Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 15, 2012

Iran Sanctions Europe, Uses Self Made Fuel And Returns To Talks

UPDATED below

The sanctions against Iran are a self inflicted wound for the west as they increase economic pain on Europe.

The decision of the EU to no longer buy Iranian oil starting in July was ridiculous. Oil will become more expensive for those who sanction Iran and cheaper for those who do not, primarily India and China. Iran will not feel any significant pain over this.

But the U.S. is still pressing for even more sanctions. All banks in the word use the technical telecommunication provider SWIFT to exchange data between them. The U.S. now wants to cut Iran out of that. This is quite extreme economic warfare:

Representatives from SWIFT are scheduled to meet with European Union officials this week, according to US official familiar with the talks. The meeting is expected to result in the EU ordering SWIFT to expel at least some of its sanctioned banks. It is unclear, however, whether the order will extend to Iran's Central Bank.

It would be crazy for the EU to allow such a precedent. SWIFT has never been used for sanctions as it is simply a technical exchange. What is next? Stopping all telephone lines to Iran or anyone the U.S. doesn't like?

But two can play the game. Iran will not wait until July to stop oil delivery to Europe:

In response to the latest sanctions imposed by the EU against Iran's energy and banking sectors, the Islamic Republic has cut oil exports to six European countries.

Iran on Wednesday cut oil exports to six European countries including Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.

The southern European countries, if they can get crude oil from other sources at all, will have to reconfigure their refineries significantly to be able to process other than Iranian crude. It is likely that this immediate stop of Iranian oil delivery will lead to shortages of gasoline in those countries. That will come on top of anti-austerity riots and high unemployment in the southern European countries and will certainly hurt their stability.

Iran also announced today that it put its first self-made 20% enriched fuel elements into the Tehran Research reactor and that it sent a letter to the EU "welcoming" the P5+1, the UN Security Council veto members plus Germany,  readiness to return to the negotiating table.

This three part message, pressure on Europe through Iran's own sanction, success with its civil nuclear program despite sanctions from Europe and the readiness for new talks might soften the European position towards Iran.

This could be a chance for the EU to stop the stupid urge of some of its politicians to follow U.S. bellicosity against Iran. Publicly rejecting to push further sanctions on Iran through manipulating SWIFT would now be the right thing to do. But will the EU politicians understand that?

UPDATE: Iran oil ministry denies state media reports on EU oil stop
(Reuters) - Iran's Oil Ministry denied state media reports on the Islamic state stopping its crude exports to six European countries on Wednesday.

"We deny this report ... If such a decision is made, it will be announced by Iran's Supreme National Security Council," a spokesman for the ministry told Reuters.

Hmmm - and who told Press TV the opposite? Who is playing this psy war?

Posted by b on February 15, 2012 at 13:14 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Well that is one bargaining chip the US has completely wasted. If the US had taken the LEU in the Brazil/Turkey deal from a few years ago, then Iran would not have learnt how to enrich to 20% (AFAIK, the technology jump from 5% LEU to 20% LEU is harder than the jump from 20% LEU to 95% HEU) and also improved its enriched uranium machining skills (can everybody say pit!). What a bunch of tossers!

Posted by: blowback | Feb 15 2012 13:44 utc | 1

This could be a chance for the EU to stop the stupid urge of some of its politicians to follow U.S. bellicosity against Iran.

It seems that you continually neglect to see what is happening globally as a form of global class warfare, and until you do, it's not going to make any sense to you. It all depends on what glasses you're wearing. You somehow believe that the U.S. is calling the shots on all of this, and wagging the European dog, but if that's true, it doesn't square with the European-owned and controlled BP wagging the U.S. dog during the Macondo Well blowout. What's true both cases though, is that the Global Plutocrats are willing to sacrifice the well-being of the "Little People" for their own personal gain. Anything they foment, they have arranged it in such a way that they are enriched whether it succeeds or fails in conventional terms.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 15 2012 13:53 utc | 2

"The decision of the EU to no longer buy Iranian oil starting in July was ridiculous. Oil will become more expensive for those who sanction Iran and cheaper for those who do not, primarily India and China. Iran will not feel any significant pain over this."


I have a hard time believing that the EU leaders are not completely aware of the effect the sanctions will have on their respective nations?
Which makes me think, the move is designed to crush the economies intentionally.
And intended to completely impoverish the masses.
Who will then accept any bit of bread tossed their way. Amidst the entertainment provided by the circuses

Posted by: Penny | Feb 15 2012 14:29 utc | 3

According to ElPais, the Iranian petroleum ministry has denied that exports to 6 Euro countries will be cut (or has denied that a decision has been taken…). Timestamp on the article is 15:12 CET.

Posted by: Philippe | Feb 15 2012 14:36 utc | 4

MoBam, I think you should read Chris Hedges latest piece about how to find strength within our collective powerlessness.

b, I've found myself steering folks more and more to MoA, especially with what's going down in Syria. thinking in terms of geopolitics is not something many liberals I talk to seem capable of doing very well at all. too many of 'em swallow the humanitarian crap hook, line, and sinker quicker.

Posted by: lizard | Feb 15 2012 14:39 utc | 5

I agree, Penny. It's the beginnings of depopulation. Birth rates are going to plummet, infant death and death giving birth are going to skyrocket. Infectious disease is going to make a 4th quarter comeback. All this will result in a precipitously declining population. For the rest, have them murder each other in the streets. It doesn't take much to pit one against the other until there are no more. Meanwhile, the Plutocrats remain far out of reach. And to think, it made us feel better, once upon a time, to call all of that, incompetence. Who will have the last laugh, that's the question? I know what the answer will be, so long as no one asks the question.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 15 2012 14:40 utc | 6

But will the EU politicians understand that?

I don't think so.
These are the dumbfucks who courted disaster by blustering (to each other) about damaging Iran's economy before they had even thought about minimising the blowback on themselves.
They won't wake up until the "neck-tie parties" are in full swing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 15 2012 14:52 utc | 7

MB @ 6

To summarize, we are all Gazans now.

Posted by: mrm | Feb 15 2012 15:08 utc | 8

My fear is that we are bifurcating the world. If we sanction Iran through SWIFT, then there will simply arise an alternative to SWIFT. THAT is something I don't think the CIA, DOD or State want to see. I don't know if they've thought this through. It's revolutionary thinking to them that something novel might be introduced into the system. But, when revolution allows water to seek it's own level better that the forces that seek to contain that water can hold it back, you get revolution.

This really is a perfect match of opportunity, necessity for the BRICT players seeking alternative currency. This could end the petro-dollar, or rather birth a new essentially petroBRIC. We shouldn't push too hard, all we will do is close ourselves off to an increasing share of the world. And if not, raise the forces of enmity that feed such a change.

