Archive for the ‘Ahmadinejad’ Category

Obama’s Many “Number One” Priorities

December 3, 2008

Remember this simple catchphrase for priorities: “It’s the economy, stupid”?

Many think that should be the watchword for the new President Barack Obama.  But a confusing and dangerous miasma of foreign policy challenges lurks and lurches ahead. Without carefully applied wisdom, the United States could make matters worse on a wide range of international fronts and issues…

President-elect Barack Obama waits to get on his plane with ... 
President-elect Obama with his two Blackberris and some light reading.
(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

Yesterday, two think tanks said the U.S. should move away from Iraq and work like the devil on the nuclear covetous Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran.

The Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations said it is time to make peace in the Middle east as a “top priority.”  For the past six years under President George W. Bush, U.S. foreign policy in the region has been dominated by Iraq, said Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center at Brookings, and Richard Haass, president of the Council.

Now the two agree the real problem is Iran.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the U.N. ... 
Nuclear aspirant: Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran

One difficulty with this line of thinking is that, depending on the day, the think tank report one considers, and the newspaper headline, America faces stadium full of “top priorities.”

In Russia, Medvedev and Putin believe they should be tops on the Obama agenda.  Mr. Medvedev even threatened to deploy nuclear armed missiles in Eastern Europe unles and until the U.S. backed off of its missile defense ambitions with Poland and the Czech Republic.

And the Medvedev/Putin thrust cannot be overlooked: the two had no qualms about invading Georgia to get the attention of the U.S. and NATO: and it worked.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russia’s Medvedev, in front of a startegic Russian missile, said his missile advances will overwhelm U.S. defensive measures in the next few years.
AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov

Terrorism could be the number one priority.  Just yesterday the U.S. Director of National Security said in essence that the Pakistani Islamist radical militant group  Lashkar-e-Taiba  blew up Mubai, India, last week, killing nearly 200.

On the same day, yesterday, a group of wise men said the U.S. can expect to face a biological or chemical attack.

Is another 9-11 in America’s future?  And are we ready to defend or respond?

Pakistan itself might lay claim to Mr. Obama’s top priority.  Bankrupt, last weekend rioters ripped through the nations largest city, the Pakistani Army was pinned down by terrorists in the tribal areas, and the nuclear-armed government was under fire from all domestic and international sides over Mumbai.

A Pakistani newspaper wondered yesterday if the Army was about to break with the elected government of mr. Zardari and his Minister Mr. Gilani.

Then there are a few small matters with China, North Korea and you name it.

Oh and there are just a few domestic realities and campaign promises that need our next president’s attention: OPEC and oil, drill or not to drill, schools and education, tax relief, jobs and unemployment,health care, AIDS and the list goes on.

You won’t convince me for a second that the modern miracle of multi-tasking and several Blackberries will resolve this poisonous soup.

America needs to take a deep breath and close its eyes: too much Obama-mania could cause one not to think.

Mr. Obama, the United States, all Americans and all Western allies are in for some very hard work, sacrifices of an unknown nature, and difficult decisions.

Here’s a simple truth: The age of simplicity is over.

*****

From Wikipedia:

It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf war. The phrase, coined by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

Advertisements

Experts Warn Barack Obama of ‘Hornet’s Nest’ in Middle East, Including Nuclear Iran

December 2, 2008

Iran poses the greatest foreign policy challenge to the new president with Tehran on course to produce a nuclear bomb in the first year of an Obama administration, an unprecedented coalition of top think tanks warned yesterday.

Barack Obama must follow through on his promises of direct talks with Tehran and engage the Middle East region as a whole if he is to halt a looming crisis that could be revisited on the United States, the experts warned.

President-elect Barack Obama waits to get on his plane with ... 
President-elect Obama with his two BlackBerries….
.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

“Diplomacy is not guaranteed to work: it is not,” Richard Hass, one of the authors said. “But the other options – military action or living with an Iranian weapon are sufficiently unattractive for it to warrant serious commitment.”

The warnings came in a report called “Restoring the Balance,” a Middle East strategy for the incoming president drafted by the Council for Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution. Gary Samore, one of the authors, said the level of alarm over the “hornet’s nest” facing the new president in the Middle East, and the need for the swift adoption of previously untested approach, had inspired the unprecedented decision to write policy for him. “New administrations can choose new policies but they can’t choose next contexts,” Mr. Samore said. “This is what they inherit.”

