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Biden, Israel, and Tehran's Hardliners

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

21 Mar 2010 03:5868 Comments

[ opinion ] In the depth of their worries about the deep crisis into which they have brought Iran over the past nine months; amid all the problems that they face, both domestically and internationally; and in the midst of their preparations for preventing the Green Movement from making a show of strength during Chaharshanbeh Souri -- the traditional fire festival on the night before the last Wednesday of the Iranian calendar -- Tehran's hardliners received a Nowrooz present. The Nowruz gift came courtesy of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Israel's right wing, led by Premier Benjamin Netanyahu. While the hardliners are evidently happy about what they have received, the Arab states of the Middle East have been completely silent -- yet another piece of good news for the regime.

What happened during Biden's trip to Israel and its aftermath has been analyzed extensively in the press and on the Internet. I would like to focus on what these developments mean for Iran.

Biden has been a loose cannon. He cannot stop himself from talking, and when he does, he often gets himself and the Obama administration into trouble. His latest act has surpassed whatever he has done in the past and has already yielded significant consequences.

Biden visited Israel during March 9 and 10. The purpose of the trip was not publicly articulated, but he presumably went there to talk about the two most pressing topics in the Middle East: Iran and the Palestinians. From the moment he arrived in Israel, he was in "top shape," talking constantly about how great the country is.

First, when he visited Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, he declared Israel "a central bolt in our existence" -- presumably referring to the United States. He continued, "For world Jewry, Israel is the heart. Israel is the light. Israel is the hope." Was he including the 5 million American Jews? I cannot say for certain, but I am guessing that was his intention.

The next day, Biden met with Shimon Peres, Israel's president. He gushed that when he first visited the country at the age of 29, "Israel captured my heart." He told Peres, "It is good to be home." To top it off, he wrote, "The bond between our two nations has been and remains unshakable," in Peres's guest book.

When he met with Netanyahu, Biden called him a "real friend," and declared that the U.S.-Israel relationship "has been and will continue to be the centerpiece of our policy." He did not stop there. At Tel Aviv University, Biden declared that "the U.S. has no better friend than Israel." And even that was not enough for Biden. He also said,

There is no space -- this is what they [the world] must know, every time progress is made, it's made when the rest of the world knows there is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space. That's the only time when progress has been made.

Now, praise for Israel by an American official, regardless of rank, is nothing new, of course. It is, in fact, obligatory. But there were a number of distinctions this time: (a) when Biden lavished praise on Israel, he went beyond even the effusive norm; (b) in return, he got a slap in the face (some would say a punch) that has created a crisis in the U.S.-Israeli relationship; and, most importantly, (c) the result produced a gift for Tehran's hardliners and silenced the governments of the Arab world. The implications for the strategic interests of the United States are not yet clear. The damage assessment is still going on. Let me explain.

While Biden was lavishing encomiums on his Israeli hosts, he was being "rewarded" lavishly too: Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced that 1,600 new apartments would be built in East Jerusalem, where the Palestinian population is concentrated and which many Palestinians regard as rightfully the future capital of an independent state. Why did this happen? In my opinion, because Israel's right wing and its American allies -- the neoconservatives -- perceive President Obama as weak and susceptible to pressure, and for good reasons. Obama has retreated from many of his campaign promises.

Guantanamo was supposed to be closed within one year; it has not been. After harshly criticizing the invasion and occupation of Iraq -- and rightly so -- he has continued Bush's policies there. He has not only expanded the war in Afghanistan (the one campaign promise that he has delivered!), but also has involved Pakistan in it. After seemingly getting tough with Israel at the beginning of his presidency (just a few days after Israel's invasion of Gaza had ended), he retreated shortly thereafter, declaring the problem between Israel and Palestinians "too difficult." His Cairo speech to the Islamic world rings hollow.

Domestically, the president has retreated from his promise to seriously pursue universal health care, as well as tough regulations for the financial industry. In each case, the president has retreated because he found the pressure unbearable. Why, then, should Israel's right wing care about humiliating the vice president of the United States?

Biden condemned the announcement and Netanyahu apologized for its timing (but not for the policy, of course). According to Politico, Biden even told Netanyahu that Israel's intransigence with regard to the Palestinians "is starting to get dangerous for us. What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace."

But Israel is going ahead with the apartments anyway. Indeed, as Biden was leaving for Jordan, the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that Israel plans to build 50,000 new homes in East Jerusalem over the next few years, which has since been confirmed. This entire set of developments was a gift to Tehran's hardliners, and for several reasons.

First, the central incident happened just a few days before Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas lashed out at Iran, blaming it for encouraging Hamas not to reconcile with his secular Fatah movement. In a meeting in Tunisia, Abbas said, "Iran doesn't want Hamas to sign the Cairo reconciliation document." But if Israel continues colonizing East Jerusalem and the West Bank, why should any Hamas leader want to reconcile with Fatah, Israel's negotiating partner? Hamas needs no encouragement from Tehran's hardliners. Fatah is widely seen as inveterately corrupt and in the "pocket" of the United States. Abbas's accusation against Tehran's hardliners, even if it was true, was thus dismissed as a result of the attention brought to bear on Israel's plans for East Jerusalem.

Second, an important aspect of U.S. strategy has been to scare the Arab states with the specter of a "nuclear" Iran. American officials argue that Iran wants to produce nuclear weapons in order to be the hegemon of the region even though, at least to date, there is no evidence that Tehran's hardliners actually want to manufacture such arms. Even if they eventually do, it would be for the purpose of deterrence.

There has been talk of a tacit alliance between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United States, and Israel against Iran. In order to convince the other Arab states to join this alliance, the United States must deliver on the Palestinian problem, a deeply felt issue throughout the entire Islamic world. The Arab states need results in this area as a cover. Otherwise, given their corrupt and dictatorial regimes, their close relations with the United States, and the fact that Tehran's hardliners are perceived -- correctly or not -- by Arabs in the street as the only true supporters of the Palestinians' cause, they cannot dare to join the alliance.

But, how credible are U.S. promises to the Arab world, when its vice president is humiliated during his trip to Israel? How credible are its promises, when Israel is taking over more and more Palestinian lands with seeming impunity?

Third, when Biden announces that "there is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel," why should any Arab leader believe that America is an honest broker between Arabs and Israelis? What does it mean to say, "There is no space"? That every single U.S. national interest is identical with Israel's? This is the type of claim that Israel's American lobby makes, but does the vice president have to subscribe to it?

More importantly, Tehran's hardliners have been claiming for years that the entire confrontation between them and the United States over Iran's nuclear program is the result of the pressure put on American administrations by Israel and its lobbying operation. There is credible evidence that the claim is at least partly true. But even if it were not, if "there is no space between the United Stated and Israel," and it is Israel that, despite having up to 400 nuclear warheads, is making the most outlandish and outrageous claims about Iran's nuclear program, why should anyone not believe the claims made by Tehran's hardliners? It is Israel that has been claiming for two decades that Iran is six months, or one year, or two years away from making nuclear weapons.

Fourth, if Israel perceives President Obama as weak and susceptible to pressure, what will stop Tehran's hardliners from thinking the same? They know that Israel is trying to provoke tough sanctions against Iran and, eventually, war. Why should they not think that Israel may get its way with the president, after observing the humiliation of Joe Biden?

In 2007, Israel asked the Bush administration to support an attack on Iran, but Bush rejected the idea. President Obama has been sending one high-ranking U.S. official after another to Israel, presumably to try to warn it against attacking Iran's nuclear facilities, but Israel has continued its belligerent behavior and anti-Iranian rhetoric and propaganda, not to mention its preparatory military exercises. Why can the president not pick up the phone and tell Netanyahu in no uncertain terms that the United States is opposed to a military attack on Iran? Is it because he does not want to confront Netanyahu head on?

If that is indeed the perception that Tehran's hardliners have of Obama, why should they be willing to reach a compromise with the United States and its allies? If they believe that Israel is bent on attacking Iran, will that not likely make them hasten to put Iran in a position to make nuclear weapons on short notice, in order to deter an Israeli assault? Why should Tehran's hardliners believe that Obama can resist Israel's push for a strike on Iran's nuclear program?

