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Iran War Weekly - March 25, 2013

Iran War Weekly

March 25, 2013

 

Hello All – Last week’s “technical talks” between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) deflated the hopes generated by the meeting of “higher level” negotiators in Kazakhstan in February, suggesting that little can be expected by the next round of talks scheduled, again in Kazakhstan, on April 5 and 6.

 

Fund My Peace Mission to Iran

I have the opportunity to travel to Iran in April with some of the best peace activists in the United States on a mission of peace.  We will report on everything we are able to do and learn.  I can only go if you can help me fund the trip.  Please chip in anything you can here http://davidswanson.org/donate 

NB: We are waiting for our visas.  If the visas do not come through, funds you've donated will be used when the trip can be rescheduled or will be put to other good use in the cause of peace.

Thank you! --David Swanson

Iran War Weekly - March 18, 2013

Iran War Weekly

March 18, 2013

 

Hello All – As readers may/will recall, we are between negotiating sessions about Iran’s nuclear program.  After an eight-month hiatus, restarting negotiations between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) and Iran was significant.  Even more significant, and also surprising, was that the negotiations in Kazakhstan in February generated cautious optimism among diplomats, and a second round of negotiations is now scheduled  for early April, again in Kazakhstan.

 

Iran War Weekly - March 12, 2013

Iran War Weekly

March 12, 2013

 

True, He’s the First Black President But Obama’s the Worst President Ever

 

By Ron Ridenour


Yes, I mean it: the worst ever!


We’ve had James Monroe and his doctrine of supremacy over Latin America. We’ve had Theodore Roosevelt and his invasion of Cuba; Nixon, Reagan, Bush-Bush and their mass murder, and all the war crimes and genocide committed by most presidents. Yes, but we never had a black man sit on the white throne of imperialism committing war crimes.


Iran War Weekly - March 5, 2013

Iran War Weekly

March 5, 2013

 

Nuclear Roulette Update

 

Nuclear Roulette Update

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Multiple P5 + 1 talks were held. Almaty, Kazakstan ones are the latest. Nothing gets accomplished. Washington obstructionism prevents it. Israel does so covertly.

 

Iran War Weekly - February 26, 2013

Iran War Weekly

February 26, 2013

 

Hello All – After a six-month delay, representatives Iran and the “P5+1” met in Kazakhstan today to renew negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program.  Early news reports say that “the West” offered Iran a very modest lifting of sanctions if Iran would take steps to halt or alter significant parts of its nuclear program.  Iran is expected to make its reply tomorrow, during a second day of talks.  As indicated in pre-meeting analyses linked below, Iran is expected to reject the West’s proposal as trivial and insincere, wanting instead for the P5+1 to recognize Iran’s rights to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to lay out an offer that would quickly remove all the economic sanctions against it.

 

IAEA Report Confirms Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Program

 

IAEA Report Confirms Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Program

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's no surprise. It's been that way for years. Iran's legally entitled to enrich uranium. Dozens of other countries do the same thing. 

 

Tehran alone is criticized. Managed news misinformation begets more of it. Washington, Israel, and European partner collaborators repeat it ad nauseam.

Further Evidence John Brennan Unfit to Lead CIA

Brennan’s Loose Talk on Iran Nukes

February 22, 2013

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on John Brennan to head the CIA focused on lethal drones, but Brennan’s loose talk lumping Iran with North Korea as nuclear threats could be even more worrisome, recalling Iraq WMD exaggerations, as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

-----------------------------------

February 22, 2013

MEMORANDUM FOR: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Due Diligence on John Brennan

Bulgarian Revelations Explode Hezbollah Bombing “Hypothesis”

By Gareth Porter, IPS

WASHINGTON, Feb 18 2013 (IPS) - When European Union foreign ministers discuss a proposal to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov will present his government’s case for linking two suspects in the Jul. 18, 2012 bombing of an Israeli tourist bus to Hezbollah.

Iran War Weekly - February 18, 2013

Iran War Weekly

February 18, 2013

 

Hello All – Prospects for renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program – now set for February 26th in Kazakhstan – diminished this week, as the United States revealed its negotiating “carrot”: to roll back new economic sanctions which they placed on Iran last week!  “You are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said of the United States. “But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated by these threats.”

 

Upcoming Iranian Nuclear Talks

 

Upcoming Iranian Nuclear Talks

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Multiple previous P5+1 talks were held. America manipulated them to fail. So did Israel covertly. Western nations were pressured to go along.

