Enough Already — Just Move the UN to Iran
The UN’s Economic and Social Council has just elected Iran to a seat on the UN’s women’s rights commission. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ship the entire UN, lock, stock and seating arrangements, to Iran?
The UN’s Economic and Social Council has just elected Iran to a seat on the UN’s women’s rights commission. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ship the entire UN, lock, stock and seating arrangements, to Iran?
The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in “cooperating countries,” a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran.
The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act is in a House-Senate conference committee and is expected to reach President Obama’s desk by Memorial Day.
“It’s incredible the administration is asking for exemptions, under the table and winking and nodding, before the legislation is signed into law,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and a conference committee member, said in an interview. A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the administration was pushing the conference committee to adopt the exemption of “cooperating countries” in the legislation.
Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill includes a “cooperating countries” provision even though the administration asked the leading sponsors of the Senate version of the bill nearly six months ago to include one.
The legislation, aimed at companies that sell Iran gasoline or equipment to refine petroleum, would impose penalties on such companies, up to the potentially crippling act of cutting off the company entirely from the American economy. It also would close a loophole in earlier Iran sanctions by barring foreign-owned subsidiaries of U.S. companies from doing business in Iran’s energy sector.
Although Iran is one of the world’s leading oil exporters, it lacks the capacity to refine as much oil into gasoline as its domestic economy uses. Three years ago, the Iranian government imposed gasoline rations on the population.
“We’re pushing for a ‘cooperating-countries’ exemption,” the White House official said. “It is not targeted to any country in particular, but would be based on objective criteria and made in full consultation with the Congress.”
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen, however, said the exemption “is aimed at China and Russia specifically.”
“The administration wants to give a pass to countries for merely supporting a watered-down, almost do-nothing U.N. resolution,” she said.
All past sanctions against Iran have included a waiver that lets the president refrain from penalizing foreign companies that are doing business with Iran.
The “cooperating countries” language that the White House is pressing would allow the executive branch to designate countries as cooperating with the overall strategy to pressure Iran economically.
According to three congressional staffers familiar with the White House proposal, once a country is on that list, the administration wouldn’t even have to identify companies from that country as selling gasoline or aiding Iran’s refinement industry.
Even if, as current law allows, the administration can waive the penalties on named companies for various reasons, the “cooperating countries” language would deprive the sanctions of their “name-and-shame” power, the staffers said.
The prospect that China and Chinese firms would be exempt from penalty follows reports that Beijing is cooperating with Iran’s missile program. On April 23, Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that China broke ground on a plant in Iran this month that will build the Nasr-1 anti-ship missile.
Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, where he directs the group’s Iran energy project, said the “‘cooperating-country’ status would send a signal to the energy sector that the Obama administration is not serious about penalizing those companies that continue to do business with the Iranian energy sector, the lifeblood of the men who rule Iran.”
Indeed, Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of the French national oil concern Total, told Reuters news agency on Tuesday that his company would stop business in Iran only if required to do so by the law.
“I’ve been asked by certain people to reconsider,” he said. “I say, ‘OK, make it official.’”
However Patrick Clawson, the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said U.S. policy objectives should not be to penalize foreign companies, but instead to persuade countries like China to enforce their own trade restrictions with Iran.
“If the administration can use this ‘cooperating-countries’ waiver to get cooperation from a country like China on enforcing the U.N. sanctions and on suspending investment in Iran’s oil and gas industry, then this bill will be a great success for U.S. objectives about Iran’s nuclear program and support for terrorism,” he said.
One congressional staff member working on the bill told The Washington Times that Mr. Obama personally asked the House leadership this month to put off the sanctions bill until after the current work period. Shortly after that meeting, both the House and Senate named conferees for the legislation.
U.S. unilateral sanctions aimed at freezing foreign companies out of American markets have been irritants in U.S. diplomacy. Foreign countries complain that imposing such “secondary sanctions” is just a form of protectionism.
The Obama administration has promised to pursue sanctions at the U.N. Security Council and also has indicated it would pursue unilateral sanctions targeted at Iran’s banking sector and the companies that insure shipping to and from Iranian ports.
Keith Weissman, a former Iran specialist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said he did not think the current refined-petroleum sanctions would be effective.
“Of all the sanctions I have been around, this is one of the dumber ones,” Mr. Weissman said. “We have been talking about this for so long, the Iranians are ready for this. Not only are they building the capacity for refining the fuel, they will have more capacity to purchase it from regional countries.”
