Sunday, June 23, 2013

Iran's Election

The Iranians are ingenious! The rigging the AmeriKan press expected didn't occur, and the result really threw a monkey-wrench into the war-makers plans:

"Ahmadinejad roadshow: Pitching his political heir" by Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy |  Associated Press, March 28, 2013

TEHRAN — Carefully scripted stagecraft in the waning months of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency.... 

Esfandiari Rahim Mashaei is part of the collateral damage. The aide has been discredited as part of a ‘‘deviant current’’ that critics said seeks to undermine Islamic rule in Iran and elevate the values of pre-Islamic Persia. The smear campaign has even included rumors that Mashaei conjured black magic spells to cloud Ahmadinejad’s judgment....

Ever notice every religion or group always has some sort of weird quirks in my jewspaper -- except for the benevolent, victimized chosen people?

Ahmadinejad appears to be banking on his populist appeal to force the Guardian Council — the gatekeepers for the candidates — to consider Mashaei too prominent to reject.... 

We call them political parties here.



"Mashaei is also despised by hard-liners for... his statements suggesting Iran can oppose Israel’s government but can be friendly with the Israeli people." 

He's out.

"Ahmadinejad under fire for hugging Chavez’s mother" by Ali Akbar Dareini |  Associated Press, March 13, 2013

TEHRAN — Iranian clerics have scolded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavez’s mother with a hug — a physical contact considered a sin under Iran’s strict Islamic codes.

The rebuke follows a widely published photo showing Ahmadinejad embracing Chavez’s mother at the funeral of the late Venezuelan president in what is seen as taboo-breaking behavior in Iran.

Iranian papers on Tuesday cited clerics from the religious center of Qom who described the hug as ‘‘forbidden,’’ inappropriate behavior, and ‘‘clowning around.’’

Iran’s Islamic codes prohibit physical contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex.

The clerics did not spare Ahmadinejad. ‘‘Touching a non-mahram [a woman who is not a close relative] is forbidden under any circumstances, whether shaking hands or touching by the cheek,’’ said one of the clerics, Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, adding that such a contact, even with ‘‘an older woman is not allowed . . . and contrary to the dignity of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.’’

Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a religious leader in Qom, said Ahmadinejad was ‘‘clowning around’’ and his hug shows he failed to ‘‘protect the dignity of his nation and his position.’’


You know, this gives us a moment to reflect upon the little Hitler. Remember all that? Been eight long years of it, and now he will go down as a forgotten footnote.

"In Iran vote, reformists struggle with few options; Bottled up tightly as presidential election looms" by Brian Murphy |  Associated Press, June 10, 2013

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Protest messages still ricochet around social media despite Iran’s cyber cops’ attempts to control the Web....

Have I mentioned how sick I am of pot-hollering-kettle crap media?

But just a look at the sidewalks around Tehran’s Mellat Park shows how far Iran’s opposition has fallen as the country prepares for Friday’s presidential election....

The reform camp’s candidate-hero Mir Hossein Mousavi and another opposition leader, Mahdi Karroubi, are under house arrest and hundreds more activists, bloggers, and journalists have faced detention as part of relentless crackdowns since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in 2009 brought accusations of vote rigging and something Iran has not seen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution: huge crowds in the streets chanting against the leadership.

It was a replay of Operation Ajax from 56 years earlier.

Iran’s forces for reform are not so much crushed as bottled up tightly. Now the election that marks the end of Ahmadinejad’s eight-year era also brings another moment of political transition: Whether the loose affiliation of reformists, liberals, and Western-leaning activists can somehow remain relevant in a time when the guardians of the Islamic establishment are consolidating their defenses.

‘‘There is no shortage of people in Iran who would like to see a different way of being governed and a different world view from the leadership,’’ said Theodore Karasik, a security and political affairs analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. ‘‘Trouble for them is that they [are] now fragmented and disorganized. This is exactly what Iranian authorities want to see.’’

The entire ballot process has been derided by Western governments and rights groups as a farce after Iran’s election overseers — all loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — blacklisted former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the ballot despite his lofty status as one of the architects of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

For Iran’s rulers, the relatively moderate Rafsanjani represents an unsettling force who could breathe some life into the battered opposition.

