Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Iran deal is done, Bibi unhappy, Greek deal done, Greeks unhappy.

July 14, 2015

Reuters and other anonymous sources are reporting that an Iran deal has been done.

Greece yesterday, Iran today, what’s for tomorrow?

Bibi is neither pleased nor amused. A “pre-emptive” strike by Israel on Iran now becomes that much more difficult. Saudi Arabia will not be too pleased either. If sanctions are  lifted and also on weapons sales by Iran then we can see the pro-Iranian factions across the Middle East getting a boost. Which will probably constrain the advance of ISIS somewhat (and whatever the Saudis might say it is private Saudi money funding the barbarians). The pro-Iranian factions in Syria and Iraq will not only get a boost, they may also be more successful on the ground than the US-led coalition.

However Saudi Arabia will not be too unhappy about the additional downward pressure on oil prices. It will be sometime before Iran can ramp up production and during this time, low-cost Saudi oil will win further market share. Though Saudi Arabia failed to wipe out shale oil from the US, it is still increasing production and contributing further to the current oil glut. Saudi seems to be pursuing a revised strategy of keeping oil prices relatively low for 2 years or more in a war of attrition against the higher-cost oil producers. Market share is perceived as their prime weapon to try and get rid of the higher-cost producers. But I think they have miscalculated even here. A discontinued shale oil well can be restarted with very little investment and at very short notice. Production costs of shale oil have decreased sharply. Shale oil developers will just ramp their production up and down depending upon the prevailing oil price. And the larger shale oil wells can make money even with oil prices down at $40/ barrel.

It isn’t quite time for vacation yet in Europe (apart from Sweden which is closed for July). Some kind of framework resolution for the whole package of the 3rd bailout needs to be passed by the Greek parliament by tomorrow. Some resistance is showing today but the resolution will surely pass. Of course that says nothing about the Greek government’s implementation of all they have signed up for. Their track record of implementing what has been solemnly promised is not good. And if the reports today that the ECB will not be pumping liquidity willy-nilly into the Greek banks are correct, then the banking system will have to start issuing IOU’s to keep functioning while the negotiations are concluded. That will effectively be an alternative currency and it won’t be long before the IOU’s start trading at a different value to par. A currency by another name than “Euro” is still a Grexit for as long as that currency is used.

But an Iran back in the international fold is undoubtedly a good thing.

The fall of Ramadi: Is it “very serious” or just a “tactical setback”?

May 22, 2015

What is clear is that 2,500 soldiers of the Iraqi “army” entrenched in Ramadi ran away when faced by 200 ISIS fighters. They left their heavy weapons behind. They did not even make any sustained effort to evacuate the city.They left the civilian population to flee as best they could. Today there are reports that virtually all those left behind have been slaughtered by ISIS.

But the spin doctors are in full flow. The Iraqi forces were not driven out. They drove away – of their own free will.

They were just tired of being in Ramadi.

BloombergObama Dismisses Fall of Ramadi in Iraq as ‘Tactical Setback’

The fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State was only a “tactical setback” and not a sign the U.S. and its allies are failing in the fight against extremists, President Barack Obama said in an interview published Thursday in the Atlantic magazine.

“I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama said in the interview conducted by Jeffrey Goldberg Tuesday at the White House. “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced.”

Nothing to worry about then. Obama the brave has all under control.

CNNU.S. calls fall of Ramadi ‘very serious’

A senior State Department official acknowledged Wednesday that ISIS’s seizure of Ramadi, Iraq, over the weekend was major blow in the fight against the terror organization.

His comments came, however, on the very same day that the Chairman of the Joint Chief Staffs Gen. Martin Dempsey insisted Iraqi forces chose on their own to leave.

“The ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) was not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi,” he told reporters while on a trip to Brussels.

Just as with Tikrit, Obama will do little beyond making token gestures about retaking Ramadi. He is waiting for the Iran -backed Shiite cavalry to come riding in to redress the situation

Ayatollah Khamenei’s 14 point plan to avoid a population implosion

May 31, 2014

It is becoming increasingly obvious that population implosions in many countries  – not population explosion – is what faces humans by 2100.

