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The Race for Iran

THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, THE UNITED STATES, AND THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST

We are very pleased to present the following article, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States, and the Balance of Power in the Middle East”, by our friend and colleague, Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Director of Tehran University’s Institute for North American Studies.  The article is full of insights into Iranian thinking about some of the most important issues on Middle Eastern and international agendas—insights that warrant the widest possible circulation in the United States and other Western countries.  The article is originally being published by our colleagues at the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, and we are grateful to them for letting us also publish it on www.RaceForIran.com.  The original can be accessed on their site, www.conflictsforum.org, which is well-worth visiting for this article and the range of other important materials there.      

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States, and the Balance of Power in the Middle East

by Seyed Mohammad Marandi, University of Tehran

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s interest in a stable Middle East is arguably greater than that of the United States—after all this is Iran’s neighborhood.  For Iran to grow and prosper, it needs secure borders and stable neighbors. A poor and unstable Afghanistan, for example, inhibits trade and, potentially, increases the flow of refugees and narcotics into the northeastern part of Iran.

Arguably, stability in Iraq may be even more critical to Iran than stability in Afghanistan.  The Iran-Iraq war caused enormous suffering to the people of Iran; Iranians will not forget it in the decades ahead. They will also not forget that their suffering was largely because of American and European support for Saddam Hussain—including Western support for his acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, which he regularly used against Iranian and Iraqi civilians. There was no condemnation from western governments or even the western media for these cruel and barbaric acts. Iranians believe that western leaders are just as guilty for these crimes against humanity as Saddam Hussain himself. It is critical to note that Iran never used or produced chemical weapons either during the war or afterwards, despite the technological capability to do so. This alone, Iranians regularly point out, is evidence that the Islamic Republic of Iran is honest when it states that it has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Because of this history, it is understandable that Iranians say they will never again allow Iraq to be used as a platform to attack or destabilize Iran. Iranians will not allow their enemies, adversaries, or antagonists in the future to view Iraq as an asset in any form of conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The United States and Saudi Arabia persist in their attempts to intensify sectarianism and racism between Iran and its neighbors. I was in the Aljazeera studio in Doha when the American ambassador to Qatar used the race card on live television and said that for centuries the Persians have been little but trouble to the rest of the region as well as a constant threat. Nevertheless, a solid majority of Iraqis have strong religious, historical, and cultural ties with Iran. Many Iraqi leaders and intellectuals have lived in Iran for years and are fluent in Persian, and many have married Iranians during the dark years when only the Islamic Republic and Syria backed and recognized the opposition to Saddam Hussain.

In addition, while western-funded and western based Persian TV channels regularly make reprehensible and derogatory statements about Arabs, Iranians inside the Islamic Republic have remained remarkably sympathetic towards Iraqis who suffered under Saddam Hussain and, subsequently, the U.S. occupation of their country. Iranians also remain strongly sympathetic towards the mostly Sunni Palestinian Arabs suffering under the occupation of what Iranians see as the world’s only official apartheid regime.

Iran believes that fundamental change in Iranian-Iraqi relations is more than a future possibility.  It has already been achieved.

This does not mean that Iran wants a weak government in Iraq. In fact, the dramatic increase of trade, tourism, and investment between the two countries since the fall of Saddam Hussein has been a major boost to the Iranian economy.  The Iran/Iraq border, which was, for the most part, a dead-end until the year 2003, is now witnessing long lines of trucks and busses waiting to cross. Officials from both countries are busy building a border infrastructure which will allow this trade and investment to develop further, but they are constantly falling behind the increasing demands of businessmen and pilgrims. Hence, the Islamic Republic of Iran wants a strong and stable Iraq, but an Iraq that is on good terms with Iran and works to further the interests of the region’s population as a whole. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s recent statement that American troops must leave the country by the end of 2011 is a strong sign that this is actually happening.

The same logic applies to Afghanistan. The majority of Afghans share strong religious and cultural links with Iran; most speak the Persian language. Despite what Iranians believe to be the utter failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Iran has invested heavily in the relatively more stable north of the country, building roads and infrastructure. Trade has risen sharply and moderate Sunnis and Shias who were supported by Iran when the United States effectively allowed the then-Saudi- and UAE-funded Taliban to overrun the country, look increasingly to Iran for support, as people in the country feel that the United States has lost the war and that they will inevitably be forced to leave the country sooner or later.

I wrote the “then-Saudi-” funded Taliban, whereas I should have written simply “the Saudi-funded Taliban”. According to leaked documents on Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia is still the largest financial supporter of the Taliban. In fact, almost all of the undemocratic Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf region are still funding the Taliban.  This has always been an open secret in this part of the world. Indeed, not only are these states funding the Taliban, they are effectively funding the Taliban ideology, which has strong similarities to that of Al-Qaeda, throughout the world.  Many wonder how Americans presume that their alliance with the Saudi regime is in the long term interests of the United States. Is the spread of the Salafi ideology in the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Europe, and elsewhere unrelated to the yearly multibillion dollar ideological investment by these regimes, led by the Saudis?

Iranians believe U.S. foreign policymakers, by closing their eyes to Saudi support for hardliner Salafi groups worldwide, are making things more difficult for themselves. This is in addition to the tragic situation brought about as a result of what Iranians see as the foolish invasion of Iraq and the failed American strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is also in addition to what Tehran views as America’s blind support for the world’s final apartheid state, which jails and abuses women and children from the indigenous Palestinian population and kills rock-throwing young men trapped in concentration camp like conditions. All of this is making current U.S. policy in the Middle East unsustainable in the long run. This is especially true as America’s emerging strategic and economic competitors, such as the “BRIC” countries (China, India, Brazil and Russia) make gains at all levels while the United States continues to bleed.

Furthermore, this is playing out as mainstream Sunni and Shia organizations are under pressure throughout the region, as despotic regimes allied to the United States try to ensure their own survival. Under such conditions, hostility towards the United States increases and, ironically, Saudi-funded extremist ideologies thrive. For the time being, this “investment” buys stability for the Saudi royal family, but not for most of the rest of the world, including the United States. Of course, whether these American-backed regimes can actually survive or not is another question. If these regimes do not survive, how will the people in these countries react to America’s past policies of oppression?           

Hence, choosing Arab despots as allies—whether in Saudi Arabia, where women can’t drive or, for the most part, can’t even have an independent bank account, or in Egypt and Jordan—can have serious consequences for the United States in the future. The irony of this is not lost upon Iranians who live in a country where 63 percent of the undergraduate student population is female. Most of my own PhD students are women and the head of my faculty at the University of Tehran is a woman, too.

Iranians also watched how the United States responded to Egypt’s farce elections, yet simultaneously accused Iran of being undemocratic, even though all Iranian leaders are chosen directly by the public or by publicly elected bodies. In the case of last year’s Iranian presidential election, there is no doubt that Ahmadinejad won by a landslide; conclusive evidence of that has even been provided in the English language by scholars, academics, and pollsters. Given this reality, in the eyes of the vast majority of Iranians, the United States effectively supported and advocated mob rule on the streets of Tehran.

The United States accused the Iranian government of stealing the elections without providing any credible evidence whatsoever to back up this claim. The U.S. position is uncritically based on claims made by well-funded, so-called Iran “experts” in the United States who know little about the country and, for the most part, have a deep and unreasonable hostility towards the Islamic Republic. These people have been making claims and predictions about Iran for many years; a review of their past work reveals that they have a very poor track record. However, since they say what the American political establishment wishes them to say, there is no accountability for their misjudgments and flawed analysis, and they continue receiving generous funding. Interestingly, those among them who can speak in Persian use a very different language and tone when speaking on Western-funded or government-owned Persian language TV stations than when speaking in American think tanks or on American television. Basically, this is because they don’t wish to sound absurd to an Iranian audience.

Those commentators who venture to say something different and more reasonable to a western audience are severely attacked by the U.S. media and the so-called Iran experts, who continue to live in their fantasy world. Nevertheless, despite the threats, accusations, and slander, these commentators continued to tell the truth to Americans and Europeans, in order to prevent a foolish or even tragic miscalculation by western governments. But they have done so at a very high personal price. 

Of course, after the massive and unprecedented protests against Mousavi that were held throughout the country following the Ashura riots in December 2009, some people in the west finally began to open their eyes to the reality on the ground. Then came February 11, 2010, the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, when the western media pinning their collective hopes on claims made by the so-called green movement. Green partisans claimed they would bring millions to the streets of Tehran and take over Azadi Square on live TV. However, when millions of people took to the streets in Tehran (simultaneous rallies were held throughout the country), there was no sign of Mousavi supporters anywhere. Western analysts grudgingly began to admit that they may have misread events in the Islamic Republic of Iran.     

Ironically, in the long run, last year’s events have made Iranians more unified than at any time since the early days of the Revolution. Most critics or opponents of President Ahmadinejad were outraged at Mr. Mousavi’s actions after the election, especially after he failed to show any meaningful evidence of fraud and effectively aligned himself to western-based and western-funded organizations, including ruthless terrorist organizations like the MKO or MEK (which served Saddam Hussain as mercenaries for over two decades), U.S.-based supporters of the former Shah, and violent rioters who killed, maimed, and humiliated police officers and disciplinary forces on the streets of Tehran. That is why, on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the size of the pro-Islamic Republic demonstrations held throughout the country were unprecedented and so highly emotional.

Indeed, contrary to what is widely believed in the west, most mainstream reformists have condemned Mousavi’s actions; from early on, they recognized the legitimacy and validity of the election results. Reformist members of parliament that I know and respect have repeatedly said this publicly and privately. The head of the reformist faction in parliament Mr. Tabesh has consistently stated this on numerous occasions. Reformist MPs such as Dr. Kavakebian, Dr. Khabbaz, and Dr. Pazeshkian, as well as many other reformists such Professor Aref, have also taken this position, despite their strong opposition to President Ahmadinejad. Nevertheless, western politicians and the western media for the most part only hear what they want, or need, to hear.

This does not mean that police brutality did not exist or that some government officials did not mismanage the situation. However, a very solid majority of Iranians put the bulk of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Mousavi for his actions and baseless accusations.

Indeed, the U.S. response to the election, which, as pointed out, was largely conditioned by dependence on ill-informed and agenda-driven “Iran experts”, has significantly decreased chances for any form of meaningful rapprochement between the two countries in the foreseeable future. Not that there was much chance in the first place; as the Wikileaks documents reveal, Iranian suspicions were correct and Obama’s claims to be interested in redefining U.S.-Iranian relations were, from the start, not really honest. This is also reflected in Obama’s written support for the Brazilian Turkish efforts and then his incredible about-face immediately after the signing of the Tehran Declaration. The Wikileaks cables also reveal how ill-informed the United States is about Iranian affairs. U.S. embassies in Iran’s neighboring countries, like most western embassies in Tehran, receive information from likeminded Iranians or those who tell their hosts what they wish to hear for practical purposes.

Miscalculations regarding Iran are not anything new and they are not limited to elections. U.S., policy regarding Iran’s nuclear program has been based on what is widely judged among Iranians to be a major miscalculation. Not only is the nuclear program seen by the general population as linked to Iranian national sovereignty, it is also a multibillion dollar investment that involves tens of thousands of Iranians and goes back decades. Consequently, it’s something that almost all Iranians support. Indeed, one of the reasons why Ahmadinejad won both presidential elections was because, in the eyes of most Iranians, he was unwilling to appease western powers on the nuclear issue. This was a key issue that hurt the legacy of President Khatami, who was often seen as weak in the face of western pressure.

Wishful thinking in some western countries about the state of Iran’s economy and its supposedly imminent collapse are exactly that—wishful thinking. In recent weeks, it has been repeatedly claimed by these so-called Iran experts and the western media that the Iranian subsidy reform program is a sign that sanctions are “biting”. This again shows a deep misunderstanding of reality in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranians well recognize that, contrary to claims made by Americans and European officials, the “crippling” sanctions have been put into place in order to make the Iranian people suffer.  The imposed sanctions have, in fact, increased anger and hostility toward the United States.  

Moreover, the subsidy reform program, which is by far the most significant economic reform program in contemporary Iranian history, is, in reality, a clear sign that the current Iranian government is strong and self-confident. While the subsidy reform program has been discussed for years, successive governments have been afraid to implement it. The current administration, after much planning, has now begun its implementation.  There is no sign of unrest and most Iranians believe that the reforms will lead to a much stronger economy in the future. Critics of the government, whether Principlist or Reformist, support the program, for the most part. Significantly, Iranian currency and gold reserves are at an all-time high, as well.

This does not mean that Iran isn’t looking for a resolution to the nuclear standoff, but there is no doubt that, for something positive to happen, western countries must make the first move and recognize Iran’s rights to enrich Uranium for peaceful purposes. Contrary to western claims, this is the position of the international community, as Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states along with member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference officially support Iran’s position.

For roughly two years, Iran did more than halt the enrichment of Uranium; it effectively halted almost the entire nuclear program and implemented the Additional Protocol. It allowed the IAEA to carry out intrusive inspections, many of which had nothing to do with the nuclear program and looked more like intelligence-gathering operations on behalf of the U.S. government. The fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, an undemocratic body largely under western influence, has not found any evidence whatsoever to show that Iran’s nuclear program has ever been anything but peaceful, yet continues to oppose Iran’s nuclear program, is another reason why Iranians have little trust in western governments. U.S. relations with the Israeli regime, India, and Pakistan, which all have nuclear weapons, are strong—even though, in the case of Pakistan, for example, a weak central government has called into question the army’s ability to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of the Taliban or Taliban-like groups.

American leaders are deceiving themselves if they believe the Wikileaks cables describing the hostility of a number of Arab leaders towards Iran and its nuclear program actually strengthens the U.S. position regarding Iran. In fact, these documents do the exact opposite, as they diminish these already unpopular despots in the eyes of their own people. This becomes clear when one looks at the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll, which reveals that a very strong majority of Arabs support Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, the poll shows that, while 88 percent of Arabs view the Israeli regime as a threat 77 percent view the United States as a threat, only 10 percent view the Islamic Republic of Iran as a threat.  (By way of comparison, 10 percent also viewed Algeria as a threat).

Regarding Palestine and Lebanon, it is a also a major mistake for western experts to believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for the people of these countries, especially the people of Palestine, is in any way cynical. If one looks at the pre-Revolution statements of current Iranian leaders, one will see that the issue of Palestine was a central grievance of the opposition to the Shah. Indeed, one of the many mistakes of the so-called green movement was to miscalculate deeply the depth of public sympathy in Iran for the Palestinian people during last year’s riots in Tehran on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. The kidnapping and murder of Iranian scientists and former government officials by Israeli agents has added further anger.

Iranian support for Palestine, Lebanon, and the Resistance movements is unwavering and any expectation in the west that, under certain circumstances, Iran will end this policy is unfounded. However, official Iranian policy has also always held that, while Iran will not recognize Israel, because it is an apartheid state (the same as its South Africa policy during apartheid), it will respect any decision made by the Palestinian people in this regard. From the Iranian perspective, any decision will have to include all Palestinians living both inside the country and outside it; that would include the millions who continue to live in refugee camps. With regard to Lebanon, the Islamic Republic of Iran supports the country’s independence and sovereignty and it believes that Lebanon and Lebanese civilians can only be protected from Israeli aggression through the Resistance in southern Lebanon. Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran will support Hezbollah at all costs.

In Tehran, there is a strong belief that the region is changing dramatically in favor of Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and the Resistance. The rise of an independent Turkey, whose government has a worldview very different from that of the U.S., German, British, and French governments, along with the relative decline of Saudi and Egyptian regional influence, signals a major shift in the regional balance of power. Saudi military incompetence during the fighting with Yemeni tribes along the border between the two countries, the general decline of the Egyptian regime in all respects, and the almost universal contempt among Arabs as a whole for  the leaders of these two countries and other pro-western Arab regimes and their corrupt elites, are seen as signs that the center cannot hold. The fact that the Iranian president and the Turkish prime minister are so popular in Arab countries, while most Arab leaders are deeply unpopular, is a sign that the region is changing.

Some speculate that as the so-called axis of moderation declines alongside the declining fortunes of the United States, Washington may be tempted to move towards limited military confrontation with the Islamic Republic before the U.S. presidential election in 2012. Iranians believe this to be highly unlikely. But Iranians also believe that stability or instability from the Mediterranean to the boarders of India is inextricably linked to peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region. A look at a map makes clear that Iran has the ability to respond to threats throughout region and even beyond. If there is no security for Iranians, then, in the eyes of Iranians, there will be no security for Iran’s antagonists in the region. Under such conditions, the United States should not expect oil or gas to flow out of the Persian Gulf, northern Iraq, or Central Asia. Iran is increasingly confident in the face of regular US military threats. It is also increasingly convinced that western governments recognize that it has the ability to protect its citizens. Western governments must recognize that Iran is looking for peace, but it is not intimidated by the threat of war; in fact, such threats make western governments look crude and uncivilized. The stunning defeat of the Israeli regime against the much smaller and much less well-equipped Resistance in Southern Lebanon is something that is remembered with pride in Tehran.

Iran is prepared to continue living without relations with the United States in the years to come, and more and more young Iranians and businessmen are looking to Asia and countries like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa for higher education, business, and trade. Nevertheless, there are those who still wonder if there is a potential partner in the United States, who can rethink U.S. foreign policy and bring about real change in U.S.-Iranian relations.

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314 Responses to “THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, THE UNITED STATES, AND THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST”

  1. Iranian@Iran says:

    Today in the city of Yazd (President Khatami’s hometown):

    http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=76729

    These pictures are interesting to look at after reading the article by Professor Mohammad Marandi.

  2. Iranian@Iran says:

    Today in the city of Yazd (President Khatami’s hometown):

    http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=76729

  3. Fiorangela,

    “Moreover, it is inevitable that Israel will implode, sooner rather than later.”

    I think it was when the Jeffrey Goldberg piece was featured here on Race for Iran, but the words stick in my head whenever they may have appeared.

    Some high-level Israeli had confided to the writer that his greatest fear for Israel was that too many young Jewish Israelis might someday decide that Israel was no place to raise a family. The reason he cited was the possible absence of security — due, for example, to rockets from Lebanon raining down on Tel Aviv.

    There may be another reason, though, that a young Jewish Israeli might someday decide that Israel is no place to raise a family. Perhaps he’ll recall an afternoon family drive along some well-maintained West Bank highway, during his teenage years, when the thought suddenly occurred to him that he never had seen Palestinians on that highway. He’d mentioned this to his father and his father had replied, in a matter of fact tone: “Son, the natives aren’t allowed to drive on this highway. I thought you understood this.”

    An experience like that might stick in a young Israeli’s memory. Put that together with an increasing lack of security, and he might feel that somewhere else — perhaps the US — would be a better place to raise a family, to instill in his children the values he considers important. If so, we’ll welcome him with open arms in this country.

    That’s when Israel will start to wither. Unless it changes. Maybe it will, but I can’t see any reason to expect that. More likely, people like this hypothetical young teenager will leave, and those who remain will be the sort of people who don’t mind explaining such facts of life to their teenage sons and daughters, and whose teenage sons and daughters merely shrug when they hear the explanation.

  4. Fiorangela says:

    RSH,

    Castellio wrote that “Eric noted that many on this forum, particularly from non-US countries, seemed to take a rather cavalier approach (my words, not his) to statements of America going to war, as if some on-going reckoning between government and population was not necessary or wouldn’t happen. I think, and I do respect him for this, Eric prefers when we don’t assume lack of good faith as an a priori god given constant in American life.”

    If Castellio’s assessment is valid as regards Eric’s outlook (whew), then I wish I could share Eric’s positive regard for the power of the American people/voter, and for the good faith of American leaders, policy makers, and enough of the American electorate to maintain the elites in power and their perspectives. I do not share that opinion. Listening to Hillary Clinton’s speech regarding China was painful and embarrassing: her words, attitudes, and policy pronouncements are supremecist, condescending, and arrogant. Clinton works very hard, is diligent and thorough; unlike Suzanne Rice, US’s shadowy UN representative, Clinton shows up. But it looks more and more like she shows up because she thinks the party can’t go on without her. Her opinion of the necessity of US involvement in the lives of every person in every nation of the world is breathtaking. Yet, Americans still admire her just because she is a woman.

    I prefer the views of someone like John Tirman or John Mueller or John Entelis; Andrew BAcevich and Stephen Kinzer and Michael Greenberger — there is so much talent in the American academy that has been effectively silenced and censored by Israelists. Hillary Clinton seems deaf to any views other than the neocon/Likud dictates.
    600+ years ago, when the Italian city-states were contending with one another for control of highly lucrative trade routes across the Mediterranean and in other wise, battles were waged to capture universities: When Milan conquered Padua in the late 1300s, the University of Padua was chief among its prizes. America’s universities, established with the sweat of years of toil, have been overtaken in numerous bloodless, but dollar-rich, coups and captures and occupations.

  5. Fiorangela: “did you notice that Eric Brill responded with new information that expanded the discussion?”

    No, he didn’t. He just recast the same old nonsense in different terms. Nothing new there at all. His entire argument has never held water, cannot hold water, and has absolutely no logic behind it whatsoever except his personal preference, which latter, frankly, is incomprehensible to me (although in the past I have accused him of carefully not mentioning why Israel shouldn’t do the same if the benefits are all that great.)

    His entire effort consists in simply repeating it over and over, ignoring the fact that it’s been utterly shot down repeatedly by several people here besides myself.

    Perhaps I should just cut and paste several of my responses to previous comments every time he mentions this stuff. Eventually people will get tired.

    Iran needs to do NOTHING at this point except what they are doing. It’s not up to Iran to settle this issue, it’s up to the US and Israel to back off – and they’re not going to. So all Iran can do is ride it out and be prepared to resist when – not if – they are attacked. The worst thing Iran can do is believe their own propaganda that the US and Israel cannot and will not attack them.

  6. Fiorangela says:

    RSH — re: “What else is Eric going to say? It’s his one note speech, no matter how many times I’ve irradiated it, buried it in concrete and salted the earth over it.”

    You need to expand your playbook, RSH. Every housewife knows how to win every argument: Concede victory and shut up. What comes next is the start of a new argument.
    Thus, if one is presented with a “one note speech,” rather than “irradiate it & bury it,” concede victory. Anything after that is the start of a new argument — did you notice that Eric Brill responded with new information that expanded the discussion?

    ____

    Hillary Clinton gave an interesting speech in preparation for the Chinese president’s visit. http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/01/154653.htm script
    :http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=yv4qLYCE3XI video

    most interesting passage: “The second element of our strategy is to focus on building bilateral trust with China. We need to form habits of cooperation and respect that help us work together more effectively and weather disagreements when they do arise. The most notable example of our efforts is the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which brings together hundreds of experts from dozens of agencies across both of our governments, not only to discuss an unprecedented range of subjects, but to inculcate that ethic or habit of cooperation across our two governments. Secretary Geithner and I are looking forward to hosting our counterparts this spring for the third round of the S&ED. [translation: we're pulling out all the stops to keep our debt-holder happy and our books hidden.]I/i>

    This is a good start, but I would be the first to admit that distrust lingers [! so -- China knows we're showing them the 'alternate' set of books. They don't trust US on the finances, so we'll double down and accuse them of mistrust if they don't open up their military to us. Cute.] on both sides. The United States and the international community have watched China’s efforts to modernize and expand its military, and we have sought clarity as to its intentions. As Secretary Gates stressed in Beijing this week, both sides would benefit from sustained and substantive military-to-military engagement that increases transparency. We need more high-level visits, more joint exercises, more exchanges from our professional military organizations, and other steps to build that trust, understanding of intentions, and familiarity. This will require China to overcome its reluctance [what would induce any state to expose its military to the view of another?] at times to join us in building a stable and transparent military-to-military relationship. But we think it is so much in both of our interests, and we will continue to raise it and work on it with our Chinese friends.”

    ****You want to be careful when someone calls you “friend” so many times.
    “Psst. Hey good buddy ole friend, hows about letting me in on how your army does things, hmmm? We’re good friends, aren’t we? . . .”

    Momma always said,”To your friend no secrets tell, Even tho you know him well.
    For if your friend becomes your foe, Your secrets everyone will know.”

