Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 25, 2013

Some Agreement On U.S.-Iran Negotiations

Iran and the United States have come to some agreement about Iran's nuclear program. They, at least, have agreed on the two main framework points that will be discussed the future negotiations - the points of rights and of peaceful nuclear program.

Considers these excerpts on the issue from president  Obama's and president Rouhani's UN General Assembly speeches yesterday.


We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.
We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people, while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful.
Iran and other actors should pursue two common objectives as two mutually inseparable parts of a political solution for the nuclear dossier of Iran. Iran's nuclear program - and for that matter, that of all other countries - must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes. [...]

The second objective, that is, acceptance of and respect for the implementation of the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights, provides the only path towards achieving the first objective.

So these two points as a framework for further negotiations have now been accepted by both sides. The only difference in these positions is "enrichment". Obama still sticks to "access nuclear energy" which, in his mind,  may not necessarily include enrichment.

In 2009 the Obama administration's (wrong) position on Iran's rights, like that of the Bush administration, was "nuclear energy yes but no enrichment":

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Iran’s leaders on Sunday that if they were seeking nuclear weapons, “your pursuit is futile,” and ruled out explicitly the possibility that the Obama administration would allow Iran to produce its own nuclear fuel, even under intense international inspection.
“You have a right to pursue the peaceful use of civil, nuclear power,” she said, as if addressing Iran directly. “You do not have a right to obtain a nuclear weapon. You do not have the right to have the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control.
At that time the current Secretary of State Kerry rejected that "no enrichment" position:
“The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It was wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”
Has Obama now accepted Kerry's position? If he has not done so then there will be no progress in any negotiations. But if Obama accepts Iran's inalienable right to enrich Uranium for its nuclear reactors the question will come down to how much of "rights" and of how much of "peaceful". That is on the first how many centrifuges, what grade of enrichment and what other programs like the heavy water reactor will Iran be able to run without constant U.S. interference. To just say "zero", like Netanyahoo does, is not an option. On the second point the question is how much oversight will the Iranians accept to give confidence in the peacefulness of their program.

When those points are agreed upon there will also be the procedural question of a step by step implementation. What sanctions will be abandoned against what level of additional IAEA oversight of Iran's nuclear program?

There will be a bit of bazaar like haggling over these points. But it seems clear that the two major framework points of any future negotiations have been agreed upon. That Obama has not yet explicitly given up on the "bombastic" point of "no enrichment" is a bit of a disappointment and probably the reason why the Iranians did not accept a direct Obama Rouhani meeting yesterday.

That the U.S. diktat position seems to have softened and a framework for negotiations has been found gives me some hope that the upcoming negotiations will have some positive results.

Posted by b on September 25, 2013 at 15:34 UTC | Permalink


Talking about Iran (but the ban and protests had started earlier, in India, although no one mentions it), S. Rushdie writes in his Memoirs: "If this 'Google' had existed in 1989 the attack on him would have spread so much faster and wider that he would not have stood a chance."

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25 2013 15:42 utc | 1

Doesn’t ring true to me.

From “Nuclear Roulette” by Gar Smith:

“Despite generations of glowing publicity about “safe, clean electricity” and “peaceful atom,” the nuclear industry remains fatally intertwined with nuclear weapons proliferation. Since its earliest days, the “civilian” nuclear energy program helped provide plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal. In 2000 alone, civilian reactors produced enough plutonium to make more than 34,000 nuclear bombs.”

I’m no nuclear expert but if this is true the “peaceful” purposes is a red herring. Can anyone authoritively comment on this aspect. To me it just doesn’t add up.

Posted by: juannie | Sep 25 2013 15:58 utc | 2


The neo-cons think that the source of all the evil is political Islam and for them the leader of the Iranian Revolution represented the force that brought their ennemy standing up into the modern arena. Therefore they never waste any opening to demonize Iran and its leaders. Rushdie topic is one of those opportunities.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 16:13 utc | 3

There is more than one type of reactor, more than one type of fuel

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 16:24 utc | 4

In his introductory speech in the Iranian parliament the new foreign minister Zarif underlined his priorities in the relations witht the Western countries as "managing the relationship with the US and rebuilding and strengthening the ones with Europe". In this light, Rouhani's speech in the UN can be viewed as a trial balloon to setup these fundations: avoiding crisis; realistically recogninzing the policy objectives and concerns of the other party; identifying the fundamental issues of dispute and distinguishing the ones that can be managed and resolved; the gradual decrease in the hostility.

If the two sides can initialy agree on those procedural steps, and if the Americans can stick to their words, I think a path might be opened for a durable agreement.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 16:29 utc | 5

"If this 'Google' had existed in 1989 the attack on him would have spread so much faster and wider that he would not have stood a chance."

sad that alright - Damn you Tim Berners Lee - late as ever

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 16:32 utc | 6

Two points:
(1) To answer Juannie's question, nuclear power uses uranium enriched to the 3% to 4% level. Iran happens to have a research reactor from which it produces medical isotopes, which require an enrichment to 20%. But contrary to what the fools incessantly claim, it is not 'a short step' from those levels to the 90% level of enrichment required for a fission bomb. When Netanyahu rants on about a plutonium facility, he is referring to this:

Iran said that the IR-40 heavy water-moderated research reactor at Arak was expected begin to operate in the first quarter of 2014. The UNSC has demanded that Iran stop this reactor because it could be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Since its last visit on 17 August 2011, the IAEA has not been provided with further access to the plant so is relying on satellite imagery to monitor the status of the plant.

