The Coming Collapse of Iran Sanctions

Our latest piece, “The Coming Collapse of Iran Sanctions,” published today by Al Jazeera and Huffington Post, goes beyond challenging conventional Washington wisdom that U.S.-instigated sanctions against the Islamic Republic are “working” to argue that they are, in fact approaching collapse.  We encourage you to go online at either or both Al Jazeera and Huffington Post to leave comments, Facebook likes, etc.  We also append our piece below:

Western policymakers and commentators wrongly assume that sanctions will force Iranian concessions in nuclear talks that resume this week in Kazakhstan—or perhaps even undermine the Islamic Republic’s basic stability in advance of the next Iranian presidential election in June.  Besides exaggerating sanctions’ impact on Iranian attitudes and decision-making, this argument ignores potentially fatal flaws in the U.S.-led sanctions regime itself—flaws highlighted by ongoing developments in Europe and Asia, and that are likely to prompt the erosion, if not outright collapse of America’s sanctions policy.

Virtually since the 1979 Iranian revolution, U.S. administrations have imposed unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.  These measures, though, have not significantly damaged Iran’s economy and have certainly not changed Iranian policies Washington doesn’t like.  Between 2006 and 2010, America got the UN Security Council to adopt six resolutions authorizing multilateral sanctions against Iran—also with limited impact, because China and Russia refused to allow any resolution to pass that would have harmed their interests in Iran.

Beyond unilateral and multilateral measures against Iran’s economy, the United States has, since 1996, threatened to impose “secondary” sanctions against third-country entities doing business with the Islamic Republic.  In recent years, Congress has dramatically expanded the range of activities subject to such sanctions, going beyond investments in Iranian oil and gas production to include simple purchases of Iranian crude and almost all financial transactions.  This year, Congress blacklisted transfers of precious metals to Iran, to make it harder for Tehran to repatriate export earnings or pay for imports in gold.  Congress has also increased the sanctions that can be imposed on offending entities, including their cut-off from the U.S. financial system.

Secondary sanctions are a legal and political house of cards.  They almost certainly violate American commitments under the World Trade Organization, which allows members to cut trade with states they deem national security threats but not to sanction other members over lawful business conducted in third countries.  If challenged on the issue in the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism, Washington would surely lose.

Consequently, U.S. administrations have been reluctant to impose secondary sanctions on non-U.S. entities transacting with Iran.  In 1998, the Clinton administration waived sanctions against a consortium of European, Russian, and Asian companies developing an Iranian gas field; over the next decade, Washington declined to make determinations whether other non-U.S. companies’ Iranian activities were sanctionable.  The Obama administration now issues blanket waivers for countries continuing to buy Iranian oil, even when it is questionable they are really reducing their purchases.

Still, legal and reputational risks posed by the threat of U.S. secondary sanctions have reduced the willingness of companies and banks in many countries to transact with Iran, with negative consequences for its oil export volumes, the value of its currency, and other dimensions of its economic life.  Last year, the European Union—which for years had condemned America’s prospective “extraterritorial” application of national trade law and warned it would go to the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism if Washington ever sanctioned European firms over Iran-related business—finally subordinated its Iran policy to American preferences, banning Iranian oil and imposing close to a comprehensive economic embargo against the Islamic Republic.

In recent weeks, however, Europe’s General Court overturned European sanctions against two of Iran’s biggest banks, ruling that the EU never substantiated its claims that the banks provided “financial services for entities procuring on behalf of Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”  The European Council has two months to respond—but removing sanctions against the banks would severely weaken Europe’s sanctions regime.  Other major players in Iran’s economy, including the Central Bank of Iran and the National Iranian Oil Company, are now challenging their own sanctioned status.

On the other side of the world, America is on a collision course with China over sanctions.  In recent years, Beijing has tried to accommodate U.S. concerns about Iran.  It has not developed trade and investment positions there as rapidly as it might have, and has shifted some Iran-related transactional flows into renminbi to help the Obama administration avoid sanctioning Chinese banks.  (Similarly, India now pays for some Iranian oil imports in rupees.)  Whether Beijing has really lowered its aggregate imports of Iranian oil is unclear—but it clearly reduces them when the administration is deciding about six-month sanctions waivers for countries buying Iranian crude.

The administration is taking its own steps to forestall Sino-American conflict over sanctions.  Besides issuing waivers for oil imports, the one Chinese bank Washington has barred from the U.S. financial system for Iran-related transactions is a subsidiary of a Chinese energy company—a subsidiary with no business in the United States.  However, as Congress enacts additional layers of secondary sanctions, President Obama’s room to maneuver is being progressively reduced.  Therein lies the looming policy train wreck.

If, at congressional insistence, the administration later this year demands that China sharply cut Iranian oil imports and that Chinese banks stop virtually any Iran-related transactions, Beijing will say no.  If Washington retreats, the deterrent effect of secondary sanctions will erode rapidly.  Iran’s oil exports are rising again, largely from Chinese demand.  Once it becomes evident Washington won’t seriously impose secondary sanctions, growth in Iranian oil shipments to China and other non-Western economies (e.g., India, South Korea) will accelerate.  Likewise, non-Western powers are central to Iran’s quest for alternatives to U.S.-dominated mechanisms for conducting and settling international transactions—a project that will also gain momentum after Washington’s bluff is called.

Conversely, if Washington sanctions major Chinese banks and energy companies, Beijing will respond—at least by taking America to the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism (where China will win), perhaps by retaliating against U.S. companies in China.  Chinese policymakers are increasingly concerned Washington is reneging on its part of the core bargain that grounded Sino-American rapprochement in the 1970s—to accept China’s relative economic and political rise and not try to secure a hegemonic position in Asia.  Beijing is already less willing to work in the Security Council on a new (even watered-down) sanctions resolution, and more willing to resist U.S. initiatives that, in its view, challenge Chinese interests (witness China’s vetoes of three U.S.-backed resolutions on Syria).  In this context, Chinese leaders will not accept American high-handedness on Iran sanctions.  At this point, Beijing has more ways to impose costs on America for violations of international economic law that impinge on Chinese interests than Washington has levers to coerce China’s compliance.

As America’s sanctions policy unravels, President Obama will have to decide whether to stay on a path of open-ended hostility toward Iran that ultimately leads to another U.S.-initiated war in the Middle East, or develop a very different vision for America’s Middle East strategy—a vision emphasizing genuine diplomacy with Tehran, rooted in American acceptance of the Islamic Republic as a legitimate political order representing legitimate national interests and aimed at fundamentally realigning U.S.-Iranian relations.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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128 Responses to “The Coming Collapse of Iran Sanctions”

  1. BiBiJon says:

    jay says:
    February 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Jay, I appreciate your reply, and I think you are completely correct.

    The US strategic objective is, at any cost, to hang on to ME for its geostrategic significance, Dollar’s status as reserve currency, and a choke-hold on trade and transport of hydrocarbons. Various American poodles play on these objectives and try and equate their own self-aggrandizing prerogatives with the master’s grand strategy. E.g. Israel’s unchallenged regional supremacy, British and French colonial tick to be king makers, etc. find all manner of avenues to justify profitless tactics, unholy alignments, all the while pretending to advance American goals. As proof that there is nothing organic or germane about the various justification of wrong-headed tactics to the overall goal, just consider the sheer effort put into manipulation of US politics, academia, news media, etc. Shameless personal ambitions of US politicians also add to the dense forest of moving parts that obscure the wood: the strategic objective. Up to a point the poodles machinations can be confused for a rallying ideology that adorns a simple material quest with “human truths.” Past that point, the strategic objective winds up being subordinated to these bit-players’ unattainable wishes and petty concerns.

    Well, I believe US’ above mentioned overall strategic goal can be realized by accepting IRI, KSA, and Israel as inviolable fortresses of Shi’ism, Sunnism, and Judaism respectively. And, at far less effort, cost, and spilled blood, US can get the three fortresses to accept each other.

    Sineva says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I hope the above also acts as an answer to Sivena, in that Obama’s courage, or lack thereof, Iran’s mistrust, etc. may delay, but not derail the movement to manifest destiny.

    Below are your comments from last thread
    ————————————–

    jay says:
    February 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I am intrigued by the view proposed in your comments. With respect to strategy and tactic, it is true that duration and scope are two key distinguishing factors. Human endeavors being of finite type and often lifetime-scale duration, any strategic initiative can be cast into a longer term tactical exercise with a broader scope. The vacuity of the semantic exercise in equating is rather uninteresting because it misses the larger point. In 1965, Robert McNamara set in motion a strategic reshaping of US military – the impact lasted more than 2 decades and had ripple effects for another decade. The reason was had less to do with the complexity of the individual tactical exercises, rather it was because it required a new mindset in decision making.

    The notion of strategic realignment in the M.E. has less to do with the sanctions, or the upcoming meeting, or the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, etc. It is about a new decision making paradigm – less reliance on any individual country or attempts to prop them up – more focus on common objectives and working partners to address root causes of difficulties in the M.E..

    Without belaboring the point, as a final example I would suggest that your statement about the stupidity of thinking of causing harm as “cost-free” is only so if causing harm, including the blowback, is not part of the strategic objective. Certainly the experiences of the US in Afghanistan and elsewhere should illustrate the point.

    Incidentally, I also do not find the permanent war hypothesis tenable – in many respects it is unsound and unconvincing as a hypothesis, but may be acceptable to some as a belief system.

    Sineva says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    It would be nice if it were true,but sadly obama is too mediocre and conservative a politician to take risks like that,he is more concerned with his historic legacy as the first black president and does not want to risk f**king it up,obama had his chance with the fuel swap but he blew it because he wanted capitulation not a deal now his only vision for the region is maintaining the crumbling status quo and hoping that in the long run something will come along to save it before it collapses completely,the arab despots and apartheid israel are probably hoping and praying for the same thing as any deal would probably come at their expense.We will have to wait and see if the west is willing to actually offer something of value to iran at the next round of talks,personally I am not optimistic about this and the west has giving no sign that it is serious about actual negotiations for this next round

  2. Neo says:

    This great article has kicked up quite a big debate on Al Jazeera, which has a fairly large American following online.

    You have to marvel at the ingenuity and tenacity of Iran in its resistance to the ruthless empire’s designs, not just through legal challenges, but also in direct challenges to USA’s attempts at blocking Iran’s trade with the world.

    America’s failure, at least so far, clearly demonstrates just how far the world order has changed since the 1950s. This is great news not just for Iranians, but also for all independent minded nations and peoples globally.

