‘The participants in the economy of shared tips and intelligence in Washington D.C., breathed a collective sigh of relief when, on January 12, the government announced it would not force James Risen to testify in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. “Press freedom was safe! Our trade in leaks is safe!” observers seemed to conclude, and they returned to their squalid celebration of an oppressive Saudi monarch.
That celebration about information sharing is likely premature. Because, along the way to the conviction of Sterling this week on all nine counts – including seven counts under the Espionage Act — something far more banal yet every bit as dear to D.C.’s economy of secrets may have been criminalized: unclassified tips.’
- Jury Convicts Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling of Leaking to Journalist & Violating Espionage Act
- NY Times reporter James Risen refuses to reveal sources on failed CIA effort against Iran
- U.S. Attorney General Won’t Force New York Times Reporter James Risen to Reveal Source
- Glenn Greenwald Talks to James Risen About His New Book ‘Pay Any Price’, the War on Terror and Press Freedoms
Jury Convicts Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling of Leaking to Journalist & Violating Espionage Act
‘Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling has been convicted by a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, of charges brought against him because the government argued he leaked classified information about a top secret CIA operation in Iran to New York Times reporter James Risen.
Sterling’s case was the first case involving an alleged leak to the press to proceed to a full trial in thirty years. The last case involved Samuel L. Morison, a Navy civilian analyst who was charged under President Ronald Reagan for leaking photographs of Soviet ships to alert America to what he perceived as a new threat.’
- CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling found guilty on all counts
- CIA Leak Trial: ‘This Case Is Not About Politics’ [sic]
- Sterling Prosecution Long on Rhetoric, Short on Evidence
- ‘Operation Merlin': Another self-serving CIA project
- A Prosecution to Hide Langley’s Incompetence: What’s Driving the CIA Leak Trial?
- Jury Questions: Alleged Espionage Is Confusing
- Leak Trial Shows CIA Zeal To Hide Incompetence
- The Sterling Closing Arguments: Who Is the Hero, Who Is the Storyteller?
- Government Tries to Convict Jeffrey Sterling for Retroactively Classified Documents about Rotary Phones
‘After more than a year of negotiations between the United States and Iran, the two sides have failed to reach an agreement by the agreed deadline in July. They have agreed to continue negotiating, but the failure to meet the deadline was clearly not caused by the lack of time.
To understand why the talks have remained deadlocked, it is necessary to review the Obama administration’s stance on diplomacy with Iran in the context of the long US history of favouring “coercive diplomacy” over traditional negotiations in managing conflicts with adversaries.
Reliance on coercive diplomacy is deeply imbedded in the strategic culture of US national security institutions. It has evolved over decades of US military and economic dominance in international politics, which has allowed the United States to avoid genuine diplomacy repeatedly.’
Editor’s Note: The below interview with Gareth Porter, author of “Manufactured Crisis:The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” begins at around 16:05.
- Khamenei: We are not Opposed to Nuclear Talks, Will Accept Just Deal
- Iran Hardliners Slam Extension of Nuclear Talks, But Khamenei Approves
- Is there a hidden agenda in the Iran nuclear talks? (includes Patrick Clawson)
- Pro-Israel Hawks Take Wing over Extended Iran Nuclear Talks
- AIPAC Leads Call for Sanctions to Sabotage Iran Talks
- Former CIA analyst: The Risks of No Iran-Nuke Deal
- Iran Nuclear Talks Extended Through June of 2015
- Endgame: the United States and Iran
- Iran says will double oil exports in two months if sanctions end
- Iran to resist ‘excessive’ demands in push for nuclear deal
- Iran will do a deal with the west – but only if there’s no loss of dignity
- Iran eyes tighter spending, more tax to offset lost oil revenues
- China said to double Iran energy investment
- Report: Iran opens gold plant to fight nuclear sanctions
- Why Is the IAEA Getting Iran Wrong?
- Gareth Porter: US Sanctions Relief Fails, Threatening the Nuclear Talks
- Top 5 Disasters If GOP Senate Derails Iran Talks
- Republican Senators Fail to Push Iran Sanctions Aimed at Killing Talks
- Russia’s Pivitol Role in the Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Interview with Gareth Porter
- Iran President: US Must Stop ‘Excessive Demands’ in Nuclear Talks
- Iran’s Non-Existent Nuke Program: Interview with Gareth Porter
- Russia, Iran Sign Major New Nuclear Power Plant Deal
- Who Leaked the Obama-Khamenei Letter?
