by sending books to Tehran University while others defended their country. These tashrii choices have lasting takwini effects on everyone and our little “dialogues” are clear evidence of this.

    The takwini effects of tashrii choices is one of the main reasons why adhering to the law (let’s call it “sharia”) is central to any spiritual growth and enlightenment. But I’m afraid we might be hitting the limits of some people’s “thinking” capacity on this subject now.

  109. James Canning says:

    Nicholas Kristof’s piece in The New York Times today (“Not So Crazy in Tehran”) is well worth reading.

  110. fyi says:

    Wilbur says: June 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I think your statement is wrong.

    Over the historical period, Muslim societies have shown more tolerance for the alien people that Christian societies of Western Europe.

    Consider: 10% of the population of Egypt which is Christian.

    Or the persistence of syncretic sects of Islam over the historical period among orthodox Muslim societies: Yazidis, Druze, Alawites, Ahmadis.

    This is to be contrasted with Western Christians who murdered “heretics” in France and later massacred Jews – one in the 14-th century and once again in 20-th century.

    In fact, the Secular Turkish Republic expelled all Coptic (Christians) from their ancestral lands around Southern Black Sea shore – Orthodox Muslim Ottomans had left unmolested for the duration of their rule.

    The Ba’hai case is a special one and only confined to Iran.

    Iran is a Shia State and for the better or for worse, the teachings of Ba’hai are considered a threat to the integrity of the state’ it was so under the Qajars, uner the Pahlavis, and now under the Islamic Republic.

    I think you would be correct, if that were your intent, in pointing out that Muslims are not interested in conversation with other People of the Book. On the other hand, Christians were not either until they lost their dominance in Europe and North America.

  111. Castellio says:

    For those interested in the religious war aspects in the contemporary world (which includes Wilbur’s uninformed prejudices), one would do well to consider it in practice:


  112. Fiorangela says:

    I don’t have a direct answer to your question.
    The following articles indicate a drift in Turkey’s ‘Zero Problems’ policy,

    What Serious Diplomacy Looks Like, by Flynt Leverett & Hillary Leverett,
    29 Oct 2009

    Many RFI participants were pleased when Turkey joined Brazil in brokering a nuclear deal with Iran:
    The Turkey-Iran-Brazil Deal: Can Washington Take Yes for an Answer? by Trita Parsi, 17 May 2010


    before the ink was dry on Parsi’s question, the U.S. response was made:

    Clinton Attacks Turkey-Brazil Deal with Iran Financial Times, 18 May 2010


    Less than a year later, Turkey “recalibrated” participation with NATO in what Hillary Clinton later called the ‘new paradigm’ for US influence —

    Why Turkey Recalibrated its Libya Stance, by M K Bhadrakumar 25 Mar 2011


    A few months after Clinton reveled in the butchering of Qaddafi, U.S. State Department Under Secretary for Arms Control and Nonproliferation Ellen Tauscher explained to a Commonwealth Club of California audience the Turkey nexus in U.S.-NATO missile defense of Europe against the not-yet-existing Iranian threat to American allies in Turkey & European capitals –

    :http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2011/07/20110729133444su0.446584.html#axzz1yifPCxrk [transcript of prepared remarks]

    :http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/ellen-tauscher-us-under-secretary-arms-control-and-international-security-728 [audio, including Q&A session]


    Speculation on the prize that induced Turkey’s drift:

    Istanbul’s Finance Center Taking Shape 10 February 2012

    “the new finance center would be bigger than the world’s largest finance centers in New York, London and Dubai.

    “The project will be composed of four main areas and the center will have Grand Bazaar and Topkapı Palace style Ottoman architecture,” said Bayraktar at a Feb. 8 meeting in Ankara.

    Previously, the Turkish government had announced the financial institutions currently situated in the capital Ankara would move to Istanbul in the framework of the Istanbul Finance Center project, which aims to turn the city of 15 million into a regional financial hub.”

    On 20 Mar 2012 Turkey-born MIT professor Daron Acemoglu published “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty,” (subtitle, ‘Turkish-American goes AIPAC’) a deeply flawed, neoconish defense and endorsement of further U.S. deployment of what Naomi Klein earlier identified as “Shock Doctrine.”

    Here’s Acemoglu explaining the core thesis of “Why Nations Fail.” [MIT should be embarrassed] :http://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-video/daron-acemoglu-discusses-why-nations-fail-0

  113. Fiorangela says:

    Wilbur says:
    June 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    The response your comment deserves is between the brackets, below:



  114. Pirouz says:

    Observer says:
    June 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Well, Observer, as a person of partial Native American descent, all I can say is we know how these Bahai people in Iran must feel. You see, certain rituals central to our faiths remain felonies right here in the United States.

    Personally, I’m irreligious, so these kinds of things are easier on me. But I have these words of advice to offer to those keen at throwing stones at Iran for such matters: glass houses, glass houses.

  115. Goli says:

    Bussed -in -Basiji,

    I fully respect your right to grow your beard and not wear a tie or any other western attire that you do not desire, as well as the right of all our sisters who truly and voluntarily prefer to cover their hair and adhere to hijab. I wish you would also respect my right not to wear the hijab that does not have its origins in Islam anyway and makes me feel like a second class citizen if not less than human.

    I cannot understand how you can claim to be a Muslim when you cannot empathize with the very basic principle of fairness that underlies the idea that women should not be forced to cover themselves in the way you demand of them? Call me naïve, but I don’t understand how you cannot feel it in your heart that there is something fundamentally un-Islamic (a religion in which justice reigns supreme) about forcing women to wear hijab? My father did. He was a true Muslim, and because of that, he could not bear to force his daughters to cover their hair due to the fundamental injustice it represented. Your views on foreign policy indicate that you have a good sense of right and wrong, and that you understand the meaning of injustice. How can you not see the injustice ingrained in the idea of forcing women to wear the hijab? Please do not respond back quoting the scripture or explaining the role of women in Islam.

  116. Wilbur says:


    “Islam is the first reformation of the teachings of jesus.”. Have you read the Quran, some Hadith sources, or the Sira? Your comment seems to indicate you have not or at the very least only glossed over it! If you really had you would have realized Muhammad was in fact on many levels the antithesis of Jesus and most assuredly of the message he taught. As some home work why don’t you compare and contrast what Jesus did versus what Mohammed did. Then noodle why unlike Christians Muslims seem to have and incredibly antagonistic relationship with other faiths (ex persecution of Baha’is in Iran.). After all it was not Jesus on his death bed but Muhammad who commanded his followers to cleanse the Arabian peninsula of all non believers.


  117. Castellio says:

    Where do people go for good analysis of Turkey’s foreign affairs and domestic economy in English?

  118. Observer says:

    “Between 1982 and 1990 an unknown number of Iranian women political prisoners were raped on the eve of their executions by guards who alleged that killing a virgin was a sin in Islam.”
    -Roya Hakakian

    Surely people like Bussen-in-Basiji justify horrors and evils such as these including the continued oppression, discrimination, imprisonment, and even executions of Bahai’s simply because their faith came after Islam..

  119. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    June 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    “It all seems like the US and her western allies unwilling to accept the new world created by decades of their failed hegemonic wars and various sanction regimes imposed to preserve their now lost past hegemonic status …”

    Just wondering. What is the meaning of the US penalizing her ‘allies’ if they trade with Iran? Does the US perceive them as allies? Allies or not, does the US have so much carrots and sticks that pretty much everyone looks like a donkey?

  120. Fiorangela says:

    Eric Brill’s assessment of the outcomes of the P5+1 meetings in Moscow would undoubtedly be helpful.

    Jalili refused to comply with demands based on UN Resolutions, asserting that Iran would answer to NPT rules & regulations, not UN Resolutions.

    According to PressTV, P5+1 reneged on an agreement to confine discussions in Baghdad to NPT; and in Moscow, Ashton, speaking for P5+1 made three demands of Iran, but offered no concessions/rescission of sanctions:
    1. Iran to halt 20% uranium enrichment
    2. Iran to suspend activities at Fordo
    3. Iran to ship 20% enriched uranium overseas

    No mention of lifting sanctions.
    – – – – – –

    Based on comments by C Boyden Gray at an Atlantic Council conference the other day, the United States really, truly does believe it is the smartest guy in the international room.
    The topic was the European/international / Greek debt crisis; participants were Ulrik Guerot, European Council on Foreign Relations Senior Policy Fellow; Jacob Kirkegaard Peterson Institute for International Economics, Research Fellow; and former George Bush administration adviser C Boyden Gray. Gray assessed the paltry experience of the countries of origin of his co-conferees the states they represent and concluded that the “US was the old man in the room; Germany, Greece, Italy are NEW states;” US has experience going back more than 200 years. Gray prattled on about Hamilton and debt crisis and “internal markets” and gracious Ulrik Guerot let him bask in his self-created limelight.
    Until. . . .
    Until, toward the end of the conversation, Guerot commented that she is from Cologne, and the people of Cologne spent 600 years building their cathedral. The beginning of a project is not its completion, or even a predictor of its wisdom or perfection; many adjustments and a great deal of hard work must be invested in the project along the way, Ms. Guerot gently suggested.
    Mr. Gray responded with one more repetition of his stock line about “internal markets.” Then, he wisely shut up, as all children used to be expected to do in the presence of their elders.

  121. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Quoting the scripture does not salvage your position, such as it is.

    You refuse to think, that much is obvious.

  122. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Sura 58, Ayah 5
    Verily, those who oppose Allah and His messenger shall be disgraced as those before them were. We have sent down very clear signs. For disbelievers there is a humiliating chastisement.

    Sura 58, Ayah 21, 22
    Allah has decreed: “I shall prevail and My messenger.” Verily is strong, ever-prevalent.

    You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the hereafter befriending those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kin. For such Allah has inscribed faith in their hearts, and has strengthened them with a spirit from Himself and He will admit them to gardens in which rivers flow, where they shall abide forever. Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the party of Allah. Be it known, verily the party of Allah alone shall be victorious.

