GOP Senators’ Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei and the Strategic Imperative of U.S.-Iranian Realignment: Hillary Mann Leverett on Democracy Now!

Hillary appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the “open letter” signed by forty-seven Republican senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Iranian nuclear issue more broadly, and what is really at stake for the United States as it approaches a potentially important inflection point in the trajectory of U.S.-Iranian relations.  To see the segment, click here, on the embedded video above, or here (for YouTube).

Hillary explains the “reckless” and “dangerous” impact of the GOP letter—in terms of American constitutionalism and foreign policy practice, certainly, but even more profoundly in terms of America’s strategic interests.  Critically, she takes President Obama to task for having refrained from making “the case, the strategic case, to the American people why a fundamentally different relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran is in America’s interest—not that we’re doing Iran a favor to welcome them back into the international community, instead that this is critically important for the United States, that after a decade of disastrous wars in the Middle East, we need a fundamentally different policy, and that starts with a fundamentally different relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

  Ex-U.S. Official:  With Iran Letter, “Reckless” GOP Places Middle East Hegemony over Security

Democracy Now!, March 12, 2015

Hillary was interviewed by Democracy Now! host/executive producer Amy Goodman and co-anchor/producer Nermeen Shaikh; The Nation’s Ali Gharib, who just published a profile of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), the organizer of the aforementioned open letter, also appears.  The transcript is here and appended below.

Nermeen Shaikh:  We begin today’s show looking at the fallout from the open letter sent earlier this week by Republican lawmakers warning Iran against a nuclear deal with the U.S.  On Monday, a group of 47 Republican senators released the letter, which reads in part, quote, “we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.”  Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, dismissed the letter as propaganda.

Mohammad Javad Zarif [translated]:  This is a propaganda ploy and bears no legal value.  This shows how worried one group is.  There is no agreement in place yet, and one group is speaking about its content.  In any case, a propaganda move has begun with Netanyahu’s address to Congress, and this is also another propaganda ploy.  It’s regrettable that there is a group who are against reaching a deal.  Of course, we insist that if we do reach a deal, it has to be one in which the rights of our people are observed, and we are sure that there are ways to achieve this result.

Nermeen Shaikh:  Zarif went on to warn, quote, “if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.”  Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the letter on Wednesday.

Secretary of State John Kerry:  My reaction to the letter was utter disbelief.  During my 29 years here in the Senate, I never heard of nor even heard of it being proposed anything comparable to this.  If I had, I can guarantee you, no matter what the issue and no matter who was president, I would have certainly rejected it.  I think no one is questioning anybody’s right to dissent.  Any senator can go to the floor any day and raise any of the questions that were raised in that.  But to write to the leaders in the middle of a negotiation, particularly the leaders that they have criticized other people for even engaging with or writing to, to write them and suggest that they’re going to give a constitutional lesson, which, by the way, was absolutely incorrect, is quite stunning.  This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.

Nermeen Shaikh:  According to the website LobeLog, the senator who spearheaded the letter, freshman Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, received nearly $1 million in donations to his election campaign efforts last year from the Emergency Committee for Israel, run by neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol.  The Intercept reports Cotton was set to appear at a secretive meeting of weapons contractors the day after sending the letter. Secretary of State John Kerry returns to Switzerland Sunday in a bid to reach a nuclear deal before a March 31st deadline.

Amy Goodman:  To talk more about the letter and what’s at stake in the nuclear negotiations, we’re joined by two guests.  Hillary Mann Leverett is with us, served as National Security Council—in the National Security Council under Presidents Clinton and Bush.  From 2001 to ‘03, she was a U.S. negotiator with Iran on Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and Iraq, in which capacity she negotiated directly with Iran’s present foreign minister, Javad Zarif.  She is the CEO of the political risk consultancy firm Stratega.  She will join Georgetown University as a visiting scholar next month.  She’s co-author of Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Ali Gharib is also with us, contributor to The Nation magazine.  His most recent piece is headlined “Meet Tom Cotton, the Senator Behind the Republicans’ Letter to Iran.”

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!  Hillary Mann Leverett, let’s begin with you.  Talk about the significance and the effect of this letter.  How unusual is it? Where was it sent?  Who sent it?

Hillary Mann Leverett:  It really is unprecedented, from as far as I can determine and as far as legal scholars that I’ve canvassed can determine.  It is really unprecedented. It’s really tantamount, if you could imagine, during the 1960s, if the Republicans in Congress had written to then Soviet leader Khrushchev warning him not to negotiate with Kennedy over the Cuban missile crisis because the United States would bomb the Soviet Union two years later if the Republicans won the election.  It’s really tantamount to that kind of reckless interference and dangerous, reckless interference for U.S. interests.

The effect here—the conventional wisdom, I think, in Washington is the effect has served to just portray the Republicans as somewhat ignorant—or really ignorant—and marginalized.  But I think it actually is having a little bit more of an effect that should be taken seriously.

In that letter, the letter that Nermeen read the quote from, that specifically honed in on how the Republicans warned that this agreement would be just between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei, is very significant.  Any agreement that would be reached between the United States and Iran, first of all, Secretary Kerry said yesterday before Congress, would not be legally binding.  So, whether someone signs it, to begin with, is a question.  But even if someone were to sign it, it would be Secretary Kerry, who’s been negotiating it for the United States, and it would be Foreign Minister Zarif on the Iranian side.  It wouldn’t be Ayatollah Khamenei.  I think that that letter was—that sentence was inserted to make this an issue of who is President Obama, really to get to the ethnic and identity issues that the Republicans, in particular, have been pressing here in Washington, that somehow this is about Islam and Islamic radicalism and Muslims, and to tie them into this package, as Prime Minister Netanyahu did when he came to Washington and made his speech equating the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Islamic State, that they are two sides of the same coin.