- On Iran Policy, America Is Not ‘the World’
- Is the Justice Department Shielding an Anti-Iran Smear Campaign?
- Israeli policy on Iran is the biggest threat to its ‘special relationship’ with America
- How a US and International Atomic Energy Agency Deception Haunts the Nuclear Talks
- Does Iran Have Legitimate Nuclear Energy Needs? Interview with Mehdi Sarram (Part two)
Editor’s Note: Gareth Porter is an investigative journalist and historian who specialises on the Iranian nuclear issue. His latest book is ‘Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare‘. The below interview was recorded over two weeks ago.
- Obama says P5+1 gave Iran ‘a framework to re-enter the international community’
- Obama Won’t Discuss Secret Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei
- Iran Hardliners Hope for Nuclear Deal Without US Rapprochement
- If Nuclear Negotiations With Iran Fail, US Will Be Blamed
- Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost
- Is an Iranian Nuclear Deal in the Works?
- The Iran-US Tango
- Why Obama Rejected Peace With Iran
- US negotiator: Some want talks with Iran to fail
- Former Weapons Inspector Skeptical Over Claims Iran Hiding Nuclear Weapons Tests
- Iran offers ‘compromises’ in nuclear talks, West unmoved
- Iran: Suspected spies arrested near Bushehr nuclear plant
- Nuclear Deal with Iran 95% Complete: Interview with Larry Wilkerson
- History of Key Document in IAEA Probe Suggests Israeli Forgery
- When the Ayatollah Said No to Nukes
- U.S. proposes Iran keep nuclear infrastructure but reduce ability to make bomb
- US Denies Plans to Extend Iran Nuclear Talks, But Progress Is Slow Going
- Iran’s president says nuclear deal with West ‘certain’
- ‘Obama took Netanyahu’s threats to attack Iran seriously’
- Netanyahu: Iran Worse Than ISIS, ISIS Equal to Hamas
- Rouhani sees more cooperation with neighbours after nuclear deal
- Russia ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Iran nuke deal
‘The Republicans took control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, but much more important than which party took control is the nature of the incoming Senators from the new ruling party.
It’s not an influx of Tea Party members, reluctant to waste US funds on overseas adventures and suspicious of federal power, but rather a series of hawks in the model of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) that seized the reins of power last night.
The new senators are typified by Jodi Ernst (R – IA) and Tom Cotton (R – AR), who campaigned heavy on escalating the ISIS war in Iraq and Syria, as well as being more hawkish at essentially every opportunity.”
- Obama foreign policy faces new challenge
- Obama faces new Congress critical of his foreign policy
- The rise of Joni Ernst — and the return of the Bush-era GOP
- The GOP sweep is no victory for Netanyahu
- Obama Seeks War Authorization for ISIS Conflict Before New Congress Takes Over
- Turkish Media: Democrat losses in Senate might be good news for coping with crisis in Syria
‘Ever since New York Times reporter James Risen received his first subpoena from the Justice Department more than six years ago, occasional news reports have skimmed the surface of a complex story. The usual gloss depicts a conflict between top officials who want to protect classified information and a journalist who wants to protect confidential sources. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sterling—a former undercover CIA officer now facing charges under the Espionage Act, whom the feds want Risen to identify as his source—is cast as a disgruntled ex-employee in trouble for allegedly spilling the classified beans.
But the standard media narratives about Risen and Sterling have skipped over deep patterns of government retaliation against recalcitrant journalists and whistleblowers. Those patterns are undermining press freedom, precluding the informed consent of the governed and hiding crucial aspects of US foreign policy. The recent announcement of Eric Holder’s resignation as attorney general has come after nearly five years of the Obama administration extending and intensifying the use of the Justice Department for retribution against investigative journalism and whistleblowing.’
‘Iran dismissed on Tuesday as “fabricated ambiguities” suspicions that it has carried out nuclear arms research, a day after it came under renewed Western pressure to help clear up U.N. watchdog concerns about its atomic energy program. Addressing an annual meeting of the 162-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), senior official Behrouz Kamalvandi also said Iran was committed to trying to reach a negotiated solution to its decade-old nuclear dispute with the West.
