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I was thinking for quite a while how a possible nuclear deal with Iran might look like.
As I was strolling through the forest today I saw many people with baskets. It is the time of year when the people search for mushrooms here.
I like to be alone in the nature with my thoughts, undisturbed and undistracted to clear my mind, focus my thoughts and at the same time get inspiration.
Luckily I was able to find another place where I could be alone.
The previous encounters with the good people looking for mushrooms brought back memories.
I have fond childhood memories about me and my father searching for mushrooms in the forests.
Not only do I love nature and not only were the mushrooms delicious when my mother cooked them (frankly I have never tasted such delicious mushrooms again) but as any boy what I loved most was the adventure that was involded in this activity.
You might ask: What has this got to do with a nuclear deal with Iran?
It has a lot to do with it, I can assure you. As with anything in life we can draw valuable lessons from it.
As anyone who collects mushrooms can tell you, the two most important things you have to do is to identify the good mushrooms but much more important is that you are able to identify the unpalatable and poisonous ones.
This can be a matter of life and death. The champignon mushroom is widely known but there is another much less known, highly poisonous mushroom which looks almost identical to the champignon.
This mushroom (called in German Weisser Knollenblätterpilz) can cause death and the only way to reliably identify it and distinguish it from the champignon is to look underneath its ‘hat’ and look
at the color of the lamellae. The champignon has brown lamellae, the poisonous one white lamellae.
So, when it comes to Iran, we have to know how the bad, poisonous and lethal deal looks like in order to distinguish it from the real deal (no pun indended).
Because, no doubt, the Iranians will try to serve the world a bad deal.
In order to envision such a deal we first have to look at the players involved and at their motivations, ambitions and also their past behaviour.

