Category Archives: Iran

UPDATED: Every Day An Outrage (More Megyn OMGs)

Celebrity, Critique, Feminism, Iran, Journalism, Media

The Kelly File, for which I had high hopes as a news broadcast, has disintegrated into a rah-rah, flag-waving, hour-long session. Each segment features some sort of outrage against:

US deserved status in the world
US flag stateside
US soldier

The current outrage on Kelly is over Iran’s new UN ambassador. It’s news only the first time reported. Otherwise, these items are meant to heighten emotions and send hissing viewers to social media to create a buzz.

UPDATE (4/3): Mygyn’s OMG segment today had to do with “Tolerant Feminists Tell[ing] Conservative Young Woman: We Don’t Want You Here.” Yawn. A tolerant feminist is a contradiction in terms.


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Ordinary Iranians Deserve Relief

Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel, Trade

Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a patriot. About that there can be no doubt. Unlike American pols, whose policies vis-a-vis the American people border on treason, Netanyahu generally acts in the interests of his countrymen. As the patriot he is, one expects Netanyahu to disapprove of the deal Western powers are hammering out with Iran.

“I told them that according to the information reaching Israel, the deal that appears to be in the offing is bad and dangerous,” said Netanyahu. “Not just for us but also for them. I suggested that they wait and give it serious consideration, and it’s good that that is indeed what was decided. We will do everything we can to convince the leaders not to reach a bad agreement.”

The truth, of course, is that the “deal” is not dangerous to the U.S.

Israel’s concerns notwithstanding, pursuing negotiations that ease sanctions on Iran are good for the U.S. and indubitably fair to the Iranian people. Detailed in “The Warmongers: Not Looking Out For Us” are the costs to Americans—as opposed to their overseers in Washington—of sanctions:

Not to be overlooked are the costs to Americans of sanction enforcement, avers Harmer. In addition to the opportunity costs—the missed business aforementioned—there are “direct costs.” The Office of Foreign Asset Control in the U.S. Treasury Department squanders around $1 billion a year in developing lists of “financial institutions that are subject to sanctions,” and then infringing on the rights of individuals and companies to freely exchange privately owned property.

“Indirect costs” are incurred in the course of cultivating a massive U.S. intelligent infrastructure—a veritable alphabet soup of agencies—upon which the Treasury draws in enforcing a regimen of sanctions.

So, too, are the “deterrent costs” borne by the American taxpayer who pays for patrolling the Persian Gulf, the Northern Arabian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz. …

The toll on ordinary Iranians is orders of magnitude greater. Especially pressing: “the disbursement to Iran in installments of up to about $50 billion of Iranian funds blocked in foreign accounts for years.”

Ultimately, trade, not democracy, is the best antidote to war with Iran. The more economically intertwined countries become, the less likely they are to go to war. More than boycotts, barter with Iran is bound to promote good will and reduce belligerence on both sides. As a general rule, state-enforced boycotts harm honest, hard-working Americans who use the economic means to earn their keep. They benefit servants of Uncle Sam—the political class and its media and think-tank hangers-on. For they deploy the political means to advance their ends and grow their sphere of influence. As libertarian economist Murray Rothbard once observed, these “are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth”—the economic means is honest and productive, the political means is dishonest and predatory.


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The Warmongers: Not Looking Out For Us

Business, Economy, EU, Free Markets, Iran, Media, Russia, The State

“The Warmongers: Not Looking Out For Us” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

To listen to U.S. government officials there is only an upside to the punitive sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and a reluctant European Union. Consequently, the emphasis is forever on how to toughen the punishment; never on whether to lift economic sanctions on the long-suffering people of Iran.

But what about the effects of trade boycotts on American businesses?

Chris Harmer of The Institute for the Study of War estimates that the Boeing Company alone forfeits a minimum of $25 billion in business every year because of U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran, a niche market that is filled by the Russians. Overall, Harmer puts the value to U.S. business of trade lost due to the economic embargo on Iran at approximately $50 billion per annum.

For example, Iran imports $1.5 billion worth of cars a year, the beneficiaries of which are companies like Nissan, Toyota and Peugeot (when they might have been General Motors and Chrysler). Peugeot does an added half a billion dollars’ worth of commerce with Iran just in car parts.

The Iranian economy, moreover, has diversified and is adapting to life without the U.S. The rest of the world—pockets in Europe and most of Asia—has not isolated Iran, with the result that the country has many trading partners other than the U.S. And while Iran has lost petroleum revenue due to sanctions, the trend will not endure. China, Japan and South Korea are hungry for the country’s crude.

Not to be overlooked are the costs to Americans of sanction enforcement, avers Harmer. In addition to the opportunity costs—the missed business aforementioned—there are “direct costs.” The Office of Foreign Asset Control in the U.S. Treasury Department squanders around $1 billion a year in developing lists of “financial institutions that are subject to sanctions,” and then infringing on the rights of individuals and companies to freely exchange privately owned property.

“Indirect costs” are incurred in the course of cultivating a massive U.S. intelligent infrastructure—a veritable alphabet soup of agencies—upon which the Treasury draws in enforcing a regimen of sanctions.

So too are the “deterrent costs” borne by the American taxpayer who pays for patrolling the Persian Gulf, the Northern Arabian Sea, and the Strait of Hormuz. …

… As a general rule, state-enforced boycotts harm honest, hard-working Americans who use the economic means to earn their keep. …”

Read the entire column. “The Warmongers: Not Looking Out For Us” is now on WND.

