Posts Tagged ‘Iran Nuclear Agreement’

Don’t underestimate Trump’s power to do harm

July 28, 2017

Because Donald Trump seems so undisciplined and ignorant, I continually underestimate his effectiveness.

I didn’t think he would be nominated.   I didn’t think he would be elected.   And sometimes I fool myself into thinking it is better to have Trump in the White House than somebody with the same agenda, but more competent.

This is a mistake.   In order to do good, you need not only good will, but intelligence and hard work, but that in order to do harm, all you need is malice.

Click to enlarge

>>>Donald Trump has left many key positions in government unfilled, but is moving forward at a rapid pace to nominate federal judges and U.S. attorneys.   The judges will be in office possibly decades after Trump is gone.   District judges and appeals court judges are almost as important as Supreme Court justices because most cases don’t reach the highest court.

Many of Trump’s executive orders have been blocked by court rulings.   Putting his own people on the bench lessens the likelihood that this will happen.

The bulk of his nominations have been in states represented by Republicans.   Customs of the Senate allow a Senator to block a judgeship nomination.   Concentrating on Republican states is smart because it means he can get a lot of his people approved before turning to the Democratic states.

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Why do Trump, the GOP oppose peace with Iran?

January 12, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress say they want to cancel the agreement for controls on Iran’s nuclear program.

This would have two bad results.

Iran and its neighbors

Iran and its neighbors

It would strengthen the hard-liners in Iran who want their country to have nuclear weapons capability, and who opposed the agreement in the first-place.

It would undermine one of Trump’s announced goals, which is to form an alliance dedicated to fighting the Islamic  State (aka ISIS or ISIL), Al Qaeda and their offshoots.

Juan Cole, a historian of the Middle East, reported that many Iranians are happy about the election of Trump.  Trump is friendly with Iran’s ally, Russia, and wants to aid another Iranian ally, the Assad government in Syria, against its enemies, the Sunni extremist rebels fighting Syria.

So if the United States is an ally of Iran’s allies, and an enemy of its enemies, the U.S. should be an ally of Iran.  Isn’t that logical?

And, in any case, resuming sanctions against Iran would not produce a better deal.

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The passing scene – August 4, 2015

August 4, 2015

These are links to interesting articles I came across yesterday and today.  I may add links during the day.   The comment thread is available for general and off-topic comments.

If This Is Munich, We Must Be Germany by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.

In the Iran nuclear negotiations, it has been the United States that has done all the demanding and Iran that has done all the appeasing.

A Company Copes With Backlash Against the Raise that Roared by Patricia Cohen for the New York Times.

239 Years Ago, Adam Smith Predicted Fury of Seattle Business at CEO Who Pays Workers Well by Jon Schwartz for The Intercept.

Dan Price, the CEO of a small credit card processing firm called Gravity Payments, announced that he will raise the minimum  salary of his firm to $70,000 a year over a period of three years while reducing his own compensation.

Many of his peers and business customers are infuriated, illustrating what Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations in 1776:Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate.  To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action …”

Coffee in crisis: The bitter end for our favorite drink? by David Robson for the BBC.

The world’s coffee crop is threatened by drought, flooding and plagues of pests, caused by climate change, and by the vulnerability of the Arabica variety of coffee to disease and to changes in climate.

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USA should join with Iran against ISIS

July 16, 2015

Israel and Saudi Arabia are not friends and do not even have diplomatic relations, but they work in parallel when it is in their national interest to do so.

Why should not the governments of the United States and Iran work together against our common enemies, the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) and Al Qaeda?

This would make more sense than trying to fight ISIS and Al Qaeda while making common cause with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates against the main enemies of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

axis.satan

Tom Jansson cartoon for The Cagle Post

Maybe this is what President Obama had in mind.  Maybe this is already U.S. policy.  If so, good!

Americans criticize the Iranian government for giving weapons and other help to armed factions in other countries, but that is no different from what the Saudis, the Gulf emirates, Israel and the United States itself does.  Iran’s current intervention in Iraq and Syria is at the invitation of the governments of those countries.

I think the violent conflicts in the Middle East, including the Sunni-Shiite conflict, would die down if Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, the USA and other countries agreed among themselves to stop giving weapons, supplies and money to the various battling groups.

Unfortunately that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.  But I have to say the such an agreement is more likely than other nations agreeing to be neutral while the US government continues conducting bombing campaigns and arming its own proxies.

Iran and the United States are neither friends nor enemies.  They are countries with their own interests, which sometimes overlap and sometimes conflict.

LINKS

Rethinking Iran by Kevin Schwartz and Arjun Singh Sethi for Counterpunch.

Alan Dershowitz on the Iran deal

July 15, 2015

Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz made this argument against the proposed deal with Iran.

Does the proposed deal with Iran actually prevent the Mullahs from ever developing a nuclear weapon?  Or does it merely delay them for a period of years? That is the key question that has not yet been clearly answered.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Alan M. Dershowitz

In his statement on the deal, President Obama seemed to suggest that Iran will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. He said that this “long-term deal with Iran… will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” … …

But is that what the deal itself does?  Or, as stated by its critics, does it actually assure that Iran will be allowed to develop a nuclear arsenal after a short delay of several years?  That is the key question that the Obama administration has refused to answer directly.  It must do so before Congress can be asked to buy a pig in a poke for the American people.

