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The Race for Iran

PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD BE HONEST ABOUT THE IRAN-TURKEY-BRAZIL NUCLEAR DEAL

Brazilian President Lula, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, and their foreign ministers have been too polite in their characterization of President Obama’s role in the nuclear deal they mediated with Iran last week.  For we now have documentary evidence that President Obama’s Secretary of State and his White House spokesman are simply not telling the truth when they say that the Brazil-Turkey deal does not meet the standards that the United States has defined for an acceptable international arrangement on refueling the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). 

That documentary evidence comes in the form of a letter (click here for the letter) from Obama, dated April 20, 2010, to President Lula

The bottom line:  On April 20, roughly a month before the Joint Declaration between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil was announced in Tehran, President Obama conveyed, in writing, to President Lula that, to be acceptable to the United States, a deal to refuel the TRR would need to include Iran’s shipment of 1,200 kg of LEU to Turkey for “escrow” for one year, pending the delivery of new fuel.  In the deal they brokered with Iran, Brazil and Turkey delivered on every one of those points.  Obama’s letter says nothing about a U.S. requirement that Iran halt its enrichment program, or even stop enriching uranium at near-20 percent levels—which Obama Administration officials now claim are irredeemable flaws in the Brazil-Turkey deal.   

In his letter, Obama notes that he had promised his Brazilian counterpart a detailed response to Lula and Erdoğan’s proposal to try to mediate an agreement on refueling the TRR, reaffirming that “the TRR is an opportunity to pave the way for a broader dialogue dealing with the more fundamental concerns of the international community regarding Iran’s overall nuclear program.”  In Obama’s own words, his letter is meant “to offer a detailed explanation of my perspective and suggest a way ahead.”   

Specifically, Obama states that “for us, Iran’s agreement to transfer 1,200 kg of Iran’s low enriched uranium (LEU) out of the country would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran’s LEU stockpile.  I want to underscore that this element is of fundamental importance for the United States” (emphasis added).  The Brazil-Turkey nuclear deal, of course, stipulates that Iran will transfer 1,200 kg of LEU out of the country. 

On the issue of timing for a fuel swap and third-country custody of the Iranian LEU, Obama writes:  “We understand from you, Turkey, and others that Iran continues to propose that Iran would retain its LEU on its territory until there is a simultaneous exchange of its LEU for nuclear fuel.  As General Jones noted during our meeting, it will require one year for any amount of nuclear fuel to be produced…There is a potentially important compromise that has already been offered.  Last November, the IAEA conveyed to Iran our offer to allow Iran to ship its 1,200kg of LEU to a third country—specifically Turkey—at the outset of the process to be held ‘in escrow’ as a guarantee during the fuel production process that Iran would get back its uranium if we failed to deliver the fuel.  Iran has never pursued the ‘escrow’ compromise and has provided no credible explanation for its rejection.  I believe that this raises real questions about Iran’s nuclear intentions, if Iran is unwilling to accept an offer to demonstrate that its LEU is for peaceful civilian purposes.  I would urge Brazil to impress upon Iran the opportunity presented by this offer to ‘escrow’ its uranium in Turkey while the nuclear fuel is being produced” (again, emphasis added).  As part of the Brazil-Turkey deal, Iran has agreed to take the “opportunity” presented to “escrow” its uranium in Turkey, for one year, pending the delivery of new fuel for the TRR.   

Finally, Obama notes that “throughout this process, instead of building confidence Iran has undermined confidence in the way it has approached this opportunity.  That is why I question whether Iran is prepared to engage Brazil in good faith, and why I cautioned you during our meeting.  To begin a constructive diplomatic process, Iran has to convey to the IAEA a constructive commitment to engagement through official channels—something it has failed to do.  Meanwhile, we will pursue sanctions on the timeline that I have outlined.  I have also made clear that I will leave the door open to engagement with Iran.”  Pursuant to the Brazil-Turkey nuclear deal, Iran has, of course, now conveyed a “constructive commitment to engagement through official channels” to the IAEA.

And, with regard to enrichment, Obama had written earlier in the letter that “notwithstanding Iran’s continuing defiance of five United Nations Security Council resolutions mandating that it cease its enrichment of uranium, we were prepared to support and facilitate action on a proposal that would provide Iran nuclear fuel using uranium enriched by Iran—a demonstration of our willingness to be creative in pursuing a way to build mutual confidence”.    

It saddens us to write this—but is President Obama prepared to engage Iran, Brazil, Turkey, or anybody else in good faith on this issue?

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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139 Responses to “PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD BE HONEST ABOUT THE IRAN-TURKEY-BRAZIL NUCLEAR DEAL”

  1. Brent says:

    April 20th – Obama’s letter to president Lula
    April 20th – Obama’s secret letter to Mahmoud Abbas
    April 20th – BP’s Oil spill begins in the gulf

    Zecheriah 12:3,9

  2. Dan Cooper says:

    Israel is a terrorist state.

  3. Castellio says:

    This from Turkish press:

    Monday, May 31, 2010 ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

    As details slowly emerge in the wake of Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip, leaders from Turkey’s ruling and opposition parties raise their voices to condemn the action. It is the latest and worst incident in a long line of troublesome encounters over the last year and a half between the two allies and some say this could be the final act. ‘Our relations will never be the same,’ says a member of the ruling AKP

    Israel’s deadly attack on a Palestinian aid convoy is likely to be the last straw in already fraught Turkish-Israeli relations, according to senior officials in Turkey’s ruling party…

    “Our relations with Israel will never be the same,” Hüseyin Çelik, spokesman of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, told reporters Monday.

  4. Fiorangela,

    “Barak: Organizers of Gaza flotilla to blame for deadly clashes; IDF chief: Soldiers were forced to respond with live fire.”

    Be reasonable here! If you were sliding down some rope, uninvited, onto the deck of a foreign vessel in international waters, and the people on the vessel got upset about you being there, what else COULD you do but shoot them? How in the world could those Israeli soldiers possibly have predicted that the people on those ships would get so upset?

  5. Lysander,

    “The US could easily sell that excuse as a reason to go to war with North Korea. And yet, it doesn’t. Why do you think that is?”

    I assume your answer is “Because North Korea has the bomb.”

    That may be the reason, but it may not be. Obviously North Korea can’t hit the US with a nuclear bomb any time soon, and its recent missile tests suggest it can’t really deliver a bomb to much of anywhere. It’s arguable that North Korea’s possession of an undeliverable bomb makes it more likely, not less, that the US will attack North Korea – before its bomb becomes deliverable.

    I think the nearby presence of China is a much more important reason for the US not to attack North Korea. It’s China’s neighborhood, not ours. China is content to let American politicians prattle on about North Korea, but if the US ever actually threatened to do something, I think China would take a tougher stance. The US knows this, China knows the US knows this, and the US knows that China knows the US knows this. And that’s why the US will never do anything about North Korea – other than, of course, to use North Korea as a convenient example for selling a war with Iran: “Look what happens when you wait too long.”

    Lysander and Pirouz,

    “Eric, the Iranians are not going to back down, no matter what. They’ll fight and die. In the hundreds of thousands, if necessary… US leaders are left calculating the risk and potential cost. So far, that’s been too high to qualify a strike. But that could change, particularly with a change of administration, or some other factors.”

    Exactly: it could change. If and when it does, maybe hundreds of thousands of Iranians will be willing to fight and die. Maybe not. Neither of us is in a position to know which hundreds of thousands of Iranians those might be, much less to have asked their opinions on the matter. Even if those hundreds of thousands of doomed Iranians know who they are and all of them indeed are willing to die for something or other, what objectives, exactly, do you believe they are willing to die for? The right of Iranians to develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, and generally to live their lives, without Western interference? Or do you believe they’re also willing to fight and die so that Iran can acquire the so-called “nuclear option” – i.e. the illusion or reality that Iran can produce a nuclear weapon if it chooses to? Are you really confident that hundreds of thousands of Iranians are willing to die just to add a “nuclear option” to Iran’s tool bag as it goes about trying to accomplish its worthy first goal?

    I’m not. My clear understanding is that most Iranians do not feel as strongly as you do about the need for Iran to have this “nuclear option.” They want Iran to be free (I do too) from Western interference with Iran’s development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes – and free, generally, from Western interference with any aspect of Iranian life. They do not, however (nor do I), consider it worth risking hundreds of thousands of Iranian lives merely to acquire a “nuclear option” as a useful tool for accomplishing their first objective. I suspect that many of them also believe (as I do) that the chance of getting anywhere close to achieving a “nuclear option” without being attacked by the US is so remote that it would not be worth taking the risk even if far fewer Iranian lives would be at stake. As I asked rhetorically yesterday: How much progress toward a “nuclear option” had Saddam made before the US decided it was time to put an end to Iraq’s “nuclear program?”

    It might take longer, but I think Iran is more likely to achieve its first goal – freedom from Western interference – if it just dials down the confrontation, lets some time pass while the US gets progressively less influential, firms up Iran’s relationships with other world powers (and second-tier nations such as Turkey and Brazil that, at least collectively, amount to a new “world power”), persuades more and more of the world that Iran’s nuclear intentions are in fact peaceful, and eventually presses the West to back off on sanctions and other obnoxious behavior – either through formal UNSC action, or instead by Iran’s peeling-off of the US’ sanctions-partners one by one. (The very fact that the US Congress only recently considered adopting new “go it alone” sanctions suggests to me that the steadfastness of the US’ sanctions-partners may already be a bit questionable, at least to Congressional leaders and those who pressure them into such efforts, and the objections of some large US companies (e.g. Boeing) even to those proposed “US-only” sanctions suggests to me that the US’ own sanctions-resolve is weakening a bit.)

    Sanctions aren’t going to go away any time soon, of course, no matter what Iran does. But that does not necessarily mean that Iran should refuse to take steps to ease the tension until sanctions are reduced or eliminated. Sanctions or not, if Iran agrees that “dialing down” the confrontation will help it to attain its first goal – freedom from Western interference with its nuclear program, and Iranian life in general – and that that requires, for example, adopting the Additional Protocol, might that not be a sensible thing for Iran to do? I recognize the “give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile” concern, and the “we tried this before and nothing came of it” argument, and the tactical desire to get a quid pro quo for every concession (and, when I wear my tactical hat, I’ve suggested exactly how Iran might go about getting those quid pro quos). Nevertheless, if some concessions – notably, permitting more intrusive inspections – also enable Iran to follow the longer-term course I suggest in the preceding paragraph, might it not be wise to make those concessions?

    “This is what happens when your Middle East foreign policy is successively held captive by a foreign interest.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes identifying the cause of a problem is to solve it: just remove the now-identified cause. Sometimes, on the other hand, identifying the cause of a problem means only that you’ve identified the cause of the problem.

  6. Gustav says:

    Arnold: No, it does not demand stopping the enrichment. G5+1 demanded in their proposal the suspend of enrichment unless confidence about the peaceful activity is obtained. A commission would had proven the implementation of the deal.

  7. Arnold Evans says:

    Gustav: You may be really puzzled. If so, I’ll answer for you. The June 2008 proposal required Iran to stop enriching uranium, ultimately for as long as the US exercised the veto it would have gained. Iran will not accept that, and has been saying since 2003 that it will not accept that.

  8. Fiorangela Leone says:

    Castellio, agreed. Erdogan is in a double-bind (do you suppose Bibi is unaware of that?)

    According to a comment on a CNN blog,

    QUOTE ” The organizers of the Turkish part of the flotilla, i.e. the IHH Foundation, are inspired by the ideology of “Milli Gorus”. This is the very group that the members of the current Turkish government turned their backs on some 10 years ago in favor of another Islamist ideology backed by the west. So they are to be considered political adversaries (maybe even foes) of each other.

    Therefore, I do not think the Turkish government is charmed by this incident. Although they have had their diplomatic clashes with Israel, they have maintained the trade and military relations completely. Now they are forced to meet the demands of an angry Turkish public to protect their credibility on the one hand, and consider U.S. and Turkish military interests on the other. I personally do not envy their situation. ” CLOSE QUOTE

    news dot blogs dot cnn.com/2010/05/31/latest-developments-raids-in-gaza/

    While the Congress and Obama will undoubtedly roll over for Bibi, the American public is becoming increasingly restive, not least the American Jewish community.

    The Peter Beinart article that Eric noted the other day is ‘groundopening’ — not courageous enough to be ‘groundbreaking.’ But Stephen Walt brought that fact to Beinart’s attention in a Foreign Policy response: Three Questions for Peter Beinart

    It concerns me that there is no institutional memory from an American/US Constitution/US interests perspective in the State Department regarding Iran or how to conduct diplomacy and US presence in the world from any posture that does not involve weapons. Hillary Clinton must and should be removed from State Dept, but who is on the bench to take her place? As the Radoshes have said, “the Arabists” were purged some time ago.

  9. kooshy says:

    The Brazilian/Turkish Initiative
    Rebalancing The World

    By Richard Falk
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25578.htm

  10. Gustav says:

    Dear Mr Leverett and Mrs Leverett,

    can you please expain why Iran did not accapt the proposal from G5+1 in June 2008?
    Don’t you think, that this was a Grand Bargain?

    Thanks.

  11. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela writes: if this doesn’t mark a major turning point in US Israel relations, nothing is capable of doing so, and we are doomed.

    Well, if that’s your criteria, then we are certainly doomed. Do you think for a minute that any member of congress will “turn” over this? Or that Hillary will “reconsider”. Let us have no illusions, it is America and Israel together in the past, in the present, and in the future. These most recent deaths, a week from now, will not even be a bump in the Israeli-US relations… but they may well be a turning point in Turkey.

