Civilian diplomacy: lots of people are going to Iran and making nice

We reported here on Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb's trip to Iran. Roger Cohen reported on his trip to Iran. And now from AFP:

Top US film actress Annette Bening, in Iran as part of a Hollywood
delegation, said on Sunday she hoped their presence in the country can
help to kick-start talks between arch-foes Washington and Tehran.

"I
hope that we can be a bridge to open a dialogue between the two
countries", Bening, wearing a black traditional hejab and headscarf,
told reporters.

She is part of a team of film-makers and actors
from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the
organisation which stages the annual Oscars, that is currently on a
week-long visit to the Islamic republic.

PS Note the hail of neocon rage at Roger Cohen for his hopeful reports from Iran's Jewish communities. (Thanks to Mohammad of Vancouver).

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Beyondoweiss, Iran, Israel Lobby

{ 21 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Richard Witty says:

    It still takes a REAL change in their foreign policy.

    Not photo-ops.

  2. MX says:

    Thank God the Iran hysteria is being snuffed out at last. Maybe now we can leave them alone for the first time in 50 years. Wikipedia has compiled a lovely list of our CIA shenanigans in Iran:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  3. Alexandr says:

    Annette Bening is about to have herself ripped a new rectum. I hope she's able to withstand all the attacks on her without apologizing to Abe Foxman and Alan Dershowitz.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Iran–the new Nicaragua…haha!

    Or is Bening more like Hanoi Jane?

    The lefties apparently have a new Cold War country to serenade each decade.

  5. Alexandr says:

    "Or is Bening more like Hanoi Jane?"

    Whomever she's like she's better than Rahm Emanuel, who at the start of the Gulf War ran off to fight not for America, but rather to serve in Israel with the IDF.

  6. Mohammad says:

    Suzanne, Iran is a limited democracy, but a much wider one that the tragedy called Israel's democracy. Sometimes literature helps to understand the situation better. I just started reading Softcore by Tirdad Zolghadr.

    Iran is an international cosmopolitan hub, one that does not have to pay homage to the f…ing "west" everyday. One that pays attention to Jakarta, Singapore, Beirut, Damascus, Algiers , Moscow, Belgrade, Kiev, Yerevan, Bakou, Dushanbe, Beijing, Ljubljana, Caracas, Havana, kuala lumpur and many other Capitals of a set of diverse civilization, just not those that you like to call "international" centre. The west has shown that it is more interested in itself and its lousy little child israel, than anything else. West can pickle itself with Zionism as long as it wants. There is a world out there, a wide world that includes Iran.

    I bet you have to look up the google to find out about the cities i mentioned here.

  7. Suzanne says:

    Time for me to get my beauty sleep…but before I do…

    Mohammad…do you have to pay homage to the fekking west each day, or are you just doing a mosquito dance?

    My grandfather was born just outside of Kiev. So buzz of mosqueets. :-)

  8. Richard Witty says:

    Richard Cohen wrote a follow-up piece in the times today, that Phil will love.

    He predictably received a large number of name-calling letters that offended him (rationally). But, in response, he is reacting to the letters, rather than "keeping his eye on the prize".

    The prize is objective change in Iranian and Hamas and Hezbollah policy. They each have refused to change that policy. For example, Hamas yesterday said that they will accept NO WORDING of any assertion that accepts Israel's right to exist as Israel (with no mention of "Jewish state").

    So, for everyone that assumed that Hamas had morphed into a potentially negotiating partner, our doors got slammed.

    "Hamas and Hezbollah have evolved into broad political movements widely seen as resisting an Israel over-ready to use crushing force. It is essential to think again about them, just as it is essential to toss out Iran caricatures."

    I agree that both Iran and Hamas and Hezbollah are different than their caricatures, but that the caricatures are NOT 180 degrees off, just not as loud or monolithic as presented.

    So, that means that the caricature informs, but not perfectly.

