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The Race for Iran

WHY SHOULD IRAN TRUST PRESIDENT OBAMA?

Photo from BBC

In the run-up to a new round of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran on Monday, Western commentators are re-hashing old arguments that the Islamic Republic is either too politically divided or too dependent on hostility toward the United States for its legitimacy to be seriously interested in a nuclear deal. From this perspective, the Obama administration has been more than forthcoming in its efforts to “engage” Tehran; the obstacles to diplomatic progress are all on the Iranian side.

But a sober examination of the Obama administration’s interactions with Iran since President Obama took office in 2009 reveals a dismaying mix of incompetence and outright duplicity that has done profound damage to American interests and credibility. In light of this record, the question is not whether the United States should have any confidence it can productively engage the Islamic Republic. The real question is: why should Iranian officials believe they can trust President Obama and his administration to deal with them straightforwardly and with a genuine interest in finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff?

The recent release of the Wikileaks cables confirms the assessment we have been offering since May 2009: The Obama administration has failed to follow up on President Obama’s early rhetorical overtures to Tehran with bold steps and substantive proposals to demonstrate its seriousness about rapprochement. Strategic engagement — think Nixon and China — is not the same as “carrots and sticks”. In fact, strategic engagement requires a self-conscious effort by the United States to put “sticks” aside in order assure Iran that it is serious about realigning relations. And that is something the Obama administration has never been willing to do. (Obama’s vague letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — dispatched as Obama ignored two letters sent by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — were seen in Tehran as just the latest U.S. attempt to “game” Iran’s political system rather than to come to terms with it.)

Of course, this could all be characterized as the product of incompetence and political timidity — both are surely important drivers of the Obama administration’s Iran policy. But, more ominously, the administration has treated participation in nuclear negotiations with Iran primarily as a way of bringing international partners and the American public on board for more sanctions, and, eventually, military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets — as we warned in May 2009.

In his celebrated Iranian New Year message in March 2009, Obama said that U.S.-Iranian rapprochement “will not be advanced by threats”. But, at the same time Obama was taping this message, officials in his administration were telling European Union member states that Washington remained committed to the “pressure” track of the “dual track” approach, see this cable. And State Department talking points, see this cable, disclosed as part of the Wikileaks documents note that “the two elements of the P-5+1 strategy — engagement/incentives and pressure — were always intended to run in parallel, because without a credible threat of consequences, it is unlikely that Iran will make a strategic or even tactical change in direction.”

That, unfortunately, suggests there is something fundamentally dishonest about the Obama administration’s approach. Such an appraisal is supported by the way in which the administration has dealt with the question of refueling the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) — an issue that will be on the table again next week.

The issue of refueling the TRR arose in early June 2009 — before the Islamic Republic’s June 12, 2009 presidential election — when Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sent a letter to the Agency’s then-director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, requesting IAEA assistance in finding a supplier from which Iran could purchase new fuel for the TRR. Baradei, in turn, showed the letter to the United States and Russia.

Instead of taking the Iranian letter as the straightforward confidence-building measures — Iran buys the fuel, so it does not need to produce it — the Obama administration decided to put Tehran in a bind. By offering to swap new fuel for the TRR for the majority of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU), the United States could set a precedent that would constrain the development of Iran’s enrichment program without requiring the United States to “give up” anything of strategic significance. And, if the Iranians balked at the proposal, the United States could cite that as further evidence of Tehran’s unwillingness to accept a “cooperative” solution to concerns surrounding its nuclear activities. This was particularly important, for — as the Wikileaks documents confirm — the administration had agreed with Israel to set the end of 2009/beginning of 2010 as a “deadline” for progress in nuclear talks with Iran; after that, Washington would launch a concerted campaign for new United Nations Security Council sanctions.

The Obama administration’s “swap” proposal for refueling the TRR was crafted, quite deliberately, to advance this Machiavellian agenda. When the proposal was tabled in October 2009, the Iranians agreed “in principle” to a fuel swap, but wanted to negotiate details of timing and implementation — primarily to ensure that, after giving up a substantial quantity of LEU, they would actually receive new fuel for the TRR. But discussions with Iran to find a mutually acceptable outcome regarding the TRR — even if those discussions ultimately proved successful — would not advance the administration’s real agenda: getting the Security Council to adopt a new sanctions resolution. (Strikingly, we were told by senior British officials in November 2009 that the British government did not want the TRR proposal to succeed because, as a practical matter, that would make it impossible to get the Security Council to authorize new sanctions against Iran.)

So, instead of negotiating, the administration made the “swap” proposal a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. The only diplomatic outcome acceptable to the Obama administration was Iran’s “surrender” to the original fuel swap proposal; if the administration could not get that — and get it by December 31, 2009 — then it would focus exclusively on sanctions. Thus, the Wikileaks documents show that the administration rebuffed Turkey’s initial efforts in November 2009, see this cable — made at the behest of the IAEA — to put itself forward as a depository for the Iranian LEU, pending the Islamic Republic’s receipt of new fuel for the TRR. As administration officials told Israeli counterparts at the time, the United States was planning to “pivot to apply appropriate pressure” against Iran, see this cable.

In early 2010, having made its “pivot” to pursue “crippling sanctions” against Iran, the Obama administration used tactics reminiscent of the George W. Bush administration’s approach during run-up to the Iraq war to press other countries. Among other things, the administration sought to use the prospect of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear installations to pressure other states into supporting new sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The Wikileaks documents reveal that, in December 2009, senior Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad told Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher that “he was not sure Tehran had decided it wants a nuclear weapon”, see this cable. As far back as 2005, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv reported that Israeli officials were casting doubt on their colleagues’ worst-case assessments of Iran’s nuclear activities; a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, for example, noted that Israeli assessments had “from 1993 predicted that Iran would possess an atomic bomb by 1998 at the latest”, see this cable.

But senior Obama administration officials ignored these cautionary points. Instead, senior U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Gates, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, and Dennis Ross peddled the unsubstantiated public rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to argue that Israel believed it would be necessary to attack Iran to prevent it from fabricating nuclear weapons. The cables show that U.S. officials used the hyped threat of Israeli military action to press China and Turkey to support tougher sanctions against Iran, even though Israeli sources had given them serious grounds to doubt Netanyahu’s highly politicized public rhetoric.

The Obama administration then adopted a duplicitous approach to dealing with Turkey and Brazil over the TRR. In early 2010, Turkey and Brazil put themselves forward as potential mediators of a deal to refuel the TRR. While the Administration was not interested in a deal, a group of senior U.S. officials — with the NSC’s Dennis Ross at the helm — persuaded Obama to manipulate his Turkish and Brazilian counterparts for what they argued would be a huge diplomatic payoff. These officials had never bought into Obama’s early rhetoric about engagement, and had their own convictions that the Islamic Republic was an inherently irrational and/or unreliable interlocutor. They judged that, if the United States continued to insist on certain conditions in any prospective arrangements to refuel the TRR, it could effectively guarantee that Tehran would never accept a deal.

On the basis of this deeply flawed assessment, these administration officials devised a plan: Lead the Turks and Brazilians to think that the United States is still interested in a diplomatic solution on refueling the TRR. Let them go to Tehran, before the Security Council voted on a new sanctions resolution, in a high-profile effort to find such a solution–but insist on terms for refueling the TRR that the Iranians will surely reject. Once the Turkish-Brazilian effort failed, the United States would be in a position to insist that both governments — non-permanent members of the Security Council — support intensified sanctions. And that would give Washington a unanimous vote in the Council authorizing a new sanctions resolution.

This is the backdrop to the letter that President Obama sent to Brazilian President Lula in April 2010; U.S. and Turkish officials tell us that Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan received a virtually identical letter around the same time. The letter lays out a number of conditions that would need to be met for an international arrangement to refuel the TRR to be acceptable to the United States. The Tehran Declaration which Lula and Erdoğan negotiated in Iran the following month meets every one of these conditions. But the United States immediately — and derisively — rejected the Tehran Declaration as a basis for further negotiations and continued pushing for a new sanctions resolution, which the Security Council adopted in June (with Turkey and Brazil voting against it).

In conversations we have had with senior Iranian officials since May, our Iranian interlocutors have come across as both puzzled and troubled by the Obama administration’s categorical rejection of the TRR. Why would President Obama act in a manner so deeply damaging to the credibility of the United States on a matter of the highest international importance? As time goes on, the sad truth is becoming clear: in fact, no arrangement to refuel the TRR was acceptable to the United States in the spring of 2010. To put it bluntly, Obama lied to President Lula and Prime Minister Erdoğan. He set them up to fail, so he could get their votes for the sanctions resolution. From the White House’s perspective, the worst possible thing that these two leaders and their foreign ministers could have done was to succeed in winning Iran’s agreement to the Tehran Declaration. Without that, the duplicitous plan concocted by Obama’s “expert” team of Iran advisers would have succeeded brilliantly.

This is a truly appalling record — one that should embarrass every American who values his country’s international credibility and cares about its effectiveness as an international actor. The record is certainly raising questions for major non-Western governments about the Obama administration’s real intentions toward Iran. And, in Tehran, it is raising the prospect that no American administration — even one headed by Barack Hussein Obama — can accept and deal honestly with the Islamic Republic.

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300 Responses to “WHY SHOULD IRAN TRUST PRESIDENT OBAMA?”

  1. Humanist says:

    Fiorangla

    After watching half of the video on that congressional hearing your reflections touched me too.

    You Wrote [....Berman’s opening statement included a reiteration of the refrain we’ve heard all too frequently: “sanctions on Iran are pleasantly severe . . ’biting’ sanctions are harming Iran’s economy.”
    Am I the only person who considers such statements, and the glee with which they are uttered, to be disgusting, outrageous, contrary to Geneva Conventions, and evil? ]

    No, you are not alone, so many millions of good people around the world are on your side, look at the space of Internet, countless bloggers feel your emotions… we all get appalled watching a group of psychopaths rejoice from inflicting distress or pain on ordinary people and on those who dare to stand up for their rights and resist the harmful, ruthless hegemonies.

    The type of individuals you saw on that video are the same bunch of the deranged who, in 1990s, imposed severe pains on the lower class Iraqis where among a million who perished from starvation or lack of medicine were half a million innocent children. You have to see the pictures of starving children to realize those sanctions were horrendous crimes that will stand out in the human history, those are in the class of Nazi crimes.

    The bunch are also the type of self-righteous, merciless zealots who are collectively punishing the Palestinians in Gaza ( a heartrending supreme crime that Noam Chomsky brands it as “sadistic, murderous”).

    Thanks for the post. I learned quite a lot, the content of video is truly mind boggling.

  2. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Yes, The New York Times wants to “frame the narrative” re: leaked cables to create false impression most senior Saudis see the primary threat to peace as coming from Iran, when in fact the primary threat to peace of the region comes from continuing oppression of the Palestinians by Israel (including Israeli efforts to smash Hamas and Hezbollah to facilitate continuing oppression of the Palestinians). The NYT does not want its readers to comprehend the US has been compromising the national security of the American people, to gratify the demands of powerful Jewish financiers. And others, of course.

  3. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Unknown Unknowns,
    Bonus points to you for innovative use of the word “ragamuffin”.

  4. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Stephen Hadley is a neocon warmonger who, as you reminded us, took a key role in deceiving the American public about Iraq in the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003. “Laundering” the claim about Iraq’s supposed effort to buy “uranium” in “Africa” by attributing it to “British intelligence” was a key part of the conspiracy. Hadley, of course, was rewarded for his crimes by being put in the top job when the astoundingly incompetent Condoleezza Rice was moved to State.

  5. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I continue to think a US attack on Iran is unlikely, but I would doubt very much that Russia or China would try to sanction the US even if the war appeared to be illegal under international law. However, Russia and China both want a negotiated resolution of the dispute.

  6. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I doubt very much indeed that the EU would sanction the US if the US attacks Iran. Or sanction Israel if Israel attacks. But EU foreign policy is still a work in progress. And I remember Condoleezza Rice’s statement about White House policy toward France, Germany and Russia in the wake of their effort to block the idiotic invasion of Iraq: “Punish France, isolate Germany, forgive Russia.”

  7. James Canning says:

    I recommend the fine assessment of the TRR negotiations in today’s Financial Times, by Sadegh Kharazi (“Iran is ready to talk, but not under duress”).

  8. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Your statement: “…Those outside of the West who don’t care about that narrative have relatively little reason to care about the cables, since that is what is being released.” is not correct.

    Outside of US, the WikiLeaks have damaged US friends and allies.

    They also have exposed, to the public, US diplomacy and its sources.

    People do care about the information.

    I have no take on the reasoning behind the release schedule of these documents.

    As a matter of speculation, I would venture, on very general grounds, to say that someone or some group of individuals, within the United States ruling circles, have made these leaks possible, most likey, to derail certain policies that another faction was pursuing.

    I further speculate, based on the warnings of Mr. Fidel Castro last summer regarding WWIII as a consequence of the coming war with Iran, the further remarks of Mr. Ahmadinejad about war in the Middle East this past summer, and that the initial relase of these documents covered Iran for thge most part, that one purpose might have been to dissipate the momentum towards war with Iran.

    The leaked documents so far demonstrate Mr. Obama’s duplicity in his approach to Iran, point to Saudi Arabia as the financial backer of US enemies, to Pakistan as the sanctuary of US enemies, to China as a target of US-EU Axis, and to impotence of Arab leaders and their utter dependence on US.

    A group of people in US are very unhappy about the direction of their country and government and have meant to do something about it.

    But this is just speculation.

  9. Arnold Evans says:

    FYI:

    Well, the US government does care about the US/Western narrative. Those outside of the West who don’t care about that narrative have relatively little reason to care about the cables, since that is what is being released.

    So what is your take on the process by which these cables (960 so far out of over 250,000) have been released? I could not envision a process that has access to that amount of cables and it committed to eventually releasing them that would be less harmful to the US or more effective at advancing the US’ agenda as far as shaping the narrative of its foreign policy.

    So the US did not release the cables on purpose, but given that they have been released, the US has shaped the terms of the release to be as beneficial as possible, which is drastically better for the US than the usual release process. In some ways what the US has now regarding the wikileaks is better than if they cables had not been released.

    What is your opinion on these releases?

  10. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Do you think EU would sanction US in case of an attack or invasion of Iran by US?

    Would Russia?

    Would China?

    Arnold Evans:

    The world outside of US and the so-called West does not care about US/Western narrative.

    I do not think you have supplied convincing proof.

  11. Binam says:

    Pirous_2

    I’m glad I amuse you. I’m all lol reading your response.

    1. STATISTICALLY while there’s no solid evidence that proves there was fraud, there hasn’t exactly been solid evidence that proves there was NO fraud. So it’s a glass half full or half empty scenario at play. Faking a straight line using Excel takes 30 seconds. But you continue to miss my whole point that regardless of the actual outcome (let’s agree that we will never agree on this), the government’s response to millions of peaceful protesters (who as much as you hate to admit were both poor and rich, religious and non-religious) raised their doubts and did not CLEAR things up for them. 20 months later, they still haven’t, we’re still talking about it, they’re still using every Friday prayer to make their case and claim that the Green Movement is dead.

    2. Demonstrations that are staged don’t count. Just as pro-Shah demonstrations months before the 1979 revolution, where he gathered hundreds of thousands and had them chant “Javid Shah” while holding his posters didn’t mean a damn thing. If you want to be BLIND to the diversity CLEARLY visible in the Green Movement crowds, that’s your ignorance. Where’s the diversity in the pro-regime crowds? Why are they not as passionate and all look bored? Where are their homemade poster? State-sanctioned prints of SL and AN mean nothing when waved in front of TV cameras. Homemade posters waved in front of cell phone cameras speak volumes.

    3. Mousavi wanted to be on LIVE TV so they don’t edit his words and use it against him. They refused. The program Kawakebian appeared on was canceled after his appearance and replaced by a boring one-sided show of masturbation by regime insiders. Mousavi and Karoubi are yet to be invited on live TV to present their case. If you say otherwise, you’re just being foolish.

    4. They disputed the whole damn thing and were not given the chance to present their case. Their offices were shut down, their belongings confiscated. There is however video of the head of his Komite Sianat Az Ara if you care to watch.

    Furthermore, Mousavi has not given any interviews to Western media – his wife has. At least not to my knowledge. Karoubi has given some. But their number of interviews PALES IN COMPARISON to interviews given by your beloved Ahmadinejad. There are people serving prison terms for having given interviews to the very same networks AN appears on. Maziar Bahari’s crime was an interview with The Daily Show! Just two days ago the woman who called in as a witness to the running over of the protesters got a 2 year sentence.

    5. This Abbas Abdi: (http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=230206). And Tajzadeh, when was he arrested again? And how do you justify all the other political prisoners? I find your explanations amusing. Always nice to hear perspectives of a self-hating Iranian.

    6. Whether the people who WIN the elections are the same or not is a different question. But the fact remains that someone like Ralph Nader (of a Middle-Eastern background) can run for office as a Green Party candidate in the United States and even sway the election one way or another. Others could run too – they may not get the vote – but they could run. If the Shah’s son ran for office in Iran he might get 2% of the vote, but he can’t even run. Son of an Afghan immigrant cannot run. A secular intellectual cannot run. Ebrahim Yazdi cannot run. Shirin Ebadi cannot run. And for the 2013 elections, I bet people like former President Khatami cannot run either – the circle will be closed to only hardcore conservatives. I’d like to see what percentage of the 85% will show up again!

    Did I forget anything?

  12. Arnold,

    “I’m not arguing what should happen, but people who are familiar with the wikileaks version of the cables, and also having or gaining access to the real cables is something the US government is working vigorously to prevent.”

    Why? Everyone in the State Department (among many others) fits that description right now. Did the Wikileaks disclosures taint them?

  13. Arnold Evans says:

    11:21 was directed at a question by FYI.

  14. Arnold Evans says:

    In what possible way have they advanced US foreign policy aims?

    So far, 250,000 cables have told essentially the exact story Western news organizations have been telling all year. Maybe it is because the Western news organizations already knew everything that goes on the diplomatic circles, but the fact that the cables are being released by the Western news organizations themselves, at 0.5% have been released after the first week surely is a factor in how much all these releases do is confirm previously established narratives.

    If these cables had been released the way the last two major wikileaks releases had been done, then by now Dawn of Pakistan would have begun its analysis of the cables, Xinhua of China, Venezuelan news organizations, Brazilian organizations, Al Jazeera and it is very likely stories would have been released that do not only show that the Western news organizations had been right all along.

    We have a leak process designed to delay or prevent that. There are probably documents, and certainly portions of documents that the New York Times has seen that Dawn never will see. By doing that, Assange has reduced himself to a PR agent for the US security establishment. Maybe he was forced, maybe he was just naive and didn’t understand the implications of the process wikileaks established for this. But one way or another, the US government has control over these “leaks” and wikileaks publishes what the US government, along with Western news organizations sympathetic with the goals and agenda of the US government, want to publish.

  15. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    People who actually work for the State Department should of course be subject to restrictions. They know confidential information. Students at Columbia don’t.

    I’m not arguing what should happen, but people who are familiar with the wikileaks version of the cables, and also having or gaining access to the real cables is something the US government is working vigorously to prevent.

    Of course that is to be expected.

  16. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Humanist:
    We need more of your kind: people who study science but are interested in things outside that domain. If you remember to be scientific as opposed to scientistic, you will not go wrong. The distinction being that the former recognizes the limits of its own jurisdiction, whereas teh latter operates on teh assumption that the instrument we call scientific method can and should be applied to everything. The two books that I most appreciated on the history and philosophy of science were Karl Popper’s *The Logic of Scientific Discovery” (wherein Popper lays out his critereon of Falsifiability, and Thomas Khun’s *The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. I also recommend Arthur Koestler’s *The Sleepwalkers*, which is a much more accessible book, albeit dealing with the history of astronomy rather than the philosophy of science. Seyyed Hossein Nasr has some interesting perspectives on the history of science too.

  17. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    The process by which US security services approve the release of information is, I thought, well known.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10690842

    In this light, two backup checks were applied. The US government was told in advance the areas or themes covered, and ‘representations’ were invited in return. These were considered. Details of ‘redactions’ were then shared with the other four media recipients of the material and sent to WikiLeaks itself, to establish, albeit voluntarily, some common standard.

    “Representations” is a very awkward term, chosen specifically to obfuscate what the US government gives the publishing organizations, including wikileaks. However, two things are clear. 1) they are specific enough that they contain specific redactions that wikipedia voluntarily follows and 2) in at least one case, wikileaks only released excerpts of a cable that tell the narrative presented by the news organization, withholding the rest.

    So how this works is, maybe 5 years from now, quite possibly more, a complete set of cables, what the New York Times and Guardian have today – minus cables that wikipedia voluntarily, in communication with the US government, decides to withhold – will be available to independent organizations.

    But the New York Times gets a five year head start in framing the narrative. Are there cables that say the King of Saudi Arabia considers Israel more of a menace than Iran? We may find out five years from now, or that may be considered by the New York Times and Guardian to be too sensitive to ever release. If there are such cables, and they are released, then the false narrative has already been advanced and even become part of a conventional wisdom.

    Wikileaks has made major releases before that have not had this potential. It just put out a dump of all available material that could be searched independently. This new process was designed to ensure that major Western news organizations decide what story is supposedly told by these “leaks”. And the way they are handled, these are no more leaks than when earlier this year high level administration sources told the New York Times, for anonymous attribution, that the US is running covert operations in Iran.

    Western media sources friendly to the US government are publishing documents the US government is comfortable publishing. With wikileaks making this normal process seem more sensational than it actually is.

  18. Humanist says:

    Not unexpectedly, some are trying to theorize “the recent killing of Iranian nuclear scientist and injuring the other might be an inside job”

    As ,http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LL04Ak01.html

    But what about this one from Israel:

    ,http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2010/dec/06/mossad-iran ?

  19. Faram says:

    This leak can anger Russia.

    “The US and Nato have drawn up plans to defend the Baltic nations against Russia, latest US diplomatic cables disclosed by Wikileaks show.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11933089

  20. Humanist says:

    Voice of Tehran

    You say: “Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas”
    What you mean? The only thing I got from that was “qui” which is “who”. Even Google Translator didn’t help.

    Unknown Unknowns

    About “..people killing their own mothers” as I told you I am mildly dyslexic I wanted to say I didn’t believe him by stating “My friend was a poet, an exaggerator. I had hard time to believe that story”.

    Before reading that you gave me a 10. Thanks.

    It seems, most of the time, the ups and downs of the curve of thoughts of a science student and someone who enjoys Hafez move in opposite directions. I’ll continue to read your comment. My feeling is I might learn something from you.

    Stay on the fun side…for Sartre too, life at times seemed insane.

  21. paul says:

    I have to say, this is an appropriately strong statement. Well done.

  22. Kathleen says:

    Important

    Zbigniew Brzezinski brings up the possibility of foreign intelligence services feeding Wikileaks info to serve their agendas
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/july-dec10/weakileaks2_11-29.html

    Not sure why PBS had Stephen Hadley on to discuss this issue. Hadley ignored counter terrorism expert Richard Clarke’s warnings. Thought Hadley had a part in putting the false ““The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .” 16 words back into Bush’s speech that he gave in Cincinnati. Thousands of us were outside protesting

  23. Pirouz_2 says:

    @James Canning:

    James;
    It is completely irrelevant to the subject of this thread; however, since I did not get back to you on the actual thread where you made an EXCELLENT comment to me, I feel the need to reply and thank you for that comment. You hit the nail right on the head with that comment. Just to remind you what I am talking about, I’ll quot you again:
    “How many of those who profess concern about “civil rights” in Iran, are only too happly to stand by and watch the illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank roger the Palestinians? Most of those professing concern about “civil rights” in Iran? Because they want to facilitate further rogering of the Palestinians by illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank?”

  24. Rehmat says:

    “The Iraq invasion was a “done deal” in 1999, but not as you thought to steal oil and bilk billions, that was all gravy. Iraq, the entire Bush presidency, had one purpose, to remove Iran from the picture,” Gordon Duff (Chief Editor Veterans Today) quoted his source……

    Revelations on US plan to attack Iran
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/revelations-on-us-plan-to-attack-iran/

  25. James Canning says:

    Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said today that those who think sanctions will force Iran to change its policies in effect are delusional. They are pursuing a “pipe dream”, he commented. Now, is Hillary Clinton delusional because her first duty in her own estimation is to serve the interests of the Israel lobby?

  26. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    I suggest you read my report on the post-election unrest and the media reaction to it.

    http://www.scribd.com/Three-Stooges/d/38652907

    Enduring American is mentioned in the references.

  27. Arnold,

    “There is also a process by which these organizations run documents by the US security establishment to ensure no vital secrets are released.”

    Somewhere on the NYT website is an exchange of letters between Assange and Harold Koh, legal adviser to the State Department, in which Assange offered to let the State Department review cables before he released them, to ensure that he did not inadvertently put some individual in harm’s way. Mr. Koh refused, and so Assange replied that he’d review them at Wikileaks.

    Unless you’re aware of something else, I don’t think what you say is correct.

  28. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Germany, France and Russia tried hard to forestall the US invasion of Iraq, and of course a key factor was the deception of the UK conducted by the US, on orders of Dick Cheney, apparently. The UK was not informed that Tariq Aziz was a CIA informant and that Aziz had confirmed years earlier that Saddam H had ordered the destruction of all Iraqi WMD during the 1990s.

    A considerable number of European businessmen are opposed to the latest round of sanctions against Iran. Probably most German and Swiss businessmen oppose the sanctions.

  29. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Just as an aside, and touching on your comment re: US Civil War, Robert E. Lee was taught, as a cadet at the US military academy at West Point, that states DID have a right to secede.

    My own view is that the election of Abraham lincoln was a catastrophe for the US because it precipitated the secession of Southern States, when that was not a foregone conclusion if a different candidate had won. And slavery was dying a natural death in any event.

  30. fyi says:

    R.d.:

    I think Europeans were never seriouly strategic in their dealings with Iran. (Americans are much more seriously strategic – but negatively, unfortunately.)

    I think EU had pretensions to be an alternative to US and all of those were exposed as being without substance – they could not prevent the US war against Iraq, they failed in their relationship with Iran, and now they are seen to be part of the same political/financial/military Axis as US.

    Iranians and Europeans used each other for different reasons in this case but neither side could/would budge from their positions.

    Larijani warned EU states that in case of sanctions on Iran they will loose more than Iran; that it is a loose-loose dynamics here. But the US-EU Axis just had to try, absolutely with guns to their collective heads, had to try to break the will of Iran.

    Mr. Khamenei warned them as much last year – but like the Quran says “they would not hear.”

  31. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: December 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm:

    In regards to the US Civil War, why don’t you advocate, as a matter of Honor, Justice, and Legality, the re-convening of the Continental Congress? For clearly, the Union has been illegaly re-established at the point of a gun and therefore has no validity. And the Supreme Court of the United States has never stated that states do not have the right to seceede from the Union.

    The French Workers and Student were ready to take over the state and overthorw the Republic. It was the leadership of the Communist and the Socialist parties that was unwilling to do so.

    Perhaps the French wanted a “People’s Republic”, at that time?

  32. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknown, RE: “Wishful thinking, methinks. Senator, I *knew* Hasan-e Sabbah; Khamenei is no Hasan-e Sabbah.”

    You assumed a lot.

  33. R.d. says:

    Interesting perspective by Kayhan Barzegar

    “UN Resolution 1929 being passed against Iran. These developments have damaged both parties’ interests, including decreasing bilateral trade and undermining diplomacy in pursuing resolution of the nuclear issue.”

    perhaps the economic sanctions are being felt??? To the EU that is.

    http://www.raceforiran.com/why-should-iran-trust-president-obama#comments

  34. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Binam;
    You are actually funny you know that? :D

    So I’ll give a summary of your argument which does not need much of a reply from me:

    1) Polls conducted by University of Tehran (both before and after the election) do not count because Tehran University is not independent, polls conducted by people from the university of Maryland, TFT, Globscan polling from Canada don’t work because they are westerners (all of the previously mentioned polls -all conducted independent from each other- are consistent in their numbers with the election results, which STATISTICALLY is damn difficult to fake). Actually polls in general don’t work in Iran (hell nevermind statistics, even the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply to Iran!!) because they all point out to a reality which does not suit you!