  12. Fiorangela Leone says:

    Netanyahu cancels Obama meeting in wake of deadly Gaza flotilla clashes
    Barak: Organizers of Gaza flotilla to blame for deadly clashes; IDF chief: Soldiers were forced to respond with live fire.

    this is such outrageous hasbara: IDF drops onto a boatload of civilian peace activists in international waters and whines that they were “forced to respond with live fire.” Who knows the sound of one gun “clashing?”

    if this doesn’t mark a major turning point in US Israel relations, nothing is capable of doing so, and we are doomed.

    Simultaneously with the news of the Israeli assault on the flotilla, it is being reported that Israel has two nuclear subs patrolling the Persian Gulf. Of course, we at RaceforIran suspected that was the intended location for submarines Germany sold to Israel a short time ago (toot toot).

  13. Samuel says:

    Glenn Greenwald has an excellent overview of the American support which makes Israeli crimes possible. He concludes by making a simple but devastating point:

    “UPDATE II: Just ponder what we’d be hearing if Iran had raided a humanitarian ship in international waters and killed 15 or so civilians aboard.”

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html

  14. Dan Cooper says:

    Bill Davit

    Are you still supporting The Zionist ideology?

    Perhaps you ought to read what some of the best Jewish writers of our time have written about Zionism and its murderous ideology.

    Noam Chomsky, Avi Shlaim, Gilad Atzmon and many more “distinguished Jewish writers” have written extensively about the criminal Zionist leaders of Israel and the threat they pose to world peace.

  15. Fiorangela Leone says:

    The Aid flotilla has broad support from Turks, and the ship that IDF boarded, from helicopters and vessels, in international waters, was a Turkish-flag vessel, not one of the two American-flag vessels in the flotilla.

    This is payback/warning to Erdogan for making a deal with Iran.

    note the timing: Netanyahu is due at White House tomorrow; DC is shut down today — no calls to WH comment line, the WH switchboard is not taking calls. At State Department, calls to the line for help in Emergency situations of US citizens abroad are met with, “call back tomorrow; we’re closed today.”

    Wonder where Hillary Clinton is spending her Memorial holiday. I hope it is her last as US Secretary of State.

  16. Dan Cooper says:

    Gilad Atzmon, is a former Israeli soldier now a writer and an award winning Jazz musician.

    Israeli Butchery at Sea by Gilad Atzmon.

    Once again, it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.

    The massacre that took place yesterday was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’ expands with the more dead it leaves behind.

    The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw yesterday was not just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society that a long time ago lost touch with humanity.

    Considering yesterday’s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely.

    Israel is now officially mad and deadly.

    The Jewish State is not just careless about human life, as we have been following the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter; Israel actually seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.

    http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/israeli-butchery-at-sea-by-gilad-atzmon.html#entry7817603

  17. Lysander says:

    Eric,

    You make some very valuable points, but I have to disagree. Iran enjoys the illusion of nuclear capability first and foremost because a huge issue has been made of its nuclear program. The US could have resolved this issue years ago by leaving Iran with a rudimentary enrichment program and within the limits of the additional protocol. If the US wanted this, it could have gotten it and Iran would not have the “illusion” of nuclear capability. Now, several years later, that capability is no longer an illusion. If Iran decided to make nukes, it could do so. There would be consequences, but in the end, Iran would have nukes.

    I also must disagree with the implication that America’s stumbling block on the way to war with Iran is “selling it to the American public.” They can easily sell war to the public. If Iran halted enrichment today, they would say they are conducting secret enrichment somewhere. Another laptop of death would materialize. The Green Movement must be supported. Iran is helping the Taliban, etc. A lack of an excuse is NOT what is holding back the US from war with Iran. It is the likelihood the costs would greatly exceed the benefits and in the end US objectives might still not be achieved. I agree, Iran should not give the US a REASON to attack, because they should always try to gain allies and supporters. But there is no way Iran can stop the US from coming up with an excuse.

    Similarly, if news reports are to be believed, North Korea may have sunk a South Korean naval vessel. The US could easily sell that excuse as a reason to go to war with North Korea. And yet, it doesn’t. Why do you think that is?

  18. Pirouz says:

    Eric, the Iranians are not going to back down, no matter what. They’ll fight and die. In the hundreds of thousands, if necessary. (see the Imposed War, 1980-88) Even when Dick Cheney parked 3 attack carriers in the PG aimed at Iran, and barked like a dog, the Iranians didn’t so much as flinch.

    So US leaders are left calculating the risk and potential cost. So far, that’s been too high to qualify a strike. But that could change, particularly with a change of administration, or some other factors. So the threat of war continues, and further sanctioning (economic warfare) only serves to pave the way for that ultimate of goals.

    This is what happens when your Middle East foreign policy is successively held captive by a foreign interest.

  19. Lysander,

    “A. More intrusive inspections would make it more difficult for the US and Israel to create the illusion that Iran is producing a nuclear weapon.”

    That’s true, though it doesn’t change my point that some Iranians (and their American supporters) feel it’s useful for Iran itself to create the illusion (or reality) that Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon. The very fact that, as you say, those who believe this see eye to eye with the US and Israel on the issue ought to be enough all by itself for them to wonder whether insisting on the so-called “nuclear option” is as wise a strategy as they imagine it to be.

    “The example of Iraq is not a good one. As Arnold Evans would say, the US attack on Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with WMD. That was the excuse.”

    I’ve always understood that about Iraq. But the US government doesn’t look for “reasons” to go to war; it looks for “excuses.” WMD is how the war was sold to the American public last time, and the question is whether that can be accomplished again. One might think the American public would never fall for the very same trick. One would be wrong, of course. Nevertheless, the American public’s guard will at least be up next time. That extra wariness, plus the transparency of a more intrusive inspection regime, might make it very difficult this time to sell a WMD war.

    “The US is not threatening to attack Iran because of the nuclear program, but because Iran is a serious obstacle to US/Israeli dominance of the middle east.”

    I understand this as well. Again, though, the question is not why the US government wants to go to war, but rather how the war will be sold to the American public. WMD is about the only thing that sells wars these days. Eradicating Al Qaeda terrorists doesn’t seem to have the same appeal any more – possibly because we’ve been trying to eradicate Osama bin Laden for nearly 9 years now and we don’t even know what country the guy is in. Nor are we going to get there with a “liberate Iranians” or a “protect Israel” sales pitch.

    That leaves WMD. Tried and true. And so the objective ought to be to make that “sale” more difficult. Intrusive inspections = transparency = a more difficult WMD sales effort.

  20. Lysander says:

    Eric,

    I agree with Pirouz. Iran would jump at the chance to ratify the additional protocol in exchange for total recognition of its nuclear program. The US and Israel would never go for it because the problem with:

    “A. More intrusive inspections would make it more difficult for Iran to create the reality or illusion that it is capable of producing a nuclear weapon.”

    Is it would read better as:

    “A. More intrusive inspections would make it more difficult for the US and Israel to create the illusion that Iran is producing a nuclear weapon.”

    The example of Iraq is not a good one. As Arnold Evans would say, the US attack on Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with WMD. That was the excuse. Indeed, the closer Iraq would have been to WMD the less likely it would have been for the US to attack. Don’t believe me? Ask North Korea.

    The US is not threatening to attack Iran because of the nuclear program, but because Iran is a serious obstacle to US/Israeli dominance of the middle east. The US is **refraining** to attack Iran, NOT because Iran hasn’t decided to make nukes, but because it knows Iran can extract a price the US does not wish to pay.

  21. Rehmat says:

    James Canning…..

    Ari Shavit writing in daily Ha’aretz on May 27, 2010 raised the fears that “Time is working against the State of Israel” – in which he discusses the ‘self-denial’ nature of the radical Jewish establishment, which believes that by “putting breaks on Barack Obama’s” Middle East initiatives will give Israel plenty of time to pull out of its current mess. For example, “if we don’t give in, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas, the pesident of the ‘State of West Bank’) will give up” or “Israel was established as a fact on the ground, and will succeed as a fact on the ground”. Ari Shavit concluded that the “illusion that military might and economic prosperity are enough to assure our future” is misplaced and dangerous…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/time-is-working-against-the-state-of-israel/

  22. Samuel says:

    Re: China

    It seems to me China is having second thoughts about joining in with the sanctions regime. Much has been written about the Americans providing assurances that the Saudis will help make up for any loss of Iranian oil but think about this from the Chinese point of view. Saudi Arabia is one of America’s closest allies in the world. Despite all of the paeans to “democracy” and “human rights” the U.S. protects and shelters this feudal regime in a way that falls just short of the slavish support for Israel. 19 Saudi nationals attack a large American city and an unrelated third party, Iraq, gets invaded less than two years later.

    Would it not be insane for the Chinese government to put its economic future in a nation that is just short of an American satellite? Clearly China’s energy needs must be met by nations not beholden to America or the West in general lest it fall into a situation like the Ukraine where the flow of energy can be turned off at any moment. For China only Iran fits that bill.

  23. Pirouz says:

    Eric, if the West were to recognize all of Iran’s nuclear rights under the NPT (including enrichment), it would accept the AP.

    But hey, it’s becoming obvious that the nuclear issue is simply a means with which to continue and expand economic warfare directed against the Islamic Republic warfare, with a future potential for a war of aggression.

  24. James,

    Pretty clear to me that Powell is saying:

    1. If Iran just wants peaceful nuclear energy and medical isotopes, so be it.

    2. Iran has got to prove its intentions are peaceful by agreeing to a more intrusive inspection regime.

    Sounds good to me.

    Point 2 could divide readers on this website. Those who disagree with it give two reasons:

    A. More intrusive inspections would make it more difficult for Iran to create the reality or illusion that it is capable of producing a nuclear weapon.

    B. More intrusive inspections would be disrespectful and unfair, since such a requirement goes beyond what’s expected of other NPT non-nuclear states.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t have any sympathy at all for Point A, and I think Iran’s leaders would have to be smoking funny cigarettes to believe they could get anywhere close to creating even the illusion, much less the reality, of nuclear-weapon capability before the US government persuaded the American public that it was time to send in the bombers. If you disagree, ask yourself this question:

    How far toward a nuclear weapon had Saddam Hussein progressed when the US government persuaded the American public that we had to attack Iraq without further delay because pretty soon it would be too late?

    As for Point B, I agree but, as Jimmy Carter once said, “life is not fair.” If Iran could cut a deal on a more intrusive inspection regime (the Additional Protocol, for example) in exchange for an end to Western interference with its right to develop its nuclear program for peaceful purposes (including enrichment), it should suck it up, take the deal and move on.

  25. seamorgh H. says:

    I do not think Powell is calling for more sanctions. What he is saying, I think, is that sanctions are not going create **enough** pain for Iran to change its mind about what it perceives to be its right. While, technically speaking, **enough** pain would cause Iran to change its course, there is simply no pain available in US and its allies tool box that is going to be **enough** to force Iran to abdicate its sovereignty. Hence, **enough** being impossible, Powell is suggesting, again I think, that US and its allies should be more focused on pushing Iran to be more transparent than on trying to achieve the impossible.

  26. Dan Cooper says:

    Turkish PM says West unfair, insincere in Iran row: report:

    Turkey’s prime minister Saturday accused Western powers of lacking a “fair and sincere” approach on Iran in a mounting row over a nuclear swap deal with Tehran, Anatolia news agency reported.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100529/wl_mideast_afp/irannuclearunusbrazilturkey

  27. James Canning says:

    seamorgh H,

    Are we left wondering whether Colin Powell is aware that the IAEA verifies no diversion of nuclear materials has taken place (from Iran’s domestic nuclear power programme)? Into what category does one place the U enriched to 20%?

    If Powell is saying the US needs to accept Iranian enrichment of U to 5% or less, that is a good thing. On the other hand, Powell’s call for more sanctions even though they do not work, is hardly cause for cheer.

  28. seamorgh H. says:

    Colin Powell:

    The Iranians have been around for thousands of years trading and selling and getting around various constraints and whatnot. They’re very clever. And they know what sanctions might be coming. And I’m sure that they have done their own planning and have their own counter-sanctions strategy. So I don’t see that this causes sufficient pain that will cause them to say, ‘gee, why didn’t we realize we were so off on this and we’re going to stop all of our nuclear program?’ The nuclear program is there. It’s operating. And I don’t think they’re going to give it up easily.

    I think we may have to eventually reach a point where we say, well, maybe we have to accept a nuclear program that’s designed strictly for power generation and for their medical research reactor. But they say they don’t want a weapon. So lets put them to that test and put in place a set on inspections and a regime of inspection by the IAEA and the international community that if they violate, if they agree to these constraints because they say they don’t want a weapon, and then they violate them then the hammer comes down in way that they cannot ignore.

    But right now it’s a dangerous situation. I wish they were not pursuing any nuclear program. But the fact of the matter is, whether we argue about whether they should or shouldn’t, they have it. The centrifuges are spinning. They’re producing the material. And the policy so far has not caused them to stop doing that.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/05/powell-obamas-iran-sanctions-not-strong-enough.html

  29. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I think Brazil and Turkey could ensure France delivered the fuel.

    Fans of Pat Buchanan, and others, should read his comments in Takemag May 29th: “Remembering Wars and Warriors”.
    http://takimag.com/site/article/remembering_wars_and_warriors/

  30. James,

    “I agree with you this would be a major mistake.”

    I don’t mean to say that Iran should not back out, merely that it need not, and therefore should not, take any firm position on that for the time being. I’ve heard arguments on both sides that appeal to me to some extent – from the “it would look like bad faith to pull out” argument for shipping the LEU to Turkey regardless, to the “it would be the sound of one hand clapping” argument for not shipping the LEU absent a commitment from the US and the two countries (Russia and France) whose services are needed to provide Iran what it expects in return (20% fuel).

