Is killing 500,000 women and children the way to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons?

By Jamal Abdi & Trita ParsiNewsday

THE NEW sanctions against Iran last week are considered the strongest the United States "has ever imposed on any country during peacetime."

While this is being celebrated as a way to prevent war, support human rights in Iran and stop Iran's nuclear program, America's past experience with sanctions shows that this is far from the case.

The previous high-water mark for US sanctions -- on Iraq -- is a case in point. Years of stringent economic sanctions supposedly aimed at Saddam Hussein caused massive humanitarian suffering among ordinary Iraqis. The sanctions led to the deaths of an estimated 500,000 Iraqi women and children, while entrenching Hussein's regime.

Ultimately, the strategy culminated in a war and occupation that is widely viewed as one of the greatest strategic blunders since Vietnam.

With Iran, the United States is pursuing a policy of collective punishment, which is disconcerting not just because of the ghastly failures of such measures in the past, but because collective punishment is a violation of international human rights law.

The abhorrent human rights abuses of the Iranian regime have been well exposed, thanks to the work of human rights organizations and the United Nations. But Iranians don't just suffer under the repression of a regime that is rightly punished for its human rights violations -- they are also suffering under US collective punishment sanctions that are preventing food and medicine from reaching ordinary Iranians, are blocking off communication tools from human rights and democracy defenders, and are aimed at collapsing the Iranian economy and all of the ordinary people under it.

The power of war propaganda on Iran and how it works

John Glaser -

A NEW POLL finds 80% of Americans think Iran has a nuclear weapons program and that it is a threat to the US and its NATO allies.

The poll, commissioned by The Israel Project, asked likely voters and found “72% of Democrats, 81% of independents and 89% of Republicans were convinced the Iranians were building nuclear weapons.”

This is a monumental success of war propaganda. And these results are largely consistent with other recent polls: one produced back in February by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Program on International Policy Attitudes found “An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and poses a serious threat to U.S. national security.”

Contrast these beliefs with the facts: The consensus in the whole of the intelligence community in the US (and Israel) is that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has yet to demonstrate any intention of starting one anytime soon.

But false beliefs persist even when there has been ample reassurances from elite sources in politics, the military, and the news media that Iran has no weapons program. A matter of months ago, the Obama administration marched out their minions, from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, all of whom reiterated the fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, despite constant rhetoric to the contrary.

War fever in Israel points towards imminent attack on Iran

Harriet Sherwood - The Guardian

IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, the Israeli public has been hit by a blizzard of speculative articles suggesting a military strike against Iran's nuclear sites is imminent.

The talk is now of a timetable of weeks, rather than months and some observers believe that Israel will act in the run-up to the US presidential election – at a time when it could be difficult and damaging for President Obama to withhold his backing in the face of a hawkish and vehemently pro-Israel opponent, Mitt Romney, who has already indicated his support for unilateral action by the Jewish state.

On Tuesday an article in Ma'ariv suggested that Netanyahu and Barak have set a deadline of 25 September for Obama to clearly state that the US itself will take military action.

The date is the opening of the UN general assembly in New York, and also the eve of Yom Kippur, one of the most significant dates in the Jewish calendar.

The implication is that, in the absence of a public declaration, Israel will press on with its own plans to strike at the Iranian nuclear programme.

But it was two articles last Friday that kicked off the current storm. Writing in Israel's biggest-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, Nahum Barnea and Simon Shiffer, both respected commentators, said: "Insofar as it depends on Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran will take place in these coming autumn months, before the US elections in November."

But, it pointed out: "There is not a single senior official in the establishment - neither among the [Israeli Defence Forces] top brass nor in the security branches, or even the president - who supports an Israeli strike at the moment."

Carpet-bombing Iran's economy is war by any other name

Carpet-bombing Iran's economy is war by any other name
14 July 2012     Conn Hallinan     Iran

There is still no evidence that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. but evidence is irrelevant when the enormous economic power of the US and EU can force a country to its knees.

By Conn Hallinan
Dispatches from the Edge
9 July 2012

Does the same fate await the Iranian people as was suffered by Iraq, where half a million children died as a result of sanctions, about which then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said, "We think the price was worth it".

NOW THAT the talks with Iran on its nuclear program appear to be on the ropes, are we on the road to war?

The Israelis threaten it almost weekly, and the Obama administration has reportedly drawn up an attack plan. But in a sense, we are already at war with Iran.

Carl von Clausewitz, the great theoretician of modern warfare, defined war as the continuation of politics by other means. In the case of Iran, international politics has become a de-facto state of war.

According to reports, the annual inflation rate in Iran is 22.2 percent, although many economists estimate it at double that. In the last week of June, the price of chicken rose 30 percent, grains were up 55.8 percent, fruits up 66.6 percent, and vegetables up 99.5 percent.

Iran’s Central Bank estimates unemployment among the young is 22.5 percent, although the Financial Timessays “the official figures are vastly underestimated.” The production sector is working at half its capacity.
The value of the Iranian rial has fallen 40 percent since last year, and there is a wave of business closings and bankruptcies due to rising energy costs and imports made expensive by the sanctions.

The Strategy of Intervention, Iran, Israel, Syria and the US


by Lola Hynes - Irish Anti War Movement

Despite ongoing negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and full compliance with the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran’s nuclear programme is still the subject of much media hysteria and deep mistrust from Israel and Western powers. The latest accusations relate to the ‘sanitization’ of a site at Parchin military complex, allegedly to hide evidence of nuclear weapons work. Satellite images showing the destruction of two buildings, the movement of earth and the flow of water coming from an existing building are being used as ‘intelligence’ of the ‘cleansing’ of a bomb containment chamber.


Meanwhile the diplomatic process continues without much promise, in April this year during talks in Istanbul, Iran, the US and the EU agreed to negotiate stricter NPT requirements for Iran in return for respect for their right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The next round of talks in the Iraqi capital reached a stalemate when the West offered no relief from sanctions in return for suspension of uranium enrichment at one of Iran’s facilities. Further talks are scheduled in Moscow in late June.


The peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program was reaffirmed by Iran’s envoy to the IAEA; Ali Asghar Solitanieh at a recent meeting of the board of governors of the agency, reminding that the UN nuclear watchdog agency has repeatedly confirmed non-diversion of Iran’s civilian nuclear activities after carrying out a record number of inspections in Iran during the last few years.


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