Wed, July 9, 2014 "Obama Will Take Military Action if Iran Tries to Go Nuclear"

Illustrative photo of a nuclear reactor. Photo © Reuters.

Illustrative photo of a nuclear reactor. Photo © Reuters.

July 8, 2014 – Clarion Project hosted an exclusive briefing for diplomats and journalists from all over the world with Dr. Gary Samore, President Obama's former adviser for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction and the president of United Against Nuclear Iran.

In light up the upcoming July 20 end of the interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1, Dr. Samore spoke about Iran’s current objectives as well as the differences between the negotiating parties.

The main point of contention is Iran’s nuclear breakout capacity. “Iran wants to have the ability to create nuclear weapons on short notice, while the six world powers are not prepared to accept Iran as a nuclear threshold state,” Dr. Samore explained.  

Dr. Samore mapped out the current time it would take for Iran to “breakout” and build nuclear weapons. “Right now, on paper, Iran’s breakout time is two to three months. The six world powers are demanding Iran significantly reduce this capability … to make breakout time over one year and to keep that in place for more than a decade.”

However, on this core issue – enrichment capabilities -- neither side is willing to make concessions, says Dr. Samore. Further, he explains, “Both sides are very constrained by domestic politics. President Obama can’t sell a nuclear deal to Congress if it allows Iran to retain a credible nuclear weapons option, and President Rouhani cannot sell a nuclear deal to Supreme Leader Khamenei if it requires Iran to give up its nuclear weapons option.”

“But, even if a deal is impossible,” Dr. Samore continued, “I think all parties appear relatively comfortable with the status quo that has been created by the interim agreement. The U.S. and its allies have essentially succeeded in freezing the most important part of its nuclear program with only modest sanctions relief.”

Further, Dr. Samore says that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have been highly effective in deterring Iran from breaking their agreements at known nuclear facilities. In terms of covert facilities, ferreting them out is and always has been the job of U.S. and other intelligence agencies.

Due to the current volatile world situation, Dr. Samore expects that the interim agreement will be renewed without changes for another six months. This is due in part, to the political situation in Ukraine, Iraq and the deadlock between the negotiating parties for which a renewal would allow all parties to attain their goals.

Even though at this point it looks as if Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to support a negotiated settlement with Ukraine, Dr. Samore says that, “From Iran’s standpoint, the confrontation over Ukraine presents a golden opportunity  -- or at least a possibility -- that there will be an open fracture between the Western countries  and Russia.”

Therefore, in Dr. Samore’s assessment, Teheran “will not make any significant concessions until they know for sure that Russia will not make an open break with the P5+1.”

The Iranians also believe they will be able to leverage American concessions in exchange for greater cooperation from Iran in defeating ISIS in Iraq. However, the view in Washington is that since ISIS is on Iran’s back door, “The U.S. doesn’t feel it has to pay a price for Iran to do what is already in its own interest.”

When asked if the Obama administration had seriously considered a military option against Iran, Dr. Samore said that military action was “very seriously” considered. Operational plans were drawn up, including how to limit military escalation, minimize “blowback” to allies in the region and prevent Iran from closing the Straits of Hormuz – the Middle East’s oil-shipping passageway to the West.

Although Dr. Samore believes that the U.S. would take military action if Iran were to make an overt move toward nuclear weapons, he doesn’t think that is likely to happen -- namely, because Ayatollah Khomeini “is not willing to take risk of US attack.” Thus, the threat of military action -- as well as the imposition of economic sanction and export controls -- has been an effective tool in deterring Iran from doing what they could have done to move closer to obtaining nuclear weapons.

Most relevant to the current negotiations, all of these options have allowed both Iran and the West to buy time. And in the current political climate, that may be, ironically, a victory for both sides. 

Dr. Samore is currently head of research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

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There Is No HAPPY in Iran Under the Mullahs

A hanging in Iran (Photo: © Reuters); inset: Gholamreza Khosravi

A hanging in Iran (Photo: © Reuters); inset: Gholamreza Khosravi

Elaheh Arj, National Council of Resistance of Iran Women’s Committee

At dawn Sunday morning, June 1, a very resilient political prisoner, Gholamreza Khosravi, 49 was executed for supporting the Iranian resistance group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and for standing firm against the dictatorship in Iran.

Khossravi spent 12 years of his life in the mullahs’ regime dungeons under severe torture and harassment. The mullahs’ henchmen and torturers considered Gholamreza as the key person in the April protest and resistance of political prisoners in the Ward 350 of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.

The news of Khosravi’s execution came despite widespread international calls to halt the hanging. A day earlier, Canada's Foreign Minister had condemned the regime; Amnesty International issued an urgent call, saying that Mr. Khosravi had been deprived of a fair trial "in total disregard of both international law and the Iranian law" and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, said he was, "Shocked and saddened by Iran's execution of a political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law!"

