Biden’s Tepid “Overture” to Iran Continues to Reflect America’s “Imperial Turn” in the Middle East

Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Vice President Biden made headlines by affirming the Obama Administration’s willingness to participate in bilateral talks with Iran, if “the Iranian leadership, Supreme Leader, is serious.”  This formulation completely obscures how it is the Obama Administration, not Ayatollah Khamenei, that has not been diplomatically serious.  That’s because the Obama Administration remains unwilling to detach itself from the neo-imperial strategy in the Middle East that it inherited from its predecessors.

In an interview with Russia Today, see here or click on embedded video above, we set America’s dysfunctional Iran policy in the context of what we describe in our new book, Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the “imperial turn” in U.S. Middle East strategy.  As RT headlines the interview (quoting us), the United States “has militarily coerced Middle Eastern political outcomes since the Cold War.”  The results have not been pretty, neither for the people of the Middle East nor for American interests.  But America’s political class remains focused on applying its established imperial strategy yet again vis-à-vis Iran.

In the interview, we also

–explain why this strategy—encompassing sanctions, economic warfare, covert action, and cyberattack—won’t work against the Islamic Republic.

–outline our “worst case scenario”:  that the United States will start another war in the Middle East to disarm another Middle Eastern country of weapons of mass destruction it does not have”—for the damage this would do “to the American position in the Middle East makes how much damage was done to the American position by the invasion of Iraq look quite trivial by comparison.”

–describe what a really serious U.S. diplomatic approach to Tehran would look like.

–discuss the negative effects that America’s two most prominent ostensible allies in the Midde East—Israel and Saudi Arabia—are imposing on American foreign policy and American interests.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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106 Responses to “Biden’s Tepid “Overture” to Iran Continues to Reflect America’s “Imperial Turn” in the Middle East”

  1. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Someone who actually gets it! That Iran does not need and could not use nuclear weapons and that Iran understands that.

    Rethinking Iran: Does the Islamic Republic Really Want Nuclear Weapons?
    http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/458#comment-2176

  2. Richard Steven Hack says:

    A similar take on the issue – that even if Iran did have nukes it would not be the strategic game changer people think it would be.

    Thou Shalt Not Fear a Nuclear Iran: Eliminating the Nuclear Finish Line
    http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/456

  3. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The U.S.’s ‘Coercive Diplomacy’ with Iran and Lessons Unlearned from Iraq
    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2013/02/03/the-u-s-s-coercive-diplomacy-with-iran-and-lessons-unlearned-from-iraq/

  4. masoud says:

    Where do our Iran correspondents stand on/know of the goings-on in parliament this morning?
    UU?M.Ali?BiB?

    Is it just me or does anyone else picture an upright talking crocodile evertime they hear Larijani speaking? I never thought anything could be made to sound so honeyed and hollowed out at the same time. It’s kind of amazing.

    The Voice of Saruman was my favorite chapter of the Lord of the Rings. If they ever do an Iranian cartoon-rendition of that book, AL would be perfect to play to role of the enterprising wizard whose sense of entitlement and delusions of grandeur lead him to act in the service of the Enemy.

  5. masoud says:

    Here is the audio recording of ahmadinejad’s encounter with Larijani.
    ,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHKY7ZMJ80s

  6. James Canning says:

    With the US Congress virtually controlled by Aipac, on matters related to Israel (and thus Iran), Joe Biden and John Kerry may have to see whether they can make a deal behind the scenes. Iran needs to voluntarily stop enriching to 20 percent.

  7. James Canning says:

    The Russians have been encouraging the Obama administration to make direct assurances to Iran that the US is not and will not seek “regmie change”, to enable a P5+1 deal to be made. Curiously, a number of those who post on this site object to any assurances being given to Iran, by the US. On grounds this would diminish the self-esteem of the people of Iran. Amazing.

  8. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    You ask why the P5+1 have not openly offered to accept Iranian enrichment to 5%.

    Key reason: US elections in late 2012.
    Key reason: Virtual control of the US Congress by Aipac (and other fanatical “pro-Israel” groups).

    You should be glad John Kerry hinted he would accept Iranian enrichment to 5%. US newspapers have avoided reporting that fact, from what I can judge.

  9. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Interesting piece by Jeremy Hammond that you linked. He might have mentioned that the neocon warmongers ensured the UN weapons inspectors did not have time to make it amply clear Iraq posed no threat whatever and that the invasion was illegal. Liar neocons conspired to set up an illegal war. And liar neocons (and some “liberal interventionists”) are at it again, of course.

  10. Smith says:

    masoud says:
    February 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Ahmadinejad killed Ali Larijani’s chances of becoming the next president. Ironically, it is Ahmadinejad that solidified democracy in IRI and not reformists by making politics accessible to public with all its dirt and inside machinations. An interesting point to note is how similar Iranian majles is becoming to American congress. One is owned by a special interest group (in Hagel terminology the “Jewish lobby”), while the other is owned by the corrupt forces of Bazar speculators and their progenies. I believe the latter one is even more dangerous and deadly to national interests. Ahmadinejad has to be congratulated for not having bowed to Bazaris and their elitist interest groups.

  11. Pirouz says:

    From what I read of Biden’s remarks, the U.S. still expects Iran to surrender. He even went so far as to brag about the effects of economic warfare (i.e. “the bully mentality”).

    But the Iranians are playing it cool. And like back in ’07, they’re not about to blink.

    Still hoping relations improve and peace prevails.

  12. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm
    Under the circumstances “hinting” as you put it is just not good enough,the us must shout it from the rooftops,personally I think its actions have spoken for it loud and clear
    James Canning says:
    February 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm
    Iran has done this before and gained nothing,any suspension now would only be seen by the west as a victory for threats and sanctions and would only encourage further demands and aggression,any suspension would have be part of a larger deal involving acceptance of iranian enrichment the lifting of un and western sanctions and the supplying of fuel for the trr

  13. Scott Lucas says:

    I really wish you folks had a clue what is going in the complicated diplomacy over whether talks will take place now or in the autumn.

    For example, you might want to look at Ali Larijani’s “no red lines” statement re talks with the US. That was what prompted the Biden statement.

  14. Reza Esfandiari says:

    A call for war with Syria…..by Roger Cohen, no less:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/opinion/global/roger-cohen-intervene-in-syria.html

  15. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says:

    February 4, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Yes, it is all a charade.

  16. BiBiJon says:

    Get a clue, Scot. The Kerry/Hagel nominations set the ball rolling.
    =============================================================

    As previously commented:

    While I agree the Hague’s promise of a forever-cold-war is and will be the shape of things to come, the style of that cold-war can have many different hues, a spectrum ranging from realist (allowing for all manner of ‘transactions’ for mutual benefit) to ‘emotional’ (regarding shooting one’s own foot as a mandatory ritual of orthodoxy).

    Hagel, during his confirmation hearing, expressed regrets for his past choice of words. Tellingly, he didn’t express any reservations about the underlying sentiments that led to those words. Indeed, he repeatedly declared that his litmus test is to gauge if policy objectives are worth the sacrifice. Without explicitly saying so, he is suggesting to have Maleki ensconced in Iraq was not worth 35000 dead and injured Americans. It is difficult to see how such a litmus test will not continue to regard “a military strike against Iran, a military option, [as] not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”

    Also, Hegel addressed ‘engagement with Iran.’ He said:

    “I think engagement is clearly in our interests. That’s not negotiation. Engagement is not appeasement. Engagement is not surrender. I think if the time is right, the climate’s right, the dynamics are right, we should find ways if we can find ways. We can’t force it. But I think we’re always smarter and wiser to take that approach initially.”

