Friday, November 09, 2012

The US campaign against Iran and it’s nuclear programme remains either irrational or else dishonest; that includes the theory Iran would give nuclear weapons or materials to Hamas, Hezbollah or terrorist groups ; and blanket sanctions will kill civilians as surely as bombs – as in Iraq

The third Presidential debate underlined the narrowness of the difference between the Obama administration and the Republicans on Iran. Obama is still claiming that if Iran developed nuclear weapons this would be a serious threat to Israel and the US, despite even the head of Mossad, Tamir Pardo, saying it would not threaten Israel’s existence (1) – (2). Then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the same in a cabinet meeting in 2007 (3). In 2009 Ehud Barak, now Israeli Defense Minister, said Israel was a regional superpower with nuclear capabilities which couldn’t be destroyed (4). Of course there are significant differences between Bush or Romney and Obama too, but the US position remains either irrational or else dishonest.

Obama’s Position is Different from Bush’s and Romney’s – but likely to lead to the same long-term results

Obama’s position is certainly different from Bush’s, with his Defence Secretary and military Chief of Staff emphasising that Iran’s government is rational in it’s calculations and he himself saying that Iran’s government’s “decisions…made over the past three decades” show “that they care about the regime’s survival” (5) – (7).

They also say that intelligence assessments are that Iran’s government is not currently developing nuclear weapons and has not even made a decision to do so in future  (and the Israeli military agree) (8) – (10).

Obama is apparently more willing to negotiate without preconditions too (11).

However Obama continues to accept the line pushed by Republican neo-conservatives, Democrat hawks and Israeli politicians (as opposed to Israeli intelligence and military leaders) – that if Iran got nuclear weapons then this would threaten both Israel and the US with nuclear attack, either directly from Iran or through Hezbollah and Hamas. This is ridiculous – and self-contradictory.

Why Iran getting nuclear weapons would not pose any threat to Israel or the US

Israel has it’s own nuclear deterrent to deter any Iranian attack, plus a much stronger conventional military than Iran’s, backed up by the vast US and British and French nuclear arsenals and conventional forces, which dwarf those of Iran and its’ allies Syria and Hezbollah in both quantity and quality (12).

Former heads of Israeli intelligence ( e.g former Mossad heads Efraim Halevy and Meir Dagan ),  and US generals under both Bush and Obama all agree that Iran’s leadership is rational and can be deterred (though they all also want to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons through sanctions - and some, like former Mossaad chief Efraim Halevy, say Israel’s government should not talk of Iran getting nuclear weapons as a threat to Israel’s existence in case this makes the Iranians believe this and become more willing to use them if they get them) (13) – (18).

Former heads of Mossad and Israeli Shin Bet intelligence Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, along with General Benny Gantz, Israel’s chief of staff, have warned that the leaders who are irrational are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak in their drive for war on Iran as soon as possible – although most only want to avoid attacking Iran until they can get the US to support and take part in an attack  (19) – (21).

The real question is whether the planned aggression by Israel – a regional superpower and the US, a global one, against Iran can be deterred. Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld has said that Iran would be not just irrational but crazy not to want a nuclear deterrent of it’s own, given the threats it faces (22).

Why Hamas and Hezbollah would not use nuclear weapons if given them – and why Iran would not provide them to them, nor to other terrorist groups

Obama’s third debate claims included the myth that Iran might provide “nuclear materials” to “non-state actors” – i.e that Iran might provide nuclear weapons or material for a “dirty bomb” to Hamas or Hezbollah or other terrorist groups to use on Israel (23). This recycles Bush’s equally ridiculous claim that Saddam might give WMD to terrorists. No government of any ideology, including Islamic fundamentalist, whether the nuclear armed Islamic fundamentalist military in Pakistan, or Saddam when he did have WMD, has ever provided WMD or nuclear materials of any kind to terrorist or militia groups they supported, because they would be risking national suicide by proxy – or even having groups they don’t fully control turn on them with their most powerful weapons.

