Iran’s Insistence That the U.S. Not “Point a Gun” at it is a Diplomatic Opening Not a Rejection


The Obama Administration will be making a big mistake if it interprets Iran’s insistence that the U.S. not “point a gun” at it as a rejection of serious diplomacy.  Appearing on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story to discuss “US and Iran:  Can Talks Take Place?” (click here or on the embedded video above), Flynt pushed back against the mainstream narrative about Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei’s statement on bilateral negotiations, see here, with the United States last week.  Flynt explained,

It is actually incorrect to say that the Supreme Leader rebuffed bilateral negotiations with the United States.  If you look at his record—he’s been Supreme Leader for 23 years; for eight years before that he was the Islamic Republic’s elected president.  He has a very long record.  Throughout his tenure in public life, he has said that the Islamic Republic would be open to improved relations with the United States, would even welcome that—but that this would only be possible on the basis of mutual respect and with the United States accepting the Islamic Republic as a legitimate order representing legitimate national interests.

It is simply incoherent and ineffective for the United States to think it’s going to be able to get into negotiations while it is continuing to conduct economic warfare, cyber warfare, and basically say it wants to see regime change in Tehran.  This is not going to work, and if we stay on this path, it’s ultimately going to lead to another U.S.-initiated war in the region.”

Though some assert that President Obama offered Iran “negotiations based on mutual respect” in his March 2009 Nowruz message, Flynt recounted,

“Two days after Obama’s video for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, the Supreme Leader, in his own annual Nowruz speech, addressed this video.  And he said, we have this long litany of grievance against the United States.  But this is a new administration; we have no experience with this administration.  President Obama says he wants change, he wants better relations; that’s good.  And I say to him, if he changes his policies toward Iran, we will change, too.  And from an Iranian perspective, they have been waiting for some sign, in terms of policy, that this administration is really serious about improved relations.  And instead, the policy, from an Iranian perspective—on sanctions, on cyber warfare, on covert ops, all of this stuff—has gotten worse.

If you want to know what serious diplomacy would look like, look what Richard Nixon did toward China after he came to office, knowing that it was strategically vital for the United States to open a door to this rising regional power.  Nixon ordered the CIA to stand down from covert operations in Tibet.  He ordered the Seventh Fleet to stop aggressive patrolling in the Taiwan Strait.  He did this so when he actually reached out to the Chinese leadership, they would know he was serious.  The Iranian leadership is looking for something like that from Obama, and they have never gotten it.”

Flynt also took on facile claims that both sides are too bound up with their own domestic politics and internal conflicts to make much diplomatic progress with one another:

“I certainly acknowledge that there is a a lot of politics in Iran, including over its foreign policy.  But I think if you look at the record, the Islamic Republic has shown itself, on multiple occasions over the last quarter century, of being able to cooperate effectively with the United States on issues where there was some common overlap, and it has frequently expressed an interest in building on that, to try and build a different sort of strategic relationship.  Each time it has been the United States that pulls the plug on that tactical cooperation, even though the Iranians have been delivering in it

On the American side—and I say this as an American—I think what’s really important is, What is America’s interest here?  We may not like to face this reality, but the reality is that, in relative terms, the United States is a power in decline in the Middle East; the Islamic Republic of Iran is a rising power.  At this point, the United States can’t achieve any of its objectives in the Middle East absent a better and more productive relationship with Iran.

But instead of dealing with that reality, the Obama administration—like the George W. Bush and the Clinton administrations before it—pursues a counterproductive search for dominance in the region, where it can micromanage political outcomes, where its ally Israel has an almost absolute freedom of unilateral military advantage.  That strategy is not working for the United States; the United States is getting weaker as it continues to pursue this strategy, and we need to realize what is in our interest and realign our relations with Iran, just as thoroughly as we realigned our relations with the People’s Republic of China in the early 1970s.”

In discussing the possibilities and requirements for diplomatic progress, Flynt disputed descriptions of the nuclear issue as exceptionally complex and contentious:

The nuclear issue is very simple.  If the United States would recognize Iran’s right to safeguarded enrichment, you could negotiate a deal on the nuclear issue in a matter of weeks.  But the administration won’t do that.

In this context, Flynt also disputed characterizations of the Obama administration’s October 2009 proposal for a “fuel swap” deal to refuel the Tehran Research Reactor as containing an implicit recognition of Iran’s right to enrich:  “The October 2009 deal did not recognize Iran’s right to enrich.  That’s why it was a bad deal; that’s why the Leader rejected it.  A few months later, Iran agreed to every single condition that the administration had laid out, in a document that it negotiated with Brazil and Turkey.  But that document said Iran also has a right to enrich.  And it’s the Obama administration that rejected that deal.”

The Obama administration is coming very close to discrediting engagement as a vastly superior alternative to war with Iran.  As the administration prepares for the next round of   nuclear talks in Kazakhstan later this month, President Obama and his national security team should treat Khamenei’s statement laying out what is necessary for serious negotiations, see here, as the important diplomatic opening that it is.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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69 Responses to “Iran’s Insistence That the U.S. Not “Point a Gun” at it is a Diplomatic Opening Not a Rejection”

  1. Fiorangela says:

    “Pentagon Goes On The Offensive Against Cyberattacks”
    by Tom Gjelten
    February 11, 2013

    http://www.npr.org/2013/02/11/171677247/pentagon-goes-on-the-offensive-against-cyber-attacks

    (read the title again: “goes on offensive AGAINST …” )

    -US recently increased its cyber warfare personnel from 900 to 5000

    “Those assurances are deceptive. Behind the scenes, U.S. commanders are committing vast resources and large numbers of military personnel to planning offensive cyberattacks and, in at least some cases, actually carrying them out. But the secrecy surrounding offensive cyberwar planning means there has been almost no public discussion or debate over the legal, ethical and practical issues raised by waging war in cyberspace.

    Offensive cyberattacks carried out by the United States could set precedents other countries would follow. The rules of engagement for cyberwar are not yet clearly defined. And the lack of regulation concerning the development of cyberweapons could lead to a proliferation of lethal attack tools — and even to the possibility that such weapons could fall into the hands of unfriendly states, criminal organizations and even terrorist groups.”

    and

    “”It might happen that we will use them as an adjunct to kinetic,” Healey says, “but it’s quite clear that we’re using [cyber] quite a bit more freely.”

    The best example of an offensive cyberattack independent of a kinetic operation would be Stuxnet, the cyberweapon secretly used to damage nuclear installations in Iran. A U.S. official has privately confirmed to NPR what the New York Times reported last summer — that the United States had a role in developing Stuxnet.

    Because the operation has been shrouded in secrecy, however, there has been no public discussion about the pros and cons of using a cyberweapon in the way Stuxnet was used.

    Among the top concerns is that other countries, seeing Stuxnet apparently used by the United States and Israel, might conclude that they would also be justified in carrying out a cyberattack. The British author Misha Glenny, writing in the Financial Times, argued that the deployment of Stuxnet may be seen “as a starting gun; countries around the world can now argue that it is legitimate to use malware pre-emptively against their enemies.”

    Another concern is that the malicious software code in Stuxnet, instructing computers to order Iranian centrifuges to spin out of control, could be modified and used against U.S. infrastructure assets.

    “Now that technology is out there,” cautions Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “People are taking a look at it. We are just a few lines of code away from someone else getting closer to a very sophisticated piece of malware that they either wittingly or unwittingly unleash across the world [and cause] huge, huge damage.”

