Working for International Dialogue and Peace

Iranian Parliament Vows Retaliation if US Imposes New Sanctions

by Jason Ditz (source: January 26, 2015

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has warned that there are “retaliatory plans” in place in the event that the US Congress follows through on efforts to impose new sanctions against them. ››read more

We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account

by Joan Smith (source: The Independent) January 25, 2015

What do you call the unelected leader of a state that beheads people in public, permits only one faith and exports an extreme form of Islam to other countries? If he happens to be Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of Islamic State (Isis), the answer is one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. If he is King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the proper form of address is “Your Majesty”. ››read more

Iran and the 2015 NPT Review Conference

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (source: Iran Review) January 20, 2015

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a sharp reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the imminent danger to humanity posed by some 17300 bombs in the world today, irrespective of the legally binding obligation of the five (officially-recognized) nuclear weapons states (U.S., Russia, China, France, and England) to take practical steps toward a total elimination of nuclear weapons, i.e., disarmament. ››read more

GOP Mega-Donor Sheldon Adelson Funds Mysterious Anti-Iran Pressure Group

(source: The Nation) January 16, 2015

Nearly one-third of anti-Iran pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran’s 2013 budget came from the country’s foremost Republican megadonor, a man who invested a reported $98 million to defeat Barack Obama in the 2012 election, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson routed his $500,000 donation to UANI through his family foundation, according to tax documents. ››read more

Paris is a warning: there is no insulation from our wars

by Seumas Milne (source: The Guardian) January 16, 2015

The former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin, who led opposition to the Iraq war, this week described Isis as the “deformed child” of western policy. The west’s wars in the Muslim world “always nourish new wars” and “terrorism among us”, he wrote, while “we simplify” these conflicts “by seeing only the Islamist symptom”. ››read more

Edward Snowden: U.S. used Stuxnet against Iran

by Nicole Arce (source: TechTimes) January 9, 2015

Edward Snowden has blasted the United States policy of launching cyberattacks first before defending the security of its own network and Internet infrastructure. ››read more

West must seek peace with Syria

by Patrick Cockburn (source: The Independent) January 9, 2015

Cockburn's bookCockburn's bookCatching and punishing those responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre is not going to deter people who have martyrdom as a central feature of their faith. But bringing to an end, or even just de-escalating the war in Syria, would begin to drain the waters in which violent jihadism flourishes.

Such a de-escalation means the US, Britain, France and their allies accepting that they are not going to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and Assad accepting that he is not going to win back all of Syria.

There should be ceasefires between government and non-jihadi rebels. Power would be divided within Syria and, for the first time, governments in Damascus, Baghdad and Paris could unite against violent Sunni jihadism. ››read more

Why Obama Won’t Reach a Deal With Iran

by GARETH PORTER (source: Middle East Eye) January 9, 2015

It is very difficult to imagine the administration rethinking its hard line unless and until Iran walks away from the negotiations at the end of the current extension and threatens to resume the development of its enrichment capabilities that it chose to freeze as a confidence-building measure. ››read more

Cuba, A Barometer on Iran

by Kaveh Afrasiabi (source: Iran Review) January 9, 2015

The prospects for a diplomatic rapprochement between U.S. and Cuba serve as a timely barometer on U.S.-Iran relations, in light of the strong parallels between the two cases. In fact, one may even go further and assert that the White House's ability to normalize relations with Cuba and end the half-century embargo on the island-nation in its vicinity serves as a litmus test of Obama's foreign policy including its Iran policy. ››read more

Ex-IAEA Chief Warns on Using Unverified Intel to Pressure Iran

by Gareth Porter (source: Lobelog) December 21, 2014

In a critique of the handling of the Iran file by the International Atomic Energy Agency, former IAEA Director General Han Blix has called for greater skepticism about the intelligence documents and reports alleging Iranian nuclear weapons work and warned that they may be used to put diplomatic pressure on Tehran. ››read more

        Editor's note: Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist and historian specializing in U.S. "national security" policy and was the recipient of the Gellhorn Prize for journalism in 2012. His new book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published by Just World Books in early 2014.

The IAEA Faces a Major Credibility Test

by Robert Kelley (source: LobeLog) December 15, 2014

On December 11, the spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that his agency was, as Gareth Porter asserted on this website earlier this month, not interested in accepting a recent invitation by Iran to visit Marivan, at least at this time.

The spokesman, Serge Gas, reportedly told Reuters in an email that the agency had “explained clearly to Iran—on more than one occasion—that an offer of a visit of Marivan does not help address specific concerns related to the issue of large-scale high explosive experiments.” No further elaboration was made in the email, according to Reuters.