Any momentum toward a backlash over Rafsanjani’s barring quickly dissipated. He grumbled over the rebuff and Iranian reformist websites buzzed with complaints. But there have been no major street protests, suggesting — once again — there are only remote chances for a revival of the 2009 mass demonstrations. His backers have retreated to election boycott calls or drifted to other candidates who have no apparent intention to shake up the system.

The only significant public show of dissent before the election came in a coincidence of timing. Some mourners at the funeral procession of dissident Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri, who died last Sunday in the central city of Isfahan, used the march to revive the opposition chants from 2009 such as ‘‘death to the dictator,’’ according to video clips posted on the Internet. But the outburst did not seem to inspire other rallies....

Death to the dictator? He's leaving anyway, which isn't a dictator. That's the great thing about AmeriKa. The dictators change but the system stays the same.

Opposition voters now face the choice of whether to boycott the polls or turn to whatever they see as the least objectionable candidate.

I know how they feel. Do I vote Tuesday?

So far, the top figures of the reform movement, such as former president Mohammad Khatami, have not indicated to their supporters which avenue to take — meaning a unified strategy may emerge only at the last minute, if at all.

A likely major indicator in the final vote will be how many eligible voters stayed away, in comparison to a reported 85 percent turnout in 2009. It worries officials enough that Khamenei used one of the country’s most somber occasions — the memorial ceremony marking the death of Islamic Revolution founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini — to say that a low turnout will only help Iran’s ‘‘enemies’’ such as the United States and Israel.

Most of the eight hopefuls cleared to run are bathed in pro-establishment credentials.

Some reformists have migrated toward former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani as a sort of default, since he is closely aligned with Rafsanjani. Khatami’s former vice president, Mohammad Reza Aref, has made a strong bid to draw reformist voters, speaking with the most passion about freedoms Wednesday during the second television debate among the eight candidates.

Iran had televised debates?



"Iran’s ruling clerics left a candidate list largely stacked with loyalists favored by both the theocracy and its powerful protectors, the Revolutionary Guard."

Iran vote overseers may bar ex-leader from ballot

"Large groups of riot police, the kind that patrolled Tehran’s streets in the days after the contested 2009 reelection of Ahmadinejad, patrolled on motorcycles throughout the capital Tuesday for the first time in more than a year, perhaps in anticipation of the candidate announcement."

Iran’s ruling elite mocks presidential candidates

Ours mocks the voters.

"Iranian reformists rally around common candidate; Election calculus shifting in the country" by Nasser Karimi |  Associated Press, June 12, 2013

TEHRAN —  Reformists still have major challenges ahead following former vice president Mohammad Reza Araf’s withdrawal from the presidential race.

Hasan Rowhani’s backers must persuade their flock to go to the polls rather than boycott a vote many allege to be unfree and unfair. Iran’s election overseers last month pruned the list of would-be hopefuls to eight candidates, most of them loyalists favored by both the theocracy and the military....

All politics are the same!

Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian affairs analyst at Strayer University in Virginia, said, ‘‘A vote for Rowhani was a vote for former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.’’


Rowhani, a 64-year-old cleric, rejects outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s combative approach in world affairs and sides with Rafsanjani’s view that Iran can maintain its nuclear program and ease tensions with the West at the same time.

Although all key decisions in Iran are ultimately in the hands of the ruling clerics, Rowhani’s ties to the influential elder statesman Rafsanjani could give him more latitude to sway viewpoints if elected president.

But a significant number of opposition backers also say they are more interested in a capable fiscal steward such as Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf of Tehran as Iran’s economy sinks under international sanctions and alleged mismanagement.

But who cares if the Iranians are screaming?


"Moderate candidate spurs Iranians to rethink vote boycott" by Nasser Karimi and Brian Murphy |  Associated Press, June 14, 2013

TEHRAN — In the end, Iran’s presidential election may be defined by who does not vote....

The rising fortunes of the lone relative moderate left in the race, former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani, has brought something of a zig-or-zag dilemma for many Iranians who faced down security forces four years ago: Stay away from the polls in a silent protest or jump back into the mix in a system they claim has been disgraced by vote rigging.

