Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 16, 2013

A Spoiler Attempt On U.S.-Iran Negotiations

Obama said in a recent interview that some letters have been exchanged between the U.S. government and the new government of Iran. The new Rohani administration in Tehran is doing its best to show its willingness to negotiate with the "west" over its nuclear program and other issues. The Obama side swwms also to be ready to at least feel out how far Iran might want to go.

Negotiations between Iran and the United States are not welcome by Israel and the Gulf states. Israel needs to have some "bad guy" bogeyman in the neighborhood to point away from its continuing colonization of the West Bank and the Golan heights. Saudi Arabia is unwilling to allow a somewhat enlightened and developed example of an Islamic State in its neighborhood. Its own people could get ideas that other forms of government than by some dictatorial king might be desirable and compatible with their religion. These two powers will attempt to spoil any negotiations between the "west" and Iran.

A recent report may be part of such an attempt. It asserts that the new Iranian government may be willing, in negotiations, to do away with one of its enrichment sites:

SPIEGEL has learned from intelligence sources that Iran's new president, Hassan Rohani, is reportedly prepared to decommission the Fordo enrichment plant and allow international inspectors to monitor the removal of the centrifuges. In return, he could demand that the United States and Europe rescind their sanctions against the Islamic Republic, lift the ban on Iranian oil exports and allow the country's central bank to do international business again.
Fordo is an underground side and that would be difficult to dismantle through bombing. It is the guarantee Iran has build for itself that its nuclear program can not be erased solely by air attacks. Would Iran, as the first step in negotiations, dismantle on of its best defenses against an attack? That does not sound credible to me. Note also the very odd sourcing of that claim: "SPIEGEL has learned from intelligence sources ... that Iran ... is reportedly .." What "intelligence sources" from what country? And what does "reportedly" mean here? That those "intelligence sources" have read such a claim in some blogpost or fishwrap?

More plausible to me is that someone is trying to exaggerate what Iran could be willing to offer in a first step to thereby create disappointment and dismay when that first offer is made and does not meet the expectations created by such reports.

There will be more such spoiler attempts. Likely more intelligent ones and more severe ones. Some will aim at a solution of the Syria crisis and some directly at U.S. Iran negotiations. Such spoilers must be exposed and confronted to degrade their effects.

Posted by b on September 16, 2013 at 02:22 PM | Permalink


I agree, it sounds like nonsense.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16, 2013 2:28:21 PM | 1

Nice catch.

Posted by: Knut | Sep 16, 2013 3:34:43 PM | 2

"Saudi Arabia is unwilling to allow a somewhat enlightened and developed example of an Islamic State in its neighborhood. Its own people could get ideas that other forms of government than by some dictatorial king might be desirable and compatible with their religion. "

I don't want to hijack this thread by going into details of why I don't see Iran as a democratic country. But I don't think that SA's main problem with Iran is about non-dictatorial forms of government compatible with Islam. It would suffice for me to say that Erdogan and his gang have been ranting about Islam and democracy being compatible. I don't see SA being that antagonistic towards Turkey.

The main reason of hostility between SA and Iran is IMO that SA is not an independent country but a colony run by USA, whereas as Iran (democratic or not) is an INDEPENDENT country which does not submit to the diktats of USA. Saudi regime owes its very existence to its subservient relationship with USA and as such any example of a country choosing the path of independence which let alone being beaten to submission, would show the potential of scientific and technological progress is an extremely high threat to its security.

By the way, like 'b', I too have serious doubts about the credibility of these "intelligence".

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 16, 2013 4:03:35 PM | 3

Last time when Rouhani was in charge of nuclear negotiation reformers were in charge and Khatami was president . Under Pressure and threat of war By Bush administration during Iraq War , he accepted to freeze enrichment and that was considered biggest mistake by his opponents .
This time around it's threat of Syrian war with message to Iran presumably to scare weak Rouhani to make another big concession.
Since his election nuclear file has been assign to foreign ministry away from principalists domination and this might be an attempt to make it easier for Rouhani to negotiate.
Rouhani just like Khatami is pro west liberal reformer and I am not confident he can stand pressure.

Posted by: LOYAL | Sep 16, 2013 4:26:23 PM | 4

Huh. Why cant this be true? People should look up how nuclear issue were handled under Khatami/Rouhani.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 16, 2013 4:51:34 PM | 5

here's something else fishy in the spiegel article:

Rohani, who has only been in office since early August, is walking a fine line. He risks losing support at home if he fails to show concrete concessions from the other side in exchange for each of his compromises. Furthermore, he cannot afford to call into question his country's fundamental right to enrich uranium -- a right that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insists on and, indeed, Rohani himself has always defended in his former role as a nuclear negotiator. Nevertheless, the powerful, radical Revolutionary Guards would probably brand him as a traitor if it came to that.

where's the suggestion rouhani would call into question iran's right to enrichment? i don't think iran would budge on that. from june 2012:

A member of Iran’s team engaging in the new round of negotiations said Monday the talks are doomed if his country’s “right” to uranium enrichment is not recognized.

“If this demand isn’t recognized, the negotiations are certainly headed for failure,” the official said, according to state news agency IRNA, which did not identify him.

“If our demand on the acceptance of the right to enrichment is not recognized, we are not afraid of the talks failing,” he added.


