Obama pwns Bush-Cheney on Iran; First day of Talks Yields Significant Confidence-Building Steps

For 8 years, Bush-Cheney practiced what I call “belligerent Ostrichism” toward Iran. They refused to talk to Tehran. They wanted to ratchet up sanctions on it. Bush sent 2 aircraft carriers to the Gulf to menace Iran. Bush’s spokesmen professed themselves afraid of Iran’s unarmed little speedboats in the Gulf. Aside from issuing threats to attack and destroy Iran the way they did Iraq, Bush-Cheney had nothing else to say on the matter. During the 8 years, Iran went from being able to enrich to .2% to being able to enrich to 3.8%, and increased its stock of centrifuges significantly. Bush-Cheney gesticulated and grimaced and fainted away at the horror of it all, but they accomplished diddly-squat.

Barack Obama pwned Bush-Cheney in one day, and got more concessions from Iran in 7 1/2 hours than the former administration got in 8 years of saber-rattling.

Delegates of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany met with representatives of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for 7 and a half hours on Thursday for talks on Iran’s nuclear research program.

Amazingly, there were signs of significant progress even on the first day, which most seasoned observers had not expected.

1. Iran agreed to allow inspectors from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the newly announced facility near Qom within the next two weeks.

2. Iran agreed to meet again at the end of October.

3. Iran agreed to send “most” of its stock of low enriched uranium (3.5%) to Russia for processing to the roughly 20% degree of enrichment needed to run its small reactor producing medical isotopes. Iran has about 3200 pounds of low-enriched uranium, and is willing to send 2600 to Russia. That is a little over a ton, or about what a single Ford Focus weighs.

Iran does not anyway have the ability to enrich to more than about 4.8% at the moment, and the medical reactor will be out of fuel in a little over a year, so if they continued to want the medical isotopes they would be forced to take this step anyway.

Russia Today has video:

The NYT report on all this adds in all kinds of extraneous and unproven allegations, of a network of secret enrichment plants or secret stores of low-enriched uranium or nefarious Iranian plans to make a bomb, or of Iran having enough nuclear material to make a bomb (irrelevant if they can’t enrich to 90%), and what Israel thinks of all this (since the Israelis really have thumbed their nose at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and made a whole arsenal of bombs, thus further destabilizing the Middle East, why they aren’t under UN sanctions I’ll never understand; but they certainly don’t have standing to dictate anything to other countries on the proliferation issue). It reminds me of all the NYT front page stories about aluminum tubes and Iraqi WMD of Judy Miller in 2002. Isn’t it bad journalism to report completely unproven allegations for which there is no evidence?

Back to the real world: The steps outlined above are only pledges on Iran’s part, of course, and we have to see if they are implemented.

President Obama made much the same points, demanding that Iran follow through on fuller IAEA inspections, a long-time demand of the US.

Presumably the regime is being so forthcoming because it needs a win on the international stage to shore up its flagging legitimacy at home, in the way of presidential elections widely viewed as fraudulent. It is possible that hard liners like the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps will attempt to torpedo these positive moves.

For further proof that Congress has numerous brain-dead people in it, its reaction to Iran’s being forthcoming in Geneva was to authorize legislation that would try to punish companies for supplying gasoline to Iran. Somehow I think someone will take the contract, and anyway Iran will up its petroleum refining capacity in the coming couple of years. Congress should worry how the US is going to fuel its transportation in coming years.

The USG Open Source Center translated the remarks of Khamenei’s secretary, Sa’id Jalili, on the Geneva negotiations:

“FYI — Iran Nuclear Negotiator Jalili Says 5+1 Talks Positive
Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Document Type: OSC Summary

Tehran Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN) in Persian at 1636 GMT began a live relay of a news conference by Iran’s Supreme Security Council secretary Sa’id Jalili in Geneva following the 5+1 nuclear talks. The news conference was also broadcast live by Press TV and Al-Alam TV.

Jalili said that today’s talks concentrated on security, international developments, economy, and regional issues. He added that these talks could be a platform to resolve the regional and global issues. Jalili said that one of the most important issues is global security. Jalili added that some media try to create terror within their audience. He called it “media terrorism.”

Jalili said: “One of the important issues we have proposed in the proposal package is to deal with some of the genuine threats which the human community suffers from and should be concerned about. One of these issues is the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). WMDs are a threat to the human community, which must definitely be dealt with through international cooperation. The issue of disarmament is the most important one.”

