Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True
- 10-04-2009, 08:15 PM
Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True
Thursday is a fateful day for the world, as the US, other members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany meet in Geneva with Iran in a bid to resolve outstanding issues.
Although Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier attempted to put the nuclear issue off the bargaining table, this rhetorical flourish was a mere opening gambit and nuclear issues will certainly dominate the talks. As Henry Kissinger pointed out, these talks are just beginning and there are highly unlikely to be any breakthroughs for a very long time. Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.
But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.
Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US
Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war in modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders. http://www.juancole.com/2009/09/irgc...ile-tests.html
Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.
Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.
Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."
Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.
Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to 'wipe Israel off the map?'
Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.
Belief: But aren't Iranians Holocaust deniers?
Actuality: Some are, some aren't. Former president Mohammad Khatami has castigated Ahmadinejad for questioning the full extent of the Holocaust, which he called "the crime of Nazism." Many educated Iranians in the regime are perfectly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. In any case, despite what propagandists imply, neither Holocaust denial (as wicked as that is) nor calling Israel names is the same thing as pledging to attack it militarily.
Belief: Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.
Actuality: Iran has a nuclear enrichment site at Natanz near Isfahan where it says it is trying to produce fuel for future civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity. All Iranian leaders deny that this site is for weapons production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly inspected it and found no weapons program. Iran is not being completely transparent, generating some doubts, but all the evidence the IAEA and the CIA can gather points to there not being a weapons program. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to US signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the UK intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.
Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.
Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.
Belief: The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June's presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.
Actuality: Iran's reform movement is dead set against increased sanctions on Iran, which likely would not affect the regime, and would harm ordinary Iranians.
Belief: Isn't the Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so that a doctrine of mutally assured destruction just would not work with them?
Actuality: Iranian politicians are rational actors. If they were madmen, why haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The US elite was once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is a form of racism.
Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.
Actuality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb.
However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA's discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order.
In any case, you can't attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC.
- 10-06-2009, 01:35 PM
Meh, some truth, lots of BS. Try this:
Containing a Nuclear Iran - Fareed Zakaria
It is time to clarify the debate over Iran and its nuclear program. It's easy to criticize the current course adopted by the United States and its allies, to huff and puff about Iranian mendacity, to point out that Russia and China won't agree to tougher measures against Tehran, and to detail the leaks in the sanctions already in place. But what, then, should the United States do? The critics are eager to denounce the administration from the sidelines for being weak but rarely detail what they would do to be "tough." Would they attack Iran today? If not, then what should we do? It is time to put up or shut up on Iran.
There are three basic options that the United States and its allies have regarding Iran's nuclear program. We can bomb Iran, engage it diplomatically, or contain and deter the threat it poses. Let me outline what each would entail and then explain why I favor containment and deterrence.
Iran's nuclear ambitions are a problem. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is a danger, and the Iranian regime's foreign policy—which has involved support for militias and terrorist groups—make it a destabilizing force in the region. The country has a right to civilian nuclear energy, as do all nations. But Tehran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, submitting itself to the jurisdiction of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA says Iran has exhibited a pattern of deception and non-cooperation involving its nuclear program for 20 years—including lying about its activities and concealing sites. In that context, it makes sense to be suspicious of Iran's intentions and to ask that the IAEA routinely verify and inspect its facilities. Unless that can be achieved, Iran should pay the price for its actions. Washington's current strategy is to muster international support to impose greater costs, while at the same time negotiating with Iran to find a solution that gives the world greater assurance that the Iranian program is purely civilian in nature.
It is an unsatisfying, frustrating approach. The Russians and Chinese want to trade with Iran and will not impose crippling sanctions. (Nor would India or Brazil, nor most other major developing countries.) Even if there were some resolution, it would depend on inspections in Iran, and the Iranians could probably hide things from the inspectors and cheat. They do occasionally make concessions, including significant ones last week—to open the newly revealed Qum facility to inspectors and to send uranium to Russia for enrichment (which Tehran announced just as columnists were declaring that negotiations were sure to lead to nothing). But there will be setbacks as well. The cat-and-mouse game will continue.
One way to get instant gratification would be military force. The United States or Israel could attack Iran from the air. To be effective, such an attack would have to be large-scale and sustained, probably involving dozens and dozens of sorties over several days. The campaign would need to strike at all known Iranian facilities as well as suspected ones. Such an attack would probably not get at everything. Iran's sites are buried in mountains, and there are surely some facilities that we do not know about. But it would deal a massive blow to the Iranian nuclear program.
The first thing that would happen the day after such an offensive begins would be a massive outpouring of support for the Iranian regime. This happens routinely when a country is attacked by foreign forces, no matter how unpopular the government. Germany invaded Russia at the height of Stalin's worst repression—and the country rallied behind Stalin. The Iranian regime itself was in deep trouble in 1980, facing internal dissension and mass dissatisfaction, when Saddam Hussein attacked, throwing a lifeline to the mullahs. Recall that George W. Bush's approval rating on Sept. 10, 2001, was about 40 percent. After 9/11, it quickly climbed to 93 percent. The -Iranian dissident Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoeini said to me, "If there were an attack, all of us would have to come out the next day and support the government. It would be the worst scenario for the opposition." Last week opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi warned that tightening sanctions would hurt ordinary people and turn them against the United States, not the regime.
The Iranians would respond in the wake of such an attack. In fact, they have probably been preparing a series of "asymmetrical" measures, which would involve activating militias they fund and arm in Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps also in Lebanon and Gaza. Those who argue that Iran is a sinister and powerful force manipulating terror groups across the region have to accept that Tehran will then be able to raise the temperature everywhere it has influence. I don't actually believe Iran is all that powerful, but it does have its allies, and they will almost certainly destabilize parts of Afghanistan and Iraq, which will mean a higher death toll for American soldiers and a political setback in those countries.
Then there is the political fallout. The reaction of the "Arab street" is often exaggerated, but an American or Israeli military attack would clearly put pro-American forces on the defensive in the Islamic world, delight groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and give terrorists a great new recruiting tool. Whatever the explanations offered by Washington, this would be the third Muslim country that America would have invaded in the eight years since 9/11, something that could easily be construed as a pattern.
The gain from an attack, on the other hand, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates points out, would be to delay, not end, the Iranian program, perhaps by a few years but no more. The regime has oil money, and with heightened national support and resolve, it could quickly rebuild most of its facilities. That's why the military option is just not worth the costs. And pretending that we are going to attack, when it is not a real option, is a hollow threat. You can posture as a columnist but not as the president of the United States.
There is an entirely different approach that some have advocated for a while. This strategy—engagement—is rooted in the belief that the United States has never really understood Iran's concerns and never negotiated in good faith with the regime. It argues that Iranians have legitimate security fears: there are tens of thousands of U.S. troops on either side of its border; Washington makes no secret of its desire for regime change; the CIA funds groups seeking to overthrow the government; and so on. When Iran has made gestures, such as suspending nuclear enrichment for two years, Washington has not reciprocated. American support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War remains a source of justifiable bitterness among Iran's leaders, many of whom fought in that conflict.