And, here Joe Biden committed yet another gaffe, one that supports the Tehran hardliners' perception of President Obama as being susceptible to Israeli pressure. In an interview on ABC's "This Week" last July, Biden was asked whether Netanyahu was taking the right approach in indicating that Israel would take matters into its own hands if Iran did not show a willingness to negotiate by the end of the year. Biden responded, "Look, Israel can determine for itself -- it's a sovereign nation -- what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else..."

Biden then added that this was the case, "whether we agree or not" with the Israeli view.

When he asked whether the United States would stand in the way if the Israelis decided to launch a military attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, he responded, "Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do."

So, Bush did not know that Israel is a sovereign nation, but Biden and Obama do? Since when can Israel undertake such a huge adventure on its own? Let us cut off the $3 billion in annual aid to Israel, deny it access to the most advanced U.S. military technology, and stop protecting it at the United Nations and see whether it can accomplish its quest.

It is not just the hardliners in Iran who have a stake in the developments between the Obama administration and Israel. In my opinion, any Iranian or Iranian-American who is opposed to economic sanctions and military attacks on Iran should be following these events. The crux of the issue is this: If U.S. and Israeli policy are one and the same -- as Biden has declared -- then the perception of Tehran's hardliners that the Obama administration cannot stand up to Israel when it comes to Iran is correct. In that case, we may expect a new catastrophe in the Middle East, namely, a war with Iran -- economic, military, or both.

Even here in the United States, prominent officials have been expressing their worries about the implications of Israel's policy and actions. On March 13, Mark Perry of Foreign Policy Magazine reported on a briefing that senior officers working under General David Petraeus, chief commander for U.S. forces in the Middle East, gave to Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Perry, General Petraeus's central message to Admiral Mullen was that "Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region" and could cost American lives. Mullen conveyed this message to the White House and the president. Add to this Israel's provocations for attacking Iran, and the picture that emerges is not pretty.

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

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I agree with just about everything expressed here, Muhammad. But on the Iranian side, I wouldn't necessarily characterize this specifically toward Iran's "hardliners."

The US/Israel threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran is near universally perceived; that it is to say the greater mainstream element of its political spectrum correctly recognize it as such.

You could make the claim that it was "a gift", but really this so-called revelation has been known all along in Iran and the Arab street, and more and more Americans are waking up to this reality as we speak.

Abu Mazen's remarks about Iran are also not surprising, for the reasons you cite. I don't think many in the OT and various refugee camps take him seriously. His externally scripted statements are intended for the Western press.

Personally, I think the settlement announcement was the result of Israeli cockiness. While one can't exactly claim they've overplayed their hand, nevertheless they've exposed themselves to negative attention: from the US, the EU and the UN. And the Iran issue is temporarily less prominent. It's a miscalculation of sorts or an overreaction from the Israeli right. Of course, whether it has any lasting influence of any kind is yet to be seen. After all, AIPAC is rolling into DC this week, and with it the elected US leadership's annual gush-fest toward the Zionist cause.

Pirouz / March 22, 2010 12:17 AM

Iran's regime has little sincere interest in supporting the Palestinians' cause. They made that clear when they relentlessly attack Yasir Arafat and the PLO and did not change that position until they were able to buy their way into Hamas.

WHat IRI cares about is expanding its shia view of a world led by a Shia cleric, of course from Iran, until their hidden imam returns.

To test my claim all Hamas has to do is say one word against Shia beliefs and their Hidden Imam. Hamas would quickly learn how much IRI truly cares about poor Palestinians.

Hopefully Arab streets have watched how IRI has no problem massacering its own people, let alone a bunch of Sunni Arabs whom they consider as "Kafar".

Cameron / March 22, 2010 8:12 AM

"Fourth, if Israel perceives President Obama as weak and susceptible to pressure, what will stop Tehran's hardliners from thinking the same?"

Nothing will stop them from assuming what you. They already do think that, as does most of the rest of the world.

ANON / March 22, 2010 9:32 AM

The central issue for Iranians is the removal of the Barbaric Republic upon which all problems mentioned above will be eliminated. The Arab Israeli problems do not interest the Iranian people except the Islamist few and their representatives in the West who use Israel as an escape goat to cover up their failures in the last 31 years. The Iranian people must remain focused on the removal of these parasites and refuse to be distracted by irrelevant arguments. Victory is at hand. Happy New Year. We love you Iran.

Niloofar / March 22, 2010 9:44 AM


A true islamic belligerent article.

First, its biased, you as a devote muslim truly believe Israel is stealing from Palestine, when there is no palestine and since there is none and the arabs have lost every war with the Israeli's, how can you expect the Israeli's to give back the land they rightfully conquered?

I was born a muslim in Iran, the arab religion of river flowing with honey and 72virgins upon martyrdom, not to mention the right to marry 9 year old Aishas when your a 55 yr old Moooohamhead conquered the bueatiful persian culture. ( After awhile of reading the Koran, logic dictates that Islam is BS.
Your writings in my opinion should be about the persian culture that is threatened by the islamic dress wearing men who follow superstition of a man who disappeared 1500 years ago,( without a GPS )

These Mullahs base the whole security of the iranian society through the belief that this mahdie can be forced to return once every fault of the islamic world is blamed on a superior technological sovereign country that by the way has no oil or natural resources to sell to match the free money that the mullahs get from the generosity of dead dinosaurs.
You know what that means? The Israeli's built their country banking system that is superior to Irans on sand!

So i ask you this, Were there alot of civilian deaths when Israel knocked out the nuclear reactors of Syria and Iraq?

The brothers of real Persians, the Jews will take out Iran's leadership quick and painless, Khamenie already has a drone following his every move, the patient Israeli's are just waiting for his backers, the hezbollahs and the Hamas to have transexual sex with each other (seeing how Iran has the second most transexuals in the world) in the same room before they attack. And when they do, the arab influence in iran should be wiped out for good and must always be remembered that Islam took Iran by force. (So to never be repeated)And the leaders of Iran of the revolution followed a pheasant religion because they realized how easy it is to get pheasants to fight over God.

America realizes as a empire, when you take a country, theres no giving it back (We still have millitary posts in Japan, Japan is America, practically, why do you think it was allowed to be so prosperous?) So in all arguements, just be glad the Israeli's are not like the Greeks of Plato time. Cause those Greeks, conquered land, killed all the men and enslaved the female and children population, for if it were in that day and age, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt would all be full of women and children living a better life than the oppressive Islam, enjoying their lives screaming Mazaltov to the IDF

Happy Norooz Eidat Mobarak
(Stop being brainwashed by the arabs and you can start by changing your arab name, Muhamad. Pick up a book by Fewdosi and pick a new one, a Persian one. ) Be genuinely proud of Persian heritage without the yallah inshalah Arab BS!

farshid / March 22, 2010 11:35 AM

I think you're underestimating Obama. It's true that he hasn't lived up to all his promises yet, but you're jumping to conclusions by declaring Iraq and Afghanistan as his failures. These quagmires were created by Bush, yet in your eyes their legacies have already been adopted by Obama. I believe this is a mistake, but it was always inevitable (from "yes we can!!!" to "why haven't we done it yet? I thought this was going to be easy!!!")...

To move on, you are wrong about healthcare (in hindsight). You are also wrong about the financial markets and banking sector if you actually look at what's going on. Isn't it unfair to say that he has found the pressure "unbearable"? On what are you basing this on?

Regarding the US-Israel-Iran triangle, the status quo has always been the most beneficial situation for the 3 nations. Yet, for once, I actually agree with Pirouz that Israel has overplayed their hand. They've shown their total disregard for the international community, even their closest ally, and encouraged a more united front against their atrocities. Again, I believe your analysis is missing the point... Biden was emphasising that, in spite of his warm praises a few days earlier, Israel should remember that it's a sovereign nation and will have to bear the brunt of its mistakes, especially mistakes that upset the US.

So, rather than Obama being under "unbearable" pressure, this situation has given him the upper hand. Of course, the outcome won't be as dramatic as you'd like it to be, but in terms of the US-Israel-Iran triangle, it's likely to be significant and, if anything, weaken Israel's position in the short-run.

Ultimately, I don't think Israel will ever be as independent as it'd like others to believe... It will always be America's annoying and spoilt little brother.