In that context, President Obama has been in some ways eerily silent, and I think this is a serious mistake.  It behooves the president to make the case, the strategic case, to the American people why a fundamentally different relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran is in America’s interest—not that we’re doing Iran a favor to welcome them back into the international community, instead that this is critically important for the United States, that after a decade of disastrous wars in the Middle East, we need a fundamentally different policy, and that starts with a fundamentally different relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  But I’m afraid the administration isn’t making that case, because they don’t want, in some ways, to be seen as liking the ayatollah or Islamists in Iran or elsewhere.  And that’s going to be a problem going forward with any deal.  Even if there is some sort of technical agreement by the end of the month, that’s going to be a problem going forward, the administration’s inability to embrace a fundamentally different relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran—and I stress the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Nermeen Shaikh:  Hillary, some have suggested—even though Iran dismissed the letter as propaganda, some have suggested the letter may have made the U.S. appear an untrustworthy negotiating partner to Iran, thereby weakening the chances of reaching an agreement. Could you comment on that?

Hillary Mann Leverett:  I think the chances of reaching an agreement, from the Iranian side, are actually quite high.  I was in Iran in November.  I went to—I was invited to address a conference at the University of Tehran (kind of funny, in a way) on the future of American executive-legislative relations in the wake of the midterm elections here and the capture of the Senate by the Republicans.  So I think in Iran they have a very acute, sophisticated understanding of U.S. politics, and I think they went into these negotiations very clear-eyed.  Foreign Minister Zarif, I liken him to the Kissinger, you know, of our times.  He is a great statesman and a superlative strategist.  The Iranians have gone into this negotiation very clear-eyed, without any mistaken wishful thinking that somehow Congress and the—particularly the pro-Israel lobby in Washington is going to embrace Iran.  They went into this knowing what they were getting into.  So I don’t think this is going to inhibit them in any way.

But they are certainly not going to—if there was any inclination to trust President Obama’s word or Secretary Kerry’s word, this letter certainly hurts that. They’re certainly not going to go down that road.  I think they’re going to be even more focused on getting international guarantees—for example, through a United Nations Security Council resolution, through increased relations and cooperation agreements with Russia and China.  Both the Russian and Chinese presidents will be visiting Iran this spring.  So, Foreign Minister Zarif and, I think, the Iranian leadership, in their foreign policy and national security councils, they’re focused on getting what they want, they have a plan, and they’re not going to let these kind of Washington politics derail them.

Amy Goodman:  Speaking Wednesday, Republican lawmakers defended their decision to sign the letter.  This is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Sen. Rand Paul:  So why do I sign this letter?  I sign this letter because I sign it to an administration that doesn’t listen, to an administration that, every turn, tries to go around Congress because you think you can’t get your way.  The president says, “Oh, the Congress won’t do what I want, so I’ve got to—I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got my phone.  I’m going to do what I want.”  The letter was to you.  The letter was to Iran, but it should have been cc’d to the White House, because the White House needs to understand that any agreement that removes or changes legislation will have to be passed by us.

Amy Goodman:  So, Hillary Mann Leverett, if you can respond to what Senator Rand Paul, one of the signatories to this letter—47 Republican senators signed this letter—has said?  And he’s particularly significant given that he could be a presidential contender in 2016.  And so, in Iran’s eyes, he could be a person, if he were to become president, who would do just what the Republicans are threatening, that somehow they would unsign the agreement.

Hillary Mann Leverett:  Yes, and also he has been somewhat of a different voice on the Republican side, certainly not someone who has been in lockstep with the neoconservatives here in Washington, something also that, when I was in Iran, was noticed.  They understand what goes on in terms of American politics and who’s who in terms of candidates here and what they stand for.  So it is particularly significant, this change, potentially, in Senator Paul’s position.

It’s also a little bit odd that you have Senator Paul not only lecturing—joining a letter to lecture Iran’s leaders, but now saying that in fact it should have been sent to the White House, where of course the president is not only a Harvard Law graduate but was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago.  And the last time I looked, you know, Senator Paul doesn’t have that kind of pedigree.

But even with that, I think what Senator Paul’s argument gets to, again, which is critically needed, is the administration has not made their case.  President Obama has, at most, said, “Well, this is 50-50,” as if it’s a take-it-or-leave-it proposition to get an agreement with Iran.  He has not made the case that we need it, in American interests, for a fundamentally different policy toward the Middle East that gets us off the trajectory for hegemony and dominance in the region, and instead allows a more natural balance of power in the region, where Iran can be a normal, strong state, to balance the reckless impulses of even some of our so-called allies, like the Saudis and even the Israelis.  That’s critically important, but President Obama has not made that case.  And so you’re seeing even someone like Senator Paul, who I think has had a more measured foreign policy approach than the neoconservatives in his party, come out to join this letter to demand, in a sense, that President Obama either make the case or come to Congress and let them do the foreign policy making.

Nermeen Shaikh:  Well, I want to turn to comments made by Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton, the senator who spearheaded the letter to Iran.  Just weeks into his first term in the Senate, he warned against a nuclear deal with Iran while speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Sen. Tom Cotton:  First, the goal of our policy must be clear:  regime change in Iran. We cannot and will not be safe as long as Islamist despots rule in Iran.  The policy of the United States should therefore be to support regime opponents and promote a constitutional government at peace with the United States, Israel and the world.  The United States should cease all appeasement, conciliation and concessions towards Iran, starting with the sham nuclear negotiations.  Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now, lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran.  But the end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action.  It is very much an intended consequence, a feature, not a bug, so to speak.  Third, congressional actions should start with crippling new sanctions against Iran.  These sanctions should be immediate.  They should not be contingent on further negotiations with Iran.  On the contrary, Iran is achieving, through slow motion, all that it might want in a final deal, exploiting the Obama administration’s desperation to keep the negotiations alive and for a deal, any deal.  It’s time for the responsible adults in both parties of Congress to stop this farce.

Nermeen Shaikh:  That was Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who led efforts to have this letter signed and sent to Iran, and authored it.  So, Ali Gharib, can you talk about who Tom Cotton is?  Your recent piece is called “Meet Tom Cotton, the Senator Behind the Republicans’ Letter to Iran.””

