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The Race for Iran


Hillary appeared on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story and MSNBC’s The Ed Show this week to discuss the significance and political fallout from the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi; see here for the Inside Story episode and here for The Ed Show segment.  (Both videos begin with roughly 5-minute-long set-ups before the substantive panels with Hillary.)

We begin by noting our sadness over the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the others who were killed at the consulate in Benghazi.  As Hillary recounts, she knew and worked with Chris Stevens during her service in the State Department; he was very highly regarded, professionally and personally, among his colleagues.  In the United States, much of the early discussion about the attack in Benghazi has focused on a question that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself laid out:  “How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?” 

In fact, it is not so hard to understand how “this”—along with the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, subsequent protests at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Sanaa, Khartoum and across the region, and myriad other manifestations of resentment against the United States in much of the Arab and Muslim worlds—could happen.  But most Americans don’t really want to understand it.  For, as Hillary underscores on The Ed Show, “the critical issue here is the deep-seated resentment that people have for U.S. policy throughout the region…Hatred and resentment for U.S. policy are the heart of the problem here.  Communities throughout the Middle East are angry.” 

This reality is now crashing in on U.S. ambitions in the Middle East every day.  Yet, as Hillary notes on MSNBC, Americans “have not even begun to grapple with the enormity of the challenge we face as countries become more politically participatory, and people have a voice.” 

Over the past few days, we’ve heard more than a few politicians and commentators recommend cutting off aid, or demand that Egyptian President Morsi adopt a tougher rhetorical stance against “extremist” discourse in his own Muslim Brotherhood if he wants a coveted meeting with President Obama.  Against this, Hillary counters that “it a fantasy to think that [the United States] has cards to play,” with which it can leverage key local actors.  “The President of Egypt, before he comes to the United States, his first trips were to China and Iran…The train has left the station in these countries, and unless [Washington] figures out how to adapt, [its] strategic position in the Middle East and, therefore, globally will continue to erode.” 

So far, though, the United States is clearly not adapting.  Why are Americans so reluctant to grapple with Middle Eastern reality?  Hillary addresses this critical question on Al Jazeera:   

There’s a really fundamental flaw in U.S. strategic policy…and it has to do with empire.  We look at each country, at each place, and we see the expatriates that we want to see in the cafés in Paris, who parrot our line about secular liberalism, and we arm, fund, and train them to go back and, in effect, impose a political order on those societies that have very different histories, characters, cares, and concerns…Those expatriates we listen to repeatedly—in Iraq, Iran, Libya, everywhere—we listen to them not because we’re stupid but because we have a very determined focus for dominance.” 

Especially in a political season, American elites do not seem at all inclined toward soul-searching about their country’s foreign policy after the events of the past few days.  Much has been made of Mitt Romney’s “shoot first, aim later” (to use President Obama’s phrase) comments on events in Libya and Egypt.  But Hillary points out on Al Jazeera that other prominent Republicans—for example, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa—have gone even further than Governor Romney, arguing that President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world during his first year in office, most notably through major addresses delivered in Istanbul and Cairo, was a “mistake” that showed “weakness.” 

This is, Hillary notes, the “wrong critique.”  For Obama hardly fulfilled the promise that some believed was embodied in his 2009 Istanbul and Cairo speeches—or his campaign pledge not just to end the Iraq war but also to end the “mindset” that had gotten the United States into that strategically and morally failed project.  Rather the Obama administration “walked back completely” from those commitments.  The real critique—which Romney, of course, won’t put forward—is “why is the Obama administration really so dishonest in its policies, and how could people in the Middle East really take America’s word seriously as a constructive force.”  Until Americans and the politicians can address that, they never will understand “what is the reason” for Middle Easterners’ anger.            

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. ToivoS says:

    This Zaheri case was new to me. It confirms my feelings about the IRI as a vile, oppressive regime. Torture and murder of innocents by “Islamic” officials is simply normal. There is nothing in that country that civilized people would want to emulate.

    Having said that, I read RfI because as despicable and oppressive as IRI may be to their own people (unfortunately for Zaheri she was born in Iran) that is no reason for the the US to go to war against them. I pity the Iranian people for being under the yolk of a hateful theistic regime but that is a problem they will have to solve.