Iran

After WW2 Iran became America’s strongest ally in the region and enjoyed friendly relations with Israel.
Unlike the Arabs the Iranians traditionally always had much better relations with the Jews and Israel.
Shah Reza Pahlevi had set in motion a radical plan of modernisation and reformation wich allowed Iranians and especially Iranaian women to enjoy religious freedoms unheared of in most islamic countries.
This brought the islamic clergy and all who saw the traditional islamic society in danger against him.
Unlike the most countries which had been islamized and arabizised through force by the Arabs the Iranians have a great civilisation and a proud history going back thousands of years.
And so it was no coincidence that the Persians kept their language and a great deal of their distinct culture after the Arab conquest.
The Shah might had even succeeded with linking Iran with its glorious past and as a consequence end the rule of islam over Persia.
But he had a serious personal flaw that would spell the end of his rule and the descent of Iran into dark ages never seen before in Iran’s history.
Sure, he was no democrat but had he been a wise monarch he might have saved his rule.
But as it was, he was a tyrant and he became more and more tyrannical using his infamous secret police, the Savak, to brutally crush any opposition.
Ayatollah Khomeini, living in exile in France lead the islamic opposition from there and was seen by many others opposing the Shah, like the Iranian left, as a figure of hope which caused them to
join forces with the islamic opposition but their hopes would soon be crushed.
After the revolution brought the Islamic clerics to power they got rid of their former allies in a bloodbath reminiscent of Stalin’s purges.
Since then Iran is in the iron grip of totalitarian theocratic dictatorship which doesn’t allow any kind of freedom or real democracy and which crushes any oppostion by brutal force.
Hanging of gays from cranes and religious persecution, even the death penalty for Christians has become a trademark of this monstrous regime.
The so-called presidential elections that they have in Iran are a bad joke because first of all, every candidate must be approved by the clerics and even the few who are allowed to run still have
no assurance that the vote would be anything that can be called free and fair as we have witnessed in the last ‘election’ of Ahmadinejad where the will of the people was brutally crushed by the thugs of the regime.
But even if a candidate makes it, it is important to remember that the absolute power comes from the ‘supreme leader’, the top ayatollah.
He can override any of the president’s decisions, especially on foreign policy or the nuclear program.
President Rouhani is hailed by many as a moderate or a reformer. He is neither.
He has been an apparatshik for the current regime since the time of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Being a cleric himself, he never has called for any reforms and he has never been qustioning the current regime.
Even now he makes clear that the system cannot be questioned.
He is part and parcel of this theocratic fascism.
Some even compare him to Gorbatchev. This is even more ridiculous because the only thing he has in common with Gorbatchev is that he wants to strike a deal to ease the economic burden for the system. Here does the similarity end.
Gorbatchev wanted to ease the unsustainable economic burden of the arms race with the US as well as the burden of the Afghan war.
BUt while both their motives were the same Gorbatchev was willing to make real concessions and also real reforms of the system because he knew that reforms were absolutely necessary to keep the system alive. In Gorbatchev’s case we have seen the conclusion of real arms control deals as well as the introduction of real reforms.
Nothing can be further from the truth in Rouhani’s case.
All we heared from Rouhani was sweet and nice talk.
Rouhani himself has made it clear, that Iran will not give up one iota of their nuclear ambitions.
How can this leave room for any substantial deal? It can’t.
Iran’s goals are to become a regional power and achieve Iranian hegemony over the region and also to drive the ‘big satan’ USA out of the region or at least reduce American influence in the region substantially.
Moreover they want to end Israel’s existence as well as an insurance that their regime becomes immune against regime change from the outside.
Nuclear weapons would be very helpful in achieving all these goals.
In my considerations I’ve tried really hard to give the possibility of a deal that is a real solution a chance and was open to that possibility but I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no chance in hell that it will happen.
The following consideration is the most compelling reason why such a deal ain’t gonna happen.
As we know the ‘supreme leader’ Khamenei calls the shots in Iran.
He could have started real negotiations for real solutions during Ahmadinejad’s time but he didn’t.
Rather he decided to take the punishment of biting sanctions and go ahead with the nuclear program.
As we know also, Khamenei is evil but he is not stupid and so we can reasonably assume that he knew that the West had to react in some form, most likely in the form of sanctions first, before he embarked on his nuclear journey.
Are we really to believe that he took the punishment of sanctions only to have a deal where just the sanctions are removed in exchange for an end to his nuclear ambitions?
Are we really to believe that he would strike a deal that would leave him just where he started and even worse if we take the costs of the sanctions into account?
Are we really to believe that he would strike a deal that would not advance Iran’s goals one millimeter?
In other words: Are we really to believe that he would strike a deal that gives him nothing?
In light of the fact that Iran has almost achieved their nuclear goal and in light of the fact that he knows that the US-president will do nothing except sanctions to stop him the answer to these questions is a resounding NO.
At best Iran will strike a deal that in reality let them go ahead with their nuclear program or they will strike a deal that will demand of America and the West a much higher price than the mere end of the sanctions.
In both cases the deal will be much to America’s and the West’s detriment.