    In short, my main argument is purely tactical: if you don’t need to decide, don’t.

  31. James,

    “Why would France refuse to provide the fuel plates/rods to Iran? To please the US?”

    You may be correct, and I certainly acknowledge that France has not been especially scrupulous in honoring its contractual obligations to Iran in the past, not to mention its broader obligations of cooperation under the NPT. Nonetheless, in the narrow context of this deal, I think that France and the US will do their conferring before France OKs the deal (if it OKs it at all), and will perform its obligations if it does. Even those who were sympathetic to France when it reneged on its commitments after the government to which it had made those commitments was overthrown might be much less sympathetic this time around, when that excuse is not available to France.

    If I were Iran, I’d be very sure that whatever commitments France makes have utterly no “wiggle room” in the language. But if that can be accomplished, I’m confident that France will perform them – or at least confident enough that I’d take that chance if I were Iran.

  32. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    There have been some calls in Iran for Iran to back out of the deal if more sanctions are imposed, but I agree with you this would be a major mistake.

  33. James Canning says:

    Samuel,

    The Chinese nuclear expert’s opinion you posted is well worth reading.

    Eric, John H,

    Why would France refuse to provide the fuel plates/rods to Iran? To please the US?

    Rehmat,

    The insane Israeli rampage in Gaza was the result of domestic politics and had nothing to do with retaliation for attacks coming from Gaza, as you well know. Turkey was close to achieving an agreement between Syria and Israel, when the Gaza attack was launched. I assume part of the reason for the attack was to sabotage the peace negotiations with Syria.

  34. Samuel,

    Thanks. Interesting and encouraging article, though the author’s views of what ought to happen plainly fall into the naive wishful-thinking category.

    One sentence in particular concerns me, though I doubt seriously that it reflects the author’s special knowledge:

    “So high is Iran’s hope that it has threatened to scrap the deal and go it alone if the UN Security Council still goes ahead with its plan to impose fresh sanctions.”

    I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I consider it unnecessary and (mostly for that reason) unwise for Iran to draw a line in the sand on this at this early stage, and I have been relieved to hear from others that, to their knowledge, Iran’s government has not officially said what this author attributes to it.

    I finally remembered where I’d first come to understand why it so inadvisable to deliver an ultimatum in diplomatic negotiations (a practice I also follow in my legal practice, the importance of which I notice most on those few occasions when I depart from it). It was in Neville Henderson’s “Failure of a Mission,” in which he (a pre-WWII high-level British diplomat) recounted candidly and in detail the back-and-forth diplomatic negotiations among Great Britain, France, Germany (and occasionally others) leading up to WWII. What stuck most in my mind from that book (other than the considerably greater extent to which Henderson’s thinking, notwithstanding his profession, was still guided by lofty abstract principles, a luxury afforded (he thought) by the presence of the English Channel and one in which French and German diplomats of the time were thus not able to indulge) was his alarm at the particular form in which some German demand had been presented to the British and French. I’m pretty sure, though not positive, that it was the first set of German demands that eventually led up to the Munich agreement in the fall of 1938.

    Upon reading the German document, Henderson was struck that it sounded like an ultimatum. My untutored reaction to his alarm was, in essence, “Duh! An ultimatum presumably is standard operating procedure for Nazis.”

    Henderson promptly set out to contact his German counterpart to ascertain whether he was correct to interpret the German document as an ultimatum. Again, I remember thinking “Well, this should be interesting. My hunch is that his German counterpart will look at him in amazement and give an answer something along the lines of “Is the Pope Catholic?”

    Au contraire. Henderson’s German counterpart expressed considerable, and apparently genuine, concern that Henderson had misinterpreted the German document as an ultimatum, and assured Henderson emphatically that that indeed was not the case. Henderson was quite relieved, and immediately reported this to his government. Surprised?

    Did Germany come out worse in the Munich agreement than would have been the case if it had instead characterized its initial demand as an ultimatum? No one can know for sure, of course, but few historians these days seem to feel that Hitler ended up on the short end of the stick in that deal. It is worth noting that, when Neville Chamberlain returned to England after signing the Munich agreement, he was hailed as a hero by most of the English people – a homecoming that Chamberlain was probably able to predict and which prediction may have affected his willingness to sign the deal. Suppose the Germans had instead presented their demands at Munich on a “take it or leave it” basis? Would Chamberlain have been just as inclined to sign? Would he have had reason to expect the warm welcome from the English people upon his return if he’d simply yielded to a German ultimatum?

    What, then, would Germany have gained by presenting its first demand as an ultimatum? And what would Iran gain now by presenting a “no deal unless the Vienna Group approves” ultimatum? Are the US, Russia and France more likely, or less likely, to approve the deal if their approval might be construed as a capitulation to an Iranian ultimatum?

    Backing out of the Brazil/Turkey/Iran deal may (or may not) be the course Iran ought to end up taking if the Vienna Group does not approve it. But even now, as one can see from reading earlier posts by me and others on this thread, there are sound arguments on both sides – and, most important, even those arguments (whether or not sound) are based only on the current state of affairs, which obviously could change quite substantially by the time Iran actually needs to decide on its course of action.

    I think it’s already pretty clear to everybody that Iran considers it very important that the Vienna Group approve the Brazil/Turkey/Iran deal. Best for Iran to leave it at that for the time being; skip the ultimatum for now.

    Here’s a link to an Amazon review of the Failure of a Mission book, in case anyone’s interested in it:

    http://www.amazon.com/Failure-Mission-1937-1939-Nevile-Henderson/product-reviews/1104840081/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_pop_hist_all?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&qid=1275237800&sr=8-1

  35. Samuel says:

    Interesting and promising article by the deputy secretary general of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2010-05/29/content_9906552.htm

    Iran deserves a break
    By Zhai Dequan (China Daily)
    Updated: 2010-05-29 07:42

    The international community should let Teheran go ahead with its nuclear program for civilian use.

    The recent tripartite agreement on nuclear-material swapping among Iran, Turkey and Brazil shows that influential countries other than major Western powers have started helping resolve sensitive global issues.

    Such efforts should be applauded and encouraged, especially because last year, US President Barack Obama said that instead of depending on America alone, other countries, too, should try and resolve world issues.

    Before the tripartite agreement was signed, the UN Security Council was expected to adopt a resolution imposing fresh sanctions on Iran for refusing to swap its low-enriched uranium with another country.

    Now, Iran has agreed on the location, time and amount of low-enriched uranium to be swapped and has submitted the list of provisions to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), although it does not fully conform to the Geneva-based agency’s conditions.

    Since the situation has changed, pre-planned punitive actions, too, should be altered accordingly, meaning there is no longer any rationality in imposing further sanctions on Iran.

    Moreover, since Iran is party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and is legally entitled to peaceful use of nuclear power, it is preposterous to say that it should not process nuclear materials to generate electricity.

    The IAEA has carried out many (4,500 time/person) normal and sudden inspections on Iranian nuclear installations – possibly the highest number on an NPT signatory state, and said their status was “not away from the normal track”. As long as IAEA verifies that Iran’s nuclear activities as safe and gets the country’s cooperation, further sanctions are unnecessary.

    As media reports said, US and Russian leaders had hinted that the participation of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the Non-Alignment Movement summit in Teheran on May 17 was the last chance for Iran to avoid fresh UN sanctions.

    The tripartite nuclear deal was reached after strenuous efforts, and Iran earnestly hopes it would help it to avoid further sanctions. So high is Iran’s hope that it has threatened to scrap the deal and go it alone if the UN Security Council still goes ahead with its plan to impose fresh sanctions.

    Sanctions against a country prove useful only when they are imposed timely and properly. But generally speaking, they have not proved to be of much use in most of the cases till now. Instead, they have usually fanned confrontational emotions and hatred, and made matters more complicated.

    That’s why it is very important to give high consideration to humanitarian factors and normal economic activities while preparing the case for sanctions against a country. After all, the disastrous effects of sanctions fall squarely on the common people of the target country.

    Sanctions, actually, are a way of dragging a country to the talks’ table. Hence, they should not be imposed randomly.

    Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and blocking their channels of delivery is our common objective, but we should achieve it through justice, legality, equality and rationality.

    Mutual trust should be the basis for resolving all major international issues, and ideological bias and double standards should be avoided. As a saying goes, “if you want a friend, he may not be there; if you want to make an enemy, he will appear.”

    As for the Iranian nuclear issue, it can be settled only through dialogue, interaction and cooperation, and hence the UN Security Council should not impose fresh sanctions against the country, because it may only succeed in causing suffering to the Iranian people.

    The author is deputy secretary general of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

  36. Rehmat says:

    John H ……

    Turkey is NOT a neutarl country. It has very close diplomatic and military relations with Israel and the US for over several decades. Turkey is also the only Muslim-majority (99%) country among the NATO members. Ankara has 1500 military personnel helping US occupation forces in Afghanistan. Furthermore, Turkey has been trying to enter EU for the last 18 years and it used to be supported by some Jewish lobby groups in the US.

    The problem between Ankara and Tel Aviv began when Olmert double-crossed Erdogan on his efforts to negotiated a peace deal betwenn Tel Aviv and Damascus by invading Gaza Strip in Dec.-Jan. 2009. And let us not forget the ‘Ergenekon’ fiasco in which Mossad tried to topple AKP government in Turkey.

    The Wall Street Journal says Islamists are Turkey’s problem:

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/wsj-islamist-turkey-is-eus-real-problem/

  37. John H:

    “That’s why any Iranian uranium can only be escrowed in a neutral country, like Turkey.”

    I should have been clear: I’m assuming Iran’s LEU WILL be escrowed in Turkey. That means different uranium would be used to make the 20% fuel. I think that’s the deal. What you’re describing is the deal offered last October, which I was strongly against. If I were Iran, I would never release my uranium to France – or to Russia, for that matter. The chances of ever getting back 20% uranium, in my view, would have been slim.

  38. JohnH says:

    “What reason would France have to balk?”

    There are plenty of reasons for Iran to suspect France’s goodwill. In the last couple years France has been seizing Iranian assets because of Iran’s support for Hamas. Funny that Israeli assets in France can’t be seized as a result of the Israeli government’s support of murder, mayhem, theft of Palestinian property.

    That’s why any Iranian uranium can only be escrowed in a neutral country, like Turkey.

  39. James,

    “Didn’t France agree in principle last year to supply the Tehran reactor, with Iran’s LEU to go to Russia? What reason would France have to balk?”

    As I recall, the US also agreed in principle last year. That was then, this is now. I can’t imagine that France will agree “in practice” this year if the US does not; nor can I imagine that France won’t if the US agrees.

  40. James Canning says:

    On the readersupportednews.org site today is good report: “War Inquiry Met Second-Tier Bush Officials”. All the top people who conspired to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq refused to meet with the Chilcot inquiry team when they were in Washington this month. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Tenet, Wolfowitz, Feith, et al. kept mum.

  41. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I am aware of the contractual breaches by France etc in the past. Iran indeed had reason for caution. But I think Turkey and Brazil can carry the deal forward, if Iran proceeds. Israel will not like it, I agree.

    I think Iran would benefit from a peace deal between Syria and Israel, provided it means Israel withdraws from the Golan Heights.

  42. James Canning says:

    Eric (and Lysander),

    Didn’t France agree in principle last year to supply the Tehran reactor, with Iran’s LEU to go to Russia? What reason would France have to baulk?

    Russia and China will want the “exhange” to proceed, even if more santions are voted in.

  43. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I agree with you that Haim Saban can seek to influence US policy toward the Middle East, through his donations to Brookings. He will still make his calls to Hillary Clinton and other recipients of his largesse.

  44. James,

    Regarding Haim Saban’s influence:

    Quite to the contrary of what I said about that in an earlier post, I think he does have quite a bit of influence through his donations to the Brookings Institutions. In the years since he started funding Brookings, I’ve noticed a difference in what gets turned out from that institution. That’s where a large donor gets the most bang for his buck in the long term – not in calling up Hillary (or Bill) Clinton and asking for specific favors.

  45. Lysander,

    Very well put. I’m almost persuaded you’re right. Not quite, but close.

    “The only circumstance in which Iran could reasonably transfer the LEU to Turkey is in exchange for an iron clad guarantee from China and or Russia to block any and all UNSC resolutions against Iran. Otherwise, there is no reason to do so.”

    I’m puzzled, as I suspect you and many others too, by China’s and Russia’s actions here. When the B-T deal was announced, it was reasonable for China and Russia to assume that Iran would actually deliver the LEU to Turkey, since Iran’s announcement of the deal would have been foolish if Iran had no such intention. That being so, why would China and Russia have allowed the US to represent that they were on board for more sanctions if they had any intention of remaining in a position to make the sort of iron-clad commitment to Iran that you describe? What change can they point to that would justify their withdrawal of support for the US’ new sanctions resolution? Water it down – that I can understand. But just vote against it after allowing the US to claim they were on board, when nothing has changed in the meantime? How can they do that?

  46. Lysander says:

    Eric,

    I understand we are not disputing what Iran’s actual rights are, but rather what is its best move. We both agree that there is nothing Iran can do to placate the US. But my conclusion is that Iran should therefore not even bother. Concessions should be made only to win over neutrals and the sympathies of the nonaligned movement and the Muslim world. It has succeeded in that. And that **is** important since some of those countries are part of the UNSC at the moment. Although, granted, it is not nearly as important as you and I would wish it to be.

    As you stated very well, the US propaganda machine will attack Iran no matter what. It will also attack Turkey as well. You can be sure a year from now some Armenian genocide resolution will be before congress once it is time for Turkey to return Iran’s uranium. Iran can never be sure how Turkey will respond. There is not even a guarantee the AKP will even still be in power a year from now.

