Tag Archives: Nuclear Negotiations

Don’t Be a Media Dupe About Iran, by Jim Babka

From Jim Babka at antiwar.org:

6 things the propaganda machine won’t tell you

We (the co-founders of Downsize DC) made bold predictions prior to the Iraq war in 2003. You can still see them at TruthAboutWar.org. We got things right, when nearly everyone else was wrong. We even predicted in advance that Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

How did we do that? Well, we knew politicians lie. We knew too that “War is the health of The State” and good for ratings. We also looked past the politicians and the media, and consulted history instead.

Now I want to do the same thing with the Iran treaty. Here are six things you should know to avoid being a media dupe…

1. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agree Iran is nowhere near having a nuclear weapon.

You wouldn’t know this from following the news, but it’s true.

Neo-conservatives (militarists), like Dick Cheney and Benjamin Netanyahu, have constantly made headlines with their repeated warnings that Iran is only six months away from having a nuclear weapon. But they’ve been crying wolf since 2006! How many times can you be six months away from the same event before you decide the claim is false?

Advice: Remember the false claims about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Learn from that history. Prefer the less sensational intelligence reports over warmongering politicians.

2. It’s wrong to believe that Iran’s government is willing to commit suicide.

Many people think Iran’s leaders seek religious martyrdom through nuclear conflagration. They assert that Iran is eager to nuke Israel to bring this about. They support this claim by quoting anti-Israeli comments made by the Ayatollah Khomeini. But Khomeini has been dead for 26 years. Meanwhile…

Ali Khamenei has been the Supreme Leader for the last quarter century. He’s repeatedly said that it’s immoral to have nuclear weapons, let alone use them. He even issued a Fatwa against nuclear bombs. He says Iran merely wants nuclear power plants, which they’re permitted to have by treaty. So why should the words of a dead leader be more believed than the words of the current leader?

Still others quote former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been out of office since 2013. But an Iranian “President” has about as much power as our Interior Secretary. Can you even name the current Interior Secretary? An Iranian “president” doesn’t even control the military.

Advice: Drop the idea that Iran is suicidal. It’s nonsense.

3. Iran’s leaders have better reasons to distrust us, than we do to distrust them.

Most Americans don’t know this, but our CIA overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953 and installed the dictatorial Shah. This CIA coup was run from the American Embassy in Tehran. These events were the cause of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. They also explain why the revolutionaries captured and held the US embassy that year.

But it gets worse. In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein waged a war against Iran that our politicians supported with money and arms. Now…

Imagine how Americans would feel if Iran had overthrown our government and installed a dictator, or if Iran had supported an invasion of the United States.

You see, Iran’s hatred and distrust of the US wasn’t unprovoked. It’s not the byproduct of religious radicalism. Our politicians EARNED this hatred.

Advice: Be suspicious of all politicians, both in Iran and America. More importantly, recognize that American politicians are a much greater threat to your security than Iran could ever be.

To continue reading: Don’t Be a Media Dupe About Iran

Can the GOP Deal With Iran? by Patrick J. Buchanan

From Pat Buchanan, at buchanan.org:

Ten weeks before the first U.S.-Soviet summit ever held in Moscow, in May 1972, North Vietnam, with Soviet-supplied armor and artillery, crossed the DMZ in an all-out offensive to overrun the South.

President Nixon responded with air and naval strikes on the North.

Yet Nixon went to Moscow and signed the first strategic arms agreement of the Cold War. He did not let Soviet-backed aggression against an ally prevent him from signing a SALT agreement he believed was in the vital interests of the United States.

Three months earlier, Nixon had gone to Peking to toast Mao Zedong, whose regime was also aiding Hanoi, and which, two decades before, had been killing GIs in the thousands in Korea.

The state is a cold monster, said Gen. De Gaulle.

Which brings us to Iran. Should we accept a deal, with a regime as abhorrent as the Ayatollah’s, that would deny that regime a nuclear weapon for 10 to 15 years?

For many of the moral arguments against such a deal also applied to the Soviet Union and Mao’s China in the Nixon-Kissinger era.

What are Iran’s crimes against America?

Tehran held 52 U.S. hostages for the last 444 days of the Carter presidency. Iran’s allies in Lebanon were behind the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut where 241 Americans perished. Iran is said to have been behind the terror attack on Khobar Towers in Riyadh in 1996 that killed 19 Americans. Iran provided IEDs to Shiite militias who killed hundreds of Americans in the Iraq war and wounded and maimed many more.

From their side, Iranians say the CIA overthrew a democratic government in Tehran in 1953, and imposed upon them the dictatorship of the Shah for a quarter century. Moreover, the U.S., in the Iran-Iraq war in the Reagan era, helped Iraq’s army target Iranian forces, not only with conventional weapons but poison gas.

