Tuesday, March 5, 2013

IRAN NEWSLETTER #22


 

OMNI IRAN NEWSLETTER # 22,     2013, COMPILED BY DICK BENNETT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE  (#11 Oct. 8, 2011; #12 Jan. 31, 2012; #13 Feb. 22, 2012; #14 Feb. 26, 2012; #15 March 17, 2012; #16 April 12, 2012; #17 May 21, 2012; #18, July 9, 2012; #19 August 13, 2012; #20 Sept. 10, 2012; #21, Dec. 14, 2012).  

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.

http://www.omnicenter.org/newsletter-archive/   These newsletters offer information that enables us to examine morality and judgment of our leaders and their policies, of power.      Here is the link to the Index:  http://www.omnicenter.org/omni-newsletter-general-index/


 

STOP THE ATTACK ON IRAN. Iran presents no threat to the US or Israel.   Threatening Iran with bombs or embargo violates the UN Charter.   No peacemaking is as important as opposing and trying to prevent unjust war.  Speak up, write, call, donate, don’t give up on reason and diplomacy; don’t let the fear/warmongers control us.

Contents Nos. 13-17 at end.

Contents of #18
Petition Not to Attack
Pledge of Resistance
Abrahamian, The 1953 CIA Coup

Cumings, et al., Inventing the Axis of Evil

Special Section: Frank Brodhead, Iran War Weekly

Contents #19
Iran No?  US No!  Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly July 22
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly August 12
Froomkin, Iraq-Iran Alliance

Greenwald, Blaming


Contents #20
Tehran NAM Summit
NYT Fails to Report Call
Non-nuclear Option
Credo: Tell Obama
Frank Brodhead’s Weekly Continued, August 19
Brodhead’s Weekly, September 10, 2012
Veterans for Peace
Chomsky on US/Israeli Threat

Contents #21
Retracts Its Falsehood
Peace Video: Iran and Israel
Leverett, Misunderstanding Iran
Pro-Israel Meet the Press
Lendman, An Alternative History
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly, Dec. 12, 2012

Contents #22
Affleck’s Film Argo
Ibrahamian, The Coup
Leverett, US Myths About Iran
Iran Sanctions Injures the People: Remember Iraq 1990s
2009 Uprising Against Rigged Election
FRANK BRODHEAD
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly, Jan. 1, 2013.    Provided by HAW
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly, Feb. 11, 2013, from HAW
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly, Feb. 18,  2013, from HAW
Brodhead, Iran War Weekly, Feb. 26, 2013, from HAW


AN OSCAR FOR “ARGO”?
[The following evaluation was provided by Frank Brodhead in his Feb. 26, 2013 newsletter on Iran, forwarded to me by HAW.  See below for these extraordinary newsletters, which question US policies and practices toward Iran.]
Oscar Prints the Legend: Argo and the Failure of Truth
By Nima Shirazi, Wide Asleep in America [February 23, 2013]
---- Over the past 12 months, rarely a week - let alone month - went by without new predictions of an ever-imminent Iranian nuclear weapon and ever-looming threats of an American or Israeli military attack. Come October 2012, into the fray marched "Argo," adecontextualized, ahistorical "true story" of Orientalist proportion, subjecting audiences to two hours of American victimization and bearded barbarians, culminating in popped champagne corks and rippling stars-and-stripes celebrating our heroism and triumph andtheir frustration and defeat.  Salon's Andrew O'Hehir aptly described the film as "a propaganda fable," explaining as others have that essentially none of its edge-of-your-seat thrills or most memorable moments ever happened. … In an interview with The Huffington Post, Affleck went so far as to say, "I tried to make a movie that is absolutely just factual. And that's another reason why I tried to be as true to the story as possible -- because I didn't want it to be used by either side. I didn't want it to be politicized internationally or domestically in a partisan way. I just wanted to tell a story that was about the facts as I understood them." For Affleck, these facts apparently don't include understanding why the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun and occupied on November 4, 1979.http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/02/oscar-prints-the-legend-argo.html




Cover art for THE COUP

THE COUP

1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations

KIRKUS REVIEW

A relevant, readable study of the foreign-engineered 1953 Iranian coup reminds us of the cause that won’t go away: oil.
Abrahamian (Iranian and Middle Eastern History and Politics/City Univ. of New York; A Modern History of Iran, 2008, etc.) clears away much of the nostalgic Cold War cobwebs surrounding the ouster of the popular Iranian reformer Muhammad Mossadeq, employing new oral history and pertinent memoirs published posthumously by Mossadeq’s advisers. Despite the lively spin put to the coup immediately and effectively by the Americans as a kind of spontaneous uprising against Mossadeq by people fearing his communist proclivities, his ability to pass oil nationalization by the democratically elected Iranian Parliament over the head of the Reza Shah had prompted the U.S. and Britain to panic. With an even, firm hand, Abrahamian revisits the early grab for oil in Iran by the British at the turn of the century. Eventually, the grievances against the British masters began stacking up, as they continued to practice massive ecological damage and frank discrimination against the Iranian workers, prompting strikes and intense anti-imperialist sentiment. The author treats Mossadeq’s rise to power as an organic nationalist reaction. From an old patrician Iranian family, a law scholar and reformist intellectual, he gained popular trust by his sympathy to the constitutional cause. Elected to the premiership by wild acclaim, Mossadeq quietly but firmly passed oil nationalization in 1951; Anglo-Iranian negotiations broke down, and the British and Americans engaged in subversive propaganda tactics such as casting aspersions on the Iranian character and leader. Abrahamian walks us chillingly through the July uprising and subsequent careful CIA-MI6 machinations.
The well-rendered, lucid back story explaining the current, ongoing deep distrust and suspicion between the U.S. and Iran.
Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59558-826-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: New Press



[For several years I have compiled these newsletters about US attempts to bully Iran.   The following essay offers a persuasive explanation of how misguided has been that arrogance and the dangers to the world and to the US if it continues.—Dick]

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Home » ZNet » Flynt Leverett » Time to Face the Truth about Iran

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Time to Face the Truth about Iran



Source: The Nation
Thursday, February 14, 2013 [Appeared in The Nation Feb. 25, 2013, “The Real Challenge from Iran.” --Dick]


Fifty years ago, during the Cuban missile crisis, the United States faced what is frequently described as the defining challenge of the Cold War. Today, some argue that America is facing a similarly defining challenge from Iran’s nuclear activities. In this context, it is striking to recall President John Kennedy’s warning, proffered just months before the missile crisis, that “the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Half a century later, Kennedy’s warning applies all too well to America’s discussion -- it hardly qualifies as a real debate -- about how best to deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

For more than thirty years, American analysts and policy-makers have put forward a series of myths about the Islamic Republic: that it is irrational, illegitimate and vulnerable. In doing so, pundits and politicians have consistently misled the American public and America’s allies about what policies will actually work to advance US interests in the Middle East.

The most persistent -- and dangerous -- of these myths is that the Islamic Republic is so despised by its own people that it is in imminent danger of overthrow. From the start, Americans treated the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 as a major surprise. But the only reason it was a surprise was that official Washington refused to see the growing demand by the Iranian people for an indigenously generated political order free from US domination. And ever since then, the Islamic Republic has defied endless predictions of its collapse or defeat.

The Islamic Republic has survived because its basic model -- the integration of participatory politics and elections with the principles and institutions of Islamic governance and a commitment to foreign policy independence -- is, according to polls, electoral participation rates and a range of other indicators, what a majority of Iranians living inside the country want. They don’t want a political order grounded in Western-style secular liberalism. They want one reflecting their cultural and religious values: as the reformist President Mohammad Khatami put it, “freedom, independence and progress within the context of both religiosity and national identity.”

That’s what the Islamic Republic, with all its flaws, offers Iranians the chance to pursue. Even most Iranians who want the government to evolve significantly -- for example, by allowing greater cultural and social pluralism -- still want it to be the Islamic Republic. After Iran’s 2009 presidential election, when former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi lost to the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Western elites and Iran “experts” portrayed the Green Movement that morphed out of Mousavi’s campaign as a mass popular uprising poised to sweep away the Islamic Republic. But the Greens, even at their height, never represented anything close to a majority of Iranians, and within a week of the election, their social base was already contracting. The fundamental reason was that, after Mousavi failed to substantiate his charge of electoral fraud, the Greens’ continued protests were no longer about a contested election, but a challenge to the Islamic Republic itself -- for which there was only a negligible constituency.

While many Westerners prefer to believe that the Greens did not fade because of their own weaknesses, but because of cruel suppression by an illegitimate regime, this does not hold up to scrutiny. In the fifteen months preceding the shah’s 1979 departure, his troops gunned down thousands of protesters -- and the crowds demanding his removal kept growing. In 2009, police brutality unquestionably occurred in the course of the government’s response to post-election disturbances. The government itself acknowledged this -- for example, by closing a prison where some detainees were physically abused and murdered, and by indicting twelve of that prison’s personnel (two were later sentenced to death). But fewer than 100 people died in the clashes between demonstrators and security forces after the 2009 election, and still the Greens retreated and their base shrank.

Western human rights groups estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 Iranians were arrested in connection with protests following the 2009 election. More than 90 percent were released without charge. As of 2010, Western human rights organizations did not dispute official Iranian figures that about 250 were convicted of crimes stemming from the unrest, with perhaps 200 other cases still pending. Most were pardoned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; most who were not are free on bail pending appeals. According to a survey by Craig Charney, a former pollster for Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela, most Iranians saw their government’s response to the unrest as legitimate.

Notwithstanding the Islamic Republic’s staying power, American policy elites and Iran “experts” with no direct connection to the on-the-ground reality inside the country continue to advance the myth of the Islamic Republic’s illegitimacy and fragility, with the idea that if we just believe in it enough, we will somehow sweep away the challenge Iran poses. Today, this myth comes in two interlocking versions: that sanctions are “working” to promote US objectives vis-à-vis Iran, and that the Arab Awakening has left it isolated in its own neighborhood.

* * *

Many commentators now posit that the economic hardships caused by the sanctions will soon prompt Iranians to rise up and force fundamental change in their country -- or at least compel their government to make the concessions demanded by Washington. But those making this argument have never explained why the economy is so much worse today than it was in the 1980s, when Iran lost half its GDP during the war with Iraq -- and yet even then, its population did not rise up to force fundamental change or concessions to hostile powers.

Indeed, there is no precedent anywhere for a sanctioned population mobilizing to overthrow the government and replace it with one that would adopt the policies preferred by the sanctioning foreign power. Even in Iraq, where crippling sanctions were imposed for more than a decade, killing more than 1 million Iraqis (half of them children), the population did not rise up to overthrow Saddam Hussein. In the end, Saddam was displaced only by a US invasion -- and even after that, Iraqis did not set up a pro-American, secular, liberal government ready to subordinate Iraq’s sovereignty and national rights to Washington’s preferences.

Last year, Western pundits hyperventilated about “hyperinflation” in Iran, arguing that a sharp devaluation in the country’s currency would turn the people against the government. This assessment, like so many similar projections before it, proved fanciful. The Iranian rial has been overvalued for more than a decade, underwriting the rising consumption of imported goods by upper-class Iranians that has cost the economy billions of dollars, hurt prospects for farmers and domestic manufacturers, and constrained Iran’s non-oil exports. The recent devaluation of the rial has aligned its nominal value with its real value; as the rial has dropped, Iran’s non-oil exports have expanded significantly. At the same time, the government is disbursing its foreign exchange holdings to defend a lower exchange rate for essential imports like food and medicine.

While no one in Iran is immune from the impact of currency devaluation, the rural poor and those involved in export-oriented sectors are in a relatively advantageous position. There are no discernible food shortages; stores of all sorts are fully stocked, with significant customer traffic. Shortfalls are emerging in some imported medicines. This, however, is not because of currency devaluation. Rather, it is a function of the US-instigated banking sanctions that, contrary to official US rhetoric about their “targeted” nature, make it difficult for Iranians to pay for Western medical and pharmaceutical imports, even though selling such items to Iran is technically allowed under US sanctions regulations. Certainly, anyone who has walked the streets of Tehran recently (as we did in December) can see that Iran’s economy is not collapsing, and anyone who has talked with a range of Iranians inside the country knows that the sanctions will not compel either the Islamic Republic’s implosion or its surrender to US demands on the nuclear issue. There is no constituency -- among conservatives, reformists or even what’s left of the Green Movement -- prepared to accept such an outcome.