Apart from that Hamas and Hezbollah are not a handful of isolated fanatics with nothing to lose, like Al Qa’ida. Hamas are at war with some Al Qa’ida sympathising groups in Gaza (24) – (25). Both Hamas and Hezbollah have political wings and gain much of their support by providing services like education and healthcare which governments have failed to provide. Both stand in elections, which both have won – meaning they are currently part of governments as well, with Hamas in coalition with Fatah in the Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah’s political wing being part of the Lebanese government. So whether they’re “non-state actors” at all is debatable.

That’s apart from the fact that both border Israel, so any use of nuclear weapons on Israel would also kill Palestinians and Lebanese people, including Hezbollah and Hamas leaders, members, voters , fighters and their families, either directly or due to fall-out in Southern Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank (see map below).

Map by World Sites Atlas (

Airstrikes can’t stop Iran developing nuclear weapons - and might result in them deciding to build them when they otherwise wouldn’t have

Airstrikes on Iran would not be able to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons if it wanted to either, only slow the process down – and could well even make Iran’s ‘Leader’ Khameini and his regime change their minds and decide to build nuclear weapons and fast, as several former Israeli intelligence chiefs from Meir Dagan to Efraim Halevy warn (26) – (27).

The Obama administration also oppose airstrikes as they would be likely to increase unrest among the populations of many of the US’ clients and Israel’s allies against Iran, as these are mostly Sunni dictators, many with large Shia minorities (e.g Saudi Arabia) or even majorities (e.g Bahrain) (28) – (29).

Dagan and Halevy and Gazit also warn it would lead to counter-attacks on Israel by Iran’s Lebanese allies Hezbollah (30) – (31). Iran’s leaders have said that if attacked they would also launch missile attacks on Israel themselves and on US bases in the Middle East (32).

The sanctions on Iran could kill millions of innocent people, as sanctions on Iraq did while the evidence suggests Iran’s nuclear programme is purely for civilian electricity generation

The Clinton administration was willing to starve the entire Iraqi population, with millions of civilian deaths resulting due to food and medicine shortages, including over 600,000 children, in order to weaken Saddam’s regime (33) – (34).

The Obama administration has begun the same process with Iran. Food prices for basic staples like rice are rocketing and there are shortages of chicken. There are also shortages of vital medicines due to a combination of a ban on US and European pharmaceutical firms dealing with Iran’s government or firms (many medicines are owned and produced solely by one firm) ; and the ban on most of the world’s banks having any dealings with Iran, which makes it almost impossible to finance many routine transactions (35) – (37).

Before someone says all Iran has to do to end this is to stop developing nuclear weapons, US and Israeli intelligence agree Iran is not currently developing nuclear weapons and has not made any decision to try to develop them (38) – (40).

So the entire population of Iran are being punished with food and medicine shortages and threatened with war for something their government is not doing. What the US and Israel are demanding is that Iran scrap it’s civilian nuclear programme, in case it might give Iran the capability to build it’s own nuclear deterrent in future if it decided it wanted to (41).

Or else their aim is to get the Iranian population to overthrow their government. Sanctions seem to be seen by the Obama administration and Israeli intelligence and military leaders as a more effective, lower risk, route to regime change in Iran than airstrikes or invasion.

Sanctions on Iraq , just as harsh and lasting for over a decade, did not result in Iraqis overthrowing their government though. They might well fail in Iran too – and again at a huge cost in lives.

Mis-quotes and Selective Quoting – Ahmadinejad and Khameini say they do not need or want nuclear weapons

Many people endlessly quote Ahmadinejad’s “wiped off the map” speech  – a phrase which referred to “the Zionist regime” i.e the government of Israel, not the population or the country - and he said in a subsequent interview that he meant the way the Soviet Union or the Shah’s regime ended, through Israelis and Palestinians overthrowing it, not through nuclear war (42) – (44).

