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Europe refuses to cut trade with Iran, and the U.S. refuses direct negotiations

"Europe resists U.S. push to curb Iran ties," writes Steven R. Weisman in the NY Times (HT: Joe):
European governments are resisting Bush administration demands that they curtail support for exports to Iran and that they block transactions and freeze assets of some Iranian companies, officials on both sides say. The resistance threatens to open a new rift between Europe and the United States over Iran. Administration officials say a new American drive to reduce exports to Iran and cut off its financial transactions is intended to further isolate Iran commercially amid the first signs that global pressure has hurt Iran’s oil production and its economy. There are also reports of rising political dissent in Iran. (...)
The Bush administration has called on Europe to do more economically as part of a two-year-old trans-Atlantic agreement in which the United States agreed to support European efforts to negotiate a resolution of the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. Typically, American officials say, European companies that do business with Iran get loans from European banks and then get European government guarantees for the loans on the ground that such transactions are risky in nature. According to a document used in the discussions between Europe and the United States, which cites the International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers, the largest providers of such credits in Europe in 2005 were Italy, at $6.2 billion; Germany, at $5.4 billion; France, at $1.4 billion; and Spain and Austria, at $1 billion each. In addition to buying oil from Iran, European countries export machinery, industrial equipment and commodities, which they say have no military application.
The European Union is now implementing the limited UN sanctions against Iran. Is it time for (full) economic sanctions against Iran? Unfortunately, there is not much of a debate about it in Europe, is there? Dear readers, are you in favor of tougher sanctions?
More after the fold:

The US government might want to turn to India as well rather than just Europe:
Foreign Policy Magazine has a list of "Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006." The number one story is "India Helps Iran Build the Bomb, While the White House Looks the Other Way."
The U.S. government usually takes a hard line against countries that assist Iran with its nuclear program. In 2006 alone, Washington sanctioned firms in Cuba, North Korea, and Russia for making it a little easier for Iran to develop weapons of mass destruction. But, when the proliferator is a close American ally, the United States seems to take a different approach. Just after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in July to support a plan to provide India with nuclear technology, the Bush administration quietly imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for supplying Tehran with missile parts. Nor was the White House forthcoming with congress about other blots on India’s proliferation record: In the past two years, two other Indian companies have been penalized for allegedly passing chemical weapons information to Iran, and two Indian scientists who ran the state-run nuclear utility were barred from doing business with the U.S. government after they allegedly passed heavy-water nuclear technology to Tehran. Far from scuttling India’s nuclear deal, the United States seems to have rewarded the country by overturning 30 years of nonproliferation policy in its favor.
The Washington Post has learned: "Military Surplus Parts Illegally Find Their Way to Iran, U.S. Officials Say"
Fighter-jet parts and other sensitive U.S. military gear seized from front companies for Iran and brokers for China have been traced in criminal cases to a surprising source: the Pentagon. In one case, federal investigators said, contraband purchased in Defense Department surplus auctions was delivered to Iran, a country President Bush has branded part of an "axis of evil." In that instance, a Pakistani arms broker convicted of exporting U.S. missile parts to Iran resumed business after his release from prison. He purchased Chinook helicopter engine parts for Iran from a U.S. company that had bought them in a Pentagon surplus sale. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents say those parts reached Iran.
I am not aware of any such recent cases involving European arms sales.

NEGOTIATIONS?
A University of Maryland's World Public Opinion survey concludes:
+ Iranians Want Capacity to Enrich Uranium But Accept Non Proliferation Treaty Rules Against Developing Nuclear Weapons
+ Americans Would Allow Limited Enrichment, Provided UN Is Given Full Access
+ Iranians and Americans Believe Islam and West Can Find Common Ground
and most importantly:
Iranians and Americans have generally unfriendly feelings toward each other. Most Iranians have negative opinions of the United States (76%) and the current US government (93%) while their attitudes toward the American people are divided (45% favorable, 49% unfavorable). Most Americans also have unfavorable views of Iran. More than three-fourths (78%) see the Iranian government negatively while more than half (59%) feel the same way about the Iranian people. Nonetheless, both publics are interested in improving U.S-Iranian relations. Large majorities of Americans and majorities or pluralities of Iranians endorse a variety of ways to strengthen ties, including increased trade (Iranians 52%, Americans 65%), direct talks between the two governments on issues of mutual concern (Iranians 48%, Americans 79%), greater access for each other’s journalists (Iranians 51%, Americans 68%), and more cultural, educational, and sporting exchanges (Iranians 46%, Americans 72%).

Is it a credible public opinion poll survey?

The questionnaire included 134 substantive questions on a wide range of international issues, administered in face-to-face interviews in rural and as well as urban areas. Both the Iranian and U.S. surveys were probability-based national samples of 1,000 respondents or more.

Okay, that is about the Iranian public rather than the regime.
Anyway, another question for anybody interested: Should the Bush administration start direct negotiations with Iran?
It does not have to be with Ahmadinejad.
Iran's top negotiator on issues of national security, including Iran's nuclear program, is Ali Larijani. He is also one of two representatives of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). The influence of Ahmadinejad is often exaggerated in the media.

• One argument against US-Iran negotiations was that Washington is waiting Tehran out by betting on falling oil prices, political isolation and by hoping for a change to a more amenable government. Now it seems that one of America's closest allies might not help out: Foreign Policy Passport points out that "Saudi Arabia wants to shave oil output by 158,000 bpd. Maybe the Saudis don't want to bury the Iranians in cheap oil after all."

• Time to bomb? CasualConservative sells "T-shirts for proud Americans," including an "I (bomb) Iran" T-shirt.

Foreign Policy: Who Pays When the Bomb Goes Off?
The growth of the nuclear club provides more opportunities for terrorists to acquire deadly materials. That means the world needs a new strategy of deterrence. What could help keep the right ingredients
out of the wrong hands? Giving bombs birth certificates.

Related post in the Atlantic Review: Liberal American sends Europe a letter on Iran


Final thought: Perhaps the EU and the US could make a deal with each other:

The EU implements economic sanctions against Iran, which would cost us a lot.
And the US engages in serious, direct and unconditional negotiations with Iran.

Does that make sense?