(2) One possible explanation for Jackass Kerry's unusually constructive suggestions is that he has got it into his tiny brain that in return for such permission, Iran can be persuaded to dump Syria. The pea-brained dinosaurs of Washington are particularly prone to this huckster mentality and tried something almost identical with Russia a few months ago.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25 2013 16:33 utc | 7

You have the BEST opportunity right now, to neutralize the "neo-con" propaganda!
Give us your unambiguous, and clearly articulated view on the Fatwa by Mr. Khomeini against Mr. Rushdie. What was that he commanded by his Fatwa and what was the reason for that Fatwa?

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 16:34 utc | 8


The catch here is that if the US accept the inalienable right of Iran they have basically accepted that iran has no obligation to curb the production of any kind of fuel to any degree of enrichment. Then Iran can publicly come out and say that, for example, since they can buy the fuel for TTR or for the Arak's heavy reactor facility from abroad, they don't see the need of producing locally the 20% enriched U or even maybe Pl.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 16:35 utc | 9


Bringing up right now, when Iran's diplomacy is in the middle of a "charm offensive", a more than 20 years old subject which has a heavy political burden, is something that neo-cons dream of. besides, this is not the topic at hand. Sorry, maybe later we can have time to discuss the political aspect of this old story.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 16:39 utc | 10

@ 8

"bad novelist" would have been enough

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 16:46 utc | 11

"So these two points as a framework for further negotiations have now been accepted by both sides."

Frankly, I fail to see what is so "new" about this? Iran ALWAYS has maintained that it has no intention to have a nuclear weapon. And US has LONG maintained that Iran has a right to acceess the civilian nuclear energy.

Regarding the points which can be negotiated and compromised, Iranian statesmen may compromise on many points depending on how much they are being "hurt". But the points which *I* would NEVER compromise (and I would consider a compromise from them a deviation from our sovereign rights and therefore humiliating) are the following:
1)No upper bound on the number and/or the efficiency of our centrifuges.
2)No upper bound on the level of enrichment of Uranium. The only guarantee that Iran will make is that:
a)It shall not go to a percentage level beyond its needs
b)It will not convert any of the enriched Uranium to a nuclear warhead.

On the issue of how much "inspection":
1) AP could be voluntarily implemented without ratifying it but ONLY CONDITIONAL on an explicit recognition of the West of Iran's right to enrich Uranium and the FULL FUEL CYCLE.
This is the absolute maximum of "inspection" they can get and nothing more.

But of course that would be my stance and most likely (but never say never) not the official stance of the Iranian negotiators.

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 16:50 utc | 12

Juannie raises an important point, that Eishenhower's "Atoms for Peace" was a PR response to the public outrage over the use of the atom bomb. That said, there is NO evidence that Iranian nuclear enrichment program was EVER about nuclear weapons. Under the "Atoms for Peace", once the US had overthrown Mossadegh and installed the former Shah's son, and agreed to help build up to 23 reactors for the Shah. The 1974 NIE (released, w/ heavy redactions) showed concern that the Shah might embark on a nuclear weapons program. That support (and supply of imported uranium) was withdrawn after 1979, and Iran sought to enrich uranium on its own.

While there may well be reactor designs that make sense (where my understanding becomes sketchy)and do not result in a fuel cycle including Pu, most current desings, do not and are viable only with heavy susidies and passing on risk costs (ignoring) to the general public.

IMO, the issue is about Iran challenging the two tired justice/power system, that allows one tier the right to do high tech research, and others to be denied that right. In addition, one must understand the whole context of US militarism, and what it did to create "its own view of reality" regarding WWII and the cold war.

I commented on these issues here, in response to the Rolling Stone review of Eric Schlosser's book "Command and Control", citing sources (and RS allowing multiple URL links) I think especially good in terms of understanding US Militarism and nuclear weapons in this broader context. IMO, one cannot make sense of the Iran-US differences re nuclear weapons without understanding a history that is not manufactured.

Posted by: erichwwk | Sep 25 2013 16:56 utc | 13

You are not a diplomat here. None of us is. You are not bounding anyone (except yourself) by anything. This is a WONDERFUL opportunity for you to clarify this issue and disarm the "neocons" from their propaganda! Are you going to let this opportunity go wasted?
Why not clarifying what Mr. Khomeini's position was on Salman Rushdie and show how rightful his Fatwa was?
Why shouldn't you be able to explain your views clearly and honestly? Why would this be a "neocon propaganda"? Neocons should be trying to shut you up so that you wouldn't be able to neutralize their "propaganda". And on the other hand you should be eager to express your view, clarify the issue and neutralize their propaganda! You should be eager to speak on the issue and they should try to shut you up, not the other way around!
Unless you think that if you speak honestly and unambiguously on the issue of the Fatwa against Mr. Rushdi that would help the "neocon" cause?

