U.S. Hostility Towards the Islamic Republic of Iran Only Courts Strategic Disaster—for America

In the run-up to the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Kazakhstan next week, we have published our newest article, “Time to Face the Truth About Iran,” in the February 25, 2013 issue of The Nation, which will hit newsstands in a few days.  Additionally, The Nation has published it online, see here (so far for subscribers only).  We encourage our readers to visit The Nation’s Web site and leave comments, Facebook likes, etc.,  The article is also distributed online by Agence Global, see here, and has been picked up by a number of other sites, including Middle East Online and ZNet.

The article opens by taking on America’s Iran mythology:

“For more than thirty years, American analysts and policy-makers have put forward a series of myths about the Islamic Republic:  that it is irrational, illegitimate, and vulnerable.  In doing so, pundits and politicians have consistently misled the American public and America’s allies about what policies will actually work to advance US interests in the Middle East.

The most persistent—and dangerous—of these myths is that the Islamic Republic is so despied by its own people that it is in imminent danger of overthrow.  From the start, Americans treated the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 as a major surprise.  But the only reason it was a surprise was that official Washington refused to see the growing demand by the Iranian people for an indigenously generated political order free from US domination.  And ever since then, the Islamic Republic has defied endless predictions of its collapse or defeat.

The Islamic Republic has survived because its basic model—the integration of participatory politics and elections with the principles and institutions of Islamic governance and a commitment to foreign policy independence—is, according to polls, electoral participation rates and a range of other indicators, what a majority of Iranians living inside the country want.  They don’t want a political order grounded in Western-style secular liberalism.  They want one reflecting their cultural and religious values:  as the reformist President Mohammad Khatami put it, ‘freedom, independence and progress within the context of both religiousity and national identity.’ 

That’s what the Islamic Republic, with all its flaws, offers Iranians the chance to pursue.  Even most Iranians who want the government to evolve significantly—for example, by allowing greater cultural and social pluralism—still want it to be the Islamic Republic.

We go on from there to debunk various contemporary versions of the myth of the Islamic Republic’s illegitimacy and fragility—regarding Iran’s 2009 presidential election, the Green Movement, the impact of sanctions, and the ramifications of the Arab Awakening.  On the last point, we write that, contrary to conventional wisdom in Washington,

“[Iranian] policy-makers and analysts see the Arab Awakening as hugely positive for the Islamic Republic’s regional position.  They judge—correctly—that any Arab government that becomes more representative of its people’s beliefs, concerns and preferences will be less enthusiastic about strategic cooperation with the United States, let alone Israel, and more open to the Islamic Republic’s message of foreign policy independence

What Washington misses above all is that Tehran does not need Arab governments to be more pro-Iranian; it just needs them to be less pro-America, less pro-Israel and more independent.  Because US elites miss this critical point, they miss a breader reality as well:  that the Arab Awakening is accelerating the erosion of Washington’s strategic position in the Middle East, not Tehran’s.  Rather than deal with this, Americans continue to embrace the logic-degying proposition that the same drivers that are empowering Islamists in Arab countries will somewho transform the Islamic Republic into a secular liberal state.

But reality is what it is.  Consider the strategic balance sheet:  on the eve of 9/11, just over a decade ago, every Middle Eastern government—every single one—was either pro-American (e.g., Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf Arab monarchies, and Tunisia), in negotiations to realign toward the United States (Qaddafi’s Libya) and/or anti-Iranian (Saddam’s Iraq and the Taliban’s Afghanistan).  Today, the regional balance has turned decisively against Washington and in favor of Tehran.

This has occurred not because Iran fired a single shot, but because of elections that empowered previously marginalized populations in Afghanistan, Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey.  In all of these places, governments have emerged that are no longer reflexively pro-American and anti-Iranian.  This is a huge boost to the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.”

On the nuclear issue, the proposition that sanctions and the Arab Awakening may somehow force Tehran to make the concessions “that the United States and Israel have long demanded” is detached from both historical and current reality:

“Unlike others in the Middle East, Iran was an early signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  And the Islamic Republic has for years been willing to negotiate with America and others about their concerns over its nuclear activities—so long as it would not have to concede internationally recognized sovereign and treaty rights…Iran continues to be interested in an agreement—perhaps one restricting its near 20 percent enrichment in return for new fuel for its research reactor and substantial sanctions relief or, preferably, a more comprehensive accord.  In this regard, the nuclear issue is quite simple:  if the United States accepts Iran’s right to enrich on its own territory under international safeguards, there could be a deal—including Tehran’s acceptance of more intrusive verification and monitoring of its nuclear activities and limits on enrichment at the near 20 percent level.

But the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, refuses to acknowledge Iran’s nuclear rights.  In the wake of Obama’s re-election, there is no evidence his administration is rethinking that approach:  senior US officials say their goal remains a suspension of Iran’s enrichment-related activities.  The administration may offer Tehran bigger material incentives for substantial nuclear concessions (as if the Iranians were donkeys to be manipulated with economic carrots and sticks).  But Washington remains unwilling to address the Islamic Republic’s sovereign rights and core security concerns, for that would mean acknowledging it as a legitimate political entity representing legitimate national interests.  As long as this is the case, there won’t be a deal.

We conclude by underscoring that

“Americans should have no illusions about the consequences of an overt, US-initiated war against the Islamic Republic…Starting a war with Iran over the nuclear issue would ratify the US image, in the Middle East and globally, as an outlaw superpower.  This prospect is even more dangerous to America’s strategic position today than it was after the invasion of Iraq.  Just a few years ago, the United States was still an unchallenged superpower.  Other countries’ views did not matter much; especially in the Middle East; Washington could usually impose its requirements on compliant governments whose foreign policies were largely unreflective of their own peoples’ opinions.

Today, as more countries with increasingly mobilized publics seek greater independence, their views on regional and international issues—as well as the views of their people—matter much more.  Therein lies the real challenge posed by the Islamic Republic, a challenge that Washington has yet to meet squarely:  How does the United States work with an Iran—or an Egypt, for the matter—acting to promote its interests as it sees them, rather than as Washington defines them?

America needs better relations with Tehran to begin improving ties with the growing number of Islamist political orders across the Middle East, which is essential to saving what’s left of the US position in the region.  It also needs Tehran’s help to contain the rising tide of jihadi terrorism in the region—a phenomenon fueled by Saudi Arabia and Washington’s other ostensible Arab allies in the Persian Gulf.  Iran is a critical player for shaping the future not only of Iraq and Afghanistan, but Syria as well.  More than ever before, American interests require rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.  Continued US hostility only courts strategic disaster.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


119 Responses to “U.S. Hostility Towards the Islamic Republic of Iran Only Courts Strategic Disaster—for America”

  1. kooshy says:

    In his latest speech made to visitors from eastern Azerbaijan providence, ayatollah Khamenei picks three examples with regard to US/ western hypocrisy which as Hillary Leveret often brings up in her presentations ties the hand of US as having no narrative to confront Iran’s narrative in the region, not being able to have, or exercise what you claim you want is an important void of having right tool for a soft war in winning the street’s hearths and mind, which ultimately will determine the current soft war’s winner in the region.