“As long as there is no agreement on that, we don’t want to talk about any future negotiating rounds,” he said.

in the past at the P5+1 in moscow the US wouldn't budge on dropping the sanctions.

While not budging on lifting existing sanctions or those already decided upon, diplomats familiar with the talks told The Associated Press the six are also prepared to guarantee that no new U.N. penalties will be enacted if Tehran shows enough compromise. The diplomats demanded anonymity because that possible offer has not yet been formally made.

Posted by: annie | Sep 16, 2013 5:24:31 PM | 6

The Arabs and the Iranians have hated each other for over a millennium. Its nothing new.

Posted by: someguy | Sep 16, 2013 6:05:51 PM | 7

That's a purely racist nonsense. Iran has many allies in the Arab world and even in the parts of Arab world where the "governments" are hostile towards Iran, there are plenty of support among the people on the street for Iran. The animosity between Iran and some of the countries in this region has neither to do with race (ie. Arab vs Persian) nor to do with religion (ie. Sunni vs Shiite). It is solely based on the antagonism between the lackeys of the West and an independent country.

@4 and @5;
This "news" by Spiegel is highly unlikely to me for several reasons:

a) As #4 mentioned, what Iran did in 2003 was in the fear of being invaded by the USA, resulting in a successful regime change (ie. what happened to Saddam). That was 2003, this is 2013.
There is A HELL OF A LOT of difference in between. In 2003, USA had the success of first gulf war (1991) behind it, it 'seemed' fairly dominant in Afghanistan and with one single blow, it 'seemed' that Saddam had been replaced by "Ahmad Chalabi"/"Iyad Allawi" with US being in control.
Right now, it is a very different situation. Militarily, Iran is far more capable than it was 10 years ago. In a situation of war it has a good chance to dominate Persian Gulf, seriously damage SA oil industry, close down the Straight of Hormoz and inflict serious pain and damage to both the Israelies and US military bases in this region.
Far more importantly, the myth of Western "invincibility" has been completely shattered in light of US defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan and the humiliating debacle of Israelies in Lebanon in 2006.

b)What happened to Ghaddafi is an extremely important lesson regarding what happens to those who compromise to the West and how the West rewards their submission. I am sure that Iranians have taken very good note on that.

Incidentally, #4 is very wrong. It was not Rowhani (or for that matter Khatami) who "made the decision" to suspend the enrichment in 2003. This distortion of the truth has been brought up time and again by the principlists to discredit the reformists (as if Khatami and his reformists needed any such distortion of the truth and the actual facts and reality of the reformist/rafsanjani rule was not enough to discredit them).
Fact of the matter is that the office of presidency is one of many centers of power in Iran, and as such it can only 'influence' strategic decisions. The actual figure which has the final say in such matters is Khamaenei himself. He can easily cancel the debates in parliament about a 'proposed' press law even before it starts, with one command, shelving the proposed law PERMANENTLY (Aug. 6th, 2000); he can directly overturn president's decisions even over the members of his own damned cabinet!

So Mr. Khamenei could prevent with a single command Ahmadinejad from appointing Mashaei as his VP (so that later on the principlists could claim that he was not a 'heavy weight' politician), he could with one command overturn president's decision to sack his own minister and re-install that minister back into the cabinet (ie. Mr. Moslehi) and thereby humiliate Ahmadinejad; but this very same Khamenei cannot prevent Rowhani from assigning the nuclear file to the foreign ministry and could not prevent Khatami from suspending the enrichment of Uranium in 2003! All of a sudden the Iranian concession to the West in 2003 becomes 100% Khatami's fault and it had absolutely nothing to do with our wise leader!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 16, 2013 7:44:44 PM | 8

I understand you are Iranian?
مرد میخواستم که حتی در خوابش به خودش جرات میداد که در دوران احمدی نژاد بدبخت پیشنهاد بده که پرونده اتمی بیافته دست علی اکبر صالحی

Can you even imagine what would have happened to that deviant Ahmadinejad if he so much as dreamed of proposing that the nuclear dossier be entrusted to the foreign ministry of Mr. Salehi??
Don't try to put the blame of everything on reformists or Rafsanjani. The limits to how much of power could be exercised by the president is mainly influenced by centers of powers which are under the direct control of the SL.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 16, 2013 8:00:16 PM | 9


The intelligence and security issues are under the helm of the leadership which in practical term is acting in a consensual way through the National Security Council. All other "normal" issues: economic, diplomatic, cultural etc... are under the responsibility of the presidency with the limitations imposed upon him by the constitution. So you are mostly incorrect when claiming: "The limits to how much of power could be exercised by the president is mainly influenced by centers of powers which are under the direct control of the SL."

The system is not a one man show although Iran is not a "liberal democracy" in a western sense of the word either. But, it is the closest you can get, in the region at least, to a state trying to base herself on a legal and constitutional framework, originally approved through a revolution and, since then, constantly deriving its legitimacy from the popular consent.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 16, 2013 9:38:02 PM | 10

So far as I can see your knowledge of Iran is very much close to zero. Which is not something to feel bad about, no one can be expected to know about every country. So no, that is not something bad; the actually bad thing is that you argue a hell of a lot more than your knowledge actually permits.

