Debate: Iran’s nuclear negotiations

(source: Press TV) November 22, 2014

Iran’s foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the P5+1 group has offered no significant proposals so far during nuclear talks to solve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program. ››read more

Nuclear deal could reset US-Iran relations

by Nader Entessar and Kaveh Afrasiabi (source: Boston Globe) November 20, 2014

After several marathon rounds of negotiations since the interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers in Geneva last November, substantial progress toward a final deal has been achieved, thus making it likely that the November 24th deadline can be met. The parties have come too far, invested too much effort and, indeed, made too much progress to let the opportunity for a “win-win” resolution of the Iranian nuclear standoff slip out of their grasp. ››read more

Iran will do a deal with the west – but only if there’s no loss of dignity

by Hooman Majd (source: The Guardian) November 19, 2014

After at least a century of being dictated to by foreign powers, in 1979 the people of a once-great nation – arguably the world’s first multi-ethnic state – chose dignity over subservience, whatever the cost. It didn’t matter that the shah and his father before him had wrested, by force, their nation out of its 19th-century stupor and into a 20th-century modern state. What mattered was that they, and particularly the younger shah, had done so at the cost of their dignity. In the waning years of the second world war, the great powers had removed occupied Iran’s first Pahlavi king and replaced him with his unprepared 21-year-old son; it was decided at the Tehran conference in late 1943, attended by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill – who couldn’t even be bothered to pay a courtesy call to the monarch he helped install, the self-proclaimed “king of kings” and “light of the Aryans”. Iran’s independence was guaranteed, but in the minds of most Iranians nothing could be as humiliating as having their fate decided by three farangis, or foreign powers. The 1953 CIA- and MI6-backed coup against the democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh only confirmed their sense of helplessness. The Islamic revolution put an end to that notion – Iran was never again to play a subservient role, in the region or in the world. ››read more

Iran and the Expanding World Enrichment Programs

by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (source: Iran Review) November 10, 2014

One of the ironies of the current nuclear negotiations between Iran and the "5+1" nations is that the latter are united in their demand from Iran to curtail its uranium enrichment program precisely at a time when they themselves are expanding their own programs, reflecting a broader trend in the world profile of uranium enrichment plant operations driven by commercial and economic interests.

This, of course, makes a perfect case for legal discrimination against Iran, which has a comparatively small enrichment program under full-scope IAEA inspections, which has repeatedly, including in its latest November 2014 Safeguard Report on Iran, confirmed the absence of any evidence of diversion from peaceful nuclear work. ››read more

Iran slams EU's fresh bans against Iranian institutions, companies

(source: Press TV) November 9, 2014

Iran has strongly condemned the European Union’s latest move to impose fresh sanctions on a number of Iranian institutions and companies despite the ongoing negotiations between representatives of Iran, the US and the EU in the Omani capital, Muscat. ››read more

If Nuclear Negotiations With Iran Fail, US Will Be Blamed

by Muhammad Sahimi (source: November 3, 2014

At a symposium in Washington on October 23, Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State who leads the US negotiation team with Iran, asserted that, "We hope the leaders in Tehran will agree to the steps necessary to assure the world that this program will be exclusively peaceful. If that does not happen, the responsibility will be seen by all to rest with Iran." Given all the concessions that Iran has made, given US excessive demands on Iran, and given the fact that, in effect, the US is trying to impose a new and illegal interpretation of Iran’s obligations under the NPT and its SG Agreement and the meaning of "peaceful nuclear program," it will be the US that will be blamed for the failure of the negotiations, not Iran. ››read more

        Editor's note: Muhammad Sahimi, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and the NIOC Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California, is co-founder and editor of the website, Iran News & Middle East Reports.

The Iranian Nuclear Issue and Sino-Iranian Relations

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) November 1, 2014

As the world waits to see if Iran and the P5+1 reach a final nuclear agreement by November 24, we remain relatively pessimistic about the prospects for such an outcome. Above all, we are pessimistic because closing a comprehensive nuclear accord will almost certainly require the United States to drop its (legally unfounded, arrogantly hegemonic, and strategically senseless) demand that the Islamic Republic dismantle a significant portion of its currently operating centrifuges as a sine qua non for a deal. ››read more

Israeli policy on Iran is the biggest threat to its 'special relationship' with America

by Ali Gharib (source: The Guardian) November 1, 2014

Is the US-Israel relationship in crisis? The prominent journalist Jeffrey Goldberg – the man a White House aide once called the “official therapist” of the relationship – seems to think so.

But while most coverage of Goldberg’s long article in The Atlantic revolves around an unnamed official calling Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu “chickenshit” – which the Obama administration spent two days disavowing – lost in the pearl-clutching is the insightful look at how Netanyahu’s policies on Iran are a direct affront on American interests. ››read more

Resolving key nuclear issue could turn on Iran-Russia deal

by Gareth Porter (source: Middle East Eye) October 29, 2014

US and Iranian negotiators are working on a compromise approach to the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment capabilities, which the Barack Obama administration has said in the past Iran was refusing to make concessions on.

The compromise now being seriously discussed would meet the Obama administration's original requirement for limiting Iran's "breakout capability" by a combination of limits on centrifuge numbers and reduction of Iran's stockpile of low enriched uranium, rather than by cutting centrifuges alone.

