Irangardy

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Archive for June, 2010

Obviously, Iran Would Retaliate Against U.S. Attacks

Posted by alanmirs on June 15, 2010


Obviously, Iran Would Retaliate Against U.S. Attacks
If most Iranians support the nuclear program, and all Iranians oppose foreign
military attacks on their country, what makes Fly and Kristol think that the
government will have any choice except to retaliate to satisfy popular anger and
demands for retribution?
The hard-liners and hawks within Iran’s government
would be greatly aided by any foreign attack, and they would exploit the
opportunity to increase their hold on power and to quash any political
opposition by portraying dissent as subversive. American hawks should be
familiar with how this works, since they have practiced doing these very things
against their domestic opponents

In disguise of democracy

This article clearly demonstrate
the American ruler’s ego using all illegal, immoral, unethical thinking and
actions to dominate other nations

 

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Iran sanctions cripple the UN

Posted by alanmirs on June 14, 2010


Iran sanctions cripple the UN
 By
Massoud Parsi

The vote to
increase sanctions on Iran might not produce the intended results [AFP]

After six months of intense US and Israeli lobbying, the UN Security
Council has voted for a new round of sanctions against Iran.

But most commentators agree that Resolution 1929 is so watered down –
as a result of Chinese and Russian efforts – that it will have little
or no impact on Iran’s nuclear energy programme or Iranian trade and
economic development.

Iran has lived with similar sanctions for more than three decades and
with none of the country’s key economic sectors targeted by the new
sanctions – and many provisions in the new resolution voluntary rather
than mandatory – there is no reason to believe that Iran will face any
serious hardship now.

The timing of this latest round of sanctions – coming a few days
before the first anniversary of Iran’s controversial presidential
elections and a few weeks after what was hailed by many as a landmark
nuclear fuel swap deal between Turkey, Brazil and Iran – raises many
questions.

Key among these is why did the Americans reject Iran’s fuel swap
offer and how could such toothless sanctions be considered a step in the
right direction?

Undermined and delegitimised

The only feasible rationale for imposing further sanctions in the
face of Iran’s obvious willingness to negotiate must be found not in any
wish to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons, but instead in the
geopolitical interests of a few power-hungry countries – and their
allies and client states – who possess an undemocratic veto power in the
UN.

The UN, it appears, does not desire a nuclear-free Middle East.

After the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles, such actions by the UN
Security Council only serve to further delegitimise the UN and to
undermine its charter.

While the first round of sanctions against Iran were unanimously
adopted, this latest round – the fourth in as many years – was called "a
mistake" by Turkey and Brazil, who voted against the motion, while
Lebanon abstained – pointing to the clear lack of consensus within the
council.

Glaring contradictions

The senseless nature of the situation was immediately obvious as
statements emerged from various quarters.

Ahmadinejad is
the most willing partner for rapprochement with the US [GALLO/GETTY]

On the one hand there were the Chinese who argued for negotiations as
the best way forward both before and after voting in favour of further
sanctions.

This stance may have been intended as a clever public relations
exercise, but its inherent contradiction is glaring.

China has gained a far greater share of Iran’s trade and investment
opportunities over the past decade and has managed to further boost her
opportunities by taking the West for a "voluntary sanctions" ride that
is destined to further isolate the latter from Iran’s market.

There are several emerging markets and technological alternatives in
the new post-financial crisis world economic order.

While Iran certainly does not need greater economic cooperation with
the West, the latter’s insistence on limiting their own trade
opportunities with one of the world’s largest economies – and one that
owns vast amounts of natural gas and oil – is quite baffling.

It does, however, make good sense to Chinese strategists.

Shrewd geopolitical game

Russia too has played its geopolitical game shrewdly. Iran’s huge gas
reserves threaten Russia’s dominance in supplying Europe and others.
Further "voluntary sanctions" by the latter help to maintain Russia’s
improving position.

in depth

 

Who’s
afraid of Iran?

  Video:
Mystery over Iranian scientist deepens
  Inside
Story:
Reassessing the world nuclear order
  Inside
Story:
A world without atomic weapons
  Riz Khan: Global nuclear disarmament
  Empire:
Iran – influence or threat?
  Countdown:
The Iran/Israel arms race

Furthermore, closer collaboration between Iran and the US would
reduce the Americans’ losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reduce
Russia’s influence. Russia would much rather keep Iran and the US at
each other’s throats.

It is for this reason that Russia can vote for sanctions ostensibly
designed to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, while at the same time
planning to open a new nuclear power station in Iran in August.

