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Spinning on the 'axis of evil'

By Dilip Hiro
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk

George Bush described Washington's decision to join the European Union troika - Britain, France and Germany - in its talks with Iran on the nuclear issue provided Tehran suspended its enrichment and reprocessing activities, as "robust diplomacy".

In reality Bush's move is more an example of spin rather than a grand diplomatic gesture.

For over a year the US has been actively involved in the EU Iran talks. It was at Washington's insistence that the EU troika reneged on its promise to include supply of a light water civilian nuclear power plant to Tehran in the package that it offered Iran last August. The Iranians were so angered by the reneging on this issue they concluded that the Europeans were negotiating in bad faith.

Paradise lost holds a political lesson

The Guardian, Letters

John Pilger notes that Diego Garcia is likely to be involved in any US attack on Iran (Out of Eden, G2, May 29). The point is worth expanding.

The US bases on Diego Garcia and in Fairford, Gloucestershire, are two of only four bases worldwide that possess the specialised servicing equipment needed by the B2 bombers that would play a key role in any such attack. The infamous July 2002 "Downing Street memo" concerning US war plans for Iraq noted that the US "saw basing in Diego Garcia" as "critical". And this March, B2 bombers were spotted at Fairford in what was likely an exercise to familiarise crews with the details of combat operations from a new base.

6 world powers agree on Iran incentives

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria - Six world powers agreed Thursday on a "significant" package of incentives to convince Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket said.

"I am pleased to say we have agreed (on) a set of far-reaching proposals," she said. "We believe they offer Iran the chance to reach a negotiated agreement based on cooperation."

Barbara Lee Introduces Resolution of Inquiry on Iran

Cosponsors: Conyers, Baldwin, McGovern, and Payne

HRES 846 IH
109th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. RES. 846
Requesting the President and directing the Secretary of State to provide to the House of Representatives certain documents in their possession relating to strategies and plans either designed to cause regime change in or for the use of military force against Iran.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Protesters reflect on civil resistance at Nevada site

By BRIAN PASSEY, The Spectrum, UT
bpassey@thespectrum.com

ST. GEORGE - When nearly 40 protesters crossed onto the Nevada Test Site during a Sunday demonstration against Divine Strake, James P. McMahon of Brookside was among those temporally detained and cited for trespassing on federal land.

"I think that crossing the line at the Nevada Test Site is the most important thing I've done in a long time," he said Monday. "There comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in and what your principles are."

UPROAR DOWNWIND

By Robert C. Koehler, Tribune Media Services

That "perfectly safe" mushroom cloud that was supposed to rise 10,000 feet over the Nevada Test Site this month will have to remain a mere gleam in Donald Rumsfeld's eye for the time being.

The security state, which had planned to jump-start its WMD program with a supposedly conventional explosion large enough to mimic the effects of a small nuclear weapon, has run smack into the ghosts of its own fraudulent past. The citizens downwind of the test site, the furious sons and daughters of the victims of earlier testing and earlier lies, have forced the government to regroup.

ElBaradei: Iran Not an Immediate Nuclear Threat

By Reuters

Monterey, California - Iran does not pose an immediate nuclear threat and the world must act cautiously to avoid repeating mistakes made with Iraq and North Korea, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the world shouldn't "jump the gun" with erroneous information as he said the U.S.-led coalition did in Iraq in 2003, nor should it push the country into retaliation as international sanctions did in North Korea.

Stop the Divine Strake Action - My Report

By Deanna Taylor

See links to photos below each heading. See link to Salt Lake solidarity vigil here.

As reported via phone post, the Stop the Divine Strake Action is over and is considered to have been a highly productive and successful event. People came from as far away as Pennsylvania to attend the action.

About 70 anti-nuclear activists arrested outside Nevada Test Site

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MERCURY, Nev. (AP) - About 300 anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered at the Nevada Test Site to celebrate the indefinite postponement of a massive explosion that they feared would spread radioactivity across the West.

About 70 people were cited for trespassing during Sunday's gathering, said Peggy Maze Johnson, executive director of the Nevada environmental group Citizen Alert, which co-sponsored the event.

Opponents of Divine Strake Gather at Nevada Test Site

KLASTV.com Las Vegas

A huge test explosion was set to take place next month, 90 miles north of Las Vegas. But the project was pushed back and finally indefinitely postponed. Today, opponents celebrated.

Opponents said the 700-ton blast would send a mushroom cloud into the sky and possibly spread radioactive dust from previous nuclear experiments. Today was supposed to be a protest against the test. But instead it was a low key celebration.

Not here:Divine Strake protesters gather in Nevada

Hundreds gather in Nevada desert in further protest of Divine Strake

Some demonstrators cross the boundary Sunday into the Nevada Test Site in protest of Divine Strake. More than 200 people protested against the planned bomb test and what they say is a violation of a treaty with the Western Shoshone. Pierre Morton, 3, of Las Vegas, yells, "Don't drop the bomb," Sunday during a protest against the Divine Strake bomb test on the border of the Nevada Test Site at Mercury, Nev.

