Iranian Opportunity 162


Israel has been an apartheid state for a long time, but its cabinet is now promoting legislation that makes it impossible for even its most ardent supporters to deny that fact. With the cumulative effect of continuing land-grab and intermittent horrific attacks on Gaza, the climate of international public opinion has never been so resolutely opposed to Israel’s actions.

Iran had a tremendous opportunity to make a fundamental shift of the political balance in the Middle East through concessions on its nuclear programme. For Iranian sanctions to end just as Israel determinedly outrages the world, could change the geo-political game significantly. On any objective measure, the economic gains from ending sanctions vastly outweigh any possible economic gains from nuclear energy. I have always argued that nuclear power is a ridiculously complex, dangerous, and extravagantly expensive way to boil water. That is all it actually does, boil water to drive a steam turbine. Iran’s pig-headed insistence that its “right” to this crazed technology is much more important than the economic welfare of its people, is gesture politics of the worst kind.

Iran has undoubtedly improved, but remains a theocratic state with an appalling human rights record, where the persecution of gays is particularly horrifying. There are only two countries in the world with systems of government so appalling as to have seats reserved for clerics in the legislature. One is Iran. The other is the United Kingdom.

I can understand why, under continued neo-con and Israeli threat, retaining the option of developing a nuclear weapon has seemed attractive to Iran. It remains a gross hypocrisy that Israel suffers no sanctions for its large nuclear arsenal, while Iran suffers sanctions for the possibility it might one day start to develop one. Nonetheless I oppose the holding of weapons of mass destruction anywhere, including Iran. The unfortunate fact is that President Rouhani remains subservient to Ayotollah Khameini, and thus a golden opportunity for Iran may be missed.

It is also interesting that the latest round of talks in Vienna did not receive the breathless coverage of earlier rounds, despite their critical importance. There is a curious lethargy in the international community’s approach to the talks. That was for two reasons.

Firstly Obama is now a lame duck President. While impending full Republican control of both houses ought to be a reason to push things through quickly, Obama is wary of expending too much of his tiny remaining store of political capital in yet more conflict with Netanyahu.

The second reason is oil. With oil prices already much fallen, many of the participants are wary of releasing a flood of Iranian oil on to the market by ending sanctions. This especially affected the Russian attitude. In past talks, Russia has played a brilliant hand, with their offers to take effective control of Iranian enrichment technology having stymied an earlier Israeli-stoked Western appetite for conflict. A talks insider told me that this time, while previous offers were not withdrawn, Lavrov was far less prominent and active and no new Russian initiatives were forthcoming. Russia really does not need a further drop in the oil price right now.

I remain hopeful that Iran will realise that there is a huge opportunity here. If Iran tactically backs down on its nuclear programme in the current circumstances, that will not be a defeat for Iran but a defeat for the neo-cons.


162 thoughts on “Iranian Opportunity

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  • N_

    If Iran were to back down, they would have to consent to a more or less permanent ‘UN’ or ‘US’ inspectorate in the country, operating on behalf of Israel.

    Israel is worse than an apartheid state. Its leadership have explicitly called for using the threat of mass starvation against Iran. Nice guys.

    Iran is no military threat to Israel.

    Nor is public opinion, anywhere.

    It was remarkable to read western press coverage of how clever the Russians have been, employing public relations and fogging and other techniques of psychological warfare in the East Ukraine. Well yeah, they have – and they’ve outplayed the Brits, the Germans (‘EU’) and the US. So whaddayaknow, the west aren’t the best at everything. But what about Navalny and other western efforts in Russia, and more to the point, what about the massive Zionist effort in the US, the UK and the other bits of the west that matter? What’s that if it’s not psychological warfare.

    You get really fucking fed up of irregular verbs that take different forms according to what side is being spoken of. ‘They’ use psycholoical warfare; ‘we’ spread freedom. ‘They’ take hostages, ‘we’ detain fighters, etc. etc. etc.

    …and nobody’s going to get ahead in their job for recognising the Zionazi elephant in the dining room for what it is. Jenny Tonge, where are you?

    The premise that Iranian nuclear power is some kind of military threatis Israeli propaganda. I am opposed to both nuclear weapons and nuclear power, in all countries, but Iranian nuclear technology is not a threat to the world, as the Zionazis tell us it is.

    The Zionists want the ‘clock to be ticking’.

    Next time it’s going to be much bigger than Iceland or Cyprus.

  • BrianFujisan

    Brilliant Post Craig…Sorry i couldn’n hang aboot on saturday…

    I was in a carvery Dumbarton…. great food clean’d my plate… because i collected what i thought i could eat just enough… it got thinking of torture… in a round about way

  • craig Post author

    N

    I really don’t think a permanent UN inspectorate in the country would do Iran any harm. Of course some of them would be spies, but 99% of spy games are a pointless waste of money and again would be vastly less harmful to Iran than the sanctions.

