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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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Ben writes:

    “I agree Herbie. Saker as well as Moon of Alabama are focused like lasers on russia/ukraine, just as Craig is obsessed with Scotland.”

    Craig may be “obsessed” about Scotland, but the fact that he blogs about a wide (ish) range of subjects casts doubt on your choice of verb.

    Secondly, I had realised that “Saker” is “focussed” on Russia/Ukraine, but that observation isn’t of much help in telling us who or what “Saker” IS, nor how his site is FINANCED, nor whether he speaks for himself or for SOMEONE or SOMETHING.

    Can you help?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Voltairenet: vice-president:

    … Issa El-Ayoubi est aussi et surtout l’un des cadres les plus éminents du Parti social-nationaliste syrien (PSNS), un mouvement dont le négationniste François Duprat disait – pour en faire l’éloge – qu’il « représente la tendance la plus authentiquement fasciste du mouvement nationaliste arabe, et cela depuis sa fondation »,-le-vice-president-du-Reseau-Voltaire_a343.html

    Note- there are two Conspiracy Watch sites. This is the other one.

  • Clark

    Passerby, 14:45; you raise an important point. There are few “research reactors” producing essential isotopes in the world, and the countries that operate them have a strong incentive to exclude Iran from their profitable market. Nuclear science and technology are essential, and all peoples should be equally free to develop them.

    But nuclear power has great problems. It is expensive, dangerous, dirty and leads to repression to enforce its “security” which can never be achieved. It would be better if this path was less attractive in terms of political power.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “Habby just smears..”

    In which way do my questions about “Saker” (and my observations about “globalresearch” and “voltairenet” constitute “smears”?

  • Herbie

    If you did a little research you’d find out exactly who they are and where they’re coming from.

    Their arguments stand or fall on their own merits.

    They’re not discussing secret information. It’s all out there in the public domain.

    They present a case and you agree or disagree.

    If you disagree, say why you disagree.

    What’s so difficult about that.

    It’s clearly an attempt to smear when questioning their right to speak in the manner you continually do.

  • Rehmat

    Squonk – your Wikipedia sources is much reliable as pastor Hagee’s claim that God of Bible promised Arab Palestine to European Jews.

    Where is hell you got the impression that CANDU is a “hot water reactor”? It runs on nuclear fuel – but thanks to your ignorance – uranium produces heat and not electric energy.

    Did your Israeli Wikipedia tells you how many gallons of “ordinary water” needed to produce one gallon of heavy water?

  • Rehmat

    In July 2014, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi told Russian president Vladmir Putin at BRICSS summit: “Even a child in India if asked who India’s best friend is will reply it’s Russia because Russia has been with India in times of crisis.”

    However, lately, India’s extremist Hindu leaders have started trusting nuclear Israel more for its aggressive military power than the world’s top nuclear powers, Russia and the United States.

  • Rehmat


    Globalresearch is brainchild of Russian-Canadian Jewish academic professor Michel_Chossudovsky. Voltairenet, on the other hand, is personal blog of a French Christian philosopher and author of book, 9/11, Thierry Meyssan. Voltairenet has reblogged three of my posts in the past.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    Well, obviously you’re not going to enlighten me (us) about “Saker” and the other often-quoted websites I mentioned.

    I have no intention of bickering with you, because I know the Mods don’t like bickering when it comes from me, so I’ll just say the following:

    I’ve tried hard to fins out more about “Saker” – who he is, where he’s coming from, does he speak for himself or for someone else/another organisation, how’s his site financed (volotary conribution, for example?) but to no avail.

    Please help if you can.

  • Clark

    Rehmat, I think your involvement with the CANDU reactor has left you with some misapprehensions. CANDU is indeed a PWR of unusual design. In PWRs the water, whether heavy or light, is prevented from boiling by pressure. If you’re going to comment on such matters you need to learn a bit more about them. If you believe in some entirely different “science” then there’s probably no point discussing further.

  • Macky

    “I’ve tried hard to fins out more about “Saker” – who he is, where he’s coming from, does he speak for himself or for someone else/another organisation, how’s his site financed (volotary conribution, for example?) but to no avail”

    Took me less than 2 minutes;

    To repeat Herbie’s good advise, stop playing the man rather than the ball, and start engaging with the issues.

