Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 20, 2020

Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the U.S. unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran’s top diplomat said that the country’s five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans’ measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran’s decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani’s May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

Adherence to the NTP is controlled through safeguard agreements between the individual member countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which inspects nuclear facilities. If Iran were to leave the NPT it could still decide to continue its safeguard agreements with the IAEA and could continue to have its nuclear facilities under inspections. That would increase international confidence that Iran is not up to something nefarious.

Leaving the IAEA and ending its inspection role in Iran would then become a separate step the country could still take.

Trump would probably like it if Iran would end its NPT commitments. It would be used to allege that Iran was doing so to build nuclear weapons even if that were not the case.

If Iran were to leave the NPT it would no longer have any obligation to not build a nuclear weapon. But that does not mean at all that it would start to make nuclear bombs. Iran's Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa, a binding religious verdict, that prohibits the production or use of any weapon of mass destruction by Iran: @khamenei_ir - 12:49 · Feb 26, 2015

'We consider the use of WMDs as Haraam.'
Ayatollah Khamenei's fatwa on 4/17/2010

Khamenei has publicly emphasized that position (vid) again and again.

Khamenei's fatwa is not his personal decision but a longstanding official policy position of the Islamic Republic. During the Iran-Iraq war Iraq's Saddam Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian front lines and cities. Ten thousand Iranians died of those and many more were wounded by them. Back then the Islamic Republic still had chemical weapons which were leftovers from the previous Shah regime. But it refrained from using them as its Supreme Leader at that time, Ayatollah Khomeni, prohibited their use.

Meanwhile the Trump administration continues to press Iran with other petty measures.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had a personal invitation to speak at the the World Economic Forum in Davos. But when Trump announced that he would come to Davos the planned event with Zarif was modified in a way that led to his cancellation of the event:

Zarif had been scheduled to attend the gathering after receiving a personal invitation, his ministry said.

"They changed the original program they had for him, the program that had been agreed upon, and came up with something else," said spokesman Abbas Mousavi.

"Either way, this trip unfortunately will not happen," he told a news conference in Tehran.
In a tweet published later on Monday, Mousavi suggested that the change in program by the organizers of the Davos forum was “perhaps geared to have only one outcome,” and called Zarif’s absence a “missed opportunity for dialogue.”

It is likely that Trump demanded the WEF to take that step.

In another petty measure the Asian Football Confederation stripped Iranian football teams of their right to host their own international matches:

The Asian Football Confederation has reportedly banned Iran from hosting international matches based on safety fears over the current tensions in the region. Iranian club sides have responded by planning to withdraw from the AFC Asian Champions League. The clubs have said Iran is “safe”, while Iranian media and fans have claimed that politics, rather than security, is behind the AFC’s decision.

Iran are one of the top nations in the Asian Champions League, and have some of the best supported clubs in Asia. Iranian clubs had a poor campaign last year, but the year before that, Persepolis reached the final of the competition. They, along with Esteghlal, Sepahan and Shahr Khodro, will withdraw from the competition should the AFC’s fixture ban not be reversed.

Iran suspects that Saudi Arabia pushed the ACL to take that step.

All this is part of Trump's maximum pressure campaign against Iran. His Special Representative for Iran recently repeated what Trump hopes to achieve:

Hayvi Bouzo هيفي بوظو @hayvibouzo - 15:24 UTC · Jan 16, 2020

Brian Hook detailing how a new “nuclear deal” with Iran would differ from JCPOA:
1- Iran will NOT be allowed to enrich uranium, period.
2- The deal will be submitted to the Senate to make it a “treaty”
3- It will include Iranian missile programs
4- Iran’s regional aggression

Brian Hook forgot to ask for pink ponies. There is no chance at all that Iran will ever give up its 'indelible right' to nuclear enrichment or the missile program on which its strategic security is based. These unfulfillable demands the Trump administration makes are not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict.

Posted by b on January 20, 2020 at 18:46 UTC | Permalink

next page »

last sentence - exactly.. "These unfulfillable demands the Trump administration makes are not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict." and the euro poodles are right along side that too.. it seems to me trump is just a stooge for empire, and embarrassment to same.. but trump is also being a good poodle continuing on with the game plan... all of these freaks are barking up the wrong pole..

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2020 19:00 utc | 1

No pink ponies, but he did get an orange baboon.

Posted by: Nemo | Jan 20 2020 19:03 utc | 2

Cooke has piece at Strategic Culture on Wurmser who may be the strategist behind Trump admin moves on Iran. Adds to this piece by b.
"Well (big surprise), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to ‘implode’ and destroy Iran. And his insight? “A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani”; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran’s domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government."

Overall, the strategy looks to be aimed at weakening and disrupting Iran and removing its allies in the region from the game before US strikes begin.

The downing of the Uki plane and Trump Pompeo immediately saying they were with the Iranian people would fit very well into this strategy though it is not mentioned by Crooke.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2020 19:06 utc | 3

And in Syria, US territory is becoming more defined. US intends to keep control of both Dier Ezzor and Hasakah oilfields along the Iraq border. Iraq Kurdistan is a secure base for the US and as well as being on Iran's border gives access through Hasakah province to the Syrian oilfields.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2020 19:14 utc | 4

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

We shouldn't humanize entire nations when analyzing geopolitics.

The Europeans are simply aware of the objective fact they are de facto occupied countries thanks to the many de facto American bases scattered around Western and Central Europe (Germany being the country with the most American bases in the world). They obey the USA for the simple fact they are occupied by the USA.

That's why some neocarolingians/European nationalists mainly from Germany, France and the Benelux (e.g. Macron, Juncker) avidly defend the creation of an European Army. You don't need to be a geopolitics genius to infer the grave consequences such move would have to the European peoples' welfare.

As long as NATO exists, Western Europe will remain firmly in American hands.

Besides, there's also the ideological factor.

Many Europeans still see today the USA as their "most illustrious child", their continuation as the Western Civilization's center. New York is the new Paris+London. They see themselves as the dwarf countries they really are and rationalize that, ultimately, it is better to live under the hegemony of another Western nation than under the hegemony of the "yellows" (i.e. Chinese) or the "slavics" (i.e. Russia). They really see themselves as a true North Atlantic family, which share the same race and the same cultural values.

These Atlanticists are specially numerous in the UK, which is not surprising, given its geographic location and the fact that it was indeed the country that founded the USA.

Posted by: vk | Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 5

Of course Iran and what happens in Iraq are joined at the hip...

Professor Maranadi>

"Seyed Mohammad Marandi
Many believe an economic crisis lies ahead of the US & the timing of the crash will determine the fate of Trump's re-election bid. However, another threat looms. If the US fails to swiftly comply with Iraqi demands to end the occupation, the resistance will become very violent."

and in Germany?

USA warnen: "Unmittelbar bevorstehender Angriff auf US-Militärs in Deutschland". RT/D

"Pulling back" may suit the Clowns, but agreement requires more than that if there's to be no child.

The Clowns are not contract capable. The only "deal" is for the imperial forces to leave the ME... the only deal is action....Of one sort or another. The clowns imagine a glorious victory over smoking ruins.

Careful what ya' wish fer, fellas...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 6

Fatwa or not, Iran must have the bomb, for the same reason NoKo had to build it. It's the only way to lance the boil and move on from under the incessant threats from the United States. We won't let up, even if it takes 100 years, and they have to know this. They do have the engineering know how to do it; now they must, but they will have to be discrete and stockpile enough 90% U235, then fiddle around with the details involved in assembling a staged device with enough yield so it's understood by all. I expect this whole process will now move forward.

Posted by: erik | Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 7

Iran should finally make haste with:
a. developing nukes
b. the asymmetric warfare as we move into election season

Posted by: bjd | Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 8

So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 20 2020 19:25 utc | 9

One is reminded of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in 1914: "As the German ambassador to Vienna reported to his government on July 14, the [note] to Serbia is being composed so that the possibility of its being accepted is practically excluded." As Churchill wrote at the time: "it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor."

