(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.)
Obama’s signal to Iran
By David Ignatius
President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.”
This verbal message was sent through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Khamenei last week.
A sign of Erdogan’s role as intermediary is that he was accompanied, both in the meeting with Obama and on the trip to Iran, by Hakan Fidan, the chief of Turkey’s intelligence service. Fidan is said to have close relations with Qassem Suleimani, who heads Iran’s Quds Force and is probably Khamenei’s closest adviser on security issues.
(If this is true Netanyahu must be having a total fit.)
Iran’s limited escape options
By Karim Sadjadpour
Khamenei’s aversion to compromise is well-established.
Just as perestroika hastened the demise of the Soviet Union, Khamenei believes that compromising on revolutionary ideals could destabilize the foundations of the Islamic Republic.
The utility of continued dialogue and negotiations will not be to resolve our differences with Iran but to prevent our cold conflict from turning hot.
The Obama administration’s unprecedented and unreciprocated overtures to Iran helped expose — to the world and to the Iranian people — the fact that Tehran, not Washington, is the intransigent actor in this equation.
(Mr. Sadjadpour's opinion piece is based on the presumption that Iran is pursing a nuclear weapon plus his perception that Iran is the intransigent party; both points are open to debate and strong arguments have been presented by others that counter both these positions. See past Iran News episodes for links and articles.)
Israel's Iranian Jews grapple with possible strike on their homeland
By Ben Lynfield
Amid the tense atmosphere between Israel and Iran this Passover season, many of Israel's 250,000 citizens of Iranian descent are finding themselves in a complicated and uncomfortable position.
(Really? There are 250,000 Jewish-Iranians living in Israel? Maybe they have been having a lot of children but I doubt if that many were born in Iran. Anybody have actual census numbers?)
Molok Shamshiri, an Iranian-Israeli restaurant cook, recalls relations with Muslims back in Iran as being ''so good it is hard to describe.''
''My Muslim neighbor would come make tea for me every Sabbath because she knew I could not light the fire [due to an orthodox Jewish prohibition],'' says Ms. Shamshiri, a religious woman who covers her hair for modesty. ''The Muslims would help us with parties, celebrations, weddings. They would help with everything and not for money. They would always ask if we needed anything.''
Shamshiri, who takes pride in her Ghormeh Sabzi, a famous herbal soup, says: ''It is hard for me to understand how things went so wrong. But I am sure the Iranian people are still the same people. Neither do the Iranian people want war. I know them.''
Clothing store owner Albert Moradian has feelings for Iran that are perhaps even stronger. ''To sum up in one word, I feel longing,'' he says, tears welling up in his eyes. Turning up a CD of Iranian classical music singer Mohammed Shajarian, Mr. Moradian says: ''I am Iranian in my behavior, my accent, and the demands I make of my children to respect everyone.''
Mr. Moradian, who was a lieutenant in the Iranian army, left after the revolution because he feared the new regime would take steps against officers who served under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. ''Of course I have good memories. I think the Iranian people are a special people, not of wars, but of music, poetry, and soul.'' He says he still visits Iran ''through the Internet'' and dreams of the day when he can take his children there.
''Unfortunately, the media here conveys a picture as if Iran is only Ahmadinejad. The media is mobilized and I don't believe any report from it.'' he says. Moradian is against Israel's striking the nuclear installations. He says that the Iranian people will eventually overthrow the regime.
State-dominated media and Iran
By Gleen Greenwald
The New York Times this morning (April 4) is prominently featuring a long article documenting the Terroristic aggression of Iran, as evidenced by that country’s attempts to exert influence and foment unrest in Afghanistan.
The article is basically written by “American officials,” all of whom are granted anonymity with no real justification, given that they’re all reciting the official government line about Iran in unison.
In methodology and conclusion, it is pure state-run media propaganda, by definition: shaped exclusively by official government assertions, amplified without skepticism or challenge.
(Below is the link to the article that Greenwald is referring to.)
Our Men in Iran?
By Seymour Hersh
From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran.
It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K.
(This of course is not much of a surprise but it is still astonishing for its puke inducing hypocrisy. See next item for more on Seymour Hersh's article.)
Seymour Hersh: US Trains And Facilitates MEK Terror Attacks In Iran
by Richard Silverstein
This just about knocked my socks off! Sy Hersh, reporting in the New Yorker, one ups Mark Perry and just about everybody else with a story that the Bush administration provided MEK operatives terror training at secret facilities in Nevada starting in 2005.
The MEK had been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in 1997. But just when you’re exhaling and saying: phew, at least it was only in the Bush era, Hersh informs you that though the training ended before Obama took office, the MEK terror activities using U.S. supplied arms and logistical support continue inside Iran to this day:
This means of course that certainly George Bush, and implicitly Barack Obama couldn’t give a crap about the terror designation, which makes it an empty exercise and a laughingstock. So the U.S. kills Osama bin Laden in cold blood as an Islamist terrorist while we maintain our own set of Muslim terrorists inside Iran doing our bidding there. If this isn’t the rankest hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.
The next time you hear Tom Ridge, Howard Dean, Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz spout the lies of Maryam Rajavi that the MEK long ago renounced terrorism remember Sy Hersh’s story. This also reinforces the total sleaziness of these leading American political figures taking wads of cash from Iranian dissident terrorists blowing up Iranians on Iranian soil.