So, the feeling goes, Washington needs to make a much more active effort to engage the Iranians, listening and responding to their concerns, allaying their suspicions, ending "regime change" policies and offering the real prospect of recognition to the Islamic Republic and normal relations with the United States. If we lessen their fears and concerns, in this view, Tehran's leaders will be more likely to cooperate on the nuclear front.
There is something to this line of thinking. The Iranians do have some legitimate security concerns. They live in a neighborhood surrounded by nuclear powers—Israel, Russia, China, India, and Pakistan. The Bush administration did needlessly alienate Iran right after Tehran had cooperated with Washington to oust the Taliban and set up the Karzai government in Kabul. And it ignored any gestures or concessions made by the reformist government of Mohammad Khatami, further undermining an already weak president.
But the fundamental analysis is flawed. I do not believe the Iranian regime, at its core, wants normalized relations with America. Isolation from the West and hostility toward the United States are fundamental pillars that prop up the current regime—the reason that this system of government came into being and what sustains it every day. This is not simply a matter of ideology— though that is important—but economics. Those who rule in Tehran have created a closed, oligarchic economy that channels the country's oil revenues into the coffers of its religious foundations (for compliant clerics) and the increasingly powerful Revolutionary Guard. They benefit from a closed economy that they can manipulate. An opening to the world, which would mean more trade, commerce, and contact with the United States, would strengthen Iran's civil society, its trading class, its students, its bourgeoisie, and thus strengthen opposition to the regime.
The rulers of Iran do not want to open up to the world, except on their terms and in targeted ways that increase their own wealth and power. People sometimes speak about a "China option" for Iran, in which Tehran would engage the world economically but remain politically repressive. But China genuinely opened up its economy and society to the outside world and brought market forces to bear, empowering new groups and creating a large economy outside the purview of the government. What Iran probably seeks out of this engagement is a "Russia option," in which the regime gains greater wealth and power by trading with the West, but retains a viselike control over Iran's economy and society.
The United States has apologized for its role in the 1953 coup; it has reached out to Iran; it has offered wide-open talks. Each time, Iran has rebuffed the outstretched hand, claiming that the timing was bad, or the words used were wrong, or the offer wasn't big enough. If it is true that Washington has been wary of simply getting into talks with Tehran, the reverse is more evidently true. And until the government of Iran makes a decision that it is interested in a rapprochement, no set of words or gestures, however clever, is going to break the logjam. If Mao had not wanted to break with the Soviet Union and make peace with the United States, Ping-Pong diplomacy and even Henry Kissinger's negotiating prowess would not have produced the breakthrough of 1972.
So what does that leave? In fact, we are already moving toward a robust, workable response to the dangers of an Iranian nuclear program—one that involves sustained containment and deterrence. Iran's rise has aroused suspicion in the Arab world. Many countries in the region are developing closer ties with the United States, including military ones. In the West, European nations worry about nuclear proliferation and are irritated with Iran's deception and obstructionism. They have gotten tougher over the years in combating Iran and its proxies, and they are getting tougher at implementing some of the financial sanctions that target Iran's elites. Even Russia and China, which have tried to maintain their ties with Iran, are conscious that they cannot be seen to be utterly unconcerned about proliferation and the defiance of U.N. resolutions. So they've allowed for some actions against the Iranian regime (and according to some reports were critical to the outcome of last week's talks in Geneva).
All this means that Iran has become something of an international pariah, unable to operate with great latitude around the world. The country is in a box and, if well handled, can be kept there until the regime becomes much more transparent and cooperative on the nuclear issue. To do so, we should maintain the current sanctions but should not add broad new ones like an embargo on refined-gasoline imports. Any new measures should target the leadership and factions like the Revolutionary Guards specifically. And we should think more broadly about other ways to pressure the regime. There should be a structure within which those countries that are worried about the threat posed by Iran can meet and strategize. We should work to further align the interests of moderate Arab states with those of Israel, which could be one of the strategic boons of the circumstance. It's clear that Iran fears this potential alliance, which is why Ahmadinejad has worked so hard to present himself as the chief spokesman for the great Arab cause of Palestine. By spouting his nonsense about the Holocaust and professing his support for the Palestinians, he's trying to make it harder for leaders in Saudi Arabia to effectively take Israel's side in opposition to Tehran.
At the same time, we must stop exaggerating the Iranian threat. By hyping it, we only provide Iran with "free power," in Leslie Gelb's apt phrase. This is an insecure Third World country with a GDP that is one 40th the size of America's, a dysfunctional economy, a divided political class, and a government facing mass unrest at home. It has alienated most of its neighboring states and cuts a sorry figure on the world stage, with an international embarrassment for a president. Its forays in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Gaza have had mixed results, with the locals often growing weary of the Iranian thugs who try to control them.
The country does not yet have even one nuclear weapon, and if and when it gets one—something that is far from certain—the world will not end. The Middle East has been home to nuclear weapons for decades. If Israel's estimated -arsenal of 200 warheads, including a "second-strike capacity," has not prompted Egypt to develop its own nukes, it's not clear that one Iranian bomb would do so. (Recall that Egypt has fought and lost three wars against Israel, so it should be far more concerned about an Israeli bomb than an Iranian one.) More crucially, Israel's massive nuclear force will deter Iran from ever contemplating using or giving away its own (hypothetical) weapon. Deterrence worked with madmen like Mao, and with thugs like Stalin, and it will work with the calculating autocrats of Tehran. The Iranian regime has amply demonstrated over the past four months that it is interested in hanging on to power at all costs, jailing mullahs and ignoring its own clerical elite. These are not the actions of religious rulers about to commit mass suicide.
We should not fear to negotiate with these rulers. We talked to the Soviet Union even as we implemented a far more extensive policy of containment toward Moscow. But talks should not involve a final normalization or sanctification of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unless there is a Gorbachev-like reversal of Iran's basic approach to the world—a Persian glasnost and perestroika—there should be no reciprocal integration into the Western world.
The ultimate solution to the problem of Iran will lie in an Iranian regime that understands it has much to gain from embracing the modern world. That doesn't mean Iran would forswear its efforts to be a regional power—all the losing presidential candidates in Iran endorsed the country's nuclear program—but it does mean that Iran would be more willing to be open and transparent, and to demonstrate its peaceful intentions. It would view trade and contact with the West as a virtue, not a threat. It would return Iran to its historic role as a crossroads of commerce and capitalism, as one of the most sophisticated trading states in history, and a place where cultures mingled to produce dazzling art, architecture, poetry, and prose. This Iran would have its issues with the West, but it would not be a rogue regime, funding terrorists and secretly breaking its international agreements.
Can the West do anything to help the current regime evolve into something more open, modern, and democratic? The change has to come from within—I am not a big believer in the idea that direct American actions can magically promote reform within Iran. But we should not do anything to preclude internal evolution or more dramatic change in that country. The country is clearly deeply divided, and these divisions are not going to disappear. The British intellectual Timothy Garton Ash, who chronicled the velvet revolutions of 1989, notes that "there is a physics of diplomacy, but there is also a chemistry of politics. And ultimately, it is the chemistry of politics inside Iran, the actions and reactions within that country, that could surprise us all." One day, Iran could well take its place as a dynamic country with a regime that wants to live in the modern world. Until then, we should pursue a strategy toward the Iranian regime that preserves a cold peace.