    It also seemed like there was no reason that Clinton could not say the same things about Iran that she said about China, save one: the US owes China a great deal of money. (US holds a great deal of Iranian treasure, too, but the difference is that China’s debt is secured commercially, while the US liabilities to Iran are secured by treaty obligations, which are more difficult to litigate.) So, if Iran wants to have the same kind of relationship with US as China has, Iran need only lend money — a lot of it — to US.

  7. Rd. says:

    kooshy says: “Israel and the Iranian Nuclear Timetable
    Paul R. Pillar”

    This article assumes only israeli interests and its influence on US FP. It does not highlight what the US interests may be in this game. Are we to assume US interest is just peaceful coexistence? Not likely. Considering that presumption;

    “Not every statement by a public official needs to be a disingenuous manipulation of the facts in pursuit of a policy objective.”

    It is not likely for the axis to just drop their designs and decide to become responsible actors in world politics, their track record speaks volume.

    “Third, what we are hearing may be well-reasoned thoughts from Israelis who have come to realize that resorting to military force against Iran would damage Israel’s interests along with the interests of others.”

    Given the fact that Iran is not pursuing the bomb gives some credibility to the above, with some caveat. Which provides the justification for the sixth explanation to be a more plausible answer. The war is not an option at this point. After so many years of warmonging, the resistance has become much stronger and its credibility is resonating in the region and beyond. Hence, placing of the waring voices in the back burner for the time being. Should the Ehud Baracks political posturing be viewed in this regard? A new mask for the Isreali face!

    This only raises the question, what sinister plans do they have? Who or whom may be targeted to get blown away to promote divisions and intimidations in various theaters in ME? To just put the war or the end game on hold does not hold water. Today we witness the triumphant return of baby doc to Haiti (specially when promoted by npr/pbs)! So, is US back to its old games of more covert than the more expensive and costly overt military approach?

    The military adventures has cost them dearly. They have lost a great deal in ME and continue to do so. They have lost a great deal in south America. Economy teetering on bankruptcy. So perhaps it is time to go back to the cheaper more covert activity combining the Israeli and US operatives to bring about divisions and disorder to the region. i.e. the targeting of Christians in egypt or the tribunal in Lebanon, the vote in southern Sudan, etc..

    To get back to their plans, the gains made by the resistance must be rolled back before they can confront Iran. Rolling back Lebanon to its 80s state would weaken Syria and open a back door to Iran. So, in this regard, could there be a tiny small opening to Iran for the up-coming negotiations? That would be the icing on their cake.

  8. Castellio says:

    To be honest, RSH, I don’t mind the repetition. Persistence – yours, mine, or Eric’s – has its value, and makes its own statement. It’s only when US bad faith is kept firmly in mind that his arguments on this point lose cogency.

    A while back, I can’t remember when exactly, Eric noted that many on this forum, particularly from non-US countries, seemed to take a rather cavalier approach (my words, not his) to statements of America going to war, as if some on-going reckoning between government and population was not necessary or wouldn’t happen. I think, and I do respect him for this, Eric prefers when we don’t assume lack of good faith as an a priori god given constant in American life.

  9. Castellio: “Fiorangela: You ask that of Eric hoping he won’t say the signing the additional protocols?”

    I know, I read that and I was like, what is Fiorangela, Eric’s talent agent? What else is Eric going to say? It’s his one note speech, no matter how many times I’ve irradiated it, buried it in concrete and salted the earth over it.

  10. BiBiJon says:

    Eric,

    AP or no AP is NOT the question.

    You have given two good reasons why Iran should not re-institute the AP.

    1) “If Iran is not building nukes on the sly, observing the AP isn’t really all that big a deal. To continue making a big deal of it, when 100 other countries simply sign up for it and observe it, inevitably makes it look like Iran has something to hide.”

    This plays into the western narrative. Guilty until proven innocent. And, to be deemed innocent, Iran must prove a negative. Sadly, under sanctions, threats, and manipulation of international bodies (UNSC, IAEA), this is more than just playing into the western narrative, it is an utter caving in. Iran stopped implementing AP when her case was illegally referred to UNSC. Return the case back to IAEA, and Iran will readopt AP.

    2) “But low probability and severe consequences is also a combination worth considering very soberly. I read all sorts of predictions about Iran’s ability to survive an attack, even a nuclear attack, and its second-strike capability compared to that of Israel and the US — and on and on and on. Please – this is not some video game. Eventually the US will be weak enough that its sword-rattling can simply be ignored by Iran. But we’re not there yet, and it’s irresponsible to pretend that we are.”

    The argument could be recast (more unattractively) as ‘because the US is a hyper power, everybody should just cave in to her demands.’ Seen that way, Iran’s last thirty years of defiance would have been plain silly. And, the prize for the US will not be just Iran, but an object lesson for all other nations.

    I do not believe Iran is capable of even pretending to have such a mindset. Irresponsible? Perhaps. Principled? You bet.

  11. Rd. says:

    James Canning says: “What is the US position on Lebanon? Obviously, the US has been hoping to discredit Hezbollah by means of the Hariri investigation. This position suits Israel, but I do not see how it does the US much good. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a fact of life.”

    The other fact is the us/Israel desire for the balkanization of Lebanon. Perhaps the (US/israel) hope is to ferment the sectarian divide to weaken the states cohesion to make it an easier prey. Confronting Hezbollah as is today, is not an option militarily, given the 2006 experience.

  12. masoud says:

    Pmr9,

    I think it makes more sense to look at the first two lines of that poem.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

  13. pmr9 says:

    Kamran

    Marandi’s warning “the center cannot hold” is a quote from Yeats’s The Second Coming. I would guess that he is thinking of the last two lines of that poem: something rather more than a “weakening of the US position” in the ME.

  14. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Israel can secure its long-term future by accepting the Saudi peace plan. Gross miscalculation may prevent Israel from getting out of the West Bank and the Golan heights, in which case the future looks increasingly disturbed, for Israel.

    Is Iran under siege by the US? Is Cuba under siege? I think the stupidity of US policy toward Iran will become more apparent, assuming of course Iran does not decide to build nukes.

  15. James Canning says:

    Kamran,

    What is the US position on Lebanon? Obviously, the US has been hoping to discredit Hezbollah by means of the Hariri investigation. This position suits Israel, but I do not see how it does the US much good. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a fact of life.

  16. kooshy says:

    Paul- Fyi

    Israel and the Iranian Nuclear Timetable
    Paul R. Pillar
    |
    01.07.11

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar
    During the past ten days Israeli officials have made some remarkably reassuring statements about the status of what Israel has customarily and vehemently characterized as the overwhelming security threat of our time: Iran’s nuclear program. Before the new year Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said that thanks to technical difficulties and sanctions, an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is probably three years away—a longer timeline than Israeli officials had been suggesting. Now retiring Mossad chief Meir Dagan says an Iranian bomb is even farther away—that Iran won’t have that capability until 2015 even if all current international efforts to constrain Iran were to stop tomorrow. If those efforts continue, says Dagan, an Iranian nuclear weapons capability will be pushed back even more.
    If we accept these assessments, they are obviously good news for anyone who does not want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. It is also good news that such assessments are being voiced publicly by senior Israelis, because they seem to make it less likely that the possible action that has posed the greatest risk of severely damaging U.S. interests in the Middle East—an Israeli military attack on Iran—will happen anytime soon. But given the divergence between these recent pronouncements and the alarmist statements about Iran we have become accustomed to hearing from Israel, how can one explain the remarks by Yaalon and Dagan? I can think of a half dozen possible explanations.
    One is that they are more or less straightforward reflections of careful, straightforward analysis by Israeli experts of the actual state of the Iranian program. Not every statement by a public official needs to be a disingenuous manipulation of the facts in pursuit of a policy objective. Sometimes we need to resist the tendency to overanalyze someone else’s motives. A corresponding U.S. experience that comes to mind was a controversial intelligence assessment in 2007 about the Iranian nuclear program, which left journalists and many others convinced that the writers of the estimate were seeking to disable the military option, even though the principal reasons that estimate came out the way it did had to do with such mundane procedural matters as whether a classified paper was prepared before it was decided to prepare an unclassified one. Dagan is an intelligence professional, and it may have been fully in that capacity that he made his valedictory remarks to journalists.
    A second possible explanation is that the remarks are self-serving for both the professionals and the policymakers, in the sense that they were taking credit for slowing down the Iranian program, whether through software worms or other means. For Mossad in particular, impeding the Iranian program has been a major objective for many years. For Dagan, who has headed the intelligence agency since 2002, whatever he has managed to accomplish in sabotaging and constraining the Iranian effort is a big feather in his cap.
    Third, what we are hearing may be well-reasoned thoughts from Israelis who have come to realize that resorting to military force against Iran would damage Israel’s interests along with the interests of others. And thus they are trying to take the military option off Israel’s table. To the extent this explanation is valid it would be very good news. But even if valid, such thinking is undoubtedly still outweighed by the more visceral, less well-reasoned sentiments in Israel about an Iranian bomb.
    A fourth explanation is that Israeli leaders have come to realize that the alarmism and saber-rattling about Iran were having deleterious effects on Israel’s society and public confidence, and so it was necessary to tone the alarmism down. More specifically, the scare-mongering was encouraging emigration out of Israel, which is one of the very effects Israeli leaders fear will ensue if Iran actually gets a nuclear weapon.
    A fifth explanation is that the Israelis were trying to show that sanctions against Iran are working and that it thus makes sense to keep them in place and even to expand them. Yaalon in particular suggested that sanctions were a major reason for the slowing of the Iranian program. The Israeli statements were in this respect a rebuttal of the periodic boasting by Iranian president Ahmadinejad about how much nuclear progress Iran supposedly has made.
    The sixth possible explanation is the one that is most in line with the virtuosic manipulation of the U.S. political process that we have come to expect from Israel. It is a matter of timing. Israeli policymakers would prefer a U.S. military strike on Iran over an Israeli strike, because given U.S. capabilities it would be more operationally feasible and effective. But Israelis do not see this happening under the current U.S. administration. So they already are looking ahead to January 2013 and a hoped-for new administration that would be more to their liking and more likely to do Israel’s bidding. Israel is saving more of its rhetorical and lobbying ammunition on the Iranian nuclear issue for when it is most likely to have the desired effect, a couple of years from now. In the meantime, the toning down of the alarmism makes sense because it avoids a cry wolf effect and will heighten the impact when, at a more propitious time in the future, the alarm is cranked back up again.
    Any or all of these explanations may have some validity. They are not mutually exclusive. Probably the relative importance of each of them varies from one Israeli official to another. Perhaps the first three have more explanatory power for what Dagan said, and the last three for Yaalon’s comments. Probably the sixth and final explanation best represents the thinking of the Netanyahu government.
    Whatever the combination of explanations, one should not get too encouraged by whatever good news is embedded in all this, because it is ultimately just a matter of timing. Days of reckoning have been postponed, not eliminated. Israeli pressure and agitation on this issue will persist, and it will intensify some time in the future. And whatever is said about timing does nothing to address the more fundamental questions of what harm an Iranian nuclear weapon really would or would not do if ultimately is not precluded, and what harm a resort to war would do instead.

  17. Fiorangela says:

    kamran and Liz, I’m not about to carry water for Eric — he’s a lot smarter than I am and can carry his own buckets — but I think he’s got a point: there are low-cost obstacles Iran can throw in the path of the US as the US and Israel INEVITABLY raise the on demands on Iran. My trust is in Iran’s smarts — I suspect Iran is not incapable of feeding the US/Israel false information, and of devising other low cost obstacles to toss in the path of the US as US-Israel attempts to constrain Iran.

    Moreover, it is inevitable that Israel will implode, sooner rather than later. Iran has more staying-power than does Israel, if for no other reason than that Israel is constructed on the basis of a contradiction, that Israel can only sustain by ever-increasing militarization, and ever-increasing fear-inducing control of its citizens. Israel has turned its population into a collective of manic-depressives, and manic-depressives inevitably ‘hit the wall’ and break down.

    As I said earlier, I also think Iran has a lot more optimistic future than does US; if US power were on the rise, Iran could not withstand a US siege; but US power is on the decline, and Iran’s is on the rise. As Flynt Leverett pointed out in a speech some weeks ago, Iran has chosen winners; US has not. US has a serious volte face in its future, and it has not yet recognized that reality: US is still in thrall to what it perceives to be superior Israel intellectual power: US should remind themselves that Greenspan got it wrong, Friedman got it wrong, Wolfowitz got it wrong. US should recognize that Israeli intellectual power is always focused on the past, not the future. As well, the Tea Partiers might have a few leaves of wisdom in their cup: consider the relative wisdom of America’s founding fathers and of Israel’s founding fathers, and of the visions each laid out for the nations they established. If America returns to her own roots she will like herself a lot better, her confidence will be restored.

  18. Iranian says:

    Who knows. The events in Tunisia and their impact on the US standing in the region, may even have an effect on the conflict in Southern Sudan over the oil fields.

  19. Rd. says:

    Liz says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110117/ts_nm/us_tunisia_protests_immolations
    Tunisia copycat burnings in 3 North African countries

    “Like Tunisians, many other Arabs are frustrated by soaring prices, poverty, high unemployment and systems of rule that ignore their voices.”

    a simple translation, many in ME and elsewhere are feed up with the old colonial / imperial rule. There will be resistance. Pack up and go home US FP, along with your military.

  20. Kamran says:

    As Mohammad Marandi puts it “the center cannot hold.” In addition to the weakning of US allies in the ME, I think he situation in Tunisia weakens the US position in Lebanon.

  21. Voice of Tehran says:

    Bib,

    “Keep an eye on Guttenberg, he has been saying things like “Germany needs to defend its global economic interests with military power” and such similar things..

    Yes you are quite right , zu Guttenberg seems to be the right candidate and the shooting star for the so called elites in Germany.

    The former German president Köhler had to go , because he said exactly what Guttenberg is saying now.

    Another important point that you mentioned is the presence of US and Britisch military on German soil. Without the huge military German ‘ HUB ‘ the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would de facto be unthinkable for the US.
    The US military maintains around 70-90 nuclear warheads on German soil , I think not even 1 % of the Germans are aware of this fact , hard to believe , but true.

  22. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, “rope-a-dope: — that makes all the difference. Within that larger context, that Iran should toss low-cost obstacles in the path of US demands on Iran to expand the time in which US weakens itself, agreed: for Iran to subscribe to the Additional Protocols is a prudent move. It buys Iran time, in addition to the Stuxnet time that Israel-US collaboration provided as a “win-win-win.”

    I’ve learned a lot in this conversation today; the most important lesson being the requirement to separate emotional appeal from rational objectives, and to define goals in terms of achievable-achievables (with due respect to Mr Rumsfeld).

    Emotionally, I believe Israel is behaving very badly and must be both punished and stopped from its bad behavior; that the US has been sucked into the Israeli vortex of bad behavior and must extricate itself and reclaim its own identity and moral and geopolitical place in the world; that Iran does not deserve to be punished by the US and Israel but is entitled to formulate its own foreign and domestic policies without interference or threat from US, Israel, or any other nation.

    Rationally, it’s necessary to figure out what’s doable and to prioritize what’s essential: it is essential that Iran not be attacked; it is essential that Israel and the US somehow be stopped from killing more people. US and Israel have killed relatively few Iranians, and Iran has responded with remarkable forbearance: does this forbearance enable the bully, or disarm him? Whatever — it’s working for now. Moreover, Iran is performing jujitsu with US-Israel-Stuart Levey sanctions: she is forming trade alliances elsewhere, in the geographic sphere that ain’t gonna move real soon, and that is a far reach for US to dominate, especially given US’s constrained economic situation. Finally, Iran has a future: its families are more intact, its education system more solid, its people more unified and cohesive, than the comparable situations in the US. In addition, its economic burden is lighter and its economic future brighter than the US’s economic status. So Iran is going to get through this okay, in spite of US.

    How will the US fare over the next ten-fifteen-twenty years –my children’s fruitful, creative years? A rosy American future is more doubtful than an optimistic outlook for Iran. America’s less-rosy future is part of what makes the rope-a-dope tactic that Eric Brill recommends, a feasible tactic: if American power were on the ascent, Iran would not be able to outlast the American siege. US power is waning, in part, due to baleful influence of Israel. Israel weakening US is a favor to Iran. It really hurts to see my country stuck on stupid. US can emerge from this trap in the ways that the Leveretts recommend: form a rapprochement with Iran. win-win.

    What about Israel, and the many Jewish Americans and, especially, the extremely wealthy Jewish people who unquestioningly support the “zionist entity.” Norman Finkelstein has been quite outspoken in stating that “Israel must suffer a major [military, ie. war-imposed, destructive, violent] defeat, in order to bring it back to its senses.” I don’t agree. For one thing, many, many other people would suffer harm in the process of purging Israel of whatever it is that motivates Israel’s terrible behavior. I suggest, instead, a kind of Truth-and-Reconciliation program for Israel, that would be just as brutal in unearthing truth and forcing Israel to confront truths about itself and its behaviors, as would a war –Israel would be required to allocute in lieu of being judged and convicted. Serious fines and requirements to make restitution should be levied on Israel, and restrictions should be imposed on Israel’s ability to engage in trade and commerce with any other state until:
    ~Israel pays its fines and restitution;
    ~Israel declares fair borders, removes settlers from lands and properties stolen from others; completely revises its establishing formula, such that Palestinians are either given full sovereignty over lands and national rights of their own, or the entire land of Palestine becomes a fully democratic land with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians;
    ~Israel submits its nuclear arsenal to NPT;

    With respect to the US, those persons and organizations who lobby for Israel and for the Jewish people as a national-political entity should be required to register as foreign agents in the US. Their sources and uses of funds would come under close scrutiny of US agencies.

    Under the offices of Stuart Levey, the US has demonstrated the ability to ensure that other nations refrain from doing business with Iran. Thus, the capability exists; it should be deployed to enforce sanctions against Israel until Israel complies with international norms of behavior.

    In its comprehensive review of immigration laws, the US should carefully consider the nature of dual citizenship, and form clear laws setting guidelines for the ability of persons who claim dual-citizenship to function within the US government.

  23. Liz says:

    Iranian newspapers are still celebrating the events in Tunisia and they are talking of the shaking foundations of the regimes of Arab despots:

    http://www.kayhannews.ir/

    They are also pointing out that the main opposition movement in Tunisia has not been invited to the coalition talks because it is Islamic. The Iranians believe that because of this the country will face more instability in the coming weeks.

  24. Liz says:

    Eric,

    I’m sorry, but I have to repeat myself: It will do Iran no good. Western countries will just demand more concessions, because they will interpret this as a sign of Iranian weakness. They would carry out intelligence gathering operations in Iran through the AP for possible military action, but ALSO to help expand CRIPPLING sanctions.

    Instead of debating Iranian negotiating strategies, I think it’s best to focus on Iran’s rights and the issues raised in Professor Marandi’s essay above.

  25. Castellio says:

    Eric, there are two sides to that coin: “If there is no material risk of a US or Israeli attack within the next decade, I’d agree with you. Why cooperate when you got nothing from it last time?”

    I think its precisely because there is high likelihood of an attack that Iran should not volunteer for the AP, which will be a continuation of military espionage. If, as you suggest, the Iranians simply say “no” to anything that smacks of fishing and espionage, that automatically and immediately gives the US the new “issue” with which to declare bad faith. And if Iran says “no” to three fishing expeditions, then there are “three facts on the ground” which the US will use in its ceasless campaign of vilification.

  26. Iranian says:

    I don’t think now is the time for Iran to give any such concessions either.

  27. Kamran says:

    Eric

    You’re a very reasonably person and I thought your paper on the election was excellent. However, on this occasion I must ay that I believe Liz is correct.

    “As I wrote before, it will do Iran no good. Western countries will just demand more concessions, because they will interpret this as a sign of Iranian weakness. They would carry out intelligence gathering in Iran for possible military action, but also to help further and expand the imposed sanctions.”

  28. Liz,

    “As I wrote before, it will do Iran no good. Western countries will just demand more concessions, because they will interpret this as a sign of Iranian weakness. They would carry out intelligence gathering in Iran for possible military action, but also to help further and expand the imposed sanctions.”

    If there is no material risk of a US or Israeli attack within the next decade, I’d agree with you. Why cooperate when you got nothing from it last time?

    The difference between your prescription for Iran and my prescription for Iran probably arises from our much different estimations of the risk of a US or Israeli attack, and perhaps from our estimation of the effect on Iran of such an attack if it occurs. One properly assesses risk by estimating (1) the odds that the bad event in question will occur; and (2) the severity of the consequences if the event does occur. High probability and very severe consequences is, of course, the worst possible combination; low probability and mild consequences is, of course, the best combination.

    But low probability and severe consequences is also a combination worth considering very soberly. I read all sorts of predictions about Iran’s ability to survive an attack, even a nuclear attack, and its second-strike capability compared to that of Israel and the US — and on and on and on. Please – this is not some video game. Eventually the US will be weak enough that its sword-rattling can simply be ignored by Iran. But we’re not there yet, and it’s irresponsible to pretend that we are.

  29. Kathleen says:

    Amy Goodman over at Democracy Now has a great interview up with Tavis Smiley focused on some of Rev. Kings more critical words about the militarism of the U.S.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/13/tavis_smiley_on_obamas_arizona_memorial

    AMY GOODMAN: That was Vincent Harding, who helped write that speech for Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4th, 1967, that he delivered at the Riverside Church, calling for an end to the war in Vietnam.

    REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” And I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government.

    AMY GOODMAN: “The greatest purveyor of violence on earth today, my own government.” Let’s go to a little more of Dr. King’s speech that day.

    REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. It will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

    A true revolution of values will lay a hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

    America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.

    AMY GOODMAN: Tavis Smiley, if you would reflect on this less famous speech of Dr. King, not the “I Have a Dream” speech, but that speech he gave even against the advice of his inner circle, who said, “You will the support of the leadership in America that is supporting you on civil rights,” when he said, “I must deal with violence abroad, as well as violence at home.”

    REV KING’S HONEST AND STERN WORDS APPLIED THEN AND SADLY APPLY NOW

  30. James,

    “I think Iran benefits if the truth gets out, and that adopting the AP helps show Iran is not trying to build nukes on the sly.”

    Thanks, James. That’s exactly my point. If Iran is not building nukes on the sly, observing the AP isn’t really all that big a deal. To continue making a big deal of it, when 100 other countries simply sign up for it and observe it, inevitably makes it look like Iran has something to hide.

    Whoever it was that developed Stuxnet somehow figured out that Iran was using a certain type of Siemens controller on its centrifuges. Absent that information, Stuxnet would have had no impact at all. Is there anyone out there who really believes the Stuxnet creator got that information from some Iranian report to the IAEA, under either its original Safeguards Agreement or the Additional Protocol when Iran observed the AP?

  31. Liz says:

    By the way, I quotes Professor Marandi!

  32. Liz says:

    As I wrote before, it will do Iran no good. Western countries will just demand more concessions, because they will interpret this as a sign of Iranian weakness. They would carry out intelligence gathering in Iran for possible military action, but also to help further and expand the imposed sanctions.

  33. kooshy says:

    It is interesting to observe that many deposed rulers end up in Saudi Arabia, such as Idi Amin and Bin Ali, the reason could be that after killing so many one their own they might feel a needs to be closer to God there, I wonder if there comes a time that baby Bush, Bibi and Rumsfeld may feel the need to find a sanctuary close to god in Saudi Arabia.

  34. Liz,

    YOU QUOTED SOMEONE:

    “For roughly two years, Iran did more than halt the enrichment of Uranium; it effectively halted almost the entire nuclear program and implemented the Additional Protocol. It allowed the IAEA to carry out intrusive inspections, many of which had nothing to do with the nuclear program and looked more like intelligence-gathering operations on behalf of the U.S. government.”

    COMMENT:

    I am afraid that you, like many others who write or quote such things, are simply missing my point.

    Back then, Iran agreed to many things: more intrusive inspections, a suspension of enrichment, new Code 3.1, the Additional Protocol, answering questions about the “alleged studies,” and answering even more far-ranging questions that went way beyond either its original Safeguards Agreement, the Additional Protocol, the alleged studies, or any other justifiable basis for asking those questions.