“However, measures such as sanctions or double standard approaches certainly harm the negotiating process and cause further mistrust,” Kamalvandi, vice chairman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said. He urged world powers – which resumed talks with Iran in New York last week – to take “constructive and realistic approaches” and fully respect Iran’s nuclear rights in order to end what he called an “unnecessary” crisis.’
‘Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused the United States of being “obsessed” with sanctions against his country, on the eve of new bilateral talks on a nuclear deal.
“We are committed to resolving this issue,” Zarif told a Washington think-tank, but he argued the US was “infatuated” with sanctions and Congress was objecting to any deal “because they would have to lift the sanctions.”
“Iran has shown that we will live up to every agreement,” Zarif argued at a discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, just hours before the Iranian delegation was to meet in New York with US counterparts for fresh talks.’
- Iran ‘must up IAEA co-operation to ease nuclear sanctions’
- With A Deadline Looming, Iran’s Nuclear Talks Reopen In New York
- Iran says ‘difficult road to go’ to reach nuclear deal
- EU official: gap with Iran over nuclear program can be narrowed
- Iran begins to emerge from three decades of isolation
- Iran official says crew of plane carrying Americans gave false information
- US Denies Reports Iran ‘Forced Down’ Chartered Plane
- Iran Arrests Suspected Nuclear Plant Saboteur
- Iran receives $1 billion under extended nuclear deal-IRNA
- Interview with Gareth Porter, author of Manufactured Crisis
- NYT’s Iran Correction Needs a Correction
‘Saying a nuclear Iran would be a “thousand times” greater threat to the world than the Islamic State, Israel’s ambassador to the United States warned against including Iran in any coalition to derail the jihadist group.
Ron Dermer, speaking Wednesday to guests at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception at his residence in suburban Maryland, also cautioned the US against accommodating Iran during the current effort to degrade IS.His urgent tone was the latest sign of a split between the Obama and Netanyahu governments over how to deal with Iran’s role in stopping IS, which is seizing swaths of Iraq and Syria.’
‘On Aug. 29 the US Treasury added 28 Iranian individuals and entities to its ever-expanding sanctions list. Expectedly, Tehran denounced the decision. “They are in conflict with the spirit of talks. They are unconstructive in my opinion,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during an Aug. 30 news conference broadcast on State TV. “We should resist such an aggression with all might and power,” he said. “We consider some of the sanctions crimes against humanity.”
This is not the first time the United States has imposed sanctions on Iran since the historic interim nuclear deal achieved between Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) in November 2013, but Rouhani’s words mark a shift in Iran’s reaction. The Iranian president spent considerable time decrying the sanctions in a harsher tone than ever before. Rouhani was sending a message to the United States.
US sanctions on Iran, which have been consistently expanded by Congress and executive orders since 1997, have become so byzantine that they are hindering the activities of countless businesses, Iranian or multinational. The net of financial sanctions has been crafted with such a tight mesh that even harmless, routine trade is constrained and sanctioned.’
- After deadline, Iran says it is still working on nuclear steps for IAEA
- U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group
- Iran Complying With Deal, IAEA Still Not Satisfied
- Billionaires Make War on Iran, And the United States Government is Helping
- Iran says ‘completing’ nuclear steps agreed with IAEA
- Report: Iran opens uranium-conversion plant
- Iran denies report linking Iraq cooperation to nuclear talks
- IAEA: Iran Complying With Terms of Extended Nuclear Deal
- A Tale of Two Alleged Iran Nuke Leakers
- Rouhani: Iran Won’t Accept Restraints Beyond Existing IAEA Rules
- Iran’s Supreme Leader says interaction with U.S. limited to nuclear talks
- The Fog of Diplomacy: Creating a False Picture of the Iran Nuclear Talks
- Study Finds Iran Sanctions Are Costing U.S. Billions in Lost Trade
- Iran Offers Concessions on Nuclear Deal, Agrees to Limit Enrichment
- British lawmakers say Iran’s Rouhani should be trusted
- Iran: No ‘benefit’ in building nuke program
- The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare: Interview with Gareth Porter
- The Great Iranian Nuclear Swindle
‘The Iranian media released footage Monday of the Israeli spy drone it claimed to have shot down Sunday as it was heading for its Natanz nuclear enrichment site. The Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed Monday that it was working to extract intelligence and data from the drone’s remains. According to an Iranian military official, the drone was a Hermes model with a combat radius of 800 kilometers.
