What’s at Stake for Non-Western Powers in the Iranian Nuclear Issue

In our newest Op Ed, published in The BRICS Post, an online news and commentary site focused on the “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), see here, and, in a different version, on al Jazeera, see here, and on Huffington Post, see here, we argue that the controversy over Iran’s nuclear activities “has at least as much to do with the future of international order as it does with nonproliferation.”  We go on to argue that “conflict over Iran’s nuclear program is driven by two different approaches to interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)”; furthermore, we hold that “which interpretation ultimately prevails on the Iranian nuclear issue will go a long way to determine whether a rules-based view of international order gains ascendancy over a policy-oriented approach gains ascendancy over a policy-oriented approach in which the goals of international policy are defined mainly by America and its partners.”  And, as we note in Huffington Post, too often America and its partners define these goals “in defiance of international legal obligations that Western powers once voluntarily embraced.”      

We are pleased to note that, in his Arms Control Law blog, Dan Joyner has commended our analysis of NPT issues and interpretation—which we consider high praise, coming from a scholar from whom we have learned so much and whose work we happily cite. 

We encourage you to go online at The BRICS Post, al Jazeera, and Huffington Post to leave comments. We also append our piece below: 

The Iranian Nuclear Issue:  What’s at Stake for the BRICS  

The controversy over Iran’s nuclear activities has at least as much to do with the future of international order as it does with nonproliferation.  For this reason, all of the BRICS have much at stake in how the Iranian nuclear issue is handled. 

Conflict over Iran’s nuclear program is driven by two different approaches to interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); these approaches, in turn, are rooted in different conceptions of international order.  Which interpretation of the NPT ultimately prevails on the Iranian nuclear issue will go a long way to determine whether a rules-based view of international order gains ascendancy over a policy-oriented approach in which the goals of international policy are defined mainly by America and its partners.  And that will go a long way to determine whether rising non-Western states emerge as true power centers in a multipolar world, or whether they continue, in important ways, to be subordinated to hegemonic preferences of the West—and especially the United States. 

The NPT is appropriately understood as a set of three bargains among signatories:  non-weapons states commit not to obtain nuclear weapons; countries recognized as weapons states (America, Russia, Britain, France, and China) commit to nuclear disarmament; and all parties agree that signatories have an “inalienable right” to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  One approach to interpreting the NPT gives these bargains equal standing; the other holds that the goal of nonproliferation trumps the other two.    

There have long been strains between weapons states and non-weapons states over nuclear powers’ poor compliance with their commitment to disarm.  Today, though, disputes about NPT interpretation are particularly acute over perceived tensions between blocking nuclear proliferation and enabling peaceful use of nuclear technology.  This is especially so for fuel cycle technology, the ultimate “dual use” capability—for the same material that fuels power, medical, and research reactors can, at higher levels of fissile isotope concentration, be used in nuclear bombs.  The dispute is engaged most immediately over whether Iran, as a non-weapons party to the NPT, has a right to enrich uranium under international safeguards. 

For those holding that the NPT’s three bargains have equal standing, Tehran’s right to enrich is clear—from the NPT itself, its negotiating history, and decades of state practice, with at least a dozen states having developed safeguarded fuel cycle infrastructures potentially able to support a weapons program.  On this basis, the diplomatic solution is also clear:  Western recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights in return for greater transparency through more intrusive verification and monitoring. 

Those recognizing Iran’s nuclear rights take what international lawyers call a “positivist” view of global order, whereby the rules of international relations are created through the consent of independent sovereign states and are to be interpreted narrowly.  Such a rules-based approach is strongly favored by non-Western states, including BRICS—for it is the only way international rules might constrain established powers as well as rising powers and the less powerful.    

Those who believe nonproliferation trumps the NPT’s other goals claim that there is no treaty-based “right” to enrich, and that weapons states and others with nuclear industries should decide which non-weapons states can possess fuel cycle technologies.  From these premises, the George W. Bush administration sought a worldwide ban on transferring fuel cycle technologies to countries not already possessing them.  Since this effort failed, Washington has pushed the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group to make such transfers conditional on recipients’ acceptance of the Additional Protocol to the NPT—an instrument devised at U.S. instigation in the 1990s to enable more intrusive and proactive inspections in non-weapons states. 

America has pressed the UN Security Council to adopt resolutions telling Tehran to suspend enrichment, even though it is part of Iran’s “inalienable right” to peaceful use of nuclear technology; such resolutions violate UN Charter provisions that the Council act “in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations” and “with the present charter.”  The Obama administration has also defined its preferred diplomatic outcome and, with Britain and France, imposed it on the P5+1:  Iran must promptly stop enriching at the near-20 percent level to fuel its sole (and safeguarded) research reactor; it must then comply with Security Council calls to cease all enrichment.  U.S. officials say Iran might be “allowed” a circumscribed enrichment program, after suspending for a decade or more, but London and Paris insist that “zero enrichment” is the only acceptable long-term outcome.                 

Those asserting that Iran has no right to enrich—America, Britain, France, and Israel—take a policy- or results-oriented view of international order.  In this view, what matters in responding to international challenges are the goals motivating states to create particular rules in the first place—not the rules themselves, but the goals underlying them.  This approach also ascribes a special role in interpreting rules to the most powerful states—those with the resources and willingness to act in order to enforce the rules.  Unsurprisingly, this approach is favored by established Western powers—above all, by the United States.          

All of the BRICS have, in various ways, pushed back against a de facto unilateral rewriting of the NPT by America and its European partners.  Since abandoning nuclear weapons programs during democratization and joining the NPT, Brazil and South Africa have staunchly defended non-weapons states’ right to peaceful use of nuclear technology, including enrichment.  With Argentina, they resisted U.S. efforts to make transfers of fuel cycle technology contingent on accepting the Additional Protocol (which Brazil has refused to sign), ultimately forcing Washington to compromise.  With Turkey, Brazil brokered the Tehran Declaration in May 2010, whereby Iran accepted U.S. terms that it swap most of its then stockpile of enriched uranium for new fuel for its research reactor.  But the Declaration openly recognized Iran’s right to enrich; for this reason, the Obama administration rejected it. 

The recently concluded 5th BRICS Summit in Durban saw a joint declaration that referred to the official BRICS position on Iran:  “We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.  We recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue.”

At the same time, the BRICS have all, to varying degrees, accommodated Washington on the Iranian issue.  Russian and Chinese officials acknowledge there will be no diplomatic solution absent Western recognition of Tehran’s nuclear rights.  Yet China and Russia endorsed all six Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend enrichment.  Beijing and Moscow did so partly to keep America in the Council with the issue, where they can exert ongoing influence—and restraint—over Washington; at their insistence, the resolutions state explicitly that none of them can be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.  Still, they acquiesced to resolutions that make a diplomatic settlement harder and that contradict a truly rules-based model of international order.

