Obama Resists Pressure for Red Line on Iran’s Nuclear Capability

IPS — President Barack Obama’s refusal in a White House briefing earlier this month to announce a “red line” in regard to the Iran nuclear programme represented another in a series of rebuffs of pressure from Defence Secretary Robert Gates for statement that the United States will not accept its existing stocks of low enriched uranium.

The Obama rebuff climaxed a months-long internal debate between Obama and Gates over the “breakout capability” issue which surfaced in the news media last April.

Gates has been arguing that Iran could turn its existing stock of low enriched uranium (LEU) into a capability to build a nuclear weapon secretly by using covert enrichment sites and undeclared sources of uranium.

That Gates argument implies that the only way to prevent Iran having enough bomb-grade uranium for nuclear weapons is to insist that Iran must give up most of its existing stock of LEU, which could be converted into enough bomb-grade uranium for one bomb.

But Obama has publicly rejected the idea that Iran’s existing stock of LEU represents a breakout capability on more than one occasion. He has stated that Iran would have to make an overt move to have a “breakout capability” that would signal its intention to have a nuclear weapon.

Obama’s most recent rebuff of the Gates position came in the briefing he gave to a select group of journalists August 4.

Peter David of The Economist, who attended the August 4 briefing, was the only journalist to note that Obama indicated to the journalists that he was not ready to lay down any public red lines “at this point”. Instead, Obama said it was important to set out for the Iranians a clear set of steps that the U.S. would accept as proof that the regime was not pursuing a bomb.

Obama appeared to suggest that there are ways for Iran to demonstrate its intent not to build a nuclear bomb other than ending all enrichment and reducing its stock of low enriched uranium to a desired level.

Iran denies any intention of making nuclear weapons, but has made no secret that it wants to have enough low enriched uranium to convince potential adversaries that it has that option.

At a 2005 dinner in Tehran, Hassan Rowhani, then secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that Iran didn’t need a nuclear weapon, as long as it had the “mastery of the fuel cycle” as a deterrent to external aggression.

Gates raised the issue of the Iranian ability to achieve a breakout capability in a three-page memorandum addressed to national security adviser Jim Jones in January 2010, as first reported in the New York Times April 18.

In reporting the Gates memo, David E. Sanger of the New York Times wrote, “Mr. Gates’s memo appears to reflect concerns in the upper echelons of the Pentagon and the military that the White House did not have a well-prepared series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally failed.”

In the statement issued on the memo April 18, Gates said it “identified next steps in our defense planning process where further interagency discussion and policy decisions would be needed in the months and weeks ahead.”

The Sanger article appeared eight days after differences between Obama and Gates over the Iranian breakout capability issue had surfaced publicly in April.

Obama used an April 1 interview with CBS News to distinguish between Iran’s “trying to develop the capacity to develop nuclear weapons” from a decision to actually possess nuclear weapons.

“They might decide that, once they have that capacity that they’d hold off right at the edge – in order not to incur more sanctions,” he observed. Obama talked about a new round of international sanctions as his response to that problem.

Hardliners in Washington wanted Obama to go further. David E. Sanger of the New York Times invited Obama in an April 5 interview to draw the U.S. red line at an Iranian breakout capability, Obama refused to do so.

Sanger asked Obama whether the United States could “live with an Iran that runs right up to the edge” – precisely the scenario Obama had suggested as a distinct possibility four days earlier.

Obama’s answer made it clear that he understood that Sanger was pushing the Gates line that there is no obvious firebreak between Iran’s low enriched uranium stocks and a breakout capability.

“North Korea was said to be simply a nuclear-capable state until it kicked out the IAEA and became a self-professed nuclear state,” said Obama.

But Gates went public a few days later with a sharply different position on the issue.

When David Gregory of Meet the Press interviewed both Clinton and Gates on NBC’s “Meet the Press” April 9, he had apparently been informed about differences of view within the administration on the issue of an Iranian “nuclear capability.”

Gregory asked Clinton, “Is a nuclear-capable Iran as dangerous as a nuclear state of Iran?” to which Clinton answered, “Well, clearly weapons are more dangerous than potential.”

Gregory then asked Gates whether a nuclear-capable Iran is “just as dangerous as being a nuclear state to your mind?”

Gates answered, “Only in this respect: how you differentiate how far, how far have they gone? If they – if their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled?”

Gates said he didn’t know “how you would verify that”.

That exchange would have confused anyone who was not an insider to the Washington policy debate on Iran. The real issue was not whether the United States could “tell that they have not assembled” but whether Iran could turn its stock of low enriched uranium into weapons-grade uranium without kicking out international inspectors first and signaling their intentions.

Israel and extreme alarmists in the United States have long argued that Iran could use covert enrichment sites to enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels and might have access to undeclared uranium stocks. But a source familiar with the issue told IPS that the Defence Department has not been claiming that there is any intelligence indicating secret Iranian sites or uranium supplies.

Gates appears to have been trying to maneuver Obama into adopting a policy under which the United States would have a reason for threatening Iran unless it agreed to divest itself of its low enriched uranium stocks and end enrichment.

Although he has opposed an attack on Iran in both Bush and Obama administrations, Gates has also been the primary advocate of creating “leverage” over Iran as well as over Russia and China in regard to tougher sanctions.

In an interview with Sanger in early 2008, quoted in Sanger’s book, “The Inheritance”, Gates said the main problem he had with the 2007 national intelligence estimate on Iran was that it “made our effort to strengthen sanctions more difficult, because people figured, well the military option is now off the table”.

Thus far the Obama administration has not given emphasis to the threat of U.S. attack on Iran. Instead it has sought to use the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran as leverage, even as it warns the Israelis privately not to attempt such an attack.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. His latest book, with John Kiriakou, is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis: From CIA Coup to the Brink of War. Read other articles by Gareth.

