Iran says no meddling in Bahrain, PG islands Iranian
5 March, 2014 – Press TV
Iran foreign ministry has categorically rejected accusations by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) of Tehran interfering in the domestic affairs of Bahrain.
“The accusations leveled against Iran with regards to the internal affairs of Bahrain are completely baseless,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Wednesday.
The [P]GCC foreign ministers concluded their 130th meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday where they accused Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of Bahrain.
“Iran’s principled policy towards its neighboring countries is based on good neighborliness, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” Afkham said.
“Efforts by the cooperation council to blame Bahrain’s internal problems on others are caused by the confusion of the officials of this country about the legitimate demands of Bahrainis and [an attempt to] distract public attention from the realities in … Bahrain,” she added.
The Persian Gulf Island state, which is a US ally and home to its Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests erupted in mid-February 2011.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested in a brutal regime crackdown, backed by Saudi Arabia.
Afkham also dismissed the council’s claims about the three Iranian islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. She said that the three islands have been and will remain an inseparable part of Iranian soil.
The islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa have historically been part of Iran, proof of which can be found and corroborated by countless historical, legal, and geographical documents in Iran and other parts of the world. However, the United Arab Emirates has repeatedly laid baseless claims to the islands. …source
March 19, 2014 No Comments
Kerry says no deal yet in Iran nuclear talks
8 November, 2013 – Al Akhbarhttp://www.crookedbough.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=wp-to-twitter/wp-to-twitter.php
World powers and Iran have yet to reach a deal on Iran’s nuclear program but are working hard to do so, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.
“There is not an agreement at this point,” Kerry said shortly after arriving in Geneva Friday to help seal what is hoped to be a landmark with Tehran, but stressed that the six world powers leading the talks were “working hard.”
“I don’t think anybody should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed,” he added.
Meanwhile, the UN nuclear agency said that its chief Yukiya Amano will hold talks with senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Monday with the aim of “strengthening dialogue and cooperation.”
His decision to accept an Iranian invitation to visit may be a sign of progress in long-stalled efforts by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to investigate the Islamic state’s disputed atomic activities.
Kerry met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday before heading to Geneva for landmark three-way talks with Iran and the EU.
The Israeli prime minister denounced the possible deal as a “historic mistake.”
In an effort to help narrow the differences in negotiations, “Secretary Kerry will travel to Geneva, Switzerland today at the invitation of EU High Representative [Catherine] Ashton to hold a trilateral meeting with High Representative Ashton and [Iranian] Foreign Minister [Mohammed] Zarif on the margins of the P5+1 negotiations,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement early on Friday.
A senior State Department official said that since the first round of talks with Iranian President Hassan Rohani’s administration last month, “Kerry has been open to the possibility of traveling to Geneva for this round of negotiations if it would help narrow differences.”
The official added that Ashton had asked Kerry to attend the Geneva talks help bridge the gaps,
“As we’ve said, this is a complex process. And as a member of the P5+1, he is committed to doing anything he can to help,” the official added.
The US clarified that Kerry’s arrival in Geneva is not indicative of a sealed deal with Iran after years of foot-dragging and suspicion.
Western governments and Israel suspect Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under cover of its civilian program. Tehran denies any such ambition and, since Rohani took office in August, has made overtures suggesting it is prepared to scale back its enrichment of uranium in return for the easing of crippling Western sanctions.
World powers and Iran are working intensively to advance talks in Geneva over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, a spokesman for Ashton said on Friday. …more
November 8, 2013 No Comments
N-talks can reach end game in under 1 year: Iran
8 November, 2013 – Shia Post
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran and six major world powers can reach an end game agreement in their nuclear talks in less than a year.
In a Thursday interview with CNN, Zarif expressed optimism that Iran and the six powers can start serious work on Friday morning to prepare “some sort of a joint statement” that would address the “common objective for all seven of us.”
The Iranian foreign minister said that the two sides can reach “an end game – that we all tried to reach – within a limited period of time, hopefully in less than a year, and a series of actions that the two sides have to take reciprocally in order to build confidence and address their most immediate concerns.”
“I believe it is possible to reach an understanding or agreement before we close these negotiations tomorrow (Friday) evening,” Zarif pointed out.
“I believe the ingredients are there. It takes a quite a bit of effort and a quite a bit of good faith and political will. I know that we have it on our side and I hope that we can expect the same from the other side and in that fashion and in that spirit we can move forward,” he added.
The head of Iran’s diplomatic apparatus rejected remarks by Chairman of the US Congress Committee on Foreign Relations Robert Mendez, who had said if Iran wants favorable results from the nuclear negotiations, it should suspend its uranium enrichment activities.
He referred to Iran’s suspension of its enrichment program from 2003 to 2005 to build confidence, adding, “So we have tested that and it did not produce positive results. We are not going to test that again,” Zarif said.
“I believe that people should stop trying to impose a solution. They have got to be creative. They have got to be innovative and deal with situations on the basis of realities not on the basis of illusions and I believe at the end of the day everybody will be happy with a deal that can be achieved today. Otherwise one year down the road we will be wishing for the same deal that could be achieved today and the opportunity was missed.” he added.
“There is a window of opportunity now that has been created by the Iranian people through the election of President [Hassan] Rouhani and that opportunity needs to be seized and I believe the people should accept the realities; should learn a lesson from what has been achieved in the past,” he said. …more
November 8, 2013 No Comments
Iran, Britain Agree to Name Non-Resident Diplomats
9 October, 2013 – FARS
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Britain have agreed to appoint non-resident charges d’affaires as a first step towards reopening of embassies, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said.
“Following negotiations between the two foreign ministers in New York, it has been agreed that talks shall continue between representatives of the two foreign ministries,” Afkham said on Tuesday.
“And following these talks, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in a telephone conversation with (Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif yesterday (Monday), proposed that the two countries move to appoint non-resident chargés d’affaires in their respective capitals,” she added, press tv reported.
In a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, Zarif and Hague discussed the improvement of Tehran-London relations, Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments.
Afkham said in view of the Iranian parliament’s approval of a bill to downgrade Iran-UK ties, Tehran and London agreed to maintain ties at the level of non-resident chargés d’affaires as of Tuesday.
On November 27, 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, in response to Britain’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran over the allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Two days after the decision by the Iranian parliament, hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran and pulled down the UK flag.
On November 30 of the same year, London cut off its ties with Tehran, withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and the Iranian Embassy in London was closed. …source
October 9, 2013 No Comments
US Zionist attack dog brought to heel
4 October, 2013 – By Finian Cunningham – PressTV
Interesting times are in the offing between the US and Iran as the American government says it is now “ready for talks” with the Islamic Republic – after 34 years of hostility since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that economic sanctions imposed on Iran could be lifted within six months.
And, interestingly, American officials seem to have resisted Israel’s latest saber rattling when Premier Benjamin Netanyahu hotfooted it to Washington earlier this week with grim warnings that Iran’s diplomatic overtures were merely a ruse.
Netanyahu repeated the tired old disreputable claims before the UN General Assembly that Iran was secretly building a nuclear bomb to destroy the Israeli state. As one mocking headline in Israeli newspaper Haaretz put it: “Netanyahu’s UN speech was enriched with Iran rhetoric, but his stockpile is low”.
In a seeming rebuff to Netanyahu days later, US top diplomat John Kerry told a press conference in Japan that the US was insisting on pursuing the diplomatic route with Iran.
US officials are now scheduled to meet with Iranian counterparts in Geneva later this month, along with other members of the P5+1 group, to explore possible diplomatic options to resolve the nuclear standoff that would allow Iran to avail of its right to peaceful nuclear development and importantly to lift the economic sanctions.
So, are we about to see an historic divergence between US and Israeli foreign policy? A divergence where Washington acts on more enlightened self-interest towards Iran and cuts the bellicose Israeli regime adrift.
This will be a test of what truly makes US foreign policy tick. Many observers aver that Washington has been for too long maligned by an inordinate Israeli influence in its stance towards Iran and the Middle East generally.
In this view, it is contended that a belligerent Israel has in effect hijacked and deformed American government relations with the wider world. The corollary of this analysis is that if somehow Washington could ditch the warping influence of Israeli politicians and the powerful Zionist lobbies then America might be able to establish more friendly foreign relations; and with Iran in particular.