Russia, China, and the other BRICS have also accommodated Washington’s increasing reliance on the threatened imposition of “secondary” sanctions against third-country entities doing business with the Islamic Republic.  Such measures violate U.S. commitments under the World Trade Organization, which allows members to cut trade with states they deem national security threats but not to sanction other members over lawful business with third countries.  If challenged on this in the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism, America would surely lose; for this reason, U.S. administrations have been reluctant actually to impose secondary sanctions on non-U.S. entities transacting with Iran.  Nevertheless, companies, banks, and even governments in all of the BRICS have cut back on their Iranian transactions—feeding American elites’ sense that, notwithstanding their illegality, secondary sanctions help leverage non-Western states’ compliance with Washington’s policy preferences and vision of (U.S.-dominated) world order. 

If the BRICS want to move decisively from a still relatively unipolar world to a genuinely multipolar world, they will, at some point, have to call Washington’s bluff on Iran-related secondary sanctions.  They will also have to accelerate the development of alternatives to US-dominated mechanisms for conducting and settling international transactions—a project to which the proposed new BRICS bank could contribute significantly.  Finally, they will need to be more willing to oppose, openly, America’s efforts to unilaterally rewrite international law and hijack international institutions for its own hegemonic purposes.  By doing so, they will underscore that the United States ultimately isolates itself by acting as a flailing—and failing—imperial power.                  

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


86 Responses to “What’s at Stake for Non-Western Powers in the Iranian Nuclear Issue”

  1. fy says:

    BRICS is a journalistic construct, devoid of substance – it is like a Third World Davos.

    These states, with their complementary economies to that of Axis Powers, will never ever challenge US on Iran – certainly not directly. They will play the game of Iran Chicken.

    In the meantime, they will resist US through Iran – at minimal costs to themselves – knowing that there is only so much that US could push them.

    Their pretensions to be an alternative to US is just that, pretensions.

    If Shanghai Cooperation Council is in doldrums, one could not expect BRICS to be any better.

    The pre-occupation of Axis Powers with Iran also is useful to them as keeps Axis Powers planners firmly fixated in the Middle East while these states can go on to do what they wish to do – including India.

    We need to wait for further deterioration of Axis Powers financial wherewithal and contraction of Axis Powers global power to see these states to push back more substantially.

    But Syria clearly was a case of Axis Powers having gone too far; forcing Russia and China and even India to push back, at least diplomatically.

    In regards to China and Russia voting against Iran in UNSC – they did that for 2 reasons – 1) nuclear jealousy and 2) to further castigate any Axis Powers rapprochement with Iran into fantasyland.

    They have thus made certain that the strategic prize of re-orienting Iran to West will be out of reach of the Axis Powers.

    And then, on top of that, they could expect to be paid handsomely in diplomatic/strategic coin for every single vote for a sanction resolution.

    The losers were US, Iran, EU, and India.

  2. Pirouz says:

    Not sure if I’m comfortable with the counter-American, foreign countries advocacy of this particular piece.

  3. Nothing but the Truth says:

    For the US , there will be no escaping from the forthcoming economic collapse.
    The ‘bomb’ can explode anytime from now to max. 2 years and the BRIC leaders know this very well and with Putin on board one can be quite confident that the BRIC plus Iran and others will hasten the ‘controlled’ demise of a crazed ‘super-power’ and Benjamin Shalom Bernanke will hopefully ascend the scaffold as a economic war criminal.


    …It deserves extreme emphasis that the United States has put a zero price on money, and therefore two extremely important consequences are immediate. The first is that all capital is falsely priced, which causes a cancer to flow and filter throughout the entire business sector where capital is at work. Secondly, all financial assets are improperly priced, from stocks to bonds to property that ranges from commercial buildings to farmland to port facilities. The USEconomy suffers from capital mortality and capital wreckage. The US Federal Reserve by keeping the official rate near zero for four years, has in effect subjected the USEconomy to a death sentence. Evidence is seen in the Money Velocity. The USFed told the nation in early 2009 that the 0% was temporary. It was not, and the Jackass called them liars then, correctly so. They oversee ZIRP forever and QE to Infinity….

    ….The USFed stated publicly in early 2009 their desire to pursue an Exit Strategy. The Jackass on repeated occasions over three years ago refuted and contradicted their claimed path on monetary policy restoration to normalcy. My belief, borne out as the case, was that the USFed had painted itself into a corner, could not raise interest rates, and would be forced instead to monetize the USGovt debt, with no path offered toward normalcy. That is precisely what happened. Pardon my lack of deep formal training in Economics, since my wish was not to be encumbered by the limitations of economics credentials. The economist corps is little more than a gaggle of Wall Street harlots and USGovt apologists that operate the propaganda to produce constantly deceptive messages. There is an Exit Strategy, but it is evident in the East. The Eastern nations are assembling a Eurasian Trade Zone and a BRICS central bank (aka Development Fund) with which they will exit the USDollar global reserve standard. In doing so, they will not require to fill their banking systems any longer with toxic USTBonds. The end of the USDollar as global reserve is near, visible in tangible form….

  4. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says: April 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    “Do you agree Iran’s economy is at least $150 billion smaller, year after year, due to the nuclear dispute?”

    Do you agree that UK is an enemy of Iran as I’ve outlined?
    I take your silence as agreement.

  5. BiBiJon says:

    fy says:
    May 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

    You ignore the rivalry among BRICS countries themselves. Challenging the US is one thing, but countering your peer rival will at times trump all other considerations.

    E.g. if China is making serious inroads into Pakistan, and the US’ competence is under question when after all the hullabaloo to get rid of Taliban, their current strategy is to negotiate with them, then India may well have little alternative to making nice with Iran.


    While the above is ‘transnational’ in nature, attendant to each transaction foundational bricks are being set in place. Accumulated over time, the BRICS with sufficient bricks can mount serious challenges to US-centric world order. methinks.

  6. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I did not mention the internal rivalries since I thought it evident among Russia, China, and India.

    For the foreseeable future, there will be no BRICS initiative worth consideration.

    BRICS are hype and no substance.

  7. Smith says:

    “If the BRICS want to move decisively from a still relatively unipolar world to a genuinely multipolar world, they will, at some point, have to call Washington’s bluff on Iran-related secondary sanctions.”

    Will not happen. Not at least in 30 or more years. For this to happen there has to come a catastrophic financial melt down in US that not only erodes its economic and monetary strengths but also its military and scientific capabilities. There is not indication that such an event is in horizon any time soon. Iran can not and should depend on such false imaginary hope of friendship or on long dead international law to protect itself against imperial fascist colonialism. The only thing that can protect Iran is the acquisition of nuclear tipped ICBMs. Other wise, Iranians should be prepared for their mass rape and genocide by imperial powers.

