Tag: Iran

Nov 18

The Russian Connection: Flynn, Russia and Turkey

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is under indictment for violating US sanctions on Iran along with three others, had been released from the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Brooklyn and has completely disappeared. The FBI has stated that Mr. Zarrab is still in their custody but …

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Sep 20

Larry Wilmore – He’s Baaaaaack

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars hollow Gazette

He’s Baaaaaack – Dick Cheney on President Obama’s Iran Deal

Aug 12

Accountability

 Since President Barack Obama announced an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the war hawks have been apoplectic, flooding the airways with fear mongering, demanding a “better deal,” whatever than means. Iran has signed on for a peaceful accord and accountability to the international community.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has been whining for 25 years that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in months, demanding sanctions and the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. What he never mentions is that Israel, unlike Iran, is not a signature of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the most poorly held secret that Israel has had nuclear weapons for years.

In an op-ed at The Guardian, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East putting pressure on Israel to account for its “secret” nuclear weapons.

We – Iran and its interlocutors in the group of nations known as the P5+1 – have finally achieved the shared objective of turning the Iranian nuclear programme from an unnecessary crisis into a platform for cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and beyond. The nuclear deal reached in Vienna this month is not a ceiling but a solid foundation on which we must build. The joint comprehensive plan of action, as the accord is officially known, cements Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. Now it is high time that we expand that zone to encompass the entire Middle East.

Iran’s push for a ban on weapons of mass destruction in its regional neighbourhood has been consistent. The fact that it precedes Saddam Hussein’s systematic use of WMDs against Iran (never reciprocated in kind) is evidence of the depth of my country’s commitment to this noble cause. And while Iran has received the support of some of its Arab friends in this endeavour, Israel – home to the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons programme – has been the holdout. In the light of the historic nuclear deal, we must address this challenge head on.

One of the many ironies of history is that non-nuclear-weapon states, like Iran, have actually done far more for the cause of non-proliferation in practice than nuclear-weapon states have done on paper. Iran and other nuclear have-nots have genuinely “walked the walk” in seeking to consolidate the non-proliferation regime. Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even “talked the talk”, while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and customary international law. [..]

One step in the right direction would be to start negotiations for a weapons elimination treaty, backed by a robust monitoring and compliance-verification mechanism.

This could, in an initial phase, occasion the de-alerting of nuclear arsenals (removing warheads from delivery vehicles to reduce the risk of use) and subsequently engender the progressive disarmament by all countries possessing such WMDs. It is certainly a feasible goal to start this global project with a robust, universal and really genuine push to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, if the relevant powers finally come to deem it not just a noble cause but a strategic imperative.

The world must demand the Israel account for its nuclear weapons and submit to inspections by the IAEA

Jul 31

Any Excuse for Another War

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Since the accord with Iran over its nuclear program, the airways have been awash with calls for Congress to squash deal, demanding a “better deal.” Most of that is coming from the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The agreement is also opposed by pro-Israel Christian organizations. While sounding like they want peace, behind the scenes they are actually pushing for a war with Iran. That fact was revealed by The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald:

The fanatical Israel-devoted group Christians United for Israel, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members,” yesterday held an off-the-record call to formulate strategies for defeating the pending nuclear deal with Iran. The star of the show was the Wall Street Journal’s longtime foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who spoke for roughly 30 minutes. A recording of this call was provided to The Intercept and is posted here.

Stephens, who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002 to 2004 (where he anointed Paul Wolfowitz “Man of the (Jewish) Year”), is essentially a standard-issue neocon and warmonger, which is why his mentality is worth hearing. He begins the strategy call with an attempt to sound rational and sober, but becomes increasingly unhinged and hysterical as he progresses. [..]

If the Iran deal is defeated in the U.S., what’s the alternative? The relatively honest neocons admit, as Norm Podhoretz did today in Stephens’ paper, that the alternative is the one they really seek: full-on war with Iran. Here is Stephens’ attempt to answer to that question:

   Look, there is an argument – and I am sometimes tempted by it – that if Congress were to reject this deal and then Iran were to start enriching uranium at huge rates once again, that President Obama would simply sit on his hands out of spite. That’s an option. Knowing the way this President operates, it doesn’t entirely surprise me. That being said, because this deal is effectively giving Iran a legal as well as a covert pathway to the bomb, I would still prefer that. At least it gives the next president more options than he does [sic] now.

This argument is just bizarre. Obama isn’t leaving office until January, 2017: 1 1/2 years away. Neocons have continuously claimed that Iran’s “breakout” time for developing nuclear weapons was measured in months – at the most a year away. If you actually believe that, and really think that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons (a claim negated by the U.S.’s own intelligence analysis), how could you be content to purposely wait 1 1/2 years?

