Responding to the New York Times About Going to Tehran

Today, see here, the New York Times published our response to Laura Secor’s review of our book, Going to Tehran, which the Times ran earlier this month.  We append the text of our letter to the editor below.  (Ms, Secor’s reply is also available by clicking on the link above.)               

To the Editor:

To encourage constructive debate, we will address two of the larger issues raised in—and by—Laura Secor’s review of our book Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms With the Islamic Republic of Iran (March 3).

Secor’s journalistic record identifies her as someone with a preference for remaking the Middle East along Western liberal lines.  But this preference can all too readily end in the robust application of American military power, as we saw in the case of the Iraq war.  Indeed, Secor arguably contributed to that war by publishing an article that provided a platform for Kanan Makiya, the leading intellectual voice in the United States for Ahmad Chalabi’s notorious Iraqi National Congress, to make his case that American military action would lead to secular liberal democracy in Iraq.  

More important, she seems to have learned nothing from the colossal damage that the Iraq war has done to America’s strategic position, in the Middle East and globally.  Instead, she has shifted her prism toward Iran—where, she holds, no legitimate politics can take place until the end of Islamist governance.  It is, of course, her right to hold that view.  But given her appallingly bad judgment regarding Iraq, assigning her the task of reviewing a book like ours, which challenges American elites’ “conventional wisdom” about the Islamic Republic so that the kinds of mistakes made regarding Iraq would not be repeated regarding Iran, only guarantees that the book will not be treated seriously.

Second, Secor clearly does not like our argument that, for most Iranians living inside their country, the Islamic Republic is a legitimate if flawed political order, with greater pluralism and vastly more progressive outcomes on a host of economic and social indicators than the shah’s secular, pro-Western regime.  Yet she offers no objective evidence that the argument is mistaken.  She dismisses our reliance on “opinion polls taken under repressive conditions.”  But those polls—14 methodologically sound studies, conducted by Western polling groups as well as by University of Tehran researchers—provide some of the best and most objective evidence of what Iranians actually think. 

Many responses in these polls belie Secor’s assertion of a repressed population — including sharp criticisms of the Interior Ministry and no increase in the percentage of respondents saying, after Iran’s 2009 presidential election, that they supported President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  (Before and after the election, the polls consistently showed that Ahmadinejad’s victory, with just over 60 percent of the vote—which is what the official results say he got—was eminently plausible.)  More generally, the results are remarkably consistent—meaning that, if respondents were lying, they did so in the same percentages on the same issues across 14 different surveys conducted at different times.  That has never happened in the history of polling, and is a powerful indicator of these polls’ internal validity.

The polls point to a conclusion Secor cannot face:  The Green movement did not lose its struggle with Iran’s established order because of brutal repression; the movement lost because, even at its height, it did not represent anything close to a majority of Iranians.  In 1978-79, when Iranians took to the streets against the shah and were gunned down by the thousands, protests grew larger.  (Likewise, when Egyptians poured into Tahrir Square in 2011 and were killed by the hundreds, demonstrations got bigger.)  In Iran, even opposition sources admit that under 100 people died in clashes with security forces following the 2009 election—and yet the Greens retreated, because the constituency for overturning the Islamic Republic was too small to support their bid for power, whether at the ballot box or on the streets. 

Americans face a stark choice regarding Iran.  We can come to terms with the Islamic Republic, accepting it as a legitimate entity representing legitimate national interests. Alternatively, Washington can continue on its present course—but that ultimately means going to war.  If, in the present climate, with Middle Eastern publics becoming more mobilized and politically relevant, the United States launches another war to disarm yet another Middle Eastern country of weapons of mass destruction it does not have, the resulting damage to America’s strategic position will make that done by the Iraq war look almost trivial by comparison.  Perhaps that’s O.K. with Secor.  But your readers deserved a fairer treatment of the analyses and arguments raised in our book.

FLYNT LEVERETT
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT
McLean, Va.

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82 Responses to “Responding to the New York Times About Going to Tehran”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Wow, she takes no responsibility for advancing the ideas of Kanan Makiya in the run-up to the war. We’d be more sympathetic had she framed those ideas, critically. Journalists are encouraged to do that kind of thing. But she didn’t, did she. She merely bought ‘em and packaged ‘em for dissemination.

    What exactly is an “ad hominem insinuation”? Me thinks this occurs when a person’s ideas are found to be flawed using recent regional examples, and the results are not to this person’s liking.

    And how is it possible for Western polling agencies to replicate the official 2009 election results, time after time? Please explain, Laura. And no, simply dismissing the results as being conducted “under repressive conditions” will not cut it.

  2. Pirouz says:

    Doesn’t Secor know any Iranians that are okay with their Islamic Republic?

    Like the Leveretts, I know of Iranian folks that are against The IRI and those that are for it, even among the educated class. In my own family, we have this split, with the ones for it remaining in the country and the ones against it living here in the States or France. We even have neutral family members, like myself.

    What never ceases to amaze me if where some people take it upon themselves to advocate political positions in other people’s countries. Who is Secor to advocate political positions in Iran? Or to take partisan positions within that country?

    That’s where I admire the Leveretts. There’s never any advocacy of whether the country should be Islamic, Marxist, secular, liberal or whatever. There’s no advocacy for who should be running the country. They simply accept it for what it is, something we Americans expect from foreigners when they’re observing our country. But not for the Secors of the world. They think they know what’s best for everybody, and when their “Makiyas” lead to colossal disaster, they hide behind “I’m just a journalist doing my job, it’s not fault–ad hominem insinuation! ad hominem insinuation! No fair, no fair!”.

  3. Pirouz says:

    And what’s Secor’s recipe for change for Iran?

    What the Leverett’s advocate for the United States–rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran–promises a relaxation of Iran’s internal national security posture. That more than anything else promises a more liberal and tolerant social and political environment. Look how much more relaxed the People’s Republic of China is today, when compared to 1970. And look at the economic results for that country.

    I can not imagine how this logic fails to impress people like Secor. And on the flip side, how is it that her insistence on demonizing Iran doesn’t lead her to conclude that she is only contributing to the drumbeats for war? As Mr. Spock from Star Trek would say: “Highly illogical,”

  4. Richard Steven Hack says:

    NATO Researchers: Stuxnet Attack on Iran Was Illegal ‘Act of Force’
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/03/stuxnet-act-of-force/

  5. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Secor’s response basically dismisses the polls with the blanket assertion that they cannot be valid until held under “free” conditions, i.e., without an Islamic Republic governance model. She doesn’t bother to address the Leveretts’ assertion that the polls are internally consistent including those held by outside poll organization.

    There’s no arguing with such a blanket dismissal.

    This is why “debate” is almost always useless. Unless the Leveretts can list those polls in their letters and the rest of the data – which they can’t in the venue provided – the argument devolves to “he said, she said”.

    Debating with basically intellectually dishonest people is a loser’s game. As I well know from dealing with a lot of people here and elsewhere on the Net.

  6. Neo says:

    Brilliant argumentation. My favourite part:

    “More generally, the results are remarkably consistent—meaning that, if respondents were lying, they did so in the same percentages on the same issues across 14 different surveys conducted at different times. That has never happened in the history of polling, and is a powerful indicator of these polls’ internal validity.”

  7. jay says:

    Mrs. Secor reported unequivocally in 2009 that the employees of the Iran’s interior ministry had signed a letter stating that the election was stolen. There was no such letter signed by anyone in the ministry who could have any knowledge of such an act had it actually been undertaken!

    Understandable if Mrs. Secor, in the heat of the moment, passed on a rumor as news had she corrected it later. She did not!

    She has conveniently forgotten the cheerleading she engaged in, albeit rather discreetly, for the war on Iraq.

    She has no answer for the consistency of the polls in Iran nor the science that dismisses her claim of “stolen election” as a statement without evidence to support it.

    Yet, like her many neo-liberal friends, she is well-meaning in her efforts to bring the “savages” to the modern era – although her conscious mind will never admit the subtext of her views. Like many of her friends, some of whom I have met, she is probably completely unaware of her deeply held biases.