Iran’s nuclear negotiator asked for all nuclear arsenals to be destroyed. Jalili said that at the same time countries have the right to achieve peaceful nuclear technology. Jalili said that best method is to boost international regulations bodies, such as the IAEA and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Jalili then referred to the global financial crisis. He said that worldwide cooperation could be useful in resolving this matter. Jalili criticized the country’s that support sanctions and said sanctions will not help the global financial crisis.

Jalili then talked about terrorism, narcotics, and organized crime. He said that if the public are not scared then a basis for mutual cooperation will be created.
Jalili called the Geneva talks constructive. He said: “Today we have agreed to continue these talks with a positive thinking. Hopefully next month we can reach an agreement on how to continue these talks so that cooperation would become reality.”
Jalili then started answering questions.

In response to a question by an Egyptian correspondent, Jalili said: Worldwide and regional security is only possible through cooperation.

Jalili said that today’s talks mainly concentrated on how to take these talks forward.

An Israeli correspondent asked Jalili about Ahmadinezhad’s comments on Israel. Jalili refused to answer his question. Another correspondent asked the same question from Jalili. The Iranian official said that the Palestine problem is a 60 year-old issue. Jalili said that Iran wants a democratic solution to the Palestinian territories. He added that only a just solution could work for the people of this region.

A German correspondent asked if there are any unknown nuclear facilities in Iran. Jalili said that everything has to go through the IAEA. Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities are in full cooperation with IAEA, Jalili said.

One correspondent asked about the outcome of talks with William Burns, the US representative. Jalili said that he was aware that the 5+1 countries had a united stance against Iran, but that the talks were productive.

Fars news agency, affiliated to Iran Revolution Guards Corps, asked if the talks with the 5+1 countries would continue and Jalili’s response was positive.”

End/ (Not Continued)

20 Responses

  1. Just a footnote for the jargonically challenged

    From Wikipedia

    Pwn (below: Various pronunciations) is a leetspeak slang term derived from the verb "own",[1][2][3] as meaning to appropriate or to conquer to gain ownership. The term implies domination or humiliation of a rival,[4] used primarily in the Internet gaming culture to taunt an opponent who has just been soundly defeated (e.g., "You just got pwned!").[5] It was popular among Counter-Strike gamers before spreading through the more general Internet world.[6] The past tense and past participle, pwned, may also be spelled: pwnd, pwn'd, pwn3d, pwnt, poned, pawned, or powned.[citation needed]

    In hacker jargon, pwn means to compromise or control, specifically another computer (server or PC), web site, gateway device, or application. It is synonymous with one of the definitions of hacking or cracking. An outside party who has pwned a system has obtained unauthorised administrative control of it.[citation needed] The Pwnie Awards are awarded by a group of security researchers.[4]

    Popularity of the term among teenagers rose in the mid-2000s, with the spread from the Internet written form to use in spoken language

    Those of us who thought that Mssrs Bush and Cheney had been pawned wondered what the second hand value of a used and date expired politician might be.

  2. i feel the need to point out that the bush administration was never really even INTERESTED in concessions… the entire purpose of the saber-rattling was to make the case for yet another regime-change intervention that would serve u.s. "interests," a/k/a monopolizing the world's energy reserves…

    once the code has been deciphered, it's not that hard to make sense out of these things…

    link to takeitpersonally.blogspot.com

  3. For 9 years, 8 years under Bush and 1 year under Obama=Bush, the US and Israel have engaged in non-stop psychological terrorism against Iran. It is relentless. It is filled with lies and fantasies. The drum beats of another US/Israel invasion and occupation are getting louder and more frighening to the entire world.

  4. Israel is an Untouchable.
    The NYT (and the rest of the commercial media), is propaganda.

  5. Last night Bush's former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte intimated, in a private speech to the Yale Club in NYC, that the Israelis depiction of Iran as an existential threat may just be "bravado".

    link to iranian.com

  6. As a historian, I would assume you would want to take greater care with correct terminology.

    Are you referring to the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Aden? when you use the word "Gulf"? My guess is, you are referring to the Persian Gulf, which the British also like to refer to as the 'Arabian Gulf' and the French have often called 'le Golfe Arabo-Persique'.

    Just because 'everybody else does it', is no reason why you should …. most people think Iran is a country of mad mullahs and crazed fanatics. You obviously don't subscribe to that notion.

