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 1 Comment
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Systemic Destabilization as “A Strategy of Tension” – false flag events and agitating state implosion
By Prof Peter Dale Scott – Global Research – 24 September, 2012
Introduction: Structural Deep Events and the Strategy of Tension in Italy
From an American standpoint, it is easy to see clearly how Italian history was systematically destabilized in the second half of the 20th century, by a series of what I call structural deep events. I have defined these as “events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, or 9/11, which violate the … social structure, have a major impact on … society, repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, and in many cases proceed from an unknown dark force.”2
The examples in Italy, well known to Italians, include the Piazza Fontana bombing of 1969, the Piazza della Loggia bombing of 1974, and the Bologna railway bombing of 1980.
These bombings, in which over one hundred civilians were killed and many more wounded, were attributed at the time to marginal left-wing elements of society. However, thanks chiefly to a series of investigations and judicial proceedings, it is now clearly established that the bombings were the work of right-wing elements in collusion with Italian military intelligence, as part of an on-going “strategy of tension” to discredit the Italian left, encourage support for a corrupt status quo, and perhaps move beyond democracy altogether.3 As one of the conspirators, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, later stated, “The December 1969 explosion was supposed to be the detonator which would have convinced the political and military authorities to declare a state of emergency.”4
Vinciguerra also revealed that he and others had also been members of a paramilitary “stay-behind” network originally organized at the end of World War II by the CIA and NATO as “Operation Gladio.”
In 1984, questioned by judges about the 1980 Bologna station bombing, Vinciguerra said: “With the massacre of Peteano, and with all those that have followed, the knowledge should by now be clear that there existed a real live structure, occult and hidden, with the capacity of giving a strategic direction to the outrages…[it] lies within the state itself…There exists in Italy a secret force parallel to the armed forces, composed of civilians and military men, in an anti-Soviet capacity that is, to organise a resistance on Italian soil against a Russian army…A secret organisation, a super-organisation with a network of communications, arms and explosives, and men trained to use them…A super-organisation which, lacking a Soviet military invasion which might not happen, took up the task, on Nato’s behalf, of preventing a slip to the left in the political balance of the country. This they did, with the assistance of the official secret services and the political and military forces.5
Gladio connections to sustained false-flag violence, again involving NATO and the CIA, were subsequently revealed in other countries, notably Belgium and Turkey.6
The original purpose of Gladio was to consolidate resistance in the event of a Soviet takeover. But many of the senior Italians involved in the bombings implicated the CIA and NATO in them as well:
General Vito Miceli, the Italian head of military intelligence, after his arrest in 1974 on a charge of conspiring to overthrow the government, testified “that the incriminated organization, … was formed under a secret agreement with the United States and within the framework of NATO.” Former Italian defense minister Paulo Taviani told Magistrate Casson during a 1990 investigation “that during his time in office (1955-58), the Italian secret services were bossed and financed by ‘the boys in Via Veneto’—i.e. the CIA agents in the U.S. Embassy in the heart of Rome.” In 2000 “an Italian secret service general [Giandelio Maletti] said . . . that the CIA gave its tacit approval to a series of bombings in Italy in the 1970s to sow instability and keep communists from taking power. . . . ‘The CIA wanted, through the birth of an extreme nationalism and the contribution of the far right, particularly Ordine Nuovo, to stop (Italy) sliding to the left,’ he said.”7
Another conspirator, Carlo Digilio, “described how he passed on details of planned bomb attacks to his CIA contact, Captain David Carret, who had told him that the bombing campaign was part of a US plan to create a state of emergency.”8 Daniele Ganser, in his important book Nato’s Secret Armies, has endorsed a Spanish report that in 1990 NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner (a German politician and diplomat) secretly confirmed that NATO’s headquarters, SHAPE, was indeed responsible:
The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), directing organ of NATO’s military apparatus, coordinated the actions of Gladio, according to the revelations of Gladio Secretary-General Manfred Wörner during a reunion with the NATO ambassadors of the 16 allied nations.9
Extrapolating from such testimony, Ola Tunander has compared the strategy of tension in Italy, with its false-flag bombing attacks, to “what the Turkish military elite might describe as the correction of the course of democracy by the ‘deep state’ [a Turkish term].”10 …more
September 28, 2012 No Comments
Israelis grow dangerously comfortable with temerarious, irresponsible talk of provoking War with Iran
Pugnacious Prick, Patrick Clawson of Washing Institute speaks of provoking War with Iran at US expense…
September 28, 2012 No Comments
Americans Sour on Endless War
25 September, 2012 – By Lawrence S. Wittner – Consortinumnews.com
In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and deployment of U.S. military power around the world, the American public’s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation.