Why do the same people ignore Ahmadinejad when he saysWe do not need an atomic bomb. The Iranian nation is wise. It won't build two atomic bombs while you have 20,000 warheads.” , or the much more powerful Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khameini, when he saysWe fundamentally reject nuclear weapons” (45)


Iran has every reason not to trust the US government
or the UN Security Council or  the “ International Community ”

As for the theory that Iran’s government should do a deal with the “international community” (i.e the permanent members of the UN Security Council) on their civilian nuclear programme, Iranians have no reason to trust the self-styled “international community” and every reason to distrust it. It was the US and British governments that sent the CIA and MI6 to organise the overthrow of Iran’s only democratically elected government, that of Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953. The US, British and French governments all backed the Shah’s dictatorship as it squandered Iran’s oil wealth on arms and luxuries for the Shah and his cronies for decades, Carter’s support even continuing after the Shah had his troops massacre unarmed demonstrators shortly before the 1979 revolution. During the 1980s the US, British, French, Chinese and Soviet governments all armed and funded and politically supported Saddam’s invasion of Iran (which they later hypocritically condemned to try to justify the Iraq war), even as Saddam used chemical weapons – poison gas – on Iranian and Iraqi Kurd civilians and soldiers alike. US and British low interest loans and dual use arms sales even continued after the gassing of Halabja (see sources 5) to 10) on the blog post on this link and sources 8, 11 and 13 to 15 on this one)

So if you’re afraid of Iran’s leaders, think how scared they and their population must be of nuclear armed enemies whose militaries dwarf theirs and who have betrayed them over and over again in the past.

At the same time Obama and the British government demand Iran end it’s civilian nuclear programme, they themselves are starting programmes of construction of new nuclear reactors in their own countries (46) – (47).

Would Libya or Iraq style regime change in Iran
reduce the number of deaths?

The Iranian government certainly jails, tortures and even sometimes kills many of it’s Iranian critics, but then Israeli governments have been overseeing the deliberate targeting of large numbers of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians for a long time too (48) – (50). So neither side is very pleasant and neither side's government has anything like full democratic legitimacy as long as Palestinians in the occupied territories can be forced out of their homes, besieged or killed without consequence.

If you look at what Coalition and Iraqi government forces did in killing and torturing civilians in Iraq, or killings, torture and ethnic cleansing by the former rebel militias in Libya, there is no way any kind of military campaign or support for armed rebels in Iran is going to reduce the number of people being tortured and killed rather than increase it.

The campaign against Iran either doesn’t make sense or else has ulterior motives

So the US-led campaign against Iran is not a rational foreign policy. It is allowing foreign policy to be dictated by irrational fears of non-existent “threats”. Either of that or it’s actual aim is not to prevent threats but to carry out regime change, trying to install a government that is neutral or allied to the United States to replace one hostile to it. (A third, much less likely, possibility, is that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and that sanctions are designed to get it to stop without war or Iran’s leaders losing too much face).

It’s not a just foreign policy, preventing genocide. It is the strong finding a pretext to attack those much weaker than them. It is nothing to do with the Iranian government’s lack of democracy or torture and killing of protesters. If you want to see worse just look at what Coalition forces did in Iraq between massacres of civilians and ambulance crews like Falluja, to systematic torture. Or look at the torture and killing of democracy protesters by the US and British backed dictatorships of Saudi, Bahrain and Yemen, just as much as the Russian and Iranian backed dictatorship in Syria.

The Israeli government and settlers certainly profit from war with Iran or the fear of it. It, like the siege of Gaza, helps distract attention from their continuing annexation by force of most of the West Bank and it’s vital water supplies and farmland, without which there can never be a viable Palestinian state.

All kinds of oil and arms firms, including British and American ones, benefit from sanctions and fear of war pushing up oil prices and increasing sales of arms and ammunition.