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2020 on :

Iran has the oil we need, what do we have that Iran needs? A boycott could be more than counter-productive.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ 2020 We could get oil from other countries during the time of the sanctions. Iran needs machines and investments from Europe to keep their oil economy going and prevent another rise in unemployment. I am not sure if China and Russia can substitute yet. [b]I am not saying that sanctions are a silver bullet that solves all problems, but I think it is the best option we have, if combined with serious US-Iran negotations: Carrots and sticks:[/b] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/577-t.html#c6512[/url] Iran's oil industry could completely collapse by 2015, according to Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University. The vast majority of the Iranian people yearn for more engagement with the West and the United States in particular. Iran's economy urgently needs foreign investment, new technologies, and greater trade opportunities for the nonenergy sectors. A government that openly rejects such inflows will face a potent popular backlash. More: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/567-Liberal-American-sends-Europe-a-letter-on-Iran.html[/url]

Don S on :

With Saudi Arabia loosening the spigots Europe can get oil from them - at a lower price. In the longer term it appears Iran has a deferred maintenance problem with their oil fields, so they may not be able to keep supply up in the future. With oil proces falling Iran may face a choice between social programs, oil field maintenance, and their weapons program. In other news Presidente 'ugo Chavez of Venezuela was reported to be shopping for a tin cup.....

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"With Saudi Arabia loosening the spigots Europe can get oil from them - at a lower price." Saudi Arabia is [b]not [/b]doing that, according to the article I have cited above. I know this is a very long post. There is a lot to read. It is easy to miss something. I just wanted to present a lot of necessary information in one post rather than writing a dozen small posts about Iran. Now we can have a comprehensive debate about Iran. To save you (and others) some clicks: The linked Forbes articles says: Saudi Arabia to cut oil output to raise prices - report - Forbes.com "LONDON (AFX) - Saudi Arabia, which already has aggressively shaved its oil output in a battle to shore up prices, will reduce production by another 158,000 barrels per day from Thursday and more cuts are on the way, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed senior Saudi official. The latest cut means Saudi Arabia will have reduced production by about 1 mln barrels per day in the past six months, the report said. The Saudi official couldn't be precise about the country's output after the reduction this week but said that it would be 'around 8.5 million barrels a day.' The reductions, part of a broader OPEC campaign, are intended to shrink inventories of oil that had ballooned last year as demand growth for petroleum faltered, The Journal said. The Saudi cut is seen as an aggressive move to keep the price of the US benchmark crude above 55 usd a barrel, the report said, citing Roger Diwan, an analyst at PFC Energy, a Washington industry consultancy." [url]http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2007/01/30/afx3374321.html[/url] What do you think about the EU-US deal I suggested?

Don S on :

Actu7ally that makes my argument stronger, not weaker, Jorg. If Suadi Arabia hasn't been able to check the price falling as much as it has despite dropping it's production 1 million barrels a day that argues that global supplies have increased - and that Saudi Arabia no longer has the degree of control it perhaps once had. The argument for waiting on Iran isn't to wait until oil prices force some kind of regime change in Iran, btw. It is to soften Iran up and to give other powers in the Iranian government the leverage and time to wrest control out of the hands of Ahmadinejad. I don't think there is much profit in negociating with Ahmadinejad. He has put himself out on the end of the tree limb with no space to back down or compromise. Khamenei or Rafsanjani - perhaps. They have room to compromise. "The EU implements economic sanctions against Iran, which would cost us a lot. And the US engages in serious, direct and unconditional negotiations with Iran." Will Europe agree to this - and implement it? It seems to me that heretofore the demand by much of Europe is that the US engage in direct negociations with Iran. In some cases what is meant is direct capitulations to Iran - without any significant European concessions at all to increase the heat on Iran to move. That will not fly. Serious European sanctions would increase the pressure on the Iranian government to grab control from the posturing fool and actually negociate with the US and Europe.

pen Name on :

Wrong. The nuclear dossiere is pushed along by Mr. Khamenei. And he is firm that there will be uranium enrichment on the Iranian soil. Either line up with America and join the war against Iran or break with US and make a deal. There are no alternatives for EU.

Don S on :

Wrong yourself. Khamenei has left himself room to maneurver. Actually what I hear is that Khamenei is failing in health. A lot of what we are seeing is the political battle about who replaces him. Ahmadinejad the fool grabbed for the golden ring too soon. He's been trying to put his puppet in, which nobody outside his faction wants to see.

pen Name on :

Khamenei may have left himself room to maneuver but he has been the leader who was responsible for turning down the EU offer(s) (Not serious offers really, just toys for savages). He is fundamentally suspicious of you guys and adamant about enrichment in Iran. So is Rafsanjani, so is Khatami, so is Rohani, and others. If you put a serious offer down iran may suspend enrichment for 6 months to 2 years. That's all. Any way, I think all of this academic now since we expect to be attacked by US sometime in 2007 or 2008. At that time - after the attack - we will leave NPT and that would be the end of it.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"If you put a serious offer down iran may suspend enrichment for 6 months to 2 years. That's all." [b]Two years is fine with me. Both the US and Iran might have very different governments in two years. What would be a "serious offer"? [/b] "Any way, I think all of this academic now since we expect to be attacked by US sometime in 2007 or 2008." On the one hand it sounds that way, but on the other hand I expect the Bush administration to realize that they don't have the military resources for war with Iran this year. (I don't know about the second half of 2008) Both Washington and Tehran have been talking tough. It's mainly rhetoric. And shows some weakness. If Washington and Tehran would be stronger, they would not be afraid to negotiate with each other. I assume that in private, the governments rulers, pundits, and generals of both countries realize how weak they are. They know that their countries cannot afford a war. And Iran knows that EU sanctions will do a lot of harm. Washington and Tehran are just increasing the stakes and the pressure right now. Many negotiations are preceded by such macho postering.