Go and find out about sacking of Mr. Moslehi by Ahmadinejad and his re-installment by the SL; go and make a research about the direct command by the SL which prevented Ahmadinejad from the appointment of Mr. Mashaei as his deputy, go and research about Mr. Khamenei's prevention of Majlis from even debating a new press law which they had came up with in Aug. 2000. Which one of the aforementioned incidences do you deny?

Now I don't find that democratic AT ALL, you do? Good for you, some people may even find Hitler's rule in Germany as "democratic", Iran's regime by any measure is incomparably more democratic than that; so by all means call it democratic if you wish! All I can say is that your understanding of the word "democratic" is as different from my understanding of the word as is black from white.

All that is ABSOLUTELY IRRELEVANT however; after all right now, I am not arguing about how democratic Iran actually is. Either these acts by Mr. Khamenei were in accordance to his legitimate constitutional powers or not:

A) If they were not then you have to admit that he has violated the constitution.
By the way, for your information:
Article 124 of the Islamic Republic's constitution:
The President may have deputies for the performance of his constitutional duties. With the approval of the President, the first deputy of the President shall be vested with the responsibilities of administering the affairs of the Council of Ministers and coordination of functions of other deputies.

Article 133 of the Islamic Republic's constitution:

Ministers will be appointed by the President and will be presented to the Assembly for a vote of confidence. With the change of Assembly, a new vote of confidence will not be necessary. The number of ministers and the jurisdiction of each will be determined by law.

Article 136 of the Islamic Republic's constitution:
The President can dismiss the ministers and in such a case he must obtain a vote of confidence for the new minister(s) from the Assembly. In case half of the members of the Council of Ministers are changed after the government has received its vote of confidence from the Assembly, the government must seek a fresh vote of confidence from the Assembly.

B) If they were within the limits of his legitimate power then you have to admit, that his office can easily overrule any decision by the president regarding the strategic matters in the foreign policy. Therefore no one can blame this or that president for the suspension of the Uranium enrichment and keep the SL out of the guilt.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 16, 2013 11:03:29 PM | 11

@ATH | 10

"The system is not a one man show although Iran is not a "liberal democracy" in a western sense of the word either. But, it is the closest you can get, in the region at least, to a state trying to base herself on a legal and constitutional framework, originally approved through a revolution and, since then, constantly deriving its legitimacy from the popular consent."

Not only that, but another benefit of Iranian type of democracy is that leadership is clearly visible, unlike in Western so called democracies, where real masters are behind the veil, with gutless puppets doing their bidding.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 16, 2013 11:34:44 PM | 12

first . I guess that Pirouz is an Iranian who living in a western country or a so called Reformist ( read it as Pro westerns ) ....

so when you reading his post about Iran , you should keep this point in your mind to judge his post ....

and I'm Osuol Gara ....and I don't like Eslah Talaban ( Reformist ... I don't know which idiot translate Eslah Talaban to Reformists ! )


anyway , Rouhani is under influence of Reformist , and The rich Families who are angry because they can't use their money in western countries freely ...

well , Reformist are pro western and The riches families are only care about their wealth ...

so this is not as "A Spoiler Attempt On U.S.-Iran Negotiations " , because recently , some Reformists saying that Iran should do whatever westerns ask ... but their problem is Ousol Gara , Supreme leader , and IRGC ....

well , for knowing reformist better , I should tell you that in past months , some of their Ideologists come and says that " it was Iran fault that USA shot downed our Airbus in 1980s ... " ... for most of Reformist , West is absolute good ...

Posted by: R.P | Sep 17, 2013 3:20:47 AM | 13

Comments on this?

I know Drum is a Democratic party tribalist, but the argument based on the intact shells does seem persuasive.

Posted by: archer | Sep 17, 2013 3:21:37 AM | 14

The zio-fascists in ISR/US/UK/FR hate and detest the regime in Tehran because they think of themselves as the 'MASTERS of Deception' ( in evil and satanic sense ) ruling the world by the famous Mossad slogan ' By way of deception thou shalt do WAR ', whereas in the regime in Tehran they have recognized and 'identified' the ' GRAND MASTERY ' of 'Deception' ( in Divine sense ) and this western bunch of fascists are very bad losers.
I do not see any sign that the west can escape from its definite demise , this of course from a teleological point of view .
""They plan [their plans], and We plan [ours];
Verily, We are the Best of Planners"" Holy Koran

Posted by: Sufi | Sep 17, 2013 3:49:12 AM | 15

@archer - 14

Their argument is false, since they are lying that only Syrian army has such rockets, here is video with terrorists using these Russian BM-14 artillery rockets couple of months ago:

There is more at Petri Krohn site:,_August_21,_2013/Rocket_attack

Posted by: Harry | Sep 17, 2013 3:54:36 AM | 16

Sufi, my Marxist friend, the Israelis or to speak more bluntly the Jews are incapable of keeping their mouths shut about their own cleverness in lying, which makes them rather ineffective as liars. If you watch the news carefully enough, they expose themselves every time by opening their big mouths when they should just have kept them shut. Consider this, for example: after lying systematically for months by claiming they really didn't care who won in Syria, they now blurt out that they wanted Assad out from day one. This actually confirms what I started saying 2 years ago, about the supply line to Hezbollah running through Syria. That is what he means by 'strategic arc'.

