Bush/Cheney/Rice, all Oil Industry people, and their PNAC have got control of Iraqi Oil and are now looking for a way to get control of Iranian oil. So any excuse to attack is "on the table".
It makes sense for Iran to make itself energy self sufficient through nuclear power and sell their Oil to the foolish westerners who are not making themselves energy self sufficient, When the Oil eventually runs out, Iran will have all the money and the US will be left with nothing but the exhaust smoke from burned Oil.
I am married to a woman from Iran, and in December of '06 I traveled with her for her first visit in 30 years for a family reunion. She and her 4 living siblings had not been been together for 30 years.
I found the Iranian people to be very warm and welcoming even an official at the airport who couldn't find my visa number in his computer and let me in after he knew that I was married to a "beautiful Persian woman". He at first wanted to deport on the next plane out.
Everywhere I went I was greeted warmly by the Iranians with phrases like "Welcome to Iran" and "Welcome to my country".
My brother-in-law who still lives in Tehran refers to Ahmadinejad as the "little monkey". The people of Iran don't respect him because he promised a better economic life for the people, but instead it has gotten worse.
They would like to see him gone, but not at the point of gun or bomb. My wife's uncle who is a university professor in Tehran told me "Why shouldn't Iran have the bomb, Israel does."
Finally, I think that Iran's testing of the missiles and it's seeking of nuclear power is what it learned from Norht Korea. They see what Kim Il-jueng did and what he has gotten from the US and Iran will try and do the same and who can blame them.
"My brother-in-law who still lives in Tehran refers to Ahmadinejad as the "little monkey". The people of Iran don't respect him because he promised a better economic life for the people, but instead it has gotten worse."
I sure have to suspect that the US designed and built sanctions have an awful lot to do with how bad is the Iranian "economic life".
Just like the sanctions on Cuba.
I suspect that if Iran and Cuba were allowed to "freely trade in the markets", their people would be a lot better off.
Search on George Kennan and The Great Arena if you want to learn about why US policy is to prevent some countries from being economically successful because of their politics that respect people and human rights at the cost of the profits of some global capitalists.
Emily and producers:
I suggest that you call up Bruce Livingston, a Reed grad who lived in Iran and studied their people, including nomads, and escaped from Iran just before the revolution. I believe that he still lives in P-town.
He's a very interesting guy even besides about Iran. A very good raconteur. And an outstanding cook, he ran the Paul Prudhomme shop in Portland, Louisiana burned fish, remember? Um, make that "blackened" fish.
Thank you for the suggestion, Tom. I really appreciate it and will see if I can find Mr. Livingston if not for tomorrow's show then for the future. We are certainly always looking for good raconteurs (and online raconteurs too!)
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, ?We will defend our interests and defend our allies.?"
Isn't it time to divorce the interests of Big Oil from the interests of the US people? Big Oil has long claimed that their interests are the US interests and hijacked US foreign policy to fight their wars for Oil with the US military, subsidized by the US taxpayers, at the opportunity cost of losing time and money for alternatives.
Isn't it time for Americans to take back our energy policies from Big Oil, to take back control of our Nation and our military?
Other western nations are making progress, Britain, Norway, etc.
Your opening paragraph is erroneous. Iran did not test fire "nuclear" missiles. It is a verifiable fact per 17 U.S. spy agencies that Iran does NOT have and is NOT developing nuclear weapons. It tested conventional missles last week and as a sovereign nation has every right to do so especially when it is being threatened on a daily basis from Israel and the Bush/Cheney mafia.
Thank you. The mistake has been fixed.
We went to Iran as Peace Corps volunteers in 1974, and came back in 1978, having finished our 2 years in Peace Corps and continuing there in private sector jobs. Our son was born there in 1978. We love Iran, and in June 2006, we returned for a two-week tour with Global Exchange.
Remarkably, we found the same outgoing people welcoming us to their country at every turn. Iran is poorer now than it was 30 years ago, but it retains its splendor, pride, and hospitality toward westerners, especially Americans.
The idea of attacking or bombing Iran when we haven't even spoken diplomatically with them is beyond belief. In this day and age, war, unless in self-defense, is obsolete. Preemptive war is barbaric, and should be out of the question.