- 10-06-2009, 02:37 PM
Two Leaks and the Deepening Iran Crisis
By George Friedman
Two major leaks occurred this weekend over the Iran matter.
In the first, The New York Times published an article reporting that staff at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear oversight group, had produced an unreleased report saying that Iran was much more advanced in its nuclear program than the IAEA had thought previously. According to the report, Iran now has all the data needed to design a nuclear weapon. The New York Times article added that U.S. intelligence was re-examining the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2007, which had stated that Iran was not actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.
The second leak occurred in the British paper The Sunday Times, which reported that the purpose of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s highly publicized secret visit to Moscow on Sept. 7 was to provide the Russians with a list of Russian scientists and engineers working on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
The second revelation was directly tied to the first. There were many, including STRATFOR, who felt that Iran did not have the non-nuclear disciplines needed for rapid progress toward a nuclear device. Putting the two pieces together, the presence of Russian personnel in Iran would mean that the Iranians had obtained the needed expertise from the Russians. It would also mean that the Russians were not merely a factor in whether there would be effective sanctions but also in whether and when the Iranians would obtain a nuclear weapon.
We would guess that the leak to The New York Times came from U.S. government sources, because that seems to be a prime vector of leaks from the Obama administration and because the article contained information on the NIE review. Given that National Security Adviser James Jones tended to dismiss the report on Sunday television, we would guess the report leaked from elsewhere in the administration. The Sunday Times leak could have come from multiple sources, but we have noted a tendency of the Israelis to leak through the British daily on national security issues. (The article contained substantial details on the visit and appeared written from the Israeli point of view.) Neither leak can be taken at face value, of course. But it is clear that these were deliberate leaks — people rarely risk felony charges leaking such highly classified material — and even if they were not coordinated, they delivered the same message, true or not.
The Iranian Time Frame and the Russian Role
The message was twofold. First, previous assumptions on time frames on Iran are no longer valid, and worst-case assumptions must now be assumed. The Iranians are in fact moving rapidly toward a weapon; have been extremely effective at deceiving U.S. intelligence (read, they deceived the Bush administration, but the Obama administration has figured it out); and therefore, we are moving toward a decisive moment with Iran. Second, this situation is the direct responsibility of Russian nuclear expertise. Whether this expertise came from former employees of the Russian nuclear establishment now looking for work, Russian officials assigned to Iran or unemployed scientists sent to Iran by the Russians is immaterial. The Israelis — and the Obama administration — must hold the Russians responsible for the current state of Iran’s weapons program, and by extension, Moscow bears responsibility for any actions that Israel or the United States might take to solve the problem.
We would suspect that the leaks were coordinated. From the Israeli point of view, having said publicly that they are prepared to follow the American lead and allow this phase of diplomacy to play out, there clearly had to be more going on than just last week’s Geneva talks. From the American point of view, while the Russians have indicated that participating in sanctions on gasoline imports by Iran is not out of the question, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev did not clearly state that Russia would cooperate, nor has anything been heard from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the subject. The Russian leadership appears to be playing “good cop, bad cop” on the matter, and the credibility of anything they say on Iran has little weight in Washington.
It would seem to us that the United States and Israel decided to up the ante fairly dramatically in the wake of the Oct. 1 meeting with Iran in Geneva. As IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei visits Iran, massive new urgency has now been added to the issue. But we must remember that Iran knows whether it has had help from Russian scientists; that is something that can’t be bluffed. Given that this specific charge has been made — and as of Monday not challenged by Iran or Russia — indicates to us more is going on than an attempt to bluff the Iranians into concessions. Unless the two leaks together are completely bogus, and we doubt that, the United States and Israel are leaking information already well known to the Iranians. They are telling Tehran that its deception campaign has been penetrated, and by extension are telling it that it faces military action — particularly if massive sanctions are impractical because of more Russian obstruction.
If Netanyahu went to Moscow to deliver this intelligence to the Russians, the only surprise would have been the degree to which the Israelis had penetrated the program, not that the Russians were there. The Russian intelligence services are superbly competent, and keep track of stray nuclear scientists carefully. They would not be surprised by the charge, only by Israel’s knowledge of it.
This, of course leaves open an enormous question. Certainly, the Russians appear to have worked with the Iranians on some security issues and have played with the idea of providing the Iranians more substantial military equipment. But deliberately aiding Iran in building a nuclear device seems beyond Russia’s interests in two ways. First, while Russia wants to goad the United States, it does not itself really want a nuclear Iran. Second, in goading the United States, the Russians know not to go too far; helping Iran build a nuclear weapon would clearly cross a redline, triggering reactions.
A number of possible explanations present themselves. The leak to The Sunday Times might be wrong. But The Sunday Times is not a careless newspaper: It accepts leaks only from certified sources. The Russian scientists might be private citizens accepting Iranian employment. But while this is possible, Moscow is very careful about what Russian nuclear engineers do with their time. Or the Russians might be providing enough help to goad the United States but not enough to ever complete the job. Whatever the explanation, the leaks paint the Russians as more reckless than they have appeared, assuming the leaks are true.
And whatever their veracity, the leaks — the content of which clearly was discussed in detail among the P-5+1 prior to and during the Geneva meetings, regardless of how long they have been known by Western intelligence — were made for two reasons. The first was to tell the Iranians that the nuclear situation is now about to get out of hand, and that attempting to manage the negotiations through endless delays will fail because the United Nations is aware of just how far Tehran has come with its weapons program. The second was to tell Moscow that the issue is no longer whether the Russians will cooperate on sanctions, but the consequence to Russia’s relations with the United States and at least the United Kingdom, France and, most important, possibly Germany. If these leaks are true, they are game changers.
We have focused on the Iranian situation not because it is significant in itself, but because it touches on a great number of other crucial international issues. It is now entangled in the Iraqi, Afghan, Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese issues, all of them high-stakes matters. It is entangled in Russian relations with Europe and the United States. It is entangled in U.S.-European relationships and with relationships within Europe. It touches on the U.S.-Chinese relationship. It even touches on U.S. relations with Venezuela and some other Latin American countries. It is becoming the Gordian knot of international relations.
STRATFOR first focused on the Russian connection with Iran in the wake of the Iranian elections and resulting unrest, when a crowd of Rafsanjani supporters began chanting “Death to Russia,” not one of the top-10 chants in Iran. That caused us to focus on the cooperation between Russia and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on security matters. We were aware of some degree of technical cooperation on military hardware, and of course on Russian involvement in Iran’s civilian nuclear program. We were also of the view that the Iranians were unlikely to progress quickly with their nuclear program. We were not aware that Russian scientists were directly involved in Iran’s military nuclear project, which is not surprising, given that such involvement would be Iran’s single-most important state secret — and Russia’s, too.