    Take it up with God. Have a nice day.

  123. Neo says:

    Re. the shooting down of a Turkish war plane over Syrian territorial waters, Stratfor concludes:

    “In the end, Syria will not be the country that decides how far this conflict goes. Turkish officials are likely communicating with U.S. officials now on whether, at this stage of the Syrian crisis and after the efforts expended thus far in backing the insurgency, it is worth the cost to upgrade this conflict to a military intervention.”

    Doubt it. Turkey can’t justify going to war over this when it capitulated to the Israelis over the flotilla murders.

  124. James Canning says:


    Thanks for the link to Richard Silverstein’s comments (focusing on Charles Robb and other lobbyists).

  125. James Canning says:


    Interesting quotes you posted. I wonder if Howard Berman actually believes Iran plotted to bomb a Washington DC restaurant in the so-called “plot to kill the Saudi ambassador”?

  126. James Canning says:


    It was not my intention to “point the finger at Iran alone” for the failure of the nuclear exchange.

  127. fyi says:

    Neo says: June 23, 2012 at 6:32 am

    His problems and those of his ilk are much deeper than that; there is a gaping hole of fear and weakness inside them that they try to overcome in this manner.

    In a way, they are like the leaders of the Axis Powers, hell bent on an spcific course of action regardless of reasons to the contrary.

    And just like Axis States, they cannot paint a positive view of a future Islamic world – all they offer is more violence to reach their doctrinaire aims.

    In Turkey, Shia Muslims, very many Sunni Muslims, Alawites are against any Islamic dispensation lest it repeats the social disaster that is Islamic Iran.

    He and his ilk have given a bad name to Islam, no doubt.

  128. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    June 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    ” . . .Sharia can be used to immoral ends. . . .Before you go and hide behind statements such as Sharia is Islam and Islam is Sharia be advised that before you and your time there were others who also believed that Religion and Law were the same.

    They were called Pharisees and Jesus, the Immaculate Perfect Man, Born of the Virgin, inveighed very very strongly against them.

    “I am the Law”, he told them to disabuse them from their rigid legalisms as a path to moral conduct. . . .”

    A few days ago some energetic evangelists placed little strips of paper with a bible quotation on the windshields of the cars in my neighborhood. The bible quote was John 1, 1-3: “In the beginning was the Word.”

    Two problems with this little act of proselytizing:
    1. The linden trees are at their gooy-est just this time of year. Daily, cars under them are coated with a fine spray of sticky linden exudation. The evangelist’s bit of paper is cemented to my windshield as if it were laminated.

    2. The evangelist stopped short of the essence of Jesus– John 14: The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

    Words are easy. Rules, even systems of rules with whatever noble goal or vision like Sharia, the Cyrus Cylinder, Magna Carta, the US Bill of Rights, are relatively easy to make, and also to be exploited against themselves. Jesus walked the talk. In my understanding, the Quran encompasses not only the Words of God that Mohammad was inspired to record but also lessons on Being in the World from Mohammad’s own life. Islam is the first Reformation of the practice of the teachings of Jesus.

  129. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    Do you truly believe that the regular harassment of Iranian women in the public sphere is in any way defensible? Iranian women are more than half of Iran’s population. What excuse is there for those spineless and honour-challenged basiji thugs to attack and humiliate Iranian women so regularly and so thoughtlessly? Do you think that a majority in Iran support such fascistic behaviour? Do you think Iranians do not have the right to live free of religion if they choose to? Where is it written that more than half of the proud and wonderful people of the land of Iran should be forced to live under a veil superimposed by creationist simpletons?

  130. Neo says:

    James Canning says: June 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    “It was a bad thing for Iran and the West, for the nuclear exchange not to have succeeded. As you note.”

    Precisely James. So there’s no point in repeatedly pointing the finger at Iran alone, right?

  131. Observer says:

    And I am sure in the mind of Bussed-in-Basiji any individual born a Muslim and no longer wanting to be a Muslim inside of Iran deserves to be hanged for being a “kafar” or “mohareb” (apostate). This is what happens when religion mixes with politics – the basic dignity and freedoms of human beings no longer prevail.

  132. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    You have failed to address the specific issue that I have raised; namely that which is moral coduct and that which is Sharia conduct can be in contradiction.

    That is, Sharia can be used to immoral ends.

    I believe I have demonstrated to you a very specific case and you have declined to responde to them.

    Before you go and hide behind statements such as Sharia is Islam and Islam is Sharia be advised that before you and your time there were others who also believed that Religion and Law were the same.

    They were called Pharisees and Jesus, the Immaculate Perfect Man, Born of the Virgin, inveighed very very strongly against them.

    “I am the Law”, he told them to disabuse them from their rigid legalisms as a path to moral conduct.

    Statements such as you have made are unconvincing to very many thinking people inside Iran and outside of it.

    Be advised that you will not prevail.

  133. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    June 22, 2012 at 10:13 am

    my dear fyi, the average American would not know whether Puerto del Sol comes in a six-pack or on tap.

  134. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I have ordered a copy of the Leveretts’ new book. We should all try to write an objective review of it on Amazon.

  135. Castellio says:


    “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), October 9, 2002:
    Saddam Hussein is not far from developing and acquiring the means to strike the United States, our friends and our allies with weapons of mass destruction. Thus, if we do not act now, when?

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), May 15, 2012:
    The Iranian regime continues to pose an immediate and growing threat to the United States, to our allies, and to the Iranian people. We are running out of time to stop the nightmare of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran from becoming a reality…We must meet our responsibility to the American people and protect the security of our Nation, our allies, and the world from this threat of a nuclear capable Iran.

    Madeleine Albright, February 18, 1998:
    [T]hat the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.

    Rush Holt (D-NJ), May 15, 2012:
    The threat of nuclear proliferation is the greatest threat to world peace. A nuclear Iran would destabilize the region and threaten the United States and our allies.

    Howard Berman (D-CA), October 10, 2002:
    But under today’s circumstances, the best way to give peace a chance and to save the most lives, American and Iraqi, is for America to stand united and for Congress to authorize the President to use force if Saddam does not give up his weapons of mass destruction. Confront Saddam now, or pay a much heavier price later.

    Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:
    What better time for this body to send an unambiguous message that Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear weapons capability and that its nuclear weapons program must end once and for all?

    George W. Bush, January 29, 2002:
    Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.

    Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:
    Iran has flaunted its flagrant disregard for U.N. Security Council resolutions, is an active state sponsor of terrorism, has engaged in serious human rights abuses against its own citizens, and plotted a heinous terrorist attack on American soil.”

  136. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Sen. Lieberman vistis region, Saudis offer to pay salaries of Syrian terrorists.


  137. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    As always you mixed all subjects together which is evidence that your thinking is mixed up.

    Of course corruption/theft is more important than hijab, but that doesn’t mean hijab is not important. Of course hijab has to be enforced like all other laws and contrary to your evaluation, doing so does not pose a major security issue for Iran now or in the future.

    Like I said if a person does not deny asle hijab, there is nothing humiliating about telling them the correct application of it. If they deny asle hijab telling them to cover up is a very good thing and their feeling of “humiliation” is for their “ameh”.

    The 13 million that voted for Moussavi did not all necessarily do so for the reason you mentioned (come on, you can do better than that).

    Whether you like it or not the view among the vast majority of Islamic scholars- Sunni and Shia- is that if a person deliberately denies sharia they are not Muslim. In fact throughout Islamic history- now that you mention it- the best indicator for deviance from the path of the Prophet (swa) and Imams (as) is denying the law which they sacrificed there lives to bring.

    In other words, Islam is deen al-haq, the previous religions are for your ameh now, and there is no “being Muslim” without sharia.

    Islam from the beginning was never about everybody liking it and joining. Just read the Holy Quran and see what it says about the majority of people. It is about a few being pious and transforming the world. Illa lathina aaminu wa amilu sahlihat wa tawasu bi haqi wa tawasu bi saber. I know, you hate it when say things like this.

    As always our discussions end up with me telling you keep to strategic analyses and leave religion to the duly qualified.

  138. Karl.. says:

    Kofi Annan today said, like Russia earlier, that Iran should be a player to solve the Syrian issue. The US and Israel however cant take yes for an answer.

  139. kooshy says:

    It all seems like the US and her western allies unwilling to accept the new world created by decades of their failed hegemonic wars and various sanction regimes imposed to preserve their now lost past hegemonic status, are left with very little choice, perhaps the only affordable choice left to them is streaming propaganda through their own media outlets to retaliating adversaries like Iran and Syria, with hope for an end result of a regime change, which has not materialized to date and there is no sign that can be achieved in near term. The war of choice for countries with still a friendly military is drone war, which is a relatively low cost war for friendly military controlled countries like Pakistan and Yemen, this model can also be used in Egypt if there is a civil rebellion against the rule of military there.

    After reading the new survey of Iranian’s usage of various media outlets available to them, which was recently conducted by Gallup and I posted a link on an earlier comment, this new survey proves that the Iranians in general are very much skeptical of the western media propaganda directed at them. This I could have confirmed in my recent visit to Iran, I learned that even affluent westernized small minority of northern Tehranis don’t appreciate fully negative news analysis of Iran coming out of western media outlets, they simply resent it.

  140. Karl.. says:

    Its time for Iran to do what Nicauraga did to the US.


    In 1984 Nicauraga asked the International Court Of Justice (ICJ) to see if US had violated international law from their covert actions/war against Nicauraga government during the 1980s. The ICJ showed that US had commit various acts in violation of international law against Nicauraga and was also urged to pay compensation.

    My point is, I think Iran should start a legal process against US and/or Israel, there are plenty of acts of war, sabotage that has been commit against Iran that are clearly against international law. The verdict would surely put the US/Israel in a bad light because it would have shown that they are commiting violations of international law against Iran (to a broader public and to really show, once and for all that these acts are not lawful). That will in turn, for example, decreasing the support for these actions (by states, public opinion) and US/Israel would probably be less eager to commit more, maybe even graver acts of war against Iran.

