US Vice President Joe Biden will go to Florida to “beg” American Jewish leaders to allow Washington to have its nuclear agreement with Iran, says a political commentator.
“Something this critically important to American foreign policy means only one thing… begging to powerful Jews to let America have its deal,” said David Christie, a broadcast journalist based in New York.
Christie made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday while commenting on Biden’s plan to visit Jewish leaders in Miami next week.
Biden’s office said in a statement that he will “participate in a discussion organized by [chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee] Debbie Wasserman Schultz to discuss the Iran deal with leaders in the Jewish community.”
The vice president, who has played an important behind-the-scenes role in the Obama administration’s lobbying push for the agreement approval by Congress in September, hopes to win support from Wasserman Schultz who has not announced her position on the issue.
“The best way to do that is for Joe [Biden] to make a pilgrimage to Miami so he can pay homage to the one group that has been at the core of our bizarre obsession with forging a nuclear deal with a country that can never be a threat to us in the first place,” said Christie.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany – announced the conclusion of nuclear negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 14. The US Congress will vote on the agreement in September.
Under the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, restrictions will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“Indeed, none of our hysterical pre-occupation within an Iranian deal would even exist if it weren’t for what has become the mission in life for all US politicians and of course, that is to serve and protect Israel at all—and I mean—all costs,” said the journalist.
According to Carol Greenwald writing at American Thinker on 27 August 2015, Washington Post writer “[Carol] Morello does not mention how incredible it was that a few people, mostly a woman named Marsha Halteman from New Orleans, in one week could get 190 flag officers to sign a public letter stating that “the JCPOA [Iran Deal] would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”
Well not so incredible at all thanks to the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA) very successful Generals and Admiral Program that has been in operation for many years. It has been the pipeline for 400 American military officers to visit Israel. Israel also runs similar programs for US military academy students and US law enforcement personnel.
The purpose of bringing American military personnel—and military academy students—is to maintain “Continued and robust military-to-military dialogue between the American and Israeli defense establishments is central to JINSA’s philosophy. The annual Generals and Admirals Program to Israel, in which recently retired American generals and admirals are invited to visit Israel with JINSA to meet the top echelon of the Israeli military and political leadership, ensures that the American delegation is well briefed on the security concerns of Israel, as well as the key role Israel plays as a friend and ally of the U.S. To date, JINSA has taken close to 400 retired officers to Israel, many of whom serve on JINSA’s Board of Advisors.”
As of this writing the Washington Post does not appear to have updated its story on the incredible effort of Marsha Halteman who is the recipient of a prestigious award from a US combatant command.
“It gives us great pleasure to announce that JINSA’s Marsha Halteman will be honored by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) with their Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for her tireless work on JINSA’s Soldiers Appeal, which raises funds for military members and their families who are in need of financial assistance. Her selfless and hard work is instrumental in actively supporting a USSOCOM priority – enhancing the quality of life of the individual warrior and family. Established by the Commander of USSOCOM in September 1998, the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal recognizes civilians who have provided outstanding support or service. For Marsha, this work has been both an act of love and admiration for our men and women in uniform, as well as above and beyond the call of duty. She has truly made a difference in the lives of so many soldiers and their families and she is most deserving of this award. This prestigious award will be presented to Marsha by a senior member of the USSOCOM Command at JINSA’s Spring 2014 Leadership Conference. Details of this meeting and a formal “Save the Date” will be released soon. We hope that many of you will be able to join us for the meeting and to honor Marsha.”
If the US national security and political establishment had the dedication, tenacity and thoroughness of the Israeli’s—in their pursuit of their national security interests, the USA would be a far more powerful country abroad and maybe at home. Israel’s interests are represented in every nook and cranny in the United States at the local, state and federal levels. They believe in Israel, nothing else. That deserves respect. American leaders, comparatively, are pathetic.
The hysterical campaign launched against the Iran nuclear deal by the flag-waving militarist partisans in and around the US congress has terribly obfuscated the issues included in the deal. Not surprisingly, the campaign has created a number of misconceptions regarding both the actual contents of the deal and the main disagreements between the advocates and opponents of the deal.
One such misconception is that the deal is, or must be, more advantageous to Iran than the US and Israel; otherwise, the simple logic goes, there would not be so much opposition to it. Such impressions, created simply by all the hue and cry on the part of the opponents of the deal are patently false. Even a cursory reading of the nuclear agreement reveals that, as I pointed out in a recent article on the issue, it is highly skewed against Iran. Not only does the agreement downgrade and freeze Iran’s peaceful nuclear technology, it also limits the scope of the county’s scientific research and development, jeopardizes its national security or defense capabilities and, perhaps most importantly, undermines its national sovereignty.
So, considering the fact the deal represents a big win for the US and its allies and, by the same token, a major loss for Iran, why all the uproar against it?
A number of reasons can be thought of for all the war party’s feverish hullabaloo. The main reason, however, seems to be that while the deal obviously represents a fantastic victory for the US and its allies, it nonetheless falls short of what the war party projected and fought for, that is, devastating regime change by military means, similar to what was done to Iraq and Libya.
The second misconception that the war party’s vehement opposition to the nuclear deal has created is that their ultimate goal vis-à-vis Iran is significantly different from that of the Obama administration and other proponents of the deal. In reality, however, the difference between the opponents and proponents of the deal is largely tactical; strategically, both factions pursue the same objective: regime change in Iran.
While the advocates of the deal have in recent years switched their tactics from direct military intervention and regime change from without to soft-power methods of regime change from within, the opponents of the deal continue to insist that overwhelming military force and escalating economic strangulation are the more effective means of regime change in Tehran, that is, regime change from outside.
This does not mean that the advocates of the nuclear deal have ruled out the military option altogether—by no means. As President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other administration officials have frequently pointed out, the military option is on the table when/if needed, that is, if Iran fails to carry out all the punishing obligations under the nuclear deal.
The tactical switch by the proponents of the deal from military to soft-power methods of regime change did not come about overnight, or by an epiphany. For over thirty years since the 1979 revolution in Iran, which significantly undermined the U.S. influence in that country and elsewhere in the region, these proponents, like their counterparts in the war party, pursued policies of regime change from outside. These included instigation of and support for Saddam Hussein to invade Iran, training and supporting destabilizing terrorist organizations to attack Iran from all corners of the country, constant war and military threats, efforts to sabotage the 2009 presidential election through the so-called “green revolution,” and systematic escalation of economic sanctions.
Not only did these evil schemes fall short of their nefarious goal of “regime change” in Iran, they in fact drove the country to become a major power in the region.