    I’m not advocating any of that again, except for the AP. I considered Iran highly naive back then to think that it could “temporarily” suspend enrichment without inevitably raising great suspicion when it sooner or later resumed enrichment, and only slightly less naive to imagine that it would get in return anything close to what had been promised to it when it agreed to that suspension. Today, I strongly encourage Iran to continue its enrichment program and to be very wary of accepting any restrictions on that right in exchange for some commitment by the US or other countries under some “bargain.” I am extremely skeptical, for example, that any bargain worth considering will emerge from the talks scheduled to begin soon. I would hold firm on the never-ending intrusion into its military affairs (though I’d cooperate to some limited extent, in exchange for a real IAEA commitment to put an end to those questions once and for all). Others, most or all of whom consider themselves more realistic about such matters than they may consider me to be, nevertheless imagine that some bargain worth considering will result from those talks. We’ll see.

    If Iran, back when it agreed to observe the AP, had not also agreed to more intrusive inspections than its Safeguards Agreement or the AP requires, and had not agreed to answer never-ending questions about the alleged studies, and had not agreed to suspend enrichment, I don’t think its current resistance toward observing the AP would exist today. It would see that for what it is: nothing more than a strengthening of an inspection regime that almost all countries in the world recognize had originally been too weak to accomplish its goal: preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

    Iran claims that that is its goal too, and I believe it — ironically, I suspect, more than some people who insist that Iran should disclose as little as possible about its nuclear programs (some of which people, I suspect, believe Iran actually is developing nuclear weapons and consider that to be a good thing). If so, Iran should just do what other countries do who subscribe to the same goal — observe the AP — and stop making such a big deal out of it.

    And please spare me the inevitable “When Israel does it, Iran will do it too.” That’s not going to happen, as we all well know, but that fact doesn’t mean Iran should behave as Israel behaves. It considers itself better than Israel, so why not show it?

  35. kooshy says:

    In information wars, such as the ongoing one in between Iran and the west which we have been witnessing in this past 30 some years, both sides have learned that not necessarily all propagandas put out by the adversary need not to be countered, or outright rejected, specially while there are ongoing negotiations. In information wars this kind of propagandas such as stuxnet virus are produced and are mainly directed only for the internal consumption, and are not necessarily produced to scare the adversary. Therefore the adversary may not counter the propaganda if they conclude that the propaganda was explicitly produced to cool down the opposing side’s internal pressure and to reshape their own internal public opinion, and to internally prepare their public to accept, a new formulation, this new concept is that due to their smart past covert moves, currently there is less urgency for more hard action, we now have gained added time to continue and proceed with the ongoing negotiations. In other words this is the exact reverse of the “Fardo” case prior to the 10/09 negotiation, that the heat level was pushed up, this time we are lead to believe there is now less danger, if one could swallow the Fardo propaganda, one can also swallow the Stuxnet.

  36. Liz says:

    It will do Iran no good. They will just demand more concessions and carry out intelligence gathering in Iran.

  37. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I think Iran benefits if the truth gets out, and that adopting the AP helps show Iran is not trying to build nukes on the sly. A very large element of the equation is the desire of a number of Jewish fanatics in Israel to deal as large a blow to Iran as possible, in order to step up their campaign of oppression of the Palestinians.

  38. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    VoT,
    It’s interesting that Germany seems to be the only country whose Staatsraeson is the security of another country. Even the US is not so blatant about this issue. Unlike the common understanding, the “westernization” of Germany after WWII has meant submitting German national interests to US and Israel’s.

    Remember that when the DDR ended the Soviet troops left but the US (and British) troops still remain in Germany- to protect Germany against who? Or is it maybe that they remain in order to make sure that Germany does not become a global power rival?

    Keep an eye on Guttenberg, he has been saying things like “Germany needs to defend its global economic interests with military power” and such similar things. The US and Israelis are working hard to have him become the next chancellor to follow there current European poodle Sarkozy- who himself was the replacement of the previous biting poodle Blair.

    Too bad that there are no German elites who can formulate an independent national identity. The fact that Merkel and Westerwelle are in power says everything about the sorry state of German elites. The alternative in the other parties are not better either.

  39. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    As you will recall, the Israel lobby blocked the Iranian effort to restore normal US-Iran relations (made in early 1990s, blocked openly 1995). And idiot neocons and the Israel lobby set up the foolish Bush double-crossing of Iran in late 2002-03. This does not mean Iran should not adopt AP again.

  40. Fiorangela,

    “Okay, so Iran agrees to the Additional Protocol — lots of benefits: Iran gains a major arrow to put in its “See We Told You So” quiver and RFI is in the situation of forcing Eric Brill to develop a new theory ;> Won’t the US/Israel devise a new hurdle for Iran?”

    Almost certainly.

    But you should keep in mind my long-term suggested strategy for Iran vis-a-vis the United States. I haven’t written about that for a while, but it can essentially be summed up in the phrase “rope-a-dope.” As long as your opponent remains strong enough to cause trouble for you, throw up obstacles (i.e. keep him on the ropes), with the confident hope and expectation that, by the time those obstacles cease to work, your opponent will have become too weak to cause trouble for you.

    Just don’t mistakenly conclude that your opponent has become that weak before he actually has. One can get stung even by stepping on a dead bee. Often, when a country is in its last throes of real or imagined power is when it behaves most irrationally, intent on proving to the world, or at least to itself, that it is not really past its prime. I tend to think that Iran and many of its supporters underestimate this risk when they consider how the US and Israeli governments are likely to behave over the next decade or so.

    With that strategy always in mind, low-cost obstacles like the Additional Protocol strike me as good ideas for Iran — not a complete and permanent solution by any means, but enough to delay the US’ march toward war for at least a little while, requiring anti-Iran pundits to labor a bit longer and harder to persuade their audiences that Iran’s intentions are evil notwithstanding its apparent cooperativeness. (Of course, outright “gifts” such as Stuxnet, which the tormentors themselves tout as war-preventers that “put time on the clock,” are even better, but one cannot always count on outright gifts.)

  41. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Rick Steves of Seattle (Edmonds) filmed in Iran fairly recently and had good experiences pretty much straight through. You can read them at ricksteves.com

  42. Liz says:

    In my opinion Iran should definitely not sign the Additional Protocol, until the US changes its policies. Because as Professor Mohammad Marandi points out:

    “For roughly two years, Iran did more than halt the enrichment of Uranium; it effectively halted almost the entire nuclear program and implemented the Additional Protocol. It allowed the IAEA to carry out intrusive inspections, many of which had nothing to do with the nuclear program and looked more like intelligence-gathering operations on behalf of the U.S. government. The fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, an undemocratic body largely under western influence, has not found any evidence whatsoever to show that Iran’s nuclear program has ever been anything but peaceful, yet continues to oppose Iran’s nuclear program, is another reason why Iranians have little trust in western governments. U.S. relations with the Israeli regime, India, and Pakistan, which all have nuclear weapons, are strong—even though, in the case of Pakistan, for example, a weak central government has called into question the army’s ability to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of the Taliban or Taliban-like groups.”

  43. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Iran should keep the moral high ground, and this means ratifying the AP. I agree a US attack is not likely in the next few years, unless it appears the government of Iran has changed its position and actually wants to build nuclear weapons.

  44. Rd. says:

    Fiorangela says. “Okay, so Iran agrees to the Additional Protocol —“
    Not likely..

    “it is now quite clear that the United States because of the opposition of public opinion, many of its allies and other countries, is not in the position to start a new war with Iran. Regarding an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, while this option is not, as the Westerners argue, a permanent solution, it has the risk of provoking Iran’s withdrawal from the NPT and moving it toward a concerted effort for weaponization. Therefore there are few in Iran who would believe the U.S. military threat is serious in the near future.”

    Dr. Kayhan Barzegar

    http://www.iranreview.org/content/view/6417/1/

  45. Fiorangela says:

    Pak, on Jan 14 you complained that you had been called a “bowl-dwelling parasite.”

    Was that a soup-bowl? A superbowl? Would you consider one worse than the other — ie, you would object to being called a “soup-bowl dwelling parasite” but not to being called a “super-bowl dwelling parasite”? Would it make any difference if the “soup-bowl” was chicken soup or tomato soup?

  46. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, re: “At about the same time as Iran agreed to observe the Additional Protocol, someone disclosed the “alleged studies” to the IAEA. The latter disclosure, not Iran’s responses to the AP, is what prompted all the questions about Iran’s military activities. If Iran had never agreed to observe the AP, those questions still would have been asked. ”

    The AP and IAEA inspections may not have “caused” questions to be asked about Iran’s military activities, but the pending disclosure of a clean record might very well have precipitated, or necessitated, creation and disclosure of the mysterious laptop.

    Okay, so Iran agrees to the Additional Protocol — lots of benefits: Iran gains a major arrow to put in its “See We Told You So” quiver and RFI is in the situation of forcing Eric Brill to develop a new theory ;>

    Won’t the US/Israel devise a new hurdle for Iran?

  47. Lysander,

    I always assume that the IAEA is violating its solemn pledge of confidentiality. And I always assume that the US and Israeli governments will use against Iran whatever they can come up with. and that what they can come up with will include 100% of what Iran discloses to the IAEA.

    Is there something in particular that Iran would disclose under the AP but not under its existing Safeguards Agreement that would have been useful to the Stuxnet creators? I am confident you don’t believe that the IAEA first stumbled upon Iran’s centrifuges at Natanz because Iran had disclosed them while it was observing the AP.

    Iran did observe the AP for several years. Keeping that fact in mind when you assess what Stuxnet targeted and accomplished, is it your impression that Stuxnet targeted elements of Iran’s nuclear industry that had been disclosed only under the AP but not under Iran’s original Safeguards Agreement?

    I don’t want to insult you or others, but I will say it’s not clear to me that you understand what the AP asks about. If you haven’t read it, or it’s been a while, it might be worthwhile reading it. I think you’ll find that the IAEA questions that upset Iran the most are those that were prompted by disclosures of the “alleged studies,” not by Iran’s answers to AP questions.

    If I’m right about that, and Iran’s hand on those “alleged studies” questions is strengthened at all by its ability to point out that it’s complying with the AP, I think it will be better off doing so.

  48. Rd. says:

    “I’ve no idea what will happen vis-s-vis Tunisia, as I have not been following that situation and don’t find it interesting at this point.”

    what might be of interest, besides the obvious, is ben ali didn’t go to france, or US, or Eu, was refused entry to canada. so the lesson of the day for all those despotic rulers in eygpt, saudi, jordan, the gulf emirates, etc., is, when the day comes, there won’t too many places to run and hide. your masters will even turn their backs to you!

  49. Voice of Tehran says:

    Hans,

    Bib mentioned some good points reagrding Germany and also your points are valid and true.
    Since Germany is ruled by the ‘Zionist’ Chancellor Merkel and her vice-chancellor Westerwelle things do not look good for Germany.
    Since Merkel declared officially in front of the Bundestag , that Israel’s security is ‘ reason of state or Staatsräson ‘ for Germany , she gave up the bit rest of her remaining self-respect.
    However the world is round and constantly in rotation and Iranians have a good memory.
    I hope for the Germans and for their future to get rid of this ” Weicheigespann”

  50. Fiorangela,

    I’ll read your post thoroughly later, but I’ll note now that I’m not the poster who suggested filming anything in Iran.

    Eric

  51. Fiorangela says:

    CORRECTION:

    “What microphone is open to someone in the US who has positive things to say about the US? ”

    should read:

    What microphone is open to someone in the US who has positive things to say about IRAN?

    heh

  52. Lysander says:

    Eric,

    It seems likely that the information garnered through ordinary IAEA inspections assisted in the formulation of the stuxnet attack. Presumably, information the IAEA gains through the AP will also be shared with the US/Israel. Do you believe that 1) they would not use that information against Iran or 2) That it’s simply a price Iran must pay.

  53. Fiorangela says:

    PS. Eric —

    re, “What can Iran do to prove its nuclear goals are peaceful . . .”

    In a much earlier comment, I described my visit to Iran, and the infrastructure that I saw that seemed to demonstrate Iran’s long-range planning for residential and commercial development powered by nuclear energy.

    You replied that that development should be filmed, then shown to Americans. You were kind enough to suggest that I could narrate such a presentation (which, of course, flattered me to no end. yum.)

    Here’s the problem, or a few of the problems, with your suggestion:
    1. It’s very difficult for an American to travel independently in Iran: when I was in Iran, I and every member of my group was required to remain with the group at all times. The group was required to be guided by a person registered with the Iranian Tourist bureau, and that guide was required to submit daily itineraries. The guide could be questioned on any deviations from the itinerary. Since I’m more angry with the US than with Iran, I attributed this constricting system to a combination of Iranian paranoia (15%) and American intrusiveness (85%) — “Just because you know you’re paranoid does not mean no one is out to get you.” Iran had good reason to be suspect of an otherwise unremarkable group of American tourists.

    Getting a visa to travel to Iran is not a piece of cake; it can take months. My documents were submitted 60-days out, but my visa did not arrive until 8 hours before I was scheduled to depart the US. Others in my group did not receive visas and had to cancel their trip. This was several years ago, when relations between US and Iran were not so tense as they are now, under the “kinder, gentler” Obama administration.

    A tourist who attempts to skirt the rules will likely need an Iranian to assist him, and that person will be put at peril.

    Let’s assume all those hurdles are overcome: travel is accomplished, sites are filmed, interesting and informative people are interviewed. The material is returned to US and TSA is gracious enough NOT to take from me my laptop, media, and notes — which right TSA has granted to itself.
    I brush up on speech-writing skills; practice public speaking; take a course in film presentation, and put together a program that will be, without a doubt, Oscar-worthy. From what mountaintop do I make my presentation? What microphone is open to someone in the US who has positive things to say about the US?

    And even if such a forum could be had, how does one penetrate minds that have been clouded by years and years of anti-Iran propaganda? When Steven Kinzer was on-tour with his latest book, “Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future,” I heard him make his presentation before an audience associated with a group involved in international mediation activism (ie. I thought the group would be rational). Kinzer’s presentation was polished, professional, objective, and engaging. Yet, the first question from the audience was, “So — are you saying that Israel will bomb Iran for the US or on its own?” That comment was distressing, but I kept my anger in check as I lined up to have my (5!) books autographed. In line, one of the young hosts of the shindig asked me how I liked the presentation. I said I thought it was very good, and that I was always pleased to hear someone speak realistically about Iran. The young man then went into a rant about how evil Ahmadinejad is, how he intends to kill all Jews, that he is a threat to humanity. How does one counter a mind so thoroughly propagandized? I was so upset I could not approach Kinzer and left without getting my books autographed. I had spent 12 hours on the road to hear Kinzer speak.

    How do people like us, who do not have the fortune of a Haim Saban or the skill of Stephen Kinzer or Flynt and Hillary Leverett, make a difference? How do we make our voices heard? How do we get our congressmen to listen to us, to listen to our eye-witness testimony of other realities about Iran? My arm-chair psychologist and I have concluded that Jared Loughner posed that question to himself and decided that only an outrageous act could grab attention. Tunisia erupted only after a young man set himself ablaze, an act reminiscent of the immolation of Buddhists in Vietnam in 1963.

    How does one make people listen, Eric?

    Izzeldin Abu Laish, the Palestinian physician whose daughters were killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza, is making another tour in the US. Recall his anguished words when, just hours after his children had been killed, he was confronted by an Israeli crowd who shouted at him that his home must have been an Hamas stronghold, thus, his children’s death was his fault. Izzeldin moaned, “They do not want to know the truth.”

  54. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    So the US rather stupidly coerced Hariri into lying about material facts of the matter? Par for the course from the idiots who direct American foreign policy in the Middle East.

  55. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Yes, Russia is providing the fuel for Bushehr #1. I think it is already in place. The Iranians apparently want to do the re-fueling themselves, for Bushehr #1, four or five years from now.

  56. Liz says:

    James Canning,

    That’s exactly what the leader of Hezbollah was saying. He also poined out that Hariri was dishonest when he claimed that he had never met the “false witnesses” (evidence of this was shown on Lebanese TV before Seyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech.

  57. James Canning says:

    Sarmad,

    Nasrallah appears to be saying that Hariri, while in the US, was pressured to renege on the deal he had made with Syria, Hezbollah and the Saudis. More American meddling and stupdity?

  58. James Canning says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    The Nabucco gas line looks increasingly as very likely to go forward within a few years. Azerbaijan is in the process of committing gas production to the line, and Turkemistan likely will follow suit. I agree Iranian gas should be included in the supply the line taps.

  59. Fiorangela,

    It just occurred to me that you, and if you undoubtedly many others, may mistakenly conclude that all of the IAEA’s nosy questions into Iran’s sensitive military data resulted from Iran’s agreement to observe the Additional Protocol.

    That is not my understanding at all. This seems to be a classic example of the “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” fallacy (“after this, therefore because of this”).

    At about the same time as Iran agreed to observe the Additional Protocol, someone disclosed the “alleged studies” to the IAEA. The latter disclosure, not Iran’s responses to the AP, is what prompted all the questions about Iran’s military activities. If Iran had never agreed to observe the AP, those questions still would have been asked.

    I may be mistaken about this, and so invite others to correct me if I am. But if I’m correct about this, then Iran’s prior agreement to observe the AP did not lead to intrusive questions about its sensitive military data.

    Maybe even more important, a new commitment to the AP from Iran probably would strengthen its hand against the continuing efforts by the IAEA to pry into its military affairs. Today, what it says raises many eyebrows: “We don’t have any military nuclear program, and so we resent your questions about our sensitive military data. We also resent your asking us to disclose what the Additional Protocol requires, because we’re not obligated to do that.”

    The natural response, even from many Iran supporters, is this: “Well, I understand the first sentence, but I’m not so sure about the second.”

    I think Iran would be better off if if could say, instead: “We don’t have any military nuclear program, and so we resent your questions about our sensitive military data. Just like most other countries, we’re disclosing what the Additional Protocol requires. When other countries do that, you certify that they have no undeclared nuclear material, and so we have a right to ask for that certification too.”

    This won’t change John Bolton’s mind, but it will change many others’ minds — many others who people like John Bolton now find it very easy to persuade.

  60. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela: You ask that of Eric hoping he won’t say the signing the additional protocols?

    Also, if possible, what question of Arnold’s might the Tunisian situation be answering?

  61. Fiorangela,

    “What do YOU think Iran can do, that it has not yet done, to convince its tormentors who are determined NOT to be convinced, that Iran’s intentions are to develop peaceful nuclear facilities?”

    Agree to observe the Additional Protocol.

    I fully understand the “been there, done that” response to that suggestion. For me, though, the fact remains that this would be low-cost, high-benefit. My perception is that Iran today digs in its heels on two types of expanded disclosures:

    1. The Additional Protocol.

    2. The never-ending questions about the “alleged studies” and other intrusions into Iran’s sensitive military data.

    If I were Iran, I’d compromise on #1 and continue to hang tough on #2. It’s got a very strong argument on #2, but not on #1, since 100 other countries don’t find it unreasonably burdensome to comply with the Additional Protocol — including, it’s worth nothing, the country after whom the cherished “Japan option” was named.

  62. Rehmat says:

    Nasrallh: ‘No alliance with foreign puppets’

    “Hezbollah are the true heroes of the Middle East. Not because of their might, but because of their compassion. They are the only ones who felt compassion with the plight of Palestinians. They did not remain indifferent observers at the Rape of Gaza – they tried to stop the violator with their modest means, like England protested the German conquest of Poland. Compassion and solidarity are more important than sovereignty,” Israel Shamir, counterpunch, July 29, 2006.

    The leader of Lebanese Islamic Resistance, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in his Sunday speech, aired by the Al-Manar TV, has rest to peace the rumours that Hizbullah led Opposition may agree to share power with the USraeli puppet, the former Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri: “Opposition will not name Hariri. New stage has begun…. The new government must act responsibly because we will not tolerate a government which protects false witnesses (bribed by the US-Israel-France trio to criminalize Hizbullah through US-sponsored STL for the murder of Sa’ad’s father Rafik Hariri carried out by Israeli MOSSAD).

    Sheikh Nasrallah said that Hizbullah led Opposition cabinet ministers (10) had bargained with Hariri’s ruling party’s cabinet members to stay in the Unity government if Hariri’s government take the following measures:

    1. Hariri withdraw Lebanese judges from Special Tribunal on Lebanon (STL),

    2. Hariri stop funding STL, and

    3. Cancel the understanding memo between the previous Lebanese government and the UN which was done without the consent of the Parliament.

    Sa’ad Hariri had agreed to those Opposition demands but then King of Saudi Arabia went to the US for medical treatment – Sa’ad Hariri rushed to Washington for consultations with the first US Jewish President Barack Obama. After the meeting Hariri backed down from the agreement.

    Sheikh Nasrallah warned the US-Israel-France and their Middle Eastern collaborators to learn from their 2006 defeat and currently what is happening in Tunisia.

    “No one should threaten us. We don’t ask for the protection for the Resistance, we ask the government not to conspire against it. We will not stay silent at any such government because it is our obligation to preserve Lebanon’s assets in the face of Israeli threats”.

    The Israeli journalist, Uri Avnery, too had a warning for the trigger-happy Zionazis: “Lebanon War III, if it breaks out – God forbid! – threatens untold destruction on both sides. Lebanon War II will look, in comparison, like a picnic. This time, all Israeli towns and villages will be within range of Hezbollah’s rockets. During the big Carmel fire, a few weeks ago, it became clear that nothing has been prepared for the defense of the rear, besides an impressive arsenal of speeches and declarations”.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/nasrallh-no-alliance-with-foreign-puppets/

  63. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, your analysis at 12:45 pm displayed surgical precision, as usual.

    But this statement intrigues:

    “Iran can be quietly grateful for the extra time – extra time that it will use, I hope, to show the world it’s in fact doing what it’s claimed for a long time to be doing: trying to develop peaceful nuclear energy.”

    If Iran has been “claim[ing] for a long time” that it is “trying to develop peaceful nuclear energy” and, over the “long time” has NOT been believed, to the point that its economy has been attacked, its scientists assassinated, its computer systems infiltrated, why should anyone think that MORE time spent “show[ing] the world” that its goals are peaceful, will be any more readily received?

    Old saw —
    insanity
    doing the same thing
    expecting different result . . .

    What do YOU think Iran can do, that it has not yet done, to convince its tormentors who are determined NOT to be convinced, that Iran’s intentions are to develop peaceful nuclear facilities?

  64. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Hans,
    The relevant question that has to be asked in Germany is why does the German government NOT defend the interests of German workers and companies? Why does the German government feel it needs to put aside its own countries economic interests to serve US and Israeli interests?

    Voice of Tehran and I discussed this issue previously, namely that the political situation in Germany is such that a single visit by a US or Israeli deputy minister can destroy the economic relations built up by German firms over generations with Iran. I know many businesspeople in Iran and Germany and Austria who have doing business for decades and they are saying that they are no longer able to do business because the German government is not defending their interests.

    The real question that we should ask: Is Germany a sovereign country?

    Austria has historically been better because it is a “neutral” country and you had people like Bruno Kreisky who were indepependent minded. But even in Austria, you see that some politicians do not have the courage to defend projects like Nabucco which would be a great opportunity for Austria and which cannot be completed without Iranians supplying some portion of the natural gas.

  65. Castellio says:

    Thanks, Sarmad, much appreciated.

  66. Paul,

    YOU WROTE:

    “The claim is that Stuxnet managed to destroy 984 centrifuges in Natanz, out of a total of 8,692, or 11.3%. If out of 10 bombs dropped by a pilot only 1 hit their target, we’d say we have a lousy pilot on our hands.”

    COMMENT:

    If a country could destroy 11.3% of its military targets without dropping a single bomb, that would and should be considered a success. So I don’t agree with that part of your statement.