    2)Demonstrations by the pro-government people don’t count because they have come with “bus”!!!! :D In fact we should disregard all Ahmadinejad votes because they were cast by people who were hungry for potato! Freedom to alcohol and miniskirt is democratic and a part of civil rights, voting for the needs of a hungry stomach is a big no no!! :D
    But on the other hand all the demonstrations by the opposition must be multiplied by 10 (as well as their votes!!) because…well because they are nice, middle-class and pro-western/Israeli!!

    3)Since we don’t read even the green media, we are completely unaware of the fact that after the elections there were weekly debates (live) on TV to which opposition members were invited and they all except very few (as one exception Kawakebian comes to mind) refused to participate!

    4) Ballot by ballot vote count results don’t count; the fact that Mousavi/Karroubi could not dispute EVEN ONE ballot box does not count, they are brave enough to give interviews to the Western media and keep claiming that the elections were fraudulent and that there is widespread torture and rape going on in Iran’s prisons but they don’t dare to point to even one fraudulent ballot box because they are not “free”!!

    5) Abbas Abdi who never went to prison after the elections and who currently is a newspaper colouminst in one of the reformist newspapers, was severly tortured (and I am guessing even raped?!?!?) while he was free in his home and was forced to give an interview to deutsche welle during which he was forced to say that 11 million vote majority does not mean much because the “quality” of those votes were low, they were all from the poor and ignorant as opposed to the educated and wealthy who voted for the opposition (and in so doing he was “forced” to acknowledge that Ahmadinejad had the majority by a large margin albeit from the wrong people, ie. the poor!!)
    Tajzadeh who said that there was no fraud in the elections BEFORE he was arrested, was actually forced to make that admission!

    6) Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, Sarkozy and segolene royal, romano prodi and berlousconi, Clinton (I and II), Bush (I and II), Obama, Raegan etc. are a wide variety of DIFFERENT and REAL choices some of whom are from outside of the western regimes and in fact very much against the western regimes, that is why we have democracy in the west. But since Mousavi and Ahmadinejad are both parts of the IR regime, there is no democracy in Iran!!!

    Have I forgot anything?? :D

  35. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi

    “During the American Civil War, was Abraham Lincoln’s government illegitimate?”

    In the eyes of many Southerners, it was — at least in the sense of having authority over the South. Legitimacy was restored through force of arms.

    “How about during the Anti-War protests in 1960s?”

    Few protesters actually were calling for the overthrow of the Government. The demonstrations were on a number of issues — Vietnam, civil rights, the economic structure — but regime change was not advocated by most.

    “Was the French Republic illegitimate in 1968?”

    Most protesters believed in the notion of a Republic. Whether their leaders fulfilled that notion of a Republic was a different matter for many.

    S.

  36. R.d. says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    December 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm
    “Arnold,
    Mr. Assange may or may not have an agenda — everyone does, I suppose — but if he does, I am “

    Is it not ironic that mr Assange himself is so conveniently incommunicado? He is supposedly in hiding and no where to be found. His lawyers claim he is in UK and does communicate to various actors and is available for any conversation, video conference with those interested parties. The charges, actually allegations, (I believe no charges yet to filled), the allegations are of the nature of alleged consensual sexual relation without the use of condoms! LOL, so the other party claims violation!!!!! This surley beats all the daily soap opera hands down, does it not?
    And speaking of the western (Swedish) legal system and how the corp media is capitalizing.

  37. R.d. says:

    fyi says:

    “Scott Lucas says: December 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    During the American Civil War, was Abraham Lincoln’s government illegitimate?

    How about during the Anti-War protests in 1960s?

    Was the French Republic illegitimate in 1968?”

    fyi, that is not fair. you know such standards do not apply to the westerners!!
    ;-)

  38. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: December 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    In what possible way have they advanced US foreign policy aims?

    I certainly cannot see that in case of information pertaining to Iran.

    Likewise, in case of Saudi Arabia, the public relase of information that purports to show funding by Saudis of Salafi extremists is the largest source of terrorist funding cannot benefit the United States.

  39. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    Mr. Assange may or may not have an agenda — everyone does, I suppose — but if he does, I am confident it’s entirely his own.

    I’m not nearly as confident of that. It seems that the news organizations that have access to the full set of cables and are choosing which stories to run are the primary agents that determine which documents will be released next.

    There is also a process by which these organizations run documents by the US security establishment to ensure no vital secrets are released.

    Between those two factors, what we are getting is the point of view of major Western news organizations supported by a tiny portion of the cables.

    We are hearing the word “wikileaks” but this is not a wikileaks narrative, it is a major major Western new organization narrative. The thing is, with a huge and secret collection of cables, these organizations could tell any story they wanted and find one document in 1000 that supports it.

    Wikileaks is at a pace to release the last of the documents more than five years from now. There had never been a wikileaks release before even remotely like this.

    I’ll also say that every non-Western discussion I’ve read regarding these links – every single one – Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Arab, Turkish, every one I’ve read has reached the conclusion I’ve also arrived at, which is that these cables are being released in an orchestrated way to advance US foreign policy aims.

    That means that this release has drained wikileaks of international, or at least non-Western, credibility whether I’m right or wrong about exactly how this is being executed and why.

    Americans have this idea that “being in the news” is an end in itself. Wikileaks is successful because stories are being written about it. I say a couple of things. If the intention was to be in the news for 5 years, releasing 1000 documents a week, from the oldest to the newest, or from the newest to the oldest or starting with the state department and going from the most to least active embassies or doing that in reverse would serve that purpose in a non-biased way.

    Going to the foreign policy desk of the New York Times and saying “release what you find interesting, after you get permission” is not effectively different than going to the US state department itself and doing that.

  40. Arnold,

    “Having 250,000 cables and releasing them at a rate of fewer than 1000 per week, without any pre-determined order, but as it suits the agenda of the unknown releasers is just not credible.”

    Mr. Assange may or may not have an agenda — everyone does, I suppose — but if he does, I am confident it’s entirely his own.

    Whatever his agenda, if any, unless his release schedule gets disrupted in one way or another, it appears that the release of Wikileaks cables is likely to dominate foreign policy discussion for quite a long time.

  41. Arnold,

    “About the ban on potential future employees being exposed to wikileaks, I think the issue is that the US government wants to ensure there is nobody, or as few people as possible, in a position to notice (and potentially publicize) where there are gaps in the releases.”

    People who actually work for the State Department should of course be subject to restrictions. They know confidential information. Students at Columbia don’t.

  42. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: December 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    During the American Civil War, was Abraham Lincoln’s government illegitimate?

    How about during the Anti-War protests in 1960s?

    Was the French Republic illegitimate in 1968?

  43. fyi says:

    Interesting in that it alludes to the willingness of Iranians to do a deal.

    I personally do not think US-EU Axis is willing to do a deal – they have ionvested too much in their sanctions policy. How, for example, are they going to make it good to all the thrid-party entities that were brow-beaten into this policy.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/12/02/the_nuclear_bazaar

  44. Scott Lucas says:

    James,

    “Where do you get the notion a government is ‘illegitimate’ if a protest or two is disrupted? On its face this is absurd.”

    The government’s legitimacy rests upon the support and assent of its people. Disruption of protests can be a response to a challenge to that government’s legitimacy.

    S.

  45. James Canning says:

    In his interview with Spiegel today, Brzezinski also noted: “It’s also interesting that so much emphasis is put on leaks that could be calculated deliberately to damage American-Turkish relations.” And we know the reason for this phenomenon: Israel lobby! Pervasive and corrupting.

  46. James Canning says:

    Does anyone following this site doubt that Foreign Policy magazine in the US is a propaganda organ for Israel, to a dismayingly large degree? For example, in the FP’s daily brief today, it claims that “Iran will only discuss nuclear issues in the context of global disarmament.” Total cr*p! In fact, Iran wants to discuss Israel’s nuclear weapons and Israel’s failure to sign the NPT. This is not a demand for “global disarmament”!

  47. kooshy says:

    Scott

    “I have never argued that the election has been proven fraudlent.”

    Eric for the record, first I think you deserve congratulation, that since I think, your month’s long efforts has finally paid off to a point, I also think Scott must mean fraudulent, unless the dropping the U to be a technique for a future use.

  48. James Canning says:

    Zbigniew Brzezinski is inteviewed by Spiegel today (online at Spiegel.de), and he says what we all know: that most of the neocon warmongers (and fellow travellers)in the US, including their leaders, are “in most cases stunningly ignorant”. I would say they in fact take pride in their stunning ignorance. This was the stance taken by George W. Bush.

  49. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Yes, the warmongers are itching for another insane US military adventure in the Middle East that, once again, would have NOTHING WHATEVER to do with a “threat” to the US or to Israel. Instead, all the noise about Iran’s production of LEU is a smokescreen to conceal the fact their object is to promote further rogering of the Palestinians by Jewish fanatics illegally settled in the West Bank.

  50. James Canning says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Where do you get the notion a government is “illegitimate” if a protest or two is disrupted? On its face this is absurd.

  51. Kathleen says:

    Arnold just confirms once again how many of our congress critters have no respect and show a great deal of disdain for international agreements such as the non proliferation treaty. Iran signed. Iraq signed. Israel did and will not. Yet demands that their neighbors abide by the NPT.

    Yet those same hypocritical congress critters will pull out international agreements when it suits them. Ros Lehtinen, Liebermann, Schumer etc

    There is no solid evidence that Iran is enriching uranium beyond the level that they are legally able.

    The Israeli, I lobby warmongers want to pre emptively strike Iran so bad

  52. James Canning says:

    Roula Khalaf, reporting for the Finacial Times from Bahrain today (“Iran to resume talks on nuclear programme with six powers”) said: “One of the central issues for today’s talks is whether Iran is prepared to revive a scheme whereby it would ship much of its current [LEU] out of the country.”

    Since Iran has made a number of statements in recent weeks and months, that it wishes to proceed with the nuclear exchange (as per Tehran declaration), it is peculiar that the FT would pose the matter as presenting a question of whether Iran is willing to do something Iran makes clear it wants to do.

  53. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    Sources in this comment and the next two.

    Throughout 2009, The Guardian of London kept a detailed spreadsheet of detained and dead

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jan/28/iran-dead-detained-protests-elections-spreadsheet

    I posted the incorrect figure of 150 to illustrate how important it was to make verifiable claims. (Indeed, I remember that in the week following the 20 June demonstrations, I challenged claims of dozens of bodies in Tehran hospitals for not being reliable.) Thank you for helping me make the point with your own assertions.

    Now a question, following the introduction of the topic of the legitimacy of the Government and the legitimacy of protest on this thread:

    You wrote that the protests of 15 June were peaceful. Why did the Iranian authorities mobilise security forces to prevent peaceful protests on 20 June?

    Best,

    S.

  54. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    There is information on casualties at http://iranbodycount.blogspot.com/

    S.

  55. Arnold Evans says:

    US Senators Say Iran Has No Right To Enrich Uranium

    This is the problem with the US’ penchant for secret negotiations. Obama would not be able to commit the United States to allow Iranian enrichment unless he wins the argument, in the United States and in public, that an agreement including Iranian enrichment is the best the US can get.

  56. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    About the ban on potential future employees being exposed to wikileaks, I think the issue is that the US government wants to ensure there is nobody, or as few people as possible, in a position to notice (and potentially publicize) where there are gaps in the releases.

  57. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: December 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    The reason is that they (US-EU Axis) do not have anything useful to offer to Iran.

  58. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf:

    I disagree that India has made a shrewed move to be Deputy US Marshall.

    Power is mostly local and there is snow ball’s chance in hell that India would be capable of projecting power in South Asia let alone in Northeast Asia and against China.

    Not now and not ever.

    That is a (dangerous) delusion of the stratgeic community in India.

    China is entrenched in Pakistan and in Burma.

    She is well-connected to Iran and is making inroads into Afghanistan.

    Central Asia is also another place that China is well-connected if not entrenched with India nowhere to be seen.

    In West Asia, India has no strategic presence any longer.

    US diplomats ought to be congradulated on the fine job they have done in neutralizing India as a state with a foreign policy idependent of US. They deserve applause as well as for conscriting India in a virtual NPT.

  59. Arnold Evans says:

    Having 250,000 cables and releasing them at a rate of fewer than 1000 per week, without any pre-determined order, but as it suits the agenda of the unknown releasers is just not credible.

    Amazingly we now have wikileaks cables accusing Turkey’s Erdogan of corruption.

    http://213.251.145.96/cable/2004/12/04ANKARA7211.html

    This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

    (Comment: who decided what part of the original cable to extract? This is just becoming a farce. How did Assange and the wikileaks organization allow itself to become part of this?)

    21. (S) Third is corruption. AKP swept to power by promising to root out corruption. However, in increasing numbers AKPers from ministers on down, and people close to the party, are telling us of conflicts of interest or serious corruption in the party at the national, provincial and local level and among close family members of ministers. We have heard from two contacts that Erdogan has eight accounts in Swiss banks; his explanations that his wealth comes from the wedding presents guests gave his son and that a Turkish businessman is paying the educational expenses of all four Erdogan children in the U.S. purely altruistically are lame.

    I’ll just say that my feelings about the wikileaks process are moving from disappointment to disgust.

    My take on the cables is that Assange believes that wikileaks will eventually release all of the cables, after the process that is in place has removed all information the US considers damaging. This will be a multi-year process and the end result will be that everything the US government wants to release from its non-secret files will be released and nothing the US government decides to hide will be exposed.

    The US government will overlook some things that will be detrimental to its agendas, but it seems fairly clear to me that in taking control of the release process this has become a US propaganda stunt.

  60. kooshy says:

    “When Iran had a very small supply of yellowcake, it did not have the option of rejecting Russia’s fuel terms. If Iran has a nearly unlimited source of yellowcake, it can make its own fuel, and then reprocess the spent fuel without any Russian conditions.”

    If I remember correctly, according to the great NSC visionary of our time Dr. Condoleezza Rice the appropriate technical term is salami slicing.

  61. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    I agree. The level of extremism found among supporters of Israel/Zionism is profound and troubling.

  62. fyi says:

    Pak:

    I am aware of these comments – both from the Greens and from the IRI loyalists.

    They are both afraid and they let their fears dominate them.

    Moreover, Iranians can be very intolerant of opposing views and, at times, might physically assault one if one is persistent in one’s opinions and the other side runs out of arguments.

    My point in posting that link was the extra ordinary level of emotion that the war in Palestine has infected the body-politic in the United States.

    Just look at the way the United States Government has been forced to adjudicate the quarrel over the competing claims to Jerusalem between Muslims and Jews. If I were an American of the old-scholl, I would cringe to see my country dragged into the interminable religious quarrels of 2 obscurantist has-been people of the Old World.

    I hear that there are extra-solar planets discovered; some of them analogous to Earth and with a Moon-like satellite. Why US is not directing its effort in exploring suitable alternate to Earth (call it America 2) instead of entangling with Jews and Muslims is beyond me.

  63. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    Have you read some of the comments directed at ‘Greens’ and vice versa? Right-winged Jews are not the only ones to have foul mouths. Extremism in any form is unwarranted.

    Dear Pirouz,

    These comments are about as relevant as your endless number of comments on Tehran Bureau, which are not directed related to the articles being commented on, but nonetheless give an interesting perspective on the psyche of regime apologists.

    For example, on an article about 16 Azar and student activism, you wrote:

    “Muhammad, your type of “belief” would have wrought disaster upon the people of Britain in 1940 had they adopted such subversive ways. Of course, there were a few Lord Haw-Haws in exile that were, under the circumstances, perfectly willing to take up such a “belief”….”

    Regardless, the comments started after Professor Lucas linked to a cable that described the US’ interpretation of post-election protests in Iran. I think understanding what the US knows/does not know about Iran is very important to an article titled, “WHY SHOULD IRAN TRUST PRESIDENT OBAMA?”

  64. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns:

    That is silly.

    There is plenty of spent fuel in Iran from TRR to be re-processed; if the Iranians wanted to build a weapon.

  65. Cyrus says:

    The Leveretts say that the Obama administration’s moving of the goalposts over the TRR “raises questions” about the administration’s intentions. I think it more than ever ANSWERS questions. And the answer is that the Obama administration is participating in a long-term buildup to war, and will accept no amount of Iranian concessions over the nuclear issue that can get in the way of that goal. It is about time we openly say this.

  66. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Arnold & fyi:

    There may be easier ways to get it, but Iran could take the position (with tongue firmly in cheek) that they will comply with *that* contract requirement (returning the spent fuel rods) when Russia honors its contractual obligation to provide teh purely defensive S-300 system which she, Iran, needs to keep out the riff-raff.

  67. Pirouz says:

    I have to apologize for not following the line of discussion here on this thread. What is the point of discussing the protests that took place after the election- again?

    You’ll also have to forgive me, I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area, where there have been protests in the 100,000s and where there have been 10,000s of arrests made in a single day and persons crammed into extremely cramped conditions. I’ve personally seen running street battles between baton welding policemen and protesters lasting hours. And I’ve seen rubber bullets used on protesters in Oakland. I’ve personally seen law enforcement declare assemblies unlawful and the cops rush forward with baton/shield charges.

    My comment is so what? And what does this have to do with “Why should Iran trust President Obama?”

  68. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Empty:
    Wishful thinking, methinks. Senator, I *knew* Hasan-e Sabbah; Khamenei is no Hasan-e Sabbah ;o)

    Humanist:
    I was merely trying to widen your horizons a little by pointing out that there are other tools in rhetorical toolbox besides the sterile and usually boring (witness “Norman” Chomsky, as Ali G has him :o) academic one of restrained and “qualified” statements. How you got “a hypnotist who can make people kill their own mothers” from that I have no clue, but 10 points for creativity! Various rhetorical styles can equally be used for good as for ill. What your logic seems to imply is that a style that plays footloose and fancy-free and dwells in the fun side of the garden, as you rightly observe, is and can only be in the service of evil (and that therefore we should avoid hyperbole – and use qualified statements only – so as not to be unwitting instruments of the Deviiil, who is Eviii). Needless to say, you are smarter than that. Your concern for unqualified statements is laudable, I guess, but geez, loosen up a little is what I say. Try to give a little more credit to a fellow traveller and give him some slack. Who knows, if you give him enough rope, he might hang himself ;o)

    And as far as the religious discussion, I think we should let that one go. Its too complex a topic to lend itself to fora that are not conducive to the interaction necessary for a fruitful discussion on the topic. And besides, it is *off* topic. Do I believe in God? With due respect to Aristotle and his binary logic, I can only answer, “in simple terms”: Yes and No. (“God” is one of those words, like “democracy”, for example, which is like an empty vessel which is filled by the user’s definition of it, each user’s definition being unique. That is the first problem. Once you solve the definitional problem, which has remained unsolved since the great pre-Socratic mind Xeno threw down the gauntlet over 2,500 years ago, then the real problems begin). LOL. Enough said.

    Sakineh Bagoom: Talk about the donkey, Daddy! Gotta love it :o) Yeah, our friend Richard has a bit of a one track mind, but I give him credit for having carved himself out his own space at the Pessimist (he would say Realist) end of the spectrum.

  69. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is not a trivial task.

    There are apparently easier ways of getting plutonium – a zeor-output heavy water reactor will do.

  70. Arnold Evans says:

    Debkafile raises a point about Iran’s yellowcake that I had not thought of.

    Bushehr, for now, uses Russian fuel under terms that Iran must return the spent fuel and could not reprocess it into weapons-usable plutonium.

    When Iran had a very small supply of yellowcake, it did not have the option of rejecting Russia’s fuel terms. If Iran has a nearly unlimited source of yellowcake, it can make its own fuel, and then reprocess the spent fuel without any Russian conditions.

  71. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    Did you or did you not include the preposterous figure of 150, and why did you do so?

    What exactly is the source for the estimate that 30 people were killed on June 20th?

    Can you give a list of the names and ages of those killed, where precisely they died and what were the exact circumstances of their deaths?

    Rumor-mongering is what you are good at…..in fact, it is all you are good at.

  72. Columbia University/State Department Warnings

    Scott,

    Thanks for your replies on our earlier debate, which I’ll reply to (thoughtfully and politely, I expect) later. For now, though, another subject: the memos you mentioned on your EA site that warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs not to cite Wikileaks cables in their writing, at least if they have any thoughts about ever working for the State Department.

    It’s not clear to me how any student or scholar can be expected to ignore the Wikileaks cables — possibly reaching conclusions in his research that are supported by all other sources but plainly undercut by some Wikileaks cable that’s available to billions of readers around the world. Nor is it clear to me that a student’s or scholar’s citation or discussion of Wikileaks cable is likely to publicize that cable more than it’s already been publicized. Obviously, of course, the student or scholar can’t be blamed for the initial release of the cable.

    The impropriety of these warnings seems so clear to me that I am surprised both the State Department and Columbia University haven’t issued prompt and explicit “clarifications.” (Maybe they have and I’m just not aware of them.) Columbia can argue that it was merely passing on to students a warning it had received from a former student now working at the State Department. The appropriate response, though, would have included at least a clear statement that Columbia strongly opposed this reported State Department practice of punishing job applicants who cite Wikileaks articles.

    One hopes that Columbia, and ideally the State Department as well, will make clear that it is not their policy to punish or discriminate against anyone who cites the Wikileaks cables. Like it or not, they’re out there in the public domain through no fault of any Columbia student.

  73. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    You need to read my posts carefully. I wrote, “The best estimate, after careful scrutiny of reports, is that more than 30 demonstrators died that day. the best estimate, after careful scrutiny of reports, is that more than 30 demonstrators died that day.”

    And you may want to note and consider before that, “Reports on the day from a range of sources indicate that the security forces began to beat protestors.”

    Best,

    S.

  74. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi:

    what else India can do other than cooperating with the U.S to contain China? India is isolated in her neighborhood. reaching out to Arabs, Japan, South Korea,… are the viable options for India, it seems. whether or not those countries are willing to cooperate is something else. India has made a shrewd move elevating herself as a counterweight to China.

  75. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    Yes: June 15th was an entirely peaceful protest and everyone behaved impeccably. But the days that preceded and followed it were anything but that.

    On June 20th 10 people were killed, and not 150, as you try and imply. Michael Ledeen preposterously claimed that well over 400 people were killed in the first week.

    CNN also reported that a “massacre” had taken place in Baharestan square based on the phone call of a “witness” who claimed she was there. No such bloodshed occurred.

    A year’s protests and politically-related violence have claimed 52 lives according to the government, 84 according to the leadership of the green movement, and 107 according to yourself and Muhammad Sahimi of Tehran Bureau.

    I’ll take the average which is 81.

    Also, the deaths of Neda Agha-Soltan and Mousavi’s nephew during the Ashura riots remain deeply controversial and suspicious.

  76. fyi says:

    irshad:

    I did not think of the Arab angle; like yourself, I am not sure how improtant it is to Indians.

    My surmised that they really aspire to be lackey of US and, at the same time, get their hands on nuclear technology.

    I personally think that their aspirations to be a junior strategic partner to US in South Asia against China is foolish – can there be any realstic form of confrontation and containement between US and Chia which could, even distantly, require India’s assistance?

    On less a lofty plain, India is suffering – like Pakistan – from blackouts. The IIP pipe-line could have gone a long way to address India’s energy needs.

    Likewise, India has lost her – permanently in my opinion – access to Pakistan’s West from Iran. Strategically, that option, if it ever eixsted, is no longer possible.

    I think Indian leaders think that is all worth it.

  77. irshad says:

    fyi, kooshy and others,

    you read this:

    India-Iran relations at nadir
    By Sudha Ramachandran

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LL04Df01.html

    this guy is suggesting that Indias relations with Iran is directed more by concerns by Arab govt. then USA.

    Somehow I dont buy this at all – just today as P5+1 are sitting down to talk with Iran in Geneva, Emperor Sarkozy is in New Delhi singning various nuclear deals worth billions of $$$! If the Arabs were soo concerned about Irans nuclear problem – surely they would have asked the Syrians – who are close to Iran – to step in and help ally their fears? The Syrians have not said anyhting about this in any regards.

    Also, the Gulf Cooperation Council is meeting today in Abu Dhabi – it will be interesting to see what comes out from their meeting as a result of wikileaks exposure.

  78. Rehmat says:

    Binam – Former Israeli MP and columnist Uri Avnery had defined “violence or terrorism” as: “When it’s in support of us (Israel), it’s called ‘peaceful’. However, when it’s against us, we call it ‘terrorism’.”

    You have to realize no logic will convince the 10ft thick Wailing Wall otherwise.

    Steven Kull, director of the US think tank, WorldPublicOpinion.org., reported at the OpenDemocracy website on November 23, 2009 that even after Western “Fraud election” propaganda – 62% of all Farsi-speaking participants showed their confidence in Dr. ahmadinejad while only 43% said they would be ready to give up enriching uranium in exchange for removing sanctions.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/zionists-chutzpah-and-ahmadinejad/

  79. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Thank you for a conciliatory reply.

    My point — as an analyst — turns upon your clarifying statement, “The protests were legitimate to the extent they were peaceful.”

    The mass protests of 15 June were peaceful.

    Five days later — one day after the Supreme Leader’s address at Friday Prayers backing Ahmadinejad — the demonstrators gathered and were met by a massive security presence whose priority was to prevent another mass gathering like that of 15 June. Reports on the day from a range of sources indicate that the security forces began to beat protestors. (Press TV: “Police have used batons and water cannons to disperse protestors in central Tehran who gathered to hold an illegal rally.”) Violence escalated through the day: the best estimate, after careful scrutiny of reports, is that more than 30 demonstrators died that day. (On the day, CNN reported “at least 19″; unconfirmed reports ran as high as 150.)

    That is why I questioned you so closely re your initial claim, asking you to verify it for 15 June. (I would say the same for 20 June.) The combination of the Supreme Leader’s speech and the security forces’ response on 20 June — coming on top of the mass detentions that had already occurred and well before the supposed process to verify the election result — drew the battle lines over what would be tolerated.

    Coverage of 20 June 2009 as reports came in:

    http://www.enduringamerica dot com/june-2009/2009/6/20/the-latest-from-iran-20-june-from-rally-to-street-fighting.html

    Best,

    S.

  80. Binam says:

    Pirouz_2

    “a) Shah never went to any elections where the opposition had a candidate, with over 85% of people participating and the opposition losing overwhelmingly to Shah’s candidate. In fact in the referendum IR won by a majority of 98%.”

    Mousavi and Karoubi BECAME leaders of opposition – they were and still are from within the establishment of IRI and no real opposition figures can actually run for presidency. 85% almost never participate to keep someone IN power, they participate to overthrow someone FROM power. Specially keeping someone that has made their living conditions worst, not better.

    “b) People never began the violence in 1979, it was only after the killings that shah made to suppress the opposition (in particular after 17th of Shahrivar) that people started to use Molotov cocktails.”

    You have selective memory don’t you? When exactly did people begin violence? When they raised their “where’s my vote” posters?! You know clearly well who started the violence so don’t act like a moronic fool. You are smarter than that.

    “While I feel bad about those who were fooled by the Western media to think that they had won and HONESTLY thought that the elections had been rigged, it still doesn’t mean that they can attack basij’s headquarters with molotov cocktails and then expect the Basijies to throw flower at them from the roof tops!! No one can claim that the basij’s reaction to that incident was an example of “police brutality”, if anything it was self-defence!”