Fuchur on :

At this time, I simply see no point in negotiations. Iran wants the bomb. We don't want them to get it. Not much to talk about there. Also, keep in mind that the starting point of the whole affair was that Iran was caught cheating on the treaties it had signed. Not a good premise for negotiations. The EU and Russia already have made several very generous offers, which the Iranians denied (rather brusquely, actually). I honestly don't know what else we could offer them. So, since our carrots obviously don't appeal to them, resorting to the stick seems a logical approach to me. Clearly, such sanctions would hurt us a lot. But I think they would hurt Iran quite a bit, too. I mean, you regularly hear of some Iranian plane crashing, because they don't have the parts to repair their aged American airplanes. I bet there are a lot of other things Iran simply cannot produce by itself yet. The only worry is that Russia and China would take sanctions as a welcome opportunity to step up and soak up all the market shares we would give away. Therefore, negotiations with Russia and China seem to me the crucial point.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"The EU and Russia already have made several very generous offers, which the Iranians denied (rather brusquely, actually)." Yes, but Iran also made some offers to the US in 2003, but the US did not bother to inquire more about to see how serious it was: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/562-Why-direct-negotiations-with-North-Korea,-but-not-with-Iran.html[/url] "I honestly don't know what else we could offer them." I agree. That's why I think the US should negotiate with Iran. We (=Europe) can't offer Iran want it wants. Only the US can do that. "resorting to the stick seems a logical approach to me." I agree. It is time for European sticks, but I think it is also time for US negotiations with Iran. One of many proposals for a Grand Bargain with Iran: [url]http://www.twq.com/07winter/docs/07winter_mcfaul.pdf[/url]

Fuchur on :

Your assumption is that diplomatic relations and trade with the US are what Iran wants above all. I see absolutely no reason to assume this. I mean, if this really was such a big goal of Iranian foreign policy, then they should take some steps in that direction, shouldn't they? For example, it might be a good starting point to stop the weekly "death to America" chants... It's really not that hard to get into a diplomatic relationship with the US. Most countries on this earth manage to do it. And if Iran would show some good will, I doubt there would be many obstacles. But I don't see any such attempt. All there is is a letter that's not even signed by anybody with authority, making some vague statements that might be interpreted as a peace gesture.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Point taken. I agree. Tehran should have changed its policy, if they wanted better US-Iranian relations. The problem is that improving US-Iranian relations is a very sensitive issue. Both in the US and in Iran, this issue is far too emotional. I often have the impression that both Washington and Tehran consider negotiations as appeasement or even surrender to the enemy. I think there were some significant (?) moves by President Khatami for better relations. Rather than trying to figure out how serious they are, the US rejected them and said that the president is not so influential. Instead Khomenei and others call the shots. Now Ahmadinejad is the president, and Americans say that we can't negotiate with such a crazy president and ignore that Ahmadinejad is not in charge of the nuclear negotiations. After 9/11 there was another chance for better relations. Tehran made the move. TIME Magazine reported: "Iran mourns America's dead": September 18, 2001: Iranian people light candles in Tehran's Mohseni Square in memory of the victims of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC. The reaction to the attack among people in pizza places and coffee shops, was mostly sympathetic. "Why should Americans deserve this? That's a sick thought. They are just ordinary people like us," said Massoud Moshiri, as he bought cigarettes at a juice stand." [url]http://www.time.com/time/europe/photoessays/vigil/3.html[/url] The Arabs did not light candles in big numbers, I think. Besides, Iran provided some support to the US in the Afghanistan invasion. I don't know what exactly. Perhaps it was not that much after all. I don't know. What was President Bush's response to this help? He branded Iran as part of the axis of evil in his State of the Union Speech in January 2002. Then he planned another war at Iran's doorstep. Naturally, Iran gets a bit nervous about US troops at all of its borders... "For example, it might be a good starting point to stop the weekly "death to America" chants..." Yes. There are counterparts (sort of) in the US to these chants: Pundits, talkradio hosts and others have been talking about regime change and bombing Iran for years (probably ever since after the hostage crisis). One example from November 2006: "Bomb Iran" was the headline in a Los Angeles Times op-ed: "Diplomacy is doing nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear threat; a show of force is the only answer. By Joshua Muravchik, JOSHUA MURAVCHIK is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute." http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-muravchik19nov19,0,1681154.story?coll=la-opinion-center And then there are these T-Shirts: [url]http://www.casualconservative.com/ibombiran.html[/url] Okay, most of this anti-Iran rhetoric is NOT coming from the US government, but does that make a difference to Iranians? Probably not. The anti-Iran rhetoric might not as wide-spread as the "Death to America" chants. Though, I think these chants are widely exaggerated in the Western media. Don considers American Eurobashing as a justified response to European Anti-Americanism. So, Don and others probably see the anti-Iran rhetoric as a response to Iran's misbehaviour. And he/they are right. The Iranians however say that they are just reacting to the US coup against Mottassadegh, support for the Shah etc.. Iran wants to dominate the Middle East. The US has huge interests in the region as well. So a large part of the US-Iranian conflict is NOT about a bad bilateral history, but about rival interests, i.e. peace negotiations might NOT solve all problems. Still I think the US and Iranian grievances based on their bad bilateral history should be addressed. The US is angry at Iran for many legitimate reasons. And Iran is angry at the US for some legitimate reasons. Some Iranian grievances might not be legitimate, but imagined. Anyway, it is perception that counts. The list of Iranian complaints against the US include: + CIA coup against Mossadegh and restore the exiled Shah; + U.S. Support for anti-Iranian terrorist organisations in Iraq + U.S. companies assistance in developing Iraq's chemical weapons facilities during the Iran-Iraq war.; + USS Vincennes shooting down Iran Air Flight 655 with many civilian fatalities; + Economic damage caused by U.S. Sanctions and political pressure; + U.S. UAV overflights over Iran violating Iranian airspace since 2003. + U.S. military presence in the neighboring countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. + Frozen Iranian assets that have not been released since 1979; Again, I am NOT saying that all those complaints are legitimate, but they explain the Iranian position. I guess, you are aware of all that. Sorry for wasting your time. This comment is getting too long. My point is NOT to make excuses for Iran's hostile policies towards the US and Israel. Iran is a ruthless, brutal country: Support for global terrorism, plenty of torture, executions without fair trial against gays, stoning of women, etc etc. Iranian agents are responsible for the bombing in the "Mykonos" restaurant in Berlin and some are imprisoned in Germany. Iran wants the agents freed. Therefore Iran has imprisoned a German tourist a few years ago, who was fishing close to an Iranian island and allegedly came close. Iran wants the Mykonos agents in exchange for this poor German tourist. Bastards. I am in favor of full economic sanctions against Iran. If Russia and China oppose UN sanctions, then the EU should do it alone. I do think, however, there has to be a diplomatic track as well between the US and Iran for the sanctions to work. I think only US-EU cooperation will work: EU sanctions and US negotiations. EU sticks and US carrots. IMHO, only sticks does not work, because a) China and Russia would continue to trade with Iran and b) Iran managed to deal with eight years of sanctions during the war with Iraq, which was supported by the West. EU sticks and US carrots would also increase the pressure from the Iranian people against the regime.

