Working for International Dialogue and Peace


Rebuffing Israel, U.S. Allows Censure Over Settlements

by SOMINI SENGUPTA and RICK GLADSTONE (source: New York Times) December 24, 2016

Applause broke out in the 15-member Security Council’s chambers after the vote on the measure, which passed 14 to 0, with the United States ambassador, Samantha Power, raising her hand as the lone abstention. Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, denounced the measure, and castigated the council members who had approved it. “Would you ban the French from building in Paris?” he told them. The resolution describes the settlement building as a “major obstacle” to peace and demands that Israel stop the construction, which most the world regards as illegal. ››read more


Iran, Russia, Turkey start bids to solve Syria crisis diplomatically: Zarif

(source: Press TV) December 20, 2016

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran, Russia and Turkey have started the process of finding a political solution to the Syria crisis.

There is no military solution to the Syria conflict and the country’s crisis can only be solved through political approaches, Zarif said in Moscow on Tuesday. ››read more


Iran slams 'barbarous' Russian envoy assassination in Ankara

(source: PressTV) December 20, 2016

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and Turkish counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, respectively, are planned to hold a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday. Furthermore, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan is to hold talks with his Russian and Turkish counterparts Sergei Shoigu and Fikri Isik, respectively, in Moscow on Tuesday to address the latest developments in the region and the situation on the ground in Syria, especially in the newly liberated city of Aleppo. ››read more


IAEA content with oil-rich Iran

by Daniel J. Graeber (source: UPI) December 19, 2016

IAEAIAEAThe director-general of the nuclear watchdog for the United Nations said oil-rich Iran is meeting its commitments to downplay weapons concerns. Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spent the weekend in Tehran discussing the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a multi-lateral agreement that commits Iran to stepping away from the ability to produce a nuclear weapon. The deal, implemented in early 2016, means some of the nuclear-related sanctions imposed by Western powers have eased and opened the door to Iran's fossil fuels industry. ››read more


Iran discusses nuclear ships plan with IAEA chief

(source: AFP / Daily Mail) December 18, 2016

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani last week announced the plans for nuclear-powered ships in response to news that the United States was renewing sanctions legislation, which he said was a "clear violation" of the nuclear deal. Under the deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent, but that limit falls away after 15 years. Tehran says Washington has breached the nuclear accord by renewing the Iran Sanctions Act, even though almost all of its measures remain suspended under the deal. ››read more


Yes, We Do Know the MEK Has a Terrorist Past

by Amb. Daniel Benjamin (source: Politico) December 14, 2016

Rajavi and SaddamRajavi and SaddamIt’s probably too much to ask that Robert Torricelli or any of the renowned political figures supporting the MEK reconsider their views. But others in Congress and the public ought to consult the abundance of evidence of the MEK’s troubling history, including the abuse of its members relayed in reports by such observers as Human Rights Watch and the account of its efforts to buy influence on Capitol Hill contained in the memoir by former Congressman (and onetime Iran-based CIA operative) Robert Ney. A more informed debate about the MEK might start there. ››read more


There's More Propaganda Than News Coming Out of Aleppo

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) December 17, 2016

It has just become more dangerous to be a foreign correspondent reporting on the civil war in Syria. This is because the jihadis holding power in east Aleppo were able to exclude Western journalists, who would be abducted and very likely killed if they went there, and replace them as news sources with highly partisan “local activists” who cannot escape being under jihadi control. ››read more


Trump’s Foreign-Policy Appointees Are Set to Provoke War With Iran

by Bob Dreyfuss (source: The Nation) December 15, 2016

Trump and MattisTrump and MattisGiven these contradictory signals, when and if Trump, Flynn, Mattis, et al. trigger a confrontation with Iran, they will also create an enormous point of conflict with Russia, too. To be sure, both Trump—who, the CIA says, received covert election support from Russia’s intelligence service—and his designee for secretary of state, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, have business and personal ties to Russia’s elite. But the chance of a US-Russia entente will evaporate if the Trump administration seeks to build an anti-Iran alliance in the Middle East. And the same goes for Syria: Although Trump has hinted that the United States might ally with Russia against ISIS, that doesn’t square with the views of Flynn, Mattis, and Pompeo that Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah are engaged in an anti-American crusade in the region in defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ››read more


Iran sanctions legally extended by U.S., but without Obama signing

(source: CBC) December 15, 2016

Although the White House had said that Obama was expected to sign the 10-year-renewal, the midnight deadline came and went Thursday with no approval from the president. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama had decided to let it become law without his signature. "The administration has, and continues to use, all of the necessary authorities to waive the relevant sanctions" lifted as part of the nuclear deal, Earnest said in a statement. ››read more


With small changes, U.S. maintains military aid to Saudi Arabia despite rebukes over Yemen carnage

by Missy Ryan (source: Washington Post) December 13, 2016

Now, following months of deliberation, the administration has reached a set of interim conclusions, the official said, including a decision to reduce sharing of intelligence that the United States believes could be used to conduct similar problematic strikes in the Houthi campaign. At the same time, U.S. officials will continue or even increase other kinds of intelligence sharing, on targets such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or when the United States sees legitimate Saudi concerns about Houthi aggression. ››read more


