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The spinning and status of the Iran nuclear negotiations

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | October 21, 2013

“Other optimists claim that the likes of Goldberg et al would not be trying so hard to position this as a victory over Iran unless the US did in fact plan to reach a deal with Iran this time around. In other words, they’re pre-emptively trying to prepare the public for a deal with Iran…”

I am greatly amused by efforts of our chattering classes to rewrite the history of the past 10 years to pretend that the reason for the lack of progress thus far in the US-Iran nuclear debacle has been Iran’s intrasigence. The Leveretts point out that much of the media coverage starts out with the assumption that it is Iran’s burden to make compromises to meet US demands, not vice versa, as if the obstacle to the resolution of the standoff thus far has been Iran and not the US with its excessive demands that Iran abandon enrichment. Joel Rubin of Politico claims that the negotiations are “the result of years of painstaking efforts by the Obama administration and lawmakers to pressure the Islamic Republic … to pursue diplomacy” and furthermore he writes, “Now that Iran has made a clear decision to engage seriously in diplomatic negotiations with the West over its nuclear program…”  Then there’s former Israeli border guard Jeffrey Goldberg who claims that Iran is only now “ready at least to have a facsimile of a serious discussion about its nuclear program” because  supposedly “The crippling of the Iranian economy by the U.S. sanctions regime is the only reason Iran is even negotiating at all.”

It would be only natural for the proponents of the sanctions policy thus far to claim that any progress on the nuclear file must be attributable to the “success” of these sanctions — when in fact such progress happened despite the sanctions, not because of them. Though a crowing rooster takes credit for the rising sun, the truth of the matter is that the sanctions regime on Iran has already started to falter, and Iran’s economy is already expected to start growing in 2014. It is certainly doubtful that the sanctions are hurting Iran enough that the government is willing to give up the sovereign right of enrichment, as the US demands, because they know that the Iranian people massively support their nuclear program and would consider such a concession to be traitorous. It will be hard enough selling any sort of deal with the US in which Iran somehow ends up being treated differently than any other NPT signatory.

Furthermore, European courts have already started the process of dismantling the sanctions on Iranian banks too. The sanctions were always illegal anyway, as they violated the terms of international trade rules that prohibit secondary sanctions. The only reason why European and Asian trading partners with Iran did not mount a legal challenge to these extraterritorial sanctions at the World Trade Organization is because of a poltical agreement not to do so, and that can last only so long before the floodgates break. After all, China and India need Iran’s oil and aren’t about to make their economic development indirectly subject to US veto.

And then there’s the NY Times, typically promoting nonsense and inaccuracy as news as usual. They have the usual load of hot, steaming bullshit posing as a “Q&A” about Iran’s nuclear program entitled “Examining the Status of Iran’s Nuclear Program and Talks” — in which they promote the usual propaganda lines: Fordo was a “secret facility” (never mind that Iran declared it to the IAEA first, and before it was legally required to do so) and Iran has “refused to allow inspectors to visit Parchin” never mind that Iran allowed it twice in 2005 and nothing was found then, and never mind that Iran is not under any legal obligation to allow any such “transparency” visits which are themselves illegal and outside of the NPT. The NY Times also claims that the Arak heavy water reactor “could be a source of plutonium, another fuel for a weapon” — when in fact practically EVERY nuclear reactor “could be” a source of plutonium since that’s what’s produced in the highly-irradiated fuel rods for reactors in Iran or anywhere else — however removing and using the plutonium is an extremely complicated process called reprocessing, and Iran has no such facilities as the IAEA itself has noted repeatedly and has no interest in developing — a fact left out of the NY Times version of reality.

But here’s the bigger picture issue I want to deal with: what does all the speculation and spin around the Iran nuclear negotiations indicate about the substance and direction of those negoiations, if anything? naturally we’re seeing some jostling even on the part of Iran hawks like Jeffrey Goldberg to spin the recent news of Iran-US negotiations as being attributable to an Iranian shift. The consistency of this narrative is such that it suggests a metaphorical “talking points memo” has been issued amongst the chattering classes, emphasizing the need to put this spin on the news: Iran has shifted, therefore the US can now potentially compromise with Iran.

