Iran's nuclear negotiations: Souk rules apply
June 15th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Iran's nuclear negotiations: Souk rules apply

By Elise Labott, reporting from Jerusalem

If you know anything about bargaining here in the Middle East, the final offer is not made until the last moment, and not a second before.
The same principle, say Israeli officials, could be applied to the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

"We will only know at the last minute of the last round if Iran has an offer to make and wants to strike a deal," one Israeli official said.

Tehran and the so-called P5 Plus One - the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain - agreed to hold five rounds of talks aimed at persuading Iran to curb its nuclear program, because of suspicions that the program aims to produce weapons.The first two rounds, in Istanbul and Baghdad, produced only enough progress to move to the next round in Moscow.

In Baghdad, the six major powers made a proposal for Iran to curb its production of high-grade uranium, ship any stockpile of it out of the country and close its underground facility at Fordo, where uranium enrichment is taking place.

After signs of an impasse, Iran said it was willing to discuss the proposal next week in Moscow in exchange for easing sanctions.

But Israel sees Iran's gestures as all part of the game. And while officials will be watching next week's talks with great fanfare, they aren't expecting any breakthroughs.

"All we have seen so far is posturing, preparing the ground and atmospherics," the Israeli official said. "This was to be expected."

Israel believes Iran is playing for time. The talks, officials say, are simply an effort by Iran to stall the West and delay crippling oil sanctions for as long as possible while it continues to develop its nuclear capability.

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said in a recent interview that the U.S. and its partners have made "inadequate" demands of Iran at the negotiating table.

A growing fear that Israel will launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iran has increased pressure on the U.S. and its partners to show progress in Moscow.

It also has prompted an American campaign aimed at boosting Israeli confidence in the diplomatic effort, which includes a stream of high-level visits to Israel and statements that reaffirm the U.S. commitment to keeping up the pressure on Tehran.

Israeli officials say Iran is already feeling the heat of existing sanctions and point to an ongoing debate in Tehran about whether the nuclear standoff is worth the economic cost.

The decisive fifth round will come on the heels of a potentially devastating oil embargo against Tehran that takes effect July 1. Israel is hoping the prospect of further economic hardship will pose a clear choice for Iran.

Of course, things could go awry in Moscow and the talks could fall apart. Iran could decide that it doesn't want a deal.

But Israeli officials believe that if the old souk mentality has anything to do with it, the talks will go through to the fifth round. And the session will be a nail biter.

"They won't completely change their tunes, but that's when we will see if they are suicidal," another Israeli official said. "But that doesn't mean we have to give them any leeway until then."

But just like in the souk, the offer won't be made until the other party is ready to walk away. Iran must make sure that if it is ready for a deal, its price is one the major powers, and Israel, can buy into.

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Filed under: Britain • China • Diplomacy • France • Germany • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Nuclear • Russia
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  14. Everett Wallace

    ypu did not invite me, what in the world is going on. Oh I almost forgot my BOSS, says that is a futile endeavor to even be associated with such folk

    June 17, 2012 at 3:39 am | Reply
  15. quinterius

    Why is this article purely from the point of view of Israel which is not even involved in the negotiations. It shows that the US has no part in the decision making process. Israel determines the US foreign policy. it is really pathetic how low Obama has sank.

    June 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • Leif

      You seem to think that America's relationship with Israel began with Obama. Try reading a book.

      June 17, 2012 at 5:41 am | Reply
    • Leif

      And, by the way, it is "sunk", not "sank". Start with a book on grammar.

      June 17, 2012 at 5:43 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      The reason Israel is not part of the negotiations is the Iranian refusal to recognize the right of Israel to even EXIST leave alone to be a partner for negotiations. The reason Israeli position is important is that it is Israel that will, possible become the first target of Iranian nukes and it is Israel that will not allow Iran to get nukes... using force if necessary.

      June 17, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • Satishsweet

        A very interesting video and enniusg discussion on this blog, although I am disappointed to see how some people have chosen to attribute the Green Movement with a damaging foreign policy. There is no reason to think as such.Ms Hunter is right when she says that the regime has pursued an Islamic foreign policy and not a national one (to the detriment of both Islam and Iran). The regime is too ideologically driven. Foreign policy should protect the interests of a nation, which means that pragmatism is paramount. Ideology and pragmatism are practically opposites.The regime's foreign policy is defined by short-termism. I believe their Israel policy is an example of this short-termism. As Ms Hunter points out, the regime made a big mistake by going all-in in terms of the Israeli problem. This gamble has clearly not paid off and never will. In fact, it will probably lead to war. Ms Hunter correctly uses Turkey as a counter-argument. Turkey was the first Muslim nation to recognise Israel and the two nations continue to share relatively good relations. Yet Turkey is also the greatest legitimate source of criticism aimed at Israel. Iran is instead viewed as a loose cannon. Look at the aid flotilla examples. Turkey's efforts have almost led to the end of the Gaza blockade. Iran's efforts went largely unnoticed, so much so that the flotilla expedition had to be cancelled due to a lack of support (I think the expedition is on again though).Another weakness of the regime's foreign policy is its domestic policy. Simply put, Iran has very little legitimacy abroad because of its actions at home (we can proudly boast to have public opinion on our side in the great nations of Somalia and Pakistan for example). If Iran can demonstrate that is has a mature, moderate and prosperous domestic policy, its foreign influence should simultaneously increase. This is naturally beneficial for the Iranian people, but especially important given the global trend of supporting democracy and human rights. Again, Turkey is a good benchmark.Dear pirouz_2,You said: Under Pahlavi dynasty we lost territory (ie. Bahrain), losing territory is an ordeal as yet to come during the IR!! Imagine there was no revolution in Iran and the Pahlavi dynasty remained in place. Do you not think that Iran would have benefited significantly from the fall of the Soviet Union, in terms of territory?

        August 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • AlexShch

      Because Israel is represented by the US.

      June 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  16. haman1

    One more thing that you would notice in this article is that the picture is NOT from an Iranian shop and rather from a Pakistani Village shop. So,, it goes to show you how these Zionists are depicting Iran. These Zionist have used our media and have shaped our image of these nations according to what they want us to believe and NOT the facts. Their control of our Media and News Organizations has our public opinion in their control. Who can believe what someone such as Rupert Murdoch has to say about any Islamic and Middle Eastern nation!!! Would you want to believe him?!!

    Get Real.

    June 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
    • AlexShch

      CNN is well known for taking random and completely irrelevant photographs from the web and make presentation out of them pretending or implying (but accurately an legally avoiding direct claims) that these photos were taken from the scene or leaked from classified sources.

      American public want pictures in the news, CNN provides pictures using photoshop technology as necessary.