  • guano

    “Habbabkuk (La Vita È Bella)
    17 Nov, 2014 – 4:11 pm
    “Probably all good reasons for Putin’s popularity.

    etc, etc, etc (long screed, cut-and-pasted)”

    Oh Heavens, voltairenet again! Ben’s favourite source.

    The web-site which figures more articles by the egregious Thierry Meyssan than all the other contributers put together.

    Check out Monsieur Meyssan on wikepedia and have a merry laugh.

    (Taster : 9/11 was a conspiracy and the planes were mere holograms)”

    Well Bah!Humbug, I sent your smears off to google to be tested and this what came back.

  • Mary

    Ref the Christmas missive from Israel’s friend, the Quartet Envoy, and his wife.

    The tweets are funny especially Carl Maxim’s.

    The strange thing about Tony Blair’s Christmas card is how the teeth seem to follow you round the room.

    and another one:

    Their Christmas card suggests that Cherie Blair’s been dead for weeks and Tony’s straining from the effort of holding up her embalmed body

  • Fool

    Also at:

    Funny to think about the Phantom in active service today and reminds me of a tog Corgi Phantom I had in the 1970’s. The 1970’s was only 30 years away from WWII and yet it would have seemed unthinkable back then for there to have been Spitfires in active service in the 1970’s, but we are now 40 years away from early 70’s and yet does it seem so odd for Phantoms to be in service.

    Partly this evokes a friendly feeling to Iran ( i.e. for using a Phantom), but also it makes me wonder whether defence budgets need to be so high; after all what sort of technology is needed to fight ISIS and where has all the enormous defence expenditure actually taken us in the past 40 years?

  • Fool

    That was meant to be ‘toy Corgi’ not ‘tog’, although tog being a fat finger hybrid of toy and dog might have been apt for a Corgi.

  • Fedup

    Hi BrianFujisan, great to read you again. I have been too busy with drudgeries of the mundane, thanks for the kind remarks there.

    How is your translation of wabisabi coming along? I have often thought about your project, and found it very difficult to translate into three dimensional reality, although the thoughts of Giotto di Bondone and his perfect circle have made me wonder if a perfect sphere could be the translation of wabisabi?


    Clark your statement about nuclear power and politics thereof perhaps needs disambiguation of nuclear power generation and nuclear power projection. The politics of nuclear power projection are indeed dirty and the wasteful and dangerous, which so far have not been addressed and instead the dangers inherent in nuclear power projection have been conflated with the nuclear power generation.

    Often the talk about Fukoshima, and its dangerous fall out ignores the nuclear weapons detonated on Japan in a move to point out to the Russkies; who is the boss? (although the yarns passed as history are telling of defeating Japan)

    The debate about nuclear power generation often in shrill and hysterical tones always forgets the detonation of the nuclear weapons around the globe (colonel Tibbets’ intention to honour his historical gargantuan destruction of biblical proportions by an enactment of his famous flight), all in the way of testing the said nuclear power projection constructs, with fanfare and song and dance, and lining the troops up to get used to the nuclear battlefields.

    Shameful facts that are never debated, and instead the “damage” caused by the nuclear power generation is always foremost the argued point. Kind of reminds of talking a lot about sex and never getting to actually do any sex! No nuclear power generation but everyone is free to develop nuclear industry, is it not akin to masturbatory fantasies?

    Without a viable nuclear industry with operational reactors how can there be any nuclear industry development? If you recollect prezident Bu$sh clearly stated that he did not wish to see Iran have any access to “nukkoooolar knowledge” and know how?

  • nevermind

    Well fed up,. good to see you return, what is the nature and need for muclear power when CSP could save the world without fossil and or nuclear means.

    Further the energy is increasing with time as the sun is in its retro cycle destined to dies as a red giant.
    We do not need to inhibit our development,. if there is such a thing, with costly, totally irresponsible and dangerous legacies for our children, whilst saying ‘yes, we care about them’. We have had our warning in three mile island, Chernobyl, various military accidents, Fukushima, the two WW2 explosions in Japan and thousands of other test explosions, because we could! no other reason.
    I do not think that fear factors comes into it any more because nuclear weapons are indiscriminate and hence not an assurance.

    Kenneth Clark MP, argued tonight that he would hold on to trident for some time, but for what reason? Any attacker as well as retaliatory striker must understand that they are ringing in the end for humanity, a one way street to oblivion, so where is the fear factor?