38 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. PatrickSMcNally said on August 30th, 2010 at 8:46am #

    Obama certainly comprehends that Russia’s role in setting up the Iranian reactor has ruled out any hypothetical invasion of Iran. While I suppose it’s possible that some nutbars might take over after Obama leaves office, but basically every informed person realizes that if not for Gorbachev there would never have been an Iraq war in 1990-1. Although Russia’s ruling class today is still reactionary, they don’t panhandle for Washington the way Yeltsin did. That does impose some real restraints which Obama at least comprehends.

    From The Jerusalem Post:

    Russia: Israel need not fear reactor
    08/20/2010 00:48

    Teheran more pragmatic than you think, embassy officials tell ‘Post.’

    Israelis should not be concerned about the uranium fueling of a Russian-built nuclear reactor in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr that is set to take place on Saturday, diplomatic officials at the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv told The Jerusalem Post.

    The reactor’s fueling will be marked at a ceremony in Bushehr that will be attended by Sergei Kiriyenko, who heads Russia’s state nuclear agency, which has been building the power plant in Iran since the mid-1990s.

    The fuel that Russia will provide the reactor is expected to start producing electricity by November. Spent fuel rods from the facility are to be returned to Russia under monitoring from International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to ensure that they are not diverted for military purposes.

    “The Bushehr power plant is intended for energy for electricity,” a diplomatic official at the embassy said on Thursday. “From the beginning, the construction of the Bushehr facility was under strict control of IAEA inspectors, which we consider a guarantee that everything in Bushehr will be done according to international law.”

    The diplomat said that had Iran’s nuclear program not been under international control, it could have been a threat not only to Israel but to the world. But because it is under international control, it is not a threat to anyone, he said.

    Israelis have expressed fears about Iran using the fuel rods for military purposes after expelling international inspectors, but the diplomat said he was not a technical expert and could not comment about that possibility.

    Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton warned this week that the IDF had until Saturday to attack the Bushehr facility, because once Russia loaded fuel into the reactor, Israel would no longer be willing to strike for fear of triggering widespread radiation.

    Bolton noted that prime minister Menachem Begin made a point of authorizing the June 1981 attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor before it was loaded with nuclear fuel, to minimize the effects of radiation fallout from the reactor’s destruction on the civilian population.

    The Russian diplomatic officials said the attack on the facility at Osirak, 18 km. southeast of Baghdad, was a violation of international law. They said there was no reason or basis for that strike, because there was no proof that Iraq was seeking to operate the reactor for military use.

    “Israelis must understand the negative implications of Israel attacking Iran for the region and the world,” one of the diplomats said. “According to international law, it is absolutely prohibited to strike a facility that possesses nuclear fuel. There is no international threat to Israel from Bushehr, so there would be no purposes for Israel to bomb it.”

    The diplomats said the Iranians were more pragmatic than Israelis gave them credit for and that they were not interested in a clash with the West. They stressed that Russia was fully cooperating with the fourth round of sanctions placed on Iran by the UN Security Council in June, including refraining from delivering S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that are on the list of weapons banned from being transferred to Iran.

    “Russia borders Iran,” one of the diplomats said. “We are much closer to Iran than you are, and we do not have an interest in having a threat on our borders, so we don’t believe [Israelis] have to worry.”

    Kiriyenko said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday that Bushehr would demonstrate that Iran was entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy under international supervision.

    “It is a most important anchor which keeps Iran within the regime of non-proliferation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday.

    “It is fully protected from any proliferation risks whatsoever.

    This idea is shared by all the leaders of Western countries.”

    The United States is arguing that the steps toward getting the Bushehr reactor up and running demonstrates that Teheran has no need to enrich uranium.

    Many see the fueling as a dangerous advance in Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

    But the US said it does not view the reactor as a proliferation risk, “because it will be under IAEA safeguards,” according to a State Department official.

    The official also noted that Russia is not only providing the fuel but retrieving the spent fuel, the material that could be used to produce a nuclear bomb.

    “Russia’s support for Bushehr underscores that Iran does not need an indigenous enrichment capability if its intentions are purely peaceful,” the official said.

    “Our views on the Bushehr project should not be confused with the world’s fundamental concerns with Iran’s overall nuclear intentions, particularly its pursuit of uranium enrichment, and Iran’s willful violation of its international obligations,” the official added.

    Hilary Leila Krieger in Washington and AP contributed to this report.

  2. hayate said on August 30th, 2010 at 11:54am #

    This “difference” between gates and “the blair in blackface” is more for the media and the public than anything else. I think both know that setting a “red line” will lock them into a policy decision to attack Iran. And both know, that will either remove their role in making the decision to attack (and put it solely in the hands of the ziofascists) and force their hand to attack, or if they back off, they will be seen as political cowards. Neither would be a position a decision maker would want to be in if they could help it.

    The likely negative consequences of an american attack on Iran right now are well known, so I wont delineate them. An attack is really not a feasible option for the americans right now, given those negative consequences. For the zionists to go it alone, it is not feasible for physical reasons, due to geography and their military limitations. They need a partner in crime, hence their severe pressure on the usa to attack. The zionists don’t care about the negative consequences for the usa, since the usa is only a colony of zionism, inc., and that’s how master-slave relationships operate.

    Since the ziofascist/fascist sponsored “color revolution” against Iran failed to destabilise the country as hoped, and actually proved of negligible effect, and the covert terrorist operations so far have hurt zionism, incs. image than they have hurt the Iranians, the ziofascists/fascists have 2 options left if they want to still dominate Iran, from what I can tell.

    1. continue as now and try and get tougher sanctions imposed.

    2. attack, probably using israel to initiate it, and america to then follow up and do the majority of the crime.

    For both to have a chance of passing muster before world public opinion, and american public opinion (for what it’s worth nowdays), a pretext will have to be set up. Something damaging enough to Iran in the pr sense, that public opinion will go along with an attack on the country.