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 17:00 utc | 14

I think hmmm's answer is accurate... and sufficient enough to disarm neocons.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 17:02 utc | 15

@14 What does Salman Rushdie have to do with Iran's Nuclear Power program?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 17:03 utc | 16

@ Rowen Berkeley, my two points:

1) "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"

2) Using terms such as "jackass", "peabrain" are not terms helpful in a constructive discussion.

The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. --Joseph Joubert

Posted by: erichwwk | Sep 25 2013 17:03 utc | 17

The reason I brought this is actually because of the damage Twitter or FB have done in the whole so-called Arab Spring process (not to mention Google censuring the interesting articles, not only on Android devices). There is something definitely scarry about Twitter being the place to decide is someone is legitimate (not many Syrians were/are using the Internet, and most of the clamour was coming from expats and non-Syrians, at the beginning of the events of which the MSM jumped because 'they saw red').
As for the Neo-Cons, everyone knows they make a lot of money with their friends the oil kings in the Gulf, and KSA is much more identified with political Islam (via Wahhabism) than Iran is nowadays.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25 2013 17:09 utc | 18

What Rushdie did or did not do has absolutely ZERO to do with the Iranian nuclear program. It is completely irrelevant.
It was just mentioned, and I am very much curious to know "ATH's" view in particular regarding that Fatwa? So since he seems to agree with "hmm" I am assuming that he supports the Fatwa on the grounds that Rushdi is a "bad novelist"?

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 17:11 utc | 19

In US parlance, 'right to access to nuclear energy' means 'no right to nuclear technology'.

There's not even an outward semblance of an agreement over here.

Posted by: masoud | Sep 25 2013 17:12 utc | 20

I take my novelists very seriously

@17 and KSA is much more identified with political Islam (via Wahhabism) than Iran is nowadays.

And you were doing your bit to address that perceived recent lack of identification of Iran="Islamic Terror" in your post @ #1 I take it.

@13 from yor RS comment: But most dangerous is the concept of MAD itself, and the tremendous cost to society of resources expended w/o commensurate benefits.

IMO that was the whole point of both MAD and the Cold War. To waste the excess resources of society by locking it into expensive and wasteful Military programs that would constantly need large amounts of funding to "stay ahead in the race"

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 17:24 utc | 21


"What Rushdie did or did not do has absolutely ZERO to do with the Iranian nuclear program. It is completely irrelevant. "

Title of the thread: "Some Agreement On U.S.-Iran Negotiations"

The only direction I find myself obliged to follow is the above topic. I understand your feelings and desires right now and I will/might answer your question when the scope change to "Rushdie". What is surprising though is your so public stance in calling Iran not to bend under US constraint and predicting, almost sarcastically, that they will do so and, at the same time, your wish to dictate to me the completely off topic "Rushdie" subject.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 17:30 utc | 22

And just FYI, I have read 3 of Rushdies' novels, including the two that got awarded a litterature price in Iran after the revolution but before the SV, and I second hmmm's opinion about this author.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 17:36 utc | 23

To make things clear:
- I am finishing the book, so you will soon not hear about it anymore;
- The fatwa was officially cancelled in 1999;
- I was pursuing my reflection on the "social media" (from yesterday, with the Nairobi attack and the controversy about the Twitter account of al-Shabaab or the blog of the 'White widow', of which we still don't know if she was there or not, but then how did the BBC get a photo of her fake South African passport? when they first published it it seemed to imply they were showing a document transmitted by the Kenyan authorities)...
- Iran, just as Russia, Syria etc are the real targets of the Arab Spring (the Green movement was a general rehearsal), and the so-called Social media and Google play a role in deciding what view is legitimate, what version of a story is, etc. For this reason I thought Rushdie's intuition about Google was a pretty good one.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25 2013 17:37 utc | 24

The "Arab Spring" is a mere marketing slogan, designed to communicate irreality

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 17:41 utc | 25

The Iranians shouldn't hold their breath, or waste too much time on "talks" dominated by US ideologues. The Yankees set a precedent for the most likely outcome of this round of negotiations with the abjectly/flagrantly criminal trick they played on North Korea. To cut a long story short, the Yankees persuaded NK to shut down a coal-fired power station and sign a contract with a US co to build 2 light-water (safe, non-proliferating) power stations - cash up front. And all NK got for its money was the foundations of two power stations and a shut-down power station with a long re-commissioning lead-time plus devastating floods, an unusually harsh winter, and a lot of Schadenfreude gloating from the Yankees.
I'm surprised the Iranians are even pretending to take talks, in which the US is involved, seriously.

