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The Nuclear Card

Tag Archive | "Iranophobia"

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Iran: A Setback for Warmongers

Posted on 01 August 2013 by Ilisha

President Elect Rouhini

By Ilisha

For years, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a key propaganda asset for warmongers pushing for the US to invade Iran. Ahmadinejad could be counted on to make incendiary remarks that sparked widespread outrage in the West, and when what he actually said wasn’t radical or ridiculous enough, it could always be embellished, distorted, and amplified. Consider his alleged threat to wipe Israel off the map, a lie that’s still making rounds, despite being thoroughly and repeatedly debunked:

…the militant jihadist regime in Iran is developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. It is also, not just coincidently [sic], supporting terrorists groups abroad, facilitating the killing of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, vowing to wipe Israel off the map, and promising, in the longer term, “a world without America.” ~ Can Sanctions “Cripple Iran

Last month, the warmongers lost Ahmedinijad when the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani as their new president. Viewed as a moderate, Rouhani  supports Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, but has also pledged to forge better relations with the West, including breaking the impasse over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Rouhani’s widely quoted line, “Our centrifuges must turn, but so must our country,” struck a chord with Iranian voters.

For those genuinely interested in avoiding war with Iran, the election of Rouhani was welcome news. For warmongers, the loss of Ahmedinijad in favor or a moderate was a depressing setback.  After decrying the perils of censorship, he praised social networks like Facebook as a “welcome phenomenon,”  and went on to describe his new vision or Iran:

“The future government must operate in the framework of moderation … [and it] must avoid extremism, and this message is for everyone,” Rohani, a former chief nuclear negotiator, said in a speech carried live on state television on Saturday.

Rohani also urged moderation in Iranian policies toward the rest of the world and called for a balance between “realism” and pursuing the ideals of the Islamic Republic. “Moderation in foreign policy is neither submission nor antagonism, neither passivity nor confrontation. Moderation is effective and constructive interaction with the world,” he said.

Rouhani is a politician and he may not live up to his words. But his apparent moderation should at least be greeted by cautious optimism. Or not:

It’s mystifying. It’s amusing. But mostly, it’s just dangerous. Liberals and those on the left who pride themselves on their defense of human rights have a curious blind spot when it comes to assessing new faces of bad regimes. Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is just the latest brutal, dangerous leader inexplicably given the benefit of the doubt by so many, though no real doubt of his nature exists.

Warmongers were disappointed, but quick to rebound with talking points designed to thwart any progress toward peace. A few favorite themes:

Rowhani’s predecessor as president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could and did enrage the world with his anti-Western and anti-Semitic rhetoric, but he had little control over policy. There is no reason to think that the more soft-spoken Rowhani will have any more flexibility, especially when it comes to Iran’s determined program to attain nuclear-weapons capacity. ~ Don’t be Fooled by ‘Moderate’ Iran

And:

“In any case, the ruler of Iran is the supreme leader, not the president, and it is he who determines nuclear policy. The more the pressure on Iran increases, the greater is the chance of stopping the Iranian nuclear program, which remains the greatest threat to world peace.” ~ Benjamin Netanyahu

And again:

“Using Rouhani’s election as Iran’s next president as an excuse for the Obama administration to chase the rabbit of further fruitless negotiations is a fool’s errand.  Whatever negotiating position Rouhani would like to pursue, his hands are tied by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who calls all of the shots.” ~ Frontpage Mag

And again:

“Despite reformists’ support, Rowhani’s win is likely to be more of a limited victory than a deep shake-up. Iran’s establishment, a tight alliance of the ruling clerics and the ultra-powerful Revolutionary Guard, still holds all the effective power and sets the agenda on all major decisions such as Iran’s nuclear program and its dealings with the West.” ~ The Blaze

They all seem to be reading from the same script. When Ahmadinejad was president, it mattered enough to howl about him endlessly. Now that someone is saying things the warmongers don’t want to hear, the role is irrelevant. Which is it?