    Add to this the fact that if the Vienna group makes no agreement, it has no obligation to provide Iran with TRR fuel.

    Given the fact that Iran will face US hostility no matter what, it might as well face it with more uranium rather than less.

    The only circumstance in which Iran could reasonably transfer the LEU to Turkey is in exchange for an iron clad guarantee from China and or Russia to block any and all UNSC resolutions against Iran. Otherwise, there is no reason to do so.

  47. James,

    “And, on the outside, we have Haim Saban openly bragging about his ability to tell her what to do.”

    Minor point, but do bear in mind that Saban is a bit of an exaggerator. If you read the New Yorker profile of him, for example, you may recall him claiming that Bill Clinton, while he was President, telephone the President of Brazil specifically to ask him to intervene on Saban’s behalf on some business deal.

    Do you believe that happened? I don’t.

    I don’t mean to suggest Saban doesn’t have some influence, but I’d take everything he says with a large grain of salt. I knew nothing about him until I read the New Yorker profile, but he certainly came across there as a bluff-and-bluster sort of guy – not much to him.

  48. James,

    “Are you suggesting France would decline to provide the fuel for the Tehran reactor?”

    I’m not sure why you ask that question. If France agrees to do so, I think it would honor its commitment. But it hasn’t agreed to.

  49. Rehmat says:

    James Canning…

    YES – Damascus has no problem sleeping bed with Washington or Tel Aviv – as long as the price is right. It was on Washington’s that Hafiz Assad sent Syrian troops to Lebanon to replace the US Marines in Beirut, who were sent to protect US-Israeli interests. Syrian forces were to make sure that Shia Amal doesn’t try to turn Lebanon into another Iranian-style Islamic Republic. Syria is a sunny-majority country, but ruled by a ‘sort-of-Shia’ secular minority.

    Hamas, which is 100% Sunnis – are supported by Tehran under its Constitutional obligation – to support a lawful resistance irrespective of religion. Hizbullah, being more than 90% Shia – and proven to be world’s most disciplined resistance – find itself more closer to Islamists in Iran.

    Hizbullah – 28 years of resistance
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/hizbullah-28-years-of-resistance/

  50. Rehmat says:

    James Canning…..

    In the past, France had signed a deal with Islamic Republic to deliver 50 tons of uranium (UF6) to Iran. But under pressure from the Israel Lobby in France and the US – France never fulfilled its promise. It would be foolish for Tehran to expect anything different when France is ruled by a former Mossad operative, Nicolas Sarkozi.

    In January 1978, Germany’s Kraftwerk Union, which, according to a 1975 contract, was obliged to complete the Bushehr reactor, stopped working on the nuclear project while 50% of one reactor and 85% of another were completed. Iran had paid Germany in full, totaling billions of dollars, for the two nuclear facilities in Bushehr. With a Zionist Markel being the Chancellor, how Germany could be expected to act differently?

    And who could trust Ehud Barak, who lead an Israeli assassination squad, disguised as an Arab woman, in Lebanon in the 1970s – said at the recent Presidential Conference on “Facing Tomorrow” held in Jerusalem – that he is not satisfied with the proposed nuclear deal between Western powers – saying: “Iranian uranium enrichment must be stopped altogether”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/iran-nuclear-deal-and-the-paranoid-zios/

  51. James Canning says:

    Sean,

    Isn’t Dennis Ross the person who gives Hillary Clinton her position on Iran? I think so. And, on the outside, we have Haim Saban openly bragging about his ability to tell her what to do.

  52. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Are you suggesting France would decline to provide the fuel for the Tehran reactor?

  53. Sean says:

    I wonder how much Obama’s inflexibility is accounted for by Hillary Clinton’s pressures. His posture toward Iran is a far cry from what he proclaimed during his presidential campaigns. Hillary Clinton seems to be running the show on Iran. Her animosity toward Iran is so entrenched that leaves no room for compromise. I beleive as long sa Clinton is in offoce as U.S. Secretary of State , U.S. is bound to have a collision with Iran. Her response to every positive thing Iran does, is that ‘it is not enough!”. She is too difficult to satisfy! I wonder how Bill can do the job!:)

  54. Lysander,

    “Eric, I’m not sure how Iran will be made into the bad guy if it doesn’t ship out the uranium before getting the Vienna group’s agreement. Of course, the US will spew vitriol and the MSM will echo it, but the crucial matter is how Iran will look to the rest of the world. In particular Brazil and Turkey.”

    The first half of your second sentence should resolve the question you expressed in your first sentence. I don’t agree that the “crucial matter” is how the “rest of the world,” including “Brazil and Turkey,” feel about all of this. It’s not the “rest of the world” that’s telling Iran it can’t enrich uranium. If you’re hoping for a sea change so that the rest of the world’s opinion someday counts for more than it does now, well, so am I. But I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.

    Don’t misunderstand me: I agree completely that, if Iran gives up its LEU without a Vienna group commitment, the US will take advantage of that. On the other hand, if Iran doesn’t, the US will take advantage of that too. It will claim Iran is being insincere. Iran, of course, will insist it is sincere – it might even offer to box up its 1,200 kg of LEU, slap prepaid FedEx Overnight labels on the boxes, and store them 100 yards from the Iran-Turkey border under 24/7 IAEA supervision. But as soon as the US starts to think it’s losing the “who’s sincere” battle, it will simply broaden the debate to include all of the UNSC and IAEA directives that Iran is ignoring. It won’t be long before at least the Western world forgets the small quid pro quo requested by Iran for its 1,200 kg of LEU: 20% fuel to run its TRR. As the impasse drags on month after month, the US eventually will be able to cast it like this:

    “When Iran initially promised to send its LEU to Turkey, it claimed it wanted only 20% fuel to run its TRR – to cure sick people, Iran claimed. How noble. It has since become clear that the sick people of Iran are mere pawns in the mad mullahs’ high-stakes gamble with the international community. Now Iran refuses to deliver its promised 1,200 kg of LEU unless the world yields to Iran’s demand that it be allowed to enrich uranium for other “peaceful” purposes. But Iran refuses to adopt the Additional Protocol so that the rest of the world can ensure that Iran’s intentions are as peaceful as it claims. In the meantime, Iran holds onto its 1,200 kg of LEU, for which it admits it has no present peaceful use, and the sick people of Iran get sicker and sicker.”

    Since I foresee spin like this (or worse: my “spinning” abilities fall far short of those retained by the US government for such assignments), and since Iran will at least have a contractual right to get back its LEU after one year if things don’t work out (though I’ve frankly acknowledged that getting it back won’t be certain or cost-free to its image), and since (as I explained at length in my earlier post) there is at least some chance that a broader resolution of the dispute might result from the effort, I reluctantly am persuaded by the arguments made by James and Alan that Iran should just cross its fingers and turn over the LEU.

    On your last point – that Iran’s right to enrich uranium is non-negotiable – I agree completely, emphatically, that it should be. What ought not be non-negotiable, however, are steps demanded by the UNSC and the IAEA to provide further assurance that Iran’s intentions are peaceful. I don’t suggest by that that Iran should necessarily adopt the Additional Protocol, or agree to any other particular demand made by the UNSC or the IAEA (I’d bargain very carefully on those points if I were Iran), but I do suggest that Iran’s position on those demands should be negotiable.

  55. James,

    “Since Iran has no current use for the LEU it agreed to send to Turkey, I fail to see how Iran would “lose” anything by shipping the LEU to Turkey as agreed. Iran’s posture was it needed an adequate guarantee of delivery of the fuel for the TRR. Turkey and Brazil have provided that guarantee.”

    I agree with your conclusion – Iran will need to ship its LEU to Turkey on schedule – but for the more complicated reasons I just laid out. But to reach that conclusion on the ground that Turkey and Brazil have guaranteed delivery of fuel for the TRR? How do you manage that?

  56. Lysander says:

    Eric, I’m not sure how Iran will be made into the bad guy if it doesn’t ship out the uranium before getting the Vienna group’s agreement. Of course, the US will spew vitriol and the MSM will echo it, but the crucial matter is how Iran will look to the rest of the world. In particular Brazil and Turkey.

    Iran could announce it will ship out its uranium the moment the Vienna group agrees to provide the TRR fuel. Until then, Iran will continue the process of trying to make the fuel itself. Iran’s right to enrichment remains, as it always has been, nonnegotiable. Any UNSC resolution will invalidate the deal, and might even cause Iran to reconsider its commitment to the NPT (It should not openly threaten to withdraw)

    It would be a huge mistake for Iran to give up its uranium simply to look reasonable.

  57. James Canning says:

    Bill Davit,

    The Islamic countries have offered normal relations to Israel, and the offer has been rejected time and time again. Why? Because Israel wants to keep much of the West Bank, and possibly a good deal (if not all) the Golan Heights. Even if this means a state of hostility for generations to come. And a cost to the US taxpayers of easily $100 billion per year.

  58. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    If Iran stopped supporting Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria, the pressure from Israel (and the Israel lobby in the US) would drop considerably. But I do not expect Iran to end its support of Syria, etc. The Israel lobby would much prefer that the American public not understand that Syria seeks peace with Israel, and has offered peace to Israel for many, many years. Deception of the grossly ignorant American public is a large part of the strategy of the “Israel-first” crowd that control the US Congress.

  59. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Since Iran has no current use for the LEU it agreed to send to Turkey, I fail to see how Iran would “lose” anything by shipping the LEU to Turkey as agreed. Iran’s posture was it needed an adequate guarantee of delivery of the fuel for the TRR. Turkey and Brazil have provided that guarantee.

  60. Alan,

    “I suspect the Vienna group will not reach an agreement with Iran until Iran ships out the LEU. The opacity of the declaration allows it to be interpreted that way. Equally though, if Iran has agreed to do this, in theory there should be no reason not to start negotiating the swap deal in good faith. However, I think if that were so they may just slip beyond the one month envisaged by B & T for the delivery of the LEU.”

    In light of what James has written, and what you write here, I must agree that Iran is going to have to cross its fingers and ship the LEU to Turkey before the Vienna group has approved, since it appears highly likely that no approval will be given before the one-month deadline arrives. I had suggested only one situation in which that would not be wise: if the US has made clear by the deadline that it probably will not approve the fuel-swap deal. I stand by that but, more practically important, I recognize now that that state of affairs almost certainly will not exist on deadline day. The US undoubtedly will be very careful not to make its intentions clear before the deadline. To make its intentions clear, after all, might be to give Iran an excuse for not shipping out the LEU; to leave its intentions unclear, on the other hand, would take that excuse away from Iran and make Iran appear insincere if it does not ship out the LEU before its self-imposed one-month deadline.

    So that will soon leave 1,200 kg of Iranian LEU sitting in Turkey, without the fuel-swap deal having been approved by the US or by either of the two countries (Russia and France) whose services will be required to produce and deliver the 20% fuel Iran is expecting in return. Tactically at least (though not necessarily strategically – see below on that), that will be the worst of all possible worlds for Iran, the best for the US.

    What happens after that is not difficult to predict. The US will acknowledge that a genuine opportunity now exists to solve the Iranian nuclear dispute – if only Iran will demonstrate its sincerity by complying with the several UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA directives that so far have fallen on deaf Iranian ears, if only Iran will cease resisting the international community’s valiant effort to maintain world peace by blocking Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. In short, the US will continue to press exactly the same arguments it made before the Brazil/Turkey deal was announced, and Iran will continue to make exactly the same arguments in response. The only difference will be that 1,200 kg of Iranian LEU will now be sitting in Turkey, gathering dust.

    Instead of looking like the good guy for shipping 1,200 kg of LEU to Turkey on blind faith, Iran will be made to look like the bad guy for refusing to make even more concessions. While all of this is happening, the one-year clock for delivering 20% fuel to Iran won’t even begin to run until (if ever) the fuel-swap deal gets approved. When the one-year escrow period has expired, Iran will be made to look like an even worse guy for asking that its LEU be returned – it will not then have any pressing need for the fuel, after all – and Turkey will be made to look like a bad guy for giving it back.

    If one stirs in a few teaspoonfuls of optimism that may or may not be warranted, however, there may be a much brighter prospect for all of this, and this may be what you and a few others on this website also have in mind. If one simply accepts that a simple LEU-for-20%-fuel deal as proposed by Brazil and Turkey – without any additional terms or conditions demanded by the US as I skeptically predict above – is almost certainly not going to emerge from this, something else that is even better nevertheless could emerge. With its 1,200 kg of LEU essentially held hostage in Turkey, Iran might be at least marginally more inclined to yield on some of the major sticking points blocking resolution of the broader dispute. For example, it might agree to the Additional Protocol, and that and a little more might be enough for the US to acknowledge Iran’s right to enrich uranium. If such a result occurs, Brazil and Turkey will have performed a valuable service for both sides and the world – not at all in the narrow way envisaged by the simple fuel-swap deal they just announced, but in a broader and more important way.

    The odds of this happening do not strike me as being very high, but so what? The fact remains that the odds will be higher than they are today, and that’s a step in the right direction.

    Ironically, if this is indeed the only rosy scenario that one can reasonably predict for the future evolution of the Brazil/Turkey deal, it makes it important not to focus on whether the US hereafter engages in “deal creep” on the Brazil/Turkey deal since (1) deal-creep is all but certain to occur; and (2) deal-creep offers the only promise for a favorable outcome. What is important instead is to pay attention to the direction in which the deal is creeping – ideally toward nailing down Iran’s right to develop its nuclear program for peaceful purposes while assuring the rest of the world that Iran won’t be building a bomb.