    Personally, I can’t wait for this crazy foreign obsession with the Islamic Republic to end – or for the Americans to wake up and realise just how delusional they are about their own place in the world.

    Once we have that, then secular and democratic Iranians will have a real chance to realise the other aims of Iran’s 1979 revolution. The aims and aspirations that Iranians have held for themselves, aside from the goal of fighting imperialism. Where, for example, is the Republic?

  3. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iran%20Gulf/Iran/138-spider-web-the-making-and-unmaking-of-iran-sanctions.pdf

    We read:

    “As far as Iran is concerned, it is too late to reverse course. The massive sanctions regime is in place, warts and all, and not about to be removed.”

  4. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    It appears that Jack Straw, former UK foreign secretary, is re-thinking the “all options” mantra.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9892742/Even-if-Iran-gets-the-Bomb-it-wont-be-worth-going-to-war.html

    “Resolving the current impasse will require statesmanship of a high order from both sides. From the West, there has to be a better understanding of the Iranian psyche. Transcending their political divisions, Iranians have a strong and shared sense of national identity, and a yearning to be treated with respect, after decades in which they feel (with justification) that they have been systematically humiliated, not least by the UK. “

    And,

    “Few in the UK have the remotest idea of our active interference in Iran’s internal affairs from the 19th century on, but the Iranians can recite every detail”

    Again, one wonders if James has an idea, or if it is 20% blocked.

  5. Karl... says:

    Sakine,

    Great piece by Jack Straw, as we see more and more former officials speaking out on the exact same basis Leveretts & co have tried to push many years now, but Straw gets its wrong on two points.


    “..If Iran were to attack “

    Prejudicial thought. Why would Iran attack anyone? When did it last threatened to out of the blue attack anyone? It makes no sense for Straw to begin his article with that argument.

    “..when it became clear that Iran had failed to disclose much of its activities to the IAEA, in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which it adheres”

    Not even IAEA consider that Iran has breached its commitment to the NPT.

  6. James Canning says:

    I recommend the comments in today’s Financial times by Hossein Mousavian: “What Kerry needs to know about nuclear talks with Iran”.

    Mousavian underlines the gross stupidity by “the west”, in refusing to allow the sale of fuel rods for the TRR, when Iran offered to halt enrichment of 20 percent uranium.
    By “the west”, Mousavian means the US.

    Mousavian notes that “harsh rhetoric [from Iran] will only strengthen the hands of warmongers in the US and Israel”.

  7. James Canning says:

    Voice of Russia report today: “The world needs to see that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful to discuss any weakening of the sanctions, Russia’s Deputy FM Segei Rybakov stated [yesterday]“.

  8. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I agree with Mousavian’s comment today in the Financial Times: “Mr Obama and Mr Kerry must do more than offer discussions [with Iran]. They must suspend the language of threat and hostile actions. Only then will diplomacy work.”

  9. James Canning says:

    PressTV reports today that P5+1 asked Iran to shut Fordow, ship 20% U out of Iran, and not produce more 20, in exchange for lossening of sanctions.

    Personally, I see no reason Fordow needs to be closed.

    Iran, of course, has offered a number of times to suspend the 20, if TRR fuel is sold to Iran. Continuing idiocy on this point, by the US, is morbidly fascinating.

  10. James Canning says:

    Leadin neocon warmonger, John Bolton, argues in the Guardian today that the Iraq War was a success! He would say this, wouldn’t he? Given that Bolton was one of the core conspirators in setting up the idiotic and illegal invasion of Iraq.

  11. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I have a fairly good understanding of England’s relations with Persia since the 17th Century. This understanding incudes Britain’s dealings with Iran.

  12. humanist says:

    Below read Gareth Porter’s exaltation of Going To Tehran and admiration of Leveretts in words so closely reflecting my own thoughts:

    http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2013/02/25/former-insiders-criticise-iran-policy-as-us-hegemony/

    In my view Gareth too possesses close to rare atypical characteristics of deep analytical insight, bravery, honesty and integrity.

    Along many invisible conscientious antiwar individuals in the world, I too salute these three remarkable souls with warmest feeling of admiration and respect.

  13. BiBiJon says:

    Rybakov: “The world needs to see that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful to discuss any weakening of the sanctions.”

    Russia would like to see the continuation of western sanctions on Iran forever, if not longer than forever. Russia would like to see Iran strong enough to discourage an American attack, but in perpetual conflict with the west to need Russia as a patron.

    Also Russia would like to see oil-thirsty China have as few choices as possible when it comes to procuring her energy needs.

    And then Russia pretends not to realy favor Iran’s isolation, which is a ruse to get concessions from the west to reluctantly go along with the sanctions.

    What a surprise for Rybakov to set Iran a never-ending task of proving a negative.

  14. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    That is highly unlikely. Israel is in a strategic partnership with west that US can not break. India has joined the western club and is benefiting from it and west can not alienate over a billion population. Pakistan is looking to create a strategic place for itself and in the process of doing so might become anti-Iranian in coming decades.

    Iran already owns 10% of Eurodif enrichment plant in France and also owns 15% of Rossing Uramium mine supplying it with raw uranium. Despite this, Iran has not been given any uranium, raw or enriched from its owned property in the past 39 years. Even if US allows Iran to buy an enrichment plant in US and buys a uranium mine in Australia, there will not be and can not be any guarantee that Iran will receive a gram of uranium. Any notion that Iran can trust west in this regard or for that matter any other regard is not rational and I hope Iranian statesmen understand this point very well.

  15. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Japan is enthusiastically pursuing to construct large fast breeder reactors which produce large amounts of plutonium under the guise of fuel efficiency. Japanese stockpile of plutonium is going to increase massively in years to come, while meanwhile being protected under American nuclear umbrella. South Korea is following just behind Japan. As are many other nations.

  16. Hello says:

    With fast shifting BALANCE OF POWER in Iran’s favour in Middle East there is nothing US can do to Iran no matter how much sanctions – primary or secondary – it imposes on Iran.

    Arab Spring has shifted power so much in Iran’s favour that sanction related mosquito bites are very little price to pay. By 2025 Iran is set to become regional power.

  17. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 26, 2013 at 12:05 am

    No body would lift a finger if tomorrow Iran got nuked by Pakistan or for that matter any other nuclear power. That is for sure. 100% guaranteed.

    The people who think that salafis love Mr. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are living in a fool’s paradise. I challenge them to travel to places like Parachinar, Rahim Yar Khan, Jhang, Gilgit and Quetta living for a while among the Shia. It is not easy when you live among people who see themselves as pseudo-Saudis, walking in streets and shops shouting shia kafer kafer and erect flags of SSP and LeJ around the shia houses.

    Malik Ishaq will come out of his “protective custody”, just like before. He is actually being protected by Pakistani military under the illusion that he is arrested. Already the government of Pakistan has said, he will be released in less than a month. And he is not one person. He is going to be replaced by more bloody types as Riaz Basra and Jangavi were replaced. These are officially called “strategic assets” of Pakistan military. Brelvi/Sufis/Secular Pakistanis have become increasingly irrelevant in strategic planning and decision making in Pakistan.

    There is a good 50% chance of an internal military coup by these elements in Pakistani military. Even the secular Pakistani military people are warning about it. This is only a matter of time. And these Saudi stooges are not concerned with Kashmir or India. In fact the deobandis and salafis were against the creation of Pakistan and had resisted it by taking the side of Indian congress. Pakistan was created by Ismailite Shias. The people who live in fool’s paradise should know that these groups have deep support among a certain segment of population with an intricate web of interconnected political and military groups eg. Jamat Islami to SSP.

    The brelvis, sufis and secular are being defeated in Pakistan with Shias having become easy targets. Without nuclear weapons we will wake up some morning to find out that Tehran, Isfehan, Shiraz, Hamadan and Mashhad are gone. You can not fight nuclear weapons with klashinkovs and bravery. It takes the credible threat of a nuclear counter strike to have a deterrence. Not the moronic notion that there are people in love with Mr Khamenei in Pakistan, US, France, UK, China, Russia, Israel, North Korea, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Sweden, Norway, India etc etc. Even if the majority of these populations do love Mr Khamenei, it does not provide any deterrence for Iran. None.

  18. Richard Steven Hack says:

    BiBiJon: “Both lead me to think the nuclear file is about to be closed, sooner than most would think.”

    You’re hilarious. How much mescaline, LSD AND DMT did you have to take before being able to write that sentence?

  19. Smith says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    February 25, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Nice speech. Thank you for putting it here.

    But I have questions on the matter, which I appreciate if you could shed light on it since you seem to be in the loop for this one.

    Why Iranian cinema is so mute ideologically? Is it because of technical incompetence or the ideological retardness? Why they can not move behind some cheaply made reactionary movies and family soaps?

    I heard that after Argo, Iran wants to make another Argo as a reply. What a retard decision.

    As a response to western attack on Iranian culture and history, why can not Iran make a movie on for instance on Bobby Sands? I do not think, it even needs any kind of technical expertise. It need not even be a long movie. Is there no director in Iranian film industry that can make a 20 minute movie, or even a ten minute “commercial” showing an increasingly dehydrated man, vomiting blood because of resulting collapse gut epithelium having gone blind due to deranged internal metabolic environment still wanting his freedom for which his ancestors having been fighting for 800 years? All the while his mother and friends outside the prison wall are chanting, that they with him.

    Is it because of treachery of Iranian film industry or its moral bankruptcy that it can not live up to its job of making such movies? Because such a short movie just needs one actor, one room and one camera. Probably can be done in just one day too. And that is just one example. Instead of being a goofy and foolish reactionary trying to make an Iranian Argo, why Iran can not instead make a movie about Allende, Mossadeq or MalcomX?

  20. Smith says:

    Jack Straw (the last British foreign minster worth his office) on Iranian nuclear issue: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9892742/Even-if-Iran-gets-the-Bomb-it-wont-be-worth-going-to-war.html

  21. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Fyi and others: From previous thread article on “heavy weapons:. No one said anything about tanks.

    We’re talking anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft weapons, shoulder-fired.

    Having something like a Milan anti-tank weapon is incredibly useful to insurgents (especially because they are effective against ground troops – Hizballah used antitank weapons effectively against Israeli soldiers in 2006.) Being able to shoot down government helicopters is incredible useful to insurgents. Being able to shoot down government fighter-bombers is incredibly useful to insurgents.

    Besides, the insurgents already HAVE captured tanks (at least until they’re blown up by the Syrian military.)