The latest evidence along these lines is a nationwide opinion survey just released as a report (“Foreign Policy in the New Millennium”) by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Conducted in late May and early June 2012, the survey resulted in some striking findings.
A U.S. soldier in Afghanistan fires an MA-2, .50-caliber machine gun, in a training exercise at the U.S. base in Afghanistan’s Farah province on Sept. 22, 2012. (Photo credit: U.S. Defense Department photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lovelady)
One is that most Americans are quite disillusioned with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade. Asked about these conflicts, 67 percent of respondents said they had not been worth fighting. Indeed, 69 percent said that, despite the war in Afghanistan, the United States was no safer from terrorism.
Naturally, these attitudes about military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan fed into opinions about future military involvement. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed favored bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by 2014 or by an earlier date. Majorities also opposed maintaining long-term military bases in either country. And 71 percent agreed that “the experience of the Iraq war should make nations more cautious about using military force to deal with rogue states.”
Certainly Americans seem to believe that their own military footprint in the world should be reduced. In the Chicago Council survey, 78 percent of respondents said that the United States was playing the role of a world policeman more than it should. Presented with a variety of situations, respondents usually stated that they opposed the use of U.S. military force.
For example, a majority opposed a U.S. military response to a North Korean invasion of South Korea. Or, to take an issue that is frequently discussed today – Iran’s possible development of nuclear weapons – 70 percent of respondents opposed a U.S. military strike against that nation with the objective of destroying its nuclear facilities.
Yes, admittedly, a small majority (53 percent) thought that maintaining superior military power was a “very important goal.” But this response was down by 14 points from 2002. Furthermore, to accomplish deficit reduction, 68 percent of respondents favored cutting U.S. spending on the military – up 10 points from 2010.
Nor are these opinions contradictory. After all, U.S. military spending is so vast – more than five times that of the number-two military spender, China – that substantial cuts in the U.S. military budget can be made without challenging U.S. military superiority.
It should be noted that American preferences are anti-military rather than “isolationist.” The report by the Chicago Council observes: “As they increasingly seek to cut back on foreign expenditures and avoid military entanglement whenever possible, Americans are broadly supportive of nonmilitary forms of international engagement and problem solving.” These range from “diplomacy, alliances, and international treaties to economic aid and decision making through the UN.”
For example, the survey found that 84 percent of respondents favored the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (still un-ratified by the U.S. Senate), 70 percent favored the International Criminal Court treaty (from which the United States was withdrawn by President George W. Bush), and 67 percent favored a treaty to cope with climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
When asked about China, a nation frequently criticized by U.S. pundits and politicians alike, 69 percent of respondents believed that the United States should engage in friendly cooperation with that country.
The “isolationist” claim falls particularly flat when one examines American attitudes toward the United Nations. The Chicago Council survey found that 56 percent of respondents agreed that, when dealing with international problems, the United States should be “more willing to make decisions within the United Nations,” even if that meant that the United States would not always get its way.
Overall, then, Americans favor a less militarized U.S. government approach to world affairs than currently exists. Perhaps the time has come for politicians to catch up with them! …source
September 25, 2012 No Comments
By Adil E. Shamoo – 18 September, 2012 – FPIF
Israel and the United States have waged a campaign of cyberwarfare and covert operations against Iran for the past several years. If Iran had taken similar actions toward Israel or the United States, we would have considered it a declaration of open war.
