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From The Blaze:
Iran, Russia, China, and Syria plan to stage a massive war game over the next few weeks with the participation of 90,000 troops, 400 warplanes and 1,000 tanks making it the “biggest joint war game in [the] Mid-East,” the semiofficial Iranian Fars News Agency reported Tuesday.
The news agency writes from Tehran:
The Iranian, Russian, Chinese and Syrian armies are due to stage joint amphibious exercises along the Syrian costs [sic] in coming weeks, informed sources revealed on Monday.
According to informed sources, 90,000 forces from the four countries will take part in the land and sea wargames due to be held in Syria.
Ground, air and sea forces as well as air defense and missile units of the four countries will take part in the exercises.
Sources also said that Egypt has acceded to grant passage to 12 Chinese warships to sail through the Suez Canal, adding that the military convoy is due to dock at the Syrian harbors in the next two weeks.
Iran War Weekly
June 17, 2012
Hello All – The third round of negotiations re: Iran’s nuclear program begins tomorrow in Moscow. They are scheduled to last two days. Though the initial round in Istanbul produced lots of optimism, the second round in Baghdad was viewed by all parties as a failure. While “the West” maintained that the negotiations failed because of Iran’s intransigence, most analysts not associated with “Western” governments thought that the inflexible and ungenerous bargaining position of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) was the reason for failure.
June 10, 2012
Hello All – The third round of negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program – between Iran and the “P5+1” (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) – is scheduled to resume in Moscow on June 18-19. The apparent success of the first meeting in Istanbul was followed by the failure of the second meeting (in Baghdad) to produce even the most minimal agreement. While the United States and the EU – and the mainstream media – blamed Iran for the failure of the Baghdad negotiations, many observers felt that the responsibility for failure lay with the inflexible US negotiating position, which failed to offer Iran any incentives for cooperation.
David Sanger's War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Sanger is New York Times chief Washington correspondent. Previously he held other posts. He's reported on foreign policy, globalization, Asian issues, and nuclear-related ones.
Cooperatively with other Times correspondents, he won two Pulitzer Prizes. Its board might consider retracting them.
Many have wondered for years about the exact capabilities of the submarines Germany exports to Israel. Now, experts in Germany and Israel have confirmed that nuclear-tipped missiles have been deployed on the vessels. And the German government has long known about it.
By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON, Jun 5, 2012 (IPS) - France and Germany were prepared in spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of its enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for nuclear weapons, but Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the United States, according to a new account by a former top Iranian nuclear negotiator.
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who had led Iran's nuclear negotiating team in 2004 and 2005, makes it clear that the reason that offer was rejected was that the George W. Bush administration refused to countenance any Iranian enrichment capability, regardless of the circumtances.
Sorting Out the Facts about Iran
By Ray McGovern
Editor Note: Neocons, including the Washington Post’seditors, keep playing games with the facts regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The plan apparently is to guide the United States into a military confrontation whether President Obama and the American people want one or not. McGovern will discuss these issues at 6:00 PM Thursday, June 7, at Random Row Books, 315 West Main St., Charlottesville, Virginia.
On the issue of Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” you hear one thing on Monday, a different thing on Tuesday. “It’s a puzzlement!” to quote Yul Brunner’s famous line in The King and I. But in this case, the confusion is hardly insignificant.
June 4, 2012
Hello All – With two weeks to go before the next round of negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, the “P5+1” shows no sign of making the accommodations necessary for some kind of deal. Instead, the US-led P5+1 has refused to consider lifting sanctions and reiterated its threats of military action. The pessimism that followed the unsuccessful talks in Baghdad has only deepened. It looks like the US-led coalition wants to wait and see whether the European Union anti-Iran oil embargo, due to go into effect on July 1, will cause Iran to agree to US/Israeli demands to end its nuclear program.
By John Grant
“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now. I sentence you to death.”
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step.
“How c-could you?” she gasped.
“It was easy.”
