Senate Iran-- now discussing a lessening of sanctions and continued negotiation

Discussion in 'Community' started by KnightWriter, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Iranian Islamic Revolution orchestrated by...

    ... a naive Jimmy Carter?


    What do you make of this guy? He claims he has the sources to back up his claims. Is he lying? One hopes so, but would Fox interview him if there was no weight behind his claims? ...scratch that... :p Supposing he is telling the truth, is it possible that even this guy is misjudging Carter and CIA's motives, and that the real reason behind this alleged funding of Khomeini was done simply to destabilize and weaken Iran? The revolution could easily have led to ethnic groups clashing and causing a Balkanization of Iran. Was that the plan, among other perhaps anticipated outtcomes?

    1) Was Carter and the CIA orchestrating it?
    2) Supposing 1) is true, was it because of Carter's naivety and hope for a Gandhi-like figure, or was it actually for a more insidious reason?
  2. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Going to attempt to revive this board, in light of some current events...

    So Ahmadinejad addressed the UN General Assembly yesterday and, quite frankly, I find it astounding that so many people walked out on him (not that this is unusual). Surely there is something to be learned, through the craziness?

    Anyway- the Iranian 'threat' is among the last ones from which Israel can probably still claim any reasonable fear... but my question is: Is there any real threat there? (A semi-related article from the Daily Beast regarding apparent US provision of technology to Israel specifically for such uses as attacking Iranian nuclear sites)

    No one is denying that Ahmadinejad is a racist bigot lunatic who not only denies Israel the right to exist but who also denies that the Holocaust happened. But even IF Iran had nuclear weapons, would he be lunatic enough to use them? More importantly, perhaps, would Khamenei let him? Those two have had their share of strife recently.

    Some other points for consideration:

    -If another country (besides Israel) in the middle east/SW Asia/N. Africa had nuclear weapons- would Israel be more inclined to find a faster solution to the Palestinian dilemma- a solution that would at least gain them recognition from some other regional states, several of whom have NO love for Iran?
    (the question in turn being, of course, what effect such a thing might have on the resolve of Hamas and Hizbollah, whether they would be more inclined to strike at Israel if Israel doesn't have a monopoly on nuclear power in the region)

    -Is Iran seriously trying to build nuclear weapons or, as they claim officially, are they just trying to enrich uranium enough for energy purposes, not for weaponry?

    -What happens in 2013 when a new president is elected? We saw in 2009 the uprising of the young and the reformers- INCLUDING, it is well worth noting, Iran's last president, Khatami, and president before him, Rafsanjani. There was a fierce but brief revival of the 'Green Movement' earlier this year as Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen were dealing with their initial protests, etc. Is it strong enough to see a moderate reformer as the next president? Will Khamenei step back a bit after eight years of Ahmadinejad's extremeness?


  3. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have had a falling out, because Ahmadinejad has turned out too moderate and independend-minded for Khamenei. I have no idea what the near-term future holds for Iran.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Going back abit, to the "Carter is the Sith Lord we've been looking for!" post-if marginalizing Iran was the goal with the revolution, it has certainly happened. First, there was the Iran-Iraq War, with a death toll for Iran in the millions; then embargoes from the 1990s on that have largely wrecked the Iranian economy; their presidents are either viewed by the world community as ineffectual or psychotic. None of the other nations in the region are their allies; indeed, the GCC views Iran as the threat, and so do Iraq and Israel. Their relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan are frosty as well (Iran's nuclear ambitions possibly have more to do with Pakistani nukes than Israeli ones) and they have endless domestic turmoil that blazes into borderline revolution every few years. The world seems to view them as just shy of North Korea-an annoying menace with potentially dangerous ambitions.
  5. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2003
    star 3
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    That's got to be the most biased op-ed I've read in awhile; dissolves into an angry rant pretty quickly.

    Not sure why he included Bosnia & Libya with Iraq & Afghanistan, given that Bosnia was the first real war won exclusively by open-ROE use of airpower. The troops followed after all sides surrendered.