Iran has offered us opportunities for discussion, which we have ignored. It is behaving in a mannner consistent with its situation of being surrounded by nuclear powers and watching the US wage wars on two sides. A visionary, yet pragmatic American leader would see the possibility of enlisting Iran as an ally and helper in bringing calm ad stability to this turbulent corner of the world.
It is a very small world these days, and we have to work together. There is no other way.
To have an informed/educated discussion one needs the essential facts.
Fact #1: For the past 5 years Bush Co. and Israel have been militarily threatening Iran on a nearly daily basis (in of itself a high crime and violation of international law and terrorizing the Iranian populace)
Fact #2: Iran has not attacked or invaded another country in 270 years as opposed to Israel and the U.S.
Fact #3: Iran has signed the NPT (nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) giving it the right to enrich uranium for energy and has undergone the most extensive inspection regime in history verifying no divergence of nuclear energy work towards any military use while Israel has never signed the NPT and has 300 nuclear weapons.
Fact#4: The NIE (16 independent US spy agencies) confirmed that Iran is NOT developing any nuclear weapons and Iran's highest religious/government authority has issued an edict banning the production, stockpiling, or use of nuclear weapons calling them immoral and illegal.
Fact#5: The G-8 just called for production of 1000 new nuclear power plants and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signed contracts with France to develop nuclear energy. But the U.S. and Western European countries claim Iran "can't be trusted" to pursue nuclear energy technology while they supported Saddam and gave him chemical weapons in his murderous invasion of Iran in the 1980s.
Fact #6: Iran is not a military threat to the U.S. or Israel and the manufactured hype is causing oil prices to sky-rocket making Bush Co. laugh all the way to the bank while creating economic misery on all of us.
Fact#7: As opposed to the outrageously dangerous, propagating myth by the corporate/special interest media; Ahmadinejad never, ever, called for "Israel to be wiped off the Map" but called for regime change by saying:
"The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."
You need to keep it in context. OPB failed to mention that 2 weeks prior to Iran's conventional missile test on its own territory, that Israel conducted massive War Games involving over 100 airplane bombers flying over 1,400 km (the distance from Tel Aviv to Iran) in preparation for attacking Iran. A week ago the U.S. navy held war games in the Persian Gulf near Iran's border.
Do you really expect the Iranians to present the U.S. and Israel flowers after their provocative actions and statements. It would be foolish if the Iranians did not prepare themselves and the missile tests need to be seen in this context.
It is true that this was not mentioned in the post. It will be a big part of the on-air conversation, however. And I appreciate you bringing these points online.
I hope the citizens of the U.S. understand that what George Bush has been saying and doing concerning Iran is causing the saber rattling on the Iranian side and may be designed to do just that. Calling a nation evil, having training exercises that mimic an attack, and not taking offensive military action off the table leaves Iran no options other that to return the gesture. Americans need to know that the U.S. policy in the region is not just to protect their 'friends' but rather to control the region. And, if I were them, I sure as heck would be worried about what George W. Bush might do next.
I note that your Iranian guest has mentioned his strong involvement in human rights in Iran. I would appreciate hearing his views of the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran, which is one of the most serious human rights problems in that country.
I went to Iran for almost three weeks in July of 2007 with ?Global Exchange.? Since 2000 Global Exchange ( http://www.globalexchange.org ) offers several tours to Iran each year with the goal of fostering citizen to citizen diplomacy. In collaboration with an Iranian partner organization we went to Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz, Pasargadae and Persepolis, Esfahan, Natanz, Abyaneh, Namak Abrud, Ramsar, Lahijan, Masuleh and Rasht. This tour took us to hyper modern urban centers and ancient adobe towns, to deserts and rainforests, and from the Alborz Mountains to the Caspian Sea.
I never figured out what restrictions there are on individual Iran travel for US citizens. If there are any, they do not apply to other nationalities, as evident from the independent travelers I met for example from Germany, Japan and Spain. I was not always with the group of 14 US citizens, there was no problem with any of us venturing out on our own.
