Iran Not Interested In Renewing Nuclear Talks with US – Zarif

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic has no interest in engaging in a fresh round of nuclear talks with the United States, over a year after Washington unilaterally withdrew from a previous landmark agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015.

“Iran is not interested in negotiations with the United States to clinch a new nuclear accord,” Zarif said in a joint press conference with Finland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto in Helsinki on Monday, adding, “We had detailed negotiations with the United States and it was not us who left the negotiating table.”

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

Since May, Iran has been suspending some of its commitments under the nuclear deal. Tehran rowed back on its nuclear commitments twice in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.

Earlier this month, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI], Behrouz Kamalvandi, said earlier this month that the country would take the third step in scaling back its commitments under the JCPOA “in a matter of a month” if European signatories to the agreement continue to renege on their obligations.

“If the opposite side fails to live up to its commitments in the remaining one month [set as a deadline], the third phase of reducing JCPOA obligations will start as per what the president has previously declared in his capacity as head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council,” Kamalvandi said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said, “There is no agreement that would satisfy all parties. It would suffice if nobody would disagree with an agreement.”

Zarif added that if there ever was going to be any mediation between Iran and the United States over the nuclear deal, “it must primarily focus on how to make Washington resume fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA.”

He emphasized that the Islamic Republic is always ready for negotiations and interaction, but it is against raising human rights issues to achieve political goals.

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Tell me again how we are likely to benefit from #Brexit

Brexit is crazy, there are no perceivable advantages or benefits for the average British citizens. Nearly 50% of our trade is with the EU and there are no guarantees that can be replaced from elsewhere. Boris Johnson seems to believe that his friend Trump will help him but any trade deals with the USA would be at a cost and could seriously jeopardize public institutions, particularly the NHS.

Undoubtedly there will be a sharp increase in unemployment, factories closing, farmers bankrupt, loss of investment, the pound falling in value resulting in higher prices. This is not scare warmongering, it’s an unavoidable reality.

According to my energy provider 50% of our energy requirements, gas and electricity, are imported from the EU, so we will be at risk of price hikes and a lack of supply. Immigration, the main motivation of Brexiteers, is unlikely to fall, because it’s immigration which we desperately need.

Another complaint by Brexit supporters is that the EU was making British law, but from my experience not one has been able to be specific in regard to which laws they are referring to or which laws hadn’t been approved by the British Government.

So please tell me why are we going through all this uncertainty, pain and expense, what are the possible benefits? No doubt a few individuals might benefit, the likes of Johnson and Farage, from lower wages and lucrative trade deals from sources which do not have the UK’s interests at heart.

Boris Johnson, Brexit and the Deep State

August 01, 2019

by Nick Griffin for The Saker Blog

Boris Johnson, Brexit and the Deep State

Nick Griffin, a life-long opponent of the European Union and former Member of the European Parliament, explains why – after three years of believing that the rulers of Britain would block Brexit, he now believes it is more likely than not to be delivered.

Are the British people really going to get Brexit? For years, the answer given by well-informed realists has had to be ‘No!’ The UK’s ruling elite was so thoroughly Europhile that they would do whatever it took to block the will of the British people, and Brussels would go along with this deceit, just as they did when the French, the Dutch and the Irish were sold out to the EU by their own masters.

But today I’m going to tell you that it is now more likely than not that Brexit WILL happen. Indeed, assuming the new Boris Johnson regime manages to cling on to power, or is forced into a general election in which Johnson reaches some sort of deal with Nigel Farage, it is now virtually guaranteed.

Of course, there is a faint possibility that the whole Johnson business is a giant game of three-dimensional chess, and that he’s running an elaborate scam with no intention of getting Britain out. But, realistically, if that was the plan, there would be absolutely no purpose in delaying such a betrayal, still less in raising so many expectations.

To encourage and then dash such hopes would be ludicrously self-defeating, so we have to assume that Johnson and Co are serious and that – barring a series of events outside of their control, they WILL deliver Brexit.

So what has changed? Has the Europhile British elite suddenly had a change of heart and decided to do the decent thing by the people who pay their inflated salaries?

Of course not. Leopards don’t change their spots. But, in the case of the UK elite, it was always divided into two leopards, with very different spots. One of them, for years now the stronger animal, was blue with yellow, spots – a thoroughly European beast.

The colours of the, until recently, smaller animal are harder to discern. At first glance, they could be seen to resemble the American flag although, of course, that’s just part of the camouflage. Look closer and the thing’s coat actually looks more like a mass of intertwined dollar signs and Israeli flags!

