Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 17, 2019

Iran To Exceed Some Nuclear Deal Limits - EU Under Pressure To Fulfill Its Commitments

The conflict U.S. President Donald Trump ignited by leaving the nuclear deal with Iran is escalating at multiple fronts. U.S. sanctions on Iranian im- and exports are devastating its economy. A new tanker war is brewing. Iran will soon exceed limits set under the nuclear agreement. While this is not a legal breach of the deal, the Trump administration will loudly denounce it as such.  Iran is also pushing European countries to fulfill their commitment as signatories of the nuclear deal. It today announced what steps it might take should the EU be unwilling to do its part.


The deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, acknowledged Iran's right to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel and to produce heavy water, a moderator needed for certain types of nuclear reactors. The deal limits the amounts of these products Iran is allowed to stockpile.

As Iran wanted to continue the production it was clear that the stockpiles for both products would grow above the limit. It was therefore agreed that Iran would export everything above the set limits as well as all newly produced enriched Uranium and heavy water.

Part of Iran's stockpile of heavy water, which is also used in other industrial processes, was sold to the United States. Additionally produced heavy water was regularly either sold or sent to Oman to be stockpiled there until the conversion of Iran's nuclear reactor in Arak, which will use that heavy water, is completed.

The excess enriched uranium was exported to Russia. In exchange Iran received natural Uranium for future enrichment.

When the Trump administration left the nuclear agreement a year ago it renewed sanctions on Iran's nuclear program. But it also issued waivers for the export of heavy water and enriched uranium. Iran continued to sell these products or to stockpile them outside of the country.

On May 3 2019 the State Department announced that it would no longer issue these waivers:

[A]ny involvement in transferring enriched uranium out of Iran in exchange for natural uranium will now be exposed to sanctions. The United States has been clear that Iran must stop all proliferation-sensitive activities, including uranium enrichment, and we will not accept actions that support the continuation of such enrichment.

We will also no longer permit the storage for Iran of heavy water it has produced in excess of current limits; any such heavy water must not be made available to Iran in any fashion.

This step by the Trump administration was obviously designed to bring Iran into breach of the nuclear agreement.

As Iran could no longer export the products it had to decide to either stop producing them or to breach the stockpile limit. The nuclear deal (JCPOA) acknowledges that Iran has the explicit right to enrich. Moreover it was only after the Obama administration conceded that Iran had such a natural right, that the JCPOA negotiations began. It was that concession, not sanctions, that brought Iran to the negotiation table.

Iran is therefore not willing to give up enrichment. It is its natural right under the non-proliferation treaty and is at the core of JCPOA. Nor is Iran willing to give up its production of heavy water. It will need large amounts to bring the Arak reactor online and has to produce those in advance.

The utterly foreseeable consequence of the State Department decision was thereby that Iran would breach both limits the JCPOA set for those stockpiles.

Despite that U.S. journalists speak of an Iranian "threat" to exceed those limits. 'Western' reporting fails to point this out that the illegal U.S. sanction regime caused the breach.

Iran, which is under strong economic pressure and wants the conflict resolved as soon as possible, tried to hasten that moment. It increased the enriched uranium production rate and today announced that the stockpile limit for enriched uranium will be reached in ten days:

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the country will surpass the uranium stockpile limit set under the nuclear deal from June 27.

"Today the countdown to pass the 300 kilograms reserve of enriched uranium has started and in 10 days time we will pass this limit," Behrouz Kamalvandi told reporters at the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility Monday.

"This is based on the Articles 26 and 36 of the (nuclear deal), and will be reversed once other parties live up to their commitments," he added.

Article 26 of the JCPOA (pdf) reserves the right for Iran to "cease performing its commitments" should other parties of the agreement re-introduce sanctions. Article 36 is part of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the agreement that gives Iran a similar right.

Iran is not in breach of the nuclear agreement by temporarily exceeding these technical limits. But we can expect that the Trump administration will claim exactly that. It has already done so over other issues even as it is the one party that has no legal standing to do so.

Iran also announced that it may soon take additional steps, like enriching at higher levels, should the European signatories of the nuclear deal not be willing to organize unfettered trade with Iran. The European countries are currently under threat of U.S. sanction should they do so, but certainly have the means to counter those. Iran pushes them to finally do it:

Tehran has said it may go even further by July 8 unless remaining partners to the deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- help it circumvent US sanctions and especially enable it to sell its oil.

Kamalvandi said there is still time for European countries to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is officially known.

"Iran's reserves are every day increasing at a more rapid rate. And if it is important for them (Europe) to safeguard the accord, they should make their best efforts... As soon as they carry out their commitments, things will naturally go back to their original state."

It is now on the Europeans to acts. If they do not fulfill their commitments under the JCPOA, Iran will step by step go back to do what it did before that agreement was signed.

It has no other choice. The U.S. sanctioned Iranian oil exports. While it at first allowed for waivers to certain countries it has now revoked them. It also sanctions Iran's iron, steel, aluminum and copper exports. Ten days ago it sanction the export of petrochemical products from Iran. Additional sanctions were placed on financial transactions with Iran and on its airlines. Imports into Iran also become more and more difficult as many companies fear that they will be hit by U.S. sanctions should they sell their products to companies in Iran.

It is on the European governments to shield their companies from any threat of U.S. sanctions. This could easily be done by a counter threat to U.S. companies.