I can?t count how many people asked ?but was it safe?? We are trained so well to fear Iran, I was not immune either. The fact is that traveling to Iran for Iranian Americans who actively work against the regime is not safe at this point. But during my trip I never had any encounters with government agents other than the one who glanced at my passport in the airport. I was not questioned or searched. And as for the masses chanting ?Death to America!? ? they must have moved to join the Black Bloc in Portland!
We were treated like rock stars. People everywhere came and talked to us and were obviously delighted to find out where we were from. They shared their picnics with us, asked us to pose for photos with them, requested autographs and invited us to their homes.
When John, an 86 year old who fled Germany during the Holocaust, asked a group of women at the Hafez shrine in Shiraz what their book was, they gifted him their Hafez. When Marc, a young high school teacher from New York, asked a group of soccer players where he could buy a national jersey, he was handed one. I took midnight strolls by myself, for example across the famous bridge in Esfahan, and I felt entirely safe.
I did not have to wear a "burkha" - many ask. The only women I saw in burkha type outfits were tourists from Saudi Arabia, of which there were quiet a few. I wore shirts that covered my butt and my elbows and light silk scarves. Depending on age, ideology and occupation, Iranian women wear clothing reaching from dark hoodies and long coats to tight short shirts and pants and colorful scarves that often cover hair more symbolically than for real. I saw a Basij (soldier) hassle a woman for her attire once in Esfahan. A little while later she was back in the same outfit, accompanied by a guy with spiked hair. The women who harvest tea and rice in Gilan wear t-shirts and handkerchiefs tied in the back of their neck.
Women and men express grievances having to do with the government attempting to interfere into the private sphere, with political oppression and with the economic situation. Family law has improved: divorce, child custody and inheritance are not as unequal as they used to be. I met members of the National Women?s Dragon Boat Team, who compete internationally. Many women engage in sports and seem to be in remarkably good shape. I failed to snap photos of young women on bicycles zipping through traffic ? they were too fast. Women were visible and active in all aspects of public life. A large percentage of women are highly literate and educated and read more than ?Lolita.? They are on the forefront of political activism. Whatever problems persist in gender inequality ? Iranian women are not asking for outside saviors, who are a sore point in Iranian history. In fact: The $75 million dollars the Bush administration allocated for regime change in Iran, have made people?s lives there much more difficult (How would the US government respond to a foreign government distributing that kind of money in the US?). In the past Global Exchange delegations have met with groups such as Zanan, an outspoken women?s magazine. Currently such encounters are not possible, because those NGOs feel the need to distance themselves from anything that could be regarded as foreign attempts to facilitate regime change.
There certainly is religion on Iran. Well over 90% Shi?a but also Sunni Muslim and then Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian and Baha?i minorities. Practicing Muslims, like our driver who took prayer breaks between telling x-rated jokes and lending his beautiful voice to Gogoosh songs, do not necessarily endorse the current IRI government. My biggest surprise was a group of mullahs in a madrese (theological seminar, uniformly portrait as terrorist training camp in the US media, to the extent that this can be used to discredit Obama, who apparently attended a madrese in his childhood). When we peaked our heads into their beautiful court yard, my poor US trained brain was ringing alarm bells: we should not be here, we are Americans, four of us are women, they will get ticked off?Anyway: The mullahs invited us inside the building and ordered bastani fallude (ice cream that comes straight from whatever version of paradise you believe in). While waiting for that to arrive, we had a mutual question and answer chat. They wanted to know about stuff like natural gas and distance learning. We asked about suicide bombing (they condemned it as un-Islamic) and subjects taught in the seminar (religion, math, English, Arabic, art?). Then the mullahs shared their belief that their government is incompetent and needs changing. And that Iranians will accomplish this change through peaceful transition ? without bloodshed and outside help. This statement was echoed everywhere we went: our government is awful, yours is terrible, but we a re happy you came and experience that people really do not have a problem with each other. And please: leave dealing with our government to us ? we do not want any more violence.