 

On February 26, new talks will be held in Almaty, Kazahhstan. Expect no more this time than earlier. 

 

Beating Up on Iran Continues

 

Beating Up on Iran Continues

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's continued for decades. Iran's a prime target of choice. Washington deplores independent governments. 

 

It wants pro-Western ones replacing them. It doesn't care if they're democratic, despotic or anything in between. Subservience to Washington alone matters.

 

Escalating Pressure on Iran

 

Escalating Pressure on Iran

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Secretary of State John Kerry's clear where he stands. He laid down markers. He demands Iran comply with Washington's demands. Left unsaid is what follows otherwise.

 

On February 26, nuclear talks will resume. P5+1 countries (Washington, Britain, Germany, China and Russia) will meet Iranian negotiators. They'll do so in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Iran War Weekly - February 11, 2013

Iran War Weekly

February 11, 2013

 

Hello All – After a long slumber, diplomacy about Iran’s nuclear program has awakened.  Yet none of the factors that stymied agreement in the past has significantly changed.  The United States still couples diplomacy with its “all options are on the table” bravado, a stance that precludes a climate conducive to negotiations.  And the United States still refuses to recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to consider lifting or suspending economic sanctions in exchange for concessions by Iran.  Moreover, the window for negotiations, which was closed during the US election campaign, will soon close again, perhaps as soon as March, as Iran prepares for its own presidential election.

 

Keeping Americans Safe: Freedom of Information Takes Another Hit in the United States

 

By Dave Lindorff


The US government doesn't like Iran. I get that. It claims, on pretty dubious grounds, that Iran might be planning, at some point down the road, to take some of the uranium it is processing into nuclear fuel to a higher level of purity and make it into an atomic bomb.

Iran "Bent" on Pursuing Nuclear Weapons, Says John Brennan

John Brennan’s Tenet-Like Testimony

February 9, 2013

Editor Note: Though false intelligence was at the center of the disastrous Iraq War, CIA Director-to-be John Brennan played fast and loose on Iran’s nuclear program in his Senate testimony, a troubling sign he might undermine the principle of honest analysis just like his mentor, George Tenet.

By Ray McGovern

CIA Director-designate John Brennan’s assertion to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Iran is “bent on pursuing nuclear weapons” is precisely the kind of dangerous “mistake” made by his mentor, former CIA Director George Tenet, who made many such “mistakes” a decade ago in greasing the skids for war on Iraq.

Washington and Israel Target Iran

 

Washington and Israel Target Iran

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Escalating anti-Iranian tensions continues. More on what's ongoing below.

 

February 10 marks Iran's 1979 revolution's 34th anniversary. On January 31, 10 days of commemorative activities began.

 

Iran War Weely - February 3, 2013

Iran War Weekly

February 3, 2013

 

Iran's Legal Right to Enrich Uranium Unchallenged

 

Iran's Legal Right to Enrich Uranium Challenged

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's been that way for years. Iran fully complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions. Its nuclear program is peaceful. US intelligence says so. Annually it repeats earlier assessments.

 

Washington, other Western countries, and Israel know what they won't admit publicly. So do media scoundrels. They target Iran unfairly.

Links? We Don’t Do No Stinkin’ Links: Cognitive Dissonance at the New York Times

 

By Dave Lindorff


For a masterpiece in cognitive dissonance, just look to the foreign editors and the  managing editor of the New York Times, who ran two stories in Saturday’s paper without referencing each other at all.


Targeting Iran Continues

 

Targeting Iran Continues

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's likely coalition partners assure it. Spurious Iranian threats are hyped. What began years ago continues. 

 

Washington and Israel want puppet leaders replacing independent ones in power. At issue is unchallenged regional dominance.

 

Iran War Weekly - January 27, 2013

Iran War Weekly

January 27, 2013

 

Obama's Second Inauguration: Big Money but No Big Lines

 

By Dave Lindorff


There were no memorable lines in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Certainly nothing like Franklin Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which was in his first inaugural, or like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”


But there was plenty he said that was troubling. 


The problem mostly wasn’t what he said. It was how he said it, and what he left unsaid.