Fuchur on :

Now, THAT's a reply :-). It seems that our positions are not that far apart. At least, I agree that it is not a good idea for the US to [i]categorically[/i] rule out negotiations with Iran. I just don't think that [i]now[/i] is the right time to start negotiations.

naj on :

Fuchur, You are making certain unfounded assumptions, just like does your government. Speaking of "showing good will": Iran is insisting that it is not after nuclear weapon, Iran has signed the noproliferation treaty, Iran has insisted that it wants to negotiate with the US directly; but Iran also insists that it is a sovereign nation, that it has the right to technological/scientific development, and it demands to be treated with respect in negotiations. It is the Bush-Cheney-Rice pack who are beating their out of tune (yet defenong) drum, who deploy nuclear warheads to the Persian gulf, who keep insisting on Iran's terrorism, without evidence--that is not to say they are not fabricating evidence for your facil consumption though. So, speaking of good will, how come after 911, after Iran helping Americans in Afghanistan, overlooking their unauthorized flights on Iran soil during Iraq war, insisting on the "dialogue of civilizations", the President goes to address Iran as the "axis o evil". Is this good will? Perhaps, those Americans who have their heads full of "Iran is against our democracy" crap, can pay attention that the so-called (again another propaganda) fundamentalist Iranians have good diplomatic and economic and cultural ties with the Europeans. I would call Europeans more democrat and far less god-fearing than Americans, wouldn't you? But the point about Iran is that it not only has oil, but it also has many other things. They want Iran to be a little rich poppy, played in the hands of their geopolitical whim. Iran wants to take care of its own interest. Iran is also a ~70-million big market for Europe. And Europeans, being more cultured in general than American counterparts, do not brand the "other" an enemy at the first sight of disagreement. That Italy is the largest economic partner of Iran, is in part reflexive of a cultural affinity as well. The same goes for Germany and France. These countries have a better understanding of cultural subtleties needed to interact and to negotiate with Iran. And until Dr. Rice gets educated in those matters, we shall remain in a deadlock. To all those advocates of bombing Iran; with friends like you, the US of A needs no enemies. To bomb Iran will strip America of its moral legitimacy. And I doubt Europe is in such suicidal hysteria. Oh by the way, Iran has just replaced US dollar with Euro as its official foriegn trade currency. See, Europeans show a litle good will, Iran shows it back. Also, do not forget China and India. They have just had enough of American hegemony. And King Abdullah, well he never really wanted to be an American poppet in the first place so I won't put my money on him either. And americans just got rid of the biggest enemy of Iran: Saddam! In real democracies, people listen to the opinion polls, and governments do not aggitate innocent nations to war, just because their term in the office is coming up. Americans want to negotiate with Iran, they can start by being polite first.

pen Name on :

You (meaning Germans & French) supported Saddam Hussein's War against Iran. You passed chemical weapons precursors and thus helped him rape the Chemical Weapons Treaty with impunity. US & UK prevented the Iranian complaint from reaching UNSC. Now you have found religion and talk of NPT. The fact remains that Ira-Iraq War is a seminal event -like WWI - in the Middle East. The fact remains that together with Japan, Iran is the only country that has been attacked by WMD. There is a lot of anger and bitterness in Iran about all of this. We just do not trust you guys; you aided and abetted our enemies to the hilt. Your analysts openly discuss target selections in my country. And your so-called offer was just good for the colonials that you think we are. As I said before - accept us the way we are or leave us alone.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

What do you think of the opinion poll I mentioned in the post?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I understand the anger and bitterness. Do have any concerns about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East? Yes, I know, Israel started it in the Middle East, but still... If Iran gets nukes, then Saudi Arabia will get nukes. And perhaps even Turkey. This arms race makes the Middle East more dangerous for Iran. Besides, many Iranians want their government to solve the countries economic problems. High (youth) unemployment, deteriorating infrastructure. They don't like it to waste money and resources on a nuclear weapons programs, "Holocaust conferences," and some friendship show with Hugo Chavez, etc.

pen Name on :

No I am not concerned about more nuclear weapons in ME. Only Turkey might be able to build them. Saudi Arabaia nd Egypt cannot - the first one does not have teh industrial capaciy and teh second neither the money nor the political will (under US power anyway) to do it. SA could buy a weapon - that is permited by NPT. We live by the side of Pakistan with its nuclear weapons. We live surrounded by the Sunni Arabs that suppored Saddam to the hilt. They are not a friends of Iran. If and when the Pakistani government is replaced by a Sunni extermist government and they threaten us with nuclear attacks on our cities what would EU do? Is there any body to protect us? Will Russia? Will China? No, we have learnt our lesson - the security of Iran (which has been invaded by Turkey, Russia, US, USSR, UK, and Iraq over the last 100 years) is and must be in our own hands. Sanctions, bombings etc. are an acceptable price - a nuclear attack on Iran by the enemy will kill hundreds of thousands.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Saudi Arabaia nd Egypt cannot - the first one does not have teh industrial capaciy" [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/577-E.html#c6476[/url] "If and when the Pakistani government is replaced by a Sunni extermist government and they threaten us with nuclear attacks" Why should Pakistan do that? Do Iranians and Pakistanis have a bad history as well? Actually your concern about an extremist takeover, is the same concern many in the West have regarding Iranian nukes. What if Tehran gets a more extreme government and they decide to eradicate Israel, although it would mean the end of Iran as well. It is not logical. Likewise, it is not logical for Pakistan to attack Iran, but extremists are not logical. Israel has a second strike capability: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/392-Perception-of-Germany-in-Israel-UPDATED.html[/url] If Iran develops one or two nukes now, it still won't have a second strike capability for many years to come, i.e. those "Pakistani extremists" could drop a bomb on Iran without feeling Iranian retaliation. Wrong? "Sanctions, bombings etc. are an acceptable price" I think the bombing of the nuclear sites would lead to a rally around the flag effect in Iran, i.e. the people will support the government's policy. Sanctions, however, might have a different effect. Tough sanctions could cripple the Iranian oil industry. Someone else already mentioned that there are plane crashes pretty frequently in Iran. It seems you are lacking some repair or maintainance tools. etc etc. Again, I think sanctions coupled with US negotiations in good spirit have a chance of success. In other words: The sanctions are the sticks, and the US negotiations are the carrotts. The US negotiations must be credible. The US must be willing to compromise. The US must prove that it wants good relations with Iran rather than regime change and payback for the 1979 hostage crisis. [b]If the US can demonstrate good intentions to the Iranian people, then the Iranian people will realize that the sanctions could be lifted immidiately and the US would come back to invest in Iran. The Iranian unemployment problem could be solved etc etc. Thus, the Iranians will not support their government's hard line stance anymore. Instead there will be a popular backlash against the regime's nuclear policy.[/b] This is argued in more detail in the Grand Bargain proposal and in the Roger Stern report mentioned in another recent post on Iran: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/567-Liberal-American-sends-Europe-a-letter-on-Iran.html[/url]

