IN ISRAEL ~~ THE DAY AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Abraham Lincoln

Just remember, he did not speak for me or most of Israel

Just remember, he did not speak for me or most of Israel

“After my short visit to the United States, I return to Israel knowing that many around the world heard what Israel has to say about the impending deal with Iran.”

Netanyahu Returns to Israel ‘Knowing Israel Has Been Heard’

Prime Minister lands back in Israel following speech to Congress on the dangers of a ‘bad deal’ with Iran.

Following his high-profile speech to Congress last night, Prime MinisterBinyamin Netanyahu returned to Israel Wednesday.

In a statement shortly after landing, Netanyahu said he was satisfied with his address and its reception.

“After my short visit to the United States, I return to Israel knowing that many around the world heard what Israel has to say about the impending deal with Iran,” he said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

In an apparent response to claims by US President Barack Obama that his speech did not offer “practical alternatives” to the deal with Iran currently under discuss, the prime minister added: “In my speech before theCongress, I presented a practical alternative, which would impose tougher restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, extending Iran’s breakout time by years.

“I also called on the P5+1 to insist on a deal that would link the lifting of those restrictions to Iran’s ceasing its sponsorship of terrorism around the world, its aggression against its neighbors and its calls for Israel’s destruction.”

The responses he received were positive, he emphasized – from both sides of the isle.

“I heard encouraging responses from both Democrats and Republicans. They understood that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal and that the alternative is a better deal.”

The above is the extreme right viewpoint FROM

A more realistic view is presented by Jon Stewart

Bibi’s Congress Reception Was ‘Longest Blowjob a Jewish Man Has Ever Received’

The Editors at Mondoweiss added the following humour as well …. Click  HERE  to see report

Factchecking Netanyahu: An annotated guide to the Israeli P.M.’s speech to Congress

BIBI’S BEX ALERT

Full speech presented at end of this post

download

11 Lies Netanyahu Told

Congress on Iran

Getty Images / Lior Zaltzman

Getty Images / Lior Zaltzman

The long awaited for speech is now a part of the anus of history …. but the following points are the ones to be remembered according to Americans For Peace Now

11 Bogus Arguments Bibi Will Likely Be Making Against an Iran Deal

Prepare for Netanyahu’s Washington Speeches:
Listen for these 11 Bogus Arguments against an Iran Deal

Meir Dagan quoteOn March 3rd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress, where he is expected to make the case against a nuclear deal with Iran, at least a deal that could result from the current negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the United Kingdom).  During this visit to Washington, Netanyahu will make other speeches and find other occasions to speak to the media in which he will no doubt, make the same case.  In anticipation of these speeches and statements, it is important to “un-pack” and debunk the bogus arguments against an Iran deal that Netanyahu is most likely to be making.  The eleven most prominent of those arguments are examined here.  The full document can be printed/downloaded here.

—————————————————————————————-

Additional sanctions and credible threats of military action can secure a better deal with Iran than current negotiations.

  • Decades of U.S. sanctions targeting the Iranian regime failed to achieve the goal of either compelling that regime to give up its nuclear program or causing it to fall.  Likewise, years of U.S. sanctions targeting the Iranian people have failed to achieve the goal of mobilizing Iranians to either force their government to change course or to overthrow it and replace it with a more pro-West alternative.
  • In recent years, multilateral, international sanctions have contributed to convincing the Iranian government to come to the negotiating table and offer real compromises with respect to its nuclear program. More U.S. sanctions today are far more likely to result in Iran’s abandoning the negotiating table than to result in Iran suddenly becoming amenable to a purported “better” deal – i.e., one involving elements that no Iranian regime would ever accept.
  • In such a case, it would be the U.S., not Iran, that would likely be blamed for the collapse of talks, leading to an erosion of international consensus on Iran sanctions that undermines the existing sanctions regime without achieving tangible Iranian compromises in return.
  • In such a case, Iranian hardliners who oppose any compromise with the West would be strengthened, with new U.S. sanctions and the collapse of talks bolstering the argument that the U.S. and its allies are not truly interested in a deal, but want regime change.  In such circumstances, it is far more likely that Iranian leaders will conclude that the urgent development of Iranian nuclear weapons is a necessary deterrent against such attack.

 —————————————————————————————-

The only good deal with Iran is one that leaves Iran with zero enrichment capacity.

  • Zero enrichment – the demand that not a single centrifuge is left spinning in Iran – is neither an achievable nor a necessary goal of negotiations.
  • It’s not achievable because just as P5+1 negotiators must get a deal they can “sell” to their constituencies, Iranian negotiators must be able to sell a deal to their own constituencies as meeting their own red lines (most notably, sufficient capacity for legitimate domestic energy production and legitimate R&D purposes, preserving what Iran views as a sovereign right to enrich, and assuring that Iranian pride in the nation’s scientific advances is left intact).
  • It’s not necessary because assuming “zero enrichment” is genuinely shorthand for “the best possible guarantee that Iran’s nuclear program will remain peaceful,” this goal can be achieved through a nuclear agreement that includes strict limits on Iran’s enrichment capacity and stringent safeguards and transparency with respect to Iran’s nuclear facilities and materials.
  • Insisting on “zero enrichment” guarantees that such limits and safeguards are absent.  Demands for zero enrichment as a condition for a deal are tantamount to rejecting any agreed-upon, negotiated solution with Iran.  Alternatives offered by advocates of a zero-enrichment red-line consist of fantasy and wishful thinking (“more pressure and Iran’s government will give in or be overthrown) and war-mongering (“military action can remove the threat of a nuclear Iran”).  Both approaches would likely exacerbate, rather than curb, the Iranian nuclear threat.

—————————————————————————————-

Any deal with Iran is a bad deal, because the mullahs can’t be trusted.

  • A nuclear deal with Iran would be grounded in ongoing rigorous inspections and verification mechanisms – not trust.  It is those rigorous inspections and verification mechanisms that would ensure that Iran lived up to its end of a deal.
  • Should Iran interfere with those inspections and verification mechanisms, or should those inspections and verification mechanisms reveal Iranian malfeasance, the international community would know immediately and have ample opportunity to prepare its response.
  • Without an agreement, those rigorous inspections and verification mechanisms would be absent.  The international community, recognizing that Iran cannot be trusted, would be left to worry and try to come up with policies and actions based on incomplete information.
  • Even with an agreement in place, the U.S. and international community will doubtless prepare and maintain contingency plans to address the possibility that Iran will renege on the deal – including planning for military action.

—————————————————————————————-

It would be wrong to make any nuclear deal with Iran unless that deal also held Iran accountable for its support for terrorism and extremism, in the region and beyond.

  • Achieving and implementing an agreement acceptable both to the P5+1 and Iran will require that some sanctions imposed on Iran – sanctions imposed as a direct consequence of concerns about Iran’s nuclear program – be removed.
  • However, an Iran nuclear deal would not change U.S. policy or impact U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran’s support for terrorism.  U.S. anti-terrorism legislation is for the most part separate from Iran nuclear legislation; anti-terrorist provisions that apply to countries around the world would continue to apply equally to Iran, even with a nuclear deal in place.
  • A nuclear deal with Iran could, potentially, open the door for improved U.S.-Iran relations – relations – which could eventually lead to improvements in other areas of concern to the U.S., including concerns linked to Iran’s support for terrorist organizations.
  • Those seeking to derail Iran talks or scuttle a nuclear deal with demands related to other issues are sending a message that their true goal is not mitigating the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, but regime change in Iran.  Such a message will likely strengthen hardliners, increasing the threat that Iran will indeed seek to acquire nuclear weapons and worsening Iranian behavior in the other spheres, including with respect to support for terrorism outside Iran’s borders.

—————————————————————————————-

It would be wrong to make any nuclear deal with Iran unless that deal also held Iran accountable for its terrible record with respect to human rights and civil liberties inside Iran.

  • An Iran nuclear deal would not change U.S. policy or impact U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran’s record on human rights abuses, democracy, or other non-nuclear-related matters.
  • By improving the conditions of Iranians overall, an Iran nuclear deal could strengthen domestic groups engaged in promoting human rights and civil liberties.  It could also strengthen Iranian political forces that are more open to change.  For these reasons, a nuclear deal is widely supported by human rights and democracy advocates within Iran.
  • The failure of Iran diplomacy – and what this failure would mean in terms of discrediting some of Iran’s more moderate political voices – could open the door to greater repression domestically.

—————————————————————————————-

A deal with Iran over its nuclear program will only strengthen and enrich an odious, extremist regime, and in doing so increase the threat of extremists everywhere.

  • The U.S. and its P5+1 partners are pursuing a nuclear agreement with Iran not as a gift to Iran, but because curtailing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is in the vital interests of the U.S. and the international community, including Israel.
  • A deal with Iran over its nuclear program would in no way imply U.S. approval for Iranian policies or acquiescence to Iranian bad behavior in any sphere.  A deal likewise would in no way limit the ability of the U.S. and the international community to criticize or pressure Iran – just like any other country.
  • Derailing talks or undermining a deal with Iran over its nuclear program will only strengthen those in Iran who believe that the West will not be satisfied with anything short of the overthrow of the current regime, and who view the militarization of Iran’s nuclear program as necessary to deter an attack.

