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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  • DomesticExtremist

    Hmmm, in a technical sense, yes, nuclear capability is simply about boiling water.
    Geo-strategically, however, it is a very good insurance policy, especially if you are surrounded by nuclear armed neighbours on almost all sides, some of whom are openly aggressive toward you.
    Nuclear capable countries tend not to get colour-revolutioned or attacked on false pretext.

  • craig Post author

    There are a great many things about George Osborne which are deeply objectionable. His cocaine taking habit is one of the least worrying things about him.

  • fred

    So is that what cocaine makes people look like then?

    I wouldn’t know myself so I will have to rely on the expert judgement of others here but that isn’t just how I had imagined someone who had taken cocaine to look.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    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;”

    A bold but historically inaccurate assertion, I’m afraid.

    Towards and at the end of WW2 the Soviet Union needed no “deflecting” towards Persia by the West; indeed, it tried, all by itself, to help itself to Persian Azerbaijan and it took a lot of cunning effort and diplomacy by the UK and US to get the Soviets to end their occupation of that Persian province.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mr Goss

    “Habbabkuk @ 7:16 pm

    Thank you for the attempt. As the former right honourable (now outright dishonourable) Tony Blair, who really knows how to milk the market, once said “History will judge me.” Well, I hope history does judge him, and a lot of other judges too. Malaysia already has.”

    Well, it was rather more than an attempt, but anyway, I’m glad you appreciated my reply.

    But what does Tony Blair have to do with the travails of the ruble and the collapse (or not) of the US dollar? Are you attempting to deflect?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “Habbabkuk @ 7.26

    Chris Spivey is a registered tattoo artist and body piercer. I’m surprised you haven’t come across him in a professional context 🙂 ”

    Thanks for that, KoWN.

    He is obviously like one of those London black cab drivers who acquire great political and economic knowledge by dint of ferrying politicians and economists around the Metropolis.

    I shall keep a watchful eye out in my favorite Turkish bath frpm now on to see if I can spot any tattoos adorning the limbs of our leaders!

  • John Goss

    Hat-tip KOWN. No prizes, but if you’re in Birmingham I’ll buy the winner a pint. Judge’s decision (that’s me) final, but you can all comment on what impresses you most.

    What would people speculate Habbabkuk has got tattooed on his, let’s be polite, left flank?

    “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street” is hardly likely to win such a prestigious competition. So thinking-caps on.

  • nevermind

    although the picture on Spivvy;s site is being repeated, Osborne looks totally kookie, in dire need of some help/time off.

  • doug scorgie

    John Goss
    1 Dec, 2014 – 7:01 pm

    “Or is he [Osborne] on some kind of drug?

    I had a good look at that clip John and have concluded Osborne, like many other “Honourable” Gentlemen and Ladies of the House, is hooked on one of the most dangerous drugs – Power!

    Either that or he got pissed at lunchtime with Nigel Farage.

  • Ishmael

    Very good analysis, (I could not reach this address from my dumb phone today, so had to get the dam computer out).

    I’v often thought about arming myself with offensive weapons (not with real weapons but more attitude wise) but no, I won’t take that carrot. I think it would be giving in to fear. And fear degrades the ability to really defend yourself.

    It really says something, listening to all the demon stuff on Iran (or wherever), ‘The west’ always picks on women’s rights, gay rights ect. Well I have something to say about real British life, where pregnant women get beat up, (and not by some government, but our own citizens) where gay clubs get burned down (Yes our last local gay bar was burned to the ground) Were giving people beatings “beats” is a totally accepted part of thug culture.

    Iv been to a few places, I don’t know that any show so openly a lack of tolerance and propensity for violence, against men and women, and from men and women. (and i’m talking about real life not how some like to think of our society).

    It’s these highlighted ‘facts’ of other places, that are often only a small part of the overall truth, yet notice how some only seem to see those areas (that are also often not looked at very closely actually, no doubt least it steel the corrupted indignation), no doubt big parts they deny about themselves.

  • Ishmael

    I protest, I did not have to do the math (:

    It seems all to easy to post now. I must be carfull.

  • Fedup

    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.

    German secret services provided the “Curveball” the bogus operative, that was then amplified to “credibility” in the echo chamber of the special operations in Pentagon for the benefit of the warmongers bent on war on Iraq. Now the same secret services are obligingly providing the so called “expert” with a new angle on the story of Dr. Kelly murder.

    Kelly was murdered, is a given, however weaving a pack of lies into an already established fact is a well tried and tested technique, of the warmongers.

    Facts surrounding the stake of Iranians in Eurodif have been transmogrified into the French hand over of the highly enriched Uranium to Iran! This disregarding the reality which is; point blank refusal of French to supply Iran with nuclear fuel for their Bushehr plant! Iranians were good enough to bankroll the company, but are not good enough to use its produce as a shareholder or as a customer.