By

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world
/us_and_americas/us_elections/article5275647.ece

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the U.N. ... 
Ahmadinejad

Related:
 Obama’s Many “Number One” Priorities

Israel Scared, Wants U.S. More Engagement on Iran

November 20, 2008

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the U.S. and Europe should put aside differences with China and Russia over human rights and missile-defense issues to focus on working together to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends the opening of ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran November 19, 2008.REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN)

“The triad of nuclear proliferation, radical Muslim terror, and rogue states, epitomized in the Iran case, can be defeated only through a paradigm shift in international relationships,” Barak said in an interview at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv late yesterday. 

By Gwen Ackerman and Calev Ben-David, Bloomberg

Barak said criticism of Russia’s actions in Chechnya and China’s human rights record are hurting efforts to put up a united front against Iran. He also said that U.S. plans to deploy missiles in Eastern Europe — which the Americans say are aimed at countering Iran and which Moscow perceives as a threat — also aren’t helpful.

“The other issues are not as urgent,” he said.

The U.S. and its European Union allies, who accuse Iran of using its nuclear energy program as a cover for developing a weapon, are pressing for a fourth round of United Nations sanctions. Iran has rejected UN demands to halt its work on enriching uranium, which can be used to fuel a power station or form the core of a bomb.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, Israeli Prime Minister ...
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, center, attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008.(AP Photo/Gali Tibbon, Pool)

“The time for sanctions is still there, but it is short,” said Barak, 66, who heads Israel’s Labor Party and is the country’s former prime minister. “The way I see to make it effective is to cut through the psychological obstacles about cooperating with Russia and China and open a new discourse.”

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=
20601085&sid=amPtKPQhJ82w

Iran increases stockpile of uranium

November 19, 2008

Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear programme, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog reported on Wednesday, deepening the dilemma facing US president-elect Barack Obama over his campaign promise to engage with Tehran.

The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that Iran is rapidly increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium, which could be rendered into weapons-grade material should Tehran decide to develop a nuclear device.

By Daniel Dombey in Washington and James Blitz in London
FT, London

The agency says that, as of this month, Tehran had amassed 630kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, up from 480kg in late August. Analysts say Iran is enriching uranium at such a pace that, by early next year, it could reach break-out capacity – one step away from producing enough fissile material for a crude nuclear bomb.

An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities ...
An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities in Isfahan. The International Atomic Energy Agency, despite six years of intensive investigation, is no closer to determining whether Iran’s disputed nuclear drive is entirely peaceful as Tehran claims, the watchdog said in a new report Wednesday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

“They are moving forward, they are not making diplomatic overtures, they are accumulating low enriched uranium,” said Cliff Kupchan, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy in Washington. “These guys are committed to their nuclear programme: if we didn’t know that, they just told us again.”

The IAEA report also says there has been a breakdown of communication between the agency and Iran over alleged research on an atomic weapon. “The Iranians are making good progress on enrichment but there is absolute stone-walling on past military activities,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International institute for Strategic Studies. “It’s very disappointing.”

The progress chalked up by Iran increases the difficulties for Mr Obama, who campaigned on promises of talking to America’s enemies, although during the election he scaled down his initial vow to meet Iran’s leaders to a more general commitment to consider doing so if it advanced US interests.

“Obama faces a real dilemma,” said the Eurasia Group’s Mr Kupchan. “He must decide whether to pursue diplomacy quickly in light of rapid Iranian progress or whether to wait in the hope of a more moderate Iranian leadership after Iran’s June presidential election.”

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4eeacd78-b663-1
1dd-89dd-0000779fd18c.html

*******

AFP

The White House accused Iran Wednesday of an “unfortunate and disappointing” failure to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog agency and effectively rejecting a US offer for high-level talks.

“The Iranian government’s failure to comply with the IAEA and UN is unfortunate and disappointing,” spokesman Gordon Johndroe said after the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Tehran.

The agency cited scant progress in its investigation of Tehran’s suspect nuclear program and said the Islamic republic was defying UN demands to freeze uranium enrichment, which can be a key step to building atomic weapons.

Johndroe noted that Iranian compliance could unlock a package of economic and diplomatic incentives — including an offer for talks between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterpart.

“The door is open if Iran will suspend its enrichment activity, but they don’t seem to want to walk through it,” he said in a brief statement.

An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base ... 
An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base in southern Israel November 19, 2008.REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

Israeli Air Force chief: We are ready to deal with Iran

November 19, 2008

“We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us” in order to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, IAF commander Maj. -Gen. Ido Nehushtan told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Tuesday.