The largely positive reception bestowed on Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to the US last week might suggest such a tantalizing new beginning. The cordial meeting between John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly also bodes well. Then came the “historic” phone call from US President Barack Obama to Rouhani as the latter was departing for Iran, during which the American leader even bade farewell in Persian language.
Netanyahu’s barnstorming arrival in Washington and his tirade at the UN pouring invective on President Rouhani also suggests that there may indeed be a significant new opening in American-Iranian relations, one in which the US finally begins to act more reasonably and independently from Israeli warmongering.
To be sure, it is incumbent to give diplomacy a chance. The burden of economic sanctions on the Iranian people makes it imperative to resolve the nuclear dispute.
As President Rouhani has noted, decades of enmity going back to the US-orchestrated coup d’état in 1953 cannot be resolved overnight and certainly not merely on the basis of a few phone calls and cordial meetings.
The ignominious history of American aggression towards Iran will require some earnest practical measures to build confidence in Washington’s purported sincerity. The immediate canceling of illegal US sanctions would be a good place to start, one where the onus is firmly on Washington, not Tehran.
But here is the caveat. Can Washington really separate itself from Israeli hostility towards Iran?
Put it another way: is the Zionist regime an obnoxious appendage of Washington that could be discarded, or is it an integral part of US foreign policy? The benign view is that if the Zionist warmongering influence could be excised then the US might be able to conduct more ethical foreign relations with Iran (and other countries).
The trouble is that this benign view fails to understand the fundamental role of Israel in US foreign relations. Israel is not just an entity that Washington suffers as a result of excessive Zionist lobby groups and bribes to Congress. It is of course partly that.
But, more fundamentally, Israel serves to project American imperialist interests and power in the Middle East. The affront to international law and human rights that the Israeli regime incarnates, the conflict and wars that it fuels, all these violations are an integral part of how US imperialism asserts hegemony across the Middle East region and beyond.
The same goes for the House of Saud and the other Persian Gulf Arab dictatorships. They are all part of the anti-democratic architecture that guarantees Washington’s domination in the oil-rich Middle East. That domination depends not just on the flow of oil and massive weapons sales from conflicts, but more crucially on the flow of
petrodollars to prop up the bankrupt American Federal Reserve.
This explains, for example, why Israel and the Arab dictatorships have merged as allies in the same US camp of fomenting regime change in Syria.
Israel and the Saudi regime may owe their origin to British imperialism, but likewise they owe their ongoing criminal existence to the patronage of American imperialism.
As American Vice President Joe Biden let slip this week at the Washington conference of the Jewish lobby group J Street: “If there was not an Israel, we would have to invent one, to make sure US interests were preserved [in the Middle East].” Biden could easily have said the exact same thing about Saudi Arabia.
The point is that Washington’s hostility towards Iran is not borne out of a policy that is misguided and warped by the rogue state of Israel (or Saudi Arabia). Washington’s hostility towards Iran is borne out of American imperialism, in the service of US-dominated global capitalism. And American imperialism is hostile to any nation that pursues a path of independent economic and political development. Iran is top of that list.
The difference between the US and Israel towards Iran is therefore one of tactics, not strategy. Where Israel is incapable of thinking in any way beyond militarism, the US has enough sophistication to engage in an alternative tactic of diplomacy and politics.
There are telltale signs that the US still retains its fundamental hostility towards Iran despite the latest diplomatic overtures. One such sign was Obama’s White House meeting with Netanyahu this week in which the president reiterated that the US would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and that “all options, including the military option, were on still on the table”. The bets are Obama did not say that in his “chatty” phone call with President Rouhani.
This is not a case of the Zionist tail wagging the American dog.
Rather it is the imperialist master bringing its Zionist attack dog to heel… for now. …source
October 4, 2013 No Comments
American Exceptionalism – Peace seeking Initiatives coming from everyone EXCEPT Peace Prize President
American Exceptionalism has come to mean, Americas leaders believe themselves to be above the law and exempt from norms of decency, designed to protect Human Rights and to protect protect Nations and Individuals Rights and Sovereignty from the belligerent aggression of Economically and Militarily dominate Nations.
IAEA envoy says Iran willing to cooperate on nuclear issue
Al Akhbar, 12 September, 2013
Iran’s new envoy to the UN nuclear agency said on Thursday he would cooperate with it to find a way to “overcome existing issues once and for all.”
But Ambassador Reza Najafi, at his first board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also repeated Iran’s position that it would not give up what it sees as its legitimate right to a peaceful nuclear energy program.
“Based on its rights and obligations recognized under the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), Iran is ready to faithfully engage and remove any ambiguity on its nuclear activities,” Najafi told the governing board of the Vienna-based UN agency.
Iran is at loggerheads with Western powers in particular, who fear its nuclear program may be designed to give it the capacity to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the accusation.
Separately from big power efforts to resolve a decade-old dispute that could trigger a Middle East war, the IAEA has held 10 rounds of talks with Iran since early 2012 in a bid to resume a stalled inquiry into suspected atom bomb research.
The negotiations have so far failed to yield results but a meeting is set for September 27 in Vienna, seen by Western states as a key test of the new Iranian government’s intentions.
Najafi, who was appointed to the Vienna post after President Hassan Rohani took office in early August, said there was a “strong political will” on the Iranian side to “constructively interact” on the nuclear issue.
“We are looking forward to working closely with the Director General (IAEA chief Yukiya Amano) and his team in the coming days,” Najafi, a career diplomat and disarmament expert, said.
Asked whether he was hopeful that an agreement could be reached in the Vienna meeting, he later told a brief news conference: “We sit together, we directly and frankly discuss the differences. We hope that we can solve those differences.”
Iran says it is enriching uranium only for civilian energy and medicine, denying any aim to acquire nuclear weapons.
Hitting out at Israel’s “clandestine nuclear weapons program”, Najafi said Iran’s nuclear program “has always been and continues to be exclusively for peaceful purposes” and that Tehran would never relinquish its “right” to peaceful atomic activities.
Rohani, who has vowed that Iran will be more transparent and less confrontational in talks both with the IAEA and the big powers, said this week that the time for resolving Iran’s nuclear dispute with the West was limited.
He said he would meet with the foreign ministers from some of the six powers – Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany – when he attends the UN General Assembly in New York this month.
Iran is ready for “meaningful, result-oriented and time-bound negotiations,” Najafi said, calling on the West not to speak to Iran “with a language of threat or sanctions”.
“We hope there would be the same approach and political will on the other side. In this context, we should not lose sight of the fact that interaction is not a one-sided road,” he said, according to the text of his remarks. …more
September 13, 2013 No Comments
‘Hooligans in US government have no idea as to how Iran sanctions harm America’ – expert
Evgeny Sukhoi – Voice of Russia -7 August, 2013
The US Senate continues to pressure Barack Obama, this time not regarding his planned meeting with Vladimir Putin, but concerning Iran and its nuclear program. The Senators believe America should increase sanctions on the country following the election of Iran’s new president. Meanwhile, Hassan Rouhani gave his first press conference in Teheran advising other nations to “speak to Iran through the language of respect, not through the language of sanctions”. The Voice of Russia discussed the situation with Shabbir Razvi, a political analyst and director of the International Dialogue Foundation from London.
Why do you think the US Senate is urging for tougher sanctions on Iran without even waiting for any tangible moves on the part of Teheran and the newly elected president?
It is quite curious and really paradoxical in the manner in which the Congress and the Senate are operating in the US. There are mixed signals coming out from the USA, the White House spokesman talks about establishing better relationships while at the same time the Congress has already passed further tightening and extreme sanction and 76 US Senators are urging president Barack Obama to toughen the line against Iran. I think the hooligans who occupy the Senate and Congress really have no idea as to how they are actually harming the US by continuing these sanctions against Iran.
Obviously Iran is facing a challenge, the economic challenge internally and trading issues with oil and other items that Iran may require. However not doing business with Iran it is America that is losing out at this moment.
So, that is from a purely business point of view if you like. But from a political and international fallout it clearly shows that US policy makers are not really thinking of the American individuals, the US nationals but perhaps have been guided by another nation who wants to have a belligerent approach to Iran. I really can’t see what is in it for the US by continuing these extreme sanctions against Iran.
Would it be wise for the US to maintain an aggressive approach towards Iran in the current situation?