A Question of Timing
But there is a mystery here as well. To have any impact, the Russian involvement must have been under way for years. The United States has tried to track rogue nuclear scientists and engineers — anyone who could contribute to nuclear proliferation — since the 1990s. The Israelis must have had their own program on this, too. Both countries, as well as European intelligence services, were focused on Iran’s program and the whereabouts of Russian scientists. It is hard to believe that they only just now found out. If we were to guess, we would say Russian involvement has been under way since just after the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, when the Russians decided that the United States was a direct threat to its national security.
Therefore, the decision suddenly to confront the Russians, and suddenly to leak U.N. reports — much more valuable than U.S. reports, which are easier for the Europeans to ignore — cannot simply be because the United States and Israel just obtained this information. The IAEA, hostile to the United States since the invasion of Iraq and very much under the influence of the Europeans, must have decided to shift its evaluation of Iran. But far more significant is the willingness of the Israelis first to confront the Russians and then leak about Russian involvement, something that obviously compromises Israeli sources and methods. And that means the Israelis no longer consider the preservation of their intelligence operation in Iran (or wherever it was carried out) as of the essence.
Two conclusions can be drawn. First, the Israelis no longer need to add to their knowledge of Russian involvement; they know what they need to know. And second, the Israelis do not expect Iranian development to continue much longer; otherwise, maintaining the intelligence capability would take precedence over anything else.
It follows from this that the use of this intelligence in diplomatic confrontations with Russians and in a British newspaper serves a greater purpose than the integrity of the source system. And that means that the Israelis expect a resolution in the very near future — the only reason they would have blown their penetration of the Russian-Iranian system.
There are two possible outcomes here. The first is that having revealed the extent of the Iranian program and having revealed the Russian role in a credible British newspaper, the Israelis and the Americans (whose own leak in The New York Times underlined the growing urgency of action) are hoping that the Iranians realize that they are facing war and that the Russians realize that they are facing a massive crisis in their relations with the West. If that happens, then the Russians might pull their scientists and engineers, join in the sanctions and force the Iranians to abandon their program.
The second possibility is that the Russians will continue to play the spoiler on sanctions and will insist that they are not giving support to the Iranians. This leaves the military option, which would mean broad-based action, primarily by the United States, against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Any military operation would involve keeping the Strait of Hormuz clear, meaning naval action, and we now know that there are more nuclear facilities than previously discussed. So while the war for the most part would be confined to the air and sea, it would be extensive nonetheless.
Sanctions or war remain the two options, and which one is chosen depends on Moscow’s actions. The leaks this weekend have made clear that the United States and Israel have positioned themselves such that not much time remains. We have now moved from a view of Iran as a long-term threat to Iran as a much more immediate threat thanks to the Russians.
The least that can be said about this is that the Obama administration and Israel are trying to reshape the negotiations with the Iranians and Russians. The most that can be said is that the Americans and Israelis are preparing the public for war. Polls now indicate that more than 60 percent of the U.S. public now favors military action against Iran. From a political point of view, it has become easier for U.S. President Barack Obama to act than to not act. This, too, is being transmitted to the Iranians and Russians.
It is not clear to us that the Russians or Iranians are getting the message yet. They have convinced themselves that Obama is unlikely to act because he is weak at home and already has too many issues to juggle. This is a case where a reputation for being conciliatory actually increases the chances for war. But the leaks this weekend have strikingly limited the options and timelines of the United States and Israel. They also have put the spotlight on Obama at a time when he already is struggling with health care and Afghanistan. History is rarely considerate of presidential plans, and in this case, the leaks have started to force Obama’s hand.
10-07-2009, 02:55 AM
10-07-2009, 01:17 PM
i think your either an arab or some liberal ***** who is full of **** and twisting info to suit you
you cant hide the truth
10-07-2009, 01:25 PM
10-07-2009, 03:15 PM
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of involvement in the disappearance of one of its nuclear scientists during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, raising a new mystery at a time when the West is trying to determine the extent of Iran's nuclear program.
Shahram Amiri vanished during a pilgrimage to the kingdom more than four months ago and so far Saudi Arabia has not responded to requests for information on his whereabouts, Iranian officials say. But in complaints about his disappearance, Iranian officials have avoided even mentioning that Amiri was involved in nuclear research — a sign of the sensitivities surrounding the case.
His disappearance came months before the revelation of a second uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom that the United States accuses Iran of building secretly, a claim Tehran denies. The timing has raised speculation that Amiri may have given the West information on it or other parts of Iran's nuclear program.
Iran's announcement of the disappearance also comes as it has entered landmark nuclear negotiations with the United States and other world powers, talks that have somewhat eased rising tensions between the two sides. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday praised last weeks negotiations in Geneva, calling them "positive" and saying that have "led to a better dialogue."
The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of secretly seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a claim Iran denies, saying its program is intended only to produce electricity.
Amiri worked as a researcher at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, which is believed to be run by the elite Revolutionary Guard military corps. The university has been cited in the past by the U.N. for experiments connected with the nuclear program.
Relatives cited in Iranian media said Amiri was researching medical uses of nuclear technology at the university and that he was not involved in the broader nuclear program.
One Iranian news Web site, however, claimed Amiri had worked at the Qom facility and had defected in Saudi Arabia. The Web site, Jahannews, which is connected to Iranian conservatives, gave no source for the report.
Amiri's wife and other relatives have demonstrated in recent weeks in front of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, demanding to know his fate. His wife said he traveled to Saudi Arabia on May 31 for Omra, an Islamic pilgrimage, and that the last she heard from him was in a June 3 phone call, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Wednesday that Amiri had been arrested and accused the United States of a role.
"We've obtained documents about U.S. involvement over Shahram Amiri's disappearance," Mottaki said, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.
"We hold Saudi Arabia responsible for Shahram Amiri's situation and consider the U.S. to be involved in his arrest," Mottaki said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.
Iran has asked Saudi Arabia for information on Amiri's whereabouts but has received no reply, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said earlier this week.
There was no immediate comment from Saudi officials. In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian C. Kelly said he had no information about the matter. "The case is not familiar to us," Kelly said.
The Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, which is owned by Saudi businessmen, reported last week that Mottaki made a formal complaint to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon about the disappearances of Amiri and several other Iranians in recent years, some of whom it feared may have provided nuclear information to the West. Qashqavi this week denied the complaint made any mention of the nuclear issue.
Also on the list Mottaki handed over was Ali Reza Asghari, a retired general in the elite Revolutionary Guard and a former deputy defense minister, who disappeared during a private visit to Turkey in December 2007. Iran accused Western intelligence services at the time of possibly kidnapping the official, though other reports have said he may have defected.
Another Iranian on the list was a man identified only by his last name, Ardebili, who was reportedly arrested in the Caucasus nation of Georgia recently. Qashqavi said Monday that Ardebili was a businessman and accused Georgian authorities of arresting him and handing him over to the United States. Asharq Al-Awsat identified him as a nuclear scientist, but gave not sourcing for the claim. A Georgian government spokesman in Tblisi refused to comment.
Last month, Iran revealed that it was building the new enrichment facility outside Qom, bringing U.S. and European accusations that it had been hiding the project. Tehran denied it sought to deceive the U.N. nuclear watchdog, saying it revealed the site earlier than required under its deals with the agency. The agency disagrees.