    The more important question, though, is whether the NY Times, the US government, Israel, or ISIS’ David Albright, has any basis for concluding that 984 centrifuges were destroyed by Stuxnet – or, for that matter, that even one centrifuge was destroyed. If one actually digs into the sources they cite, it’s hard not to come away with the conclusion that their statements have a very shaky basis, if any basis at all. One might conclude if one chooses to, as Hillary Clinton does, that Iran’s “weapons program” has been set back at least two years, or that 1,000 or more Iranian centrifuges have been “destroyed.” One can just as easily conclude that Iran’s nuclear program hasn’t been set back at all, that not a single centrifuge was destroyed. The facts are so sketchy that either conclusion is speculative, though the second one appears to be more well-supported by the facts (for example: that Iran’s LEU production has steadily risen during the Stuxnet “attack” period, presently to triple what it was less than three years ago).

    Sooner or later, a responsible observer must come to grips with the facts – or with the fact that those who assess the effect of Stuxnet on Iran’s nuclear program have very few facts to work from. For example, we have no evidence whatsoever that even one Iranian centrifuge – not to mention 1,000 or more – was actually destroyed by the Stuxnet virus, or even developed a hangnail from it. Nor do we have evidence that Iranian’s LEU production was adversely affected. To the contrary, the ISIS report includes a graph showing that monthly LEU production has risen steadily from 47 KG in February 2008 to 130 KG in November 2010. Many readers will conclude from this that Iran’s LEU production actually went up, not down, during the Stuxnet “attack” period – 130 being much larger than 47, after all.

    To be sure, David Albright offers an explanation for this dramatic LEU-production increase that preserves the possibility of declaring the Stuxnet attack to have been a success: Iranian LEU production could have been even higher, if all of Iran’s centrifuges had been operating at full capacity; therefore, they were not operating at full capacity, and the reason for that must have been that Stuxnet had destroyed them.

    Good enough for you? Apparently it’s good enough for David Albright, and for anyone predisposed to accept his conclusions – especially those who don’t actually read what he’s written, or don’t look very carefully at his graphs. But is it good enough for anyone else?

    Just to give everyone a flavor of David Albright’s writing in this ISIS “report,” here is a typical paragraph – and I’ll represent that I nearly picked this one at random from his speculative musings:

    DAVID ALBRIGHT WRITES:

    “The timing of the removal of about 1,000 centrifuges is CONSISTENT WITH another Iranian official’s statement of when Iran suffered a cyber attack. On November 23, 2010, Ali Akbar Salehi, then head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and current acting foreign minister, confirmed to IRNA that malware had indeed reached Iran: “One year and several months ago, Westerners sent a virus to [our] country’s nuclear sites.” IF an attacker succeeded in introducing Stuxnet in early or mid-2009 into vulnerable Iranian personal computers connected to the internet, the malware COULD HAVE TAKEN MONTHS to arrive at the Natanz centrifuge control systems. Because the Natanz control systems are not connected to the internet, Stuxnet WOULD HAVE NEEDED to travel on a removable drive from an infected computer to the Natanz control system. Natanz personnel COULD HAVE unknowingly transported Stuxnet after using infected personal computers. PERHAPS the attackers first targeted the personal computers of Natanz personnel.” (Emphases added.)

    Perhaps. If. Could have. Consistent with. Would have needed to. All this in just one paragraph. That is Albright’s “evidence.”

    Maybe all this happened; maybe it didn’t. If you were a high school teacher and Albright’s paper had been submitted by a 16-year old student, would you overlook his speculation and give him a good grade? Probably – imagination still counts for a lot at that age. But what if he were a grad student, and this paragraph appeared in his Ph.D thesis? Or what if he were a full-fledged grown-up running an organization that puts out papers whose readers naively imagine are based on actual facts rather than speculation? How would you grade him then?

    Specificity – or at least apparent specificity – can provide gravitas to what otherwise appears to be pure speculation. Thus, when the NYT writer states that 984 centrifuges were shut down by Iran and then points out that the Stuxnet code just happened to include an instruction that would be sent to 984 devices, one naturally marvels at the coincidence. So much so, the NYT writer undoubtedly hopes, that the reader will never figure out that no published report actually refers to this 984-device instruction. Try to find it, for example, in the very lengthy and detailed Symantec report on Stuxnet. Or in Albright’s ISIS report. Or anywhere else.

    YOU WROTE:

    “Stuxnet should not really be called a virus. It should be called a vaccine. It has, finally, alerted Iran to the dangers of real cyber warfare …. Iran, in this regard, owes a big thank you to the clumsy armchair generals who conceived of Stuxnet and launched it.”

    I agree. It’s also worth noting that the “cure” is quite simple. As all papers on the Stuxnet virus that I’ve read point out, Natanz is not connected to the Internet. Iran hardly needed a “vaccine” to figure out the wisdom of this. The Stuxnet virus can get into Natanz only if some Natanz scientist is sloppy enough to plug in a removable storage device (for example, a flash memory chip, or a portable disk drive) containing data he’s downloaded from some computer that was connected to the Internet. One hopes the people working at Natanz would have understood this without the necessity of a “vaccine,” but apparently they didn’t. To me, that borders on astonishing, but it is what it is. Or, more accurately, it was as it was: the “vaccine” you mention will, one expects, ensure that the same mistake doesn’t happen again at Natanz. If I were running things there, many heads would roll if anything like this ever happened again. A head or two would roll even this time.

    YOU WROTE:

    “Another good thing to come out of this – for Iran – has been the unending claims of “victory” by the West; whether these are delusional, or just misinformed. The vaporware which is “The Iranian Bomb” has now been delayed a few more years. The West can now save face, pat Israel on the back, make the public feel good, and perhaps sit down and talk to Iran from a “position of strength” (!).”

    COMMENT:

    Exactly. It’s a win-win-win-win. Iran gets an apparently-needed warning to clean up its computer-security act. The US government gets to believe it’s thwarting the Iranian nuclear program, without having to answer questions from skeptics or spend a nickel on bombs. Israel gets the same satisfaction. And a whole bunch of computer geeks get to believe they have real influence on world events.

    In short, the US and Israel can congratulate themselves for having “put time on the clock,” and Iran can be quietly grateful for the extra time – extra time that it will use, I hope, to show the world it’s in fact doing what it’s claimed for a long time to be doing: trying to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

  67. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Steven Hack, the questions you ask @6:05 am are interesting, but the wrong questions.

    Will Israel provoke war with Lebanon, and will Nasrallah defend vigorously? Yes and Yes.
    Does Israel-US intend to wreck any Lebanese attempt to reform their political situation according to Lebanese prerequisites? Yes. Does it make any difference whether we know HOW Israel-US will do this? I don’t think so. *

    Can UN or Lebanese forces disarm Hezbollah? No. **

    In your final paragraph, you wrote:

    “No one can move against Hizballah except Israel which means another war. So what is the end game here? It’s not clear.”

    Here’s where you need to think outside the box and re-phrase that question:

    “No one can move against Israel except the US (maybe).”

    so the questions become,
    1. What will it take to make the US recognize that Israel is its enemy?

    2. Upon coming to that shattering realization, will the US still be able to effectively oppose Israel/defend against Israel, or have all of America’s strategic assets — information technology, communications nexuses and technology, media, propaganda resources, federal legislature, domestic law enforcement, been so totally neutralized by Israeli infiltration that US opposition to Israel is futile?

    As you formulate a response to that last question, bear in mind that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and will urge on him the necessity of “mil-to-mil” communications and capabilities between the US military and Chinese military. If you were China, would you agree to such an arrangement? What level of desperation on the part of the US would bring the US to make such a request? Does Iran pose such a threat to the US that it needs backup from China?

    The cherry on the sundae is that China holds the majority of US debt.
    Think about that:
    1. In almost every other war in which US has been engaged in the last 150 years, Jewish financiers have financed both sides of the conflict. Smart moneymen relish war debt because it is massive, and its repayment is guaranteed by the “full faith and credit” of the nationstate/taxpayers. That the same calculation does not seem to apply on the part of those moneymakers in the present situation suggests that they are not assured of the ability of the US to repay its debts.

    2. In the wars US is engaged in now and has been for the past 20 years, China holds the majority of US debt.

    3. Dennis Ross, nexus of US-Israeli-American Jewish lobbying, was founding chair of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. The first paper the JPPPI produced was a study of Israel-China compatibility and prospects for a relationship, posited on the inevitable demise of the US as the world’s economic and geopolitical superpower.

  68. hans says:

    With regards to Stuxnet, the biggest perpetrator must be Siemens of Germany, without their tacit support the virus could not be perfected. Many countries will see that companies like Siemens are Zionist stooges and move their trade to China, I know many Germans and Austrians who think exactly this. Recently the Germany chamber of commerce had a paper which said that at least 100,000 jobs have been lost in Germany because of sanctions against Iran and for the Austrians the gas deal with Iran was worth more to them then the deal with Russia (in return for >90,000 Austrian citizenship). Remember the sanctions against Iran has cost the USA at least $154B through bribery payments.

  69. Iranian@Iran says:

    Sorry, I didn’t notice that Sarmad had already given the link.

  70. Irshad says:

    A very ineresting article regarding General Eisenhowers speech about the dangers of the military-industrial complex in the USA and how it has now come true:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ike-was-right-all-along-the-danger-of-the-militaryindustrial-complex-2186133.html

  71. Dan Cooper says:

    Must see video.

    PANEL: IS IRAN A NUCLEAR THREAT

    Speakers: Nima Shirazi, Brian Becker and Ray McGovern

    http://politube.org/show/3133

  72. Rehmat says:

    The results of a study (reported by Israeli daily Haaretz, July 12, 2010) conducted by Colonel Ronen, the chief intelligence officer for the Central Command of the Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) – showed that Lebanese Islamic Resistane Hizbullah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is the first Arab leader since the former President of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser (1918-1970) – who has become the most ‘influential’ Arab leader among the Israeli public.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/study-nasrallah-sways-israeli-opinion/

  73. Fiorangela: “In your opinion, will Israel/US take advantage of the turmoil among Arabs to strike while situations are unstable, and before positions become consolidated, or will both refrain from getting involved in such a volatile situation?”

    I’ve no idea what will happen vis-s-vis Tunisia, as I have not been following that situation and don’t find it interesting at this point.

    As for Lebanon, I think events will depend on how the internal Lebanon political situation shakes out, and what Israeli spies and traitors in the country do to interfere with that to Israel’s advantage. I think we can count on Nasrallah to do the intelligent thing and not drag the country into another civil war. Beyond that, it’s hard to predict. The only thing we can know to some degree is the intentions of the US and Israel, beyond that exactly how they will try to wreck things and how their opponents will react is unclear.

    To be more specific, it’s not clear to me how Israel intends to use the Tribunal accusing Hibzallah of the Harriri assassination to move against Hizballah. The Lebanese Army and the UN forces present are insufficient to take on or disarm Hizballah, and Nasrallah will never disarm absent some major concession to Hizballah to provide them with political legitimacy, which obviously cannot happen based on criminal charges. So even the UN passes more resolutions against Hizballah, no one can do anything.

    Even if Hizballah allows some members to be arrested and charged and tried, so what? No one can move against Hizballah except Israel which means another war. So what is the end game here? It’s not clear. Which would seem to indicate that some OTHER moves will be made in addition to the Tribunal. Any one have any ideas what those moves might be? I’ve seen no clear analysis anywhere yet.

  74. Sarmad says:

    TRANSLATION OF NASRALLAHS SPEECH:

    http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=170395&language=en

    It gives it the same way Nasrallah structures it.

  75. Castellio says:

    If anyone has a site with a translation of Nasrallah’s speech, please share it.

  76. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela, when you write: “Where in the world is Arnold Evans? Tunisia is working on a demonstration/answer to your question.” What question of Arnold’s are you referring to? (And yes, Arnold, return if possible…. )

    RSH says: “The Tribunal is merely the first step in laying the groundwork for another Israeli attack on Lebanon.” I agree with that assessment: it is what the tribunal has always been about, not only giving Israel an opening against Syria and Lebanon, but trying to give Europe and the US “moral coverage” for its support of Israel.

  77. Paul says:

    On Stuxnet, a few points.

    1. We know from reports published by various Antivirus companies, that a large number of computers in Iran were infected with this virus (thousands). We also know now, that this infection spree is over.

    2. The claim is that Stuxnet managed to destroy 984 centrifuges in Natanz, out of a total of 8,692, or 11.3%. If out of 10 bombs dropped by a pilot only 1 hit their target, we’d say we have a lousy pilot on our hands. This is the situation at Natanz, at best, an attack with a failure rate of 88.7%.

    3. At this low success rate, Stuxnet should not really be called a virus. It should be called a vaccine. It has, finally, alerted Iran to the dangers of real cyber warfare (attacks on critical infrastructure, not web site hacking or even distributed denial of service attacks which are temporary annoyances), and made them take cybersecurity seriously. You can be sure that they are operationalizing defense, and offense programs in this area as we speak. Better for Iran to face a low level threat like this now, than a more potent version years down the road – with no prior preparation. Iran, in this regard, owes a big thank you to the clumsy armchair generals who conceived of Stuxnet and launched it.

    4. Another good thing to come out of this – for Iran – has been the unending claims of “victory” by the West; whether these are delusional, or just misinformed. The vaporware which is “The Iranian Bomb” has now been delayed a few more years. The West can now save face, pat Israel on the back, make the public feel good, and perhaps sit down and talk to Iran from a “position of strength” (!).

    5. And finally, a technical comment. What is interesting also is that all the self-congratulatory comments on the success of this virus come from software engineers and cybersecurity specialists, and not from real nuclear engineers who have, in their lifetime, at the very least designed a single centrifuge and its control system on paper. It is pure common sense that the right way to do safe system design is to have redundancies, and to opt for hardware solutions before software solutions. We are led to believe that Stuxnet infected the software controlling the centrifuges in such a way so as to make them spin out of control and shatter to pieces, without any hardware interrupt in the centrifuge! Are these centrifuges reporting their operating parameters (temperature, RPM, etc) on a “live” basis, every millisecond? I very much doubt it. At best they do this reporting every now and then, maybe once a minute at most, or maybe just when necessary (when an abnormality is detected). Which engineer will design a system that had such delays inherent in it, from the moment that a hardware interrupt happens in the system, till the moment it’s reported and serviced by the system software?

  78. Lysander,

    To my knowledge, there are no centrifuges at Bushehr — it’s a power plant, not an enrichment facility.

    In addition, Bushehr’s fuel supply is coming from Russia in any case. Even if it were coming from within Iran, the fact that some centrifuge at some other facility might rotate too fast and malfunction could not possibly have any effect on the Bushehr power plant.

    For a good analogy, suppose a coal-burning power plant in Texas is supplied by a coal mine in Pennsylvania. If some piece of equipment malfunctions and the Pennsylvania coal mine explodes, will the Texas power plant be damaged?

  79. Lysander,

    As I understand Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, I agree with you: Iran need not declare centrifuges if there’s no “nuclear material” nearby.

    The Additional Protocol would require such disclosures.

  80. Richard,

    “It is clear that both the US and Israel were behind the Stuxnet worm…it is clearly an act of war.”

    As they used to say back in the day, “That and a dime will get you a cup of coffee” (though I guess it’s more than a dime these days). Landing paratroopers on the deck of a non-belligerent ship in international waters is probably an act of war too. That and a dime…

  81. Lysander says:

    Thanks, Eric. I hope you areright.

    “All of which begs this question:

    Are there any centrifuges at Bushehr?”

    Doubtful at Bushehr since it is under IAEA inspection. However, my understanding of the NPT is that Iran is only required to report the whereabouts of its actual nuclear material (uranium and plutonium, if and when they ever acquire any)

    So Iran would have the right to produce and build centrifuges ‘in secret.’ Whether that’s a good idea, you can debate it. At least that’s how I understand it. Feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken.

  82. Lysander,

    I’d certainly worry if Bushehr posed a risk of another Chernobyl but, though I may be missing something, this article doesn’t strike me as reason to worry:

    “Russian nuclear officials have warned of another Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster at Iran’s controversial Bushehr reactor because of the damage caused by the Stuxnet virus, according to the latest Western intelligence reports.”

    I’m no scientist, but my understanding is that Stuxnet targets certain programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that control variable speed drives that run within a certain frequency range –– a range which, as the Stuxnet creators probably intended, indicates that Stuxnet was aimed at Iranian centrifuges. Consistent with that, with the exception of the article you’ve cited, everything I’ve read has reported (more accurately, speculated) on the effect of Stuxnet on Iran’s centrifuges — not on any other aspect of Iran’s nuclear program.

    All of which begs this question:

    Are there any centrifuges at Bushehr?

  83. James,

    The assumption to which you refer – that Iran is developing nuclear weapons – is one that appears in nearly every NYT article on Iran. The assumption to which I referred goes a step beyond that: the article assumes that Stuxnet set back Iran’s bomb-making effort by two years. The article didn’t really dwell on that assumption (much less on the more fundamental assumption that Iran is developing a bomb in the first place) – it jumped right in to discussing how much credit Israel deserves for this assumed two-year setback.

    Contrary to what I wrote earlier (but only barely contrary), Iran does not claim that the Stuxnet virus had no effect at all on its centrifuges. Ahmadinejad confessed that it did, though he insists the damage was slight. The Times begs to differ, of course, and cites what it refers to as a “report” by the Institute for Science and International Security:

    http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/did-stuxnet-take-out-1000-centrifuges-at-the-natanz-enrichment-plant/

    I’ve posted this link so each reader can determine for himself whether the ISS paper really supports what the Times claims. In my view, though, this “report” gives a bad name to the word “report.” It’s rank speculation, leavened with the usual David Albright sprinkle of “science” aimed at persuading readers that it’s more than rank speculation. (Who can argue, after all, with someone who uses a phrase like “a tangential wall speed of 443 meters per second?” Certainly this must mean he has a hidden camera somewhere inside the Natanz facility, even though the careful reader will recognize that he doesn’t claim to know anything whatsoever about Natanz that isn’t published for the whole world to read in IAEA reports.)

    But this time Mr. Albright may have gotten a bit too carried away with his laudable desire to prove he wasn’t just making all this up. He stuck in a few graphs. Whether a graph proves a point or not is not the point. The point is to have text and to have graphs, and then to hope that the reader’s eyes will be sufficiently glazed by the time he reaches the graph that he will uncritically assume that the graph supports the writer’s points being made in the text.

    Not so this time, at least that I can see. The NY Times article asserts that the ISS study supports Hillary Clinton’s claim that Stuxnet set back Iran’s enrichment effort (aka bomb-making program) by at least two years. One might naturally conclude from such an assertion that Iran’s enrichment of uranium has declined. But that’s not what ISS’ own graph appears to show. In its colored graph titled “Kilograms Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) per Month,” the ISS shows Iran’s monthly LEU production at three-month intervals over the past several years. In February 2008, the number was roughly 47 KG per month. Over the next six three month periods, the number ranged between 70 and 90. Since then, during the most recent four 3-month periods, the number has ranged from about 115 to 130 (the most recent number).

    If a rise from 47 to 130 in less than three years amounts to a “two-year setback,” Iran probably should hope for more “setbacks.”

    Despite the unwarranted assumptions and assertions in this article, I actually found it encouraging. In the march toward war, some decent souls seem sincerely to be looking for a way out, and there’s at least some chance that this NYT writer is among them. As have a few other writers recently, he suggests that Israel may have found a “peaceful” way, short of bombing Iran, to put an end to Iran’s nuclear program. The writer encouraged that approach.

    Iran itself might be wise to encourage this too. I cannot help thinking of the old “Uncle Remus” folk tale in which Brer Fox had just captured the elusive Brer Rabbit (his number one enemy) and was deciding how best to punish him. Brer Rabbit immediately protested: “Brer Fox, you can skin me alive if you like, and chop off my tail first if that makes you feel better. You can even boil me in oil. But please, please, please – whatever you do, please don’t throw me into that briar patch over there.”

    Needless to say, Brer Fox promptly flung Brer Rabbit into the briar patch, where, as it happened, Brer Rabbit had been born and raised and feared not at all.

    If Iran has as little fear of Stuxnet and other viruses as it claims to have (and it appears not hard to guard against them, frankly, once one is aware of the risk and reminds one’s nuclear scientists not to plug a flash drive into a computer on the closed Natanz network), Iran will probably be better off having Israel and the US continue to believe that they’ve come up with a fearsome weapon in the form of these computer viruses and, therefore, need no longer talk or even think about bombing Iran.

  84. Credit where credit is due, and credit is so rarely due to the New York Times for balanced reporting on Iran that it deserves mention when it does happen – for example, in this article about the recent subsidy cuts:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/world/middleeast/17iran.html?pagewanted=2&hp

  85. Fiorangela says:

    Prof. John Entelis of Fordham Univ. discusses Tunisia in 1995, with Charlie Rose.

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/6982

  86. Lysander says:

    What’s everyone’s thoughts on this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8262853/Russia-warns-of-Iranian-Chernobyl.html

    “Russia warns of ‘Iranian Chernobyl’
    Russian nuclear officials have warned of another Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster at Iran’s controversial Bushehr reactor because of the damage caused by the Stuxnet virus, according to the latest Western intelligence reports….”

    Granted, it’s by British Neocon, Con Coghlin, (Conrad Black’s man in London) But how should Iran proceed? Is the article true? Should Iran assume that it is until proven otherwise? The last thing we need is a disaster in Bushehr.

  87. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Steven Hack, In your opinion, will Israel/US take advantage of the turmoil among Arabs to strike while situations are unstable, and before positions become consolidated, or will both refrain from getting involved in such a volatile situation? In the 1995 Charlie Rose – John Entelis- Daniel Pipes – Judith Miller linked earlier, Pipes strongly endorsed US backing the military, Miller agreed, Entelis disagreed.

    Clinton has said “US will take no position” on the turmoil in Tunisia — a strange posture, given that US claims to be attempting to incite just such an uprising in Iran in order to support a “democracy movement” that would overthrow the regime and establish — well, establish just what is not clear.

  88. Mr. Canning: Indeed, this is the take-away from the NYT article and was clearly the intent. In fact, actress Alyssa Milano re-tweeted a link to the piece. I in turn tweeted her that Iran in fact has no nuclear weapons program, and pointed her to this site for the facts. Milano is heavily followed on Twitter so perhaps this will counter her first tweet.

  89. According to latest reports, Nasrallah has refused to back Harriri in forming a new government.

    I see this as usual as Nasrallah being the only one in Lebanon with a clear and correct view of the situation – that Lebanon is on the verge of being a US-Israeli client state if Hizballah does not stand against this outcome vis-s-vis the international Tribunal and the rampant Israeli spy rings in Lebanon which are vying with Hizballah for control of the country.

    Unfortunately, this sort of situation in Lebanon can easily deteriorate into more violence and provide an excuse for Israel to intervene with US support. The odds of a new war in Lebanon have gone up.

    There are those who think the Tribunal was Israel’s attempt to defang Hizballah WITHOUT going to war. This is delusional thinking. Israel knows full well there is no way to disarm or downgrade Hibzallah’s support in Lebanon short of military action. The Tribunal is merely the first step in laying the groundwork for another Israeli attack on Lebanon.

  90. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    The NYT article about the computer virus seems to assume Iran is trying to develop nukes and therefore claims that Israel (and US) developed the virus to delay this effort. The story didn’t talk about Israel’s effort to interfere with Iran’s domestic nuclear power programme.

  91. Eric: It is clear that both the US and Israel were behind the Stuxnet worm.

    Now this is clearly an example of deliberate international terrorism on the part of both the US and Israel. Not only that, it is clearly an act of war.

    In IT security circles these days, there is a big argument going on over whether something called “cyberwar” exists and whether the US military should be given priority in dealing with computer security not only in the US defense establishment but also in the US government in general and possibly even US infrastructure systems (power, water, etc.)

    So far the only examples of “cyberwar” that existed were the sort of general penetration attacks against the US government arising out of China. In China, most of the hacking appears to come from the universities which in turn are closely associated with the Chinese military.

    When Stuxnet appeared, it was cited as the first very clear example of using malware as a form of offensive attack on a nation – specifically Iran. Because it also infected systems in India and elsewhere FIRST and allegedly more intensivey, at first no one was sure it was aimed at Iran. The New York Times article clearly shows that it was.