Everyone else loses though. We lose in higher oil prices, in our governments further increasing spending on arms that could have been invested in health, education and technological breakthroughs including in energy and fuel efficiency and generation. We lose in media and government attention shifted from real problems to another non-existent “threat”. Soon Iranians will start losing their own lives and those of their children to sanctions on a scale that will dwarf lives lost to their own government’s brutality. Then, if the bombing starts, many more will die violently – and at that point the global terrorist threat posed by Al Qa’ida, a very extreme version of Sunni Islam, will be joined by Shia Muslim equivalents.

Iran will not surrender without a fight either. If Israel or the US attack it, it will counter-attack against Israel and US forces and bases in the Middle East – and possibly British forces in Cyprus too.

The best way to bring about regime change in Iran
– stop targeting it with sanctions and threats of military attack

It would be better to stop targeting Iranians at all. The removal of external threats would weaken support for the regime and make it much harder for Iran’s rulers to paint all dissidents as agents of foreign powers, increasing the chances of a transition to democracy.



(1) = NPR 22 Oct 2012 ‘Transcript And Audio: Third Presidential Debate’ , ; PRESIDENT OBAMA:a nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security and it's threat to Israel's national security. We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.

Iran's a state sponsor of terrorism, and for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to nonstate actors — that's unacceptable. And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.

So the work that we've done with respect to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president, me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table.

The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that during the course of this campaign he's often talked as if we should take premature military action…that is the last resort, not the first resort.

…… But our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program… There is a deal to be had, and that is that they abide by the rules that have already been established; they convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program; there are inspections that are very intrusive.

(2) = Haaretz 29 Dec 2011 ‘Mossad chief: Nuclear Iran not necessarily existential threat to Israel’,

(3) = Haaretz 25 Oct 2007 ‘Livni behind closed doors: Iran nukes pose little threat to Israel’, ; ‘Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel

(4) = Project Syndicate 03 May 2010 ‘The Abuse of History and the Iranian Bomb’ by Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister,

(5) = Reuters 19 Feb 2012 ‘REFILE-US' Dempsey says premature to attack Iran now’,

(6) = Haaretz 27 Apr 2012 ‘Panetta: I hope that IDF chief is right on Iran nuclear program’,

(7) = The Atlantic 02 Mar 2012 ‘Obama to Iran and Israel: 'As President of the United States, I Don't Bluff'’,

(8) = USA Today 08 Jan 2012 ‘Panetta: Iran not building bombs yet’,

(9) = Reuters 09 Aug 2012 ‘U.S. still believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapon’,

(10) = BBC News 25 May 2012 ‘Iran undecided on nuclear bomb - Israel military chief’,

(11) = NYT 20 Oct 2012 ‘U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks’, ; ‘“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Saturday evening. He added, however, that the administration was open to such talks, and has “said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”’

(12) = Federation of American Scientists – Nuke Guide – Israel,

(13) = Wilson Center 24 Oct 2012 ‘Interview between Efraim Halevy and Aaron David Miller’,

(14) = CBS News 12 Sep 2012 ‘The Spymaster: Meir Dagan on Iran's threat’, ; ‘Dagan: The regime in Iran is a very rational regime.’

(15) = The New Yorker 03 Sep 2012 ‘Letter from Tel Aviv - The Vegetarian - A notorious spymaster becomes a dissident’, Page 6 ‘Dagan believes that the Iranian leadership, for all its religious fervor and anti-Semitic rhetoric, operates on a level of rational self-preservation. He told me that Iran’s nuclear project is indeed designed as a potential “umbrella” to protect Hezbollah and other client groups, but it is also “an insurance policy against any intervention in Iran.”…
“In 2003, as the United States invaded Iraq, Iran felt under siege,” he went on. “The great Satan was at their borders and threatening. . . . The Iranians learned from North Korea, Pakistan, and India that a state with a nuclear weapon will not suffer interference the way a state without one does.”….