Russia is also talking about helping to build new nuclear sites in
Iran, and even reserves the right to supply Iran with the kind of
weapons that would effectively defend Iran’s nuclear installations
against any foreign attack.

All of these "exemptions" were included in a UN resolution allegedly
aimed at reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

So a geopolitical game looks set to continue with comical
consequences.

‘Nuclear apartheid’

With nothing offered in return for its willingness to negotiate, Iran
has no incentive to return to nuclear talks.

With limited options left for talks with Iran, the US will continue
to limp along in the Middle East, stuck in quagmires and spending beyond
its means while anti-American sentiments are further boosted in the
region.

At the same time, the Europeans decline in economic terms and global
influence, while the Chinese and Russians continue to rise.

Add to this a shameless display of what may be described as "nuclear
apartheid" by the nuclear-armed culprits at the direct expense of the
non-proliferation agenda.

After decades of aimless talks, the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) recently managed to put Israel’s known illegal nuclear
weapons on the agenda.

But what hope can the world really have for a serious debate when it
is only Iran – which has no nuclear weapons and which has endured more
than 4,000 invasive IAEA inspections to date – that faces sanctions?

Ahmadinejad: A willing partner

It is hard to fathom what real long-term benefits the US is hoping to
gain from its obstructionism and exceptionalism when it comes to the
nuclear debate.

Perhaps the US administration imagined that by pressing for more
sanctions just before the June 12 anniversary, it may undermine the
Iranian regime.

But the Iranian opposition’s position on the nuclear issue is no less
determined. And no Iranian group can hope to gain power by challenging
the Iranian government on the basis of foreign dictates. To imagine
otherwise is to misunderstand Iranians.

In fact, and despite the rhetoric, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian
president, has turned out to be the most willing partner for
rapprochement with the US in a long time.

He has made several gestures, starting with a congratulatory letter
to Barack Obama, the US president, upon his election, and a daring
proposal for a nuclear fuel swap deal that was largely in line with a
proposal made by the UN six months earlier.

But Obama has responded with New Year messages to the Iranian people
and sanctions against their economy.

On no known occasion has the current – or previous – US
administration made any direct approach to the Iranian leaders for
talks. Quite the opposite: Whether it is the nuclear issue or Middle
East affairs, Iran has been pointedly excluded from the list of
invitees.

Irrelevant and biased

So, with the negotiations door firmly shut by the West, Iran has
little option but to turn its back on the UN’s nuclear apartheid
policies, and to continue to build its economy and strategic relations
with the countries of the South, while those of the North continue to
isolate themselves.

To the great majority of the people of Iran and the wider world, the
UN Security Council is growing increasingly irrelevant and biased.

The US’ games have in effect crippled the UN.

Perhaps this is one of those hidden aims too, not just to elevate the
US position versus the UN, but also to ensure that US allies never face
the consequences of their excesses, including those on the nuclear
issue.

Massoud Parsi is a development economist and commentator
on Iranian affairs.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own
and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/06/2010612175820455952.html

 

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“Arrest Me, I am a Terrorist”

Posted by alanmirs on June 12, 2010


Posted by codepink at 11:14 am
June 11, 2010

“Arrest Me, I am a
Terrorist”

Americans who supported, organized, or
were on the flotilla headed to Gaza with humanitarian aid stormed the
office of U.S. Congressmen Brad Sherman and turned themselves in for
their “crimes.” The stunt was in response to Sherman’s call for
Americans on the flotilla be arrested for helping “terrorists.”


Col. Ann Wright (ret.), a former U.S.
diplomat, Gaza Freedom March organizer, and a passenger aboard the
recent Freedom Flotilla, stated that: “Nine aid workers were murdered
by Israeli commandos, and more than fifty were wounded. I want to look
Brad Sherman in the eye and see if he has any sense for the gravity of
this situation. If Sherman wants to have us arrested – we’ll be there.”

Congressman
Brad Sherman (D-CA) has publicly called for the arrest and prosecution
of “any U.S. citizens who were aboard or involved with the Freedom
Flotilla” under the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
. Rep. Sherman serves on the
House
Foreign Affairs Committee
, and chairs the subcommittee on terrorism
and nonproliferation.

According to Rep. Sherman: “[It’s]
absolutely illegal for any American to give food, money, school
supplies, paper clips, concrete …so I will be asking the Attorney
General to prosecute any American involved in what was clearly an effort
to give items of value to a terrorist organization.”