Sam / March 22, 2010 1:01 PM

It is telling that the Ahmadinejad supporting Pirouz "agrees with Sahimi's every word". THough Sahimi claims to be an opponent of the Iranian government he lobbies for its nuclear ambitions non-stop. It is also telling that Sahimi does not respond to Ali in a previous posting who wrote that:

"Mr. Sahimi is listed as the NIOC Chair of Chemical Engineering at USC. This means that Mr Sahimi's professorship is funded by NIOC, the National Iranian Oil Company. This means that Mr. Sahimi owes his job to the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Esfandiari / March 22, 2010 4:44 PM

In true form, when confronted with historical and present realities, the obfuscators resort to throwing mud, venom and vitriol, and getting personal.

There are specifics in this article that I can take issue with. For example, on health care, although he has achieved far less than what he promised on the campaign trail and even in his first months as the President, he has delivered something -- better than nothing at all.

You can do the same and take issue with the specific elements or substance of the article. Throwing mud and changing the subject could be interpreted as intellectual vacuity and moral bankruptcy! I don't ascribe to this view and suspect that personally directed responses are out of anger. I suspect most readers in the forum are intelligent and discerning and are not swayed by accusations and innuendo.

Jay / March 22, 2010 7:59 PM

Muhammad Sahimi is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and the NIOC (National Iranian oil Company) Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Sahimi served as chair of the department of chemical engineering from 1999 until the department's merger with the department of materials science on July 1, 2005. He is known worldwide for his contributions to the understanding of the properties of heterogeneous materials, fluid flow in porous media with applications to oil and gas recovery, and the development of techniques for large-scale scientific computations and atomistic simulations. He has also made major contributions to the engineering of reaction and diffusion systems, separation processes and the dynamics of biological systems.

He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Tehran in 1977, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1984, both in chemical engineering. In 1984, he joined USC.
Sahimi has published more than 210 papers in peer-reviewed journals, written four books, and authored several invited reviews and book chapters. He is also the recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship Award and the Khwarizmi International Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievements, sponsored by UNESCO.

Niloofar / March 22, 2010 7:59 PM

Esfandiari - agreed, made a similar conclusion a while go. Too bad.

ANON / March 22, 2010 8:05 PM

Professor Sahimi, thanks so much for a well though out article, and thank you for demonstrating over and over again that you are willing to write truly well timed, courageous piece.

Esfandiari, your argumentative style is just like the IRI's who claim that any parallels in the words of dissidents and Western foes means the dissidents are Western agents. We all despise Ahmadinejad, but Iran's rights in the development of its nuclear program and the West's double standards also need to be clearly addressed.
Condemning the atrocities of the Ahmadinejad administration while simultaneously pointing to the belligerence and warmongering of U.S./Israel is a very very hard task, and Professor Sahimi does it elegantly ... I don't know many others who can.

Pedestrian / March 22, 2010 8:26 PM

Hello, Pedestrian. Even tho you do not address me, would like to add my support for Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy programs. The problem for many non-Iranians seems to be how to trust Iran's primary spokesman.

Seems like separating the issues (Iran's rights/the regime's demonstrated character) would be useful. Dr. Sahimi is surely an elegant speaker, but somehow does not inspire trust either, mostly because he doesn't discuss the'trust' issue from non-Iranian point of view.

May the New Year bring all Iranians peace, justice, safety, prosperity and freedom.

ANON / March 22, 2010 9:57 PM

ANON, I'm just offering my two cents here, I'm by no means an expert on the nuclear issue.

But I think every time you bring up the issue of "trust" you are getting into murky waters. Maybe the word diplomacy would be a better term. Because after all, why should we "trust" Israel, with hundreds of nuclear heads and a psychotic as PM and a total racist nutjob as foreign minister? And Israel threatens Iran on a daily basis. I'm certainly no less scared of that crazy Bibi and Avigdor than I am of Ahmadinejad. Why should we trust the U.S. who remains the only state to have actually used a nuclear bomb against another (yes, I know it was during war, but that doesn't mean it was empty of controversy) and to have sold Iraq chemical weapons which were used against Iran during the war.

I think the issue we Iranians have with Ahmadinejad and this crazy, barbaric administration is one issue ... Iran's demonization by the Western warmongers another issue. And these things need to be separated, we Iranians need to be careful that our criticism and condemnation of the Iranian government does not play into the neocons hands and does not help them promote war, be it economic or military, against Iran.

The non-political, non-Iranian point of view is important as you point out. But I also think it's important to address how much of this fear is created by their own governments and their own media.

Pedestrian / March 22, 2010 11:08 PM

One errant Nukes false alarm from Israel will be the undoing of this regime.

Wait and watch 'The War of the Worlds' erupt and create enough chaos for a coup to bomb the Rev Guards HQ, Qom, and Mullah Palaces

Anonymous / March 22, 2010 11:54 PM

Esfandiari and Niloofar:

I actually responded to what you claim I did not. Here it goes again.

Not only does the NIOC not fund the endowed Chair that I am the holder of, but also has nothing to do with it. In 1973 the Shah gave $7 million to USC to establish the Shah Chair in Petroleum Engineeting to help Iran's oil industry.

After the 1979 Revolution, USC changed the name to the NIOC because it did not want to be associated with the Shah anymore. All the holders of the Chair were American, until I was appointed to it in 2005.

In addition, a university committee appoints the holder, and it does so based on the scientific achievements of the holder, and nothing else. A Chair holder in any major research university is among the best of the faculty, the top 1-2%.You can easily check the facts in a USC book that has been published, describing the history of this Chair and others.

So, No, I do not do the NIOC job. If that were part of it, I would not have accepted it. In fact, USC has no relation whatsoever with Iran.

The two of you and a couple of others who insinuate baseless issues and points should be ashamed of yourself. Criticize me for what I write. That is fine with me. But, do not fabricate non-existent facts and lies, and then based on them go on a character assassination. Again, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Yes, I have defended Iran's right to have its own nuclear program for peaceful purposes. This was a program that was started by the Shah and has been continued by the IRI. For that, not only am I not ashamed, but actually proud because my articles about the roots and history of the program and its economic aspect between 2003-2007 changed the direction of the debate over the program. It contributed to preventing military attacks on Iran.

Finally, I absolutely positively do not care whether you consider me an opponent of the IRI or not. I have a track record, particularly on this site, and I put it up against anyone else's who claims to be an opponent as well. Let's see who has a stronger track record, the two of you who are involved in character assassination and nothing else, or people like me.

Muhammad Sahimi / March 23, 2010 1:41 AM

Pedestrian, thank you for your thoughts. You said,

"I think the issue we Iranians have with Ahmadinejad and this crazy, barbaric administration is one issue ... Iran's demonization by the Western warmongers another issue. And these things need to be separated ...."

Agreed, they need to be separated. Of course be careful with your criticisms of the regime, but not to worry, without any criticisms at all from dissenting Iranians, both Khamenei's and Ahmadinejad's published remarks demonize themselves by the day with their crude threats and abominable treament of Iran's people.

Should readers/watchers simply disregard what they say and what they do as nonsense? One can't really say 'Oh, they're just kidding.'

IMHO, what's desperately needed is an Iranian government freely elected by all of Iran's own people. Most everyone in the west, regardless of political orientation, and perhaps even those on the fringes, hopes for that above all.

In the meantime, it's very hard to trust Iran's leaders -- the hateful speech, the obvious lies, the crude threats, the heavy oppression, the crimes against innocents -- especially while watching it from the outside.

I do recall a statement made by an old and decent farmer in a book read long ago. He said, "A man becomes what he does -- you have to watch out for that." Yes indeed. Every one of us needs to watch out for that.

Again, best wishes and thank you for speaking to me.