    Once that pretext takes place, one can expect the zionist “progressives” to oppose the war, but play up the “bad Iran” created in the pretext to dull motivation for opposition to the war. Their standard strategy. The zionist right will simply hype the fraud of the pretext like they do all these ziofascist frauds.

    So expect an increase in the demonisation of Iran in the zionist occupied media, and from their puppets in the usa and Europe, and some sort of nasty covert op that will be blamed on Iran.

  3. bozh said on August 30th, 2010 at 11:54am #

    The issue about who can have WMD and who cannot is based on dichomizing people into ‘nice’ people and not ‘nice’ people.
    Such a tenet would be laughafable if the tenet held by ‘nice’ people was not so perilous for lands who are denied the right to bear arms.
    In any case, nuclear war is an ergodic event; in infinity of time and with people lusting for other peoples’ lands; full of hatred, gluttony, supremacism, etc., there is a zero chance of NW not occurring.
    As i have said before many times: that’s how mafia behaves. tnx

  4. hayate said on August 30th, 2010 at 12:06pm #

    Incidentally, all this teabagger nonsense is a prelude to more war and a wartime atmosphere in the usa. These zionist created dupes are to be the core goosesteppers who will be tasked to provide, and enforce, support for further american aggression in zionist interests. A modern day nazi youth corps.

  5. kalidas said on August 30th, 2010 at 12:45pm #

    Though I won’t go so far as to predict such a grim future I will agree it is possible.
    Over the course of the last two years I’ve talked several times with tea people young and old, men, women and young-uns.
    With very few exceptions they are war mongers, war supporters, they just want war on the cheap.
    Their support the troops mantra was sung proudly and avidly.

    That they were usurped pretty quickly was predictable, but in my opinion there wasn’t a whole lot to usurp to begin with.

  6. PatrickSMcNally said on August 30th, 2010 at 5:23pm #

    > Though I won’t go so far as to predict such a grim future I will agree it is possible.

    But not very likely as a practical matter. What’s much more probable in the long-term is that Iran will be contained within acceptable parameters until some variant of Ayatollah Gorbachev becomes the head of government. It’s not as if Iranian perestroika will involve the overturning of a socialist revolution as occurred in the USSR, so this will be much simpler. The only really major question is whether or not the matter will take several decades or occur very suddenly. I honestly have no idea.

  7. teafoe2 said on August 30th, 2010 at 5:43pm #

    hayate: VERY impressive analyis!

    Bozh: what does “ergodic” mean?

    Kalidas: thank you for corroborating my impression of the Teabaggie state of mind, and for relieving me of having to solialize with such folks myself;)

    Patrick, I agree that the scenarios you outline are one set of possibilities, but possibilities only, not, as you seem to believe, inevitable.

    Can you present the factors which cause you to believe that Iranian developments couldn’t move in an entirely different direction?


  8. hayate said on August 30th, 2010 at 6:44pm #



    I noticed I forgot to mention that sanctions against Iran will be much more difficult to increase than last time. The Russians and Chinese went along probably to keep the freakshow in israel from attacking and drawing their american colony in, more than for any other reasons, I suspect. Next time around, especially with the usa putting more sanctions on Iran unilaterally as they did, which ticked off Russia and China, the ziofascists wont get their way outside of the usa and possibly the eu. I believe China is pretty much ignoring the sanctions right now, anyway. Russia probably will, as well. And Iran is turning to the east, instead of the west. So probably if the zionists impose more sanctions, they will mostly only affect zionist dominated countries, so the effect will get less on Iran as time moves on. The zionists may even have to set up false flag pretexts to blame on Iran now to get enough guvs in Europe to follow their dictates for further sanctions. Even though the European guvs are loyal zionist stooges, Europeans are not, and getting more hostile to apartheid israel by the day. Those European puppets don’t have the control of their people the way the zionist quislings in the usa do.

  9. PatrickSMcNally said on August 30th, 2010 at 6:57pm #

    > Can you present the factors which cause you to believe that Iranian developments couldn’t move in an entirely different direction?

    I wouldn’t make any claim that things “couldn’t move in an entirely different direction.” If a socialist revolution were to occur somewhere in the world that might dramtically influence outcomes everywhere. But for now there do seem to be some definite parameters.

    As far as a military attack being made against Iran, that is not at all likely to occur unless Moscow gives the OK. If Gorbachev had not come into office to sell the USSR up the river then Gulf War One would have been impossible. With the present course followed by Russia, one can pretty confidently rule out any major military action against Iran for the near-future and probably for the long-term. Officials in Tel Aviv can crow a lot, but the sane ones realize that just dropping bombs on a country which Russia is deliberately assissting would involve intolerable risks.

    Once we put the more sensationalistic scenarios aside, we come back to the fact that Iran’s ruling class clearly does seek to better integrate itself into the larger world (an economic necessity which even the USSR was not immune to) and the conflicts between Ahmadinejad versus Mousavi were mainly just a dispute over how the tempo of this is to handled. At the start of this year the Guardian Council passed (with Ahmadinejad’s approval) a proposal to slash about 100 billion dollars of price subsidies from the budget. The Economic Reform Plan holds that by March 2015 Iran’s prices for domestic oil should be at least 90% of the Suadi rates. There’s a lot more to it, but all of the Economic Reform Plan is clearly aimed along the road to Yeltsin-land, execpt that it doesn’t really have to run against any formally socialist ideology as was the case in the USSR.

    I think it’s clear from these trends that, in the absence of some more general revolutionary upturn, or of a war in which nuclear bombs start getting tossed around, the most probable outcome will be analogous to what occurred under either Boris Yeltsin or Deng Xiao-ping. It really should be easier since Iran is not even a formal pretender to socialism, and Iranian mullahs can easily see the advantages in taking this route. The only thing which really holds things back at the moment is that the Great Recession of 2008 has given people a reminder of some of the pitfalls of capitalism. But if nothing more develops out of that to rejuvenate a world socialist movement, then perestroika is the logical thing to expect at some point down the road.

