Washington Is On a “Collision Course” with Tehran—and with Reality—Going into Nuclear Talks


The latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear activities, which confirmed that the Islamic Republic is installing second-generation centrifuges—as it has been telling the Agency for some time it would do—has prompted predictable bloviation from the Obama administration and much of the mainstream media about Tehran’s provocative drive toward (at least) a nuclear weapons capability.  Commenting on Al Jazeera, (click on embedded video above or here), Hillary pointed out that

“Iran is doing what is has been doing for years, which is going forth with their program, increasing the number of centrifuges.  When I first started on this..working in the National Security Council here at the White House, Iran was spinning zero centrifuges, back in 2003 when we first started negotiating with them.  Today, they are spinning 8,000 centrifuges.  They are just continuing their march toward mastering the fuel cycle…They’ve been transparent about it.”

On the issue of transparency, Hillary underscored the importance of Iranian cooperation with the IAEA:  “That’s why we have this information about the new centrigues that they’re installing in Natanz this week, because they are obliged to disclose those to the IAEA, and the IAEA then reports them to the world.”  And for those who remain concerned about Tehran’s ultimate nuclear intentions, the  only antidote for a lack of trust is “more transparency.”

And that brings us to prospects for the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran, set to resume in Kazakhstan next week.  As Hillary explains,

What [the Iranians] would like from the West, what they would like from the United States in particular, is a recognition that they are not inherently evil, and they have the same sovereign and treaty rights as anyone else…for nuclear energy, to pursue the entire fuel cycle.  A resolution to this problem is actually quite simple.  If the United States would recognize their right to enrich uranium, they would agree to a whole series of efforts and steps for more transparency.  That’s the core of the deal.  They’ve had that on the table for years, but the United States doesn’t agree to it because we don’t think they should even have the fuel cycle

Washington, in particular, is really on a collision course with these talks.  We are putting things on the table that cannot possibly be attractive to the IraniansOur idea is that, even though we know the’re not going to find it attractive, sanctions are going to force them to concede anyway.  This is a collision course that will really, in the end, just discredit engagement and leave us with very few options other than more coercion, and even, ultimately, war.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


130 Responses to “Washington Is On a “Collision Course” with Tehran—and with Reality—Going into Nuclear Talks”

  1. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    Trust Mr. Obama to extrictae himself from going to war with Iran.

    He has achieved a temporary containment of Iran; the next US President will make the decision to go towar or not, in th face of eroding sanctions.

  2. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And the Leveretts are under attack again…

    TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: Iran’s favorite American apologists continue to apologize

    Note that his instantly switches to the “but what about civil rights” argument. This is the standard ploy of those who want a war with Iran.

    The Leveretts need to have a strong response to that accusation. Giving examples of where Iran does do civil rights may not be the proper response, since that leads, as it does in this article, to accusations of bias.

    The proper response may be to stress that Iran’s internal society is not relevant to the issue of “realist” foreign policy, regardless of its flaws. The Leveretts have pointed out on various panels that when Nixon went to China, China was still in the throes of the Cultural Revolution and Nixon went anyway. This may be the right tack to take when accused of “apologizing” for Iran’s social flaws.

  3. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Brennan’s Loose Talk on Iran Nukes

    Rehmat and I point out in the comments that trying to sway Feinstein on this is a complete waste of time.

  4. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    For those who missed it in the last thread
    Full speech official translation

  5. Smith says:

    In the video above the “big” guy touching the tip of his lips, brings up the “lack of trust” on Iran. It is another lie. Iran has to declare a facility as a nuclear facility to IAEA only 6 months before the nuclear material is introduced to it as per NPT laws. It is within Iran’s right to build a fully functional enrichment factory 50 times bigger than Natanz and not tell anyone. Only if Iran intends to introduce uranium into it then it become obligatory for Iran to tell IAEA about it.

    Anyways, why I am wasting my time with this stupid NPT thing. Iran has to pull out of this colonial treaty designed to humiliate Iranians, and build nukes like there was no tomorrow. Only MIRV salted thermonuclear tipped ICBM’s are the ultimate law of the planet. The rest can go to hell.

  6. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Lebanon now officially in the Syrian war…

    Syrian rebels take fight to Hezbollah in Lebanon

    How anyone can’t see where this is going is beyond me.

  7. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And even more proof that the Syria crisis is a cover for hidden agendas…

    Israel Okays Cheney-Murdoch Firm to Drill in Occupied Golan

  8. James Canning says:

    The New York Times report today on the latest figures on amount of 20 percent uranium held by Iran, mentioned the new centrifuges being installed at Natanz but did not mention the Fars news report that these ceontrifuges would only enrich uranium to a level below 5%.

  9. James Canning says:

    Philip Stephens has an important column in today’s Financial Times. Stephens argues that Bibi Netanyahu appears to prefer bringing on war with Iran rather than to make peace with the Palestinians.

  10. Richard Steven Hack says:

    What Americans Believe: Iran War Propaganda

    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
    H. L. Mencken
    US editor (1880 – 1956)

  11. James Canning says:

    Excellent piece by William Boardman: “Who wants war with Iran?”


    Boardman points his finger at the Washington Post.

  12. Karl.. says:


    About the “99%” survey.
    That is the kind of result you find in dictatorship when the people are only subjected to one opinion.
    Still the same 99% laugh about the brainwashing in North Korea..

  13. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Americans destoryed NPT, many agreed among the NPT Review Conference participants in 2010.

    But this is not the opportune time to leave NPT.

    There is no need, it is dead anyway.

  14. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Nixon took Bill Buckley with him to China in 1972. Buckley was appalled that Nixon embraced Mao Tse-Tung. Nixon had the clearer vision.

  15. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Great piece you linked, on Consortium News. That John Brennan during his confirmation hearing Feb. 7th testified that: “And regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang remain bent on pursuing nuclear weapons. . . ”

    Is Brennan relying primarily on Iran’s stockpiling of 20 percent uranium?

    George Tenet was a willing stooge of neocon warmongers conspiring to set up an illegal invasion of Iraq. Hasn’t Tenet been richly rewarded for helping bring catastrophe to Iraq and the American taxpayers?

  16. Karl.. says:


    Speaking on the warmonger and pro-israel Weinstein, check his mumbling answer to Bill Mahers comment that Israel control the US gov.


  17. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Exactly. I am fully agreed.

  18. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I agree. Though enrichment to 100% is not technically possible. Usually there is no need to go above 99.97%, which is what advanced countries use it in their nuclear bombs.

    I do not think west is going to “accept” all those rights you described. As your conversation and others with him shows, these guys think of Iranians as neanderthals and think of themselves as humans. Therefore, “they” have to decide what is it, Iranians are allowed to do and not to do. Including the matter of enriching to 20% to 60% or to 99.97% and stockpiling it. They literally make up laws as they go along to fit their ideology of superiority over Iranians.

    As Mr. Khamenei aptly put it, “this is not about nuclear weapons”. It goes deeper. These guys have psychiatric problems.

    Otherwise they could have solved this problem during Khatami’s era. All they had to do was activating a Japan “option” for Iran. Give Iran the latest enrichment technology, the latest reactor technology and the latest technology of everything on planet earth plus trillions of dollars of guaranteed business and etc etc making Iran super filthy rich, powerful and incharge of the region, in return for Iran not to build nuclear weapons and remain in NPT (without additional protocol as like Japan).

    Instead they chose to humiliate Iran and Iranians. Now, they will have to learn to live with Iranian nuclear weapons eventually. Just like they have learned to live with Indian, Pakistani and North Korean nuclear weapons (as Mr. Khamenei pointed out).

  19. Smith says:

    “North Korea cites “tragedy” of countries that give up nuclear programs

    North Korea has bolstered its defenses against a “hostile” United States with its third nuclear test, it said on Thursday, noting that countries that had bowed to U.S. pressure to abandon their nuclear plans had suffered tragic consequences”.