IRGC’s Public Relations Department General Ramezan Sharif was quoted by Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency as saying that some of the parts of the downed aircraft are working, “and our experts are studying the information and intelligence of these parts. We are now analyzing the information of this plane. The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz … but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area,” state news agency ISNA said, citing a statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.’
‘President Hassan Rouhani’s government has quintupled its spending on solar power projects in the last year, taking advantage of Iran’s 300-odd days of sunshine a year that make its vast sun-kissed lands one of the best spots on earth to host solar panels. While being good for the environment, the panels also offer rural Iran steady power amid uncertainty over the country’s contested nuclear program as it negotiates with world powers.
And as the Islamic Republic cuts back on subsidies that once made gasoline cheaper than bottled mineral water, a push toward self-sustaining solar power could help the government save money and bolster its sanctions-battered economy. “A big change is in the making in Iran,” said Saman Mirhadi, a senior official in charge of solar projects. Iran, home to some 77 million people, is a fossil-fuel powerhouse, even in the crude-oil rich Middle East. It is home to both the world’s fourth-largest proven oil reserves and massive natural gas reserves. However, sanctions have cut into the country’s refining and production capabilities.’
John Bolton is confused. After spending years berating the Obama administration for failing to take action in Syria’s bloody civil war, he has come out against such an intervention…kind of.
In a piece in the New York Post, Bolton criticizes the administration for “vacillating for three years on whether to arm ‘moderate’ opposition forces, by failing to uphold his ‘red line’ on chemical weapons and by indulging in rhetoric unaccompanied by action.” At the same time, he is coming out of the closet as against supporting the rebels or bombing Damascus: “Washington’s ability to affect the outcome in Syria is decidedly limited; aiding the rebels mainly increases the chances of an al Qaeda regime in Damascus — hardly preferable to the current bloodshed.”
Bravo! This is what non-interventionists have been saying since the beginning. But then, Bolton’s piece trades restraint in Syria for overthrowing the Iranian regime.
‘Historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter discusses how fabricated documents from Israel should not be seen as proof of Iran’s desire to weaponize.’ (The Real News)
- Placating Congress the Key to Any Iran Deal
- Vienna Talks With Iran Seek ‘Grand Compromise’
- Iran Leader Says Won’t Bow to Force in Nuke Talks
- Israeli Ex-Atomic Chief: Iran 10 Years Away from Nuclear Weapons
- Iran’s nuclear strategy comes under questioning by President Rouhani’s critics
- Iran Nuclear Talks: What do Rouhani’s Hard-line Critics Want?
- Former US officials detect shift in Israel on Iran nuclear deal
- Zarif says most Iranians support nuclear deal with West
- Iranian diplomat: Israel sole obstacle to nuclear weapons-free Mideast
- Five Ways the Myth That Iran Was Developing Nuclear Weapons Was Hyped
- IAEA: Iran ahead of schedule in complying with nuclear deal
- Iran has cut higher-enriched uranium stock ‘by half’
- Former Iran official describes alleged US sabotage of nuke program
- Petraeus: Prospect Of Final Nuclear Deal With Iran Is ‘Now Maybe Better Than 50/50’
- Iranian negotiators reject hardline criticism of nuclear talks
- Can We Trust What Israeli Leaders Say on Iran?
If you take politicians and the mainstream media seriously, you believe that Iran wants a nuclear weapon and has relentlessly engaged in covert efforts to build one. Even if you are aware that Iran signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, you may believe that those who run the Islamic Republic have cleverly found ways to construct a nuclear-weapons industry almost undetected. Therefore, you may conclude, Democratic and Republican administrations have been justified in pressuring Iran to come clean and give up its “nuclear program.” But you would be wrong.
Anyone naturally skeptical about such foreign-policy alarms has by now found solid alternative reporting that debunks the official narrative about the alleged Iranian threat. Much of that reporting has come from Gareth Porter, the journalist and historian associated with Inter Press Service. Porter has done us the favor of collecting the fruits of his dogged investigative journalism into a single comprehensive and accessible volume, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.