As someone who has worked at a senior level for the IAEA and who has respect for its mission and its dedicated personnel, I found this statement—and the decision not to accept Iran’s invitation—disappointing and worrisome. ››read more

        Editor's note: Robert Kelly had been in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna as a Director for challenging nuclear inspections in Iraq and many other countries.

Ashton Carter, Iran, Neo-Realism And ‘Incident At Sea’

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (source: Iran Review) December 12, 2014

US President Barack Obama’s pick of hawkish Ashton Carter as the next secretary of defense in place of the relatively dovish Chuck Hagel has been widely interpreted as the administration’s intention to increase its reliance on America’s ‘hard-power’ in light of the growing global instabilities and the dawn of a ‘new cold war’ between US and Russia. ››read more

Tell Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today: Diplomacy with Iran!

(source: December 9, 2014

On November 24, the U.S., negotiators from five other world powers, and Iran agreed to extend talks surrounding Iran's nuclear program until July 2015.

And as Congress returned from recess and negotiators made plans to resume talks, GOP pressure on Senate Democrats who are more likely to side with hawkish Republicans on Iran mounted—rapidly. ››read more

Iran’s Enrichment Offer: So Near And Yet Not Far Enough

by Peter Jenkins (source: Lobelog) December 4, 2014

This analysis ........ is an attempt to clarify the progress that has been made on enrichment over the last 12 months; to explain why the current Iranian offer is reasonable from a legal and from a confidence-building perspective; and to counter the pernicious influence on US negotiating goals of people who want the bar set so high that Iran will refuse the jump. ››read more

        Editor's note: Peter Jenkins was that of UK Ambassador to the IAEA and UN (Vienna) in 2001-2006.

The Parchin Puzzle

by Robert Kelley (source: LobeLog) December 3, 2014

In the seemingly never-ending debate over Iran’s nuclear program, specifically the “possible military dimensions,” or PMD, of its past work, much has been made over the thus-far frustrated demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect a building at the sprawling Parchin military complex near Tehran. It has repeatedly been alleged by Iran’s critics that there is an explosive containment chamber in that building and that a visit there would go far toward establishing that Iran has nuclear-weapons ambitions.
››read more

        Editor's note: Robert Kelly has been in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna as a Director for challenging nuclear inspections in Iraq and many other countries.

Russia-Iran ‘oil for goods’ program to launch soon - minister

(source: RT) December 1, 2014

Deliveries of Russian goods in exchange for Iranian oil will begin soon, according to Russia’s minister of economic development. He says the two countries are also working on a plan to trade in national currencies.

Aleksey Ulyukayev said grain is a primary commodity, while other goods on the list are being negotiated.

“We can export a big volume of our non-raw materials exports, such as equipment for the oil and gas industry, agricultural machinery, motor vehicles, aircraft, railway cars, power machines, electricity generators,” he said. “Russia can receive a serious portfolio of orders for machine-building, for industries with high added value.” ››read more

Opening the 'Black Box' of Geneva Agreement’s Legal Status

by Kaveh Afrasiabi (source: Iran Review) November 30, 2014

The latest 7-month extension of the Geneva “interim” agreement has infuriated some hawkish members of US Congress, who have threatened to pass new Iran sanctions bills in the near future. Should this happen, then the US lawmakers would be putting the US at odds not only with Iran but also with the international norms and laws, notwithstanding Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which requires a state “to refrain from acts which could defeat the object and purpose of a treaty before its entry to force by that state.” ››read more

Was the Iran Deal Threatened by US Sanctions Provisions?

by Peter Jenkins (source: LobeLog) November 28, 2014

What went wrong? Why were the United States and Iran unable to come to a comprehensive agreement in Vienna on Monday?

According to an Iranian source close to the negotiations, the main obstacle was the inability of the US negotiators to convince Iranian counterparts that the administration could persuade Congress to repeal relevant sanctions provisions. ››read more

        Editor's note: Peter Jenkins was UK Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency and other UN organisations at Vienna between 2001 and 2006.

Another Missed Opportunity

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (source: Iran Review) November 26, 2014

In historical retrospect, future historians may well regard the latest failure to reach a final-status nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers as a splendid though unfortunate example of 'missed opportunity'. While many of the crucial details of the intense week-long negotiation that ultimately fell short of a final deal have yet to be publicly revealed, still there is sufficient data to reach the conclusion that the description of a 'missed golden opportunity' is apt and can indeed shed some insight on the complexities of the issue at hand. ››read more

Pro-Israel Hawks Take Wing over Extended Iran Nuclear Talks

by Jim Lobe (source: IPS) November 25, 2014

Washington—Buoyed by the failure of the US and five other powers to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear program after a week of intensive talks, pro-Israel and Republican hawks are calling for Washington to ramp up economic pressure on Tehran even while talks continue, and to give Congress a veto on any final accord. ››read more