Ali Gharib:  Tom Cotton is himself a Harvard graduate and Harvard Law graduate, and he’s sort of gained conservative fame by calling in 2006 for James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times to be jailed for writing a story about how the U.S. tracks terrorism finances.  And this was a sort of a young guy who’d left law school and he’d joined the military and was at the time deployed in Iraq.  Now, that open letter that he wrote at the time—he’s a fan of the format—got the attention of Bill Kristol, who began meeting with Cotton when he was deployed stateside at Arlington National Cemetery in 2007.  And they would, you know, according to The Atlantic, frequently go out for drinks together.  And then, you know, over the next few years, they developed this relationship, years before Cotton entered politics.  Eventually, he was elected to the House in 2012, spent two years there before becoming a freshman senator and immediately making a splash by distinguishing himself as the most hawkish member of an incredibly hawkish body.

And this letter is basically par for the course for him.  It’s exactly what he’s trying to do, is end these—you know, you can just listen to Tom Cotton himself.  He’s trying to end these negotiations.  And he doesn’t quite say that the next step is military action, but it seems patently obvious that if you want U.S. policy to be regime change and you want them to have no nuclear program at all, there aren’t a lot of ways to accomplish that unless you’re going to attack them militarily.  And so, this is basically the pattern.  And it’s no surprise then that The Daily Beast reported that this letter was produced in conjunction with advice from Bill Kristol.  Bill Kristol is a guy who’s called for attacking Iran for years now; literally maybe eight years he’s been calling for it publicly.  And so, Tom Cotton has really been shepherded along.  Nermeen, as you mentioned, he took in a million bucks for his campaign in ad buys from the Emergency Committee for Israel.  These are exactly the type of neoconservative hawks who drove us into Iraq, and these are the people who have shepherded and really birthed Tom Cotton’s political career.  It’s not a surprise that he’s here doing what he’s doing.

Nermeen Shaikh:  So could you explain why these people and these institutions are opposed to reaching a nuclear deal with Iran?  What’s at stake?

Ali Gharib: Well, I think part of it is what Hillary was hinting at before, that there’s a balance of power in the region.  Especially a lot of these people are sort of ultra-pro-Israel hawks.  And there’s a balance of power that they don’t want to disrupt, where Israel maintains a sort of—its dominance over its part of the region.  And the Israeli hawks, especially Netanyahu, who’s in power now, but pretty much the broad spectrum of Israeli political opinion, is against any sort of détente with Iran. They think Iran should just be isolated and crippled, sort of along—

Amy Goodman:  No matter whether Netanyahu wins or loses next week in the Israeli election.

Ali Gharib:  Yeah, I mean, there’s broad consensus there that there’s—you know, it sort of ranges from a fear of any sort of nuclear deal to Iran to outright opposition to it.  There’s nobody there that—there’s nobody in the Israeli political system that’s making any sort of argument about Iran.  It’s not an election issue. People don’t talk about it, even the leader of the Zionist camp, Labor leader Bougie Herzog.  It just doesn’t—Iran doesn’t come up.  Everybody is sort of in step with Netanyahu on it.  They might say that his tactics are wrong, but not his strategy and his goals.

Amy Goodman:  Now, Bill Kristol is who said Iraq would be a cakewalk.  He was the early big supporter of Sarah Palin.

Ali Gharib:  Right, this is kind of his record, is the combination of disastrous and unnecessary foreign wars and pushing sort of clownish political candidates who will help him carry out this agenda.

Amy Goodman:  Now, Hillary Mann Leverett, can you talk about who is negotiating this deal—I mean, if you read the letter from the 47 senators, it looks as if this is a deal between the United States and Iran—but in fact who the countries are, and also, interestingly, that right now Iran is helping the Iraqi military defeat the so-called Islamic State?

Hillary Mann Leverett:  Yes, but if I can just come back to a point that you were just discussing with Ali that I think is very important in terms of the balance of power in the region, you know, in the 1980s, the Israelis were not at all concerned about Iran’s nuclear program.  They weren’t at all concerned about many of Iran’s other activities that they now profess concern about. In fact, in the 1980s, the United States wanted to impose sections on Iran for our concern about their connection to the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.  And the then Israeli government, in a live interview by the then Minister Ariel Sharon, said that Israel would oppose sanctions being—they would oppose sanctions being imposed on Iran.  That changes in 1990, not because of any change in Iranian behavior, but because the Iraqi military was essentially taken out after the invasion of Kuwait and the U.S. routing of Iraq from Kuwait.  Literally six months after that, in early 1992, you have the first visit to Washington by then Prime Minister Rabin, who’s considered more dovish than the current prime minister, Netanyahu, and it was then that Rabin started to raise concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and the prospect of sanctions.  And it was then, in 1995, that the United States first imposes its comprehensive economic embargo on Iran.  So I think it’s important to understand that even though Prime Minister Netanyahu’s rhetoric is very vitriolic, there is something deeper in terms of Israeli concerns about the rise of Iran in the region, that could check Israel’s, what I would call, reckless impulses vis-à-vis its neighbors.

With that said, I think the change in the balance of power is already happening in the region, and it’s something where, to me, it seems a bit underscored by the desperation in Netanyahu’s rhetoric and the desperation in the rhetoric of this letter by Senator Cotton.  The balance of power in the region has already changed, where you have Iran’s influence in Iraq is now being recognized as not a bad thing by the American general, Dempsey, yesterday before Congress.  Iran’s influence in countries as far afield from Iran as Yemen is now recognized and not seen as necessarily a bad thing.  Some in Washington would prefer there to be Iranian influence in Yemen than al-Qaeda controlling Yemen.  So there’s already a change in the regional balance of power, and around the world, that I think the United States is perhaps, in an unacknowledged way, going—accepting in some form.