ANON / March 23, 2010 3:28 AM

Health Care has now passed, Obama has stood by fierce regulation and sent it to congress months ago, He is drawing down the Iraq war, and Gates announced this week we may be pulling troops out of Afghanistan sooner than the dates outlined. And I wish people would stop saying he hasn't closed Guantanamo. Congress has cut off the funding, he has continually tried, but the funding keeps being cut off. He and Holder will do it. The man can't just go in and snap his fingers. And he's not doing the easy thing which is what all the presidents the last thirty years have done when they faced a blowback from the corporate interests in DC and continued with the status Quo. As for Israel, I tend to agree with this article, if the Israeli people wanted peace, I don't think Netanyahu would be in power and I don't think the gaza war would of waged the way it did. People there on both sides seem to be stuck in old ways, mostly it seems because of religion and deep scars. If I watched my father searched at checkpoints everyday or saw my brother killed in the gaza war or heard stories from my parents about what the Israeli's allowed the Lebanese to do to the palestinians as they stood guard over "camps", I may hate the Israeli's and want to do harm to them, especially if I was unemployed year after year. This doesn't justify violence against innocents in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, nor does a few rockets justify white phosphorus and murdering two thousand in Gaza.

I do think the head of Fatah has learned from Israel's success by trying to find peace through economics. Because the problem with people like Bush, the Republicans with Obama, Bibi, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Ahmadeenajad (sorry for spelling) is they gain power and stay in power by having a common enemy. The enemy is evil and they are good. Until we have more men like Obama in power, we are going to see the continued cycle of violence throughout the middle east.

Matthew McCarty / March 23, 2010 5:18 AM

I go along with Chomsky, that since IRI is regularly accused of working towards a nuke despite no tangible evidence and repeated denials by the SL, the President and any no. of leading figures including those in the opposition, it may as well get on with it and develop one.
Dr Sahimi has written a generally balanced article, although 'hardliners' might not deem themselves as hard line but obviously do not want the US/Israeli proteges to walk all over them and Iran as a country.

rezvan / March 23, 2010 5:27 AM

obamas hands r tied ,and thy pulled him on a leach so i think all the stars of the american flag should be removed, and replaced by the star of david, its time to call a spate a spate. a jew of a differed color march23,2010

sindic / March 23, 2010 5:35 AM

Niloofar, Esfandiari and Farshid:

You have resorted to the most disgusting types of lies and slander. There are points Mr. Sahimi makes that I disagree with, but your attempts to bash his character or religion is no different than the behavior of the government in Iran that you hate.

I typically stay away from these types of hate-filled comments on the internet, but I am very disappointed to see fellow Iranians act this way, it is almost unbearable.

It breaks my heart to see that after 100 years of struggle for freedom and independence we still have not found a way to disagree.

Arash / March 23, 2010 8:05 AM


Your words are broad but not deep. Your grasp of history invites war. Only a credible Israeli threat can stop a war. Only one nuclear bomb dropped on Israel, which is the size of New Jersey, could destroy Israel. Go study the torah where it says that if someone comes to kill you you should kill them first. No space between Israel and America means neither country will accept Israel's extermination. Will you accept Israel's extermination?

Charlie Ginsburg

Charlie Ginsburg / March 23, 2010 8:22 AM

Real Persians are children of Cirus the Great, who helped jews return to Israel after their exile by Babelonians. Iran and Israel enjoyed a healthy diplomatic relationship before the revolution. Iranian people do not subscribe to the view of Islamic regime that Israel should be wiped of the map. We Iranians are peaceful, kind, and guest loving. Palestine is not occupied, Iran is. Happy Nowrooz, and may we celebrate the next nowrooz in Iran, free of occupation by the Islamic Regime. Hamid

Hamid Rezvani / March 23, 2010 9:26 AM

Charlie Ginsburg:

Of course I am opposed to war, including war on state of Israel. But, there is no evidence that, even if (and that is a huge if) the hardliners get the bomb, they will drop it on Israel. They know full well that Israel and the U.S. can evaporate Iran many times over.

Just as Israel needs deterrant for its legitimate security concerns, so also does Iran.

And if you resort to Torah in order to justify Israel's possible attack on Iran, then why is that the IRI leaders are called reactionary and extremist Islamists, when they invoke their religion in order to justify the crimes that they commit?

The point is, neither Jews nor Muslim should invoke Torah or Quran in order to justify what they do or what they want to do.

Muhammad Sahimi / March 23, 2010 9:28 AM

Not long ago, somebody said: “This US Congress is the best money can buy”. Ariel Sharon also said: “We control America and they know it”. Personally, I think, with big shame, that almost the whole world knows that.
After the Biden incident, I have seen in the Internet AIPAC’s bloggers getting organized and sharing talking points to spin and mislead the discussions with people that defended the VP position. There is, even a Jewish web site giving them instructions over how to do it. It is evident everywhere, the use of a variety of methods of propaganda by which any special interests group can influence the American public, name it health care reform, consumer protection, IRI’s bomb ambitions, protesters repression, etc.
What I fail to understand is why countries interested in helping the Palestinians out of their enslavement, the defamation of the entire Muslim world, don’t spend a sufficient amount of petrodollars in mounting a decent campaign of information to educate the American public, whom, I believe, through its votes, could correct, or at least diminish, American politicians’ bias for Israel. Am I been too naïve here?
Thank you, Mr. Sahimi, for your interesting paper.

pat7070 / March 23, 2010 9:47 AM

Dear Charlie,

Let us examine your fears on their own merits, without challenging the hasbara premises they issue from:

Presumably, you think that Iran's leaders are obscurantist true believers who take the early-medieval-age Quran's injunctions as literally and inflexibly as you seemingly take the late-bronze-age Torah's.

I assume that it is an article of Talmudic faith for you that Iran is developing deliverable nuclear weapons, and in Rumsfeld's famous phrase, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

I presume that, in your mental universe, the Iranian state is both genocidal and suicidal, not susceptible to the logic of self-preservation and deterrence, and therefore, certain to use its alleged nuclear weapons aggresively without concern for annihilatory retaliation from the US and Israel.

Based on these 3 safe guesses, can you pinpoint a way for Iran to 'exterminate' Israel with nuclear strikes without irradiating or destroying Islam's immensely sacred shrines in Jerusalem and killing or contaminating millions of Palestinian moslems?

Is it therefore reasonable to say that plucky little Israel's smallness is actually its best defence against annihilatory nuclear attack by Islamic fundamentalists?

I doubt you will find the answer to the questions above in the Torah, but perhaps you will find the answer to this question: how many Iranian lives is one Jewish Israeli's life worth?

Ali from Tehran / March 23, 2010 11:17 AM


The credentials of Mr.Sahimi are posted right on the internet just as they appear in my posting and as I have mentioned before his own university lists him as NIOC Prof. What part of this is slander? May I suggest for you to think things through in the future before posting? 100 years has taught us a lot. We no longer look at the moon and see someone's face in it. Thank you.

Niloofar / March 23, 2010 1:58 PM

Niloofar (also known as Laleh in other sites):

I am still waiting for your apology for your character assassination. Or, perhaps the word does not exist in your dictionary!

You and your extremely shallow and superfacial knowledge and rhetoric, and your claim to leading the youth of Iran from a(nother) website, are astonishingly arrogant.

Just as you suggest to Arash to think through (simply because he criticized you and your slander), I suggest that you stop your fabrications and character assassination, and do some reading!

Muhammad Sahimi / March 23, 2010 6:35 PM

Dear Hamid Rezvani @ 23/03/2010, 9:26 AM:

"Cirus freed the Jews from the Babelonians"?

"Palestine is not occupied"?

If "real Persians" follow your lead, then I must assume that they are not only "peaceful, kind and guest-loving", but also borderline illiterate.

A child who cannot spell his father's name correctly!

The lesson that 'ersatz-Persians' such as myself learn from Cyrus the Great's emancipation of Babylonian exiles is that he was UNIVERSALLY opposed to ethnic cleansing, deportation and 'population transfer', regardless of the tribe or people involved.

The selfish lesson that you seem to draw from it is that he made a special dispensation for the Jews, probably due to some mystical belief in Jewish expectionalism.

Of course, if you read the Old Testament as a history book, this sort of ethnocentric myopia is unavoidable.

But there is no doubt in my mind which people's exile and dispossession Cyrus the Great would be opposed to if he was living in our era.

Please don't appeal to our pride in Cyrus the Great to garner brownie points for Zionism.

Ali from Tehran / March 23, 2010 8:33 PM

Mr. Sahimi,

I am very sorry to disappoint you, but I do not need to hide behind anyone by the name of laleh in other sites.

If Tehranburea or you decides to censor my responses to you then it is out of my hands. This is my third attempt.