Posted by: scottindallas | Feb 15 2012 15:29 utc | 9

Most EU politicians are more or less conscious agents of the United States. The US has been sponsoring its favourites, men like Sarkozy and Blair for example, since the end of WW II. This is very well documented, particularly the interference in the "left" and the Unions to suppress communists and those socialists, the great majority in the 40s who saw the aggressive bullying US as a much bigger danger than the exhausted, weakened Soviet Union.
The current French "Socialist" party is a good example of the success of the patient and well financed campaign to draw the sting of patriotism out of the mass movements which emerged from the war. The EU narrative with its faux (tourist) internationalism and its complete agreement with Wall Street's world view illustrates this.
Morocco is right that this is class war on a global scale and, as Greece and Ireland show, the answer to it is a robust nationalist critique of Quisling capitalism and governments always ready to betray the interests of the people to demonstrate their undying allegiance to the Capitalist class, whose great instrument is the US state.
The only thing that is holding back the anti-capitalist forces in Europe is the idiocy of intellectuals who have stopped thinking and surrendered to shibboleths calculated to divide the masses. A fear of popular nationalism, not jingoism, not racism but socialist patriotism is one; another is the dilettante Ghandian (cf Chris Hedges)refusal to understand that all violence comes from the state acting for the ruling class, and that any violent response is provoked, understandable and requires the defence of solidarity.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 15 2012 15:29 utc | 10

Iran's Supreme National Security Council

Wouldn't that mean Khamenei's office? Rather than the Parliament that was supposed to vote about imposing counter-sanctions to the European countries?

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 15 2012 15:33 utc | 11

Supreme National Security Council (Wiki)

So not exactly but clearly requires direct approval from Khamenei and it's above the legislative (which may be the source of the report, if there is any real action behind the early report).

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 15 2012 15:40 utc | 12

Just posted this over at RFI. The news has been confirmed.

Unknown Unknowns says:
February 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

Methinks Press TV has talked a little out of school. This news, though also on the Fars News Service site, has not (as yet) been reflected in the 7 PM news. Besides, the government would not undermine its own news opportunity re the nuclear progress with this news on the same day.

I think what has happened is that the 6 countries’ ambassadors were called into the Foreign Ministry this morning to let them know that if they do not break with the EU decision, that they can expect to have their oil supply cut off at very short notice. But regardless, this is definitely not the end of this little story.

(The ambassadors were: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands & Greece.)

As I was typing that last sentence, the IRIB 7 PM news confirmed the news. It was the third or fourth news item, and was allotted less than a minute.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 15:47 utc | 13

@Unknown Unknows - WHICH news did IRIB confirm? Sanctions on Europe or no sanctions?

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 16:00 utc | 14

Using this strategy, the US military will further the goals of the global elites..

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/offshore_everywhere_the_plan_to_end_national_sovereignty_as_we_know_it_2012/

It's a long article,but, worth a read.

@ 2, 3, $ 10, Yes, I agree, the coming "Global Plantation" plans are alive and well.

Posted by: ben | Feb 15 2012 16:19 utc | 15

The sanctions were confirmed by the Channel 1 7 PM news.

The main news is the 9 PM news. But there is also an 8 pm one on Channel 4. I will keep you posted.

Seems Iran is finally giving the warmongers a taste of their own medicine.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 16:19 utc | 16

The news is also confirmed by Tabnak.com (Persian), affiliated with the conervative Mohsen Rezai (former head of IRGC), where dozens of commenters have already posted their approval of the measure.

Raja news (also in Persian, and affiliated with our President, Dr. Ahmadinejad) adds this interesting detail:

این در حالی است که یک مقام مطلع در شرکت ملی نفت ایران اعلام کرده تهران صادرات نفت به دو کشور فرانسه و هلند قطع شده و به چهار کشور پرتغال، اسپانیا، ایتالیا و یونان اولتیماتوم داده که اگر قرارداد بلندمدت بسته نشود صادرات نفت به آنها هم قطع می شود.

[Senior officials of the NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company) have stated that oil exports to France and the Netherlands have been cut off (with immediate effect), whereas the other 4 countries (spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece) have been given ultimatums that their supply will also be cut off if they fail to enter into long-tern agreement.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 16:32 utc | 17

Oil is sold in the ‘free market’ - world, in fact one of the few commodities that is. Putting sanctions on, or refusing to sell, or buy, or having favorite suppliers is a lot of hogwash.

The trade just goes on in the usual way, that is what everyone wants.

US-Irs-EU stances on this matter is a lot of silly hype and self defeating smoke. And, huh, the free market lifts all boats?

Sanctions and the like in this area are just feeble posturing. The US will continue to be oil dependent and Iran will continue to sell its oil. Oil traders (who take a big skim) are laughing over coke and coffee, they deal with this dumb shit all the time. E.g. Oil for food under Saddam.

In a way, it is like electricity. Where the electrons come from is impossible to say...who buys them and uses them..as well.

Of course, a concerted effort to cut energy to country X can be implemented. That means destroying grids and pipelines and controlling imports by road, check points and so on. Maybe one could do for Albania, but others would also suffer, not good for anyone. Stopping an energy producer from selling or exporting is not on the cards.

The EU is just making nice hypocritical faces at US-Isr.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 15 2012 16:53 utc | 18

Hmmmmmm, OK, 19 minutes into the 8 PM news, the fourth item, in a 30-second blurb, it was stated that the 6 countries' ambassadors were called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and "warned" [ikhtar daad] about their countries' decision to cut oil imports from Iran.

This version was even shorter than the 7 PM one, and vaguer. But what is certain is that something significant enough to warrant the calling in of all 6 ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry (footage of the ambassadors was shown) happened. It seems the "informed source" in NIOC is closest to the mark, and that the other 4 countries will also be cut off unless they cry Uncle.

In other news, congratulations to Sean Stone, Oliver Stone's son, who is also a film maker, who converted to Shi'a Islam in Isfahan, Iran, today. Ma' sha'llah [It is the will of God]. Hopefully he'll make a movie one of these years that will blow a big hole in the propaganda wall of lies perpetuated by Hollywood and teh ?ew York Times and the rest of the "International" Banksters against Iran.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 17:00 utc | 19

What I find fascinating to watch is how different this conflict is than the Iraq conflict. It is, of course, by and large just one more colonial war. The imbalance of power between a colonial superpower and its allies on one side, and a small country brownish (if Aryans will forgive) people without a formal superpower protector on the other, is as massive as ever just in counting the weapons. But the colonial game is far more balanced now than it was even a decade ago.

