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‘Historic’ Deal Reached In Iranian Nuclear Talks

An historic nuclear deal reached with Iran. There are vast implications. Huge potential implications and a huge range of reaction. We’ll track it all.

From left, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius greet each other and shake hands at the United Nations Palais, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Iran nuclear talks. (AP)

From left, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius greet each other and shake hands at the United Nations Palais, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Iran nuclear talks. (AP)

A huge range of reaction today to the big new interim deal with Iran on sanctions and its nuclear program.  From Israel, condemnation of a “historic mistake” as Benjamin Netanyahu put it.  At the other end of the spectrum, talk of a “Nixon goes to China” historic breakthrough for the region by the Obama administration.  A reordering that could break decades of US-Iran hostility and reshape the Middle East.  In between, big questions on strategy, sincerity, nuclear verifiability, and domestic politics all over.  This hour On Point:  a deal with Iran, and where it goes.

– Tom Ashbrook


David IgnatiusWashington Post columnist covering foreign affairs. Author of “Bloodmoney.” (@IgnatiusPost)

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, director of the Middle East Studies Program at Syracuse University, president of the International Society of Iranian Studies.

Emily Landau, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, director of the INSS’ Arms Control and Regional Security Project. Author of “Arms Control in the Middle East: Cooperative Security Dialogue and Regional Constraints

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Major Powers Reach Deal With Iran To Freeze Nuclear Program –”Iran will gain relief from Western economic sanctions that U.S. officials believe will provide between $6 billion and $7 billion in badly needed foreign exchange for Tehran over the next half-year. The agreement reached in Geneva is an interim deal for about six months that will allow international powers to try to strike a permanent pact, an effort experts said would be the true test of Iran’s new government, headed by revitalization-minded President Hasan Rouhani.”

Washington Post: Backstage brawl over a deal – “As the Iran deal has taken shape, a backstage brawl is developing with Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries crucially affected by the deal. The unrelenting attacks on the agreement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which are the culmination of four years of mistrust between him and President Obama, are rumbling the bedrock of the U.S.-Israeli relationship — a consequence neither country wants.”

The Economist: Modest, but still historic –”The deal struck this weekend is not yet even the beginning of the end of the danger to the world posed by the possible (actually probable) military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear activities. It is a modest first step and there is still an awful lot that could go wrong: in particular, there are irreconcilables on all sides who might prefer that it did. Nor can Iran ever be fully defanged unless and until its leaders believe that it is in their best interests for that to happen—and that is still a long way off. But compared with the situation just a few months ago, what happened in Geneva is extraordinary and does properly deserve to be described as ‘historic.’”

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  • Mike_Card

    And I believed, when they said they wouldn’t negotiate with terrorists. Shame on me for believing.

    • aldadebater

      I know, Mike. Iran-Contra caught me off guard too.

  • Coastghost

    Well, what a comfort: Democratic fundraisers in Seattle still find Obama credible.

  • Joey B

    Thank you President Obama, and to Secretary of State John Kerry for finding a peaceful solution to the nuclear stalemate with Iran.

    It’s good to see that America is once again looked upon as a fair and respected arbiter in the world.

    • brettearle

      I would not be so quick to throw out praise.

      If you go to Google, you might find the number of instances that Iran has come out with warnings about destroying another country–as in Annihilation.

      Not to mention the covert activities–warring and otherwise–that it has apparently spawned and spurred for decades.

  • Wahoo_wa

    I’m glad we’re not bowing down to Israel in this one.

    • brettearle

      There’s no `bowing down’ at anytime, to anyone.

      This is a question of preventing the world from having another country–especially one with malicious and warring rhetoric–obtain nuclear weapons.

      We have one country swearing to destroy another country–who wishes to develop nuclear weapons.

      THAT is the point.

      If I were the leader of one country–that country being one that has never threatened to destroy another country–and then a second country has publicly stated that it wishes to destroy my country, I would do everything I could to prevent that second country from obtaining the means to destroy me.

      And if you didn’t feel the same way, then you would, very, very likely, need to have your Head examined.

      • Wahoo_wa

        All too often the U.S. and the crazy right wingers allow an over-inflated sense of how important Israel is in world politics, and end-of-world religious fervor, to dictate our foreign policy in the region. We throw far too much money away on Israel and alienate the entire Middle East, to one degree or another, by defending Israel. What do we get in return? Not much. Let Israel fight its own battles and learn to be a good neighbor on its own. We could use the money we throw away on better causes.

        • brettearle

          To pull support away from Israel will only make Israel’s Middle East policy, much more volatile.

          And to believe that Israel is not fairly essential to US Middle East policy–as well as to the traditional US support of backing countries, with democracies–is substantially naive.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Give me one reason why Israel is an important ally and one reason why being allied with Israel benefits the United States more than being allied with the Arab world. …and the U.S. backing of democracies is more a romantic ideal than a reality in world politics.

          • brettearle

            `Romantic Ideal’ is a good way of putting it.

            But look at Taiwan:

            China is capable of destroying us–and yet we apparently could go to war over Taiwan. We certainly come to Taiwan’s defense, publicly–though China’s claims are much more justified than Iran’s claims, with regard to Israel’s actual existence.

            THAT is how strongly the US feels about the “romantic ideal” of supporting Democracy.

            The strategic reasons of supporting Israel are, very likely, legion:

            Intelligence, Covert Activity, Surveillance, and Staging Venues, are only some of the great advantages for the US, in supporting Israel.–ones that the US do not wish to profess, openly.

            THE US would rather play up the, “support of Democracy” angle.

            If Oil were not such a big issue, we’d see much more of the possibility of Israel, “twisting in the wind.”

            The Middle East would instantly become much more unstable–if the US pulled its support from Israel.

            You can count on it.

            Frankly, I think your political bias may be obscuring your willingness to see the Reality of the situation.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Your argument for U.S. support of Israel is circular. If the U.S. was allied more closely to the Arab world than Israel there would be no need for the “Intelligence, Covert Activity, Surveillance, and Staging Venues” Israel provides. Additionally we would have a more secured fuel source, fewer acts of terrorism and less war. All of those real and tangible benefits led me to say “Dump Israel!”

          • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

            Dump Israel sounds good to me.

          • brettearle

            Your simplistic view is a serious misreading of a dangerous and volatile political situation–throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

          • brettearle

            I believe that you are not taking into account the ongoing threat of Islamic Fundamentalism.

            An increased US presence in those countries in the Middle East and in Central Asia–where the presence of such radical extremism is prevalent–destabilizes the Middle East and Central Asia, much less the world, even more.

            I also believe that you are forgetting the many hatreds and animosities that go on in Arab Countries and between Islamic Factions.

            If the US had to re-compensate–after withdrawing support from Israel–not only would Israel become more volatile, but the conflicts between Middle East countries and Central Asian countries would increase….very likely, substantially.

            My guess is you have a political bias against Israel.

            Do you wish the best for Israel, as any of us might for Jordan or Dubai?