This is of course total bullshit, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out. Iran has been making the same compromise offers it is now making for a very very very long time. Better ones, in fact. The problem had always been the US insistence on Iran giving up enrichment, a demand that was deliberately used by the US to kill off negotiations and to ensure that there could be no peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue as long as the regime is still in power in Iran (the nuclear issue as always been just a pretext for regime-change, just as “WMDs in Iraq” was always just as pretext) Even former IAEA head Elbaradei concluded as much.

So the question is, are these talks any different than the previous occasions when there was a lot of hype and speculation, but no progress because the US continued to insist on nonsensical demands on Iran? Has the US really started to deal seriously with the nuclear issue now for once instead of pulling the rug out from under their own negotiators as they did to the Turks/Brazilians (because of an additional demand that Iran also give up enrichment which the US added after Iran had said yes to the deal) and the EU-3 prior to that? Has the US given up on regime change, or is it simply shifting tactics?

Well, according to Trita Parsi, these talks are different in the sense that the US has finally conceded to negotiating an “end state” – in other words, telling Iran what it hopes to achieve in the end with negotiations (specifically the question of concern to the Iranian side is whether the US concedes that Iran has a practical right to enrich Uranium or not). This would be important for the Iranian side since they know what they’re finally negotiating in the first place: a US recognition of Iran’s enrichment rights, or Iran’s gradual and practical repudiation of those rights.

Other optimists claim that the likes of Goldberg et al would not be trying so hard to position this as a victory over Iran unless the US did in fact plan to reach a deal with Iran this time around. In other words, they’re pre-emptively trying to prepare the public for a deal. This view actually has some merit, but as an argument it is speculative. There are multiple other reasons why the likes of Goldberg would be engaged in such spin, entirely on their own and not because of any actual expected “progress” at the negotiations.  In the meantime, apart from trying to read tea leaves and engage in speculation, we won’t know if the US is serious or not until after the final deal is announced. In the meantime, there is absolutely no reason why we should assume these negotiations to be anything more than a set-up, as in the past.

So in the end, I’d rather wait to see the actual shape of a deal at the end before I get my hopes up. Wendy Sherman’s testimony before Congress suggests that the US is still not willing to recognized a right to enrichment by Iran. She tried to pull some bullshit stunt by making a distinction between enrichment versus the right to enrichment — as if a right that is only exercisable upon the arbitrary approval of outside powers is still really a right. That’s not encouraging and suggests that they’re still trying to finesse the issue instead of coming to terms with it — and they’re insulting our intelligence on top of it all which is what really annoys me.  AIPAC of course is making their usual noise, but as far I can tell it is just noise, thus far, which suggests to me that they’ve got something up their sleeve. Perhaps they’re just giving the Obama administration enough rope to hang himself with, knowing that any deal with Iran is DOA in Congress anyway.

In the meantime, Dear Ms. Wendy Sherman: We’re watching, Wendy. We can see what’s going on. Don’t try to pull any bullshit ‘cuz we’re not buying it.

October 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Kerry actually negotiating with Iran?

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 30, 2013

I have been hesitant to write anything about the current situation because I think there’s already far too much hype and speculation about the US-Iran nuclear talks and not enough actual knowledge. So, I’m just going to sit this one out and wait to see what happens once the dust settles. I also don’t want to prejudge or prejudice the issue in any way.

While there is a lot of optimism, there’s room for quite a bit of pessimism too though just based on reading tea-leaves. For example, Kerry’s reply to the question below is not very comforting:

Asked what steps Iran could take to prove its seriousness, Kerry replied: “They could immediately open for inspection the Fordo facility, they could immediately sign the protocol of the international community regarding inspections, they could offer to cease voluntarily to take enrichment above a certain level.”

Except that Fordo has been open to inspections for years, since the Iranians (and not US intelligence agencies, as the NY Times claims) first disclosed the location of the site to the IAEA. In fact Mohammad ElBaradei himself visited Fordo, and famously said it was nothing more than a hole in the mountain and nothing to be worried about. You could not possibly be even slightly aware of the Iranian nuclear issue, without knowing that Fordo is already open to inspections.