Even within the USA, opinion has been divided on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Obama, for example, more or less ordered the Brits to vote to Remain – a factor in the decision of quite a few of them to vote to Leave! The neo-cons, by contrast, have become much more hostile to Brussels – particularly since the EU started to display alarming degrees of sympathy for the Palestinians.

It wasn’t always like that. During the Cold War, the US elite was more or less unanimously in favour of British membership of the EU, which right from the start was consistently promoted by the CIA as a block to balance the Soviet Union.

When the Communist regime collapsed in 1989, the US power elite gradually shifted its position on the EU. It moved from fervent support to a sort of agnostic, nothing to do with us boredom. But then it gradually became clear that the European Union was steadily becoming the pawn of the German industrial complex.

Even worse, the Germans were beginning to cosy up to Russia. Within just a few years, the combination of German manufacturing, the European market and Russia’s raw materials were clearly presenting a future threat to the global hegemony of Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the American military-industrial complex.

On top of this, the in-built liberal-socialist majority within the EU was making it an increasingly large stumbling block to the globalist privatisation free-for-all favoured by the ultra-capitalist ideology promoted by the extremely influential followers of Ayn Rand.

Franco-German moves to create a European Army were seen as a challenge to NATO and to its Stateside leadership, and only served to strengthen the arguments of the anti-EU faction within the US elite.

All this led a significant section of the US Deep state to move towards hostility to the European Union, and to put in place measures to undermine it. From about 2008, this included the relentless media promotion (and, no doubt, funding) of dissident, Euro-sceptic political movements, particularly UKIP in Britain and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Extremely well-funded globalist and neo-con think tanks, particularly the Henry Jackson Society and the London-based Policy Exchange, began to organise. Their mission – to lay the theoretical groundwork for a globalist, economically liberal, Atlanticist faction within British politics to challenge the pro-EU majority.

To cut a long story short, that faction has just grabbed control of the British ship of state! The Europhile elite have not changed their minds, the highly honed survival instinct of the British Conservative party, which has made it the oldest political party in the world, has simply handed the reins of power to a different bunch of politicians, in hock to a different foreign power. The UK just lurched even further out of the orbit of the Brussels bureaucrats and even closer to the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Johnson and his gang really do appear committed to delivering Brexit, but before those who voted for it in the first place get too excited, it has to be said that, in delivering the letter of what the people voted for, this bunch will go on to drive a coach and horses through the spirit of that vote.

Because the British people voted Brexit fundamentally in a collective cry of anger and pain over being turned into marginalised outsiders in their own country. Brussels rule was conflated not just with losing our traditional weights and measures, but with the destruction of the old industries – fishing, coal, steel, ship-building – and the devastation of the working class communities that relied on them.

And, of course, with mass immigration, including that from former British colonies in the Third World, an influx which if anything was slowed down by the more recent arrival of generally far more assimilable East Europeans, courtesy of the EU.

On top of that was all the unease of millions of normal people over the political elite’s Gaderene rush to embrace social ultra-liberalism, in particular dripping wet law and order policies and a mania for LGBTQ+ triumphalism. Relentless newspaper headlines about crackpot rulings by the European Court of Justice led to ‘Europe’ getting the blame for a breakdown in law and order and in traditional justice.

Finally, with the majority of the political class urging people to vote to Remain, voting to Leave became a way of punishing the political elite, not just in Brussels, but in Westminster as well.

And yet, looking at the new Boris Johnson cabinet, and listening to his first few speeches as new Prime Minister, it is already all too clear that, while we are going to get Brexit, it certainly will not be the Brexit that the majority of Brits thought they were voting for!

To illustrate this, let’s take a brief, non-exhaustive look at some of the key players in the Johnson regime.

Let’s start with the man himself, noting the speed with which he spoke out about his pride in his partial Turkish Muslim and east European Jewish ancestry and the way in which, if ‘Islamophobia’ or ‘anti-Semitism’ rear their heads, he automatically finds himself thinking in terms of those ancestral loyalties, rather than what is good for Britain – as the British people are surely entitled to insist on in their Prime Minister.

Then, in one of his final campaign speeches, Johnson told the LGBT+ Conservatives (the tautology neatly sums up the state of the party and, more generally, Britain’s ruling political and media classes) that he has their back:

“I will continue to champion LGBT+ equality, get tough on hate crime and ensure that we break down barriers to a fairer society,” Johnson said, according to the group.