  61. Rehmat says:

    Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Reformed Jewish movement in America – wrote an Op-Ed in Jewish magazine FORWARD on May 19, 2010, under the heading “Geting Serious About Iran” in which the cunning Rabbi blamed Tehran being behind all the Middle East terrorism and a stumbling block in Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the native Palestians. He believes that a nuclear may not be a threat to the US, but it certainly is a grave threat to the Zionist entity: “Even if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons and never use them, the danger to Israel would still be intolerable. Israel cannot live in the shadow of a nuclear Iran. In the minds of its own citizens and of the world community, Israel would cease to be a safe place to live. In addition, any possibility of an Arab-Israeli peace might disappear forever, as moderate Arab states drift out of America’s orbit and into Iran’s,” he wrote. In other words, the Rabbi believes that for the survivalof Israel depends on it being the un-challengeabl bully in the region.

    The Rabbi also believes that the Zionist regime with world’s 4th largest army – cannot achieve victory over the Islamic Republic without the the direct military involvement of United States: “There is no conceivable solution to the threat of a nuclear Iran that will not require American leadership. All of the options – whether economic sanctions or military action — are impossible without American support,” he wrote.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/rabbi-whats-holding-obama-from-attacking-iran/

  62. khurshid says:

    It shows that US DID NOT THINK that Brazil, Turkey and Iran WILL BE ABLE TO PULL A RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT. If they believed Obama would have never written the letter to Lula stating the conditions acceptable to US. US calculations were that Iran and specially Ahmadinijad would resist to any swap deal outside Iran. With Iran accepting the swap deal US has WRONG-FOOTED itself.

  63. Alan says:

    Ra’ad – firstly the “Tehran Declaration” (probably shouldn’t be called that as that was the name of a rather farcical agreement negotiated with the EU3 a few years ago) is not a swap deal, because no party involved can provide the other half of the swap.

    What it calls for is a whole new second deal with the Vienna group, not just a second leg of the first deal, which would be the real swap deal. It will be interesting to see whether Iran sees the need to deliver on the BTI deal separate to the second deal. Chances are they might, because it is a deal with Turkey and Brazil, not the US, France or Russia. Erdogan seems to think they need to.

    Secondly, I’m not sure about Iranian anticipation of a Vienna group rejection six weeks ago means all that much, given the different circumstances back then. Wouldn’t their view six weeks ago pertain to what Iran was intending to do six weeks ago? Iran was still rejecting the BTI deal then (and up until the Friday before it was announced), and it was also well before Iran learned of their official abandonment by China and Russia (also on the Friday preceding the deal).

    I suspect the Vienna group will not reach an agreement with Iran until Iran ships out the LEU. The opacity of the declaration allows it to be interpreted that way. Equally though, if Iran has agreed to do this, in theory there should be no reason not to start negotiating the swap deal in good faith. However, I think if that were so they may just slip beyond the one month envisaged by B & T for the delivery of the LEU.

    On the 20%, I agree that is the Iranian view. The difficulty is how to address it in a fuel swap deal without it impinging on the UNSC resolutions already passed.

  64. Bill Davit says:

    Fiorangela Leone,

    Thank you for your reply.

    You said: “The statement, “Israel is not without blame ….” is straight out of the 2002 WUJS Hasbara manual, as is the structure of the rest of your post. The hasbara process has been boiled down to a simple recipe:
    Israel rocks
    They suck
    You suck
    Everybody sucks.”

    Well I must plead ignorace because I have never even read the Hasbara manual nor recognized the names you mentioned. Maybe I am not seeing the whole picture and I will be the first to admit that. However I would think the recent actions of Obama toward Israel would be a good indication this “pressure” has been quite ineffective as of late. Regardless I don’t for a minute discount the disproportionate leverage Israel has over the US I just doubt the level of “control” people believe they have. Regardless my point was more along the lines of the diproportionate blame Israel/Jews/Zionists have heaped on them from the world as whole. A day literally does not go by that Israel isn’t being blamed for being behind some action across the globe from 911, Mumbai, Iraq, and the latest Mossad being blammed for the Mosque carnage in Pakistan. As an exercise just read the comments on PressTV to get a feel for the “blame” foisted on Israel. Least of all never forget Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are best sellers across the Islamic world.

    I just ask people to look beyond the rhetoric and I think they will find Israel has been hugely succesful influencing the US but also they are given way to much credit. People also need to take with a grain of salt the discourse emanating out of the Islamic world as well. They need to do so because the Islamic world as a whole has a bone to grind with Israel and it “colors” anything regarding the topic. Further compounding this is the negative predisposition put on the non Muslims the Quran, Hadith sources(ie Bukhari), and the Sira prescribe for Muslims. Simply put for the Islamic world it does not matter what Israel does because they will always be in the wrong for sitting on land that was conqured by Islam and the fact they are non Muslims.

    In closing it should be noted Israel has been succesful with influencing the US because of the simple fact they are a Western nation sharing the same value set. On the other hand the Islamic world will not be as successful because while they share some common values they have far more that outright contradict western values. A prime example is the OIC’s creation of the Cario Decleration of Human rights. The OIC felt the need to author this document because as their religion prescirbes they can never recognize freedom of religons, equal rights for all regardless of faith/gender/sexual orientation, and their rejection of secularism in favor of a theocracy. The irony of all this is the fact the Islamic world as a whole seems unable to recognize the fact of how shared values effect influence. Sadly they are to blame for that because it is their faith’s rigidity, prescriptive we vs them attitude, and the early rejection of Socratic dialogue(see Al Ghazali’s work ‘The Incoherence of the Philosophers’ for perspective) that has rendered them unable to. Thus in the absence of critical thought guess who gets the blame–Israel. As further validtion of this point you can also read up the OIC’s work to push the “Defamation of Religons” legislation through at the UN. They due this under the auspice of “Islamophobia” which they believe is the world’s greatest problems despite the fact it is these very same OIC states that year after year comprise the who’s who list of the world’s worst human and religious rights abusers!! See the pattern?? The other guy’s view is either igonored or way down the priority list when it comes to the “truth” of Islam!

    I hope that explains my point. I will research the information you gave me and look forward to your feedback. Have great weekend!

    Thx
    Bill

  65. R.d. says:

    interesting perspective, why the BT success is throwing a monkey wrench into the big powers equation;

    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/columnists-211465-the-iran-north-korea-line.html

  66. Ra'ad says:

    Eric, Alan,

    I take a different view from you on Larijani’s statement:

    1) The fuel swap is a commercial contract after all, one leg of this transaction is swapping of the Iranian LEU and its storage in a ‘trusted’ place for roughly a year before the second leg of the transaction kicks in – i.e the delivery of 20% by France/Russia. If either France/Russia disagree and choose not to proceed with the transaction and disagree with the Tehran Declaration arrangement for the LEU storage in Turkey (a NATO member), then the trade is null and void. There is then no basis for transfer of the LEU to Turkey and following the route laid out in the Declaration……Larijani is explaining the obvious.

    2) Iranians have been anticipating the Vienna group’s negative reaction as late as a month and a half ago …… hence their recent statements that they do not see themselves bound to provide confidence building actions when no reciprocal confidence building measures are ever shown by the other side. In other words in absence of a commercial deal, guaranteed by international community, we (the Iranians) will not make our LEU hostage to you (Vienna Group) only to prove our sincerity and good faith.

    Separately, the point on the Iranians proceeding with 20% enrichment may have a different perspective: ……. since the sanctions are inhibiting ‘us’ from importing what ‘we’ should be buying from world markets, we have to make our requirements locally. 20% enriched uranium for TRR is just another among this list. If you (Vienna Group) decide not to provide this for ‘us’ in a commercial arrangement, ‘we’ will produce 20% EU for ourselves because ‘we’ think ‘we’ can. The fact that we do not feel obligated to prove our sincerity on anything to you, but are willing to enter into a commercial arrangement where we have to trust you to keep your end of the bargain, is ample evidence of our good faith on the whole matter of Iranian nuclear file.

  67. Alan says:

    Eric – I don’t think sanctions will be approved if the TRR deal goes ahead partly because it would be much harder to get them through the UNSC, but mainly because the whole purpose of a TRR deal is to create the space to negotiate a comprehensive deal that eliminates the need for sanctions altogether.

    On the other hand, if the TRR deal fails, I think they’re nailed on.

  68. Liz says:

    It’s amazing how the western media distorts the truth and even hides the meaning of Obama’s letter.

  69. Dan Cooper says:

    Syria Eyes Neighbor Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions:

    PBS’s Charlie Rose spoke to Syria’s President Bashir Al-Assad for another perspective on Iran and international security concerns.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june10/assad_05-27.html

  70. Rehmat says:

    James Canning….. Hizbullah is another topic – but a big lump in Israeli throat. I believe if Tehran distant itself from Hizbullah and Hamas – Obama will accept “the deal” with 100% Israel Lobby’s blessings.

    Hizbullah – 28 years of resistance
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/hizbullah-28-years-of-resistance/

  71. Pirouz and Alan,

    “Will the US ultimately accept the deal? Will it impose sanctions, regardless?”

    Alan: Pirouz’s question here is essentially the same one I asked you earlier today. You said that you doubt new sanctions will be imposed if the fuel-swap deal is approved. Can you elaborate? Afterwards, take the weekend off.

  72. Pirouz says:

    Is there some other reason I am overlooking? Other than the one I mentioned in passing above (the US’ fear that Iran would simply renege on the deal while the 20% fuel is being produced, shove aside the IAEA inspectors monitoring the LEU in Iran, and take it back), I certainly can’t see any.

    I made the same observation, Eric. It doesn’t make sense, except possibly to make the offer unpalatable to the Iranians. It’s almost as if it were some symbolic form of political arrogance, not to allow the LEU to be stored at Kish. But hey, that’s what they wanted and now that they’ve got it, they’re not at all happy with it. Which suggests it was never offered with the intention of it being accepted in the first place. And with Brazil and Turkey now affirming Iran’s nuclear rights in the process of acceptance, the entire game has been exposed for what it is.

    It will be interesting to see how this whole thing develops. Will the US ultimately accept the deal? Will it impose sanctions, regardless? The drama continues…

  73. James Canning says:

    khurshid,

    The stupidity of US policy in the Middle East is driven by domestic politics. If treating Iran fairly scored point among the big donors to political campaigns, we would see many US leaders arguing for fair treatment of Iran. The appalling ignorance of so many US leaders is a reflection of the astounding ignorance of the American people generally. in matters pertaining to history, culture, geography, international affairs, etc.

  74. khurshid says:

    US is looking for excuses, excuses and excuses. it reminds me of run up to Iraq war when US said anything and everything to build a case for Iraq invasion. In case of Iran US is bed wetting itself for sanctions. If it was not uranium enrichment excuse it would be something else. It is strange US never learns from its failed policies. It says a lot about heedless policy makers.

  75. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    I think the Bush administration did more damage to the American people, due to utter lunacy in its response to “9/11″, than was caused by al-Qaeda.

  76. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I see no value added, to Iran, in retaining the LEU in Iran (as opposed to shipping it to Turkey). Iran does not have a use for the LEU and will not have a use for it for a number of years. Bushehr #1 will be powered with fuel supplied by Russia.

  77. By the way, if any of you have seen “The Manchurian Candidate” – the remake, with Denzel Washington – take another look at the photograph of Obama shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld in the earlier thread on this website entitled “Obama Steps Up America’s Covert War Against Iran.” Take a look at the other three guys in the background, and then recall the scene in that movie where the young Presidential candidate was introduced by his mother to the top guys at “Manchurian Global.” The similarity is striking.

  78. Alan says:

    Eric – I don’t think Iran reclaiming the LEU from the IAEA in Iran would have resulted in an attack, just the failure of the TRR deal and maybe UNSC censure. It would have been similar to when Iran restarted their enrichment programme following the voluntary suspension in 2005.

    For that reason, I think having the 1200kg out of the country had an advantage in that it created more space, particularly with the hawks circling round him, to get the whole nuclear thing settled. Not a tremendous amount mind you.

  79. Clarification:

    “The most obvious question raised by this sentence is this: Wouldn’t Iran be able to add exactly the same amount to its LEU stockpile during that one-year period if the 1,200 kg was in escrow in Iran rather than in some foreign country?”

    This sentence is more clear when put like this:

    “The most obvious question raised by this sentence is this: Wouldn’t Iran be able to add exactly the same amount to its LEU stockpile during that one-year period regardless where the 1,200 kg is escrowed?”

  80. Liz says:

    Obama has succeeded in making himself just as much hated by Iranians as George Bush. Thats quite an achievement.

  81. I just looked again at a particular sentence in Obama’s April 20 letter to Lula that puzzled me when I first read it, and still does. It appears in the second full paragraph on page 2, where Obama explains the US’ concerns about Iran’s proposal to set aside 1,200 kg in Iran (under IAEA monitoring) pending a simultaneous swap for 20% fuel plates, which, he mentions in another sentence, is likely to take about one year:

    “First, Iran would be able to stockpile LEU throughout this time, which would enable them to acquire an LEU stockpile equivalent to the amount needed for two or three nuclear weapons in a year’s time.”

    The most obvious question raised by this sentence is this: Wouldn’t Iran be able to add exactly the same amount to its LEU stockpile during that one-year period if the 1,200 kg was in escrow in Iran rather than in some foreign country?

    Yes, obviously. That being so, and setting aside the highly unlikely possibility that Iran would simply renege on the fuel-swap deal, shove aside the IAEA inspectors and take back its LEU if it were escrowed in Iran (which almost certainly would lead to the US firing up the F-18s), one naturally wonders why the US considered it preferable that Iran build up its LEU stockpile during that one-year period with its 1,200 kg outside of Iran rather than with it inside Iran. Either way, after all, Iran will already have fulfilled all of its stated obligations under the fuel-swap deal, and so why should it matter to the US whether the LEU was sitting in Iran or in some other country?