There is good cause for bad blood between us.

Yet, compared to Mao’s nuclear-armed China in the madness of the Cultural Revolution in 1972, and Leonid Brezhnev’s USSR, Iran, as a strategic threat to the United States, is not even a 97-pound weakling.

To continue reading: Can the GOP Deal With Iran?

The Magician’s Apprentice, by Uri Avnery

From Uri Avnery at antiwar.com:

One has to choose: Binyamin Netanyahu is either incredibly shrewd or incredibly foolish.

Take his Iran policy. Actually, there is little to choose from. Netanyahu has no other policy to speak off.

According to him, Iran constitutes a mortal danger to Israel. If it obtains a nuclear weapon, God forbid, it will use it to annihilate Israel. It must be stopped by any means, preferably by American armed intervention.

This may be quite wrong (as I believe). But it makes sense.

So what did Netanyahu do?

For years, he alarmed the world. Every day the cry went out: Save Israel! Prevent the destruction of the Jewish State! Prevent a Second Holocaust! Prevent Iran from producing The Bomb!

The world did not take any notice. It was busy with many other matters. There are crises galore everywhere, all the time. Economic depressions. Plagues. The warming of the earth.

But Netanyahu did not let off. He used every rostrum, from the Knesset to the United States Congress, to shout his message.

At long last, a weary world paid heed. OK, the Jews warn of the Iranian bomb? So let’s do something to prevent it. Not just something. No. Let’s get all the great powers of the world together to compel Iran to end this nonsense.

And they did. The USA, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – practically the whole world – commanded Iran to start negotiations.

There was only one single issue: preventing Iran from getting The Bomb. Nothing else mattered. Compared to this giant issue, everything else was insignificant.

And then something unexpected happened. Iran’s political system replaced their loudmouth president with a very different one: a soft-spoken, eminently reasonable politician. Negotiations started, and Iran sent an even more soft-spoken, eminently reasonable diplomat to conduct them. The foreign ministers of the world were enchanted.

After playing a little hard-to-get, Iran accepted an agreement. The World got, more or less, everything it wanted. No bomb for a long time. Very intrusive inspection procedures. (They were not really needed. Up-to-date espionage techniques can quickly detect any movements toward a bomb.)

Everybody was happy. Everybody, that is, except Netanyahu. He was furious.

To continue reading: The Magician’s Apprentice

Rogue States and Nuclear Dangers, by Noam Chomsky and Nick Turse

Noam Chomsky meticulously examines US policy  and the real threats to peace in the Middle East. From Nick Turse and Noam Chomsky at TomDispatch, via antiwar.org:

The first prime-time Republican primary debate of 2015 was an eye-opener of sorts when it came to the Middle East. After forcefully advocating for the termination of the pending nuclear deal with Iran, for example, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker unleashed an almost indecipherable torrent of words. “This is not just bad with Iran,” he insisted, “this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and, once and for all, we need a leader who’s gonna stand up and do something about it.” That prescription, as vague as it was incoherent, was par for the course.

When asked how he would respond to reports that Iranian Qods Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani had recently traveled to Russia in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution, GOP billionaire frontrunner Donald Trump responded, “I would be so different from what you have right now. Like, the polar opposite.” He then meandered into a screed about trading Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for “five of the big, great killers leaders” of Afghanistan’s Taliban, but never offered the slightest hint that he had a clue who General Soleimani was or what he would actually do that would be “so different.” Questioned about the legacy of American soldiers killed in his brother’s war in Iraq, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush replied in a similarly incoherent fashion: “To honor the people that died, we need to – we need to stop the Iran agreement,” and then pledged to annihilate ISIS as well. Senator Ted Cruz seemed to believe that merely intoning the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” opened a surefire path to rapidly defeating ISIS – that, and his proposed Expatriate Terrorist Act that would stop Americans who join ISIS from using their “passport to come back and wage jihad on Americans.” Game, set, match, ISIS.

Of the 10 candidates on that stage, only Senator Rand Paul departed from faith-based reality by observing that “ISIS rides around in a billion dollars’ worth of U.S. Humvees.” He continued, “It’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop – we shouldn’t fund our enemies, for goodness sakes.” On a stage filled by Republicans in a lather about nonexistent weaponry in the Middle East – namely, an Iranian A-bomb – only Paul drew attention to weaponry that does exist, much of it American. Though no viewer would know it from that night’s debate, all across the region – from Yemen to Syria to Iraq – U.S. arms are fueling conflicts and turning the living into the dead. Military spending in the Middle East reached almost $200 billion in 2014, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms sales. That represents a jump of 57% since 2005. Some of the largest increases have been among U.S. allies buying big-ticket items from American weapons makers. That includes Iraq and Saudi Arabia ($90 billion in U.S. weapons deals from October 2010 to October 2014), which, by the way, haven’t fared so well against smaller, less well-armed opponents. Those countries have seen increases in their arms purchases of 286% and 112%, respectively, since 2005.