    I'd consider the sanctions designed to wreck the CBI to be a much more likely and useful action; the sanction program on Iran combined with the Iranian President's constant monster-shouting about how the Cancer Man is out to get Iran has led to Iran's economy crumbling to bits and severe internal unrest combined with international isolation and a region arrayed with countries that (besides Syria, which is no condition to help anyone) that view Iran as the enemy. Basically, there's no reason to go to war because Iran has already lost.

    Sanctions, when applied correctly, are a wonderful weapon; they destroy your enemy's capacity to fight in a way that actually turns his people against him.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Does someone want to list out all the cases of sanctions applied successfully? South Africa? Libya?

    Mitt "I will not let Iran get nuclear weapons" Romney has joined the conversation. You go, Mr. hardliner. Don't be deterred by the last two administrations' inability to solve the problem.

    The one thing that hasn't yet been tried with Iran is a military strike. One of the reasons it hasn't been tried is that almost no one, not Europe, not Russia, not China, would go along with it.

    Nor is it clear that such a strike or series of strikes could be successful without an even riskier deeper commitment to invasion, occupation, regime change. We've been down that road before.

    The cost-benefit analysis never seems to come out right, and I doubt it changes when Iran actually has the nukes and a way to lob them at Pakistan or Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is already all nuked up, so I see a lot of Iranian nukes, if they ever can built "a lot", being pointed in that direction. That will be interesting for Pakistan, having nukes pointed at it from the west and the east.

    We care about Iran getting nukes, but we don't care to the point of yet another U.S.-led war in the region. Sanctions give everyone a sense that something is being done to paper over the frustration about not being able to do anything.
  8. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    There are reasons to attack Iran, but stopping them from getting nuclear weapons (which I'm still not 100% sold on) is not one of them. The Iranian nuclear program will continue no matter who's in charge of the country. What I'm worried about is their destablilizing influence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. As well as the abuses of their own people.

    Sanctions only work on an economy that's already interdependent with the global economy. The United States has been trying to isolate the Iranians since 1979, so while our sanctions are hurting them, they're not lethal. The ultimate answer to Iran might be how Nixon dealt with China... opening up the isolated country into the world, transforming itself in order to integrate itself with the rest of the world. But that's not politically possible right now.

    The best way to weaken Iran right now is to break their alliance with Syria. Iran funnels money, weapons, and other support to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syria. Assad's regime is severely threatened, he has broken his promise with the Arab League like it was nothing, and continues to kill its own people. Syrian military are still rebelling. The Syrian people are beinnining to ask for intervention, and the Arab League must be angry that Assad has broken their agreement. The best way to weaken to weaken Iran's fundamentalists right now, and the only politically acceptable option, is to aid the Syrian protestors.

    Maybe all the recent pressure on Iran is just to prevent them from openly supporting Syria, if NATO and the Arab League choose to go in there.
  9. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2003
    star 3
    That's got to be the most biased op-ed I've read in awhile; dissolves into an angry rant pretty quickly.

    Hence the word op before ed.
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Hey, if you're going to be saying your opinion, you should at least attempt to come off as non-foaming at the mouth. Hence the word "ed" in there.
  11. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    It's definitely one-sided and over-simplified, treating shady prediction as fact - but that last sentence is not bad.

    British friends of America can see all the signs of another country in the throes of "losing an empire and not finding a role", of a paranoid nervous breakdown. Britain has been there before. It should never go back. It has been warned.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Except that even that is an oversimplification. Britain's trap was that literally nobody in a position of power could legitimately imagine England not being in charge with a capital C. England's power was based on domination of colonies; prior to GWB this was never the case with the USA's "empire". The current administration has done a splendid job of resetting the USA's relationship from overbearing hyperpower to our more traditional leading-partner role. Yes we were and are the most powerful member country in any international organization (especially NATO) but we didn't drag NATO along on our unilateral adventures anywhere, or force them to follow our party line (see: cruise missiles in the 1980s, withdrawal of France from the organization in the 1960s, occupation of Vietnam and Korea, etc.) The current US power structure is based on alliances, not colonies, and that is where the UK-USA comparison hits a wall because the two will never be the same.
  13. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    "Cold War" with Iran heats up across Mideast