In the face of the brutal economic sanctions and constant military threats, Iran embarked on a relatively radical path of a public/state-guided economy that successfully provided both for the war mobilization to defend its territorial integrity and for respectable living conditions of its population. By taking control of the commanding heights of the national economy, and effectively utilizing the revolutionary energy and dedication of their people, Iranian policy makers at the time also succeeded in taking significant steps toward economic self-reliance, which further thwarted the geopolitical plans of the US and its allies to bring Iran to its knees, or to overthrow its government.
Having thus failed at its plots of “regime change” from without, a major faction of the US ruling class, headed by the Obama administration, now seems to have opted for regime change (or reform) from within; that is, through political and economic rapprochement with Iran—using the nuclear negotiations as a starting point, or transitional channel.
What has made this option more promising in recent years is the rise of a well-organized, Western-oriented neoliberal capitalist class in Iran whose chief priority seems to be the ability to do business with their counterparts in the West.
Many of the once revolutionary leaders who successfully managed the 1980-88 war economy have now become business entrepreneurs and prosperous capitalists. Having effectively enriched themselves in the shadow of the public sector economy, these folks are now ready to do business American style, that is, follow the neoliberal/austerity model of economics.
It is thus understandable why major factions within Iran’s ruling circles, represented largely by the Rouhani administration, have no stomach for a regimented, war-like economy; and why they support the highly disgraceful compromises made by Iran’s nuclear negotiators to the United States and its allies. For the rich and powerful elites of these circles issues such as nuclear technology or national sovereignty are of secondary importance to self-enrichment, or profit motive.
It follows that the Obama administration and other US advocates of the nuclear deal opted for negotiation with Iran only after they came to the realization that (a) continuing on the path of regime change from outside tended to be ineffective, or even counterproductive, and (b) the rise of a pro-US, collaborationist capitalist class in Iran increasingly promised to be a more effective vehicle of spreading the US influence in Iran and, ultimately, of regime change from within.
Indeed, the Obama administration’s recent approach of relying primarily on business/market forces of regime change, or modification, without ruling out the military option is likely to be more effective in achieving its goal than the war party’s reckless insistence on escalating sanctions and military threats.
The effectiveness of this approach lies in the fact that, as pointed out earlier, the nuclear deal would significantly limit Iran’s military and defense capabilities. The deal would also avail the US extensive knowledge of Iran’s economic, technological, security, and military capabilities and, therefore, vulnerabilities. This means that if at any time in the future Iran defies or resists the heavy-handed imperialistic designs of the United States, the US can then employ its war machine more effectively as it would have the necessary information on strategic places or targets to be attacked or bombarded.
This is no speculation or conspiracy theory. It is, indeed, a scenario projected by the Obama administration officials and other advocates of the nuclear deal as they promote it ahead of the next month’s critical vote in Congress. “In meetings on Capitol Hill and with influential policy analysts, administration officials argue that inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities under the deal will reveal important details that can be used for better targeting should the U.S. decide to attack Iran” .
Commenting on this ominous depraved scheme, Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Michael Crowley of Politico, “It’s certainly an argument I’ve heard made. . . . We’ll be better off with the agreement were we to need to use force” .
To see how this menacing projection is not simply an abstract or partisan argument, suffice it to remember the fact that this is exactly what was done to Iraq and Libya. In both cases, the United States and its allies used disingenuous negotiations with Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Qaddafi as pretexts to collect information about their military/defense capabilities and, then, used the information thus acquired for targeted bombardment and effective invasion.
 Michael Crowley, The ultimate argument in favor of the Iran deal: The agreement would make it easier to bomb Iran, administration officials have told lawmakers.
Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), and The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007).
A senior Iranian lawmaker has slammed recent remarks by a top US military commander on Iraq’s disintegration, saying Washington seeks to break down the entire Middle East.
“The US has created Daesh based on a calculated scheme in order to realize the Greater Middle East plan and disintegrate the region. That’s why the Americans are bringing up the issue of Iraq’s disintegration,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis), said on Sunday.
The Iranian lawmaker’s remarks came after US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno, who once served as the top US commander in Iraq, said on August 12 that partitioning Iraq “is something that could happen” and “might be the only solution.”
The remarks came as a controversial US Congress bill, the draft of which was released in April, proposes the division of Iraq into three states and allows the Kurdish forces and the Sunni tribesmen to be armed directly without Baghdad’s approval.
The bill stipulates that 25 to 60 percent of the USD 715-million aid money allegedly allocated to Iraq in its war against Daesh will be directly supplied to Sunni and Kurdish forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi strongly condemned the comments by the top US military commander as “irresponsible,” saying they reflected “ignorance of the Iraqi reality.”
Iraqi politicians, including members of the parliament, as well as religious leaders have also voiced their opposition to the bill.
Syria no-fly zone
Elsewhere in his remarks, Boroujerdi said that Turkey’s pushing for a no-fly zone over Syria is a “strategic mistake” for Ankara.
He said that the move is a violation of international law as well as sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country.
“Turkey is expected to adopt a policy that will contribute to regional stability and security, not [one that will] lead to instability in the region,” he added.
Turkey has been pushing for a no-fly zone over northern Syria, claiming that such a buffer zone could protect Ankara from Syrian airstrikes against foreign-backed militants.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview last week that he would work with the US to establish what he called a “safe area,” claiming that the buffer zone would protect civilians.
The US has not given the official go-ahead for the plan yet.
Thanks to the Iran nuclear deal, something remarkable is happening in American politics: the irreconcilable conflict of interest between most Americans on one side and Israel and its American supporters on the other is on full display and impossible to ignore. In the past the conflict could be papered over with grand empty rhetoric about the two sides being in “lock-step” and the absence of “daylight” between them. But no more. The conflict is out in the open where everyone can see it. Iran should be thanked for this valuable service.
War with Iran would be a catastrophe not only for the Iranians, including thousands of Jewish Iranians who openly practice their religion in their ancient community, and other people in the Middle East; it would also be a catastrophe for Americans — hence the conflict of interest between most Americans and the war party. Those, like Tom Cotton, Norman Podhoretz, Bill Kristol, and John Bolton, who think an attack on Iran would be a cakewalk, are either liars or fools. These are the same people, of course, who said the Iraq war would be easy and would usher in a new liberal Middle East. The result has been unspeakable sectarian violence throughout the region, culminating in the Islamic State and a reinvigorated al-Qaeda.
Despite the predictable catastrophe a war with Iran would bring, Israel and its staunchest, most prominent American supporters are conducting a well-financed campaign against the Iran nuclear deal that would surely lead to that war if a Republican wins the presidency next year. In fact, they want war because only war (followed by regime change) would give Israel and its American supporters what they want: unrivaled dominance in the Middle East, which among other things would relieve the pressure to make a just peace with the Palestinians at least by leaving the occupied territories.
