A US-based organization, which calls itself “United Against Nuclear Iran,” (UANI) is trying to portray Iran as a nuclear threat to peace and impose sanctions against Tehran’s economic partners around the world.
In an interview with Sputnik, Rahman Hariri, a foreign relations expert in Tehran, took a closer look at this organization.
“UANI was established in 2008 by Mark Wallace, former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross. Mark Wallace is a former US ambassador to the UN, a prominent member of the Republican Party and a personal friend of ex-President George Bush Sr. The organization is presided over by Gary Samore, who once advised President Obama on arms control and weapons of mass destruction. This group is trying to hamper Iran’s economic relations with the outside world with the help of negative media coverage and threats to companies doing business with Tehran,” Rahman Hariri said.
Even though “United Against Nuclear Iran” poses as a nongovernmental organization, its leaders have close links to the White House and the US Congress, and have played a role in Washington’s decision to impose sanctions on Iran.
“Judging by what this organization and its supporters are doing, it looks like they are stoking up anti-Iranian sentiment in the world and undermining the Islamic Republic’s foreign trade, especially after Iran and the P5+1 Group came to a final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in July 2015,” Hariri noted.
United Against Nuclear Iran is a nonprofit advocacy group that aims to inform the public about the nature of the political regime now existing in Iran, to raise US and global awareness of the threat a nuclear-armed Iran could pose to the world, and to promote efforts that focus on vigorous national and international, social, economic, political and diplomatic measures in this direction.
“This means that the organization is opposed to Iran’s nuclear program and is working to economically and politically isolate the Islamic Republic and prevent US companies from doing business with Iran even by using threats against the families of US company employees,” Rahman Hariri said.
They make it look as if Iran is posing a triple threat to the world with the development of its nuclear program, human rights violation and sponsoring international terrorism. Who are the sponsors?
Rahman Hariri said that UANI is sponsored by members of the American-Israeli lobby, including the 100,000-strong American-Israeli Public Relations Committee which spends millions of dollars each a year on its efforts to influence US policy.
The list of other sponsors includes the Gulf states, Western and Asian countries, which have always tried to minimize Iran’s trade and military ties with the outside world and who gained much from the international sanctions imposed on Tehran.
These are also the US Republican Party, the anti-Iranian lobby in the US and the EU, the intelligence agencies of the United States, the European Union and of a number of Arab countries. And also big cartels and major US companies which come out against Iran’s nuclear program in a bid to phase out competition and be the only ones working in the country.
Who is behind UANI? Rahman Hariri said that, first and foremost, these are certain political, military and intelligence organizations in the US, as well as the Republicans and members of the Israeli lobby who are against President Obama’s policy and the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran and the P5+1 signed last year.
Secondly, this is the US government which, contrary to its officially declared policy, is providing covert support to UANI thus discouraging Tehran from implementing the JCPOA.
“UANI is using diplomatic resources available to it to undermine Iran’s positions in the world and is working hard to intimidate US and foreign companies willing to do business with Tehran,” he noted.
He added that in order to effectively neutralize the destructive work done by organizations like UANI the world needed to strengthen international nongovernmental institutions, pursue a policy of relaxation of global tensions and provide an undistorted picture of Iran in the media and in the minds of millions of people around the world.
If anything was made clear during the Vice Presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence it’s that neither man knows much about the Iranian nuclear program. And neither do the fact-checkers tasked with judging the candidates’ own statements about it.
During the course of 90 excruciating minutes, Tim Kaine accused Iran of “racing toward a nuclear weapon” and repeatedly boasted that his running mate Hillary Clinton was responsible for “stopping” that “nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s veep pick Mike Pence kept insisting that the Iran deal, signed by six world powers and Iran in July 2015, effectively guaranteed that “Iran will someday become a nuclear power because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.”
None of these claims is even remotely true.
