Flynt Leverett on Anti-Iran Sanctions and America’s “Dirty War” Against the Islamic Republic


Iranian journalist Kourosh Ziabari interviewed Flynt about anti-Iran sanctions last week; the interview is now published in Iran Review, see here.  We have come to see U.S. sanctions policy toward Iran as embodying American foreign policy at its “imperial worst.”  The interview contains some of our strongest criticisms so far of that policy—and of the hypocrisy at the heart of purported U.S. concern over human rights conditions in the Islamic Republic.  We encourage everyone to read it at the Iran Review append the interview below.     

Flynt Leverett:  U.S. is Engaged in a Dirty War Against Iran

Kourosh Ziabari

 If you regularly follow the headlines on the American and European radio stations, TV channels or newspapers, you come to believe that Iran’s nuclear program is the world’s most important, unsolvable and complicated problem.  It’s been more than a decade that they have been incessantly talking of an Iranian threat that has endangered the world peace and security.  At the same time, they turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the fact that Israel is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.  The claim that Iran is trying to produce atomic weapons has laid the groundwork for the U.S. and its allies to impose harsh economic sanctions on Iran and damage Iran’s economy and trouble the daily lives of the ordinary Iranian people. 

To study the different aspects of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and the European Union, Iran Review has conducted a series of interviews with world-renowned political scientists, lawyers, journalists and authors and asked them some questions on the humanitarian and legal impacts of the sanctions, their compatibility with the international law and the human right standards, etc.  Our today’s interviewee is Prof. Flynt Leverett, a prominent Iran expert.  Leverett is a professor of international affairs and law at Pennsylvania State University and the co-author of Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Prof. Leverett has written on Iran’s nuclear program extensively and is regularly interviewed by the international media.  What follows is the text of the interview.

Q:  The United States claims that by imposing sanctions on Iran, it intends to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but the sanctions have recently targeted the ordinary citizens and the consumer goods and medicine.  Why have the sanctions swiftly diverted from the issue of disarmament and are directed toward the daily life of the ordinary Iranian citizens? 

A:  This is the inevitable logic of sanctions.  American and other Western officials declare that the targets of their sanctions policies are governments, not people.  In reality, though, the point of sanctions is to make ordinary people in targeted countries miserable. 

In the Western logic of sanctions, if enough ordinary people are made sufficiently miserable, then they will rise up and either force their governments to change policies that Washington views negatively or else force these governments from power.  There is no other strategic rationale for sanctions.

Q:  While the process of passing on Iran’s nuclear dossier to the Security Council was illegal, do the resolutions issued on this basis have a legal warranty?

A:  A number of prominent international legal scholars have advanced a powerful argument, with which I agree, that the Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to stop enriching uranium are legally invalid.  Article 25 of the UN Charter establishes a strong presumption that UN member states should comply with Security Council resolutions.  But the same article also limits member states’ obligation in this regard to Security Council decisions “in accordance with the present charter.”  Likewise, Article 24 of the Charter holds that, in discharging its duties, “the Security Council shall act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”  (Those purposes and principles are presented in Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter.)

The Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment demand, in effect, that the Islamic Republic surrender what the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty recognizes as signatories’ “inalienable right” to the peaceful use of nuclear technologies—including uranium enrichment.  By adopting these resolutions, the Council was acting neither “in accordance with the [UN] Charter” nor “in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”  And that renders these resolutions invalid.

Q:  Don’t you think that focusing the sanctions on basic staples and goods, especially medicines, is tantamount to a continued and systematic violation of the human rights?

A:  The U.S. government claims that the sanctions are not focused on items like food and medicine—that there is an explicit exemption for food and medicine in the sanctions policy.  But, as the question implies, this is, to say the least, hypocritical.  Formally, there is an exemption in the sanctions for food and medicine.  But, in practice, as long as banking sanctions deter Western and many other international banks from processing transactions with Iranian counterparties—even for “permitted” items like medicines—the effect is to bar the export of medicines to Iran, with predictably tragic consequences.

This is both inhumane and illegal, on multiple levels.  Besides the horrible impact of U.S.-instigated sanctions on ordinary Iranians, U.S. sanctions policy is a gross violation of international economic law.  Most of the sanctions that are having such terrible effects on ordinary Iranians are not unilateral U.S. sanctions—which the Islamic Republic has been dealing with for decades—or multilateral sanctions authorized by the UN Security Council.  Most of the sanctions that are creating real difficulties and hardships for Iranians are so-called “secondary” sanctions, whereby Washington threatens third-country entities doing perfectly lawful business with the Islamic Republic with punishment in the United States.  In recent years, Congress has been regularly expanding and intensifying Iran-related secondary sanctions through laws that President Obama immediately signs and obediently implements.

Secondary sanctions clearly violate American commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO), which allows members to cut trade with states they deem national security threats but not to sanction other members over lawful business conducted with third countries.  If challenged on the issue in the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism, Washington would surely lose.  That’s why U.S. administrations have been reluctant to impose secondary sanctions on non-U.S. entities transacting with Iran, and have done so pretty rarely.  What Washington relies on is that, in many cases, the legal and reputational risks posed by the threat of U.S. secondary sanctions reduce the willingness of companies and banks in many countries to transact with Iran, with negative consequences for Iran’s economy and for many ordinary Iranians.  It is the approach of a bully who does not believe he is constrained by the same laws that apply to others.

Q:  It’s said that the sanctions that target the ordinary civilians are a kind of collective punishment, and collective punishment is a crime according to the Nuremberg Tribunals.  The Western states claim that they care for the human rights, but they are behaving in such a hypocritical manner and punish the Iranian citizens for a crime they have not committed.  What’s your viewpoint on that?

A:  As a matter of policy, the United States is not and never has been interested in human rights in any sort of universal or objective way.  The United States is only interested in the selective, instrumental exploitation of human rights concerns to undermine governments it does not like.  As Washington has co-opted, and corrupted, the human rights agenda in this way, it has also undermined its credibility to address human rights in Iran or anywhere else.  Moreover, as the question implies, America’s professed concern for human rights in Iran is especially hypocritical so long as the United States continues what I would call its “dirty war” against the Islamic Republic—including economic warfare targeting civilians (through sanctions), cyber-attacks, and support for groups doing things inside Iran that, in other places, Washington condemns as “terrorism.”

Q:  It seems that the sanctions are not simply aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program but the main objective of the sanctions is seemingly to create social unrest in Iran which can finally lead to a regime change.  So, what’s the message which the sanctions impart?  Diplomacy or conspiracy?

A:  Since the Iranian revolution, no American administration—not even that of Barack Hussein Obama—has been prepared to accept the Islamic Republic as a legitimate and enduring political entity, representing legitimate national interests.  Every administration has seen the Islamic Republic as fragile and vulnerable to internal subversion, and has sought in various ways to encourage such subversion.  Of course, it has not worked, but this outlook continues to dominate mainstream foreign policy discussions in the United States about Iran. 

U.S. sanctions policy toward Iran needs to be seen in this context. The proposition that sanctions are somehow intended to promote a diplomatic “solution” is, to put it bluntly, dishonest. Consider the way that the sanctions have been drawn up.  Even just a few years ago, most of them were imposed by executive orders, which are more or less at the discretion of the White House.  Now, though, most of the sanctions have been written into law, which greatly reduces the President’s ability to pull back on them as part of a negotiating process, or to lift them even if Iran acceded to all U.S. demands on the nuclear issue.

Regarding this point, look at the language in current U.S. law on sanctions.  Even if the Islamic Republic allowed the U.S. government to come in, dismantle every centrifuge in Iran, and take them back to the United States—like Qadhafi did in Libya—there would still be no legal basis for the President to lift sanctions.  The law says that, in order for sanctions to be lifted, the President would also have to certify to Congress that Iran had stopped all dealings with resistance movements like Hizbullah and Hamas, which the United States persists in calling terrorist organizations, and that the Islamic Republic had effectively turned itself into a secular liberal “Republic of Iran” to meet U.S. standards on “human rights.” 

That’s not a serious approach to diplomacy.  The argument that sanctions are somehow meant to encourage a diplomatic outcome is detached from reality.

Q:  Along with the expansion of sanctions, the resistance of the Iranian nation has increased, as well.  Why haven’t the sanctions had the effects the West desires, whether in the political or social level? 

A:  There is no case in history in which sanctions have prompted a target population to rise up, overthrow their government, and replace it with a government prepared to adopt policies sought by the sanctioning power.  That has literally never happened.  Even in Iraq, where for twelve years the United States led the way in imposing sanctions so severe they killed more than a million Iraqis (half of them children), the population did not rise up to overthrow Saddam Hussain.  That took a massive U.S. invasion—and even then, the United States did not get a “pro-American” government in Baghdad. 

Beyond this history, the Islamic Republic, as I have come to understand it, is the product of a revolution that had, as one of its highest priorities, the restoration of Iran’s effective sovereignty and independence after a century and a half of domination by Western powers. 

Q:  The experts say that something around 15-20% of the current price of the oil is a result of the EU’s oil embargo against Iran.  How much has the oil embargo influenced the EU’s economy in the current critical juncture?

A:  In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when some European elites had serious ambitions for the European Union to emerge as an independent force in international affairs, capable of balancing the United States, European nations pursued an at least somewhat independent policy toward Iran.  However, with the collapse of the EU’s constitutional project in the mid 2000s, European elites calculated that the next-best way for Europe to have influence in the Middle East is by helping the United States pursue its hegemonic ambitions in the region

To understand what I am talking about, just look at the extraordinary shift in the Middle East policies of France and Germany.  Both of those countries were absolutely right in anticipating what a strategic and moral disaster America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq would be, and in refusing to go along with the United States in this ill-conceived campaign.  But within just a few years of having been right on Iraq—and having been proved right by events on the ground there—the French and German governments aligned themselves almost completely with Washington’s Middle East policies. 

As a result of this shift, Europe has, over the last few years, almost completely subordinated its Iran policy to that of the United States—even though, as the question implies, this imposes additional costs on European economies at a time when those economies are already under significant strain.  A few EU countries, like Sweden, continue trying, on the margins, to keep some element of rationality in European discussions on Iran, but they are fighting a losing battle.

Q:  Currently a number of countries implement the sanctions for different reasons, but several others don’t, so the sanctions have practically turned into an economic opportunity for those countries which haven’t put into effect the sanctions because those countries that adopt the sanctions have deprived themselves of a robust and profitable trade with Iran.  Are the sanctions capable of curtailing or stopping Iran’s foreign trade?

A: I agree with the premise of the question.  Those countries which comply with illegal U.S. secondary sanctions and limit their trade with the Islamic Republic are ultimately hurting themselves more than they may hurt Iran.  Sanctions may distort Iran’s foreign trade to some degree, but they cannot stop it.

Q: Complementing the sanctions with valid threats of military strike and intelligence operations are among the most important advices given by Israel to Europe and the United States.  How much successful have these countries been in sabotaging Iran’s security?

A: They have not been successful at all.  I hope that my country will not engage in overt military aggression against the Islamic Republic.  If, however, the United States is so foolish as to launch another war in the Middle East, to disarm yet another Middle Eastern state of weapons of mass destruction it does not have, I believe that the blowback to U.S. interests in the region will be disastrous for America’s strategic position.  The United States will be the big loser in such a war.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


218 Responses to “Flynt Leverett on Anti-Iran Sanctions and America’s “Dirty War” Against the Islamic Republic”

  1. James Canning says:

    I recommend astute comments by Max Hastings in the Financial Times today: “Advantages of a Little England stance on Syria”.

    Quote: “The UK purlic as been persuaded in the recent past to acquiesce in interventions that have proved disastrous. I reject rightwingers’ revisionist pleading that Iraq is turning into a success story.”

  2. James Canning says:

    After Iran announced its intention to treble production of 20% uranium, Iran said it was willing to stop all enrichment to 20 percent.

    Shouldn’t one ask why this offer by Iran was ignored?

  3. Nothing but the Truth says:

    I never thought that Mr. Leverett and his wife would advance to such outspoken and almost genuine critics of US foreign policy , which I would rather rightly call as a kind of ‘fascistic agenda’.
    It is very difficult to fight state-sponsored ‘fascism’ , as is the case with the USG agenda towards Iran , I still think the Leveretts are doing their Best and I am almost sure that they will prevail.

  4. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Intersting post and may be not so unrelated to this article in ‘Going to Tehran’ :

    “What keeps puzzling me is the lack of forcefulness and open support Russia and especially China have shown on Syria and the Middle East in general…”

    They see US policy in the area as being self defeating. This suits them fine and saves them considerable expense.
    The US is continuously over extending itself, in some part because the arms manufacturers need growing markets and they own Congress. In the meantime something in the order of a third of the population of the US lives in poverty or close enough to it that, as the depression deepens, they soon will be.

    What is new is that the ruling class no longer has any fear of the masses, it is convinced that it has mixed a cocktail of drugs, ignorance, propaganda and fear that, together with surveillance and police terror, makes it impossible for the 99% to take on their tyrants. In the past all polities, however dictatorial or despotic, understood that you can only push the people so far. Now the idiots running the show, for whose stupidity we should all be grateful, are intent on testing that oft proven theory. Thus it is that, in the midst of deep cuts in the living standards of the poorest, there is plenty to spend on Thatcher’s funeral, shutting down Boston for a reality cop show…
    Russia and China are rubbing their hands in anticipation of this summer’s Watts riots or whatever the spark will be that sets the tinder alight. As to Kerry’s $123 million in additional aid to Syrian al qaida, (which probably came out of the Medicaid budget or the Social Security trust fund) that simply hastens the day.

    Posted by: bevin | Apr 22, 2013 11:57:22 AM | 10

  5. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    April 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    You have asked this before and are asking it again now; and I have answered you over and over again:

    The destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the aim.

    Which means: Iran cannot “solve” the nuclear file.

    The strategic situation is actually improving for Iran; with major setback to the regime-change agenda in Syria as well as futher entrenchments of Iranians in Iraq.

    And the Iran-Pakistan accomodation is moving along.

    Th economic war aginst Iran cresated 4 months ago and much of what could have been done against Iran have already been done.

    This economic war against Iran, like the Iran-Iraq War, is one of the defining events of Western Asia; alienating Iran from EU and directing her orientation Eastward.

    The strategic prize for the Axis Powers was the reorientation of Iran towards them; that possibility is now being systematically destroyed as the people of Iran coalesce around their Islamic government.

    And, by the way Mr. Cannings. nothing will be done for Palestinians in the coming decades – they are on their own barring Iran.

  6. fyi says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    April 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    They might prevail late in their lifetime when they are in their retirements.

    40 years of alienation and strategic comeptition between US-EU and Iran is ahead.

    Mr. Khamenei understood all of this and his speech in Norhern Khorasan took the bull by the horn and stated that Iran will go her way in isolation from the “International Community”.

  7. Hagel stresses Israel’s right to strike Iran–politics.html

    I wonder if Justin Raimondo wants to repeat his rants about how Hagel’s confirmation was a “defeat” for the War Party…

    Sure doesn’t sound like it.

  8. Karl.. says:


    No need to question why it was ignored since its obvious, the 20%-rant by west has no value.

  9. Karl.. says:

    Canada allegedly arrest two al qaeda terrorists with ties to Iran. The canadian gov. just cant stop spreading nonsense about Iran.

  10. Germany will ‘respect’ Syria embargo changes

    So the UK, France and Germany are all on the same page to begin shipping arms to the Syrian insurgents once the embargo expires end of next month.

    As expected…

  11. nico says:

    That is good to read experts like the Leveretts debunk the lies and hypocrisy with easy to understand and clear cut language which shine with truth.

    That such eminent persons dare to speak truth in this world immersed in propaganda and falshood gives hope in human nature and allows to cling on to oneself sanity.

    Thanks for that.

  12. U.S., Israel behind project to destroy Syria: Hezbollah

    “‘As for us, we consider Syria , the state and people, to be the strategic depth of the nation,’ Sayyed said. ‘Because the people of Syria are distinguished in terms of their support for the resistance, [there are plans] to attack this strategic depth,’ he said.”


  13. jay says:

    A few subtexts of the Leverrett’s articulation of the US policy are simply that

    a) any agreement with the US is devoid of value,
    b) since UK is the US subordinate, any agreement with the UK is just as worthless, and
    c) other EU countries will sooner or later stop hurting themselves and begin to defy US secondary sanctions.