  10. hayate said on August 30th, 2010 at 7:09pm #

    PatrickSMcNally said on August 30th, 2010 at 5:23pm

    The western ziofascist/fascist oligarchies are running against the clock right now. They don’t have a lot of time left before China becomes too powerful to cross, even for a minor reason. The days of the lone superpower are drawing to an end. If they are not able to neutralise Iranian independence soon, within the next very few years at most, their ability to do so will have passed. As the window of opportunity closes, they could become more reckless (and not just about trying to dominate Iran, but the whole Central Asian region and their other colonies, and former colonies, who are now gaining more independence elsewhere) as they become more desperate to maintain their present position. This is my main worry, that this desperation will cause them to do a number like Japan did when the usa and Europe shut them out of imperial power in the 1920’s-30’s and pretty much put them on the ropes by 1941. Desperate people act irrationally and unpredictably. Irrational and unpredictable people sitting on nukes makes the danger exponentially worse.

    But then, ziofascism, inc. and their capitalist fellow travelers could always learn to get along with being second fiddle or being hamstrung in another cold war type stand-off, but they have already tasted the “ultimate power”. Hard for power mongers to go back after that.

    It’s always best to work towards the optimal and be fully prepared for, and expect the worst in these types of situations.

  11. hayate said on August 30th, 2010 at 7:17pm #

    PatrickSMcNally said on August 30th, 2010 at 6:57pm

    Have you got any solid sources for your claims about how the Iranian economy/politics are headed in that post?

  12. teafoe2 said on August 30th, 2010 at 7:21pm #

    interesting discussion. ” the conflicts between Ahmadinejad versus Mousavi were mainly just a dispute over how the tempo of this is to handled.”:

    My impression is it is a lot more than that. Mousavi is clearly in the pocket of the CIA/NED “color revolution” apparatus. Even anti-Mullocracy Iranians call him a scumbag.

    But this is an interesting dicussion. what a relief from a certain poster’s insults and tantrums:)

  13. shabnam said on August 30th, 2010 at 8:39pm #

    {But if nothing more develops out of that to rejuvenate a world socialist movement, then perestroika is the logical thing to expect at some point down the road.}

    When I read these kinds of lines, then I ask myself: where do these people live? Do they live on the same planet, or somewhere else who did not notice the Iranian Gorbachev arrived but he was defeated? George Soros, Gene Sharp and his agents, Ramin Ahmadi, Payam Akhavan, Royal Hakakian, Hadi Ghaemi, All NED associates, and many more Iranian sell out who have already tried to destabilize Iran for regime change during the last election but so far have failed.

    Iranian Gorbachev was Mohammad Khatami and his associates, Rafsanjani/Mosaic and his wife, and Kina circle with Abdulkarim Soroush, an Iranian neocon as its ideologue leader, where he published his works, first in Kayhan Farhangi magazine, and then in Aftab Journal, both were in Persian where have gone under. Aftab Journal came on line in 1990s and I used to read it. It supported the work of the Iranian liberals who justified American war crimes around the world for the sake of liberalism. No mention of zionism at all. In fact majority of them were pro neocons. They translated works by Bernard Louis, Fokoyama and otherss. Soroush was famous as being pro Karl Popper, Open Society and its enemies, therefore, he was attacked among Iranian circles.

    It was during the Rafsanjani’s presidency that privatization according to neoliberal economic arrangement implimented where continued into Khatami’s presidency where reached its highest point. The privatization bill 44, change the economic arrangement, mix economy, into more than 80 percent privatization of the economy including the oil and gas industry, passed in 2004, before the election of 2005 which let to election of Ahmadinejad as a president. During Khatami’s presidency, the gap between rich and poor got much wider. Thus, Ahmadinejad used the opportunity to bring the ‘reformists’ – Gorbachev – down. The reformists were discredited by their own actions including their passive policy on the nuclear issue. What did Iranian Gobachev gain due to his full cooperation with the West? Iranian people often asked? Nothing, except Iran was placed on the list of a Zionist Jew, Frum, as an AXIS OF EVIL. There was a rumor that Khatami is going to give in into the enemy’s demand to abandon Iran’s right to enrichment in return for security guarantees and technological and economic assistance, yet the West did not respond, because the Zionists want ‘regime change’ according to Oded Yinon and a Clean Break to destabilize Iran by economic strangulation to bring chaos and lead the country into partition, like Iraq. This goal is still pursued the ORGANIZED ZIONIST JEWS using their influence on US foreign policy
    Otherwise, why didn’t Clinton accept Rafsanjani’s offer, 1 billion dollar concession to Conoco Oil Company? The regime change started in Clinton administration by pro Israeli lobby, Martin Indyk, who designed ‘dual containment’ of Iran and Iraq to destabilize the country for regime change and partition. The first part has already taken place according to Oded Yinon, to create Israelis’ pawns in the region, the Kurds.

  14. shabnam said on August 30th, 2010 at 9:10pm #

    {that Iran’s ruling class clearly does seek to better integrate itself into the larger world (an economic necessity which even the USSR was not immune to) and the conflicts between Ahmadinejad versus Mousavi were mainly just a dispute over how the tempo of this is to handled.}

    I agree with this analysis. Don’t forget that Ahmadinejad or any of the ruling class do not claim that they are ‘socialists’, however, during Ahmadinejad, compare to Khatami, more attention was paid to people in the countryside, and lower middle class who were abandoned by the ‘reformists’ pro neo liberal economic arrangement. The ‘reformists’ were identified with a corrupt business man, Rafsanjani and a sell out ‘opposition’ group.

    Ahmadinejad is popular among Iranians who do not want to see Iran loses her legal right to enrichment. Ahmadinejad’s active policy in this regard is still very much appreciated. He has many enemies among conservatives as well, like Tavakkoli/Larijani and his associates, thus, they use any avenue to go after Ahmadinejad including critic of his deputy, Mashaie on a daily basis, because these people cannot defeat Ahmadinejad at the ballot box. Tavakkoli run twice for presidency but was defeated badly. Larijani also got only single digit of the vote. Neither can be trusted.