Despite all efforts from defenders of human rights, the regime carried on with the execution on one of the most important religious holidays when all wanted to celebrate the birth of the prophet’s grandson. Thus, thus happiness was stolen not only from Khosravi’s family but from his fellow countrymen as well.

What should the response be to this inhuman act? Other political prisoners, the people of Iran and those living abroad who have fled Iran because of the tyranny understand that the only real response is to resist even more now until the regime is overthrown.

It would be wise for all those appeasing the mullahs’ in the West to note that Rouhani’s deceitful smile represents the true image of the totalitarian regime in Iran. What is behind Rouhani’s smirk is the step-up of human rights violations in Iran, which is under his control.

The Iranian people’s dark days arose when the mullahs’ took power in Iran. From the onset of their reign, they have formed over dozens of suppressive police forces, including women police - aka “Fati Komandos” - to terrorize the state. Now as the weather starts to get hot, the regime in Iran warns of plans to further clamp down on women and youth on the pretext of engaging in “norm-breaking behavior.”

The Commander of the State Security Forces has announced that up to 18,000 “mal-veiled” women were arrested in 2013. The regime’s offensive has been marked by the stationing of mixed-gender teams of morality police in Tehran’s main squares.

In Tehran, seven people were recently arrested last week for appearing in a YouTube video set to the Pharrell Williams song “Happy.” Their crime? Apparently, dancing and just being happy under the mullahs is a crime. Almost everyone reacted to the arrest of the “Happy” dancers, referring to it as something sadly ridiculous, even though it is a reality for the people living under the mullahs in the Iran of today.

Perhaps only within a short time in office of the new “moderate” president, Rouhani, are eyes slowly starting to see the truth behind him?

Living in such an atmosphere is like having watch dogs waiting for your move, 24/7. It is not hidden from anyone that the mullahs ruling Iran have killed all forms of happiness for the past 35 years when they instituted their rule and suppression of freedom under the name of Islam.

Instead of boasting about Rouhani’s message from Twitter claiming that the happiness of all people in Iran is their right, we should ask him why so many executions have taken place under his tenure, and why have his government’s inhuman policies become so institutionalized that the beheading of a young girl by her father in Kermanshah for having a boyfriend, receives no condemnation? And, if using the banned social networks is a crime, then why is he using it?

But he has done one good thing for sure. He was successful in deflecting the public’s attention away from the nuclear crisis as well as his funding of Hezbollah. And he has gotten Syria’s Assad to stop pestering him on his affiliations with other demons.

The truth is that happiness is the right to all and only when Rouhani and all his other friends ruling Iran are overthrown, will the people of Iran truly dance HAPPY. 

Appeasing the Iranian Mullahs: Turning a Blind Eye to Medieval Savagery

Members of the Basij, the ominous volunteer paramilitary corps in Iran

Members of the Basij, the ominous volunteer paramilitary corps in Iran

Elaheh Arj

Finally, after three weeks, the world grasped – and subsequently reacted to – the horrific depths of the kidnapping of over 200 innocent Nigerian school girls.

We all agree here that the nature of such an act is inhuman and disgusting because using the lives and futures of young girls as a bargaining tool is simply unacceptable. The event was so heartbreaking that people throughout the world added their voices to the common chorus of #BringBackOurGirls and activities were launched in hopes of having them safely return home.

But where is such savagery derived from? It is from fundamentalism and one thing is for sure, if there is a lack of attention to such nature, it will spread like a plague across humanity.

The evil vision of fundamentalism came to light simultaneously with the coming to power of the mullahs’ ruling Iran. As an Iranian women who has been fighting shoulder to shoulder with thousands of men and women in the Iranian Resistance against the violent misogynist dictators of Iran for over 35 years, I have witnessed first-hand how they have targeted Iranian women. The Iranian Resistance has been shouting about this threat for many years but the policy of appeasing the mullahs has turned a blind eye to this, deliberately at times, to continue a trade relationship with Iran.   

We believe the international community must act and use all efforts to ensure the rescue of the girls. A firm and comprehensive stance against this medieval savagery should be adopted because, of course, if a tree is found to be poisonous, it must be rooted out otherwise it will simply spread out somewhere else.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance stated: “Therefore all religious leaders, clerics and the range of Islamic societies must  condemn this anti-Islamic act and not to allow the fundamentalists who use religion as a tool to abuse the name of Islam to commit such atrocious crimes that are some of the most barefaced cases of crime against humanity.” She knows very well as her experience has shown that she is the antithesis to the fundamentalist mullahs.

The truth is that you don’t need to be one of the victims’ mothers to understand how sickening the act was. Such harm imposed upon one girl, is harm to all women. So what is left for all of us? Nothing other than to speak up and act.

Because today it’s Boko Haram but tomorrow, it will spread like wildfire unless we declare fundamentalism as haram.

Elaheh Arj is with the Women's Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Paris, France

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