Obviously, claims put forth by both Kaine and Pence rest on a wholly false presumption: that Iran is/was desperately trying to acquire nuclear weapons and has/had an active “nuclear weapons program” to achieve that goal.
As I have written endlessly:
International intelligence assessments have consistently affirmed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. What Iran does have, however, is a nuclear energy program with uranium enrichment facilities, all of which are under international safeguards, strictly monitored and routinely inspected by the IAEA. No move to divert nuclear material to military or weaponization purposes has ever been detected. This is consistently affirmed by U.S., British, Russian, and even Israeli intelligence, as well as the IAEA. In fact, the IAEA itself has said there is “no concrete proof” Iran’s nuclear program “has ever had” a military component.
Eventually, due to the distinct and consistent lack of evidence for any nuclear weapons program, the United States echo chamber sidelined accusations of an active militarization program in favor of the round-about, jargon-laden claim that Iran was “intending to obtain the capability” to make nukes, rather than actually trying to make nukes. This, conveniently, put Iran in the position of having to prove a negative, despite being under the strictest IAEA inspection regime in history and providing access to its facilities above and beyond what was required by law.
The rhetorical bait-and-switch was plain for all to see when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta admitted in 2012, “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” For good propagandistic measure, however, he added, “But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us.”
Around the same time, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official told the Washington Post that no decision had even been made in Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, explaining, “Our belief is that they are reserving judgment on whether to continue with key steps they haven’t taken regarding nuclear weapons.”
Early the following year, Panetta begrudgingly reaffirmed this assessment on Meet The Press. “What I’ve said, and I will say today,” Panetta told Chuck Todd, “is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon. They’re developing and enriching uranium. They continue to do that.” He added, “I think– I think the– it’s a clear indication they say they’re doing it in order to develop their own energy source.” The NPT guarantees signatory states the right to enrich uranium for nuclear energy production. There is nothing illegal or sinister about this and Iran has operated its enrichment program openly and under IAEA safeguards.
Panetta, in response to Todd’s repeated goading, eventually disputed the entire premise so often repeated by politicians and pundits: “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,” he said.
U.S. intelligence assessments have consistently affirmed this. In 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Congressional committee, “We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.” This finding has been repeated year in and year out.
Even the final report on outstanding allegations made by the United States and Israeli governments by the IAEA, released last December, was sensationalized to the point of absurdity. At most, the agency found, the “Possible Military Dimensions” of its nuclear energy program or the “Alleged Studies” that Iran had long been accused of conducting turned out to be merely “feasibility and scientific studies”(of nuclear and non-nuclear technology that has proven civilian uses), not active procedures or policies directed at making atomic bombs.
Moreover, and more importantly, this supposed research involved absolutely no diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful uses, and therefore were not violations of either Iran’s commitments under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA or a breach of the NPT itself.
By actually assessing the facts, it is beyond clear that, despite decades of alarmism, hype and hysteria, Iran never violated the NPT, and there has never been any evidence of the existence of an “Iranian nuclear weapons program.”
Beyond this, Tim Kaine’s claims that Hillary Clinton was the driving force behind diplomacy with Iran are absurd. Quite the contrary, the breakthrough for talks – that is, the Obama administration deciding to drop the “zero enrichment” demand that had soured diplomatic efforts since 2005 – occurred despite Clinton’s insistence that Iran be denied their inalienable nuclear rights. This shift in policy was due primarily to the efforts of John Kerry, both as Senate Foreign Relations Chair during Obama’s first term and then as Secretary of State after Clinton left the office.
But Kaine wasn’t alone in his mistakes. Even fact-checkers didn’t get their facts straight.
For instance, in response to Kaine’s claim that Clinton “worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot,” PBS National Security Correspondent Mary Louise Kelly wrote this:
The deal slowed but does not eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium enriched uranium, to dramatically cut its stockpile of low enriched uranium, and to allow international inspectors to visit nuclear facilities — in exchange for relief from sanctions.