    The US and Israel have therefore, if a more limited definition of the term “cyberwar” is acceptable, have conducted the original “first strike” of a cyberwar against Iran.

    In this regard, this article may be Iran’s response:

    Iran to display US drones it shot down, top Iranian commander says
    :http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/iran-display-drones-shot-top-iranian-commander/

    This is a dangerous situation. One of the issues discussed in IT security circles is whether branding general hacking as an act of war and allowing the military to respond to it is exceedingly dangerous for international stability. If the US military were to respond incorrectly to a hack attack originating in another country, it could lead to real-world military confrontation.

    This is the situation now between the US, Israel and Iran. If the US and Israel continue to attack Iran with “cyberwar”, and Iran responds militarily in the region or even in kind aganst the US or Israel (and certainly Iran has their own hackers who can), the US and Israel could use this as a justification for further escalation.

    I repeat, this is a dangerous situation and a slippery slope that could lead to an Iran war sooner than expected.

  92. farzad. k says:

    Dr. Marandi’s article is very insightful because of its panoramic view on the events happening not only in Iran but also in the middle east. Let us open our eyes and believe the truth as it is…

  93. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The release of the Stuxnet worm amounts to cyber-terrorism.

    The assassination of Iranian scientists is terrorism pure and simple.

    If the Israelis are behind this, with American support, then this is not something to be proud of.It undermines the moral authority of the U.S government.

  94. Another observation on the Stuxnet virus:

    Though Symantec’s graph shows that no new Iranian computers have been infected since August 22, 2010, and though the text of the study indicates that this also probably means that the virus has been eradicated from computers (or programmable logic controllers – PLCs) that had been infected (or at least those operated by sophisticated computer people who’d been notified of the virus), and though the Symantec study doesn’t purport to show that the virus ever made its way to computers or PLCs controlling Iran’s centrifuges in the first place, other countries appear not to have been so lucky:

    According to Symantec, the Stuxnet virus appears to be alive and well, infecting new computers and PLCs and probably damaging the economies, in two important “innocent bystander” countries: India and Indonesia.

    I wonder whether the people who created and distributed the Stuxnet virus are presently concerned that it’s harming innocent people in India and Indonesia.

  95. Israel Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html?_r=1&hp

    A typical NY Times article that asks the reader, right out of the gate, to assume the truth of a fact that must be true in order for the article to be relevant. Since the article IS relevant — why else would the NY Times publish it, after all? — it follows that the necessarily assumed fact must be true.

    Iran denies, of course, that the Stuxnet virus infected its centrifuges in the first place. Maybe that’s true, maybe not. One fact worth noting, however, is that Symantec’s apparently very thorough study on the Stuxnet virus:

    ,http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/enterprise/media/security_response/whitepapers/w32_stuxnet_dossier.pdf

    includes a graph that may shed some light on this. Earlier graphs in the Symantec study do make very clear that many computers in Iran were infected with the virus – more than in all other countries combined. But the interesting graph is the one that shows “new infections.” It’s titled “Rate of Stuxnet infection of new IPs by Country.” For quite a long period, new infections in Iran outpaced the rest of the world.

    Until August 22, 2010, that is. From then on, according to Symantec, the “new infection” rate in Iran dropped very substantially.

    To zero.

    Also according to Symantec, that is where it has remained ever since.

  96. Rehmat says:

    Cyrus – Obama is more indebted to the Israel and Zionist Lobby than Bush. Obama administration has more ‘Israel-Firsters’ than Bush administration.However, Obama is missing one thing which put the Americans behind him to invade the Muslim world – 9/11.

    But you never know, Bibi could be planning the ‘Samson Option’ against Islamic Republic.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/samson-option-and-islamic-republic/

  97. Voice of Tehran says:

    What Tunisia Means to the Arab World
    by Rami G. Khouri Released: 14 Jan 2011

    http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=2481

    “”Tunis today may well go down in history as the Arab equivalent of the Solidarity movement in the Gdansk shipyard in Poland in 1980 that sparked wider protests that a decade later ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire….

  98. Iranian says:

    Nasrallah is giving a very important speech.

  99. Fiorangela says:

    Where in the world is Arnold Evans?

    Tunisia is working on a demonstration/answer to your question.

  100. James Canning says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    Any American ME analyst or opinion maker who argues in favor of an intelligenct American policy toward Iran, becomes a target of the Israel lobby. On the other hand, any drone or stooge helping to deceive the American people and provide cover for foolish US politicans, gets rewarded.

  101. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I agree with you that Obama blundered when he decided to treble the number of US troops in Afghanistan.

    However, it seems that G W Bush had no intention of conducting an aggressive foreign policy, when he entered the White House in 2001. The neocons in the Pentagon and elsewhere had a different plan, and “9/11″ gave them the pretext they needed. But Bush was opposed to invading Iraq, for months after “9/11″. He seems to have been bamboozled.

  102. Ali B. says:

    Rd.

    Iran’s position hasn’t changed.

  103. Liz says:

    I think Press TV will broadcast it live.

  104. Liz says:

    Seyed Hassan Nasrallah will begin his speech in less than half an hour.

  105. Rd. says:

    Nagar Kirtan says: “come to terms with Iran. If not, Iran will just move on. That’s what I gathered.”

    If I recall correctly, Last year during the p5+ junior negotiations ahmadinejad was willing to send away the LEU, arguing, so what if they reneg on their promises.. then we know they are lying and we move on.. “. However, the hardliners, others over ruled him(?). Now, seems he is getting his way(?). NBC news sat night had exclusive interview with jalili.

    So they have rolled in the red carpet and show cased the nuclear sites and have shown all, we are negotiating and open for all to see.. and if US fails to negotiate in good faith, would this be the end game? Given the Tunisia development, what is the thinking in Washington? Game as usuall?

    http://www.nbc.com/news-sports/msnbc-video/irans-lead-negotiator-were-not-interested-in-nukes/

  106. Bill Davies says:

    The United States will try to manage the situation in Tunisia and attempt to marginalize Islamist groups. However, I believe the country will end up like Iraq and a government that is somewhat outside the west’s sphere of influece will come to power.

  107. Henric says:

    Cyrus : You are right but the US (on behalf of the wishes of israel) arent interested in dialogue, they want to use the nuclear issue as a pretext for war.

  108. Iranian says:

    If I were Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, I would make the most of the events in Tunisia in tonight’s speech.

    masoud:

    Obama indirectly threatened Iran with nuclear weapons in the Nuclear Posture Review.

  109. masoud says:

    Cyrus,

    Obama has actually already threatened the use of nuclear weapons in his nuclear posture review:
    “there remains a narrow range of contingencies in which U.S. nuclear weapons may still play a role”

  110. Kamran says:

    The power and hegemony of the US and its allies are sinking in the sand:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/20111167156465567.html

  111. Liz says:

    the Hariri Tribunal is another attempt by the Americans to retain their iron grip on the region. Declining powers are dangerous, but people in the Middle East and North Africa can feel a rush of freedom coming. They will not submit.

  112. D. Harvey says:

    From the very start, Iranians were suspicious of Obama it seems and as it turns out their suspicions were not unfounded.

  113. Cyrus says:

    At the risk of raising an issue not entirely related to this post, isn’t it interesting how the Obama administration can’t get its message about “reaching out to the people of Iran” right any more than the Bush administration could? On one had they’re claiming to “support the people pf Iran” and on the other hand they’ve massively insulted the same people by adopting a name change for the Persian Gulf and have continued sanctions on Iran’s civilian airliners which violate international law and place the lives of the same people of Iran in jeopardy on daily basis. Way to win hearts and minds, Obama! Might as well threaten to nuke them too, just as Bush did? That’ll really close the deal. It appears that internal US politics and lobby pressure prevents the administration from even making symbolic gestures to Iran.

  114. Rehmat says:

    The US invasion of strategically located Muslim-majority Afghanistan was planned several months ahead of the tragic events on September 11. In fact, what happened after the 9/11 – has proved beyond doubt that the event was an intended action of the Bush administration and Israel to gain the US and international support in their quest to further weaken the Muslim world and also exploit the later’s natural resources.

    Afghanistan – Obama’s Waterloo
    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/afghanistan-obamas-waterloo/

  115. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    You are completely ignorant if you think that “wine” in Persian poetry literally refers to fermented grape juice. It actually means the intoxicating love for God.

    When Hafez speaks of himself as a “drunkard”, we shouldn’t think that he is an alcoholic but rather someone who is inebriated with the love of his Lord.

    Khayyam’s poetry does reveals an anti-establishment sentiment, but he was a devout Muslim – as were all the great Persian poets: this includes Ferdowsi who championed Shiism long before it became official in Iran.

  116. Nasrin says:

    Of course not. Israel is an apartheid state, yet an African American president of the USA, bows down to it and calls it a democracy.

  117. Henric says:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/160370.html

    This is terrorism by israel and the US, when will the world sanction this nutty israhelli regime?

  118. Nagar Kirtan says:

    It seems to me that what Professor Mohammad Marandi is saying is that the US is “bleeding” and that if it wants to stop falling behind rivals like China it must come to terms with Iran. If not, Iran will just move on. That’s what I gathered.

  119. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Concerning the subject of the thread… There are no “potential partner in the United States, who can rethink U.S. foreign policy and bring about real change in U.S.-Iranian relations.”

    Rethinking US policy towards Iran means admitting a US strategic and historic defeat. No US politician/policy career drone (hoping to be appointed to something at some point) is going to admit this.

  120. Iranian@Iran,

    “What I find interesting is how political debate and political maneuvering in Iran is described as instability in the west, but in the west it’s called openness, checks and balances, democracy.”

    Good point.

  121. M.Ali says:

    I certainly agree, Iranian@Iran. If there are internal conflicts, they claim the “regime” is collapsing. If everyone agrees, they say it is a mullocracy dictatorship.

    I think all this internal debates are healthy and show that Iran is a very progressive nation. Do we have these sort of challenges to the system from inside the system itself in any of the regional countries? Is it even available in the west? How much did the Congress challenge Bush over his two wars?

  122. Iranian@Iran says:

    Whatever…What I find interesting is how political debate and political maneuvering in Iran is described as instability in the west, but in the west it’s called openness, checks and balances, democracy. They are absurd.

  123. M.Ali says:

    Or maybe its actually a brilliant move by Ahmadenijad. He’s keeping the oppositions busy by allowing them to focus on people that are not him. That is, whenever needed, he can just fire them and throw them to the wolves, and he’d be left unscathed.

  124. M.Ali says:

    I do somewhat agree somewhat with Persian Gulf. However, I think the problem is that it is difficult for a governing body to weed out people that effectively. Ahmedinijad has changed a lot of people, but he can’t change as much as he needs to, because of internal political manevourings. Ahmadeinjad has to stand against western pressure, stand against the Rafsanjani clan, and stand against Larijani clan. This does not allow him enough leevay to be choosy about his people.

    However, I do think it is important that Ahmadenijad needs to take extra care about choosing his people and push out any liabilities. Most part-of-the-system politicians are gunning for him as they don’t want him shaking the status quo boat, so he needs to not give them any excuses.

  125. Paul,

    The Haaretz story claiming that Khamenei ordered Hariri to be killed reminds me of an old US television commercial for Life breakfast cereal. Three boys are sitting around the kitchen table, and the two older ones are grumbling because their mother has insisted that they try this new cereal.

    “I’m not going to eat that stuff,” the first boy says.

    “Me neither,” says the second.

    “Let’s get Mikey to eat it,” the first boy says. (Mikey is several years younger than the other two boys.)

    “Yeah, Mikey will eat anything,” says the second.

    And so Mikey takes a bite of the cereal. Sure enough, he likes it. And so the older boys eat it too.

    When we think about where this Khamenei/Hariri story, we can all guess where Mikey lives. What remains to be seen is whether the older boys eat it too. With stories like this one, I usually find that much more interesting than the story itself.

  126. Paul,

    Thanks for the link to the Haaretz story. I knew it was the leader of some country or other that killed Hariri, but I can never remember which one.

    Sounds like the product of a creative writing class to me, but creative writing often passes for fact these days.

  127. Iranian@Iran says:

    Paul

    The whole tribunal is a joke. It’s an American and European tool to put pressure on their opponents. However, as Professor Marandi points out, the tide is finally turning.

  128. Goli says:

    Pirouz,

    Thanks for your response.

  129. Paul says:

    What do you think of this?

    Report: UN tribunal to link Iran’s Supreme Leader with Hariri assassination

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-un-tribunal-to-link-iran-s-supreme-leader-with-hariri-assassination-1.337118

  130. Liz says:

    Pirouz,

    That is an interesting logic!

  131. Persian Gulf says:

    Voice of Tehran:

    these are the reasons, in my view, that Iran could withstood the sanctions to this day:

    1-Iran is in a lucky position, geographically she is well located.
    2-Iran’s natural and human resources; and the creativity and tolerance of the average citizen.
    3-the mistakes of Iran’s nemesis; and regional (international) developments which except in the case of Lebanon were somehow out of Iran’s control.

    yes, we have withstood the effect of sanctions so far, but we have paid, and continue to pay, a heavy price too.

    Indeed, Islamic Republic does not have a credible record, whether we like or not. the progress so far were quite normal and FAR below the potential. the fact of the matter is, and was, above every capable person, there was, and is, a loyal Baradar undermining him/her and imposing his will. this is the REALITY on the ground. just compare different ministries. for example, in ministry of power that we had more professionalism the achievements are remarkable….

  132. Fiorangela says:

    http://www.livestation.com/channels/3-al-jazeera-english-english

    al jazeera tv on Tunisia uprising.

    The article in LA Times was shameful– it’s opening lines raised the image of “Neda,” and attempted to relate Iran to the uprising in Tunisia. The tactic (using Neda) is cheap, and ultimately counterproductive.

    It’s remarkable that the uprising in Tunisia, and what is feared may also occur in Egypt, is precisely what US legislators and the Israel lobby are- and have been since 1995 — attempting to incite in Iran: a popular uprising that would result in the overthrow of a government that the US does not like because it cannot control it.

    Prof. John Entelis, of Fordham University (gotta love those Jesuits), appears in the Al Jazeera video to discuss the ramifications and possibilities of the uprising. Entelis was a guest of Charlie Rose, along with Judith Miller and Daniel Pipes(ugh and ughX2).

    :http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/6982

    The Entelis-Miller-Pipes segment starts at 17: minutes. Keep in mind: this conversation took place in 1995 — not last week, but NOTHING HAS CHANGED in Pipes-Miller world: Islamic fundamentalism is the problem; dialogue/negotiation are NOT solutions, only military coup will resolve the situation and the US should side with the military (says Pipes, with Miller acquiescing). Pipes is absolutely resistant to Entelis’ logical observation: “It is the STATE that is doing the killing; the STATE has the power and the weapons; the Islamic parties do NOT have weapons! They are not the enemy!” You are wrong, insists Pipes. (Sidenote: Pipes does say, several times, that the revolution in Iran was a “picnic” compared to what is going on in Algeria in 1995).

    We’ve got us another good guy, ladies and gents; Prof. John Entelis thinks logically and is willing to talk down hateful ideologues like Pipes and the disgraced Miller. is

  133. Pirouz says:

    Goli,

    by Professor Mirandi’s admission of being a regular reader of Tabnak, I’ve assumed he voted for Rezai.

  134. Fiorangela says:

    Bassam Haddad muses on the future of popular movements in Arab states

    Interesting essay.

    I came away impressed that Iran is 20+ years ahead of the curve; that Iran has been a goad and can be a model for popular reform and nation-forming in the Arab states that have been denied popular sovereignty and nationhood for so many years. From Woodrow Wilson and forward, the US and West have been perfidious in their abuse of the Arab people, and their puppeteering of Arab dictators.

    The US may find itself holding strings to puppets that the people have pulled from their seats of power.

  135. Israel Tests on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay
    :http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html

    So here Israel virtually admits it created the Stuxnet worm – which also afflicted India and several other countries.

    So will Israel be censured for this act of Internet terrorism?

    I thought not.

  136. The US is wrong about Iran. Cutting a deal is the only win-win solution
    :http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/11220

  137. Rehmat says:

    “In case no one has noticed, the Obama administration just gifted Lebanon to Iran. Washington earlier presented Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and Pakistan. Could it be more clear that Iran’s strategic trump card is America’s subservience to Israel? For Iran, Israel’s strangle hold on the US government is the gift that keeps on giving,” said pro-Hariri Lebanese Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil

    US loses Lebanon to Iran
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/us-loses-lebanon-to-iran/

  138. Israeli Army Chief Resisted DM’s Calls to Attack Iran
    :http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/11214

    The important quotes:

    “Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who portrays himself to the international community as the lone moderate in Israel’s far-right coalition government, drew up plans to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran last year, according to media reports.”

    “Gen. Ashkenazi was revealed to have told the US in a WikiLeaks cable that Israel was planning a “large scale war” in late 2009″

  139. The US imposes more sanctions before the talks while Iran counters with this:

    Iran unveils nuclear achievement ahead of Istanbul talks
    :http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-01/15/c_13692486.htm

  140. Castellio: “so, a brutal airwar?”

    The Israelis have already explicitly said this. The next war against Lebanon will target all of Lebanon and its official government, not just Hizballah. The Israelis want to destroy Lebanon the way Iraq was destroyed. They’d even like the US to take part and I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama tried to help Israel even more than Bush and Rice did when they interfered with the ceasefire efforts in the last war, if not to the point of sending troops in. I could easily see Obama repeating the errors of the US in Lebanon during the civil war, leading to another Marine barracks scenario.

  141. Eric: “It takes more effort to reply, and that gives the writer at least a little more time to think about what to write.”

    Actually, the current effect on me is the opposite. I read from bottom up and respond to what I see first without waiting to get to the top. Then I see I’m behind the actual tone of the discussion and have to respond again. If I read top down, I’d be more inclined to wait until I got to the bottom to respond, at least so some degree.

    Also, I don’t see the format affecting Pak any to our benefit, in terms of thinking.

    Again, the bulk of forums on the Web and Usenet use top down. It’s the way people read who aren’t Chinese or whatever (although I read in the last week or so that soon Chinese will be the favored Internet language – :-) ). There’s no real good reason to go against that standard. On Usenet we’d get flamed for “top posting”.

  142. BiBiJon: “One of the memes that get bandied around is that Iran is working toawrd a ‘break out capability’, ‘one screwdriver’s turn shy of an actual weapon’, etc. In this regard, issuing the invitation, and making Iranian officials accessible to all and sundary to ask questions and hear offical Iranian denials in person must leave the impression that if nothing else, Iran is increasing the ‘credibility’ costs to herself if she later turned around and tested a weapon anyway.”

    Excellent point. For all of Pak’s accusations about “lying and deceit”, he can’t point to any real examples of Iran doing so, certainly not on a national policy level. Whereas one can easily find examples of the US doing so – for example, Obama’s letter to Brazil.

  143. Persian Gulf says:

    Voice of Tehran:

    I am part of that 63%, and I am from a Dehat as well. the fact of the matter is, Ahmadinejad was seen as somebody out of the circle of conservatives, aka his attack on Nategh and so on. the solid majority you referred to did not have that much of choice. it would be Khamenei’s ultimate stupidity to think those 24.5 million are behind him. this was discussed here many times before. the Islamic Republic can claim 4-5 million of that majority. the rest voted for Ahmadinejad for reasons other than supporting Khamenei or the situation. after all, they care about their country. voting is their right, you, nor for that matter the IR, can’t deprive them of their right simply bc you objectively want to drive your ideologically driven conclusion out of it.

    the same goes for the rest of those 14 million. 3-5 million of that opposition are either reformists ideologue or somehow anti-Islamic Republic (again lack of acceptable choice). many in my extended family voted for Mousavi and I don’t know anybody as zealous anti-IR.

    “elected majles” hahaha, that makes me laugh. with the screening criteria in place, and the vast money IR spends on favorable candidates, no surprise we have accumulated fools in Baharestan. we have had that manipulated “elected” body many times in the history of contemporary Iran! can anybody be elected without having much of fate on King Khamenei? (btw, what is the difference between a king and Khamenei? he has been there for nearly 22 years by now. sounds like he wants to break the record, Naserdin Shah, 50 years!)

    this is a cabinet with intensive screening? so, what was the screening process about? a power ploy between Khamenei and his stooges in Majles? that itself confirms the validity of my claim about most of those occupants of Majles (even Ahmadinejad himself said on the TV that bc of the election turmoil we could not have a better cabinet, and you are now defending those idiots as ministers-why should he keep them now?). I personally know a few of them,majles representatives, and their background. “fool” is a very respected word for them, believe me! many of them are unable to give a sound speech on the podium of the majles.

    you say you are against professionalism. this is nothing new in the history of IR as it was LOYALTY that mattered the most. it has been intensified since the election of 2009.

  144. Voice of Tehran says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    January 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    “Did I talk about the leaders of other countries in that post at all ?!”

    No , you did not , but I did and I had my reasons.
    Every elected leader is free to choose his cabinet , ministers , vice-ministers etc. , same as Bush Jun. nominated Cheney and Rumpsfeld and Obama Biden and Clinton without any major obejection. I leave the judgements to you.
    As you might have followed , it took Ahmadinejad , quite a long time to get his ministers approved by the Majlis , he had even problems in apponting Najjar , thus the ‘filtering’ process is quite well institutionalized in the Iranian system , unless you should claim that you do not approve of the elected’ fools’ in the Majlis as well. Although I am not in favor of a rigid ” Shayestehsalari ” policy , which is practised to my knowledge almost only in Iran , I feel the composition of the current goverment quite acceptable .( Everthing can always be better of course , but this is true for every country and Iran is not the herald in this regard )
    Show me a govenment in the entire world , who would not have collapsed badly after the second round of UN sanctions , let alone the third , fourth and additional US and EU ” crippling ” sanctions , leaving all military threats aside .
    Another statement from you is also insulting :

    “the vast majority of Iranian people who are fed up with the ridiculous show run by these two groups”

    Where do you get your information , this is completely based on subjectiveness and reflects only your subjective assessment. Did you count the vast majority ?
    Didn’t Ahamdinejad get 64 % of the votes in 2009 , or does a vote of a ” dahati ” count 1/3 of the vote of an academic in Tehran for you ?

  145. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Yes, Khamanei and the Iranian government keep pushing for all US troops to leave Iraq. This is the best way forward for the Iraqi government, and Joe Biden seems to see that all US forces will be out of Iraq by the end of this year. US taxpayers should cheer.

  146. Castellio says:

    I think the Mirandi’s article excellent. Complete, integrated, reasonable. There is one line that jumps out at me as, yes, true, but also a provocation to the enemies of Iran (of which there are many).

    “The stunning defeat of the Israeli regime against the much smaller and much less well-equipped Resistance in Southern Lebanon is something that is remembered with pride in Tehran.”

    The belligerents will be preparing to challenge that, but I doubt whether the Israeli soldiers actually have the heart necessary to re-invade for no legitimate purpose other than revenge… so, a brutal airwar?

  147. Rehmat says:

    Liz – Al-Jazeera is a pro-Israel Arab Network.

    “I wish all Arab media were like Al-Jazeera,” – Gideon Ezra, former deputy head of Israeli General Security Service, quoted in ‘Foreign Policy (FP)’, July/August 2006 issue.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/al-jazeera-pro-israel-arab-network/

  148. Rehmat says:

    On October 18. 2010 – Nouri al-Maliki paid a visit to Iran’s Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, who told him that the political interests of certain powers lie in creating insecurity in Iraq. Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that the swift formation of a unity government and the restoration of security in Iraq are the country’s two major issues, calling all Iraqi officials to spare no efforts to form a unity government as soon as possible. The Leader expressed hope that the United States will end its occupation and the problems of the war-ravaged people of Iraq will be resolved soon.

    Joost Hiltermann, an Iraqi expert with the Zionist think tank, International Crisis Group, said: ”If things actually happen as just announced, it would indeed appear to be a victory for Maliki and for Iran, which pushed this scenario forward”.