    The collision of the Arab spring with a Shi'ite Sunni cold war makes for fun reading. Iran vs. the Arab world. There could not be I believe a clearer statement of why Iran craves nuclear weapons. They are an isolated, beleaguered state swimming in a regional ocean of enemies. The U.S. in some ways is the very least of their problems. Their oil exports make them economically resistant to the West, but nuclear weapons will make them strategically invulnerable to local enemies.

    Sanctions are solely about appeasing the factions that want something done about Iran, to ward off politically infeasible military action. All the covert efforts are just delay tactics too. Their ultimate effect will only be the dramatic improvement of Iran's counterintelligence efforts. As I have been arguing for more than half a decade: Iranian nukes are a done deal. We are going to have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran just as we have learned to live warily with a nuclear Pakistan and a nuclear North Korea.
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Iran wouldn't have any enemies in the first place if they didn't pick a fight with Israel (which never did anything to them before 2004-ish), and if they didn't try building a nuclear program while knowing full well what sort of message this sends to the world. In short if they had just behaved like any other nation-state, nobody would've bothered them.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The question is: why are the Iranians pursuing nuclear weapons technology?

    I don't think

    "because it's a rogue state"
    "because they're crazy"
    "because they hate Israel"

    are adequate answers.

    They're doing it to promote the survival of the regime. And not perhaps primarily from a military point of view. They're pursuing nukes to pave a path for themselves back into the international community and end their rogue state status.

    Despite all the grumbling about Pakistan, the U.S. is forced to deal with Pakistan at some level on Pakistan's terms, because we're forced to take into account the Pakistani state's guardianship over a nuclear arsenal, not in the sense that we're worried about the state launching nukes, but because we're worried that the current state will lose control of its nukes. The nightmare scenario is that the Pakistani arsenal falls into the hands of a successor state apparatus that is less responsible than the current regime. And so we promote the survival of the existing state.

    A nuclear weapon is Iraq's ticket back to the international community. Once it has the bomb it can negotiate a normalization of all its relations with the West on favorable terms, and it can negotiate a favorable regional security structure in which it plays an important role.

  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    We'll see. I don't doubt that Iran will eventually acquire a bomb, but the question is whether it'll actually change anything. North Korea's acquisition of nuclear power is frequently cited here; yes they have a nuclear weapon (possibly several) but even their open, repeated tests were basically blips on the radar regionally. South Korea and Japan didn't bother embarking on their own nuclear programs in response because they're both under the US' nuclear umbrella (and Japan would never build bombs anyway, but that's beside the point.)

    Iran's chief potential nuclear foes are Israel and Pakistan. Israel has more than enough nuclear weaponry to decimate Iran. Pakistan has enough to severely damage the country. Nuclear war with either would be a net negative for Iran. The Gulf countries, Saudi in particular, have the money-not to mention the Western alliances-to build their own nuclear arsenal, and without a great deal of hassle from the IAEA because they'd only be responding to a threat that exists already. Then of course there is the issue that there will always be American military personnel in most if not all of the Gulf countries. Vaporizing them would result in Iran's total destruction as the US nuclear arsenal came into play.

    IMO Iran's nukes cause a hell of a lot more problems for Iran than anyone else.
  18. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Iran wouldn't have any enemies in the first place if they didn't pick a fight with Israel (which never did anything to them before 2004-ish), and if they didn't try building a nuclear program while knowing full well what sort of message this sends to the world. In short if they had just behaved like any other nation-state, nobody would've bothered them.