With the United States feeding the fires of war and many in its political class frothing about nonexistent nukes, leave it to the indomitable Noam Chomsky, a TomDispatch regular and institute professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to cut to the quick when it comes to Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, the regional balance of power, and arms (real or imagined). He wades through the spin and speechifying to offer a frank assessment of threats in the Middle East that you’re unlikely to hear about in any U.S. presidential debate between now and the end of time. Nick Turse

“The Iranian Threat”
Who Is the Gravest Danger to World Peace?
By Noam Chomsky

Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm: the United States and its closest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. One consequence of this is that U.S. corporations, much to their chagrin, are prevented from flocking to Tehran along with their European counterparts. Prominent sectors of U.S. power and opinion share the stand of the two regional allies and so are in a state of virtual hysteria over “the Iranian threat.” Sober commentary in the United States, pretty much across the spectrum, declares that country to be “the gravest threat to world peace.” Even supporters of the agreement here are wary, given the exceptional gravity of that threat. After all, how can we trust the Iranians with their terrible record of aggression, violence, disruption, and deceit?

To continue reading: Rogue States and Nuclear Dangers

The Nuclear Deal: Be Careful What You Wish For, by Robert Gore

The ratification of the Iran nuclear agreement is set up mirror-opposite to what was specified for passage of a treaty in the Constitution. Instead of the two-thirds vote by the Senate in favor of the agreement envisioned for ratification by Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution, a two-thirds vote by both houses of Congress will be required to kill the agreement, by overriding a certain presidential veto of a bill that would prevent the lifting of US sanctions. Even with this high hurdle to defeat, it is not a sure thing that the agreement will be approved. The lobbying by Israel and many of its friends in the US against it has been intense. There has been all sorts of speculation and either dire warnings or optimistic predictions about what will happen if the agreement is approved. Far less has been said about what will happen if it is not.

There have been criticisms of perceived flaws in the agreement: its inspection regime; the 24-day waiting period for outside inspectors to access suspicious facilities if Iran objects; the lifting of sanctions and the difficulty of reimposing them if Iran violates the agreement; the failure to compel full transparency on Iran’s past nuclear activity; the risk that Iran could build nuclear weapons after ten years. Many of the opponents of the deal, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have argued that they are not against an agreement in principle, just this “flawed” deal, and rejection will pave the way for a better deal that addresses the flaws.

If the agreement is not approved, what is lost? The opponents’ implicit assumption is that after negotiating for over two years, the US’s fellow G5+1 nations—Great Britain, France, China, Russia, plus Germany—will return to the negotiating table to craft an agreement more to the critics’ liking. The assumption is absurd. Iran has said that if the deal is rejected it will not return to the table and redouble its commitment to its nuclear program. Why would the US’s negotiating partners try to negotiate a “better” agreement with no assurance that it too would not be rejected by Israel and its friends in the US? New negotiations simply would not happen; it’s this deal or no deal.

Flawed as the agreement may be, if there is no deal, it’s benefits will be lost, and its flaws will be amplified. With no deal, assuming no new negotiations, there is not be a flawed inspection regime; there will be no inspections at all. The opponents of the deal cite every “Death to America” chant in Iran, from mullahs down to the man on the Tehran street, as proof positive that Iran means to destroy America. If we must take those Iranians at their words then is it also not logical to take the leadership at its word, particularly its threat to redouble its commitment to the nuclear program?

Consider the perspective of those Iranian hardliners who are opposed to the agreement. Like certain American hardliners, they may have been opposed to the whole idea of negotiations. With some justification they might have noted that: the US and Great Britain deposed Iran’s democratically elected leader in 1953 and installed a loathed puppet; the US made Iran a pariah state after the 1979 revolution, ostensibly because of the student hostage crisis, but actually because of Iran’s refusal to stay in the US orbit; a US Navy vessel in Iranian waters, the Vincennes, shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 aboard, and the US never formally apologized; the US supported the aggressor, Saddam Hussein, in Iraq’s war on Iran. Why, the hardliners might ask, should Iran trust the US?

The hardliners could justifiably argue that sanctions aside, Iran has done pretty well for itself being a US enemy. The US took down the hated Saddam Hussein and has made Iraq a virtual Iranian satellite, cleared the Taliban, an Iranian enemy, out of next door Afghanistan, and through its blundering in the Middle East created massive blowback and fomented anti-American sentiment that has increased anti-America Iran’s stature in the region. With enemies like the US, who needs friends?