“We must do more to ensure that trans rights are protected and those who identify as trans or intersex are able to live their lives with dignity,” he continued, noting that he was one of the first senior party leaders to support same-sex marriage.

Following his meeting with the queen to officially accept the premiership, Johnson specifically mentioned the LGBTQ+ community in his speech outside No. 10 Downing Street.

“[The U.K.’s] brand and political personality is admired and even loved around the world for our inventiveness, for our humour, for our universities, our scientists, our armed forces, our diplomacy for the equalities on which we insist — whether race or gender or LGBT …….. and for the values we stand for around the world,” he said

Once upon a time, British political leaders justified going to war by speaking of making the world safe for democracy. Boris Johnson started his premiership by committing Britain to a global struggle to make the world safe for buggery!

Nor is this fixation with LGBTQ+ new. Although the never-satisfied ‘gay’ lobby is whining about a couple of throwaway ‘homophobic comments’ he made decades ago, Johnson voted in 2003 to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act of 1988, by which Margaret Thatcher prohibited local authorities from “promoting homosexuality” or “pretended family relationships.”

This vote opened the door to the indoctrination of school-children with homosexual propaganda. Johnson also voted for civil partnerships for homosexuals and attacked the institution of marriage as ‘bourgeois convention’.

Johnson has also wasted no time reiterating his support for an amnesty for huge numbers of illegal immigrants and boasting of sharing the views of pro-immigration Labour party MPs. Ominously, he has also refused to pledge even to attempt to stick to the upper limits on immigration promised – but of course not delivered – by his predecessor Theresa May.

With Brexit making it harder for Poles and Hungarians to come to Britain, it is already clear from Johnson’s waffle about making the UK ‘open’ and ‘welcoming immigrants’, that, far from stopping immigration as millions of voters expected, Johnson’s Brexit will merely swap Polish immigrants for more Pakistanis, Bulgarians for Botswanans.

Johnson probably will set Britain free from Brussels, but he is also openly committed to speeding up the process by which the duly ‘liberated’ Brits are replaced in their own country by a further flood of immigrants. And the social liberals posing as Johnson’s fake conservatives will urge the stupid Brits to suck it up and celebrate their added diversity.

We’ve already seen the start of this process in Johnson creating what he refers to as a “cabinet for modern Britain” – wording that The Guardian’s Kehinde Andrews rightly described as a “euphemism for non-white”.

Leading Johnson’s Great Replacement charge will be Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has spoken gushingly of how the new government will “ continue to push for a dynamic, global Britain that is outward looking ……Our vision is for a truly global country – one where we welcome the brightest and best, where we are more outward facing, and where we decide who comes here based on what they have to offer.”

The Brits can’t say they weren’t warned. Because capitalism demands not just cheap labour, but also an endless supply of new consumers. Even the worse educated and least assimilable featherless biped on the planet thus has plenty to offer big business. The door is going to open wide to them all.

Patel was forced to resign two years ago after holding secret meetings with Israeli ministers. The meetings included a visit to an Israeli army field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights, where wounded Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters were patched up and sent back to continue fighting against the pro-Christian government in Syria. Patel asked officials within her department to look into whether British aid money could be funneled into this medical centre.

The same dangerous obsequiousness to Israel has also been shown by Johnson’s new Chancellor, Sajid Javid. Two years after becoming MP, Javid told the Conservative Friends of Israel annual lunch that as a British born Muslim if he had to go and live in the Middle East, he would not go to a Muslim majority country: “There is only one place I could possibly go. Israel. The only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain”.

He is talking, let us remind ourselves, about the last openly racist state on the planet, whose supporters around the world insist on the right of Jews to have their own exclusive homeland, at the very same time as denouncing any attempt by any white nation to restrict immigration or preserve traditional ethnic identities as ‘neo-Nazi’. And the state which has done more than any other –except Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Barak Obama’s White House – to fund, arm and aid the Islamist head-cutters at war in Syria.

In her resignation letter Patel admitted she “fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State.” Not for the first time! In the past she has been criticised for taking trips to Bahrain funded by that country’s repression Salafist regime, and attending a conference in Washington paid for by the Henry Jackson society.

As already noted, the Henry Jackson operation is one of the best-funded and most dangerous of all the trans-Atlantic neo-con think tanks. It constantly agitates for hostility to Russia, Iraq-war style meddling in the Middle East on behalf of Eretz Israel and Big Oil, and for a poisonous mixture of ultra-right-wing economics and social liberalism – including the privatisation of national assets and the promotion of LGBTQ+ agendas at the expense of traditional values.