—————————————————————————————-

One-year “breakout” time for Iran to become a nuclear state is way too short. If Iran decides to dash to get a bomb, it will already be too late.

  • “Breakout” time does NOT refer to the time required for Iran to become a nuclear-armed state.  It refers only to the time needed for Iran to produce enough weapons-grade uranium to fuel a single nuclear bomb.
  • To represent a threat as a nuclear-armed state, Iran would first have to produce sufficient weapons-grade uranium to fuel at least two bombs – one to test (to prove its nuclear capabilities) and the other to hold as a deterrent against retaliation. It would also have to build both bombs, build a working delivery system, and carry out a test.
  • An agreement would impede Iran’s ability to “dash” to become a nuclear-armed state by extending “breakout” time from the current 2-3 months to at least one year.  It would achieve this by prohibiting Iran from enriching uranium to a level (20%) at which it could be converted into weapons-grade uranium, and by imposing limits on the number and type of centrifuges Iran would be permitted to operate, as well as on the size of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium.
  • An agreement would also impede any future Iranian nuclear weapons “dash” by extending the time required for Iran to build actual bombs and a delivery system. It would achieve this by imposing international oversight and inspections that would diminish, in an unprecedented way, Iran’s ability to pursue nuclear activities with potential military dimensions, even covertly.
  • Absent an agreement, there will be no limits on Iran’s ability to build up its stockpile of enriched uranium. Absent an agreement, the U.S. and international community will revert to the longstanding status quo in which they have extremely limited and often imperfect information about what is going on inside Iran’s nuclear program.
  • Should Iran renege on a nuclear deal and pursue weaponization, a one-year “breakout” time ensures that the U.S. and the international community would have ample time and opportunity to respond.

—————————————————————————————-

The real issue isn’t “breakout” but “sneak-out.”  It doesn’t matter how many limits or safeguards you put into place – Iran will cheat and we will wake up one day to find Iran armed with nuclear bombs. 

  • “Sneak-out” is a danger with or without an agreement.
  • An agreement will put into place inspection, oversight and verification mechanisms – with respect to facilities, equipment and supplies – that ensure that a “sneak-out” would be far more difficult for Iran to achieve and far more likely to be detected.
  • Without an agreement, these inspection, oversight and verification mechanisms will not be implemented, ensuring that any “sneak-out” effort would be far more likely to go undetected.

—————————————————————————————-

The current negotiations are leaving in place too many Iranian centrifuges.  The more centrifuges left spinning, the greater the threat Iran poses.

  • Viewed in isolation, the number of centrifuges Iran is allowed to operate under an agreement does not provide a clear measure of breakout time.  It thus fails to adequately calculate the threat Iran would pose should it renege on a nuclear deal and shift to a militarized nuclear program.
  • To truly measure this threat requires examining the number of centrifuges, the types of centrifuges, and the size of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium under an agreement.
  • Consistent with the interim deal that gave birth to the current negotiations, Iran has already eliminated its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium gas – the feedstock required to produce weapons grade uranium.  By doing so, the immediate threat of Iranian “breakout” has been dramatically reduced by, in effect, emptying the cartoon bomb that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu displayed at the UN in 2014.
  • A nuclear deal with the P5+1 can be expected to significantly reduce and cap the number of centrifuges spinning in Iran.  A deal likewise can be expected to limit the type of centrifuges left spinning and to limit Iranian enrichment, such that Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb will not be refilled and such that weapons-grade uranium remains out-of-reach.
  • Without an agreement, the number of Iran’s centrifuges can be expected to grow, and the level at which uranium will be enriched can be expected to return to 20 percent, or go even higher.

—————————————————————————————-

A nuclear deal with Iran will leave Iran as a threat to the world and an existential threat to Israel, will sell out our allies in the Gulf, and will fuel a nuclear arms race in the region.

  • The prospect of Iran armed with nuclear weapons is indeed alarming, particularly to Israel, which exists in close proximity to Iran and which has over the years been the target of harsh threats from various Iranian political and religious figures.  It is also alarming to many countries in the Middle East, who see Iran as seeking regional dominance and meddling in their affairs.
  • Neither diplomacy nor military action can guarantee that Iran will not someday decide to pursue nuclear weapons. Iran long ago acquired the knowledge and expertise to do so.  International pressure and sanctions have impeded Iran’s nuclear program for years, but more importantly, leaders in Iran today have decided not to pursue an active nuclear weapons program.
  • A negotiated deal can bolster this decision, while further rolling back Iran’s nuclear capacity such that if Iran’s leaders someday have a change of heart, the U.S. and international community – including our friends and allies in the region – will have ample time and opportunity to take action.
  • A negotiated deal with Iran would not imply U.S. endorsement of Iranian bad behavior elsewhere in the region, nor would it imply that the U.S. was abandoning traditional allies in favor of warmer ties with Iran.
  • Rejecting a negotiated deal out-of-hand in favor of hardline demands for the complete eradication of Iran’s nuclear capacity is virtually guaranteed to have the oppose effect.  Making the complete elimination of any Iranian nuclear capacity the end goal of U.S. policy is tantamount to demanding that the U.S. go to war, and is likely to strengthen those in Iran who view the acquisition of nuclear weapons as necessary to deter such military action.  Such a policy would, in fact, be far more likely to fuel regional instability and an arms race than a negotiated deal would.

—————————————————————————————-

A deal that “sunsets” after 10 or 15 years is no good – it just means that Iran will wait and ready itself and then go nuclear the minute a deal ends.

  • Just as there is no possibility of a “zero enrichment” deal with Iran, there is no possibility of Iran agreeing to a “permanent” deal on its nuclear program.  Iran is in trouble right now because it has repeatedly violated the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), resulting in sanctions.  Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are grounded in the understanding that by demonstrating compliance with all of its NPT obligations, Iran will no longer be in violation of the NPT and Iran’s tenure in the international doghouse – at least with respect to its nuclear program – can come to a close (at least so long as Iran remains in compliance).
  •  An Iran nuclear agreement – whether its provisions are in place for 10 years, or 15 years, or however many years are agreed on – would dramatically mitigate the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. For the period of the deal, the agreement would dramatically curtail Iran’s nuclear program, extending breakout time from a couple of months to a year, making it much harder for Iran to shift course and making the path to weaponization far longer than it would be without an agreement.
  • At the time that an agreement sunsets (and different provisions would likely sunset at different times), Iran would still remain a member of the NPT and subject to the requirements of that treaty.  Iran would also remain bound by an Additional Protocol to the treaty, granting UN inspectors greater authority in monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.  Following a decade or more of intrusive inspections and other oversight mechanisms, the U.S. and international community would at that time also be in a far stronger position to judge Iran’s actions and intentions vis-à-vis its nuclear program than they would have been without a deal. If, subsequent to a deal “sunsetting,” they determine that Iran’s leaders are shifting course and pursuing weaponization, the U.S. and international community will have ample time and opportunity to take action – and their decisions at that time will benefit from more than a decade of insights into Iran’s nuclear program and more than a decade of improved planning based on those insights.
  • Optimally, by the time a deal sunsets Iran would recognize the tangible benefits of continued curtailment of its nuclear program – benefits that would be imperiled if, in the period after an agreement “sunsets,” Iran decided to shift course and pursue weaponization of its nuclear program.

In case you missed the speech, here it is in full. As I side-note I must tell you that I always get a chuckle thinking about something my brother once told me. he was fascinated that the Prime Minister of Israel speaks a better English than I do ;)

*

And here’s what Ali Abunimah had to say about the speech … 

See video below

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his much trailed and politically divisive speech to the US Congress today, forcefully denouncing a possible international agreement that would place Iran’s civilian nuclear energy program under strict supervision.

Immediately afterwards, I spoke to The Real News Network’s Paul Jay to analyze the speech, including Netanyahu’s appeal to Biblical myths and Islamophobia in his attempt to derail US diplomacy.

Netanyahu’s speech came as US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, were in Switzerland to close the deal at high stakes negotiations backed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

President Barack Obama dismissed Netanyahu’s speech as offering nothing new and said the Israeli leader offered no alternatives to his efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement.

Approximately fifty Democratic members of Congress skipped Netanyahu’s speech, some after intense lobbying efforts by Palestinian rights advocates.

NETANYAHU’S LONG HISTORY OF CRYING WOLF ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS

When Netanyahu gives his address to Congress, he can likely be counted on to say much the same things he’s been saying for the past two decades about an impending Iranian nuclear threat, and credulous pundits and politicians can be counted on to believe him.