And what happens to the US’s so-called friends in the Middle East, or even those who were not friends but who nevertheless have toed the US line? Saddam Hussein was once a friend of the US. So was Hosni Mubarak. Bashar Assad was hailed in the US as the face of Syrian progressivism and reform. Muammar Gaddafi abandoned his nuclear aspirations, apologized for the Lockerbie tragedy and made restitution, curtailed his support for terrorism, and tried to make nice-nice with the West. Look what’s happened to those guys. Who would argue with the hardliners’ assertion that Iran’s better off as an enemy?

There’s one last point the hardliners can make. If the agreement were to go through, it would open doors in Iran to the US. That might prompt the meddling US government, through it’s nongovernmental organizations (a misnomer if there ever was one) and intelligence agencies, to monkey around in Iranian politics, perhaps fomenting an “Iranian spring” and one of its trademark color revolutions. Any of you guys, the hardliners might ask, want to be the next Victor Yanukovych, that poor slob in Ukraine?

If the agreement is rejected, the hardliners will have all the ammunition they need: we told you so, the US can’t be trusted. They can’t help but have noticed that there’s one group of nations the US shies away from either militarily confronting or messing with their internal politics—nuclear-armed nations. Even the corrupt crazies in North Korea and Pakistan get a pass. So kick out the present corps of inspectors, pull down the veil of secrecy, and full speed ahead on an Iranian nuclear bomb. Instead of the 6,000 legacy-technology centrifuges specified in the agreement, fire up all 20,000, and make sure they’re state of the art. Forget eliminating 98 percent of the uranium stockpile and forget that 3.67 purity ceiling; start enriching the full stockpile to the 90 percent purity necessary for a bomb. And forget dismantling the core of the heavy water reactor at Arak; the plutonium will be used in the bombs.

If the agreement is rejected by the US, Iran will have every incentive to redirect its nuclear program (allowed to it as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel and Pakistan are not), to the development of nuclear weapons. Opponents of the agreement argue that current sanctions can be maintained and tightened. The US has sanctioned Iran since 1979, but sanctions only started to bite when multilateral sanctions were imposed. How willing will the rest of the G5+1, especially Russia and China, be to maintain these multilateral sanctions if the US rejects the agreement? Russia and China regard Iran as an ally and an important part of their Euro-Asian economic development and political cooperation plans. They will nix sanctions, and it would surprise no one if they sold Iran defensive radar and missile systems and more nuclear technology. Europe’s companies are anxious for access to Iran’s oil and its consumer market. Great Britain, France, and Germany’s businesses and governments will be resentful of US rejection and also unenthusiastic about maintaining sanctions.

There is little possibility, if the US rejects the agreement, that sanctions will be maintained by the other members of the G5+1, and no possibility they’ll be tightened. What then will the US and Israel have to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons? With no ability inside Iran to monitor its activities, other than whatever penetration their intelligence agencies can manage, won’t they be susceptible to false or doctored intelligence and claims that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, even if it is not? If US policymakers believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Iranians are developing nuclear weapons, what option will they have to stop them, other than war? The dominant wing of the Republican party has pressed for a US reordering of the Middle East since before 9/11. Taking out the fundamentalist regime in Iran has been a central goal. By rejecting the agreement, they may get the war with Iran they’ve so long desired.

If the US is not already all in on the Middle East, after it launches a war against Iran, it will be. US forays in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya leave no room for optimism about the outcome. The military obstacles to eliminating an Iranian nuclear bomb program would be formidable, especially if Russia and China provided either direct military support or weaponry and defensive systems. The costs would be monumental and coupled with a probable jolt to oil prices, almost certainly disastrous for US financial assets and its economy. The blowback to a US and Israel attack on Iran would make previous blowback look like a summer breeze. It is not just that the attack would come from the two most hated nations in the region, but that it would be directed against the marquee Shiite nation, presumably with at least the tacit acquiescence and probably the active encouragement of the region’s Sunni nations—Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. An attack against Iran would add explosive fuel to the ongoing conflagration, a jihadist’s dream, and would spread far beyond the Middle East.

Which may be exactly what Iran wants, if you believe the worst that is being said about its leaders. Those apocalyptic Iranians would have their jihad and apocalypse, at the end of which—they’re hoping—America would be in ruins and a global caliphate would emerge supreme, the supposed goal of their grand plan. This may also be exactly what President Obama wants, too, if you believe the charge that he is a Muslim or a fellow traveler and wants to bring down America. So if one wants to believe the very worst about Iran’s leaders and Obama, they both may be secretly hoping that the agreement is rejected, perhaps even surreptitiously maneuvering to ensure that outcome. If it is rejected, Iran will say that they tried, but America wanted war. And if that war comes about and it’s another disaster, the American people will know exactly whom to blame. It won’t be the man who said the alternative to his agreement is war.