    ————–

    Just to add to above, let us examine the last couple of years. I see exhaustion of the various policy thrusts. Neither Qatar, KSA, Turkey, US nor Iran can continue down a path of interminable costs with no tangible benefits. Despite the Senate Armed Services Committee’s depiction of a world confined to Israel and her insecurities(1), there are other dynamics, and important power competitions altering the geostrategic landscape at a pace which makes Iran’s demise(10 years and waiting), or Assa’s demise(2 years and waiting) as unattainable in a reasonable time frame.

    A very different 4 years is ahead. Europe will be clamoring for Iranian gas, Syria will start an interminable set of negotiations and fall off the ‘news’ radar, etc. Iran will continue to be demonized, but in practice the thrust will be to reduce tensions. Methinks.

    (1) http://www.lobelog.com/the-world-according-to-the-senate-armed-services-committee/

  17. Patrick says:

    I thank the Leverett’s for a concise summary of the issues that probably form the basis of US opposition vis a vis the Iranian nuclear programme:

    the ability to impose its (and Israel’s) will unilaterally in the Middle East.

    However, what is the likelihood that the US will change its approach? I consider it practically nil, given the few voices arguing for it. One of the reasons for not changing course may also be that an acceptance of Iran and its nuclear programme would be tantamount to concede that US American influence and military might is waning.

    That is not something many US Americans would accept easily, regardless of political orientation. As a result, this conflict is here to stay and might, if any of the participants miss a step, spiral out of control. Consequences and costs be damned.

  18. masoud says:

    Scott,

    Stop trolling. Someone might have to get in touch with your dean again.

  19. BiBiJon says:

    Patrick says:
    February 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

    “That is not something many US Americans would accept easily, regardless of political orientation. As a result, this conflict is here to stay and might, if any of the participants miss a step, spiral out of control. Consequences and costs be damned.”

    Another way of defining ‘emotional’: regarding shooting one’s own foot as a mandatory ritual of orthodoxy.

    Fortunately/unfortunately there isn’t any historical evidence that war/peace decisions take the blindest bit of notice of prevailing “US Americans” sentiments. The corporate media will declare a consensus view whether or not that consensus exists.

  20. kooshy says:

    عکس: خوش و بش صالحی با نماینده سابق مجلس امریکا

    عصر ایران – سلام و احوالپرسی علی اکبر صالحی وزیر امور خارجه ایران در سومین روز از کنفرانس امنیتی مونیخ با خانم ” جین مارگاریت هارمن ” نماینده دموکرات سابق در مجلس نمایندگان آمریکا و رییس فعلی مرکز ” وودرو ویلسون”.

    http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/fa/page/1912400/%D8%B9%DA%A9%D8%B3%3A+%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%B4+%D9%88+%D8%A8%D8%B4+%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%DB%8C+%D8%A8%D8%A7+%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87+%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82+%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3+%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7.html

  21. James Canning says:

    Patrick,

    Are you aware that John Kerry “hinted” he would be willing to accept Iranian enrichment to 5%?

  22. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Iran should be able to suspend enriching to 20%, with little risk. In return for E3 + 3 acceptance of Iranian enrichment to 5%.

    I think you pay too little attention to the brutal fact Obama is under sustained pressure from powerful Democrats, to be hostile toward Iran so long as Iran is unfriendly toward Israel.

    You do not find it peculiar that US newspapers do not even want to report that John Kerry “hinted” he would accept Iranian enrichment to 5%?

  23. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    What form of “surrender” by Iran do you think Joe Biden hopes to see? You are aware, I’m sure, that many of the Aipac stooges in the US Congress do not want American officials even to talk to Iran, unless Iran agrees to be friendly toward Israel.

  24. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Yes, dismaying perhaps to read Roger Cohen’s endorsement of John McCain’s very foolish call for the US to hit Syrian airbases with cruise missiles.

    Did you see Roger Cohen’s call for Obama to accept illegal growth of Jewish colonies in the West Bank, provided the illegal colonies of Jews are in areas Israel wants to annex?

  25. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    February 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Almost as interesting as the Jeffery Feltman audience with SL.

    http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2012/08/1752/former-top-us-diplomat-jeff-feltman-meets-with-irans-supreme-leader/

  26. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    If you are attacking Roger Cohen’s endorsement of John McCain’s recommendation that the US use cruise missiles to attack Syrian airfields, I agree with you.

  27. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Dorothy Rabinowitz attacked Chuck Hagel for having said Iran’s government is legitimate. Rabinowitz, amazingly enough, argued that Hagel’s observation, that most of America’s allies have embassies in Tehran, was irrelevant and spurious. Typical rubbish from editorial page of WSJ.

  28. Persian Gulf says:

    masoud says:
    February 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    من ازاین علی لاریجانی اصلا خوشم نمی آد، ولی باورم نمیشه محمود چنین افتضاحی ببارآورده باشه تو مجلس. هرچی خواست بقولی جایگاه ریاست جمهوری رو بالا ببره تو این چند سال با این حرفهای چیپ و بی ربطش همه چی رو بر باد داد. حالا انگار اطرافیان خودش زد و بند نمی کنند اصلا که چنین چیزهایی رو تو جلسه ای به این مهمی بیان می کنه. ما فکر کردیم این چی داره حالا می خواد رو کنه. محمود میدونه زمان اصلا به نفعش نیست داره دست و پا میزنه. 2 بار با گیردادن به خاندان هاشمی رای آورد که آخرش بعد از 8 سال نتنها باهاشون کاری نکرد بلکه آخرش رو بسوی هاشمی کرد دوباره که تازه اون پسش زده.

    محمود تمام شد. به نظر من بی سروصدا این چند ماه باقی مونده رو تموم کنه بیشتر از این آبروریزی نکنه بهتره. مملکت که رو که فعلا ول کرده چسبیده به اینکه چه کسایی رو خراب کنه رای نیارند.

  29. Smith says:

    It is getting funny. Turkey and Saudi Arabia want to join nuclear negotiation with Iran too and the P5+1 is going to become P5+1+2. They are making fun of Iran: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/02/04/287262/turkey-seeks-to-join-iranp51-talks/

    Also note that the project of demonization of Iranians is almost complete. As you can see almost all comments and internet chatter is of negative/racist/fascist nature about Iranian space launch with even McCain jumping in. A quick internet search of commentaries and western internet forums show that Iranians have become the most demonized nation on planet earth.

    Those like Salehi who believe that they can buy Iran long term security by secularizing fatwas and giving up Iran’s right to defend itself against fascist and colonial forces, are deeply mistaken. Unfortunately these secular, “humanist” and colonial societies only understand the language of force. Without nuclear weapons Iran is going to be raped. Very soon.

