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Can the left handle Iran nuclear deal good news?

3:12 am in Foreign Policy by fairleft

This is good news: P5+1 and Iran agree landmark nuclear deal at Geneva talks

Sure, it’s only for six months, but I like how it accepts Iran enriching uranium up to 5 percent but rules out 20 percent. Iran can continue to enrich uranium, it can have an independent nuclear power program, but not to 20 percent. 20 percent legitimately scares people and has limited use other than as a provocation or bargaining chip.
Iran with nuclear symbol
But I sense fairly widespread skepticism, refusal to accept good news, on the left. Some can’t allow it to interfere with their ‘Iran vs. the Empire’ narrative:

We will likely be back to the usual animosities and renewed calls for war some six month from now. … When, in six month, the U.S. will stop adhering to the agreement Iran will be blamed of breaking it.

My sense is that the writer, b of (the excellent) Moon of Alabama blog, has a too severe, exaggerated analysis in which Israel does and _must_ rule U.S. policy on the Middle East. Tale wags the big U.S. dog. And that means “THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE!”

Well, maybe some of us need to pull back from that a little. Yes, it’s true that the Israeli far right (i.e., Israel’s government) and their allies in the U.S. oppose any concessions. And they are a mighty strong lobby. But maybe there are too many military people, trade partners, and non-oil industry people who fear where the Likud/Israeli line is leading. Can the U.S. afford to bankrupt itself again, with another Iraq, i.e. another several trillion dollar war in the Middle East? Because that’s where being led around by the nose by the present-day Israel would lead.

Here’s my comment under b’s analysis:

I wouldn’t dismiss the deal as ‘temporary, back to confrontation in 6 months, Iran gets nothing’. Iran does get $4.2 billion and it gets positive (“Not a pariah anymore”) PR, which it can leverage into to better relations with other countries individually.

The broader take might be the “bridge too far” concept regarding U.S.-based imperialism. Limits people! Can’t have everything.

In sum, without Russia and China on board, Western sanctions have limits, and so what do you do? This might be the first step toward acceptance of Iran as part of that small club of nations (Russia, China) that the West grudgingly allows to be sovereign.

Expanding on the public relations reference: Not that it can break the united Western front against it, but there are several big ‘non-aligned’ countries that Iran can profitably improve relations with. This is where pulling back from 20 percent enrichment is helpful: it shows again that Iran is determined to have a nuclear _power_ program, that it is determined in a larger (and inspiring) sense to be a sovereign non-Western country, but that it does _not_ want a nuclear weapons program. This may make it permissible for a Brazil, a Khazakstan, an Azerbaijan or a Turkey to break with the West on sanctions.

I feel b overplays the following as well:

Congress has ways and means to increase sanctions and thereby break this deal and will likely do so.

Well, yes, we’ve seen that, but Congress doesn’t do it alone, in a vacuum. If the deal is broken it will be a co-production of the White House, Congress, the mainstream media and lobbyists/funders (which includes but is much more than the Israel Lobby).

At minimum, Iran now has a space in which it can make itself more acceptable to the Powers That Be in the U.S. political space. Or not. Nonetheless, there are possibilities today that don’t compute with a U.S. Middle Eastern policy utterly dominated by the Israel Lobby. Perhaps Netanyahu and Israel’s militarists have simply presented U.S. policy makers with ‘A Bridge Too Far‘.

For the left, this is likely a learning moment for many, including myself. It simply is very hard to square this deal with a U.S. slavishly under the thumb of the Israel Lobby. So let’s learn.
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Ahmadinejad Flattens CNN’s Zakaria

11:40 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft


Because raw imperialism can’t be defended, its defenders tend to be morons.

For example there’s the U.S. war on Iran, and therefore warrior for imperialism Fareed Zakaria vs. Iran. That country is suffering under the most brutal sanctions a corporate globalist hegemon can conjure, crushing the everyday hopes and lives of working and middle class Iranians. The victim’s duly elected president (the illegitimacy of the 2009 election is just more lies), although in most respects a bigoted right-winger himself, nonetheless consistently wins the debate with the intellectual warriors of corporate globalist imperialism. CNN a couple nights ago:

ZAKARIA: More with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I quote the Koran to him to show him that he might be wrong about something. …

Oh I bet you will ;->, looking forward to that Fareed …

ZAKARIA: You’re a student of history, and you said something that I was struck by in one of the gatherings that you were at. You spoke about Israel and you said it has no roots in history in the region. And I was wondering whether you really believe that because as you know, of course, Jews have lived there for thousands of years, and we know this, of course, because there are repeated references to the children of Israel in the Koran. There are 43 references to the children of Israel. In fact, one of them, chapter 17 Sura 104 says, we say onto the children of Israel, dwell in this land, live in this land, referring to the land that is now Israel. So do you dispute these facts or do you accept that there is some connection between the children of Israel and this land?

