[home][about][contact] [getting involved] [Educational][Academic] [Media Watch][Views]
Working for International Dialogue and Peace
Russia, Iran and China are identified as the current obstacles to America's everlasting quest for full spectrum dominance of the world. ››read more
Turkish policies towards the Middle East have been in wild oscillation over the past many weeks, even months. Ankara has now finally and begrudgingly initiated military action against ISIS in cooperation with the US. But it has also initiated air attacks against its former Kurdish negotiating partners. Just what is going on? There may not be any coherent strategy, but the following seem to me to represent the key issues driving policy.
At the top of the list is President Erdoğan and his quest for political survival. After the rebuff to the ruling AK Party in the June elections that caused it to lose its majority in parliament, Erdoğan is now desperately trying to recover, find a reliable partner for a coalition government and, in its absence, to force new elections next month in the hopes of recouping his majority. Given the growing impression of growing loss of coherency at the top levels of the Turkish government, it is something of a gamble that the AKP could achieve a better electoral outcome next month. Indeed the AKP may well emerge yet weaker. ››read more
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has called on Israel and the world’s eight other states with nuclear weapons to begin disarming, in response to his country’s acceptance of strict curbs on its nuclear programme in an agreement reached earlier this month.
Writing in the Guardian, Zarif argues that by agreeing to the Vienna deal, titled the joint comprehensive plan of action, Iran was honouring the spirit of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), in which states without nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them. But he says the nuclear weapons states are not keeping their side of the bargain by disarming. ››read more
We – Iran and its interlocutors in the group of nations known as the P5+1 – have finally achieved the shared objective of turning the Iranian nuclear programme from an unnecessary crisis into a platform for cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and beyond. The nuclear deal reached in Vienna this month is not a ceiling but a solid foundation on which we must build. The joint comprehensive plan of action, as the accord is officially known, cements Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. Now it is high time that we expand that zone to encompass the entire Middle East.
Iran’s push for a ban on weapons of mass destruction in its regional neighbourhood has been consistent. The fact that it precedes Saddam Hussein’s systematic use of WMDs against Iran (never reciprocated in kind) is evidence of the depth of my country’s commitment to this noble cause. And while Iran has received the support of some of its Arab friends in this endeavour, Israel – home to the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons programme – has been the holdout. In the light of the historic nuclear deal, we must address this challenge head on. ››read more
The fanatical Israel-devoted group Christians United for Israel, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members,” yesterday held an off-the-record call to formulate strategies for defeating the pending nuclear deal with Iran. The star of the show was the Wall Street Journal’s longtime foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who spoke for roughly 30 minutes. A recording of this call was provided to The Intercept and is posted here. ››read more
As members of the Iranian-American community, we are proud Americans who are dedicated to our country. We are also proud of our heritage, and many of us visit Iran regularly and maintain strong ties with our friends and family in the country. We are hopeful this deal will open possibilities for greater people-to-people ties between the United States and Iran, including through cultural and educational exchanges. We are also optimistic that this diplomatic breakthrough will help advance economic opportunities for the Iranian people and enable new opportunities to advance human rights in Iran.
Public opinion surveys show that a majority of Iranian Americans and the broader American population alike are supportive of an agreement with Iran designed to place limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and we celebrate this great achievement with them. In the 60 days ahead, we hope Congress will support this historic achievement and avoid any measures that may derail the international agreement, impede U.S. diplomacy, or take this opportunity for peace off the table. ››read more
July 28, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - For 14 years the US has waged a global war on terror with a stated goal of denying al Qaeda a safe haven anywhere in the world. Now several of our regional partners in the Middle East, hell-bent on removing Assad from power, are backing a coalition of Syrian rebel groups that include the local al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra as a prominent member – and at least one high ranking former US military official thinks working with al Qaeda is justified. The rebel coalition, backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is calling itself the Army of Conquest, and has recently made gains against Assad consolidating territory in Idlib province. ››read more
Politico reported last month that the American Security Initiative had bought $1.4 million worth of TV ad time targeted to the June 30 deadline to complete the agreement. American Security Initiative is a hawkish national security 501(c)4 founded by former Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss (who recently said Edward Snowden should be hung), Norm Coleman, and Democrat Evan Bayh. Politico also noted another pro-Israel lobbying group, Secure America Now, founded by push-poll specialists Pat Caddell and John McLaughlin, was pouring $1 million into its own media blitz targeting undecided Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Michael Bennett and Chuck Schumer. Secure America Now was launched in the aftermath of the Islamophobic campaign against the building of a mosque “on holy ground” near the World Trade Center site. ››read more