Sanctions advocates continue to claim that it’s different this time, partly because a “demonstration effect” from the Arab Awakening will reinforce the impact of sanctions to break the Islamic Republic’s back. In Tehran, however, policy-makers and analysts see the Arab Awakening as hugely positive for the Islamic Republic’s regional position. They judge – correctly -- that any Arab government that becomes more representative of its people’s beliefs, concerns and preferences will be less enthusiastic about strategic cooperation with the United States, let alone Israel, and more open to the Islamic Republic’s message of foreign policy independence.

More particularly, one hears in Washington that, because of the Arab Awakening, Tehran is going to “lose Syria,” its “only Arab ally,” with dire consequences for Iran’s regional position and internal stability. This observation underscores just how deeply US elites are in denial about basic political and strategic trends in the Middle East. Iranian policy-makers do not believe that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will be overthrown (at least not by Syrians). But even if Assad felt compelled at some point to cede Damascus, he and his forces would almost certainly still control a significant portion of Syria. Under these circumstances, Syria is hardly likely to become an ally of the West. Indeed, any plausibly representative post-Assad government would not be more pro-American or pro-Israel than the Assads have been, and it might even be less keen about keeping Syria’s border with Israel quiet. Unless Assad were replaced by a Taliban-like political structure -- which would be at least as anti-American as it was anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian -- the foreign policy of post-Assad Syria would be, on most major issues, just fine for Iran. But the US fixation on undermining the Islamic Republic by encouraging Saudi-backed jihadis to fight Assad will ultimately damage US security, just as US support for Saudi-backed jihadis did in Afghanistan and Libya.

More significant, American elites have been slow to grasp that, today, the Islamic Republic’s most important Arab ally isn’t Syria; it’s Iraq -- the first Arab-led Shiite state in history, an outcome made possible by the US invasion and occupation. Likewise, America’s political class has been reluctant to acknowledge that the strategic orientation of Egypt -- a pillar of US Middle East policy for more than thirty years -- is now in play. While certainly not uniformly pro-Iranian, post-Mubarak Egypt is clearly less reflexively pro-American. Before meeting with President Obama, the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, traveled last year to Beijing, where he met with both outgoing President Hu Jintao and incoming President Xi Jinping, and to Tehran, where he met with President Ahmadinejad. Iranian military ships now go through the Suez Canal -- something that Washington could have vetoed just two years ago. Because of these developments, Iran doesn’t “need” Syria today in the same way it once did.

American elites have a hard time facing these facts. What Washington misses above all is that Tehran does not need Arab governments to be more pro-Iranian; it just needs them to be less pro-America, less pro-Israel and more independent. Because US elites miss this critical point, they miss a broader reality as well: that the Arab Awakening is accelerating the erosion of Washington’s strategic position in the Middle East, not Tehran’s. Rather than deal with this, Americans continue to embrace the logic-defying proposition that the same drivers that are empowering Islamists in Arab countries will somehow transform the Islamic Republic into a secular liberal state.

But reality is what it is. Consider the strategic balance sheet: on the eve of 9/11, just over a decade ago, every Middle Eastern government -- every single one -- was either pro-American (e.g., Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf Arab monarchies, and Tunisia), in negotiations to realign toward the United States (Qaddafi’s Libya) and/or anti-Iranian (Saddam’s Iraq and the Taliban’s Afghanistan). Today, the regional balance has turned decisively against Washington and in favor of Tehran.

This has occurred not because Iran fired a single shot, but because of elections that empowered previously marginalized populations in Afghanistan, Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey. In all of these places, governments have emerged that are no longer reflexively pro-American and anti-Iranian. This is a huge boost to the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.

Some commentators claim to see signals from Iran that suggest it will finally be forced by sanctions and the Arab Awakening to make those concessions on the nuclear issue that the United States and Israel have long demanded. But what these commentators put forward as evidence of imminent Iranian concessions is nothing new. Unlike others in the Middle East, Iran was an early signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And the Islamic Republic has for years been willing to negotiate with America and others about their concerns over its nuclear activities -- so long as it would not have to concede internationally recognized sovereign and treaty rights.

In the early 2000s, the Islamic Republic negotiated with the “EU-3” (Britain, France and Germany), suspending uranium enrichment for nearly two years to encourage progress in the talks, at a time when it had installed far fewer centrifuges and was enriching only at the 3 to 4 percent level required to fuel power reactors. The United States refused to join those talks until Tehran agreed to forsake its right to internationally safeguarded enrichment and to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.

In 2010, Iran made commitments to Brazil and Turkey that it would give up most of its then-current stockpile of 3 to 4 percent enriched uranium and, in effect, forgo enrichment at the near 20 percent level needed to fuel a research reactor making medical isotopes for cancer patients. In return, Tehran asked for an internationally guaranteed fuel supply for the reactor and recognition of its right to enrich. Once again, Washington rejected this public opening to negotiate a meaningful nuclear deal.

Still, Iran continues to be interested in an agreement -- perhaps one restricting its near 20 percent enrichment in return for new fuel for its research reactor and substantial sanctions relief or, preferably, a more comprehensive accord. In this regard, the nuclear issue is quite simple: if the United States accepts Iran’s right to enrich on its own territory under international safeguards, there could be a deal -- including Tehran’s acceptance of more intrusive verification and monitoring of its nuclear activities and limits on enrichment at the near 20 percent level.

But the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, refuses to acknowledge Iran’s nuclear rights. In the wake of Obama’s re-election, there is no evidence his administration is rethinking that approach; senior US officials say their goal remains a suspension of Iran’s enrichment-related activities. The administration may offer Tehran bigger material incentives for substantial nuclear concessions (as if the Iranians were donkeys to be manipulated with economic carrots and sticks). But Washington remains unwilling to address the Islamic Republic’s sovereign rights and core security concerns, for that would mean acknowledging it as a legitimate political entity representing legitimate national interests. As long as this is the case, there won’t be a deal.

* * *

Even if Tehran won’t surrender to American diktats and the Islamic Republic doesn’t collapse, a critical mass of US policy elites argue that continuing the current mix of sanctions and faux diplomacy is worthwhile, because this will persuade Iranians, other Middle Easterners and Americans that the failure to reach a deal is the Iranian government’s fault. And that, it is held, will justify the ultimate “necessity” of US military strikes.

Americans should have no illusions about the consequences of an overt, US-initiated war against the Islamic Republic. Using American military power to disarm another Middle Eastern state of weapons of mass destruction it does not have, even as Washington stays quiet about Israel’s arsenal of about 200 nuclear weapons, would elevate already high levels of anti-American sentiment in the region, threatening our remaining allies there and rendering their cooperation with the United States virtually impossible. American military action against the Islamic Republic would have no international legitimacy. The larger part of the international community (120 of the UN’s 193 member states are part of the Non-Aligned Movement, which recently elected the Islamic Republic as its chair) is already on record that it would consider an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities illegal. There will be no UN Security Council authorization for such action; Washington will have no allies save Israel and (perhaps) Britain.

Starting a war with Iran over the nuclear issue would ratify the US image, in the Middle East and globally, as an outlaw superpower. This prospect is even more dangerous to America’s strategic position today than it was after the invasion of Iraq. Just a few years ago, the United States was still an unchallenged superpower. Other countries’ views did not matter much; especially in the Middle East, Washington could usually impose its requirements on compliant governments whose foreign policies were largely unreflective of their own peoples’ opinions.

Today, as more countries with increasingly mobilized publics seek greater independence, their views on regional and international issues -- as well as the views of their people -- matter much more. Therein lies the real challenge posed by the Islamic Republic, a challenge that Washington has yet to meet squarely: How does the United States work with an Iran -- or an Egypt, for that matter -- acting to promote its interests as it sees them, rather than as Washington defines them? America needs better relations with Tehran to begin improving ties with the growing number of Islamist political orders across the Middle East, which is essential to saving what’s left of the US position in the region. It also needs Tehran’s help to contain the rising tide of jihadi terrorism in the region -- a phenomenon fueled by Saudi Arabia and Washington’s other ostensible Arab allies in the Persian Gulf. Iran is a critical player for shaping the future not only of Iraq and Afghanistan, but Syria as well. More than ever before, American interests require rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. Continued US hostility only courts strategic disaster.

Flynt Leverett is professor of international affairs at Penn State. Hillary Mann Leverett is senior professorial lecturer at American University. Together, they write the Race for Iran blog. Their new book is Going to Tehran: Why the United States Needs to Come to Terms With the Islamic Republic of Iran (Metropolitan Books).
Person

By Valentino, Joseph at Feb 14, 2013 17:59 PM
if the goals of US planners were rationality and peace i'd say 'spot on'
but the goals of US planners are neither rational order or relative peace
the goals of US planners are manageable tensions and war
discord is more serviceable when the aim is exploitation
the wrench is used to jam the works, not fix it



“Consensus on Iran Sanctions Cripples Iranian Health Sector.”  Public Citizen Health Letter (January 2013).  Sidney Wolfe, M.D., Editor.

The Bush/Obama “crippling sanctions” on Iran have produced “ hyperinflation, mass unemployment, and unprecedented shortages of basic food staples.”   “Perhaps” the hardest hit “has been the country’s health system.”  What happened to Iraq during the 1990s as the result of the US/UK embargo and no-fly zone, which killed  “at least 200,000 to 500,000 children under age 5,” is now happening to Iran.  --Dick


1.                             Sanctions Have Crippled Iran's Economy, But They're Not Working ...

www.tnr.com/.../the-sanctions-have-crippled-irans-economy-theyre-n...
Nov 12, 2012 – Sanctions Have Crippled Iran's Economy, But They're Not Working ...A consensus has emerged that the sanctions against Iran are an exemplary ...Sanctions threaten not only to deny these people their health, education and ...

2.                             Europe Weighs More Sanctions as Iran's Currency Plummets ...

www.bloomberg.com/.../europe-weighs-more-sanctions-as-iran-s-cur...
Oct 4, 2012 – Europe Weighs More Sanctions as Iran's Currency Plummets ... may be triggering a balance of payments crisis that could cripple the Iranian .... Goldman Rate-Cut Forecast Bucks Consensus on Turkish Lira ... Health Care ...

3.                             PressTV - US behavior towards the Iranian nation, uncivilized: Dr ...

www.presstv.ir › Interviews
Dec 4, 2012 – When they speak of “crippling sanctions”, basically the objective is tocripple the economy and to cripple ordinary Iranians to make them lose ...
4.                              [PDF] 

Iran Sanctions - Federation of American Scientists

www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
by K Katzman - 2012 - Cited by 19 - Related articles
Dec 7, 2012 – coalition has imposed progressively strict sanctions on Iran's oil export lifeline, adversely affecting ...... The emerging consensus on Iran sanctions differs from early periods when there was far more ... for electricity, health, and irrigation projects, but the loans were approved. ..... have crippled Iran's oil sales.

5.                             Results for similar searches

1.                                                     Sanctions Cripple Iran's Middle Class, Not The Regime - By ...

mideast.foreignpolicy.com/.../sanctions_cripple_irans_middle_class_...
Aug 2, 2012 – Sanctions cripple Iran's middle class, not the regime ... Healthorganizations are reporting medicine shortages that could endanger the lives of ...

2.                                                     Fears that western sanctions on Iran could cripple local economy ...

www.guardian.co.uk › World news  Iran
Feb 2, 2012 – Iran's dependency on oil means an embargo, if fully implemented, has ...Fears that western sanctions on Iran could cripple local economy ...