There was an article about this on the Nautilus Institute website by a bloke called Desaix Anderson who was CEO of the Korean Peninsula Energy something or other, which a quick Google search didn't find just now.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 25 2013 17:46 utc | 26

some interesting talking-head back-and-forth on RT about Iran and the US

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25 2013 17:47 utc | 27

BLOCKQUOTE> “Title of the thread: "Some Agreement On U.S.-Iran Negotiations"
The only direction I find myself obliged to follow is the above topic. I understand your feelings and desires right now and I will/might answer your question when the scope change to "Rushdie".”
You are very considerate when it comes to not hijacking the subject of a thread, I am amazed that you did not show the same sensitivity a few threads back when you changed the title of the thread from “A Spoiler Attempt On U.S.-Iran Negotiations” to “how ‘one-man-show’ the Iranian system of governance is”.
Still you are right, threads should not be hijacked, but then thank goodness there are always “open threads” on this site.
So please be kind enough to answer the question I asked in this thread in the open thread.
Note that I did not ask your opinion about how good or bad a writer Rushdi is. I am not really interested in your literary taste. My question was what your position is regarding Mr. Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdi, what that Fatwa was (please articulate it clearly)? What was the “reason” for that Fatwa not (again please articulate it clearly)? And whether you support that Fatwa or not (again please articulate it clearly)?
Please if it is only the subject of this thread that is bothering you, then answer it in one of the “open threads”.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 18:09 utc | 28


“Title of the thread: "Some Agreement On U.S.-Iran Negotiations"
The only direction I find myself obliged to follow is the above topic. I understand your feelings and desires right now and I will/might answer your question when the scope change to "Rushdie".”

You are very considerate when it comes to not hijacking the subject of a thread, I am amazed that you did not show the same sensitivity a few threads back when you changed the title of the thread from “A Spoiler Attempt On U.S.-Iran Negotiations” to “how ‘one-man-show’ the Iranian system of governance is”.
Still you are right, threads should not be hijacked, but then thank goodness there are always “open threads” on this site.
So please be kind enough to answer the question I asked in this thread in the open thread.
Note that I did not ask your opinion about how good or bad a writer Rushdi is. I am not really interested in your literary taste. My question was what your position is regarding Mr. Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdi, what that Fatwa was (please articulate it clearly)? What was the “reason” for that Fatwa not (again please articulate it clearly)? And whether you support that Fatwa or not (again please articulate it clearly)?
Please if it is only the subject of this thread that is bothering you, then answer it in one of the “open threads”.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 18:10 utc | 29

You got it wrong again: my dislike of rushdies' style was the reason I thought hmmm's answer was sufficient and not my answer to you.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 18:13 utc | 30

You still have not answered what I asked. Please answer it in an open thread. My question had nothing to do with what you think about Rushdi's literary style. My questions were regarding the Fatwa!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 18:19 utc | 31


Pretending that a country, in the middle of a political messy relationship with a hegemonic one and trying to improve it, is a "dictatorship" is completely related to the subject of "spoiling attempts for negociation between US and Iran."

America, since 100 years ago, has proclaimed liberal democracy to be one of the pillars of her foreign policy. She has told the world once in every while that the underlying values of "democracy" is what make her be close or distant to one country or another. So, publicly, and falsly, representing a country in the middle of a possible breaking of the ice with the US as a "one man show government" is obviously helping the hands of the ones that fear this direction of the events.

I think you might guess now what my hypothetical answer to your questions here might be. If you are politicaly savvy enough there might not be a reason for me to answer you anymore. If not, tell me, what could be the need for me to answer your questions ?

Posted by: ATH | Sep 25 2013 18:36 utc | 32

Why don't you answer your own question by stating what you conceive to be the truth that the neo-cons fear?

Posted by: bevin | Sep 25 2013 18:44 utc | 33

Neo-cons' main fear is not some atomic weapon or even a nuclear capability(1), and it has absolutely ZERO to do with how democratic Iran is. These people are the main supporters of the worst dictatorships all over the world. Neo-cons' main problem is that Iran is an 'independent actor'. Perhaps if it could stay limited to Iran they would not be doing so much of a warmongering, but the problem is that Iran would be an 'example' in this region, not as a 'system', but as a 'case' where someone has challenged the US authority and hegemony in this region and got away with it. So their problem is not with the system of governance in Iran (which in its essence is not that different from the system in US) but rather with Iran's independent position.
So where will this stop? What happens if the other people in this region start having the same dreams?
Americans in general and neo-cons in particular are after an absolute hegemony in this region. And that means crushing anyone who tries to make decisions at home rather than asking the US embassy for their command.

The truth they are hiding (although some people such as John Bolton go ahead and unashamedly say that openly) is that. And to hide that they will find as many "human rights" issues as they need as excuse.
Just as they are doing with Russia and with China but they would never do with KSA or Qatar or most importantly at home in USA.

Truth of the matter is that Iran is a hell of a lot more democratic that US allies in this region. In fact I would argue that until these last elections in 2013 Iran was as democratic (or as dictatorial if you will) as US.

The main difference between Iran and US is not in their systems: bring a hypothetical superpowers carrier groups to the Gulf of Mexico, and surround both USA and Canada with that superpower's military bases, threatening them with a military strike every day and say "all options are on the table" every night and you will see that instead of Ward Churchil and N. Finkelstein being thrown out of University that the whole of American intelligentsia have been put into jail. All of a sudden the mere blogging activity of us all will be considered as a "threat to the national security" and we all will be prosecuted.
West is already very close to being a police state, even without a real outside force threatening it with invasion.
So no the main difference between Iran and the West is not the dictatorial nature of one versus the democratic nature of the other.

If the neo-cons are so much against Iran, that is not because Iran is a dictatorship and US values democracy. Fact of the matter is that neo-cons (together with all other sects of the US regime) are the main force promoting dictatorship all over the world.