    Theses impotent examples that ayatollah Khamenei brought up are

    US hypocrisy with regard to human rights (Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, Drone killing of innocent civilians)
    US hypocrisy with regard to democracy (support for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and countries that have had no election)
    US hypocrisy with regard to WMD (support for Israel’s WMD)

    ادعا ميكنند ما متعهد به حقوق بشريم. بله، آمريكائى‌ها پرچم حقوق بشر را بلند كرده‌اند، ميگويند ما متعهد به حقوق بشريم؛ آن هم نه فقط در كشور خودشان – كه آمريكا باشد – در همه‌ى دنيا. خب، اين حرفى است، ادعائى است؛ در عمل چه؟ در عمل، بيشترين ضربه را اينها به حقوق بشر ميزنند؛ بيشترين اهانت را به حقوق انسانها در كشورهاى مختلف و نسبت به ملتهاى مختلف، اينها ميكنند. زندانهاى مخفى‌شان در سرتاسر دنيا، زندانشان در گوانتانامو، زندانشان در عراق – ابوغريب – حمله‌ى آنها به مردم غيرنظامى در افغانستان، در پاكستان، در مناطق گوناگون؛ اينها نمونه‌اى از حقوق بشر ادعائى آمريكائى‌هاست! هواپيماهاى بدون سرنشينشان راه مى‌افتد، هم جاسوسى ميكند، هم مردم را زير فشار قرار ميدهد؛ كه روزانه خبرش را شما از افغانستان و پاكستان ميشنويد. البته همين هواپيماهاى بدون سرنشين، به قول يكى از مجلات آمريكائى كه همين چند روز قبل از اين نوشته بود، در آينده مايه‌ى دردسر خود آنها خواهد شد.
    ميگويند ما متعهد به عدم تكثير سلاح هسته‌اى هستيم. بهانه‌ى حمله‌ى به عراق هم در يازده سال قبل از اين همين بود كه گفتند در عراق رژيم صدام دارد سلاح هسته‌اى درست ميكند. البته رفتند و پيدا هم نكردند و معلوم شد دروغ بوده است. ميگويند ما متعهديم كه سلاح هسته‌اى تكثير نشود؛ در عين حال از يك دولت شريرى كه داراى سلاح هسته‌اى هم هست، تهديد به سلاح هسته‌اى هم ميكند – يعنى دولت صهيونيستى – دفاع ميكنند، حمايت ميكنند. آن حرفشان است، اين عملشان است.
    ميگويند ما متعهد به گسترش دموكراسى در دنيا هستيم – حالا كارى نداريم كه دموكراسىِ خود آمريكا چه جور دموكراسى‌اى است؛ در اين زمينه بحث نميكنيم – با اين ادعا، با كشورى مثل جمهورى اسلامى كه روشن‌ترين و واضح‌ترين مردم‌سالارى‌ها و دموكراسى‌ها را در اين منطقه داراست، دائم معارضه و مقابله ميكنند؛ در عين حال پشت سر كشورهائى در اين منطقه مى‌ايستند و با كمال پرروئى از آنها حمايت ميكنند كه بوى دموكراسى را استشمام نكرده‌اند و يك بار ملتشان رنگ انتخابات و رأى و صندوق رأى را نديده‌اند. اين هم تعهدشان نسبت به دموكراسى است! ببينيد فاصله‌ى قول و عمل چقدر است

  2. kooshy says:

    It sounds like Iran has correctly decided to export her natural gas to friendly regional countries instead of sending it to the European markets.
    In Iran strategy sending energy to neighboring countries of Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan not only will increase Iran’s influence in her region but it also will enrich and increase the neighboring countries GDP whom they are the biggest market for Iranian farm and manufactured products in addition this will increase the overall security of Iran and her energy dependent neighbors in the region , after all is much less expensive to pump and sell gas to Iraq and Pakistan than its to sell to Germany.

    Iran, Iraq set to finalize gas deal before Persian New Year

    “Iran has basically agreed to pump 25 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of natural gas to Iraq.

    On January 30, Iranian Oil Ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad-Rahbar said the country would start exporting natural gas to Baghdad by next summer.

    Nikzad-Rahbar added that the “friendship” pipeline project under construction between Iran, Iraq and Syria, is the most important project currently pursued by the ministry.

    The pipeline would be designed in such a way that it would be able to deliver gas to other Muslim countries like Jordan and Lebanon in the future.”

  3. clint says:

    Starting a war with Iran over the nuclear issue would ratify the US image, in the Middle East and globally, as an outlaw superpower.

    Yes, and again it is being helped along by the usual suspects: ISIS, WaPo, Sanger, Joby Warrick, George Jahn at AP etc etc. — I take it everyone read the STUPID story in WaPo about the magnets that **someone** in Iran allegedly ordered — from this tiny little company in India — aren’t the f’ing fools at ISIS and WaPo embarrassed??:


  4. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran scolds world powers over gold sanctions “offer”

    “They acknowledged it represented a relatively modest update to proposals that the six major powers made in talks last year.”


    More proof that the talks a week from tomorrow are doomed. Not that there was ever any intent on the part of the West to make them anything other than doomed.

  5. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Propaganda by the Saudis against Iran and Hizballah increasing…This plays directly into the hands of the Israelis who seek justification for an attack on Lebanon. The Saudis and Israel are probably coordinating this propaganda.

    Gantz: Chances of Syrian chemical attack ‘very low’

  6. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And the Syrian insurgents add to the propaganda…

    Hezbollah condemned for ‘attack on Syrian villages’

  7. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Still more Israeli propaganda…

    ‘Iranian nuclear chief observed Korean nuke test’

  8. jay says:

    An outstandingly rational analysis! One that I agree with for the most part; however, how the “elites” have responded and reacted to the events in the broader M.E. may have a simpler explanation.

    A jaded viewer may suggest that the “elites in Washington” and elsewhere are not misguided or naive – rather, they are guided by factors that value instability and absence of peace in the broader region. That the view of “elites”, as reflected in the public, is simply for the consumption of the “public” and does not reflect the goals and policies of the “elites”. If instability is part of the broader goals — and there is some support for such an argument — then, rationalists such as the Leverets and the “elites” do not share the same foundation for discussion and there is little hope for a “rational agreement” on the “facts”!

  9. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Gareth Porter on the Bulgarian case…

    Bulgarian Revelations Explode Hezbollah Bombing ‘Hypothesis’

  10. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Peter Jenkins on Is Iran a Rogue State?

  11. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Paul Pillar on The Myth of Iranian Nuclear Coercion

  12. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Glenn Greenwald gets what the Leveretts are saying…

    Obama, the US and the Muslim world: the animosity deepens

  13. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    fyi says:
    February 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm


    With regard to our earlier discussion about freedom of thought in science, it seems an evolution is taking place. See this excerpt for example:

    ” این در حالی است که مرحوم ملاصدرا نیز قلمرو حقیقت و درک حقایق را منحصر در درک خود نمی‌داند. کسانی که مانع از آزادی‌های فکر، قلم و بیان هستند، متأسفانه تمام حقایق را در ادراک خود منحصر می‌کنند؛ یعنی بحث‌های درک، فکر و اندیشه را انحصاری در ذهن می‌آورند.

    به این ترتیب دیگر درک‌ها باید تعطیل یا محدود شود. این بزرگ‌ترین اشتباه بشر است. چنین نگاهی به آنجا ختم می‌شود که انسان بگوید هر آنچه من می‌اندیشم و درک می‌کنم، واقعیت و حقیقت است و هر که این چنین نمی‌اندیشد، علیه من است. چنین طرز فکری آسیب‌های جبران‌ناپذیری را در جوامع بشری به دنبال داشته و دارد.”


  14. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    February 18, 2013 at 1:02 am

    “Ambassador Pickering, building on a suggestion made by Dr. Salehi, is indicating a path for P5+1 to climb down from their perch. In effect, he is suggesting a face-saving diplomatic opening to P5+1 leaders.”

    I am very familiar with Mr. Pickering past opinions and ideas with regard to Iran policy, for that reason alone I was very disappointed with his recent presentation at the AIPAC affiliated agency WINEP,
    I think, in this present time and circumstances if one cannot or don’t have the guts to defend his/her ideas (like the Leveretts do) should not accept an invitation to make presentation to the warmongers of WINEP.
    In his presentation to WINEP Mr. Pickering almost every time with minor reservations agreed with Mr. Jeffrey’s points.

    He should know and understand although his presentation was made to a bunch of conservative Israeli firster war mongers, ultimately it will be viewed by other side in that case a double talk and talking from both sides of one’s mouth is weak and will not set well. Both gentleman with regard to US current posture were talking hypocritically (Regime change in Iran has been stopped by Stalinism mussel?) , ( US is a country believes in international law and UN charter?) how could one advocating a rapprochement talk like that and believe that people in Iran will take him seriously.

    I believe at this point and time US analyst and unofficial policy recommenders and negotiators to be credible need to make a firm realistic stand however that might not be acceptable, implementable or adopted by the US policy makers, double talks will lead to nowhere nor I think that this stand up will be resolved soon. Earlier I posted three examples made by ayatollah Khamenei in his recent speech with regard to US’s hypocritical international policies, for US to elevate her position in non-western hemisphere of influence they need to seriously address their narratives short comings more than they need to increase their security militarily. That is what was seriously lacking in Mr. Pickering presentation to be effective and credible.