    NYT’s choice of Secor represents the organizations alignment with neoliberal interventionist view at the top in NYT – no surprise!

  8. jay says:

    Mrs. Secor reported unequivocally in 2009 that the employees of the Iran’s interior ministry had signed a letter stating that the election was stolen. There was no such letter signed by anyone in the ministry who could have any knowledge of such an act had it actually been undertaken!

    Understandable if Mrs. Secor, in the heat of the moment, passed on a rumor as news had she corrected it later. She did not!

    She has conveniently forgotten the cheerleading she engaged in, albeit rather discreetly, for the war on Iraq.

    She has no answer for the consistency of the polls in Iran nor the science that dismisses her claim of “stolen election” as a statement without evidence to support it.

    Yet, like her many neo-liberal friends, she is well-meaning in her efforts to bring the “savages” to the modern era – although her conscious mind will never admit the subtext of her views. Like many of her friends, some of whom I have met, she is probably completely unaware of her deeply held biases.

    NYT’s choice of Secor represents the organizations alignment with neoliberal interventionist view at the top in NYT – no surprise!

  9. nico says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Again, I agree that the zionists hold influence in US policy making.
    And again, Iagree that it is first damageable to US position in the ME and second that Israel policies are like SA apartheid, depictable.

    That being said, you and Mister 20% deny the sheer reality of western and specially US policies should be it foreign policies or domestic policies.
    You refuse to challenge your own paradigm.
    You believe that western system of governance and the values carried out by western civilization are the best and they do not need to improve or be corrected.
    As put by Iranian meaders and revolutionary thinkers that is called Arrogance.

    First, the western governance is not democratic it is run by an oligarchy.
    As proven by the 99%ers movement.
    As proven by the only two poltical parties squating the political arena in the US.
    As proven by few mega companies controlling the media.
    As proven by corporation donations to political parties
    The rule of law exists (but it is weakened as seen with the dealing of the banks to big to fail) but it is no democracy.
    As such, the humanism is a propaganda tool in the hand of the elite to manipulate the 99%
    The 1% is materialist, and the policies are made by and for the benefit of corporations and financial corporation.
    Your claim about Israel, but human rights mean nothing for them.

    Second, the liberal system of values provide more individual freedom.
    But mainly the freedom to be a good consumer.
    You are individualy free but not to challenge such system.
    In addition this freedom coupled with materialism is also used against the community.
    See the job offshoring from US economy to China, Mexico or others.
    Few have the freedom to destroy the living of the many.

    This is the western system of governance, and the world view that is truly implemented.
    The original values of US founders is well and good.
    But in truth, materialism is the main value that is applied.
    The western system is built in this way. That it.

    You should first challenge this system and stop thinking the west should bring knowledge and civilization to the rest of the world and other barbarian people.

    By targeting the zionists as the main culprits you still are in a exeptionalist vision of the US.

    The US has nothing exeptional and should rethink themselves if they do not want do further slide in decay.

  10. Karl.. says:

    Quite sneaky for nytimes to grant Secor another chance to reply to Leverett’s, will Leverett’s be granted another reply? I doubt that.

    These people are brainwashed, you could provide polls after polls you could provide the most extensive historic research on Iran/US relations (as Leveretts) have done you could call out the warmongers like Secor, their lies but they would still use ad hominem, deflection and to smear, not necessary the views of Leveretts but the reality/facts.

    Laura Secor belongs the exact kind of people that dragged America into war with Iraq 2003 and she is bent to do the exact same thing when it comes to Iran. And then, she would say just like she does today when Leveretts calling out her support for Chalabi affiliates, that criticism against her is simply “ad hominem”.

  11. Rd. says:

    On Ms Secor’s reply;

    “I don’t claim to know what the majority of Iranians think — “

    This is about as truthful as she can be..

    “Now imagine you are an ordinary Iranian, taking a phone call from a stranger who identifies himself with a Western polling outfit and wants to know about your political views. “

    As for polling in Iran, I think she forgot her earlier statement above..

    Here is one polling done by TFT, Terror Free Tomorrow. Check the ‘About’ tab to see the board of directors with the likes of bomb bomb John McCain, The ‘so called’ peace dove Lee Hamilton and assorted necons. I think you can surmise with certainty these guys are not trying to promote IRI.

    http://www.terrorfreetomorrow.org/

    You can also review the poll and see the EXTEND of their interview and wealth of information they have gathered. It seems rather obvious they are looking for any cracks they can find; there other polls btw. According to Ms Secor, these Iranians must really be afraid of pollsters or have a death wish!!! right.

    http://www.terrorfreetomorrow.org/upimagestft/TFT%20Iran%20Survey%20Report%200609.pdf

  12. Castellio says:

    Wonderful reply to Secor’s hit piece. Cogent, short and serious.

    You continue to polish the mirror; not everybody likes the reflection they see when they look into it.

  13. Neo says:

    important:

    “Xi followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Hu Jintao, by traveling to Moscow soon after his ascent to the highest halls of power in Beijing. Xi delivered a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations that outlined his foreign policy vision and contained a thinly veiled condemnation of recent American doctrine:

    We are now living in a rapidly changing world…Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become the trend of our times. To keep up with the times, we cannot have ourselves physically living in the 21st century, but with a mindset belonging to the past, stalled in the old days of colonialism, and constrained by zero-sum Cold War mentality.”

  14. Smith says:

    Dr Akbar Etemad the first director of Iran’s Atomic energy organization during the Shah’s era, has urged Iran to resist all western pressures and continue with the nuclear program. He is known as the father of Iran’s nuclear program and commands enormous respect inside Iran and remains a pro-atomic weapon person.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21938308

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2013/03/130326_l10_akbar_etemad_radio4_nuclear.shtml

  15. Smith says:

    A half review of conventional military build up in south of Iran,, from a hostile regime controlled news agency: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2013/03/130326_an_iran_persian_gulf_weapon_purchases.shtml

  16. James Canning says:

    Great rebuttal. And we should bear in mind that “the Greens” helped to block the proposed nuclear fuel exchange.

  17. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    This is a superb response that reveals the “journalist” Secor to be exactly what she is; an unthinking propagandist who is incapable of criticising US policy while she constantly ridicules Iran for being “repressive.” Secor has been allowed to visit Iran multiple times despite the constant bombardment of villification she has engaged in. Of course the irony of that is completely lost on her.

  18. Mohammad says:

    On the last point brought up by Ms. Secor in her response (the reliability of opinion polls in Iran), I, as a mere reader and follower of Iran-related opinion polls for years, who lives in Iran, would like to bring up the following points.

    As everyone remembers, the Ayandeh polling agency case in 2002 (which Ms. Secor talks about) was sparked after Ayatollah Khamenei had publicly rejected restoring relations with the U.S., and then IRNA (then under control of a reformist government) published an Ayandeh poll (apparently conducted on behalf of Gallup) which showed that most Iranians favored restoration of ties with the US. The subsequent closing down of Ayandeh by Iranian authorities and putting its director on trial seems to belie Ms. Secor’s claim that polls are no longer reliable in Iran.

    First, we all know that Western polling organizations have regularly conducted opinion polls from outside Iran by telephone even after the Ayandeh case. Yet every such poll has basically reproduced the results of the Ayandeh poll on the issue of resuming ties with the US! Which means, contrary to Ms. Secor’s claim, Iranians don’t seem to be frightened to express their opinions about the very issue that apparently led to the clampdown on Ayandeh.
    As the Leveretts have mentioned, the claims of Iranians lying about their opinion because of fear, don’t add up when one examines their answers. There are many cases when Iranians have expressed openly subversive opinions when answering polls. Example: In two different TFT polls (one of which predicted Ahmadinejad’s victory in the 2009 election), nearly 80% of Iranians have expressed a desire to elect the Supreme Leader directly, not indirectly through the Assembly of Experts. Another example: a majority of Iranians told IPI / Charney Research pollsters in 2010 that they support the West highlighting cases of human rights abuses in Iran. Hardly shows a population frightened to speak up. There are many other examples of polls results inconsistent with a “fear hypothesis” which can be uncovered by a careful reading of the polls results.
    The pollsters themselves have also included checks on whether Iranians are afraid to be honest about their opinions or not. This is covered under the “Can Polls of Iranians Be Considered Valid?” title in this WPO report and also in this report. The 2010 IPI / Charney Research poll also found no sign of discomfort among 85% of the respondents when answering even the most sensitive questions.