    The absence of debate over the pros and cons of using cyberweapons is in sharp contrast to the discussion of nuclear weapons. The United States has adopted a “declaratory policy” regarding why it has nuclear weapons and when it would be justified to use them. There is nothing comparable for the cyberweapon arsenal.

    Rep. Rogers says such gaps in military doctrine and strategy indicate that developments on the cyberwar front are getting ahead of U.S. thinking about cyberwar.”
    -

  2. Smith says:

    Shapour says:
    February 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    You do not know what you are talking about. When some one is not trained in a discipline of science then his/her opinions are trash about technicalities of that particular discipline. Statistics is a scientific field and unless you are not educated in it, your views on its accuracy are useless. These kind of polls use mathematical models to filter out “fear factor” and use data variation and comparison as per statistical models to reach pretty accurate results.

    The recent poll from Iran had an error margin of 3.8% with 95% confidence. Your argument on the other hand not only is completely unscientific and unproven but it has not declared its error margin with any measure of certainty. Next time when you try to opine on a scientifically measured study, please apply the scientific peer review principles in your objection to it or your objection immediately becomes idiotic as an illiterate layman rejecting the latest astrophysics experiment based on his “gut” feeling. And we do talk about politics on the phone and if you do not do, maybe it is because of your panphobia. And you already know what you should do about. By the way the phones are monitored in the “free” world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8Gfv12tDow

  3. M. Ali says:

    This is for Masoud & Persian Gulf in regards to the discussion of the President & Head of Majlis disagreements,

    Dear PG, did you listen to the full speech Ahmadenijad made in the majlis, or did you make up your mind on the snippets in the news?

    Ahmadenijad explained his position very well, and if you listen to the speech, when he talks about the tape, its interesting the reaction of the oppositions. They scream and shout their heads off, like a bunch of maniac. Why? Aren’t the Parliament members supposed to encourage honesty and openness? Or are they annoyed that there is a high politician that is ready to break all established rules of conducts, which is, lets do all our deals behind the curtains and smile and grin for the public? Which is what is happening in most countries? Where opposition between parties is just a show, and once the cameras are switched off, they sit together and make their deals.

    This is how it is always done, and we, as the public, should be thrilled that someone is breaking this.

    And listen to the shouts and screams and insults, as if Ahmadenijad is doing something extremely radical and crazy, like he is taking out his penis or something. Imagine now the pressure Ahmadenijad is in his daily life which prevents him to run a more open administration. Imagine that whenever he wants to reveal some things, the gigantic amount of pressure from every corner on him pleading or threatening him to be quiet, and not by people who are involved in the case, but people not connected at all to it. Because the politicians don’t want Ahmadenijad not to talk about them, but they want Ahmadenijad not to talk about ANY politicians, because they know eventually, if this becomes the norm, one day, it will come back to bite them on the ass.

    This is the biggest problem we are facing now. Very few politicians in any country challenges this status quo, but Ahmadenijad has been doing it in his terms.

    What path the political system could go, if this was changed, if every politician would be scared to make deals because he might be afraid of it being showcased.

    Remember, the alternative path that Ahmadenijad could take would be much, much easier on him. He was populary voted in, and he had the Majlis and the Basij and the Old Gaurd all behind him. All he had to do was give lip service to everyone, make deals with the elites, allow some Reformist Vs Principalist “disagreements” in front of the cameras, and make billions of money on the sidelines. There would be no internal pressure on Ahmadenijad, and he could run his term in peace and quiet.

    But instead, he took the more difficult path, alienating himself from many of the old gaurds, because he wanted to shake the system. Ahmadenijad has been more of a reformists than any reformist could ever dream of. Whether his admin remains or not is of no importance, because the changes he has brought to the political system can’t be turned back.

    For example, take the corruption of the 3 billion dollars. People are rightfully angered by this, but the amazing thing is not that the money was stolen, but that the issue was raised so frankly. You think this is the first time this has happened in Iran? It has been happening in Iran during the IRI, during the Pahlavi, during the Qajar, during god knows how many dynasties, but it was only recently, that it was highlighted.

    This is what we Iranians should be after in this stage. Not that corruption can be erased, but that it should be shown. When this becomes the norm, the next one will be easy. But as long as decide to hide everything, as is our habit as Iranians, then we will always lag behind in the world..

  4. James Canning says:

    Bravo. The newest US sanctions effectively forced Khamenei to reject negtiations with the US. But the Leveretts are quite right to think Iran remains open to such negotiations, even if they may need to be conducted off the record.

  5. James Canning says:

    Obama has said he likes the advice and comments offered by Tom Friedman of The New York Times. Friedman this past weekend said the US needs to work with Iran to prevent the Taleban from taking control of Afghanistan.

  6. M. Ali says:

    I posted this in the other thread,
    Shapour & BiB, sometimes I wish Iranians WERE afraid to state their opinion. You have a business meeting, and they are having a heated political debate. You sit with your friends, and its heated political debate. You meet your family, and its argumentative debates. You sit in a cab, you visit a grocery, you stand in queue for the ATM, etc, etc. I am not sure where all these Iranians are that are so shy and scared of stating their opinions, because I wouldn’t mind meeting with them.

    But I wanted to add something additional to my previous post regarding what Smith says. Aside from the science of statistics (as if all these western pollsters and universities would waste time and resources, if they didn’t think the result was useful and representative), why would anyone be surprised by the results? If USA sanctions Iran, would it be so outside the realm of reality that the Iranians would blame USA?

  7. Fiorangela says:

    Very difficult to pin down John Limbert’s assertions; he was not impressive, and it’s embarrassing to be aware that he has input into US foreign policy, and is teaching the next generation of US leaders.

    Flynt Leverett offered timely arguments and facts in a concise and respectful manner.

    Ali Reza Eshraghi was not given enough time on the Al Jazeera program to fully explain his perspective. I would like to hear more of what he has to say.

  8. kooshy says:

    BIB / PG

    Regarding the Ahmadinejad’s legacy and tenure, all politics aside one thing can’t be disputed, which is that he more than anybody in recent history was really instrumental to advance Iran’s amateurish slow paste industrialization to a more viable commercial and institutionalized industrial country. That means that he really helped and facilitated to developed a link between “Need” and commercial industrial realization of that Need, for many centuries Iranians were made to believe that what they need they are incapable to produce, to reverse and develop a new cultural mentality of nations capability is an invaluable infrastructure in itself.

  9. jay says:

    I repeat my invitation from the previous thread for folks like Shapour to come forward with their scientific evidence. I would very much like to see the scientific evidence. I am reposting a sightly edited version of the earlier pose below.

    jay says:
    February 11, 2013 at 8:42 am
    Shapour says:
    February 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your opinion. Do you have any scientific evidence that polls conducted in Iran are scientifically unreliable and invalid (as you assert)? In what sense are they unreliable? Margin of error? Sampling bias? Self censoring? ….

    Past polls in Iran have been subjected to scientific analysis by academics and politicians – which incidentally are not folks typically inclined to be Iran lovers. These analyses have considered the data, as well as the results of some earlier analyses (e.g. Chatam House). I am unaware of any scientific source that has questioned broadly the validity and reliability of polls (in Iran) as you have suggested. I am aware of scientific analyses that suggest that a “small” degree of self-censoring may explain the “variance” observed across a class of questions. However, such “small” variances do not invalidate or render unreliable these polls.

