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

1 2 3 4 6
  • doug scorgie

    Fred
    1 Dec, 2014 – 4:14 pm

    “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.”
    ……………………………………………………………………………….

    Well said Fred.

    You can talk sense when the subject is not the SNP.

  • harry law

    Since the US have been sanctioning Iran since the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979, and since the US and EU sanctions are against International law [the official sanctions agreed by the UNSC are fairly mild and only target the nuclear energy program] The Iranians could be forgiven if they view these, in effect unilateral US sanctions as an ongoing regime change exercise. If the US/North Korea negotiations are anything to go by, the US constantly moved the goalposts, first by offering inter alia 2 light water reactors and 500,000 tons of oil per year in exchange for a suspension of enrichment, and then reneging on the deal because Bush was put under pressure from Congress. I agree with N-, any substantial concession which discriminates against Iran alone, would only encourage US/Israel to push for more, for instance stopping them from producing conventional weapons [missiles etc] the list would be endless, that’s the way bullies work. Appeasement is what it would be and fatal when dealing with aggressive states like US/Israel.

  • Ant Heaford

    Ben – is membership of that particular club dependant on having a Rothschild controlled central bank?

    I don’t know so much about it but can see a smoking gun…

  • Herbie

    The way it worked in Iraq was:

    1. Sanctions

    2. UN Inspections

    3. Lies

    4. Bombs

    5. Slaughter, Mayhem, Chaos, Destruction

    Let’s just hope the Iranians have forgotten, eh.

    Bomb bomb, bomb Iran

    arr. John McCain

    Why anyone is still pretending the US is an honest broker is beyond me.

  • falloch

    Conjunction: ‘ 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 …’ Actually the boundary changes are a more recent phenomenon – or rather, one that was used a long time ago and then discarded for some time and is now being revived. Republicans tried to steal elections (witness Al Gore) but found shouting ‘voter fraud’ wasn’t as effective as enacting legislation to change boundaries. However, starting in the 1970s, fundamentalist Christians and anti-choice people worked out a slow and patient strategy that went under the Democrat radar for years – they got people elected into boring, local posts – like school boards, traffic commissions, dogcatcher, whatever – while the Dems focused on the big stuff – until whole towns and counties and eventually states turned Republican red. Republicans started or joined already functioning ‘Christian’ talk-radio stations, and attracted commercial sponsorship, while the Dems laughed at the Republican hillbilly hick god-botherers. The Repugs gradually built their base, and along the way collected big money donors and Focus on the Family-type organisations, until finally Democrats in various states woke up to realise too late that their Dem senators and House members were under grave threat. This is only one part of the story of the rise of Republican domination, but it’s an important one.

  • craig Post author

    Fred

    Quite agree and Herbie, I don’t in the least think the US is an honest broker. I just think there are times in diplomacy – as in chess – when an unexpected concession is a brilliant strategy and this is one of them. Iran would wrongfoot its opponents now by some very small concessions. I reckon a 25% reduction in number of crucibles would flummox them, combined with an acceptance of the offer of Russian processing.

  • Clark

    Craig, while not wishing to detract from the dangers of Iranian alchemical research, I think you mean ‘centrifuges’ rather than ‘crucibles’.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    We are informed this evening that the Russian ruble fell by almost 8% in trading today before recovering slightly.

    Its fall over recent weeks is ascribed to a combination of the falling price of crude oil and the effects of sanctions.

    This inevitably leads – has already led – to reduced state budget receipts and an increase in inflation.

    For how much longer must the Russian people – whom I wish well – suffer the effects of a corrupt government under the thumb of President Putin’s oligarch friends and supporters, an economy wilfully kept dependent on one product (hydrocarbons) and the inevitable results of an outmoded military adventurism?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Craig

    “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.”
    _________________-

    That is (probably) factually correct but I view that point as a little dash of condiment offered on a side-plate to spice up the main meal of your post.

    You of course omit to mention the rather different degrees of function, umber and political weight of the Iranian clerics on the one hand and the Bishops in the House of Lords on the other.

    Or perhaps you don’t : your sentence “The unfortunate fact is that President Rouhani remains subservient to Ayotollah Khameini” refers.

  • harry law

    In my opinion neither the US or Israel will attack Iran, the loss of Saudi crude from the Ras Tanura terminal through the Strait of Hormuz would destabilize the world economy, the Iranians now have the weaponry to close the Strait, Chinese supplied sea skimming missiles, many submarines [some designed specially for the shallow gulf]. Some military experts say the US surface fleet including those vulnerable aircraft carriers could all be sunk in the event of conflict.In 2002 the US held war games in the Gulf, Van Riper commanded force red, using unconventional warfare he sunk the US fleet.http://www.rense.com/general64/fore.htm Of course I could be wrong.