After last week's talks in Geneva, Iran agreed to allow U.N. inspectors into the Qom facility on Oct. 25. It also is discussing a proposal to send some of its enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment to use in a research reactor in Tehran. The uranium would be enriched to a level of 20 percent for the reactor, up from the around 5 percent Iran has succeeded in reaching.
Ahmadinejad on Wednesday said several nations — including the United States — had told Iran they were prepared to provide the further enriched uranium.
"The United States has expressed readiness to provide 20 percent (enriched uranium) to Iran. We buy fuel from any country offering it. The U.S. can be one of the sellers," IRNA quoted him as saying.
Honey, I can't find my nuclear scientist. I put him on the counter, but he's not there now...
10-08-2009, 08:36 PM
The still-missing central fact in the Iran drama
Ever since Iran reported the existence of its Qom enrichment facility to the IAEA, one central assertion has been repeated as fact over and over by the American media to make the story as incriminating as possible: namely, that Iran only disclosed this because they discovered they had been "caught," i.e., they found out that the West knew of this facility and they thus had no choice but to disclose it. That assertion has been fundamental to the entire Iran drama.
After all, if Iran voluntarily notified the IAEA of the Qom facility before it was even operational and thus agreed to have the facility inspected, it's impossible to maintain the melodramatic storyline that Iran was planning something deeply nefarious here and got "caught red-handed." The assertion that Iran was forced into disclosure is vital to the entire plot, and it's been constantly repeated as fact.
But ever since this episode began, I've read countless accounts from numerous sources and never once saw a single piece of evidence to support this claim -- and I've been actively looking for it and asking if anyone has seen such evidence.
Today in Time Magazine, Bobby Ghosh writes of an exclusive interview he conducted with CIA Director Leon Panetta about Qom, in which Panetta claims the CIA knew of the facility for three years. After describing Panetta's account of how the CIA discovered the site and how they learned it was designed for uranium enrichment, this paragraph appears:
U.S. officials believe that it was only when Iran found out that its cover had been blown that it chose to own up to the plant's existence -- although how it might have learned of Washington's discovery remains unclear. On the eve of the U.N. General Assembly last month, the Iranians sent the IAEA a terse note, acknowledging the presence of the Qum facility.
Does that sound like the CIA actually knows whether Iran ever even discovered "that its cover had been blown," let alone that this was the reason the Iranians disclosed the facility to the IAEA? Obviously not. Time can say only that U.S. officials (unnamed, of course) "believe" that this happened -- based on what? -- but cannot even say how Iran might have learned of the U.S. discovery (that's "unclear"). Plainly, at least according to this account and every other that I've seen, there are no known facts to support the claim that this is what motivated Iran's IAEA disclosure. It's just something that gets asserted without any challenge or questioning.
Just this weekend, a New York Times Editorial flatly asserted: "Of course, Iran didn’t even acknowledge that it was building a plant near Qum until last week after it was caught red-handed." In fact, the Times has no idea whether Iran's disclosure to the IAEA had anything to do with that or whether Iran even knew that the West had learned of the Qom facility. Worse, the very first news story the Times published about this matter -- the day after the Press Conference with the leaders of the U.S., Britain and France -- contained this sentence: "At some point in late spring, American officials became aware that Iranian operatives had learned that the site was being monitored, the officials said." There's no evidence at all for that critical claim, and the Time article today unintentionally casts doubt on it by making clear that this is nothing more than a "belief" of unnamed American "officials."
Obviously, it's possible that the U.S. really did learn three years ago that Qom was an enrichment facility, that Iran somehow found out that this was the case, and that it was this that prompted the Iranians to disclose to the IAEA. But that's a mere possibility, an unproven assertion from government officials which, at least as of now, they're not even claiming is certain. But it's also obviously quite possible that Iran voluntarily disclosed this facility to the IAEA because they're willing to allow inspections, believe their NPT obligations require disclosure 180 days prior to operability (which is what they've claimed since 2007), and intend to use it for civilian purposes and thus have nothing to hide. Since the claim about Iran's motives for disclosure is the linchpin of all the hysteria -- the vital fact that makes what Iran did appear sinister -- shouldn't newspapers refrain from repeating it as though it's proven and make clear to their readers that this is but one of several possibilities: one for which absolutely no evidence has been presented?
UPDATE: FAIR has an instructive review of some of the reckless (though very familiar) media hysteria regarding Iran over the last couple of weeks.
UPDATE II: In a Wall St. Journal Editorial today, Rupert Murdoch's print employees accuse "the [Bush] Administration's internal critics on the left" of manipulating the intelligence to cause the 2007 NIE to conclude that Iran stopped active work on a nuclear weapons program back in 2003 (apparently, the CIA is overrun with "leftists"), and to do so, the WSJ Editors haul out this same dubious assertion as though it's proven, unchallengeable truth:
The Qom site—too small for civilian purposes but ideal for producing weapons-grade uranium— is supervised by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and was only declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency after Tehran got wind that the nuclear watchdogs knew about it.
It's virtually impossible to find anyone railing against Iran without relying on the "fact" that Iran only notified the IAEA of the Qom facility after (and because) "Tehran got wind that the nuclear watchdogs knew about it" -- even though there's absolutely no evidence for it.
The WSJ Editorial does unintentionally highlight one towering contradiction in all of these claims: if (a) the CIA has known about the Qom facility for three years (as Panetta claims); and (b) it's so clear that it is designed for military, not civilian uses, then (c) why did the NIE -- the consensus of American intelligence agencies -- conclude in 2007 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/wo...3cnd-iran.html that "Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen"? That conclusion was affirmed at a time when the CIA knew of the Qom facility. Doesn't that rather obviously raise serious doubts about how "clear" it is that the facility could only be designed for military purposes?
-- Glenn Greenwald
10-08-2009, 08:39 PM
'Americans manufacture another nuclear crisis'
By ERIC MARGOLIS
NEW YORK -- The U.S., Britain and France staged a bravura performance of political theatre last week by claiming to have just "discovered" a secret Iran uranium enrichment plant near Qum. On cue, a carefully orchestrated media blitz trumpeted warnings of the alleged Iranian nuclear threat and "long-ranged missiles."
In reality, the Qum plant was detected by U.S. spy satellites over two years ago, and was known to the intelligence community. Iran claimed the plant will not begin enriching uranium for peaceful power for another 540 days. UN nuclear rules, to which Iran adheres, calls for 180 days notice.
UN nuclear watchdogs say Iran should have revealed the plant earlier. Iran alerted the UN last week and said it would invite inspectors.
The reluctance of Iran to reveal its nuclear sites is magnified by constant threats of attack against them by Israel and the U.S. Iran also recalls Iraq, where many of the UN "nuclear inspectors" were likely spies for CIA or Israel's Mossad. This may explain some of Iran's secretive behaviour. The U.S., Britain, France and Israel have been even less forthcoming about their nuclear secrets.
Iran's test of some useless short ranged missiles, and an inaccurate 2,000-km medium ranged Shahab-3, provoked more hysteria. In a choice example of media scaremongering, the Globe and Mail printed a picture of a 1960s vintage SAM-2 anti-aircraft missile being launched, with a caption of Prime Minister Stephen Harper warning of the "grave threat" Iran posed to "international peace and security."