          • Wahoo_wa

            I think you are delusional if you think the U.S. support of Israel is in some way keeping the Middle East stable as you imply. My political bias against Israel is based on a belief that we expend far too many resources on a theocracy that discriminates against its own people for “not being Jewish enough” for citizenship, illegally occupies another country and actively oppresses another ethnicity. It’s the classic case of the oppressed becoming the oppressor.

          • brettearle

            Your bias against Israel is quite obvious.

            If I gave you the impression that US support of Israel stabilizes the Middle East, then I should have revised my comments, a bit.

            US support of Israel increases Middle East stability–but it does NOT make the situation, stable.

            Instead, such support for Israel prevents the Middle East from becoming MORE unstable.

            For you not to realize this, makes you delusional.

            What’s more, Israel has as much right to a good chunk of their current territory, as does the American Indians do, here in the United States, of a large chunk of the land that the White Man has annexed.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Pure nonsense.

          • brettearle

            Your two word comment is a stroke of genius.

            It provides us with the insight that so many of us have been desperate for, all morning, much less for decades.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Your arguments have little merit except to reinforce the status quo. The idea that supporting Israel somehow prevents the Middle East from becoming more unstable lacks any common sense.

          • brettearle

            Thank God you have the last word.

          • brettearle

            No need to praise my last comment, below–unless you like to put yourself down.

            But I see–that by `liking’ my last comment,
            you did praise it–so it’s too late

            I was merely trying to draw people closer to your ignorance–so that they better understand bias…..

          • northeaster17

            It’s one thing to support Israel. It’s another for the U.S. to base it’s policies on whatever BiBi and the Saudis want

          • brettearle

            The US operates from its own self-interest–more than it does how it treats or supports its Allies.

            I don’t expect you to read my comments–unless you want to–but I have answered your questions, from my point of view, already, in this Thread.

          • northeaster17

            Gaza, That’s all I have say.

          • northeaster17

            When Israel stops with the settlements the Mid East will be a much more peaceful place.

          • brettearle

            There are many, many problems on many sides.

            To identify one problem, from one side–and decide that it is a problem, above all others–is to grossly misunderstand the complexity of the Middle East.

            Many more than 1 problem has to `stop’–before the Middle East is a peaceful place.

            To point to 1–and only 1, above all others–only shows up your glaring political bias.

        • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

          Totally agree with you.

    • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

      A welcome change that was long ovedue


    Tom Ashbrook:
    Count me very skeptical about the deal cut with Iran. When the Saudis, Israelis and just about every moderate Arab state in the area voice great doubt, if not outright contempt for the deal, then you have to be concerned. The problem with Obama is that he was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than achieving one.

  • John Cedar

    And to think some people said Obama had lost his sycophant MSN.

    This six months of trade is just the shot in the arm that Iran’s nuclear program needs to take them over the finish line of the nuclear nation race. Israel would be wise to take some “historic” action before the six months is up.

    • brettearle

      Many are counting on them, not to do this.

      My guess is that Netanyahu has the need to profess objection, publicly–in order to maintain his political support.

      But I seriously doubt that, behind the scenes, the US has not provided them with some reliable assurances.

      On the other hand, the Verification of all this is the real problem.

      And Netanyahu must have raised this:

      “Sure they’ll let you visit, and monitor, `The’ sites. But what about the sites that we don’t know about and that they are not planning to tell us about.

  • HonestDebate1

    “What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters. “It’s not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.”

    • brettearle

      He could turn out to be right.

      But, to the degree that you can give out assurances, on this “kind of thing”, the US may have done this, with Bibi.

      Netanyahu may be trying to maintain the stability of his political support, by making such public statements.

      Nevertheless, the Verification matter is the true issue.

    • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

      Who really believes what Netanyahu says? I think we should re-think our alliance with that bunch.


        Putting aside your obvious dislike of “that bunch”. So how do you explain the Saudi and virtually every moderate Arab state’s outright contempt for Obama and the deal he negotiated with Iran?

        • alsordi

          Saudi, Bahrain, UAE ??? moderates ???

          Hey Jon Boston, go check the football scores, Pats had an amazing comeback and I heard Taco Bell has a new meat sandwich with your name on it.

          • JONBOSTON

            Everything is relative. In the mideast , “moderate Arab” means someone who is generally pro-West, hesitates gassing his citizens, and doesn’t wear or produce suicide belts. Other than that I can’t fathom what you’re talking about. Respond when your drugs have worn off.

          • alsordi

            so you think “Pro-west” is moderate ????

            How about starting multiple wars in the Middles East and causing the death of over one million people in the last ten years. You call the WEST moderate ???

            I guess you must call Israel “moderate” as well ??

          • JONBOSTON

            Wait at least another hour or two. Your drugs haven’t worn off.

        • hennorama
          • brettearle

            Where have you been?

            We didn’t think you needed to sleep.

          • hennorama


          • brettearle

            HA!, Yourself.

            Where are the No-Doz?

          • hennorama

            brettearle — c’mon now, the map was pretty incisive, no?

          • brettearle

            The Map truly sheds light on Iran’s dilemma.

            On one level, the parallels with Israel are stunning!


            On the other hand, your incorrigibility is immense:

            The No-Doz was an extension of my ongoing metaphor–which now has to do with the relationship of your stamina to your prowess.

            [We like to perpetuate hackneyed praise if it carries credibility]

            Do you take Kona in the Arm?


            Mein Lieblings-Madchen thinks I give you too many strokes; while, at the same time, I tease you too much..

            I merely tell her that my only defense against you is that it shows up your only tragic flaw:

            You don’t know the difference.


            And another thing:

            That which, you come to realize, won’t ever kill you, makes you stronger.

            [That was for free. And all the other titles thou was't born with.]

          • hennorama

            brettearle — please excuse the slight delay in our response.

            One (or two) must admit to being nonplussed by your interest not only in “the relationship of [our] stamina to [our] prowess,” but also “stokes” and “teasing.”

            We also admit to an eerie feeling of impending doom, as we recognize your question, “Do you take Kona in the Arm?” as A Sign Of The Apocalypse, due to the fact that we had deleted a parenthetical pre-response from the post to which you replied.

            Said deleted parenthetical: (hooking up Kona IV). True story, that.

            (Cue the TZ opening musical theme.)

            Now, where were we? Oh yes, the map.

            Indeed, it does illustrate that both Iran and Israel are religious islands in the region. Eventually, we must realize that we all have at least something in common, rather than falling to the weakness of emphasizing only all of our differences.

            There’s hope in that, as there is in this recent agreement.

          • brettearle


            The rifts and the conflicts–out of sheer and impacted ignorance; irrational fears; serious misreadings of texts; and `nationalisitc’ pride about one’s religion–are so endemic that everyone cannot reconcile these petty emotions, in order to rise above them.

            You might as well face facts.

            I am somebody who feels that being pessimistic is being more realistic–which means the more we face reality, the more we might be able to change it.


            Because we become more apprised of who the enemy is–IF ONLY BECAUSE THE ENEMY COULD VERY WELL BE THE DEMONS IN OUR OWN HEADS!