    We should realize that THERE IS NO LEFT IN IRAN. Those who consider themselves ‘left’ live abroad, where most of them are PRO NEOLIBERAL ECONOMY and have no shame to express it.

  15. hayate said on August 30th, 2010 at 9:20pm #

    Thanks, shabnam. Your analysis reiterates pretty much of what I have seen about Iran. Rafi has had a long association with zionists, at least dating back to his Iran-contra role., and probably much sooner.

  16. Jonas Rand said on August 31st, 2010 at 2:16am #

    Most posters above are correct, and it is unusual: it is Israel, not the United States, which is going further in this plan than even its master. Both countries have involved themselves in Iran’s politics for a long time, all against democracy and freedom. The Mossad was responsible in training the Savak, the secret police under Shah Pahlavi, while the US was responsible for installing him. The sabotage against the Iranian revolution during the ’70s was perpetrated by the United States, though Israel surely had some power interests in it as well. This is because the US’ “strategic interest” is that of pilfering Khuzestan’s oil and/or selling it out to foreign corporations, acting in a way similar to drug cartels. Israel is going farther than the United States in planning to bomb Iran, though the American political establishment is also highly involved in plotting to do so. The Israeli state simply want political control over Iran’s politics and an Israeli/US client state in Tehran. I would think that if this goal were established, the puppet state to be imposed would be more subservient to the US than Israel. This is since Israel (despite Netanyahu and Avi Lieberman’s delusions) is less powerful globally and thus has less connection to the oil corporate cartel to sell oil out to foreign companies through big-money contracts.

    The nuclear Iran claim is a falsehood constructed to provide a pretext for a seemingly unjustifiable act of preemptive war, i.e. imperialism. In fact, while Iran has a nuclear energy (not weapon) program and the media propaganda campaign promotes spurious allegations about it, Israel has not signed the non-proliferation treaty. Additionally, it is known to have nuclear weapons (thanks to the courageous actions of whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, who was imprisoned for telling the truth about Israel’s nuclear program) and is the only Middle Eastern country that does. But the US doesn’t plan to bomb Tel Aviv (not that we should). No one is even saying they should have nuclear weapons. Gates is no fool; rather, he is a propagandist disseminating lies on behalf of the US empire and beating the drums of war. This happens all while Somalia and Haiti suffer due to starvation and poverty, military spending is maintained, and developed nations like the United States continue to destroy and deplete the environment, which we have now made fragile. So many issues, and powerful countries need to start another war for oil and maintain a military power apparatus that threatens the concept of Iranian democracy (a US-Israeli invasion would be worse than the current regime there)? How about stopping the horrors (like militarism) which contribute to climate change, or eliminating discrimination and hatred? No, we need to wage another war, right.

  17. Jonas Rand said on August 31st, 2010 at 2:28am #

    The #1 fact about Mousavi – he was promoted in the American mainstream media and by the United States government as a way to demonize Iran’s current leadership (including Ayatollah Khamenei). This led to a US-backed heavily promoted “dissident” movement to undermine the Ahmadinejad presidency and destabilize. The attempted destabilization of governments in Iran goes back to Mosaddeq, who the US and Britain overthrew due to oil and power interests. There are a few papers available on the internet that mention an “Operation BEDAMN” as an early attempt to do this. Due to the sparse number of papers mentioning this, I am incredulous about its actual existence. However, there was no doubt CIA destabilization against the Mosaddeq government, leading up to the coup. It is my opinion that the USA was probably using the same tactics during the election against Ahmadinejad, though more sophisticated, to establish the same result (though probably the goal was not installing Reza Pahlavi II). This may be an incorrect assumption, but it seemed like what was happening at the time. Mousavi does indeed seem like the Washington-supported candidate.

  18. Deadbeat said on August 31st, 2010 at 3:47am #

    “Washington-supported”. Washington doesn’t exist. Zionist-supported is what Washington is.

  19. 3bancan said on August 31st, 2010 at 4:05am #

    Jonas Rand said on August 31st, 2010 at 2:16am:
    “it is Israel, not the United States, which is going further in this plan than even its master.”

    Jonas Rand is selling his trite zionazi lie about the US being the master. Unbelievable! Are there still ignoranuses out there who buy this BS???

  20. shabnam said on August 31st, 2010 at 9:30am #

    The Iranian ‘left’ abroad is extremely divided and some of them have cooperation with US imperialism and Zionism against Islam, an enemy where has been designated by the Islamphobia groups, supported by the Zionist worldwide. The anti imperialism slogan is used by the left to hide their cooperation with the power.

    The creation of Israel viewed progressive by the Iranian socialists against the Arab dictatorial rulers and the Shah in 1948. Israel‘s policy was to present herself as a progressive force in the region to non-Arab intellectuals to gain their support against Arabs. The Iranian leftists’ view toward Israel was influenced by the European ‘socialists’ especially the public intellectual of the time, Gene Paul Sartre during 1950s and 1960s, because they presented Israel and its kibbutz as progressive enough to be supported by the left worldwide. When Jalal Al Ahmad, one of the influential Iranian socialist was invited to Israel in 1962, he accepted the invitation and traveled to Israel. Jalal Al Ahmad was shocked to see the result of the Israel racist policy first hand in occupied Palestine. After he returned from Israel, he asked his Iranian socialist friends in Europe to stop printing articles about Kibbutz at once and told them about the reality of Israel as a racist state. He viewed Zionism a racist ideology and called Israel an extension of imperialism in the region.

    Today, Al Ahmad is attacked by the new generation of the Iranian ‘opposition’ groups who are illiterate in history, good consumerists and are easily fooled by the media propaganda against Iran in the West. They justify their ignorance due to their lack of interest in any kind of ‘ideology’ and based on self interest. Yet, all the facts on the ground show that due to their class interest, they are the followers of liberalism and its economic arrangement.