    The ice is not yet melted. It is reasonable to change the US policy from "I refuse to see even if the ice has melted" to "I'm keeping my eye open for the melting of the ice".

    But, that is DIFFERENT than imagining that a change has occurred in fact. And, Cohen's dismissal of Iranian expansion of interests if not of territory, and accompanied by significantly increased military capability, is too pollyanish for me.

  9. Crimson Ghost says:

    Iran asks Interpol to arrest Israeli war criminals
    Sun, 01 Mar 2009 23:36:57 GMT

    Tehran's Public Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi
    Interpol begins studying Iran's request for the arrest of 15 senior Israeli officials over war crimes committed during the Gaza offensive.

    At a news briefing on Sunday, Tehran's Public Prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, said that Iran had referred the case to the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol), drawing on the organization's charter and Israel's violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    "Governments of 180 countries have received the information necessary for identifying the suspects," he said.

    In a Monday statement, Iran's judiciary said that it has asked Interpol to issue an international Red Notice security alert for the 15 Israeli officials who were involved in the 23-day Israeli offensive on Gaza.

    The statement added that the judiciary was also looking into complaints made against 100 other Israelis, with top military and government posts.

    In December 2008, Iran's judicial body announced a decision to set up a court to investigate complaints, made by wounded Gazans against Israel and delivered to Iran by the Palestinian envoy.

    The judiciary said that it would be ready to try the implicated Israeli officials in absentia.

    "In the current week, we have completed our investigation of about 15 individuals who were among those criminals," IRIB, Iran's State Television, quoted Mortazavi as saying.

    "Based on our investigation and according to article 2 of the Interpol charter, we asked Interpol to arrest these suspects."

    Mortazavi said the charges included war crimes, invasion, occupation, genocide and crimes against humanity.

    The Iranian prosecutor was referring to Israeli strikes that started on December 27 on the densely populated Palestinian coastal territory and did not end until it had claimed the lives of more than 1,330 Gazans, mostly civilians.

    Many international NGOs and human rights organizations, Palestinians wounded in the Gaza onslaught, more than 5,700 Iranian lawyers and attorneys in the Iranian Bar Association along with a large number of medics were also among those who filed complaints against Tel Aviv, Mortazavi added.

    The list of Israeli war criminals includes:

    1 Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
    2 Defense Minister Ehud Barak
    3 Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
    4 Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi
    5 Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force Ido Nehoshtan
    6 Commander of the Gaza war — Operation Cast Lead — Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant
    7 Head of Military Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin
    8 Commander of Battalion 13 in the Golani Brigade Lt. Col. Oren Cohen
    9 Deputy to the Givati Brigade Col. Ron Ashrov
    10 Commander of the Israel Paratroopers' Brigade in Gaza Col. Hertzi Halevy
    11 Commander of 401st Armored Corps Brigade convoy Col. Yigal Slovik
    12 Commander of the 101st Battalion in the Paratrooper Brigade Lt. Col. Avi Blot
    13 Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai, who served as a commander of the Golani infantry brigade's 13th Battalion in Gaza
    14 Givati squad commander Col. Tomer Tsiter
    15 Brigade commander in Battalion 51 Col. Avi Peled

  10. chris berel says:

    I understand that Interpol gravely took the list, closed the door, and laughed their asses off.

    They are still trying to re-attach the little buggers.

  11. LeaNder says:

    So, for everyone that assumed that Hamas had morphed into a potentially negotiating partner, our doors got slammed.

    Richard, your argument would be much more effective, if there wasn't Arafat's compliance and it's results. Palestinians understand this message very well.

    So, that means that the caricature informs, but not perfectly.

    Would you ever lean towards that perception concerning Nazi caricatures?

    But, that is DIFFERENT than imagining that a change has occurred in fact. And, Cohen's dismissal of Iranian expansion of interests if not of territory, and accompanied by significantly increased military capability, is too pollyanish for me.

    Do you have any evidence for planned territorial expansion? It would help me to move beyond the mirror image this statement admittedly triggers.

