Monday, February 08, 2010

Is Iran or the West to blame?

The United States’ recent speeding up of arms sales with its Gulf allies has raised some eyebrows as these sales appear to be preparations for a potential clash with Iran. Although these contracts to sell warplanes and anti-missile systems actually started with the George W. Bush administration in 2005 to ally with Arab states and counter Iran's growing influence in the region, accelerating it now increases the tension in an already tense Middle Eastern climate.
According to the Washington Post, arms sales, including a U.S.-backed plan to triple the size of a 10,000-man protection force in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, are leading a region-wide military buildup that has resulted in more than $25 billion in U.S. arms purchases in the past two years alone.
While we are getting closer to a period that seems to be generating a historic set of events in terms of the Iranian conundrum, there are two schools of thought emerging with two sundry arguments on the situation. There are those in Washington, including Seymour Hersh as well as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leveret, who think the U.S. must do more to bind Iran to multilateral negotiations. On the other hand, there are others who argue that Iran is not willing to negotiate at this time because it mainly does not see having close ties to the U.S. as beneficial to its national security interests.
I had a chance to listen to both Hersh, an investigative journalist with many links to the region, and talk to Ladan Yazdian, an Iranian-American security analyst in Washington D.C., on the Iranian nuclear question, in the interests of getting two different approaches on the issue.
According to Hersh, Iran has not been able to enrich the uranium it possesses more than 3 or 3.5 percent so far because of technical issues. This level of enrichment is much lower than 90 to 95 percent, a level which is considered to be needed for a nuclear weapon.
And Hersh defends the Iranian position by claiming that Iran has already accepted the West's offer to send 20 percent of the 1300 or 1500 kilogram uranium, the amount that Iran is considered to possess currently, to Russia to be enriched by up to 20 percent. Subsequently, this uranium from Russia will be shipped to the French where it will be put into pallets that they can only be used for the medical purposes, which is what Iran claims the enriched uranium is necessary.
It is the irrationality of the Americans, and the West, that prevents this nuclear deal from happening, Hersh argues, and by asking Iran to ship all the uranium at once. Therefore, although Iran is doing nearly all it can do to solve the problem, it is this attitude of Western obstructionism that does not let this detail be overcame.
After listening to this perspective, I called up Yazdian, my Iranian-American friend, who was born and raised in Iran and follows the Iranian issues closely. I informed her of what Hersh had to say about the current state of the Iranian nuclear impasse and sought her opinion.
According to Yazdian, since President Barack Obama came to the office, he has been sincere and committed to unconditional negotiations with Iran. Despite three decades of distrust and conflict, Obama made an effort to offer a considerable package of incentives and start a new chapter in bilateral relationships as a part of his new foreign agenda to open up to rough regimes around the world.
A generous nuclear incentive package was offered to Iran during the past summer, which included a broader range of economic, political and energy incentives, improving Iran's access to the global economy by promoting investment, membership in the World Trade Organization and the possible lifting of U.S. and European restrictions on the export of civilian aircraft and telecommunications equipment, as well as other diplomatic and cultural exchanges.
Yazdian said despite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s initial Sept. 23 proposal to buy enriched uranium from the U.S., and International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, efforts at multilateral negotiations, talks have come to a halt. She cited several factors for the regime’s unwillingness to respond to the international community and oblige it to keep its commitments.
These factors embody the internal divisions among the factions within the Iranian regime, lack of international pressure, and the anti-American nature of the Iranian regime that makes it impossible to explain changes of policy to its people after years of harsh rhetoric toward the U.S., especially during the post-election uprising. Yazdian said Iran has not shown a goodwill gesture and has bought time on numerous occasions, therefore pushing the international community toward tougher multilateral actions.
If the Iranian regime accepts the offer, it will appear weak at home and would lose its legitimacy. Yazdian recalled that there were similar debates during the Mohamed Khatami presidency, and when Khatami softened his tone toward the West, his administration was immediately criticized by hardliners who saw the reform movement as the tool of the West.
Since it was known that Iran was working on secret uranium enrichment programs, several estimates about Iran's capability for a nuclear bomb have been put forward by various intelligence agencies. Despite the revelation of another nuclear facility near the city of Qom last fall, Iran’s nuclear capability remains mostly a guessing game according to Yazdian, as opposed to Hersh's concrete assessments about Iran's nuclear capability.
In the eyes of this latter approach, the current nuclear impasse between Iran and the West stems from the nature of the Iranian regime and that Iran sees no imminent danger except toothless sanctions coming from the West. Also, the Islamic regime considers negotiations as a “kiss of death” and instead has tried to close its doors to the outside world during the internal upheaval which it still is dealing with.
We might just find out whether Hersh, who has uncovered some of the darkest sides of the Bush's global war on terror, just reactively views the West vs. Iran conflict or whether he does know things that other colossal intelligence agencies around the world could not piece together.
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Guest - FERDINAND (2010-02-03 21:04:15) :
The only people in the entire World....that pretend that Israel may not possess Nukes....provided by the PuppetMasters in New York....are jewish guys. Your greatest asset is your propagandizing Massive Media. I love America....and do indeed find the PuppetMasters....and land-grabbing Israel....truly detestable. I am joined by a very large percentage of the people see the carnage and hypocrisy. You guys really watch these comments, don't you? Read British comments these days.....they are waking up.....right and left.