Nehushtan told the magazine that whether a military strike is eventually decided upon is a political question and not an issue of Israel’s military capabilities.A strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities “is a political decision,” the IAF commander said, “but if I understand it correctly, all options are on the table… The Air Force is a very robust and flexible force. We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us.”

From the Jerusalem Post


Above: Brig.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, commander of the Israeli Air Force.
.

When asked by the paper whether the Israeli military was able to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are spread around the country and partly located underground, Nehushtan said, “Please understand that I do not want to get into details. I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question.”

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=122640477112
0&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Russia Already Bullying Barack

November 19, 2008

Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of “change,” but one change the president-elect may be planning on – not deploying a US missile defense in Eastern Europe – would be a big mistake.

Indeed, it’s exactly the type of about-face that nations like Russia, Iran and North Korea hope for from the incoming administration.

Worse, it will likely be seen abroad as knuckling to Russian bullying.

Two weeks ago, just a day after the US elections, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made a virulently anti-American speech – his first major address since taking office this spring and arguably the first foreign “test” of the president-elect.

Amid other ranting, Medvedev demanded that the United States back off on its planned missile-defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

If the deployment goes ahead, Medvedev warned, Moscow will place short-range missiles in Kaliningrad – a Russian enclave nestled between NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

A few days after the Medvedev speech, a senior Obama aide came out after a phone call between the president-elect and Polish President Lech Kaczynski saying that Obama had “made no commitment on” missile defense.

Ugh. That’s not a certain retreat by Washington in the face of Moscow’s threats, but it’s a very troubling start for the Obama team on a key national-security issue.

Going wobbly caused heartburn in Warsaw and Prague, where both governments went to the mat to get approval for the missile-defense deal – and glee in Moscow, Tehran and Pyongyang. What rogue doesn’t love a whiff of wobbliness?

And the stakes rose just days later, when The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia is now in talks to deploy missiles in Belarus, which could be bore-sighted on targets across Europe.

(Belarus’ motive? It’s probably looking for Russian help on energy supplies and financial credits – or, if Europe wants to bribe it to reject the missiles, for an easing of EU economic sanctions imposed over human-rights issues.)

The next step in this ongoing lesson for the president-elect came Friday – when French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a halt to European missile defense until more talks can be held.

Sarkozy’s words, at a European Union-Russia summit, were a clear sop to fellow attendee Medvedev – at the expense of the United States and the president-elect. (Shamefully, the EU is re-engaging Russia despite Moscow’s failure to meet the EU six-point peace plan for Georgia.)

But the issue isn’t just bullying – there’s the policy, too. This system is designed to defend against the Iranian missile and nuclear threat – which is growing fast.

By Peter Brookes
The New York Post

Testing O's spine in Europe.
Medvedev: Testing O’s spine in Europe.

Just last week, Tehran tested a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile – whose 1,200-mile range would let it hit all of the Middle East and parts of southeastern Europe.

If reports of the Iranian test are true, this would be Tehran’s first successful test of a multistage rocket – which would put it on track for launching missiles to ever-increasing ranges, including intercontinental distances. The test also showed advances in Iran’s basic rocketry science, moving beyond liquid fuels to a more reliable solid-fuel rocket motor.

This is an images released  Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008 taken at ...
This is an images released Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008 taken at an undisclosed location in Iran, showing a missile test fire by Iranian armed forces. Iran has successfully test-fired a new generation of long range surface-to-surface missile using solid fuel, making them more accurate than its predecessors, the defense minister announced Wednesday. Mostafa Mohammed Najjar said on state television that the Sajjil was a high-speed missile manufactured at the Iranian Aerospace department of the Defense Ministry. He said it had a range of about 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers).(AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Vahid Reza Alaei)

The last thing we need is to look “soft” on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Read the rest:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/11182008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/
missile_defense__bullying_barack_139253.htm

Russia and The West: How To Reverse Escalation of Tension and Confrontation?

November 18, 2008

Barely one hour after Barack Obama’s victory speech, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy missiles in Russia’s westernmost region of Kaliningrad that could attack U.S. military targets in Poland. The targets are limited, small in number and do not yet really exist: They will exist if and when the United States completes the ballistic missile defense system it plans to place in Poland, along with a sophisticated radar component in the Czech Republic.