Iran is working hard to develop nuclear capability—if not an actual weapon—despite its repeated denials. After all, Iran is surrounded by the U.S. military might, and its primary regional rival—Israel—has possessed a sizable nuclear arsenal for decades. Nuclear proliferation is never desirable, but for Iran it could fit with a perfectly rational strategic calculus.
Recent U.S. and Israeli wars in the region drive this point home emphatically. In fact, these conflicts—variously pitting the strongest military in the world and the strongest in the Middle East against a host of weaker rivals—cannot rightly be called wars. They are massacres. The kill ratio of the powerful versus the weak fluctuates from 10 to 1 to over one 100 to 1. Take the most glaring example, the 2008-2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza. Gazans suffered 1,500 deaths and 5,000 wounded compared to just 12 Israeli deaths.
Elsewhere, Americans were coerced into war with Iraq by the myth of a mushroom cloud and the farcical notion of eliminating terrorists in Afghanistan. These manufactured reasons for war increased anti-American hatred and strengthened the terrorists’ reach.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has changed the conversation in the past year or so from U.N. sanctions against Iran to war with Iran. He wants a deadline for Iran’s noncompliance in stopping any uranium enrichment for any purpose—a violation of Iran’s rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which permits peaceful enrichment. If the election-season statements of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are any indication, Netanyahu has succeeded in changing the U.S. conversation on Iran as well to put military action on the front burner.
Netanyahu is still not satisfied and wants military action now, not eventually. Netanyahu surrogate Danny Danon, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, is using the recent senseless killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya and the demonstrations in Cairo against a film insulting the prophet Muhammad as another reason why we should attack Iran. This is what my Jewish friends call chutzpah.
Given the threats to regional peace posed by U.S.-Israeli dominance in the Middle East, some scholars have even suggested that a stronger Iran could preserve stability in the region by counterbalancing the aggressive Washington-Tel Aviv axis. …more
September 18, 2012 No Comments
18 September, 2012 – By Charly Wegman – Agence France Presse
JERUSALEM: Israeli critics are warning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone too far in what they call his “meddling” in favour of Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the US presidential campaign.
“Will Barack Obama punish Israel, if he is reelected on November 6,” the Yediot Aharonot daily asked.
Like other media, the top-selling tabloid says that Netanyahu has become “Obama’s opponent” and has broken a taboo by seeking to weaken the incumbent Democrat, rather than observing neutrality.
Netanyahu “interfered, grossly, vulgarly and unreservedly in the campaign” accused the left-leaning daily Haaretz.
“Who do you fear more — (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad or Obama? Which regime is more important to overthrow — the one in Washington, or in Tehran,” opposition leader Shaul Mofaz taunted Netanyahu in a parliamentary debate last week.
“That’s nonsense,” Netanyahu told Israeli media, in interview published ahead of this week’s Rosh Hashana Jewish New Year holiday, saying he would continue to demand the United States set clear “red lines” that Iran would not be permitted to cross in its nuclear programme.
Obama does not want to lock the US into such an ultimatum and says there is still time for diplomacy and international sanctions to quash what he and Israel say are Iran’s nuclear arms plans.
Netanyahu says time is fast running out and has warned of a unilateral Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear sites, despite opposition from friendly countries such as the United States, Germany, Britain or France.
“The issue that guides me is not the elections in the United States but the centrifuges in Iran,” he has said.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak is distancing himself from such public washing of dirty linen, saying that such “differences” should be confined to closed-door meetings.
For most analysts, beyond his bellicose rhetoric, Netanyahu, known to friend and foe alike by his nickname “Bibi”, wants to wring as many concessions as possible from Obama before the election, hoping to play on Israel’s support among Jewish, and many conservative Christian, voters.
Any loss of the traditionally Democratic Jewish vote could be crucial if the race is as close as that when George W. Bush won by a wafer-thin margin in 2000 against the Democrat Al Gore.
September 18, 2012 No Comments
By Russ Wellen – 18 September, 2012 – FPIF
On Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal tachometer of war, the needle is always at the red line.