    Fooled by Western media? Is that your best defense – that people were SIMPLY fooled by Western media? You think we’re all a bunch of sheep? Were they also fooled by youtube and facebook?! Images of basiji and NAJA violence need no commentary by Western or Eastern commentators. They speak for themselves. You know, the very images that state media never bothered to show – they only showed burned buses and intersections and claimed the protesters were behind it. To this this, they haven’t released any names of “martyred” police or basijis. You know why, they don’t exist!

    “Government did EVERYTHING possible to make those who HONESTLY suspected that the elections were rigged (‘honestly’ is the key word here!) understand that there was no foul play.”

    Name ONE thing they HONESTLY did! Beating people and running them over with cars don’t count.

    “They published the election results BALLOT BOX BY BALLOT BOX for the first time in the entire modern history of Iran. They invited oppostion to observe the recounting process in front of the TV cameras.”

    I don’t recall this invitation. When?!

    “IT WAS MOUSAVI’S DUTY TO CHALLENGE AT LEAST A SINGLE BALLOT BOX RESULT!”

    Yeah, cuz you know him and his advisors are just sitting at home sipping tea in total freedom of movement and communication. Why hasn’t he been invited to appear on LIVE TV? He asked for LIVE TV, they refused.

    “And no they don’t have to make any more “pre-election” debates! “pre-election” debates are what they are: “PRE-ELECTION” debates!
    Instead they arranged many many more televised debates, all of which the opposition (Mousavi and Karroubi) refused to participate!”

    WHEN?!!! NAME ONE INSTANCE WERE THEY REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE. YOU REALLY GET MY BLOOD BOILING WITH SUCH OUTLANDISH CLAIMS. NAME ONE INSTANCE WHERE MOUSAVI OR KAROUBI WERE INVITED TO APPEAR ON LIVE TV. JUST ONE. SURELY YOU ARE NOT REFERRING TO SHOW TRIALS OR FORCED “CONFESSIONS!”

    “It is NOT the governments job to prove a negative! They published the election results (ballot box by ballot box) it was Mousavi’s (and Karroubi’s) election observers job to come up with evidence to prove government wrong!”

    It IS the government’s job to convince the general public (or segments of the general public) that there was no foul play. It IS the government’s job to ensure safety and security of ALL its citizens – whether those who supports them or those who oppose them. It is NOT the government’s job to intimidate, arrest, imprison, kill, rape or put on show trials.

    “Look one may argue (in fact rightfuly) that in June (even in July) 2009 those who WHO HONESTLY thought that the elections were rigged and were doing peaceful protests, had a right to peacefully demonstrate. But we are not in 2009, we are in the end of 2010. The overwhelming evidence is out there for everyone to see, and in fact pretty much everyone -at least in private- admits that there was no major fraud in the elections.”

    One blog entry by Eric B. is by no means “overwhelming evidence.” And enough time has passed to render the evidence useless – because who knows what they have done with ballot boxes. At this stage the only thing that would convince those who have doubts is a free election with international observers.

    “There has been numerous polls by independent western institutes verifying the election results,”

    Now Western institutes are reliable? They are reliable only when they have polls you find agreeable. How convenient. Polls in Iran mean nothing – because the conditions are such that people never feel safe to state their actual opinions. They pray in public, drink in private.

    “there have been pro-government demonstrations DWARFING even the largest opposition demonstrations, if you (and a few people like you) still want to persist on rigged elections, there is nothing that the government or anybody else can do about it.”

    Multiply the largest opposition demonstrations by 10 and only then you’ll get their actual numbers. Because those numbers showed up when there were no state media cameras covering them as they were being shot at, beaten and chased away. They showed up with their own two feet, without buses or a healthy supply of food and drinks. Government has denied Mousavi and Karoubi’s permits for peaceful protests time and time again only because they know if there were to be “legal” rallies for them the numbers would be DWARFING any state sanctioned, pre-printed placard holding crowds of segregated people from only one type of background. It would be embarrassing for them when many millions would show up from various background – rich and poor – and if you’ve read the news recently, from even military and even IRGC backgrounds.

    “Anybody who has been to Iran (and actually has gone and talked to people and not restricted himself to the suburbs of Tehran and some middle class neighbourhoods) has seen the support for Ahmadinejad’s government.”

    For one, the middle-class are Iranians too. Their opinion should count. Two, yeah, why not go talk to the lower class poor people and see how they feel about Ahmadinejad now that they are certain he hasn’t delivered on any of his promises. Ask them when is the last time they had meat for example.

    “Even people such as Abbas Abdi and Tajzadeh admit that they have lost the elections.”

    Forced confessions don’t count.

    “If someone still wants to persist that the elections were rigged, then the only thing which can be said about him/her is that he/she is trying to make a COUP! It is no longer June or July 2009 when you can say that it is an “honest” mistake.”

    You’re right, its no longer June/July 2009. Even the regime itself admits that the Green Movement is not dead. Something is brewing and soon enough something will erupt out of the ashes of 2009.

    “And anyone trying to make a coup who claims that he/she is trying to promote “civil rights” will become inevitablly the subject of public ridicule!”

    State TV and Ahmadinejad are subjects of public ridicule enough. Just sit in any taxi cab for latest jokes about Jannati, AN, SL, etc.

  81. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Binam:
    Re your comment on December 6, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Binam:

    I will answer the last part of your comment first:
    “Conveniently no one seems to want to answer my question: By your rational, was the 1979 revolution illegal and did Shah have every right to kill the protesters?”

    Thats a complete diversion of the truth of 1979.
    a) Shah never went to any elections where the opposition had a candidate, with over 85% of people participating and the opposition losing overwhelmingly to Shah’s candidate. In fact in the referendum IR won by a majority of 98%.

    b) People never began the violence in 1979, it was only after the killings that shah made to suppress the opposition (in particular after 17th of Shahrivar) that people started to use Molotov cocktails.

    “Clearly? Do you really think that people who took to the streets thought “clearly, we lost this election, now let’s take to the streets and annul the results!” Obviously they didn’t think they “clearly” lost the election. They were (and still are convinced) that they “CLEARLY” won.”

    While I feel bad about those who were fooled by the Western media to think that they had won and HONESTLY thought that the elections had been rigged, it still doesn’t mean that they can attack basij’s headquarters with molotov cocktails and then expect the Basijies to throw flower at them from the roof tops!! No one can claim that the basij’s reaction to that incident was an example of “police brutality”, if anything it was self-defence!

    “It was up to the government to make it clear to them that they had lost. Make it clear perhaps by continuing the pre-election debates and inviting all sides to present their case on national TV. If they were confidant that they had won then there would have been nothing to fear. They would have convinced all the protesters that the election was not rigged.”

    Government did EVERYTHING possible to make those who HONESTLY suspected that the elections were rigged (‘honestly’ is the key word here!) understand that there was no foul play.
    They published the election results BALLOT BOX BY BALLOT BOX for the first time in the entire modern history of Iran. They invited oppostion to observe the recounting process in front of the TV cameras.
    IT WAS MOUSAVI’S DUTY TO CHALLENGE AT LEAST A SINGLE BALLOT BOX RESULT!
    And no they don’t have to make any more “pre-election” debates! “pre-election” debates are what they are: “PRE-ELECTION” debates!
    Instead they arranged many many more televised debates, all of which the opposition (Mousavi and Karroubi) refused to participate!
    It is NOT the governments job to prove a negative! They published the election results (ballot box by ballot box) it was Mousavi’s (and Karroubi’s) election observers job to come up with evidence to prove government wrong!

    Look one may argue (in fact rightfuly) that in June (even in July) 2009 those who WHO HONESTLY thought that the elections were rigged and were doing peaceful protests, had a right to peacefully demonstrate. But we are not in 2009, we are in the end of 2010. The overwhelming evidence is out there for everyone to see, and in fact pretty much everyone -at least in private- admits that there was no major fraud in the elections.
    There has been numerous polls by independent western institutes verifying the election results, there have been pro-government demonstrations DWARFING even the largest opposition demonstrations, if you (and a few people like you) still want to persist on rigged elections, there is nothing that the government or anybody else can do about it.
    Anybody who has been to Iran (and actually has gone and talked to people and not restricted himself to the suburbs of Tehran and some middle class neighbourhoods) has seen the support for Ahmadinejad’s government. Even people such as Abbas Abdi and Tajzadeh admit that they have lost the elections. If someone still wants to persist that the elections were rigged, then the only thing which can be said about him/her is that he/she is trying to make a COUP! It is no longer June or July 2009 when you can say that it is an “honest” mistake.
    And anyone trying to make a coup who claims that he/she is trying to promote “civil rights” will become inevitablly the subject of public ridicule!

  82. Binam says:

    P2

    “a)In the West those demonstrators were not demanding the annulment of an election that they had clearly lost. Truth of the matter is that the so called “green movement” was an attempt of making a coloured coup.”

    Clearly? Do you really think that people who took to the streets thought “clearly, we lost this election, now let’s take to the streets and annul the results!” Obviously they didn’t think they “clearly” lost the election. They were (and still are convinced) that they “CLEARLY” won. It was up to the government to make it clear to them that they had lost. Make it clear perhaps by continuing the pre-election debates and inviting all sides to present their case on national TV. If they were confidant that they had won then there would have been nothing to fear. They would have convinced all the protesters that the election was not rigged. What do they do instead? You don’t need me to remind you of their many missteps. If they did win the election fair and square, they sure went out of their way to make it “clear” to those who questioned it – not by civil discourse, but by brutal force!

    And don’t think for a second that the millions who took to the streets on 25 Khordad (and millions more who didn’t come to the streets) have changed their minds about the election. To this day, there hasn’t been a single healthy debate in public to convince those who had doubts about legitimacy of the elections that it was “CLEARLY” lost.

    Conveniently no one seems to want to answer my question: By your rational, was the 1979 revolution illegal and did Shah have every right to kill the protesters?

  83. kooshy says:

    Can someone please explain, since when, news of Iran’s nuclear advancements is published in NYT “science” section isn’t that interesting

    Iran Claims Advance With Uranium From Its Own Mine
    By WILLIAM J. BROAD
    Published: December 5, 2010

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/science/06iran.html?src=mv

  84. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:
    Regarding your commen on December 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm.

    Eric:
    First of all there were many incidents where protesters resorted to violence (it wasn’t just the june 15th incident).
    Secondly, you are right, police brutality is not something that anybody should condone. However:
    1)Police brutality is a common fact to pretty much all countries including the Western countries, what we should be asking (and we never do) is that if a bunch of people try to do in the West what those demonstrators did in Iran, how will the police react. I can name so many incidences in the west, LA riots, anti-globalization demonstrations in Canada, in Pittsburgh, in Germany, in Denmark, police brutality against immigrants in France ….
    Of course there was two major differences between these incidences and what happened in Iran:
    a)In the West those demonstrators were not demanding the annulment of an election that they had clearly lost. Truth of the matter is that the so called “green movement” was an attempt of making a coloured coup.
    b) No foreign forces with a regime change agenda were being suspected of being behind those incidences in the West.
    And yet the police brutality was pretty much the same (in some cases even worse in the west) both in Iran and in the West.
    Of course this is the same West that some of our friends here refer to as the model for democracy (for example Britain was given by one of the readers of this site as a very well established and “mature” democracy).

    2) It’s true we dont condone police brutality; however, the demonstrators (even the peacefully marching ones) were not a bunch of civilized people demanding their rights.
    After all, some people may demonstrate peacefully in support of white supremacy too, and if police gets carried away and becomes brutal, we won’t condone the police, but we won’t condone the peacefully marching white supremacists either!!

  85. Arnold Evans says:

    This statement from Salon:

    That said, Iran has not fully cooperated with international inspectors.

    Means, and I’m pretty sure the author understands it to mean, that Iran has not implemented the additional protocols, which Iran has no NPT obligation to implement.

    It is a deliberately misleading construction but it is not important because all of the important actors in the dispute are well aware of the legal issues, and those legal issues are nobody’s primary motivations.

    If the American press wants to lie to the American people, there is nothing Iran can do to stop it. But as long as Iran can kill a lot of Americans if the US attacks Iran’s nuclear program in the name of preventing a Japan-option nuclear capability, Iran has to worry very little about being attacked.

    Because of that, seeing these deceptive constructions bothers me less than it used to.

  86. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:
    Regarding your commen on December 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm.

    Eric:
    First of all there were many incidents where protesters resorted to violence (it wasn’t just the june 15th incident).
    Secondly, you are right, police brutality is not something that anybody should condone. However:
    1)Police brutality is a common fact to pretty much all countries including the Western countries, what we should be asking (and we never do) is that if a bunch of people try to do in the West what those demonstrators did in Iran, how will the police react. I can name so many incidences in the west, LA riots, anti-globalization demonstrations in Canada, in Pittsburgh, in Germany, in Denmark, police brutality against immigrants in France ….
    Of course there was two major differences between these incidences and what happened in Iran:
    a)In the West those demonstrators were not demanding the annulment of an election that they had clearly lost. Truth of the matter is that the so called “green movement” was an attempt of making a coloured coup.
    b) No foreign forces with a regime change agenda were being suspected of being behind those incidences in the West.
    And yet the police brutality was pretty much the same (in some cases even worse in the west) both in Iran and in the West.
    Of course this is the same West that some of our friends here refer to as the model for democracy (for example Britain was given by one of the readers of this site as a very well established and “mature” democracy).

    2) It’s true we dont condone police brutality; however, the demonstrators (even the peacefully marching ones) were not a bunch of civilized people demanding their rights.
    After all, some people may demonstrate peacefully in support of KKK too, and if police gets carried away and becomes brutal, we won’t condone the police, we won’t condone the peacefully marching KKK supporters either!!

  87. kooshy says:

    SUNDAY, DEC 5, 2010

    HTTP://WWW.SALON.COM/NEWS/POLITICS/WAR_ROOM/2010/12/05/ISRAELI_PREDICTIONS_IRANIAN_NUKES/

    Israel on Iran: So wrong for so long

    The extremely long history of incorrect Israeli predictions about when Iran will obtain a nuclear bomb

    BY JUSTIN ELLIOTT

    Officials at the U.S. Department of State, we learned from the secret cables released by WikiLeaks last week, have serious questions about the accuracy — and sincerity — of Israeli predictions about when Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon. As one State official wrote in response to an Israeli general’s November 2009 claim that Iran would have a bomb in one year: “It is unclear if the Israelis firmly believe this or are using worst-case estimates to raise greater urgency from the United States.”
    So we thought this was as good a time as any to look at the remarkable history of incorrect Israeli predictions about Iran — especially given that the WikiLeaks trove is being used to argue that an attack on Iran is becoming more likely.
    According to various Israeli government predictions over the years, Iran was going to have a bomb by the mid-90s — or 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, and finally 2010. More recent Israeli predictions have put that date at 2011 or 2014.
    None of this is to say that Iran will not at some point get a nuclear weapon — though the Iranian government has maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. That said, Iran has not fully cooperated with international inspectors. But even assuming that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon, estimates still vary widely on when it will reach that goal.
    So what the below timeline should show us is a few things: making accurate predictions about the future is difficult; the Israelis are almost certainly not always offering good-faith assessments of intelligence on Iran; and reporters and the public should demand evidence for assertions about an Iranian nuclear program, whomever the source. Here we go:
    October 1992: “Warning the international community that Iran would be armed with a nuclear bomb by 1999, Peres told France 3 television in October 1992 that ‘Iran is the greatest threat [to peace] and greatest problem in the Middle East … because it seeks the nuclear option while holding a highly dangerous stance of extreme religious militantism.’”
    Source: Then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in an interview with French TV, as described in the book ” Treacherous Alliance .”
    November 1992: “But the Israelis caution that a bigger threat to Middle East serenity — not to mention their own country’s security — lies in Teheran, whose regime they say is sure to become a nuclear power in a few years unless stopped.”
    Source: New York Times, “Israel Focuses on the Threat Beyond the Arabs — in Iran”
    January 1995: “Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought, and could be less than five years away from having an atomic bomb, several senior American and Israeli officials say.”
    Source: New York Times, “Iran May Be Able to Build an Atomic Bomb in 5 Years, U.S. and Israeli Officials Fear”
    1995: “The best estimates at this time place Iran between three and five years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons.”
    Source: Benjamin Netanyahu, in his book “Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network”
    February 1996: “On February 15, 1996, Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak told members of the UN Security Council that Iran would be able to produce nuclear weapons within eight years.”
    Source: Barak comments reported in ” Treacherous Alliance ”
    April 1996: “I believe that in four years they [Iran] may reach nuclear weapons,” [Israeli Prime Minister Shimon] Peres told ABC television during an interview.
    Source: Agence France Presse, “Iran could have nuclear weapons in four years: Peres” (via Nexis)
    November 1999: “Unless the United States pressures Russia to end its military assistance to Iran, the Islamic republic will possess a nuclear capability within five years, a senior Israeli military official said Sunday.”
    Source: Associated Press, “Israeli official: U.S. must pressure Russia to end military cooperation with Iran” (via Nexis)
    July 2001: “‘I mentioned to our friends, the Turkish leadership, that we are more than worried about the very rapid development taking place regarding nuclear weapons,’ [Minister of Defense] Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told reporters. ‘As far as we know by the year 2005 they [Iran] will, they might, be ready.’”
    Source: Associated Press, “Israeli defense minister: Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2005″ (via Nexis)
    August 2003: “Iran will have the materials needed to make a nuclear bomb by 2004 and will have an operative nuclear weapons program by 2005, a high-ranking military officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.”
    Source: Jerusalem Post, “Iran can produce nuclear bomb by 2005 – IDF”
    February 2009: “Netanyahu said he did not know for certain how close Iran was to developing a nuclear weapons capability, but that ‘our experts’ say Iran was probably only one or two years away and that was why they wanted open ended negotiations.”
    Source: Then-candidate for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in conversation with an American congressional delegation, as described in a cable released by WikiLeaks
    June 2009: Barak estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable.
    Source: Defense Minister Ehud Barak in conversation with members of Congress, as described in a cable released by WikiLeaks
    June 2009: “Unless their programme experiences technical problems, the Iranians will have by 2014 a bomb ready to be used, which would represent a concrete threat for Israel,” said [Mossad chief] Meir Dagan.
    Source: Agence France Press, “Iran will have nuclear bomb by 2014: Mossad”
    November 2009: “General Baidatz argued that it would take Iran one year to obtain a nuclear weapon and two and a half years to build an arsenal of three weapons.”
    Source: Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, an Israeli military intelligence official, in conversation with an American defense official, as described in a WikiLeaks cable.
    September 2010: “The reasoning offered by Israeli decision makers was uncomplicated: Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability (often understood to be the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device within about three months of deciding to do so).”
    Source: Jeffrey Goldberg, reporting the Israeli point of view in a cover story on Iran in the Atlantic
    Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter

  88. Dan Cooper says:

    Washington’s Manic Obsession with Iran

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26995.htm

    One of the most common threads running through the Wikileaks papers is Washington’s manic obsession with Iran. In country after country the United States exerts unceasing pressure on the government to tighten the noose around Iran’s neck, to make the American sanctions as extensive and as painful as can be, to inflate the alleged Iranian nuclear threat, to discourage normal contact as if Iran were a leper.

    Embassy cables reveal how US relentlessly cajoles and bullies governments not to give succour to Tehran

  89. Reza,

    “That said, this explosion was coming. *Some* people needed to express themselves in a non-peaceful way and this was simmering on the surface for some time. The election exposed major divisions within Iranian society.”

    Interesting comment. I don’t take it to mean that you condone the violent protesters, but it does suggest you agree that the government ought to have allowed more free expression before then.

    I should say that I am persuaded by Scott, Binam and Pak (possibly others) that I very well might be tarring too many protesters with the same “violent” brush. Though I certainly have read and seen enough stories and videos to have no doubt that some protesters were violent, the evident sincerity in the complaints from these commenters makes me recognize that I’m probably extrapolating unfairly.

  90. Faram says:

    All,

    I just read on MSN that wikileaks has a new domain in France (http://213.251.145.96).

    This is interesting;

    “Assange’s lawyer in Britain said his client is holding back some sensitive material about the BP oil spill and Guantanamo Bay, which could be released if anything happens to the website or to him.”

  91. kooshy says:

    Pak

    “For non-Persian speaking readers, the “pleasantries” that kooshy used – aziz e nazanin e mamani – roughly translates to dear affectionate sweetheart. “

    Pak e Aziz I think a better translation should be a “Motherly and affectionate Dear” after all since you and Scott collectively care so much for the Iranian people makes you both eligible to be Mamani= Motherly for all Iranians including me with no other affectionate intentions.

    “For a middle aged man, which I assume kooshy is, calling a young man, which I am, a dear affectionate sweetheart, is extremely worrying. It makes me question kooshy’s integrity.”

    Firstly I don’t remember if I ever mentioned my gender, I once explained To “Paneer” (do you remember that tag name) that kooshy in Hebrew means a black man but I never mentioned what that it stands in Persian, still if you are right about my gender, for me by just knowing your tag (Pak) I can’t be sure what your gender is, to make you qualify for that kind of Mamani.

    Cheers

  92. Scott,

    “Apologies for leaving an extract from your post at the bottom of my reply.”

    No need to apologize. I just assumed you had found it so persuasive that you couldn’t get it out of your head.

  93. Dan Cooper says:

    Fiorangela

    Re: your posts of: December 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm and December 5, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for your two posts and the very interesting and informative links.

    In an August 6, 2002, article, Robert Scheer wrote that “a consensus of experts” informed the Senate that the Iraqi weapons arsenal was “almost totally destroyed during eight years of inspections.” On June 3, 2003, Scheer concluded that White House justifications for the war were a “big lie.” On November 4, 2003, he penned an article in favor of withdrawal from Iraq.

    On November 11,2005, he was fired after nearly 30 years at paper (the Los Angeles Times)

  94. Scott,

    “If you are as meticulous in researching those questions as you were the elections — indeed, if you had given more than a cursory glance to those events — then you can pronounce on the legitimacy/illegitimacy of protest with some authority.”

    The protests were legitimate to the extent they were peaceful. Period. I’ve said that several times. To the extent they were not peaceful, they weren’t legitimate. In either case, it doesn’t matter whether the protesters were correct or incorrect about what they were protesting for. Only their conduct mattered.

    My essential point was that you have at times seemed to suggest that protesters’ behavior that appears to have been improper was justified because their cause was just. In your more recent posts, you seem to be focusing instead, as you should, on the protesters’ behavior, not on the merits or demerits of their cause. I agree with that, and think we’re actually closer in our views on this than may have appeared. You now claim that the protests were largely peaceful. I really don’t claim to know enough to draw a conclusion one way or the other, since a proper judgment on that question requires that one have been everywhere at once to observe what happened. I don’t think you know enough either, though I’ll freely admit you almost certainly know more details than I about how each side behaved on each day at each location during the protests. I think we’d both agree that both sides were violent at times, and I don’t think it does much good in the end to try to quantify each side’s excessiveness.

    In fairness, though, I’ll speculate that the government side was probably much more violent than the protesters. That tends to be the case nearly everywhere in such protests (as in the US during the Vietnam years, as I remember well). That often reflects genuine animosity on the part of the police, who often come from a different social class from the protesters and welcome an opportunity to bop their enemies on the head. Sometimes it reflects the fact that open protest is relatively rare in the country involved (certainly the case in Iran, as compared to the US), which causes the police to conclude unfairly that the protesters deserve punishment simply because they are protesting. I emphasize that that reason doesn’t justify police brutality, but I think it does help to explain it.

    In any case, I think we’ve beaten this subject to death. Please do understand that I don’t intend to challenge the protesters’ right to protest peacefully — in fact, I feel quite strongly to the contrary — only their right to protest violently. If you, or anyone else, thinks that line should be drawn in a different place depending on whether the protesters’ views about the election were correct or not, I disagree strongly with that. If you, or anyone else, instead believes that the line should be drawn in exactly the same place either way, I agree strongly with that.

  95. Kathleen says:

    “So, instead of negotiating, the administration made the “swap” proposal a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. The only diplomatic outcome acceptable to the Obama administration was Iran’s “surrender” to the original fuel swap proposal; if the administration could not get that — and get it by December 31, 2009 — then it would focus exclusively on sanctions. Thus, the Wikileaks documents show that the administration rebuffed Turkey’s initial efforts in November 2009, see this cable — made at the behest of the IAEA — to put itself forward as a depository for the Iranian LEU, pending the Islamic Republic’s receipt of new fuel for the TRR. As administration officials told Israeli counterparts at the time, the United States was planning to “pivot to apply appropriate pressure” against Iran, see this cable. ”

    This is all rather depressing. So no matter what Iran does they lose. Seems to be the way it has been set up by Dennis Ross and team

  96. Binam says:

    Pak RE: Eric

    Eric: “The fact remains that any civilized society would and should feel justified in putting an end to such misconduct, and that the leaders of any civilized society had a right to insist that such misconduct stop.”

    For one, not sure why Eric assumes that the protesters were all violent individuals who set cars and buildings on fire and kill police officers?!! Where’s his proof? He could show us ONE video (I’m sure he has seen countless videos that prove police/basiji brutality). Is he claiming such idiotic scenarios because that’s the official line of the Iranian state media? Does he really trust them? Has he not seen footage of Basijis and NAJA breaking car windows, breaking into homes, setting fire to banks, their own motorcycles, buses and other buildings? Does he not know it’s an old KGB tactic – bring about chaos, blame it on the protesting public…

    Second of all, suppose that millions of people who did peacefully took to the streets were in fact violent and wanted to overthrow the regime (they didn’t). Suppose the “sedition leaders” were actually given airtime on IRIB to defend themselves while they too presented their case for a fair election in a civilized matter (they didn’t), is that not what happened in the 1979 revolution? Would Eric and his fellow IRI regime apologists suggest that the 1979 revolution was illegal and that the former Shah had every right to kill protesters and even open fire on them?

    Eric, just admit that your blog entry is flawed. Unless you go to Iran and talk to all sides, you’re just another nerd hiding behind a computer screen.

  97. Scott,

    On another subject, you deserve a great deal of credit for highlighting this:

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/4/wikileaks-warning-state-department-to-students-link-to-docum.html

    Apparently, Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs has cautioned its students not to cite any of the Wikileaks cables because, after all, they remain classified documents. According to the story, a State Department spokesman has said much the same thing: that citing Wikileaks cables might not improve one’s chances of ever being hired by the State Department.

    I suspect the Columbia and State Department spokespersons simply haven’t thought this through very well yet — or at least I hope that’s the explanation for this. How can any serious writer possibly ignore the Wikileaks cables? What if, for example, a writer reaches a conclusion from his research that is supported by every other source he’s considered but is plainly undercut by something that appears in a Wikileaks cable available to everyone who reads what that writer has to say?

  98. Pirouz says:

    Scott,

    You’re old enough to remember the protests here in the US during the late 1960s and early 70s. You remember the crackdowns in Watts, Kent Sate, Newark, Chicago and countless other places.

    The protests were in the hundreds of thousands yet Nixon won in ’68 and won by a huge landslide in ’72, even though the protests had also grown.

    So yeah, there’s your “context” at work right here in the good old USA.

  99. Castellio says:

    Sakineh, when one grows up in America, one believes that one’s country represents the best of the humanist tradition… the very best! But when one finally analyzes history one discovers that the culture is committed to war as an essential part of its “being-in-the-world”, or to be a little less Germanic, that the rush to war is actually perceived as a collective good inseparable from technological and economic advancement.

    If RSH’s contributions suffer from anything, it’s that odd mix of arrogance and despair that recognizes war as a fundamental underpinning in a culture which refuses to either recognize or address the obvious.

    I continue to appreciate his contributions.

  100. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Apologies for leaving an extract from your post at the bottom of my reply….

    S.

  101. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    When you analysed the election, you did so meticulously, taking a chain of events and considering the evidence.