The reaction in Europe and the United States ranged from outrage in Poland to serious concern at NATO headquarters and disappointment in the White House. Russia claims it has been backed into a corner by U.S. erosion of key cornerstones of European and global security and by aggressive moves to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into areas that affect Russia’s vital security interests.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Chinese President ... 
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Chinese President Hu Jintao shake hands during a bilateral meeting after the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy in Washington November 15, 2008.REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Vladimir Rodionov

How did we arrive at this point? Russia sees new threats from NATO and the United States, and they see new threats from Russia. And even where they see common dangers — as in the case of potential and actual missile threats from Asia and the Middle East — they cannot find common ground on how to deal with them. How do we reverse this steady escalation of tension and confrontation?

By Greg Austin
UPI

Related:
Russia’s Medvedev Learned PR Skills from Hitler, Chavez, Khrushchev and Putin?

Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

Read the rest:
http://www.upi.com/Emerging_Threats/2008/11/17/
Outside_View_Russias_new_start_–_Part_1/UPI-371
11226965683/#top

Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

November 16, 2008

Vladimir Putin is a world-class master at getting what he wants.  Now he seems poised to return to the presidency of Russia for another term in a few years and he seems to have convinced many, by deception, that missile defenses in Europe are a threat to Russia.

Conceived way back during the Ronald Reagan presidency and often derisively called “Star Wars” or the missile shield, U.S. missile defense is no threat to Russia or anyone else.  Like a defensive basketball or football player, missile defense is designed and used to block destructive attacking missiles from reaching their goals.

Russia has manipulated the world media for almost two decades to create the illusion that missile defense is some threat to Russians.  In fact, no missile defense missile has the capability of harming Russia or Russians: the “kill mechanism” of a missile defense interceptor is the kinetic energy or crashing into the attacking missile.  The missile defense missile has no warhead — unlike intercontinental ballistic missiles that can carry 10 or so nuclear warheads, each capable of annihilating millions of people and entire cities.

The U.S. missile defense effort for Europe has been a long and painstaking discussion going back two decades.  Along with thousands of others, I participated myself in these discussions, forums and conferences, in the early 1990s, on two levels: first as co-chairman of a NATO study (one of several) to determine the efficacy and implications of a European missile defense to stop missiles like those being developed by Iran targeted on Europe; and then on U.S. government missions to Moscow to show with credible evidence that a U.S. missile defense was no threat to Russia — or anybody.

By the middle 1990s, the Russians seemed to agree that U.S. missile defenses, even in Europe, were no threat to Russia or Russians.

In 2002, the United States, after years of notification to Russia and discussions with Russia, withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which had been made with the Soviet Union.  This action was necessary to permit testing of U.S. missile defenses — which had targets and interceptors that could have posed an international legal discussion vis-a-vis the treaty.

Then an interesting thing happened.  Vladimir Putin in Russia decided that he wanted a resurgent Russia with renewed superpower status, like that enjoyed during the Cold War Soviet era.  As Russia developed its oil reserves, exports gave him the financial clout he needed despite an aging and creaky military machine.  But an expert at media and public manipulation, Putin went to work to achieve his goals and to stifle U.S. objectives on many fronts.

Putin Medvedev
.
Above: Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in parliament May 8, 2008. Putin brought Medvedev from the post of Charman of Gazprom, Russia’s oil giant, to become his chief of staff and later preident.  Now Medvedev has proposed a longer term for Russia’s president and it is no secret that Putin wants to come back as President of Russia.  Photo: Sergei Chirikov AFP/Getty Images

The suave, handsome and articulate Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev are also quick to reveal clumsy bluster and intimidation — which is what the recent threat to move Iskander missiles closer to Poland seems to have been.

Russia also attacked neighbors in Georgia and South Ossetia — quickly turning ignored intimidation into acts of war.

Russia continues a very aggressive trade relationship with Iran, which continues to develop more capable ballistic missiles, nuclear technology (with Russian help) and sends verbal assaults at least weekly at Israel and the U.S. (“Israel should be wiped from the map,” said Iran’s President Ahmadinejad).