(16) = ABC News 17 Sep 2007 ‘Abizaid: We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran’,

(17) = Reuters 19 Feb 2012 ‘REFILE-US' Dempsey says premature to attack Iran now’,

(18) = Haaretz 01 Sep 2012 ‘Former Mossad chief: An attack on Iran likely to foment a generations-long war’,

(19) = ynet news 03 Aug 2012 ‘Israel realizes: Only US can stop Iran’, by Ron Ben Yishai,,7340,L-4264089,00.html

(20) = The New Yorker 03 Sep 2012 ‘Letter from Tel Aviv - The Vegetarian - A notorious spymaster becomes a dissident’, ; pages 4 -5 ‘But Moshe Ya’alon, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, echoed his boss’s view, telling me that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, or even the capacity to build one, “we will witness nuclear chaos.”… Ya’alon is …known to be more reluctant than Netanyahu and Barak to launch a bombing campaign against Iran. “It is not our preference to do it ourselves,” he told me.’

(21) = 28 Apr 2012 ‘Ex-Israeli spy boss attacks Netanyahu and Barak over Iran’, ;
‘Yuval Diskin, who retired as head of the internal intelligence agency Shin Bet last year, said…. "I don't believe in either the prime minister or the defence minister. I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings….They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won't have a nuclear bomb… many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race."

In what was seen as a veiled rebuke to the prime minister, Gantz added: "Decisions can and must be made carefully, out of historic responsibility but without hysteria."

Diskin's comments… put him in agreement with the former head of … Mossad, Meir Dagan, who has said that attacking Iran was "the stupidest thing I have ever heard"

(22) = International Herald Tribune 21 Aug 2004 ‘Sharon on the warpath : Is Israel planning to attack Iran?’, by Martin Van Creveld,

(23) = NPR 22 Oct 2012 ‘Transcript And Audio: Third Presidential Debate’ , ; PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Iran's a state sponsor of terrorism, and for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to nonstate actors — that's unacceptable. And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.

(24) = Observer 16 Aug 2009 ‘Hamas destroys al-Qaida group in violent Gaza battle’,

(25) = Reuters 02 Mar 2010 ‘ANALYSIS-Hamas and pro-al Qaeda cells set for more conflict’, ; ‘In January, a bomb destroyed a senior security official's jeep in Gaza. There were no casualties. Last month, a senior Hamas commander in the southern Gaza town of Rafah escaped injury in a bomb blast. Sources close to Salafi factions said the two officers were involved in "killing and torturing" Islamist fighters…..In the most serious violence between Hamas and the Salafis, Hamas forces attacked a mosque in Rafah last August after the leader of a group calling itself Jund Ansar Allah declared Islamic rule in the town on the border with Egypt.Up to 28 people, including the leader, were killed.

(26) = see (17) above

(27) = Jerusalem Post 20 Dec 2012 ‘Talk of Iran strike may speed-up nuclear program’, , ‘Dagan said that…“With the threat of a military attack, they may opt to cross all the red lines and instead of going carefully [toward nuclear capability], go very swiftly to obtain nuclear potential,” he said

(28) = 31 Oct 2012 ‘US warns Israel off pre-emptive strike on Iran’, , ‘Arab spring has left US-friendly rulers in region nervous about possible impact of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear programme

(29) = Huffington Post 15 Mar 2012 ‘Why Israel Won't Rush to War With Iran’, by Professor Raja Menon ,

(30) = The New Yorker 03 Sep 2012 ‘Letter from Tel Aviv - The Vegetarian - A notorious spymaster becomes a dissident’, , ‘Dagan answers those questions simply: “An Israeli bombing would lead to a regional war and solve the internal problems of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It would galvanize Iranian society behind the leadership and create unity around the nuclear issue. And it would justify Iran in rebuilding its nuclear project and saying, ‘Look, see, we were attacked by the Zionist enemy and we clearly need to have it.’ A bombing would be considered an act of war, and there would be an unpredictable counterattack against us. And the Iranians can call on their proxy, Hezbollah, which, with its rockets, can hit practically any target in Israel”…Dagan’s view that a unilateral Israeli strike would intensify, not diminish, the danger posed by Iran is now the general view of the dissident politicians and security chiefs.’