Obama v. Bibi — Fight to the Finish, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Patrick Buchanan tells Obama to man up. From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In his desperation to sink the Iran nuclear deal, Bibi Netanyahu is taking a hellish gamble.

Israel depends upon the United States for $3 billion a year in military aid and diplomatic cover in forums where she is often treated like a pariah state. Israel has also been the beneficiary of almost all the U.S. vetoes in the Security Council.

America is indispensable to Israel. The reverse is not true.

Yet, without telling the White House, Bibi had his U.S. ambassador arrange for him to address a joint session of Congress in March — to rip up the president’s Iran nuclear deal before it was even completed.

The day the deal was signed, using what The Washington Post calls “stark apocalyptic language,” Bibi accused John Kerry of giving the mullahs a “sure path to a nuclear weapon” and a “cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars … to pursue its aggression and terror.”

Bibi has since inspired and led the campaign to get Congress to kill the deal, the altarpiece of the Obama presidency.

Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer, a former Republican operative now cast in the role of “Citizen Genet,” has intensively lobbied the Hill to get Congress to pass a resolution of rejection.

If that resolution passes, as it appears it will, Obama will veto it.

Then Israel, the Israeli lobby AIPAC, and all its allies and auxiliaries in the think tanks and on op-ed pages will conduct a full-court press to have Congress override the Obama veto and kill his nuclear deal.

Has Bibi, have the Israelis, considered what would happen should they succeed? Certainly, there would be rejoicing in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and Bibi would be crowned King of Capitol Hill.

But they will have humiliated an American president by crushing him by two-to-one in his own legislature. Such a defeat could break the Obama presidency and force the resignation of John Kerry, who would have become a laughing stock in international forums.

The message would go out to the world. In any clash between the United States and Israel over U.S. policy in the Middle East, bet on Bibi. Bet on Israel. America is Israel’s poodle now.

To continue reading: Obama v. Bibi—Fight to the Finish

Where Did We the People Go? by Peter Casey

From Peter Casey at antiwar.org:

The “P5+1” agreement with Iran basically mothballs the latter’s nuclear power activities for at least ten years. Israel and its American loyalists, however, have ordered Congress to wreck the deal.

Congress must obey Israel’s orders. It’s right there in the Constitution – or, at least, in the version AIPAC must be handing out to newly elected Congressmen: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the State of Israel…..do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Before Congress destroys the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the reality-based community among “the People” should consider the following points.

First, the deal does not eliminate an existential threat to the US. It does not even eliminate a non-existential threat.

So isn’t it a bad deal? Not at all. Why? Because there isn’t any threat. There never was. Not to Israel. Not to the US. Not to anybody. Except Iran. The Jewish and Democratic State has used the nonexistent existential threat to threaten Iran with Armageddon on a routine basis for the past decade.

The Iranian “nuclear weapons program” has been a hoax from day one. The Islamic Republic never had a nuclear bomb program.

Remember how the story started. In 2002, an outlaw cult of dissident Iranian crazies, the MEK, then listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization, announced that Iran was constructing two nuclear fuel processing facilities. Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, had every right to build them and no obligation to report them at such an early stage. US intelligence, moreover, had known all about them. At that time, however, the Bush/Cheney neocons were in full reality-creating mode. On their days off from cooking up bogus Iraqi WMD “intelligence,” they pushed the fraud that Iran’s “deception” meant it must be hiding a nuclear weapons program.

By relentless pounding, the Iraniphobes hammered the Big Lie of an Iranian nuclear weapons program into generally accepted “fact.”

The Western world has since spent thirteen years obsessed with a chimera, every now and then nearly exploding into World War III. To this day, Americans by an overwhelming majority tell pollsters that they believe “that the development of nuclear weapons by Iran is a critical threat to the vital interests of the US.”

Here, truly, is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury.

Second, it does not matter whether Zionist mob boss Ben Netanyahu and America’s Israeli fifth column are right about the agreement – that the restrictions on Iran are porous as a sieve. There’s nothing to catch. Besides, it wouldn’t matter what Iran agreed to do. Iran could agree to let a million IAEA inspectors crawl all over the country day and night, able to go anywhere at any time without notice. Israel and its fluffers in Congress would still reject it. Short of restoring the Peacock Throne, no “deal” could ever be good enough.

The Zionists do not want a deal. They want war on Iran, financed and fought by the US.

Third, just as there has never been any Iranian bomb program, the US government’s hostility toward Iran has not done Americans any good. On the contrary, that enmity has not only brought the US dangerously close to a catastrophic war based on a mirage, but has poisoned the prospects for the obvious economic, cultural, and geopolitical benefits from restoring full relations with Iran. From the beginning, however, US policy makers used the bomb program hoax to promote an Israeli agenda, in treasonous degradation of the “common defense” and “general Welfare” of “the People.”

