Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s arrival in Tehran Saturday was marked by an incident during which a shoe was thrown by a protester in his direction, Iran’s semi-official Fararu news agency said.
A group of Iranian protesters, opposed to dialog with the United States, were at Tehran’s airport where Rouhani supporters had also gathered to welcome the president home, Fararu said.
Rouhani left the airport with his entourage without any further incident, and was accompanied by his supporters shouting, “Rouhani, Rouhani we support you,” according to Fararu.
Shoe throwing is seen as highly offensive in the Middle East for cultural and religious reasons.
If President Obama had had the wisdom to drop a payload of loafers over Damascus, he would have made his point infinitely stronger than his empty threats to fire off a battery of cruise missiles. He had no such wisdom, obviously.
Who is Mr. Rohani? If all you did over the weekend was read headlines, you would have gleaned that he is a “moderate” (Financial Times), a “pragmatic victor” (New York Times) and a “reformist” (Bloomberg). Reading a little further, you would also learn that his election is being welcomed by the White House as a “potentially hopeful sign” that Iran is ready to strike a nuclear bargain.
All this for a man who, as my colleague Sohrab Ahmari noted in these pages Monday, called on the regime’s basij militia to suppress the student protests of July 1999 “mercilessly and monumentally.” More than a dozen students were killed in those protests, more than 1,000 were arrested, hundreds were tortured, and 70 simply “disappeared.” In 2004 Mr. Rohani defended Iran’s human-rights record, insisting there was “not one person in prison in Iran except when there is a judgment by a judge following a trial.”
Just like there are no gays in Iran, right?
Mr. Rohani is also the man who chaired Iran’s National Security Council between 1989 and 2005, meaning he was at the top table when Iran masterminded the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people, and of the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 U.S. airmen. He would also have been intimately familiar with the secret construction of Iran’s illicit nuclear facilities in Arak, Natanz and Isfahan, which weren’t publicly exposed until 2002.
The West looks on this mullah differently because he seemed so reasonable during nuclear negotiations. Seemed:
Now the West is supposed to be grateful that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s scowling face will be replaced by Mr. Rohani’s smiling one—a bad-cop, good-cop routine that Iran has played before. Western concessions will no doubt follow if Mr. Rohani can convince his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to play along. It shouldn’t be a hard sell: Iran is now just a head-fake away from becoming a nuclear state and Mr. Khamenei has shown he’s not averse to pragmatism when it suits him.
Iran will chair a United Nations conference on disarmament in Geneva this month, raising eyebrows from Western powers skeptical of Iran’s own nuclear ambitions.
The UN conference addresses not only nuclear proliferation but policies concerning the race to weaponize space, the production of radiological weapons and the stockpiling or use of other weapons of mass destruction.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the United States said it would withdraw ambassadorial representation at the conference in protest so long as Iran retained its chair. Calling Iran’s chairmanship “highly inappropriate,” the statement from the US mission to the UN noted that the Islamic Republic was under UN Chapter VII sanctions for weapons proliferation and human-rights abuses.
“While the presidency of the CD is largely ceremonial and involves no substantive responsibilities, allowing Iran–a country that is in flagrant violation of its obligations under multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and to the IAEA Board of Governors–to hold such a position runs counter to the goals and objectives of the Conference on Disarmament itself,” the statement read.
I won’t waste my breath railing against the UN. They do it so well themselves.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman gave his only on-camera interview about the change in his position on same-sex marriage to CNN’s Dana Bash on Thursday. He also discussed it with a few print reporters from Ohio and wrote an editorial explaining the change that appeared Friday in The Columbus Dispatch.
“I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry,” Portman told CNN.
It has to do with another revelation, one deeply personal. His 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay,” said Portman.
Will Portman told his father and mother he is gay two years ago, when he was a freshman at Yale University.
“My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember,” said Portman.
What was the Republican senator’s reaction?
“Love. Support,” responded Portman.
I guess I can see how this is news, even if (especially if) it’s personal. Certainly Portman treated it as news.