The answer to that question illustrates why the surface “debate” over the Iran deal is so illusory and pointless: as usual with neocons, they are being deceitful about their actual intent. They don’t want a “better deal”: at least not one that’s plausible. They want to keep Iran isolated and demonized and ultimately to depose its leadership through war or other means of aggression. They hate the Iran deal precisely because it’s likely to avert that aggression and normalize the world’s relations with that country, making the war they’ve long craved much less likely.

These people are unhinged supporters of Israel and the Saudis. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are vehemently opposed to the Iran deal because they want the US to fight their war with Iran for them. The more the US talks with Iran the less likely it is that they and their fanatical supporters will get their war.  

Jul 28

The Big Lie: Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In the wake of the agreement with Iran on in nuclear energy program, there has been a lot of shouting from the war hawks that this is a bad deal and characterizing it with hyperbolic rhetoric. Anti-Iran deal lobbies have taken the fight to the airways spending $20 million to $40 million to trash the agreement. The Obama administration has taken to Twitter.

The problem with all of these arguments, whether pro or con, is that they are all based on a false narrative that was created by the Bush administration after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In an article at the Middle East Eye, Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy, has no problem with the Iran accord except one: the Obama administration’s the false narrative that Iran is a rogue nuclear state.

The common assumption about Iran’s nuclear policy is never debated or even discussed because it is so firmly entrenched in the political discourse by now that there is no need to discuss it.  The choice between two hardline views of Iran is hardly coincidental. The Obama administration accepted from day one the narrative about the Iranian nuclear programme that the Israelis and their American allies had crafted during the Bush administration.

The Bush administration’s narrative, adopted after the invasion of Iraq, described a covert nuclear programme run by Iran for two decades, the main purpose of which was to serve as a cover for a secret nuclear weapons programme.  Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Vice-President Dick Cheney, who were managing the policy, cleverly used leaks to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in 2005 to introduce into the domestic political discussion alleged evidence from a collection of documents of then unknown provenance that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons research programme from 2001 to 2003.

The administration also passed the documents on to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005, as part of a Bush strategy aimed to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council on the charge of violating its commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bolton and Cheney were working with Israel to create a justification for regime change in Iran based on the idea that Iran was working on nuclear weapons under the cover of its nuclear programme.

The entire Bush-Israeli narrative was false, however. It ignored or suppressed fundamental historical facts that contradicted it as this writer found from deeper research on the issue:

   >Iran was the one state in the entire world that had a history of abjuring weapons of mass destruction on religious grounds.  During the Iran-Iraq war the military leadership had asked Ayatollah Khomeini to approve the manufacture of chemical weapons to retaliate against repeated chemical attacks by Iraqi forces.  But Khomeini forbade their possession or use forbidden by the Shia interpretation of the Quran and Shia jurisprudence.

   >Iran had begun to pursue uranium enrichment in the mid-1980s only after the Reagan administration had declared publicly that it would prevent Iran from relying on an international consortium in France to provide nuclear fuel for the Bushehr reactor.  

   >Iran did not inform the IAEA about its acquisition of enrichment technology, its experiments with centrifuges and laser enrichment or its first enrichment facility because of the continued US attempt to suppress the Iranian nuclear programme. Releasing such information would have made it easier for the United States to prevent continued procurement of necessary parts and material and to pressure China to end all nuclear cooperation with Iran.

   >The US intelligence community found no hard evidence, either from human intelligence or other forms of intelligence, of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme.  US national intelligence estimates during the Bush administration concluding that Iran had run such a programme, including the most famous estimate issued in November 2007, were based on inference, not on hard intelligence. That fact stood in sharp contrast to the very unambiguous human and electronic intelligence the CIA had been able to obtain on covert nuclear weapons programmes in Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa and South Korea.

Barack Obama came to the White House with a highly critical view of Bush policy towards both Iran and Iraq and was publicly committed to diplomatic engagement with Iran. But his administration’s acceptance of the Bush line that Iran was a nuclear outlaw can be explained by the continuity of policy that the national security bureaucracy generally maintains in the transition from one administration to another, with rare exceptions.

Bureaucracies create the “facts” about any particular issue that support their interests. Defining the Iranian nuclear threat as a threat to proliferate was clearly in the interests of the counter-proliferation offices in the White House, State Department, and CIA, which wielded strong influence over the issue within their respective institutions.  

When will the media, the US and European governments demand that Israel account for its nuclear weapons and be subjected to the same standards that are being imposed on Iran? Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons and capable of starting a nuclear holocaust.

This aversion to the truth and facts about Iran and Israel by the media, Europe and the US are major obstacles to peaceful resolutions and good relations in the Middle East.

Jul 21

Iran: US Congress vs The World

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This morning the United Nations Security Council approved the agreement with Iran that would reduce Iran’s nuclear program. In exchange the UN will lift the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

The 15-0 vote for approval of the resolution – 104 pages long including annexes and lists – was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.