Netanyahu outlining the Iranian nuclear danger via a cartoon drawing. (UN/file)

Netanyahu outlining the Iranian nuclear danger via a cartoon drawing. (UN/file)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU’S LONG HISTORY OF CRYING WOLF ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS

BY MURTAZA HUSSAIN FOR

*

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the U.S. Congress tomorrow about the perils of striking a nuclear deal with Iran.  Netanyahu, not generally known for his measured rhetoric, has been vociferous in his public statements about the dangers of such compromise, warning that it will allow Iran to “rush to the bomb” and that it amounts to giving the country “a license” to develop nuclear weapons.

It is worth remembering, however, that Netanyahu has said much of this before. Almost two decades ago, in 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, “If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,” adding that, “the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.”

Almost 20 years later that deadline has apparently still not passed, but Netanyahu is still making dire predictions about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon. Four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”

In his 1995 book, “Fighting Terrorism,” Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in “three to five years,” apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline.

For a considerable time thereafter, Netanyahu switched his focus to hyping the purported nuclear threat posed by another country, Iraq, about which he claimed there was “no question” that it was “advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons.” Testifying again in front of Congress again in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating “centrifuges the size of washing machines.”

Needless to say, these claims turned out to be disastrously false. Despite this, Netanyahu, apparently unchastened by the havoc his previous false charges helped create, immediately went back to ringing the alarm bells about Iran.

A 2009 U.S. State Department diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks described then-prime ministerial candidate Netanyahu informing a visiting Congressional delegation that Iran was “probably one or two years away” from developing weapons capability. Another cable later the same year showed Netanyahu, now back in office as prime minister, telling a separate delegation of American politicians in Jerusalem that “Iran has the capability now to make one bomb,” adding that alternatively, “they could wait and make several bombs in a year or two.”

In statements around this time made to journalists, Netanyahu continued to raise alarm about this supposedly imminent, apocalyptic threat. As he told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in a 2010 interview, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” adding, “that’s what is happening in Iran.”

In 2012 Netanyahu said in closed talks reported by Israeli media that Iran is just “a few months away” from attaining nuclear capabilities. Later that same year, he gave a widely-mocked address at the United Nations in which he alleged that Iran would have the ability to construct a weapon within roughly one year, while using a printout of a cartoon bomb to illustrate his point.

Despite this heady rhetoric, Netanyahu’s estimates of an imminent Iranian nuclear bomb have consistently been at odds with analyses made by his own intelligence agency. In 2011, departing Mossad intelligence chief Meir Dagan said in his final intelligence summary that, contrary to Netanyahu’s repeated statements at the time, an Iranian nuclear weapon is in fact not imminent, and that any military action against the country could end up spurring the development of such a weapon.

Just last week, leaked intelligence cables reported by Al Jazeera revealed that at roughly the same time in 2012 that Netanyahu was brandishing his cartoon bomb and telling the United Nations that Iran was close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, Israeli intelligence had actually determined the country was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

The conclusion from this history is inescapable. Over the course of more than 20 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has made false claims about nuclear weapons programs in both Iran and Iraq, inventing imaginary timelines for their development, and making public statements that contradicted the analysis of his own intelligence advisers.

Despite this, he continues to be treated by lawmakers and media figures as a credible voice on this issue.

When Netanyahu gives his address to Congress, he can likely be counted on to say much the same things he’s been saying for the past two decades about an impending Iranian nuclear threat, and credulous pundits and politicians can be counted on to believe him.

BOTEACH ON DEFENSE OF IGNORANCE

“It is not up to Shmuley Boteach to make it appear this is the way the Jewish community treats our friends.”

A few days after ‘rabbi’ Boteach was denounced by almost every legitimate leader of the Jewish Community for his recent actions, specifically by putting the following ad in the New York Times last Saturday …

B-9ecSYU0AAx5qB (1)
… he comes to his own defense in the following video;

Pretty pathetic if you ask me!

Obviously, the condemnations stand. only Boteach himself disagrees.

Neither does Shmuley Boteach!

Neither does Shmuley Boteach!

Despite the idiot ‘rabbi’s rants …

Susan Rice Gets Warm Reception at AIPAC

Delegates Ignore Calls To Boycott NSA Chief Speech

By JTA

Getty Images

Getty Images

 A nuclear deal with Iran must include access to its nuclear facilities even after the expiry of restrictions, which would last at least ten years, Susan Rice, the U.S. national security adviser, told AIPAC.

Rice, addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday, the second day of its annual conference, said expectations that Iran would cease uranium enrichment altogether or that restrictions would be in place indefinitely, were unrealistic.

But she added that intrusive inspections would continue indefinitely.

“At the end of any deal, Iran would still be required to offer comprehensive access to its nuclear facilities and to provide the international community the assurance that it was not pursuing nuclear weapons,” she said.

Insisting on no enrichment would collapse the alliance the Obama administration has built to sanction and isolate Iran, factors which led Iran to agree to nuclear negotiations, Rice said.

“Let’s remember that sanctions have never stopped Iran from advancing its program,” she said.

Without a deal, Rice said, Iran would return to enrichment levels it achieved before the terms governing nuclear talks with the major powers imposed restrictions, and seek to expand its nuclear capability.

“And, we’ll lose the unprecedented inspections and transparency we have today,” she said.

Rice also addressed concerns about reports that any deal restricting Iranian nuclear activities would expire after 10-15 years.

“I know that some question a deal of any duration,” she said. “But, it has always been clear that the pursuit of an agreement of indefinite duration would result in no agreement at all.”

Restrictions would be in place at least for ten years, she said.

“A deal that extends for a decade or more would accomplish this goal better than any other course of action – longer, by far, than military strikes, which would only set back Iran’s program for a fraction of the time,” she said.

The AIPAC activists received Rice warmly, ignoring calls from some right wing figures to stay away from her talk after she said last week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress was “destructive” of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Netanyahu and the Republican congressional leadership infuriated the Obama administration by arranging the speech, which will take aim at the White House’s Iran policies, without consulting with the White House or congressional Democrats.

AIPAC favors legislation that would trigger new sanctions should Iran walk away from the talks and would subject any deal to congressional review. President Obama Obama has pledged to veto the legislation.

“Additional sanctions or restrictive legislation enacted during the negotiation would blow up the talks, divide the international community, and cause the United States to be blamed for the failure to reach a deal,’” Rice said.

She earned cheers for saying emphatically that Obama would consider “all options,” a euphemism for military action, should the talks fail.

However, activists also pointedly cheered whenever Rice described the views of skeptics of the talks in order to rebut them.

“I know that some argue we should just impose sanctions and walk away” if the talks collapse, was one such unintended applause line. “I know that some of you will be urging Congress to insist that Iran forego its domestic enrichment capacity entirely” was another.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S WELCOME IN NEW YORK (NOT)

The Emporer's Nuke Clothes Image by Katie Miranda

The Emperor’s Nuke Clothes
Image by Katie Miranda

In a blinding snow fall, March 1st, scores of people gathered to protest the forthcoming speech on March 3rd of Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress.

Speakers protested the occupation and settlement of Palestinian land and  the murderous deaths of thousands of Palestinians at the bloodied hands of the Zionists with the aid of American tax dollars. They noted the unity of the Congressnal extreme right  and  the Zionist policy of  pushing the U.S. into war with Iran. The speakers said that Netanyahu does not speak for all American Jews as he pretends.  The message to Netanyahu was ‘GET OUT OF THIS COUNTRY’

The snow might have been blinding but it did not stop us from seeing the truth!

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

HUMOROUS PHOTO OF THE DAY

Ya’think if I tell Congress that I won’t accept their 30 Billion Dollar$ next year they will bomb Iran?

unnamed (11)
Look who is coming to hear my speech …. it means allot when a Nobel Peace Prize recipient supports my calls for another war.

Elie Wiesel to attend Netanyahu speech to Congress

In full-page ad, Nobel Prize winner expresses firm support for ‘keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America’

 

Full report HERE

NETANYAHU TO TELL THE ‘TRUTH’ ABOUT GAZA AND IRAN AT THE UN

What part of the truth do we not already know?

'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

*

Image by Bendib

Image by Bendib

*

Netanyahu will speak at the UN on Monday. Before leaving, the prime minister vowed to “tell the truth of Israel’s citizens to the entire world.” 

“In my UN General Assembly speech and in all of my meetings I will represent the citizens of Israel and will – on their behalf – refute the slander and lies directed at our country,” Netanyahu went on to say.

*

Netanyahu heads to US to dispel Abbas, Rouhani’s ‘slander and lies’

Prime minister to meet with US President Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban and Indian Prime Minister Modi.

Ynetnews

*

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to leave for New York on Sunday morning to “refute the slander and lies” in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “deceptive speech” and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ “inciteful speech” at the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu will speak at the UN on Monday. Before leaving, the prime minister vowed to “tell the truth of Israel’s citizens to the entire world.”

“In my UN General Assembly speech and in all of my meetings I will represent the citizens of Israel and will – on their behalf – refute the slander and lies directed at our country,” Netanyahu went on to day.