The US policy makers are keep on saying that all options are on the table. When they say “all options”, obviously they are saying “more threatening, more sanctions”, and Mr. Rouhani is trying to have a new rapprochement with the US and European nations and I think it is a great opportunity for us living in the UK and others in the US and so on to take this opportunity that Iran is providing rather than continuing with the same stories that is continued for the last 35 years since the inception of the Islamic revolution in Iran.
I am sure your listeners would recall that Iran had a war of 8 years which was inflicted upon it by Saddam Hussein who was really an instrument of what the west wanted to do to emasculate Islamic revolution at that time and continuously after that Iran surrounded by American forces in Qatar, in Bahrain, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, all over the place in Gulf region.
So, really at the end of the day I think Iran is giving an opportunity for our policy makers in Washington, London and Paris to have a more sensible approach and approach that will be beneficial for all humanity rather than trying to threaten Iran and not really giving it due dignity that Iran deserves.
Rouhani says Iran is ready to have serious talks with the West, however, in the past such talks did not bring any substantial results. Do you think the country’s new president really means what he is saying now?
I think not only Mr. Rouhani, but previous leaders, Mr. Khatami or Mr. Rafsanjani and others, because Iran has had 7 presidents, even Mr. Ahmadinejad who has been portrayed as some vicious character also provided an opportunity for Washington, London and Paris to have more sensible approach to Iran but there has always been pressure on the policy makers in Washington from Israel, if you like, to continue in the same vein, trying to isolate Iran, trying to put sanctions.
When you think about economic crisis that we are facing in Europe and America with high unemployment, with austerity measures and so on, it really smacks off cutting one’s nose despite one face by putting extra sanctions on Iran, we are closing the opportunities for our businesses, our export houses to benefit with trade from Iran. …source
August 8, 2013 No Comments
Iran’s leader reaches out to U.S., vows to resolve nuclear row
6 August, 2013 – By Marcus George and Yeganeh Torbati
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s incoming President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday offered an olive branch to the United States in talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, raising hopes of progress after years of stalemate.
Rouhani, seen in the West as a relatively moderate leader, told his first news conference since taking the oath on Sunday that he was “seriously determined” to resolve the dispute and was ready to enter “serious and substantive” negotiations.
Hopes for a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear issue have risen with Rouhani’s victory over conservative rivals in June, when voters chose him to replace hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a cleric whose watchword is “moderation”.
Western countries and Israel have said in the past that they believed Iran was trying to achieve nuclear weapons capability, but Tehran says its program is purely for peaceful needs.
Rouhani said Iran would not abandon its nuclear program, which it would uphold “on the basis of international law”.
“We will not do away with the right of the nation,” the 64-year-old said.
“However, we are for negotiations and interaction. We are prepared, seriously and without wasting time, to enter negotiations which are serious and substantive with the other side.”
“If the other party is also prepared like we are, then I am confident that the concerns of both sides will be removed through negotiations within a period which will not be very long.”
LAST TALKS DEADLOCKED
His words were likely to reinforce a sense of cautious optimism in the West, despite the fact that negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have long frustrated both sides.
The last high-level talks between Iran and world powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – were held in April and failed to break the deadlock.
Since Rouhani’s victory at the polls, the United States has said it would be a “willing partner” if Iran was serious about finding a peaceful solution to the issue.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki qualified those remarks on Tuesday.
Rouhani’s inauguration “presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over their nuclear program,” she said.
But Psaki added, “there are steps they need to take to meet their international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, and the ball is in their court.”
Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator, dodged a question on whether he would like to meet President Barack Obama during a visit to the United Nations in New York.
“If we see there is no covert secret agenda and there are good intentions, who will be meeting and who will be negotiating, these will be sideline issues,” Rouhani said with a wry smile.
Hoping to seize on Rouhani’s appointment, Russia on Tuesday said fresh talks between Iran and world powers must not be delayed and should take place by mid-September. Rouhani has yet to name his nuclear negotiator.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking during a visit to Italy, said Russia “absolutely agreed” with Rouhani, and criticized moves to tighten sanctions against Iran, saying it was a time for dialogue, not ultimatums.
“Now it is critical to support the constructive approach of the Iranian leadership,” he said in comments carried on Russian news agencies.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin is due to meet Rouhani for the first time as president in September.
In a letter to the new leader on Tuesday, the European Union said Rouhani had “a strong mandate to engage in dialogue” and added that it hoped for a new round of talks “as soon as practicable.”
Rouhani warned against what he called the “carrot and stick” approach of the United States of offering talks and at the same time ratcheting up sanctions, which have had a deepening impact on Iran’s economy over the last 18 months.
The measures have already cut Iran’s oil exports by more than half compared to pre-sanctions levels of about 2.2 million barrels per day, helping to devalue Iran’s currency and contributing to a steep rise in inflation.
“It is said (that) through sanctions they check Iran’s nuclear activities. This is totally unfounded, and they themselves are cognizant of this fact … It has nothing to do with the nuclear issue. It is pressuring people.”
Rouhani’s election has led to divisions in the United States, with Obama’s administration cautiously welcoming the prospect of new talks and many in Congress arguing that the result of the vote showed sanctions had been effective.
Washington should “realize the fact that the solution is solely through talks and the threats will not solve any problem,” Rouhani said.
“If anyone thinks through threats they can impose their will on the Iranian nation, they are making a very big mistake. This dual approach will not yield any result. This brings into question the honesty of American officials.”
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the pressure on Iran had, in fact, been effective.
“Iran’s president said that pressure won’t work. Not true! The only thing that has worked in the last two decades is pressure,” he said in a statement.
“And the only thing that will work now is increased pressure. I have said that before and I’ll say it again, because that’s important to understand. You relent on the pressure, they will go all the way. You should sustain the pressure”.
Rouhani blamed what he called a “war-mongering group” in the U.S. House of Representatives for voting last week to increase sanctions on Iran.
Referring to Israel, he said the group “pursues the interests of a foreign country and receives most of its orders from the same country … even U.S. interests are not being considered”.
The United States and Israel have said all options, including military action, are open to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear arms. …source
August 6, 2013 No Comments
War against Iran, Iraq AND Syria?
By Pepe Escobar – THE ROVING EYE – 23 July, 2013
Amidst the incessant rumble in the (Washington) jungle about a possible Obama administration military adventure in Syria, new information has come to light. And what a piece of Pipelineistan information that is.
Picture Iraqi Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi, Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Allaw, and the current Iranian caretaker Oil Minister Mohammad Aliabadi getting together in the port of Assalouyeh, southern Iran, to sign a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, no less.
At Asia Times Online and also elsewhere I have been arguing that this prospective Pipelinestan node is one of the fundamental reasons for the proxy war in Syria. Against the interests of Washington, for whom integrating Iran is anathema, the pipeline bypasses two crucial foreign actors in Syria – prime “rebel” weaponizer Qatar (as a gas producer) and logistical “rebel” supporter Turkey (as the self-described privileged energy crossroads between East and West).
The US$10 billion, 6,000 kilometer pipeline is set to start in Iran’s South Pars gas field (the largest in the world, shared with Qatar), and run via Iraq, Syria and ultimately to Lebanon. Then it could go under the Mediterranean to Greece and beyond; be linked to the Arab gas pipeline; or both.
Before the end of August, three working groups will be discussing the complex technical, financial and legal aspects involved. Once finance is secured – and that’s far from certain, considering the proxy war in Syria – the pipeline could be online by 2018. Tehran hopes that the final agreement will be signed before the end of the year.
Tehran’s working assumption is that it will be able to export 250 million cubic meters of gas a day by 2016. When finished, the pipeline will be able to pump 100 million cubic meters a day. For the moment, Iraq needs up to 15 million cubic meters a day. By 2020, Syria will need up to 20 million cubic meters, and Lebanon up to 7 million cubic meters. That still leaves a lot of gas to be exported to European customers.
Europeans – who endlessly carp about being hostages of Gazprom – should be rejoicing. Instead, once again they shot themselves in their Bally-clad feet.
Want war? Here’s the bill
Before we get to the latest European fiasco, let’s mix this Pipelineistan development with the new Pentagon “discovery” – via the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), David Shedd, according to whom the proxy war in Syria may last for “multiple years”. If that happens, bye-bye pipeline.