    These views are now factually supported by numerous revelations of the past and the present. Given these facts on the ground, those who argue for Iran to “give up” any aspects of any of her programs are either deluding themselves or attempting to deceive Tehran into further submission.

    The view is shared by most astute and pragmatic insiders in the SL’s inner circle – as has been articulated by interviews and editorials in Iran. Th

  14. kooshy says:

    Canadian police thwarted a terrorist attack on a US-Canada train by two men directed by Al Qaeda in Iran. Yes, Al Qaeda in Iran, say police.
    By David Clark Scott, Staff writer / April 22, 2013

    David Clark Scott
    Online Director
    David Clark Scott leads a small team at that’s part Skunkworks, part tech-training, part journalism.

    RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said on Monday in Toronto, that police had arrested and charged two men with an “al Qaeda-supported” plot to derail a VIA passenger train.

    Two men were arrested Monday and charged with plotting a “major terrorist attack” on a Canada-US passenger train..
    Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, who live in Montreal and Toronto, were acting alone, but were operating with support from Al Qaeda in Iran, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police….

    Can anybody figure out if David Clark Scott of CSM doing his skunkwork means this story was mounted or the Royal Canadian police, at the end of the day David Clark shame on you doing the dirty job of propaganda spreading for others.

  15. Don Bacon says:

    Strictly speaking, “anti-Iran sanctions” is a mischaracterization that fails to recognize the effects of the sanctions on parties other than Iran. This includes: *foreign countries, like Peugeot, which had to give up Iran operations. Peugeot had to sell assets and lay off people. There must be others.
    *Iran’s trading partners which (supposedly) had to quit Iran supplies, and possiby pay more to a new supplier as well as incur other costs of losing a traditional supplier
    *finance houses involved in production and trade
    *shipping and insurance companies
    *legal and other costs incurred because of the uncertain application of sanctions

    Many of the firms so affected are in Europe and paid a price for the referenced subordination of EU Iran policy to that of the United States. Currently EU financial conditions are extremely poor, and the breakup of the EU has mentioned as well as the death of the Euro.

    What part did these sanctions play in the decline of Europe and other places? This is a war on many people and countries besides Iran.

  16. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Here is a listing of all the other deaths in US that you never hear about.
    Not from terrorism, so who cares.

    Real Time Estimate Top 7 Causes of Death Since 1 Jan, 2013
    Cause Annually To Date
    Tobacco: 529,000 161,902
    Medical Errors: 195,000 59,680
    Alcohol Abuse: 107,400 32,870
    Vehicle Accidents: 42,000 12,854
    Suicide: 29,350 8,983
    Drug Abuse: 25,500 7,804
    Firearm Homicide: 10,828 3,314

    Source: the National Vital Statistics Report

    If 3 deaths can bring a whole city to a stand still – lockdown, how many can the numbers above?

    It appears that professor Walt shares my disdain for the “Police State”. Well, kinda…

  17. fy says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    April 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    From all evidence the quick destruction of Mr. Assad’s hard dictatorship has failed and with it the prospects of quick victory for Axis Powers.

    That hare-brained project, the brain-child of amateurs in the White House led by such luminaries of strategic calculus as Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Slaughter, Dr. Dunn, and Mr. Donilon (giants to whom neither Nixon nor Churchill could hold a candle) has failed.

    But now, those geniuses in US, instead of accepting the failure of their Wound-Iran-Project-in-Syria are retreating, have doubled-down so as to Save Face.

    Dr. Kissinger publicly stated a few weeks ago that “We cannot let Iran win.”

    Saving-Face, in a strategic contest, is the first and last refuge of the weak minds. When you hear it, you must immediately recognize it as the speech of losers.

    I just read that 2 Bishops have been kidnapped in Syria.

    It is going to get even uglier.

  18. fy says:

    Karl.. says:
    April 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Iran is a vast country; it is almost equal to the size of Spain, France, Germany, and Italy combined.

    It is possible that there are Al Qaeda operative in Iran or transiting her.

    Sine Canada no longer has representation in Iran (and vice versa) I imagine that there will no cooperation possible between the 2 states on the scourge of terrorism.

    [Syria actually helped thwart more attacks against US after 09/11/2001 attacks on her. Yet, US has tried to destroy that state.

    It is for this and for analogous reasons that I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that you cannot do business with Americans; they are too degenerated for that.]

  19. Smith says:


    I have already said in my previous posts that Iran should follow a modified Indian atomic program. In such a plan, heavy water reactors are a medium term goal. But the end goal is going to be fast breeder reactor. Since compared to heavy water reactors, the fast breeders use 60 times less uranium for a given energy output. As I said in previous thread this would make it possible for Iran to use ocean uranium which is basically an unlimited source of uranium.

  20. Smith says:

    fy says:
    April 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I do not agree with you on this account.

    This has happened as a propaganda. One guy is a Tunisian (western ally), the other is coming from UAE (another western ally) with a Palestinian background. It has nothing to do with Iran. Alqaeda is being funded and nurtured by US in Syria/Lybia/Chechnya etc etc. Iran is the only force that is fighting it. Naming Iran in these matters is insulting.

  21. Nothing but the Truth says:

    fyi says:
    April 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    “They might prevail late in their lifetime when they are in their retirements.”

    Yes fyi , I agree !

    Kissinger in his 90s is still barking BS out of his coffin , thus it would be a great pleasure to see the Leveretts in 30 to 40 years from now to have been among the group of American thinkers , who stood on the right side of history.

  22. Karl... says:


    The issue is that Canada try to tie Al-Qaeda to Iran. Soon we will hear that Canada have evidence that this was state-supported by Iran as a state.

  23. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Report: Jordan allows Israel to use its airspace for Syria attack,7340,L-4370634,00.html

  24. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Another report on same topic:

    Report: Jordan allows Israel to use airpsace

    Note this:

    Jordan’s King Abdullah decided to permit Israel to use his country’s airspace after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Jordan in March, the newspaper said.

    So who do think is promoting the idea of Israel attacking Iran so HE doesn’t get blamed for starting the next Middle East war?

  25. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Big surprise…not…

    EU set to buy oil from anti-Assad rebels after lifting Syrian embargo

  26. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Step toward possible military intervention in Syria,0,2663833,full.story


    …the move marks the first deployment that Pentagon officials explicitly described as a possible step toward direct military involvement in Syria.

    But the Pentagon has also made plans to expand the force to 20,000 or more if necessary, including bringing in special operations teams to find and secure Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles, U.S. air defense units to guard Jordan’s airspace, and conventional military units capable of moving into Syria if necessary.

    If the Assad regime collapses, the civil affairs teams might be sent into Syria to help restore services and security. But optimistic predictions that the U.S. could quickly restore order in Iraq after the 2003 invasion proved illusory, a lesson that many in the Pentagon have not forgotten.

    In his testimony Wednesday, Hagel acknowledged that the administration’s policy of seeking a negotiated settlement in Syria while building up so-called moderate rebel factions capable of taking power after Assad leaves has not worked.

    “It hasn’t achieved the objective, obviously,” Hagel said. “That’s why we continue to look for other options and other ways to do this.”

    End Quote

    As predicted…

    Of course, no ground invasion will be contemplated UNTIL Syria’s Air Force and missile arsenal have been taken out first – especially since that is the actual goal: to enable Israel to attack Lebanon.

  27. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syrian insurgents demand intervention against Hizballah in Lebanon…

    Hizbollah ‘at war with the Syrian people’

    This of course opens the door for Israel and the US and NATO to attack Hizballah as well as the Syrian government, specifically to aid Israel in destroying Hizballah to enable a “cheap” war with Iran.

    Anyone who can’t see where this is going step by step is a complete moron.

  28. Richard Steven Hack says:

    No Bunker-Buster Bomb in Israel’s Weapons Deal With U.S.

    But…”The new weapons sale package includes aircraft for midair refueling and missiles that can cripple an adversary’s air defense system. Both would be critical for Israel if it were to decide on a unilateral attack on Iran.”

    So they didn’t get the MOP, big deal…they got what they need to START the war.

  29. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Another fake “Iranian plot”…

    Iranian on fake Israeli passport held in Nepal for possible terror plot

    “Israel’s Channel 2 reported Monday night that the embassy and Israeli tourists in Nepal were all to be targeted as part of a series of terrorist attacks. The channel did not cite a source for its information.”

    Of course they didn’t – because there was no plot,

    I mean, Iran is going to NEPAL to find Israelis to kill? Seriously? Apparently Israel believes everyone is a moron to believe this stuff.

  30. Dan Cooper says:

    Dan Cooper says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    April 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Levertts; Please advice why the above post still awaiting moderation?

  31. nico says:

    It seems the west is ramping up its effort against the axis of resistance these days.

    Jordan allows Israel overflight to bomb Syria.
    Turkey did not dismiss rumor of Israel overflight to bomb Iran.
    The US label Iran the greatest threat to NPT (I guess it is the west answer to the last Irann’s roposal in Almaty 2 and the SL posture against direct talks with the US) and support Israel right to attack Iran, while the congress issued an advice to the USG urging direct military support and involvement with Israel in their military adventures against Iran.
    It was also implied that the last tours in ME by Kerry and Hagel were alsoaimed at securing the alliance against the axis of resistance.
    EU will send lethal shipments to rebels in Syria end of next month and are ready to buy Syrian oil but only to Al Qaeda representatives…

    In the same time Hezbollah leader is in Iran for consultation and negociation. And there is no further date planned for P5+1 negociation.

    It would be interesting to know the US and allies military build up in the region (current and planned) to see if direct intervention is in the making.
    It would also be interesting to see Russian and Chinese last moves.
    It would also be intersting to see Irak reactions.

    The west is truly escalating to nowhere as it is difficult to see how Russia, China and Iran would let the worst scenario to happen.

  32. nico says:

    In the same time as the ME crisis is ramping up in the background we have the financial desperair of the west.
    Is there any link ?
    What is at play between major world economic powers and how does it translate in current global geopolitical tensions ?

    Unprecedented physical gold demand while the price of ETFs is collapsing… What does it say ?

    It is becoming much clear that the gold market is manipulated by the FED in order to protect the USD from collapse.
    However while the gold paper value is dropping, the physical gold is scarce with shortage in Dubai and South East Asia.


    Mmmh, it seems the end of the gold exchange market exclusively traded in USD is coming to an end as the paper gold market and the physical gold market are disconnecting.
    And what about the petrodollar ?

  33. nico says:

    ” Schäuble was joined in his criticisms by Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg. “The unsustainable fiscal situation in the US and Japan is a source of concern and uncertainty. Credible medium-term fiscal plans should be promptly developed,” he said.”

    Chinese central bank head Zhou Xiachuan, warned: “It is necessary to re-evaluate the marginal benefits and costs of such policies after multiple rounds of monetary easing. Prolonged easing could exacerbate the financial vulnerabilities and affect the stability of the international monetary system.”

    German Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann, a member of the European Central Bank governing council, said: “It is clear that the longer an ultra-expansionary monetary policy is pursued, the more the risks increase.”

    Commenting on the fears about where quantitative easing was heading, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said: “We certainly heard from the entire membership [of the IMF] that it is unconventional that central bankers … jumped into an unknown landscape.”

    One major concern is the effect of a withdrawal of the monetary stimulus on financial markets. Ending the bond-buying program could produce a sharp drop in the value of these financial assets, prompting a rush for the exits and a rise in interest rates that could spark a further financial crisis, this time embroiling the central banks themselves.

  34. Karl.. says:

    Iran a threat? Not to a 89% according to a new south-american poll.

  35. Karl.. says:

    Those evil iranins seems to be everywhere. Sigh.

    The iran-obession by Israel is getting ridiculous.

  36. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    April 23, 2013 at 4:46 am

    I seriously doubt it, it is suicidal for Jordanan Monarch.

    This propaganda, most likely coming from Israel.

  37. imho says:

    If this is true, it could be one reason why US and Israel agree the sanctions route:

    Was Ariel Sharon Israel’s
    Secret Channel to Iran?

    And they salivate again about Iranian elections

  38. imho says:

    Time to Move from
    Tactics to Strategy on Iran

    from The Atlantic Council

  39. James Canning says:

    Max Hastings, writing in the Financial Times yesterday (“Advantages of a Little England stance on Syria”), stated that: “Should [the UK] go into Syria, even if we succeed in helping the rebels to overthrow Mr Assad, this is unlikely to profit British interests in the smallest degree.” I agree entirely with Hastings on this point.

  40. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The King of Jordan last month was asking Obama to pressure Israel to get out of the West Bank. Obama would in return have insisted that Jordan allow Israel to use Jordanian airspace.

    What do you think the King of Jordan should have done in this situation?

  41. nico says:

    Turkey’s ticking debt time-bomb

    Another lever held against Turkey by the PG kleptocrats, while dependant on Russia and Iran imports.
    Turkey truly is between the rock and the hard place.
    However they only are in same boat as the western economies.

    ” To summarize what the data tell us: even at a dead stop, Turkey’s economy is running a trade deficit of 9% of GDP, and financing the bulk of the deficit on the short-term interbank market. That is unsustainable in the long run, but there is no immediate event likely to trigger a crisis. The Gulf states can continue to keep Turkey afloat for some time. Turkish consumers, though, will have to tighten their belts to manage their debt burden, and the economy is likely to shrink moderately during 2013. Economic troubles will dominate the political agenda, and Erdogan’s claim to leadership of the Islamic world – let alone his own country – will look far less credible. “

  42. Karl.. says:

    Leveretts are on board with Ron Paul with his new project!


  43. fy says:

    imho says:
    April 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Several years ago Mr. Dagan was in Iran, meeting with Mr. Larijani; or so I have heard from public Internet sources.

    On the other hand, I doubt very much Israel having specially deep expertise in design of structures that can withstand earthquakes; Japan and US are more credible.

    The fact of the matter is that US strategy is one of containment – war would mean US occupying parts of Iran for a 100 years; while Iran has become a nuclear-armed state.

  44. fy says:

    nico says:
    April 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Yes, Turkey is being told what to do by the Axis Powers; with friends like US and EU, who needs enemies.

    Unfortunately, this will continue for a long time in Turkey.

    Note that in Iran, in Afghanistan, in Palestine, in Syria, and in Turkey Axis Powers’ policies are squarely directed against the paramount need of the hour in that part of the world, namely development.

    For Axis Powers, this is just a decadent game played in the Middle East since it is neither germane to their security nor to their wealth.

  45. jay says:

    Max Hastings and FT’s pronouncements are irrelevant!

    UK receives foreign policy orders from Washington – it has no foreign policy of her own.

  46. James Canning says:

    Cover story for Parade magazine April 19th, is George W. Bush. Bush told Parade that his biggest conern in the world is: “Iran and its quest for a nuclear weapon. Their leader has made it clear that they would like to destroy our close ally Israel. And I can’t imagine any American administration standing by if that were to happen and not retaliating or responding.”

    So, did George W. Bush once again lie to the American people by claiming Iran is trying to build nukes for a first-strike attack on Israel, and that the Obama administration might allow this to happen?

  47. James Canning says:


    How many billions of euros or dollars in Turkish debt could have been bought by Iran, if Iran had made different decisions regarding its nuclear programme in recent years?


    Your apparent belief Obama would attempt the occupation of Iran, in event of hostilities, is quite wrong. Dead wrong, almost certainly.

  48. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    April 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    In war with Iran, US, by military logic, will need to occupy both Iranian islands as well as costal areas adjacents to the Straits of Hormuz.

    This is one of the few instances that Richard Steven Hack is correct in his prognostications.

    The need for occupation of parts of Iranian territory has been mentioned by serving US general officers in recent weeks.

    Mr. Obama, alomst certainly has already been advised of that.

    Then there is the aerial war against Iran which will destroy much of that has been built over the last 30 years in Iran but, nevertheless, will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran with permanent enmity to the United States – for generations.

  49. A-B says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    April 23, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Good one!!

    I know Nepalese trekking guides/porters refusing to deal with Israelis, recounting many horrific examples of how badly they behave in Nepal. Apparently, the obnoxious Israelis are actually ‘Eye-ranians’ with fake Israeli passports!!

