(The better informed everybody becomes the greater the chance that war can be prevented and propaganda can not distort reality. With a couple of clicks you can do your part by simply forwarding this to others.)
(It should be noted, especially those in the Obama Administration, that Iran will essentially be shut down till April 2nd and so for this period of time they should not expect any response to provocations, signals, threats, disinformation, or outreach. Iranians will be very busy with family matters and taking a break from work and traveling.)
( Note to Netanyahu: Try to control yourself for two weeks because the way you are leading Israel you are becoming the "existential threat" more than anybody else.)
(Below is an Op-Ed from Ray Takeyh of the Council of Foreign Relations followed by a thorough pummeling by Cyrus Safdari. In the ring you will find two intelligent and well informed Iranians that have a totally different take on the situation. Read both articles and decide for yourself who is more in touch with reality.)
Iran's Missing Moderates
By RAY TAKEYH
Today, Iran is ruled by a supreme leader who brooks no dissent, countenances no alternative perspectives and seems obsessed with nuclear science. Gone are pragmatists and reformers who once used their status and power inside the government to edge Khamenei away from confrontation. That is the key difference between today’s impasse and previous historical encounters with the Islamic Republic.
Ray Takeyh shovels more of the same on Iran
By Cyrus Safdari
Sadly Takeyh is very much mistaken in not only his assessment of Iran's suspension of uranium, and the effects of "moderates" on Iran's nuclear program.
The fact is that it isn't Iran that has "refused to negotiate." As I've pointed out before, that phrase -- Iran's "refusal to negotiate" -- is Washington DC code language for "refuses to give up enrichment" but in fact Iran has repeatedly offered a variety of compromise gestures that the US has ignored because ultimately the demand for Iran to give up enrichment is specifically designed and intended to be unachievable, since the US does not really want to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran. Rather, the US wants to keep the issue alive as long as possible in order to have a convenient excuse for a policy of regime change.
Rafsanjani's Reappointment Provokes Speculation in Iran
By Yasaman Baji
Last week's unexpected reappointment of Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as the chair of Expediency Council has provoked considerable speculation here about Iran's future political trajectory as it faces unprecedented economic pressure and military threats from Israel and the United States.
Khamenei was "probably unable to convince prominent clerics of the need for Rafsanjani's complete purge," he told IPS. "The move would have completely breached Khamenei's relationship with these influential clerics."
Another analyst points out that without Rafsanjani as chair, influential clerics such as Ayatollah Abbas Vaez Tabasi, who heads Iran's richest religious foundation, Astan-e Qods-e Razavi, would probably boycott future meetings, "making even more public Khamenei's effective loss of support among the higher ranks of the clerical community."
The Mar. 2 parliamentary election may have also contributed to the decision. Although the Interior Ministry announced that 64 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, scepticism about the official figures is widespread.
"The fact that the Leader did not issue a written statement of appreciation for popular participation, as is usually his custom, reveals his unhappiness regarding the election," a Tehran University political science professor told IPS. "And under these circumstances his hands were constrained in the push to eliminate important individuals such as Rafsanjani."
Regardless of Khamenei's true reasons, the message received by the public of Rafsanjani's re-appointment, wrote Sadeq Zibakalam, another political science professor at the University of Tehran, in the reformist Shargh newspaper, was one of support for moderation against extremism.
Pentagon Finds Perils for U.S. if Israel Were to Strike Iran
By Mark Mazzetti
A classified war simulation held this month to assess the American military’s capabilities to respond to an Israeli attack on Iran forecast that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.
(Hundreds? 4,000 Americans lost their lives in Iraq and a couple of TRILLION dollars went into the pockets of the military industrial complex so I'd say double these figures and you'd be closer to a realistic projection.)
Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work
By Jeffrey Goldberg
A widely held assumption about a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is that it would spur Iranian citizens -- many of whom appear to despise their rulers -- to rally around the regime. But Netanyahu, I’m told, believes a successful raid could unclothe the emperor, emboldening Iran’s citizens to overthrow the regime (as they tried to do, unsuccessfully, in 2009).
(No Jeffrey, they were not trying to overthrow the regime. They were protesting a sham election for being a sham election and in the process the emperors' cloths slipped off.)
(Below is from yesterdays post and it needs to be repeated here as a response to Jeffrey Goldberg's article:)
"Even if the infrastructure of Iran's nuclear project were destroyed, it is impossible to destroy Iranian knowledge. And knowledge, and those who possess it, will rise from the dust – and this time fuelled by the insult of humiliation, and unbridled hatred, and a thirst for vengeance on the part of the whole Iranian people."
(This is ONE outcome that most certainly WILL happen.)
Strained by Sanctions, Iran Eases Money Policy
By RICK GLADSTONE
Economists said the eased exchange rate restriction, which now simply requires money changers to report the rate at which they sell dollars for rials, would provide the central bank with more precise information about the domestic demand for dollars and enable it to track the disparity between the official rate and the market rate more accurately.
The official rate was designed in part to prevent a flight of capital from the country.
But the eased policy creates new risks for Iran’s government by raising the likelihood of such a capital flight, as Iran’s economic isolation increases because of the sanctions imposed by Western powers in response to its disputed nuclear energy program.
The sanctions are expected to intensify further in coming months, as the European Union imposes a boycott of Iranian oil starting on July 1 and the United States enforces a new law that can penalize any foreign company that does business with Iran’s central bank by denying that company access to the American market.