America

For readers not familiar with my writings I want to make clear that the name ‘Obavez’ refers to the American president who acts more like the president of a banana republic like Hugo Chavez.
There is much that could be said about America and America’s national interest in this game.
In a sane world America’s decisions would be dictated by America’s national interests but the current inhabitant of the White House makes such predictions extremely unreliable.
Under his presidentship the decisions taken were dictated by his ideological views or by his personal ambitions.
There is a disturbing pattern that directly impacts the US-policy with regards to Iran.
When the president came to power he tried to reset the relations with both Russia and Iran and he even offered Iran his hand.
Both attempts failed miserably but even worse the leader of the free world stayed mute and silent when the Iranian people tried to free themselve from the shackles of the thecratic tyranny.
Not a word of at least moral support or moral condemnation.
He has shown a consistent pattern of throwing America’s friends and allies under the bus.
The first to have a taste of this were the Poles who saw that America would not station the promised missile defenses in Poland, cleatly an appeasement for the Russians.
Then we saw how America finished off Qadaffi who though no ally of America had promised to end his WMD-program and his support for terrorism. At least he kept his part of the deal.
Not only did this show how much a deal with America is worth but it also turned Lybia into a paradise for America’s deadly enemy Al Qaeda and it lead also to the death of ambassador Stevens and other Americans in Benghazi.
Then we saw how America’s reliable ally Mubarak was not only dumped by America but he was practically forced to go by America.
Yes Mubarak was no good guy but what came after him was infinitely worse.
Then we had the unforgettable ‘open mic’ episodes where he promised Putin to be more flexible after his reelection and where he made very negative remarks about Netanyahu.
And all the while we also witnessed how Obavez put constant pressure on Israel, America’S most reliable ally in the region to make totally unacceptable and unrealistic concessions while at the same time he refused to give clear assurances and red lines with regards to Iran.
Worst of all, when he did set a clear red line concerning Syria he failed to act upon it.
We saw a Kabuki theater with him filplopping and him and his staff contradicting each other and even themselves.
We saw a president who was willing to grab the very first possibility to get out of his comittment and who was not serious about his red lines making a joke of himself and his administration.
With all this in mind we can clearly see how this man has caused Amerca’s allies to lose trust in the US and America’S enemies losing any fear of the US.
Obavez has lost almost any respect among the allies as well as the enemies.
With all this in mind is it any wonder that noone can take America serious and more important that the Iranians can’t take America serious?
Obavez will grab the first deal that allows him to safe face by not having to use military force and which also allows him to pretend that the Iranian proplem is solved, damned be the details of such a phony deal.

The Deal

There are actually two possible deals.
The first one would demand that the Iranians halt their nuclear program completely, put much of the enriched uranium under international control possibly outside Iran.
This deal would scale Iran’s program and their stockpiles back to such an extend that Iran would need a significant amount of time (like one year) to get back to the point it is now.
Though the whole Iranian program would be put under international control much more rigid than now it would still leave tiny loopholes that would allow Iran to continue its program but on a much smaller scale than now.
This would be the kind of deal that the world would accept but it is unlikely to happen because of what the US would have to give in return.
As argued by Putin in his letter to the Americans the rational for haveing WMDs is to protect yourself from ouside intervention and foreign attempts of regime change by force.
This sounds good but in reality Putin had a life insurance for oppressive regimes which butcher their own citicens in mind.
Anyway, in order to make the need for nukes obsolete the Iranians would argue that they need an insurance against attacks by the US.
Although not an absolute insurance, they would demand that the US would permanently drastically reduce its military presence in the region and regular patrols by the US-navy would be much more limited in scale than now. Of course all this would be combined with ‘confidence building measures’ and all kinds of procedures and restrictions to make the American presence safe for Iran.
I believe that even for Obavez such a deal would be too much.
WHich brings us to the second, even more dangerous deal.
The Iranians would agree to keep their Uranium stockpile at the current level. They would be allowed to continue enriching but only to keep the stockpile at the current level, replenishing uranium
that has been used in reactors.
This would allow both the US and the Iranians to save face. The US could say that Iran is not allowed to go further than today. The Iranians could say that they are allowed to continue enriching.
BUT.
Here comes the dangerous part that would be burried in the fine print and the legalistic lingo.
Iran would be allowed to continue developing and building all other components like more centrifuges, a warhead, the detonating mechanism and ICBMs capable of delivering nukes anywhere on the planet.
In effect they would be allowed to put all the pieces except the uranium in place but not actually build the nuke.
The Iranians would be even willing to allow a much stricter control of their nuclear stockpile.
But being allowed to build as much centrifuges as they want and with a huge amount of them they simpply could throw the inspectors out of the country, withdraw from the NPT and build one ore more nukes in one week if they chose to do so.
For countries like Saudi Arabia which have neither the intelligence nor the military power to prevent the Iranians from doing this in time this would make NO DIFFERENCE from Iran actually having a nuke.

