Forever Under Construction

After all

Posted in Iran, USA by homeyra on October 16, 2008
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Some History

Posted in Iran, Nuclear, USA by homeyra on October 3, 2008

Previously Scott Ritter mentioned some of the present day neo-conservatives support of the Iranian nuclear program during the 70’s.

In an interview, after the recent Indian nuclear deal, Chomsky remembers (emphasis are mine):

I can remember in the l970s there was an internal crisis at MIT when the institute authorities pretty much sold the nuclear engineering department to the shah in a secret agreement. The agreement was that the Nuclear Engineering Department would bring in Iranian nuclear engineers, and in return, the shah would provide some unspecified — but presumably large — amount of money to MIT. When (this was) leaked, there was a lot of student protest and a student referendum — something like 80 percent of students were opposed to it. […] It was quite striking that the faculty vote was the exact opposite of the student vote […] Anyway, it went through. Probably the people running the Iranian program today were trained at MIT. The strongest supporters of this U.S.-Iranian nuclear program were Henry Kissinger, Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

[…] This was in the mid-’70s. Kissinger now says, “How can Iran be pursuing a peaceful program when they have so much oil — they don’t need nuclear energy.” In 1975 he was saying the opposite. He was saying, “Of course Iran has to develop nuclear energy. It cannot rely upon its oil resources.” Kissinger was asked by the Washington Post why he had completely changed his judgment on this issue. He was quite frank and honest. He said something like, “They were an ally then, so they needed nuclear energy. Now they are an enemy, so they don’t need nuclear energy.” […]

[…] A large majority of Americans — something like 75 percent — agree that Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy, if it is not for nuclear weapons. But they are not part of the world either. The world consists of Washington and whoever goes along with it. Everything else is not the world...” Read more

Relevant post: Blasts from the past

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Pictures of you …

Posted in Art, Iran, Photo, USA by homeyra on August 27, 2008

… Images of Iran

American lawyer-turned-photographer Tom Loughlin has visited Iran three times to capture Iranian life for his installation, “Pictures of you, Images of Iran”. Click picture to see a short video of this photo installation at Denver’s Civic Center.

More about the artist
Tom Loughlin blogs about this project

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Thine House

Posted in Middle East, Oil, USA by homeyra on August 25, 2008

Good Girl Roxie calls that a must see: “This may be the single most amazing interview I have ever watched on Bill Moyers’ PBS show. Meet Andrew Bacevich, West Point graduate, retired colonel with 23 years in the Army, author of many books, including “The New American Militarism” and a just-released, “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.” Bacevich is now a professor of international relations and history at Boston University.

This interview sums up some aspects of the American foreign policies during different presidency as a result of a dependence on consumer goods and credits. Some excerpts:

“[…] Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large – I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions – but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods. […]”

“[…] I think historians a hundred years from now will puzzle over how it could be that the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, as far back as the early 1970s, came to recognize that dependence on foreign oil was a problem, posed a threat, comprised our freedom of action.

How every President from Richard Nixon down to the present one, President Bush, declared, “We’re gonna fix this problem.” None of them did. And the reason we are in Iraq today is because the Persian Gulf is at the center of the world’s oil reserves. I don’t mean that we invaded Iraq on behalf of big oil, but the Persian Gulf region would have zero strategic significance, were it not for the fact that that’s where the oil is.

Back in 1980, I think, President Carter, in many respects when he declared the Carter Doctrine, and said that henceforth, the Persian Gulf had enormous strategic significance to the United States and the United States is not going to permit any other country to control that region of the world.

And that set in motion a set of actions that has produced the militarization of U.S. policy, ever deeper U.S. military involvement in the region, and in essence, has postponed that day of reckoning when we need to understand the imperative of having an energy policy, and trying to restore some semblance of energy independence. […]”

Read or watch the interview here, or go to Good Girl Roxie to see a mash-up of some of the most memorable moments from that interview.

On the Radio

Posted in Israel, Middle East, USA by homeyra on July 6, 2008

A very interesting debate: Stephen Walt, co-author with John Mearsheimer of the book Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and Mitchell Plitnick of Jewish Voices for Peace.