That comes into play with the negotiations with Iran.  Even though they appear right now to be very focused on the U.S.-Iranian part, they do very much include the other members of the permanent—of the Security Council plus Germany.  And in the Security Council, I think two of the most important players on the Iran issue are Russia and China.  Now, they haven’t been very vocal in terms of what their demands are in the negotiations, but they’re going to be critically important for Iran going forward, not because of some military or nefarious reason, but because, particularly for China, as China is looking to, in a lot of ways, re-establish their Silk Road and balance against the U.S. encroachment toward them in East Asia by trying to re-establish this Silk Road, looking west into Central Asia and toward Iran, Iran is critically important.  And I think we’re going to see an historic visit by China’s President Xi to Iran in May.  So there certainly are a lot of other players, important players, here.  And I think Secretary Kerry, in some ways, is doing a good job trying to juggle all those pieces and re-orient the United States toward a fundamentally new world, where the balance of power in the Middle East is already changing, the balance of power around the world is already changing, and the United States must accommodate itself to that.

Amy Goodman:  And the U.S. being on the same side as Iran when it comes to the Islamic State?

Hillary Mann Leverett:  Yes.  I mean, you know, in a different balance of power, where the United States is not seeking hegemony and dominance in the Middle East, where we’re not seeking to impose political outcomes or regimes in these various countries, in that kind of scenario, where the United States is not seeking all-out dominance and hegemony, Iran has to be an important—not just an important player, but an important partner.  And, you know, I think American administrations have recognized that before.  They certainly recognized that under the Shah’s Iran.  But the Shah’s Iran was fundamentally unstable because it wasn’t representative.

What’s so important about Iran today as the Islamic Republic, that we, many in Washington, in particular, don’t like, but is so important, is that it is pursuing an independent foreign policy, and it has an indigenously created, and therefore much more legitimate, political order—with all its flaws.  It’s indigenously created, and therefore has an inherent legitimacy that a lot of the other political orders don’t.  The focus on foreign policy independence, it may sound counterintuitive, but that’s precisely what the United States needs.  We do not need, as Senator Cotton was advocating, yet another puppet government portending to carry forth American interests that are really contrary to America’s real interests, which would be for peace and stability in the region.

Amy Goodman:  We’re going to have to leave it there, but I thank you very much, Hillary Mann Leverett, for joining us—

Hillary Mann Leverett:  Thank you.

Amy Goodman:   —who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Clinton and Bush.  From 2001 to ’03, she was U.S. negotiator with Iran.  She’s co-author of the book Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran.  And thanks so much to Ali Gharib, who is the contributor to The Nation magazine.  We will link to your piece, “Meet Tom Cotton, the Senator Behind the Republicans’ Letter to Iran,” as well as your other articles on Iran.

As always, we encourage readers to post comments, Facebook likes, etc., both on this site and on the Democracy Now! Web site, http://www.democracynow.org./2015/3/12/ex_us_official_with_iran_letter.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

63 Responses to “GOP Senators’ Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei and the Strategic Imperative of U.S.-Iranian Realignment: Hillary Mann Leverett on Democracy Now!”

  1. Ataune says:

    Really great performance by Hillary Mann Leverett.

    The only, non-substantial, side note I have is that maybe she being harsher when commenting on Rand Paul antics would have better served her principled and US interest oriented approach. Although, I understand that she might think that her role there wasn’t to help the Republican side, by belittling a serious but not winnable contender among them on the next coming election.

  2. Castellio says:

    I thought you were great, Hillary. You are opening space for sanity in US foreign policy. You are making headway. Impressive work.

  3. Smith says:

    So in effect, Rand Paul is appealing to Iran for a regime change in United States. That’s cool. It must be a first (did confederates write any such letters?). Who could have seen this day, in 1953?

    But these jokers aside, I doubt, Obama did not know about this letter in advance while did nothing to kill it before it became public. There is more meaning in this than the letter itself.

    A legal justification and precedent has been made to give US maneuvering space. The rest is just a clown show.

  4. kooshy says:

    The fact of the matter is that Iranian leadership and Ayatollah Khamenei in particular are getting too much official correspondence from US officials recently. One wonders why and why now, but more importantly Americans should first decide among themselves who is to represent America so Iranians and the other 5 nations who are negotiating with Iran, know if the American representative have been qualified to represent the US.

    Now the Zio Smith wants us to think this is all intentional, so even if it is, Iranians thank you, nice job like attacking Iraq really thank you and your shit hole lobby for another nice fuck up in Iran’s advantage. Nice try, BUT, no need to say more

  5. Jay says:

    Senator Cotton is a protege of neocons like Crystal – not an intelligent protege though! He was introduced to Adelson and the gang because he agreed to carry water for them. These enlightened (!) folks are so intellectually challenged that they actually think the Iranian leadership is going to take this letter to mean anything.

    We all know that the US commitments on paper or otherwise is entirely meaningless. Iran is not negotiating in the hopes of getting the US to change policy. Iran is negotiating in order to improve trade ties with the rest of the world by weakening sanctions. There is no illusion, and Mr. Cotton did not say anything Iranians did not know. The US has not honored any commitment, written or otherwise, for decades. Not to Iran, not to any other country. It did not honor commitments to the American Indians and the history has changed little. And, don’t give examples of subservient countries like UK because that does not count – they are already being run by the same group that runs the US.

    What the letter by the great collective intellect of 47 did is to bring into open the cynical game played the US for the rest of the world to see. Iran already knew.

  6. Rehmat says:

    On Wednesday, America’s top gun, Gen. Martin Dempsey, informed the members of AIPAC-controlled US Senate that Iranian trained Iraqi militia has helped the US-trained Iraqi forces to force ISIS out of most of Iraq. Dempsey lamented that ISIS is no match to Iraqi Shi’ite militia, Popular Mobilization Forces, mostly trained by Iranian officers.