Widespread in Washington is an assumption as implicit as it is unexamined that the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel, even though it hasn’t signed the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), is acceptable because:
1. It’s an ally.
2. It’s “rational.”
Bear in mind that Iran is a signatory to the NPT and International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors prowl Iran 24/7 365 days a year.*
But Israel, or to be more exact, Prime Minister Netanyahu, seems to be doing everything within his power to disabuse us of the notion that Israel is either an ally or rational. Netanyahu, constantly monitoring his personal tachometer of war, keeps watching for the needle to approach the red line. His latest impolitic outburst occurred on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday, July 16. Among other things he said:
Some have even said that Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East, stabilize the Middle East. I think the people who say this have set a new standard for human stupidity.”
Of course, proliferation is never a good idea. But Netanyahu’s language became more and more un-prime-minister-like as the show proceeded. Speaking of Iran’s leadership, he said:
They put their zealotry above their survival. They have suicide bombers all over the place. I wouldn’t rely on their rationality, you know, you– since the advent of nuclear weapons, you had countries that had access to nuclear weapons who always made a careful calculation of cost and benefit. But Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism. It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?
Netanyahu is propagating two myths:
1. Netanyahu is implying that any belief in the return of the Mahdi on the part of Iran’s leadership means that, like Christian millennialists, it courts the Apocalypse.
2. That those attacking American embassies — Sunni extremists at their worst, as in Benghazi — have much in common with Shiite Iran.
Meanwhile, Washington, too, seems incapable of putting itself in Tehran’s shoes. How, Tehran no doubt wonders, does a state like Israel get away with not only not refusing to sign the NPT, but enlisting the help of the entire West in upholding the pretense that it’s not in possession of a nuclear-weapons program?
The jury may still be out on whether disarmament initiatives by states with nuclear-weapons spurs states that aspire to a nuclear-weapons program to give up that dream. But, in a just world, Israel needs to give the world the opportunity to learn what the impact of signing the NPT and allowing IAEA inspectors into its own country would have on Iran before considering an attack. Of course, the evidence that Iran is developing nuclear-weapons or the capability to manufacture is little more — if that — than circumstantial thus far. But nuclear transparency on the part of Israel would likely induce concessions on enrichment from Iran. Of perforce, the temperature of Netanyahu’s war fever would be lowered and the dial on his war tachometer would recede safely into the black.
*Which, incidentally, place them in harm’s way in the event of an attack by Israel. Alternately, if pulled out, Iran knows an attack is forthcoming and Israel loses the element of surprise.
September 18, 2012 No Comments
Netanyahu may suffer from Paranoid schizophrenia – his Iran fears rooted in deceipt Israel used to get nukes
17 September, 2012 – The Daily Star
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that Iran was just six to seven months away from being able to build a nuclear bomb.
The warning added urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a clear “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.
Taking to the television airwaves to make his case directly to the American public, Netanyahu said that by mid-2013, Iran would be 90 percent of the way toward enough enriched uranium for a bomb. He urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross if it is to avoid military action – something Obama has refused to do.
“You have to place that red line before them now, before it’s too late,” Netanyahu told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, saying that such a U.S. move could reduce the chances of having to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.
The unusually public dispute – coupled with Obama’s decision not to meet with Netanyahu later this month – has exposed a deep U.S.-Israeli divide and stepped up pressure on the U.S. leader in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign.
It was the clearest marker Netanyahu has laid down so far on why he has become so strident in his push for Washington to confront Tehran with a strict ultimatum. At the same time, his approach seemed certain to stoke further tensions with Obama, with whom he has had a notoriously testy relationship.
Senior U.S. officials say Iran has yet to decide on a nuclear “breakout” – a final rush to assemble all the components for a bomb – and they express high confidence that Iran is still at least a year away from achieving the capacity to build a bomb if it wanted to. This contrasts with Netanyahu’s timetable, although the Israeli leader stopped short of saying Iran had decided to manufacture a weapon.
Netanyahu showed no signs of backing down Sunday and even sought to equate the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran with the Islamist fury that fueled attacks on U.S. embassies across the Muslim world last week and shocked many Americans.