Guest - Abdul Aziz Mohmand (2010-02-03 11:11:49) :
Iran is an unsafe state for itself similar to recently Iran government killed its scientist and blamed to the world. We are waiting for the day that there will be a blast in nuclear surface and than Iran government will culpability to the rest of the world. Iran government is harassed to continue its authoritative rule of the people of Iran but if we say that Iran leadership of few scoundrel people has kidnapped the nation of Iran will be absolutely right. Freedom of speech, independence of press and foreign people and especially foreign media is totally deprived of by the Iran crook state. Why international society soundless over the Iran rascal measures. World top elders, President Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Prime Minister Harper are noiseless on this issue. When they will move toward to take action when there will another 9/11? Iran leadership is ruling from beginning to end dictatorial way to control its mass and from the other part it’s providing the explosive material, weapons and money to the insurgents of Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan for unconstructive activities to damage the world tranquility development. By evidence and stroke this country is not trustworthy and can hurt any time to anyone. Therefore world should center on first rule of law and second nuclear arsenals should be smashed by force as early as possible. This action, of course, will save the rest of the world. Abdul Aziz Mohmand 

Guest - Hukumdar (2010-02-03 06:41:37) :
@Vilgot: Title is 'blame' because I think the writer forecast that the Iran vs. West will start of a set of new events/changes and somebody will be blamed for that. And i assume the Tanir tries to bring two different ways to the problem. I can have many objections to the opinion, though it seems he tries to be distanced himself from the both... not too bad! 

Guest - Enquirer (2010-02-03 02:29:45) :
For the price of pistachios? 

Guest - MARK (2010-02-02 23:21:24) :
For all those posting here who advocate Iran having a nuclear weapon be careful what you wish for. The phobia of Israel having a nuclear weapon isn't well founded. They have never threatened to use a nuclear weapon except in self defense. @Murat-I don't know what rock you have been living under but the US has been trying to resolve this issue for several years.If Iran should get a nuclear weapon and use it on anothe ME country THEN we can blame the US for not stopping them. American owned by Israel? It's hard to figure out who you hate the most, America or Israel. It doesn't really know what they say about opinions. 

Guest - Anoosh (2010-02-02 19:36:37) :
Although the author has produces a fairly "lightweight" article about a subject a highly complex subject, I think he should be given credit for bringing it up. Where the author has come short on substance is to give equal weight to the views of a well known high caliber investigative journalist like Seymour Hersh as those of an obscure individual who "follows the Iranian issues closely". In other words the author calls someone who works for VOA and asked her opinion about one of the most important political issues today. No wonder Ms. Yazdian's contribution to the subject was a mere regurgitating of the US officialdom propaganda because that is what VOA does. I would like to draw the readers' attention to the following article by Farideh Farhi, who provies much needed detailed analysis about the issue. Anatomy of a Nuclear Breakthrough Gone Backwards Finally, I would like to express my extreme displeasure at the author's lack of knowledge, or professional carelessness, about well known geographical names. In this case he refers to the Persian Gulf as the "Gulf"! I think the author should try to brush up on his geographical literacy as soon as possible. 

Guest - bud white (2010-02-02 17:49:52) :
I dont lıke iran but not as much as ı dont lıke hypocrisy ı wonder why those countries who blame iran has nukes may be its for exhibitions or they just have it just ın case alıens attacks I dont lıke those mullahs to have nukes but but ı can not tell why? and dont gıve me they are unpredictable cause we have seen predictable ones also... 

Guest - Vilgot (2010-02-02 14:22:54) :
I was not even able to figure out the question stated in the title, "Is Iran or the West to blame?" Blame for WHAT? 

Guest - scepticalyabanci (2010-02-02 12:18:16) :
A pariah state like Iran, the world's biggest funder and supporter of jihadist terrorism, with a nuclear capability, is a scenario too horrific to contemplate, let alone sit back and allow to take shape. 