    Yet when you look at the political context around the elections and the aftermath, you do not do that. You jump straight to generalities, in this case, to try and tar the protests as illegitimate. (And, at least implicitly, to defend the legitimacy of the Government.)

    On 15 June, hundreds of thousands — some have said far more than a million — Iranians demonstrated over the election and the political situation. To my knowledge, that protest was peaceful, apart from incidents at the end of the night around the security headquarters in Azadi Square.

    Now, if those protests were largely peaceful, what brought the escalation in tension and thus violence by the protests of 20 June? What were the measures taken by the state with respect to detentions, surveillance, and mobilisation of forces? What turned the largely peaceful context of 15 June into the more confrontational environment by the end of the month?

    If you are as meticulous in researching those questions as you were the elections — indeed, if you had given more than a cursory glance to those events — then you can pronounce on the legitimacy/illegitimacy of protest with some authority.

    Indeed, that brings us nicely to a point I have made before. Unless you consider that context of protest, repression, and confrontation with even a quarter of the effort that you have expended on the offical explanation for the ballots, then your conclusions are hermetically sealed from the important political questions and dynamics from June 2009 to the present.

    Best,

    S.

    I’d like to hear first that you actually deny these things occurred. If you do, I’ll ask for others here to wade through the many sources for such claims. In the end, I seriously doubt it will have been worth anyone’s time to provide you evidence of what’s not really in dispute: I have no doubt you’ll reply that they are inadequate — just as can be said, of course, for much of what most people accept as sufficient proof for many of your claims of government violence. Have you ever, for example, seen a video of Neda’s shooting that persuades you she was shot by police or militia? I certainly haven’t, and am all but certain you haven’t either. But I’m not inclined to challenge that claim because, regardless of who shot Neda, I’ve seen enough videos to persuade me that the police and militia men were violent in many situations, just as I’ve seen enough videos to persuade me of the very same thing about many of the protesters.

  102. Castellio says:

    Off topic, but for the best article in a long time about North Korean relations with China, the US and South Korea, see Peter Lee’s article below:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LL04Ad01.html

  103. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I think R S Hack makes many important points, even if I agree with you that the chances of war are fairly low at this time.

    There has been no updated NIE on Iran, and it appears the CIA still has no intelligence Iran wants nuclear weapons.

  104. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Eric,

    The vast majority of the protestors, like those who gathered on June 15th to greet Mousavi, were peaceful. But it just takes a rowdy and violent minority to cause trouble for everyone and provoke a harsh response.

    At the same time, the violence of the rioters at ASshura actually served to bring about mass peaceful demonstrations against the desecration of the religious occasion: the ‘green movement’ has been on the retreat ever since then.

    That said, this explosion was coming. *Some* people needed to express themselves in a non-peaceful way and this was simmering on the surface for some time. The election exposed major divisions within Iranian society.

  105. Fiorangela,

    “Was the putative N Korean attack on S Korea a US false flag? Numerous links in comments to this forum showed that an earlier incident in which N Korea was accused of bombing a S Korea ship were falsified.”

    I don’t know about your first sentence, but two comments on your second sentence:

    (1) There certainly was evidence I found sufficient to cast considerable doubt on whether the South Korean ship that was sunk by a torpedo several months ago was sunk by the North Koreans or by friendly fire from a nearby military exercise. Notably, I found it difficult to believe that the recovered “North Korean torpedo” had really been the culprit: It had exploded with enough force to break through several inches of hardened steel on the hull of the South Korean ship, and yet the thin-metal propeller on the torpedo itself appeared to be as intact as the day it was manufactured. I found that very difficult to accept.

    (2) Whether or not the North Koreans sunk that South Korean ship, the question certainly was debated at considerable length at the time without any clear answer to that question having been reached. Yet today, many months later, references to the incident routinely assign the blame to North Korea as if there has never been any doubt whatsoever that it was responsible.

  106. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Unknown Unknowns:
    ”Add my name to the list of those who have stopped reading comments by Scott and Pak (together with responses addressed to them)”

    Ditto Unknown. Ditto!

    And lately I think I like to add RSH. Like Empty said about Mullah Nasredin: “Dad, Talk about WAR”. I once begged RSH to come back to this forum, because I enjoyed reading his keen analysis [not because he considers himself the SMARTEST], but am having second thoughts. I don’t know why the words war and attack excites him so. You’d think as a veteran of the armed forces he’d do his utmost to educate others. He says his posts are not about war, but here is a sampling just on this thread:

    December 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm
    He’s not Joe Lieberman, he can’t come out in favor of war at this point. Wait until the time for war grows closer – he’ll turn into Rumsfeld.

    December 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm
    it wants to force Iran to comply with US demands, and failing that, there will be war

    December 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm
    Which means those costs are no deterrent to a war either

    December 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm
    It’s everyone in the US elite population who stands to profit from war or oil spikes

    December 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm
    One major problem people seem to be having is this conflation of the fact that there has been no Iran attack yet with the notion that this means there is some sort of “deterrent” against such an attack.

  107. Rehmat,

    “The Iranian protesters, mostly funded by the foreign agencies, received more freedom than American protesters would have received if they had protested in front of the White House shouting “Death to AIPAC”.”

    I don’t know who, if anyone, funded the Iranian protesters, or how Americans would be treated in the situation you describe. I will say with some confidence, though, that if hundreds of thousands of angry protesters marched in front of the White House, chanting “Death to Obama,” setting police cars on fire and beating police, the Washington police would not stand idly by. If those same protesters marched peacefully in front of the White House, it would be a different matter. That’s been my point to Scott, plain and simple.

  108. Fiorangela says:

    was the putative N Korean attack on S Korea a US false flag?

    numerous links in comments to this forum showed that an earlier incident in which N Korea was accused of bombing a S Korea ship were falsified.

  109. Scott,

    I’m not sure what your point is: that none of these things happened, or simply that they didn’t happen on June 15, the date you cite for unexplained reasons? I don’t know the exact date on which they occurred, or recall whether the several videos that I, you, and many others have seen mention the date on which they occurred.

    I really wasn’t aware there was any dispute that such things had happened. Frankly, I don’t think there is. While I certainly spent a great deal of time looking at sources — video and written — when I was researching the article, I really don’t intend to go back and do it all again right now for your edification.

    I’d like to hear first that you actually deny these things occurred. If you do, I’ll ask for others here to wade through the many sources for such claims. In the end, I seriously doubt it will have been worth anyone’s time to provide you evidence of what’s not really in dispute: I have no doubt you’ll reply that they are inadequate — just as can be said, of course, for much of what most people accept as sufficient proof for many of your claims of government violence. Have you ever, for example, seen a video of Neda’s shooting that persuades you she was shot by police or militia? I certainly haven’t, and am all but certain you haven’t either. But I’m not inclined to challenge that claim because, regardless of who shot Neda, I’ve seen enough videos to persuade me that the police and militia men were violent in many situations, just as I’ve seen enough videos to persuade me of the very same thing about many of the protesters.

  110. Arnold Evans says:

    A phased approach to confidence building: (bloomberg)

    “The objective is to engage Iran into a phased approach to confidence building which should lead to meaningful negotiations,” Ruediger Luedeking, Germany’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Dec. 2 in Vienna on behalf of the European powers participating in the talks.

    … … …

    “There is still room for a renewed effort to break down mistrust and begin a careful, phased process of building confidence between Iran and the international community,” Burns told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a Dec. 1 hearing. Negotiators will “look for ways in which we could build confidence in steps,” he said.

    … end quotes …

    To build confidence, to the West in Iran’s case, apparently means for Iran to maintain its domestic stock of LEU under 1 ton for an indefinite period of time.

    It raises the question to me of why the Americans and Europeans never say that. Never say what these phased steps are supposed to be, since they are so clearly repeating prepared talking points. It seems as if they are never asked, the Western press corps is an activist organization dedicated to promoting the Western agenda regarding Iran.

    Iran has valid reasons to think it is a bad idea to go beneath one ton, instead of building its stockpile to several tons over the next several years and later forcing the West to accept that as the reality of the ground.

    But the West, led by the United States, really loves these secret plans. These vague formulations when they have specific terms in mind. This tendency lends itself to deception both of others and of themselves. The United States would really be more effective if it spelled out its position – especially since that would mean the merits of its position would be debated in the US domestic political sphere and after the debate is over, it would be clear, assuming the administration won, that it could actually deliver any “phased” deal it offers.

  111. Kathleen says:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/mcgovern12032010.html
    No Evidence? No Problem
    NYT Still Stalking Iran

    By RAY McGOVERN

    From the scary photo dominating page nine of the New York Times of Nov. 29, you can just tell from the look on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s face, not to mention the endless ranks of military officers standing in rows behind him, that Iran is determined to build a nuclear weapon. That defiant look should be proof enough that the Iranian President is a menace to us all. Right?

    Never mind the doubting-Thomas wimps in those 16 U.S. intelligence agencies who – so far, at least — have been holding out for what they call real evidence before reversing their “high confidence” judgments of three years ago that Iran had stopped work on a nuclear warhead in the fall of 2003 and had not resumed it.

  112. Fiorangela says:

    Daniel Cooper, wrt the film about PNAC: you might be interested in a video discussion by Robert Scheer, author of The Great American Stickup. “Stickup” >talks about the people and policies that led to the 2008 economic collapse,” tracing those people and policies back at least as far as the 1970s.

    The PNAC core — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle — were members of Gerald Ford’s administration. Ford replaced the disgraced Nixon, and his advisor, Henry Kissinger, who was the neocon’s nemesis.

    Here’s where Robert Scheer offers interesting information: Sandy Weill was at the vanguard of the precursors of the 2008 financial meltdown; it was Weill, head of Citigroup, that pushed through rescinding the Glass-Steigel Act that had maintained a firewall between (high-risk) investment banks and “transactional banking” or Main Street banks. Weill adopted Siegmund Warburg’s tactics for wealth aggrandizement: make the best possible connections. Weill offered Ford a seat on Citigroup’s board, where Ford remained for some years, and through which Ford became a multimillionaire. Citigroup provided a leg up to Jamie Rubin, Jamie Diamon, and many other of the evildoers who, eventually, brought the US to its knees.

    Just as PNAC has done.
    Just as Baron Rothschild brought Germany to its knees in the late 19th century, in service of zionism.

    In her unauthorized biography of Sandy Weill, Monica Langley quotes Weill telling a friend: “The Jews are going to take over American Express, and they’ll never know what hit them.” :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Teari As Langley explains in the linked interview with Brian Lamb, part of Weill’s motivation in the takeover of American Express was to strike back at the Protestant establishment which he, and many other Jews, despised the “Protestant establishment.”

    (for example, see :http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/rabbi-gordis-once-gritted-his-teeth-over-discrimination-at-waspy-school-and-now-urges-palestinians-to-learn-that-lesson.html “I went to public high school, but Gilman was the establishment institution in Baltimore, the prep school that trained young men for leadership. I used to curse the place as a bastion of privilege and WASPiness. And well that it did eliminate the Christian instruction; for the Establishment was changing under the weight of the meritocracy, it was beginning to include Jews, and WASPs were saying sayonara. There are no Protestants on the Supreme Court today.”)

    Jacob Heilbrunn’s “They Knew They Were Right” is a former-insider’s view of the revenge motive that animated neocons, who felt that America’s Protestant establishment, and especially FDR, had “failed to respond sufficiently to prevent the holocaust.” :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/KnewT

  113. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz,

    “Resistance followed, including arson, destruction of private property and assault on peace officers.”

    Again, apart from the filmed incident in Azadi Square late in the evening around a security headquarters, what other evidence is there for 15 June?

    S.

  114. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Your analysis of my position on the US cable — “you found this one somewhat less pleasing than the first” — misses the point that my primary interest in the document is as an analyst, finding out about the US position and the information the Consulate was receiving.

    Its presumptions on what the cable says are also a shallow reading both of my analysis and of the original document. I generally found — surprisingly, given my scepticism of the depth of US analysis of internal affairs in Iran — that the cable’s reading of the complexities of the “Green Movement” and of Iranian politics were on the mark. My chief criticism was that the cable underplayed the latter in an artificial construction of the situation as Greens v. regime.

    So your follow-up — “I’m willing to speculate that you’ll be relieved if the third of three cables never turns up” — could not be further from the truth. I am quite eager to find out if the third goes into the internal divisions within the regime or if it focuses more on US-Iran bilateral relations.

    Best,

    S.

  115. Pirouz says:

    Scott,

    Iranian authorities declared ahead of time they would not issue permits for assemblies and ordered NAJA to engage in crowd control and dispersal operations. Resistance to such was declared unlawful. Resistance followed, including arson, destruction of private property and assault on peace officers. Granted, there were instances of excessive force employed by law enforcement and instances of breakdown in discipline. (PBS just aired a documentary on similar law enforcement deficiencies taking place after Hurricane Katrina here in the US.) But by 22 Bahman, better training and better tactical employments seem to be working.

    So what was your point?

  116. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    If your point is simply this — “those protesters who went beyond that and burned buildings, overturned police vehicles and set them on fire, beat policemen, etc. were not exercising their inalienable human right to protest peacefully” — then can you provide evidence for these events occurring on 15 June?

    S.

  117. fyi says:

    Rehmat:

    Iranian government has contributed to its own problems by harrasing people because they decline to be (Muslim) Pharisees. Just yesterday, the authorities reported that they busted a (private) party attended by football players in Nrothern Tehran.

    The Iranian police seem to take a special and perverse pleasure in these types of activities while whores (75,000 of them – estimated) roam Tehran streets. Or a man is murdered in public while the policeman is just watching.

  118. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Good points. Aipac and other delusional “supporters” of Israel right or wrong suppress free speech in the US. And “corporate” or “Jewish controlled” news media help with this suppression.

  119. Rehmat says:

    Eric A. Brill – The Iranian protesters, mostly funded by the foreign agencies, received more freedom than American protesters would have received if they had protested in front of the White House shouting “Death to AIPAC”.

    As the saying goes “Don’t throw stone on your neighbor’s house if your house is built of glass”. Look how much freedom you get in the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Israel and Australia – if you happen to criticize Israel or holocaust – even at the campus.

    Beyond the Zionist hasbara lies – Iranian government practices far better human-rights than any western country.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/religious-tolerance-theirs-and-ours/

  120. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Great story by Jahanpour that you linked! Thanks. Everyone posting here should read it. And it confirms that Hillary Clinton indeed is acting the role of stooge of the Israel lobby, and trying to interfere with Iran’s legitimate IAEA application to refuel the TRR.

  121. Pak,

    In your most recent post, you stated that I had mistakenly believed your earlier post had related to my comments on the election. I apologize for having misconstrued your comment that I was replying to, which read as follows:

    “Considering your detachment, I assume that you primarily rely on the internet to gather news from Iran (as seen in your election article).”

  122. Scott,

    Thanks for posting the second of the three posts from the State Department’s Dubai-based IRPO station. I note in your EA summary that you found this one somewhat less pleasing than the first, but I invite others on this website to read that cable and your analysis for themselves. In any case, given the trend in that cable-writer’s analysis, I’m willing to speculate that you’ll be relieved if the third of three cables never turns up. Nonethless, I’ll appreciate your continued effort to find it.

  123. Scott,

    My point was clearly made.

    Post-election protesters had an inalienable human right to protest peacefully. For those who did that and were mistreated by Iranian police or militia men, you and I agree entirely that they were improperly mistreated.

    But those protesters who went beyond that and burned buildings, overturned police vehicles and set them on fire, beat policemen, etc. were not exercising their inalienable human right to protest peacefully. They were engaging in misconduct that no civilized society would condone. It may well be that police and militia men sometimes — perhaps even often — acted with much more force than necessary to put an end to such misconduct. Like you, I wasn’t there. Like you, I have watched many videos and read many reports that answer that question in starkly different ways. Like you, I have very little doubt that excesses indeed occurred, on both sides. The fact remains that any civilized society would and should feel justified in putting an end to such misconduct, and that the leaders of any civilized society had a right to insist that such misconduct stop.

    Though I am not sure about this, you seem to suggest that the post-election protesters who engaged in non-peaceful protests (burning buildings, beating policemen, etc.) somehow were justified if they were correct that Mousavi had improperly been declared the loser. I disagree, on two distinct grounds: (1) Mousavi did lose the election, fair and square; and (2) even if he hadn’t, the non-peaceful protesters were not warranted in doing what they did. In short, either way, they did not have “truth and justice” on their side.

    I am surprised and disappointed to find that this is unclear to you, or — even worse — that you understand it more clearly than you acknowledge but nevertheless disagree with it.

  124. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    I’m sure it is “uncomfortable to be shaken”, because you know these things better than anyone else. All your predictions turned out to be false (and that’s why you HATE the Leveretts). In addition, you need this website to access information, because you don’t know Iran. Any you even lie about your CV. How sad.

  125. Kathleen says:

    NPR’s Robert Siegel did his part feeding the “let’s go get Iran” chorus by having the fact based, (choke) fair Jeffrey Goldberg on his program.

    Robert Siegel pushes the unsubstantiated claims about Iran and NPR’s Guy Raz pushes feel good about Israel stories. A concerted team effort

    Look at the run on Monday at NPR. Just a bit of a focus on Iran

    Monday All Things Considered
    http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=2&prgDate=11-29-2010
    Leaks Reveal Arab World’s Concerns About Iran
    [5 min 18 sec]
    Documents: Iran Obtained Missiles From N. Korea

    Middle East
    Iran Blames U.S. For Nuclear Scientist’s Death
    Reply

  126. Voice of Tehran says:

    Humanist wrote to Unknown Unknowns :

    …”" Don’t you think in this age of gradual domination of logic over superstition and sensationalism clinging to the latter might become futile at least and fatal at worst?”"….

    Humanist don’t you know : “Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas”

  127. Humanist says:

    To Flynt / Hillary,

    In this article I tried to access WikiLeak files by clicking on “see this cable”.

    I always get “This site can not be displayed” message.

    Is there a way to fix this problem?

  128. Pak says:

    Sorry Binam, I misspelt your name.

  129. Pak says:

    Dear Binan,

    Indeed, the hypocrisy is beyond me. Regime apologists continually discredit people based on the fact that they are foreign, or even worse, American, or even even worse, Americans who work for the US government, or worst of all, Israeli.

    But then we have a group of regime apologists on this blog telling us that an American has proved the elections were legitimate, and we should agree with him. And to top it off, this blog is run by former Bush administration, CIA and WINEP employees, one of whom studied in Tel Aviv.

    I do not believe in character assassination, so I make no judgement, which is why I actually read this blog regardless, because it provides interesting points and criticisms of US/Israeli foreign policies.

    But still, the irony and hypocrisy is beyond me. Straight over my head.

  130. Scott Lucas says:

    kooshy,

    The sources, evidence, and analysis have been provided in each and every discussion. And, of course, there is far more to be read on a news and analysis site that covers developments each day.

    I appreciate you don’t like much of this news. I respect that you don’t agree with the analysis. And I know that is uncomfortable to be shaken, on a website set up to defend the Iranian government, when another point of view is put.

    I have never argued that the election has been proven fraudlent. I have put forward the view that its transparency and legitimacy has not been established for many people, in views of the questions that arose on Election Day and the suppression of dissent afterwards.

    Of course, if a majority of the Iranian people uphold the legitimacy of this Government, not only over the election but over its post-election actions, then this argument will be countered. Which brings up back to the importance of observing and reporting what happens — from all sources — in Iran.

    Very best,

    S.

  131. R.d. says:

    Arnold Evans says:

    The danger to the US in Afghanistan is that Iran may devote its national energy to killing US soldiers there”

    Is there any reason for Iran to devote its national energy where US is already bleeding herself? Is the US not wasting a great deal of capital just to sink in that sand box? All the tonnage of supplies required to be shipped thru Pak and russia, others (capital expense)? the troop injuries are already reaching 10k. A significant increase just in the last year or so. Who pays for that? That cost is not just in health dollars. When beaten down defeated solders come home, they often fuel an unhappy social movement. The afghan war theater is far worse than the public knowledge and whilst the US contractors are cashing in nicely. I wonder what Zbeig would say when the US finally leaves that sink hole of empires defeated, named Afghanistan, compared to what he said about the soviets?

    War plans on Iran are just that, plans. unless and until Iraq and Afghanistan are secured to US liking (subservient governments and their own army trained by US and under US influence) war is not an option. Plans are ok. However, just a mass air strike to amuse the prime time audience has potential, only if the US planned to completely vacate the entire ME region. The US capital is no longer limitless. That option was available against the soviets, but not today, with so many forces of resistance from the Bolivarians to sudan,yemen, iraq, afghan, balkans, russia, china, and as fyi keeps saying, the billions of muslims. Just too many fights.. and when the austerity measure finally reach our pockets, it will be sooner than later.

    and Iran just will continue building her relations with afghan which have been going on for centuries. They will be there long after those Abram M1 tanks lay in waste and rust next to their russian tanks.

    http://icasualties.org/oef/

  132. Humanist says:

    Unknown Unknowns

    In your reply you say “You are right to detect a certain “unqualified[ness]” to my statements. That is simply my style”

    I smiled reading that. You honestly (and unexpectedly) admit your style is (at times) to be “self-righteous”; Don’t you know self-righteousness is the outstanding characteristics of all backward individuals? (among them the three Bees namely Bin Laden, Bush and Bibi)? Don’t you think in this age of gradual domination of logic over superstition and sensationalism clinging to the latter might become futile at least and fatal at worst?

    You then write “I am not an academic and I do not think of myself as scientifically minded either. I am more of polemicist and stylist. I am not trying to be cogent in a way that apeals to your forebrain, the frontal and prefrontal lobes. I strive to move my audience by working on the hindbrain, the hypothalamus and reptilian brainstem.”

    If you are not joking you are entertainingly (or inadvertently) confessing to something much nastier than self-righteousness, something that belongs to the realm of mischief, cruelty and crime. Don’t you think Hitler had a profoundly troubling mastery in blocking the circuitry of his audience’s frontal lobe (neo-cortex) and “moving” them only by evil and purposeful excitation of their “reptilian brain”? (As an example emotionally orating on the necessity of the “revenge” or evoking the audience’s animalistic instincts of “tribalism (nationalism)” and/or “territoriality”?

    Occasionally I had to refer to the Dictionary to understand your trend of thoughts. Your excel in the area of fluency, proficiency and mastery in English (and most probably in Farsi) reminds me of the father of an odd university “buddy” with whom I had always animated hot debates. (I was studying science while his sphere was literature, I had mild dyslexia while his skill in Farsi was surpassing the extent of brilliance)

    His father’s teacher was Shaiati, whose son later became the famous Islamic scholar Dr. Ali Shariati (known to be killed by Savak). Apparently that teacher had the artistry of mesmerizing his audience. As a seminary student (akhond), he had come from a small town of Sabzevar to the nearby large city of Mashhad. Just to earn some more money he had accepted a teaching job in a private elementary school. According to my friend’s father Shariati, through his sermons, could hypnotize people to do anything he wanted such as to go home and murder their own mothers !

    My friend was a poet, an exaggerator. I had hard time to believe that story yet I have thought a lot about how people sheepishly had followed Hitler or Khomeini.

    To be frank, I try to stay away from any type of person who could even remotely be a manipulator. But my guess is you are not that type. You probably live in the fun side of the garden than the darker cave at the far end.

    I couldn’t grasp all of your thoughts on religion. At time your long explanations were unclear or sort of puzzling.

    Simply do you believe in god ? (the same god some of the orthodox Jews believe has given them the land of Palestine)?

  133. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    I must admit I found your confusing reply had nothing to do with the analysis in the US Consulate’s document. Instead, it appears to be a diversion, dismissing the legitimacy of protest out of hand — “Truth and justice were not on their side”.

    If so, can you provide — beyond the clash outside the security forces’ headquarters in Azadi Square in which several protesters were killed — any evidence for this assertion with respect to the marches of 15 June: “those who threw lighted Molotov cocktails through the front windows of government and university buildings, those who overturned police vehicles and set them on fire, those who beat police and militia men sent to stop these things (and killed and blinded some of them, according to some sources)”?

    Best,

    S.

  134. Arnold Evans says:

    James:

    Are you arguing that Iran has a use for LEU within the next four or five years? Is there anything unusual about the TRR that would cause technical problems for France or another country making the plates or rods for the TRR?

    Is there anything unusual about Bushehr that would cause its operation to be delayed by decades? Is there anything unusual about S-300s that would cause their delivery to be delayed for years and then cancelled?

    The delay with France making plates would be that France and the United States are trying to pressure Iran to abandon its enrichment program and could use such a delay as another lever of pressure.

    I think Iran would gladly trade one ton of LEU for the TRR fuel. But that would not give the US another lever of pressure to try to stop Iran’s enrichment, and the US does not want to enter a transaction that does not give it a lever of pressure to try to stop Iran’s enrichment.

    If the US didn’t want leverage over Iran’s nuclear program, it could have a direct trade a year ago, with LEU exported in phases if Iran wanted because that would not have made a difference, it could have accepted the Tehran declaration, or it could just trade the fuel for cash.

    The US sees the TRR transaction as a way to gain additional power to pressure Iran to suspend enrichment. I understand that you think that is a mistake on the part of the US, but that is the US position, then and now. When you next see Alan, ask him and he’ll confirm for you. He’s sympathetic with the US position, or go over to armscontrolwonk and they can verify that this is the consensus view of the TRR transaction by the US/Western nuclear policy community.

    About Iran’s use for the fuel over the next four or five years, if we’re talking about one ton, it doesn’t matter. Iran would never see that LEU again. Either it would be replaced with TRR fuel or held hostage, but once it is out, it’s out. If we’re talking about the other tons Iran has now and its growing stock of LEU, the more LEU Iran has domestically, and the more securely it is stored, the less valuable military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program are to the US, since its stock increases its ability to build a weapon after any attack.

  135. Pak says:

    For non-Persian speaking readers, the “pleasantries” that kooshy used – aziz e nazanin e mamani – roughly translates to dear affectionate sweetheart.

    For a middle aged man, which I assume kooshy is, calling a young man, which I am, a dear affectionate sweetheart, is extremely worrying. It makes me question kooshy’s integrity.

    Regarding you and Eric’s responses to my post, you both assumed I was talking about the election result, which I was not. I was questioning Eric’s description of the Green Movement and the post-election protests.

    In response to your posts, I would ask Mousavi to prove the elections were fraudulent. Unfortunately, Mousavi is under virtual house arrest, while his closest advisers are in prison. His office was also ransacked and locked up. I would thus ask witnesses; unfortunately, just as the Kahrizak doctor who died of food poisoning from a salad, other witnesses have been dying of food poisoning or going on prolonged holidays to unknown locations.

    Oh but of course, Eric’s “excel spreedsheet” proves that the elections were legitimate. So let us all ignore what is actually going on in Iran. Forget about those seditionist Iranian lawyers, Iranian politicians, Iranian civil organisations, Iranian student committees and ordinary Iranians.

    And let us concede that an American who has never visited Iran knows the truth.

  136. Binam says:

    Pak,

    No need arguing with ERIC over his election article after so many months. Unless he travels to Iran to continue his “in-depth research” and speaks to all the people who he accuses of not coming forward with evidence, he’s not worth your time. But even though he doesn’t admit it, he knows how dangerous it would be for anyone to travel to Iran to do “research” on the topic, which is why he would never set foot in Iran. He’s comfortable defending his article (read blog entry) from the comfort of his computer.

  137. Fiorangela says:

    Sakineh Bagoom – “Floyd and Hillary Leverett.” !!

    also remarkable: Neda has apparently been consigned to the oblivion of the journalistic graveyard. Numerous articles and analyses on the ‘nets tells it that the whole situation was kabuki; no Neda inhabits a subterranean grave as an outcome of “basiji” gunfire in the aftermath of Iran’s election and the contrived, Kermit Roosevelt-style protests that magically emerged moments after Mousavi prematurely announced that the vote was rigged.