    One thing I have always believed is that the downfall of Mossadegh was brought about in large part by the Shiite clergy who were manipulated by the CIA and MI6 — this is part of the coup story that is not widely discussed. It is sad to see a nation dominated and ruled by a bunch of religious fanatics. The West had that problem once but we managed to purge them from political power 600 years ago.

  2. kooshy says:

    Looks like Iran has decided now is the time to pull the daggers out to the front.

    “The presence of Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, a long-standing commander in the IRGC’s elite military unit who led the crackdowns on Iranian protesters in 2009, would indicate a deeper commitment by Tehran to maintaining President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

    Maj. Gen. Mohamad Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s commander in chief, acknowledged at a news conference that members of its elite Quds Forces were in Syria to assist and train Syria’s regime. He said a 50,000-strong volunteer plainclothes militia had been trained called Jish Shaabi, or People’s Army, modeled after the Basij, Iran’s network of militias and paramilitary organizations.

    “It is an honor for the Islamic Republic of Iran to share its experience and provide any kind of consultation to help defend Syria,” Mr. Jafari said on Sunday, according to a text of his comments posted on official Iranian news agencies.”

    “Meanwhile, Mr. Jafari warned on Sunday that Iran would retaliate if Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying “nothing of Israel would remain.” He also reiterated previous comments by Iranian military officials that in case of an attack, American military bases in the region would be fair game and that Iran could pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

    “Iran’s sudden frankness about the role it plays in supporting Mr. Assad appears to stem from two reasons: a desire to project an image of strength and influence as a major regional player at a time when Israel is threatening a military strike on its nuclear facilities; and a sober warning to Arab Sunni countries and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization against military intervention in Syria.”

    Top Iranian Official Acknowledges Syria Role

  3. fyi says:


    General Dempsey and Dr. Jalili will be both in Ankara tomorrow morning.

    Dr. Jalili is expected to meet with President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, and Dr. Devlatoglou.

  4. fyi says:

    Sam says:

    September 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    No doubt, as your examples point out, the Rule of Law (like Freedom) is relative.

    Some countries are more Law-abiding than others.

    But this relativeness does not mean that one has to accept Lawlessness or low levels of adherence to the Rule of Law as a permanent condition.

    Rule of Law can be improved.

    While there abuses are in all systems of laws and governance, like common human criminality that spans all societies and all times, those abuses must be combatted and stopped – if not reversed.

    Whether the late Mrs Zaheri was guilty of any specific infractions of the Law, we will never know. The state never pressed charges and never took her to trial. The case of the late Righi Brothers was handled better, in my opinion.

    Men are in the State of Fall – governance, civilization, law – are all crutches for Fallen and Lost Men.

    All I am suggesting is an improvement on those crutches – th situation would be much much worse without them.

  5. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    September 16, 2012 at 11:16 am

    My crux of my point was a narrow one on the specific case of the late Mrs. Kazemi.

    That is, there had to have been an impartial inquest and the guilty found and punished to the extent possible under the Law.

    The Iranian state chose not do so – I found that unacceptable.

    The Law must apply to all or it applies to no one.

    There can be no one above the Law.

    This is what the late Mr. Nixon did, trying to protect his associates in the case of Watergate.

    It destroyed his presidency.

    My broader point was that in this case, the Iranian state needlessly antagonized a foreign state with claims in this case.

    There was no need for that.

    And lastly, as you observed, the fellow went on to bigger and greater crimes in Kahrizak in 2009.

  6. Don Bacon says:

    In 2003 The Islamic Republic sued the United States at the International Court of Justice, regarding a US attack on Iran oil platforms in 1987, and won the case. While the finding was not based on it, the 1955 US-Iran Amity Treaty was considered by the International Court of Justice.

    “In its Judgment, the Court, after recalling the history of the proceedings, observes that its task is to determine whether or not there have been breaches of the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights signed in 1955 between the United States and Iran and to draw the appropriate consequences therefrom in light of the submissions of the Parties. . .”