    Maziar, Potomac MD

  7. Russia is leading. The US must come to face the whole truth: PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS A REALITY.

    When?

    Now that Russia has recovered from the parasites who occupy the host America.

    Maybe there is real hope, after all, but it is not coming from the golfer butt buddy collective and thank goodness Bush's FAMILY of crazies and all their choices to be "leaders of the free world" have met their Waterloo in straight men who are not only intelligent, they are also not poly-addicted drug addicts.

    The 21st Century is to see a real picture finally, of how life actually works in a non-uni-polar world thanks to Russia and not the faux greatest democracy.

    Get over it, America — wars without end as our only revenue for the drug addicts who have destroyed their brains, clearly, when what we continue to get are CORPORATIONS as criminally insane "gods."

    Let us all HOPE that the CHANGE is not too bloody, after all.

    Biloxi Marx

  8. "Buying Time"

    "The details of the landmark meeting between the so called five plus one and representatives of the IRR, the Islamist Rapist republic, are sketchy. There are tidbits of information pointing to arriving at some sort of stopgap measure to temporarily lessen the sane world’s apprehension with IRR’s full cycle illegal nuke program.

    Apparently IRR has accepted to have some of its stockpile of low-grade enriched uranium be transferred to Russia for further enrichment and then converted to useful fuel for Tehran nuclear research site by French technicians. In addition the IRR has promised to within the next two weeks allow the outgoing head of the IAEA and his inspection teams visit the newly revealed Qom nuke site. If all goes accordingly then there will be further meetings between the parties by the end of the current month.

    Should the above hold true then President Obama’s impromptu White House news conference makes sense, specially the part that not many are zeroing in on.

    “Iran must take concrete steps to build confidence that its nuclear program will serve peaceful purposes, steps that meet Iran's obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council resolution.”

    The reference to Iran’s obligation under multiple UNSC resolution has been and still is the heart of the matter. The UNSC has ordered IRR to stop its illegal enrichment activities which the IRR and its lobbies classify as legal and an inalienable national right. Given all the above it seems the sane world just kick the can down the road a little bit hoping Islamist rapist would come to their senses, if that is their hope, then they must be as gullible as the IRR advertises them to be. Meanwhile those centrifuges are spinning.

    The AP reports the following:

    “Western officials at the session said the Islamic republic had also agreed to allow Russia to take some of its enriched uranium and enrich it to higher levels for its research reactor in Tehran, a potentially significant move that would show greater flexibility by both sides.

    U.S. President Barack Obama noted the deal in comments on the meeting. But Mehdi Saffare, Iran's ambassador to Britain, and a member of the Iranian delegation at the talks told The Associated Press the issue had "not been discussed yet." Asked if Iran had accepted, he replied: "No, no!"

    link to news.yahoo.com

    link to iranian.com

  9. I find I have completely changed my outlook about the Iranian nuclear program issue since June. Whereas I used to think that there is too much unwarranted pressure on Iran for something other countries are freely and some without accountability doing, these days I think differently.

    These days I am filled with trepidations over a military state in Iran. A military state does need weapons. A military state does use weapons. This military state took a gun to its own people and would not think twice before doing so again. I am no longer convinced as I was before that Iran does not want a nuclear weapon. Who can be sure of that? I am actually sure they would. It is the most potent weapon they could get.

    I don't trust the Islamic Republic of Iran. I am deadset against the idea of a military attack on Iran, first for loss of human life and second for giving IRI an extended life over poor Iranians, and I hate the idea of sanctions against Iran because that will hurt Iranians. Just the same, I find I no longer want to defend IRI's rights with respect to the nuclear program. Screw them. They are murderers.

    I should know better than to trust any politician. But these days I find it easier to trust Obama than Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. Lies in broad day light may be a trait for many politicians, but I have never seen anyone more brazen than those killers in Iran.

    link to iranian.com

  10. National development of nuke tech always has a dominant offensive (MAD) military component, however annoying and cynical it sounds coming from the US Likud lobby. Even the threat of an N-weapon trump card has instant leverage, while electrical production is a VERY slow way to repay the huge capital costs of fuel cycle and power plant construction.

    From an NPT standpoint, the big issue is where Iran acquired centrifuge tech, and what's going on with that?

    In 1960-80, the main proliferator was Israel with a variety of partners, including France, India, S. Africa and maybe Argentina and Iran (the Pahlevi version). It seems likely that Israel still trades N-weapons tech for goods and access, with some of those partners.

