“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Only the Israeli Lobby and the Republicans can screw this deal up and if they do, should be held accountable

Iran and US close in on historic nuclear deal at Vienna talks 

Diplomats arriving in Austrian capital warned that failure to agree end to deadlock over Iran’s nuclear programme is not an option 

GUARDIAN - Julian Borger in Vienna 

Iran, the US and other world powers meeting in Vienna this week are close to a historic, comprehensive agreement that could bring a permanent end to 12 years of deadlock over Iran’s nuclear programme. 

With a deadline for the talks looming in a week’s time, diplomats are converging on the Austrian capital for the last stretch of marathon negotiations beginning Tuesday, with the outcome still in the balance. 

Compromises have been found on previously contentious issues, and detailed text for different versions of a final deal has been drafted. 

Some diplomats describe their work as 95% done, pending political decisions to be made in national capitals over Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium over the next few years, and the sequence in which international sanctions are lifted. 

Several leading arms-control experts have argued that the residual obstacles are more political than substantial, determined by the need of President Barack Obama’s administration and President Hassan Rouhani’s reformist government in Iran to reassure conservatives at home, rather than by the actual requirements of Iran’s nuclear energy programme or genuine nonproliferation concerns. 

There are also differences among the six-nation group involved in the negotiations with Iran. France has consistently been more opposed to nuclear concessions than the other five (the US, UK, Germany, Russia and China). 

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, flew to Paris on 4 November for talks with Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, seeking assurances that he would not make a public intervention in the last few days of negotiations. In the closing stages of talks over the 2013 interim deal, Fabius warned against western concessions, saying Paris would not play along with a “fool’s game”.

Accounts vary as to whether Kerry was able to secure a guarantee from Fabius not to break ranks in the eleventh hour of talks. 

Advertisement “For Fabius, the ties with the Gulf Arabs – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – are much more important economically, and for French jobs in the next few years, than Iran,” said a French source familiar with the discussions. The Sunni monarchies in the Gulf are as opposed as Israel to western endorsement of an Iranian nuclear programme on any scale. 

The consequences of a collapse in the negotiations could be serious and rapid. The US Congress is poised to impose fresh sanctions on Iran, and after the Republican capture of the Senate in this month’s elections it will be hard for Obama to sustain a veto on new punitive measures. In response, hardliners in Tehran are likely to demand an end to the partial freeze on the Iranian programme negotiated in an interim agreement a year ago. 

Mutual escalation could quickly push the 12-year nuclear standoff back to the brink of war. Israel has repeatedly threatened to take military action if diplomacy fails to contain Iran’s nuclear aspirations. “I think extension is the least likely scenario because of the domestic political ramifications for all sides,” said Reza Marashi, a former state department official, who is research director of the National Iranian American Council in Washington. “In the words of the negotiators themselves: failure is not an option.” 

Given the high stakes, all sides at the Vienna talks will be extremely reluctant to break off negotiations if a complete agreement is not reached by 24 November, the deadline agreed in the interim deal, at Geneva a year ago. One option would be to announce a framework agreement, leaving gaps to be worked out later, or simply extend the talks. But neither option would be politically sustainable for long without proof of genuine progress. Congress is already sceptical of the talks, claiming Iran is playing for time. 

“It’s now or never,” said Jim Walsh, an expert on the Iranian nuclear programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “If you put this off six months, does Obama come back stronger, able to deliver a deal? Does Rouhani? No. “My hope is that, at the last moment, they stare into the abyss and realise the consequences of not doing a deal now are very, very bad.” 

Ali Vaez, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, suggested that, at most, the parties would have the remaining two months of the lame duck Congress to resolve the last remaining issues. 

Those outstanding obstacles, enrichment capacity and the sequence of sanctions relief, have long been the most politically charged and difficult issues on the table. The west is offering a temporary suspension of some US sanctions through a presidential waiver of measures imposed by Congress, along with the unfreezing of blocked Iranian assets around the world. 

The lifting of major oil and banking sanctions would be left until later. Tehran wants the permanent lifting of the major sanctions early in the lifetime of a deal, including those imposed by the UN security council. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges installed in two enrichment plants. Of those, 10,200 first-generation machines are in operation. The west would like that cut to fewer than 4,000 (the limits are measured in overall capacity, so a smaller number of more advanced centrifuges would be allowed), with the aim that it would take Iran a year to amass enough fissile material for a warhead, if Tehran took the decision to make a weapon. 