    “The tragic consequences in those countries which abandoned halfway their nuclear programs… clearly prove that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) was very far-sighted and just when it made the (nuclear) option” …


  20. Smith says:

    Iran can enrich to above 60% for marine reactors, to above 90% for research reactors and even above 95% needed for nuclear reactor powered space satellites. I think it is imperative for Iran to enrich above 95% and stockpile it for its space program. After all Iran will ultimately need nuclear reactor powered space satellites.

  21. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Karl: Good point on the brainwashing of the US electorate being little different from North Korea.

  22. Smith says:

    In the news:

    “North Korea cites “tragedy” of countries that give up nuclear programs

    North Korea has bolstered its defenses against a “hostile” United States with its third nuclear test, it said on Thursday, noting that countries that had bowed to U.S. pressure to abandon their nuclear plans had suffered tragic consequences”.

    “The tragic consequences in those countries which abandoned halfway their nuclear programs… clearly prove that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) was very far-sighted and just when it made the (nuclear) option” …

  23. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I recall this French analyst responding, in response to a Russian colleague who had a few kinds word for Iran, that “… this is good enough for them”.

    Another one – a European or American – recently observed that: “He (Khamenei) He really thinks Iran can become as powerful as, say, France, without being friends with the US.”

    And then there was this older Iranian in US who had been living there for 50 years telling me: “Who the hell are Americans to tell what Iranians can and cannot study.”

    Americans and Europeans, trying to squeeze any and all concessions out of Iran via their strategic superiority, have lost the Iranian people.

    In a way, they have reprised their actions on Palestine; they have lost Muslims on Shoah, Anne Franck, etc.

  24. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    You are right, exploration of space – specially human one, is dependent on space-borne nuclear reactors as well as controlled thermonuclear explosions.

  25. nico says:

    It is funny, rsh seeing the thruth but being like a crazy because all being blind around him.
    The thruth is moral values and grand international principles are supported by the 99%.
    However the 1% have their own moral and values.
    For them common sense is BS their nature is inherantly amoral they only understand the struggle for life, they never had moral compass.
    The only way to deal with such constituency is power struggle.
    The leverett work is commandable but should focus on
    – why US could not win the struggle on the current terms. That is the underlying assumption in their work but not clearly enough stated and explained in my sense.
    – and/or why tne currnt terms are detrmimental
    – and if not containment then it means realignment. what does it entail for the ME security framework. for the saud, for israel, for the petrodollar status…

    All the leveretts positions are common sense directed to the 99%
    But the 99% is à gullible mass who will be rightly brainwashed with such their elite message.
    The elite already knows the true state of affairs. They merely don’t care and are simply antihumanist, and care about their power poition.
    They are in direct line with more than 2 centuries colonial and domination policies of the western economy and civilization.

  26. Anonymous Lurker says:

    BiB – thank you for the link to the speech.

    That was one of his most direct speeches I’ve ever read and he sounds really annoyed!
    (I’d chose another word, but that wouldn’t be appropriate)

    Iran is blessed with his baseerat and the good sense to follow him.

  27. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Anonymous Lurker,
    I agree it was a very direct speech.

    As others have also said, it basically ended “goftemane sazesh” in Iran that might have been attempted by candidates like Qalibaf, Velayati or whoever the lefties want to bring.

    It basically shifted the framework of the debates domestically and internationally.

    The recent announcement by Jalili that Iran will not accept “reduced rights” and “increased obligations” in the next round of talks and that the other side should bring a “credible proposal” is a direct result of this. So is the announcement of 16 new sites for nuclear reactors and the new uranium deposits.

    Concerning the great blessing that velayat is, some should read this and reflect a little- especially those who fantasize about having atomic bombs.

    Obeying amr-e vali is the way to have ezzat, power and dignity in this world and the next.

    “A few days ago the President of America delivered a speech about the nuclear issue of Iran. He spoke as if the conflict between Iran and America is over Iran’s decision to build nuclear weapons. He said that they will do everything in their power to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. If we wanted to build nuclear weapons, how would you stop us? If Iran had decided to build nuclear weapons, America would not be able to stop it in any way.

    We do not want to build nuclear weapons and this is not because this will upset America, rather it is because of our beliefs. We believe that building nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity and they should not be built. Besides, we believe that the existing nuclear weapons should be destroyed. This is our belief. It has nothing to do with you [Americans]. If we did not have this belief and if we decided to build nuclear weapons, no power could stop us, as they could not stop other countries. They could not do this in India, Pakistan and North Korea. The Americans were opposed to development of nuclear weapons in these countries, but they built nuclear weapons.”

  28. Rehmat says:

    EU refuses to declare Hizballah a ‘terrorist organization’


  29. nico says:

    Putting myself at risk here, I believe the part of the SL speech dealing with the US was not so great.
    My take is it was for Iranian public consumption but lacked the Grandeur needed at this juncture.

    US position in the ME is based on the premises of the free flow of oil and the petrodollar status.

    The Free Flow of oil is insured from the WWII and going on.
    The US till now insure every and each nation with enough money can procure their needed ME oil.
    There is no country dictating and being able to use the ME oil as bargain chip or blackmailing other in the international arena with the ability to stop the oil flow at whim.
    It is not small matter.
    Iran as a candidate as a major power in the ME is challanging the US position as the garantor of the free flow of oil.
    Multilateral security agreement here is not an option.
    It is obvious that in a way or another that the controlling power has its sway.
    The US policy is rightfully based on capability, not on intent.
    Who owns the position in the ME is a major power entilted to security council like veto right.
    Only the boss can insure this role or delegate such responsibility.
    Alternatively, such position can only be grabbed through power struggle, nobody shall hand it to Iran.
    The Leveretts are advocating that US military presence be lightened in the ME.
    How is it so with Iran as a power candidate ?
    What type of grand bagain acceptable to the US could it be clinched ? What would be the modus vivendi ?
    A powersharing deal ? How that so when Iran stated policy is to drive the US out of the ME ?
    There is no beginning of an answer and I would be curious to get their position.

    The free flow is insured with the big IF of being paid in USD.
    The current domination and security framework of the ME allow the petrodollar status.
    It comes at no surprise to anybody here that the US is a broke country printing more than 85 billion USD each month out of thin air in order to pay there administration and military expenditures.
    US economy is on the brink of collapse. (I don’t know how it still hold with their various QE).
    Cutting Military expnditure is not a economic answer as such money fuel somehow US economy.
    Basic economic show that more austerity would aggravate the situation.
    The US is in dire economic position and more widely all the western countries including japan (with 200% GDP debt it is done matter : they are just finished).

    The USD and US economy hold by one thread. That is the petrodollar status which itself only hold by the US domination in the ME.

    Now I would be curious to know how the Grand Bargain the Leveretts are advocating play with the petrodollar status.

    The US is in desperate state and shall be ready to wage war only to keep the system running for few more days.
    The only thing that is blocking such attack on iran is Iran military capability to block SoH.

    Now back to the SL speech.
    This speech speak about human right, logic, what the US need to do and so on.
    IMHO it is of the same nature and platitude as the Western media propaganda.
    That’s propaganda.
    He is basically saying that he is not ready to negotiate about Free Flow of oil or Uthe petrodallar status and that the power struggle shall continue.
    Actually, how does he want to adress such issues without being able to have diplomatic intercourse ?
    And how does he think the relation could be amended and the sanction or the nuclear file be closed whithout adressing the true subjects.

    Basically, even it participates, the nuclear file is the consequence, not the cause of the standoff.

    I guess he is wise enough to understand that such thing could not be discussed publicly and that direct contact is mandatory.

    Due to their strategic position and environment,Iran has no option other than being a nothing or a major world power equal to UNSC veto holder.
    Iran need to state that they are so but that they are ready to compromise.
    There is no other way save assured disaster for everybody.