  • N_

    Yes, but the whole thing is playing Israel’s game, which is why the west supports sanctions in the first place. If Iran backs down, Israel won’t stop pushing. They never do. They are the biggest threat to peace.

  • Enoch

    Well, the Gazans do attack Israel… from time to time.
    You are an establishment man, desperately struggling to revitalise your career.
    Think again.
    How many people read Guido? How many people read you, you tight-fisted carpet-bagging-Englishman?

  • BrianFujisan

    N

    Yes

    but their Backup.. USA..and us U.K… i have a wee bit of inside stuff.. I worry.. Re U.K Training of Isis..

  • craig Post author

    N_

    Trying to be stupidly more macho than Israel is just what the Israelis want, and on this issue what the Iranians have done to their great detriment. A posture of macho confrontation is very seldom the answer you seem to think it is.

  • Ant Heaford

    Sanctions and the current drive down of the oil price are economic terrorism. The assassinations of Iranian scientist is international state sponsored terrorism. Israel’s unaccounted nuclear arsenal is genuinely terrifying.

    Suggesting Iran kowtow to the West’s demands is an endorsement of the policies that the banks and corporations dictate to ‘our’ politicians. I do appreciate that peace can only come from dialogue and compromise, but personally i feel that boat has long since sailed.

  • conjunction

    Yes Obama is a lame duck president, and arguably has been at least to some extent ever since he was first elected. One thing I don’t understand about US politics is how the Republicans have managed to keep control of Congress and now got Senate. Apparently they have been surreptitiously changing boundaries for a long time and the system works in such a way that most elections are uncontested because the result is obvious. Well why have the Democrats allowed this, and why is there apparently little move to change the system?

    Most followers of this blog write as if they don’t care who is president because they are all equally bad, but I don’t share that view.

  • jjb

    Hi Craig

    The problem with Iran has never been the nukes, which is just a convenient handle. The problem is that it is aligned with the “wrong” people. Iran in bed with Russia and China is just too much. Any “solution” to the “nuclear issue” that does not adress the real problem is not going to solve anything. In reality, USA would not settle for anything else than full control of Iran external politics

  • passerby

    remains a theocratic state with an appalling human rights record, where the persecution of gays is particularly horrifying.

    Just how many clichés can we get away with?

    As ever the notion of Gays! This little chestnut coming form the various think tanks and billionaire funded “freedom foundations” of all colour and creeds, all of which are undoubtedly designed in the way of vilification of Iran or any other target, be it true or untrue.

    Contemporaneous data pointing to a gorgeous looking tall chap, as flamboyant as Liberarchi going about his work in the street opposite to the British Embassy, in Tehran, are clearly telling of the repression of gays in Iran! However, this chap and many likes of him ought to have escaped the attention of any one working in that outfit (British embassy), to be mentioned to anyone outside Tehran.

    What have sexual proclivities to do with politics aside? On goes the relentless vilification of those “theocratic” pooh bah in Iran.

    Needless to point out that Nuclear concession is a code word for Iran to dump all the nuclear sciences and its offshoots in an effort to become a member of the “international community”, aka toadies (bitches) of the totally bankrupt Western hegemony.

    The fact that zionistan is an aberration to all values human, or for that matter animal, is of no question. However to find that there is an accepted equation that tacitly is endorsed by all and sundry, that justifies the existence of such a disgusting arrangements that promotes such a horrible country as zionistan, itself is telling of the degrees of bankruptcy of ideology and paucity of thought on offer.

    Iran’s fight for her right to nuclear technology, is the fight of all of the non-aligned nations and the third world, whom are expected to accept the unequal and disgustingly racist status quo, all in the name of progress.

    Frankly to find even the so called “alternative” to be singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest neocon scoundrels (pax americanan, when the cowboys are no on the jolly and shoot outs) albeit in a nuanced fashion clearly proves, there is no hope of change any time soon.

    Nuclear energy, is the bedrock of the materials technology and medical isotopes as well as many other products that are needed by any industrial country. However because there is a probability of a fire cracker to be made out of it too. That can upset the apple cart and give the red indians similar fire sticks as the cowboys, the whole of the bath water, along with the bath tub and anything else its vicinity are thrown out, just in the way of preserving the barbaric arrangements of the hairless apes, whose sole methods of dispute resolution is war, and more war.