To continue reading: Where Did We the People Go?

Two Non-Mainstream Perspectives On The Iran Deal, from Scott McConnell and Lucy Steigerwald

Scott McConnell dares suggest that the Iran deal my serve US interests in the Middle East, from American Conservative, via davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

If Iran’s nuclear program were the primary concern of those lamenting the deal that John Kerry and representatives of five major countries concluded with Iran last Tuesday, they would be relatively pleased. Under the agreement, Iran will be stripped of 98 percent of its enriched uranium, all of its plutonium producing capacity, and 2/3 of its centrifuges, and will be placed under the most rigorous inspection regime in the history of nuclear proliferation negotiations. The cartoon image of Iran racing toward the bomb—presented last year by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the United Nations—may not have been reality-based, but if that’s what Israel is worried about, it can relax. Iran will not be racing toward the bomb.

But of course Israel is not pleased at all, and many of its volunteer spokesmen and politicians in the United States are railing against the deal as virtually the worst thing to happen in history. Netanyahu has let no one outdo him in hysteria. Iran is seeking to “take over the world,” he told an Israeli audience last week. (As the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain signed onto the agreement, one wonders how they all managed to miss the world takeover threat Netanyahu sees so clearly.)

To continue reading: How the Iran Deal Serves America’s Interest

Lucy Steigerwald dares suggest that Iran may have reasons of its own to distrust and dislike the United States, from antiwar.org:

Last week, much of the US seemed to wring its hands over the US government’s deal with Iran over their nuclear program. The hysterical reaction from potential 2016 candidates to a mixed, but fairly positive solution to this crisis – most of them came out against the deal before it was released – was entirely predictable, but still disturbing. Would-be cautious folks like Sen. Rand Paul appear to have gone full hawk in reaction to the terms. It’s grim.

However, even if mega-interventions like Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol or Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz are actually itching for war, most people aren’t this bad. They may just be afraid of an alien, foreign culture that they have heard is aggressive. They may just wish for an Iran that is robotically subservient to American interests without having to go to the trouble of an invasion or even a subtle coup. People want an Iran that they don’t have to understand or empathize with because it is just like us.

That could be swell. Just imagine an Iran that recognized human rights and individual freedoms as much as America tells itself it does when it goes to sleep at night. America tells itself other bedtime stories about Iran – scary ones about 1979, about Iran exporting terrorism, or about cries of “death to America.” But it has forgotten how other tales go. Namely, the one about the 1953 coup of a democratically-elected leader. One which lead Iran on a path towards its theocratic revolution – and the storming of the American embassy – in ‘79. Or the one about the Iranian passenger plane shot down by a US warship in 1988. America doesn’t remember how the US helped ally Saddam Hussein find Iranian troops, knowing full well they would be attacked with chemical weapons.

There is only limited RAM on America’s computer. There is room for fears of Iran going nuclear. Iran threatening Israel. Iran hating Jews. Not an Iran that – theocratic and unfree though it is as a nation – contains a Jewish population that is free to worship and to work most jobs. A population that was never forced to leave, as the Jews of US ally Egypt were in the 1950s.

And certainly not an Iran that has a real need for nuclear medicine, no matter how suspicious the US finds that fact. Nor an Iran whose nuclear program began in the 1950s, thanks to the American Atoms for Peace. Forget an Iran which, again, is quite unfree domestically, but does not oppress its women to the extent that US ally Saudi Arabia does.

Never mind that sanctions are supposed to be a way for America to get what it wants from Iran, or that sanctions themselves are an act of war. One which punishes the poorest people of any country. Did Cuba suddenly embrace human rights after five decades of US sulking? It did not. Why not then try a tactic of friendship, trade, and most frightening – actual trust?

Because most of all, America has no space to admit that Iran has a fantastically valid reason to distrust America and Israel. America overthrew their government in a coup. It shot down a passenger plane. It helped perpetuate chemical attacks on the country. Had any one of those things been done to America by another nationstate, that place would be overthrown and invaded at the very least.

To continue reading: America’s Limited Space for Iran Stories

The Wall Street Journal–Lapdog For Multiple Laps, by Robert Gore

Using The Wall Street Journal for either news or analysis presents considerable risks. Last week the website Zero Hedge published and SLL reposted an article, “WSJ Notes ‘Chances That China’s Data Is Real Is Very Low’ Then Promptly Scrubs It.” China reported second quarter GDP growth of 7 percent to widespread skepticism. In its initial online story, the Journal included a quote concerning the growth figure.

“The chances that that data is real is very low,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, Natixis’s chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region. “Would you publish GDP data that looks south at this point in time? I don’t think so.”