Efforts to slow or stop Iran’s nuclear development in the United Nations are routinely thwarted by Russia and China.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Now a global media tired of George W. Bush and enamored by Barack Obama has absolutely no time for the truth of the missile defense situation.  This weekend Agence France-Presse (AFP) wrote a photograph caption on a picture of French President Sarkozy and Russian President Medvedev which read, “Sarkozy urged Russia and the United States to stop threatening each other with missiles and missile shields.” (see below)

The fact is that U.S. missile defense threatens nobody — with missiles incabale of landing on Russian targets and without warheads.  The U.S. has even offered Russia the opportunity to place Russian inspectors at U.S. missile defense sites, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to ensure no sneaky bad guys alter these defensive systems for attack.  The difficulty of converting a missile defense system for attack is, well, like secretly and quickly rerouting the Space Shuttle from a mission to the International Space Station and then attempting a manned landing on Mars.  Russia knows this is a crazy notion — but many in the media and others have swallowed this brainless Russian borscht.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) speaks with President of ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) speaks with President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, before the Europe-Russia finance reform summit in Nice southern France. Sarkozy urged Russia and the United States to stop threatening each other with missiles and missile shields Friday and called for talks on Europe’s future security. (AFP/Valery Hache)
.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called the Russian remarks on moving missiles in Europe unsolicited, unnecessary and unhelpful.

Russia has also said that a missile defense system in Europe will “negate” its thousands of nuclear armed missiles.  But the European missile defense system is only intended to have 10 interceptors — which would be easily and quickly overwhelmed by a Russian attack.

Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

Threating people in Europe with nuclear destruction is a gossly over the top Russian act of instigation and intimidation — and it makes no sense in the post-Cold War world.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ribert Gates said the threat from Russia, made just after the U.S. election of President-elect Barack Obama, was “hardly the welcome a new American administration deserves. Such provocative remarks are unnecessary and misguided.”

“Quite frankly I’m not clear what the missiles would be for in Kaliningrad, after all the only real emerging threat on Russia’s periphery is in Iran and I don’t think the Iskander missile has the range to get there from Kaliningrad,” Gates added. “Why they would threaten to point missiles at European nations seems quite puzzling to me.”
.
Medevev and supposedly Putin have now backed away from their threat to move Iskander missiles but they have created an incredible fog of lies in the air — which many in the international media and elsewhere have swollowed.

U.S. missile defense, and the European effort with Poland and the Czech Republic, is no threat to Russia or anybody else.  It is a system to bat down incoming nuclear warheads from long-range missiles, like those Iran continues to test.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
In Russia’s Putin-Medvedev shuffle, Putin is the lead dancer
.
Russia’s Medvedev Learned PR Skills from Hitler, Chavez, Khrushchev and Putin?
.
Poland, Czech Republic Ask U.S. To Keep Missile Defense Plans; Telling France, Sarkozy, Medvedev to “Bugger Off”

An Iranian surface-to-surface missile lifts off from a launch ... 
An Iranian surface-to-surface missile lifts off from a launch platform during a test firing at an undisclosed location in the Iranian desert in this image released to Fars News by the military November 12, 2008.  Iran says these missiles can now reach Israel and into Europe.REUTERS/FARS NEWS

Israeli Defense Official: “We Won’t Allow Iran to Go Nuclear”

November 15, 2008

Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, has stressed to The Jerusalem Post in an unusually hard-hitting interview.

For now, Israel is backing diplomatic and economic efforts to thwart the Iranians, Gilad added, but it doubts these will work and it is keeping all options open.

By David Horovitz
Jerusalem Post 

Asked about the complexities of any resort to military action, particularly since Iran has built its facilities to withstand a repeat of the IAF’s 1981 destruction of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, Gilad replied, tellingly, that domestic critics 27 years ago said the Osirak raid “couldn’t be done. And the fact is, it succeeded.”

“Iran is a country with smart people that have capabilities,” he noted. “It really would be a considerable challenge. Come the day, if and when this or that option is adopted, what will matter is the outcome.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here in September ... 
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jeff Zelevansky)

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1226404731024&
pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Experts urge Obama to rethink Iran policy

November 15, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama must rethink U.S. policy toward Iran, eschewing confrontation and failed attempts to isolate Tehran through sanctions, according to a group of experts and former diplomats.

Reuters

Tackling Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be one of Obama’s main foreign policy challenges after he takes office on January 20. He has said he would harden sanctions but has also held out the possibility of direct talks.

The panel of 20 experts, who include academics and former U.S. ambassadors, warned against a military attack on Iran and called for unconditional negotiations, saying it was the only viable option to break “a cycle of threats and defiance”.

“An attack would almost certainly backfire … and long experience has shown that prospects for successfully coercing Iran through achievable economic sanctions are remote at best,” they said in a joint statement to be presented to a conference on the future of U.S.-Iran relations next week.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles during a meeting ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles during a meeting with Iraqi former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari in Tehran in October 2008. Barack Obama may have pledged during his campaign to talk to Iran’s leaders, but he could fall into a trap by replying to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory letter, analysts warn.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081114/
pl_nm/us_usa_obama_iran_1