GOP Heavy Hitters Pressuring White House to Talk With Iran

By Laura Rozen, Los Angeles Times

Washington - Amid concern that the US is drifting toward eventual confrontation with Iran, a growing number of influential statesmen, Republican senators and foreign policy experts are stepping up pressure on the Bush administration to consider doing what no US administration has done in 27 years: talk directly with Iran.

In recent congressional hearings, think-tank conferences, op-ed essays and media appearances, Republican heavyweights - including former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) - have publicly urged the administration to leave the current path of escalation and join European allies in direct talks with Tehran.

'Divine Strake' Blast at Nevada Test Site Delayed Indefinitely

By Associated Press

The federal government has indefinitely postponed a planned explosion that was expected to generate a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert.

Officials say the delay will allow more time to answer questions about the blast -- which opponents fear would kick up radioactive fallout left from nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site (about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas).

Nevada "mushroom cloud" blast delayed indefinitely

By Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's plan for a massive detonation of conventional high explosives in Nevada to test the effectiveness of weapons against deeply buried targets has been postponed indefinitely, officials said on Thursday.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, part of the Energy Department, said it was withdrawing its finding that the planned detonation of 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in the Nevada desert would cause "no significant" environmental impact, the agency said.

Nevada blast plan implodes

Feds postpone test indefinitely to double-check the risks
By Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON - Divine Strake, a massive explosives test originally planned for next month at the Nevada Test Site, has been put on hold.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said Friday it was postponing the test - which entails detonation of 700 tons of explosives - so it can reassess the potential for radioactive contaminants left in the ground from earlier nuclear tests becoming airborne.

Iran Freedom and Regime Change Politics

Tom Barry, http://rightweb.irc-online.org

At a time when the Republican Party is divided on immigration reform and when the Democrats and the Republicans are positioning themselves for the mid-term elections on such issues as gay marriage, Congress is demonstrating alarming bipartisan unity on Iran.

On April 27 the House of Representatives passed the Iran Freedom Support Act by a vote of 397 to 21. The bill tightens sanctions imposed on Iran under the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1996 and tightens sanctions on companies that invest in the country's energy industries. The bill would make U.S. sanctions against Iran under ILSA permanent unless there is a change of government in Iran.

ElBaradei: "Nuclear Feeds Nuclear."

Le Nouvel Observateur, translation www.truthout.org

The IAEA director deems that the great powers must choose between renouncing nuclear weapons and accepting eventual proliferation.

The United States and the other powers refusing to renounce their nuclear arsenals thus encourage other countries to follow their example, and the world could soon have to face a multitude of countries endowed with nuclear weapons, Mohamed ElBaradei warned Thursday, May 26.

Iran to US: Stop Bluster, Let's Talk

CNN News

Ambassador says Iran must be part of solution on nuclear issue.

United Nations - Iran's ambassador to the United Nations said Tehran wants to work directly with the United States on an "easily attainable" resolution, if Washington drops "the intimidation tactics."

Ambassador Mohammad Javad Zarif's statement came the day after the International Atomic Energy Agency pleaded with Iran to continue talks with European nations that want to offer it incentives in exchange for ending its nuclear-enrichment program.

Iran and Israeli Nukes / Iran Peace Offer Rebuffed?

"Iran has followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent letter to
President Bush with explicit requests for direct talks on its nuclear
program, according to U.S. officials, Iranian analysts and foreign
diplomats," the Washington Post reported in a front-page article on
May 24. "The eagerness for talks demonstrates a profound change in
Iran's political orthodoxy, emphatically erasing a taboo against

Iran Proposal to U.S. Offered Peace with Israel

By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service

WASHINGTON - Iran offered in 2003 to accept peace with Israel and to cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups and pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders, according to the secret Iranian proposal to the United States. The two-page proposal for a broad Iran-U.S. agreement covering all the issues separating the two countries, a copy of which was obtained by IPS, was conveyed to the United States in late April or early May 2003. Trita Parsi, a specialist on Iranian foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies who provided the document to IPS, says he got it from an Iranian official earlier this year but is not at liberty to reveal the source.

New Letter on Iran Sent to Bush by Congressman Kucinich and 72 Congress Members

Dear Mr. President:

We, the undersigned, write to urge you to initiate direct diplomatic negotiations at the highest level with Iran.

The U.S. should strive immediately to engage the leadership of Iran in diplomacy to address Iran's capability to enrich uranium and its ambitions to possess nuclear weapons. This dialogue with Iran could and should be expanded to include Iran's support for terrorist organizations and Iran's failure to recognize the State of Israel.

Kucinich Asks Tough Questions of Bush, Rumsfeld

Wants Answers About What the U.S. Is Doing in Iraq and Iran
http://www.kucinich.us

Congressman Kucinich has been asking tough questions of the President and the Secretary of Defense.

