Yousaf Butt on Re-setting US Diplomatic Approach Regarding Iran

I mentioned this briefly at the end of my piece yesterday on special inspections, but I wanted to also bring it to the front.  Friend of ACL Professor Yousaf Butt has just published an excellent piece on the need for re-setting the US diplomatic approach toward Iran, and the reasons for this need. I fully endorse the legal conclusions in this piece, and the prescription he gives for a path forward. This is sort of a macro-diagnosis of everything that’s been wrong with the West’s and the IAEA’s efforts, both diplomatic and legal, with regard to Iran’s nuclear program over the past decade and more, and how this mishandling of the situation has led us to where we are today. I highly recommend it to readers.

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18 Comments on “Yousaf Butt on Re-setting US Diplomatic Approach Regarding Iran”

  1. Cyrus says:

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the US is willing (nor able) to resent anything with respect to Iran and the EU aren’t in any position to go against the US. So the situation wasn’t really “mishandled” to become what it is today, rather it was a deliberate effort, intended to create a pretext with the nuclear issue to justify a policy of imposing regime-change in Iran, just as “WMDs in Iraq” was used as a pretext.

    Peter Osborne recently wrote about this too:

    “The answer is that a different agenda is at work, which we believe has little or nothing to do with Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The US and its European clients are driven by a different compulsion: the humiliation and eventual destruction of Iran’s Islamic regime.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10007603/Iran-how-the-West-missed-a-chance-to-make-peace-with-Tehran.html

    And this also corresponds to former IAEA head ElBaradei’s conclusions:
    “They weren’t interested in a compromise with the government in Tehran, but regime change – by any means necessary.”
    http://news.antiwar.com/2011/04/20/elbaradei-us-europe-werent-interested-in-compromise-with-iran/

    And even Mark HIbbs had to acknowledge the “elephant in the room” of regime-change
    (in the comments) http://hibbs.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/500/who-wants-diplomacy-on-iran

    • yousaf says:

      Cyrus,
      thanks — yes, I agree that there are elements in the USG (probably most of it, certainly almost all of congress) that don’t want a solution: I referred to this in my piece via Ambassador Limbert’s quote where he states that Obama has not even decided if he wants a deal with Iran. (Amb. Limbert was one of the hostages in Tehran in 1979-81).

      I also referred to this sentiment as expressed in the legislative text of the sanctions — it’s really not a supposition that needs to be debated at all: that the Congress wants regime change is written in black and white in legal text:

      http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/are-sanctions-fatwa-iran-6363

      What some investigative journalist could do is to look into which lobby wrote the text of those sanctions. As you know, much legislation is ghost-written by lobbies.

      Who ghost-wrote the text of the Iran sanctions?

      • Cyrus says:

        Oh, that’s not much of a secret.

        ‘As introduced, the amendment, which according to several Capitol Hill sources was drafted by AIPAC, actually went considerably further, deploying language that some senators argued could be interpreted as authorizing war against Iran.’
        http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/II29Ak01.html

      • yousaf says:

        Cyrus,
        thanks for that info. It would be great to have more confirmation about the real writers of the current set of sanctions (ie. 2010 onwards).

  2. Nick says:

    Dan,

    You are right it is a very nice article and informative.

    As for the current position of US, both the WH and the Congress, all you have to do is watch the Senate Foreign Relations hearing that Sherman and Cohen participated this past Wedensday.

    All both sides talk about is raising the pain in terms of more sanctions, and also the onus is on Iran to accept the P5+1 proposal. There is very little change, at least publicaly, for Obama’s second term. Even if there was a change this Congress will not reset their position on IRI.

    Watch how Mendez is reading from notes that he was given by someone with close ties with anti-Iran groups; it is ridiculous, Mr. Chairman can’t form his on ideas! And at the end, he referred to Iran’s current nuclear program as “Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program,” tossing out the lastest NIE and Clapper’s recent comments.

  3. yousaf says:

    There are a couple of relevant posts over at LobeLog: one on Media problems with Iran coverage:

    http://www.lobelog.com/framing-iran-media-coverage-echoes-some-iraq-problems/

    AND:

    Former UK-ambassador to the IAEA, Peter Jenkins, on Amb. Wendy Sherman’s Testimony on Iran:

    http://www.lobelog.com/on-ambassador-shermans-testimony-on-iran/

    QUOTE:

    Listening, on 15 April, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on US policy towards Iran put me in mind of the inscription Dante imagined over the entrance to Hell: “Abandon hope all you who enter here”.

  4. yousaf says:

    For those interested in the preservation of the NPT, it may make sense to sense to start a petition to ask Mr. Amano to consider resignation, as I suggested here:

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MH16Ak03.html

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Iran signing an Additional Protocol would be a capitulation to the West and it doesn’t need to do that, nor should it. It is the West that should give in, not Iran.