Iran has seen its fertility rate reduce from close to 7 children per woman in 1960 to around an implosion level of 1.8 per woman  at the current time. For a stable population the replenishment rate required is 2.1 children per woman. Through the 1980’s Iran ran a free contraception program and the birth rate plummeted. So much so that Iran is facing a coming crisis of population implosion.

The Ayatollah Khamenei has taken notice and issued a 14 point plan to increase the fertility rate.

Reuters: In his 14-point decree, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said increasing Iran’s 76 million-strong population would “strengthen national identity” and counter “undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles”.

“Given the importance of population size in sovereign might and economic progress … firm, quick and efficient steps must be taken to offset the steep fall in birth rate of recent years,” he wrote in the edict published on his website.

Khamenei’s order – which must be applied by all three branches of government – in effect replaces the “Fewer Kids, Better Life” motto adopted in the late 1980s when contraception was made widely available.

The 14 points are (AlMonitor):

  1.  Fertlity rate to be increased above replacement level
  2. Barriers to marriage are to be eliminated, the allowable age for girls to marry will be lowered and young couples will get state support for housing
  3. Improved medical facilities during pregnancy and medical treatment for male and female infertility will be made available and health insurance will cover childbirth.
  4. Public education will emphasise the importance of the family
  5. Islamic-Iranian values and lifestyle will be promoted and undesirable influences from abroad will be discouraged
  6. A healthy lifestyle is to be encouraged and addiction to drugs and pollution will be attacked
  7. Care for the elderly shall be improved
  8. Public education shall equip students with relevant and marketable skills
  9. An equitable distribution of dwelling space must be achieved across the population
  10. Actions shall be taken to retain the rural poulation in their villages and near the borders
  11. Immigration into and out from Iran shall be actively managed
  12. The Iranian diaspora outside of Iran must be encouraged to invest in Iran and for the country to make use of their skills and abilities
  13. A national identity must be strengthened and propagated to encompass especially those living in the border regions and even those outside the country
  14. The population policy is to be closely monitored

The slogan of “Fewer Kids, Better Life” has now changed to “More children, a Happier Life”

Iran - Israel total fertility rate Google public data

Iran – Israel total fertility rate Google public data

It certainly has not escaped notice in Iran that Israel has a steady fertility rate of about 3 children per woman.

Whether this will halt the trend is not certain.

Iran will not be alone in encouraging higher fertility rates. For some countries the population implosion is already approaching and a matter of great concern.

BusinessWeekJapan is expected to see its population contract by one-fourth to 95.2 million by 2050 … making it the fastest-shrinking country in the world. Former Eastern Bloc nations Ukraine and Georgia came in second and third …. 

……. “Europe, Korea, and Japan have gone into panic mode,” says Carl Haub, a senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau. A declining population impacts a country’s economic growth, labor market, pensions, taxation, health care, and housing, according to the U.N. Globally by 2050, the number of older persons in the world will exceed the number of young for the first time in history, according to the U.N. The imbalance will create havoc in the pension systems and make it difficult to support retired and elderly persons, Haub says.

Related:

Without immigration OECD populations will be in decline and in crisis

The inexorable numbers – 10:10:10:100 is inevitable around 2100

China relaxes highly successful one-child policy

ktwop posts on demographics

Ban Ki-Moon: Puppet without a string ….

January 22, 2014

The UN Secretary General is a puppet on many strings. And when the puppet tries to write the screen-play or to manipulate the puppeteers, the play usually suffers.

Ban Ki-Moon seemed to have forgotten that when he issued his invitation to Iran to the Geneva II talks about Syria last week and tried to write his own script for the talks. It didn’t take long before he had to backtrack.

Iran has insisted all along that it would only attend if it was without conditions. The US has long held that Iran could attend only if they accepted the results of Geneva I (where Iran was not present). So why Ban Ki-Moon tried act independently is not very clear. Presumably he was persuaded to by his staff who believe that the UN has some legitimacy beyond what is provided by the puppeteers.