      Remember that back in 2003 during initial phase of Iraq war an NBC photographer was fired for editing his photos?
      All what he did is to transplant some people from one photograph to another to make the scene more vivid, but accidentally left two repeated figures in the scene and this is how he manipulation was discovered. If those standards were applied today, Jill Doherthy and her assistants should be fired from CNN and permanently disbarred from being journalists.

      ....For curiosity, read my posts under the article named "US believes Russia has ship with weapons, troops en route to Syria": you will find it amusing: one can make an impression of a moving ship out of static photograph.

      June 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • Jeffrsn

      No one should take Shireen Hunter sosleuriy. She is still thinking along Zionist lobby line, like during the shah. She is Azeri, and Azeris like Azerbaijan and Turkey always have supported Israel. Ashkenazi are coming from a Turkic tribe, Khazar, who lived in the Central Asia, thus, they have NO CONNECTION TO HEBREWS OF PALESTINE OR THE REGION ITSELF. The history of Israel is based on nothing but LIES AND DECEPTION. It has been constructed to fool people and steal all of Palestine.No one should be fooled by Erdugan performance. Turkey always betrayed Muslims and acted against the interest of Palestinians and Muslim community to be allowed to serve the United States and Israel's interest. At the time of Gaza holocaust, Erdugan support of Gaza was limited to few cheap slogans where he later apologized for it from Perez over the phone. Turkey did not call her ambassador for an hour from Israel while Chavez called his ambassadorErdugan has been given a green light by the US to perform a game against Iran to protect US, Israel and Turkey’s interest against Palestine, Iran and population of Arabs. Turkey has a mission to target Iran’s popularity among Arab population to isolate Iran and Palestine for their interest. The stooges known as ‘Arab moderate head of state’ are totally discredited and Arabs as well as Muslims do not consider these reactionary and Zionist puppet legitimate of Arab head of states. Thus, Erdugon has been chosen to play this role: to gain the trust of the Arab population for the occupiers and Turkey’s position in the region.Erdugan by cheap slogans, with green light from US, has targeted Arab population to steal Iran's popularity among millions of Arabs in different countries due to Iran support for Palestine. Turkey is a servant of us imperialism and Zionism and will remain as such. No one should think twice about it.Shireen Hunter is so racist and her views so outdated that ask an ignorant question:Why does Iran view Syria an ally? She thinks Israel, apartheid and racist state is Iran’s natural ally which must tells you how ignorant she has remained since the fall of the shah.Iran like other countries and based on interest of Iran and the region against foreign domination design her policy.She does not understand that the region has been changed since the shah and a culture of resistance has developed due to Zionist expansionist policy and their stooges in Washington. Don't waste your money on her book.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
    • Chris

      Nasser“Why are you some of you guys suggesting she is some sort of roliayst tool when she is sufficiently critical of all modern Iranian governments including Mossadeq, the Shah and the current clerical regime?”Simply because if you did entertained yourself with her presentation and comments, you would have understand that she is advocating the same foreign policy of the shah’s era, that is basically to become the US policeman in the region and towing the US line where ever it goes.Nasser“I think she is correct to point out that the Mossadeq era has been so mythologized in the Iranian psyche that is impossible for Iranians to take an unemotional and critical look at his reign.’This is not about emotions dear, Pirouz_2 correctly pointed that Mosadegh managed to change the fundamental bases of Iran’s policy that had almost existed since the Russian wars, from, positively balancing in between the powers (conceding to both sides) to a negatively balancing in between powers (not conceding at all) for that reason he was not willing to make concessions therefore he was ousted. Today they call that “No Eastern No western Islamic republic” isn’t the same thing. Nasser“As for Bahrain, would you rather the Shah have taken a track similar to Saddam on Kuwait and have met his fate? He did manage to take back the three islands though.”So you are suggesting that under the British and US pressure he conceded one part of Iran for another part of Iran, isn’t that the same thing Fathali Shah did with Russians in the caucuses treaties almost 200 year earlier?

      August 3, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
  17. haman1

    Why and How is it that a small minority of our population in the US namely the Jews can direct our government to go to wars based only on their interest?? How is that possible? Would the Irish American be able to do that and get us to bomb UK? Or would the African Americans be able to move us to bomb Zimbabwe or any other African country currently in chose? Or what about the Spanish minority here, are they able to get wage war against Mexico or Colombia or Venezuela etc.??!! So, who has died and allowed these Jews to order us to go to war for them and their beliefs?! Did we voted on that and I missed it?!!
    Iran is a signatory to NPT, are Jews and the Zionist a signatory? So, where is our sense of fairness in this??! Are Zionist currently sitting on over 200+ nuclear bombs and expanding in to the occupied territories and have they committed ethnic cleansing and currently have an apartheid government and society ? YES and YES and YES. So, how is it that we are against Iran? If Iran had all these against her, THEN WHAT WE WOULD HAVE DONE??!!

    Get real.

    June 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Maybe, you have not seen Iranian mob and Iranian leaders chanting "Deathto America"... I have. Nevertheless, you are right that a tiny Jewish minority CAN NOT tell America what to do and who are friends or foes. It's the American PEOPLE who make these decisions and the vast majority of them prefer a tiny democratic state in the Middle East over much larger states where terrorist organizations are legal adn which are being ruled by Arab dictators in accordance with the laws of Islam.

      June 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
      • haman1

        How can an APPARTHIED society be considered a democratic one?! Do you know what you are talking about?!

        Get real.

        June 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • Thinker23

        I certainly know what I'm talking about. YOU don't... Apartheid is SEPARATION of citizens by their race, ethnicity or religion. Israel is the ONLY state in the Middle East where ALL citizens ahve thevery same equal rights regardless of their race, ethnicity or religion. Further, among other rights all citizens of Israel have the right to elect their leaders and be elected as leaders, they have the same or more rights than citizens of any other democracy on the planet. Therefore, Israel IS a democracyand has NOTHING to do with apartheid.

        June 17, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  18. JohnWV

    Iran is only Israel's current fixation. America's entire electoral system has been corrupted by Netanyahu's Israel, AIPAC, Israel Firsters and ingenious distribution of enormous amounts of Jewish money. Our representative democracy is nearly defeated and the destruction of America as we know it well underway. Many other countries are being similarly occupied by Israeli organizations. The Jewish State has current technology ICBM nukes with land and submarine launch systems. The whole planet is increasingly vulnerable to its relentless pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid supremacist empire in, and beyond, the Mideast.