            Unfortunately, the arc of civilizations and their inexorable patterns, currently point to the Global Islamic Movement–partially arising out of the dissolution of Soviet Influence.

            I knew a prominent Priest once, who had the ear of Pope John Paul II–who told me that after the Iron Curtain fell, the Pope’s biggest fear was then Islamic Fundamentalism. This was, circa 1994.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — thank you for your thoughtful response.

            I agree that fundamentalists of all sorts are threats to modern societies.

            Enjoy the holiday.

          • brettearle


            While I do not necessarily intend to ask you for your autograph, anytime soon–unless I can sell it for a bundle on EBay–I am now `formally’ suggesting (I realize that I have alluded to this before) that we might consider exchanging Email addresses.

            I believe that I know a way for us to do this, at a neutral site–in a concealed way–at a well-known and legitimate social media venue–aside from FaceBook, MySpace, etc….

            While, here, in Boston–you may or may not know that Boston was determined to be the, “meanest city in the country”….Look it Up…..I kid you not–most people don’t feel that a stranger is somebody who is not yet your Friend.

            But, instead, most people in Boston think that any stranger–especially one who talks to you–is either psychotic, perverted, or a criminal.

            Nevertheless, while I would expect you to tread cautiously, you likely have determined that Yours Truly has at least gone beyond the first personal screening process.

            That having been said, Gather.com was originally set up for writers. It is now a site for commenters, of all kinds, from all over the world. Arts, Politics, Literature, Cooking….etc….

            [Like the "On-Point" Forum, only with more divisiveness and a bit less quality.]

            Although going through major changes in its technology–it is available for the following:

            You can join, for free, instantly.

            After joining, we can receive private messages, from each other, if you Friend me or if I Friend you.

            Then, if you choose to, you can either cancel your membership, or stay on–as you wish.

            As soon as you join–should you choose to accept this mission–you can let me know what your Gather name is so that I can “hunt you down”.

            Or else I’ll divulge my Gather name, to you.

            Whatever works.

            The site, for participants, is anonymous, like “On Point”.

            So let me know……

            La Vostra

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I accept.

            One tiny problem:

            “Your request was not successful.

            “In order to protect the integrity of our community, Gather has suspended new user registrations until further notice.”


            The bastiges knew we were coming!

            [PS] FYI, I do have 1 DISQUS “follower” at present.

          • brettearle

            Is the Follower Mode a way for us to exchange Emails?

          • hennorama

            brettearle — no, just wanted you to understand that this communication is not fully private, even when using these older forums.

          • brettearle

            Ich habe ein anderer idee….

            Erste, wir schreiben auf Deutsch.

            Wahrsheinlich, auf ein alter ashbrook Forum….

            Aber, wir austaushen unsere adressen auf ein anderer Site–nicht Gather.

            Ich furz Gather.com…

            Fortgesetzt werden.

          • hennorama

            okie dokie das klingt gut

          • JONBOSTON

            That’s my point. They have to live with Obama’s mistaken foreign policy.

          • hennorama

            JONBOSTON — the point of the map is Sunni vs. Shia religious differences, not proximity.

          • JONBOSTON

            Thank you for your reply. Your point is subsumed in mine. Yes the Sunnis and Shia have religious differences. But because they lare neighbors, once Iran gets the bomb, and they most likely will as a result of this deal, it will just be a matter of time before a nuclear arms race starts in the most unstable part of the world. Is that what you want?

          • hennorama

            JONBOSTON – you’re welcome, and backatcha.

            Again, the map was an answer to your question (edited for clarity): “how do you explain the Saudi and virtually every moderate Arab state’s outright contempt for …the [nuclear] deal … with Iran?”

            The religious differences between the Saudis and the Iranians, especially since the Iranian Revolution, are deep, and affect almost all aspects of their relationship and rivalry. One suspects that were one country to declare that the sun rises in the east, the other would reflexively refute that declaration.

            These religious differences seem to escape the American public as a whole. Perhaps this is due to our innate tolerance for such differences, making it difficult for many to understand the implications and importance of them when they are present elsewhere around the world.

            Now, as to the remainder of your comment:

            Please explain how you arrived at the conclusion that “…once Iran gets the bomb, and they most likely will as a result of this deal…”

            And the answer to your question is “Of course not. Why do you ask?”

          • JONBOSTON

            Thank you for reply. I’m using common sense with a heavy dose of reality mixed in. Iran is a terrorist state and I regard their charm offensive as nothing more than an opportunity to take advantage of Obama and his desperate need to prove he’s not grossly incompetent. They are religious fanatics hell bent on destroying Israel ( and dominating the Sunni countries) and their word means absolutely nothing. And once they acquire the bomb , what will the world community do? Absolutely nothing. It so happens that the very same person who handled the negotiations with North Korea for the Clinton administration (Wendy Sherman) is now heading up the the US team dealing with the Iranians. And we all know how the story with the North Koreans ended.

          • hennorama

            JONBOSTON – your continued engagement is appreciated.

            In the Joint Plan Of Action (the title of the agreement), Iran agreed to:

            * From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR (Tehran Research Reactor). Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.
            * Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.
            * Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (1), Fordow (2), or the Arak reactor (3), designated by the IAEA as IR-40.
            * Beginning when the line for conversion of UF6 enriched up to 5% to UO2 is ready, Iran has decided to convert to oxide UF6 newly enriched up to 5% during the 6 month period, as provided in the operational schedule of the conversion plant declared to the IAEA.
            * No new locations for the enrichment.
            * Iran will continue its safeguarded R&D practices, including its current enrichment R&D practices, which are not designed for accumulation of the enriched uranium.
            * No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
            *Enhanced monitoring:

            Despite this, you write that your conclusion that Iran “most likely [gets the bomb] as a result of this deal…” is based on “common sense with a heavy dose of reality mixed in.”

            You go on to delineate the following about Iran:

            “Iran is a terrorist state”
            “They are religious fanatics hell bent on destroying Israel ( and dominating the Sunni countries)”
            “their word means absolutely nothing”

            Please also note that there seems to be little if any trust of Iran present in the JPOA, as it specifies significant monitoring measures, and maintains the bulk of existing sanctions. It is also a rather short-term agreement, meaning that the sanctions that are to be eased can be reimposed quickly.

            You then go on to again speculate not only that Iran will “acquire the bomb,” but also that “the world community [will] do…Absolutely nothing” if your first speculative conclusion comes to pass.

            Please note that I am ignoring your various opinions about President Obama and speculation that Iran is “taking advantage” of him, as this is not a bilateral agreement, but instead involves all five rather disparate permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany.