    Recently, an Iranian left has written a post and has warned the Iranian ‘left’ about their racist and fatal position on the question of Palestinians, but cleverly has ignored Zionism and its influence in the region not to alienate more Iranian ‘left’.
    He said the new Iranian left (usually means those who are not Stalinists) must review their position both politically and ideologically on the question of “Palestine and Israel” in the Middle East region. He pointed out that the new left in Iran has abandoned the Palestinian cause for more than a decade and had nothing to say about Israel’s policy. He continued: The first reaction of the new left in Iran appeared among small groups of university students after Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006. This protest was ignored and criticized by the majority of the Iranian left in support of Israel, therefore, they refused to participate in the protest against massacre of Lebanese people by Israel. In fact, they supported Israel with this excuse that Israel has a right to defend herself against the terror of ‘the Islamic fundamentalists’, Hamas and Hezbollah, similar to HOPI’s position based in Britain. The left in Iran argued that because Israel holds Marxist tendency within its society, therefore, is more progressive compare to Palestinian nationalist movement. This view was prevalent among the American left for a long time until recently.

    He wrote that the main goal of the ‘reformist’ groups including Green is to be incorporated into the liberal economic arrangement; therefore, friendly relation with Israel is viewed necessary and a prerequisite to be accepted. The reformists point out Iran’s economic difficulties, of course without referring to illegal economic sanctions, to expand anti Palestinian view among the Iranian population and to silent them against Israelis crimes against humanity. Due to this position, he argues, the reformists, including the Green stooges, used the ‘Quds day’ demonstration in 2009 and shouted a reactionary slogan “NO to Gaza, No to Lebanon, I devote my life to Iran” because they want to bring anti Zionist views under their control.
    Quds Day (Persian: ??? ??? r?z-e quds), officially International al-Quds Day (??? ????? ???), is an annual event on the last Friday of Ramadan, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing Zionism as well as Israel’s control of Jerusalem . Anti-Zionist demonstrations are held on this day in some Muslim and Arab countries, and by Muslim and Arab communities around the world. Participation in protests on Quds Day is particularly strong in non-Arab Iran, where Ayatollah Khomeini first introduced the event.
    This leftist is worries about the Iranian left and their support for Israel therefore, is warning them to review their actions in order to buy credibility among the ‘left’. He believes the Iranian left should have a position against Israel apartheid state, Islamic terrorism, and corrupt Palestinian bourgeois leadership in order to be credible. No word on Zionism, no word on Zionist project in the region according to Oded Yinon and a Clean break, no word on US imperialism and their creation of ‘Islamic terrorist organization’ to act as proxy to carry out their terror against Muslims to expand their influence in the region.


  21. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 10:39am #

    Shabnam, with all due respect, and your knowledge is most impressive, please stop calling Sartre “Gene”. Drives me nuts:(

    His first name is spelled “Jean” in both French and English, and is pronounced something like “Zhawn”.

    “Gene”s last name is actually “Autrey”, except when it’s Krupa:)

  22. shabnam said on August 31st, 2010 at 10:41am #


    You are right, sorry about that.

  23. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 10:48am #

    Tresbancan, I agree with your take on the US/Izzy relationship, but I want to request that you cut Jonas a little slack. He’s only thirteen, very bright, has figured out a great deal and I’d expect him to figure out a great deal more very soon.

    So I’m trying to approach his incorrect ideas by pointing out his errors and providing sources to enable him to correct them himself.

    I do think it is important that you and others note errors when they are posted, note that they are incorrect, and as far as possible offer corrective information, given time & priorities.

  24. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 11:01am #

    Shabnam, you said that you agree with this analysis:

    >{that Iran’s ruling class clearly does seek to better integrate itself into the larger world (an economic necessity which even the USSR was not immune to) and the conflicts between Ahmadinejad versus Mousavi were mainly just a dispute over how the tempo of this is to be handled.}<

    Please, I wonder if you would mind clarifying what seems to me to be a contradiction? The first part of the sentence I have no probem with, but the second clause characterizing the conflicts of Ahmadinejad versus Mousavi seems contrary to what you say in other parts of your posts on this thread today. ??


  25. shabnam said on August 31st, 2010 at 12:10pm #


    The ruling class in Iran is not against capitalism, including Ahmadinejad. If it was up to Ahmadinejad alone, he would have followed Chavez economic policy which is not against capitalism, but he has to work with others. He is not a corrupt politician and has not used his position in the government to gain wealth and power. He was elected based on his clean record after the corrupt ‘reformists’. Khatami and Rafsanjani lost credibility among the reformist followers but not among the Iranian elite. Iranian elite and the opposition abroad were the only factions of the Iranian society who supported these individuals. Rafsanjani entered the race but he was kicked out, the same is true with Khatami.

    In 2009 election, Khatami entered the race first, but he did not receive any support even from the reformist camp who viewed him a passive politician against the aggression of the West. His neoliberal economic policy angered many people in Iran, thus, the ‘reformists’ told Khatami if he stays in the race ‘they will vote for Ahmadinejad again.’
    It was at this point that Mousavi was injected into the race to carry out the reformist plan to bring down Ahmadinejad. Mousavi had nothing to say about the Iranian politics in the last 20 years. He was working with his paintings all these years where never showed interest in politics during this period. Ahmadinejad like Khamenaie is pursuing the interest of an independent Iran on nuclear program. The most important figure is Ayatollah Khamaie, who wants relations with the west including the United States based on mutual interest not as a client state.