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): So we’re trying to fabricate to make the roots a connection? So you do not draw any distinction between the Zionists and the Jews?

ZAKARIA: I’m asking you.

AHMADINEJAD: I am — I have always maintained that the Zionist regime has no historical roots in the region. I — why would I say that the Jews have no historical root? They were also in Iran, a great many of them. So that means that Iran belongs to the Jews? Iran belongs to Iranians, whether they’re Jews, whether they’re Muslims or Christians. Please pay close attention here, sir. The borderline is quite thin. Zionism is a doctrine, is a school of thought, is an aggressive school of thought. It has nothing to do with the Jewish people. At the same time, the majority of those who are there now have come from other lands. They’re immigrants. Many of them recently converted to Judaism. So the way this regime took shape doesn’t matter. Yes, for a long time, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in Palestine with one another in peace and stability and they will continue to do so in the future. It is not a Jewish/Christian/Muslim fight. We’re speaking of a group of Zionists who came and gained the reins of power.

Change the subject Fareed, you just been floored! (By the way, does the Ahmadinejad you read in that final paragraph in any way resemble the corporate imperial media Ahmadinejad?)

Greenwald Wrong; Major Victory for Iran

7:02 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Since it looks like the Greenwalds and others have decided to pretend the U.S. wrung major concessions from Iran, I’ll post some reality-based corrective here, which a few minutes ago was a couple of comments at

It was a major victory for Iran

Russia and China stuck up for Iran on the playground. For Russia, making Iran more dependent on it is very helpful to its ‘oil and gas politics’ Great Game strategy. China simply depends on Iran way too much for energy supplies, and can’t go along with crippling sanctions.

Greenwald and his linkee are laughably wrong that Iran promised to allow inspection of the new facility as a result of negotiations. Everyone in Iran was already stating that willingness from the moment they announced existence of that facility. So the media Obamanauts are getting away with a big lie there.

The main thing is, Iran was not even asked to stop making 5% enriched uranium. So they are celebrating:

5+1 group didn’t ask Iran to suspend enrichment: Jalili
Tehran Times Political Desk
Sunday, October 4, 2009

TEHRAN – Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, has said that in the Geneva talks on Thursday, the 5+1 group did not raise the issue of uranium enrichment suspension, as has been demanded by the recent United Nations Security Council resolutions.

"The 5+1 group did not mention the suspension of uranium enrichment in our country at all," he told reporters at Imam Khomeini airport on Friday upon his arrival from Geneva, Switzerland.

Iran has (supposedly, there is some disagreement) agreed to send out a big chunk of their existing supply to Russia in order to make it 10% enriched, which makes it suitable for nuclear medicine whatever that is. The point for Iran is that making that concession is a sideshow, no one challenged their right to go ahead with 5% enrichment from now on without sanctions. I’m not sure if setting up the 10% in Russia is even a concession, since Iran right now and for the foreseeable future may not be capable of enriching uranium to the 10% level.

by: fairleft @ Sun Oct 04, 2009 at 08:46:35 AM EDT

Since Sept 25 Iran has recognized right of inspection, (0.00 / 0)

since that’s what compliance with IAEA regulations means:

Iran says IAEA rules apply to new nuclear site

On the following day Iran was explicit, but the above should’ve clued any reasonable person in.

Also, a correction. Apparently Iran need 20% enriched uranium for nuclear medicine, which makes it extremely unlikely Iran was capable of doing that anyway:

Iran also agreed in principal to ship some of its low-enriched uranium abroad for reprocessing. Jalili said Iran needs 20 percent enriched uranium for a Tehran nuclear reactor which produces medical isotopes.

Since that’s in PressTV, it’s pretty much official. Note the word "some" versus how the West is reporting the matter.

by: fairleft @ Sun Oct 04, 2009 at 09:02:42 AM EDT

Again, rillly rilly hate to brag but my September 27 diary on this — Sorry Israel, no Iran war or crippling sanctions 4U — looks to have been entirely accurate at a time all of the corporate punditocracy was saying ‘the jig is up for Iran’. I’m sure as a result I’ll rise to a position of great prestige and salary in the pundit heavens.

No, actually, the only reason I point out the accuracy of my earlier prediction is to contrast it with what the supposedly more learned and actually paid professionals in the corporate press come up with. Rilly, I’m no uncouth braggart!

And, as I have said, this victory for Iran’s right to produce nuclear power is also a victory for peace. Not a bad week peace has had, though there are those two wars still in Iraq and especially Afghanistan.