Oren: Israel has wanted Assad ousted since outbreak of Syrian civil war
Herb Keinon, JPost, Sep 17 2013

In a parting interview with the JPost to be published in full on Friday, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US Michael Oren traced the evolution of Israel’s message on Syria during the three weeks of the CW crisis. He said:

The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted Assad to go. We always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran. We understand that they are pretty bad guys. Still, the greatest danger to Israel is the strategic arc that extends from Tehran to Damascus to Beirut, and we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc. That is a position we had well before the outbreak of hostilities in Syria. With the outbreak of hostilities we continued to want Assad to go. The CW were a US red line, not an Israeli red line. Our red line was that if Iran and Syria try to convey CW or game changing weaponry to Hezbollah or other terrorist organizations, that Israel would not remain passive. We were prepared to stand by the red line, and we still are. I can't verify reports Assad is already moving his CW arsenal, but I am certain that he is not moving them out to Hezbollah. [...] In the last 64 years there has probably never been a greater confluence of interest between us and several Gulf States. We have agreements with these Gulf States on Syria, on Egypt, on the Palestinian issue. We certainly have agreements on Iran. This is one of those opportunities presented by the Arab Spring.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 4:05:04 AM | 17

PS: before you say "who are you calling a Marxist? I am a Qur'an-bashing Sufi," let me remind you that a few days ago you explained the entire global war exercise by saying "they have to destroy capital stock to restore profitability," which is the fundamental Marxist explanation of all wars, and nobody understands it except other Marxists. Thank you.


Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 4:10:17 AM | 18

@18 Rowan Berkeley
"" let me remind you that a few days ago you explained the entire global war exercise by saying "they have to destroy capital stock to restore profitability,""

You mix me up with someone else , I never said above.

Posted by: Sufi | Sep 17, 2013 4:18:40 AM | 19

Yes, you did. I remarked on it at the time. But like most blogs, it isn't possible to run an internal site search through comments (b could do it, from the blog editor, but we can't).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 5:00:49 AM | 20

"But like most blogs, it isn't possible to run an internal site search through comments (b could do it, from the blog editor, but we can't)."

ahem, . . . .
site(colon)http(colon)// "Posted by: Sufi" . .. .

Posted by: hmm | Sep 17, 2013 5:18:08 AM | 21

I shall have to put an info box on my own blog telling people how to do that, because often they complain that they can't search the comments. And now I shall attempt to find the remark by Sufi that I referred to. Aha, here it is (at the very end of page 2). But he's actually block-quoting an Asia Times column by Dan Glazebrook, and I misremembered it as an original aperçu of his own:

The Great Recession facing the global capitalist system today is pushing inexorably towards major war in just the same way as the Great Depressions of 1873-96 and 1929-39 were pushing towards war, and for the same reason; the need to destroy surplus capital and pave the way for a new round of profitable investment.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 6:07:34 AM | 22

@ 22 - Rowan Berkeley

Again Mr. Berkely , I never said what you have claimed , I am just directly linking to an article of Mr. Dan Glazebrook in atimes (West's wars of choice target the weak), nothing more , not even one word from me.

Posted by: Sufi | Sep 17, 2013 6:28:15 AM | 23

You're not just "directly linking," you're block-quoting. But never mind. I don't personally care whether you have any comprehension of or any interest in Marxism. Your sudden anxiety to dissociate yourself from what I suppose you now realise is a Marxist analysis has my sympathy, given what I imagine your circumstances to be.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 7:01:16 AM | 24

Actually it's rather amusing to watch what are basically theocratic, totalitarian elements jumping on and off the old leftist omnibus and and when they think they can hitch a free ride:

Have we completely lost the initiative? Unfortunately, yes. That is what explains the demoralization that haunts a generation or more. It explains why we differ on just about everything today from theory, analysis, priorities, and even our collective interest. What was once a vibrant, broad left with deep popular roots has become little more than a collection of individuals with no one to represent but themselves. Any kind of effort to revive the left takes us back to the necessity of some kind of review, otherwise there is no way to move forward. But any real revision means that a whole generation must submit its resignation and stand aside, giving a younger generation the opportunity to recast our project as it sees fit.
- Ibrahim al-Amin, editor, al-Akhbar, Sep 16

This is a paper loyal to Hezbollah, a theocratic party. If the Lebanese left wants to be owned by a theocratic party, then it ain't left. But what do I care? Nothing, really. I have no illusions about politics any more. I lost them a long time ago.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 7:14:25 AM | 25

@24 Rowan Berkeley

"You're not just "directly linking," you're block-quoting."

I even don't know what 'block-quoting' means , let alone the other stuff :-)

Posted by: Sufi | Sep 17, 2013 7:15:24 AM | 26

No matter. We're all living in a time-warp compared to the 1960s and 1970s, when the entire world was full of vibrant, challenging left parties which more or less understood the complicated relationship between imperialism and capitalism. Now they've all gone, probably swept off to prison, or worse. We're back with the idea that God commanded the institution of private property, up to and including speculators owning entire industries. It's a global casino, and Muslim speculators play it with the best of them. To take Iran for example, Rafsanjani is still the pistachio king, I expect. He's the only one I can remember, but there must be dozens of similar big owners in Iran, like everywhere else. Religious parties always, and I mean always, work in conjunction with substantial sectors of what we used to call the bourgeoisie. They will never dispossess their patrons. You'll see.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 7:55:03 AM | 27


"Go and find out about sacking of Mr. Moslehi by Ahmadinejad and his re-installment by .... the aforementioned incidences do you deny?"