Iran has pledged to let in international monitors to inspect its facilities for the next 10 years and other measures that were devised to guarantee that its nuclear energy activities are purely peaceful.

The Security Council resolution, which is legally binding, lays out the steps required only for the lifting of United Nations sanctions.

It has no legal consequence on the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.

The European Union also approved the Iran nuclear deal on Monday, putting in motion the lifting of its own sanctions, which include prohibitions on the purchase of Iranian oil. Europe will continue to prohibit the export of ballistic missile technology and sanctions related to human rights.

The heads of US war mongers have been exploding since President Barack Obama announced the completion of the deal and some took to their fainting couches. On the international front, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his “poutrage” to the Sunday talk shows. The fact that no matter how adequate the agreement may be, to the war mongers it’s a disaster because it won’t let them start a war with Iran:

Many of the Republicans’ statements on Iran in the past few months have just a word salad of insults – “evil”, “malevolent”, “corrupt”, “terrorists”, “the devil” – as though there were a contest to see how many despicable adjectives they could fit into one paragraph. Many of today’s statements then immediately condemned the fact that in Iran crowds sometimes chant “Death to America”. Gee, I wonder why a few people in Iran say hyperbolic things about the US? It’s not like our leading politicians would ever sing songs about blowing up Iran – oh, wait. [..]

For Republicans, the Iran nuclear negotiations have never been about getting “a good deal” for the US. They’ve simply wanted to preserve their ability to kill people in the Middle East whenever they want, and continue to indulge their fetish of American superpower. It doesn’t matter to Republicans whether bombing Iran virtually guarantees that actually will pursue a nuclear bomb (which, again, right now they’re not), or that a deal will hurt the hardliners in Iran that Republicans profess to hate. It only matters that they continue to have an enemy to bomb in the Middle East, and a President to criticize here at home.

Host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” John Oliver covered the agreement in an opening segment pointing out that none of the critics have even read the 140 page document.

Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that the biggest fear is no deal and more than 100 former American diplomats support the accord. Now that the UN and EU have approved the agreement, the focus will be on the US Congress that has 90 days to review it. Meanwhile, heads will continue to explode. Get the plastic sheeting.

Jul 15

Deja Vu indeed.

I made the mistake of turning on the TV today. I should have known better.

Found a bunch of idiots parroting war monger McCain’s Wet Start I mean wet dream.

Bomb Iran song (from John McCain’s “joke”)

Uploaded on Apr 20, 2007

Parody of “Barbara Ann” taken from John McCain’s Bomb Iran “joke”, by Alex Arrowsmith.

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

Oh Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Went to Iraq, and the Communist Bloc

Didnt like that so Ill bomb around the clock

Ill Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

Oh Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Tried Little Kim

Tried Chavez

Tried Mahmoud

But I knew he wouldn’t do

Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

Oh Bomb Iran, after Pakistan

Bomb Iran

You got me hiding in my bunker

Crying for my children

Bomb Iran

Bomb Iran

Bomb Iran

Bomb Iran

Apr 26

The Jon Stewart Mysteries Presents: The Case of the Iranian Agent!

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Jon Stewart Mysteries Presents: The Case of the Iranian Agent!

Apr 03

A Deal to Make a Deal

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

It took a couple of day longer than expected but cool heads prevailed. An agreement on a framework for a permanent accord on Iran’s nuclear energy program was reached this afternoon in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Iran and the world powers said here Thursday that they had reached a surprisingly specific and comprehensive general understanding about the next steps in limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, though Western officials said many details needed to be resolved before a final agreement in June.

Both Germany’s foreign office and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said that the major parameters of a framework for a final accord had been reached, after eight days of intense debate between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

There was no mistaking the upbeat mood surrounding the announcement. “We have stopped a cycle that is not in the interest of anybody,” an exuberant Mr. Zarif said at a news conference after the announcement. [..]

According to European officials, roughly 5,000 centrifuges will remain spinning enriched uranium at the main nuclear site at Natanz, about half the number currently running. The giant underground enrichment site at Fordo – which Israeli and some American officials fear is impervious to bombing – will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes. Foreign scientists will be present. There will be no fissile material present that could be used to make a bomb.

A major reactor at Arak, which officials feared could produce plutonium, would operate on a limited basis that would not provide enough fuel for a bomb.

In return, the European Union and the United States would begin to lift sanctions, as Iran complied. At a news conference after the announcement, Mr. Zarif said that essentially all sanctions would be lifted after the final agreement is signed.

In spite of all the efforts of the war crazed right wing and Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahou to derail the talks, the P5+1 have moved toward a full agreement that will make the Middle East just a little safer and life better for the Iranians.

Mar 10

TBC: Morning Musing 3.10.15

I have 4 articles for you this morning – 3 related and the last one just an interesting one.