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An Exchange Neoconservatives Didn’t Want To See

Internet, Iran, Media, Neoconservatism

Neoconservatives can relax. It would appear that America’s notoriously stupid news media reported in haste and before verification that Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new leader, and a member of his cabinet, were sending out happy Rosh Hashana tweets to Iran’s Jewish community.

“As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” Hassan Rouhani was purported to have tweeted, with the new president’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, following with a succinct “Happy Rosh Hashanah” tweet.

CNN Jessica Yellin erupted almost as she does when Obama looks her way or says her name during a press “briefing.”

International Business Times provided a correction it got from Iran’s official FARS News Agency:

“Mr. Rouhani does not have a tweeter account,” Presidential Advisor Mohammad Reza Sadeq told FNA on Thursday.

The western media claimed late Wednesday that the Iranian president has tweeted a felicitation message to the worldwide Jewish community to congratulate them on the advent of the new Jewish year.

“As the sun is about to set here in Tehran, I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” the western and Israeli media quoted Rouhani as saying in his tweet. The message was posted with a picture of a man in a yarmulke bowing his head in prayer.

In response, Sadeq explained that “proponents and fans of Mr. Rouhani were active in the cyberspace during the recent presidential election in Iran and used many web pages with titles similar or close to Mr. Rouhani (‘s name) to run their activities”.

“Of course, such activities are fully normal during election campaigns, and some of them might continue their operation even after the election,” the advisor continued.

“Yet,” he emphasized, “any official news on him (the president) is released by the presidential office.

Neoconservatives will have to conserve their energies until the next time they will be called upon to deflect any friendly gesture Iranian leaders may attempt.


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Hands-Off Syria

Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Neoconservatism

It’s not often that I agree with Barack Obama, but his hands-off Syria policy, if it is to be believed, is, I’m sorry to say, the right one. It is unlikely, unfortunately, that the US is uninvolved in some covert operation in Syria. One “international affairs and defense analyst” told RT that “since 2012, if not earlier, weapons have been supplied to the rebels … a covert supply of weapons, of course – through Turkey and with the assistance of Saudi, Qatari and Turkish intelligence services.”

As for Israel’s strafing of Syria, what triggered this Israeli strike? The “crisis in 2006 was triggered by cross-border raids on Israel by Hamas in Gaza and by Hezbollah in Lebanon.” Journalist and Middle East expert Ali Rizk is searching for provocation (as we libertarians ought to):

Has there been any military action, has Israel been attacked by any side, whether it be Hezbollah or Syria? Has Israel been attacked by any side whatsoever? Israel has not been attacked.
So we hear this talk about game-changing weapons. But that doesn’t give the right or justification for such escalation…I have to emphasize, the clear message if anyone had any doubts I think now it has become clear: Israel wants Bashar Assad to fall. That is Israel’s choice. Netanyahu himself has said time and again: “Syria is the linchpin between Iran and Hezbollah.”

BBC News’ Jonathan Marcus thinks he’s found justification. Neoconservatives will concur. “According to US intelligence sources,” he reports, “the target of the first of these latest Israeli attacks [inside Syria] which took place overnight on Thursday was a shipment of ground-to-ground missiles at a warehouse at Damascus airport.”

…these latest air strikes underscore Israel’s equal worry about sophisticated conventional weapons being passed to Hezbollah. This includes sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, anti-shipping missiles, or accurate long-range ground-to-ground missiles. Such concerns are longstanding. … The missiles, which had been shipped from Iran, according to the sources, were Fateh-110s – a mobile, highly accurate solid-fuelled missiles with the capability of hitting Israel’s main population centres, like Tel Aviv, from southern Lebanon.
…What’s not clear, American officials admit, is exactly who the missiles were intended for – the Syrian army or Hezbollah. But the airport warehouse is said to have been under the control of personnel from Hezbollah and Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force.


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UPDATED: Iran, Susan Rice And The Tit-For-Tat Gangs

Democrats, Iran, Middle East, Republicans, Trade, UN

The Stupid Party and its followers have been maligning “United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice for an investment portfolio that “includes investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran, according to financial disclosure forms.”

The Evil Party and its devotees have responded by pointing “to ]John] McCain’s financial disclosures, which reveal $1,000 to $15,000 in the JP Morgan International Value Fund. What’s the second-biggest holding in that fund? Why, Royal Dutch Shell, of course. McCain has another $1,000 to $15,000 stake in the JPMorgan Emerging Markets Equity Fund, which invests in China’s CNOOC, which has contracts to ‘develop some of Iran’s biggest oil and gas fields.’”

Two observations: The arguments the Democratic and Republican factions advance exist on a continuum of cretinism. There is no qualitative difference between them. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that Iranians should be crippled economically, when the truth is that Iran should be bartered with, not boycotted. Trade, not democracy, is the best antidote to Iran’s belligerence. The more economically intertwined countries become, the less likely they are to go to war.

The second and secondary point is that the woman (Susan Rice) probably has no idea how all her money is invested. Most people do not examine each and every investment fund they have in their portfolio.

UPDATED (Dec. 2): Rice may, however, be accused of hypocrisy and worse for enforcing sanctions, yet investing in Iran.


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