The U.S. buys more goods from Europe than it sells to Europe. But it sells many more services to Europe than Europe sells to the United States. Google and Facebook make tens of billions per year by selling advertisement space to European entities. The EU could easily block that business. This would also help to create European alternatives to those monopolies. Large U.S. consulting businesses and banks make very profitable deals with European companies. Are we sure they are following all EU regulations? Maybe its time to take a more diligent look at them.

The EU is a large market than the U.S. It certainly has ways and means to counter any U.S. threat. As a signatory of the JCPOA it is up to the EU to hold up that agreement. It just needs the will to do that.

Posted by b on June 17, 2019 at 17:47 UTC | Permalink

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Wouldnt surprise me if Trump will announce that Iran was the culprit behind World trade center.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 18 2019 13:14 utc | 101

Peter AU 96

Your narrative ignores the free hand imperial executives and their rivals provided themselves since 9/11, namely last year with the Skripal-affair, the Douma-attack and the Khashoggi-affair. Since then narratives don't require any plausibility no more, to the opposite, they intend to demonstrate a prerogative of the authors to impose them on their rivals, no matter how remote the tale, how absurd the construction. The means are just the imperial aspirations of rival elites, their own ruling interests bind them to the actions of the US, because neither of them, nor together, could take the place of the US in the empire, because they rival each other. Abe, Macron, Maas (German FM) and Mogherinis second are unable to plainly reject the narrative of the Pentagon, as much as Trump is unable to reject it. At best they can demonstrate a humble disbelief ("'Iran' written all over the evidence") to hint at passive resistance.

When Donald Rumsfeld went to Germany 2002/3 trying to remove the German - French resistance to the Iraq war, the German FM showed off ostensive stubbornness in a televised dispute: "I am not convinced, Mr Secretary, I am not convinced", he sqeaked like a bold pupil to the teacher.
At the time Rumsfeld was clearly irritated without wishing to show it. The German / French breakaway was clearly a defeat for the Bush jr-administration in it's War on Terra. They invaded iraq anyway, but eschewed to underline their demands with killings like in London and Madrid.

Those times are gone. "America" has arrived in "splendid isolation" and that's exactly the reason, why Donald Trump stays useful for his grimmest enemies at home.
Therefore your narrative is outdated, Peter. It poses, there had to be just enough leaders of the "free world" opposing Washingtons war strategies, like the Germans and French at the time, to make the Pentagon think twice. If this ever was true - which I doubt - it isn't any more.

The war will go on. But I suspect the attack in the Gulf will be used to render it viable for both sides. The US could perhaps bomb with redundant forces some Iranian coastal batteries that are easily restored and tolerate the loss of a frigate, or something of this format. The bloodhounds of both sides will brag over the corpses - inevitably more iranian, than US-corpses and be congratulated for their restraint. The yield will be to have shown the places to the rival elites, especially to the EU , India and the ASEAN states, but even to Israel, and on this newly prepared stage a new round of the old play can and will start.

Posted by: TomGard | Jun 18 2019 13:39 utc | 102

@98 Lochearn,

"Simple answer: Yes."

Thank you for the informative reply. I had a case of instant regret immediately after hitting the post button on my reply to your initial comment. You're one of the commenters I have much respect for. My reply was a knee jerk response to one line in an otherwise very thoughtful comment. If I'm unwilling to put the effort into debating and explaining my position, I should have left it alone, but I didn't.

I appreciate your position and by all means continue providing your insight into the bankers who are responsible for much of the mayhem in the world.

I think I will unplug for a spell and regain some balance.


Posted by: b4real | Jun 18 2019 13:45 utc | 103

If we do get to the point, as some (likely planted) news stories are now suggesting, of an intense focused American strike on Iran, its nuclear facilities, the big interesting question will be Russia's take.

While Russia and Iran do not have a formal defense alliance, they have a fairly deep "strategic" alliance or partnership.

So, while I don't think Putin is obligated to defend Iran, he has many reasons for opposing American hostility.

Indeed, given America's open, ongoing hostility towards Russia, it does not seem wise to abandon a valuable supporting country like Iran.

America's new pattern of sudden lurches and launches of new measures against various states is unpredictable and, of course, dangerous.

It helps to have friends, just as China and Russia have been driven to an historic level of closeness now.

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Jun 18 2019 14:00 utc | 104

Locchearn @ 98

Let me echo b4real. Your comment is what more commenters should be aiming for here....imho....less speculative, RT-style reflected propaganda BS and more solid analysis of how globalism actually works.

When you further consider the bankers representing these shares are themselves owned by international shareholders not just US elites (there are no borders with respect to capitalist investment and where roadblocks exist these are easily circumvented through opaque, offshore vehicles readily available to the moneyed classes throughout the world).

Getting to the crux of these relationships one begins to see "nationalism" and "populism" for the gimpy sideshow infotainments they are---to distract us from the actual owners of capital who are everywhere and not financially tied down to a singls nation state.

The global wealthy elites are multinational like their corporate vehicles and are easily hidden behind corporate vehicles, which can be either tax free or tax advantaged depending on the set-up.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 14:05 utc | 105

b4real I think we all do it or have all done it in the past. At least for me it's a constant struggle.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 18 2019 14:06 utc | 106

Twitter claims the tankers where hit by USA-made Hellfire missiles.

However there seems to be no proof, so whether that was a leak or a wishful thinking is unclear.