  15. fyi says:

    kooshy says:

    February 18, 2013 at 12:38 am

    I think that Iraq is also dependent on Iran for refined petroleum products.

    In regards to Mr. Khamenei’s speech; he had to supply his domestic audience reasons for his posture. He proceeded to characterize US (and EU) as duplicitous and indeed hypocrites.

    Now, those Iranians who favor negotiations with US and EU at this juncture will have to negate his arguments.

    And they can’t.

    He has pre-empted those Iranian factions that favor negotiations and has made himself the only arbiter of negotiations with US.

    Any hope by US-EU leaders that pressure on Mr. Khamenei from other Iranian factions could cause him to change his posture must be considered completely misplaced.

  16. James Canning says:

    I again quote William Hague’s statement of Feb. 5, 2013: “The UK, as part of the E3 + 3, remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue with Iran. . .”

    “Iran continues to enrich uranium. . . on a xcale that has no plausible civilian explanation.”

    Clearly, for the UK (and the EU), the core problem at this time is Iranian stockpiling of 20 percent uranium far in excess of what is needed to operate the TRR.

    Iran at little cost to itself can simply suspend such enrichment.

  17. fyi says:

    jay says:

    February 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Americans decided more than a decade ago that enemies of Israel are their enemies as well.

    They pocketed tactical gains that they had received – at no cost – from Iran and Syria after the 9/11/2001 attacks and proceeded to plan on regime change in those 2 states (at an opportune time).

    Mr. has Obama continued that policy, even though it is now clear that US (and EU) do not have the power to realize their misguided dreams.

    They have nothing positive to put on the table.

    Axis Powers have managed to convince the Iranians and their allies that they are fighting for their continued physical existence; which implies, in my mind, that surrender is not an option.

  18. fyi says:


    Contemptible – see below – from a Spaniard whose own country’s economy is in worst shape.

    Another splendid example of the Fallen Nature of Man –


  19. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    UK and EU are waging an economic war against Iran.

    That war will continue even if Iran suspends 20% enrichment tomorrow.

    The policy of wounding Iran, formulated in 2009, is now in full force.

    There might be some improvements in 2017 when a new US President is in office.

    For, by that time, the fires of

  20. fyi says:

    war will have exhausted themselves.

  21. James Canning says:


    I take it you mean that if Iran suspends enriching to 20%, this will not result in an immediate suspension of sanctions. Of course it will not, but it will reduce the pressure that otherwise will continue to build, for further measures against Iran.

    I think you oare too optimistic to think Iran can stockpile whatever amounts it wishes, and not see a blockade imposed.

  22. James Canning says:


    Obama intended to improve relations with Iran and Syria, when he took office.

    William Hague was very clear Britain wanted better relations with Iran Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah.

    Iran did itself a great deal of harm by trebling production of 20% U. And what harm did this do to Syria too?

  23. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Regarding the clueless Spaniard:

    Sanctions did not bring down the Apartheid in South Africa. That is a lie. In fact there was no sanctions against apartheid. It was just a lip service. The truth is that only the continent of Africa had sanctioned the Apartheid with only minimal effect. For instance the Apartheid Airline could not fly over most African countries. But the airline all over the world. In fact Boeing had specially designed an ultra long range variant of 747 type that used to be the record hoder of air range without refueling among jumbo jets in the world until B777-200LR took its place in 21st century.

    This ultra-long range 747 variant specially designed and sold only to apartheid helped the apartheid to fly around the African continent without having to fly over it on the way to Europe for ever increasing and secret trade specially of military nature. South Africa remains one of the cases in which the western bloc did their best to help it develop nuclear weapons and missile technology.

    The apartheid banking, aviation, shipping, industry, individuals, etc etc were never under sanctions. It was not the “sanctions” that brought down the apartheid, it was pure demographic pressures and what we know call terrorism that brought down apartheid. Nelson Mandela was a terrorist who used to bomb and maim people. It is funny that people do not even know the recent history. In fact all these terrorists like Mandela were trained, supplied and given refuge by Qaddafi. After the terrorist Mandela became the president, he faced numerous criticism by the white men on his continued friendship with Qaddafi and many of his quotes are now famous over this issue eg: “Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Gaddafi can go jump in the pool”.

    The sanctions on Iran are the toughest in the history. This fact has been stated on numerous occasions by US officials. But Iran is a strong country with a smart leadership. Few months back a white men think tank economist had successfully propagated a myth on world media that Iran is only a few months from collapse. This guy initiated a myth that propagated like a wild fire. Even the Iranian media inside Iran picked it up. Some Iranian media even conducted interviews with this white man and published those interviews inside Iran. An Iranian economist tried to debunk this man’s myths but unfortunately the media ignored him. Now, the white man in question has grudgingly admitted that Iran has fared better than he thought. But he still hopes Iranian economy will crash. Some links to the story I said:

    The original creation of myth: http://www.cato.org/blog/hyperinflation-has-arrived-iran

    The Iranian response to debunk it: http://djavad.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/whither-hyperinflation/

    The anger of the myth oracle: http://www.cato.org/blog/tyranny-confusion-response-prof-djavad-salehi-isfahani-iran

    The coolness of the Iranian: http://djavad.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/irans-hyperinflation-myth/

    The grudge of white man: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/failure-iranian-sanctions

    The truth: http://djavad.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/inflation-and-money-supply-in-iran-a-closer-look/

    PS. By the way, I think those Iranian publications that interviewed, published and propagated this white man’s ideas inside Iran should be ashamed of themselves and their intellectual bankruptcy.

  24. Fiorangela says:

    speaking of courting disaster — another of America’s post-WWII colonies in the process of demonstrating the flaws in disaster capitalism.

    (Source = a comment on Pat Lang’s blog)


    “the MSM in the west is not paying sufficient attention that Japan is now entering the desperation stage of it’s two decade experiment with neo-keynesianism and neo-monetarism – where government debt has grown from 50% to now 230% of GDP while their economy has stagnated. With their current account now going negative they have successfully devalued the yen by some 20% as hedge funds have front run the commitment of Abe to force the BoJ to print on an even more massive scale.”

    = = =

    Another commenter on another blog urged that US engage with Iran, because

    When the global economy is desperate for effective demand the US allows a country of 80 million consumers, a country sophisticated enough to lead the rest of the Muslim world toward a European standard of living, to be locked out. “

    While I, too, have questioned the sanity of shutting out a market of 80 million dynamic people with pent-up demand, the above commenter seems not to have noticed that “the European standard” and its Japanese and American fellow travelers, are imploding. If only the USA had been “sophisticated enough” to follow the Muslim world toward a more moderate standard of living.

  25. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    And what happens if after iran has done this the west does not reciprocate but instead says”sanctions are working,the iranians have stopped enriching to 20%,if we tighten them further they will surrender”.Iran has kept the size of it 20% stockpile fairly consistent by continually removing material for conversion to fuel and in that form it is no threat,the west knows this.The problem james is not the amounts it is enrichment itself,the west has made this very clear,short of western surrender there will be no deal

  26. jay says:

    fyi says:
    February 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    My turn to say: “it is hopeless!”

    James has mastered the art of “stockpiling” standard responses and “diverting” from the issues!

  27. kooshy says:

    It’s a sad to see that major WWII European countries especially Britain, France, Germany and Italy have lost their dignity to tow the US superpower status that is since they no longer retain full sovereignty or can exercise independent foreign policy. As a result the national dignity is lost and gone by all means. Currently national dignity is much higher in US than its in her European client states, it’s a shame to speak to educated pro US, western Europeans and learn that they openly admit being a US’s lap dog puddle , security dependent etc.

    As ayatollah Khamenei mentioned in his speech a few days ago the first order of Iranian foreign policy is maintaining the national dignity (EZAT) he said if Iranians wanted to be told (Dignity of being sovereign) by the US what do they wouldn’t have revolted against the US rule in Iran, once a country loses her national dignity it becomes a political prostitute open to sell her core values and assets for a few more dollars, or becomes dependent on having a pimp to maintain her security.

    Here is an example of how there is no more dignity left in British behavior willing to get laid for a few sterling.

    UK decides to rename military academy after cruel king of Bahrain

    The UK government’s decision to rename a hall at the Sandhurst military academy after the brutal king of Bahrain has sparked outrage among the British public, according to media reports.