Does anyone remember how the 2003 Iraq war began, with no-fly-zone aircraft regularly bombing Iraq, "weapons inspectors" running around mapping targets, and with fascinating spectacle of Iraq destroying its surface to surface missiles (Al Samoud) in order to make its invasion easier? The "definant" Saddam Hussein gave everything in a desperate bid to avoid invasion.

Iran is quite different. Oh, it gives a lot: UN inspectors have wide latitude even though Iran knows many report to the CIA; Iran absorbs far more blows (drones and assinations and bombings) than it gives out; and Iran has repeatedly offered to compromise and accomodate with the US et al. But there are limits. Iran isn't afraid to push back financially, diplomatically, militarily, and even nuclearly (is that a word?). The balance of power has shifted so far that there is ZERO possibility of Iran simply bending over and licking the US's boot. IT just amazes me how far the US has fallen in less than a decade, and how far it has yet to fall.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 15 2012 17:30 utc | 20

In other news, congratulations to Sean Stone, Oliver Stone's son, who is also a film maker, who converted to Shi'a Islam in Isfahan, Iran, today. Ma' sha'llah [It is the will of God]. Hopefully he'll make a movie one of these years that will blow a big hole in the propaganda wall of lies perpetuated by Hollywood and teh ?ew York Times and the rest of the "International" Banksters against Iran.

For the love of Jesus, this is a joke, right? The Republican Guard are laughing their asses off right about now. What a maroon! So, what next? Does he take a 13 year old Iranian bride? Interesting, he took a Muslim name that sounds very much like his father's name. Ali and Ollie.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 15 2012 17:55 utc | 21

Bill @ 20:
Iran is not a small country. It is larger than the following countries combined: Iran > Britain (England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland) + France + Germany + Switzerland + Italy. Blame the Mercator projection, I guess.

The other thing as far as the balance of power goes (which your post addressed) is that Uncle Weasel has a glass chin. Iran has been producing analogues of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship cruise missile since 1995. We are now in our fifth generation of this missile, which has a turbojet motor that is substantially faster than the French Exocet missile motor that Argentina used to sink that British ship in the Malvinas Islands in the late 80's (Faulklands). (wiki: Noor missile) That missile, and her sister, the Gader, which has a larger range (200 km) means that in the event of the start of hostilities, the US will pull back from the Persian Gulf and into the Sea of Oman and even further back into the Indian Ocean, if it knows what's good for its mercenary sailors. Given that, and given Iran's tactical ballistic missile capabilities (accuracy/range x quantity), and given the fact that there are so many high-value targets within easy reach of our armed forces (for example, the deep sea port of Ras Tanura where Saudi crude is loaded onto supertankers, and similar such ports of Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE, and the pump-stations that transport the crude from the well-heads to port are similarly easy targets)... given all this, and given the fact that repair of said ports and pup stations would be a project that would take at least a year in peacetime conditions (which would not obtain, of course, for many years), and given that oil is to Uncle Weasel what heroin is to an addict, I think that these are teh kinds of considerations that give Uncle Weasel pause. And it must have been these considerations that made the generals rein in the madmen (Cheney and Rumsfeld) during the reign of that clown, George the Younger.

Like I have told Uncle Weasel in the past:

We're here, we're queer, get used to it!

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 18:11 utc | 22

@MB Does he take a 13 year old Iranian bride?

You are a clueless racist idiot who does not know shit about the world and certainly even less about Iran.

Iran Worries About Soaring Divorce Rate

The minimum age of marriage in Iran is 18 for men and 16 for women and in the last year the average age when people got married was 26 for men and 23 for women.

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 18:12 utc | 23

OK, the 9 o'clock news got the low down. According to it, Iran has NOT cut off ANY country (not even France and Holland) YET. The ambassadors were called in and were warned that if they do not change their position on the oil embargo, Iran will be forced to look to other customers for its oil, and will not be held accountable if in that event, they will no longer be able to supply their respective countries with oil. The Foreign Ministry also told the ambassadors that [by the way] Iran already has customers lined up, and is only holding them off because of Iran's concern for the welfare of European citizens, who are going through a particularly harsh winter currently.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 18:19 utc | 24

Thank you, b. Yes, that was a particularly stupid comment. No, he can't take a 13 year old bride in Iran, but he could wait till she turned 14 and marry her in Hawaii, back in the good ol' US of A. So? If you're gonna wait for the neo-cortex to stop growing, you'll have to wait until she's around 25 or so, after which you better hurry up lest she no longer be able to give fully "informed" consent, cause then it starts to shrink. What's stupid is the projection of the values of one culture on another one, which is perfectly capable of coming up with its own values, thank you very much. The homogenization of life (not to mention its pasteurization) is one of the most pernicious aspects of US cultural imperialism.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 15 2012 18:28 utc | 25

Relax, b, it was satire, but satire has a point. The point is that many in the U.S., especially the "Conservatives", will view it that way because of the propaganda.

Still, it's a joke what Ali Stone is doing, IMO. The Republican Guard has to love "American" fools such as this.

I wonder if Ali will get a sigheh, considering the West's lax standards regarding sex outside of marriage and Iran's harsh penalties if you're caught engaging in such forbidden acts? At least Iran's proactive compared to much of the West. They've found a way to legalize prostitution...something they've yet to do in the U.S., with the exception of Nevada.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/03/temporary-marriage-iran-islam

Iranian feminists ardently oppose sigheh. In the summer of 2008, they were infuriated by President Ahmadinejad's attempts to push through a new "family protection" law that would have made it easier for men to contract temporary marriages. Many of those activists took to the streets after his contested reelection the following June. "One of the main attributes of marriage is publicity and the celebration of it," said Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a legal anthropologist who wrote a study of Islamic family law. "Women who enter this kind of marriage never talk about it. That's why I call it a socially defective marriage." While the ayatollahs see temporary marriage as good for both sexes, feminists point out its lopsided nature: It is largely the prerogative of wealthy married men, and the majority of women in sighehs are divorced, widowed, or poor. Only a man has the right to renew a sigheh when it expires—for another mehr—or to terminate it early. While women may have only one husband at a time, men may have four wives and are permitted unlimited temporary wives. Rezvan Moghadam, the director of a women's health nonprofit, put it bluntly: "Men do it for fun. Women do it for money; they don't enjoy it at all.".............

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 15 2012 18:48 utc | 26

UU, yes indeed Iran is large. At least in population, it's larger than recent and upcoming colonial conflicts (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria) combined. Nonetheless, by military or economic standards of superpowers, it is still considered not an actor but something to be acted upon. The US was able to keep it hobbled throughout the 80s and recovering through the 90s just by funding Iraq in the war. Iran is powerful, but still not a great power (its power projection ability is a joke), and it highlights how far the US has fallen to be stuck in real give and take situation.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 15 2012 18:52 utc | 27

MB @ 26: Thanks for the link, interesting. Not a widely known practice in Islam.