Secondly, Iran has signed the Additional Protocol already, and offered to ratify it if Iran’s rights are also recognized, though Iran is absolutely under no legal obligation whatsoever to sign the AP, just as neither Egypt nor Argentina nor Brazil nor lots of other countries have signed.

Third, Iran has consistently stated that it is willing to limit enrichment to 3.5%. In fact Iran was forced to enrich to 20% due to US sanctions that prevented Iran from simply buying the fuel for a medical reactor (which the US gave Iran in the first place) that uses fuel rods made with 20% enriched uranium.  So it was the US policies in the first place that caused Iran to increase its enrichment levels, even though the reactor in question posed no credible nuclear weapons proliferation threat and so the US sanctions on the sale of fuel for that reactor did not actually promote or protect any legitimate non-proliferation goals. The media have been very insistent on ignoring this fact even though they will gladly engage in all sorts of totally biased speculation about “how close to a bomb” Iran’s 20% enrichment gets it, and other reporters have completely gone overboard and have made up their own terminology by referring to this as Iran’s stockpile of “medium enriched” uranium too, though no such term appears in the IAEA Glossary. That’s how the media not only follow the dominant narrative promoted by the government but further embellish it before they pass it on.

So anyway, since Kerry obviously hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about with regard to Fordo, you have to wonder what’s really being discussed at these “nuclear talks” with Iran.

However I should point out that the stakes are quite significant. After all, if you ever visit the Iranian Foreign Ministry, you’d see that the slogan “Neither East Nor West” is carved into stone over the entrance way door. This was one of the foundational slogans of the 1979 Islamic Republic. The point was that Iran would not fall under the influence of any outside powers but would instead chart an independent & assertive way for itself to promote its own interests. Furthermore, one of the biggest “weaknesses” of the regime was perceived to be its lack of nationalist credentials (the mullahs were not strong on the Persian nationalism thing as the Shah was — and this was used against them, what with allegations such as that the mullahs had allowed Persepolis to fall into disrepair etc. which were quite false.) So, after so many years of hyperventilation and speculation about the nuclear issue, we may have arrived at the moment when we will see whether the Iranian govt will vindicate its nationalist credentials as well its revolutionary slogans in a deal with the US by getting the US to accept a nuclear Iran (not as in nuclear-armed, but a country with a sovereign, independent access to nuclear technology and know-how, including enrichment.)

This can be a “make-it or break-it out” outcome. If Iran succeeds in getting its nuclear program “recognized” by the US, the regime can not only point to a significant victory but also vindicate its nationalist credentials. The Islamic Republic will have officially “won” not just the dispute over the nuclear issue. If not, and if there is some sort of half-assed compromise that in any way delegitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, then the regime as a whole — and not just Rouhani’s government — is open to the charge that it compromised with foreign powers over the interests of the nation and people of Iran in order to stay in power a bit longer, and Rouhani himself will be facing the music. Rouhani knows this, since he was the subject of a great deal of criticism for one unnecessary suspension of enrichment back during the EU3 negotiations. And we all know what happened then: The EU-3 were simply playing good cop to the US’ bad cop whilst all the time the EU and US had agreed never to recognize any enrichment in Iran contrary to what the EU had been telling the Iranians; in the end Iran was cheated and received nothing for its gestures of good faith which included suspending enrichment for close to 3 years.

Ironically, if this results in a “make it” moment for Iran, we should remember it is ultimately the result of the US’ own policy of pressing for unrealistic concessions by Iran. Once you make excessive demands, then you have to pay the consequences for doing an about-face.

It will be quite painful to watch if Obama decides to make a deal, since it would mean ultimately recognizing Iran as a legitimate entity in the Mideast, much to the chagrin of the Saudis and Israelis.

He’s going to have to find a way, therefore, to present any sort of deal with Iran as a victory for the US and a defeat for Iran. This will mean spinning the deal as a concession by Iran. Naturally, a US claim that Iran has made some spectacular new concession will be a good way to sell a deal, even if the claim has no actual validity. We’re already seeing media references to “new” concessions by Iran which totally disregard the fact that all of these “new” concessions have in fact been offered by Iran for years now.

