Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So, is Bushehr really about to start?

My take on Bushehr is that it is subject to delays until it is on line, connected to Iran's power system and is fueled to the degree agreed. I hope it comes on line in September as scheduled but has some skepticism.

If a US/Russian agreement to give Iran Bushehr in exchange for the sanctions and possibly for the S-300s was made, I think Bushehr may be better for Iran than the sanctions are harmful. The US fairly clearly does have enough leverage over Russia that the steps that have been taken recently would not have been taken against US objections. However, it is not clear that we've seen the US drop all objections to the project, rather than hoping to intensify the pressure by having the reactor nearly but not fully operational.

Bushehr operational, if it happens, will put a new perspective on Iran's nuclear program and make demands that it halt enrichment less credible. Iran's aim that the sanctions kind of fade into meaninglessness over time will be advanced by Iran having an operational reactor and ongoing enrichment without event and years turn to decades.

I'm cautiously happy about this event.

During campaign, Barack Obama stated position that Iran must not be allowed to enrich uranium

Over at raceforiran, commenter Richard Hack has dug up specific statements from the Barack Obama campaign and from Obama himself that he would be committed to depriving Iran of any enrichment.
Mr. Obama, the candidate who has expressed far more willingness to sit down and negotiate with the Iranians, said in an e-mail message passed on by an aide that in any final deal he would not allow Iran to produce uranium on Iranian soil, the same hard-line view enunciated by the Bush administration.
Mr. Obama’s position is closer to the zero-tolerance approach adopted by the Bush administration. “I do not believe Iran should be enriching uranium or keeping centrifuges,” he said in an e-mail message passed on by aides.

Mr. Obama does seem more willing to dangle in front of the Iranians a “grand bargain” that would spell out benefits — diplomatic recognition, an end to sanctions — as a reward for halting its enrichment of uranium and allowing full inspections of the country. Richard J. Danzig, considered a candidate to be secretary of defense in an Obama administration, said Mr. Obama was willing to “put out a more positive side to the agenda to lead the Iranians toward making the right choices here.”

But Mr. Obama has also been more specific in describing the kind of sanctions he might reach for if the Iranians continue on the current path. “If we can prevent them from importing the gasoline that they need, and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis,” he said.

Some experts have counseled caution about such an approach, one that the Bush administration has stopped short of taking. A blockade, however, could constitute an act of war, and most experts believe Iran could respond in kind by cutting off oil exports, increasing prices and leading to shortages.
Any expectations that the Obama administration would be in any important way better than the Bush administration were unfounded and have turned out to be false.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sorry for posting so little lately

This is really a case of writer's block. Recently I've been participating in comments discussions at, but mostly writing things I've already written here.

Generally, the way Zionism has given colonialism a second wind is a very interesting subject. How the relationship the US has with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE is really unlike its relationships anywhere else in the world and identical to Imperial Britain's relationship with those countries and others when that relationship was openly and congratulatorily described as colonial.

My thoughts on this haven't firmed up into anything worthy of an article, beyond the articles I've already written.

Anyway, as always I remain open for suggestions for articles or questions.