[Yesterday VP Joe Biden again threatened Iran with more severe sanctions, when they already exceed reason, historical precedent, and international law.   The White House-Pentagon-Israel-Mainstream Media-Congressional Complex drums for war.  Fortunately, we have Frank Broadhead’s critical thinking.  I hope you will contact Frank or  HAW and begin receiving his search for truth beneath the propaganda onslaught.  Dick]

HISTORIANS AGAINST WAR
[haw-info] Iran War Weekly - January 1, 2013
haw-info-bounces@stopthewars.org on behalf of fbrodhead@aol.com
To:   haw-info@stopthewars.org 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 6:35 PM
Flag for follow up. Start by Sunday, January 06, 2013. Due by Sunday, January 06, 2013.
Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
January 1, 2013



[haw-info] Iran War Weekly - February 3, 2013
haw-info-bounces@stopthewars.org on behalf of fbrodhead@aol.com  
 haw-info@stopthewars.org 
Attachments:
Inbox
Sunday, February 03, 2013 7:20 PM
Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
February 3, 2013


[haw-info] Iran War Weekly - February 11, 2013
haw-info-bounces@stopthewars.org on behalf of fbrodhead@aol.com
Monday, February 11, 2013 9:27 AM
Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
February 11, 2013

Hello All – After a long slumber, diplomacy about Iran’s nuclear program has awakened.  Yet none of the factors that stymied agreement in the past has significantly changed.  The United States still couples diplomacy with its “all options are on the table” bravado, a stance that precludes a climate conducive to negotiations.  And the United States still refuses to recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to consider lifting or suspending economic sanctions in exchange for concessions by Iran. Moreover, the window for negotiations, which was closed during the US election campaign, will soon close again, perhaps as soon as March, as Iran prepares for its own presidential election.

There are now three arenas of negotiations One arena is that of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany), who will meet with their Iranian counterparts in Kazakhstan on February 26.  This set of negotiations was broken off at the June meeting in Moscow in disarray.  It is in this arena that the suspension of parts of Iran’s nuclear program, and the lifting of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran, will be negotiated.

A second set of talks – direct talks between the United States and Iran – was proposed by Vice President Biden last week at a security conference in Munich Bi-lateral talks have been off the agenda, but many analysts think that only by talking about a broad range of issues, and not just Iran’s nuclear program, can relations between the two countries be improved.  However, Iran’s Supreme Leader rejected such talks on the ground that the United States’ coercive actions against Iran (sanctions, cyberwar, assassinations) and threats to use military force make negotiations impossible.  But, as former diplomat Peter Bergen notes in an essay linked below, the Supreme Leader’s statements make clear that bi-lateral talks would be welcome if the United States would cease its aggression.

A third arena for negotiations is that between the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran.  The front-burner issue here is the (imo unfounded) allegations by the IAEA that Iran experimented with military applications of uranium a decade ago.  The focus of the IAEA demands is access to Iran’s military base at Parchin.  It is unlikely that Iran will accede to the IAEA demands re: Parchin unless they become part of a larger agreement in the P5+1 arena.

With negotiations between the disputing parties seemingly going nowhere, the main centers of action are in the debates about UN, US, and EU economic sanctions against Iran. As described in articles linked below, it is evident that the sanctions are causing serious distress to many Iranians, but it is also clear that the sanctions have had, and are unlikely to have, any impact on Iran’s negotiating positions about its nuclear program.  As this becomes recognized among the US policy-making elite, the question arises: Will sanctions be maintained indefinitely, will new diplomatic offers be forthcoming, or will military action against Iran become more attractive?

In addition to some good/useful articles about each of the three negotiating arenas, I’ve linked below a set of essays on sanctions, on internal developments within Iran, and of course on recent developments in Syria.  I also recommend the essays by Hossein Mousavian and Trita Parsi on negotiating opportunities; the Arms Control Association“briefing book” on Iran’s nuclear program; and Gareth Porter’s essay on the new developments in the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, now “linked” to Hezbollah and indirectly to Iran.

Finally, a reminder that previous “issues” of the IWW can be read athttp://warisacrime.org/blog/46383 If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.

Best wishes,
Frank Brodhead
Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

PERSPECTIVES
Iran’s Successes and Failures - 34 Years Later
By Daniel Brumberg, Iran Primer [February 9, 2013]
---- On February 11, Iran will mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. What are Iran’s successes? The Islamic Republic is now a regional power, thanks to three decades of social, economic, diplomatic, and military advancements. But not all of these successes are clear-cut. Many of Iran’s achievements actually created new challenges or even led to political and diplomatic failures.http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2013/feb/09/iran%E2%80%99s-successes-and-failures-34-years-later

Embrace the Fatwa
By Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Foreign Policy [February 7, 2013]
---- As the Western media reported it, the future of U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations suffered a major setback on Feb. 7 when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei seemed to reject Vice President Joseph Biden's offer of direct talks. But Ayatollah Khamenei's statement can also be read as an invitation for genuine negotiations -- negotiations that are not conducted in the shadow of increasingly draconian sanctions and that take seriously Iran's legitimate interests and rights. … The supreme leader's recent statement notwithstanding, that breakthrough is within reach, though it will require looking beyond the NPT to a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003 that bans nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. … One immediate area where the fatwa offers a way around the current deadlock is on the issue of Parchin. Talks between Iran and the IAEA have hit a roadblock over demands to visit the military complex located outside Tehran, with both sides unwilling to back down. Under the fatwa, however, Iran could invite a non-IAEA international team of experts to visit Parchin and present their technical findings. Such an initiative would be voluntary, allowing Iran to break the current artificial deadlock. But it would also increase transparency and allay Western fears about what's going on at the base.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/07/Embrace_the_Fatwa_Iran?wp_login_redirect=0

(Video) Biden’s Tepid “Overture” to Iran Continues to Reflect America’s “Imperial Turn” in the Middle East
From Russia Today, with Flynt Leverett and Hillary Man Leverett, Going to Tehran [February 3, 2013]

Washington And Tehran’s Perpetual Search For The Upper Hand
By Trita Parsi, The Daily Beast [February 7, 2013]
---- Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, just poured cold water on the idea of bilateral talks between the US and Iran. Although the Obama administration has sought talks, both Washington and Tehran agree on one point: They are both skeptical about the prospects of future diplomacy and suspicious of the other’s intentions and capabilities for peace making. With Khamenei’s negative statement and Iran’s pre-negotiation wrangling delaying the next round of talk till February 26, Washington’s strategy of manufacturing a climax to force Iran’s hand may have boomeranged. If the window for diplomacy before the Iranian elections is missed, Obama’s political space for talks will close once more with an accompanying increase in risk of war.http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/07/washington-and-tehran-s-perpetual-search-for-the-upper-hand.html

"Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle:" An ACA Briefing Book
From The Arms Control Association [February 2013]
---- As the United States and other international leaders continue to pursue a range of strategies to head-off the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran, the non-partisan Arms Control Association has produced a comprehensive, entry-level guide to Iran's nuclear program and its capabilities, and the risks, benefits, and limitations of the available policy options. This 42-page briefing book is designed to provide an overview of Iran’s nuclear history, the status of its nuclear program, the role of international nonproliferation sanctions, the realities of potential military options, and the history and challenges of diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. [FB – The “Briefing Book” includes two appendices useful for education/agitation: a timeline of nuclear diplomacy with Iran, and a history/listing of official proposals on the Iranian nuclear issue.]http://www.armscontrol.org/files/ACA_Iran_Briefing_Book_2013.pdf

NEGOTIATIONS RE: IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Introduction
---- What would a workable agenda for the February 26th meeting look like? When the P5+1 meeting for February 26 was announced, a liberal US arms control think tank, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, suggested the following:

Iran would be asked to:
  • Limit the enrichment of uranium to lower than 5 percent, the level needed for energy production,
  • Deposit all 20 percent enriched uranium overseas with a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT),
  • Dismantle the uranium enrichment capability of the Fordow nuclear facility,
  • Oxidize or deposit overseas with an NPT State a substantial (more than 60 percent) portion of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, and
  • Implement the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol.

In return, the P5+1 must be willing to offer incentives including:
  • Suspending the implementation of existing unilateral and multilateral sanctions, including those against the Central Bank of Iran and the oil sector; however, these measures would be automatically reintroduced if Iran violates the aforementioned agreement, and
  • Freezing the introduction of new sanctions for a brief, but fixed period.

Whether this would induce Iran to bargain remains to be seen, as it does not include all of Iran’s stated conditions; but by putting the suspension of ALL the sanctions on the table, imo it qualifies as a serious offer.  The point, to repeat, is whether or not the United States will suspend sanctions upon Iran’s agreement to do something, rather than agree to lift or suspend sanctions only after Iran has carried out (in the opinion of the P5+1) what it agrees to do. - FB

The Question of Bi-lateral (US & Iran) Direct Talks
Don’t Rule Out Bilateral Talks with Iran
By Peter Jenkins, Lobe Log [February 8, 2013]
---- I was in Berlin on Monday when Iran’s Foreign Minister, MIT-educated Ali Akbar Salehi, spoke to a large audience at the premises of the German Association for Foreign Policy (DGAP). I heard Minister Salehi repeat what he had said the previous day in Munich — that Iran is ready to respond positively to Vice President Joe Biden’s offer of bilateral talks — and spell out the expectations with which Iran would approach such talks. Reports of a statement by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, on 7 February have suggested a subsequent contradiction of the Foreign Minister’s statement and that the Leader has closed the door to bilateral talks. I do not believe this to be the case. http://www.lobelog.com/dont-rule-out-bilateral-talks-with-iran/

(Video) US and Iran: Can talks take place?
From Aljazeera [Inside Story] [February 8, 2013] – 25 minutes
--- Guests include Flynt Leverett.

Also about bi-lateral talks – Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, “Munich conference breaks Iran-US ice,” Asia Times [February 5, 2013]http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/OB05Ak02.html; Scott Peterson, “Iran's supreme leader shuts down possibility of direct nuclear talks with US,” Christian Science Monitor [February 7, 2013] http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0207/Iran-s-supreme-leader-shuts-down-possibility-of-direct-nuclear-talks-with-US-video; Juan Cole, “Ahmadinejad: US must Cease Militarily Targeting Iran before Direct Negotiations,”Informed Comment [February 11, 2013] http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/ahmadinejad-targetting-negotiations.html; and David E. Sanger, “Supreme Leader of Iran Rejects Direct Talks With U.S.,” New York Times [February 7, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/world/middleeast/irans-supreme-leader-ayatollah-ali-khameini-rejects-direct-talks-with-us.html?ref=world

The P5+1 Talks in Khazakstan (February 26)
A return to nuclear diplomacy with Iran
By Julian Borger, The Guardian [UK] [February 3, 2013]
---- The fact that it took two months to agree on where to meet gives some idea of the trials ahead
So the talking begins again in Kazakhstan on February 25. At least, it probably does. Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced it as "good news" he was bringing the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. The office of Cathy Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief whose job it is to help organise such talks, says it is still waiting to hear from the man who leads the Iranian delegation, Saeed Jalili, before declaring a date.These talks were supposed to begin after the US presidential election, but got bogged down in procedure, almost certainly to mask Iranian uncertainty over whether a new round of talks was in its interests. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2013/feb/03/iran-nuclear-centrifuges/print

Kerry Threatens Iran Ahead of Upcoming Talks
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [February 8, 2013]
---- With P5+1 talks with Iran just two weeks away, Secretary of State John Kerry took a little time out of his schedule to threaten Iran, insisting that while the US is “prepared to talk” with Iran at the meeting they will take no option off the table, including military force. Kerry went on to insist that Iran has to address all US concerns or it would face further isolation and other unspecified actions, adding that the US will do “whatever it takes” to stop their nuclear program. http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/08/kerry-threatens-iran-ahead-of-upcoming-talks/

Also useful on the P5+1 Talks – Jason Ditz, “New Iran Nuclear Talks to Begin February 26,” Antiwar.com [February 5, 2013] http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/05/new-iran-nuclear-talks-to-begin-february-26/; and Alan Cowell, “Iran Nuclear Talks to Resume This Month,” New York Times [February 5, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-talks-to-resume-this-month.html?hp

The IAEA-Iran Issue re: Parchin Military Base
Iran and the IAEA at Parchin
By Aslı Bâli, Middle East Report [February 7, 2013]
---- Few foreign policy issues garner as much interest in the American press as the Iranian nuclear program. Yet despite all of this attention, some stories concerning Iran’s nuclear program manage to slip through the cracks. Tellingly, the stories that fall flattest are those that contain evidence challenging the received wisdom that the Iranian nuclear program has “military dimensions” (or as the International Atomic Energy Agency prefers to put it, “possible military dimensions”). One such story that has been bubbling in the blogosphere but is curiously underplayed by the mainstream media is the assessment offered by Robert Kelley of the dispute between the UN nuclear watchdog and Iran over access to the military production complex located at Parchin, near Tehran. http://www.merip.org/iran-iaea-parchin