Many of us have drawn the inference that hawks are reluctant to articulate their alternative because their actual alternative is a war. And not just a small war, either, since a limited bombing raid would at best offer the kind of relief from an Iranian nuclear program that is even more temporary and partial than what the Iran deal offers. But the leading hawks in the press deny that this is the case. They deny it rather angrily, and regard it as a kind of vile smear. ››read more
The polls are in: a majority of Americans supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. But, in what is emerging as a significant new element of the political landscape, the millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1997) is by far the most supportive, with 65 percent for the deal compared with 55 percent of older Americans in a recent Cato/YouGov poll. ››read more
America’s isolation in the wake of congressional rejection of the deal would be all the stronger, says Mr. Litwak of the Wilson Center, because it would appear to the rest of the world that the US was turning back to a post-9/11 faith in “regime change” as the only way to deal with rogue states. The prevailing thinking after 9/11 “was that behavior modification wouldn’t get you there – so you had to deal with [rogue states] through regime change,” he says. Mr. Obama shelved the “rogue state” concept for dealing with countries like Iran and instead framed it as an “outlier on international law,” Litwak says – an approach more to the liking of the international community. ››read more
One thing is certain - it is definitely preferable to another recklessly entered war. If the U.S. has learned anything, it is that the Mideast is not a place for its military to enter lightly. Some of America's top allies in the region have voiced displeasure with the treaty, but what have they offered as an alternative except more force and more weapons?
We would urge Congress to put political partisanship aside and approve this agreement, which we view as workable and worthwhile. It might even lead to bigger things by showing a conflictive region that diplomacy is a better way than war to resolve differences. ››read more
A new ad touting Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s opposition to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran features a photoshopped image of President Obama shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, as well as a still from a propaganda video produced by ISIS. The ad, which is running in the Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay markets, was created by Restoration PAC, a group based in Oak Brook, Illinois. ››read more
You can argue that this deal should have been different, but when it comes time to vote on whether it should go forward, members of Congress will be choosing between two options, neither of them hypothetical. A yes vote means all the parties — not only Iran and the United States, but also the United Nations, China, Russia, and the European Union — implement this deal. A no vote, in contrast, doesn’t mean that some fantasy deal will fall from the sky. It means that the U.S. walks away from this deal, and it collapses. ››read more
For the Islamic Republic, the main payoff from the nuclear deal was not, first and foremost, sanctions relief. Rather,
“For Iran, what was important was to have a peaceful nuclear program. So, the notion that Iran’s path towards a nuclear weapons is blocked is fine for Iranians because it’s not what they were doing in the first place. The biggest gain for Iran here was the fact that its peaceful nuclear program, and the fuel cycle, was recognized…" ››read more
Clinton said she applauded Obama’s “efforts”, and said the deal “does put a lid on [Iran’s] nuclear program.” But she was incapable of stopping there and refused to step through the door of Zarif’s “new horizons”. “But,” she said, “we still have a lot of concern about the bad behavior and the actions by Iran which remains the largest state sponsor of terrorism which does go after and undermine governments in the region, [and] that poses an existential threat to Israel . . . that behavior,” she paternally scolded, “is something we will have to address”. ››read more
The 159-page text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the six powers led by the United States does not contain any major surprises about the two central elements of the agreement - limits on the Iranian nuclear program and the timing and sequencing of lifting sanctions. And there is nothing in the text about the last major issue to be resolved - how the Security Council's new resolution will deal with the arms embargo and ban on the Iranian ballistic missile program. ››read more
Rabbi Jack Moline, the NJDC’s executive director, accused AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee of “strong-arm tactics, essentially threatening people that if they don’t vote a particular way, that somehow that makes them anti-Israel or means the abandonment of the Jewish community. ››read more
During Baskerville’s time and for decades afterward, Iranians idealized Americans. The only ones they knew were doctors, schoolteachers and others who devoted their lives to serving Iran. But attitudes changed when in 1953 the CIA helped depose Mossadegh, who favored nationalizing Iranian oil. That naturally stoked anti-American feelings. They intensified as the United States became the principal supporter of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi’s dictatorship during the 1960s and 70s. ››read more
"For the real reason Iranians don’t trust America, you only need to go back to Washington’s decision to back Saddam Hussein’s Iraq against Iran in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Afraid that the ideology of the Iranian Revolution might spread throughout the Middle East, America threw its considerable weight behind a dictator so toxic that America itself was at war with him a scant two years after the Iran-Iraq War ended. And America’s actions directly enabled Iraqi successes" ››read more