    June 16, 2012 at 5:31 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      The tiny Jewish state has no oil and its total population is about 7 million including 1.5 million Israeli Arabs. The Arab states have 500 times more land and about 100 times larger population than Israel. The amount of petrodollars in their disposal exceeds by far the wildest dreams of all Jewish moguls combined. Are you telling us that the Arabs are SO DUMB that they're unable use their tremendous resources to buy over America from the Jews??? If I was an Arab I would be insulted.

      June 16, 2012 at 6:38 am | Reply
  19. JohnWV

    However did we get it all so backwards? As a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to develop and implement nuclear technology. Israel rejected the NPT and has no such right. Yet, the Jewish state has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran; actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, should be sanctioned and forced to reveal its nuclear machinations to IAEA inspection. However did we get it all so backwards?

    June 16, 2012 at 5:30 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      It's up to YOU to get it backwards, John... The NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) means just that, the Treaty for NON Proliferation of nuclear weapons. This, in turn, means that the signatories of this Treaty (including Iran) signed an obligation that they WILL NOT PROLIFERATE (develop, build and otherwise obtain) nuclear weapons.

      June 16, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply
      • Trevor

        Rayane- Israel countering statements made by Iran does not qualify as "advocating for war". Again, links to articles in which Israeli government officials are on record promoting the offensive attack of Iran WITHOUT Iran making what the Israelis perceive as "threatening statements" calling for the destruction of their nation. A misinterpretation by the Israelis? I've read the statements made by the Iranian PM and not being from Israel, I see them as not "helpful" but not to the agressiveness that Israel obviously thinks. Oh and BTW, the Israelis HAVE "back off" their rhetoric (aka "tough talk") toward Iran JUST LIKE Iran has...

        I wouldn't be calling for links to articles about Israel openly adovocating for war against Iran (again without Iranian provocation) if I could find them. Seems just like I've failed to find them you have in-turn also failed to provide them...

        June 16, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Trevor

      Though there are multiple "interpretations" of the Iranian PM's statements on Israel, from "wiping Israel off the face of the map" to "it is our hope that the Jewish state will collapse under its own foolish policies" (paraphrasing and not direct quotes", but accurate nevertheless). Israel's obvious interpretation is the former and their "threatening statements" are simply a counter response to what they perceive are "threatening statements" from Iran.

      Other than those statements from Israel that state what they would have to do or how they would respond to agressive actions from Iran (which are perfectly logical and justified), please provide the link and/or sources that Israel is "openly" advocating war with Iran. And if you can provide, hopefully it will also provide a logical explanation of the benefit(s) Israel would gain from starting a war with Iran. I say this because I really don't see how attacking Iran without a very VALID reason would be worth the risk Israel would incur (ie: having now the ENTIRE ME side with Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel...that would be a 6 day war all over AGAIN).

      June 16, 2012 at 7:23 am | Reply
      • rayane

        i have a link for u....

        just turn on the tv, or read the newspapers !

        June 16, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  20. Clinton

    Can we please stop obsessing over 3rd world Dictatorships? Honestly? I'm so tired of it... Why can't we just tell the world this: "Hey everybody, You attack us or our allies, or in any way try to damage us, we're going to annihilate you, if you wish to continue to exist, don't bother us" then stop worrying about every little stupid thing Iran does or keblernistan or whoever. If the world needs our help they will ask, if they attack us in anyway we'll destroy them... It's not like Iran or any other country in the world for that matter stands a chance against us... We could annihilate anybody... So leave everyone be, they can be angry at us when we don't step in to help all over but who cares... we get blamed if we do help... so just leave the world be... anybody attacks us we just lob some cruise missles into their capital... This is far more effective than trying to fix the world's problems and try to be the good guy at the same time.

    June 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
    • tejanojoe

      Finally....somebody just fricken said it!

      June 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Reply
    • brutus9448

      there is a reason we don't just say that and leave them alone. THEY HAVE OIL and we want to control it. Trust me if Iran didn't have oil it would have ecome another turkey in 50's. We wanted their oil so we put a dictator in power and now we're paying the price.

      June 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  21. George Patton

    South Africa has already agreed not to build nuclear weapons if it could have nuclear enery for consumer needs. Iran and North Korea could make the same deal with the U.N. Besides, there is not one shred of evidence that Iran plans to build nuclear weapons, just right-wing propaganda from the West!!!

    June 15, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Geroge... If you do not think that Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons you should have no troubles to explain HOW it will possibly use hundreds of nuclear capable long- and intermediate range ballistic missiles it acquired during the last several years. These missiles cost at least $3 million each and they are virtually harmless without proper warheads.

      I'm all ears, George...

      June 15, 2012 at 11:28 am | Reply
      • AlexShch

        Yes, there is a common perception that Scud-type missiles and their derivatives are virtually harmless unless armed with nuclear warheads because poor accuracy. (Killing 28 marines during the first Iraq war is discounted because it may be considered as a "lucky shot" or an accident).

        However, they are not entirely harmless if armed with cluster warheads, even with existing guidance systems.

        Furthermore, in Russia (and perhaps in China as well) these types of missiles evolved into pin-point precision weapons (known as "Iskander" and "Tochka") capable to destroy hardened targets and they are not harmless at all. Unlike slow flying US-made "Tomahawk"s, which are most effective against fixed targets, "Iskander" and "Tochka" have very short response time and can be used for counterstrike in a rapidly changing battlefield situation.
        The missiles themselves did not change significantly during the last 20 years, but the guidance and electronics did.

        June 15, 2012 at 11:53 am |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... Do you have any reasons to believe that the Iranians do not have any plans or intentions to develop nuclear weapons but they have plans and abilities to develop cluster warhears containing one or more guided missiles? Please recall than only two countries, the US and Russia have the technology and that both these countries had nuclear weapons for more than 60 years... YES OR NO?

        June 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... You may recall that both the Iskander and Tochka missiles while being accurate have ranges much shorter than the Iranian nuclear capable missiles have. The Iskander has range of about 500 kilometers while the Tochka's range is less than 200 kilometers. In short, you're trying to compare apples and oranges. My question remains: HOW it will possibly use hundreds of nuclear capable long- and intermediate range ballistic missiles it acquired during the last several years. These missiles have range of up to 2000 kilometers and have poor accuracy.

        June 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • AlexShch

        No, I am not confusing apples and oranges. Iran does have few hundred ballistic missiles with ranges from 200 to 500 (or slightly more) km, and in addition to that attempts to develop and test longer range missiles, but thus far not very successfully, and they are nowhere close to be operational. Frankly speaking, whatever they do [all of them, Iran, Iraq (in the past), North Korea, Pakistan], they always end up with an "improved" or "enhanced" or whatever Scud. No matter how they call it, it is still Scud.

