No one saw this one coming, did they?

Talks between Iran and six world powers in Istanbul have ended in failure after Iran refused to discuss its nuclear programme, according to European Voice.  Imagine my shock.  The piece goes on to explain that:

Diplomats suspect that Iran is primarily interested in the talks as a way of gaining time for its nuclear programme, which most governments believe serves military purposes.

They know it. We know it. The Iranians know we all know it. Yet still the charade continues with no effective consequence.  The region risks becoming increasingly destabilised as Iran’s theocrats press ahead with their lust to acquire the bomb.  The threat to Israel grows, Iran’s neighbours becoming more nervous and those powers with the capability of putting an end to Iran’s ambitions trapse back and forth between ‘talks’ as Tehran run rings around them.

In years to come it is a fair bet people will be examining the whys and wherefores of a major conflict in the Middle East and asking why the powers that could have dealt with things back in 2010 or earlier failed to act and allowed things to develop into something far more destructive than it would have been.

33 Responses to “No one saw this one coming, did they?”


  1. 1 Trooper Thompson 22/01/2011 at 7:14 pm

    What do you want to do about it?

  2. 2 Johnny Rottenborough 22/01/2011 at 7:24 pm

    The words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed influence the beliefs of Muslims as much as the Qur’an. In the collection called Sahih Bukhari he is recorded as saying, ‘The Hour [of the Last Judgment] will not be established until you fight with the Jews’.

    Is the Iranian government preparing to do Mohammed’s bidding?

  3. 3 Autonomous Mind 22/01/2011 at 8:06 pm

    Trooper, an unequivocal line in the sand. No more talk, stop the centrifuges or we will stop them for you by whatever means necessary.

  4. 4 AJC 22/01/2011 at 8:15 pm

    The BBC report says …

    “EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton, who led the international team, said Iran had come to the talks with pre-conditions.”

    Why is this idiot leading anything?

  5. 6 Autonomous Mind 22/01/2011 at 9:04 pm

    Hasn’t history shown us that appeasement in the face of a nation with aggressive intent only leads to bigger problems down the line?

  6. 7 Jack Russell 22/01/2011 at 9:23 pm

    I have to chuckle when I read this drivel.

    Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, does not have nuclear weapons, and allows International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. Israel is not a signatory to the NNPT, has nuclear weapons and does not allow IAEA inspections.

    Iran has not attacked any other people/countries, to my knowledge, in recent history. Israel, however, …

    Your writings on the UK issues – climate debate, government etc – are appreciated and enjoyed.

    Regards

    Jack

  7. 8 Trooper Thompson 22/01/2011 at 9:28 pm

    That cuts both ways. Should the Iranian government appease the champions of the West?

  8. 9 peter geany 22/01/2011 at 9:59 pm

    I fear that the mistakes in Iraq, where the West squandered the morale authority that it carried, makes it almost impossible for our current Political leaders to even think about taking action let alone carrying out a threat. Too many people will not support action even if the case for it was iron cast. This is the price of misleading us over Iraq.

    I don’t see a leader of quality on the horizon that has the charisma to carry the public on this one. And if the EU was serious they wouldn’t send that Ashton person. In fact, although it sounds very non PC, if we were really serious we wouldn’t send a woman in to that part of the world and expect them to treat us seriously. But I expect it would be almost too much to expect our arrogant non-elected ruling élite to understand the Middle East and take the necessary steps to ensure Iran understands the consequences of what it is doing. This is not about a trade delegation or a state visit, it’s not about flaunting “superiority culture”. This is the real thing and something upon which millions of lives depend.

  9. 10 Rereke Whakaaro 22/01/2011 at 10:18 pm

    The League of Nations adopted appeasement with Hitler after he annexed Czechoslovakia, and then Hungary. Neville Chamberlain flew to Berlin for talks (another attempt at appeasement), and came back with an agreement for, “Peace in our Time”.

    That was just before Germany invaded Poland, which pulled England and France into the war because of treaty commitments, but still the League of Nations wanted to arrange a conference of the parties to “resolve their differences”.