And then there is everybody else. In the Vank Cathedral in Esfahan I watched Iranian Muslim government employees painstakingly restore the ancient frescos. The cathedral had a memorial and a museum dedicated to the genocide. There are 13 other Armenian churches just in Esfahan alone. Judging from the fact that they apparently are the main suppliers of alcohol and deserts to die for, Armenian Christians don?t seem to be particularly unhappy. There are other Christians, too, but I don?t know much about those.
We also visited a synagogue in Esfahan, which seemed a bit tenser. A Jewish woman we met was very clear about condemning Ahmadinejad?s Holocaust Conference and other disgraces, but she also said that she had no problem with her Muslim neighbors, that the problem lies with the government, not with the Iranian people. Iran is still home to the second largest Jewish community (after Israel) in the Middle East, but many have left.
When a Zoroastrian trip participant explained that she is of Zoroastrian Parsee (Indian) background, the Iranian response usually was ?welcome home.? She reflects: ?I came to Iran as a young Zoroastrian wanting to explore a civilization whose blood runs deep in my ancestors' veins. Zoroastrianism is the world's oldest monotheistic religion and originated in what is today called Iran. My parents are two of the world's remaining 120,000 Zoroastrians and they raised me in the ancient faith. The religion professes that humankind is designed to evolve toward perfection, but this is complicated by evil forces such as greed, lust and hatred. These evil forces must be challenged proactively by developing a ?good mind? and embracing a life of good thoughts, good words and good deeds.? Some of her Zoroastrian contacts accompanied us to the ancient ateshkadeh (fire temple) and towers of silence (ancient burial sites) outside of Yazd. We later saw Zoroastrian symbols and portrayals on many of the ancient ruins, for example at Persepolis. Zoroastrianism is respected as the ancient root for many customs, for example Nou Ruz (Iranian New Year) but my travel companion also shared that some Iranian Zartushties feel stereotyped (?fire worshippers!?) and discriminated against, for example when it comes to employment.
Being Baha?i is an obvious problem. Following a religion that was founded after Islam (and after the last prophet Mohammad), Baha?is are not considered people of the book and persecuted. Perhaps in a misguided effort to prove his Iranianess, an Iranian American repeatedly told me that the ?so-called? Baha?i religion was really a British conspiracy and in the same category as Wahaabism. In this case the problem did not seem to lie just with the government?
It was us who usually brought up religion. The Iranians we met did not seem particularly interested in discussing the subject, and nobody seemed to care much about what religion we were. (As far as I know two of us were Jewish, two were Christian priests, two were Quakers, one was Zoroastrian and a bunch of us simply believed in humanity).
Depending on whom you talk to and what sector of society you ask about, between 20 and 35% of Iranians are unemployed - and that is of major concern to them. For a population that is very young (more than one third under 14) and highly educated (60% of university graduates are female) that is a huge problem. Young people who are bored and rebellious engage in similar behavior anywhere on the planet, and the result is sometimes troubling, especially if you sit next to a country that now, thanks to being ?liberated? by the US, produces well over 90% of the world?s opium. The highly educated brain drain from Iran into countries such as the US is notorious.
We saw obvious indicators of progress: Rural communities seemed prosperous. Iran started exporting wheat this year rather than importing it. Low-income areas in Southern Tehran, including the squatted neighborhoods where many Afghan refugees live (Iran had the world?s highest refugee population, many are now deported), did not look pretty but they were nothing compared to the slums I have seen for example in Ankara or Latin America. The IRI government spent more money on transportation during the last year than it did during the last 26 years. The indicators for that were clearly visible: all highways are being converted to four or six lane roads with median. Esfahan was a huge construction site because of the creation of a five-line metro. Train tunnels were being dug between Shiraz and Esfahan. There is obvious and incredible wealth In Northern Tehran. But overall the economy is not working. Prices are very similar to what they are in the US, housing costs are extremely high, leading to real estate speculation (leading to some of the wealth). Wages in most sectors are very low and many people work several jobs. While Iran needs to import just about everything, export is minimal and still mostly limited to oil (yes ? there also are some nuts and carpets). But after 28 years of embargo on oil and gas technology, a country that used to produce 5 million barrels of crude oil a day in 1979, now produces 3.5 MB per day. Meanwhile the population has doubled to 65 million. As a result the nation that sits on the second largest gas and 4th largest oil reserves in the world, now has to import gasoline and began rationalizing gas use a few days before we got there. Everybody assured us that traffic was nothing compared to what it usually is. Some of this is greeted with relieve ? traffic jams and air pollution are huge problems in major metropolitan areas. But the rationing creates additional headaches for people forced to commute between several jobs. It is unlikely to find Iranians who oppose the development of nuclear technology. It is seen as hope for the future and guarantee for long-term energy independence. We drove by the nuclear site outside of Natanz so close we could have touched it (with soldiers waving at us!), but I am sorry not to be able to report what exactly is buried there. I do know that many Iranians deeply resent to be treated so differently than the neighboring countries (including those occupied by the US) that surround them with nuclear weapons?