    That's not true at all. Iran's biggest enemy (although perhaps spiritual foe or rival would be more accurate) is not Israel, but Saudi Arabia. Despite the fact that it sits in historical Persia, Iran is the center for Shia Islam for the Middle East. (Shia being the official state religion of Iran, and practiced by +/- 90% of the population) This was the result of Iran's religious revolution back in 1979. It's also the entire reason why the Iran-Iraq War was between 1980 and 1988. Iraq's Sunni focused government wanted to unite the region under a concept of "Arab Nationalism," which put it in direct conflict with Iran's religious rule. Remember, back in the heyday of that conflict, Saudi Arabia very much waged a proxy war against Iran, and was giving 1 billion dollars a month to Iraq, just so it could counter what the Arabs called Iranian religious zeal. Since the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War and Iraq's decline, nearly all of the Saudi's advanced military hardware purchases have been systems that counter Iran, as the Saudi-Iranian cold war is very much alive. Iran just uses Israel as a misguided tool to unite the remaining Iranian-sided holdouts without realizing that its actions in this regard end up further isolating it.

    The question is: why are the Iranians pursuing nuclear weapons technology?

    I don't think

    "because it's a rogue state"
    "because they're crazy"
    "because they hate Israel"

    are adequate answers.


    They're not. Simply put, Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons to stay relevant as a regional power. If Iran wants to keep the title of regional Shia authority, it has to acquire something that will keep this dominance. Since Saudi Arabia has wisely turned to the West, but Iran has isolated itself, such weapons are the only thing that will allow Iran to close the gap.

    A nuclear weapon is Iran's ticket back to the international community. Once it has the bomb it can negotiate a normalization of all its relations with the West on favorable terms, and it can negotiate a favorable regional security structure in which it plays an important role.

    I would agree with this up to a point. Iran has to offer something else though, or it will simply become more isolated, not less. Pakistan is a good example here, but so is North Korea. North Korea remained a pariah even after it acquired nuclear weapons because of its internal situation. In fact, North Korea's nuclear weapons ended up being more of a curse for North Korea itself. The international community will never go against Saudi Arabia in any Iran-Saudi matchup. Iran could attempt to "normalize" its relations, but this will never happen as long as the Shiite religious authority runs Iran, and as long as Iran can't offer any other benefit.

  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Oil exports are enough to avoid North Korean style isolation. Iran has robust bilateral trade agreements with India and China, and they aren't going away anytime soon. It's already impossible to lock Iran up and throw away the key, since so many countries desperately need their energy resources. Regime survival and regional relevance seem like all the answers anyone needs to calculate how much sanction pain Iran will tolerate and still pursue nukes.

    In any case it's going to be a relatively long time before Iran has a significant number of weapons. The sanctions and sabotage may have worked well in slowing their program. That seems like a workable objective for now. There's not going to be a mix of sanctions, e.g. Sen. Kirk's pushing for sanctions aimed at Iran's central bank, that will deal a death blow to the weapons program.

    But as they do build their capability, then Iran will slowly become too dangerous to not engage politically, the way Pakistan is too dangerous to be left alone now. Pakistan uses its nuclear stockpile and the Afghanistan war to exact tribute from the United States. It's a strategy that works very well for them.
  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Sure, but Pakistan brings something to the table, even if it's an imperfect relationship. I'm not sure how "robust" Iran's trade with India is, considering that the oil agreement was suspended early this year due to sanctions against Iran. The Obama administration, lead by Clinton's State Department, warned India that its increasing relationship with Iran could jeopardize its relationship with the US... India wisely chose to side with which side it has its bread buttered on:

    EXAMPLE HERE

    But as they do build their capability, then Iran will slowly become too dangerous to not engage politically, the way Pakistan is too dangerous to be left alone now. Pakistan uses its nuclear stockpile and the Afghanistan war to exact tribute from the United States. It's a strategy that works very well for them.