For example, aside from Kerry’s flub, as Glen Grenwald has pointed out Brain Williams of NBC claims that Iran has just now and “suddenly” decided to get rid of its “nuclear weapons program” — though in fact Iran was the first nation to call for a nuclear-weapons free-zone in the Mideast and has never sought nuclear weapons itself & stated so quite plainly.

You know I’m not an optimist. I’ve seen similar build-ups of hype and speculation about a US-Iran breakthrough before. Won’t happen. Thus far we have not seen an ounce of evidence that the US has decided to abandon pressing Iran to give up her sovereign right to enrichment, and that has always been the pretext that the US has used to exacerbate relations with Iran. Furthermore, Israel and AIPAC have not gone away and I don’t think that the Israelis and AIPAC will really allow anything to come of this, and at best they consider this to be a half-assed outreach which is expected to fail, and all they are concerned with is finding a way to blame that on Iran as a justification for further aggressive measures.

Sure, there are “signs” of improved relations, such as a lot of pretty words and the telephone call between Rouhani and Obama etc. etc. but these are “feel good” yet irrelevant issues — the question is whether the US will finally recognize Iran’s NPT rights and lift the illegal sanctions which have prevented Iran from exercising her sovereign rights as recognized by the NPT, “to the fullest extent possible” and “without discrimination.”

And until then, I will only look on with amusement.

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran Nuclear Talks: No Breakthrough, But Step Forward

RIA Novosti |  April 6, 2013

ALMATY  – The latest round of talks between six world powers and Iran on its nuclear program has been “definitely a step forward,” although it has ended with no clear breakthrough, Russia’s top negotiator on Iran said on Saturday.

“Definitely, it is a step forward. There is no doubt in this,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the end of the two-day talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which he said were “detailed” although adding that the sides have failed to “reach common ground.”

“At this time again we have failed to embark on a true search for a compromise,” Russia’s top negotiator said. “But a basis for this exists,” he said adding that Iran has introduced its approach which takes into account some “proposals and considerations” of the group of six international negotiators comprising five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany (P5+1).

Ryabkov also said Russia is against the West’s unilateral sanctions on Iran, calling this stance “unjust and inconsistent with the norms of international law.” He said Iran must be freed from all the international sanctions in case it agrees that its nuclear program will be under full control of the UN nuclear watchdog. “If such a deal takes place, then Iran must be fully freed from all the sanctions,” Ryabkov said.

Iran’s new plan is meant to bring about “the beginning of new cooperation” with its negotiating partners, Ali Bagheri, the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Friday.

The plan expands on the initiatives presented during last year’s round of talks in Moscow, Bagheri said giving no details of the plan.

At a briefing after the talks Tehran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, confirmed that the Iranian side has introduced its action plan but the group of six powers was not ready to react and asked for some time to study Iran’s ideas.

Jalili stressed that Iran has a right to enrich uranium and Tehran will use this for peaceful civilian energy needs. He added however, that the issues related to Iran’s cooperation with the international community may be discussed at further talks.

“We have offered this initiative and today we also announced our readiness to speak of these ideas and further study them. And these ideas may become the beginning of a new round,” Jalili said.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters on Saturday the negotiations between Iran and six world powers showed that their positions “remain far apart on the substance.”

Iran insists on its right to a peaceful nuclear program, but the P5+1 group says the country may be in fact on track to develop its own nuclear arms.

The international group, active since 2003, initially pushed for Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

But it softened its stance at the previous round of talks in Almaty in February, where it proposed to accede to Iran’s right to nuclear research if Tehran manages to prove it would not enrich uranium to above 20 percent, which is sufficient for medical, but [not] military purposes.

Another demand was to close a nuclear plant known since 2009 to operate in the village of Fordo in northern Iran.

Tehran’s nuclear program resulted in international sanctions against the country, which left its oil-dependent economy flagging.

However, the public opinion in Iran is generally considered to be supportive of the nuclear program – which is a major factor for the official Tehran position, given that the country goes to the polls in June to elect a new president.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli lies on Iranian nuclear program exposed

By Yusuf Fernandez | Press TV | February 5, 2013

In recent days, reports about an alleged Israeli-US bombing attack that would have allegedly destroyed a large portion of the Fordo nuclear enrichment plant in Qom were circulating in Western media. However, its falsehood was soon revealed by several sources.