Uncle Sam is fooling nobody.

Posted by: Guy THORNTON | Jan 20 2020 19:28 utc | 10

Many people refer to the European countries as ‘occupied’ (vk) and that is the reason they submit to American policy. I don’t believe that is the case. The number of troops is far too small to ‘occupy’ a country that was resisting an occupation. Those troops were there as a ‘trigger’ to initiate a conflict with the Soviet Union if it invaded Europe. These days they are just there as some kind of vestigial legacy, and don’t really mean anything. The US exercises its control over the EU and elsewhere through its control of international finance and trade. This system benefits the elite of those countries that are part of the ‘empire’, so has substantial support from influential people inside those countries. Unless and until there is some groundswell of support among the peoples of those countries to change that system, they will continue to be an obedient part of the US empire.

It’s not even clear that resistance isn’t futile. Those countries that want to maintain independence like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey (?), India (?) also have a strong internal attraction to Western ‘culture’. As much as some denigrate that culture as shallow, materialistic, and worthless, it seems to have a very universal attraction around the World, particularly among the young. There are a lot of people everywhere that would like to be a part of a global empire, with a hedonistic Western-style culture. Sad, but true.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Jan 20 2020 19:31 utc | 11

I tend to agree with comments here saying Iran needs to make bomb.

North Korea proved that truth 100%. No amount of agreements or "guarantees" with usual lying suspects will provide security to Iran - only hard cold nuclear deterrence will.

This time, now, Iran has enough conventional & asymmetrical firepower to deter its enemies long enough for it to develop nukes (few years?).

It already has proven means to deliver warheads, now it needs them.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 20 2020 19:32 utc | 12

I strongly concur with several other commentators here. Iran should immediately commence enriching uranium to weapons grade levels and assemble at least 10-20 nuclear warheads ASAP if they ever hope to remain an intact, non-US/Israeli dominated country.

The US understands ONLY raw power and who it perceives has it (Israel, North Korea..etc.), and who doesn't (Libya, Syria, Iraq..etc.).

The NPT "Treaty" is nothing more than a cabal of nuclear armed countries attempting to cartel who's allowed to posses a nuclear weapons arsenal and all the rest of the world countries that's ultimately at their mercy.

Posted by: time2wakeup | Jan 20 2020 19:50 utc | 13

"So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?"

For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms. It's easy to look at the lawless rogue US regime and forget this, but: some countries actually do try to have some semblance of abiding by and respecting treaties and the rule of law.

Posted by: Cornelius von Hamb | Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14

@2 Nemo

I am always taken aback when people compare unsavory characters to members of the primate family. Please do not engage in "zoomorphism." And I am dead fucking serious. Animals do not deserve to be denigrated in such a way. Keep your insults grounded in the human sphere.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Jan 20 2020 20:01 utc | 15

PIERACCINI has a very good article on Strategic Culture on what is happening to The Evil Empires dominance
The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order

Posted by: lgfocus | Jan 20 2020 20:02 utc | 16

The U.S. has already used that tactic of insisting on concessions known to be unacceptable to the other side with the intention of causing war at least twice: to Japan in 1941 and to Yugoslavia before the Kosovo War.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 20 2020 20:03 utc | 17

Does Iran really need a nuke? They have proven they can hit a US base and Saudi oil infrastructure. It is believed they already have.... or at least have the capability of mining the Strait of Hormuz. If the global financial elite can't get oil out of the gulf... what happens to the global economy? My guess is it would implode. Isn't this the real and only reason the US hasn't bombed Iran back to the stone age yet? They already have deterrence. The US claims about restoring deterrence was just the projection of sociopaths and psychopaths.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 20 2020 20:08 utc | 18

re:Cornelius von Hamb | Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms."

Iran says it won't develop nuclear weapons (anti Islamic), so what steps could they possibly be not wanting to rule out?

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 20 2020 20:12 utc | 19

The state of the JCPOA today bears a lot on Trump's negotiations with North Korea.
Kim Un Jung has be spooked by Bolton comparing North Korea's fate to Libya and by the ease with which US withdrew from the JCPOA. Negotiations have halted.
Trump needs to show that he is serious with deals that he guaranties will be binding the partners more seriously than the flawed JCPOA.
Iran has only one choice: Press Europe to take a stand against the USA, (which will probably not happen) then pull out officially from the JCPOA that has become a liability with no advantages and calls for re-negotiation. Trump will certainly jump in and will try to get the best deal possible by squeezing Iran on its regional role. Yet he can't have too excessive demands as he wants to make a similar deal with North Korea.
Iran could ask for withholding sanctions during negotiations. It could take years to finalize the deal. In the meantime the regional situation could change greatly
That seems to be the only path for Iran.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20

According to what is said here, the US is still afraid of attacking Iran, and is going for internal disruption, and sanctions. So what's new? It's been the same policy for forty years. The fact that Trump doesn't like long-term wars, and will only go for a big bang without consequences, is neither here nor there.

Rouhani and his team, including Zarif, seem to me pretty bright, and capable of coping with the politics. Relighting nuclear refinement is essentially a political move.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 20:27 utc | 21

Again, find it hard to believe that they are in fact such quisling sycophants to the US.
Suspect they rely on Trump to provide cover for the fact that they (like him) are beholden to higher powers.

Posted by: jared | Jan 20 2020 20:30 utc | 22

The USE of WMDs is haram.
Words mean things B, much as the PC police have twisted their meanings,and even fatwas can be reversed.
The frantic efforts to corral the USSRs nukes were never anything like 100% effective,500+ warheads and tonnes of
plutonium were NEVER accounted for from the KNOWN inventory,who knows what the unknown inventory was ?
Generals of Rocket Forces had to eat,and there were willing buyers for their only wares.
A CIA assessment I was made privy to,the old boys network for an opinion from outside, claimed the Iranians did not have the ability to keep those warheads in working order,which begs a question,how many ?
I told my old schoolmate they were wrong in their assessment, they've had the capability since the Shahs nuclear program.I know Iran very well,worked and lived there ,during the Shah times.

Posted by: winston2 | Jan 20 2020 20:35 utc | 23

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 20 2020 20:08 utc | 18

> Does Iran really need a nuke?

It does as they are only way to bring into Iran's main enemy heads (Israel and KSA) idea that attack on Iran will in response result in complete destruction of attacker's statehood.

I hope, one day, if Israel and KSA stop pushing buttons, US will magically find out they really don't give a damn about Iran.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 24

b said:

"During the Iran-Iraq war Iraq's Saddam Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian front lines and cities. Ten thousand Iranians died of those and many more were wounded by them"

Nope, in fact the estimate body count is much higher:

"According to a 2002 article in the Star-Ledger, 20,000 Iranian combatants and combat medics were killed on the spot by nerve gas." (this was only a part, there were also many civilians killed)

"In a declassified 1991 report, the CIA estimated that Iran had suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq's use of several chemical weapons,[10] though current estimates are more than 100,000"

"Reporter Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post stated that Reagan's administration was well aware that the materials sold to Iraq would be used to manufacture chemical weapons for use in the war against Iran"
"According to Reagan's foreign policy, every attempt to save Iraq was necessary and legal.[4]"

All of this is in the wikipedia, hardly a "hardcore iranian trolls" web:

Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq, and then you attack Iran with sanctions and threats again and again, and at the peak of hypocrisy in 2003 USA invaded Iraq "to counter the threat of WMD" (sold by the US)...What do you think of the US if you are an Iranian were living all your live under the "Damocles sword" of the threats and sactions of the Empire?

Posted by: DFC | Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 25

I've never been convinced that the JCPOA is anything but international mockery of Iran's sovereignty.

Posted by: SharonM | Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 26

Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

Trade deal? What trade deal? There is no trade deal and even if one were negotiated, it's years away from activation. Besides, what kind of 'deal' could Bojo negotiate? Who the fuck gives a shit about British capitalism, least of all the US!