“I have been crystal clear about my position on Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. That is a red line for us. It is not only something that would be dangerous for Israel. It would be dangerous for the world,” Obama told CNN affiliate Israeli Channel 2 TV before a scheduled visit next week to the country.
“…I’ve also said there is a window — not an infinite period time, but a window of time — where we can resolve this diplomatically.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Obama to establish a clear line that Iran cannot cross with its nuclear program, if it wants to avoid war.
Obama has resisted such a move, and Netanyahu has shown growing impatience with what he has previously called a lack of clarity by the Obama administration on articulating red lines over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
U.S. intelligence officials have said they do not believe Iran has decided to develop a nuclear weapon, even as evidence continues to mount that the country is improving its ability to do so.
When pushed during the interview to define those options, the president responded: “When I say all options are on the table, all options are on the table. The United States obviously has significant capabilities.”
Translation: we’re going to bomb the shiite out of you. Again, glad to hear it. Welcome to Planet Reality, sir.
But what took so long? Wasn’t it mere moths ago that Vice President Bite Me ridiculed the very idea of employing such “significant capabilities”?
The media has played the Obama administration tune all along. Keeping the truth of Benghazi under cover, leaving Biden’s misstatements and evasions unchallenged. Now, President Obama confesses that the sanctions have left Iran perhaps a year away from possessing a nuclear weapon.
Yet again, I’m glad Obama and Biden have swung around to the Bush/Cheney position in the war on terror: drones a-swarming, Gitmo open for business, extrajudicial executions, red lines on Iran. But if they had been a little more honest, and the media a little more responsible, we might have actually elected Republicans in 2008 and 2012, and not just Republican policies.
PS: Maybe this poll helped convince the president. Most polls do:
Americans’ sympathies for Israel matched an all time high according to a Gallup poll released Friday, just five days before US President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Israel for the first time as president.
According to the poll, Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64 percent vs. 12%.
Republicans (78%) were much more likely to sympathize with Israel than Democrats (55%), according to the poll. Democratic support for Israel has increased by four percent since 2001, while Republican support for the Jewish state has jumped 18 percentage points in the same period.
The percentage of respondents favoring the Palestinians increases with formal education, ranging from 8% of those with no college experience to 20% of postgraduates.
“Palestinians receive the highest sympathy from Democrats, liberals, and postgraduates, but even among these, support tops off at 24%,” according to Gallup.
Iran is recruiting staff relentlessly to work on its nuclear program, is making steady progress in its uranium enrichment, and has constructed several facilities for nuclear testing outside Tehran whose precise location is known only to high-ranking officials, according to an Iranian source who said he was hired recently as a researcher at one of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
In a telephone interview with this reporter, who has made several reporting trips to Iran in recent years, the source — who spoke on condition of anonymity — said it had been “very hectic” of late at the facility where he is employed. “More and more young graduates and people are brought in every day,” he said. “We have been working non-stop.”
The Iranian researcher said he was speaking because he wanted the outside world to know that, despite attacks on Iran’s top scientists and other pressures aimed at halting the nuclear program, “we are not afraid and we have continued to progress.”
[S]ources told Al-Manar that in the framework of arrangements for an Israeli strike against Iran, Israel has succeeded recently in reaching a series of agreements for regional security with the countries in the region that have a common border with Iran that would not only enable Israeli military forces to pass through these countries but to also, according to the secret agreements, use military bases specified in those countries as alternative bases for Israeli warplanes… in the event that Israel needs to secure bases outside its borders.
The sources add that these security agreements are an important achievement for Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who oversaw much of the communication with political leaders. Sources indicate that those countries that have responded to the demand of Israel share with Tel Aviv in its desire to get rid of the Iranian threat which threatens its stability.
Arab countries are looking to Israel over the United States to save their metaphorical bacon.
PS: How much you wanna bet Obama is going to count the Iranian nuclear workers as jobs “created” by his policies? He wouldn’t be wrong.