    It won’t be long before you can read that the Israeli “occupiers” of Goa (India) are also ‘Eye-ranian anti-Semites’ wanting to smear the ‘peaceful’ Israelis!!

  50. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    April 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    With UK’s North sea hydrocarbon depletion near complete it would be in UK interest to fully bow to Iran demands.
    My take is that Iran is master of PG and the anglo-saxon era long history of imperialism is coming to an end very soon.
    Your take is the opposite.
    Well let’s see in the coming years.

  51. James Canning says:


    I argue for a stronger and richer Iran. Not for a weaker Iran. You seem not to be aware you encourage actions by the Iranian gov’t that tend to weaken the country.

  52. James Canning says:


    I of course would deeply regret hostilities between Iran and other countries.

    I doubt the US would try to occupy any part of the Iranian mainland, if hostilities were to erupt.

  53. James Canning says:


    Do you notice you are angry that the Persian Gulf monarchies have such vast funds available to influence other countries, including Turkey. But you appear pleased Iran has chosen not to have vast funds available for such purposes. Ironic, surely?

  54. Dan Cooper says:

    How the West Missed a Chance to Make Peace With Iran

  55. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm
    I think it has more to do with the fact that a lot of countries out there are so corrupt and easily bought/bribed,as for the puppet despots this is just them squandering more of their wealth,if it isnt on western weapons that they cant use/dont need then its on corrupt dictatorships of very dubious loyalty,are they getting value for their money? who can say

  56. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    How does standing up for its rights weaken iran.appeasement does not make one stronger quite the opposite it makes one weaker,time and again you trot out this argument but history’s verdict on appeasement is clear yet you seem completely unable or unwilling to accept this most simple of facts.Are the arab puppet states stronger?,I think not,iran has an influence and credibility that they can only dream of

  57. Sineva says:

    nico says:
    April 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm
    I agree it would be in the europeans best interests to agree to irans terms but unfortunately the vassal states of the EU do not have any real say when it comes to foreign policy,no more so than the soviet vassals of the eastern block did

  58. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm
    Then how would it stop iran from shutting down the straits and thus removing a very big chunk of the global oil supply,the only way it could secure the gulf would be through the occupation of the islands and parts of the coastline

    fyi says:
    April 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    I agree

  59. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    April 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Sure the PG kleptocracies are role model and western policies has nothing to do in maintening them.
    Iran should follow their example.

    Wise and smart assertion.

  60. jay says:

    Sineva says:
    April 25, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Appeasement and subordination to US policies has been awarded with triple dip recession in the UK – translation: more misery for the working class.

    To give advice on economic and political matters that benefit the general populous one has to first clean up ones own house! Clearly UK and the US are not in that position.

  61. Don Bacon says:

    Who says that Iran doesn’t look out for the little man?
    Photo of city council election registration here.

    news report:
    With registration now ended for Iran’s 4th City Council Elections we now have 352,000 people who have thrown in their names for the election which will occur during the Presidential elections planned in June.

    Unlike other elections in Iran where their is a vetting process, all 352,000 can stand on the election ballot as equal candidates. Some of those registered are prominent individuals like actors/actresses, TV hosts, athletes, and singers but for the most part all of Iran’s diversity could be seen on registration week.

    The councils are tasked with managing city and village affairs. They choose and remove city Mayors and give a direction of how each city will develop over the next 4 years.

  62. James Canning says:

    Sineva, FYI,

    Fyi has claimed Iran would not try to close the Persian Gulf if Iranian oil exports are blocked.

    China has warned Iran not to attempt to close the PG to shipping.

    Yes, occupation of Iranian islands would be highly likely, in event of hostilities.

  63. James Canning says:


    What do you calculate to be the actual cost of Iran’s disputed nuclear programme? At least $2 billion per week? $3 billion?

    Do you think Iran should virtually force Obama to blockade Iranian oil exports?

  64. James Canning says:


    I think it is unfortunate that PG monarchies feel it necessary to spend so much money on weapons. But you must concede, there are a number of people who post on this site, who seem eager to convince the PG monarchies they do have a need for the weapons.

    Iran throws away huge opportunities to accumulate financial reserves for employment in service of Iranian foreign policy objectives.

  65. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Scary developments :

    1. Confusion regarding the drone deployment of Hisbollah against the zionist regime

    2. Deployment of poison gas by Assad

    Regarding the deployment of WMD by the Syrian government :

    “”Syria’s regime dropped chemical weapons from a plane on a district of Aleppo earlier this month, killing two infants and a woman, experts said after a doctor in Aleppo posted a video of apparent victims to his Facebook page.

    Yeah, right. 3 persons dead. That’s evidence. Because, as every expert for WMD knows sarin bombs typically kill 3 – 4 persons in a big city. Just to be really, really certain, I quickly asked my resident WMD expert, a speaking Kermit puppet.

    OK, when Saddam in the american supported war against Iran used (quite probably usa supplied) chemical weapons, the victims were in the hundreds or even thousands. But then, that was good western chemical weapons, not the lousy stuff Assad has.

    So, “2 infants and 1 woman injured” (not even killed) sounds like perfect proof for a sarin bomb over a major city.

    Even better, it also shows once more that God is on usa’s side, because he lets them muslims terrorists and resisting presidents have lousy bad weapons and incapable pilots while the usa has supreme weapons, supreme pilots and of course supreme intelligence from supreme corner shop owners in supreme london.

    Pardon me, I just had a cappucino and I’ll have to quickly wipe the foam off my mouth.

  66. Nothing but the Truth says:

    James Canning says:

    “Iran throws away huge opportunities to accumulate financial reserves for employment in service of Iranian foreign policy objectives.”

    Mr. Canning you are a hopeless dreamer it seems , or you follow your own agenda , which I prefer to think.

  67. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Boston shock may push Obama to the right

    It now seems clear that Boston was a “false flag” operation in the sense that it was ALLOWED to happen a la 9/11 by the FBI using a secret mercenary group called The Craft, whose operatives were all over the scene as numerous pictures show, regardless of the intentions of the actual patsies. The media spin is already covering up the unanswered questions and the plot holes in the official story.

    And now we see the reason – to push Obama to go to war with Iran.

  68. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Hagel now blaming Syria for using chemical weapons after 24 hours earlier expressing doubts. Why? That should be obvious to anyone with a brain…

    US: Syria Likely Used Chemical Weapons on ‘Small Scale’
    No Proof, So Why the Sudden Change in Assessment?

    Syria has likely used chemical weapons on a “small scale,” Chuck Hagel says

  69. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Again, this should be obvious to anyone, so why even ask the question?

    Why did the IDF’s top analyst drop his Syria WMD bombshell?

  70. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Officials: Boston suspect had no firearm when barrage of bullets hit hiding place

    “The FBI, however, declined to discuss what prompted the gunfire.”

    No kidding… They wanted him dead so he couldn’t talk… Now they’re spinning what he did say for their own ends.

  71. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran parks millions of oil barrels on tankers

  72. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The Convoluted Path to ‘Chemical Weapons’ Belief

    Obama clearly is using Israel as his excuse for a Syrian military intervention. This is in line with his stance on Iran: he wants an Iran war, he just doesn’t want to be BLAMED for STARTING it because it would tarnish his undeserved Nobel Peace Prize.

  73. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    Iran will not be forcing obama to do anything,it will be his own decision not irans.Yet again you put the onus on iran when it is the other side making the bad choices,iran did not force them to make these decisions that was all their own doing
    James Canning says:
    April 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm
    Irans military strategies in the event of war are up to iran to decide no one else,in the event of war it would be virtually impossible for the straits to stay open even if iran did not formally close them
    James Canning says:
    April 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm
    The arab puppets only have themselves to blame for any feelings of insecurity,the biggest threat to them comes from their own disgruntled populations not from iran.If iran did as you suggested it would be no better than the arab puppets ie it would have no independent foreign policy,the arab despots may have money but they can only dream of and envy the credibility and soft power that iran possesses because they have none

  74. imho says:

    Another call for following the Iran Project paper’s conclusion:;_ylt=A2KJ2Ui7M3pRxXwAEUfQtDMD

    And this one to show the practical way: another UNSC resolution nullifying the zero-enrichment requirement of the 1st resolution–politics.html;_ylt=A2KJ2PbPNHpRSTwAL0bQtDMD

    And the stick:
    Obama’s letter to congress with implicit threat of US intervention in Syria.

    Obama asked for Iran’s low profile on rhetoric during US presidential election. Let’s see what he does during Iranian elections.

    Intensifying US/Israel threats and rhetoric from now through June will likely have the effect of empowering hardliners in Iranian politics and they know it well.
    We will then know what the West prefers in Iran, a hardline president or someone willing to make a deal and from that the real US intentions in coming years.

  75. fyi says:

    imho says:
    April 26, 2013 at 4:58 am

    The strategic prize was to re-orient Iran towards the Axis Powers.

    The Economic War and the War in Syria have made that extremely unlikely.

    Evidently, a faction in US has come to the conclusion that the current policy is not useful to US.

    However, it is too late.

    The train for Iran and Syria left more than 2 years ago.

    Axis Powers have harmed themselves and too many other states to now take a different tack.

    Their leaders are not of such calibre to admit error – unlike the late Mr. Khomeini in 1988.

    This confrontation will go on; we are in its middle years, which now has encompassed Euope as well.

  76. BiBiJon says:


    Having watched both

    I have begun to get a sense of the ‘project’, and its scope. It is to pre-prepare a global battlefield to wage and win WWIII. From this perspective, ongoing manufactured tensions, and overt/covert military interventions all make sense in terms of pre-positioning military assets. Soft power, winning narratives, etc. are an anathema to the goal.

    The idea is that the ‘world’ preemptively will surrender and accept American global hegemony. Obviously the ‘world’ must be first convinced that the US is willing to fight WWIII to achieve her aims and then blink.

    How the world will respond is my question for the board.

  77. imho says:

    interesting paper about the future of energy, although mainly scientific and economic-focused. However the author predicts difficult days for oil-producing countries not diversifying their economy.

    What If Oil Lasts Forever?
    New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle—and a nightmare.

  78. jay says:

    The latest wikileaks document release is important reading for anyone interested in Iran-West relations, and more broadly, for understanding the relationship between US, and her lesser partners UK, France, etc.

    I have been through a few handful of cables between the dates 2006-2010. On striking point is the distorted lens through which American analysts view the events in Iran. Perhaps not having been to Iran, having zero understanding of Iran’s political culture, and having obtained their minimal understanding through second hand accounts by the expat community, one cannot expect much better.

    The second interesting revelation is related to NGOs, use of university grants in the UK and the US, and using academics for the purpose of collecting intelligence on Iran. Not surprising of course, but instructive! To get started, take a look at the document with id 08LONDON1163_a.

  79. James Canning says:


    Yes, if Obama decides to blockade Iranian oil exports, the result may be closure of the Straits of Hormuz, at least for some time.

    And yes, it would be Obama’s choice to bring war to the Persian Gulf, but this choice will have been forced on him by Iran, sadly.

    Iran has in effect thrown away hundreds of billions of dollars, due to bad decisions regarding the nuclear programme. You clearly think that throwing away hundreds of billions of dollars somehow makes Iran stronger.

  80. James Canning says:

    Nothing But The Truth,

    Iran’s oil sales would be at least $50 billion higher, per year, without the sanctions. Correct?

  81. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “Iran’s oil sales would be at least $50 billion higher, per year, without the sanctions. Correct?”

    However, development of Iran’s non-oil exports would be far more valuable, Correct James?

  82. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    April 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    “Iran’s oil sales would be at least $50 billion higher, per year, without the sanctions. Correct?”

    Iran appears not to have burnt or otherwise destroyed her hydrocarbon reserves. It will be available for sale in the future. Even in terms of economic opportunity, the current restrictions on oil trade should not be characterized as a ‘loss’; it is a postponement. Iranians are nothing if not patient.

  83. Persian Gulf says:


    Can you post the links for those documents here?

  84. Rd. says:

    take a look at the document with id 08LONDON1163_a.

  85. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm
    Standing up for ones rights often comes at a cost however the costs of not doing so are usually much greater,as for obama one could just as equally say that his actions forced iran to stand up for its rights,the truth of course is that nobody forced obama to do anything he CHOSE to follow this course of action no one put a gun to his head
    James Canning says:
    April 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    Once again this is a result of the actions and choices of the west,they are the ones using sanctions and blackmail,also bibijon is correct that oil will still be there to be sold at a later date

  86. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pushing Al Qaeda to Take on Hezbollah

    Since it is clear that the Syrian insurgents cannot win against Assad’s military, and that Lebanese Sunnis can’t win against Hizballah’s better trained militants, all this does is support the fact that eventually the US, NATO and Israel will have to intervene militarily to achieve these goals. The fact that these ARE the goals can no longer be denied.

  87. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Chorus grows against Obama administration’s sanctions-heavy Iran policy

    ““First and foremost we believe the president needs to make that decision – ‘I want a deal’ – and instruct his people to get a deal,” he said.”

    The problem with that, of course, is that Obama does NOT want a deal. Why does no one ever consider this rather obvious fact?

  88. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Despite Canadian claims, there is zero evidence of Iranian involvement.

    Al-Qaeda and Iran: Enemies with benefits

  89. Richard Steven Hack says:

    White House fuels US debate on Syria

    “weasel-wording” is what Obama DOES…He just doesn’t want to be BLAMED for starting another Mid-East war. But he does want one.

    The Syrian insurgents cannot win against Assad’s military and neither can Lebanese Sunni win against Hizballah. If the US and Israel want these two forces out of action before an Iran war, they have no choice but to resort to military intervention at some point – probably this year.

  90. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on A post-history strip tease

    Well worth reading on where things are going generally.

  91. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm
    You clearly think that appeasing the us somehow makes Iran stronger,it doesn`t,one only has to look at the gulf states to see that although they might be well off economically that is the only positive thing you can say about them,when it comes to having an independent foreign policy or any kind of local and regional credibility they have none.I dont know how many times and in how many ways I can say this james but appeasement does not work,it only encourages the aggressor,history is clear on this,if you want a recent example take a look at Libya,appeasement worked out very well there for the west that is

  92. Fiorangela says:

    Surprised that Dan Joyner at Arms Control Law endorses overthrow of Assad, with some form of US assistance.

    “I’ve thought for some time now that more should be done by the US to support the Syrian opposition forces against the Assad government forces. From supplies of both food and military materiel, to the establishment of no-fly zones enforced by US aircraft, I would support any and all such measures that wouldn’t put US boots on the ground, but would significantly support the opposition in Syria. . . . it seems to me that the opposition, even with its fractures, appears to represent the Syrian people much better than the Assad government ever has. ”

    Commenters at Arms Control Law registered their disagreement with Joyner’s assessment.

  93. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: April 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Bussed-in-e aziz,

    My earlier response to you was not published, so here’s another, edited version.

    Thanks for the detailed response. Whether the quietist school is exaggerated or not is not that important in the sense that different eras have different emphases, and the ‘velayat’ concept (the institution of a ‘Supreme Leader’ in Iran’s constitution) is a relatively recent phenomenon. I don’t personally think it will survive for much longer for the same reason that all revolutionary leaders pass away and the institution (i.e. revolutionary leadership) that they leave behind gets watered down in time, inevitably and necessarily. There is certainly a concerted effort to try and elevate Khamenei to something akin to Khomeini, but this is always going to be challenged strongly. It is very unlikely that the VF as an institution will survive Khamenei.

    I quite see your perspective about religion being both personal and public. But the public side of religion has a certain inherent authoritarianism in that it intrudes into the public sphere of non-religious (or should I say non-Shia?) citizens, and thus becomes automatically sectarian. Enforcement of hejab is one clear example. All women of all faiths and even foreigners are forced to abide by the co-called ‘islamic’ dress code imposed by the state. What exactly is the reason for this? It certainly is not religious. There is nothing in Islamic law that requires women to be forced to cover their bodies so much. In fact, the Muslim Prophet’s (first) wife didn’t wear hejab or cover her hair, as far as I know. There is a general statement that women should be ‘modestly’ dressed. But the same is true of men. How is it then that Iranian men don’t have to cover their hair? Saudi men do. I can understand children of up to the age of 3 or perhaps 4 being told what to wear in the public sphere. But why are grown women treated in such a manner? Is it religious? Or is it plain old patriarchal abuse done in the name of religion?