Which way the scales tip could set the direction of the election and the fate for Rowhani, a cleric who is many degrees of mildness removed from being an opposition leader. But he is still the only fallback option for moderates in an election that once seemed preordained for a proestablishment loyalist....

It is also partly a political stock-taking that ties together nearly all the significant themes of the election: the powers of the ruling clerics to limit the choices, the anger over years of pressures to muzzle dissent, and the unwavering claims that the last election was stolen in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot run for a third consecutive term....

And there are many other factors at play.

Many Iranians say they are putting ideology aside and want someone who can stabilize the sanctions-battered economy — one of the roles that does fall within the presidential portfolio.... 

At least they had to stop screaming to eat.

Also, the rest of the candidates approved to run by election overseers are stacked heavily with proestablishment figures....

The vetting appeared aimed at bringing in a pliant and predictable president after disruptive internal feuds with Ahmadinejad, who upended Iran’s political order by trying to challenge the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Does that ever sound familiar!

The desire for calm is also fueled by the critical months ahead, which could see the resumption of nuclear talks with the United States and other world powers.

But the presumed plans have met an obstacle in the form of Rowhani....


"Reformist-backed presidential candidate leads Iran’s election; Heavy turnout is reported in vote" by Nasser Karimi and Brian Murphy |  Associated Press, June 15, 2013 

My printed paper gave me NYT copy.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s reformist-backed presidential candidate surged to a wide lead in early vote counting on Saturday, a top official said, suggesting a flurry of late support could have swayed a race that once appeared solidly in the hands of Tehran’s ruling clerics.

But the strong margin for former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani was not yet enough to give him an outright victory and avoid a two-person runoff next Friday.

Rowhani had about 48.2 percent of the more than 3 million votes tallied, the interior ministry reported, well ahead of Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf with about 16.1 percent. Hardline nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was third with about 12.6 percent. 

He didn't even make the top three.

It was unclear when the final count would be known. Iran has more than 50 million eligible voters, and turnout in Friday’s election was believed to be high.

Many reform-minded Iranians who have faced years of crackdowns looked to Rowhani’s rising fortunes as a chance to claw back a bit of ground.

While Iran’s presidential elections offer a window into the political pecking orders and security grip inside the country — particularly since the chaos from a disputed outcome in 2009 — they lack the drama of truly high stakes as the country’s ruling clerics and their military guardians remain the ultimate powers.

Election officials began the ballot count after voters waited in line for hours in wilting heat at some polling stations in downtown Tehran and other cities. Voting was extended by five hours to meet demand, but also as possible political stagecraft to showcase participation.

I can't take this insulting crapola anymore.

The apparent strong turnout — estimated at 75 percent by the hardline newspaper Kayhan — suggested liberals and others abandoned a planned boycott as the election was transformed into a showdown across the Islamic Republic’s political divide.

On one side were hard-liners looking to cement their control behind candidates such as Jalili, who says he is ‘‘100 percent’’ against detente with Iran’s foes, or Qalibaf.

Opposing them were reformists and others rallying behind the ‘‘purple wave’’ campaign of Rowhani, the lone relative moderate left in the race....

A sure sign of an intelligence agency asset. Anytime a "revolution" is given a cute, colorful name it's suspicious.

But even if the last-moment surge around Rowhani brings him to the presidency, it would be more of a limited victory than a deep shake-up. Iran’s establishment — a tight alliance of the ruling clerics and the ultra-powerful Revolutionary Guard — still holds all the effective power and sets the agenda on all major decisions such as Iran’s nuclear program and its dealings with the West.

Security forces also are in firm control after waves of arrests and relentless pressures since the last presidential election in 2009, which unleashed massive protests over claims the outcome was rigged to keep the combative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power for a second and final term. He is barred from seeking a third consecutive run.

The greater comfort level by the theocracy and Revolutionary Guard sets a different tone this time. Opposition groups appear too intimidated and fragmented to revive street demonstrations, and even a win by Rowhani — the only cleric in the race — would not likely be perceived as a threat to the ruling structure.