Your credentials are posted for everyone to see and even your own university has you listed you as NIOC Prof. Perhaps you need to look into that.

What part of what I posted is untrue sir?
This is the exact copy of my posting above:
March 22, 2010 7:59 PM

Muhammad Sahimi is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and the NIOC (National Iranian oil Company) Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Sahimi served as chair of the department of chemical engineering from 1999 until the department's merger with the department of materials science on July 1, 2005. He is known worldwide for his contributions to the understanding of the properties of heterogeneous materials, fluid flow in porous media with applications to oil and gas recovery, and the development of techniques for large-scale scientific computations and atomistic simulations. He has also made major contributions to the engineering of reaction and diffusion systems, separation processes and the dynamics of biological systems.

He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Tehran in 1977, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1984, both in chemical engineering. In 1984, he joined USC.
Sahimi has published more than 210 papers in peer-reviewed journals, written four books, and authored several invited reviews and book chapters. He is also the recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship Award and the Khwarizmi International Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievements, sponsored by UNESCO.

Mr. Sahimi, what am I appologizing for? and I will appologize.

Niloofar / March 23, 2010 9:24 PM

Mr. sahimi,

I do my reading. please do your part.


Thank you.

Niloofar / March 23, 2010 9:30 PM

Niloofar (Laleh Guilani on Iranian.com):

You and Esfandiari insinuated that because I am the holder of the NIOC Chair at USC - a Chair that was established by the Shah in 1973 - that means that I work for the NIOC, which cannot be further from the truth. I explained it in my response to you and him, but you still insist on it and pretend that you either did not read my response, or that I am lying. Then, you refer me to my own page at USC, which is the page I have written myself!

I leave it up to the readers to decide what type of person you are! But, this is arrogance at its worst, given what I know about you!

Muhammad Sahimi / March 24, 2010 1:09 AM

Initially, I would like to apologize to Ms. Guilani for getting her involved in this matter. I had no intention of doing so and I sincerely apologize.


In my entire life I have never experienced a man so insecure and so out of order, but there is always a first. There is a saying Mr. Sahimi, where there is smoke there is fire and your reaction proved it.I too will leave it to the readers. Case closed.

Niloofar / March 24, 2010 5:43 AM

Thanks Niloofar for taking all this time and enlightening us. It must have been really hard work, pressing "ctrl+c"/"ctrl+v" all those times. Khaseh Nabashi. Give yourself a good pat on the back. And now, please stop the harassment and go away. Come back whenever you have something constructive to contribute. Yes, the readers will judge for themselves, they are quite capable of googling Muhammad Sahimi's name. He remains one of the only voices willing to write with honesty, despite the fact that it always leads to abuse by the likes of you who demonstrate zero understanding of the topics discussed. Not a word in your comments has anything to do with the article.

Oh and there's a whole list of keyboard shortcuts for you to learn if you're ever out of things to do or if you ever get bored of harassing the forums with your pointless drivel.

Houshang / March 24, 2010 8:00 AM

Let me just say that the reltionship between the US & Israel is tight, how would the palastinians even believe that the US is an honest broker when it
1. supports Israel with weapons, & technology
2. Cover up crimes & defend Israel's actions @ the UN
3. Send aid without which Israel can never maintain it's occupation.

nobody believes the US is serious with peace efforts.

Jaber Monsour / March 24, 2010 9:03 AM

Most readers in the forum are intelligent and discerning -- they will not swayed by accusations and innuendo.

If you have reasoned opinions and facts, then present it!

jay / March 24, 2010 9:07 AM

Dear Professor Sahimi:
Thank you for your enlightening article. I would like to add just one missing point in your wonderful article, if I may. You called the "so callled" recent diplomatic tensions between the Zionist regime and the U.S. a present for the hardliners in Iran. However, you missed the point that the very existance of Israel has been a present to IRA Mullahs.
Without Israel, who would IRA blames all its problems to? How would they be able to divert all the attentions from internal affairs failures to nuclear development and Palestine? Moreover, how would IRA succeed in promoting baseless hatered and depicting itself as virtuous in the "Nabarde Hagh Alaihe Batel"? After all, this is their only hope to remain on the power. By branding themselves as the "Lashkar of Mehdi" and true saviors of Islam and Palestine.

Masoud / March 24, 2010 9:31 AM

Dear Professor Sahimi

Many thanks for yet excellent article exposing the role Israel plays in driving the world towards a catastrophic war, of its role in trying to push the most punishing sanctions on Iranian people, and its role in bolstering the position of hardliners in Iran through perpetuating an a climate of threat and insecurity.

gorg O'meesh / March 24, 2010 6:02 PM

Mr. Sahimi;
Thanks for preparing the grounds for antisemetics to express their feelings. By expressing their feelings you help them feel reliefed and prevent many psychologic disorders.

Nahid / March 25, 2010 1:12 AM

dear dr sahimi,thanks again for a true anaylsis of the recent ameticam-isrealy conflict.i am sadden by all the false and narrow mindeness of some of the readers,mostly iranian or iranian-americans.this is just a view and one perception of the events,one can come to its own conclusion,by name calling and character assasination,is an old style and people should wake up and understand the world politics.
your article is just a point of view and is a correct one in my opinion.we can debate civily and learn from one another.thanks

fay moghtader / March 25, 2010 8:09 AM


"antisemetics"? "reliefed"? "psychologic"?

May I suggest you team up with Hamid Rezvani ["Cirus", "Babelonians"] above and compete in the Santa Monica Primary School Spelling Bee?

I'm sure you'll win.

Ali from Tehran / March 25, 2010 8:12 AM

Iran is not an innocent player or have we forgotten that?

It has regularly meddled with the Israeli people in its support of violent proxy groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. They claim to help their Muslim brothers but it seems to me they are hand in hand in prolonging the violence that afflicts these so called brothers and clearly elevates their status as an enemy of the state of Israel. Which isn't going anywhere.

In its defense and despite sometimes I admit distasteful measures Israel has only ever fought over Israel. Jerusalem is the heart of what is Judaism and rightfully their capital city in my opinion. The city of Solomon and David right? What can the UN or EU say about that? About soul? Maybe many Muslims think that there should be no Israel? Why should the Jews have a spiritual home it seems they ask? I suppose they can meditate on that while praying facing THEIR holy city, which they do not wish to share with another state or peoples I'm sure.

And I mean this is me ranting but let's get some nuts and bolts out here.. it was just a dream the big M had and Muslims built that mosque literally right on top of the Jewish temples!! (beautiful as it is) However what kind of act is that? At least now we're simply talking about residential neighbourhoods! Personally after having visited the region and comparing Israel to the neighbouring Arab states (that I visited) I think the Israeli people have done a wonderful job in maintaining the city and keeping it open and free to ALL peoples of all religions. Would a muslim govt have done the same? I'm not so sure. Ever been a white guy trying to visit Mecca? Also, the caretakers of the El Aqsa Mosque Jerusalem in recent years excavated the site secretly and destroyed materials that the Israelis are now sifting through pebble by pebble, for archeological remains... in the world's oldest city. Nice one!!! Oh yeah, it's only the "cradle of civilization" right? Makes me want to help share good governance lessons with them before sharing the governance.

It is definitely a pity though that many people in this region are faced with these issues of security and ideology over simply providing a rich and educated life for themselves and their families. Free to explore their spirituality and those sites attached to it. Lucky for me in my somewhat secular western society it is my human right. Freedom of expression, ideas, religion, and economy? Civilized behaviour? Take it or leave it I guess. Funny though, there is one country and people within this disputed region that seem to share these ideals... what do you know, it's ISRAEL!!!

"The bond between our two nations has been and remains unshakable" There's your answer guys.

I think the Muslim region is big enough for a billion. Let Israel have it's tiny territory and leave them alone. I'm certain all their "crimes" would go away immediately if that was the case just as Iran could have it's peaceful nuclear power if it wasn't ideologically and proxy warring on all fronts. Gees all these semantics yet folks just don't see it.

JoeCryMeARiver / March 25, 2010 11:15 AM

The animosity between Iran and Israel which was fabricated by IRI BTW, is being exploited by both sides to the max.
Israel is using it in international level to gather support and sympathy for being a victim nation under serious annihilating treat posed by IRI. If it was not for Ahmadinerjacket's drivel about wiping Israel off the map and victimizing Israel in global level, Israel could get thrown out of UN for what they did in Gaza. Ahmdj is a god sent gift for Israel.