    The point is that the goal is to increase the effectiveness of the insurgents sufficiently to cause further chaos in Syria, thus justifying a foreign military intervention – not necessarily to enable the insurgents to defeat the government forces on their own, which remains problematic.

    More importantly, as I said, it points out that it is the WEST, not Saudi Arabia and Qatar, that will be providing these weapons to “moderates”, since Saudi Arabia and the GCC want to arm the Salafists, not the “moderates” – if there even IS any real difference between the two.

    Obama is promoting the Syria civil war even while he says he’s not.

  22. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 26, 2013 at 11:15 am

    As evident from the research paper you have linked to, Iran will have to move to become more independent and nuclear armed. Sanctions are going remain regardless. Iran is already under the most oppressive sanctions the world has ever seen. I do not think any other sanctions remain to be imposed on Iran short of cutting Iran’s telephony, postal service and air/sea embargo. It is better for Iran to be nuclear armed than suffer pointlessly under these sanctions. At least with nuclear weapons, Iran’s bargaining position will massively improve and war/embargo can be prevented.

  23. jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Thank you for your reply.

    I am in agreement that goals have been subordinated to the concerns of myopic bit-players.

  24. A-B says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    February 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Yes, great post!

    But, Iran is simply saying why not stick to this piece of Law, NPT, written in English? Shouldn’t Law apply to all regardless race, creed, “psyche” etc.?

    The petty Imperialist strangles Iran and says: It refuses to die; it must be a cultural thing! Maybe if we learn the art of ‘Tarof’ or some poem, we can persuade them to die. Damn, where is the “strong man”-dictator (i.e. “transparent” government according to the Imperialist) when you need one.

    Apparently, Iran – remembering her past – is disproving the British Darwinism, according to which any other country than Iran would have succumbed by now. Maybe the West should recourse to Trans-humanism, that is, transform to Humanism? This per se would mean end of Western tribalism. So, if you want to understand Iran (and the “Rest”), then say bye-bye to the West!

    Seriously, is ‘respect’ really that hard to comprehend? Or too much to ask for? Iran doesn’t forget her past because West doesn’t let her; by refusing to change its racist, bullying attitude. By “Argo”! And, yes, if Iran would have done this to the Brits, NO Iranian could set his/her foot in England, but we constantly hear how much Iranians “love” Americans!!

  25. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Turns out the US and Israel were attacking Iran with a version “0.5″ of Stuxnet no later than 2007 – and it was in development no later than 2005 – which means when Iran was still voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol (although it would suspend that a few months later.)

    Revealed: Stuxnet “beta’s” devious alternate attack on Iran nuke program
    http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/02/new-version-of-stuxnet-sheds-light-on-iran-targeting-cyberweapon/

  26. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Source Rejects Suspension of Iran’s Enrichment in Exchange for Lifting Sanctions
    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9107147944

    Speculation about the content of the talks continues.

  27. Richard Steven Hack says:

    An op-ed in the LA Times by, presumably, an Iran ex-pat who dislikes Khamenei,

    Why Iran says no
    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sees the nuclear issue in terms of his political survival.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-banai-khamenei-iran-nukes-20130226,0,4567907.story

  28. Richard Steven Hack says:

    A considerably more cautious take on the current talks…

    Iran diplomat offers tentatively positive take on Almaty talks
    http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2013/02/4578/iran-diplomat-offers-cautiously-positive-take-on-almaty-talks/

    Quotes

    “I can’t say what will be the outcome,” the official continued. “But we think the outcome should be some technical meetings.” That would seem to correspond with what Western diplomats said Monday, that they were hoping to have a follow up meeting, or a series of follow up meetings, with the Iranians at the technical experts level, ideally beginning before Iran’s Nowruz New Year’s holiday in March.

    Both Iran and the P5+1 agree that a comprehensive deal “is not possible right now, so both sides are trying to solve one part of it,” the Iranian diplomat said. “Both sides agree on which part to solve right now,” as a first step, focused on Iran’s 20% enrichment activities, he said.

    From Iran’s perspective, he continued, however, “the problem is, what the P5+1 wants to give us is not [balanced with] their requests.”

    The updated P5+1 proposal formally presented to Iran Tuesday includes some sanctions relief on the gold trade, petrochemical industry, and some small scale banking sanctions, according to a source close to the talks who received a copy of it late Monday from a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Al-Monitor first reported earlier Tuesday.

    End Quotes

    “Small scale banking sanctions” – no doubt because the EU General Court overruled sanctions on a couple of Iran’s banks…so the West can see the writing on the wall if Iran’s Central Bank now challenges the sanctions on it in court.

    Basically what will happen is…nothing. Some technical talks before the June Iran elections. Meanwhile Israel will raise more hell every day about “delaying tactics” and the US Congress will slap on MORE sanctions.

    It’s all a delay by the West so that the Syria crisis can spiral into a foreign military intervention.

  29. BiBiJon says:

    IAEA’s access under Additional Protocol during 2003 – 2005 coincides with:
    =============================================================

    “They found evidence Stuxnet 0.5 was in development as early as 2005, when Iran was still setting up its uranium enrichment facility, and the virus was deployed in 2007, the same year the Natanz facility went online.”

    From http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/26/us-cyberwar-stuxnet-idUSBRE91P0PP20130226

  30. masoud says:

    For any economists out there:

    Does someone want to explain to me why Iran doesn’t simply start offering it’s oil on the international spot market, priced in it’s own Rials? I’m ghoulishly ignorant of world economies should be run, but this my train of thought:

    1. At this point, the countries Iran buys goods from are the same one’s that buy it’s oil. The benefits of holding on to some kind of ‘global reserve currency’ are less useful in such a situation.

    2. Countries wanting to buy Iranian oil should therefore provide Iran with something it needs, whether smart phones, cars, medicine, engineering services or rice, and receive some rials in return, with which they can buy barrels of oil.

    3. Not all firms that want Iranian oil have something to sell in the Iranian market, but a surprising amount do: Hyundai and Samsung, for instance, both have oil and gas divisions.

    4. Firms that lack goods that are marketable in Iran can make arrangements to buy Rial from other players in their own economies that have no need for crude oil: e.g. India’s wheat board can sell wheat to Iran for Rial, which it subsequently trades for rupees with Indian refiners, who would then use it to pay for oil imports. This would be little different from Iran’s current trade methodology with Indian banks, but it would transform a pay-after situation to a pay-after situation.

    5. If Iran is able to sustain the price it offers it’s oil at to within a reasonably constant range, this would mean that rather than backing the rial with ‘Hard Currency’ reserves, Iran would be backing the rial with it’s own hydrocarbon reserves.

    6. During world economic booms, and Iran’s excess supply of oil is decreased due to economic consumption, and demand for oil is increased internationally, demand for the Rial would follow suit, increasing it’s purchasing power.

    7. During economic contractions, when Iran has more excess oil to offer on the spot market, and international demand for oil subsides, the rial’s purchasing power is correspondingly weakened, simultaneously making foreign imports more expensive compared to Iranian alternatives, and foreign investment in Iran more attractive.

    8. A setup like this doesn’t necessarily offer an easy way for Iran to sell significantly more oil in a given year than it wants to consume in the form of goods or services from foreign economies.

    9. This kind of a system completely sidesteps the world of western dominated international finance, and can be set up over time, in an incremental fashion.

  31. Smith says:

    The first Stuxnet attack on Iran was from before 2005, it has emerged. This means, they were attacking Iran’ nuclear enrichment even during the time when Iran had suspended its enrichment. So much so for “good faith”: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/26/us-cyberwar-stuxnet-idUSBRE91P0PP20130226

  32. Sineva says:

    masoud says:
    February 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm
    Thats a damn good idea,at least it seems that way to a non-economist like me,I especially like the bit about backing the rial with irans hydrocarbon reserves.These sanctions can also be an opportunity as well as a curse especially if people are willing to think “outside the box” and be creative

  33. Roger says:

    Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but I feel a ground shift in the West’s thinking about Iran. I sense that important power centres the West are coming to realize that Iran as partner would be a most important linchpin in the “pivot to Asia” (i.e. containment of China). There are of course other arguments for a reconciliation with Iran: for example (a) as a hedge against a risk of the spread of the Arab Spring to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states, (b) help with the mess in Afghanistan, (c) energy outlook for Europe vis-a-vis Russia, and (d) many other reasons that the Leveretts have discussed in this and previous posts.

    If I am right, the West will come to decide in the not too distant future to either work with the present Iranian regime, or to make one more concerted push for regime change and hope to bring about a new Iranian regime that would be more inclined to by sympathetic to the West’s agenda in the region, as with Turkey and Qatar.

    No doubt Israel and its very influential supporters in the USA will continue to push for the latter outcome, but there will be strong arguments for the former given the risks that a policy of regime change will either not work, or take too long, or create blowback problems, etc…. The current round of nuclear talks will shed light for me on which path the West will take.

  34. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon, Thank you.
    Looking forward with eager anticipation —
    ( BiBiJon says: February 20, 2013 at 10:31 am )

    = = =

    James Canning, re: James Canning says: February 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    “The blunder by George H. W. Bush, regarding the 1991 Gulf War, was simply in deciding to keep permanent military bases in Saudi Arabia after the war was over. And Israel apparently pushed for this decision.”

    If you catch the nuance in Flynt Leverett’s comment, toward the end of the discussion at East West Institute — you may discern that the INTENTION toward imperialism came FIRST; keeping troops in the region was an instrument toward achieving this agenda, not a “blunder” that eventuated in imperialist activities. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310506-1

    Jeffrey Engel’s speech was even more direct; he appears to have gleaned from Bush archives that it was the Bush administration’s intention to occupy the region; in fact, to put the American stamp — i.e. US military bases — in the Middle East was the goal; the “liberation” of Kuwait was the pretext, an opportunity felicitously presented to GHWBush and his neoconish advisors.

    Based on Engel’s research, it is disconcerting to note that among GHWBush’s key advisors who urged him to pursue the Gulf war for the purpose of showing the region just who is in charge, was Brent Scowcroft. In my ‘good cop bad cop’ list, Scowcroft had worn a white hate. Another one bites the dust.

    = = =

    All –

    Top Ten Myths About Iran, by Dr. Christopher Bolan, on Sic Semper Tyrannia Feb 26 2013
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/02/top-ten-myths-about-iran-by-dr-christopher-bolan.html

  35. Fiorangela says:

    The Washington, DC radio stations & hosts/hostesses are frantic, hysterical with Sequestration frenzy.