Posted by: ben | Feb 15 2012 19:09 utc | 28

@MB - another very stupid comment that just shows that you are what I said: "a clueless racist idiot who does not know shit about the world and certainly even less about Iran."

I wonder if Ali will get a sigheh, considering the West's lax standards regarding sex outside of marriage and Iran's harsh penalties if you're caught engaging in such forbidden acts?

From the article I posted above:

Zahra Sharaf-o-din, a member of the presidential office's centre for women and family affairs, puts it down to women exercising new-found freedoms, "Women not being bound by the principles of chastity, having extra-marital relationships and sending dirty text messages to male colleagues are the main reasons for the soaring number of divorces in society."

He said that if women stuck to being homemakers instead of working the divorce rate would fall. According to data from Iran's 2006 census, 83 per cent of women who seek divorce are employed.

In other words, women who have a source of income lose one of the most important reasons for dependence on men and their move towards demanding or accepting divorce is quicker.

Reflecting this attitude, a saying in conservative Iranian society has it that a woman should go to her husband's house in her white wedding gown and leave that house in her white shroud.

One women's studies expert mocked Sharaf-o-din's opinion, saying, "Forcing women to stay at home is not the solution to the divorce problem. It is like asking people to ride horses again to avoid the dangers caused by driving cars."

A study carried out by Shahid Beheshti University found that 80 per cent of divorces that took place within the first five years of marriage were instigated by women.

Having extramarital affairs is just as socially normal in Iran as it is anywhere in the "western" world. The conservatives do not like that? So what. There is prostitution in Iran and it is even legal and regulated? Well, why not ask Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey why they handle it just the same way, as a temporary legal contract. That attitude is too liberal for some conservatives, male and female, in Iran or those other countries? Who cares but you who uses it in your fantasy ideas about Iran's "badness".

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 19:25 utc | 29

For some comic relief.

Iran Worried U.S. Might Be Building 8,500th Nuclear Weapon

TEHRAN—Amidst mounting geopolitical tensions, Iranian officials said Wednesday they were increasingly concerned about the United States of America's uranium-enrichment program, fearing the Western nation may soon be capable of producing its 8,500th nuclear weapon. "Our intelligence estimates indicate that, if it is allowed to progress with its aggressive nuclear program, the United States may soon possess its 8,500th atomic weapon capable of reaching Iran," said Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, adding that Americans have the fuel, the facilities, and "everything they need" to manufacture even more weapons-grade fissile material. [...]

Posted by: Juan Moment | Feb 15 2012 19:38 utc | 30

This Dennis Ross op-ed claiming that Iran Is Ready to Talk is a head-fake. In a few month Ross will be back, very sorry, to claim he erred and that Iran does not understand diplomacy (his give up or we kill you kind) and will demand a war of aggression against Iran.

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 19:46 utc | 31

b, you're really digging yourself a hole here. You have to stop. Unlike you, I'm not going to carry water for Tyranny in Iran just because I oppose the Tyranny at home. What's ironic is that our Palestinian friends here in the U.S. gave my wife and I two books to read several months prior at a dinner engagement after they had returned from a month-long trip to Jerusalem. One of the books suggested had my wife and I literally rolling our eyes. One look at it...the title, I mean, told it all. It was obvious propaganda, and although the story may have been true, it doesn't mean it was indicative. But, and here's the ironic part, it was proposed to us by a Muslim Palestinian woman, and now you have called her "a clueless racist idiot who does not know shit about the world and certainly even less about Iran." I'm going to tell her you said so.

Here's the book she suggested. I held my nose and read it just to see how far the propaganda would go.....and man, I tell you, it was over the top.

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Nujood-Age-10-Divorced/dp/0307589676

That aside, your brush off of the article I posted isn't very convincing, and your partiality and lack of objectivity is showing. You're not being an equal opportunity critic.

And to Unknown, isn't it always the men who say such things. The implication is that one shouldn't pass judgement on men taking women so young....cultures are different...some are more liberal about such things. Sorry, bubba, that's the talk of a rapist, and I'm not buying it. I don't see young girls protesting in the streets for marriage at any age, but you, you seem to advocate it if that's what they want...and we all know who the they are in that equation.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 15 2012 19:53 utc | 32

There was, allegedly, recently another "silent protest" in Iran by the "green movement" which completely ceased to exit at least two years ago. The LAT says: In Iran, silent protests even more silent this time

But Tuesday’s protests were so silent that they seemed to be overshadowed by Valentine’s Day, an indication of just how successful the government has been in suppressing the so-called Green movement.

That is curious. MY silent protest in Hamburg went very well, had a great participation and you can not be more silent that I was at that event: My Call For Silent Protests

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 20:03 utc | 33

@MB - so you are comparing a (Sunni/Salafi) redneck Yemen to an industrialized (Shia) enlightened Iran? That only proves that you do nothing about the Middle East and its countries.

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 20:17 utc | 34

B at 31: I don't see it as a fake, I see it as an ultimatum. Oddly, the Tablet is pretty accurate in its analysis:

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/91382/dennis-ross-on-iran-the-message-is-the-medium/

Ross is quite clear that there isn't going to be an attack this week. He offers terms to the Iranians:

"intrusive inspections and denies or limits uranium enrichment to halt any advances toward a nuclear weapons capability, while still permitting the development of civilian nuclear power."

He sets a timeframe for the US and Israel (as Ross is the most honest speaker of the ACTUAL, as opposed to the public, positions of the two governments):

"With Iran reeling from sanctions, the proper environment now exists for diplomacy to work. The next few months will determine whether it succeeds."

He explains what will happen in the meantime, taking down Syria and stepping up the sanctions even further:

"The Assad regime is failing, and in time, Iran will lose its only state ally in the Arab world and its conduit for arming the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon."
"they will face even more onerous pressures, when a planned European boycott of their oil begins on July 1."

And he makes it clear that Iran does not agree to terms in the stated window, then the war is on:

"Moreover, given Mr. Obama’s stated determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Iran’s leaders may actually be making the use of force against their nuclear facilities more likely by playing for time."


Ross makes it EXTREMELY clear that the US and Israel are getting their house in order to lay the groundwork for an attack. The timeline is "a few months," but that is really just the expected time for the actual preparatory action: bringing down the Syrian regime and isolating Hezbollah so it cannot interfere in an attack on Iran. Ross is saying that Iran has until the collapse of Assad to come to terms.