Other Nuclear Issues
Iran nuclear fuel move may avert mid-year crisis
By Myra MacDonald and Fredrik Dahl, Reuters [February 10, 2013]
---- Iran appears to have resumed converting small amounts of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, diplomats say, a process which if expanded could buy time for negotiations between Washington and Tehran on its disputed nuclear program. The possibility of Iran converting enriched uranium into fuel - slowing a growth in stockpiles of material that could be used to make weapons - is one of the few ways in which the nuclear dispute could avoid hitting a crisis by the summer.http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/10/us-iran-nuclear-conversions-idUSBRE91907O20130210

Yet Another Estimate of When Iran Will Have the Bomb
By Kevin Jon Heller, Opinio Juris [January 28, 2013]
---- McClatchy reports that Israel now believes Iran will not be able to produce a nuclear weapon until 2015 or 2016.  That is progress of a sort; Netanyahu had previously been claiming that Iran would have the bomb no later than late summer 2013 — around six months from now.  But Israel is still insisting that Iran is only two or three years away from nuclear capability, so I think it is useful to recall and update the timeline I mentioned early last year of breathless Israeli and Western claims about Iran’s nuclear program:http://opiniojuris.org/2013/01/28/yet-another-estimate-of-when-iran-will-have-the-bomb/

Iran’s Missile Program And Its Implications For U.S. Missile Defense
BY Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association [February 5, 2013]
---- Although plans for expanding U.S. strategic missile defense focus on Iran, Tehran has still not decided to build nuclear weapons and continues to focus on short- and medium-range rather than longer-range ballistic missiles.http://armscontrol.org/files/TAB_Iran_Missile_Program_Implications.pdf

IRANIAN POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES
Iran marks revolution anniversary with soaring, defiant rhetoric
By Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor [February 10, 2013]
---- Iran marked the 34th anniversary of its Islamic revolution today with mass rallies, nuclear defiance, and anti-Western proclamations that it is defeating all "treacherous enemies." President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected Western pressure to negotiate over Iran's nuclear program "at the point of a gun." His words echoed a rejection of bilateral US-Iran talks made last week by Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0210/Iran-marks-revolution-anniversary-with-soaring-defiant-rhetoric?nav=87-frontpage-entryNineItem

Khamenei bound by domestic politics in nuclear negotiations
Ali Reza Eshraghi, The National [United Arab Emirates] [February 6, 2013]
---- It is a mistake to think that Iran's opposition groups agree to unconditional negotiations over the nuclear issue. On January 1, six prominent members of the opposition National-Religious Coalition, in an open letter addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei, indicated that talks with the US were not appropriate under the circumstances because Iran would have no choice but to surrender to US demands and give up on its interests. Last October, when there was a rumour that the Supreme Leader's adviser Ali Akbar Velayati had secretly met with the US officials, the flagship website of the opposition Green Movement, Kaleme, warned that the regime must not agree to humiliating compromises on national interests for the sake of short-term benefits. The website reprinted an article by Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading reformist candidate in the 2009 presidential election who is now under house arrest, in which he protested the UN Security Council's new round of sanctions.http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/khamenei-bound-by-domestic-politics-in-nuclear-negotiations#ixzz2KWQqGWjv

As the US prepares to leave Afghanistan, Iran is moving in
From Marjalla [February 2013]
---- Worried about the possible resurgence of its old enemies, the Taliban, Iran is seeking to strengthen its economic links with Afghanistan while reaching out to the US and India. As the Obama administration prepares its Afghan exit strategy scheduled for 2014, Iran too is weighing its options in Afghanistan. Tehran’s basic objective is to retain a dominant role in its eastern neighbor, but it faces both domestic Afghan opposition and regional rivals—such as Pakistan—equally determined to influence the course of events in the troubled state. As it intensifies its Afghan efforts, Tehran appears to be relying on two principle approaches. First, it is increasingly touting it intervention as inevitable, an economic necessity for Afghanistan. Secondly, Tehran is looking to create the maximum possible agreement with those regional states that share some or all of Tehran’s interests in Afghanistan. On that list, India stands out.

President Ahmadinejad and Parliament
As Iran's elections near, Ahmadinejad refuses to leave office quietly
By Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor [February 5, 2013]
---- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo today, marking the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian president since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Four months before presidential elections that will choose his successor, Mr. Ahmadinejad has made clear that he is disregarding orders to end his second term quietly, and instead is publicly taking on a host of political enemies in parliament and across Iran's Islamic regime. A key Ahmadinejad ally and hardline former Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, was arrested and taken to Evin prison overnight yesterday after a bruising parliamentary fight the day before over his confirmation for a high-level post. Ahmadinejad fought back from the parliament podium by accusing Speaker Ali Larijani and his brothers of corruption, and then played a secretly recorded video of one brother, Fazel, meeting with Mortazavi and apparently peddling family influence. The audio was scratchy, and Fazel Larijani later claimed it to be fake.http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0205/As-Iran-s-elections-near-Ahmadinejad-refuses-to-leave-office-quietly-video?nav=87-frontpage-entryLeadStory

Supreme showdown in Tehran
By Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar Foreign Policy [February 4, 2013]
---- Four months before the next presidential election, Iran's conservative establishment is facing a security threat: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Four years ago, a controversial election that reinstated President Ahmadinejad brought millions of Iranians into a face-to-face confrontation with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Now, it is Ahmadinejad who is coming face-to-face with the very man who lifted him out of obscurity and granted him worldwide fame and unparalleled support against all pillars of the Islamic Republic. During an unprecedented debate at the parliament, which ended in mayhem and the dismissal of the labor minister, Ahmadinejad played a video that implicated the powerful Larijani brothers, two of whom head the judiciary and legislative bodies, of corruption and nepotism.http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/02/04/supreme_showdown_in_tehran

Also on this topic – Juan Cole, “Iran President accuses Speaker of Parliament of Corruption, as Labor Minister is Impeached,” Informed Comment [February 4, 2013]http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/parliament-corruption-impeached.html#comment-166662; and Thomas Erdbrink,”Presidential Aide Freed, Reports Say, as Top Iranian Politicians Trade Accusations,” New York Times [February 6, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/world/middleeast/ally-of-ahmadinejad-freed-amid-political-fight-reports-say.html?ref=world

MILITARY ISSUES
U.S. and Allies Conduct Drills in Persian Gulf, a Signal to Iran
By Thom Shanker, New York Times [February 7, 2013]
---- Deterring Iran is a delicate balance of diplomacy, sanctions and military muscle-flexing, all intended to send a strong signal – without proving so provocative that the region is pushed toward war. One piece of the effort – halting the proliferation of illicit weapons – got a practice run in the Persian Gulf this week.
Although the exercise did not explicitly name an adversary, geography certainly pointed to Iran, as well as to militants of Al Qaeda still operating in the region. The exercise, which ended Thursday, included a headquarters simulation to test the policy-making and coordination among the American military and two dozen nations that joined, as well as an extensive component of military drills at sea, in the air and on land.http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/u-s-and-allies-conduct-drills-in-persian-gulf-a-signal-to-iran/?ref=world

US Budget Woes Compound Differences with GCC
By Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor [February 7, 2013]
---- Deep insecurity on the part of smaller Gulf nations about their importance to the United States underlies their ambivalence about nuclear negotiations, which are scheduled to resume in Kazakhstan Feb. 26. The announcement Wednesday [Feb. 6] that the U.S. Navy has indefinitely postponed deployment of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to the Gulf — leaving the John C. Stennis as the sole carrier force in the area — only underlines what LeBaron called a Gulf perception of US “inconsistency.” The Obama administration has kept two carrier groups in the Gulf since 2010 to project strength against Iran and support other regional operations. But the need to plan for a drastic cutback in U.S. government spending — the so-called sequestration scheduled to go into effect March 1 — required the deployment delay, said Pentagon spokesman George Little. “This prudent decision enables the U.S. Navy to maintain these ships to deploy on short notice in the event they are needed,” he said. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/persian-gulf-fleet-aircraft-carrier-pentagon-budget-woes.html#ixzz2KWXapb57

Also on this topic - By Joshua Stewart and Sam Fellman, “Pentagon: U.S. Navy Carrier Fleet Cut to One in Gulf,” Defense News [February 6, 2013]http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130206/DEFREG02/302060020/Pentagon-U-S-Navy-Carrier-Fleet-Cut-One-Gulf?odyssey=tab

IRAN SANCTIONS
US Announces Yet More Sanctions in ‘Economic War’ Against Iran
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [February 6, 2013]
---- With P5+1 talks set for later this month, the Obama Administration has predictably announced yet another round of sanctions against Iran, which officials termed “a significant turning of the screw” in the economic war against the nation. The latest rounds include sanctions against the Iranian press, as well as efforts to make it even harder for the nation to export oil abroad. The lack of access to international banking has already pushing Iran to trade oil for gold, and the new sanctions will make barter even more necessary. The sanctions also targeted a major Iranian electronics company, accusing them of being responsible for eavesdropping inside Iran, and the Iranian Cyber Police, who monitor online behavior and filter web sites. Analysts say the newest round of sanctions, like those of the past, will likely have little impact, primarily harming the private economy and civilians while the government continues to have the infrastructure to circumvent the worst of it.http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/06/us-announces-yet-more-sanctions-in-economic-war-against-iran/

More on the New US Sanctions – Thomas Erdbrink and David E. Sanger,”U.S. Increases Pressure of Economic War on Tehran,” New York Times [February 6, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/world/middleeast/us-ratchets-up-an-economic-war-against-tehran.html?hp&_r=0; and Paul Richter, “U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran,”Los Angeles Times [February 6, 2013] http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-iran-sanctions-20130206,0,5935164,print.story The US Treasury announcement can be read at http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1847.aspx

Some Mechanics of Sanctions
Is Iran’s December Oil Export Hike Permanent?
By Sara Vakhshouri, Lobe Log [February 2013]
---- Sanctions against Iran by the European Union and the United States, which aim to change Iran’s attitude toward its nuclear program, have increased pressure on its oil export and revenue. This resulted in the reduction of Iran’s oil exports from 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in late 2011 to around between 900 thousand to slightly above 1 million bpd until October 2012. On 30 January 2013, Reuters reported that Iran’s crude oil exports hit its highest level in December, at around 1.4 million bpd since EU sanctions took effect last July. What was the reason for this sudden hike? http://www.lobelog.com/is-irans-december-oil-export-hike-permanent/

Turkey will not halt gold flow to Iran, demand may fall
By Asli Kandemir and Evrim Ergin, Reuters [February 7, 2013]
---- Turkey will not be swayed by U.S. sanctions pressure to halt gold exports to Iran but Tehran's demand for the metal may fall this year, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said on Thursday. U.S. officials are concerned that Turkey's gold sales, which allow Iran to export natural gas, provides a financial lifeline to Tehran, which is largely frozen out of the global banking system by Western sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme. Trade in Turkish gold bars to Iran via Dubai is drying up as banks and dealers increasingly refuse to buy the bullion to avoid sanctions risks associated with the trade.
Turkey has a six-month U.S. waiver exempting it from financial sanctions against Iran, which is due to expire in July. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/turkey-gold-idUSL5N0B776O20130207

Also on this topic - From Brick Court Chambers [UK], “Sanctions imposed on Bank Saderat Iran annulled by EU General Court,” [February 6, 2013]http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/13135

The Impact of the Sanctions
Iran’s Economy After Devaluation
By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Lobe Log [February 7, 2013]
---- Four months after the collapse of the rial earlier this fall, Iran’s economy is still reeling from its effects. The rial lost 40% of its value in one week late last September, succumbing to accumulating pressures from free spending by the Ahmadinejad government, overvaluation caused by years of booming oil revenues, and international sanctions. Financial sanctions imposed by the United States against third-party countries that trade with Iran have seriously disrupted Iran’s international trade, reducing its ability to sell its oil or spend the revenues from what it can sell. Sanctions have inflicted enormous pain on millions of Iranians, who have watched the boom of the last decade deteriorate into stagnation, inflation triple and critical items such as medicine disappear from stores. Iranians are meanwhile unsure who to blame, those who have imposed the collective punishment or their own government.http://www.lobelog.com/irans-economy-after-devaluation/