    I didn’t mean to – or even shouldn’t have – given the impression that religion and government are ‘naturally’ separate. True that the Muslim Prophet meant to build a community and establish a government with all its duties. But that’s in the context of none of these being in place at the time in his particular domicile – other than a few city administrations. But you could have given a better example even: the very first form of government known in human history was in Sumer, and it was built around the first known temples in the cradle of civilisation. Religion can be said to have invented government. So there is nothing special or ‘beautiful’ about Islam in this regard. It’s in fact closer to the oldest and most defunct types of religious ideology in this regard. Priests and Akhounds have been at it from the get go. The surprising thing is that even today we have people like you who fall for their power grabbing machinations with such enthusiasm.

    I agree that ‘Religion can mobilize the poor and edify the rich, it can educate the intellectuals and teach literacy to the illiterate’ etc, but we don’t Need it to. We can do it without religion and an opportunistic clerical class of rulers much better for ourselves, by ouselves. And we can do it free of superstitions, rituals and false gods.

    That I may be guilty of judging others may be true to some extent. But then again, I don’t go around calling them viruses like our esteemed UU with a determination to keep others outside of the political sphere. On the contrary, I’m only arguing for inclusiveness.

    Your definition of religion is sound. As you say: “A program for the perfection of humans and humanity, a program to complete our humanity- as individuals, families, communities, nations, Ummah and as humanity as a whole. This and all the logical consequences that flow from this.”

    But I have to ask: have you ever read the Charter of the UN? Don’t get me wrong. I know how awful the UN has become under Western dictatorship in the world. But have you actually read its Charter? Again, point being that we don’t need any SPECIFIC religion for the achievement of the ‘program’ you describe. So my question to you is: why impose Islamic rule over all Iranians? Or anyone else for that matter? Why not instead go for a general acceptance of all religions on an equal footing like the UN Charter does?

    Your position is that “Religion has to be all-encompassing and holistic or not at all”, but then why This particular religion? Why happens to the rest of humanity? ‘all-encompassing’ on Iranians alone? If so, then you are back to a political programme for Iranians, which makes the religion a nationalist project.

    I agree that Sufism is essentially egoistic, as is all mysticism. But its great advantage is that it doesn’t force itself on me. It’s about live and let live, and as a result, it is loving and lovable and worthy of respect.

    Your point about Aryanism and fights against other muslims is taken. How is different today though? We fight the Taleban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We are on dangerous grounds with several Sunni countries in the Persian Gulf. We are fighting a proxy war with Muslims in Syria.

    And let me assure you, I’ve been to several countries in Africa, and none of them have any religious affinity with Iran. But they have plenty of political affinity. They have religious problems with Iran in fact.

    The racism of the Pahlavis does not make the Islamic political culture any better in my view. IMy discourse on nationalism has nothing to do with the Pahlavi neo-Nazi ideology, please don’t misread me. My nationalism would respect not just Muslims, but also Bahais, Christians, Zoroastrians and Atheists, as well as all the different ethnicities etc. It would be a celebration of diversity within a decentralised form of government. A federal system.

    I agree that secular nationalists failed the region (though Attaturk can be seen as an exception for the Mufti there was a traitor who was dealt with appropriately). I’m not at all trying to excuse their patent failure. In fact, the reason why I don’t take a typical Iranian expat position (one that the Leveretts dismiss beautifully and justifiably in my view) against the Islamic Republic is precisely to do with the damage that these 20th century secular leaders did to the region.

    I think a religious revival is justified in this sense. At the same time, aziz, I am convinced that the theocracies or wanna-be theocracies will fail equally, for many reasons, some of which I’ve delved into already. I think the Iranian Islamic Republic has a right to run its course without foreign intervention, and this I think will serve to put to rest the romantic folly of a theocracy once and for all, and we will emerge from this experiment wiser and stronger, and we will have a truly democratic and secular form of government in the future. In fact, I think Iran will be the harbinger of this form of a new secular regime in the region.

  94. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “all this does is support the fact that eventually the US, NATO and Israel will have to intervene militarily to achieve these goals. The fact that these ARE the goals can no longer be denied.”

    sounds like that goal was demolished too!!!

    ““A warning from Syria: Iran and Hizbollah has foiled a plot from Israel to hit Syria in the last 48 hours. By Dampress.”

    folks might also want to check the video posted above. though most gruesome. This US sponsored disease has no place amongst humanity.

  95. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Tom Engelhardt puts the “Police State” another way: imperial war coming home.
    In his review of Jeremy Scahil’s book – Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield– he writes: “Almost unnoticed, imperial wars also have a way of coming home. Take the reaction to the Boston marathon bombings. The response was certainly the largest, most militarized manhunt in American history. In its own way, it was also an example of the empty battlefield. An 87-square mile metropolitan area was almost totally locked down. At least 9,000 heavily up-armored local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, hundreds of National Guard troops, SWAT teams, armored vehicles, helicopters, and who knows what else hit the streets of greater Boston’s neighborhoods in a search for two dangerous, deluded young men, one of whom ended up bloodied inside a boat in a backyard just outside the zone the police had cordoned off to search in Watertown. It was a spectacle that would have been unimaginable in pre-9/11 America.”

  96. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama: World can’t stand by and permit chemical weapons use

    More rhetoric to boost the goal of military intervention in Syria. As predicted…

  97. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Lebanon dragged in as Hezbollah joins Syria war

  98. Richard Steven Hack says:

    More propaganda by David Sanger at the New York Times…

    Israel Sees U.S. Response to Syria as Gauge on Iran

    They needn’t worry – Obama will attack Syria eventually. And Iran later.

  99. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Cameron says deployment of troops to Syria ‘unlikely’

    Says nothing about air power…

  100. Richard Steven Hack says:


    Israeli assessment: Iran behind downed drone,7340,L-4372826,00.html

  101. Richard Steven Hack says:

    To nudge Iran talks, new UN resolution needed

    Good luck with that…

  102. James Canning says:


    Yes, I do agree with you that Iran would benefit from developing non-oil exports, and for matter, from using the oil to make more valuable products for export.

    That said, the Iranian economy is at least 10% smaller due to the nuclear dispute. Meaning, cost is in hundreds of billions of dollars.

  103. James Canning says:


    I take it your point is that Iran does well to accept a cost of many hundreds of billions of dollars, in continuing the nuclear dispute, because the alternative for Iran is worse.

    This clearly is the position of a number of Iranian leaders.

    On the other hand, Obama obviously (to my mind) wants to avoid war with Iran, and to me it seems unwise to help the Israel lobby force Obama to blockade Iranian oil exports, or even something stronger.

  104. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    You mentioned many points, here’s my take on some of them.

    “It’s always been my purpose here to see how far an atheist Iranian like me might be able to engage with you, and whether we might be able to come to some understanding. One of these being the need for all Iranians of all creeds to be able to live and let live, and to be allowed to be politically active and free. Peacefully and respectfully.

    Do you think this can ever happen under the Islamic Republic?”

    The short answer is no.

    Again, I don’t share your assumptions about what the goal should be. An Islamic system by definition is against atheism and any program that tolerates atheism as a source of social and political policies. You do get that, don’t you?

    You see the problem is not that you as an individual want to be atheist or not. There are many Iranians who are atheist who live in the IR and go about their lives, many of them belonging to the stinking-rich privileged class. Contrary to what you claim, atheists in fact live and work in the Islamic Republic and for the most part have comparatively wealthier (“happier?”) lives than the average Iranian.

    The point is that atheism shouldn’t be the basis for social and political life. You know why? Because that becomes the new religion which is then imposed on all others. Do you get that?

    I know the liberal western brainwashing you have been through says something else, but trust me- nobody can’t escape religion. There is no such thing as “neutral secular pluralism”. That itself becomes the new religion.

    Contrary to what you think, your views are just as much a “religion” as mine.

    In other words Neo-jan, I’m sorry to break the news to you but there is no such thing as a “religion-free” space in human life and interaction because religion is at the level of existence. Every human- even a nihilist- believes in something and acts according to his beliefs and wants to impose it on others. The difference between us and the secular liberals is that we are at least honest about it whereas they are liars.

    Of course you might say, well why Islam or Shiaism in Iran, and of course there are many responses to this- it’s historical, based on the majority beliefs of the population etc.

    But the best answer is that the Islam of Ahlul Bayt is the best religion of all the divine and non-divine “religions” out there- which remember there is no escaping from. What’s my evidence? Historical experience.

    Thank God Iran is Shia Muslim and like I said anything good that we have is because we struggled and sacrificed for dear Islam. Anytime we emphasized the Islam of Ahlul Bayt (Ale Buye, early Safavid, Karim Khan, Islamic Republic) Iran was developed and strong internally and externally. Anytime we de-emphasized the Islam of Ahlul Bayt we became weak and corrupt.

    Of course the nasty answer to as to why Shia Islam for Iran, would be because we hezbollahis offered our lives and those of our children during the struggle against the Shah, during the revolution, during the internal wars and during the war- and then during reconstruction- more so and more sincerely than others- without financial support from various foreign embassies, think tanks and intelligence agencies as other groups in this period of Iranian history.

    In other words we were “halal”, in other words step up to the plate- pardon me “biya tu gowd”- otherwise France or California or Iceland- your true “spiritual” homelands- are good places were you can be an atheist individualist to your hearts content. “Iran” mofti be dast nemiyad, azizam.

    Of course I don’t want to be nasty since you claim to want to “engage”, but I believe you will see there is only so far our “engagement” will go and I would suggest that the problem lies with your “pathological individualism”, not my “fanatic religiosity”. Yes, more than your atheism, your individualism is really the problem for any sort of serious engagement.

    In other words your extreme individualism is in a fundamental conflict with your “Iranian-ness”, something which you seem not to realize or more likely care not to confront. Indeed this form of pathological individualism conflicts with any sort of communal-national identity. As the Iron Lady said: “There is no so such thing as society, only individuals…” right?

    Like I said plenty of atheist living “happy” lives in the IR- some of them are my relatives with whom I have friendly relations- but all of us know that there atheism is limited to their own personal lives- and they have accepted this. Most of them would just rather get a green card or a visa to Canada instead of fight for the kind of Iran you envision- unlike us crazy hezbollahis. You see where this is going, azizam?

    Well, as they say, “sacrificing” for atheism just isn’t as fun and rewarding as sacrificing for God and Imam Hussein (as).

    In general I would advise you not to venture any “sophomoric” thoughts as to why we fought in the war or not. I don’t care about the Japanese or Germans- or the Americans or British for that matter- but what I am certain about is that our fight was “holy” in the fullest sense of the word- and in ways that kafirs are deprived of even imagining. But I guess as an “individualist” you can’t even fathom sacrificing yourself for anything bigger- religious or secular. Your loss, not ours.

    As far as the quietist school, my point is it doesn’t help your case when you use arguments you’re not familiar with. Have the courage of your convictions and stick to your atheist arguments, leave the detail debates about VF, hijab etc. to the ulama. You don’t accept these things to begin with, so why waste your (and my) time?

    As a matter of fact, VF motlaq is the majority view among the ulama from the beginning of ghaybate kubra to until the end of the Safavid era and Imam Khomeini is its reviver- and thus contrary to your claim it is not a “relatively recent phenomenon”. My advice, just move on from this one, it’s a loser for your case.

    Your hijab paragraph rife with factual errors (“How is it then that Iranian men don’t have to cover their hair? Saudi men do.”) …not gonna touch that. The short answer is that how one dresses in public is not an issue of “personal choice” – not even in the west. Public clothing is a matter of laws and in Iran the law is based on sharia. Are there problems in its enforcement- unclear standards, random enforcement, etc. yes of course, but the basic issue is this. I have posted here and publicly stated in Iran that Majlis when passing to hijab laws at the beginning of the revolution failed to specify its outward manifestations (yes plural) which has led to the current less-than-satisfactory situation. In other words if the law would actually specify what the outside examples of hijab are- for men and women- than everyone would know what the framework is. But you don’t believe in it to begin with so why bother “engaging” on this matter?

    I’m happy that you agree with my definition of religion (of course you don’t have the stomach to accept all its logical consequences), the short answer is of course that you cannot do better by “ourselves”. As much as our intellect is capable, it is limited and needs guidance given by God through the prophets to manage our lives on earth.

    As far as the “Charter of the UN”, you wrote “Why not instead go for a general acceptance of all religions on an equal footing like the UN Charter does?” Well what a stupid thing to do when you don’t believe all religions are equal? Right? I mean really, here you’re asking me to go against the rules of logic…(cue: false outrage).

    Again it’s your judgement that Islamic political culture is not better than Pahlavi aryan racism. Of course it’s better, come on don’t be so lame. I mean I hate the Great Satan but in a competition with Russian Stalinism or German Nazism, the Great Satan wins hands down. Right?

    Whatever problems Islamic political culture has, it’s clearly better than the crap that preceded it. I mean we got real problem if you fail to see this (for example see Don Bacon post about the local city and town council elections).

    As far as our global exploits, in the end if we look at it as “realists”, doesn’t matter why our friends and allies support us as long as we are able to confront our “strategic enemies” (hey, the US started it, don’t blame us). I mean what kind of “guardians of Iran” would we be if we didn’t have the option of confronting the US in its own backyard if it decides to attack us? Just standard international relations, right? What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander, right?

    In terms things running there course, well none of us know what the future holds. If those of us who have dedicated their lives to Islamic Iran fail to do our duty as commanded by God through the Ahlul Bayt, the whole thing will end tomorrow. Otherwise it’s ours until the zuhur.

    Soros predicted the fall in a year- two or three years ago. Our friend fyi predicted the fall after 77 years (in other words another 33 years). Go ahead, give us some hard figures as to how long you think it will last- 2, 5, 10 years?

    Surely not more than that…right?

  105. jay says:

    There is little support for repeating the naive claim that Obama, Cameron, US, UK, etc. want to avoid war with Iran.

    The correct statement perhaps is that they want to balance the costs and benefits of war with Iran – because, these countries are already at war with Iran.

  106. James Canning says:


    Obama does not want a shooting war with Iran. Other measures in his view aid the object of avoiding a shooting war. Cameron concurs.

  107. kooshy says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    April 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    BiB Jaan

    It’s good to remind our Iranian friends on this board, that fro Iranians culturally and linguistically atheism, “godless” (Khoda Nashnas) is a curse, and often is used to define someone who is not fair, and just. Therefore it can’t be that many Iranians believe in being godless, if they did it wouldn’t have been used to curse someone, I don’t believe that there are many in Iran that they don’t even believe in god, true, there are well to do Iranians in North Tehran that they don’t like the present system, but still they are very very religious.

  108. kooshy says:

    This thing about the Kurdish region of Iraq+ declaring an independence is so stupid and a lot of BS, imagine the Kurds size the oil fields of NI and declare independence, would any of their neighboring counties of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq recognize the new independent Kurish state the answer is a big no, would they be allowed any land or air access if they are not recognized again the answer is no. sometimes one can’t understand how stupid some of the Kurd politicians are.

  109. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    The problem with appeasement james is that once you start down that path there is no turning back,you may start out with small concessions but your enemy will not stop there having had success with his threats and blackmail he will demand more and more concessions,you seem to think that by making these concessions you are reducing the risk to iran,you are not you are greatly increasing it.If obama wants to avoid war there is a lot that he can do,since it would not be iran starting the conflict the onus is on the us to reduce the tensions,stopping the threats of war would be a very good start.If you want a lesson on the dangers of appeasement just look at the run up to the second world war that is the best example I can think of,it does not matter if it is hitler or obama the lesson is the same concessions without reciprocity equals appeasement

  110. Richard Steven Hack says:

    I won’t be posting at armscontrollaw any further since Dan Joyner has joined Juan Cole in the ranks of the “humanitarian interventionists”.

    Here is my final post there:

    Well, I’d say it’s pretty clear that I fall into your category of “crazy conspiracy theorist”.

    To that, I can only say: Look at Iraq. If you don’t see what was done there, you can’t see it anywhere. And apparently you don’t.

    You also don’t appear to care about the humanitarian CONSEQUENCES of the US supporting internal civil wars regardless of the reasons they have developed as they have. Without the deliberate support of the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the beginning, Syria would not be the humanitarian problem it is today. So you decide it’s now correct to go “all in” and end up with another million dead a la Iraq.