    This is human history. The nations that stuck with their arrows and swords, rejecting gun powder were quickly conquered by those that moved on to mortars and rifles. Sword bravery, ideology of “purity” and appeal to “humanity” are no match against the technology of the day. As the cost of this confrontation increases, IRI will be under pressure to show its public the fruits and results of this war. More and more of Iranians now believe that without nuclear weapons, all these sacrifices will go down the drain. Only nuclear weapons and the reslutant ultimate strategic security and freedom of nukes, will redeem the price that all of Iranians have paid in this war waged by US/UK/France.

  8. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Pirouz says:
    May 1, 2013 at 3:40 am

    “Not sure if I’m comfortable with the counter-American, foreign countries advocacy of this particular piece.”

    You have to admit that ‘Uncle Scam’ is in bad shape , let’s see how Obama handles the Syria WMD joke ….

  9. Cyrus says:

    Actually James, Iran’s economy has consistently grown at about 3-4%. Despite a small downturn in 2012 the IMF predicts it will grow more than 4% next year. That’s more than the US economy. And inflation is also going to fall. http://www.arabianbusiness.com/iran-s-economy-grow-again-in-2014-imf-498281.html

    In fact, speaking of BRICS: during the last 30 years and since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, improvements in the standard of living in Iran exceeds almost all of the “fastest developing economies” of the BRIC nations — almost matching their fastest developing member China (Iran’s HDI improvement was 67%, compared to China’s 70%.) Iranians now live an average of 22 years longer, have far better access to medical care, education, etc. This, despite years of wars and sanctions.

    In fact around 1995 Iran’s rate of improvement in living standards, surpassed the world average as Iran acheived “Highly Developed” status.

  10. James Canning says:

    Was it simply a matter of stupidity, on the part of the US, when it blocked Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR? Or is the truth rather more sinister?

  11. James Canning says:


    Thanks for agreeing that Iran’s economy loses at least $150 billion per year due to the nuclear dispute. You and others see this expenditure as necessary to avoid worse problems for Iran.

    I wholly agree with you that if Iran tries to impede shipping in the Persian Gulf, this may lead to hostilities with the UK.

  12. James Canning says:


    You don’t think Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the leaders of the effort to overthrow the government of Syria?

    Stephen Hadley was interviewed on BBC America yesterday, and he claims Obama must intervene militarily in Syria even though Obama obviously does not want to intervene.

    Hadley was chief deputy to Condoleezza Rice when her blunders helped to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  13. James Canning says:

    During his Senate confirmation hearing, John Kerry hinted rather strongly that he would accept Iranian enrichment to low levels (5% or less).

  14. James Canning says:

    “The most urgent new reality is the further shredding of any confidence in Mr. Obama’s monotonopus assurances to Israel that he will so whatever it takes to prevent Iran from getting deliverable nuclear weapons.” John Bolton, in Wall Street Jourrnal April 29th (“Obama Put America in a Red-Line Box on Syria”).

    Bolton is a leading neocon warmonger, and favors endless war in the Middle East.

    George W. Bush very recently echoed this absurd claim, that Obama might allow Iran to build nukes.

  15. Nothing but the Truth says:

    “By Way of Decetion , Thou Shalt Do War ”

    Contradicting information regarding Nassrallah’s presence in Tehran yesterday :


    “””Nasrallah flown to Iran for cancer treatment’
    Unconfirmed report says Hezbollah chief transferred from Beirut in a plane sent by the Iranian presidency”””


    “””Report: Nasrallah Taken for Cancer Treatment in Iran
    Hizbullah chief has been transferred to receive medical treatment in Iran due to cancer, an anti-Hizbullah Lebanese website claimed.”””


    “””Turkish News Agency Confirms Nasrallah Taken to Iran

    The Turkish Anatolia news agency confirms that Hizbullah chief has been flown to a hospital in Iran. Hizbullah denies.”””

    Very strange , as I could swear that I saw Sheikh Nassrallah live on PressTV from Beirut yesterday 🙂 , I have no clue what this is all about , may be talmudic black magic in play ?!?

  16. nico says:

    “The controversy over Iran’s nuclear activities has at least as much to do with the future of international order as it does with nonproliferation.  For this reason, all of the BRICS have much at stake in how the Iranian nuclear issue is handled. ”

    That is heart of the matter. What is the US project for a new world order ?
    The NPT manoeuvering is the result, not the cause.

    First is the era long western dominance and colonialism over the world.
    That momentum lost speed during the cold war with the soviet block condemning imperialism being sourced in capitalism. The west during the cold war needed to keep somewhat quiter than now (relatively) and communism was also the nice excuse to trample other nations self determination rights.
    With the US victory over the soviets, the US as the unique super power and leader of the world had a major civilizational choice to make.
    They chose the shock of civilization an full spectrum dominance. That is fascist policies of trampling other nations and people with all (criminal) means at their disposal.
    The US killed in the egg, before the end of the soviets but that continued after, the emancipation movement based on decolonization everywhere they could (no need to enumerate the list of wars, engineered putschs and murders of independent leaders all over the world)
    Iran trough the last more than a century is the clearest example of the struggle against colonialism and foreign interference in its internal affairs. Fight against subjugation and enslavement which the US is after.
    Iran being right now the head of the NAM movement is somewhat symbolic.
    Killing Iran hopes is to kill the emancipation movement a bit more and keep the world in the most barbaric political state in order to feed upon for materialistic goal.
    US unilateralism, their contempt for international laws and the UN tell what is needed to know to make oneself opinion.
    You can argue all you want regarding the npt or any other international subject piece by piece.
    Each case is subject to US political manoeuvering and propaganda.
    However as soon as you study each case precisely the overall picture become quite ugly.
    It is based on western tribalism and materialistic selfishness.
    Far from humanism ideals and good western principles.

    As it stand today, no matter the demonization, Iran is, in its foreign policy posture, flag bearer of human rights and people emancipation – at the very least in the ME region.
    While the US are, no matter the propaganda, the flagbearer of barbarism and humanism backwardness as proven by 20 years of fascist and criminal behaviours in the ME.

    As has been put the wise man, what is important is the path and the way and fashion you go through to achieve that goal, the goal itself is only illusion.
    The US official goal to achieve full spectrum dominance was lunacy and illusion from the very start, it was carved out of human arrogance to pull the civilizational strings of history.
    However, what was truly important was the deed or the good actions carried out during all those years.
    What is the path thread by the US from the end of the cold war ? What will be the legacy ? Internally ? In term of foreign policy ?

  17. BiBiJon says:

    AKP needs new approach to Middle East

    the bulk of the world’s estimated 120 million Shiites live in the Middle East. They make up 90 percent of Iran’s, 75 percent of Bahrain’s and close to 60 percent of Iraq’s population, while Lebanon is primarily Shiite. Influential Shiite communities are also spread across the Gulf region.

    Given such figures it is clear that the Erdoğan government has to go back to the drawing board to fashion new approaches that will enable Turkey to be seen as a force for good by everyone in the Middle East. Otherwise Turkey is unlikely to be considered a friendly country by millions of people who are also Muslim.