  30. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    You`re putting a hell of a lot of faith in a “hint” at a time when the 2 sides cannot even agree on a venue for the next round of talks and I think you pay too little attention to the brutal fact that Obama has not only continued the bush era policies towards iran he has intensified them,as I said in my last post I think that the actions of the us government and its bootlicks speak far more loudly and clearly than your “hints”

    Patrick says:
    February 4, 2013 at 10:15 am
    I agree completely
    The us cannot say yes to a deal nor can it say yes to a war its only remaining option is to support the rotting status quo and pray for a miracle that will save its position in the middle east,it wont get one,.One only has to look at syria and the wests support and aid to the jihadis there even though a jihadi victory would be a real threat to the wests interests,but the chance to strike a blow against iran over rules this its as though they`ve learnt nothing from the last time they did this in the 80s in afghanistan,the west has now reached such a low that in desperation it will inflict economic and military damage upon itself in the hope it can force iran to surrender,this then is the end result of sixty odd years of meddling in the affairs of the middle east is a dead end its just a question of how many lives its going to cost on both sides before the us realizes this fact runs up the white flag and attempts to salvage what little it can from sixty years of disastrous policies,or to put it another way will it end with a bang or a whimper

  31. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This appears to be the new Obama “lead from behind” plan – let Israel take the lead in getting a foreign military intervention in Syria…

    ‘Israel considers building buffer zone inside Syria’
    :http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=301916

    In addition, there is a new target for Israel inside Syria…

    Iranian intel post in Syria reportedly among Israeli targets
    :http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-intel-post-in-syria-reportedly-among-israeli-targets/

    So once again things are ratcheting up while the “pundits” are convinced Obama is “resisting” intervention.

    Suckers. Obama is the consummate con man and literally everyone has been fooled yet again.

  32. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran reportedly refuses Assad request to hit back at Israel
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-reportedly-refuses-assad-request-to-hit-back-at-israel/

    While I don’t believe the source (which is unidentified), frankly, this is about the response I would expect from Iran to Assad IF he ever does ask Iran to honor its mutual defense treaty.

    There’s no way Iran is going to attack Israel first in retaliation to an Israeli attack on Syria (or Lebanon), and there’s no way Iran is going to attack US forces in the region if the US attacks Syria. No way, Jose.

  33. masoud says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    February 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I can appreciate that point of view, but I just don’t see it that way. I’m really not too worried about Aberou(it’s not like Iran had any in western quarters for the past thirty years anyway), and i’d argue visible rifts like this actually increase the credibility of Iran’s political system to the outside world.

    I wish I knew more about why Mortezavi was so god damned important to anyone, but one way or another this is a conflict that needs to take place. Towards the end of his response, Larijani was literally speaking in the voice of God(what’s a hadis-e-qudsi anyway?). That particular family already has way too much influence in the IRI, and if they take the presidency, it will be an absolute disaster.

  34. Pirouz says:

    James, have you even taken the time to even read Going to Tehran?

    Scott, we were undergraduates about the same time during the 70s. Remember that old Pink Floyd song? Ha Ha, charade you are! lol

  35. M. Ali says:

    I also don’t agree with PG. I think one of the biggest problems with Iranian political culture (and even business life) is, as Masoud pointed out, “aberou” (or honor, or dignity). I think Ahmadenijad is the first state leader in Iran that threw all that facade under the bus, and brought some humanity in the public realm. I’m not saying the good doctor is 100% honest, but even 20% honest is good in a culture that puts surface respect, manners, codes of conduct, etc, above truth.

    To me, I think Ahmadenijad didn’t lose the gamble. Obviously, by playing the tape, he’d be stupid to think that Larijani would go, “I’m sorryyyy!!! I give up! No more! No more!”. And we know Ahmadenijad, from his past clashes, doesn’t easily shy away from them. He had to know that he’d put waving the reg flag at Larijani, in a way, baiting him.

    If you notice, in all past clashes, it was always Ahmadenijad’s opponents that backed away when it got hot. The only time Ahmadenijad would have to back away, was when the Khameini would step in and make a specific decision. But if all Khameini would say was that everyone should play nice, then it would be the opponents that would bend their head and scatter away. And that’s what 9 out of 10 times would happen. It would get hot, Khemeini would say something to that effect, and the opponents would leave.

    I’m guessing that as it is getting close to his term, Ahmadenijad didn’t want that to happen again. By doing this, he knew Larijani couldn’t try to act sweet and bow his head gently and leave. He’d HAVE to attack. I’m guessing the doctor WANTED to be attacked. He probably had in mind before hand that Mortezavi would get arrested (in Iran, politicians getting arrested is part of their job description, its not like they have a grueling time there, they hand around with their friends, and when the time is right, they come out).

    I’m sure Ahmadenijad has tons of other information he could use against the Larijani family, but he used something that had Mortazavi in it and no one else, so Larijanis couldn’t retaliate against another person or group of persons. And he didn’t implicit the brother who is head of majlis or head of judicary, but a minor one, and the implication wasn’t that damning. Meaning, he wasn’t showing anything that would cause huge complications in the system or would be forced to be taken to courts from their side.

    It was basically, “Go one, attack me.”

    Larijani had only two options:
    1) Ignore Ahmadenijad at that point, and concede defeat, which would have been bad for him
    2) Attack Ahmadenijad, and cause the doctor to appear as a rebel who is being bullied by the political elites and the old gaurd.

    Now, look at point two, and see how well it will reflect on Ahmadenijad in the eyes of the people.I’m surprised by how, in the past 4 years, even people who didn’t vote for him or liked him, have somehow slowly come to the conclusion that he is outside the political masturbation circle. Its like its the IRI elites on one side and Ahmadenijad on the other. Its amazing how he has created this perception, whether real or not. I’m surprised at how many people I have met that have absolved Ahmadenijad from the economic difficulties and the currency fluctuations. Person after person have said that it is his opponents, who are stronger and have huge business mafias, are destroying the currency so that the blame will fall on Ahmadenijad. These from the sort of people who, 4 years ago, would mock and insult him.

    So, this event, is another step in Ahmadenijad’s PR, I’d say, solidifying his position in people’s minds, so that when he has to support a candidate in the next elections, his endorsement would say, “This guy is not part of the political mafia” and this might win millions of votes .

  36. Persian Gulf says:

    masoud says:
    February 5, 2013 at 1:26 am

    به نظر من خیلی دردناک بودآدم ببینه که لاریجانی احمدی نژاد رو، نه فقط به عنوان یک شخص، که درجایگاه ریاست جمهوری اونجوری تحقیرش کنه. والبته متاسفانه به درستی ایندفعه. من فیلم قضیه رو ندیدم ولی از صدا آدم اوج ضعف و بی شخصیتیه رییس جمهور کشورش رو می دید که — رو به شقیقه ربط میده، جایگاه هرسخن و نوع بیانش رو بلد نیست و بدتر از اون خودش رو با بی تدبیری درموقعیتی قرار میده که بعدا مجبور میشه مثل بچه ها بپره وسط حرفهایی که دارن تحقیرش می کنند. خوندن متن یه فیلم بی معنی اونم به نحوی که اون انجام داد و دراون جایگاه، همونطور که لاریجانی اتفاقا اینجا بدرستی گفت، نشون دهنده آخر بی شخصیتیه محمود بود. من از محمود به خاطر مسایل دیگه حمایت کردم وگرنه اثرات مخرب کارهای اینچنینیش بر فرهنگ عمومی رو کسی نمی تونه انکار کنه. هزارتا تریبون داشت میتونست چنین فیلم بی ارزشی که با برنامه ریزی ضعیف تهیه شده بود رو بده بیرون. با اینکارش لاریجانی رو ازخطا مبرا نشون داد. ما گفتیم مرتضوی از آقا آتو داره این احمق اینجوری گرفته به پر و بالش. خاک بر سر احمق یکدندش کردند.