    Apparently you suffer from the same degree of “cognitive dissonance” most people do when confronted with the fact that their government is essentially corrupt and no longer even remotely controllable by them as the electorate.

    I guess there’s no point in my posting here any further given this degree of disconnect from the real world. I’ll be back when the US has intervened militarily in Syria and Israel is Lebanon – and also when the US has finally gotten around to attacking Iran. In other words, once it’s clear that I’ve been right all along.

  111. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: April 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Bussed-in jan, I truly appreciate your honesty, and taking the trouble to write back in some detail.

    The world is a big and confusing place, and humanity has many religions and gods to choose from. In the main, however, geography rather than intellect limits that choice. In Iran, it is Shia Islam that rules the waves, but this is quite irrelevant beyond Iran’s borders at least in 99% of other countries, and therefore among 99% of the world’s population. Does this not make you wonder about the ‘cosmic’ value of the system and ideology you so dearly hold to heart? You can say the same thing about Atheism, but the chances of Hindus or Buddhists turning Atheist (or secular) are far higher than them becoming Muslims; and Shia ones at that.

    And I agree all ideology is a form of religion. But doesn’t this actually lower the claim of any religion as a ‘holy’ ideology? Is it not the human mind that invents all religions and ideologies? Human Constructs to impose order and limitations (where are you UU?) I see all of it as a function of what we may call ‘morality’. The need to invent rules and laws in order to survive, which takes us back to the selfish gene idea, rather than a godly project.

    And your dismissal of ‘individualism’ is a little too simplistic. In fact I’m a socialist. Socialist countries take care of communities and the ‘umma’ better than religiously organised ones. Better free and education services, better respect for all in public spaces etc, a fairer taxation system, and a far greater chance for the community to agree on who should lead them, and therefore a greater sense of unity and community. Countries that have religious systems of governance by definition cannot be unified, and this is an ailment that Israel, Iran and Pakistan have in common – just to name a few. Such countries appeal to the herd instinct of a majority rather than the humanist sensibilities of all their citizens.

    I did give you a specific forecast on when the Velayateh Faqih concept would be likely to die: with Khamenei. A bit like how Castro’s system will go when he does. This is a natural phenomenon. But beyond that, who knows when the Islamic Republic might go. It may stay if it learns to be more of a Republic rather than Islamic in character. This is where Ahmadinejad is cleverer than Khamenei.

  112. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm
    I think the term you are looking for james is “cold war”,that is the state that exists between iran and the axis powers and their vassals,as usual you try and put a positive
    “spin” on it ie they`re trying to avoid a shooting war,the other side to that coin is that they are doing everything possible just short of a shooting war

  113. nico says:


    As per west propaganda the current financial and oil tentative blockade applied to Iran are called “sanctions” even “unilateral sanction”.
    I find it quite disturbing that Iranian official and Iranian Press are using the term sanctions for the US and EU economic bockade. When Iran is denied medecine and food against money owed by shell with Hague “I am a friend of iran and am looking for better ties” block tte deal, nobody can call it sanctions.
    Well maybe, such words as sanctions could be used by warmonger leftist, you know like the Israel zionist leftist.

    The term sanction implies that this is based on and justified by wrong doing from Iran.
    Well, that is true according to the western narrative but, not by the other world country and community standard.
    Sanction term could be used (abusively) for UN Sanctions, but it is unjustifiable for the western unilateral sanctions.

    Propaganda war begin first with semantic used and the implied meaning of words.
    By using an adapted lexical field, we beginning to understand the real world, not the one pushed in our mind by big the fascist big brother.

    There is no unilateral sanctions, there is economic war and blockade. They are the right terms to be used systematicallly. And it truly shows the fascist nature of western policy on Iran.

  114. nico says:

    Mister Canning,

    Your whole argument is based on might makes right.
    All your comments here suggest that Iran should accept that and bow to western pressure.
    Well that is your opinion.

    Other opinion here, is that the west is following fascist policies which you actively support and encourage.
    There is no moral justification for the west agression, and the reasons invoked are only invented.

    It seems it is justified according to you and have your full approval.

    Well your words are sugar coated, however your position is as criminal as the worst neocons in the making of US policies with the Irak blockade.

  115. jay says:

    James Canning says:
    April 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Please give yourself a bit more credit – you can think deeper!

    Iranian scientists have already died, Iranian military personnel have died, ordinary Iranians have died and are dying as a result of this “non-shooting” war. War is another word for an act of agression – to sooth oneself with drawing distinctions without a difference is rather ….

    Let’s be honest here – US/UK want a war in which they don’t loose their lives and material wealth. A war on the cheap – other’s lives are not in the equation. Wether or not I like this factual state of affairs is not relevant as what the state of affairs are.

  116. nico says:

    jay says:
    April 28, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Well said.
    And If you allow,I would add that it is not because the west agression is foreseeable or unavoidable,that they morally or factually justified.

    The problem with Mister Canning assertions is that they are replet of sophism.
    Under the guise of reasonable statements and sugar coating the implied policies and their morality are of the worset kind.

  117. nico says:

    “A senior official of Iran Army says the country will unveil an indigenous Bavar-373 missile defense system, which is similar to the Russian S-300, during the next Iranian calendar year which begins March 21, 2014.”

    It seems the window of opportunity for western threat of bombing Iran nuclear sites is coming to an end.
    Not that they could to it right now, as it would trigger WWIII.
    However, even the propaganda about such possibility would cease.

  118. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Neo says:
    April 28, 2013 at 4:27 am

    “”I did give you a specific forecast on when the Velayateh Faqih concept would be likely to die: with Khamenei””

    Wrong beyond imagination !

  119. Nothing but the Truth says:

    nico says:
    April 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

    “When Iran is denied medecine and food against money owed by shell with Hague “I am a friend of iran and am looking for better ties”

    I don’t like James Canning posting here and I dislike Mr. Hague as well , as I dislike All British politicians and the Illuminati in the ‘City’.
    David Icke speaks about ‘reptilian humanoids’ , I do not lean towards consipiracies of this type , but always when I see that mug of William Hague , I am tempted to change my mind.

  120. James Canning says:


    David Cameron and William Hague came into office several years ago, with a programme including improving UK relations with Iran, and Syria. If possible.

    Do you agree the cost to Iran of its nuclear dispute is at least $3 billion per week?

    If you draw no distinction between a shooting war, and the current situation, clarity of discussion is impeded.

  121. James Canning says:


    If the cost to Iran’s economy, of the nuclear dispute, is $3 billion per week, would you be happier if I argued there was no cost whatever to Iran?

    I support normal US relations with Iran. And you think this is the position of a warmonger?

  122. James Canning says:


    Do you think the rulers of Burma (Myanmar) blundered wwhen they agreed to institute certain reforms, and in turn the sanctions are being removed?

    Did Myanmar’s rulers “appease” the US, in your view?

  123. James Canning says:


    Do I understand your argument to be that Iran should stockpile 20 percent uranium, to pressure the P5+1 into offering a better deal to Iran, as an ititial step in an attempt to resolve the nuclear dispute?

  124. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    They said the same thing about the end VF and Imam Khomeini (ra) and it didn’t happen when he passed away. Won’t happen when SL passes away.

    For an Iranian, you seriously underestimate akhunds.

    Like I said, if we act on the guidance of Islam it’s ours until the zuhur, which- ironically- we pray for to be soon (this also answers your “republican” versus “Islam” fallacy.)

    The Islamic revolution and the Islamic Republic is in fact an excellent case study for the bankruptcy of socialist movements in Islamic/religious societies. The lefties were/are a tiny elite phenomenon in Iran. The lack of popular support among your compatriots doesn’t seem to diminsh your view that socialism is right, so why would think that about Shiaism and the relatively small amount of followers globally?

    Either something is true or not, regardless if the majority agree or not.

    The Prophet (sawas) said: “Ali ma’ al-haq wal-haq ma’Ali”.

    The Prophet (sawas) also said to Ali (as): “By God, nobody loves you unless they are ibn halal and nobody resents you unless they are ibn zinna”.

    Gandhi: I believe in the truth, even if it is the truth of one.

    The workers and peasants were with Imam Khomeini and the ulama- not with the lefties- and they were liberated from their feudal lords because of the Islamic revolution and the Islamic republic. Socialism didn’t do jack for them.

    I wrote about the man who was a literally an indentured serf in Kerman before the revolution and is now chairman of his local village council and member of the local farm cooperative- which was established using the lands and properties confiscated from his feudal lord- based on the velayi command of Imam Khomeini (ra) at the beginning of the revolution. He’s never heard of Marx (Karl and Groucho), loves God, the Ahlul Bayt, Imam and Agha.

    The former feudal lord and khandan apparently live in Virginia now.

    I could tell you about the town in Gilan which was the property of the Shah’s brother- who literally came one day, went on top of the highest mountain there and with a wave of the hand declared all he could see to be his property. After the war and when the soldiers returned, the property was divided among the local families- by command of the SL.

    Not mention the basic infrastructure built over the years…

    The Islamic republic has provided all the services that socialists wanted- free education, health care, building basic infrastructure, opening the social space for women, everything they said and more so- and all of it while respecting the basic beliefs and culture of the population. Pretty damn good if you ask me.

    I had relative who was Tudehi and left in 1983, came back in the late 1990s. Took him to south Tehran to were the old garbage mountain was on which thousands of people lived in shantytowns- built ON the garbage mountains. No more garbage mountain, it was now rebuilt mixed commercial-residential with parks, schools, children in school uniforms, clinic, shops, just a normal neighborhood. We were both quietly crying and thinking about all the things that had happened through the years. He didn’t say anything and he didn’t have to because we were both just happy to be there at that moment.

    Think about why atheist socialism fails wherever it is implemented- forget about this theoretical crap with which your head is filled- you wanna help your fellow Iranian? Just do it and be thankful that you are allowed to serve!

  125. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy says: April 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Insightful comment.

    In the USA, of course, the question is asked, “Do you believe in god?” The only appropriate answer I can think of is, “Which god?” In Ancient Rome, that would not have been broad enough; you’d have to inquire, “Whose godS?”

    From an experience in selling a house that had cracks in the foundation, I’m keenly aware of foundations. The religious stories — I call them mythos — of various cultures are the foundations of those cultures. Understanding them, and passing them on to the children to incorporate the young in a given culture, is critically important for the survival of a community.

    The Abrahamic mythos is NOT — repeat NOT the only mythos in this complex world.

    Last week I had the privilege to see the Cyrus Cylinder at the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC. The exhibit included two rooms of Persian artifacts under the title, “The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning.” On the Cylinder, Cyrus records that he was inspired by the god Marduk the Great God to rule his empire —

    ” Marduk the great god, induced the magnanimous inhabitants of Babylon to love me, and I sought daily to worship him when my numerous soldiers in great numbers peacefully entered Babylon and moved about undisturbed in the midst of the Babylon, I did not allow anyone to terrorize the people of the lands of Sumer and Akad and …… I kept in view, the needs of the people and all their sanctuaries to promote their well being. I strove for peace in Babylon and in all his other sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon who against the will of the gods were enslaved, I abolished the corvee which was against their social standing, I freed all slaves. I brought relief to their dilapidated housing, putting thus an end to their misfortunes and slavery Marduk, the great lord, was well pleased with my deeds, rejoiced and to me, Cyrus, the king who worshipped him, and to Cambysis, my son, the offspring of my loins, and to all my troops he graciously gave his blessing, and in good spirit, before him we stood peacefully and praised him joyously. . . .”

    Nicolo Machiavelli drew upon his knowledge of Moses, CYRUS, Romulus, and Theseus in formulating the ideas he introduced to the western intellectual tradition in “The Prince.” For an understanding of “The Prince” that is deeper than the (erroneous) notion that “the end justifies the means,” spend ninety minutes with Edward Muir and Michael Ignatieff here.
    I discovered that Machiavelli and Cyrus have a lot in common.

  126. jay says:

    James Canning says:
    April 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm


    in your country Blair came to power after he promised future leadership to Brown – a promise he not only reneged on, but also topped by stabbing Brown in the back. So, in your country, politicians say lots of things that have no relation to what they really want to do. Of course, to be fair, your country’s politicians do not have a monopoly on selling untruths. What Cameron, etc. said is irrelevant it is what they actually do.

    With regards to your repeated mantra of Iran loosing billions of dollars – what is your point? Let’s say that it is true. The US spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on forward military bases and force projection – so does UK to a smaller scale. They can certainly save that money and feed their poor – what don’t they. Both countries spend billions on various energy and military projects that never produce anything – why don’t they stop and feed the hungry? Every country in the world spends money that other countries, groups, individuals, think it is wasted. In the case of Iran, it is for Iran’s energy future – to perserve its hydrocarbon base for better purposes. It is really elementary economics. The fact that the west does not like Iran’s future thinking is – well, too bad! But surely you can do better than this mantra!

    On claim of loss of clarity, the legal basis of act of aggression in the normative sense is very clear. For example, in article 3 or UN resolution you read:

    (g) The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.

    If you don’t appreciate the connection, what it says is that when you send people to sabotage centrifuges and kill scientists that is an act of aggression.

    My first reaction is always to see the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt. My thought is that you are simply a nice, but extremely naive, country gentlemen. That is fine! But, as a British gentlemen you should also practice rigor in your statements.

  127. James Canning says:

    Nothing but the Truth,

    Curious moniker, perjaps?

    William Hague did want to improve Britain’s relations with Iran. Full stop. Iran helped wreck his plans. Full stop.

  128. James Canning says:


    Is it fair to say you have some difficulty grasping the fact Russia and China want Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent?

    You appear to be arguing, in effect, that only Germany, the US, France and the UK favor this position.

  129. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    April 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Once again your position is full of .lie and and
    But you know, I have no problem with UK position.
    The French for centuries used to call UK the perfidious albion.

  130. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    April 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Who care what the P5+1think ? Or should I say the western powers ?
    It does not suffice for them to say something for that to be recognized as truth or justice and accepted.

    Why do they say nothing about the 100b pounds of the UK trident system ?
    What is more dangerous, Iran 20% or their own nukes?

    Well their opinion and position is worthless when it comes to Iran as it is based upon lies and falsehood.
    Such position is merely based on power.
    It does not work with Iran.

    Concerning UK position, are you joking ?
    I mean Hague is after better ties with Iran but he coukd not because of the 20% BS story ?
    While UK have no problem with Israel, Pak or India ?

    The problem with your position, is that you mix legality, justice and raw power principles in sophistic ways.