    This is why it is time for Prime Minister Erdoğan and Davutoğlu to put aside their Sunni tinted Islamist glasses and come up with new and convincing approaches that are impartial, and make Turkey a unifying regional power that is contributing to stability across ethnic and sectarian divides.

    From http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-needs-new-approach-to-middle-east.aspx?pageID=238&nID=46043&NewsCatID=416

  18. James Canning says:

    “The US got off to a bad start when the violence [in Syria] erupted. President Obama went on the air and, in schoolmaster fashion, announced that Assad had to leave.”
    – – Zbigniew Brzezinski, in Spiegel.de today.

  19. fy says:

    James Canning says:
    May 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    The war in Syria was the brain child of Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Slaughter, and Dr. Dunn; incorporated as a corner-stone of the Wound-Iran policy of US.

    To this effort were recruited Qatar and Saudi Arabia – Turkey was drafted per the Axis Powers leverage on her economy.

  20. fy says:


    On North Korea –

    We read:

    “…The North Koreans,…finds it difficult to deal with a country that agrees on a joint communiqué stating that neither party “would have hostile intent toward the other,” as both nations did in October 2000, and then places its partner in an “axis of evil” and threatens it with preemptive attack…..

    …Iraq’s Saddam Hussein got inspected, gave up his weapons of mass destruction and then was invaded. Qaddafi did likewise, was overthrown by an internal revolt supported by a multinational intervention and then was cruelly murdered.

    The North Koreans, …have resolved that this isn’t going to happen to them.”


  21. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    You have it back to front as usual james,its far more likely to be the west attempting to stop iranian shipping forcing iran to have to retaliate in kind

  22. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm
    You make these claims time and again with nothing to back them up,kerry can
    “hint” as much as he likes but until the us comes out and says “we accept irans nuclear rights” then its just more wishful thinking on your part

  23. Nasser says:



    I would like to see Iran make more propaganda attacks against Western view on gender relations. It will find quite an audience I am sure.

  24. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says: May 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Stop patting yourself on the back. I was neither agreeing with you, nor was I making a statement. Just quoting YOU. Also, I didn’t say anything about shipping in PG. Don’t put words in my mouth, and no, UK does not have the capability to confront Iran. That ship has sailed, the empire is no more.

    I have no idea how much Iran’s economy is contracting or expanding due to the nuclear issue. Neither do you. Just some made up numbers by you – let’s see $150b sounds like a round number. One thing is sure, if Iran is losing money, it is worth every last penny. I would rather see an Iran, which resists, than a raped and pillaged Iran. You know, the way Iran was given 10 cent on the dollar for its resources. The way Iran was kept backward by imperial powers because of her weak leaders. The way UK perpetrated a famine/genocide in Iran in 1917.

    Your silence on the main question is deafening though. Thank you for agreeing that the American lap poodle – UK – is indeed an enemy of Iran
    So, no more statements like Cameron this or Hague that. They speak the words of an enemy.

  25. imho says:

    Red line anyone ?


    Obama says there is proof of use of chemical arms in Syria but he has not confirmation on who did it.

    What does that mean ? that it’s OK if anti-Assad gangs are using it

  26. jay says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 2, 2013 at 2:26 am


    In Orwell’s 1984, The Ministry of Truth is in the business of lies. Its very name is a symbol of doublethink and doublespeak. People working for the ministry have become incapable of telling what is real and what is propaganda. They do not even recognize their own thoughts after it is written.

    Most people in the UK live with the illusion that public statements of Cameron/Hague/Blair or Obama/Bush/Clinton/Kerry have some vague ancestral relationship to what was once called truth. The level of personal cognitive dissonance necessary to fill the gap between the staggering contradiction of the action and the words of these politicians is extreme – so high that it strips logic away from any thought that could meet the ear, or touch the eye, long before it enters the brain.

    Upon facing the contradiction, the dissonant usually push the reset button and go back to the initial programming.

  27. nico says:


    Another article from our hosts.
    It is heartening to see the Leveretts take a more clear cut (some could name it radical) approach to the issue of US policy.
    I hope that the comments here give them some moral support and encourage them to defy the mainstream propaganda.

  28. fyi says:


    Even Dr. Haas is experiencing a whiff of realism:


    One could only hope for more such re-assessments.

  29. James Canning says:


    If you think Iran’s economy is not smaller, by at least $150 billion per year, due to the sanctions, I think your understanding of the economic impact of the sanctions is lacking.

    Yes, if Iran in effect brings war to the Persian Gulf, one would expect UK participation. Very sad outcome, in my view.

  30. imho says:

    fyi says:
    May 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

    from Hass article

    ” Much less clear is just who speaks for the national interest.”

    What national interest ? what nation ? US ceased to be a nation from when corporations began to rule. Politics are just puppets supported, hired, lobbyed and fired by those corporations.
    There is no national interest, but just interest. And when it counts only for the 1%, there no such thing as national in it.

  31. James Canning says:


    You are dreaming of you think the US would say something so vague as it “accepts Iran’s nuclear rights”.

    The real issue, in my view, is whether Iran will be able to control the nuclear fuel cycle for the Bushehr power plants. Iran could achieve this, but may wreck its chances by miscalculations regarding enriching to 20%.

  32. James Canning says:


    I have said that if Iran continues to stockpile 20 percent uranium, I think a blockade of Iranian oil exports may be the result. What is “backwards” about this?

  33. James Canning says:


    Saddam Hussein ordered the destruction of most of Iraq’s WMD in 1991-92. Neocon warmongers in the US conspired to conceal this fact from the American people, to set up the illegal and idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Why didn’t Saddam Hussein make more noise about having destroyed his WMD? Why did he in effect facilitate the illegal US invasion of his country?

  34. Nothing but the Truth says:

    @James Canning

    What about the new accusations against the BBC child molester , seems you have a lot of them in the UK , could you elaborate on this ?

  35. James Canning says:


    I would encourage you to amplify your assertion that Hillary Clinton and Anne-Marie Slaughter set up the civil war in Syria, to weaken Iran.

    Hillary Clinton certainly gets credit for helping cause the squandering of hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars on the quagmire in Afghanistan.

  36. Nasser says:

    Ambassador Bhadrakumar blogs:

    “US ignores nuclear deal, brackets India, Pakistan

    It may be pragmatic to play down the import of the United States statement on NPT Regional Issues at the preparatory committee meeting of the NPT Review Conference at Geneva on Monday. But it will be imprudent to do so.

    The statement contains highly critical references to Iran and Syria on the one hand and North Korea and India and Pakistan on the other.

    Arguably, the US has been forced to give a long-winded explanation as to why it drags its feet regarding the holding of a conference on the Middle East as a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Funnily, it sidestepped Israel’s nuclear weapon programme and its vast stockpiles altogether and instead plunged into a diversionary attack on Iran and Syria.

    But from Delhi’s viewpoint, what catches the eye is the bracketing of India and Pakistan as two errant countries. No special consideration has been shown to India, leave alone any tacit recognition of India as a nuclear power, as top Indian officials had bragged. Quite obviously, the romance of the 2008 nuclear deal has become a distant memory.