    The 1955 Amity Treaty has lengthy prohibions against any restriction on free commerce including:
    Article I
    There shall be firm and enduring peace and sincere friendship between the United States of America and Iran.

    Article IV (excerpt)
    “Each High Contracting Party shall at all times accord fair and equitable treatment to nationals and companies of the other High Contracting Party, and to their property and enterprises; shall refrain from applying unreasonable or discriminatory measures that would impair their legally acquired rights and interests; and shall assure that their lawful contractual rights are afforded effective means of enforcement, in conformity with the applicable laws.”

    Article VII (excerpt)
    “Neither High Contracting Party shall apply restrictions on the making of payments, remittances, and other transfers of funds to or from the territories of the other High Contracting Party, except (a) to the extent necessary to assure the availability of foreign exchange for payments for goods and services essential to the health and welfare of its people, or (b) in the case of a member of the International Monetary Fund, restrictions specifically approved by the Fund.”

    Is the Treaty of Amity still considered by the US to be in force? Yes. In a recent commercial case in US courts the Treaty was considered valid.

    Decided February 28, 2012
    “We again affirmed jurisdiction under the FSIA and upheld the district court’s conclusion that the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, U.S.-Iran, Aug. 15, 1955, 8 U.S.T. 899 (“Treaty of Amity”), between the United States and Iran provided McKesson with a cause of action for expropriation. . .In the course of its argument, however, the Solicitor General also made clear that the United States did not interpret the Treaty of Amity as providing a private right of action. . . .We conclude (1) the act of state doctrine does not preclude adjudication of this case; (2) McKesson has a private right of action against Iran under the Treaty of Amity as construed under Iranian law; and (3) Iran is liable for the expropriation of McKesson’s interest in the dairy and the withholding of McKesson’s dividends.”

    Question: Does anyone know if Iran has ever considered suing the United States in the Intarnational Court of Justice over sanctions that violate the 1955 Treaty of Amity>

  7. Arash.e.Kamangeer says:

    Dreaming of a glass parking lot, kill’em all if you can’t regime change: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/12190

  8. Sam says:


    1- Kazemi was in the country of her citizenship and the Canadian citizenship means nothing of advantage as per Iranian laws.

    2- She had been taking picture of a forbidden site. She could have gone and taken pictures of forbidden sites in US eg. Guantanamo Bay, US bases in Afghanistan etc and end up with the same fate. Where was the impartial judicial inquiry to Dr. Kelly’s death/suicide/murder?

    3- An Iranian student had been killed by Canadian police on street and Iran has been demanding an impartial judicial inquiry to the murder by state. Canadian government has refused to do so till now. It is not a one way street. Stop the hypocrisy.

  9. James Canning says:

    JohnH – – I find it hard to discern whether Hillary Clinton was actually very surprised at the attack on the US consulate in Bengazhi, or this is just a stance to conceal the fact the West did not know what would be the outcome of an overthrow of Gaddafi.

  10. James Canning says:

    Aipac continues its campaign to protect those who subvert the national security of the American people. Or, at least some of them, provided the ISRAEL LOBBY speaks up on their behalf. Pollard spied for the Soviet Union. Aipac wants him released from prison.

    Philip Giraldi, “Pollard Again”


  11. James Canning says:


    Why would “US oil companies” want to “destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran”? Does BP have a different policy? Total? Royal Dutch Shell?

  12. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Are politicians always aware of what they say and believe? This past Thrusday, Mitt Romney said that the “red line” for Iran to cross, would be building a nuclear weapon.

    But Romeny previously has said he will not allow Iran to enrich uranium. Full stop.

  13. Ataune says:


    Thank you for your response.

    My point was not if it was worth protecting the judge. But who the Iranian State is serving and who it is answerable to.

    The crux of your logic seems to be that a state, not being able to protect its own citizen could (should?), when publicly requested so by another state, grant this latter a judicial observer status and, if the guilt is proven, apologize to the requesting state.

    One of the immediate corollaries of this logic is that if a state is incapable of conducting its internal political process, election of the executive branch for example, it could (should?) invite observers from the foreign state(s) that are challenging those elections and end up accepting their verdicts.

