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Iranian talks fail after neocon ‘blitz’ — as Obama dispatches aide to reassure Tel Aviv

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The Baghdad talks on Iranian nuclear enrichment have failed without an agreement– though the Guardian says the continuance of the talks in Moscow next month means another month without an Israeli military attack. 

How much does Israel drive the discussion here? Inter Press reports that the talks broke down because the U.S. took the Israeli hardline and said to Iran, you’ll get no relief from sanctions even if you agree to the international demand not to enrich uranium to 20 percent. Writes Gareth Porter:

“[The] inflexible U.S. diplomatic posture… reflects President Barack Obama’s need to bow to the demands of Israel and the U.S. Congress on Iran policy.”

Even the Times hints at this idea:

Several accounts in Iran’s state-controlled media compared the positions taken by Tehran’s interlocutors in Baghdad to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, which considers Iran’s nuclear program an existential threat.

Jim Lobe anticipated this outcome when he said that neoconservatives had “blitz”-ed the Obama administration in the runup to the talks. He referred to reports by the American Enterprise Institute saying Iran is on the verge of producing weapons-grade uranium and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies saying there must be no nuclear enrichment in Iran, period. Apparently the Obama administration was listening:

After the Istanbul meeting [in April], Western officials suggested there could be some easing of economic sanctions against Iran…

But during the past week, U.S. and Western diplomats appear to have taken a harder line.

“They have to stop all enrichment,” Netanyahu told CNN on the eve of the Baghdad talks, adding that Iran should also be compelled to “dismantle the underground bunker” at Fordow.

Neo-conservatives and other hawks here have faithfully echoed that position with growing urgency as the Baghdad meeting approache…

In an election year, the neoconservatives are apparently pushing on an open door. The Obama administration’s obedience is indicated in this statement yesterday from the State Department:

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman will travel to Tel Aviv, Israel on May 25 for consultations on bilateral and regional issues with senior officials and to reaffirm our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.

Sherman was formerly a leading moderate voice in the administration. Last fall she was urging the Senate not to up sanctions on Iran because sanctions were working and the goal was a diplomatic solution involving the P5+1– the very body now undermined in the Baghdad talks. Sherman also argued that sanctions would drive oil costs too high. She continued to sound the moderate when she announced a website reaching out to Iranians: “saying to the Iranian people – to Iran’s Government itself, as High Representative Cathy Ashton did in her recent letter to Iranian officials, that we remain open to having serious discussions about their nuclear program if they are indeed serious and ready to have those discussions without preconditions.” But the talks broke down, and Sherman hies unto Tel Aviv.

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29 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    May 25, 2012, 11:53 am

    This is nothing short than an all-out offensive on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty.

    • piotr
      May 25, 2012, 8:21 pm

      Why? The Treaty of Westphalia made no limit on the number of visit a vassal may pay to the hegemon state.

  2. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    May 25, 2012, 11:59 am

    What do you think “without pre-conditions” means? It means we (the west, more specifically the US) have the right to destroy your economy, kill your people but you cant bring that up in the negotiations – as in, “yes, we will agree to talk, but first, please stop killing our people” – That constitutes a pre-condition, so does asking for sanction relief. This is all a mindless charade designed to gain support for war over time. Apparently its working. Obama sold these sanctions to the West, they agreed, and the House of Saud and Jordan were thrilled the West agreed – there are a lot of moving parts here, and not all of them are connected to Tel Aviv.

    Seriously Phil, a state department website designed to talk to the Iranian people is a voice of moderation? WOW. Voice of state propaganda perhaps, but certainly not moderation. “WE MEAN YOU NO HARM, BIG BROTHER LOVES YOU” – is that about right?

    The only way you could have thought this wasnt going to happen, is if you believed the mind reading of Gareth Porter and some others – the “obama seems reluctant; obama wants to stave off war” crowd – what a crock of shit.