John Bolton’s Super PAC Spent Millions On Senators Who Might Vote To Confirm Him

by Paul Blumenthal (source: Huffington Post) December 13, 2016

Bolton and MEKBolton and MEKBolton launched the John Bolton Super PAC in 2013, which some speculated was a way to promote himself ahead of a potential 2016 president run. That run never materialized, but the PAC, which could raise an unlimited amount of money, enabled Bolton to bring in huge contributions from wealthy benefactors while lending his hawkish credentials to congressional candidates. In the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, Bolton raised $11.3 million and spent $5.6 million on independent expenditures in support of Republican candidates. Three of the candidates whom Bolton’s super PAC boosted ― Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) ― could now be in a position to vote for his confirmation as deputy secretary of State. That would create an unprecedented situation: The director of a super PAC would be seeking votes to secure a prominent government position from the very same senators he helped elect. ››read more


Flynn’s Wacky Worldview

by Jim Lobe (source: Lobelog) December 13, 2016

Skepticism about Michael Flynn’s fitness for the position of national security adviser appears to be growing as more media outlets are paying closer attention to his (and his son’s) core beliefs about the world. Such scrutiny also appears to be more relevant since President-elect Trump may be relying more heavily on Flynn than on the CIA or other government intelligence agencies for his own assessment of world events. That’s a big reason why this site has been focusing so much on Flynn in recent weeks. ››read more


Iranian president orders work on nuclear propulsion device

(source: Press TV) December 14, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to plan work on nuclear propulsion devices to be used in sea transport in response to the recent violation of a multilateral nuclear deal by the United States.​ ››read more


Atomic agency leader warns of disaster if Trump tears up Iran deal

by Daniel Boffey (source: Guardian) December 12, 2016

BlixBlixHans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has claimed it would be disastrous for the world if the US tore up the Iran nuclear agreement, but warned that the president-elect, Donald Trump, would be unlikely to heed advice from the British government on the benefits of the deal. In the wake of Theresa May’s insistence last week that the agreement “neutralising” the risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons was vital, Blix said that while “many Brits would like to think” they could sway Trump, he could not see “anyone who would be influential in talking to him”. ››read more


Rand Paul threatens to block Bolton nomination

by BURGESS EVERETT (source: Politico) December 11, 2016

Bolton and MEKBolton and MEKThe Kentucky Republican, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could stop the hawkish former ambassador to the United Nations from getting out of committee if there is unanimous Democratic resistance. The committee is narrowly divided among 10 Republicans and nine Democrats, and Paul said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s an “automatic no on Bolton.” “John Bolton doesn’t get it. He still believes in regime change. He’s still a big cheerleader for the Iraq War,” Paul said. “John Bolton is so far out of it and has such a naive understanding of the world.” ››read more


Neocons Urge War on Iran

by Stephen Lendman (source: Global Research) December 11, 2016

On December 7, a joint UANI/Foreign Policy Institute (PNAC renamed) Future of Iran Policy event discussed US policy on Iran, with the incoming Trump administration in mind. A rogue’s gallery of anti-Iranian extremists participated – including Joe Lieberman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies head Mark Dubowitz, among others. Neocon lunatic UANI/FPI members and supporters urge military confrontation with Iran, wanting Washington to sink its ships, attack its Syrian advisors, impose stiffer sanctions, and rescind the JCPOA nuclear deal. Dubowitz said America must “restore coercion.” Sanctions aren’t enough, noting Syria is “a target-rich environment” to incite conflict. ››read more


Nuclear Deal Opponents Urge Military Confrontation with Iran

(source: NIAC) December 10, 2016

The U.S. should sink Iranian ships, consider targeted killings of Iranian fighters in Syria, and ratchet up new non-nuclear sanctions on Iran under the Trump Administration, according to a panel of lawmakers and policymakers organized on Capitol Hill yesterday by the hawkish United Against Nuclear Iran organization. Outlining Trump’s options going forward, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said the U.S. must “restore coercion” and recommended direct military confrontation, saying that sanctions alone are not a silver bullet. “The next time a Revolutionary Guard attack boat harasses the U.S. Navy, we should sink it, put it in the bottom of the Gulf,” Dubowitz said. “That would be a good start.” ››read more


Iran summons British envoy over PM’s meddlesome remarks

(source: Press TV) December 10, 2016

Iran has summoned the British ambassador to Tehran over the recent meddlesome remarks made by UK Prime Minister Theresa May against the Islamic Republic. ››read more


UK's fawning of Sunni monarchies is contemptible and pathetic

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) December 10, 2016

This is a regional war but its outcome will affect an area from Pakistan to Nigeria, and it is a sectarian conflict which impacts on all the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world ››read more


Israel defends fake Lebanon military buildup map as Hezbollah’s ‘war crime illustration’

(source: Russia Today) December 10, 2016

Israel and LebanonIsrael and LebanonSuch a level of detail and awareness of alleged Hezbollah activities would be truly impressive, if the map had not turned out to be a fake. Some Twitter users pointed out that it was unlikely the image was a “declassified map,” since its history showed that it had been created using Google Maps via an IDF spokesperson account. The dots, marking the alleged “military buildup,” even featured a repetitive pattern. IDF later said the map had been an “illustration,” and users simply misinterpreted it as a piece of declassified intelligence. The map’s title, tagline and caption were presumably “illustrative” too. “The illustration reflects how Hezbollah has positioned its terrorist infrastructure within the civilian arena,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel. The map, despite its ”illustrative” nature, has been shown to almost every foreign diplomat visiting Israel, to demonstrate that while Hezbollah participates in the Syrian civil war, it continues preparations for conflict with Israel and hides among civilians located near the border, according to a Channel 2 report. ››read more