The story first appeared on February 25th when an Iranian defector going by the pseudonym Reza Kahlili published an evidence-free article in the US site wnd.com, in which he claimed that the Fordo plant had been the target of a sabotage operation. The article claimed that a blast deep within Fordo had “destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground”.

However, the first doubts came due to the personality of the author himself, as Kahlili, a defector, is widely considered as a liar because of his previous claims. He wrote some months ago that Iran actually had nuclear weapons.

Kahlili’s sole source was Hamid Reza Zakeri, another Iranian defector, who is also notorious for his lies against Iran. A US official has been quoted by some US media as saying that Zakeri was “a fabricator or monumental proportions”.

This is not the first time that defectors are used in order to launch false accusations against a country. In the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, New York Times reporter Judith Miller (and some others) published several stories about Saddam Hussein´s non-existent weapons of mass destruction programs and these reports were used by the Bush administration as a pretext to launch the war. Later, all these allegations turned out to be false and the newspaper was forced to admit that Miller had based her reports on Iraqi defectors. In that sense, the case for the war on Iraq was built on a set of fabricated documents and deliberately manipulated intelligence that US media outlets uncritically reproduced.

Israel spreads the story

Shortly after the Fordo story appeared, Israeli sites and officials tried to make it pass as true. The website of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot repeated the claim and it was later echoed by the Times of London, which added that the story had been confirmed by Israeli intelligence officials. “We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is,” one Israeli official told the London Times. “Israel believes the Iranians have not evacuated the (Fordo´s) surrounding area. It is unclear whether that is because no harmful substances have been released, or because Tehran is trying to avoid sparking panic among residents.”

For his part, Israeli acting Defense Minister, Avi Dichter, reacted to the story by saying that indeed any explosion in Iran was “good news”.

Of course, Israeli officials always knew that the story was false but it is clear that they wanted to feed the notion that they -with US help- were conducting a successful secret war against Iran in order to reinforce their own extremist stance. However, as these stories are revealed as lies, the effect is counterproductive to them because they expose themselves, once again, as liars before the international community, especially on the Iran nuclear issue.

However, two senior Iranian officials dismissed reports of the explosion. Deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi said there had been no explosion at the Fordo facility, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said they were “baseless lies” meant to impact talks on Iran´s nuclear program, reported IRNA.

The Iranians´ statements were then confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which claimed that there were no signs of any explosion whatever in Fordo. The IAEA has live cameras at the site and its inspectors regularly visit it, and, therefore, they would have known if it had been “in ruins with hundreds trapped within”. “We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordo. This is consistent with our observations,” IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said.

The White House also rejected the report as unreliable. “We have no information to confirm the allegations in the report and we do not believe the report is credible,” spokesman Jay Carney said in a briefing with reporters. “We do not believe those are credible reports.”

The false diagram

The Fordo false explosion was not the only Israeli fabrication on the Iranian nuclear issue. On November 27th 2012, the Associated Press agency published a report claiming that it had discovered the existence of alleged evidence of “Iranian work on a nuclear bomb”. “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima”, the agency said.

This evidence, according to AP, was a “graph” which the agency said was “leaked” to it by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program” to “bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon”. Moreover, “an intelligence summary was provided with the drawing” claiming that “Iran is working not on isolated experiments, but rather on a single program aimed at mastering all aspects of nuclear arms development.”

Why did AP hide which country had delivered the diagram? It said that officials of that country wanted anonumity, so the agency gave it anonymity. However, everybody was certain it was Israel.

The author of the AP report, George Jahn is also notorious because every time there is a possibility of a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran´s nuclear program, he reports an “exclusive” anti-Iranian revelation, always provided to him by “an official of a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program,” or “an official of a country that has been severely critical of Iran´s nuclear program.”