    If I were one of the comedians upon whom Americans are forced to rely for an honest perspective on the news and its relative significance, I would dress someone to look like Ahmadinejad, and have him proffer advice to Americans on how they might successfully deal with dire economic impacts on their living arrangements such as are predicted by Obama if sequestration takes full effect. “We Iranians have used these punitive sanctions [sequestration] to become self-sufficient,” Ahmadinejad would intone.

    Pastor Ignatius Gantry would make a cameo appearance, using for his bible text the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

    Or is, “We did this to others; why should we be surprised when it is done unto us?”

  36. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    It is because, on the whole, they lack a grand vision.

    Mr. Unknown-Unknown is concerned about the Ba’hai instead of thinking very hard about how to take the Message of the Prophets to the Chinese people; who are thoroughly and completely devoid of belief in anything.

  37. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    February 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I actually agree with you; the prolongation of war in Syria is a central aim of the Axis Powers – no doubt.

    They have wounded Syria, hurt Jordan and Turkey, and hope to extend that to Iran.

    Iran will have to find ways to hurt them back, no doubt.

    It will be a long bitter struggle for the Axis of Resistance – just like Iran-Iraq War.

    Personally, I think once again Iran (and her allies) are being pushed too far – with it attendant consequences.

    Be as it may, the train-wreck for Syria has left the station – thank you Mr. Danilon, Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Slaughter, Dr. Dunn.

  38. fyi says:

    masoud says:

    February 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Iran is already selling her oil on the spot market – eventually all her long term contracts will be terminated and spot market will all the is going to be left.

    The public selling – through the Oil Bourse – is not possible since Iran’s customers will be too visible to the Axis Powers; potentially they could be threatened and killed as well.

    This war by any other means – in war people die.

  39. fyi says:

    Roger says:

    February 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    It is.

    Their policy is relatively cost-free to them.

    They will pursue it to its (bitter) end.

  40. Sineva says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm
    You`re right the russians are not to be trusted they`ve shown that on numerous occasions,they are at best sometime partners of convenience not allies,even the chinese are not to be trusted to far tho` they need irans energy and that need is only going to increase with time,hopefully that will make them think twice before doing anything that could harm irans interests.The treachery and stupidity of the europeans really only shows that iran must increasingly rely only upon its self for its needs

  41. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Yeah, that seems to be the case. The money is better spent on a short movie with a strong message than on pointless conferences in which few people who think ideologically the same on a subject gather to hear each other. It is better have a conference after such a movie or movies are made than simply gather and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk….

    The evangelicals are taking the message of their prophet there. I hear, they have had some successes backed up by “secular” western institutes of all color promoting and protecting the “human rights” of the new converts. Occasionally even “secular” western leaders come into open and defend the Chinese converts with full force publicly to much dismay of Chinese government.

  42. Smith says:

    masoud says:
    February 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    It is irrelevant if Rial is used in such exchanges or not. Rial is just a fake representing factor of wealth for barter whose value is conferred to it by state. Just like any other fiat currency. Such money holds its value as long as the state issuing it can continue to confer this value to it and people have confidence in the power of state to confer values to worthless paper.

    Rial can not become an international currency for the simple reason that the Iranian state does not have the international power to make Rial representing a stable value of wealth. Neither Iran has any control over the world financial infrastructure for trade. In short, Iran can not dictate terms here. It does not have the international power to do so.

    What Iran can do is to take dictation from others eg. by trading in Indian Ruppees or Chinese Yuan or Japanese Yen. Or it can regress a few centuries by trading in gold and silver. That Iran is already doing. By buying Indian made medicines and rice using Indian ruppees and physically moving gold on air crafts and wooden dhows in Persian Gulf.

    Things that you are proposing can only be done by a very, very, very powerful state that can dictate international terms and enforce them via barrel of very, very, very big and numerous guns. Such a state also must be nuclear armed by definition. In addition to that, such a state must be very honest financially at least for a while long, honoring its monetary obligations no matter what. The western financial system did not come into being overnight. It became a trusted system over centuries. But now of course it is being deconstructed by their stupid decisions specially with regard to Iran.

  43. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Karl, A-B,

    Of course what the great honorable gentleman from UK, the former foreign secretary does not mention is one of the greatest crimes against humanity/Iran — the famine/genocide of nearly 10 million people perpetrated by the UK in 1917-1919.
    Every Iranian should know this history. Here is a couple of links to whet your appetite.
    http://www.irdc.ir/en/content/13813/default.aspx

    http://www.amazon.com/Great-Famine-Genocide-Persia-1917-1919/dp/0761826335

    A Google search will provide a breadth of material.

    James,

    If you know the history of UK and Persia, why don’t you practice what your former foreign secretary preaches and not “humiliate” Iranians any further by asking them to give up their sovereignty and dictate what they can or cannot do re 20%?

  44. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Actually I think trade in gold or silver or palladium or titanium is an eminently sensible approach for Iran as the era of warring fiat currencies is upon us.

    The US-EU financial sector has issued in excess of $ 750 trillion in securities. Their financial system, theoretically, is bankrupt and it cannot be redeemed nor brought back to status quo ante of 2007.

    That world is dead.

    For Iran, labor productivity is a huge issue.

    Iranian Government this week received delivery of an oil tanker from an Iranian Ship-building company.

    The contract had been signed in year 1381 and now, in 1391, it is delivered.

    The sanctions and the economic war of US and EU are the best things that have happened to Iran; Americans and Europeans are teaching Iranians how to fight and how to organize their economy.

    God Willing!

  45. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:

    February 26, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    That famine was caused, ultimately, by the weakness of Iranian state and polity. The political and intellectual leaders, including religious leaders, all bear responsibility for what transpired.

    Endemic weaknesses of 300 years – some would say 800 – cannot be overcome during 33 years of militantly nationalistic governance of the Islamic Republic.

  46. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Roger: “Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but I feel a ground shift in the West’s thinking about Iran.”

    It’s wishful thinking.

  47. Nasser says:

    fyi says: February 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    “Iran will have to find ways to hurt them back, no doubt.”

    - Iran and her allies must survive first! And what can Iran do to harm powerful Western countries?

    It is of paramount importance that Iran focus most of her national energy on advancing on the nuclear front. You would note in the presentation by ambassador Pickering he stated that unlike North Korea Iran doesn’t have massed artillery pointed at the capital of a major American ally and thus should NOT consider themselves as immune to attacks. Thus the military option still remains on the table.

    You also write: “Personally, I think once again Iran (and her allies) are being pushed too far – with it attendant consequences.”

    - What do you mean by this? That these “chaotic” people are finally realizing that is a fight to the death?

  48. Smith says:

    Roger says:
    February 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    You are talking rationality here. As Iranian supreme leader has pointed out on numerous occasions, rationality is not the cornerstone of western foreign policy. If we were in 1960′s things that you propose could have moved to a happy ending. But since 1970′s a dangerous kind of religious revival in US of a very apocalyptic nature has mixed up with a certain kind of Zionism and Takfiri ideology backed up with military/media industrial complex and commanded by the old guard of master race, in order to wage a “final religious war”. This is not about cost benefit/loss. This is deeply religious/ideological. Iran as per their religious prophesies in their books is the target. This will go on in similar way as crusades. Since it is a crusade.

  49. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Kerry: Syrian Rebels ‘Deserve’ US Support
    http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/26/kerry-syrian-rebels-deserve-us-support/

    As predicted…

  50. Richard Steven Hack says:

    U.S. moves toward providing direct aid to Syrian rebels
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-considers-direct-aid-to-syrian-rebels/2013/02/26/4af93d3c-8033-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_print.html

    As predicted…

    “‘Under the old E.U. setup, we couldn’t do anything,’ a senior European official said. The new rule will allow “things that don’t of themselves kill people,’ including night-vision equipment, armored vehicles and military training.”

  51. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Very nice video of Iran.

    A Different View of Iran, 2013 (Video)
    http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/different-iran-video.html

    The elevator view of the city reminds us how BIG Tehran is.

  52. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Former Hostages Call for Broadened Dialogue with Iran
    http://original.antiwar.com/ramsey/2013/02/26/former-hostages-call-for-broadened-dialogue-with-iran/

    Quote

    “The Islamic Republic, like it or not, is what it is and we have things to talk about, even if we are not friends,” said Limbert, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy.

    End Quote

    Exactly what the Leveretts recommend.

  53. Smith says:

    “A Gallup poll issued this month says that 99 percent of the American public now has become convinced that Iran’s civilian nuclear program will threaten “the vital interests of the United States in the next ten years….

    Whatever the expectation, this fear of Iran in America is apparently now greater than the level of American fear of the Soviet Union — which actually could have devastated the U.S. with a nuclear attack — as reported by Gallup during the most dangerous of the Cold War years….

    Now, Americans seem ready to make the Iranians pay for the price of our obsessions. We will pay, too, as we always have before. Will there be anyone someday to apologize? ”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201302261800–tms–wpfafftr–v-a20130226-20130226,0,2510287.column

  54. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Nasser says:
    February 27, 2013 at 12:04 am

    “You would note in the presentation by ambassador Pickering he stated that unlike North Korea Iran doesn’t have massed artillery pointed at the capital of a major American ally and thus should NOT consider themselves as immune to attacks.”

    This is just absurd bravado. Iran has missiles pointed at the region that produces 25% of the world’s oil, which is actually more important than “the capital of a major American ally.” The consequences for the entire world economy would be far worse if that region is no longer able to export that oil which is what would actually occur in the case of any attack on Iran. And of course, Iran does have missiles that can reach “the capital of a major American ally” as well.

  55. BiBiJon says:

    I believe what he believes
    ==========================

    The chief of the Iranian delegation, Saeed Jalili, welcomed the offer, saying: “We consider these talks a positive step which could be completed by taking a positive and constructive approach and taking reciprocal steps … We believe this is a turning point.”

    From http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/27/iran-turning-point-nuclear-talks

  56. BiBiJon says:

    I’m also very confident about what he is very confident about
    ==========================================================

    “Very confident,” Ali Akbar Salehi told Reuters when asked on the sidelines of a U.N. conference in Vienna how confident he was of a positive outcome.

    From http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/27/us-iran-nuclear-salehi-idUSBRE91Q0H520130227

  57. Fiorangela says:

    Smith says:
    February 27, 2013 at 1:56 am

    random thoughts

    The ‘poll’ seemed more like market testing. One can readily speculate the pollster’s marching orders being, “How effective has the anti-Iran campaign been so far? What areas should we tweak in order to reinforce our marketing goal of lining up the US public behind a military attack on Iran?”