None of the aforementioned incidents - which I was well aware of in the details before replying to you - contradict what I said about the responsibilities and limitiations of leadership and the presidency in Iran and the interaction between the two institutions the way they are defined by the law and in practice.

You were adamant on portraying Iran as a dictatorship - and I sense this is coming from your dislike of the system in place and an ideological background of mild marxism tainted by neo-con ideology - and I was simply replying that this is not the case at all and Iran is not a "one man show". If you have any factual proof to the contrary, i.e. that Iran is a dictatorship run by one man, you are more that welcome to expose your arguments.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 17, 2013 8:51:01 AM | 28

" I don't personally care whether you have any comprehension of or any interest in Marxism."

You appear to be obsessed by the matter: post after post informing sufi that, because he quoted someone who appears to make the vulgar "marxist" argument that you hold to be a gold standard of the dogma you preach, extemporising as you do so, he too is a marxist.
It really doesn't f#cking matter, Rowan.

Please tell us that "Religion is the opium of the people" and leave it at that. While ruling class ideologists often attempt to wrap up their greed in providential dogmas, it is equally the case that popular insurrections march behind religious symbols.
You must have heard of John Ball and Colonel Rainborough, for example, Cobbett's sermons, the Labour Churches and.... Christ why do I bother??

Posted by: bevin | Sep 17, 2013 9:27:02 AM | 29

Agreed. Doesn't sound plausible to me.

Posted by: Jeremy R. Hammond | Sep 17, 2013 10:34:08 AM | 30

The main reason of the collapse of the Soviet Union was the fact that for the first time since WW2 the Soviets sided with the Zio-Fascist US in crushing the newly established Islamic Republic , Khomeini told this right into the face of Shevardnadse.
The fact that the IRI system could emerge in the middle of a 'TITANIC' but empty war between the East and the West is a 'divine miracle' within itself. Both systems (East/West) are/were secular and materialistic and by divine law doomed to fail , one failed and one will follow very soon.
In that sense the most pregnant historic event in the 20th and 21st century was NOT :
Fall of the Berlin Wall
9/11 etc.

But the advent of the Islamic Revolution , which happened to take place in Iran and Zio-Fascism recognized this fact from second 1 , hence the immense hatred towards the IRI.
I agree with Pirouz in some points , there are many flaws in the system of the IRI , but nothing which could not be overcome within the next few decades.
Think from Bani Sadr to Rajaei to Khamenei to Rafsanjani to Khatami to Ahmadinejad to Rouhani etc.

Posted by: Sufi | Sep 17, 2013 11:22:12 AM | 31

This thread is NOT about how democratic Iran is and I was not making an argument in that regards. My arguement was against what LOYAL said in #4, which tried to portray Khatami/Rowhani as the part responsible for Iran's concessions to the West in 2003.
Simple fact is Iran's president does not have a final say in the foreign policy issues. He can try to influence it but he does not have the final say in it. Foreign policy matters cannot be decided in a direction against the wishes of the SL. In fact no strategic decision can.

Now since you insist in diverting the subject of discussion please instead of making assertions based on your fixations on me, kindly tell me how in your view the three interventions that I mentioned Mr. Khamenei has made are:
1) Democratic
2) Is in compliance with the articles of the IR constitution I just quoted in my previous message.

Please also already note that even if we "assume" that Mr. Khamenei behaved well within his constitutional powers, we still be arriving at my original conclusion, that the president CANNOT make a final decision regarding foreign policy issues against the wishes of the SL. This is very much so unless you will claim that an executive branch whose head CANNOT appoint even his own deputy against the wishes of the SL can make the final decision regarding such an important foreign policy matter against the wishes of the SL.

PS. Incidentally, I am curious, what does a "mild Marxism" mean? :-)

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 17, 2013 11:30:09 AM | 32


I was countering your implications by saying that Iran is not a one man show or a dictatorship. If you don't have any qualm anymore with this assertion of mine, then I don't see why we need to continue discussing it. If you do, bring your arguments and I will do the same from my side.

The issues related to the security of the state are, by the normes, under the responsibility of the leadership and his tendency has been to practice and excercise those in a consensus base, without sharp political angles by trying to be inclusive the maximum possible (check the public statements of Rafsanjani).

P.S. mild marxism is the one without the hard leninism and might include trotskyism.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 17, 2013 11:52:30 AM | 33

I maintain despite bevin's various sermons that when it comes to Marxism I know what I'm talking about. But actually, I shouldn't be bitter about the vanishing of the Marxist parties in the countries which are the victims of imperialism. I've said in other places that I support nationalism in these countries. This is because I still hold to Marx's own original argument: that the communist revolution has to take place in the advanced countries first, before it can take place anywhere else. And the fact that in the countries where communist revolutions did in fact take place (Russia and China), the 'communism' that resulted was not really communism at all but a form of tyranny disguised with Marxist jargon, proves that point. Imperialism has to be destroyed first, so that the currently imperial countries (the US Canada, Britain, France, Germany, and to some extent Russia) get cut down to size. Then these advanced countries will finally become vulnerable to real communist revolutions. I just wish that nationalist revolutions in the victim countries didn't have to be religious. I hate that.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 12:29:12 PM | 34

It is not becoming of you to dodge the direct questions I asked you in message number 32.
Please answer those questions, in your answer to those questions you will find a response to your own "assertions" regarding Iranian system being a "one man show" and "dictatorship".