Welcome to Iraq deja vu, and another phony crisis. U.S. intelligence and UN inspectors say Iran has no nuclear weapons and certainly no nuclear warheads and is only enriching uranium to 5%. Nuclear weapons require 95%. Iran's nuclear facilities are under constant UN inspection and U.S. surveillance.
The U.S., its allies, and Israel insist Iran is secretly developing nuclear warheads. They demand Tehran prove a negative: That is has no nuclear weapons. Iraq was also put to the same impossible test.
Israel is deeply alarmed by Iran's challenge to its Mideast nuclear monopoly. Chances of an Israeli attack on Iran are growing weekly, though the U.S. is still restraining Israel.
The contrived uproar about the Qum plant was a ploy to intensify pressure on Iran to cease nuclear enrichment -- though it has every right to do so under international agreements. More pressure will be applied at this week's meeting near Geneva between the Western powers and Iran.
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, poured fuel on the fire, again questioning the Holocaust and staging the ostentatious launch of missiles with little military value.
Why did Ahmadinejad antagonize the West and act belligerent when he should be taking a very low profile? Why would Iran face devastating Israeli or U.S. attack to keep enriching uranium when it can import such fuel from Russia?
Civilian nuclear power has become the keystone of Iranian national pride. As noted in my new book, American Raj, Iran's leadership insists the West has denied the Muslim world modern technology and tries to keep it backwards and subservient. Tehran believes it can withstand all western sanctions.
Iran appears to be very slowly developing a "breakout" capability to produce a small number of nuclear weapons on short notice -- for defensive purposes. Iraq's invasion of Iran cost Iran one million casualties. Iran demands the same right of nuclear self defence enjoyed by neighbours Israel, India and Pakistan.
What Iran really wants is an end to 30-years of U.S. efforts to overthrow its Islamic regime. The U.S. is still waging economic warfare against Iran and trying to overthrow the Tehran government. Like North Korea, Iran wants explicit guarantees from Washington that this siege warfare will stop and relations with the U.S. will be normalized.
As Flynt and Hillary Leverett conclude in their excellent, must-read Sept. 29 New York Times article, detente with Iran will be bitterly opposed by "those who attach value to failed policies that have damaged America's interests in the Middle East ... "
10-08-2009, 09:27 PM
Also,for a thorough breakdown of the situation,listen here:
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service, discusses the first diplomatic engagement between the U.S. and Iran in a generation, plans to outsource the higher enrichment of Iran’s uranium to Russia, the constant assault on the 2007 Iran NIE by NYT columnists Broad and Sanger and anti-Iran propaganda based on a 1987 A.Q. Kahn brochure and “smoking laptop” documents.
10-08-2009, 10:07 PM
i dont understand what ur trying to get at. i love how everyone from other countries tells us how to change our government and how wrong we all are. heres a news flash for u even if they are wrong, and they are feeding us propaganda, and they blindly lead us into a war wtf are we going to do about it? u think america is just going to have an uprising???? i garuntee even if one group did that they would all goto jail immediately the uprising would be crushed within the first out break and within the first 20 minutes.
ok so now that we got that out of the way. Since iran isnt as evil as our gov't says it is, what do u suggest we do about that? cause i really dont understand what u are trying to get at.....
10-09-2009, 09:22 AM
Reporting that China is skeptical about the new claims, Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com said, "Shouldnít the American media infuse its coverage with some of that same skepticism, along with a similar desire to see actual evidence to support the claims being made? Isnít that exactly the lesson every rational person should have learned from the Iraq War?"
There is little evidence that any lesson from the Iraqi fiasco has been learned.
10-09-2009, 05:40 PM
i understand that. what im saying is what do u want me as a person to do about it? i just dont get what u are trying to say. i dont think there are many people that think going into iraq (based on WMD's) was accurate, i do think for the way he ran his country and killed his own country men was bad and i dont think he should have stayed in power.
My point is unless ur sending what ur posting to heads of gov't or heads of media nothing is going to change. so what i guess im really getting at is, what do u expect me to do about it???
10-09-2009, 11:08 PM
The point is not whether you can stop it,the point is spreading awareness of the fact that what is being broadcast is far from the whole story. With an increasing awareness of this fact we cannot predict what will happen but it has to be better than being ignorant and living in an idiocracy.
Are you saying that there is nothing average people can do in the US to change the course of events? Do you think the US is a democracy?
10-10-2009, 12:40 AM
bottom line: I live and work in Iraq for US Army on the Iranian border. I have walked countless miles up and down this God forsaken border looking for signs and tracks of smugglers. I have spent countless hours at an Iranian Port of Entry into Iraq, and let me tell you something. Those nice kind and innocent Iranians that you claim are not doing a thing and are never the aggressor are like knife salesmen in March in Caeser's day. They are manufacturing bombs at an unprecedented rate and smuggling them across the Iraqi border. They used to only target the US forces, but are now going after innocent Iraqi civilians. These innocent Iranians have thrusts themselves into a war by secretly and overtly providing the enemy with weapons that I have personally lost many a friend over. So don't tell me that they have clean hands when I have personally opened the secret compartments of fuel trucks coming across the border loaded with hundreds of IEDs with the sole purpose of KILLING. Just because there is no evidence that they have WMDs doesn't mean that the killing of thousands of people through other means leaves them guilt free. Get a life dude!
10-10-2009, 03:38 AM
1. Iraqi police say U.S. troops executed 11, including baby http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...vilians20.html)
2. War Crime Caught on Tape: U.S. Marine Executes Wounded Unarmed Iraqi
An NBC cameraman caught on tape video of a US Marine executing an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in a mosque in Fallujah.
3. Officers Allegedly Pushed 'Kill Counts'
Military prosecutors and investigators probing the killing of three Iraqi detainees by U.S. troops in May believe the unit's commanders created an atmosphere of excessive violence by encouraging "kill counts" and possibly issuing an illegal order to shoot Iraqi men. At a military hearing Wednesday on the killing of the detainees near Samarra, witnesses painted a picture of a brigade that operated under loose rules allowing wanton killing and tolerating violent, anti-Arab racism. Some military officials believe that the shooting of the three detainees and the killing of 24 civilians in November in Haditha reveal failures in the military chain of command, in one case to establish proper rules of engagement and in the other to vigorously investigate incidents after the fact. "The bigger thing here is the failure of the chain of command," said a Defense Department official familiar with the investigations.
Initial findings of investigators looking into the Samarra incident may be even more troubling. Military officials are investigating Army Col. Michael Steele, the commander of the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade, whose soldiers are accused of killing the three Iraqi detainees. Investigators are trying to determine whether Steele issued an illegal order to "kill all military aged males" and encouraged unrestrained killing by his troops.
On Wednesday, a military court heard testimony from a witness who suggested that a culture of racism and unrestrained violence pervaded the unit. The account of Pfc. Bradley Mason and other witnesses bolstered the findings of investigators who say the brigade's commanders led soldiers to believe it was permissible to kill Iraqi men. Military prosecutors allege that four U.S. soldiers killed three unarmed Iraqi detainees during the May 9 raid."
you have no room to point the finger at others but nonetheless you do.