    Ahmadinejad’s record bought him credibility because the people were fed up with the speed of the neoliberal policies of the ‘reformists’ at the expense of the Iranian working class. They carried out the World Bank policies but received nothing for it. The west wanted him to stop the enrichment program that some people claim he was willing to go along with the west, but we don’t have concrete evidence of that yet.
    Ahmadinejad was under attack by the ‘reformist’ to abandon the policy of ‘welfare state’ and instead to speed up privatization program to benefit the rich. Ahmadinejad refused to remove the state assistant to the poor and told Rafsanjani and conservative reactionaries that we have to improve the infrastructure of the economy, mainly improvement of the roads, schools, transportation first to create a more balanced environment so different groups benefit from the fruit of privatization only the elite and their children. He was thinking about the corrupt Rafsanjani, Nouri, and others who have benefited from privatization program. Khamainie the most popular politician in Iran also has not used his influential position to gain wealth.

    Ahmadinejad is coming from a poor background where has never been accepted by the corrupt Iranian elite. The elite does not view him as part of elite. He does not have wealth to match their position. They cannot defeat Ahmadinejad at the ballot boxes, therefore, they resorted to election ‘fraud’ hoax and received help from the western allies abroad.

  26. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 12:36pm #

    Shabnam, thank you for responding, and for all the information. However, I’m still uncertain what you meant when you said: “… the conflicts between Ahmadinejad versus Mousavi were mainly just a dispute over how the tempo of this is to be handled.}<

    Clearly Ahmadinejad is not advocating Socialism, but it also seems to me clear that his differences with Mousavi were much deeper than just a dispute over how fast should be the pace of the process of integrating the Iranian economy with the West.

    BTW, Shabnam, because so many Ayatollahs and other Iranian political figures have similar names, e.g. "Khomeini", "Khameini" etc, and also since as a USian, Iranian names are strange and exotic to me, it would be helpful to me if you could be very careful about the spelling of names?

    Thanks again, I do appreciate your sharing of your knowledge.

  27. shabnam said on August 31st, 2010 at 1:47pm #


    You should not look at Mousavi alone. Mousavi did not represent himself rather he entered the race close to the ‘reformists’, Rafsanjani/Khatami camp, who has given many concessions to the west but has received nothing for it except a place on the ‘Axis of Evils’ list. Mousavi did not want to enter the race, but since Khatami was not able to gain the support of the ‘reformists’, Mousavi was pushed into the race and, therefore, he was viewed as part of Rafsanjani/Khatami camp from the beginning who are willing to give many concessions against Iranian interest to stay in power. Ahmadinejad defended the Iranian enrichment program vigorously, opposite to Khatami that stopped the enrichment for more than two years and received nothing for it, which helped Ahmadinejad’s re election.
    Now, anyone who thinks Iran needs an experienced leader to solve Iran’s problems, does not need to bring pre condition for his entry into the race. Mousavi was reluctant to enter the race and told everyone that he would not enter the election campaign as long as Khatami stays in the race. He entered the race after Khatami quit the race. During the debate, Mousavi tried to present himself closer to the Western policy by attacking Ahmadinejad’s ‘Latin American’ policy meaning his close relations with Chaves, Ortega from Nicaragua and others.
    On the other hand, Ahmadinejad is considered part of Ayatollah Khamenei camp; both of whom are the targets of the western propaganda campaign, not Rafsanjani/Khatami or Mousavi.

    It has been reported that Mohammad Khatami and Massoomeh Ebtekar, who was involved in hostage taking after the revolution, were invited to Bilderberg secret meeting in 1999 Portugal. You can find their names among other participants in the following link.

  28. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 2:54pm #

    Thanks again, Shabnam, I think it’s clear now that Mousavi and Ahmadinejad occupy opposite or near-opposite parts of the Iranian political spectrum?

    Re the Bilderbergers, I recently found and downloaded the roster of attendees at their latest convocation; if anyone is interested I could post it?

    From the large fraction of attendees who are prominent US Jewish Zionists, like Wolfowitz, Zoellick, Wohenstetter to name a few, it appears quite obvious that the Bilderberg group has been the target of a process similar to what other onetime paleo-conservative Republican or “Liberal” Democrat Party thinktanks have experienced in recent years: infiltration and acquisition by the Neo-cons, aka Ziocons.

    So when someone maintains “all the focus on Zionism & Israel lets the real culprits like the Bilderbergers and their ilk off the hook”, we’ll have to let them know that the Bilderberger’s “ilk” are… (surprise!) the Zionazis themselves!

  29. bozh said on August 31st, 2010 at 3:05pm #

    “ergodic” means that in infinity of time any event has zero chance of not occurring.
    So, we can be certain that N-weapons would be used. Thus anyone who refuses to excersize the tenet to bear arms would be criminal towards own people.
    Precisely why christo-talmudic crowd wanted to attack iran.
    It is scared now to attack iran as what may ensue nobody knows, but world plutos don’t want to lose business and world-wide they are in command and not congress-wh-judiciary in US or parliaments elsewhere.
    Of course, it is a taboo topic talking about WMD use; since, obviously they will be used.
    As soon as US is absolute certain about ability to fend off any retaliatory strikes against itself, it would destroy much of afrika, s.america, and asia.
    And i do not think russians and chinese dn’t know that! tnx

  30. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 3:13pm #

    Oops, Wolfensohn, not “Wohenstetter”, duh. dunno where that came from, must be the heat.

