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Maintaining Iran Sanctions

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 at 11:43 PM


Maintaining Iran Sanctions

by Stephen Lendman

AIPAC wants them stiffened. More on that below. Congressional Democrats and Republicans want tougher ones.

Senator Mark Kirk (R. IL) said:

"Given Iran’s continued refusal to halt its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the Senate should immediately move forward with a new round of economic sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian government revenue and reserves."

Senator Mark Rubio (R. FL) added:

"Tehran has broken its word far too many times to be trusted. Due to its complete disregard for previous international agreements, we must take a firm stand in all negotiations regarding the nuclear capabilities Iran is permitted to retain."

Six Democrat and four Republican senators insist Iran halt all uranium enrichment. On October 11, they wrote Obama demanding it.

They lied saying Iran's program "threatens regional stability and international security." They falsely claimed it harms "US national security interests."

They reject Iran's legitimate right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. They demand tougher sanctions for noncompliance.

Signatories include:

Robert Menendez (D. NJ - Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman)

Lindsey Graham (R. SC)

Charles E. Schumer (D. NY - aka the senator from AIPAC)

Roy Blunt (R. MO)

Patty Murray (D. WA)

John McCain (R. AZ)

Barbara A. Mikulski (D. MD)

Kelly Ayotte (R. NH)

Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D. PA)

Christopher A. Coons (D. DE)

In July, House legislation overwhelmingly passed (400 - 20). It targeted Iran's mining and construction sectors. It called for banning Iranian oil sales by 2015.

Similar Senate legislation is expected. It may be tougher. It may prohibit international investments in more economic sectors.

It may block Iran's foreign accounts entirely. It may restrict Obama's ability to unilaterally waive requirements for allies and key trading partners.

Israel demands tougher than ever harshness. So does AIPAC. Don't expect Obama to object. Throughout his tenure, he supported multiple new sanctions rounds.

His deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said Washington isn't looking to ease sanctions "at the front end" of nuclear talks.

"Before we could pursue sanctions relief, we'd have to see concrete steps by the Iranians to get at the state of their nuclear program," he said.

The White House wants "flexibility." It's code language for unconditional surrender to US demands.

Washington wants what no country would accept. It wants Iran abandoning its legitimate rights.

For nearly 35 years, Tehran refused to do so. Don't expect surrender now. Rhodes added:

Whatever Iran does or doesn't agree to, it "doesn’t mean that Congress won't consider new sanctions."

"It means that as they do, they should take into account the progress we're making on diplomacy, and that we need to have some flexibility to pursue an agreement."

Obama on the one hand sounds conciliatory. On the other, he says all options remain on the table. Washington won't let Iran acquire nuclear weapons, he stresses. No evidence whatever suggests it seeks them.

On November 7 and 8, more P5+1 talks are scheduled in Geneva. A previous article discussed Iran's sincere outreach. It deserves a reciprocal response.

For nearly 35 years, it never got one. It's hard imagining this time is different. Previous articles explained why. Iran's peaceful nuclear program is red herring cover for regime change.

Washington tolerates no sovereign independent governments. It wants pro-Western puppet ones replacing them.

It overthrows governments to establish them. It wages wars when other strategies don't work.

Iran's been targeted for decades. One day war may follow. Haaretz misled its readers. It headlined "Iran may be one month from nuclear bomb."

It cited US Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) misinformation. It's done so other times before. David Albright heads ISIS. He lacks credibility.

He impersonates a nuclear expert. He's a former pseudo-UN weapons investigator. Iraq chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter called him a "nuclear expert who never was."

His "track record (reveals) half-baked analyses derived from questionable sources...He breathes false legitimacy into these factually challenged stories by" claiming fake credentials.

He founded ISIS. He serves as president. He's funded to lie. He shuns truth. He fronts for power, privilege, and war profiteers. He lacks scientific expertise. He pretends otherwise.

He's part of Washington's anti-Iranian agenda. He reports what administration officials want to hear. In Iraq, he played the same role. He's a pro-imperial opportunist.

Earlier he lied saying Iran can to produce five nuclear bombs. He implied doing so could be imminent. All nations operating commercial nuclear reactors produce enough fissionable material for bomb-making.

Only a handful do it. Iran isn't one of them. Nothing suggests otherwise. Albright's up to his old tricks. He claims Tehran can build a bomb in about a month.

He falsely claimed it has weapons-grade uranium. He called its capabilities at or around "breakout time."

It's the amount of time needed to convert enough uranium to weapons-grade, he said. Iran's close to crossing the threshold, he claims.

It can have a bomb within one to 1.6 months, he stresses. He does so with no credible evidence. His previous accusations proved false. This one is fabricated like earlier ones.

His role is demonizing Iran. It's generating fear. "Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation," he said.

Talks "should result it:

• lengthening the breakout times;

• shortening the time to detect breakout; and

• gaining assurance that a secret centrifuge plant is unlikely to be built or finished."

Goals can be achieved in a number of ways, he added. All options involve significantly reducing Iranian centrifuges.

He urged P5+1 negotiators to act against breakout time. He wants measures taken to prevent a so-called "secret centrifuge plant" from being built or completed.

Iran long ago showed its program is peaceful. No evidence suggests otherwise. Not according to Albright. He wants Tehran forced to go further to prove its good intentions.