“It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?” Netanyahu asked in the NBC interview, in a clear emotional appeal to Americans still reeling from the angry protests sparked by a film that mocked the Prophet Mohammad.
There have been no accusations, however, of any Iranian role in stoking the violence that have swept Muslim capitals from the Middle East to Africa in the past week.
Netanyahu said a strong ultimatum was needed to Iran, which denies it is seeking a nuclear bomb. “They’re in the ‘red zone,’” he added, using a colorful American football metaphor that describes when a team is close to scoring a touchdown.
“They’re in the last 20 yards. And you can’t let them cross that goal line,” he said, “because that would have unbelievable consequences.”
Asked whether Israel was closer to acting on its own despite Obama’s call for more time for sanctions and diplomacy to work, Netanyahu said: “We always reserve the right to act. But I think that if we are able to coordinate together a common position, we increase the chances that neither one of us will have to act.”
Netanyahu’s sharpened rhetoric in recent days had stoked speculation that Israel might attack Iran before the U.S. ballot, believing that Obama would give it military help and not risk alienating pro-Israeli voters. But Netanyahu has drawn criticism at home for overplaying his hand, and he faces divisions within the Israeli public and his own government that will make it hard to launch a unilateral strike any time soon.
Possibly seeking to soften the edge with Washington, Netanyahu said he appreciated the president’s assurances that Iran would not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
“I think implicit in that is that, if you’re determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it means you’ll act before they get nuclear weapons,” he said.
But Netanyahu, whose persistent “red line” demands have infuriated U.S. officials, again made clear that was not enough.
September 17, 2012 No Comments
al Akhbar – 14 September, 2012
An aide to Iran’s supreme leader said Israel’s military threats endanger Israeli citizens, and that Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was ready to strike back against any Israeli aggression.
Yahya Rahim-Safavi, military adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the increasing threats from Israel to strike Iranian nuclear facilities were “foolish,” the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported on Friday.
“The boldness and foolishness of Israeli officials in threatening the Islamic Republic, have put Israeli citizens one step away from the cemetery,” he said.
“If, one day, the Israeli regime takes action against us, resistance groups, especially Hezbollah … will respond more easily,” Safavi, a former commander in chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said.
Israel’s far-right leader Benjamin Netanyahu has made increasing hints in recent weeks that Israel could strike Iran and has criticized US President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time.
The heightened rhetoric has stoked speculation that Israel may attack before US elections in November.
“A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a TV interview this month in reference to any attack on Iran. …source
September 14, 2012 No Comments
7 Septemebr, 2012 – By Tabassum Zakaria -Reuters
WASHINGTON: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blew up at the U.S. ambassador last month because he was “at wits’ end” over what he sees as the Obama administration’s lack of clarity on Iran’s nuclear program, a U.S. congressman who was at the meeting said.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican, made his first public comments about the late August meeting in Israel in an interview with Michigan’s WJR radio on Tuesday.
Continued controversy over the meeting comes as President Barack Obama on Thursday night will accept his party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention, where the level of the Obama administration’s support for Israel was a contentious topic.
“Right now the Israelis don’t believe that this administration is serious when they say all options are on the table, and more importantly neither do the Iranians. That’s why the program is progressing,” Rogers said.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.
Israel is facing growing international pressure not to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and the United States has made clear it opposes any such strike.
Rogers said if the United States does not show Israel more clarity on where it draws “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program, then Israel might conduct a strike.
“If I were betting my house today, I would guess that they probably will do it if we don’t have a change in more clear red lines from the United States,” he said.
A spokesman for Israel’s embassy in Washington declined to comment. The State Department would not comment on private diplomatic meetings but spokesman Edgar Vasquez said, “We have a rock solid relationship and an ironclad commitment to Israel.”
The spat between Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro appears to confirm a deep chasm over how to deal with Iran, which the two allies have tried to play down publicly.
Obama has vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but says there is still time for sanctions and diplomacy to work. The White House says it has brokered international oil and banking sanctions that are far tougher on Iran than previous administrations achieved.