The point is not that they (Iranian fighters) are any more "innocent" than you are. The point is,as stated in the article, "What Iran really wants is an end to 30-years of U.S. efforts to overthrow its Islamic regime. The U.S. is still waging economic warfare against Iran and trying to overthrow the Tehran government."
10-10-2009, 05:48 AM
dude I don't know where you get your facts, but hey... I can prove to you that the world is flat too. All I need to do is do the same crapy research that you have done: look exclusively for articles and opinions that support my own. Great research bro! Do you even know the incidents involved??? I happen to KNOW Steele and I have LIVED INSIDE of Samarra. Other than reading your twisted blogs and news columns, have you ever even set foot in the country??? Were you there when Iranian fighters, Iranian bombs, and Iranian influence bombed the Golden Mosque in Samarra in an effort to start a civil war, which they almost did mind you????? No???? well I was. And let me tell you, there was NO Iranian money and barely a smidgen of Iraqi Dinar that went into the rebuilding of it. It was, in fact 98% US FUNDED.
Now, does this make us innocent of all crimes??? Of course not. There have been far to many occasions where Soldiers and the like have done the wrong things. What do you expect with 100,000 18-25 year old males who have been trained to kill and just lost their best friend to an IED. However, the crime rate within the Army is less than HALF what it is throughout the civilized world. It gets old seeing guys like you sit back from your comfy computer and criticize from thousands of miles away. You take small incidents and blow them out of proportion, you look on all the bad and forget the good. Guys like you could care less that the quality of life in Iraq is higher now than it has been since the days of the Arab Enlightenment. There is an active stock market here, Wal Mart is going to be opening branches up in the North, there is a higher rate of public education available to Iraqi children than American, Employment numbers are higher than ever. Everywhere we, the Army, drives people wave, smile, and cheer. They don't live in fear any more.
Oh, and by the way, if you ARE from Japan like your ID says, then you have much to learn my enlightened friend. Remember the Rape of Nanking..., or is that Americas fault as well. people like you love America when your own countries are going down the toilet, but when we aren't saving your butts, you are nothing but critical. It really gets old!
10-10-2009, 03:30 PM
if iran nuked a city and killed 10 million people your dumb, ignorant, bias ass would still sit here and say it never happened or america did it. we cant help all those worthless ass muslims in the middle east, there fanatical and just want to convert or kill anybody of another religion. they have been fighting since the begining of time, we need to just wipe them all out or have nothing to do with them
10-11-2009, 02:32 PM
10-11-2009, 10:49 PM
i know, all those people over there are such hypocrites and liars
they are so ignorant and cant be helped, its like there brainwashed or probably just stems from lack of education or a manipulated bias one
10-13-2009, 06:09 AM
10-14-2009, 12:28 PM
10-18-2009, 01:39 AM
"IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei had just reported for the umpteenth consecutive time that he "continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."
Furthermore, ElBaradei reported that he could find no "evidence" that Iran has ever manufactured or otherwise acquired a nuclear weapon. Nor does he believe the Iranians are attempting to do so."
"here is what Nobel-Laureate Steven Chu told the IAEA General Conference last week after delivering Nobel-Laureate Barack Obamaís message:
"Countries that violate their international obligations must face serious consequences both here and at the UN Security Council. Failure to impose meaningful consequences puts at risk everything we have achieved."
As everyone at the Conference except Chu knew well, it is the United States that has repeatedly violated its obligations, under the NPT, the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter: not Iran."
10-18-2009, 01:44 AM
Also,given the history of the US government and it's subversion of the sovereignty of countless regimes,setting up of puppet governments,support of brutal dictators,etc. you have no room to talk.
Yes I am in Japan but I am from the US,where I am currently located is a straw man that does not relate to the topic at hand.
10-18-2009, 08:09 PM
THe US may wage economic 'warfare' (the wording of which is a nice attempt at morally equivocating economic sanctions with actual bloodshed), but Iran wages REAL warfare: in Iraq (30 years ago and today), in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Afganistan. The US is not obligated to do business with anyone; 'not doing business' is not 'warfare'.
10-22-2009, 01:17 AM
.....MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2009 STRATFOR.COM Diary Archives
A Tumultuous Week Ahead for the Iran Issue
EPRESENTATIVES FROM IRAN, THE UNITED STATES, Russia, France and the International Atomic Energy Agency will gather in Geneva on Monday for another round of nuclear negotiations. The meeting is a follow-up to the Oct. 1 talks between Iran and the P-5+1 group; the aim is to finalize an agreement for Iran to process all of its low-enriched uranium abroad in order to dispel fears that its uranium enrichment program is designed for making weapons.
The United States has a lot riding on these talks. If Washington cannot compel Iran to make tangible concessions on its nuclear program, Israel will snap this diplomatic chapter shut and move on to more aggressive action against Iran – actions that could range from gasoline sanctions to military strikes. But considering events from just the past week, the forecast for these negotiations is looking particularly stormy.
“With tensions building between Iran and the United States, a number of other powers would not mind seeing the nuclear crisis between Washington and Tehran boil over.”
For one thing, Iran is indicating that it intends to stick to its tried-and-true stalling tactics to prolong the talks. The Western powers were planning on sealing a deal for Iran’s overseas enrichment on Monday, but Iranian nuclear officials have said the talks likely will extend beyond Monday’s meeting and that more time is needed to discuss Iran’s “conditions and suggestions.” Moreover, chief nuclear negotiator Ali Salehi, who represented Iran in Geneva on Oct. 1, said he would not participate in Monday’s talks and would instead send low-level aides — a sign that Iran is not taking these negotiations as seriously as the United States would like.
The Iranians also have some fresh justification to dance around these negotiations. On Sunday, two coordinated bombings in Iran’s restive Sistan-Balochistan province killed dozens of people, including high-level officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Baloch insurgent group Jundallah, which Tehran accuses of being a proxy for U.S. and British intelligence used to stir up trouble in Iran, claimed the bombings. It is not a stretch to assume that the United States has supported Jundallah, as Iran continues to claim. In such covert operations, the left hand may not always know what the right hand is doing. In other words, the United States can provide the training, funding, equipment and even intelligence for attacks, but much discretion can be left to the proxy to decide when to act. So, even though the Sistan-Balochistan attacks could derail the nuclear negotiations and thus seem oddly politically timed, that alone does not erase the suspicion of U.S. involvement, even if both the United States and Britain were quick to deny having a hand in the attacks.
With tensions building between Iran and the United States, a number of other powers would not mind seeing the nuclear crisis between Washington and Tehran boil over.
One such power is Russia, which has not been amused in the least by the United States’ provocative moves in the Russian near-abroad over the past few days. Western media continue to portray U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration as having succeeded in getting the Russians to cooperate in applying pressure on Iran. But anyone with a good read on the Kremlin will understand that Russia is more suspicious than ever of U.S. moves and is holding on tightly to its Iran card to keep pressure on Washington. The Russians were not fooled for a second by the United States’ recent shift on ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans for Poland and the Czech Republic. For Moscow, this was an empty gesture. It was immediately followed up by U.S. decisions to deploy a battery of armed Patriot missiles in Poland and to launch negotiations to place BMD installations in Ukraine — another critical state in the Russian periphery that the United States would like to use to reinforce fears of Western encroachment. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be visiting Poland, Czech Republic and Romania this week to drive home that threat, and Russia will be ready to fire back a salvo of threats on Iran.