  • fred

    “For how much longer must the Russian people – whom I wish well – suffer the effects of a corrupt government under the thumb of President Putin’s oligarch friends and supporters, an economy wilfully kept dependent on one product (hydrocarbons) and the inevitable results of an outmoded military adventurism?”

    Last I looked Russia’s finances were looking a darn sight healthier than Ukraine’s.

    I don’t think they’ll blink first.

  • John Goss

    “We are informed this evening that the Russian ruble fell by almost 8% in trading today before recovering slightly.”

    1. Who are we informed by (as well as your good self).
    2. Is that fall in terms of the dollar? ($ = a currency hanging on by what?)
    3. Do people who believe in money markets really understand what rises and falls in a particular currency mean?
    4. How will this effect the domestic Russian market if the fall is in terms of dollars? (Remember Harold Wilson’s the pound £ in your pocket?)
    5. Since the taxpayer bailed out our banks when the dollar collapses who will bail out the United States?
    6 When the dollar collapses what will the rouble be measured against?

    You are so knowledgeable on money matters (appear to live by them) I would really value your opinions on these questions. As I am more concerned with moral issues I would very much appreciate a summary of how big money works.

    Finally, can you please tell me why Chancellor George Osborne was so happy at Prime Minister’s Questions? Is it due to our thriving economy? Have all his predictions come true? Or is he on some kind of drug?

    http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/what-on-earth-was-going-on-with-george-osborne-at-pmqs–xkniRraSOe

    Thank you so much.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Last I looked Russia’s finances were looking a darn sight healthier than Ukraine’s.”
    ________________

    Obviously. But that’s about as relevant – and useful – as saying that Uzbekistan is doing better, economically, than North Korea.

    What was your point?

  • guano

    [snip]
    Talking of which US West Coast radioactive shrimps from Fukushimo ought to be enough to put any country off Nuclear Energy.
    What happened to Nevermind’s solar proposals for KSA this morning?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mr Goss

    Happy to answer the money questions (I’ll leave it up to you – a self-declared arbiter of morality – to pronounce on the moral issues; just don’t lention Stalinism, eh?)

    1/. The BBC. The exchange rate websites. Reuters. Agence France Presse. And you can read about it in tomorrow’s newspapers.

    Oh! I know – it’s all lies, a false flag, never happened! 🙂

    2/. Against a basket of the major international currencies.

    3/. Certainly. Currency fluctuations arises out of what happens in the real world.

    4/. It will make the price of imports paid for in major international currencies rise.

    There is however the consolation that Cuba and Venezuela will probably give Russia a Friend’s Discount. And the Chinese will doubtlessly keep to the old exchange rate as a token of commercial altruism.

    5/. No one will need to bail out the US so your question is sans objet.

    6/. It won’t, so again your question is sans objet.

    [craigmurray.org.uk – snip]

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Moderators

    “A release of toxic criticism of his darling Israel sets off Habbashrill’s emergency alarms. Deviate, deviate ..”
    ____________

    The above is ad hominem, consitutes bickering and is “without political content”.

    You know what you have to do, don’t you?

    LOL

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Check out Gideon Osborne here, its alleged he’s coked out of his brain, his demeanour is somewhat bizarre in my opinion.

    You decide for yourself.

    http://chrisspivey.org/a-quick-spiv-on-sunday/
    _________________

    I hesitated long before daring to ask what follows, but since Mr Spivey is often referred to as a presumably authoratative source on this blog I can hold back no longer.

    Can anyone – perhaps someone who often quotes him – tell me what Mr Spivey used to do – or perhaps still does – before he became the well-known blogger he obviously is now; in other words, what was/is his job?

    Should he have been – or still is – a journalist as well as a blogger, which publications did he – does he – wrote for? Any MSM?

    If only a blogger these days, how does he make his living?

    Thanks for any responses.

  • Tony M

    It has always been western European policy, following in the footsteps of the Third Reich, to try deflect Russia southwards and eastwards, particularly towards Iran, where it will come into direct conflict with the UK and US; in the post-ww2 era any such expansion could then be lazily decried as the spread of communism, something all ‘right-thinking’ sorts could easily be whipped up into a frenzy about. The problems in the correct order are Israel’s belligerence, paranoia and ongoing genodice of Arab people, with destabilisation and ‘Lebanonisation/Balkanisation’, i.e. splitting into factionas of the wider region, combined with their arsenal of illegal immoral nuclear, chemical and biological and $deity knows what else, weaponry, in the hands of a fundamentalist and genocidal failed state.