For its part, Iran does not want to cut capacity, and wants assurances that it will be allowed to expand in line with its nuclear energy needs. The rigid positions adopted by both sides have come under criticism from arms control experts.

Daryl Kimball, of the Arms Control Association, pointed out that Russia had guaranteed the supply of fuel for Iran’s reactor at Bushehr and for at least two new reactors that Moscow and Tehran had agreed to build last week. “Iran’s practical need in the near term is close to zero,” said Kimball, the head of the association. 

“Tehran is within sight of a compromise on a linchpin issue. It would be a tragic and historic mistake if Iran passed up the chance for this agreement, if they refused to compromise in order to hold on to a couple of thousand old-fashioned, inefficient centrifuges.” 

Several nonproliferation specialists have also questioned the US-led insistence that Iran’s “breakout capacity” (the time it would take it to make a warhead) is kept to a year. Jeffrey Lewis, at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, said that if Iran wanted to make nuclear weapons, it would do so at covert sites rather than use facilities under constant international monitoring. 

“The Iranians are not going to use a declared facility. That would provoke an immediate crisis. Maybe they were be able to build one or two bombs but they would get hit,” said Lewis, who runs the website. “If they were going to do it, they would do it in a covert facility. So everything we do should be focused on verification, not on numbers of declared centrifuges.” 

The guiding principle over nine months of talks on a comprehensive nuclear agreement has been that “nothing is solved until everything is solved”, reflecting the intertwined nature of the issues. But sources close to the talks say several difficult problems are close to a solution.

 • Lifetime of the deal – Iran originally wanted it to last no more than three years. The west wanted a 20-year deal. A likely compromise is in the eight- to 10-year range. 
 • Cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency inquiry into alleged past Iranian development work on nuclear weapons – the IAEA would have to confirm full cooperation before the last major sanctions are lifted. 
 • Heavy water reactor being build in Arak, central Iran – this would be redesigned to produce less plutonium as a byproduct. Iran would undertake not to build a reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium. 
 • Underground enrichment site at Fordow – a small-scale research-and-development centre would be allowed under strict IAEA supervision 
 • Transparency – Iran would accept a permanent IAEA presence at its nuclear facilities, while the agency would be able to inspect undeclared sites for signs of nuclear activity and monitor centrifuge-making plants. 

The negotiators could decide to bank those gains as the deadline of Monday night next week looms, issuing a statement on progress while asking for more time for the remaining obstacles – but that may not be enough to convince conservatives in the US and Iran to accept an extension.


  1. I am certain you will find something for which to blame Israel. If nothing else, you are consistent.
    How they stood militarily: the Arab states and Israel on the eve of the 1948 war

  2. Apparently, this is not a factor in your lede. Your slip is showing.

    "There are also differences among the six-nation group involved in the negotiations with Iran. France has consistently been more opposed to nuclear concessions than the other five (the US, UK, Germany, Russia and China).

    John Kerry, the US secretary of state, flew to Paris on 4 November for talks with Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, seeking assurances that he would not make a public intervention in the last few days of negotiations. In the closing stages of talks over the 2013 interim deal, Fabius warned against western concessions, saying Paris would not play along with a “fool’s game”.

    Accounts vary as to whether Kerry was able to secure a guarantee from Fabius not to break ranks in the eleventh hour of talks.

    Advertisement 'For Fabius, the ties with the Gulf Arabs – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – are much more important economically, and for French jobs in the next few years, than Iran,' said a French source familiar with the discussions. The Sunni monarchies in the Gulf are as opposed as Israel to western endorsement of an Iranian nuclear programme on any scale."

  3. QuirkSun Nov 16, 07:01:00 PM EST

    The trial for the Israelis who killed the Palestinians youth may take a while. While confessing that they were also looking for additional victims it is likely that the trial will be delayed due to competency hearings. It seems one of them is now claiming he is the ‘Messiah’.

    Speculation is that if his boasts prove true, this could be the trial of the century. Questions abound as to whether the man's father will be called as witness to vouch for his character.