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ penName More about Saudi Arabia's nuclear program: The UK's The Business: "It is becoming clear that [b]the first 21st century clash of civilisations – if there is to be one – will not pit Christians against Muslims but one branch of Islam against another.[/b] In yet another escalation of the Middle East crisis sparked by the disastrous American-led occupation of Iraq, The Business has learnt that, in response to Shia Iran’s ambitions to possess a nuclear arsenal, Sunni Saudi Arabia has plans to create a nuclear capability of its own. In a development that risks turning the Middle East into a nuclear powder keg, Western and Middle Eastern sources have told this magazine that, if and when it is clear that Iran has the bomb (or is close to it), the Saudis will respond by buying one from Pakistan, a fellow Sunni state. They would also likely purchase Pakistani ballistic missiles to replace the Chinese ones they bought in the 1980s. Everything is already in place for this to happen. When it comes to nuclear weapons, the Saudi-Pakistan connection has been close for some time. Western intelligence services are now convinced that Saudi Arabia played a large role in financing Pakistan’s nuclear bomb project. Riyadh’s aim was to guarantee it immediate access to a nuclear arsenal to counter the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Business has learnt that British Intelligence (MI6) already regards Saudi Arabia as a surrogate nuclear power, able to join the club whenever it chooses. Riyadh’s long-standing links with the Pakistani bomb are only now being scrutinised. A senior Saudi who defected to America in the 1990s warned Washington that Riyadh was financially supporting the nuclear ambitions of Islamabad to ensure access to nuclear weapons of its own in the future. The Pakistani nuclear scientist and leader of the world’s biggest nuclear proliferation ring, AQ Khan, was invited to Saudi Arabia by its Defence Minister, who toured Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in 1999 and 2002 (the 1999 visit prompting a diplomatic complaint from Washington). A Saudi Prince was a guest of honour at a 2002 Pakistani missile test. Pakistan was given almost $2bn-worth of Saudi oil after the international community initiated sanctions against Islamabad following its 1998 nuclear test." More: [url]http://www.thebusinessonline.com/Document.aspx?id={5634FF4B-442B-4F42-81F1-9B67C4B1F24D}[/url]

Zyme on :

Let´s face it: It is unlikely that Iran can be kept from getting nuclear weaponry. So we better adjust our diplomatic settings to this regional change of power. Economical sanctions is the most stupid stance from an european perspective then. Of course it looks quite attractive for americans as they have little to lose. But we don´t have to fall for that one ;)

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"It is unlikely that Iran can be kept from getting nuclear weaponry." That might be the case, but a) we have to do all we can to prevent and b) Iran is still several years away from the bomb. Thus we have a chance. Besides, did you notice that Saudi Arabia seems to have a nuclear weapons program? First they funded the Pakistani bomb, now the Pakistani scientists work in Saudi Arabia: [url]http://americanfuture.net/?p=1564[/url] There is also now talk that Egypt and Jordan want to start a nuclear program. Of course, for energy only, they say... If Iran gets the bomb, then we will have an nuclear arms race in the region. Perhaps even Turkey will build nuclear weapons... "So we better adjust our diplomatic settings to this regional change of power." How???

Saa on :

Saudi Arabia is a good friend of US, though it dislikes Israel (and for political benefits US does not talk about it).. and if at any level Pakistan who does want to recognize Israel and wants to be good friend of Isreal will start cooperating with Israel, it will hurt Saudi Arabia and many Arab countries, though they ignore the fact that Jorden and Eqypt have good terms with Israel but no they are hypocrite as never blame their Arab kins, they will only target Pakistan (as its not Arab blood) and isolate it in muslim world. Also India will start more terms with Arab world against Pakistan. Remember India has better relations with Arab world than Pakistan. Also its cheap labor is helping Saudis to develop. http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?127387 http://www.antiwar.com/bidwai/?articleid=7177 Anyway there are more Indians scientists who work in Saudi Arabia than Pakistani one. Btw who made Pakistan a neuclear power? Ofcourse the one who is making South Africa the neuclear power. http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/index.html?http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/b3/waste.html It was Germany if in start did not cooperate with Qadeer Khan, then never the Pakistan could able to become neuclear power. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45637-2004Sep23.html And from where Pakistanis got complex war weapons, its from US in Zia's regime as Pakistan helped US to break the Russian block and kick out Russia from Afghanistan and circulate literature among pushtoons in Afghanistan funded by US, which made them later as Taliban, who first fought against Russians and later when war was finished left alone by US and that why that devil Osama came into picture who are now making them fool for his own benefits like US once did. http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3aa68e10243d.htm Do you know the mysterious air crash of President Zia with all generals who worked on mission with US to defeat Russia, including US Ambassador, it happened in Bahawalpur where US wanted to sell more military tanks to Pakistan and it said no more deals on tanks but planes. Why US never pointed out to investigate it especially when they lost their own ambassador. http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/articles/wpj05-3/crossette.html And why France, US & Britain is not blamed to make Pakistan Navy so strong? http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/pakistan/agency/navy.htm Be honest to look other side of the picture too, if West had never helped these developing countries for only their political benefits, none Saudis nor anyone else could make them neuclear power. And yes India as a neuclear power is not dangerous like Pakistan and Iran? And you know who helped India to become neuclear power... For God sake do not be hypocrite. Any nation who helped developing countries to become neuclear power is first hand culprit and 2nd any country who has neuclear power is dangerous to whole society, whether its Pakistan, Iran, Korea, US, China or Israel. Do not be selective to target some and leave other, atleast the Germans should be honest as its in their blood to be always honest, thanks!