The prime minister will begin his visit on Sunday in a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This would be the first time in over a decade the prime ministers of Israel and India meet.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu will meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, followed by a meeting with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

While Rouhani only mentioned Israel once in his speech, saying that “Had we had greater cooperation and coordination in the Middle East, thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza would not have been fallen victim to Zionist regime’s aggression,” Abbas dedicated the lion’s share of his speech to Israel.

In the speech, Abbas called the previous round of fighting against Gaza “a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment.” The devastation unleashed, he asserted, “is unmatched in modern times.”

He further stated that “the Israeli government undermined chances for peace throughout the months of negotiations,” referring to the failed 9-month-long peace process undertaken before the latest violence in Gaza. “Israel has consistently sought to fragment our land and our unity.”

Senior officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denounced the allegations as “a speech of incitement filled with lies.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also commented on Abbas’ speech Friday saying that, “Abu Mazen’s (Abbas’) words at the UN General Assembly sharply clarify again that Abu Mazen doesn’t want and can’t be a logical partner for a political settlement. Abbas isn’t a member of joint government with Hamas for no reason.”

The Foreign Minister said that “Abbas complements Hamas in his political terrorism and storytelling against Israel. So long as he’s chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas will lead to the continuation of the conflict. He has proved time and again that he is not a man of peace, but rather Arafat’s heir.”

 

#OperationForeverThreat ~~ THE IMMINENT ATTACK ON IRAN THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN

Still, the persistent false narrative that military strikes by either the United States or Israel may follow any potential failure to reach a deal continues to be repeated in the press. Of course, the fact that any such attack would be unequivocally illegal under international law is rarely noted in these assessments.

*

The Forever Threat: The Imminent Attack on Iran That Will Never Happen

Compiled by Nima Shirazi AT

 *

“Israel has drawn up plans for a combined air and ground attack on Iranian nuclear installations if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran’s atomic program…”

- Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005

*
Last month, amid the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, accomplished lunatic Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman from Texas, took to the House floor and called for Iran to be attacked.

After insisting it is “time to cut off every dime of American money going to anyone who has any kind of relationship with Hamas or those killing in the Middle East, and especially in Israel,” Gohmert added, “It is time to bomb Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It is time for the United States, if we are not going to stop Iran’s nukes, then let Israel do it. A friend will not put another friend in this kind of jeopardy.”

Never mind that Iran has no “nukes” for anyone to “stop,” since it’s not actually making any and never has made or acquired any. Never mind that Iran has beenconsistently complying with the prescriptions of the multilateral deal agreed to last November by Iran and six world powers. Never mind that a number of recent articles in widely-read media outlets have addressed the myriad falsehoods and mythsresponsible for the past three decades of fear-mongering and propaganda about Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

Still, the persistent false narrative that military strikes by either the United States or Israel may follow any potential failure to reach a deal continues to be repeated in the press. Of course, the fact that any such attack would be unequivocally illegal under international law is rarely noted in these assessments.

Pronouncements that Iran is close to having a nuclear bomb, or close to being bombed, are ubiquitous in the media. Threats against Iran – by both the United Statesand Israel – have been made for decades, despite routine Iranian dismissal of such rhetoric as mere bluster.

The frequency of such threats – always reported with fever-pitched alacrity by a dutiful and prostrate press – is alarming.

Not only is an American or Israeli attack on Iran always just around the bend – regardless of the state of diplomacy or intelligence assessments – but the media consistently provides fantasy scenarios by which its audience can imagine, replete with maps and graphics, just how such war crimes would take place.

Over twenty years ago, a report in the Independent (UK) published on June 23, 1994 revealed that the Pentagon had inked a deal to provide Israel with advanced F-15I fighter jets, designed to “enable the Israelis to carry out strikes deep into Iraq and Iran without refuelling.”

Three years later, on December 9, 1997, a The Times of London headline screamed, “Israel steps up plans for air attacks on Iran.” The article, written by Christopher Walker, reported on the myriad “options” Israel had in confronting what it deemed “Iran’s Russian-backed missile and nuclear weapon programme.”

Such reports have been published ever since. Of course, neither the United States nor Israel will attack Iran, regardless of the success or failure of negotiations, but such reports (often the result of strategically timed “leaks” by anonymous government officials) serve to not only to intentionally torpedo diplomacy but also mislead the public  into believing the absurdly false narrative surrounding the Iranian nuclear program; that is, either Iran must be bombed or it will acquire a nuclear arsenal. This is nonsense.

Below are some of the constant headlines we’ve seen over the past dozen years promoting such propaganda. When will this madness – this pathological obsession with the false necessity of dropping bombs and the righteous inevitability of killing people – stop?

The Times of London, November 5, 2002:

AFP, October 11, 2003:

The Scotsman, November 22, 2003:

New York Daily News, November 23, 2003:

The New York Times, August 21, 2004:

Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2004:

The Jerusalem Post, January 21, 2005:

The Independent, January 27, 2005:

Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005:

Associated Press, December 4, 2005:

The Straits Times, December 17, 2005:

Associated Press, January 22, 2006:

Fox News, June 4, 2006:

The Telegraph, February 24, 2007:

Associated Press, March 21, 2007:

Newsweek, December 19, 2007:

The Daily Star (Lebanon), May 30, 2008:

USA Today, June 6, 2008:

The Telegraph, June 7, 2008:

The Age, June 9, 2008:

Fox News, June 20, 2008:

The Telegraph, June 23, 2008:


ABC News, July 1, 2008:

Ha’aretz, July 2, 2008:

AFP, July 30, 2008:

Associated Press, August 7, 2008:

CBS News, August 7, 2008:

Wired, April 2, 2009:

Salon, April 14, 2009:

The Times of London, April 18, 2009:

The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009:

The Washington Post, July 2, 2009:

CBS News, July 27, 2009:

Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2009:

Talking Points Memo, August 31, 2009:


Fox News, September 21, 2009:

Huffington Post, September 28, 2009:

Ynet, October 9, 2009:

The Washington Times, October 22, 2009:

Ha’aretz, November 6, 2009:

The New York Times, December 23, 2009:

Newsmax, April 2, 2010:


The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2010:

AFP, June 12, 2010:

TIME, July 15, 2010:

The Weekly Standard, July 26, 2010:


Christian Science Monitor, August 12, 2010:

The Spectator (UK), August 12, 2010:


Christian Science Monitor, August 13, 2010:

The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2010:

The Week, August 17, 2010:

New York Daily News, August 17, 2010:

The Atlantic, August 18, 2010:

Newsmax, September 2, 2010:

The Atlantic, November 28, 2010:

AFP, November 29, 2010:

The Australian, November 30, 2010:

The Washington Times, December 3, 2010:

The Australian, January 13, 2011:

Associated Press, May 30, 2011:

Ha’aretz, September 28, 2011:

Associated Press, November 2, 2011:

The Daily Beast, November 2, 2011:

The Guardian, November 2, 2011:

The Telegraph, November 6, 2011:

Reuters, November 9, 2011:

Arutz Sheva, November 10, 2011:


Chicago Tribune, November 13, 2011:

Arutz Sheva, December 1, 2011:

The New York Times, January 25, 2012:

Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012:

The Washington Post, February 2, 2012:

Reuters, February 3, 2012:

Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2012:

Congressional Research Service, March 27, 2012:


CNN, March 30, 2012:

Salon/GlobalPost, May 9, 2012:


The Telegraph, May 17, 2012:

CBN News, May 24, 2012:


The Blaze, July 8, 2012:

Reuters, August 10, 2012:

The Times of Israel, August 11, 2012:

The Daily Mail, August 21, 2012:

The Jewish Chronicle, August 27, 2012:

Forbes, September 30, 2012:

National Journal, October 9, 2012:


The Telegraph, October 9, 2012:

Voice of America, December 19, 2012:


The New York Times, January 26, 2013:

The Times of Israel, March 14, 2013:

Newsmax, April 13, 2013:

The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2013:

Ha’aretz, May 3, 2013:

The Times of Israel, May 9, 2013:

Al Jazeera English, July 17, 2013:

The Atlantic, August 1, 2013:


Washington Examiner
, September 18, 2013:


Gatestone Institute, October 7, 2013:

Financial Times, November 17, 2013:

CNN, November 19, 2013:

The Times of London, November 26, 2013:

Defense News, December 4, 2013:


CBS News, December 6, 2013:


ThinkProgress, January 2, 2014:

Foreign Affairs, January 7, 2014:

Ha’aretz, March 19, 2014:

Associated Press, March 21, 2014:

The National Interest, April 16, 2014:

Iran Times, May 16, 2014:


Defense News
, June 8, 2014:

Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), June 12, 2014:

The Raw Story, July 23, 2014:

 

TALK ABOUT CHUTZPAH! ~~ LOOK WHO’S BEEN SELLING ARMS TO IRAN

First, the definition …

*

And the Award goes to …

*

But first, the whitewash …

The United States was aware of the shipments “in real time,” Israel’s Channel 2 news reported, and was thus able to thwart them. The TV report added that “it has to be assumed that Israel knew too, and was updated by the United States.” Finally, the Channel 2 report suggested that this may have been some kind of sting operation against the Iranians, since “it could be that whoever did this was not acting against Israel’s interest.”
*

Israeli Arm Dealers Planned to Breach Iran Embargo

  • By Umberto Bacchi

iran fighter jet

Reuters
US and Greek authorities reportedly foiled an attempt by Israeli-based arm dealers to smuggle spare parts for fighter jets to Iran

US and Greek authorities foiled an attempt by Israeli-based arm dealers to smuggle spare parts for a fighter jet to Iran via Greece in violation of an international embargo, a newspaper has revealed.