Iran leading U.S. lawyer argues bizarrely that while the MEK has renounced terror, if the U.S. HAD trained the group that this gave it an official heksher, meaning that it should no longer be on the terror list since it was doing the bidding of the American government. This argument turns the MEK into the equivalent of our Hmong tribesmen during the Vietnam war or the Bay of Pigs anti-Castro forces waging war to topple Fidel.
In other words, they may be terrorists but they’re OUR terrorists.
This rounds out reports offered by a confidential Israeli source to me that the Mossad has been running MEK agents inside Iran as well who bombed a missile base and assassinated five nuclear scientists. Hersh now adds to this that the U.S. is providing critical intelligence information that aids in these attacks.
Though Hersh doesn’t say so explicitly, he exposes Leon Panetta as a bald-face liar in this passage:
"In mid-January, a few days after an assassination by car bomb of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, at a town-hall meeting of soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, acknowledged that the U.S. government has “some ideas as to who might be involved, but we don’t know exactly who was involved.” He added, “But I can tell you one thing: the United States was not involved in that kind of effort. That’s not what the United States does.”"
Let’s be very explicit: the U.S. is waging a war of terror against Iran. It is a war little different from the war Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda waged against us. The only difference is that we’re pissed about their alleged nuclear program and Al Qaeda was pissed at our alleged offenses against Islam. In perpetrating these acts of terror against Iran we are a terrorist nation. Plain and simple. Whether or not you believe that an Iranian bomb is a danger to humanity, there is no justification to engage in terror.
The next time Obama trumpets a captured Iranian terrorist attempting to attack a U.S. target the world should laugh in his face. He’s little more than a friggin’ hypocrite.
Blowback: In Aiding Iranian Terrorists, the U.S. Repeats a Dangerous Mistake
By Max Fisher
The revelation that the U.S. supported MEK (despised within Iran not so differently from how Americans despise, say, al-Qaeda) will probably make a "grand bargain" for detente less likely because Iranian officials will face higher domestic political risks in pursuing peace. If you're an Iranian leader who thinks detente might be a good idea, pursuing it was already politically risky for you, and it probably just got even less desirable.
This will probably also worsen popular Iranian perceptions of the U.S. and popular appetite for detente. How can the U.S. say it stands with the Iranian people, Iranians might ask, when it funds the terrorist group that attacks Iranian people? Anti-American nationalism is perhaps the best tool that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his faction still have for maintaining domestic support.
This news will likely drive the Iranian public and regime closer together, entrench the hardliners within the regime, and set back American "soft power" outreach to Iranians.
Gunter Grass's Controversial Poem About Israel, Iran, and War, Translated
By Heather Horn
On Wednesday, Nobel-winning German writer Günter Grass published a poem denouncing Israel's nuclear program and aggression toward Iran. The poem, in which Grass says he has kept silent on the issue for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic, has sparked controversy within Germany, where relations with Israel are often colored by a sense of national guilt for the Holocaust. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the poem's assertion that Israel poses a greater threat to world peace than Iran a "shameful moral equivalence." The poem also laments Germany's decision to sell submarines to Israel that are capable of launching nuclear weapons.
What Must Be Said
Why do I stay silent, conceal for too long
What clearly is and has been
Practiced in war games, at the end of which we as survivors
Are at best footnotes.
It is the alleged right to first strike
That could annihilate the Iranian people--
Enslaved by a loud-mouth
And guided to organized jubilation--
Because in their territory,
It is suspected, a bomb is being built.
Yet why do I forbid myself
To name that other country
In which, for years, even if secretly,
There has been a growing nuclear potential at hand
But beyond control, because no testing is available?
The universal concealment of these facts,
To which my silence subordinated itself,
I sense as incriminating lies
And force--the punishment is promised
As soon as it is ignored;
The verdict of "anti-Semitism" is familiar.
Now, though, because in my country
Which from time to time has sought and confronted
The very crime
That is without compare
In turn on a purely commercial basis, if also
With nimble lips calling it a reparation, declares
A further U-boat should be delivered to Israel,
Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existence
Of a single atomic bomb is unproven,
But through fear of what may be conclusive,
I say what must be said.
Why though have I stayed silent until now?
Because I think my origin,
Which has never been affected by this obliterating flaw,
Forbids this fact to be expected as pronounced truth
Of the country of Israel, to which I am bound
And wish to stay bound.
Why do I say only now,
Aged and with my last ink,
That the nuclear power of Israel endangers
The already fragile world peace?
Because it must be said
What even tomorrow may be too late to say;
Also because we--as Germans burdened enough--
Could be the suppliers to a crime
That is foreseeable, wherefore our complicity
Could not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses.
And granted: I am silent no longer
Because I am tired of the hypocrisy
Of the West; in addition to which it is to be hoped
That this will free many from silence,
Prompt the perpetrator of the recognized danger
To renounce violence and
That an unhindered and permanent control
Of the Israeli nuclear potential
And the Iranian nuclear sites
Be authorized through an international agency
Of the governments of both countries.
Only this way are all, the Israelis and Palestinians,
Even more, all people, that in this
Region occupied by mania
Live cheek by jowl among enemies,
In the end also to help us.
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