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11 January 2014

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jon

I think the UN sanctions are on their way to being rolled back or repealed, regardless of US actions and influence. I see the US State Department and Obama working to open/broaden relations with Iran, though far from achieving Most Favored Nation status or military treaties. I don't see Obama signing or enforcing any greater sanctions that Congress might vote. He might try to administer new sanctions in the slowest and weakest interpretations possible, negating any actual effects. Should Israel be so foolish as to unilaterally attack Iran, it would unify the muslim world against Israel (and likely the US), and all of the Arab Spring 'revolutions' would cease. Israel might be best sticking with its low level assassination campaign against Iranian nuclear staff.

Johnf

BBC

i An interim agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear programme will enter into force on 20 January, it has been announced.

The deal, agreed in talks with world powers in November, envisages easing of some international sanctions on Tehran.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the news but said more work was needed to strike a long-term deal. He threatened new sanctions if there was a breach.

The West accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, but Tehran has consistently denied that.

The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the world powers would now ask the United Nations' nuclear watchdog (IAEA) to verify the deal's implementation.

robt willmann

Here is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's press release on the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013--

http://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/twenty-seven-senators-introduce-the-nuclear-weapon-free-iran-act

And the proposed bill; the link to it from the committee's site looks to be the same as yours--

http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Nuclear%20Weapon%20Free%20Iran%20Act.pdf

tv

No.
Sanctions were just getting in deep.
Keep them up.
Military action (as outlined by several people more knowledgeable then me) against a country of that size would be futile and probably make Iraq look like a day at the beach.
And this country is sick of war - especially the endless type half a world away when there is not an existential threat.

Don Bacon

Der Spiegel: “Chance of a Century: International Investors Flock to Tehran,” Daniel Bernbeck, head of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tehran, said airplanes are now “full of Italians” seeking to jumpstart business deals, including managers from the Italian energy company Eni S.p.A. The article noted that the French “are about to renew their licensing contract for supplying Peugeot components to Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro.”

One reason for that is that sanctions have cut both ways, buyer and seller, so the sanctions hurt EU firms and helped tank the EU economy. Now is an opportunity to change that.

confusedponderer

"AIPAC, Likud control of US policy?
I suspect that "control" comes more from American Jewish political contributions - to the Democrats, mainly."

You'd be wrong, considering that it was under Bush also that Israel got carte blanche to do whatever it wanted to do.

As for AIPAC control, Contributions play a role, Israeli firsters in positions of authority play another.

The result of US encouragement was Israeli recklessness - the abortive drive into Lebanon of 2006 and the Izzies venting their frustration over their defeat there by pommeling Gaza in 2008/2009.

I find it striking that while Iran routinely pledges defiance, in their peculiar language, Israel openly announces to attack this that or another country, and habitually violates the sovereignty of their neighbours. Israel's hostility is one of aggressive action.

Iran's hostility is defiance in face of rather overt US and Israeli hostility. The embassy aside, with all the harm US actions and sanctions have inflicted on Iran one could say it's time to call it even by now.

Not even that wiping Israel off the map meme is for real. In reality it iirc was a reference to a speech by Khomeini in which he said that Israel would vanish from the page of time like the crusader states did before it. That is not a resolution to push Israel into the sea, but the view that Israel will disappear, maybe on its own.

One potential cause I can easily imagine in light of Israel's conduct is that this could happen by Israeli overreach and exhaustion.

And, besides, you still have not addressed the point that Iran's nuke reprogram so far is only asserted.

There is no evidence for it. The IAEA permanently monitors Iranian sites and attests routinely to their non-diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful purposes. The US intelligence community didn't find any. Israeli intelligence is inclined to agree i.e. despite of Bibi's histrionic bluster, there probably is no there there.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/23/world/la-fg-iran-intel-20120224

"U.S. intelligence agencies don't believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.

A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17837768

Chief of Staff Lt Gen Benny Gantz: "Iran "is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn't yet decided to go the extra mile".

And speaking of the supreme leader he continued: "I don't think he will want to go the extra mile. I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people."

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/barak-israel-very-far-off-from-decision-on-iran-attack-1.407953

"The Israeli view is that while Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities, it has not yet decided whether to translate these capabilities into a nuclear weapon - or, more specifically, a nuclear warhead mounted atop a missile. Nor is it clear when Iran might make such a decision. "

The Izzies gloss the absence of any evidence for an actual Iranian nuke program over by conflating a weapons program with a "weapons capability" - i.e. the ability of Iran to enrich - a technology known for at least 70 years - and the knowledge of physics, along the lines of 'mastery of fire'.

Unless one wants to de-indrustialise and de-educate Iran, such a capability is not going to go away, and also, it is most certainly not tantamount to a nuclear weapons program and a threat. The Israeli position on this is BS.

In contrast, Israel's nuclear arsenal is a reality, and they very likely built it with French aid and nuclear material and technology stolen from the US.

Perhaps the Izzies are mirror imaging and regarding the Iranians as every bit as calculating and deceptive as they were when they built their arsenal, or when they pursue what they call 'peace talks'?

Matthew

RW: The purpose of the new sanctions bill is to prevent Iranian compliance. See http://www.lobelog.com/flaws-in-the-kirk-menendez-iran-sanctions-wag-the-dog-bill/

The President could never certify that Iran was in compliance.

Edward Amame

If this mess passes the Senate with a veto-proof majority, I will never vote for my two senators, Gillibrand and Schumer, again. I called both offices yesterday to inform them of that.

Apparently all GOP Senators except Rand Paul are on board and Schumer is busy strong-arming vulnerable Senate Dems in election 2014 so as to get to 67 yes votes/veto-proof majority. I saw a CNN report quoting some anonymous Senate adide claiming an informal vote count currently has 77 yesses.

A similar bill passed the House this summer. If passed by 67 Senators, will there be a conference committee to work out differences?

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