The same sort of poison is promoted in Britain by the closely connected Policy Exchange think-tank. This was founded by Michael Gove, who Johnson just appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in many ways his political Chief of Staff in parliament.

Gove’s counterpart within the government itself is Munira Mirza, who Johnson just appointed Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit. She was previously Development Director at Policy Exchange and also worked on a range of its publications, including Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism.

As with all the other material coming out of the Johnson camp about multi-culturalism, this argued that the chief problem with Islam is that it hinders ‘integration’ – i.e. the process by which traditional British cultural and ethnic identity is replaced by the ultimate corporate dream of an atomised mass of rootless, identical consumers. And by which the traditional values once upheld by Christians and now defended mainly by Muslims are to be replaced by the anti-morality of the LGBTQ+ brigade and corporations greedy for pink pounds and rainbow dollars.

As with so many neo-cons on both sides of the Pond, Mirza started off as a Trotskyite. She was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. When it was dissolved in 1987 she followed other key comrades into the Living Marxism operation and then Spiked magazine, which has very successfully operated a policy of entryism into what passes for politica thought in Britain. Her Wiki entry quotes an article in the London Review of Books which noted that “Many of Munira’s ex party members have become influential in Conservative or Eurosceptic circles since the dissolution of their party, whilst remaining closely associated with each other’s endeavours.”

This includes the former party leader Frank Furedi, whose wife Ann is one of Britain’s most powerful abortionists. Strange ‘conservatives’ indeed! But, there again, one reading of these ‘ex’-Trotskyites’ new-found fondness for ultra-right-wing economics and privatisation is that the resulting exploitation and public anger will lead to the revolutionary crisis that eluded them when they were all wearing Che T-shirts in the late sixties! Or perhaps, it just pays better!

Coming back closer to Johnson, his campaign chief was Gavin Williamson. When Defence Secretary, Williamson was a notorious hawk against Russia and China, and for greater UK involvement in the Middle East. He also spoke out vigorously against Britain’s continued participation in Galileo, the global navigation satellite system created by the European Union. He is one of those pushing for a new UK system, compatible with the American GPS, and fully integrated with Five Eyes, the intelligence alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the UK. As with all such manoeuvres, it is hard to see where money gives way to ideology and power-politics and, of course, they are hopelessly entangled.

It is Williamson who has given one of the clearest glimpses into the Atlanticist obsession of the new regime: “Tthe cornerstone of European security is not the European Union, it is Nato. Let’s be absolutely clear. Our involvement in Nato is going to be there, long, enduring and for many, many defence secretaries after me.”

Another part of the Anglo-American elite can also be seen when you turn over another stone in the Johnson camp.

.Andrew Griffith, the new chief business adviser to Number 10 is a former Rothschild investment banker who joined Rupert Murdoch’s Sky in 1999, and became finance chief for the group in 2008.

Johnson has been spending up to 13 hours a day at Griffith’s lavish £9.5m townhouse,

A Johnson campaign source said Griffith had kindly opened up his home to let members of the transition team meet there. If paying the piper leads to the donor calling the tune, how much more power accrues to the Rothschild/Murdoch man providing the dancers with a 9.5 million pound house?

Finally, we just have time to consider Johnson’s new Chief Whip, Mark Spencer. Taking the new regime’s enthusiasm for LGBTQ+ issues towards its logical liberal intolerant end, he has said that Christian teachers who dare to voice opposition to same-sex marriage should be subject to ‘Extremism Disruption Orders’. In other words, legislation brought in supposedly to stop Islamist hate-preachers recruiting terrorists is to be used against Christians who stand by the teachings of the Bible!

So, yes, we can now expect Brexit from Johnson. But Britain is also going to get more mass immigration. And ruthless demonization of anyone who dares oppose it. More LGBTQ+ propaganda for children – and ruthless repression of anyone who dares oppose it.

More pressure for British participation in neo-con, Zionist and Salafist wars in Syria, Iran and Yemen. More insane and dangerous sabre-rattling against traditionalist and Christian Russia.

And more looting of what remains of Britain’s common wealth by the privatisation vultures. Finishing off the monetisation of the NHS is sure to surface as a great ambition for this corporate puppet regime sooner rather than later. Almost certainly a couple of months before Johnson delivers Brexit and obliterates Jeremy Corbyn in a snap general election.

It remains to be seen whether the globalist kleptomaniacs behind the new regime will also find a way to turn the removal of EU subsidies into an opportunity to arrange a massive transfer of farmland in Britain from farmers, workers’ pension funds and the old landed aristocracy and into the hands of global corporations. If that’s on the agenda too, remember where you heard it first!