Our UN ambassador, last heard from selling the lie that Benghazi was a spontaneous response to an internet video on 5 Sunday shows, was simply too busy to honor the Prime Minister of Israel’s speech to the UN General Assembly with her attendance. This body language amplified Obama’s snub of Netanyahu when both men were at the UN, communicating a clear message to the mullahs in Tehran and the rest of the world: The US is backing away from its relationship to Israel. And after the election, Obama will have a lot more flexibility.
Good thing the president himself took the time to talk with Netanyahu about the most pressing issues of the day: nuclear proliferation and world war.
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone on Friday, the day after the Israeli leader publicly urged the international community to draw a “clear red line” with Iran over its suspected nuclear development program.
The White House released a statement on the president’s phone call shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Obama’s call with Netanyahu was more than 20 minutes, according to a senior administration official.
This couldn’t be better news… if it were reported. Obama spends about two golf holes of time (a par three and a par four) on Netanyahu, and his UN Ambassador chooses a turkey club on wheat toast over the Prime Minister’s speech. They’re practically daring American Jews not to vote for him.
The only person treated more shabbily was the Dalai Lama.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that his speech at the UN is now “reverberating” around the world, Netanyahu said Friday. Following their meeting, US President Barack Obama expressed solidarity on the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but stopped short of endorsing Netanyahu’s red line approach.
A spying device disguised as a rock at Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility blew up when it was discovered by Iranian security forces, Western intelligence officials told The Sunday Times.
The device, which was discovered last month but only reported on Sunday morning, was capable of collecting data from computers at the nuclear site, which is one of the country’s main enrichment facilities.
The device was happened upon by soldiers on patrol and its remains were examined by Iranian experts after it exploded, according to the Sunday Times.
A significant amount of information tracking Iran’s uranium enrichment activities could have been lost in the explosion, the British paper reported.
Except for the Gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews.
You’ll never take me alive, you persnickety Persians!
I mean, that’s got to be the next stop for these folks, right?
A group of four survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack have held a protest in Jerusalem calling for the end of nuclear weapons.
The survivors arrived in Israel on Monday for a six-day trip organized by the Israeli Disarmament Movement and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The group visited Jerusalem holy sites and held signs reading “Nuclear Abolition” in Japanese.
The survivors began their trip with a visit to the Wailing Wall, where they placed notes and called for a world free of nuclear weapons.
“Any use of the atom should be forbidden, even for intimidation,” 69-year-old survivor Nagayama Iwao said.
The visit comes amid growing tensions between Israel and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Israel and much of the West believe Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge that Tehran denies.
Sharon Dolev, who heads the Israeli Disarmament Movement, stressed that the visit’s timing was in no way connected to the standoff with Tehran, but noted that “Israel’s maintenance of a nuclear monopoly has propelled other countries like Iran down a nuclear race and caused other Arab countries to threaten to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
She posited that Israel’s nuclear demilitarization is the answer to Iran’s atom aspirations – an option she branded as “safer than a war we cannot win.”
God bless these survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: they were innocent victims of their government’s imperialism and intransigence. Now they are the innocent stooges of the disarmament mob. The only thing Israeli disarmament will end is Israel. Shame on Ms. Dolev for staging these revered elders like a circus sideshow.
PS: Her own logic is flawed. Israel may or may not possess nuclear weapons (officially), yet has never threatened anyone. Iran threatens to wipe “the filthy microbe” off the map, yet the Islamic entity is portrayed as an innocent victim forced to act against its own principles by Israeli aggression. As usual, the Left refuses to have an honest discussion. It’s all slant and slander.
In this public opinion survey carried out by TNS on behalf of EDAM, the Turkish public opinion was polled on the question of “In reaction to a possible threat from a nuclear armed Iran, should Turkey develop its own nuclear weapons or rely on NATO’s protection?”
8.2% The NATO security umbrella is sufficient. Turkey shouldn’t develop nuclear weapons
53.9% The NATO security umbrella is not sufficient to counter the threat of a nuclear Iran. Turkey should develop its own nuclear weapons.