    The polling was based on an underlying but unwarranted premise which those polled do not appear to have been able to, or permitted to, question. That premise is that Iran has, or is able to, or intends to, harm the United States.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116236/iran.aspx
    = = =

    Polls are a useful tool in the hands of propagandists –

    “SEVEN BASIC PROPAGANDA DEVICES
    “Propaganda is used by those who want to communicate in ways that engage the emotions, and downplay rationality, an an attempt to promote a certain message.

    {snip}

    Name calling
    Through the careful choice of words, the name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol. . . .

    Glittering generality
    Simply put, the glittering generality is name calling in reverse. …

    Transfer
    Transfer involves taking some of the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another. . . .

    Testimonial
    — means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse an ideal or campaign. . . .

    Plain folks
    The plain folks technique attempts to convince the listener that the speaker is a ‘regular guy’ who is trustworthy becasue they are just like ‘you or me.’ . . .

    Fear
    When a speaker warns that the consequences of ignoring his message is likely to be war, conflict, personal suffering, and so forth, they are manipulating fear to advance their message. Listeners have deep-seated fears of violence and disorder, which can be tapped into by creating false dichotomies -’either listen to me, or these terrible things will happen.’ Listeners are too preoccuppied by the threat of terrible things to think critically about the speaker’s message.

    Bandwagon
    Most people, when in doubt, are happy to do what other people are doing. This is the bandwagon effect. People are happy to be part of the crowd, and subtle manipulators can play on this desire by emphasizing the size of their support. Although it is reasonable that people are given a chance to find out how many other supporters a speaker or movement has, often it is possible to create the impression of extensive support – through gathering all supporters in one place, or through poorly conducted opinion polls – in an attempt to persuade people who are keen to follow the crowd.

    (source: Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus. World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), Jerusalem, 2002)

  58. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    February 27, 2013 at 12:04 am

    The Iran-Iraq War disabused Iranians – or large segments of Iran, of their delusions of islamic Unity & Brotherhood, UN, International Instruments of Disarmaments etc.

    The present Axis Powers’s reprisal of their economic war against Iran during 1950-1953 period, the constant attacks against Shia in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan; the shredding of NPT by US, and the utter disregard of the Axis Powers for the principles of the Peace of Westphalia when it comes to non-European peoples leave no avenue for Iran as a state except exerting supreme effort to immunize herself against any and all threats.

    Those in Iran, such as Mr. Khatami, who believed that they would work with EU or US or others on an equal footing have been proven to have been living in a dangerous dream-world.

    The evisceration of sanctions against Iran and the development of teh capaicty to live without selling any crude oil must be an immediate natinal goal of Iran – and it has become so, based on what I have read in Persian langugage sources.

    Yes, a chaotic people are being beaten into shape by the combined efforts of US, EU, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, China, and Russia.

    I seriously doubt that these states will find the resulting Iran – people and state – much to their liking.

  59. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    February 27, 2013 at 9:15 am

    The Axis Powers have evidently elected not to go to war with Iran.

    At the same time, they cannot remove the sanctions that they have so carefully and cunningly put in place.

    Even Iranian surrenderof her rights under NPT is no longer sufficient to bring sanction-relief.

    Axis Powers and Iran are using diplomacy – or appearance thereof – to lower temperature from various constituencies in US and EU and Israel and Canada and Australaia for going to war.

    The diplomatic strategy is to maintain a contant schedule of diplomatic meetings and subsidiary meetings. In this manner, public will lose interest in these talks and the P5+1 negogiations with Iran lose their urgency.

    Should there be some concessions by Iran, the Axis Powers will be willing to pass the word to others – informally – that they do not need to conform to this or that sanction.

    The UNSC sanctions against Iran, the Axis Powers sanctions and war are a permanent feature of the international system.

    From the Iranian perspective, I suggest that the removal of sanctions are no longer worth that much. The reason is that Iranians have absorbed the most serious initial harms already and reversal or suspension of sanctions is not going to do them any good.

    Furthermore, from a strategic perspective, Iranians can never go back to the way they had been conducting their international trade and financing before 2010. That only will restore their vulnerabilities and expose them to future economic wars.

    As I stated before, every one has got something in this saga: Iranians have defended their sovereign rights and maintained a capacity to build nuclear weapons as well as their foot-print in Iraq; Axis Powers have succeeded in putting the best containment structure that their money could buy, Russians have been able to get Axis Powers and Iran in logger-heads for the next 2 generations, and Chinese have obtained almost exclusive access to the Iranian markets.

    This is a Win-Win for everyone.

  60. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 27, 2013 at 12:12 am

    It is not just US.

    The Cult of Shoah is a semi-religion in Europe. My guess is that 50% of (Western) European population think themselves morally superior to the rest of the world. My sense of European people is that they consider Muslims and Christians to be benighted fools for believing in God.

    They – the Europeans – also consider only Jews deserve or are entitled to have a religion; it dove tails very nicely with their Cult of Shoah. Speically note the extreme prejudice against Islam in Germany – a country that has not had any historical experience with Muslims.

    In UK, you have your Christian-Zionists; that is where the idea originated and the obsession with Israel, the Old Testament etc.

    I agree that US-EU are in religious war but they are unwilling to admit it. When you wage a war in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and now Mali, you must accept that you are at war with Islam. When you support another state in her wars of aggression against pre-dominanly Muslim people, you are a co-beliigerent with them.

  61. lysander says:

    There is a pattern in these negotiations. Hype, followed by threats, followed by “cautious optimism” and hints that progress is being made. Then the floor falls through, invariably due to Iranian ‘intransigance.’ It happens every time. Why would this time be any different?

  62. Smith says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 27, 2013 at 9:48 am

    It could be. But then putting the poll result from what we are seeing coming out of that country against Iran, I would say, the poll is not far off. If you live in US, you can do an experiment, depending whether you are living in a conservative rural town or a “liberal” city. Next time when you are on a bus or subway, ask the person next to you about it. Poll them with a neutral question. 50 should be enough to get a “feel” of stats in your own district. But otherwise from what I am seeing on blogs, videos, comments etc etc, the poll seems to be accurate. There might be some less than 1% who are sane but the rest seem to have morphed into anti-Iranians by continuous injection of propaganda. Of course from the Iranian point of view, it means nothing. Iran must have nuclear weapons regardless of if Americans love them or hate them. It is too dangerous otherwise.

  63. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

    What is left to be said of such “secular” nations with their “humanist” ideologies. You are right to point out that they are at war with Islam, but I do not think it started only recently. I guess, after the crusades died down, another war on Islam was started the day the British faction of master race imposed a fringe and hated small faction of Islamic world living in the remotest desert in Arabia in charge of Arab lands (the wahabis). Since that day, their war on Islam has been advanced using this sect.

  64. Karl.. says:

    Everyday, there is this absurd comment on Iran by west.
    Today this statement gov. takes the price. In a time where Iran and p5+1 (including Germany) try to ease tensions this stupid comment just shows west arent ready for easing of the tensions at all.

    Germany arm dictators in the Gulf to protect Israel from Iran.

    http://presstv.com/detail/2013/02/27/291093/germany-arms-arabs-to-protect-israel/

  65. Karl.. says:

    Obama to threaten Iran with military strike in June, Israeli media reports

    http://rt.com/usa/obama-israel-military-june-503/

  66. James Canning says:

    New York Times today reported the P5+1 offer made to Iran, with most important issue being Iran’s suspension of enriching to 20%, but claimed the P5+1 want Iran to stop all enrichment at some point. Prior to allowing enrichment to 5%.

    In fact, isn’t it the wish of Dennis Ross, and Israel, to stop all Iranian enrichment?
    Ross appeared on BBC America (PBS TV broadcast) yesterday, claiming Iran pursues “nuclear capability” but without defining what that means.

  67. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Is the insurgency in Syria a “war on Islam”, in your view?

  68. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I agree with you that Ali Akbar Salehi’s confidence that progress can be made, is soundly based.

    Segei Rybakov, the Russian deputy FM, urges that actual negotiations begin as soon as possible.

    P5+1 in my view need to drop the demand Fordow be closed.

  69. Fiorangela says:

    Flynt Leverett commented in a discussion at EastWest Institute that after the Soviet constraint on an innate imperial impulse was removed by the ending of the Cold War,

    “the United States embarks on this 20 year project to remake the Middle East, to coerce political outcomes that will basically remake it in line with American preferences.”

    This imperial turn leads the US to “keep troops on the ground after the Gulf war; by imposing sanctions on Iraq that killed more than a million Iraqis … It has not worked.”

    Dr. Leverett assesses that this impulse

    “is both culturally and politically so overdetermined in the United States. Culturally we have thought at least since Woodrow Wilson that unless we can basically make the rest of the world– or at least critical parts of the world– look like us, we can’t really be safe or secure. We also think that basically all people deep down really want to live like us, so deep down we are actually doing humanity a favor by doing this.

    And when there’s ample evidence mounting that this is not working, that this is not congruent with reality, we have a very, very hard time correcting course. Because correcting course is going to mean ideational change, cultural change for us, and that’s really really hard to do. And I think that’s why people keep coming back to the same experts who are wrong on Iran time after time after time after time. But they say the right things; they say the culturally and psychologically comforting things, and so we keep coming back to them.” http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310506-1

    The ‘imperial turn’ coincided with, or at least used propaganda techniques, that were innovations in the Wilson administration that enabled Wilson to “manufacture consent” in order to gain public buy-in to US involvement in WWI. As Bernays noted, the techniques of propaganda have dominated US business and political life ever since. Which is why, as Flynt noted, certain ideologies are deeply “determined” in the American psyche and ideology, and will be very, very difficult to remove. But, Flynt said, that is not going to keep him from trying.

    The material below responds to the question, “How is that Wilsonian ideology sustained in American culture?”

    from Propaganda, by Edward Bernays, copyright 1928.

    p. 37: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

    We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. . . .

    Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.”

    and

    p. 52: “Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group. . . .”

    p. 54: “Formerly, the rulers were the leaders. They laid out the course of history by the simple process of doing what they wanted. And if nowadays the successors of the rulers, those whose position or ability gives them power, can no longer do what they want without the approval of the masses, they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that approval. Therefore, propaganda is here to stay.

    It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war [WWI] that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibiliities of regimentizing the public mind. The American government and numerous patriotic agencies developed a technique which, to most persons accustomed to bidding for public acceptance, was new. They not only appealed to the individual by means of every approach — visual, graphic, and auditory — to support the national endeavor, but they also secured the cooperation of the key men in every group–persons whose mere word carried authority to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers. … At the same time, the manipulators of patriotic opinion made use of the mental cliches and emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged atrocities of the terror, and the tyranny of the enemy. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace.”