This is a remarkably clear policy statement, and in passing it also is unusually direct in linking the West's campaign against Assad directly to facilitating the next war against Iran.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 15 2012 20:23 utc | 35

Ok PLEASE stop referring to the REVOLUTIONARY GUARD as the "Republican Guard".
Iraq had Republican Guards. Iran has Revolutionary Guards. They're very different in many other ways too.
Secondly the practice of sigheh in Iran -- to the extent that it is actually practiced -- is actually popular with OLDER WOMEN.: As Shahla Haeri revealed in her 1989 book, Law of Desire (published in the UK by I B Tauris), many sigheh contracts in Iran are transformed into permanent, loving relationships. Contrary to popular myth, it is usually not men but women, particularly divorcees and widows, who seek sigheh marriage. Haeri’s extensive survey showed that many older women approached “young men, particularly handsome ones, directly and frequently”.

Posted by: Cyrus | Feb 15 2012 21:24 utc | 36

Oh, that's priceless, "stop referring to the REVOLUTIONARY GUARD as the "Republican Guard"." I'll tell you what, let's call them what they really are....thugs, and in that sense, they are very much like the Republican Guard of Iraq.

Perhaps some use sigheh for what you mention, but that survey's not scientific, and considering it's a highly patriarchal society, the motivation is what matters, and that favors Mother Jones, and the following documentary's observations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiwsZOOBVSc&feature=related

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 15 2012 22:15 utc | 37

it's all really simple. All you have to do is remind yourself about one simple fact. b supports any government, tyranny, theocratic nightmare misogynist classist oligarchy, whether it's Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Iraq under Saddam Hussein. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that these despots and tyrants oppose the US. There is absolutely zero nuance here. The protesters in Egypt were beautiful people. but the protesters in Libya were thugs. The insurgency in Iraq was particularized aggregation of pan-nationalists. The insurgency in Syria is "salafist."

He's either confused or just a hypocrite, or both.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 15 2012 23:19 utc | 38

industrialized (Shia) enlightened Iran?

It was this "enlightened" and occasionally culturally libertine, young, educated Iranian who marched in courageous opposition against your precious mullahs, b.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 15 2012 23:25 utc | 39

@ Morocco Bama

Probably my first time disagreeing with you, but find alot to disagree with in some of your comments today. Firstly on this line, which completely rubs me the wrong way.

"Unlike you, I'm not going to carry water for Tyranny in Iran just because I oppose the Tyranny at home.

I would contend that any enemy of colonialism and imperialism would see that defeating a global tyranny (ie the US Empire) is in the Greater Good and would even be willing to side with local tyrants on that just task. After all did Churchill and Roosevelt not side with the tyrant Stalin to defeat an even worse tyrant like Hitler? Wouldn't you have supported Spartacus and the rebels in the Third Servile War in order to bring an end to the Roman Empire which enslaved people from Britain to Iraq even though most of the rebels raped, looted and pillaged their way through the empire? Same with William Wallace (who was quiete bloodthristy but fought for freedom) in Scotland against Britain?

I would also say that the Iranian revolutionary government is not a tyranny. Power does not rest solely in the hands of the Ayatollahs. They have an elected President and lively elected Majlis, numourous power centres in the military, various factions like the Principlists, an influential merchent-business class and many more factions in the Religious councils of Qom. A tyrant is someone who takes all power for himself. In Iran power is incredibly diluted amoung all these centres of power.

I'll tell you what, let's call them what they really are....thugs, and in that sense, they are very much like the Republican Guard of Iraq.

I funnily enough own a t-shirt of the Revolutionary Guard flag (its similar to the Hezbollah flag) and wear it proudly. Thugs you say? Compared to what? Compared to Americas legions of savages? I'd support Irans Revolutionary Guard over American brownshirts any day. Why? Because they fight imperialism and therefore there cause is just. Simultaneously if China invaded the US, I would support the right-wing gun nut militias even though I didn't agree with them politically, also because their cause would be just.

Finally on the marriage comments, I find it mindboggling how one of the most puritianical countries in the world objects so passionately to "slightly" more puritancial societies. On Iran I would say that the US and Iran are both around a draw. Both have the death penalty, both have religious extremist factions close to or in power at any given time, both are too uptight about sex and morals (even though I suspect the Iranian population would generally be more adventerous).


Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 16 2012 0:07 utc | 40

MB opposes Arabs and Muslims first, the Global Empire second; but they are fighting out the central conflict of this era in the Middle East and Central Asia, and this is why he is on the verge of depression, whoever wins makes him ill, and when the anti-imperialists rejoice at seeing the Us withdraw from Iraq he feels lonely

to slothrop: Syria and Iran aren't anti-Us, just like Libya wasn't; they would love to find a way to get along with the Us and the west; it's the Us and its allies that hate their autonomy, want their resources, etc; which side should a normal human being, (not prisoner of "us-them", "good-evil" and other elementary binary thinking) side with?

Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi made the imperialists' job easier by trying to appease them, Iran has watched, learned, and isn't committing the same errors (maybe Putin finally got it, too), thanks to Ahmadinejad, because Iran's establishment was ready to cave in to international pressure

the rest of the world is learning that you simply can't "do business" with the west, because the west doesn't want money, it wants everything

Posted by: claudio | Feb 16 2012 0:50 utc | 41

anyone who's spent time here over the years knows that b persistently championed the Iraqi insurgency as predominately nationalist in character. This actually turned out to be mostly incorrect; indisputably incorrect now because the Shia basically engaged in ethnic cleansing and sectarian politics. the only reason that he persisted in doing so was because the insurgency opposed US occupation.

But now, of course the analysis strategically condescends the considerable factiousness of the Syrian opposition, and indeed the Syrian insurgency. None other than Tariq Ali explains this most recently.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 16 2012 1:13 utc | 42

it's really hard to figure out if b even has a moral component to his strangely refractory USuk ideology. There doesn't seem to be any consistency whatsoever between his makeshift theories, the principles that guide these theories, and the projected forms of practice that would create b's preferred world.

The only thing you can say about these jumbled notions of reality is that the US and Israel should be annihilated. I guess.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 16 2012 1:19 utc | 43

Regardless of whether Iran has really cut oil export to Europe, crude oil spot price is now $101.
Even though Saudi claimed they will not allow oil to go above $100
http://www.cnbc.com/id/46285933/Saudi_Arabia_Will_Not_Let_Oil_Go_Above_100_Prince

Posted by: nikon | Feb 16 2012 1:25 utc | 44

Anybody see this little bombshell...

EU’s Catherine Ashton has received Iran’s letter on nuclear talks...

..."I can confirm High Representative Ashton received the letter from Dr. [Saeed] Jalili today," Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for Ashton, told Yahoo News Wednesday. "We are carefully studying the letter and consulting with our E3+3 partners" on their response.

The State Department confirmed that it has received the letter and said U.S. officials are studying it, a State Department spokeswoman said.

Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 16 2012 1:26 utc | 45

You're putting words into b's mouth, sloth. He never came out for the insurgency as a nationalist movement the way you're trying to represent.