All the above presupposes, of course, that the juvenile and utterly irresponsible anti-Russian, anti-Iranian and anti-Chinese sabre-rattling – of which the Johnson regime is as guilty as its predecessors – doesn’t actually start World War Three. Because, if it does, there’ll be nothing left to privatise and loot except the last tin of beans in the irradiated rubble.

Don’t get me wrong: This is not to condemn Brexit. The British people voted for it, and its delivery will be a Good Thing (not least because it has added, and will continue to add, to the instability in the EU which has disrupted the efforts of its bureaucratic rulers to maintain a firmly anti-Russian line, and because, however imperfect, Brexit is a blow for national sovereignty against a particularly nasty little imperial project.

All of us who, one way or another, helped set in motion or advance the process which defeated the pro-EU whores who had sold Britain to Brussels can be rightly proud of having done their bit to break the claws of the largest leopard in the London-based elite.

But you can also be sure that the British majority are going to be mightily disappointed with the new Johnson regime leopard and how Brexit turns out. They voted to restore the old Britain, particularly the Old England. What they will get instead is an even faster dissolution than we saw under EU rule.

They voted against ‘political correctness gone mad’ and in a bid to cling on to traditional values. What they will get is a quasi-Trotskyite cultural Marxist regime – all the more destructive for having the label ‘conservative’ – which grinds their faces – and especially the faces of their children and grandchildren – in LGBTQ+ filth.

They voted Brexit hoping to stop immigration. Instead, the next ten years will see an absolutely swamping change in Britain’s demographics, as the dying early Baby Boomers are replaced with Johnson’s ‘New Britons’ from all corners of the world.

They voted to kick out a Brussels Occupation Government. What they will get instead is a New York Occupation Government. Which is a polite way of putting it, for there is in fact really nothing American about America’s neocons.

“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss”, is how the Who put it. But it was all summed up even better by the great English visionary William Morris, in A Dream of John Ball, his revolutionary classic about the very first English Peasants’ Revolt against an alien elite:

“I pondered all these things, and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.”

A comprehensive history of everything awful Boris “the clown” Johnson has said

A comprehensive history of everything awful Boris Johnson has said

A comprehensive history of everything awful Boris Johnson has said

By Micha Frazer-Carroll

Image via BackBoris2012 Campaign Team / Flickr

So many gaffes! Maybe so many that we need to stop calling them “gaffes”! Blunderous BoJo, what ever shall we do with him? We all make slip ups sometimes. But the former foreign secretary, who today will become our PM, has had his fair share of headlines surrounding Alleged Accusations Of “Racially Charged” Race-Related Comments Reportedly Said By Some To Be Motivated By Race. Or as we like to call it: racism.

He’s also ventured into misogyny and classism in his time – and over the weekend became part of a conversation around the rise of the far-right, led by David Lammy. In the name of the public record, we took a deep dive and pulled together a comprehensive history of times Boris has really, really fucked up. Chronologically. Buckle up!

