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Posts Tagged ‘ Benjamin Netanyahu ’

  • 15 March 2013
  • Posted By Sina Toossi
  • 0 Comments
  • US-Iran War

10 years later, is Iran replacing Iraq?

“There is no question whatsoever that [blank] is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons — no question whatsoever. And there is no question that once he acquires it, history shifts immediately.”

If you automatically substituted in Iran for the blank here, you certainly cannot be blamed. The “no question about it” confidence and overly alarmist tone that underpins this quote embodies much of the rhetoric proliferated today in regards to Iran’s nuclear program. Furthermore, this quote even comes from perhaps the biggest purveyor of portraying the Iranian nuclear program in such terms, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. However, this is not from a speech Netanyahu made in 2013, but from one in 2002, and the blank here is not Iran, but Saddam Hussein.

On this tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, it is apt to review the frighteningly numerous parallels between the run up to that war and the current standoff with Iran. As the above quote demonstrates, many of the same people who warned so insistently about the “threat” from Iraq ten years ago are now warning just as insistently about the “threat” from Iran. In Netanyahu’s case, he has frequently been caught repeating verbatim the same things he said about Iraq over a decade ago about Iran today.

  • 8 November 2012
  • Posted By Brett Cox
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Sanctions

Iranian Public Opinion Sheds Light on How to Avoid War

What do pollsters who just finished surveying Iranian public opinion and the former Deputy Assistant of Defense for the Middle East have in common? They both agreed on what a diplomatic solution with Iran would look like at a recent Stimson Center panel.

Two thirds of Iranians want their government to establish a diplomatic relationship with the United States, according to Steven Kull of WorldPublicOpinion.org. Yet, polls from RAND, World Public Opinion and elsewhere have consistently shown over 90% of the Iranian public support a civilian nuclear program over the last 7 years.

Dr. Colin Kahl, a former senior Defense Department official and Georgetown professor, highlighted Iranians’ support for domestic enrichment as a “really important factor for U.S. policy makers to keep in mind.”

Kahl touted the Obama administration’s current approach as pushing Iran towards a deal, and argued that the U.S. must offer Iran a face-saving way out of its impasse to avoid war:

“The regime fears unrest. The regime fears a war. And to get out of that, they sign a face saving deal that gives them a lot of nuclear activities, a lot of nuclear cooperation, but caps their enrichment at 5% under extraordinarily intrusive inspections. That’s the only deal that is politically viable in Iran.”

The panelists agreed that such a proposal offered the best chance for a peaceful resolution to the U.S.-Iran conflict. But Ebrahim Mohseni, PhD candidate at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and lecturer at University of Tehran, argued that the focus on pressure risked having the opposite of the intended effect:

“When you are dealing with an outside enemy, usually what has happened in the course of human history and in the case of Iran, is the exact opposite, is the ‘rally around the flag’ syndrome… because people want to protect the government in the face of international pressure.”

But that was not the most risky aspect of the focus on pressure, according to Mohseni. He said the polling data led him to conclude “there is a strong positive correlation between fear of military action against Iran and support for an Iranian nuclear weapons program.”

In other words, the push by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some in Congress to get the President to threaten war against Iran even more explicitly will only make war more likely.

  • 10 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 10, 2012

Sanctions on Iran: ‘ordinary people are the target’
U.S. still believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapon
White House says it has ‘eyes’ inside Iranian nuclear program
Israel media talk of imminent Iran war push
Asian oil buyers help Iran stave off the worst, for now
Iran playing ‘nefarious’ role in Syria: Rice
Fiery Erdogan Slams Assad, Iran
Iran Oil Embargo Has Ripple Effect for Europe
Analysis: False records issue is key to Standard Chartered case
Iran’s Navy Says Has No Plan for Naval Reactors
Iran urges Syrians to talk after Tehran meeting
Indian PM Likely to Visit Iran

Notable Opinion: Stop the Shadow War Talk

  • 1 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 1, 2012

Netanyahu Challenges Credibility of US Threat Against Iran

Speaking next to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, “Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program.”  Panetta responded by reiterating that “If they make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon…we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that that does not happen,” (Reuters 8/1).

Beijing “Furious” Over Sanctions on Chinese Bank

Beijing has reacted furiously to new US sanctions imposed on a Chinese bank, Bank of Kunlun, over transactions with Iran, and urged the US to revoke the “groundless” sanctions, saying the sanctions violated “norms of international relations” (AP 8/1).

Iran, OPEC Oil Production Falls

  • 30 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 30, 2012

Aide Says Romney Would Endorse Israeli Strike

Speaking in Jerusalem, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capability is America’s “solemn duty and a moral imperative”. Romney’s aide, Dan Senor, previewed the speech for reporters, saying that “if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing the capability, the governor would respect that decision.” However, Romney apparently stepping back from his aide’s comment, saying only “We recognize Israel’s right to defend itself,” (Huffington Post 7/29).

Senor, the aide, also endorsed a lower threshold for attacking Iran, saying:

It is not enough just to stop Iran from developing a nuclear program. The capability, even if that capability is short of weaponization, is a pathway to weaponization, and the capability gives Iran the power it needs to wreak havoc in the region and around the world.

(Think Progress 7/29)

Israeli Official Denies Obama Advisor Briefed Netanyahu on Iran Contingency Plans

On Sunday, Haaretz reported National Security Advisor Tom Donilon briefed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on US contingency plans for an attack on Iran during a three-hour dinner, sharing information on US weaponry and military capabilities. A senior Israeli official denied the report saying, “Nothing in the article is correct,” (Reuters 7/30; Haaretz 7/29).