That approach might permit Iran to maintain something close to its present level of operational centrifuges.
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So the US is a terrorist rogue state - what's wrong with that?

by Noam Chomsky (source: Telesur) October 27, 2014

On 14 October 2014, the lead story in the New York Times reported a study by the CIA that reviews major terrorist operations run by the White House around the world, in an effort to determine the factors that led to their success or failure, finally concluding that unfortunately successes were rare so that some rethinking of policy is in order. ››read more

When the Ayatollah Said No to Nukes

by Gareth Porter (source: Foreign Policy) October 26, 2014

When the Ayatollah Said No to Nukes
In an exclusive interview, a top Iranian official says that Khomeini personally stopped him from building Iran's WMD program. ››read more

Former Weapons Inspector in Iraq Questions Claims that Iran Hiding Nuclear Tests

by ROBERT KELLEY: (interview with AMY GOODMAN) (source: Democracy Now ) October 24, 2014

We are broadcasting from Vienna, where the six world powers leading nuclear negotiations with Iran have set a November deadline to reach a deal to constrain Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing Western sanctions. Earlier this month, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency found Iran is meeting its commitments under a temporary deal. But Western diplomats say Iran has refused to provide information about alleged experiments on high explosives intended to produce a nuclear weapon. Information on the experiments is reportedly contained in an intelligence document the IAEA is investigating, but the document itself remains unverified, and at least one member of the IAEA community has raised concerns about its authenticity. Our guest, Robert Kelley, was part of the IAEA’s Iraq Action Team in 2003 and says he is speaking out now because "I learned firsthand how withholding the facts can lead to bloodshed." Prior to his time in Iraq, Kelley was a nuclear weapons analyst based at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. ››read more

        Editor's note: Robert Kelley, associate senior research fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, former director at the IAEA for the Iraq Action Team. Prior to that, he was based at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

How a US and International Atomic Energy Agency Deception Haunts the Nuclear Talks

by Gareth Porter (source: Truth-Out) October 22, 2014

In 2008, the Bush administration and a key IAEA official agreed on a strategy of misrepresenting Iran's position on the authenticity of intelligence documents, which they used to establish an official narrative of Iran "stonewalling" the IAEA investigation. That narrative continues to shape Obama administration policy in the nuclear talks. ››read more

The United States is No. 1 – But in What?

by Lawrence Wittner (source: History News Network) October 20, 2014

American politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Is there any evidence for this claim?

Well, yes. When it comes to violence and preparations for violence, the United States is, indeed, No. 1. In 2013, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. government accounted for 37 percent of world military expenditures, putting it far ahead of all other nations. ››read more

History of Key Document in IAEA Probe Suggests Israeli Forgery

by Gareth Porter (source: October 18, 2014

Western diplomats have reportedly faulted Iran in recent weeks for failing to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with information on experiments on high explosives intended to produce a nuclear weapon, according to an intelligence document the IAEA is investigating.

But the document not only remains unverified but can only be linked to Iran by a far-fetched official account marked by a series of coincidences related to a foreign scientist that that are highly suspicious.

The original appearance of the document in early 2008, moreover, was not only conveniently timed to support Israel’s attack on a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in December that was damaging to Israeli interests, but was leaked to the news media with a message that coincided with the current Israeli argument. ››read more

From Pol Pot to ISIS: “Anything that flies on everything that moves”

by John Pilger (source: October 11, 2014

As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery - including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields - I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asi ››read more

EU Court Orders End to Sanctions on Iran Oil Shipping Company

by Jason Ditz (source: October 8, 2014

After the deadline for appeal to a July ruling lapsed, the General Court of the European Union has once again ordered that the block immediately lift all sanctions on the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).

NITC is the largest oil tanker company in Iran, and successfully challenged EU sanctions on the grounds that they are a private company owned by a privately-run pension company, not a state-run entity covered by sanctions on the Iranian government. ››read more

Iran’s Film Directors Launch Internet Campaign 'No2NoDeal' On Nuclear Program

by Christl Leong (source: China Topix) October 4, 2014

Six of Iran's top filmmakers have launched an international campaign with the slogan "there is no deal that is worse than no deal" aimed at bringing an end to the decade-long deadlock over Tehran's nuclear program.

Among those spearheading the internet campaign are Asghar Farhadi, who won a Golden Globe in 2012 for Best Foreign Language Film for "A Separation," and Rakhshan Bani-E'temad, lauded as the "first lady of Iranian cinema, she won the Best Screenplay Award for her film "Tales" at the 2014 Venice International Film Festival.

The campaign maintains that the crippling sanctions imposed against Iran have only functioned to hurt its people and not the nuclear program. It urged world leaders to deal with the issues rather than on "special interest."
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        Editor's note: The URL of the campaign is:

Biden: Turks, Saudis, UAE funded and armed Al Nusra and Al Qaeda

(source: Mid East Shuffle) October 4, 2014

When Joe Biden gets candid, he really lets rip. The US vice president, speaking at the John F. Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, on Thursday told his audience – point blank – that America’s Sunni allies are responsible for funding and arming Al Qaeda-type extremists in Syria.

And he named names: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, specifically. Others – like Qatar – are undoubtedly complicit too, but Biden’s comments were made off-the-cuff during the question and answer period following his prepared statement. ››read more

Netanyahu finds himself increasingly alone on Iran

by Dimi Reider (source: Reuters) October 3, 2014

NetanhanyuNetanhanyuIn insisting that Iran and ISIS are essentially the same enemy, Netanyahu broadcast his isolation among world leaders and underscored the jadedness of the idea that he has championed for most of his political career: the imminence of an Iranian nuclear bomb and the apocalyptic threat it would pose to the free world.

After all these years, Netanyahu still calls for every nook and cranny of Iran’s nuclear program to be demolished by military force, though preferably not Israel’s alone. ››read more