  • Republicofscotland

    Iran has undoubtedly improved, but remains a theocratic state with an appalling human rights record, where the persecution of gays is particularly horrifying. There are only two countries in the world with systems of government so appalling as to have seats reserved for clerics in the legislature. One is Iran. The other is the United Kingdom.
    _________________________________

    I watch a clip on Liveleaks of Iran and if you’re gay and decide to have a sex change that’s okay, in fact the government and health service will pay for it.

    On the other hand if you’re gay and decide not to become a woman/man, then you’ll be executed, if caught.

    As for Rouhani, I’m pretty sure he studied at a Glasgow University.

  • Republicofscotland

    “I remain hopeful that Iran will realise that there is a huge opportunity here. If Iran tactically backs down on its nuclear programme in the current circumstances, that will not be a defeat for Iran but a defeat for the neo-cons.”
    _________________________________

    It was only recently that Netanyahu asked for more sanctions against Iran, claiming Iran’s nuclear programme is geared up to destroy Israel.

    Would Iran really be stupid enough to launch a nuclear attack on Israel if it had the capability?

  • nevermind

    “I really don’t think a permanent UN inspectorate in the country would do Iran any harm. Of course some of them would be spies, but 99% of spy games are a pointless waste of money and again would be vastly less harmful to Iran than the sanctions.”

    Good of you to flag up the international lethargy that resulted from Netanyahu’s latest fit and interjections last Friday.

    Unless all the Hans Blix’s have disappeared, an UN/IAEA inspection regime should have no problems with inspecting Iran.

    What exercises my brain is that Israel’s nuclear hegemony and their threat to use their nuclear arsenal, having been called back from the brink of an attack once already, what would happen if they actually nuke Iran?

    I can’t see any retaliatory strike on their facilities, not by any EU US or UK military, and sanctions to the most UN ignorant people will not be enough in response, they’re just ignore those.

    So what if Russia then takes out Dimona and its underground arsenals? what would happen then? We would have a major international nuclear exchange coming, with the USUK and EU all chiming in with Israel.

    I said this before, unless Israel comes to the table, signs the NNPT and is ready to put its nuclear arsenal into the deal, all sanctions on Iran should be lifted and the UN inspection regime continue as normal as for any other country.

    Any country that starts a nuclear exchange on a whim, by talking up other threats and getting themselves in a tizz, should be punished by the world community with the same means.

    Its not Iran that has a history of bad neighbourly relations, its Israel. Iran has not started a war in 250 years, whilst Israel is in permanent state of war due to its, now official, Apartheid status in their UN enclave.

    It is sad that Israel’s zionists, always backward orientated when it comes to their rights and history, has now discarded and rejected the Balfour declarations basic principles and therefore the grace given to them by the UN world community, they have undermined their own claims, aims and objectives for the future.

  • nevermind

    insert after inspection regime, ‘should have no problems with inspecting Iran’.

    next blog change a timed edit button please.

  • doug scorgie

    I am not enamoured by the idea of producing electricity using dangerous and expensive nuclear reactors but I wonder if there is a place for them in the mid to long-term to wean us off fossil fuels.

    Linking this to massive investment in the research and development of fossil-free renewable energy should be a no-brainer but we have people (even people with big brains) that are in denial of the need to stop using oil, coal and gas.

    Instead we see massive investment in the search for new deposits of climate changing fuels; like we now see in the arctic, for example, since the ice melted.

    Just as turkeys don’t vote for Christmas; global energy giants don’t invest in green energy. That is the “logic” of neo-liberal capitalism.

    So the planet and the 99% will have to suffer in the interests of the rich and powerful few. Unless we can get the bastards to listen and do something about it the planet is f****ed.

    Putting your latest thread into context:

    Iran has only 1 nuclear reactor.

    The USA has 100; France has 58; South Korea has 23 the Ukraine has 15 etc. etc…

    Why should Iran be singled out for sanctions for doing what, under international law, is their right?

    Why is it “pig-headed” for the Iranians to insist on that right but not “pig headed” for the west to refuse to acknowledge that right but it acknowledges that right to all other signatories to the NNPT?

    Israel has 1 nuclear reactor but it’s not used for producing civilian energy it’s for producing nuclear weapons.

    What does the “international community” have to say on that?

    Maybe it’s “pig-headedness” all round.

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    “Just how many clichés can we get away with?”

    I’m surprised Craig resisted a bunker-buster on Putin.

  • N_

    @Craig – What you propose is concrete and pragmatic. But it should be called by its proper name: appeasement of Israel.

    Iran isn’t essentially a problem for the world. Israel is. If Iran is made into a problem, the underlying problem is still Israel. Which western leadership is ever going to grow a pair and say that it will only consider pushing for denuclearisation of Iran at the same time as pushing for denuclearisation of Israel?