    Do not count too much on China or Russia. They have a modus vivendi with the US with shared interest.
    It is netheir their interest that the US economy collapse.

    US is in military disarray, is economically bankrupt and they need a deal.
    Iran step out victor of 34 year struggle.
    What the SL need in addition of that.
    Does he believe that the containment structure shall be lifted short of a Grand Bargain ?
    Does he need some sort of excuse on top of that ?
    The SL speech regarding US direct talk, even if it flatter some nationalistic ego, was truly selfdeceptive and disappointing.

  30. nico says:

    mister 20%

    Does my last post explain why your 20% thing is BS and your Jewish focus is close if not plain antisemitism.

  31. James Canning says:


    I opposed western military intervention in Libya. That said, if North Korean leaders think Gaddafi could have built nukes, they are simply badly mistaken.

  32. James Canning says:


    Bill Clinton wanted to improve US relations with Iran. Bill Clinton and the Democrats depended upon Jewish campaign finance to wins (and retain) seats in US Congress. Rich Jews told Clinton to drop his effort to improve US relations with Iran, unless Iran was willing to be friendlier toward Israel.

    I put this bluntly because there is no “psychiatric issue” involved, in Clinton’s decision he must drop his plan to improve relations with Iran.

  33. James Canning says:


    In his Feb. 5, 2013 statement, William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, made clear the primary problem at this time, from the point of view of the UK and the EU, was Iran’s stockpiling of 20 percent enriched uranium in an amount far in excess of whatis needed to operate the TRR.

  34. James Canning says:


    I assume you are aware that more than half of total campaign funding of Democrats, in the US Congress, comes from Jews. Is it “anti-Semitic” to note this point?

  35. James Canning says:


    If Iran has no intention of building nukes, please explain your opinion of why Iran stockpiles the 20% U.

    In your view, is John Brennan relying on Iran’s excessive production of 20% U, as grounds for telling the US Congress Iran apparently has a nuclear weapons programme?

  36. nico says:

    mister 20% you have reaaly no clue.
    This not not about nuclear weapon.
    Even if Iran got one it would make no difference.
    It is about ME domination and power sharing.

  37. nico says:

    Mister 20%

    Israel is a secundary subject.

    We are talking about grown up subject of world domination here.
    Israel subject if of importance for the 99% is unimportant for the 1% in there power struggle.

    Israel is like a stamp on the map, this is nothing.

    I am confident the US leaders and planners are seasoned enough to deal with the jewish lobby when needed.
    Beside, I am certain that the palestinian cause could be traded by Iran or Israel by the western states in a way satisfactory for both sides.

  38. Richard Steven Hack says:

    For those who do wish to tout Iran’s progressive credentials, here is a piece supporting that.

    Maternity Leave, Iran, and American Exceptionalism

  39. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Nima Shirazi on why the latest “offer” is even more ridiculous than supposed.

    Going For The Gold:
    The P5+1’s Latest Lackluster Offer to Iran

    There can be no doubt the talks are INTENDED to fail in order to get a war eventually.

  40. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you for that video. It should be eye opening to those who think Iran can live with these mentally ill people without nuclear weapons.

    As the master race says it in the video that Iran should be a “slave to western objectives” and talk about “selection” of Iranian president in June. Wow. That is the western diplomacy. Only another form of colonialism.

  41. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The BBC Spins the Truth on Iran’s New Centrifuges

  42. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    That is right. But it is not only futuristic manned space travel. Nuclear reactor powered satellites have been a reality since 1960’s and have seen extensive use in military sphere. One application of their use is in space radars such as in SAR satellites and in military space radars tracking ships. In fact without such a nuclear reactor powered space radar tracking ships it is very difficult to have fool proof sea and ocean defenses. And this is of utmost importance for Iran to have good sea defenses for which such nuclear reactor powered satellites are indispensable.

    Additionally these kind of reactors are extremely simple to manufacture and they run on uranium enriched above 95%. Basically these space reactors are nuclear bombs which release their energy over very very extended period of time of decades instead of releasing it in a couple of nanosecond as happens in atomic weapons. But scientifically and technically they are the same, both the atomic bomb and space reactor being simple criticality machines.

    Iranian scientific progress does not end in TRR. In fact TRR is a small research reactor of yesterday era. Iran would need to progress and advance. Any kind of colonial and slavery limit on Iran is detrimental to Iran’s long term interests. Iran should be able to do whatever it wants. The master race does not have moral, ethical, legal or historical right to push limits on Iran, be them of any kind and shape. Personally I do not think Iran, let alone IRI can live without nuclear weapons in the coming decades ahead.

  43. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    James we both know that the demands to halt enrichment began long before iran started to enrich to 20% in addition the size of the stockpile has remained constant as iran has continually been converting it into fuel assemblies and in this state it cannot be used for a weapon,as usual the western leaders you appear to like so much are telling lies,if the west genuinely wants iran to halt 20% then all it has to do is provide the fuel for the trr,it has not done this therefor 20% is just another excuse

  44. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Very strong observations. Thank you. The west now wants to shove its superiority down the Iranian throat by force. Only nuclear weapons will secure Iran. UN is dead. So it appears is reason and rationality among western populace. 99% of Americans think of Iran as a top threat to US. Only Iranian nuclear weapons will make these Americans change their view of Iran. As they did change their view of India (soviet ally), Pakistan (the hub of terror), North Korea (already nuclear armed and at war with US), etc etc.

  45. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yousaf Butt recaps the facts for Reuters. This is the kind of thing that needs to be in Reuters NEWS, not just the blog.

    How close is Iran to nuclear weapons?

  46. James Canning says:


    Where do you get the idea that the richest Americans consider Israel an “unimportant subject”? Do you need a list of the richest Americans and what statements they have made on the subject? Look up Sheldon Adelson, for starters.

  47. James Canning says:


    Are you claiming, in effect, that William Hague and the other foreign ministers of the EU countries, do not know what the primary issue is at this time? Emphasis: AT THIS TIME. They say the problem is Iran’s stockpiling of 20 percent uranium, in an amount far in exces of what is needed for civilian purposes.

    Do I take it you agree Iran is enriching excessive amounts of 20% U?

  48. James Canning says:


    Iran would be richer and more powerful today if it had not re-started enriching uranium. Full stop. It is primarily an issue of pride.

  49. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm
    Is that your way of saying iran should never have got rid of the shah,james??

  50. nico says:

    Why if the muslim cause were so important to iran did they not had more strident screams about the US attacking Irak or Afganistan ?
    The tragedy in both countries at the time of the attacks was way beyond the palestian tragedy at the same period.
    The answer is because it was in Iran interest.
    Was Iran strident about irak sandctions ?
    Dis Iran help irak break the sanctions in some ways ?
    No. Because Saddam was the enemy.
    Because the taliban were the enemies in afaganistan in the same way.
    However they should have been muslim brothers.
    Do not overestimate Iran support for palestinian.

    In the same way do not overestimate western support for israel.

    A way to have an agreement on israel would be for Iran to recognize israel and the west to officially brand israel as the apartheid state that it is.
    It would force israel to open up its society to palestinian right without theatening israel survival.
    It could be done through other ways as well.

  51. nico says:

    Is NKorea better of with its nukes ? No.
    Would Iran be better of with nukes ? No.
    Would Iran with nukes change the US containment policy ? No.
    Would Iran without nuclear program change US the containment policy ? No.

    The whole nuclear issue is BS

    The issue is Iran inherent power :
    – Geostrategic location and environment.
    – Population and level of education
    – Scientific knowledge and industrial development
    – …
    by themselves such assets give Iran power and justify US animosity.

  52. fyi says:

    nico says:

    February 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    There is no jus gentium of any kind in the Middle East; hasn’t been for at least a century.

    In its absence, only transactional business could be conducted among Middle Eastern states as well as imperial states who think that they have some interest there.