Rep. Sherman
also stated that he was planning on working with the Department
of Homeland Security
to make sure all non-U.S. citizens aboard the
Flotilla would be permanently barred from entering the U.S. This list
includes Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, former UN assistant
secretary general Denis Halliday, as well as a number of
parliamentarians and government officials from Ireland, Britain, Spain,
Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine,
and Israel.

Ramzi Kysia, an organizer with the Free Gaza
Movement
, said that: “Rep. Sherman is welcome to arrest me and try
to make his case to a jury of my peers. Delivering humanitarian aid to
people in need is not ‘terrorism.’ Brad Sherman is a prime example of
just how degenerate our political discourse has become on Capitol Hill.”

The
action illustrates the disconnect between a U.S. Congress which
supports Israel unrelentingly, a White House that calls policies in Gaza
unsustainable, and an international community condemning Israel’s raid
of the flotilla.

You can help share
the truth about the Gaza flotilla with your
Congressperson
and friends
and also donate
to send Ret. Col. Ann Wright on a speaking tour about the
flotilla and siege of Gaza.

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“Smoking Gun” Proves Israeli Siege of Gaza Isn’t About Security

Posted by alanmirs on June 12, 2010


Posted by Joshua Holland at 9:50 am
June
11, 2010

“Smoking Gun”
Proves Israeli Siege of Gaza Isn’t About Security

I’ve tried to hammer home the point that the brutal
siege of Gaza has nothing to do with Israel’s “right to defend herself.”
On Monday, I
wrote
:

For supporters of the siege, the value of
the defense argument is simple to grasp. Intercepting weapons is a
military objective. In international law, an occupying power has broad
leeway in the use of force to accomplish military objectives. The siege
of Gaza is, and always was, meant to crush Gaza’s economy, impose severe
suffering on the population and ultimately make it impossible for Hamas
to govern. The Israeli government has not hidden this fact.  As J
Street put it, “Israeli officials have repeatedly characterized their
blockade policy in the following terms: ‘No prosperity, no development,
no humanitarian crisis.’” When the siege was first imposed, Dov
Weisglass, an adviser to then Prime-Minister Ehud Olmert, explained,
“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them
die of hunger.”

The blockade’s
objective is political, not military. It’s a collective punishment of
the entire population of Gaza (approximately half of whom are under 18
years of age). It is a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. It’s a
serious crime. And the world is calling for Israel to bring it to an
end, not to stop intercepting weapons.

Last week, I
explained why it’s a serious crime here.
When we published those pieces, we got the usual flurry of outraged
feedback — accusations of hopeless bias, running ridiculously skewed
analyses and delegitimizing Israel out of sheer, irrational animosity.

But
on Wednesday, McClatchy reported that it had obtained an Israeli
government document that leaves no further doubt about  the true goals
of the Gaza blockade. It is, as I have said, collective punishment for
electing Hamas, a gradual strangulation of the people of Gaza — young
and old, innocent and guilty– under an intentional man-made humanitarian
crisis.

McClatchy:

As Israel ordered a slight easing of its
blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli
government document that describes the blockade not as a security
measure but as “economic warfare” against the Islamist group Hamas,
which rules the Palestinian territory.

Israel imposed severe
restrictions on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas won elections and took
control of the coastal enclave after winning elections there the
previous year, and the government has long said that the aim of the
blockade is to stem the flow of weapons to militants in Gaza.

[…]

However,
in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the
Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of
economic warfare.

“A country has the right to decide that it
chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic
assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to
operate using ‘economic warfare,’” the government said.

McClatchy
obtained the government’s written statement from Gisha, the Legal Center
for Freedom of Movement, which sued the government for information
about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the
government delivered its statement earlier this year.

Sari Bashi,
the director of Gisha, said the documents prove that Israel isn’t
imposing its blockade for its stated reasons, but rather as collective
punishment for the Palestinian population of Gaza. Gisha focuses on
Palestinian rights.

[…]

The Israeli government took an
additional step Wednesday and said the economic warfare is intended to
achieve a political goal. A government spokesman, who couldn’t be named
as a matter of policy, told McClatchy that authorities will continue to
ease the blockade but “could not lift the embargo altogether as long as
Hamas remains in control” of Gaza.

[…]

Israel’s blockade
of Gaza includes a complex and ever-changing list of goods that are
allowed in. Items such as cement or metal are barred because they can be
used for military purposes, Israeli officials say.