“Most important for the greatest global security challenge Iran presents today, he also served as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 through 2005, when an alarmed world began to pressure Iran to halt its aggressive program to attain a nuclear bomb. In 2004, while insisting that his country was only interested in peaceful uses of nuclear power, Rowhani agreed to suspend the enrichment of uranium, a concession he reversed a year later. The new president’s seemingly moderate move is sometimes cited today to suggest that he may be ripe for compromise on the nuclear issue. ~ Don’t be Fooled by ‘Moderate’ Iran

“Aggressive” program to attain a nuclear bomb? There is no evidence such a program exists at all.

Iran has not invaded another country in over 200 years. In contrast, during that same period, the United States has invaded too many nations to count and has yet to pause. The US is has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. The US is the only country in the world to have actually used nuclear weapons against another country. Yet somehow, the US is considered eligible for the Nuclear Club, and Iran is not.

Rarely does anyone in the Western media seem to question the de facto nuclear apartheid that underpins the argument for a “civilized countries” to wage a preemptive war, should Iran even attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. Given all the saber rattling and belligerence coming from the militarily aggressive West, it seems perfectly rational for Iran to want nuclear weapons simply for deterrence. Yet despite all the hype and hysteria, there isn’t a shred of evidence Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In fact, Western intelligence agencies have repeatedly confirmed no such program exists. Clever propagandists often set the parameters of debate regarding Iran by implying is it an undisputed fact Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Should we go to war to stop Iran’s aggressive pursuit of a nuclear weapon, they ask, so that merely considering the question includes tacit “recognition” of a nuclear program that doesn’t exist.

Whether or not Rouhani has at various times agreed to suspend enrichment of uranium means little. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Furthermore, when Iran does agree to compromise, the US often doesn’t budge, and in fact, has threatened to ratchet up sanctions in response to Rouhini’s election. It is almost as if the US wants negotiations to fail.

“The Rowhani presidency, then, will ignore American objections to the regime’s encroachment on the civil rights and civil liberties of women, gays, and members of the Bahai faith and other minorities…” - ~ Don’t be Fooled by ‘Moderate’ Iran

No conversation about bombing a Muslim-majority country would be complete without a modern appeal to White Man’s Burden. We must cry crocodile tears and bomb the savages back to the Stone Age in order to usher in democracy, freedom, and human rights. How does that work exactly? Please don’t ask.

Relentlessly bombing Iraq and Afghanistan has ushered in immeasurable human suffering, not human rights. Bombs have not summoned the gods of Freedom and Democracy, but unleashed the demons of chaos, instability, and sectarian strife.  Atomizing Muslim-majority countries and reducing them to chaos leaves ripe fruit for domination and plunder, and the Disciples of Eternal War have a long list of countries left to smash. Iran is at the top of their list, along with Syria.

Fortunately for the warmongers, their propaganda campaign does not depend entirely on the Iranian president. When all else fails, the myth of the Mad Mullahs of Iran has always been easy to exploit and still is:

When the devout are committed to carrying out God’s will (e.g., destruction of the “Great Satan”), they are not easily dissuaded, even by severe economic sanctions. Rohani is a Khamenei-endorsed cleric, a messianist, and the president of an Islamist-supremacist regime. To the secular, his religious motivations may seem incidental — Rohani’s avuncular smile and fluent English may make him appear moderate, but his religious commitment to harm Israel and the West is no such thing.

The Axis of Evil versus the Great Satan? Name calling aside, Iranian leaders have not threatened a first strike against the US or Israel, and there is no credible evidence Iranian leaders are irrational:

For the past several years, U.S. intelligence analysts have doubted hawkish U.S. and Israeli rhetoric that Iran is dominated by “mad mullahs” — clerics whose fanatical religious views might lead to irrational decisions. In the new [National Intelligence Estimate] NIE, the analysts forcefully posit an alternative view of an Iran that is rational, susceptible to diplomatic pressure and, in that sense, can be “deterred.”

“Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs,” states the NIE. Asked if this meant the Iranian regime would be “deterrable” if it did obtain a weapon, a senior official responded, “That is the implication.” He added: ”Diplomacy works. That’s the message.” The Myth of the  Mad Mullahs

Warmongers have proven themselves to be as patient and resourceful as they are deceptive. In the end, the West may bomb Iran back to the Stone Age. But for the moment, the turn of events in Iran is a welcome obstacle for warmongers on the road to Tehran.