  4. Ah, bend over and take it up the ass like the cuckolded America should do…

    But if America grows a spine? Blame the Jews.


  5. No other power other than the US has as much to lose if this deal is not made. The French are posturing to gain favor with the Arabs and the Chinese and Russians will support the Iranians. If the Israelis start a fight, they are incapable of finishing it snd the US will get caught for the tab as is always the case with our relationship to our valued ally.

    1. See the Asia Times link below. China may not be as compliant as you think, particularly given its reliance on Saudi oil.

      If China should pitch a spanner into the gears of Mr. O's lovechild, I fully expect an imaginative thread illuminating the vastly powerful Jewish lobby controlling China -- CIPAC (possibly TIPAT).

    2. Exactly what does the US gain from such an agreement? What does the US lose in the absence of an agreement, other than the continuation of exorbitantly expensive pistachios?

  6. But we do know some things, and there is an historical record that is pretty consistent, so let’s go with that stuff.

    –We know that Obama badly wants a deal, most any deal that will get him on board Air Force One for a spectacular arrival in Tehran and an embrace with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. His Inner Nixon dream. He’s prepared to make all manner of concessions to stage that scene. So we pretty much know “our side” of this melodrama;

    –On the other hand, we also know that Khamenei does NOT want a deal with the Great Satan, and he has no interest in securing Obama’s legend. He is sick, he may well believe that he has limited time left on this earth, and he doesn’t want his legacy to read: he came to terms with Satan;

    –So why would Khamenei make a deal? Answer: he’d make one that plainly humiliated the United States. And what does that look like? Answer: sanctions get nullified, he keeps his nuclear program, and Obama doesn’t get a visa to Iran;

    –Can (even) Obama agree to that? I reckon the Brits and Germans might (they don’t like sanctions, which they are eagerly avoiding anyway, and they probably have convinced themselves that Iranian nukes would be used against Israel, which they wouldn’t mind all that much). Would the French? I don’t know. And I have my doubts whether (even) Obama would sign it, with a blazing firestorm now kindling on Capitol Hill.

    Which takes us to the history: both Clinton and Bush (yes THAT Bush, W) believed they had reached a deal with the Iranians. But just before the document was to be signed, Khamenei nixed it. Condoleezza Rice was so sure it was about to happen (she’d just issued 300 visas for other Iranians to accompany Ali Larijani to the UN for the happy event) that she flew to New York to greet the Iranian delegation. But Larijani’s plane never left the tarmac in Tehran.

    The pattern, then, is that they negotiate and eventually agree to a deal, more or less the same deal (Iran stops making nukes and we lift sanctions). One little technicality remains: the supreme leader has to initial all the pages.

    But he doesn’t. And why should he behave differently this time around? Sanctions are crumbling anyway, and he’s got his nuclear program running along. Nothing happens when he tells the UN inspectors to go away without conducting their inspections. And he doesn’t think Obama will ever do anything seriously mean to him or his country.

    That’s why I think a deal is unlikely. The best outcome for Khamenei is more of what he’s got already: more talk, fewer sanctions, nuclear progress, humiliation of the Great Satan.

    1. .

      There are risks to allowing Iran to get a nuclear bomb. One it expands Iran's hegemony in the region. It could set off an arms race and nuclear proliferation amongst Iran's Sunni enemies in the region, SA being the obvious one. The obvious shorter term risks would be the danger to Israel or the broader ME. It would also eventually (after Iran develops the technical capacity) become a danger to the US. With Iran's development of long-range missiles that could deliver bombs to the US, they are capable of inflicting significant damage here, not through a contemporary attack but rather through a targeted EMP attack on the grid.

      You could be right on every particular, but...we have to ask is Iran leadership the nutjobs Israel claims or will they act in their own self-interest. While you will disagree, my vote would be for the latter. Given that any nuclear attack launched by Iran against the US or any of its allies in the ME would lead to massive retaliation that devastate their country, Iran would have to be the nutjobs you suggest. I, on the other had, believe their goals are much less apocalyptic, those being regional hegemony.

      None of the possibilities just noted are good in fact they could be very, very bad. That's a given, however...

      Then you get to the ultimate question, "What can you do about it?"