    In 2008 the american international law professor Francis Boyle urged Iran to do the same and even offered to be the representative for Iran.



  141. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 22, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Go to Madrid at spend a few hours after sunset at Puerta del Sol.

    You will see the Madrienos youth – from 13 to 23 – enjoying their life.

    Yes, there are cases of rape, extreme consumption of alcohol but not to the extreme.

    Iran has even more such problems.

    Yes, US – a country that has always been more violent than any European state – could use more moral guidence in the education of her youth.

    But moral police is not the way.

    Ultimately, one is created to be autonomous and to resist temptations of Satan.

    Polic State is not the solution, it is symptomatic of a gaping hole in the psyche of the population.

  142. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

    As you are well aware, there is a hierarchy in the evils of sins.

    Likewise, there is a hierarchy in the importance/significance of laws.

    Which one is more improtant to enforce – a “hejab” or “financial Corruption/Theft”?

    Due to banking sanctions of EU, it was recently discovered that several hundred thousand pounds of funds were being sent annualy to the bogus branch of the Islamic Azad University at Oxford (a non existent branch).

    This had been going on for many years.

    What is more important, stopping such blatant theft of public funds or harassing some young women who are enjoying their youth?

    And please, spare me about Sharia.

    Imagine two neighbours – men who married when they were 22 and now and age 38 have 16-year old daughters.

    So they decide to exchange their daughters as wives.

    Each takes the other’s daughter as his second wife.

    Nothing wrong with that according to Sharia.

    Next, after the men enjoyed the girls; they divorce them.

    And they divorce their (first) wives as well, wait for odeh period to run, and marry the other’s wife.

    In effect exchanging wives.

    All permissible according to Sharia.

    Now, go to Mr. Sistani’s web site and read his opinions about chess; it is haram to play chess.

    Is that not Sharia?

    And in regards to Reza Shah’s forced anti Hejab campaigns – the post does not justify the behavior of the government against people whose grand-parents were not even born then.

    Look, used to be if you were wearing a scarf in Turkey, they would not let you enter government buildings, including unviversity and school buildings.

    Now, in Iran, if you are “bad-Hejab” they will not let you inside government offices in Iran.

    In both cases, the state does not respect the intrinsic rights of the human beings, specially women.

    Take your pick.

    Only in North America, Australia, and in UK Muslims can live the way they want without state interference and in security and tranquility.

  143. fyi says:

    Irshad says: June 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Very many pieces of international law have been destroyed in an effort to destroy or contain Iran starting with the Chemical Weapons Treaty, and continuing with NPT, SWIFT, Maritime Insurance, Cyber-security etc.

    All of these, in case of Iran, were supposed to be a one-time-deals; that is, the world was supposed to go back to the status quo ante.

    It did not.

    Much of the legal structure of the international instruments and treaties is being unravelled – starting with Iran.

    I doubt that US, EU, Russia, and China will like the resulting world.

  144. fyi says:

    Rd. says: June 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Large numbers of people were convinced that there will be Paradise on Earth only if Islam was permitted to run the society.

    They were thinking of the early Islamic period and the legends of those times; ignoring all the intervening centuries of Muslim History; it was idealism to the point of foolishness.

    Well, they got their Islamic system and even the ayatollahs are not happy with it; recall the Friday Prayer Leader of Isphahan who resigned a few years back?

    And, by the way, after the late Mr. Khomeini’s death there was no one left to moderate their fantasies except bitter experience with a thing called Reality.

    13 Million people voted against the way they have been governed in 2009 yet the staet and the government has not been able to make any policy changes that could address the concerns of those Iranians.

    On the contrary, it has gone out of its way to further alienate them.

    This is what whets the proponents of regime change; this disaffected population whose concerns are not being addressed adequately.

  145. Fiorangela says:


    “WASHINGTON Jun 21 2012 A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers. “

  146. Fiorangela says:

    Iran’s intelligence ministry . . . has arrested 20 people associated with the terrorist operations in which two of the country’s nuclear scientists were assassinated.

    – – – –
    Even if sanctions were lifted and U.S. DID “go to China” with respect to Iran, Iran is inexorably changed by the years of abuse it has endured from hegemonic powers. The language in the above article reflects that Iran apparently feel compelled to play the game that Israeli and American spies and assassins have begun. Iranians have to incorporate into their thinking processes the duplicity that characterizes the mindset and behavior of ‘western civilization.’
    This phenomenon was hinted at in Dr. Larijani’s response to Charlie Rose when Rose pressed Larijani to admit that Iranians were having a hard time buying food. ( :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeKguUl116g ) Larijani had to ‘catch his breath’ for a second or two; when he spoke, his voice was very low.
    It’s said that when you lie with dogs, you get up with fleas. It is also true that when a rabid dog bites you, you become a carrier of rabies.

  147. imho says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    June 22, 2012 at 1:15 am / 1:20 am

    Reading your previous talks with FYI about hijab, I was thinking to raise that issue in Reza Shah time when he suppressed the hijab by force. Fortunately you did it yourself and you’re right; it was not a good idea to confront the hijab by the use of force no matter the goal, in that time. But what is happening today is very similar, that is, to impose the hijab by force; and this is not a good idea neither for the same reason. Why ? because imposing something on people by force will one day backfire. This is not only true with hijab but also with every aspect of politic and governance. This is the basis (in my view) of current democracies in the west invented after the fall of kings and queens in order to keep the people in check. By giving them the feeling (or illusion, since most of them aren’t real democracies) that they are free to chose, people have no logical reason to stand against their supposed own representatives.
    Reza shah should have focused on education and let the women chose themselves. And this is what I think the IRI should do if the intent is to promote real Islamic values. But as you and I know, this is not about religion but politic.
    All in all, I don’t think, contrary of you, that sharia is fully implemented in Iran. Maybe in Saudi Arabia. The Shia left some space for interpreting the rules.
    The way you talk about northern Tehran people shows some hate against your fellow citizens. First, the “new” northern Tehranis aren’t necessary the old ones from Shah’s era. They mostly prospered during the current regime. Second, you should understand that a majority of Iranians, with or without religious background, for or against IR regime, are proud, as the polls show, of the way IRI handles the nuclear file and resists against the west. Third, Iranians are not hopefully entitled in class fights forever (Iranian revolution was partly about that, the oppressed against the oppressor). Iran needs unity, the way she was during the Iraq war, when she resisted against the rest of the world; something impossible to achieve by force. No outside power could break Iranian cohesion. The only way is from within by creating divisions. As fyi said, hijab is one dangerous form of division, and with little value to defend. I agree with you that lots of values (morality, respect, family, etc.) in the western society are lost, probably deliberately by the elites, but jumping to the other extreme is not the answer.
    Today I read an article in Asia Times about Saudi endgame for Iran. Here is an extracted phrase full of sens:
    “The IRGC may use the nuclear crisis to further its interests, converting Iran from a theocratic regime with a zealous bodyguard to a military regime with a supportive clergy”

    hijab is far from being a real issue but a powerful tool for dividing the Iranians.

  148. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    What you don’t get is that a little “moral police” would be a great thing for the US, Canada and western countries- especially for the youth and those victimized by their usually immoral and often criminal behavior.

  149. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    It is very relevant that the values of a westernized, secularized elite most of which where/are inhabitants of northern Tehran areas was forced onto the rest of Iranians.

    My grandmother told us the story that when she was small, Reza Khan’s local governor, his entourage along with a group of Bahai women came to there town in Khuzestan and literally with force and with threat of arrest removed the headscarfs- forget about chador- of my great grandmother who was a teacher and the only literate woman in the the town (originally from Shiraz). The Bahai women kept saying “Where is your Imam now?”

    Whatever the Islamic government has done in the last 34 years regarding hijab is within the context of the forced unveilings of the previous 50 years before that. This is what you don’t want to admit. It wasn’t the case that everything was dandy before in Iran regarding hijab and then suddenly the revolutionaries started “humiliating” people as you call it.

    What is clear regarding the definition of a Muslim is that he or she has to follow the rules of sharia. This is where you and your ilk are misguided. There is no “being Muslim” without following the sharia.

    If a Muslim is unaware of a certain law, they have to be told about it respectfully and urged to follow it. One the titles for this is amr be maruf nahy az munkar. For example if Muslim women doesn’t deny asle hijab but doesn’t know the rules regarding it then they have to be told and this not “humiliation”

    If however they deny the sharia or part of the sharia from the get go, this is a another issue and if they feel humiliated when they are told to cover up then this not a tragic matter.

    The issue is that we have people in Iran- many of whom live in northern Tehran- who deny sharia and many of them deny Islam- living in a society where the vast majority do not. In my view the problem in the last 34 years has been that we have been too lenient with these people who never miss a chance to crap on the most sacred beliefs of the majority or to make a deal with whatever kafer power wants to take takeover.

    But just for your information, it seems that the various governments, the Supreme Leader and most of the maraaje seem to be following your advise and not putting too much pressure on these parasites. So be happy that for the time being you are winning the culture wars.

  150. kooshy says:

    I found a very interesting post by Cyrus on his weblog Iran affair, it’s about a new released survey by Gallup on use of media in Iran to be fair I will just post a link to Cyrus’s site view this new survey from there

    I strongly recommend reading this new survey especially to the regulars here


  151. Rehmat says:

    Last week, several Jewish organizations across the South America, urged Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff not to meet with Dr. Ahmadinejad during the two-day Rio+20 Summit which concluded on Thursday.

    Ahmadinejad, heading a high-ranking delegation, started a two-day visit to Brazil Wednesday morning. He met with the former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva on the sideline of Rio+20 Summit on Wednesday. Da Silva for his part praised the Iranian president’s speech at the summit, and approved of Tehran’s position on various international issues.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his address at the summit said:”If human beings are defined as rivals or enemies in the exploitation of the environment and its resources the situation will remain as it was over the past centuries“.