    Lt. Col. Michael Eisenstadt, director of Washington Institute for Near East Policy – the most powerful Israeli propaganda organ established by two American Jewish diplomats, Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, played down Iranian influence in Iraq: “Extensive political, economic, religious and cultural ties provide Iran the potential for significant influence in Iraq. Iranian attempts to wield this influence, however, have often backfired, leading to a nationalist backlash by Iraqis and tensions with the Iraqi government. Iran-Iraq relations will continue to be bedeviled by a variety of unresolved issues dating to the Iran-Iraq War, and by an Iranian tendency to pursue policies viewed as harmful to Iraqi interests”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/us-domination-in-iraq-is-doomed/

  149. For any readers who may be scanning posts quickly, it’s worth noting that these charges of plagiarism, valid or not, that several posters have been discussing relate to someone other than Dr. Marandi.

  150. Kamran says:

    A good day for Tunisia, Iranian football and Iraqi football…

    A bad day for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE (and it’s football) and North Korean football

    I’d never heard this before:

    “Moreover, the subsidy reform program, which is by far the most significant economic reform program in contemporary Iranian history, is, in reality, a clear sign that the current Iranian government is strong and self-confident.”

    However, it’s true. this is probably Ahmadinejad’s biggest success so far.

  151. Liz says:

    Persian Gulf,

    Don’t get ticked off so quickly. :)

  152. Goli says:

    Mr. Marandi, for whom I have tremendous respect, used to go out of his way to point out that he was not personally found of President Ahmadinejad. (Something that he has refrained from doing in this article.) Nonetheless, he always asserted that the elections were not rigged. Does anyone know which candidate he supported during the presidential elections of 2009?

  153. Persian Gulf says:

    Voice of Tehran:

    did I talk about the leaders of other countries in that post at all ?!
    the fact that many countries have corrupt leaders, just to take your words right (I actually don’t give a damn if they do), does not mean we should have THOSE FOOLS there in Iran too. or probably, in your mind, it does!

    we should not tolerate Daneshjoo, Rahimi, Larijani va va va …just bc this or that country has a fool or two on the top.

    what you said is a typical Iranian attitude: فرافکنی

  154. Liz says:

    I don’t know much about the story, but it was said that none of his own articles had any elements of plagiarism. I don’t know him and I can’t judge, but those who were attacking him said part of the paper was plagiarized and that the student who co-authored the paper and who was the one needed the publication admitted his wrongdoing.

  155. Voice of Tehran says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    January 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    “”I believe one of the many problems of Iran is fools running the country “”

    A very ‘triste’ comment, god knows where you got this ultra-negative attitude.
    The world is a small place . Look around you.
    Where do you see the ‘glorious’ leaders , which you would like to see ‘running’ Iran.
    Shall we start in the NME region or do you prefer Europe , or the Americas or…?
    Berlusconi going from one scandal to another , now ‘ banging’ teen whores , or Mr. Sarkozy and his ‘imperial’ life-style a la Louis XIV , Greece , Irland and Spain on the verge of economic collapse due to unlimited greed of its politicians.
    UK and Cameron struggling with former and present financial scandals ( again greed of its elites ) and a pale Germany with a paler Chancellor and an ‘impotent’ Vice-Chancellor. I leave the Obama chapter aside ,as he presents the incarnation of foolishness ( although a gradute of Harvard , unlike Daneshjoo…)
    If you want I can go on and analyze each and every country and then you will see that it is not Iran , which is ruled by ‘fools’ , rather the world and the so called world leaders.
    But I know the typical Iranian attitude in this regard : MORGHE HAMSAYEH , GHAZE

  156. Irshad says:

    Hi All,

    The Al Jazeera programme I was talking about in the previous thread, about “Countdown” the role of Russia and the coming of the war between Isreal and Iran is now on Al Jazeera again. Its really worth watching.

    http://www.livestation.com/channels/3-al-jazeera-english-english

    It has interviews with former Iranian defence minister Ali Shamkhani in it aswell.

  157. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:
    “Surely, Mrs Clinton’s public and “vehement” dressing down of the assembled Mid Eastern foreign ministers for “corruption” and “repression” yesterday was desinged to create space between the United States, and the “center” which according to Dr. Mirandi, “cannot hold.” One has to wonder if Tunisia’s state of tumult changed the Secretary’s goals in her Mid East trip.”

    Actually, Mz Clinton apparently had a premonition, which foresaw the birth pangs of even a newer and better world order!! In that, it appears the state department did not hear the call, “Houston, we have a problem”. Oh, never mind, state department is not even in Houston.

    Mean while back in the ranch, there were the echoes “all is ok in the empire”. whilst, the faith fools at the state department were busy playing with their deck of cards, trying to decide; more sanctions or harsher sanctions!!!!

  158. Persian Gulf says:

    Ali B.

    where do you live? in NA that live, it’s called plagiarism. he is the first author (the original author of the work is not in the authors’ name section), and more than 95% of the work is the exact copy, sentence by sentence (it’s really rare). an inexperienced student, seeking for prestige and degree, might do that. yes, I understand that. but for somebody who has been a teacher in a respected university for years and interacted with academic community internationally (at least while he was a student abroad), THIS IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. he even didn’t apologized for that.

    Not only that, he is now in the position to judge others and make policies in the national level for nearly 3 million students and faculty members. I hope you know every new faculty position needs to be approved by ministry of science as of last September. we all know what does it mean. IR thinks by this method, they can control the profs. it’s false perception. I know a lot of profs in Tehran that were staunch supporters of the revolution. the received scholarships for higher education abroad, and were spreading lies last year.it’s not the individual rather the system. even with this new system and contrary to their thinking, they are hiring ANTI-Islamic Republic individuals (I think those people also have the right to get the positions if they have the scientific credentials regardless of their political ideology. Iran is for them too).

    the main problem with Daneshjoo is his degree. it’s not clear whether he has a ph.d or not. his personal website was changed three times with three different places for his degree. one can be a minister with bachelor or master degree, there is no problem with that. but once somebody claims to have a degree like that, IT CAN NOT BE A FAKE ONE. it’s as SIMPLE as this.

    you don’t need to support everybody, and every policy, in the Islamic Republic blindly. I am a statue of the Islamic Republic myself!

    I AM REALLY SURPRISED PRES.AHMADINEJAD HAS CLOSED HIS EYES ON THIS ISSUE. it’s truly DISAPPOINTING.

  159. Liz says:

    I’m not a fan of Aljazeera, but this is worth reading:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/2011/01/20111157937219109.html

  160. Liz says:

    If Iran is a “growing threat” as western countries claim, then it must be doing something right. The essay correctly points out that the US misreads Iran and thus shoots itself in the foot time and time again.

  161. Ali B. says:

    I think it’s an excellent article and it reflects the reality both in the US as well as in Iran. It also covers a lot of issues without being boring. In any case, I for one enjoyed reading it. There is nothing wrong with Daneshju’s credentials by the way. I am no fan of his, as I have nothing to do with his sphere of work, but the fact that a student who wrote a joint paper with him, copied a part of another paper is not important to me or anyone else that I know. Perhaps, he shouldn’t have trusted the student, but we trust people all the time. The stuff about Larijani, I don’t agree with either.

  162. Persian Gulf says:

    Maranadi, Iranian@Iran, Iranian …

    I am surprised so many Iranians here are advising the U.S what she needs to do, as if Americans are not capable of comprehending the balance of power. the tail, “Iran experts”, are shaken by the body not vise versa. if they say what the U.S politicians want to hear, then what is the point of complaining about it? I don’t mind people like Tekeyh, Sajjadpour…continue to talk nonsense. it’s actually very good to see them talking like that. Marandai talks about Wikileaks as if it was produced by the diplomats of a country in another galaxy.

    I believe one of the many problems of Iran is fools running the country. the ones on the top are just not in the right place. the majority don’t deserve to be there. I simply CAN NOT imagine people like Mr.Daneshjoo (a big SHAME for Dr.Ahmadinejad that keeps him in that post) are in the positions of policy making and selecting the brightest of the country to educate the generations to come. Mr.Rahimi is number two person of the government, and the list goes. btw, forgot to mention the many fools in the Majles. except a few, the majority are bunch of idiots. most of them need something like a (dog’s) collar (above all a charlatan like Ali Larijani. I am tired of seeing few people for nearly 3 decades. I have seen them in the TV when was a child, and I am nearing my death!, these people are still there. the population doubled since then). most of them have no identity whatsoever without the consent of Mr.Khamenei.

    our problem is actually Marandi and like-minded people. we have no other choice unfortunately as we have to support the RIGHT and JUST strategies while they do all kind of s*** internally. contrary to what he claims in this article, it’s no longer about conservatives vs. reformists (it temporarily was). it’s about the third front: the vast majority of Iranian people who are fed up with the ridiculous show run by these two groups; the ones who RIGHTLY believe these two groups betrayed the ideals of 1979 revolution (Islamic Republic, Social justice, Independence, Freedom…). the national interests of Iran are being hostage in the hands of these people to advance their personal interests and project their backward ideology.

    the Islamic Republic of Iran has been run by incapable people that seriously lack necessary credentials for statesmanship.

  163. James Canning says:

    Kamran,

    Many of the well-fed “Iran experts” in Washington are whores of the Israel lobby, or of the “military-industrial-Congressional” complex, or both. They are well fed because they work fairly hard to continue the deception of the American people and to provide deniability for the idiot politicians.

  164. James Canning says:

    The deputy foreign minister of Switzerland, Peter Maurer, this past week said that “Switzerland does not support the logic of sanctions.” But Obama continues to grovel in front of Aipac and other extremist elements of the pernicious Israel lobby.

  165. Pak,

    YOU WROTE:

    “I am so thrilled to see what is happening in Tunisia. It should rejuvenate civil movements across the Middle East, and give hope to people that dictatorships can indeed be overthrown.”

    COMMENT:

    One must admire your optimism, Pak, in light of your recent comments about the hijacking of Iran’s 1979 revolution by Islamists. If you can force yourself to think that far back – rather than to just the summer of 2009, where you prefer to look for analogies – you might temper your enthusiasm. Secular, US-supported dictator, in power for several decades, overthrown by a hastily thrown together coalition of Islamists and secular, educated urbanites.

    Sound familiar? How did that all work out for the latter group?

    Is it different this time? This sentence from a New York Times article makes me wonder whether your answer to that question may “evolve” as the Tunisian situation plays itself out:

    “Tunisia’s protests were portrayed as a popular uprising, crossing lines of religion and ideology, offering a new model of dissent in a region where Islamic activists have long been seen as monopolizing opposition.”

    I wonder, Pak, whether all those “Islamic activists” that have for so long been “monopolizing opposition” will be so grateful for the scale-tipping support from more educated and secular protesters that they’ll acknowledge the “new model” to which this writer refers and give the secular group a large and comfortable chair at the table when the new rules get written for Tunisia.

    That’s usually how it works, isn’t it?

  166. Richard,

    “Re-adjusting the posts from bottom up to top down is a minimum.”

    Obviously it’s up to the Leveretts, but I think most of us agree with this. On the other hand, the relative hassle involved with the current format (new posts on the bottom) at least reduces the number of too-hastily conceived one-line responses. It takes more effort to reply, and that gives the writer at least a little more time to think about what to write.

  167. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

  168. jay says:

    Dear Pak,

    my goal in discussions is to exchange ideas. It is not, as you put it, “catch me out on a technicality”. I do my best to avoid personals and personalities and stick with issues. Therefore, if my comments felt like entrapment to you – my apologies.

    Moving on to your response and relevant to my question…

    Your position regarding the “real world” was stated in a context that appeared to imply your general philosophical and practical stance – I would not consider statements of “realist” interpretation and pragmatics of power balance a “technicality”.

    I agree with the proposal that nation states have a fiduciary responsibility to server and protect their citizenry. However, such a paradigm absent any boundaries would clearly be a danger to humanity as a whole. Coercion as a “realist” foreign policy principle can easily be morphed into a coercion as a “national policy” principles because if one were to choose such a “realist” and pragmatic point of view, one would also have to observe that the boundaries between international and national have become increasingly blurred. Economic, political, and social forces at multiple strata, corss-fertilizing one another on a rapid time scale both locally and globally have given rise to new paradigm. The paradigm of “league of nations” and “UN” – although a step in the right direction at the time of its inception – has failed to keep pace with the realities of the changing world. For example, economic concerns of large multinational corporations may trump (and do trump) nation state fiduciary responsibilities across global boundaries in democratic and non-democratic nations alike. Therefore, coercive international paradigms, as real as they may be, have real consequences for real people.

    I do not find myself in a position to prescribe the action of Iranians, or for that matters any other person. I ascribe to the principles of pluralistic democracy for all. Within this framework, I find the action of many governments and government officials at odds with what you have stated as their fiduciary responsibility. As a result, I find that by accepting realist international principles I may be condoning their consequences at the personal level.

    Your questions regarding the proprietors of this site is interesting and I would be happy to share with you any insight if I were to have any. I read the comments here and elsewhere but rarely post here or elsewhere. I responded to your post as I found it to be out of sync with my perception of your previous writing.

  169. Nasrin says:

    I’d just like to congratulate the Leveretts for this wonderful website. People like Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi and others should keep contributing to keep the website constantly active.

  170. Kamran says:

    It’s amazing how the foolish “Iran experts” in the US capital get it wrong all the time, yet they continue to be so well fed.

  171. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “Nevertheless, there are those who still wonder if there is a potential partner in the United States, who can rethink U.S. foreign policy and bring about real change in U.S.-Iranian relations.”

    Doctor-jan, stop wondering because there are no such potential partners in the US. Rethinking U.S.-Iran relations equals acknowledging a US stratetgic defeat- and for this, there are no partners in the US- particularly if they are running for office or want to be appointed to some job in the future.

  172. Liz says:

    They closed their bank accounts Pak. They can’t continue working. Also, they’ve put so much pressure on PressTV that their reporters say it has severely affected the way they report the news. You blindly obey the west.

  173. Pak says:

    Dear Liz,

    What firewall?

    Regarding PressTV, my understanding is – via wikileaks – that the UK government sought different ways to shut the station down (by using sanctions as a pretext, for example). However, they found no legal way of shutting the station down. I like that – obeying the law. I wish they would do the same in Iran, even though Iranian law itself is a bit suspect.

  174. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak, you are obsessed. Grow up and accept the fact that the article is quite good and that the Leveretts get a lot of flack (to say the least) for running this site.

  175. Liz says:

    Pak,

    No I don’t believe you.

  176. Liz says:

    Pak

    Why don’t you go to your beloved prime minister’s office and ask why PressTV’s accounts have been closed?

    By the way how did you get through the Leverett firewall?

  177. Pak says:

    Pak says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    Here is my post that is awaiting moderation, without a link this time…

    There you go, now do you believe me?

    Why should the Leveretts feel intimidated? Who am I compared to two people who have training from the CIA and WINEP?

  178. Pak says:

    Dear Liz,

    Believe what exactly? I do hope you believe me though. You are as free as a bird to disagree with me, but as long as you believe me, and not accuse me of being anti-Iran. Again, you are free to accuse me of being anti-Iran, but your accusations are baseless and make you sound a bit extremist to be honest.

    I wonder, did you get a chance to look at the video I posted earlier, regarding freedom in the UK? Or, if I remember correctly, you live in Iran, so is YouTube blocked for you? Or, best of all, are you subversive and use filters to access YouTube regardless!? That would make my day.

  179. Kamran says:

    Pak

    Do you want us to believe that the Leveretts have nothing better to do that block your posts and then allow you to claim that you have been censored?

    Basically this how all your arguments work.

    Again great article. I hope the Leveretts don’t feel intimidated.

  180. Voice of Tehran says:

    It seems Mr.Stuart Levey go some new instructions/orders from Tel Aviv , he must be quite nervous , it’s now or never !

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/160318.html

    “”The US Treasury Department on Thursday imposed new sanctions against 22 Iranian companies affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

    Two other companies, Shahid Ahmad Kazemi Industries Group and Babaie Industries, are subordinates of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), The Wall Street Journal reported.

    This is while less than one week remains to the next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany — in Turkish city of Istanbul on January 21 and 22…

  181. Liz says:

    Pak,

    Are we supposed to believe you?

  182. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    I am trying my best not to flatter myself. My first attempt had one link in it. My second attempt had a link, but with the dots replaced by “(dot)”. I do not see the problem.

  183. Liz says:

    Pak,

    You’re the anti-Iranian here and you’re not fooling anyone. Iran has allowed international experts to even visit sites (such as Arak) that Iran does not have to open to anyone in accordance with the NPT. It is your lovely US and UK governments that are pressuring other countries not to inspect these facilities.

  184. Pak,

    “I see that my comments are still awaiting moderation. No worries, I get the point.”

    I suspect you’re flattering yourself to believe the Leveretts consider you dangerous enough to censor you. Are you including more than one link in the posts “awaiting moderation?”

  185. Voice of Tehran says:

    @Pak

    any special reason for your ‘contrived horniness’ ?
    Nothing special happened , just another fascistic US-backed country was overthrown.

  186. Pak says:

    I see that my comments are still awaiting moderation. No worries, I get the point. Marandi and co. taught you well. You should be proud!

  187. Pak,

    “Personally, I would expect those [NAM countrie] who truthfully support Iran’s nuclear program to help thwart sanctions through diplomacy, like Brazil and Turkey tried. Yet even Brazil and Turkey are not convinced by this supposed display of openness, because it so obviously smells of a deceitful ploy.”

    Maybe it’s obvious to you, Pak, but perhaps not to Brazil and Turkey (among many others). What do you think they overlooked? I hesitate to ask for precision, lest that only beget imaginative evasion or referral to “experts,” but hope springs eternal and so I’ll take a crack at it once again: What have Brazil and Turkey (but not you, thank goodness) overlooked that “so obviously smells of a deceitful ploy?”

  188. Pak says:

    Dear jay,

    I was talking about international relations, where no one entity has universal control (the UN and other international organisations are the first steps towards such an entity). The international realm has definitely improved since WW2, in the form of the League of Nations and subsequently the United Nations. But due to the lack of authority and coercive capacity, realist principles still apply, namely:

    - states act in their own self-interest (national security)
    - relations between states are determined by interests and relative strengths/weaknesses
    - states pursue control over resources

    The same rules do not apply to the nation state, where a state (government) runs a nation (people who share the same history, languages, culture and so on). The state is the controlling entity, and, in democratic countries, the nation has the power to determine their government. As a result, the state has fiduciary duties to protect and promote the well-being of its citizens.

    If you want to apply realist principles to Iran, as you are suggesting, then the correct interpretation would be that there is a state that imprisons, tortures and kills its citizens and citizens of other countries. It does not protect and promote the well-being of its citizens, neither is it determined by them. As a result, the citizens have the responsibility to demand change, and if the government refuses to change, then the citizens are no longer bound to obey their government.

    If you want to try and catch me out on a technicality, try harder. For example, I have a technicality for you: Hillary Mann used to work for WINEP, an AIPAC founded think tank that, during her time there and with her support, promoted sanctions and other warmongering agendas against Iran. Furthermore, her husband was a CIA agent and former member of the Bush administration. Now they are preaching regime-sponsored narratives. Please, explain that to me. Explain to me the marriage of convenience between the Leveretts and the regime in Iran, considering the gulf of difference between the two, namely the anti-Iran, warmongering agenda of the Leveretts, and the über-paranoid, anti-American nature of the regime.

    I look forward to your response.

  189. Rehmat says:

    jay – for saying: “In the real world nations imprison, torture, and kill citizens of their own and citizens of other countries….” Mr. Israel, Abe Foxman, of ADL will certaily call you and “anti-Semite” and a “Jew hater”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/adl-hamas-denies-holocaust/

  190. jay says:

    Pak says:
    January 15, 2011 at 9:25 am
    Dear BiBiJon,

    In an ideal, egalitarian world, every nation has equal rights. In the real, polarised world, only a select number of nations have the economic, political and military power to exert their “rights” onto others.

    Dear Pak,

    In the real world nations imprison, torture, and kill citizens of their own and citizens of other countries. Were you suggesting that we should simply accept the real world and “just get along”?

  191. Betty A. says:

    Great article and informative debates. When I look at the rise of China and the sudden fall of the Tunisian government, I recognize how weak the United States actually is.

  192. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak, you are like the so called Iran “experts” in the US and UK. You are living in a dream world and you have no idea about the reality of life in Iran.

  193. Iranian@Iran says:

    By the way, Iranian newspapers today are celebrating the overthrow of the Tunisian regime.

  194. Pak says:

    *And portray yourself as their saviour for spoon-feeding them enough to survive.

  195. Pak says:

    Dear M.Ali,

    “I always cringe when I read the Sandis comments. You really have no respect for your countrymen.”

    It is not about respect; it is about sympathy. I have total sympathy for my fellow countrymen who are so poor and helpless that they come to regime-sanctioned protests for free food and drink. I have seen it with my own eyes.

    And the regime knows exactly what it is doing, and it is a common populist strategy: keep the people poor, spoon-feed them enough to survive, and portray yourself and their saviour for spoon-feeding them enough to survive.

  196. Pak says:

    Dear BiBiJon,

    In an ideal, egalitarian world, every nation has equal rights. In the real, polarised world, only a select number of nations have the economic, political and military power to exert their “rights” onto others. In this realist realm, gaining the rhetorical support of Venezuela is essentially worthless. It is not antipathy, it is realist. By your standards, you should also condemn Iran for claiming that it is a regional superpower, because, by nature, a superpower means superiority and domination. Please be consistent.

  197. BiBiJon says:

    Pak says:
    January 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Pak, you wrote:

    Dear BiBiJon,

    Brazil and Turkey have also declined to attend the “tour”.

    I have complete respect for the ordinary people, which is why I support civil movements, especially in Iran. My point about this supposed display of openness by the regime is that it failed to attract key players in the international community, leaving behind nations (or states, or nation states, or sovereign states, or sovereign nations, or regimes, or rulers, or governments, or however you want to define a country) like Venezuela, that have little economic, political, or even military influence to fill in the gaps.

    I wonder if delegates from North Korea attended too? That would be like the cherry on top of the cake.
    =================================

    I fail to see how saying “like Venezuela, that have little economic, political, or even military influence to fill in the gaps”, suggests anything other than your antipathy towards weaker “nations” who you seem to accord little rights to.

    Not meaning to minimize the embarrassment for Iran that some countries declined to attend, I do think the fact that an initation was issued, a tour was on the agenda, and access to relevant officials was on the table stands on it own, regradless of who did not attend.

    One of the memes that get bandied around is that Iran is working toawrd a ‘break out capability’, ‘one screwdriver’s turn shy of an actual weapon’, etc. In this regard, issuing the invitation, and making Iranian officials accessible to all and sundary to ask questions and hear offical Iranian denials in person must leave the impression that if nothing else, Iran is increasing the ‘credibility’ costs to herself if she later turned around and tested a weapon anyway.

  198. Henric says:

    The fact that the western world rejcted Iran’s invite just proves the west, that is the US (on behalf of israel), arent interested in detente or dialogue. US always say “Iran is this, Iran is that” but once again Iran have proved the only one having a interest in strengthening ties and solution. US/ISRAEL should be ashamed of themselves!
    GO IRAN!

  199. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak, your claims about Iranians going to the streets for a drink smack of racism and are absurd.

  200. M.Ali says:

    “Yet even Brazil and Turkey are not convinced by this supposed display of openness, because it so obviously smells of a deceitful ploy. ”

    Is not about being convinced, its about those two countries knowing that US will block any efforts they put in, like last year’s deal.

    “Having the support of NAM is the same as bringing supporters to the street by handing out food and Sandis;”

    I always cringe when I read the Sandis comments. You really have no respect for your countrymen.

  201. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak, it’s been clear to everyone for months that your ideal world is one dominated by the white man’s world. However, the events in Tunisia have shaken the foundations of US hegemony throughout the region.

  202. Pak says:

    Dear M.Ali,

    “What do you expect them to do?”

    My point is: what does the regime expect them to do?

    Personally, I would expect those who truthfully support Iran’s nuclear program to help thwart sanctions through diplomacy, like Brazil and Turkey tried. Yet even Brazil and Turkey are not convinced by this supposed display of openness, because it so obviously smells of a deceitful ploy. The regime in Iran has a history of lying, deceiving and manipulating, so they are very hard to believe.