Zyme on :

"How???" We have to adjust our settings in a way that allows us the option of increasing our partnership with such an ambitious country. This way we will not only keep our economical influence but also gain the possibility of a close cooperation between our secret services. And last but not least, they won´t oppose any military actions by our army in countries of their neighbourhood like Afghanistan as long as we have good relations. We don´t want well equipped terrorists at our throat like the americans have, right? Every industrial country that behaves differently is less competition for us. So in the end our companies might modernize the infrastructure of the whole country, which wouldn´t be the first time in the arabian region. A more powerful Iran has a pretty side-effect as well: What would be better to fight american influence in this region? Less Americans means more Europeans after all :)

Fuchur on :

Obviously, obsolete and childish notions like "morals" or anything like that don't come into this for you... Fine, let's argue this from a purely opportunistic point of view. I must say that I completely don't understand your logic. Don't you think the Americans might see through this smart sneaky little plan you advocate, and that they might react a little bit pissed? I see the value of having Iranian allies in your plan for world domination (or whatever). But when the downside is that we would lose the US as an ally, then this seems like a really crappy deal to me. And do I have to remind you that right now, the most powerful country both economically and militarily in the Middle East is Israel, to whom we enjoy excellent relationships for nearly 50 years now. Do you simply want to throw that away? If I was to argue a purely opportunistic standpoint, it would go something like this: We need raw materials. The spice must flow, or we are in trouble. Therefore, we should view the Iranian attempts to get the bomb with great concern. The danger that the madmen in Iran really mean what they say, and that they might start a war with Israel when they got the bomb is considerable. Also, a nuclear Iran could use its power to tip the precarious balance in the Middle East and to take influence on Saudi Arabia and Iraq, endangering our oil supplies. Well, since this argumentation leaves morals aside, the solution is simple: bomb Iran to smithereens. The Arab world will not be particularly mad at us for that. Egypt and Saudi Arabia certainly won't complain, and Iraq will probably even thank us. Syria and Lebanon might be pissed, but who cares about them...

Zyme on :

"Fine, let's argue this from a purely opportunistic point of view." Great start! it´s the only way we can get a realistic understanding of international developments. Where individuals have their morals, nations have their interests. "Don't you think the Americans might see through this smart sneaky little plan you advocate, and that they might react a little bit pissed?" I agree, but they will be far less pissed about it as they probably are about the growing german-russian partnership in political, economical and military ways or about the part of Germany´s economical influence in Europe that is devoted to keeping our american competition out of any critical european sector. So this won´t matter. "But when the downside is that we would lose the US as an ally, then this seems like a really crappy deal to me." Taking into account what I said above: If we lose the US as an ally, it won´t be due to a close partnership with Iran. "And do I have to remind you that right now, the most powerful country both economically and militarily in the Middle East is Israel, to whom we enjoy excellent relationships for nearly 50 years now. " According to this site, the german-israelian trade volume in 2005 was 4,5 billion euros. (http://www.wirtschaftsrat.de/landesverbaende/LvNDSindex/LvNDSmitt?archiv=1) And according to this one, just the german exports into Iran have had a volume of 4,4 billion euros, with great potential. (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,454053,00.html) So from a german perspective, Israel is not all that important and far less promising due to lacking considerable raw materials that are vital for our industries. "Do you simply want to throw that away?" The german policy in the Iran case is not throwing anything away. If someone decides to be upset about our neutrality it is not our fault. We keep the doors open for all of our partners in this region. Nobody can blame the german government while it is protecting german investments and interests in the region. This is its primary job. "Therefore, we should view the Iranian attempts to get the bomb with great concern. " We do. My personal guess is that our government considers it very unlikely or even impossible to keep Iran from getting the bomb. And throwing away our good relations for a lost goal makes no sense at all. The americans can´t be trusted here: They didn´t have any problems seeing Pakistan or India getting the bomb (which can be considered as equilly instable countries) because they have good relations to them. Germany behaves no different in the Iran case. "Also, a nuclear Iran could use its power to tip the precarious balance in the Middle East and to take influence on Saudi Arabia and Iraq, endangering our oil supplies." Your sentence is perfectly correct, only you should change one attribute to this: "endangering american oil supplies" There is good reason why the americans are so nervous in this case while Europe observes the development in a relatively relaxed mood :) "Well, since this argumentation leaves morals aside, the solution is simple: bomb Iran to smithereens." From an american perspective, this may seem right in case America values its influence in the region above its relationship to Europe. And in case they are able to accomplish something with the ressorces that aren´t bound in Iraq. From an european perspective (especially the german one) it would probably be the most stupid stance.

Anonymous on :

Germany does not have good relations with Iran. Germany just sells some stuff to Iran. That's all. There is not any friendship in international politics. Germany is not going to gain anything from Einschleimen bei Iran. Iran dominating the Middle East is not in Germany's interest.

Anonymous on :

The more countries get nukes, the worse it is for non-nuclear powers like Germany.

Zyme on :

"Germany does not have good relations with Iran. Germany just sells some stuff to Iran. That's all." We are the most popular industrial nation in the arabian world. In Iran, our companies are preferred and trusted partners while germans enjoy a good reputation there in general. I guess this can be described as good relations. "There is not any friendship in international politics. Germany is not going to gain anything from Einschleimen bei Iran." Who said something about Einschleimen? We simply don´t move with the others regarding an aggressive stance. We remain neutral. Our companies depend on our reliability among our buisness partners, so our government has an interest of keeping up respective relations. Again it is not us closing any doors, others try to do. "The more countries get nukes, the worse it is for non-nuclear powers like Germany." Very true for non-nuclear powers in Iran´s neighborhood that lack the scientific knowledge or industrial infrastructure of building their own nuclear weaponry in a short time. Untrue for any industrial nation that would be able to enrich the needed materials within a matter of months, especially when its closest neighbor and ally (France) is armed already.

Dan Kervick on :

I fail to understand the point of the tougher santions, especially if talks take place. The sanctions are apparently designed to get Iran to meet US preconditions for talks, wheras Iran is willing to talk now without preconditions. If the US agrees to drop the preconditions and talks to Iran, then the sanctions are moot, aren't they? Or is the idea just to make a gesture of solidarity to the US and offer Bush some way to save face? If there is a Grand Bargain-style deal to be made, one that is in the national interest of both countries, then the two countries should be expected to just sit down and explore the deal, without all of the preliminary bullshit. Personally, I doubt the US is just waiting for a more amenable government - at least in the standard sense. They had a chance to work with a more amenable government when Khatami was there, and they passed it up. The Bush administration wants total regime change, and has pushed itself into a rhetorical corner - "Axis of Evil" and all that - with its dwindling hard line domestic constiituency from which it has left itself no dignified escape. And it is now in the process of building a regional coalition - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey - which seems eager to take a similarly hard line against Iran., and even against the Iraqi government that the administration itself helped to forge. My own "Letter to Europe" from here in the US would be of this form: "Stop appeasing and enabling our radical right wing president."