        The only reason Iskander range is restricted to 500km is because of IMF Treaty of 1997 with US. Technologically Russia can make it longer, but that would break the treaty. The difference between "Iskander" and "Tochka" is merely different proportions between engine and warheads ("Tochka" has twice the explosive power, but the range is only 200km). Contrary to popular believe, neither "Iskander" nor "Tochka" are nuclear capable, and never being intended to be so - their launched does not have appropriate hardware [hint: go to youtube and watch Topol missiles on Russian military parade, there are plenty good quality images. On the right side of the missile container about 3 meters from the front end you will find a rather large rectangular box which looks like an air conditioner. It is literally that: cooling system for the warhead(s) - these things never sleep: a couple kilowatts of heat is generated inside day or night and there is no way to stop it. Iskander and Tochka launchers do not have those, neither it is possible to modify them to have because of obvious geometric constraints].

        In addition to IMF Treaty, there is another international agreement which prevents Russia, US, and other countries from exporting ballistic missiles with range exceeding 280km, as well as components thereof (e.g. engines, guidance systems) which may lead to development or production of missiles exceeding this limit.

        Countries other than US and Russia are not bound by the 500km limit imposed by INF treaty, so they try to develop missiles which do beyond the 280 and 500km limits, but because there is no other prototype than Scud, this is what causes extraordinary longevity of Scud-like design, despite the fact that in Russia they are considered obsolete and out of service for more than 30 years.

        The bottom line is than, no, I am no impressed with Iranian missile program and all bragging about it is basically paranoia.

        June 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
      • Trevor

        Alex- Tell this to all of us over here in Qatar, UAE and Kuwait...we conduct air missile defense exercises here regularly and is one of the JFCs TOP priorities...and not because the Iranian ballistic missile program is "not impressive". This is counter to you what you feel is your preceived "expert" analysis via unclassified media research...go on talking about things you really don't have "truth data" on...

        June 16, 2012 at 1:04 am |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... So, after telling us that you're "not impressed" with Iranian missile capabilities and their "improved SCUD" technology and after ignoring numerous reports regarding the capability of some of Iranian missiles to have 1,200 kilometers or even longer range... Can you answer my original question? I've asked How will Iran possibly USE their nuclear capable intermediate- and long range ballistic missiles if it (Iran) does not have any plans to get nuclear warheads to fit them?

        June 16, 2012 at 6:51 am |
      • rayane

        if israel is foolish eough to strike iran, u will gets you answer " why iran need balistic missil"....... ok ?

        balistique missil is a good product to make a devastating response, especially if your airforce is limited

        June 16, 2012 at 9:40 am |
      • AlexShch

        Trevor: "Tell it to all of us over here in Qatar, UAE and Kuwait...we conduct air missile defense exercises here regularly..."

        Thinker23: "...I've asked How will Iran possibly USE their nuclear capable intermediate- and long-range missiles if it (Iran) does not have any plans to get nuclear warheads"

        You are trying to appeal to common sense by logically excluding all the possibilities except the only one which has meaning. The problem with this is that political decisions are not made this way. If they were, we would live in a very different world right now. Why people start wars they know they cannot win (numerous examples)? If you ask me about what is going on in Ayatolla's brains right now, the true answer is I do not know and can only speculate.

        Thought I can still perform a brain surgery...

        In the past Saddam Hussein possessed several hundred Al Hussein and Al Samoud missiles. All of them were armed with huge monoblock TNT warheads, not a single one had cluster. Given that the CEP radius of these missiles is several times greater than the blast radius of their warheads, it means only one thing: there NO WAY you can hit your INTENDED target. So these missiles were a priory useless. (Soviet Skuds were armed with nuclear warheads and their CEP was within the blast radius, so they were capable to hit the intended target).

        If, on the other hand, Saddam would have possession of cluster warheads and Gen. Norman Schwartzkpf was aware of it (or more precisely, would not have certainty to rule out this possibility) then Gen. Norman Schwartzkpf should be dismissed for non-professionalism because the manner how US troops were assembled on the eve of invasion (an open camp in the desert) makes them perfect target exposed to these type of weapons.

        What was in Saddam's head and why he chose to invest into such weapons knowing that he cannot rely on them in the case of war? After all he had limited resources (who has unlimited?) and may chose to spend it on something more useful, air force or air defenses, for example?

        One may say that being militarily useless does not mean being completely useless, for example still can be used as weapon of terror, e.g., Saddam striking Tel Aviv with Scuds in 1991. The damage is minimal, but psychological effect is quite substantial (at that time Israel was forced not to respond because of fears that it may crack Araby out of anti-Saddam coalition). Still a poor argument because possession of ballistic missiles requires dedication a substantial industry and the damage they made is disproportionally small to the resources involved which could be spent for something more useful. In retrospect Saddam's Army was ground heavy: too many tanks and too few aircraft, although air-defenses were at least (to say it politely) not negligible.

        In today's world Ayatollas possess missiles which can theoretically reach Israel and Israeli does not seem to deterred from bragging about attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. Should Israeli attack would it be logical for Ayatollas to strike back Tel Aviv with their ballistic missiles in retaliation? At least the possibility of that retaliation - killing some peaceful population - should deter Israeli attack on Iran, right? No, Israeli do not seem to be concerned. May be Israeli got assurance from the United States that Iran will not retaliate because then United Stated gets involved.

        Developing, testing, and demonstrating to the World a cluster warhead would definitely boost the deterrent theory, but there is no evidence that Ayatollas working and thinking in this direction. May be someone should suggest it to them?

        May be Ayatollas think this way: lets develop missiles first and try to develop nuclear weapons later and lets see how it goes. The problem with this approach is that you do know in advance what is the weight of your warhead is going to be, and therefore what kind of missile you need to build. Scud can deliver 1 metric ton to 500km. 1 ton may sound "safe" in terms of engineering risks in warhead design, however, increasing the range causes decrease of payload in a very steep way. Iran already has launched a satellite, so theoretically Iran can build an intercontinental missile, right? Wrong. The weight of that satellite is only 60kg. The starting weight of the missile is about 80 tons. Already not transportable. But this also exposes the poor state of the art of Iranian missile engineering (c.f., Soviet SS-19 has weights about 100 ton, and capable to launch about 2.5 tom payload to orbit; Russian Topol weights only 40 tons and has 1 ton throw weight on intercontinental range). The point is US and Russia had 50 years to develop their marvels of engineering. Now (and this applies only to US) the stand in front of the mirror and saying "Look how horrible the crimes we have committed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If these weapons happened to be in wrong hands, the crimes may be even worse."

        Developing and possessing these missiles as a leverage in negotiations... It makes some sense. At least it works sometimes, sought North Koreans were more successful than Iranians.

        As I said before, I remain unimpressed..