Let’s acknowledge that most Jewish Americans favor the nuclear deal and do not want war with Iran; in fact, many Jews feel little or no connection to Israel at all. But that must not obscure the fact that the Israeli government, which was recently returned to power by the Israeli people, and the richest, best-organized Jewish American groups — AIPAC and the rest of the Israel/Jewish Lobby — lead the opposition to the deal and the neoconservative coalition in favor of war. (This is not to overlook the prominent non-Jewish members of the coalition.) They feign offense at being called warmongers, but they know that the kind of deal they favor would require Iran to fully capitulate to the United States and Israel, demands which go beyond nuclear questions, and surrender its sovereignty. Such a deal could never be reached, and the war hawks know it. They ought to be honest enough to admit that war is what they want. (Some neoconservatives, Jews and non-Jews, are honest enough, including Bolton, Podhoretz, Cotton, Kristol and Joshua Muravchik.)
What’s noteworthy is that both sides of the divide have taken the gloves off. We had Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom former Meet the Press host David Gregory once called “the leader of the Jewish people,” invited to speak before Congress for the sole purpose of undercutting President Obama’s efforts to engage in diplomacy with Iran. We had senators doing the bidding of Israel and the Lobby by writing to the leader of Iran to tell him no agreement would be long-lasting. And most recently we had Netanyahu, in an unprecedented display, openly urging Jewish Americans to oppose the deal with Iran: “The days when the Jewish people could not or would not speak up for themselves, those days are over,” he said in a webcast to 10,000 Jewish American activists arranged by the Jewish Federations throughout North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Are Jewish Americans supposed to see Netanyahu as their leader? (Not that I think they should see Obama as their leader.) Netanyahu apparently thinks so, and prominent Jewish Americans seem to agree. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is Jewish, has courageously condemned this “arrogant” pretense. (Recall that Netanyahu has told Western Jews that they are welcome to “return” to Israel — even those who have never been there — to escape the dangers in their countries. Thus he embraces the pernicious Zionist doctrine, shared by anti-Semites, that Jews ultimately are aliens everywhere except in Israel.)
Obama, on the other hand, has finally been willing to openly identify the source of hawkish anti-Iranian pressure: Israel and its American supporters, especially prominent and well-organized Jewish Americans and non-Jews who kowtow to win their political and financial support.
“Because this is such a strong deal,” Obama said, “every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.” He also said, “Between now and the congressional vote in September, you’re going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal, backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising. And if the rhetoric in these ads, and the accompanying commentary, sounds familiar, it should — for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.”
Everyone knows, first, that the major push for the war against Iraq came from Israel and the Lobby, supported by the neocon devotees of Israel’s agenda, and, second, that the multimillion-dollar ad campaign against the Iran deal is run by an AIPAC-related group, Citizens for Nuclear Free Iran, and United Against Nuclear Iran, led by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and financed by wealthy casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who makes no secret of his Israel-first sentiment.
But we shouldn’t overstate Obama’s willingness to identify the malign influence on American foreign policy that emanates from Israel, its Lobby, and the neocons in general. He also said:
When the Israeli government is opposed to something, people in the United States take notice. And they should. No one can blame Israelis for having a deep skepticism about any dealings with a government like Iran’s — which includes leaders who have denied the Holocaust, embrace an ideology of anti-Semitism, facilitate the flow of rockets that are arrayed on Israel’s borders, are pointed at Tel Aviv. In such a dangerous neighborhood, Israel has to be vigilant, and it rightly insists that it cannot depend on any other country — even its great friend the United States — for its own security. So we have to take seriously concerns in Israel.
Note that he did not mention Israel’s large, invulnerable nuclear arsenal. Israel is the nuclear monopolist in the Middle East and has been since the 1960s, thanks to the connivance of its American supporters inside and outside of government. In the context of Iran’s potential for obtaining a nuclear weapon, wouldn’t you think that fact is relevant? Why do establishment politicians and the mainstream news media hardly ever mention it? Moreover, the rockets that threaten Israelis come from people whom Zionist militias drove off their land in 1948 in a far-reaching ethnic-cleansing campaign and who are now routinely threatened and oppressed: the Palestinians in the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip, target of savage air wars and a years-long blockade, and the people of southern Lebanon, whom Israel has attacked repeatedly and occupied over the years.
Note also that Obama accepts the premise that Iran aspires to be a nuclear power, a proposition for which there is zero evidence and against which there is abundant evidence.
Nevertheless, to his credit, Obama did say,
As President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.
It’s not every day that an American president acknowledges that, whatever his job is, it is not to serve the interests of Israel’s racist ruling elite and population. That is indeed good to hear, but it would be news to the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, among others.
Israel’s American partisans have predictably accused their opponents of anti-Semitism for focusing on Jewish attempts to kill the Iran agreement, hoping Americans will believe that criticism of Israel and the Lobby in itself constitutes bigotry, if not Nazi sympathies. (Mike Huckabee’s claim that Obama is leading the Israelis to the ovens is only the most obnoxious example.) But taking offense at the focus on Jewish efforts is a cynical ploy void of legitimacy. Israel bills itself The Jewish State, representing Jewish interests worldwide. The Lobby embraces that designation. (Not all Jews regard Israel as The Jewish State, however. Jewish anti-Zionism, which dates back to before Theodor Herzl’s time, thrives today.) AIPAC boasts of its political clout and its command of vast resources that can make or break political careers. An AIPAC official, asked if the Lobby had lost influence after a scandal, once famously boasted to a journalist over dinner, “You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”
In light of all this, it’s a little absurd to object to the identification of Israel with Jews or to rail against those who point out the obvious: that Israel and its Jewish American partisans have been at the forefront of the campaign for war against Muslim nations. As Chemi Shalev, writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz, put it:
Netanyahu is allowed to address 10,000 American Jewish leaders and activists from Jerusalem, but mentioning their faith is forbidden; he is allowed to be the sole foreign leader to openly campaign against the deal, but singling him out is verboten; AIPAC can raise emergency funds, cancel all vacations and send its lobbyists to canvass on Capitol Hill, but say the words “lobby” or “money” and you are quickly branded a bigot; [Sen. Chuck] Schumer can famously boast that he sees himself as a Shomer [guardian of] Israel but you won’t dare say that when he seems to live up to his promise.
Moreover, how absurd is it for Israel’s partisans to accuse critics of raising the dual-loyalty issue, which these days sounds rather antiquated? Did anti-Semites put Netanyahu up to his machinations? Did they sponsor the trip to Israel for over 50 members of Congress just as debate over the Iran deal was starting?