    On his way to Brazil, President Ahmadinejad made a stop-over in Bolivia on Tuesday. At the La Paz international airport, he was received by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

    President Ahmadinejad and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon also held a meeting on the sidelines of Rio+20 summit. Ahmadinejad told Ki-Moon that Tehran has never sought to build nuclear weapons and has always called for cordial relations among nations and governments. The UN chief, for his part, praised Iran’s significant role in regional and international developments and said Tehran plays a considerable role in various global issues.

    Iran has held meetings with P6+1 (US, Britain, France, Israel, China and Russia + Germany), in recent months, in Turkey, Iraq and Russia. However, the US sabotaged all negotiations by pushing Israeli demands on the table.


  152. Rehmat says:

    The fourth 3-day Israeli Presidential Conference concluded yesterday in Jerusalem. It’s Shimon Peres’ showcase to make-believe that Zionist Jews do like to live in peace with Muslims and Christians in the Middle East. This year’s speakers included Israeli president Shimon Peres, hawkish Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, self-hating American Zionist Jewish author Peter Beinart and American hip-hop mughal Russell Simons, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, Natan Sharansky, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Rabbi Marc Schneier, Abraham Foxman and Benji Netanyahu. They all took shots at the pressing issues in the Muslim world concerning the Zionist regime especially Israel’s ‘existential threat’ from the Islamic Republic.


  153. James Canning says:


    Dennis Ross is a senior adviser at Winep (offshoot of Aipac) but still gives advice to Obama.

  154. Karl. says:

    Clinton adhere to the xenophobic claims of suicidal iranians.

    “Clinton: Tehran hardliners seek an attack on Iran in order to legitimize the regime”

    Isnt the hardliner that run Iran that have been over and over again said to be rational and will do everything to SAVE themselves even by the administration itself?!

    There seems to be no end of the accusations against Iran by this heinous warmongering woman.

  155. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “Whether hejab etc. is an issue of Northern Tehran is irrelevant”


    This may be a relevant article on the topic, revolutions and social changes. It also includes some very interesting stats listed from Shahra Razavi.

    fyi, I think your notion of IRI providing protection for the public’s ‘namus’ may very well be the impetus for change in the long run. One can argue ‘rosari ya tosari’ (hejab or get hit in the head) is not a sound policy to promote desired behavior.

    Stats from Shahr Razavi;

    “The Islamic Republic lowered the minimum age for marriage of girls from 16 years to 9 years – a highly controversial move, which effectively sanctioned child marriage.  And yet, the mean age at first marriage for women before the Revolution was 19.7 years (1976); twenty years later it had gone up to 22.4 years (2003) [now it is 24 (2011)].  Female literacy, which was 35.6 percent in 1976, rose to 80 percent in 1999 (and for rural women it rose from 17.4 percent to 62.4 percent), and by 2001 more than 50 percent of university students were women. “

  156. Ihoo says:

    has United States eevr lifted sanctns from a nation after they have been put on?

  157. Karl. says:

    Is that Dennis Ross sitting with Obama?
    Whats Ross job nowadays, how much power does Ross have on Obama when it comes to the middle east?


  158. James Canning says:


    It was a bad thing for Iran and the West, for the nuclear exchange not to have succeeded. As you note.

  159. kooshy says:

    imho says:
    June 21, 2012 at 10:27 am


    Regarding the questions you raised about the Islamic awakening, if you can read Persian there was a very interesting interview on Kyhan Daily with Dr. Velayati, who was past foreign minister of Iran and current foreign policy advisor to leader of revolution Ayatollah Khamenei. He explains his views on the nature and cause of the Arab uprising, as well as other Muslim regional nation’s reasons for reaction to the uprisings.

    وزير خارجه اسبق ايران: سوريه سقوط نخواهد كرد
    دقيقه با دكتر ولايتي درباره بيداري اسلامي منطقه 50

  160. Irshad says:

    So after removing insurance for Iranian ships, the US-EU axis, used the same methods against the ship MV Alaed, which was carrying 3 old helicopters, owned by Syria, refurbished by Russia, back to Syria:


    The key point Lavrov made here is:

    “But this story has another twist with the British insurance company, which decided to withdraw insurance from this particular ship. This is a testimony that the insurance system of Great Britain is not reliable, because they were citing sanctions imposed on Syria unilaterally by the EU.

    This means that anyone – any country or any company – who is not violating any international rules, who is not violating any UN Security Council resolutions might be subject to extra-territorial application of somebody else’s unilateral sanctions. This is a very slippery slope.”

    As per, fyi (Babek Manikejad????) view – there will be an alternative insurance organisations been set up and operated outside of the EU-US control – something Iran must do to break the siege thats been imposed on her.

  161. Karl says:


    The naval/military shift to Asia was about to happen in 2020, of course US wont leave the middle east anytime soon especially in these war looming times.

  162. Rehmat says:

    Pope Benedict XVI, who was called ‘Zionist Double Agent‘ by American Catholic blogger and women rights activist Joanna Francis in her September 19, 2006 blog post – is due to visit Lebanon September 14-16, 2012 on the invitation of Lebanon’s Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Pope Benedict XVI visited Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories in 2009.

    Washington’s problem with al-Assad and Hizbullah is that they both not only support Palestinian armed struggle against Israel but also the Islamic Republic which wants to dismantle the Zionist regime in occupied Palestine. This is not an analysis but a fact which is based on the well-documented history of US demands and pressures on the regimes to go Muslim “moderate” or else!


  163. imho says:

    It is worth noting that everything happened in geopolitical scene at least from Iranian revolution to this day is conforming to the Brzezinski’ doctrine of Arc of Instability and the subsequent Greater Middle East from North Africa to the China. It is quite impossible in my view that such a huge development, the so-called Arab Spring has been the result of a lone Tunisian fruit vendor who set himself on fire to protest against harassment and corruption in his country. Just how many times this happened here and there in the past without any global (and even local) repercussion ? So why this time was it different ? I really appreciate reading interesting comments here with valuable links provided to understand what the MSM doesn’t want us to know. However most writers here seem to think these uprisings were all genuine; without any NGO involvements which are directly financed either by US gov. or Congress or some influential billionaires (e.g. Freedom House, NED, etc.). How is it that all the color revolutions (including the Green in Iran) were set up by those NGO and CIA and not the so-called Arab Spring that some here prefer to call Islam Awakening and so on ? One obvious goal of instability is to prevent the emergence of regional powers, as is the case of Iran, on which most agree that the nuclear file is just a pretext.
    Back to the Leveretts article regarding a US-China like approach towards Iran, commented by some of you here, another reason that I don’t see it happening is the huge difference in context related to Iran. If this has anything to do with one of the old British geopolitics policies (which I think it has), that is, a superpower should make alliance with the weaker of two potential adversaries in order to contain and destroy the stronger. The Nixon-China approach was designed following this rule to destroy the USSR. Now, regarding the China as the upcoming potential superpower, and following the same principle, the US already made an alliance with its rival, that is India. The US simply can’t make alliance with all of its enemies, for it needs them to implement its policies. If any grand bargain is in the cards with Iran (which I don’t think for now), look for other reasons.

  164. Neo says:

    Soraya Ulrich says: June 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    “one should not compare Iran to China.”


    Seems to me that the Leveretts are more concentrated on USA’s strategic needs and priorities rather than comparing Iran’s situation with China’s. In any case, and regardless of the Soviet factor (and the current resurgence of Russia), both countries hold strategic positions on either side of the planet’s largest and richest continent. Having good relations with both makes good sense, assuming that the US wants to remain relevant for the foreseeable future.

  165. Neo says:

    “A Muslim is not safe in her person in the Islamic Republic but she is safe in US, in UK, in Australia, in Denmark, in Canada.”

    Well said fyi. While brutality toward muslims is a reality in the West, in Iran it’s the state that regularly and commonly organises and encourages harassment of, and attacks against non-conformist women on the streets. Truly a shame, especially more than 3 decades on since the revolution. The Islamic Republic could show more grace, cultural tolerance and political loyalty – yes, I mean loyalty – toward Iranians of all shades and beliefs. We should be better than this.

  166. Neo says:

    James Canning says: June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm


    “Iran’s “rise in the region” would have been much greater if Iran had accepted the nuclear exchange and stopped producting 20 percent uranium”

    I guess you are referring to the first exchange offer about 3 years ago, before Iran’s counter offer 6 months later. You may be right. It could also be said that had the US and Europe accepted Iran’s offer, they would have suffered far less under the current economic crisis. Ask Pirouz about gas prices if you don’t believe me.

  167. Neo says:

    fyi says: June 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm


    The US fleet is slowly but surely shifting its focus on East Asia and China in particular. It does not look like they expect a war with Iran at this stage.

    For sure the ‘US and EU planners are still pursuing a containment strategy against Iran’, and their strategy toward Syria is a part of that, but I’m not sure that they really want the Assad regime to fall apart with all its ramifications. For them, it’s enough to keep Syria weak.

    Regarding Qatar and Saudi Arabia, many analysts see the latter as the weakest link. All eyes on Bahrain…

  168. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: June 20, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    There is global inflation – one way to know it is to watch the price of gold in dollars.

    Commoditiues are also inflating and since much of the world trade us denominated in dollars, prices are going up there as well – say oil.

    Look at the price of oil per barrel in gold. It is very clear.

    More states will switch to barter or fixed exchanges in the coming years as thy realize that there is no end to the global inflation caused by QE in US.

  169. Karl. says:

    I must reinterate that the commenting process must speed up, from what I understand there is approval of comments somewhere between every 6 hour, and even beyond that. For such a valuable this site this and not to loose visitors/commentators I urge the moderates for this site to speed up it in one way or another. Its very import to keep the site fresh since it happens alot on the topic of Iran.