    • peeesss
      May 25, 2012, 8:43 pm

      You are right on, Dan. Obama reluctance to put US interests first is truly sad. The Zionists billionares, Aipac , the Chicago crowd, the Printzers own him. Mondoweiss contributers have to face the facts. Stop giving Obama a pass. His “sanctions” are the prelude to war by finally forcing Iran to confront the threat to their Government. Iran will then be . by the MSM to have “crossed ” the line and military action will then follow. The whole “negotiation” process is a set up to make an”offer” Iran has to refuse. I truly hope I am wrong but it does appear that the US will not confront the real threat, unhinged Isreali , Zionist aspirations.

  3. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    May 25, 2012, 12:44 pm

    I don’t think Obama actually wants a war with Iran. Instead, he has gotten sanctions, which he hopes can produce economic privation in Iran, ending in regime change and the installation of a pro-US government in Iran.

    This worked in Iran in 1953, and the Shah was installed by a CIA coup. Naturally this is not discussed much in the US mainstream media.

    Iran under the Shah was part of the US empire. Obama is trying to return Iran to that status.

    All the rest is just propaganda: Iran (nonexistent) nuclear weapons, etc.

  4. HarryLaw
    May 25, 2012, 1:03 pm

    US/Israel needs Iran to lie prostrate before them by complying with their every demand, even this would not be enough, a change of regime is required, one which the US will not have to withdraw their support for, this scenario will not come about since all the main political groups in Iran fully support the nuclear program, The US has been accused of not understanding or having any respect for the countries it invades, it thinks other counties only comply with US demands when threatened financially or militarily, this is true to a large extent, but I suspect the Iranian people have too much self respect to be intimidated. Things do not look good for a peaceful resolution, yet whatever the costs to Iran [a very proud Nation] the costs to US/Israel and for the rest of the world must be prohibitive

  5. American
    May 25, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Well Israel and it’s supporters have done everything but another false flag terror attack on the US to get their way on Iran.
    If their ‘Iran is a threat to the whole wide World” meme doesn’t work, that will probably be next.

  6. Bumblebye
    May 25, 2012, 2:48 pm

    You need another Revolutionary war for Independence, this time to get rid of King Bibi. He and his vice-regents are taxing the American people too highly, and demanding a tad too much fealty.

  7. NickJOCW
    May 25, 2012, 3:04 pm

    The perception of the Iran ‘problem’ that people in the US etc. have is so at odds with what much of the rest of the world sees and accepts that one or the other is necessarily illusory. US/Israeli sanctions are a nuisance to Iran, of course, a fairly serious nuisance that threatens to get worse, but they are not anywhere near fatal.

    The kindest thing one can say about Netanyahu is that he is demented. But he is also dangerous in the manner of a Rottweiler or Pit Bull; the Pit Bull locks its jaws onto its booty until it is dead and can mangle a human to death. For the time being Netanyahu has to be accommodated. That imho is what is going on. We have another scheduled meeting in June, after that we will doubtless have another. Sooner of later Netanyahu will be caught off guard. Given the circumstances, what else can anyone do. I hope I live long enough to read Obama’s post-presidential memoirs.

  8. ToivoS
    May 25, 2012, 3:17 pm

    You guys are way too pessimistic and impatient. The US is not going to go to war against Iran. These negotiations will be drug out until November. Then we will agree that Iran has the right to enrich U and to keep their bomb proof facility. AIPAC will be working hard to subvert the talks and Israel will continue to hysterically wail on the sidelines becoming more and more isolated from the rest of the world.

    To be sure these will be a dangerous 6 months but I believe our military and intelligence services will be working hard to counter any destructive actions the Israelis are considering.

    • May 25, 2012, 4:12 pm

      The Israelis are deeply embedded in the highest echelons of our military and intelligence agencies. Any counter-measures by our military and intelligence agencies would be stifled from within, and buried by the press.