    It would be helpful if you could share your data and your scientific sources with us Shapour. Any one else is also welcome to provide supporting evidence for Shapour’s assertion that polls conducted in Iran using scientifically established criteria are invalid.

  10. Kathleen says:

    ot but classic. This is a spot on SNL skit that did not make the cut for the show (you can bet there was pressure not to air) about the I lobby in our congress and the pressure

    This is a must watch. Says it all. But did not make the cut. Lorne Micheals has kept any criticism of Israel of the I lobby off his show for decades. Must be trying to jump on the better late than never crowd bandwagon. Those who have stayed silent about the violence and crimes committed against the Palestinians for decades have been complicit. Many doing their best to jump on the bandwagon and get on the right side of history before they are called out for their complicity
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/10/snl-takes-on-chuck-hagel-israel-comments_n_2657770.html

  11. kooshy says:

    الدنگ (گفت و شنود)

    گفت: وزير خارجه تركيه گفته است خواستار اضافه شدن تركيه و عربستان به گروه 1+5 براي مذاكره هسته اي با ايران هستيم و پيشنهاد مي كنيم 1+5 به 3+5 تبديل شود.
    گفتم: موش توي سوراخ نمي رفت جارو هم به دمش بسته بود!
    گفت: حالا اين 1+5 چه غلطي كرده اند كه تركيه و عربستان هم به آن اضافه شوند؟
    گفتم: يارو به ميهماني دعوت شده بود، يكي از دوستانش گفت من هم مي آيم. يارو گفت؛ به صاحبخانه چه بگويم؟! گفت بگو من طفيلي هستم و بين راه يكي ديگر هم آمد و قرار شد او را قفيلي معرفي كنند و بعد يكي ديگر آمد و گفت صاحبخانه خودش مرا مي شناسد. يارو بعد از ورود طفيلي و قفيلي را معرفي كرد و صاحبخانه كه عصباني شده بود پرسيد؛ اين مردك الدنگ ديگر كيست؟! و طرف گفت؛ ديدي گفتم صاحبخانه مرا مي شناسد و نيازي به معرفي نيست؟!

    http://www.kayhan.ir/911124/2.htm

  12. Kathleen says:

    SNL on Hagel: ‘It is vital to Israel’s security for you to go on national television and perform oral sex on a donkey… Would you do THAT for Israel?’
    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/02/security-national-television.html

  13. On the banning of Press TV…

    Freedom of Information Takes Another Hit in the United States
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/11/freedom-of-information-takes-another-hit-in-the-united-states/

  14. Once again – an Al-Jazeera appearance will be seen by no one in the United States. The Leveretts HAVE to get on a main stream media show. I still say Jon Stewart would be a real possibility.

    Limbert looked to be rather garrulous. He appeared to be focused on dismissing both sides as unable to negotiate due to hardened positions and fixated on specific approaches to foreign policy. That reduces to “duh”…which is not very helpful. Someone has to make the first move and (contrary to Eric Brill who used to claim that was Iran’s need) it is the US that should do it, as Flynt cites the Nixon to China case.

    Limbert is right about one thing. It’s not going to happen…

    Limbert is right about sanctions “working” – they work if you want a check box you can check off as “well, we did ‘better than war’, now let’s do war…” That’s about the sole purpose of sanctions. Of course, they also weaken the target nation preparatory to war, which since that is the only clearly real effect makes it even more clear that the goal is war whenever sanctions are applied.

    Arguing over how to negotiate is a waste of time. The real argument and the only discussion of importance is WHY do we have an Iran crisis. And the only answer to that is: the US wants one. The US wants a war with Iran, just as it wanted a war with Afghanistan and it wanted a war with Iraq. The historical record makes that clear. There can no longer be any doubt about the causes of the Afghan and Iraq wars. They were planned and conceived long before 9/11. They were predicated on strategic foreign policy documents issued back in the 1990′s. They were rooted in gaining access to oil and other natural resources and to re-establish regional hegemony in concert with Israel (in the case of Iraq), and some other side issues like propping up the oil price and protecting the petrodollar, etc., as well as replenishing the profits of the military-industrial complex which were in decline after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

    Everything else is irrelevant.

  15. Persian Gulf says:

    M. Ali & kooshy

    well, I said I won’t talk about it! but let’s be clear, he was only useful for a short period of time and for some foreign policy gains. he has run out of his usefulness, and I don’t want to stick to a politician like that. I paid some heavy price for supporting him in the last presidential election. not that I regret doing it. I would do the same thing, in a circumstance like that, if I am back in a similar situation.

    the point is this that Ahmadinejad is opportunistically, jealously, and immorally too, trying to deflect all his shortcomings, mismanagement and mistakes to other people now that his time is up. where was he to talk about Larijanis’ clan back in 2006, 2007,…2010? this family has been in power for a long time now. and the case he brought was VERY CHEAP. he has just gone to the EXTREME, and unnecessarily and unjustifiably so. what he did was a dirty thing and I DO NOT LIKE THIS KIND OF THING from the president of a great country like Iran. smear campaign on the part of a president that his time is almost finished IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. he wasted his government’s time, and parliamentarians’ too (which I think worth way more than a cheap case he brought), only to try to destroy a candidate in the next presidential election. this is not acceptable anywhere.

    and I am not shy to say he doesn’t have my support anymore. In fact, I am against him from now on, and will do whatever I can to discourage anyone for going to candidate of his choice.

    let’s switch to Farsi. hopefully it gets lost somewhere in translation :D

    مرت*** ع*** 6 سال حرف از فساد خانواده هاشمی و ناطق و اینا زد هیچ غلطی که نکرد هیچی، تا همین چند ماه پیش افتاده بود به پاچه خواری هاشمی (که ظاهرا هاشمی تحویلش نگرفت). 2 بار صرفا به خاطر حمله به خانواده هاشمی و دارودستش رای آورده. کسی نمی تونه اینو کتمان کنه. الان اونا رو ول کرد داره یه بامبول جدید درمیاره که فرد مورد علاقه اش رای بیاره. تا حالا چه گ** می خورده که الان 4 ماه مونده به انتخابات پرونده رو می کنه؟ رفته یه فیلم چرند جور کرده که چی؟ یعنی تمام فساد خاندان لاریجانی همین بود؟ بگم بگمش این بود؟

    هشت سال اینهمه درآمد نفت رو ب** داد، ری** به معنی واقعی کلمه الان اومده داره فرافکنی می کنه. یک دونه آدم درست حسابی توی این دولت شما می بینی؟ اطرافیان خودش که با رانت پرکردن ایران رو از بانک خصوصی و هزار تا منافع اقصادیه دیگه. تمام خانواده و فامیل دور و نزدیک رو هم ،برخلاف قوانین جاریه کشور، دور دنیا دور داده. اگه مقدار فساد مهمه اینم فساد هست دیگه. بیش از یکهفته وقت دولت، مجلس …رو تلف کرد سرلجبازیش. خوب اینا ضرر به کشور نیست؟ تصمیمات اشتباه این آقا ضررش 1000 برابر بیشتر یه ویلا تو شمال هست که معلوم نیست چقدر بی ارزه اصلا.