    اطرافیان محمود مگه کی هستند؟ کردان، بذرپاش، مرتضوی…؟ من یه سوزن بایست به خودش بزنه بعد یه جوالدوز به دیگران. من از علی لاریجانی خوشم نمی آد ولی خوب این خانواده آدم کاردرست زیاد داره. این میشه اوج حسادت بگی نبایست باشند. عرضه دارند و اگه هم ملت بهشون رای مید که خوب چه بهتر، این وسط محمود مگه رسالت داره که مملکت رو به حال خودش بزاره برای این یا اون پاپوش درست کنه؟

    پیش بینی البته سخته ولی با چیزی که من ایران دیدم ایندفعه کسی از اطرافیان محمود رای نمی آره، حتی اگه مشایی هم راحت بیاد هیچی نمیشه. ممنتوم محمود تموم شد، دیگه بیشتر از این داره اون یه زره کاره خوب رو خراب می کنه. من سنم زیاد قد نمیده، ولی به نظر میاد محمود به هاشمی گیر داد یکی دو سال آخرش داره میشه مثل دوره اون و سرنوشتش که قطعا از اون بدتر میشه. محموداین قضیه رو گرفته و ازش میترسه به صورت واضحی. اتفاقا اینکارهاش نشون دنده اوج ترسش هست از دچار شدن به چنین سرنوشتی.

  37. BiBiJon says:

    I am with M. Ali.

    Also, Smith, of all the reasons to take the fateful nuclear step, a bunch of moral/intellectual midgets calling Iran/Iranians names does not begin to figure in formulating my opinion.

  38. Neo says:

    M. Ali says: February 5, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Nicely put Ali. Mahmoud is certainly full of surprises, and he paints himself as an outsider very well. First President to challenge the Supreme Leader; first President to challenge the Holocause Industry; the first to openly challenge both the Rafsanjanis and Larijanis; first to visit Egypt since the revolution; and he wants to be the first Iranian sent to space by Iran. His detractors are so keen on the last being realised first! But you’ve got to hand it to him. He’s got character.

  39. Neo says:

    Persian Gulf says: February 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

    PG, remember when soon after his first election, Obama was called a ‘liar’ in Congress, live and right in front of cameras? Soon after that, people regularly carried pictures of him with a Swastika on his forehead in street demonstrations.

    What difference did all of that make to him? People in high office often face such abuse. Am not defending Mahmoud’s style, but his challenge to Larijani was well timed. This family should not be allowed to gain even more power.

  40. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    February 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Mr. Ahmadinejad destroyed the Larijani brothers publicly.

    Pay-back, as they say in America, is a bitch.

  41. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Why Is the United States Subsidizing Iran? (read: how I love to hate Iran – or –how my bosses pay me (FREDERICK STARR) for fake outrage in a column which is not reality based and bashes Iran)
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/04/why_is_the_united_states_subsidizing_iran

    Wow.

  42. Fiorangela says:

    Shortly after Nixon and Kissinger went to China, they went to Tehran.

    http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/32743/1/Nixon,_Kissinger,_and_the_Shah_the_origins_of_Iranian_primacy_in_the_Persian_Gulf_%28LSE_RO%29.pdf

    “On the morning of May 31, 1972, the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi,
    received U.S. President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry
    Kissinger, at Tehran’s Saadabad Palace in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains.
    That spring day, these three men were in high spirits. Nixon had arrived in
    Tehran the previous day from his summit meeting in Moscow with General
    Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, where he had signed a series of arms control agreements
    with the Soviet Union. This was the era of détente, and Nixon and
    Kissinger were lauded as its architects. While the horrors of the Vietnam War
    were still unfolding, Nixon had made his momentous trip to Communist China
    in February, and his soaring popularity would deliver him a landslide electoral
    victory in November over his Democratic challenger for the presidency,
    Senator George McGovern.
    Meanwhile, Henry Kissinger had established a
    position of unprecedented power in the machinery of American foreign policy,
    conducting the administration’s secret diplomacy in Beijing, Paris, and
    Moscow, and sidelining the nation’s chief diplomat, Secretary of State William
    Rogers. The shah, too, was at the apogee of his reign. Under his leadership,
    Iran had enjoyed more than a decade of nearly double-digit gross domestic
    product (GDP) growth, commensurate with manifold increases in both oil
    income and military expenditure.1 Pursuing what he called his “Independent
    National Policy,” he had normalized Iran’s relations with the Soviet Union and
    now sought Iranian primacy in the Persian Gulf in the wake of Britain’s withdrawal
    from the region in 1971. . . .”

    -Obama has no where else to go, his elevator is on the top floor. Nevertheless, Going to Tehran will enhance his legacy; if his administration Goes to Tehran, whoever he endorses in 2016 will achieve “soaring popularity” and possibly a “landslide victory”.

    -Hillary Clinton misplayed her hand — for all the emotional accolades cast her way recently, her accomplishments as Secretary of State were meager, certainly not of Nixon-Kissinger proportions. Her 15 minute clock has run out.

    - John Kerry — in concert with Chuck Hagel — is in a position to play the Kissinger role, accompany his president to (China) Iran, and enjoy “soaring popularity.” Since Obama will be out of the presidential picture in 2016, and because Kerry is a native-born American, unlike Kissinger, Kerry will be in a position to ride that popular acclaim to “a landslide electoral victory in November” 2015.

    History has demonstrated: Going to Tehran is what successful leaders do.

  43. nahid says:

    امروز اتفاقات خوبی در مجلس رُخ داد، البته مجلس پیشگام این تشنج بود و ادامه آن را احمدی نژاد مدیریت کرد، علی رغم همه کسانی که فکر میکنند این اتفاق خوب نبود به نظرم این اتفاق خیلی خوب بود، بالاخره باید پُشت پرده خیلی موضوعات روشن شود، و مردم باید بدانند چه کسانی دشمنان اصلی هستند و چه کسانی هستند که با خرج ولایت فقیه می خواهند القاء دیکتاتوری کنند، بعضی ها می خواهند آقا را به زور وارد ماجراهای خودشان بکنند که ایشان موضع بگیرند… از همین جنس کارهای سابق و فعلی آقای لاریجانی!، علی ایحال اوضاع خیلی وخیم است و باید برای خودشان فکر بکنند، بالاخره باید برای یکبار هم که شده تکلیف خیلی چیزها روشن شود، امروز سند خیانت عده ای به کشور باید منتشر شود تا کثافات و سم ها برای همیشه از صحنه حذف شود…

    به احمدی نژاد این سرباز تام حضرت آقا خسته نباشید می گویم و امید دارم ادامه این راه را بی هیچ شکی برود…

    مراعات کردم و ننوشتم…

    به قول شاعر “جگر شیر نداری سفر عشق مرو”

    http://mjavedan.blogfa.com/post/237/%d8%a8%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a7%d8%ae%d8%b1%d9%87-%d8%a8%d8%a7%db%8c%d8%af-%d8%a8%d8%b1%d8%a7%db%8c-%db%8c%da%a9%d8%a8%d8%a7%d8%b1-%d9%87%d9%85-%da%a9%d9%87-%d8%b4%d8%af%d9%87-%d8%aa%da%a9%d9%84%db%8c%d9%81-%d8%ae%db%8c%d9%84%db%8c-%da%86%db%8c%d8%b2%d9%87%d8%a7-%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%b4%d9%86-%d8%b4%d9%88%d8%af

  44. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    The Financial Times reported that John Kerry “hinted” he would be willing to accept Iranian enrichment to 5%. I did not attend the hearing or watch it otherwise.