Do not misunderstand: Israelis and Israel’s Jewish American partisans are not promoting war with Iran because they embrace Judaism, the Torah, and the Prophets. Many of Israel’s Jewish American supporters are secular and even atheist, and many observant Jews oppose war with Iran, support the nuclear deal, and hate Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians. What motivates many Israelis and Israel’s Jewish American partisans has little if anything to do with Judaism. Rather, they are motivated by an essentially secular ideology and parochial identity politics — Gilad Atzmon calls it “Jewishness” to distinguish it from Judaism — that prioritizes the interests of the tribe. These Jews judge issues by the standard “Is it good for the Jews?” (as they see the good). This chosen-people framework is anti-liberal and anti-universal, featuring ubiquitous enemies and impending doom. One might think this attitude is understandable in light of the history of persecution of Jews, culminating in the Nazi Judeocide. But since this ideology fuels the persecution, oppression, and slaughter of innocent others, rather than extra sensitivity to injustice no matter who the victim, we cannot be so forgiving. Nothing in Jewish history can justify how self-identified Jews have treated the Palestinians, or American Jewish support for, or acquiescence in, that treatment. Israel faces no “existential threat” from Iran or anyone else. If that treatment is an application of Jewish values, then Americans should take note. If it is not, then in what sense is Israel The Jewish State?
Whether this ideology has roots in Judaic doctrine and tradition or whether it is a modern secular phenomenon is a complicated question. But people ought to see it for what it is — before we are dragged into another catastrophic war.
Finally, Israel’s Jewish American partisans warn that criticizing the campaign against the Iran deal risks reinforcing stereotypes and inflaming anti-Semitism (even if in itself it does not constitute anti-Semitism). Almost anything anyone says about anyone else could be exploited by bigots, so that is no reason to withhold valid criticism. But if Israel’s partisans genuinely fear an anti-Semitic backlash — which all decent people would condemn as bigoted collectivism — perhaps they should reconsider their campaign to provoke an American/Israeli war of aggression against Iran.
AIPAC formed a group called “Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran”. The assumption is that Iran is “BAD” and should be treated as a pariah nation. AIPAC presumes that Iran should be held inferior to such heroes of human rights as Israel. It presumes that Iran shouldn’t be allowed to sign and support the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as it has. For AIPAC, it is kosher to assassinate Iran’s physicists and wreck its computers. As far as AIPAC is concerned, it is within Israel’s rights to launch a unilateral attack on anything nuclear within Iran if it so chooses. For AIPAC, Iran must be bad. After all, it resists Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It calls for political change in Palestine, change that Israel resists, so it must be “BAD”. Iran has no nuclear weapons, but it still must be “BAD” according to AIPAC. It hasn’t slaughtered Palestinians, but it still must be “BAD” according to AIPAC.
On the other hand, it is AIPAC’s view that any killing that Israel does has been “GOOD” and must be “GOOD”. To say otherwise and accuse Israel is not simply to be supportive of human rights, or possibly anti-Zionist, but also possibly to be branded as that old enemy that went out of fashion in the 20th century with the Third Reich or at least has been thoroughly discredited and meets with not a fiber of serious intellectual support: anti-Semitic. If one is not to risk being accused of hating Jews or even hating oneself if one is Jewish, one must by this perforation and shredding of logic, by this muddling of distinct ideas, support Israel and all of its genocidal and expansionist policies in all important respects. One must regard nuclear weapons in Israel’s hands as inherently “GOOD” too.
APIAC has launched ads using this new group. One of these popped up on a web site I went to this morning. It asked whether a country (Iran) that has violated 20 international agreements can be trusted. The “documentation” is here. The so-called violations are accusations, not proven facts and not self-evident. The charges are way overdone, much exaggerated, and trumped up. It’s a phony indictment.
What meaning does it have to charge Iran with not having top-notch governance or not having eliminated human trafficking? Is Iran really out for genocide because its former president made some sort of quote that has been widely and wildly misinterpreted, mistranslated and repeated endlessly? What meaning does it have to accuse Iran of chemical weapons hanky-panky when Israel is not a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and Iran is?
Even if they were not baloney, or not all baloney, or half-truths, or fractional-truths, or not mainly unproven accusations and exaggerations, one has to ask how long a list of similar charges one could bring against many other countries in similar social, political and economic situations.
What would an indictment against the U.S. look like? It would easily be as long, indeed much longer, and the charges would be far more tangible, serious and actually have happened. Shall we lead off with the unprovoked attack on Iraq? Shall we include the 14-year war that began by bringing down Afghanistan’s existing government? Dare we mention the U.S. support for attacking Libya under false pretexts and reducing the country to warring factions, sources of weapons and bases for terrorists; and that has destabilized neighboring countries to boot? Shall we mention genocidal sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?
Who trusts the U.S. when an ally one day becomes an enemy the next day as Gaddafi found out?
In a one-on-one comparison, which state would look more trustworthy, the U.S. or Iran?
The United States and five other powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran based it on verification, not on trust. The media need to start applying to same standard rather than trusting the often questionable claims of their favorite expert on nuclear proliferation, David Albright.
Albright, who is president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, has long been a loud and oft-quoted critic of Iran’s nuclear intentions. His latest salvo was his widely reported claim that Iran is engaging in suspicious activity at Parchin, a military facility in northern Iran, that “could be related” to “sanitization efforts” to defeat verification efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Albright’s suspicions were buttressed by two anti-Iran-deal columnists who reported that the “U.S. intelligence community” was also studying recent photos of the site for possible evidence of clean-up work ahead of planned inspections. His claims were touted by the Washington Post’s right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin as one more reason to reject the Iran nuclear deal. The Post’s neoconservative-leaning opinion page also gave Albright a column to repeat his assertions, and to ridicule as “mirthful” Iran’s denials.
But credible experts with much more serious credentials than Albright have undercut his latest report along with many of his earlier warnings about Iran’s nuclear plans. Needless to say, they have received much less media attention.
Albright’s Aug. 5 report — a mere one page of text along with three photos — began by describing Parchin as a facility “that is linked to past high explosive work on nuclear weapons.” That unqualified phrase should have concerned reporters right from the start.
Yes, there have been unproven claims that Iran tested non-nuclear high-explosive devices at Parchin — but they have been debunked by no less an authority than Robert Kelley, former director of the Department of Energy’s Remote Sensing Laboratory and former director of the IAEA’s nuclear inspections in Iraq. Moreover, IAEA found nothing amiss during two unrestricted visits to Parchin in 2005, though Iran has rebuffed its requests for return visits.