        June 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... Your lengthy post tellls me that you CAN NOT answer my question. You, apparently, believe that the leaders of Iran DO NOT have any intentions to develop nuclear weapons and that they are idiots wasting billions developing delivery systems for such weapons. In addition, you're telling us that Iranian leaders are planning to use their missiles able (at best) to damage a couple of random buildings in a city against NUCLEAR ARMED Israel... Do you have any reasons to believe that Iranian leaders are THAT dumb???

        June 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... North Koreans were successful (sometimes) in negotiation precisely because they DID develop nuclear weapons.

        June 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • AlexShch

        I think I gave you all the answers.

        I believe that IQ of average Ayatollah is about the same as IQ of average US Senator. The only difference is that it usually does not take too long to wait before a Senator opens up his mouse and says something stupid, so his IQ can be accurately judged. Ayatollahs remain a bit Enigma because they rarely open their mouses in public, and usually only Supreme Ayatollah is allowed to speak, while all others remain silent only making clever-looking thoughtful expression in their faces. This is their protocol. North Koreans have different protocol: they always clap when supreme leaders speaks. Whatever...

        One fundamental thing you have to understand is that ENGINEERING WORK CANNOT BE MADE ON DEMAND. That is, if a political leader decides to develop a rocket or bomb on anything of this sort, just political will and throwing in money is not enough. Engineering is a continuous process. This applies to every country regardless of political regime. If Ayatollas want an intercontinental missile three years from now. Good lack. Wishful thinking. If on the other hand they want a 20%-improved version of Scud, that is a little bit more realistic. If, on other hand, they say that we do not want Scud any more because we became friend with Israel, and 5 years later they change their mind and want Scud back again, also good luck because building up these capabilities and expertise takes decades, while dumbing down can be achieved much faster. You cannot fire engineers simply because you do not need their services at certain moment, and then find new engineers with such qualification five years later: they will be simply not available no matter how much money you have offered - only the dumbest of the dumbest of market economists still believe in "supply and demand" in this context. Look what happened to US space program: just about 7 years from leadership to impotence. I think that Ayatollas understand this. It least I observe more or less continuous push throughout the last two decades. The question WHY they are trying to design a particular missiles is irrelevant: engineers simply try to do their best. This process can be stopped by a political decision, but after it stopped, restarting it by a political decision is much harder.

        June 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • Trevor

        Alex- You're reading WAY TOO MUCH into my statement, so let me bring you back into "focus" on my very SPECIFIC military capability statement (not the political "mindset" of Iran that is an "enabler" to put ro not put their ballistic missile capablities into action). The military capability of the Iranians to launch ballistic missiles into neighboring Gulf States is assessed as "impressive" by ACTUAL SMEs, not you. You can "talk" all you want about what you've "read" via UNCLASSIFIED sources, but your assessments are incorrect and inaccurate PERIOD...hence the reason we in CENTCOM train and expend so much time and resources to defend against this particular threat. This "discussion" you've presented on the "capabilities" of the Iranian ballistic missiles has been EXTENSIVELY studied and analyized by individuals with access information that you are NOT PRIVY TO, hence the reason why assessements presented to the JFC and CFACC (acting AADC) are, contrary to yours...and we'll leave it at that.

        June 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... Declaring that others are "idiots" only because their actions do not fit YOUR theories is not very convincing. Regarding the ability of Iranian engineers an scientists to develop longer range missiles or nuclear warheads to arm these missiles I'd like to remind you that the US was able to develop, build, test and use atomic bombs FROM SCRATCH in less than three years almost 70 years ago. What makes you think that Iranians are not capable to do the same using the technology of the 21th century?

        June 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |
      • AlexShch

        Thinker: Yes I know that it US took 3 years to develop atomic bomb from scratch ... and the weight of that bomb was over 10,000 pounds. NOWHERE CLOSE to be deliverable by a ballistic missile, to, in fact, to any distance, even 500km.

        Then it took US another 20 years (1945 to 65) including hundreds of full-scale nuclear tests to refine the "device" into a deliverable warhead more or less, and another 20 years (to approximately 1985; US has performed ) to bring it to the shape of what it is today.

        Did not you realize that the weight of so called "physical package" has been reduced by a factor 30 to 100 times during this evolutionary process.

        For Russia it actually took a little bit longer. Did not you notice that the final years of nuclear testing for Russia, 1990 and 1991 were actually THE MOST ACTIVE years in terms of nuclear tests performed?

        Thus far Iran claims that his nuclear program is peaceful and there is no evidence which proves otherwise - allegations and speculations do not count.

        Now imagine that Iran tests a device tomorrow on one year from now. The probability than they can make a deliverable warhead in just one try is ZERO. The probability that Iran will end up in complete isolation the next morning after its first nuclear test, including Russia and China completely dropping their support is 100%. The question is what Ayatollahs are going to do during the period between their first test to the glorious moment when they get their first deliverable warhead?

        June 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • AlexShch

        Trevor: "...let me bring you back into "focus" on my very SPECIFIC military capability statement... The military capability of the Iranians to launch ballistic missiles into neighboring Gulf States is assessed as "impressive" by ACTUAL SMEs, not you..."

        OK. Lets go back to focus:

        1. I have no doubt that Iran has missiles capable to reach territories of Gulf states, and some of them can even reach Israel.

        2. Iranian ability to accurately hit specific targets causing intended damage (not collateral by hitting just something nearby) is rated between highly doubtful to non-existing.

        3. Hard target kill capability (say to destroy a missile depot - a concrete structure covered by 5 meters of dirt) is non-existing.

        4. Iranian ability to measure coordinates of intended targets must rely on third-party products (incl. US provided GPS) and this is unlikely to change in future.

        5. Iranian ability to measure Earth Geoid (you have to know anomalies of Earth gravitational field to calculate trajectory of ballistic missile, right?) is non-existing which fundamentally limits accuracy of their inertially-guided missiles and the accuracy deteriorates with range. This is unlikely to change in future.

        6. Iranian ability to go beyond inertial guidance (astro-correction or GPS or something) is non-existing.

        7. Iranian ability of real-time recognisance (say to be timely aware of staging of US troops somewhere in vicinity but outside of Iranian territory) is non-existing, which limits the intended targets to be not just fixed objects, but to non-movable property.

        8. Israeli' ability to intercept Iranian warheads is perhaps some and improving, but I cannot speculate here because I do not know.