(31) = Maariv (Israel, Hebrew) 10/06/2011 ‘What will Israel look like the day after an attack on Iran?’ , ‘Ephraim Halevy, former head of the organisation [Mossad… held a military strike will result in devastating consequences in the long run…We need to attack only as a last resort." … This week he says to Mosfsbt that "my opinion has not changed. ….Shlomo Gazit, former head of Military Intelligence, agrees with Halevy.…."Iran will publicly a nuclear state, and we will be victims of missiles coming at us from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah’. , Translated version in English via Google Translate at

(32) = Guardian 04 Jul 2012 ‘Iran 'ready to fire missiles at US bases'’,

(33) = Guardian 29 Nov 2011 ‘The hostage nation - Former UN relief chiefs Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday speak out against an attack on Iraq’, ; ‘The most recent report of the UN secretary-general, in October 2001, says that the US and UK governments' blocking of $4bn of humanitarian supplies is by far the greatest constraint on the implementation of the oil-for-food programme. The report says that, in contrast, the Iraqi government's distribution of humanitarian supplies is fully satisfactory (as it was when we headed this programme). The death of some 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad.’ (5000 x 12 months a year = 60,000 a year. Over 10 years from 1991 to 2003 (actually 12 to 13 years) = 600,000 conservative estimate)

(34) = NYT 01 Feb 1995 ‘Iraq Sanctions Kill Children, U.N. Reports’, ; ‘As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Persian Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council, according to two scientists who surveyed the country for the Food and Agriculture Organization. ..The study also found steeply rising malnutrition among the young, suggesting that more children will be at risk in the coming years. The results of the survey will appear on Friday in The Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Association.

(35) = The Economist 06 Oct 2012 ‘A red line and a reeling rial’, ; ‘On October 1st and 2nd Iran’s rial lost more than 25% of its value against the dollar. Since the end of last year it has depreciated by over 80%, most of that in just the past month. Despite subsidies intended to help the poor, prices for staples, such as milk, bread, rice, yogurt and vegetables, have at least doubled since the beginning of the year. Chicken has become so scarce that when scant supplies become available they prompt riots.

(36) = Guardian 10 Aug 2012 ‘Sanctions on Iran: 'ordinary people are the target'’, ; ‘For Fatemeh, the pill she takes twice a day in her home in Iran means the difference between life and death. Earlier this summer when she contacted her friend Mohammad in the US to say she was running out of the medicine due to a shortage, the obvious thing for her fellow Iranian to do was to order it from the chemist next door and have it shipped directly to Iran. To the dismay of Fatemeh and Mohammad, the order was rejected because of US sanctions on trade with Iran…..As sanctions have started to take their toll, prices of fruit and sugar, among other staples, have soared – in some cases showing three- and four-fold increases. The latest controversy surrounds long queues for discounted poultry, an essential ingredient of Persian food, which has seen its price double since last year, causing what has been dubbed a "chicken crisis" and prompting demonstrations….Iran's Haemophilia Society recently blamed the sanctions for risking thousands of children's lives due to a lack of proper drugs, the opposition website Rahesabz reported.

(37) = 17 Oct 2012 ‘Iran sanctions 'putting millions of lives at risk'’, of lives are at risk in Iran because western economic sanctions are hitting the importing of medicines and hospital equipment….

Fatemeh Hashemi, head of the Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, a non-government organisation supporting six million patients in Iran, has complained about a serious shortage of medicines for a number of diseases such as haemophilia, multiple sclerosis and cancer…

In midsummer, Hashemi wrote to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon calling on him to intervene … Ban had warned the UN in a report that humanitarian operations in Iran were being harmed because of sanctions.

"The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine," he said.