- Sanctions Are Eased; Iran Sees Little Relief
- White House Refuses To Grant Visa To New Iranian Ambassador To The UN
- Gareth Porter: The Iranian Nuclear Weapons Programme That Wasn’t
- Tehran protesters demand that Iran retain its nuclear program
- Jimmy Carter says Iran should not be bombed even if they acquire a nuclear weapon
- IAEA Praises Iran Cooperation, But US Still Sour on Deal
- US Plays Up Iran ‘Breakout Capability’ at Nuclear Talks
- European parliament angers Iran with human rights resolution
- Spike in Iran executions seen politically motivated
- Cheney endorses Israeli strike on Iran at GOP gathering
- Has Iran Really Pursued Nukes? Interview with Gareth Porter
- Gen. Dempsey: Keeping the Military Option in Mind on Iran
- Washington Post Gets Iran Nukes Wrong — Again
- Current Iran “Crisis” Began With Overthrow of Democratically Elected Government in 1953
- AIPAC and Friends Explain Themselves
- Crisis over Crimea steals thunder from AIPAC conference
- Kerry at AIPAC: US Will Never Fail Israel
- Netanyahu: ‘I think it’s time to recognize a Jewish State. We’ve only been there 4000 years.’ (Video)
- Israel must make tough choices for peace, Obama says
- Mark Regev: ‘Israeli’s want peace more than anyone else’
- AIPAC divisions more pronounced than ever
- Israel Lobby AIPAC Down, But Not Out – Yet
- Zionist Movement: How AIPAC is severing its historical roots, and weakening its influence
- AIPAC Policy Conference 2014 (Video)
- Is Elliott Abrams Hoping to Succeed Abe Foxman at the ADL?
- ‘NY Times’ and ‘LA Times’ run op-eds by an AIPAC board member without telling readers
- The Illusion of AIPAC’s Invincibility
- Business boycott: Israelis feeling the pinch
- Sourcewatch: American Israel Public Affairs Committee
A resolution to the nuclear dispute with Tehran, should current diplomatic efforts fail, “is likely to involve military action,” US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
“I’m not predicting that we would take military action right away,” Harf said. “It’s more of a broad statement that, look, if we can’t get this done diplomatically in six months or a year or at any time, we will – we are committed to resolving it. And that involves less durable and, quite frankly, riskier actions.
[…] Asked by The Jerusalem Post which the administration considered more likely if diplomacy does not achieve a comprehensive solution in a time frame agreed upon by world powers – war or additional sanctions – Harf responded: “I’m not saying in six months we’re going to go to war if we don’t get a deal done. Broadly speaking, the alternative to resolving this diplomatically is resolving it through other means.
“There are only a few scenarios that come out of this: Either we resolve it diplomatically or we resolve it a different way,” Harf continued.
“It’s just common sense that that different way could involve – is likely to involve military action.”
- Kerry Threatens to Attack Iran If Deal Violated
- Iran’s IRGC commander dismisses U.S. military threat
- JINSA Split on Iran Deal, Urges U.S. Support If Israelis Attack
- U.S. official: Iran considers Saudi Arabia, not Israel, its enemy
- Iran Ambassador Cancels Potentially Historic Event, State Department Blamed
- Top Israel Lobby Group Loses Battle on Iran, But War Not Over
- Iran’s top clergy back Rouhani’s nuclear approach
- Netanyahu: Iran’s stance on centrifuges means there can be no permanent accord
- Interim nuclear deal allows Iran to continue centrifuge research
- Iranian official on nuke deal: ‘We did not agree to dismantle anything’
The Obama administration intensified efforts on Thursday to counter what officials called a misimpression that the six-month nuclear agreement withIran had opened the door to new economic opportunities with the country, emphasizing that nearly all sanctions remained in force and warning businesses not to engage in any deals still pending after the accord’s July 20 expiration.
As if to punctuate the administration’s assertion that little had changed, the Treasury Department announced what it described as a landmark $152 million settlement with Clearstream Banking, a Luxembourg-based banking subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Börse securities exchange, for having allowed Iran to bypass sanctions through the use of the company’s access to the American banking system.
“Today’s action should serve as a clear alert to firms operating in the securities industry that they need to be vigilant with respect to dealings with sanctioned parties,” Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which helps to police compliance with American sanctions, said in a statement announcing the settlement.
The administration has been facing increased criticism from supporters of strong sanctions against Iran who contend that the six-month deal — which went into force on Monday [January 20th] and was devised to allow time to negotiate a permanent accord — had given the Iranians far more in economic benefits than what its provisions had specified or intended.