Rowhani led the influential Supreme National Security Council and was given the highly sensitive nuclear envoy role in 2003, a year after Iran’s 20-year-old atomic program was revealed.

‘‘Rowhani is not an outsider and any gains by him do not mean the system is weak or that there are serious cracks,’’ said Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian affairs analyst at Strayer University in Virginia. ‘‘The ruling system has made sure that no one on the ballot is going to shake things up.’’ 

Ron Paul wouldn't have made it over there, either.

Yet a Rowhani victory would not be entirely without significance either. It would make room for more moderate voices in Iranian political dialogue and display their resilience. It also would bring onto the world stage an Iranian president who has publicly endorsed more outreach rather than bombast toward the West.

The last campaign events for Rowhani carried chants that had been bottled up for years.


"Iran elects moderate, signals call for change; Hard-liners fall to back of pack, runoff avoided" by Thomas Erdbrink |  New York Times,  June 16, 2013

TEHRAN — In a striking repudiation of the ultraconservatives who wield power in Iran, voters Saturday overwhelmingly elected a mild-mannered cleric seeking greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.

Iranian state television reported Saturday that Hassan Rowhani, 64, had more than 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff in the race to replace the departing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose tenure was defined largely by provocation with the West and a seriously hobbled economy at home.

The hard-line conservatives aligned with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, placed at the back of the pack of six candidates, indicating that Iranians were looking to their next president to change the tone, if not the direction, of the nation, by choosing a cleric who served as the lead nuclear negotiator under an earlier reformist president, Mohammad Khatami.

During the Khatami era, Iran froze its nuclear program, eased social restrictions, and promoted dialogue with the West. But this election, which electrified a nation that had lost faith in its electoral process, also served the supreme leader’s goal, instilling at least a patina of legitimacy back into the theocratic state, providing a safety valve for a public distressed by years of economic malaise and isolation, and returning a cleric to the presidency.

Ahmadinejad was the first noncleric to hold the presidency, and often clashed with the religious order and its traditionalist allies.

Rowhani has also been a strong supporter of the nuclear program, and while he is expected to tone down the tough language, he also once boasted that during the period Iran had suspended enrichment, it made its greatest nuclear advances because the pressure was off.

In the Iranian system, the supreme leader holds ultimate power, presiding over the state with ultimate religious and civic authority. He has final say on all matters, but still needs to build consensus within the narrow world of Iran’s political, security, and business elite.

The president has some control over the economy — the public’s primary concern — and through the bully pulpit of the office he can set the tone of public debate on a wide variety of issues, including the restrictions on young people socializing and the nuclear program.

The election results put the supreme leader under pressure to allow changes in the country to take place, or allow him to make the kind of changes that might be opposed by hard-liners if they controlled all the levers of power....

Using a key as his campaign symbol, Rowhani focused on issues important to the young, including unemployment and international isolation....

He criticized the much-hated morality police officers who arrest women for not having proper headscarves and coats. He called for the lifting of restrictions on the Internet. He said that “in consensus with higher officials” political prisoners would be freed.

At the time his campaign words sounded like empty promises to many potential voters, who pointed out that Rowhani did not enjoy the support of those in power.

But support from two former presidents, Khatami and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, himself disqualified from participating, lifted Rowhani’s status, helping him to tap into the votes of millions of dissatisfied Iranians.

His appeal to the younger generation was crucial in a nation where there is an increasing divide between the millions of youths — two-thirds of the 70 million population are under 35 — and the ruling hard-liners who use morality police, Internet blocking and other harsh measures to try to mold those born after the revolution.

Iran's Obama?

Many Iranians were disillusioned with their system after the 2009 election, when millions took to the streets because they felt the election had been rigged to allow Ahmadinejad to return to office.

The government dispatched security forces to silence the opposition and placed the leadership of the so-called Green Movement under house arrest for years.

But within the circumscribed world of Iranian politics, the public looked to the vote as a chance to push back....


"Iran’s president-elect meets conservative elite; Effect of election on nuclear dispute remains unclear" by Nasser Karimi |  Associated Press, June 17, 2013

TEHRAN — Hasan Rowhani, the moderate president-elect of Iran, began his first policy consultations Sunday with members of the country’s clerically dominated political establishment, and Western leaders watched for openings to ease tensions over the Iranian nuclear program.