First, in the wake of the ill advised slap by inviting Bibi to Congress, this is what the GOP Senators did now, pretty much in violation of the Logan Act, not that they’ll be called on it:

Backstabbing Republicans Publish Open Letter To Iran Undermining Negotiations

I am once again shocked, but not surprised, at the lengths Republicans will go to to undermine the President of the United States while he is conducting negotiations with the government of a foreign country.

link to the letter

Jump!

Jun 23

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: War Profiteers Ecstatic at Middle East Mess by Justina

In 1935, US General Smedley Butler detailed in his “War is a Racket” the World War I  racket he had served.  It is now much, much worse.

Vice-President Richard Cheney and his fellow Neo-Cons originally lit the barn fires with their factually unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Bush-Cheney then torched the secular, but Sunni sect based, ruling Baathist Party and applauded the decapitation of its brutal, but anti-al Qaeda leader, Saddam Hussein.  (Saddam himself had originally been put in place by the US CIA in a coup, but thereafter fell out of favor with the US government because he dared to assert exclusive control of Iraq’s oil industry.)

Up to his ouster, Saddam had successfully kept the radical jihadists out of Iraq, which even the US intelligence agencies have admitted:

“There was no al Qaeda-Iraq connection until the war; our invasion made it so. We have known this for nearly a decade, well before the murderous ISIS even appeared. In a September 2006 New York Times article headlined “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat,” reporter Mark Mazetti informed readers of a classified National Intelligence Estimate representing the consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,” the analysis cited the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology: “The Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,’ said one American intelligence official.”

Now jihadis even more extreme than Al Qaeda, the ISIS, are an hour outside of Baghdad, threatening the capitol city and its Shia sect residents.  Its Sunni sect population, a minority in Baghdad, is seemingly terrified of the reaction of the Shiite majority as well as the blatantly brutal, although Sunni ISIS.  Likely everyone there is arming.  (The NRA must be delighted.)

Dec 20

White Elephants & Bipartisan Determination for War

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Afghan IG reopens probe into huge Leatherneck command center

By J. Taylor Rushing, Stars and Stripes

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko notified Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel of the news in a Nov. 27 letter that was released by Sopko’s office Thursday. In the letter, Sopko complains that he never received an answer to questions he sent in July to Hagel, U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin III and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Commander Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., about the mammoth building, dismissed by many as a “white elephant,” never to be used. [..]

Sopko specifically complains about an investigation into the building by Maj. Gen. James Richardson, deputy commander of support for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan that was finished last month. Sopko said he delayed his own investigation to wait on Richardson’s report. A partial draft of the report was sent to Sopko, but he said it was sloppy, incomplete and actually suggests that taxpayer-funded construction should continue. [..]

Controversy over the building is not new – members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have been publicly critical of the construction, most recently after an initial Army investigation into the building in May determined that the building was unwanted and unnecessary, and could be converted into a gymnasium and movie theatre.

10 Democratic Committee Chairs Warn Menendez’s Iran Sanction Bill Could Blow Up Negotiations

By Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

In a remarkable rebuke to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), 10 other Senate committee chairs are circulating a joint letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, urging him to reject an effort by Menendez to tighten sanctions on Iran and warning that his bill could disrupt ongoing nuclear negotiations.

The senators write in their letter that “at this time, as negotiations are ongoing, we believe that new sanctions would play into the hands of those in Iran who are most eager to see the negotiations fail.”

Earlier Thursday, a senior White House official had accused Menendez of undermining the negotiations. [..]

Yet Menendez is not alone in his call for tougher sanctions. The proposed Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, introduced in the Senate on Thursday by Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is co-sponsored by 12 other Democrats — including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — and 12 other Republicans.

Senate passes $607B Defense bill

By Jeremy Herb and Ramsey Cox, The Hill

The Senate on Thursday evening passed the $607 billion Defense authorization bill that will reform the way the military handles sexual assault cases and loosen the restriction on transferring Guantánamo Bay detainees to foreign countries.

The Senate sent the bill to the president’s desk for the 52nd straight year in a 84-15 vote, after some legislative maneuvering was needed to extend the streak and quickly get a compromise bill through both chambers this month.

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans joined most Democrats in voting for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes $527 billion in base defense spending and $80 billion for the war in Afghanistan.[..]

The final bill included many new reforms to how the military prosecutes sexual assault and treats victims. The bill strips commanders’ ability to overturn guilty verdicts, changes the military’s pre-trial rules for interviewing victims, expands a special victims counsel for sexual assault survivors and makes retaliating against victims a crime.

The bill does not, however, include a controversial proposal from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to take sexual assault cases from the chain of command. Before Thanksgiving, Republicans blocked Reid’s attempt to hold votes on Gillibrand’s amendment and a competing measure from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

The stupid just burns.

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