Again, Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapons program for anyone to eliminate. Furthermore, there is no such thing as “medium enriched uranium,” according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There’s only low and high – Iran has never, ever, enriched uranium close to weapons-grade levels. Also misleading is Kelly’s assertion that the deal allowed “international inspectors to visit nuclear facilities,” considering that IAEA inspectors already had access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure long before the deal was struck.
Other fact-checkers – from ABC to the New York Times – were similarly wrong on the facts, as noted by longtime Iran watcher Ali Gharib:
Hillary Clinton didn’t help to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program because the talks weren’t about eliminating Iran’s nuclear weapons program because Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapons program at that time to eliminate. Kaine, therefore, did exaggerate Clinton’s role: he credited her with participating in talks that didn’t actually do what he said they did.
Pence’s insistence that the Iran deal failed at its primary mission was also wholly false. “The goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear [ambitions],” said Pence, adding, “They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. When the deal’s period runs out, there is no limitation on them obtaining weapons.”
Everything about this is wrong. Iran has publicly, repeatedly and consistently renounced any and all interest in acquiring nuclear weapons on legal, strategic and moral grounds for literally decades. Therefore, the phrase “their nuclear ambitions,” which Pence uses as a dog whistle for “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” doesn’t mean what Pence thinks it does.
As Gharib has also pointed out, Iran’s commitment not to obtain nukes goes well beyond the stipulations of the Iran deal. Even after the terms expire (and some of the most important ones never do), “having a nuclear weapons program will still be prohibited not only by Iran’s signature to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but also by express promises the country made as part of the nuclear deal itself. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran deal’s formal name) says, ‘Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.’ It’s plain as day, right there in the first paragraph. And there’s no sunset clause on that pledge; it stays in force forever.”
The facts are plain, and are essential when discussing issues like this. But when it comes to Iran and American politics, there is no depth to which the propaganda won’t sink, with fact-checkers being dragged down with it.
Fresh skepticism springs up about the fate of a deal which Boeing has signed to provide Iran Air with over 80 jetliners after the US aircraft maker says none will be delivered this year.
Since Boeing announced a tentative deal to sell jetliners to Iran in June, US lawmakers have been trying to block it. Under the agreement, Boeing must supply Iran some 80 passenger jets worth $25 billion at price lists.
On Tuesday, Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said while the two sides were making progress on the deal, no deliveries would take place this year.
“We won’t deliver any aircraft under that deal this year – these are deliveries that are a year, two, three downstream,” Muilenburg told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Chicago on future technologies.
Boeing’s deal is similar to another provisional agreement which Iran Air has signed with Airbus to get 118 jetliners from the European aircraft maker.
However, no formal contracts have been signed yet, meaning all of these deals could fail, given the volatile dynamics of the West’s relations with Iran.
Presidential election factor
The tentative deals have already hit a speed bump because major global banks are refusing to handle transactions with Iran for fear of running afoul of US sanctions on the country.
One major roadblock was lifted last month when the US government granted Airbus and Boeing permission to sell aircraft to the Islamic Republic.
Some Iranians, however, believe the US is most likely to put up new hurdles even if it does not scrap the deal entirely.
They are disheartened by what the next presidential elections in the United States might have in store for the patchy relations between Tehran and Washington. Both current US presidential candidates are expected to adopt a much stricter line than President Barack Obama toward Iran.
Another detracting factor which could scupper the deals is opposition from the US Congress.
The US House of Representatives has already passed a motion to block the Boeing deal, with further measures proposed in Congress to bar certain transactions by US financial institutions connected to the export of aircraft.
If the proposed bills to restrict the deal become law, they would also affect other companies’ sales to Iran, including those by Airbus.
Looking for new options
Last month, Iran indicated that it was cutting the Airbus deal by six aircraft and clipping the contract with Boeing by one jet.
Reports also have it that Iran Air has been cooling towards the purchase of 12 A380 superjumbos that were part of the provisional deal.