(The Dollar is now 19,000 Rials with the positive aspect of this being that Iranian exports are now very attractive and makes this a good business to get into. Some Iranians living abroad are snapping up property given that they are essentially buying at almost half the price of 6 months ago.)
Hawks Steering Debate on How to Take On Iran
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and MARK LANDLER
With Israeli leaders warning of an existential threat from Iran and openly discussing the possibility of attacking its nuclear facilities, pro-Israel groups on all sides have mobilized to make their views known to the Obama administration and to Congress. But it is the most hawkish voices, like the Emergency Committee’s, that have dominated the debate, and, in the view of some critics, pushed the United States closer to taking military action against Iran and another war in the Middle East.
Among those advocating a more aggressive approach toward Iran are prominent Republicans in Congress, like Mr. Cantor and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the party’s presidential candidates; groups like the Emergency Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac; the so-called “neocons” from the George W. Bush administration who were strong proponents of the war in Iraq; pro-Israel evangelical Christians like Mr. Bauer, who is also active in the group Christians United for Israel; and many Democrats.
Urging diplomacy are liberal groups like J Street, which is helped by $500,000 a year in contributions from the liberal philanthropist George Soros, and Tikkun, a Jewish journal that has begun running newspaper advertisements here and abroad that urge, “NO War on Iran and NO First Strike!” Tikkun, based in Berkeley, Calif., is hoping to link its antiwar message with the Occupy protests.
“A lot of people talk about the ‘Israel lobby’ as if it’s a monolithic thing,” said Dylan Williams, head of government affairs for J Street. “It’s a myth. There is a deep division between those who support military action at this point and those who support diplomacy.”
Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who opposes military action against Iran, said, “The rhetoric is overblown.”
Those advocating military intervention “whip up fear and whip up doomsday scenarios,” Mr. Ellison said in an interview. “It has an effect. If nothing else, they’re making Obama talk about military options with regard to Iran.”
But Mr. Ellison is in the minority on Capitol Hill, where the debate over Israel and Iran was largely settled long ago.
In the standoff with Iran, it is the hawkish groups supporting military action that wield more money, political clout and high-profile names than do the advocates of a diplomatic solution.
The president himself has warned against “loose talk of war” in the public debate over Iranian policy, even as he has left open the possibility of military action. At the Aipac conference, Mr. Obama reassured Israeli officials and supporters that he had “Israel’s back.” He referred explicitly to military action as an option for dealing with Iran and rejected a policy of containment. The harder line that Mr. Obama articulated also happens to be good domestic politics, according to experts. The president’s statements, they said, calmed the jitters of some Jewish voters about his support for Israel and defused the effort of Republican presidential candidates to use Iran as a wedge issue against him.
Steve Rabinowitz, who served in the Clinton administration and now advises Jewish groups, said that an issue that Republicans “hoped would be a major weapon in turning Jews against the president was all but taken away from them.”
(I am sure you have seen those old American movies where a lynch mob is on the loose and they end up hanging some black man. Well, that's what's going on in America, a lynch mob is on the loose. And ironically a black man stands between the mob and the lynching at the moment.)
The Bogus Iran Intelligence Debate
By Bret Stephens
Ignore the media leaks. Tehran's nuke program is hiding in plain sight.
(And so is your warmongering Bret. Which is no surprise given that the readers of the Wall Street Journal will profit handsomely through investments in defense stocks as they did through the Iraq war. Blood soaked dollars anybody?)
Obama, Iran, and the Price of Gas
By Justin Raimondo
The oil speculators constitute a kind of early warning system, alerting us to the likelihood of a war in the Middle East months before it actually occurs. In this they perform a vital – even heroic – function. Too bad no one’s listening.
Where’s the Declaration of War on Iran?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Given all the talk about the possibility of President Obama initiating another war of aggression, this one against Iran, now would be a good time to review the illegality of such an operation, a point that will likely be forgotten once the standard war fever and warped sense of patriotism hits the media and the mainstream public.
Kayhan Barzegar: Before prograss in nuclear talks, "balance" of expections must be reached.
By Jasmine Ramsey
P5+1 IS Not Unanimous On Iran
Sanctions Won't End Iran's Nuclear Program
By Kayhan Barzegar
(I'd like to wish all the readers of this blog a Happy New Year…"Aayde shoma mobarak".)
(Hopefully 1391 will not see war take place or a military strike on Iran because we Iranians all know that problems can be solved peacefully and through "chooneh" and hard bargaining.)
(One thing I have learnt about my own culture, which I was unaware of for many years because I lived abroad, is that Iranians may argue and fight and seem to be on the brink of pulling each others eyeballs out but almost always they find a way to sit down and make peace. Americans are not like this. They pull out a gun and shoot each other. Let's hope this cultural difference does not end up as war.)
(Mr. Obama, Mr. Netanyahu, please cool it, get the facts, sit down and talk, and have faith in Iranians to bring about democracy and the rule of law in Iran through our own means and not through your bombs and sanctions. Even if the regime is mistakenly working on making a nuke (no evidence for this) you know and everybody else knows that it's worthless and will only result in the complete destruction of Iran if it is tested or used.)
(The officials in Iran are ready to talk and comprise in my opinion, so please give them a chance to do this. They take their time to muddle through and reach a decision (and it drives one crazy!) but one thing you can be certain of they do not want a military confrontation. Peace is the answer, not war.)
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