In meetings with political leaders Sunday, Rowhani said Iran’s dire economic problems, which have been caused in part by world sanctions aimed at halting its nuclear ambitions, cannot be solved ‘‘overnight.’’

But there were several outward displays of cooperation by Iran’s establishment after Rowhani’s election. Conservative leaders appear eager to close the political rifts caused by unrest over disputed election results in 2009, and signal that the ruling clerics are not publicly standing against Rowhani’s call for outreach and dialogue with the international community.

In Israel and the United States, where factions have promoted military options against Iran’s nuclear facilities, there were expressions of hope that Rowhani can be a moderate in more than name.

Interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,’’ White House chief of staff Denis McDonough called on Rowhani to follow through with his plan to improve relations with the West. ‘‘I see it as a potentially hopeful sign,’’ McDonough said.

The Obama administration is expected to press for resumption of direct nuclear talks with Iran in the aftermath of the election.

Rowhani’s surprise victory in Friday’s elections puts him in charge of an executive branch that traditionally has taken the lead in handling the economy, while nuclear efforts, defense, and foreign affairs remain primarily in the hands of the ruling clerics and their powerful protectors, the Revolutionary Guard.

This creates a challenge for Rowhani, as Iran suffers from more than 30 percent inflation as well as 14 percent unemployment, linked to Western sanctions for Tehran’s suspect nuclear program.

Although Rowhani has called for reaching out to the international community, he has little authority over the nuclear activities tied to sanctions....

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guard declared its willingness to cooperate with the president....

Later in the day, state TV said Rowhani met with the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters. The report said Khamenei offered ‘‘necessary guidelines’’ to Rowhani but did not elaborate.

Iran’s stock exchange climbed for a second day, jumping 1,194 points to close at 47,460 — almost a 2.5 percent increase, the exchange’s website said. The dollar was trading at 34,600 rials in foreign currency shops, compared with 36,300 rials on Thursday, the eve of the election.

The rise came after a night of a celebration in Tehran, as the announcement of Rowhani’s victory sent tens of thousands of jubilant supporters into the streets. Cars honked and blared music ranging from patriotic songs to Lambada.

The celebrations reflected the hopes that Rowhani can bring an end to the domination of hard-liners for the past eight years under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with arrests against the opposition and restrictions on rights. Many saw the win as a message to the ruling clerics that they cannot keep the opposition bottled up.

Riot police, who were frequently deployed on Tehran streets in advance of Friday’s vote, were conspicuous in their absence Sunday....

In Israel on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against being lulled by false optimism about the Iranian transition and called for increased sanctions to rein in Iran’s nuclear plans.

I've talked about this before, and honestly, I'm just tired of hearing it and don't need to be reminded with all the symbolism of distortion and lies, thanks.


"Iran’s president-elect talks of easing tensions with US; Rowhani says win has changed image in world" by Thomas Erdbrink  |  New York Times, June 18, 2013

TEHRAN — President-elect Hasan Rowhani, speaking Monday for the first time since his election victory, said no direct talks would occur until the United States stops “interfering in Iran’s domestic politics.”

He means assassinations, sabotage, and general terrorism.

Rowhani, who will take office Aug. 3, offered no details Monday on what the new transparency might entail, but his aides have said he proposed an accord in 2005 to allow Iran to enrich uranium in exchange for the highest level of monitoring by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency. The deal did not gain support from other countries, such as Britain and the United States.

“All should know that the next government will not budge from defending our inalienable rights,” Rowhani told reporters.

Nor should they. It is their legal right, and we are supposed to be assisting them!

He emphasized that like those of his predecessors, his government would not be prepared to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran has always contended that its uranium enrichment is for peaceful purposes, rejecting Western suspicions that the country is seeking the capability to build nuclear weapons.

“First, we are ready to increase transparency and clarify our measures within the international framework,” he said.

“Of course our activities are already transparent, but still we increase it,” Rowhani said. “Second, we will increase the trust between Iran and the world.”

Underlining the effects of the sanctions, Rowhani said he was working with the departing government to prevent food shortages.