    In fact, the US statement asserts that the US-Indian bilateral dealings will remain “consistent with our NPT obligations and with our commitment as members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” and that Washington “will remain cognizant of our nonproliferation commitments and objectives when considering how to conduct our bilateral relations.”

    Plainly put, no fast track here for India on dual technologies, no matter what Indians unilaterally chose to read into the 2008 nuclear deal.

    Equally, there is a most intriguing and unwarranted reference to the India-Pakistan nuclear flashpoint. The US statement says that much as India and Pakistan might work on CBM measures, “we must [also] find ways to reduce regional tensions and diminish the risk that nuclear weapons could be used, either intentionally or accidentally, in a crisis.”

    The statement expresses ‘deep concern’ about India’s “continuing buildup” of nuclear weapons and missile capability and has called for restraint.

    The stunning part is, of course, that except in the limited aspect of singling out Pakistan’s reluctance to support the negotiations for an FMCT, the two South Asian nuclear adversaries have been treated strictly at par.

    The weakly-worded expression of US “support, in a phased manner” of “India’s goal” of joining the technology control regimes cannot go unnoticed, either. [Emphasis added.]
    As President Barack Obama fleshes out his pet vision of a world without nuclear weapons, here, Delhi can expect that the 2008 nuclear deal gets pushed further and further back by Washington as an embarrassing relic of its diplomatic history that it would rather not recollect.

    Global disarmament is expected to figure as a key topic in the two US-Russia presidential summits slated for this year. Obama put on record in his State of the Union address that he hoped to actively “engage” Russia on global disarmament.”

    No I don’t expect India to change course but this should be a warning to any state into putting too much faith into Washington honoring its commitments.

  37. kooshy says:

    Gav. James.this one is for you

    Bravo Dr. Omidsalar, finally someone finds the guts to lay it out to Iran’s enemies like it would be.

    Pre-emptive War with Iran and the Proverbial 800 Pound Gorilla

    THURSDAY, MAY 02, 2013

    Mahmoud Omidsalar
    John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, California State University, Los Angeles

    “The adverse political effects of such an event hardly need explanation. This brings me to another neglected point. The Range of options that are open to Iran in case of a radiological attack is not adequately considered. It is true that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. But it is also true that Iran does have the capability to build a “dirty bomb” if she is ever attacked by one. The moment the country is attacked by a “radiological weapon,” a red line would have been crossed. No one who knows anything about Iran’s history and culture believes that the Iranian armed forces are going to sit back and take it all on the chin. According to the IAEA, Iran possesses thousands of tons of Uranium hexafluoride (called “hex” in the nuclear industry). This is a highly toxic substance that forms grey crystals at standard temperature and pressure, is highly corrosive to most metals, and reacts violently with water (see Wikipedia: Uranium hexafluoride). If Iran is attacked by “dirty bombs” Iranians have the option of returning the favour by striking back with “dirty bombs” of their own. In other words, any attack on Iranian nuclear installations would be matched by a devastating attack upon Israel and her allies in the region, all of whom are well within reach of Iranian drones and missiles. A missile, armed with a radiological warhead, even if intercepted in the air, would be as destructive as one that lands.
    Missile defence against such weapons would be meaningless because they devastate regardless of whether they land or are shot down. It would be a fatal error to think that Iran is helpless in the face of radiological aggression. Once that threshold is crossed, all calculations will change and all reasons for restraint will be eliminated. This may be the message of statements like, “attacking Iran will be Israel’s last mistake” (General Vahidi, Iran’s Defence Minster). In view of these facts, Ehud Barak’s suggestion that in case of war with Iran, the Israeli casualties would be no more than 500 may prove to be catastrophically wrong. Therefore, a sensible advice to the Israelis might be: Don’t wander into a wilderness out of which you may not emerge!”

  38. nico says:

    fyi says:
    May 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

    ” Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan (as of 2009) was a war of necessity; more important, neither was a justifiable war of choice. ”

    Does it mean that such wars were crime against peace as defined by international law ?
    If not by the letter, at least as per the spirit of such international laws.
    Fully following the refection up to the end, does it mean that such policies are fascist like ?
    I mean, as per Dr Haas…

  39. humanist says:

    Another book recently published in UK along the same lines as ‘Going to Tehran’:

    Title: A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West Is Wrong About Nuclear Iran

    Authors: Peter Osborne and David Morrison

    Description: In 2013 it is possible that Israel, backed by the United States, will launch an attack on Iran. This would be a catastrophic event, risking war, bloodshed and global economic collapse.

    In this passionate, but rationally argued essay, the authors attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to a table and strike a deal. They argue that the military threats aimed by the West against Iran contravene international law, and argue that Iran is a civilised country and legitimate power across the Middle East.

    For years Peter Osborne and David Morrison have, in their respective fields, examined the actions of our political classes and found them wanting. Now they have joined forces to make a powerful case against military action. In the wake of the Iraq war, will the politicians listen?

    The book will be available in N.America in early September with the following title.

    A Dangerous Delusion: Why the Iranian Nuclear Threat is a Myth.

    (With a delay of about 4 months?. Is such a long delay ordinary?)

  40. nico says:


    “The son of Iran’s toppled shah has a new job as spokesman for a nascent movement that is challenging the clerical regime to hold free and fair elections — or risk a civil disobedience campaign.”

    What joke. The son of the ousted former dictactor calling for free and fair election !

  41. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    “Why didn’t Saddam Hussein make more noise about having destroyed his WMD? Why did he in effect facilitate the illegal US invasion of his country?”

    James, history will show that it was/is the proverbial poodle, UK, that led the US by the nose into Iraq, and every other misadventure in the ME. Mostly done by using your type of “logic.”

  42. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    “Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.”

    The wars to rule the Middle East and Central Asia have failed and have failed miserably.

    So, Dr. Haass, in American parlance, has found religion; in effect, has publicly recanted and repented.

    I do not think it is accurate to call it fascist; rather I should think it is a case of imperial over-reach.

    Like USSR in Afghanistan, French in Algeria, Japanese is World War II, etc.

    I think the salient lesson to be drawn is that there is no International Law, no Peace of Westphalia, no “jus”, no international treatyor set of treaties and no agreed upon framework of security that could be relied upon by non-nuclear states to for security.

    What are you going to do when those who had made public declarations of non-agression and friendship to you would, 2 years or 9 years later seek to destroy you?

    What lesson must be drawn when you help another state thwart terrorsit attacks against herself and she tries to overthrow your state a few years later?

    I think Iranian, Syrian, North Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indian, South African, Nigerian, Algerian, Egyptian, Turkish, Brazilian, and Vitenamese planners (all those outside of the Axis Powers’ alliance structure) have almost certainly understood and internalized the lessons of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

    I will state, with metaphysical certainity, that nuclear proliferation, overt or covert, will be the destiny of very many states in the International Arena that are outside of Axis Powers allaince structure.