    The fact that Russians were the only contractors whom were prepared to finish the half finished nuclear plant somehow has been forgotten, and the fact that Iranians were played for chumps by a plethora of Western contractors whom turned up and took the money and did precious little to get the plant up and running.

    The sanctions, or more to the point financial blackmail regimen in line with the financial repression policies of the West, that Iran has been subjected to, has meant that no contractor is prepared to provide fuel for their nuclear plant, or for their medical requirements in the treatment of cancer and medical diagnostic fields, ie angiography, etc. That is in addition to the boycott of various Western companies in various industrial sectors, have compelled Iranians to rely on their own resources and to go it alone.

    This move by Iranians, has resulted in even more aggression by the US and toadies, through flimsy excuses, and threats of violence and war. The debate in this thread could be well understood by gold fish, these are renowned to have short memories hence the ease with which they could identify with this kind of debate.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    To this:-

    ” 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.”

    I say:-

    It was the US in the 1970s after the 1953 coup and the installation of the Shah – which convinced the Shah that nuclear was the way to go. Check it out. The Shah was not initially convinced, because the clear reality to him was that Iran had oil and oodles of oil to not need anything else for several decades to come. The US argument to him was that if he used oil money to develop nuclear – then – Iran would save on domestic consumption and have more oil to sell on the world market and then be economically even more viable and powerful.

    Ain’t it quite ironic how the wheel turns?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mr Goss

    There’s nothing on my left flank or indeed on any of my left parts (I prefer to call them my ‘non-right’ parts).

    You should know I don’t do left.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    You say:-

    “…I oppose the holding of weapons of mass destruction anywhere, including Iran.”

    So, let’s be sensible – if countries like the US, Britain and France hold all these nuclear weapons – why not start with good example? Let the US, Britain and France come to a collective arrangement and start deescalating proliferation and global tensions.

    But – if you do that – then how does the West escalate proliferation and global tensions – to keep selling the arms?

  • Tony M

    It is always interesting when gay rights are raised as an issue to dig out a copy of Brian Heiss’s “Russian Federation Anti-Gay Laws: An Analysis & Deconstruction”. Though Iran is the subject here and the situation there is deplorable, let those who are without sin, cast the first stone …

    It does help to recall that in the US homosexuality – gay sex – is still illegal in 12 states, and these laws are vigourously enforced, even beyond that which the law allows.

    “In 2009, two gay men were kicked out of an El Paso restaurant for kissing in
    public. When the men called the police, officers informed them that “it was
    illegal for two men to kiss in public and said they could be cited for
    ‘homosexual conduct’,” even though the state statute only prohibits “deviate
    sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.””

    “There is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination; there are no state laws in 29 states that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in 33 states that do so based on gender identity. As a result, LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired being denied a promotion and experiencing harassment on the job.”

    “In the United States, as of January 2014, same-sex marriage is legal in 17 States. 28 States prohibit same-sex marriage in their State Constitution.”

    “The 2013 FBI Hate Crime Statistics report states that prejudice over a victim’s sexual orientation was the second largest motivator in hate crimes carried out across the United States in 2012”

    The US could improve greatly and should do so out of humanitarian and equality motivations, and not merely to give detractors less reason to denigrate them on these grounds; it seems Iran is not the only ‘theocratic state with appalling human rights records’ that need to take a long hard look at themselves, in the case of the US however a further aggravating factor is their own hypocrisy.

  • John Goss

    Courtenay, I left a response to your last, as best I could, on the previous page.

    Fedup, I’m warming to that kind of analysis. Don’t believe a word that they say until they provide concrete evidence, which excepting a few incorruptible journalists, excludes MSM writers.

    Off to bed now. The bottle’s empty.

  • Tony M

    Just a snapshot:

    “In Kenya, homosexuality carries a sentence of up to 14 years, 21 with extenuating circumstances. According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission, security forces routinely harass, arrest, and detain LGBT Kenyans, and they demand bribes or sex in exchange for leniency. Those who refuse are sometimes raped.”

    Pakistan: “Its legal system is a hybrid of Sharia Law and British colonial law, which both criminalize homosexuality. Section 377 of the penal code — still operative not just in Pakistan but in other former British colonies: Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, and Jamaica — says: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years nor more than ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

    Quatar: “Its penal code makes sex between men punishable by up to seven years in prison (lesbian sex is legal.) Sharia law is also operative, so at least theoretically Qatari Muslims could be executed for homosexuality.”

    Saudi Arabia: […] which has no penal code, administers Sharia Law, under which married men who engage in homosexual acts can be stoned to death. The religious police (the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) have raided private gatherings to arrest suspected homosexuals.”

    Uganda: “[…] this War-on-Terror ally sparked a furor in the West when its parliament took up the infamous “Kill the Gays” Bill. That bill is stalled for now, but homosexuality carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.”