    Second, I wonder how shutting down a polling institute (which BTW I don’t think many Iranians are aware about it) translates into fear in the population being polled. No one has ever been arrested in Iran for answering poll questions.

    Third, even direct polling in Iran has apparently continued by Western organizations (e.g. GlobeScan in June 2009), but since their results have not been publicized in Iranian media, there has been no clampdown on them. Let’s remember that the Ayandeh case did not happen before IRNA (the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran), then under reformist government control, published its polling results. That is, Iranian officials seem to worry about the media coverage of polls, not their undertaking per se.

  19. fyi says:

    All:

    The contemptible thing about the leaders of the Green Movement was when they sent their representatives to Mr. Khamenei – asking him to annul the elections. This was a power that the Office of Supreme Jurisprudent did not have then and does not have now.

  20. fyi says:

    Pirouz says:

    March 26, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Iranians are a very confused people.

    Just look at the way so many young women dress themselves – long manteau/shirt and jeans.

    Young women in the sub-Continent also were pants and shirts but they are Salwar kameez with dupatta or churidar – God forbid that young Iranian women wear anything reeking of the past traditional clothing – not they have to wear jeans.

    And then, like the Arab women, so much effort is put into emulating Nordic women – nose jobs and hair colorations.

    I do not think I have ever seen an Indian woman with a nose job and K-Mart blonde hair.

    The sanctions of EU on these pesudo-Europeans must be construed as a real slap in the face.

    Mr. Shariatmadari musty be quite pleased.

  21. Richard Steven Hack says:

    As predicted…

    Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-airlift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cia-aid.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Quote

    And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.

    “A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,” said Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who monitors illicit arms transfers.

    “The intensity and frequency of these flights,” he added, are “suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation.”

    End Quote

    So as usual, Obama lies to everyone and pursues a hidden agenda – even as ALL the pundits continue to claim he doesn’t want to intervene in Syria – even as he IS intervening.

  22. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US training Syrian moderates in Jordan: officials
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-training-syrian-moderates-jordan-officials

    “Moderates”…right…

  23. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israel preparing to attack Lebanon when the US and NATO attack Syria…

    UN reports major increase in Israeli air activity over Lebanon
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-reports-increased-iaf-activity-over-lebanon/

  24. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Repost 2

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    March 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm
    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 24, 2013 at 12:21 am

    “1) it could destroy the capital of one of the US’ biggest trading partners within 72 hours, and 2) within those same 72 hours, they could kill 20,000+ US troops stationed in South Korea”

    When Hack makes statements like this it shows his bad faith and refusal to accept reality. That in turn raises the question of what his real purpose here is.

    1. The Millenium Challenge exercise 11 years ago demonstrated how many US personnel would die. It was a similar number. Iran achieved this using very basic weapons and they achieved it despite the fact the US Navy was fully aware it was going to be attacked ahead of time. Iran now has weapons that are vastly better than the ones used to calculate the results in that exercise and there are vastly more of them.

    2. Iran can destroy the entire oil production infrastructure in the Persian Gulf and cut off access to it, which as I said before is far more important to the global economy than damage in Seoul. Funny Hack is just repeating the same statement he has made dozens of times before which has been repeatedly debunked and shown to be false.

    “The same applies to Iran – except Iran has no ability to kill fifty thousand US troops in ninety days.”

    No, in several days at most. That of course depends on how many US personnel are in the Persian Gulf and the airbases that Iran would target with 1,000s of missiles at the time. Note we are not talking about MRBM’s here. Many of them could be targeted with Fateh 110′s etc. Let’s illustrate another example of Hack’s lack of knowledge of basic military requirements. Combat radius. It is clear that Hack does not even know what this is or why it is important. Hack is pushing the idea that the US can send 100 or so bombers into Iranian airspace and that will destroy Iranian capability to resist. Of course anyone who knows anything about such a scenario knows this would not work. Note how this matches the second element of Zionist propaganda against Iran I mentioned before.

  25. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Repost 3

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    March 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Mr. Hack once again reveals his ability to ignore reality. Let us look at yet more proof that reality disagrees with the ideas that he wants us all to accept.

    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2013/03/navy-sequester-4-air-wings-grounded-8-deployments-canned-030313/

    “Officials are preparing to ground at least four air wings, starting in April — a move that will drastically reduce the Navy’s aviation readiness, with four of the nine air wings grounded and two more operating at minimum safe flying levels.”

    Oh but they could just be reactivated and be readied for combat in weeks right?

    “Top Navy officials have warned that it will take the better part of the year — and up to three times the cost — to return these air wings to full readiness.”

    “Basic flight training for pilot and flight officer trainees will halt in March.”

    In other words, it will take a full year to restore those wings to readiness once they are grounded and all pilot and personnel training stops. Just ignore this and continue to claim, based on statements in reports that Mr. Hack takes out of context and willfully distorts that the US is going to attack Syria or Iran “this year”.
    Yet another article that shows that Mr. Hack’s argument is completely wrong.

  26. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Repost 4

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm
    More evidence

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/mar/02/navy-stands-down-air-wing-as-cuts-begin/

    “The big news for the Navy is that a San Diego-based aircraft wing attached to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will be idled starting in April.”

    “The Reagan recently emerged from a year of maintenance in Puget Sound and likely faces months of training before it could deploy.”

    This is another concept Mr. Hack wants us to ignore. Aircraft carriers require regular and long periods of maintenance between deployments. The US cannot just wave a magic wand and send three or four aircraft carriers to one place at a few weeks notice.

  27. Persian Gulf says:

    I wonder what these creative demonizers of Iran will have to say in 2.5 months time frame after Iran’s upcoming presidential election and after the dust of the past election is completely settled. They have invested so much on the past election that it seems almost impossible to make a case of that magnitude. what is this over emphasis on illegitimacy of IR all about? specially when the whole argument is about to evaporate very soon.

  28. James Canning says:

    I recommend Anatol Lieven’s “Afghanistan: The Way to Peace”, in the April 4th issue of New York Review of Books. Extensive catalogue of American blunders.

  29. ToivoS says:

    Mohammad says:
    March 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Interesting comments. As one who has very negative feelings about the IRI this is something I will consider. First of all I accept that my feelings about the IRI are not relevant. But I am willing to accept that if most Iranians back their government then that is more important than whatever feelings I have about it.

  30. Pirouz says:

    fyi says:
    March 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    LOL, my half-Iranian sister made similar observations the last time we spoke.

  31. Rd. says:

    Though the Leverett’s have been promoting the idea of US going to Tehran, the ambassador is contemplating Obama having lunch with the next IRI president!!!

    ” It will be an engaging conversation if US president Barack Obama gets around to having one with Velayati on issues of war and peace in the Middle East — and then decide to have a meal together to talk about mice and men. ”

    So may be the idea is starting to catch on!!!

    I’d appreciate it if others can share more info on Mr. Velayati. If I understand it correctly, he may have been one of the key architects of IRI’s FP from early on??

    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2013/03/27/catch-a-rising-iranian-star/

  32. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    An “ad hominem” argument is directed against a person rather than to that person’s argument. As in calling someone “fat”, or “stupid”, rather than attacking that person’s contentions.