    I understand Iran had not been quick to agree a place or time of the latest P5+1 meeting.

  45. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    I asked you what form of “surrender” you think Joe Biden is trying to force on Iran? Your opnion.

  46. fyi says:

    Mr. Smith:

    You would know that a Muslim policty is scientifically competent as well as innovative when analogous things are developed there:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfJemqkby_0&feature=youtu.be

  47. Kathlyn says:

    On another note has anyone watched the recent discussion of Trita Parsi and Ali Ansari, as well as Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme, International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Shashank Joshi, Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute.

    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12512

    It is unbelievable how these speakers in particular Ali Ansari, somewhat Parsi and Fitzpatrich distort Iran’s nuclear program and everything that Iran has done to engage in good faith with the P5+1 and how disingenuous the US has been in dialogue with Iran. We need Flyntt and Hillary Mann Leverett to sit in front of such a panel.

  48. ToivoS says:

    Patrick says:
    February 4, 2013 at 10:15 am and sineva.

    You certainly outline why it will be very difficult to achieve a negotiated settlement between the US and IRI. The problem is that the present situation — no war, no peace — is too unstable. Either by accident, a false flag provocation or poor decision making war breaking out is too likely. I am convinced that the Obama administration and the government of Iran do not desire war. But if something doesn’t change war might happen.

    I agree completely with the Leveretts that the change will have to come from the US side. I just hope that Obama realizes this and is willing to pay the political costs that such a change will require. Perhaps I am being too optimistic but I see Obama making the necessary moves. It doesn’t look very probable of him going to Tehran, but there will some dramatic move. Right now we have talked ourselves into a corner with those many irresponsible threats so for now we should be looking for signs that the US is beginning to walk back those words. Kerry’s and Biden’s ‘hints’ could be interpreted in that light. Look for more hints in the coming months.

  49. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @Masoud:

    GTT is very tolerant of Scott considering that he bans comments that he doesn’t like from his own site. I guess those who get their help from CIMA have only an agenda to push.

  50. Fiorangela says:

    As much as it’s painful to rain on the Leveretts’ parade, a recent discussion at Davos about China’s Economic Future offered insights into why and how China serves or complies with western interests.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310560-1

    QUOTE: “Panelists talked about China’s economic future.

    Panelists: Rich Lesser ,Global Chief Executive Officer and President, The Boston Consulting Group, USA; Li Jingtian , Senior Vice-President, Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, People’s Republic of China; Ma Weihua , President and Chief Executive Officer, China Merchants Bank, People’s Republic of China; Kenneth Rogoff , Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics, Harvard University, USA; Xu Xiaonian , Professor of Economics and Finance, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), People’s Republic of China; Global Agenda Council on New Economic Thinking; Moderated by : Hu Shuli , Editor-in-Chief, Caixin Media, People’s Republic of China” END QUOTE

    China was praised to the extent that they produce, or offered the promise of producing, consumers. Rich Lesser of Boston Consulting Group observed that “a child born in China in 2010 will consume 40 times more than a person born in China in 1960.” Other panelists discussed the need for urbanization of Chinese citizens.

    Nixon went to China because the American economy needed a market. China acquiesced.

    Iran is not willing to acquiesce to the western economic model. That is why extremist pundits in the United States vehemently — and with near total ignorance — decry “Shari’a law”, as did, for example, Dennis Prager, who lambasted Shari’a law in a talk at Commonwealth Club of California http://www.commonwealthclub.org/node/62169

    Chapter 4, “Religion, Revolution, and the Roots of Legitimacy,” in the Leveretts’ “Going to Tehran” is essential reading for Mr. Prager and the California audience he misinformed. This section of “Going to Tehran” explains why and how American leaders can comfortably and authentically embrace the Islamic Republic of Iran, and find in Ayatollah Khomeini’s thinking process in establishing the IRI, principles consistent with those that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison subscribed to in creating the American Constitutional republic. There IS common ground between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran; the Leveretts defined its parameters. It is now up to Secretary of State John Kerry — and President Obama — to investigate that common ground and meet in the middle.

  51. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Nixon went to China because the American economy needed a market? Nixon needed cover for getting out of Vietnam war. China was concerned about possible attack by Soviet Union.

  52. Dan Cooper says:

    Colin Powell: Conned or Con Man?

    http://www.iranaifc.com/public1.php?id_news=1551

    For instance, we now know that, with the help of Allied intelligence services, the CIA had recruited Naji Sabri, Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister, and Tahir Jalil Habbush, the chief of Iraqi intelligence. They were cajoled into remaining in place while giving the United States critical intelligence well before the war and before Powell’s speech laying the groundwork for the war.

    In other words, at a time when Saddam Hussein believed that Sabri and Habbush were working for him, they had been “turned” into U.S. agents, providing information that was evaluated and verified.

    The trouble was they weren’t saying what Bush and his neocon advisers wanted to hear.

    The pair independently affirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

  53. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    At this point both sides are just playing for time and failing a western acceptance of irans mastery of the fuel cycle that is what will continue to happen,the west will talk tough but hope for a miracle but time is not on its side,the longer it takes the less iran needs a deal it no longer needs western trr fuel the only thing that the west has to offer is sanctions removal and that is easier said than done,of course the longer they last the better iran gets at dealing with their effects

    ToivoS says:
    February 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm
    Oby is far to timid to risk his place in history,he will keep doing what he has been doing up to now following in george jr`s footsteps sad to say

  54. Rd. says:

    Tom Donilon on Charlie Rose;

    “Our Iran policy is not containment, but prevent capability. “ So no enrichment is the goal!?!?

    so negotiations are just for the sake of talking and no new policy approach for the time being.. just buying time to get the house in order.

    Donilon also seem to be promoting H Clinton a good bit!!!

    He seems to point out the next few years, they will be attempting to get their act together by promoting a ‘Small Foot Print’ in their international presence, while showing every one who the master race is.. (%5 cut in war budget.. right).

    What Donilon seems to over look is, they have already been operating on small foot print for some time, that is their brains have been operating on a small foot print and yet unable to recognize their own demise.

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12762

  55. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    February 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Mr. Donilon, Mrs. Clinton, and Dr. Alughter are architects of the Siege War against Iran as well as the war in Syria.

    They are probabaly estimating that there is a still a lot of life left in their policies; I personally expect those policies to be pursued during the next 4 years.

  56. Karl... says:

    Good news on the Argentine/Iran relations on establishing a fact finding mission (although the commission need their approval by respective gov. before they could start), just look at the furiors response by Israel, apparently they fear a thourough invenstigation…go figure why.

    Whats more intresting is the the Argentinian response to Israel. Just today, the argentinian FM (which is himself a jew) responded angirly against Israel interference in argentine affairs.