"The sanctions also appear to be affecting humanitarian operations in the country," he wrote. "Even companies that have obtained the requisite licence to import food and medicine are facing difficulties in finding third-country banks to process the transactions."

(38) =  Reuters 09 Aug 2012 ‘U.S. still believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapon’, ; ‘…Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one, U.S. officials said on Thursday….
…James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, said in congressional testimony in January: "We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons."’

(39) = Haaretz 13 Mar 2012 'Mossad, CIA agree Iran has yet to decide to build nuclear weapon',

(40) = NYT 17 Mar 2012 ‘U.S. Faces a Tricky Task in Assessment of Data on Iran’,

(41) = NPR 22 Oct 2012 ‘Transcript And Audio: Third Presidential Debate’ , ; PRESIDENT OBAMA:So the work that we've done with respect to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president, me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table.

The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that during the course of this campaign he's often talked as if we should take premature military action…that is the last resort, not the first resort.

…… But our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program… There is a deal to be had, and that is that they abide by the rules that have already been established; they convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program; there are inspections that are very intrusive.

(42) = Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran News Service 03 Jun 2008 ‘President says Zionist Regime of Israel faces deadend’,

(43) = 14 Oct 2006 ‘Lost in translation’,

(44) = Informed Comment 26 Jun 2006 ‘Ahmadinejad I Am Not Anti Semitic’ by Juan Cole,

(45) = BBC News 06 Mar 2012 ‘Q&A: Iran nuclear issue’, the IAEA report, President Ahmadinejad declared: "We do not need an atomic bomb. The Iranian nation is wise. It won't build two atomic bombs while you have 20,000 warheads."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is reported to have issued a fatwa some time ago against nuclear weapons, has said: "We fundamentally reject nuclear weapons."

(46) = ABC News 16 Feb 2010 ‘Obama Says Safe Nuclear Power Plants are a Necessary Investment’, , ‘President Obama…announced more than $8 billion in federal loan guarantees to build the first nuclear power plant in three decades…“And this is only the beginning,” he promised, referencing his budget tripling loan guarantees to finance nuclear facilities across America which would spur more job creation.

(47) = UK Department of Energy and Climate Change 30 Oct 2012 ‘Ministers welcome Hitachi new nuclear investment programme’,

(48) = Human Rights Watch 03 Aug 2006 ‘Israel/Lebanon: End Indiscriminate Strikes on Civilians’ ; ‘The 50-page report…analyzes almost two dozen cases of Israeli air and artillery attacks on civilian homes and vehicles. Of the 153 dead civilians named in the report, 63 are children. More than 500 people have been killed in Lebanon by Israeli fire since fighting began on July 12, most of them civilians.

“The pattern of attacks shows the Israeli military’s disturbing disregard for the lives of Lebanese civilians,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch….However, in none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in the report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah was operating in or around the area during or prior to the attack.

(49) = HRW 09 Dec 2006 ‘The “Hoax” That Wasn’t - The July 23 Qana Ambulance Attack’,

(50) = Amnesty International 02 Jul 2009 ‘Impunity for war crimes in Gaza and southern Israel a recipe for further civilian suffering’, ; ‘Some 300 children and hundreds of other unarmed civilians who took no part in the conflict were among the 1,400 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Most were killed with high-precision weapons, relying on surveillance drones which have exceptionally good optics, allowing those observing to see their targets in detail. Others were killed with imprecise weapons, including artillery shells carrying white phosphorus – not previously used in Gaza - which should never be used in densely populated areas.

Amnesty International found that the victims of the attacks it investigated were not caught in the crossfire during battles between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces, nor were they shielding militants or other military objects. Many were killed when their homes were bombed while they slept. Others were sitting in their yard or hanging the laundry on the roof. Children were struck while playing in their bedrooms or on the roof, or near their homes. Paramedics and ambulances were repeatedly attacked while attempting to rescue the wounded or recover the dead.’

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