  33. Expose the lies and deceptions says:

    Your politicians in Washington are lying to you about Iran. They are lying to you when they say Iran has a nuclear weapon program that is going to produce bomb in one year. They lie to you when they say “it is up to Iran to reduce tension”. I was in Iran two months ago and I watched everything. The main problem in Iran is INFLATION due to sanction where makes Iranians very angry, not at the government, but at the dumb politicians in Washington and elsewhere. Iranians know the poor situation in countries invaded by the United States and their terrorist pawns. Iranians will not allow their country to become another Iraq, Syria, Libya or Afghanistan. Obama will never see Iranians in the street demonstration to topple the government for them. The policies of the US have made Iranian people, including the opposition groups, be united against dumb policy of the US and its designers. The Propaganda lies about nuclear program and “human rights” does not affect Iranians. The demonization process have been exposed to Iranians including the opposition groups, thus, has united them against their common enemies in Washington and elsewhere.
    One of the opposition weblog abroad was extremely angry at Obama after presenting his latest NOWRUZ message which was full of lies, using Hafiz poems to spread his cheap political slogan against Iranian government to present it as the guilty partner. The response of “green” opposition is as follows:

    Shut up liar, Shut up liar. Don’t use our poet, Hafiz, who was not in power and had nothing to do with politics for your cheap political slogans to deceive Iranians. Change your illiterate advisors because their advices present you as an ignorant person. Your lies will not have slightest affect on Iranian people especially when you killed thousands of our countrymen by your illegal sanctions and terror activities. We are not dumb not to realize your LIES AND DECEPTION.

    Please read the following poem written by one of the “Green opposition” after hearing Obama’s Nowruz message.

    http://blog.malakut.org/

    Translation of the first few lines خفه = shut up
    Assume that I have planted this tree, you shut up
    Either abandon this bad show or shut up
    While your sanctions are responsible for our POOR situation
    Then why do you talk about love for Iranian people? Shut up

    گـیـرم درخـت کـاشـته‌ام مـن، شما خفه
    یـا بـس کـن ایـن نـمایـش بـد را و یا خفه
    تــحـریم تــوســت گــردهٔ مــا را گرفته زیر
    وانـگـه سـخـن ز مـهر بـگویـی چـرا؟ خفه
    باور بـکـن ز عـقـل کـمـی بـهـره بـرده‌ایـم
    هـرچـند گشـته‌ایـم از این هوی و ها خفه
    حافظ اگر که گفت سخن، آسمانی است
    لـفـظ دری کـجا و سـیـاسـت کـجــا، خفه
    دانـی هـزار همـوطـن مـا تــو کشـتـه‌ای؟
    خـواهـم ز حـق بـه عـدل نـماید تو را خفه
    از هـر طـرف بـه خـاک وطن چنگ می‌زنند
    آنـان جـدا خـفه تـو از ایـن سـو جـدا خـفه
    کِـشـتی نـهال دشـمنـی و بـذر ناخوشی
    کـندی درخـت دوسـتـی‌ام از جـفـا، خفه

  34. James Canning says:

    Steve Walt’s piece (“Myopic US policy toward Iran”), linked by FY, is well worth reading.

  35. Nasser says:

    Very interesting development. I pray for its success!

    http://www.stratfor.com/sample/geopolitical-diary/challenging-international-economic-system

    “Sample Article: Challenging the International Economic System

    A deal up for discussion at the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, this week could yield a concrete move away from U.S.- and European-dominated international financial management. Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — the BRICS countries — will meet Wednesday after two days of technical meetings. Early statements indicate that the countries may have reached a deal on establishing a joint financial institution that would serve the dual functions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In addition to discussions about a possible multilateral bank, Brazil and China signed a currency swap deal for $30 billion worth of trade.

    While there are plenty of reasons to dismiss the BRICS countries as an economic grouping, each member is a regional power in its own right, a fact that even economic slowdowns are unlikely to change. A multilateral financial institution with money available to help finance investment and stabilize balance-of-payments crises could help boost the BRICS countries’ influence and long-term stability, at the expense of traditional economic powers. The idea of a currency stabilization mechanism built outside the auspices of U.S. or European management is not new. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China and South Korea maintain a regional currency swap mechanism through the Chiang Mai Initiative.

    What the BRICS countries are considering would have very different geopolitical implications. First, it would be a vehicle to facilitate financing for major investment projects in the member countries. It would probably also serve as a stabilization tool for countries with currency problems that have been cut out of the U.S. system.

    For a country like Argentina, which can almost certainly expect serious currency instability in coming years, a stabilization bank partly managed by neighbor and economic partner Brazil could provide a much needed safety net. For Brazil, it would be another way to shape relations with its southern neighbor. For Russia and China, a multilateral institution in which they play a pivotal role would give them a tool to increase influence over their strategic neighbors — who have in the past relied on aid from the West — while relying on the legitimacy of a multilateral institution to reduce Moscow and Beijing’s image of imperialism. None of this is to say that these countries don’t already wield significant economic and political weight. But a multilateral banking tool under the direction of BRICS countries would create an alternative option to relying on the International Monetary Fund in times of need, diversifying the tools available to BRICS governments.

    Whereas the Chiang Mai Initiative was a reaction to the economic turmoil of the 1997 Asian economic crisis, a BRICS bank would represent a political economic union of geographically disparate nations demonstrating a willingness and capacity to break away from the U.S.-dominated system that has for six decades been dominated by Atlantic institutions. The challenges are myriad and already apparent, with some reports indicating that there may be difficulties getting all five countries to agree to an initial investment in the bank. With China holding the majority of liquid reserves, it would be difficult for a BRICS bank to not be dominated by China, and the solution may be to weaken the bank’s institutions to prevent power imbalances. But the fact that the discussion has come this far demonstrates that mid-level geopolitical powers have begun to explore alternative ways to handle the world’s shifting economic balance.

    The current global economic system is defined by the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement. Though aspects of the agreement — like the gold standard — have been abandoned, its principles of low barriers to trade, rapid industrialization and predictable currency regimes have remained unchanged. The agreement itself was a way for the United States to bind countries into an alliance that came to characterize the capitalist bloc of the Cold War. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were among the many institutions created to service this system, but with the end of the Cold War, the International Monetary Fund in particular has suffered a series of missteps in its approach to aiding unstable countries that have undermined its reputation internationally. Most important, from the perspective of the BRICS countries, the International Monetary Fund remains dominated by Atlantic powers. The United States has the largest bloc of votes on the International Monetary Fund board, whose head is traditionally European.

    Ultimately, the International Monetary Fund finds itself at odds with an enormous number of countries whose primary goal is social and political stability, not economic perfection. This is not an alien concept to the United States, which has historically been willing to allow partners to bypass democratic and economic ideals to ensure stability in a strategic ally. But the current economic system and its associated institutions were built around the United States when it was the only major industrial power with the resources to stabilize allies. The rising economic powers of the world are regional powers in their own right, with idiosyncratic economic management models.

    Simply put, today’s international economic system is still dominated by an order that was designed to prevent a second Great Depression after World War II. It has not yet adjusted to the rise of countries like the BRICS, not to mention other major emerged and emerging economies, including Mexico and Indonesia. The impact of this rise is exacerbated by the ongoing instability in Europe that will only worsen as the political impacts of the economic crisis become clear.

    The United States remains the dominant global power while the rest of the international system adjusts to the failure of the European experiment. Whereas Europe dominated global commerce for 500 years, demographic shifts, constant warring, the reassertion of regional independence from European control and the United States’ rise to global dominance have put the world in a state of flux. While dominant, the United States is in no position to micromanage global affairs. For middle and regional powers, this period presents a time of great strategic opportunity. Whether it succeeds or not, the BRICS bank is exactly the kind of proposed change that we would expect in a globalized system that has outgrown the European age.”

  36. humanist says:

    Laura Secor in her rebuttal writes:

    “They [Leveretts] employ similar tactics in their book, against virtually everyone who writes about Iran. “ : :

    Everyone?…..yes indeed…..and that is very telling: :

    For example, on the 2009 Iranian presidential election, [virtually every] Radio Station broadcaster in the US and maybe over 95% of printed sentences [including those in NYT] strongly spread the big Goebellsian lie of “fraud”. Via a resolution every member of Congress (with the exception of Ron Paul), condemned that election. For a similar resolution the vote in Senate was unanimous.:

    Virtually everyone was saying one thing and Leveretts were contradicting that.

    Who was right?:

    A 40 page investigative report by Eric A. Brill (as seen in the following link) compellingly showed that not a single credible evidence of fraud can be found in that election.

    http://www.iran2009presidentialelection.blogspot.com

    Leveretts, from the start defended the validity of that election and the inevitability of disintegration of the Green movement. They were ‘absolutely‘ right while virtually everybody else was wrong.