        June 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... Yes, you're correct that Iran claims that its nuclear program is peaceful and you're also right that today's technology has considerably reduced the weight of nuclear devices. You're also correct that Iranian missiles are similar to improved Soviet SCUDs. All this brings us to my original question you were unable to answer yet: How will Iran possibly USE their nuclear capable intermediate- and long range ballistic missiles if it (Iran) does not have any plans to get nuclear warheads to fit them? Please realize that as long as you can not answer this simple question your lengthy posts containing a lot of information that it as correct as it is IRRELEVANT are IRRELEVANT as well.

        June 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • AlexShch

        "How will Iran possibly USE their nuclear capable intermediate- and long range ballistic missiles if it (Iran) does not have any plans to get nuclear warheads to fit them?" - you are obviously referring to the ones which can reach Israel?

        1. Admire them on military parade during the anniversary of Islamic Revolution, because they are big and cool looking.

        2. Use them as weapons of terror (or pretend intending to use them as weapon of terror) with hope that it may deter Israel from attacking (do not tell me that Israelis are not serious in discussing options to take out Iran's nuclear facilities).

        3. Arm them with cluster warheads and use them as deterrent (same as 2) but with obviously more devastating potential.

        June 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
      • AlexShch

        I obviously forgot to mention that in the case 3 above (cluster warheads) soft targets such as planes in airfields can be usefully destroyed or damaged which bring some counter-force capability.

        ...I believe that several years ago some Ayatollah (thought not the supreme one) threatened something like "sending Israel to eternal coma" referring to Ariel Sharon deteriorating health at that time. Since then Ariel Sharon disappeared from the news, but I believe he is still alive. By any chance, any news about his health?

        June 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... Israel has nothing to gain from attacking Iran. therefore, it will not use force against Iran unless as a last resort in case there will be no other way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Now let us evaluate your answers to my question:

        (1) is pretty stupid as showing off big and cool looking missiles during military parades will certainly cause the people of Iran and the neighboring Muslim states to demand Iranian leaders to make true of their promises to destroy Israel. This will put the leaders of Iran into pretty peculiar position as refusing to do it will certainly allow their political adversaries to declare these leaders 'traitors' and 'Zionist agents'. Iranian leaders are not interested in this developments.

        (2) Using big and heavy Iranian missiles to attack Israeli cities is even more stupid as such actions would trigger Israel, the US and, probably, other states to use force against Iran putting the Islamic regime there to an end. If you have any doubts about it you may recall 9/11 and its consequences for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

        (3) Arming Iranian missiles with cluster warheads is extremely doubtful. If you disagree try to read your own post where you've explained the reasons Iran can not possibly do it...

        Therefore, all three of your "answers" above do not hold water. Try harder, Alex!

        June 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Alex... You've also forgot to mention that Iranian leaders must be suicidal idiots to start using ballistic missiles (even if these missiles are armed with cluster warheads Iran does not and will not have for many years to come) against NUCLEAR ARMED Israel. Do you REALLY believe that Iranian leaders are suicidal idiots?

        June 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
      • AlexShch

        No, I do not believe that Ayatollas are suicidal idiots. All I believe is that the passively responding to the developing situation, which is, I have to say, is very complicated, not under their control, not evolving into their favor, and there is no easy or straightforward way out for them. Because even if they do nothing and say nothing (literally shut up), western media will still put whatever words into their mouses.

        WOW. NOW WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NUCLEAR ARMED ISRAEL THREATENING TO OBLITERATE IRAN!

        Sounds almost like Hillary Clinton during her 2008 election campaign. Remember what happened then? Senator McCain was insulting Paris Hilton and Hillary was insulting Iran at that time. The difference between Paris Hilton and Iran is that Paris Hilton had an opportunity to respond to Sen. McCain (resulting in devastating effect, loss of rating, PR failure, and eventual wrapping up his election campaign) while Iran was not given such opportunity.

        June 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
      • Trevor

        Alex- This whole "class" v "unclass" thing doesn't seem to be registering. Do you have a TS/SCI clearance? No you don't. Again, all your statements are of what classification? What sources are you getting you assessments from? Yes some of "unclass" assessments out there are accurate some are off. Without getting into OPSEC concerns on specifics, not all your statements are accurate. You can rattle off some more of your "unclass" assessments if it make you feel that you really have "truth data" on this subject...you're straight up wrong on several.

        Seems that you're letting your "pride" get in the way that there are certain people out there that know things on this subject that you don't...its OK, there's ALOT of things that I'm not allowed to see as well. You seem interested in this subject...I suggest you look at employment opportunities in the DoD that request extensive background checks via an SF86. We're always looking for folks in the ISR field.

        June 18, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Lyndsie Graham

      I tend to agree with you, George. Just never mind all these uneducated right-wing lemmings here who only wish to believe the propaganda of this government. These ignorant people here are sickening!

      June 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
      • Trevor

        Thats right Lyndsie...not having "been there and done that" is ignorance and bliss...it cuts both ways. The U.S. is not ramping up military cooperation with the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan (AT THEIR REQUEST) for no reason. Reference my statement just above yours and you can take your ignorant foot our of you mouth as well.