The second part of this article will explore the ramifications for all the players involved in detail.
I hope that I can put it up this week or next week (as my workload permits).

The backround music for this soap opera that is called “Clueless in Tehran” is becoming louder and more distinguishable.
At first it was only recognizable for the trained ear but by day the volume is rising so that even the layman can hear it loud and clear.
We’re heading for containment or a lousy, phony deal.

New York Times: Short of a Deal, Containing Iran Is the Best Option

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/opinion/short-of-a-deal-containing-iran-is-the-best-option.html?_r=0

First of all it is important to remember that the US has a vital interest to prevent the Iranian regime from getting nukes.
But with the current traitors leading the US, they won’t do anything other than sanctions and diplomacy to prevent Iran from getting nukes.
As I said long ago, they will settle for containment.

I don’t believe in all this talk about Russia being involved in a deal that will prevent Iran from getting nukes.
Those who believe it, don’t understand Putin’s ambitions.
Putin wants to restore Russia to its former glory and greatness with himself on top as the powerful leader.
Being a KGB-agent since 1975 for twenty years he thinks in cold war terms und uses and perfects those methods he learned during his time at KGB while he adapted himself to the post cold war world.
He controls the biggest energy producer Gazprom and the most important media directly and the other oligarchs indirectly.
Because in Putin’s Russia there is no rule of law he can throw them into jail anytime he wants (as he has done repeatedly with various oligarchs) they are allowed to make their money but otherwise they have to dance to his tune.
He wants power for Russia and for himself. That is his motivation.
After the humiliating years of the Jelzin era, when Russia became the laughing stock of the world, he presented himself to the Russians as a strong leader by waging a ruthless, brutal war in Chechnya.
He restored Russias former role by opposing the US werever possible and by arming and supporting the enemies of the US.
This is the basis of his power and this is why many Russians love him.

The Syria deal was a big win for him because it exposed Obavez (the American president who because of his style of government and demagoguery resembles more Hugo Chavez than a real US-President) for the weakling that he is and makes him and Russia looking strong.
This deal increased his and Russia’s prestige tremendously.
Moreover it allowed Assad to stay in power thus ensuring the Russian presence in Syria.
This did a tremendous damage to US credibility and trust in the US.
In the worst case (if the deal works) Assad has to give away his chemical toys which he doesn’t need anyway to stay in power.
These toys were primarily used as a threat to Israel.

