Daily Archives: August 4, 2012

Russia, Iran reject foreign intervention in Syrian crisis

Xinhua

Russia and Iran confirmed Friday their principal position that theSyrian crisis must be settled with no foreign intervention.

During a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and his visiting Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir- Abdollahian, both sides also urged the end to violence in the crisis-torn Syria, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“The two sides highlighted the necessity to stop bloodshed and violence in that country, whatever it originates from, with no delay to settle the intra-Syria problems by the Syrians themselves with no outside involvement,” the ministry said in a statement.

The two diplomats also urged “consolidated international efforts” for a peaceful settlement to the 17-month Syrian crisis based on UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan and the Geneva agreements that envisage a Syrian-led transition, the ministry said.

The meeting was initiated by the Iranian diplomat, who said Iran “condemns foreign intervention” in the Syrian crisis.

“We believe the situation in Syria cannot be settled by military means. The settlement must be political,” Amir- Abdollahian said.

He also regretted that “some countries” attempted to undermine Annan’s six-point peace plan.

Annan’s widely accepted plan calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from populated areas, a daily halt of fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment of the injured, and talks between the government and opposition.

Annan, who assumed his current post about five months ago, said in Geneva on Thursday that he was disappointed over the lack of progress in the Syrian peace process and that he would step down after his current mandate expires on Aug. 31.

Russia on Friday expressed “deep regret” at Annan’s resignation and urged that a successor be found quickly.

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LA Times: Experts Say There’s No Imminent Threat of a Nuclear Iran

The US and Israel are not concerned with some imaginary weapons program, but rather with regime change

antiwar.com

Contrary to hyperbolic rhetoric and threats of preemptive attack from the US and Israel, experts still agree there is no imminent prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran,reports the Los Angeles Times.

As has been known for several years but only rarely acknowledged in the mainstream press, US intelligence has concluded that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and has so far demonstrated no intention of starting one. Recent visits to by Obama administration officials and the Romney campaign have renewed Israeli claims that ‘the window is closing’ on blocking an Iranian nuclear weapon.

“This is a window that has been closing for 15 years now, and it’s always imminently about to close,” Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian American Council told the Los Angeles Times.

“I don’t see any particular breakthroughs in the Iranian program,” says Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, a nonproliferation scholar at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. “It’s been on a pretty steady course,” and “there is technically no urgency to” prepare for an attack on Iran.

“According to the U.S. intelligence community, the Iranian leadership hasn’t even made the decision to weaponize their program,” said Alireza Nader, senior policy analyst on Iran for Rand Corp. “They’ve been creating the technical know-how and the infrastructure, but they haven’t made that decision, and there is much more time than the Israelis portray there to be.”

While most of the coverage of the debate on Iran fails to emphasize the complete lack of a weapons program or of any real security threat to the US, some reports have covered this. In February the New York Times ran a front page story entitled “U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb.” It reported: “Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.”

Again in March, they reported “top administration officials have said that Iran still has not decided to pursue a weapon, reflecting the intelligence community’s secret analysis.” Another in the Los Angeles Times was similarly headlined, “U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb.”

The pundits and politicians engage in systematic threat inflation on Iran. Their primary aim is to undermine the regime; they’re not concerned about some imaginary nuclear weapons program.

Alon Ben-Meir, a professor of international relations at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, says Israeli bluster is not all talk, necessarily. ”I don’t think Israel is bluffing entirely. There is an element of exaggerating its readiness to act and likelihood of winning. But many advisors to Prime Minister Netanyahu are saying that if he waits six or eight months, they may end up unable to do anything significant in terms of damage” to nuclear facilities that Iran has been moving underground to protect them from airstrikes,  he said.

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