            Can you articulate the thought process that gets you to your conclusions? Is it simple distrust, or something else?

            http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/24/world/meast/iran-deal-text/ (text of the JPOA)

          • JONBOSTON

            The people we’re negotiating with are proven to be untrustworthy. Why should we trust their word? Why not simply say, ” we expect deeds (like stopping enrichment) before sanctions are removed.” Otherwise we should increase sanctions. Sanctions hurt them more than us so why stop something that’s working for something that might work.
            Plus there doesn’t seem to be an agreement anyway. The day after the announcement the Iranian government interpreted it to permit them to continue with their enrichment program contrary to Kerry’s pronouncements. So when they violate our interpretation, what will we do? Most likely pound the table , express our objections and then do nothing. I have little faith in Obama’s willingness to back up his words with actions . And I believe neither do our adversaries who see much weakness in Obama.
            In order for the deal to work Obama will have to hope that Iran does not follow up this negotiation with more stalling tactics and settle for more limited agreements that do not do anything more than add a few weeks at most to the amount of time needed for them to “break out” and convert their nuclear stockpile into weapons grade material.
            You spend much time outlining the agreement but the centrifuges will not be dismantled and will continue to enrich uranium that can be converted to weapons-grade fuel. And its nuclear facilities will stay open, including the plutonium plant under construction. The IAEA inspections will be limited with continued obstacles and obstruction by the Iranians. And the stockpile of enriched uranium will be diluted or converted to oxide but that can be easily reversed.
            Finally I don’t believe the world community, with the exception of the US, will ever stand up for Israel. Once the sanctions are removed, there will be little if any appetite to reinstate them, especially by the Europeans, Chinese and Russians who value potential lucrative business opportunities over protecting “that bunch” of Israelis, as one of the less enlightened bloggers referred to the Israelis.

          • hennorama

            JONBOSTON – TY again for your response.

            We (in this case “we” includes China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) shouldn’t trust Iran, and the JPOA indicates that we do not.

            Coming to an agreement means that there must be give and take, rather than only take. We give an easing of some sanctions, and take the agreed to terms. Iran gives the agreed to terms, and takes an easing of some sanctions. If the terms aren’t met, all options remain available.

            As to the various pronouncements made immediately after the agreement was reached, one must simply consider the Iranian domestic audience. Blustering remarks serve as fodder for the hardliners.

            All of your concerns are valid, and are widely and perhaps universally shared. As you suggest, actions will speak much louder than words. Daily monitoring will take place, limited though it may be. If the terms are not met and verified, there are alternatives, such as immediate reimposition of the eased sanctions.

            This is a limited but promising first step, intended to show goodwill. The Iranians understand this. Whether it will be successful, or lead to a more complete agreement remains to be seen.

            As to Israel, it has certainly demonstrated a significant capacity to take care of itself, despite the obstacles arrayed in its path. Support for Israel is clearly not the sole consideration involved in this agreement.

            On the upside, a group of nations has peacefully come together in order to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and the success of the harsh sanctions they have imposed may have brought Iran to the negotiating table. A first step deal has been agreed to, with a plan to continue negotiations over the next few months. No shots were fired, and no one died.

            On the downside, some time will pass without Iran completely abandoning a pursuit of nuclear weapons.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • JONBOSTON

            I hope you’re right but doubt it will happen. You place a great deal of faith in the process that I don’t have. I fear this agreement increases rather than diminishes the likelihood of war in the region. In any event, have a very nice thanksgiving.

          • hennorama

            JONBOSTON — thank you for the civil and thoughtful discussion.

            Enjoy the holiday.

          • HonestDebate1

            Wow, that map has Israel on it. Many don’t.

        • MrNutso

          Show me some moderate Saudi’s.

          • JONBOSTON

            You may start by reading Saturday’s interview in the WSJ with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.


      Obama was desperate to cut any deal in order to counter the increasingly universal belief that his incompetence extended beyond our borders. The government of Iran, the principal state sponsor of terrorism throughout the world, knew this and got the deal they wanted. Too bad community organizing and Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals never dealt with the art of negotiation. And so the Iranian public is now cheering the agreement.

      • northeaster17

        Of course the Iranian public is cheering this agreement. Cheering a possible touch of sanity by their leaders and the chance to not be pariah’s to most of the world. It may come as a surprise to you but most Iranians want peace. They know war and would rather not. Just as most Americans.

  • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    I am a ten year Navy, Vietnam vet and my opinion towards that Israeli bunch is probably skewed somewhat. I was discharged in March of 67 and the U.S.S Liberty incident occurred a few months later. U.S. sailors on a unarmed intelligence ship died at the hands of Israel and I admit I do not have much use for them.

    • hennorama

      James Patrick Dwyer Jr. — thank you for your service, and your candor.

  • Coastghost

    Now that we’ve been alerted properly, I want to hear the clip from Obama’s Second Inaugural where he actually says, speaking into the available microphones, “PEACE IN OUR TIME!”
    This will be Obama’s contribution to the spread of jolliness this holiday season 2013! (Don’t fail to treat us, PUH-LEASE, Tom Ashbrook & Co.) . . . like just a continuous loop for ten or twelve seconds or so. (I mean: if your tape librarians and editors are being REALLY resourceful, they’ll find comparable clips from the likes of John Kerry, Hillary R. Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and other likely suspects. String together on a continuous loop lasting maybe fifteen seconds. Should have a lot of utility over the next several months.)

    • hennorama

      Coastghost — Again? Seriously?

      Repeating from a post made less than 24 hours ago, as a reply to you:

      On January 21, 2013, in his second Inaugural Address, President Obama said, in part (EMPHASIS added):

      “America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice –- not out of mere charity, but because PEACE IN OUR TIME requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.”


      • Coastghost

        hen: tsk and tut: today’s Monday. (And you know we know how capable you are of posting helpful reminders. I’m all for giving you credit, so think of it as me observing your lead.)

  • lobstahbisque

    Oh goody. Once the right wing trolls make their grand entrance, (they are currently feeding larvae to their young), we’ll be treated to the spectacle of them calling the centrists and lefties anti semites, and everyone banding about the term Nazi’s with it’s ever present apostrophe. Good God-win….(sic)

  • MrNutso

    Based on the rhetoric I’ve been hearing since this was announced, I predict the following future headline:

    Iran Agrees Unconditionally to end Nuke Program

    Congress Declares War on Iran

    • hennorama

      MrNutso — thanks for the hilarious cynicism.

      • MrNutso

        I wonder if anyone is actually listening to what they are saying?

        • hennorama

          MrNutso — much of the commentary seems reflexive rather than reflective, but that’s pretty typical these days.

          The senior Senator from Texas’ tweet was a great example:

          “Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care”


  • John_in_Amherst

    It is essential that nuclear weapons production be eliminated, and that nuclear disarmament pursued vigorously, and not just in the Middle East.

    Iran has historical reasons to seek a strong deterrent to outside pressures and interventions. (Think Mosaddegh). But one of their primary stated objectives – the destruction of Israel, because of it’s oppression of Israeli Arabs and the occupation of Palestinian lands – must be renounced. On the face of it, this would be as illogical as it is horrifying. Turning the “Holy Land” into a nuclear waste land serves no one’s interests.