So, it's a race; will climate meltdown kill us all before the Gringos do?

Posted by: Barovsky | Jan 20 2020 20:56 utc | 27

Definition of cynicism: that the Colombian State, world-renowned for killing social leaders, financing narco and paramilitarism, is the organizer of a summit against terrorism where Mike Pompeo, intellectual author of the murder of Soleimani, is the star.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 20 2020 21:07 utc | 28

To all you non american pretending to be american, if you dont want U.S. bases in your country just start demonstrating.
Interesting link:

Greeks kicked Americans out and now they beg them to return!

Posted by: takeiteasy | Jan 20 2020 21:20 utc | 29

@ 18, goldhoarder. Well, 'need' might not be the right world. Iran can probably survive without one. But if Iran had the bomb, I seriously doubt the US would have dared to touch Gen Suleimani. Iranian prestige would certainly be elevated. Being an ally of Iran would confer greater safety from western aggression and so more would seek Iran's friendship.

OTOH, It would mean that other countries (Turkey) would also move to get one. But I'm not sure that would be a disaster from Iran's point of view.

That said, Iran has said it would not make a bomb and I don't think they are being deceptive. So Iran's best move in response to EU's JCPOA referral would be to reduce its NPT compliance to the absolute minimum without actually withdrawing from the NPT. The NPT in it's most basic form only forbids the bomb, not enrichment to any level.

So Iran can enrich uranium to 60% or higher to stockpile fuel for its upcoming fleet of nuclear submarines or whatever else they plan to build.

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 20 2020 21:20 utc | 30


It's not what they might do, but what they might be accused of doing. Moreover as pointed out previously, so long as they remain under IAEA inspection, certain 3rd parties may be deterred from pushing them too hard, for fear they might leave the IAEA as well.

Posted by: faux | Jan 20 2020 21:31 utc | 31

If they remove the toilette they might just fit in a nuclear reactor

Posted by: takeiteasy | Jan 20 2020 21:33 utc | 32

Why we don't go full "White Plague" or "Cat's Cradle" and release a bacterium that eats all the oil?

You fuckers recommending more bombs are as dumb as bricks!

Posted by: Dr Wellington Yueh | Jan 20 2020 21:37 utc | 33

I used to think that the only way Iran can survive US aggression and its ongoing efforts of regime change is to have a dozen nukes in its back pocket, like North Korea. But I'm no longer convinced that is the best path forward. For one thing North Korea has China backing it to a certain extent. Big difference. Another thing is the U.S. already fought a war with NK and didn't win. That surely gives them pause. If Iran could have stronger ties with Russia or China even, perhaps a defense alliance of some sort, I think that would be a more effective deterrence than the price it would pay in going nuclear. In any case I think the US is nuts enough to decide that levelling Iran would be worth the risk even if it did manage to secretly develop a few nukes. For sure, Iran needs some sort of existential protection, and fast. Unfortunately playing by the rules for almost 40 years hasn't worked very well.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 21:40 utc | 34

Cockburn just wrote that Soleimani had become a net burden - the “whiff of grapeshot” mishandling if protesters in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as Iran, was undoing what net gains Shi’a militias had won.
This is echoed by others, including Mike Baker on JRE.
And so a liability who was aiming for the leadership in Iran is turned into a useful martyr.
Where are the conspiracy theorists when a real possible conspiracy might exist? A sort of reverse October Surprise.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2020 21:40 utc | 35

Well, today Moscow Warns Iran Against Reckless Steps as Tehran Threatens to Quit Non-Proliferation Treaty

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that Tehran continues to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the European powers' claims about Iran violating the deal were unfounded.

Moscow warns Tehran against making 'reckless steps' to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. He added that Russia urges Iran to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, giving those who oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) further reasons for escalation is "counterproductive".

Is there a friend anywhere? Kim or Khan of Pakistan to ship one in.
Alternative, Moscow could declare its nuclear capabilities are extended to Iran. Just can't leave Iran hanging on a twig.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Flood Europe with Muslim refugees and migrants, put the fear of 'invasion' into the footballer Brits, bust up the EU that often opposed Israeli war crimes, BoJo runs for cover under Major Bone Spurs skirt.

This couldn't have been planned could it? Zirp and QE in hand, money is no object.

Mortgaging the commoners future and their grand kids for the schemers.

I give you the new Nobility, same as the old Nobility but with different faces. Not a shred of decency among them, then or now.

Reading a lot of background recently, sought out the Mercers and their history with trump and the political machine that deposited that lump of coal in everyone's Christmas stocking. Fine example of the collection of ideologues, miscreants and greedy schmucks.

Rebekah Mercer discovered her weird father's fortune gave her political power if she had the brass to use it, and boy did she like it. Just one link;

Nasty people or fools caused the Muslim refugee and migrant trek to Europe. Choose your preferred view.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 20 2020 21:46 utc | 37

Posted by: DFC | Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 25

That's not really an accurate account. I was there little after. OK Saddam invaded Iran (unjustified), and in 1982 the Iranians reinvaded Iraq, and nearly succeeded. The US agreed to chemical weapons, in order to defend Iraq. Saddam later used the chemical weapons he now had on the Kurds at Halabja.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 21:48 utc | 38

@Likklemore (36)

Note how Russia snubbed Iran after Suleimani was killed. Didn't even call them for condolences. Iran is on its own. The 'ifs' and 'whens' that others here propose as parallel worlds is daydreaming. If Russia, if China. If my auntie had a beard she'd be my uncle. Iran better get nukes yesterday. Only if it can credibly assure destruction of the Zionist project will it be able to live respectably, in peace. That's not their choosing -- it's the Zionists choice under the protection from Thugs'R US. Iran has no other choice than to deal with that -- not with Trump.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 20 2020 21:56 utc | 39

Goldhoarder @ 18 and others:

As long as Iran continues to be an Islamic theocracy in its current form, the country will not develop any nuclear weapons.

The former Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa forbidding the development of nuclear weapons. After his death, this fatwa became law. The current Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, reinforces the law when he issues periodic fatwas against the use of nuclear energy development to produce nuclear weapons. There may be something in the Iranian Constitution too that forbids the country from developing offensive weapons of destruction.

The reason for Iran in having nuclear energy is to produce electricity for a mostly dry and mountainous country with a large population (about 81 million). A secondary reason is that during the 1970s, the US encouraged Iran (under the Pahlavi Shah) to develop a nuclear industry and gave the country the technology and knowledge set needed - I suppose with the expectation that Iran itself would develop nuclear weapons against its Soviet neighbour. (Nice historical irony there.)

As you say, Iran has other forms of deterrence and can shut down the Straits of Hormuz which would affect the ability of the Saudis, the Qataris, the Bahrainis and the Kuwaitis to export oil and also affect the economy of the UAE. Though in this situation, the present position of Oman, with Sultan Qabus bin Said al Said having just died after 49 years of rule, becomes critical. Would the KSA be stupid enough to try to influence Oman's decision in choosing a new Sultan, to the extent of threatening the country with invasion if it chose someone the Saudi Killer Klown Prince didn't like?

North Korea's situation is different for historical, geographic and demographic reasons, and the two nations may not be comparable. At least Iran does not have the US and other nations carrying out military exercises (with beach invasions and units practising assassinations of its leaders) close to its borders every year. North Korea has had to find a form of deterrence that does not sap the strength of its army whose members are mostly reserves drawn from farming families and whose manual labour is still needed in a country that has very little modern agricultural equipment and machinery (because that country has been subjected to economic sanctions since the early 1950s).

Posted by: Jen | Jan 20 2020 21:57 utc | 40

"Cockburn just wrote that Soleimani had become a net burden -"

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2020 21:40 utc | 35

I've thought that, pushing too hard too fast. Consumed by the fight, the good fight. Not always aligning with the greater geopolitical goals.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 20 2020 21:58 utc | 41

"Iran needs to build nukes!"