    Anyhow, the last thing the US wants is a “deal” on Iran. Just think what that would do to the tens of billions of dollars in foreign military sales to the Gulf petro-despots! The ‘need’ for twelve billion dollar aircraft carriers! Why, the only national ‘enemy’ the US would have left in the world is measly little North Korea. Slim pickins it would be, and not enough to sustain the obscene US military budget.

    • Nick says:

      Unbelievable! I don’t know why IRI even bothers going to these P5+1 meetings.

      Congress should cut the crap and declare a war, judging from these comments.

      • yousaf says:

        Yes, see eg.: Former UK-ambassador to the IAEA, Peter Jenkins, on Amb. Wendy Sherman’s Testimony on Iran: (posted above also )

        http://www.lobelog.com/on-ambassador-shermans-testimony-on-iran/

        QUOTE:

        Listening, on 15 April, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on US policy towards Iran put me in mind of the inscription Dante imagined over the entrance to Hell: “Abandon hope all you who enter here”.

    • Don Bacon says:

      We each see what we see, and what I see is a US administration moving on what they recognize is a hopeless course but they’re doing it anyhow. The fact is that Iran has been harmed by sanctions but not in any way crippled by them. Their economy is flat, very similar to the Euro-zone economy, which has also been harmed by the sanctions. Iran is not isolated in the world, as Sherman claims. Nobody believes that, given Iran’s ties with NAM China Russia & India, except the US which is deluding itself.

      Sanctions have strengthened Iran’s economy, weaning it off reliance on petroleum exports. This has been a case of “tough love” for Iran, forcing them to modernize and expand domestic industries and diversify exports as Iran has been weaned off of oil exports. A good thing, actually. Iran now exports gasoline and electricity, as well as natural gas and refined petroleum products.

      Nick: There will be no intentional war with Iran.
      First, the UN would have to be warned to remove all inspectors, as in Iraq.
      All US warships would have to be removed from the Persian Gulf to positions at least 50 miles south in the Arabian Sea. They are sitting ducks for cruise missiles in the Gulf.
      Ships are movable, land facilities are not. They are all soft targets for Iran’s extensive arsenal of missiles.
      — al-Minhad air base in Dubai, UAE
      — Fifth Fleet HQ – Bahrain
      — Kuwait, three bases, 15,000 US troops,, including a couple of brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade.
      — Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, forward HQ of US Central Command
      — Overall in the region there are reportedly 40,000 American servicemen ready for action.

      And then there are other soft targets for Iran and its ally Hezbollah, in Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan.

      Forget an attack. US/Israel threaten attack to take the focus off of the Israel rape of Palestine, and other reasons.

  6. Bibi Jon says:

    Even with all those sleight of hand mischaracterizations, it will not happen.

    http://www.lobelog.com/nuclear-iran-unlikely-to-tilt-regional-power-balance-report/

    The manufactured tensions carefully kept at tolerable levels, and the (by now ridiculous) number of war threats issued over the years to keep the public mind from wondering off the monotony, tells me the real purpose is to distract attention from something else, something that effects people a lot more, something much nearer that 8,000 miles away, e.g. the news that “Banks Win Big as Regulators Refuse to Rein in $700 Trillion Derivatives Market.”

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10211

  7. yousaf says:

    Evidently, France is the new WINEP:

    http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/new-iran-penalties-must-be-decisive-france-says/

    Maybe all that austerity is leading to lack of sufficient analysts to know what they are talking about?

    • Don Bacon says:

      from the link:

      The U.S. Navy on Friday said it would deploy three additional coast patrol vessels to the Persian Gulf over the remainder of 2013 and then two more next year, raising the total in the area to 10, Defense News reported.

      And from Military Times:

      Five more coastal patrol ships are moving to Bahrain starting this summer. . .The shift will allow sailors to take their families with them to the Persian Gulf if they choose . . .the Navy will also relocate Coastal Patrol Squadron 1 headquarters along with a PC maintenance support team to Bahrain; those commands are currently at Little Creek.

      http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20130510/NEWS/305100023/5-more-patrol-ships-heading-gulf

      Imagine that, moving families, a headquarters detachment and a maintenance team to a potential war zone! I betcha Iran is scared of those families. — I want to see Yousaf (not me) play these yokels a game of poker. They can’t even bluff well.

      By the way, these coastal patrol vessels are lightly armed, with two 25mm cannons and some machine guns, they were launched between 1992 and 1994, and they were designed for a lifespan of roughly 15 years (five years ago). In 2010, the US Navy announced that it had found “significant structural” damage and corrosion in its fleet of patrol coastal vessels. They were recalled for overhaul.


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