  138. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I agree with you that certain business interests in the US would profit hugely from the doubling or trebling of oil prices that would result from a US attack on Iran. Other business interests would be badly injured, of course.

    The driving force in creating US policy toward Iran is primarily Jewish and dedicated to fostering further Israeli oppression of the Palestinians by trying to damage the Iranian economy so as to induce a reduction or elimination of Iranian support for Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria.

  139. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    As I already indicated, my sympathy was with Mottaki, after the conference in Bahrain (where he did not respond to an overture of sorts from Hillary Clinton, at the airport). Bahrain seems to have made clear it accepts Iran’s domestic nuclear power programme, yet Clinton in effect lectured the Iranians about their needing to show they can be trusted with production of LEU.

  140. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Are you arguing that Iran has a use for LEU within the next four or five years? Is there anything unusual about the TRR that would cause technical problems for France or another country making the plates or rods for the TRR?

    As I see things, the IAEA should approve the TRR refueling, regardless of how much Iranian LEU is escrowed in Turkey. And the US is once again “trying to achieve too much” if it interferes with the application as part of an effort to cap the amount of LEU held in Iran. The amount of LEU held in Iran should have no bearing whatever on approval of the TRR refueling application.

  141. kooshy says:

    Pak
    “Considering your detachment, I assume that you primarily rely on the internet to gather news from Iran (as seen in your election article).”

    Pak- Aziz e Nazanin e Mamani ( for non Persian just usual pleasantries) , if that’s your, and Scott’ position, then one wonders why you guys are continually failing to indulge Eric and this board with your genuine sources and evidence like Eric has been begging for months now. Please, once for all you and Scott should ask the bosses at the US Department of Information (and related foreign shops) if you are allowed to release this long kept evidence of fraud (we happily announce for holiday season convenience, we now accept wiki leaks format). If not I recommend that you should communicate back to the home office (where ever that might be) that these folks are now saying to us to put up or SFU.

    End cable

  142. Empty says:

    Dear Aronld Evans,

    It was not meant to be a joke that leaves you out. But when re-read the posts, it did and it was uncalled for. I apologize for that.

    Overall, your outline of Iran’s nuclear program, its potentials, and the challenges are accurate. The parts that need deeper reflection are the challenges and how you interpret them. That the US has done/is doing/will do a lot to prevent Iran’s progress in several areas should be seen just as what they are “challenges.” If, for whatever reason, the challenges posed by the U.S. (and the West) are inflated to more than what they rally are, then they lead to misleading interpretations. Iran has set goals, devised plans, and has been executing those plans with respect to its nuclear program. Of course, it has faced many challenges, and it has responded to those challenges. Sometimes she has been successful and sometimes she has had setbacks.

    In this area (and some other areas), Iran has won some battles and has lost some battles. The US, too, has won some battles, and has lost some battles. However, if you take a closer look at both Iran and the U.S. just in the past decade and do a fair assessment of how things have progressed, you’ll reach the conclusion that Iran is going in the direction of winning the war and the U.S. is going in the direction of losing the war.

    One quick note about the battles though, it seems that in terms of the battles, the political currencies used by the U.S. to win those limited battles have been quite extensive. On the other hand, those used by Iran have actually been political investments rather than costs.

    Some of the information about Iran’s nuclear progress that are coming out in the mainstream Western media NOW are “old news” thus the joke about them being a “secret.” Iran planned for them, they dismissed it out of arrogance. Iran carried out its plans, they said it’s lying. Now that Iran is producing results, they are publicizing it for a particular purpose right before the new round of talks.

  143. Pak,

    “I suspect that your thought-process is: Western coverage of Iran is agenda driven, therefore Iranian media offers the ‘real’ coverage.”

    In fact, I’m skeptical of all sources, as one should be.

    On the election, one need not accept anything on faith, and I did not.

    One starts properly, just as I did, by looking at a very long spreadsheet, with 45,692 rows not counting the header. That spreadsheet lists vote totals for each of four candidates for each local polling station in Iran — a whopping 182,768 spreadsheet cells.

    Lest he be guilty of simply accepting the Iranian government’s “agenda-driven” numbers, however, the skeptic promptly reminds himself that each of those 182,768 spreadsheet cells may contain an incorrect number. The Iranian government may have lied — once, twice, perhaps even 182,768 times.

    Next, the skeptic notes that Mousavi has never disputed that tens of thousands of his own registered election-day observers watched the voting all day long at tens of thousands of local polling stations (along with hundreds of thousands of other non-government observers), watched the vote-counting after the polls closed, and at the vast majority of polling stations signed a government form verifying the local vote count reported to national election headquarters in Tehran. While a very, very small handful of those observers protested that they had been asked to leave their polling stations (for alleged misconduct), not one of the tens of thousands of others complained that he had been blocked in any way from observing any activity that occurred at his polling station, or that he had lacked an adequate basis for approving the local vote count reported to Tehran.

    The skeptic concludes from this that Mousavi had many thousands of loyal observers perfectly placed to spot and point out incorrect numbers in the 182,768 spreadsheet cells. He makes a small leap of faith by assuming that most or all of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of election-day observers looked at those government-reported numbers very carefully, and let Mousavi know if any of those numbers differed from the observer’s own notes of the vote count at his polling station. He makes another small leap of faith by assuming that Mousavi, who frequently complains that the election was fraudulent, will not be shy about publicizing any discrepancy between the officially reported vote counts and his own observers’ vote counts.

    These strike me as very small “leaps of faith.” Would you agree?

    And then the skeptic waits. And waits. And waits.

    And then he waits some more. Months go by. Then a year. Still no word from any of Mousavi’s observers. Not a single discrepancy in any of those 182,768 spreadsheet cells.

    Please tell me, Pak: Where have I gone wrong here? What “agenda-driven” facts am I relying upon?

  144. Arnold Evans says:

    RSH:

    1) I guess we disagree on Iran’s capabilities in Iraq and especially in Afghanistan. My argument is that it does not take much to encourage resistance to US forces in Afghanistan on a level greater than that at the height of the Sunni Iraqi resistance in 2006. The same argument would work even more for Iraq, but there is talk of the US leaving Iraq first so I focus on Afghanistan.

    Iran does not need every single person in the districts of Afghanistan close to Iran to take up arms. It needs to be able to recruit enough people to set IEDs, ambushes and fire on US planes and helicopters using supplies that Iran could send over. Failing that, Iran can also put its own personnel into either country to do that, but local forces, even if guided by trained Iranians, work better.

    Of course Iran can do more than it is doing now in Afghanistan to inflict combat deaths on the US forces. The only question is how much more. Now it is true that Iran does not like the Taliban. Iran also will not focus on arming and equipping the Taliban to push the US out. But Iran has other options. Hezbollah in Lebanon grew under Iranian guidance and there is no reason a similar organization cannot develop in Afghanistan, independent of the Taliban, supplied and trained by Iran to the point that it surpasses the Taliban in effectiveness, and primarily focused on forcing the US out of Afghanistan by inflicting an intolerable level of troops losses on the US.

    The danger to the US in Afghanistan is that Iran may devote its national energy to killing US soldiers there. If it does, it can recreate the conditions that the US endured in Iraq and very importantly, that the US has already shown that it is not willing to tolerate over a prolonged period. I think Iran can cause US troop death in Afghanistan using similar tactics to those used in Iraq, to cause similar or even greater levels of losses for a prolonged period. Over a year, I think one thousand US killed in action in Afghanistan could be accomplished fairly easily, and two thousand, a higher rate than Iraq at its peak, may well be possible.

    The same goes, of course, for Iraq if the US has not left there by the time of any US attack on Iran.

    So my conclusion on that point is that Iran can cause levels of US troop deaths in both Afghanistan and Iraq that the US has already shown it is not comfortable accepting in Iraq recently.

    2) I agree with you that it is not clear what Iran’s capabilities are regarding the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. High oil prices, without killing US soldiers, civilians or Israelis, I do not think by themselves deter US action, and left just to that, the US may have attacked Iran’s nuclear program already. The US has a strategic reserve of oil and can distribute oil as it chooses. The US is not as import dependent as most of the other industrialized countries and it could on-net benefit from high oil prices.

    China on the other hand would clearly and maybe devastatingly be damaged by high oil prices, even if the US makes up any losses because the cost would be greater Chinese strategic dependence on the US. Russia, even more than the US, would actually enjoy high oil prices and to see its primary oil exporting rival – the Persian Gulf region – demonstrated to be unreliable.

    I personally have never presented the Persian Gulf as one of Iran’s primary deterrents of an attack. But if a conflict happens, there is a chance that Iran can harm the US there, somehow inflict a substantial number of combat deaths of US naval forces, and it is a possibility US planners take into account. US planners would rather not find out for sure, if it is all the same.

    3) You say the US is preparing for an attack. I can’t figure out what that means. We’re talking about airstrikes. Obama could call them today. I’ve said earlier that if Obama gets a report tomorrow morning that Iran could not retaliate against US airstrikes, Obama would authorize an attack tomorrow.

    You seem to say that sanctions are a step toward escalating tensions and eventually attacking. Why does the US need that step? Why is the US not attacking today according to you? I’ve said the US is not attacking today because the US perceives that Iran has options to retaliate that the US does not want to accept. What do you say? I honestly don’t think you have an answer to that question so I’ll be surprised if you present one.

    You say the fact that the US is not attacking Iran today does not mean the US is deterred. What does it mean then? As I said, I can’t figure out what you’re talking about.

    Here’s the issue though. If you (somehow) predict that it will take years of “war planning” before the US can conduct air-strikes against Iran, then Iran has these years to create more effective reasons for the US not to conduct air-strikes. I predict that it will take years for the US force structures in Afghanistan and Iraq to be invulnerable enough from Iranian reprisals for the US to be comfortable conducting air strikes against Iran.

    We’re saying the same thing except that it actually doesn’t take years to plan air strikes and there is no external way to gauge the progress of this war planning that you think the US is waiting for.

    I almost feel like you want to disagree but in tangible terms aren’t able reach a conclusion that is different in any important way. You don’t expect airstrikes before inauguration day 2013. I don’t either. I’m not quite sure given your reasoning how you’ve reached that conclusion, but it is the same conclusion I’ve reached.

    You think there will be an attack before 2020. It’s possible, but we have to see how things develop. It is very possible that there will be no attack before then. There will be a US inauguration day in January 2021. Maybe we’ll still both be posting somewhere. If there has not been an attack by then I take it you’ll admit publicly that you had been wrong for at least part of the ten years before that.

    Unless something changes, I expect that you’ll be wrong on that inauguration day.

  145. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    I am sorry that you wasted your time writing your previous post. Your observations and conclusions only prove how detached you are from the realities in Iran.

    Considering your detachment, I assume that you primarily rely on the internet to gather news from Iran (as seen in your election article). While Western media may relatively agenda driven, just remember that Iranian media is entirely agenda driven. I hope you take this into account, although I have my doubts. I suspect that your thought-process is: Western coverage of Iran is agenda driven, therefore Iranian media offers the ‘real’ coverage.

  146. Arnold Evans says:

    Empty/Rehmat:

    I hate when I’m missing the joke.

    The US, through the UN Resolutions has created barriers to prevent Iran from becoming a significant enriched fuel exporter – as Iran becoming an enriched uranium exporter would mean, unstoppably, that Iran would be able to, using only domestic materials and technology, build a nuclear weapon in a matter of months as Japan, Brazil, Canada and others can.

    It would also mean that Iran would be in a position to break the US-following cartel that presently exists in the nuclear supply industry. (For example, the US is confident that it can pressure all current suppliers to prevent Iran from being able to purchase TRR fuel unless Iran makes the concessions it asks.)

    One of the most important barriers, one of the two barriers that matter, is that Iran is unable to import raw uranium to further enrich, which means it has a finite supply, due to US pressure in applying the sanctions.

    The other barrier is that Iran does not have access to international materials and technology that could assist Iran in improving its enrichment capabilities.

    Iran being able to use its own yellowcake, which had been doubted until now, means that the first barrier has been crossed. The second barrier, the access to foreign materials and technology will be overcome more slowly but is not a firm obstacle the way a finite and relatively small supply of yellowcake would have been.

    So this is a fairly important development. One I welcome. One I’m sure Barack Obama regrets. It makes a future with Iran as an important nuclear fuel supplier much more likely and makes it much less likely that the US and Israel will ultimately succeed in preventing Iran from attaining technological capabilities comparable to those of Japan, Brazil and Canada.

    But I don’t get the joke about something being secret.

  147. Scott,

    Though I didn’t mention it in my earlier posts, I was more impressed with the cable-writer’s assertion of when the Green movement started, not how much or how little it’s diminished since then. On the latter point, after all, we can all make our own judgments, based in no small part on our advantages of knowing what has happened since that Dubai-based cable-writer put pen to paper in January 2010.

    According to the cable-writer, the Green movement began on election day 2009, though its proponents undoubtedly were inclined before that day to protest if things did not work out their way. The cable makes clear, and you certainly would agree, that the post-election protests would not have occurred if Mousavi had been reported as the winner. You and the cable-writer would probably also agree that no protests would have occurred if Mousavi had lost but Green supporters believed he really had lost.

    I’ll venture a guess that, if Green supporters believed that Mousavi had lost but lost fairly, you would not still not condone police brutality after the election (nor would I — I hope I’ve made that abundantly clear, having written it many times), but that you would conclude that some of the protesters may have behaved at times in ways that were inappropriate. Certainly not those who simply marched peacefully, but I am thinking of those who threw lighted Molotov cocktails through the front windows of government and university buildings, those who overturned police vehicles and set them on fire, those who beat police and militia men sent to stop these things (and killed and blinded some of them, according to some sources).

    There is a good way for you to test whether your views on what happened after the election depend at all on the outcome of the election and (more important) the protesters’ opinions on whether the outcome was valid: Ask yourself whether you would have found fault with any of the protesters’ behavior if Mousavi had been declared the official winner and Ahmadinejad’s supporters had taken to the streets and done the same things.

    My hunch is that, at least in a quiet private moment when you consider this hypothetical situation, you will conclude that many of Ahmadinejad’s supporters perhaps would have been in the wrong to have behaved that way.

    If my educated guesses are correct, one certainly can understand why you find it so difficult in practice to separate the election from the protests that followed. You often insist that you do so, but it appears clear to me, and many others, that your opinion of the post-election protesters’ conduct is based very strongly on your conviction that truth and justice were on their side.

    Truth and justice were not on their side, Scott. On their side was the right of any human being not to be hit over the head for peacefully protesting, and when that occurred, the government was in the wrong. But for the many protesters whose behavior went well beyond peaceful protesting, those inalienable human rights were not there to support them. Nor was truth or justice.

  148. Empty says:

    Rehmet, “Here is my ‘insider tip’ – Saudis are negotiating with Iran to have some piece of the Yellowcake to be used in their future nuclear facility to be build by USrael”

    Shushhhhhhhhh…..the free press is not ready to put a spotlight on that story yet.

  149. Rehmat says:

    Empty – Here is my ‘insider tip’ – Saudis are negotiating with Iran to have some piece of the Yellowcake to be used in their future nuclear facility to be build by USrael…

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/israel-behind-us-iran-nuclear-conflict/

  150. Empty says:

    Arnold Evans says, “Now that Iran is able to mine its own yellowcake and use that, it can export without another country sending it raw uranium, which means the only cooperation it needs to be a exporter of enriched nuclear fuel is with any country it is exporting fuel to.”

    Oh, my goodness…..
    An insider tip (but please don’t tell anyone), Iran already has verbal contracts with several countries to export nuclear fuel and is in the process of formalizing them. The estimated date for the first delivery 2017. Just keep it a secret, please.

  151. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    And yet this one in his haste to discredit the owners of this site calls them Floyd and Hillary Leverett. Wikileaks must be the gospel truth.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/wikileaks-reveals-ugly-truth-about-iran-appeasers/story-fn59niix-1225966020409

  152. Empty says:

    RE: ““A stunning film. It should be seen as widely as possible, in cinemas, bars, clubs, at meetings and, of course, through the internet.”

    My words gain particular meanings when I make careful use of spaces and punctuations in between my words. ButifinmakingmypointIomitthespacesandpunctuationsthenwhatIsaytakesacompletelydifferentmeaningevenbecomenonesensical

    For anyone wishing to engage in critical viewing of this film, s/he must, absolutely must, notice the holes in leaves behind.

  153. Arnold Evans says:

    Iran processing its own yellowcake is an important development. (AFP/google)

    From memory, Iran has about 300 tons of imported South African yellowcake, which is enough for about 30 nuclear weapons if processed in that direction, in other words, plenty.

    But not enough to power a small electric reactor like Bushehr for an extended period of time, or to become a significant exporter of enriched uranium.

    Now that Iran is able to mine its own yellowcake and use that, it can export without another country sending it raw uranium, which means the only cooperation it needs to be a exporter of enriched nuclear fuel is with any country it is exporting fuel to.

    Depending only on the production of its own mines, Iran can become both nuclear capable (which it could already) and also able to break the Western nuclear fuel cartel (which it would not have been able to do without West-blockable imports).

  154. Fiorangela says:

    What does Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Christian Palestinian scientist and Palestinian peace activist, have to do with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debate?

    In April, 2010, Israeli occupation forces, enforced by Israel’s military, the IDF, bulldozed Palestinian land, including fields and homes, at Al-Walaja. Qumsiyeh led Palestinians who peacefully protested the brutal, Israeli-state supported theft of Palestinian property. In the course of protecting the protesters against the menacing threats of IDF, Qumsiyeh engaged several IDF soldiers in a discussion of their moral obligation to make a decision whether to cooperate with illegal orders, or to opt out.

    The core concept Qumsiyeh made was this: does a soldier have a moral responsibility to consider the acts he is ordered to do, and to refuse to carry out immoral acts?

    The US DoD from Gates on down; the US Administration from the President on down; the political parties from their leadership on down; the churches, from the hierarchical US Conference of Catholic Bishops on down to today’s version of Elmer Gantry tent-preachers, are in high dudgeon over the immorality of gays in the military, openly or covertly.

    But not one, single, solitary word about the morality of US soldiers killing innocent civilians, and skewing its foreign policy choices so to insulate from condemnation the acts of US ally Israel in its illegal and immoral acts, and further, incorporating mendacity as a primary tool in its diplomacy “tool box,” such that lies are told about Iran, with the goal of carrying out further immoral acts against Iran.

    Not one American with the courage of Mazin Qumsiyeh, to confront the American power establishment to consider the morality of its actions.

    Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.
    It gets in the way of our killing.

    But not a peep, not a single

  155. Fiorangela says:

    Dan Cooper, thanks for the link to a film about PNAC.

    A few weeks ago I flip-flopped about a film that is posted on Gilad Atzmon’s blog :http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-the-anti-semitic-side-of-zionism-must-watch.html and linked on Mazin Qumsiyeh’s blog :http://qumsiyeh.org/rightsblog2010/ . “The Antisemitic Side of Zionism” is a very important film and should be viewed by all who wish to understand the distinction between zionism, the political movement, and Judaism.

    Speaking of Qumsiyeh, and veering wildly off-topic: This morning my fellow Amurikans did a great deal of huffing and puffing about the immoral nature of ho-mo-sex-uu-ality and how the presence of such immorality in the US military would lead to, why, who knows what it might lead to: one caller said, “Marines go out and get drunk on weekends. When they come back to the barracks and they’re drunk, their not as much in control as they should be, and if gays are around, bad things might happen.” (The obvious solution = eliminate gays, right?)

    What does Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Christian Palestinian scientist and Palestinian peace activist, have to do with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debate?

    NEXT

  156. Dan Cooper says:

    “A stunning film. It should be seen as widely as possible, in cinemas, bars, clubs, at meetings and, of course, through the internet.

    I’m sure the film will continue to be a source of debate and political education for many years. Maybe until the war criminals have been brought to trial.”

    http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61535.shtml

  157. Dan Cooper says:

    “A stunning film. It should be seen as widely as possible, in cinemas, bars, clubs, at meetings and, of course, through the internet.

    I’m sure the film will continue to be a source of debate and political education for many years. Maybe until the war criminals have been brought to trial.”

  158. Rehmat says:

    Forget about the un-brainwashed Iranian – even as a Muslim Canadian I would not trust Barack Obama when it comes to issues concerning the Muslim world. Why? Here is some proof right from the hourse’s mouth:

    “Obama asks Shimon Peres: “What can I do for Israel?” – Ha’aretz, November 17, 2008.

    “We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them than their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, that their funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in…We may have to tighten up those sanctions…and give them a clear choice…whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way,” Ben Obama on NBC, Meet the Press, December 7, 2008.

    “Barack Obama is the first Jewish (Zionist) President,” Abner Mikvner, former Zionist Jewish Congressman, Federal Judge and Federal Judge, White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton and early backer of Obama.

    https://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/look-who-is-not-coming-for-dinner/

  159. Pak says:

    It is striking how accurate these American assessments are, given that they have no direct exposure to Iran.

  160. Empty says:

    So, when Hassan Sabbah was training the “Fadaeioun” (the devotees) incorrectly labeled as the assassins (from the root word hassahsheen = the herbalists/herbal medicine scientist/practitioners), his two most critical imperatives were that: a) a Fadaei absolutely waits until “the time” and not a second sooner to carry out his assigned operation; and b) he carries out the operation with deadly precision. His sole obligation was “to find a way” and do it.

    People could argue about how, whether or not, what if, logistically the too narrow or the too wide, the too deep or the too shallow, the technically too advanced or the too primitive until the cows come home BUT when the command arrives that a waterway must be closed, the waterway SHALL be closed. Full Stop.

  161. Scott Lucas says:

    WikiLeaks Document & EA Analysis: US Diplomats on Green Movement & Iran’s Politics “From Crisis to Stalemate”

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/5/wikileaks-document-ea-analysis-us-diplomats-on-green-movemen.html

    Full text of Part 2 of the US Embassy lengthy assessment of January 2010, introduced with an analysis. The final paragraph of the cable:

    “The [Green Movement] is not Poland’s Solidarity, and Tehran 2010 isn’t Tehran 1978. In other words, it is quite unlikely that the current Iranian system of government will significantly change in the short-term, and if there were any significant change, it is more likely to be towards a more authoritarian regime than to be towards a more democratic one. However, having posited why the GPO is unlikely to effect fundamental short-term changes in Iran’s ruling system, it is equally true to say that it is unlikely to go away. What makes the preceding important for the USG is the fact that Iran’s current domestic strife is a political ‘black hole’ that swallows all other issues, both domestic and foreign, such that until a new homeostasis is reached in Iran’s political ruling class, progress on issues of bilateral importance will be even more difficult than usual.

  162. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    “Looking for Parts 2 and 3.. [of the cable-writer's report on the Green movement].”

    Please don’t fret — we’ll have a special gift for you later this morning.

    “The writer noted that the Green movement had begun at the time of the election and had already diminished dramatically by the end of the year. The reasons are in dispute — severe government repression, flagging interest, a combination of the two. Whatever the reason, by the time the cable was sent, the Greens had shrunk to a negligible presence on the street — perhaps no longer worth the cable writer’s attention.”

    But do please try to read Part 1 of the Embassy’s assessment with the same care you take over your reading of the Guardian Council’s report on the 2009 election. This is a wildly inaccurate summary of the cable.

    This is how Part 1 actually concludes:

    *At the popular level, June 12 has revived a popular reformist movement largely quiescent after the eight Khatami years while also bringing large parts of Iran’s youngest generation into the fray. This opposition, however, is not unified. The GPO now is a bifurcated movement, coupling a largely student-dominated mass following with a titular, elite leadership, and the two parts are not a cohesive whole. This rather diffuse organization may be a key to its staying power and simultaneously an impediment to building an opposition movement that could challenge the viability of the current government. Beyond the GPO is an array of unsatisfied groups whose willingness to join the GPO is unclear. These groups clearly oppose President Ahmadinejad but do not yet seek, as do many GPO elements, to overturn the entire system.*

    Scott

  163. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fiorangela @ 6:10: Nicely done. Brava!

    Richard:

    1. First and foremost, we agree that my assertions are speculative. Too many known unknowns, as you say, let alone the unknown ones :o) (But I think that we will also agree that with the important qualification that insofar as the calculus remains rational, the uncertainty works in Iran’s favor and militates against an attack.)

    2. That having been said, Rense might well be a crank site, I agree with you by and large, but that does not mean that mark Gafney is a crank author. He is far from that. He actually has some fascinating work out there on a diverse range of subjects.

    3. Thanks for the link to the MIT correspondence. I will check it out.

    4. Do you really think that Iran is going to be reduced to Saddam’s level in 2003 whereby all they can do is shoot off a few scuds in the general direction of Jewistan? I very much doubt it. Again, I don’t know, but I would think that if noting else, she will be able to sustain significant damage to soft targets such as ports, refineries and supertankers with indiginous multiple-warhead SRBM and MRBM’s. I think you are right to a large extent about the bully and his insatiable need for war-profeteering (and that many of the norms therefore do not figure in the calculus), but it is possible that this time, the bully has gone a bridge too far and picked on someone not its own size, of course, but someone who has stood her ground in an unprecedented manner, looked Uncle Sam straight in the eyes, and made him blink.

    Humanist:
    You are right to detect a certain “unqualified[ness]” to my statements. That is simply my style. I am not an academic and I do not think of myself as scientifically minded either. I am more of polemicist and stylist. I am not trying to be cogent in a way that apeals to your forebrain, the frontal and prefrontal lobes. I strive to move my audience by working on the hindbrain, the hypothalamus and reptilian brainstem.

    Aqilan noqte-ye pargar-e vojudand, vali
    Eshq danad ke dar in dayereh sargardanand

    Hafez

    As to your other question, it is a central one, and without getting into the whole debate about religion, humanism, humanism-as-religion, etc., I will just say that with regard to “religions and the role they play in present Iran-Israel-West conflict”, the answer is pretty obvious on the face of it: religion has everything to do with not just these conflicts, but with every conflict, including the more deeadly by far conflicts of the 20th century between the so-called “secular ideologies” of Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Liberal Democracy/ Capitalism, the strange amalgam that the Young Turks subscribed to, etc.

    But you have to be careful because if I may be so bold as to suggest, my use of the term religion and that of yours which has currency in secular humanist circles are quite different. In other words, I want to reframe teh issue so as to avid falling in teh usual semantic category error trap. When I use the word religion, I use it in the traditional (pre-”Enlightenment”) sense, by which we mean the way one transacts one’s life, his radicle, his identity, his orientation or Weltenshauung, if you will, that which he holds sacred or assigns a high value to. By religion, therefore, we do not mean something that is *other* than, say, that which we all agree to (the constitution, separation of church and state, the amendments, etc), and which people are free to practive on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, depending on one’s inclinations. No. Religion is not that and has never been that. Today’s religion in West is precicely that which is *not* considered to be religion, i.e., all of the unspoken norms and values that the populace holds and maintains in common. It’s ground and orientation to it; that touchstone which gives a person in a given culture his or her bearings.

    So I hope I have answered your question when i say that religion has everything to do with *all* conflicts (indeed, it is, by [its traditional] *definition*, the only thing worth fighting for, and the only thing that has ever been fought for, money adn power *as an end in themselves* being [highly dysfunctional] religious phenomena); but I hope that my qualification of the word has shed some light on where I stand on the issue.

  164. Castellio says:

    If I may interpose, FYI, don’t ever underestimate the American love of “royalty” and wealth.

  165. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper:

    Yes, I agree with Ambassador Freeman’s assessment.

    A personal question:

    How do Americans deal with these Arab leaders without developing absolute contempt for them evetually?

  166. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari:

    I seriously doubt that the forest fires in Northern Israel were ignited by Iranian agents or any one else.