And then what? American delusion is such that Americans have absolute confidence that Iran would never dare use nukes against the US. Use them against Israel? Despite appearing to support Zionism, America's biggest supporters of Israel actually live for the biblical end-times event in which the Jews get vaporized. You'd have Rapture parties from coast to coast in America if Iran nuked Israel.

You cannot defeat mass delusion with nukes unless you use those nukes to destroy the entities hosting that delusion.

That said, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami getting glassed might be enough of a bitch slap to snap Americans out of their mass delusion. I cannot see how anything short of that would work, though.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 20 2020 22:00 utc | 42

After the US assassinated Qassem Soleimani, if "sending a message" and de-stabilization of Iran is their goal, is it possible that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is also on their hit list? The US could probably get sufficient intelligence on his movements and whereabouts and execute a strike like the one on Bin Laden. They would no doubt justify it like they did after the killing of Soleimani. A lot of Americans would cheer, damn the consequences.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 22:00 utc | 43

I can't see the point of Iran withdrawing their purely voluntary agreements to the JCPOA, since they have no intention of building a nuclear device, in fact it play's into the hands of the aggressors because they will say this is proof that Iran wants the bomb. The Russians have already said as much and warned Iran to be careful. Better for them to keep complying with their voluntary commitments with the JCPOA [even though they do not gain anything from it] because the West refuses to trade normally [buy oil] from Iran. Better to build more accurate missiles and supply them to Hezbollah, Hamas and especially the Houthis who can destroy one of their visceral enemies and US/Israels best friends, two birds with one stone.

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 44

BJD @ 39:

Russia's Lavrov, Iran's Zarif discuss Soleimani killing: statement

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran’s military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing,” the statement said. “The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law.”

Posted by: Jen | Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 45

"Cockburn just wrote that Soleimani had become a net burden -"

I have read a quote that states Soleimani said not so long ago, that he would welcome being martyred.

He used to be a recluse, avoided droning by US poindexteters trained the dark arts of X Box Controls and Call of Duty. That does support the quote and the source.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 20 2020 22:11 utc | 46

I think Iran already has a strong enough deterrence against a US invasion. The havoc they could cause is huge. What they need is a means around the economic blockade imposed by the US. And, nukes are not going to help get that. They could hardly threaten to use nuclear weapons if sanctions were not lifted. They need to develop their internal capabilities as much as possible, and work with China, Russia, Turkey, Iraq ... anyone to evade the blockade. The question is how willing these other countries are to help. Iran has oil and gas, and possibly the realization among these other countries that if they do NOT help, they are next on the list.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Jan 20 2020 22:13 utc | 47

@Jen (45)

Can't you read? The call was initiated by Zarif.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 20 2020 22:13 utc | 48

They could threaten to use their deterrence. That is, close the strait, attack the gulf oil infrastructure. But, that would hurt China ...

Posted by: SteveK9 | Jan 20 2020 22:15 utc | 49

I remember reading in Sacramento Bee that some of the nerve gas bombs dropped in the Iran/Iraq war were new old stock nazi bombs sequestered after WW2 by the US and then transferred to Saddam, Maybe so. Maybe not so. But I read the claims... Not that it matters.

about Nbangers>
Let's suppose a man keeps a revolver for defense. And let's suppose everybody knows this. This is the function of the revolver. This is using the revolver. The defense lies in the knowing and the fear.

If the revolver is fired at an aggressor the defense has failed.

This is the use of atomic explosives. Actually using them is suicide.

So, yes, if Iran were to demonstrate by triggering a "bomb" in an underground "test"...then everybody would know they have a "revolver".

The Iranian promise to, depending on circumstance, leave the NPT, signals to Russia that Russia must extend their "umbrella" to Iran, or accept another "nuclear-armed" state in their near-abroad..

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 22:19 utc | 50

To anyone interetsed in the relation Russia - Iran this should give you some thought:

From the Foreign Ministry of Russia:

On January 4, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the latter’s initiative.

Sergey Lavrov offered his condolences in the wake of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, Commander of the special-task Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, who was killed by the US military near Baghdad.

The ministers stressed that this US action was a grave violation of the fundamental standards of international law and does not contribute to resolving the complicated issues in the Middle East. Instead, it will trigger a new round of escalation in the region.
<end quote>

Emphasis mine.
Zarif had to fetch the condolences.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 20 2020 22:24 utc | 51

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 21:48 utc | 38

Let me see if I understand your point:
First US give permissions in September 1980 (if not encouraged) to Saddam to invade Iran, to finish the new islamic regime that was seen as an enemy by Washington; and then when Iranians, at a huge costs, retaliates and turn the tide, then the US thought it was justified to supply Iraq with the chemicals (the "dual-use" technology) to make huge amounts of nerve gases and support the use against Iranian soldiers (with some unavoidable thousands of "collateral damages"), and also helping them with intelligence, satellite imagery and etc...Is that your point? Do you think US would have permitted Iraq attacks Iran if the Sha was governing Iran? Do you think all the US did is justified? Do you think the people of Iran has no reasons for not "loving" America?

Posted by: DFC | Jan 20 2020 22:27 utc | 52

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Maybe it's because trump has a history with Russian mobsters and money laundering?

Or maybe it's just smart to say that? What's to be gained by setting off man child trump and spurring yet another temper tantrum via twitter?

trump did lotsa bidnezz with the International cabal that plundered Russia after the disillusion of the USSR. They stole from the Russian people, and laundered their ill begotten gains with chumps, like trump.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 20 2020 22:29 utc | 53

The American Evil Empire is the threat.

The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind.

Neutralize the America Menace--and you won't have to give a damn what the Euro poodles think, do, or believe.

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 20 2020 22:32 utc | 54

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2020 21:40 utc | 35

Sure, somehow Iran managed to get the US to shoot into their foot by killing Souleimani.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2020 22:33 utc | 55

I'd add that people ought to read the NPT before that opine about it.

I read it to prohibit putting gadgets together. I also read it to fail to prohibit making all the nifty bits an' bobs into a kit on the shelf.

"Nobody who has tried to make a nuclear bomb has failed to get one on the first try." is a quote from Richard Rhodes' books on the gadget and the supergadget. If you have enough U 235 it's not many hours to fix up a "Mr Wizard" type banger. Little Boy used something like 75 pounds...terribly inefficient 12kt. Not worth testing...a sure thing.

So all Iran has to do is to show they have enough "poot". If the clowns are too dumb to realize what that means, then perhaps a test underground...all by degrees, as circumstances and morals dictate. US person will be safe from more or less random sniping, small and large attacks, anywhere.

According to the built-in logic of empire Iran must surrender or be liquidated. Indeed the entire imperial strategy seeks their destruction, as the ultimatums and the actions of empire show clearly.

If Iran remains not-liquidated, then empire disintegrates. Of course there's latency, but this is a highly metastatic situation, and when those re-set it is often sudden. Remember how fast USSR went... and USSR/USA were a balanced pair...

Personally I wish everybody would say "phuckit, let's go bowling." I'd hate to see any violence, or see my country collapse. But what I want, what you all want - this is irrelevant.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 22:34 utc | 56

dfc if iraq had been shiite and iran sunni, the u.s. would still have supplied both side. cause profit for defense contractors, keeping the middle east unstable, weakening both countries, etc.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 20 2020 22:40 utc | 57

There can be no doubt that the US are going to use Islamic state to disrupt Iraq, just as they had no qualms about watching [from satellites and spotter aircraft] Islamic state travel 100’s of kilometres from Syria to Northern Iraq across the desert whipping up tons of dust in their Toyota jeeps, to put pressure on the Iraqi government. If the Iraqis don’t drive the US out using all means including violence, they deserve to be slaves.
“Sergey Lavrov earlier called the US-led coalition’s refusal to combat al-Nusra “absolutely unacceptable.”
“Iraqi security expert Kazim al-Haaj said “US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq.”

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 20 2020 22:42 utc | 58

I hope somebody can clarify my confusion about nuclear weapons.