Posted by: Arioch | Jun 18 2019 14:11 utc | 107

@TomGard 91

How do you arrive at the 8:30 am? Direction, length of the shadows or both? am means that we're looking at the Eastern side of the tanker, beamed by the morning sun.

I'm asking because I also have tried to determine the time of the incidence. It has supposedly happened at about 4 pm local time. The time stamp of the new photo (helicopter?) is 13:18. In order to match it with the 4 p.m., its time base must be UTC+1, does that make sense?

I tend to believe that the incidence might indeed have happened at the claimed time. But I'm still open.

Posted by: mk | Jun 18 2019 14:13 utc | 108

Pompeo plays 'I've Got A Secret" during an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS Face The Nation, responding to a request for evidence that Iran was behind a Taliban attack on a US convoy in Afghanistan. Pompeo had painted the Taliban-claimed attack as one of “a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests.”

QUESTION: One of the things when you were at the podium at the State Department earlier this week you presented as a fact was an attack that was carried out in Kabul in May. The Taliban said they carried it out, but you blamed Iran for it. What evidence do you have that Iran was behind that attack?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We have confidence that Iran instigated this attack. I can’t share any more of the intelligence, but I wouldn’t have said it if the Intelligence Community hadn’t become convinced that this was the case.
QUESTION: So there’s more that you can’t share with us to back that up?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma’am. That’s correct. . .here

Juan Cole, an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia, takes a look at that charge.
Once Again Pompeo Displays Hopeless Ignorance of Sunni & Shiite, Iran and Taliban
. . .Pompeo painted the incident as one of “a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests.”
Pompeo’s statement is so embarrassing as to be cringe-worthy. It is either a lie in the service of war propaganda or a display of such bottomless ignorance on the part of America’s chief diplomat as to be grounds for impeachment (or perhaps just consignment to an asylum). . .here

Pompeo -- Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 14:13 utc | 109

More US targets for Iran missiles--
news report
The Trump administration is sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East as tensions between the U.S. and Iran grow.

There are already 11,000 US troops at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, just across the Gulf pond from Iran, so now there will probably be more customers for the food courts at the base.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 14:31 utc | 110

If Iran should be the target of a massive attack,on a specific site,then it should retaliate in the same massive manner,not by targeting Israel,or SaudiArabia,but right in the middle of where the shit comes from,something like a submarine launched missile on Langley,or Annapolis.Only then american public opinion will wake up to realize that it's urgent to stop those warmongers that pose as politicians working for the common good.+

Posted by: willie | Jun 18 2019 14:35 utc | 111

The UNSG calls for an investigation --
UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (Reuters)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Friday for an independent investigation to establish the facts and who was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers this week in the Gulf of Oman.
The United States blamed Iran for the attacks on Thursday, a charge Tehran rejected. Amid the rising tensions, Guterres said he was available to mediate if the parties agreed, however he added that "at the present moment we don't see a mechanism of dialogue possible to be in place."
"It's very important to know the truth and it's very important that responsibilities are clarified. Obviously that can only be done if there is an independent entity that verifies those facts," he told reporters, adding that he believed only the Security Council could order a U.N. investigation. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 14:43 utc | 112

DPC @59

Heard Zafar Bangash on radio yesterday. He said that Morsi was in ill health and diabetic with high blood pressure. He was being kept in solitary with no medical help or medicine. He was going to defend himself but fainted at the trial. They put him in a cage in the court room where he passed away.

Posted by: arby | Jun 18 2019 15:04 utc | 113

@95 vk

That's a wonderful explanation of China's position in the trade war currently. Thank you for the link, and the website.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 18 2019 15:07 utc | 114

@Don Bacon, 72
Thanks for the excerpt re Dr Scott Truver. The last time I heard a US official say "it's a smoking gun", it was Condi Rice lying about WMD in Iraq. It makes me think of this quote

“They are liars. And they know that they are liars. And they know that we know that they are liars. Even so, they keep lying, and very loudly so.” Naguib Mahfouz

Posted by: cirsium | Jun 18 2019 15:25 utc | 115

@ 105 b4real

On the contrary the point you make in your comment is a very rational one and I was very pleased you raised it.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 18 2019 15:33 utc | 116

Pompeo: "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, we had entire training courses. ."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 15:51 utc | 117

mk 110

Just length of shadows. I fed with solar heights between 32° and 40° at the given location. Those are my rough estimates for boat alongside ship (32°) and the Kokuka "with mine". I'm not equipped for accurate measurements and the main point in my view consists in the difference of shadow angles, not absolute height.
I'm also dispassionate about a.m or p.m. There were four ships in the vicinity quite early, with Coastal Ace and Hyundai Dubai in visual contact. So I stuck to the narrative insofar as USS Bainbridge claims to have arrived there a.m. and a late iranian action, after several dozen seamen would have seen the alleged mine, makes no sense at all with the proposition, the Iraniens fed the Navy with false evidence after firing two grenades into the ship. If the pictures were taken in the late afternoon, the absurdity were even deeper.

Main point: Both pictures show the starboard of the Kokuka in sunlight, so until proven false, we have to assume, they were made at the same time of the day. Of course, we cannot exclude with certitude, that the mine-photo was made a.m and the mine-removing-photo p.m after the Kokuka was somehow rotated ...