    I say with “metaphysical certainity” becuase the only way to prevent that, in my opinion, will be a global settlement akin to the Peace of Yalta at the end of World War II.

    That will not happen.

    Americans, like the leaders of General Motors, are so certain of their own invincibility that only strategic bankruptcy will cause them to re-consider. I do not mean this as a rhetorical statement but one of fact: US, under George Bush, declared enemies of Israel to be enemies of US. Mr. Obama has not even been willing to rescind that, much less consider alternative policies that could make sense.

    Americans, evidently are unable or unwilling to reach a strategic understanding with Iran for much smaller strategic stakes. They certainly cannot – at this moment in time – enage in a strategic settlement with the non Axis Power world on the global level.

  43. James Canning says:


    China and Russia want Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent. You say it is not important for Iran to continue enriching to 20 percent. You also claim Iran is stronger as a result of the sanctions.

    What relationship does the failed effort of the Soviet Union to bring reform, education, etc etc to Afghanistan, have to the nuclear dispute? Are you predicting Obama would be so stupid as to attempt to occupy Iran, in the event of hostilities?

  44. James Canning says:


    I am fascinated by your implicit contention Saddam Hussein didn’t blunder when he helped the neocon conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq. And yes, Tony Blair greatly aided the conspiracy.

  45. James Canning says:


    The US very foolishly blocks progress on creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, thanks to the Israel lobby.

  46. jay says:

    nico says:
    May 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Mr. Pahlavi has collected a formidable group of patrons known for their bloodthirsty misadventures. This effort should be exposed and derailed with ferocity.

    I think social media should be used to disorganize and dismantle this unholy alliance. One of the younger folks with more social media tech savvy should take this on!

    #unfriendpahlavisupporters send a tweet and tell your friends that unless they want Iranian families to be blown apart like in Syria by the goons to be hired under the name of Iran National Council they should unfriend anyone who suggests support for these criminals.

    Start a facebook page with the same purpose – tell people to unfriend the supporters. Tell them what these people are up to. Expose the supporters by naming them if you are willing to. Build a graphic for the “network of crooks” around Pahlavi – the Ledeens, and Jonah Goldbergs, and Wolfowitzs – similar to the one built for former governor Blagojevich.

    I am sure there are plenty of other ways to use social media to stop these people from spilling more blood – someone more creative and plugged in needs to take this on.

  47. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm
    James its completely and utterly irrelevant how its phrased the us will not acknowledge irans nuclear rights period,the west has tried to halt and impede iran at every turn and it has failed,so how exactly would iran wreak its chances?,whatever they are,it has mastered enrichment to low levels,it has produced fuel assemblies for the trr and I`ve no doubt that in time it will produce fuel rods for bushehr,because the iranians are not so stupid as to trust russian promises.So I ask again:what exactly are these mythical chances you refer to? what exactly can the west offer iran that you think is being put at risk?,I`m sure all of us here want to know
    James Canning says:
    May 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm
    Nothing,you were the one implying that iran would start the blockade,I quote “I wholly agree with you that if Iran tries to impede shipping in the Persian Gulf, this may lead to hostilities with the UK.”
    Iran would not start a blockade unless the west committed an aggressive act or instituted a blockade first,thats why you had it backwards james

  48. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Sakineh says:
    “I have no idea how much Iran’s economy is contracting or expanding due to the nuclear issue. Neither do you.”

    James Says:
    “I think your understanding of the economic impact of the sanctions is lacking.”


    What part of I don’t know ( I have no idea) didn’t you understand? Or is it that you are applying semantics of knowing and understanding? Or maybe you just read whatever meaning you’d like to read into any sentence that will make the outcome the way your brain can function with/be at ease with?
    Please reference any article with $150b figure that you are talking about, with some hard/corroborated figures about economic impact of sanctions.
    You simply can’t, can you?
    Again, I take your silence on this as YOUR lack of understanding/knowing.

    Also this, “Yes, if Iran in effect brings war to the Persian Gulf, one would expect UK participation.”
    Yes, UK as a lap poodle will participate in the war, but it does not have the capability to confront Iran all by herself, and NO, that war will not be “brought” to you by Iran.

  49. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Stay fascinated.

  50. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    kooshy says: May 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the article Kooshy. If you remember, I’ve been saying the same thing that Dr. Omidsalar has penned. In effect, with the advent of Iran’s possession of enriched U, she has achieved MAD.
    Also this, in the case of any aggression against Iran, none of the enrichment facilities/reactors would be bombed. The reason being, the fallout would render vast swaths of land impassable for the “real men whom want to go to Tehran.”

  51. nico says:

    fyi says:
    May 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I do obviously agree with your reasonable analysis.
    You take out all moral ground and keep it at power balance level.

    However I asked your moral analysis.
    I mean, the west built up the international framework based on a dual understanding.
    The framwork is serving the west.
    In the same time it is based on universally agreed (moral) principle.

    The west chose to break free from such framework as soon as it were not in their perceived interest anymore.
    Doing so, they obviously breached the moral principle underlying such framework.

    As this framework was in good part based on WWII lessons, I think it is quite safe to assume that the western stance at international level is as barbaric and inhuman as the fascist states of that time.

    Taking out all moral ground is well and good and it provide cold and intellectual analysis, and that is needed.
    However, from my perspective, you cannot fully take away the moral judgement.
    Actually, without moral all human are no better than beasts and the trend of civilization could only worsen and go toward evil.
    At some point moral judgement is needed.
    As per western moral standard do you think the current western policies are fascist like ?

  52. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “I have said that if Iran continues to stockpile 20 percent uranium, I think a blockade of Iranian oil exports may be the result. What is “backwards” about this?”

    Apparently James, you missed reading the above article relating to this comment section;

    “The recently concluded 5th BRICS Summit in Durban saw a joint declaration that referred to the official BRICS position on Iran:  “We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.  We recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue.” “

  53. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “China and Russia want Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent. “

    Once again, you might want to read the above article relating to this comment section!!!

    At the same time, the BRICS have all, to varying degrees, accommodated Washington on the Iranian issue.  Russian and Chinese officials acknowledge there will be no diplomatic solution absent Western recognition of Tehran’s nuclear rights.  Yet China and Russia endorsed all six Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend enrichment.  Beijing and Moscow did so partly to keep America in the Council with the issue, where they can exert ongoing influence—and restraint—over Washington; at their insistence, the resolutions state explicitly that none of them can be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.  Still, they acquiesced to resolutions that make a diplomatic settlement harder and that contradict a truly rules-based model of international order.

  54. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    As I stated before, you seem to lack cognitive skills in comprehending (historical) analogies.

    Evidently, you also disagree with my strategic understanding.

    That is fine; I have stated my opinion and the future course of events will test my understandings.