Don S on :

"They had a chance to work with a more amenable government when Khatami was there, and they passed it up." More amenable to be sure - but we learned where the real power in Iran lay. It wasn't with Khatami. He was a cipher.

Markus on :

Therefore the real power does not lie with Ahmadineschadad either, but the media is too stupid to realize that. Ahmadineschad is America's lame excuse for opposing negotiations and beating the war drum.

Saa on :

Jeorg@ I am also here to apologize that I called you hypocrite, actually I should use the world is hypocrite when it ignores the facts that any country is threat to society who is nuclear power whether politically stable or not. Sorry to hit your integrity my friend :-) and wish you a nice day cheers ;-) Rest your asked questions, I replied in my box ;-).

ADMIN on :

Please note that by default the comments in this blog are threaded rather than linear, i.e. some of the latest responses to comments are not at the bottom, but in the middle of the thread right behind the comment they respond to. At the top of the comments section you have the option to change the view from threaded to linear (=chronological), which enables you to see the latest comments at the end of the thread.

Zyme on :

@ Naj The voice of reason. What a pleasure reading. "That Italy is the largest economic partner of Iran, is in part reflexive of a cultural affinity as well." How did you find out? The last time I checked, Germany had the biggest export volume into and Japan the biggest import volume from Iran. What calculation do you base this assumption on? Not that it would harm your argumentation. Japan has one of most polite forms of culture on this planet. I´m not so sure about the ordinary german, but at least we know comparatively well when to shut up :)

Pat Patterson on :

I am always interested in the contradictory views of the Iran issue, in regards to the difference between the EU's and the US's trade motivations. When the US is involved in trade with a less than clean regime it is because the US is in thrall with international corporations or if it seeks to punish some nation it is because the US is not trading with them. The US is charged with not doing the right thing because its capitalists are acting in a manner that Europeans think are contrary to the real interests of the American people. But when the EU or some of its primary nations act in accordance with their international corporations then it is because they are acting in the interests of their citizens. Could it be that European countries sense an opening in trade with Iran? Germany cannot have it both ways, catering to the Iranians on behalf of Mercedes or selling electric diesel subs to the Israelis. Is losing 10% of its exports to the US(last year total of 70 billion Euros) worth the 4.3 billion Euros of exports to Iran? Which notably is still down 20% from 2002? Who would Germany rather do business with in the long term, The US and Israel or Iran? And what follows for Germany is true for the EU.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I basically agree with what you write in the first two paragraphs. Awful double standards and hypocrisy. "Could it be that European countries sense an opening in trade with Iran?" What do you mean by opening? I don't see any increased efforts to trade with Iran. Every country is trying to increase exports. "Germany cannot have it both ways, catering to the Iranians on behalf of Mercedes or selling electric diesel subs to the Israelis." Why not? Do you think this is hypocrisy? In a sense it is. You probably think it is anti-Israel, but one could also see it as anti-Iran. You know what I mean? These submarines could be equipped with nuclear weapons and the German taxpayer paid a third of the costs of these submarines. I wrote about it before: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/392-Perception-of-Germany-in-Israel-UPDATED.html[/url] Thus, Germany is supporting the Israeli nuclear program. (Yes, I know, some are saying that the submarines are not to be used for nuclear second strike deterrents.) This makes Germany hypocritical: [b]Germany tries to persuade Iran not to go nuclear, while at the same time supporting Israel's nuclear defense with high-tech submarines. This does not make German foreign policy credible to the Iranians and the Arabs. [/b] The entire Middle East has been accusing the West of double standards for decades, if not centuries. That's a major problem in our relationship. Many Muslims feel humiliated by the Wests... Israel is the only nuclear power so far in the Middle East. Olmert sort of admitted a few months ago that Israel has nukes. Anyway, everybody knows that Israel has them. Now, I can give you a whole list of reasons, why it is justified for Israel to have nukes, but my opinion does not matter. The question is: How do we justify to Iran and the Arabs that Israel may have nukes, but they may not have nukes? Sure, we can tell them our list of reasons, but that won't convince them to end their nuclear programs. Or do you know how to convince them? Given Germany's support for Israel, it is not very significant if Mercedes sells a few luxuary cars to Iran. As long as Germany does not sell any weapons or dual use staff etc. [b]Hey, guys, why is not anybody commenting on the Pentagon sales that nearly ended up in Iran? Or about India's support for Iran, while the US turns a blind eye and intensifies US-Indian relations?[/b] (For more details, scroll up in this awfully long post of mine) "Is losing 10% of its exports to the US (last year total of 70 billion Euros) worth the 4.3 billion Euros of exports to Iran? Which notably is still down 20% from 2002? Who would Germany rather do business with in the long term, The US and Israel or Iran?" I agree with Pat in the sense that good relations with the US and Israel are more important for Germany and the EU than trade with Iran, but I do not agree with Pat about selling selling Mercedes cars to Iran, while selling submarines to Israel with a huge discount paid by the German taxpayer. See the Atlantic Review post about these submarines that could be equipped with nukes. [b]I am in favor of full EU sanctions on Iran, if the US starts serious negotiations with Iran to sort out their bilateral problems. I believe, such a mix of EU sticks and US carrots is our best chance to convince the Iranian to give up their program to develop nukes and put their civil nuclear program on very strict UN/IAEA inspections. We still have a couple of years time to give this policy mix of carrots and sticks a chance. How likely is the success of such a policy? I don't know, but I am convinced that this policy has a bigger chance to succeed that bombing Iran, which would only delay their develop of nukes, while leading to more wars in the Middle East and more terrorism in Europe and the US.[/b] Better strategies anyone?

Markus on :

Germany does not depend on Iran for oil and gas. Our imports from Iran are pretty small. Most oil comes from Norway, most of the gas from Russia.

