At Midterm, Iran’s Implementation of Its Nuclear Obligations Gets an ‘F’

Why the concern with likelihood of Iranian noncompliance at midterm? If Tehran cheats and we retreat, there may be more challenges across the globe against American interests and allies. Because the Obama administration lacks an overall strategy that measures actions in one arena by effects elsewhere, it tends to act tactically. Precipitous withdrawal from Iraq had unintended effects in Syria. Precipitate pullout from Afghanistan will reverberate in Pakistan and India. As Russia threatens more forays into bordering countries, China makes threats against Japan, and North Korea warns South Korea, now is not the time to show a weak hand to Tehran.

A feckless policy toward Iran in the nuclear talks is also manifest in abandonment of pro-American Iranian dissidents in Iraq, the Mojahedin. Although there was a Bush administration pledge to protect these dissidents if they disarmed during the takedown of Saddam, Obama left them exposed to proxies of Iran operating freely in Iraq.

And while Bush said to the Iranian people, “As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you,” Obama declines to reach out to them with such inspirational rhetoric. Given the failing grade at midterm, now is the time to take a tough stand against Tehran in nuclear talks and to reach out to the Iranian people.


Iran’s UN ambassador pick accused in political assassination

By Eric Shawn, Liliana Faccioli Pintozzi
Published April 09, 2014

The man Iran intends to send to America as its new United Nations ambassador is accused of helping organize the political assassination of an Iranian dissident in Italy, but has never been charged by authorities.

Hamid Aboutalebi is at the center of a controversy over whether the Obama administration and the State Department will grant him a visa to come to the U.S.

He has been accused of being an accomplice in a brazen murder plot that killed a prominent Iranian government defector, Mohamed Hossein Naghdi, 42, who was shot dead in Rome as he was being driven to work on March 16, 1993.

“I think that Aboutalebi was involved in the death of my partner,” Naghdi’s companion of 17 years, Ferminia Moroni said. “All roads lead to the Iranian embassy in Rome and the ambassador.”

At the time of Naghdi’s murder, Aboutalebi had completed his stint as Iran’s ambassador to Italy.

“Hamid Aboutalebi definitely was not only involved in the political assassination of Naghdi, but he was actually the mastermind,” charges Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Washington, D.C. based Deputy Director of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, also referred to as the MEK, the group for which Naghdi worked…


Tehran’s Threat to Riyadh and Iranian Dissidents

President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia during the last week of March [2014] offers an occasion for reflection of the Middle East security situation, with special reference to the threat from Iran to the Saudi Kingdom and how to counter that threat by reaching out to the Iranian people.

President Obama abandoned pro-American Iranian dissidents in Iraq, the Mojahedin. In face of Iranian regime threats, his actions breathed new life in Tehran’s efforts to subjugate Iraq and Arab Gulf states. Although there was a Bush administration pledge to protect Iranian dissidents if they disarmed during the 2003-2004 takedown of Saddam Hussein, Washington subsequently left them exposed to the not-so-tender mercies of Iranian proxies operating freely in Iraq.

A symbol of regime change in Tehran to youths within Iran and expatriates worldwide, the Mojahedin are unconcerned with fomenting unrest in Saudi Arabia. They are under virtual imprisonment in Camp Liberty, Iraq and are subject to periodic attack by Iranian-sponsored militias. The shared interests between the Kingdom and Iranian dissidents in Iraq provide good reasons for them to work in tandem as counters to threats from the Iranian regime.


After Failure in the Iran Nuclear Talks, What?

Assume failure to reach agreement in the six-party talks over Iran’s nuclear program by the target date of July 20, 2014. Russian retaliation in the talks because of Western sanctions and inability to close the divide between American and Iranian views about the interim accord of January make prospects for a permanent accord slim.

Regarding human rights, failure of the talks would provide an occasion for the Obama administration to open the door to the Iranian people not just to the regime. Washington negotiates with Beijing, yet reaches out to the Chinese people and to what the central government considers an “enemy” like the Dalai Lama. Washington should do no less with the Iranian people. And subsequent talks with Iran must include a human rights component.

If the top EU representative can meet with Iranian dissidents in Tehran, President Obama could meet with the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose offices are within a block of the White House. Tehran is more threatened by its internal opposition than by external friends or enemies—reaching out to Iranian dissidents is the way forward in anticipation of failure of the negotiations with Iran.


Iranian New Year, MARCH 2014

Iranian New Year, MARCH 2014

For the Iranian New Year event in the U.S. Senate WED, 12 MAR 2014, Amou Nowrouz (Uncle New Year) invited Raymond Tanter to be photographed with him. Uncle New Year is akin to Santa Claus because after the Christian era began he started giving gifts to children.