Iran War Weekly - January 20, 2013

Iran War Weekly

January 20, 2013

 

Hello All – Iran’s nuclear program, and the possibilities of war against Iran, will likely be prominent in the  Senate confirmation hearings of President Obama’s new national security team, particular in the case of the proposed Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.  While Hagel, Kerry (State), and Brennan (CIA) are all expected to be confirmed, Senate Republicans have served notice that (especially in the case of Hagel), the nominees will be scrutinized to see if they are prepared to keep the sanctions screwed on tightly against Iran and, if necessary, go to war.

 

Nixon Went to China, Who Will Go to Iran?

Iranians are now beginning to die for lack of medicines kept out by U.S.-imposed sanctions.  I recently questioned (and videoed) former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about her notorious defense of sanctions that killed over a half million young Iraqi children.  She said she'd been wrong to say what she'd said.  She did not comment on the appropriateness of what she'd done.  I asked her if what we were doing to Iran was also wrong, and she replied, "No, absolutely not."

So, somehow it is good and proper for us to be killing Iranian children -- although perhaps not to be talking about it.

I suspect that some of the reasons why we imagine there is a greater good being served by such actions are the same reasons no U.S. president will go to Iran in the manner in which Nixon went to China.  Of course, the common political wisdom in the United States holds that the president who went to China had to be a Republican.  By the same logic, the president who goes to Iran must be a militarist power-mad servant of the corporate oligarchy from the Republican party and not a militarist power-mad servant of the corporate oligarchy from the Democratic party.  That wouldn't do at all.  And yet, U.S. conduct toward Iran has varied little from Bush to Clinton to Bush Jr. to Obama/Clinton, H.  A hopeless spiral of delusional counter-productive approaches toward the Islamic Republic of Iran needs to be broken by a 180 degree turn, and it won't make much substantive difference who does it, as long as it doesn't come too late.

Whether the authors intended exactly that or not, the above is the lesson I take away from an excellent new book by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett called "Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran."

It has been U.S. policy for decades not to engage with Iran, and -- misleading rhetoric notwithstanding -- it still is.  "More than any of his predecessors, in fact, Obama has given engagement a bad name, by claiming to have reached out to Tehran and failed when the truth is he never really tried." 

The Leveretts trace official U.S. policy on Iran to a trio of myths: the myths of irrationality, illegitimacy, and isolation. 

 

IRRATIONALITY:

The evidence of irrationality on the part of the Iranian people or the Iranian government is very slim.  I can find much more irrationality in the U.S. public and government.  Iranians, in fact, are better at distinguishing between our people and our government than we seem to be at making that distinction on their side.  Iran has funded Hizballah and HAMAS, and we call those groups terrorists.  But we call any militants opposing Pentagon interests terrorists.  Iranian leaders have made comments verging on anti-Semitic (and routinely distorted into outrageous anti-Semitism), but nothing approaching the things Anwar Sadat or Mahmoud Abbas said or wrote before they were deemed rational actors with whom the U.S. and Israel could (and did) work. 

Iran's policies have been defensive, not aggressive.  Iran has not threatened to attack or attacked others.  Iran has refused to retaliate against chemical weapons attacks or terrorism or our shooting down a commercial jet or our funding efforts within Iran to manipulate its elections or our training of militants seeking to overthrow Iran's government.  Iran has refused to develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.  Unlike Britain, Russia, or the United States, when provoked Iran has refused to invade Afghanistan, choosing wise reflection over hot-tempered anger.  Look at the polling across the Middle East: people fear the United States and Israel, not Iran. 

Iran's approach to the United States over the years has been rational and forbearant.  In 1995 the Islamic Republic of Iran offered its first foreign oil development contract to the United States, which turned it down.  Iran aided President Clinton by shipping arms to Bosnia, which Clinton turned around and condemned Iran for when the story became public.  In 2001, the President of Iran requested permission to pray for 911 victims at the site of the World Trade Center and offered to assist in counterterrorism plans, but was turned down.  Iran assisted the United States with its invasion of Afghanistan and was labeled "evil" in return.  The current president of Iran wrote long friendly letters to President Bush and President Obama, both of whom ignored them except to allow their staffs to publicly mock them.  The Iranian government repeatedly proposed substantive dialogue, offering to put everything on the table, including its nuclear energy program, and was turned down.  The Obama administration gave Turkey and Brazil terms it was sure Iran wouldn't agree to; Iran agreed to them; and the White House rejected them, choosing instead to grow outraged at Brazil and Turkey.