  55. kooshy says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I have been told that that existence of a dirty MAD scenario has been told, confirmed and relayed to the Americans by early European negotiator with Iran on the nuclear case. That is the early Iranian negotiators had asked the European diplomats to pass on to Americans of a retaliation of a kind with confirming evidence. I am very sure when Ayatollah Khamenei says if we be attacked we will level Tel Aviv and Haifa he knows the other side is aware of the MAD danger to be, and like the article says for this kind of MAD accuracy is not an issue.

    Can anyone imagine a dirty nuclear attack on Iran and Israel and possibly US/Western Gulf interest, what kind of economic devastation will have for the global economy so when the western generals confirm an attack on Iran will have devastating effect for the world is because they have been assured of a retaliation of kind, this I have also heard from prominent personalities on the Iranian side.

    Is encouraging to see unlike Iraq there are prominent expatriate Iranian American in academic and business positions (unlike our well paid Iranian American Think Tankers Like Parsi and Takieh) who are willing to lay out to the Americans that attacking Iran wouldn’t be a cake walk and they need to be ready to pay the price, if the westerners and Americans want to play stupid, and think the other side will not play stupid they are wrong stupid of a kind is what they will receive.

    I have also been told by the Iranian side that in the event of a dirt MAD exchange initated by the Israel/ US the world opinion will blame the US and Western side including US’s western allies for not informing the world of US’s intend, since everyone believes US will consult with her western allies prior to attacking Iran.

  56. nico says:


    It seems proliferation will not be limited to independent players from axis power…

    Japan’s Nuclear Plan Unsettles U.S.

  57. nico says:


    ‘The civil war in Iraq has already begun’: Politician claims conflict has started and warns it will be ‘worse than Syria’


    Do you think, the stuation in Irak will worsen ?
    What will be the foreseeable outcome ?

  58. James Canning says:


    FYI argues that Iran is stronger, due to the sanctions. Perhaps this is true. Best estimates I have seen are that Iran’s economy is at least 10% smaller, due to the sanctions. And perhaps 15% or more, smaller.

    If you want to join FY in his argument that Iran benefits from the sanctions, that is fine with me.

  59. James Canning says:


    Iran’s oil expoerts are about $1 billion lower, per week, due to the sanctions. Agreed? Are you conversant with the concept of “velocity”, and the effect this loss of revenue has on an economy?

  60. James Canning says:


    Iran will almost certainly be fueling the Bushehr nuclear power plants directly. Contract with Russian company for Bushehr #1 runs until end of 2014, as I recall just now.

    If your position is simply that Iran should stockpile whatever amounts of nuclear material it chooses, so long as enrichment is no higher than 20%, just say so.

    Your implicit contention apparently is that Iran must endure the sanctions, and more, because the alternative is worse. By contrast, FYI argues Iran benefits from the sanctions.

  61. James Canning says:


    Obviously Iran would not try to blockade the Persian Gulf, unless the US and other countries attempt a blockade of Iran’s oil exports. Obviously.

    China has warned Iran not to blockade the Persian Gulf. China obviously is aware Iran would not try to blockade the PG unless a blockade of Iran’s oil exports is imposed.

    Perhaps you would prefer a direct attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, without any intermediate step?

  62. kooshy says:

    This I was told by Iranians

    اگر آمریکاهٔی ها فکر میکنن میتوانند وانمود کنند که احمق هستنند و جواب به مثل نخواهند گرفت اشتباه میکنند

    “If Americans think they can play stupid and wouldn’t get reply of a kind they are mistaking”

  63. BiBiJon says:

    What is going on with Syria?

    Ostensibly, the plan started out 2 years ago to bring down Assad. This was often described/justified as a way of weakening Iran, and which zero-sumly means strengthening PG monarchies.

    Now, 2 years later, Assad seems to be stronger than ever with news of successful counteroffensives in Homs and Alepo. There’s news of ‘rebels’ declaring allegiance to al-Qaeda; Jordan’s teetering under the weight of refugees it cannot handle, ditto Turkey whose border guards were shot when they refused to let in more refugees. The masterminds of the anti-Assad plot, UK, has had to backtrack on baseless accusations of CW use.

    I don’t see how Iran has been weakened and US allies have been strengthened. I do see how Turkey and PGCC not going along with another harebrained scheme coming out of UK, and I do see a tighter-knit alliance between Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, and Iraq. I also see PGCC losing a lot of credibility for their policies of ragtagism.

  64. BiBiJon says:

    From http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/05/03/kerry-picks-dobbins-as-special-envoy-to-afghanistan-pakistan/

    Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that Mr. Dobbins will be the new U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, succeeding Ambassador Marc Grossman and, before him, the late Richard Holbrooke.

    Mr. Dobbins was noted for working closely with neighboring countries, particularly Iran, in establishing Afghanistan’s first post-Taliban government.

    The American diplomat has been a vocal critic of U.S. policy towards Tehran since leaving the U.S. government.


    I say these could be tangible signs of fresh thinking on Iran in Obama’s 2nd term.

    See this http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/20/AR2007072002056.html

  65. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 3, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Muslims had a chance and an opportunity to establish a more moral order.

    In fact, if you consider the statements of such doctrinaire commentators on this site such as Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji, you could argue that Muslims are at a greater fault in their failures since they (Muslims) agree that the Revelations of the Quran has not been corrupted as those of Injil and th Torah.

    That the moment that the Prophet died, Muslims began scheming for power.

    Abu Bakr was almost certainly a compromise candidate – an old man – whom everyone counted on dying quickly while they consolidated their partyies of followers.

    The name of the game was ABA – “Anyone But Ali”

    The next 3 khalifs were assasinated while multiple civil wars eruopted after their deaths.

    And it has been down-hill since then.

  66. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm


    The Civil War was lost by Sunnis.

  67. Rd. says:

    kooshy says:
    May 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    “so when the western generals confirm an attack on Iran will have devastating effect for the world is because they have been assured of a retaliation of kind, “

    Are the western axis are now testing the parameters of this assurance by destabilizing Syria and now Iraq? Or at least playing the stupid mistake part via indirect approach?

  68. kooshy says:

    What is going on with Syria?

    Not much notable just the shit the Americans and their western allies thrown to the Syrian fan are now spreading everywhere including to themselves and their own friends nearby.
    This much shit, and sticky shit like it is they are founding is not easy to get rid of. What was that famous sentence from that all time shit head in the white house Karl Rove “We now make our own realty”.

  69. kooshy says:

    “I say these could be tangible signs of fresh thinking on Iran in Obama’s 2nd term.”

    Bibi Jaan, I wouldn’t be too optimistic, political operatives once they get in the position of policy making they have to fallow and walk through pre made corridors, is hard to change foreign policy trajectory with one or two policy makers or even with one or two presidents in different administrations and parties, for 34 years since the revolution and since day one in the carter administration US’s Iran foreign policy of “soft/or hard by proxy” regime change has not changed and till US’s strategic defeat (like Vietnam) in middle east US will not change his policy toward Iran ( like NK and Cuba and now Ven.)

