The U.S. and Iran: A Manufactured Crisis

Part 1: The Facts of the Matter

No one knows what will emerge ultimately from the talks beginning in Geneva Oct. 1 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on the matter of the Tehran government’s nuclear program.

Iran says it looks forward to the talks and promises to be forthcoming. But judging by the stance of the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany last week at the UN conferences in New York and the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, draconian sanctions may be enacted against Iran in a few months. This would result in yet another crisis that the world doesn’t need just now.

Russia and China — which hold veto power in the Security Council that can weaken or prevent additional sanctions — have up to now resisted the Obama Administration’s drive for tough new UN punishments. President Barack Obama met separately during the week with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao in an effort to obtain their agreement to threaten more stringent sanctions should Iran procrastinate during the talks.

The White House later suggested to the press that Medvedev may be coming around to Obama’s point of view, but this seems to be based on very skimpy evidence — a remark that “in some cases sanctions are inevitable.” Hu evidently didn’t even go that far. China opposes sanctions in principle as a means of resolving international disputes.

Moscow and Beijing do not subscribe to the negative depiction of Iran promoted by Washington, Tel Aviv, London, Paris and Bonn. They understand the situation to be far more complex than the U.S. and its allies publicly acknowledge.

The Iran question suddenly took center stage Sept. 25 during a week of hectic political activity. The White house set up a hastily arranged and theatrically produced press conference at the start of the G20 meeting in order to detonate a political bombshell intended to destroy Tehran’s contention that it is only interested in nuclear power, not nuclear weapons.

The conference opened with Obama standing at the microphone with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown positioned solemnly to his left and right. It was explained that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would have joined the trio but was delayed.

Obama then declared that Iran had for several years been secretly building an underground plant in mountainous terrain to manufacture nuclear fuel near the city of Qom about 100 miles from Tehran, in addition to the plant and facilities in Natanz already known to the world. He suggested the new plant was intended to produce weapons without the world’s knowledge, though that was not proven.

Obama then charged that “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime … Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow … and threatening the stability and security of the region and the world.” Refusal to “come clean,” he said, “is going to lead to confrontation.”

Sarkozy and Brown followed Obama and seemed to go even further than the American leader in denouncing Iran, explicitly demanding harder sanctions. Said Brown: “The level of deception by the Iranian government, and the scale of what we believe is the breach of international commitments, will shock and anger the entire international community.”

The New York Times reported that “after months of talking about the need for engagement, Mr. Obama appears to have made a leap toward viewing tough new sanctions against Iran as an inevitability … American officials said that they expected the announcement to make it easier to build a case for international sanctions.”

The majority of House and Senate members have long been critical of Iran’s government and the new allegations have only fanned the flames of their hostility. Right wing Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the leading Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, declared: “The U.S. and other countries must immediately impose crippling sanctions on the Iranian regime, including cutting off Iran’s imports of gasoline. The world cannot stand by and watch the nightmare of a nuclear-armed Iran become reality.” Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated “now is the time to supplement engagement with more robust international sanctions.”

As intended, the hyped disclosure created headlines around the world. It probably convinced many Americans, already primed to detest Iran, that Tehran is building nuclear bombs to obliterate the U.S. and Israel. This is not an unlikely conclusion for many people to accept after 30 years of Washington’s incessant campaign to demonize the government that overthrew and replaced America’s puppet, the dreaded Shah of Iran. The U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran after this act of lèse majesté and the subsequent “hostage crisis,” and has nourished a grudge to this day.

If push does come to shove with Iran it is important to remember how effortless it was to hoodwink the majority of American politicians and the masses of people into backing a completely unnecessary war against Iraq. As in the buildup to the unjust invasion of Iraq, today’s U.S. corporate mass media is playing its principal part to perfection — uncritically echoing government distortions about the danger of Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons. The Iran situation is different, but yet similar in terms of mass public manipulation and the possibility of a future confrontation getting out of hand.

Can this be, once again, a situation of high-stakes geopolitics where things are rarely as they seem? We think so. Let’s look at the immediate charge against Iran, based on the “revelations” of the last week, then take on the bigger picture in Parts 2 and 3.