    …okay, you’re right, it isn’t that hot today. Innate Stupiditidy, what can I say? as amends, here’s the whole Ten Most Wanted List:

    Boot Max Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security StudiesCouncil on Foreign RelationsCollinsTimothy C. Senior Managing Director and CEORipplewood HoldingsLLCHolbrookeRichard C. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and PakistanJohnsonJames A. Vice ChairmanPerseusLLC
    USA JordanJr.Vernon E. Senior Managing DirectorLazard Frères & Co. LLCKeaneJohn M. Senior PartnerSCP PartnersGeneralUS ArmyRetired
    USA KentMuhtar President and CEOThe Coca-Cola CompanyKleinfeldKlaus President and CEOAlcoa Inc.Kravis, Henry R. Senior Fellow, Hudson InstitutUSA AltmanRoger C. Chairman and CEOEvercore PartnersInEberstadtNicholas N. Henry Wendt Scholar in Political EconomyAmerican Enterprise Institute for Public Policy ResearchFerguson, Niall Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University Mundie, Craig J. Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation Perle, Richard N. Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Rockefeller, David Former Chairman, Chase Manhattan Bank
    USA Rubin, Barnett R. Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, Center for International Cooperation, New York University Sheeran, Josette Executive Director, UN World Food Programme Steinberg, James B. Deputy Secretary of State Thiel, Peter A. President, Clarium Capital Management, LLC Volcker, Paul A. Chairman, Economic Recovery Advisory Board Wolfensohn, James D. Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC
    USA Wolfowitz, Paul Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
    INT Zoellick, Robert B. President, The World Bank Groupe, Inc. USA Alexander, Keith B. Director, National Security Agency Graham, Donald E. Chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company
    No virus found in this incoming message.
    Checked by AVG – http://www.avg.com

    Okay, so I can’t count either. Big deal.

  31. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 3:22pm #

    Bozh: Let T: X ? X be a measure-preserving transformation on a measure space (X, ?, ?), usually assumed to have finite measure. An element A of ? is T-invariant mod 0 if T??1(A) differs from A by a set of measure zero:

    where denotes the symmetric difference. If this is true then A is Tn-invariant mod 0 for all n.

    A measure-preserving transformation T as above is ergodic if for every T-invariant element mod 0 measurable set A, either A or its complement X\A has measure zero.

    & if you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you:)

  32. lichen said on August 31st, 2010 at 4:02pm #

    Iran’s far-right, radical capitalist, oppressive, undemocratic government is despicable, but at the same time the country should not be attacked; the propaganda of right wing nationalists aside.

  33. teafoe2 said on August 31st, 2010 at 5:34pm #

    bozh said on August 31st, 2010 at 3:05pm #

    “ergodic” means that in infinity of time any event has zero chance of not occurring.<

    I hadn't encountered the term before so I looked it up. The definition Bozh offers is not similar to any I found online or in the dictionary.

    It's quite an interesting concept, if you're into intellectual games, but one sans any useful application except in the pursuit of new and more efficiently murderous weapon designs. Or new kinds of literary mind-f**k.

  34. Jonas Rand said on September 1st, 2010 at 1:55am #

    3bancan Call me crazy, but I think your rhetoric is so closed-minded and that you must be an agent provocateur. This is the opinion that I hold about some others here (no, not Deadbeat, Teafoe2 or Mary) who post purportedly “anti-Zionist” statements that are rather insulting to other members here and/or refuse to be open to other opinions. Also, teafoe2 I am 14 not 13 years old.

    I don’t agree with Iran’s government policies wholeheartedly – or those of any government, for that matter, especially one which marches its “Revolutionary Guards” paramilitary in huge processions made to intimidate people. I am not in agreement with the policies of a government which has the death penalty or commits other blatant human rights violations (including USA and its totalitarian client state Saudi Arabia). It is too close to religion to me, which seems to contribute to the lunacy of politics. Theocracies run by Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. are always harmful because they mix irrationality/pseudoscience (religion) with politics. Additionally it does not want social justice for its population (i.e. human rights, democracy, socialism and public participation in politics). However, there is no need to declare war on it because we are the almighty United States, and we want Khuzestani oil, or because Israel is God-given All-Jewish Israel, and needs to bring Light (control) to The Brainwashed Masses of ‘evil Muslim dogs’. And those are the reasons for a proposed attack on Iran, no matter what (probably false, as nuclear power programs like Iran’s are supervised intensely by the IAEA) pretext they use for it. That is apparent from the history of Israel, and the even richer and longer history of the United States, having involvement in Iran.

  35. mary said on September 1st, 2010 at 2:36am #

    Was that a compliment? Thanks.

    Yesterday my posts were about:
    a Palestinian boy being arrested and tortured by the IDF
    a little girl in Gaza being shot in the head multiple times by the IDF
    a boy under the supposed care of the UK military being ‘lost’.

    They are representative of the general tone of my comments on DV. I have not commented on this article.

    This is Alan Hart on his website which will probably jar with you too. As usual his words are true.

    What’s the difference between President Ahmadinejad and Rabbi Yosef?
    August 31, 2010

    Short answer. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad did NOT call for Israeli Jews to be annihilated. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Israel’s Shas party, HAS called, more than once, for the Palestinians (and, in fact, all Arabs) to be exterminated.

    As reported by the mainstream Western media, Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. What that meant, it was asserted, was the destruction, the driving into the sea, of Israel’s Jews.

    What Ahmadinejad actually called for was the de-Zionization of Palestine. His actual words were to the effect that he wanted the Zionist state to disappear as the Soviet Union had done. In other words, there would be a place in a de-Zionized Palestine for all Jews who wanted to stay and live in peace with their fellow Arab citizens.

    As has been widely and accurately reported, Rabbi Yosef called on 27 August for the Palestinian Authority, its President Mahmoud Abbas and “all these evil people” (the occupied and oppressed Palestinians) to “perish from this world.” How was this to happen? “God should strike them with a plague.”

    And what if God doesn’t act in the way Rabbi Yosef wishes?

    He gave his own answer to that in 2001 when his subject was the Arabs. He said: “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You (the Israeli government and the IDF) must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

    But let us give credit where credit is due. Rabbi Yosef, unlike most others in Israel’s political, military and spiritual leadership, is being honest. I mean only that he dares to say in public what he really thinks.

  36. Deadbeat said on September 1st, 2010 at 4:48am #

    Yes, mary is absolutely correct. Racism and all supremacist ideology is a cancer on the human race. It creates irrational hatred and is poisonous to the soul.

  37. bozh said on September 1st, 2010 at 7:24am #

    teafoe2, thanks for your rudeness.

  38. hayate said on September 3rd, 2010 at 7:27pm #


    Thanks for the detailed write up about Iranian politics. I had computer troubles since the early part of the week and only just now got back.