As if this week could get more tense, Israel and the United States are expected to kick off their largest-ever joint air defense exercise, dubbed Juniper Cobra, on Oct. 20. The exercise originally was slated for last week but was postponed, without an official reason given by either the Israelis or the Americans. Though a number of first-time technical elements in the exercise might have caused the delay, an exercise of this scale would not be delayed for minor political or technical reasons. The equipment would have to be in place weeks in advance, and any delay would throw the logistics completely off. It remains unclear why the delay occurred, but the fact that it did — and the fact that the weapons systems were already deployed for the exercise at the time of the postponement — leads us to believe that something more could be going on between Israel and the United States and their military preparations for Iran.
Adding to these suspicions is the tone the Israelis have taken toward the United States in recent days. Before, Israel was signaling that it did not trust Washington to pressure Tehran adequately on the nuclear issue. As a result, Israel refused to budge on U.S. efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. However, on Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on his government to “work with the American administration and consolidate an agreement to open negotiations as soon as possible, even if the conditions aren’t perfect and even if we have to make difficult concessions.” He even said Israel was a “partner” in Obama’s peace initiative and that Israel must work toward a two-state solution as soon as possible.
If this change of attitude is Israel’s way of giving Washington a reward publicly, it could be a signal that Israel and the United States are moving toward a realignment of their positions on Iran.
Tell STRATFOR What You Think
Send Us Your Comments - For Publication in Letters to STRATFOR
10-22-2009, 03:36 AM
I find it ironic that you pontificate about selective attention given you've actually not stated a position beyond, "Check out all this anti-American pro-Iranian **** I googled!"
If you think there is a better way to address the issues with Iran... I'm all ears champ. Make it your own opinion though and stop hiding behind everyone else's words.
10-23-2009, 12:07 AM
"According to ElBaradeiís June, 2009, report [ http://isis-online.org/publications/..._5June2009.pdf ], the IAEA Secretariat, for the umpteenth time "continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."
Hence, Iran is in total compliance with its NPT responsibilities.
"way back in December, 2003, Iran signed an Additional Protocol [ http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Doc...nfcirc540c.pdf ] to Iranís IAEA Safeguards Agreement [ http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Doc...infcirc214.pdf ]. And, although not required to do so until the Iranian Parliament ratified it, Iran volunteered to act "in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol, as a confidence-building measure."
"Then, in late 2004, Iran also entered into formal related negotiations with the Brits, French and Germans, hoping that by providing "objective guarantees" to the European Union Ė going far beyond even those provided by the Additional Protocol Ė that "Iranís nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes," they could secure "firm guarantees" that the EU would resist pressure from Bush-Cheney-Bolton and provide Iran "firm commitments on security issues."
The Iranians-Brits-French-Germans invited the IAEA to verify Iranian compliance with the voluntary suspension of certain Iranian Safeguarded activities for the duration of the negotiations.
So, in March 23, 2005 Iran offered a package of "objective guarantees" to the EU that included a voluntary "confinement" of Iranís nuclear programs, to include:
1. forgoing the reprocessing of spent reactor fuel;
2. forgoing the production of plutonium;
3. producing only the low-enriched uranium required for Iranís power reactors;
4. the immediate conversion of all enriched uranium to fuel rods.
By any measure, the Iranian "confinement" offer is substantial. The Iranians had intended to "close the fuel cycle" Ė making new fuel from unburned uranium and plutonium recovered from "spent fuel." Furthermore, they already had the aforementioned IR-40 reactor under construction, which could produce plutonium.
But now we know that Ė as a result of extreme pressure by Bush-Cheney-Bolton Ė the EU never even acknowledged this substantial Iranian offer, much less responded to it.
So as a result of these failures of the EU to negotiate in good faith the Iranians announced in the summer of 2005 they would resume the uranium conversion Ė subject to IAEA Safeguards Ė that they had voluntarily suspended.
Well, Bush-Cheney-Bolton would not let them get away with that.
So, on February 4, 2006, as a result of strenuous arm-twisting by Bush-Cheney-Bolton, the thoroughly corrupted IAEA Board of Governors outrageously exceeded its authorization, "deeming it necessary" for Iran to;
o re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
o reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
o ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol;
o pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol which Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
o implement transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, including in GOV/2005/67, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations;
Bush-Cheney-Bolton hoped that this outrageous "decision" by the IAEA Board, in violation of the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter, would result in Iran withdrawing from the NPT, itself, making its NPT-related Safeguards Agreement null and void.
But, Iran merely announced it would Ė henceforth Ė revert to complying only with its basic Safeguards Agreement.
Now, when it had offered to voluntarily comply with the Additional Protocol, Iran had apparently modified some of the Subsidiary Arrangements to its basic Safeguards Agreement.
There have been many loud allegations by Bush-Cheney-Bolton and Obama-Biden-Susan Rice that Iranís actions since ceasing voluntary compliance with some (but not all) provisions of a never-to-be-ratified Additional Protocol to their Safeguards Agreement constitute "non-compliance" not only with the Agreement, itself, but even with the NPT.
Here are excerpts from the opinion offered by the IAEA Secretariat Legal Adviser to the question posed earlier this year by the IAEA Board of Governors with respect to Iranís reported non-implementation of the November 2003 modification to the Subsidiary Arrangements to Iranís NPT-related Safeguards Agreement.
"While Iranís actions are inconsistent with its obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement, this should be seen in proper context.
"Given the fact that Article 42 [of Iran's Safeguards Agreement] is broadly phrased and that the old version of Code 3.1 had been accepted as complying with the requirements of this Article for some 22 years prior to the Boardís decision in 1992 to modify it as indicated above, it is difficult to conclude that providing information in accordance with the earlier formulation in itself constitutes non-compliance with, or a breach of, the [NPT-related] Safeguards Agreement as such.
"Article 19 of Iranís Safeguards Agreement provides that "if the Board upon examination of the relevant information reported to it by the Director General finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, it may make the reports provided for in paragraph C of Article XII of the Statute..:í
"It is thus for the Board to consider and determine if any action by a State that is inconsistent with its Safeguards Agreement rises to a level where the Agency cannot verify that there is no diversion, in which case the Board has the option to take the actions set out in Article XII.C of the Statute, e.g. report the matter to the Security Council and General Assembly."
Since ElBaradei will no doubt report next month to the IAEA Board for the umpteenth-plus time that he "continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran," Board members ought to take his word for it.
Of course, some of them may have previously made an irrevocable pact with the Devil; or Bonkers Bolton."
10-23-2009, 12:08 AM
The first thing is to learn from the Iraq mess that is ongoing:
YouTube - WINTER SOLDIER: JASON WASHBURN
YouTube - IVAW Winter Soldier CS Q5 Women
10-23-2009, 12:10 AM
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