Two separate shipments containing replacement parts and ammunition for F-4 Phantom aircraft were seized by Greek officials in December 2012 and April 2013, Kathimerini newspaper reported.

The daily said it had access to a probe carried out by the Homeland Security in the US in cooperation with the drugs and weapons unit of Greece’s Financial Crimes Squad.

According to the probe, both cargos originated from the Israeli town of Binyamina-Giv’at Ada, about 60km north of Tel Aviv.

They were shipped to Greece by courier, but investigators believe the final destination was Iran, as Tehran has a large fleet of F-4 Phantoms.

Containers loaded with spare parts for the jet fighter were received by a phoney company registered under the name Tassos Karras SA in Votanikos, near central Athens.

A contact number for the company belonged to a British national residing in Thessaloniki who could not be immediately traced, Kathimerini reported.

An Athens court ordered the seized cargo be handed to US authorities in November.

Sanctions against Iran were imposed by the US after the Islamic revolution in 1979. The embargo was later adopted by other nations and expanded in 1995. The UK has had a national arms embargo in place on Iran since March 1993.

*

Source

Related Reports …. Here and Here

*

It all boils down to …

*

And the bunk is …

DERSHOWITZ ADVISES ISRAEL TO IGNORE INTERNATIONAL LAW

Once again zionists show their contempt for humanity …

*50356_2209445185_8208_n

*
Esteemed advocate Alan Dershowitz says that Israel should ignore international law when deciding how to deal with Iran.
*
*

Dershowitz: Ignore International Law

Advocate urges Israel to act as it sees fit on Iran. International law is ‘a construct in the mind of a bunch of left wing academics.’
*
*

Esteemed advocate Alan Dershowitz says that Israel should ignore international law when deciding how to deal with Iran.

International law is “a construct in the mind of a bunch of left wing academics,” he said, in a lecture at the Institute of National Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv last week “There is no basis for international law in any reality. It’s not based on legislation. Much of it is not based on treaty. It is the ultimate exercise in elitist nondemocracy.”

Iran does not believe that its nuclear weapons program is in danger of being attacked, he estimated. It wrongly believes, he said, that Israel will not attack it unless the US gives it a green light.

The interim deal made with Iran in Geneva was “a mistake,” Dershowitz said. Iran “got what it wanted…China is already there in Tehran seeking business. Other countries are there seeking business. They see the end of the sanctions regime. The words may not be be that but the music is certainly in that direction.”

Iran has given up nothing in the deal, he explained. They are still developing rockets that can carry nuclear weapons. There has been no slowing down in the work of enrichment centrifuges, no ceasing of the Arak heavy water plant’s activity, and the Iranians see the deal as a victory.

The big difference between the US and Israel in this matter stems from the fact that the US is thousands of miles away from the Middle East, whereas for Israel, the Iranian threat is a much more serious one, said Dershowitz.

*

From my zio-crap file

 

REVELATION OF THE DAY PROVES THAT BIBI IS FULL OF BOVINE POO

Bovine-excrement-meter-animation
*
Bibi’s acting of late will definitely not be material for an Academy Award this year. He tried his best to look surprised, but apparently this failed when the Associated Press exposed what really happened. Is it possible that the ‘victim card’ was pulled out of the deck too soon this time? It certainly appears that way ….
*
NetanyahuUNspeechIranWolfSheepClothing
*
Obama advised Netanyahu of Iran talks in September
New AP report reveals long road to Geneva agreement, including number of high-level clandestine meetings by US, Iranian officials. Report claims Netanyahu knew talks, negotiations were being held before Obama-Rohani phone call*

Netanyahu’s immediate public reaction betrayed no surprise, but a day later he launched a full-frontal attack on Iran, delivering a blistering speech at the UN General Assembly in which he said the Islamic republic was bent on Israel’s destruction and accused Rohani of being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

*

The full AP report can be read HERE, a report which coincidentally was ignored by most of the zio press. So much for ‘Democracy’ in the ‘only one in the Middle East’ ;)

*

The good news is that Bibi isn’t getting the support he hoped for with his latest antics. This can be seen HERE and HERE.

*

Hopefully the so-call Iran Deal will usher in the end of the deal we know as Bibi.

BIBITOON ~~ BLOWING HIS TOP

But ready to blow up the world …..

*

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

netanyahu-iran-p51-nuclear-deal

TODAY’S TOON ~~ BIBI’S CARD GAME

‘Play the game of ‘WAR’, not PEACE!
20131116_USD000_1
*
A CRISIS is brewing in America’s relations with Israel. The American public—though strongly pro-Israel—seems either not to have noticed or not to care much.
From The Economist

PEACETOON ~~ ISRAEL WANTS WAR WITH IRAN PERIOD!!

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

*

P5+1 ~~ The latest threat to zion

netanyahu-iran-p51

*

Related

TWITTER AS A VEHICLE FOR ISRAELI ISLAMOPHOBIA

As Tweety would say …. ‘I tawt I taw an Islamophobe.’
*
tweety-A
*
This morning, the official account of the Israeli embassy in Washington tweeted this astonishingly racist image. It appears designed to tap in to common tropes of Muslims as angry, irrational anti-American mobs.
*

Israeli embassy in Washington tweets Islamophobic image

Ali Abunimah 
*

*This morning, the official account of the Israeli embassy in Washington tweeted this astonishingly racist image. It appears designed to tap in to common tropes of Muslims as angry, irrational anti-American mobs.

This is precisely the kind of image whose dominance and role in American media Edward Said traced in his classic 1981 book Covering Islam.

The context is the US-Iranian rapprochement and diplomacy that has enraged Israel and its regional allies including Saudi Arabia. Having failed to win the argument that the US should go to war against Iran over its nuclear energy program, the Israelis are turning to even cruder, more emotive propaganda than usual.

It’s ironic that Israel would hope to convince anyone that an image like this – however one interprets it – can represent the whole of Iran, when Israel always insists any negative images of Israel are exceptional and non-representative.

Written FOR

TIMELY TOON ~~ OBAMA’S ‘SHOE-IN’ AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

dilma-evo-obama-united-nations
*

Related

*

reporter_shawn_092413

IN RECORD TIME THE ZIONISTS FIND A WAY TO DEMONISE IRAN’S NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Demonizing+Islam (1)
*
It took less than a week to ‘uncover’ this, but the zionists claim to have found the first incident to discredit Iran’s newly elected President. The Jewish Press in Israel has the ‘story’ on their headlines Here and Here…. They came up with this tale in record time. The source cited is a ‘US Paper’ which claims that  Iran’s president-elect was on special government committee that plotted 1994 bombing of Jewish community center that killed 85 people.
*
Just who is the source? In their own words from ‘About Us’ The Washington Free Beacon, a project of the 501(c)4 Center for American Freedom, is a nonprofit online newspaper that began publication on February 7, 2012. Dedicated to uncovering the stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day, the Free Beacon produces in-depth and investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media criticism. Whether it’s exposing cronyism, dissecting the relationship between the progressive movement and the mainstream media, finding out just who is shaping our domestic and foreign policy and why, or highlighting the threats to American security and peace in a dangerous world, the Free Beacon  is committed to serving the public interest by reporting news and information that currently is not being fully covered by other news organizations.
*
C’mon guys …. surely you can use a reliable source for your misinformation. As a proud segment of ‘the professional left’, DesertPeace takes pride that our reports are not fabricated and definitely do not serve the interests of zionism.
*
The ‘report’ can be found HERE ….
*

New Iranian President Tied to 1994 Bombing

85 were killed in bombing of Argentinian Jewish Center
Be sure to see THIS related post.

IRAN’S NEW PRESIDENT ~~ ISRAEL’S NEW DEVIL

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Demonizing+Islam (1)
*
Indeed, the Israeli response was swift and expected. After years of insisting the Iranian President could single-handedly authorize a second Holocaust, Israel’s demagogue Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved quickly to keep the hysteria high. “Let us not delude ourselves,” he said in a press conference on Sunday. “The international community must not become caught up in wishes and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program.” Netanyahu also noted that the Iranian president wields no real power in Iran, a concept unmentioned throughout the Ahmadinejad era. “It’s the same Iran,” an Israeli government statement read.
 