Iranian airlines, meanwhile, are looking for other options. They have approached smaller aircraft manufacturers which they believe are easier to deal with.
Tentative deals have been signed with France’s ATR and Brazil’s Embraer, while Japan’s Mitsubishi and China’s Comac have held talks with Iranian aviation companies.
Such developments have taken the shine off the deals with Airbus and Boeing – the biggest for Western aviation companies in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
However, neither of the two airline behemoths wants to lose one of the last untapped aviation markets in the world.
On Tuesday, Muilenberg described Iran “significant opportunity for us.”
“And I’m pleased to see that we’re making steady progress,” he said, adding Boeing was “in the final stages of working through the deal structure with our customers in Iran” while also working through the US government licensing process.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has carried out its commitments to the historic nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
“I can certify that Tehran respects its commitments to the letter. The Iranians are doing what they promised the international community,” said IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano during an interview with the French daily Le Monde on Saturday.
The July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), struck between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, envisaged Tehran scaling back its nuclear program in return for the lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“The deal is being implemented since January without any particular problem,” he noted. “There was a small incident in February: the stock of heavy water very slightly exceeded the limit set — 130 tones. But we immediately signaled that to Iran which took all the necessary measures.”
In September, the IAEA once again confirmed Iran’s commitment to the landmark nuclear agreement, with Amano at the time noting that the agency would continue evaluating the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
In a quarterly report on Iran on September 8, Iran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement was confirmed by the IAEA which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA.
Since January, the IAEA has released regular reports confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and Tehran’s commitment to the agreement.
Iran warns the West to keep its end of the bargain in last year’s nuclear agreement, saying any failure could prompt Tehran to radically reverse the steps it has taken under the deal.
“Should the West fail to live up to its promises, our reversion would not be one to the previous state, but to a state which would be much different from how we used to be prior to the JCPOA,” said head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi.
The JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear accord signed between Iran and the six major world powers, namely Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany, in July 2015.
The deal, which took effect in January, calls for an end to decades of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
However, months after the lifting of anti-Iran bans on paper, major foreign banks are wary of doing business with Iran, fearing they would violate restrictions on US banks and face penalties.
Tehran has criticized Washington and its allies for refusing to translate their words into action and assure the banks that they would not be punished for resuming ties with Iran.
“On the surface, the US says that it is acting commensurate with the JCPOA but behind the scenes, it scares banks by telling them that the slightest mistake would result in this or that consequence,” Salehi said in a Thursday televised interview.
Likewise, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani criticized obstructive US measures in the implementation of JCPOA.
“If we are to witness obstruction and disruption on the part of the US even in small matters such as the purchase of passenger planes, then we will take more serious decisions to restore our rights,” he said.
Shamkhani further said experience proves that trusting the US in any matter, from the lifting of sanctions to regional developments, is in fact “chasing a mirage.”
Iran’s top banker says the United States has failed to do its share of lifting economic sanctions against Iran as per a deal that was signed over the country’s nuclear energy activities last summer.
Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), said the behavior of the US toward its commitments as per the deal – that was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – is not transparent.
Seif added that the US is even scaring banks from doing business with Iran whereas it should have done the opposite based on what it signed with Iran together with four other fellow Security Council members plus Germany.
He was commenting in reaction to remarks by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz who earlier said that Washington had met its dies of the deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – that envisaged the removal of certain economic sanctions against Iran in return for measures by the country to restrict certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities.
“The truth is that this claim … is not correct,” Seif emphasized. “The commitments that the US accepted as per the JCPOA are yet to be implemented and the behavior of the American side to this effect is not transparent,” he told IRIB News during a visit to Vienna.
Iran’s CBI chief further said that the US claims that it is encouraging banks to do business with Iran but at the same time scares them away by threatening them with punitive measures if they approach the Iranian market.
“Before the sanctions, the representatives of the US Treasury visited countries and threatened banks with punitive measures if they cooperated with Iran,” Seif said.