    Dempsey said the US is confident the Iraqi forces supported by Shi’ite militia will defeat ISIS in Tikrit, the hometown of Ba’athist leader Saddam Hussein, an old western ally against the Islamic regime in Tehran. The US and its ME allies funded and armed Iraqi Ba’athist army to wage an 8-year war against Iran in the 1980s.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/03/13/gen-dempsey-isis-is-defeated-in-iraq/

  7. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “What happens when you are weak:”

    That was then, how about now?

    “Suffice it to say, contrary to doomsday predictions of a divided house, an extraordinary degree of unity is evident today within the Iranian regime on the imperatives of the forthcoming nuclear deal. Zarif personally briefed the Assembly of Experts yesterday regarding the status of the negotiations over the nuclear deal. In all respects, it is a poignant moment for the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Thirty-five years of siege is being lifted shortly. “

    The fact that IRI has been able to bring US into direct negotiations after 35 years, regardless of the outcome, in place of bring in wars, ruin and destruction. Despite all the pressures sticking to international norms (unlike US) and avoiding confrontation in the face of assaults, murder, etc.. not leaving NPT, not building the bomb. Is there a conclusion to draw?

    And you have to hand it to Ay. Khamenei, identifying the ‘zionist clawn’!!!

    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2015/03/13/iran-prepares-for-victory-lap/

  8. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    March 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

    You are quite correct that the negotiations have been a triumph of Iranian diplomacy as well as strategic endurance in face of 5 years of economic warfare that aimed to eviscerate the cohesion of Iranian society.

    Whether we will see an agreement or not, I cannot predict.

    But Iran’s irreversible integration with West is not going to happen – you cannot destroy a prior 300-year long integration and then go back to it after the hostilities have ceased.

  9. Sammy says:

    Rd. says:
    March 13, 2015 at 9:49 am
    Re. your linked article

    Thus we can expect Xi Jinping , Putin, Modi , and Shinzo Abe visting Iran soon.
    If God forbid, Merkel, Holland, Cameron plan to come, many Iranians will certainly have dozens of eggs ready ‘welcoming’ them at Mehrabad Airport…

  10. yk says:

    In believe this article is relevant to the ongoing topic even though it’s old but the emphasis is that I realise some are given less regard than is due to the IRI government.
    http://iranfrontpage.com/news/politics/security/2014/10/two-key-capital-owners-whose-biggest-asset-trust-nation/

  11. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “But Iran’s irreversible integration with West is not going to happen “

    completely agree that west is a waste.. and their agreement isn’t worth a piece of paper toilet. That much is given. Perhaps the audience (agreement) here is intended to be the rest of the planet and US is just the puppet needed to play the negotiations act. Given the ‘mad king’ syndrome, the US/west have become a virus to humanity. Best to let it live its life(hegemony) to its natural end. Why exhaust yourself fighting it, when it is destroying its own resources and energy from within.

    On the domestic side, I am well aware of ‘some’ of the short comings facing many issues from economy to management, attitudes etc.. some of which can be attributed as “cultural” issues, as you/others have pointed out. On balance it seems an epic endeavor in just over a generation, where it could have resulted just as another Pakistan, or Egypt or Turkey, where it has now found its own true heart. On a monday morning preview, perhaps one can point out to various issues where if it was approached differently, one could have expected a presumed better outcome. Nonetheless this generation have accomplished their deed and laid the foundation now it is upon the next to carry the torch. And for all their accomplishments, I can only be grateful (which is nothing) compared to all the blood and heart break they have been enduring for the last 35 years or so. I can only hope for whats left of these eyes can see the home once more.

  12. yk says:

    An astute observe of Washington’s way of getting things done (which I believe Iran is) over the year would realise that what Iran aim to achieve from these negotiations is to break the sanctions regime and create a wedge between the major powers from enacting such in the future.

    But I don’t think the Europeans as part of this strategic calculus because EU as completely become US lapdog and when Washington says jump they will.

  13. Karl.. says:

    One wonder what the skinny Tom Cotton did as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving coffee in the bunker complex?

    But sure, if Republicans breach the deal, so can Iran in response.

  14. fyi says:

    yk says:

    March 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

    EU’s role was much worse; they were the architects of the economic war against Iran – very cleverly trying to induce hyper-inflation in Iran while – among other things – trying to disrupt truck transportation in Iran.

    And they openly discussed that – expecting Iran to crash and burn.

    It was the fact that Iranians could endure the siege war that brought US & EU to the table – their only alternative was to put 5 million men under arms and to attack and try to occupy Iran for 2 or 3 generations.

    India also was not there in Iran’s hour of need – not under Congress and not under BJP.

    They should be considered only in a transactional manner – I mean, Mr. Modi has time to visit Maldives but not Iran!

  15. kooshy says:

    Very soon Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and other Iranian regional neighbors will need to start rebuilding their infrastructures. One no need to guess who would be more trusted, economically marketable, technically and industrially capable and plan financing to start rebuilding these countries and communities> IMO Iran’s 36 years of good neighborly and humanly behavior especially with regard to Sunnis has elevated Iran’s position to get a big share of this market in future. Right Now Iran is the biggest cement exporter and producer in her region.

  16. James Canning says:

    Tom Cotton, the foolish senator from Oklahoma, clearly sees political advantage in serving as a stooge of rich campaign donors who want the Palestinians to get out of occupied Palestine.

  17. kooshy says:

    Another ineffective, lost and burned out opposition figure of an unfriendly country to US and Israel dies mysteriously like the recent ones in Russia or Argentina, Umm!!!!!
    My be these dead opposition figures are told by our good CIA guys not to worry if you lose popularity and lose your political effectivity you can still be useful to the cause.
    May be our good guys know the sensation of seeing the dead bodies can help turn around and get them the votes they couldn’t get when they were alive, kind of making them become effective after their death, one can think this is kind of resurrection for American agenda where ever we one can find a country that finds it nice to be a little independent from American hegemony.

    If I were one of Iranian opposition figures likes of Khatami, Mossavi, and Karubi I would be very careful who I see and where I go, and I would beg the Iranian government for more protection if they don’t plan to be the CIA sensational victim for hope destabilizing Iran.