Posted by: china_hand-other | Feb 16 2012 1:52 utc | 46

Brilliant discussion so far. We, people of the West, are we not living in some sort of despotic regime? This ain't no Democracy, that's for dang sure! Nobody "voted" for this mess.

I don't know enough about Islam to make a comment but I need to know from the Islamists that, since, in the sacred precincts of our own minds, we are free to believe whatever we want in the way of the supernatural, fairies, nymphs or no one, can I count on you to keep your Koran out of my face?

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 16 2012 2:06 utc | 47

Abu Mus’ab al-Suri has been released from Syrian jail. He is considered by many as 'the most articulate exponent of the modern jihad and its most sophisticated strategies'

"A veteran of the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in Syria in 1982 when the city of Hama was virtually destroyed by the Baathist regime of Hafez al-Assad, al-Suri has been a persistent critic of bin Laden’s strategy and approach to jihad. Holding to the view that the “road to Jerusalem lies through Cairo” (meaning that Palestine could only be liberated after the Mubarak regime had been toppled and replaced by an “Islamic” one)"

Posted by: nikon | Feb 16 2012 3:49 utc | 48

MB @ 32:

So I tell you that the marriage laws in your redneck of the woods (or a certain island state therein) is lower than it is in Iran, and that besides, you would have to untangle yourself from the "scientific" basis of your moral position before you start building "humanitarian corridors" into mine, and you call me a rapist. Charming.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 16 2012 4:37 utc | 49

Bill at 27:

Yes; I agree with most of what you said. Geographically, Iran is a very large country, but economically and militarily, it is not a big actor. But I think you would be making a mistake to think of its ability to project power as "a joke". This is not so only because of its geopolitical location. A boy with a sling-shot is a nuisance to a man who lives in a house with wall to wall glass windows, but a boy with a sling-shot is a deadly menace to a colony of settlers on the moon, where the only thing between their atmosphere and the near vacuum of space are those same wall to wall windows.

The disrespect with which Uncle Weasel and its Europoodle Freak Show carry out its discourse with Iran is actually the respect afforded by a superior force to an inferior one in disguise. Iran knows this, and understands. And we also know that it is not because of our "strength", but rather, by virtue of our opponent's weakness, and due to the fact that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 16 2012 4:49 utc | 50

"Still, it's a joke what Ali Stone is doing...."

Actually, MB, you're the joke. Really, what Stone does concerning his own spirituality is none of your ignorant bigoted business. There is no reason to believe his conversion is less than sincere, and the fact that you belittle his choice only underscores you as a bigoted jackass with far too big an ego. You aren't a third of what you think you are, MB, and you are beginning to make that patently clear to anyone following your self obsessed drivel.

Go fuck yourself.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 16 2012 5:16 utc | 51

Abu Mus’ab al-Suri has been released from Syrian jail. He is considered by many as 'the most articulate exponent of the modern jihad and its most sophisticated strategies' Holding to the view that the “road to Jerusalem lies through Cairo” (meaning that Palestine could only be liberated after the Mubarak regime had been toppled and replaced by an “Islamic” one)"

Muslim Brotherhood's Spiritual Leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi told Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh "victory is near and at the door"

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Iranian People: You Are Partners in Arab Victories

Posted by: nikon | Feb 16 2012 8:00 utc | 52

Well, if Iran cuts off the oil, they can always use slothrop. He spins around so fast, supporting every permutation of US/EU policy, that he could generate any amount of power, if properly harnessed. What an anti-totalitarian: only the US is ever right.

Posted by: Bob Jackson | Feb 16 2012 12:06 utc | 53

There is no reason to believe his conversion is less than sincere

Yes there is. His daddy's a big hollywood producer/director and they know the ins and outs of publicity and public relations. He could have converted to Islam right here in the good ol US of A, but instead decided to take the grandstanding route and did it in Iran. What does Ali have against Minister Louis Farrakhan that he insulted his prestige and status by circumventing his moral authority and instead outsourced his conversion to Iran? Is Ali a racist? He didn't want a black "American? Muslim performing his conversion? Or maybe it's that Farrakhan and his brethren don't like to ski?

John Walker Lindh comes to mind. Either it's a clever psyops to get naive dissenting "Americans" to aid and abet a perceived enemy, or this guy's yet another Lee Harvey Oswald in this chess match between two tyrannies for hearts and minds.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 13:26 utc | 54

What slothrop and many Americans hate to admit is how the 21st century has been dominated by US violence. nothing compares to what the US has done abroad while simultaneously hollowing out the homeland and ushering in an overt police state. Homs pales in comparison to Fallujah. thousands of dead pale to a million dead and 4 million displaced in Iraq. everything America touches turns to shit, and it's understandable that other less democratic regimes and their state-sanctioned violence gets translated by some through the lens of strident opposition to US imperialism.

Posted by: lizard | Feb 16 2012 13:34 utc | 55

MB @ 32:

So I tell you that the marriage laws in your redneck of the woods (or a certain island state therein) is lower than it is in Iran, and that besides, you would have to untangle yourself from the "scientific" basis of your moral position before you start building "humanitarian corridors" into mine, and you call me a rapist. Charming.

My response wasn't related to the marriage laws in Hawaii. IMO, that's equally screwed up. My argument isn't about moral superiority, well, not about the West being morally superior to the East or any such nonsense. That would be a silly argument, just as it would be a silly argument to make a claim directly symmetrical to that, and I suppose that's my argument. Neither side of this fabricated conflict is morally superior, and if I perceive propaganda is being pushed to lend more legitimacy to one side of it, I'm going to speak up, and so I did.

Since you brought up charming, isn't it charming that Bangkok and Thailand in general, apparently doesn't hold itself to any of that morally superior nonsense, and in so doing, a very successful and profitable business has flourished despite the Puritanical Pantomimes of the so-called do-gooders. It's a haven for those encumbered by the morally superior cultural attitudes of their countries of origin, and who are we to judge if a fifty-year old Iranian man, or a fifty year old British, German or American man wants some eight year-old booty, be it male or female?

Like I said, it's always the men who are so glib with such things. I wonder why that is? Maybe the same reason it's the men who are always at the forefront of the fight against abortion and contraception.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 13:50 utc | 56

Who is playing this psy war?

Just about everybody, with exceptions being so few that... no matter how convincing, nobody notices.

The world bank, Wall Street and the money guys, our entire DOD, the EU wrt the "piigs" and current austerity squeezes...

The newspapers and media, they've been playing "this psy war" as well, although... I'm becoming more and more persuaded they don't really know it.

Read your commenters... each, with a different POV as to what is "true". Which, to me, almost entirely looks like guesses. No cohesive whole, whatsoever.