Amazing, flat out amazing: The famous Dutch documentary about AIPAC

Technology transfer

Posted in Iran, Middle East, Technology, USA by homeyra on July 1, 2008

Picture via Gonahkar

When I read Seymour Hersh‘s latest article – about the Presidential Finding approved by the present Congress for clandestine operations against Iran – I just thought of Franklin Lamb’s article about the “greatest technology transfer of terrorist techniques in history”: a secret directive in the mid 80’s that inaugurated a new era of direct infusions of advanced U.S. military technology into the Middle Eastread the article

See also: Democrats Okay Funds for Covert Ops, Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran – Andrew Cockburn, Counterpunch

On the Net

Posted in Iran, USA by homeyra on June 11, 2008

Jim Lobe: “Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal editorial page is as hard-line as ever, today featuring a lengthy and by now familiar meditation by AEI “Freedom Scholar” and perennial intrigue entrepreneur Michael Ledeen on “Iran and the Problem of Evil.” …” read the article


Two short interviews with Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell:
Cheney blocked talks with Iran
Iran’s influence is a fact, negotiations a must

Click picture to get to videos and transcripts

A Program

Posted in Iran, Middle East, USA by homeyra on March 27, 2008

Rosa Schmidt Azadi is an American married to an Iranian. She’s a long-time peace activist with a background in anthropology, education, and public health. She’s also one of the people who walked away from the falling Twin Towers on 9/11 and returned to help with the recovery effort. Out of this experience of destruction, death, and horror came a deeper commitment to human life everywhere and specifically to non-violence. Retired and splitting her time between rural New York and urban Iran, Rosa Schmidt is doing all she can to promote world peace.

Her articles:

Part I : Democratic aspirations in Iran and the Middle East
Part II
: A six-part program that’s good for democracy in the U.S. and good for democracy in the Middle East, too


      Not So Rare Americans

      Posted in Americans, Books, Iran, USA by homeyra on January 25, 2008

      Brian H. Appleton, aka Rasool Aryadust, was kind enough to drop by and to let me in on his new website about his forthcoming book: The Tales from the Zirzameen“.

      He says that it is “guaranteed to make you feel good about being Persian“! Thanks Brian 🙂

      You can pre-order the book here
      Brian’s letter and a brief chapter outline

      Previous post: Old Times


      See also

      Professor Richard Nelson Frye has asked in his will to be buried in Iran

      Rare American in Iran recalls her 50 years there
      International Herald Tribune

      An “Honorary Iranian“: Helen Rastovac in Berkely
      thanks Bijan 🙂

      Constructive Instability

      Posted in Iraq, Middle East, USA by homeyra on November 16, 2007

      Alan Gresh is editor of Le Monde Diplomatic and an expert on the Middle East. Here is an excerpt of his article: Uncle Sam’s New Backyard, How to turn a region into a graveyard – Link via Les Politiques

      “The nationalism that has structured the broader Middle East since 1918 is now under threat from the resurgence of ethnic and religious identity –a process encouraged, consciously or not, by General David Petraeus, the current US commander in Iraq who led the 101st Airborne Division that captured Mosul in 2003.

      One of his first decisions was to create an elected council to represent the city, with separate polls for Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Christians. No mention of Iraqis. By reducing the region to a mosaic of minorities, US policy forces everyone to identify with their community, to the detriment of any national or other loyalty. This undermines national cohesion and fosters conflict in Iraq now and possibly in Syria and Iran tomorrow. It encourages outside regional or international parties to intervene, manipulating local factions in pursuit of their own interests. Israel has been particularly guilty of this since the 1980s.

      During Bush’s first term, the neocons developed the doctrine of “constructive instability” in the Middle East . As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said while Israel was bombing Lebanon in July 2006: “What we’re seeing here is, in a sense, the growing —the birth pangs of a new Middle East; and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East.”

      In Bloggers without Borders, Riverbend writes the following from Syria: “I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.”

      Not Personal

      Posted in Iran, Israel, News, Photo, Syria, USA by homeyra on November 14, 2007

      Iason Athanasiadis is a British-Greek writer, photographer, political analyst, and television producer. He specializes in the Middle East.

      In his latest article in the Guardian he writes that according to a high-level former official in the Clinton administration “September’s mysterious Israeli strike on Syria was a successful test of an American missile against the new Russian radar system that Moscow sold to Damascus and Tehran, ahead of a strike against Iran. According to the source, the Syrians were warned in advance through back-channels that they would be getting hit and advised to keep mum about it as it wasnot personal“.”

      Sleep-walking to war ,Recent talk at Harvard – the intellectual powerhouse of the US suggests understanding of the Iran problem is sadly lacking.