But this does not mean that we should close our eyes to the reality and try to imagine Iran as something it is not AT ALL.
Simply the fact that at this particular time Iran happens to be at odds with USA, should not make us forget incidences such as Irangate (2), Iran's support for the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Iran's morale support for the Libyan "revolutionaries"(!!), Iran's cooperation with USA during the invasion of Afghanistan etc.
Just because Iran is supporting Hezbollah, we should not forget how close it came to selling out Hezbollah just so that they can get into US' list of "good guys" in the 80's.

And just because at the moment Iran happens to be on the right position in the resistance to the US hegemony we should not turn a blind eye to the absolute hegemony of a corrupt oligarchy in Iran.
Just as our support for the red army under the leadership of Stalin in its fight against Nazies should not make us distort the history about his real nature, our support for Iran in the role that it plays in the axis of resistance should not make us go under an illusion regarding the power structure in Iran.

1)Although from neo-cons' perspective a 'nuclear capability' would not be good either; they want the ability to attack with impunity and therefore they don't like the idea of any nation having any deterrence.

2)It would be perhaps be of interest to the readership of this site in determining who is actually closer to the US neo-cons, to consider the following excerpt from an interview of Mr. Mohsen Rezaei with Presstv:

"I have not witnessed a courageous president in the US beside Mr. Reagan, who took a bold risk by sending McFarlane. McFarlane brought TOW missiles for us when we were involved in a war with Iraq. Since then, I have not seen any brave politicians in the US. "

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 25 2013 21:46 utc | 34


We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.

nuke power is no more safe than nuke bombs: currently Fukushima is nuking the pacific and flocking back to the land of its malignant birth US of EFF'ing A:

Nuke power: unsafe at any speed!

Posted by: brian | Sep 25 2013 22:35 utc | 35

Thank you Pirouz-2, for your post. I think that you are correct in every respect.

What very few people, in the United States and its subject nations of the west, realise is that their rapidly eroded freedoms would disappear completely if it were not for the assertions of independence by other countries, of which Iran is one of the most notable.

Thanks to Iran and Russia, and the sacrifices made (albeit involuntarily) by the people of Afghanistan,Iraq, Libya and Syria, (who really do deserve the accolade Obama, who is unable to tell the difference between sacrificing blood and spilling it, awarded his exceptionally murderous and hypocritical state, of making sacrifices for the good of others), history is still developing. The nightmare dystopia of the neo-cons', who thought/wished that history had ended quarter of a century ago, may yet be avoided.

The hegemony that the neo-cons and almost the entire ruling class in the States wish to achieve is designed to allow capitalists to have complete dominion over the metropolis as well as the peripheries of the imperial system.

Once the few remaining states to assert their sovereignty have been made to submit, the power directed against them, multiplied considerably, will be re-directed for the lutte finale, as George Sand (a considerably better novelist than Salman Rushdie) called the struggle to enslave the working class, and institute the cannibalism implicit in imperialism.

As to your observations on Iran's political system, I suspect that you do it less than justice by equating it with the US system which is, comparatively, much less representative. One must bear in mind that the censoring role of the clergy in the pre-election period is even greater in the United States, where Capitalism is the state religion, than in Iran. In Iran however I doubt that members of the legislature are elected in highly gerrymandered districts, representing three quarters of a million constituents each, on a ballot designed to maintain the duopoly of the twin parties and with enormous difficulties put in the way of voting by the poor, aged and working population.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 25 2013 23:14 utc | 36

Russia helped Iran start its peaceful nuclear program. It seems like they could provide some help to create a deterrent arsenal, and this could be done with.

I also wonder what sort of threats that the US had to lay against India to make it vote against Iran in the IAEA.

Posted by: Crest | Sep 26 2013 1:03 utc | 37


All I need to hear from him is that Iran is not a dictatorship, he doesn't even need to equate the system in place to a pure and perfect democracy but just acknowledge that Iran is not a "one man show". I will then have him easily out of my neo-cons' list.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 26 2013 1:24 utc | 38

In reading your post I understood it to say that US-Iran nuclear negotiations are meaningful. But the thought has been (e.g., by Cyrus Safdari, Pirouz_2, bevin), that the nuclear issue is just a pretext for regime change to install a US (and Saudi?)subservient government. That's why the US has consistently rejected any proposal to solve the "problem".

Are you taking Obama at his word that "We do not seek regime change"?

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 26 2013 2:23 utc | 39

And all I need to hear from you is that no one has a right to issue death sentences for an author -as despicable as he may be- just because he has "offended" his sensibilities by what he has *written*.
You know? You have some nerve, your statesmen are the ones who openly call Ronald Reagan as the "most courageous" American president, and I am the one who is a neo-con? It was your government which imported weaponry from Mr. Reagan's USA through Israel with the help of the likes of "Michael Ledeen", all the while when it was screaming their heads off with slogans of "death to America" and "The way to Jerusalem passes through Karbala" (apparently the way to Jerusalem was being planned to be taken by the weaponry from Reagan with the none other than Israelies as the middle man), and I am the neo-con?
By the way, this "one-man-show" business is propping up again, can you tell me what does a "one man show" mean? And how non-dictatorial is the authority of the Supreme Leader to approve or disapprove any person who is supposed to take any office in the land including the presidents own effing deputy?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 26 2013 3:15 utc | 40


After the popular revolution in Iran the political order which was/is being put in place has nothing to do with a dictatorship, neither with a kind of "liberal" system in place in the US. This structure might not be to your liking or desires but it can definitely not be called a "one man show".