Much conventional wisdom says that NK is safe because of their nukes, Iran would also be safe if they got some, and that Saddam and Ghaddafi both learned the hard way that they should have had some. But... using Iran as an example... what could they actually do with a nuke or two if they had them?

I understand that a strategic triad of ICBMs, bombers, and submariens really _do_ add some deterrence. But building _that_ is a much, much bigger task than acquiring one's bigger nuclear deterrence kit containing a mere handful of nukes.

I understand that said bombs make big boom but what useful targets do the Iranians actually have that would be best obliterated via nuke instead of swarms of smaller rockets? As a pure matter of efficiency I can imagine that one rocket and one big bomb seemingly would be a good match for one big and juicy target. However, my imagination overlooks the fact that one rocket is more likely to be stopped than several rockets. The actual cost of building the nuke is also fairly high. How many Rubles/bang is that? It's probably better to build lots and lots of cheaper rockets than one big fancy one. Finally, dealing with nukes plays into the hands of their enemies by giving them an excuse to make trouble and to generally be agitated.

Am I just wrong about this? What am I missing?

Posted by: namelessone | Jan 20 2020 23:08 utc | 59

Iranians are not delusional. They know not to rely on the Russians, or anybody else for that matter. That is why they are still standing after all these years. What's more is that there are a slew of paramilitary political organizations across various ME countries whose fate is intertwined with Iran, and who will fight for more than money. The world is fueled by debt, derivatives, and fractional reserve banking. Iran has an ability to threaten all three by its actions and that is what maintains the balance of power. Not nukes, and certainly not Russia.

Posted by: ebolax | Jan 20 2020 23:12 utc | 60

what could they actually do with a nuke or two if they had them?

see # 50 "revolver" the use is in having, not in detonating.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 23:18 utc | 61

Leaving the NPT= no more inspections. Makes discretion in nuking up much easier.

Posted by: erik | Jan 20 2020 23:19 utc | 62

@ tucenz, #9: "So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?"

What does Iran actually lose by leaving NPT?

According to Richard Butler, who negotiated the deal at his dining room table In 1995, Iran & Arab states were promised "a conference with all parties in the region [i.e. including Israel] to create a Nuclear Free Zone of the Middle East," in exchange for renewing the NPT.
Iran was at that table (Israel was not: it was/is not in NPT); Iran and the other states agreed to the bargain.
To date, that conference has not taken place.

Participation in NPT guarantees access to sharing of technological information in exchange for certain limits.
Israel gains most any technological information it wants, without limits on how it can use it, nor on monitoring of its nuclear activities.
Israel has rendered NPT meaningless.
Why shouldn't everybody leave NPT?

Posted by: ChasMark | Jan 20 2020 23:26 utc | 63

trump and others who may benefit from front running market moving tweets, run away from hard questions, again thumb noses at the law. Becoming a pattern isn't it?

"Brian Hook, Trump’s special coordinator for Iran, and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker were initially scheduled to brief the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iran on Wednesday, but abruptly canceled. Politico reported the same day that the State Department also canceled another classified briefing in the Democratic-held House on embassy security, as required by law every month. The embassy security briefing was initially expected to focus on Burundi, but staffers had requested a broader briefing on the impact the Soleimani strike would have on embassy security. Meanwhile, CNN reported that the Pentagon canceled a briefing that was scheduled today for the House Armed Services Committee, while the FBI canceled an Iran counterintelligence briefing for lawmakers."

Hunkering in the bunker.. information lock down. MAGA!!

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 20 2020 23:26 utc | 64

No one will ever make a deal with the USA again. The American word, signed and ratified, is worthless.

North Korea, China, Iran, Russia are all aware of the impossibility of trusting the US to stick to any agreement, treaty or deal.

China got what it wanted from Phase One. It bought time to continue its rise. It will be purchasing commodities it needs. Not much more, except the opening up of its financial and banking sector which it was doing in any case. Now it will get inside the US organizations as they struggle to localize their services. And with the big insurance, wealth management and banking expertise of the West comes investment which China gladly will use.

The North Koreans see the Hegemon won't get out of South Korea, so they will continue to improve their missiles and continue to build more warheads.

Russia would like the US to limit its Intermediate Missiles, but this is unlikely. So, the Russians keep building their triad and hypersonic missiles and Space defenses. They are ready for total war. And the US psychopaths know it. They really want to poke the bear, but also realize the bear will devour them. There is no finger to lose in such an event. Their fortress America will disappear. And if they try for a limited poke, it doesn't much matter to the bear. The result will be the same. And the US psychopaths know it.

The Iranians have demonstrated that in small scale, like the Russians, they will destroy the American bases in the ME, all the capitals of the US allies in the region and Israel. A war with Iran is only for the Media. The US psychopaths know the cost is prohibitive.

True, Trump would like to make a deal with Iran. But he can't. Iran won't have it. They know it is a worthless effort the US uses to weaken its counterpart. Only Russia and China have stuck to the deal with Iran. And Iran thus can trust only those two superpowers.

The US is incapable of diplomacy, deal-making, or honoring its own word.

As such, it creates a vacuum of geopolitical power that Russia is filling. You see it in Syria, now Libya with the Berlin agreement, in North Korea, in Africa and even with the two leading powers of the EU, Germany and France. The losses for America are mounting.

The American pathology is not reversible. This is a systemic malady that will consume the Hegemon. Structurally, the US is built to kill everything not itself or die from its own behavior.

Tearing up the JCPOA, coercing the vassals to trigger more sanctions ends the hope that Iran will submit to hegemony. It never will.

Now, the US must succeed at regime change. But this isn't 1953. And Iran has friends who will bolster it, Russia and China. Both have serious stakeholding positions in Iran.

The Washington psychopaths put Russia and China together. Now they have put Russia, China and Iran together. The tasks the psychopaths have now are virtually impossible. Taking down this trio is an impossibility.

The days when they had Iran in the JCPOA arrangement will be deeply rued in the years ahead.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 20 2020 23:28 utc | 65

re: bubbles @46. "Soleimani said not so long ago, that he would welcome being martyred."

This being MLK day, am reminded of a novel whose author/title I forget; plot involved assassination of MLK: the idea was MLK's best friend arranged the hit, with MLK's knowledge, because MLK realized his force was spent and the movement was flailing.

Only his martyrdom could revive the movement.

Posted by: ChasMark | Jan 20 2020 23:35 utc | 66

Lets examine the immediate and longer term policy goals of the two antagonists:

Iranian goal: Remove Outlaw US Empire from Southwest Asia. Convince all Persian Gulf nations to adopt and defend its HOPE Peace proposal.

Outlaw US Empire goal: To remain in Southwest Asia and thus disrupt attempts at regional integration and from peace through collective security occurring in the region that would contain Zionistan and eventually lead to an Independent Palestine.

How can Iran achieve its goals? At first glance given events and alliances, it almost seems as if the easiest way to eject the Outlaw US Empire from the region is for it to attack Iran. Russia has seconded the HOPE proposal by reminding the world that it also advanced a similar plan that also has UN blessings. The stumbling blocks are Saudi, which includes Bahrain, followed by UAE, IMO. Qatar must have peace with Iran to fully develop its part of their shared resource the Pars gas field. Kuwait signaled its willingness to talk peace at the last UNGA, and being occupied by Imperial Stormtroopers doesn't bode well for its future given Imperial policy. Oman and Yemen are on board with HOPE, as are Iraq and Syria. The Empire can bully and blackmail, but it cannot protect those nations it occupies from terrific destruction.

How can the Evil Outlaw US Empire achieve its goals? Waging war as noted above seems to lead to the opposite of its goals and would certainly cause massive damage to its one ally--Zionistan--and to all the nations it occupies. The current chaotic status quo would work except that it's already being demanded to leave Iraq, which means at minimum leaving Northeastern Syria. Not much is mentioned about Jordan's fate as it houses one of the bases Iran has said will be part of its vengeance campaign. So, the neocons drool over the idea of going to war against Iran, but the likely outcome is completely opposite of the one they've dreamt of for decades. IMO, the current chaos will be dragged out as long as possible until push finally comes to shove.