    • Citizen
      May 25, 2012, 4:24 pm

      ToivoS, assuming Obama, prodded by Congress constantly, and the GOP shouting he’s too soft, will keep pressuring every state it can to bite bullets and pull away from economic links with Iran, than a significant factor here is the Western countries, and BRIC, right? How much can the Western states due for USA? How much is BRIC taking advantage of the situation, and hence, allowing Iran to remain steadfast and still economically viable sufficiently so there’s no riots in the Iranian Street? Seems to me American’s thought that Bibi will pull a false flag (or a few) next is probable. How long can Bibi put off attacking Iran if the USA remains ambiguous on green light, or taking that ball itself? I just don’t see Romney winning–he’s now advocating deregulation of the regulations Obama has put in as a (weak) stopper on another Big Bank blowout/bailout situation–maybe the solution will offer itself if we do go into another recession as summer wans. That would be the only thing that would result in a Mitt win–if that looks likely, Bibi will have the hand he wants, to do what he wants.

  9. chuckcarlos
    May 25, 2012, 4:59 pm

    Israeli Sociopaths seem to be like Donald Trump and have this CONSTANT need for Publicity…and to keep themselves in the news…

    In reality Israel is nothing more than a third rate piss ant little country with very little industry and a rather small population base…similar to Honduras…but with a big appetite for Hollywood PR…so we get all this crappy news about how the Goons in Israel want this or that…

    Israel in reality would have a hard time making milkshakes without the assistance of the USA…(checkout the GREAT Israeli victory after the Russian made EXCELLENT munitions blew Israeli machinery apart and then Nixon had to strip US units in Germany and the USA in order to restock/resupply Israel so they would not get smashed)

    Geez you would think with all this Israeli nonsense they were the equal of Mexico, Columbia, Philippines or Brazil…they ain’t…

    It’s time for Israel to grow up and get a life…That means BREAKUP time for the USA…and we want our ring back and 1/2 the community property…

  10. radii
    May 25, 2012, 5:15 pm

    Iran was ready to make a comprehensive deal with Bush Jr. in 2003 – remember? But that didn’t fit the neocon “war-on-terror” campaign plans so that was rebuffed outright … now the sanctions are real, have tremendous bite and Iran again is ready to make a deal – but once again zio-thug zionist israel does not want peace to break out so they keep moving the goal-posts and cracking the whip on their useful hosts (such as USA) over whom they ride herd

  11. justicewillprevail
    May 25, 2012, 5:49 pm

    What a shame the US didn’t turn up. Instead, in their place, an invasion of soulless bodysnatchers who impersonated US negotiators but were in fact swivel-eyed Israelis hellbent on provoking war and mayhem, not to mention spilling the blood of US kids and trillions of dollars of US taxes, with no cost to them. Shame on their murderous tactics.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    May 25, 2012, 5:50 pm

    RE: “Iranian talks fail after neocon ‘blitz’ — as Obama dispatches aide to reassure Tel Aviv” ~ Weiss

    FROM Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy, 11/23/12:
    “Would It Make a Difference to Progressives if Norman Solomon Goes to Congress?”

    (excerpts) A key paradox for progressives of our national political life goes something like this: everybody complains about Congress, but nobody does anything about it. . .
    . . .Even now, the national infrastructure for effective caring is too weak. If the Progressive Caucus and the groups that support it effectively exercised all the functions of a political party, the fact that Norman Solomon is a candidate for Congress with a serious possibility of winning would be foremost in the consciousness of every pragmatic peace advocate in the United States. Every pragmatic peace advocate would know that Norman is running, every pragmatic peace advocate would know that there is a primary on June 5 and that voting by mail is already underway, every pragmatic peace advocate would know that Norman will survive the primary if he places second, every pragmatic peace advocate would understand why it matters if Norman survives the primary, and every pragmatic peace advocate would be doing their bit to help ensure that Norman survives the primary. . .
    . . .I am looking forward to Norman going to Congress because I know that Norman will work to raise the profile of the Progressive Caucus and will work to help make the Progressive Caucus more effective. Right now progressives in Congress are fighting to end the wars, to prevent war with Iran, to curtail drone strikes, to cut the military budget and redirect the money to human needs. But too few progressives in the country even know these fights are taking place, still fewer are engaged in them.
    With Norman in the Progressive Caucus, with Norman on TV, more people would know about these fights and more people would be engaged in them.
    Having Norman in Congress would do a lot to help build the progressive movement for political reform in this country. Check out his website. – Think about what you could do to help move the ball forward.*