In a dictatorship the one and supreme political leader has the first and last and every words. In the current system of governance in Iran, which is legally the one for all Iranians including you if you are citizen of that country, there are several centers of power independant from each other -one might call it separation of power; an open and proclaimed discours from all the political currents pushing for the respect of the law; and, foremost, the SL plays mostly a legitimacy role and intervene directly only in cases that have the potential to harm the system as a whole: he is detached from the day to day political management of the country's affairs, and that will be his legacy ... and this is good for the political future of the country and its population -one might say unlike the trend we witness in the US.

Despite that, it is now a proven fact that the first ones in the US that tried and succeeded in bringing up the SL as the target of the political/security attacks of a kind comparing him to a "mad mullah" and a dictator and so on... were the neocons. Their objectives, similar to yours here, and close to complete failure now, was to discredit the legitimacy and the foundation of the system in place to facilitate its implosion from within to with ultimately to advance their hegemonic objectives in the region.

The fact that you so openly mix your "values" with the analysis of the political events and systems and that you use them in the same main vector as the neo-cons, shows me that you have a blatant ideological bias like them and that you are aiming at the same target as them. Therefore I still consider your position closer to the necons than to any other political current in the US. This is not a crime but you were about to get out of my list just recently and here you go back again deep into the queue.

Now, after pondering on what I just said go back and reread my previous messages, use your brain and you will find my answer to your Rushdie question.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 26 2013 12:10 utc | 41

Perhaps it would be opportune to remind you both that the Khomeinist regime was catapulted into power deliberately by the west, most obviously the French, who doubtless on US instructions, provided Khomeini with his rear base of operations until the time was ripe, then flew him to Tehran on an Air France jet to assume the mantle of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution. The reason for this is equally obvious: the alternative, as seen from the US point of view, would have been a regime which whether Communist, Social-Democratic or Left-Liberal would have been 'in the orbit of Moscow'. And in fact the Islamic Republic proceeded with the help of the CIA to liquidate the Iranian Left (literally), and to offer the covert assistance of the IRGC to the CIA in anti-communist operations worldwide. This pattern continued until the 1990s in the Balkans, where the IRGC fought alongside the CIA and al-Qaeda against the Milosevic state and its Serbian successor. This happy marriage of anti-Communist forces would have continued to the present day, if Israel had not taken advantage of the temporary weakness of US foreign policy after 9/11 to impose a peremptory ban on all cooperation (including covert cooperation by the CIA) between the US and Iran. From the Israeli point of view, this may even have been one of the purposes of 9/11. So the moral of this story is, the raison d'etre of the Islamic regime is anti-Leftism. That is why it is there. That is why it was created, and allowed to consolidate itself. It is not an enemy of the USA but of Israel.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26 2013 15:36 utc | 42


I believe the foundation of your analysis is faulty. I'll just summarily mention several factors which are leading me to think this way and then give you my own judgement at the end.

- The Revolution in Iran was a genuine social movement and the population was looking for ways to emancipate itself;

- The political leadership, because of his intelligence, discipline and rectitude was accepted as such by the population and therefore capable of taking the helm of the revolutionnary movement;

- The different forces in the left, legitimately apt to claim the leadership of the social movement, were utterly divided and incapable of getting the backing of the huge majority of the mass -not to mention the severe decline in the luster of the soviet and chinese model of socialism;

- The leader of the Revolution, like many other political revolutionnaries before him -one can easily mention Jefferson, Robespierre, Lenine, Trotsky, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gandhi- was shrewdly using the dispute between superpowers to advance his own political and strategic agenda. His goals were not coordinated or aligned with the objectives of the Western powers but self defined and in a row with the needs of the popular movement. The contemporary history is here to prove this fact.

- The USSR was in the last stages of its decline (later, totaly collapsing) and the US was aware of this and on top of it knowing well that the periphery was detaching and the core was financially unable to sustain the pressure from uping the ante with DSI;

- And last but not least, the dictator ruling in iran, the "friend" that according to American services was clearly overreaching his predefined role, had terminal cancer (America was in cahoot through his doctors) wihtout his successor, the 17 years old crown prince, being ready to rule (he's still not !).

In essence,

Iran is the symbol of independance in the region, under attack and agression by Western and "Eastern" powers since 33 years ago and at the same time trying to define a system of internal governance that will follow the original slogans of the social movement that founded her: Independance, Freedom and Islamic Republic.

The neo-cons, a "value"-based players in the foreign policy arena mostly coming from troskyte and leftist background, have defined (for whatever motives: affinity with Israel etc...) the optimum policy to perpetuate the domination in South West Asia as being the undermining of one symbol of independance there. For that purpose they have concocted a strategic policy tool that consists of deliberately targetting the legitimate foundation of the current Iranian system of governance pushing for an internal implosion (again this is not the only and exclusive tool).