IMO, the two current article at Strategic Culture mentioned and linked above are excellent in trying to get a handle on the mess and the ideas of those authors certainly influenced my thinking. Also meriting mention is Pepe Escobar's latest think piece published at The Unz Review "The Roots of American Demonization of Shi’a Islam', where one can quickly understand why it didn't get published by Asia Times--it's too long and challenges "established truths" it pushes.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2020 23:44 utc | 67

"Trump would probably like it if Iran would end its NPT commitments. It would be used to allege that Iran was doing so to build nuclear weapons even if that were not the case."

Did you read the account of Trump's meeting with his officials? Here is a quote from the article:

He wanted out of the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama had struck in 2015, which called for Iran to reduce its uranium stockpile and cut its nuclear program.
“It’s the worst deal in history!” Trump declared.
“Well, actually . . .,” Tillerson interjected.
“I don’t want to hear it,” Trump said, cutting off the secretary of state before he could explain some of the benefits of the agreement. “They’re cheating. They’re building. We’re getting out of it. I keep telling you, I keep giving you time, and you keep delaying me. I want out of it.”

So Trump actually believes that Iran is cheating and building nuclear weapons - despite zero evidence of that and Iran having zero use cases for nuclear weapons in the first place. So what does anyone think Trump will do if Iran leaves the NPT? Regardless of Iran's continuing IAEA inspections even after leaving the NPT, the US will use it as "proof" that Iran is building nuclear weapons.

This will lead directly to war, just like the bogus "Iraq WMDs" were used to start the Iran war.

War with Iran is inevitable as long as Trump, the neocons, the US military-industrial complex, and Israel have enormous influence in the US. And there is no other influence in the US that can prevent them from pushing ahead with the war. People who think that somehow "neither country wants war" and thus there will be compromise are deluding themselves. Historically war is inevitable whenever two countries have this level of animosity.

People who still think war with Iran is unlikely are victims of cognitive dissonance - the inability to face reality due to emotional issues if they do so.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jan 20 2020 23:46 utc | 68

One thing I find puzzling about ‘ glassing over cities ‘ is why? Why kill millions of citizens when it would cause far greater misery by using the nukes to inflict massive damage, in no particular order, onto the energy, communications, medical, food , defense and transport plus many other Infrastructures.
Once the U.S. population wakes up to the fact it has very little drinkable water, no real way of producing food, let alone transporting it, no power so no modern conveniences, no hospitals etc, etc I doubt if society would pull together with all those guns about as life becomes a battle for very limited rescources.
The U.S. might think killing civilians is a way to bring a country to it’s knees, history time and again has proved them wrong. But when neighbour kills neighbour because of a breakdown in societal values, why do the killing when your adversary will do it for you?

Posted by: Beibdnn | Jan 20 2020 23:53 utc | 69

Posted by: vk | Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 5

Polls in Germany show that Germans consider the US a larger threat than e.g. Russia. Europe has always been about the relationship of the country in the center with Russia. The country in the center is Germany. If you look at a map pre-1939 you will see the extent to which Germany was east-oriented, and following the reunification it is again east oriented. Look at how much of Germany is west of the Rhine and how much is east of the Elbe. Look how close Berlin and Poland are. There you are. So, what is this thing about "culture" etc you are talking about?

Germany was aware that the window of opportunity for reunification was small. They seized the moment when everyone was ecstatic about the fall of the wall which symbolized the fall of East Europe of cold war times - victory. But right inside the victory lap that important development took place and few realized its true meaning. Germany had been sitting tight for 40 years and sprung into action when it was time.

If Germany pivots east and with Trump's America - which is the same America it has always been just that the mask came off - it's not unlikely and maybe even a straightforward consequence - well, Germany pivoting east towards Russia is the biggest nightmare for some western countries.

Germany cannot afford tariffs on auto imports to the US. Not at this time. The thing is to do do your thing and wait your time, I guess. They did it before.

Posted by: E Mo Scel | Jan 21 2020 0:10 utc | 70

@walter #50
I agree, but with what can Iran deter an strike against it, when it doesn't want to have a nuclear bomb in an efficient way? And deter means you can punish your enemy in the timeframe of hours so much that he excludes an attack from the options.
What else only you can make with enriched uranium above 10 percent? Put dirty bombs in a lot of rockets. They even do their job when intercepted, to make land uninhabitable for centuries. Of course it is Israel which will get the hit. I think Iran already have a strong enough deterrence for cheap and getting now every day more dangerous. Under given circumstances their strategy make sense in all aspects.

Posted by: rico rose | Jan 21 2020 0:13 utc | 71

namelessone 59 "I understand that said bombs make big boom but what useful targets do the Iranians actually have that would be best obliterated via nuke instead of swarms of smaller rockets?" Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco to name a few. Any target close to the ocean.

Posted by: LarsRagnar | Jan 21 2020 0:20 utc | 72

@ Walter # 50

"see "revolver" the use is in having, not in detonating."

You seriously think a psychopath armed with an AR-15 would be intimidated or deterred in murdering someone because they have one tiny revolver?

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 21 2020 0:21 utc | 73

Thanks for the links karlofi.
There is a sense in which what is happening now in the world is a global struggle between the ideas and consciousness of peasant society and the corruptions of industrial society founded on the degradation of the rural world and of nature.

A struggle between a world founded in a web of symbiotic relationships-and ultimately that between humanity and the universe- and a world which sprang up in defiance of the natural, in opposition to the environment, at war with the earth, forests, watercourses and the sea. And the heavens themselves.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 21 2020 0:34 utc | 74

sure psychopaths can be deterred, just ask north korea. if iran already had a nuclear capability, i doubt they would have assassinated the general.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 21 2020 0:34 utc | 75

jen / red ryder / karlof1... thanks... i tend to agree with red ryders comments too...

@ 63 chasmark...quote "Israel has rendered NPT meaningless." in one respect yes... in another one, no..i think the world wants to figure out how to get beyond the use of nukes...every country seems to have their own special way of doing this, some more pragmatic and conservative then others.. but not even participating in it, as israel is here - really says of what kind of team player israel isn't...

i am with @ 68 Richard Steven Hack "People who still think war with Iran is unlikely are victims of cognitive dissonance - the inability to face reality due to emotional issues if they do so." all of usa foreign policy has been gearing up for this for some time and it continues to ramp up... either the zio-cons get a reality check, or everyone else does real fast because this looks like a runaway train to me at this point...

arguing that iran should get nukes just doesn't make sense to me.. either russia-china step up to the plate here, or they will be next and they know it too.. these crazies driving usa fp are truly insane.. look where we are now.. clearly they continue to hold sway over the usa fp here.. trump, pomparse and etc are just useful tools blinded by ignorance and self interest..

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2020 0:41 utc | 76

No review of Philip Girladi's views on the Iran plane crash, b? No review of a good analysis on onthe same theme. What is going on with you? Why have you suddenly ducked out of the biggest story?

Posted by: Lochern | Jan 21 2020 0:42 utc | 77

bjd @ 39

Thugs R US. see what you did there.

Russia did send Condolences spoke out in harsh terms. Many articles recounting close relationship of Mr. Putin and General Soleimani.

@ Bubbles 53

Is that rumour or fact that Trump did lotsa bidnezz with Russia? The tantrum? yes. that is well confirmed in every tweet.

@ ChasMark 66

See this:

Martin Luther King Day 2020: Memphis, Tenn. Court Decision, U.S. “Government Agencies” Found Guilty in Martin Luther King’s Assassination

Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis, December 1999

Very few Americans are aware of this historical 1999 civil law suit of the King Family against the US Government. (Shelby County Court), Tennessee.

full Trial Transcript

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 21 2020 0:46 utc | 78

@Likklemore (78)

"Russia did send Condolences spoke out in harsh terms. "

Russia did NOT "send" condolences. Zarig had to fetch them. See my (51) above, with the link to the Foreign Ministry of Russia.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 21 2020 1:00 utc | 80

@ Carciofi | Jan 21 2020 0:21 utc | 73
("You seriously think a psychopath armed with an AR-15 would be intimidated or deterred in murdering someone because they have one tiny revolver?")