IRI also is using it in regional level depicting itself as the savior of Palestinians is Arab world and trying to gather support and sympathy from average Arab Joe in the streets. I must say they had high level of success so far.
Using Israel as a bogyman to divert internal attention away from mismanagement and economic disaster they have cast upon Iran, is a bonus.

As an Iranian I don't want to act insensitive to the plight of Palestinians but I must say IMO the conflict between Israel and Palis is their problem.
I would be more than glad to extend a helping hand but that can not possibly be practical when I am involved with life threatening domestic conflict myself. Even if I was able to extend helping hand I must say out of respect as well as being polite to let their brethren in 27 Arab nation mostly wealthy and influential in global politics to step forward first.

BTW: US never supplied any weapon grade chemical product to Iraq during the war. Although not for waeponization they were supplied by European nations mostly from France and Holland.
US did provide weapons to Iraq but also did the same for Iran (remember Iran-Contra affair?)that is because US did not want any winner out of that war.

Aryajet / March 25, 2010 4:12 PM

This article is interesting read but misses the point.

There is absolutely no crisis in US-Israeli relations. No US president has been able to stop the settlements. The entire US government, its president, are entirely selected by Israel lobby. You don't believe it? then, what other country do you know that every presidential candidate visits her before the November election. All prominent presidential candidates, including McCain, visited Israel, went to the Holocaust museum, and praised that nation and proclaimed their absolute dedication to that countries securities. I wonder how deeply and how long the Israelis laugh watching these spineless americans getting paraded down Jerusalem to kiss their rear. There simply is no other parallel in the entire world.

It is also important to understand that no gift was given to Iranian leadership. People perceive these events as mistakes or political missteps, when in fact this is the very character of American foreign policy in the region. What I mean is that there is no way the US can solve the Palestinian issue in anyway, because it is the character of a colonialist policy and an occupation mentality to pursue an inequitable policy that is aimed at subjugating its subjects.

An independent Iran, no matter what kind of government rules her, will be a dominant Iran in the region as Iran would assume its natural regional role. Therefore, Iranian-americans need to accept the fact that the train has left the station, that Iran, no matter what course she follows, is on the path to war. It is not the nuclear issue or the support of "terrorists," rather the goal is subjugating Iran. The very arguments made against Iran today were also made against her when Iran nationalized its oil.The Persian Gulf was blocked by British navy. A week of rioting filled Tehran streets, echos of "marg-bar Mossadegh" were chanted, and a bloody coup ensued. That would be the preferred path to subjugate Iran, but it failed last year. WAR IS IMMINENT!!

The regime in Iran knows war is coming. That is why contracts are granted to IRGC companies. It is another way to raise funds for Iran's military industrial complex without increasing its national budget. And without alarming the region or Iran's own population. It also allows IRGC to get into procurement of parts through private entities.

It is time Iranians wise up.

Pouya / March 26, 2010 10:55 AM


Do you truely believe there is any situation that would make the UN to throw Israel out? Are you serious?

You have bought into the game. They say whatever they want to benefit themselves. Ahmadi has been sharp in his language, that is true, but never said he would wipe Israel off the map. That was a purposeful mistranslation. Besides, every Arab leader has claimed to want to throw the Israilis "into the sea" since 1948. Why is Ahmadi's comments, all of a sudden, unprecedented?

Pouya / March 26, 2010 11:05 AM

Mr. Sahimi

it would be best not to engage these people, and remain above it all. In the long run it is best. There are paid oparatives whose only goal is to discourage you from writing.

Pouya / March 26, 2010 11:41 AM

Dear Mr. Sahimi your work is sloppy and flawed. I would like you to consider the following facts.

Peace between Israel and Egypt was possible when Egypt came balanced that there was no destruction of Israel by military means after the Yom Kippur war.

Israel and Jordan have Pace because of exactly the same reason.

Israel has proven that is a true peace partner.

Palestinias do not have peace and a country of their own because they reject the idea of a jewish democratic state living side by side with them. So when ever there are negotiations in this regard is very simple, if the Palestinian side demands that the future state of Israel will not have a majority of jews living in it. (the refugee return agenda) or any other demand that in turn will bring down the state of Israel. You will see no go in negotiations.

Iran is very far away from Israel. But they have managed to get in the northern border (Hizbulla) and southern borther (Hamas). Having also Mr. M.Ahmedinejad time and again deny the Holocaust and threating a new one is quite depressing. Let me remind you that Israel had no greater friend in the Middle East than Iran prior the Revolution. The people of Iran and Israel should be united in a lasting friendship. Influence form Theocracies that ultimately have a dark desire for human kind should be part of the past.

M.M / March 27, 2010 12:53 AM

It's a shame that these forums continue to devolve into the irrational and personal.

Ali from Tehran - seriously, give it a rest. You are obviously smart, and you obviously love to show off. But, as a former English teacher who now writes an edits for a living, I'd like to ask you to quit the arrogant and snarky typo corrections of people who obviously speak English as a second language. This is an informal blog where people are writing shorthand, not a classroom. And, Mr. Perfect Grammar, let me point out that you have numerous grammatical and typographical errors in your posts. You should be embarrassed for calling out typos (esp of non-native English speakers!) while you make them yourself (I would be if I were you). Hopefully this will put you in your place and you'll go back to your mental masturbation.

Prof. Sahimi - thanks for the article. No real surprises. The US system is set up a certain way, and the influence that AIPAC (and any other lobby) has is undeniable. No mystery to it at all, and no "snubs" or otherwise will change the power of the dollar. That's the game, and unless it changes, it's better to play it than to complain. Iranians just need to get more organized, and with all their wealth and talent behind them, exercise their influence in the same way the other lobbies do: $$$. I am sorry you have to keep defending against baseless and specious allegations. Unfortunately, many of our people can't get beyond the black and white and do not incorporate any nuance whatsoever in their analyses. Please keep writing - very informative and courageous as usual. I say this even though I don't agree with you all the time - when will our people learn to reasonably disagree?

np / March 27, 2010 2:22 AM

Dear NP,

Thanks for the tips, particularly the crass sexual innuendo.

Ali from Tehran / March 27, 2010 10:02 AM

Being thrown out of UN was a knee jerk in my part, I meant harsh global reaction.
NO I don't believe AIPAC selects POTUS, they try to be influential in the elections but not selecting any representative. You must bear in mind that lobbying in US is a business with the services for sale to highest price, IRI also has its own.

This is what Ahamdi said about Israel "Esrael bAyad az safeh yeh roozegar mahv shavad", now you translate it which ever the way your heart desires.

It is true that all Arab nations wanted and want to push Israelis into the sea but none has any questionable Nuclear Research and Development program with clandestine missile delivery capabilities. It makes a world of difference.

Aryajet / March 28, 2010 3:33 PM


While you are at your nonsense propaganda, let me say a few words.

First, no Arab GOVERNMENT wants to throw the Israelis into the sea, simply because the Arab GOVERNMENTS are US puppets one way or another.

Second, because these GOVERNMENTS are led by dictators supported by the US, Arab NATIONS do not have any say on what the foreign policy of their government is or should be.

Third, Egypt does have a nuclear program, and was caught by the IAEA to be involved in clandestine nuclear activities. Get the fact before opening your mouth, or using your pen. But, hay, it is Egypt we are talking about no the IRI. So, sweep it under the rug!

Fourth, courtesy of the US, France, and Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Omman are going to get their nuclear toys! Let us see what they are going to do with their toys!

Fifth, as terrible as Ahmadinejad is, and as criminal as the hardliners are, what Ahmadinejad said - which was the repeat of an old saying of Khomeini that had never provoked any "outrage" in the West - was akin to what happened to the Soviet Union. So, there, you have the translation!
And, BTW, you need to polish your English to translate accurately and honestly what Ahmadinejad said.

Sixth, yes, AIPAC do not select anybody as you say, they buy them or coerse them into submission "or else." Even the Americans are waking up to see this, but you pure Aryan with a jet (!) give the same nonsense s... here as if the rest of the people who read here just came down from mountains and do not know what is happening!