        June 16, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Dan

      Nasser since your post is completely wrong and out of touch with reailty I will just answer it point by point based on RECORDED history:“Imagine there was no revolution in Iran and the Pahlavi dynasty remained in place. Do you not think that Iran would have benefited significantly from the fall of the Soviet Union, in terms of territory?”No. I do not believe that. My reason? History my friend history:Ottoman Empire fell and disintegrated in 1923. Iran went under Reza Shah (officially) in 1923. WHAT WAS THE RESULT?Did we gain any territory? ON THE CONTRARY WE LOST: Tehran convention of 1932!!The policies that you advocate, were followed to the letter by Turkey after the fall of USSR. Do you see them being in love with USA? or do you see every single politician who wants to make a score in public eyes distansing himself from Israel/USA? In fact USA has the lowest sympathy in the world in Turkey!By the way, don't you guys feel even slightly bad that you suggest that we should do the foot work for Americans to rob the central Asia and Caucasus, so that we can get rich?? I’ll say it again had the Shah not purchased those weapons and after his collapse Saddam invaded, Iran would have been completely defenseless. I am afraid that again you are forgetting the history: in the first two years of the war when all those military gadgets were still very leading edge and fancy , Iran was on the defence and was losing territory.On the contrary, during the final 6 years when we had very limited number of tanks and almost all of aircrafts were sitting in hangars for the lack of spare components and amunition (all of which was made in the West and was not being given to us because of the sanctions) we were on the OFFENCE and we were advancing in the Iraqi territory. In fact, Khomeini in his infinite wisdom carried out numerous purges and abolished the nuclear program which I think has had disastrous long term consequences. It is beyond me (and almost all intellectuals, and even Green people such as Abbas Abdi and Hajjarian) why we would need a nuclear power for electricity which would be always dependent on foreign provided Uranium, and this is when we are sitting on an ocean of oil and gas and ABUNDANT amount of sun shine (for solar energy) and Wind power. Germany and Denmark despite their much higher rate of energy deman and much less amount of sun shine are powering up entire cities using the solar power.In fact if there is any use to the Iranian nuclear power it is its deterrence capability. Now Shah was going to deter whom from attacking Iran? USA? or Israel?!?!? I take issue with the characterization of Iran’s rudimentary military industry as adequate or self sufficient when Iran barely has an air force. And I very highly doubt it can shut off the strait of Hormuz which receiving severe consequences and not just from the US. The concern is more that such attempts would drive up insurance prices and the price of oil but no one seriously considers Iran’s capable of taking on the fifth fleet. In the shalow waters of persian gulf using assymetric tactics Iran is said by US military analysists to be capable of inflicting heavy damage on the 5th fleet. You can search on You tube to find the footage of Iranian drone hovering over the US aircraft carrier for over 20 minutes. That by itself, shah could not imagine in his wildest dreams. This [Hezbollah beating Israel] is truly laughable, I highly doubt anyone believes Hezbollah can take on the IDF as you say and I am a Shia. But it is true that they cannot be wiped out without inflicting catastrophic civilian casualties and so can be said to have won in the guerilla sense. Now I am afraid you are way too much under the influence of the zionist propaganda:Israel in 2006 received it's most humiliating military defeat since 1956. Entire armoured coloumns were destroyed at the hands of Hezbollah fighters, and one of their corvets was nearly sunk by the anti-ship missiles made by Iran and given to Hezballah. During the entire conflict they could not occupy a single spot in the Lebanese territory and had to retreat from every single attack that they made on the land. If this is not victory, then I would guess Vietnam was not a victory for the Vietnamese either!!As for the civilian casualties: It is an inevitable part of defending your homeland against an aggressor. Then perhaps because of the mounting civilian casualties you would suggest that the Soviets lost the battle of Stalingrad too?!?!? I wont debate you on the economic issues as it seems you have very strongly bought onto to the IRI propaganda. But I’ll relay on this old wisdom from economists that self sufficiency is the road to poverty and trade is the road to prosperity. It is not an old wisdom, it is a bankrupted idea proposed by the likes of Milton Friedman, to fool people like us not to pursue our economic independence and self-reliant industrialization.

      August 1, 2012 at 2:18 am | Reply
  22. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP solution: Start a war with Iran (totally unfunded of course). Then get the poor people to fight/die in the war while giving the rich people "no bid contracts". Thus killing two GOP birds with one stone. Then we will use Iran's oil to pay for the war. And when the war is over, Iran will sell us cheap oil!!!! Just like in Iraq!!!! Oh wait..........never mind.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:06 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Are you sure that Iraq is selling us cheap oil as we speak? If so HOW COME the prices of gas are today FOUR TIMES HIGHER than BEFORE the war with Iraq???

      Moral: If the facts and your beliefs contradict each other it's not the facts that should be corrected.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
      • Hahahahahahahahha

        You should quit using "thinker" in your name. Because obviously you're not. Hahahahahahahahaha

        June 15, 2012 at 9:18 am |
      • Thinker23

        Can anyone produce something BETTER than insults to answer my questions above?

        Here are my questions again: Are you sure that Iraq is selling us cheap oil as we speak? If so HOW COME the prices of gas are today FOUR TIMES HIGHER than BEFORE the war with Iraq???

        June 15, 2012 at 9:45 am |
      • Hahahahahahahahha

        You obviously are NOT a thinker. What part of sarcasm don't you get? Moron. Hahahahahahahahahaha

        June 15, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Thinker23

      So the statement above was a sarcasm? Very well then. WHAT was the reason for the GOP to start a war with Iraq if the oil became scarce and expensive as a result?

      June 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
      • Hahahahahahahahha

        Put on your thinking cap idiot. Hahahahahahaha

        June 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • GhostCoyote

      I agree with you Thinker. Like that dou che rocket Bill Mahr said "Next time we go to war for oil, how about we bring back some oil..." Well logic would dictate that we didn't bloody go to war for oil then! Damn hippies drive me nuts

      June 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  23. Thinker23

    Iran signed an obligation to NOT develop nuclear weapons. Israel did not. Therefore, developing nuclear weapons is IN VIOLATION of promises Iran signed. Israel DID NOT make such promises.

    Further, Iranian leaders repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel while Israel never made such threats against Iran or any other state.

    Still further, Israel NEVER attacked any other country without being attacked first. It DID fight back when it was attacked... but so was Iran killing 20 times more Muslims in one war than Israel did in all its wars combined.

    Finally, apartheid is SEPARATION of citizens of the same state by their race, religion or ethnicity. Israel is the ONLY state in the Middle East where ALL citizens have the very same equal rights regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

    Down with baseless hateful racist lies of Jew haters. Bless the brave Muslims wishing for their countries and Israel to live in peace with each other.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:04 am | Reply
    • michaelfury

      http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/movers-and-shakers/

      June 15, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
      • Thinker23

        Michael... Your link tells us about a "white van" with Israelis filming the burning Twin Towers after the attack on 9/11. Are you sure that ALL videos and photos published by various news agencies after 9/11 were made by Israelis? If not then WHY don't you blame all other reporters and simply people with cameras who took pictures and videos at the time? Further, your link tells us about another "white van" laden with explosives... but there is NOTHING there linking that second van with Israel and the Jews (except the color of the van, of course)... Can you elaborate a bit and tell us WHAT WAS YOUR POINT?

        June 15, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • AlexShch

      Wow! ...an interesting legalistic point of view!

      Specifically I like this: "Israel NEVER attacked any other country without being attacked first. It DID fight back when it was attacked... but so was Iran killing 20 times more Muslims in one war than Israel did in all its wars combined"

      In other words you say that, Iran is guilty of killing 20 times more Muslims than Israel during, I guess ... Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88. You accurately stopped short of alleging that Iran started that war (in fact, it was Saddam who initiated the war in an attempt to settle territorial disputes while taking advantage of the mess inside Iran caused the 1979 Islamic revolution - sounds almost like "Islamic spring" - in today's terms), but still allege that Iran killed is 20 times more Muslims than Israel...

      Oh wait a minute, killing Muslims is good or bad?

      Besides, even if Iran would start that war, would it be so bad? Saddam is a bad guy, right? So starting war against a bad guy should be good? After all, the World is better off without Saddam Hussein, right?

      Oh, wait a minute, Saddam was kind of ... good guy ... at that time. Even using chemical weapons against Iran was good. Especially if these chemical weapons were provided by good guys (obviously you would not consider Donald Rumsfeld as a bad guy, otherwise you are anti-American).