  14. fyi says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell ays:

    September 16, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Look, the Ayatollahs in Qum are all the time expressing their concerns about the treatment of (Shia) Muslims everywhere.

    But when it comes to Iran, they are on vacation.

  15. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    MJ Larijani’s excellent analysis of the whole thing last night on TV here.

    One of the interesting points he made is that the Zionists are trying start an internal conflict in Egypt between Muslims and Copts by blaming the film on a Copt.


    BiBijon, TDITW,
    Never mind fyi, he holds a deep and unresolved grudge against “the disaster”. In 2012 he is feeling the spiritual effects of sending books to Tehran university in the 1980s instead of defending his homeland during the war. (You know that’s what my sufi murshid would say…if I had one…really…)

    I tried to hook fyi up with the former serf from Kerman who is now chairman of the elected council in his district, but I think being confronted with reality in the IRI would have caused “cognitive dissonce” in fyi and so he prefers to stay in his comfort zone. That’s fine, let’s leave him there in peace.

    Onviously, a few bad judges don’t make the IRI unsafe for Muslims just like a few bad judges in the US don’t make the US unsafe for Americans. I think I was the first one in this forum way back in the good ol’ fitna days to criticize/curse/insult Mortazavi.

    Of course let’s also not forget fyi has a problem with the law and it’s implemention in general.

    And let me also take the opportunity also express my happiness about the fact that after the US and Britain, Canada has also left. Good riddance. Now we just need to find a way to get rid of the rest of the EU embassies for 10-15 years for Iran to really take off.

  16. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    September 16, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I’ve got to hand it to you. You are consistent.

    The Muslim world, the global south, and pockets of very cheesed off westerners are erupting and even before any pincer movements, and missile flights, a full-spectrum out-of-control-ness is already the reality of the entire world and you still think despite American public’s misgivings (67% to 30%), somebody is going to start a war?

    They won’t.

    Obama can muse about Egypt being friend or foe for only so long, before somebody points out to him Iran is the one island of stability that US can, for once, try a ‘correct’ relationship with — a model she could then apply to everyone else.

    “I’ll cut off even more of your tongue until you say you love me” approach to foreign policy has run its course.

  17. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Secular people die all the time in the custody or in the process of apprehension of states that call themselves secular democracies.

    Evidently, a secular person is not safe in her person in secular democracies.

  18. BiBiJon says:

    All bad, all the time?

    fyi: “Evidently, as I argued bfore, a Muslim is not safe in her person in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

    Well, donors and recipients of kidneys in transplantation procedures are safe in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


    Does that make it all good all the time?

    Frankly, when it comes to universal age-old problems of social justice and fairness, I put more stock in IRI coming up with innovations that are practical and reality based, than I do in the capacities of the ‘oh my gosh did you hear about such-n-such case’ knuckle-biting liberals of the western world.

  19. Kathleen says:

    So glad MSNBC Ed had Hillary on. I have called into his radio show five times over the last six or so months and begged him to have Hillary and Flynt on his MSNBC program. Who knows? Never hurts to bang on the MSM’s door folks. You never know when they may hear you. Ed always seems reasonable when you challenge or make suggestions

    At the Dem convention there was a panel of MSNBC talking heads and the Jerusalem question at the convention came up. Rachel Maddow went silent, Al Sharpton, Ed, Lawrence O’Donnell all rolled over. Chris Hayes really stepped out (link over at Mondoweiss) of the box and told the truth. Al Sharpton went after Chris Hayes a bit for stepping out of the box

  20. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    September 16, 2012 at 12:00 am

    In your statement:

    “Now I will explain to you the strategic reality on the ground and how the desires of the US military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the investment banks who fund those entities, the Israel Lobby, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar are what are calling the shots, not some fabulous attempt by Obama to “engage Syria” – in the same pathetic manner he “engaged” Iran which has brought the US closer to war than even under the Bush Administration.”