Nonetheless, a number of foreign companies have announced in recent months that they would end business in Iran in anticipation of U.N. and U.S. sanctions. Some companies that provide Iran with refined petroleum, such as the Indian firm Reliance and the Kuwaiti trader IPG, have announced they would end the gasoline shipments.
Mr. Weissman was accused in 2005 by the federal government of conspiring to leak classified information to a Washington Post reporter. The Justice Department dropped the charges last year.
Because oil-refining sanctions would end up increasing the price of gasoline and heating oil for average Iranians, they have been opposed by many in Iran’s “green” opposition movement, such as Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer.
Mojtaba Vahedi, a former chief of staff to opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, said in a telephone interview that he would prefer to see targeted sanctions aimed at Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its front companies.
“The main problem in Iran is the management of the country, everything that helps to remove [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is good for the people, especially smart sanctions that target the regime,” he said.
Morning Bell: The Ahmadinejad Victory Tour
Posted By Conn Carroll On April 29, 2010 @ 9:26 am In American Leadership, Protect America | No Comments
Yesterday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had submitted an application for a visa to attend the United Nations nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in New York next month. Since Crowley also confirmed that Ahmadinejad is likely to be awarded the visa, the Iranian President can now look forward to witnessing first hand the failure of President Barack Obama’s Iran policy.
At first the White House believed that President Barack Obama’s sheer power of personality and persuasion would be enough to convince the Iranian regime to give up their nuclear program. So the President gave a conciliatory speech in Cairo , sent a direct message to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , and opened up direct talks with the Iranian regime . The results have been crystal clear: the Iranian regime has only accelerated its nuclear program , accelerated its ballistic missile program, and further crushed internal dissent, all while the Obama administration remained silent  as the Green Revolution was brutally crushed .
Now the Obama administration is seeking “crippling” sanctions on Iran through the U.N. Security Council. This is another Obama fantasy that plays right into Iran’s “cheat, retreat, and delay”  nuclear strategy. Whatever goodwill the Obama administration hoped to get from Russia by caving into their New START demands has not paid off . With help from Turkey , China and now Egypt , Iran’s rope-a-dope  U.N. diplomacy will render any U.N. sanctions regime completely toothless .
All these Ahmadinejad victories over President Obama would not be so alarming if the Obama administration were not actively undermining our nation’s ability to deter and defend against Iranian nuclear attack. First there was President Obama’s decision to cancel missile defense installations in Eastern Europe . The Obama administration claimed that their alternative system, called the Phased Adaptive Approach, could defend U.S. allies by 2020. But a recent Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report  warns Iran may be able to reach the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2015. This means President Obama has created a new “window of vulnerability”  for our enemies to exploit.
And then there is President Obama’s New START agreement which limits U.S. conventional, nuclear and missile defense options. Former director of the Missile Defense Agency, Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, noted in The Washington Times  this week: “Strangely, New START may actually rest on what Russia permits the United States to do to defend Americans and our allies from such a missile attack. This equation is both bizarre and unsafe.”
“Bizarre and unsafe” is a generous assessment of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect America from Iran’s nuclear ambitions so far. The Obama administration must change course. The United States should impose and enforce the strongest possible sanctions , even if doing so requires action outside of the U.N. framework, and step up public diplomacy efforts to discredit the regime’s legitimacy and offer support to opposition groups, such as the Green Movement . Most importantly the Obama administration must make the commitment to create and sustain a layered missile defense system , designed to counter every range of Iranian missiles in all stages of flight, including those that threaten the territory of the United States and its allies. This would include scrapping New START, returning missile defense installations to Eastern Europe and fully funding missile defense. For more, see 33 Minutes .
Tolerating Ahmadinejad’s Jew-Hate
Posted By Anav Silverman On April 14, 2010 @ 12:05 am In FrontPage | 33 Comments
Four years ago, the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust’ was held in Tehran on December 11, 2006. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian Foreign Minister, stated at the time that the aim of the conference was to “neither to deny nor prove the Holocaust but to provide an appropriate scientific atmosphere for scholars to offer their opinions in freedom about a historical issue.”
Those who contributed to the scientific atmosphere at the conference, included David Duke, a Ku Klux Klan leader and former US state representative, Robert Faurisson, a convicted Holocaust denier from France and a number of other academic professors and educators all engaged in Holocaust Denial research and rhetoric. One such professor, Dr. Fredrick Toben, an Australian citizen, runs an Internet site vilifying Jews while promoting that Nazis did not commit the mass murder of the Jewish people. Several right-extremist politicians from Germany’s neo-Nazi NPD party were invited as well, although the German government barred them from attending.