    On the other hand, I have deep sympathies for the Jewish people and abhor the suffering they have endured through centuries of pogroms and then the Holocaust. I understand and agree with the notion that Jews need a home land. But this past suffering does not entitled Israel to forcibly evict Palestinians and steal their land.

    The heart of the Muslim/Jewish conflict is their mutually held belief that God is also a real estate broker who has given title of Israel/Palestine, and especially Jerusalem, to a “chosen group” of people. For the rest people of the world – everyone who does not regard the old Testament as God’s literal word – the justification that Israel/Palestine is sacred deeded land is invalid, period. And from that springs the corollary that defending or taking the land in question through nuclear conflict is reprehensible.

    Nuclear war is at heart a terrorist weapon. Any country threatening annihilation of another is threatening the deaths of millions of innocent non-combatants, and the notion that such a conflict is justifiable because of some fantasy about divine rights to land is perverse in the extreme. Further, it is recognized within the scientific community that even a relatively “limited nuclear exchange” of a few dozen weapons would most likely destabilize the global climate for years or longer, resulting in famine across the globe. Even a “small” nuclear war in the middle East, even if it was contained to that region, would have severe global consequences resulting from the disruption not just of oil production, but of agricultural production. The World community must unite to pursue nuclear containment and disarmament, and any treaty with Iran, or any other power seeking nukes, must be regarded as a positive development worthy of ardent pursuit.

  • alsordi

    If I were the leaders of Iran, I wouldn’t budge until ISRAEL agreed to be disarmed by the UN and subject to the same terms of inspections.

  • Livin_Large

    Your guest speaks as though it were clear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. That is NOT CLEAR and calls for military action are premature and provocative The interim agreement offers an opportunity to monitor the situation on site on a daily basis.

    From Wikipedia -

    The senior officers of all of the major American intelligence agencies stated that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any attempt to produce nuclear weapons since 2003.

    In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended all “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work” in 2003.[16]

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated in January 2012 stated that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but was not attempting to produce nuclear weapons.[17]

    In 2009, U.S. intelligence assessed that Iranian intentions were unknown.[18][19]Some European intelligence believe Iran has resumed its alleged nuclear weapons design work.[20]

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he had seen no evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran,[21] while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Iran was close to having the capability to produce nuclear weapons.[22][23]

    Iran has called for nuclear weapons states to disarm and for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapon free zone.[24]

  • manganbr

    I understand the need to be skeptical and cautious about the deal, or to critique the proportion of trade offs. But what’s the alternative precisely? When I hear Netanyahu or hawkish members of the GOP, I’m not sure what they would suggest as an alternative strategy. Just maintain the status quo (which means Iran continues on its path toward weapons)? Invade Iran? It’s just not going to happen. Sanction them more? To what end? To the point where the citizens of Iran are so impoverished that the government decides they have to surrender? What is the alternative to some form of diplomatic solution?

  • Coastghost

    With the kind of domestic paranoia the Democratic Party has helped keep alive for fifty fresh years with the generations and iterations of JFK assassination hypotheses: one could innocently see this new Geneva agreement as little more than diplomatic preamble to the outbreak of World War III.
    Obama’s credibility hour-by-hour is not being enhanced in this present week, the very last one of November: one week from today, the fresh failures of the Affordable Care TAX Act, the continuing wholesale glitch that pretends to be the ACTA website, the frozen molasses of health insurance regulation and policy availability, the amazing proliferation of steep health insurance premium increases (with and without varying degrees of comprehensive coverage), the continuing emergence of the actual dimensions of ObamaFraud, that is–ALL of this will hit all available oscillating rotary air circulators with full force, just a week from today.
    Trust? Credibility? Belief? Hunh?

    • lobstahbisque

      Calm down and go ingest some fried chicken embryos and save the “ALL of this” for the smallest room in your house, specifically the swirling porcelain bowl of two parts hydrogen/one part oxygen,

    • northeaster17

      Flailing at the wind….And windmills and such

    • TFRX


      Hahahahaha. That’s rich.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “Trust but verify”

    How can we trust Iran when they won’t admit that they are pursuing nuclear weapons? Seems like a simple starting point.

    • hennorama

      WftC — it’s pretty clear from the actual agreement, which includes significant monitoring, and leaves the bulk of current sanctions firmly in place, that there is no trust.

      I’ve dubbed this agreement as “Don’t trust, and verify, verify, verify (and spy, spy, spy).”

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/24/us-iran-nuclear-agreement-text-idUSBRE9AN0BQ20131124 (text of the Joint Plan of Action)

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Let’s hope so.

        However, don’t you think it is important that Iran comes clean on their weapons program? That is the first step towards a u-turn.

        • hennorama

          WftC — thank you for your response.

          The agreement between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), plus Germany, and Iran is simply a promising first step.

          And FYI, this is the first monitoring provision of the agreement:

          “• Enhanced monitoring:

          o Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iran’s plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.”

          (source specified in prior post)

          One step at a time.

        • spiral007

          what weapons program? No one has provided an iota of evidence that that is what Iran is pursuing. You want them to say something that they are NOT doing; an impossible situation.

          • Todd Binenstock

            They have enriched to 20% Uranium whose only use is for weapons. They also have been found to have a secret weapons design program by the UN: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45209267/#.UqD2qa7RGYI

          • spiral007

            Todd, Todd, Todd…you need to go back and look at the history….

            the Iranians offered the Bush regime that they would limit the number of centrifuges to 3-5000; enrich only to 5%. Bush’s response was to label them part of an evil axis!!! (this is after they had helped us to go after Al-Qaeda et al after the 9-11 attack.

            They (Iranians) asked for medical Isotopes for use in radiation treatment, (they were running out of their stock) but were denied by the rest of the world. So they had to enrich to 20% which is the level needed for those isotopes….you can look this up.

            Regarding the secret weapons program, that is all innuendo…no proof whatsoever….and please do not provide a link to the mainstream media….they are mere stenographers!!!

          • Todd Binenstock

            That quoted a UN/IAEA report. Did you read it??? Stenographers of whom? Generally they regurgitate democrat talking points. They were offered a deal for the supply of medical Isotopes (Cobalt, Iodine, etc. Uranium is not used medically.) Where are your sources for your “facts”?

            In case you didn’t read what the U.N. IAEA said:

            “Iran,” the report added, “has carried out the following activities
            that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

            “Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use
            equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities;

            “Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material;

            “The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network; and

            “Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components.”

            Specifically, Iran’s work includes developing and mounting a nuclear
            payload onto its Shahab 3 intermediate range missile — a weapon that can
            reach Israel, Iran’s arch foe.

          • spiral007

            As I said Innuendos…it never says that they are working on developing weapons, but rather “has carried out the following activities
            that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:…”

            All the intelligence agencies in the world have said that they have NO evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons….All the talk has been about “capability to develop nuclear weapons..” All these capabilities have the potential…enrichment to 3.5% has the potential…..the NPT permits Iran to enrich even to 20% level…..The security council resolutions have been politically driven and resolutions have been passed by P5 which promised under NPT to get rid of THEIR nuclear weapons (which not they have no intent of doing). Th security council is an undemocratic entity with little credibility in the rest of the world. I agree it has military and financial POWER behind it.
            I was trying to avoid bringing Israel in this equation, because Israel a nuclear weapons state (threatening to bomb every other week; having illegally bombed its neighbors left and right) is the real barrier to normalization of relationship between USA and Iran. But that is another story…..Regarding my sources….they are many and many years of my following world politics….I will go and pull those out if you have plans of reading them.