Iran tried to believe in the change in Obama's (no doubt domestically intended) rhetoric, but never encountered any substance, only fraud and hostility.  That Iran attempts civil relations with a nation surrounding and threatening it, imposing deadly sanctions on it, funding terrorism within its borders, and publicly mocking its sincere approaches is indication of either rationality or something almost Christ-like (I'm inclined to go with rationality).

 

ILLEGITIMACY:

War is immoral, illegal, and counter-productive.  That doesn't change if the people bombed are living or suffering under an illegitimate government.  Here in the United States an unaccountable Supreme Court rewrites our basic laws, unverifiable privately owned and operated machines count our votes, candidates are chosen by wealth, media coverage is dolled out by a corporate cartel, presidents disregard the legislature, and high crimes and misdemeanors are not prosecuted.  And yet, nonetheless -- amazing to tell -- we'd rather not be bombed.  I don't give a damn whether this scholar or that scholar believes the Iranian government is legitimate or not; I don't want any human beings killed in my name with my money.

That being said, common claims of illegitimacy for Iran's government are myths.  Western experts have predicted its imminent collapse (as well as its imminent development of nukes) for decades.  Iranian elections are far more credible than U.S. ones.  A government need not be secular to be legitimate.  I might favor secular governments, but I'm not an Iranian.  I'm a citizen of a government that has been seeking to control Iran's government for over a half century since overthrowing it in 1953; I don't get to have a voice.  Iranians are gaining in rights, in education, in health, in life expectancy (the opposite in many ways of the course we are on in the United States).  Iranian women used to be permitted to dress as they liked but not to pursue the education and career they liked.  Now that has largely been reversed.  Iranian women are guaranteed paid maternity leave that outstrips our standards.  Iran's approach to drugs is more rational than our own, its approach to homosexuality more mixed than we suspect, its investment in science cutting edge. 

All of that being said, the Iranian government abuses its people in ways that need to be addressed by its people and should have been directly addressed by the Leveretts' book.

I also want to quibble with the Leveretts' account of the 1979 revolution in light of the views of some who were there at the time.  I'm not convinced that Khomeini led and directed the revolution from the start.  I'm willing to believe that secular pro-democracy activists did not represent the views of all Iranians.  There's no question that significant support swung to Khomeini and the mullahs who claimed power.  But Khomeini's supposed leadership was news in the West before it was ever heard of in Tehran.  The Shah was not opposed for his secularism, but for his surveillance, imprisonment, torture, murder, greed, expropriation of wealth, and subservience to foreigners.  The Leveretts admit that Khomeini originally proposed a government with less power for himself and then revised his plans, but they claim that he only did so in response to secularists' insistence that he hold no power at all.  Not the strongest defense of tyranny I've ever encountered. 

The authors then cite a public referendum of December 2-3, 1979, in which, they say, "the new constitution was approved by 98 percent of participating voters."  Sounds impressive, right?  Guess what choices the voters were offered: an Islamic republic or the Shah!  Of course they chose the Islamic republic! But to turn around and claim that 98% voted against a secular republic is misleading.  During the 2003-2013 U.S. war on Iraq, a U.S. Democratic-Party group called MoveOn.org polled its membership.  Did they support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plan for more war or President George W. Bush's?  Of course, they overwhelmingly chose Pelosi's.  MoveOn then turned around and claimed that their people opposed Congresswoman Barbara Lee's proposal to end the war.  Such votes should be given no more dignity than they deserve.

How the government of the 1980s came to be does not tell us everything we should know about today's government, but nothing you could tell me about today's government would have any relevance to the morality of bombing the people of Iran.

 

ISOLATION:

The United States has sought to isolate Iran and failed dramatically, with Iran now chairing the Nonaligned Movement.  It has sought to use economic and other pressures to overthrow the government, and instead strengthened it.  In 2011, Obama opened a "virtual embassy" to propagandize the Iranian people for "regime change."  In 2012 it removed the terrorist designation for an opposition terrorist group called the MEK.  Imagine if Iran did such things to us, rather than just being Muslim or whatever it is that it's actually done to us.  The Leveretts present a long and unrelenting history of incompetence and irrationality . . . from the U.S. side.  They have been reduced, reasonably enough, to something that sounds ridiculous: longing for Richard Nixon.

I don't expect you to understand
After you've caused so much pain
But then again, you're not to blame
You're just a human, a victim of the insane
We're afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

--John Lennon

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

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