  170. Castellio says:

    Persian Gulf, the US population is more like 4.5% to 5% (or 1/20th) of the worlds population.

  171. Pirouz says:

    The US and Iran’s mistaken path to war
    By Trita Parsi


    I disagree, accepting the 1988 ceasefire was a draw, not a defeat.

    Surrendering sovereignty over the nuclear issue would not be a draw, it would be a defeat.

    By the way, it can be argued that the Iranian decision to advance the Iran-Iraq war into Iraq following the battlefield success at the Battle of Khorramshar was vindicated by Saddam’s launching of a second war of aggression in the region. It was launched against Kuwait but could also have been directed against Iran, so Iranian strategic thinking went at the time. The incomplete Coalition victory of 1991 led to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, with circumstances coming into effect rendering Iran’s higher war aims from the Iran-Iraq war surprisingly attained.

    As usual, Parsi spins his historical narratives to fit his “democracy” agenda, an agenda where his rendering of democracy does not respect a majority result in an election. But what can one expect from a disciple of Fukuyama and the speculative philosophy of history? Fukuyama, the non-Japanese Japanese-American, and Parsi, the non-American president of an Iranian-American Association.

    The good news, folks? The price of premium fuel has dipped to less than $4.15 a gallon here in northern California.

  172. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    June 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I am just wondering where does the inflation due to these QEs go? the declining standard of living is noticeable though. or is it partly transferred to non-dollar economies through dollar nominated trades?

    for decades the U.S with almost 1/30-1/40 of the world population has been unfairly spending nearly one fourth of global energy. it’s good that this free ride is changing.

  173. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: June 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    It is consistent with what I understood to be the nature of teh current crisis; a financial bubble built over decades which require indefinite (> 10 years) of deficit financing both in US and EU.

    But even after a decade or more of deficit spending, they will not be where they were back in 2005. That world is unreachable.

    US is exporting her problems via printing money, EU cannot.

    EU spent 1.35 trillion Euros trying to save Greece. EU cannot save Spain or Italy. No amount of austerity will.

    Yes, I agree, God is the most excellent trickster.

  174. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: June 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    There will be no war.

    Mr. Obama had his chance in this past February-March and he backed-off.

    US strategy is one of containment, economic siege warfare, and destruction of Iranian allies.

    US-EU States will fail for they are trying to get others to shed their blood for them with no discerinble possitive future.

    Plenty are dead already and plenty more will be dead until US-EU Axis are defeated in this hare-barined scheme – Policy as extension of War.

  175. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Ypu are wrong about Muslim safety in US or Canada, countries of which I have first-hand-knowledge.

    There are young women who wear their scarves everywhere and then there are those who do not.

    But there is no “Moral Police” to terrorize them.

    50 years ago, in Pakistan and in connection with their very able Foreign Minister who was an Ahmadi, they tried to define a “Muslim”.

    They failed.

    You will also fail in definition of hejab – the only solution is to stop antagonizing Iran women and their men-folk.

    Iran is the second largest consumer of cosmetics in the Middle East; after Saudi Arabia.

    And for the same reason; foolish men trying to repress women.

    As for Iranian TV idealizing European life-style is an indication of the Nekbat Islami; that Islamic Republic of Iran’s social & cultural policies have failed to fill the gaping hole of weakness inside Iranians.

    Whether hejab etc. is an issue of Northern Tehran is irrelevant (even if true, which it is not – go to Naziabad and see the young women there); Northern Tehranis are also Muslims – what is the point of publiccly humiliating Muslims? Is this the way to attract them to religion?

  176. Persian Gulf says:


    What is your take on the newly announced QE?

    Nice to see the economy is deadlocked. May we see more, inshaallah!

    وَمَكَرُواْ وَمَكَرَ اللّهُ وَاللّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِين

  177. Castellio says:

    For the record, Rehmat, there is no Trenton University in Canada. There is a Trent University.

  178. Rehmat says:

    Roger Garaudy (1913-2012) was author of book, “The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics”, for which French Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG) fined him US$40,000. Following his conviction on grounds for being anti-Israel and anti-Zionism. Roger Garaudy was hailed in the Muslim world and 160 members of Iranian Majlis signed a petition in his support. Iranian leaders condemned the West and the Zionist entity for bringing Garaudy to trial. Garaudy visited Tehran as guest of the Majlis. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenie cited Garaudy for his work for exposing Zionist regime’s Zionazi-like policies against Muslim and Christian Native Palestinians.


  179. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Regarding Kuwait, the feudal lords just dissolved the newly elected parliament. Kuwait is the facade of a constitutional monarchy, al-Sabah firmly in control by the grace of the US/UK.

    Kuwait is basically a glorified depot with a flag, for the US and previously for the British to store their stuff and to station their regional agents in. Once in a while they give a fleeing ale Saud refuge or themselves take refuge with the ale Saud. That’s Kuwait in a nutshell.

  180. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Obviously I disagree with you on the definition of “safe” and having lived in the US and Europe I can assure you that Muslims are not “safe” in those places- especially the sisters who wear hijab.

    As I mentioned, the “inconvenience” felt by some of the wealthy, westernized north Tehran elites is a small price to pay for the larger positive historical and structural changes occurring in Iran.

    I would argue the contrary, that it has been the mores of these people that has been forced onto the rest of Iranians for the last hundred years. Even after the revolution this continues. One example of this is how Iranian TV continues to depict western-type lifestyles as the ideal and this is beamed to every village and town. Forget about satellites! The issue you raise is more of a northern Tehran versus other places issue, not a higher-lower class issue.

    In terms of hijab, I’ve explained the solution previously which is to clearly define what hijab is as a matter of law, the outside manifestations of it, and then to strictly enforce this, not the current mess. There can be no debate about asle hijab in an overwhelmingly Islamic society. That’s a red line and the gherti ladies in Tehran know this very well and have learned to live with it. In other words, the schism exists but contrary to your evaluation it is not politically dangerous.

  181. Fiorangela says:

    The US and Iran’s mistaken path to war
    By Trita Parsi
    Huffington Post
    June 20, 2012

    Parsi returns to a note he’s sounded numerous times before: there is no clear mechanism or history of US climbing down from sanctions. —

    “From the U.S. side, this combination of talks and pressure is premised on the idea that Iran does not yield under pressure — it only yields under enormous pressure. U.S. decision-makers are inspired by the events of 1988, when Ayatollah Khomeini finally agreed to end the war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Iran had suffered tremendous military losses, largely because Saddam’s use chemical weapons. (Incidentally, the components for those chemical weapons were provided to Saddam by the West.) Iran’s economy was is shatters. Oil prices stood at less than $10 per barrel. Iran simply could not resist any longer.

    Despite Khomeini’s slogan of “war, war till victory,” he had no choice but to throw in the towel. “Taking this decision was more deadly than taking poison,” he said.

    Washington wants the regime in Tehran to once again drink from that cup of poison, and to do that, a constant escalation of pressure is needed, the Obama administration calculates.

    But there is a world of difference between Khamenei’s Iran of 2012 and Khomeini’s Iran of 1988. Beyond the obvious it is impossible to bring Iran anywhere near the type of pressure and suffering it endured during the 8 year long Iraq-Iran war, Khomeini also had a clear choice in 1988 with clear consequences. He knew that if he drank the poison, the war would end. There was near 100% certainty of that.

    Khamenei does not perceive such a choice today because there is no clarity of what would happen if he were to give in to Western demands. Rather than clarity, there is ambiguity.

    Sanctions could be lifted. Down the road. Perhaps.

    Iran could have domestic nuclear enrichment capabilities. In the distant future. Maybe.

    Beyond a clear choice, Khomeini also had an absolute decision-maker as his counterpart. Saddam made all the decisions and no one dared to challenge him. He didn’t have to deal with a pesky Congress.

    Khamenei does not perceive in Obama a forceful decision-maker whose decisions will stand and whose promises will be fulfilled. Khamenei already had a preconceived notion of Obama in early 2009 as weak and incapable of standing up to pressure from Republicans and Israel. After numerous cases in which Obama has altered his policies in response to these pressures, that impression of the US president has likely not changed.

    In the absence of clear exit ramps – both for the US and Iran – the attempt to recreate the 1988 scenario is fundamentally flawed. Rather than creating stark choices, there is nothing more than naked escalation. And rather than causing Iran to capitulate, we are more likely to beget confrontation.

    Meanwhile, even short of war, crippling sanctions and pressure will continue to decimate Iran’s middle class – the backbone of Iran’s indigenous pro-democracy movement. Truly a lose-lose for all.”

  182. James Canning says:

    Shaul Mofaz in a speech at Winep in Washington, called on the P5+1 to force Iran to stop all enrichment of uranium and to export all existing stocks of enriched uranium.

  183. James Canning says:


    Iran’s “rise in the region” would have been much greater if Iran had accepted the nuclear exchange and stopped producting 20 percent uranium (which has triggered the latest sanctions). In order words. Iran’s success is today much less than otherwise would have been the case.

  184. James Canning says:


    I very much doubt the EU and the US fear an Iranian effort to overrun various countries in the Middle East. In fact, I rather think there is no concern such an event could transpire.

  185. James Canning says:

    I recommend Anatol Lieven’s comments in the Financial Times today: “The west must work with Putin’s Russia, not just berate it”.

    Lieven rreminds us there was no effort to isolate Algeria in the 1990s after the military “cancelled a democratic election and engaged in a ferocious campaign of repression”.

  186. James Canning says:


    Are you claiming Iran can continue to stockpile 20 percent uranium, and not face more sanctions? And still more. Leading to an embargo/blockade perhaps.

  187. James Canning says:

    Sorahy Ulrich,

    Yes, Nixon courted China due to a wish to cooperate regarding restraining the Soviet Union. But Nixon primarily needed cover for ending the US military adventure in Vietnam.

    You are quite right: Israel did not figure into the equation.