Looking For ‘A New Devil’:
Israeli Leaders & Supporters Scramble After Iran Election

Nima Shirazi

*

*
Hassan Rouhani’s unexpected victory in this weekend’s Iranian election has sent Israeli hasbara into a tailspin. The desire for an Iranian bogeyman is so intense in the warmongering mainstream of Israeli and neoconservative discourse that any attempt to mask their pre-election desires and post-election frustration has been futile. Their entire game plan has been on display — every Iranian leader is a New Hitler and every New Hitler must be stopped. The whole point is to stave off any possible reconciliation or even minor deflation of tensions between Iran and the West, namely the United States, so as to maintain permanent Israeli hegemony over the region and American largesse and diplomatic cover. A thaw after thirty-four years in the US-Iran standoff is scarier to Israeli leaders than all the unborn Palestinian babies under occupation. At least they’re already under Israeli control; the Islamic Republic of Iran never has been.

Daniel Pipes, that loathsome Likudnik, is at least clear about his hopes for the Iranian future. It lies not in the aspirations of the Iranian people, but in the smoldering ruins of a joint US-Israeli airstrike. Without a cartoonish scapegoat like the one the Western media made out of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad through their mistranslations and misinformation, Iran might not look so bombable. So Pipes – and the rest of his despicable ilk – wished mightily for the conservative Saeed Jalili to win Friday’s vote, or rather, using the well-established narrative, that Jalili would be selected as the winner by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

more moderate Iranian president, the neocons know, might signal a change in diplomatic dynamics and open the door to a less combative and punitive negotiating stance from the West. Rouhani, especially, with his history as a nuclear negotiator and Master’s and doctorate degrees from a Scottish university, is an existential threat to well-worn Israeli propaganda of Iranian recalcitrance and obstinacy.

It was on Rouhani’s watch that Iran voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment in 2003 and accepted intrusive inspections above and beyond what was legally required by its safeguards agreement for two years, during which the IAEA affirmed the peaceful nature of the program. It was only after Iran’s European negotiating partners, at the behest of the Americans, reneged on their promise to offer substantive commitments and respect Iran’s inalienable right to a domestic nuclear infrastructure that Iran resumed enrichment.

The turnout for the vote – a whopping 72%, forecast accurately by pre-election polling – signals another chink in the armor of conventional hasbara. Iranians, by and large, have faith that their voices matter and that change – or consistency – and progress can be achieved through the ballot box and by collective engagement within their nation’s political environment. No, this doesn’t mean, of course, that everyone who voted on Friday is a supporter of the Islamic Republic as it is constituted today. But it shows that the Iranian public is in no way looking to the skies for a savior in the form of an F-16 and is confident that change will only come from within Iran – by Iranians, for Iranians – not forced or foisted upon them by crippling sanctions or foreign troops.

Two days before the election, in an unprecedented and masterfully strategic move – Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech, “My first recommendation is for an enthusiastic presence at the ballot box. It’s possible that an individual for some reason may not want to support the Islamic system, but he wants to support his country. Everyone must come out and vote.”

He added, “A maximum turnout at the ballot box is more important than anything else for the country. And the nation with a powerful action on Friday will prove its firm relationship and connection with the Islamic system and will once again make the enemy unfulfilled and hopeless,” concluding that, “No one knows the divine fate of the nation on Friday; however, the more votes the elected individual . . . receives, the more strength he has to stand against the nation’s enemy and defend the country’s interests.”

The Iranian electorate didn’t heed Khamenei’s words. Rather, Khamenei merely gave voice to how most Iranians already felt. The Iranian political system, founded far more on resistance to foreign domination than on religious fundamentalism, is of great pride to most Iranians, regardless of their particular feelings about the legitimacy or potential longevity of a theocratic republic.

The massive turnout undermined Western prognostications of both Iranian disillusionment and disinterest; the election itself, the first one administered by a new, independent election committee, was proof that Iranians and Iran itself will continue to shirk the easy categorization and absurd stereotypes ubiquitous in our own media and politics. After all, the centrist Rouhani, a long-time member of the highest echelons of the Iranian establishment whose candidacy was backed by two former presidents, was the only cleric in the race.

The same day Iranians took to the polls, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was in Washington D.C., delivering a speech at the AIPAC-affiliated Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ha’aretz journalist Barak Ravid reported,

The head of the Israeli defense establishment declared – without any reservations – that nothing will change as a result of the Iranian election and that, in any event, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will decide on the country’s next president. 

It did not take long for the depth of Ya’alon’s embarrassment of himself, and of those on whose behalf he flew to Washington, became clear. At best, Ya’alon’s remarks reflected a serious error in judgment on the part of Israeli intelligence and provided additional proof of the limitations of Military Intelligence and the Mossad in predicting internal political shifts in Iran and in Arab states. At worst, his words reflected arrogance, prejudice and shooting from the hip of the very worst kind. 

But how can we complain about Ya’alon, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in Poland on Wednesdsay that Iran’s “so-called” election will not bring about any meaningful change. Netanyahu’s and Ya’alon’s Pavlovian responses, as well as the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday night, reflect the overall approach of the Likud government which rejects all change, exaggerates the threats, plays down the opportunities and sanctifies the status quo. 

The only thing missing was for Netanyahu and Ya’alon to call for extending the term of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as in the case of Egypt and former President Hosni Mubarak.

Indeed, the Israeli response was swift and expected. After years of insisting the Iranian President could single-handedly authorize a second Holocaust, Israel’s demagogue Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved quickly to keep the hysteria high. “Let us not delude ourselves,” he said in a press conference on Sunday. “The international community must not become caught up in wishes and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program.” Netanyahu also noted that the Iranian president wields no real power in Iran, a concept unmentioned throughout the Ahmadinejad era. “It’s the same Iran,” an Israeli government statement read.

Meanwhile, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio on Sunday that, even though “the results are a credit to the Iranian people,” there would be no “change” in the Iranian nuclear program. As such, he said, sanctions against Iran “must continue, regardless of the desire of the Iranian people for progress,” since, after all, Iran is the new Nazi Germany and “only a year or less away from the nuclear red line.” Of course, according to Israeli estimates, Iran has been only a year away from this mysterious “red line” for a decade now and Steinitz has recently deemed the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran to be “equal to 30 nuclear North Koreas,” insisting that “if Iran gets the first few bombs, in a decade or so they will have 100 nuclear bombs.”

Back in September 2005, just a month into Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s first term and before the new Iranian president uttered a mistranslated word about Israel and maps, Steinitz was making identical comments.

“Despite all the different circumstances, we see similarities to what happened in the 1930s, when people underestimated the real problem or focused on other dangers. For us, either the world will tackle Iran in advance or all of us will face the consequences,” Steinitz, then-chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said during a trip to Washington. “Threats of sanctions and isolation alone will not do it.”

Indeed, for Israel, it’s always “the same Iran.”

Israeli politicians and pundits alike have been frustrated by Rouhani’s victory. Deputy Defense Minister Gilad Erdan “feared Rowhani’s win, and his reputation as a centrist and reformer, might lead the West to give Iran more leeway in diplomatic contacts over its rogue nuclear drive,” while Yedioth Ahronoth‘s diplomatic affairs reporter Itamar Eichner noted that Israel now worries it will have difficulty convincing the United States to support a military attack.

Not all Israelis, however, reacted the same way. Shimon Peres, for instance, welcomed the “good news.”

Knesset minister Zahava Gal-on of Meretz issued a statement reading, “I extend my sympathy to the Israeli government that, with heavy heart and head hung low, must bid farewell to Ahmadinejad, who served as propaganda card and as an excellent source of excuses to avoid dealing with Israel’s real problems.”

“Where will the prime minister turn to now, when someone asks him about the Palestinian conflict?,” she wondered. “What about the out-of-control budget deficit for which he was responsible?… What about the racism that exists within Israeli society?… What will he do?”

Gal-on’s statement added, “I fear that the election of the moderate Rowhani is not just a blow to the extremists in Tehran, but also to the extremist leadership in Israel, which will now have to replace intimidation with actions.”

Similarly, following the official election results, Yedioth commentator Yigal Sarna penned a piece entitled, “A New Devil,” in which he satirically lamented, “Oh Hassan Rouhani, you moderate, who invited you? What did you have to come for? What are we going to do without the scarecrow, the fanatic Ahmadinejad?” He continued,

What will we do without our Persian Hitler? What will Bibi draw at the UN? At whom will (Defense Minister Yaalon) storm and to whom will he send our smart bombs and how will Bibi distract people from the plundering here? How will we continue to talk about being the ‘villa in the jungle’ when the villa is filled with jungle and the jungle is filled with protest? What are we going to wave away when Danny Danons shake off every peace plan and lead us to international isolation?

“We need to return to the reality and quickly find a new devil,” Sarna concluded.

And we will. Because we need to.

In fact, AIPAC operatives and acolytesregime change enthusiastsBeltway hacks, and Israeli commentators have wasted no time at all.

*****
Originally posted at Mondoweiss.
*****
Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, Wide Asleep in America. He tweets @WideAsleepNima.