Alhurra TV Hit

Alhurra TV Hit (Watch Video)

Anchor Omar Said of Alhurra Arabic TV Channel and Professor Emeritus Raymond Tanter of The University of Michigan and President of Iran Policy Committee Publishing discuss Iraq and Syria. They addressed the following topics: Iraqi army struggles against Islamist fighters in Anbar and Falluja, Iraq; Iraqi refugees; jailbreaks of Islamists from Iraqi prisons fill top ranks of militants in Mideast; fighters once rounded up by American forces fuel wars in both Iraq and Syria; as well as the relative power between the central government and the provinces, with a focus on allocation of oil revenues between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The discussion centered on battles between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Iraqi tribesmen fighting against ISIS, despite tensions between the tribes and Baghdad. Tanter said there were two explanations for the movement of ISIS between Iraq and Syria.
The first is that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Syrian President Bashar Assad may be colluding to enhance the terrorist threat in both countries; in the context of war against foreign terrorists, there is a strong case for both men to retain power in the face of political challenges from domestic opponents in their respective countries.
The second is that Maliki is genuinely interested in defeating ISIS, but he requires American arms and intelligence to do so. Evidence of his sincerity is how Baghdad is rearming and paying the salaries of Iraqi tribes from Anbar and Falluja to do so. But the tribesmen say they are fighting against ISIS not to help Maliki, whom they blame for stifling political opposition and only paying attention to the tribes when he is desperate for help.
If the second explanation were true, Tanter said Baghdad could benefit from rekindling the tight relationship members of the People’s Mojahedin of Organization of Iran (PMOI) had with tribesmen in Anbar and Falluja that characterized the Awakening and American political-military surge of the last decade. The PMOI members, however, are now under prison-like conditions and are neither permitted to help the tribesmen nor resettle to third countries.
Because the PMOI are treated so poorly, the first explanation of a conspiracy between Baghdad and Damascus to exacerbate the terrorist threat is likely to be true.

Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents

The book, Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents, compares revolts in the Arab world beginning in 2010 with activities of Iranian dissidents in and outside Iran during periods of intense political activity.

Chapter One examines European revolutions in relation to Arab revolts, investigates political and economic causes of Arab uprisings, and closes with lessons learned from prior revolutions regarding prospects for regime change in Iran.

Chapter Two examines history, achievements, and future prospects of the Iranian Mojahedin. Achievements include being so important to Tehran that it pays inordinate attention to and persecutes the Mojahedin. Secular groups that spearheaded Arab uprisings lacked organizational skills to govern; the Mojahedin reveal such ability by surviving despite efforts to destroy them.

Chapter Three explores U.S. interests and role in Arab and Iranian revolutionary activity. The Mojahedin pose a political threat to the Iranian regime, which is a source of leverage to reinforce the U.S. threat of military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The Mojahedin are in position to ramp up their capacity to reveal nuclear secrets.

Also of strategic value are more than 100 Mojahedin disclosures of Iranian regime violations of nonproliferation obligations. Several major revelations have been validated by independent observers.

Iranian dissidents neither require nor request arms and military support; Libyan rebels, however, asked for and received U.S. air support to overthrow the Libyan regime in 2011. And Syrian rebels may receive lethal American support as that Civil War grinds on and there is evidence of chemical weapons use by Damascus. Regarding Libya, hark back to the spring of 2011.

The idea behind the international intervention in Libya was to provide support for the people as they sought to overthrow the Gadhafi regime. The story behind the story of Libya is how the major powers eventually chose to support rebels rather than continue supporting military dictatorships. The western powers had accepted the legitimacy of the regime in Tripoli, although it had little popular support. There was an assumption that regime change from within was unlikely; and it was unnecessary and even undesirable to change this rogue state with external military force. Libya was a status quo regime that often cooperated with Washington in areas like terrorism and proliferation—American priorities. But once the Libyan people rose up, President Obama used the changed political landscape to pivot toward the people away from a rogue regime.

The Arab uprisings and June 2013 elections in Iran offert Washington a window of opportunity to reset its policies away from just engaging Tehran to support people-inspired political change in Iran. But Washington chose to continue focosing on the regime at the expense of the people. President Obama could have induced the leaderless Iranian street to rise up in their eternal quest for freedom. How? Mr. President: Empower expatriate supporters of the Mojahedin to facilitate the trip up the road to liberal democracy symbolized by Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran.

With removal of the terrorist tag and increased support from the American public, heightened congressional clout, and enhanced international stature, U.S. officials  can now reach out to the Mojahedin. U.S. envoys now have the opportunity to meet the Mojahedin at the White House, State Department, and abroad in American embassies. Sessions also could be held in the newly-reopened offices of the U.S. Representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Washington DC, which are a block away from the White House. It is in the U.S. interest to hold such meetings, which would signal to the Iranian regime that all U.S. options are truly on the table, implicitly including regime change.