PS. After "mild Marxism" now we have "hard Leninism"??? Are "hard Leninism" and "mild Marxism" something similar to an "unbelievably small attack"? :)

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 17, 2013 12:46:50 PM | 35


You need to read more carefully what I wrote, this way you would have got your answers immediately. I repeat what I said, maybe this time it will be clearer for you: I didn't say that the Iranian system is a democracy. I said the political system in Iran is trying to built one based on the rule of law and it definitely has the legitimacy derived from the backing of its population for this purpose. Therefore it is not a one man show or a dictatorship. This answers both of your question (I am pretty sure that legal and constitutional experts in Iran can formulate a valid response to the examples you gave in a legal framework pretty similar to the way their collegues in every wetern system of governance will do). The system might not be to your liking but you can at least answer my question here: Do you believe iran is a dictatorship and if yes, are you in principle against dictatorships ?

P.S. You exactly know what I am talking about, don't "veer yourself into the left alley", if you see what I'm saying.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 17, 2013 1:22:47 PM | 36


"I didn't say that the Iranian system is a democracy."

Neither did I. What I have always maintained and to a large degree still maintain, is that Iran is a *defacto* LIBERAL democracy.
I think by now it must be obvious that I don't consider a liberal democracy to be a real democracy. In a democracy the final decision is by the PEOPLE.

"I said the political system in Iran is trying to built one based on the rule of law"

This part I absolutely disagree with. If you indeed believe that Iran works on the "rule of law" then you must already have your own "valid response" to the examples I gave.
Either you have a response for that, or otherwise it means that you cannot somehow fit the aforementioned examples into the concept of rule of law (based on IRI constitution).

"Therefore it is not a one man show"

Perhaps we should clarify some of the concepts we talk about so that we wouldn't be hitting above each others head: What is a one man show?
If the leader can even decide who cannot be the deputy of the president, is that a one man show? If the leader can decide what "press law" the Majlis (which also had the support of the president) cannot even "debate", is that a one man show? If a leader can directly, with one single letter, re-appoint a minister to his position after he has been sacked by the president, is that a one man show?
What does "zowb shodeh dar velayat" (absolute submission to the custody of the jurisprudent) mean? Is that a one man show?
I am assuming that these are not in your opinion examples of "one man show"? Then the question becomes -as I asked before- what is a "one man show"?

Incidentally the term "one man show" was never used by me. It was a term attributed by YOU to me. I prefer to use clearly defined terms as much as possible and avoid ambiguous terms.

PS. No I don't know "exactly" know what you mean. Fact of the matter is that I am not even sure if you know exactly what you mean! That was my whole point!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 17, 2013 2:01:33 PM | 37


Being a "democracy" in a western sense is not a panacea.

The two most important factors when looking at a political system from the modern perspective, i.e. maximazing the participation of the mass in determining their own future, are the legitimicay of the system and the rule of law.

1)Starting by the second, I refer you to the entry on wikipedia for the role and responsibilities of the leader.
Even though this is not the best reference but it clearly shows that your (counter)examples, as outside the rule of law behaviour of the leader, are included in the legal framework of the IRI, therefore they don't contradict the system, since they can be interpreted by the jurists as consitutional. Besides the rule of law is not something that can be instituted with a touch of magic, it is a process and it will take time. Something that the majority of Iranians have well understood. Sometimes, you have to take one step back to be able to go two steps forward.

2)There is no need for me to spend any amount of time in proving that the Iranian political system has the popular legitimacy and that the path it is going on is approved by the population. The more than 30 elections during the last 34 years and the rates of the participation are all here to prove it.

You are still avoiding to say if the iranian system is a dictatorship according to you or not. The use of "one man show" was meant to facilitate your answer, if you don't like this term, just use "dictatorship" instead. And I gather you are in principle against dictatorship, therefore against IRI.

P.S. And it's fine if you don't get what I was implying.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 17, 2013 2:31:14 PM | 38


"Being a "democracy" in a western sense is not a panacea."

I never said that it was. Apart from the fact that "panacea" does not exist to begin with, liberal (or western) democracy is not democracy. Liberal (or western) democracy is the oligarchy of an all-powerful elite which manages to bring the population to the ballot boxes for a very limited choice of candidates (ie. tweedle dee and tweedle dum) provided to them by the elite. Does this sound familiar?

"maximazing the participation of the mass in determining their own future"

"Determining your own future" is not about going to ballot boxes whereby you can choose from a group of candidates carefully hand selected by the ruling elite. It is about freedom of choice, freedom of the expression of ideas and free discussions of ideas it is about making a conscious decision based on that. Such "determination of future by the masses" does not exist in the west, nor does it exist in Iran.
I told you once before, Hitler came to power in an election with a big participation rate. It doesn't mean that his rule was not a dictatorship. In Turkey right after a brutal military coup (1980), with many executions, rampant torture, extremely repressive press laws and a ban on most political parties they had election after election with large participation by the people. This doesn't mean that people were "determining their own future"; their future was being decided for them by Kenan Evren. "Determining your future" is A HELL OF A LOT more than just showing up at ballot boxes. Incidentally I know many people who participated in the last elections in Iran despite the fact that they were against the system of Islamic Republic. Listen to your own leader who said (I am paraphrasing): "even if people don't agree with the Islamic system, still they should participate in the elections because even if they don't like the system they still like their own country" which very obviously means that there were many people who disagree with the Islamic system and still vote.