    The deliberately created economic recession, to screw even more out of the poorer people, for the benefit of the pig-in-muck middle classes, has sapped demand for oil enough to create volatility in prices, but Russia’s long-term supply deals with China in exchange for mutual currency support as well as supply of cheap manufactured goods/labour and raw materials means they’re pretty resilient, as well as that the sanctions have boosted Russian domestic production in all areas and reduced need for foreign currency for imports and dependence; with western production all but completely out-sourced to China, not even excepting military equipment, what little there is of Russian consumer demand for ‘western’ goods or equivalent standard of living to the middle classes of SE England can be met without any western intermediaries or their currencies -not equivalent products but identical products direct from China. Frankly there is no western manufacturing left, other than high value designer branding of far-eastern mass produced goods, Russia’s plight is only valid if you foolishly imagine the people there to be more than just slightly obsessed with over-priced big brand products, with name and label counting more than form, function or quality, which isn’t the case. The internal value in terms of purchasing power of the Ruble is greater than the value relative to foreign currencies, the Ruble in your pocket (©Harold Wilson) is worth the same if not more, not less, but this time it’s more probably quite true.

    The de-industrialised west is in a far greater predicament, it is impossible in the UK to find willing manufacturers of things we once traditionally made, not only have the skills been lost, but the most essential equipment, such as for casting, forging or machining metal has been long ago scrapped or shipped abroad at scrap value, where it is put back into productive, profitable use in places as varied as Australia or Thailand, where with shipping costs back to the UK, the end product is now three or four times as expensive relatively here as at any time in the last hundred years.

    Pity us, envy Russia that the wholesale looting of their economy is being reversed.

    Nuclear technology spells the certain death and extinction of humanity, it is already a foregone conclusion, not if, simply when. Illegal Israeli nuclear proliferation such as to apartheid-era South Africa is a fact as well as their excessive for any credible ‘need’ stockpiles. Iran is not the problem here, though it is unwise for them – particularly as has they have great solar potential and mountainous regions where considerable wind power could be harnessed – as it is unwise for anyone to pursue or to continue with the folly of nuclear power. I think they would have to have an operational reactor to fully comprehend the staggering whole life cost of operating such temperamental beasts, before realising the mistake they are far from alone in making.

    Considering the vulnerability of the largely coastal Israel, to the tsunami effect of the underwater deep-sea nuclear detonation, one sees quite how they have some motivation for keeping so many Palestinians barely alive and densely packed into the Gaza Strip concentration camp site, as tethered goats or human shields against Israels glaring security achilles heel, which would after the inundation leave the land in a recoverable, habitable condition in the medium and long term.

    On a personal 1 to 10 ten scale of unstable “religious nutterism” and danger to the rest of the world -measured in the applicable units: the Tonym, I’d put Islamic Iran at around 1 or 1.5, the US around 8 Tonyms and Israel ringing the bell and winning a stuffed toy, on a knockout 10.

  • Laguerre

    re peacewisher. I am not quite sure how a deal on a pipeline with Turkey is Putin leaving Asad to his fate. It seems completely irrelevant.

  • lysias

    How can an expansion of Russia be portrayed as an expansion of Communism? Godless Communism no longer rules in Russia. Putin is more Christian than our leaders in the West are. The Russian government is more Christian than our Western governments are.

  • Peacewisher

    Have you not been following the chess game, Laguerre? Putin became unpopular because of his move in 2013 to keep Assad in power, which alienated Turkey. Obama subsequently also managed to upset Turkey, and Putin’s bold move to align with Turkey seems to put have Assad “en prise”. Erdogan protected by being in NATO (how ironic!) Bulgaria unnecessarily sacrificed. Well that’s how I see it anyway.

  • Peacewisher

    Next move? US/EU threatens Turkey’s membership of NATO? I’m sure
    Erdogan would have weighed this one up against what he gains. Best bet for Syria now has to be a UN force, but they’d need to do more than peacekeeping…

  • Republicofscotland

    “I hesitated long before daring to ask what follows, but since Mr Spivey is often referred to as a presumably authoratative source on this blog I can hold back no longer.

    Can anyone – perhaps someone who often quotes him – tell me what Mr Spivey used to do – or perhaps still does – before he became the well-known blogger he obviously is now; in other words, what was/is his job?

    Should he have been – or still is – a journalist as well as a blogger, which publications did he – does he – wrote for? Any MSM?2

    “If only a blogger these days, how does he make his living?”
    ________________________________________

    How quaint you hesitating, it would also appear that with almost 7000 signatures asking for an inquiry regarding the allegation of Gideon’s cokehead antics, that many more folk than Mr Spivey noticed.

    Of course your, less than useless deflection tactics, are laughable.

    Whether or not Mr Osborne is guilty I couldn’t possibly say, you on the other hand, with your tactile reply are dubious at best.

    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/demand-for-mp-s-to-be-drug-tested-starting-with-george-osbourne?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1417210999

  • Peacewisher

    Hmmm! Oil up almost 5% as Wall St. closes, yet not reported… on the contrary the BBC at 10 o’clock was still reporting a fall. I guess this wasn’t supposed to happen, and all those headlines and articles from the week-end would have been ruined. Wonder what will happen with the Asian markets?

1 2 3 4 6

Comments are closed.