  70. James Canning says:

    Financial Times report today on P5+1 and Iran, put stress on fact the group wants Iran “to scale back activities that might lead to production of an atomic bomb.” Meaning, of course, the stockpiling of 20U.

  71. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Russia and China, and Germany, insist Iran stop enriching to 20 percent. You ignore this fact.

    You appear to argue I should try to prevent a deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

  72. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Perhaps you should remember that the late Shah of Iran was Shah, because Iran’s religious leaders insisted that his father become Shah.

    You might also bear in mind that Iran’s religious leaders helped to overthrow Mossadegh.

  73. BiBiJon says:

    Cheese alert
    ===========

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-25/iran-intensifies-its-violent-campaign-against-jews.html

    Given that Jeff’s visceral hatred of Iran is well known and prominently published multiple times over the years, why is this lump of Zefatit ever asked to opine objectively about anything to do with Iran?

  74. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    A tactical detour.

    But note that it is harmful to Jordan; another Muslim state to be destroyed by Axis Powers.

  75. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    This statement by the New York Times is accurate:

    “….the P5+1 want Iran to stop all enrichment at some point.”

  76. Smith says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    It is part of the anti-Iranian propaganda becoming more and more religious by the day. It is also of importance to take note that they were aggressively deleting sane comments on his hate filled article. As explained before by others:

    “And indeed, if one took seriously the apocalyptic presentation of the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran presented by Netanyahu – and Jeffrey Goldberg – a Jew taking his family from New York to Jerusalem in 2011 would appear almost as incautious as one taking his family from New York to Warsaw would have been in 1933.”

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/06/habakkuk-on-the-cult-of-the-shoah.html

  77. Cyrus_2 says:

    Look who’s getting a taste of his own, erm, medicine:

    Panic in Greek pharmacies as hundreds of medicines run short

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/27/greece-blames-drug-companies-shortages

    How long will it take before Spain, Italy, Cyprus et all follow suit?
    And how long can the EU continue its economic war against Iran when its citizens are on the brink of a social revolt?

  78. Rd. says:

    Niqnaq
    just in case some pansy diplomat might be considering some sort of deal with iran, forget it

    %20 my foot, plan B

    http://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/just-in-case-some-pansy-diplomat-might-be-considering-some-sort-of-deal-with-iran-forget-it/

  79. fyi says:

    Cyrus_2 says:

    February 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    “God turns their tricks against them”, evidently.

  80. Smith says:

    Rd. says:
    February 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Nothing new. Only sensationalism by Telegraph. Iran has been producing heavy water since many years ago and the plant has been operational since then. IAEA has inspected it too despite the fact that they have no mandate to do so under NPT since a heavy water production plant does not use fissile materials. IAEA can only inspect the reactor itself when the fissile material is introduced into it and is required only to notify IAEA six months prior to introducing fissile material into it. Iran has actually gone beyond its mandate in NPT having let IAEA inspectors several times into the reactor as well as the heavy water production plant despite it. At any rate NPT is dead.

  81. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Karl,
    Remember that the publicly stated first security priority of the German state is protection of Israel- stated loyally by every administration that comes- more important than any German national interests- if there is such a thing left- like maintaining the markets for German products in Iran that took almost a century to build by having good political relations with Iran.

    German elites of all parties (except Linke) are brainwashed to believe that loyally serving US and Israeli interests is equivalent to maintaining Germany’s national interests. More than that, every time they dare to think differently (like Grass did) they are beaten with the club of 1933-1945.

    Germany is not a sovereign state when it comes to security and foreign policy.

    In 2010 the entire German parliament voted to ban atomic weapons from German soil, at the following NATO summit they were told to forget about this silly idea.

    2015 will mark 70 years of US military occupation of Germany.

    Congratulations.

  82. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    So much for Pakistan nuking Iran

    Zardari in Iran for gas pipeline talks
    Islamabad intent on seeing project through regardless of US resistance
    http://gulfnews.com/news/world/pakistan/zardari-in-iran-for-gas-pipeline-talks-1.1151887

    And some lovely family photos with the SL
    http://farsi.khamenei.ir/photo-album?id=22113#166254

    At the same time over in New Delhi…

    http://www.ptinews.com/news/3423680_-Indo-Iran-cooperation-will-secure-India-s-energy-needs-

    http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Feb/28/iranian-parliamentary-delegation-call-on-ls-speaker-57.asp

  83. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think The New York Times is wrong on that score (claim that P5+1 want end to all Iranian enrichment, at least temporarily). To me, this requirement is unwise.

  84. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You claim “Axis Powers” want to destroy Jordan. Real story is that elements of the Israel lobby in the US are willing to see the destruction of Jordan, so that more Palestinians can be driven out of the West Bank.

  85. James Canning says:

    PressTV reports today that according to Saeed Jalili, the P5+1 did not request the closure of Fordow. Good news, assuming true.

  86. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    February 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    All of those are devoid of strategic content.

    Merely transactional – even if they ever reach fruitarian.

  87. kooshy says:

    “The proposal allows Iran to keep a limited amount of highly enriched uranium — but not make any more — stops short of demanding the full shutdown of an underground nuclear facility, and offers to remove some trade sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy.”

    “Still, a senior U.S. official said, crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial industries would remain in place as negotiations continue. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks more candidly.”
    “Whatever we need, we will of course pursue that — whether it is 5 percent or 20 percent,” Jalili said. “It is important to us to have the 20 percent.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-world-powers-to-weigh-technical-impacts-of-tehrans-nuclear-program-in-next-talks/2013/02/27/58269068-80b5-11e2-a671-0307392de8de_story.html#

    Arnold

    If this ever gets agreed on in a meaningful way, the parameters are very much similar to what we were negotiating over a year ago, which is doable only if unlike the past negotiations is not just used for delay and kicking the can down the road.

    1-We keep our up to 20% production and existing stock and produce “As” we need and “When” we need.
    2-Enrichment inside Iran is recognized ( once the IAEA part is done) so is Iran as a nuclear capable state
    3-Fardo will stay open (technically in dry run mode since we don’t need any more 20% for now.
    4-Some sanctions will come out ( I suppose the EU ones) which is enough to make all sanctions in effective (like Fardo in Dry run Mode, as they are needed and when they are needed)
    5-What did the west get out of this?
    6-Both sides are equipped with and are holding a Damocles Sword over the other sides head till confidence is built ( 3-5 years)

    At the end of the day I am not hopefull that the US government will be allowed to accept this formula. But that’s the only formula Iran will agree to.

  88. Are Sanctions on Iran ‘Effective’?
    http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/02/27/are-sanctions-on-iran-effective/

    Depends on what you mean by “effective”. As Glaser says, the sanctions are great at a) getting more sanctions, or b) starting a war.

  89. The Penn State Symposium video is up at the following link:
    http://law.psu.edu/multimedia

    Unfortunately the idiots at Penn State require one to load their “MediaSite” player which runs off of Microsoft SilverLight.

    Which is brain dead because NO ONE uses SilverLight. And it cuts off anyone using a Mac or Linux (as I am.)

    If someone running Windows could record the symposium and upload it somewhere, that would be nice.

    Or perhaps the Leveretts could get a link made available through this site that would enable use to view it here without the crap software.

  90. paul says:

    Don’t forget about majority of Iranian people which are in difference with their own regime. Some day Iranian people will force their regime to collapse.

  91. Ataune says:

    @bussedinbassiji

    I believe you are correct when suggesting that Iran doesn’t need the actual possesion of the “ultimate weapon”. It obviousely won’t deter in any way its most persistent, and let’s not forget, self-declared adversary. Nore will it be necessary to seal the fate of the vociferous ennemy in the region. The actual capability (to satisfy the 20percenter in this forum I will say that by capability I mean the potential to produce enough material for a device in shorter timeframe than a month and to have mastered the means to deliver such a device, which I think Iran has done so) is largely enough for the strategic aim and posture of the iranian state, i.e. a strong and powerful, and unlike its main adversary benevolent, pluralistic islamic model trying to expand its ties and cooperate culturally and economically with it’s neighbor on an equal basis.

    The current and long-term major challenge for the state and the civil society in Iran, as it seems to have been understood by the governing elite too, is not how to manage the requests of the Western powers, but how to improve those component of the Iranian state model.

  92. Hello says:

    Smith says:
    February 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    In addition to Deobandis I will also add the NADVIS – they come from a madrassa in India. These Nadvis are also fanatical anti-shias. They also keep saying Kafir to shias, but will not lift a single finger against Indian regime oppression in Kashmir nor will they dare to rebuilt the mosque destroyed by hindu fundamentalists in Gugrat in early 1990s.

  93. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Ataune,
    Exactly. Also Zardari in Tehran discussing strategic pipeline with SL, Larijani in Dehli discussing strategic energy sales to India, Jalili with P5+1 in Almaty and Salehi in Vienna at Dialogue of Civilizations forum- all in just one day of Iranian diplomacy. Impressive.

    fyi,
    You overestimate the takfiris in Pakistan and underestimate the rest. Zardari said to SL that the enemies of Pakistan are trying to plunge it into a civil war and this will be avoided whatever it takes.

    There is a serious rethinking among Pakistani elites about the US-Saudi-takfiri strategic framework that has been in place since Zia. With powerful neighbors such as Iran and China, Pakistan now has strategic options it didn’t have even 15 years ago. Daily drone attacks killing civilians and one disappointment after another by the Americans aren’t helping the US among ordinary Pakistanis.

    The desire by the non-takfiri elites in Pakistan to benefit strategically from relations with Iran and China is taking Pakistan toward major a strategic reassessment.

    It also doesn’t help that you have daily power blackouts- even if you are takfiri- one of them last week lasting nearly 24 hours.

    A lot of milk went sour after that one.

  94. A-B says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    February 26, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you for reminding us of another empirical proof of the savagery of fascist West that, ironically, is consistently anti-“Aryan”/Iranian and pro-“Semitic”. (Note: of course, I don’t believe in this racial crap, but “Aryan” European fascists say they do!) They think Iranians should honor the alien “holocaust”, but forget their own REAL tragedies. Exactly, as they called Iran-Iraq war “forgotten” when THEY lost interest in the on-going war. I’m sure the tragedy in Syria, another proof of Western savagery, is soon attaining “forgotten” status. But hopefully, exactly as Iran’s resistance eventually led to the demise of Saddam and Mujaheddin-e-Kharr (MEK) we will be witnessing the termination of these Wahhabi/Salafi fanatics and their patrons. And hopefully, it will result in a total and indelible change in the attitude of people of (shared) culture in Iran-Iraq-Syria towards Europe and the West.