    The Ministry of Defense (MoD) is renaming the hall, called Mons, commemorating troops killed in a major World War One battle after king Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain following the cruel ruler’s donation of £3 million to refurbish the hall.

  28. kooshy says:

    This new article by Greenwald should (Must) be a prerequisite to graduate high school in this country.
    This a must read for the rednecks

    The Premises and Purposes of American Exceptionalism

    That the US is objectively “the greatest country ever to exist” is as irrational as it is destructive, yet it maintains the status of orthodoxy

    By Glenn Greenwald

  29. Smith says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    The current world economy is built on uneven distribution of wealth and its generation along with a financial system that controls who has the access to world’s wealth and resources.

    The underlying structure of world economy rests on continuous economic growth as without it, the bankruptcy of debt ridden world becomes guaranteed.

    In midst of this, the Iran crisis has put a security premium on oil which the whole world has to pay. Energy being the most important resource, this is strangulating economies. More so in places like Japan. US is in a safer position because of its recent discoveries and investment in shale gas but other nations are not as lucky.

    That security premium then is used by oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia to buy weapons and finance wars such as in Syria.

    The problem is structural. As Ahmadinejad has said it at UN times and times again.

  30. jay says:

    fyi says:
    February 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    One sentence sums up the policy on Iran:

    The reality was that, “Engagement was a cover for a coercive campaign of sabotage, economic pressure and cyberwarfare.”

    To continue to hold to the view that US/UK foreign policy initiatives with Iran is geared toward “engagement” is delusional, if not deceitful. To Iran’s credit, the upper echelons of policy in Iran had (for the most part) a realistic reading of Mr. Obama and his followers (UK/FRA/GER).

    Reading the tea leaves, considering the toning down of Mr. Kerry on real diplomacy, the back peddling on support of Mr. Hagel, the slapping on of 6-month old sanctions on Iran based on the insistence of the outgoing Mrs. Clinton and the White House staffers (particularly Mr. Obama’s chief of staff), there is nothing new – just move along!!

  31. fyi says:

    jay says:

    February 19, 2013 at 7:32 am


    Ambassador Limbert, brought in to ostensibly help forge a new Iran polciy, saw through the charade and left the US government.

    Dr. Nasr, likewise, came to the same conclusion.

    But he remained quite until safely ensconed at Johns Hopkins.

  32. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Actually, Ford Motor Company was forced to leave South Africa.

    Its departure harmed the very same Africans that the sanctions were supposed to help.

    The significance of EU Economic War against Iran and her complicity in the war in Syria is that they are – yet again – shredding the Peace of Westphalia. Just as they did in Yugoslavia and later in Iraq and Libya.

    Nothing except transactional relationships across the globe is now possible among states until the paramneters of new analogues of the Peace of Westphalia and Peace of Yalta are negogiated by a new analogues of Congress of Vienna across the world.

    As far as I can tell, this is not supported by Axis Powers leaders; they are still pursuing their post Cold War policy of global domonation. I suppose another 2 or 3 decades of fruitless struggle may yet disabuse them of their notions.

  33. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says:

    February 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Japanese had either to socialize their economy, repudiating the principles of free markets to a large extent, or go down the path that they did. The principle remedy for the Financial Bubble they experienced in 1980s was for the Japanese state to take on more debt while household and corporate debt was paid out.

    Japanese corporations are now the most debt-free in the world while the state is the most indebted.

    That also has been the direction US has been going and will continue to go for the next few decades.

    US has the advantage of expeorting some of her public debt ( but not all) to the rest of the world. She will be in serious trouble when and if world trade is reduced or moved away from US dollar.

    The collapse of Western Financial Economy in 2011 is as serious as the collapse of USSR. The economic malaise in US and EU is not a short-term phenomenon; it will likely go on for several more decades – just like that of Japan.

  34. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama Could Revisit Arming Syria Rebels as Assad Holds Firm


    I keep telling people Obama just doesn’t want to be BLAMED for starting a new Mid-East war. He’s still going to do it once he figures out how to “spin” the blame. He has no choice but to attack Syria and Iran.

  35. Richard Steven Hack says:

    jay: “My turn to say: “it is hopeless!” James has mastered the art of “stockpiling” standard responses and “diverting” from the issues!”

    You’re seriously late. I figured that out maybe a year ago. It’s pretty obvious after one or two threads worth of posts.

  36. kooshy says:

    Leader’s remarks on nuclear weapons, US talks

    “Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei touches upon key issues such as Iran’s stance on nuclear weapons, talks with the United States and domestic politics.

    Following is the text of the Leader’s speech:”

    “A sign that shows they are irrational is the contradictions between what they preach and what they practice. They say something and act in a different way”

  37. James Canning says:


    You are simply dead wrong to think William Hague was not sincere in his wish to improve British relations with Iran. And it is clear Obama himself wished to improve relations with Iran.

    Many powerful Democrats pressured Obama to allow Israel to continue to grow its illegal colonies in the West Bank. Many powerful Democrats pressure Obama to be hostile toward Iran so long as Israel sees Iran as a threat.

    But Iran blundered badly by trebling production of 20 percent uranium. This did a great deal to wreck Hague’s effort to improve Britain’s relations with Iran.

  38. James Canning says:


    Iran of course benefits from the higher price of oil that results from the sanctions.

  39. James Canning says:


    You pose a question: if Iran on its own accord suspends enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, what happens if sanctions are not lifted? (And, what happens if Iran’s action is seen as a sign of weakness?)

    Is that a fair presentation of your inquiry?

    My point is simply that Iran has in fact stockpiled 20% U far in excess of needs for the TRR over next ten years. True?

    What benefit accrues to Iran from stockpiling more 20% U? Is the idea to undermine Iran’s repeated statements it is not planning to build nukes?

  40. James Canning says:


    Contrary to you claim that the P5+1 has made clear Iran will not be allowed to enrich to 5%, the fact of the matter is that John Kerry has indicated such enrichment might be allowed. Domestic politics in the US is the primary problem.

  41. James Canning says:


    Interesting piece by John Glaser that you linked. And of course Vali Nasr is correct in saying that “American foreign policy has become completely subservient to tactical domestic political considerations.” But Nasr is wrong when he said Obama failed to pursue engagement with Iran in order “to satisfy public opinion”. In fact, Obama failed to pursue engagement with Iran to satisfy the demands of powerful Democrats primarily concerned with acceding to the demands of rich and powerful supporters of those Democrats. (Who are of course prominent in the Israel lobby.)

  42. James Canning says:


    Interesting piece by Roger Cohen in The New York Times that you linked. Cohen quotes Vali Nasr, that “a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers” blocked Obama’s effort to reach out to Iran. This cabal also wrecked Hillary Clinton’s effort to stop the growth of the illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank.

  43. Richard Steven Hack says:

    EU foreign ministers discuss ending war in Syria

    By arming the insurgents…and of course, eventually attacking Syria themselves…because arming the insurgents better won’t work.

  44. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Nice article by Franklin Lamb who is one of the few journalists to actually GO THERE.

    The Iranians and Unconditional Friendship

  45. kooshy says:

    Madeleine Albright: Iran sanctions working


    When it comes to sanctions this old criminal warmonger lady knows what she is talking about since she has the experience of killing 500000 innocent Iraqi children and all along thinking it was worth it

  46. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Major argument going on over at armscontrollaw.com on whether the Leveretts properly regard Iran’s internal civil rights as an issue.

    A poster called “expatbama” has made several complaints about the Leveretts’ position on Iran’s civil rights record, citing the 2009 elections.

    I have responded, including a citation to Eric Brill’s report on the election.

    Iranians here might want to weigh in…


  47. Richard Steven Hack says:

    What was the real reason for the Israeli air strike in Syria? It wasn’t what was said, that’s for sure.

    Behind the Bombs

  48. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Continuing ranting about the so-called “stolen” election of 2009. Amazing. Or, perhaps not so surprising? A favored way to change the subject.

  49. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This article has made me nervous that Obama and the US military-industrial complex may actually be ratcheting up the pressure on NK for purposes of getting a war started.

