The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

For Iran in a time of hope and fear

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Iran

In support of the many wonderful Iranians

I am privileged to know on the web,

and of all their friends and families at home.

Iranian reformers unite; seek ouster of Ahmadinejad

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Ahmadinejad may be losing support. Is it a new day for Iran?
clipped from www.nytimes.com
Mohammad Khatami, the reformist former president, has decided to withdraw from the June presidential race to support a political ally […]

Mohammad Khatami

“The most important goal is to prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from re-election, not to get Mr. Khatami elected,” […]

Mr. Mousavi [the candidate Khatami will support], who is also a painter and architect, stayed out of politics for the past two decades and had turned down calls to run as presidential candidate in previous elections. His wife, Zahra Rahnavard, was the dean of the prestigious women’s university, Al Zahra, from 1998 to 2006 and is close ally of Mr. Khatami.[…]

President Ahmadinejad is supported by the conservative Iranian establishment, but his economic policies have unleashed economic inflation of over 25 percent, and two major setbacks last week suggested that he might be losing support ahead of elections.[…]

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Could be a breakthrough.  The election is June 12.


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March 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Iran’s enriched uranium ready for bombs? Not by a long shot.

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Iran does not have the capability of making weapons-grade enriched uranium.

I know, you heard that there was more enriched uranium there than previously thought. But there are, apparently, many grades of enriched uranium, and bomb material is far cry from what Iran has.

Here’s U of Michigan Prof. Juan Cole:

clipped from www.juancole.com

Pie-graphs showing the relative proportions of...

Image via Wikipedia

Iran Nuclear Program Hyped again

Note to mainstream media:

Iran cannot construct nuclear bombs with uranium enriched only to less than 4%.

It needs to be enriched to something like 90% to make a bomb. Iran is not known even to have that capability, and no it cannot be done in 2 months (try a decade), assuming they were trying to do it, which our $40 bn. a year intelligence agencies say they are not.

So all the silly articles on Friday about how iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb are just illiterate.

Moreover, the report in question actually says that Iran is slowing its enrichment activities.

h/t Jay McDonough.

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Reason for panic? Threat to world peace? Justification for a strike from Israel?

Hardly.

Why is it “reasons for war” stories are so rarely true?


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Ramadan greetings

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Ramadan wallpaper

To my friends who are Muslims:
May mercy, forgiveness, and salvation be yours in abundance this Ramadan!
I am a better person because of what you have given me. Your friendship is a treasure.


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September 3, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Shinichi’s Tricycle

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We like to think wars are fought by nations. But what a tidy fiction that is! Nations lose no arms or legs or blood or sanity.
Kurt Vonnegut, I believe, said that we allow war because of “a failure of the imagination.” We simply don’t consider what we do when we yield to those pleas of our governments.

The story below might sub for some of that imagination. I’ve clipped just a bit, but I encourage you to read the rest from Doug at the link.  It is excellent.

And I hope you and I can be people who cling fiercely to reality when passions run high and facts seem clear and resistance looks like treason.  For in the end, a share of war’s price will be paid by little Shinichis who find themselves in the way of things others thought more important.

clipped from unitedcats.wordpress.com

Shinichi’s Tricycle

Shinichi Tetsutani was a three year old boy who loved to ride his new red tricycle. 63 years ago this day he was riding his trike in his front yard. He was playing with his friend Kimiko. It was 8:15 in the morning. A quarter mile away there was a bright flash in the sky. Shin was badly burned and buried in the debris of his house. He was still alive when his parents dug him out, his hands still gripping the handlebars of his trike. They were unable to get to his two sisters in time as the wreckage of their home burned. Shin died that night. The next day his parents buried their children in their front yard, they thought they were too young to be buried in a lonely grave far from home. Shin’s friend Kimiko had also been killed in the blast, so they were buried together, holding hands. Shin’s beloved trike was buried with him.
Killing children is a crime, not an act of war

God rest their little souls. God grant us the wisdom to never do this again. God help us all through the dark days ahead.
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Hat tip to Homeyra. Thanks, friend – you help me remember!


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August 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm

We scarcely do diplomacy

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Diplomacy is making a headline or two. American diplomats are —wonder of wonders— talking to Iran for the first time in what, forty years? I want to say, “Where have you been?

I’m learning that diplomacy’s near absence is not uncommon in US foreign relations. Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times, illustrates:

The USA has more people in its military <i>bands</i> than in its diplomatic corps (U.S. Army Ceremonial Band)

The USA has more "musicians in its military bands than it has diplomats" (photo: U.S. Army Ceremonial Band)

The United States has more musicians in its military bands than it has diplomats. […] More than 1,000 American diplomatic positions are vacant, but a myopic Congress is refusing to finance even modest new hiring.In short, the United States is hugely overinvesting in military tools and underinvesting in diplomatic tools. The result is a lopsided foreign policy that antagonizes the rest of the world and is ineffective in tackling many modern problems.

Huh. Then this stunner:  One of the voices pleading for increased US diplomatic ability is none other than Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

“One of the most important lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that military success is not sufficient to win,” Mr. Gates said. He noted that the entire American diplomatic corps — about 6,500 people — is less than the staffing of a single aircraft carrier group, yet Congress isn’t interested in paying for a larger Foreign Service. […] Read the rest of this entry »

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August 10, 2008 at 5:29 pm

The Declaration of Independence and human rights

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To commemorate the 4th of July, here’s Declaration of Independence, as published by The Pennsylvania Packet, one of the great Philadelphia newspapers of the day.

According to EarlyAmerica.com:

Congress had appointed a Committee of Five to draft a statement to the world presenting the colonies’ case for independence. The committee consisted of John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The committee assigned Jefferson the task of writing the original document. After minor alterations were subsequently made by Franklin and Adams, the document was submitted to Congress.

Two passages in Jefferson’s draft were rejected by the Congress — an intemperate reference to the English people and a scathing denunciation of the slave trade. Otherwise, the Declaration was adopted without significant change…

Declaration of Independence

In these days of controversy over the treatment of immigrants and the detention of suspected terrorists, perhaps it’s useful to remind ourselves that this founding document of America acknowledges that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Further, securing those rights – the rights of all, not just citizens – is the reason for which governments “are instituted.”

Nothing could be more American.


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Written by Monte

July 4, 2008 at 10:33 pm

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