  95. A-B says:

    Re. the blessing of the sanctions.

    Isn’t it time to stop giving credit for Iran’s progress to the West and its cohorts who blatantly seek total destruction of Iran and Iranian culture? I’m not denying this certain viewpoint that the sanctions encourage Iran’s independence, but other viewpoints may be equally valid; viewpoints that are less West-centric and more “proactive”. Why not giving Iran (Khatami and his reconciliatory approach to the West) credit for the war that didn’t happen in 2005-6; why give it to GW Bush? And why not giving Iran (Ahmadinejad & Co) credit for preventing a war in 2011-12; why give it to Obama? I mean they made a war more expensive option for the West. The viewpoint that all things emanate from the West, doesn’t it imply that if the sanctions were to be removed, Iran would reverse to idleness and just consume what West feeds her? I don’t think that claiming your rights against Western “gods” means arrogance; and I’m not promoting any kind of blind nationalism; I just wish for a true change in attitude.

  96. Rehmat says:

    The latest round of talks between the P5+1 powers (aka E3+3) and Iran in Kazakhstan ended on Wednesday. The new proposal by the P5+1 called for easing of the “crippling sanctions” and allowing Iran to keep its 20-percent enriched uranium fuel in return for Tehran’s suspension of its enrichment activities at the Fordo military base.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/02/28/world-powers-step-down-at-nuclear-talks-with-iran/

  97. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says: February 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Russia, China, and Germany do not own Iran to “insist” Iran do anything.
    UK does not own Iran to “insist” on cessation of anything.
    For argument’s sake, let say UK started enriching to 20 tomorrow ( not considering that she already has nukes).
    Can Russia, China, and Germany demand that UK stop enriching to 20?
    If the answer is a certain NO, then why do you expect these state to demand anything of Iran? Is she not sovereign? Is she not signatory to NNPT giving her such rights?
    This has nothing to do with me not wanting an Iran deal with P5+1, which I think is not forthcoming anyhow.
    This has nothing to do with the religious leaders in Iran wanting the shah in power.
    Please James, I beg you to let it go. You’ve been spamming this site with this for two years now.

  98. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    It is a supreme irony that the man who first cried out about the dangers of a “Shia Crescent” is now being threatened – literally – by the consequences of policies that his Patron, the United States, put into place to wound Iran.

    Indeed God turned their tricks against them.

    It is an opportune time, in my opinion, for Iranians to explore the possibility of helping the Hashemite Kingdom – at a price.

  99. Rd. says:

    The challenges of a client state!!!

    “Turkey quickly abandoned its stated ambition to have “zero problems with neighbors” and decided to join the United States in confronting Iran. It agreed to the deployment of parts of NATO’s antimissile shield, which is meant to neutralize a supposed Iranian missile threat.
    Turkey’s shift flowed from the belief that it would gain power and stature and reap the benefits if America succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

    and now;

    “‘Turkey is harming US interests in Syria’ ”

    http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.de/2013/02/turkey-is-harming-us-interests-in-syria.html

  100. A-B says:

    The statement of the Pakistani artist Huma Mulji on the Arab (alien) influence in Pakistan

    http://www.aaa.org.hk/Diaaalogue/Details/996

    Quote:
    Arabian Delight was proposed to, and subsequently commissioned by the Pakistani Pavilion, ‘Desperately Seeking Paradise’, for Art Dubai 2008. The work was, formally, a new direction in my practice, and it works on many levels. The relationship between the Gulf and Pakistan has many faces. The forced ‘Arabisation’ of Pakistan, of successive governments manipulating Pakistan’s identity away from a South Asian country to an ‘Islamic’ (orthodox/Arab/Saudi/Wahabi) one; the migration of construction workers, professionals, and other daily wage earners from the 1970s onwards; the smuggling of electronic goods from the UAE to Pakistan in personal luggage; and the kidnapping and trafficking of children as camel jockeys from Pakistan to the Arab world. The critique and celebration of the bling of Dubai was another reference. Fabricating Arabian Delight, discovering the possibilities of botched taxidermic methods, of working on a large scale, and of taking the work to a point of conceptual and formal absurdity from a fairly earnest and modest start, gave me the artistic courage I required. The controversy was quite unexpected. It revealed the gaps in the glitz of Art Dubai, of its self-censorship despite the outward bravado. I never quite got a sense of what the controversy was about, apart from perhaps, some truth revealed by the uncomfortably twisted camel forced into the suitcase, theatrical and performative.

  101. Smith says:

    paul says:
    February 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Only in your dreams. IRI is here to stay. There is more probability of Americans overthrowing their regime than Iranians overthrowing their government.

  102. Smith says:

    Ataune says:
    February 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    That is silly.

  103. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    From an old Shaker hymn — ” ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple” — my tired old laptop runs the videos just fine, and the techies at Penn State have worked hard and been very helpful in getting 5 or 6 hours of video online, so thanks.

    - – -
    One concern about the Symposium: there seemed to be very little active participation from the key target audience — students in Penn State’s international affairs program. Most of the audience questions were from Penn State campus community but different disciplines, i.e. engineering faculty & alumni; or from the broader community.

    - – -
    Suggestion for the NEXT Symposium: The Leveretts, Mr. Joyner, Professor O’Connell, and Professor Butler provided excellent background and perspectives on international implications of US policy re Iran. I suggest a follow-up on the systematic erosion of US war powers.

    As I understand the situation, the decision whether or not to take the United States to war was originally vested in the public. The “consent of the governed” was the critical principle of the US Constitutional republic. The decision whether or not to wage war was necessarily vested in the representatives of the public, the Congress, because the public would be called upon to fight and possibly die in that war, and the public would be called upon to pay for that war.

    The first major erosion of the fundamental requirement to obtain the “consent of the governed” occurred in the Wilson administration. Edward Bernays puts his finger on the precise point in time and identifies the ‘new’ ideology that supplanted the “consent of the governed” when he wrote, in 1928:

    “It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war [WWI] that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibiliities of regimentizing the public mind. The American government and numerous patriotic agencies developed a technique which, to most persons accustomed to bidding for public acceptance, was new. They not only appealed to the individual by means of every approach — visual, graphic, and auditory — to support the national endeavor, but they also secured the cooperation of the key men in every group–persons whose mere word carried authority to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers. … At the same time, the manipulators of patriotic opinion made use of the mental cliches and emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged atrocities of the terror, and the tyranny of the enemy. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace.”

    The Bernays ideology, or tactic, has evolved to incorporate new means of communication and manipulation, but the basic concept of Bernays has remained: the consent of the governed is a manipulated entity, entirely in the control of an “invisible elite.” Bernays tactics (which include the extensive and unabashed use of lies) were deployed to take the public of the United States to war in Europe in WWII; into a ‘Cold War’ that, however ‘cold,’ cost the ruin of thousands of lives; and to war in Viet Nam (with smaller skirmishes and aggressions in between).

    A second major shift from the “consent of the governed” occurred when George H W Bush took the United States to war against Iraq in 1990. As Jeffrey Engel has argued, based on his research in the Bush 41 administration’s archives, the goal and intent of the Gulf war was the exertion of American hegemony over the region. Furthermore, the resort to war was clearly NOT a last resort; it violated the requirements spelled out in just war theory. Finally, the fact that Bush employed propaganda techniques, specifically lies about babies being turned out of incubators, indicate that the “consent of the governed” was not honestly obtained.

    The third major shift from the requirement to obtain the consent of the governed to take the United States to war occurred when, in the spring of 2003 the US Congress authorized George W. Bush to use military force, at his discretion, to fight the “global war on terror.” At that point, the Congress abdicated its power and responsibility to control the use of force by the United States, and it further undermined the right of the American public to give their assent to the use of their blood and treasure.

    A fourth huge shift in the power to use force and the right of the American public to consent to the deployment of that power was bruited in the fall of 2012, when the Mitt Romney campaign pledged that it would defer to the Israeli government on whether and when the United States would use force against Iran, and, more significantly, at the same time, when Senator Lindsey Graham proposed that the people of the United States “outsource” to Benjamin Netanyahu the decision of if and when the US should wage a preemptive war against Iran. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamal-abdi/israel-iran_b_1959607.html Graham’s effort at outsourcing the rights of the American public to grant their consent was beaten back in 2012, but Graham and others are once again mounting the same campaign — to erode the “consent of the governed” and, further, to outsource that consent to a foreign entity.

  104. Smith says:

    Hello says:
    February 28, 2013 at 7:09 am

    They are not a force. Deobandis were created in India and flourished under British rule. To these guys, the quality of life does not matter. They are on a mission to exterminate Shias. And they will. Unless Iran has a credible nuclear deterrence in place. Takfiris are the most powerful political and military groups in Pakistan. What people do not understand is the fact that guys like president or prime minister of Pakistan are powerless. Pakistan’s foreign policy is made by its military which is not answerable to the government of Pakistan.

    And this military is increasingly becoming Takfiri. The process of Takfirization is almost complete in lower cadres. It is only a matter of time before the volcano erupts. And having just the knowledge of making nuclear bomb is not enough. You must have nuclear weapons on ready for defense if a dozen of your cities are turned to glass overnight by a sudden strike. Being theoretically able to make a single bomb one year later has no strategic value. And the culture and chelo-kabab do not substitute for strategic defense. Those who think they do, are silly.

  105. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 27, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Transactional, purely. If not outright bribery. The thing is Mr. Zardari’s government is over. He literally has a few days more before his party’s tenure is coming to end and the country is going for an election in which his party is almost certain to lose. As a president with a government from another party he is going to be completely powerless in his last six months as a ceremonial president.

    The question is why he did not build the pipeline in the five years he was “ruling” Pakistan? Why to start building it now? The reason is clear. He is just playing his domestic politics and Iran is just a pawn here for him to score some political points. If tomorrow the pipeline is built regardless of which ever party is in power in Pakistan, Zardari is going to say it is his project. If it is not built, he is going to blame other parties for the lack of energy in Pakistan and deflect criticism from his corrupt governance. And to US, he is going to say, he gave the order to build the pipeline in the last week of his party’s government, it is meant to be a joke. Nothing serious.