    This happened in a fearful atmosphere where every knowledgeable pundit didn’t dare to swim against the ‘vicious sharks’. Those who supported the dictated narratives were either cowards with wet pants who didn’t want to bite the bloody hands that was feeding them ….or were heavily indoctrinated zealous nationalists who can never pass the modern tests of not being ‘warmongering psychopaths’.

    Only very few were so stupid that really believed what the criminal MSM was craftily trumpeting.

    The facts stated above are profound and historical. Any attempt to demonize or belittle Leveretts is truly appalling. They are not perfect yet their remarkable courage and their analytical insightfulness are quite outstanding.

    And about the polls:

    Ms Secor should know the fields of Probability and Statistics are not like theology or subjective journalism. They are established universal sciences. Polling practices are so advanced that using a sample of about 1000 gathered from the answers to the cleverly designed questions one can determine the outcome of any election within a tiny margin of error. Nowadays the contradictory answers can be filtered out… and you can bet your life on it if five of six independent honest polling entities come up with statistically identical conclusion….which is the case of Iranian 2009 presidential election.

    Regardless of the above, on election issue, I thought maybe it is appropriate to add the edited version of my earlier commentary in TheRaceForIran.com posted about 2 years ago:

    I believe, as far as today’s world politics is involved, the whole Episode of June 2009 Iranian Presidential Election bears a significant historical dimension. It is beyond the scope of this comment to properly back the above claim. Since only the impartial evaluation of events partially listed below requires many pages of explanation:

    – In 2008 taking MEK off the list of the Terrorists by Blair-Miliband.

    After the election Iranian Television showed during the election protests a civilian gunman aiming his gun towards an unidentified target. He was arrested and in the pursuing trials it was shown he was a MEK member. As far as I remember nine policemen were killed during those protests.

    – BBC Persian Services started at the end of 2008.

    Soraya Sepehpour Ulrich in an Algazeera interview revealed how, during the protest days, BBC and other anti-IRI broadcasting entities were provoking Iranians to join the protest to defend their civil rights and retrieve their ‘stolen vote’.

    – Three days before the voting, Kenneth Timmerman an overzealous Zionist , predicted a fervent uprising (revolution?) soon after the election. He also, for the very first time, selected the Green color to symbolize that revolution.

    How did he know about the coming revolution?

    He quickly withdrew that prediction from his blog. That was understandable. It was a dramatic case of spilling beans. Google Search ‘Paul Craig Roberts 2009 Iranian election’ and read more about that and many other enlightening information.

    Similarly, a few days before June 12, Mohsen Mir-Damadi one of Mousavi’s men told Elizabeth Palmer of CBS ‘there is going to be trouble after the election’. How did he know that? As Houman Majd, 3 days before the election, in his Fora program stated always Iranian elections are reliable since gross fraud is practically impossible. Why all the previous elections were acceptable to all but the upcoming one was not? What was so special about this forthcoming event?

    – The strange emails of Dr. Hejazi (who is in Neda Agha Soltan’s dreadful video) to a Brazilian man where Hejazi asks the Brazilian to take care of his family in case he gets killed during the protests. He left London a week before and was out of Iran a day after Neda’s gruesome murder.

    All those revealing email were available only a couple of days in this link ,http://paulocoelhoblog.com/ Understandably all of them are now deleted. Even the Farsi section of that blog was cancelled soon after the job was done.

    – The friendship of Manouchehr Ghorbanifar (CIA agent or asset) with Mousavi.

    Mousavi before the closing of the polls while holding a news conference claimed he is the definite winner of the election. (In Farsi “Ghatee” is stronger than definite, might mean “absolute” and/or “indisputable”). That kind of early declaration, as Paul Craig Robert showed later is the tactic used by CIA to cast doubt on the minds of pro-Mousavi voters conditioning them for a possible furious and violent protest.

    —- …….and dozens of other suspicious statements, actions and events… all supporting the assertion that mysterious hands were pulling the strings of that unprecedented protest.

    Even an amateur observer can clearly deduce that the well-organized powerful enemies of IRI , at least a year before the election, had (collectively and in harmony?) decided to use that occasion to demonize, destabilize and delegitimize Iran in order to pave the way for their sinister goals such as another devastating war or possibly other more hideous objectives.

    Did they succeed? Soon afterwards Netanyahu in a Charlie Rose show gleefully declared “…Iran is not the 800 pound Gorilla anymore”. Despite reliable Western Polls, the Goebellsian Lie of “stolen election”, “widespread rigging” and “fraudulent election” was repeatedly pumped into the minds of the people globally such that soon, practically everyone in the world believed those lies. (Including Noam Chomski and Eric Margolis who thought there was fraud however they were smart enough to guess that Ahmadinejad was the real winner).

    To complete the deception the plotters, in order to negate the conclusions of the reputable Western polls, were telling the skeptic minority that polls in Iran are ‘Notoriously’ unreliable. (Hiding the fact the hegemonic powers are perpetually spending large sums of money for polling in all Middle Eastern countries. If the polls there are unreliable why the West keeps on doing it over and over?).

    However, metaphorically, as the last sips of Celebrating Success Champagne was flowing down the throat of the anti-Iran plotters a disturbing news broke out. IRI unexpectedly, for the first time, published the detailed computer data of the contested election. I can imagine how the celebrating mood of the top plotters changed from great joy to rage and anxiety as soon as they realized the immense power of those published numbers.

    It was Eric A. Brill, a conscientious patriotic lawyer who used those numbers along other pieces of evidence to prove beyond any doubt that “not a single credible evidence of fraud can be found in that election”. Understandably Eric’s 40 page report didn’t get the publicity, distinction, honor and importance it deserved. Corrupt MSM not daring to discredit the report simply ignored it. MSM however used new words to characterize the election. Now instead of “widespread fraud” and “fraudulent” uses labels such as “disputed” or “contested”.

    I strongly believe Eric’s report along other critical essays like NIEs, some of Leveretts’ articles, Nima Shirazi’s “Phantom Menace”,. recent article by Sy Hersh and a few other sharp, analytical and critical documents MUST be bundled together, mass produced and sent to every law-maker, every top executive of every country in the world, every current or prominent journalist, every judge, every prominent Zionist, every historian, every academic etc etc.

    That is because, still we hear some Iran-haters brand that election with ridiculously harsh words (such as “egregious theft”). Such misrepresentations, at best are indications of lack of knowledge of the accusers and at worst are the indications of a cancer which is growing inside the essence of our humanity.

    Regarding June 12, 2011 protests in Iran read the following article in WSJ and wonder about how the fiction of “To die For” is no fiction anymore. The author gives the impression that tens of thousands protested in Tehran on the above date.

    http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052702304665904576381903034218450-lMyQjAxMTAxMDEwMzExNDMyWj.html

    And to get off the Kafkaesque mood in the YouTube Search type “Iran June 2011 protests”, watch randomly some (or all the) videos and get an idea how farcical the WSJ piece really is.

  37. Mohammad says:

    Pirouz said:
    “Like the Leveretts, I know of Iranian folks that are against The IRI and those that are for it, even among the educated class. In my own family, we have this split, with the ones for it remaining in the country and the ones against it living here in the States or France. We even have neutral family members, like myself.”

    This is a very important observation, which most Westerners (and Iranian opposition supporters) fail to address, which is natural since most people tend to ignore those whom they don’t agree with on important issues. Since almost all Western people prefer secular governments to Islamist governments, it’s natural that they tend to dismiss Iranians who support the Islamic Republic as either uneducated or too fearful to speak their minds. So they frame Iran almost exclusively as a “secular, West-loving population being brutally oppressed by a tyrannical Islamist dictatorship”, a pathetically black-and-white portrayal.

    I’ve had my share of arguing with my opposition-supporting friends, one of whom explicitly asserts that the “common people” don’t matter, and they should not have the right to vote, because they are not qualified to do so, as the election of Ahmadinejad in 2005 and 2009 demonstrated (thankfully he accepts that Ahmadinejad was genuinely elected by the people).