On Thursday, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said Tehran stopped enriching uranium to 20%. Enough is available for medical purposes.

On October 27, IAEA head Yukiya Amano and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi will meet in Vienna.

It's IAEA headquarters. A statement said "(t)he meeting will provide an opportunity to exchange views on the way forward." No further details were provided.

An AIPAC October 23 editorial implied that Iran's nuclear program advances toward weapons capability. No evidence whatever suggests it.

"The United States cannot afford to accept Iran's rhetorical overtures while ignoring its actions," said AIPAC. It demands Tehran "freeze(s) its program in place."

If it agrees, "the international community could freeze sanctions at current levels. If, however, Iran fails to do so, sanctions must be increased."

"(N)egotiations are much more likely to succeed if the United States maintains a military option that Tehran believes is credible and viable."

"(W)ithout verifiable evidence that Iran's nuclear progress has stopped, we must increase the sanctions against the Iranian government and pressure the regime to change course."

It bears repeating. Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. World powers know it. Claiming otherwise is red herring cover for long sought regime change.

Israel wants a regional challenger eliminated. Washington wants global dominance. At issue is Iran's sovereign independence.

If it had no nuclear program, another pretext would falsely claim an existential threat. None whatever exists.

On October 23, the Washington Post headlined "Rift widens on Iranian nuclear deal as Israel, Arabs warn against allowing enrichment."

Netanyahu remains adamant. "Iran must not have a nuclear weapons capability, which means that they shouldn’t have centrifuges for enrichment."

"(A) partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal."

John Kerry said any agreement must include strict curbs and aggressive monitoring. America will "pursue a diplomatic initiative but with eyes wide open," he stressed.

Iran long ago proved its good intentions. It's not enough. Kerry demands more, adding:

"We are adamant that words are no substitute for actions. We will need to know that actions are being taken which make it crystal clear -  undeniably clear, fail-safe to the world - that whatever program is pursued is indeed a peaceful program."

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states joined Israel in demanding Iran entirely suspend its legitimate nuclear enrichment. The only fail safe solution is its complete dismantlement, they say.

Iran has an estimated 11 ton nuclear fuel stockpile. It's low-enriched uranium. It entirely for commercial reactor operations and medical purposes.

No military program exists. None is planned. None is wanted. World leaders know it. They falsely suggest otherwise.

Ray Takeyh is a former State Department official/National Security Council staffer. He taught at the National War College. He's a Council on Foreign Relations member.

He's written extensively on Iran and Middle East issues. He's very much hard right. On October 14, he headlined a Washington Post op-ed "The world must tell Iran: No more half-steps," saying:

"Despite its softened rhetoric, the new Iranian regime can be expected to continue asserting its nuclear 'rights' and to press its advantages in a contested Middle East."

"This is a government that will seek to negotiate a settlement of the nuclear issue by testing the limits of the great powers' prohibitions."

"Washington need not accede to such Iranian conceptions." America and its allies negotiate from a "strong position." They can use "the threat of additional sanctions and Israeli military force."

It's time "for the great powers to have a maximalist approach. It is too late for more Iranian half-steps and half-measures."

Tehran must "be compelled to make irreversible concessions that permanently degrade its ability to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program at a more convenient time. Anything less would be a lost opportunity."

International affairs Professor Flynt Leverett calls Takeyh the major media's "long-time 'go to' (if also perennially mistaken) Iran expert."

He remarked how ideologically similar he is with "the most hegemonically-minded Israeli prime minister in recent memory." He's one among other so-called experts fronting for Israeli policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a gaming tycoon multi-billionaire. He's one of America's richest. He's ideologically over-the-top.

He's militantly hard right. He bankrolled Newt Gingrich's failed 2012 Republican presidential candidacy bid.

He advocates nuking Iran. He wants an atom bomb detonated in an Iranian desert area. He wants it "serv(ing) as a shot across the bow."

"Then you say, 'See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So we mean business.' "

Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INNS) late October conference headlined "Iran at a crossroads." It featured a rogue's gallery of speakers. They included:

• INSS Director Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin;

• former Mossad head Major General (ret.) Meir Dagan;

• Major General (ret.) Amos Gilad;

• pro-Israeli front group Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Mehdi Khalaji; and

• Brookings Institution's Robert Einhorn.

Gilad's views were typical of others expressed. Iran won't forgo its bid for nuclear weapons, he said. "Will the Iranians disarm? I think not. They will say they have the right to enrich."

The only difference between Ahmadinejad and Rohani is Iran's new president is a sophisticated "marketing man," he said.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opposition to nuclear weapons is "spin to divert international attention from Iran's bid to gain nuclear military know-how."

"His fatwa is a lie. (Iranians) are developing infrastructure which will allow them to leap forward quickly."

"All Iran is doing at the moment is trying to get out of the noose. We must not allow them to fool us as they have done so far."

"The difference between Israel and the others is that we cannot afford to be mistaken about the Iranian threat. Even one mistake is impossible."

On November 7 and 8, P5+1 talks resume in Geneva. Iran faces three unacceptable choices:

• the impossible task of proving a negative;

• abandoning important parts of its legitimate nuclear program; and/or

• acceding entirely to Washington's unreasonable demands.

Iran's program fully complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provisions. It has every right to pursue it. Don't expect Washington to agree.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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