There is an enormous difference between a deal that merely delays Iran’s development of a nuclear arsenal for a period of years and a deal that prevents Iran from ever developing a nuclear arsenal.

via Gatestone Institute.

It is perfectly true that the Iran nuclear deal does not present Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons capability.   Every advanced industrial nation has the capacity to develop nuclear weapons if it so chooses.

What the deal does is to prevent Iran from secretly developing nuclear weapons capability.

So long as the terms of the deal are observed, any action to manufacture plutonium or weapons-grade uranium would be transparent and would take a long enough period of time for United States or other countries to act.

It also is the case that continuation of sanctions will not prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons.  In fact, Iran is further along toward developing weapons-grade uranium (although not very far) than it will be under the agreement.

If I were an Iranian leader, and I thought that sanctions would continue no matter what, I would go ahead with the uranium enrichment program.  As the saying goes, you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

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Background of the Iran nuclear deal

June 6, 2015

Here are basic facts about the proposed Iranian nuclear agreement.

IRAN NUCLEAR TIMETABLEThe P5 + 1 group of nations (the USA, UK, France, China and Russia, plus Germany) and Iran have reached a preliminary agreement, in which the United Nations, USA and European Union will lift most economic sanctions against Iran in return for guarantees that Iran will not use its nuclear energy program to develop nuclear weapons.

They hope to reach a final agreement by June 30.

The Iranian government agreed to:
• Reduce the number of centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, from 19,000 to about 6,000.
•  Reduce the level of enrichment of uranium from 20 percent to 3.67 percent (bomb-grade uranium is enriched to 90 percent)
•  Reduce its stockpile of low-level enriched uranium from 10,000 kilograms to 300 kilograms.
•  Convert a bomb-proof underground enrichment facility to a research laboratory.
•  Open all nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

This will not make Iran incapable of developing a nuclear weapon.  Experts say it will extend the lead time required by Iran to develop bomb-grade uranium from six weeks to one year.

Some remaining areas of disagreement are:
•  The Iranian government says it expects sanctions lifted before it begins to reduce nuclear capability.  President Obama says he expects Iran to start complying with the agreement before sanctions are lifted.
•  President Obama was Iran to allow inspections of its military facilities as well as its nuclear facilities.  The Iranian government refuses.

The effect of the agreement would be to change the balance of power in the Middle East.  This is a main reason why leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia are worried about the agreement.

It would enable Iran to exert its full national strength in Middle East geo-politics.  It will be better able to support its allies, including Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah and Shiite militias in different countries.  Israel prioritizes its struggle with Hezbollah, and Saudi Arabia priorities its struggles against the Shiites.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, along with his supporters in the U.S. Congress, thinks the USA should insist that Iran give up enrichment of nuclear fuel altogether, and that it also grant diplomatic recognition to Israel.

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The Iran nuclear deal looks torpedo-proof

April 4, 2015

Am I the only one who finds it just a little bit odd that the American officials loudly claiming Iran cannot be trusted to fulfill any deal are simultaneously pledging that they will not fulfill any deal?  Is it possible they have such little self-awareness?

via Hullabaloo.

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry deserve a lot of credit for the nuclear deal with Iran, as do President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and the other diplomats who worked on the negotiations.

iran nuclear deal mapI think it is the best deal that can be expected.   The Iranians have nuclear power plants, which they are not willing to give up.  Any nation with nuclear power has the capability to develop nuclear weapons.

What the Iranians have done is to give up equipment and uranium stockpiles that would have enabled them to develop weapons-grade uranium and plutonium overnight, and to submit to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that they do not do so.

It is crazy for Republican Senators presidential candidates to threaten to torpedo the deal.

What made the economic sanctions effective against Iran in the first place is that they were supported by U.S. allies and the Security Council of the United Nations.  Under the agreement, the other negotiating parties, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China and other countries will resume trade with Iran no matter what the U.S. government does.

The only ones who would be hurt if the U.S. government renounced the deal would be Americans who want to do business in Iran.

iran-nuclear-non-proliferation-israel-unThe problem of the spread of nuclear weapons is more than just Iran.  Almost all industrial nations—Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and many more—have the capability to develop nuclear weapons.

Actually, it is a tribute to the world’s good sense that only nine nations are known to have nuclear weapons—the USA, Britain, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

The only way to stop the spread of nuclear weapons on a long-term basis is for the existing nuclear power to agree to disarm and to turn over control of nuclear materials to an international agency.  Every nuclear-capable nation, not just Iran, should be open to the IAEA.

LINKS

The Iran nuclear deal, translated into plain English, by Max Fisher for Vox news.

The Iran Nuclear Deal, by the Numbers by Graham Allison for The Atlantic.

A good deal: How both sides can sell the Iran agreement back home by Ali Vaez for Reuters.

What if the US & UN sanctioned Israel over its nukes the way they did Iran over enrichment? by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.