Tag: Iran


  • Ineffective tightening of sanctions on Iran

    This article originally appeared on the Al Jazeeera English website on Dec. 12, 2011.  You can view it by clicking here .

    Washington, DC – There is a long record of the grim effects of sanctions in international struggles against those states deemed as “rogue”. Sanctions are seen as righteous instruments, a non-violent way to pressure problematic regimes to change. But when you really don’t care about a country or its people, then your true attitudes emerge in the way in which you use the sanctions instrument of policy.

    Let’s take Iraq. Based on estimates of the massive increase in child mortality rates through the years of the sanctions in the 1990s, anywhere from 300,000 to a million people lost their lives. But no one in Saddam’s inner circle, none of the wealthy, and none of the killers, died from those sanctions. Such sanctions were touted as an enlightened and …

  • Defense officials back US bid to send envoy to Syria

    I am trying to figure out what kind of United States has developed where the toughest Israelis in the world, the top Israeli military brass, want a U.S. ambassador in Syria, and other gestures, whereas the true impediment to that are right wing Republican Senators supported by a militant wing of the American public goaded on by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and of course Charles Krauthamer. Where do these Americans get the arrogance to be even more violent in their politics than the Israeli military? I think it is legitimate to take sides within the Israeli debate, but I do not understand being to the right of the right of the Israeli military. Of course, there is no logic to politics, there is only the logic of vote grabbing, and one gets votes in America today by demonizing any and all foreigners you can get your hands on, …

  • A NEW APPROACH TO NONVIOLENT PREVENTION OF IRAN’S NUCLEAR BOMB

    What is missing from the endless debate about Iran, about sanctions, and about military action, is the role of global consensus, and the real facts of what it would take to find any nonviolent way for the global community to prevent the leaders of Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Consistently the United States argues for sanctions and Russia and China veto such sanctions. What is less stated is that Iran is a critical economic partner of Russia, whereas the United States has its sphere of influence as Saudi Arabia. Well, it seems simple to me. If the United States really wants the world to isolate Iran in terms of fossil fuel exports (the only truly effective boycott) then resource sharing and resource access must be completely re-negotiated between the great powers and the oil producing nations. How else can there be global consensus? And if there cannot be, and …

  • The Lonely Man of Peace: An In-depth Interview

    Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:

    The lonely man of peace

    lonelymanofpeace

    By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER

    21/01/2010

    This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.

    Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …

  • U.S. estimates Iran unable to produce nuke before 2013

    The systematic pattern is of intelligence reports that keep pushing back the date at which Iran is said to be able to produce a nuclear weapon. My concern is how much political manipulation is going on of the public, and has been for many years.

    Also, there seems to be no straightforward approach at this moment in time to Iran. My own instinct is that the United States should engage in every way possible the people of Iran while keeping a distance from a regime that is discredited at this time among its own people. It is vital that the United States step up its relationship with any and all of Iran’s allies in order to find any way possible to pressure Iran to come to the negotiating table.

    U.S. estimates Iran unable to produce nuke before 2013
    Natasha Mozgovaya

    A newly disclosed congressional document shows that U.S. State Department

  • Welcome to July 4, Iran: A New Obama Gesture

    In another very interesting official American diplomatic gesture in the Age of Obama, a cable has been sent to all U.S. Embassies to invite Iranian officials to participate in July 4 parties that are held at each embassy. What a brilliant move, especially before the elections. It is open-ended, unilateral, quietly dispersed to hundreds of embassies to avoid a centralized response, and it is announced right before the elections.

    But the traditional fare of these parties,  hamburgers and hot dogs, should  be hallal, acceptable for Orthodox Muslims. I am serious. The gesture mutatis mutandis is great, but it should be inclusive so that the President of Iran and others cannot say it is an attempt to corrupt Muslims. It could make some hallal meat contractor very happy.…

  • Iranian Presidential Hopeful Mahdi Karroubi: An Obama on the Persian Gulf?

    It is  very important that we blog about the Iranian elections and expose to the world the Iranian choices. Read here on Karroubi’s platform to open up the universities. There are conflicting polls on who is ahead, with state polls putting Ahmedinijad ahead, obviously. Ahmadinijad controls all the public television stations, which is what the vast majority of the country has access to. But the youth are with the reform candidates so they are trying to utilize every social media possible to reach the voters anyway. Therefore, Ahmadinijad is blocking Facebook as much as he can. Karroubi, like Obama, is focused on the internet, the youth, the disenfranchised. This is an unfair fight for the future of the people of Iran, and I believe it is the deciding factor for the future of peace and war in the Middle East. Candidate Moussavi is saying more what Westerners want to hear

  • The Ghost of Cyrus: Iranian Potential for Reform in the Nuclear Age

    (Originally published at Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility, in a very good issue dedicated to Iran. It will give you a good overview of thinking in the American Jewish community right now on the slowly moving crisis with Iran)

    Over the past 25 years I’ve developed relationships across the Middle East; in Syria, specifically, over the past five years. While I traveled as a peacemaker, to be cautious I would emphasize my role as a professor and only reveal my role as a rabbi when it felt safe. I never experienced any negative comments because I am a rabbi; rather I heard from some a longing to meet with old Jewish friends. Experiences with Syrians have given me confidence that similar inroads can be made in Iran. What Iran shares with Syria, most importantly, is a historical tradition of religious pluralism and progressive religious thinking. There is still …

  • SORROW FOR IRANIANS IN BAGHDAD

    It has become commonplace for innocent religious worshippers to be a focal point of war. This time it is Iranian pilgrims in Baghdad, and we must mourn for them. It is true that the United States is responsible for the destruction of Iraq, but no one familiar with the politics and leaders of the region can fail to note the decades long devastation from proxy Sunni-Shiite wars fought since the Iranian Revolution. Al Qaeda knows how to stir that pot as an extremist Sunni organization, but the current leaders of Iran stir it further by proxy wars and agitations all over the Middle East. It is time for opinion of the majority of the Iranian people to dominate their politics and foreign policy, which is a focus on prosperity, basic human needs and dignity. One senses the trap that leaderships across the region are in as far as Sunni/Shiite violence. …

  • KAZAKHSTAN TO THE RESCUE? A POSSIBLE BREAKTHROUGH TO IRAN

    Hope springs eternal–and strangely. Kazakhstan, a nation with strong new ambitions, is offering to host a nuclear bank that would make it unnecessary for multiple nations to develop highly enriched unranium on their own. This is a critical alternative to many nations developing dual use technology leading to nuclear weapons grade  material. President Obama, of course, is supporting this proposal–and so is President Ahmadanijad of Iran. If this moves ahead it could form the basis of a non-military solution to the crisis between Iran, its neighbors, Israel and the West. Stay tuned.

    There is a trend emerging here. First Turkey, now Kazakhstan, non-Arab Muslim nations who are stepping up to the plate to break the impasses of the Middle East that have dogged the world for hundreds of years. A confluence of new found confidence of emerging Islamic nations and the arrival of President Obama may be providing a way …

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