Albright’s report then analyzed several recent satellite photos, which show something happening on the roofs of two buildings, several “possible oil spills,” and a couple of vehicles, possibly including a bulldozer. In contrast, a photo taken before the signing of the agreement showed “little activity” and no vehicles. In addition, two new structures “of unknown purpose” had been erected since May. All of this pointed, in Albright’s fevered imagination, to a “last ditch effort to try to ensure that no incriminating evidence will be found.”
He offered not a shred of evidence to link the mundane visual clues to his dramatic conclusion. One wonders if any reporters actually looked at his photo evidence critically.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, stated in response that the activities at Parchin were related to road construction. Opponents of the deal “have spread these lies before,” he added. “Their goal is to damage the agreement.”
In his Washington Post column, Albright twisted Zarif’s words to claim that he “chose to deny the visible evidence in commercial satellite imagery. Iran’s comments would be mirthful if the topic were not so serious.” Of course, Zarif was disputing not the imagery but the tendentious conclusions that Albright drew from it.
Albright’s conclusions were also disputed by Kelley, the American nuclear weapons scientist and inspector, who studied a much larger sample of satellite photos over the past five years and found no evidence of any unexplained activity. He also took issue with a subsequent Albright “imagery brief” calling suspicious attention to more than 20 cars parked between Parchin and a nearby dam.
“The ‘parking lot of death’ has been imaged dozens of times and there are clear patterns of passenger cars parked there,” Kelley told Bloomberg News. “There have been no indicators of a change in Iranian activities of any significance — no earth moving or sanitization whatsoever.”
Other experts also derided Albright’s overheated conclusions. “Parchin is an active site and movement is inevitable,” said Paul Ingram, executive director of the British American Security Information Council. “Attempting an impossible cleanup in full view of satellites and just before Congressional votes would be stretching conspiracy theories beyond breaking point.”
Who should one believe? Expert nuclear inspectors like Kelley, or Albright, who apparently has no advanced training as a nuclear engineer or photographic interpreter?
Scott Ritter, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector and IAEA consultant, unloaded on Albright several years ago, saying he has “a track record of making half-baked analyses derived from questionable sources seem mainstream. He breathes false legitimacy into these factually challenged stories by cloaking himself in a résumé which is disingenuous in the extreme. Eventually, one must begin to question the motives of Albright and ISIS” (the unfortunate acronym of Albright’s organization).
Ritter cited example after example of Albright peddling misinformation: “On each occasion, Albright is fed sensitive information from a third party, and then packages it in a manner that is consumable by the media. The media, engrossed with Albright’s misleading résumé (“former U.N. weapons inspector,” “Doctor,” “physicist” and “nuclear expert”), give Albright a full hearing, during which time the particulars the third-party source wanted made public are broadcast or printed for all the world to see. More often than not, it turns out that the core of the story pushed by Albright is, in fact, wrong.”
Ritter concluded his blast, “It is high time the mainstream media began dealing with David Albright for what he is (a third-rate reporter and analyst), and what he isn’t (a former U.N. weapons inspector, doctor, nuclear physicist or nuclear expert). It is time for David Albright, the accidental inspector, to exit stage right. Issues pertaining to nuclear weapons and their potential proliferation are simply too serious to be handled by amateurs and dilettantes.”
Judging by the latest dust-up, Albright remains a media darling, able to garner headlines whenever he lobs new charges into the political battlefield. The issues at stake in the Iran nuclear deal, to echo Ritter, are simply too serious to be muddied by such irresponsible speculation. It’s high time the media began subjecting Albright — and all quoted experts — to more careful verification of their credentials and claims.
For more on Albright and other fake experts on Iran’s nuclear program, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Israel Clears the Bench in Iran Fight.”
Foreign powers are meddling within Syrian political affairs not to defeat ISIS as they claim, but to get rid of a regime they don’t approve of to replace it by God knows what, Catherine Shakdam from the Beirut Centre for Middle East Studies told RT.
RT: The rebels and government forces are fighting not only each other but Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] at the same time. How is this multiple-front conflict affecting attempts to prevent terrorism?
Catherine Shakdam: That’s the main problem. It’s not just that they are fighting each other. I think that there are very different goals as to what foreign powers are trying to achieve in Syria. And for now when it comes to the US for example all Washington seems to want to do is to neutralize and get rid of President Bashar Assad in Syria rather than really fight IS. That’s the main problem. We have foreign powers meddling within Syrian political affairs not to defeat IS as they claim, but rather to get rid of a regime that they do not approve of to replace it by God knows what, because they created a situation and a power vacuum which would essentially allow for Islamist radicals to take over Damascus and I don’t think that anyone would want that.
RT: Iran and Turkey brokered a 48 hour ceasefire between the Insurgents, Assad’s army and Hezbollah. How significant is their diplomatic intervention? Could this move be helpful in resolving the crisis long-term?
CS: There is a real effort here to try to breach differences and to look towards. I’m hoping, diplomacy will actually pave the way for a resolution rather than resort to military intervention. That’s the message that is coming out of Iran and Russia as well. They are all trying to calm the situation, defuse it and try to find a way which would be acceptable for everyone. I think that if indeed the fight of IS takes precedence over everything else then there is no reason why a diplomatic solution could not take place.
The problem is until now Washington’s intent on getting rid of the Syrian president, even though it’s not really their business to decide whether the Syrian people should have him as a president or not. It’s really up to the Syrians to decide for themselves. That’s the main problem – we see foreign powers trying to decide what people should do or shouldn’t do in this case.
RT: The US and its allies are stepping up their support for so-called moderate rebel groups. How could that change what’s happening in your country?
CS: Whenever I hear the US or even Britain talking about supporting moderate Islamists in Syria or anywhere else I tend to cringe. Who are those moderates really? We know those moderates are not so moderate after all. Most of the military aid which actually landed in Syria or even in Iraq landed in the hands of the likes of IS and that’s a worry, because what we are seeing is radicalization of the radicals. And whenever you attempt to fuel, by adding more military power to the situation which is already unacceptable and very volatile, you are making the problem worse here. And they are not trying to go after the ideology, what they are trying to do is militarize the ideology of terror which is of course very dangerous and it’s leading people to wonder who it is that they are serving and who it is they are really trying to support and help because the assistance is going to ISIS as far as I can see.
Iran has dismissed Saudi Arabia’s anger about Tehran’s recent nuclear agreement with the six world powers, saying the Arab kingdom is rehashing the Israeli regime’s stance against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, said on Tuesday that remarks by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in a joint press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Berlin on Monday showed that the JCPOA, which is aimed at ending an “unnecessary crisis,” has incurred the Saudi official’s “irrational wrath.”
“When the senior representative of a regional government is infuriated to such extent by the political settlement of issues in the region and at the international level, it leaves no doubt that he has chosen a life of problems and crisis,” she said.