“People are in instant need of basic staples,” he said. The government would increase domestic production in order to stabilize prices and rising unemployment, he said without elaborating.

The cleric, who is nicknamed the “diplomat sheik” in Iran for his white turban and pragmatic streak, said his victory and the high turnout in Friday’s election had altered how other countries view Iran.

“On a global level, our image has changed,” he said. “The atmosphere in the global opinion has changed, and this provides new opportunities for us.”

He paid special attention to Iran’s neighbors, especially the Persian Gulf kingdoms that reduced relations under presidency, and singled out Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, which supports rebels in Syria while Iran supports the government of President Bashar Assad.

“We are not only neighbors but also brothers,” he said.... 


"Iran’s new president thinks nuclear deal possible" by Ali Akbar Dareini |  Associated Press, June 22, 2013

TEHRAN — Iran’s president-elect believes it’s possible to strike a deal that would allow the Islamic Republic to keep enriching uranium while assuring the West it will not produce a nuclear weapon.

Hasan Rowhani also said his government would look for a win-win deal to resolve disputes with the United States, following three decades of estrangement between the two nations.

His remarks came in an interview recorded four months ago and rerun on Iranian state TV on Friday....

Although Iran’s president cannot set policy on major decisions such as the nuclear program, he can influence....

In the interview, Rowhani suggested that under his presidency, Iran would seek to convince the United States and its allies that dialogue — and not sanctions — are the way forward.

On the issue of stalled nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, Rowhani acknowledged ‘‘no practical results were achieved’’ and stressed that ‘‘a deal would represent a practical result.’’



"Iran will be Obama’s most difficult challenge in 2013. In a sober Washington Post article last week, three well-respected American leaders — former Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, former National Security Adviser Steve Hadley, and former Senator Joe Liebermanwarned “the time is fast approaching when diplomacy will be of little or no value or credibility.”

Oh, that's nice. Two neo-con Zionist Jews and a Bush Administration liar pushing for war!

Sorry, we've seen that movie before!

"Iran accused of deception and delay by US envoy" Associated Press, March 07, 2013

VIENNA — A senior US envoy accused Iran of ‘‘deception, defiance, and delay’’ on Wednesday in dealing with international concerns about its nuclear activities, reflecting frustration over Tehran’s expanding uranium enrichment program and stalled UN attempts to determine whether Tehran has worked secretly on atomic arms.

Wow, isn't that rich! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Joseph Macmanus, the chief US delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also suggested, while not going into details, that America might lobby the IAEA board for a special inspection of Parchin, a facility that the agency suspects was used to test explosive triggers for a nuclear weapon....

International criticism of Iran has been relatively muted since last week’s nuclear talks in which Tehran showed interest in proposals made by the United States and five other world powers. By contrast, the comments by Macmanus were unusually hard edged, suggesting they were meant to signal that pressure on Iran would not diminish."

That's weird because the Iranians had a totally different take on the talks:

"Nuclear talks were positive, Iranian aide says" by Nasser Karimi |  Associated Press, March 06, 2013

TEHRAN — According to Iranian spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, some Western officials and media outlets are trying to portray the results of the talks last week in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a bad light because of their own political agenda.

And we all know who owns the media!

Apparently not.

‘‘It is a matter of surprise that some Western and regional countries as well as their media outlets are trying to cast a negative image on the talks, which had positive conclusions,’’ said Mehmanparast, the Foreign Ministry spokesman....


"Iran nuclear talks appear to stumble" by Joby Warrick |  Washington Post, April 06, 2013

WASHINGTON — Negotiations opened in the Kazakh city of Almaty with Iranian diplomats unveiling what they described as a “comprehensive proposal” for ending international tensions over Iran’s advances in nuclear technology. The deputy leader of the Iranian delegation, Ali Baqeri, said the offer was intended to allay the concerns and ‘‘establish a new bedrock for cooperation.’’

But Western diplomats, after a break, said the Iranians put forward only a vague proposal that reflected little change. A few additional details were extracted during an afternoon session before the sides adjourned, said a Western diplomat, insisting on anonymity in describing the give-and-take at a posh Almaty hotel.