    North Korean test shows US policy failings

    I wasn’t aware that the policy of moving the US troops on the DMZ south of Seoul had been REVERSED. Based on Pentagon war games, the US can expect 50,000 US casualties in the first ninety days of the war. Those 25,000 or so US troops on the DMZ will be the first casualties, probably within the first week. North Korea can drop half a million artillery shells on them EVERY HOUR.

    I still think the US intends a war with Syria this year, and Iran perhaps next year. The problem for a NK war is that the Iran war is likely to be a decade-long affair like Afghanistan. Presumably the US doesn’t want to pursue a simultaneous war with Iran and NK.

    In propaganda terms this would be feasible because both countries are claimed to be “in bed with each other” – in fact, it is being claimed that an Iranian official observed the recent NK nuke test. But I wonder if the US electorate could possibly be so vapid as to submit to that level of war at this point.

    Still, as they say, “No one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American population.”

  50. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Dan wants to limit the discussion over at Armscontrollaw…

    Dan Joyner
    February 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Hey everybody, I’m getting the sense that we are devolving into an argumentative stage that could just go on indefinitely, and I know that this is only replicating the arguments that have been made about the Leveretts’ book elsewhere, so let’s pull back from the tit for tat exchanges. Anyone new to the discussion, or anyone with something original or macro to say about the issues is still welcome.

    I pointed out that there doesn’t seem to BE anything “original” about the issues. 🙂

  51. Fiorangela says:

    Pinpointing the USA’s imperial pivot.

    Mary Ellen O Connell, the expert on international law and the use of force who spoke at the Leveretts’ Symposium at Penn state, made these two statements in a 2006 paper on proportionality re the Israel-Lebanon war :

    1. “These rules are found in the law regulating resort to force (jus ad bellum) and the law regulating the conduct of force (jus in bello). The most important rule in either category may well be the principle of proportionality.”


    2. “The liberation of Kuwait after the invasion by Iraq in 1990 is the textbook case. Pushing the Iraqi army out of Kuwait and creating a buffer zone was what was necessary to defend Kuwait. Going all the way to Baghdad was not necessary and would have involved, therefore, a disproportionate use of force.”

    Among the elements of the rules governing resort to force (jus ad bellum) is this: military force must be only a last resort, after all other means of resolving the situation have been exhausted. According to Jeffrey Engel, recently appointed Director of Bush 43′s Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, in a conference about his book, “Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War” http://www.booktv.org/Watch/14247/Into+the+Desert+Reflections+on+the+Gulf+War.aspx Bush 41′s decision to “liberate” Kuwait (and save all those incubated babies) was, in Engel’s own words, the “transformational point” in US foreign policy. It pinpoints that moment in time when, as Flynt and Hillary Leverett argue, the US succumbed to the seduction of imperialism. But did the decision to go to war comply with the rules of jus ad bellum and jus in bello?

    In his talk Engell said that King Hussein of Jordan and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt repeatedly told George H W Bush that they, Arab leaders, knew how to resolve the situation and how to manage Saddam Hussein. They insisted to Bush that Arabs were able to- and entitled to- manage their own affairs. Bush told the Arabs he would “give them a chance to try,” but he simultaneously had his team compose the measures that he ultimately — and quickly — took.

    Jack O’Connell (any relation?) “was CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan from 1963 to 1971 and became King Hussein’s friend and close adviser. After leaving the CIA, Mr. O’Connell served for many years as Hussein’s attorney and diplomatic counselor in Washington, D.C. O’Connell’s memoir, “King’s Counsel,” details the strenuous negotiations O’Connell and King Hussein conducted in their attempts to resolve the Iraq-Kuwait conflict without violence. The efforts included face-to-face meetings with Saddam Hussein and were very close to succeeding before the Bush administration intervened with massive air and ground military force. (see http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/KingsCo )

    Mikhael Gorbachev also worked assiduously to resolve the dispute without use of force. The author of glasnost made so many phone calls to George Bush, some lasting two hours and more, that Bush became annoyed with him. In some of the phone calls, Bush “yelled and yelled and yelled and yelled” at Gorbachev, according to Engel. Archival material records that Bush “became very angry with Gorbachev” and “yelled at” the Soviet president “because he was tired and anxious.”

    In addition, Gorbachev made at least two attempts to intervene directly in the situation and prevent the use of force “hoping to save lives, hoping to save his former ally in Baghdad. . .and . . . hoping to keep the world from seeing too vivid a demonstration of American potentially hegemonic power.”

    It seems obvious that all means of resolving the situation without the use of force were NOT exhausted, thus the resort to force was not within the rule of jus ad bellum.

    Moreover, according to Engel and his research in the archives,

    “it was not the argument that Kuwaiti independence itself mattered much at all. . .
    Neither was it that Saddam’s particular brand of evil and tyranny required an American response. Nor was Bush immediately persuaded that Iraq’s aggression was of strategic concern, nor that Iraq might some day turn its oil wealth into dangerous weapons of mass destruction.”

    Rather, as Bush explained to Gorbachev,

    “there would not be an early end to the Gulf war . . . Just as there would be no ongoing soviet intervention. Because the Gulf war wasn’t really the issue.

    At stake was the world to come, the better world, the post cold war world, the world in which aggressors learned not to invade, where the UN looked over sovereignty. The United States and its allies, the Soviet Union potentially included, looked out for the peace.”

    George H. W. Bush’s motive in waging war on Iraq was precisely the exercise of the “right to rule,” imperialism.

    The question that this non-lawyer poses is this: if the rule of jus ad bellum is not followed, as I would argue was the case in the Gulf war in 1990, is any use of force disproportionate and a violation of jus in bello?

    Whatever the legal determinations may be, the policy implications of the Bush administration’s goals and actions are important.

    The Bush administration may have deployed military force to liberate Kuwait (illicitly), but a nuanced understanding of the administration’s motives demonstrates that their goal was not to “defend Kuwait;” Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait presented the Bush administration an opportunity to carry out a larger agenda. Mary Ellel O Connell’s determination that “the liberation of Kuwait is a textbook case” for proportionality may be correct in the legal arena (depending on the legitimacy of waging a war without exhausting all other means of resolving the conflict), but in the policymaking sphere, the reasons why Baghdad was not attacked are important and pertinent to current decisions and actions that the US government is taking regarding Iran.

    Jeffrey Engel discovered surprising answers to the question, Why did the Gulf warriors not continue on to Baghdad in 1991? Those answers support Flynt and Hillary Leverett’s argument that collective punishment whose goal is to incite the public to overthrow their government does not work. Unfortunately, Engel made the opposite interpretation of the facts. Here’s what Engel discovered in the archives:

    “[Going on to Baghdad] was not a discussion within the White House for a very important reason: the ultimate goal — one of the ultimate goals beyond the liberation of Kuwait was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.”

    And here is the explanation of how “high level officials” thought Saddam would fall, without a military march to Baghdad:

    “There was 100% certainty on the part of high level American officials that this was going to happen anyway. Saddam Hussein had been embarrassed, his people were rising up against him, his own army was out to get him; if he lived weeks instead of days it would be a shock. 999 times out of a thousand, I think that’s exactly how things would have played out — that Saddam Hussein would not have survived. Unfortunately, from the Bush administration’s perspective and from George H. Bush’s perspective. Saddam rolled the dice and made it. But given the question and those odds again I suspect they would take the same bet again.

    The Leveretts are right on target in calling US foreign policy makers “delusional.” “100% certainty” was wishful thinking by an administration drunk on the prospects of the brand new unipolar moment.

    Furthermore, the complete failure to appreciate basic aspects of human nature expressed by national polities is stunning: “high officials” concluded that the Iraqi people would reject their own leader, however tyrannical, in preference for a heavily armed Western invader that brought back memories of previous Western colonizers. And even more disturbing, twenty-plus years and millions of dead Iraqis and Americans later, Engel assesses that “I suspect they would take the same bet again.” Which, of course, they have, in eighteen years of increasingly harsh sanctions on Iran; assassinations of Iranian military and civilians; and sabotage of Iranian industrial facilities, the goal of which nefarious activities is to incite the Iranian public to overthrow their government and thereby express their preference for the governments of nations — the UK and USA — who occupied, oppressed and subverted them in the past.