One wonders what those Pentagon intel wizards have really been doing since early 2011, considering they had been predicting Bashar al-Assad’s fall every other week. Now they have also “discovered” that jihadis in the Syrian theater of the Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) mould are actually running the (ghastly) show. Shedd admitted there are “at least 1,200” disparate “rebel” factions/gangs in Syria, most of them irrelevant.
Attesting to the appalling average IQ involved in foreign policy debate in the Beltway, still this information had to be spun to justify yet another military adventure on the horizon – especially after President Barack “Assad must go” Obama declared he would authorize the “light” weaponizing of “good” rebels only. As if the harsh rules of war obeyed some Weapon Fairy Godmother high up in the sky.
Into the ring steps General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On the same day that Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus were talking seriously about the business of energy, Dempsey wrote to US senators of the John McCain warmongering variety that the US getting into yet another war would lead to “unintended consequences”. …more
July 30, 2013 No Comments
Of especial interest to the USG and allies are the oil and gas resources of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 June, 2013 – Namavaran Network
Dr. Colin S. Cavell Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. Cavell is an American author who earned his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Cavell is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bluefield State College in Bluefield, West Virginia and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Colin S. Cavell is a member of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC).
NNC has conducted a Q & A with him that you can read here:
NNC – “U.S. foreign policy”: What is your assessment?
Dr. Colin S. Cavell – The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Defense Intelligence, and Joint Activities are, in descending order of importance, the structures which garner the primary resources of US tax dollars at present. Currently, the FY2013 defense budget is $472 billion, down from $525 billion prior to the Budget Control Act automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion which commenced on January 2, 2013. Also, this is a reduction from the FY2012 defense budget of $530.6 billion. And, just two years prior, the FY2010 defense budget was $664 billion. So we are witnessing a continuing decline in monies going towards US military activities, and this is primarily due to the extravagant waste on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as due to the lingering effects of the economic collapse of 2008. The ongoing war in Afghanistan and continuing activities in Iraq also now fall under the term “overseas contingency operations” and are included in the defense budget instead of being voted on separately as was previous practice. Consequently, we can see that the severe economic crisis is affecting resources the US Government (USG) can put into its military activities to promote its foreign policies abroad.
The aims of US foreign policy remain the same: protect and, where possible, expand the system of private expropriation of labor under the leadership of American-Anglo capitalists and their privately-run corporate institutions. The state apparatus remains the instrument of this capitalist class and works to perpetuate their interests.
The primary threat to the stability of the American-Anglo capitalist class in the present conjuncture comes from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) reflecting its economic prowess and growing domination of world markets. A second threat emanates from a growing belligerence from a more confident Russia which, since the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991, has gradually established a relatively stable strong state backed by a more nationalistically-oriented capitalist class which sees its interests as diverging from those of the West. In order to corral and contain these powers—both of which have strong Asian interests–US President Obama is diversifying US military focus from a myopic view and fixation on the Middle East towards a greater emphasis on Asia and the Pacific. To effectuate continued US hegemony over much of the world, however, control of the earth’s remaining fossil fuels, notably oil and natural gas, particularly the large quantities under the sands of the Middle East, will continue to be a primary focus of US foreign policy. All present actions towards Syria, Iran, etc., are structured with this goal in mind.
Of especial interest to the USG and allies are the oil and gas resources of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which have been out of American-Anglo capitalist control since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. These resources are the third largest in the world. Sabotage and destabilization efforts by the US and allies, particularly Israel, will continue against the Iranian Republic and its ally Syria, though it is doubtful that the US will commit its own troops on the ground to wage this fight. US reluctance to commit ground troops to this fight at the present time stems largely from: 1) the knowledge (and resulting bad faith) of most members of Congress that the USG is supporting anti-democratic elements to overthrow, at least technically, democratic governments (i.e. Syria and Iran); and 2) the USG is concerned that if the US commits troops to this struggle, then the American people will find out that it is the US who is supporting jihadist fighters associated with Al Qaeda in an effort to prop up anti-democratic monarchical dictatorial oppressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc. Instead, facilitating jihadist fighters from the Persian Gulf kingdoms and elsewhere to fight in Syria is the option being pursued with the aim to: 1) help defuse the growing economic contradictions and political demands of frustrated Arab and other populations in these US-client states; and 2) push back the Arab Spring of democratic protests that is engulfing the region since 2011. Concern by US ally Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf monarch client states is that the Arab Spring of democratic revolts will embroil their societies into civil war thus threatening their continued autocratic rule. Hence, there is a perceived existential necessity by these dictators to redirect the Arab Spring away from the Persian Gulf kingdoms and onto the secular democratic regime of Syria so as to expose the Islamic Republic of Iran to the full force of Western-backed imperialist invasion. The underlying belief behind these actions is that overthrowing Iran and bringing it back under imperialist control will obviate the need to make any democratic concessions, as calls for greater freedom will, they believe, dissipate once the Iranian Revolution is nullified. However, the attempt to characterize the Syrian government and the Iranian government as less than democratic has no currency outside of the US. Bashar al-Assad was not only put into office through elections in 2000 and 2007 but, as well, a new constitution approved in February of 2012 has wide popular appeal and will allow him to run again in 2014. Likewise, next week, in mid-June, Iran will be undergoing its eleventh presidential election since the founding of the republic. And, while the US may quibble over the structure of these elections and the candidates running or how they are qualified, political observers in the Middle East are well aware that even in the US—in the world’s self-proclaimed “greatest democracy”—only 538 people select the president and vice president, and yet the American people accept the USG as democratic in form. Thus relative to Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf monarchies, Iran and Syria are considered very free countries, and this is particularly the view of most women in the Middle East. And supporting the rights of women are a key component of which governments will accrue support and/or condemnation in the Middle East. In this regard, Syria and Iran are miles ahead of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf kingdoms.
Thirdly, American-Anglo capitalists are concerned that captive populations in their spheres of control are too democratically oriented as well as distrustful of the continuation of the capitalist state given the continued high levels of unemployment and economic stress these populations are presently experiencing. Indeed, a recent Rasmussen survey reported only a slight majority of Americans still consider capitalism as superior to socialism, and this is a cause of concern for the powers that be. The usual diversionary tactics of appeals to prurient interests and/or mindless absurdities and/or fantastical spectacles (e.g. alleged sightings of mermaids, etc.) have thus been heightened. But such diversionary tactics or prestidigitatious practices cannot substitute for the lack of jobs and financial security for any length of time. Likewise, Americans are sick and tired of endless wars and are no longer as gullible nor susceptible to jingoistic appeals.
NNC – In your opinion, are concepts like “fighting terrorism” and “promoting democracy” merely a cover for the pursuit of US interests or an aspect of reality in America?
Dr. Colin S. Cavell – “Fighting terrorism” and “promoting democracy” are phrases utilized by the USG and opportunistic politicians in order to rally popular opinion to support their actions both domestically and abroad. “Fighting terrorism” plays upon people’s genuine fear of bombings, assassinations, etc. akin to the September 11, 2001, suicide attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Appeals to self-preservation and ‘fear of the other’ are ingrained in popular culture so as to reinforce belief in the dominant Anglo-American capitalist culture in the US while denigrating the alleged amoral and insidious nature of foreigners, especially those of suspect cultures, e.g. currently those of Middle Eastern descent and Muslim religious confession. “Promoting democracy” is a phrase utilized by US Presidents and other officials, especially those connected with the US State Department, to castigate any regime the US determines to be in the enemy camp. If the USG is waging war against such regimes or countering their moves in the international arena, such actions are said to be carried out in the interest of “promoting democracy”, even if this means supporting autocratic monarchs in the Persian Gulf or dictatorial regimes elsewhere. …more
June 21, 2013 No Comments
Shame on Western deception!
24 April, 2013 – By Jim W. Dean – PressTV
Rank and file Brits can look east to Iran to see rank and file Iranians suffering also, but at the hands of the same Western elites. And when they see how Iran is reinventing itself the Brits might want to entertain some regime change themselves, the housecleaning kind, including all the Friends of Israel harlots.”
I read with astonishment in Press TV how the British government has debased itself in front of the whole world by refusing to allow Shell Oil Company to settle its USD 2 billion in accounts payable to Iran. The last I heard, Britain was not at war with Iran, nor has Iran attacked British interests anywhere.