    The Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon alliance has the potential to contribute to a jus gentium Islamicum in time.

    However, for that to take place, some or all of the late Lt. General Odom’s recommendations must be enacted by the United States. (http://hammernews.com/odomspeech.htm)

    [Specifically in regards to Iran we read:

    On escaping Iraq: “Once it became obvious I was getting out, I would go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, and Iran and say, ‘I invite you to this meeting to handle stabilization issues as I get out.’ I would have a secret chamber with Iran and say, ‘You hate the Taliban, we hate the Taliban; you want to sell oil, we need to buy oil; your alliance with Russia is very unnatural; if you want to discuss the West Bank- I’ll talk about it but won’t give anything away.’

    ‘Oh, and by the way, I’m taking the nuclear issue off the table. You want nukes, have them. You live in a bad neighborhood.’ There’s no single diplomatic move that would so revolutionize our position up there.”]

    Americans, Europeans, and their allies, instead, chose a path of confrontation and war to destroy or otherwise wound the alliance that I mentioned.

    While they have succeeded in wounding that alliance, they have failed in destroying it – they have, in my opinion, rather strengthened the alliance as these various peoples have been forced into a tighter collaboration for the fear of physical destruction (per the events in Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan).

    Axis Powers and their local allies cannot create alliances that are durable nor any sort of jus – and they are unwilling to even contemplate a cease-fire from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean sea.

  53. fyi says:

    nico says:

    February 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Yes secondary but not that far behind the main one – Iraq.

    That is part of their religion.

  54. Sineva says:

    nico says:
    February 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm
    Because both the taliban and saddam were irans deadly enemies so why on earth would iran help them?,just because they`re muslims?,I`m sure iran was very glad to see its enemies both western and regional turn on each other while iran benefited,perhaps you`re suggesting that iran should`ve practiced “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” that really worked for the us on sept 11th

  55. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    February 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    Yes and if iran gave into that you can bet that in another 6 months there would be yet another issue at THAT TIME and another 6 months after that and another 6 months after that and so on,enrichment is just the latest excuse,one that you have wholeheartedly bought into it seems

  56. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Interesting article by Buchanan about need for US to re-examine its global commitments

  57. nico says:


    No lifting of sanction without realignement by one side or the other.
    Thus no lifting of santions before war or Grand Bargain. Period.

  58. nico says:

    The SL and iran strategic calculus is that the regional trend is in clear western disfavor, therefore negotiation with the US is not necessary or beneficial.
    All the SL nice words are propaganda to unite Iranian people.

    On the other hand, contrary to the SL speech, my take is that the US by calling for direct talks are actually crying uncle.
    Of course they have some face saving statement and and nice threats, but what should Iran expect from the incumbent world unique superpower ?

    The US plans in Syria are a failure.
    The US Plans in Afganistan are a failure.
    The US plans in Irak are a failure.
    There are salafists roaming the region.
    The US iran containment in the nuclear strategy is a failure.
    The Arab spring is going on and threaten the sauds and barein while the Saud royal succession is in the card.

    The US debacle is near Total. They truly ruined their position in the ME.
    Ah yes, they have their nice litle drones, they are very proud about.
    Frankly that ridiculous. The whole US strategy in the region resting upon few drones.

    The bottom line is that Iran expose itself to military attack from the US out of sheer despair.

    Now is the time for serious talks and a deal between Iran and the US.

    By refusing the direct talk, Iran is risking angering Russia and China and thus additional UNSC sanctions.

    If attacked, my take is that Iran shall receive no support from Russia or China.

    To paraphrase kissinger, by refusing direct talk now the SL is demonstrating that Iran still is a revolutionay country which is lead by ideology and not by interests.
    At least it could be perceived like that by the US.
    Thus for the US no deal is possible with Iran and coercion shall be applied.

  59. A-B says:

    In Persian, when exemplifying semantics colloquially, three different ways to ask someone to sit down is used: “Befarma” (please, have a seat), “beshin” (sit), “betamarg” (roughly: get your ass down). So, the West – whose proverbial “carrot” to Iran is also a “stick”- as response to Iran’s request of respect says to Iran: OK, on the next round of talks, our OFFER to you is “sit” and not “betamarg”!! And this is while Iran shouldn’t sit at all with this immoral gang of 5+1 as there is no nuclear issue to begin with, but of course, Iran has to; of rational, moral and pragmatic reasons, because, if Iran transgresses from the existing treaties, she’s “done for”. Remember that Iran’s agreeing to the additional protocol WAS a transgression, and look where it led to! Apart from this West’s ‘concession’ (i.e. asking Iran to “sit” and not “get your ass down, jack-ass”) US would offer Iran that Iranian scientists will not be assassinated!! Well, thank you VERY much!! What’s next? “If you [Iran] don’t want to starve, here’s Monsanto”?!!

    It’s so disgusting how the “modern” West behaves worse than the tyrants of antiquity; the kind that would have one subject beheaded and another set free, to prove they are master of death and life.

    In previous thread, kooshy says:
    February 22, 2013 at 1:07 am
    Video: Mohammad Khazaee, Thomas Pickering Discuss Future of US-Iran Relations
    February 20th, 2013 by Asia Society

    Ignatius, after a lot of bogus “ghorboon sadegheh” (here: club of mutual admiration) and totally disregarding Khazaee’s LONG list of US bullying and uncivilized behavior hitherto, calls this basic requirement of civility, an Iranian “precondition” for talks; somehow implying that Iran is being hypocritical as she says there should not be a precondition to talks. Yes, another precondition to talks is that you don’t attend the meeting wearing only underwear!! BTW, did you notice how well versed these Americans are in the art of ‘Tarof’(i.e. bogus ghorboon sadagheh)? A crash course at the Asia Society, perhaps? And this Pickering talks of “misunderstanding”!! Oh no, your fascistry is NOT misunderstood!

  60. nico says:

    Sineva says:
    February 23, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    As proven in the case of Irak and afganistan, I am suggesting that Iran position regarding the palestinian cause is both ideological (support of the islamlic umha) and materialistic (use of the subject as a soft power weapon) and that for the right price the palestinian cause could be traded by iran.

  61. nico says:

    I forgot This one in the basket list of US failure.

    Neocons and more widely the amateurish US policy in the last decade was what could happen the best for Iran.
    What a shame and humiliation for the US.

  62. nico says:

    Mister 20% says:
    February 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    And the west would be much better had they not blundered badly the last decade.
    The US lost their gambit.
    Why do they not rather shove their pride ?

    Iran thinks that it has the winning hand.

    For the US I can’t tell.
    Hoowever, despite their boasting they are the ones in desperate position.

  63. nico says:

    A-B says:
    February 24, 2013 at 3:36 am

    IMHO you give to much weight to speech niceties.

    Only facts on the ground are importants.
    Niceties are only for face saving and actor studio drama like wounded pride.
    The niceties are for the 99% consumption not for the decision maker.

    The superpower have no choice other than adopt such tone to protect their apparent status as the leading powers in front of their other client states.

    Iran as candidate leading power should not take seriously.

  64. nico says:

    Iran as a candidate for leading the region should not take seriously such niceties.

  65. BiBiJon says:

    OK so I’d been wrong on deescalation, how’s about detente by this April’s Fool?

    All of a sudden everybody seems to be totally committed to seeking a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear file. As reported by WSJ: “Largely gone are comments from Baroness Ashton that there will be no talks for talking’s sake. In a recent speech in Munich, she said the EU would never cease efforts to find a diplomatic solution on Iran.”

    Obama team too has been drowning out the war drums with shouts of “diplomatic solution.”

    Ambassador Khazaee was treated with comity at Asia House (h/t kooshy at February 22, 2013 at 1:07 am) and was allowed to deliver a couple of unambiguous messages:

    a) Iran will not negotiate away any of her rights.
    b) SL means what he says: quit pointing the gun at us.

