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by Stephen Lendman
Beating up on Iran is longstanding US policy. It's a prime target of choice. Washington deplores independent governments.
It wants pro-Western ones replacing them. It doesn't care if they're democratic, despotic or anything in between. Subservience to Washington alone matters.
AIPAC wants Iran isolated. So do congressional hawks. Most House and Senate members oppose rapprochement.
It's hard knowing where Obama stands. His credibility is sorely lacking. He says one thing. He does another.
Is his interim nuclear agreement sincere? Does he favor ending 34 years of hostility? Does he want rapprochement? Or is what's ongoing more duplicity? The fullness of time will tell.
Obama's entire tenure is a record of broken promises. Nothing he says holds water. Iran has serious concerns. America's longstanding treatment gives reason for pause.
In a recent Tehran TV interview, President Hassan Rohani accused anti-Iranian conspirators of "Iranophobia."
"Our enemies want to establish (it) across the world," he said. "They want to tell the world that Iran is a threat."
"Under the pretext of Iranophobia, the killers are able to do whatever they want in the region and interfere however much they want."
Iran's agenda is entirely peaceful, he said. Agreement was reached to limit its nuclear program. It was in exchange for modest sanctions relief.
Rohani said a deal must be reached on what he calls an "Iranophobia conspiracy." At issue is preventing new US sanctions. More on this below.
The interim nuclear deal "caused much anger among our enemies," he said. "You can see that the radicals in America are saying something new every day."
They look for excuses to vilify Iran. They invent ways to do it. Perhaps they can pass veto-proof legislation. New sanctions will torpedo ongoing negotiations.
Iran hopes for final agreement resolution by mid-year. AIPAC wants it subverted. It exerts enormous congressional influence.
It bears repeating. It's unclear where Obama stands. His record shows he can't be trusted. His threatened veto may be smoke and mirrors deception. He's done it before. Why not again.
Rohani explained Israeli displeasure. Netanyahu is going all out to prevent a final nuclear deal.
"The Zionist regime is very angry, and our dear people witness how upset they are with this agreement," said Rohani.
"I want to state that this is the first success of the great nation of Iran cooperating with the (Western) world."
On February 5, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett headlined "The Year of Iran: Tehran's Challenge to American Hegemony in 2014," saying:
What's ahead "will either finally compel Western acceptance of Iran's sovereign rights - especially to enrich uranium under international safeguards - or fundamentally delegitimize America's eroding pretensions to Middle East hegemony."
Polls show sanctions had nothing to do with Rohani's concessionary deal. Iranians blame Washington. They blame complicit Western states.
They blame Israel. They oppose compromising national sovereign rights. They support Iran's peaceful nuclear program. It has no military component.
Iran is an oasis of stability in a region wracked by violence. It represents "soft power," said the Leveretts.
"(T)he West is increasingly challenged to come to terms with the Islamic Republic as an enduring entity representing legitimate national interests."
Doing so requires respecting its sovereign independence. Bullying won't achieve rapprochement.
"...Western recognition of reality is (at best) partial and highly tentative." It's suspect for good reason. It's polar opposite longstanding hostility.
Washington and other Western states have all the proving to do. Past Iranian leaders sought rapprochement long ago. They were consistently spurned.
Is this time different? It bears repeating. The proof of the pudding is in the proving. Iran is more than willing to meet Western powers more than half way.
It wants respect. It wants rapprochement with all countries. It wants likeminded treatment in return. It wants what it hasn't gotten in over 34 years.
Whether this time is different remains to be seen. It pays to remain skeptical. Tehran won't end its legitimate nuclear program. It won't compromise it beyond what's reasonable.
It's up to Western powers to acquiesce. They haven't so far. More US sanctions loom. Imposing them is a deal-breaker.
It's long past time Washington awoke to reality. Its policies make more enemies than friends.
Its hegemonic power is slipping. It's been in decline for decades. It's waging war on humanity shows it hasn't changed.
Imposing new sanctions on Iran will show ongoing nuclear talks are futile. Republicans and Democrat hawks want them.
They want the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act passed. The measure has 59 co-sponsors. They include 13 Democrats.
Numbers shift from day to day. Sixty sponsors assure passage. Sixty-seven make it veto-proof. Republicans control the House. Last July, similar legislation passed overwhelmingly.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) blocks a floor vote. Republicans are trying to force him to express opposition publicly. He hasn't done so thus far.
On February 4, 42 GOP senators wrote Reid. "We have come to a crossroads," they said.