- The truth about Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal
- Documentary: Israel, Vanunu and the Bomb
- Avner Cohen: Israel and the Bomb
- Israel has 80 nuclear warheads, can make 115 to 190 more, report says
- Jimmy Carter: Israel ‘has 150 nuclear weapons’
- Khan Job: Bush Spiked Probe of Pakistan’s Dr. Strangelove, BBC reported in 2001
- Why is the U.S. okay with Israel having nuclear weapons but not Iran?
- Netanyahu: Iran has spent $160 billion on nuclear weapons drive
Sen. Bob Corker has proposed the idea of scheduling a vote on Iran sanctions six months from now, after the interim nuclear agreement has run its course, instead of voting on sanctions right now.
Corker said Thursday that he had suggested the idea to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during a closed-door briefing for senators by lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman on the implementation agreement with Iran that is due to kick in on Jan. 20, the text of which was released to Congress today. The Senate is mulling a new sanctions bill introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk and Bob Menendez that is currently stalled pending a vote scheduled by Reid.
“One of the things I posed to the leader was look, why don’t we schedule a vote for July the 21st, that’s six months after the implementation date and if they haven’t reached an agreement that we believe is satisfactory, let’s implement on that day,” Corker, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the briefing.
“When you think about it, we could almost have more leverage in some ways for a vote prescheduled right now for July the 21st,” Corker said. “Scheduling a Senate vote the day after in some ways can put even more pressure on the situation.”
The text of an agreement reached Sunday to implement the interim nuclear deal with Iran is not available to the public because the European Union is not releasing it, the White House says.
“The EU is not making the document public,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said on Sunday.
Asked why the document was not being released, EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said that he will “have to ask about that.” Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, was closely involved in the talks in Geneva that brought around the interim nuclear deal.
World powers reached an agreement this weekend to implement the interim deal reached with Iran in November to curtail its nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief; the terms of the deal are now scheduled to begin on Jan. 20. According to Reuters, Iran will receive the first $550 million in now-unblocked funds on Feb. 1.
US President Barack Obama said on Monday it would not be right for Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran now, saying, “Now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work.”
Raising the issue in comments to reporters, Obama said that if Tehran abides by the agreement, “then I have no doubt that it can open up extraordinary opportunities for Iran and their people.”
But if they refuse, he said, then “we are in position to reverse any interim agreement and put in place additional pressure to make sure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.”
Meanwhile, US administration officials lauded the conclusion of technical talks with Iran this weekend, in which international powers agreed after a month of deliberations on how best to implement an interim deal pausing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
The White House on Thursday challenged a group of senators to admit they are working to push the country toward war with Iran, upping the tension between the administration and Senate advocates of tough new sanctions amid nuclear negotiations.
“If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action, they should be up front with the American public and say so,” Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Otherwise, it’s not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that possibly closes the door on diplomacy and makes it more likely that the United States will have to choose between military options or allowing Iran’s nuclear program to proceed.”
The “certain members” the White House is referring to are led by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who is pushing legislation, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that would tighten sanctions on the Iranian regime despite the ongoing negotiations.
Advocates of a peace deal with Iran warn that toughening sanctions now strengthens the hand of hard-liners in Iran who can argue the U.S. is not negotiating in good faith.
Diplomacy with Iran must be backed by military power, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has said.
Mr Hagel, speaking in Bahrain, said Washington was committed to maintaining a strong force in the Gulf region.
Iran recently agreed to curb some nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief.
Analysts say Washington’s Gulf Arab partners are worried the US will lose focus on the Middle East as it boosts its presence in Asia.
Mr Hagel told the Manama Dialogue – a regional security forum – the US has more than 35,000 military personnel in the region and would not reduce that number.
- Pentagon: Deal Won’t Change Iran-Centric Military Posture
- Hagel: US to maintain 35,000 troops in Gulf region
- John Bolton: The Only Option in Iran Is War
- Rep. Sherman Favors More Civilian Airline Crashes in Iran
- Eyes on Iran, Navy in Gulf Stays at Ready
- US Military Official: Iran Moves Fighters Off Disputed Island
Iran has quit nuclear talks with world powers, accusing Washington on Friday of going against the spirit of a landmark agreement reached last month by expanding its sanctions blacklist.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the major powers in the talks, both played down the suspension and said talks were expected to resume soon.
But Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said the US move went against the spirit of the deal struck in Geneva under which the powers undertook to impose no further sanctions for six months in exchange for Iran curbing its controversial nuclear activities.
Tehran was now weighing the “appropriate response”, he said.