    Both Syria and Israel have been experiencing several years of drought – just like Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    But the response of the Israel’s government to the fires (comapre them to the way Iranian government responded to similar fires in Golestan over the last few weeks), I think, is indicative of the extent that Israel has spent her resources on the war in Palestine.

    Like the old Persian saying: “Seven sets of pots and pans – nothing for either lunch or for dinner.”

  167. Humanist says:

    Unknown Unknowns

    You write “…So they are stuck in an emotional and intellectual no-man’s land, between the rock (thesis) of the Paradigm of Falsity and its inevitable antithesis, the Hard Place of Inevitable Truth [al-Haqq].”

    Are you self-righteous?

    I agree with lots of your assertions yet some of your statements are vague or sort of “unqualified”.

    If I may ask what are your ideas about religions and the role they play in present Iran-Israel-West conflict?

  168. Castellio says:

    Pirouz_2, re North Korea you might want to take a look at:
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/oplan-5027.htm

    Anyhow, my understanding is that there are about 28,000 US military in South Korea, roughly half of RSH’s 50,000 estimate.

    Many used to be stationed in Seoul, but that large base has been transferring south of Seoul for three reasons: to lessen popular anti-US sentiment in the city; to get further away from the North’s range; and to desist turning a large urban area into a military target.

  169. Pirouz says:

    Eric, part 2 was uploaded along with part 1. For some reason part 3 hasn’t been uploaded.

    These are second-hand US narratives, so there really isn’t anything particularly revealing ito them. What they do is rehash themes that were peddled about back then within certain quarters but today no longer seem relevant.

  170. Faram says:

    RSH and Pirouz_2

    “A Washington-based think tank warned White House and Pentagon officials that Iran enjoys a unique power in waging asymmetric naval warfare, capable of defeating larger naval forces.”

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8706220799

    Iran had predicted, well before 1998, the advent of this islamophobia and the US invasions in her surrounding countries including Afghanestan, Iraq, Yemen.

  171. Scott,

    “Looking for Parts 2 and 3.. [of the cable-writer's report on the Green movement].”

    No luck?

    Maybe they were never written.

    The writer noted that the Green movement had begun at the time of the election and had already diminished dramatically by the end of the year. The reasons are in dispute — severe government repression, flagging interest, a combination of the two. Whatever the reason, by the time the cable was sent, the Greens had shrunk to a negligible presence on the street — perhaps no longer worth the cable writer’s attention.

    But maybe you’ll find Parts 2 and 3. Who knows?

  172. Pirouz_2 says:

    @RSH;

    Richard,

    I am not sure how correct your assessment is. How much do you know about military? Since I don’t know much in that field, I will refrain from making any claims. However, I will tell you the limited information that I have and I would appreciate it if you could correct me.

    1) Iran’s missile forces are completely mobile. Which means that USAF will be pretty useless in taking them out.You could see a very similar situation in case of the war of 2006 and the rocket attacks by Hezballah. Another interesting example would be the Iraq of 1991, it is a very welknown fact that US was unable to take out EVEN A SINGLE MOBILE IRAQI LAUNCHER.
    The main problem with Irans missile force is not its vulnerability to US airattacks, but rather its lack of accuracy. Iranians have tried very hard to address that problem and they have had “some” success. But how successful they have been is unknown to me (do you have any information in that regard?). All I know is that they have improved the CEP of their missiles (their own claim is 200-400m for a target as far as Israel, in case of Iraq or GCC states this number should be much less) and that they also employ missile barrage tactics as well as warheads which would include hundreds of bomblets (to make up for the lack of accuracy).

    2) In PG pretty much ALL of that body of water is covered with the Iranian missile range (you can search for the range of Anti-ship missiles such as RAAD and NOUR).
    Furthermore, Iranian missiles have the capability to be launched from air (F-4, SU-24, as well as attack choppers and recently the KARRAR UAV was added to the list), from the sea as well as from the mobile launchers from the shore (again being mobile on the land means that it is a very hard target for USAF).
    Irans ability to wage assymetric warfare in PG is sometimes underestimated. Fariborz Haghshenas has an interesting piece on IRGC’s assymetric naval warfare capabilities, try to find it and if it interests you read it and let me know what you think.
    By the way, do a search on youtube about the Iranian UAV which has apparently hovered for some 25 minutes above one of the US aircraft carriers in PG without being detected and when it was finally detected it was able to return back to its base unharmed.
    3) I dont agree with people who compare a possible war with Iran to what happened with Iraq and Aghanistan. I think a much better analogy would be the Israeli-Lebanon war of 2006.
    4)I really dont know anything about N. Korea’s military capability, why is it that you say they can inflict 50,000 casualty on US in the first 3 months of the war?

  173. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Richard,

    The Iranians may already have retaliated already by way of setting off the forest fires Israel is currently suffering from. If I were in Tehran, I would plant a virus on the Arrow defense system’s computers: I have read reports that it already suffers from malfunctions…make them worse. You have to deter future attacks by the Mossad in order to protect your citizens if you are a responsible government.

  174. Reza: “If these attacks continue, how much longer can Iran be expected not to retaliate?”

    The problem for Iran is that ANY retaliation will be used as the reason for Israel or the US to attack. Iran is essentially helpless in this regard. It couldn’t even reasonably use Hizballah assets to strike back at Israel, because Hizballah knows Israel is waiting for ANY excuse to attack Lebanon again. Israeli soldiers fired machine guns into Lebanese territory just this past week in an attempt to provoke a fight.

    ANY effort by Iran to retaliate which leaves fingerprints pointing to Iran could be used to justify a military attack on Iran. The only thing Iran can do is try to identify Mossad and US assets in Iran and round them up and use them to show to the world the illegal actions of Israel and the US against it.

  175. One major problem people seem to be having is this conflation of the fact that there has been no Iran attack yet with the notion that this means there is some sort of “deterrent” against such an attack.

    The recent history of the first Gulf War being set up within X months and the more recent Afghanistan attack and Iraq wars apparently have led people to believe that the US can just attack anyone at any time and thus if a war hasn’t started yet it’s because it can’t be started at all.

    This doesn’t follow at all. It’s not a case of “the US can attack at any moment” OR “the US can’t attack at all.” That’s extremely simplistic and naive. States don’t go to war on a moment’s notice. The US has a habit of initiating military attacks on extremely weak states, but that doesn’t mean every case is the same. In most cases so far, however, the US has engaged weak states only after YEARS of previous criticism, sanctions, UN resolutions, war planning, and the like. And even then, there had to be some “causus belli” for the US to initiate the final attack.

    None of that means the US did not intend to dominate those states eventually for economic or geopolitical reasons quite different from the stated reasons from the get-go. initiating the final military option once some plausible reason has been manufactured.

    The same conditions apply to Iran.

  176. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The British Sunday newspaper, the Observer, is reporting that both the Stuxnet cyber-worm and the assassination of the Iranian scientists were the work of the Mossad.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/05/iran-nuclear-experts-killings

    If these attacks continue, how much longer can Iran be expected not to retaliate?

  177. Mr. Canning: “Do you think the warmongering neocons and other insane elements of the Israel lobby can induce Obama to attack Iran when there is still no evidence the Iranian government wants nuclear weapons?”

    Absolutely. But remember it’s NOT just the Israel Lobby and neocons. It’s everyone in the US elite population who stands to profit from war or oil spikes.

    “I think the Persian Gulf would be closed to commerical traffic once a VLCC or two went to the bottom.”

    What is “closed”? What does that word actually MEAN? Have the Straits EVER actually been “closed” to ALL shipping except navy traffic? I doubt it.

    This might be instructive:

    Costs and Difficulties of Blocking the Strait of Hormuz
    www dot mitpressjournals dot org/doi/abs/10.1162/isec.2009.33.3.190?journalCode=isec

    That document, a correspondence between two academics on the issue, is available for download here:

    dspace dot mit dot edu/handle/1721.1/57443?show=full

    It raises considerable questions about the efficacy of Iran’s ability to “close” the Straits illustrating my point that the term “close” is a misnomer which is bandied about too carelessly here and elsewhere.

  178. Rehmat says:

    What you think the West’s reaction would be if University of Tehran come under fire for awarding Master’s degree on a thesis titled “Zionism is Evil”? Well, the University of Toronto is under fire for awarding Master’s degree to its Jewish female student who in her thesis claimed that most Jews are racists and prefer to live in self-denial.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/u-of-t-under-fire-for-thesis-on-jewish-racism/

  179. I’ll add to that: Iran is NOT North Korea. You’re not looking at fifty thousand dead US soldiers in ninety days. You’re looking at US casualties on a par with Iraq times maybe four over a period of several years.

    That’s not enough to concern the US elites.

    If one wants to argue that the costs to the US economy are more important than the military costs, fine. Just remember that those costs will be borne disproportionately by the US consumer and taxpayer, not the elites or the military-industrial complex or the oil companies and the banks who finance them. Which means those costs are no deterrent to a war either.

  180. Empty says:

    James Canning,
    RE: “Don’t we keep coming back to the question: what does Obama mean by a “nuclear Iran”?”

    1) “We” don’t. You do.
    2) Obama neither says what he means nor means what he says.

  181. Arnold: “If we assume US troops will be vulnerable to Iranian-sponsored attack in Iraq and/or Afghanistan for the next 7 years (making a US attack on Iranian facilities untenable)”

    Another example of untenable assumptions.

    1) Iran does not have the ability to kill “thousands” of US troops in the region. The fact that they can (initially at least) direct missiles against US targets in the region (which means Iraq and the Gulf since Afghanistan is irrelevant: Iran can do very little against US troops there – the logistics are impossible and there is very little support for anti-US activities among Iran’s supporters in Afghanistan) does NOT mean there will be “thousands” of US casualties. At best, if Iran gets lucky and their missiles hit a bunch of troops, there may be “hundreds” of casualties at least in the early phases until the US Air Force can destroy much of Iran’s missile launching capability.

    2) Even assuming (with good reason) that Iran can stimulate the Shia in Iraq to turn on US troops in country and cut off US supply lines via Kuwait, this does not necessarily turn into “thousands” of US casualties. It COULD, of course, depending on US mistakes. William Lind has even offered the possibility that, with US troops scattered about Iraq, it would only take some bad weather to ground US aircraft for Iran to roll in two divisions of armor and take down much or all of US ground forces in Iraq. This is, however, highly unlikely relying as it does on near “perfect storm” conditions.

    3) The only way Iran can inflict “thousands” of casualties on US forces in the Gulf is by sinking a very large US Navy vessel, such as an aircraft carrier. Despite declarations that Iran has large numbers of anti-ship missiles, there is no evidence Iran has missiles capable of sinking an aircraft carrier or that Iran will get near enough to any US carrier to do so. Also, again, long range attacks on UAE or other regional US air and naval facilities will not necessarily result in “thousands” of casualties.

    4) The only time the US can expect “thousands” of casualties inflicted by Iran will be if the US launches ground assaults on Iranian territory, either by large Marine landings on the Iranian coast or incursions by the US Army across the Iran=Iraq border. In such a situation, I WOULD expect many casualties, just as we’ve had over 4,000 casualties in Iraq. However, these casualties may take a year, two years or more to accumulate – not enough to cause an immediate and significant outcry in the US electorate.

    5) Your assumption that the elites in the US give a damn about “hundreds” of US casualties is laughable.

    The bottom line: the presence of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is not a deterrent against a war with Iran. As I’ve repeatedly said here, the presence of troops (and more importantly, air bases) in Iraq is an ASSET to starting a war with Iran. and the presence of troops in Afghanistan is an issue only because of the cost and logistics needed to support those troops – and if Obama is really looking for an out from Afghanistan without admitting defeat, having to transfer those troops into a war with Iran is the best excuse to do so.

  182. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Do you think the warmongering neocons and other insane elements of the Israel lobby can induce Obama to attack Iran when there is still no evidence the Iranian government wants nuclear weapons?

    I think the Persian Gulf would be closed to commerical traffic once a VLCC or two went to the bottom.

  183. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    Don’t we keep coming back to the question: what does Obama mean by a “nuclear Iran”? Does he mean an Iran producing LEU? Or does Obama mean an Iran armed with nuclear weapons? As I just noted previously, Bahrain has made clear it accepts Iran’s civilian nuclear power programme (and of course the TRR).

  184. Unknown Unknows: “Iran’s portable Noor (or Sunburn) ground to sea anti-ship missiles will see to that. See Mark Gafney’s article on Rense.com for details of this wargame scenario http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm

    Rense is a crank site. And there is no evidence Iran has purchased the Sunburn. The Noor is not the same thing. In addition, the US replacing the Phalanx anti-ship-missile system with a drop-in replacement which is claimed to be able to shoot down the Sunburn. Since both the Sunburn and the new ASM system are untried in combat, we’ll have to wait and see which one wins out in a war.

    No one is saying Iran can’t inflict SOME damage on the US Navy or other shipping. It’s simply not clear:

    1) that the damage will be sufficient to constitute a “closure” of the Straits;

    2) whether that “closure” will be long enough to damage the world economy;

    3) how long the “closure” will last against massive US aerial bombing of everything moving on the Iran coast;

    4) whether US estimates of Iran’s abilities are a) correct, and b) influence the US elites decisions to start a war.

    Give the “Known Unknowns”, I’d say relying on them to predict either whether a war will occur or the outcome of that war is highly speculative.

  185. Pak says:

    Dear Unknown Unknowns,

    Q.E.D? Are we discussing a maths equation? There is no absolute answer in politics, unless you live in totalitarianism. Have you ever heard of discourse? But you have, because in your new ramble you describe the internet as it is: a public sphere. Yet you want to act like a child, put your fingers in your ears and sing, “la la la la la”. How mature of you. And believing in a New World Order, within which some Americans conspired to blow up the Twin Towers, does no justice to your cause.

    Do you not notice the hypocrisy that infects your thought? You hold some Western states accountable for their crimes (when you are not even a Westerner). Yet Ignorance is Strength when it comes to your own country.

    Continuing the theme of hypocrisy, you implicitly justify the crimes committed by the regime by comparing their actions to some Western states. I do not know about you, but in school they taught me not to jump off a cliff if my friend jumped off a cliff.

    And, still continuing the theme of hypocrisy, you have been made aware of these crimes committed by some Western states mostly because of the West itself, through NGOs, investigative journalism and other civil organisations. Yet these organisations are banned and directly persecuted in Iran: Freedom is Slavery.

    John Stewart Mill, in his essay censuring British imperialism, claimed that some people are just not ready to experience emancipation, but reasoned that the virtues of free men cannot be learned in the school of slavery. Judging by your long stint in California, you have the pleasure of experiencing life beyond Iran. So who are you? Your rambles suggest that you support the imprisonment, torture, murder and rape of your compatriots because War is Peace. Fine, fair enough. But please, be honest!

  186. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, but I of course was using the term in the way lawyers like Clinton do. As in “prostitute accountants” or “prostitute expert witnesses” or “pr ratings agencies” etc. I think Hillary qualifies in that sense.

    Bahrain’s foreign minister, after meeting with Clinton, stressed Iran has the right to the “peaceful use” of nuclear power but that his country could never accept Iran enriching to weapons grade. There seems little chance of Iran doing that at this time.

  187. Empty says:

    RE: “Is the rock the threats against Iran?”

    The United States compulsively picks rocks that are too huge to throw. In recent years, the rocks include (in reverse chronological order): picking a fight with Iran, moving toward the light in a tunnel called Yemen (watch out, it’s a train and you’ll know soon enough), expanding the war to Pakistan, invading Iraq, invading Afghanistan, sticking its nose into Lebanon……

    RE: “Is it the commitment that Israel would have no powerful independent rivals in its region.”

    This question is wrong in that it already assumes Israel to be “powerful and independent” in the region (or anywhere on earth for that matter). Israel’s dependence on others for absolutely everything makes tapeworms seem like generous hosts.

  188. Arnold Evans says:

    Good analogy!

    The US picked up a rock that’s too big to throw.

    Is the rock the threats against Iran? Is it the commitment that Israel would have no powerful independent rivals in its region?

  189. Empty says:

    Too huge to “throw” that is.

  190. Empty says:

    RE: “But if the US accepts those conditions, Iran would be nuclear capable. Iran has made a bunch of proposals that would leave it nuclear capable. The US has made a bunch of proposals that would leave Iran not nuclear capable.”

    US did not accept. Iran became nuclear capable never the less.
    Iran made a bunch of proposals and remained nuclear capable never the less.
    US made a bunch of proposals and failed to leave Iran not nuclear capable.

    RE: “The problem isn’t the money.”

    For capitalists the money not to become a problem is the ultimate irony.

    RE: “What if after the US airstrikes, Iran is still nuclear capable? Does the US accept a nuclear capable Iran then? Or does it invade and occupy the country?”

    That is the preoccupation of those (usually Americans themselves) who place too much worth and value on the US’s acceptance of things.

    RE: “Obama’s statement that the US would not accept a nuclear Iran is making a huge commitment.”

    Sang_e bozorg alamat_e nazadan ast. It means that Obama has picked up a rock too huge to through and would probably need an inguinal hernia operation.

  191. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    The word “unacceptable” in international relations carries two meaning.

    One was Saddam Hussein’s 1991 invasion of Kuwait, which was “unacceptable” and it was reversed. But there was also the “unacceptable” way that the Soviet Union had imposed its will on Hungary.

    The United States would not be able to assemble against Iran the kind of international diplomatic and military coalition it crafted for the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. Without such a threat of international military solidarity against it, backed up by a United Nations mandate, diplomacy would not be credible and Iran would not be convinced.

    And US, by hereself, does not have the power to occupy Iran – not that it will be permitted by Russia or China either.

    Mr. Obama’s use of the word “unacceptable” in regards to Iran’s persumed nuclear weapons must be understood in the second sense – analogous to Hungary.

    More generically:

    I think US, EU, Arabs, USSR, China pushed Iran too far in the Iran-Iraq War.

    The UNSC sanctions, the UE-EU Axis sanctions, the sanctions of US satrapies such as Japan and Korea, and now the these assasinations in Tehran also, in my vierw, have pushed Iran too far.

    If my surmise is correct, there are no deals to be made any longer.

  192. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning: There are whores and then there are whores.

    In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, Shamhat, the town prostitute, is called upon to civilize Enkidu, who thereupon becomes companion and moderating influence to Gilgamesh.

    In the Hebrew scriptures, book of Joshua, Rahab is a prostitute in Jericho who betrays her people and gives shelter and access to the town to the invading Hebrews.

    One is a patriot, one is a traitor.

  193. Arnold Evans says:

    Empty:

    I remember 2006. That was a much different year regarding Iran’s nuclear program than 2010.

    But any proposal in 2006 for Iran to export all of the uranium it enriched would have had to be accompanied by a US acceptance or Iranian enrichment for two things:

    1) Iran would have to be free to import raw uranium for processing, so that its own stock will not run out and leave it with no program at all

    2) Iran would have to be free to import components and technology

    If those two conditions are accepted, then Iran would have in 2006 and probably in 2010/2011 be willing to forego any significant domestic stock of LEU. The problem isn’t the money.

    But if the US accepts those conditions, Iran would be nuclear capable. Iran has made a bunch of proposals that would leave it nuclear capable. The US has made a bunch of proposals that would leave Iran not nuclear capable.

    The US’ proposals, because nuclear weapons capability is such an inherent part of enrichment, also would have severely limited Iran’s ability to enrich uranium at all and would not be acceptable to Iran purely from a technological standpoint, but the US’ aim has always been to prevent Iran from having the capability to make a nuclear weapon the way Japan could.

    One funny thought that just occurred to me, is that US Presidents often say the US would not accept a nuclear Iran, and that attacking would be a last resort. What if attacking doesn’t work? What if after the US airstrikes, Iran is still nuclear capable? Does the US accept a nuclear capable Iran then? Or does it invade and occupy the country?

    Obama’s statement that the US would not accept a nuclear Iran is making a huge commitment. We all know he couldn’t keep the commitment, but it would be interesting to see him questioned on it: If the United States will not accept a nuclear Iran, does that mean the United States would invade and occupy Iran if airstrikes do not remove Iran’s nuclear program?

  194. Humanist says:

    Another great post by Ray McGovern: NYT Stokes Fear on Iran

    ,http://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2010/12/02/nyt-stokes-fear-of-iran/

  195. Unknown Unknowns says:

    masoud:
    “LARGEST BLOW TO ANY NATION’S DIPLOMATIC MANEUVERINGS IN HUMAN HISTORY, CARRIED OUT BY LARGELY DOMESTIC DISSIDENT GROUPS is portrayed as normative and mundane? This isn’t a trivial issue,…”

    My thoughts ran in a similar vein regarding teh significance of Wikileaks. On teh one hand, the whole house of cards that is the West’s world order is completely vulnerable to terrorist tactics from without (the petrodollars’ chickens coming home to roost via the aal as-Saud being extorted for hush money by its (equally) evil twin, the aal ash-Sheikh – you know, the guys who took over the Ka’ba in ’79 and held on to it for weeks before the French Special Forces flooded the place and electrocuted the lot of them by setting high-voltage cables to the pool they made. And on teh other hand, there is now, it seems, a fifth column opening up from within, whereby the bigger teh lies get, the more horrific and grotesque the duplicity and hypocrisy, the more the people from within cannot stand it, and now with the internet affording them the means to do so, they realize they can poke little holes (and sometimes huge holes) to let the wind out of the Ship of State.

    You are right: it is by no means a trivial matter. Both these fronts are extremely caustic to the New World Order people’s project, and both of them are very difficult indeed to defend against, other than by sapping the will of the perpetrators, which can only come by a change or course.

    James Canning: Yeah, I have read about the possibility that sinking a couple of tankers in the straights themselves would be a way to block traffic. the argument being that although the Straights are actually quite wide at their narrowest point (say, 30 or 50 miles wide), that the two “lanes” which are deep enough to allow supertankers to travel are actually less than a mile wide each (the north lane enters and the south lane exits if I recall correctly), and that a carcass or two would do the trick. I have read about this argument, but do not know to what extent it holds water. I still think the destruction of the docking infrastructure, fort targets that would take several months to rebuild and make serviceable, would be the first choice. Another possibility that I omitted to mention is sabotage. Saudi Arabia is an artificial construct consisting of four distinct regions: the Sunnite Hejaz to the west, the Shi’ite Asir to the east (the ribbon of land on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf under which all of KSA’s oil wealth lies buried, the Shi’ites of San’aa in teh southwest, which is actually a part of historical Yemen, and of course that cursed central region, Whahhabite Najd of The Barking Dogs fame. Needless to say, the 3 million plus Shi’a of Asir have been brutally and systematically persecuted since that apostate Muhammad ibn Abd ul-Wahhab started his fitna in 1748(?), and it would not be difficult for the Quds Force, well-connected to the resistance which they have been supporting for decades, to find volunteers among them to do serious damage to the Saudi Oil Machine.

    Voice of Tehran:
    Ma kuchik-e shoma hastim. I’m glad you enjoyed my little rant :o)
    Here we have the most powerful nation in the history of the world wind up [kook kardan] a few of their ragamuffin cave-dwelling patsies via their bought and paid for Pakistani ISI (Secret Service)to give them cover to demo a couple of condemned buildings (recall that the asbestos abatement and future TI (Tenant Improvement) costs were prohibitive, rendering future leasing impossible) and try out one of their fancy classified new weapons at the same time (recall that the towers never actually collapsed but basically evaporated: there was no 110 stacked pancakes at “ground zero”, no record player spindle sticking up a mile into the sky, the remnant of the buildings’s 47 massive core columns). Anyway, we have this little show, and before larry silverstein could say “We decided to pull it [referring to the demolition of Building 7 at 5:24PM of that fateful day]“, the Patriot Act was passed and the clock turned back on 50+ years of the civil rights struggle. (The Act just happened to have already been drafted and was sitting on a shelf in Cheney’s office ready to be rammed down the throat of the unsuspecting sheeple of the US of A). So as I was saying (before I started my 911 rant – sorry), here we have an incident, most probably of her own making, by which America clamps down on her own populous like a vice grip from Hell. Imagine the state her civil liberties would be in if she was not the sole superpower of the world and if the actual superpower of the world (say Iran in this delicious parallel universe) had invaded and occupied both Canada to her north adn Mexico to her south, building multiple massive military bases in each, encircling her diplomatically, holding her economy under a 30-plus year seige with “crippling” sanctions, funding and arming separatist movements in Texas and the militias of Montana and Idaho, etc., etc. Do these cretins have such little imagination that they cannot see that the playing field is not level, and that in such a situation, the place would be a complete fascist state under military rule, the fig leaf having been completely removed? the answer is yes: their imagination is indeed that feeble. Sorry, I guess I’m venting again. Take three deep breaths, Unknowns.

    And lastly, re: Pak’s response (which I read only because it was addressed to me personally): sigh, Q.E.D.

  196. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    Mousavi and Karroubi are not calling for radical change either. They claim the “green movement” is loyal to the country’s constitution and the ideals of the revolution’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini. Their aim is solely to topple Ahmadinejad and curb the power of the Guards.

    Mousavi doesn’t care about the cause for reform – he never supported or has any organic link to reformists. He and others in the political establishment just feel excluded from the decision-making process: that is all. The civil rights/ human rights agenda they espouse is just a ruse to garner support for the greens.

  197. Empty says:

    I’m sorry. “James” said.

  198. Empty says:

    Eric said: “Empty, Your proposal is creative. I wonder how expensive the carrying cost of Iran’s LEU is. Having it stored in Turkey seems to me to be no big deal, when there will be no use for it until probably 2015.”

    It was not my idea. It was originally proposed by President Ahmadinejad in his 2nd trip to the U.S. back in 2006 more than 4 years ago.

  199. Empty says:

    One night Molla Nasruddin was discussing with his wife their dire situation and how they have hit rock bottom with their finances. To drive the point home, he turned to his wife and said, “my dear wife, I’m afraid we’ve reached such an impasse that we may end up selling our only donkey to get a wife for our son. The pubescent son in the next room overheard this conversation and lit up with joy. Any time after that night whenever Molla Nasruddin was talking about any miscellaneous topic whatsoever, the son would jump in and say, “dad, talk about the donkey.”

    Honestly. No matter what the topic, some people cannot spare any efforts to divert the focus to Iran’s 2009 election for that momentary glimmer of “relief” it once held in the dark corner of their deprived imagination.

  200. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    It’s simplistic — and thus misleading — to equate the objectives and tactics of the Green Movement with those of Rafsanjani.

    Indeed, you prove that in your next sentence, “The sources mentioned in the Istanbul cable claims that the post-election protests abated when Rafsanjani realized he could not unseat or undermine the authority of Khamenei and decided to calm things down in the interests of the system.”

    Which is because the Rafsanjani camp are portraying to the US Consulate that — unlike the Greens — he is not seeking a radical change in the Republic but that he has issues with Ahmadinejad’s political leadership.

    S.

  201. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    Your proposal is creative. I wonder how expensive the carrying cost of Iran’s LEU is. Having it stored in Turkey seems to me to be no big deal, when there will be no use for it until probably 2015.

  202. Empty says:

    The concerned western communities must realize that they can have their yellow cake and eat it too but not at the same time.

  203. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    My point was precisely that it would be unproductive to claim you only looked at one source in writing your report. Same goes for taking that approach to the Consulate’s report.

    S.

  204. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    “In that long cable, did you spot any anti-Green arguments?”

    Irrelevant. The cable does not set out to argue for or against the Greens. Indeed, it does not set out to argue for or against the Supreme Leader or the President.

    It makes assessments of the information it has received. Challenging the information and analysis, rather than putting superficial assertions of bias, would be more effective in taking apart the Embassy’s evaluation (and in understanding the perception of US officials as they “read” Iran’s political, economic, and social situation).

    S.

  205. Empty says:

    RE: “It is very widely said in the Western nuclear policy community that one ton of 3.5% LEU is the threshold where they lose confidence that Iran cannot build a weapon.”