      OK. OK, I am getting confused. Lets sort it out... Iran is guilty of killing 20 times more Muslims which were considered "good" at the time when they were killed, but later the very same Muslims (Saddam and his friends) became "bad" however, Iran is guilty any way? Of course, because their Ayatollah is bad and always been bad.
      That makes sense.

      My suggestion to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as follows:

      1. Hire a team of fines Israeli lawyers to represent Iran in all negotiations.

      2. Don't be greedy, pay them generous lawyer fees, so they cannot refuse the offer.

      3. They can interpret, bend, twist, unscrew, re-interpret, and screw facts again and again, and a virtually invincible in any negotiations.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        Alex... I've said that Israel never attacked any other state but fought back when attacked and so did Iran (namely, fought back when it was attacked by Iraq). is it clear now?

        June 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
      • AlexShch

        Thinker23, I understood your "...so did Iran..." correctly from the very beginning, there is no ambiguity here.

        I just admire finest legalism, because the way how you put together your arguments and historic parallels, which is quite unusual. I am not saying that it is wrong. It is just unusual.

        Of course, Israel never attached another country except when fought back after being attacked.

        The delicate part here is the definition of words "another country" and what does it meant "being attacked".

        For example, operation "Cast Lead" in January 2009. Clearly response to provocations by Palestinians who kidnapped Gilat Stalit and fired few dozen Qassam missiles. Do these action by Palestinians amount to act of war, or it is merely gang violence in the neighborhood? Can Gaza strip be considered as "another country" or it is part of Israel, so the whole operation is merely an internal matter, something like Putin's "counter-terrorist operation" (Putin was the first who invented this term, George W. copycatted it)?

        Israeli bombing of Lebanon in summer 2006. Unlike Gaza strip, Lebanon is kind of "another country". Of course, Israel had to defend itself against that evil Hebollah who were preaching Death to Israel. But again, where is the threshold between act of war and kids playing fireworks in neighborhood.

        Or Israeli airstrike of nuclear facility in Syria in September 2007 (so called Operation Orchard)? Of course, Syria is an evil state, and a satellite of Russian Evil Empire, and Israel has the right defend itself against their even intent. So Syrians themselves provoke this attack by building this reactor or whatever it was. Israel does not have to wait until evil forces attack it first because by definition they are evil and the attack is imminent.

        Or Israeli airstrike on Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981 (so called Operation Babylon). There is absolutely no doubt that Israel has right to defend itself, and Saddam Hussein (though a good man, friend of Donald Rumsfeld and buddy of Norman Schwartzkopf at that time) already has evil thought brewing in the back of his brain, to an attack on Israel was imminent.

        June 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
      • rayane

        everybody is evil except zioniste state ? no sorry

        there is a bit people who buy this. iran wil defend itself against evil genocidaire state.

        i support iran nuclear right !

        June 16, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • rayane

      @ Thinker23 so iran must remain under threat israel, for a signature? So you will agree to say that Iran must leave the

      NPT legally and everything will be lawful?

      June 16, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
      • Thinker23

        I'm saying that Israel did not and does not threaten to destroy Iran or to cause any harm to it. I'm saying that Israel did not and does not have any reasons to use force against PEACEFUL Iran. I'm saying that Israel will not use force against Iran unless as a last resort in case there will be no other way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. I'm saying that in case Israel will have to use force against Iran it will use enough force to assure that Iran will not be willing or able to launch a counter-attack. Israelis are not suicidal.

        June 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • rayane

      @ Thinker23 so iran must remain under threat israel, for a signature? So you will agree to say that Iran must leave the

      NPT legally and everything will be lawful?

      yes ?

      June 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • rayane

      Iran has killed, soldiers armed Muslim, and invaders. in an imposed war

      israel is killing children, girls, little boys, women. NGO, attack UN office.

      do you can see the difference?

      June 16, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
  24. Thor

    Iran is being more than generous by even debating a sovereign right of theirs...

    Israel needs to make similar concessions, as they haven't even signed the non proliferation treaty.

    Iran has the right to nuclear power as they are signatories.

    Down with the violent, apartheid Israel. Bless the brave Israelis wishing for their country to change its ways.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:17 am | Reply
    • GhostCoyote

      I don't think threatening to blow another sovereign nation into tiny bits is a right. I certainly wouldn't sell a gun to an individual who just threatened the life of someone else right outside the store. Besides, Israel has never detonated a nuclear device. They say they have them, and I'm inclined to believe them, but until we see a mushroom cloud, there will always be doubt. (Heck, they may have them but with a design flaw in such a way that they don't set off a chain reaction and become in effect a dirty bomb). Nuclear power as a right is one thing, nuclear weapon capabilities is totally different.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
      • Thor

        We know for a fact that Iran is not seeking a bomb, but the ability to create one.

        That is their right.

        June 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • rayane

      @thor

      there absolutely no way i can desasgree with u.

      iran has legale right to put itself in position to defend itself, to defend his childrens......

      June 16, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
    • Sabri

      I find some of the readings of Shireen's comtenms here to be baffling. When I said she was a realist, I meant that she is aware that pushing an ideology when you aren't the Big Man on Campus internationally is counterproductive. How this gets turned into her wanting Iran to be the West's poodle is beyond me. I wouldn't go as far as she does to say that Iran's foreign policy is inept , I think they have played the US and employed their allies fairly well in general. But she is correct that Ahmadinejad's remarks on the Holocaust isn't winning Iran any allies in the West, however well it might play in the Arab street (even assuming Ahmadinejad's views are technically correct and correctly translated). She is, however, as I said in my earlier post, completely wrong about Iran supporting the two-state solution. Iran should support a one-state solution and I believe it does. This does not make Iran inept but makes it a realist because the two-state solution, as many have pointed out, is basically dead in the water except for people who aren't familiar with the facts on the ground. Admittedly, this flies in the face of the West's ignorant view of the subject, but I can't see Iran advocating something that simply isn't workable just to score points with the West on this topic. So she's wrong on that point, clearly.She is probably correct that pushing the Islamic line isn't doing Iran any particular good either, except, again, on the Arab street. Whether she is correct that EVEN on the Arab street, it's not doing any good, I can't comment since I don't know any polls of the Arab public on that point. But it definitely doesn't help in dealings with the West, since the West is paranoid on the subject of the rise of Islamism. So an emphasis on Iranian national interests makes more sense and is more realist than trying to achieve solidarity with an Arab world that still distrusts Persia while alienating the West even more.I think it's clear that Flynt saw flaws in some of her arguments since he did a certain amount of pushback, but overall her perspective has some validity. I think some of the criticism here has been too extreme.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply

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