The “shocking” news may have been delivered with a sense of surprise and high urgency, but U.S. intelligence agencies, joined by their counterparts in some allied countries, were aware since 2006 that Iran was constructing a second uranium processing plant that still remains under construction and is not operational. According to a Sept. 26 article circulated by the McClatchy newspaper group quoting a U.S. intelligence official, “There was dialogue with allies from a very early point.”

Bush Administration Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnel first informed Obama about the facility soon after he won election. He has been kept up to date since then. Before going public with the information last week, the president saw to it that several other governments were told in advance, as was the IAEA and others.

Washington officials claimed Iran became aware “in late spring” that the U.S. was spying on the “secret” facility. They said Iran then informed the International Atomic Energy Agency Sept. 21 about the existence of its project, implying Tehran did so because its cover was blown. In a statement Sept. 24 the IAEA acknowledged that Tehran had informed them that a “pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country,” and that it “also understands from Iran that no nuclear material has been introduced into the facility.”

Iran insisted to the Vienna-based IAEA and the world that the enrichment plant under construction is designed only for fueling nuclear power installations. Soon after Obama’s G20 speech, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization declared the new “semi-industrial enrichment fuel facility” was “within the framework of International Atomic Energy Agency’s regulations.” Press reports said “The head of Iran’s nuclear program suggested UN inspectors would be allowed to visit the site.” The invitation was extended before Washington’s demand that it do so.

A quite unruffled Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared at a press conference in New York after Obama’s disclosures. He seemed to regard the American president’s allegations, and the staged manner in which they were delivered, not only the making of a mountain out of a molehill but an act of bad faith just before the talks are to begin, suggesting non-threateningly that Obama will come to regret his confrontational demeanor.

Ahmadinejad told the press that the plant in question wouldn’t be operational for 18 more months and that it did not violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He went further and said nuclear weapons “are against humanity [and] they are inhumane,” comments in keeping with his recent calls for eliminating all nuclear weapons. The Iranian leader also said that Iran informed the IAEA about the plant only a few days ago instead of when ground was broken because construction had reached the stage where it should be reported, not because it found out that a U.S. spy agency was watching.

What are we to make of this? First it must be understood there is a dispute over the IAEA’s safeguard provisions governing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran considers itself to be in total compliance with the NPT, and this appears to be true. Inter-Press Service reporter Jim Lobe wrote Sept. 25 that “Under the basic Safeguards Agreement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of which Iran is a signatory, member states are required to declare their nuclear facilities and designs at least 180 days before introducing nuclear materials there.”

According to an article in the Sept. 26 New York Times by Neil MacFarquhar, “Tehran’s stance hinges on different interpretations of the agency’s regulations, said Graham Allison, the director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center and an Iran nuclear expert.

“For two decades, the agency required Iran to report only when nuclear material [for uranium enrichment] was introduced to a facility. By 2003 it rescinded that, in line with the guidelines for most [but not all] countries, demanding reporting when construction began, Mr. Allison said. But the agency never declared Iran out of compliance when Tehran claimed the old agreement was still in place.”

In talking to the press after Obama’s speech, Ahmadinejad said that the new facility would be completed in 18 months, so under Iran’s understanding of its responsibilities, the notification was a year in advance. The U.S. maintains that Iran informed the IAEA when it learned U.S. spy agencies had become aware of the plant, but if that were so, why did Tehran wait three months before contacting the nuclear agency? Had they acted out of fear of being exposed as non-compliant wouldn’t they have contacted IAEA immediately?

“What we did was completely legal, according to the law,” the Iranian president said. “We have informed the agency, the agency will come and take a look and produce a report and it’s nothing new.” According to the Associated Press Tehran’s notice to the IAEA specified that the enrichment level would be up to 5%, suitable only for peaceful purposes. Weapons-grade material is more than 90% enriched.”

The AP also noted that the IAEA now “says Iran is obliged to make such a notification when it begins design of such facilities” and that “a government cannot unilaterally abandon such an agreement.” This is confusing, of course. But since Iran was never designated as non-compliant and was allowed to proceed under the previous rules for years after it registered its rejection of the new terms, the thunderous criticism emanating from the U.S., Britain and France appears to have no serious merit.