    United Arab Emirates: “[…] the United Arab Emirates
    has a vague statute that, according to some interpretations, make homosexuality
    punishable by death. In any case, the county’s individual emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi,
    punish homosexual acts with maximum penalties of 14 and 10 years, respectively.”

    Yemen: “In Yemen, an Islamic Republic that administers Sharia law, homosexuality
    carries a sentence of up to one year in prison for unmarried men, death by stoning for
    married men, and up to seven years for women.”

    India: “On December 11, 2013 […] the Supreme Court of India ruled homosexuality to be a
    criminal offense by upholding the constitutional validity of Chapter XVI, Section 377 of
    the Indian Penal Code which criminalizes sexual activities “against the order of nature”,
    including homosexual acts.”

    None of these countries however (for now) are official enemies of UKUSIS.

  • glenn_uk

    @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.

    One reason is the DNC, which has establishment stooges who keep advising that a centrist, “moderate” candidate is the way to win votes. Don’t put up a progressive, heavens to betsy! Just put up a “Republican Lite” and hope for the best.

    I _think_ it was Harry Truman who said something to the effect that, if you put up a real Republican, against a Democrat pretending to be a Republican, the real Republican will win. The Dems simply failed to put up genuine progressives anywhere, who had the courage to take the Repubs on. Obamacare? Run away from it! Gun control? Not us! Not us! Woman’s choice to privacy? Well, that’s a debate we should have!

    The Repubs need to be slapped down all round, but it doesn’t happen. Until the Dems start having the courage to fight for what they believe, and put up candidates who start shouting for it, the populace is going to stay home in droves. Only the gun-nuts, racists, teabaggers and Fox-viewers (I repeat myself) will show up to vote.

    When they have the right voter-ID, and haven’t been knocked off the voter-roll. Take a look at this:

    I’m sure you’re disheartened about every election since Obama started. We share it here.

  • Tony M

    As if it matters, wasn’t Eisenhower a ‘lifelong’ Democrat who ended up President, running as a Republican, against the actual Democratic Party candidate, whoever that was, or was it vice-versa? It’s all a sham, as if they even wield any real power, simply possessing a mile-wide evil streak and seek just the trappings and show of power, occasionally daring to tinker with domestic matters of no great significance. cf. Philip Dru: Administrator.

  • Sami

    Your right Israel ,has been an apartheid State from birth really.. there’s Jew’s and Goyim the worst being the Arab Goyim that live in the same land as the Israeli’s.Created and protected by the West.
    Iran n the other hand has been a target of the West for over 50 years.We have toppled Governments,installed right wing puppets,armed their enemies and sold the poison gas which killled their extremely young troops on the fronts in a 10 year long war which has largely been forgotten.Millions died.The US was giving Iran the same technology that they want to deny now.The West know that Iran wont build the bomb.It is to prevent progress and keep the country on the leash of the West.The great hipocracy is that Israel ,a belligerent country in the ME,has never been subject to any restrictions.
    If the great powers were dealing with Israel simultaneously in the same way,then I wold agree with you Craig,But they are not.They have tried to tie in the nuclear talks with Irans missile defence program.We are not even handed and we have been threatening Iran for almost 20 yearswith alloptions on the table,Israel has a history of bombing nuclear facilities.
    Iran’s policies I believe are correct for the treatment they are being given. Iran is the most highly educated society in the region,very oriented toward west and yet the policies have been to topple any regime to get our own people in to strip the resource rich country,
    No wonder they are arming themselves to the teeth.Wesley predicted that the US road leads to Tehran

  • KingofWelshNoir

    John Goss

    I will happily take that pint with you one day, thanks. In the meantime. I will consult with my Hell’s Angel friends about Habbabkuk’s tattoo.

  • Dreoilin


    Israel plans to reintroduce ban on Palestinian flag

    “A new Israeli bill aims to criminalize the Palestinian flag.

    The eight-point plan — labeled by its supporters as an “anti-terror” bill — was introduced by stridently anti-Palestinian politician Yariv Levin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and a lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.”


  • Peacewisher

    @Ben: Yes, I read that article as well. Alternate reality? In fact, the oil price rallied yesterday to $72 per barrel.

  • guano

    “R o’ S:
    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.”

    Iran’s theological concession to Western Science, that a gay person may have found themselves trapped biologically in a body of the wrong gender, compounds the sexual errors of the Shi’a sect.

    I have observed Shi’a females living in the West, who are bringing up male children, openly committing sex of convenience. in other words their husbands are absent with whoever they like somewhere else and they take their religious right to do what they like in front of their offspring.

    If I was that son, I don’t think I would entrust my sexual- emotional attractions to the female sex. If my own mum is behaving like this, what chance a stranger?

    Iran would be very unlikely to lose its friends in the permissive non-Muslim world by adopting the Sunnah belief.
    They prefer to abuse their children and blame and do surgical operations or murder the ones who are affected by own their shameful ritual abuse.

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