      - If Iranians want a nuclear weapon, they will get one, one way or another, one time or another.

      - They have the people and the resources to get it done despite any sanctions opposed or any attacks launched.

      - Sanctions are definitely hurting Iran but everyone there (for the most part) wants nuclear capability (though we can argue about whether that capability is for peaceful or non-peaceful purposes). Moderates want it, hard-liners want it, people and politicians want it. Why they want it other than national pride or as you suggest to ultimately get a bomb, I don't know but they do, and that is enough.

      - If Iran really wants the bomb, more sanctions likely will not work and an attack will be difficult. You can google it in and get a long list of the difficulties. Despite the bellicosity of the opponents of a deal, when it comes down to it, the only nation with the capacity to manage an attack on Iran is the US, Were the US to attack there will be significant resistance from the American people. There will be political resistance from Rand Paul and others.

      - It's unlikely you would be able to take out Iran's capability simply by bombing them. The most you could do is delay their program. They would simply rebuild and make their future operations much more covert. Does it make any difference whether Iran gets the bomb in a couple years or that they get it in five years?

      - There are geopolitical risks associated with the attack that go beyond the obvious. Iran has economic and political ties to some powerful friends and the legality of attacking them is questionable.

      - There is also the obvious economic risks associated with disruption of the worlds oil supplies or that the conflict spread throughout the region expanding on the carnage that already exists there.

      - An attack would provide Iran with a propaganda tool in its political attacks on the US amongst Muslims.

      - A rocket attack against Israel is likely inevitable.

      The likely result of the attack (short of nuclear confrontation) would be carnage on a massive scale, economic damage to the world economy, and a 'delay' in Iran's nuclear program. Five years from now we would be in the exact same position with little chance of negotiating to stop it.

      On the other hand, with a negotiated agreement now...

      - The bad, Iran was lying, stalling for time, and eventually gets the bomb.

      - The good news, Iran's bomb program is delayed a few years, the same as it would have been under the carnage mentioned above.

      If Obama, pulls off negotiating the treaty with Iran, it will be one of the few times I will be able to offer him kudos.


    2. devil is in the details

      a bad agreement is worse than no agreement.

      remember north korea and the agreement we had?


    3. .

      Do a little research on the entire process leading up to Korea getting the bomb. it makes for interesting reading.

      Speaking of nutjobs, you don't get any more nutjob than NK. So far we haven't faced Armageddon.

      Truth is, it's a lot easier urging others to go out and blow themselves up rather than risking getting blown up yourself.

      Gadhafi learned that lesson long before he was taken out by the US.


    4. Actually NK is a demigod nut job and Iran's mullahs are hidden imam nut jobs..

      I'd recommend anyone who wishes to understand Iran read a bit more about what they actually believe before assuming they are reasonable, rational and "just like us"

  7. If you believe that I have no respect for Israel, you are correct. The relationship is bizarre.

    1. It's hard to have respect for those that have no respect for you.

    2. Just a few days ago you told us: "i love israel"

    3. The vast majority of Israelis and Americans respect each other as people with shared values, ethics and even many goals.

      As for the few that think otherwise?

      Fringe wackos...

    4. .

      Or people who have the time and are willing to take the time away from Facebook to read history and daily online reports coming out of the ME.


    5. .

      Sorry, I retract the last statement.

      Deuce's post started out with a criticism of Israel, the country not the people. I was responding to that rather than what WiO's actually posted, a comment on the views of the American and Israeli people. Two different things.


  8. A nuclear Iran figures large.
    The Sino-American comedy of errors

    Now that the US is approaching self-sufficiency in energy resources, some senior Chinese analysts believe it wants to push the region into chaos in order to hurt China. One prominent Chinese analyst pointed out that Islamic State is led by Sunni officers trained by the United States during the 2007-2008 “surge” as well as elements of Saddam Hussein’s old army, and that this explains why IS has displayed such military and organizational competence.

    The complaint is justified, to be sure: General David Petraeus helped train the 100,000-strong “Sunni Awakening” to create a balance of power against the Shi’ite majority regime that the US helped bring to power in 2006. How, the Chinese ask, could the Bush administration and Petraeus have been so stupid? To persuade the Chinese that they were indeed that stupid is a daunting task.