    من طرفدار قالیباف نیستم. البته برنامه هاشو ببینم و کسای دیگه رو، اگه دیدم خوب بود ممکنه هم هست ازش حمایت کنم، ولی کسی نمی تونه منکر کارکرد این آدم باشه تو جاهایی که بوده. اونوقت محمود از سر رذالت و وحسادت داره تمام سعیش رو می کنه اینم خراب کنه. احتمالا بعدی اینه. دورت داره تموم داره میشه وظایف باقیمونده رو انجام بده برو گورتو گم کن، چرا این راه افتاده به خراب کردن کاندیداهای بعدی؟ یکدفعه چی شده این احساس رسالت کرده؟ مگه مردم خودشون چشم ندارن ببینند؟ کجای دنیا رییس دولت 4 ماه مونده به انتخابات اینکارها رو می کنه؟

    میگین چرا بایست اینکار رو بکنه در حالی که میتونست راحت دورش تموم بشه. اشتباه می کنی، چون ری** باید همین کارها رو بکنه. این دورش عادی نبوده که آروم بره. هرکی رو که دستش رسیده زده، الان بهتر از این دیگه چیکار بکنه؟ الان می خواد بقولی ریشه جمهوریه اسلامی رو بزنه. داره با این کارهاش مثلا به خیال خامش تو دل مخالفها محبوبیت کسب کنه.

    به نظر من لاریجانی، باوجودی که ازش خوشم نمی آد، حق مطلب رو درست ادا کرد راجع به محمود. شخصیتش رو نمایان کرد واقعا. متاسفانه آدمی هست که ظاهرا حاضره منافع حیاتیه کشور رو بر باد بده تا به چیزی که می خواد برسه. به هیچی پایبند نیست این بشر. تشنه قدرت هست تا حد برباد دادن همه چی. به نظر من وقتی دورش تموم شد باید با تیپو بیاندازنش بیرون. من سال 2005 فکر می کردم محمود برای چنین پستی کوچیک هست. چند سال این وسط شک برم داشته بود، ظاهرا داره آخراش کارهایی می کنه که افکار اولیه ام راجع بهش درست در بیاد.

    ببینین چه مزخزفاتی گفته روز 22 بهمن. فرق گفتن چنین مزخرفاتی با اون احمقی که بیانیه میده راهپیمایی روز 25 بهمن راه بیاندازه چیه؟

    http://irna.ir/fa/News/80538809/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C/%DA%86%D8%B4%D9%85_%D9%BE%D9%88%D8%B4%DB%8C_%D8%A7%D8%B2_%D8%B3%D8%AE%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86_%D9%85%D9%87%D9%85_%D8%B1%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B3_%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C_%D8%AF%D8%B1_%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85_%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%85_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87_22_%D8%A8%D9%87%D9%85%D9%86

  16. Smith says:

    North Korea tests a nuclear weapon.

    US responds with whimper.

    Those who listened to US whimper:
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/75027_538844916134906_188880254_n.jpg

  17. masoud says:

    M. Ali says:
    February 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with that post, as i do with almost everything else you’ve posted to these forums.

    With regards to Ahmadinejad: There’s no doubt in my mind that history will look back on him as a singularly transformational figure in the history of the Islamic Republic, the Amir Kabir of his era, in a sense.

    I just hope Iran has progressed enough in the past century and half so as to make Ahmadinejad’s ultimate fate a happier one that his predecessor’s.

  18. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Masoud,
    Exactly. I’ve been thinking that Ahmadinejad despite his idiosyncrasies has done more for Iran as an executive than even Amir Kabir did.

    And remember that ironically it was Rafsanjani- “sardare sazandegi”- who even wrote a book about Amir Kabir and has always tried to take on his mantle.

    God knows how to hal begire.

    M.Ali,
    Yes this constant political chatter everywhere you go is really annoying- regardless of what side of the debate.

    Usually I try to patiently endure it than act like I’ve gotten a call on my mobile and start speaking English very loudly. That confuses them enough to stop the chatter because now they have gone into their fuzuli phase of figuring out who the hell I am.

    I really love my fellow Iranians.

  19. Smith says:

    Shokofeh says:
    February 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    You are not alone. Everywhere is the same. Welcome to the real world.

  20. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Shokofeh wrote in the previous thread:

    “god knows being an Iranian is slowly becoming a crime in America”.

    Now imagine if there’s a war, the fate of the Japanese-Americans during WWII should be a warning to you.

    It’s interesting how some Iranian exiles hungry for war never think about this part of the deal.

  21. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    As you know, Larijani was chased out of Harame Hazrat Masoomeh (sa) when he tried to speak on 22nd of Bahman.

    A couple of my friends where in the haram that day- actually Shabestane Imam Khomeini- and they said that it was not a small group but literally everybody not letting him speak and that eventually somebody threw a shoe- leading to further shoes being thrown. At that point Larijani was whisked out.

    I personally don’t like what happened but there you have it. The defining characteristic of Ali Larijani is arrogance and that’s what happens to such people.

    The peoples complaint was why did you let the impeachment happen when Rahbar had directly ordered calm before the elections.

    My friends also said that people were just as upset at Ahmadinejad for not listening to Rahbar and that if he had showed up the same thing would have happened.

    As a wise man said, “Belakhare hamashun akharesh joftak mizanand”.

    Thank God after 34 years and everyone having their turn at the executive, we are getting closer to the realization of Velayat-e Faqih Motlaq.

  22. Irshad says:

    fyi & kooshy – thank you both for your thoughts re: evolution a few threads back!

    @fyi – do you think empirical science can be presented within an Islamic philosophical framework as may people have ciriticsed it been associated with scientism/modernism/whatever..ism etc.? Sunni Islam may have a problem as you like to say…”they have stopped thinking thanks to Ghazali”, but can Shiah Islam do it? Has it done it – considering philosophy is still taught/studied in Iran?

    To take this topic further, you say (correct me if I am wrong) that human evolution is possible as God can allow it to happen. Are you talking about evolution in terms of man originating from ape – which is also known as transformation? If yes, how is this possible with the importance (theologically) God has placed on the Prophet Adam (as), who was created in His image (not literally) – surely he could not be BUT human, as you and I are? Also, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) met/saw him in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) during the Miraj, where he led the prayer with all the Prophets behind him.

    If there was anything to say that Adam (as) was of different physical appearance – surely the Prophet would have mentioned something in regards to this or hint soemthing?

    I find it hard to believe that Adam (as) could not, but be human, as you and I are.
    I am aware of the sayings of the Imams of there been other beings on earth before the coming of Adam, but can this not be viewed as, Allah allowed the other beings on earth, but since they did not/could not do the things Allah enabled Adam to do (praise Him), He decided to let Adam and Eve descent down on earth, and its their progeny thats now the master race of the planet whilst the other homo-beings of various size/shape/intellect got wiped out over time?

    I dont know if you have read S.H.Nasrs trasncript of talk he gave in Canada in 2006, titled: “Evolution and Design – Prof. Seyyid Hossein Nasr On the question of biological origins” – what is your take on it?

    @Kooshy – it will be interesting to know what S.H.Nasr’s son, Vali thinks but I am to understand that he writes more on politics rather then science.

    I apologise to everybody for taking this off topic.

  23. Irshad says:

    An important article on the “Arab Spring”:

    Revolution or Reform?

    http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/en/page/1912640/Revolution+or+Reform%3F.html

    BTW – has anyone noticed how silent MSM media are in regards to the mass turnout to celeberate the anniversary of the Revolution in Iran? Even the BBC is silent about it – the only thing they have is about Mousavis daugthers been arrested and then been released! So millions of people are on the street – but because its for the wrong reason (supporting their govt and revolution) BBC is not interested.

    Where is someone supposed to go to get good coverage of the M.E.?