According to
figures published by Gisha in coordination with the United Nations,
Israel allows in 25 percent of the goods it had permitted into Gaza
before the Hamas takeover. In the years prior to the closure, Israel
allowed an average of 10,400 trucks to enter Gaza with goods each month.
Israel now allows approximately 2,500 trucks a month.

The figures
show that Israel also has limited the goods allowed to enter Gaza to 40
types of items, while before June 2007 approximately 4,000 types of
goods were listed as entering Gaza.

As I wrote
earlier this week,

The Israeli government is an
occupying power that exercises “effective control” over Gaza. Some have
argued that Gaza is an independent entity at war with Israel, and the
Israeli Supreme Court agreed, ruling that Israel “had no commitment ‘to
deal with the welfare of the residents of the Gaza Strip or to allow
unlimited amounts of goods and merchandise’ to pass through, but only
vital and humanitarian goods.”

But outside of Israel it’s not a
serious claim. According to the United Nations, “Gaza, the West Bank and
East Jerusalem [are designated] as Occupied Palestinian Territory… that
definition hasn’t changed.” The United States government, Israel’s
closest ally, says unambiguously: “West Bank and Gaza Strip are
Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian
Interim Agreement… permanent status to be determined through further
negotiation; Israel removed settlers and military personnel from the
Gaza Strip in August 2005.”

If you you like it wonky,
you can check out three legal analyses here,
here
and here (PDF).

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There Is a Method to Israel’s Madness

Posted by alanmirs on June 12, 2010


   

There Is a Method to Israel’s Madness

A new Middle East is being born – and there
seems to be only one place for Israel: isolation. With that comes an
inevitable, somewhat crazed approach to diplomacy.
June 10, 2010  |  
 
 

http://www.alternet.org/story/147169/there_is_a_method_to_israel%27s_madness

June 10, 2010  |  
 

 
 
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Why would Israel, in a deliberate and methodical
operation planned over a week in advance – according to statements by
senior Israeli military commanders made in Hebrew-language media days
before the attack – target an unarmed ship on a humanitarian mission
flying the flag of Comoros? (Unlike Turkey, Comoros is a party of the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction
over war crimes committed on vessels of member states.)

 

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Iran will remain defiant on economic sanctions

Posted by alanmirs on June 11, 2010


The Irish Times
Friday, June 11, 2010

Iran will remain defiant on economic
sanctions

Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr
Mottaki speaks to
MARY FITZGERALD , Foreign Affairs Correspondent

IRAN’S
foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, yesterday shrugged off the
prospect of further EU sanctions beyond those approved by the UN
Security Council earlier this week.

European leaders are expected
to agree next week on the need for more sanctions on Iran over its
nuclear enrichment programme. Diplomats say the measures could be
finalised in July.

“Whatever action Europe decides to take, we
will take commensurate action in response,” Mottaki told The Irish Times
yesterday.

“In the past few years, when it comes to the relations
between Iran and Europe, in those instances where there has been a drop
in relations, very easily we have managed to fill the gap and find
replacements in other parts of the world.”

Speaking in Dublin
during a two-day visit, Mottaki declared the UN Security Council’s
action “illegal”; he insisted that the sanctions would have no economic
impact on Iran; and he reiterated that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions go no
further than seeking atomic power for peaceful, energy purposes.

“The
[Security Council] cannot punish a state for allegations which have not
been proven. Such actions bring into question its standing and good
name,” he said.

Mottaki, dressed in the standard white-shirted,
tieless garb of Iranian officials, noted that this week’s resolution,
passed with 12 votes in favour, received the least support of all four
Iran sanctions resolutions adopted since 2006. This, he argued, showed
that President Obama “does not have the necessary authority” to persuade
others.

“The problem is you cannot trust what Mr Obama says and
he cannot keep his promises . . . it seems that the power of some other
sources in the United States is more than that of Mr Obama,” he said.

“He
has been successful in talking but everybody was waiting for his
success in action. Unfortunately until now there is nothing there. I
heard a joke that it would be good if Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama changed
positions with each other.”

In light of this week’s sanctions
vote, Mottaki said a Turkey and Brazil brokered deal, under which Iran
agreed to send some of its low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for
specially processed fuel, required a “serious review” but did not
divulge what this might entail.

He rejected suggestions that
incidents, including the discovery last year that Iran had been secretly
developing an enrichment plant near Qom, create the impression that
Tehran cannot be trusted on the issue of its nuclear ambitions.

“This
impression is not a correct impression,” he said.