  70. James Canning says:


    I can assure you I have no difficulty understanding historical analogies. Soem, of course, are more apt than others.

    For example, France had little difficulty invading Algeria and incorporating it into the French Empire. In fact, Algeria was incorporated into Metropolitan France.

    But, after the Second World War, any hopes of keeping Algeria French, if most Algerians wanted otherwise, were unsound.

  71. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm
    A blockade by the west would be an act of war any way you look at it,iran would certainly see it that way and so it wouldn`t matter if it was followed up by strikes against iranian facilities or not.I doubt the chinese would look very kindly on a western blockade of iran as that would pose a threat to their energy supplies whether or not iran launched a counter blockade,finally as I have said time and again iran must do what is right for iran not the west or china that is where iran is fundamentally different to the arab puppets who put western interests ahead of their own,you have made it quite clear that you think irans interests are best served by following that same course ie that of a vassal state

  72. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm
    I have said this repeatedly,tho` I think iran should seriously look at enriching to higher levels,there are sound reasons for doing this not just political,if the west continues to play its games of more sanctions and negotiations to nowhere.I think in the medium to long term sanctions will ultimately be beneficial by forcing iran to be as self sufficient as possible and to develop its non oil based economy unlike the arab puppets who have to import literally everything from matches to cars and can only export oil nothing else.Iran is well on its way to becoming the economic powerhouse of the middle east,at best the west in the short term might be able to slow irans progress but only at a much higher cost to themselves and at a time when the west can least afford it

  73. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    You are correct that the game after the death was ABA. And yes the fact that such animals as Muawiya and Yazid could call themselves “Ameer-ul Mo’meneen” is a very important reason that things went “down hill”.

    Given your intelligence and breadth of knowledge, it would be nice if you actually analyzed some of the spiritual and social factors that led to this tragedy, instead of cynically dismissing this as another incarnation of the “fallen nature of man” which you seem to do…

    If in your view Prophet Muhammad (sawas) and Imam Ali (as) are included in this “fallen nature” and “party politics”, just say so and then at least as they say, takleefemun ba shoma roshan mishe…

    And yes I would say I’m doctrinaire in insisting that the Ahlul Bayt lead and explain Islam- not people like me and you- because unlike some I don’t consider the issue of wilayat-e Ali as a simple historical question. I consider it an existential one.

    Any individual, family, community or state that has followed the teachings of Ahlul Bayt in its behavior, has been “aziz” and “successful” in this world, if you wanna look at this from a purely historical perspective.

    If the matter is simply historical, then you might have a point and I might simply be wrong.

    But if the matter is existential, you might not only be wrong but you will also have major problems.

    Let me know what you think it is.

    If the UK joins a blockade on Iran, that would give Iran an excuse to start a terror campaign in the UK, right? How would your Tory chums feel about that?

    I mean the Iron Lady is six feet under and none these clowns are half the man she was, right?

    Just checking if you’re paying attention…

  74. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Here’s your “fresh thinking” on Iran…

    Hagel to Israel: Attacking Iran Will Be Considered After June Vote
    Nations Will Conduct ‘Joint Assessment’ After Iran’s Election

    Hagel to Israel: Military option will be considered after Iranian elections
    U.S. officials show Israeli counterparts video trial of ‘bunker buster’ bomb that could be used to destroy Iran’s Fordow nuclear installation, Wall Street Journal reports.

    US bulks up ‘bunker buster’ to combat Iran threat

  75. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US officials: Israelis launch airstrikes into Syria

    Again, the excuse is “shipping weapons to Hizballah”…

  76. Richard Steven Hack says:


    Obama doesn’t foresee a scenario where US would send ground troops to Syria

    “On Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Obama administration is rethinking its opposition to arming the rebels.”

    Step by step, slowly we turned… And then we attacked Syria…

  77. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israel preparing to attack Lebanon, makes simulated attack runs over Lebanon…

    Lebanon reports 8 IAF overflights in 14 hours

  78. jay says:

    One view that contextualizes the unfolding events in Syria (read link below):

    Two highlights:

    Begin quote 1—
    Richard Ottaway, a British MP from William Hague’s own British Conservative Party and the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the British House of Commons, announced that he believed that Hague’s announcement was tied to British plans to openly intervene in Syria as a means of “undermining” the foreign jihadists. In Orwellian terms, the foreign fighters are being used as a pretext to further arm the anti-government forces in Syria.
    End quote 1—

    Begin quote 2—
    The Telegraph in London, in what comes across as triumphant language by Jake Wallis Simons, would comment that the call to arms by Al-Qaradawi were the signals that a new alliance of interests was forming between the forces that the Arab Spring was bringing into power, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and the West against an axis formed by Russia, Iran, and China. Simons would also point out that implicitly Israel too was a part of this new alliance against Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing. This would explain why the Israelis were caught spying on the Russian vessels in Tartus.
    End quote 2—


  79. James Canning says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    Are you arguing that iran must insist on enriching whatever amounts of uranium Iran chooses to enrich, to whatever levels of purity suti Iran’s fancy?

    And are you arguing Iran should launch terrorist attacks in Britain, in event of British participation in a blockade of Iranian oil exports?

  80. James Canning says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    If you had been in charge of Iran’s national security in 1943, would you have ordered attacks on Soviet troops that were occupying parts of Iran?

  81. James Canning says:


    I applaud a richer Iran. The question is whether the Iranian gov’t makes Iran richer, and more powerful, by perpetuating the nuclear dispute.

    Perhaps you think the dispute cannot be resolved. And that this fact works in favor of Iran’s true best interests. Even if it results in the loss of the Iranian navy, air force, etc etc.

  82. fy says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    May 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

    It is doubtful that even if Imam Ali had not been assassinated, he would have been any more successful in his leadership of the Ummah.

    It is clear, historically, that Arabs were not ready to follow the path of the Prophet, regardless of what Imam Ali’s deeds, speeches, and actions.

    Much is made of the people of Kufa but what about the inhabitants of Yathrib or Mecca?

    I think very many Muslims were against him and his programme – perhaps the majority.

    This cannot be denied.

    Large numbers of Muslims made a moral choice to follow the Omavids and later the Abassids and not the Shia-at-on-Ali.

    Look at the contemporary world, not much seems to have changed.

  83. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm
    It is not iran that is perpetuating the nuclear stand off,I think you know that only to well.You think that iran should capitulate and appease the west in all things,I and most of the posters here reject this for very good reasons,you have yet to present an argument as to what iran would gain by appeasement,you seem to think that appeasement would protect iran from western aggression,I`m sure gaddafi thought the exact same thing,he was wrong and so are you

  84. James Canning says:


    If Gaddafi had not agreed to destroy his WMD programmes, such as they were, he would have been put out of business. Gaddafi had no “option” to build nukes.

    I think Iran has no “option” to build nukes. FYI is convinced Obama is bluffing. I think FYI is simply greatly mistaken.