(Also inviting Australia and Mexico and Korea and Luxembourg leaves me mystified.)

I have decided to issue some additional invitations to the one-day gathering in Montreux. They are: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, the Holy See, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Iran. I believe the expanded international presence on that day will be an important and useful show of solidarity in advance of the hard work that the Syrian Government and opposition delegations will begin two days later in Geneva.

As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.

I have spoken at length in recent days with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Javad Zarif.  He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June 2012 Geneva Communique, including the Action Plan.

Foreign Minister Zarif and I agree that the goal of the negotiations is to establish, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with full executive powers.  It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux.

Therefore, as convenor and host of the conference, I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate.

It didn’t take very long before the US made it impossible for his invitation to remain valid:

NY TimesMr. Ban announced the Iran invitation on Sunday a little before 6 p.m. Eastern time. By that time, it was the middle of the night in Tehran — way too late for government officials to respond, but early enough for Washington to do so. …. 

Less than two hours after Mr. Ban’s briefing, the State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said in a statement: “The United States views the U.N. secretary general’s invitation to Iran to attend the upcoming Geneva conference as conditioned on Iran’s explicit and public support for the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, including the establishment of a transitional governing body by mutual consent with full executive authorities.”

As the New York Times puts it “But in diplomacy, there are no dress rehearsals. Mr. Ban’s choreography went awry, forcing him into a corner. Less than a day after issuing the invitation, the secretary general reversed course. Iran could not attend the talks, he said, because it had not affirmed the ground rules as he said he had been assured.”

It could be that even Ban Ki-Moon’s perception of his own independence was manipulated. Whether the invitation and its withdrawal were orchestrated by the US State Department, and whether the US was reacting to the fears of the Sunnis in the Middle East is unclear. (The report published with great fanfare yesterday about the human rights violations, detentions and executions by the Assad Government yesterday was apparently commissioned by the Government of Qatar. The timing of the publication of this report was also dictated by Sunni interests). I believe that the invitation and its withdrawal – paradoxically – strengthens Iran’s hand since they are conspicuous by not being present – and through no fault of their own.

The barbarism in Syria continues. I have no great expectations of Geneva II but it is part of a necessary process. If Al Qaida is to be kept in check, I think the involvement of Iran is both necessary and unavoidable. Without Iran not all of the Syrian opposition groups will be represented. And without Iran the Al Qaida factions could dominate the opposition.

A puppet with a broken string does not gain an extra degree of freedom. The UN Secretary General cannot entertain any delusions of grandeur or any thought that he can act independently of his puppeteers.

Another Israeli assasination? Iranian deputy minister killed

November 11, 2013

It may be just my perception. But I don’t think it is so far-fetched that Israeli foreign policy in support of its perceived security interests is supremely pragmatic and uncluttered by any ethical concerns. In matters of security of the Israeli State, it seems that ethics is just not relevant. While most of their diplomatic efforts are often channeled through friendly nations (the US or France ..) it does not seem unlikely that they also have extensive covert activities as a back-up.

That Israel conducts targeted killings as an almost routine activity does not seem implausible and has led to much speculation. The alleged poisoning of Arafat (by radative polonium) has also been put down to Israeli agents. The possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and rendering their own relatively toothless is serious enough that systematically assassinating key figures in Iran’s nuclear programme would seem justified to Israel.

This particular killing is apparently of a relatively unimportant deputy minister — but who knows?

BBC: An unknown attacker has shot dead Iran’s deputy industry minister. Safdar Rahmatabadi was driving in Tehran’s Sabalan Square late on Sunday when he was shot once in the head and once in the chest, the state news agency IRNA reported. A police officer told the agency that the attacker appeared to have been inside Mr Rahmatabadi’s vehicle and spoke to him before opening fire. …..