Jack A. Smith is editor of the Activist Newsletter and a former editor of the Guardian (US) radical newsweekly. He may be reached at: jacdon@earthlink.net. Read other articles by Jack.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on September 28th, 2009 at 9:57am #

    Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you! “Thunderous crtiticsm” is right! That’s all there’s going to be! With this plant inside a mountain, (and near a religious shrine!) there’s no way it can now be attacked. The time for an attack was when it was being built: the construction work could have been disrupted. The fact that that was not done indicates that neither the US nor Israel has now, and probably never has had, the slightest intention of launching a military attack against Iran. Iran called the US and Israeli bluff. And won!

  2. Ismail Zayid said on September 28th, 2009 at 11:25am #

    Preident Obama says: “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow.”
    Evidently, he means all nations except Israel. As we all know Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and holds hundreds of nuclear weapons, but there is no whisper on this os coming from President Obama or his British, French, German or Canadian allies.
    Evidently, Israel is above international law.

  3. David said on September 28th, 2009 at 11:42am #

    Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Weapons Factory In 3D

    http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=bbjgDERSuiI& feature

    For the record: “For the first time in 18 years, Israel, the United States and the Western powers were unsuccessful at preventing passage of a resolution calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The resolution, passed at the end of the annual general assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] in Vienna on Thursday, also demands that Israel open its nuclear reactor in Dimona to international inspectors. ” (Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz, 22 Sept. 2009)

    If Israel refuses to comply, will the US, Britain, Canada, France, et al. call for strict sanctions against Israel as they have against Iran, or will they maintain the double standard? I think we know the answer.

  4. eileen fleming said on September 28th, 2009 at 12:10pm #

    Obama says, “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow … and threatening the stability and security of the region and the world…is going to lead to confrontation.”

    How about Obama confront Israel on their still un-inspected WMD Facility that everyone in the world knows all about-except most Americans?

    In 2005, 2006 interviews Mordechai Vanunu told me:

    “The Israelis have 200 atomic weapons and they accuse the Palestinians and Muslims of terrorism. The Dimona is 46 years old; reactors last 25 to 30 years. The Dimona has never been inspected and Israel has never signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but all the Arab states have.

    “Twenty years ago when I worked there they only produced when the air was blowing towards Jordan ten miles away. No one knows what is happening now. The world needs to wake up and see the real terrorism is the occupation and the Palestinians have lived under that terror regime for 40 years.

    “It’s very sad that Hilary Clinton went to the Jewish Wailing Wall and forgot the real crying wall is the Palestinian wall; the apartheid wall, the wall is not for defense, but to keep this conflict permanent.

    “Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew.”

    How about Obama confront Peres on what he said in 1963?

    Shimon Peres, then Israel’s Deputy Minister of Defense met with President John Kennedy, inside the White House.

    Kennedy told Peres, “You know that we follow very closely the discovery of any nuclear development in the region. This could create a very dangerous situation. For this reason we monitor your nuclear effort. What could you tell me about this?”

    Peres repLIED, “I can tell you most clearly that we will not introduce nuclear weapons to the region, and certainly we will not be the first.”

    By September of 1986, Peres was convulsing over Vanunu, who had been employed as a lowly tech in his progeny; Israel’s clandestine underground nuclear weapons centre in the Negev called the Dimona.

    Peres ordered the Mossad, to “Bring the son of a bitch back here.”

    Peres ordered Vanunu’s kidnapping that included a clubbing, drugging and being flung upon an Israeli cargo boat back to Israel for a closed door trial that led to 18 years in jail-most all in solitary.

    In 1985, before quitting the Dimona, Vanunu shot 56 photos of the top-secret labs and production processes that proved Israel had become a major nuclear power by stockpiling between 100 and 200 atomic bombs within the underground WMD facility where plutonium production, and secret nuclear weapons were assembled without any knowledge, debate or authorization from its own citizens.

    How about Obama confronts what Vanunu told me in 2005:

    “Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’

    “Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.

    “The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out. Everything inside was written in French, when I was there, almost twenty years ago.

    “Back then, the Dimona descended seven floors underground. In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on.

    “When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.

    “Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.”

    How about Obama recall his promise in Prague:

    “As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act…When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also cowardly thing to do. That’s how wars begin. That’s where human progress ends…the voices of peace and progress must be raised together…Human destiny will be what we make of it…Words must mean something.”

