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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Iran: No Change in Obama's Diplomacy?

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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Updated 12.07.09.

“Focusing on diplomacy”. The words sound good. But Obama, Hillary, Biden and ‘Zipi’ still appear to be following Bush”s policy on Iran. The articles below illustrate NO CHANGE for Iran. The ‘diplomacy’ looks more like arm - bending pressure for America’s ‘special interests’ - with the help of AIPAC. Belonging to the WTO, which exploits the poor, is not a priority for many countries. Is Hillary already stabbing Obama in the back? Why does ISRAEL/ 'Zipi' have to be involved in Obama's "diplomacy" in Iran? Was Israel's war on Gaza a forerunner to Iran?


* "Diplomacy: Barack Obama supports tough and direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to use the power of American diplomacy to pressure Iran to stop their illicit nuclear program, support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel. Obama and Biden will offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. In carrying out this diplomacy, we will coordinate closely with our allies and proceed with careful preparation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress."

Obama 'will talk to Iran'
22.01.09. The Obama administration said in a website statement on Wednesday that it aimed to use "the power of American diplomacy" over what it called "Iran's illicit nuclear programme, support for terrorism, and threats towards Israel". / "Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress," the statement said.

Nuclear Weapons

# "Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Obama and Biden will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions."

U.S., Israel to Work Closely on Iran
23.01.09. nti. New U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni yesterday vowed to work closely to resolve the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program, the Xinhua News Agency reported (see GSN, Jan. 22). / Shortly after taking her office, Clinton spoke with Livni by telephone; the officials agreed to increase pressure on Iran to halt atomic activities that could support nuclear weapons development, according to Haaretz. Tehran has defended its nuclear program as a strictly peaceful effort (Xinhua News Agency, Jan. 22). / Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner yesterday said he would continue efforts to strip controversial Iranian activities of funds and other resources, Agence France-Presse reported.


Obama, like Bush, still manufacturing consent for war on Iran

Obama Administration Expresses Certainty of Iranian Nuclear Bomb Intent
12.02.09. nti. High-level members of the Obama administration have voiced conviction that Iran is determined to acquire a nuclear weapon, largely discounting (like Bush) a 2007 intelligence finding that the Middle Eastern state halted its formal bomb development efforts more than five years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported today.


US Intel Confirms Iran Not Developing Nukes
13.02.09. Press TV/ICH. The new chief of US intelligence has confirmed the findings of a 2007 intelligence report that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Dennis Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his organization has assessed that Tehran does not have nuclear weapons design and weaponization work.

What about Israel’s nuclear weapons?

Israel draws 'red lines' for Obama on Iran
03.03.09. presstv. Israel prepares a set of red lines for Washington to inject into its Iran policy as the current US approach toward Tehran rankles Tel Aviv.

Clinton Expresses Doubts on Dialogue With Iran
03.03.09. nti. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday questioned whether dialogue between Iran and the United States could resolve long-standing disputes between the two nations, the Washington Post reported

Clinton says missile shield to protect from Iran
03.03.09. Reuters. "What we have said specifically in regard to missile defence in Europe is that it has always been intended to deter any missiles that might come from Iran," Clinton said. "It remains our position. We have explained that to the Russians before."

"The hawkish Hillary Clinton’s naming of veteran Israel supporter Dennis Ross as her special adviser on Iran and the Gulf suggest she is more interested in building future domestic political support than securing balanced advice."Eric Margolis,
Here We Go Again With the Iranian Nuclear Scare [09.03.09]

Obama Extends Sanctions Against Iran
12.03.09. Fox / ICH. Citing a continued "unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security," President Obama on Thursday extended sanctions against Iran for one year in a public notice.

Iran 'disappointed' in Obama behavior
17.03.09. press / ICH. The lawmaker was referring to some of Obama's measures against the Islamic Republic, which did not conform with his campaign slogan of "change."

Obama offers Iran 'new beginning' in diplomacy
20.03.09. haaretz / ICH. U.S. President Barack Obama issued an unprecedented videotaped appeal to Iran on Friday offering a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement to turn the page on decades of U.S. policy. Video: Obama's Norouz Message to Iran.

Is the US talking to Iran, or dictating?
21.03.09. daily star / ICH. If sticks and stones speak louder than words, the American sanctions would seem to convey a much tougher posture than the conciliatory video message. This would seem to be the first contradiction the US needs to sort out in its overtures to Iran.

Iran's leader dismisses Obama offer
21.03.09. al jazeera. Iran's supreme leader has dismissed overtures from the US president, saying Tehran does not see any change in US policy under Barack Obama's administration. ... "They chant the slogan of change but no change is seen in practice. We haven't seen any change," he said. / Khamenei criticised US behaviour towards Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution, saying that the US was "hated in the world" and should stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs. US continues to accuse the country of supporting terrorism and seeking nuclear weapons; tests at the Bushehr nuclear plant in the south of the country had convinced other nations that its nuclear plans would not be abandoned. sanctions against Iran; "He [Khamenei] said if the US changes its policy ... especially towards Israel and the Palestinian people, the Iranians can move forward..

