Iran War Weekly — April 25, 2013

Following on the failure of the talks in Kazakhstan about Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and its allies renewed their non-diplomatic offensive against Iran this week. Secretary of Defense Hagel was in the Middle East, most especially in Israel, to push a $10 billion program introducing more advanced offensive weapons into the Israel, Saudi, and UAE arsenals. Like the trips of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry made two weeks earlier, Hagel’s mission is both to reassure Israel and other regional allies that the United States still considers “all options on the table,” while at the same time pressuring Israel to defer military action against Iran and to give sanctions and negotiations more time.
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David Henderson and Stephen Zunes to Speak on US-Iran Relations

Prof. David R. Henderson, co-chair of Libertarians for Peace, will be one of two speakers discussing the U.S., Iran and the threat to peace. The event is on Thursday, April 18 at 7:30 PM at the Irvine Auditorium, Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at 499 Pierce Street in Monterey. The program is free and open to the public.

David R. Henderson: “The Perverse Economics of Sanctions” David R. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution and a Professor of Economics at the Naval Postgraduate School. Sponsored by the Peace Coalition of Monterey County and Amnesty International.

Stephen Zunes: “Hegemony, Repression and the Nuclear Standoff” Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He is recognized as one of the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and strategic nonviolent action.

For more information, call 831-899-7322.

Iran War Weekly — March 18, 2013

From Frank Brodhead’s Iran War Weekly update:

As readers may/will recall, we are between negotiating sessions about Iran’s nuclear program. After an eight-month hiatus, restarting negotiations between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) and Iran was significant. Even more significant, and also surprising, was that the negotiations in Kazakhstan in February generated cautious optimism among diplomats, and a second round of negotiations is now scheduled for early April, again in Kazakhstan.

The scheduling of a second meeting in April is significant not just because it holds out the hope of “progress,” long absent in these talks, but also because it indicates that Iran considers its nuclear positions to be based on interests that will not be derailed by their presidential election in June. This is in contrast to what happened during the US presidential election last fall, when nuclear talks with Iran were suspended for the lengthy campaign season.
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Iran War Weekly – March 5, 2013

From Frank Brodhead’ Iran War Weekly report:

After eight months of low-profile inactivity, the Iranian nuclear issue sprang to life this week in widely separate venues: Washington and Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan’s capital Almaty, Iran’s nuclear negotiators met with the “P5+1” (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany). The approach of the meeting was smothered in low expectations, as the rumored P5+1 negotiating position seemed indistinguishable from those that had been tried and failed, except for the promise of removing some sanctions that had been recently instituted to restrict the use of gold to make purchases (by-passing sanctions against banks). In Kazakhstan, however, the P5+1 made some changes in the demands it put to Iran, especially in abandoning the demand that Iran’s enrichment plant buried underground at Fordow be dismantled. This was seen by Iran as sufficient to schedule a follow-up meeting for April 5-6, with a “technical meeting” to take place in mid-March.

In the real world, however, the P5+1 demands remain far apart from what Iran has indicated it wants or is willing to give. “The West” still will not recognize Iran’s rights under the NPT to enrich uranium, and it is proposing varying formulas by which Iran must abandon most of its nuclear program before sanctions relief will be considered. Yet the glimmer of movement in Kazakhstan was received as a significant accomplishment in the nuclear-diplomacy world, as several analyses linked below confirm. Iran, especially, expressed satisfaction, seeing the outcome of the meeting as a result of its stout resistance to bullying and sanctions by “the West.”
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Iran War Weekly – February 26, 2013

From Frank Brodhead’s Iran War Weekly which appears at WarIsACrime.Org.

After a six-month delay, representatives Iran and the “P5+1” met in Kazakhstan today to renew negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program. Early news reports say that “the West” offered Iran a very modest lifting of sanctions if Iran would take steps to halt or alter significant parts of its nuclear program. Iran is expected to make its reply tomorrow, during a second day of talks. As indicated in pre-meeting analyses linked below, Iran is expected to reject the West’s proposal as trivial and insincere, wanting instead for the P5+1 to recognize Iran’s rights to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to lay out an offer that would quickly remove all the economic sanctions against it.

The negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran are complicated by several issues, most recently the hiatus imposed by the US presidential election and another one coming soon by Iran’s presidential election, which will take place in June. But the larger question is why the P5+1 – or for practical purposes, the United States – is reluctant to offer significant reductions in economic sanctions, knowing full well that Iran will not accept the baby-step reductions now on offer. Is it because the United States thinks that sanctions “are working”? While there is abundant evidence that sanctions are causing hardship to ordinary Iranians, the sanctions have not and do not seem likely to alter the Iranian leadership’s nuclear positions. So, what is the plan?
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Stop doing what you’re not doing? AGAIN?

Iran’s imaginary nukes and other war-lies: Take 83  – – –

It’s the sort of bureaucratic lying-by-obfuscation below which caused the U.S. to unnecessarily nuke Japan twice in three days, attack North Vietnam for an incident which Defense Sec. Robert McNamara admits “didn’t happen,” and invade Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction it didn’t have — and at least 935 other documented lies – – –

You have said a couple of times that you did not believe the Iranians were pursuing a nuclear weapon … are you still confident they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapon?  —Moderator Chuck TODD,  Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

What I’ve said, and I will say today, is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.  —U.S. Defense Secretary Leon PANETTA, Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

The “innies” — like Mr. Panetta for example — know perfectly well Iran’s government has no nuclear weapons program. But almost certainly because the U.S. Government often marches to Israel’s drumbeat, it’s clear Mr. Panetta is reluctant to reveal that inconvenient truth. Chuck Hagel did reveal it. Which is one reason his appointment as Defense Secretary is being held up.

[PANETTA:] They’re developing and enriching uranium. …

TODD: Why do you believe they’re doing that?

MR. PANETTA: I think– I think the– it’s a clear indication they say they’re doing it in order to develop their own energy source. I think it is suspect that they continue to– to enrich uranium because that is dangerous, and that violates international laws… —Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

Mr. Panetta, apparently giving in to his political experience and training, is out-and-out lying. This does NOT “violate international laws” as Mr. Panetta asserts. Unlike Israel, for example, not only has Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — which allows the enrichment Iran is doing — but, despite Israel’s own clandestine nukes — and its intensive anti-Iran disinformation operations — Iran’s government has allowed much more stringent inspections than other NPT signatories.

And it’s no more dangerous for Iran to enrich uranium this way than for any other country which wants to produce nuclear-electric power. The U.S. for example.

TODD: And you do believe they’re probably pursuing a weapon, but you don’t– the intelligence doesn’t know what…

(Cross talk)

MR. PANETTA: I– no, I can’t tell you because– I can’t tell you they’re in fact pursuing a weapon because that’s not what intelligence says we– we– we’re– they’re doing right now. But every indication is they want to continue to increase their nuclear capability. And that’s a concern, and that’s what we’re asking them to stop doing.  —Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

So, exposed to even the feeble light of U.S. Main Stream Media, Mr. Panetta had to tell the truth. Again. So he reluctantly admits, “I can’t tell you they’re in fact pursuing a weapon because that’s not what intelligence says.” That would be all 16 official branches of the U.S. Intelligence Community, including his own C.I.A. that are telling him that — with unanimous “high confidence.”

Which is why keeping Iran from producing a nuclear weapon may be Mr. Obama’s most easily kept campaign promise.

None the less, Mr. Panetta insists that “every indication is they want to continue to increase their nuclear capability?” So, Mr. Panetta, your HUNCH is better than the carefully evolved high confidence conclusions of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies? Really?

And Mr. Panetta goes on, “that’s what we’re asking them to stop doing.” In other words, “we’re asking them to stop doing what we know they’re not doing.”

It’s this sort of obtuse double talk that gets politicians elected, bureaucrats like Mr. Panetta into lofty positions — and Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Defense  Secretary held up by Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and the rest of Israel’s Amen Corner.

As already suggested, it’s also this sort of bureaucratic lying-by-obfuscation that caused the U.S. to unnecessarily nuke Japan twice in three days, attack North Vietnam for an incident which Defense Sec. Robert McNamara admits “didn’t happen,” and invade Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction it didn’t have — and at least 935 other documented lies.

So, will “we the people” allow our public servants to once again lie us into war? Squeak up!