    Something more deeply embedded in the human psyche is responsible for the ascription to luck — a “roll of the dice” — the reality that Saddam survived for not just “days and weeks” but for over thirteen years — years in which the Iraqi public was collectively punished but still did not rise up against him.

    Flynt Leverett put his finger on the deeply embedded ideology that causes “high level officials” to fail to recognize that it was not luck but the will of the Iraqi people at work in supporting their leader and their state, right or wrong, that allowed Saddam to survive. In comments at the East West Institute, Flynt noted 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

    In his opening remarks, Jeffrey Engel conveyed to his audience, among whom he had worked previously, how emotionally attached he was to Texas A & M, and how he owed his career to the Bush school at Texas A & M. His training as an historian did not seem strong enough to break that emotional — and careerist– bond. Rather, he kept himself and his audience in their psychological comfort zone by assuring them that “999 times out of a thousand,” it does work to coerce a people to overthrow their government — even if it demonstrably didn’t work in Iraq (and hasn’t worked in Iran) over a course of twenty years. Engel did not raise the characteristic of Americans as “exceptional,” but he did assure his audience that the American government will continue to pursue failed policies that feel good, even if the facts belie their effectiveness and the policies kill hundreds of thousands and erode American prosperity and well-being.

  52. BiBiJon says:

    Ban didn’t accused Iran of using talks to build nuclear bomb – Nesirky

    Note to Ki-moon:

    After sticking your finger in it; Sniffing your finger, then tasting it, should you be all that thankful that at least you didn’t step in it?

  53. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 20, 2013 at 8:38

    It will soon be the season, and I’m already searching for a poem for you.

    An interesting irony:

    Post collapse of USSR and American victory of the cold war, gave the US such a sense of security to indulge in her oversize ambitions. While this is portrayed as ‘the only way that US can be secure’, in fact it is not a sense of insecurity, but rather the hubris of invulnerability that explains the actions. Stephen Walt had a blog along these lines. In short, having tasted unrivaled power, US mindset is fixated on not ceding any of that power at any given point in the distant future.

  54. Kathleen says:

    News alert:
    ’5 Broken Cameras’ director detained in LAX on way to Oscars

    37 years ago Vanessa Redgrave spoke out when she was receiving her Oscar about how “Zionist thugs” were protesting her and her film Palestine. She was basically run out of Hollywood. Now a Palestinian’s film 5 Broken Cameras up for an Oscar but the film maker detained at the LAX airport. America and the I lobby

  55. Karl... says:

    Ban’s henchmen say Ban-ki moon was misinterpreted on Iran accusations.


    Not buying that.

  56. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 20, 2013 at 8:38

    Another interesting irony:

    There are good reasons why it is Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski who counsels against imperial overreach born out of misplaced sense of security/invulnerability. He, after all, was the Security Adviser who showed how cheaply the Red Army’s sense of invulnerability in her own backyard, Afghanistan, can be transformed into devastating vulnerability.

  57. BiBiJon says:

    Talk about logic-defying (and Arab-public-opinion-ignoring) propositions


    “Washington should use its economic and military leverage with courage and consistency over the next four years to bring about a less violent Middle East for its peoples and for the international community.”

  58. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You actually think the American “military-industrial complex” wants a US war with North Korea? Amazing. Or, almost amazing.

  59. James Canning says:


    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.

    John Bolton, the neocon warmonger UN ambassador for George W. Bush in 2006, encouraged the Israeli effort to smash Hezbollah on the pretext provided by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. Bolton (and Condoleezza Rice) showed little or no concern at the heavy loss of civilian life due to the Israeli rampage.

  60. James Canning says:


    Are you forgetting the substantial reduction in “defence” spending, achieved by the Clinton administration?

    Clinton was reluctant to intervene in the Balkans. He quickly recognised the US could not impose stabilty on Somalia. Etc.

    Clinton apparently wanted a substantial improvement in US relations with Iran. This was blocked by the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  61. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    What is “new” to the discussion is the UK emphasis on Iranian stockpiling of enriched uranium far in excess of civilian needs. Meaning, of course, the 20% U. And John Kerry has indicated the US (and thus the P5+1) may accept Iranian enrichment to 5%.

  62. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syria rebels threaten to fire on Lebanon’s Hezbollah

    It’s fairly clear that the Syrian insurgents are operating in concert with Israel to get Israel to attack Hizballah in Lebanon. At the very least, they’re playing into Israeli hands, providing “justification” for Israel to attack Lebanon.

    This also ups the probability that the US and NATO will intervene in Syria militarily. The excuse can be that the Syrian civil war needs to be “contained” – despite the fact that air strikes and an Israeli invasion of Lebanon would clearly make it worse.

  63. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Well, there you go…

    Poll: 99 Percent Of Americans Believe Iran Is Threat To US

  64. Richard Steven Hack says:

    How about this shameless BS by neocon Reuel Marc Gerecht?

    Is Iran Creating a Health Crisis to Evade Sanctions?

  65. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    99% of Americans are – you fill in the blank.
    Apparently this poll did not contact Fio or RSH.


  66. Smith says:

    On Iran economy, and the fact that their reality is sinking in finally that Iran is not collapsing: http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCABRE91J0SM20130220?sp=true

  67. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    And why would Reuel Marc Garecht claim that Iran is building nukes (or getting ready to build them quickly)?

  68. James Canning says:


    The CBS piece you linked states that “The Gallup poll reveals that 99 percent of Americans are threatened by Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. . . ”

    What was the question put to those polled? Did it pose a hypothetical, as to whether the person polled would feel threatened, if Iran built nukes? Or did it ask if the person polled felt threatened by Iran’s enrichment of uranium in amounts that suggest Iran might wish to build nukes?

  69. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I advise you to give serious consideration to the speech by Mr. Khamenei that Mr. Smith has supplied its URL.

    At the highest state level Iran is stating that she can build a nuclear weapon should she choose to do so an US cannot prevent that.

    In effect, Iranians have just stated that Mr. Obama’s policy of preventing Iran from constructing nuclear weapons has failed.

    In that speech, Mr. Khamenei has also stated that Iranians will continue with their nuclear developments – ignoring US and others.

    I trust that Mr. Khamenei is not lying.

    The only deal that is on the table for P5+1 is recognition of Iran’s rights under NPT.

    That is how things stand – war, naval blockade, more sanctions will not alter this situation.

  70. Smith says:

    The powerless American president and his trivial “options”: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0220/How-President-Obama-can-forge-a-nuclear-deal-with-Iran

    “Pressuring Iran is no longer just a matter of tactical policy for Congress. It’s a deeply institutionalized ritual that every member is expected to partake in.”

  71. Pirouz says:

    Anyone here seen ABC News reporting today from Tehran? All I have to say is it’s a sad day when such a pitiful effort passes for professional journalism these days.

  72. Sineva says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm
    Utterly revolting,it reminds me of the claims made about the oil for food humanitarian disaster in iraq,that the iraqis had warehouses full of food and medicine but they just withheld it to make sanctions seem worse that they were,but then what else do you expect from an ex cia spook I did have to laugh at the name of his think tank tho`,Foundation for Defense of Democracies,what a f*#king joke.I`m surprised Madeline albright has`nt written one about how “we think the price is worth it”

  73. BiBiJon says:

    Pirouz says:
    February 21, 2013 at 3:01 am

    I delighted to see it. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/02/abc-news-anchor-david-muir-reports-from-iran-watch/

    David Muir, marveled at Iran’s “Islamic Pride” while pointing at a passing subway car marked “women only”.

    I just have to shake my head.


  74. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    “And why would Reuel Marc Garecht claim that Iran is building nukes (or getting ready to build them quickly)?”

    And, James, why do you suppose back in 2006, Reuel Marc Garecht would claim that Iran is “a rogue state in quest for a bomb” and advocate preemptive bombing?


  75. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on Does Obama really want a deal with Iran?
    The meeting in Kazakhstan next week between Iran and the P5+1 seems destined to fail.


    Last Saturday in Tabriz, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated:

    We do not want to build nuclear weapons. Not because America would be upset if we do so. It is rather what we have decided. We believe that nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity and should not be built; and whatever weapons there are in the world should be destroyed. This is what we believe in; and this has got nothing to do with you (Americans).