Iran has not initiated a war against anyone in recent history and the Iranian population is not hostile towards Americans. The potential for a peaceful resolution of the curent conflict has not been explored.
Please re-paragraph your good post. TOL requires two clicks on the "enter" button to make a new paragraph.
They ask for shorter posts too, but you could just link several posts with "cont'd" to get around that.
The US and Israel have paired up to intimidate Iran like school yard bullies. Iran then did the equivalent of taking karate lessons and has begun weapons testing. Please note that these are not nuclear weapons. There is no proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. To my knowledge Iran has been following established IAEA regulations for development of nuclear energy.
We have decided to be friendly with North Korea after it illegally developed nuclear weapons technology and undertook nuclear weapons testing. Why is it that we are bullying Iran when they haven't done anything illegal? Once again are we going to launch an invasion based on false premises to the benefit of US corporations who get no-bid contracts?
We have also partnered with Poland to install a missile defense program. This move has infuriated the Russian Federation who see it as re-instituting cold war era policies. Maybe if we started talking to people, and believing their answers and the observations of inspectors, rather than making threats and reaching for our guns the world would be a more stable place.
I love how in this country there is a general call for "democracy in Iran" - when there was a democratic Iran under Mosaddeq, who was deposed by the CIA in 1953 when we instaled the Shah.
The 1979 Islamic revolution was 'blowback' from that operation (Operation Ajax).
I also love how 'we dont talk to Iran' - unless you are refering to George HW Bush setting up the release of the American hostages UNDER THE CONDITION THEY NOT BE RELEASED UNTILL AFTER THE 1980 ELECTION. This was of course the first 'October Suprise'.
Or the time we talked to them enough to sell them arms to fight Iraq, allowing us to fund the Contra's AND back both sides in the Iran / Iraq war.
I dont spaeak farsi (sp?), but it is my understanding that 'wipe them off of the face of the map' simply dosen't exist in that language. That "quote" was Ahmadinejad quoting someone else, stating that Isreal would self destruct.
If I was Iran, I would be freaked out too.
It seems obvious to me that we need to "talk" to Iran. I'm not saying we have to "give" them anything...i.e. "appease" them. But...isn't it much more likely that we will continue to misunderstand each other, mistrust each other, and continue along the same exact path if we do NOT talk to them? I should also add that a military option is NEVER off the table. It should just be the very last option chosen. I'm tired of the Bush/Cheney doctrine of diplomacy as a last resort. Otherwise known as "shoot first, ask questions later".
The NIE on Iran explicitly states that Iran is not actively seeking a nuclear weapons. You guest is sabre rattling and you are accepting his argument without any direct challenge to his assertions that they are deveolping or persuing nuclear weapons. Once again the media, this program included, are not addressing and refuting the radical assertions of the war mongering right.
Shame on you.
I think it is expected that Iran would strive to develop weapons that would make any other nation hesitate to attack.
Israel has nuclear weapons, and of course so do we. Both nations have shown themselves to be very capable of rationalizing away or somehow dismissing the rights of a minor or weak people such as the Palestinians. And, we have been unable to see and right our injustice for some 60 years.
Describing us and Israel an axis of evil would be very appropriate. It is time that both we and Israel got our come-uppance. The sooner, the better, for the rest of the world.
First my best greetings to Goudarz. I am sitting in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany and am listening to this show. My current home city is the sister city of Isfahan, considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East. I am planning on going to Iran this October for the first time. I am very much looking forward to it.