    Saying such as:

    “Israel doesn’t speak in the name of the Jewish people and doesn’t represent it…”

    Also the argentine president (Kirchner, also a jew?) have responded angirly against israeli interference. Thats positive.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/argentine-fm-accuses-israel-of-giving-ammunition-to-anti-semites-sources-say-1.501650

  57. James Canning says:

    Report in the Financial Times today, from Tehran, says diplomats there expect Iran to be willing to suspend enriching to 20 but not to stop enriching at 5%. This of course has been made clear by Ali Akbar Salehi in his New York interview.

  58. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Are you saying that Tom Donilon equates enriching to 5% as “nuclear capability”?

  59. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    I think your assumption that Iran need not make a deal with the P5+1 is simply incorrect.

  60. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Let’s also remember that the Iraqi foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was providing accurate information to the G W Bush administration, secretly. Confirming that Iraq had destroyed its WMD years earlier.

  61. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Colin Powell does appear to have been a willing dupe of the neocon warmongers conspiring to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq on knowingly false pretenses.

  62. Ataune says:

    @Rd

    Collins online dictionary defines Nuclear Capability as:

    a country’s possession of and ability to use nuclear weapons

  63. Sineva says:

    Ataune says:
    February 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    Its not the collins dictionary definition you have to worry about its the wests definition of nuclear capability thats the problem

    James Canning says:
    February 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm
    I never said that there need not be a deal just that the longer the west takes and the more iran adapts the less need on irans part for a deal and the less willing to compromise in order to get a deal.So long as the west cannot say yes to the fuel cycle there will be no deal,but saying yes to the fuel cycle would be a huge defeat for the west no matter how hard they try and spin it,for iran it would be a huge victory for iranian soft power and another heavy blow to the status quo

  64. fyi says:

    All:

    I agree with this assessment:

    http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2013/feb/04/prospects-progress-new-talks

    Do not waste your time reading the garbage that Dr. Sadajjapour wites at Carnegie Endowment.

  65. Ataune says:

    @Sineva

    My point wasn’t didactic. I meant to say that there’s lots of wiggle room left on both side. Although I believe that the larger room is on the Iranian side. Since the US has cornered herself since at least “axis of evil” time, not to say “dual containment”.

  66. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    February 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I think you are wrong for that assessment as he only destroyed himself. first of all, Ali Larijani was not going to win the next presidential election. he is just not simply that popular. his style makes it difficult for him to win popular vote. and as 2005 results show, Mazandaran may only offer him 1.5-2 million votes at best. he even did not risk to run from Amol for the last Majles election. secondly, the Larijani clan is well known in Iran, good or bad depending who you ask from. This incident did not change anything for that matter, I believe. I would say Ali Larijani’s very considerate response to Ahmadinejad’s charade somehow boosted his popularity and vindicated him of the allegations. Mahmood was simply too cheap and irrelevant. and let’s not forget, his job is not to destroy this person or that. more importantly, he can’t ignore organizations, that only 3 years ago, were instrumental, rightly so at the time, in keeping him in power. It will be a sheer double speak on his part to do so.

    تصور من اینه که محمود و اطرافیانش دیگه اصلا چی به سر مملکت میاد براشون مهم نیست. و متاسفانه محمود چنین شخصیتی داره. آدمی هست که ظاهرا فکر می کنه دیگی که برای اون نمی جوشه سرسگ توش بجوشه. برای خراب کردن آقا ظاهرا بدش هم نمی آد حتی اقتصاد رو هم بپوکونه. وگرنه چه معنی داره بگه 6 ماه آخر هجومی عمل می کنیم? انگار وظیفه اصلیش رو یادش رفته. کارش رو ول کرده به خراب کردن این و اون و پرونده سازی رو آورده. کجای دنیا یه دولت شش ماه آخر زمامداریش به پرونده سازی(که طبق نص صریح قانون غیر قانونی هم هست) رو میاره؟ 5 ماه دیگه که این دولت تموم شد به احتمال فراوان اطرافیان محمود مثل رحیمی، مشایی…دستگیر میشند. کسی هم از اطرافیانش رای نمی آره(این تنها چیزیه که من بطور قاطع می تونم بگم الان).خودش و اطرافیانش اینو میدونند، داره هزینه رو شدید میبره بالا و دودش متاسفانه داره میره تو چشم ملت. محمود داره لجبازیه بی خود انجام میده. دورانش تموم شده ظاهرا ظرفیت بی سروصدا از بازی کنار رفتن رو هم نداره برعکس همه ادعاهای قبلیش. قرار بود برگرده دانشگاه. 8 سال وقت داشت هرغلطی دلش می خواد انجام بده.

  67. jay says:

    fyi says:
    February 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Although some conclusions stated in this assessment are perhaps close to on the mark, the main premise is flawed – as I suspect you know. I agree that real progress is unlikely – unless, as I have stated before, the West is willing to consider a strategic realignment.

    The US/UK focus on the notion of “nuclear capability” – a concept that is difficult to pin down – is by design. The assessment at Iran Primer resorts to setting up the “nuclear capability” straw man, but without making it clear that no compromise by Iran short of complete capitulation by Iran will suffice. My reading of the mood at the present is that capitulation by Iran is not in the cards.

  68. k_w says:

    Yesterday, Obama enforced a new round of sanctions. The same old story …

  69. hans says:

    The creator was in the process of creating the universe.
    And he was explaining to his subordinates

    ‘Look everything should be in balance.
    For example, after every 10 deer
    there should be a lion.

    Look here my fellow angels, here is
    the country of the United States .
    I have blessed them with prosperity and money.
    But at the same time I have given them insecurity and
    tension….
    And here is Africa . I have given
    them beautiful nature.
    But at the same time, I have given
    them climatic extremes.

    And here is South America . I have
    given them lots of forests.
    But at the same time, I have given
    them lesser land so that they would
    have to cut off the forests…
    So you see fellows, everything
    should be in balance.

    One of the angels asked…
    ‘Creator, what is this extremely
    beautiful country here?’

    The creator said…….. ‘Ahah…that
    > is the crown piece of all.
    ‘ Iran ‘,
    My most precious creation.
    It has understanding and friendly
    People. Sparkling streams and serene
    mountains.
    A culture which speaks of the great
    tradition that they live.
    Technologically brilliant and with
    a heart of gold…..

    The angel was quite surprised:
    ‘But god you said everything should be in balance.’

    The creator replied —
    ‘Look at the neighbours, I gave them.’

  70. Smith says:

    hans says:
    February 7, 2013 at 6:38 am

    That was so funny. But Iran is conquering the neighbors. At least Iraq is now under control. Next is going to be Afghanistan. The problematic ones are going to be Turkey and Pakistan.

  71. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Agreed. Though there is a long way to go for countries like Iran to reach such sophistication. Even countries like China and India have not yet reached such levels despite having a more robust scientific culture. Innovation and technology needs a certain level of thought freedom, inspiring education and environment filled with hope and free of inferiority complexes, dedicated role model teachers, constant funding, secured research/teaching tenures, and projects headed by competent relevant scientists and technologists.