Therefore, whoever works in tandem with this political leverage is, in my opinion, helping the neocons project. This is not to say that you must agree with all and every aspect of the Iranian system of governance or even every slogans foundig it, but it means that whoever is distancing oneself from the neocon projects should avoid exposing whatever internal governance "problems" Iran might have in a non-national arena.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 26 2013 18:36 utc | 43

I don't intend to waste your time or anybody else's by a boring long online debate. That's why in general, once I have explained my view and made my point I usually don't answer back and forth anymore.
So in short here is what I have to say about your comment #42:
Part of what you say is right and part of it is inaccurate. Mr. Khomeini was catapulted by neither France nor USA into power, he was catapulted to power, by the Iranian people from the lower class to middle class, to even all the way to some parts of upper class. In the referendum in 1979 IR got a well above 90% approval.
The West was all the way behind Shah, the problem was that Shah could not be imposed on the Iranians by any force any longer. Once the West realized that it tried to do damage containment. They looked within the Iranian opposition and tried to find the most appropriate people with whom they could make a deal and minimize (and hopefully even reverse) the damage which had been made to their prestige. And voila... here comes "Khomeinism". They found the best candidates to be religious fanatics who in fact represented the Iranian version of "fascism". They were corrupt to the bone, ready to make deals with USA and Israel very easily (pretty much as much as Shah was)and ruthless enough to kill thousands upon thousands of Iranians. The only problem was that they were a bit of a loose cannon so to speak and therefore they could not be trusted. Besides they would always constitute a case of defiance to USA in which USA's puppet had been disposed. But still they were far better than the other parts of the Iranian opposition to shah, because those guys were very anti-imperialist and very much in the tradition of Bandung.
So came along the cooperation between neo-cons and the Khomeinists: Irangate which was greatly helped/guided by none other than Israelies themselves. Weaponry from "the-most-courageous-president" Reagan's USA were bought by Iranians and then brought to Iran via ISRAEL, with people like Michael Ledeen being involved in the process. The money for those weaponry was spent by "the-most-courageous-president" Reagan on Nicaraguan Contras to bring down the Sandinista government.
And you are also right when you said that CIA did help the Iranian government in *physically* eliminating the leftist opposition in Iran. And not just that, the cooperation went further and further, all the way from Balkans and the destruction of Yugoslavia, to US invasion of Afghanistan to the over-throw of Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya.
But I disagree with you when you say it was the "Israelies" which made the cooperation stop. To begin with USA never trusted IR. Every step of the way when Iran 'went into bed' with US in eliminating the anti-imperialist and anti-Israeli forces, the US cheated and did not turn the extramarital affair into a lawful "marriage" so to speak. So this is not something new. Starting from the 90's with the fall of USSR and with a series of "apparent" military successes (First Gulf war, Balkan war, invasion of Afghanistan...), US felt more and more "almighty" and started to become more and more impatient with it's mistress and decided to get rid of the old hag.
This is not about the "Israelies" imposition of a ban on cooperation between US and Iran, it is about "Israeli" interests being one and the same with that of US in the middle east.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 26 2013 18:37 utc | 44

If I can just set aside ATH's commendable loyalty, which of course will lead him to paint the Khomeinist system in the most pristine colours, and instead turn to Pirouz's view, which is in agreement with mine except for the question of why the US stopped covert cooperation with Iran (specifically, covert cooperation between the CIA and the IRGC), because this is a nice tight question with a nice sharp focus, and it's possible you are right. Something I remember very clearly seeing on YouTube some time in the last 5 or 10 years is a video from the time of the Srebrenica 'massacre' (if indeed there was a massacre). Someone we have recently heard from, Yossef Bodansky, was launching absolutely blistering accusations against various Congressional staffers, National Security Council operatives, and who knows who else, accusing them of authorising covert collaboration with the IRGC in the Balkans as if this was the most contemptible thing anybody had done since Chamberlain went to Munich. And when I saw it I said to myself, aha, this Bodansky, he is an Israeli agent of influence. But at the time, he was Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives. So it became a sort of traffic signal in my mind, saying, this is how the US turned the corner on covert cooperation with the IRGC. But I could easily have read too much into that piece of video. I certainly would like to find it again, so I could show it to you. The heat of his fury was really remarkable. It reminded me of the ancient rabbi who said to someone (in the Gemara): "Beware lest I turn my eyes upon you, and you become a bag of bones."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26 2013 19:07 utc | 45


It's not a question of loyality. It is how to correctly understand politic. What it is and has always been about: bringing in of individuals together under a leadership to protect your own (for a bully this is going to be others' too) territory and resources, to improve the way of living and assure the offsprings a better future. What you describe is a thriller plot not the politic the way it works. What I described was the reality not some kind of historical fiction made according to my own sense of "values". If you have an ideology backed by values and if those are your only drives then you'd better do social work. If you want to do politics at any cost, i.e. play the leadership game that I described, choose your camp and stick with it, otherwise you will be perceived as a shifty never to be trusted. You'd better be psycologically prepared too since losing is the fate of at least 90% of would-be politicians. Once you prepared yourself then you will understand that those professed "values"/ideology can be used as a tool to get people behind your leadership too.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 26 2013 19:55 utc | 46

OK, then, on that very practical level, I must say, in the case of Lebanon I reject the idea that Hezbollah is in a position to rally the 'Left'. A 'Left' that is prepared to be rallied by a theocratic movement is not a 'Left' at all. But having said that, let them go ahead and do their best.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26 2013 19:59 utc | 47


And a Chirstian that has actually been rallied under the leadership of Nasrullah, in one of the main lands of the Crusade, you consider him a Christian?