      Iason Athanasiadis website, his Iran page including a summary of articles and photos.


      Ari Fleischer, who was once the face of the Bush administration when they were selling the war on Iraq, is now in charge of running a $200 million anti-Iran PR campaign. Link via Another Irani Online (an informative blog)

      Radiant Days

      Posted in Iraq, Media, Society, USA by homeyra on July 18, 2007


      Unpublished treasures
      Radiant Days

      Not in the Script
      by eatbees, March 2003

      The war has been going on now for just over a week. Many people have died on both sides, though of course primarily on the Iraqi side. […] The initial euphoria has worn off, the talk of “shock and awe,” and now the self-magnifying chatter of the media has turned to concerns about overreaching […] It will now be a long, bloody, messy war, we are told, in which we could be stuck for months. Meanwhile the protests, too, have cooled off […] History is being written with guns and missiles, with the blood and sweat of young soldiers, and we are in the very first weeks of a new “Anglo-American alliance” which appears set to dominate the world stage for the next century, if it can. As far as I can tell, so far the American people seem to be responding to the costs of conflict with a sort of stoic pride: we are not really as soft or as scared of “body count” as all the pundits assumed. But there is also concern that things are not going as smoothly as we were initially led to believe […]

      What makes us so passive, I want to know? What makes us so certain that history is written by others, scripted by Hollywood perhaps […] Perhaps we have been conditioned to this passivity? Perhaps it is a product of the media sphere in which we live, in which targeted marketing has replaced tradition, thoughtfully providing us with models for our every move […] Those people are professionals, and with their focus groups and demographic profiles, they know us better than we know ourselves. The smart thing to do is simply to go along with it, settle in and enjoy the ride.

      Yet if one thing has remained constant in the last fifty years, it is that consumerism is still the social cancer it has always been. It cannot replace tradition because tradition develops the whole person, although perhaps in ways that are now obsolete, while the consumer mentality treats the person in material terms only, as if we were nothing but a set of conditioned reflexes susceptible to tweaking. Even though the visible, physical prosperity of our society is treated as a good in itself, indeed as something worth exporting to the entire world, it can never replace the confrontation each individual must make within herself […] what is needed is for rebellion and questing to be directed into more “productive” channels, meaning the purchase of new toys. If you are young and full of excess spirit, take up snowboarding.

      It is this video-game view of reality that is now commonplace. And the media sphere conspires to keep us ensnared in it by providing us with endless variations on the themes of money, sex and power. As a result we find ourselves where we are now, in the midst of a war that is a bit more real than we’d intended.

      The Iraqis, not having been raised in the media sphere, don’t know how to play. Rather than giving up quickly so we may shower them with merchandise, they are taking things literally and putting up a fight. Will someone please tell them this is not in the script?

      Radiant Days


      Did you meet mathissee?

      1, 2, 3

      Posted in China, Cinema, Iran, Lebanon, News, USA by homeyra on May 24, 2007

      persepolis1.jpg1Marjan Satrapi‘s success story in the Cannes festival: “Persepolis had its world premiere today at 4 p.m. And at the end of the film, cheers and applause rang through the Palais; the rhythmic clapping that is Cannes’ way of saying “bravo” lasted for more than 15 minutes …” read more

      An interview with Marjan at the IHT: ” … In the ’70s, we grew up with American culture – bowling with my cousins, the music, hamburgers, pizza like in Chicago. Nobody can believe how many parallels between where I come from and America – countries that are not very friendly these days. But now that I know the country and have done so many book tours, I think, how stupid we are to make these clichés about America…” read more. Her homepage.


      «What we wanted to say is, if these people scare you, look closer: They have parents, they have lovers, they have hope, they have stories» …  more

      2The news are as messy as usual. Monte (and 99 and Naz-banoo) mentioned the new covert action about Iran, a sort of follow up of a previous article: Subverting Iran – Washington’s Covert War Inside Iran. The comments- in the original article, are … sort of … well, worth reading.

      See also Guardian declares war on Iran, and the Nah al-Bared tragedy at The Fanonite.

      3 – I enjoyed reading the last Henry CK Liu article: A Mute Strategic Economic Dialogue, about the “The Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) between the United States and China“. It provides a glimpse into the Chinese way of seeing things, and their way of dealing with the regime- change mega-plans. After all, as Fred wrote: ” … Asia … we are all going to be interested in before too many years pass …”