    It seems that the powers that be didn’t get the message in Washington – or in Paris and London. Western arrogance, the record shows, is limitless. Assuming they know better, the usual Western diplomat suspects and analysts are betting a hardcore sanctions package will force Tehran to cry uncle.

    What a bunch of useless people. Step on a plane. Go to Iran. Talk to Iranians. And try to learn something.

    A simple survey of Iranian media and blogosphere shows that from ultra-conservatives to reformists, everyone agrees Iran has the right to nuclear technology, as a nation subscribing to the NPT.

    Washington, for its part, tends to behave like the blind leading the blind. It’s as if no “analyst” bothered to study the last 150 years of Iranian history – no, watching Oscar-contender flick Argo does not qualify; the key theme is anti-imperial struggle.

    Professional optimists may argue that judgment should be suspended – at least for a while – on the Obama 2.0 administration’s Iran intentions.

    Yet it’s helpful to remember that even during the two terms of reformist President Khatami, Washington never made a serious offer to Iran – as in a full stop to the regime change obsession; the lifting of sanctions; and allowing Europe to freely invest in Iran (to Europe’s benefit). This would have done wonders to help the reformist movement in Iran.

    Now we’ve come to a new low, where even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can say something as noxious as, “We should not give much more time to the Iranians, and we should not waste time… We have seen what happened with the DPRK.”

    It’s as if this time the head of the UN himself – not George “Axis of Evil” Bush – is calling for a war on Iran under the pretext of non-existent WMDs.

    What this actually does is to sabotage the talks in Almaty even before the fact. Or Ban Ki-moon is supplementing his UN wages with part-time job for Bibi Netanyahu, giving diplomacy a little more time before Israel finally convinces Washington to bomb Iran.

    End quotes

  76. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The United States Has Waged An Economic War Against Iran : Pepe Escobar
    Interview By Kourosh Ziabari


    Pepe Escobar: The Israel lobby and what we could label as the War Party – mostly Republicans but also Democrats, plus operatives in key positions in the Pentagon, CIA, the industrial-military-security complex, plus corporate media (from Fox News to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post) – these are the actors who want a war against Iran. Predictably, the Israel lobby unleashed all its artillery against Chuck Hagel – from AIPAC to the Washington Institute of Near East Policy (WINEP), where notorious lobbyists Dennis Ross and Elliott Abrams dwell; after all, Hagel was not putting Israel’s interests above Washington’s, as is the norm. They will not prevail – but they won’t go away either; the “Bomb Bomb Iran” mindset will continue even with Hagel and Kerry, and that includes routine wacko pieces on the Wall Street Journal warning, for instance, about Iran ready to attack Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons, or routine dismissals every time the Supreme Leader insists nuclear weapons must be eliminated.

    There are, of course, pockets of intelligence in this debate – but they are a minority. Check out, for instance, Flynt and Hillary Leverett’s excellent book, Going to Tehran : http://goingtotehran.com/the-book
    They are Washington insiders, they have been to Iran , and they are staunchly pro-diplomacy.

    End Quote

  77. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This moron claims the reason the US and Israel are over-estimating Iran’s nuclear program is that Iran is too stupid to build a bomb…

    Iran Is Still Botching the Bomb

  78. Neo says:

    “Now we’ve come to a new low, where even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can say something as noxious as, “We should not give much more time to the Iranians, and we should not waste time… We have seen what happened with the DPRK.”

    It’s as if this time the head of the UN himself – not George “Axis of Evil” Bush – is calling for a war on Iran under the pretext of non-existent WMDs.

    What this actually does is to sabotage the talks in Almaty even before the fact. Or Ban Ki-moon is supplementing his UN wages with part-time job for Bibi Netanyahu, giving diplomacy a little more time before Israel finally convinces Washington to bomb Iran.”


  79. James Canning says:


    Clearly, Reuel Marc Gerecht is a relentless propagandist in favor of harming Iran to “benefit” Israel.

    Is it possible, if not certain, that Iran’s stockpiling of 20 percent uranium helps enemies of Iran to demonise Iran and help to set up possible war with Iran?

  80. James Canning says:


    I think most European diplomats comprehend that Iran will have to be allowed to enrich uranium to 5%, for a deal between P5+1 and Iran to be achievable.

    I think John Kerry grasps this fact.

    I continue to submit that Iran does itself no good, diplomatically, by stockpiling 20 percent uranium in an amount far in excess of what is needed to fuel the TRR.

  81. James Canning says:


    You linked a piece by Reza Nasri who says Obama can go around the US Congress, to offer concessions to Iran that are within the power of the White House (and do not need Congressional approval). Do you agree with Nasri?

  82. yemi says:

    Syrian rebels too weak to attack Hezbollah…


  83. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yousaf Butt on Make Tehran a Serious Offer

    They can’t – because the goal is war, not resolution.

  84. James Canning says:

    Hugh Tomlinson, writing in The Times (London) Feb. 13th: “Fars news agency claimed yesterday that the new IR2m centifuges [at Natanz] were being used to enrich uranium to below 5 per cent, not the 20 per cent level that is the most difficult part of purifying it further to weapons grade.”

    Emphasis on low level of enrichment, by The Times, is most welcome.

  85. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    For whom is “war” the goal? Israel? Aipac?

    You will have noticed that Obama refused to follow the advice of Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, and his generals and security advisers, to arm the Syrian insurgents.

    Obama does not want war with Iran. The issue is whether blunders on Iran’s part, and blunders on the part of the Obama administration too, will bring war.

  86. James Canning says:

    Yousaf Butt, in the piece you linked, writes: “The West should not miss another opportunity to curb Iran’s 20 percent enrichment.” By “the West”, he includes the P5+1.

    Perhaps Butt is too polite to mention the astounding stupidity of the Obama administration, in forcing Iran to enrich uranium to 20 percent.

  87. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    February 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I am glad you mentioned 20%. To answer my own question about (c)Reuel, I would say he is 20% man, 20% cheese, 20% psycho-Zionist, 20% lying toad, and hovering around 20% excrement. ‘Hovering around’, because no matter how much of it spews as he talks, some how he manages to replenish it.

  88. nico says:

    concerning the mentionned concessions see the denial here which I guess is connected to the last minute negoatiation before final validation

    PAK joyfull tone and Mister kickback Zardari smiling face here tells another story :

    Now the deal seems made. It will be very difficult for the US to reverse the course.

  89. nico says:

    Dare I speculate that the rise in Shia killings in PAK in the last few months was linked to those major negotiations and remotely controlled by the US and the Saud ?

  90. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yousaf Butt destroys the Iran magnets story… I mean, this seriously destroys the Washington Post story.

    Iran centrifuge magnet story technically questionable

  91. nico says:

    Save some engineered putsch or a civil war in Pak, on the east side of Iran, US policy would be a shamble and the failure near complete.

    West side it remains to be seen with the engineered “civil” war in Syria and the same situation looming in Iraq.

    Syria seems the key.
    A defeat in Syria for the US would be the last nail in the coffin.

    The latest the decision is made for the US the highest the price to pay if the defeat confirmed.

  92. nico says:

    The Us is looking for the domination of the ME with client countries in colonial relationship a la saud, jordan or mubarak (or a la UK with Iran before US take over)
    Iran denies it.

    The neocons policy is to keep it and all (imoral) means are good to use.
    The leverett are advocating a decolonization and influence through balanced relationships and they are morally commandable.

    All that being said mister 20%, It is clear the whole nuclear issue is merely a facade and your israel focus is BS.
    Zionist have their say but it is not the major input.
    Save you are advocating UK was also zionist controlled before 1953 ?
    No that is a pure western machiavellian policy, with the anglo saxon typical ruthlessness

  93. nico says:

    Mister 20%,

    Are you advocating UK was also zionist controlled before 1953 ?

    confirming your position that UK colonial policy over the last 2 centuries have been zionist controlled would be, I dare say, truly antisemitic.

  94. nico says:

    Mister 20%,

    knowing your taste for one liners a answer to my question by yes or no would do it.
    not that I expect an honest response when you have systemtically dodged such as long as I remember visiting the site since more than 2 years ago.

  95. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    There is only one deal; accept that Iran is a nuclear power and move on.

    This is unacceptable to P5+1; thus the containment structure against Iran; war in Syria and economic war against Iran.

    There is no deal; that train left the station in 2007.