The President's Message to the Iranian People (19.03,09) see also LA Times: Iran is suspicious of Obama's overture

Obama to Continue Economic Pressure on Iran
31.03.09. nti. The United States plans to continue hounding Iran's Revolutionary
Guards with economic sanctions while the Obama administration seeks to improve diplomatic ties to Tehran's leadership, the Washington Times reported today. "I have not seen any indication that the Obama administration is backing away from continuing the strategy of acting to disrupt Iranian covert networks," ou ratchet up the financial pressure while you do these negotiationssaid Kenneth Katzman, an Iran expert with the Congressional Research Service. / Obama chose to retain the Bush administration's key attack dog for the sanctions, Treasury Undersecretary
Stuart Levey.

U.S. Missile Defense Plan Endangered in Czech Republic
06.04.09. NTI. BUT: Obama said, “As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with the missile system,” Obama said in Prague. “If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile construction in Europe will be removed",

Iran's Ahmadinejad waiting for US policy change
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday welcomed overtures by U.S. 06.04.09. Reuters / iCH. President Barack Obama but said Tehran was waiting for concrete steps to back up his words.

Obama vows to build missile shield in stand-off with Iran
06.04.09. Independent/ie. /ICH. The United States will continue to develop a missile defence shield until Iran abandons its nuclear ambitions, President Barack Obama said yesterday.

US sanctions target Iranian firms (07.04.09.

“‘As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran’s neighbors and our allies.’” Barack Obama

VIDEO: Protecting America
(Heritage Foundation.)

Dennis Ross's Iran Plan
12.04.09. Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation / ICH. Diplomats and Middle East watchers hoping Ross would be sidelined are wrong. He is building an empire at the State Department: hiring staff and, with his legendary flair for bureaucratic wrangling, cementing liaisons with a wide range of US officials. The Iran portfolio is his, says an insider.

Iran's letter to UN over Israeli threats (15.04.09.

Top U.S., EU Diplomats Plot Iran Strategy
16.04.09. NTI. "With respect to the latest speeches and remarks out of Iran, we welcome dialogue," Clinton said after the meeting. "We've been saying that we are looking to have an engagement with Iran, but we haven't seen anything that would amount to any kind of proposal at all." "We will continue to work with our allies to make it clear that Iran cannot continue to pursue nuclear weapons," she said, vowing further action by the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, which have pursued new nuclear dialogue with Iran. "We will stand behind the sanctions that have already been implemented, and we will look for new ways to extend collective action (on) Iran's nuclear program."

Obama Says U.S. Will Pursue Missile Shield Because of Iran
06.04.09. moscow times. [ Is what Obama is actually saying is that the US will pursue Missile Shield because of pressure from Israel / AIPAC? ]

Act of war? US Senators Move To Wring Gasoline Out of Iran
28.04.09. energy tribune. The US Senate has added its voice to the US House of Representatives in a newly-crafted resolution designed to choke off Iranian gas imports. See related story, "AIPAC pushing for new Iran sanctions bill?" here

Clinton’s Unpromising Start
02.05.09. Ramzy Baroud, Countercurrents. Clinton told US legislators 23 April that the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was Tehran; that without getting tough on Iran, Israel could not be expected to pursue peace with the Palestinians. "The two go hand in hand," she emphasised. What a baffling approach to peacemaking. In order for peace to prevail, Israel should engage Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority in "discussions" aimed at inspiring the isolation of Iran, for reasons entirely pertinent to US interests and Israeli "security".

The Anti-Empire Report
04.05.09. William Blum, Some thoughts about torture. And Mr. Obama. And Iran. During the presidential campaign much was made of Obama's stated promises to engage in direct talks with Iran, as opposed to the Bush administration's refusal to speak to the Iranians and threatening to attack them and bomb their nuclear facilities. This was one more example of the much-vaunted "change" that Obama was going to bring. But, in actuality, it wouldn't be much of a change.

Are We Being Conditioned To Accept a Pre-emptive Attack on Iran?
12.05.09. rds2301, Daily Kos / ICH. President Obama is concerned that Iran has sought nuclear weapons and its leaders "allegedly" deny the Holocaust and threaten Israel. Publically, Obama and Biden believe that it was reckless for Congress to give George Bush any justification to extend the Iraq War or to attack Iran but President-Elect Obama didn’t wait for his inauguration to appoint "saber-rattling" Hillary Clinton Secretary of State and retained Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. / … The historical precedent for the hatred fomented against the "alleged" Arab terrorists and Iran would be the Nazis in Germany, not Arab terrorist in Iraq.