Assassinations of officials are not unheard of in Iran, in particular scientists connected with the country’s nuclear programme. In January 2012 a car bomb killed university lecturer Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who also worked at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. 

Earlier in November a public prosecutor and his driver were killed in the restive frontier province of Sistan Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, Mr Rahmatabadi, whose portfolio also included mining and commerce, was seen as a low-profile official. He served in a similar role under the country’s previous President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

The shooting comes as Iran, under newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani, engages in talks with six world powers on its nuclear programme. Tehran maintains it is enriching uranium for civilian uses but Western countries have long suspected Iran of a secret nuclear weapons programme.

France does Israel’s bidding and “spoils” nuclear deal with Iran

November 10, 2013

The French – Israeli nuclear cooperation goes back a long way to 1956. That Israel’s “secret” Nuclear Weapon’s programme has long been assisted and enabled by the French is also one of those open secrets that is never officially acknowledged.

HaaretzMay 9, 2007

Israel and France once made a secret deal to produce a nuclear bomb together, according to a new biography of Vice Premier Shimon Peres. The deal was later cancelled, but the disclosure in the book by historian Michael Bar-Zohar sheds new light on the depth of France’s involvement in Israel’s nuclear program.

Bar-Zohar told Reuters his information came from recently released documents from Israeli and French government archives relating to the key role Peres, now 83, played in launching Israel’s nuclear project more than half a century ago. The book divulges new details of how Peres served as a behind-the-scenes architect of Israel’s military might, securing weapons secretly and buying an atomic reactor from France. …

Experts believe Israel has used the Dimona reactor it built with French help in the 1960s to produce as many as 200 nuclear warheads. Israel neither confirms nor denies it has atomic weapons, saying only it will not be the first country to introduce them to the Middle East. …..

The most significant, experts say, is a secret agreement Peres signed in 1957 with then French Prime Minister Maurice Bourges-Maunoury in Paris, several months after the deal for the reactor was concluded. “It stated in so many words that the two nations would cooperate in research and production of nuclear weapons,” the book says.

France ultimately scrapped that agreement several years later under the weight of enormous United States diplomatic pressure for it to cease its nuclear cooperation with Israel.

The so-called formal scrapping of the deal has long been recognised as a public relations gesture which has little to do with actual cooperation on the ground. Now Israel probably has something in excess of 100 and maybe up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Federation of American ScientistsIn the fall of 1956, France agreed to provide Israel with an 18 MWt research reactor. However, the onset of the Suez Crisis a few weeks later changed the situation dramatically. Following Egypt’s closure of the Suez Canal in July, France and Britain had agreed with Israel that the latter should provoke a war with Egypt to provide the European nations with the pretext to send in their troops as peacekeepers to occupy and reopen the canal zone. In the wake of the Suez Crisis, the Soviet Union made a thinly veiled threat against the three nations. This episode not only enhanced the Israeli view that an independent nuclear capability was needed to prevent reliance on potentially unreliable allies, but also led to a sense of debt among French leaders that they had failed to fulfill commitments made to a partner. French premier Guy Mollet is even quoted as saying privately that France “owed” the bomb to Israel.

On 3 October 1957, France and Israel signed a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor (although the cooling systems and waste facilities were designed to handle three times that power) and, in protocols that were not committed to paper, a chemical reprocessing plant. This complex was constructed in secret, and outside the IAEA inspection regime, by French and Israeli technicians at Dimona, in the Negev desert under the leadership of Col. Manes Pratt of the IDF Ordinance Corps.

That Israel is not happy that Iran may reach a deal with the West and get sanctions lifted and be able to continue with the bulk of their nuclear program is only to be expected. That Israel would turn to France to be the spoiler in the discussions with Iran is also not surprising. And it is patently obvious that France is doing Israel’s bidding and is being intransigient at the Geneva discussions.

But how long can or will France be ready to continue in their “spoiler” role? Francois Hollande has enough troubles of his own not to also wish to be seen as Netanyahu’s poodle.

Perhaps a year?