  96. nico says:

    reposting my first post. seems too many links attached

    Some major energy/economic/security agreement seems to have been eventually clinched between PAK/China/Iran.
    Actually, PAK knows that such decision would put them at odd with the US.
    They procedeed nonetheless. This is no light decision.
    Such information is coming few days before P5+1 negotiation and is not mere coincidence.
    The bottom line being that PAK is clearly siding with the CHINA and IRAN against US interests.
    Should have needed some major push from Iran with adequate concessions…

    should be read with

    should be read with

    as a conclusion

    Could not say it is not crystal clear and plain to see.
    China is descreet but obvioulsy involved.

  97. nico says:

    fyi says:
    February 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    No the nuclear issue is a facade
    the containment structure is the goal not the consequence.

  98. Castellio says:

    “Israel has granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights, to Genie Energy. Major shareholders of Genie Energy – which also has interests in shale gas in the United States and shale oil in Israel – include Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild.

    This from a 2010 Genie Energy press release: Claude Pupkin, CEO of Genie Oil and Gas, commented, “Genie’s success will ultimately depend, in part, on access to the expertise of the oil and gas industry and to the financial markets. Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch are extremely well regarded by and connected to leaders in these sectors. Their guidance and participation will prove invaluable.””


    As Craig says: “Israel tried to make the same move twenty years ago but was forced to back down after a strong reaction from the Syrian government, which gained diplomatic support from the United States. Israel is now seeking to take advantage of the weakened Syrian state; this move perhaps casts a new light on recent Israeli bombings in Syria.”

  99. kooshy says:

    Video: Mohammad Khazaee, Thomas Pickering Discuss Future of US-Iran Relations
    February 20th, 2013 by Asia Society


  100. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm
    Poll: 99 Percent Of Americans Believe Iran Is Threat To US


    We… are… the 99 percent! [who “are floundering heedless in a flood of confusion” (51:10)]

  101. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “I have written down a few things to discuss with you dear brothers and sisters and the entire Iranian nation. Of course, these statements are addressed to the people of Iran. When they speak, when the American president speaks, when his companions and followers speak, they want to mislead public opinion- public opinion in the world, in the region or if they can, in our country. At the moment, I do not want to speak about public opinion in the world. The global media network, which is under the domination of the Zionists and the Americans, either does not reflect our statements or it reflects them in an incomplete or distorted way. Therefore, I speak to the people of Iran.

    The power of the Islamic Republic has nothing to do with public opinion in the world. The Islamic Republic has not gained its power and it has not achieved dignity and glory with the help of public opinion in the world. It has achieved these things with the help of the people of Iran. The firm and solid foundation which the Iranian nation has built and the news of which is quickly spreading throughout the world is based on the Iranian nation itself. I speak to the people of Iran. I will not address other nations, but they can listen if they want to. They can reflect on my statements or not reflect on them. But the people of Iran should know about these things. Therefore, the first point is that they are unreasonable. They speak without believing in what they say and their words and actions are different.”

    “The last point is that unlike American politicians, we are reasonable. Our officials are reasonable. Our people are reasonable. We accept rational statements and rational actions. If the Americans show that they will not bully us any more, if they show that they will not commit evil deeds, if they show that they will not say and do irrational things, if they show that they will respect the rights of the Iranian nation, if they show that they will not fuel the fire of discord in the country, if they show that they will not interfere in the internal affairs of Iran – like the interference by supporting those who started the fitna in 1388 – then they will see that the Islamic Republic is benevolent and the people are reasonable.”

  102. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “Another problem is that the sanctions will not be lifted with negotiations. I would tell you that the purpose of sanctions is something else. The purpose of sanctions is exhausting the people of Iran and separating them from the Islamic Republic. Even if negotiations are conducted but our people stay present on the scene and stand up for their rights, sanctions will continue. What will the Iranian nation do to counter this wrong idea that the enemies have?

    There is an idea in the minds of the opposing sides. Let us elaborate and analyze this idea. They say, “The Islamic Republic relies on the people. If we manage to separate the people from the Islamic Republic, the power to resist will be taken away from the Islamic Republic.” This is how the opposing side thinks. Well, this idea has two parts. The first part, that the Islamic Republic relies on the people, is accurate. There is no source of support for the Islamic Republic except the people. The people are the fortifications that protect the country and the Islamic Revolution. The second part, that they thought they can bring the people to their knees by imposing sanctions and bullying them on international, commercial and other such issues, is false. If they think that they can take away this source of support from the Islamic Republic, they are wrong.

    The Iranian nation will think of some ways to counter what the enemy wants to do. The Iranian nation is looking for economic blossoming, economic progress and complete prosperity. But it does not want to achieve this goal by being humiliated before the enemy. It wants to achieve this goal with its own capabilities, courage, advancements and with the capabilities of the youth. It does not want to achieve this with anything else. There is no doubt that sanctions exert pressures on the people and bother them. But there are two ways to approach these pressures. Weak nations surrender to the enemy when he exerts pressures and they bow and show regret before him. But a brave nation, like the Iranian nation, tries to use its own capabilities as soon as it sees that the enemy is exerting pressures and it tries to pass through the danger zone. And our nation will definitely do this. We have 30 years of experience in this regard.

    There are certain countries in the region which have been under the domination of America for more than 30 years. The governments in these countries have been servants of America. They have been obedient to America and they have been taking orders from it. What is their position? The Iranian nation has been putting up a resistance against America for more than 30 years. What is the position of the Iranian nation? In the face of 30 years of pressures by America, the Iranian nation has reached such a position – in terms of scientific, economic and cultural progress and in terms of international dignity, political influence and political power – that the people and government officials during the time of Pahlavi and Qajar regimes could not even dream of.

    We have experienced this. We have tested this. We have stood up against the pressures of America for 30 years. We have such a position. But there are nations which have been under the domination of America for 30 years and they are behind other countries to a great extent. We did not suffer a loss as a result of resisting. Resistance revives the inner strength of a nation. It makes it active. The sanctions which they impose will be helpful to the Iranian nation. By Allah’s favor and grace, sanctions will help the Iranian nation achieve growth and blossoming. This is an important point.”

  103. Karl.. says:

    The best way not to have the “brittish 20 percenter” posting here is to ignore him.

  104. James Canning says:


    Did you read William Hague’s statement of Feb. 5, 2013? He made clear that for Britain, and the EU, the core problem was Iran’s stockpiling of 20 percent uranium in an amount far in excess of what is neeeded for civilian purposes.

    You are that the core problem should be ignored.

  105. James Canning says:


    You argue, that the core problem that could lead to crisis this year, should be ignored.

  106. James Canning says:


    Financial Times reported today that Dick Cheney is an adviser to the company that intends to drill for oil and gas in the Golan Heights.

  107. James Canning says:


    Be specific about what you think the P5+1 must do to make a deal with Iran. Allow enrichment to 5%?

  108. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    P5+1 must make an explicit declaration that Iran has sovereign rights, under NPT, to enrcih uranium – up to 100% purity if she so choses.

    Once that declaration is made, Iran and P5+1 could enter discussions about what the future plans of Iran are in the area of nuclear industry; power plants, research reactors, fuel-fabrication, re-processing etc.

    That is, Iranians must be able to articulate in concrete terms their plans and projects in this area including potyential time frames.

    The level and amounts of enrichment as well fuel fabrication in Iran could then be tied to the concrete needs of these nuclear projects as they are realized.

    But these are just discussion-starters.

    [P5+1 have forbidden Iran to engage in re-processing, in nuclear enrichment, in construction of heavey water reactor in Arak, and in missile development. All of these are infringements of Iran’s sovereign rights as a state.

    They will never go back on these; they have vested far too much prestige and diplomatic resources to now state that they had, in effect, pursued a dead-end.

    But God could cause a miracle, no doubt.]

  109. James Canning says:


    You in effect are calling upon Iran to defy Russia and China. Both countries insist Iran not enrich to 20%. ZERO chance P5+1 would accept Iranian enrichment to 90% or higher. For that matter, very unlikely P5+1 would accept Iranian enrichment to 20%.

  110. James Canning says:


    Would it be fair to suggest you are ignoring the fact Khamenei and Ahmadinejad offeredd to have Iran stop enriching to 20?