The story continues on into the stratosphere of craziness when Shell tried to pay the debt in medical supplies which again, the British regime blocked. Shell then tried to arrange food shipments through Cargill, obviously intended to benefit the Iranian people who are not supposed to be under sanctions, and that too was blocked.
That a Western country would prevent medical and food supplies entering a country it is not at war with, as payment for an agreed account, I never imagined I would see the day. Shame on the British government, and all those involved in staining their national honor. I can hear Tony Blair saying now, ‘I told you I wasn’t so bad.’
The EU sanctions are going down in history as a perverse misuse of what was originally deemed to be targeted on anything that could be supportive of Iranian nuclear weapons development. This was done despite our joint intelligence report and the IAEA never finding evidence of any. We have Western countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons choosing to punish those who do not, on the grounds that they might have one… ‘Someday.’ That folks is a hustle.
What we have instead is sanctions fraud on steroids. Even Hillary Clinton said that goal was not to target the Iranian people, but she was lying through her teeth. Regime change has always been one of the key goals, the West’s thinking that hard times in Iran would spur its people to overthrow their government. That fantasy has gone down in flames. …more
April 24, 2013 No Comments
April 11, 2013 No Comments
Obama warns of extremist threat in Syria
Matthew Lee – Associated Press – 22 March, 2013
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Anxious to keep Syria’s civil war from spiraling into even worse problems, President Barack Obama said Friday he worries about the country becoming a haven for extremists when — not if — President Bashar Assad is ousted from power.
Obama, standing side by side with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, said the international community must work together to ensure there is a credible opposition ready to step into the breach.
“Something has been broken in Syria, and it’s not going to be put back together perfectly immediately — even after Assad leaves,” Obama said. “But we can begin the process of moving it in a better direction, and having a cohesive opposition is critical to that.”
He said Assad is sure to go but there is great uncertainty about what will happen after that.
“I am very concerned about Syria becoming an enclave for extremism,” Obama said, adding that extremism thrives in chaos and failed states. He said the rest of the world has a huge stake in ensuring that a functioning Syria emerges.
“The outcome is Syria is not going to be ideal,” he acknowledged, adding that strengthening a credible opposition was crucial to minimizing the difficulties.
STORY: Israel apologizes to Turkey over flotilla deaths
Eager to resolve another source of tension in the region, the president earlier Friday helped broker a phone call between the Israeli and Turkish prime ministers that led to the restoration of normal diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Obama had come to Jordan from Israel, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed a call to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish activists in a 2009 Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound international flotilla.
“The timing was good for that conversation to take place,” Obama said.
Obama, at a joint news conference with Abdullah, said his administration is working with Congress to provide Jordan with an additional $200 million in aid this year to cope with the massive influx of refugees streaming into the country from Syria.
Abdullah said the refugee population in his country has topped 460,000 and is likely to double by the end of the year — the equivalent of 60 million refugees in the United States, he said.
Obama also said he would “keep on plugging away” in hopes of getting the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement.
“The window of opportunity still exists, but it’s getting more and more difficult,” the president said. “The mistrust is building instead of ebbing.”
On Iran, Obama reiterated that the U.S. is open to “every option that’s available” to keep the country from developing a nuclear weapon.
He said it would be “extraordinarily dangerous” for the world if Iran does become nuclear capable, and he expressed his desire for using diplomatic means to halt Iran’s nuclear aspirations. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
“My hope and expectation is that among a menu of options, the option that involves negotiations, discussions, compromise and resolution of the problem is the one that’s exercised,” Obama said. “But as president of the United States I would never take any option off the table.”
Obama arrived in Jordan on Friday evening, the final stop on a four-day visit to the Middle East that included his first stop in Israel as president. …more
March 25, 2013 No Comments
Real liars go to Tehran
By Pepe Escobar – The Roving Eye – 21 March, 2013
Uncle Marx never thought about this one: history repeating itself as double tragedy after already being a farce in the first place. Let’s examine the case in hand. First of all, take a close look at this Wall Street Journal op-ed from September 2002, in the hysterical run-up towards the invasion of Iraq.
Title: The Case for Toppling Saddam. Author: Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu – then out of the Israeli government.
It’s all here: a “dictator who is rapidly expanding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons” and “who is feverishly trying to
acquire nuclear weapons”; the Saddam equals Hitler parallel; the portrayal of (de facto nuclear power) Israel as helpless victims of Palestinian “terror”; the claim that Saddam could produce nuclear fuel “in centrifuges the size of washing machines that can be hidden throughout the country – and Iraq is a very big country”; the cheerleading of a unilateral pre-emptive strike; and the inevitable conclusion that “nothing less than dismantling his regime will do”.
Fast-forward over 10 years to this week in Israel. The scene: press conference of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and visiting US President Barack Obama. Anyone watching it live on al-Jazeera, from the Middle East to East Asia, must have thought they were watching a geopolitical Back to the Future – and frankly, Michael J Fox at least oozed charm.
No charm here; this was more like an eerie, suit-and-tie Return of the Living Dead. Bibi and Obama were at pains to stress the US-Israel bond was “eternal”. Actually Bibi preferred to stress that Iran’s (non-existent) nuclear weapons posed an existential threat to Israel. He repeated, over and over again, that Obama was adamant; Israel was entitled to do anything to defend itself, and its security would not be anyone’s responsibility, even Washington’s.
Obama, for his part, once again stressed that Washington’s official policy towards Iran was not containment – but to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. He stressed the “window of opportunity” was getting narrower; and, of course, that all options were on the table.
The thought that the president of the United States (POTUS) willfully ignores the verdict of his own alphabet soup of intel agencies on Iran might raise eyebrows in a rational world. But this is not reality; more like a trashy reality show.
Dream, dream, wet settler dream
The powers that be in Israel – neocon-infested US corporate media avalanche of denials notwithstanding – were absolutely essential in the whole Iraq War cheerleading operation; Ariel Sharon, at the time, boasted that the strategic coordination between Israel and the US had reached “unprecedented dimensions”.
Bibi was just a cog in the wheel then – as Jim Lobe details here – quoting Bibi’s pearls of wisdom dispensed to a misinformed-to-oblivion US Congress in 2002.
Every usual “Israeli official” suspect at the time was breathlessly spinning that Saddam was only months away from a nuclear weapon. The bulk of WMD “intelligence” presented to Congress and faithfully parroted by corporate media was filtered if not entirely fabricated by Israeli intelligence – something duly detailed, among others, by Shlomo Brom in his study An Intelligence Failure, published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University in November 2003.
Of course it didn’t matter that UN inspectors found no nuclear weapon program evidence on site. Of course it didn’t matter that Saddam son-in-law Hussein Kamel, who had defected to Jordan in 1995, had told UN inspectors in detail there had been no WMDs whatsoever since 1991. …more
March 22, 2013 No Comments
“Not only military attack but even threat of military attack would slow down the progress of democracy in Iran because the government, under the pretext of safeguarding national security, would further intensify its crackdown on pro-democracy activists and critics. Moreover, such an eventuality would incite people’s nationalist sentiment, which would cause them to forget their criticisms of the government.” -Shirin Ebadi
Waking Up in Tehran
By davidswanson – 11 January, 2013 – War Is A Crime.org
According to one theory, U.S.-Iranian relations began around November 1979 when a crowd of irrational religious nutcases violently seized the U.S. embassy in Iran, took the employees hostage, tortured them, and held them until scared into freeing them by the arrival of a new sheriff in Washington, a man named Ronald Reagan. From that day to this, according to this popular theory, Iran has been run by a bunch of subhuman lunatics with whom rational people couldn’t really talk if they wanted to. These monsters only understand force. And they have been moments away from developing and using nuclear weapons against us for decades now. Moments away, I tell you!
According to another theory — a quaint little notion that I like to refer to as “verifiable history” — the CIA, operating out of that U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1953, maliciously and illegally overthrew a relatively democratic and liberal parliamentary government, and with it the 1951 Time magazine man of the year Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, because Mossadegh insisted that Iran’s oil wealth enrich Iranians rather than foreign corporations. The CIA installed a dictatorship run by the Shah of Iran who quickly became a major source of profits for U.S. weapons makers, and his nation a testing ground for surveillance techniques and human rights abuses.