  • In his 2002 column in the Spectator, Boris penned an article titled: “Africa is a mess, but we can’t blame colonialism”.
  • In the piece, Boris described the continent as a “blot” and suggested that it would be better off if it was colonised again, writing: “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more…the best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.”
  • In 2002, in a column in the Telegraph, BoJo described black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
  • In 2004, Boris was asked to apologise to Liverpudlians after writing in the Spectator that they were “wallowing” in “victim status” after the Hillsborough disaster. Boris said those who lived in the city needed to acknowledge the role played “by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground”.
  • In the 2005 leadership contest, bumbling BoJo said “voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3”.
  • Boris described Papua New Guineans as prone to “cannibalism” and “chief-killing” in his column in the Telegraph in 2006.
  • Boris blamed rising house prices on women graduates in his Spectator column in 2007. It’s almost as if people should stop giving him columns.
  • In the same article, he managed to wrap classism into sexism, writing: “The result is that in families on lower incomes the women have absolutely no choice but to work, often with adverse consequences for family life and society as a whole – in that unloved and undisciplined children are more likely to become hoodies, NEETS, and mug you on the street corner.”
  • Also in 2007, BoJo described Hillary Clinton as looking like a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.
  • In 2008, Boris allowed a piece to be printed that claimed black people have lower IQs, under his editorship at the Spectator. “Orientals…have larger brains and higher IQ scores,” the piece read. “Blacks are at the other pole.”
  • London assembly member Jennette Arnold accused BoJo of all-round sexist conduct in 2012, arguing that he generally treats women assembly members in a “disrespectful, patronising” way that was different to the men.
  • In 2013, Boris suggested that the increase in Malaysian women going to university was down to the fact that they have “got to find men to marry”. Groans were reportedly heard from Malaysian women in the audience.
  • Boris dabbled as a wordsmith in 2016 when he wrote a poem about the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “There was a young fellow from Ankara / Who was a terrific wankerer / Till he sowed his wild oats / With the help of a goat / But he didn’t even stop to thankera.” Boris won a £1,000 poetry prize for the limerick.
  • In a Tory party conference speech in 2016, Boris claimed that “the values of global Britain are needed more than ever” and that British “beliefs” are necessary to “lift the world out of poverty”.
  • In the same speech, he called Africa a “country”.
  • After Barack Obama suggested that the UK should remain in the EU, BoJo said that the then-president should stay out of the conversation as he was “part-Kenyan” and had an “ancestral dislike” for the UK.
  • In 2017, Boris met with Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News, a self-described “platform for the alt-right”.
  • Boris also apologised to political prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe in 2017 after saying she was in Iran “training journalists”, when she was in fact on holiday. He was accused of risking adding an extra five years to her time in prison due to the mistake.
  • Boris was asked to apologise after referring to Emily Thornberry using her husband’s name to ridicule her in the commons in early 2018.
  • Last summer, Boris wrote in his column in the Telegraph that the burqa was “oppressive and ridiculous”, comparing Muslim women to “bank-robbers” and “letterboxes”.

What a silly bumbling, potential Prime Minister he is. Good thing people’s views don’t tend to have an impact on their policies or anything

Trump May be in Too Deep to Avoid War with Iran

 • JUNE 23, 2019

President Trump’s last-minute change of mind over launching US airstrikes against Iran shows that a military conflict of some description in the Gulf is becoming highly probable. His hesitation was most likely less connected with an Iranian surface-to-air missile shooting down a US surveillance drone than with his instinct that militarising the crisis is not in America’s best interests.

If Trump had not pulled back and the strikes against Iranian radars and missile batteries had gone ahead, where exactly would that have got him? This sort of limited military operation is usually more effective as a threat than in actuality. The US is not going to launch an all-out war against Iran in pursuit of a decisive victory and anything less creates more problems than it resolves.

Iran would certainly retain post-strike the ability to launch pin-prick attacks up and down the Gulf and, especially, in and around the 35-mile wide Strait of Hormuz through which passes 30 per cent of the world’s oil trade. Anything affecting this choke point reverberates around the word: news of the shooting down of the drone immediately sent the price of benchmark Brent crude oil rocketing upwards by 4.75 per cent.

Note that the Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a $130m (£100m) drone, in practice an unmanned aircraft stuffed with electronic equipment that was designed to be invulnerable to such an attack. The inference is that if US aircraft – as opposed to missiles – start operating over or close to Iranian airspace then they are likely to suffer losses.

But the dilemma for Trump is at a deeper level. His sanctions against Iran, reimposed after he withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, are devastating the Iranian economy. The US Treasury is a more lethal international power than the Pentagon. The EU and other countries have stuck with the deal, but they have in practice come to tolerate the economic blockade of Iran.

Iran was left with no choice but to escalate the conflict. It wants to make sure that the US, the European and Asian powers, and US regional allies Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, feel some pain. Tehran never expected much from the EU states, which are still signed up to the 2015 nuclear deal, and has found its low expectations are being fulfilled.

A fundamental misunderstanding of the US-Iran confrontation is shared by many commentators. It may seem self-evident that the US has an interest in using its vast military superiority over Iran to get what it wants. But after the failure of the US ground forces to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention Somalia, no US leader can start a land war in the Middle East without endangering their political survival at home.

Trump took this lesson to heart long before he became president. He is a genuine isolationist in the American tradition. The Democrats and much of the US media have portrayed Trump as a warmonger, though he has yet to start a war. His national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo issue bloodcurdling threats against Iran, but Trump evidently views such bellicose rhetoric as simply one more way of ramping up the pressure on Iran.

But if a ground war is ruled out, then Iran is engaged in the sort of limited conflict in which it has long experience. A senior Iraqi official once said to me that the Iranians “have a PhD” in this type of part political, part military warfare. They are tactics that have worked well for Tehran in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria over the past 40 years. The Iranians have many pressure points against the US, and above all against its Saudi and Emirati allies in the Gulf.