  5. Shabnam said on September 28th, 2009 at 1:20pm #

    “Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection. “

    This is the reason behind John Kennedy assassination according to Mordechai Vanunu who told the world that:

    [On July 26, 2004 he made headlines in much of the free world press: “Vanunu: Israel behind JKF assassination.” Vanunu found out that Israel had got John F Kennedy assassinated because he had started coercing Israel into shedding light on their Dimona nuclear plant. It was not racist killing as the world was made to believe. Kennedy had sent troops to guard a college where black students were given admission.]

    {In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on.}

    That was 1959 and different kind of American LEADER was in the White House. Nowadays, especially since the Clinton Administration the Zionist Jews in occupied Palestine, through their fifth column in Washington, have managed to run the foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa to expand their influence throughout the region by waging wars against Muslims through PROXY. Now, the new protocol of elders, ODID YINON ‘Israel’s strategy in the 1980s’ is used by their puppets in Washington and elsewhere, including OBAMA, to destabilize and partition the regional countries similar to what British Empire and French Empire did in the Middle East during the WWI with the cooperation of their AGENTS, the Zionist Jews in Salonika, to manufacture CRISIS and partition the Ottoman’s territory to get their dirty hands on Palestine where the Ottoman ruler, Abdulhamid, refused earlier to allow zionists under the leadership of Herzl to establish a ‘jewish state’ for the colonists who have NEITHER ANY RELATIONS with THE INDIGENOUS HEBREWS OR the land itself, PALESTINE.

  6. russell olausen said on September 28th, 2009 at 7:48pm #

    My whole life has been lived under nuclear threat and any of you would have to be at least 65 to state any differently. This ghastly fact has now infiltrated common morality not to mention political morality. It is only right that the most brilliant men could have produced this legacy. This is acid on the face of those that throw earth legacy as guilt to the common man. I believe a religious man made the comment, we live in a cult of death. I could not agree more. One hopes the recent fever goes down without the medicine of global slavery witch the current snake oil vendors are peddling.

  7. mary said on September 29th, 2009 at 1:46am #

    A little more copy and paste for the enlightenment of the Harbara trolls on this site. It is pointless and time wasting to enter into any discussion with them incidentally.

    It is believed that this Israeli hypocrisywas not reported in the British MSM.

    From the Irish Times. 19 September 2009

    Israel spurns nuclear watchdog’s call to open atomic sites to inspection
    MARK WEISS in Jerusalem

    ISRAEL HAS rejected the call by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open up its atomic sites to international inspection.

    The nuclear watchdog, meeting yesterday in Vienna, adopted a resolution expressing concern about “Israeli nuclear capabilities” and called on agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to work on the issue.

    The motion was adopted by 49 votes to 45, with 16 abstentions. Russia and China, both permanent members of the UN security council, voted in favour.

    But David Danieli, deputy director of Israel’s atomic energy commission, said Israel deplored the vote for singling it out while many of its neighbours remained hostile to its existence. “Israel will not co-operate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region,” he said.

    Israel is one of only three countries along with India and Pakistan, which is not a signatory to the NPT. According to foreign media reports, the Jewish state is widely believed to possess several hundred nuclear warheads, as well as the means to deliver them.

    Under a decades-old policy of “nuclear ambiguity” Israel has never confirmed nor denied processing atomic weapons, maintaining that the country “will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East”.

    The vote was a setback not only for Israel but also for the US and other western backers of the Jewish state. They had lobbied for debate on the issue without a vote.

    Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters the passage of the resolution was “very good news and a triumph for the oppressed nation of Palestine”.

    Western states said it was unfair and counterproductive to isolate one member state. They said an IAEA resolution passed on Thursday, urging all Middle East nations to forswear atomic bombs, included Israel and made Friday’s proposal superfluous.

    Arab nations said Israel had brought the resolution on itself by having never signed the 40-year-old NPT.

    Before the vote, US ambassador Glyn Davies said the resolution was “redundant . . . Such an approach is highly politicised and does not address the complexities at play regarding crucial nuclear-related issues in the Middle East”.

  8. mary said on September 29th, 2009 at 1:47am #

    That was HASBARA.