“Now they expect to put everything back in place through a simple statement. They even don’t do that and instead raise threats against doing business with Iran.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed Iran’s commitment to a landmark nuclear agreement Tehran signed with the six world powers last year.
“Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amanon said in an introductory statement to the agency’s Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday.
He added that his report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) summarizes the verification and monitoring activities conducted by the UN nuclear agency in the last few months.
The IAEA chief said Iran has submitted its declarations under the Additional Protocol, which Tehran is applying provisionally, pending its entry into force.
“The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement,” Amano pointed out.
He noted that the IAEA would continue evaluating the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
In a quarterly report on Iran on September 8, the IAEA confirmed Iran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement reached between the Islamic Republic and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany on July 14, 2015.
The UN nuclear agency, which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA, said Tehran has not exceeded the limits set in the accord on its low-enriched uranium and heavy water stockpile.
Under the JCPOA, which took effect in January, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related bans imposed against Tehran.
The deal requires Iran’s storage of uranium enriched to up to 3.67 percent purity to stay below 300 kilograms. Tehran has also agreed to keep its heavy water stockpile below 130 metric tonnes.
Since January, the IAEA has released regular reports confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and Tehran’s commitment to the agreement.
In April, the IAEA director general hailed Iran for respecting the nuclear accord, saying the Islamic Republic has even gone beyond its obligations.
Iran says it has been paid for selling natural gas from a field that it jointly owns with BP in the North Sea but the payments cannot be accessed due to sanctions.
Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), was quoted by the media as saying that the revenues obtained from selling Iran’s share of the products of Rhum gas field have been deposited into an overseas NIOC account, stressing however that the same account is currently frozen.
Kardor added that Iran is currently negotiating with Britain to unfreeze the account which was established at a British bank before the 1979 Islamic Revolution after Iran and BP signed a deal to jointly invest in Rhum field.
The field started producing 190 million cubic feet of natural gas daily in 2005. However, the British government ordered it shut down in 2010 as a result of sanctions against Iran.
Production from the field resumed in 2013 and is presently supporting about five percent of the gas needs of Britain.
In September 2015, Iran’s Deputy Petroleum Minister for International and Commerce Affairs Amir-Hossein Zamaninia told reporters that UK’s Chargé d’Affaires to Iran Ajay Sharma had told him London would pay Iran its share of revenues from Rhum field after the removal of sanctions against Iran.
Zamaninia also discussed the issue with UK’s trade envoy to Iran and chairman of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce Lord Norman Lamont this past April. He told reporters that Britain had pledged to remove the barriers on the way of Iran’s access to revenues made from sales of natural gas from the Rhum gas field.
In January, Security Council sanctions on Iran were lifted. America still maintains some of its illegally imposed ones, despite promises of relief following implementation of last year’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal – once again showing its word isn’t its bond.
Bipartisan US policymakers can’t be trusted, saying one thing, doing another. Hillary is militantly anti-Russia, anti-China, anti-Iran, anti-peace.
According to her spokesman Jesse Lehrich, she “supports a clean reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act,” imposed solely for political reasons, along with numerous other US hostile actions, punishing the Islamic Republic unfairly and illegally since 1979.
Initially it was by seizing $12 billion in Iranian government bank deposits, gold and various properties in November that year.
A full trade embargo followed, largely maintained despite last year’s JCPOA implementation, normalization with Tehran denied because of heavy bipartisan congressional and Israeli pressure against it.
In 2006, the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act was renamed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). Authorized through end of 2016, it prohibits US and foreign oil development investments.
Violators face stiff penalties. They include denial of Export-Import Bank of the United States help, rejection of export licenses, and a ban on all or some violating company imports.
Hillary wants US/Iranian relations based on a “distrust and verify” policy, continuing to punish the country for maintaining its sovereign independence and being Israel’s main regional rival.