Sanctions and Medical Supply Shortages in Iran
By Siamak Namazi, The Wilson Center [February 2013] - 9 pages
---- The pronounced role of sanctions in creating shortages of life-saving medical supplies and drugs in Iran may have been unintentional, but it is also irrefutable. Iran’s own mismanagement of the situation has aggravated the problem, but it is not the root cause of it. While the list of issues leading to the supply crunch is long and complicated, at the heart of it all are the obstacles that sanctions have created in denying Iran the necessary banking operations and limiting its access to hard currency. Namazi presents findings based on a recent study that he and a number of Iranian consultants carried out.http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/sanctions-and-medical-supply-shortages-iran

Also on this topic  The Tehran Bureau, “Tehran landlords and tenants lock horns in heat of property boom,” [February 5, 2013]http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2013/feb/05/tehran-landlord-tenant-property-boom; and Mohamed Younis, “Iranians Feel Bite of Sanctions, Blame U.S., Not Own Leaders,” The Gallup Poll [February 7, 2013] http://www.gallup.com/poll/160358/iranians-feel-bite-sanctions-blame-not-own-leaders.aspx

Appeals to End the Sanctions
"Iranian Mothers for Peace" Alert the World on Sanctions and Shortage of Medicines
by Farid Marjai and Mehrnaz Shahabi, Monthly Review [February 2013]
---- "Iranian Mothers for Peace," in an open letter of January 2013 to Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, and Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Heath Organization, have alerted the responsible world bodies and human rights organizations to the critical shortage of vital medication due to the US/EU-led sanctions on Iran and their deadly impact on the lives and health of the Iranian population.
"Iranian Mothers for Peace" is a non-profit forum, well known and respected in Iran's civil society.  In 2006 a number of social activists came together to form this forum.  "Mothers for Peace" is not a political party and organizationally it has a flexible structure.  "Mothers for Peace" takes pride that its 700 participants come from very diverse political backgrounds and different social classes.  It affirmatively celebrates diversity which it considers a reflection of the tolerance the group espouses. [The letter follows.]http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2013/ms010213.html

A Letter to President Obama
Friends [Quaker] Committee on National Legislation (and 25 national organizations) [February 4, 2013]
---- FCNL led a broad coalition of 25 national organizations calling on President Barack Obama to take action to ensure that Iranian civilians are not blocked from accessing food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods under existing U.S. sanctions. According to recent reports, a growing number of Iranians are facing difficulties accessing food and medicine, in part due to sanctions imposed by the United States. The Iranian government's mismanagement and lack of economic transparency has also worsened the situations for Iranian patients, but there are still simple actions that the U.S. government can take to ensure that Iranians are not blocked from accessing food and medicine due to the U.S. sanctions regime. [Read the letter at:]http://fcnl.org/issues/iran/coalition_calls_on_obama_not_to_block_food_medicine_to_iran/

STIRRING THE POT
A Rush to Judgment in Bulgarian Blast?
By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service [February 10, 2013]
---- Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov’s dramatic announcement last Tuesday on the Bulgarian investigation of the July 2012 terror bombing of an Israeli tourist bus was initially reported by Western news media as suggesting clear evidence of Hezbollah’s responsibility for the killings. But more accurate reports on the minister’s statement and the only details he provided reveal that the alleged link between the bomb suspects and Hezbollah was merely an “assumption” rather than a conclusion based on specific evidence. … None of the details provided by Tsvetanov, according to press reports, involved evidence showing that two of the alleged conspirators belonged to Hezbollah or to Hezbollah financing of the terror plot. The most important piece of evidence cited by Tsvetanov was the lengthy stays in Lebanon by two of the three alleged participants in the bombing and driver’s licenses that were forged in Lebanon. … Those connections between the alleged conspirators and the bombing by themselves could hardly support an assumption of Hezbollah responsibility for the bombing. Al-Qaeda terrorist cells have been operating in Lebanon for years, and have the technical capability for such a bombing plot. Furthermore, Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist bombings involving Israeli tourists in the past, whereas there is no known case of a Hezbollah bombing of Israeli tourists, as a Hezbollah spokesman pointed out Wednesday. http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/bulgarian-charge-of-hezbollah-bombing-was-an-assumption/

The New York Times Version - Nicholas Kulish and Matthew Brunwasser, “Europeans Await Report on Bus Blast in Bulgaria,” New York Times [February 4, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/world/europe/europe-await-report-on-bulgaria-bombing-for-hezbollah-link.html?ref=world; Nicholas Kulish, et al., “Bulgaria Implicates Hezbollah in July Attack on Israelis,” New York Times [February 5, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/world/europe/bulgaria-implicates-hezbollah-in-deadly-israeli-bus-blast.html?ref=world&pagewanted=print; and Matthew Brunwasser and Nicholas Kulish, “Multinational Search in Bulgaria Blast,” New York Times [February 6, 2013] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/world/europe/two-still-sought-in-bulgarian-bus-blast.html?ref=world For a short video of the alleged bomber,http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/video-shows-suspected-bomber-before-deadly-attack-on-israelis-in-bulgaria/?ref=europe

Seizure of Antiaircraft Missiles in Yemen Raises Fears That Iran Is Arming Rebels There
By C. J. Chivers and Robert F. Worth, New York Times [February 8, 2013]
---- Photographs recently released by the Yemeni government suggest that an interdiction last month by the United States Navy and Yemen’s security forces seized a class of shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles not publicly known to have been out of state control. … Neither Yemen nor the United States has fully described the boarding of the dhow, including how it was detected or the precise roles of the security services and vessels that were involved. The dhow’s shipping documents, if they exist, have also not been made public, nor has any information obtained from the vessel’s navigation devices, logbooks or charts.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/09/world/middleeast/weapons-seizure-in-yemen-raises-worries-of-irans-influence.html?ref=world

Also on this topic  Associated Press, “Yemen Seeks Investigation of Seized Arms,”[February 7, 2013] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/world/middleeast/yemen-asks-un-to-investigate-seized-arms-cargo.html?ref=world

Six Killed in Shelling of Iranian Refugee Camp in Iraq
By Yasir Ghazi, New York Times [February 9, 2013]
---- In an e-mail sent to news media outlets in Iraq, the military wing of Hezbollah in Iraq, a militant organization believed to have connections to the main Lebanese group and to Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that others would follow. Although Hezbollah in Iraq was active during the American military presence there, attacks by the group died down after the Americans left, and its leaders said they would lay down arms and join the political process. But in an ominous sign that a recent spate of deadly sectarian conflicts in Iraq might escalate, the group announced at a recent news conference that it was establishing a militia to fight Sunni groups that had been attacking Shiites.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/world/middleeast/mortars-kill-several-in-a-refugee-camp-in-iraq.html?ref=world

Also on this topic  Reuters, “Attack on Iranian Dissident Camp in Iraq Kills Five,” [February 9, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/02/09/world/middleeast/09reuters-iraq-mek.html?ref=world


haw-info] Iran War Weekly - February 18, 2013
haw-info-bounces@stopthewars.org on behalf of fbrodhead@aol.com
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Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
February 18, 2013

Hello All – Prospects for renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program – now set for February 26th in Kazakhstan – diminished this week, as the United States revealed its negotiating “carrot”: to roll back new economic sanctions which they placed on Iran last week!  “You are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said of the United States. “But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated by these threats.”

Indeed, as Iranian former negotiator Hossein Mousavian expresses in a video interview linked below, a negotiated agreement is there for the taking, but the United States and its partners are unwilling to recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium and refuse to put meaningful sanctions reduction on the table.  Instead, they hold out prospects for the lifting of sanctionsafter Iran has essentially abandoned its quest for an integrated and independent civilian nuclear program.

Yet bargaining of a sort continued this week.  For the second time, Iran reduced its stockpile of uranium enriched to the 20 percent level by converting it into fuel rods (and thus rendering it even theoretically unusable for later conversion to nuclear-weapon material).  In doing so, Iran signaled that it would not amass a stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium beyond a level that Israel maintains is one of its “redlines.”  And underscoring its claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, Ayatollah Khamenei restated in a lengthy speech his belief that nuclear weapons were sinful and “a crime against humanity.”

In Syria, meanwhile, the civil war and foreign intervention showed still greater potential to become a regional war.  European foreign ministers are meeting today to consider proposals for arming at least parts of the armed rebellion against the Syrian government.  In a related matter, the United States and Israel added to the pot a demand that the European Union designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization.”  New “evidence” for Hezbollah terrorism is advanced today in the New York Times, where US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon accuses Hezbollah as being the instigator of last summer’s terrorist attack on Israel tourists in Bulgaria In an important and impressive piece of detective work, linked below, Gareth Porter dissects the US-Israeli-Bulgarian claimsand shows how they are constructed out of scraps of ambiguous factoids.  And in a further dissection of last week’s Big Story that the Iranians were training a 50,000-man Syrian militia, commentators linked below show how this story was also fabricated.

Finally, in respect to US sanctions against Iran and especially the life-threatening harm caused by the inability of Iranians to import essential medicines, I would like to call your attention to a new campaign by Haavar, a grassroots organization of Iranians, US-Iranians, and their supporters.  Their petition calls on CEOs of major US banks to enable the humanitarian exemptions allowed in US sanctions legislation, rather than (as is usually the case) refusing to deal with Iranian pharmaceutical importers at all.  For more information and to sign the petition, go to www.haavar.org.

Previous “issues” of the Iran War Weekly are posted at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383 If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email atfbrodhead@aol.com.

Best wishes,
Frank Brodhead
Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

OVERVIEWS & PERSPECTIVES
Risky equilibrium in Iran nuclear crisis
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times [February 16, 2013]
---- The Iran nuclear crisis has now reached a new and potentially dangerous equilibrium between stiff Western sanctions on the one hand and the rapid progress of Iran's nuclear program on the other.
Avoiding escalation will require careful nuclear diplomacy by both sides. It is hoped this will been seen in Kazakhstan on February 26 when an Iranian delegation with meet with representatives of the five permanent UN Security Council members - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - and Germany, known as the Iran 5+1. The equilibrium has been generated by the confluence of several
inter-related factors, including the US's decision to escalate the pressures on Iran through new unilateral sanctions targeting Tehran's heavy reliance on petrodollars.http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/13139

(Video) An Interview with Hossein Mousavian
From BBC HARDtalk [February 13, 2013] - 25 minutes
---- Can there be a negotiated way out of the high-stakes stand-off between Iran and the West over the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions? A new round of talks is planned for later this month but the basic facts have not changed: Iran's enrichment programme gets ever more sophisticated, international sanctions on Tehran bite deeper and the warnings from the West grow darker. Guest is former Iranian negotiator on the nuclear issue, Hossein Mousavian. Does diplomacy have a chance? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IU7sqMFowo&noredirect=1

Is Iran a Rogue State?
By Peter Jenkins, LobeLog [February 2013]
---- Speaking on 12 February about the latest North Korean nuclear test, the outgoing US Defense Secretary said (according to the BBC): “We’re going to have to continue with rogue states like Iran and North Korea.” Does Iran deserve to be bracketed with North Korea? Is Iran a rogue state? Unlike North Korea, Iran has remained a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It has continued to submit to international inspection the nuclear material in its possession. It has never expelled the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It has never tested a nuclear explosive device. It is assessed to be acquiring a capability to make nuclear weapons, but to be undecided and open to persuasion to refrain from their manufacture. http://www.lobelog.com/is-iran-a-rogue-state/

The Myth of Iranian Nuclear Coercion
By Paul R. Pillar, National Interest [February 14, 2013]
---- One of the most oft-repeated, widely accepted and habitually unquestioned beliefs about the Iranian nuclear issue is that if Iran got a nuclear weapon then Tehran would—merely by possessing such a weapon, even if it never detonated one—throw its weight around in the region in ways that it wouldn't or couldn't do without a nuke. A nuclear-armed Iran, according to the belief, would coerce and influence neighbors in untold ways we are not seeing now from a non-nuclear-armed Iran. This belief is shared by a wide variety of people who disagree on other aspects of Iran and its nuclear program. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/the-myth-iranian-nuclear-coercion-8110

NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Why the Iran threat assessment may be easing – for now
By Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor [February 13, 2013]
---- Analysts are toning down threat assessments on Iran as several developments coincide to lower the drumbeat of fears about Iran's nuclear intentions. From slower-than-expected missile progress, to resumed conversion of Iran's most sensitive enriched uranium stockpile, along with the apparent easing of a years-long, Israel-led covert war against Iran, they signal a partial de-escalation that could yield more room for diplomacy. On the surface it may appear to be business as usual: United Nations nuclear inspectors arrived in Iran for discussions to access suspect sites; nuclear talks with six world powers are to resume on Feb. 26. There are few expectations of any breakthroughs.http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0213/Why-the-Iran-threat-assessment-may-be-easing-for-now?nav=87-frontpage-entryNineItem

Iran: UN chief violates principle of impartiality on Iran nuclear issue
By Hassan Beheshtipour, Press TV [February 18, 2013]

The P5+1 Meeting in Kazakhstan, February 26th
Iran Analysis: The US Makes a Non-Offer on the Nuclear Talks
By Scott Lucas, Enduring America [February 16, 2013]
---- Appearing alongside the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the 5+1 Powers in the nuclear talks with Iran, new US Secretary of State John Kerry met in Washington said he looked forward to Ashton's "critical effort" in high-level discussions with the Iranians on 26 February in Kazakhstan. However, the Secretary of State's rhetoric was put in context by the revelation from "Western officials" of the offer to be made to Iran. In exchange for Tehran's steps to close its enrichment plant at Fordoo, which produces 20% uranium, the US and its allies will lift sanctions. Well, not all sanctions. Not the sanctions levied in 2010, following the American rejection of the Iran-Brazil-Turkey offer in the Tehran Declaration. Not the sanctions levied in 2011 or 2012, including last July's European cut-off of oil imports from Iran and insurance for Iranian oil tankers anywhere in the world. Not the restrictions on Iran's financial and banking sectors, including international transactions via the SWIFT system and payments in Euros or dollars. No, the only sanctions that may be removed --- in exchange for the "stop, ship, and shut" demand of the US and Europe over 20% uranium, --- are those imposed by Washington ten days ago.http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/2/16/iran-analysis-the-us-makes-a-non-offer-on-the-nuclear-talks.html

See also – From Reuters, “Big powers to offer easing gold sanctions at Iran nuclear talks” [February 15, 2013] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/15/us-iran-nuclear-gold-idUSBRE91E0TP20130215

The IAEA – Iran Meeting in Tehran
Iran May Allow UN Team to Visit Key Military Site
By The Associated Press [February 12, 2013]
---- Iran's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday raised prospects that Tehran may allow inspectors from the U.N. nuclear agency to visit a military site where the country is suspected of conducting nuclear-related experiments. … A senior IAEA official predicted hard work ahead for the U.N. team in the Tehran talks. The two sides are trying to agree on the rules of how the probe should be conducted, with the Iran resisting an IAEA push that the investigation be open-ended. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/02/12/world/middleeast/ap-iran-nuclear.html?ref=world

Iran concedes 'some points' on nukes
From Agence France Presse [February 14, 2013]
---- Iran agreed on "some points" in talks with UN atomic experts in Tehran, two weeks ahead of negotiations with world powers aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to end a standoff over its nuclear ambitions. "Some differences were resolved and agreement on some issues in the modality was reached," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. "New proposals," Mr Soltanieh said, had been put forward in the meeting but they would be discussed at "future meetings." He did not say if a date had been agreed for the resumption of talks with the IAEA. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/iran-concedes-some-points-on-nukes/story-e6frg6so-1226577654633

Also on the talks – Alan Cowell, “Nuclear Watchdog Says No Deal Reached With Iran,”New York Times [February 14, 2013] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/world/middleeast/nuclear-watchdog-says-no-deal-reached-with-iran.html?hp

Iran Converts Nuclear Fuel
Iran Confirms Conversion of Uranium Into Reactor Fuel
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [February 12, 2013]
---- Iranian Foreign Ministry officials have confirmed weekend speculation that they have resumed the conversion of uranium into reactor fuel, a move which will keep their stockpile from growing in the near term. Most of Iran’s enrichment is to 3.5 percent, meant for its power plant in Bushehr, while a smaller amount is produced to the 20 percent level. This 20 percent uranium, still far short of the 90-plus percent needed for weapons, has Western officials condemning Iran, but it is the level needed for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Once the uranium is converted into the rods it is effectively useless for further enrichment, and out of the “stockpile” equation. http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/12/iran-confirms-conversion-of-uranium-into-reactor-fuel/

Also on the fuel conversion – Alan Cowell, “Iran Converts Enriched Uranium to Reactor Fuel, Reports Say,” New York Times [February 12, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/world/middleeast/iran-converts-enriched-uranium-to-reactor-fuel-reports-say.html?hp&_r=0

IRANIAN ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES
Iran Leader: Having Nukes is ‘Crime Against Humanity’
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment [February 18, 2013]
---- The USG Open Source Center translated the entirety of Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s speech in Tabriz on Saturday. In it, Khamenei for the nth time called nuclear weapons a ‘crime against humanity’ and affirmed that Iran does not want them. Although this speech was covered by US media such as the New York Times, its editors gave the article the confusing title of “Ayatollah Says Iran Will Control Nuclear Aims” instead of just saying, as The Guardian and others did, that he renounced making or having nuclear weapons.http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/sanctions-actually-enrichment.html

The New York Times version – Thomas Erdbrink, “Ayatollah Says Iran Will Control Nuclear Aims” [February 16, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/world/middleeast/supreme-leader-says-iran-not-seeking-nuclear-arms.html?ref=world

Iranians Support Nuclear Program, Blame West for Sanctions, Says Poll
From Al-Monitor [February 2013]
---- A recent Gallup poll shows that 63% of Iranians think their government should continue its efforts to develop nuclear capabilities — even though more than eight out of 10 say their personal livelihoods have been hurt by the West’s sanctions. At the same time, 47% of the poll’s respondents primarily blame the United States for the penalties Iran faces. In comparison, one in 10 point the finger at their own government. The poll, which was conducted between Dec. 26 and Jan. 10, bases its results on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults throughout Iran. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/iranian-poll-support-nuclear-program-blame-sanctions.html#ixzz2LBkHU2Fu

View from Iran: World Needs Rules on Cyberattacks
By Alireza Miryousefi and Hossein Gharibi, Christian Science Monitor [February 14, 2013]
---- The US believes that cyberattacks from another country can constitute an 'act of war.' This begs the question of whether the US can unilaterally engage in an unprovoked act against Iran that, according to its own standards, is unacceptable. The world needs global rules on cyberattacks, regardless of where we live and how we think, say Iran's UN diplomats. http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0214/View-from-Iran-World-needs-rules-on-cyberattacks-video

The Ahmadinejad – Khamenei Standoff
Is Iran's Ahmadinejad going rogue as his term ends?
By Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor [February 12, 2013]
---- Embedded in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rhetoric of Iran's soaring greatness and the collapse of the West – typical themes on the Islamic Republic's 34th birthday party – was a renewed political challenge to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and lesser pillars of the regime, as Iran prepares for presidential elections in June.Four months before the vote, the highest echelons of Iran's Islamic regime are embroiled in political infighting and a power struggle, have taken steps to quell potential dissent, and fear a repeat of the post-election violence that engulfed Iran in 2009 after the last disputed presidential vote. Analysts say the recent arrest and harassment of journalists and questioning this week of a son and daughters of key opposition leaders, who remain under house arrest, are just some of the signs of deep insecurity and uncertainty now afflicting the regime. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0212/Is-Iran-s-Ahmadinejad-going-rogue-as-his-term-ends?nav=87-frontpage-entryNineItem

See also – Yasaman Baji, “Khamenei Looks Off-Balance after Dramatic Week,” Inter Press Service [February 12, 2013] http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/khamenei-looks-off-balance-after-dramatic-week/; and Brian Murphy, “Iran's leader steps deeper into the political fray,” Associated Press [February 17, 2013]  http://news.yahoo.com/irans-leader-steps-deeper-political-fray-182822302.html

Reform Leaders Under Pressure
UN Rights Experts Urge Immediate and Unconditional Release of Opposition Leaders
From Iran Human Rights [February 11, 2013]
---- On the second anniversary of the house arrest, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immediate release of two key opposition leaders in Iran, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi and their family members. The Special Rapporteurs also expressed concerns about the detention of two daughters of Mr Mossavi, Ms Zahra Mossavi and Ms Nargis Mossavi, who were reportedly detained today after speaking out against their parents’ house arrest. http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2013/02/un_experts/

Also on this topic – Barbara Slavin, Karroubi's Son: Iranian Regime Afraid of Green Movement Return,” Al-Monitor [February 11, 2013] http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/iran-medhi-karroubi-hossein-mousavi-prison-green-movement.html#ixzz2LB0o1bv1; BBC, “Iran opposition leader Mousavi's daughters arrested” [February 11, 2013] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle- east-21409666?print=true For the full statement from the human rights organizations about the detentions of the reform leaders, “End arbitrary house arrests of Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard; free all prisoners of conscience” [February 13, 2013], seehttp://www.iranhumanrights.org/2013/02/house_arrest_joint_statement

Civil Liberties
Cultural Censorship: Cinema and Iran, A Separation
By Bronwen Robertson, Small Media [February 2013]
----- There have always been red lines in the Iranian cinema industry both before and after the revolution; however, it now seems that the space in which to make films is shrinking even further and this is having disastrous effects on the industry and the future of Iranian cinema. Although by no means all, many films are becoming popular today in Iran not because of their quality, but merely because they have been banned or heavily censored. A trend is emerging in which quality is being overshadowed in importance by the tabooness of the topic addressed. http://storify.com/smallmedia/cultural-censorship-cinema-and-iran-a-separation

ISRAELI ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES
Netanyahu: Iran’s New Centrifuges Near ‘Red Line’
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [February 11, 2013]
---- In what has become virtually a weekly attempt to spin a war with Iran as getting closer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited Iran’s development of improved centrifuges for uranium enrichment as proof that Iran is nearing the “red line” he has established for them. Netanyahu established the artificial “red line” last year, under which he believes a global war against Iran should immediately be launched if the nation has enough low-enriched uranium in its civilian program that, if hypothetically enriched to weapons grade, it might conceivably be enough for one small atomic bomb. http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/11/netanyahu-irans-new-centrifuges-near-red-line/

SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
In Iran, Sanctions Speak Louder Than Words
By Nima Shirazi*, Wide Asleep in America [February 15, 2013]
---- “You are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot,” Khameneisaid of the United States. “But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated by these threats.” Khamenei’s reaction to Biden’s conditional offer was widely viewed as evidence of Iranian obstinacy and unwillingness to engage substantively over the nature of its nuclear program – this, notwithstanding the fact that multilateral talks between Iran and the P5+1 (Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States, and Germany) will resume in Kazakhstan at the end of this month. At least one crucial detail was routinely excluded from commentary related to Khamenei’s statements: the ongoing U.S.-led economic war against Iran.http://muftah.org/in-iran-sanctions-speak-louder-than-words/

Also on sanctions - From Democracy Now! (Video) “Despite Offer of Direct Talks, U.S. Intensifies "Sanctions-Centric" Economic War Against Iran” [February 11, 2013]http://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/11/despite_offer_of_direct_talks_us; and Franklin Lamb, “Sanctions are Inhumane and Immoral,” Counterpunch [February 12, 2013]http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/12/hilary-and-joe-coming-clean-on-iran/



[haw-info] Iran War Weekly - February 26, 2013
haw-info-bounces@stopthewars.org on behalf of fbrodhead@aol.com
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Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
February 26, 2013

Hello All – After a six-month delay, representatives Iran and the “P5+1” met in Kazakhstan today to renew negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program.  Early news reports say that “the West” offered Iran a very modest lifting of sanctions if Iran would take steps to halt or alter significant parts of its nuclear program.  Iran is expected to make its reply tomorrow, during a second day of talks.  As indicated in pre-meeting analyses linked below, Iran is expected to reject the West’s proposal as trivial and insincere, wanting instead for the P5+1 to recognize Iran’s rights to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to lay out an offer that would quickly remove all the economic sanctions against it.

The negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran are complicated by several issues, most recently the hiatus imposed by the US presidential election and another one coming soon by Iran’s presidential election, which will take place in June.  But the larger question is why the P5+1 – or for practical purposes, the United States – is reluctant to offer significant reductions in economic sanctions, knowing full well that Iran will not accept the baby-step reductions now on offer.  Is it because the United States thinks that sanctions “are working”?  While there is abundant evidence that sanctions are causing hardship to ordinary Iranians, the sanctions have not and do not seem likely to alter the Iranian leadership’s nuclear positions.  So, what is the plan?

Indeed, there are growing indications that sanctions have been expanded to a point that is unsustainable.  In the current instance, the P5+1 has put on the table its willingness to cancel sanctions, only recently put in place, that seek to prohibit the use of gold to buy Iranian oil.  Sanctions on gold were seen as closing a loophole in earlier sanctions that attempted to block the international banking system from processing payments to Iran But now it turns out that blocking such gold payments is causing problems for Turkey; and sanctions currently under consideration in Congress that would tell the European Central Bank what to do are unlikely to be well-received in the EU.  More generally, as Hillary Mann Leverett explains in an article linked below, third-party sanctions are what she calls a “political and legal house of cards,” illegal under all kinds of international law.  If the sanctions route is reaching a dead end, what’s next?

In addition to the essays about negotiations and sanctions, I encourage a reading of the essay by former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian; an interesting short essay on the “Cyrus Cylinder”; a enthusiastic review (and some dissent) re: the Leverett’s important new book, Going to Tehran; an interesting essay by Nima Shirazi that takes a critical look at the Oscar-winning film ”Argo”; and a set of good/useful articles and essays about the current situation in Syria.

One more thing: for people who are anti-war-movement types, I call to your/our attention to latest Gallup Poll survey that shows 99 percent of Americans think Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to the United States People, we are not doing too well on our anti-war education.  Indeed, there is barely a ripple of agitation against war with Iran in either the blogosphere or in the streets.  Of course, there are many things to keep us way too busy; but it’s hard to miss the war-with-Iran train wreck coming down the tracks, and 99 percent of Americans are (so far) not with us.

Finally, a reminder that previous “issues” of the IWW can be read athttp://warisacrime.org/blog/46383 If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.

Best wishes,
Frank Brodhead
Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

OVERVIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES
What Kerry Needs to Know about Iran
By Hossein Mousavian, Financial Times [February 25, 2013]
[FB – Mr. Mousavian is a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators. His latest book, ‘The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,’ is essential reading for understanding the US-Iranian nuclear impasse.]
---- In his first official trip as US secretary of state this week, John Kerry has reiterated that Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. But both he and Vice-president Joe Biden have also this month made a point of calling for bilateral talks to resolve the differences between Washington and Tehran. The response of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, that “negotiations will not solve the problem”, has been interpreted as closing the door on that option. Having served in the Iranian government for almost three decades, holding posts in parliament, the foreign ministry and national security, and working on relations with the west, I can confidently state that negotiation is possible. The view that Iran does not want to negotiate is a misreading of the signals – often conflicting – from Tehran.http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4b77d996-7f41-11e2-97f6-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2LttAVFGy

Will Washington Reciprocate? The Iranians and Unconditional Friendship
By Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch [February 18, 2013]
---- Truth be told, this American observer has attended his share of international conferences and has traveled in more than 70 countries. But never has he  visited such a complex, evolving, striving and energized society, populated by idealistic people of great warmth, sense of humor and caring for those  in need as he has experienced in the Islamic Republic of Iran. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/18/the-iranians-and-unconditional-friendship/

(Video) A Different View of Iran, 2013
From Informed Comment [February 25, 2013] – 4 minutes

Find the Missing Word
By Roger Cohen, New York Times [February 22, 2013]
---- [The Cyrus Cylinder], somewhat the worse for wear after two-and-a-half millennia, was dug up in what once was Babylon, now Iraq, in 1879 during a British Museum excavation. Made soon after Cyrus of Persia captured Babylon in 539 B.C., it is covered in the spiky characters of Babylonian cuneiform. … which say that, aided by the chief Babylonian god Marduk, Cyrus ("King of the universe, the great king") captured Babylon without a fight, repatriated deported people living in Babylonian exile, and, as the museum put it in 2010, "restored shrines dedicated to different gods." It has been widely interpreted as the decree of an enlightened ruler determined to allow diverse peoples to rebuild their altars and worship their gods in their own way in their own place with their own sacred images. Cyrus, in this reading, is a father of the multifaith society.http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/opinion/cohen-find-the-missing-word.xml

NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Does Obama really want a deal with Iran?
Pepe Escobar, Aljazeera [February 21, 2013]
---- Almaty, Kazakhstan, is in the eye of the volcano next Tuesday, when the P5+1 - the five permanent UN Security Council members, US, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany - meet again with an Iranian delegation over Iran's nuclear programme. The record shows that all 16 US intelligence agencies know Tehran is not working on a nuclear weapon. In a real negotiation, there would be a credible US offer on the table. There is none. This suggests what Washington really wants is to maintain - and turbo-charge - its harsh sanctions package. Let's review the mechanism of this "negotiation".http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/02/2013220122822678589.html

(Video) US on 'collision course' with Iran over nuclear talks
A short interview with Hillary Mann Leverett, Aljazeera [February 21, 2013] – 5 minutes

Also useful on the negotiations – Nima Shirazi, “Going for the Gold: The P5+1’s Latest Lackluster Offer to Iran, “Wide Asleep in America [February 17, 2013]http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/02/the-p51s-latest-lackluster-offer-to-iran.html; Yousaf Butt, “Make Tehran a Serious Offer,” The National Interest [February 21, 2013] http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/13144; and Peter Jenkins, “Can we have some statesmanship, please?” Lobe Log [February 22, 2013]http://www.lobelog.com/can-we-have-some-statesmanship-please/

Iranian Position on Negotiations
West Must Avoid Giving Useless Concessions to Iran in Kazakhstan
An Interview with Mohammad Farhad Koleini, Iran Review [February 22, 2013]
---- Before the negotiations begin, the Western news agencies have quoted officials of the Western countries as saying that the most important demand of the P5+1 from Iran is to close down its nuclear facility at Fordow in return for lifting of certain sanctions against Iran. It seems that such remarks will do nothing to end the current standoff between the two sides over Iran's nuclear energy program. In the meantime, reference should be made to the propaganda hype launched by the Western political circles and think tanks as well as the recent biased remarks of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about Iran's nuclear program. Taking part in a controversial interview, Ban noted that Iran uses the opportunity provided to it by negotiations with the West in order to develop nuclear weapons. This issue proves that a plan has been put in gear by the West in order to undermine the forthcoming meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Almaty before it begins. In an interview with Tehran Emrouz newspaper, Mohammad Farhad Koleini, an expert on strategic issues, has noted that if the P5+1 take part in Almaty talks with repetitive proposals, the negotiations should be considered doomed as of now.http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/West-Must-Avoid-Giving-Useless-Concessions-to-Iran-in-Kazakhstan.htm

More on Iranian views - By Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh, Executive Editor of Iran Review, “Managing Almaty Negotiations without Capitulation or Escalation of Tension,” [February 24, 2013]
http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Managing-Almaty-Negotiations-without-Capitulation-or-Escalation-of-Tension.htm; Jason Ditz, “Iran FM Spurns Western ‘Gold Trade’ Offer,” Antiwar.com [February 18, 2013] http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/18/iran-fm-spurns-western-gold-trade-offer/; and Thomas Erdbrink, “Iran Signaling Hard Line in Nuclear Talks,” New York Times [February 25, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/middleeast/iran-enters-nuclear-talks-in-a-defiant-mood.html?hp

Preliminary Reports on the Kazakhstan Negotiations
Steve Erlanger, “Skepticism Abounds as Six World Powers Resume Nuclear Talks With Iran,” New York Times [February 26, 2013];http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/world/middleeast/skepticism-abounds-as-six-world-powers-resume-nuclear-talks-with-iran.html?ref=world

From Reuters, “Iran and Big Powers Hint at Nuclear Talks Concessions,” [February 26, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/02/26/world/middleeast/26reuters-iran-nuclear-us.html?ref=world

Scott Peterson, “Iran nuclear talks: Will hints of sanctions relief yield progress?” Christian Science Monitor [February 26, 2013] http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0226/Iran-nuclear-talks-Will-hints-of-sanctions-relief-yield-progress-video?nav=87-frontpage-entryLeadStory

Developments in Iran’s Nuclear Program
How Close is Iran to Nuclear Weapons?
By Yousaf Butt, Reuters [February 22, 2013]
---- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last week that new second-generation centrifuges, which Iran plans to start up at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility, could cut by a third the time needed to create a nuclear bomb – underlining his deadline of this summer to take military action against Iran.
Netanyahu’s prediction, however, appears to be based on some unsubstantiated assumptions regarding Iranian intentions and capabilities. Yet it can provide ammunition to the hawks in Washington and Jerusalem, who could rush us into another needless and counterproductive war in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s assertions do not stand up to technical scrutiny.  Critically, he does not mention that Iran has been converting part of its 20-percent-enriched uranium hexafluoride gaseous stockpile into metallic form, for use as fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. This conversion essentially freezes the enrichment level and subtracts from the “enrichable” gaseous stockpile used in centrifuges. It is not something that a nation hell-bent on weaponization would do. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/22/how-close-is-iran-to-nuclear-weapons/

Also on Iran’s nuclear program – Fredrik Dahl, “U.N. report may show slower growth in Iran nuclear stockpile,” Reuters [February 20, 2013]http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-nuclear-iran-iaea-idUSBRE91J13620130220; David E. Sanger and William J. Broad,”Iran Is Said to Move to New Machines for Making Nuclear Fuel,” New York Times [February 21, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/world/middleeast/iran-upgrading-nuclear-equipment-inspectors-say.html?ref=world; Reuters, “Iran Announces Uranium Discovery Days Before Nuclear Talks,” New York Times [[February 23, 2013]http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/02/23/world/middleeast/23reuters-iran-nuclear.html?hp; and Ali Akbar Dareini, “Iran selects 16 sites suitable for nuclear plants,”Associated Press [February 23, 2013] http://news.yahoo.com/iran-selects-16-sites-suitable-nuclear-plants-130422798.html

US POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES
Beltway Foreign Policy
By Roger Cohen, New York Times [February 18, 2013]
---- In Iran, [former Obama administration official Vali] Nasr demonstrates Obama’s deep ambivalence about any deal on the nuclear program. “Pressure,” he writes, “has become an end in itself.” The dual track of ever tougher sanctions combined with diplomatic outreach was “not even dual. It relied on one track, and that was pressure.” The reality was that, “Engagement was a cover for a coercive campaign of sabotage, economic pressure and cyberwarfare.”  Opportunities to begin real step-by-step diplomacy involving Iran giving up its low-enriched uranium in exchange for progressive sanctions relief were lost. What was Tehran to think when “the sum total of three major rounds of diplomatic negotiation was that America would give some bits and bobs of old aircraft in exchange for Iran’s nuclear program”? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/opinion/global/roger-cohen-the-end-of-foreign-policy.html?hp&_r=0

Iran’s Familiar Destiny
By Jason Hirthler, Counterpunch [February 25, 2013]
---- Without delving into the sordid history of our relationship with the Persian giant at the heart of the Middle East, a glance is enough to confirm that we’ve trespassed ceaselessly in a country both blessed and cursed by its geographic patrimony. Sitting atop a wealth of petroleum and natural gas, positioned at the delta of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf—that great liquid highway by which ravenous Western powers have extracted black gold for decades—the Iranian people must be exhausted by the hectoring and rebarbative attentions paid them by our colonial legates. Nor is it any consolation for Iranians that their nearest neighbors are also tirelessly plagued by imperial interventions.http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/25/irans-familiar-destiny/