    A little Iranian foot dragging about date/venue of next P5+1 meeting has confirmed both who badly needs to talk to whom, and are they willing to go public with their desperation. No amount of “sanctions are working” will hide the western nudity. The procrastination also stretched out enough time for IR2-m to roll out, and for North Korea to demonstrate to the US what happens if she refuses to get off the hostility hamster wheel.

    But crucially, publicly establishing who-needs-whom paved the way for repeated calls for bilateral discussions. Clearly the nuclear file does not require bilateral talks — indeed if the nuclear issue were not patently a pretext, anyone of us here could type up a draft agreement in under 5 minutes — no, it is the regional and global aspects of US-Iran detente which begs for face-to-face discussions.

    So, if I’m right, and ‘detente’ is on the menu, can Israel spoil the broth? Well, after the Hagel spectacle, the I-Lobby barely has dry powder left.

  66. nico says:

    Iran is in the waiting room for the access as world power status.
    i.e. they negotiate directly with the P5+1 for many years and the dare resist.
    They passed the test : it is clear the oil sanction is a failure as it clear now that it will not destroy Iran economy.
    That is fact on the ground.

    After 34 years of breaking relation US call for direct talks.
    That is fact on the ground.

    The niceties shall come after Iran and the US have found a modus vivendi.

    Now is time of declared hostility, it is not time for niceties.

  67. M. Ali says:

    Anyone have a video link to Ahmadenijad’s recent interview?

  68. fyi says:

    nico says:

    February 24, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Can you outline the contours of a possible deal?

    The late General Odom did, can you?

  69. Rehmat says:

    Israel sets guidelines for P5+1+Iran nuclear talk

    Peter Jenkins, British ambassador to IAEA (2001-06) in Vienna, is not optimistic about the outcome of the February 26 meeting. He believes, any good thing coming out of it will soon be destroyed by Israel.

    “If the past is any guide to the future, the hope of bilateral progress will soon be dashed. The wrong inferences will be drawn from the Leader’s 7 February statement. Israel will intercept an arms shipment destined for Hamas or Hezbollah. An Iranian plot to murder an ambassador will be uncovered. An Iranian scientist will be assassinated. Congress will pass a resolution forbidding any diplomatic contact with an “evil regime”. White House advisers will staff all flexibility out of the US opening position,” says Jenkins.


  70. James Canning says:


    Astounding stupidity this past decade, on the part of the US. Illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq. Failure to restore normal relations with Iran and Syria. Failoure to work with Iran, Russia, China and other countries in effort to achieve stability in Afghanistan. Idiotic encouragement of Israeli smashing of Lebanon in 2006. Etc etc etc.

    But Iran blundered by enriching excessive amounts of 20 percent uranium.

  71. James Canning says:


    Early this past decade, Iran indicated it will accept Israel within its pre-1967 borders if the Palestinians accept that outcome. At the time, Iran was trying to restore normal relations with the US. Idiot neocon warmongers blocked the deal.

  72. James Canning says:


    I should say, that idiot necon warmongers, and the Israeli government, blocked the improvement or normalisation of US-Iran relations a decade ago. Gross stupdiity and incompetence of Condoleeza Rice was a crucial factor.

  73. nico says:

    fyi says:
    February 24, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Good Point.
    I have no idea.
    That is why I suggested that our hosts provide their insight.
    This is the Leveretts who are selling this kind of Grand Bargain, and they are forign relation specialist contrary to myself.
    I would like to know their PoV regarding what is the the extent of concession needed by both sides.

    I mean they are 3 options
    – War (rsh position)
    – Grand bargain (Leveretts position)
    – Stalmate/cold war (fyi position)

    My preception is that the current security framework in the ME is not viable and that the money time is fast coming.
    first with the arab spring spreading to KSA and the Saudi royal system being totally exhausted.
    Second with Iran influence spreading.
    This instability is not acceptable to the world powers in term of access to oil and specifically to the US regarding the petrodollar status.

    Whether we like it or not the free flow of oil shall be insured within a security framework which is closely associated to the world powers.
    Given Iran importance, the idea that Iran could just tread its path alone without being attached to some sort of global responsibility and mutual dependency is ludicrous.
    My opinion is that it will not happen.

    The US needs to come to term with Iran.
    The reverse is also true. After 34 years Iran has made her point. Iran has won the struggle.

    Now is time of war or Grand Bargain.

  74. Karl.. says:

    It will be a dark week ahead of us, Argo will win multiple awards and thus giving credit to a disgraceful propaganda-flick. The P5+1 meeting will most likely generate nothing and the blame will be put on Iran.
    Prepare for a boost in anti-Iranian, warmongering statements/condemnations/articles this week.

  75. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Foreign powers send heavy weapons to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels – report

    Think about this: WHAT “foreign powers” allegedly DON’T want to support the radical Islamists with weapons? It sure as hell ain’t Saudi Arabia and Qatar!

    That means THESE heavy weapons are coming from either the EU or the US or both.

    And there’s no way the EU would do this without Obama’s “permission”.

    Which means Obama is LYING – AGAIN. And so are the MSM when they claim Obama is “considering” arming the insurgents.

    He IS arming them – behind the scenes.

  76. James Canning says:


    Is this a likely time for a “grand bargain”? John Kerry is only into State a few days. Hagel not yet started at Defence.

    Iran clearly does well to continue to convert excess 20 U into FRR fuel plates.

  77. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    February 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Extremely worrisome situation as per explained in link you provided. It should be enough to raise the hairs on the back of Iran’s military commanders and strategic thinkers. If Pakistan develops a second strike capability as it seems what is happening then Pakistan will have even deterrence even against direct US nuclear strikes.

    It is yet another eye opening event for those who think a nuclear disarmed Iran can live in this neighborhood without paying the ultimate price. Pakistani military has been infiltrated by wahabi/salafi/deobandi hard elements. These people hate Shia more than anything else in the world. The primary focus of brelvi/secular Pakistani military throughout the last half of 20th century was India and Kashmir. For wahabi/salafi/deobandi elements this is not so. Their primary focus is Iran and Shias.

    These people believe as a matter of their faith that they are planet earth for the sole purpose of exterminating Shias. This is their singular focus. If by a revolution or an internal military coup they get control of Pakistan or its military, Iran and Iranians should be ready for its eventual and guaranteed demise from planet earth. It is a given. It is one thing to resist Saddam’s limited chemical weapons on battlefield and completely another game to survive multiple nuclear strikes on major Iranian population centers and cities. West will watch from sideline when this genocide happen s and probably will encourage it indirectly or even directly. As did before.

    Scenarios can be made in which for example Tehran, Isfehan, Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad get hit by nuclear strikes all of a sudden and Pakistan announces that it was a “mistake” done by rogue salafi elements in military. There is really nothing international community can do if Pakistan has second strike capability. That is if the international community actually cares for the heavily demonized Iranians. My guess is, there will rejoice among western population for Iranians having been killed by their wahabi/salafi/deobandi allies.

    In fact, after the recent mass killings of Shia in Pakistan, the Pakistani officials openly admitted that they have no control over these wahabi elements all created by Pakistani military. Without nuclear weapons, Iran will not see 2025. A major chunk of Iranian population will be exterminated and Iran will be torn among victors. Do not be surprised if remaining live Iranians abroad see an area from Baluchistan to Bandar Abbas become part of Pakistan, areas such as Khuzestan become part of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with UAE getting over all Iranian islands, northwest merging into Azerbaijan and Turkey with the rest of the country having become nuclear waste bin. This is the end of Iran without nuclear weapons. Salafis are on a mission. In the meanwhile Iran should start paying bribes to Pakistan to keep it happy. At least till Iran has its own nuclear deterrence.

  78. Smith says:

    M. Ali says:
    February 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

    In three part: http://www.farsnews.com/multimedia.php

    Better quality available on youtube, though.