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Umm, Iran, Can You, Like, Give Back Our Drone Please? [Updated]

Posted on 12 December 2011 by Danios

(updated below)

Recently, I’ve been focusing on the double standards in the U.S. media and national discourse with regard to American foreign policy in the Middle East and greater Muslim world.  This leads to absurdities like this:

President Barack Obama said today the U.S. has requested that Iran return the highly sensitive stealth drone that crash landed there two weeks ago, but an Iranian general already said that’s not going to happen.

“We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said at a news conference.

So, let me get this straight: the U.S. has been using surveillance from stealth drones to bomb and assassinate targets inside Iran, one of these drones goes down while flying inside Iran’s sovereign territory, and now the U.S. is asking for it back?  This reminds me of childhood story an Indian friend of mine told me: his mother used to ask for her shoe back whenever she used to throw it at him.

A shocked Iranian military official replied:

No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country.

What do you think the United States would do if an Iranian drone was downed in U.S. territory?  We all know the answer: bomb Iran back to the Stone Ages.  Or, at minimum we would use drones to drop a few bombs on their heads.

Some Americans wonder why there are so many Muslim suicide bombers.  Well, they don’t have drones, which are the American equivalent of suicide bombers.  Drones have the added benefit that they can be operated without fear of any personal harm.

Drones are now America’s favorite Muslim killer, used against at least six different Muslim countries (Iran could be considered the seventh Muslim country to have this honor).

But, always remember: they (Iranians, Muslims, etc.) are so violent, and we are so peaceful.

Update:

JihadWatch’s Marisol just posted an article complaining about the fact that “Pakistan will shoot down any U.S. drone that intrudes its air space.” (h/t Believing Atheist) Marisol huffs: “So, does anyone still say ‘friend and ally?’”

The “threat” comes after U.S. drones violated Pakistan’s sovereignty for the millionth time and committed what under international law is considered an act of war: they bombed and killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.  Some “friend and ally” America is.

This is not the first time American drones have killed Pakistanis.  In fact, they have been doing so for many years, killing hundreds of civilians–including children.

If Mexico routinely sent killer drones across the border to snuff out American lives, what do you think the American reaction would be?

But in the Orwellian world of JihadWatch, it is the party that defends its sovereignty that is at fault (because it is Muslim) whereas the party violating sovereignty is justified in doing so (since it is fighting Muslims).  Unfortunately, this bizarro world is not limited to the loony land of JihadWatch but rather exists in mainstream political discourse and is a part of conventional wisdom.

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Green Movement

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Message from Iran: Tell All Americans We Love Them

Posted on 10 December 2011 by Ilisha

Green Movement

Demonstrators from Iran’s Green Movement

By Ilisha

The Islamic Republic of Iran isn’t a top tourist destination for most Americans.

Iran is portrayed in the Western media as a country run by fanatical, bloodthirsty Mullahs, ruling in concert with the often outrageous President  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As for the Iranian people, angry mobs are often shown in the streets, burning American flags and shouting “Death to America!”

No wonder it is easy to convince Americans that Iranians are consumed by hatred and eager to reduce American cities to rubble.  Yet Americans brave enough to visit Iran quickly discover Iranians are a friendly, gracious people. They love Americans, and they are not bashful about sharing their  affection. Tourists from California said they were amazed by their experience:

“We were besieged, mobbed almost, by whole classrooms of up to 50 or 60 individuals who would come up to us and smother us with hugs and kisses,” reports Caroleen Williams, of Coronado. “‘Are you Americans?’ they asked. ‘We love Americans.’ Women walking down the sidewalks in full black burqas would wave to us and tap their hearts.”

In fact, Williams says they were repeatedly urged to take home a message: “Tell all Americans we love them.”