    Unless, of course, the US had in mind to add a few obligations to Iran’s list during that one-year period, obligations that would be a lot easier to enforce if the 1,200 kg were no longer in Iran.

    Is there some other reason I am overlooking? Other than the one I mentioned in passing above (the US’ fear that Iran would simply renege on the deal while the 20% fuel is being produced, shove aside the IAEA inspectors monitoring the LEU in Iran, and take it back), I certainly can’t see any.

    Anyone else have an explanation for this?

  82. kooshy says:

    John Earls
    “I think we are seeing the making of a new world order. The Obama-Lula letter marks a tipping point in the process.”

    No matter if like it or not many believe the tipping point was 9/11 which truly an opportunity that US “truly” messed it up both internally and externally

  83. Cyrus says:

    Ivan Oelrich and Ivanka Barzashka of the Federation of American Scientists have written in their FAS blog about the difference between the Obama administrations offer for uranium swap, and Iran’s acceptance:

    We have calculated just what the differences in the proposed sequences and timing of the swap really amounted to. The answer is: very little. Whatever value the swap had, the difference between the U.S. and Iranian approaches was tiny. Under either plan, Iran would continue to enrich uranium to 3.5% percent. With either timing of the swap, the advantage of leaving Iran with less than a bomb’s worth of material was eroding with each passing day. Indeed, if the swap had been agreed when it was first proposed last October, by the time the fuel rods would have been ready the following October, there would be no difference between the two positions.

    And


    Thus, at very little actual, technical cost, Iran has appeared to make a significant concession. The US and its allies should have beaten Iran to it, but they didn’t. The question now is whether we could accept Iran’s “yes” as an answer.

  84. John Earls says:

    Obama’s letter to Lula will circulate rapidly around the world, even though the US MSM ignores it as long as they can, and bring the US deslegimization process to a point of no return. This process has been building up over the years while the US governments have been resorting to every sort of legalistic trick to hold it back: “plausable denial”, selective use of the UNSC and other UN agencies, massive propaganda, etc. And the majority of countries have found it more convenient to accept the official US line.

    But in the present get-Iran configuration the lies and the hypocrisy have become just too bear-faced obvious. It is clear now to even the most complicit governments that the whole issue of Iran’s nuclear programme is merely a pretext to effect a regime change. As so many analysts have shown the prime US interest is in total control of the Eurasian arc of fossil energy producing countries; Iran has one of the greatest oil and gas reserves and is the only country not under US control — even partially.

    What Brazil and Turkey have done is unmask the true US pretensions for Iran, in a way that every trick the US comes up with only makes the lies more apparent. This is very similar to Israel’s self brought-on deslegimization crisis. With zero credibility every new turn of events is a lose-lose situation.

    I think we are seeing the making of a new world order. The Obama-Lula letter marks a tipping point in the process.

  85. Cyrus says:

    Alan writes: worth remembering that every IAEA Board and UNSC Resolution against Iran includes a reaffirmation of Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT etc etc

    Sure — but that’s only because the language is deliberately vague. The US has made its position perfectly clear: iran (and by implication other countries), according to the US, does not have the right to enrichment.

    No one is fooled by the “reaffirmation” which is self-contradictory.

  86. James,

    “What benefit would inure to Iran, if it delayed shipment of the LEU to Turkey? A delay would invite further interference with the deal.”

    Two benefits:

    1. Something left to offer the US in exchange for its approval of the deal, rather than something it’s already given up in exchange for nothing in return.

    2. 1,200 kg of fuel still in Iran, rather than in Turkey.

    Bear in mind that I don’t advise this at all if it looks like the US is likely to approve sometime soon, in which case Iran should ship the fuel to Turkey in an effort to put the US’ feet to the fire. But if it looks like the US still needs more than just that gentle final nudge, I think the LEU is a more valuable bargaining chip while it’s still sitting in Iran than after it’s already in Turkey gathering dust.

  87. kooshy says:

    I also believe that acknowledging Iran’s full right as a member state of NPT to enrichment may/will produce a way forward for final agreement in Vienna.
    The 20% will be halted by Iran since “objective guarantees” will assures delivery of the fuel, once that peal has been swallowed it is much easier to further negotiate
    And perhaps move to some sort of enrichment partnership that has been suggested for a few years.

  88. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    What benefit would inure to Iran, if it delayed shipment of the LEU to Turkey? A delay would invite further interference with the deal.

    Has anyone ascertained how long it would take France to deliver the need fuel?

  89. Alan,

    “Iran considers that it does comply with said articles.”

    I recognize that. I’m confident Iran left it out merely to avoid raising an issue (its compliance, or not, with NPT Article II) on which Iran is confident it’s in the right but knows full well that the US has a different view.

  90. Alan says:

    Eric – quite so, but there is no other way it can be said of course! It is possibly a way to circumvent the problem over the 20%, in order to get the TRR deal completed. After all, it is simply an acknowledgement of the right as opposed to a required action, and Iran considers that it does comply with said articles.

  91. James,

    “Iran should proceed with implementation of its “exchange” of LEU for the TRR fuel, by shipping the material to Turkey. An Iranian delay would open the way for claims to be made Iran would not fulfill its end of the bargain.”

    You’ve undoubtedly noticed that I generally favor greater cooperation by Iran with the IAEA. That applies here too, but I nevertheless think Iran should be careful on this delivery question, for the reasons I gave in my earlier post. If Iran just sends the LEU off to Turkey, regardless of the US-approval prospects at deadline-time, even some third-rate spinner at the US State Department could persuasively characterize that as a meaningless step.

    Bear in mind that the US State Department has some first-rate spinners working for it.

  92. Alan,

    “On the swap, it is worth remembering that every IAEA Board and UNSC Resolution against Iran includes a reaffirmation of Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT etc etc.”

    Correct, but those resolutions invariably add something that I couldn’t help but notice Iran’s letter to the IAEA left out: “…in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty.” Article II, of course, states the promise of non-nuclear states not to manufacture a “nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device.” All one has to do, then, is point to some “alleged studies” and one’s apparent acknowledgement of Iran’s enrichment rights appears just as meaningless as it was intended to be when it was written.

  93. Alan says:

    Eric – great quote; just don’t get your hopes too high!

    On the swap, it is worth remembering that every IAEA Board and UNSC Resolution against Iran includes a reaffirmation of Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT etc etc.

    I can see a similar wording evolving in this, but the 20% thing is tricky. I’m not sure how that can be satisfactorily worded. For Iran to say we will maintain 20% enrichment until we get the plates means Iran is agreeing to suspend 20% enrichment AFTER they get the plates.

    By Iran agreeing to suspend enrichment to 20% AFTER they get the plates WITHOUT agreeing a total suspension would only be possible in the context of a comprehensive nuclear deal.

    So I’m not sure how a TRR deal can be separated from a comprehensive deal, unless there is no mention of enrichment, 20% or otherwise.

  94. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    I too see Hillary Clinton as something of a stooge for Haim Saban. The key political fact is that the Democratic party has received half of its funding, from Jews, over the past few decades.

  95. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Iran should proceed with implementation of its “exchange” of LEU for the TRR fuel, by shipping the material to Turkey. An Iranian delay would open the way for claims to be made Iran would not fulfill its end of the bargain.

  96. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Important points. One might add that most Americans are not even aware that Bashar al-Assad would welcome good relations with the US. The vicious slander of Syria by Shimon Peres (absurd claim that Syria was supplying scud missiles to Hezbollah) in effect gained traction after Obama so stupidily stated that Syria posed a threat to US national security!

  97. Rehmat says:

    No occupant of the White House can afford to be honest about his foreign policy.

    On May 16, 2010 – Thierry Meyssan, a French political analyst, in his research paper “Strategy shift in the Middle East”, wrote:

    However, this trend remains fragile since Washington may still have the possibility to destabilize the new troika. Be that as it may, several attempts by corrupt Syrian generals to overthrow Bashar al-Assad were foiled even before they could act. The multiple attacks orchestrated by the CIA in the non-Persian provinces of Iran failed to trigger separatist revolts. While the colour revolution, organized by the CIA and MI6 during the presidential election, was been drowned out by a human tidal wave. To the tens of thousands of protesters in the northern neighbourhoods of Tehran, the rest of the country responded with a massive demonstration of 5 million people. Finally, it appears that Washington is incapable of resorting again to Gladio to establish a military dictatorship in Turkey. On the one hand because the new generation of Turkish generals no longer buttressed to Kemalism and secondly because the AKP Muslim-Democratic is intent on dismantling Ergenekon (current version Turkish Gladio).

    Washington and Tel Aviv could also fabricate fraudulent files to justify military action. Thus, since 2007, they have been alleging that Israel discovered and bombed a military nuclear research center in Syria and that Iran is developing a vast programe of a similar nature. More recently, the same powers have accused Syria of having introduced Scuds into Lebanon. However, these accusations do not stand up to analysis any more than those formulated by Secretary of State Colin Powell before the United Nations Security Council United Nations regarding Iraqi’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. The numerous IAEA inspection teams that visited Iran only found evidence of civilian activities, and the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon have denied the presence of Scuds in the country.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/middle-east%e2%80%99s-new-heavyweights/

  98. Alan,

    “Eric – don’t be too hard on me, it took hours ….”

    Though I haven’t digested your response yet, I notice it’s far shorter than my post. That fact gives me confidence that I’ll find your remarks very helpful, and reminds me of a remark I read in some famous writer’s letter to his friend: “This letter would be much shorter if I had only had more time.”

    “Daryl Kimball at the ACA thinks the quick “tabling” was targeted at Congress, to get them to defer unilateral sanctions due on May 28, which they have duly done.”

    I’ve seen this mentioned by several commentators, usually with the further explanation that the US stepped up the pace with the unselfish objective of ensuring that whatever resolutions got adopted would be more effective because all major countries would be observing them. Cynic as I sometimes am, it occurred to me that the US’ step-up in pace may also (or instead) have reflected its serious concern that Congress’ adoption of US-only resolutions would sufficiently weaken the UNSC’s sanction-adopting resolve that the net result would be no further UNSC sanctions for the time being, thus leaving European and Japanese companies in a position to steal Iran business from US companies. You may have noticed a long lament by Boeing’s CEO a few weeks back, complaining loudly that the rumored new sanctions would have a serious adverse effect on Boeing. He was complaining generally about the prospective UNSC resolutions, but a couple of his remarks only made sense if he was also contemplating the dreaded possibility that the new sanctions would apply only to US companies.

    “The sanctions track is not the same as the TRR track. It looks as though the US wants to make sure they are ready to go if the TRR deal falls through. In other words, they wanted to avoid a situation where they went through a month or two of negotiations over the TRR, which then fell through, and it became necessary to build a sanctions resolution from scratch again. So, it is unlikely we will see any sanctions before the TRR deal runs its course.”

    If I read this correctly, you’re saying that sanctions will be put off for a year or more if the TRR deal goes through. Maybe so, but that’s not my impression. Can you explain a bit more why you think that?

    “On the 20%, the US was forced to respond to this point because of a bit of Iranian posturing soon after the deal that said they intended to carry on enriching to 20% regardless. Apparently this was also the Iranian position at the dinner they gave in New York earlier in May. They backtracked very rapidly on this, but some damage was already done.”

    That makes sense, and may well eliminate the additional “bad faith” charge against the US based on the otherwise unexplained backtracking from what Obama had just written. It doesn’t change the main point the Leveretts made, of course, and I don’t interpret your comment to suggest that it did.

    “Finally, the Tripartite deal is not specific about whether Iran will deliver the LEU to Turkey prior to US “approval”. I tend to think it does mean that, and Erdogan thinks so too, as he has said if Iran doesn’t deliver in a month, they will be “on their own”. But it is not clear from the letter to the IAEA, or from the Tripartite agreement. Much depends on this I think, because if Iran does deliver, it would be a huge confidence building step.

    I think Iran would be wise for Iran to deliver the LEU on schedule even if the US (or the “Vienna Group,” more broadly) has not yet approved, but I would not necessarily stick with that position if, by the deadline, the US had made it abundantly clear that it has no intention ever of approving. In that situation, what might have been interpreted as a “huge confidence building step” would probably be interpreted as nothing more than a pointless effort by Iran to embarrass the US. And, not to be ignored, it would leave 1,200 kg of Iranian LEU sitting in Turkey, thus making it necessary for Iran to ask Turkey to return it sooner or later. When, exactly, would Iran ask for it back? Soon, on the ground that the US had made it clear that no approval of the deal would be forthcoming? That explanation would not be convincing since, in this hypothesis, that will have been true even before Iran shipped the LEU to Turkey. A year later? Not too useful an exercise in that case. Some time in between? That would amount to an admission by Iran and Turkey (and Brazil) that the deal had failed. Worse yet, what if, in the meantime, the US had persuaded Turkey that some reason existed for Turkey to turn down Iran’s request to return the uranium?

    In short, I think Iran should be prepared to deliver the LEU on schedule to Turkey, and should do so if the US (and Vienna Group as a whole) has not yet approved but approval appears likely and reasonably imminent, but that Iran should give the delivery question some very careful thought if it instead appears at deadline-time that the US is not likely to approve any time soon, if ever. I can imagine few situations the US would like better than having 1,200 kg of Iranian LEU sitting in a foreign country pursuant to a fuel-swap deal that has not yet been approved either by the US or by the two other countries (France and Russia) whose services will be required to produce the 20% fuel plates that Iran is expecting to receive in return.