    And can the MSM be considered MSM when they are keeping their readers/viewers in the dark and been treated like mushrooms?

  24. Irshad says:

    Noam Chomsky: US control is diminishing, but it still thinks it owns the worldThe United States has long assumed the right to use violence to achieve its aims, but it is now less able to implement its policies

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/04/us-control-diminishing-own-world?INTCMP=SRCH

    James Canning – please take the time to read this article, especially these highlights:

    “I’ve occasionally quoted one of my favourite illustrations of this, which is from a well-known, very good liberal foreign policy analyst, James Chace, a former editor of Foreign Affairs. Writing about the overthrow of the Salvador Allende regime and the imposition of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in 1973, he said that we had to “destabilise” Chile in the interests of “stability”. That’s not perceived to be a contradiction – and it isn’t. We had to destroy the parliamentary system in order to gain stability, meaning that they do what we say. So yes, we are in favour of stability in this technical sense.”

    “Concern about political Islam is just like concern about any independent development. Anything that’s independent you have to have concern about, because it may undermine you. In fact, it’s a little paradoxical, because traditionally the United States and Britain have by and large strongly supported radical Islamic fundamentalism, not political Islam, as a force to block secular nationalism, the real concern. So, for example, Saudi Arabia is the most extreme fundamentalist state in the world, a radical Islamic state. It has missionary zeal, is spreading radical Islam to Pakistan and funding terror. But it’s the bastion of US and British policy. They’ve consistently supported it against the threat of secular nationalism from Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Abd al-Karim Qasim’s Iraq, among many others. But they don’t like political Islam because it may become independent.”

  25. nahid says:

    Suprim leader should fired Sadegh Larinaji, and impeached ali Larijani. Justce department hang youth for minor crimes but not a question about scandel like this, come on.

  26. BiBiJon says:

    Irshad says:
    February 12, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Scott Peterson took a stab at ‘covering it.’ Peterson’s mastery of propaganda is in full display. For a leisurely dip in the effluent that passes for journalism, news and information in MSM follow the link below.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0210/Iran-marks-revolution-anniversary-with-soaring-defiant-rhetoric-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fcsm+(Christian+Science+Monitor+|+All+Stories)

  27. leaf says:

    One of the posters here wrote “Regarding the Ahmadinejad’s legacy and tenure, all politics aside one thing can’t be disputed, which is that he more than anybody in recent history was really instrumental to advance Iran’s amateurish slow paste industrialization to a more viable commercial and institutionalized industrial country. That means that he really helped and facilitated to developed a link between “Need” and commercial industrial realization of that Need, for many centuries Iranians were made to believe that what they need they are incapable to produce, to reverse and develop a new cultural mentality of nations capability is an invaluable infrastructure in itself.”

    He/she must be joking! Since Ahmadnejad’s first presidency Iranian industries have taken a dive! The amount of imports is going thru the roof! Many factories have closed and are about to file for bankruptcy if that exists in Iran. The inflation rate is over 38% and unemployment is astronomical….. Don’t underestimate our intelligence with your biased and unintelligent facts and figures…….

  28. Smith says:

    Though personally I do not think US will ever negotiate with Iran meaningfully and in good faith without Iran having tested its nuclear weapons but here is an article supporting the goal of this site: http://truth-out.org/news/item/14503-to-obama-close-the-deal-with-iran

  29. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Of course I am familiar with the reasons the US helped bring about the overthrow of Allende in Chile. And I of course am aware that many Saudis helped Osama bin Laden’s programme, even though Osama bin Laden wanted to overthrow the Saudi monarchy.

  30. James Canning says:

    Ishad,

    I attended a meeting in Washington with Orlando Letelier (Allende’s ambassador prior to the coup), not long before Ortelier was assassinated.

  31. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    I think Egypt suffered badly due to gross mistakes made by Nasser, especially perhaps from Nasser’s foolish or Quixotic quest to establish a unified Arab state under his control.

  32. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    You should watch the TV programme on the Iranian community in America, that was broadcast on PBS not long ago. Doctors, lawyers, etc etc. High degree of success generally.

  33. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The “US” does not want war with Iran. Obama does not “want” war with Iran. Obama will, as you argue, probably if not certainly impose a blockade on Iranian oil exports, if Iran continues to stockpile 20% uranium. Iran can suspend enriching to 20% without “surrendering” its independence, and thereby considerably reduce the pressure on Obama, by elements of Israel lobby, neocon warmongers, and others who seek to “protect” Israel (and its illegal colonies in the West Bank).

  34. BiBiJon says:

    “It is actually incorrect to say that the Supreme Leader rebuffed bilateral negotiations with the United States.”

    Walter Posch agrees.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/walter-posch/us-iran-talks-_b_2670863.html

  35. BiBiJon says:

    Scott Peterson is engineering a color revolution 6 months in advance
    ===================================================================

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0212/Is-Iran-s-Ahmadinejad-going-rogue-as-his-term-ends

  36. fyi says:

    Irshad says:

    February 12, 2013 at 8:22 am

    There is only so much that Reason can achieve in its encounter with Revelations; I will not be surprised if inconsistencies and irreconcilable difference persist.

    Western Christians have been at it for centuries and yet they have been unable to devise a reason-able formulation of the nature of Jesus Christ. All attempts at rationalization lead to blasphemy (from within the Christian Tradition).

    I believe that with a significant expenditure of the resources of human mind, multiple philosophical schools could be constructed that endeavor to respond to the Quranic Revelation, and, at the same time, take cognizance of empirical sciences.

    One can start with monism of Spinoza or Hegel, or with Ibn Sina, or Suhrewardi or Whitehead. It is not the absence of extant philosophical frameworks that is preventing – potentially multiple – rational and reasoned Muslim responses to Modernity etc.

    It is not the Akhbari Mullahs that are the problem, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise that afflicts Muslim polities – the absence of desire to know how the world/Universe works.

    Even within the Shia, the philosophic tradition was confined to a select – you could not practice philosophy in Mashad or Qum. The late Mr. Khomeini was shunned when teaching in Qum – he was considered even “najis” – ritualistically impure – for teaching philosophy of Mullah Sadra of Shiraz. At one time, he declined to even mention Mir Damad for he was concerned that his books would be condemned by Mullahs of Qum. And even Mullah Sadra’s philosophy, as far as I heard, is a Philosophy of the Mind and not of empirical sciences. The late Allameh Tabatabie tried to develop a realistic philosophy within Islam but he suffered from solid grounding in any hard science or engineering and therefore could only go so far.

    In Iran, before or since the Islamic Revolution, Tehran has been the only place that you could do philosophy.

    I cannot answer your questions regarding the Evolution of Human Beings within Islam. I outlined a Deist argument and you are posing very many good question that require months, if not years of study for an adequate response. I can state that the first man to have emerged out of the transformation of primates that had “reason” was Adam. But that is not adequate and you deserve a better answer. You also raise another good question: “What does it mean to be in the image of God?” or “His Khalif on Earth?” And which “Earth” meant – the planet Earth or the Plain of Existence? Furthermore, can a creature, somewhere else in the Universe, be “Adam” or be “Human” in that sense and yet not look like Homo Sapiens Sapiens?

    All these questions and more are awaiting a Muslim response that engages Human Reason – with all its short-comings.

    I am not familiar with Dr. Nasr’s speech and I cannot comment on him. I know he has been against Evolution based on his understaing of Islamic Tradition. Clealry, some Mullahs in Iran did not find his position sound and went on to support the Evolutionary Theory.