She expressed regret that the Saudi minister’s remarks about the JCPOA were an “echo of the Zionist regime’s stance.”
The Saudi foreign minister on Monday claimed that despite the Vienna agreement between Iran and the six global powers in July, Iran would go ahead and manufacture nuclear weapons because Tehran has consistently refused to allow nuclear inspectors to visit some of its military sites.
On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 countries finalized the text of the nuclear agreement in Vienna.
Under the JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.
Iran has repeatedly stated that it has not and will not have a non-civilian nuclear program, irrespective of the JCPOA.
The UN Security Council on July 20 unanimously endorsed a draft resolution turning the JCPOA into international law. All 15 members of the UN body voted for the draft UN resolution in New York, setting the stage for the lifting of the Security Council sanctions against Iran.
Afkham further pointed to the Saudi foreign minister’s claims about Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, saying, “Such remarks indicate an incorrect comprehension of international relations and the competence of countries.”
In his joint press conference with the German foreign minister, Jubeir aslo claimed that Riyadh is closely monitoring Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Not to be outdone by the Tablet article labeling Obama a “Jew baiter,” Joel Pollak writing in Breitbart came out with “Barack Obama’s Anti-Semitic Rant on the Iran Deal: President Barack Obama is using anti-Jewish language to sell the Iran deal.”
On Thursday, Obama led a conference call with left-wing activists in which he repeatedly railed against his political opponents by using the old canard of rich Jews using their money to exert control.
Accusing critics of the deal of being “opposed to any deal with Iran”–i.e. of advocating war–Obama railed against “well-financed” lobbyists, as well as the “big check writers to political campaigns,” and “billionaires who happily finance super-PACs.” He complained about “$20 million” being spent on ads against the deal—a subtle reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC–whose support he had repeatedly courted when running for office).
Some of Obama’s references were thinly-veiled attacks on specific (Jewish) individuals—columnist Bill Kristol, for example, the Weekly Standard publisher and former New York Times resident conservative who served in the George H.W. Bush administration, and also helps run the Emergency Committee for Israel, which opposes the Iran deal; or billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is a prodigious Republican benefactor, super PAC donor, and well-known hawk on Israel issues.
So now merely referring to the fact that the opposition to the Iran deal is well-funded makes Obama’s statements into an “anti-Semitic rant.” Calling attention to the deep pockets of political opponents is fair game with a long history in American politics. But if Jews are the ones with the deep pockets, suddenly, it’s “anti-Semitism” — defined I guess as “something Jews dislike because it brings attention to their actions.”
Pollak also brings up Obama’s claim that the same people opposing the Iran deal supported the war in Iraq, claiming against all evidence that such a claim is “largely false.”
On the call, Obama twice accused his opponents of being the same people “responsible for us getting into the Iraq war.“ That sweeping, and largely false, characterization of the opponents of the Iran deal repeats the sensational accusations of The Israel Lobby, a widely discredited 2007 book that accused a group of pro-Israel, and largely Jewish, individuals and organizations of pushing the U.S. into war with Iraq, and seeking to drag America into a new war with Iran.
Nathan Guttman, of the left-leaning Forward, which covers Jewish issues, wrote of the call that “what many liberals hear as a powerful rallying call to avoid entering another military quagmire in the Middle East could seem tone deaf to some in the organized Jewish community.” Obama’s claims about the Iraq War, he added, were “likely to make many in the community feel uneasy.”
Uneasy because they are essentially true and everyone who is paying attention knows it. It’s okay to call attention to Jewish accomplishments and their influence on culture, as Joe Biden did (although even that was less than welcomed by the ADL), but there must never be any suggestion that Jews have used their power to advance their interests in a way that ends up being a disaster for America while at the same time benefiting Israel. Again, activist Jews essentially want a situation where Jews can act as Jews in the political process, supporting Jewish causes that are not necessarily in anyone else’s interests, but where it is illegitimate to ever talk about this. The fact that they have largely succeeded in this goal is an excellent marker of Jewish power.
And isn’t it amazing that simply calling attention to how well funded the effort is amounts to anti-Semitism. And yes, it’s amazing even if the other side has some funding as well, as Pollak tries to argue. (According to JTA in a July 23 article, AIPAC has raised $30 million for the effort and is flying in hundreds of activists to Washington, compared to a $2 million campaign for J Street, aided by prominent Israelis who endorse the deal).
None other than Bill Kristol picked up the theme on Twitter in a reference to the Tablet article:
“It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President.” http://t.co/1CCKQHjwlZ
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 8, 2015
Obama the incipient Nazi!
The problem the Lobby now has is mainly the left. On the cuckservative right, there is nothing but unanimity in opposition to the deal. And yes, you are far more likely to hear the truth about Jewish power at a White power rally than from anywhere else on the political spectrum.
Pollak (and Kristol would doubtless agree) goes on to label J Street a “radical group” and writes that Thomas Friedman’s use of the term “Israel lobby” (even without a capital L) is a “vicious slur” by linking to an article in an ultra-nationalist Israeli news service that “argues” against the existence of an Israel Lobby simply by saying that any such thought is simply “conjured up” and therefore nothing more than a figment of the fevered imagination of “anti-Semites.”
This is not the first time Friedman has conjured up the ugly, anti-Semitic specter of a nefarious “lobby” that uses Jewish money and votes to corrupt American lawmakers in order to mold U.S. policy to Israel’s benefit and American harm. Two years ago, the columnist aroused the ire of elected U.S. representatives with similar offensive charges that denigrated those expressing support for the Jewish state as having been “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
It’s so easy to argue when you can simply throw out accusations with no need to deal with what actually is happening. No need to go patiently deal with the evidence on where the Israel Lobby money actually goes as writers like Mearsheimer and Walt and many other critics of the Lobby do.
The effort to scuttle the Iran deal is an example of what happens when a powerful segment of the Jewish community becomes aroused to activism. The already very strong, everyday pressure on policy exerted by the Lobby has been ticked up a few notches, now including wild charges of “anti-Semitism” against the “first Jewish president.” This seems to me to be a risky strategy unless they think that the US is completely immune to a serious public examination of Jewish power — which it probably is given Jewish power in the media and the ability of the ADL to punish those who start to publicly connect the dots.
Right now Congress is beset by armies of Jewish lobbyists and thousands of phone calls from Jews opposed to the deal. It’s a full court press, not unlike that which occurred in 1992 when George H. W. Bush attempted to withhold loan guarantees for Israeli housing over the West Bank Settlement issue — merely confirming policy that every US government since Carter has paid lip service to. Bush eventually backed down after famously saying “I’m one lonely little guy” up against “some powerful political forces” made up of “a thousand lobbyists on the Hill.”