  99. kooshy says:

    Eric, Pirouz_2

    “You might be assuming that the US’ approval of the fuel-swap deal, as presented in Iran’s recent letter to the IAEA, would necessarily constitute the US’ acknowledgement of Iran’s right to enrich uranium. After all, numbered Point 1 in Iran’s letter reads:”

    I have come to believe that the exact reason for immediate rejection of Tehran declaration by US is exactly point 1 of the BIT declaration which obviously all 3 want to emphasis’ on, as was evident with Erdogan’s mentioning Turkey’s wanting to have her own enrichment in a few years in a news conference that I had posted a link a few days ago.
    This point in the BIT declaration is what US has a hard time to deal with and will need to find a way around it, the October deal did not mention any of Iran’s rights with regard to enrichment therefore easier to pass by US, but I believe that was one of main reasons Iran rejected it then.

    Obama does mention in his Lula letter that in essence we are accepting to further enrich their own produced (based on UNSC resolution Illegally) LE, but he does not mention Iran’s right to enrich. Just like if you accept to take illegally produced opium from Afghanistan and process it to a legal drug (valium) and return it back for medical use with condition that Afghanistan doesn’t possess a permanent right to illegally produce opium and if did not agree at least just don’t mention it.

  100. JohnH says:

    Obama’s letter has stimulated only limited speculation. As expected, some are saying that the letter didn’t really say what it said: Kessler reports that “A senior U.S. official said the letter was designed to deal with a discrete problem,” rather than the comprehensive situation. This is simply not a plausible explanation, given the constant communications between the White House, Lula and Erdogan during the negotiations with Iran.

    Naiman speculates that Erdogan and Lula did not have authority to succeed. This logic fails for the same reasons.

    So we are left with only two conclusions. Either Obama was being intentionally duplicitous. Or Obama was exceeding his authority and had failed to check with his superiors before approving Lula and Erdogan’s actions.

    Given that it is hard to see what purpose such obvious duplicity might serve, I tend to believe the latter, which begs the question–who are Obama’s superiors?

    This interpretation would also explain what Dilip Hiro describes as Obama’s flip-flop leadership style. In dealing with the Honduran coup, Israeli settlements and China, Obama took a reasonable position that diverged from established practice. In each case (and many others such as Guantanamo), he got immediately slapped back and never attempted to follow up on the stand he took. This is consistent with what happens to anyone who exceeds his authority.
    http://www.lobelog.com/tomgram-dilip-hiro-obamas-flip-flop-leadership-style/

  101. Alan says:

    Eric – don’t be too hard on me, it took hours ….

    Personally, I think “Iran” and “diplomatic skill” parted ways some time ago, but best not open up that can of worms again.

    As for this, it is not often mentioned that the US sanctions resolution was circulated two days BEFORE the Turkey/Brazil/Iran deal (it was only TABLED the day after the deal). All 3 parties knew of it in advance.

    Daryl Kimball at the ACA thinks the quick “tabling” was targeted at Congress, to get them to defer unilateral sanctions due on May 28, which they have duly done.

    The sanctions track is not the same as the TRR track. It looks as though the US wants to make sure they are ready to go if the TRR deal falls through. In other words, they wanted to avoid a situation where they went through a month or two of negotiations over the TRR, which then fell through, and it became necessary to build a sanctions resolution from scratch again. So, it is unlikely we will see any sanctions before the TRR deal runs its course.

    On the 20%, the US was forced to respond to this point because of a bit of Iranian posturing soon after the deal that said they intended to carry on enriching to 20% regardless. Apparently this was also the Iranian position at the dinner they gave in New York earlier in May. They backtracked very rapidly on this, but some damage was already done.

    Finally, the Tripartite deal is not specific about whether Iran will deliver the LEU to Turkey prior to US “approval”. I tend to think it does mean that, and Erdogan thinks so too, as he has said if Iran doesn’t deliver in a month, they will be “on their own”. But it is not clear from the letter to the IAEA, or from the Tripartite agreement. Much depends on this I think, because if Iran does deliver, it would be a huge confidence building step.

    Agreement over 20% enrichment can follow.

  102. As usually happens on this or any similar website, we drift away from the main point, which for that reason is probably worth repeating:

    The Leveretts are quite right to emphasize that Obama’s April 20 letter encouraged Lula to go out and try for a deal that would look very close, if not identical, to the deal that Lula soon negotiated.

    I think Robert Naiman hit the nail on the head with his comment at:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/regime-change-redux-readi_b_590677.html

    “Apparently Brazil and Turkey had White House approval to try – a week before the effort, but it seems that they did not have White House approval to succeed.”

  103. Alan,

    Thanks very much. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Eric

  104. Fiorangela,

    “Americans seem to think that Iranian leaders should be playing to an American audience.”

    Iranian leaders have more than one audience – I recognize that. But they can and should appease the domestic audience with words that don’t tie their hands when they’re dealing with their other audience. It’s often not easy, but that’s why world leaders get paid the big bucks.

  105. Alan says:

    Eric – I finally posted a response to you on that long thread. Thought I should leave it there rather than here as others may not appreciate me diverting this one back onto that topic!

    Alan

  106. Pirouz 2:

    ““IF” the west gives it’s ok to this deal, I don’t approve of Iran backing off from it, EVEN if there is a fourth round of sanctions. And if you ask why, I would say that Tehran declaration -IF ACCEPTED BY THE WEST- means that Iran’s right to domestic enrichment of Uranium on its own soil has been EXPLICITLY accepted and acknowledged in WRITING by the West.”

    We agree that Iran should not back down from the deal, new sanctions or not, if the deal is OK’d by the so-called Vienna Group (IAEA, US, France, Russia).

    But I don’t think you’re correct to interpret approval of that deal as the West’s agreement to Iran’s continuing uranium enrichment. Obama’s letter didn’t say that. Essentially it said the US would, for the time being, “look the other way” concerning Iran’s non-compliance with the UNSC “cease enrichment” resolutions if necessary to get a fuel-swap deal done, not that getting a fuel-swap deal done would permanently take the enrichment issue off the table. According to Glenn Kessler’s article, credible or not on this point, (unnamed) US officials were almost immediately backing away even from what Obama had written, by raising the enrichment issue (or at least the enrichment-to-20% sub-issue) to scuttle the fuel-swap deal, rather than waiting until the fuel-swap deal was done and then raising it as Obama’s letter had suggested would be the US’ course.

    You might be assuming that the US’ approval of the fuel-swap deal, as presented in Iran’s recent letter to the IAEA, would necessarily constitute the US’ acknowledgement of Iran’s right to enrich uranium. After all, numbered Point 1 in Iran’s letter reads:

    “We reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and … recall the right of all State Parties, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy (as well as nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities) for peaceful purposes without discrimination.”

    Assuming here that the US approves the deal at all, its approval will not, I guarantee you, take the form of “Points 1 through 5 of Iran’s May 21, 2010 letter to the IAEA – Approved. (Signed) US of A.” Its approval will include a statement of its own about Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and it will read a lot differently from Point 1 of Iran’s letter.

  107. Incidentally, I just noticed that the headline of Michael Slackman’s “deal’s off” article reads as follows:

    “Iranian Says Uranium Deal Off if Sanctions Are On”

    Credit where credit is due for choosing “Iranian” rather than “Iran,” though, knowing Michael Slackman’s work, one tends to think the credit was due to the editor who chose the headline. I have a hunch that Mr. Slackman’s proposed wording was a bit different.

  108. Bill,

    “I don’t see Wig Wag’s post?”

    I don’t know what post you’re referring to, and that’s not my point here. Your question simply made me recall that, when I recently went back to check for several views or comments attributed to WigWag, quite a number were there in WigWag posts but several comments attributed to him were nowhere to be found. In a number of cases, the post about which someone was complaining had not actually been written by WigWag, but instead by someone else characterizing what WigWag had said. The current poster was responding to that rather than to what WigWag had actually said.

    Not to say WigWag doesn’t offer enough by himself to sink one’s teeth into – merely that commenters should be sure WigWag was actually the one who wrote it.

  109. Fiorangela and Pirouz 2:

    I fully understand the sentiment among Iranian parliament members and public, and that the press – not to mention many others – would express the sentiment, and even that such statement may have been made with a wink and a “Go get ‘em – just don’t say you heard it from me” from Khamenei himself. I can also imagine the raw-meat rhetoric that would ring in the halls of Congress, and the chest-pounding editorials from the US press, if the US were in Iran’s position in this matter. Frankly, I can easily imagine similar statements even from members of our State Department or White House staff – at least those who fell asleep during their Diplomacy 101 course during foreign service training in favor of the one-session, or were simply more impressed by their Diplomacy 102 course, whose reading material consisted of a single page bearing six words in large bold-faced type: “Forget Diplomacy 101 – Might Makes Right.”

    My only point was that, in Iranian foreign service school, they don’t – or at least shouldn’t, for the time being – offer Diplomacy 102. It’s fine to send out some mad dog to say something like that and let the world speculate about whether it reflects the government’s official and firm position, but quite another to announce it as official and firm governmental policy. That would be not only unwise in this specific situation, for the reasons I gave in my earlier post, but would disappoint me more generally because I’d have to acknowledge that Iran was behaving in a diplomatically amateurish way. Some real skill is called for here, and such a statement (if official) would not be evidence of that.

  110. kooshy says:

    Eric

    This article may interest you, since it covers both, Tommy’s mentioned op-ed and the elections

    NYT’s Friedman Rejects Iran Nuke Deal
    By Robert Parry
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25562.htm

    BTW I don’t know if you saw this comment for the HP article by Naiman

    “skeptic 0 2 hours ago (10:58 AM)
    2 Fans
    It would be interesting to see what Tom would say after reading the 38 page investigative report on “Iranian election” by Eric A Brill. iran2009presidentialelection.blogspot dot com/
    Or what would be his reaction after watching the following video showing the statisticians of the University of Maryland discussing the same topic.
    youtube dot com/watch?v=NKG-hUyk1_0
    (In the video Washington Post’s man tries to belittle the statistical data without presenting any evidence)
    Does Tom Friedman possess the integrity to write about the above important and consequential evidences? …time will tell. “

  111. Fiorangela Leone says:

    Bill Davit – you wrote,

    “You need to realize the entire Jewish population is about 15 million with a GDP of about a half trillion worldwide. It is an economic and physical impossibility for them to be behind everything as some claim even if they doing it via proxy. ”

    Capitalism is all about leverage and politics is all about counting heads.

    Haim Saban is not the “entire Jewish population,” and wealthy as he is, does not have a net worth of even a significant fraction of half a trillion. But with a fraction of his few billions he can control the US State Department (Hillary Clinton) and the US Treasury Dept (Stuart Levey).

    With leverage provided by other Jewish billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson and Rabbi Noah Weinberg, founder of AISH hah torah,* at least three seats at the table in the White House are occupied by persons who are subject to serious pressure from the highest levels of Israel’s government (Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod, Dennis Ross). Rabbi Yechial Eckstein’s wealth is unknown to this writer, but he has leveraged it to rally Christian zionism behind a stridently pro–right-wing Israel agenda. This last group is sufficiently leveraged that it can determine the direction Congress, regardless of the will of the (small but growing) numbers of Americans who are NOT similarly organized and who attempt to defend their principles against a complacent and propagandized American public as well as the leveraged control of US elites and decision-makers.

    “In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act,” but it’s not antisemitic.

    *iirc the AISH hah Torah umbrella covers an Hasbara project that takes its marching orders from Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Hasbara leverages the numericity of thousands of Jewish college students worldwide to produce arguments remarkably similar to those that you made. The statement, “Israel is not without blame ….” is straight out of the 2002 WUJS Hasbara manual, as is the structure of the rest of your post. The hasbara process has been boiled down to a simple recipe:
    Israel rocks
    They suck
    You suck
    Everybody sucks. TM http jewssansfrontieres dot blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-make-case-for-israel-and-win.html

  112. Fiorangela Leone says:

    Eric, Apparently a number of Iranian members of parliament have made statements that Iran would back out of the swap if sanctions were imposed.
    Juan Cole referenced a number of them in an article on May 23. It was worrying to read the assertions, but entirely understandable that Iranians would react with frustration that their best efforts were dismissed with a slap; it has happened before and the outcome of US intransigence was never positive for Iranians. As well, Iran’s leaders have a public that they must represent and defend; Americans seem to think that Iranian leaders should be playing to an American audience.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64J3K520100520

  113. Bill Davit says:

    Dan Cooper,

    I don’t see Wig Wag’s post? Maybe Wig Wag’s post got removed or your posting on the wrong article. Regardless what is your fascination with the “Zionist” angle? I’ve read a number of your posts and the Zionist angle is used quite liberally. Why? You need to realize the entire Jewish population is about 15 million with a GDP of about a half trillion worldwide. It is an economic and physical impossibility for them to be behind everything as some claim even if they doing it via proxy. Yes they are in the middle of much in the Middle East. Some is due to their transgression but the other half of the equation is their mere existence smack dab in the middle of Dar Al Islam.

    If your not aware this affront to Muslims world wide is the biggest catalyst for the Jew bashing endemic across the Islamic world. Puritanically speaking it should not even be possible. It shouldn’t be possible because 1) once land is conquered by Islam it then remains and Wafq in perpetuity for Muslims only and 2) Muhammad on his death bed said the entire Arabian penisula must be cleansned of all non Muslims. The Jews did the unthinkable and they retook what is their historical homeland and thus until driven into the sea they are “always at fault” through the lens of Islam. Its why many of the Islamists charters state unequivocally all of Israel must be destroyed with some even calling for open genocide. The Jews historical claim and even their rights do not matter in light of the edicts of Islam.