    After the war, the League of Nations was disbanded as being useless, and was replaced with the United Nations structure that included a Security Council that had the ability to kick butt when “consultation” (the new word for appeasement) failed.

    But now the Security Council is failing because the small countries, like Iran, have figured out how to play the Security Council members off against each other, so they can never agree.

    So the UN is back to relying on appeasement, which we know from the body count in WWII does not work. Just now, the stakes are much higher.

  10. 11 GP 22/01/2011 at 10:22 pm

    A question.

    There are a numbero of senior politicians of the female persuasion (and potentially a few who may not be entirely heterosexual?) involved with international diplomacy matters.

    The ‘leader’ of the this group of ‘six worlds powers’ (So the EU has its place at that table now?) is one of them. Mrs. Clinton is another.

    Somehow these people seem to be almost always meeting people whose nominal culture does not involve women in leading roles. Iran sits amongst the leaders of the Islamic world in that respect in religious terms though maybe not as visually forcibly as a few other places.

    Nevertheless if one was setting out to really annoy representatives of a culture that does not generally support women taking a leading role in politics and diplomacy one probably could not do better the snend a team headed by a female. Or so I would have thought.

    What am I missing here?

  11. 12 Autonomous Mind 22/01/2011 at 10:35 pm

    Jack, Iran is trying to gain nuclear weapons, breaching the NNPT. Iran has flooded Lebanon with weaponary for use by Hezbollah, conducting its conflicts by proxy. Iran has made several threats to Israel, not least with Ahmadinejad speaking of wiping Israel from the map.

    If their goal is nuclear power why have they sought heavy water technology?

    Thanks for the compliments.

  12. 13 Autonomous Mind 22/01/2011 at 10:38 pm

    Trooper, the so called champions of the west are dealing with a regime that is bent on becoming a nuclear weaponised power. Turning the argument around does nothing to address the core issue here. The WikiLeaks cables have confirmed the serious concern in the middle east about a potentially nuclear Iran.

    I believe the cost of inaction now will result in a much higher price to pay later.

  13. 14 Uncle Badger 22/01/2011 at 11:17 pm

    Perhaps Jack and Trooper might care to give us some recent examples of where appeasement has proved an effective policy?

    And don’t you dare suggest Northern Ireland…

  14. 15 Trooper Thompson 23/01/2011 at 12:13 am

    Perhaps Badger might care to give a recent example where invading a foreign country and killing hundreds of thousands of people based on a pack of lies has proved an effective policy, and if so, what the policy was, other than the aforementioned mass slaughter?

    Returning to his question, I wonder, was he disappointed when the West appeased Russia, when they sent the army into South Ossetia, or should ‘we’ have gone nuclear on their ass?

  15. 16 Digger 23/01/2011 at 2:10 am

    As an ex-soldier I would much prefer to have to fight a preventative war than one of survival. The only true pacifists are the military as only they truly know the cost of war – and the only cost worse is the cost of appeasement.

    So not in your name Trooper Jack? well your appeasement is not in mine.

  16. 17 jameshigham 23/01/2011 at 10:08 am

    Well put. They’re hellbent on getting the bomb and playing with the big boys.

  17. 18 Autonomous Mind 23/01/2011 at 11:53 am

    Trooper, I don’t think your comparisons are evenly matched. There was a huge amount of doubt about Iraq WMD and as a former soldier I for one didn’t think the invasion should happen. We know the Iranians are spinning the centrifuges. We know they uranium they are trying to enrich. We know they have aggressive intent towards Israel and even their neighbours have expressed serious concern at Tehran developing the bomb.

    This is not about putting men and tanks in Esfahan or Qum. It would not be about regime change and occupation. It would be denial of facilities and removal of capability. At this time that can be achieved with aerial power and special forces. In a year or so’s time, the assessment is that it would not be possible without substantial ground forces, at which point we are into a whole new ball game.

  18. 19 Barry 23/01/2011 at 12:01 pm

    AM said: “The WikiLeaks cables have confirmed the serious concern in the middle east about a potentially nuclear Iran.”