"Will the Senate allow Iran to keep its illicit nuclear infrastructure in place, rebuild its teetering economy and ultimately develop nuclear weapons at some point in the future?"
They know Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. They suggested otherwise.
"The answer to (their) question will be determined by whether you allow a vote on S. 1881, the bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, which is cosponsored by more than half of the Senate," they added.
The measure is on the Senate's calendar. Any senator can call for a vote. Reid has final say. So far he rejects one.
According to one unnamed senior GOP senate aide:
"This letter is a final warning to Harry Reid that if Democrats want to block this bipartisan legislation, they will own the results of this foreign policy disaster."
Passage is a disaster to be avoided. Sanctions should be eliminated, not added.
Not according to congressional hawks. Claiming an Iranian nuclear weapons program rings hollow. It's fabricated. It's red herring cover for regime change.
It's shameless deception to claim otherwise. It's unclear what to expect. Past history isn't encouraging.
Duplicity is longstanding US policy. AIPAC's enormous influence spells trouble.
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper lied to Congress. He's done it before.
On February 4, he told House Intelligence Committee members that Iran may violate nuclear deal terms.
"(T)hey may take advantage of that which is not prohibited. And certainly, the combination of the more intrusive IAEA inspections and surveillance, coupled with what we are able to do, you know, we'll be watching."
AIPAC's web site stresses "prevent(ing) Iranian nuclear weapons capability." It urges passing the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.
It lied claiming doing so will "strengthen American diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability."
AIPAC duplicity stresses three "key points:
(1) Preventing an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.
(2) Backing diplomacy by threatened new sanctions.
(3) Supporting Israeli policy.
AIPAC menaces world peace. It's an unregistered foreign agent. It operates illegally. It doesn't matter. It has overwhelming congressional and administration support.
It spurns peaceful conflict resolution. It wants Israeli enemies eliminated. It wants America directly involved. Whether it's able to prevent a final Iranian nuclear deal remains to be seen.
On February 7, Press TV headlined "Iran ready to answer all IAEA questions: AEOI."
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi pledged "future cooperation" in further talks.
"As we have already announced," he said, "we are ready to answer all questions about our peaceful nuclear activities."
A joint Tehran/IAEA statement included six issues to be discussed. Two involve Iran's Arak heavy water plant and its Gachin uranium mine.
On December 8 and January 29 respectively, IAEA operatives conducted their inspections. Iran provided information on three of the four remaining issues. The other one will be addressed shortly. According to Kamalvandi:
"The measures were set to be carried out in a three-month term ending on February 9."
"After this date, we will study how to continue cooperation with the IAEA."
"The IAEA will of course give its opinion about the six issues in this period."
On February 8, Tehran/IAEA talks were held. Future cooperation was discussed.
Joint Plan of Action interim nuclear terms let IAEA inspectors visit Arak and Gachin.
IAEA's Safeguard Agreement excludes this requirement. Permitting inspections shows Iranian good faith. Hopefully it makes final deal resolution more possible.
On February 7, Press TV headlined "US waiving six-month sanctions on IRIB."
An unnamed US official said Washington is temporarily waiving its Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting sanctions.
Doing so lets non-American companies offer satellite services. They can do it without US-imposed penalties.
Washington will reevaluate its position in 60 days. Perhaps reversed policy will follow.
America unjustifiably accused IRIB of blocking foreign channels. Tehran rejects the accusation.
Press TV said "(m)edia activists call the attacks on Iranian channels a campaign against free speech launched by the same (Western) governments that preach freedom of expression."
Washington play good/bad cop duplicitous games. It's hard knowing what's coming next.
On February 6, Iranian parliamentarians responded to US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman's disturbing anti-Iranian comments.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif criticized her. She called Joint Plan of Action interim nuclear terms "not perfect." It bought time for something better, she said.
"We see this as a first step so we don't consider the gaps that exist loopholes because this is not a final agreement," she told Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.
It "freeze(s) and roll(s) back their program in significant ways and give(s) us time (to) negotiate (a) comprehensive agreement."
She left unexplained terms she may have in mind. Iran won't compromise its legitimate rights.
Zarif called on Sherman to "review the realities even for internal use."
He called her remarks a barrier blocking final settlement resolution. "Iran nuclear technology is not negotiable," he stressed.
Hostile US comments raise concerns. Does Obama want rapprochement with Iran?
He spurned it throughout five years in office. He's got all the proving to do.
What happens between now and mid-year remains to be seen. Washington's long history isn't encouraging.
Good faith isn't America's long suit. It won't surprise if final resolution remains as elusive as ever.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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