  18. kooshy says:

    Gav are you OK
    At least 20% of Cotton is from Arkansas, but for sure his ass belongs to Crystal, and the rest goes to Singer

  19. Karl.. says:

    kooshy
    March 13, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Who have died?

  20. kooshy says:

    Sorry missed the link

    “Rodolfo Gonzalez, imprisoned since April 2014 for crimes related to anti-government protests, was found dead in a detention center in Caracas, his daughter said Friday.Venezuelan opposition activist found dead in prison”

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2015/03/13/venezuelan-opposition-activist-found-dead-in-prison/

  21. yk says:

    Kooshy
    Now if the pseudo-oppositions in any anti-imperialist country have any intellect left in them they should realise that now is the time to bailout on US or the next thing will be their dead body serving the purpose their existence couldn’t achieve. Either way I’ve got no pity for a fifth columnists whatever happened to them they bargain with the devil and I believe the world can only be a better place without such treasonous fellows.

  22. Kooshy says:

    Karl.. says:
    March 13, 2015 at 11:50 am
    “One wonder what the skinny Tom Cotton did as a soldier in Iraq and ….”

    Can’t expect to get a better stock from a mercenary service, is no different in quality of people hired to go and fight unjustified US wars than the guys Qatar hires from Europe and Africa to do her fighting as army of ISIL in Iraq and Syria . They are the same shit inhuman mercenaries. So these guys when come back they have a military credential record which great for getting the redneck vote in the poor(est) estates like Arkansas

    If one like this AH has the potential and credentials all he needs is a middle man like Kristol to pay and finance your campaign basically getting hired by his financiers for their political gold not his constituencies.

    Americans must stop this if they can pass a law that makes this a criminal act by both side including the lobbies unfortunately Europe has fallen to this phenomenon as well.
    http://www.lobelog.com/omg-cotton-is-kristols-protege/

  23. Kooshy says:

    Russian president Putin has not been in or scheduled a public event for one week, yet the western press and their paymasters can’t restrain themselves from a hope guess and a joy that he could possibly be dead or in his death bed. This propaganda AHoles were giving the same false hope on ayatollah Khamenie to their readers a few days back.

    I guess if you can’t get a regime change the next best thing would be, dream of one.

    Vladimir Putin Emerges — Or Does He? — Following Long Absence
    ABC News
    Settle down, everyone, the Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin is alive. The Russian government released photographs this morning of the strongman meeting with the head of the country’s supreme court.

  24. Kooshy says:

    yK

    Yap, before signing up to be on board with CIA on color revolutions and regime change one must think what “kind of”price he or she will end up to pay if the efforts is not successful, specially if the empire has coughed up 5 billion for one, like Victoria no Secret said she had spent on Ukraine, if that had failed could you imagine where Yatz would have been by now. For sure we all were told Putin had killed him.

  25. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Cordesman on Iraq and Syria

    http://csis.org/publication/real-strategic-goal-iraq-and-syria-how-do-you-bring-lasting-stability

    We read:

    “Neither side (in US) has advanced a … plan that … goes beyond competing approaches to the use of force. … have ignored the need to provide some clear path to lasting stability—or … that goes beyond the usual vacuous political statement of noble intentions. There are no real plans for a meaningful post-conflict outcome”

    So US basically plans on indefinite war in Syria and in Iraq.

    The side that can articulate a credible and believable vision of the end of war will prevail.

    US and EU cannot; it is left to the Shia Crescent to do so.

  26. Kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    March 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm
    All:

    Dr. Cordesman on Iraq and Syria

    There is no such thing as inconclusive or continual war, all wars will end usually at the disadvantage of aggressor, like all US recent wars have concluded, including Iraq.

    Only zio-centric and Israeli firsters like Cordesman and yourself can live on a false and a fantasy hope that US will stay there and pay the full price for ever so your occupied fantasy land can survive. That will not happen, as all can see US is getting more and more uneasy to pay with blood and money to finance some Zionist dream at not only no strategic rewards “any longer” but rather more and more with an unbearable strategic cost. Did you bother to listen to the Hilary’s video above. before posting a link to your’ and Cordesman’ hopes.

  27. Dan Cooper says:

    Farrakhan: Netanyahu Aims Drive U.S. to War With Iran

    Must Watch – Video

    “I know what America is. America is something that can be moved easily”. Israeli PM Netanyahu.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41202.htm

  28. fyi says:

    All:

    Details of US sanction against Iran:

    http://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R43311.pdf

  29. kooshy says:

    Hillary we agree on this point, can’t just for weeks and weeks talk on number of centrifuges

    Is Obama’s Iran overture like Nixon’s opening to China?

    Leverett thinks that Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Zarif — whom she calls the Kissinger of our time — must be touching on non-nuclear strategic issues just as Kissinger and Zhou did.

    “Kerry has been spending lot of time with Zarif,” she said. “I’d be shocked if they had spent all these hours over the number of centrifuges.”

    That’s exactly what worries Republicans in Congress, many of whom pressed Kerry in a hearing Wednesday.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/is-obamas-iran-overture-like-nixons-opening-to-china/2015/03/13/09d5ff98-c7fd-11e4-a199-6cb5e63819d2_story.html

  30. M. Ali says:

    I guess the big difference between USA/China & USA/Iran is the narrative. As the Leverrets have said, Obama hasn’t sold the public on it. The only reason for the negotiations seem to be, as per Obama’s administrator, that this is the best way to restraint Iran, the big bad guy, from being a danger to everyone.

    Obama has never made the case of a good relationship with Iran being in America’s best interest.

  31. Karl.. says:

    M Ali

    Right on the money, the big problem is that there is no deal to settle everything period between Iran/US. In priciple – the anti-iran politics will live on no matter what.

  32. yk says:

    M. Ali, Karl
    I concur with your assessments, but please correct me if am wrong I think the ideological differences between the two are irreconcilable. If you look at the stated goals of the Islamic revolution in Iran and the capitalist cum imperialistic behavior of the America administration I believe for there to be a total reconciliation one of the two would have to surrender. I think America was forced to accommodate China when it felt the Chinese could not be defeated militarily or through economic isolation.