    I find the following actors:

    US Armed Forces (Joint-Chiefs?)
    US Oil Companies
    Investment Banks
    Israel Lobby
    Saudi Arabia

    You are omitting Turkey, EU states, Canada, Australia and a few others.

    These state and entities are, as you state, in agreement that Islamic Republic of Iran must be destroyed.

    It is quite evident that their best effort – articulated at its commencement last year by Mr. Noland – has failed.

    Let us watch and enjoy the spectacle as “arms and men magnificently combine”.

  21. Castellio: Re Barack Obama’s Courtship of Bashar al Assad…

    Here is a comment I posted on that site…

    You are so unbelievably wrong about all of this that I don’t know where to start.

    I will say that relying on Stratfor analysis is pathetic, as those guys are almost universally wrong on every subject, and that’s one thing that has been established by the Wikileaks emails…

    Now I will explain to you the strategic reality on the ground and how the desires of the US military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the investment banks who fund those entities, the Israel Lobby, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar are what are calling the shots, not some fabulous attempt by Obama to “engage Syria” – in the same pathetic manner he “engaged” Iran which has brought the US closer to war than even under the Bush Administration.

    Allow me to explain the purpose of the Syrian crisis…

    Back in 2006, Bush and Cheney were pushing for Israel to attack Iran. However, Israeli leaders balked because they believed that attacking Iran would result in Iranian, Syrian AND Hizballah missiles raining down on Israel, causing Israelis
    to hide in bomb shelters for most of every day, damaging the economy, and possibly causing the electorate to vote out the leaders in the next election.

    In short, Israel wanted a “cheap” Iran war where they only had to deal with a couple hundred missiles from Iran (if that, once the US air strikes had taken out most of Iran’s missiles or where Iran had used most of its missiles on US assets in the region.)

    So Israel decided with US blessing to attack Hizballah in Lebanon, hoping to force them far enough north that their (at that time limited-range) missiles would be ineffective in an Iran war. As we know, Israel failed miserably due to Hizballah’s superior preparation.

    At that point, Middle East expert Colonel Pat Lang pointed out that the only way Israel could take out Hizballah in Southern Lebanon would be to attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley which provides Hizballah with “defense in depth” simultaneously with an attack in southern Lebanon, i.e., a classic “pincer movemt”, with the intent of forcing Hizballah to move, in classic guerrilla manner, further north, thus forcing them to abandon most of their missile arsenal and at the same time render the remaining arsenal unable to cover all of Israel.

    To do this, however, would require Israeli forces to enter Syrian territory and engage Syrian forces. Not that Israel couldn’t do this, but it would result in Israel forces facing Hizballah guerrilla war in their front while the remnants of Syria’s forces engaged in guerrilla war in Israel’s rear – not a good position to be in if you want to minimize casualties and get Israel electorate support.

    BUT…IF Syria were ALREADY under attack by the US/NATO/Turkey air strikes for “humanitarian reasons”, that would make such an attack feasible because large concentrations of Syrian forces would be suppressed by air strikes.

    And this is why Syria is where it is today. And this is what will happen:

    1) The US and NATO and Turkey will find a way to bypass the lack of UNSC Resolution authorization and will attack Syria before the end of this year.

    2) In the course of that war, Israel – using the excuse that Syrian weapons are being sent to Hizballah (already floated in the Israel press as an excuse that Israel “will have to” attack Syria and Lebanon) – will send one armored division into Syria to protect a second armored division which will proceed up the Lebanese/Syrian border and then turn into the Bekaa Valley, while a third armored division attacks Southern Lebanon as before, in a classic “pincer movement”.

    3) IF Israel succeeds in damaging Hizballah enough (which I am not sure is feasible but Israel has to try) and IF the US and NATO can damage enough of Syria’s missile inventory, then in the next year or so Israel and/or the US will
    attack Iran.

    The ENTIRE purpose of the Syrian crisis is to remove Syria and Hizballah as effective actors in an Iran war, and thus to enable the Iran war to proceed.

  22. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    USA is not much different than Iran in issuing worthless degrees; this is a global problem that started with the French Revolution; higher education has become a social good – something to be distributed like bread, lnd, jobs etc.