Nevertheless, experts soon discovered that the diagram was fake and amateurish. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, it simply showed that “the bulk of the nuclear fission yield is produced in a short 0.1 microsecond pulse”, which is a common knowledge for any physics student. Later, it was equally discovered that it is widely available all over the Internet and in university textbooks. Even worse, the diagram contained huge errors, which were unlikely to have been made by research scientists who work in a state-run national program.

Scott Kemp, an assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told IPS he suspects the graph leaked to AP was “adapted from the open literature”. He said he believed its authors “were told they ought to look into the literature and found that paper, copied (the graph) and made their own plot from it.”

After the hoax became exposed, Western diplomats privately accused Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, of being behind the leaks, which would be part of an effort to implicate a murdered Iranian in an alleged weapons program. The diplomats also said Mossad is becoming increasingly active in Austria, the home of the IAEA and the place where George Jahn works, in order to drive support for a war on Iran.

Therefore, what AP presented as a kind of highly specialized and very complex document was only a very common graph, which can be easily found on the internet. The agency helped create and spread a dangerous hoax and its credibility was severely damaged by this serious incident that demonstrated that it let itself be manipulated by officials “of an anonymous state” in order to incriminate Iran. The agency did not tell the public who gave it the false and misleading information with the evident goal of misleading the public into believing that Iran had a weapons programme.

Recently and after having scored a heavy defeat in the latest parliamentary elections, where he and his his right-wing partner Avigdor Lieberman lost 25% of their seats in the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to hide his current political weakness by shifting the public´s attention to Iran. In his “victory speech”, he insisted that his first challenge would be “preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons”.

Of course, this rhetoric does not deceive anyone, as even the US and the IAEA reports recognize that Iran continues to use civilian enriched uranium only for civilian purposes. US officials have recently said that the assessment included in the 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, which claims that there is no evidence whatever of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, remains the consensus view of the US´s 16 intelligence agencies.

The international community is actually fed up with Israel’s false allegations and fabrications against Iran. Netanyahu and his Zionist supporters in the US probably know that the American and Western public cannot be manipulated into supporting an attack on Iran, as all the polls show.

Another for-Israel war in the Middle East would not benefit anyone but the far right in Israel, the pro-Israeli lobby in the US and its neocon agents. It would not only devastate the Middle East and kill hundreds of thousands, if not more, but it would also produce a decades-long conflict between the Muslim world and the West that would also destroy the West´s economy. Due to all this, the international community and the peoples of the world must confront these Zionist plots threatening the existence and hopes of humanity.

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IAEA Dismisses Reports of Explosion at Iran’s Fordo

Al-Manar | January 30, 2013

The International Atomic Energy Agency has dismissed Israeli and Western media reports claiming there had been an explosion at the Fordo uranium enrichment facility and stated that it had seen no sign of such an event at the Iranian nuclear site.

On Tuesday, IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor told The Associated Press that Iran’s denial of “an incident” at the Fordo plant is “consistent with our observations.”

On Monday, Iran categorically rejected the reports about an explosion at the Fordow nuclear facility.

MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of the Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, described the news stories as Western propaganda designed to influence the upcoming round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany).

January 30, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Comments Off on IAEA Dismisses Reports of Explosion at Iran’s Fordo

Washington Post tries to rewrite history in judging Obama’s Iran policies

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 24, 2012

I have concluded that in reading mainstream US media converage especially about foreign affairs you have to view it as reading a comic book. See for example Joby Warrick, the same fellow that not long ago was promoting scaremongering bullshit about “Soviet nuclear scientists” secretly working at Iranian nuclear sites (Sort of a riff on “Dr. No.”) Now Warrick has once against stringed together a bunch of bullshit and called it an article entitled “Obama’s policy on Iran bears some fruit.” (I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone with the term “bullshit” but that’s precisely what it is, and I’m having a bit of pain so I don’t have the patience to be nice!)

In judging Obama’s Iran policy, Warrick promotes the same set of discredited lies as usual, portraying the US as magnanimously offering the hand of peace to Iran, only for the intransigent and crazy Iranians to slap it away as they continue to plot to make nukes. The real news — that Joby Warrick doesn’t want you to read — is that the Obama administration has been pursuing the same policies as Bush, policies designed and implemented by Israel-firsters like the same Dennis Ross and Elliot Abram quoted by Warrick, who have in fact actively prevented a peaceful resolution of the standoff with Iran, and have instead brought us closer to a conflict by consciously closing off other options — which is why Joby would like you to believe that there’s some sort of race between the fall of the regime in Iran or a nuclear-armed Iran (whch is a false choice – there’s zero proof of any nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program is actually quite popular amongst Iranians.)