And what is a theocratic movement other than the "western" values that you forcefully push into that concept to use it to describe what you say is the reality?

if you look at the politic from the angle that I mentioned you already have the answer to those questions. Otherwise you will continue to shove your "values" into the political reality. But, you know people understand and can distinguish between what is true and what is a made-up, sooner or later they will disband from your team and go join another one with a consistent and straightforward discours. That is exactly what happened to the left and its followers during and after the Revoultion in Iran.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 26 2013 20:33 utc | 48

I'm not a christian. I do not support confessional politics. I do not support the involvement of religion in politics. I do not "western values", by which presumably you mean the opportunistic combination of religious and "humanist" "values" preached domestically in the west as well (eg "human rights", "tolerance", "diversity", "dignity of man" and other fictions). I do not regard the Shi'ite discourse as "true", though it is certainly much more interesting than the Sunni one and I even incline to the view that most though of course not all of the historic Sufi founders were either crypto-Shi'ites or were influenced by Shi'ism (this is a view indignantly refuted by all Sunni historians). You are employing the patently dishonest post-modernist argument that "secularism" (a term I reject because rejection of theocratic politics will not permit itself to be reduced to one "ism" alongside others) is a "western cultural imperialism". I do not waste time talking to hypocrites so I shall stop here.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27 2013 3:22 utc | 49


You might think of yourself as an experienced debater but I'm sure now that you don't understand politics.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 27 2013 3:55 utc | 50

Rouhani & Obama had phone conversation.

Posted by: LOYAL | Sep 27 2013 20:27 utc | 51

Questions Plague UN Report on Syria

" . . . A closer look at the charts shows a massive discrepancy in lab results from east and west Ghouta. There is not a single environmental sample in Moadamiyah that tested positive for Sarin.

This is a critical piece of information. These samples were taken from “impact sites and surrounding areas” identified by numerous parties, not just random areas in the town. Furthermore, in Moadamiyah, the environmental samples were taken five days after the reported CW attack, whereas in Ein Tarma and Zamalka – where many samples tested positive for Sarin – UN investigators collected those samples seven and eight days post-attack, when degradation of chemical agents could have been more pronounced.

Yet it is in Moadamiyah where alleged victims of a CW attack tested highest for Sarin exposure, with a positive result of 93% and 100% (the discrepancy in those numbers is due to different labs testing the same samples). In Zamalka, the results were 85% and 91%.

It is scientifically improbable that survivors would test that highly for exposure to Sarin without a single trace of environmental evidence testing positive for the chemical agent.

I spoke with Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the British military’s chemical defense regiment and CEO at CW specialists, SecureBio Ltd. “I think that is strange,” he admits, when told about the stark discrepancy between human and environmental test results in Moadamiyah.

“It could be significant. Nobody else has brought that point up,” says Bretton-Gordon, who has read the UN Report closely since he actually trains doctors and first-responders in Ghouta via an NGO.

“I think that it is strange that the environmental and human samples don’t match up. This could be because there have been lots of people trampling through the area and moving things. Unless the patients were brought in from other areas. There doesn’t seem another plausible explanation.”

Bretton-Gordon notes that while Sarin’s “toxicity” lasts only between 30-60 minutes when humans are directly exposed, it can remain toxic for many days on clothes (which is why medical workers wear protective gear) and lasts for months, sometimes years in the environment.

Why did the UN not highlight this very troubling result of its own investigations? The data had to be included in the Report since the two samplings – human and environmental – were core evidentiary components of the investigation. But it is buried in the small print of the Report – an inconvenient contradiction that was dismissed by the UN team. If anything, the UN blatantly claims on page 5 of its findings:

"The environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and compelling evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent Sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zamalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus."

There are several logical conclusions for the lack of environmental evidence and the abundance of human evidence of Sarin exposure in Moadamiyah:

  • One is that there was no Sarin CW attack in Moadamiyah. There can’t have been - according to this environmental data.

  • A second explanation is that the samples from Moadamiyah were contaminated somehow, even though the human samplings showed no sign of this. This is an unlikely explanation since the UN went to great pains, explained in depth in several sections of the Report, to ensure the sanctity of the evidence collected.

  • A third explanation, mentioned by Bretton-Gordon, is that patients might have been “brought in from other areas.” All the patients were pre-selected by Ghouta doctors and opposition groups for presentation to the UN teams. And if this is the only plausible explanation for the discrepancy between environmental and human test results, then it suggests that “patients” were “inserted” into Moadamiyah, possibly to create a narrative of a chemical weapons attack that never took place.

This would almost certainly imply that opposition groups were involved in staging events in Ghouta. These towns are in rebel-controlled areas that have been involved in heavy battle with the Syrian government for much of the conflict. There is no army or government presence in these Ghouta areas whatsoever.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 28 2013 14:17 utc | 52

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