She wants ISA renewed for another decade, effectively in perpetuity as long as Iran remains free from US dominance – with congressional authorization for new sanctions any time at Washington’s discretion.
Billions of dollars of Iranian assets remain frozen. European banks face heavy pressure not to resume normalized business relations with Tehran.
According to Iranian deputy oil minister for trade and international relations, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, European banks are reluctant to run afoul of US policies – complicated by deliberate lack of clarity on American-imposed rules for doing business with Tehran.
Sanctions relief isn’t coming as expected, Washington obstructing normalized relations. Decades of punishing Iran continues, things likely worsening if Hillary succeeds Obama.
War is the greatest risk with her in power, escalated against Syria, Iran next if Assad falls, Russia and China to follow. Possible nuclear armageddon awaits if she’s commander-in-chief of America’s military.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
Iran’s media say German engineering giant Siemens has started talks to invest in the country’s petrochemical industry in a fresh sign of growing post-sanctions opening in the business environment of the Islamic Republic.
Mehr News Agency reported that Siemens is already engaged in serious negotiations with Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum over investing in a certain number of the country’s petrochemical projects.
The report added that a ranking delegation from Siemens had visited Tehran over the past few days to meet the related Iranian officials for investment talks.
It also said that another topic in the meetings of the German firm with Iranian officials was providing the advanced technology as well as the related technical and management solutions for Iran’s petrochemical projects.
In May, Siemens reported a rise in its second-quarter profit by €130 million in what it says was a result of the promising prospects of future activities in Iran.
The company announced in a statement that the resurgent business prospects in Iran after the removal of international sanctions has already increased its expectations of second-quarter revenues by €174 million.
The Munich-based company has always been one of the most active German enterprises in Iran. Even during the multiple years of sanctions that a majority of foreign companies left the Islamic Republic, Siemens kept its office in Tehran open to maintain its business in the country.
It has been mostly providing engineering services as well as technical parts including turbines to Iran’s gas projects. After the removal of the sanctions against Iran in January, it became even more active to pursue an ambitious Iran investment agenda.
In March, the company signed memoranda of understanding on rail infrastructure and gas equipment projects potentially worth billions of euros, as well as an energy agreement with Iranian power and infrastructure group MAPNA.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (R) and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Tehran on August 17, 2016. ©IRNA
Iran says it has been offered a major export credit line by Norway worth €1 billion in what could be a fresh indication of Oslo’s determination to expand relations with the Islamic Republic in post-sanctions era.
The two countries have signed an agreement to the same effect after a meeting between the visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and his Iranian host Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported.
The agreement was part of a total of three agreements that the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran and the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency signed to fund some of Iran’s key development and infrastructure projects.
“After the lifting of sanctions, good opportunities have emerged for cooperation and Norway is ready to utilize the post-deal situation to expand cooperation in various fields,” Brende has been quoted as saying by IRNA in a report that was also carried by AFP.
The report added that Brende and Zarif had also discussed the expansion of economic relations between Iran and Norway in different areas, particularly in monetary and banking sectors.
Brende will leave Tehran for Islamabad later in the day. Apart from Zarif, he is scheduled to meet several other top Iranian officials during his single-day stay in the Islamic Republic. They included President Hassan Rouhani, Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.
By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | August 17, 2016
In 2015, after much ado, and with great, international fanfare, the United States and 5 other nations (China, France, Russia, Great Britain and Germany) entered into an agreement with Iran, regulating that country’s nuclear activities. This was not an easy sell to the U.S. Congress, which, apparently, exists to serve Israel first, and U.S. citizens only after Israel’s needs have been satisfied.
A group of 47 senators succeeded in humiliating the nation by sending a letter to Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, purportedly explaining U.S. law.
Mr. Zarif, a U.S. constitutional expert, responded by schooling them.
Then, none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress, telling its members, yet again, for the umpteenth time in the last ten years, that Iran was only ‘months away’ from having a nuclear weapon.