Posted by: TomGard | Jun 18 2019 16:05 utc | 118

Since retiring last evening, I see nothing new presented. To review, USN has a very big credibility problem since it tried to frame Russia for an incident it was at fault for by trying to use selective video to prove its case. It then clearly used doctored video and still photos to try and sell a particular narrative about the tanker attacks. It further compounded its credibility issue by providing better quality photos that only helped to prove its earlier lies and obfuscations. As a parent, I spent plenty of time dealing with the fibs of kids and know serial prevarication when encountering it--liars continue to lie and lie and lie until finally forced to admit to their lying. Such has been the case with the Outlaw US Empire for a very long time--Pompeo was brass enough to admit it on film, as have other previous CIA directors. Flaunting international and its own fundamental law along with not being agreement capable have rendered the US Government 100% untrustworthy about anything. Indeed, any accusation it makes now requires extraordinary evidence, as the boy has cried wolf far too often to be believed by anyone but the most sycophantic vassal--which includes all English language corporate media.

Craig Murray's voice today is full of extremely righteous indignation and utter disgust that I certainly share. His conclusion is one of the most interesting calls for revolt/resurrection/revolution I've read:

"It remains my hope there will eventually come a public reaction against the political classes as strong as the situation demands."

I must tip my hat to the discipline of the Iranian crew on the video boat as they never look up at the aircraft so obviously filming their activities. The USN's actions also help to prove the falsity of the narrative. IF there was a limpet mine so clearly attached to the tanker's hull, you can bet the national debt that a launch would be dispatched ASAP to inspect and remove the mine. No action of the sort was taken by USN clearly because there wasn't anything there to be retrieved. A classic Dog that didn't bark!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 16:13 utc | 119

mk 110

Just shadow length. I fed suncalc with 32° (boat alongside ship) and 40° ("probably mine"). Those are my rough estimates, I am not equipped for accurate measurements.

The argument is "mine removal" precedes "mine on ship", that can't possibly be the result of the Iranians feeding the Navy somehow false evidence, after firing two grenades into the hull. With A.M. I stick to the Pentagons narrative, because the USS Bainbridge claims to have arrived the scene at that time, though later, at 11:00 a.m.

The pictures both show the starboard in sunlight. Of course I cannot exclude with certitude, that around 9 a.m someone shot the picture, which was photoshopped with "mine" and fed it to the Navy, and some time in the late afternoon the iranian patrol came up to remove the non-existant mine under the eyes of the helicopter of the otherwise absent Navy, all this under the widening eyes of dozens of seamen of different boats and ships ...

Thank you for questioning.

Posted by: TomGard | Jun 18 2019 16:22 utc | 120

Yeah there we have it -
"Trump Planning 'Massive' Strike Against Iran"

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 18 2019 16:34 utc | 121

@ karlof1 | Jun 18, 2019 12:13:55 PM #120

Since retiring last evening, I see nothing new presented.

Agreed. Basically all we can do is speculate. Your point about the US Navy having zero credibility is well taken. I'd expand that to say the US of A is in the same condition. Foreign leaders are surely fed up with the kiddie clown show going on in DC, and whatever their real opinions, sticking it to the US must be personally satisfying as well as politically sound at home.

I'll confess I'm concerned about what may happen next because of character of the US participants. Trump is an opinionated and clueless ignoramus, Bolton is as dedicated a disciple of the apartheid Jewish state as you'll ever find, and Pompeo wants to ignite the Second Coming. There is also the "time" factor, as in Trump's mal-Administration obviously coming to a close. Just about anything can happen.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 18 2019 16:48 utc | 122

Zanon @122--

Ha! The Zionists fool even themselves!

"Apparently, JPost cooked up this story without knowing Trump has backtracked! Imagine, a 'UN official' knew about a forthcoming Pentagon 'top secret' military operation! This must take the cake for disinformation even by Israeli standards?"

Ha, Ha!

Trump requests phone chat with Xi and Xi answers:

"Xi said he stands ready to meet Trump in Osaka to exchange views on fundamental issues concerning the development of China-U.S. relations.

"The Chinese leader also stressed that the two sides should solve their trade problems through talks on an equal footing."

Ah yes, the good old "equal footing," certainly not the usual style for the Outlaw US Empire. As signaled over and again by China, no more unequal anything!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 16:55 utc | 123

@ Zanon | Jun 18, 2019 12:34:06 PM #122

Your link causes a person to wonder what Iran plans to do if such a "massive strike" occurs. My own personal "guess": they'll pick a comparable target in Saudi Arabia or the apartheid Jewish state and hit it with a comparable level of missiles. Still an opinion, but I suspect the Trumpies are praying for many US body bags so as to justify a 'Pearl Harbor' surge of rage orchestrated by the Neocon York Times and Bezos Blog WP.

If an Iranian nuclear site is attacked, I'd not care to be anywhere near the Dimona facility.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 18 2019 16:58 utc | 124

@107 donkey

You do realize that real nationalists have a vested interest in their own country and detest and wish to bring down their anational elites?

I have never bought into the ready dismissal so many here have for nationalist movements and ideas. They usually immediately conflate the outcome with German nationalism with say the rise in this country. Totally different beasts and completely shortsighted. In one paragraph of your post you scoff at nationalism as a sideshow and in the next you scratch your head as to what to do with our rogue elite. Well, let me tell you, nationalism is the only way to expel these multinational corps or at least bring them to heel.

Throw out your sophomoric take that any iteration of nationalism is comprised of bigots, dullards, or is doomed to repeat the atrocity of the Nazis. To me, this is all well-placed propaganda to scare people from reasserting control over their own state and destiny.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Jun 18 2019 17:05 utc | 125

Ah, Israel and the US, Christian war-mongers doing hell'a more damage to global stability than any Islamic terrorists ever dreamed up.