  • 19 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 19, 2012

Confusion Surrounds Identity of Suicide Bomber in Bulgaria

Swedish and Israeli officials are denying Bulgarian reports that the suicide bomber who carried out an attack on a bus full of Israeli tourists Thursday, killing five Israelis, was Swedish citizen connected to al Qaeda (The Atlantic 7/19).

In an interview with MSNBC, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren insisted, “our sources confirm that Hezbollah was behind this. Hezbollah takes its marching orders directly from Tehran,” (NBCNews 7/19).

President Barack Obama said the U.S. would “stand with our allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators.” President Obama called Mr. Netanyahu to extend his condolences (WSJ 7/18).

State Department Official Calls Congressional Letter “Pandering” to Terrorist Group

State Department official Dan Fried called a Congressional letter supporting the MEK’s refusal of the to abandon its paramilitary base in Iraq “pandering of the worst sort and completely undermines U.S. policy.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) are spearheading the letter to Secretary Clinton.   (Foreign Policy 7/18).

State Department Calls for Release of Iranian Activists

The State Department voiced “concern” in a press release yesterday for Kurdish activist Mohammed Seddigh Kaboudvand and human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi, who are serving prison sentences in Iran. Kaboudvand has been on hunger strike since May 26, after authorities precluded him from seeing his ill son, and Mohammadi has been denied proper medical attention. The press release says both “are suffering from rapidly deteriorating health” (State Department 7/18).

Yemen Warns Iran Against Meddling

  • 26 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 26, 2012

South Korea to Halt Iran Oil Imports

South Korea has announced it will be the first major Asian importer of Iranian oil to halt oil imports after a July 1st EU ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil goes into effect.  During the first five months of this year, South Korea imported about 192,000 barrels per day (bpd) on average (Reuters 6/25).

EU, Iran Brace for Oil Embargo

EU leaders ratified its planned Iran oil embargo Monday, dismissing Greece’s concerns that a reduction in oil supply could increase prices and further destabilize the Euro zone (WSJ 6/25). Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to the ratification this morning by urging EU leaders to look “‘into the matter with more rationality and wisdom because I think nobody benefits from confrontation’” (Reuters 6/26).

Meanwhile, the National Iranian Tanker Company, has delayed a planned expansion of its fleet, according to industry sources (Al Arabiya 6/26).

  • 19 November 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 10 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Neo-Con Agenda, Nuclear file, US-Iran War

Washington Post Blasts Defense Secretary Gates, Endorses Netanyahu’s War Rhetoric

The Washington Post Editorial board has called out US Defense Secretary Robert Gates for “undercutting the message” that the US may attack Iran.  The Post criticizes the Defense Secretary for defending the Administration’s Iran policy against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pressure for the US to publicly threaten Iran with military force.

Netanyahu advised that “If the international community, led by the U.S., wants to stop Iran without resorting to military action, it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action.”  This Orwellian “war is peace” calculation would only endanger US national security and drive the US closer to war with Iran.  The Defense Secretary who is responsible for the lives of American troops was right to stand firm in the face of Netanyahu’s callous, pernicious war rhetoric.

The Washington Post calls Secretary Gate’s assessment that military strikes would bring together a divided Iranian nation “speculative”.  But the Post asserts that “what we do know for sure” is that Iran curbed its nuclear program in 2003 as a result of the US invasion of Iraq.  We absolutely do not know this for sure.  The Washington Post Editorial board that helped champion the Iraq war on the basis of false intelligence should be more careful when passing off its own speculation as certainty, particularly when it comes to advancing another case for war.

The Post pits its own speculation against the assessments of not just the Defense Secretary, but also those of military leaders like General David Petraeus – who warned that an attack on Iran could be used by hardliners to galvanize support – and Iranian human rights and democracy advocates, such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, who said an attack “would give the government an excuse to kill all of its political opponents,” and that the Iranian people would resist any military action.

But if the judgment of US civilian and military leadership and Iranian activists is not enough for the Washington Post, there are plenty more reasons why saber rattling is disastrous idea.  Threats of war only help validate arguments that Iran requires a nuclear weapon as a suitable deterrent against US force.  As the US Institute of Peace and the Stimson Center recently stated in its report on engagement with Iran, “Even veiled allusions to the ‘military option’ reinforce those Iranian hardliners who argue that Iran requires nuclear weapons to deter the US, and protect Tehran’s security and freedom of action.”  The report also finds that “Official references to ‘military options’ only undermine those in Tehran who might otherwise argue for negotiated solutions to the nuclear issue.”

Furthermore, threats of military force will help unravel all of the work President Obama has invested in successfully undoing the damage of the Bush Administration and uniting the world in its Iran approach.  Our close allies have expressed serious concern about potential US saber rattling, and pursuing such a track will also alienate Russia and China, who are integral in multilateral efforts regarding Iran.

The call for saber rattling against Iran harkens back to the failed George W. Bush era in which the US looked on defiantly as Iran mastered the nuclear fuel cycle, while the US talked tough, spewed war rhetoric, and emboldened those in Iran who thrive on confrontation.  These threats undercut opportunities for peaceful, diplomatic resolutions to the US-Iran dispute by injecting significant uncertainty about US intentions on the Iranian side.  Preventing successful engagement may very well be the intended goal of those who advise that the US threaten war, as this is likewise the probable motivation of hardliners in Iran who offer similar rhetoric.  The Washington Post should not be in the business of empowering those on either side who seek to undermine engagement and eliminate options for the US to resolve its concerns with Iran through peaceful means.  With the prospect of yet third disastrous US war in the Middle East, the stakes could not be higher.

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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