The story is different with Iran. Russia needs the Iranians for these reasons:
They are a direct threat to America.
They share their aim of driving America out of the region.
By driving America out of the region Putin wants to increase Russian influence and if possible take indirect control of the resources.
Whether they succeed in driving out America or not one thing is for shure, a nuclear Iran will force the US to spend huge amounts of money in order to contain Iran. The missile defense needed for this purpose is only one component.
This is money that the Russians will not have to spend for their defence budged to keep the balance with the US.
There is no possible way that Putin will make a deal in which he does not gain.
What does he gain by stopping the Iranians from getting nukes? Nothing.
There is the argument that Russia is not interested in nukes floating around Europe (greetings to John).
This is a valid argument but it does not take several things into account.
For the Iranians the enemies are the US (the big satan), Israel (the little satan), Europe and the rest of the western world, then all the other ‘infidels’ like Russia.
It would be stupid for the Iranians to use nukes against Russia before finishing off their biggest enemies, the US and Israel.
The moment one nuke goes off in Russia, Iran will be wiped off the map and they will never be able to fulfil their beloved dream.
Unlike European countries or Israel, Russia is a huge landmass and can absorb some nuclear strikes without being entirely destroyed.
The Iranians simply will never have the nuclear arsenal of the US.
That is why Putin can take such a gamble.
It is also entirely plausible that he would make a deal with Iran not to give these nukes to terrorists who would use them against Russia.
As for giving nukes to terrorists in order to nuke western European countries, I’m not sure that Putin would be too concerned about it.
I don’t think that he would be that much troubled if London or Paris would be nuked.
Anything that weakens Russia’s adversaries strengthens Russia.
Also he wouldn’t mind if the Iranians nuke America or Israel. What better way to get rid of all the competition without having to lift a finger.
A severely crippled US, an annihilated Israel, an annihilated Iran and Russia being untouched.
The constant threat of a nuclear Iran, even if they never use them benefits Putin and Russia.
Another strong indication that Russia is not interested in preventing a nuclear Iran is the fact that they prevented and obstructed any serious effort by others to stop Iran while supporting Iran’s nuclear program and while helping the Iranian military to defend their nuclear program.
How stupid would it be for the Russians to allow Iran to go this far and then stop them? Because the only thing that Russia could do to stop the Iranians at this point is that they themselves would attack them militarily. Even now the Russians support the Iranian program.
There might be some people who might think that my assessment of Putin is too cynical and too monstrous.
But consider this: Putin had no problem with Assad massacering his population even before the opposition was dominated by the fanatic islamists and terrorists.
Consider also that the event that brought Putin to power, the second war in Chechnya, was triggered by a series of explosions of appartment buildings which killed 300 people and in which FSB-agents (FSB is the successor of KGB) were involved.
Consider also the war which boosted Putin’s popularity. It was described by independent observers as one of the most brutal wars after WW2.
At best Putin might be willing to be part of a deal which only SEEMS to be the solution and which looks good but which in practice would allow the Iranians to go ahead with their nuclear program.
Of course I might be wrong and he might be part of a deal that stops Iran but make no mistake, any deal will demand a very heavy price from the US, Europe and the West.
I cannot imagine what this price could be.

This brings us back to America’s role in this game.
Putin will present America with the same options as he did in the case of Syria. Either put up or shut up.
Either go to war with an Iran backed by us or accept a lousy deal which just allows you to save face.
Such a deal of course will not be a real solution. It will just pretend to be one and sound good in theory.
But while all sides are pretending the Iranians will merrily go ahead with their program.
While the support amongst the US-population for an US-strike against Iran is much higher than the support for a Syria strike and while the Iranian or the Russian military is no match for America’s military I have very serious doubts that the US will strike Iran.
In fact, I consider the likelyhood of America attacking Iran to be almost zero.
Obavez simply doesn’t have the guts to order a military strike. It would go against everything he believes or pretents to believe and it would also go against the very reason he was elected when he presented himself as the antithesis of Bush.
There are geostrategists in the Democratic Party like Zbigniew Brzinsky and Robert Litwak who have been arguing for containment vis a vis Iran for a long time.
So far Obavez did not always heed their advice as in the case of Syria when he did not follow Brzinsky’s suggestions but he would not only have them against him but the radical anti-war people, radical progressives and  other leftists in the Democratic Party.
Will Obavez have the guts to go against his core base and many in the Democratic Party? Don’t think so.
If it comes to that point I expect to hear and see the usual horror scenarios warning about WW3, the apocalypse and also I expect to hear all the usual arguments that America is bankrupt and can’t afford another war which is partly true because of Obavez’ desastrous economics and because the Democrats are increasing spending for welfare and other wasteful programs at the expense of the defence budget.
This is why America will not strike Iran and Obavez will grab any deal that allows him to save face.