“To clear up
any possible ambiguities in the minds of others, we clearly announced
that after the facilities in Qom we intend to build 10 other facilities,
and this is well before any construction happens on the ground.”

Iranian
officials have been highly critical of Yukiya Amano, who last year
replaced Mohamed ElBaradei as head of the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA). Amano this week described Iran as a “special case”
because “of the existence of issues related to possible military
dimensions to its nuclear programme”. Asked to what extent Iran’s
relationship with the IAEA had deteriorated under its new head, Mottaki
said: “I am not going to make any judgements here. We have always
conducted ourselves within the confines of the laws and the regulations
in our interaction with any person or party, or state for that matter.”

But
he said Amano “needs to review the IAEA dossier from the very start”
and warned that the IAEA head was “not permitted to enter the spheres
which are outside his portfolio”.

Tehran has been particularly
riled by Amano’s insistence that it answer questions about its general
missile programme.

“Mr Amano cannot refer to or get himself
involved in our defensive efforts which include our missile programme to
counter the threats we are dealing with . . . every week we are
threatened with military attacks by the officials of the Zionist
regime,” Mottaki said.

Last week, Israeli prime minister Benjamin
Netanyahu defended the blockade on Gaza by declaring Israel would not
“allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza” – a reference to
accusations that Tehran funds and arms Hamas. Mottaki, after condemning
Israel’s fatal raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla as “barbaric”, rejected
this outright. “We have announced humanitarian assistance for the
people of Gaza but we do not take part in military assistance to the
Palestinians. It is impossible,” he claimed.

This weekend will
mark the first anniversary of Iran’s disputed presidential poll. Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s re-election last June prompted widespread demonstrations
which were eventually snuffed out in a brutal security crackdown. Since
then, apart from intermittent street protests, talk of divided loyalties
abounds within the country’s opaque political, security, and clerical
spheres. Many argue that the Islamic Republic faces one of its greatest
internal challenges since it came into being in 1979.

“The Islamic
Republic of Iran is experiencing a new era but it is not divided,”
Mottaki insisted. “Conditions inside the country are now completely
calm. However, it is very clear that some high ranking officials of my
country have different points of view. But, where should such different
points of view manifest themselves? In a civil society, [it] should be
at the ballot box.”

Mottaki argued that last year’s high election
turnout “created its own expectations” and hinted that authorities were
taken aback by the post-election mood.

“Such developments as took
place after the elections would have required for us to be much more
prepared. Managing an emotive condition inside the society is, I have to
admit, no easy task.” Unprompted, Mottaki mentioned the death of Neda
Soltan, the student whose shooting days after the election made her a
potent opposition symbol. Her killing, he said, needed “serious further
study”. Asked who he suspects was responsible, Mottaki replied:
“Investigations are ongoing.”

He recalled the turbulent early
years that followed the 1979 revolution. “Many people said then that the
Islamic Republic was finished but [it] managed to stand on its own two
feet . . . In the past 30 years we have weathered many ups and downs,”
he said.

“There have always been different points of view inside
Iran between Iranian officials . . . We need to try to come to terms
with these differing points of view . . . and, to the best of our
ability, push things towards a manageable situation.”

And if
people take to the streets this weekend to mark the anniversary? Should
there be a less heavy-handed security response this time?

“This
depends on the observance of the regulations,” he said. “It is natural
that if violations happen, they will carry with them their own
particular repercussions.”

A diplomatic career from MP to
foreign minister
 

From Bandar Gaz in northern Iran,
Manouchehr Mottaki studied in India before serving as an MP in the first
post-revolution Majlis (parliament) in 1980. Before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
appointed him foreign minister in 2005, Mottaki had held several key
positions in the Iranian foreign ministry, including deputy foreign
minister. He also served as Iran’s ambassador to Turkey in the 1980s and
to Japan in the late 1990s. In the 2005 presidential election, Mottaki
oversaw Ali Larijani’s campaign bid.

Larijani, Iran’s chief
nuclear negotiator between 2005 and 2007, is now speaker of the Majlis.
Mottaki’s wife is the head of human rights and women’s affairs at the
foreign ministry

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0611/1224272267891.html

 

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The myth of Iran’s ‘isolation’

Posted by alanmirs on June 11, 2010


 

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The myth of Iran’s ‘isolation’

Friday, June 11, 2010

In announcing the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing
sanctions on Iran, President Obama stressed not once but twice Iran’s
increasing "isolation" from the world. This claim is not surprising
considering that after 16 months of an "extended
hand
" policy, in response to which Iran accelerated its
nuclear program — more centrifuges, more enrichment sites, higher
enrichment levels — Iranian "isolation" is about the only achievement
to which the administration can even plausibly lay claim.