Now I had read the parts of constitution relevant to the matter at hand before you sent that link and that is how I quoted the previous articles which CLEARLY puts the dismissal of a minister and the appointment of the deputy president under the authority of the president. Still I went through your link, and could not see ANYWHERE an article mentioning that the president's deputy is to be subjected to the approval of the leader, or that the leader has the right to re-install a minister dismissed by the president.
If the jurists can "interpret" the constitution arbitrarily and extend SL's authority as much as they wish, then the question becomes:
a) Is there any office which can be occupied without leader's approval?
b) If none, then how is this different from dictatorship?

"You are still avoiding to say if the iranian system is a dictatorship according to you or not."

No I did not avoid that question at all. I have said so many many times that I don't see much of a difference between the Western democracies and Iran. This is NOT a position that I have recently taken. I have been saying this for many years. You can find -if you wish- my previous messages both here and on "" where I have said this numerous times.

Still to answer your question once more:
Iran's system (at least up until these last elections in 2013) is (was) as dictatorial a system as USA's is.
Are we clear now?

P.S. We are not here to make "hints" and "imply" things. If you have something on your mind articulate it clearly. Terms such as "mild Marxist" and "hard Leninist" are as ridiculous as "an unbelievably small strike".

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 17, 2013 4:46:57 PM | 39


"...therefore they don't contradict the system, since they can be interpreted by the jurists as consitutional."

By the way, these "jurists" who interpret the constitution to determine whether SL's acts are constitutional or not, who appoints them?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 17, 2013 5:42:39 PM | 40


This is offensive: "the Jews are incapable of keeping their mouths shut about their own cleverness in lying, which makes them rather ineffective as liars."

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 17, 2013 7:52:29 PM | 41


More offensive than

"All [personal] vows we are likely to make, all [personal] oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce.

Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established.

Let our [personal] vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths."

pretty clear statements - no ambiguity from what I can see.

A ceremony for renouncing ALL Future vows and promises, oaths, pledges.

Hard to call that anything but a self-awarded Licence for lying.

Posted by: Kol Nidre | Sep 17, 2013 8:49:34 PM | 42

nuclear enrichment at Fordo is not the ultimate defense against US/Israel/SA.

however, I would love to see the US give up nuclear enrichment somewhere in return, and definitely a few nuke plants! take the ones closest to me first....

Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2013 9:09:24 PM | 43


In any political system it doesn't matter what your ultimate motives are, what matters is that by participating in the legal process of choosing your representative you basically approve and legitimize the system. This is politics 101. You sounds like a person who doesn't like any kind of currently existing governance, seeking one that only fits your own personal desires. I am sorry to announce that you will take this kind of quest to the grave, unless your objective is to become a dictator for life and you succeed in it. I would also say that I still persist to believe that you are a marxist with shades of neo-conservatism. Furthermore, this whole exchange proved to me that I was correct to assume that you are in principle in the camp enemy to the Iranian state, your only difference with neo-cons would be that you might have a "communist" utopia while theirs is/was "democracy".

Posted by: ATH | Sep 17, 2013 10:37:28 PM | 44

@RB#17: This is offensive: "the Jews are incapable of keeping their mouths shut about their own cleverness in lying, which makes them rather ineffective as liars." Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 17, 2013 7:52:29 PM | 41
Ha ha, I'm offensive to Jewish sensibilities. I must finally be doing something right.


Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 18, 2013 2:43:50 AM | 45

Blacks are ...
Gays are ...
Arabs are ...
Muslims are ...

Stereotyping is offensive to many people's sensibilities.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 18, 2013 12:27:24 PM | 46

You are exhibiting the typically Jewish strategy of trying to hide behind ('solidarise with', sob sob) your own victims: black/gay/arab/muslim, etc. Rusty Pipes is certainly a good Jewish name. Crawl off back to MondoWeiss or wherever.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 18, 2013 2:11:28 PM | 47

I shan't respond again, whatever ploy you dream up, chaver. I've been through this a hundred times with people like you. I know what you're trying to do.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 18, 2013 2:18:16 PM | 48


I do not care whether you respond to me or not. You make many assumptions about me. I have been blogging under the pseudonym Rusty Pipes since 2005 on Daily Kos and related blogs, where I have been very open about my faith background (which does not happen to be Jewish). A few of the bloggers at Daily Kos and Mondoweiss (including Annie) know me in real life. I have no relation to Richard or Daniel Pipes or any other neocons.