Quite possibly, yes. Even the nuts are subject to fear. But also of course that's not what I said.

Evidently you have not been to any gun fights. I watched a man fire away at a Pasadena cop long ago - he must have been nuts...emptied the magazine - perhaps 20 rounds. He managed to hit the cop once, in the foot. The cop reacted rather slowly, waited until the nut ran out of ammo. Then shot him once in the chest with a .38. I'd call that murder - the guy was out of ammo. But it was excusable under the circumstances.

If an insane opponent is resolved to attack, there is no defense other than hitting him first or running away. In that example, which you define, the a-priori assumption is that defense has already failed, hence the attacker's resolve, his insanity, which you postulated, friend.

However, the hypothetical insane wielder of "AR 15" (or whatever) is no less liable to injury, probably more liable to injury, than is the quiet man who might have that revolver - which, by the way, is not necessarily "tiny"... Some revolvers are more powerful than the AR, by the way. And I did not pose "tiny" either. (see .480 Ruger))

I wrote of deterrence. You wrote of insanity. And your assumptions as to outcome are not supported...some people can shoot straight. Some can't.

(I abhor guns anyway, as they sometimes facilitate starting affairs that can't be stopped)

Posted by: Walter | Jan 21 2020 1:17 utc | 81

bjd @80--

Not all notes of condolence are marked by a related press release or tweet. Can you prove with 100% certainty there were no privately conveyed notes of sorrow to Iran's people and public figures? No, you cannot; so, I suggest you stop pushing an unprovable premise that's of zero use in the overall scheme of things. The trio--China, Iran, Russia--are close enough to be kin. As far as I know, Putin was at the Kremlin getting his Executive Assembly address prepared when the terrorist act occurred. I can easily see him immediately going to the Iranian Embassy to personally deliver his sorrow and talk briefly about responding--none of that would have been subjected to a PR unless Putin wanted it so. If he did as I described, no PR would be required. Have you or anyone else looked at Farsi language Iranian news to see if such a message was conveyed? I haven't because I don't see any need to do so. Russia backed Iran's responsive attack on the Outlaw US Empire's bases as being within Iran's legal rights, and it's called Soleimani's murder out for what it is--a terroristic cold blooded murder of the worst sort: A War Crime.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2020 1:29 utc | 82

Steve K( @ 11

"Many people refer to the European countries as ‘occupied’ (vk) and that is the reason they submit to American policy. I don’t believe that is the case. The number of troops is far too small to ‘occupy’ a country that was resisting an occupation. Those troops were there as a ‘trigger’ to initiate a conflict with the Soviet Union if it invaded Europe. These days they are just there as some kind of vestigial legacy, and don’t really mean anything. The US exercises its control over the EU and elsewhere through its control of international finance and trade. This system benefits the elite of those countries that are part of the ‘empire’, so has substantial support from influential people inside those countries. Unless and until there is some groundswell of support among the peoples of those countries to change that system, they will continue to be an obedient part of the US empire. "

I don't think this is correct. Technically I believe Germany is still de facto occupied. B can probably cite the relevant "laws" whereby occupation regulations cannot be just shucked by Germany. A lot of Germans want to get the Yanks out and have demonstrated against, especially, Ramstein, which provides military support for a lot of the US aggression in the ME. Also Landshut. But the Germans can't just tell the USA to leave their country. The occupation is still enshrined in laws on the books. In this sense it seems to me the Iraqis have a heck of a lot more mojo than the Germans: the former have at least put themselves on record for demanding that the USAians leave their country.

According to Chris Bollyn ("Germany Still Occupied By US After 58 Years. By Christopher Bollyn 9-11-4":
"POTSDAM, Germany – The Allied occupation of Germany began 58 years ago this month and in the eyes of many Germans has not yet ended. Foreign armies are still based on German soil and Europe’s largest and most prosperous “democracy” still lacks a constitution and a peace treaty putting a formal end to the Second World War.

For Germany, World War II, like the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, lacks formal legal closure because a peace treaty has never been signed between the Allies and Germany."

Bollyn goes on to make specific comparisons between Germany and Iraq.

Posted by: Really? | Jan 21 2020 1:32 utc | 83

Just watched an excellent YT at the Moderate Rebels interviewing Elijah Magnier.
What the US attacks on Iran and military occupation of Iraq mean for the Axis of Resistance

Magnier explains Iran relationship with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and what is going on in Iraq is much greater detail than I have seen anywhere.

Posted by: lgfocus | Jan 21 2020 1:33 utc | 84

about deterrence>

"The whole point
of the Doomsday Machine is lost...
...if you keep it a secret.
Why didn't you tell the world?
It was to be announced
at the Party Congress on Monday.
The Premier loves surprises." Merkwurdigliebe in movie Strangelove

(working script is free online, a comfy read for the evening.)

Leaving NPT creates a public open question...whaddathey got now?

Of course if the attacking party has no other option, or is unaware of any other option, (and they don't) then deterrence has become futile, attack is sure... Given the Logic of Empire, that's what's going to happen, is happening, has happened...

The> The usefulness of atomic explosives on the scale of so-called "tactical" level is primarily against massed troops and armor, not cities so much.

Attacking forces must be exposed. Defending forces can shelter. ergo attacker tend to die a lot.

(The part I like is the "mine-shaft gap" and kidnapping all the sexy broads.)

Posted by: Walter | Jan 21 2020 1:52 utc | 85

@ Posted by: Really? | Jan 21 2020 1:32 utc | 83 with the occupation of Germany comment

Thanks for that. I just looked and there are about 38-40K troops in Germany and another 50K+ in Japan, the other occupied country after WWII. And yes, Iraq is being treated as such but the world is different now with China/Russia and other countries growing and influencing.

What is unclear is how one gets a world war out of the different Axis that is not MAD or represents a loss to multipolarity by the global private finance empire of 300+ years ????? I don't think Iran has an interest in developing nuclear weapons as long as China/Russia have their back....which seems quite evident.

What asymmetrical event of this civilization conflict will occur next?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2020 1:58 utc | 86

Peter AU1 @ 3

Re Crooke's piece:
1. The true "evil" is that which lurks in DC.
2. Glad to see Crooke cite Tom Luongo, whom I find to be an astute and insightful analyst. Crooke seems to agree with Luongo's contention ("Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp") that Trump has been played on this one and has worked himself in to an ever tighter corner, thereby worsening his position in the impeachment play.

Posted by: Really? | Jan 21 2020 2:07 utc | 87

@Walter # 81

I think you might have missed the point I was trying to make. If Iran were to pull out all the stops and managed to quickly assemble a few nuclear bombs I doubt it would be much of a deterrent to a US government intent on bringing Iran to its knees. In fact IMO it would have the opposite effect and would spur the US to even greater efforts.

See namelessone #59:

I understand that a strategic triad of ICBMs, bombers, and submariens really _do_ add some deterrence. But building _that_ is a much, much bigger task than acquiring one's bigger nuclear deterrence kit containing a mere handful of nukes.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 21 2020 2:11 utc | 88

One Iranian attending Soleimani's funeral ruthlessly mocked western media coverage of the events "Why did you come here today?" "We're not here, we've been photoshopped ...

Posted by: Paul | Jan 21 2020 2:15 utc | 89

@ What asymmetrical event of this civilization conflict will occur next? /Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2020 1:58 utc | 86

Well. Nobody knows...

But there is a model that may suggest what happens next.

If an "engine" creates a force/distance F/D that's coupled to a "load", and the energy does not transfer through the coupling, then the engine fails unless the coupling disconnects.