            PS: In my opinion it would be great if the world were nuclear weapons free and for starters if the middle east would be so…but that will not happen and eventually, Israel will NOT be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the middle east.

          • Todd Binenstock

            They call it “intelligence” because you have to connect the dots. These are each evidence. This report was based on 10 different intel agencies and was the conclusion of the IAEA. You can doubt it. I am not going to wait for the nuke to hit somewhere to find out. Apparently Obama was convinced. If Iran gets nukes, then Egypt, Saudi and others go nuclear and we’ll have 30 seconds of warning before WWIII. Your antisemitic screed notwithstanding. I 100% disagree with your assessment of Israel and will leave it there since this article is about Iran and it’s illegal nuke program as a signatory of the NPT, not Israel.

          • spiral007

            “…Your antisemitic screed notwithstanding….”. That is the reason I did not want to bring Israel into the discussion, which was quite civil up-till this point . The moment ANYONE criticizes Israel, people like you raise the bogey of antisemitism. They cannot distinguish between Judaism (let alone semitism) and Israel.

            It was nice having this discussion with you, but I refuse to stoop to the level of name-calling and will not proceed any further with this dialog..

  • Livin_Large

    Tom Ashbrook keeps saying “But do you TRUST Iran…?”

    If we haven’t had any positive interaction in decades, why should either party trust the other? Is it a historic mistake to seek a fresh start that could, over a period of time and mutual accomplishments, lead to trust? I have a hard time believing that. Certainly, the Bush administration’s threats and rejections made the situation much worse.

    • fun bobby

      if trust is a two way street, and it is, then we could never trust Iran because they cannot trust us because we spy on them and everyone else

      • Livin_Large

        Actually the US has done a LOT more to destabilize Iran than collect metadata. Our history goes back over 60 years. You might want to check out the story of John Foster Dulles and his brother, Alan Dulles and how they waged covert war on Iran, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Congo, Indonesia, and other neutral countries during the 1950′s and 1960′s.

        • fun bobby

          I should have said “among many other things” but at this point no country should trust us if for no other reason than our spying on them

      • JGC

        I think they super duper double secretly have more respect for us because we are spying on everyone…just like they do, and just like everyone else tries to do.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Saudi Arabia is important. If they don’t believe in the deal they will pursue nuclear weapons. Great! A mid-east nuclear arms race. Just what the world needs.

  • Kenny G

    I am concerned about this blind allegiance we have towards Israel with it’s saber rattlers who continue to violate International Law with every settlement they build in Palestine & who up to this point have absolutely refused to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

  • Peter Cohen

    On this 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, perhaps we should all take a deep breath and re-read his inaugural address (“Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate”) and his “peace speech” at American University in June, 1963. I think accepting Netanyahu’s position leads us down a dead-end. We need to disavow the stranglehold that AIPAC has on our Mideast policy and recognize that this may be the time that Israel’s and America’s strategic interests diverge.

    • ejwickes

      JFK was the last real President America ever had. They corrected that by killing him and everyone’s been towing the line ever since.

    • notafeminista

      By “disavow” I assume you mean “ignore”

  • ejwickes

    All the talk about Iran’s deceptive nuclear program and not one word about Israel’s. Israel concealed their nuclear (arms) program from the free world and nuclear inspectors by camouflaging the lower facilities with a concrete wall. It wasn’t until a whistle blower let the cat out of the bag and was imprisoned for it for over ten years. We forget our history and the transgressions of the past. We forget how we overthrew a democratically elected president who wanted to see his people actually benefit from their resources instead of living in the shadow of an oil field and having their resources pilfered by western “extraction” economics.
    I remember hearing about how after the tragedy of 9/11, that Iran actually wanted to approach us with some ambassadorship and to come to the table on our behalf, which would have been a surprise to most of us who listen to mainstream media. That is, until Bush included them in his “Axis of Evil” speech.
    I think we owe it to them to “give peace a chance”.
    Until we stop throwing gasoline on the fires in the Middle East, the religious, right-wing, or Zionists – whatever term you prefer, who are bound and determined to see the Apocalypse of Armageddon come to fruition, will eventually have their way. There is PLENTY of blood on everyone’s hands and I’m tired of all the self-righteous meandering coming from the LEADERSHIP, not the citizens, but the LEADERSHIP of Israel and the other countries in the region. We’re friends with Saudi Arabia? If not for oil, we couldn’t care less. Israel? There’s plenty of deception and blood on their hands as well. Half the “legitimate” leaders of Israel after they proclaimed statehood, were the same “terrorists” who were planting bombs (King David Hotel), killing Muslims and English soldiers while the west heard of only the Palestinians’ violence. This discussion gets very one sided. If we were taught more historical fact instead of getting our information from biased media sources who pay “experts” for their insightful propaganda, maybe we would have a more legitimate and analytic world view of how things really are. Thank you for your consideration.

    • TyroneJ

      Israel does not continually threaten to commit genocide against it’s neighbors and “wipe them off the map”. Iran does. That is why all of the Muslim Gulf States have lined up against Iran.

      • ejwickes

        Correct. The same way the U.S. and England wanted to wipe communists of the face of the Earth but ignore fascism. The same way the colonists virtually wiped the (those dirty savages) Native Americans from the face of the Earth in justification of their “Manifest Destiny”. The same way we allowed Indonesia to wipe the people of East Timor off the face of the earth, while we and Israel watched. The same way we allowed an alliance with Stalin as he was wiping millions of his own people from the face of the Earth and the same way we trade with foreign powers who seem quite comfortable in wiping their own people and farmers off the face of the Earth for an American dollar. We can point and point, he said, she said for generations. They did this so we have to do that. When’s it going to stop, Tyrone? The cause and effects of History are where the answers lie, and everyone has a grudge to settle. It’s hard to pick and choose the examples to support your argument when I can do the same thing for an eternity. If I was living in Old Palestine when the Zionists started destabilizing the region while the world turned their heads, I could understand the hatred brewing and maybe grow a little embittered with the covert actions of both sides. I have faith that Iran’s people do not all reflect the ignorance of their supreme leader. This is all we have to go on. What’s the other alternative? Another preemptive strike? Or do we do to the people of Iran what we did to the people of Iraq and leave their leadership unscathed while the citizens suffer from sanctions against their governments?

      • spiral007

        When has Iran threatened genocide against its neighbors? Please provide some objective link. Regarding “wipe them off…”, you must be new to this blog. This is a totally discredited statement; Iran DID NOT threaten to wipe Israel off the map. Here is some homework for you to find the real statement.