    There are people with real education who can do things and then there is the rest of mankind that is only fit for clerical positions.

  23. Castellio says:

    JohnH says:September 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I shake my head… it’s not possible – is it? – that they believe their own rhetoric…

    I can’t understand how you can have a Hillary Leverett on one hand, telling it like it is, clear as a bell, and Hillary Clinton on the other seemingly so clueless and lost. And Nuland as the spokesperson for the Secretary of State?

    Is it truly ignorance, or willful ignorance?

    I tend to thinkits willful ignorance, organized ignorance, because it’s just too hard to say the truth in public. People prefer to lie and retire than to tell the truth and feel like they were sacrificed to powers beyond them.

  24. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    September 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    A case such as late Mrs. Kazemi’s should have been handled through an impartial judicial inquest regardless of the disputations on her legal citizenship status. A human being was killed in police custody under interrogation.

    Someone was responsible for her death; assuming that she did not hit her head gainst the wall to cause her own death so as to smear the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Whether she was a citizen of Canada or Iran, or both, or neither, is irrelevant.

    Se was a Muslim women who was killed in teh custody of a state that calls itself the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Evidently, as I argued bfore, a Muslim is not safe in her person in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Iranian authorities could have conducted an inquest and gone so far as to permit a Canadian judge to obsere the inquest, discovered the guilty, and severly punished him (or them).

    Next, they could have apologized to the family, paid the blood money, and demonstrated that there is Justice in Iran.

    But those in charge of Iranian Judiciary instead decided to protect Mr. Mortazavi and his accomplices. They refused to acknowledge wrong-doing and took the side of the guilty against the inncoent (blood).

    Well, they alienated the Canadian government by defending the indefensible actions of the Iranian police.

    But God evidently chose to show his displeasure:

    Mr. Mortazavi went on to continue his mleficence in Kahrizak in 2009, resulting in more deaths – and was eventually removed from his position.

    Was it worth it to protect this man from the consequences of his actions?

    Was it really worth it?

  25. Four Questions and One Conclusion Regarding Obama and Iran

    His conclusions: “When I put together my answers and analyze Obama’s worldviews and the current American interests, my conclusion, as of now, is: The chance that Obama will reconcile with a nuclear Iran is higher than the chance that he’ll act militarily to destroy its nuclear capability.”

    Another guy who doesn’t understand the depth of the corruption of the United States – even though his country, Israel, has massively contributed to that corruption…

  26. Here we go again… More “intelligence” from the “usual suspects”: the US, Israel “and one other country”… Which will probably turn out to be another rehash of the “alleged studies” from a decade ago…

    AP: IAEA has new intelligence showing Iran carried out nuclear warhead research

    AP Exclusive: New intelligence on Iran nuke work

  27. Persian Gulf says:

    posted this in the previous board. didn’t go through.

    Persian Gulf says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    September 15, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Arash Darya-Bandari says:
    September 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    If the subsidy program really achieved that level, I would say Kudos to Mahmood with this spectacular achievement. While it would be too bad to hear that the countryside people don’t work as hard as before, on the other hand the program is the right reversal of the injustice done to these people. The general culture in the rural areas in Iran is based on hard work. So, I don’t think it would last long, even if we assume your statement is applicable to the whole country at this particular time. And lest forget, an absolute majority of the urban youth doesn’t do anything till mid or even late 20. They actually see labor work as something against their perceived prestige! They don’t even study hard enough, if any. Most of them have worthless degrees without any reasonable skills that reflex their official title. Except in few good universities, students in the rest of the universities simply waste (not even enjoyment) their life time during the school years by the generosity of their parents, and often ridicule the hard working students. So, it’s good to kick their a** and force them to get out of their comfort zone and work, anywhere in the country and whatever the job it might be. I had privately argued for “fyi” that this is the major source of disillusionment among Iranian youth that needs to be tackled one way or another. That this segment needs to encounter real world earlier in their life. It is nice to see Mahmood has finally addressed that by his macro-management of the economy.

    Ironically, the hard working people among those urban youth contain most of my green friends here! I actually have some respect for these people. Their political, and societal, views might be highly skewed; nonetheless they are doing very well in what they are assigned for in their specific professions.