However, the central purpose of the conference went beyond providing a friendly environment for international Holocaust deniers to share their twisted sentiments. The Iranian Foreign Minister elaborated that “If the official version of the Holocaust is thrown into doubt, then the identity and nature of Israel will be thrown into doubt. And if, during this review, it is proved that the Holocaust was a historical reality, then what is the reason for the Palestinians having to pay the cost of the Nazis’ crimes?”
That argument has been reiterated time and time again by Ahmadinejad, notably in exclusive interviews he has granted with US television networks; NBC  and CBS . In two major interviews with the American TV networks, Ahmadinejad smoothly skirted over the reporters’ questions about his Holocaust Denial, always deflecting his responses back to Palestinian issues and the State of Israel instead.
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center calls Ahmadinejad’s use of Holocaust Denial “a tool” of Iranian policy. “The Holocaust Denial campaign, as a main component of the Iranian regime’s anti-Israeli policy, is not only an expression of the hatred for Jews which is rooted in Iranian politics and society, but also a clever, well planned strategy under Ahmadinejad.” According to the IICC, Ahmedinejad uses the denial tactics to delegitimze the Zionist movement and the State of Israel as ideological and moral preparation for Israel destruction, as well as to increase Iranian influence among Palestinians while advancing Iranian aspirations for regional hegemony.
Indeed, Ahmadinjad’s repeated rhetoric in promoting the Islamic Republic’s anti-Israel agenda have been ultimately successful. Although the ‘International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust’ elicited much international condemnation in 2006, the Iranian President’s repeated hateful rhetoric cause very few to flinch in the international community today.
Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel stated back in October 2008 that Ahmedinejad’s annual appearances at the UN General Assembly demonstrates that the world has learned nothing from the Holocaust.
“Ten years ago, and less, the ruler of a country that announced its aspiration for Israel to be wiped off the map would not have dared appear and speak on the UN’s podium,” Wiesel stated in an Ha’aretz interview . A few months later, at the Durban II conference, a member of Ahmadinejad’s entourage accosted Wiesel screaming at the Holocaust survivor, ‘Zio-Nazi.’ 
Furthermore, US President Obama’s friendly attempts to forge dialogue with Iran, while simultaneously giving Israel a cold shoulder, have scored no points with Ahmadinejad. A warm message from President Obama marking the Iranian new year was met with scorn from the Iranian leader. As reported by Reuters  April 3, Ahmadinejad said the note contained “three or four beautiful words” but nothing new of substance.
“What changed? Your sanctions were lifted? The adverse propaganda was stopped? The pressure was alleviated? Did you change your attitude in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine,” asked Ahmadinejad in a televised address. Iran supports Islamic insurgents targeting American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan  both financially and militarily.
While Obama has decided to pursue new UN sanctions in response to Ahmadinejad’s continued rejections, Iran according to Ahmadinejad, could easily cope with such petroleum sanctions.
“You should know that the more hostile you are, the stronger an incentive our people will have, it will double,” he said.
Although President Obama would like to believe that he is dealing with a rational leader with whom dialogue will eventually reach, Ahmadinejad has never been one for Western rationality. After his UN speech in 2005, the Iranian president told Iran’s leading cleric Ayatollah Javadi Amoli that he sensed a light surrounding him while he was delivering his address to world leaders at the General Assembly. “For 27-28 minutes all the leaders did not blink. They were astonished as if a hand held them there and made them sit. It had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic,” Ahmedinejad reportedly stated in a video made about his experience that was widely distributed across Iran, as reported by Golnaz Esfandiari in Radio Free Europe .
During his UN speech in 2005, Ahmadinejad called for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, who according to Muslim tradition is the final spiritual and political successor to Muhammad and savior of humankind who will return to lead an era of Islamic justice. The Iranian president has been quoted as saying that the “main mission of the revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam.”
If anything should be learned from Holocaust Memorial Day this year, it is that appeasement policies do not work with leaders like Hitler and Ahmadinjad. Seventy-two years ago, when France, Italy and Britain’s Neville Chamberlain, agreed to the Munich Agreement with Germany, the European powers wrongly believed that the annexation of Czechoslovakia would stop the Hitler war-machine. Following this appeasement agreement, over 60 million people were killed in the Second World War, a horrific tragedy that took root when no one bothered to heed Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and tirades.
Anav Silverman is the International Correspondent for Sderot Media Center: www.SderotMedia.org.il .
FREE Iran Reports Unlawful Execution Of Horses In Iran By IslamistsTaazi Thug Regime Officials
NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN
|Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony at Yad Vashem Sunday evening focused on the rising Iranian threat, Iran clearly declares its genocidal intentions with regard to Israel and seeks to arm itself with nuclear weapons for that purpose.