  188. Rehmat says:

    The Hollywood coming movie, Argo, produced by Israel-Firster George Clooney – is based on the old propaganda story about Iranian students’ occupation of US embassy building (spies nest) in Tehran immediately after the 1979 Islamic Revolution which changed Iran from a US-Israel lapdog into region’s most independent and powerful nation. The students kept 52 American diplomats and staff under house arrest for 444 days. During the seige, six Americans were smuggled out of Iran – not by some American ‘Superman’ – but by Canada’s ambassador in Tehran, Kenneth Taylor. Professor Robert Wright (Trenton University, Canada) in his book ‘Our man in Tehran‘ has claimed that Kenneth Taylor was in fact the ‘CIA Station Chief’ in Iran.


  189. fyi says:

    Mr. Castellio and others:

    In a recent essay in Huffington Post by Mr. Lavrov we read:

    “…it is evident that fuelling intra-Syrian strife may trigger …the most dangerous of all, an aggravation of inter-faith tensions and contradictions inside the Islamic world.”


    Americans, Europeans, Israelis, and assorted Arabs will get their religious war; it will burn them all in its path.

    [It will not harm Iran – I am certain of that.]

  190. Castellio says:

    I think Peter Lee one of the better political commentators writing today.


  191. fyi says:

    Kathleen says: June 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

    NPR used to be impartial before the late Ronald Reagan Administration emasculated it.

    Now it is just another propoaganda mouthpiece of the state.

    In a way, US is similar to USSR – the difference being that in USSR people knew that they were hearing lies.

    Even so-called Think Tanks such as CFR, CSIS, and elswhere are now contaminated by liers and knaves.

  192. fyi says:

    Mr. Bused-in-Basiji:


    Shame, shame, shame.

    A Muslim is not safe in her person in the Islamic Republic but she is safe in US, in UK, in Australia, in Denmark, in Canada.

  193. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 20, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I have never been against Islamic Revolution, I have been against Islamic Disaster whereby the State tries to impose the mores of the lower classes on others.

    Look at the recent incident at Milad Tower:


    And read the comments.

    The Islamic Republic is maintaining a politically dangerous schism in Iran and I guess they are too foolish to see it.

    In regards to your man in Kerman; that is accurate.

    Same thing was going on in Khuzestan with the local Arabs working on some agri-business land- they were caged at night and randomly beaten up to keep them in line – as you have stated.

    By the way, Kuwait has had a majlis since 1960 – they are a bit better than the others.

  194. Kathleen says:

    So today (wed) at 3 pm est Neil Conan host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation will be focused on Iran. I believe NPR’s choice of guest to discuss the situation with Iran have persistently leaned in the direction of those who support a military attack on Iran. Just looking through TOTN’s archives here are a few of the folks Neil has allowed to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran. What I am interested in is how the MSM covers these critical issues. Who they chose and keep out of the U.S./s foreign policy debate on Iran and other issues. We know what happened in the run up to Iraq. My take is that for 10 solid years the MSM has either ignored the issue or allowed so called selected experts endlessly repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran

    “ABRAHAM LEWIN(ph) (Caller, Bethesda, Maryland): Yes, it’s Abraham Lewin from Bethesda, Maryland. Thinking of who would become president, whether it’s McCain or Obama, my question is what could or should America do with regards to the constant threats of Iran’s Ahmad Dinejad to eliminate the state of Israel.

    CONAN: Ambassador Bolton.

    Ambassador BOLTON: Yes. I think that’s a very important question. I think the sad fact is that Iran is now essentially unimpeded in its some 20-year course of trying to achieve a deliverable nuclear weapons capability. I think this is a good example of a case where diplomacy has been tried and failed and where Senator Obama’s suggestion that we resort to more diplomacy would simply benefit Iran. Look, diplomacy is like any human activity. It has costs and it has benefits, and the example of Iran shows where diplomacy does have costs. Our European friends have spent five years negotiating with the Iranians to try and get them to give up their nuclear weapons program. And the only result of five years of negotiations is that Iran is five years closer to achieving that deliverable nuclear weapons capability. So when Senator Obama says, as if it’s a new idea, well why don’t we negotiate with Iran? We have. And it’s failed, and that’s why I think our options are very limited. I think now the next point to watch is whether the government of Israel, seeing an Iran with nuclear weapons as an existential threat to the state of Israel, decides to use targeted military force against the Iranian nuclear program before this administration is over. I think that is very much on the horizon and something that I think we should have a debate about during the course of this presidential election.

    CONAN: The Israelis could not possibly do that without American acquiescence. They would have cross Iraqi territory to get them.

    Ambassador BOLTON: No they wouldn’t. No, they wouldn’t. And let me tell you something. In flying across other airspace, I think that in the Arab world, although certainly you wouldn’t hear this publicly, that there would not be any great amount of sadness if Israel, in fact, did destroy a significant part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. We can see from the reaction in the Arab world when Israel just last year in September destroyed the North Korean Reactor being built on the banks of Euphrates River in Syria, that the pubic reaction was silence. And with the private reaction was that they were quite happy that Israel had taken that action. And here’s a case where if you ever expected an Arab reaction, that would be it – Israel attacking a brother Arab state. And the reason that the other Arabs reacted the way they did is that they fear that what was really going on was that this reactor was another example of Iranian penetration of Syrian sovereignty and a cooperative venture with the Iranians. So I think it’s – look, the military option against Iran’s program is deeply unattractive. It’s risky. It’s fraught with danger, and it’s deeply unattractive. But much more unattractive is an Iran with nuclear weapons, and that’s why you have to have the military option available.”
    -Nuclear Jihadist’ Tells of Dangerous Secrets

    Rick Steves Takes Us To Iran
    Options in Dealing with Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions. Hey I had forgotten I was able to get through with a phone call on this show.

    CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I’m Neal Conan in Washington.

    We’re talking about Iran’s efforts with nuclear technology. Representatives from Britain, France, Russia, China, the United States and Germany met in London today to discuss what action to take over Iran’s decision last week to remove seals from equipment used to enrich uranium. We’re expecting that the matter will now come up before an emergency meeting of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that would be in the early part of next month in about two weeks time.

    Our guests are Richard Beeston, diplomatic editor of the Times of London, and Jon Wolfsthal, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington, DC. Let’s get another caller on the line. And this is Kate. Kate’s calling from Glouster, Ohio.”

    KATE (Caller): Yeah. Thanks for taking my call.

    CONAN: Sure.

    KATE: This morning on BBC, they had three different representatives from India, Russia and–now I’ve forgotten; maybe China. But one of the fellows said that in the last six months there have been 1,400 IAEA inspections in Iran and that sanctions would be completely counterproductive and back Iran into a corner. So I’d like you to address that about the ongoing inspections. And where is the hard evidence in regard to the claims being made? Hopefully it’s not from Niger (pronounced nigh-jeer). And I’ve also asked NPR to do a program on Israel’s, Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear, technological and chemical weapons. So I hope NPR does some fair and balanced reporting on those countries.

    CONAN: OK. I assume she meant Niger (pronounced nee-jair), the country involved in the–turned out to be incorrect contribution of yellowcake, a form of uranium to Iraq. And so that was part of the WMD conversation before the war. Jon Wolfsthal, what about her point about international inspections of Iran?

    Mr. WOLFSTHAL: Well, I think this is an important point because I would imagine most of the people listening are saying, `Wait a second. I’ve heard this before. You know, I’ve seen this movie recently.’ There’s a big difference between what we thought was happening in Iraq and what is clearly happening in Iran. We have inspections that are part of the normal inspection process in Iran. We do have inspectors going not everywhere they would like to go; Iran is still not fully cooperating, but they are providing a lot of access. And the inspectors are there showing that Iran has acquired these centrifuges; that they are about to begin the process of mastering the enrichment process. They will be there to tell us when they’ve reached a point that they could use this material for weapons. And so this isn’t, you know, just in the purview of intelligence communities that you have to sort of piece together. We have people on the ground.

    The concern, of course, is that Iran is threatening to throw inspectors out if they are referred to the UN Security Council, and that could make the situation a lot cloudier. But, in the end, we don’t have the same sort of questions marks we do about Iran’s capability. What we’re really trying to guess at is intentions, and the fact that they’ve broken out of this self-imposed freeze is adding to the concern that their intentions are, in fact, not peaceful.

    CONAN: And pushing Iran into a corner, Richard Beeston, as Jon Wolfsthal was just saying, they’ve said if referred to the Security Council, they will end all cooperation with the IAEA.

    Mr. BEESTON: Yes, so obviously a window that we do have. Indeed when they took the seals off and resumed their–what they said was research work into enrichment, we were able to see that on television and to have a report by Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the IAEA, the following day. So these are–it’s an important access into understanding what–how far Iran has moved in developing technology and whatnot.

    KATE: May I…

    Mr. BEESTON: Referring to your other point, from your caller, though, about Israel, India and Pakistan, of course, they were not signatories to the NPT, so they developed their nuclear technology by themselves. And they–whatever you may think of it, they didn’t break any international laws in the sense that they were seeking cooperation for developing a civilian program, which they–we now suspect they’ve diverted to a military one, and I think that’s an important point.

    But, nevertheless, it is important, I think, in the eyes of many Arabs and many Muslims around the world to regard–to see Iran’s move to possibly acquire a weapon as, `Well, Israel’s done it, and why shouldn’t we do it? You’re operating double standards.’ I saw Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, here last night for an interview, and that was one of the main points he was making. And it’s obviously something that does rankle in the Arab world; that the West appears to be applying double standards to this issue.

    CONAN: I’m sorry, Kate. I thought I heard you trying to get in there.

    KATE: Yeah. I’m wondering what part, like, for instance, John Bolton has played at the UN in regard to kind of lining up the other countries? And doesn’t he become the president of the Security Council in the next month, and what part does that play in the direction that we’re headed?