    At the end of the day you support raw power and legality manoeuvering against principles of justice, equity and humanism.
    That is the ways and policies of US and UK.
    It reminds me of Iran revolutionary naming such countries as the great and small satans…

  131. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm
    No,because in that case there was reciprocity ie a deal,you are arguing that iran should unilaterally halt 20% enrichment and then hope that the us will reciprocate in some way,doing this without a prior deal would be taking a very dangerous gamble that could easily be misconstrued that sanctions are working and that iran is crying “we surrender”.You seem to think that if iran stopped enriching to 20% then the west would no longer have a problem with irans nuclear program,yet the west has never said it recognizes irans right to the fuel cycle in fact they have done just the opposite.We have had this discussion before,nothing that has happened since then has led me to change my views quite the opposite in fact,sadly it seems that you are still a committed appeaser and think that that is the way forward for iran when in fact it would be a great leap backwards

  132. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    The only ones doing the pressuring here james is the west,that should be abundantly clear even to you,iran is simply exercising its rights tho` if in the process the west feels under pressure all well and good,but they only have themselves to blame for that.Personally I think that it is irans slow and inexorable drive towards a japan option that is/will pressure the west,or rather it will put increasing pressure on the western backed status quo and it is simply one of the many things doing this.If iran really wanted to pressure the west it would have begun enriching to 50%,70%,90%,of course if the west continues to act stupidly this is still an option

  133. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm
    The problem here james is what is the definition of “normal relations”,for the west it is iran agreeing to turning the clock back to when it was just another vassal state of the west,that is what the west wants a pro western/israel iran that supports the tottering status quo,one who puts the interests of the west and its hegemony before the interests of iran and its people.I think that is crystal clear to most people here

  134. imho says:

    I don’t know if you did see this Cordesman study. Here it is anyway, it seems to acknowledge Israel having thermonuclear bombs and says clearly that Israel presents an existential threat to Iran rather than the other way around.
    It also says whether non-nuclear first strike by US/Israel or not, there will be a containment strategy that may take a form of a NATO-like umbrella for Gulf states

    I did just read the executive summary of this 256-page study but there are interesting figures in the end

    “Iran has made enough
    progress towards a nuclear weapons capability so that there is a very real prospect that Iran will
    acquire nuclear weapons and arm its missiles a
    nd aircraft with such weapons.
    The US and its allies are pressing hard to end this threat though negotiations. It is also possible
    that such a threat could be deterred or contained by military means. The practical problem,
    however, is that a nuclear armed
    Iran would have far more negotiating leverage over its
    neighbors, and had a far more powerful deterrent to any US or allied escalation in response to
    Iran‘s use of its forces for asymmetric warfare. ”

  135. Smith says:

    British empire trying to make a come back with a vengeance against Iranians:

  136. abdol says:

    An important quote from the speech of the SL today in the Islamic Awakening con. in tehran :
    “”In more than a century of following
    the culture and politics of the
    arrogant powers, Muslim countries
    suffered from deadly calamities such
    as political dependence and
    humiliation, economic plights and
    poverty, decline of moral virtues and
    ethics and shameful scientific
    backwardness, and this was while the
    Islamic Ummah enjoyed a glorious
    history in all of these areas.
    This statement must not be
    interpreted as hostility towards the
    West. We are not hostile towards any
    group of human beings because of
    geographical differences. We have
    learnt lessons from Ali (greetings be
    upon him) who describes human
    beings in this way: “Those who have
    the same religion as you, they are
    brothers to you, and those who have
    religions other than that of yours, they
    are human beings like you.” Our
    complaint against oppression and
    arrogance and against bullying and
    transgression is the moral and
    practical degeneration that has been
    imposed on our nations by the
    colonial and arrogant powers.””

  137. imho says:

    While Shias lived peacefully with Sunnis in Egypt, it appears the Brothers are reminded by their masters why they have been put in power

  138. Karl.. says:


    “William Hague did want to improve Britain’s relations with Iran. Full stop. Iran helped wreck his plans. Full stop.”

    Nonsense and lies. You have been refuted countless of times, my comment below I added almost 1 year ago demolish your argument about “UK seeking better relations”.

  139. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    SL’s speech at Islamic Awakening and Ulama conference

  140. fyi says:

    imho says:
    April 29, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Dr. Cordesman is wrong about thermonuclear weapons in Israel’s hands; where are the heavy water, lithium isotope production etc.?

    And who gave them the designs and how do they know it works without testing?


  141. fyi says:

    Sineva says:
    April 29, 2013 at 3:15 am


    nico says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Mr. Canning is not saying anything very controversial.

    He is looking at Iranians and thinks that they will be better off surrendering to the diktatts of the P5+1 or Axis Powers.

    That is a respectable position but it is also irrelevant.

    UK, USSR, France and others could have also sued for armistice with Germnay in 1942, but they chose to continue to fight.

    Iranians have chosen to continue to fight since they have estimated that the continued existence of their state is predicated on the ability to build nuclear weapons.

    I agree with the assessment of the Iranian leaders while Mr. Canning does not.

    I do not think that it is worth discussing this issue any further; there is a war going on in Syria to harm Iran and then there is an economic war waged by US, EU, and other like-minded states against Iran.

    I think it would be more interesting to discuss the situation in 2018 – when the trade, commercial, tourist links between EU and Iran will have been eliminated and when Iranians will have broken out of the sanctions regime.

  142. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    April 29, 2013 at 9:52 am
    I think you are right

  143. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    April 29, 2013 at 9:22 am
    I agree,its mostly crap,the usual underestimation of iranian capabilities,frankly its little better than some of the fanboy “wank” over how iran just couldn`t have shot down/captured that drone,one wonders whos consumption this was intended for

  144. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Former Mossad chief defends decision to defy Netanyahu on Iran

  145. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syrian rebels attack military airports across country, opposition says

    Which of course is precisely the US and NATO and Israel are hoping for, since it will make foreign military intervention that much easier. It may well be why they haven’t attacked yet – they are waiting for the insurgents to degrade the Syrian antiaircraft defenses further.

  146. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Lawmakers Call for Stronger U.S. Action in Syria

    Claire McCaskill Refuses To Rule Out Deploying U.S. Troops To Syria

    Of course there will be no ground troops in Syria, but these calls enable Obama to “lead from behind” and avoid blame that HE started the war.

  147. imho says:

    fyi says:
    April 29, 2013 at 9:22 am

    it wasn’t the thermonuclear part but the containment that interested me more although I followed your discussion with Smith about it.

    I understand that they are much more powerful and complex to build but what kind of difference it makes with fission-type bombs in the strategic calculus ?

    Is that not deterrent enough ?

  148. nico says:

    fyi says:
    April 29, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I fully grasp that the case is hopeless.
    The important point is to debunk the lies and falsehood.
    It is clear that Mister Canning fully understand the moral value of his claims.
    However, all the intellectual construct is the same as the official western policy: it is aimed at deception, manipulation of truth and the perception of reality.

    The problem is that the west is after dominance however they hide behind their rotten virtuous curtain.
    I mean, that could be a respectable position, however that should be openly stated.

    The west is after dominance however they use nice words as if they are feeling threatened and they should defend themselves.
    Such posture could be deemed intelligent and smart by some people.

    You can defend realpolitik, however at some point morality and principles exist.
    The point is that such liar have no moral principal.
    At some poibt it could be rightly called satanic.

    However my opinion is that it s treacherous and hide fascist policies.

    That should debunked and stated as such with strong words.

  149. James Canning says:


    Iran clearly has the ability to build nuclear weapons.

    The issue is whether Iran will go too far, in stockpiling 20% uranium etc etc etc, and end up with more serious difficulties.

    Iran is highly unlikely to be attacked by conventional armies massed by a neighboring power. If Sunni terrorists perpetrate an outrage, would Iran nuke some Muslim city in hopes of retaliating?

  150. James Canning says:


    In effect you argue that China and Russia are pressing the government of Iran to surrender Iran’s independence, to Germany, France, the UK and the US. Why would they try to do such a thing?

  151. James Canning says:


    Iran’s leaders do not see Israel as posing an “existential threat” to Iran. For good rasons. Israel is not about to attack Iran with nukes. Would literally be insane.

  152. James Canning says:


    You do not know people who know William Hague. I, however, so know such people. And you are DEAD WRONG to claim Hague did not wish to seek an improvement in UK relations with Iran, when the Conservatives came into power (in coalition).

  153. James Canning says:


    Maybe we should put the matter a different way. Did William Hague want better British relations with Iran, if Iran continued to stockpile 20% uranium? Answer clearly is no.

  154. James Canning says:

    Jundallah and Israel’s False Flag Operation in Iran”, by Daniel Larison (Jan. 13, 2012):

  155. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Today Sheikh Nassrollah arrived in Tehran :

    “Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah is in Tehran as a special guest of the World Summit of ‘Ulama and Islamic awakening’ which is started today morning in Tehran….

  156. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Again that is warped and devious intelectual demonstration.

    Israel, Pak and India have nuclear weapon.
    Other countries like brazil or Japan are nuclear capable.
    The permanent UNSC have nuclear weapins, keep upgrafing them and some heve used them in the past.

    There is no moral ground to single out Iran.

    On top of that, as far as legality is involved, the unilateral western financial are sheer act of agression which could not be justified and are sanctionable as per UN charter and nuremberg rules.

    Justification of Act of agression based on your opponent intent and not deed is lotally legally worthless.

    Iran requested 20%. That was denied by the US.

    There is no ground for current western financial and oil blockade other than sheer fascist policies.
    Iran is fully entilted to pursue her current path.

  157. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Hague and UK foreign policy apparatus crossed (again) the read line by blocking the clearing of Shell debt to Iran with medecine and food.
    That is based on unilateral blockade which is legally ungrounded and moraly unjustifiable.
    That is fascist policy and clear act of agression.

  158. Karl.. says:


    As my link showed you either are unaware of brittish policies or being in denial, it seems like the latter, since you refuse to admit to the facts on the ground (as my links show).

    You have had plenty of years (yes years) to show proof for your assessment but the only response we have got is pretty much ‘i know people, you dont so shut it’.

  159. Dan Cooper says:

    Is there any way of escaping the theater of chemical weapons? First, Israeli “military intelligence” says that Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used/have probably used/might have used/could use chemical weapons. Then Chuck Hagel, the US Defense Secretary, pops up in Israel to promise even more firepower for Israel’s over-armed military – avoiding any mention of Israel’s more than 200 nuclear warheads – and then imbibing all the Israeli “intelligence” on Syria’s use/probable use/possible use of chemical weapons.

    Syria and Sarin Gas: US Claims Have a Very Familiar Ring

    By Robert Fisk

  160. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Ask them.

  161. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm
    As far as the west is concerned james iran has already gone to far,its thrown off the yoke of western friendship,it seeks to destroy western hegemony in the middle east and now it is well on its way to developing a japan option,all of these are unforgivable in the eyes of the west
    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm
    And yet its funny that iran with no nukes is considered a potential “existential threat” to israel
    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    In other words he only wanted good relations with an iran that was subservient to the wests interests,iran as just another corrupt “arab dictatorship” like the other vassals
    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm
    Its pretty clear that china and russia at best pay lip service to the wests demands but will not do anything else,china especially needs an independent iran for its energy demands and will not do anything to threaten that

  162. kooshy says:

    “The Strategic depth of Islamic Republic of Iran”

    Very interesting, important analysis on effect of Iran’s revolution and implemented polices (strategic depth) on recent regional ME events
    By Dr. Amir Abdolahian , Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab- N. African affairs
    Sorry it’s written in Persian

    نكته درباره عمق استراتژیك ایران۵

    |گفتاری از دكتر حسین امیرعبداللهیان، معاون عربی و آفریقای وزارت امور خارجه درباره‌ی موضوع «عمق استراتژیك جمهوری اسلامی ایران»|

  163. kooshy says:

    Smith says:

    April 29, 2013 at 5:58 am
    “British Empire trying to make a comeback with a vengeance against Iranians:”

    I wouldn’t worry at all, this bankrupt country, UK can’t afford to pay and feed her troops in her own country never less to maintain a permanent base in the Persian Gulf, it’s just a we are still strong pose.

    An old Yazdi proverb fits present UK military, and their plated BBC propaganda well here it is “it’s not a good idea to jump the fire (Atish-bazi) with a torn rectum”

  164. Fiorangela says:

    Ambassador/Professor Richard Butler was one of the speakers at the Symposium that Flynt and Hillary Leverett hosted at Penn State last February.

    Compare his prepared commentary to statements made by Thomas Moore as well as Professor Marandi in the Crosstalk segment that Liz linked earlier:

    Liz says: April 29, 2013 at 5:18 am
    A very good debate on RT:

    video of Butler’s remarks HERE — (between 31 min and 57 min)

    QUOTE: “My congratulations to the Journal for deciding to convene this meeting. It’s on an important subject, it comes at the right time and with the possible exception of myself you’ve certainly got a good deal of the right people here.

    Dan Joyner has just given you a very good insight into the complexity that takes place daily at the International Automatic Energy Agency in Vienna and in other parts of the diplomatic system ranged around both the IAEA and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Just think about what he was telling you, the detail of the negotiation under the documents, the safeguards agreements, the implementation and of course the physical measurement of materials as declared, and were they all of the materials that existed; was the declaration complete and so on. It’s an immensely complex task and it is carried out out of sight of general publics daily and with great diligence and I think with a great degree of accuracy.

    It has of course a wider political purpose and that is what I will address. But I hope you were listening carefully to what Dan outlined to you because it is happening, it is important, it’s crucial, in fact. And [turns to Dan] you have my admiration Dan, to think that you’ve actually written books about that stuff. I mean I used to do it for a living and it could drive you crazy. But it is important and he has described it briefly but very clearly.

    But it has a political purpose. And I’m grateful to Flynt this morning for outlining [what] I think is the absolutely correct context in which we should judge that political purpose, and that’s the context of global governance and its future and the role, if any, that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty might play in that future.

    I was going to begin by describing the key elements of the treaty but I don’t need to do that because Flynt described that this morning – the Tripod, the Three Legs:
    -Nuclear disarmament, and the
    -Right to Nuclear Science and technology.
    This Treaty does rest firmly on those three legs.

    But I do want to make two political points about the treaty and those constituent parts of it. First of all, the negotiating history. Perhaps I’m merely reflecting on my time as a professional diplomat, but I know deeply and those of you who have worked in this field will agree that it is crucial to remember the negotiating history of a given treaty or document. How did this one come into existence? How is this misshapen beast –in another place I’ve described the NPT as a camel, a horse designed by a committee – it’s a quite misshapen object. It starts with discrimination between states that are have and have nots in terms of nuclear weapons. It’s a very odd document of eleven paragraphs. But it had a particular negotiating history. And it is crucial that we remember that.

    This is my first point: At the CORE of that negotiating history was what Daniel has just called a Grand Bargain. And people, states, remember that. A Grand Bargain was done. And every step that is subsequently taken AWAY from that Bargain to attempt to suggest that, No, it wasn’t quite like that, it was something else, is a step that leads to disaster. Remember, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty has three parts that was the deal then and for the overwhelming number of states in the world today, that should remain the deal today, because that’s how it was done.

    And that brings me to my second political point about this treaty. Almost from the beginning – not quite the beginning because it had a few good years before this kicked in – but for a good number of years into its life now, it came into force in 1970, so what’s that now, 40 odd years of life, it has been increasingly misrepresented and misdescribed. And I beg you when you watch this subject unfold into the future, do not forget that: it is repeatedly misrepresented and misdescribed, principally by the nuclear weapons states. I have sat in countless conferences with them where they have attempted to tell the world that the nuclear nonproliferation treaty DIDN’T have that origin; it isn’t about three things; it’s about one thing: it’s about preventing others from getting the bomb. Over and over again there has been this attempt by the nuclear weapons states to misdescribe and reinterpret the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons to their own advantage.

    I could give you so many examples of this, but the one that sticks in my memory, in recent times, and highly relevant to the Iran issue, was when the then-president of the united states, and I heard him say this in public, George W Bush, told the world that the reason why Iran may not have nuclear weapons, must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, and now I quote, he said, “It’s because of the kind of people they are.” UN.BELIEVABLE. I won’t dignify those remarks by commenting on its obvious racist aspect, but just point out this: that that is not what the treaty says. The treaty is NOT about preventing particular people from having nuclear weapons, the treaty is about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons as well as its other two objectives.

    And I have to tell you this story, too. I am reminded, in the same context, of a call that I made on the head of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, before the previous administration abolished it. It had a head, a man named Kenneth adelman, a man who, through curious circumstances, he and I became friends ultimately, although we started out on very different sides of the political spectrum but after, a short time after I had been appointed as australia’s first ambassador for disarmament, I made a call on ken adelman at his office at the Arms Control and Disarmament agency, sitting at the desk that his illustrious predecessor, Nitze, had sat at while he ran that agency, and talked to him about what we hoped to achieve in arms control in the world and his responsibilities, and I mentioned nuclear treaty and safeguards inspections under it. Now I’m not making this up – you couldn’t make it up. I mentioned safeguards inspections under it, including those that were to take place in the united states. And he said, Richard, stop there; what did you just say? I said, well, inspections, of your peaceful facilities, not your military facilities. And he said to me, — he’s head of the agency. He said, “You’re telling me that we have to accept inspections on our facilities?” and I said, Yes I am. And again, I’m virtually quoting. He said, no no no no! I’ve always assumed that that was for the Russians! That they’re the ones who got inspected, not us. This is the notion of the good guys and the bad guys. It brings to mind the old saying that’s used a lot in the disarmament business, to the effect, Disarmament is a great idea, for the other guy.

    Now I’m not simply seeking to make fun of this point of view, I’m seeking to illustrate it. There has been pervasively since the beginning of the time of the NPT been a view in nuclear weapons states circles, that was just summed up by the stories that I’ve told you.

