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13 April 2015


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Good day.
your outstanding coverage here dovetails perfectly with a fine article published by Mr. Stephen M. Walt on the FP web site. ( link here: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/12/iran-nuclear-deal-obama/ ). Of course it also coincides with numerous other notes you have published here saying that the Nuclear research/power/arms were not the real point of the objections by most actors opposed to Iran. The main fear of these regional actors is an emerging Iran, sanction free and with improved standing vis a vis the USA and Europe. That is the future scenario that should be blocked at whatever cost.

Charles I

Blocked by and paid for by who?


Main point- "This is not about nukes, and never was about nukes, but about regional balance of power and Israel's pursuit of dominance."
Totally agree.

And the other point is that Isreal not being in the Non-Proliferation Treaty and having 200-300 nuclear weapons. And Iran is in the NPT and will sign the Additional Protocol. The Isrealis don't want to be held to account.


Yes, that is the hypochrisy angle of it:

Of all countryies it is Israel - nuclear armed and a non-member of the NPT - that makes a big stink about alleged Iranian non-compliance with the NPT and the IAEA inspections.

Obviously the NPT is so important to Israel, that they are not even a member to the NPT. If they were they'd have to delcare their nuclear material and have it safeguarded and inspected. They rather not submit themselves to IAEA inspections. Lord knows what they would find. Perhaps evidence of a secret military dimension to Israel's nuclear program? Who'd be surprised by that?

The IAEA should inform the Izzies and likeminded miscreants of a new policy: (a) Allegations of non-compliance against member states by non-member states or non-state actors go to the shredder unread. (b) If you are serious, join up. (c) Until then, shut up.

It would even serve the purpose of non-proliferation.

ex-PFC Chuck

Off Topic, but can anyone here answer the question of why the USA refuses to evacuate American citizens from Yemen?


Col. Lang, and all others in the committee,

Interesting news, no doubt infuriating to Netanyahu:


Yes, after years of delay in delivery of S-300 ground-to-air missiles to Iran, the Presidential ban has been lifted by President Putin. The manufacturer has additionally offered an upgrade to the Antey-2500 in replacement for the originally contracted S-300 missiles, something that is now in the Iranians' court.

Interestingly, the hold placed upon the delivery was apparently not due to UN sanctions. Here is some background on this point from a poster at Vineyard of the Saker in the comment thread by poster Johan:

“… these sanctions were imposed by the UN (legal) …”

Unfortunately, not true. The Russian September 2010 ban on delivery of S-300 to Iran was *not* an implementation of any UN resolution. It was an entirely unilateral move of the Russian government, not based on the UNSC resolution #1929 of 9 June 2010 – or on any other UN resolution for that matter.

All that Putin did now was to lift that unilateral Russian ban.

For reference, here is the full text of the UNSC Resolution 1929 (2010): http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=4c1f2eb32

That whole affair is well known. Rather than recount in my own words what happened, I shall quote a portion of an article from the respectable Indian newspaper “The Hindu” of 30 September 2010, which concluded in its summary “… Moscow has banned supply of S-300 air-defence systems to Tehran even though they do not fall under the category of offensive weapons banned by the U.N. resolution. …”


Russia’s U-turn on arms sale


“… Russia has thrown its defence ties with Iran on the altar of its “reset” with the United States. President Dmitry Medvedev last week imposed a sweeping ban on defence sales that goes beyond even the international sanctions on Iran and is likely to have a long-term negative impact on Moscow-Tehran relations.

The decree “On Measures to Implement the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 of June 9, 2010” Mr. Medvedev signed bans supplies of Russian tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, ships, heavy artillery systems and missiles, including the S-300 air defence systems, to Iran. Russia will also stop supplying spares and components for the weapons sold earlier, and ban the transit of arms bound for Iran through its territory. The decree contains a list of Iranian officials involved in the country’s nuclear programme, who will henceforth be prohibited from entering Russia.

By and large, the Russian sanctions are in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which Moscow backed, except for one crucial point: the S-300 missiles do not fall under the category of offensive weapons banned by the U.N. resolution. The move added another puzzling zigzag to Moscow’s back-and-forth policy on Iran.

Resolution 1929 states: “All states shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to Iran […] of any […] missiles or missile systems as defined for the purpose of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.” Meanwhile, the Register clearly states that its definition of missiles or missile systems “does not include ground-to-air missiles” (emphasis added.)

In justifying Mr. Medvedev’s cancellation of the S-300 deal, Russian officials refer to the U.N. resolution’s call on all states “to exercise vigilance and restraint over the supply, sale, transfer, provision, manufacture and use of all other arms and related materiel.”

That said, Resolution 1929 contained no explicit ban on air defence systems and Mr. Medvedev’s decree went a step too far. Ironically, defending Moscow’s ban on S-300, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in the same breath, lambasted unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran as being “ethically and morally wrong” and a “violation” of the U.N. resolution. … …”


So, I am throwing this out there for consideration by all and sundry.

In other interesting news, the Russians have now agreed to sell the S-400 system, reputedly considerably more capable than even upgraded versions of the S-300 system, to China:


Yes, we do seem to be living in interesting times, but that is not a commendatory characterization.