    Israel is not without blame and it angers me to no end to see a people who suffered so much in the past visting a similar type of oppression on the Palestinians. However you need to look beyond the rhetoric and recongnize the evil “Zionist” as aired by the Islamic world for what it is–its a lot of hot air. It is so because if the Islamic world is so adamant in the support for the Palestinians they would: 1) provide the bulk of the aid–they don’t leaving the hated infidel to pick 80% of that tab 2) would allow the Palestinians to settle in their land granting citizenship–they don’t because it removes the “refugee” angle eroding the right of return ploy and 3) would honestly push for peace not hudna’s or temporary truces–again they don’t because engaging in permanent peace violates the tenets of Islam that states explicitly Israel must vanish! To boot what is most galling is the Islamic world’s myopic focus on this conflict while they ignore the genocide in Darfur.

    The entire Israeli Arab conflict has claimed 50,000 lives since 1948 while Darfur has claimed over 2 million since the early 90′s. One would think this is the biggest issue for the Islamic world yet you can literally hear a pin drop when Darfur is brought up. At the UN hundereds of resolutions have been foisted on the UN targeting Israel through bloc voting by the OIC while only 15 have ever even mentioned Darfur. To add further insult to injury the Prime Minister of Turkey(yes the very same guy who says the Armenian genocide is a myth) said their was “no genocide in Darfur” and the Iranian ambassador said “it was an attack on Islam” for the West to bring this up. The OIC’s simple message is its all those “evil Joooos’” fault and who gives a damn about Darfur. Do you not notice this for what it is? The attack on Zionism is purely a theo political one for if the Islamic world was for “justice” one would think Darfur is their biggest issue.

    In closing I worked with a former Muslim slave form Darfur and he made this simple but quite profound statement: “If we could only get the Jews involved in Darfur then maybe the Ummah would pay attention.”

    Thx
    Bill

  114. Dan Cooper says:

    It is about time “Wig Wag” (whose name sounds like a dog barking none-stop) checks her Zionism too.

  115. Dan Cooper says:

    Eric A. Bril

    Thanks for the link. It is a very good article.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/?pagination=false

    “Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens. For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.”

    It is about time “Wig Wag” (whose name sounds like a dog backing none-stop) checks her Zionism too.

  116. Bill Davit says:

    Could someone please provide the full text of the letter Obama sent Lula?

  117. Serifo says:

    Nobel peace winner , president Obama is obviously under a heavy pressure from pro – Israel lobby inside his own administration and probably from the AIPAC puppets in Congress !

  118. Rehmat says:

    Gordon Duff and Jeff Gate say that Barack Obama should start worrying about his own life and martial law in the country – unless he open a new military front against Islamic Republic…

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/watch-out-president-obama/

  119. Fahad says:

    Is there anybody who has the link of ElBaradei’s proposal? Has it ever been made public? Interested.

  120. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric:

    RE: your comment on May 28, 2010 at 3:29 am

    1)Larijani, carries much more weight in Iran than Nancy Peloci does in USA. He is no less a power than Ahmadinejad.

    2)It wasn’t just Larijani, Bahonar (the deputy speaker of the parliament) also said the samething. In effect those two guys speak for the Iranian parliament’s majority.

    3)It wasn’t just the Iranian press, Turkish press also reported the same news (Haber Turk). However, their approach was very different from yours, theirs was a complete understanding of Iran’s position. I don’t think that either Turkey or Brazil are holding that against Iran.

    4)As powerful as Larijani might be, his words are definitely not the final word in Iran, although they do have a very good chance to become the final words of Iran. It all depends on the balance of power in the Iranian elite and to which way the centre of gravity of that elite leans. Larijani is an important centre of power in Iran but it is only ONE such centre.

    5) “IF” the west gives it’s ok to this deal, I don’t approve of Iran backing off from it, EVEN if there is a fourth round of sanctions. And if you ask why, I would say that Tehran declaration -IF ACCEPTED BY THE WEST- means that Iran’s right to domestic enrichment of Uranium on its own soil has been EXPLICITLY accepted and acknowledged in WRITING by the West. And that makes Tehran declaration extremely important from Iran’s point of view, and therefore backing off from it would be a mistake IMO. Although I didn’t get the impression that the Turks were surprised or disappointed by what Larijani has said.

  121. Dan Cooper and James Canning:

    Just want to be sure you’re aware of the articles I mentioned in this post on an earlier thread:

    Well worth reading is the NY Review of Books article by Peter Beinart:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/?pagination=false

    and the responses in Foreign Policy at:

    foreignpolicy DOT com/articles/2010/05/21/the_special_relationship?page=full

  122. Pirouz 2:

    “How much of extra Uranium do you think Iran has been able to enrich to 3.5% in roughly one month to make the “1200 kg” of LEU no longer a valid number???”

    I was referring to the time frame dating back to the original proposal in October. I’d suggested that Obama may simply have overlooked the October-to-April 20 increase when he wrote his letter, though Kooshy has since pointed out that this was unlikely.

  123. An interesting piece on the Brazil/Turkey deal, with several useful links:

    http://www.insideiran.org/critical-comments/iran-sends-declaration-to-iaea-while-rifts-widen-between-turkey-u-s/#more-1308

    I hadn’t heard that Iran has explicitly threatened to back out of the deal if new sanctions are imposed. If true, this certainly heightens the already high drama.

    The article’s source for this allegation was a May 23 article by NYT’s Michael Slackman, who tends to stretch words as far as they will allow, and then some, and to ignore context that might make other readers wonder how much weight to place on the words. Nonetheless, Slackman quotes a passage from a speech to the Iranian parliament by Ali Larjani, speaker of the parliament (and Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator), that at the very least permits such a conclusion to be drawn, assuming nothing was lost in translation from Persian to English:

    “‘If the Americans want to seek adventure, whether in the U.N. Security Council or in Congress, all the efforts of Turkey and Brazil will be in vain and this path will be abandoned,’ Mr. Larijani said in comments reported by Iranian news services and carried by Reuters.”

    Larjani is not exactly Khamenei or Ahmadinejad, of course (I suppose his US equivalent would be Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, though his previous position arguably gives his words more weight). Nor is it entirely clear what “seek adventure” means, or whether “this path will be abandoned” means that Iran will merely step off the path (i.e. not cooperate beyond the Brazil/Turkey deal) or actually retrace the steps it has already taken down the path (i.e. renege on the Brazil/Turkey deal). And Larjani may have added a dash of oratorical hyperbole for the sake of his audience (parliament). No such condition is stated, or even hinted at, in Iran’s later letter to the IAEA confirming Iran’s commitment to the Brazil/Turkey deal. Nor, of course, did any such condition appear in the original announcement (though both Turkey and Brazil expressed strongly their opinions that the deal made sanctions unnecessary).

    It is difficult for me even to imagine that Iran’s government would intentionally box itself into a diplomatic corner with such a blunder of a statement. It practically begs the US to press even more strongly for sanctions lest it appear to have backed down in the face of Iran’s threat. And if the US ever feels it needs an excuse for opposing a deal that its president explicitly supported just weeks before the deal was signed (though the US so far has shown no detectable desire for consistency), it could hardly ask for more than this on Christmas morning: Iran’s own words casting doubt on the sincerity of its commitment by adding a condition that appeared nowhere in the announcement of the deal. That’s a heck of a lot better than the lame excuse mentioned in Glenn Kessler’s WaPo article cited by Kooshy, for example, in which unnamed US administration sources claim that the US backtracked almost immediately from Obama’s April 20 written assurance that the US was willing, for the sake of this deal, to overlook Iran’s non-compliance with the UNSC “cease-enrichment” resolutions. (On this point, by the way, it’s worth bearing in mind that Obama made that statement in his letter well after Iran had announced it was enriching uranium to 20% – about which these unnamed US administration officials allegedly began to complain when the ink was barely dry on Obama’s signature.)

    Has Iran given such a formal ultimatum in some other pronouncement? If so, I somehow missed it or – more likely – read it but promptly forgot it because it struck me as so clumsy and ill-advised that I was unable to find any memory cell in my brain that was willing to store it.

  124. pirouz_2 says:

    Honestly I think -and I am really sad to say this- but I think that Obama administration has sunk to a deep level of low that even the Bush administration did not sink!
    This letter is equivalent to a hypothetical letter from Bush to Blair in Feb. 2003 where he would explicitly say that he knew there was no WMD in Iraq but that they needed an excuse for invasion!
    So congratulations Mr. Obama you have sunk to a level lower than even G. W. Bush!

  125. kooshy says:

    This is one of the best explanations for a FU that I have ever read, except one other prior explanation, that of the Baghdad Bob’s

    U.S., Brazilian officials at odds over letter on Iranian uranium

    By Glenn Kessler
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, May 28, 2010
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/27/AR2010052705151.html

  126. Castellio says:

    “The difference this time is that there is a smoking gun to prove his duplicity.”

    Oooooh! True, but painful nontheless.

    How does it work? Who calls in and says “Barry, buddy, that letter is, like, so yesterday. Today you espouse the following…” How does that work?

  127. JohnH says:

    Dan Cooper–Wigwag’s intent here is not to discredit Iran. Rather her intent is to discredit anyone who disagrees with the Likud/AIPAC position. She loves to play the “gotcha” game, while generally ignoring the overall substance of her opponents’ position.

    While I agree that “Obama should be honest,” that would represent virtually unprecedented for today’s politicians dealing with foreign affairs. Obama has been fear mongering about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program for a year now.

    The difference this time is that there is a smoking gun to prove his duplicity.

  128. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric:

    How much of extra Uranium do you think Iran has been able to enrich to 3.5% in roughly one month to make the “1200 kg” of LEU no longer a valid number???

  129. kooshy says:

    Nice related analysis of Obama’s foreign policy, is HRC is the missing rudder

    The American Century Is So Over
    Obama’s Rudderless Foreign Policy Underscores America’s Waning Power
    By Dilip Hiro
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25556.htm

  130. Dan Cooper says:

    Wig Wag

    Your whole objective in this forum is to exploit and manipulate Leverett’s articles and to discredit the government of Iran.

    You are obviously a pro-Zionist, pro-war and have a strong anti-Iran bias.

    I believe that these Ideological and emotional agendas result in you exploiting other people’s posts and distancing yourselves from factual and analytical information, preferring instead, information that fits with your material interests and emotional disposition.

    The primacy of emotion over fact bids ill for you.

    If an article does not fit with your Ideological and emotional agenda, do not exploit it and do not attack the messenger.

    You foolishly and sarcastically have been doing this since leveretts open this site.

    LEVERETTs are two highly educated, honorable and peace loving people and have had a distinguished career in the U.S. government.

    What leveretts are doing is to prevent another war and to save Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iranian men, women and children from being slaughtered in similar fashion to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    What Levertts are doing is in the interest of USA.

    Nearly 5000 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

    Are you not tired of seeing American soldiers being brought home in coffins one after the other?

    Wig Wag; are you not tired of wars?

    Are you not tired of seeing innocent women and children being slaughtered in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Are you not tired of seeing innocent and defenseless Palestinian women and children being blown to pieces by the Zionist murderers?

  131. kooshy says:

    For your information when this letter was printed, because of a printer error a small minor text did not print, this missing text which was suppose to be printed on the bottom left of this letter Is:

    CC: HRC

  132. Pirouz,

    You’re probably right. In any case, my point was a minor one. The letter doesn’t reflect well on Obama.

  133. Pirouz says:

    “I have a strong hunch that no one had explained to Obama that 1,200 kg no longer meant what it had meant in October.”

    I wouldn’t draw that conclusion at all. The President was certainly being advised while he wrote that letter, and it was no doubt reviewed. And there is evidence there was communication between Turkey and the US, while the Iranians were being diplomatically engaged to sign the Tehran Declaration.

    This whole affair reminds me of the time Condi Rice played a major role in putting together the Gaza ceasefire resolution, only to abstain during the voting. Only this time, its much worse: it’s the actual head of state that has reversed himself, in what should have been an approval of the diplomatic breakthrough.

    It’s become obvious the Americans were negotiating in bad faith, and that the Iranians were certainly justified in seeking additional guarantees. Even though it remains a diplomatic mismatch between Iran and the anti-Iran forces of the West, now the country has at its side Brazil and Turkey to do some of the heavy lifting. Certainly, Iran’s leaders have proven themselves more adept during this more recent chapter of the ongoing struggle.

  134. Kooshy,

    Thanks. I know. I cited Friedman’s article on another thread earlier. Incidentally, Naiman’s quotes from Friedman’s May 2003 Charlie Rose interview are quite impressive.

    Eric

  135. kooshy says:

    Eric

    This HP article, which you just posted the link, is actually a response to Tommy Hellmaker’s Op-ed in NYT.

  136. Obama’s letter certainly does make one wonder how the US administration justifies its displeasure with the Brazil/Turkey deal. The Turkey-escrow offer laid out by Obama indeed is the deal that Brazil and Turkey ended up negotiating.

    A relatively minor point: I do not draw the same conclusion as the Leveretts do from this passage in Obama’s letter:

    “Specifically, Obama states that ‘for us, Iran’s agreement to transfer 1,200 kg of Iran’s low enriched uranium (LEU) out of the country would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran’s LEU stockpile. I want to underscore that this element is of fundamental importance for the United States.’ … The Brazil-Turkey nuclear deal, of course, stipulates that Iran will transfer 1,200 kg of LEU out of the country.”

    I believe Obama’s point was not that Iran’s transfer of 1,200 kg was “of fundamental importance” to the US, but rather the fact that – at that time – Iran’s transfer of that amount would “substantially [reduce] Iran’s LEU stockpile.” As has been pointed out here earlier (by Alan or Arnold, maybe both), 1,200 kg no longer accomplishes that. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that, as of April 20 of this year (the letter date), Obama was encouraging Lula to press Iran to agree to a 1,200-kg transfer to Turkey. I have a strong hunch that no one had explained to Obama that 1,200 kg no longer meant what it had meant in October.