  9. You can be sure that many EU member states will not be introducing this piece of Zionist technology to their passenger aircraft, filled with anti-Zionist citizens. BDS -- YES!
    Elbit will install anti-missile lasers on German Air Force planes

    "J-MUSIC system designed to protect large military and commercial aircraft against attacks by ground to air heat seeking man-portable missiles (MANPADS).

    'The experiments, carried out in southern Israel, were some of the most complex and sophisticated ever carried out in Israel,' the Defense Ministry said at the time of the trial. 'They simulated a range of threats that the C-Music system will have to deal with.'

    'C-Music is considered the most advanced system of its kind in the world, and will provide ultimate defense to planes,' the ministry added."

  10. Replies
    1. >>>"It is widely acknowledged that releasing the pressure from the ayatollahs only does harm to America," he continued. "This isn’t a partisan view. This isn’t a neocon view or a hawkish view. This is a common sense view. The President is way out of the mainstream. And I am convinced that as this president moves down the path he’s headed with his, he calls it an agreement, I call it a complete capitulation, that Congress broadly, not just Republicans, will push back against it, and continue to try and place pressure on the Iranian regime."<<<

      Opinion: National Security
      Let's kill the Iran deal
      By Hugh Hewitt | November 16, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    2. No deal is better than a bad deal.

  11. Record cold in Boise Monday morning — and possibly again Tuesday

    By Statesman staff

    November 16, 2014 Updated 8 hours ago
    Facebook Twitter Google Plus Reddit E-mail Print

    Chris Wildt took a spin up Hulls Gulch. "It’s hard work because it’s so deep," he says. "But I’m having a blast. I’ve been waiting for snow." Snow day on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 at Camel’s Back Park in Boise, Idaho.


    We're only midway through November, and winter weather records in Boise are falling left and right.

    Temperatures at the Boise Airport bottomed out at 6 degrees Monday morning, breaking a 134-year-old record of 7 degrees set on Nov. 17, 1880.

    Sunday was record breaker, too. The 4-degree low broke the previous record for that date of 5 degrees, set in 1955.

    Tuesday morning also could set another record by breaking the 7-degree low set in 1985. The forecast says it may get down to 6 degrees early Tuesday.

    An inversion has set up in the Treasure Valley, trapping cold air near the ground. That created foggy conditions Monday morning in the west Treasure Valley and likely will cause fog Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, too.

    Forecasters say a front may come through Wednesday and mix things up, breaking the inversion and possibly bringing more snow Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday.

    Boise set a record last week for the greatest amount of snow during a single storm in November: a total of 7.6 inches Thursday and Friday.

    Read more here:

    1. What's this got to do with Iran, you ask?

      Just think about it.

  12. Movahedi-Kermani, a close associate to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, drew cheers of 'Death to America, Death to Israel' from his crowd of supporters...

    Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing to join his colleagues from the other world powers in Vienna on Tuesday for more talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    However, a top U.S. diplomat Monday criticized Iran for failing to negotiate in good faith.

    'We've been disappointed in their failure thus far to constructively engage on this issue,' said Ambassador Laura Kennedy, the U.S. envoy to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, Reuters reported.
    Iranian Cleric Threatens US, Israel With 'Missile Attack'

    Undoubtedly, this is the fault of the Jewish Lobby.

    1. 8 missing Iranian Jews were killed on way to Israel
      After two decades of uncertainty, intelligence agency tells families their relatives were ‘caught and murdered as they sought to escape’

      Yep, Iran, the people who want to make peace…

      Read more: Mossad: 8 missing Iranian Jews were killed on way to Israel | The Times of Israel
      Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

  13. ... and another miserable cocksucker (too much Deadwood) ...

    The 14-year-old boy, he looked 20, he said.
    Supremacist surprised 3 victims weren't Jewish

    1. F. Glenn Miller Jr., 73, of Aurora, Missouri, told The Kansas City Star that he went to Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and a nearby Jewish retirement home "for the specific purpose of killing Jews." Miller said learned from a newspaper story the following Saturday that the people he killed were not Jewish

  14. ... on a lighter, cheerier note ...
    AP Exclusive: Charles Manson gets marriage license