Posted by: Summer Diaz | Jun 18 2019 17:05 utc | 126

124 Cont'd--

I see all too many news sites, both alt and MSM, have picked up the JPost sprat and acted as if it's genuine. Must be dedicated even more than usual to critically reading and reasoning about all information sources, even those deemed trustworthy as even those get fooled. For folks lacking the time or inclination to do proper due diligence, they need to be even more skeptical than usual.

Speaking of righteous indignation, this Labour video damning Tory and LibDem policies has over 1 million views in just a few days.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 17:13 utc | 127

@98 lochearn... thanks for going into the details and i am glad @71 b4real engaged you! i thnk the role that real estate plays in this giant ponzi scheme is an important one, even though it doesn't have the immediate dark connotations the military complex has... i have given over to calling it the military-financial complex...

think about it... is there going to be more money made and generated starting a war on iran, or not?? the choice is obvious for those into money... create mayhem and raise a lot of money off of it.. and what countries seem to excel at that?? disaster capitalism is just a small part of it. the ideology around money and making it the god of one's life has created much of the sickness that plagues the planet at present.. some people say it is greed that is killing us, but i personally think most would be happy to get by without having a bunch of zeros at the end of their band account.. however, everyone does rely on the banking system and that is the weak link in all of this..

@126 nemesiscalling.. i agree with you in all that.. it seems the choice put starkly is globalism or nationalism... i see globalism as the sales pitch of neo-liberalism and favouring the same corporations-multinationals - that i think we need to put the brakes on..

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2019 17:17 utc | 128

Morsi's obituary from a Syrian perspective:

"History will record that #Morsi cut off relations w/ Damascus, closed #Syria’s embassy in Cairo, demanded foreign intervention & a no fly zone. At the same time he preserved the Israeli embassy in Egypt. He was a tool of the Moslem brotherhood project in the region."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 17:18 utc | 129

Zachary Smith

I doubt Iran will do more than Syria do against US, Israeli attacks which is close to nothing, because doing so will just make everything worse, this fight is not really a fight Iran could win. US start by attacking nuclear sites and end bombing the government in Iran itself in that case Iran strike back. That is the sad way forward I see now for Iran in that scenario.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 18 2019 17:27 utc | 130


Just came across a self-professed "progressive English-language news service" operating in Japan:

"Under some criticism today, we'll make a few points:
1) We are Japan's only progressive English-language news service, and so if our tone and terminology sounds a bit different from Japan Times, Japan News, or Japan Forward, it is because we are not Establishment-oriented."

More is said in resulting thread. Unfortunately, the main news site isn't a daily as it seems a weekly or less often online publication.


Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 17:28 utc | 131

Further evidence it wasn't an Iranian limpet mine as here's one to look at! At 42kg, no diver I know would be able to place it 2 meters above waterline.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 17:35 utc | 132

Acting SecDef Shanahan has quit! And I thought it was going to be a slow news day. Marc Esper is to take his place. Guess he couldn't put up with all the lies and other crap.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 17:41 utc | 133

good overview of the level of the malfeasance driving the usa at present from pl..

9/11, the Pomp, the AUMF and Iran

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2019 17:43 utc | 134

@ psychohistorian

I am not sure what is meant by the term 'empire'. The US promotes the conditions of capitalist accumulation all around the world. It has played this role since the end of WWII. Many 'American' corporations are transnational, with GDPs higher than many countries in the world. In 2011, for example, of the 179 largest economies, 111 were transnational corporations. These transnational corporations have interests and productive capacities span the jurisdictions of many continents. They have no allegiance to any particular country. The nation-state was merely the economic and political shell of national capital, but capital transcended the national level by the end of the 20th century with the coming of globalisation. When Lenin and Bukharin were writing about capitalism, imperialism and empires, capital was still national, and there were wars and conflicts between national capitals over markets, resources and labour. Hence the world wars. But now we are living in a different period in capitalism. Unfortunately, many people on the left are still using outdated concepts that belong to a past era. You cannot make sense of the new reality with those concepts. They do not allow you to make sense of the common interests between transnational corporations as expressed in global financial institutions, trade agreements, efforts to retrench the welfare state and labour legislation and so on.

The US is merely playing its part to 'open up' Iran to investment and exploitation by transnational corporations, including the US military. The Iranian ruling class, like Saddam's Iraq or Assad's Syria or Ghaddafi's Libya, however, prefers to keep the Iranian economy closed, so that it could better exploit the country's resources and people for its own benefit. Hence the position of the mullahs, military leaders and bazaaris, the three dominant classes in Iran. It is a conflict between two forms of capital, national (Iran) and transnational (US), also involving government militaries.

Posted by: ninel | Jun 18 2019 17:44 utc | 135

WOW! WaPost op/ed destroys Trump admin narrative on Iran which also affects other policies.

"The State Department’s narrative that Iran’s malign behavior over recent months is a result of a regime emboldened by a weak nuclear deal, and then angered by Washington pulling out of that same deal, is a farce."