Guest - enough BS (2010-02-02 10:41:09) :
when u say "other colossal intelligence agencies around the world" do u mean the same CIA that was telling the world how stupid and blind we r for not believing them about WMD, who say they never even considered the possibility of 9/11, who trained and supplied the taliban. the same Mi5 that said saddam has the capability to wipe out england in 20 minutes and then assassinate their own scientists who disputed the logic of it. and the same mossad that that has turned the Middle East into a uncontrolled cage fight. i dont like the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons, but the reality is that there isnt much that can be done about it. so we have a choice of antagonizing them and alienating them or developing strong and meaning full ties so that using those weapons would be like committing suicide on a military level and economic level. when was the last time u heard that a nation went to war against its largest trading partners. the reality is that the one who should have their nuclear arsenal dismantled is isreal. then u would finally see that the y will have to deal with their neighbors as equals instead of bullying them. its not about muslim against jew or muslims should help other muslims. its about the truth and humanity and co-existence. the best guarantee of peace is mutual dependence. 

Guest - FERDINAND (2010-02-02 10:12:31) :
There are Religious Fanatics controlling the USA right now. Most of them are Jews (read the is obvious who controls America) and some of them are the Christian Religious Right. Both of these are Fanatics. This being can assume that most religions have many fanatics. To remove Religion would solve a great many of the World's problems. Regarding Iran's right to have Nuclear Power and Weaponry....who made the "West" King.....? They may have all the power....but certainly no more rights. Do you notice how totally simple the Answers are? They are totally logical. Get the USA out of the Countries of the World. Get their War Machine back home. Make Plowshares out of their Missiles. It would be a start. 

Guest - wolf (2010-02-02 09:05:47) :
I think the article is written in a very poor way. Jumps between topics in a way making it impossible to follow what the journalist wants to say. Which is a shame, becuase it is an important topic. Nuclear weapons in the hands of religious fanatics, and in this part of the world, can impossibly lead to anything good. 

Guest - CEVAT (2010-02-02 03:07:34) :
who is right 

Guest - Fredabod (2010-02-02 02:58:14) :
Very good article. I agree with Mr. Hersh who blames the west for the conflict. The problem is that Iran wants to have every kind of advanced technology including nuclear one for her next generation, But the west want Iran as a puppet nation for getting more and more oil. By the way I doubt about Mrs. Yazdian nationality. If she had any origin of Iranian nationality, she wouldn’t talk like a redneck arrogant American toward Iranian. 

Guest - Murat (2010-02-02 01:33:39) :
Your friend Yazdin has no idea what she is talking about: "According to Yazdian, since President Barack Obama came to the office, he has been sincere and committed to unconditional negotiations with Iran. Despite three decades of distrust and conflict, Obama made an effort to offer a considerable package of incentives and start a new chapter in bilateral relationships as a part of his new foreign agenda to open up to rough regimes around the world." This is completely wrong and very very very ignorant of facts. This offer apparently put forward by europeans in 2006 or 2007 provided Iran completely disbands enrichment, which Iran has said on numerous occasions it won't do. The only proposal put forward by Obama administration has been enrichment of 20 percent for a medical reactor and receiving a replacement of 3% enriched uranium. They also wanted all uranium from Iran in one shot and possible delivery of 20% uranium in a year after that. Why repeat falsehoods, un-verifyable theories while the basic facts are all public. The main question is why there is no will in the US to resolve this issue? and you end up with Israel and Israeli lobby. Since Turks are now beneath them (Israelis) and under them who knows where they are placing Iranians. The Americans are owned by Israel, that is the fact and the tragedy. 

Guest - Banafsheh (2010-02-02 01:08:32) :
Obvious unstudied and Tehran-centric article by an impressionable journalist who obviously knows little about Seymour Hersh's reputation as a daydreamer OR the nature of Tehran's regime. Try again writer...or don't go extrapolating on a complicated situation such as Iran which you Turks chose to keep your eyes closed about. You deal with your country and we Iranians will deal with ours, thank you very much! 

Guest - Matty Glendale (2010-02-02 00:41:56) :
I totally disagree with this statement: "If the Iranian regime accepts the offer, it will appear weak at home and would lose its legitimacy. " Iranians are quite realistic about their gains and losses. Although, I should say that the west tries to see them as unpredictable and illogical. Yazdian's comments are more of a Washington reflection on the story and nothing new. Until Israel's nuclear clout dominates the middle east, no wise nation-state shall forgo the potential of strikes back. So, it makes sense for Iranians to keep the backdoor open and not ship out all their material at once. However, if you want to force those Iranians to give up and keep Israel spree free, I would say this is the part that will not workout. This is the actual glitch to resolve. Scapegoating and blaming the Persians as illogical and fanatical just keeps you at square one! 

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