"Isolation" may have failed to deflect Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it
does enjoy incessant repetition by the administration. For example, in
his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that
"the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated." Two months later, Vice President Biden asserted that "since our
administration has come to power, I would point out that Iran is more
isolated — internally, externally — has fewer friends in the world."
At the signing of the START treaty in April, Obama declared that "those
nations that refuse to meet their obligations [to the Non-Proliferation
Treaty, i.e., Iran] will be isolated."

Really? On Tuesday, one day before the president touted passage of a
surpassingly weak U.N. resolution and declared Iran yet more isolated,
the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran gathered at a security summit in
Istanbul "in a display of regional power that appeared to be calculated
to test the United States," as the
New York Times put it
. I would add: And calculated to demonstrate
the hollowness of U.S. claims of Iranian isolation, to flaunt Iran’s
growing ties with Russia and quasi-alliance with Turkey, a NATO member
no less.

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Apart from the fact that isolation is hardly an end in itself and is
pointless if, regardless, Iran rushes headlong to become a nuclear
power, the very claim of Iran’s increasing isolation is increasingly
implausible. Just last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
hosted an ostentatious love fest in Tehran with the leaders of Turkey and
Brazil. The three raised hands together and announced a uranium transfer
deal that was designed to torpedo U.S. attempts to impose U.N.
sanctions.

Six weeks ago, Iran was elected to the U.N. Commission on the Status of
Women, a grotesque choice that mocked Obama’s attempt to isolate and
de-legitimize Iran in the very international institutions he treasures.

Increasing isolation? In the past year alone, Ahmadinejad has been
welcomed in Kabul, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Caracas, Brasilia, La Paz,
Senegal, Gambia and Uganda. Today, he is in China.

Three Iran sanctions resolutions passed in the Bush years. They were all
passed without a single "no" vote. But after 16 months of laboring to
produce a mouse, Obama garnered only 12 votes for his sorry sanctions,
with Lebanon abstaining and Turkey and Brazil voting against.

From the beginning, the Obama strategy toward Iran and other rogue
states had been to offer goodwill and concessions on the premise that
this would lead to one of two outcomes: (a) the other side changes
policy, or (b) if not, the world isolates the offending state and
rallies around us — now that we have demonstrated last-mile good
intentions.

Hence, nearly a year and a half of peace overtures, negotiation,
concessions, two New Year’s messages to the Iranian people, a bit of groveling about U.S. involvement in the 1953 coup and a
disgraceful silence when the regime’s very stability was threatened by
peaceful demonstrators.

Iran’s response? Defiance, contempt and an acceleration of its nuclear
program.

And the world’s response? Did it rally behind us? The Russians and
Chinese bargained furiously and successfully to hollow out the sanctions
resolution. Turkey is openly choosing sides with the region’s "strong
horse" — Iran and its clients (Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas) — as it
watches the United States flailingly try to placate Syria and appease
Iran while it pressures Israel, neglects Lebanon and draws down its
power in the region.

To say nothing of Brazil. Et tu, Lula?

This comes after 16 months of assiduously courting these powers with one
conciliatory gesture after another: "resetting" relations with Russia,
kowtowing to China, lavishing a two-day visit on Turkey highlighted by a
speech to the Turkish parliament in Ankara, and elevating Brazil by
supplanting the G-8 with the G-20. All this has been read as American
weakness, evidence that Obama can be rolled.

The result is succinctly, if understatedly, captured in Wednesday’s Post
headline "U.S. alliance against Iran is showing new signs of
vulnerability."

You think?

letters@charleskrauthammer.com

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/10/AR2010061004110.html

 

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Lula’s Iran Triumph Comes at the Rightful Expense of the United States: La Republica, Peru

Posted by alanmirs on June 7, 2010


Lula’s Iran Triumph Comes at the Rightful Expense of the United States: La Republica, Peru | The Moderate Voice

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Lula’s Iran Triumph Comes at the Rightful Expense of the United
States: La Republica, Peru

Posted by WILLIAM KERN in At
TMV
.
May 30th, 2010

This article from
Peru’s La Republica
about the recent nuclear deal brokered by Brazil and
Turkey with Iran not only gives a sense of what a global megastar Brazil
President Lula has become, but it underscores the continuing enmity felt by
Latin Americans toward the United States and perceived U.S. double standards in
regard to Israel.

