Iran War Weekly | July 8, 2013
[Reprinted with the author's permission.]
The few reporters and writers who remained at their posts over this sweltering July 4th weekend have been focused primarily on the events in Egypt, and there is relatively little new news about Iran, its nuclear program, and/or the prospects for war or peace. The events in Egypt, of course, have some bearing on events in Syria and thus with Iran, and I will address them below.
Although newly elected President Rowhani will assume Iran’s presidency on August 3, there are still no signs that the United States intends to modify its negotiating position re: Iran’s nuclear program; nor, indeed, do the “P5+1” seem anxious to get back to the negotiating table at all. As a reminder of how unrealistic are the US “offers” now on the table, I’ve linked below their “confidence building” proposals from last March.
Indeed, rather than indicating a “reverse course” toward Iran, Washington is plunging ahead on the familiar path of sanctions and demonization. A Tehran spokesman expressed disappointment last week that a new round of sanctions – this time against Iranian financial institutions – went ahead as scheduled on July 1. And the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives just forwarded to the President an AIPAC-crafted document calling on him to implement a new round of economic sanctions to put a stop to “Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capacity.” More on this below.
Much of the writing in the blogosphere about Iran is still focused on how and why Rowhani won the presidential election, and what his presidency might mean for Iran and for its future relations with “the West.” I’ve linked several interesting essays on these topics below.
On Syria – One recent think tank report described the Syrian cockpit as having completed the transition from a Syrian war with regional implications to a regional war based in Syria. The news from Syria this week points to increasing disarray in the Opposition camp; with all this, of course, taking place against the backdrop of steady gains by the Assad government in its fighting with the Opposition.
In response to the last issue of the IWW, which reported on the election of Rowhani, I received an email from a friend asking if it wasn’t time to rename the Iran War Weekly to (perhaps) the Iran News Weekly, something more in tune with the optimism afforded by the new regime in Iran. I replied in part by recalling that, when the IWW began in early 2012, the title was intended to reflect the actuality of the “low-level” war then underway, with US sanctions, Stuxnet, assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and CIA activity in (at least) the Baluchistan region of Iran. Of these acts of aggression, sanctions (at least) continue, now escalated to unprecedented economic warfare in “peacetime.” Also, as noted above, we have yet to see any indication that Washington is prepared to take advantage of the supposed “moderation” of Rowhani by changing its negotiating positions to something that could conceivably lead to an accommodation between the two sides. Barring such changes, it is still reasonable to frame the US strategy towards Iran as one of seeking regime change, rather than simply focused on Iran’s nuclear program. Needless to say, I would be the first to rejoice in the disappearance of any need for an Iran War Weekly, when I could retire to my country estate and read novels.
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Please read the rest of this report at WarIsACrime.org.