The writer unfortunately accepts other parts of the longstanding narrative. But is his a lone voice or is it backed by important players?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 17:54 utc | 136

@ ninel who asked about empire definition

This is better for Open thread but short answer is that global private finance owns those corporations you refer to and private finance is what I call empire that has taken over the US and is now trying to use it as a sledgehammer to keep the world under the jackboot of private finance....and China and others are the wedge that keeps growing against that social order.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 18 2019 18:10 utc | 137

ninel @136

Very well said. We are close to the apogee of a trans-national capitalistic civilization that is attempting to control the whole world, aren't we? One must also include the trans-national criminal organizations in the equation. After all, capital is capital. I expect there is a lot of synergy between "legal" and "illegal" capital. The boundaries have always been murky. Isn't it also true that the US is acting more and more like a trans-national criminal organization? Thus the sobriquet "Outlaw US Empire" may be more true than suspected.

Posted by: TheBAG | Jun 18 2019 18:13 utc | 138

Another take on Morsi--

Posted by: arby | Jun 18 2019 18:22 utc | 139

@ ninel | Jun 18, 2019 1:44:09 PM | 136

What would be your point at #136? The English speaking North American colonies were extensive enough and of sufficient economic potential at the time of the revolt to comprise a moderate sized 'empire' compared with all European countries outside Spain, France, Netherlands and Britain in western Europe and Imperial Russia in the east and the Ottoman in the Mediterranean basin. The other two European powers had empires but suffered being landlocked. As the colonial and subsequent second Republic western frontier expanded westward and became populated and developed, a continental empire developed commensurate to the Imperial Russian and Imperial Chinese empires. The results of WWI and WWII removed all other great powers and their empires; several once great powers disappeared altogether: Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Prussian/German, Imperial Russian during and after WWI; British, French, Netherlands empires disappeared as result WWII; the Cold War saw the exit of the Soviet empire that reappeared as Russian Federation empire and the restructuring and reemergence of the Chinese empires. Psychohistorian is obviously referring to the third continental empire, that of the United States whose empire still exists as well as the political and economic influence it holds in the affairs of other states and powers, a.k.a. hegemonic influence, another form of empire in itself. The future? About the only thing that never changes is that everything is subject to change; may you live in interesting times and see that change happen.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18 2019 18:23 utc | 140

@TomGard 121

But...but...the Navy said in the first statement that the incidence occurred at 4 pm!

The US Navy said that at 4:10 pm local time, “An IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the Kokuka Courageous.” The US Navy has posted video footage showing the apparent removal of the limpet mine.

This is from the website - I hesitate to post the URL because it's pretty long. Certainly there are other sources.

Also, unless the tanker has performed a U-Turn, this is the Western side of the tanker, i.e. it is afternoon.

Posted by: mk | Jun 18 2019 18:39 utc | 141

and, TomGard, the mere fact that the Pentagon has doubled down on this "smoking gun" makes a "meta false flag", as you call it, more unlikely, insofar I agree.

Posted by: mk | Jun 18 2019 19:15 utc | 142

Its not like theres a tremendous demand for Iran goods. There also isn't a whole ton of business in exporting there. Although the US is in the wrong and Europe has only themselves to blame for agreeing to be vassals, the cons outweigh the pros here in defying big brother.

Posted by: DannyC | Jun 18 2019 19:18 utc | 143

"4 Times the US Threatened to Stage an Attack and Blame it on Iran"

Posted by: arby | Jun 18 2019 19:22 utc | 144


Very true unfortunately, also EU being the same vassals as in US Iraqi war, they are getting fooled even greater this time it seems. Hardly any real protests.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 18 2019 19:27 utc | 145

The US Navy Lincoln Carrier Group (LCG) currently stationed in the Arabian Sea paid a visit to Duqm, Oman June 11-13. Duqm is a port town on the Arabian Sea in central-eastern Oman.
We can suppose that the Iran and US navies are playing some cat-and-mouse in the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf writ large, with Iran using its patrol aircraft and its submarines.
Iran operates three large and capable Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines purchased from Russia in the 1990s, each with six 533 mm torpedo tubes, which are standard across Iran's fleet of 34 submarines (mostly shallow-water with two tubes). Four years ago, Iran also launched its own domestically built smaller Fateh-class submarine.
I imagine that Iran would love to bob one of its subs to the surface a mile or two from the LCG and say 'howdy' much as the Chinese did several years ago, in a bad PR day for Navy.
In any case it appears that the LCG will not be entering the Gulf, in line with the Pentagon's desire to avoid escalating to war, which Pompeo probably got an earful of in his recent visit to CENTCOM in Tampa (as Secretary of State!).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 19:35 utc | 146

Aha -- I wondered why Pompeo went to CENTCOM w/o Shanahan. President Donald Trump said today that he was replacing acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 19:38 utc | 147

@ DannyC 145
the cons outweigh the pros here [In Iran] in defying big brother
No, they don't. Liberty is priceless.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 20:07 utc | 148

NC @ 127

Throw out your sophomoric take that any iteration of nationalism is comprised of bigots, dullards, or is doomed to repeat the atrocity of the Nazis. To me, this is all well-placed propaganda to scare people from reasserting control over their own state and destiny.

I reviewed my comment and actually don't see where I said any of what you accuse me of saying.

I'll accept that I am sophomoric in your eyes, especially since you are freshmanic in mine! Ha,ha take that! Lol.... j/k. You're cool. We just disagree.

You place a lot of faith in nationalism to solve the problem of globalism especially as the globalists remain in control of the finances, corporations, currencies, and, most critically,the national governments.

To me, nationalism is compared to globalism as monarchical feudalism once upon a time compared to industrialisation.

For one thing, you can't look back. You can't go home again. You can't re-fight the last war. (you can stop stop resorting to hoary cliches, donkeytale).

