Tag Archives | Iran

Noam Chomsky: Why America Is the Gravest Threat to World Peace

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jackie (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Noam Chomsky via Alternet/TomDispatch:

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Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm: the United States and its closest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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Thirteen Things I Learned in Iran

A hilltop view of Tehran, the capital of Iran. (Photo: ninara/flickr/cc)

A hilltop view of Tehran, the capital of Iran. (Photo: ninara/flickr/cc)

Robert Naiman writes at Common Dreams:

I just experienced the blessing of visiting Iran for the first time. Here are some things I learned.

1. If you are visiting someone’s office and you appear very sleepy, you may be asked if you want to take a nap. If you say yes, a comfortable place to take a nap may be immediately prepared. I want to state categorically for the record that no country in which you can take a nap any time you want should ever be bombed by anyone.

2. Any American who wants a hero’s welcome in Iran right now should compare the Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen to the Israeli bombing and blockade of Gaza. An American sporting a “Saudi Arabia = Israel” button could get invited to any party in Iran right now.

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Did Washington Post Columnist Cherry-Pick Estimates on Israel Nukes?

alison-weir-bookWell, then.

Alison Weir via CounterPunch:

Washington Post “Fact Checker” columnist Glenn Kessler chastises Iran’s Foreign Minister for saying that Israel has 400 nuclear weapons.

Specifically, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “It’s laughable that Netanyahu has become everybody’s nonproliferation guru. He is sitting on 400 nuclear warheads, nuclear warheads that have been acquired in violation of the NPT.”

In an otherwise valuable article, Kessler uses omission to make the claim of 400 nuclear weapons sound unwarranted, concluding “… his figure is more than double the median for the most recent estimate, and five times higher than another credible estimate. Zarif could make his political point without inflating the numbers. He earns Two Pinocchios.”

However, it appears that perhaps the Pinocchios should actually go to Kessler himself for omitting reports on the subject that didn’t fit his own views, thus skewing the numbers.

For instance, A 2009 study by U.S.

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Hawks Fume as World Celebrates ‘Victory for Diplomacy over War’

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Though a final deal won’t be sealed until later this year, the framework agreement announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday between Iran and the P5+1 nations is having reverberations across the world—offering hope of rapprochement, peace, and better days ahead for those who support it and heckles and frowns from those who appear to think that a continued stalemate and endless sanctions, or possibly war, are the better path.

As Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, writes in an op-ed at The National Interest on Friday morning: “Peace won. War lost. It’s as simple as that.”

“Make no mistake,” Parsie continued, “the framework agreement that was announced yesterday is nothing short of historic. A cycle of escalation has been broken – for the first time, Iran’s nuclear program will roll back, as will the sanctions Iran has been subjected too.”

As regular Iranians were reportedly celebrating in the streets and in their homes and President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the foreign ministers of the other nations were receiving widespread praise for the diplomatic accomplishment, hawkish forces were quickly—and unsurprisingly—making public their objections to the deal.

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CIA Evidence from Whistleblower Trial Could Tilt Iran Nuclear Talks

A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences — casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.

With negotiations between Iran and the United States at a pivotal stage, fallout from the trial’s revelations about the CIA’s Operation Merlin is likely to cause the International Atomic Energy Agency to re-examine U.S. assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

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IAEA headquarters since 1979, Vienna, Austria.

 

In its zeal to prosecute Sterling for allegedly leaking classified information about Operation Merlin — which provided flawed nuclear weapon design information to Iran in 2000 — the U.S. government has damaged its own standing with the IAEA. The trial made public a treasure trove of information about the Merlin operation.

Last week Bloomberg News reported from Vienna, where the IAEA is headquartered, that the agency “will probably review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the revelations, said the two diplomats who are familiar with the IAEA’s Iran file and asked not to be named because the details are confidential.”

The Bloomberg dispatch, which matter-of-factly referred to Merlin as a “sting” operation, quoted a former British envoy to the IAEA, Peter Jenkins, saying: “This story suggests a possibility that hostile intelligence agencies could decide to plant a ‘smoking gun’ in Iran for the IAEA to find.… Read the rest

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Argentina’s Nisman Scandal and the Dark Side of Progress

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presidencia.gov.ar (CC BY 2.0)

Politics in Latin America is always a messy affair. And in the latest scandal to rock the region, the mess in question was a pool of blood left by Alberto Nisman, an Argentinian federal prosecutor found dead last Sunday in his Buenos Aires apartment. The day after his death, Nisman was scheduled to present key evidence in a case against the government of Argentina, led by president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

This was certainly a big deal within the country. Piggybacking off the protest slogan coined for the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, protestors immediately took to the streets with “Yo soy Nisman” signs (which translates to “I am Nisman” – something tells me every high profile killing this year will now result in “I am [victim]” sloganeering). But though this story may seem easy to write off for audiences in the US and Europe as more needless violence by those backward folks in the “global south”, it really is a cautionary tale for any government who takes progressive ideas seriously – proof that sometimes, progress comes with a high price tag.… Read the rest

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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James Risen is about to go to jail for refusing to name his sources

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I’m wondering if it’s time to enact a nationwide shield law.

via The Guardian:

If you blinked at the end of June, you may have missed one of the best pieces of journalism in 2014. The New York Times headline accompanying the story was almost criminally bland, but the content itself was extraordinary: A top manager at Blackwater, the notorious defense contractor, openly threatened to kill a US State Department official in 2007 if he continued to investigate Blackwater’s corrupt dealings in Iraq. Worse, the US government sided with Blackwater and halted the investigation. Blackwater would later go on to infamously wreak havoc in Iraq.

But what makes the story that much more remarkable is that its author, journalist James Risen, got it published amidst one the biggest legal battles over press freedom in decades – a battle that could end with the Justice Department forcing him into prison as early as this fall.

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Ferguson, MO and Tehran, Iran: What do these two places have in common?

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Washington Post reporters have been arrested in two places this year: Ferguson, Missouri and Tehran, Iran. Reporter Wesley Lowrey was arrested in Ferguson on Wednesday, and no charges were filed. He’s been released from custody. Jason Rezaian was arrested in Tehran in July and, while no charges have been made, he’s still being detained.

via Vox:

Over the past few months, Washington Post reporters, hundreds of whom work across the globe, have been arrested in exactly two cities: Tehran, Iran, and Ferguson, Missouri, United States of America. That should tell you something about the ongoing crisis in Ferguson.

On Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery was reportedly arrested along with Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post for failing to exit a McDonalds. According to Lowery’s Twitter account, the two were “assaulted and arrested” because “officers decided we weren’t leaving McDonalds quickly enough, shouldn’t have been taping them.” No charges were filed.

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