- Mickey Spillane, I, The Jury
The House or Representatives today agreed by voice vote to include an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act that would require the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report “containing an assessment of the consequences of a military strike against Iran.” Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the amendment. Conyers and Ellison, among others, also used the amendment process to tag the Defense authorization — another big appropriations bill likely to pass — with language stating that Congress was not authorizing war with Iran.
Today on the House floor before the vote, Conyers noted that former and current U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence officials “have raised concerns that an attack on Iran could possibly result in serious harm to the global economy and potentially ignite a regional war and even push Iran into building a nuclear weapon,” adding, “With consequences as serious as these being raised by outside and former national security experts, it’s critical that the expertise and collective wisdom of our intelligence community be added to this debate.” Watch the clip:
In a statement, J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams applauded the House voice vote adopting the Iran amendment. “Today’s vote reaffirms that Congress is hearing the warnings of American and Israeli security experts who believe that a military strike on Iran would not only fail to stop its nuclear program, but could actually trigger its acceleration,” Williams said. “Members of Congress ultimately don’t want to enter into a conflict which fails to achieve its objectives and results in devastating losses to our troops and our allies.”
Iran War Weekly
May 27, 2012
Hello All – Last week’s meeting in Baghdad – the second round in renewed negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) – had few silver linings. The only clearly positive outcome was that the parties agreed to meet again in Moscow on June 18; in terms of substance, the meeting was a failure, as the US-led coalition offered Iran little, while demanding that Iran essentially agree to end its nuclear program. The front-burner question is, why did the United States choose to put forward demands certain to end in no agreement? I’ve listed some more questions below, as well as insightful essays and reviews of the conference and its outcome.
by Stephen Lendman
When America goes to war or plans one, media scoundrels march in lockstep.
Articles, commentaries, editorials, and broadcasts feature Washington handout-style journalism.
Dr. Majid Amini is Professor of Philosophy at Virginia State University. He was born in Iran and comes from a family that has had extensive public and political participation in Iranian affairs since the turn of the 19th century. Currently he is working on two projects: one on the limits of religion in the public square and another on divine regret.
Dr. Michael Fischbach is Professor of History at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He received his doctorate in modern Middle Eastern history from Georgetown University. He researches issues relating to land and property ownership in the modern Middle East. Fischbach frequently addresses international conferences and the media, and has been a consultant for Middle Eastern negotiators as well as the Library of Congress, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Development Research Center.
David Swanson is a nationally recognized author and peace activist. He currently works with Veterans for Peace and hosts Talk Nation Radio. His most recent books include The Military Industrial Complex at 50 and When the World Outlawed War. Swanson helped to plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., in 2011, and blogs at http://davidswanson.org.
videos by David Martin
Iran Nuclear Talks in Baghdad
by Stephen Lendman
Previous nuclear talks failed. On April 14 and 15, another round convened.
Istanbul hosted so-called P5+1 countries. They include the five permanent Security Council members - America, Russia, China, Britain, and France - plus Germany.
(Remarks prepared for Richmond Peace Education Center Event in Richmond, Va., May 24, 2012)
I have a friend who's a compulsive liar.
OK it's not a friend. It's my television. And my newspaper.
According to them, the United States, as one among equals, in coalition with most of the world's good countries, is asking the evil nation of Iran for some very reasonable requests, Iran is refusing, and the result, very regrettably and reluctantly -- as an absolute last resort, albeit one we will celebrate with flags and music -- will be war.
An op-ed in the Washington Post last Friday (and you know you can trust the Washington Post, because its fervent push for war on Iraq worked out so well) said:
From the indispensable Just Foreign Policy:
Help Rand Paul Call the Question on War with Iran
Sen. Rand Paul introducing his amendment to S. 2101.