    Granted, another reason of the uneven portrayal of Iranian opinions in the West is that the opposition-supporting Iranians are more likely to come in contact with Westerners or to know enough English to convey their political opinions to foreigners, since they tend to be more West-oriented and media-savvy in the first place (as shown in opinion polls). This gives even the well-meaning Westerner the impression that most Iranians support the opposition. But they should perhaps try to see beyond their immediate impressions and to think more objectively about what they see in Iran.

    ToivoS,

    Thanks for considering my comments. The world would be a far more pleasant place if everyone was willing to consider opinions not in line with his/her own. But still, I think that it doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the situation just to say “most Iranians back their government”. It is important to note that the attitude of Iranians towards their government is not much different from the attitude of other peoples – especially those living under representative governments – towards their government. Do the American people back their government?
    Well, it’s true that most Iranians consider their form of government to be legitimate, but this does not preclude them from disagreeing with specific policies or, to put it into the Leveretts’ words, it does not mean that they don’t want the IR to “evolve in some ways”. But like most other representative governments, the government tends to make decisions which enjoy a majority support among the population. Those which are not, become [very] controversial; the prime example being the “hijab police” which the IPI poll showed that it was evenly supported and opposed by 47% of Iranians, and of course the opposers are more vocal (as in every other dispute in every other country). That is why the police has become much more cautious in enforcing proper hijab: the Islamic Republic cares about the domestic public opinion as much as any representative government.

  38. ToivoS says:

    As in calling someone “fat”,

    Secor has a point — I certainly would rather be called fat than being accused of supporting the war in Iraq. Unfortunately for her, it does look like she did in fact support the war and that does make it relevant for Leveretts to bring it up.

    It does not look like she actually came out with direct support for the invasion, but there seems little question that she was part of the chorus that demonized Saddam that accompanied the propaganda campaign to soften up the American people for war.

  39. fy says:

    Nasser says:

    March 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    It will not happen.

    India will drag her feet since her leaders are still in awe of the Unilateral Moment, South Africa does not have the wherewithal, China does not need it, and Brazil can only be a junior partner to China.

  40. Dan Cooper says:

    nico says:
    March 26, 2013 at 8:14 am

    “You believe that western system of governance and the values carried out by western civilization are the best and they do not need to improve or be corrected”

    Where and when did I ever say anything which remotely resemblance to what you are claiming above?

    I just do not know what you are talking about.

    Your post is full of nonsense.

    The reason Obama cannot go to Tehran is Israel and its powerful Zionist supporters.

    Nixon did not have this problem when he went to China. I am surprised the LEVERETTS have not elaborated on the significant of this point.

    Zionist controls the media and the finance both in USA and Europe. In short, the Zionists control the power centers of the western governments and no president dare to cross them.

    Please study the following two links and then express your opinion about the role of the Zionist in America and the Middle East in your next post.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25055.htm

    The biggest problem facing the world and the Middle East peace process are the powerful Israel lobby organisations in USA.

    The US media is a complete mouthpiece for the Israel Lobby. Never a critical word is heard against Israel.

    James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, He wrote: http://petras.lahaine.org/todos.php

    “The great majority of the world’s people are sickened and incensed by Israel’s mass murder of the citizens of Gaza.

    Israel’s embargo, the daily ‘targeted’ assassinations of Palestinians, the ‘targeted’ missile attacks against civilians, the land, sea and air blockades and the blatant ‘targeted’ destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza.

    No government, indeed a democratically elected Hamas government, can stand by while its people are starved and murdered into submission.

    According to the respected Congressmen Bermans, only the lives of Jews matter, not the growing thousands of murdered, dismembered and mutilated citizens of Gaza – they do not count as people!

    Until we neutralize the pervasive power of the Zionist Power Configuration in all of its manifestations – In American public and civic life – and its deep penetration of American legislative and executive offices,

    We will fall short of preventing Israel from receiving the arms, funding and political backing to sustain its wars of ethnic extermination.

    Israel will continue its barbaric ethnic cleansing.

    Israel objective is to obliterate Palestinian civilization and to wipe Palestine off the map.”

  41. nico says:

    Dan Cooper,

    “Where and when did I ever say anything which remotely resemblance to what you are claiming above?”

    You are implying that the Zionist are the source of the problem.

    When it is clear that the USG is fully controlled by many lobbies.
    Military complex lobby.
    Oil lobby
    Financial institutions lobby
    Agro lobby
    Pharma lobby
    Zionist lobby
    And so on…

    The problem in the US is not specifically the Zionist lobby.
    It is the system of governance where the policies are made by and for the lobbies.
    It is a system where the MSM are concentrated in few hands.
    It is a system where the Politician are controlled by money.
    It is a system where the check and balance is broken with extraordinary executive powers.
    It is a system where everybody think themthelves exeptional when the system itself bring degeneration.

    In Palestine it is the Zionist lobby, elsewhere it would be another lobby.
    The US citizens have truly no say.

    You are focusing on the effects of such system not on the causes.

    Now if you believe the zionists are the source of all mischief and the Protocols Zion Elders are not forged documents then it is another issue and there is nothing to discuss further.

  42. Fiorangela says:

    Battling polls regarding what Iranians really want is quite beside the point.

    Where Secor asserts “no legitimate politics can take place until the end of Islamist governance,” I disagree with the Leveretts’ acquiescence: “It is, of course, her right to hold that view.”

    Perhaps it is her RIGHT — everyone has the right to be stupid — but it not RATIONAL to simultaneously argue that Iran should be “democratic” — i.e. the people of Iran should have the right to choose their own form of government, and that Secor et al have the right to determine what that form of government should be.

  43. imho says:

    Dan Cooper says:
    March 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    If I may say a word or two in your discussion with Nico, nobody claims that Zionists have no power. On the contrary, they are very powerful, just as Christians and more generally white Europeans and Americans of European origin.

    The point is the Zionist power can’t be taken as a pretext to dominate the world. Either the Zionists dominate everything including European and American elites, or they work in tandem for that goal. In the first case, numerous examples given by Nico show otherwise and I’d add one more: I don’t think Arab Spring has been and will be beneficial to Israel while I believe it was all setup by westerners and given the go by Obama.
    On the other hand, all your examples about Zionist power are also true (and I’ve read a lot more than the links you provided). But they can’t prove white Euro-Americans are victims of Zionism. Just see how the world looks like today.

    Seen from the angle of non-Jew and non-Christian people of the planet, they seem more complicit in their desire to rule the world.
    Yet, I can understand the frustration of “real” Americans fed up by the politicians who did steal their nation. But as long as you’re pointing your gun to only Zionists and not all of them, then there is little chance you’ll get any result because you’re not attacking where you should, that is in the heart of the problem.

    And the problem imo is that certain elites in certain countries (for the numbers, look at the Bilderberg attendants list which is a good indication) think that other ordinary people whether from their countries or others are not worth or wise enough to vote and their viewpoints be counted on. They pretend to know what is best for us at best, or what is best for themselves at worse.
    I believe that above certain level, degree or whatever, the only thing that counts is being in line with the higher hierarchy, no matter Christian, Zionist or any other faith. Faith and nationality don’t count as much as origin, greed and subservience to the cause. Did “American” businessmen had any qualm offshoring thousands of jobs to China, contributing to the poverty of their own fellow citizens ? I don’t think so.

  44. Fiorangela says:

    Nico and fyi,

    Thank you for your responses in the earlier thread.

    Nico, you wrote:

    “March 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Speaking of zionism, I do not remember hearing Iran leaders statement about the zionists being the source of US position regarding Iran.
    At least they do not consider it as the very main factor.”

    Without a doubt you are more fully informed re statements of Iranian leaders than I am.
    I commit an error in basing too much of my assessment on one, single conversation with a mullah at a shrine at Qom who explained to an American group (of which I was a part) that Iran holds no animus towards Americans, or Jews, or Israel. Iran does, however, oppose the ideology of zionism.

    My thinking is influenced by contrasting what I call the “mythos” of Iran, which I identify as based on Iran’s deep historical legacy; national epic, the Shahnameh; and its literature and poetry, with the mythos of the United States, or rather, the lack of a comparable epic and deep historical legacy.