The U.S. government encouraged the Shah’s development of a nuclear energy program. But the Shah impoverished and alienated the people of Iran, including hundreds of thousands educated abroad. A secular pro-democracy revolution nonviolently overthrew the Shah in January 1979, but it was a revolution without a leader or a plan for governing. It was co-opted by rightwing religious forces led by a man who pretended briefly to favor democratic reform. The U.S. government, operating out of the same embassy despised by many in Iran since 1953, explored possible means of keeping the Shah in power, but some in the CIA worked to facilitate what they saw as the second best option: a theocracy that would substitute religious fanaticism and oppression for populist and nationalist demands.
When the U.S. embassy was taken over by an unarmed crowd the next November, immediately following the public announcement of the Shah’s arrival in the United States, and with fears of another U.S.-led coup widespread in Tehran, a sit-in planned for two or three days was co-opted, as the whole revolution had been, by mullahs with connections to the CIA and an extremely anti-democratic agenda. They later made a deal with U.S. Republicans, as Robert Parry and others have well documented, to keep the hostage crisis going until Carter lost the 1980 presidential election to Ronald Reagan.
Reagan’s government secretly renewed weapons sales to the new Iranian dictatorship despite its public anti-American stance and with no more concern for its religious fervor than for that of future al Qaeda leaders who would spend the 1980s fighting the Soviets with U.S. weapons in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Reagan administration made similarly profitable deals with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq, which had launched a war on Iran and continued it with U.S. support through the length of the Reagan presidency. The mad military investment in the United States that took off with Reagan and again with George W. Bush, and which continues to this day, has made the nation of Iran — which asserts its serious independence from U.S. rule — a target of threatened war and actual sanctions and terrorism. …more
January 21, 2013 No Comments
The ultimate goal in Syria, this pundit argues, is not regime change per se, but to do whatever it takes that will result in Iran’s isolation in the region. Believing that they have succeeded in neutralizing Tehran’s allies in the Levant: Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the opponents of Iran will be concentrating now on subduing her supporters in Iraq. Revealing the endgame behind the plans for Syria, an Israeli intelligence report has signaled that Iran can now be attacked without coordinating a regional response. Meanwhile, there is a clock ticking in Washington which may be chiming a different tune.
The Endgame in Syria: Strategic Stage in the Pentagon’s Covert War on Iran
by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – Voltaire Network – 10 January, 2013
Since the kindling of the conflict inside Syria in 2011, it was recognized, by friend and foe alike, that the events in that country were tied to a game plan that ultimately targets Iran, Syria’s number one ally.  De-linking Syria from Iran and unhinging the Resistance Bloc that Damascus and Tehran have formed has been one of the objectives of the foreign-supported anti-government militias inside Syria. Such a schism between Damascus and Tehran would change the Middle East’s strategic balance in favour of the US and Israel.
If not accomplishable, however, then crippling Syria to effectively prevent it from providing Iran any form of diplomatic, political, economic, and military support in the face of common threats has been a primary objective. Preventing any continued cooperation between the two republics has been a strategic goal. This includes preventing the Iran-Iraq-Syria energy terminal from being built and ending the military pact between the two partners.
All Options are Aimed at Neutralizing Syria
Regime change in Damascus is not the only or main way for the US and its allies to prevent Syria from standing with Iran. Destabilizing Syria and neutralizing it as a failed and divided state is the key. Sectarian fighting is not a haphazard outcome of the instability in Syria, but an assisted project that the US and its allies have steadily fomented with a clear intent to balkanize the Syrian Arab Republic. Regionally, Israel above all other states has a major stake in securing this outcome. The Israelis actually have several publicly available documents, including the Yinon Plan, which outline that the destruction of Syria into a series of smaller sectarian states is one of their strategic objectives. So do American military planners.
Like Iraq next door, Syria does not need to be formally divided. For all intents and purposes, the country can be divided like Lebanon was alongside various fiefdoms and stretches of territory controlled by different groups during the Lebanese Civil War. The goal is to disqualify Syria as an external player.
Since 2006 and the Israeli defeat in Lebanon in that year there was renewed focus on the strategic alliance between Iran and Syria. Both countries have been very resilient in the face of US designs in their region. Together both have been key players for influencing events in the Middle East, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Their strategic alliance has undoubtedly played an important role in shaping the geo-political landscape in the Middle East. Although critics of Damascus say it has done very little in regard to substantial action against the Israelis, the Syrians have been the partners within this alliance that have carried the greatest weight in regards to facing Israel; it has been through Syria that Hezbollah and the Palestinians have been provided havens, logistics, and their initial strategic depth against Israel. …more
January 15, 2013 No Comments
‘West moves in for Syrian endgame and war on Iran’
5 Decemebr, 2012 – By Finian Cunningham – PressTV
After 21 months of international conspiracy, the American-led propaganda war on Syria seems to be moving towards the endgame of providing the political cover for direct Western military attack on that unfortunate country. This is, of course, outrageously criminal. But it is entirely predictable from the bigger picture strategic agenda of Washington and its allies: to roll over the anti-imperialist Syrian enemy, install a pliable pro-Western regime, and then pave the way for the next round of war in the region – against Iran.”
US President Barack Obama’s renewed warning against Syria this week, that any use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces is a red line triggering direct military assault on the country, can be seen as the Western powers moving towards their endgame of “regime change.”
Washington first raised the specter of Syrian chemical weapons several months ago and warned then that it would be forced to act militarily in order to “secure” such alleged stockpiles.
Now the American president and his officials are rekindling fears of this contingency, with the added alleged development that the Syrian government of President Bashar Al Assad has become so desperate to survive that it is preparing to mobilize chemical warheads.
Speaking in Washington, Obama upbraided the Syria government that “the world is watching” and that there would be “consequences” for any such deployment.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton echoed the warning and described the use of these weapons as “a red line.” Tellingly, she added that if there is “any evidence” that the Syrian military had begun to use chemical warheads then “we are certainly planning to take action.”
Various Western media reported that American officials have over the past week stepped up contact with counterparts in other Western states to formulate a military response. This is said to include limited air strikes and the dispatch of thousands of ground forces.
Previously, the US and other Western governments had declined to commit military forces to Syria, as they had done in Libya last year, preferring the covert option of proxy forces, including Persian Gulf Arab weapon suppliers and mercenary fighters. That calculus seems to be now changing.
The first point to note from above is that the allegations of Syria mobilizing chemical weapons are stemming from unnamed and unverifiable American military intelligence sources, who have been busily briefing, anonymously, the major news media organizations, including CNN and the New York Times. These “reports” are then amplified by other Western media outlets, such as the Washington Post, BBC, Financial Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
This is the same process of disinformation that set Iraq up for an illegal nine-year war of aggression, beginning in 2003 – with over one million people killed – over that country’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
It is the same scurrilous, criminal process that has set up Iran up for crippling – and illegal – economic sanctions over unfounded allegations of nuclear weapons, which are in turn fuelling tensions towards a possible all-out war on the Islamic Republic.
That’s why Obama and Clinton’s latest warning words to Syria are ominous. “The world is watching… for any evidence of chemical weapons.” In other words, the world is being prepared for a “shocking revelation” by American and Western spy agencies and ventriloquist media, who are about as trustworthy as a nest of scorpions and rattlesnakes.
The second point to note is that the Syrian government has repeatedly denied possession of chemical weapons and that if it had such munitions it would not deploy them against its own citizens.
Apart from the CIA and other anonymous secret service agents doing their best through trusty media outlets to whip up hysteria about sarin, VX, mustard gas and other horrors, the other tactic by Western forces is to portray the Damascus government as increasingly panicky and therefore sufficiently under duress that it would resort to such weapons.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told media, “We believe that with the regime’s grip on power loosening, with its failure to put down the opposition through conventional means, we have an increased concern about the possibility of the regime taking the desperate act of using its [alleged] chemical weapons.”
Well, a big part of the reason unmentioned by the White House for why the Syrian military is failing to put down the opposition is because of the criminal, massive flow of weapons, funds, logistics, mercenaries and covert personnel that the American government and its Western allies and regional proxies have been funneling into Syria.
There is no doubting that after 21 months of unrelenting violence, the Western-backed insurgents and foreign mercenaries are taking a heavy toll on Syrian society and the Damascus government’s control.
Reports of recent significant military gains by the foreign-backed militants have indeed intensified efforts by the government to maintain its authority over the ravaged country.