Pat Patterson on :

One thing I should have added is how much foreign policy is beholden to small companies(yes I know Mercedes is not small) that have no compunction in demanding that their respective governments bail out their risky investments. Witness Pres. Clinton's problems with some of his California campaign donors trying to sell sensitive software to the Chinese. I wouldn't go as far as calling Germany's foreign policies in regard to Iran or Israel as hypocritical but an open sore if one side of the dispute demands that Germany stop dealing with the other. Britain tried such a policy during the civil war in Nigeria by unofficially supporting Biafra(routing some weapons and money through Israel) while still maintaing full diplomatic and economic ties with Nigeria. The excuse at the time was that in supplying the Nigerian military with the weapons to blockade food into Biafra meant that Britain could still act as a brake on Nigerian cruelty. Calling for full talks between the US and Iran could seriously damage trust in the EU and aside from wanting to avoid the blame I simply cannot understand the EU's push for such an outcome. Why would those interests within the EU that want to humble the US agree to such an outcome? I can't see the termination of such talks with an agreement between the US and Iran as anything other then a tremendous setback for the EU's prestige and the extension of US influence into an area that the EU was making inroads.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Calling for full talks between the US and Iran could seriously damage trust in the EU" Why? "and aside from wanting to avoid the blame I simply cannot understand the EU's push for such an outcome." I am not sure if the EU is pushing for it. I am pushing for direct US-Iran negotiations, because the main reason for Iran's nuclear program seems to be its bad relationship with the US. Iran has learned from North Korea that nukes mean protection from regime change. "Why would those interests within the EU that want to humble the US agree to such an outcome?" ??? "I can't see the termination of such talks with an agreement between the US and Iran as anything other then a tremendous setback for the EU's prestige and the extension of US influence into an area that the EU was making inroads." The EU-3 are negotiating with Iran, because the US does not want to. Negotiating with Iran is not meant to increase the EU's prestige, I believe. The EU wants to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, while at the same time avoid another US-led war in the Middle East, which is close to Europe... It's not at all about prestige. The silly Congo peacekeeping mission was probably to enhance EU prestige.

Pat Patterson on :

I'm not sure we're talking about the same period in history in regards to the Biafran civil war in the 60's. I thought that the agreement was the EU would do the negotiating instead of the US in the early stages because the EU begged for the opportunity and also saw a chance to moderate US influence. Again like the talks with the NK the US is in a no-win position when it lets others negotiate and those talks seem to US eyes fail then the US is acting precipitously before talks can succeed. While if the US acts alone then it is not taking into accounts the good offices of its allies. Why would any country want to talk with the monkey when they can talk directly with the organ grinder? Except when agreeing to talk to the monkey you are able to stall then present a fait accompli with a very dirty nuclear device as a symbol of national pride. And getting back to the seemingly inconsistent position of the US, in regards to negotiations with Iran and NK, one can assume that a change of regimes in Iran will not result in milliions of refugees fleeing across bridges through the Shatt-al Arab. While a collapse of NK would send millions of refugees across the 38th Parallel or the Yalu River. The US must negotiate with the cooperation or at least the presence of China and the ROK. Which is accomplished via China's hosting sidetalks between the NK and the USA. This is an EU problem simply because the conditions for talks will never be solved between the US and Iran. I would ask why hasn't the EU come up with some sort of face saving device that would allow if not encourage direct talks unless the EU actually has no real interest other than the status quo?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

> I'm not sure we're talking about the same period in history > in regards to the Biafran civil war in the 60's. I was not talking about Biafra > While if the US acts > alone then it is not taking into accounts the good offices of > its allies. You know my opinon from an earlier comment. This is not a prestige project for the EU. I think the EU would appreciate it if the US would start negotiations with Iran. [b]The German government and German parliamentarians have repeatedly called for such negotiations: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/308-U.S.-government-is-urged-to-talk-to-Iran.html[/url][/b] > This is an EU problem simply because the conditions for talks > will never be solved between the US and Iran. I would ask > why hasn't the EU come up with some sort of face saving > device that would allow if not encourage direct talks unless > the EU actually has no real interest other than the status quo? Hm, I guess you are right. The EU has to please those damn sensitivities and all the emotional baggage and come up with a face saving deal for the US and Iran. Perhaps the EU has not done so, because it waits for a new US government. I think that would be a mistake.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Hm, perhaps the EU has been working on a face saving deal, but it is difficult because US and Iranian mutual complains, sensitivities and grievances are so big.

Pat Patterson on :

"SA could buy a weapon-that is permitted by NPT." Unless there is some secret codicil to the treaty then it remains that Saudi Arabia may not buy or create a nuclear weapon unless it gives notice of withdrawal and explains fully its reasons for withdrawal. And unlike Iran Saudi Arabia has not violated any of the treaties agreements. It can be agreed that the Soviet Union and the UK invaded Iran to dispose of Reza Khan for harboring plotters cooperating with the Axis agents but aside from a rather miserable rescue operation I'm not familiar with any US invasion. Saddam attempted to secure the Shatt al-Arab and Kuzestan(sp) and I always thought that it was the Ottoman Empire that held sway over Persia not just Turkey. Oddly enough I know just the answer to the question of who will come to the aid of Iran if threatened by Pakistan; The US, the UK, France and Germany as farfetched as that might sound. And of that group the only two I would rely on would be America and Britain.

Saa on :

Yep Pat, I think the same it will be ONLY US & UK who will Aid Iran, if at any level Pakistan will attack on Iran. You know why? Actually it will happen in this way. One day US will find Mushrraf useless, especially if Osama will be caught. And Afghanistan will get some peace. Then they may kill Mushrraf in mysterious airplane crash like they did with President Zia (ex-US Ally). Or maybe they leave Musharraf so helpless by aiding extremist Mullahs, then Mullah will kick him out and rule the country. (Same like it happened in Iran by aiding Khomeni and isolating shah-Iran the ex friend of US & UK). As soon as Mullah will rule in Pakistan the relationship with Iran and Pakistan will get bitter. And (in direct) big aid from US, Mullahs will able to attack Iran. And once they will attack and then there will be bitter war, finally US and Britan will appear directly in game. Then they will aid Iran and send their forces there ;) Like they did in Saudi Arabia...and once they are there they will never go, like they are still in Germany and would never leave :-) So I agree, that with all greedy dirty political games US will enter in Iran. And Pakistan at end will be defeated (probably also with BIG help of India) and US will have Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, this will give enough oil & gas to US and also control on fast growing Asian market. Pakistan has border with China, so US can control them better. ;) And then we Europeans will clap behind US and ask for reconstruction contracts to build these countries and get some profit out of it.

Watcher on :

Good old Zbing Brzezinski said on Feb 1st before the US Senate Foreign Relations committee the following: http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001916.php He suggests that the US is going to blame Iran falsely of an attack in Iraq and the US, and then with this reason attacks Iran. Hello Golf of Tonkin! Hello Gleiwitz! "A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a “defensive” U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."

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