Gallup: Staggering 99 Percent of Americans See Iran’s Nuclear Program as ‘Threat’
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [February 20, 2013]
---- A grim new poll from Gallup shows an overwhelming majority of Americans, indeed 99 percent of them, believe that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a threat “to the vital interests of the United States.”
The poll reflects the near complete saturation of American opinion with politicians’ claims of the “threat” posed by Iran’s civilian program, in spite of repeated reports conceding that Iran isn’t presently developing nuclear weapons and that it may indeed never choose to do so.http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/20/gallup-staggering-99-percent-of-americans-see-irans-nuclear-program-as-threat/

Also useful – Ray McGovern, “Brennan’s Loose Talk on Iran Nukes,” Antiwar.com[February 23, 2013] http://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2013/02/22/brennans-loose-talk-on-iran-nukes/; and Stephen M. Walt, “On Iran, try backscratching, not blackmail,”Foreign Policy [February 22, 2013]http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/02/22/on_iran_try_backscratching_not_blackmail

IRANIAN POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES
Time to Face the Truth about Iran
By Flyntt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, Going to Tehran [February 11, 2013]
---- For more than thirty years, American analysts and policy-makers have put forward a series of myths about the Islamic Republic: that it is irrational, illegitimate and vulnerable. In doing so, pundits and politicians have consistently misled the American public and America’s allies about what policies will actually work to advance US interests in the Middle East. The most persistent -- and dangerous -- of these myths is that the Islamic Republic is so despised by its own people that it is in imminent danger of overthrow. From the start, Americans treated the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 as a major surprise. But the only reason it was a surprise was that official Washington refused to see the growing demand by the Iranian people for an indigenously generated political order free from US domination. And ever since then, the Islamic Republic has defied endless predictions of its collapse or defeat.http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=56911

Going to Tehran
---- The article above summarizes much of the Leverett’s new book, Going to Tehran.  In his review of the book, linked below, Gareth Porter calls it “arguably the most important work on the subject of U.S.-Iran relations to be published so far.”  I think that the book is especially valuable for conveying a view of the world and the region, and of the United States, from the point of view of Iran Seldom do analysts, for example, explain how “offers” from the United States might be perceived as “threats” by the Iranians.  Yet I find the Leverett’s presentation of recent Iranian history to be one-dimensional and teleological, passing over too quickly the post-1979 conflicts within the revolutionary coalition.  By identifying critics of the “guardianship of the jurist” with “Western elites,” they do a disservice to the many Iranians who fought for, and continue to work for, a different kind of regime.  Does this distortion of history matter?  Not in the sense of diminishing the need to prevent war against Iran But by constricting Iran’s recent history to a single path leading to an authoritarian clerical regime, I think the Leveretts diminish our ability to understand how Iran came to be as it is, and where it might be going.  In any case, I encourage people to read Going to Tehran, and if the historical part of the story is of interest, I recommend Ervand Abrahamian’s recent book, A History of Modern Iran, for an alternative view. - FB

Former Insiders Criticise Iran Policy as U.S. Hegemony
By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service [February 25, 2013]
---- "Going to Tehran" arguably represents the most important work on the subject of U.S.-Iran relations to be published thus far.  Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett tackle not only U.S. policy toward Iran but the broader context of Middle East policy with a systematic analytical perspective informed by personal experience, as well as very extensive documentation. More importantly, however, their exposé required a degree of courage that may be unparalleled in the writing of former U.S. national security officials about issues on which they worked. They have chosen not just to criticise U.S. policy toward Iran but to analyse that policy as a problem of U.S. hegemony. … In "Going to Tehran", the Leveretts elaborate on the contrarian analysis they have been making on their blog (formerly “The Race for Iran” and now “Going to Tehran”) They take to task those supporting U.S. systematic pressures on Iran for substituting wishful thinking that most Iranians long for secular democracy, and offer a hard analysis of the history of the Iranian revolution. In an analysis of the roots of the legitimacy of the Islamic regime, they point to evidence that the single most important factor that swept the Khomeini movement into power in 1979 was “the Shah’s indifference to the religious sensibilities of Iranians". That point, which conflicts with just about everything that has appeared in the mass media on Iran for decades, certainly has far-reaching analytical significance. http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=4555

Human Rights Issues
The International Tribunal for Iran – February 2013
[FB – Following the path opened up by the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Vietnam in 1967, several international tribunals have looked at cases of war crimes and/or human rights violations. Recent examples include the World Tribunal on Iraq and the recent international tribunal on Palestine A two-part tribunal on the massacre of political prisoners in Iran during the 1980s recently concluded its work and published its findings.]http://www.irantribunal.com/Eng/EnHome.html

The Baha'i Institute for Higher Education
By Bronwen Robertson, Small Media [February 21, 2013]
---- Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, more than 10,000 Baha’is have been expelled from government and university jobs, thousands have been arrested and an estimated 200 Baha’i leaders have been killed. Despite belonging to a peaceful independent world religion rooted in Islam, Baha’is are frequently arrested and imprisoned for ‘membership’ in what the clerics and Islamic judiciary refer to as a “deviant sect”. Baha’is are excluded entirely from Iran’s standardised education system and denied their basic human right to education. To mark the UN’s World Social Justice Day (Feb 20, 2013), London-based non-profit Small Media has launched “Knowledge as Resistance”, a comprehensive and innovative report that chronicles the Baha’i community’s creative and non-violent resistance to this systematic, targeted, and continued persecution. http://smallmedia.org.uk/knowledge.PDF

SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
The Coming Collapse of Iran Sanctions
By Hillary Mann Leverett, Aljazeera [February 25, 2013]
---- Virtually since the 1979 Iranian revolution, US administrations have imposed unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic. These measures, though, have not significantly damaged Iran's economy and have certainly not changed Iranian policies Washington doesn't like. Between 2006 and 2010, America got the UN Security Council to adopt six resolutions authorising multilateral sanctions against Iran - also with limited impact, because China and Russia refused to allow any resolution to pass that would have harmed their interests in Iran. Beyond unilateral and multilateral measures against Iran's economy, the US has, since 1996, threatened to impose "secondary" sanctions against third-country entities doing business with the Islamic Republic. In recent years, Congress has dramatically expanded the range of activities subject to such sanctions, going beyond investments in Iranian oil and gas production to include simple purchases of Iranian crude and almost all financial transactions. This year, Congress blacklisted transfers of precious metals to Iran, to make it harder for Tehran to repatriate export earnings or pay for imports in gold. Congress has also increased the sanctions that can be imposed on offending entities, including their cut-off from the US financial system. Secondary sanctions are a legal and political house of cards.http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/02/201322584515426148.html

Spider Web: The Making and Unmaking of Iran Sanctions
From the International Crisis Group [February 25, 2013]
---- Not the product of a single policy, the sanctions regime has mutated over three decades, been imposed by a variety of actors and aimed at a wide range of objectives. The end result is an impressive set of unilateral and multilateral punitive steps targeting virtually every important sector of Iran’s economy, in principle tethered to multiple policy objectives (non-proliferation; anti-terrorism; human rights) yet, in the main, aimed at confronting the Islamic Republic with a straightforward choice: either comply with international demands on the nuclear file, or suffer the harsh economic consequences. The story of how the international community reached this point is a study in the limitations and frustrations (some unavoidable, many self-inflicted) it has faced in seeking to influence Iranian policy. It is a study in the irresistible appeal of sanctions, backed both by hardliners who wish to cripple the regime and by more moderate actors who view them as the alternative to a military strike. And it is a study in how, over time, means tend to morph into ends: in the absence of any visible shift in Tehran’s political calculus, it is difficult to measure their impact through any metric other than the quantity and severity of the sanctions themselves. That they have yet to significantly curb Tehran’s nuclear drive becomes, in this context, more or less an afterthought. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/iraq-iran-gulf/iran/138-spider-web-the-making-and-unmaking-of-iran-sanctions.asp

Also on sanctions - Rachelle Younglai and Paul Carrel, “Lawmakers target ECB to stop Iran from using euros,” Reuters [February 21, 2013] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/21/us-ecb-iran-idUSBRE91K0V420130221; and Juan Cole, “WaPo says Gasoline Price Increase Mysterious, Ignores US blockade of Iran Oil!,” Informed Comment [February 20, 2013]http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/gasoline-mysterious-blockade.html

CYBERWAR
2005 US computer virus attack on Iran nuclear plants
By Charles Arthur, The Guardian [UK] [February 26, 2013]
---- Researchers at the security company Symantec have discovered an early version of the "Stuxnet" computer virus that was used to attack nuclear reprocessing plants in Iran, in what they say is a "missing link" dating back to 2005. The discovery means that the US andIsrael, who are believed to have jointly developed the software in order to carry out an almost undetectable attack on Iran's nuclear bomb-making ambitions, were working on the scheme long before it came to public notice – and that development of Stuxnet, and its forerunner, began under the presidency of George W Bush, rather than being a scheme hatched during Barack Obama's first term. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/26/symantec-us-computer-virus-iran-nuclear

AN OSCAR FOR “ARGO”
Oscar Prints the Legend: Argo and the Failure of Truth
By Nima Shirazi, Wide Asleep in America [February 23, 2013]
---- Over the past 12 months, rarely a week - let alone month - went by without new predictions of an ever-imminent Iranian nuclear weapon and ever-looming threats of an American or Israeli military attack. Come October 2012, into the fray marched "Argo," adecontextualized, ahistorical "true story" of Orientalist proportion, subjecting audiences to two hours of American victimization and bearded barbarians, culminating in popped champagne corks and rippling stars-and-stripes celebrating our heroism and triumph andtheir frustration and defeat.  Salon's Andrew O'Hehir aptly described the film as "a propaganda fable," explaining as others have that essentially none of its edge-of-your-seat thrills or most memorable moments ever happened. … In an interview with The Huffington Post, Affleck went so far as to say, "I tried to make a movie that is absolutely just factual. And that's another reason why I tried to be as true to the story as possible -- because I didn't want it to be used by either side. I didn't want it to be politicized internationally or domestically in a partisan way. I just wanted to tell a story that was about the facts as I understood them." For Affleck, these facts apparently don't include understanding why the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun and occupied on November 4, 1979.http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/02/oscar-prints-the-legend-argo.html

BLOWING SMOKE
Introduction
---- The IAEA’s quarterly reports consistently affirm that Iran has not diverted any enriched uranium to what might be military purposes, and the most recent analysis by the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies affirms that Iran does not have the intention of developing nuclear weapons.  With the absence of both smoke and gun, alarmists about Iran parse the tea leaves to find indications that Iran might have dark intentions not readily apparent.  This search has launched several rounds of disinformation.  One, the claim that Hezbollah (and thus Iran) was behind the terror attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last July, has been discredited by the investigative work of Gareth Porter.  His latest contribution is linked below.  A second set of allegations, reported in the last issue of the IWW, uses dubious claims about Iran’s attempt to purchase specialized magnets to conclude that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.  This claim is thoroughly debunked in an article linked below fromThe Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  This week we have a new claim, a Cyprus branch of the Hezbollah v. Israel story, with a trial now in progress.  So far I know of no debunking of this story, but you can do it yourself starting with why would Hezbollah send someone from Lebanon to Cyprus to find out what time planes from Israel are landing (instead of, for example, looking on-line or calling the airport). – FB

Bulgaria's Hezbollah 'Hypothesis' and the EU Terror List
By Gareth Porter Aljazeera February 24, 2013

Iran centrifuge magnet story technically questionable
By Yousaf Butt, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [February 20, 2013]
---- Based on an Institute for Science and International Security report, the Washington Postrecently claimed that Iranian agents tried to buy 100,000 highly specialized, ring-shaped magnets allegedly intended for centrifuge machines, supposedly signaling a major expansion of Iran's nuclear program.
The magnets in question are not highly specialized and have many uses besides centrifuges; for example, such ceramic ring magnets have been used in loudspeakers for more than half a century.
On an issue as important as Iran's nuclear program, analysts and reporters should not jump to conclusions that are unsupported by evidence. http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/iran-centrifuge-magnet-story-technically-questionable


 

END IRAN NEWSLETTER #22

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