    SOURCE –

    * I made a modest contribution via ActBlue and Paypal. –

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 25, 2012, 6:03 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: Three congressional challengers very worth supporting, by Glenn Greenwald,, 3/29/12

      (excerpts) . . . Norman Solomon
      The long-time anti-war activist, co-founder of the great media criticism group FAIR, and author of “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State” – a critique of America’s decades of militarism and the role which its media plays in perpetuating it — is about as close to a perfect Congressional candidate as it gets. He’s written 11 other books, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”: the title speaks for itself. He’s running in the heavily Democratic California district being vacated by the retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey. A newly released poll from an independent Democratic pollster shows him with a serious chance to win (there is an open primary in June, and the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, will then face each other in a November run-off).
      In 2002 and 2003, Solomon led three trips to Iraq to try to avert the war (trips that included former and current members of Congress), and was one of the most widely featured media voices during that period opposing the attack on moral, legal and prudential grounds. . .
      . . . Solomon demands diplomacy, not threats of military force, to resolve the current disputes with Iran. He decries the lack of criminal prosecutions for Wall Street defrauders and Bush torturers as a violation of the rule of law. . .
      . . .When it comes to Congressional candidates, it just doesn’t get any better than Norman Solomon. If you have any residual doubt, just look at this remarkable 2007 TV appearance he did on CNN with Glenn Beck, which he wrote about here, when he used the opportunity to detail and denounce the effect of corporate ownership of America’s establishment media (including CNN). He’s been doing this for 30 years and there’s zero chance he will change or compromise any of it if he wins. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like to have Norman Solomon in Congress, but I’d certainly like to see it. You can — and, I hope, will — support his campaign here. –


  13. piotr
    May 25, 2012, 8:17 pm

    New Jersey company says it has permission for unique partnership to work toward the holy grail of energy sources

    Mark Halper, Friday 25 May 2012 13.59 EDT

    The partnership comes amid tensions between the US and Iran over allegations that Iran is enriching uranium – a process that is different from fusion – to support a nuclear weapons programme.

    Sceptics doubt whether US trade sanctions will permit the collaboration. But LPP claimed in a written statement that the pact qualifies as an official US department of treasury exemption “which authorizes collaborating with academics and research institutions on the … creation and enhancement of written publications.”


    Piotr: nuclear fusion may never happen, although who can tell for sure! and the technologies that I heard about have nothing in common with weapon programs. Even so…

  14. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    May 25, 2012, 8:24 pm

    What would you say? If Israel didn’t exist as a state would the u.s be doing what they are doing in the middle east or is everything happening there directly related to that flea on a dogs back of a nation called israel.

    In other words do these …. really have that much financial power that they can make a nation like the u.s go into what could turn into ww3 with a total disregard for human life.

    i just want to hear that the u.s in and of themselves would be pursuing these same interests in that part of the world so that my unnatural inclination to dislike a group of people would not make me feel paranoid that i may be anti anyone.

    Say it ain’t so shane.

  15. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    May 25, 2012, 8:46 pm

    Q: … means another month without an Israeli military attack.

    R: Israel will not attack Iran. Israel is not used to fight against anyone that can put up a real fight. Live target practicing on hapless Palestinians doesn’t count as a warfare, but an act of war and a crime against humanity.

    Israel will not attack Iran.

    • justicewillprevail
      May 26, 2012, 5:50 am

      No, it’s whole strategy is to use US lives and money to carry out its demented, deathly policies. Israel won’t have to sacrifice a thing, indeed it can use it as a pretext for more ethnic cleansing. Iran is not a threat to anybody. Israel manifestly is.