        • John_in_Amherst

          Iran’s leaders have done so more than once. This, from an article reporting on former Iranian president Amadinejad’s speech in 2005, delivered to a an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called “The World
          Without Zionism,” in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration
          on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan: “Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the
          Islamic revolution, Admadinejad said, “As the imam said, Israel must be
          wiped off the map.””

          see http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/26/world/africa/26iht-iran.html

        • Guest

          You know perfectly well that links can’t be posted. So here’s how you find an example report, just google “iran ahmadinejad wipe israel off the map” (without quotes). The top hit has

          “This deal is going to hurt our chances of wiping Israel off the map, and you can quote me on that,” Ahmadinejad declared.

  • hennorama

    Turns out Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have all issued statements supporting the nuclear deal between the P5 +1, and Iran.

    The AP story, from washingtonpost.com:

    “Saudi: Iran nuclear deal possible ‘initial step’

    “DOHA, Qatar — Saudi Arabia cautiously welcomed Monday a deal reached between world powers and Iran, describing it as a possible initial step toward reaching a comprehensive solution for Tehran’s nuclear program.

    “The statement by the Saudi Cabinet was the first official reaction from the kingdom to Sunday’s deal. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s main political power, has previously expressed unease about U.S. outreach to Iran, and Gulf countries generally view any normalizing of ties between Tehran and the West as a direct threat to their own stability.”


    “The Cabinet statement, released by the official Saudi Press Agency, said that if there is “goodwill” then a comprehensive solution would also entail a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, a reference to Israel’s presumed arsenal.

    “If there is goodwill, then this agreement could be an initial step toward reaching a comprehensive solution for Iran’s nuclear program if that leads to the removal of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, from the Middle East and Arab Gulf,” the Saudi government said.”


    “Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have already issued statements welcoming the nuclear deal.”


    • marygrav

      All those Middle East countries have seen the havoc that war has raged in Libya, Lebanon, and now Syria and they want peace more than Barack Obama does. Being an Arm Chair General directing democracy in the so-called Third World is easy, but have bombs and rockets explode in your face and seeing your own family die is a different story.

      Don’t fall for that old “appeasement” gag Iran knows full well its limits, and so does Israel.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      “Iran nuclear deal: Saudi Arabia warns it will strike out on its own

      Saudi Arabia claims they were kept in the dark by Western allies over Iran nuclear deal and says it will strike out on its own”


      • hennorama

        WftC – thank you for your response.

        In the headline and the article, “strike out on its own” refers to the Saudis pursuing their own foreign policy, and not military “strikes.”

        Did you read the article to which you linked? The reason for the question is the presence of all the following in the article:

        “Nawaf Obaid told a think tank meeting in London that Saudi Arabia was determined to pursue its own foreign and policy goals. Having in the past been reactive to events, the leading Sunni Muslim nation was determined to be pro-active in future.”


        “The problem is not with the deal struck in Geneva but how it was done.”

        “In a statement the Saudi government gave a cautious welcome to the Geneva nuclear deal. It said “good intentions” could lead to a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s atomic programme. “This agreement could be a first step towards a comprehensive solution for Iran’s nuclear programme, if there are good intentions,” the Saudi government said


        “Qatar is the latest Gulf Arab state to welcome the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, calling it a step toward greater stability in the region.

        “Saudi Arabia, has previously expressed unease about US overtures to Iran. The dialogue helped pushed along efforts by Washington and others to strike a deal with Iran seeking to ease Western concerns that Tehran could move toward nuclear weapons.

        “Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said the deal is an “important step toward safeguarding peace and stability in the region”.

        “Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have issued similar statements.”

        Thank you again for your response.

        • notafeminista

          You left out the preceding paragraph addressing Riyadh’s displeasure at having been left out of the loop and stating they would pursue an independent foreign policy.
          The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only such state having been established by successful religious revolution (Shiite) – and has managed to sustain itself since 1979. It is not a huge leap (although a leap it is) to think this deal would have significant implications for Sunni countries.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista — TY again for the favor of your reply.

            Perhaps you simply skipped over the first quote in the post to which you replied, which in fact was the “paragraph … stating they would pursue an independent foreign policy.”

            There’s no dispute that the Saudis feel that they should have had some elevated role in the discussions, and they are of course entitled to their view in that regard.

            You may also have not read my earlier posts in this forum, which included a map showing the distribution of Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as the following passage:

            “The religious differences between the Saudis and the Iranians, especially since the Iranian Revolution, are deep, and affect almost all aspects of their relationship and rivalry. One suspects that were one country to declare that the sun rises in the east, the other would reflexively refute that declaration.

            “These religious differences seem to escape the American public as a whole. Perhaps this is due to our innate tolerance for such differences, making it difficult for many to understand the implications and importance of them when they are present elsewhere around the world.”

            Both posts are in a thread below.


          • notafeminista

            Seems rather dismissive and arrogant to say the Sauds are entitled to their hurt feelings by not having been included. This deal was brokered without any involvement of any country of the region, 4 of the 6 countries are Western European, and none of the countries (save Iran) are signifiantly religious.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista — thank you for your response.

            As I never wrote any such thing, perhaps you might direct your comment to someone whose writings match up with the words you appear to believe I have written, to wit: “the Sauds are entitled to their hurt feelings by not having been included.”

            Please list your evidence, and how you arrived at the conclusion in your statement that “This deal was brokered without any involvement of any country of the region.”

            Please also demonstrate how Russia is not either in or “of the region.”

            I look forward to your detailed response.

          • notafeminista

            “There’s no dispute that the Saudis feel that they should have had some elevated role in the discussions, and they are of course entitled to their view in that regard.”
            You posted that twice, no?

            One could argue Russia is part of Europe. One could argue Russia is part of Asia – those who look to serve two masters refer to it as “Eurasia”. One however would be hard pressed to find Russia listed as part of the “Middle East” or to find Russia listed as an Arab, Persian or Muslim country.

          • Ray in VT

            Yet it is a country with long standing or historical ties to a number of governments, both current and former, in the region, including Syria and Iran. Russia is not a part of the Middle East geographically, both it does have both influence and interests there, much as we do.

          • notafeminista

            All very true. However, Henny’s quibble is whether or not Russia is “of the region” – while not literally stated, his post might lead the reader to understand his assessment is different than mine.

          • Ray in VT

            You mentioned Europe and Asia above. Last I checked the vast majority of the area that comprises the Middle East is in Asia, of which Russia is most assuredly a part.

          • notafeminista

            Or Europe. Or Eurasia. But Russia, by your own admission is not part of the Middle East. Nor is it Arab, nor is it Persian, nor is it Muslim.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista – actually, no. I modified that sentence slightly the second time around. But that’s a minor point.

            The salient point is I did not write anything that indicated that A) the Saudis have “hurt feelings,” and B) were not included. This leads one to conclude that you either intended your reply for someone else, or more likely, made assumptions after misinterpreting my actual words.

            One notices (again) the unresponsiveness of your response.