34.8% Turkey should not develop nuclear weapons under any condition
3.0 No idea/no answer
I’m with the three percent. I can’t answer because I’m thinking “oh [bleep]” to myself. Not that Turkey having nukes is worse than Iran having nukes. But if Turkey wants nukes to counter Iran’s threat, that means two things: they don’t believe Iran’s “peaceful power program” any more than we do; and the Arab world wants nukes even more.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed on Thursday Haaretz’s report that President Barack Obama recently received a new National Intelligence Estimate report on the Iranian nuclear program, which shares Israel’s view that Iran has made significant progress toward military nuclear capability, and said that the report has raised the urgency of the issue.
Speaking on Israel Radio on Thursday morning, Barak said that there is a U.S. intelligence report “being passed around senior offices,” and that, as far as Israel knows, this report has brought the U.S. position over Iran closer to the Israeli position, and made the issue more urgent.
Haaretz reported on Thursday that the National Intelligence Estimate report on Iran was supposed to have been submitted to Obama a few weeks ago, but it was revised to include new and alarming intelligence information about military components of Iran’s nuclear program. Haaretz has learned that the report’s conclusions are quite similar to those drawn by Israel’s intelligence community.
The NIE report contends that Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program.
I’m going to suggest that Iran has not made “notable progress” in its nuclear program in recent weeks and months. I just don’t think you undergo two computer virus attacks and a spate of “accidental” deaths of nuclear scientists and make a net gain in research. Rather, I think the NIE has slowly, very slowly, been extracting its head from its hindquarters on the issue—from what me worry to oh [bleep]!
If that’s too cynical for some of you, consider the other possibility: that politics has been driving the NIE reports rather than the other way around. The Obama administration would prefer to deal with Iran in its own way, in its own time. Israel doesn’t have that luxury.
North Korea vowed Sunday to go ahead with plans to launch a long-range rocket, rejecting criticism in the West that it would scuttle recent diplomacy.
North Korea said Friday that it would fire an observation satellite into space on a new rocket as part of celebrations next month of the 100th anniversary of late President Kim Il Sung’s birth.
The announcement came about two weeks after the North agreed to suspend long-range missile tests and make nuclear concessions in exchange for much-needed food aid from the United States. The agreement was seen as a promising step toward improved relations between the two wartime enemies.
The U.S., Japan, Britain and others have urged North Korea to cancel the planned launch, calling it a threat to diplomatic efforts and warning that it would violate a U.N. ban on nuclear and missile activity because the same rocket technology can be used for long-range missiles.
China, North Korea’s main political and economic ally, also expressed rare concern Saturday and called on all parties to exercise restraint.
On Sunday, the North’s official news agency dismissed the criticism, saying it denied North Korea the right to the peaceful use of space.
“It is a sinister and deliberate anti-peace action” by hostile forces, the Korean Central News Agency said in an editorial. It said North Korea remained determined to carry out its plans.
North Korea will invite foreign space experts and journalists to witness the launch of a satellite that the United States and other nations see as a provocation, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday.
The apparent attempt at North Korean transparency comes amid a flurry of condemnations of its planned launch because it uses ballistic missile technology.
That’s right, everybody come. We’ll make a picnic out of it. Only, it’ll have to be a potluck. Until the food aid arrives, the only thing North Korea can offer is dog a la dirt. Or dirt a la dog if supplies run even shorter.
The wife of Martyr Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast, who was assassinated by Mossad agents in Tehran in January, reiterated on Tuesday that her husband sought the annihilation of the Zionist regime wholeheartedly.
“Mostafa’s ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel,” Fatemeh Bolouri Kashani told FNA on Tuesday.
Bolouri Kashani also underlined that her spouse loved any resistance figure in his life who was willing to fight the Zionist regime and supported the rights of the oppressed Palestinian nation.
Iran’s 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast, a chemistry professor and a deputy director of commerce at Natanz uranium enrichment facility, was assassinated during the morning rush-hour in the capital early January. His driver was also killed in the terrorist attack.
I don’t know how much annihilating you can do running a power plant.
PS: I don’t know if anyone reminded the widow Kashani that as a martyr her late husband gets certain rewards she might resent.