    Since we adopted a 'see no evil' policy toward Pakistani N-arms and enrichment in 1979, they have made proliferation their national policy, in partnership with Peking and Pyongyang, and participation from Malyasia among others. What is not clear is how Pakistan and their Peking partners squared an Iranian deal with their relations with Arabian phobia of Shiite revolution.

    I would love to see a regional strategic analysis addressing nuclear Israel, Arabia, and Iran, and the likelihood of covert Turkish and Egyptian nuclear ambitions.

    Given the proliferation of centrifuges and easily maintained medium ballistic missiles using solid booster tech, almost any gov't might steal enough from their citizens to field a regional nuclear deterrant force. Japan and S. Korea are almost certainly going nuclear, along with Australia. That appears to be the shape of the next few decades

  11. ref : “Presumably the régime in Iran is being so forthcoming because it needs a win on the international stage to shore up its flagging legitimacy at home, in the wake of presidential elections widely viewed as fraudulent… If this is true, Juan, then while we lament the spectacular failure of the Bush/Cheney administration's ‘belligerent non-engagement’ foreign policy, and note the progress, apparent achieved by president Obama — we should rightly give credit to the courageous Iranian people, themselves for their sacrifice = this gift: making any semblance of détente between IRAN and US possible.

  12. These aren't really "concessions" from Iran. Iran is simply following its safeguards agreement when it allows inspections. Has been doing that for years. The US media is spinning that as a "concession" in order to make the Iranians look instransigent and hell-bent on making nukes.
    Iran HAS offered some pretty large concessions — for example to operate its nuclear program as joint ventures and allow more instrusive inspections than legally required — and yet their offers were (and are) simply ignored because they would leave Iran with an enrichment capability. Ultimately, this isn't about nukes — it is about depriving Iran and developing nations of the capability to make their own nuclear reactor fuel. This is part of a larger conflict between developing and developed states that has gone on long before the particular controversy over Iran arose. Our media simply ignores it.

  13. Does anyone really believe that in a year from now, Iran will actually get its enriched uranium back? I seriously doubt it. Some reason or another will be cooked up to "sanction" Iran's uranium and keep it away from Iran.

  14. I'm sorry if you've addressed this in the past, as I am only an infrequent reader of the site. Have you taken a position as to whether you believe Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons or do you believe that their quest is purely peaceful? You can say there is no conclusive evidence that they're pursuing nuclear weapons, which may be true, but I'm asking for your educated opinion on the matter. Thank you.

  15. 1:02 PM, Anonymous

    Sure, Ahmadinejad IS dangerous. It is HIM who wages THREE agressive colonial wars just now and threats MORE wars, it is HIM who posess nukes and threats to use them.

    Obama, on the other hand, is a little dove, he does not wage ANY war, he does not threat anyone, he does NOT support other notorious war-crimianls threatening Iran (i.e. Israel).

    Sure, ANY sane person should believe Obama and not Ahmadinejad and it is good for you to come see light eventually.

  16. I can't believe a real live professor used the word "pwn" in context. I am impressed. To Gerald, the pursuit of nuclear weapons is the pursuit of peace in a sense. If Iran had them, Israel / USA could not bomb Iran because Iran would have a nuclear deterrent. Peace would be maintained if they had nukes.

  17. Does anyone know what obligations the US has to the IAEA about inspecting US nuclear facilities? Are there any obligations for inspections of countries that already have vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons, or is it only the countries that do not have weapons or even weapons programs that have to submit to inspections? How does the US prove to the world that it is not proliferating nuclear weapons?

  18. Dear Prof. Cole :
    If you visit the cafeteria or faculty club in the next few weeks , please be careful . Sit where your back is to the wall . The English profs may want to make you hurt . " pwfs " is a word without a vowel . English is not Czech .
    4 letters , no vowel – beware !
    The ad hoc group to defend the English language will hunt you down – and argue until your lunch is ruined .
    P.S. Some of your readers learned , just this fall , what rotfl means . ( with a vowel , did you notice ? )

  19. "got more concessions from Iran in 7 1/2 hours than the former administration got in 8 years of saber-rattling."

    Just why the hell should Iran give any "concessions" to the biggest international law breaker on the planet?

    The answer of course is fear of the next crime against humanity .

  20. "Obama pwns Bush-Cheney on Iran"

    Looks like Iran told Obama "lol lrn2play n00b".

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