    I’m not sure if it would be ironic or just tragic if middle eastern Governments end up relying on the USA to rely on Israel to stop this. I hope Western Governments haven’t simply decided that whatever way the chips fall it’ll be bad for the Middle East so they don’t really have to try – Iran getting nuclear weapons and threatening to use them or Israel kicking off a war by preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

    Arab nations expressing hatred and disdain for the West in public but privately letting the Americans know their concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions doesn’t help *anyone*.

    Jack Russell said: “Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, does not have nuclear weapons, and allows International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. Israel is not a signatory to the NNPT, has nuclear weapons and does not allow IAEA inspections.”

    Which illustrates the toothlessness of the NNPT, nothing more. Israel is playing the game properly – it wanted nuclear weapons so didn’t sign up.

  19. 20 defender 23/01/2011 at 12:04 pm

    As I see it.
    Being that Irans neighbours in the region will not come out with what they say in private. Which is that the Iranian regime are mad cunts and need sorting. Publicly they say little or nothing. That is causing the 6 parties to have to deal with a situation which the nations of the region do not seem too keen on getting stuck into this.
    So it ends up looking like its the west interfering in regional matters which the region does not see as a problem they want to fight, again.
    I reckon its more theiir problem than ours, so lets wait for them to start showing us that they are ready to actually fight for their region and ask us to join them.
    With Trident, we can stay here and smack ’em, if it comes to it, Saudi, Turkey, Iraq, all the gulf states, Syria, Pakistan are all regional nations, it for them to say something needs to be done before we can even justify getting involved.

  20. 21 Uncle Badger 23/01/2011 at 1:23 pm

    In response to ‘Trooper’ (a curious choice of name).

    The first is that AM is right – the comparisons are flawed. You may wish to believe Iran’s Islamofascist government is acting in innocence, but you’re in a dwindling minority. Even Iran’s Islamic neighbours don’t believe that. It’s a delusion reserved for romantic westerners.

    As for Iraq, it’s a little early to say, isn’t it? And which ‘pack of lies’ did you ave in mind? Iraq had WMDs. It had used them. Why wouldn’t it have used them again?

    That’s another example where Assange’s revelations backfired on the Left.

    Moreover, even though I think the invasion was a mistake, that is at least in part because even then I believed we chose the wrong target. Iran was always the greater threat and its facilities should have been neutralised early on.

    We don’t yet know how Iraq will turn out. But you don’t need a crystal ball to peer into Iran’s future.

  21. 22 Trooper Thompson 23/01/2011 at 1:59 pm

    AM,

    “I don’t think your comparisons are evenly matched.”

    Your whole argument is built around the word ‘appeasement’, which is clearly a comparison to Nazi Germany. How accurate is that comparison? Every time anyone wants to justify starting a war, it gets trooped out. Back in the ’50s Nasser was the new Hitler, then Saddam, now it’s Iran. But I’m supposed to forget all the past examples of crying wolf, because this time the wolf is real.

    As for Wikileaks, there’s nothing new there. The Gulf states have said the same things publicly. They want someone to do their dirty work for them. If they want a war with Iran, let them have one. Let the Saudis go for it, and see how well they do.

    “We know the Iranians are spinning the centrifuges. We know they uranium they are trying to enrich. We know they have aggressive intent towards Israel”

    We don’t know these things. They are put forward as certain by people who want to attack them. As for aggressive intent, the Iranians are on the receiving end, with bombings and assassinations, not to mention the Stuxnet virus.

    @ Digger,

    a war of survival? Against Iran? You’re delusional. The day I see the Revolutionary Guards streaming up Lewisham highstreet, I’ll admit I got it wrong, but that ain’t gonna happen, and the same applies to Pashtun tribesmen living in the mountains of Afghanistan.

    I don’t suppose there’s much point in arguing about it. I won’t change anyone’s mind, and you won’t change mine. So go ahead and have your war. Kill a million people and say you’re the good guys, and wave yer Union Jacks (made in China).