Before we have any military conflict with Iran, the Senate and the House should have at least one debate and vote on it. That’s what the Constitution and the law require; that’s what the public interest requires. And it would be better to start that debate now, when there is still a chance of rational discussion, than in the wake of some Gulf of Tonkin incident, when cable news and talk radio could steamroll Congress.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has called the question, blocking unanimous approval of a new Iran sanctions bill to force consideration of an amendment affirming that nothing in the bill would authorize the use of military force, and that military force would require explicit Congressional authorization.
Urge your Senators and Representative to support amending any pending Iran sanctions legislation to affirm that it does not authorize the use of military force and that any use of military force must be explicitly authorized by Congress.
[Please see the link at Just Foreign Policy to find your representative.]
Heightening Tensions for War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
A previous article discussed two House bills. On May 18, HR 4310 passed. It includes two hawkish anti-Iranian provisions: Sections 1221 and 1222.
So does HR 568. It expressed the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons "capability."
All 535 members of Congress are now on the record declaring that they have not authorized the use of military force against Iran in the latest round of legislation passed in the House and the Senate. This unanimous 'un-declaration' of war by Congress is a crucial victory, with particular significance given its passage on the eve of the U.S.-Iran talks in Baghdad.
The House was the first chamber to 'un-declare war', with its inclusion of a proviso in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that this legislation does not authorize war with Iran. This stipulation that "nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran" is a remarkably sober note of caution and common sense in an otherwise dangerous and reckless piece of legislation. The NDAA allocates billions of dollars of weapons that could be used for an attack on Iran and requires the administration to prepare for war and dramatically escalate the U.S. militarization of the Middle East. Notably, the NDAA exceeds the limitations on Pentagon spending that Congress agreed to in the Budget Control Act by about $8 billion--much of which is allotted for the anti-Iran weaponry.
Rep. John Conyers (MI) championed this amendment to 'un-declare' war with Iran with a bipartisan group of representatives: Rep. Ron Paul (TX), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), and Rep. Walter Jones (NC). In less than a week, Congress received more than 1,000 calls through FCNL's toll-free number from grassroots activists across the country who support this and other anti-war, pro-peace amendments that FCNL was working on. Partly as a result of your advocacy against war with Iran, the Conyers/Paul/Ellison/Jones amendment was considered so uncontroversial that it made its way into the NDAA as part of a package (called 'en bloc amendments') of non-controversial amendments, rather than going to the House floor for a separate vote.
By Fredrik Dahl
VIENNA, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog director said on Tuesday he expected to sign a deal with Iran soon to unblock an investigation into suspected work on atom bombs, potentially brightening prospects for big-power talks with Tehran to stop a drift toward conflict.
Yukiya Amano was summarizing the outcome of rare talks he conducted in Tehran on Monday, two days before six powers meet Iran's security council chief in Baghdad to test Iranian willingness to curb its nuclear program in a transparent way.
Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said his wish for access to Iran's Parchin military complex where nuclear weapons-relevant tests may have occurred would be addressed as part of the accord.
Pushing for War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Congressional hawks want war. Bipartisan support backs it. Moderates outnumber hotheads. At issue is for how long.
Saber rattling, fear mongering, and bogus accusations persisted for years. Now it's showing up in legislation. More on that below.
May 20, 2012
Hello All – The next round of negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program will take place in Baghdadbeginning on May 23. Following on the first meeting in Istanbul last month, the atmosphere leading up to the Baghdad meeting has exuded optimism. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the official optimism reflected in the US mainstream media is excessive. I’ve indicated some of my reasons for concern and foreboding down below.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after Congress passed H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013.
“In addition to language saber-rattling and preparing for war with Iran, the FY013 NDAA includes language that could undermine our diplomatic relationship with Russia and thwart the implementation of the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) follow-on. For example, the House accepted an amendment that adds to efforts to delay the implementation of START by preventing any reductions to our nuclear arsenal until the Secretary of Defense reports to Congress on Russia’s compliance with the Treaty.