In particular, American-made surface-to-air missiles, reportedly supplied by Qatar and also possibly Saudi Arabia, appear to have lately given the anti-government militants crucial extra firepower and important tactical and territorial advantages.
Western military sources are reportedly of the view that the Syrian national army and air force retain the upper-hand and are too strong to be seriously threatened with defeat.
Nevertheless, with the Western-fomented havoc wreaking Syria – up to 700,000 refugees, five million displaced, 30-50,000 dead out of a population of 20 million – it is all too easy to portray and perceive an atmosphere of doom and desperation, which is then cited by the White House and its anonymous media agents as a “tipping point” for the imminent deployment of alleged chemical weapons of mass destruction.
To this end, there seems to be a concerted effort in the past few days to convey the image of a country falling apart. …more
December 7, 2012 No Comments
Chicago lawyer Valerie Jarrett is leading the effort, although she has no experience in high-stakes diplomacy
Senior Obama Adviser Leads Secret Talks With Iran
by John Glaser – 5 November, 2012 – Anti-war.com
President Obama’s close confidant and long-time friend of First Lady Michelle Obama, Chicago lawyer Valerie Jarrett, is leading behind the scenes negotiations with representatives of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, Israeli officials with knowledge of the effort say.
Jarret, who was born in the Iranian city of Shiraz to American parents, is a senior advisor to US President Barack Obama and, Israeli officials claim, initiated and led secret talks with Iran in Bahrain, although she does not have any past experience with such high-stakes diplomacy.
Last month, the New York Times reported that the US and Iran have agreed to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program immediately following the US presidential elections. Officials later tried to deny this, but admitted the secret talks took place for a meeting in principle.
Such high-level, one-on-one negotiations between the Iranian regime and Washington would be unprecedented, and many have hopes that a grand bargain will be agreed up.
But even if the talks do occur in the event of a victory for Obama, it’s not clear they’ll be fruitful. Talks have floundered at various levels throughout Obama’s first term.
The closest the parties came to settlement was a deal in which Iran would halt 20 percent uranium enrichment in exchange for swapping enriched uranium for foreign-made fuel rods. Iran initially rejected the deal, but reluctantly agreed after Brazil and Turkey joined in the discussions. By that point, the Obama administration rejected Iranian acquiescence, in favor of sanctions.
Most of the so-called diplomacy with Iran has been “predicated on intimidation, illegal threats of military action, unilateral ‘crippling’ sanctions, sabotage, and extrajudicial killings of Iran’s brightest minds,” writes Reza Nasri at PBS Frontline’s Tehran Bureau. These postures have spoiled much chance to resolve the issues. …more
November 6, 2012 No Comments
UN: Iran not cooperating on nuclear weapons probe
5 November, 2012 – By Edith M. Lederer – Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. nuclear chief said Monday that Iran is not cooperating with an investigation into suspected secret work on nuclear weapons.
Yukio Amano told the U.N. General Assembly that talks between the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have intensified this year after an IAEA report in November 2011 said it had “credible information that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a
nuclear explosive device,” he said.
“However, no concrete results have been achieved so far,” Amano said.
While the IAEA continues to verify that Iran’s declared nuclear material is not being diverted from peaceful purposes, “Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” Amano said.
“Therefore, we cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he said.
But the IAEA director general said “the agency is firmly committed to intensifying dialogue with Iran.”
“We will continue negotiations with Iran on a structured approach,” he said. “I hope we can reach agreement without further delay.”
Iran has repeatedly denied any interest in possessing nuclear arms, but the international community fears that Tehran may turn its peaceful uranium enrichment program toward weapons making – a concern that is growing as the government expands the number of machines it uses to enrich its stockpile of enriched uranium.
As those fears grow, so does concern that Israel could carry out its threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before that nation reaches the bomb-making threshold.
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee reiterated his country’s position, that it has a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and rejected the claims in the IAEA report saying they are “not credible” and based on “forged reports” provided by Israel and the United States.
In his annual report to the world body, Amano said he also remains “seriously concerned” about North Korea’s nuclear program, calling its statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor “deeply troubling.”
November 5, 2012 No Comments
Netanyahu says strike on Iran would be good for Arabs
30 October, 2012 – By NIcholas Vinocur – Reuters
PARIS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought on Tuesday to convince Arab states that an Israeli military strike on Iran would benefit them, removing a potential threat and easing tensions across the Middle East.
Netanyahu has made a number of veiled threats to attack Iran’s nuclear programme and has appealed to the United States and the United Nations to set a limit for Tehran on its further development.
In an interview published on Tuesday with French magazine Paris Match, Netanyahu said such a strike would not worsen regional tensions, as many critics have warned.
“Five minutes after, contrary to what the sceptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region,” he said.
“Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel,” he said.
Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear power, believes Tehran intends to build atomic weapons and has consistently urged the West to increase up sanctions. Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful energy purposes only.
The United States and other Western countries have rejected Netanyahu’s demand to set a limit for Iran and have urged him to refrain from military action to give diplomacy and sanctions a chance to work.
Netanyahu, who is running for re-election in January at the head of the right-wing Likud party, told the United Nations last month that a strike could wait until spring or summer when he said Tehran might be on the brink of building an atomic bomb.
During his two-day visit to France, Netanyahu will travel to the southern city of Toulouse with President Francois Hollande for a ceremony of remembrance for the victims of an Islamist gunman who killed seven people there in March, including three Jewish children.
October 30, 2012 No Comments
US Trying to engage Iran on 1 to 1 Basis, As Iran threatens to Use Oil as a weapon , with out Iranian Oil World Economy may Crash
29 October, 2012 – JafriaNEws
JNN 29 Oct 2012 TEHRAN – The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one with Tehran to find a diplomatic settlement to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program, but there’s no agreement now to meet, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.
The report did not give more details.
The New York Times reported on October 22, citing Obama administration officials, that the United States and Iran had agreed in principle to one-on-one negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, but both the White House and Iran denied the report.
Iranian lawmaker and former oil minister Masoud Mirkazemi has warned the Western countries that Iran may use energy as a political tool against them if they seek to use it as such against the Islamic Republic.
“The Westerners should know that if they want to use this tool for political purposes, the possibility exists that one day this tool will be used against them, and then they will suffer,” the chairman of Iran’s Majlis Energy Committee said on Sunday.
He referred to the sanctions imposed against Iran’s energy sector and said that despite the bans, “Iran’s oil sales continue and if European countries do not buy our country’s oil, there are numerous other countries that are buyers.”
The Iranian lawmaker said if the sanctions could have affected Iran’s oil exports, they would have had the effect by now; but the country’s crude sales have never stopped.
On October 15, EU foreign ministers agreed on a new round of sanctions against Iran in spite of a UN warning against the humanitarian ramifications of the bans that had already been imposed.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iran’s Oil Ministry Spokesman Alireza Nikzad-Rahbar says the Islamic Republic will reciprocate any further Western sanctions against the country, adding that the Iranian crude is indispensable to the world energy markets. …more
October 29, 2012 No Comments
Persian Perspective: A Chat with Ali Akbar Salehi, Foreign Minister of Iran
22 October, 2012 – World Policy Blog
Two days ago, The New York Times reported that the United States and Iran had agreed in principle to hold bilateral talks after the American presidential election was decided. Although the agreement seemed to reflect the devastating effectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran and a recognition that the current path of escalation is untenable, it was soon denied by both sides, with the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi telling Fars News Agency, “We do not have anything called negotiations with the U.S.” In light of the final home stretch of the U.S. presidential election and today’s foreign policy-focused debate in Florida, it is easy to speculate as to why news of an agreement was both leaked by unnamed Obama administration officials and subsequently denied by the White House. But as always, many in the United States question the motivations of the Iranian power elite. The desire to pull back the curtain on Iran’s intentions regarding Israel, Turkey, Syria, and its own nuclear program only grows. Earlier this month, World Policy Journal editor David Andelman and World Policy Journal managing editor Christopher Shay sat down with Ali Akbar Salehi in New York to discuss Iran’s relations with the outside world. In an excerpt here, Salehi discusses Iran’s civilian nuclear hopes, the patriotism of the Iranian Jewish community, and how he felt about Benjamin Netanyahu’s ticking time bomb cartoon at the UN General Assembly. The full interview can be seen in the Winter 2012 issue of World Policy Journal, which will be released in mid-December.