ISRAEL AND AMERICA’S LATEST THREAT TO WORLD PEACE

Seeking to appease his Israeli hosts, Hagel said maintaining Israeli military superiority was a top priority for the Obama administration. “President Obama has made not only maintaining but improving Israel’s military qualitative edge a top priority,” he said.
*

New US-Israel arms deal a threat to peace

 

 

The latest arms deal between Washington and Tel Aviv not only puts Tehran in the crosshairs, but will also underline Israeli intransigence on Palestine, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
*

 

New US-Israel arms deal  a threat  to peace
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem (photo: Reuters)
*

A new major US arms deal with Israel is intended to further enhance the Hebrew state’s ability to strike Iran, even without direct American operational involvement. The multi-billion dollar package include anti-radiation missiles designed to take out enemy air defences, new sophisticated radar for fighter jets, KC135 aerial refuelling tankers and Osprey V-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft.

The deal, however, will not include laser-guided bunker-buster bombs, according to The New York Times.

The deal was announced this week during the visit of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Israel. Hagel reassured Israeli officials of America’s traditional commitment to Israel’s security and to maintaining its qualitative military edge over all its neighbours.

The KC135 tankers are reportedly capable of being used in long-range operations by Israel against Iran. The sale of the V-22’s would also mark the first time the aircraft have been released to any country outside the United States. The deal will be implemented in several months.

Seeking to appease his Israeli hosts, Hagel said maintaining Israeli military superiority was a top priority for the Obama administration. “President Obama has made not only maintaining but improving Israel’s military qualitative edge a top priority,” he said.

Hagel reiterated earlier statements concerning Iran, saying that all options for dealing with that country were on the table. The American official also said his country would continue to help Israel develop the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.

According to intelligence reports published by the Israeli media, the Iron Dome performed “much worse than expected” during last year’s brief war between Hamas and Israel. Israeli officials claimed then that the costly defence system scored an 80 per cent success rate, a claim strongly contested by the Hebrew media.

It is widely believed the continued funding by the US of further research pertaining to the anti-missile system vindicates reports about its dismal performance.

The additional military aggrandisement is expected to further enforce the arguments of those in Israel who advocate striking Iran’s nuclear facilities unilaterally, ie without cooperation and coordination with the US.

Following talks with Hagel, Israel’s War Minister Moshe Yaalon, was quoted as saying: “One way or another, Iran’s nuclear programme will be stopped.”

Yaalon is no stranger to war given his role in murdering and maiming thousands of Palestinian civilians when he was chief of staff of the Israeli army in the mid-1950s.

Hagel’s visit to Israel is the first leg of a tour that will also take him to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both Saudi Arabia and the Emirates will also sign arms deal with Washington. Washington has always sought to promote Arab-Iranian contradictions at the expense of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

According to informed Israeli sources, the weapons these two countries will purchase from Washington will be of an inferior quality in comparison to those sold to Israel. Moreover, Washington will see to it that both countries will not try to transfer these weapons to a third country, especially one hostile to Israel.

 

FULL-FLEDGED ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN: It is uncertain if the highlighted American-Israeli alliance against Iran will be brought to fruition by carrying out an Israeli or joint-Israeli-American strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Some commentators in Israel contend that US reluctance to supply the Hebrew state with more strategic weapons, such the bunker-buster bombs, may indicate that the US is trying to pacify Israel, and to convince Tel Aviv to give diplomatic efforts a chance to succeed.

However, one of the main goals — if not the main goal — of the current Israeli government is “to neutralise the Iranian danger”.

Israel, which possesses a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, along with their delivery systems, doesn’t face a real existential threat from Iran. This means that the hyperbolic and often phobic language used by Israeli officials and leaders to highlight the “Iranian danger” is intended largely to maintain the Israeli state’s military supremacy and hegemony in the region.

Moreover, it is widely believed that if Iran were to be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, this would trigger a nuclear arms race involving countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. One Saudi official was quoted as saying in a press interview several months ago that “if Iran got the bomb, we would get it a few weeks afterwards.”

Thus, if this nightmarish scenario found its way to reality, Israel would then face not one Iran but many, as the possession of a nuclear deterrence by Arab countries would change the rules of the game of politics in the region to Israel’s disadvantage.

Earlier this month, the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin, said that while an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would only delay Iran’s nuclear capability, “this delay could be important because we may have a regime change”.

Yadlin added: “Israel has defined what the trigger is, what the red line is. Iran is already there.”

Nonetheless, most observers and experts doubt whether regime change in Iran would lead to a degradation let alone disappearance of the country’s nuclear programme. Other pundits argue that Iran’s nuclear programme has already reached the point of no return.

A final point: It is very likely that the new arms deal will further embolden Israel with regards to the Palestinian issue.

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be dead within two years if action were not taken now.

“I believe the window of the two-state solution is shutting,” Kerry told the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. “I think we have some period of time, a year, a year-and-a-half. Or two years, or it is over.”

Past experience has proven that the aggrandisement of Israeli military might at the expense of Arab and Muslim countries in the region makes Israel more intransigent, and much less prone to make peace.

 

Written FOR

 

FIRST LADY OF THE OSCARS

Michelle Obama presents best picture Oscar to ‘Argo’

*

As seen by Carlos Latuff ….
*
michele-obama-oscar-iran (1)
*
Full report HERE
*

Argo’s Oscar and the failure of truth
 Nima Shirazi

One year ago, after his breathtakingly beautiful Iranian drama, A Separation, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, writer/director Asghar Farhadi delivered the best acceptance speech of the night.

“[A]t the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians,” he said, Iran was finally being honored for “her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.” Farhadi dedicated the Oscar “to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”

Such grace and eloquence will surely not be on display this Sunday, when Ben Affleck, flanked by his co-producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, takes home the evening’s top prize, the Best Picture Oscar, for his critically-acclaimed and heavily decorated paean to the CIA and American innocence, Argo.

Over the past 12 months, rarely a week – let alone month – went by without new predictions of an ever-imminent Iranian nuclear weapon and ever-looming threats of an American or Israeli military attack. Come October 2012, into the fray marched Argo, a decontextualized, ahistorical “true story” of Orientalist proportion, subjecting audiences to two hours of American victimization and bearded barbarians, culminating in popped champagne corks and rippling stars-and-stripes celepating our heroism and triumph and their frustration and defeat.

Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir aptly described the film as “a propaganda fable,” explaining asothershave that essentially none of its edge-of-your-seat thrills or most memorable moments ever happened. O’Hehir sums up:

The Americans never resisted the idea of playing a film crew, which is the source of much agitation in the movie. (In fact, the “house guests” chose that cover story themselves, from a group of three options the CIA had prepared.) They were not almost lynched by a mob of crazy Iranians in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, because they never went there. There was no last-minute cancellation, and then un-cancellation, of the group’s tickets by the Carter administration. (The wife of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor had personally gone to the airport and purchased tickets ahead of time, for three different outbound flights.) The group underwent no interrogation at the airport about their imaginary movie, nor were they detained at the gate while a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard telephoned their phony office back in Burbank. There was no last-second chase on the runway of Mehrabad Airport, with wild-eyed, bearded militants with Kalashnikovs trying to shoot out the tires of a Swissair jet.

One of the actual hostages, Mark Lijek, noted that the CIA’s fake movie “cover story was never tested and in some ways proved irrelevant to the escape.” The departure of the six Americans from Tehran was actually mundane and uneventful.  “If asked, we were going to say we were leaving Iran to return when it was safer,” Lijek recalled, “But no one ever asked!…The truth is the immigration officers barely looked at us and we were processed out in the regular way. We got on the flight to Zurich and then we were taken to the US ambassador’s residence in Berne. It was that straightforward.”

Furthermore, Jimmy Carter has even acknowledged that “90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian [while] the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA…Ben Affleck’s character in the film was only in Tehran a day and a half and the real hero in my opinion was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process.”

Taylor himself recently remarked that “Argo” provides a myopic representation of both Iranians and their revolution, ignoring their “more hospitable side and an intent that they were looking for some degree of justice and hope and that it all wasn’t just a violent demonstration for nothing.”

“The amusing side, Taylor said, “is the script writer in Hollywood had no idea what he’s talking about.”

O’Hehir perfectly articulates the film’s true crime, its deliberate exploitation of “its basis in history and its mode of detailed realism to create something that is entirely mythological.” Not only is it “a trite cavalcade of action-movie clichés and expository dialogue,” but “[i]t’s also a propaganda movie in the truest sense, one that claims to be innocent of all ideology.”