  16. American
    May 25, 2012, 10:29 pm

    19,000 Nukes in 14 Countries. The World Nuke Club.

    rotflmao….We will blown ourselves up way before Iran ever gets or uses nukes.
    Tell you what is scary though. A lot of the countries listed are countries that ‘store” US warheads. Even though the nukes are sitting on German soil for instance they can’t actually launch them, only the US can. What is scary about this besides the obvious, is that Israel is even more interfaced into all aspects of US security and command than ever. If they don’t already have the codes and triggers for a launch of US nukes you can bet your ass they are trying to get them. ..and they are the ultimate Mad Mullahs.

  17. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    May 26, 2012, 4:16 am

    Iran faces harsh words
    Iran faces worsening sanctions
    Iran faces demands not a single western country would ever abide by or live up to
    Iran faces something else as well [see map] @

    Suppose you’re be the leader of Iran, what would you do, given the above?

    • BradAllen
      May 26, 2012, 7:54 am

      Thanx for the link the AJE article, it shows the extent of US military in the region and specifically in the areas where Arab monarchs gave away their sovereignty to assure their survival.
      I am left with a question that opnes up some intriguing theories;
      Assume the US, Israel or whatever atack Iran and somehow manage to remove the present Govt and replace it with a US friendly Govt. So the after effects can be numerous;
      -After the removal of the so called threat, why would the Arab monarchs still need US protection and would they decide to ask the US to leave?
      -Is it possible the US already calculated that Iran is not a threat but actually helps them justify their bases around the area and really would not want that to change.
      -Having a virtual threat in an area could possibly be nothing more than a way to justify building up your own power to stay close to where you really have a threat, Russia and China ?

      thinking out loud…

  18. Kathleen
    May 26, 2012, 10:00 am

    “How much does Israel drive the discussion here?” One hundred percent. Israel and the I lobby are the absolute driving forces. Not a shadow of a doubt. Amazing to think that Aipac still packs the punch that they do. After their two top officials Rosen and Weissman were tracked accessing U.S. classified intelligence on Iran and passing the information on to Israeli officials they skated. Undermine U.S. national security and what happens to Aipac…they get even stronger

    This morning on MSNBC’s Alex Witts program they had former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg on pushing a military strike on Iran. He said something like it has been determined that Iran is enriching uranium beyond 20%. Which I have not heard anywhere else. This could be the new falsehood that the neocons will start repeating. And no where no where in the MSM do we hear that Iran as a signatory to the NPT has a legal right to enrich up to 20%. And we never ever hear them mention that these demands are coming from Israel a nation unwilling to sign the NPT which massive stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Not a whisper

  19. Kathleen
    May 26, 2012, 10:02 am

    Hope folks track how many times and where they hear unsubstantiated claims about Iran being repeated. Would be a cool feature if Mondoweiss could put up a spot for us to post these unsubstantiated statements about Iran that are repeated all over our MSM

  20. Keith
    May 26, 2012, 2:11 pm

    I don’t know why folks tend to place undue emphasis on the public statements of known liars.

    “Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” (I.F. Stone)

    “…officialdom doesn’t make statements to represent reality. It constructs stories to legitimize the pursuit of interests.” (William Blum)

    “In politics, no matter what ideology is proclaimed, what people do is infinitely more significant than what they say.” (Gabriel Kolko)

    “It’s useless to react to the news of the day; instead we should understand each report as a maneuver in a hostile field of strategies to be decoded, operations designed to provoke a specific reaction.” (The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection, Quoted by Stephen Harper, Dissident Voice, 7/15/11)

  21. pmason
    May 27, 2012, 12:05 pm

    So, all those people – including former Senators, Congressmen, et al – who have written books and articles detailing how Israel controls U.S. Foreign policy AREN’T “Anti-Semites” after all!?

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