WORLD POLICY JOURNAL: Your government has suggested that you’re interested only in obtaining a domestic nuclear fuel cycle, a self-contained fuel source for civilian reactors. In Saudi Arabia, the concern is that you will break out of that at some point, that something will happen and that you will develop a nuclear weapon. At that point, then, Saudi Arabia, perhaps Egypt, or others will then feel, in turn, compelled to do the same, to develop a nuclear capability. Are you concerned that this would touch off a dangerous spiral of nuclear competition in the Middle East?
ALI AKBAR SALEHI: To be very honest and open with you, Iran has already acquired nuclear technology in all its domains, from mining, conversion, turning it into fuel rods, nowadays fuel plates, designing reactors, research reactors, building, manufacturing centrifuges, enriching uranium, producing heavy water, and constructing our own heavy water reactor indigenously. So there’s nothing in the nuclear field that we have not really achieved, and the technology is within our reach. Those who think that we may be using this technology for other purposes, this is their own, I would say, ill-thinking. What can we do? We have already stated over and over that we have not intended to do anything else. If we wanted to take that approach, we would have detached ourselves from the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]. There is in the treaty an article which says whoever is in the NPT, if they wish, they can get out of it with three months notice, and then free of the NPT, we could do whatever we wanted to do. But on the contrary, we are stressing the preservation of the integrity of the NPT, because we believe that the NPT is in our interest. The stronger the NPT becomes, the more immune we become to possible proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region and in other places in the world. And here our Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa, which says the production, accumulation, and the use of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons is forbidden and is against religion. But you see, we have the right to enrich to any percentage we want under the NPT.
WPJ: Right of course, as long as it’s not weaponized.
SALEHI: But we had previously, voluntarily taken it upon ourselves to enrich up to five percent. But then when we demanded 20 percent enriched fuel because we were about to run out of fuel for the TRR [Tehran Research Reactor], we submitted our petition to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] so that they would disseminate it to countries that have the capacity to produce these fuel plates. Then the whole thing started—the fuel swap, the conditions. And then eventually that made Iran take its own approach to producing the fuel enriched to 20 percent plus the fuel plates, which we already have produced and are now using in our TRR. In other words, our Tehran Research Reactor is now running with the fuel, which is supplied by Iran, which is manufactured indigenously. …more
October 23, 2012 No Comments
Commander: If Iran is attacked, Israel will be hit
18 October, 2012 – Associated Press
TEHRAN: Israel will “definitely” face fierce retaliation if it attacks Iranian nuclear sites, the acting commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Thursday.
The remarks by Gen. Hossein Salami appear to be part of Iranian efforts to portray any strike against it as the trigger for a regional conflict that could draw in Iranian proxies, such as Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, on Israel’s borders.
Iran’s suspect nuclear program has topped the international agenda and pressures on Tehran are mounting.
Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if Tehran doesn’t stop uranium enrichment – a process that can be a pathway to nuclear arms. The West and its allies fear Iran’s ambitions mask a pursuit of atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies, saying its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes such as power generation and cancer treatment.
Salami was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying Iran has prepared for “global battles.”
“An attack by the Zionist regime would be an opportunity to destroy that regime,” he said, speaking of Israel. “Their defense mechanism is not planned for big and long wars. Their threats are only psychological and if they cross the limit or act upon those threats, (Israel) will definitely be destroyed.”
Salami spoke on the sidelines of urban combat drills in Tehran by some 15,000 paramilitary fighters known as Basiji, who are controlled by the Revolutionary Guard.
The exercises were dubbed “Ila Beit ol Moqaddas,” or Toward the Holy City, meaning Jerusalem. The war games include drills on defending against mock air raids and other threats.
“We have prepared our security and defense infrastructures for global and big battles,” Salami said. “There is no failure in our defense system.”
He also reiterated statements by other Iranian officials who this week insisted that Iran can ride out Western economic pressures aimed at reining in the uranium enrichment.
October 18, 2012 No Comments
In signal to Iran, U.S. and Israeli forces to stage drill
18 October, 2012 – By Mathieu Rabechault -Agence France Presse
WASHINGTON: The United States and Israel are set to launch a major military exercise in a show of unity aimed at Iran, despite friction between American and Israeli leaders over how to counter Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The air defense drills, dubbed “Austere Challenge 2012,” will unfold later this month and last about three weeks, with 3,500 US troops and 1,000 Israeli forces taking part, officers said Wednesday.
“This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel,” said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force Commander, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.
“This exercise will improve the cooperative missile defense of Israel and will promote regional stability and help ensure a military edge,” Franklin told reporters in a teleconference.
But the drill is about more than missile defenses.
The elaborate exercise takes place at a politically-charged moment, amid speculation about a possible Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran, a hotly-contested US presidential election weeks away and parliamentary polls expected in Israel within a few months.
The drill’s “scenario is to deal with threats from all fronts,” Nuriel, the Israeli commander, told the same phone conference.
“Anybody can get any type of message he wants from this exercise. The fact we are practicing together and working together is a strong message by itself.”
Although Israel faces rocket attacks out of Gaza and missile threats from Syria and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, the main worry for the Jewish state is Iran’s growing arsenal of ballistic missiles.
In a report this year to Congress, the Pentagon warned that Iran’s missiles could hit Israel and Eastern European countries, including an extended-range version of the Shahab-3 and a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers.
October 18, 2012 No Comments
Silencing Press TV is murdering the truth: Prominent analyst
17 October, 2012 – By Finian Cunningham – Press TV
In many ways, the gagging of Press TV by European powers is the equivalent to the murder of Maya Naser. It is the silencing of a voice that is otherwise exposing the truth about these powers: their criminality, duplicity, hypocrisy and their moral bankruptcy.”
Let’s be clear: this outrageous gagging of Iranian news media by a European satellite firm has the imprint of approval from the EU governments.
It would be incredible that such an offensive move by a private business company did not receive the go-ahead from governments in London, Paris and Berlin in particular. These powers have worked assiduously to create the noxious political climate, with their relentless poisonous propaganda against Iran, which has, in turn, facilitated this latest assault on the airwaves. The move is comparable to these governments subcontracting private military firms and mercenaries to do their dirty work.
The irony is that it is the British, French and German governments that, along with Washington, Tel Aviv, Ankara, Riyadh and Doha, that are running amok in many parts of the world, smashing up international law and committing crimes against humanity on a massive scale. We only have to look at the criminal wars of aggression and illegal occupations in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria to identify those political entities that are posing the real threat to world peace and human rights.
Press TV has emerged as one of the few news broadcasters that is telling it like it is when it comes to the many conflicts raging across the world. Telling it like it is means informing the public of the real level of suffering for Palestinian civilians (not ‘suspected terrorists’) being bombed on a daily basis by American and European-backed Israeli warplanes. Telling it like it is means asking searching questions about why the US-led military forces are occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, killing civilians in their homes during endless night raids. Telling it like it is means reporting with appropriate focus on the murder of families in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with American drone attacks that are personally signed off every week by an American president from the comfort of his White House. It means exposing how the sabotage and terror being waged across Syria – as in Libya last year – would not be happening only for the criminal, covert weapons and support given to mercenary gangs by Washington, London and Berlin, along with the rulers of Turkey, Israel and the Persian Gulf monarchies.
Telling it like it is means pointing out the rank hypocrisy and duplicity of Western governments supporting absolute monarchs in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates who are massacring peaceful protesters on the streets and in their homes because their people are simply calling for democracy and human rights. It means exposing these same Western-backed dictators locking up and torturing doctors, nurses and human rights defenders because they stretched out a helping hand to civilians butchered by security forces; yet these same Western-backed despotic misrulers are, laughably, calling for reform and free speech in other places of the world – where the real cynical agenda is “regime change”.
Tuning into or reading the Western and Arab media is an exercise in occlusion and omission. One would never glean any of the horrendous realities and truths about the criminality of Western governments, the military industrial financial complex they serve, and their proxies and puppet regimes. But these media are not just passively inadequate in their coverage of major events. They are actively functioning to cover up or downplay the crimes of their governments. That is why such media are in no danger of being banned in North America or Europe. Far from it, these outlets are providing a vital service in disseminating the disinformation of their governments and their corporate oligarchies – with the precise objective of emasculating any public understanding and opposition to criminal policies and practices. …more
October 17, 2012 No Comments