A dynamic I have seen in the years I have been blogging is the attempt to smear sites that criticize Israel as anti-Semitic. This is often abetted by planting trolls to spout classic anti-Semitic tropes. In the past few weeks, as the war drums for attacking Syria have been building, MoA has become one of the go-to sites for deeper background on Syria -- not just in b's analysis, but in the comments as well. Israel and the Israel Lobby desperately want this war and would gladly send trolls to "delegitimize" this site at this time.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 18, 2013 6:16:07 PM | 49

Badhra seems to take the spiegel article as serious

Posted by: Mina | Sep 19, 2013 2:15:07 PM | 50

I think it's fair to compare Erich Follath to the proverbial lamp-post, convenient for the disinfo dogs of the secret services to relieve themselves upon. We used to have someone in London who earned the same comparison. One should definitely discount sentences like "According to intelligence sources, the economic data is much worse than Tehran has been willing to admit."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 19, 2013 3:00:16 PM | 51

I don't trust rouhani. I don't trust him because he is a moderate - in a war there is no need for moderates but for strategists and fighters and Iran has been forced into a war with zusa since many years. And I don't trust rouhani because he had the support of rafsanjani who is either a traitor or a crypto-zionist or both.

rouhani wil make constructive steps, show good will, bla bla ... and will then be f*cked by zusa. Because zusa wants to weaken and enslave Iran; it's not about nuclear weapons and no matter what rouhani offers zusa will find reasons to terrorize the Iranians.

Problem is, the zusa *knows* that Iran is peaceful and searches peace. This makes it an easy game for zusa; all they need to do is to come up with ever new (invented) accusations and sanctions. Iran has to break free - and that will not be possible by possible means.

Iran needs to fight militarily to break zusa. One promising way would be to arrange for a false flag from zaudi arabia against Iran and Iran then defending itself by a) terminating the zaudi arabian parasitic diktatur and b) taking major za oil-fields and threatening to set them on fire and destroy them.
Once zaudi arabia breaks, the zus$ breaks down.

zamericans understand only one language: a bullet right into their head.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 19, 2013 3:47:46 PM | 52


The end of the "Problem is, the zusa *knows*" paragraph the end should be "that will not be possible by political means."


Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 19, 2013 3:50:04 PM | 53

Mr. Pragma;

I understand that you don't trust Rowhani. Neither do I. In fact -for example- there are some worrying statements coming from Iran which talk about "breakthroughs" which they expect to happen in near future in the Iranian nuclear issue.
But the problem is that neither your "distrust" nor mine matter, Mr. Rowhani has the full trust of Mr. Khamenei:

"Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he has full authority to negotiate a deal with the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program."

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 19, 2013 4:12:51 PM | 54

But the problem is that neither your "distrust" nor mine matter, Mr. Rowhani has the full trust of Mr. Khamenei: "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he has full authority to negotiate a deal with the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program." Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 19, 2013 4:12:51 PM | 54
Well, there again, you only have Press TV's word for that. As I said today on the newer thread, I have my own reasons for wondering about the judgment of the people who run Press TV. I am not for a moment suggesting they are fifth columnists or traitors, but I do feel that they consistently show bad judgment in the people they get op-eds from, very bad judgment; and if their judgment is as poor as I think it is regarding op-eds, it may be equally poor regarding their sources for what they present as news.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 19, 2013 4:34:55 PM | 55


So, what is Khameini supposed to do? Should he publicly tell "Rouhani isn't trustworthy and has been strongly supported by a traitor"?


For one, Khameini must and want's to respect the will of the Iranian voters and he will not dismount a major political figure and be it only so as to keep Irans government running properly.
Second, even if he did say what you said he said, so what? That statement is about as valuable as "Water has my full trust to run downward". *Of course* Khameine declares his full trust in the elected president - that doesn't mean too much.

It might also be smart tactics by Khameini. To tell the "modern" Iranians that negotiations with zusa are completely senseless is one thing and a thing that would fail. So, maybe he decided to let Rouhani go his "moderate way" - and bluntly fail. Then it will be easy to go a harder course.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 19, 2013 4:49:05 PM | 56

Mr. Pragma;

Determination of major foreign policies is not within the authority of the President in Iran. Did you see Ahmadinejad being given a "carte blanche" to negotiate over the nuclear issue? Did the nuclear negotiation get entrusted to the foreign ministry at the time of Ahmadinejad? Did Salehi even dream of enjoying the same authority as Zarif?
Incidentally Ahmadinejad had been elected by a much larger margin in an election with a much higher participation rate.
But anyway, Mr. Khamenei does NOT have to relegate any of his authorities to ANYONE. For example he is the commander in chief of the armed forces. *IF* he chooses to do so, he may appoint somebody else (eg. the president) to be the commander-in-chief for sometime (as long as Mr. Khamenei wishes him to be). At the time of Mr. Khomeini,for example, he VOLUNTARILY relegated the post of commander-in-chief to Mr. Rafsanjani (at the time of Iran-Iraq war), before that he had relegated that post to Mr. Bani-Sadr, the moment he felt uncomfortable with Bani-Sadr he immediately took away his authority as the "commander-in-chief". This is just one example. He does NOT HAVE TO relegate any of his authorities to any president even if the president has been elected with 100% of the vote in an election with 100% participation.
If he does give the job of nuclear negotiations to the president that only and only means that he FULLY SUPPORTS AND TRUSTS the president on the issue and the responsibility of the results of the negotiations lies first and foremost on Mr. Khamenei's shoulders.
However, I think it is still too soon, and I am "hoping" that the negotiations do not end up as a compromise on Iran's part (eg. closing down of Fordo or suspension or even limitation of the number and efficiency of the centrifuges).

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 19, 2013 5:28:25 PM | 57

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