First let us all hail the great and noble Obama:

Over the previous few years, the president has used his office to repeatedly extend offers of rapprochement to Iranian leaders. And when those attempts have been rejected — firmly — he has used diplomacy to build an unprecedented wall of international opposition to Iran’s nuclear program and preside over the imposition of the harshest economic sanctions in the country’s history.

Yes, you see in Joby Warrick’s world, it is US that is doing the “offering” and Iran that is doing the “refusing” — nevermind several little incidents like the aborted Turkey/Brazil-brokered Uranium swap deal that was killed by Obama after Iran unexpectedly said yes (causing even US allies Brazil and Turkey to publicly complain.) Nevermind the whole history of this conflict which has witnessed repeated Iranian compromise offers ignored or spurned by both Bush as well as Obama.

No, see in Joby Warrick world, the Iranians have to be the ‘intransigent’ party, stubbornly seeking nukes and refusing peaceful settlements. That’s why, according to Joby Warrick at least, Iran’s leader Ayatullah Khamenei “publicly rejected Obama’s appeals” — whereas in real life, Khamenei said quite overtly that he would judge the US by its actions not words:

In a televised address in the city of Mashhad, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called for a new beginning in the troubled U.S.-Iran relationship, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “We have no experience with the new American government and the new American President. We will observe them and we will judge. If you change your attitude, we will change our attitude.”…

The Iranian leader reiterated that his country was looking practical changes on the ground as a precondition for an engagement with the Americans. “Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime?” he asked.

Earlier, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a top adviser of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also stressed that Tehran was looking for concrete action from Washington so that ties could improve.

And what were come of the Obama administration actions? Sanctions and bringing Ross up from the bowels of AIPAC and the Bush administration and put him in charge of promoting an Iran policy that was quite obviously a continuation of Bush’s policies and explicitly intended by Dennis Ross to justify a conflict with Iran.

And just to make sure you, dear reader, don’t get confused by little inconvenient facts — like the fact that the 16 (now 17) combined US intelligence agencies still say there’s no sign of any Iranian nuclear weapons program — Joby Warrick is quite happy to claim that the Obama administration discovered Fordo (in fact it was first publicly disclosed by Iran) and furthermore that the “discovery” of Fordo has “all but demolished” any claims Iran may have to operating a purely peaceful civilian nuclear program — nevermind that the IAEA visited Fordo and concluded at the time that it was nothing more than a “hole in the mountain…nothing to be worried about” (just like all the other US intelligence tips to the IAEA that ended up being dead ends) and which today operates under IAEA safeguards and inspections. Oh, and another fact that is too inconvenient to exist in Joby Warrick world: Iran has started converting its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium into fuel plates, thus making it impossible to use the material for making nukes, and just as it said it would.

In fact, Fordo is where Iran manufactures uranium enriched to just under 20% (still low-enriched uranium which cannot be used for bombs) for a medical reactor that creates isotopes to diagnose and treat Iran’s 800,000 cancer patients. Prior to that, Iran was enriching Uranium at 3.5% which is what civilian reactors use. Iran would not have had to enrich uranium even to 20% had the US not prevented Iran from simply buying the fuel on the open market as is done usually. So the Iranians were forced to make the 20% enriched uranium themselves thanks to US policies — something that the same Moussavian who is quoted by Joby Warrick in this same article wrote about quite recently but apparently Warrick didn’t want to confuse you with such details that contradict his narrative about a sneaky Iran making bombs at Fordo.

Indeed, just today, the Iranians once again offered to cease enriching uranium at 20%, if only they’re permitted to buy the reactor fuel for the medical reactor again — but you know, Joby Warrick is too much of a good Washington Post reporter to mention that bit of current news in his analysis — especially since it would contradict his lies about Iran seeking nuclear weapons.

