CASMII Statement on Iran and the P5+1 Deal: Prospects for Lasting Peace

(source: CASMII) August 4, 2015

Two seemingly contradictory trends have been dominant with respect to Iran’s nuclear question. First, for decades Iran has been accused of not just developing nuclear weapons but being a short time away from actually using them [1]. Second, non-political nuclear experts, including those at the United Nations, American and Israeli intelligence agencies have consistently disproven these accusations [2]. The western media hardly discusses the latter point, and the irresponsible hype around the former creates the impression of constant imminent danger that needs to be addressed by force [3]. ››read more

Wave of TV Ads Opposing Iran Deal Organized By Saudi Arabian Lobbyist

by Lee Fang (source: The Intercept) August 21, 2015

Television stations across the country are being flooded with $6 million of advertisements from a group called the “American Security Initiative” urging citizens to call their U.S. Senators and oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.

Though the American Security Initiative does not reveal donor information, the president of the new group, former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., is a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia. Coleman’s firm, Hogan Lovells, is on retainer to the Saudi Arabian monarchy for $60,000 a month. In July 2014, Coleman described his work as “providing legal services to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia” on issues including “legal and policy developments involving Iran and limiting Iranian nuclear capability.” ››read more

The Comprehensive P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran: A Net - Plus for Nonproliferation

by Nuclear Nonproliferation Specialists (source: August 19, 2015

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts ››read more

        Editor's note: Seventy five arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts have signed a statement endorsing the Iran nuclear deal, the latest salvo in a lobbying campaign battle ahead of a congressional vote next month on President Barack Obama’s landmark agreement with Tehran.

The Backfiring of Israeli Strategy on Iran

by Paul Pillar (source: National Interest) August 17, 2015

Those paying attention both to the Israeli government's implacable opposition against the agreement restricting Iran's nuclear program and to the issue of Iran's other activity in the Middle East might take note of some background that several analysts, including Shibley Telhami and Aaron David Miller, have noted: that Israeli agitation about the Iranian nuclear program was a principal impetus for negotiating the agreement on that subject that was finalized in Vienna last month. ››read more

US ex-intelligence chief on ISIS rise: It was 'a willful Washington decision'

(source: Russia Today ) August 10, 2015

The US didn’t interfere with the rise of anti-government jihadist groups in Syria that finally degenerated into Islamic State, claims the former head of America’s Defense Intelligence Agency, backing a secret 2012 memo predicting their rise.

An interview with retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), given to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, confirms earlier suspicions that Washington was monitoring jihadist groups emerging as opposition in Syria.

General Flynn dismissed Al Jazeera’s supposition that the US administration “turned a blind eye” to the DIA’s analysis.

Flynn believes the US government didn’t listen to his agency on purpose.

“I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision,” the former DIA chief said. ››read more

Why Stop the War supports Jeremy Corbyn's campaign to be Labour leader

by Lindsey German (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 9, 2015

LEFT LABOUR MP Jeremy Corbyn, who has been nominated to stand in the Labour leadership campaign, is also the chair of the Stop the War Coalition.

He has been a supporter since we began back in 2001, has spoken on virtually all of our demonstrations big and small, and has been a consistent anti-war voice in parliament. ››read more

        Editor's note: How to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Anyone can vote in the Labour Party leadership election, which is now run on the basis of one-person-one vote. The election is not restricted to Labour Party members but open to the new category of Labour supporter. Registration as a supporter costs just £3 but the deadline for registration is Wednesday 12 August.

White House's Bad Means For A Good End

by Kaveh Afrasiabi (source: Iran's View) August 8, 2015

As the political battle over the Iran nuclear deal rages on in United States, the supporters of the deal led by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have repeatedly followed a questionable script that can easily backfire in both the short and long run. We may call it "Iran nuclear alarmism" for purely heuristic purposes. In essence, this consists of a simple bifurcation of alternatives to "diplomacy or war" which has been repeated ad infinitum by U.S. officials since the Vienna "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) on July 14th. Confronted by a sea of opposition at home and in Israel, the White House's strategy has focused on a dualistic discourse that, in fact, raises the prospect of war with Iran while ostensibly defending the deal and praising the diplomatic path. ››read more

The new axis of evil in America's voracious lust for power and resources

by Jason Hirthler (source: STWC) August 2, 2015

Russia, Iran and China are identified as the current obstacles to America's everlasting quest for full spectrum dominance of the world. ››read more

Just What Is Turkey Up To?

by Graham E. Fuller (source: Lobelog) August 1, 2015

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 calls for world's nuclear weapons states to disarm

by julian Borger (source: The Guardian) July 31, 2015

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

Iran has signed a historic nuclear deal – now it’s Israel’s turn

by Mohammad Javad Zarif (source: The Guardian) July 31, 2015

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

Listen to WSJ’s Bret Stephens Secretly Plot With “Pro-Israel” Evangelical Group Against Iran Deal

by Glen Greenwald (source: The Intercept) July 31, 2015

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

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