At this moment the Iranians are trying to create the impression that they are willing to strike a deal and to make concessions but it is clear that they won’t give up their nuclear ambitions.
All they are looking for is an easening of the sanctions in order to boost their economy without giving anything of real substance. Being the master negotiators and master manipulators that they are they offering Obavez a deal.
As they have indicated recently there is only limited time for a deal. Well, what do they mean by that?
It is clear that the only thing that can stop them from getting nukes is military force.
Seeing that Obavez is so pathetically weak that he will not make good on his promise to stop Iran, what they mean is that they will go ahead anyway and embarass and expose him utterly.
He can spare himself this embarassment by easening or ending the sanctions in exchange for a deal that will really look good on the outside but will allow them to pursue their nuclear program either in secret or in such a way that their program can be redefined and spun to be only peaceful.
So far the Iranians have not openly crossed the point of no return.
This is only owed to the fact that there is another player who is existentially threatened by them and who is the only player who is considered to be serious about a military strike.
For this reason they are amassing centrifuges like crazy without using them at this point in time carefully not to cross Israel’s red line.
If the reports from IAEA and ISIS can be believed, only 700 of 3700 centrifuges installed in Fordow are operating since the installation was completed at the beginning of 2013.
The same is true for the many of the new advanced centrifuges at Natanz.
The objective is clear. The objective is to have so many centrifuges and other options like the Arrak reactor that when they decide to cross the Rubicon they could to this in such a short time that there will be not enough time for Israel to recognize it and prevent it by military force.

Israel our last player in this chess game is in great danger now because the circumstances are not favourable to an Israeli strike, because as it seems the US is falling for the Iranian bait and the world gets a false picture of a real chance to end the nuclear crisis and also because the US is, it seems, still opposed to an Israeli strike.
The US will make an appeasement deal with Iran or it will come finally to its senses and give the green light to an Israeli strike which I have very big difficulties to believe.
So, what can Israel do to change the game
The Iranians have always done their enrichment work and military experiments in secret. The existence of both Natanz and Fordow were only admitted by the Iranians when their existence was revealed by the intelligence services or dissidents.
I believe that there are more such secrets sites. The ISIS institute hinted at the existence of a possible secret laser enrichment site.
I also believe that Israel has good intelligence on the Iranian program because its existence depends on it. There are also plausible reports about Israeli human intelligence operating in Iran.
This leads me to believe that Israel knows about such secrets sites.
If that is indeed the case all Israel has to do is expose these sites. This would create several things. It would end the charade that is currently going on and create a strong sense of urgency. The Iranians would be totally exposed as liars who cannot be trusted. It would show that they are not serious. It would show that there is no point for the US or anyone negotiating with them. Most importantly it would show that they have crossed the rubicon already and that there is no more time left to waste. Such a move would increase diplomatic support and justification for an Israeli strike and also public support in the US and around the world.
After having taking back the initiative in the public arena Israel should immediately follow up with a military strike.

Finally I want to share with the readers an excerpt of an article which was pulished at the web site of the “John Bachelor Show” on February 2013.
At this point in time it sounded really far fetched but now it becomes increasingly realistic, almost prophetic.

Grand Bargain Tehran, the Remake

http://johnbatchelorshow.com/blog/2013/02/grand-bargain-tehran-remake

“What is New.

Am told that the Obama administration is eager and resolute to conclude a Grand Bargain with the Supreme Leader that will declare the fiction that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is non-military. Am told that the VPOTUS Biden or his close advisers communicated with Supreme Leader speakers during the recent security conference in Germany, and am told that new SecState Kerry aims to meet with Supreme Leader cut-outs in Kazakhstan at the end of February.  In all, the Obama administration has put in place the apparatus the deal and set up a visit by POTUS to Tehran in the direct imitation of Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing.  The sidebar issues for the Grand Bargain include lifting the sanctions and recognizing Iran as the regional hegemon of the Gulf.  Also, I am told that the US will acknowledge that Iran’s nuclear scientists have been attacked by a “Third Country” — aka Israel.  The timeline for this global reordering of battle lines includes waiting until after the June 2013 presidential election in Iran, when, I am, told, the Supreme Leader will endorse and celebrate the election of former Foreign Minister Velayati as the new president.  All this maneuvering proceeds from the meeting last Fall between Velayati and White House special agent Valerie Jarrett in Doha to discuss the diplomatic spectacular this year.”

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