    There is a simple western solution to the western community’s dilemma. They should place an order and buy Iran’s LEU for fair international market price. Upon deposit of the exact amount in Iranian banks INSIDE IRAN, then their LEU order will be shipped to them. If they are interested to get even more LEU out of Iran, then they should place their purchase order in advance with a certain amount of advanced deposit.

  206. Scott Lucas says:

    Masoud,

    “There was no easy short-term and indeed long-term resolution to the political situation.”

    The Embassy in Dubai assesses that there are a number of tensions in the Iranian system, which takes the analysis beyond a simple Green v. regime framework. It assesses that there are significant political and economic issues within the establishment, to the extent that these are even more challenging in the short-term for actors — Ahmadinejad, the Supreme Leader, the Revolutionary Guard, Parliament, clerics — than any Green challenge (especially since the opposition beyond the “Green” label is disparate and unclear in areas such as an economic agenda).

    If you disagree with the Embassy’s reading, then would be far more effective to make your points clearly rather than expending your energy with pained personal attacks. (Indeed, the obvious line for a pro-Government analysis would be to explain why that the Embassy’s assessment is misguided, rather than getting sidetracked — again — with Lucas and EA.)

    Best,

    S.

  207. James Canning says:

    Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post said Clinton encountered Mottaki at the airport in Bahrain, but he did not respond to a quick comment she made to him (or it could not be heard). Mottaki must get tired of being lectured by Clinton about Iran’s being responsible, when Clinton had cheered on the illegal invasion of Iraq back in 2003.

  208. James Canning says:

    Hillary Clinton, speaking in Barhain yesterday, indicated the US would be arrogant and stupid yet again, this week in the P5+1 negotiations, and block the Iranian IAEA application unless Iran suspends production of LEU. I keep wondering if it is fair to call her a whore of the Israel lobby, and then she does this to confirm it is indeed fair.

  209. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Considering how obvious electoral fraud was in Afghanistan, and recently in Egypt, one wonders how the Iranian authorities managed to “steal” the election and there still could be no actual evidence of manipulation. If the poll was rigged, it must have been one of the most sophisticated organizational operations in the history of the world.

  210. Scott,

    “A dismissal like that, I suggest, means you will miss the opportunity for insight into the US position — just as dismissing E A Brill with “He put his Guardian Council report in one pile, other reports in another pile, threw away the second pile, and started writing” misses the significance of his study.”

    I don’t think that’s a fair comparison at all, Scott. In my article, I tried — with success, I think — to lay out very fairly the arguments for “fraud” in the election. Obviously, I concluded that those arguments were not persuasive, but I presented them fully and fairly.

    In that long cable, did you spot any anti-Green arguments?

  211. Empty says:

    RE: “More importantly, what in the world does this mean:”…there was no easy short-term and indeed long-term resolution to the political situation.”? It is seemingly mindless platitudes like this that have earned you the reputation you enjoy. What exactly is it about Iran invites self-important eggheads to pontificate about resolving it’s ‘political situation’? Assuming this comment is not meant to be explicitly Mubarakesque, what makes it acceptable to posit politics in Iran as a ’situation’ begging for some kind of ultimate ‘resolution’, while the US with it’s massive financial disenfranchisement, tax increases disguised as healthcare programs, Tea Parties, National Security State, multiple massively illegal state and two party system, not to mention the LARGEST BLOW TO ANY NATION’S DIPLOMATIC MANEUVERINGS IN HUMAN HISTORY, CARRIED OUT BY LARGELY DOMESTIC DISSIDENT GROUPS is portrayed as normative and mundane? This isn’t a trivial issue, and until you change your tone, you don’t deserve to be engaged with constructively.”

    Because the very mindsets are rooted in a racist supremacist ideology, it is a matter of indifference whether or not the tone changes. Honey-glazed manure is still manure.

  212. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    You’ve repeatedly denied any connection between the greens and Rafsanjani. Most analysts would not go as far as you in this respect. During the election it was manifestly obvious that Mousavi was Rafsanjani’s preferred candidate, as Khatami was back in 1997. Rafsanjani’s wife is on record as calling for people to rush into the streets if Ahmadinejad won. The Azad (Open) university which Rafsanjani essentially runs was a bastion of support for the green movement.

    Moreover, The sources mentioned in the Istanbul cable claims that the post-election protests abated when Rafsanjani realized he could not unseat or undermine the authority of Khamenei and decided to calm things down in the interests of the system.

  213. Arnold Evans says:

    James:

    Let’s say in December 2009, Iran exported 1200 kgs of LEU. It was, by the terms the US offered put under IAEA stewardship.

    Iran continued enriching uranium and in March had 1100 kgs of LEU.

    The first question is: If the US doesn’t care if Iran goes back over 1000 kgs, then what was the whole point? One of the US’ criticisms of the Tehran declaration is that it does not have “confidence building” measures to ensure Iran cannot make a weapon. It is very widely said in the Western nuclear policy community that one ton of 3.5% LEU is the threshold where they lose confidence that Iran cannot build a weapon.

    But the second question is that now that Iran has what the US considers too much uranium, what happens after the US complains that confidence is not being built and France announces manufacturing delays?

    Will the IAEA board of governors vote to authorize the return of uranium because of these delays? France can say they are purely technical, like the “technical” delays we’ve seen of Bushehr for the last 5 years.

    Turkey has no legal basis to return the fuel. The deal presented did not spell out conditions of return and also did not say that a delay of any amount of time would be a breach of the deal.

    The fact of the matter is that Iran was not going to get either its LEU back or TRR fuel unless it made further concessions. I think the further concession the US was aiming for was further exports so that Iran’s domestic stock would remain indefinitely under one ton.

  214. fyi says:

    masoud:

    You are right.

    US has very many serious social and political problems. There is a war in US between sexes, between races, and between generations. For a long time, these divisions were tolerated and even encouraged by a variety of self-styled political leaders becuase they could leverage that into money and power for their constituents. And US was wealthy enough to throw money at this divisive politics.

    That has ended and the Americans have to gradually rebuild their polity on sounder and less divisive basis. Regretably, their public leaders are still in a state of denial.

  215. masoud says:

    So essentially, you find it impressive that US diplomats were more Gary Sick and Reza Aslan than they were Michael Ledeen. OK, i will grant that you find that impressive. What exactly is there to engage here?

    More importantly, what in the world does this mean:”…there was no easy short-term and indeed long-term resolution to the political situation.”? It is seemingly mindless platitudes like this that have earned you the reputation you enjoy. What exactly is it about Iran invites self-important eggheads to pontificate about resolving it’s ‘political situation’? Assuming this comment is not meant to be explicitly Mubarakesque, what makes it acceptable to posit politics in Iran as a ‘situation’ begging for some kind of ultimate ‘resolution’, while the US with it’s massive financial disenfranchisement, tax increases disguised as healthcare programs, Tea Parties, National Security State, multiple massively illegal state and two party system, not to mention the LARGEST BLOW TO ANY NATION’S DIPLOMATIC MANEUVERINGS IN HUMAN HISTORY, CARRIED OUT BY LARGELY DOMESTIC DISSIDENT GROUPS is portrayed as normative and mundane? This isn’t a trivial issue, and until you change your tone, you don’t deserve to be engaged with constructively.

  216. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Turkey will not have to double-cross Iran.

    There could be another UNSC resolution forbidding its transfer back to Iran.

    A similar UNSC resolution could ban export of nuclear fuel to Bushehr.

    Truly, Iranians and US-EU Axis have reached the cul de sac from which no mean are available for exit. This is acceptable to both sides. Iranians will develop their nuclear industry and knowledge while US-EU Axis will take comfort in its 7 trillion dollars GDP and 3400 warships.

    I think you guys have to think your way through 2 scenarios:

    1- A multi-year between US-Israel-France and Iran which wrecks the global economy and the Southern Persian Gulf states – ending indecisively like the 2006 Lebanon-Israel War.

    2- Prolonged US-EU Axis confronation with Iran acoross the Arab Middle East as the weak Arab states crack under the demographic and political strains of their current dispensations while Iranians will be sitting there watching it (like in Yemen)

    In regards to UK’s position on Iran, I read today again that some UK general had threathened Iran in Bahrain.

  217. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    You might be right about US and Iran calculations.

    I add to it (as I did elsewhere) that within that 7-year interval the nuclear facts-on-the-ground would have made UNSC sanctions unenforceable without occupation of Iran – a clear impracticality.

    I think US-EU Axis and Iran are clearly heading in the direction of the situation analogous (but not identical) to the one prevailing on the Korean Pennisula; neither war nor peace.

    For me, personally, US-EU Axis position seems untenable; they are trying to project power against a country that has wrapped itself in the flag of Islam, while, simultaneously, they are supporting Israel in the religious war (against Islam) in Palestine.

    I observe here that 9 years ago, UAE cities burst into celeberations when US was attacked on 9/11/2001.

  218. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas will never grow up. I can see him making these claims 30 years from now!

  219. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Do you really think Turkey would double-cross Iran, and retain LEU put in escrow by Iran? Very unlikely. And in any event, the LEU produced by Iran has no current use, and will have no use for years to come.

  220. James Canning says:

    PressTv has a report on Saeed Jalili’s clarification of Iran’s stance going in to the P5+1 talks. I take it to mean Iran wants the IAEA application to refuel the TRR approved, and is willing to escrow some LEU as per Tehran declaration. Notions of getting Iran to suspend LEU production at this time need to be dropped.

  221. Arnold Evans says:

    From the Leveretts’ article:

    Instead of taking the Iranian letter as the straightforward confidence-building measures — Iran buys the fuel, so it does not need to produce it — the Obama administration decided to put Tehran in a bind. By offering to swap new fuel for the TRR for the majority of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU), the United States could set a precedent that would constrain the development of Iran’s enrichment program without requiring the United States to “give up” anything of strategic significance.

    What the public deal gave the US was more than a precedent. Once Iran’s LEU was out of the country, with no way for Iran to recover it and no deadline for the delivery of TRR fuel, the US could impose new conditions on the delivery of fuel.

    The US would be, after Iran exported 1200 kgs of LEU, in a stronger position than before to pressure Iran to suspend enrichment as otherwise the deliveries of TRR fuel could be “delayed”.

    The US is very clear that it has no intention of supplying TRR fuel to Iran if Iran’s domestic stock of LEU passes about 1000 kgs. If Iran had exported 1200 kgs of uranium in 2009, it would have reached the level of 1000 kgs again by March or April at Iran’s 2009 pace of enrichment.

    Iran probably would have had the option of exporting more fuel to stay beneath the 1000 kgs threshold, by contributing to a Russian or Swiss fuel bank or something, so that it could stay beneath the US’ one ton threshold. That would justify to the US continuing small shipments of TRR fuel (that would be drawn out for at least three years) while also justifying US participation in talks with Iran. It would also make the inducements for talks, the airplane supplies and other minor incentives, available to Iran without an actual Iranian suspension of enrichment.

    If Iran did not make further exports then the US would just have taken 1200 kgs of LEU out of Iran for free, with no loss or concession on its part, and the dispute would continue on that basis.

    Iran is on a pace to have something around five tons of uranium before this US presidential term ends, as well as at least 100 kgs of 20% enriched uranium. (Those are roughly the figures needed to further enrich into one nuclear weapon. 1 ton of 3.5% LEU or about 100 kgs of 20% LEU.)

    If we assume US troops will be vulnerable to Iranian-sponsored attack in Iraq and/or Afghanistan for the next 7 years (making a US attack on Iranian facilities untenable), then after those 7 years, Iran can have about 10 tons of 3.5% LEU and several hundred kgs of 20% LEU. Assuming further that a substantial part of Iran’s stock of LEU is distributed in secure storage locations, by that point there will not be a military option that has any hope – retaliation or not – of non-trivially degrading Iran’s ability to make a weapon if it chooses.

    The United States in 2009 and maybe now is willing to trade that scenario for freezing Iran’s uranium stock indefinitely at below one ton and reducing sanctions, which would allow time to extricate itself from Iraq and Afghanistan and more effectively attack Iran’s nuclear program afterward, if Iran had not by that point agreed to end its domestic enrichment program.

    The US narrative is that Ahmadinejad and even we’re hearing now, Khamenei initially accepted the deal with all of its strategic implications for the US and Iran, but were overruled on the deal. This narrative has essentially no supporting evidence, and exists entirely in the minds of western analysts who repeat it so often to each other that they take the repetition itself as proof that it is correct.

    It is not a good deal for Iran, and is completely inconsistent with everything every Iranian figure has said about its nuclear program since at least 2003. A Western narrative that took hold in late 2009 was that the election protests as well as Iran’s revelation of the plans for an enrichment facility near Qom put so much pressure on Iran’s government that it was ready to capitulate. According to this narrative, again completely unsupported, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei were the advocates for this slow-motion capitulation the West hoped Iran would accept.

    Today, as usual with no objective support, Western analysts strongly hold a narrative that the unilateral sanctions against Iran are “biting” or even “crippling” and so there is a chance Iran will accept the deal presented. If not, the US thinks over time the effect of the sanctions will be more pronounced and that if the US waits Iran will accept the deal basically outlined above.

    It is a cost-free gamble for the United States. Even if Iran is not pressured into submitting the way the US would like on its nuclear program, the US has favored sanctions on Iran since the Iranian revolution and it has some with this. The US loses nothing because the worst-case scenario for the US – Iran having a secure stock of LEU that it could use, if it perceived an emergency, to build a weapon – is exactly what would result from the US doing nothing or accepting one of Iran’s proposals.

    Iran has not communicated to the US that there is a possible outcome that is worse for the US than Iran having a Japan-option. It has also not communicated to the US that there is a cost, in terms of lives of US soldiers, US civilians or Israelis, of the US pursuing its current sanctions policy.

    Because the US is left with a cost-free option of escalating sanctions aiming at effectively then formally ending Iran’s enrichment program, that is what the US will do for the foreseeable future. There are some Iranians who say that the US in this is playing into Iran’s hands. Forcing Iran to become self-sufficient and isolating its economy from the cycles and exploitation of the Western financial system.

    But that’s what we have, and out of this, in the medium term we will see Iran achieve a Japan-option while under sanctions. In important ways, Iran already has a Japan option. US Defense Secretary Gates says bombing Iran would not prevent Iran from building a weapon, but could only delay it by two or three years. A shorter time-frame, cutting that down to three months or so would be useful but there is already strategic value to the fact that the US is not confident that it can prevent Iran from building a weapon in three years regardless of what it does.

    The TRR deal, as conceptualized by its US authors, would have been a step toward freezing Iran’s nuclear program into place. It also, as a US concession, would have accepted (or at least ended US efforts to prevent) an Iranian ability to build a weapon in a time-frame measured in years.

    We can measure Japan-options in terms of how much time, against plausible opposition, a country would take to build a weapon. Japan itself may have a three month or even shorter Japan option. Brazil and Canada likely are in the same league. Iran has, according to Gates, a three year Japan option. The sanctions Iran endured from 2006 until 2009 were the price Iran paid essentially for US acceptance of a three year Japan option.

    The question now, is how much cost can the US impose on Iran as it goes toward a Japan-option measured in months and before the US calculates, as it did in 2009, that there is no way to undo the progress on that front Iran has already made.

  222. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    How many giant oil tankers would need to be sunk to close the Gulf to shipping? One? Two? Insurance costs would skyrocket.

  223. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The UK makes no secret it has concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme, but does not consider Iran an “enemy”. William Hague is not following in the footsteps of his Labor predecessor, who virtually staged “love-ins” with Hillary Clinton.

  224. Voice of Tehran says:

    @Unknown Unknowns !

    Words cannot express the uniqueness of your statements , I am speechless.
    “Mokhlessam darbast ” , nothing more to say…..

  225. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    This is what he wrote. Do you deny this?

    “the Dubai communiques are essentially written from a pro-green perspective.”

    Any news from the IT office Scott Lucas? A couple of months ago you promised to remove the dishonest claims that you made about your academic cradentials on your university website. What happened?

  226. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Is it fair to say that Hussein Askari is full of cr*p? And what a service to Iran, to try to prevent better relations with the US to set up yet another idiotic war in the Middle East. To benefit fanatical Jews rogering the Palestinians in the West Bank. With US help.

  227. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    Actually, if you read the cable carefully, the leading source is close to the Rafsanjani camp.

    S.

  228. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    As with the Ashgabat cables, the Dubai communiques are essentially written from a pro-green perspective. The staff author is clearly being fed information from sources closes to the movement, as indeed are the western media in general.

    The Leveretts have been consistently arguing that an inability to offer an objective analysis , and reflect the reality from within Iran , obscures the policy-making process and makes the prospect of rapprochement all that more difficult to reach.

    Hussein Askari of Georgetown university (a neocon bastion), who is close to both the monarchists and greens, has called for an end to negotiations with Iran because the “regime is illegitimate” and its removal must be the policy goal of all concerned:

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/wasting-lady-ashtons-time-4513

    Reading the stuff on Enduing America, one would conclude that he is right. That is one reason why you are undermining the credibility and usefulness of your blog.

  229. Liz says:

    When Scott Lucas is dishonest about his affiliation to the University of Tehran, do you expect him to be honest about anything else?

  230. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    I appreciate your position on the Green Movement.

    That, however, is tangential to the topic here of US perceptions. And you either did not understand or misrepresented those perceptions in your initial reaction.

    S.

  231. Scott Lucas says:

    Masoud,

    One more time: in the introductory analysis to the document, I did not make any claim about its perception of the 2009 election.

    I did put three points — 1) the US diplomats, unlike many analysts in January 2010, recognised that the Green Movement was not homogeneous and that there was a complexity to opposition in Iran; 2) the US diplomats, unlike almost all analysts in January 2010, recognised the range of tensions within the Iranian establishment; 3) the US diplomats, unlike many analysts in January 2010, recognised that there was no easy short-term and indeed long-term resolution to the political situation.

    I hope that you can constructively engage with those points.

    S.

  232. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Liz,

    It was noticed early on that there were no major protests in Mashad, Iran’s second biggest city which Ahmadinejad won by a 2:1 margin of victory according to the official figures.

    Conversely, in Tehran and Shemiran which Mousavi decisively won, the protests were indeed large as they were in Tabriz where Mousavi received about half the vote.

    This is not the picture of a “stolen election” and a government “lacking legitimacy”, but rather a minority refusing to accept that they were defeated.

    Scott Lucas claims the whole electoral process was flawed but he only asserted this when Mousavi lost. Had his preferred candidate won, he would have claimed it was a fair poll.

  233. masoud says:

    “I said the cable was an ‘essential’ document to understand the perceptions of US officials in the field about 12 June, its aftermath, and the possible future development. I did not take any position on whether the analysis in the document was correct.”
    -Scott Lucas

    “Read almost a year later, this January 2010 assessment from the US Consulate in Dubai stands up well in many respects. It is a nuanced view of the ‘Green Path Organization’, the different factions manoeuvring around and against President Ahmadinejad, and the bases of power in the regime. It does not offer easy answers as to what might happen in Iran but lays out the short-term and long-term possibilities.”
    -Scott Lucas

    How much contempt does this man have for his audience?

  234. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas seems to be following the US State Department line in attempting to portray the Iranian government as lacking legitimacy. The problem he faces is that he has no evidence to prove his arguement and that the numbers of protestors on the streets of Tehran were much smaller than the numbers he gives. Outside of Tehran there were no major protests. Also, as far as I know Mohammad Qalibaf didn’t say anything about 3 million.

  235. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    I dispute their were ever “millions” of protesters in the first place willing to come out in support of the movement. The preposterous figure of “3 million” was put out by The Tehran mayor, Mohammad Qalibaf, who is a political rival of President Ahmadinejad
    and was supporting Mousavi before and immediately after the election.

    The actual number was around 300,000 on June 15th according to western news sources:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1192958/300-000-salute-Irans-election-LOSER–man-shot-dead-police-open-rally-Ahmadinejad.html

    There was violence from both the Baseej and the rioters – it is completely dishonest to suggest that the protests were ever exclusively peaceful: A Baseej HQ was razed ,buses burnt and police pelted with rocks and molotov cocktails. Consider what the reaction of the U.S government was to the LA riots in 1992 where over 50 people were killed.

    The “green wave” was just that – a surge of protest which lost momentum because it never had any real foundation or grassroots support. As I say, the reform movement in Iran has distanced itself from the “greens” and will fight another day.

  236. Dan Cooper says:

    Politicians Lie

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26992.htm

    John Pilger – Wikileaks – The War You Don’t See

    Audio

    Award winning journalist John Pilger speaks on Australian radio about the absurdities put forward by members of the American government.

    John Pilger has a new documentary coming out in Britain on Dec. 12th called “The War You Don’t See” which features an interview with Julian Assange. To see the trailer, go to

    ,http://www.johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-you-dont-see-trailer.

  237. fyi says:

    Pak:

    Your statement: “…common sense would have it that a truly unified, stable government that is accountable to the people would be most secure against foreign threats…” in fact, is non-sensical.

  238. Scott Lucas says:

    Clarification to comment below….

    *I did not take any position in the post on whether the analysis in the document of the 2009 election was factually correct. The significance is what US diplomats believed to be the case.

  239. Scott Lucas says:

    Masoud,

    I said the cable was an “essential” document to understand the perceptions of US officials in the field about 12 June, its aftermath, and the possible future development. I did not take any position on whether the analysis in the document was correct.

    S.

  240. Scott Lucas says:

    Reza,

    “The cable from Dubai accepts that the Green movement back in January was waning and represented no real threat to the authority of the government.”

    A case of grasping at a fragment of a document to back your pre-conception….

    What the document actually says….

    1. The reason for the overt reduction of opposition movements:

    “Ongoing regime violence against protesters has decreased GPO turnout, from the millions of June 15 to a smaller committed core of (at most) hundreds of thousands.”

    2. The broader nature of opposition:

    “The GPO has a strong ‘brand’ – green, freedom, peace signs, silent marches, stolen election and martyrs like Neda Agha Soltani. But like the regime that seeks to crush it, the GPO is not monolithic. To characterize the GPO’s active core as now primarily (but not exclusively) university students and university-age youth in a country so demographically young (for example, approximately one quarter of the population is in its twenties) is not to belittle its potential. Outside of the active GPO core group there is a larger, relatively passive group, whose support now mostly manifests in the anonymous shouts of ‘God is Great’ from night-time North Tehran rooftops or who scrawl or stamp anti-regime slogans on ten thousand Toman currency notes. Presumably many of them have fled the field due to fear of regime reprisal but might be drawn back into the fray if the prospects of a GPO victory, however defined, became more real to them than the prospect of blows from a Basiji baton.”

    3. The tensions within the leadership:

    “Stepping back, it is wrong to assume that the GPO is the logical equivalent of ‘the Iranian opposition,’ and indeed it is more accurate to speak of many different Iranian oppositions, each with different constituents and goals, to include the following….” — Sections follow on BUREAUCRACY, MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE, INDUSTRIALISTS, RAFSANJANI/CLERGY, and ‘MODERATE’ PRINCIPLISTS

    4. The post-election effect:

    “The June 12 election and its subsequent protests/crackdown was a tectonic shift in Iranian domestic politics. At the elite level it destroyed Khamenei’s non-partisan veneer, placing him securely in the center of a no holds-barred political fray. It also redefined the sets of insider (‘khodi’) and outsider (‘qeyr-e khodi’) so that not only were Second of Khordad Reformists on the outs, but so was former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and those aligned with him. In this regard, at the elite level the central dynamic in many ways can be seen as Supreme Leader Khamenei, AN and the hard-line intelligence-security IRGC faction on one side and former President Rafsanjani on the other, with all of Iran’s political elite being pressured to openly take sides.”

    5. The long-term uncertainty:

    “At the popular level, June 12 has revived a popular reformist movement largely quiescent after the eight Khatami years while also bringing large parts of Iran’s youngest generation into the fray. This opposition, however, is not unified. The GPO now is a bifurcated movement, coupling a largely student-dominated mass following with a titular, elite leadership, and the two parts are not a cohesive whole. This rather diffuse organization may be a key to its staying power and simultaneously an impediment to building an opposition movement that could challenge the viability of the current government. Beyond the GPO is an array of unsatisfied groups whose willingness to join the GPO is unclear. These groups clearly oppose President Ahmadinejad but do not yet seek, as do many GPO elements, to overturn the entire system.”

    And there will be more to come in another document tomorrow….

    S.

  241. masoud says:

    Only a hack of Scott Lucas’ ilk would find the ridiculous assessment put together by the IRPRC to be “essential”. Some sexamples:

    1. The cable characterizes the 2009 to have been “lackluster”, picking up steam only after the televised debates.

    2. Many characterizations of some of discrete episodes of the the elections are strangely inconsistent.eg
    “President Ahmadinejad’s accusations that former Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami … along with Mousavi and other reformists, sought to undermine the Revolution and to enrich themselves, galvanized ordinary Iranians… [leaving many with the impression] that Ahmadinejad might actually be vulnerable to an upset.” In other words, the primary effect of galvanizing public opinion against the reformists’ corruption was to lead the electorate to hope that Ahmadinejad could indeed be defeated.

    3. Incredibly, the cable terms ‘get out the vote campaigns’ to be “vote manipulation”.

    4. “Rafsanjani’s institutional power is minimal…”. Enough said.

    5. In the teeth of the GPO’s anemic showing during the Ashura protests, the cable estimates GPO turnout strength to be “(at most) in the hundreds of thousands”(a formulation slimy enough to have been drafted by Lucas himself) as of January 2010, while at the same time completely excising the huge counter demonstration that occurred on December 29 from the historical record.(not to mention the June pro Ahmadinejad rallies)

    6. The cable does not make any attempt to explain the many public opinion polls conducted by Iranian and foreign polling agencies that establish Ahmadinejad’s impressively high popularity, in fact the cable makes no reference to them at all.

    7. The cable completely ignores the question of ‘how’ this ostensibly ‘free and fair’ election was stolen and a faulty vote count announced. Was the Interior ministry compromised? Was it a local level effort by the ‘Basij’. The Guardian Council? The Rahbar? IRGC intimidation of the vote counters? One would think that the USG, being in the business of democracy promotion and Human Rights, might actually be interested in an explanation of how this election was supposedly ‘stolen’ so that it could devise strategies to boost ‘democratic voices’ in the future. This is in all likelihood the single most important question about the the events of June 2009, but it is ignored because no satisfying answer can be devised.

    One could go on for hours about how superbly sloppy and stupid this cable is. But for Lucas, what he has stumbled upon is nothing short of ‘essential’, and in fact our clear course of action is to start measuring the USG’s foreign policy in terms of how closely it is aligned with this absurd assessment.

    Masoud

  242. Pak says:

    By the way, common sense would have it that a truly unified, stable government that is accountable to the people would be most secure against foreign threats. This leads me to question who really is the biggest threat to Iran, within Iran. Although I do not question it that much, because it is quite obvious. But still, you know what I mean.

  243. Pak says:

    Dear Unknown Unknown,

    It was only after reading Dan Cooper’s post that I realised you have chosen to act like a child and ignore people on this blog. Your earlier ramble did a great job at summarising the role of foreign interference in Iran, but did absolutely no justice to internal Iranian matters (much to your insistence that it did). I was not aware that imprisonment, torture, murder and rape are directly correlated with imperialism? Could you please do the honour of demonstrating your superior intellectual capacity by explaining this to me? I am at the end of the day misguided, uninformed and intellectually challenged.

    Or alternatively you could choose to ignore me, which sounds awfully familiar to something going on in Iran. Something to do with purging academia, or shutting down newspapers, or simply imprisoning/murdering opposition?

    By the way, I would also be honoured if you could demonstrate your superior intellectual capacity by explaining to me why opposition activists are rioters, foreign stooges and “seditionists” (a word I thought was only confined to the idiots in power!)? By your rationale, the 1979 revolution was led by rioters, foreign stooges and “seditionists”: they did, at the end of the day, challenge the status quo by following orders to riot and bring down the government; ordered by a man in living comfortably in Paris!