The GuardianSunday 10 November 2013

Three gruelling days of high-level and high-stakes diplomacy came to an end in Geneva with no agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, after France blocked a stopgap deal aimed at defusing tensions and buying more time for negotiations. …

The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also sought to play down the disagreements that had surfaced with France, and the divisions between the six-nation group, known as the P5+1. ….

….. other diplomats at the talks were furious with the role of the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, whom they accused of breaking ranks by revealing details of the negotiations as soon as he arrived in Geneva on Saturday morning, and then breaking protocol again by declaring the results to the press before Ashton and Zarif had arrived at the final press conference.

But there is also a purely commercial aspect to the French “spoiling”. The animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not to be underestimated and the the French desire for being Saudi’s preferred supplier is almost without limit. Upsetting Iran gains them brownie points with Saudi. They are on much safer ground here since Saudi does not have the capability of running its own nuclear programme in any foreseeable future. Nuclear power plant in Saudi supplied by France would not pose any great threat to Israel.

But one day – when the balances are different –  Saudi  may well have enough money to buy a few warheads and I would not be surprised if France is then at the front of the pack of potential vendors.

Saudi GazetteOctober 03, 2013

French companies AREVA and EDF hosted a number of Saudi business and industry representatives at their Second Suppliers Day event held in Jeddah on Tuesday to take part in the framework of the sustainable energy program suggested by King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) focused on nuclear and renewable energy sources. …. 

Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, the French Ambassador to the Kingdom said “the aim of this meeting is very clear, France has been the first country to sign government to government agreement on nuclear and energy because we do think that taking it into account the huge program the Saudi government wants to implement in the nuclear field and France has a lot to bring in terms of the best nuclear technology in the world.”

Besancenot added that Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner of France in the region and the bilateral relationship is of paramount importance in the economic field as “we are seeing that bilateral trade has doubled over the last five years.” He stressed that France is ready to be Saudi Arabia’s strategic partner in the field of nuclear and renewable energy. He also highlighted the competencies of France’s nuclear energy industry and its ability to support the Kingdom goal.

Keeping score in the great Syria chess game

September 24, 2013

It is not possible to say who won or who lost. The Great “Game” will take a long time to reach a conclusion. All that can be done is to see who’s winning and who’s losing.

David Cameron is losing and may have lost. He took a slap in the face from the House of Commons. If he had managed the vote in his favour, the US strike on Syria would have taken place almost immediately. Whether the strike would have achieved much will never be known but Obama would have “walked” his “talk”. Milliband seemed to be winning since he had defeated Cameron but it is becoming clear that he had played his trump far too soon and allowed Putin to make his play. And Milliband can be credited for letting down the US and the special relationship. Tony Blair lost. He showed up as a “rabid dog” revelling in going to war (to try and justify his bad judgements during the Iraq war). And nobody took him very seriously.

Barack Obama is losing. He has confirmed his reputation as a ditherer and that he is risk-averse to the point of being  seen as being ruled by his fears. He has effectively shifted the balance of power in going to war from the Presidency towards Congress. This power given up will be difficult to regain. Without the backing of the UK he was forced to look for ways to extricate himself from his “red line” box.

John Kerry was point-man for Obama and was – for a time – the potential scape-goat. But he has repositioned himself and may even take away some credit for the Russian play. His throw-away line about “no strike if Syria gave up their chemical weapons” is now being spun as an intentional statement.

Francois Hollande is losing. His support for Obama was not enough to allow the US to carry out a strike on Syria. The value of French support – compared to the UK support which was not forthcoming – was diminished. And then to make matters worse his Parliamentarians made it quite clear that they did not support his position even though they were not required to vote. Having supported a strike he was not quite adroit enough to claim any credit for the alternate diplomatic path that resulted. Getting Freedom Fries reverting to be French Fries was his only consolation.

Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov are winning. The diplomatic path is now their creation. Suddenly Russia is the peace-maker in the face of US war-mongering! Not only was the US strike on their ally delayed indefinitely, it is now Assad’s Syria – and not the various opposition groups – which is required to engage with the international community. Any opposition forces who seem to be coming in the way of inspecting or securing control of the chemical weapons can now be attacked by Assad with the full support of the international community. Russia can continue supplying Syria with conventional weapons.

The Syrian Opposition groups (including Al Qaida) are losing the civil war. Assad can now get more weapons replacements than they can. Al Qaida need a weakened Assad to create a winning position and they need a prolonged civil war to achieve dominance among the opposition groups. Both objectives would have been assisted by a US strike.

Bashar al-Assad is winning. He does not really need chemical weapons which cannot effectively be used anyway. Any US strike on his forces is postponed indefinitely. With no prospect of any no-fly zone being declared his air-force could be decisive in the civil war. The supply of conventional weapons from Russia is assured. His claim that rebels and terrorists were responsible for the use of Sarin is backed up by Russia and the UN weapons inspectors have no option but to investigate this (and they are on their way back to Syria).

Iran is winning. President Hassan Rohani is on a roll. First Hizbollah – at Iran’s bidding – helped to keep the Syrian opposition groups at bay when they seemed to be gaining ground. Then he supported the Russian diplomatic initiative. That was followed by an interview  on NBC  and an op-ed in the Washington Post to assure the US and the world that Iran had no intention of developing WMD of any kind including nuclear weapons. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, sent Rosh Hashanah greetings to Jews worldwide via Twitter and caught the Israelis off-guard. Now Rohani is on his way to address the UN General Assembly. Willy-nilly they are now a part of the diplomatic path for Syria and cannot just be ignored. That engagement allows the Iranian charm offensive to proceed as well on other fronts.

Israel is both winning and losing. It was Israeli intelligence intercepts – not US  – which led to Obama’s threatened strike. A strike by the US was definitely preferred by the Israelis though their objective was to maximise turbulence for as long as possible in Syria.  To be able to get the US to threaten a strike as they wished based on selective intelligence was a coup. Not to have the strike consummated was a setback. If the Iran/Russia influence grows and Assad is more secure than before, then these are also setbacks.

Turkey is losing. The Islamic government was perhaps the strongest supporter of a strike on Assad. Their dislike of Assad is so strong that they would even have supported a strike by Israel. But Turkey’s subservience to and support for all groups Islamic ( Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) is now becoming an embarrassment for Europe. Their application to join the EU is – I think – already lost.

The Great Game has a long way to run. It has been running for a thousand years and there are many more twists and turns to come. Many pieces will be lost and won by all the parties and there may never be a check-mate and a clear winner in this game. Having a clear winner always requires having a clear loser. Having a clear loser in the Middle East is not always a good thing.

And so a stalemate is probably the closest there is to a win-win.

Could twitter diplomacy be today as ping-pong was then.. ?

September 7, 2013

Forty odd years ago it was ping-pong diplomacy which was used to break the stalemate of the the China -US section of the cold war. (And where would Forrest Gump have been without it?)

The era of Ping-Pong diplomacy had begun .. (in 1971) ….  when the American team—in Nagoya, Japan, for the World Table Tennis Championship—got a surprise invitation from their Chinese colleagues to visit the People’s Republic. Time magazine called it “The ping heard round the world.” And with good reason: no group of Americans had been invited to China since the Communist takeover in 1949.

It could be an electronic “ping” from Iran to Israel in the 21st century.

Now it is Iranian tweets. Israel is “perplexed and pleased” at the messages from the new Iranian President and his Foreign Minister sending Rosh Hashanah wishes to Jews around the world.

Hassan Rouhani.

Hassan Rouhani. Photo: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Jerusalem Post:

Israelis reacted with a mixture of pleasant surprise and wary skepticism on Friday to reports that the new Iranian president and his foreign minister had both issued greetings to mark the Jewish New Year.

Relations between the two countries have been dire for years, with Israel threatening to attack the Islamic Republic over fears it is planning to build nuclear weapons that could one day jeopardize the survival of the Jewish state.