    I disagree. There are hardly any parallels between Iran and Pakistan. Iran is already too much of a liability to engage politically. Any Iranian weapon program is simply going to make this reality worse, not better, because Iran will end up self-cornering/shoehorning its own interests. The US has always preferred to side with Iran, but not with its current (post 1979) hardline government. And I think it was even Edmund Muskie (who was Carter's SecState at the time) who at the final months of Carter's Presidency had a quote which basically said "the Iran-Iraq War forces the US to support Iran even though it despises us.." If it wasn't Muskie, it still represented a reality that carried into Reagan years. But based on current concerns, Iran is not close to any needed forward deployed bases, it has no special exports that can't be found in other places, and while its oil will become more and more important, the momentum is against Iran- unless Iran makes some serious internal changes, and/or has another widespread, paradigm changing revolution. But Iran's Shiite power broker play is becoming less and less relevant, which means there are less and less reasons for any country, even without a Western focus, to get on-board with Iranian interests.

  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    We'll see. There was a lot of work ratcheting up interest in sanctions - the recent report, the revelations about the assassination attempt, leaks about Israeli military plans, and so on, so tensions are high now, but I imagine Iran will gradually peel away countries that gradually lose interest in pursuing sanctions.

    Ultimately, I think Iran's goal is a regional security apparatus in which it is a prominent member. Combining its public aspirations to being the promoter of Shi'ite interests in Iraq, Bahrain and elsewhere, its energy reserves, its geographic location and an assumed eventual nuclear arsenal (and it may be several years before it can even put together a single device), it will never be relegated to the status of a North Korea. The only spare capacity in energy right now comes from the safety valve of the stagnating U.S. and European economies.

    If I can make a prediction, and we'll see how it pans out:

    -Iranian nuclear test within five years
    -within a decade a regional security agreement that encompasses, Iraq, Pakistani, Afghanistan and Iranian nukes and perhaps also a negotiated reduction in U.S. military presence but which Israel will of course not participate in.
    -reestablishment of normal diplomatic relations with the U.S. within 10-15 years.
    -no war now or in the next 25 years between the U.S./Europe and Iran
    -no new Iraq-Iran war within the next 20 years.
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I guess that's a rather straight-forward list. Is that supposed to be because of Iranian nukes or in spite of them? (except the test part, which is obviously dependent on them)

    -What are going to be the consequences of an Iranian nuclear test?

    -I'd say this is the least likely prediction because it only focuses on physical resources and not strong cultural realities. I can't see a regional security agreement between the countries listed, unless again, it comes with a major change first. Pakistan would not turn to Shia-focused Iran unless the Sunni majority business/government centers within it were marginalized. Even with the various coups Pakistan has been subjected to, the Sunni majority hasn't changed. Pakistan is much more likely to align with China than Iran depending on how the world situation positions itself. Afghanistan is the same way, which also has a Sunni majority. A different, more radical suggestion would be that the non-Arab Sunni Pashtuns and Punjabs of Pakistan and Afghanistan form some sort of regional power with the other "-Stans," although it would require serious investment in those countries.

    -Normalization of relations simply because Iran might have the bomb? This depends on if Iran stops acting through third party entities. If Iran turns inward, maybe.

    -Eh, I couldn't see war happening anyway. Does this prediction include targeted strikes as well?

    -Well, the nucleus of Pan-Arabism has been removed, so there's no reason for another Iran-Iraq War. A regional Sunni-Shia war is not out of the realm of possibility though.
  23. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    India showed how empty it's claims to any regional or world power really are. A tiny rogue state whips US leadership to obey it and do it's bidding and then India gives up it's own plans when these docile Yankee doormats come with demands in behalf of their puppet masters. That's not a path to greatness.
  24. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Unlike the United States and China and Russia, as of now India really has no grand strategy or any ambitions/plans for international influence, despite they're booming economy. They're still figuring stuff out, Iran/Persia is just a historical ally, then they respected the US's wishes. They are beginning to repair their relationship with Pakistan, though. Give them time, they'll come into their own, Rome wasn't built in a day.
  25. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    India has had international ambitions since the Nehru years, when they were among the leaders of the non-aligned nations movement. And they did have a strategy of basically circling Pakistan, but they pretty much throw that away when they acquiesced to US' - held in a leash by Israel - command. They haven't been heavily investing in Afghanistan for the mere kindness of their heart nor pursued joint defense agreements with Iran as a mere quirk.