    So yes, let us all rally around the flag in the name of unity! War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength!

    P.S. I hope you enjoyed your trip to California, U.Shaytan.A!

  244. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    The cable from Dubai accepts that the Green movement back in January was waning and represented no real threat to the authority of the government.

    Today, the “green movement” ,spearheaded by Mousavi and Karroubi, is non-existent inside Iran. The reform (2nd Khordad) movement, however, is very much alive and currently represented by a coalition of 20 political parties, student unions and NGOs.

    As was pointed out to you back in January, the reformists have completely distanced themselves from the “greens” and moved on from the election dispute. Mostafa Kavakebian ,of the Mardomsalari (democracy) party in Iran, has divorced himself from Mousavi and is assuming de facto leadership of the reformists.

    http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=228028

    Kavakebian, only 47 years old, is a rising star and a possible contender for the presidential election in 2013. He represents the future of reformism in Iran whereas the green movement only ever was an immediate attempt to unseat Ahmadinejad: it failed to do so through the ballot box so it resorted to street protests instead.

  245. masoud says:

    Scott says:

    [Eric,

    “It seems likely that the author probably just ’surfed the Net’ for his sources” — I know for a fact that is not true.]

    I wonder what that could mean.

  246. Dan Cooper says:

    Unknown Unknowns

    I enjoyed reading your post of December 4, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Please also add my name to the list of those who have stopped reading comments by Scott, Pak and Binam.

  247. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Back to the military angle. If there is an authoritative voice on matters military, please correct me if I am wrong (as I really am just guessing). I think we can all agree that iran may or may not have the ability to close the Straights of Hormoz (physically or literally), but that this is not the acid test. The acid test is whether she can disrupt the flow of traffic long enough seriously to impact Western economies and the Iraqi Green Zone’s supply line. I think the answer to that is definatively in the affirmative. Consider the following:

    1. I do not take RSH’s extreme view that Iran’s ability to disrupt shipping in the Persian Gulf will be neutralized within the first couple of weeks by USAF sorties. Iran’s portable Noor (or Sunburn) ground to sea anti-ship missiles will see to that. See Mark Gafney’s article on Rense.com for details of this wargame scenario http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm

    2. But even if we say (and I do not) that all of those small mobile missile launchers which are buried in the nooks and crannies of the mountains on the north coast of the Persian Gulf will be destroyed, all it will take (unless I am quite mistaken, and please correct me here) is for a swarm of motorcycle-mounted “cavalry” with shoulder-launched missles to descend on any given ship. One or two direct hits and shipping insurance rates will become prohibitive until the menace is cleared out.

    3. Ditto a couple of direct hits with mines which the US Navy failed to clear up. Or one of those more advanced mines that lays dormant until the target is overhead, then is triggered by remote control.

    4. Ditto a couple of direct hits with the dozens of Iranian submarines

    5. Ditto for the hundreds of high-speed boats (purchased from Britain no less) armed with anti-ship missiles

    6. Last and by no means least, it does not really take a disruption of the traffic to do the trick. KSA, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar each have one, repeat one, deep sea port capable of accommodating supertankers. All four of these are soft targets. They can be destroyed by
    a) aircraft in hidden underground bunkers (using roadways as take-off and landing strips
    b) Short and Medium Range Ballistic Missiles with multiple warheads (the cluster making up for lack of accuracy, if necessary)
    c) Warship artillery
    d) Submarine-launched cruise missiles
    e) Submarine-borne frog teams mounting timed charges to the pier’s caissons (??)

    I’m not even a military buff and these things come to mind. I am sure the IRGC has much better ideas up its sleeve. By the way, the US’s two deep sea ports are also soft targets for a container ship (falsely flagged, in the great American tradition!) with a couple of dummy containers rigged to open up and let loose a salvo of cruise missiles on the unprotected vital targets. And of course those 50 caliber sniper rifels Austria was happy to sell to Iran a few yesrs back would wreck havoc in the Green Zone once a US attack issues Iran’s sharp-shooters a License to Kill.

    What am I missing, Richard? Educate me.

  248. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fiorangela:

    I hadn’t thought about that, but you are right. America would have been a much better place if Jimmy Carter’s solar panels had remained on the White House roof for four more years and had not been dismantled by Bozo the Clown. Although I regard Imam Khomeini as a moderate progressive (in the best possible usage of the term), nonetheless the truism still stands: fundamentalisms feed on each other. I know nothing about Khomeini’s decision to hold out the release of the hostages until after the election (other than some sort of deal was apparently made with the Republicans), but I hope and trust that with hindsight, Khomeini would have made a different decision.

  249. Pak says:

    Here is part 2/3. I do not think that part 3/3 has been released yet.

    http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2010/01/10RPODUBAI15.html

  250. Iranian@Iran says:

    Eric A. Brill

    I agree with you completely.

  251. Fiorangela says:

    Unknown Unknowns, you mention the deposition of Mossadeq, and indeed, frequently mention is made of the treachery of US in the overthrow of Mossadeq and disruption of Iranian striving toward democratic rule.

    Recently I listened to a discussion of the Carter presidency, and the deep animus Khomeini held for Carter, so that Iran deliberately held the hostages until moments AFTER Reagan was inaugurated. Had Iran released the hostages even one week before the vote, it is likely Carter would have won. Instead, of course, Reagan won.

    So it seems to me Iran has gotten its revenge: US has suffered from the one-two punch of Reaganomics and Reagan’s empowerment of Christian fundamentalists since 1980.

  252. Pak says:

    Eric A. Brill:

    “Long it is, but nuance?”

    “it seems likely that the author probably just “surfed the Net” for his sources.”

    “He put his pro-Green sources in one pile, anti-Green sources in a second pile, threw away the second pile, and started writing.”

    Oh the irony! Thank you Eric for brightening up my day!

  253. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Looking for Parts 2 and 3….

    S.

  254. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    “It seems likely that the author probably just ‘surfed the Net’ for his sources” — I know for a fact that is not true.

    If you wish to raise a specific point from the analysis for discussion, happy to consider. I disagree with some of the analysis but — given its attention not only to the diversity of the opposition, to Rafsanjani, to figures like Larijani, Rezaie, and Qalibaf — it certainly is far more than “He put his pro-Green sources in one pile, anti-Green sources in a second pile, threw away the second pile, and started writing.”

    A dismissal like that, I suggest, means you will miss the opportunity for insight into the US position — just as dismissing E A Brill with “He put his Guardian Council report in one pile, other reports in another pile, threw away the second pile, and started writing” misses the significance of his study.

    Best,

    S.

  255. Scott,

    “The much bigger questions are whether the US Government officials in Washington took notice of this assessment, whether they appreciated its nuanced analysis, and whether it entered their deliberations over policy toward the Iranian regime, the Green Movement, and other groups in the country.”

    I doubt anyone paid much attention to it — perhaps in part because few readers are likely to agree with your “nuanced analysis” evaluation. Long it is, but nuance? it seems likely that the author probably just “surfed the Net” for his sources — I learned nothing at all from it that I hadn’t read somewhere else at one time or another. He put his pro-Green sources in one pile, anti-Green sources in a second pile, threw away the second pile, and started writing. Nuanced?

  256. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi: “Jerusalem will be capital of the unified Palestine and the Al
    Haram al Sharif custody will pass to the Valie-Faqih of Iran.: Love
    it!

    All:

    Well, I’m back from a 5-month visit to sunny Californ-I-A and glad to be back in the newly-constituted Province of Alborz, under the *sayeh* [protective and nurturing shade] of the Vali.

    Add my name to the list of those who have stopped reading comments by Scott and Pak (together with responses addressed to them). I haven’t yet decided about Binam, as I haven’t had a chance to read enough posts from him to make a determination one way or another.

    I don’t know if Scott is indeed a paid lackey or whatever, but addressing those of good will, I think the problem is that these types are just intelligent enough not to see through the usual swill, but to feel an inadequacy, and at the same time when they happen to land on the RFI blog, they feel that there is something here that is of interest (hence their inability to leave us alone), but their mindset
    is so twisted by the usual lies and they are so vested emotionally and psychically into that Paradigm of Falsity, that they simply cannot overcome the cathexis. So they are stuck in an emotional and intellectual no-man’s land, between the rock (thesis) of the Paradigm of Falsity and its inevitable antithesis, the Hard Place of Inevitable Truth [al-Haqq].

    The statements they make and the questions they put forth logically obtain only within the framework of the (false) paradigm that they are stuck in and trying with our help to extricate themselves from. From the perspective of the reality on the ground, talking about Sotoudeh’s plight (for example), is at best a distraction for this forum from the larger and much more pressing issues at hand, and at worst, pernicious sedition. But for someone who’s visual horizon is delimited by the pitiful view afforded his ocular organs by virtue of the proximity of his olfactory organ to the tail-end of the alpha-dog (bestowing upon said organ ackluster shades of brown, among other earthtones), for such a one, it is useless to talk of another reality, as he literally cannot see beyond his nose.

    Hence we can talk about the excellent metaphor (of kooshy’s?) of the woman who cannot get a divorce from her wife-beating husband because the latter owns the judge and has the prosecutor in his pocket, or the fact that the US is in no position to pass moral judgment on Iran (the pot calling the kettle black metaphor), or say that whatever the shortcomings of the regime, they can usually be directly correlated to causes attributed to the beligerence and indeed savagery of the “International Community” – none of this will penetrate their emotional armoring.

    Their position is no less absurd than someone criticizing the government of the Islamic Republic for the safety record of their civil aviation administration, and who, when told about the obscene and grotesque boycott it is under, closes his eyes, puts his thumbs in his ears, flaps his hands up and dowm and yells out “la la la la la la ….” so as not to hear a single word, lest Reality should burst the
    cocoon his infantile (stunted) emotional capacity has spun for him, and his vision of the truth of Inevitable Consequences dislodge that cathexis (emotional vestment).

    Inevitable Consequences:

    * Had Morgan Shuster stayed and continued his work (of ridding Iran’s government of corruption and treason and rationalizing its accounting system and its Treasury’s accountability), rather than his being forced (at cannon-point)out by Russia and Britain and theri subsequent agreement to split the country into two spheres of influence, had the “moderns” not applied a double standard, the following 50 years would not have produced a Mosaddeq.

    * Had Mosaddeq’s demand that Iran be granted a 50% stake in the profits of the AIOC (the same deal Aramco had with KSA), so that Iran’s take would not be less than that of the British government’s (whose take on the taxes on NIOC’s profits exceeded teh royalties received by Iran) – again, another grotesque spectre from Imperialism’s past – then he would not have been cornered into nationalizing the industry

    * Had Mosaddeq not nationalized the oil industry, the ’53 coup would not have severed, yet again, the trunk of a native respresentative government, of sorts, foisting in its stead the 25-year illigitimate comprador-capitalist government of Pahlavi the Younger.

    * If it were not for the fact of that illegitimate rule, there would not have been a need for a revolution, or at the very least, the revolution would have taken on a very different course. Had it not been for the betrayal of the Nationalists and Communists and other Westoxicated movements by the double standards of their fellow
    “moderns” in the West, the Iranian clergy would probably have been content to continue in their thousand year old slumber (starting in 924 CE, if memory serves; the beginning of the *ghaybat-e soqra* or Lesser Occultation), and Imam Khomeini would not have had to justify his righteous thesis with the statement (and I paraphrase again from memory) that it could be that the Hidden Imam will remain in his occulted state for 200,000 years.

    And so on. If it wasn’t for the US embassy abusing its privilige and plotting to overthrow the regime right here on Iranian land, there would be no hostage crisis… If the US had reacted to Saddam’s invasion of Iran the same way it did to his invasion of Kuwait, instead of encouraging him and supplying him with chemical and biological WMD’s, then maybe, just maybe, the war would not have gone on for 8 years and the lives of a million Moslems would have been spared. If it wasn’t for that, and Saddam’s support of the Monafeqin-e zid-e Khalq (MKO), who knows, maybe Montazeri would still be alive and in the driver’s seat. In short, if the so-called “modern”, “liberal” “democracies” had applied the same standards to other countries that they profess to want to apply to their own citizenry, rather than hold the country down by the neck and squeeze the life out of it until it submits; perhaps if they did not do this, then maybe, just maybe, the Iranian body politic’s arms would not be splaying in the mud in an effort to grasp at anything to get air into its oxygen-deprived lungs, and so, perhaps then, the mud flinging out from under thre flaying arms would not spew out and land on the vestments of the Sotoudeh’s of the world.

    So yes, there is an External dynamic and an Internal dynamic, but let’s not pretend that the two are not interconnected. When Uncle Sam rolls up his sleeves, reaches into the borders of Iran and puts his hands around her neck and tries to strangle her, you bet that he will inevitably share in the responsibility for whomever’s rights are violated as a result of opportunity costs and energies having to be expended on surviving the chokehold; opportunities which otherwise would have obtained and energies which otherwise would not have to have been expended.

    If the Paks and Binams of the world are so concerned with the plight of their fellow Iranians (and I pray and trust that they sincerely are), then they would be better served by putting their energies and prayers into projects that maintain and foster the cohesiveness adn unity of our current duly-elected government and agitating for the lifting of sanctions and the opening of the Iranian to foreigh investment on *her* terms, rather than spewing the enemy’s corrosive agitprop, whose ultimate aim is to bring our great nation to heal, or worse, the balkanization of Iran, which is another one of their wet dreams.

    May the blind be given sight, the lost direction, the cowardly, courage.

    Ameen.

  257. Scott,

    Thanks for the link. I’m sure many here will find this very interesting reading.

    The cable (quite long, as you mentioned) said it was the first of three. Do you know whether the second and third have been made public?

  258. Scott Lucas says:

    A long document offering interesting insight into the thinking of US officials in the field….

    Wikileaks Iran Special: US Diplomats Assess the Green Movement and the Political Situation (January 2010)

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/3/wikileaks-iran-special-us-diplomats-assess-the-green-movemen.html

  259. fyi says:

    JohnH:

    More or less agree; the US planners are like the leaders of GM before bankruptcy; unable or unwilling to change even though the world around them has changed.

  260. JohnH says:

    I would go one step further. Enrichment is not the key. The enrichment issue is only the latest in a series of US grievances. Over time, the US’ primary grievance changes but the target of hostility, in this case Iran, remains the same.

    Fact is, Washington has been hostile to the Iranian regime for thirty years, starting with the hostage crisis. And, once you’re on Washington’s sh*t list, you have virtually no chance of ever being accepted again.

    And, with the prevailing foreign policy narrative celebrating the myth that it was US pressure and intransigence that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is no chance that the US will relent any time soon. Official Washington has embraced the notion that given time, intransigence works. And if it doesn’t, there’s always war…

  261. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: December 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I agree with you; 20% enrichment was not key.

    Russia and China prefer a weak Iran but not so weak that she would surrender to US. So they sanction Iran on the one hand and sell her stuff with the other; sell her weapons kits as opposed to turn-key systems; give them blue-prints and the Manufacturing Bill of Material instead of the complete factory etc.

    Iran is at logger heads with US on Palestine, on Iraq, on Nuclear developments, and on the security of Persian Gulf. US wants to make the Middle East safe for Israel; an impossibility now that she has lost control of the war in Palestine. She is contesting Iraq; Iran will do whatever it takes to push US out. And we have discussed the nuclear issue sufficiently here.

    There is no resolution possible and Mr. Obama knows it. Not when some US analysts and planners still think of US as the de facto government of the world and some others pine for Iraq as a US trategic allie against Iran.

    Truly, like GM Leaders a generation earlier, they will preside over the bankruptcy of the United States.

  262. fyi says:

    Pak says: December 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Remember my friend; Iran is a sovereign state and existed before the United States. Iran does not need the permission of US or any other state to exercise her sovereign rights. And if they do not like Iran doing so, they should have the decency of going to war with Iran and take that right away from her by spending blood and treasure; if they can.

    If the cannot, they best stop trying to frighten the Iranian people and leaders – this is only making them more upset.

  263. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    You cannot be serious.

    Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton were not high class either but they could get something done with foreign leaders.

  264. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari:

    Your proposal is has merit but does not go far enough.

    The President and the Prime Minsister of Israel need to fly to Tehran and directly negogiate with Vali-e Faqih.

    We already know the outlines of the settlement in Palestine: a confessional-based system that includes the current areas of Israel, West Bank and Gaza with Golan returning to Syria. Jerusalem will be capital of the unified Palestine and the Al Haram al Sharif custody will pass to the Valie-Faqih of Iran.

  265. Given the U.S hostile approach towards Iran in the last 24 months, I don`t think there is any reason to trust Mr. “Change” ! Sometimes I wonder whether president ” Change ” is really on charge of his Administration ! Lets see the outcome of the P5 + 1 talks with the Islamic republic.

  266. tony b says:

    Excellent article! ! Plus the discussion I heard with Hillary M. Leverett on kpfk 90.7 pacifica radio on 12/3, were both enlightening and eye-poping. Goo, Goo, Ga, Ga!
    Good Analysis.

  267. Iranian says:

    Excellent article. It explains exactly how the Iranians view he situation.

  268. kooshy says:

    This a good article to read, for those who still, Consciously or unconsciously subscribe to this line of thinking to justify American world view and actions.

    Myth of “American Exceptionalism”
    The Ultimate, Pernicious Howler

    By Robert Becker

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26991.htm

  269. Castellio says:

    James, you often speak with hope of William Hague. Have you seen:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-cables-us-special-relationship

    Quoting: “Conservative party politicians lined up before the general election to promise that they would run a “pro-American regime” and buy more arms from the US if they came to power this year, the leaked American embassy cables show.

    Despite British leaders’ supportive stance, the dispatches also reveal – in what some will see as humiliating detail – how US diplomats in London are amused by what they call Britain’s “paranoid” fears about the so-called special relationship.

    One said the anxious British attitude “would often be humorous if it were not so corrosive” and that it was tempting to take advantage of this neurosis to “make London more willing to respond favourably when pressed for assistance”. The UK was said to offer “unparalleled” help in promoting America’s aims.

    The incoming Conservatives appear to have made some wide-ranging offers of political co-operation with the US. The cables detail a series of private meetings with Tory frontbenchers, many of whom are now in the cabinet.

    Liam Fox, now the defence secretary, promised to buy American military equipment, while the current foreign secretary, William Hague, offered the ambassador a “pro-American” government. Hague also said the entire Conservative leadership were, like him, “staunchly Atlanticist” and “children of Thatcher”. End of Quote.

    Not exactly inspiring.

  270. kooshy says:

    Imagine Dennis as the old Fred in Sanford and son calling his deceased wife “Elizabeth honey here I come”

    The Brazilian Foreign Ministry has announced that it recognizes the state of Palestine based on the borders before Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.

    Brazil made the decision in response to a request made earlier this year by acting Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and also in line with Brazil’s support for United Nations resolutions, which demand that Israel must end the complete occupation of the Palestinian territories, Bloomberg reported.

    Silva sent a letter to Abbas on December 1, saying Brazil recognizes Palestine and hopes that the recognition will help lead to a situation where Israel and Palestine will “coexist peacefully and in security,” the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Brazil made the announcement after the UN General Assembly concluded a two-day debate on November 30, adopting six resolutions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East.

    “Convinced that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestine was imperative for lasting Middle East peace, the General Assembly today stressed the urgent need for sustained international involvement, including by the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, to support both parties in resuming stalled negotiations,” the UN General Assembly said in a statement.

    The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 165 in favor to 7 against (Australia, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and the United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, and Tonga).

    US Congressman Eliot Engel criticized the Brazilian move, saying, “Brazil’s decision to recognize Palestine is severely misguided and represents a last gasp by a Lula-led foreign policy which was already substantially off track.”

  271. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy, re the fires in Israel and Israel’s lack of preparedness to deal with them:

    another remarkable aspect is that fires in Palestinian Arab areas of Israel are commonplace — they are set by Jewish Israeli settlers. http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/60-days-of-arson-that-the-new-york-times-and-msm-wont-cover.html

  272. kooshy says:

    This is an interesting analysis of the unfortunate wild fires in Haifa hills

    Israel wildfire exposes gaps in emergency preparedness

    By Joshua Mitnick Joshua Mitnick – Fri Dec 3

    Tel Aviv – Firefighters struggled for a second day to overcome a deadly blaze in the Carmel mountains outside of the northern Israel city of Haifa, as fire trucks flown from European countries arrive to help extinguish the worst fire in the history of the Jewish state.
    The brushfire disaster has claimed at least 42 lives and marked the first time that Israel – which prides itself on dispatching emergency personnel to disasters abroad – has found itself appealing for international assistance. Israel’s police chief said the fire wouldn’t be brought under control before Saturday afternoon.
    The seeming lack of preparedness for the fire, in a country where emergency drills are commonplace, has prompted many commentators to suggest that if Israel is unable to beat back a wildfire, it cannot proclaim to be prepared for manmade calamities – possible attacks from Iran or another war with Hezbollah.
    One Israeli cabinet minister acknowledged the “problematic picture” emerging – a fire service that despite warnings of emergency officials and government officials was ill-equipped to deal with such a large emergency.
    “A country that plans to attack the nuclear infrastructure of a distant regional power, a country that leads the world in hi-tech and whose economy emerges the least damaged from the global crisis,” observed Ben Caspit in the daily Maariv newspaper, “is also the country that has its firefighting material run out after seven hours, a country whose fire-trucks date back to the previous century….”
    A catalyst for improved Turkey-Israel relations?Israel is awaiting additional firefighting equipment from Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey, which is in a bitter diplomatic clash with Israel over the deaths of nine activists on a ship that challenged the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20101203/wl_csm/347308

  273. Fiorangela says:

    as I suggested in a comment in an earlier article on RFI, Obama’s approach to Iran is little different from what McCain would have taken, or Hillary Clinton if she had won the nomination and election; the plan was laid out for the “next administration” by the same policy predators that are running it today: Dennis Ross and Israel. :http://www.cnas.org/node/76

    Earlier, Castellio linked to Juan Cole’s article featuring Farhang Jahanpour, who compared Obama’s approach to Iran to Israel’s stated goals for US policy toward Iran, and, mirabile dictu, there’s no daylight between Obama and Israeli policy toward Iran: bankrupt ‘em, punish ‘em, kill ‘em. http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/jahanpour-us-following-israeli-5-point-plan-on-iran-wikileaks.html

  274. Fiorangela says:

    Arab leaders stating that Iran is their dreaded enemy is simply verification that years of Pavlovian conditioning by Robert Gates and David Petraeus is having its intended outcome.
    Gates and Petraeus have used, among other occasions, the annual Manama dialog to persuade Saudi Arabia and other deep-pocket Persian Gulf states that they MUST purchase US weapons and coordinated defense systems, against the threat of big, bad Iran, whose annual military budget does not equal the amount SA plans to spend on F-15s that Saudis will never learn how to fly.

  275. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning wrote: “I think Obama needs to negotiate directly with Iran, by bypassing the State Dept. This means Obama needs competent non-Jewish emissaries, of the sort Franklin Roosevlt used to communicate with Stalin and Churchill.”

    spend a few minutes listening to Mitchell Bard talk to a California group, “Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors,” about “The Arab Lobby.” Bard explains that this all-powerful Arab lobby had had THEIR man in the White House, advising Obama on Middle East affairs, but that dreadful situation was quickly corrected and the Arab’s man was replaced with someone with 20 years experience in ME negotiations — Dennis Ross.

    Bard’s talk is chock full of insights into how the Israel lobby perceives the relationship of Jewish-Americans to the United States:

    for example:

    -”Arabs wield influence by spending money on presidents after they leave office, that is, Arabs buy decision-makers, but Jews take their case directly to the people, attempting to inform and educate the people of the US on the issues.”

    -”AIPAC does not run its own agenda. AIPAC does what the government of Israel asks it to do.”

    -”Arabs infiltrate American culture by establishing mosques and schools where hatred of US is taught. One such school is right in the Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital.”

    etc.

  276. Reza Esfandiari says:

    As Kooshy, I think, once said “Obama is in office but AIPAC is in power.”

    He is the head of state, but not the head of government.

    Why do we need this stupid pretense any longer?

  277. This IS the bottom line: “Obama lied to President Lula and Prime Minister Erdoğan.”

    And once you conclude that, all the speculation about what the US will or will not “accept” about Iran becomes irrelevant. The US intentions are crystal clear: it wants to force Iran to comply with US demands, and failing that, there will be war – just as there was with Afghanistan and then with Iraq – and now even with Pakistan, Yemen, and there is some evidence the US is deliberately ratcheting up tensions with frickin’ North Korea! (And if you’re looking for a “hell war”, North Korea is the place to be!)

  278. Pak says:

    Apparently Hillary Clinton explicitly stated today that Iran has the right to enrich uranium. The catch: “in the future”, which could mean anything.

    But still, openly stating the fact that Iran can enrich uranium is expanding on Obama’s vagueness over the topic, and definitely going against the wishes of Israel.

  279. Mr. Canning: “U.S. officials used the hyped threat of Israeli military action to press China and Turkey to support tougher sanctions against Iran…”

    Would you like to suggest again that it was Iran’s enriching to 20% that was the primary cause for China and Russia to support the last round of sanctions?

    I’ve never believed that for an instant. There is zero evidence for the assertion.

  280. “including Defense Secretary Gates, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, and Dennis Ross”

    And Gates is supposed to be the guy cautioning against war. He’s not. He’s following procedure: sanctions first, then war. He’s told to lie by Obama, he lied. Simple as that. So why trust him when he suggests he’s not in favor of war. OF COURSE he PUBLICLY is not in favor of war. He’s not Joe Lieberman, he can’t come out in favor of war at this point. Wait until the time for war grows closer – he’ll turn into Rumsfeld.

  281. Reza Esfandiari and Mr. Canning: Anyone who trusts Obama has drunk the Kool-Aid. He’s a deliberate liar. He wrote the letter to Brazil himself and then reneged on it. That’s all you need to know about him – that and the fact that he’s owned and operated by certain military-industrial families in Chicago.

  282. Mr. Canning: “Strikingly, we were told by senior British officials in November 2009 that the British government did not want the TRR proposal to succeed because, as a practical matter, that would make it impossible to get the Security Council to authorize new sanctions against Iran.)”

    Since you’re always telling us the Brits have no beef with Iran, perhaps you’d care to comment on this?

    I’d say it’s pretty damn clear the Brits are as much poodles on Iran as Blair was with Iraq.

  283. James Canning says:

    An obvious handicap Obama labors under is that he does not come from the upper-middle or upper-classes in the US and by background has no understanding of how to communicate with the leaders of other countries that have reason to be suspicious of American intentions. Obama should pay attention to how William Hague handles himself in these matters. Hague stresses that the UK does not view other countries as “enemies” but some are easier to deal with than others.

  284. James Canning says:

    Obama clearly is intelligent, but it seems equally clear he is unable to grasp even fairly simple concepts regarding the conduct of diplomacy. One of those concepts is that, in dealing with Iran, there shall be – - repeat, SHALL BE – - no talk of “carrots and sticks” or other such obvious total cr*p used by a number of Obama’s advisers, and Obama himself!

  285. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    I think Obama needs to negotiate directly with Iran, by bypassing the State Dept. This means Obama needs competent non-Jewish emissaries, of the sort Franklin Roosevlt used to communicate with Stalin and Churchill.

  286. James Canning says:

    Indeed, we have seen a good deal of incompetence and”outright duplicity” on display by the Obama administration. Are some of Obama’s team trying to deceive him, in the manner George W. Bush was played for a fool by Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Doug Feith?

  287. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Personally, I like Obama and I would trust him. I just have no confidence that he is in charge of anything to do with foreign policy and Iran strategy.

    Maybe it would be better to bypass the State Department and White House and let AIPAC negotiate directly with Iran: at least there would be no misunderstandings.