“We will meet again tomorrow,” the official said as talks broke up.

US and European diplomats had expected a detailed response from Iran to a set of proposals designed to lower tensions in the increasingly volatile standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. Those proposals, which included a number of concessions favorable to the Islamic Republic, was hailed by a senior Iranian diplomat as a possible turning point during the last round of nuclear talks in late February.

But hopes for further progress appeared to fade during the opening hours of Friday’s talks. Instead of a detailed counteroffer, the Iranians appeared to be repeating talking points from a previous round of negotiations that fell apart last spring, the Western diplomat said. 

Translation: the West isn't listening.

“There has not yet been a clear and concrete response,” said the diplomat, who described his colleagues as somewhat puzzled by what the Iranians had put on the table. “There were some interesting but not fully explained general comments on our ideas.” 



The window shrinking on diplomacy

Israel said months away, and that was months ago!

On other matters I see that Iran does what you are supposed to do to spies (someone else also has the right idea), the earthquake coverage was over pretty quickly, and this post is now an artifact.


"Trusting in peace over war is effective diplomacy; The power of pleasant surprise" by James Carroll |  Globe Columnist, June 24, 2013

The election in Iran earlier this month was a shocker: “Rebuke to hard-liners” read one headline. “Iran election yields surprising outcome,” read another. Hassan Rowhani, a “moderate” Shia cleric noted for advocating more constructive relations with the West, including an increase in nuclear transparency, won with more than half the vote. Amid increasing tensions between the West and Iran, Tehran’s support of Bashar Assad in Syria, and fears of a wider Sunni-Shiite war in the Middle East, Rowhani’s election came as welcome news. President Obama commented, “I think it says that the Iranian people want to move in a different direction.”


Rowhani, taking office in August, replaces the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad....

The New Hitler reduced to a cracked pot. 

America’s present problem with Iran was exacerbated by a major missed opportunity in 2001. Washington-Tehran relations were still in the “Great Satan” phase — the period of mutual demonization that began with the hostage crisis of 1979-81. The positive surprise came after the 9/11 attacks, when Iranian President Mohammad Khatami declared, “On behalf of the Iranian government and the nation, I condemn the hijacking attempts and terrorist attacks on public centers in American cities which have killed a large number of innocent people. My deep sympathy goes out to the American nation.”

It was not just sympathy. Iran decisively supported the US offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan and signaled its readiness to join in fighting Al Qaeda.

Related: Canadian "CIA-Duh" Overflows

Yeah, and as it turns out Muslims didn't do 9/11Israel and her helpers in various western governments and intelligence agencies did.

But America’s old negative reflex reasserted itself. Five months after 9/11, George W. Bush slapped Iran with the “axis of evil” label, setting loose the worst-case dogs again.

But the story can go another way, for the United States has overcome its gravitation toward worst-case scenarios before. Most telling was when Ronald Reagan, defying his hawkish inner circle, found it possible to respond positively to Mikhail Gorbachev’s overtures. True, Reagan insisted upon verification as well as trust. But in the Cold War context, the trust he mustered was astonishing. And the Cold War ended.

In contrast, one of Reagan’s predecessors had been presented, a generation earlier, with a like possibility when Joseph Stalin died in March 1953. Moscow’s Politburo elite immediately pressed Soviet allies in China and North Korea to end the Korean conflict, and sent feelers to Washington, seeking detente. Yet in the United States, domestic anticommunism was at a fever pitch, and President Eisenhower rejected a summit meeting with Stalin’s successor. Instead, he escalated American anti-Soviet chicanery — including, fatefully, a CIA coup that August against an elected Iranian government seen as a tool of Moscow.

Worst-case thinking precluded the possibility that the post-Stalin Kremlin could be different. The CIA was blindsided when the Soviet establishment itself denounced Stalin’s inhuman legacy. A golden opportunity for an early thawing of the Cold War was missed.

Last year, worst-case thinkers were advocating a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Even President Obama warned that the window was closing on diplomacy. Yet if any sort of military action had been taken against Iran, this month’s surprising electoral triumph of the moderate Rowhani would never have occurred.

Now that Tehran has taken this turn, it behooves Washington to take a turn, too....