from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 15th, 2010:
The Washington Post: Thomas Erdbrink reports on comments made Tuesday by former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in which the cleric criticized the government for not taking U.S.-led sanctions seriously and warned that Iran could become a dictatorship. â€œThe remarks by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani represent a rebuke of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though Rafsanjani did not mention him by name,â€ writes Erdbrink. The Iranian government maintains that sanctions have strengthened Iran, but Rafasanjani, speaking at the influential clerical council, said, â€œI would like to ask you and all the countryâ€™s officials to take the sanctions seriously and not as a joke.â€ Rafsanjani is seen as a major force behind the opposition Green Movement and longstanding rival of Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad has faced increasing criticism from all strata of the Iranian political system.
Washington Post: The Post picks up an AP article by George Jahn chronicling the U.S.â€™s request that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) take â€œappropriate actionâ€ in response to alleged Iranian intimidation of nuclear inspectors. The message was delivered to the IAEA in Vienna by Glyn Davies, the U.S. representative to the UNâ€™s nuclear watchdog. The request for â€œactionâ€ came after Iran barred two inspectors several months ago. Jahn reports that Iranâ€™s representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, accused the agency and its director general, Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, of â€œentering into a political game of certain countries,â€ a clear shot at the U.S. and its allies. Reuters has reported similar comments from the head of Iranâ€™s atomic program, Ali Akbar Salehi. Earlier this week, Amano said Iran had not provided â€œnecessary cooperationâ€ that would allow the IAEA to ensure that the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful. Salehi responded yesterday that, if Amano knew what he was implying, â€œhe made a big mistake which is very dangerous because it indicates that he has been under political pressure.â€ Iran, which like all participants in inspections, is entitled to approve inspectors, last banned particular inspectors in 2007, after the IAEA reported Iran to the UN Security Council.
Huffington Post: John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) at the Institute for Policy Studies, has a new post up outlining some basics of Iranâ€™s conflict with the West and pointing to FPIF pieces about how war with Iran is avoidable. The piece is a solid primer of where the sides stand now and where they are coming from. Feffer thinks a U.S. or Israeli strike is not likely, nor does he think economic and other international sanctions will work. An expert on North Korea, Feffer makes this apt observation: â€œThe Bush administrationâ€™s failure to continue Clintonâ€™s engagement of North Korea shows us what happens with the isolation strategy. With no other options, North Korea simply pushed ahead with its nuclear program.â€ Obama should wait until after the political dust of the mid-term U.S. Congressional elections settles, writes Feffer, then use help from third parties such as Turkey to cut a deal with Tehran.