For another thing nationalism is by definition a domestic political movement while globalism is an international class-based economic/financial structure that is screwing us little guys over baldly and openly by the more each day where we live.

So no, I flatly reject your belief that political nationalism will solve global financial/economic inequality. Isubmit it will only make life worse.

Nationalism is a lame exercise of nostalgia that makes people feel all good inside....until they realise globalism is the framework that rules their economic relations and backward thinkers like Trump/Bannon/Farage are simply playing them for their own fun, profit and power motives...while the global economic system continues to screw them over in any event.

Yes, let's have Brexit!

Let's have trade wars!

This solves all, actually it solves no economic problems... it only makes them worse....but by golly let's all pledge allegiance to the flag and let the warm patriotic nostalgia replace the money which was once in our bank accounts.

And you are correct, all nationalists aren't yet goosetepping around their trailer parks in spiked helmets but can you deny the rise in racist, anti-semitic xenophobia along with the concommitant rise in rightwing, nationalist politics in many so-called advanced countries?

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 20:53 utc | 149

One week after reporting that the former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Lionel Kopelowitz, called for Jeremy Corbyn to be killed, the blog Diversity Macht Frei was shut down.

(this was all part of the mass censorship that began on June 6 on You Tube, first with dissident you tube accounts then dissident blogs, as covered by Anatoly Karlin in a recent article for Unz Review, called “You Tube is Basically Killing Everyone”)

Not one - NOT ONE - mainstream media news organisation reported on this Zionist-Jew calling for Jeremy Corbyn to be killed.

“Former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews calls for Jeremy Corbyn to be sacrificed (killed)”

Note: Instead of condemning the former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Lionel Kopelowitz, for his comments, the current president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, reminds him that he's being live-streamed.

Video (1 min, 15 sec)

Posted by: Ko ́ng-dek-le`n | Jun 18 2019 22:00 utc | 150

Don Bacon @150

That was my first thought as well, but I read it again. I believe he meant Britain and the EU countries.

Posted by: arby | Jun 18 2019 22:06 utc | 151

We need to go to war with Iran. A Japanese ship was attacked with "torpedoes" by the evil Persians and this bizarre outrage is more than enough evidence to justify sending more young Whites home in boxes for our great ally, The Merchant.

Just think about it: the Achaemenids obviously are a serious threat to our "freedom" and must be stopped before they sink more Japanese tankers. No, really. You're actually supposed to believe this.

The merchant has apparently given up on putting any effort into its subterfuges, probably correctly assuming that low IQ, Israel-worshipping Americans can be easily fooled into believing literally anything at this point

For example:

Anyone familiar with the story of 9/11 knows about the collapse of the WTC North and South Twin-Towers. But a third high rise also fell that day. At 5:20 p.m., the massive 47-story steel frame Building 7, untouched by the hijacked airplanes, imploded in the exact manner of a professionally engineered demolition – at near free-fall speed, straight down, and with scientific precision into a compact pile of rubble, barely damaging any of the surrounding buildings.

Source: 9/11 Hard Facts

Posted by: Ko ́ng-dek-le`n | Jun 18 2019 22:16 utc | 152

Oh sure, the EU with Merkel at the helm is going to take care of it:

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jun 18 2019 22:58 utc | 153

@121 karlof1

Thanks for the Murray link and your choice of his concluding words.

I have been looking for the words to say things that cannot actually be said but which must even so be communicated. Murray manages to achieve this.

There must be more such success.


And I don't think this is off-topic. I think it's the one constant that underlies every topic we discuss.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19 2019 0:36 utc | 154

@ karlof1 | Jun 18, 2019 12:13:55 PM #121

Murray is usually pretty good, but the guy ought to avoid making declarations regarding things he isn't informed about.

It is also hard to understand why the alleged “limpet mines” would be four feet above the waterline. Limpet mines are placed below the waterline. There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, holes above the waterline will not sink a ship.

The man ought to have realized at that point his mistake. Whoever installed those mines Did Not Want To Sink The Ship! Just because something is officially labeled for Use "A" doesn't prevent it from being good for other purposes. Mines have been around since at least the US Civil War when the Confederates used them in harbors. Their land version had artillery shells just below the surface so advancing troops would set them off. Today's US airmen used their multi-million dollar jet fighters to draw giant penises in the sky. I've read the Marines on Guadalcanal were once issued a few condoms to keep their cigarettes and letters from home safe from the rain and mud. One type of high explosive was reported to be amazingly good at heating coffee or rations without producing a speck of smoke.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 19 2019 2:53 utc | 155

karlof1 @129:

I see all too many news sites, both alt and MSM, have picked up the JPost sprat and acted as if it's genuine.

It seems that rumor of a potential bombing of Iran is meant to turn the page on the shipping attacks so as to 'bank' the "Iran did it" conclusion that is now also supported by rumors of an Iranian campaign of stealth attacks on shipping.

For anyone that hasn't seen it, in previous thread karlof1 and Peter AU 1 described the likely subterfuge behind the US grainy video and ADKC has described why an Iranian strategy of stealth attacks makes little sense.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 19 2019 4:49 utc | 156

@mk(143): In this article is a gallery of all released pictures:
The circular hole just beside the blasted one in the top picture looks strange.
Some pictures are from the video. IMHO it's awesome what good and colored pictures can be made from grainy b&w video. ;-)

Posted by: Wolle | Jun 19 2019 7:11 utc | 157

@ Ko ́ng-dek-le`n # 152 and 154

Reported for crimethink

Take him to the Ministry of Love, Room 101, to learn "what is required"

"Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity."