The fact that the US has been demanding that Iran give up a sovereign right to operate an indigenous nuclear program that is perfectly legal, the fact that the majority of the world’s countries as represented by NAM hperfectly legalave explicitly supported Iran (once again) just a couple of weeks ago, none of that matters. No, you see, the US is the maganimous party, making reasonable offers that only a crazed, nuke-luvin’ bunch of ayatullahs can refuse…according to Joby Warrick. That’s straight out of a comic book.

September 25, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran: “We Lied!” — not really

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 21, 2012

Naturally, the New York Times seized on this — the story that an official in charge of Iran’s nuclear program, Fereydoon Abbasi, has “admitted” that Iran occasionally tried to mislead on its nuclear program:

Iran’s top atomic energy official said in an article published Thursday that because of foreign espionage, his government had sometimes provided false information to protect its nuclear program.

Note the crucial bit of missing information here, left out by the NY Times in order to spin this sentence as some sort of “confession” by Iran of having hidden nukes: WHO WHOM? TO WHOM has he said Iran provided false information – to the IAEA or to Western spies?

Because that’s a real crucial bit of difference! Needless to explain: There’s generally no obligation on a country to allow foreign spying, especially when its scientists are being assassinated.  However the NY Time’s simply runs with the assumption that this official is saying “We lied to the IAEA because we’re making nukes” rather than “We tried to mislead foreign intelligence agencies so they would not assassinate us”. Go back and read it again, better yet read the original Arabian news report.  Or translate it. You won’t see him saying “We lied TO THE IAEA because we’re hiding nukes” Instead, he’s referring to foreign intelligence agencies.  But that’s not how the NY Times spins it.

The bottom line is, as much as the NY Times and friends would like to exploit this  sentence, there is still no evidence of any nuclear weapons program, and Iran has never diverted nuclear material for non-peaceful uses, and all of this is verified by regular, intensive IAEA inspections. So what precisely is it that Iran has been lying about to the IAEA? Because the IAEA would sure like to know.

Of course the NY Times has to raise the suspicions by referring to a list of events in a one-sided way. For example, the Times repeats the lie that Iran “hid” its enrichment facilities until 2002 — but in fact Iran had simply not officially declared them to the IAEA since legally it wasn’t obligated to do so yet, and in any case Iran’s enrichment program was in fact never a secret. Or, the lie that Iran was “hiding” Fordo and only disclosed it when it had found out that the US knew about it? What a sad attempt to distort the true facts: Iran is not legally obligated to disclose a facility until 180-days prior to the introduction of nuclear material into the facility. If the US “beats them to the punch” and makes the site publicly known, it wasn’t because Iran was “hiding” it – it was simply not within the 180-day time limit yet. And aside from that, the IAEA went to Fordo and investigated it, and the IAEA director said bluntly that it was nothing more than a hole in a mountain and nothing to be concerned about. That’s another crucial bit of fact left out by the Times. Or the lie that Iran is not cooperating with IAEA efforts about the infamous “Alleged Studies” — leaving out the crucial fact that Iran has responded to them, to the best degree possible, especially considering that the IAEA has not been permitted by the US to actually show the evidence to Iran, that Iran is expected to rebut – something the former IAEA director complained about in his book where he also recounted that some of the documents cited as proof of Iranian nukes were in fact so obvious forgeries that in one case he simply returned the document to the Israelis who had provided it to him. (I’m too tired to find all the links verifying what I’ve written here – google it.)

So what’s really going on here? Why is the NY Times putting this spin on the story? Because for the longest time they’ve been looking for a way to kill the US National Intelligence Estimate, which has been saying for a while now that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has shown no interest in one either. Boy when that NIE came out, it went off like a bomb. Bush ran off to Israel and disassociated himself from his own intelligence agencies. There was talk about intelligence agencies having carried out a “coup” and gone rogue. The Israelis were steaming. They’ve been pressing ever since to either get that NIE rewritten, or to somehow find a way around it, even if it means denigrating US intelligence analysts.  Well, here you go! Here’s an Iranian official saying “We lied”. How much hay can you make out of that?!

September 22, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Iran: “We Lied!” — not really