Seventh, if you are Iranian, or Iranian-American, who are you loyal to? Iran, the U.S., or Israel? I have a very good educated guess!

George Stewart / March 28, 2010 9:09 PM


While I don't dissagree with the premis of your argument, we must remember that when Arabs made those comments Israel had no nukes and was just formed. So their words were also taken seriously in the context of the time they were made. The difference is that it was all fake, and designed to sell weapons for 70 years, just as we see today that Israel finds Saudi Arabia very acceptable but supposedly the Saudi's too want the wiping of Israel.

I dissagree with your comment on Ahmadi, when you read the entire speech, what he was talking about was the Israel's own policies undermind its own existence, and he ended it with the quote you made.

I also like to make the obsevation that you correclty point out that Israel should take Iran's comments far more seriously than those of the arabs, simply because the Iranians probably do pose a long term threat to Israel (more on this below). But I always find it interesting that no one admits that Iran should be very afraid of Israel since the jewish state posseses nukes, has threatened Iran with them (remember Elmert's comments), and opposes Iran's allies. Why is the threat one way?

As for Israel and why should Iran be opposed to her, the reasons are clear. Contrary to popular belief, Iran's opposition to Israel is disciplined and rational even if Iran was not ruled by an Islamic government. Iran must guage its relationship with its neighbors and its own national interests. Israel is the only state that shows no regard to human life of those less powerful than itself, the only state in the region who has attacked one of its neighbors every decade of its existence (that includes the so called preemptive attacks), and before its defeat in lebanon most Israeli's believed in the idea of "greater Israel" which included Baghdad. Such behavior would make any independent thinking government to reassess its relationship with such an aggressive and inhumane state. Just look at what happened to Turkish-Israeli relations. Turks could no longer pretend.

Pouya / March 29, 2010 6:48 AM


Arab governments stopped entertaining the thought of throwing the Jewish state into the sea after their numerous defeats. Also, are you not exaggerating the facts when you claim Israel is the only state that shows no regards for human life? Do Arab states have any regards? Is the Barbaric Republic in a position to question Israel's human rights reoord? At least Israelis take care of their own in a free and democratic state. Do we?

I don't know why Iranians are so concerned about other people when our own country and the mess she is in ought to be our primary concern. We can not help others unless we put our own house in order first. Just common sense.

The religious government of Turkey dreams about leading the Islamic world. They are not pretending dear. They are positioning themselves. Another false dream, just as the false dream of the Islamists in Iran. The Arab streets may swing towards Iran or Turkey for a very short period of time due to lack of leadership, but ultimately their loyalty is for the Arab cause. What did the Arabs ever do for us?

We must free ourselves from the hands of this backward murderous regime in Iran and soon. That is our priority and nothing else.

Niloofar / March 29, 2010 6:03 PM

Vice President Biden has created a hellish opportunity for his boss, and the rest of country. He represents the establsihment, and the establishment, unquestionably, support whatever Israel is willing to do in the Middle East. The question is: Can Israel afford having more enemies, or can Israel stop its counterproductive rhetorics?

Reza Azarmi / March 30, 2010 2:57 AM


I respect your opinion. But my point was different. I never said Israel is the only state that has terrible human rights record. You would be right to add the Arab states in that group. It is also untrue that Israel is a democtratic state for "its own" citizens. There are Arab Israeli's who are citizens of Israel, there are plenty of literature that shows they are second class citizen. They are barred from best jobs. It is only 2 years that the first Arab Israeli was allowed to play in Israel's first division soccer league. It is also false to classify Israel as democratic when denies the rights of 5 million palestinian lives it control.

You would be right that we should look at our own first.

But the point I was striking was more general and universal. I was talking about Iran's national interests regardless of who the govenment of Iran is. In that regard Iran's current foreign policy is correct in many aspects while in some areas may be going in the wrong direction. It is important for Iranians to be aware of what are Iran's INHERENT NATIONAL INTERESTS as those interests are universal to Iran's geopolitical stature. Those interests are timeless. One example would be that it is NOT in interest of Iran for a foreign government, from 6000 miles away, be the hegemon of Iran's backyard. Another, Iran must have secure borders. That means Iran must form strong relationships with its neighbors, irrespective of whether they are Arabs. Finally, it is important that Iran always have secure and independent energy resources. Therefore, it is imparative that Iran master the enrichment process and maintain technological independence, again regardless of who the Iranian government is. These issues are far more important than the US-Iranian relationship, or the lack of one.

Pouya / March 30, 2010 11:20 AM

Mr. Azarmi

I believe these are theatrics. What matters is that nothing will change on the ground. Palestinians will be ethnically cleansed while the US laments.

Pouya / March 30, 2010 11:22 AM

(we must remember that when Arabs made those comments Israel had no nukes and was just formed)

@ Pouya
No they did not make that comment, they actually started the 1948 war and were defeated.
Yum Kipor war started in 1973 when Israel was already perceived as nuclear power, still didn't deter 3 major arab nations with backing from the rest of arab world from trying to annihilate the tiny Jewish state. So the notion of Israeli destruction is still being entertained in that region.
Also I never said Israel is an angel of mercy. My question was why so many people pay such a keen attention to what she does but almost all turn blind eyes toward genocide in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Chechnya and many other regions around the Globe?

Aryajet / March 30, 2010 12:46 PM


Chomsky said no sane person would want Iran to have nukes. I'd be interested in a link to where he said Iran should develop nukes.

Regarding the article,

Does anybody here believe that if Iran had an enemy that screamed 'death to iran' every friday and everywhere from parliament to school grounds, an enemy that has devoted tremendous amounts of energy to kill as many iranians as possible, an enemy that thinks there should be no entity named iran on the map, that if this enemy started working towards nuclear weapons - and you'd have to be mentally retarded to think their program is 'peaceful' - that iran would just sit back and let it happen?

Israel will most likely attack Iran and destroy the nuclear facilities, and maybe the US. And both have more than enough justification.

GeneralOreo / March 30, 2010 4:53 PM

Also, regarding the bush veto, the reason israel listened is because iran was still away from acquiring a weapon and america was deep in iraq and afghanistan. iran is now closer to its goal and the US is drawing down in iraq and soon afghanistan. There's still the problem if plunging the world economy into another recession because of oil prices, but who knows.

I don't like israel, it's only a civilized and modern country when compared to its rotten neighbors, but they don't have much a choice in this. israel has to send a message to the world, tell them they're not going to take this. iran will probably still rebuild continue its nuclear program after israel's attack, but at least then israel would have shown its enemies that when it needs to it will take action to protect itself. Now what will happen when israel decides of they need to strike again in a few years, or if the iranians eventually get the bomb and surprise everybody with it, I have no idea...

GeneralOreo / March 30, 2010 7:18 PM

Private Oreo,

No one is going to attack Iran because every rational person knows the ultimate solution for Iran is regime change.
Let us assume Iran gets the nukes, then what? Are you suggesting they will use it on Israel? That thought is insane and Iranians are too smart for that.
A nuclear Iran will marginalize Israel. That is the main concern and it may prompt some Arab countries i.e. Saudi Arabia and Egypt to go nuclear. THINK about it.


As far as the interests of Iran are concerned I agree with your points. You are right.
However, I do not agree with your statement that Israel is not a democratic country because of Palestine. Israel is a democratic country for her own Jewish citizens. Are Arab Israelis treated as second class citizens?
I believe they are better off than Palestinians, but are subject to prejudice. As a human being I find that shameful and as a friend it would be my duty to help both sides. As an Iranian I would not take sides, it would not serve the interests of my country. The current Iranian interest in Palestine is self serving and has nothing to do with the interest/welfare of Palestinian people and Palestinians know it.
I would rather be their friend (Israel and Palestine both) than a double dealing two faced partner i.e. Barbaric Republic. Mullahs have dealt with Israel on numerous occasions when their backs were against the wall. They sell their own mothers to remain in power.
Thank you Pouya for your thoughts.

Niloofar / March 30, 2010 11:06 PM


You recite so much discredited Israeli spin straight off the AIPAC and ZOA hymnsheets that I am beginning to doubt your undocumented claim to be a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War.