  12. MM says:

    Would you ever lean towards that perception concerning Nazi caricatures?

    Great point, LeaNder. Or for that matter, would Richard have demonstrated the same hair-splitting and condemnation of the "tone" of criticism if the subject were Nazi Germany in the 1930s, rather than Israel today? I think the answer is obvious. There's an insurmountable ethnic bias at play here.

  13. MM says:

    And why is Richard so concerned with the expansion of Iranian influence? Because nothing can be allowed to challenge Zionism, even if it means American lives and treasure must be spent to defend it.

  14. Suzanne says:

    Hail Irania, Irania rules the Phools!
    Once Soviet puppets, they're now Islamist ghouls!

    :-)

  15. Richard Witty says:

    I don't know what Iran intends as far as territory is concerned.

    They are advocates of firming and expanding the Islamic waqf, if not of Iran's territory specifically, though a few have speculated the intention of a unification between parts of Shia Iraq and Shia Iran. I don't know, even enough to suspect with any more certainty than a dart board.

    Iranian influence is a concern as it is led by adverturish military funding, training and arming, supported by grossly antagonistic public rhetoric.

    To the extent that its foreign policy includes funding proxy militias, it CANNOT be said of it that it is seeking to earn its prestige through political, economic or moral skill.

    The most that can be said is that there might be a possibility that it would enter the community of nations as peer, but its current position is that it will not enter a room in which Israel is peer.

    With the shifting of positions by formerly liberal individuals, say like Phil, to publicly stated antipathy, the harshness for desiring to live in Jewish community and state, is already officially suppressive.

  16. David F. says:

    "With the shifting of positions by formerly liberal individuals, say like Phil, to publicly stated antipathy, the harshness for desiring to live in Jewish community and state, is already officially suppressive."

    Richard, every now and then you write a sentence that just does not parse. Did you run this through English->Japanese->English with Google translate?

  17. MM says:

    Spare us, please, Richard. Stop lecturing Phil about "antipathy" and listen to Gandhi:

    "It is open to a war resister to judge between the combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side. By so judging he is more likely to bring peace between the two than by remaining a mere spectator."

    Do you have any idea what a ridiculous person you are commenting from the UNITED STATES and saying "it CANNOT be said of [Iran] that it is seeking to earn its prestige through political, economic or moral skill"? Do you know the history of your own country? Do you know that the UNITED STATES is FUNDING militias IN IRAN to topple the Iranian regime RIGHT NOW?

    Are you, or have you ever been, a total ostrich?

  18. Suzanne says:

    So what Marshmallow? The French financed our revolution.

    We'd never be able to pull it off over there if there weren't a willing market. That's the one component you seem to be missing.

    Lord knows who's paying some of you folks to undermine the US. A wasted effort because there is no willing market here…that's the other component the phool's seem to be missing. :-)

  19. Richard Witty says:

    MM.
    Its just a fraud to suggest that Iran is not aggressing actively.

    And that combined with their consistent rejection of any Israel, actually communicates something.

    If they wanted to communicate something different, they could.

    They could change their policies, and their relations.

  20. r says:

    Cohen's Times piece and follow up today fail to raise a central issue, namely that the filth of israel have tried repeatedly to bribe iranian jews to emigrate to Israel. The Council of Iranian Jews sent the israeli government a terse letter saying they had zero interest in leaving Iran to move to the Israeli shithhole, their national heritage is not for sale and the garbage of israel could basically go f*ck themselves.

  21. MM says:

    Witty, even if Iran continued funding Hezbollah for centuries, it could never match the amount of violent aggression the United States (YOUR COUNTRY) and Israel (YOUR SPIRITUAL HOMELAND) mete out on a yearly basis. But on those, you're silent.

    Suzy, you're not especially coherent today. The anti-Zionists here are being paid to comment? By whom, the non-Jewish Agency? The Non-Zionist Organization of America?