They're all pissed, however... somethings really wrong all right, they agree on that. The expression of the particulars, however... like everything else, degrades into more disagreement.

...

I tried to close my checking account at a local bank a few months ago... went to another which was not adding +/- $7 per/mo new charges for this and that. I walked into the bank, and said: "I want to close this account."

They said it was closed.

I received overdraft statements for next 4 months, as service charges were billed to me each month after this account was "closed". Took me 4 months to actually... really, get that account closed. Nobody in that bank could understand, how this account was "not closed".

And... nobody in there really cared. I was, well, a nuisance... just a pain in the butt. This minor, seemingly un-executable... simple banking function... well, it was a tough one to pull off.

Banks... they can't even close a checking account.

Who is playing this psy war?

Approximately, 100%... of everybody.

Posted by: jdmckay | Feb 16 2012 15:08 utc | 57

I think the photo accompanying this article about Ali's conversion is strikingly poignant. She's covered from head to toe, and he has his shirt open revealing some bare chest.

http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/oliver-stones-son-sean-converts-islam-35374

Ali had this to say about his romance with Islam and Iran:

Stone, who studied history at Princeton, has launched a co-production company to make movies based on Iranian history and culture. He said in September that he wants to make films in Iran, “because they’re the biggest filmmakers in the Middle East, I’m very international-minded."

A commenter had this to say about his naive pandering:

I can't wait to hear his comments about his newly discovered land of opportunity for film makers under the dictatorship of Ahmadinejad and Co. It might be worth his paying a visit to those filmmakers arrested in September2011; Jafar Panahi, Katayoun Shahabi, Naser Saffarian, Hadi Afarideh, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Shahnam Bazdar and Mohsen Shahrnazdar. Panahi is currently under house arrest banned from making any films, Safarian and Shahrnazdar have been released, the fate of the others is unkown. The actress Marzieh Vafamer also imprisoned and sentenced to 90 lashes.

If that same standard of Justice is applied in the USA, Ali and Ollie would both be imprisoned for life, in the least.

But hey, he's a good looking chap...and I'm sure he's charming.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 15:14 utc | 58

Fuck Sake MB give the Stone conversion stuff a rest. In the realm of geo-politics and foreign policy its not exactly an earth shattering development that will tip the balance of power in the Middle East. Why spend more than one comment even talking about it?

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 16 2012 15:28 utc | 59

Also if you want to talk about what clothes celebrities are wearing I hear that the Huffington Post has a quiet interesting Celebrity Section dedicated to the topic. :D

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/celebrity/

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 16 2012 15:32 utc | 60

MB @ 56:

Your response did not even address how you felt justified to call me a rapist. But that's ok. For the record, I was in northern Thailand in November, and I did see the sexual tourism trade first hand. I was deeply saddened for the people of that country who have prostituted their women in such large numbers. And I was disgusted by the older European and American losers who obviously did not have a life of their own back home, and came over their and had young women in their early 20's escort them everywhere they went. I thank God that I was not witness to the underage sex trade, which I am told takes place in the south of the country. I am sure that if I had seen such a thing, I would have gotten physically sick.

Needless to say, all the johns were from Western countries, and there was not a single Iranian to be seen, even though there are many Iranian businessmen that come and go there. (Of course that is not to say that Iranians do not also participate in this activity, but it is a Western phenomenon, by and large.)

And b is right about you not knowing a fucking thing about Islam, when you talk about Louis Farrakhan and Ali Stone. Know you limits and talk from your expertise, if you have one.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 16 2012 16:21 utc | 61

no, of course, this is not about Iran at all, because remember, last time it was the Soviet Union.
this is about the need for an enemy, who is evil because it is us who are good ...

Posted by: somebody | Feb 16 2012 16:35 utc | 62

@59, I'm not the one that brought it up in the first place. Unknown Unknowns did. It said:

In other news, congratulations to Sean Stone, Oliver Stone's son, who is also a film maker, who converted to Shi'a Islam in Isfahan, Iran, today. Ma' sha'llah [It is the will of God]. Hopefully he'll make a movie one of these years that will blow a big hole in the propaganda wall of lies perpetuated by Hollywood and teh ?ew York Times and the rest of the "International" Banksters against Iran.

My response to it was satirical, and I was attacked, and here we are. Now you want me to let it go. Tell that to Unknown Unknowns. It shouldn't throw Stones out of its glass house.

But while we're at it, no, I don't agree with siding with bullies and thugs against bullies and thugs, as you mentioned in your post to me. Using that logic, the U.S. using Israel as a bulwark against Arab Nationalism is justifiable, and look where that's gotten the world. Tyranny, in its many forms, not just the standard text book definition you've provided, must be opposed at every turn, and the "Little People" of the world should stand united, and in solidarity against its global wrath.

The Mullahs, The Revolutionary Guard and all their thuggish minions can kiss my ass. You hear that Tehran? My opposition to an attack on your country by the U.S. or Israel is not a vote in your favor. It's a vote in favor of the "Little People" of Iran kicking your asses to the curb on their own you conniving, cowardly, usurping bastards.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 16:38 utc | 63

And b is right about you not knowing a fucking thing about Islam, when you talk about Louis Farrakhan and Ali Stone. Know you limits and talk from your expertise, if you have one.

Once again, you fail to understand satire. The comment is purposely ridiculous in order to make the point that throwing out the race card based off of flimsy, and misinterpreted findings, is a low blow, and not an argument from expertise.

However, it did manage to snuff out yet another quail. Care to elaborate on your comment about Minister Louis Farrakhan and Islam? Are you asserting that his brand of Islam is illegitimate? If so, why?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 16:55 utc | 64

Colm at 59: "Fuck Sake MB give the Stone conversion stuff a rest."

Well put.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 16 2012 17:26 utc | 65

MB @ 64

No, I don't care to elaborate, except to say that the objection was not to Farrakhan per se, but to the fact that Ali Stone has reverted to Shi'a Islam, and so it would not make sense for the good minister to minister to his reversion, as he is not Shi'a, to say the least.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 16 2012 17:33 utc | 66

reverted

Now that's rich. Is the choice of this word to imply that Islam is the one true religion, so if someone comes to it from another religion, it's not a conversion, but rater a reverting back to that which only ever was and always will be?

Since Ali was not of the culture, what distinctions could have possibly compelled him to choose Shi'a over Sunni? I mean, afterall, Sunni is the dominant form, obviously not in Iran, but in the world at large, it is.

Ali chose The Mullahs over Malcolm X. That's noteworthy, or maybe not. Maybe it's just a fad thing with Ali. You know how Hollywood is about fads. Fads are Hollywood.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 17:52 utc | 67

"The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with," Stone told Fars News Agency. "It means I have accepted Mohammad and other prophets."

