Archive for July, 2015

TFF PressInfo # 331- How a weaker Iran got the hegemon to lift sanctions

By Gareth Porter

Iranian counter-pressure on the US, through its nuclear programme, finally compelled the Obama administration to begin negotiations.

Now that Iran nuclear deal is completed, the attention of western news media and political commentators is predictably focused overwhelmingly on the opposition to the agreement within the US Congress and from Israel and the Saudi-led Sunni Arab coalition.

That media lens misses the real significance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is that Iran succeeded in negotiating an agreement with the United States that upheld its national right to a nuclear programme despite the obvious vast disparity in power between the two states.

That power disparity between the global hegemon and a militarily weak but politically influential regional “middle power” has shaped not just the negotiating strategies of the two sides during the negotiations but, more importantly, how they came about in the first place.

The news media have adopted the Obama administration’s view that negotiations were the result of Iran responding to international sanctions. The problem with that conventional view is not that Iran wasn’t eager to get the sanctions removed, but that it was motivated to do so long before the United States was willing to negotiate.

In fact, Iran had long viewed its nuclear programme not only in terms of energy and scientific advancement but also as a way of inducing the United States to negotiate an end to the extraordinary legal status in which Iran has been placed for so long. Read the rest of this entry »

The Iran nuclear deal

By Jan Oberg

Comment as the first to Russia Today a few minutes before the deal is to be announced in Vienna.

Iran nuclear deal achievement is ‘victory for civilization’: Jan Oberg

By Jan Oberg

Comment to Iran’s PressTV about the deal when it was about to be announced in the morning of July 14, 2015

TFF PressInfo # 330 – Iran’s Nuclear Deal: A great achievement, but hard work ahead

By Farhang Jahanpour

The announcement of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is a rare moment in history that gives us hope and provides a basis for optimism.

By contemplating what the alternative would have entailed, any agreement, no matter how defective, is a great achievement and has to be welcomed.

However, the indications are that, as the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has declared at a joint press conference with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, there has been a win-win agreement that will benefit everyone. In short, they have made history.

Ms. Mogherini said: “It is a decision that can open the way to a new chapter in international relations. I think this is a sign of hope for the entire world.” The Iranian foreign minister echoed those sentiments and described the deal as “a historic moment”.

He continued: “Today could have been the end of hope, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.” Zarif rightly pointed out that the deal has ended an unnecessary conflict. As the TFF Associate Gareth Porter has shown in his book of the same title, it was in fact “A Manufactured Crisis”.

It should be remembered that Iran had been ready since 2003 to reach a nuclear deal when she agreed to ratify the Additional Protocol and voluntarily suspended enrichment for two years. The Bush Administration killed that deal by illegally stating that, contrary to the NPT regulations, Iran was not allowed to have any enrichment on her soil. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 329: Congratulations and thank you, Iran!

By Jan Oberg

Much better on the 14th of July, the French Revolution Day, than the 13th would have been. And it is a kind of revolution – namely, solving problems at the table rather than through yet another failed, counterproductive and self-defeating Western war on a Middle Eastern country.

A victory for non-violence and intelligence over violence and human folly.

Truly a victory for civilisation, for civilised manners – and with the “object” itself being a civilisation.

Javad Zarif – Iran’s brilliant foreign minister, perhaps the most professional and with the most friendly body language, including smiles, among peers anywhere – and his team achieved the impossible, namely to get a deal in an extremely a-symmetric conflict and negotiation set-up.

A-symmetry? Yes, to the trained conflict eye.

There’s been the Western bullying of Iran since the CIA-led US and UK coup d’etat against Iran’s democratic leader in 1953.

There has been Read the rest of this entry »

I love America – and also despise it

By Jonathan Power

The United States of America has a “culture of ignorance”. Around half of all Americans appear to feel no shame about that being so. In the south the total probably goes up to around 65%, whereas in the north, including California, it goes down to 35%.

It is a rough and ready way of putting it but it is the other 50% who voted for Obama. Obama-types are less religious, more scientifically orientated, less racist, more pro health care for the poor, more aware of the world outside, more convinced that war solves little, and knowledgeable to the extent they know their immediate neighbour, Canada, does a much better job of making a good life than their country does.

It’s the “culture of ignorance” half that is now pushing for a tougher military response to the menace of ISIS, of pumping up military muscle power vis a vis Russia and of persuading itself that more troops in Iraq could sort out what eight years of military occupation didn’t and couldn’t. It’s this half which tried to sabotage America’s economic recovery Read the rest of this entry »

Militarism up, intellectualism down = warfare

Jan Oberg’s comments on US Secretary of the Airforce, Deborah James’ advocacy for more NATO arms spending

Oxi or Nai? Oxi !

By Johan Galtung

At the time of starting writing this editorial the referendum is on, so is the TV. Those two Greek words are all over. But the outcome is unknown; it will be known at the time of finishing the editorial.

However, could the most important aspect of the referendum be the referendum itself, not the outcome? The idea of asking people, the very demos in a democracy, even at the risk of losing, resigning?

The most aggressive creditor against Greece, Germany, did not dare to do that over the Euro entry. They decided for a people they knew were against, hiding behind Hitler’s use of a referendum as demagogy.

Any OXI-NAI outcome means a new departure. With no party below, say, 1/3, serious attention has to be paid to both sides’ narratives.

Let us be clinical about that bad EU-Greece relation.

There is a deep culture: another Christianity, with “optimism in the longer run”, another alphabet. They relate across deep gaps.

There is a deep structure: the division of Read the rest of this entry »

The nemesis of race

By Johan Galtung

We have been revisited, not only Charleston SC, not only the USA; the whole world by the shocking massacre in the iconic Emanuel Church. It hit this aging Norwegian male deep in the heart; once a young man, sociology professor at Columbia University, NY, as American as any with that passport, deeply involved in the desegregation conflict in Charlottesville, VA. Like millions others now trying to come to grips with this enormity of history moving backward to comprehend, searching for “how could it have been avoided”; any solution anywhere?

Using an old tested method, “what does this remind me of”, Anders Behring Breivik, a fellow Norwegian, came up. On 22 July 2011, first a bomb at a government building killing seven, then a massacre of young laborites at an island, killing 69 more. Having researched the case, I see him located in a triangle with his pure, blond and blue-eyed Norway of believers in true Christianity in one corner, threatened by Muslim invasion; the traitors to that society–the Labor government, the laborites in the second, and in the third corner those who stand up, do something against the Muslim menace: Israel, the hard Zionists.

Obsessed, it worked in and on him till the calling comes, only I have understood this, it falls upon me to do the unspeakable, to unleash history from its shackles by forcing people to see the Truth, starting with the enemy in our own camp, not Muslims, the traitors.

The psycho-pathology driving him was not childhood traumas but conflict polarization, Read the rest of this entry »

If the West wanted a deal, it could be there today

TFF director Jan Oberg commenting two days before a deal should be concluded


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