- US Adds to Iran Sanctions, Warns Congress Not to Act
- State Dept: Non-nuclear sanctions could be OK
- New sanctions could ‘shatter Western unity’ on Iran, senator says
- U.N. Iran panel chair urges states to keep enforcing sanctions
- Lawmakers press Kerry on new Iran sanctions
- Why New Iran Sanctions Won’t Work
- Senate Iran Sanctions Vote in January At the Earliest
- Senators say they’ll press Iran sanctions as ‘insurance’
- EU imposes fresh sanctions on Iran shipping
- Sanctions Hawks Losing the Plot
Yesterday, a group of high-ranking world leaders met in Geneva and brokered a six-month deal to limit the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These spineless Western autocrats did so in exchange for the removal of several economic sanctions on Iran, believing they have both the power and authority to dismantle the country’s nuclear program and enforce strict IAEA regulations on uranium enrichment.
Given this incredibly unjust though unsurprising meddling from these cowardly foreign governments, The Onion vows to continue the expansion of Iran’s nuclear weapons program for as long as necessary until the operation has been completed. The dream must live on and will live on. And The Onion will make sure it does.
John Kerry hailed a “dramatic” step to “roll back” Iran’s nuclear ambitions on Sunday when America and Tehran overcame decades of confrontation to achieve their first formal agreement for 34 years.
The US secretary of state said this deal “impedes the progress in a very dramatic way of Iran’s principal enrichment facilities and key parts of its programme”.
The “first step” agreement, lasting for an interim period of six months, “rolls back the nuclear programme from where it is today”, said Mr Kerry.
In return, America will ease sanctions, releasing about $7 billion for Iran.
But Mr Kerry’s interpretation of the deal differed from that of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister. The two men addressed consecutive press conferences between 4.30 and 5.30am in Geneva, at the end of almost five days of marathon negotiations.
- The full text of Iran, P5+1 nuclear deal document
- Iran, P5+1 Reach Deal on Nuclear Program
- Netanyahu says Iran nuclear deal is ‘historic mistake’
- Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal endangers Israel, we will defend ourselves
- FM Lieberman slams deal with Iran: ‘We’re entering new era’
- Deputy Secretary of State William Burns led secret US back channel to Iran
- This Low-Profile British Diplomat Helped Salvage the Iran Nuclear Deal
- Republicans Attack Iran Deal Before It’s Announced
- Senate Leaders Promise New Iran Sanctions After Recess
- UK presses Senate to delay Iran sanctions
- The Red Herring in Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Arak
- State Department Reaffirms Iran Status As State Sponsor Of Terrorism During Nuclear Talks
- White House: Israel’s all-or-nothing proposal on Iran would lead to war
- Ex-defense minister: Israel can’t eliminate Iran threat
- Netanyahu’s estimate for Iran nuclear breakout “Sheer Nonsense”
- Netenyahu: Iran already has enough material for five bombs
- Military option against Iran still active, US envoy says
- Iranian dissidents say Iran has built secret new nuclear site
- Corporate Media’s Deceitful News on Iran and Nuclear Power Issues
President Obama and the White House have been engaged in a battle in the Senate to block the chamber from passing new sanctions that could derail ongoing negotiations with Iran. The White House has been clear: new sanctions could kill the talks and put the U.S. on a “path to war.”
Groups including NIAC, FCNL, Peace Action, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran have all come out against new Senate sanctions. Groups including AIPAC and Foundation for Defense of Democracies are, as usual, advocating more sanctions. AIPAC even says they will explicitly try to kill a deal.
But it looks like the pro-diplomacy side is winning.
Senators Carl Levin, Christopher Murphy, and Dianne Feinstein have all now come out in opposition to new Iran sanctions, saying they will instead support the ongoing negotiations with Iran. And today, even Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told the BBC today he will not support new sanctions for now, saying, “I am skeptical of talks with Iran but willing to give the Obama administration a couple months.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed a crucial detail Thursday about last week’s nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva that explains much more clearly than previous reports why the meeting broke up without agreement.
Lavrov said the United States circulated a draft that had been amended in response to French demands to other members of the six-power P5+1 for approval “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
Lavrov’s revelation, which has thus far been ignored by major news outlets, came in a news conference in Cairo Thursday that was largely devoted to Egypt and Syria. Lavrov provided the first real details about the circumstances under which Iran left Geneva without agreeing to the draft presented by the P5+1.
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