Haaretz: 

After sending out Rosh Hashanah wishes to Jews around the world, Iran’s foreign minister tweets that Iran doesn’t deny the Holocaust in response to a tweet by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter.

Reuters:

In a change of tone, his successor Hassan Rouhani and the new foreign minister, Javad Zarif, appeared to issue tweets in English wishing Jews a good Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year that is being celebrated this week. Iran has long declared an official respect for the Jewish faith while condemning Israel.

“Happy Rosh Hashanah,” tweeted Zarif on a profile that notes his career as a diplomat, academic and “Uni of Denver alum”.

The reported greetings came just as Israel was settling into a long holiday weekend and there was no official reaction.

But of course Iran has always held that it is Israel and not Jews that Iran is opposed to. Reuters continues:

Confusing matters, Israeli news websites quoted an official in the Iranian president’s office denying any New Year greetings had been sent and saying Rouhani’s English-language Twitter account, used during his election campaign, was not active.

There was no denial from Zarif and the minister went further to push back on a comment that Iran denies the Nazi Holocaust: “Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone,” he tweeted, apparently meaning Ahmadinejad.

On Facebook, he wrote: “We condemn the massacre of Jews by the Nazis and we condemn the massacre of Palestinians by the Zionists.”

Iran is home to the second largest Jewish community in the Middle East – albeit only a few thousand people following mass emigration last century. It denies Israel’s right to exist but even Ahmadinejad embraced some Jews – as long as they rejected the Zionist movement that established the Israeli state.

Neither Rouhani or Zarif mentioned the word “Israel”.

Perhaps it is the right time – with Syria in the background – for an Israeli “pong” to Iran’s “ping”.

A “regrettable incident”

March 11, 2012

When can “ends” no longer justify the “means”?

At what level does “collateral damage” become unacceptable?

And even after all the blood-letting in Iraq and Afghanistan there are still those who would like to see the US and Israel launch attacks on Iran. Iran dossiers are no doubt being “sexed-up” by those who are worried that not being at war with someone is not sustainable for business.

BBC News:  

‘Rogue’ US soldier kills Afghan civilians

A US soldier in Afghanistan has killed at least 16 civilians and wounded five after entering their homes in Kandahar province, senior local officials say. He left his military base in the early hours of the morning and opened fire in at least two homes; women and children were among the dead.

Nato said it was investigating the “deeply regrettable incident”.

The New York Times does cover this as its top story, but Fox News only reports – as its third story – that a US soldier has been detained for the alleged killing of civilians! It is Sunday and Huff Post  and the Drudge Report – as of 1300 CET – have not even managed to report this “regrettable incident”.

UPDATE! And now Reuters reports that it wasn’t one, lone, disturbed, “rogue” soldier but “a rampage that witnesses said was carried out by American soldiers who were laughing and appeared drunk”.

Iran’s foreign nuclear scientist – who never was

November 10, 2011

The last few days have been full of headlines about a UN report that showed that Iran was getting help from foreign scientists to develop nuclear weapons. Speculation has been rife about pre-emptive strikes by Israel or the US against Iran’s “weapons facilities” and the consequences of such a strike. Discussions about sanctions have been wide-spread from nations to US Presidential candidates. But now it seems that the so-called UN evidence is actually nothing more than information manufactured by an intelligence agency (probably Mossad) and speculation from a Washington “think tank”  which is just another lobby group. The so-called foreign nuclear scientist does not exist and is actually a prominent Ukrainian  nanotechnology and nanodiamond expert, Vyacheslav Danilenko who has been in the same field all his career.

Moon of Alabama  first revealed the background of Danilenko.

November 7th: The Washington Posts alleges that the IAEA says foreign expertise has brought Iran to threshold of nuclear capability. This is of course, well, a lie. The IAEA has said nothing like that. It is simply an assertion made by the reporter and some “nuclear Iran” scare propagandists based on misinterpreting some factual points in the IAEA “evidence”. What that “evidence” says is: Iran is working on nanodiamond production.

(more…)


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