Such an assessment is confirmed by Ben Affleck’s own comments about the film. In describing Argo to Bill O’Reilly, Affleck boasted, “You know, it was such a great story. For one thing, it’s a thriller. It’s actually comedy with the Hollywood satire. It’s a complicated CIA movie, it’s a political movie. And it’s all true.”  He told Rolling Stone that, when conceiving his directorial approach, he knew he “absolutely had to preserve the central integrity and truth of the story.” “It’s OK to embellish, it’s OK to compress, as long as you don’t fundamentally change the nature of the story and of what happened,” Affleck has remarked, even going so far as to tell reporters at Argo‘s BFI London Film Festival premier, “This movie is about this story that took place, and it’s true, and I go to pains to contextualize it and to try to be even-handed in a way that just means we’re taking a cold, hard look at the facts.” In an interview with The Huffington Post, Affleck went so far as to say, “I tried to make a movie that is absolutely just factual. And that’s another reason why I tried to be as true to the story as possible — because I didn’t want it to be used by either side. I didn’t want it to be politicized internationally or domestically in a partisan way. I just wanted to tell a story that was about the facts as I understood them.”
For Affleck, these facts apparently don’t include understanding why the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun and occupied on November 4, 1979.  “There was no rhyme or reason to this action,” Affleck has insisted, claiming that the takeover “wasn’t about us,” that is, the American government (despite the fact that his own film is introduced by a fleeting – though frequently inaccurate [1] – review of American complicity in the Shah’s dictatorship). Wrong, Ben.  One reason was the fear of another CIA-engineered coup d’etat like the one perpetrated in 1953 from the very same Embassy. Another reason was the admission of the deposed Shah into the United States for medical treatment and asylum rather than extradition to Iran to face charge and trial for his quarter century of crimes against the Iranian people, bankrolled and supported by the U.S. government.  One doesn’t have to agree with the reasons, of course, but they certainly existed. Just as George H.W. Bush once bellowed after a U.S. Navy warship blew an Iranian passenger airliner out of the sky over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 Iranian civilians, “I’ll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”  Affleck appears inclined to agree.
If nothing else, Argo is an exercise in American exceptionalism – perhaps the most dangerous fiction that permeates our entire society and sense of identity.  It reinvents history in order to mine a tale of triumph from an unmitigated defeat.  The hostage crisis, which lasted 444 days and destroyed an American presidency, was a failure and an embarrassment for Americans.  The United States government and media has spent the last three decades tirelessly exacting revenge on Iran for what happened. Argo recasts revolutionary Iranians as the hapless victims of American cunning and deception.  White Americans are hunted, harried and, ultimately courageous and free.  Iranians are maniacal, menacing and, in the end, infantile and foolish.  The fanatical fundamentalists fail while America wins. USA -1, Iran – 0. 
Yet, Argo obscures the unfortunate truth that, as those six diplomats were boarding a plane bound for Switzerland on January 28, 1980, their 52 compatriots would have to wait an entire year before making it home, not as the result of a daring rescue attempt, but after a diplomatic agreement was reached. Reflecting on the most troubled episodes in American history is a time-honored cinematic tradition. There’s a reason why the best Vietnam movies are full of pain, anger, anguish and war crimes.  By contrast, Argo is American catharsis porn; pure Hollywood hubris.  It is pro-American propaganda devoid of introspection, pathos or humility and meant to assuage our hurt feelings.  In Argo, no lessons are learned by revisiting the consequences of America’s support for the Pahlavi monarchy or its creation and training of SAVAK, the Shah’s vicious secret police. On June 11, 1979, months before the hostage crisis began, the New York Times published an article by writer and historian A.J. Langguth which recounted revelations relayed by a former American intelligence official regarding the CIA’s close relationship with SAVAK.  The agency had “sent an operative to teach interrogation methods to SAVAK” including “instructions in torture, and the techniques were copied from the Nazis.”  Langguth wrestled with the news, trying to figure out why this had not been widely reported in the media.  He came to the following conclusion:

We – and I mean we as Americans – don’t believe it. We can read the accusations, even examine the evidence and find it irrefutable. But, in our hearts, we cannot believe that Americans have gone apoad to spread the use of torture. We can believe that public officials with reputations for pilliance can be arrogant, blind or stupid. Anything but evil. And when the cumulative proof becomes overwhelming that our representatives in the C.I.A. or the Agency for International Development police program did in fact teach torture, we excuse ourselves by vilifying the individual men.

Similarly, at a time when the CIA is waging an illegal, immoral, unregulated and alwaysexpanding drone execution program, the previous administration’s CIAkidnappersandtorturers are protected from prosecution by the currentadministration, and leaked State Department cables reveal orders for U.S. diplomats to spy on United Nations officials, it is surreal that such homage is being paid to that very same organization by the so-called liberals of the Tinsel Town elite.

Upon winning his Best Director Golden Globe last month, Ben Affleck obsequiously praised the “clandestine service as well as the foreign service that is making sacrifices on behalf of the American people everyday [and] our troops serving over seas, I want to thank them very much,” a statement echoed almost identically by co-producer Grant Heslov when Argo later won Best Drama.

This comes as no surprise, considering Affleck had previously described Argo as “a tribute” to the “extraordinary, honorable people at the CIA” during an interview on Fox News.

The relationship between Hollywood and the military and intelligence arms of the U.S. government have long been cozy. “When the CIA or the Pentagon says, ‘We’ll help you, if you play ball with us,’ that’s favoring one form of speech over another. It becomes propaganda,” David Robb, author of Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies told The Los Angeles Times. “The danger for filmmakers is that their product — entertainment and information — ends up being government spin.”

Awarding Argo the Best Picture Oscar is like Barack Obama winning a Nobel Peace Prize: an undeserved accolade fawningly bestowed upon a dubious recipient based on a transparent fiction; an award for what never was and never would be and a decision so willfully naïve and grotesque it discredits whatever relevance and prestige the proceedings might still have had.*

So this Sunday night, when Argo has won that coveted golden statuette, it will be clear that we have yet again been blinded by the heavy dust of politics and our American mantra of hostility and resentment will continue to inform our decisions, dragging us closer and closer to the abyss.

***** ***** *****

* Yes, in this analogy, the equivalent of Henry Kissinger is obviously 2004’s dismal “Crash.”

*****

1 The introduction of Argo is a dazzingly sloppy few minutes of caricatured history of Iran, full of Orientalist images of violent ancient Persians (harems and all), which gets many basic facts wrong. In fact, it is shocking this intro made it to release as written and recorded.

Here are some of the problems:

1. The voice over narration says, “In 1950, the people of Iran elected Mohammad Mossadegh, the secular democrat, Prime Minister. He nationalized pitish and U.S. petroleum holdings, returning Iran’s oil to its people.”

Mossadegh was elected to the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) in 1944. He did not become Prime Minister until April 1951 and was not “elected by the people of Iran.” Rather, he was appointed to the position by the representatives of the Majlis.

Also, the United States did not have petroleum interests in Iran at the time.

2. After piefly describing the 1953 coup, the narrator says Britain and the United States “installed Reza Pahlavi as Shah.”

Wow. First, the Shah’s name was not Reza Pahlavi. That is his father’s (and son’s) name. Furthermore, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was not installed as Shah since had already been Shah of Iran since September 1941, after pitain and the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Iran and forced the abdication of his father, Reza Shah Pahlavi.

During the coup in 1953, the Shah fled to Baghdad, then Rome. After Mossadegh had been forced out, the Shah returned to the Peacock Throne.

This is not difficult information to come by, and yet the screenwriter and director of Argo didn’t bother looking it up. And guess what? Ben Affleck actually majored in Middle East Studies in college. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t graduate.

The rest of the brief intro, while mentioning the torture of SAVAK, glosses over the causes of the revolution, but lingers on the violence that followed.  As it ends, the words “Based on a True Story” appear on the screen. The first live action moment we see in Argo is of an American flag being burned.

Such is Affleck’s insistence that Argo is “not a political movie.”

Still, as Kevin B. Lee wrote in Slate last month, “This opening may very well be the reason why critics have given the film credit for being insightful and progressive—because nothing that follows comes close, and the rest of the movie actually undoes what this opening achieves.”

 He continues, 

Instead of keeping its eye on the big picture of revolutionary Iran, the film settles into a retrograde “white Americans in peril” storyline. It recasts those oppressed Iranians as a raging, zombie-like horde, the same dark-faced demons from countless other movies— still a surefire dramatic device for instilling fear in an American audience. After the opening makes a big fuss about how Iranians were victimized for decades, the film marginalizes them from their own story, shunting them into the role of villains. Yet this irony is overshadowed by a larger one: The heroes of the film, the CIA, helped create this mess in the first place. And their triumph is executed through one more ruse at the expense of the ever-dupable Iranians to cap off three decades of deception and manipulation.

And brilliantly concludes,

Looking at the runaway success of this film, it seems as if critics and audiences alike lack the historical knowledge to recognize a self-serving perversion of an unflattering past, or the cultural acumen to see the utterly ersatz nature of the enterprise: A cast of stock characters and situations, and a series of increasingly contrived narrow escapes from third world mobs who, predictably, are never quite smart enough to catch up with the Americans. We can delight all we like in this cinematic recycling act, but the fact remains that we are no longer living in a world where we can get away with films like this—not if we want to be in a position to deal with a world that is rising to meet us. The movies we endorse need to rise to the occasion of reflecting a new global reality, using a newer set of storytelling tools than this reheated excuse for a historical geopolitical thriller.
 *
This post originally appeared on Nima Shirazi’s website Wide Asleep in America on Saturday, Febuary 23, 2013 (i.e. the day before the Academy Awards)

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,195 other followers