Obama probably feels the same way right now, but, unlike Bush (who seems to believe that his defeat in the 1992 election stemmed from this action), he needn’t fear that this uproar will prevent his reelection.
But win or lose (and most observers think the effort against the deal will fail to override Obama’s veto), after this battle, the lobby will move on to the presidential election. The fact that Hillary Clinton has endorsed the deal must worry the Lobby, even if she seems less dovish than Obama and has fanatically Zionist supporters like Haim Saban who would love to bomb Iran. The Republicans seem a much surer bet for the Lobby. At this point, they’re probably thinking that anyone would be better than Obama.
At a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the White House on Aug. 4, US President Barack Obama stated that Syria needs a “realistic political process” to settle its internal armed conflict, which would “lead to a stabilizing of the country and a transition to a government that is reflective of all the people of Syria.” A few days earlier, the US president had authorized the use of US aircraft to defend the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition troops (trained by the Pentagon), in case they were attacked by the Syrian army. The Americans have already launched the first air strikes in support of the rebels.
National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey warned that Washington is ready to offer broader military aid to opposition forces in Syria. This will take the Syrian crisis – which has already gone on for four years – to a whole new level: for the first time US forces could be drawn into a direct clash with the Syrian army.
Washington still seeks regime change in Syria and the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power. The Military Times notes that for the first time since the air strikes against Syrian targets began a year ago, the US military now has an ally on the ground. Their small numbers do not bother the US president – what is important is the shift in the wind, and that is strong enough for the Americans to manifest a willingness for direct, armed intervention in Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated at an Aug. 3 2015 press conference in Qatar that America’s plans are counterproductive and hampering the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Russia is pushing for an immediate end to foreign interference in the Syrian crisis and a stop to the bloodshed. Moscow is not offering its unconditional support to any party to this conflict, except for the Syrian people. But the Russians are in no way discounting the threat posed by IS. Russia is providing military and technical support to both Syria and Iraq in order to combat this threat, cooperating with the governments of both countries. “We have every reason to believe that, without this support, this terrorist organization (IS) would have captured hundreds or even thousands more square kilometers of territory,” Russia’s top diplomat stressed.
The US administration prefers to ignore Russia’s role in the battle against the terrorists of the Islamic State, focusing instead on the Pentagon’s statistics. Over the past 12 months, the US and its allies have carried out a total of nearly 6,000 attacks on IS positions (3,570 in Iraq and 2,267 in Syria). During this period, about 17,000 bombs and missiles were dropped and delivered. However, given the current scuffle over the White House being waged between the Democrats and Republicans, it is becoming increasingly difficult for President Obama to explain to voters why the measures his administration has taken against IS have been so ineffective. After all, they have spent a lot of money with nothing to show for it. For example, it costs between $1,000 (for a Predator or Reaper) and $7,000 (for a Global Hawk) per hour to fly a reconnaissance drone.
One quarter of all the staff of the CIA and other intelligence agencies are employed as part of counter-terrorism programs, and that price tag tops $15 billion each year.
But despite all this, IS is only getting stronger. That terrorist pseudo-state has found sources of self-financing (the air strikes have not stopped oil production), is imposing its rule in the vast areas seized last year in Syria and Iraq, and quickly replenishes its ranks depleted by combat casualties, using mercenary ‘jihad warriors’ from around the world. According to US intelligence estimates, IS controls about 30,000 combat troops. IS is gradually carving out a zone of influence in Libya, Egypt, and Afghanistan. This is ultimately less than reassuring, and it leaves the Obama administration increasingly vulnerable to criticism from his Republican opponents.
Meanwhile President Obama is maintaining his insistence on a regime change in Damascus. And in its relations with Baghdad, the current US administration is more fearful of Tehran’s growing influence in Iraq than the actual threat posed by IS. The White House has still not made up its mind what is more important in the Middle East – fighting against the growing power of IS terrorists or continuing its own confrontation with both Syria and her backer, Iran.
Meanwhile, America’s Arab allies in the Gulf will not commit themselves to anything beyond declaring their intention to fight IS. Saudi Arabia has engineered a war with Yemen in order to prevent Iran’s influence from expanding there. By destroying Yemen’s Shiite Houthis, Riyadh is striking a blow at Tehran, which, it must be said, is providing quite substantial support to the government of Iraq in its confrontation with the forces of the Islamic State in the east. It is telling that, under the onslaught of Shiite militias, IS is pulling back and losing the areas it had previously occupied in Iraq’s eastern regions on the Iraqi border.
Obama’s decision to render military support to the pro-American opposition in Syria looks like a calculated maneuver. There is now a danger that America’s NATO allies might also enlist in this adventure. Air strikes will be launched from air bases in Turkey, so if Syria decides to retaliate, the war will then spill over that country’s borders.
Information has already come to light about the actions of British special forces in Syria. The Sunday Express reports that more than 120 British military elite units, dressed in black and flying IS flags, have attacked Syrian government forces. Both the armed-conflict zone in Syria, as well as the scale of NATO’s intervention in that country, are expanding under the guise of combating terrorist factions. This threatening sequence of events suggests the possibility that the Libyan scenario could be repeated.
Many commentators in the west have welcomed the results of the Iranian surrender on the nuclear issue as a victory for the BRICS, as a sign of the weakened position of the United States, and as a win-win deal for Iran and those who forced it to its knees. Thousands of words have been written about the benefits to Iran of released funds and economic development to come and how the US surrendered some of its power and agreed to this “deal” because it wants to concentrate its efforts elsewhere.
But are any of these things true? The fact is that Iran, a sovereign nation that has the right to develop its economy as it sees fit and to defend itself as it sees fit, has been stripped of its ability to develop its civilian nuclear programme as it deems necessary and has been forced to abandon most of it by nations that themselves not only have fully developed nuclear programmes for civilian use but also are armed with nuclear weapons, and have used them against civilian populations.
Iran, an ancient and great power throughout history, has now been essentially disarmed by its enemies in the NATO powers and also by its neighbours, China, and Russia, which latter country, while complaining about the French double dealing regarding the Mistral Affair, itself reneged on a deal to supply Iran with anti-aircraft defence systems that could protect it against US or Israeli air attack. No doubt this was due to pressure from the US as well and perhaps can be forgiven if not forgotten in its own struggle to avoid war. China also has an interest in placating the US in the face of constantly increasing American threats. But the fact remains, that if the US or Israel decide to launch a nuclear attack against Iran from a distance there is nothing that Iran can do to retaliate. It is essentially defenceless.
If Iran had succeeded in getting the US, and its allies to abandon their nuclear weapons in return for its concessions, then something bold and world shaking would have taken place, but the nuclear disarming of the very people that still threaten Iran and the rest of the word was never on the agenda, although the Iranians bravely pointed out the obvious double standards countless times in statements made in and out of Iran.