  22. 23 Autonomous Mind 23/01/2011 at 2:28 pm

    Erm Trooper, the IAEA have confirmed the Iranians are spinning the centrifuges and enriching uranium. Everything is out in the open. The Iranians are simply saying they will not cease. It seems you are conflating Iran with Iraq and assigning victim status to them. The international community has said Iran must stop and it refuses to do so.

    I think you are stereotyping this issue with past issues. Every issue is different and to lump them all in together makes no sense. Sorry.

  23. 24 Trooper Thompson 23/01/2011 at 3:57 pm

    AM,

    Yeah, but the argument is over what they want to use them for, and whether they have ‘aggressive intent’ towards Israel. Israel doesn’t hide its aggressive intent towards Iran. Does that not get counted? Is Israel beyond reproach?

    “I think you are stereotyping this issue with past issues. Every issue is different and to lump them all in together makes no sense. Sorry.”

    And you think the comparison with Nazi Germany, ‘appeasement’ etc is not the same as what you accuse me of? Every time someone wants a new war, out comes the Neville Chamberlain /Czechoslovakia prism.

    “The international community has said Iran must stop and it refuses to do so.”

    What, you mean Iran’s acting like a sovereign nation? We can’t have that, can we? Better cut that cancer out before it spreads.

    It’s not about ‘victim status’, it’s about treating them as human beings, rather than Oceana’s enemies in a 1984 propaganda film.

  24. 25 Trooper Thompson 23/01/2011 at 5:43 pm

    @ Uncle Badger

    “‘Trooper’ (a curious choice of name)”

    Are you in a position to judge?

  25. 26 Autonomous Mind 23/01/2011 at 7:00 pm

    Well Trooper, given that Israel faces an existential threat and Iran doesn’t I think you are again comparing apples with candles. If Israel had aggressive intent towards Iran why have they not struck against them? Surely it would have been more sensible to do so before Iran could enhance its capability? That is a curious aggression, don’t you think? Where has the Israeli PM said Iran should be wiped from the map?

    Israel is not beyond reproach, but in this case it is not in the wrong either. As I said earlier and you have not referenced, Iran is flooding Lebabon with rockets, shells and small arms for Hezbollah to wage its next war with Israel as Iran’s proxy.

    Believe me, I understand where you are coming from. We have sent too many good men to die for rotten and unjustified causes. But that doesn’t mean we should turn inwards and cast a blind eye to a genuine threat to stability in the region, with the capacity to spill over into a wider conflagration. Iran can be a sovereign nation without equipping itself with the means to achieve the destruction of a small country, and break the non proliferation rules of the international community.

    If Iran is allowed to produce the bomb and then uses it on Israel in a fit of religious hysteria and hatred of the Jews, and people ask why on earth it was permitted to do so, asnwering that we were treating Iran as a sovereign nation and its nuclear facilities as human beings(!) isn’t going to cut it.

  26. 27 peter geany 23/01/2011 at 8:37 pm

    Anyone with any knowledge of the Middle East, and most of those who have either lived or worked out there, especially those who have worked in the Gulf States would not have been in the least bit surprised at the revelations in wikileaks. Iran is no friend of the Arab states of the area and has not been going back beyond the Shah’s time.

    It is also the case that anyone who has any contact with Arab military as I have will often here that they don’t fear anyone as they know the West will come to their rescue. This allows the Arabs to play the game one way for their domestic audience and another secretly for their international audience. Most of our Diplomats know this but unfortunately the highly educated western media and their equally highly educated audience fail completely to understand this.

  27. 28 Uncle Badger 23/01/2011 at 8:43 pm

    Trooper : “Are you in a position to judge?”

    Absolutely!

    That’s one of the joys of not subscribing to cultural relativism. It leaves me with an open mind, constantly wondering about things, never having to check first if that wondering is permitted.

    It’s the same lack of a conceptual straightjacket that enables me to see Iran’s theocracy for exactly what it is – a hostile threat, the failure to curtail which will lead to untold misery in years to come.