September 7, 2012 No Comments
by Noam Chomsky – 4 September, 2012 – commondreams.org
It is not easy to escape from one’s skin, to see the world differently from the way it is presented to us day after day. But it is useful to try. Let’s take a few examples.
The war drums are beating ever more loudly over Iran. Imagine the situation to be reversed.
Iran is carrying out a murderous and destructive low-level war against Israel with great-power participation. Its leaders announce that negotiations are going nowhere. Israel refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow inspections, as Iran has done. Israel continues to defy the overwhelming international call for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region. Throughout, Iran enjoys the support of its superpower patron.
Iranian leaders are therefore announcing their intention to bomb Israel, and prominent Iranian military analysts report that the attack may happen before the U.S. elections.
Iran can use its powerful air force and new submarines sent by Germany, armed with nuclear missiles and stationed off the coast of Israel. Whatever the timetable, Iran is counting on its superpower backer to join if not lead the assault. U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta says that while we do not favor such an attack, as a sovereign country Iran will act in its best interests.
All unimaginable, of course, though it is actually happening, with the cast of characters reversed. True, analogies are never exact, and this one is unfair – to Iran.
Like its patron, Israel resorts to violence at will. It persists in illegal settlement in occupied territory, some annexed, all in brazen defiance of international law and the U.N. Security Council. It has repeatedly carried out brutal attacks against Lebanon and the imprisoned people of Gaza, killing tens of thousands without credible pretext.
Thirty years ago Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor, an act that has recently been praised, avoiding the strong evidence, even from U.S. intelligence, that the bombing did not end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program but rather initiated it. Bombing of Iran might have the same effect.
Iran too has carried out aggression – but during the past several hundred years, only under the U.S.-backed regime of the shah, when it conquered Arab islands in the Persian Gulf.
Iran engaged in nuclear development programs under the shah, with the strong support of official Washington. The Iranian government is brutal and repressive, as are Washington’s allies in the region. The most important ally, Saudi Arabia, is the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime, and spends enormous funds spreading its radical Wahhabist doctrines elsewhere. The gulf dictatorships, also favored U.S. allies, have harshly repressed any popular effort to join the Arab Spring.
The Nonaligned Movement – the governments of most of the world’s population – is now meeting in Teheran. The group has vigorously endorsed Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and some members – India, for example – adhere to the harsh U.S. sanctions program only partially and reluctantly.
The NAM delegates doubtless recognize the threat that dominates discussion in the West, lucidly articulated by Gen. Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command: “It is dangerous in the extreme that in the cauldron of animosities that we call the Middle East,” one nation should arm itself with nuclear weapons, which “inspires other nations to do so.”
Butler is not referring to Iran, but to Israel, which is regarded in the Arab countries and in Europe as posing the greatest threat to peace In the Arab world, the United States is ranked second as a threat, while Iran, though disliked, is far less feared. Indeed in many polls majorities hold that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons to balance the threats they perceive.
If Iran is indeed moving toward nuclear-weapons capability – this is still unknown to U.S. intelligence – that may be because it is “inspired to do so” by the U.S.-Israeli threats, regularly issued in explicit violation of the U.N. Charter.
Why then is Iran the greatest threat to world peace, as seen in official Western discourse? The primary reason is acknowledged by U.S. military and intelligence and their Israeli counterparts: Iran might deter the resort to force by the United States and Israel.
Furthermore Iran must be punished for its “successful defiance,” which was Washington’s charge against Cuba half a century ago, and still the driving force for the U.S. assault against Cuba that continues despite international condemnation.
Other events featured on the front pages might also benefit from a different perspective. Suppose that Julian Assange had leaked Russian documents revealing important information that Moscow wanted to conceal from the public, and that circumstances were otherwise identical.
Sweden would not hesitate to pursue its sole announced concern, accepting the offer to interrogate Assange in London. It would declare that if Assange returned to Sweden (as he has agreed to do), he would not be extradited to Russia, where chances of a fair trial would be slight.
Sweden would be honored for this principled stand. Assange would be praised for performing a public service – which, of course, would not obviate the need to take the accusations against him as seriously as in all such cases. …more
September 4, 2012 No Comments