“Another such amendment, adopted by voice vote in the middle of the night, singles out Russia by limiting the availability of funds for Cooperative Threat Reduction Activities with Russia until the Secretary of Defense ‘can certify that Russia is no longer supporting the Syrian regime and is not providing to Syria, North Korea or Iran any equipment or technology that contributes to the development of weapons of mass destruction.’
”Put simply, these are ploys to delay the Defense Department’s ability to implement the nuclear arms reductions as required by the START Treaty and will only raise tensions with our Russian ally,” said Kucinich.
“We should be working cooperatively with Russia to not only reduce arms but to abolish all nuclear weapons.”
Lee Calls for Cuts to Bloated Pentagon Budget, Swift Withdrawal from Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was one of 120 Members of Congress to vote against H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Lee offered amendments to the bill which would safely and responsibly bring our troops home from Afghanistan, keep Pentagon spending within the limits of the Budget Control Act, and ensure that a meaningful diplomatic option with Iran is on the table.
Lee introduced an amendment to enforce the terms of the Budget Control Act which was signed into law on August 2, 2011, to avert a government shutdown. Congress voted to limit Pentagon spending, but the House Republican leadership proposal spends$8 billion more than allowed under the Budget Control Act. The bi-partisan amendment was not adopted (170-252).
“If you Want Peace, Prepare for Peace. If you Want War, Prepare for War. The NDAA Prepares for War with Iran,” Kucinich.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2012) – Today the House is expected to vote on H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. Kucinich took to the House Floor to warn Members of the Congress that the bill prepares the United States for war with Iran. It specifically calls for aggressive deployment of our armed services to begin “credible, visible preparations for a military option.”
See video here. Kucinich’s remarks follow:
“If you want peace, you prepare for peace. If you want war, you prepare for war. The NDAA prepares for war against Iran.
“It calls for pre-positioning planes, bombs, ships, munitions and for naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz. [Sec. 1221 (b) and Sec. 1222 (A)] This is not about defense. This is about offense.
“I was a third string quarterback on not a very good varsity football team and I know the difference between defense and offense. We’re preparing to go on offense on Iran which does not have nuclear weapons and has no intention or real capability to attack the United States.
“We're about to make the same disastrous mistake we made against Iraq. This bill does not explicitly authorize war, perhaps, but that's beside the point. It’s licensing it. It sets the stage for it in an election year.
“Wake up, Congress.”
Kucinich has been educating fellow Members about the bill this week. See video of Congressman Kucinich on the House Floor here, here and here. See a flyer that Congressman Kucinich distributed to Members here.
Washington D.C. (May 17, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is urging Members to reject H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act, FY 2013 because it prepares the way for a disastrous war with Iran. Even if the House accepts a proposed amendment by John Conyers (D-MI) to state that the authorization is not a specific declaration of war, the bill still calls for aggressive redeployment of our armed services to begin “credible, visible preparations for a military option.”
Kucinich addressed the House Floor moments ago.
“To start the war in Iraq, Congress was lied to.
“To start the war in Afghanistan, Congress was misled.
“To start the war in Libya, Congress was ignored.
“To start the war in Iran, language has been hidden in the NDAA.
“The NDAA prepares for war against Iran. It has a declaration of policy which includes military action. It has a plan to pre-position aircraft, munitions and fuel for air and sea-based missions. It has a plan for maintaining sufficient naval assets in the region to launch a sustained sea and air campaign against a range of Iranian nuclear and military targets. This bill prepares for war.
“Some will say this bill doesn't authorize for war. This bill prepares for war. Even if it's amended, it prepares for war and we need to vote the bill down because it prepares for war with Iran which would be devastating to this country's interest.”
Thursday, May 17, 2012
By Dave Lindorff
The Iranian military must be enjoying the latest spectacle of Pentagon waste and bungling.
Only a few weeks ago, the US attempted to ramp up the pressure on Iran by deploying to the Persian Gulf at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, just across the gulf from Iran, a squadron of the Air Force’s spanking new and never battle-tested supersonic F-22 stealth fighter-bombers.