    CONAN: Yeah. Security Council presidency rotates on an alphabetical basis, and the United States’ turn is coming up. John Bolton–was he there in London, Richard Beeston?

    Mr. BEESTON: No, he wasn’t. The US was represented by Nicholas Burns, so it was sort of political directors meeting. Obviously, if you have the chair of the Security Council, you are able to sway the debate and how things move. Having said that, my distinct impression, from speaking to people today, including Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, is that just getting the referral to the UN Security Council is going to be quite a diplomatic accomplishment. They are not planning to sit down and start talking about sanctions as soon as they get there. Everybody–Putin, the British, others–imagine this is going to be a slow process. We’re not talking about something that’s going to happen in February. And they’re hoping in a way that just a referral in itself will act as a sort of incentive on the Iranians to moderate their position.

    CONAN: Kate, thanks very much.

    KATE: Thank you.

    Amazing how many times NPR has had John Bolton on to discuss Iran

    Aaron David Miller seems to be Neil Conan and teams new favorite guest to have on about the middle east, Iran, Syria etc. I have heard him he seems to be with the “negotiations have been exhausted with Iran” team (Anne Marie Slaughter, Yoghi Dreazen, Barbara Slavin)

    Another favorite guest on NPR when it comes to the middle east, Iran etc has been “negotiations have been exhausted with Iran” Barbara Slavin

    Anne Marie Slaughter is a frequent guest on Iran, Syria. She is also another big pusher of the “negotiations with Iran have been exhausted team”

    Ok Flynt is referenced and quoted quite a bit. But when is the last time Flynt has been a guest on any of NPR’s talk shows



    Most recently I asked Neal to have the Leveretts on his program to discuss Iran.

    “CONAN: Let’s see if we could get some callers in on this conversation. We’re speaking with Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post about the most recent incidents in the shadow war between Iran and Israel. And we’ll go to Mary Ann(ph). Mary Ann on – with us from Pittsburgh.

    MARY ANN: Hey, Neal. Hey, you’ve been so – you were so careful, you know, in Iraq, to the invasion of Iraq and really tried to educate the public. So I hope you have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on about the situation with Iran. But – and I encourage people to go to their website, Race for Iran. But I want to ask your guest. You know, Richard Engel wrote an article, you know, MSNBC’s foreign correspondent, wrote an article the other day – six days ago – about U.S. officials talking to him and the other reporter and verifying that Israel and Israeli intelligence agencies have armed, trained and financed the MEK. Now, the MEK is on the U.S. terrorist list as you well know.

    CONAN: This is a group that is based in Iraq and – long based in Iraq, yes, indeed.

    ANN: Yeah. And so could you, I mean, NPR’s barely touched this story, yet we’re hearing a lot about Netanyahu’s claims about Iran attempting, you know, to assassinate Israeli diplomats. So could your guest talk about Israel, you know, this story about U.S. officials verifying that Israeli intelligence agencies are arming, training and financing the MEK? And the MEK allegedly killed the Iranian scientists. So can you talk about that, please?

    CONAN: Jackson Diehl?

    DIEHL: Sure. Those are the reports that are out there. Richard Engel reported that. I believe it was also reported in The New York Times Magazine a couple of weeks ago by an Israeli journalist. The MEK is an Iranian dissident organization that operated inside Iran, a secular leftist organization, immediately after the revolution and then was sort of driven out of the country. It’s been in Iraq for the last couple of decades.

    And the allegation is that the Israelis are using members of the MEK to carry out these clandestine operations inside Iran, including the killing of the scientist and other operations. There was a huge explosion at an Iranian military base late last year that killed a senior general and wiped out several buildings in an area that was being used to develop Iranian missiles. No one knows exactly what happened there, but some people suspect that also could have been an Israeli operation.

    CONAN: By the way, Mary Ann, we did have that Israeli journalist who was just referred to on our program, I think, a couple of weeks ago. We also spoke recently with Daniel Byman, a professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He said – he was quoted in that piece by Engel, saying that if the accounts of the Israeli MEK assassinations are accurate, the operations border on terrorism. But thanks very much for the phone call. Appreciate it.

    ANN: I hope you have Flynt and Hillary on. Thank you.

    CONAN: All right. Thanks very much. Bye. And so we’re looking at this tit-for-tat operation. I mean, nobody seems to be – Israel is, as usual, opaque on these matters in its formal official statements. But nobody seems to be seriously doubting the fact that Israel is carrying out operations inside of Iran, and maybe even that giant explosion you refer to.”


  195. Kathleen says:

    The Talk of the Nations program on Iran will be today (Wednesday) at 3 pm. In the past Neil and his team have had John Bolton(on several times) Reuel Marc Gerecht (let’s bomb Iran crowd) Aaron David Miller (negotiation have been exhausted pusher along with Anne Marie Slaughter, Yoghi Dreazen, Barbara Slavin). I have been begging the Talk of the Nation team to have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on for years now. Have been able to ask Neil when I have called in with questions so that others can hear “please have former Bush administration and Iranian experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on your program” as well as sending listeners to their site Race for Iran. Hope folks call , email, facebook, put their questions/comments up at Talk of the Nations website. Phone number 1-800-989 Talk. Be aware of who the Talk of the Nation chooses to have on to discuss this critical issue They will have a blog and comment page up having to do with this topic at some point today
    link to npr.org

  196. Fiorangela says:

    Congratulations to the Leveretts. Your book will be out just in time to give to each member of the next U.S. administration.

    = = = =


    “A Russian ship has been stopped by the British government off the Scottish coast over fears that it is carrying helicopters and missiles to Syria – as Russia announced it was sending troops to the region.

    The decision to halt the liner followed an intervention from the Government, who warned the ship’s insurers that covering the vessel could breach an EU arms embargo.

    British marine insurer Standard Club has withdrawn cover from the fleet of Russian company Femco who own the ship.

    Under EU sanctions, countries are banned from exporting arms to Syria and providing other services including insurance.”

    – – – –

  197. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    As usual very good strategic analyses, I would just add that 15,000 troops in Kuwait is at best “comical” as a trip wire/deterrent force against Iran.

    The root of the entire US security structure in PG are the local Arab governments- absolute monarchies and sultanates- which are rooted in the local feudal-tribal political culture.

    One the greatest values of the Islamic Republic- contrary to your evaluation- is that it overthrew the dominant feudal-tribal political culture prevailing in the region and is attempting to establish a republican political order. And of course a republic in Iran will naturally be “Islamic”, even if the ‘gherti’ ladies in north Tehran are “inconvenienced”. Small price to pay for the larger good.

    The US/UK has aligned itself with absolute monarchs and everything this brings with it, against the local people who want political systems that are some form of democratic constitutional monarchies or republics. This the great historic US/UK “blunder” to use James’ favorite word.

    I spoke to a gentleman recently who is from a village near Kerman, a shepherd. He was recently elected as head of village shura. We spoke about the problems and issues the area faces. In the end he smiled and said that when he was young (1970s) his family would work for the local khan and whatever pittance was left over for them, they would use for basic necessities. The local khan who owned all the land, would once a week pick a man from the villagers and publicly flog him just to show who is boss.

    Today the khan’s family live in the US, the land is public and is a commons where the villagers are allowed to graze their sheep. They have a local shura and local cooperatives.

    Clearly the Islamic revolution and the Islamic republic have not been a disaster for this gentleman and his family. This is what the US/UK and the local Arab sheikhs are fighting.

  198. Pirouz says:

    Very much looking forward to the 1-8-13 release of “Going to Tehran.” Perhaps you folks could look into a book signing event at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.


  199. Castellio says:

    Jay, yes, perhaps simply that.

  200. Castellio says:

    Ms T writes: “Makes one ask who is really making US foreign policy, and making sure the master plan is carried out – no matter who sits in the WH or runs Congress?”

    Well, that is the most fundamental question worth asking.

  201. Jay says:

    Castellio says:
    June 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm
    Where I disagree with Jay is when he writes…

    I am not sure if we disagree. Perhaps the parallel falls short.

  202. Anon says:

    Interesting anti-agitprop from FAS scientists:


    good discussion on Additional Protocol

  203. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: June 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    The aim of these negogiations is to negogiate until everyone looses interests in them.

    There might even be some possibility of a deal after 2016 elections in US – who knows.

    These ngogiations are a form of cease-fire; during a ceae-fire each side is preparing for the next battle unless there is a peace settlement.

    Americans think they can prevail in Syria and Iranians think that, having Iraq, they can live without Syria (if they ever loose her – which they do not expect anyway).

    For Iranian, strategic stalemate is fine; US is on her way out of Afghanistan and will not be able to maintain an enduring presence there.

    Furthermore, the implosion of US-EU Financial Empire in 2011 means that these states are on their way to retrenchment – eventhough their strategic planners are yet to accept that fact.

    [Austerity measures in EU and US will fail – just look at Portugal – an there will be a revolt against them.]

    Iranians will have to endure the economic war of US-EU for the next 6 years until alternative mechanism and suppliers are in place.

  204. fyi says:

    Neo says: June 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Americans will have stationed 15,000 troops in Kuwait before this year is out.

    Those troops, like the 35,000 in South Korea, are the trip wire in case of war with Iran.

    The US and EU planners are still pursuing a containment strategy against Iran based on the Korean Penninsula model.

    They are also – per this post – think that they can destroy the Ba’ath state in Syria.

    We shall see; I expect a brutal and ruthless destruction of Mr. Assad’s opponents in Syria.

    I also expect retaliation against Qatar and Suadi Arabia.

  205. fyi says:

    Neo says: June 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Americans will have stationed 15,000 troops in Kuwait before this year is out.

    Those troops, like the 35,000 in South Korea, are the trip wire in case of war with Iran.

    The US and EU planners are still pursuing a containment strategy against Iran based on the Korean Penninsula model.

    They are also – per this post – think that they can destroy the Ba’ath state in Syria.

    We shall see; I expect a brutal and ruthless destruction of Mr. Assad’s opponents in Syria.

