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Working for International Dialogue and Peace
The Syrian conflict has been accompanied by a distinct media narrative. Within this narrative - which poses a binary division between the forces engaged in the conflict, identifying the players as good (the rebels, who must receive 'our' support) and bad (the government) - the role the West must play is that of potential saviour, whose aim is to cautiously observe the conflict so that it may intervene to 'fix' the situation, as The Guardian's Simon Tisdall put it:
"So what can Obama do? As Vladimir Putin was expected to make plain to John Kerry in Moscow on Tuesday, he cannot count on Russian (or, therefore, Chinese or UN security council) support to fix Syria." ››read more
If western politicians were really interested in saving lives, they would use their leverage to negotiate a settlement ››read more
No universally applied principle justifies the Israeli attack on Damascus. Only self-flattering tribalism does that ››read more
The bombing of Syria by Israel yesterday hit up to 12 targets near the capital, Damascus. It cannot be seen as anything other than an act of war against another country. It is clearly illegal under international law. ››read more
The President talks peace, while ratcheting up hostilities and even intervening in Syria in order to get to Iran ››read more
Sanctions, whether unilateral or multilateral, have been the United States' core policy on Iran since the 1979 revolution. President Barack Obama entered office confirming that he intended to pursue a policy of engagement with Tehran. During his tenure, however, the United States has orchestrated its harshest sanctions to date against Iran. ››read more
WPSU, Penn State’s public broadcasting station, did a thoughtful interview with Flynt about our book for its “Conversations from Penn State” series, which was broadcast last night and is now available online. ››read more
Frederick Dahl writes for Reuters that IAEA inspectors can find incredibly minute traces of nuclear material at Parchin, if Iran had conducted secret nuclear experiments there as alleged. What Frederick Dahl leaves out is that the IAEA already visited Parchin, twice in fact in 2005, and at time such environmental samples were taken. Nothing was found. ››read more
The outlines of a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran have long been obvious: Western recognition of Iran's nuclear rights in return for more intrusive monitoring and verification of Iranian nuclear facilities. With agreement so readily at hand, the Obama administration's refusal to take it is baffling to many international observers. But the reason for American obstinacy becomes clearer when one considers that that the Iranian nuclear issue has at least as much to do with the future of international order as it does with nonproliferation. ››read more
"Sometimes I wonder where the uproar is over "crippling sanctions" imposed on almost 80 million people? What has happened to all Iranian expatriates (activists, university professors, "experts", etc) who rushed to American and European television channels in the aftermath of the last, and disputed, Presidential election in Iran, vehemently objecting the Islamic Republic's brutal crushing of protesters, unleashing immense pressure on the Iranian state in the process?
Why aren't they exerting the same kind of pressure on the US and European governments? Why aren't they pointing out that Western-led sanctions are crushing those very same "people" in Iran? Is it that they are not invited back to make this point on FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC and all other broadcasters from which they received an open platform during the protests? Is it that they are interested in the "people" only in so much as it serves their own ambitions?" ››read more
The alliance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Jordan and the western powers has in its sights the taking out of Syria as a key ally of Iran, and with it Hezbollah in Lebanon. ››read more
America’s nuclear negotiators with Iran got it all wrong, according to a growing chorus of critics arguing that over-reliance on pressure and sanctions may be jeopardizing a diplomatic deal.
The Obama administration has implemented a host of crippling sanctions on Iran targeting its central bank and lifeblood oil exports. The goal has been to pressure Iran into giving up its most sensitive nuclear work, which could be a pathway to an atomic bomb.
But a year of high-profile talks between Iran and world powers has yielded little progress. Now a number of senior former US officials and analysts say a White House obsession with the pressure track may be backfiring, and are calling for a pivot toward the diplomatic track to reestablish balance. ››read more
I hope that my country will not engage in overt military aggression against the Islamic Republic. If, however, the United States is so foolish as to launch another war in the Middle East, to disarm yet another Middle Eastern state of weapons of mass destruction it does not have, I believe that the blowback to U.S. interests in the region will be disastrous for America’s strategic position. The United States will be the big loser in such a war. ››read more
In 2013 it is possible that Israel, backed by the United States, will launch an attack on Iran. This would be a catastrophic event, risking war, bloodshed and global economic collapse. In this passionate, but rationally argued essay, the authors attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to a table and strike a deal. ››read more
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has arrived in Israel on a high profile visit, and right off the bat insisted that the US and Israel both feel “exactly the same” about Iran’s civilian nuclear program, adding that Israel has a “right” to attack Iran whenever it decides it wants to. ››read more
It is reasonable to conclude that the EU states were not interested in devising “objective guarantees that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”. So what is going on? Why all the anger, the endless barrage of rhetoric and the ruthless drive to isolate Iran, which has led to the sanctions that are reportedly driving millions of Iranians to the brink of poverty and despair?
The answer is that a different agenda is at work, which we believe has little or nothing to do with Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The US and its European clients are driven by a different compulsion: the humiliation and eventual destruction of Iran’s Islamic regime. ››read more
Editor's note: Peter Oborne is the Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator.
My critique of "Iran’s Nuclear Odyssy", by Vaez and Sadjadpour published by the Carnegie Endowment: -- this was posted but in a highly edited form on the Gulf200 Listserve so I thought people should have a chance to read the full version. ››read more
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today and reiterated the same assessment regarding Iran as was delivered last month. ››read more
A report from a bipartisan cast of official Washington was issued today, this one on the Obama administration's Iran policy. Although it affirms the DC convention that Iran is some sort of serious threat to the US - a prerequisite for being viewed as Serious among its target audience - it surprisingly, and quite cogently, calls into serious question the wisdom of the sanctions regime imposed by the US. ››read more
The Strategic and Moral Bankruptcy of U.S. Sanctions Policy Toward Iran—Flynt Leverett and Trita Parsi on HuffPost Liveby Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) April 17, 2013
The Obama administration and other sanctions advocates claim that U.S.-instigated sanctions against the Islamic Republic are meant to achieve a range of objectives (changing Iran’s “nuclear calculus,” getting Iran “back to the negotiating table” and making it “negotiate in good faith,” strengthening the “credibility and leverage” of “pro-engagement camps” inside Iran, preventing military action by the United States and Israel, “political signaling” at home and abroad, and maintaining “unity” within the P5+1).
Appearing on HuffPost Live earlier this month, Flynt pointed out that, in fact, U.S.-instigated sanctions against Iran are achieving virtually none of the objectives sanctions proponents claim they are intended to achieve: “Other than, possibly, sanctions as a stand in for military action by the United States or Israel, other than that I don’t think the sanctions are working to achieve any of the objectives.” ››read more