Working for International Dialogue and Peace

Joint Statement of Iranian-American Organizations on the U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal

(source: NIAC) July 30, 2015

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

Are the U.S. and Allies Getting Too Cozy With Al Qaeda’s Affiliate in Syria?

by Zaigham Kabir (source: Information Clearing House) July 31, 2015

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

The Israel Lobby’s $50M Campaign Against The Iran Nuclear Deal

by Richard Silverstein (source: Mint Press News) July 30, 2015

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

Iran hawks' refusal to discuss alternatives is incredibly telling

by Matthew Yglesias (source: Vox) July 29, 2015

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

Millennials strongly back Iran deal

by A. Trevor Thrall and Erik Goepner (source: ) July 29, 2015

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

If Congress rejects nuclear deal, would US and not Iran be a pariah?

by Howard LaFranchi (source: Christian Science Monitor) July 29, 2015

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

Diplomacy wins

(source: Houston Chronicle) July 29, 2015

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

Anti-Iran agreement ad uses fake image of Obama/Rouhani meeting, uses ISIS produced photo

by Ilan Ben-Meir (source: Buzzfeed) July 25, 2015

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

Let’s stop pretending Republicans have a serious critique of the Iran deal

by Paul Waldman (source: Washington Post) July 24, 2015

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

How Much of a Game Changer is the Iran Nuclear Deal?

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) July 23, 2015

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

Hillary Clinton’s Hawkish Response to the Iranian Nuclear Deal

by Ted Snider (source: July 22, 2015

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

How Three of the Iran Negotiations' Toughest Issues Were Resolved

by Gareth Porter (source: TruthOut) July 21, 2015

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

National Jewish Democratic Council chief raps AIPAC, AJC on Iran sanctions lobbying

by Ron Kampeas (source: JTA) July 20, 2015

AIPACAIPACRabbi 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

Iran’s Favorite Midwesterner

by Stephen Kinzer (source: Politico) July 18, 2015

Stephen KinzerStephen KinzerDuring 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

The Iran Nuclear Deal and the Question of “Trust”

by Derek Davison (source: LobeLog) July 18, 2015

"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

WikiLeaks Cables Show a Saudi Obsession With Iran

by BEN HUBBARD and MAYY EL SHEIKH (source: NYT) July 16, 2015

BEIRUT, Lebanon — For decades, Saudi Arabia has poured billions of its oil dollars into sympathetic Islamic organizations around the world, quietly practicing checkbook diplomacy to advance its agenda.

But a trove of thousands of Saudi documents recently released by WikiLeaks reveals in surprising detail how the government’s goal in recent years was not just to spread its strict version of Sunni Islam — though that was a priority — but also to undermine its primary adversary: Shiite Iran. ››read more

Javad Zarif on Iran’s Post-Deal Future By Robin Wright

by Robin Wright (source: New Yorker) July 16, 2015

This is a test for us to see whether the United States is ready to deal with realities, to set aside this language of coercion and force. I’ve been repeating this, and I don’t know why nobody is listening. The United States is a founding member of the United Nations. And I believe when they wrote in Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Charter that the threat of the use of force is against international law … Now if a country, on a daily basis, says all options are on the table, meaning they are threatening to use force against sovereign states, this is the law of the jungle, not the law of the United Nations. ››read more

How a Weaker Iran Got the Hegemon To Lift Sanctions

by Gareth Porter (source: July 16, 2015

NatanzNatanzIranian counter-pressure on the US, through its nuclear program, finally compelled the Obama administration to begin negotiations ››read more

Iran Deal Essential for More Constructive, Humane Middle East Policy

by Flynt Leverett (interview by Amy Goodman) (source: Democracy Now ) July 15, 2015

I think Iran has achieved something very significant here, which is basically a recognition of the reality that states have a right to a peaceful use of civil nuclear technology in all respects. This is not a right that is granted by the Non-Proliferation Treaty; it is a sovereign right that’s recognized by the treaty. From an Iranian perspective, the United States and the Security Council tried for years to deny Iran that right. And now, without Iran having sacrificed it, the international community is recognizing that right, and I think that’s an important step on the nonproliferation front, as well. ››read more

Iran and P5+1: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

(source: EU External Action) July 15, 2015

The E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and the Islamic Republic of Iran welcome this historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which will ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful, and mark a fundamental shift in their approach to this issue. They anticipate that full implementation of this JCPOA will positively contribute to regional and international peace and security. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons. ››read more