    It beggars belief that Israel hasn’t even signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty; keeps a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear warheads; has been threatening to attack Iran for years – leaving open the possibility of doing it with nuclear weapons – unless the US, Britain, UN, EU etc. do its dirty work for it; runs security at US nuclear installations both civil and military; and still, the sabbath-goy governments of major countries slavishly impose sanctions on…not Israel…oh no…but Iran.

    Personally I think that whenever fascists are appeased, they keep on pushing.

    Perhaps there is an argument that if Iran stops its nuclear programme and allows inspections then the sanctions will be lifted and people in that country will have some of the pressure taken off (even if I don’t buy it). But call it what it is: APPEASEMENT of a frighteningly heavily-armed fascist regime.

    Footnote: ‘theocracy’ is an off concept, since it doesn’t really signify rule by gods. Rule by priests? OK, then the Irish regime is a theocracy. And what about the ‘return to the promised land’? Religious ideology can take a secular form…

  • John Goss

    I don’t know what to make of the right-wing solicitor Michael Shrimpton, who purports to be an expert on secret services, particularly on German Secret Services. He believes Dr David Kelly was murdered, (well everybody believes that), but not because of weapons of mass destruction or Iraq and not by UK secret services, but because of a French shipment of high-grade nuclear material to Iran. According to Shrimpton’s theory German intelligence murdered Dr Kelly because he knew about this and was about to fly out to Tel Aviv to warn contacts in Israel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jU8CDOZGzo

    I agree there are still human rights’ issues in Iran, particularly if you are of the Bahai faith (as Dr Kelly was). I also agree that no powers should develop nuclear weapons (including Iran) and even that those countries which have them should dismantle them. If Shrimpton is right, which without substantial evidence I strongly question, from Iran’s point of view it would be diplomatic suicide to invite in weapons’ inspectors from the UN (today a Zionist-funded US subsidiary). Not only would I not wish to see the UN in Iran, I would like to see it out of Haiti and many other places where puppets have been put in power. Better still, since like the old League of Nations it has become useless, a tool of the new Great Powers, it should be replaced with a global organisation that does not just favour the few and the rich.

    As an aside I am still waiting to see the benefit to the motorist of these massive reductions in global fuel prices. When a barrel goes up the price goes up straight away at least in proportion. That is why nationalisation is the only answer in the long-term, if there is a long-term.

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    N__; Correct on proper usage of theocracy. Israel had no visible earthly King until the people demanded one.

    King Saul did not work out well.

  • doug scorgie

    “…but remains a theocratic state with an appalling human rights record…”

    How did this appalling theocracy come about?

    The Iranian Revolution transformed Iran from an absolute monarchy [brutal dictatorship] under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left the country for exile in January 1979 after strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country, and on February 1, 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting of several million Iranians.

    Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so.

  • Laguerre

    I don’t think that there’s any real opportunity for Iran to exploit. Israel is absolutely against any deal between the US and Iran. They should be able to scupper any prospective deal. In any case, Kerry is doing a lot of finger-wagging, and any available agreement is likely to be punitive. The US doesn’t pay any price, whether a deal is made or not, and the conditions offered will depend on political whim. It is not only Israel influencing the attitudes of the US negotiators, but maybe also these days Iranian exiles who’ve risen to influence in the US business world. They hate the current Islamic government viscerally.

  • Clark

    CNBC have just advertised an upcoming interview with Alsiher Usmanov. 23:00 sometime; I didn’t catch if that’s tonight, or which time-zone it’s for.

  • doug scorgie

    Republicofscotland
    1 Dec, 2014 – 2:45 pm

    “It was only recently that Netanyahu asked for more sanctions against Iran, claiming Iran’s nuclear programme is geared up to destroy Israel.”

    “Would Iran really be stupid enough to launch a nuclear attack on Israel if it had the capability?”
    ………………………………………………………………..

    The countries at greatest risk of falling victim to a “first-strike” are those with no nuclear arsenal themselves.

    Some might argue that Iran would be foolish not to have a nuclear weapons program as a “deterrent” to the increasingly belligerent USA and Israel.

  • fred

    Iran has a bit to learn when it comes to human rights.

    Britain has a lot to learn when it comes to imperialism.

    Saudi is building 16 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years, desalination takes power and they figure if their country is going to advance in the 21st century they’ll be needing lots more water. I don’t see why Saudi should have more right to advance than Iran.

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    ” I don’t see why Saudi should have more right to advance than Iran.”

    Saudis are members of the right club, Fred.

    Membership is key to privilege.

  • Robert

    Dear Mr Murray

    For the record when Yanukovich was overthrown in Ukraine early this year I made a despicable post on this blog apologising for Russian war crimes in Chechnya. May God forgive me. Mea maxima culpa.

    Robert

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