For La
Republica
, Nicolas Lynch
writes in part:

For Brazil President Lula, the agreement reached last week among the leaders
of Brazil, Turkey and Iran to transfer half of Iran’s uranium to be enriched on
Turkish soil and then return it to Iran to use for peaceful purposes is a
triumph of the first order. To begin with, the agreement upends the U.S.
strategy of seeking to force Iran under – the threat of bombing – to stop its
nuclear program and then restart it under the terms of the great powers. On the
following day, however difficult, the U.S. obtained the commitment of France,
Germany, China and Russia on a draft agreement for what would be the fourth set
of U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran – unless the country reaches a deal
with the major powers. But the world has already seen that another arrangement
with the Iranian regime is possible – one that differs from the way of the U.S.
bully.

The way the major powers have treated Iran, while guided by the laudable goal
of limiting the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, lacks legitimacy
due to the double standards they apply in the Middle East.

Lula’s initiative proves that mid-sized countries like Brazil, Turkey and
perhaps others like South Africa and India can bring fresh air to global
politics, presenting new initiatives for solving intractable age-old problems.
Beyond the doubts about his recent activity, the president of Iran pointed out
an essential issue: the lack of confidence in what the major powers can
accomplish – especially the United States. We Latin Americans, who have
experienced first hand for over a century being in the claws of the Yankee, know
that this isn’t a country upon which one can rely. Hence, these new actors may
be able to provide that missing confidence and offer a healthier path for global
affairs.

READ ON AT
WORLDMEETS.US
, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news
and views about our nation.

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Israel raises nuke threat to Iran By IRA CHERNUS

Posted by alanmirs on June 5, 2010


Israel raises nuke threat to Iran – Arab News

Saturday 05 June 2010  |  Saturday, Jumada II 22, 1431  | Last
updated at 08:46
Arab news

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Home /  Middle-East /  Israel raises nuke
threat to Iran

Israel raises nuke threat to Iran

By IRA CHERNUS

Published: Jun 5, 2010 00:01
Updated: Jun 5, 2010 00:01

In CommonDreams.org. Ira Chernus writes about Israel’s ability to
spin out excuses for their violences, each more imaginative, with the latest
explanation to the Israeli people on the assault on the ‘Freedom Flotilla’
bordering on the absurd.

You’ve got to give Israel’s leaders credit for creativity, if for nothing
else. They never run out of new excuses for their violence, each more
imaginative (and imaginary) than the last. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
just gave his official explanation to the Israeli people for the deaths on the
Mavi Marmara. And guess whose fault it was. (Are you ready for this?) Iran!

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, since Netanyahu and most of Israel have been
obsessed with Iran as the source of all evil for years now. But how did he make
such far-fetched connection? Simple: "Iran is continuing to smuggle weapons into
Gaza. It is our obligation to prevent these weapons from being brought in by
land and sea. … If the blockade had been broken, dozens and hundreds more
ships carrying weapons could have come."

From chocolate for kids to missiles for terrorists, just like that. It’s an
easy leap for minds trapped in a sense of powerlessness and victimhood that "is
nothing less than pathological." That’s how Henry Siegman, former head of the
American Jewish Congress, described the twisted logic of Netanyahu, whose
message is always "that the whole world is against Israel and that Israelis are
at risk of another Holocaust" — especially if Iran gets even one nuclear weapon,
Israel’s PM insists at every opportunity.

Yet this is a particularly infelicitous time for Netanyahu to be raising the
imaginary specter of an Iranian nuclear weapon — which doesn’t exist and may
very well never exist — for two reasons.

First, the world is starting to pay much more attention to Israel’s nuclear
weapons, which certainly do exist, in great quantity. (The best estimates often
run as high as 200.)  Press coverage of the recent Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty conference, even in the US mass media, highlighted the issue. At the
conference, all NPT members called for a 2012 meeting to begin turning the
Middle East, including Israel, into a nuclear-free zone. That would mean
inspecting Israel’s nuclear arsenal and making sure it is dismantled. Even the
US agreed to the call, hoping to gain wider support for stopping Iran’s
supposedly menacing nuclear program.

But who should really be afraid of nuclear attack? That brings us to the
second reason Netanyahu might want to keep the spotlight off Iran and the
nuclear issue. Three Israeli submarines are heading to the Persian Gulf, where
they will be stationed permanently, just off the coast of Iran.  They can stay
at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged for at least a week. They’re
equipped with cruise missiles that can reach any target in Iran. And some of
those cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in
the Israeli arsenal.