The Iranians could overplay their hand: Trump is an isolationist, but he is also a populist national leader who claims in his first campaign rallies for the next presidential election to “have made America great again”. Such boasts make it difficult to not retaliate against Iran, a country he has demonised as the source of all the troubles in the Middle East.

One US military option looks superficially attractive but conceals many pitfalls. This is to try to carry out operations along the lines of the limited military conflict between the US and Iran called the “tanker war”. This was part of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and the US came out the winner.

Saddam Hussein sought to throttle Iran’s oil exports and Iran tried to do the same to Iraq. The US and its allies weighed in openly on Saddam Hussein’s side – an episode swiftly forgotten by them after the Iraqi leader invaded Kuwait in 1990. From 1987 on, re-registered Kuwaiti tankers were being escorted through the Gulf by US warships. There were US airstrikes against Iranian ships and shore facilities, culminating in the accidental but very avoidable shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner with 290 passengers on board by the USS Vincennes in 1988. Iran was forced to sue for peace in its war with Iraq.

Some retired American generals speak about staging a repeat of the tanker war today but circumstances have changed. Iran’s main opponent in 1988 was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Iran was well on its way to losing the war, in which there was only one front.

Today Saddam is gone and Iraq is ruled by a Shia-dominated government. Baghdad is trying to stay neutral in the US-Iran crisis, but no Iraqi leader can afford to oppose Iran as the greatest Shia power. The political geography of this part of the Middle East has been transformed since the Iran-Iraq war, with change very much to the advantage of Iran. From the Afghan border to the Mediterranean – in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon – Shia communities are in control or are the most powerful forces in the state. The US and UK often refer to them as “Iranian proxies” but in practice Iran leads a sectarian coalition with a religious basis.


Compared with 28 years ago in the Gulf when the US was last fighting a limited war with Iran, the US is in a weaker position. Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE may have urged Trump to tear up the nuclear deal and confront Iran, but they show no enthusiasm to join any war that ensues. Supposing that this month’s pin-prick attacks on tankers were indeed carried out by Iran, which seems likely, then the purpose will have been to send message that, if Iran’s oil exports can be cut off, so too can those of the other Gulf producers. Trump thinks he can avoid the quagmire of another Middle East war, but he may already be in too deep.It is a coalition which has already won its main battles – with Shia parties in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon – and this outcome is not going to change. The Houthis in Yemen, who belong to a different Shia variant, have survived a prolonged attempt by Saudi Arabia and UAE to defeat them.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)

Iran goes for “maximum counter-pressure”

Iran goes for “maximum counter-pressure”

By Pepe Escobar – with permission and cross-posted with Strategic Culture Foundation

Sooner or later the US “maximum pressure” on Iran would inevitably be met by “maximum counter-pressure”.  Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported, shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world’s $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani’s intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent “shooting gallery.” Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran’s ballistic missiles are capable of hitting “carriers in the sea” with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We’ll let you know when it’s closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point; “If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces.”

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won’t accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it’s time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn’t matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it’s going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; “The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real.  For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high.  That is notional.  But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure.”

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, “Even here it is the notional that has meaning.  Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world’s GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability.”

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It’s self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world’s oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren’t.

Iran’s territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman’s territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman’s. There are no “international waters”.

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran’s indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed,

“even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response.”

And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi’s words,

“Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames”.

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches,

“war on Iran will not remain within that country’s borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family.”

It’s quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying. The dogs of war though are barking mad.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss “regional security concerns and ongoing operations” with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for “maxim pressure” eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

Trump’s ‘near strike’ shows US hesitation caused by Iranian unity & patience

June 21, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog (Written for PressTV and cross-posted by permission)

Trump’s ‘near strike’ shows US hesitation caused by Iranian unity & patience

I am deeply skeptical that the US ever initiated a missile strike against Iran and then called it off, as was claimed by The New York Times.

Of course, the US “paper of record” routinely does terrible journalism – they repeatedly rely on anonymous sources, as they did for this claim. Anonymous sources cannot be considered credible, even if the The New York Times resorts to it over and over and over.

But their bad journalism does not stop there: the Times runs a scaremongering, tabloid, belligerent headline like Trump Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back, and yet goes on to write:

“It was not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.”

About as clear as mud, I’d say. A smarter editor would have held the story… but this is The New York Times.

Every person and every nation has their own style of negotiating.