Yup, looks like a heartfelt conversion. The chance to make some quick money in Iran was not a factor at all in his decision.

Posted by: Ya Hussein | Feb 16 2012 17:55 utc | 68

Ok didn't pick up the satire and Unknowns comment.

But while we're at it, no, I don't agree with siding with bullies and thugs against bullies and thugs, as you mentioned in your post to me. Using that logic, the U.S. using Israel as a bulwark against Arab Nationalism is justifiable, and look where that's gotten the world.

This is always the main divide on the left. Violence or Non-Violence. During the French Revolution, Robespierre cut the heads off 30,000 people virtually wiping out the wealthy aristocratic class. You would probably call that thuggish behaviour. I would say that since the wealthy horded all the wealth and left the peasants to starve it was justified. As Robespierre's right hand man Saint-Just said the morning before the king was guillotined "The King must Die, So the Country can Live". Thugs? Maybe. But it was thuggish behaviour in defence of the people vs thuggish behaviour in defence of the aristocracy, and it brought an end to 900 years of Monarchy.

You cannot morally compare the two. Iran committing violence to remain Independent is not the same as the US committing violence to conquer other lands.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 16 2012 17:57 utc | 69

Colm @69, you've created a Strawman in place of my argument and its intent. I understand and respect Iran defending its independence from a U.S. and/or Israeli attack. That doesn't mean I support the Tyranny of the Mullahs and The Revolutionary Guard. It is compatible to have both views if your guiding principle is opposition to Tyranny.

Also, I didn't say anything about violence versus non-violence. You're wrong if you think I am one of those that cling to non-violence. I don't. However, I also don't subscribe to undirected, meaningless violence. If violence is to be used to oppose tyranny after other less violent methods have proven to be futile, then violence must be used wisely, otherwise it can be quickly misdirected and counterproductive.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 18:21 utc | 70

@MB - will you haul your dumbass out of here yourself or will I have to ban you?

Posted by: b | Feb 16 2012 18:44 utc | 71

b, do what the Mullahs would do, meaning I'm not hauling my dumbass out voluntarily.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 16 2012 18:51 utc | 72

Wasn't my intention to have it come across as a Strawman argument. I mentioned the French Revolution because I see similarities between Revolutionary France and Revolutionary Iran. Both faced foreign invasion, both killed a large number of there own people for standing against the revolution, both stood against the dominant ideology of the day (whether Monarchy or American democracy). In fact Iran was much less zealous in its domestic repression of dissent than France was.

But anyway guess we just have differing views on it.


Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 16 2012 19:08 utc | 73

here's the cover for french newspaper (or toilet paper should I say) Liberation tomorrow
http://s4.noelshack.com/uploads/images/15473174967756_up_1329429509.jpg

great, now FSA = zapateros, Che etc according to liberation... How low can that press go...

Posted by: rototo | Feb 16 2012 22:18 utc | 74

@MB Sometimes tyranny is the only thing that works. Eg Saddam Hussein, Ghadaffi and others. Not everybody has the "freedom" to vote every fours years and slurp Budweisers and ribs the rest of the time.

Posted by: yes_but | Feb 16 2012 22:20 utc | 75

iirk, I meant Zapatists, not Zapatero, need to sleep :)

Posted by: rototo | Feb 16 2012 22:20 utc | 76

@slop "the analysis strategically condescends the considerable factiousness"

What a load of pseudo-intellectual claptrap.

Posted by: yes_but | Feb 16 2012 22:32 utc | 77

Your forbearance b is admirable. Unfortunately it is just such graciousness that is taken advantage of by the shills. At least slothrop's diatribes are usually mercifully short if not sweet.

Posted by: juannie | Feb 16 2012 22:34 utc | 78

Colm O'Toole @ 40:

Thank you for your thought-provoking comment. While your argument is certainly not counter-intuitive, the principal must be dampened by the ends not justifying the means principle. The Islamic Republic must be held accountable to its own rules of war, even if that war is against an invading imperialist power; likewise for the treatment of prisoners, and how internal dissent is dealt with in times of war. Unfortunately, classical Islamic jurisprudence (the heritage the IRI relies on) is very weak when it comes to such things, and when it comes to political theory generally. That is why the constitution and the system of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent is a work in progress. (It is not weak when it comes to the rules of war, though of course even that needs to be brought up to date.)

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Feb 17 2012 3:10 utc | 79

".....meaning I'm not hauling my dumbass out voluntarily"

Well, that much is obvious, considering your inability to remember the lyrics of a successful Swan Song.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 17 2012 14:30 utc | 80

"b, do what the Mullahs would do....."

The mullahs???? Actually, MB, you're asking him to do what most American conservative websites do, ban those people that comment in opposition to the general flavor of the discourse. But fear not, MB, your stuff will resonate quite well at those places. I suggest you try a few of those sites.

Wouldn't you rather be a steed than a donkey? They'll adore you there.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 17 2012 15:25 utc | 81

US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/17/us-officials-iran-sanctions-military-action

Posted by: Martin | Feb 17 2012 21:19 utc | 82

Well it looks like us dumb Europeans are determined to cut our own throats.

International bank clearinghouse ready to evict Iranian finance institutions

How long before the BRICS countries establish their own network.

Posted by: blowback | Feb 18 2012 5:42 utc | 83

The Atlantic:


[...] At the end of my internship State offered me a job to work exclusively on Iran issues. I immediately turned it down because I was really worried that we would end up in the exact situation we are in now after imposing more sanctions. My experience was so discouraging that I quit working in international affairs altogether, despite supportive mentors. I had moved to D.C. right after Obama was elected, thinking that Afghanistan and Iraq were two good reasons why our foreign wars would slow down. But the drums of war were growing louder and stronger even with a new administration that lauded "smart power" and international cooperation. The foreign policy community in D.C. is really a scary club of warmongers with very few exceptions. [...]

Glenn Greenwald:

I’m finishing up a long investigative article that will be posted later this morning, but I just could not let go unnoted this commentary on The Iranian Threat by CNN’s Erin Burnett ("frightening," she observed). I barely know what to say about it — the critiques of media fear-mongering I wrote the last two days apply in spades to this — but it really just mocks itself. It’s the sort of thing you would produce if you set out to create a mean-spirited parody of mindless, war-hungry, fear-mongering media stars, but you wouldn’t dare go this far because you’d want the parody to have a feel of realism to it, and this would be way too extreme to be believable. She really hauled it all out: WMDs! Terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S. controlled by Tehran! Iran’s long-range nuclear missiles reaching our homeland!!!! She almost made the anti-Muslim war-mongering fanatic she brought on to interview, Rep. Peter King, appear sober and reasonable by comparison. [...]

Posted by: Juan Moment | Feb 18 2012 16:25 utc | 84

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