He wrote letters in April to both Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush. The text of the letters appears in the May 4 issue of the Congression Record Extensions of Remarks.

Kucinich's April 5 letter to Rumsfeld began, "I am writing to request a copy of all records pertaining to Pentagon plans to use U.S. Special Forces to advise, support and train Iraqi assassination and kidnapping teams."

Kucinich: To Avoid War US Must Negotiate With Iran

http://kucinich.house.gov

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech today on the House floor:

“War with Iran is not inevitable if the United States is ready to lead the way with honest, patient negotiations.

“However, this Administration seems intent on war with Iran. The Administration is ignoring any diplomatic initiatives that could set the stage for talks to end the confrontation and the escalation.

U-Turn by White House As It Blocks Direct Talks With Iran

By Julian Borger and Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian UK

Hardening of Bush policy rebuffs Tehran's approach. Move appears to surprise US ambassador to Iraq.

The White House yesterday ruled out previously authorised direct talks between Tehran and the US ambassador in Baghdad, which were to have focused on the situation in Iraq. The move marks a hardening of the Bush administration's position, despite pressure from the international community to enter into direct dialogue with Iran.

Test blast protested

Anti-detonation petition will be delivered to 2 Utah senators
By Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, UT

ST. GEORGE — A petition urging the federal government to stop its plans for detonating 700 tons of explosives in the Nevada desert is planned to be hand-delivered to the St. George offices of Utah's senior senators today.

"This round of petitions is just the beginning, a first installment of Utahns finding their voices," said Helene Stone, one of the St. George residents organizing a petition drive that has garnered more than 600 signatures against the proposed weapons test called Divine Strake.

Protesters try to stop Pentagon blast in Nevada

Kaitlin Sevy works on making a sign that reads "Test the Bomb on Mars" on May 13 at Bluff Street Park in St. George, Utah, during a gathering of those opposed to the Divine Strake test scheduled to take place at the Nevada Test Site in June.

By Brian Passey, USA TODAY
ST. GEORGE, Utah — Residents downwind of the Nevada Test Site are fighting to block a non-nuclear blast scheduled there in June, mainly because of the legacy of Cold War atomic testing.

Idahoans demand Divine Strake info

The Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON - Members of Idaho's congressional delegation are the latest to demand more information from the Pentagon about Divine Strake, a massive detonation scheduled to take place at the Nevada Test Site. "We just want to make sure that people are safe," said Dan Whiting, spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. "Senator Craig recognizes the need for the test and the weapons work that goes on in Nevada. We just want to make sure we don't harm fellow Americans." Whiting said that, thus far, the precautions appear to be adequate. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency proposes detonating 700 tons of explosives above a tunnel on the test site to help it make computer models to predict ground shaking and tunnel damage. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jim Matheson have raised concerns about the possibility that soil contaminated by past nuclear testing at the Nevada site could become airborne and create a risk to Utah residents downwind. Air quality officials in Nevada have also asked the Pentagon and National Nuclear Security Administration for more information on the test, and a Nevada Indian tribe and a group of Utah Downwinders - individuals sickened by their exposure to fallout from Cold War tests - have sued to block the test. - Robert Gehrke

Congressional Hearing on Iran Today

OK, it's not a "hearing" because the Republicans won't support it, and it's in the basement of the Capitol, a spot we've become familiar with. But it's an effort by Congresswomen Woolsey and Lee to get at some truth.

Press Release:

Congressional Progressive Caucus
“62 Strong and Growing”

PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CO-CHAIRS AND MEMBERS TO HOST FIRST IN SERIES OF PUBLIC FORUMS AND AD HOC HEARINGS: WOULD WAR WITH IRAN HELP OR HURT U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY?

IRAN: NEITHER U.S. AGGRESSION NOR THEOCRATIC REPRESSION

http://www.cpdweb.org

As the Administration escalates its threats against Iran, we are writing to invite you to sign the Campaign for Peace and Democracy statement "Iran: Neither U.S. Aggression Nor Theocratic Repression-A call for a new, democratic U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East." The text is below. If you would like to add your name or donate to publicize the statement, please go to our website www.cpdweb.org (if for any reason you have difficulty at the website, just send us an email at cpd@igc.org

Paranoia as Policy: How Bush Brewed the Iran Crisis

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, http://www.counterpunch.org

Why did the Bush regime create a crisis over Iran?

The answer is that the Bush regime is desperate to widen the war in the Middle East.

What has Iran done? Unlike Israel, Pakistan and India, countries that developed nuclear weapons on the sly, Iran signed the non-proliferation treaty. Countries that sign this treaty have the right to develop nuclear energy. The International Atomic Energy Agency monitors their energy programs to guard against the programs being used to cloak a weapons program. Until the Bush regime provoked a crisis, Iran was cooperating with the inspection safeguards. The weapons inspectors have found no Iranian weapons programs.

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