    Having the support of NAM is the same as bringing supporters to the street by handing out food and Sandis; it is a façade of popular support. If the regime truly wants to convince people that it deserves a nuclear program, it should do so diplomatically and understand the realist realm of international relations.

  203. M.Ali says:

    Pak,

    “I look forward to the day that Tanzania, Vanuata, Zimbabwe and St Vincent and the Grenadines – all members of NAM – provide more than just rhetorical support for the regime’s nuclear program. I do, honestly.”

    What do you expect them to do?

  204. M.Ali says:

    Pak, the fact that those countries did not accept the invitation shows that the US is pressuing the countries unfairly. You act like it reflects badly on Iran, but how so?

    “We made the invitation as a sign of goodwill. They did not avail themselves of this opportunity but we respect their decision,’ Soltanieh said. “

  205. Pak says:

    Dear Iranian@Iran,

    I look forward to the day that Tanzania, Vanuata, Zimbabwe and St Vincent and the Grenadines – all members of NAM – provide more than just rhetorical support for the regime’s nuclear program. I do, honestly.

  206. M.Ali says:

    Protests in Jordan are increasing.

  207. BiBiJon says:

    M.Ali says:
    January 15, 2011 at 7:50 am

    M.Ali, I for one don’t see a ‘movement’ of any kind as yet. It is too early to tell What will emerge from the chaos.

    However, whatever emerges, call it islamist, socialist, anti-imperialist, or Kentucky Fried Chiken, the label means nothing.

    If the evetual order that is established disenfrachises any section of society, e.g. the already disenfranchised devout Muslims, then it will not qualify as ‘people power’ in my eyes.

    That said, in the midst of chaos, when blood has been spilt on the streets, when a nation is in trauma, naturally people tend to look to relegious beliefs to help sort out justtice vs revenge, forgiveness vs apathy, etc. Therefore, I expect there will be a big religious element to the ‘healing’ if not the shape of a future government. The anti-corruption slogans of demostrators does point to leaders with a religious bend as a more trustworthy champions of ridding the country of graft.

  208. Pak says:

    Dear Iranian@Iran,

    I did not know that the Chinese were white!? Please, enlighten me.

  209. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak

    Mohammad Marandi’s article responds to your world view, where the Americans and Europeans stand at the center of the world. You can’t hide it, you despise popular movements and that is why you are so pro-American.

    “This does not mean that Iran isn’t looking for a resolution to the nuclear standoff, but there is no doubt that, for something positive to happen, western countries must make the first move and recognize Iran’s rights to enrich Uranium for peaceful purposes. Contrary to western claims, this is the position of the international community, as Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states along with member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference officially support Iran’s position.”

  210. Pak says:

    Dear BiBiJon,

    Brazil and Turkey have also declined to attend the “tour”.

    I have complete respect for the ordinary people, which is why I support civil movements, especially in Iran. My point about this supposed display of openness by the regime is that it failed to attract key players in the international community, leaving behind nations (or states, or nation states, or sovereign states, or sovereign nations, or regimes, or rulers, or governments, or however you want to define a country) like Venezuela, that have little economic, political, or even military influence to fill in the gaps.

    I wonder if delegates from North Korea attended too? That would be like the cherry on top of the cake.

  211. M.Ali says:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/20111981222719974.html

    “Now, as Tunisians take to the streets (and to the Internet) to protest unemployment and the oppressive and longstanding Ben Ali regime, the world’s attention seems to be elsewhere. More specifically (and perhaps more importantly), the US government–which intervened heavily in Iran, approving circumvention technology for export and famously asking Twitter to halt updates during a critical time period—has not made any public overtures toward Tunisia at this time.”

    “Contrast that to Iran; when Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was jailed in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded her release. Similarly, after jailed Chinese dissident Lu Xiabao was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Clinton demanded his immediate release from prison.

    When Tunisian journalist Slim Boukhdir was beaten and jailed in 2007 for insulting the president on the other hand, prompting the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to deem the country a “police state,” Department of State officials responded to CPJ by letter, by stating that they were indeed concerned about Boukhdir’s case; nevertheless, the case did not receive the international attention that might have been garnered by a public statement.

  212. Iranian@Iran says:

    Hizb ut-Tahrir and Salafi Islam are both very different from mainstream Islam, whether Shia or Sunni. As Professor Marandi points out western regimes are paying the price for their alliances with extremists and despots allied to extremists.

  213. M.Ali says:

    I noticed this in wiki report of the Tunisia protests,

    “Hizb ut-Tahrir also organized protests after Friay prayer on January 14, 2010 to call for re-establishing the Islamic caliphate. [32] A day after, Hizb ut-Tahrir oranized other protests headed to “April 9″ prison to free political prisoners. [33]”

    Do readers think this fall will move Tunisia towards a more Islamic government?

  214. Paula says:

    A very refreshing piece. It deserved wider circulation. I’ll translate it into Spanish.

  215. BiBiJon says:

    Iranian@Iran says:
    January 15, 2011 at 6:45 am
    “Pak believes the white man is the backbone of the international community.”

    I think there is more to Pak’s musings.

    Pak wrote: “And finally, diplomats from the glorious nations of Algeria, Venezuela, Syria and the Arab league will be touring Iran’s nuclear facilities”.

    It seems to me that Pak’s tongue-in-cheek reference to “nations” as oposed to “rulers/governments/regimes” shows his deep antipathy with the the weak, the voiceless, and the subjugated. Some of Pak’s comments seem to Plumb the depths of loathing for the ‘ordinary man’. I think it discredits anything else he has to say.

  216. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak believes the white man is the backbone of the international community.

  217. BiBiJon says:

    Pak says:
    January 15, 2011 at 4:11 am

    “I must say that the regime’s vision of a new world order is not really going to plan. … And finally, diplomats from the glorious nations of Algeria, Venezuela, Syria and the Arab league will be touring Iran’s nuclear facilities, despite the regime’s almost open invitation for world diplomats to join the party. May be it is because they could not offer alcohol?”

    Interesting observation. Why would Iran invite representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), Group of 77 and the Arab League and others when EU, for example, as should have been expected, not only decline the invitation, but portray it as a sinister and underhand move by Iran to divide the “international comunity’s” consensus?

    Debunking the falsehood that G5+1 consensus = international community consensus is clearly very important.

    Showing sensitivity to her smaller Persian Gulf neighbors’ fears about Iran’s intentions is an execize in good regional politics.

    Finally, the idea that Iran would suddenly test a bomb (which in effect prove to NAM, G77, Turkey and Brazil, and all her supporters that all her past denials/assurances were just lies) becomes less and less credible.

    On the whole, it was a sensible initiative which has accomplished some modest goals.

  218. Iranian@Iran says:

    Pak

    The difference between Iran and Tunisia is that the Islamic Republic is popular. Despite western support for the green thugs, they failed. In Tunisia, despite western support for the regime, the regime failed. In other words Pak, you failed on both accounts.

  219. Pak says:

    I must say that the regime’s vision of a new world order is not really going to plan. Most recently, they were caught smuggling weapons to armed groups in Africa. The IRGC was caught admitting that it plays a central role in Iranian “democratic” governance. There have been protests in Afghanistan against the regime’s fuel blockade. And finally, diplomats from the glorious nations of Algeria, Venezuela, Syria and the Arab league will be touring Iran’s nuclear facilities, despite the regime’s almost open invitation for world diplomats to join the party. May be it is because they could not offer alcohol?

  220. peter says:

    “THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, THE UNITED STATES, AND THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST” is a realistic approach and shows how American politicians misread Iran,s developments. During the past three decades, Iran has shown it is not a threat to no one, but trying to keep an independent model of life in this imposed interactional contemporary world.
    Iran has shown how it is important to have the gravity of power inside the borders, instead of relying on others’ power(like Arab rulers who has rusted to the thrones).
    As the author says, we have to believe the reality of Iran as a powerful independent country and take the necessary lessons of what is happening in Tunisia which can be the start of a sort of domino theory.

  221. PD says:

    The future of Mackinder’s heartland and the rimland as well will have more of Iran and less of US; it seems that there would be a “segmented globalized middle east” in near future.

  222. Pak says:

    I am very proud of my Tunisian brothers, who must have learned a thing or two from Iran’s Green Movement. Their largely peaceful protests, even in the face of brutal oppression, managed to pressure their dictatorial leaders into submission. Just like in Iran, the intellectuals were the backbone of the protests, so much so that, in the same way we watched Neda die in front of our eyes, we watched a Tunisian professor bleed to death on YouTube, caught on video-phone by a citizen journalist.

    The difference between Tunisia and Iran was that the Tunisian dictator was secular, much like the previous Shah of Iran. He therefore could not rely on his ideologically brainwashed and dependent foot soldiers to release their fury on the nation, beating, shooting, torturing, raping and murdering their compatriots in the name of God, mercy and a few dollars.

    Hopefully the Tunisian revolution will give new impetus to civil movements across the Middle East. A wave of democratisation is what we need to eradicate the curse of dictatorship funded by oil money, like we currently witness in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other backward thinking dictatorships.

  223. Iranian@Iran says:

    The paragraph in the article that is closely linked to todays events in North Africa:

    “In Tehran, there is a strong belief that the region is changing dramatically in favor of Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and the Resistance. The rise of an independent Turkey, whose government has a worldview very different from that of the U.S., German, British, and French governments, along with the relative decline of Saudi and Egyptian regional influence, signals a major shift in the regional balance of power. Saudi military incompetence during the fighting with Yemeni tribes along the border between the two countries, the general decline of the Egyptian regime in all respects, and the almost universal contempt among Arabs as a whole for the leaders of these two countries and other pro-western Arab regimes and their corrupt elites, are seen as signs that the center cannot hold. The fact that the Iranian president and the Turkish prime minister are so popular in Arab countries, while most Arab leaders are deeply unpopular, is a sign that the region is changing.”

  224. fyi says:

    Kamran says: January 14, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    The problem is that Tunisia is chronically poor; in 1950s children in some rural areas starved to death.

    US-EU Axis can give them emergency food etc. if need be but 50% youth unemployment is not something that US-EU Axis can do much about.

    Any successor state or government will also have an impossible task to address these social inequalities; there just isn’t much to go arouund.

    But, nevertheless, at least they could be enjoying freedom of rexpression, speech, and elections.

  225. Kamran says:

    I’m sure that the US and France will manage things in the short term. They will probably bring a westernized secular opposition figure to power in the hope that he’ll pursue their interests. However, the cat is out of the bag and the rumblings of change can be heard throughout the region. The US is facing real trouble.

  226. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Reality is integral and disjointed discussions that you are suggesting will hinder understanding of very complex issues pertaining to a very complex polity in a hyper-complex area of the world.

  227. Bill Davies says:

    After watching the news, I was compelled to reread the essay and, while I am no expert, it looks to me that the western powers and Israel should be very worried about what’s going on in Tunisia. No matter how this plays out in the short run, Mohammad Marandi is right to conclude that the center cannot hold.

  228. fyi says:

    Fara says: January 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    There is no leadershop structure similar to the late Mr. Khoemini and his network of adherents and followers in Tunisia.

    There is no alternative vision to the existing constitutional and legal frameworks of that state and the protestors, at this stage, do not seem to demand an alternative dispensation.

    I think the likely scenario is an outward restoration of the forms of consititutional representative government and gradual easing of the apparatus of the police state.

    Analogous situations were Indonesia after Suharto or Romania afer Ceausescu but with the Armed Forces remaining the real power in the state for the immediate future.

    One, of course, could hope for something better but I do not see that as a possibility.

    But this did get the so-called West flat-footed, didn’t it?

    Specially the French, the murderers of Rwanda.

  229. Eric: “which could lead to a lot of threads that die quickly because only a very small number of readers bother to follow them. We could end up with a lot of small, separate ‘communities.’”

    You say that as if it were a Bad Thing. I’m not so sure. Most sites do it and survive.

    The problem with THIS site is that while it’s main issue is the nuclear crisis, and also diplomatic engagement with Iran in general, many of the threads get hijacked over Iran’s internal issues or religious issues.

    The suggestion to filter by topic is all very well, but hard to do since there is no good way to filter the posts. You have to at least glance at each of them to determine what they’re about. Not onerous, but when the threads get up above 100 it’s unwieldy.

    If the site had several main sections: one limited to the nuclear issue, one limited to Iran engagement, perhaps one on Iran’s internal politics, perhaps one on military matters, one on social issues, and another on miscellaneous Iran issues, it might work better. Since the Leveretts’ posts tend to be specific on what issue they are concerning, 75% percent of them would be on the nuclear issue, 15% on engagement, five percent on the elections, and the rest general, so most of the conversation would be on the nuke crisis and engagement. The rest of the topics would be started and maintained by the comment writers themselves and the topic headings could be identified as interesting or not very easily by the reader.

    Usenet and Web forum software continues to define the most useful way to conduct forums and this site does need to respect those design decisions to some degree. Re-adjusting the posts from bottom up to top down is a minimum.

  230. Liz says:

    The former Tunisian dictator and his family have gone to Saudi Arabia (how appropriate).

  231. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Ivy League schools had restrictions on Jews until 1920s.

    Some fellow won a scholarship to U. of Penn. but had to give it up because he was a Jew.

  232. Fara says:

    Could other Arab countries follow Tunisia’s example?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12198039

    “But if the Tunisian protestors have sent a message of defiance to Arab rulers, they have sent a rather different message to the West.”

    “Several dangers lie ahead.

    One is that Tunisia falls into chaos – a scenario that would convince Arab rulers to cling more tightly to power rather than sharing or relinquishing it.

    Another is that the unrest may spread. It is already apparent – and for broadly similar reasons – in neighbouring Algeria.

    In a string of Arab countries, succession issues loom as ageing autocrats confront the unmet aspirations of their youthful and rapidly growing populations.

    Mohamed Bouazizi’s life and death sum up the condition of the Arab world today.”

  233. Fiorangela says:

    from, “A Renegade History of the United States,” by Thaddeus Russell.

    ~ in the mid-1800s, eminent American historian John Fiske estimated that “the lowest Irish are far above the level of these creatures [Italians.]”

    ~Italians possessed “a natural inclination toward criminality . . .is lazier, more gossiping, and fitter for intrigue than the American. It is hopeless to think of civilizing them . . .” – New York Times, 1876

    ~”Italian immigrants were . . .’without exception, the dirtiest population I had met with.” -Philanthropist Charles Loring Brace, 1872

    ~ In the Mississippi Delta, attempts were made to segregate ‘white’ and Italian schoolchildren and to disenfranchise the newcomers.” In 1898, a Delta newspaper said: “when we speak of white man’s government, they [Italians] are as black as the blackest Negro in existence,” hence the term guinea, which had been applied to slaves from West Africa, was applied to Italian Americans.

    ~ In 1901, Leslie’s Illustrated wrote of the “instincts” of the Italian immigrant, which included many of the natural characteristics widely believed to be those of African Americans. ‘He plays cards, throws dice, gets up all kinds of gambling games . . .’ ‘There is a 60% chance that an Italian birth is of an illegitimate union . . .sanctioned by neither law nor sacrament.”

    ~ a 1904 commentary by Popular Science Monthly welcomed immigrants from northern Italy, were “often of lighter complexion” and very often “skilled in some trade or occupation,” but warned against admitting “the southern Italian,” who was “short of stature, very dark in complexion.” Since southern, or dark, Italians were perceived to BE black, they were paid the same as African Americans.

    ~ In 1910, the Chicago Tribune sent anthropologist George A. Dorsey to Italy to study the source of the undesirable immigrants. Souther Italians in particular, concluded Dorsey, were clearly of “Negroid” ancestry and therefore “of questionable value from a mental, moral, or physical standpoint.”

    enough

    point is, Americans — perhaps all people everywhere at some time, have displayed hateful bigotry toward some other people.

    We should worry when bigotry is observed in psychologically unstable populations and individuals, becomes government policy, is financed from the deepest of all possible pockets, and enforced by lethal weapons wielded by dehumanized warriors.

  234. M.Ali says:

    They could either install free message board software such as SMF or purchase one that probably costs average of 100-200 dollars.

  235. M.Ali says:

    Eric (re: forums)

    By forum, I mean a message board, Eric.

  236. Rehmat says:

    Anti-Semitism – Old vs New

    “Anti-Semitism is nothing but the antagonistic attitude produced in the non-Jew by the Jewish group. The Jewish group has thrived on oppression and on the antagonism it has forever met in the world… the root cause is their use of enemies they create in order to keep solidarity,” Albert Einstein, quoted in Collier’s Magazine, November 26, 1938.

    Theodor Herzl and many leaders of World Zionist movement, though Khazarian Turks, wanted the so-called ‘anti-Semitism’ kept alive among the western Christians for their evil design to occupy Muslim-majority Palestine.

    Joe Cortina, a former Green Beret, in an article. titled “You Might Be An Anti-Semite, If…” had listed several things, if you believe, could put you in Israel Lobby’s list of the ‘anti-Semite’.

    - Jesus was a good guy who had some important things to say about peace on earth, human-rights, etc.

    - The idea of Jews being ‘a master race, who’re destined to rule the world with iron rod is a bunch of nonsense.

    - You think that exterminating over a billion Muslims just because they dare to prevent their centuries-old culture from being conquered by the muli-headed beast of Zionism might not be such a good idea……

    But, those were the old anti-Semitic beliefs. The new ones include:

    - if you criticize the Wall Street’s biggest Jewish crook Madoff. “The arrest of a Jewish businessman whose alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme drained the finances of private investors, philanthropic foundations and banks has prompted an outpouring of anti-Semitic comments on mainstream and extremist Web sites,” ADL, December 19, 2008.

    - If you believe that British Muslim communities have nothing to do with the defeat of pro-Israel candidates in British election.

    - If you believe that renewed printing of The Protocols of Zion has no significance.

    - If you believe that Israel committed international crime by murdering nine Turkish aid workers at Sea on May 31, 2010.

    - If you believe that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a good guy after all.

    - If you believe that Lebanese Islamic Resistance did defeat Israeli Army in Summer 2006.

    - If you believe that Israeli MOSSAD was behind the recent bombing of Coptic church in Alexandria (Egypt).

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/anti-semitism-old-vs-new/

  237. James Canning says:

    Iranian,

    The sad truth is that for most US politicians in Washington, if the Israel lobby says “jump”, their response is “how high”.

  238. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    Yes, the price of oil would skyrocket if the US were stupid enough to attack Iran. And the fact the US does not buy much oil in the Gulf would mean little. My point was that the American taxpayers are foolishly squandering hundreds of billions of dollars each year, on what is presented to them as maintaining US security by assuring access to oil. It is one of the larger confidence tricks in recent history.

  239. Fiorangela says:

    Here’s a fine dish with cardemom and rosewater, to complement Marandi’s hearty fesenjoon served at the Leveretts’ table:
    Stephen Kinzer: One of the immutable patterns of history is the rise and fall of great powers. Those that survive are the ones that adapt as the world changes. Thus far, however, the US shows little sign that it is willing to accommodate the rise of middle powers. American leaders are frozen into denial and caught in a straitjacket of policies shaped for another era. Unless they can become more nimble, the US risks losing both global influence and domestic prosperity. . . .

    . . .In the Middle East, the US should stop acting as if it, alone, knows what is best, and instead, seek a Muslim partner. Turkey is the logical choice. . . .

    . . .Iran bets on Middle East forces like Hamas and Hezbollah, which win elections. The US bets on the Saudi monarchy, the Pharaonic regime in Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, and increasingly radical politicians in Israel. The future will require interest-based partnerships that meet the needs of a new age.

    as I recall, Flynt Leverett has also argued that last point: Iran picks winners; US — not so much.

    so many principled thinkers, yet the US gets stuck with neocons and bought-and-paid-for legislators.

  240. M.Ali,

    “I really wish the webmasters would attach a forum to this site. Lots of interesting, unrelated topics get mixed up with each other.”

    I’m not sure what the best format is. Sometimes it indeed is hard to find what one is most interested in. On the other hand, as you write, some of the topics that turn out to be “interesting” are also topics that may be “unrelated” to what the reader thought his interest was limited to. By “forums” I assume you mean separate threads, which could lead to a lot of threads that die quickly because only a very small number of readers bother to follow them. We could end up with a lot of small, separate “communities.”

    In any case, I suppose we all could consider doing a bit more specifically what we’ve been doing already. For example, instead of starting a response with “Bill,” we could start the response with “Bill (re: Lebanese government).” That would enable us to weed out more quickly the posts in which we might not be interested, but still keep them in front of our eyes enough for us to be aware of what others are discussing.

  241. M.Ali says:

    I really wish the webmasters would attach a forum to this site. Lots of interesting, unrelated topics get mixed up with each other.

  242. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – The US imports most of its oil from South American countries. Russia’s 68% oil is drilled from its Muslim-majority occupied Chechnya. China has the largest oil field lease in Southern Sudan. Oil is carrot, like Iraq, being applied by the pro-Israel Lobby to get the US divide Muslim-majority Sudan.

    Chechnya is also used by the anti-Putin Jewish Russian billionaire living in Britain.

    Japan imports most of its oil need from the Middle East.

    China, in addition to Sudan – have set its eyes on Iranian oil reserves – now considered to greater than Saudi Arabia.

    Save Darfur’ funds Israeli settlements
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/save-darfur-funds-israeli-settlements/

  243. Liz says:

    James Canning,

    It really doesn’t matter, because if the oil and gas is no longer exported from the region, China, the EU, and the US will be fighting over the remaining oil supplies. The price of oil and gas would go through the roof and there will be a global depression like we’ve never seen.

  244. James Canning says:

    One might note here that the US gets a diminishing proportion of its oil from the Persian Gulf, and that China will tend to make sure the Gulf remains open for shipping, given that it is the largest buyer of Saudi crude.

    Turkey is increasingly taking a larger share of Iraqi oil, especially from the north.

  245. Liz says:

    One of the best parts of the article by Professor Mohammad Marandi is when he writes:

    “Iran is prepared to continue living without relations with the United States in the years to come,…”

    Western countries are not as important or powerful as they think they are.

    I also liked where he wrote that Iranians:

    “…will also not forget that their suffering was largely because of American and European support for Saddam Hussain—including Western support for his acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, which he regularly used against Iranian and Iraqi civilians. There was no condemnation from western governments or even the western media for these cruel and barbaric acts. Iranians believe that western leaders are just as guilty for these crimes against humanity as Saddam Hussain himself.”

    In truth, “civilized” western leaders are just as cruel and barbaric as Saddam Hossein was.

    A very very good article.

  246. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    Several centuries ago, French fashions, literature, etc etc were popular all across Europe even though France itself was often hated because of its efforts to conquer neighboring countries. When the Russian nobility spoke French or even English among themselves, in the decades before the 1917 revolution, it was not for reasons of a self-conception of inferiority. Issues of style are complex. Whatever couuntry or countries are seen as the richest and most successful will tend to see their style adopted in other countries hopin perhaps to emulate that “success”.

  247. kooshy says:

    M. Ali

    “You are somewhat right. Iranians are, like most Asian people, have an inferiority complex when it comes to the west. In Iran’s case, it is prominent among certain elements of the population (such as the upper class and the greens), but it exists in some form in most of the people. A part of the blame should be placed on the Pahlavi regime, starting with Papa Pahlavi who tried to force Iranian’s to leave their culture behind and mimic western norms and dress codes and such. Since the revolution, Iranians have moved away from it a bit, but the inferiority complex still exists.”

    Historically this very bad self diminishing phenomena started after Amirkabir’s assassination, and with Nasser din Shah’s first trip to Europe, internally and externally Iranian’s were nationally psyched up to believe they are behind and incapable of making and producing to level up or catch up with Europe, unfortunately to some extend this still exist, mostly with more western oriented Iranian’s, but I think the revolution and the War has helped to change that to some extent.

  248. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Stuart Levey’s role is to serve as a stooge of Israel in damaging Iran in as many ways as possible, and Levey regularly lies about the situation in the Middle East, both to Congress and to the media, as part of this scheme. He’s something of a whore, but he gets strong backing from idiot US newspapers etc.