However, when the final draft was published, the quote from Nataxis’s Herrero had been deleted.

Most financial research—from all sources—coming out of Hong Kong and China about the Chinese government or its policies is sterile and circumspect, and therefore suspect. Even bearish calls on the economy or financial markets are rare; they can imply inefficacy of the government’s policies. It is quite sensitive and sometimes takes action against those who don’t toe the line, understandably frightening everyone else. Did the Journal self-censor itself to avoid giving offense by eliminating the suggestion that Chinese numbers are not “real”? We may never know, but it is certainly a plausible explanation.

That the Journal would kowtow to the Chinese government is disturbing, and if it did both its veracity and integrity are impugned. However, its stance toward Saudi Arabia’s government abandons even the facade of objectivity.

Wednesday, the Journal published an editorial, “What Will the Arabs Do Now?” that could have been written in Riyadh. There should have been a border around the editorial with the label ADVERTISEMENT. The opening paragraph implores those always reticent Middle Eastern Arab nations to speak up and let their opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal be known. Is there any reasonably well-informed person on the planet who does not know the Arab position on the Iranian deal? For anyone still ignorant, consider the recent Arab snub of President Obama. Subalterns instead of the invited heads of state attended a conference in Washington in which he attempted to explain and defend the preliminary agreement with Iran. Arab feelings are no mystery.

And the Journal is deeply empathetic.

The prospect of a nuclear-threshold Iran newly fortified with cash from sanctions relief has to be terrifying for its [Saudi Arabia’s] Sunni Arab neighbors. Tradition Persian imperialism combined with Shiite revolutionary fervor make for a fearsome regional threat, especially with President Obama signaling U.S. retreat from the region. Iran is now the most important foreign influence in Baghdad, and its Shiite militias are more powerful than Iraq’s army. Iran will have far more resources to spend arming its Shiite and other proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Why should the US care if Sunni Arabs are terrified? We know the answer to that one, which we’ll get to later, but are Sunni Arabs any less terrifying than Shiite Iranians? Saudi Arabia and Iran are both repressive, fundamentalist Islamic theocracies. The Journal warns of Iran having more resources to fund its “proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen,” but never mentions Saudi Arabia and its Sunni neighbors’ proxies: Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is fighting alongside Al Qaeda against Shiite Houthi rebels who overthrew a US-backed government (installed without an election). Although ostensibly part of a US alliance against the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Arab Gulf States have aided and abetted those Sunni forces.

Iran’s support of fellow Shiite Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Shiites in Lebanon and Syria, is worrisome to the Journal, but the Arabs get a free pass for their support of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. You might think that the US had picked sides in the never-ending Sunni-Shiite conflict, a fools’ errand (see “Deal Us In!”). Unfortunately, the American government’s foolishness goes beyond that: it’s on both sides of the conflict. It has installed a majority Shiite government in Iraq and trained its military. Not too well, evidently; the Iraqis main battle plan against Islamic State has been retreat. Iran’s Shiite militias, which the Journal notes are more powerful than Iraq’s army, have actually won battles against Islamic State. However, nobody in the US government or at the Journal will admit that the US and Iran are on the same side in that fight, or that Iran has aided the US.

The Journal’s primary concern is that Iran might obtain nuclear bombs, and it raises the possibility that an Iranian bomb would set off a Middle Eastern arms race.

He [Saudi Prince Alaweed bin Talal] all but said the Saudis could purchase a nuclear bomb off the shelf from Pakistan given the close ties between the countries.

Prince Turki al Faisal, Riyadh’s former intelligence minister, was even more blunt this March, saying the Kingdom “will want the same” nuclear technology Iran is granted in a deal. That would include a plutonium reactor and thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium.

If the possibility that Iran after the agreement might someday develop a nuclear weapon (but only after a great deal of subterfuge, effort, and expense) is disturbing, why has nobody worried that Saudi Arabia might buy bombs from Pakistan, which Prince Alaweed bin Talal implies they could do? If the possibility of a bomb in the hands of fundamentalist, repressive, terrorism-fomenting Iran sparks horror, why does it not do so in the hands of fundamentalist, repressive, terrorism-fomenting Saudi Arabia? For that matter, is anyone concerned that Pakistan, a corrupt, politically unstable, Muslim state (with a Sunni majority) already has the bomb? It would seem that if we are to lose sleep over the prospect of an Iranian bomb years down the road, then the present reality of a Pakistani bomb should induce nonstop insomnia.