The historical US style is defined by never keeping promises, and by refusing to negotiate until peak US leverage has been obtained. US President Donald Trump’s business-influenced style is to use chaos and instability as a way to create turmoil among his opponents in order to increase his leverage. Trump Uses Chaos To Get Things Done, to quote a recent headline from The Atlantic.

Iran’s style is defined by transparency in their moral values – this causes vast consternation among the cynical practitioners of realpolitik who are a (overvalued) dime a dozen in the West. Iran’s style is also marked by the patience to follow a long term strategy – for example, in 2016 Iran signed a 25-year strategic relations agreement with China, another patient group.

Europe and the Eurozone nations – which are governed by the undemocratic structures of the European Union and the Eurogroup, respectively – have a negotiating style which can be defined as a high-class appearance which hides a pathetic, yet aggressive, servility.

It’s clear that negotiations between these groups and individuals reached a major impasse months ago, and also that the new lines and positions are now becoming clear.

As they have for nearly 40 years, the stance of the Iranian people continues to surprise and confound the West. Of course, they are used to dealing with compliant governments and puppet leaders….

The “aborted attack” on Iran proves that the shooting down of a US drone is viewed as a huge loss by the US: It is so important that many in Washington apparently want to start a war over it. But Iran’s drone victory is just a capper to a series of events and discussions in Iran which are proving the nation’s unity following the obvious failure of negotiating with the West.

(I write “the West” not because I am “anti-Western”, but because the non-Western JCPOA signatories (China & Russia) have actually upheld their word.)

After Washington reneged on the JCPOA in May 2018, it was natural that there was existential angst in Iran – years had been spent pursuing diplomacy, and then the nation’s archenemy said that diplomacy was impossible. It is natural that the Iranian people were exasperated by such Western belligerence and false promises, and that they did not know which way to turn back then.

However, it is clear one year later that the nation has recomposed itself and moved on.

There is routine public discussion in the tea houses and at the top levels of government that Iran should not even denigrate themselves with more diplomatic discussions. Clearly, Iran is not afraid – it is disgusted by the way the West has failed to honor their word. Politics change, but it seems as if Iran is going to wait until the 2020 US elections before seriously restarting more diplomatic efforts. This would also give the EU some time to grow a backbone. To the self-appointed “masters of the universe” in Washington – this reluctance to answer their phone calls is yet another slap in the face.

Not jumping at more negotiations, shooting down a drone, Iran publicly and politely declaring they will resume uranium enrichment, unexplained attacks in the Persian Gulf – all of these have caused the US to lose so much face in recent weeks.

Iran is making the US look bad, very bad. Therefore, it is little wonder that Washington and The New York Times have chose to wage maximum sabre-rattling with this “near attack”.

Frankly, I am unimpressed, and I think Iran will react the same way.

Iranians now appear united in their stance: negotiations were made in good faith and thus must be honored, or else there can be no new negotiations – certainly no jury would disagree. If a Western attack happens – sadly, it won’t be the first one.

Of course, this is merely the latest chapter in the effort to destabilise Iran to the point of civil war. The Iran-Iraq War, shooting down an Iranian passenger plane, sanctions on medicine, sanctions to achieve $0 in oil sales – for 40 years the US and their allies have single-mindedly sought to destabilise Iran to the point of creating a reactionary response which would overturn the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution.

Iranians have understood this reality for quite some time – they are united in this view as firmly as they are united in their wish that the West would honor diplomatic accords. Sadly, Westerners do not understand this reality – that the US goal in Iran is civil war, chaos and the end of Muslim Democracy. The Western public has been betrayed by their media and their 1% by decades of orchestrated Iranophobia.

Washington and Trump have actually foolishly painted themselves into a corner – after an “aborted attack” the only further escalation is an “actual attack”.

Of course, an attack on Iran has no future – 2019 Iran is not Afghanistan nor Iraq, to list two recent US military failures. An attack on Iran is to continue US policy: foment instability inside Iran, because Iran cannot be invaded.

But I would advise Iran not to play games with a cornered aggressor, and one led by such an inexperienced politician with such a lack of tethering to the idea of the “public good”.

Perhaps in the final 1.5 years of his term the erratic Trump can be switched to good sense on Iran? Perhaps Europe, China and Russia can help show that Iran is too strong to be endlessly antagonised? Perhaps the world will see that Iran has – in the Straits of Hormuz – a trump card it can play to demand the lies, sanctions and exclusions finally stop?

This will take more time. But Trump must know – at least instinctively – that Iran is not Syria, and that any strikes will have real consequences to Americans and American interests. That’s why he called off the strike… if he ever even called it on.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China.

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