    Illegal Afghans?! WTF, Many of them have lived, and worked very hard (probably beyond your imagination), in Iran for years, and decades. They deserve better than your very biased statement.

  28. Persian Gulf says:


    “Iranians could have apologized, tried Mr. Mortazavi, and paid blood-money.”

    I agree with you for the last two points, but not for an apology on the ground that she was a Canadian citizen. Apologizing to another state in that sense was wrong. It would have been a violation of Iranian law. It was not Canadian government’s business.
    This is irrelevant because as I said she entered Iran with an Iranian passport, but google the citizenship status in Canada. A neutralized citizen of Canada, unlike U.S, does not renounce in words his/her allegiance to the previous government.

    Unfortunately, by not bringing the perpetrators of her death to justice, IR gave an excuse to opportunists to pursue their agenda and make a gap in Iran-Canada relationship that only widened over the time. Apart from a silly infighting between the two camps in Iran (to be fair, Khatami’s government was willing to show flexibility in this case), IR preferred to unnecessarily protect a loyalist to the point of causing an obvious damage to the interest of the country. I suspect at some point IR thought it would demoralize its core loyalists to go to the extra miles, if need be. No doubt IR is run mostly by idiots.

  29. JohnH says:

    The depth of the problem is that Hillary Clinton could even ask such a question: “How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?”

    It’s patently clear that she actually believes her own rhetoric! What countries have been liberated by US regime change? True, there has been a change of faces at the top. But liberation? Only an anarchist could call the chaos reigning in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya liberation!!!

    And Benghazi was saved from destruction? Benghazi is probably closer to destruction now than at any time under Qaddhafi’s regime. Just wait until the drones get done. And BTW Hillary the Horrible knows full well that Qaddhafi’s threats against Benghazi were blown way out of proportion to make the case for war.

    Bottom line: the real problem here is that US leaders believe their own BS.

  30. Professor Dan Joyner on the legality of the legal standard the IAEA is applying to Iran…

    The IAEA Applies Incorrect Standards, Exceeding its Legal Mandate and Acting Ultra Vires Regarding Iran

    I reproduce my comment to that post below:

    I think the problem lies with the wording of Article 2 of the CSA and more generally in the NPT:

    “The Agency shall have the right and the obligation to ensure that safeguards will be applied, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, on all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of Iran, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere, for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

    A lot of people would interpret the phrase “in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of [the state]” as being then FOLLOWED BY, as opposed to being MODIFIED BY, the phrase “under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere”.

    In other words, the article may be interpreted as meaning that not only the “peaceful nuclear activities” should be monitored, but ALSO ANY OTHER activities related to nuclear material anywhere in the state.

    In other words, it seems some people believe it should be interpreted as not distinguishing between “correctness” (of declared material) and “completeness” (investigation of undeclared material.).

    The Article in my view is ambiguous, first because it refers to “all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities” which seems to
    PREJUDGE or ASSUME whether the activity is “peaceful” on the face of it (which might be a priori true of some activities but not necessarily all), and then does not make clear whether the following phrases are intended to be applied solely to those “peaceful activities” or instead to ANY OTHER UNKNOWN activities that might exist.

    To accomplish the latter unambiguously, the phrase “in all peaceful nuclear activities” should have been removed and the Agency’s mandate specified as locating and monitoring ALL source and fissionable material whether declared or undeclared in the state being monitored.

    I think the problem is that some people think that the way it SHOULD be written is the way it IS written.

    Of course, the only way to truly distinguish the meaning as it is written is to look at the specific activities the IAEA and the state being monitored have agreed to allow to be undertaken in the monitoring program. This should establish that the meaning is as is averred here, i.e., to monitor declared materials solely.

    The real problem for the NPT, the IAEA and those who want “strengthened standards” is that it will forever be IMPOSSIBLE to truly establish no “undeclared activities” without a literal sampling of the earth of every square mile in the territory being monitored. Worse, there’s nothing stopping any state from buying an island in the China Sea or the South Pole under false identities, setting up a nuclear research station completely separate from its normal territorial boundaries and conducting weapons research underground so that even satellite detection would be infeasible.