    I also expect retaliation against Qatar and Suadi Arabia.

  206. Ms T says:

    It’s interesting to see what’s happened to the countries on the list an un-named General revealed to Gen (ret) Wesley Clark while he visited the Pentagon ten days after 9/11 . The same ones we have subsequently invaded or fomented some kind of insurrection and then bombed back to the stone age (we’re here to help) with or without allies. Looking back, it was a very interesting interview -http://www.democracynow.org/2007/3/2/gen_wesley_clark_weighs_presidential_bid

    Makes one ask who is really making US foreign policy, and making sure the master plan is carried out – no matter who sits in the WH or runs Congress?

  207. Castellio says:

    Jay writes: “In simple terms, as an imperial power the US does not see herself in the same position she was in when she negotiated with China. Therefore, the model of China no longer applies. This is a mistake – nonetheless, this is the view.”

    I think Jay is right on the money. During the Cold War the Americans knew they lived in a bi-polar world, and thought that aligning with China immediately strengthened their hand with the Soviets.

    Now, the Americans are trying to contain, surround, subdue, and have first strike capacity against Russia and China simultaneously. Like it or not, them’s the facts, officially stated and pursued in practice.

    Where I disagree with Jay is when he writes:”As ruinous and short sighted as some may think such a plan is (and similar to the insanity of the British in pursuit of their policies in their former colony India and their eventual disastrous exit), the US will continue to pursue a non-constructive policy with Iran – under Obama or successors – until failure leaves no way out.”

    It’s not as if the British left after tea and a friendly discussion. How many years, how much fighting, how many deaths? And first, let’s not forget, there was the occupation.

    The American-Israelis are committed to controlling the Middle East, not negotiating with it. In spite of any tired rhetoric to the contrary… of which Obama is a master.

    The path remains clear, and the US is much further down it: Syria, Lebanon again, Iran.

  208. Kathleen says:

    tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2 pm est Talk of the Nations Neil Conan will be discussing the situation with Iran. Or as he put it today “what can be done about Iran” (just a bit of an attitude) I have been begging that show as well as others to have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett (there must be some kind of block up because Diane Rehm has had him on in the past four of five years ago) and no MSM outlet will touch these experts as of late. Generally Talk of the Nations team picks the neocons to come on and talk about Iran…John Bolton, Reuel Marc Gerecht. The new soft pedaling neo con is Aaron David Miller..they use him a great deal now. Hope folks turn it on and listen to the program. Take it apart.

    Has the NPR TOTN team and Neil Conan picked Dennis Ross, John Bolton or Aaron David miller to spin the situation with Iran tomorrow? Why is it that these outlets will not have the Leveretts on to discuss what they know about Iran? Hope folks listen tomorrow (Wednesday). Send in questions, comments tomorrow go to TOTN’s facebook page, their comments page tomorrow. Link to Race for Iran. Ask Neil and his team when they will have the Leveretts on to discuss this situation based on known facts.

    Call in with your guestions 1-800 989-talk. The fella screening is gender biased. Lots of males get through during the foreign policy programs. Tell them you are a first time caller they love that. Ask why they will not have the Leveretts on?

  209. Karl. says:

    News report that the Flame virus was created by Israel/US…not surprising, leaked just after talks in Moscow were finished…

  210. Rehmat says:

    The welknown Afro-American poet-novelist-author and civil rights activist, Alice Walker (born 1944), has upset Jewish groups by refusing to give new translation rights of her 1983 Pulitzer Prize award-winning book ‘The Color Purple’ to an Israeli publisher, Yediot Books – citing Israel an ‘apartheid state’ with policies worse than the discrimination Blacks received at the hands of White colonists in southern United States and South Africa. The novel ‘The Color Purple’ was first translated into Hebrew in 1984.


  211. Castellio says:

    Actually, Soraya, since you mention it, I believe Israel stood to benefit from the US-China rapprochement, and that was understood at the time. In any case, Kissinger was for the US-China initiative, but seems to be supporting Romney, which is hardly supportive of any US-Iran initiative. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that.

    Please note (as Rehmat previously posted):

    “Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Jeffrey D. Feltman of the United States as the top United Nations official dealing with political issues, as part of an ongoing series of changes to his senior management team initiated at the start of his second term in January.”

    Feltman. If that’s not a clue as to where this is going…

  212. Jay says:

    I read this post earlier this morning as it appeared on Salon. At least on two accounts, the presentation is clear and concise: 1) the ever expanding sub-threshold multiple war fronts, and 2) the challenge faced by the US in the middle east. The presentation also makes a case for a rational approach to Iran – which I am supportive of.

    Perhaps, what the presentation does not make explicit – and I think it could have – is the picture of the larger context of US response as it is currently playing out in Africa – from Somalia and Ethiopia, to Eritrea, Egypt, and Libya. Drone attacks, boots on the ground, destabilization operations, intimidation of governance, bribery, and suppression of any form of democratic outcome. The larger context is relevant to Iran question because it foretells of the strategic choices the US has already made. These choices are already on display in the from of drone attacks in Pakistan, the military plan for Afghanistan, instability in Syria and soon Lebanon, and beyond.

    In simple terms, as an imperial power the US does not see herself in the same position she was in when she negotiated with China. Therefore, the model of China no longer applies. This is a mistake – nonetheless, this is the view.

    The solution, as envisaged by this new paradigm, is to create new power hierarchies. Lower members of the hierarchy will limit exposure by carrying the brunt of the human cost. Example of this hierarchy played out in Libya. The role of the next lower members of the hierarchy was played by Britain and France – but, the hierarchy extended all the way down to the level of zealots recruited with the help of SA. Along with power hierarchies, it is necessary to create instability. Instability obstructs the rise of any regional power. It also keeps the lower members of the hierarchy busy, and it creates breathing room to manage the expropriation of more resources.

    As I suggested several months back, there will be no overt war with Iran (anytime soon) because all “simulated” war games show an “unfavorable” outcome for US interest. However, (Call me cynical) for better or worse, right or wrong, and for all the dance, the US will not negotiate in good faith with Iran because the US is already executing a plan – one based on pressure and destabilization. As ruinous and short sighted as some may think such a plan is (and similar to the insanity of the British in pursuit of their policies in their former colony India and their eventual disastrous exit), the US will continue to pursue a non-constructive policy with Iran – under Obama or successors – until failure leaves no way out.

  213. James Canning says:

    “Diplomat: P5+1 seel ex[ert-level meeting after Moscow talks” :

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/06/19/246996/p51-want-iran-expertlevel- meetings/

  214. Soraya Ulrich says:

    This is an excellent article, except, one should not compare Iran to China. At the time that Nixon initiated the China ‘rapprochment’, it was to shore up its alignment againtst the Soviet Union. Course, Israel was not dictating American policies either!

  215. Castellio says:

    It’s important to know what will happen in the early years of Obama’s second term, and this is an accurate representation of what we can expect regarding Iran. If one doesn’t believe Obama wants this war, what are the facts to support that case? “it hasn’t happened yet” is hardly a compelling counter-argument.

    There’s a story of a man falling from a skyscraper who, as he passes every floor of windows, mutters to himself: “See. Nothing wrong yet.”

  216. Karl. says:

    So another meeting is scheduled in July. Like Leverette say, another buying of time, a pseude engaging that seek to weaken Iran more, especially since the oil embargo is kicking in.
    A reading the comments by puppet Ashton, she still say its up to Iran to remove suspicion and she only said the P5+1 offer will be discussed next. No mention that they will discuss Iran’s offer. Still we here that its Iran that isnt is compromising?!

  217. An Iranian View says:


  218. James Canning says:

    Bravo, for the appearance by the Leveretts on TomDispatch site.

  219. BiBiJon says:

    Thanks fyi for the link to Denis Ross’ piece in NPR.

    I find it astounding that a former “US” government official would pen an article almost entirely reflective of the Likud Israeli government’s red lines, concerns, etc. Indeed he mentions ‘Israel’ 15 times. Reminds me of the fact that once Walt & Mearsheimer published their essay, The Lobby, showing its complicity for starting the Iraq war, not only it solved nothing, but the publication allowed a huge coming-out-the-shadows push for the Iran war. W&M of course debated, and fingered Mr. Ross as very much part of the Lobby at that time. Hence, should we be really surprised that Denis too has come out the closet forcefully advocating for Israeli government?

    The following passage caught my eye.

    “any argument in favor of allowing sanctions to take their course increasingly communicates that we are willing to settle for an outcome in which we contain, rather than prevent, an Iranian nuclear weapons capability. That, of course, is not President Obama’s position. He has stated clearly that our objective is prevention and not containment—and I have no doubt that he means it.”

    Well it is news to me and potentially news to Obama too. I’ve only ever heard Obama talk about actual weapons ‘prevention’, not ‘capability prevention.’ I don’t suppose Obama will clarify his position except at the next AIPAC conference, allowing Ross and co. to massage the message any way they like. After all, he took a backseat to ‘communicating’ long enough so that his signature domestic legislation, healthcare, is among the greatest ‘unknowns’ among average Americans.

  220. James Canning says:

    Iran made clear before the Moscow meeting with the P5+1 that is willing to end production of enriched uranium at level higher than 5%. But the P5+1, due to US (and Israeli) pressure, is reluctant to say openly that Iran’s right to enrich uranium will be recognised.

  221. Neo says:

    Great read!

    I wonder, however, whether the most likely outcome is far more positive than the Leveretts anticipate.

    I would still expect the US to do a major U-turn after Obama’s likely re-election in November. This would also include putting Israel in its place, at least in stages, if not in one go.

    This expectation is not based on US’ internal politics. Rather, it’s driven by Iran’s intelligent and thus far successful rise in the region. Unless the US is hellbent on causing major instability through a regional (if not a global) war, the climbdown is slowly but surely being forced on it. The longer it takes to happen, the bigger the concessions that the US will have to make.