  249. Pak says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    More context to the supposed imposition of Western immorality on Iran:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VkGp5U2Aww

    Drink wine, for life is eternally this
    A harvest from the days of your youth
    A season of flowers, wine, and drunken companions;
    Be happy now, for this is life.

    - Omar Khayyam (1048 – 1131)

    Gar man ze meye moghane mastam, hastam
    Va ashegh o rend o bot-parastam, hastam
    Har kas ke be-khiyale khod gamame darad
    Man khod daram, har anche hastam, hastam

    If I am drunk on forbidden wine, I am
    And if a lover, a rogue, an idol worshipper, I am
    Everyone has doubts to their own mind
    I know myself; whatever I am, I am

    - Omar Khayyam (1048 – 1131)

    (My favourite one)

    Ananke pari ruy o shekar goftarand
    Hayf ast ke ruye khoob penham darand
    Fil jomle neghab niz bifayede nist
    Ta zesht bepushand o niku bogzarad

    Those fairy-faced, sugar-speaking ones
    What a shame they have to hide their beautiful faces
    But neither is the veil worthless
    So long as the ugly wear it, and the beautiful, not

    - Saadi (1184-1283)

    Do not be fooled: the narrative being forced down our throats by the regime is not representative of Iran’s culture, history, or religion. Even Ahmadinejad recognises this to an extent.

  250. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Nixon was elected on the strength of his pledge to get out of Vietnam, and within days of entering the White House he was ordering his generals to plan for a fairly quick exit. Kissinger talked Nixon into going slow on the withdrawal, to prevent the collapse of the S. Vietnames government in time to damage the Republicans in the 1972 elections. The opening to China was in part a PR exercise to provide cover for getting out of Vietnam.

  251. James Canning says:

    I agree with the author of the piece that Iran has as much an interest, if not more, in a stable Middle East, than does the US. Actually, elements in the US push for instability in the Middle East, as part of their insane “Greater Israel” scheme.

    Iraq has been part of the various Persian empires for many centuries. Only idiot neocons think Iraq should not be close to Iran as part of the natural order of things. Now that the Sunni power structure is gone — thanks to G W Bush and his wrecking crew.

  252. kooshy says:

    M.Ali says: January 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm
    “HUGE BREAKING NEWS, Tunisia President resigns!”

    Not only that he immediately escapes to his real home, Paris, ala 79 trip by the shadow of the god the king of kings, and the light of the Aryans. , Clinton has a lot to deal with these days, doesn’t she? , one would also beg to know how well they can manage Jordan’s,, today in a speech about relations with China, Clinton said “ China as a founding member of united nations…..” someone needs to tell her that PRC had nothing to do with it was the ROC or better known as Taiwan in fact China wasn’t allowed to seat in UNSC until 1971 when US had to leave Nam and end up kissing Mao’s rear to be allowed to leave.

    “The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 upon ratification of the Charter by the five permanent members of the Security Council—France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States”

    “The Communist takeover of continental China in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 and later Hainan, Tachen and other outlying islands in the 1950s left the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) with control over only Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other minor islands. The KMT declared Taipei the provisional capital. The Communist Party of China took over all of mainland China and founded the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, leading to two rival governments claiming to be the sole legitimate government of China. However, until the 1970s the ROC was still recognized by many countries and the United Nations as the sole legitimate government of both mainland China and Taiwan. The ROC had been a founding member of the United Nations and one of the five permanent members of the Security Council until 1971, when China’s representation was replaced by the PRC via UN General Assembly Resolution 2758.”

  253. Fiorangela says:

    Marandi wrote:

    “I wrote the “then-Saudi-” funded Taliban, whereas I should have written simply “the Saudi-funded Taliban”. According to leaked documents on Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia is still the largest financial supporter of the Taliban. In fact, almost all of the undemocratic Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf region are still funding the Taliban. This has always been an open secret in this part of the world. Indeed, not only are these states funding the Taliban, they are effectively funding the Taliban ideology, which has strong similarities to that of Al-Qaeda, throughout the world.”

    Would you be amazed to learn that Stuart Levey knows this and agrees with Marandi?

    Mitchell Bard, speaking in California to “The Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors,” Oct 13, 2010:

    ” Stuart Levey said, and I quote: ‘If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Suadi Arabia. The fact is the Saudis are THE principle sponsors of a variety of different terrorist groups around the world.”

    That is extraordinary:
    ~ If Levey knows that Saudi Arabia is “THE principle sponsor” of terror groups around the world, WHY HAS HE TESTIFIED BEFORE CONGRESS THAT IRAN IS?

    ~ If Levey knows that Saudi Arabia is “THE principle sponsor” of terror groups around the world, why hasn’t he passed that information along to his boss at the Department of Treasury, and the the Secretary of State, and to the Defense Department, so that they can use the information to save the lives of American soldiers, and to the Dept of Homeland Security so they can keep the American people safe? Isn’t that your obligation, Mr Levey?

    ~ If Levey knows that Saudi Arabia is “THE principle sponsor” of terror groups around the world, what is keeping him from “snapping his fingers” and shutting down the money spigot? Hand broken? Too busy buzzing around the world attempting to destroy Iran’s economy?

  254. Fiorangela says:

    Marandi wrote:

    “I wrote the “then-Saudi-” funded Taliban, whereas I should have written simply “the Saudi-funded Taliban”. According to leaked documents on Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia is still the largest financial supporter of the Taliban. In fact, almost all of the undemocratic Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf region are still funding the Taliban. This has always been an open secret in this part of the world. Indeed, not only are these states funding the Taliban, they are effectively funding the Taliban ideology, which has strong similarities to that of Al-Qaeda, throughout the world.”

    Would you be amazed to learn that Stuart Levey knows this and agrees with Marandi?

    Mitchell Bard, speaking in California to “The Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors,” Oct 13, 2010:

    ” Stuart Levey said, and I quote: ‘If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Suadi Arabia. The fact is the Saudis are THE principle sponsors of a variety of different terrorist groups around the world.”

    That is extraordinary:
    ~ If Levey knows that Saudi Arabia is “THE principle sponsor” of terror groups around the world, WHY HAS HE TESTIFIED BEFORE CONGRESS THAT IRAN IS?

    ~ If Levey knows that Saudi Arabia is “THE principle sponsor” of terror groups around the world, why hasn’t he passed that information along to his boss at the Department of Treasury, and the the Secretary of State, and to the Defense Department, so that they can use the information to save the lives of American soldiers, and to the Dept of Homeland Security so they can keep the American people safe? Isn’t that your obligation, Mr Levey?

    ~ If Levey knows that Saudi Arabia is “THE principle sponsor” of terror groups around the world, what is keeping him from “snapping his fingers” and shutting down the money spigot? Hand broken? Too busy buzzing around the world attempting to destroy Iran’s economy?

  255. Dan Cooper says:

    This is an excellent article.

    I have a tremendous respect for professor Morandi.

    Perhaps leveretts ought to ask him to contribute to http://www.raceforiran.com more often.

  256. Kamran says:

    As their hegemony weakens, the US and other western countries are gradually silencing voices of dissent both at home and abroad.

  257. Liz says:

    As the Lauren Booth article shows, freedom in the UK only exists as long as it does not bring about real change! PressTV must not exist, because it is a threat to freedom. lol

  258. Fiorangela says:

    m. ali: foolish Pahlavi
    “. . .starting with Papa Pahlavi who tried to force Iranian’s to leave their culture behind and mimic western norms and dress codes and such.”

    http://www.irandokht.com/editorial/index4.php?area=per&sectionID=3&editorialID=958

    While the strict dress code is mandatory today, it has not always been so in Persian history.

    Throughout the ancient world including Persia, both men and women used make-up, wore jewellery and coloured their body parts. Moreover, their garments were both elaborate and colourful. Rather than being marked by gender, clothing styles were distinguished by class and status:

    The body was used freely and sexuality was often perceived as a gift from gods and was celebrated. Judging by the number of nude male and female attendants and personalities depicted, nudity did not seem to be a problem. However high-ranking females would not expose their bodies as much as ordinary females did as a sign of high status.
    (“Comestics, Styles & Beauty Concepts in Iran” on :www.cultureofiran.com)

    Nearly 2,500 years of customs, traditions and styles of dressing had already been established in the ancient Near East when the Achaemenian dynasty was founded in the 6th century BC. Although the fs infused Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian fashion into their culture, they soon developed their own styles as well.

    Nevertheless, Persian garments at the start of the Persian Empire were simple and bore little distinction for men and women. Animal fur and leather were widely used, and most families produced their own wool which the women then wove into clothes. Describing ancient Persian attire, Mahera Harouny, who is of Afghani-Persian origin, said: . . .”

    click the link to see what Harouny said. The pictures will make it worth your while.

  259. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Both for Iran and the United States, it is best that the President have prior executive experience such as having been mayor of a large city or having been a governor.

  260. M.Ali says:

    I think unlike certain other countries, Iran’s working & lower class are not anti-academic. I’m not sure if Reza was implying that the working/lower class are anti-academic, but if he was, I disagree!

  261. BiBiJon says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    January 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Barbara Slavin once wrote”

    “[since the 1800s]…Iran has an established history of elections that has put people in the habit of going to the polls. Iranians are used to hearing different opinions expressed in parliament and in the press. They turn out to vote in great numbers, and hold elected officials accountable for their actions.”

    Ahmadinejad holds a PhD. I tend to believe Iranian voters are exacting in their choices. But I doubt it is class, education, etc. It is the ancient concept of “farr” (fairness) that is the real motivator.

  262. Liz says:

    M.Ali,

    I think one of the great things about the Revolution is that it has significantly weakened and even done away with the sense of inferiority that many Iranians had. The article above is one such example. It is now mostly a certain class of people that have such a strong inferiority complex.

  263. Pak says:

    Dear M.Ali,

    I did exactly that, I re-posted it with “(dot)” replacing the dots. It only contains one link anyway, which I thought was enough not to get moderated.

    Time will tell I suppose.

    By the way, in other anti-imperialist developments: Saudi Arabia were knocked out of the Asian Cup today. Iran is still standing strong.

  264. Reza Esfandiari says:

    If the election of Ahmadinejad should teach us anything, it is that working and lower class Iranians prefer a candidate who appeals to their social stratum and values.

    Middle-class and expat Iranians like Binam and Pak have never understood this.

    I don’t fancy the chances of people like Marandi and Larijani in a presidential election even though they have a lot of qualities.

  265. M.Ali says:

    Pak, if your post is waiting moderation and contains a link, repost it with the link slightly changed, such as wwwDOTwhateverDOTcom.

    I’m guessing the site has some spam protection, so links wait for moderation and I assume the site doesn’t have a 24/hours a day mod sitting in front of the PC to check each moderated message to approve it.

  266. BiBiJon says:

    I suspect even Dr. Marandi might be surprised by the turn of events these past few days.

    Surely, Mrs Clinton’s public and “vehement” dressing down of the assembled Mid Eastern foreign ministers for “corruption” and “repression” yesterday was desinged to create space between the United States, and the “center” which according to Dr. Mirandi, “cannot hold.” One has to wonder if Tunisia’s state of tumult changed the Secretary’s goals in her Mid East trip.

    Similarly, the Leveretts may have overlooked a possible explanation for Meir Dagan’s comments regarding a nuclear Iran at the EARLIEST in 2015.

    Dagan like Dr. Fingar, is in fact signalling that engagment with Iran, and accomodation with Turkey-Iran-Syria-Lebanon is now indispensible.

    If so, the January 22 G5+1+Iran is likely to herald an agreement which though identical to Iranian proposals of 2006, will never-the-less be portrayed as new, and unprecedented, and deserving of lifting sanctions by Mrach 21st, 20111.

    Am I dreaming?

  267. M.Ali says:

    “They are often so desperate to prove their worth that they even suggest that they studied in the UK”

    You are somewhat right. Iranians are, like most Asian people, have an inferiority complex when it comes to the west. In Iran’s case, it is prominent among certain elements of the population (such as the upper class and the greens), but it exists in in some form in most of the people. A part of the blame should be placed on the Pahlavi regime, starting with Papa Pahlavi who tried to force Iranian’s to leave their culture behind and mimic western norms and dress codes and such. Since the revolution, Iranians have moved away from it a bit, but the inferiority complex still exists.

  268. Pak says:

    Why are my comments being moderated? Last year I was called a bowl-dwelling parasite and aghaboftadeh (backward/disabled), but no action was taken. Now I am merely stating historical truths – that Hillary Mann worked for WINEP and published anti-Iran articles – and I am being censored for it.

  269. Iranian@Iran says:

    I now think this is a truly exceptional article by Professor Mohammad Marandi. The events in Tunisia reveal how accurate he is.

  270. Fara says:

    Jordanians march against inflation

    “They called Rifai [the prime minister] a “coward” and demanded his resignation.”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/20111141219337111.html

  271. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    Given the tendency of regime apologists to “tweak” their CVs and academic credentials, I take whatever they claim with a pinch of salt (or, to borrow from an article I read somewhere recently, a pinch of salt the size of the Atlantic ocean). They are often so desperate to prove their worth that they even suggest that they studied in the UK – the same country that they have banned regime offspring from studying in now.

    I am so thrilled to see what is happening in Tunisia. It should rejuvenate civil movements across the Middle East, and give hope to people that dictatorships can indeed be overthrown.

  272. Liz says:

    M.Ali,

    “Tunisia President resigns!”

    Professor Mohammad Marandi wrote:

    “Saudi military incompetence during the fighting with Yemeni tribes along the border between the two countries, the general decline of the Egyptian regime in all respects, and the almost universal contempt among Arabs as a whole for the leaders of these two countries and other pro-western Arab regimes and their corrupt elites, are seen as signs that the center cannot hold.”

    Professor Marandi’s predictions are already coming true.

  273. Henric says:

    Rehmat = Right on, the zionist regime decides US politics in the middle east, that will bankrupt and pull US into another useless, illegal war by israel.

  274. Pak says:

    Why is my comment awaiting moderation? It only has one link in it, it is not offensive, nor is it spam.

    May be the Leveretts have learned a thing or two about censorship from the regime in Iran!

  275. Pak,

    “Is Marandi an academic a la Kordan and Daneshjoo?”

    I would say he’s an academic a la Marandi. Read what Dr. Marandi writes, Pak, and comment on that. I’ve never questioned the academic credentials of certain posters on this website whose academic credentials might not withstand a careful examination. I judge them by what they write.

    There’s a second reason you ought not to question Dr. Marandi’s academic credentials, Pak: they are genuine.

  276. Cyrus,

    YOU WROTE TO PAK:

    “Pak, if you’re looking for hypocricy in using the term Democracy, there can be no better example than Obama’s speech in Egypt in June 2009, or Condelezza Rice’s speech there in 2005.”

    I beg to differ. I would nominate the hypocritical appeals to “democracy” by those who were not satisfied with the results of Iran’s 2009 election.

  277. M.Ali says:

    HUGE BREAKING NEWS

    Tunisia President resigns!

  278. BiBiJon says:

    A pair of news reports caught my eye:

    1)President of Tunisia Fires Cabinet as Chaos Deepens
    ,http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/world/africa/15tunis.html?hp

    2)QUOTE ,http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/world/middleeast/14diplo.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=clinton&st=cse

    DOHA, Qatar — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a scalding critique of Arab leaders here on Thursday, saying their countries risked “sinking into the sand” of unrest and extremism unless they liberalized their political systems and cleaned up their economies.

    Speaking at a conference in this gleaming Persian Gulf emirate, Mrs. Clinton recited a familiar litany of ills: corruption, repression and a lack of rights for women and religious minorities. But her remarks were striking for their vehemence, and they suggested a frustration that the Obama administration’s message to the Arab world had not gotten through.

    “In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand,” she said to a stone-faced audience of foreign ministers, businesspeople and rights groups.

    END QUOTE

    I wondered if the 2 articles are related. Anyone wants to shed light on Mrs Clinton’s timing for berating the rulers of US client states so publicly, and “vehemently”?

  279. Pak says:

    Dear Reza,

    Is Marandi an academic a la Kordan and Daneshjoo?

  280. Fiorangela says:

    Voice of Tehran wrote, (re Prof. Marandi): ” . . .“Born in Richmond, Virginia . . .”

    An Episcopal priest in Charlottesville, Virginia [65 miles west of Richmond) told this story to his congregation:
    “A man set out to visit the finest museums in the finest cities in the world. He started in Rome, where he toured the Vatican Museum. There he saw a golden telephone on a highly ornate stand, and a placard below it that said, “Phone call to God, $10,000.” Interesting, but expensive, the man thought.

    Traveling next to Paris, the man stopped at the Louvre. There, too, he noticed a golden telephone on an ornate stand, with a sign that said, “Phone call to heaven, $7,500.” Well, the price has gone down, thought the man, but still . . .”

    In Istanbul, our traveler visited the Church of St. Sophia, where once again he noticed a telephone — silver, this time — with a sign offering “Phone call to heaven, $6000.” “Cheaper phone, cheaper price, but still expensive,” mused the man.

    From Istanbul the traveler flew to Washington, DC, where he visited the Smithsonian Museum. There he saw a diamond-encrusted gold phone on a carved Iranian marble stand, with the sign, “Calls to heaven, $15,000.” “They must have had to pay extra for that marble, so the price to call heaven is higher,” thought the man, as he once again declined the opportunity to call heaven.

    The man’s next stop was Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia. There he saw a gold phone on a carved wooden stand, with the sign, “Call to heaven, 25 cents.” Astonished, the traveler asked a docent why a call to heaven was so cheap at Monticello, when calls to heaven from every other place in the world cost in the thousands of dollars.

    “From Charlottesville, it’s a local call,” the docent explained.

  281. nahid says:

    Dr Seyed Mohammad Marandi is borne outside of Iran never be presidenet unless change the constition

  282. Fiorangela says:

    Reza Esfandiari wrote: “I think Dr. Marandi should run for President in 2013. Sure, he is an academic . . .”

    Recently the new President of Poland spoke to a group in the US. He is an “academic,” an historian, by training.

    Consider, on the other hand, the US Congress and Senate: mostly lawyers and businessmen. Some of the most ideologically-driven of US legislators have come to their positions as representatives of the people and legislators, from backgrounds as radio talk show hosts, actors, party functionaries. Very few “academics.”

    It’s noteworthy that some of the legislators with the most thoughtful and principled understandings of US policy are physicians — men trained in scientific disciplines to understand the world rationally in order to achieve human betterment (Tom Coburn and Ron Paul come to mind).

    In contrast, I heard one of the contenders for the post of Republican party chairman present the case for why she should be selected. She used the word “finance” at least fifteen times in her 20-minute speech.

    In a conversation with Charlie Rose, Rashid Khalidi said that “in the US, the way to get ahead is to go to law school and business school,” so that is what he suggested for young Muslims. I think it’s a mistake. There are more lawyers in the US than the culture can absorb–as my mother-in-law said to her son when he disclosed that he was going to be a lawyer, “Who needs another person who can say black is white and white is black?” On the other hand, there are too few disciplined scholars of history, the arts, and science/engineering. Persons with those mental skills know how to take the long view and to solve problems objectively and creatively.

    That Marandi is an academic works in his favor, in my opinion, and would be an asset to the Iranian people.

  283. Ali H. says:

    I liked the article a lot. The US is picking fights all over the world while China is growing more powerful by the day.

  284. Kamran says:

    I agree with what Professor Marandi wrote. I also found this:

    http://www.hamshahrionline.ir/news-125615.aspx

    Interesting.

  285. Rehmat says:

    Henric – The successive US administrations have proven that they pursue the interests of its Zionists voters and a foreign entity – from USS Liberty to the 9/11. The only US President who dared to challenge the power of these traitors – found himself shot in his head.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/why-israel-is-campaigning-for-us-iran-war/

  286. Henric says:

    Iranian@Iran: No doubt, that just proves that US only pursue their own interest in the region, thats not news but just proves the thesis once again.

  287. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I think Dr. Marandi should run for President in 2013. Sure, he is an academic without the popular touch that Ahmadinejad has with many Iranians, but there are several things he could contribute to Iran’s foreign policy.

  288. Voice of Tehran says:

    About Prof. Seyyed Marandi:

    http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/506/man_with_a_country/

    “Born in Richmond, Virginia to an Iranian professor and a political prisoner under the Shah, Seyed Mohammad Marandi spent his first 13 years in the United States. He recalls a time he once loved NFL football and felt more American than Iranian. But since returning to Iran, where he volunteered in the Iran-Iraq war (surviving attacks with chemical weapons he believes the U.S. supplied to Saddam Hussein), his perspective on the United States, specifically its foreign policy, began to change…”

  289. Cyrus says:

    Pak, if you’re looking for hypocricy in using the term Democracy, there can be no better example than Obama’s speech in Egypt in June 2009, or Condelezza Rice’s speech there in 2005.

  290. Steve Friend says:

    MHF

    Insults are useless. The Leveretts and Professor Marandi (sorry I previously wrote Mirandi) have been right all along.

  291. MHF says:

    Shame on Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, who have made themselves the mouth piece of these charlatans.

    This writing is so stupid that it does not need reply. It is complaining about restrictions for Western writers, while have hundreds of reporters, writers, and attorneys in Khamanei’s prisons in Iran being tortured. No shame!

    Looks like the only one who does not know Mohammad Marandi and his work as the propaganda instrument of Ali Khamenei is Leveretts.

    Hay, Leveretts, do a little work yourselves– you may learn a thing or two.

  292. Steve Friend says:

    Professor Mirandi is absolutely correct on all accounts. It seems we were all fooled by Obama’s almost empty slogan for change.

  293. Goli says:

    Henric,

    You can be sure that WH is way more than just dead silent. It has its operatives working around the clock 1) to crush the movements in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordon, and 2) on Plan B to identify the next best puppet leader/government it can install in case things really go south.

  294. Liz says:

    After reading Professor Marandi’s excellent piece, Americans should also read this:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/02/think_again_american_decline

  295. Iranian@Iran says:

    Good point Henric. It’s a nice and comprehensive article.

  296. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Richard,

    Thank you for clarifying the absurdity of the “Japan Option”, for either Japan or Iran.

    As the Bush era discourse subtly changed from “Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons”, to “Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon capabilty”, I confess I hadn’t given it much thought beyond ‘yet another change in goal posts.’

    But, now after reading your comment, it has become clear how absurd the notion is.

    If 10s of 1000s of nucleaqr warheads did not deter US, Soviet Union and China and their assorted proxies to engage in raging conventional military confrontation with one another, then who in their right mind would would argue that there would be even a smidgen of security dividend for Iran to develop an handful of nukes.

    And, in an envrioment where an ICBM with multiple, independently targetable warheads can reach any point on the planet in a matter of minutes, what chance does Japan (or Iran) have to exercize their ‘Japan Option?’

    Thanks very much for pointing out the absurdity.

  297. X says:

    Excellent informative piece. It breeds questions and gives answers from a true iranian expert.

    But for a good laugh, you can always trust Pak

  298. Henric says:

    Great article, and dont forget the recent demonstrations in Tunisia.
    When the demonstrations in Iran 2009 took place the white house condemn the Iranian state. BUT when Tunisia police clash with demonstrators, killing 50 people, the white house is dead silent. No condemnations, no sanctions etc, the same goes for Egypt as the article also brought up. Such hypocrites!
    GO IRAN!

  299. Bill Davies says:

    It’s quite astonishing how in the UK such voices are rarely heard. Raceforiran should be more active so that our politicians who have left us with a ruined economy and a destroyed global reputation can at least be prodded into behaving more reasonably towards Iran and thus help resolve some of the problems that are of our own making.

    Thank you.

  300. Pak says:

    Peddling the official regime narrative again, I see, this time by the “US expert” Marandi. The irony is not lost, especially given his criticism of Egyptian democracy and promotion of Iranian democracy in the same breath.

  301. Pirouz says:

    An American war veteran comparable to Mirandi’s wartime record of bravery during the Iran-Iraq War would be wearing a minimum of four Purple Heart pins on his blazer lapel.

  302. Iranian says:

    The logic of the article is strong. However, almost all American politicians and government officials are too reliance on these mercenary and obsessed “Iran experts” to even contemplate a more reasonable approach to Iran-US relation.

  303. Liz says:

    Excellent piece.