  79. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    February 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    There will be no heavy weapons going to Syrian rebels; towed or self-propelled artillery, light tanks, multiple-tube rocket launchers etc.

    The Syrian rebels do not have the logistical framework or training to use these weapons.

    If the late Generalissimo Franco could pacify Spain, so can Mr. Assad’s government.

    Heavy machine guns and RPJs will no defeat Mr. Assad’s forces.

  80. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    February 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    There will be no heavy weapons going to Syrian rebels; towed or self-propelled artillery, light tanks, multiple-tube rocket launchers etc.

    The Syrian rebels do not have the logistical framework or training to use these weapons.

    If the late Generalissimo Franco could pacify Spain, so can Mr. Assad’s government.

    Heavy machine guns and RPJs will no defeat Mr. Assad’s forces.

  81. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    February 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    No doubt you are correct.

    There is no other way for Iran except the current path.

  82. Smith says:

    No more Ghazali for Iranians and Kimiaye Sa’adat is out: http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13911206001213

  83. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    The brutal fact is that Iran can be turned into glass by any number of states without consequence to those states.

    In that case, Iranians will be doing the dying – not the Russians, Americans, Germans or the Chinese – among others.

    Given the current strategic situation, the only bargain with Iran – grand or otherwise – will have to follow the idea of the late General Odom.

    As for the Russians and Chinese being displeased: Russians have been instrumental in the sanctions against Iran – they have been part and parcel of the effort to de-nuclearize Iran.

    On the other hand, they have reached – some would say exceeded – the limit of their anti-Iran actions without harming their own strategic interests. Their displeasure with Iran is no longer actionable.

    As for Chinese, they cannot care less if Iran is a nuclear power or not – they have got their payments for supporting P4+1.

    P5+1 will not and cannot accept any enrichment in Iran.

    They will continue their efforts in isolating and wounding Iran.

    That is fine, let them – they have to get something.

    But it is better be alive – albeit isolated from the Euro-Americans – and with major Iranian cities and population centers secure from nuclear threat than be at Davos while your cities are going up in smoke.

    P5+1 and Iran are at the dead-end – please read the article from the Hindu that I posted.

    Two generations from now P5+1 may be able to repair their relations with Iran.

    But not now when the existence of Iran as a unitary and coherent state is in grave danger.

  84. jay says:

    fyi says:
    February 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I tend to agree (in broad brush terms) with your thoughts.

    The current situation is a tactical pause – mostly due to short tem economic and political factors.

    Sanctions have not produced the “devastation” hoped for. EU is in economic and social trouble. US is in the midst of “retooling”. Time is needed now to “reorganize” – a tactical pause by the power axis.

    At the risk of becoming repetitive (and annoying), as I have stated before, absent a complete strategic realignment in the M.E., the power axis and Iran will remain at odds. Iranian leadership clearly (and I believe correctly) believes that any deal sans realignment is tantamount to a death sentence. Iran may accept a deal on paper, but with eyes wide open as to what it really means for both sides.

  85. fyi says:


    Until and unless the agenda of US-Iran negotiations are at the strategic level, none will take place.

    I surmise that this much was communicated to the White House last January by the Iranians.

    Americans demurred – as one could note in Ambassador Pickering’s preference for an incremental approach.

    [Which really amounted to cherry-picking and addressing paramount US concerns first (and last). That is, just like in Afghanistan in 2001-2003, US would pocket the gains and walk away.]

    Mr. Obama could go to war in early Spring of 2012, he did not.

    Mr. Bush was about to go to war in 2006, he did not.

    Those concerns that prevented the war at those times have remained in place.

    On the other hand, the unwillingness to accept the reality of the increased Iranian power after the destruction of the Ba’ath state, as well as Americans’ (and European’s) religious zeal for Israel and the 2-year old war in Syria makes Peace impossible at this moment.

    Not even cease-fire is on the agenda of the Axis Powers.

    And, in the meantime, Iranians are evidently making preparations for the time that they could export any oil – anticipating further expansion of their economic war against them.

    Strategic competition is the future for the next 40 years – I should guess.

  86. Nasser says:

    fyi says: February 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm,

    “On the other hand, they [the Russians] have reached – some would say exceeded – the limit of their anti-Iran actions without harming their own strategic interests. Their displeasure with Iran is no longer actionable.”

    – Can you expand on this? Are you basing this on their stance on Syria?

  87. Unknown Unknowns says:

    For those who are interested, I have a new post at my blog:


    It is the text of a little speech I gave at the Third International Hollywoodism Conference held at the Azadi Hotel a couple of weeks ago in Tehran. The speech is about the foundational differences that exist between our Islamic civilization and culture, and that of the West’s.

  88. nico says:

    China and Russia shared interests with the West are way above and beyond what it obtains with Iran.

    Pressure shall be dramatically increased.

    It is in both Iran and Us interests to come to terms with each other.

    Iran is now THE undeniable regional Power.

    It is time to money that position and enter the concert of Nations.

    The terms need to be negotiated. And It needs US direct diplomatic contact.

    My opinion is that Iran milked what was needed and possible through their current posture.
    The US are ripe to make adequate concessions.

    Pushing more would be a kind of overstretch and would not be sanctioned positively by Russia and China.

  89. Sineva says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm
    fyi says:
    February 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm
    The only heavy weapons they have are the ones captured from the saa and these will be very short on parts and ammo,they are of only very limited use.The main problem would be the shear physical difficulty in getting heavy weapons into syria,its one thing to transport shoulder arms and light weapons its another thing entirely to move tanks and artillery,this would require the active collaboration of surrounding governments and would completely destroy any plausible deny-ability that they had remaining.

  90. Karl.. says:

    Another proof that Obama’s policy on Iran is just pressure all the way and no diplomacy.

    Obama’s ‘Engagement’ on Iran ‘Was a Cover’ for Pressure and

  91. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    February 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm
    I agree,the one thing that could alter this somewhat would be whether iran decides to become a nuclear power in the region which would further erode western power and influence

  92. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    On the other hand ….

    Clinton/Ross/Abdullah/Hamad/Hague policies were given wide enough berth and long enough rope to hang themselves.

    No matter how hard folks squeezed their eyes shut, crossed their fingers, and how audaciously they hoped, the Arab Awakening did not translate into Iranian hypersomnia; Iraq remained unaccommodating; Assad proved to be sturdier than Sarkozy; Afghanistan continued to be impervious to surge, peace negotiations and drones.

    USS Truman’s delayed deployment to PG is being blamed on the ‘sequester’ but it could be stagecraft for Almaty, ditto the conspicuous absence of hawkish talk on Syria — a strategic realignment is on the cards.

    Recall the 2003 neoconservative promise of ‘fallen dominoes’. In M.E., US’ room to maneuver has shrunk in the wake of (wrong) fallen dominoes, and remaining (wobbly) dominoes are awash with popular sentiments that to the US it feels like swimming in molasses.

    Strategic realignment is a mouthful for a phenomenon that historically has had short enough a shelf life to qualify as a longer term tactical adjustment. The US is due for that adjustment, and it requires detente with Iran. As the US reduces her footprint in M.E. and pivots to Africa (pivot to Asia was a subterfuge) the choice between an inimical Iran, and an accommodating Iran requires an urgent cost/benefit reassessment.

    My bet is that in March Obama will go to Israel to inform them of the fait accompli: US detente with IRI.

  93. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Are you familiar with Chuck D and Flava Flav?

    They said: “Don’t believe the hype!” Including the hype based on Kissingerian concepts like “revolutionary states” or “concert of nations”.

    You can’t fathom how stubborn Iranians can be.

    Continued cold war for the foreseeable future- a great blessing and opportunity for Iran to build itself.

    We thank God for the enemies He gives us.