  28. 29 Jack Russell 30/01/2011 at 7:03 am

    Rolling on the floor laughing:

    Barry (23/01/2011 at 12:01 pm) said:

    Jack Russell said: “Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, does not have nuclear weapons, and allows International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. Israel is not a signatory to the NNPT, has nuclear weapons and does not allow IAEA inspections.”

    Which illustrates the toothlessness of the NNPT, nothing more. Israel is playing the game properly – it wanted nuclear weapons so didn’t sign up.

    —-

    So, any state that wants nuclear weapons need only ignore the NNPT, i.e. not sign up, and they can go ahead with impunity and full legitimacy?

    Barry sounds like a Zionist shill.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill refers

    Regards

    Jack

  29. 30 Jack Russell 30/01/2011 at 7:19 am

    Autonomous Mind (22/01/2011 at 10:35 pm) said:

    Jack, Iran is trying to gain nuclear weapons, breaching the NNPT. Iran has flooded Lebanon with weaponary for use by Hezbollah, conducting its conflicts by proxy. Iran has made several threats to Israel, not least with Ahmadinejad speaking of wiping Israel from the map.

    ——

    Dear Mr/Ms Autonomous Mind

    a) The IAEA has found no evidence that Iran is trying to gain nuclear weapons and has not found Iran in breach of the NNPT;
    b) The USA has flooded Israel with weaponry for use by Zionists, conducting it’s conflicts by proxy,
    c) Israel has made far more threats to Iran than vice versa, and
    d) Ahmadinejad never called for ‘wiping Israel from the map”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel refers

    Autonomous is fine, Objective is better

    Regards

    Jack

  30. 31 Autonomous Mind 30/01/2011 at 11:39 am

    Nice to have you out of the anti Zionist closet Jack. It never takes long to see the real motivations emerge.

  31. 32 Jack Russell 30/01/2011 at 8:20 pm

    AM

    Was never in a closet, mate.

    Disappointing to see you avoid the points I raised. Disappointed, but not surprised.

    Regards

    Jack

  32. 33 Autonomous Mind 30/01/2011 at 9:04 pm

    Here’s the response to you points. It makes no difference because you will believe anything that puts Israel on the wrong side of any debate. It must be a horrible feeling harbouring such ill will towards a people who are living in the land their forebears resided in long before Islam was even created. Perhaps if you understood what it is like to live in a state of siege surrounded by millions of people who wish you dead for your nothing more than being Jewish.

    a) The IAEA has found no evidence that Iran is trying to gain nuclear weapons and has not found Iran in breach of the NNPT;

    The IAEA was forced to report Iran for noncompliance with the NNPT for not declaring enrichment and reprocessing activities. ‘After public allegations about Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear activities, the IAEA launched an investigation that concluded in November 2003 that Iran had systematically failed to meet its obligations under its NPT safeguards agreement to report those activities to the IAEA, although it also reported no evidence of links to a nuclear weapons program.’ No evidence does not mean there is not a weapons programme. Failing to meet the obligations of the NPT is a breach. You conveniently ignore this too.

    b) The USA has flooded Israel with weaponry for use by Zionists, conducting it’s conflicts by proxy

    Feel free to list the attacks on Iran by Israel that evinces this conflict by proxy.

    c) Israel has made far more threats to Iran than vice versa

    Israel is fully justified in warning Iran to cease its nuclear programme, given Iran is arming terror groups determined to destroy Israel and Ahmadinejad has made veiled threats to wage war on Israel for simply existing. Iran has been offered what is required for a civilian nuclear power programme and rejected the offer each time in favour of its own enrichment and reprocessing. Now why would it do that if its aims were peaceful? It would be supplied with everything needed for a civilian power programme. The only logical explanation is that Iran wants weapons grade material.

    d) Ahmadinejad never called for ‘wiping Israel from the map”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel refers

    Only Iranian spindoctors and The Guardian accept the Iranian line. Even the Palestinians agree. Saeb Erekat: “Palestinians recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist and I reject his comments. What we need to be talking about is adding the state of Palestine to the map, and not wiping Israel from the map.” Now, why would they say that and not say ‘Ahmadinejad was misquoted’?


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