Though that story was reported by The Times of London and several Israeli
newspapers, it got little if any notice in the US mass media. And now that all
eyes are on the terrible attack at sea, it’s not likely to get any notice.
Perhaps that’s why Netanyahu could risk giving Iran such a central role in his
concocted version of the Mavi Marmara tragedy.

No one is paying attention to the central fact: Even if Iranian missiles were
being smuggled into Gaza, they would be mere firecrackers compared to the
nuclear missiles that Israel plans to keep permanently in range of Tehran and
every other city in Iran.

What does the Israeli justification of the attack on the Mavi Marmara tell
the Iranians? It was self-defense, Netanyahu insisted; Israel has the right to
use any violence necessary to stop ships from coming into Gaza harbor. His
defense minister, Ehud Barak, agreed, telling the commandos who carried out the
attack that "we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for
the weak." And a top Israeli Navy commander warned that Israel will use even
more aggressive force to prevent future ships, like the MV Rachel Corrie, from
breaking the blockade.

If I were an Iranian military planner, I would be listening to all this very
closely. It’s all about self-defense, right? Well Iran is in infinitely more
danger than Israel. Barak himself recently said publicly: "Right now, Iran does
not pose an existential threat to Israel." But three submarine loaded with
nuclear-armed missiles certainly pose an existential threat to Iran. And
according to Barak, Middle Eastern nations should show no mercy to the weak.

If I were that Iranian planner, my conclusion would be obvious. I would do
everything I could to find those subs and find a way to attack them. I would
destroy them if I could. I’d play by Israel’s rules and show no mercy.

Doesn’t that make perfect sense, you might ask Barak or Netanyahu. Aren’t you
just asking for it? Do you expect the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to throw up
his hands and say "I surrender"? Of course not. You know that you are throwing
more fuel on an already incendiary conflict. You know that Iranian leaders are
bound to make some new threatening gestures in return. And indeed the London
Times story reported this response from an Iranian admiral: "Anyone who wishes
to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from
us."

No, no, the Israeli leaders would reply. You don’t get it. We can’t do an
evil act. We are the good guys — by definition. When we say Middle Easterners
show no mercy, we’re talking about our enemies. They are out to destroy us — by
definition. So they’ll pounce on us as soon as we show any sign of weakness.
That’s why we have to keep on ratcheting up our show of strength, even if it’s
bound to ratchet up the conflict and criticism against us too. We’re terrified
(they’d say, if they were honest) of appearing weak.

That’s the pathology Henry Siegman was talking about. Israel has immensely
more military power than anyone else in the Middle East. Yet in their
imaginations, most Israeli Jews — and many Jews in other nations — still picture
the Jewish state as a powerless victim, the most threatened people in the
world.

In fact the London Times story, written by an Israeli reporter in Tel Aviv,
ended with this telling punch line: "Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and defense
center, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. ‘There
are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,’ he
said." What? The Israelis can now drop as many nukes as they want on Tehran or
any other Iranian city. But it’s Tel Aviv that is "the most threatened city in
the world"? Give me a break.

Yet as long as our most well-respected mass media continue to present the
pathological story of Israeli weakness as if it were fact, they’ll also give
headlines to Netanyahu’s "self-defense" story, as if that should be taken
seriously. Meanwhile they’ll ignore Israeli nuclear submarines stationed
permanently off the coast of Iran. It would all be funny if it were not so
tragic.

The Israelis seem to be trapped in their pathological fear of weakness. That
in no way justifies or excuses their egregious violence. But it does go far to
explain why they seem so incapable of taking even the smallest steps toward
peace.

The only force strong enough to move them is the government of the United
States. I know how frustrating it is to try to change US policy. Believe me, I
know. I’ve been working at it for nearly four decades. But now every terrible
act by the Israeli government gets much more scrutiny that it used to. Now is
not the time to stop pushing.

It is time to heed Henry Siegman’s conclusion: "The conflict continues
because US presidents — and to a far greater extent, members of the US Congress,
who depend every two years on electoral contributions — have accommodated a
pathology that can only be cured by its defiance."

It is time to defy the Israeli government, and put pressure on the US
government, by explaining to everyone, everywhere, the difference between
genuine threat — the kind of threat posed by submarines carrying nuclear
missiles — and the pathological stories spun by the likes of Barak and
Netanyahu.

— Ira Chernus is professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado
at Boulder. Read more of his writing on Israel, Pal

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article61397.ece

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