Posted by: Rubin | Jun 19 2019 7:58 utc | 158

#154 - At 5:20 p.m., the massive 47-story steel frame Building 7, untouched by the hijacked airplanes

...but seemingly slashed by one of structural beams falling out of twin towers. Thus, whose structural integrity was no more known.

Posted by: Arioch | Jun 19 2019 9:06 utc | 159

karlof1, Peter AU 1, & Jackrabbit

Why release the video, even without the analysis provided by karlf1 and Peter AU 1, it is a rubbish video which shows nothing.

What may have happened, which was unexpected and definitely not what the US wanted, was that the Iranian's rescued the crew of one of the stricken tankers. By that single action Iranian's became both heroes and unlikely perpetrators. The US cobbled together the video to counter this and now the discussion, even if it is about what the video shows, is back to "the Iranians did it". Also, the video provides a warning to Iran; interfere in our stage productions, try to play the role of hero, well then, we'll frame you as the villain.

Maybe the "rubbishy" video has achieved it's objectives?

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 19 2019 9:11 utc | 160

from AP--
US Navy expert: Tanker attack mine resembles Iranian mines

U.S. NAVY 5TH FLEET BASE NEAR FUJAIRAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The limpet mines used to attack a Japanese-owned oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz last week bore "a striking resemblance" to similar mines displayed by Iran, a U.S. Navy explosives expert said Wednesday, stopping short of directly blaming Tehran for the assault.

The comments by Cmdr. Sean Kido came as the Navy showed reporters pieces of debris and a magnet they say Iran's Revolutionary Guard left behind when they spirited away an unexploded limpet mine after the June 13 attack in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has also not acknowledged taking the mine.

Kido also stressed that the damage done to the Kokuka Courageous was "not consistent with an external flying object hitting the ship," despite the ship's owner blaming "flying objects" for the damage in the attack. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 14:49 utc | 161

from TIME
President Trump Calls Alleged Iranian Attack on Oil Tankers 'Very Minor'

Last week, U.S. officials blamed Iran for attacks against Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Trump described those and other recent attacks attributed by administration officials to Iran as limited. “So far, it’s been very minor,” Trump told TIME.

Trump’s comments, made in a nearly hour-long interview with TIME, struck a different tone than the public stance of the Pentagon and other Republicans in Washington. They also cut against a series of recent diplomatic and military moves that his Administration has made amid escalating tensions with Tehran.

Speaking to TIME, Trump argued that the Gulf of Oman is less strategically important for the United States now than it used to be, citing China and Japan as nations that still rely on the region for significant proportions of their oil. “Other places get such vast amounts of oil there,” Trump said. “We get very little. We have made tremendous progress in the last two and a half years in energy. And when the pipelines get built, we’re now an exporter of energy. So we’re not in the position that we used to be in in the Middle East where … some people would say we were there for the oil.”

Trump said he agrees with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Iran was behind the attacks, saying, “I don’t think too many people don’t believe it.” But he also downplayed Iran’s aggression, arguing that the country has adopted a less hostile posture towards the United States since he became president. “If you look at the rhetoric now compared to the days when they were signing that agreement [the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from], where it was always ‘death to America, death to America, we will destroy America, we will kill America,’ I’m not hearing that too much anymore,” Trump said. “And I don’t expect to.”

When asked Monday whether he was considering military action against Iran, the president told TIME, “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 15:01 utc | 162

It appears I'm going to have to eat some crow regarding the "nail hole" issue. After a number of searches I finally found some information on a modern Italian 'limpet' mine.

PIOVRA is a modern limpet mine for combat divers. It is based on the latest operational requirements and compliant with the most stringent safety standards. Each PIOVRA is provided with several attachment mechanisms (magnets, suction plugs, rope with hook, silent nail shooters) to allow easy attachment to steel, GRP and wooden targets. The final combination of the various attachment mechanisms is chosen by the diver during mission preparation. The design of the electronic time fuze is based on an electro-mechanical out-of-line safety and arming unit, compliant with the requirements of STANAG 4497. The arming delay is factory set. The fire delay is manually set by the diver and can be changed at any time (in air and in water) until the arming sequence has started. The correct functioning of the electronic time fuze can be tested at any time (in air and in water) by means of an inbuilt test. No test equipment is required. PIOVRA complies with the requirements of STANAG 4439 for insensitive munitions. To increase the damage and the operational flexibility, several PIOVRA can be connected together and exploded simultaneously. Anti tampering features, including a mechanical anti-removal device, make PIOVRA resistant to countermeasures.

This particular one weighs "15kg max in air" and has zero weight in the water - neutral buoyancy.

Silent nail shooter! You'd need that if the mine was deployed out of the water. Now back to that link provided by karlof1 showing the 42kg/92 pound limpet. The first listing is "Project Objective". Now look at the construction. No streamlining at all for a diver who has to tote the thing through the water with it strapped on his back. It also has a hand-made look to it. I'd say this could be a student project - perhaps a heavy "shaped charge" for demolition of heavy bridge columns, to damage an engine room, or ignite the cargo of a well-built double-hulled tanker.

Until somebody confesses I'll never know the details of the tanker attack, but a person can now make some better guesses about what happened.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 20 2019 2:48 utc | 163

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