Starving Iran Won’t Free It
By HOOMAN MAJD
"In Iran, political change cannot be brought about by coercion, sanctions or exiles and their enablers, despite what American politicians might think. Instead, it will come slowly — too slowly for an American election cycle, to be sure. And it will come only after Iranians are no longer hungry and the government has no excuses left, including national security, to deny the people’s civil rights.
The ever more stringent sanctions imposed on Iran may be “biting,” but they are also stifling voices for change — voices that simply cannot be heard at a time when the population is threatened with an economic chokehold or, worse, with being bombed.
Sanctions will neither change the regime’s behavior nor ignite a Persian Spring — not as long as the Persians are hungry, and scared."
Tehranis Talk of the Elections' Stakes and Khatami's Shock Ballot
by ALI CHENAR
"The state-controlled and pro-regime media tried another way to inspire people to vote. Banners around Tehran, newspaper columns, and television and radio commentaries told Iranians that the "elections will insure the country's safety and security." The official line was "If you vote, America might not attack us." Such messages struck a chord with some Iranians who voted to keep their homeland safe.
Some voted out of loyalty to the regime, while others did so for more personal financial reasons. "In our city, people who are relatives of candidates or related to them vote," said Somayyeh, who is from southern Iran and studies political science in Tehran. If their candidate wins, she explains, "it means they have a powerful voice inside the system to advocate their interests." Somayyeh also thinks that it's not about politics, but " getting more money for your city and county and getting your friends and family jobs." Iran might not be a democracy, but the game of political patronage is played here like anywhere else. So people vote, not out of political conviction, but to gain a larger slice of the oil-revenue pie."
Israel's threats of war are more potent than war itself.
By Patrick Cockburn
"Israel's threats of imminent war against Iran are most likely high-quality bluff. Yet it is a bluff that has, so far, proved successful in isolating Iran politically and economically.
But their repeated threats to strike Iran before it strikes Israel have proved highly successful in persuading Europe, and much of the rest of the world, to join the US in imposing economic sanctions."
Ex-Netanyahu aide slams debate on attacking Iran
"A former security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says key voices are being excluded from the debate over whether to attack Iran. He told Israel TV's Channel 2 this means not all alternatives to an attack are being considered."
$5 Gas, Iranian Poker, and the Peak of 'Peak Oil' Denial
by Richard Heinberg
"Iran wants nuclear power and (probably) the capacity to build a nuclear weapon; the latter is unacceptable to Israel and the U.S. But there is more to the standoff than this. Iran is a strategic oil and gas exporting country that, for the past 30 years, has escaped integration into the U.S. system of client states; it also occasionally provides assistance to Israel’s enemies. Following the disastrous U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has emerged as the principal power in the region, capable of further destabilizing either of its war-torn neighbors. And Tehran has led a move to ditch the U.S. dollar as the standard currency of exchange in the global oil market."
U.S. Backers of Israel Pressure Obama Over Policy on Iran
By MARK LANDLER
"Israeli officials are demanding that Iran agree to halt all its enrichment of uranium in the country, and that the suspension be verified by United Nations inspectors, before the West resumes negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program.
The White House has rejected that demand, Israeli and American officials said on Friday, arguing that Iran would never agree to a blanket ban upfront, and to insist on it would doom negotiations before they even began.
American Jews are anything but monolithic. More dovish groups, like J Street, are trying to make a case against a pre-emptive Israeli strike. But for the next few days, Aipac will set the tone for an intense debate over the Iranian nuclear threat."
Hurting, Hanging, Suffocating & Starving: The Inhumanity of Iran Threat Rhetoric
By Nima Shirazi
"Such nonchalant talk and campaign trail knee-slappers about the "annihilation" and "obliteration," of murder and war crimes, of tightened nooses - the execution of a death sentence - and of deliberately hurting a nation of 74 million human beings, along with chest-thumping boasts about destroying the internationally safeguarded nuclear facilities of a sovereign country, would be unequivocally condemned were it directed toward the United States or its allies.
After thirty years of warmongering, threats, and propaganda, it's clear that American and Israeli discourse about Iran is starving for humanity."
NOTE: In the March 1, 2012 post I linked to The New York Times op-ed by Amir Arjomand. Well here is a response to his op-ed by Cyrus Safdari which is valid on many levels and should be read: //www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2012/03/fa...)
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