    That the treaty is essentially about nonproliferation [is] factually incorrect. It’s about three things.
    The second thing, there are legitimately held nuclear weapons, they’re the ones that we hold, we being the good guys. And there are illegitimately held or aspired for nuclear weapons, aspired for by people like the Iranians. And the point I make about this point of view is
    a. that it’s factually incorrect;
    b. that it’s damaging to the treaty;
    c. that it has no relationship to the negotiating history of the treaty; and
    d. if pursued further, it will destroy the treaty.

    Now, will that matter? Yes. Because what is the correct interpretation of the treaty? The correct interpretation of it is that is envisages – this was part of the grand bargain – it envisages a world without nuclear weapons. Some people actually argue about that. I find that mind numbing. How else can you logically interpret a document about nuclear weapons that says THIS of those weapons:
    1. those who do not have them must never get them;
    2. those who do have them must get rid of them;
    Quod erat demonstratum.

    This treaty is about creating a world without nuclear weapons. That is its objective, and that objective is not served by the sort of flagrant self-serving misinterpretation of it that I’ve just sought to describe.

    Now, in 1995, the world faced the question of whether or not this treaty should continue to exist or not. Why? Because within the treaty itself, a provision is there that says that within 25 years of its operation a conference of all parties will be held to determine its future. This is called the Review and Extension Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. I had the honor of leading australia’s delegation to that conference, and the final deal, done at five minutes to midnight on the last night was done around my dining table, not because my food was so good but because I was asked to convene a small group of people who were the principal actors to put that together. And it included the representative of Iran. And the deal was done. It was agreed to extend the nuclear nonproliferation treaty indefinitely, but, and thank god that was achieved: it now is to exist in perpetuity.

    But why? Why would such an extraordinary thing be done? And the answer is the answer I’ve already sought to give you: because it is seen as establishing an utterly desirable norm in civilized human life to the effect that NO ONE should have nuclear weapons. Secondly, it is the sole document that does that. Thirdly, it sets up the means through which that might be able to be achieved.

    However, in spite of the dinner party, and the food wasn’t that bad , in spite of that, this agreement was hard won. We almost didn’t get there, at 2:00 am. Actually it wasn’t five minutes to midnight we got there at 2:00 am on the last day of the conference. And it was hard won. Why? Precisely because of the interpretations of the sort I just sought somewhat floridly to describe; because the non-nuclear weapons states were SICK TO DEATH of the fundamental inequality in the treaty. Which was, which the treaty attempts to bridge by placing the obligation on the weapons states to progressively reduce their weapons status, and they had done so quite inadequately, and there was very real doubt in countries on that map [points to map of Iran, etc], of Iran, of Egypt, and so forth, as to whether they should agree. Egypt gave very serious thought to saying, Damn this treaty! Tear it up! It’s been a quarter of a century and it’s been a swindle and we don’t want it anymore.

    Now this is relevant to what might happen in the future on Iran. But they were talked out of it. And the principle way they were talked out of it is because agreement was given to their proposal that there should be action taken on the Middle East! That there should be a conference called in which an attempt to make the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons would be discussed, and that Israel would have to be on the table. Because one of the things that’s been most deeply harmful to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty has been the three outlying states that have never joined it, India, Pakistan and israel. And what do they have in common? Go figure: they’re not in the treaty, and what do they have in common? They’ve got nuclear weapons. In the same way as the ones mentioned in the treaty as legitimate holders of weapons, what do they have in common? They’re the permanent members of the Security Council. You get my drift? This is a very unequal bargain, and the treaty was nearly not extended indefinitely because of that inequality. The tension between the fundamental contention of the treaty that it is to create a world without nuclear weapons, and the self-evident inequality that characterizes its application every day, with the haves and the have nots, and the haves really dragging their feet on their Article 6 obligations to do disarmament.

    So, turning now very specifically to Iran … I don’t need to repeat what has been said so fulsomely by Flynt and Daniel. Iran has a right to nuclear science and technology. You can talk about how many angels fit on the head of a pin until the cows come home, about how much enrichment, about whether or not it’s allowed to have enrichment and so on. Look at Article 4 of the treaty: Iran has every right to do what it’s doing. But, it has two obligations, and that’s where the problem arises.

    An obligation that its activities be under full International Atomic Agency Safeguards, and it has resisted that. It’s in breach of its safeguards obligations. Does that prove that it’s doing the wrong thing? No serious intelligence agency in the world today is able to say that it has proven that. Does it raise doubts? You bet. Because when someone says, We don’t want you to look into that room , and we encountered that a lot when we went into iraq: iraq wouldn’t allow us to open certain doors. And I used to say to my inspectors, you gotta kick that door in. because if somebody doesn’t want you to open that door, it’s because there’s something behind the door that they doesn’t want us to see. So iran raises those problems. And the way ahead is to stop doing that. For it to allow the iaea to do its job properly.

    But the second obligation is that it must not build a bomb. It has every right to do what it’s doing, apparently, but it has a dual obligation: to allow us all to see that it’s not diverting, as Daniel pointed out, the words in the statute are “diversion to any military purpose.” It has to allow us to see that. And that’s what the safeguards agreement of the IAEA are all about. And it must fulfill its solemn legally binding promise never to make directly or to receive indirectly, like from Mr. A Q Khan, any nuclear explosive device. And iran has not enabled us to be satisfied that it is behaving on those terms in accordance with the treaty. And it must do so.

    Now , one of the questions that has been posed, and I’m sure it will come up in the question and answer session, What would be the consequences of an Iranian breakout, to use the lingo of this business; that it actually either makes a nuclear explosive device, and/or leaves the treaty. What would be the consequence of that? There are at least three; the fourth one is the one that Flynt has referred to and deserves most attention. Clearly, it would be a deep wound to the treaty. But please bear in mind, that wound touches on a lot of developing nonweapon states less seriously than it does the big states that have a heavy on their repeated misinterpretation misrepresentation of the treaty. For you see, for those sorts of states, the Egypts of this world, to use them as an example, the treaty IS being misrepresented. Is being improperly against their interests today, of which the Iran case they see as a possible example. But, nevertheless, seen in various degrees as it were, it would be a deep deep wound to the treaty. Would it bring the treaty down entirely? I don’t think we know the answer to that yet. However, point 2, if Iran DID actually make a nuclear explosive device, there would be a regional nuclear arms race. That’s truly serious. Point 3. it could lead to a regional war, before that arms race got under way. I’m talking of course about an israeli or an israeli-US attack upon Iran, upon Iran either on the eve of it acquiring nuclear explosive capability or as soon as that’s been demonstrated.

    Now, lord knows where that would lead. Its consequences would be massive, the order of magnitude, frankly, incalculable. But it would be truly serious. And if that took place, to go back to my first point, that would mortally wound the NPT. And I can’t resist pointing out to you the bitter irony that would be involved. Right? With a nuclear armed state, not a party to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty attacking another state because it wants to become a nuclear armed state and thus leaves the nonp nonproliferation treaty. The bitter irony of a nuclear armed …israel attacking Iran on the ground that it wants to become just like israel. Have nuclear weapons.

    This is crazy.

    So flynt, your big point, global governance: yes, the answer to your question is clearly and unambiguously Yes. If developments of this kind were to occur, and the nuclear nonproliferation treaty to be seriously harmed, we will have witnessed a significant breakdown , change in the current system of global governance, with all its warts. Why? Because everyone has said for 40 years now that the nuclear nonproliferation treaty is the cornerstone, that’s the word they always use, it’s in his book, the cornerstone of nuclear arms control. It is the largest treaty in existence alongside the Charter of the UN, the Geneva Conventions, everyone but three countries are in it. There’s been nothing quite like it. Why? Because the subject deserves it.

    And it has within it a system of reporting and ultimate enforcement, the IAEA Board of Governors, to the Security Council, which would have broken down. Now amongst the changes that they could offer, and maybe some of these are worth thinking about, is that the whole notion of nuclear haves and have nots would go by the board. Secondly, permanent membership of the security council would have to be reconsidered. In our Journal I’ve written an article calling for reform of the Security Council. Maybe. Maybe this is the trainwreck that would produce the change in global governance that is so deeply overdue. But I think that’s a pretty crummy way, and a highly dangerous way, to bring about historical change – to wait for the agreeable trainwreck. I don’t think so. Because I don’t think there’s anything agreeable about this.

    Finally, … let me say, we had a fascinating talk, fascinating, to me, intellectually, about realism and its approaches this morning. Hans Morgenthau, John Mearsheimer and their ilk, who claim to see the world with crystal clear eyes and make realistic, logical, scientific calculations. They don’t appeal to me greatly, as will be really surprising to you they don’t appeal to me greatly. But, let me say, if I were a realist, if I were john mearsheimer being asked for advice on this subject by those in Washington who are running it, I would say, for god’s sake, will you please stop making statements on the basis of realism. Realize the dangers of making statements that you cannot fulfill. E.g. “we will prevent Iran, by any means necessary, from becoming a nuclear power.” It can’t be done! As has been pointed out – bunker buster bombs or whatever. If they are determined to do it, they will. Stop making statements on which you cannot deliver. On a realist basis. That is extremely dangerous. Or if you force yourself to deliver that result, by going to all out total war, you will have imposed costs upon yourself that are simply unbearable and are far worse than the problem that you have set out to solve. So as a realist I would say, Stop it! Stop making statements that are a. false and b. undeliverable and c. would break the law. Okay. Instead use the law, which in this case is the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, stop misrepresenting it, put into action all of its three legs, and use the existing facilities of control and enforcement, the board of governors of the IAEA, and the Security Council of the United Nations, and above all GO TALK TO THEM, hopefully in Khazakstan two weeks from now. Thank you.” END QUOTE

  165. Nasser says:


    I have worked out the questions I want to ask you. Could you please contact me at when you get the chance. Thank you again.

  166. nico says:

    Mister Canning,

    I stated earlier, that some country foreign policy and posture in the ME are treacherous, faithless and a disgrace to truth.

    This could be a good example.

    “A British think tank has unveiled a plan by the UK government to return to the seat of its old imperial power by developing a strong “shadow presence” in the Persian Gulf region. ”

    So UK will build up a military presence but not really because it would only be shadowy. What a joke and play of word out of a delirious mind.

    ” According to the report the UK government believes an increased presence in the Middle East region would be wise due to the “swirling social storms across the region in the wake of the ‘Arab [Islamic] Awakening.’”

    Mmmmh, this build up is justified out of fear by UK.
    Obviously ! Killing millions in the ME as per the UK full involvement in western policies in Irak, Syria, Lybia, Iran is not destabilizing the region and stiring discontent.
    You know the same UK policy which footprint dramatically spoiled the region, as per the sykes-picot agreement, the balfour declaration or the involvement in Iran various coups and destabilization.

    “This means that the UK government has decided to relocate its military equipment from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf littoral states since it would more cost-effective than returning them to Britain, according to the report. ”

    Indeed, that is only a cost saving solution. You know like the 150billion USD nuclear ” trident” upgrade by UK..
    ” On the first day of the conference, former Egyptian Ambassador to Geneva Hisham Badr said, “Egypt and many Arab countries have joined the NPT with the understanding that this would lead to a Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons.”
    “However, more than 30 years later, one country in the Middle East, namely Israel, remains outside the NPT,” he said.

    Is that Iran 20% for medical purpose the issue or Israel ?
    Is that Iran civilian program or UK and the west disregard for their own obligations.

    The answers are obvious for honest people.

  167. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    April 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    “Iran’s leaders do not see Israel as posing an “existential threat” to Iran. For good rasons. Israel is not about to attack Iran with nukes. Would literally be insane.”

    What an argument! would be insane… Typical double standard mentality

    And how about SL and a number of Iranian politics stating that nukes are immoral and anti-Islamic ?
    Why would Iranians have to believe your argument, while there are talks and papers studying an Israeli/US nuclear first strike and the perpetual all-options-are-on-the-table ?
    All is said

  168. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says: April 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Please James, would you be so kind as to provide a case for how William Hague has tried to improve relations with Iran?
    Just a few (3 would be sufficient) bullet points in concrete steps that UK (e.g. Hague) has taken to improve relations.
    If you can’t, I can start you on (the opposite) what UK/Hague has done, to harm Iran – worsening relationship.
    1) UK Blocks Shell Paying Iran Oil Debt in Food, Medicine:
    2) Making asinine statements: William Hague warns of Iran threat to peace of the world —
    3) William Hague: We must turn up the pressure on Iran —
    4) The overlord William Hague has warned Iran it faces increasing isolation from the international community —
    5) William Hague pushes new Iran sanctions —
    6) …

    On more than one occasion I’ve proven to you that UK is/has been (at least since oil discovery) an enemy of Iran.
    I think you know where I’m going with this, so I won’t go on. I am looking for concrete steps you can outline.

  169. fyi says:

    ela says:
    April 29, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    “…use the law..” you say.

    US and EU destroyed what was left of the Law at the end of the Cold War during the unilateral moment.

    The Charter of UN, NPT, CWBT, etc. are all dead letters now.

    But everyone is going through the motions as though they are still living, breathing realities on basis of which a more durable peace could be established.

    In the years to come, state security would be predicated on survivable long range nuclear munitions.

    Specifically about Iran: US & EU planners made a determination sometime in 2006 that the Islamic Republic of Iran must be destroyed.

    That determination has driven their policies; changes in Presidents and Prime Ministers will not alter it – we have seen repeated changes of governments in numeorus Axis Powers states with no change in Iran policy.

    It is still possible to try to re-negogiate something along the lines of Peace of Yalta or Peace of Westphalia but US leaders are not prepared for that; they are still convinced of their own irrsistable force.

    That could change – and would change – once the Iressistable Force meets the Unmoveable Object.

  170. Nothing but the Truth says:

    For those who are interested :

    “””April 30, 2013 ⋅ 12:45 pm

    Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will deliver a televised speech on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. according to al Manar TV.

    Last week reports from Iran indicated that Nasrallah was planning to deliver a televised speech on May 9 to tackle allegations about his party’s role in the Syrian conflict and Lebanon’s political crisis….

  171. James Canning says:


    You compare Iran’s situation today, with that of the Soviet Union and Britain in 1943, during the Second World War. Do you think Iran should have attacked British and Soviet troops, in an effort to drive them out of the country?

  172. James Canning says:


    If you actually believe Israel might attack Iran with nukes, on a first-strike basis, you are sucking up too much propaganda.

  173. James Canning says:


    Are you actually claiming Iran does not already have enough 20 percent enriched uranium on hand, to power the TRR for at least 15 years or more?

    Yes, Israel should be pressured to sign the NPT and get rid of its nukes. Full stop.

  174. James Canning says:


    What do you think the UK should be doing, to help keep the Persian Gulf open to shipping if an embargo against Iranian oil exports is imposed?

  175. James Canning says:


    China sees no potential that Iran would cease to be “independent” if Iran stops enriching uranium to 20 percent.

    China has told Iran that China wants the PG kept open to shipping. Full stop.

  176. James Canning says:


    Iran clearly has the technical ability to build nukes. You doubt this? Or, are you arguing that Iran needs to stockpile more 20 percent uranium, to set up further enrichment to 95%?

  177. Ataune says:


    “James, blockade this!”

    Really funny and appropriate too.


    “The Charter of UN, NPT, CWBT, etc. are all dead letters now.”

    This doesn’t mean that a sovereign state like Iran should publicly claim their irrelevance. The attitude towards them depends obviously on the international context. Right now, all these treaties and international accords are mostly working against the interests of the Anglo-Americans by providing cushion to the second tier powers like Iran against the warmongering on the other side. It is obvious in my opinion that abiding by the Charter of the UN or the letter and spirit of the NPT is more beneficial to Iran than to the US/UK/Israeli trio. Iran position should be – and I believe it is: if they want to, let them destroy openly what it has taken them so long to construct and let them take the blame of this illegitimate act of theirs.

  178. jay says:


    I take your silent response as an implicit acceptance that your position vis-a-vis Iran’s issues with the US/UK is not logically defensible.

    Of course, you should feel welcome to persist in repeating indefensible claims – I am a firm believer in free speech and the freedom to err.

  179. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:
    April 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Will not happen.

    US diplomats must be congradulated in having managed the isolation and confinement of India in her immediate neighbourhood and thus deepening that country’s reliance on US.

    In Persian, it is called “Showing the door of the green garden…”.

    India cannot back to status quo ante of 2006 with Iran; those days are now gone and buried.