Netanyahu’s speech came after that of President Shimon Peres who stressed as two central lessons of the holocaust for us, that the world must not display the apathy it did then in the face of a nation seeking weapons of mass destruction, having the capacity to use them to perform mass destruction and inciting mass destruction.
“The historical failure of the free world in facing the Nazi beast was in not confronting it when it could still be stopped,” Netanyahu said, “today we witness the fire of the old-new hate, the hate of the Jews being spread by the regimes and organizations of radical Islam, spearheaded by Iran and its cohorts.”
Iran’s leaders are hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons and publicly declare their intention to destroy Israel, “but in the face of the oft-repeated calls to erase the Jewish state from the face of the earth, we see at best mild protestations, and these too seem to be fading,” the Prime Minister lambasted the international community.
We do not hear the decisive condemnation required, the world stands by, some even criticize Israel, he went on, we do not see the international resolve required to prevent Iran’s nuclear armament. “From this lectern I call on the enlightened nations to rise and powerfully condemn Iran’s genocidal intentions and act with real resolve to stop Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons.”
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s hard-line president on Wednesday ridiculed President Barack Obama’s new nuclear strategy, which turns the U.S. focus away from the Cold War threats and instead aims to stop the spread of atomic weapons to rogue states or terrorists.
Obama on Tuesday announced the new strategy, including a vow not to use nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them. Iran, however, was pointedly excepted from that pledge, along with North Korea, because Washington accuses them of not cooperating with the international community on nonproliferation standards.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the focus would now be on terror groups such as al-Qaida as well as North Korea’s nuclear buildup and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Pressuring Iran in its standoff with the West is a particular focus of the new strategy. The exception from the non-use pledge represents a warning to Tehran. But also, the new guidelines aim to show Washington is serious about reducing its own arsenal and about gathering world support for stricter safeguards against nuclear proliferation — a move aimed at further isolating Iran diplomatically.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad derided Obama on Wednesday, depicting him as an ineffective leader influenced by Israel to target Iran more aggressively.
“American materialist politicians, whenever they are beaten by logic, immediately resort to their weapons like cowboys,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech before a crowd of several thousand in northwestern Iran.
“Mr. Obama, you are a newcomer (to politics). Wait until your sweat dries and get some experience. Be careful not to read just any paper put in front of you or repeat any statement recommended,” Ahmadinejad said in the speech, aired live on state TV.
Ahmadinejad said Obama “is under the pressure of capitalists and the Zionists” and vowed Iran would not be pushed around. “(American officials) bigger than you, more bullying than you, couldn’t do a damn thing, let alone you,” he said, addressing Obama.
The United States and its allies accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge denied by Iran, which says its nuclear program is intended only to generate electricity.
Washington is heading a push for the United Nations to impose new sanction on Iran over its refusal to suspect uranium enrichment, a process that can produce either fuel for a reactor or the material for a warhead. Iran says it has a right to enrichment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The United States has been trying to win Iranian acceptance of a U.N.-backed proposal to swap enriched uranium in hopes of getting enough of the material out of Iran’s hands that it would be unable to produce a warhead. Under the U.N. plan, put forward last year, Iran was to send 2,420 pounds (1,100 kilograms) of low-enriched uranium abroad, where it would be further enriched to 20 percent and converted into fuel rods. They would then be returned to Iran to use in a research reactor.
Iran has balked on some terms of the deal, which has seemed all but dead.
But Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki contended on Wednesday that Iran had reached an understanding with the West on a compromise over the deal.
Mottaki said Iran proposed that it put a quantity of its low-enriched uranium under U.N. supervision inside Iran during the months it would take for the West to generate the equivalent amount of 20 percent-enriched uranium. Then the material would be swapped simultaneously.
“We want to make sure that nuclear fuel will be delivered. If there is a political will, Iran’s flexibility will facilitate a deal,” he told a press conference.
He also said Iran would determine how much would be swapped. “During talks, they agreed that Iran will determine the amount it needs,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from U.S. or European officials or from the U.N. nuclear watchdog over Mottaki’s comments.
Uranium enriched to a low level, around 3.5 percent, can be used to fuel a reactor. If enriched to around 95 percent, however, it can be used in building a nuclear bomb.
Iran began enriching uranium to around 20 percent in February over objections from the U.S. and its allies. Iran says it needs it for the research reactor, which produces radio isotopes used in cancer treatment. It says more than 850,000 people need the isotopes and radiography materials produced by the Tehran reactor for their illnesses.