  33. Karl.. says:

    yk

    I agree but I also think that both can be pragmatic if they really see a win in such a deal.
    Big issue is rather Israel that will keep “deciding” what US should do on Iran. Especially if Netanyahu win again in the election.

  34. kooshy says:

    IMO there are circumstantial differences between the two detente declarations, what was signed and agreed to in 1972 was an urgent necessity for US, US had lost the VN war and needed to get out so simply was giving all kind of concessions to China in lieu of leaving VN easily more importantly she MOST wanted the power vacuum to be filled with China instead of USSR. We have similar circumstances with regard to US mess in ME, but we don’t have a big bad USSR (Although one is in the making) so she is not conceding as much. Any way even after the 72 detente with china it took US almost 20 years to end hostilities, one can’t forget Tiananmen Square protests (1979, when practically no longer there was no more USSR) which realistically was the first of modern era Color Revolutions, it was after failure of that color revolution (Clinton’s Admin.) that west was convinced cannot change china so the instead they thought the best way is to start expanding and investing in China’s manufacturing capability. The point is even after the 1972 détente the hostilities and regime change was pursued and was desired till twenty years after.

  35. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Richard Nixon knew that the Soviet Union would be the user of the vastly expensive American bases being built in South Vietnam even as the US was getting ready to pull out.

  36. Karl.. says:

    It never ends does it?

    WaPo: ‘War with Iran is the best option’
    http://theplazz.com/2015/03/3434313/

  37. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    March 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    The author is a Jewish Champion of Israel and has been agitating for US war against Iran since 2005 or even earlier.

  38. thecelticwithinme says:

    What’s most critically important in this whole situation is to listen to what is not being said.

  39. kathleen says:

    As is always the case with Hillary and what she shares about U.S. relationship with Iran and ongoing negotiations a great interview….sharing

    Hope folks still sign this and share also
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/file-charges-against-47-us-senators-violation-logan-act-attempting-undermine-nuclear-agreement/NKQnpJS9

  40. Jay says:

    Neocon friends of Mr. Netanyahu are in a panic – so, Iran is a good distraction for them. Unfortunately, it is not working as well they had hoped.

    UK is too busy with internal economic and social problems – for example, “Pedophilia in Britain ‘woven into the fabric of society’ – Theresa May” – they will do whatever the US tells them to do.

    US has found her position increasingly untenable in the M.E. and is busy on the China and Russia front.

    France simply wants the deals she had with Iran before sanctions.

    Russia and China see a short term opportunity – they will go along.

    Iran will accept a tactical deal to change the short term dynamics to her favor, but there is no long-term Iran-US rapprochement in the cards.

  41. Rehmat says:

    @ James Canning – Have a break!!

    What’s wrong in Russian using US built military bases when Israel is using US built military bases in Azerbaijan against Iran – or US built bases in Israel being used by Jewish army against Syria and Lebanon?

  42. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I did not even suggest there was something “wrong” with the use of American-built military and naval bases in South Vietnam, by the Soviet Union, after the collapse of South Vietnam and the reunification of the country.

    My point was this: Richard Nixon KNEW the Soviet Union would be the country that would be using the hugely-expensive bases being built by the Americans, AT THE TIME THOSE BASES WERE UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

  43. Sammy says:

    This one for James Canning :

    ‘Pedophilia in Britain ‘woven into the fabric of society’ – Theresa May’

    http://rt.com/uk/240777-uk-sex-children-may/

    “As the UK has launched a new-judge led inquiry panel to investigate a pedophile ring operated in 1980s, the Home Secretary warns the allegations are just a “tip of an iceberg” and the problem is “woven, covertly, into the fabric of our society.”

    Following a spate of allegations concerning the abuse of children by adults, many of who abused their positions of power and status, Home Secretary Theresa May said Britons still do not appreciate the “true scale of that abuse.”

    Writing in the Telegraph, May warned that the investigation into predators of children will “lead into our schools and hospitals, our churches, our youth clubs and many other institutions that should have been places of safety…” …

  44. fyi says:

    Sammy says:

    March 16, 2015 at 5:42 am

    It is very much worse in Afghanistan.

  45. kooshy says:

    So much for Pakistan attacking Iran scare mongering by our own Zio and his company on this site a while back.

    “Pakistan declines to join Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iran alliance”

    Saudi Arabia’s campaign to build a broad Sunni alliance to contain Iran has apparently suffered at least a setback from Pakistan. Islamabad has opted, at least for now, to avoid becoming entangled in the sectarian cold war between Riyadh and Tehran.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/saudi-pakistan-yemen-taliban-iran-sunni-salman.html##ixzz3UYMzrvB3

  46. James Canning says:

    Sammy,

    Are you obsessed with sex?

  47. Karl.. says:

    James

    Well alot of people in the UK seems obsessed with immoral sex practices, thats for sure.

    Maybe its a reminder,- you, that have steretotyped blacks and muslims some weeks ago, how does it feel when someone sterotype the british people as pedophilies or a land filled with unproportionate sum of pedophilies?

  48. kooshy says:

    Can anybody tell me how and where my New Ottoman friend Erdogan is?,
    This is how easy one will be thrown under the buss when a client becomes useless or a burden like Mr. Nat&Yaboo, Erdogan, and various other US western and Arab clients feel.
    I wonder why nobody on this site hasn’t expand and discuss on this new important regional development?
    Gav how about it do you think your Arab clients would go for this or have any choice?

    “Kerry’s remarks

    On Sunday, Kerry (pictured below) said Washington should finally negotiate with Assad to reach an agreement over the country’s conflict.”
    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/03/16/402104/Syria-is-waiting-for-US-action-Assad

  49. kooshy says:

    Things/Stuff (US policy in ME) are changing Fast,

    “US intel. scraps Iran, Hezbollah from terrorist threats list

    The US National Intelligence has removed Iran and the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, from its list of “terrorist threats.”