    Please note that in theoretical physics, there are two formulations of Mechanics available – one based on Newtonian forces (that are Causes of Motion) and the other on the Principle of Least Action that is positing that motion is purposeful. So Causal and Teleological views of the motion of bodies in the Universe are both supported – at the same time.

    That is, the Universe, if it were entirely Mechanical, could be concieved as having a Cause (for its motion) and a Purpose (for that Motion). These are hints from which one may draw certain philosophical conclusions. But I am unaware of any Muslim philosopher who has tried to do.

    Centuries of work lies ahead – if Muslim thinkers ever are up to the task.

  37. Smith says:

    leaf says:
    February 12, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Though Iran has a serious and very grave import problem but that was there before Ahmadinejad and it is run by baradaraye qachaqchi khoodemoon. At least Ahmadinejad had the courage to expose these guys and put Iran on a right direction. That is what is important. The industry is not a dead and uniform society. It constantly dies and regenerates itself. The old industries die and the new ones emerge. The industry of saddle making dies for the industry of crankshaft making to rise. That is how it works.

    The data proves your assertions wrong. Ahmadinejad increased Iran’s GDP more than any other president or prime minister since 1977, tripled Iran’s electricity consumption, doubled the natural gas network capacity, expanded the CNG sector by a factor of 100, quadrupled Iran’s steel consumption, more than doubled cement production, quadrupled Iran’s copper production, tripled Iran’s aluminium production, almost doubled Iran’s under use railway, doubled Iran’s water dam reservoirs, etc etc. All infrastructural program. And let’s not go into ship building, automobile, air craft manufacturing, weapons industry and other individual sectors. And I am not even talking about the fact that for the firs time in 80 years non-oil exports have started to rise up again.

    This is not even to say that he is the guy who advanced Iran’s nuclear technology. When he came to power, Iran could not enrich uranium on an industrial scale and the laboratory scale had been frozen by a “deal” of Khatami. Now Iran has a nuclear industry. Alot of countries had national space agencies since 1960′s but have not been able to put anything into space. Iran established its space agency in 2004. And that was a small office with no power. He made that agency a presidential institute and put a satellite into orbit by the time the Iranian space agency was only 5 years old. That I call an achievement. During Ahmadinejad’s time, science and technology got the amount of government support that during the 7000 year history of Iran is unprecedented.

  38. James Canning says:

    Interesting comments by Walter Posch, BiBiJon.

  39. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Muslims must first learn science and then learn more science and then even more science before coming to think about philosophy of religion. And the mullahs better be fast to make a new framework or they will become increasingly irrelevant in coming years. It is only inevitable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhXsK1ZxWDM

  40. Smith says:

    Ahmadinejad actually had very good and sophisticated economic programs but majles, bazar mafias and baradaraye qachaqchi did not let him to completely implement his seven point economic plan: http://www.tahavolateeghtesadi.ir/Portal/File/ShowFile.aspx?ID=bb2bde71-b432-414e-bb71-5aa450ffdac0

  41. masoud says:

    Shokofeh,

    Yeah it’s bad. In Canada, several banks have started to randomly close down Iranians’ accounts without providing any specific reasons to their customers, and the government is busying itself with figuring out ways to revoke the citizenship of Muslims they don’t like.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if any call i make to Iran is recorded, and am damn sure it would be the case if I were in the US. If you use any public web-mail provider, you can be sure that not only are all your emails scanned for key trigger words, but many government agencies have on demand access to your archives, in some instances without even the formality of needing a warrant. Don’t ever face-book something, even in a ‘private’ message, that you’re no prepared to be blackmailed with down the line.

    What can I say? We really don’t have any choice but to get used to it. Sometimes it helps to remember that none of these policies have much to do the with the vast majority of people you interact with on a day to day basis.

  42. masoud says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    February 12, 2013 at 1:14 am

    God knows how to hal begire.

    That’s genius.

  43. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James,
    What you correctly point out about Iranian-Americans does not preclude them from being rounded up like the Japanese-Americans were, when a war starts.

    The greatest fear of the Americans in case of a war is what they call “domestic terrorism”. If it takes rounding up all the Iranian-Americans they can to prevent this- including doctors, lawyers, engineers etc.- you can be certain they will do it.

    Remember the rounding up the Japanese-Americans happened during a liberal Democrat administration signed off by a liberal Supreme Court which included such liberals as William Douglas.

  44. M. Ali says:

    regarding leaf & smith’s discussion on imports:

    I want to address this,
    “Since Ahmadnejad’s first presidency Iranian industries have taken a dive! The amount of imports is going thru the roof! Many factories have closed and are about to file for bankruptcy if that exists in Iran. ”

    Sometimes I think majority of people first find a target they dislike, and then look for reasons for it. Someone like leaf has already come to the conclusion to dislike the current administration, so it is then time to find reasons for it. Because you, like many others, have not really thought that much about the reasons you give.

    For example, when you say imports is going through the roof, what do you expect an administration to do? Increase customs 10 times? Ban imports? This is the bandage solution Iran has been doing for most of its decades and what the administrator tried to get away from, but obviously the pressure is too much.

    If Iranian factory makes something that is lower in quality & higher in price than an import, then LET IT GO BANKRUPT. No protection, no subsidies, no holding hands, no tears, no complaints. In one of the interviews of Ahmadenijad, he alluded to this, by saying that, indirectly and I’m paraphrasing here, that some factories should go bankrupt, if they can’t improve themselves.

    I didnt grow up in Iran, I grew up in Dubai. But for the past 3 years I have been in Iran, and I hold a high position in a multinational company, and I have good business record, so while I’m not boasting, I think I’m fairly above average when it comes to business knowledge and experience. And I can say this with utmost confidence: People easily make money in Iran. I think the worse the economic situation becomes, the better it is for Iranians in the long term, because this country has bred a generation of people that do not really try that hard in business and they still make piles of money.

    Just visit the bazar sometimes. The arrogance of the shop owners is astounding. They do not NEED to improve, because whatever they have in the warehouse has huge customers.

    Talk to a travel agency, see how they talk to you. See if they run after you or you run after them.

    Go to a real estate, if your budget is not in millions, see how many ignore you or say they have nothing.

    Visit shops in malls, and try on a few things, and see by which count of you trying something on, they get annoyed, say that you are not a customer, and try to ignore you or push you out.

    Look at the Iranian products that are making heaps of money on supermarket shelves, and see the lower standard they have.

    I see foreign companies coming into Iran, doing the same thing we do, and yet they are the ones that come on top. Why? Sometimes I say to my friends & family that the worst thing tht can happen to Iran at the moment is for sanctions to be removed, and suddenly have an influx of foreign investments, companies, and expertise. How much can we compete with them? This currency fluctuation, like the sanctions, has been a blessing in disguise, because it will push Iranians towards making things internally, and being forced to instead of importing, to start exporting, as the trend currently shows.

  45. On the allegations that Iran is building a militia in Syria…

    WaPo on Iran in Syria: The Lens Reflects a Mirror
    http://www.lobelog.com/wapo-on-iran-in-syria-the-lens-reflects-a-mirror/

  46. More efforts to get a foreign military intervention in Syria…

    Syria border bombing: How will Turkey respond if attacks continue?
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0212/Syria-border-bombing-How-will-Turkey-respond-if-attacks-continue

    Firing a few mortars last year wasn’t good enough…

  47. Fiorangela says:

    I heard this on C Span this morning; I did not hear the source for the statement:

    “In Iran, the economy is so bad that housing prices have increased by 30%.”

    think about it.