            You list absolutely no evidence, and no details as to how how you arrived at the conclusion in your statement that “This deal was brokered without any involvement of any country of the region.” For example, do you have, any way to prove definitively that the Saudis weren’t involved in any way, shape, or form, as you appear to believe?

            One also notices that you are now attempting to change the parameters of the question. You wrote (EMPHASIS added) “This deal was brokered without any involvement of any country of THE REGION,” yet now choose to only discuss Europe, Asia, Eurasia, and the “Middle East.”

            This leads to a more direct question: Is Russia, using your term, “of the region”?

            I shan’t interrupt normal respiration waiting for your candid and direct response.

          • notafeminista

            Goodness I would certainly hope not.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista — use any evidence you like.

            Whatever you choose to use as evidence will be examined as to its relevance, accuracy and veracity, as always.

            One notices your complete failure to answer even the most basic and direct questions, and hopes for some change in your wont.

    • notafeminista

      “The deal on offer in Geneva this week relaxes sanctions on Iran in exchange for promises to slow work on parts of the nuclear program. The Saudis and Israelis have both pre-emptively condemned any agreement that doesn’t dismantle Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and build a bomb. This one won’t. Mr. Alwaleed says the Saudis are trying to “put maximum pressure now on the United States not to succumb to the president of Iran’s soft talk.”

      He endorses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s line to describe Mr. Rouhani: “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He notes this startling alliance of Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, and the Jewish state. “For the first time, Saudi Arabian interests and Israel are almost parallel,” he says, his voice rising. “It’s incredible.”

      The prince stops short of endorsing an Israeli military strike on Iran, but in the same breath says he thinks a military option to “neutralize” Iran’s nuclear potential is preferable to a bad diplomatic deal.”


      Furthermore, we’ll just note right now 2 things: 1)The article states clearly the prince holds no important government post and 2)This is from the opinion section of the WSJ. That out of the way, we can get to the implications,if any, of the actual content.

      • hennorama

        notafeminista — thank you for your response.

        One must note that the article to which you linked was published prior to the agreement having been reached.

        It’s clear that the Saudis feel that they should have had some elevated role in the discussions, and they are entitled to their view in that regard.

        I both welcome and look forward to your presentation of what you feel are “the implications,if any, of the actual content” of the article to which you linked.

        • notafeminista

          Let’s start with the Prince’s statement that Saudi and Israeli interests are almost parallel. Even the Prince seems surprised by his admission.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista — feel free to start your presentation wherever you wish.

          • notafeminista

            I did.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista — Really? You began a presentation of what you feel are “the implications,if any, of the actual content” of the article to which you linked?

            Please point it out, as it seems to be invisible.

  • marygrav


  • marygrav


    • Wahoo_wa

      Please stop yelling.

  • fun bobby

    the Iranians are pretty bold to negotiate with a guy who tells lies directly to people regarding their healthcare

    • marygrav

      The only people who believe that Obamacare is not a positive move for a nation that has over 50 million uninsured people who live in the riches nation in the world are T-Party members.

      The Neocons thought they would not need these people until they found that the War on Terror could not be fought because the US military was to short of members.

      It is the uninsured poor that fight to keep the 1% in power because their sons and daughter don’t go to war.

      • fun bobby

        let me get this straight. Every one of the 5 million who will have their plans canceled is a Tea Party member? If that’s true that should be looked into as some sort of political retribution.
        Not only that, the Tea Party members are rushing to swell the ranks of the military? There must be a lot more black and Hispanic tea party members than we have been lead to believe.
        I can’t even pretend to make sense of your last ramble

  • marygrav

    1953 let Iran know that it cannot trust a Colonial Power to ever want it to be an independent state. 1978 was just the Iranians taking back their country from the West.

    Netanyahu and his Sunni Arab allies want the US to get involved in their sectarian war. Netanyahu want the US to continue his power as Prime Minister of a settler state.

    I hear the fear in the voice calling in from Israel. She does not seem to understand that Israel has enough firepower to blow Persians and the Arabs off the face of the Earth. However, what Netanyahu want is to be the ruling power in the Middle East holding the position that South Africa had in the good ole Apartheid Days. But the Arabs are too well armed for this. All the Native in the so-called Third World are too well armed for Colonialism to be reinstated, but the West will not accept this.

    Netanyahu claims that he and his hardliners want a Two State Solution, but this is a lie. Every time the US gets to the door, the Israelis slams the door in our face.

    The stupid argument of a “Right to Exist” always comes up. The question as Noam Chomsky writes in Precarious Power is: Does any nation have a right to exist? Does the US have a right to exist on stolen land? We exist because we have the firepower to exist. Israel has the firepower and it exists.

    Israel want to use Bible Myth for its Right. It tells that the Two Gods gave them the land by decree, but not white they lost the land because of its bad behavior. Read it for yourself. My point of view will be disregarded as Anti-Semitic. Every argument that has to do with truth and Israel’s Right end because people fear too much to ask flat out questions.

    There are two side in every negotiations. The US has seen this so much when dealing with Israel. But the Israelis should be careful. Two important events have occurred recently. The US is reaching energy independence and AIPAC could not convince Congress to go to war in Syria.

    For years AIPAC and the Israel Lobby has had complete control of the US Congress. But the people themselves are war weary. So all the money and threats could not push the Congress to declare war. President Obama, unlike other presidents realizes that he is the President of the United States of America and not a vassal of Israel.

    Obama was “helped” into office to prevent the American Holocaust that was coming out of the Bush’s administration foolish behavior in listening to PNAC and the Wall Street crisis. We are all Americans and what was to be was prevented. But for how long.

    No nation in its right mind need a bomb when cyber warfare is so much easier. An atomic bomb is too expensive to maintain. But a computer and software is easy. Ask David Sanger. The Iranian are not stupid, but the Netanyahu thinks that both the Israeli peoples and the American peoples are.

    The Arabs are out of their depth and Netanyahu may soon be out of his. Israel has only one ally and that until now has been and is the United States.

  • John_Hamilton

    This changes the dynamic in the Mideast. I remember a few years ago Netanyahu was quoted as saying “Doesn’t this guy get it?” in response to Obama favoring negotiations with one or another of Israel’s enemies du jour. What Obama apparently didn’t get was that American presidents are supposed to do the bidding of Netanyahu, and thus Israel.

    Then Netanyahu proceeded to interfere with the U.S. elections, funneling money and propaganda to the Romney campaign. It is likely that neither Obama nor Kerry forgot this in their negotiations with Iran.

    The politician in favor or disfavor in Israel depends on a number of factors, but it seems the main one is how effective that politician is in making the U.S. president bend to his will, to “get it.”

    Now we will see what happens to the Israeli prime minister when the U.S. president doesn’t “get it” with full intention. So far all “BiBi” has is bluster, saying “historic mistake,” “appeasement,” etc. It’s too late, too little, too hackneyed. Historic defeat is more accurate, and the defeat is all his. There are likely more to come.

  • John_Hamilton

    It’s a mandala. In the center is an om symbol. The rest is whatever you want it to mean.

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

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Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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