    Sneaky little oiks who proclaim to be clever and ignore the rest, might think that targeted strikes will get them on top, when in reality they destroying their own culture, show their pathogenic paranoid nature and gioving their own people nothing but fear, a long wait for retaliation whilst the kiddies get thyroid cancer.

    Hurray for intelligent humanity, we’ve cracked it, no more simple solutions when we can blown each other to kingdom come eh.

    desertec was a massive EY program to get us off fossil; fuels to be wrecked by shits like Bush Blair and now Cameron. By [perpetuating war and chaos they have turned the middle east into a cauldron nobody wants to invest in.
    A peaceful cooperative and mutual project to come of the oil mongers, destroyed, but not killed dead, the idea is alive and well it stands on its own.
    Hot deserts are all around the earth and they have cottoned on to it in California. More and more CSP’s are springing up, they’re a doddle, not dangerous for the next 1000 years.
    Come on Iran get off it, you don’t need it, show them that Persia is more intelligent than the camel herders to the west.

    Only a psychopath would use them in order to set us all off.

  • Clark

    Nevermind, I agree that Iran, or any country, would be better off not embarking upon the path of nuclear power. Like many other countries such as the UK they could find themselves dependent upon it, unable to supply all their energy needs without perpetual risk, “security” measures and production of radioactive toxins.

    But Iran also runs research reactors; it is reactors such as these that produce most of the indispensable isotopes that passerby mentions in his comment at 2:45 pm.

    But to do either, Iran needs to enrich uranium. Craig’s suggestion of reducing centrifuges by 25% seems compatible with cutting back on power reactor fuel and concentrating on the high-tech research and production. There should be no block to Iran developing and marketing its nuclear technologies. But you know; it’ll be hard for the government of Iran to admit that their new bloody great power reactor is a liability, especially with our lot constantly justifying their own nuclear follies. Someone should offer Iran a tour of Sellafield.

  • Mary

    Note sent to Cameron today by s friend.

    Dear Mr Cameron,

    Israel has ticked another box! At 7 o’clock this morning 60 soldiers with jeeps invaded a school in the West Bank village of al-Sawiyah and prevented 400 students and their teachers entering. Giving no reason, they closed off the main street and began to shout and push the students away.

    I don’t expect you to sympathise with the Palestinian teachers, students and their families, struggling for years under the vicious and illegal occupation of their neighbourhoods. I imagine you will sympathise with the Israeli soldiers and those who sent them to keep down these evil terrorists!

    Yours in deep depression over your blinkered view of Israel,


  • Ba'al Zevul

    Where is hell you got the impression that CANDU is a “hot water reactor”? It runs on nuclear fuel – but thanks to your ignorance – uranium produces heat and not electric energy.

    Not sure where to start in outlining (a) your manifest ignorance of the topic, and (b) your wilful misinterpretation of Squonk’s helpful post.

    1.Uranium produces heat. Well, yes, as long as enough of it is close enough together, but not too close*. Congratulations on getting that.

    2. In a pressurised water reactor, the water surrounding the core is kept under high pressure, so it doesn’t boil, and then passes its heat on to water in a boiler which isn’t pressurised, so it does boil. The steam from this is used to drive a generator. In a boiling water reactor, the water in the core is allowed to boil, and the resulting steam is used to drive the generator directly.

    Both types are light water reactors. I hope that demystifies the subject for you.

    *In which case it produces a lot of heat inconveniently rapidly.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for that Ba’al, if it weren’t too serious I’ll be on the floor with stomach cramps for laughing, what a cheek and Hilary can keep him.

    Gaza is being harassed just as the Nazi’s harassed Jews Catholics the disabled and those with lesser abilities, whilst the western world goes aahhh, the little jesus was born in his crip.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    More good friends –

    Both Blair and the Israeli president spoke of the need for rebuilding the destruction in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s 50-day war against the Hamas militants.

    His Holiness the Blessed Preserver of Peace Everywhere: Y’know, we really need to rebuild the destruction in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s 50-day war against the Hamas militants

    Israeli president: Ja, I was thinking much the same thing.

    HBPPE: So, I’ll get an office built for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation….

    Israeli president: While I rebuild our stocks of shells and missiles for next time.

    (They kiss)

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