    Iran without nukes is too vulnerable. It is not only Pakistan. Here, Pakistan is only an example to show the precarious and weak Iranian defenses. Only nuclear weapons can guarantee Iranian strategic survival. Anything less is silly.

  106. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    February 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    They had been threatened with denial of financial backing for their economy by Axis Powers.

  107. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 28, 2013 at 11:34 am

    You are right, already there are neo-Salafi generals among Pakistan’s flag rank officers.

  108. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

    He does not have anything to pay Iran with. And short of leaving the alliance with the Axis Powers, Iran is not going to be happy, which he can not do. I think it is time for the conflict to spread outside of Syria’s borders into Jordan and Turkey both having substantial racial, ethnic and sectarian divisions. It is a shame for it to remain localized in Syria only. By the way, it is more and more looking like Afghanistan with salafi jihadis from all around the world having arrived in Syria. Even Chechens have joined the fight. What do you think?

  109. Smith says:

    Rd. says:
    February 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Do not worry. It is going to come back and hunt them. The day Turkey jumped into this salafi war, I said, Turkey is finished. When the Syria war is over one way or the other, where to you think these jihadis are going to go. The jihadis who are now trained in guerilla tactics with vast experience. Are they going to become janitors? labourers? No.

    They are going to the next jihad. Turkey is a godless secular regime. That is good enough for them. Kurds also might want their own state carved out of half of Turkey. As you can see, Turkey is not harming US at all. It is US that is harming Turkey by pushing it to incubate America’s salafi babies till they grow into scary big and hairy men. I am sure inside Turkey alot of their military personnel get scared handling those babies but they can not kill them since the Master America is going to punish them for killing its babies. Turkey is digging its own grave there by the order of Americans.

  110. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    You may not like it, but Germany, China and Russia insist that Iran stop enriching to 20 percent. It would be absurd for me to claim they do not make that demand.

    In your opinion, no country should demand Iran stop enriching to 20 percent. As a practical matter, this viewpoint is irrelevant.

  111. James Canning says:

    Financial Times in a leader today suggests Iran may be able to obtain acceptance of right to enrich to 5%, depending on how it engages with the P5+1 in coming months.

  112. Fiorangela says:

    Revealing exchange between Clifford Kiracofe and Pat Lang –

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/02/httpwwwguardiancoukcommentisfree2013feb25syria-john-kerry-problem.html

    Kiracofe: “Kissinger seemed to be able to work with the senior Assad. Presumably the junior Assad would have wished to strike a deal also.”

    Lang: “Cliff – I know for a fact that he did seek such a rapprochment but was rebuffed at every attempt. You can credit Feldman for that. pl

    Clifford Kiracofe said in reply to turcopolier…
    Pat, Thanks for this vital insight which explains many things. cliff”

    Our old pal Jeff Feldman.

    Ably megaphoned by Elliot Engel — on the Sunday talk shows Feb 24 2013: [paraphrase] US should provide military aid to Syrian rebels because Syria is Iran’s key ally, and undermining Syria weakens Iran.
    AND
    If Obama does not attack Iran, Israel will. Don’t forget, Iran supplies Hezbollah and Hezbollah is a terrorist organization . . .


    Hezbollah, and presumably Iran and Syria, are also responsible for US national debt, sequestration, high unemployment and ruinous devaluation of the dollar –Iran forced US central bank’s “quantitative easing” at rate of $45 billion/month, doncha know..

  113. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Don’t miss Philip Giraldi’s comments on the vicious civil war in Syria, at the American Conservative (amconmag.com).

  114. James Canning says:

    Smith,

    You think Turkey is “finished”? Amazing.

  115. Karl.. says:

    So Erdogan call zionism a “crime against humanity”.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/erdogan-calls-zionism-a-crime-against-humanity

    When Iran say similar things we have Obama and rest of the west condemn it along with the UN.

  116. humanist says:

    Watch how Ray McGovern and Mohammad Marandi [partially] discuss the core issues related to P5+1/Iran talks in Kazakhstan:

    http://presstv.com/detail/2013/02/27/291129/us-insincere-with-iran-to-please-israel/

  117. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I agree.

  118. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    IQ 146,
    Like fyi, you overestimate the takfiris and underestimate everybody else in Pakistan.

    Your comments show that you don’t have direct knowledge of Pakistanis and Pakistani society, only grabbing whatever info suits your predetermined conclusion.

    You also make the same mistake that many American so called experts make which is you mistake capabilities for intent.

    We already had a case of takfiris dominating Pakistani government during Zia and guess what? Didn’t nuke Iran. Shocking, I know.

    Let me tell you something very interesting since you seem to know oh so much about Pakistan. Maybe Iran has had “good” relations with some who you call takfiris in Pakistan- going back thirty years. Is this a possibility that your superior intelligence considered? Wouldn’t put it past those willy Persians would you?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojhri_Camp_disaster

    It’s highly unlikely that Pakistan will ever nuke Iran. Ever. Highly unlikely. Ever. Very very unlikely. Ever. Whoever rules Pakistan. Ever.

    Got that?

    As stated previously, nuclear latency has all the advantages of operational nuclear weapons without many of the costs and dangers. The policy of the Islamic Republic is not to have nuclear weapons and as the SL said this has nothing to do with the US or anybody else on earth. Got that?

    Iran will out last all of us and our grandchildren as it has for the last 7,000 years. When in doubt, bet on the civilization with 7,000 years continuous history. Is it a logical necessity that Iran survives? No. Is it very very very likely that it will continue long after any trace of me or you remain? Yes.
    Got that smarty-pants?

    Go find something else to freak out about. This one’s covered by the Almighty Himself whose IQ is, well- let’s just say He “invented” IQ. Got that?

    I repeat, your constant crying wolf and hedgehog-like insistence on nuclear weapons is very suspicious- beyond the realm of simply being innocent opinions of a misunderstood genius.

  119. Ataune says:

    @smith

    Israel was well aware of her irremediable ideological misfit in the region and the conventional military weakness vis-a-vis countries like Egypt and Syria before getting consent from her Western protectors to develop a nuclear deterrence. Her strategic ambiguity posture with risk balancing deterrence is in par with Iran’s current capability which insures a MAD kind of dissuasion for her without the possession of the actual nuclear device. In the same vein, Pakistan, with a major un-resolved territorial dispute, lack the strategic depth and the conventional military logistics to be any match to India. She had to develop a nuclear deterrence against her Eastern neighbor and adopt a “first strike policy”. Those capabilities are in no way directed against Iran.

    Both those countries developed such arsenals when sensing an existential threat to their sovereignty – even though I tend to think that this hasn’t resolved their initial problems but that’s a different topic. Iran, on the other hand, doesn’t have any serious territorial dispute with some powerful neighbors and therefore is not currently facing an existential threat. The only potential aggressor here is the US, displaying a hard desire for weakening her natural influence in the region and implementing policies in that effect witch, optimistically speaking, has a mixed success. But even if some foolish heads in the US wanted a hard fight with Iran, trying to occupy and divide its territory, and in the same token shoot the US in both foot, do you think a handful (or even a hundred) of nuclear devices would be enough to deter them ?

    Besides, I trust the ones that have defended Iran’s soil in an ugly war for 8 years, and continue to do so, to be able to elaborate the best strategic and military doctrine for Iran without having to overtly publicize their discussions and decisions. I believe we should do the same.

  120. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    February 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    You live in a dangerous dream world.

    A military planner must concentrate on capabilities and not intents.

  121. nico says:

    Sakineh,

    Unfortunately (and it pains me…) I need to agree with Mister 20%.
    Justice and Law are two quite distinct concepts.
    Justice is based on morality.
    Legality has nothing to do with morality.
    Legality is the set of rules defined by the one(s) in power.
    Justice is immanent.
    Legality is worth something only when it can be enforced.
    That is the crux of the matter.
    Iran is fighting for justice and use legality as a tool.
    Justice is noble. Legality is for pen pusher.
    Justice is for free minded people. Legality is for slaves.
    It makes me sneer each time I hear about legality.

  122. nico says:

    Follow up from previous post.
    To make justice and right to coincide you need to fight for it.
    Nobody will give you a right. It apply to sovereign states more than anything else.
    The conclusion is that might makes right (right as a legal appendix).

    As morality is linked to ideology, thus Justice is related to ideology.
    It is where it becomes dangerous, as ideology may be contrary to people interests.
    Mister 20% underlying crucial assumption is that it is not in Iran interests to fight whith the world powers.
    By the way I do not agree with that.
    That is where the Kissigerian comments (scoffed at in some places) have their importance.
    If we assume that US and Iran are only driven by ideology, then there will be no peace and it is sure recipe for disaster.
    At some point Iran and the US should find overlapping interests and make a deal based on such interests.
    Thus Kissingerian “comments” are wise. However it should also apply to the US and I do not think that was the intent.

    Even if it is not the Leveretts position, the mainstream comments on this site forsee stalemate and are comfortable with that.
    I hope it will not be the case as it is source of more instability and it will lead to more misery with the spreading of ethnic and religious wars, breaking-up of countries that will severly impact Iran. My opinion is that we are at an important juncture and that short of some deal the situation might get rapidly out of control and can only go ultimately down toward disaster.

  123. James Canning says:

    Reporting by video from Almaty, Steven Erlanger of The New York Times claimed the P5+1 asked Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent and to ship out all stocks of 20U. This may not be correct.

  124. James Canning says:

    The Times of Israel Feb. 28th quotes Avigdor Liberman (former Israeli FM): “The world has been retreating in the face of Iran’s rush toward nuclear weapons capability. . .”

    Meaning? Enriching to 5%?

  125. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    As you well know iran has every right to enrich to 20%,and the p5+1 have no right to demand iran stop,their reasons for wanting iran to halt enrichment have nothing to do with weapons or proliferation but about ensuring a continuance of israels nuclear monopoly.I think you will find that Sakinehs viewpoint is also the viewpoint of most iranians and as such is far from irrelevant,standing up for ones rights is never irrelevant,even if the cost is high,the cost of not standing up for ones rights would be far far higher in the long run.We`ve had this discussion before,you think appeasement is good,I think appeasement is bad

  126. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Sergei Rybakov made clear Iran must demonstrate it has no nuclear weapons programme and that demonstrating this entails ending enrichment to 20 percent.

    Perhaps you think Iran should tell the P5+1 to drop this requirement, when Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have previously made clear Iran is willing to stop enriching to 20 percent? Amazing.

  127. James Canning says:

    Ataune,

    JOhn F. Kennedy opposed the building of nukes by Israel. So did Dwight Eisenhower.