    To the extent that the USA DOES have a ‘national, unifying epic,’ it is the Hebrew-Christian scriptures. Since the time of Jesus, those hyphenated scriptures have battled against each other — Marcion believed that Hebrew scriptures should be no part of the new Christian dispensation. His view prevailed for a time, then it was struck down. On the Christian side of the hyphen, that pattern recurred several times since Marcion’s era. Notable instances of the Marcion pattern appeared in Martin Luther’s time; in the colonial era in the USA in the conflict between Roger Williams and Jon Winthrop; in Thomas Jefferson’s perspective on Jesus that served as a philosophical foundation for Jefferson; and in the German scholar and theologian Walther Grundmann’s attempt to remove Jesus from a Hebrew context and relate him to German cultural perspective. American Christianity has become increasingly hyphenated beginning in the mid-19th century and intensifying in the era of the two great wars in Europe. Only in the years immediately after the second world war did the phrase “Judeo-Christian” become formally linked in the popular imagination and identified as the basis of American culture.

    The Hebrew side of the hyphen has its own history and developed in ways radically different from the Christianity to which it has been linked over the millenia. Nevertheless, those on the Hebrew side of the hyphen have found it as much in their interest to retain that hyphenated linkage as have those on the Christian side of the hyphen.

    In my view, zionism is part of the Hebrew scriptures and mythos, and has inflected Christianity at those ways and times that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures were firmly hyphenated. As noted above, Judeo- and -Christianity became formally identified as the basis of American culture only in about the 1950s; that linkage has been deliberately intensified. Accordingly, zionism increasingly inflects the version of Christianity that informs the American mythos.

    It is my opinion that agencies from the Hebrew side of the hyphen have been more active and influential in causing their version of the American national mythos to support zionism, than have actors from the strictly Christian side of the hyphen. In fact, based on my observation of and participation in numerous Catholic and Christian (as well as some Jewish) study groups, I am convinced that Christians do not have a clue what they believe or how their scriptures have been slowly, gradually reframed to turn Jesus into a warrior imperialist.

    In short, in the USA, Christianity, the defining national mythos, has become Judeo-Christianity, and has become zionized. It is as futile to argue “zionism” vs. “Americanism” as it is to argue “Democrat” vs “Republican” in US politics. It’s all the same hyphenated ideology.

  45. Karl.. says:

    Compulsive liar David Albright is back with a new warmongering article, even fabricating a new term “critical ability”.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324789504578380801062046108.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

  46. nico says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Speaking of lobbies (here agro) and foreign policy,Iam sure you knowthe meaning of “banana republic”….
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic

    Strangely reading the wiki article it makes me think at some of the same in other regions nowadays.

    MENA current dealing by the US is not new behaviour.
    But, who knows, maybe the Zionists were alo involved in banana republics !

  47. nico says:

    Mister 20%,

    I am sure the US were also looking for good relaion with Honduras.
    At that the Hondurians were satisfied by the prosperity brought by US domination.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic

  48. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Yes, Nixon did not have to cope with the Israel lobby’s opposition, when he went to China in 1972. Hugely improtant point.

    Nixon ttok William F. Buckley with him, which did much to smooth ruffled feelings of “right-wingers” in the US.

  49. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You linked a piece by Gregory S. Jones in which he claims Iran has enough stockpiled 20% U to build at least five nukes. Is this accurate, in your view?

  50. fyi says:

    All:

    On Arab Summit (rather laughable)

    http://alhayat.com/Details/497545

    Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Palestine

    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/oct/26/gaza-isolation-way-out/

    Arabs are pathetic….

    As I said before: there in only one state between Chinese border and the Mediterranean Sea – the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  51. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Former UN monitor calls for Syria no-flight zone
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4361453,00.html

  52. fy says:

    Fiorangela says:

    March 28, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Judeo-Christianity is a concoction of American Protestants.

    It is not something that Jews accept as having any validity.

    There is a Jewish Tradition and there is a Christian Tradition.

    As a Christian you can try to learn about the Jewish Tradition, as a Jew you can try to learn about that of the Christians.

    But there is no common Traditions – just look for the book “A Rabbi Meets with Jesus”.

    I think the Mythos of America, captured many years ago by Dr. Kissinger, is the Lonely Cowboy, who wonders into the City, shoots up the bad guys, and moves on – sometime with the Girl and sometimes not.

    The Indispensable Nation, the City on the Hill, the New Jerusalem all came after the anti-Federalists were defeated in the War Between States – and the Federalists took US into the direction of Empire.

  53. fy says:

    James Canning says:

    March 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Yes.

    And further, that discontinuing the production of 20% enriched uranium no longer will make any material difference to Iran should she decide to build a nuclear weapon in terms of E.T.A.

    Thus look for the Axis Powers, Russia, China, and Iran to use that as the great concession that Iran is making – for the Cease Fire in the Nuclear File.

  54. fy says:

    James Canning says:

    March 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The late Richard Nixon was a statesman of very high caliber who had excellent grasp of strategy.

    Mr. Obama is no Richard Nixon.

    We need to wait for another man like him, but US political system cannot, in my view, promote such men anymore.

    Regardless, per my statistical calculation, the normalization of US-Iran ties will occur 2 generations from now – 2053.

  55. fy says:

    Karl.. says:

    March 28, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Per Mr. Jones article the link to which I supplied above; none of that matter any more.

    Iran is a nuclear-ready state and the power to undo it does not exist in the international arena.

    This last conclusion was stated by Sir Walter Quinlan in a security conference in Herzeliya, Israel (the head-quarters of MOSSAD) in 2002.

    But the Axis Powers, Russia, China, and India just had to try to test it, didn’t they.

    In 2007, they had the opportunity to come to terms with the rising Shia-Irani power but decided that they had to, just absolutely had to, test the mettle of that rising power.

  56. Neo says:

    Legal Experts: Stuxnet Attack on Iran Was Illegal ‘Act of Force’

    “A cyberattack that sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment program was an “act of force” and was likely illegal, according to research commissioned by a NATO defense center.

    “Acts that kill or injure persons or destroy or damage objects are unambiguously uses of force” and likely violate international law, according to the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, a study produced by a group of independent legal experts at the request of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Estonia.”

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/03/stuxnet-act-of-force/#comment-843448606

  57. fy says:

    All:

    Ms. Maloney’s essay on Engagement with Iran

    http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Articles/2013/01/iran%20maloney/iran%20maloney.pdf

    I agree with the substance of this essay:

    “Today, it is clear that the international community cannot resolve the fundamental political problem: the nature of the Iranian regime and the well-justified lack of trust in its intentions.”

    But the time for her suggestion below is past (2010 was the last train stop):

    “Beyond the nuclear issue, the Obama administration should map out the array of
    possible additional avenues for drawing Tehran into direct dialogue on issues
    of prospective mutual interest and advantage.”

    I do however think that her allusion to some sort of a deal on 20% enrichment is eminently feasible since that is now of limited strategic value to Iran. But it is sufficient for Axis Powers, Russia, and China to take it and proclaim a great victory.

    Normalization with EU, much less with US, are not in the cards.

    After the disintegration of Euro the EU states might start a process of rapprochement with Iran; starting with Italy and ending with Germany.

    But not now – the War-to-Wound-Iran-in-Syria has to end and the Iran must break out of the Economic Siege War against her.

  58. kooshy says:

    fy says:
    March 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    “Per Mr. Jones article the link to which I supplied above; none of that matter any more.
    Iran is a nuclear-ready state and the power to undo it does not exist in the international arena.”

    Yes that is correct and a very important point, for some time now, Iran is a retributory capable nuclear ready state, which was done in a “clean break” way.
    Meaning if you attack Iran, you don’t know if you have killed and completely destroyed all Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and if you don’t know that, you wouldn’t know what Iran will or can do to you and your friends and interests, in retaliation Iran will have the upper hand and will be justified, similar to NK but like I said without the unnecessary provocative details.