  9. MEBOSA RITCHIE said on September 29th, 2009 at 2:55am #

    GOOD NEWS FROM ISRAEL FOR MARY +B99

    Peace on the agenda: Inas Said, the CEO of Galil Software. At Israeli company Galil Software, business isn’t the only thing on the agenda – so is peace. Founded in the mixed city of Nazareth in the Galilee where Israeli Jews and Arabs live side by side, the company is dedicated not only to making money, but to helping Israeli Arabs enter Israel’s competitive high-tech industry, a market that has eluded them for so long.

    Rather than outsource high tech R&D to China and India, Galil Software prefers to look closer to home. Some 90 percent of the company’s engineers are Israeli-Arabs from local communities.

    “So what?” You might think, but in Israel lack of trust, misunderstandings, and security issues, have created huge social and professional gaps between the Jewish Israeli population, and the other 20 percent of the country’s citizens, who are defined as Arab Israelis.

    Israel may today be known as the second largest hotbed of innovation after Silicon Valley in California, but most of that success doesn’t reach the country’s Arab population who see little in the way of job offerings or support of new ventures.

    Part of the problem is that in Israel referrals account for 80 percent of most new job placements, 10% higher than elsewhere around the world. For Arab engineers this is problematic, because many significant work relationships, particularly in the high-tech arena, are founded in Israel’s army culture.

    With little or no experience of this, they find themselves shut out of job opportunities, despite the fact that so many Arabs graduate with top grades from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

    Spreading the high-tech fortune

    Galil Software hopes to change all that. Rather than send R&D to China, where work can be done for a fraction of the cost, the company employs 40 engineers to carry out outsourcing work ranging from software development and integration, maintenance of legacy systems, testing & QA, system re-engineering, and more in Israel.

    “Last year Israel exported 8,000 jobs in outsourcing,” Inas Said, the CEO of Galil Software, tells ISRAEL21c. “That’s $3 billion exported last year. I consider this a leak from our GDP.

    “Here [in Israel] we have 2,500 Israeli Arab engineers,” he continues. “Of them less than 400 penetrate the Israeli high-tech bubble. There are more than 2,000 people out there sitting on the bench dreaming about how ‘I can be a part of it’.”

    Work in Israel may be more expensive than in emerging economies like China, but the company hopes that the results will speak for themselves. For clients it’s a more comfortable and productive experience as language, pricing and culture is all familiar.

    Social venturing for a change

    “The Harvard’s of the world call this project social venturing or social entrepreneurship,” says Inis, who has been working for high-tech companies like Nokia, Ericsson, Stratus and ECI for the last 15 years.

    “It’s about time we put money in something with a social byproduct. The entrepreneurial idea is based on business terms, but it has a huge social by-product that relates to the employment of people in the periphery.”

    An Israeli Arab himself, Inis – who has worked in Germany and Boston – is all too familiar with global misconceptions about Israel and Israeli Arabs. Most people in the West think that Arabs live either in Gaza or the West Bank, he explains. They don’t realize there is a thriving Israeli Arab community, who share similar Western values such as democracy and a vision for peace.

    But peace isn’t what necessarily interest clients who come to Galil Software. Since it opened last year, the company has been winning projects from some of the world’s biggest clients headquartered in Israel, like General Electric Medical.

    “None of our customers decided on us because of the social aspects of what we do, but based on data and financials,” says Inis. “Guys, you should start thinking of Galil Software as an alternative. If we can succeed business-wise than the social impact will be huge.”

    Peace-building with substance

    Investors in the vision include Zeev Bregman (chairman), Jimmy Levy (founder), Elias Tanous, Itzik Danziger, Oren Zeev, Shai Reshef, Adam Parnas, Adi Pundak and Lior Berger.

    Visiting the office of Galil Software can make for an interesting anthropological experience, agrees Inis, who finds himself supervising teams where an Arab employee manages a Jewish one – a rare occurrence in Israel where real-world practice hasn’t kept up with equal opportunity laws.

    “The people we integrate become part of the middle class. This is important for the stability of the society,” says Inis noting that the $1 million venture is very close to breaking even. “This is not just a belief, it is a practice. This is the drive of our investors. It’s peacemaking with substance,” he says.