  48. Fiorangela says:

    re: Fiorangela says: February 13, 2013 at 8:30 am

    The source was Financial Times.
    Here’s what the C Span moderator said:

    ““Financial Times reports that Sanctions against Iran have pushed up housing prices in that country by 30%, and has sent its currency plunging by about 60% over the past year – sanctions on that.”

    Here’s what the Financial Times article said:

    Headline: “Sanctions push up house prices in Tehran

    article by Najmeh Bozorghmehr in Tehran – “House prices in Tehran have risen by at least 30% in recent weeks as the sector is hit by a fall in the value of the rial caused by sanctions aimed at Iran’s nuclear programme.”

    = = =
    If “sanctions” have caused an “increase in housing prices” in either Tehran or the country of Iran — and it’s not clear if the C Span moderator knows the difference — then what accounts for the rise and fall and ardently hoped for and carefully watched status of house prices in the United States — or in some of its highly diverse housing markets?

    What are the components of housing price? The price of any good is affected by supply and demand, and, in the USA, by the cost of money as controlled by the country’s central bank, the Federal Reserve. In addition, housing prices are affected by location: Tehran is a very crowded city and the center of a great deal of government and business activity. It has far less buildable land; it stands to reason that prices in Tehran would rise faster than in most other places in Iran.

    This reality is comparable to the situation in Washington, DC and its environs: Take one example: the US government continues to pour funding into the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in the Montgomery County, Maryland, suburbs of Washington. In 2000, a small ‘Cape Cod’ style home within one mile of NIH could be purchased for $300,000. Today, that house will sell for $800,000 to $1.75 million. New homes in the area, that are of similar size and proximity as the ‘Cape Cod,’ are being built at a starting price of $1.25 million.

    Not all of that price increase is attributable to location premium. Inflation, or the “plunging value of the rial dollar,” accounts for at least 33.3% of the increase. That is to say, if that Cape Cod in Montgomery County were the average house in the US, and if it had been purchased in 2000 for $300,000, its price today would be $399,989.55: the purchasing power equivalence of $300,000 in 2000 is $10 shy of $400,000 today. The balance of the price increase is attributable to a demand location bubble that has to be temporary, inasmuch as US tax revenues cannot continue to fund NIH, the key employer in the area.

    http://www.coinnews.net/tools/cpi-inflation-calculator/

    Thus, what sanctions on Iran over the past fifteen years have accomplished is to put Iran’s rate of inflation roughly on par with that of the United States. Said another way, the Federal Reserve is engaged in a systematic process of sanctioning the American economy. Perhaps the US should change its behavior and bring its nuclear programme into compliance with international requirements in order to relieve the sanctions on its economy.

  49. leaf says:

    M. ALI: You are so wrong! You are just talking about at max 10% if Iran’s population. I suggest you go back to Dubai, apparently you are living in LaLa land! Your favorite president has not only ruined our economy but he ruined our culture. Just look at the way he talks. Since you are a successful businessman in Iran, can I ask you how much of bribery has had to do with your success? By the way, can you explain Babak Zanjani’s, Hussain Hedayati’s, Mahafrid Arya’s, Jazayari’s (these are just a few that we hear about them)… Thank you!

  50. James Canning says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    Are you forgetting that scores of thousands of Iranians in the US, are Jews? What chance would you see, of a round-up of Jews, in the US? ZERO?

  51. James Canning says:

    Dick Cheney has attacked Obama for “wnating to reduce US inluene in the world” and for wishing to “take [the US] down a peg”! What an idiot, to be kind. Delusional warmonger and proponent of squandering trillions of dollars on unnecessary “defence”.

  52. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times today reported the further conversion of 20% U into TRR fuel, that had been cited in a Reuters report last week. FT and Reuters said it may indicate wish to lower tensions resulting for stockpiling of 20U. Israeli “red line” is claimed to be 24okg, but Obama in any event has refused to set a figure of 20U that would be taken as a “red line” by the US.

  53. Piriouz says:

    I watched the president’s SOTU speech last night, in extended format at whithouse.gov.

    Up until the end, I thought he did a good job with his domestic assessment and agenda.

    But when it came to foreign affairs, all I can say is I’m sure glad it was brief. I’d like to know why Iran is described in terms of seeking a nuclear weapon when our own intelligence agencies say they have no weapons program, and their leadership says they don’t want one.

    And what’s with the unconditional support for that apartheid colonial project in the Levant? Quite offensive to hear.

    But what really struck me is this notion of being “the greatest” nation. Decades ago, I was working late on a magazine issue (I was an editor of a trade/lifestyle publication) with an Englishman and an Italian. We were chatting while waiting for the computer to do a graphics rendering, when I said something like “America is the greatest nation on earth.” The Englishmen and Italian woman looked at me like I was deluded. They asked why I thought so. I said we were the first to land a man on the moon, have the most powerful military, etc. That made them look at each other in disbelief at my own personal arrogance. But then I pondered it, and wondered why I even thought in such terms. And I remembered they taught us this in elementary school during the mid-1960′s. And I was embarrassed over it. So when I hear our politicians making such arrogant statements, it bothers me. This sort of “master race” mentality coupled with unabashed militarism is the sort of thing the Germans were cured of in 1945. While I don’t wish to see our country cured in the same horrible way it took the Germans to do so, I’d sure like to see this mentality go away for good.

  54. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    Great post. Sadly, Iran does its PR little good by stockpiling the 20% U. This is the primary reason many who closely follow the Middle East think Iran is trying to get closer to being able to build nukes quickly.

  55. James Canning says:

    Writing in The Times (London) Feb. 2nd, Michael Freedland noted that Britain had half a million Jews in 1945, and that the number of Jews in England and Wales is now 263,000.

  56. Kathlyn says:

    leaf says:

    February 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    “M. ALI: You are so wrong! You are just talking about at max 10% if Iran’s population. I suggest you go back to Dubai, apparently you are living in LaLa land! Your favorite president has not only ruined our economy but he ruined our culture.”

    Can you please elaborate how he has ruined Iranian culture?

    From everything that I have seen and heard he has tried to re-emphasize Iranian culture and promote it. From the first time that he arrived at the UN he was the only President that included the banner of the Achamedian dynasty, and Cyrus the Great. He has continuously spoken about the “great Iranian civilization and culture”.

    The Cyrus Cylinder was loaned to Iran twice in all of Iran’s history: once in 1971 for the 2500 year anniversary during the Shah and the second time at the insistence of Ahmadinejad’s Gov. in 2009 and then only when Ahmadinejad’s Gov. threatened to close all relationships with the British Museum was it returned to Iran in 2010. By the way during the Shah the Cylinder was only used as an expo for foreigners not the Iranian people. While this time it came to Iran for the Iranian people.

    He has spoken openly about the great Persian poets and Ferdowsi which I am sure you know has been a taboo for those who just want to promote Islam and not Iran. Not only that he has promoted foreign scholars who have made their living educating the world on Iranian culture and civilization – i.e. Richard Frye;Professor Frye helped found the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, the first Iranian studies program in America. Not only did Ahmadinejad invite him to Iran but honored him for all that he has done in promoting Iranian/Persian studies and culture. He has been criticized by the opposition for his continuous use of using the word “IRAN”; “The great Iranian people, the great Iranian nation, our great culture and ancient civilization etc..” Against all odds he has promoted NowRuz as an ancient Iranian tradition. In fact if not for the opposition he had intended to hold NowRuz at Persepolis two years ago. For the first time the UN Mission in NYC celebrated the 800 anniversary of Ferdowsi and invited the ambassadors from all countries to this celebration. He was the one who registered Nowruz at UNESCO and called upon all nations to celebrate this day as a gesture of love, peace and security of for all nations.