The unjustified claims by some commentators that the US has somehow retreated or even, as some claim, that the US has changed its strategy from opposing Iran to drawing it into the US orbit through economic engagement, are distorting what took place in Vienna and the reality of the “deal” that was struck and now given the imprimatur of the Security Council.
No one reading the statement of John Kerry made on July 14th in Vienna about the Plan of Action, as the agreement is called, or its terms, can understand anything else than that Iran has suffered a severe blow and one from which it will not be allowed to recover until the Americans and their gang have put in power a regime they completely control. To understand this let’s look at some of the highlights of this “deal,” a word I put in quotes because it implies equal bargaining power when in fact Iran was ganged up on by the most aggressive and militaristic alliance known to man. And to do that, let’s use the statement of the American foreign minister, John Kerry so we can truly understand what has really happened to Iran.
Kerry said the Plan of Action,
“is…. a step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation…it is a step away from the spectre of conflict and towards the possibility of peace.”
Note the careful language. “The prospect of nuclear proliferation” really means the possibility of Iran defending itself from nuclear attack by the United States. “A step away from conflict and towards the possibility of peace” means “we won’t attack Iran if it obeys all our diktats but an attack is in our discretion at all times.”
“Believe me, had we been willing to settle for a lesser deal, we would have finished this negotiation long ago,” and, “our persistence has paid off.”
This is not the language of a government that has been weakened or lost the game, a United States that sees itself as the loser or has been weakened. No, it is the gloating of the spider as it picks apart a fly.
Kerry is very specific about the Iranian defeat. He says,
“Iran’s breakout time-the time it would take to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon…has been increased from one year to a period of at least ten years.”
The effect of this is that if Iran believes that either Israel or the USA is planning to attack it, instead of being able to arm itself within a few months, it won’t be able to do it at all.
The leaders of the government in North Korea must be shaking their heads in amazement at such folly. They know very well the Americans cannot be trusted and the Americans and Israelis are laughing up their sleeves, despite the crocodile tears by Netanyahu and the US Congress who play the propaganda game that the Plan of Action is a give away to Iran, all play acting for the cameras and to give Iran some air of having won something in this defeat.
If there is still doubt, here is the most startling aspect of the Plan of Action. Kerry states,
“this agreement has no sunset. It doesn’t terminate. It will be implemented in phases… some of the provisions are in place for 10 years, others for 15 years, others for 25 years… and certain provisions-including many of the transparency measures and prohibitions on nuclear work-will stay in place permanently.”
Reading this one could have the impression that Iran is a conquered nation being dictated to by the victors as Germany was at Versailles. The effect is to surrender its rights as a sovereign nation forever to a gang of nuclear criminals who refuse to renounce the use of nuclear weapons themselves. Iran will have to suffer the humiliation of constant inspections and interference for generations to come.
It gets worse. Two thirds of Iran’s centrifuges will be removed and the infrastructure that supports them, built at huge expense and effort, will be placed under the lock and key of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an organisation largely controlled by the USA. The design and construction of future nuclear reactors must be approved by the Unites States and its allies.
And what does the USA offer in return for these concessions? Nothing, but the unfreezing of Iranian monies kept in western banks for years earning money but there will be no compensation for lost profit or opportunity from these monies, and a promise of the future lifting of the illegal trade and economic embargo placed on Iran by the USA under the cover of the name “sanctions” which, it openly admits, hurt the Iranian people.
This collective punishment will only be lifted, “when Tehran has met its key initial nuclear commitments”-in other words when Iran has removed the possibility of defending itself with nuclear weapons.
But can Iran really expect things to change once they have done that? The Americans promised similar things to the North Koreans under Clinton in the early 90s. They too shut down their nuclear reactors used for weapons production [in the case of North Korea] in return for economic assistance. But the Americans reneged once they had shut the systems down. Fortunately, the Koreans realised quickly what the game was and brought those systems back on line and now have an effective deterrence against an American attack. What will Iran do when the Americans renege on this deal? Unfortunately, not much, since, unlike the Koreans, they have allowed daily inspections and daily interference in their internal affairs and any attempt to bring its systems back on line will no doubt be used as an excuse for further “sanctions” or an attack.
Kerry stated clearly,
“I want to underscore: if Iran fails…in these commitments, the US, the EU, and even the UN sanctions that initially brought Iran to the table can and will snap back into place.”
In summing up why Iran has been forced into this terrible position Kerry stated the real reason very clearly,
“Anybody who knows the conduct of international affairs knows that it is better to deal with a country if you have problems with it if they don’t have a nuclear weapon.”
No reporter asked him why that didn’t apply to the United States as well but we cannot expect courage from the international press these days.
But what is Kerry really saying except that “we the USA cannot enforce our will on those who can resist. We prefer to deal with defenceless opponents. It makes it easier to bully them.”
Then he added insult to injury by stating that “sanctions” against Iran put in place for concerns about “terrorism,” “human rights,” and ballistic missiles, will remain despite this agreement. So the pressure on Iran can be expected to increase with this agreement, not decrease.
Kerry made this clear when he added,
“the USA will continue our efforts to address concerns about Iran’s actions in the region, including providing key support to our partners and allies and by making sure we are vigilant in pushing back against destabilizing activities.”
This statement is aimed at Iran’s support of Syria, Hezbollah and Iraq. The Plan of Action will be used as a device to try to control and limit Iranian solidarity with the governments now being attacked by the US and its proxy forces in the region.
At the end of his statement Kerry said that the agreement averted, “an inevitable conflict that would come were we not able to reach agreement.”
What he means is that the Iranians knew that if they did not submit, the United States and Israel would attack them. He then misquoted Clausewitz and said “I know that war is the failure of diplomacy and the failure of leaders to make alternative decisions.”
What he meant was, “Iran had two choices, submit or cease to exist and the Iranian leadership decided to try to continue to exist.”
So this is the state of the world after Hitler. Now new Hitlers have arisen and new diktats are issued against countries that resist. Instead of Czechoslovakia we have Yugoslavia, instead of Austria, we have Greece, Instead of Spain we have Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan. Instead of Poland we have Ukraine but always the constant targets remain, Russia and China.
Far from seeing a United States in retreat or a pause, surely, we see a United States that has increased its room for manoeuvre in its drive for world hegemony. It seems to me that we cannot expect any peace coming from this Plan of Action, but more war, as Iran will be pressured to give up its support of Hezbollah and Syria and Iraq so that the NATO powers can advance their drive to the east. With this Iranian debacle, with Iran under control and out of the military equation in real terms, that plan has just been advanced one more step.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.