    Unfortunately these parameters and many more do not exist in countries in Iran or are very weakly designed. Constant funding is a huge problem. Iran spends around 0.6% of its GDP on R&D and by some accounts at least half of it is for military applications. That is too small. Out of this little funding, surprisingly most money does not get spent on real research projects, rather the R&D funds in different departments is used as emergency budget funds, for building and renovating buildings and of course as bonuses for management team.

    Then there is the misconception that R&D is like cooking bread. You put in some ingredients and the product will come out. But in reality, R&D mostly results in accidental findings and most good things have come out accidentally out of R&D’s. From microwave ovens to TV targeting systems of air to ground missiles to medical ultrasound scanners to etc etc are all accidental products. US navy had spent large amount of money to make a chemical shark repellent to make military diving safer. Despite lots of time and money spent, no result came out. Then some western/American researchers doing research on some Red sea marine species found out that they secrete a chemical which is a natural and powerful shark repellent. That is how research works. You can not confine it. You have to spend money on every front and you have to spend large amounts, something as per current cultural understanding of countries like Iran is wasteful and unnecessary. As per the cultural norms of these countries money should be spent to lower the import prices of ready to consume goodies. After all life is short (and should be enjoyed to its maximum potential as per these cultures without ever giving back in return).

    In Western countries you can see large amounts of money is being spent on R&D by the “Bazar” and “Bazaris” (eg. Dyson, Apple, etc), by their governments and even there are numerous charities collecting money for specific research eg. for MS, breast cancer, etc etc. You will never see such things in Muslim land. They just want final products preferentially free if not then always cheap. And do not even ask about the sense of entitlement in such societies which is so high that even the Scandinavian societies would feel ashamed. This is what defines the “Cargo Cult” culture. Fascinating thinking.

  72. Smith says:

    Top Iranian military official analyzing the situation and saying that Turkey is being readied for its role as a strategic anti-Iran force. Of course Turkey as a NATO member and being nuclear armed will have its utility in this role. Pakistan will also be readied for such readied for such a role if not already in making: http://tinyurl.com/amuxvnn

  73. Smith says:

    نیم طیب خطر جان، نیم فقیہ خطر ایمان

    + War on Islam

    = http://www.heritage.org/events/2013/02/rand-paul

  74. Smith says:

    Former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright says that military strikes alone can not stop Iran’s nuclear program. It requires DECADES of occupation for Iran to be disarmed of its nuclear technology: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/02/06/1548601/cartwright-iran/?mobile=nc

  75. Sineva says:

    jay says:
    February 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm
    I think you`ve hit the nail on the head there Jay

    Ataune says:
    February 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm
    The problem is that its very unlikely that either side will avail themselves of any wiggle room,both sides have their positions and their demands and no sign that either will compromise to any great degree,personally I don`t think theres much room for compromise you either accept iranian enrichment or you don`t and its pretty clear the west does not theres also the problem that increasingly it looks as tho` the end goal of the west is regime change not a deal both sides might be able to live with,so failing western or iranian surrender or a strategic realignment of one or the other I see only a continuance of the cold war/status quo

  76. Smith says:

    Iran Banks Sidestep Ban on Global Transaction System

    Iran has bypassed Swift and is not doing its transactions through phone, fax and email. Note that Swift corporation is now pushing for removing the sanctions as they are now seeing an alternative system is being developed in Iran which in future might become a parallel to Swift and even a competitor:

    “… Mr. Leibbrandt said there are continued talks between his company and European regulators about whether it is appropriate for Swift to be required to impose sanctions on countries such as Iran. “There is a dialogue going on around the trade-off between using us as a sanctions tool for other countries and impeding our role as really serving as a global infrastructure mechanism,” he said. “We’ve seen reversals in Myanmar where banks were able to trade again. There is always a chance for a reversal if the reasons for the imposition of sanctions on affected banks are resolved… ”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324590904578287922368748726.html

  77. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    February 6, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    We will have to disagree.

    Mr. Larijani and the Majlis have been trying to undermine Mr. Ahmadinejad for several years.

    He is fighting back.

    It is the usual hurly-burly of politics.

  78. fyi says:

    jay says:

    February 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I agree that Mr. Reidel has not been covering all issues; such as the future of Iraq – the very very important issue to Axis Powers.

    Yes, the “nuclear capability” formulation is so vague as to justify the continuation of the “Iran Nuclear File” as a means to other ends – such as limiting or destroying Iranian power and influence in Iraq.

    Evidently, however, Mr. Obama, in his correspondence with Mr. Khamenei, had used a language that indicated that US is not going to puruse “regime change” or otherwise attack Iran.

    I venture a guess that this proposition was predicated on certain concessions from Iran.

    Iranians rejected the offer – the answer was that mural in Tehran with Shmr and Mr. Obama side-by-side; Shmr offering a “safe-passage” document.

    Since the United States has broken her previous international committments in numerous international instruments including those made to Iran there is no reason for any leader anywhere to accept US committments – least of all those that are merely assurances conveyed by a US President that carry no weight in US or International Law (e.g. the shredding of NPT by the United States or the Algiers Accords).

    Furthermore, given the view of Iranian leaders that both the IAEA reporting of Iran to UNSC and the subsequent UNSC snactions on Iran are in contravention of IAEA chaeter as well as UN charter, I would think that they put very little stock on these instruments or any form of verbal or written assurance from US, EU, China, Russia or any one else.

    And to that list may be added the shredding of CWTB during iran Iraq War by US, EU, USSR, China and others.

    I think Iranians are always ready for strategic settlement with Axis Powers but, as of now, even transactional exchanges are impossible.

  79. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

    800 years of being “sleep-at-the wheel” cannot be addressed and overcome during the 33 years of nationalistic rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    You are right about very many decently educated people in the Muslim World that desire nothing but living off the fruits of the Western Civilization – continuing the slumber of the last 800 years – Arabs, Indonesians, Malaysians come to my mind.

  80. Goli says:

    kooshy says: February 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Great for Salehi! It’s good to know he doesn’t have a problem with dividing and conquering Iran along ethnic lines as advocated by Harman for years. It’s a good thing he is Muslim, otherwise he’d be kissing her hand instead of just bowing to her. And they say Iranians don’t understand diplomacy!

  81. Smith says:

    Smith says:
    February 7, 2013 at 9:19 am

    If tinyurl does not work here is an alternative url to that analysis: http://goo.gl/QIPkI

    (PS. For some reason I can not post links containing farsi fonts in their url as they disappear).

  82. Smith says:

    Good response by Mr. Khamenei to yesterday’s sanctions. US must understand that it can not come with a gun to negotiation table. At any rate, I do not think Iran can ever teach US the lesson of humility and humanity. You can not teach new tricks to old dogs. It is time for Iran to build its own gun so that both are equally armed at negotiation table.

  83. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

    That is so right. But today, Iran has no choice but take the path of science and technology. There really is no way. While R&D might be a luxury and exotic thing for Arabs and Indonesians but for Iran it has become a life line. If Iran fails to start up a productive national engine of science and technology in this decade then the day is not far that Iran is going the Saddam way of oil for food and gas for medicine program with an eventual invasion and possible disintegration of Iran in future.

  84. Karl... says:

    fyi,

    Quite surprised that you give credit to a Saban neocon hawk as Bruce. The article just kept blaming Iran, only good thing about it was the admittance of the deterrence theory, often rejected by politicians and pundits today.