Speaking reacting to the missile testing: Iran has constantly been under threat for the last how many years? It is just showing its muscles as well. CHANGE MUST COME FROM WITHIN and without any interference by the US.
In my opinion, if you read "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein, then you will learn what the highest interest in Iran is anyways. Certainly not democracy.
When I visited Israel to see the international headquarters of the Baha'i Faith, my heart was warmed to see that Israel welcomes this world religion Whose founder, Baha'u'llah, was from Iran. This is a fine example of a country, Israel, choosing peaceful co-existance. The Baha'i Faith is a large religious minority in Iran. Baha'is are enjoined to obey the government of whatever country they reside. Because of this, and because Baha'is do not participate in partisan politics, Bahai's are a stabilizing influence in whatever country they reside. It is therefore in the interest of the United States to continue to take steps to protect the Baha'is in Iran. House Resolution 1008 condemns the most recent upsurge in persecution of the Baha'is. In March, the 9 members of the national administrative committee were rounded up in the middle of the night and imprisoned. Representative Darlene Hooley has not yet signed the resolution condemning this action. Please write to her to request that she sign this. Baha'is are not even allowed to attend higher education in Iran.
PNAC, The Project For The New American Century, stated in its website that they want to "Dominate" the world. Bush/Cheney have been implementing the PNAC plan with their war against Iraq and next up is their war against Iran. They don't want to talk, they just want to Dominate. They seem to be a new version of Hitler and Mussolinis Fascism, remember that Hitler wanted to Dominate the world?
I can't imagine that anyone would like to Dominated by people like Bush/Cheney/PNAC who murder, torture, commit illegal wars, and crimes against humanity.
I tried to provide the PNAC link here but their site is offline for non-payment of bills. I don't know if they've moved.
Here is a wiki article about them:
[i]Think Out Loud[/i]'s main strength is its local focus; I'd rather not see foreign policy discussions here.
I listened to this segment without hearing any reference to the Congress bills- HR 362 and SB 580 which calls on the president (the one who illegally invade Iraq) to stop all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran. It also "demands" that the President impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran." Critics argue endorsement of this bill and a companion Senate one would signal US intentions of war with Iran, a US naval blockade in the Strait of Hormuz. Why can't we have more main stream media coverage of what is actually happening in our government that supports our military war machine we all are a part of? Also, it hopefully will interest listeners to know that "An aggressive effort by the State Department to fund regime change in Iran is ongoing, but the State Department has refused to provide lawmakers with specific details of the program other than to say that the core mission of the initiative is to assist 'those inside Iran who desire basic civil liberties such as freedom of expression, greater rights for women, more open political process, and broader freedom of the press.'
Congress has appropriated more than $120 million to fund the project. The State Department has spent most of the money on the U.S.-backed Radio Farda, Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe, and to broadcast Persian programs into Iran via VOA satellite television...
Next Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations will consider the fiscal year 2009 budget that calls for setting aside $65 million for additional regime change and democracy promotion efforts inside Iran" from Iran Nuclear Watch.
I was a guest of the show today and did not get a chance to invite listeners to join Iranians of Oregon and SW Washington at our 9th Annual Iranian Festival at PSU campus on Saturday August 2nd, 2008 from 10am-6pm. Enjoy the Music, Cuisine, Art and culture of the country. Hope to see you there and also check out our website frequently: www.aifcpdx.org
Sir, as a listener, I would like to thank you for participating.
You have biased the discussion by your choice of AIPAC's framework. Thus the discussion is not about Iran's right to nuclear power under the NPT and the common right of self defense. Rather it is about American and Israel exceptionalism which somehow grants them the right to wage preemptive war unless the target nation can prove a negative. In any case, Iran has as much right to nuclear weapons as Israel. Why did you not frame the subject about Israel's recent provocative war exercises. All the rhetoric for war is not coming from Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollah, it's coming from AIPAC, the neocon media, and Israeli officials.
The 'existential threat' of an Iranian nuclear weapon is a smokescreen for Israel's real concern, which is that Iran might aid the Palestinians in their struggle against oppression and confiscation.
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