The Yom Kippur War (not "Yum Kipor" as you say; it is not a candy bar) of 1973 was launched by Egypt and Syria with the limited objective of recovering territory preemptively invaded and occupied by Israel in 1967.

Their war aims did not include the occupation or annihilation of the Israeli state in its 1948 borders.

Even serious Israeli scholarship does not support your arguments.

You refer to "three major arab nations". I assume that the third one, Jordan, qualifies as a major Arab nation in your eyes, which means that you did not learn much about military affairs during your alleged service.

Jordan entered the war a full week after hostilities began, after King Hussein had tried unsuccessfully to forewarn the Israelis of Syrian and Egyptian war plans.

Jordan's pitiful contribution, made for face-saving purposes, and only after advising the Americans beforehand, was to send a small expeditionary force of armoured and artillery units to Syria to help bolster the collapsing Syrian front.

Not exactly a life-or-death situation for your beloved apartheid State of Israel, was it?


Dear Feldmarschall Offmedz (recently promoted from GeneralOreo rank), have you stopped taking your medication again? Calm down.

Ali from Tehran / March 30, 2010 11:12 PM

@ Ali
First of all nitpicking on spelling ability of some one whose English is the 4th language he speaks is not going to elevate your scholarly status in the internet, next time try some other degrading tactics.

I mentioned Yum Kipor war (that phrase is a name and can be spelled different ways)to illustrate that nuclear capability of Israel did not deter her neighbors from attacking, I was not going through analysis and the history of that war, as you know internet is a better way to do so.

BTW: I have zero zilch value for your intention of questioning my participation in Iran-iraq war. That memory is for me to keep not for you to believe or praise, I don't even know or care a bit who you are.

Aryajet / March 31, 2010 10:43 AM

@General Oreo

Beside using their nuclear arsenal Israel is not capable of conducting an "effective" military strike on Iran because simply logistics are not there. It will take pages to discuss and analyze such an undertaking I'll just take a simple route.

It will require very high number of Fighter/Bombers escorted by more interceptors all trying to fly over 5000 kilometers round trip which in its own turn will require at least 4 hot refueling in the air from at least 16 flying tankers.
Which ever route they might choose to penetrate Iranian aerospace one session of that air refueling must be done inside Iran under watchful eyes and already alert of Iranian air defense infrastructure and interceptors (I wouldn't fall into media hype, Iranian F-14s are still a formidable threat to any airplane in the sky).

They have 3 possible routes to fly over, Turkey, Iraq or KSA which I don't believe any one of them will grant such a permission for Israel to fly through their aerospace, even if Israel finds a way to sneak then there will be the dreading "return", those 3 nations might claim " we didn't know they are coming" but none can claim the same about the return.
Even if we suppose that Israel manages to project sufficient # of fighters into Iran it will not be able to conduct an effective sustained air campaign, just getting there and dropping couple of 1000 pounders will not inflict any considerable damage, if you can call it a damage et al. For comparison I would like to mention an example,in 2003 at the start of OIF it took USAF, USN, USMC and Royal Air 7 days to achieve SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense)before the real air campaign could be started and Iran today has far better, more sophisticated and integrated ADS than iraq of 2003.

Also I must mention that beside enemy air defense system an avid military strategist and/or a commander should also think about such a long flight and huge number of airplanes involved in which human error, human fatigue, mechanical failure, communication mishap, weather condition and even flying birds could all be life threatening factor which can cause the demise of the mission.

Hypothetically speaking lets presume they decide to use nuclear weapons, still the delivery system is a big problem. They have to send nuclear tipped JerichoII missiles but their range in a most favorable atmospheric condition is less than 2500 kilometer.
So IMHO there won't be an attack by Israel against Iran, not any time soon.

Aryajet / March 31, 2010 11:38 AM

Dear Aryajet,

You mentioned the Yom Kippur War to illustrate your talking point that Israel's possession of nuclear WMD did not prevent its Arab neighbours from trying to destroy it.

In your own words:


"Yum Kipor war started in 1973 when Israel was already perceived as nuclear power, still didn't deter 3 major arab nations with backing from the rest of arab world from trying to annihilate the tiny Jewish state. So the notion of Israeli destruction is still being entertained in that region."

Now that your hasbara is exposed, you attempt to change your original argument from 'annihilation' to mere 'attack.'

Again, your very own words:


"I mentioned Yum Kipor war ... to illustrate that nuclear capability of Israel did not deter her neighbors from attacking, , I was not going through analysis and the history of that war ..."

You weren't trying to analyze? Nice try!

As for your alleged service in the Iran-Iraq War, the only reason it became a valid topic for me is because you raised it to support your arguments.

If "that memory is for me to keep," as you protectively argue above, then please, by all means, lock it up securely in your head and don't deploy it to tactical advantage on this board whenever it suits your purpose.

Also, the range of Jericho IIB/Shavit and Jericho III ballistic missiles is substantially greater than 2500 km, even on rainy days!

Ali from Tehran / March 31, 2010 5:39 PM

@ Ali
Shavit missile is a space launch vehicle with questionable reliability specially after 2004 spectacular failure, although it can be converted to strategic IRBM in short notice but that conversion has never been tested, until then it will remain a space launch vehicle.

Jericho III is a well capable IRMB with over 5500 kilometer range but it is still under development and has not entered the service yet. Also your assumption about Jericho IIB and Jericho III being 2 different Missiles is inaccurate, they both are the same, at the beginning it was designated As Jericho IIB and later on to Jericho III.

I was being liberal about Jericho II 2500 kilometer range, GlobalSecurity one of the most credible world military information source has 1500 kilometer as max range.


You might young folk with elevated testosterone level, but unlike you when I see a coin I always examine "Both" sides, so stop acting like a cry baby by continues personal attacks, you are the biggest hypocrite in this discussion so far, you called me an Israel lover and an Aryan in one post. Attention deficit is curable you know, get some professional help.

At the end I most say IMO annihilation of Israel is still being vastly entertained among majority of arab world and unfortunately few gullible Iranians (with certain hidden agenda)have been drawn into the trap and they don't actually do any thing about it except spread hatred.

I never condoned what Israel or Palestinians are doing each other, I actually condemned the recent Israeli actions in Gaza, I despise their land grabbing policies and wholeheartedly believe the only path for initiation of a viable peace process would be for Israel to retreat behind 1967 borders, having said that I still claim as an Iranian that conflict "is not my problem".
Now! Once (if)I fry my own big fish at home and get lungful of fresh air in my own sacred Land then I will be glad to extend a helping hand, not through waging another war, but through global diplomatic process.

Aryajet / March 31, 2010 10:08 PM

Dear Aryajet,

You are certainly entitled to your own faith-based opinions regarding the big, nasty Arabs wanting to destroy the Israelis, but you are definitely not entitled to manufacture and disseminate your own facts.

Facts exist irrespective of opinions.

With regard to the Yom Kippur War, you resorted to childish Zionist falsehoods, either maliciously or by ineptitude, and were caught in flagrante delicto.

Please have the courage to own up to it.

No, I did not call you an Aryan. I don't believe in racial and ethnic classification.

Ali from Tehran / April 1, 2010 10:33 PM

@ Ali
As I understand your presumption is that during Yum Kipor war after 3 arab nations could recapture the lost territories they would stop and not advance farther.
In that case we should settle for agreeing to disagree.

p.s You did call me an Aryan. Out of respect to the other readers I must say I used to fly CH-47 Chinook for IIAA and later on for IRIAA and my call sign was "Aryajet" and term has nothing to do with Aryan nation or a bit in that nature. Here is what you said:
"but you pure Aryan with a jet (!) give the same nonsense s..."-
I'm still puzzled what "s..." stands for. I could have a rough guess but a person with your stature wouldn't possibly use that word. Would you?

Aryajet / April 3, 2010 1:23 AM


Silly man. The quotes you refer to are from posts by 'George Stewart', not 'Ali from Tehran'.

Seems the Imperial Iranian Army Aviation didn't exactly recruit the sharpest cadets, did it?

Ali from Tehran / April 3, 2010 6:16 PM

@ Ali
Apologies offered for the confusion.

But still the confusion will not exonerate your adhominem and constant character attack toward the messenger instead of presenting constructive discussion regarding the message itself which is not admirable IMO.

Aryajet / April 5, 2010 4:14 AM