  85. Fiorangela says:

    re: Smith says:
    February 7, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Iran Banks Sidestep Ban on Global Transaction System

    = = =

    http://www.npr.org/2013/02/06/171310937/virginia-proposes-alternative-currency-in-case-of-federal-reserve-collapse

    QUOTE: “The Commonwealth of Virginia is taking a step in the what-if direction. What if there is a total monetary collapse in the U.S., hyperinflation and the complete loss of confidence in paper money. Now, you may say that we have a lot more realistic current and imminent economic problems to tackle, but Robert Marshall, a Republican state delegate from Prince William County, Virginia, wants the state legislature to study his proposal and it was, in fact, approved for study by a House subcommittee.

    He proposed an alternative currency, something other than the dollar. Mr. Marshall, welcome to the program.

    ROBERT MARSHALL: Well, I’m proposing more than that and actually the update is that the entire House of Delegates approved it.

    SIEGEL: But let me ask you, why is it necessary to study an alternative to the world’s reserve currency, the basis of trade around the globe and finance, the U.S. dollar?

    MARSHALL: The bill does more than that. There are three aspects to the bill. It provides for a study dealing with cyber attacks on financial institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia and we’ve experienced those as well as the Federal Reserve. Number two, it provides for an alternative that the Constitution allows, which says no state may make anything other than gold and silver coin a legal tender in payment of debt.

    Number three, it provides for an alternative to the way that the federal government has been operating, seemingly without control and without guidance.

    SIEGEL: Well, the Federal Reserve certainly has its critics and there are many people who argue that we should return to the gold standard, but why would it fall to the State of Virginia to be the source of some alternative currency to the U.S. dollar?

    MARSHALL: Because it was Virginians who were largely responsible both for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Madison talks in the Federalist Papers that all prudent observers will be glad that states will not be able to issue paper money – it was called bills of credit – to provide an alternative in case of a lack of confidence.

    SIEGEL: Wouldn’t chaos be one result of every state in the Union examining how it might mint coins or create its own currency as an alternative to the dollar?

    {snip}

    SIEGEL: What do you say to the criticism that . . . that we have more pressing problems? . . . we might as well spend money on protecting . . . from zombie attack. There may be more Virginians who think that’s a danger than who are worried about the Fed.” END UOTE

  86. James Canning says:

    Report in The New York Times today says that Khamenei “is proceeding with the nuclear program in the most incremental way, carefully avoiding going above, at least for now, a stockpile of more than 250 kilograms of medium-enriched uranium – - enough to make a single bomb.”

  87. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Do you think the White House actually believes Iranian influence in Iraq can be ended?

    Foolish politicians in the US Congress may think this, or pretend to think this.

  88. James Canning says:

    Smith,

    Pakistan has a significant challenge merely keeping from coming apart at the seams. No room for military adventures against Iran.

  89. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    According to The New York Times today, the outlines of a deal between P5+1 and Iran “has been clear for months: an Iranian agreement to limit the number of centrifuges it has producing uranium, and shipping much of its most ptent stockpiles – - the stuff that can be converted to bomb fuel – - out of the country.”

    Why would this be a “surrender” by Iran? Surrendering what?

  90. James Canning says:

    jay,

    Do I take it you would prefer Iran not make a deal, and that Iran will continue to stockpile 20% U?

  91. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    How can you claim “the West” refuses to accept Iranian enrichment to 5%, when The New York Times today reports this has been known to be acceptable “for months”?

  92. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Nima Shirazi takes on Ray Takeyh over the Leveretts’ book.

    The Talented Mr. Takeyh:
    Why Doesn’t the Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Like Flynt & Hillary Mann Leverett?
    http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/02/the-talented-mr-takeyh-why-doesnt.html

  93. Goli says:

    I realize this is wishful thinking, but it’s high time for the corrupt Larijani brothers to pack up their bags and leave. All the more power to Ahmadinejad for being the only truly principled and honorable president in the history of the Islamic Republic. I have no doubt he will carry through with his idealism until he runs out of breath. Iran is in desperate need for more likes of President Ahmadinejad.

  94. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This is good. Another of Nima Shirazi’s explorations of how Iran has been “close to a bomb” like forever…like Iraq…

    Iraq, Iran, Red Lines and Headlines
    http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/02/iraq-iran-red-lines-and-headlines.html

  95. Richard Steven Hack says:

    DEBKAfile reports… Take with the usual barrel of salt, but the “no-fly zone” is believable… We’re getting much closer to a foreign military intervention in Syria.

    Assad set on arms transfers to Lebanon. Israel responds with no-fly zone
    http://www.debka.com/article/22737/Assad-set-on-arms-transfers-to-Lebanon-Israel-responds-with-no-fly-zone

  96. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israel Enters Syria
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/07/israel-enters-syria/

    Quotes

    The Israeli strike inside Syria was thus clearly not an isolated affair, but a prelude to a deepening Israeli intervention long in the making.

    Such efforts will no doubt come to dominate the itinerary of President Obama’s spring visit to Israel. As the New York Times reports, “on the agenda this trip will be Iran and the continuing strife in Syria that threatens to descend into a wider regional conflict.”

    End Quotes

    Obama’s trip to Israel is undoubtedly to coordinate Israel with the US/NATO intent to attack Syria this year and how Israel can support that action while attacking Lebanon again.

  97. Cyrus says:

    James, the US characterizes ANY enrichment by Iran as equivalent to “nuclear weapons capability”

  98. Rd. says:

    The height of hypocrisy!!

    From the Atlantic Council, Can the World Live Without Iranian Oil?

    http://www.acus.org/event/can-world-live-without-iranian-oil

    After about 87 min of total BS, the two questions I have for the council are;

    - If Iran’s oil is irrelevant, then what do you care, move on..
    - and if Iran’s oil is irrelevant, then What is the point of all the sanctions?

    are these guys living in a fantasy world of their own making?

  99. James Canning says:

    Cyrus,

    Surely The New York Times is able to assess whether the US (and other powers involved in negotiations) will accept Iranian enrichment to 5%, and its report today that the P5+1 will accept Iranian enrichment to 5% I think excludes such enrichment from “nuclear capability” in the red-line sense.

  100. jay says:

    fyi says:
    February 7, 2013 at 10:01 am
    jay says:

    Agreed!

  101. jay says:

    James Canning says:
    February 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Please identify the line of logic you used to render your question on the basis of thread of conversation between fyi and myself. Otherwise, it seems a rather bizarre and out of context question!!!

  102. Persian Gulf says:

    Goli:

    Larijanis’ case won’t be Hashemi 2005, 2009 version 2013, rest assured. Mahmood can’t ingore the law and have his rather twisted interpretation of it.It’s dangerous. His childish behaviour these days is very harmful for the interest of the country.he has outlived his lifespan in politics. He will be remembered for the notion of “nulear Iran”. It’s time to leave him behind & move on. A fresh air is needed.

  103. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    You claim the US demands “capitulation” from Iran. Or call it “surrender”. But, surrender what? Stockpiling 20 percent uranium, as demanded by Russia and China?

    Do you see it as significant that The New York Times yesterday in effect reported that Obama is willing to accept Iraniaan enrichment to 5% or loess?

  104. jay says:

    James Canning says:
    February 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Surrender sovereignty!

    I do not assign significance to the NYT story.