    Quote from SL’s speech:
    “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 second point is that they have raised the issue of negotiations. They say, “Iranian officials should come to us so that we can sit and negotiate.” The same unreasonable behavior can be seen in their offer of negotiations. Their purpose is not to solve the problems and resolves the issues – I will explain this later. Their purpose is creating hype. They want to say to Muslim nations, “This was the Islamic Republic with all that intense determination and resistance. But finally, it had to negotiate with us. Even the Iranian nation ended up like this. What can you do?”

    They need negotiations in order to suppress countries which have just gained power, in which the breeze of Islamic Awakening has blown, countries which feel they have dignity because of Islam. They want to make these countries hopeless. Since the beginning of the Revolution, this was one of their goals. Since the beginning of the Revolution, one of their goals was to drag Iran to the negotiating table and make a deal with it. One of their goals was to gain the opportunity to say, “Did you see that finally Iran – which claimed to be independent and courageous and which claimed that it has stood up against us – was forced to come and sit at the negotiating table?” Today, they pursue the same goal. This is an important issue. When the purpose of negotiations is not resolving the main issues and when the purpose of negotiations is creating hype, it is clear that the opposing side, the Islamic Republic, is not naïve and it has not closed its eyes. It understands what your goal is. Therefore, it responds on the basis of your intentions.”

    IQ 146 wrote:
    “Without nuclear weapons, Iran will not see 2025”

    Don’t forget to take your pills…

    I’m betting on the nation with more than 7,000 years of continuous history and civilization to make it to 2025. Use your superior intelligence to calculate the mathematical probability if other arguments don’t convince you.

    Also you have no clue about Pakistan, everyone’s- including takfiris- main enemy is always Hindu India. Iran and Shias is a sideshow which the British and Saudis have been trying to force onto Pakistanis but it hasn’t worked.

    Contrary to the hype, the average Sunni Pakistani is sympathetic to the Islamic Republic of Iran, appreciates Iranian culture and Farsi language and admires Imam Khomeini (r) and Rahbar. And of course Ahmadinejad. Not to mention the millions of Shia and secular-nationalist Pakistanis.

    How Malik Ishaq will be dealt with will affect whether Pakistan will enter a new phase of instability or not. In other words, it benefits everyone in Pakistan if he is executed.

  94. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “Assad proved to be sturdier than Sarkozy”.


    Even if a strategic realignment has occurred, Obama doesn’t have the strategic vision to get it nor the political courage to do anything about it.

    I agree with fyi, no grand bargain for the foreseeable future.

    Cold war and status quo are a great blessing for Iran.

  95. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    February 25, 2013 at 1:31 am

    I am not saying anything profound; Russian Federation needs an independent Iran for security reasons.

    An Axis-allied Iran will harm them – it exposes them to terrorism in Southern Russia – now supported by Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.

    It further provides Axis Powers with a vast country to deploy their interceptors; further emasculating the Russian Federation’s strategic forces.

  96. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    February 25, 2013 at 8:15 am


  97. BiBiJon says:

    Why Almaty?

    “The Kazakh president has gone further to say out loud what many leaders in Central Asia are thinking, regarding the asymmetry the treatment of Pakistan and Israel versus that of Iran.”


  98. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 25, 2013 at 10:19 am

    There is a whiff of self-comforting fixation with the status quo in the comments recently which is beginning to smell of enforced consensus.

    Whatever the basis for the permanent war hypothesis, lets avoid circuity, be careful not to use the permanent war as confirmation of various (dubious) assumptions leading to it. I’m yet to see an event be predicted by the hypothesis to validate it independently.

    I agree with UU’s take on Iran being a “purposive community.” It should be noted that amicable relations with all nations is among the purposes of that community, as per her constitution, and repeated pronouncements by SL himself.

    There is no question that US can afford to rack up even more strategic setbacks in the ME. But ultimately animosity towards Iran does not constitute a strategy any more than repeating an absurdity like ‘Iran is the biggest threat facing the US’ turn it into a serious proposition.

    In Almaty both sides are faced with a choice between carrying on as before for another few years, or contemplate a paradigm shift. One of the benefits of the sheer length of this saga is that folks by now ought to refuse to ‘wait for Godot’ in the shape of ‘Iran is about to implode’, or ‘US is about to implode’.

    Franky, it is worse that ‘haram’, it is stupid to continue to imagine either side can inflict harm on the other without unbearable and escalating costs to itself.

    I’ll wait and see what comes out of Almaty.

  99. James Canning says:

    Financial Times report today (“Iran to build 16 more reactors”) states that Iran “could suspend” 20 percent enrichment, but does not want to export its stockpile of 20% U. Effort in Iranian parliament to lobby Russia and China to stop cooperating with the other four powers (P5+1).

  100. James Canning says:


    The CIA blocked neocon effort to bring about war between US and Iran in 2006-07. Crucial element was the NIE on Iran, that Iran is not building nukes. Continuous pressure by warmongers for a change to the NIE (re-issued in 2010-11 with same conclusion, that Iran is not building nukes).

    Iran probably can control fuel cycle for numerous nuclear power plants. Iran will have to suspend enriching to 20%.

  101. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 25, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Most certainly!.

    Iranians ought to consider suspension of 20% enrcihment but, in turn, ought to require that Pakistan, India, and Israel be targeted by the existing declared nuclear weapons state as a guarantee of Iranian security.

    Iranians could also scarp all of enrichment if the United States guarantees, in perpetuity, to supply any and all Iranian power, research, or medical reactors with nuclear fuel.

    “Call us when you are ready.”

  102. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times today reports that the new centrifuges being installed at Natanz will enrich uranium to a level lower than 5%.

  103. James Canning says:


    Interesting comments by Sebastien Peyrouse that you linked. Quote: “Central Asian states. . . think Iran could be convinced to abandon its [nuclear] weapons program. . .”

  104. James Canning says:

    fyi, Nasser,

    Iran will remain independent even if it ships its entire stockpile of 20% urnaium out of the country. Russia obviously is aware of this fact.

  105. Pirouz says:

    Since the latest imposition of Iran sanctions, the price of gasoline here in California has increased 50 cents more a gallon. The correlation goes unreported in our media.

    By the way, I’ve recently expanded my focus to include construction topics in the Islamic Republic of Iran. If anyone’s interested, here are links (the public housing construction is especially interesting, most if not all of it performed by IRGC construction firms):




    Public Housing


  106. nico says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Wow. What you say is that Iranians are stubborn… And regurgitate the voice of your master.
    That is all you have as an analysis and reading of the events ?

    It could have been the SL does not think the US can deliver. Thus he needs an strong act to open up direct discussions.
    Or the SL needs a strong act by the US to prove and show to the world that it is treating on equal footing and enhance Iran Status as a worthy interlocutor/partner.
    Or the US as a superpower needs to make a opening that shows they really want to come to terms with Iran.
    Thus the SL plays hardball and his position is a caluclated diplomatic move to force the US to make a tangible move.

    I addition you scoff at Kissingerian concepts.
    Do you mean Kissinger is not a major strategic thinker and his analysis is not shared by policy makers in the US ?
    I wrote that it could interpreted in this way by the US.
    And then when the SL is saying he is a revolutionary and that Iran and US positions are irreconciliable, is that not the proof that the SL somehow is not ready to any compromise, even reasonable ones ? I mean the ones that do not infringe on Iran sovereignty.
    How the US is suppose to react to such statement ?
    Is that not as hostile and unresonable as some unresonable statements made by Neocons ?

    Regarding the concert of nations, I think you need some explanations, and I am kind enough do provide you with that.
    All major power are mutually dependant.
    Russia mainly sell its gaz and oil to UE. Do you think the demise of UE is i their interest ?
    US is China main economic partner. Do you think US demise is in China interest ?
    Yes there are skimishes and low intensity battles of influence.
    However they also share superior interests and have a global understanding.
    They are self aware of their position which is also recognized by the others.
    Thus they participate to the concert of nations.
    What kind of superior interests does Iran share with those countries ? None. Yes Iran sell some oil to china and Inda. Truly small share of their consumption.
    Iran is striving to carve herself a place under the sun, she claims a position.
    However such position is not recognized by the others… for the moment.
    At the end of the day do you think China or Russia are going to sell out the US in exchange for Iran if their superior intersts are at stake ?