    These are just some simple examples of what he has done to promote Iranian culture. I am baffled by your statement.

    And on the matter of how he talks… He is the president of the majority of Iranians and speaks in a language that they understand. Maybe you should visit some of the cities outside of Tehran and see what people have to say about all that he has accomplished for them.

    Show me one president who dares go into the midst of thousands of people without body guards, whether in Iran or outside of Iran!! He is one with the people – no different, no less, and no more!

  57. kooshy says:

    Piriouz says:
    February 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    “While I don’t wish to see our country cured in the same horrible way it took the Germans to do so, I’d sure like to see this mentality go away for good.”

    You mean American exceptionalism mentality, I am afraid that will not go away soon, they are propping it up and teaching it to my 12 YO it in the school even more fiercely than the 70’s when I was attending college. I came to understand that this will not go away soon since this mentality is required to maintain an empire, how else American population would agree to exist in a constant state of hegemonic expansionist wars. I also believe the American electorate chose thier elected leaders base on this same mentality (whom keeps the USA the greatest country ever existed). Which is a baloney

  58. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Let us hope so.

  59. fyi says:

    kooshy says:

    February 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    It is largely a Protestant Christian thing; this US exceptionalism.

    I think it originated in UK; you have to flatter them – like any newly independent country – else you cannot get along with them.

    The thing of it is you that if you take that away from them, they feel naked.

    Jews in America, on the other hand, never bought into it.

    You are right that the exceptionalism is here to stay until brutal historical processes beat it out of Americans.

  60. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    February 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Actually the whole human population is going for an uncertain future since the current education systems and “modern society” are designed so as to aspire to finish off women completely and make men out of them. In a sexually dimorphic species trying to make every one a male (without uterus) will have devastating consequences. The societies that do not fall into these categories were the ones that used to beat their women and keep them like pets. So the equation has come to either an eventual extinction or a society in which every one is a male. Having babies and raising them is not “cool” in a “modern” society.

    Personally humans had other possibilities too. For example designing a modern society in which our biological realities are taken into account too. Or if not possible then alternatively making a society in which every one is a “female” could have saved homo sapiens sapiens. But as things are going currently, it is not pretty. Alot of this has to be blamed on priests/akhonds, propaganda media oracles and secular/humanists/feminists.

    But there is also another dimension. As “carrying capacity” and “resource depletion” problems are going to become more and more acute, certain races (eg. white) that are part of more powerful nations are going to “push” other races off the cliff of extinction in order to make room for themselves on earth. It is nothing new. It has happened before whenever the technological solutions to resource problems could not sufficiently address the needs, perceived or real (forced extinction of natives of Americas or Australia). For instance the master race might attempt to push a particular nation off the cliff using unconventional methods of economic sanctions, social sabotage or ideological dislocation.

    Quite sophisticated stuff. Or it might choose to do so quite conventionally using war. Even nuclear weapons can be used if need be. These are not jokes. Resources are limited. There is only one earth. If Anglo-Saxons had remained in their home (small island of England), they could not have attained the population levels they have attained now by running over continents and killing the indigenous population with a zeal unseen and unparalleled in other biological systems. Considering our technological maturity (or rather immaturity) another resource bottle neck is on the horizon. That is why Iran needs to have MIRV salted thermonuclear ICBMs. Just as an insurance policy of sorts.

    Since the late 1980′s the akhonds in Iran made a very big miscalculation and discouraged people from having children. During Rafsanjani era, all tax credits and social security payments for the babies born after the second child were scrapped. In effect the government was telling the couples that they have to raise kids themselves and the government is not going to subsidize them. He even halved the maternity leave for women to 90 days (shamefully). During the Khatami era even they pushed for the government paid health insurance and government education of babies born after the second child to be scrapped as well. These were our “religious” leaders leading an “Islamic Republic”.

    Coupled with other factors like economic mismanagement, drug abuse problem and social problems which have caused the Iranian males refusing to raise a family and in effect becoming socially impotent, the result was more devastating than even China’s one baby policy. Iran saw the fastest drop in human fertility in HUMAN HISTORY. Last year Iran’s fertility rate dropped to below 1.5, and for a society to survive the minimum required is the replacement fertility rate of 2.1 (lower than this will cause population crash). Ideally Iran should have a small positive growth too (eg. 2.3) but things are not looking good. Iran’s fertility rate is STILL declining and is going down even further.

    The situation is so drastic and out of control that Khamenei for the first time in history of Iran apologized to present Iranians, future (if any) Iranians and GOD. But that is not the end of the story. There is even a deeper dimension. Despite declining Iranian fertility, this decline is not uniform. For example the seculars, humanists, atheists and socialists Iranians will go extinct much sooner than the practicing Shia, rich haja agha or the small town basiji since the fertility rate among the latter is actually stabilized and might even go up again in light of the new religious directives they have received.

    It is a very fascinating epidemiological study case if some one is interested to write a paper on it. So the situation is complex. Let’s have hope that Iranians will survive the coming population crunch and hopefully will have their nuclear devices to protect themselves against the follies of the foolish white men:

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2012/4/how-civilisations-die

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/01/robot-babies-no-kids-tax-and-other-ways-nations-try-to-up-the-birth-rate/267203/

    http://jeffwise.net/2013/01/10/about-that-overpopulation-problem/

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/were-underestimating-the-risk-of-human-extinction/253821/

    http://www.economist.com/node/21526329

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-brenoff/childless-to-my-childless-friends_b_2616049.html

  61. leaf says:

    Dear Kathlyn: You make me laugh! Seriously. You are out of touch with reality in Iran. I have the same suggestion for you that I had for the other two, come over and live with the 90% not the 10%. You seriously think if one is promoting Cyrus he is promoting Iran’s culture?! LOL How about the way he talks about others? How about his lies? Our lifestyle has gotten better under his presidency? What is better for Iranians now than 8 years ago? I am sure you are an advocate of him merely for him denying holocaust or he says Hashemi is a thief? The most money stolen in history of Iran has been under his presidency and his team! He even disrespects Rahbari, I am perplexed, how much more Rahbari is going to tolerate him! He is a populist and a narcissist, the most dangerous one could be. I wish one day he “begam, begam” about his own followers, too. In the end, I respect your opinion but I don’t have to subscribe to it! Rest assured soon you will unsubscribe from your opinion, too. Cheers.

  62. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    To be clear about your position, I take it you support Obama’s apparent contention Iran has a nuclear weapons programme?

  63. James Canning says:

    Smith,

    Isn’t South Korea’s fertility rate now about 1.2%? As the country gets richer and richer, the fertility rate declines.

  64. Kathlyn says:

    To Leaf:

    That’s right we don’t have to agree with each others opinion. However, your comment about Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust seems like you have bought into the mainstream media propaganda. Regardless you still did not answer my question how has he ruined the Iranian “culture”!!! And describe what you mean by “culture”. If any individual within 8 years can destroy the Iranian culture then obviously it never stood on strong grounds to begin with.