    Just like Arabs who cannot go back to the status quo ante of 1980 with Iran.

    And EU cannot go back to the status quo ante of 2010 with Iran; even if sanctions are removed today their harm to any cordial relationship with EU has been done and done permanently.

  180. Fiorangela says:

    Amano Endorsed for Second IAEA Term

    Kelsey Davenport

    “The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors on March 6 endorsed Yukiya Amano to serve a second four-year term as the agency’s director-general.

    The 35-member board voted by acclamation to renew Amano’s term, according to a statement by John Barrett of Canada, the board chairman. The IAEA’s 159 member states now must formally confirm the board’s decision at the agency’s General Conference in September. Amano’s new term will begin in December.

    Amano did not face any competition for the post. That contrasts with 2009, when he needed five rounds of balloting to secure the necessary two-thirds of the board’s votes. At the time, several countries expressed concern that Amano, then Japan’s representative to the board, was too close to the United States and would not be an independent director-general. (See ACT, May 2009.)

    In a March 6 press conference following the board meeting, Amano said he was “deeply grateful” for the trust of the board members.

    Meanwhile, Tero Varjoranta of Finland has been tapped to succeed Herman Nackaerts as the agency’s top safeguards official in October, the Finnish government said in a March 4 press release. Nackaerts, who is retiring, has led the agency’s negotiations with Iran over its controversial nuclear activities.”

  181. James Canning says:


    Do you agree Iran’s economy is at least $150 billion smaller, year after year, due to the nuclear dispute? Do you agree Iran would be richer and stronger if the nuclear dispute were resolved?

  182. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Evidently you have some cognitive shortcomings that prevents you from grasping analogies.

    Iranians have determined that nuclear capability is germane to their survival as a state.

    Axis Powers have determined that they cannot live with an startegically independent Iran.

    Let us see who wins in this contest of wills.

    I am counting on the Hidden Imam to neutralize the efforts of roughly a billion people whose governments have harnessed them to destroying another government of 80 million souls half-way across the world from them.

    In the meantime, the self-inflicted implosion of Axis Powers finance economy is greatly welcome.

    In God We Trust.

  183. James Canning says:


    Numerous stooges of Israel in the US Congress try to block a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

    And you think I want a blockade of Iranian oil exports? Amazing.

  184. Fiorangela says:

    an Oldie but Goodie —

    By Bennett Ramberg [May 2012]

    “As the international community seeks to stave off an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program, policymakers would do well to draw lessons from the first attack to destroy a nuclear facility, Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor on June 7, 1981. At the time, the attack drew near-universal condemnation, but it soon came to be seen as a milestone in nonproliferation, demonstrating that force could be a practical option to halt a suspected nuclear weapons program without harmful repercussions for the attacker.
    More recently, however, the pendulum has begun to swing back, as postmortems coupled with recent reporting of Iraqi archival material captured by the United States during the occupation of Iraq after the 2003 invasion tell a different story.[1] They reveal the Osirak reactor did not provide the foundation for a nuclear weapon but rather for an illusion that misled Iraq and Israel. The illusion prevailed because of the peculiar personalities of each country’s leader and because of misperceptions about Osirak’s bomb-making capacity.
    Unwilling to gamble that deterrence could cope with a nuclear Iraq, Israel applied a multipronged strategy to halt the reactor’s construction—diplomacy, a media campaign, sabotage, and assassination. The failure of all these left two approaches—watchful waiting, preferred by some who did not see Osirak as an imminent threat, and military action, promoted by Prime Minister Menachem Begin. In the end, the force of Begin’s personality drove the cabinet’s decision to bomb Osirak. However, rather than putting a stake into the ambitions of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Israel’s strike stimulated Iraq to pursue a secret uranium-enrichment program dedicated to producing a nuclear weapon. . . .”

  185. nico says:

    Mister Canning

    I suggest you to stop bikering and answer to the spirit of the claim and not with (smart) word play regarding the UK imperialist, colonialist and antihumanist policies which are imbued with hypocrisy and double standard.

    I believe your arguments have been demolished enough here.
    What about you arguing seriously against others position without escaping with sophism.

  186. Fiorangela says:

    EDIT —

    the article quoted earlier says IRAQ where I think it meant to say IRAN:

    ” . . .Iraqi archival material captured by the United States during the occupation of Iraq after the 2003 invasion tell a different story.[1] They reveal the Osirak reactor did not provide the foundation for a nuclear weapon but rather for an illusion that misled Iraq IRAN and Israel. The illusion prevailed because of the peculiar personalities of each country’s leader and because of misperceptions about Osirak’s bomb-making capacity. . . .”


    It should also be noted that Israel’s compliance with established rules of law and conduct would have prevented the act that ultimately cost the lives of millions of innocent people. But, as Chas Freeman observed and bemoaned:

    “Humanitarian law and the law of war are arguably the supreme moral artifacts of Atlantic civilization. Jewish lawyers made a disproportionate contribution to the crafting of both. The resulting legal principles were intended to deter the kinds of injuries and injustices that European Jews and other minorities had long suffered and to protect occupied populations from persecution by their occupiers. Both objectives are very relevant to contemporary Palestine. It is, however, hard to find any principle of due process, the several Geneva Conventions, or the Nuremberg trials that has not been systematically violated in the Holy Land. Examples of criminal conduct include mass murder, extra-judicial killing, torture, detention without charge, the denial of medical care, the annexation and colonization of occupied territory, the illegal expropriation of land, ethnic cleansing and the collective punishment of civilians, including the demolition of their homes, the systematic reduction of their infrastructure and the de-development and impoverishment of entire regions. These crimes have been linked to a concerted effort to rewrite international law to permit actions that it traditionally prohibited, in effect enshrining the principle that might makes right.

    As the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Legal Department has argued:

    “If you do something for long enough the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries . . . . International law progresses through violations.”

    A colleague of his has extended this notion by pointing out that:

    “The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.”

    These references to Iraq and Afghanistan underscore the extent to which the United States, once the principal champion of a rule-bound international order, has followed Israel in replacing legal principles with expediency as the central regulator of its interaction with foreign peoples. The expediently amoral doctrine of preemptive war is such an Israeli transplant in the American neo-conservative psyche. Neither it nor other deliberate assaults on the rule of law have been met with concerted resistance from Palestinians, Arabs, or anyone else, including the American Bar Association. The steady displacement of traditional American values – indeed, the core doctrines of western civilization – with ideas designed to free the state of inconvenient moral constraints has debased the honor and prestige of our country as well as Israel.”

  187. imho says:

    It is not about what I am thinking but about what you are saying

  188. James Canning says:


    Please cite a single instance where someone posting on this site argued effectively that Iran’s economy is not about $150 billion per year smaller, due to the sanctions.

    Perhaps you think Iran should virtually insist on a blockade of its oil exports? Because otherwise there is too much “loss of face”?

  189. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran softens tune on Israel

    Disagree with the fantasy that Israel and Iran will “work together” to prevent Syria from falling into Islamist hands. Israel couldn’t care less about that as long as Syria’s military is degraded so that it is not an effective actor in an Iran war.

  190. BiBiJon says:

    The amazing James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    “Numerous stooges of Israel in the US Congress try to block a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”

    Yawn. Numerous stooges of Israel in the US push on an open door. Find a bigger fig leaf for the sake of decency.

    “And you think I want a blockade of Iranian oil exports? Amazing.”

    You keep promoting the idea that if Iran continues to act according to her sovereign prerogatives she will be blockaded, and that according to you is Iran’s shortsightedness not P5+1’s barbarism. You want to justify the current world order. I regard it as bankrup, bereft of ideas, lacking in competence, which will doom humanity and the planet. Therefore I empathize with any nation that defies it.

  191. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Kotsev never gets it right…

    Israeli yellow card for US on Iran

    “True, last week the White House officially reversed its former opposition to selling Israel aerial refueling tankers and other advanced hardware, including V-22 vertical take-off planes and anti-radar missiles. However, while they welcomed the acquisitions, Israeli analysts claimed that the deal was meant primarily to rein in any unilateral action by the Jewish State and to serve narrow American interests.”

    Yeah, the US arms Israel with weapons to attack Iran and yet we’re supposed to believe this intended to PREVENT Israel from attacking Iran. All it means is that as I’ve said Obama doesn’t want HIM to be blamed for starting the war. He’d also prefer Israel not start it (he prefers Iran to do something he can blame them for it), but he’s happy to give them the weapons to do so.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    His reference to Iran not fully converting its 20% uranium into fuel rods comes from this source:

    Former intel chief calls to avoid red lines on Iran

    The quote is:

    “It will be much easier and quicker for them to reach 90%, because they have not – as previously thought – diverted their 20% enriched uranium to fuel rods that cannot be used for a bomb,” Yadlin said. “Instead, they have made them into oxidized uranium in powder form that can be reconstituted and shifted back to the military nuclear program.”

    Does anyone have any non-Israeli confirmation of that statement?

  192. Richard Steven Hack says:

    More on that,,,

    Analysis: Iran crossing red line with yellowcake


    The news from Yadlin was that Iran had not backtracked on its enrichment, unlike previous assessments by top Israeli and international figures. Netanyahu had been credited around the world with pressuring Iran to backtrack and convert 40% of its 20% uranium to fuel rods that cannot be used to make a bomb.

    A Washington Post editorial even said US President Barack Obama should thank Netanyahu for proving that “clear red lines can help create the ‘time and space for diplomacy’ that President Obama seeks.”

    Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon characterized this backtracking by saying “you cannot make an egg out of an omelette.”

    Comes Yadlin and says that that might be true, but Iran did not make a whole omelette. They only made a third of an omelette. Specifically, out of the 110 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium, only 30 kilograms became fuel rods.

    The other 80 kilograms were made into oxidized uranium in a powdered form, or – to stay with Ya’alon’s metaphor – powdered eggs.

    How do you make an egg out of powdered eggs?

    Yadlin draws a chemical equation and says it can be constituted using yellowcake uranium that Iran possesses.

    The IAEA says that Iran has 170 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium that have not been converted. Add that to the 80, and you get 250 kilograms, a crossed red line, an undermined prime minister and a serious problem.

    End Quote

  193. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm
    Richer yes,stronger no absolutely not,appeasement does not make one stronger,sadly you seem unwilling or unable to understand this most simple of facts

  194. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama and US Military Divided Over Syria?

    Since Hagel is toeing the party line about Syria’s chemical weapons, I’d say it doesn’t matter what the military wants.

    The bottom line is that the US is publicly committed to overthrowing Assad and that cannot happen without foreign military intervention. In addition, the real reason for this crisis is that the US – or more precisely, Israel – needs to get Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon out of the way before an Iran war can be started.

    So the US military may not want an Iran war or a Syria war, but they’re going to get them anyway – because the people who get the money to make the US military’s weapons demand it, as do the oil companies, and the banks.

  195. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Missiles Fired at Russian Civilian Airliner Over Syria

    Another attempt at provocation intended to produce a foreign military intervention. Imagine if that plane had been shot down…The calls for intervention would be overwhelming even if illogical – since so many Syrians have already died, another 159 would be insignificant. But the calls would be used as an excuse to intervene anyway.

  196. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Hezbollah hints at possible Syria intervention

    I don’t believe Nasrallah would directly intervene in Syria – that would be too risky, especially if the US and NATO begin direct military intervention. That would merely give Israel the excuse it needs to attack Hizballah again. So I see this as propaganda to be used to justify Israeli attack on Lebanon once foreign military intervention occurs.

    And Iran has no capability to project force into Syria that would strategically affect the outcome in the event of foreign military intervention.

  197. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US says Syria has beefed up air defenses

    1) Obviously Syria would do this since they are aware of the threat from the US and NATO after Libya and the Israeli attack on the alleged atomic installation, as the article notes.

    2) With the insurgents capturing air bases all over the country, some of this may be to compensate for that. But the article is really talking about Syrian air defenses over the past few years, not recently, anyway.

    3) Either the article is propaganda intended to deflect US intervention or it’s propaganda to justify US intervention. I can’t tell which, although my guess would be the former.

  198. jay says:

    This alert is for those of you in the academia or related endeavors. The OFAC is attempting to choke of Iranian researchers by demanding that any academic manuscript written by an author that works for any Iranian university or research institution that may have any affiliation with the government of Iran be rejected and not be published. I think the continuation of US/UK hostile policies is dismaying. I encourage those in the position to write to editors and academics to organize and strongly reject the Obama administration’s hostile policies.

  199. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israeli navy unveils fifth submarine in Germany

  200. jay says:

    nico says:
    April 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    By now it should be clear that Mr. Canning’s primary interest is to denigrate Iranians for their bad choices. If they were only obedient subjects and knew their limits, those Iranians would be well-fed and well-cared for – he says!

    Once he realized that his position on “Iran would be richer if…” conflicts with parallels of “UK would be richer if…” he chose to ignore the hypocrisy and repeat the empty claim.

  201. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The Leveretts in HuffPo…

    The Real Reason America Can’t Make a Nuclear Deal with Iran

    The only thing I disagree with is the idea that this is the “real reason”. The US isn’t concerned that allowing Iran to have domestic enrichment rights is going to force the US to disarm its nukes someday. That ship has sailed.

  202. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    Iran isnt the one china needs to tell that to,it would either be the us blockading iran in which case iran would be quite within its rights to retaliate,or it would be iran retaliating with a blockade for an act of us aggression,the one responsible for these scenarios would be the us not iran.Ultimately iran has to do what is right for iran not whats right for china,if it did that it would be no different to the us backed puppets
    James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    Iran needs to keep doing what its doing,which for now is voluntarily limiting itself to 20%,as for the rest that would be up to the governments of the west and iran
    James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    For iran it long ago ceased to be about the physical amounts or levels of enrichment involved,its about the principals ie irans rights under the npt,its really that simple and I think you know that too

  203. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Robert Fisk on Syria and Sarin Gas: a Familiar Ring

  204. Richard Steven Hack says:

    They may be fighting for Syria, not Assad. They may also be winning: Robert Fisk reports from inside Syria

    The only significant reporting being done from Syria is Fisk and Franklin Lamb over at Counterpunch.

  205. fy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    April 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    The amount of 20% enrichment is no longer strategically relevant as Iranians increase the efficiency of their machines and thus reduce time for any level of enrichment.

    However, politically, a deal on 20% may be sufficient cover for Axis Powers to take another tack with Iran.

    But they won’t since the destruction of the Islamic Republic is their aim.

    A few years from now, when the Iranians are still standing, they might revisit their “Destroy-Islamic-Republic” project.

    But not until then.

    James Canning says:
    April 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    A 10 kiloton explosion over Tehran will obliterate any economic gains that Iran may have made – $ 150 billion or 300 billion will make no difference when several hundred thousands are dead or wounded.

    Alternatively, an expensive war of attrition against Iran will quickly consume her economy.

    It is better to accept economic losses now – as well as the attendant reduction of the standard of living in Iran – but to put in place what it takes to make the application of scenarios like those of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria to Iran impossible.

    Know this Mr. Canning: long range nuclear munitions have become the coin of strategic security.

    And for that you can thank the Axis Powers planners during their Unilateral Moment.

  206. nico says:

    James Canning,

    The heart of the matter is that you accept might makes right.
    You accept that west impose their will trough force and violence, agression and cohersion as proven time and again. That against sovereign countries and their legetimate interest as scientific development, independent foreign policy stance or free use of their land ressources.

    That western policy position is fascist and criminal as per western and international standard.

    The heart of the matter is that you accept that and hide behind word play, manipulation, disguise of truth, relativity of good and evil, etc…

    Your position is EXACTLY of the same order as the nobel manipulated peace prize being awarded to Obama.
    That is manipulation of the most basic moral principle.
    Truly faithless.

  207. James Canning says:


    I think you are wildly mistaken to believe Iran faces a possible nuclear attack from the US or Israel.

    But you do confirm that Iran in fact is not stockpiling 20 percent uranium for medical reasons.

  208. James Canning says:


    Yes, I agree that Iran’s response to any blockade of its oil exports, must be based on what is good for Iran.

    I think you will agree that China wants an end to the nuclear dispute, and China obviously wants continuing access to Persian Gulf shipping lanes for its very large oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and Iraq.

  209. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Obama apparently personally favors getting rid of all US nukes, if this is possible.