    Here is the Soghat e Eyd from Iran for all GTT contributors
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aehc5kicQGw

  59. nico says:

    Fiorangela,

    Your point hold some value.
    However, the influence of judaism is mainly due to the weakening of christanity, not the plot of zionist.
    Christians rejected religion to be part of politics. They instead chose materialism. And they implemented materialism as the way the governance structures shall manage their affairs.
    What is today influence if the pope in world or western domestic affairs ? Not much if none.

    At the end of the day the rest of the world could not care less, it is western internal issues.
    They only see that the west is trying to impose its world view on others.

  60. Fiorangela says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-25/brics-nations-plan-new-bank-to-bypass-world-bank-imf.html

    “The biggest emerging markets are uniting to tackle under-development and currency volatility with plans to set up institutions that encroach on the roles of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

    March 26 (Bloomberg) — Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University and former non-executive chairman for Morgan Stanley in Asia, talks about Cyprus’s bailout and the outlook for the European debt crisis. Roach also discusses Japan’s central bank monetary policy, and China’s new leadership and economic growth. He speaks from Beijing with Susan Li on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up.” (Source: Bloomberg)
    Enlarge image BRICS Nations Plan New Bank to Encroach on World Bank Turf

    While BRICS leaders may approve the creation of a development bank in principle at the summit, there’s still disagreement on how it should be funded and operated.

    The leaders of the so-called BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are set to approve the establishment of a new development bank during an annual summit that began today in the eastern South African city of Durban, officials from all five nations say. They will also discuss pooling foreign-currency reserves to ward off balance of payments or currency crises. “

  61. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I think you need to do more reading about the role of Christian TV evangelists (Protestant, but “low church”) in promoting “right-wing” or “pro-Israel” politics in the US. They are a significant element in determining the outcome of important elections. In fact, they may well have been responsible for enabling George W. Bush to avoid defeat in the 2004 presidential contest. Some say Bush “stole” the election, in Ohio. Different outcome in that state would have put Kerry into the White House.

  62. James Canning says:

    fy,

    I think you are correct to believe Obama has little strategic thinking ability, regarding the Middle East.

    But Nixon did not have to deal with the Issael lobby, to make his trip to China.

  63. jay says:

    Fiorangela says:
    March 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Correct!

    Yet, one must revel at the marvel of our free media!! A system where everyone is entitled to their own set of facts – not just opinions. Where all bundles of personally contrived facts are treated as equal. And, where interpretation of such need not be burdened by any logic – so long as there is consensus. A media free from the encumbrances of rational thought!!

  64. Karl.. says:

    Dont know if this has been posted yet, but according to this source Iran mulling enrichment freeze.

    http://www.jpost.com/Iranian-threat/news/Report-Iran-mulling-6-month-20-percent-uranium-enrichment-freeze-307821

  65. nico says:

    All,

    Don t know if anyone here knows zerohedge.com.
    It is a very good financial blog that deserves to be checked.

    It really help understand the economic situation the west is into.

    Overview of currency crisis. Obviously we are still fully in the last one that started in 2007
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-11/presenting-currence-crises-devaluations-and-regime-changes-collapse-gold-standard

    What’s next the Doomsday cycle
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-09-22/whats-next-simon-johnson-explains-doomsday-cycle

    “The continuing crisis in the Eurozone merely buys time for Japan and the US. Investors are seeking refuge in these two countries only because the dangers are most imminent in the Eurozone. Will these countries take this time to fix their underlying fiscal and financial problems? That seems unlikely.”

    An example : Argentina’s Financial Collapse
    _ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-10/argentinas-financial-collapse-past-prologue

    There is no happy ending in sight…

  66. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Congress is making it easier to go to war with Iran: Guest opinion
    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/03/congress_is_making_it_easier_t.html

    “History teaches us that the run-up to war is often not one dramatic event, but a slow burn that suddenly turns into a blazing fire. History is now repeating itself on Capitol Hill.”

  67. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Stephen Walt on Our myopic approach to Iran
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/03/26/our_myopic_approach_to_iran

  68. kooshy says:

    During this current ongoing Norooz (the Iranian New year) holidays which is currently undergoing is reported that 47 million travlers of this sanctioned country of 75 million took Norooz traveling vacation. a very telling story of how bad the sanctions have effected this country’s way of life. In this same report is also reported that overall Norooz travel was increased by 38% over last year.
    سفرهاي نوروزي از مرز 47 ميليون نفرگذشت

    http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/310826/سفرهاي-نوروزي-از-مرز-47-ميليون-نفرگذشت

  69. Expose the zionist mole says:

    Richard Steven Hack is a ZIONIST MOLE. Don’t pay any attention.
    He is frequently attacked by others at antiwar.com site.
    He thinks he is clever hiding his true face behind negative propganda against
    Iran by coping garbage from others to paste it here.

  70. Richard Steven Hack says:

    How Obama Chose War Over Peace in Syria
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/29/how-obama-chose-war-over-peace-in-syria/

    As I’ve said all along, Obama has been lying about his intentions in Syria.

  71. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Arab League decision to recognize Syrian rebels denies peaceful solution – Lavrov
    http://rt.com/news/arab-league-lavrov-syria-001/

    Which of course means there never was any intention of a peaceful solution, not by the US nor NATO nor Israel nor any of the Arab parties.

    The only possible outcome now is a foreign military intervention – which was the intention all along.

  72. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Feel free to report: ‘Sending arms to Syrian rebels is now legal and covered by the Arab League’
    http://rt.com/op-edge/syria-arab-league-military-aid-894/

  73. fy says:

    All:

    More whining from another pathetic Arab

    http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/iran-long-172806861.html

  74. kooshy says:

    اکسپوز

    هک‌ از اول همون تاکتیک قدیمی‌ رو استفاده میکنه اول اگه از در دوستی و دلسوزی نشد آنوقت متوسل به دل‌ خالی‌ کردن میشه تا وا‌ بدی، تو هم همون کار باهاش کن‌ دست بالا با تو است چون اون آسیب پذیر تره.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aehc5kicQGw

  75. James Canning says:

    Karl..

    Given the fact Iran has enough 20% U at hand to power the TRR for many years, a suspension for six months surely makes sense?

  76. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Laura Secor is abjectly ignorant about polls conducted in Iran.

    It is not true that there are no independent polling agencies in the country. Iranian Students Polling Association (IPSA) is among a number of such organizations.

    Secondly, the Canadian pollster, Globescan, conducted its post-election survey from within Iran. And, although the University of Maryland’s PIPA-WPO survey was conducted from outside of the country, director Steve Kull has been to Iran many times to conduct polling there.

  77. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Laura Secor is a complete hypocrite. She decries scientific polling of the Iranian electorate but she cites “Government polls (one conducted by the Revolutionary Guards, the other by the state broadcasting company) that were leaked to the campaigns allegedly showed ten- to twenty-point leads for Mousavi a week before the election.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2009/06/laura-secor-irans-stolen-election.html

    These “Government polls” were reported on Newsweek by Maziar Bahari and nowhere else:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/06/02/iran-s-president-bush.html

  78. Rahmat Haghshenas says:

    Before commenting on a point the Leverettes make, i must say i’m once again more than amazed re the couple’s courage, in this case daring to challenge the heavily subsidized Milani to a debate. You two take my breath away and make me super proud to be American like you.

    Apropos your reference to the revolutionary government’s instituting real competitive elections, i have this corroborating anecdote:
    Before he died in 2000, on several occasions my chronically ill father who lived way outside a southern Iranian town on a farm had junior election officials bring out a ballot box so he could vote without leaving bed. All he had to do is call and ask for it a week earlier each time. The courtesy wasn’t unusual except that my dad was 1) a known secular ultra-liberal as I am and 2) he had been a colonel in army counter-intelligence before the Revolution and therefore been captured and very nearly executed two weeks after the Shah fled. Nevertheless revolutionary election officials went out of their way to let him cast his vote during the 1990s.

    (I should mention in passing the well-known fact that the government also sends ballot boxes by helicopter regularly so a couple million members of nomadic herders can cast their votes wherever they are in pursuit of mountain pastures.)

    Shame on the mercenary expats who overlook such important details in their echo chambers pushing war.