I have just learned of the passing of the German Nobel Laureate, Günter Grass, who at a past time expressed his vexed feelings concerning equipping Israel with yet more German-manufactured submarines capable of delivering nuclear weapons against Iran.

Here is an email that I sent to myself when first I became aware of this poem. In it is a link to the original text in German, as well as a link to a translation found at Sic Semper Tyrannis; also included is a rendering of a term not translated in the version found at SST:




N.B.: Wiedergutmachung translates as reparation.

In concert with the now-departed Herr Grass, let us hope for sanity to prevail.


Yeah, Right

Well, yes, you are highlighting the cognitive dissonance that lies at the heart of so many critics of a deal with Iran.

Because, in all honesty, the demonization of Iran rests upon these two bedrocks:
1) The Mullahs are NUTS! Utterly irrational in their genocidal hatred of Israel, to the point where deterrence or containment simply is not a option: the moment they get nukes they'll drop those nukes on Tel Aviv, and to hell with the consequences.
2) Man oh man, are those Mullahs CUNNING! They are so uber-crafty that they'll be willing to lie doggo for 10-15 years, if that's what it will take to lull those gullible "Westerners" to sleepy-bye-byes.

Not that I agree with either characterization, but at least I understand that if you pick one then you really do have to exclude the other, precisely because those two propositions are mutually-exclusive.

So pick one, or pick the other. But don't pick both, coz' it just makes you look silly.



Israel 's bought U.S. Congressional personal are demanding they have a say in the yes or no on any U.S. - Iran deal.

Houston, we have a problem....

Senate panel votes Tuesday on Iran bill that gives Congress say on nuclear deal



Netanyahu is f**king tedious. But I want him to continue.I have a short fuse for small-minded people. It takes longer for the hoi polloi to come to the same conclusion.


Yes, it is indeed telling:

* Bibi's concern of Iranian nukes being perpetually 3-5 years away evaporated over night? Just like that? It suggests it never was genuine anyway.

* That the 3-5 years that Iran was perpetually away from a nuke suddenly are no longer an issue underline that these number were *political numbers' and not findigs of fact in the first place.

* The 3-5 years had meaning only insofar as they related to US electoral cycles i.e they were formulated that way in order to put pressure on the US and had nothing to do with Iran.

Bibi has been playing that game for twenty years.

I will add this to the post.


The Israeli Defense Minister declared the S-300 sale was the result of the Lausanne talks. Not a word about Israeli and U.S. politicians braying about the 'need to bomb Iran.'



Incompetence or seeking an intervention excuse. Or both.


In light of the so-called "compromise" with Congress announced today, Obama has complicated his juggling act of trying to keep several balls in the air at once: the nuclear negotiations, holding Congress at bay, placating Israel, placating the Saudis & Gulfies. Conciliating by giving opponents 80% of what they want is his standard modus operandi - except in regard to Tehran. In other words, regularization of relations with Tehran is the fourth priority. Today's deal confirms that by lowering the odds once again on a resolution of the nuclear issue.

I have published a piece for the Huffington Post on the Iran negotiations, which elaborates on these points.


Charles I

I heard two interesting interviews on CBC Radio One's As It Happens yesterday, first an old one from 18986 I think it was, with GG. Discusses the war, Tin Drum/Danzig trilogy background material, his Hitler Youth days. Then there is an interview with his old friend Johannes Strasser, formerly of PEN Germany I think.

Strasser discussed What Has to Be Said, the reaction to it, claims of antisemitism, etc., claiming GG did not, as he often did, mail the poem to JS prior to publication, and had an editorial regret or two.

Found here, GG part starts at about 8.45 in, the JS interview follows immediately.


Little Oskar blew my mind when I first met him. There was something I got about that kid the way Pooh gets honey. Years after shattering myself like the glass he sang at it sorta became clear why I took so much to the little shrieking, drumming, infantile control freak so adamantly opposed to growing up, so insistent on his song breaking your heart.

The movie was staggering, nailed the little monster perfectly, the eel scenes, ugh I csan't go on. . .


Thanks for the link. I have always enjoyed reading your articles.


Charles I,

Thank you for the link to the CBC program. And yes, the horror of those writhing eels (fattened on corpses after the Battle of Jutland if I recall correctly) still remains vivid in my mind.

In return here are two links to articles from The New Yorker, the first of them, a brief personal remembrance of Günter Grass by Salman Rushdie, and the second, a story by Herr Grass himself, How I Spent the War.





Netanyahu has now gone the proverbial One step too far and thus may now safely be labelled as a conspiracy theorist when it comes to Iran. For these afflicted folk, the absence of any evidence for an Iranian nuclear weapons program is not accepted, "they" have to be hiding it because it "must" exist!

As we all know, a resurgence in the Iranian economy will trigger European and perhaps American investment and with it a reduction in Israels influence compared to Iran.

Charles I

Thanks, I recall reading the second one but not the first.

For some reason some of the works of Werner Herzog affect me the same way. Probably the things he gets out of Klaus Kinski, esp as Don Aguirres in Aguire Wrath of God.

Charles I

An here is a note today in The Globe and Mail by the very wonderful John Irving about his friendship with GG and his last unanswered letter from him:


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