Democratic members of Congress particularly beholden to Israel but not wanting to embarrass a Democratic president, danced to a particularly awkward tune as they waited to see if the agreement had enough votes in the Senate to pass. Once it was apparent that the agreement would be approved by a Congressional majority, they were at liberty to express their opposition to it, knowing that doing so would please their Israeli masters, and not impact the vote, thus embarrassing President Barack Obama.
Now, the bizarre reasoning behind why Iran, a nation that hasn’t invaded another country in decades, should be forbidden from developing nuclear weapons, when Israel, a brutal, apartheid regime with more blood on its hands than a doctor after a botched surgery, can, is a topic for another essay. Our purpose today is to examine the agreement that was made with Iran, what concessions were made on each side, and how each is following through.
Iran, which never claimed it had the development of nuclear weapons as its goal, agreed to major reductions in its nuclear development program. It also agreed to allowing an international monitoring team to verify compliance. In return, the U.S. agreed to lift decades-old sanctions that, like most of U.S. sanctions, did little to impact the government, but caused untold suffering among the Iranian population.
It seems, however, that Iran overlooked an important aspect in its negotiations with the U.S. While there is a mechanism in place to monitor Iranian compliance with the agreement, no such measures exist to monitor U.S. compliance.
The U.S., in its usual hypocritical way, has released the obligation of European banks to avoid doing business with Iran, yet maintains some sanctions, thus effectively preventing the banks from conducting any business with that country. As reported by CNN Money in May of this year, “HSBC, Standard Chartered and France’s BNP Paribas have all been in trouble before — and paid billions in fines — for dealing with Iran while U.S. sanctions were in place. So while they may see attractive commercial opportunities in the country of about 80 million people, they’re treading very carefully because some sanctions still linger, including a ban on conducting transactions with Iran in U.S. dollars.”
So while the U.S. adheres to the letter of the law, it violates the spirit of it, and as a result, Iran is getting next to nothing for the concessions it made. “We hold the US responsible for all violations [of the nuclear agreement]. The US must accept responsibility for reneging on its promises on the international level,” Alaeddin Boroujerd, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, stated on August 1. He further emphasized that the U.S., despite Iran’s adherence to the terms of the agreement, continued to damage “Iran’s economic relations with other countries.”
Now, isn’t the U.S. the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it not proclaim its moral superiority around the globe, even as it bombs innocent men, women and children? Is its word not worth gold?
The U.S. does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, because doing so would provide an equal, yet opposing, force to Israel in the Middle East. Current Democratic candidate, the corrupt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has made support for Israel a cornerstone of her campaign. She has stated that the best way to serve Israel is to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad. So if U.S. government officials will go so far as to overthrow foreign governments (please see Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, Bolivia (twice), Portugal, Nicaragua, etc.), with all the killing, mass arrests and oppression that accompanies each coup, certainly crippling the economy of one of Israel’s enemies, and violating its word in order to do so, is a trivial matter by comparison.
When one party to any contract violates the terms of that contract, the other party is no longer bound by it. So when Iran decides that it need not slow its nuclear program, because the U.S. hasn’t respected its side of the agreement, we will all watch U.S. members of Congress proclaiming “I told you so! Those Iranians can’t be trusted!’, when, in fact, it is the U.S. that can’t be trusted. But the corporate-owned media will only report on what it will see as Iran’s violations of the agreement, without mentioning that the U.S. violated it first.
U.S. citizens will gasp in horror at the perfidy of Iran; after all, most Iranians are Muslim, and as the news media either hints at, or boldly proclaims, all Muslims are terrorists. And the way will be open for another U.S. imperial misadventure, something to match the tragedy of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or the countless other places where the U.S. has disastrously and illegally intervened. Countless innocent people will suffer and die, the Middle East will be further destabilized, and military contractors’ profits soar. It will be business as usual in the mighty, corrupt U.S.A.