The experience is not unusual. An American Rabbi who visited Iran described a similar experience in his blog. He concluded that Iran is misunderstood by Americans, and especially by American Jews, many of whom are convinced the Iranians harbor a special hatred for them:

The most essential thing I’ve learned is in some ways the most basic: Iran is a beautiful country with a venerable history and wonderful, gracious people. It is also a powerfully complicated country, marked by a myriad of cultural/political/religious/historical layers. I am now more convinced than ever that we in the West harbor egregiously stereotypical assumptions about this country – and that we harbor them at our mutual peril.  ~ Rabbi Shalom Rav

A journalist from the Christian Science Monitor confirmed that the affection Iranians have for Americans is not confined to secular liberals:

After speaking with numerous Iranians from all walks of life – lower and upper class, religious and secular, Westernized and traditional, government- affiliated and civilian – I became convinced that this vilified member of the ‘Axis of Evil‘ is actually one of the most welcoming places for Americans to travel in the Middle East. Indeed, all Iranians with whom I spoke shared a positive opinion of Ameri-cans.

Iranian admiration for America is not a new phenomenon. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks more than a decade ago, Iranians held spontaneous candlelight vigils, mourning, praying for the victims, and expressing solidarity with the American people.

The New York Times reported that an opinion poll showed 74% of Iranians want to renew relations and start a dialogue with the US. Iranian authorities were so incensed by the results, they arrested the pollster. The regime has always capitalized on legitimate grievances against Western foreign policy to rally Iranians against America, but many Iranians are no longer listening.

Refusing anti-Americanism is one way to swipe at the hated regime. Iran has an overwhelmingly young, vibrant population fed up with the oppressive theocracy that began more than three decades ago when the late Ayatollah Khomeini and his allies established the system of Vilayat-i-Faqih, “Rule of the Jurist”.

In some ways Iranians are more American than Americans themselves, because Iranians truly cherish liberty and have struggled for over 100 years to be free. ~ Iranians love America – But – Americans Hate Iran

Paradoxically, the US is largely responsible for setting back Iranian democracy and self-rule by decades. In 1953, the US and Britain overthrew Iran’s democracy, imposed the tyrannical Shah of Iran as the new leader, and divided up the country’s oil wealth among themselves. The operation was not a secret, and is chronicled in mainstream sources here, here, and here.

Hostage Crisis

American Protester

In 1979, the Iranian people deposed the Shah. Later that same year, rumors circulated that the US was poised to retake the Iranian government, and the infamous Iranian Hostage Crisis ensued.

In the wake of the crisis, the late Ayatollah Khomeini dubbed America the Great Satan, a term that has been co-opted ever since by Islamophobes determined to portray Iranian leaders as hateful and irrational. The Iranian Hostage Crisis enraged Americans, and spawned Iranophobia, a special strain of fear and hatred that has never entirely faded from public memory.

Apparently emboldened by the dispute, Saddam Hussein subsequently waged war on Iran. The US supported and armed Saddam Hussein, who was an ally at the time. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed during the Iran-Iraq War.

In the years since, US policy has remained aggressive and hypocritical in the eyes of many Iranians, and for good reason. Sanctions hurt the people of Iran and do little to weaken the regime, and frequent saber rattling by the US and Israel is unsettling:

When Iranians burn the American flag in street demonstrations – they are NOT showing hatred toward Americans; they are in fact pointing out the the U.S. government has and is continuing to try to destroy Iran and Iranians.

Who is the U.S. government fooling? Maybe Americans – but not Iranians. We know the truth and understand fully the harm that is being imposed on Iran – every single day.

As much as Iranians despise their current regime and adore Americans on a personal level, they are united in the opposition to foreign intervention. If the US attacks Iran, Iranians will rally around the flag. As the aforementioned article  in the New York Times states:

Left to its own devices, the Islamic revolution is headed for collapse, and there is a better chance of a strongly pro-American democratic government in Tehran in a decade than in Baghdad. The ayatollahs’ best hope is that hard-liners in Washington will continue their inept diplomacy, creating a wave of Iranian nationalism that bolsters the regime — as happened to a lesser degree after President Bush put Iran in the axis of evil.

Like the people of Iran, most Americans support diplomacy and are opposed to war. While it’s true that most Americans don’t reciprocate the love Iranians feel for them, it is largely because they glimpse into Iranian society exclusively through the corporate media.

Hardliners on both sides fan the flames of hatred and mutual distrust because it serves their nefarious agendas. The interests of the people lie in recognizing each others’ common humanity.

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