    The current episode of the TV show “Strike Back” has a billionaire in South Africa doing precisely that.

    The NPT was negotiated to accomplish as much as it could based on what the NWS states wanted and what the NNWS would permit in terms of imposition on their sovereignty. It is not capable of doing more and it is being bent out of shape and corrupted in the attempt to do so, in furtherance of geopolitical agendas unrelated to its mandate.

  31. Castellio says:

    One of the most interesting articles I’ve read regarding Obama’a overtures and policies in the Middle East is available here: http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=2442

    Barack Obama’s Courtship of Bashar al-Assad by CLAY CLAIBORNE on SEPTEMBER 15, 2012

  32. Ataune says:

    @ fyi,

    I don’t understand your logic.

    This lady went to her country of nationality, Iran, using her Iranian passport. I believe whoever was presumably responsible for her death should have been tried in Iran and sentenced according to the laws of the land, without any political or foreign interferences.

    Are you saying that the Iranian state should have apologize to the canadian state and put a judge in trial because a foreign state was asking for it ?

  33. Don Bacon says:

    The US foreign policy, in Obama’s words, is to bring “freedom and dignity” to Arabs, but in practice it is the opposite: subjugation and indignities. I have found that what politicians say is important, if one remembers to believe the exact opposite of what they say.

  34. fyi says:

    Mr. Persian Gulf:

    Let us see what the Canadian Government would do in this case:


  35. fyi says:

    September 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Yes, and the Canadian government considered her a citizen of that country.

    That is where diplomacy comes into play.

    Iranians were arrogant and tried to protect Judge Mortazavi,

    And that man went to cause more problems in Kahrizak in 2009.

    You have to correct the problems at the root.

    Iranians could have apologized, tried Mr. Mortazavi, and paid blood-money.

    But no, they were loath to admit that.

    The late Richard Nixon did a similar thing and lost his presidency.

  36. Sam says:

    The answer to Clinton’s question is very easy. Stop funding, supporting and organizing AlQaeda, Mujahedin and Taliban to bring down foreign governments as US has been doing since 1980’s in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and now Syria. When you bring in Wahabis from Saudi Arabia to promote “democracy” in places like Libya and Syria there will always be blow backs.

    US has been supporting Wahabis since 1950’s. Stop it and half of all the wars in the world will come to a stop.

    Secondly, there is the issue of hypocrisy of freedom of speech. The Danish cartoon editor who published the controversial cartoons in the name of freedom of speech was made to pay the ultimate price when he had only suggested that he intends to publish Holocaust cartoons as well. It seems to the rest of the world that western freedom of speech is only to insult Muslims. The hypocrisy stinks on this one.

  37. Don Bacon says:

    The US State Department has thrown a blanket over Benghazi.
    –from Friday’s press conference:
    MS. NULAND: Thank you for that opening, Arshad. I am going to frustrate all of you infinitely by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. Government may or may not be learning about how any of this happened – not who they were, not how they happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it – until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that it’s got. . . this is now a crime scene. This is now subject to an FBI investigation.

    Benghazi is now a crime scene.

    See, when the US kills suspects on the other side of the globe it’s justified, to keep Americans safe. Just kill ’em dead, and no recourse. It’s not a crime, to the U.S.

    But when an American who has criminally organized an insurgency against a sovereign government is killed, it’s a crime scene and the perps have to be “brought to justice.” And that’s why KFCs and Hardees are being burned to the ground in Sudan. It’s a double standard and people don’t like it, being treated like US property.

  38. James Canning says:

    I agree that the Obama administration “walked back completely” from the commitments made by the president in Cairo and Istanbul. This blunder was caused in part by poor advice from Dennis Ross. And, of course, we can thank the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  39. James Canning says:

    I thought Hillary Clinton must have intended her rhetorical question, about how could the attack on the US consulate in Libya happen, to suggest the attack was a compete surprise. Was it? Lots of weapons got loose in the course of the overthrow of Gaddafi.