    US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper scrapped Iran and Hezbollah from the list in an annual report recently delivered to the US Senate, citing their efforts in fighting terrorists, including the ISIL Takfiri group.”
    http://goingtotehran.com/gop-senators-letter-to-ayatollah-khamenei-and-the-strategic-imperative-of-u-s-iranian-realignment-hillary-mann-leverett-on-democracy-now#comment-80608

  50. paul says:

    It is very kind towards Obama to say that he hasn’t made the case for rapprochement with Iran. In fact, he’s worked hard to make the opposite case, to demonize Iran.

  51. Kathleen says:

    You have to wonder if Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif would consider being compared to Kissenger as a compliment. Yikes

    What a turn around to hear Kerry saying that the Obama administration etc want to negotiate now with Assad. How many years ago did the Leveretts write saying that the Obama administration and the rest of the world should sit down at the table with Assad and discuss the power sharing deal that Assad was offering. How many thousands of Syrians would be alive today. How many Syrian refugees would still be in their homes if the U.S. had not kept saying “Assad has to go.” They said this over and over again. So sad

  52. Kathleen says:

    You have to wonder if Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif would consider being compared to Kissenger as a compliment. Yikes

    What a turn around to hear Kerry saying that the Obama administration etc want to negotiate now with Assad. How many years ago did the Leveretts write saying that the Obama administration and the rest of the world should sit down at the table with Assad and discuss the power sharing deal that Assad was offering. How many thousands of Syrians would be alive today. How many Syrian refugees would still be in their homes if the U.S. had not kept saying “Assad has to go.” They said this over and over again. So sad

  53. fyi says:

    Kathleen says:

    March 16, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Yes, I agree, Dr. Kissinger’s advice and observations are not relevant. He has insisted, since his doctorial theses, on applying European historical development as the normative of inter-state politics outside of the areas of the Western Civilization.

    The late Machiavelli is much more relevant, or the historical interactions among such imperial powers as the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empires etc.

    Axis Powers initiated the economic wars against Iran and Syria and worked with the Persian Gulf Arabs to destroy Syrian Ba’ath government. After 5 years, they failed to destroy those 2 states and got a new state – ISIS – which is a threat to all states in the Near East except Iran and Israel.

    The oil-wells of Persian Gulf – in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar – are now within range of ISIS; a hostile force. And the only military force standing between ISIS and those oil-wells are the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Axis Powers proposed to destroy Iran and Syria, constrain the Russian Federation, and move East to be ready for a more powerful China.

    The peasants in UK rebelled against war with Syria, the French & German Dukes rebelled against the Mad King’s provocation in Ukraine, and now even the Mad King has finally decided to sign an armistice with Iran and later with Syria.

    The illogic of waste, the stupidity and venality all these policies, and the human carnage left in their wake is truly stupefying.

    And what is there to show for all of that?

    Nothing.

  54. Karl.. says:

    On Syria, dont forget Flynt’s book released some years ago:
    http://www.amazon.com/Inheriting-Syria-Bashars-Trial-Fire/dp/0815752040/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426605326&sr=1-3

    Released on Brookings, but still very on point to this day.

  55. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    I have said many times the effort to overthrow the Syrian government was an appalling blunder. Many times.

  56. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    I have also said that I saw the effort to overthrow Bashar al-Assad as part of a scheme promoted by people hoping it would enable Israel to keep the Golan Heights.

  57. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I do not view the issue of “sexual deviancy” as playing much of a role in foreign affairs.

    I find it a bit odd that you seem to object to any comments suggesting that the high rate of “single motherhood” in the “black” community in the US is a very large problem

  58. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Another of your White racist statement, I guess.

    There are more “single mothers, hookers, Lesbians and battered girlfriends” among American Whites and Jews than Afro-Americans. United States is home to over 28 million-strong LGBT community, mostly “friendly” toward the Zionist entity.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/08/09/schulman-gay-rights-movement-is-jewish/

  59. Rehmat says:

    Lt. Gen. James Clapper, the director of US National Security shocked the AIPAC-controlled Senate by presenting the annual security assessment report late last month. The report, for the first time in a decade, has dropped both Islamic Republic of Iran and the Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah as threat to American interests in the region.

    In 2014 report, James Clapper had classified both Iran and Hizbullah being the sponsor of terrorist activities against America’s regional allies particularly Israel. Interestingly, Israel is well-known for supporting anti-Iran terrorist groups like MEK, Kurd rebels, and the Baloch terrorist group Jundallah. In addition to that, Israeli Mossad assassinated at least five Iranian nuclear scientists during the last few years. In contrast, Iranians have not been accused of killing a single Israeli dog.

    This is something, the non-Zionist American scholars, historians and even FBI have been saying since 9/11 that Israel and Jewish extremists carried more terrorism against the United States than Muslim extremists.

    James Clapper is no ‘antisemite’. In fact as George Bush’s senior national security adviser he tried his best to provide cover for Israeli involvement in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and other places. Later, he even lied to the so-called 9/11 Commission. In September 2013, 9/11 Commission co-chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane demanded that James Clapper should be indicted on charges of perjury for saying his (NSA) agency was not spying on Americans.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/03/17/us-iran-and-hizbullah-are-not-terrorists/

  60. Karl.. says:

    James

    I do not view the issue of “sexual deviancy” as playing much of a role in foreign affairs.

    Who said it does? It was a reminder to you about your stereotypes. Apparently you feel uneasy about the pedophile coverage so the point was obviously taken by you. End of discussion.

  61. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Do you regard Bill Cosby as a “racist”, for saying time and time again that too many single “black” women produce too many children? “Single” motherhood by poor, undereducated women is obviously a problem, no matter what “race”.

  62. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    You were the person who indicated a wish that more violent crimes would be committed by Muslims in Britain, to punish the UK for foreign policy decisions made by William Hague and David Cameron. You seem to have forgotten.