    After 10 years of criminal incompetence by their policy makers, the US are losing their ground in the ME.
    The ME is a mess and very instable. The arabian peninsula is a powder keg (see barhain, see Yemen, See the revolt in KSA, see the exhausted Saudi Royals…)
    The other country which counts for something is Iraq and is aligned with Iran.
    The US are guarantor of the ME oil flow, but are Militarily worn out and financially broken.
    They are in a desperate situation.
    That being said, what about US just leaving the region ? After all they are self-sufficient in term of oil and gaz.
    Now do you think China or the UE would be happy with that in the currents security circumstances ? Or for that matter Russia with the consequence that could have on world economy and UE economic health ?
    Now tell me what the UNSC shall do when the US will demand a total blokade of Iran ? The anwser is obvious.
    Is that what you want ?
    The pressure may be accentuated much more than it is today. Without war.
    However if Iran block the SoH. war it will be and one extrem and horrendous scenario is that Tehran might get nuked.

    Now the alternative path is for the US (and for that matter the other Powers as well) to just dump KSA and have Iran as a partner.
    It would be beneficial to the US in the current conditions.
    It would necessitate that the US recognize Iran full sovereignty and various associated right.
    However it would also need some quid pro quo that allow US and for that matter the other Powers to insure Iran mutual dependency.
    That is the point I am wondering about and it would be truly great to have some insight from the Leveretts.

    Today the level of economical independance from the West is surely a blessing but is also a source of danger for Iran as the West have no mean to insure mutual dependency.

  107. BiBiJon says:

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/middleeast/skepticism-surrounds-resumption-of-nuclear-talks-with-iran.html?pagewanted=2&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

    He and other Western diplomats refused to detail the offer before it is presented to the Iranians, but one senior diplomat called the offer “substantial and serious” and said recent news reports that suggested only some loosening in sanctions regarding gold sales “do not reflect the full offer.” The diplomat said the offer was “not a big bang deal, more an agreement on a package of confidence-building measures.”


    Two narratives are being pushed.

    a) As the quote above, P5+1 is planning “substantial & serious” offers to Iran
    b) As the title suggests there’s low expectation of any progress

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

  108. James Canning says:


    You are quite right to say American news media do not like to tell the American public that the sanctions against Iran hit them in their pocketbooks.

  109. James Canning says:


    I of course favor heavy pressure on Israel, to sign NPT and get rid of tis nukes.

    I think Iran does well not to give assistance to warmongers in the US who seek to force an amendment to the NIE on Iran, so that it says Iran is building nukes. Only basis for this contention is Iran’s stockpiling of 20U.

    R S Hack noted recently the disturbing comment by Brennan in his confirmation hearing (that Iran has nuclear weapons programme).

    I think Iran faces little danger from Indian or Pakistani nukes, unless Pakistan comes unstuck.

  110. jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 25, 2013 at 8:15 am

    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.

  111. nico says:

    As a proof the worst case scenario in my last post is somehow considered by Iran and is not mere confabulation. Here today’s statement from Jalili. Emphasis added.

    “Certain powers should know that BY RELYING ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS and exerting various pressures on the Iranian nation, they will not be able to dissuade the Islamic Republic from achieving its nuclear rights, the top Iranian negotiator added.”


  112. fyi says:


    Please be advised that Japanese have 40 metric tons of plutonium with no plausible civilian use whatsoever.

    That is, unlike the Russians, that at least have the MOX fuel; Japan has nothing.

    In fact, they are planning on building a new multi-billion dollar re-processing plant.

    Essentially, this semi-sovereign state (some would say a US satrapy) is a fine member of NPT.

    Yet another example of how US destroyed NPT.

  113. Sineva says:

    BiBiJon says:
    February 25, 2013 at 8:15 am
    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

  114. fyi says:

    nico says:

    February 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Axis Powers destroyed an inconvenient state for them – Yugoslavia – that was an unofficial ally as well as economically dependent on them. They repeated that in Libya.

    I submit to you that mutual dependency is not the way the world works although it could work per the Concert of Europe analogy.

    In regards to US or KSA being on the ropes, I think you are mistaken.

    But I am not going to argue – let us watch and see.

  115. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    February 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Since NPT is dead and buried by US and other members of the P5, and since Pakistan, India, and Israel are nuclear-armed, Iran, for the reasons of state cohesion and survival must be so equipped as well.

    The massacres and murders of Shia in Pakistan – both Hazara an non-Hazara – is a clear warning to the Shia Fortress called Iran.

    You posit “if Pakistan comes unstuck…” and what would you do Sir?

    Write a letter to the Times protesting the nuking of the Iranian cities?

    Will China attack Pakistan? Will Russia? Will UK? Will India? Will France?

    I think not.

    I agree with Mr. Smith: Iran is on her own and the events of the last 12 years does not leave any room for foolish risk-taking – per your remarks.

    By the way, if I were Israeli, I would be damned if I ever joined NPT.

  116. fyi says:

    Sineva says:

    February 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    There will be no deal as there will be none in Syria either.

    This is the peak of damage done by Axis Powers economic war against Iran – this is the best time for them to force a deal out of Iran. On the other hand, for Iranian leaders, this is the worst time to make a deal; they will rather wait a few more years when they have adjusted to the sanctions. [They are already preparing their country for the situation that they would not be selling any oil.]

    These wars will continue.

  117. nico says:


    Right, Wait and see.
    My take is that it is hardball talks. Iran is trying to influence Us strategic calculus. And vice versa.

    IRAN message as per your wording.
    Option 1. Escalation and war.
    Jalili states that even nuclear threats will not change position.
    I.e. look War is expensive

    Option 2. Stalemate
    Per the SL, Iran is ready for that
    And Iran is seriously adjusting is budget income structure
    I.e look peace is expensive

    Option 3. Detente
    Per the SL, Iran will be resonable and benevolent.
    I.e look peace is cheap.

    Now as Us do not offer much incentive in the talks tout Iran.
    What are the incentive offered by Iran tout the Us?

    What Quid pro quo could work for each party ?

    Regarding yougoslavia.
    I am not suggesting that we are living in lalaland.
    Power capabilities and power balance are crucial
    I was underlining some realities which are not well represented in this site comments. (Call it fresh pov)

  118. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    February 26, 2013 at 12:09 am
    Sadly I think you`re right,for iran agreeing to anything less than a grand bargain at this point would be seen as a victory for sanctions and war threats,the west will no doubt continue to offer chicken feed like its most recent,close fordow and we wont sanction precious metals trading,what a joke

  119. fyi says:

    nico says:

    February 26, 2013 at 6:09 am

    There is no power balance from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean sea.

    Nor can it be created out of the thin air.

    That argument is irrelevant.

    You do not seem to grasp that any and all Iranian quid pro quo is not considered worth while to Axis Powers.

    They are trying to rectfiy the disaster (from their point of view) of Iraq – not conceding its irreversibility.

    Since sanctions on Iran cannot be removed and the quid pro quo of Iran is considered worthless by Axis Powers planners and leaders, strategic stalemate is in the cards.

    Until some other event breaks it.

    That is why we are where we are.

  120. James Canning says:

    Once again, you claim that “Axis Powers” conspired to destroy Yugoslavia. Is the core of this “conspiracy” the reluctance of European countries to allow even larger slaughters of civilians than took place? How could Serbia maintain military control of other Republics that wanted out?

  121. James Canning says:


    Yes, Obama “blew the fuel swap”, but not because he wanted “capitulation”. Dennis Ross wanted “capitulation”, and did other powerful elements of the Israel lobby who worked to wreck the deal from inside the White House.