As for the possibility that Saudi Arabia could develop the same nuclear technologies that Iraq will be permitted to develop under the agreement: it has had that option for years and retains it whether the agreement is adopted or not. Saudi Arabia and Iran have both ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), which allows participants to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Under the agreement, Iraq can continue the peaceful nuclear research that it has the right to continue under the NNPT. The safeguards are designed to prevent it from developing prohibited military applications, that is, nuclear bombs. Saudi Arabia has always had the same right to pursue peaceful nuclear research. If it did so, would anyone in the US government or at the Journal worry, as they do with Iran, that it might secretly develop its own bombs?

We know the reason for the US double-standard between Iran and Saudi Arabia: the grand bargain. The US protects the Arab nations from all enemies, domestic and foreign, stationing military bases in Saudi Arabia and its neighbors and selling them massive amounts of military hardware. In return, they guarantee the flow of oil at a price that is profitable to them, but which does not overly tax the US economy. The oil trade is denominated in dollars, bolstering the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. The Arabs recycle the dollars acquired into US investments, including its sovereign debt.

Undoubtedly there is sub rosa plank in the grand bargain: the US government and its compliant media outlets, including the Journal, will downplay or ignore Arab depredations. Swept under the rug is the brutality of Sharia-based criminal law, including stoning and beheading; subjugation of women; persecution of homosexuals; widespread discrimination against Shiite minorities; promotion of world-wide terrorism (we still do not have a complete accounting of the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government or its citizens in the 9/11 attack); cronyism and rampant corruption; foreign espionage and skullduggery; glaring inequality of wealth, and lack of opportunity and high unemployment, especially among the region’s young.

Iran will never be a party to such a grand bargain. It is inconceivable that Iran will declare it’s love for the US, even an insincere, Saudi-style love. In 1953, the CIA and Britain’s MI6 organized a coup against Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq in retaliation for the nationalization of the British-owned oil industry. Mossaddeq was replaced by exiled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah’s repression, especially the brutal internal security service SAVAK, economic and financial policies tilted towards a small elite, and support from the United States fueled popular resentment. He was overthrown in the 1979 revolution. Iranians have forgotten neither the US role in the 1953 coup nor its support of the hated Shah, which makes the continuous US refrain about Iran not being trustworthy almost comical—the mote versus the beam (Matthew 7:3).

Sometimes fights break out because the opponents are so much alike. That fits the present version of the long-running conflict between Persia and Arabia. In championing Saudi Arabia and demonizing Iran, the Journal misses the real prospect that “has to be terrifying” to both nations’ governments. Sooner or later, their peoples will get fed up with the archaic economics, politics, technology, communications, piety, and social interaction to which those reactionary, repressive, fundamentalist governments have consigned them. Both governments are doomed dinosaurs. When Persians and Arabs overthrow their tyrannies, maybe they can instate the freedom that would allow them to regain their historical prominence, realize their considerable potential, and enjoy all the benefits the 21st century has to offer.


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The GOP Warmongers Are Wrong——And Stupid, Too, by Mike Mish Shedlock

From Mike Mish Shedlock, at davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

Historic Deal

On Tuesday, President Obama, World Powers, and Iran agreed on a Historic Nuclear Pact phasing out economic sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

President Barack Obama said the deal with Tehran ensures that “every pathway to a nuclear weapon” has been cut off.

“We have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,” he said in an early-morning statement that — in a rare move — was carried on Iranian television

Republicans Blast Deal

The Bustle reports Republicans Respond To The Iran Deal With Every Bit As Much Vitriol As You’d Expect — And Then Some.

“I have said from the beginning of this process that I would not support a deal with Iran that allows the mullahs to retain the ability to develop nuclear weapons, threaten Israel, and continue their regional expansionism and support for terrorism,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in a statement on Tuesday. “Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security.”

“I expect that a significant majority in Congress will share my skepticism of this agreement and vote it down,” said Rubio, calling on the next president to effectively wipe the slate clean once again and trash the deal. “It will … be left to the next President to return us to a position of American strength and re-impose sanctions on this despicable regime …”

Rubio’s GOP counterparts were equally displeased. “Iran’s Supreme Leader should know that a future American president will not be bound by this diplomatic retreat,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a statement on Tuesday morning. “Undoing the damage caused by this deal won’t be easy [but] when the United States leads, and has a President who isn’t eager to embrace Iran, the world will follow.”

As president, on my very first day going forward, I would pull back, I would terminate that bad deal with Iran completely on day one. I would then put in place crippling economic sanctions against Iran, and I’d convince our allies to do the same. This is not a country we should be doing business with.

“This is the most dangerous, irresponsible step I’ve ever seen in the history of watching the Mideast,” said South Carolina Senator (and 2016 hopeful) Lindsey Graham in a visit to MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday. “You’ve ensured that the Arabs will go nuclear … put Israel in the worst possible box [and it] will be a death over time sentence to Israel if they don’t push back,” added Lindsey, directing his commentary to the president.

To continue reading: The GOP Warmongers Are Wrong