    Inis is hoping the company’s business will extend outside of Israeli-based projects so that his team can service the R&D needs of American companies, based in the US, too. Supporting companies like Galil Software is Middle East peace-building in the making through deeds, and not just talking about it, Inis says.

    “One should come and visit and see what happens when managers truly create a multi-cultural environment,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “Here, the language becomes different. It’s easy to get up in the morning and come to work when I see what’s happening here. I am definitely motivated.”

  10. Omar said on September 29th, 2009 at 4:18am #

    “Moscow and Beijing do not subscribe to the negative depiction of Iran promoted by Washington, Tel Aviv, London, Paris and Bonn.” Bonn????

    Berlin is the capital of Germany and the seat of Government for almost 20 years. Bonn is now a small and relatively insignificant city south of Cologne, the regions largest city.

    Apart from that, a good article. US leads the way with it’s paranoia and the usual suspects go along with it. Surprisingly, China seems to be much more reasonable in this affair, or perhaps not so surprisingly as they tend to, on a global scale, keep their noses out of other nation’s affairs as long as those other nations keep their noses out of their’s.

  11. Eric Pottenger said on October 1st, 2009 at 2:21am #

    Jack,

    You wrote:

    “President Barack Obama met separately during the week with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao in an effort to obtain their agreement to threaten more stringent sanctions should Iran procrastinate during the talks.”

    I would like to know more about these meetings you reference. Could you please provide sources/links?

    And are you aware of Obama’s policy shift, scrapping the proposed missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic? Or Netanyahu’s secret trip to Moscow, only two weeks prior to the UN summit? It would seem that some pretty large bargaining chips must be played to get Russia and China to support the sanctions. The missile shield may be one for Russia. The dollar may be another, as both Russia and China have publicly sponsored a more multi-polar financial arrangement with a different world currency standard. Although these are just guesses on my part, I wouldn’t be surprised to see reversals in Moscow and Beijing on the sanctions, to accompany reversals by the US/UK/EU/Israel/NATO in some high-profile fashion. Of course none of these reversals will be related to the other. It’s all principles. Of course.

    The way that Obama and company made their presentation at the G20 underlines an important facet of political reality, which is that back room deals and secret negotiations may constitute the method of making policy in the real world, but there must also be a theatrical side aimed at the people. Russia and China must justify policy change with regard to sanctions, just as the US must justify its continued support for sanctions, especially–ESPECIALLY–Obama. Yes, each one of these governments must justify their diplomatic script so as to not look irresponsible before their own people. Depending upon the quality of the press, which, in most cases, functions not unlike an official branch of the government–with the “free press” these dramatic fictions turn into justifications, with our so-called leaderships meeting our so-called democracies half-way, carrying a basket full of poison and bullshit.

    You wrote:

    “Moscow and Beijing do not subscribe to the negative depiction of Iran promoted by Washington, Tel Aviv, London, Paris and Bonn. They understand the situation to be far more complex than the U.S. and its allies publicly acknowledge.”

    It seems to me that “publicly acknowledge” is the right choice of words, and should be emphasized. Moscow and Beijing now have vested interests in maintaining Iran as it is, whereas US/UK/EU/Israel have vested interests in what Iran is not. Either that, or Moscow and Beijing realize how important regime change in Iran is to the West, and hope to exploit that heightened sense of priority. Either way, the true difference between the two, between East and West, is not emotional (or even intellectual). As far as I can tell, the US-backed coalition of aggression is well aware that Iran MEETS the necessary requirements of the nuclear treaties they have signed. End of story. The IAEA knows this is true. Iran knows this is true. Obama and Brown and Sarkozy know this is true. Russia and China know this is true. But this isn’t about truth. This is about power.

    It boils down to the bankruptcy of quality journalism, the absence of which is utilized, relied upon, to manufacture empty fictions in an impotent democracy. It boils down to finding a “secret” facility at the VERY MOMENT the world leaders were gathering to discuss non-proliferation; and only one week prior to sitting down with Iran to discuss power and leverage and control. The timing is no coincidence.

    And regardless of how secure Iran may be, they can still be hurt by the building coalition surrounding them. The United States, backed by Britain and France, soon to be backed by Russia and China…they seem to be holding many of the cards.