In power engineering, and in basic DC (also AC) electrical theory there are equations for this.

In the instance, the Imperial Necessity with all the cute bells and whistles, amounts to the "engine". Iran (and everybody else too) is the "load". The army/navy and the bank system is a coupling.

Is that clear enough?

For myself, this seems obvious. What's not obvious is how unpleasant the "engine failure" is going to be, and when.

One way for the engine to fail is a coup - Empires have coups when they go the wrong way, sometimes, but not always. In the present example it may be that the "coupling" will fail and Empire will retreat into itself, painfully becoming a third rate power (well, it's already close) That would save something from the mess. The pressure on Empire is essentially domestic . and large scale civil problems associated perhaps with worthless money and crashed economy may reasonably be posited as a way of failure.

Whatever, like "my posited revolver" actually using weapons destroys deterrence. Clown Pompo with his second rate 2 year junior college equivalent education seems to believe otherwise. He's being a fool. If this stuff goes on the outcome is engine failure. Next stop...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 21 2020 2:29 utc | 90


I posit the same.
The hidden strength that Iran already has are its' alliances, and thousands upon thousands of short-medium range rockets & missiles at its' disposal (and that can be called upon from allies in a crisis).

Much of the following is not news to most here:

If they get attacked, it would be really simple to utilise many of the smaller rockets to completely overwhelm air defense systems with small targets, and then use the bigger-better-faster ones to take out Dimona nuclear reactor (rendering much of Israel uninhabitable), along with most of the ME oil infrastructure (consequently putting the house of Saud out of business, along with as many of the other gulf states as the choose). They can also hit any naval assets within 2000km, and close the Strait of Hormuz for years to come with mines.

Additional options are ongoing small targeted strikes against bases, military infrastructure, key individuals, etc. They could support that kind of activity almost ad infinitum.

I think it would be best for all concerned if the USA would just take its' bat and ball and bugger off home. The entire Middle-East would rapidly develop a forward path sans US assistance.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 21 2020 2:34 utc | 91

Carciofi | Jan 21 2020 2:11 utc | 88

That's another matter. Probably Empire will continue to make war and probably Iran building emergency nukes wouldn't deter - but it would change strategy. What I wrote about massed troops and armor above.

Functionally Empire is at present non-logical, "pathological", quite literally bent on self-destruction. It's pitiful. This was not necessary, but, it seems to me, this time became inevitable when the elites murdered JFK. We've been in denouement ever since, with one murder creating the necessity of another until genuine leadership has become impossible... It's MacBeth, old man.

Golstein wrote
V. Golstein: The End of Cold War and Shakespeare’s Macbeth (a mini-essay) @ FRN good essay. (Comrade Texas didn't agree though, but that's just his stridency - typical Texas dude.)

Posted by: Walter | Jan 21 2020 2:41 utc | 92


The false choice being presented by the EU to Iran of “returning to compliance” should be repudiated. Iran should henceforth direct its economic interests wholeheartedly towards co-development with Russia, China and the Eurasian realm. Any further wrangling with the Western charlatans is only inviting war.

Why Iran Should Ditch the Hopeless Nuclear Deal

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 21 2020 2:47 utc | 93

@ bjd 80

You stated categorically "No they did not." Suggest you walk with google:
With links to TASS and other media I have posted in other threads and affirm Russia sent condolences and spoke out harshly.

Russia condoles with Iran over Soleimani's killing
Foreign Ministry says killing of top Iran commander [.]

LINK Anadulo Agency


Russia offered condolences to Iran on Friday over the killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force.

The U.S. confirmed Thursday that it carried out a strike that killed Soleimani in Iraq.

"We consider the murder of Soleimani as a result of an American missile strike on the outskirts of Baghdad as an adventurous step that will lead to an increase in tension in the entire region. Soleimani has faithfully served the cause of protecting the national interests of Iran. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.[.]

Russia Warns U.S. of ‘Grave Consequences’ of Soleimani Killing
- National Review

Russia on Friday strongly condemned the U.S. for the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who perished Thursday in a drone strike authorized by the Trump administration.[.]

Just a helpful sampling.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 21 2020 2:52 utc | 94

@9 tucenz

what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?

That is really a quarter (1/4) of the the actual question. The other 3/4 parts of question is ignored, intentionally / unconsciously.

1) What does Iran actually loose by leaving the NPT?

2) What have Iran actually gained from  NPT?

3) How much trouble Iran has received from NPT?

4) What does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?

So you have raised the last part of the actual question.  All western minds, and western educated ( if they can raise any question, if the questioning faculty is not off in their physiology)  raise the question like you.

Posted by: arata | Jan 21 2020 2:58 utc | 95

The biggest coward of them all is the U.S.; ever since it developed the assassin drones.
A bully that disrespects all forms of international norms and more importantly, laws.
Its operating as the head outlaw nation; most western nations cower in its shadow.
Iran, the still great Persian Nation, will not bow, and thus becomes a marshalling point for the non-aligned nations, including, most importantly, Russia and China.
Iran is a key player in the BRI (and the U.S. knows it) which ensures its place as a power player. The U.S. can only do what most bullies do; pick on the cowards; in the EU, they have given up their sovereignty for nothing; just rolled over, belly up for rubs...

Posted by: V | Jan 21 2020 3:06 utc | 96

Karlof1 @ 82

Thanks. I appreciate your help.

Interesting article by Tony Cartalucci posted at 21st Century Wire

‘War of Terror’ Inverted: Why Did US Assassinate Iran’s Anti-ISIS General?

[.] The strikes also targeted infrastructure supporting a network of Iranian-backed militias known as Popular Mobilization Units or PMUs.

The US claiming these strikes were meant to end “terror” are particularly surreal.

The PMUs along with General Soleimani and his special operations Quds Forces have played a key role in fighting and defeating US and Saudi-sponsored terrorism across the Middle East. This includes fighting terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, its many affiliates, and the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syris” (ISIS) – all of which have been extensively exposed as recipients of US cash, weapons, and other forms of material and political support.

The War of Terror Continues [.]

Even the clumsy and often-manipulated Wikipedia lists Iran’s Quds Forces as opposed against Al Qaeda, its affiliates, and ISIS alongside nations like the US and its allies. While Wikipedia doesn’t overtly connect these terrorist organizations with their Western sponsors it is clear to even the casual observer that both appearing on the Quds Forces’ opponents list carries with it many implications.

Beyond mere implications – however – it was the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) itself in a 2012 leaked memo that admitted, “the West, Gulf monarchies, and Turkey” were behind the rise of a what at the time was being called a “Salafist principality.”[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 21 2020 3:07 utc | 97

Not really OT, I was going to say goodnight, but this related to the "engine failure" scenario. see AE911truth dot ORG > “15 years later: on the physics of high-rise building collapses” — the five-page feature in the August 2016 issue of the European Physical Society’s Europhysics News .

Over the years since the dog and pony show, the "Yeibichai" (911) their lordships have failed to conceal the who/what/why/ and also How... Man I hear about this at yard sales...they've made so many veterans who simply can't be BS'd about explosive demolitions...after all, it's part of their training... Anyway the million views may be part of an increasing lack of "consent" - additional "load", deteriorating "engine" condition, and so on.


Posted by: Walter | Jan 21 2020 3:19 utc | 98

America is controlled by Israel.
Israel wants Iran destroyed.
America will destroy Iran.

Whatever happens after that is conjecture. But the above three statements state what will happen in the next two years, and why it will happen.

Posted by: JasonT | Jan 21 2020 3:25 utc | 99

BJD @ 48, 51:

So what is your point? Mohammad Javad Zarif could have phoned Sergei Lavrov to deliver the bad news. (That in itself may be an indication of how closely Iran and Russia may be working together.) Even the news item you linked to states that Lavrov offered his condolences.

On top of that, Russia again offered to sell Iraq its S-400 missile defence systems to defend Iraqi airspace.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21 2020 3:38 utc | 100

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