Obama says Iran war not off the table
17.05.09. press "I've been very clear that I don't take any options off the table with respect to Iran. I don't take options off the table when it comes to US security, period," said Obama.

“Setting the Trap”

Barack Obama: Iran must meet nuclear deadline
19.05.09. Telegraph / ICH. US President Barack Obama has told Iran it has until the end of the year to respond to his diplomatic outreach over stopping its nuclear programme. See also 'Israel will have to take on Iran alone once Obama's efforts fail'

Netanyahu's Washington Victory
05.09. Foreign Policy/ICH. How Obama moved closer to the Israeli position on Iran. Obama had moved closer to his counterpart's position. He called for a "clear timetable" to be established for Iran to halt its nuclear program. "We are not going to have talks forever," Obama said, after meeting Netanyahu. "[B]y the end of the year I think we should have some sense as to whether or not these discussions are starting to yield significant benefits." / The U.S. president's statements, which appear to be a compromise between the Israeli position (aggression) and the American one (diplomacy) actually represent a major victory for Netanyahu: The Israelis are fine with talks in the short term, because they are convinced -- perhaps correctly -- that talks will fail and that their failure can be used to justify more aggressive measures down the road.

Clinton: Iran can't have nuclear arms capability
20.05.09. AP/anti-war. Sec'y of State Clinton: Iranian nuclear capability represents an 'extraordinary threat'

U.S. Military: Nuke-armed Iran Would be 'Calamitous'
21.05.09. Reuters / Haaretz. The consequences of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon would be "calamitous" and major powers must act together to prevent it, the top U.S. military commander [Adm. Mullen] said on Thursday.

Timeline Of a War Foretold: Bringing Iran In From the Cold
22.05.09. Nader Mousavizadeh, Wash Post / ICH. A fateful consensus is forming around the proposition that war with Iran is inevitable. The failure of the past eight years' non-diplomacy has resulted in a worst-case scenario whereby Iran, most experts agree, has passed the point of no return in terms of technical nuclear weapons capability without violating its legal obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Obama Orders Update to Iran Attack Plan
22.05.09. Jason Ditz, anti-war. On NBC’s Today Show this morning, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that President Obama has ordered him to update the plans for a US attack on Iran, plans which were last updating during the Bush Administration. Gates says the plans are “refreshed” and insists that “all options are on the table” with respect to the potential attack.

Pakistan, Iran finally sign gas pipeline accord
24.05.09. Dawn. After fourteen years of delayed negotiations over the Iran–Pakistan–India (IPI) gas pipeline project, Pakistan and Iran have finally signed the initial agreement in Tehran on Sunday. / … ‘The next phase was to sign the gas sales purchase agreement with Iran,’ member of the delegation told Dawn. / ‘Pakistan has already appointed a German designer is ‘ILF’ for the pipeline,’ petroleum ministry sources said, adding that the pipeline would enter Pakistan from its border near Gwader area to Nawabshah, which is the hub of gas pipelines in the country. / The IPI project was conceived in 1995 and after almost 13 years India finally decided to quit the project in 2008 despite a severe energy crises in that country. Pakistan is also facing severe criticism from the US over any kind of economic deal with Iran.

Iran to provide Gwadar Port 100MW free of cost
22.05.09. Bakhtawar Mian, Dawn. Iran has allocated a separate budget for supplying 100 megawatt electricity free of cost to Gwadar Port in Pakistan in order to ease the growing power crisis there. / The Minister said that Pakistan and Iran shared a long history of friendly relations and underscored the need to enhance mutual cooperation in various sectors of economy. He said that Pakistan was working to develop new communication links with Iran in order to increase its share of trade with the latter. / He informed the Ambassador that a new road connection with Iran through Makran Coastal Highway will be opened soon which he hoped will go a long way in bringing the people of the two countries closer together.

Military chief: Iran wants nuclear weapons
24.05.09. AP. President Barack Obama's top military adviser says Iran's objective is to obtain nuclear weapons - and that threatens the region.

ref North Korea Nuclear Test

Tested Early by North Korea, Obama Has Few Options
25.05.09. NY Times. [comment SM: The best option is for the US to stop crying wolf about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons?]

Report Ties Dubious Iran Nuclear Docs to Israel
03.06.09. Gareth Porter, IPS / ICH. A report on Iran’s nuclear programme issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month generated news stories publicising an incendiary charge that U.S. intelligence is underestimating Iran’s progress in designing a "nuclear warhead" before the halt in nuclear weapons-related research in 2003. That false and misleading charge from an intelligence official of a foreign country, who was not identified but was clearly Israeli, reinforces two of Israel’s key propaganda themes on Iran – that the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is wrong, and that Tehran is poised to build nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

Clinton: If Iran strikes Israel, expect retaliation
07.06.09. Haaretz. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Iran must expect full retaliation from a "a battery of nuclear weapons countries" should it ever attack Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that a new report on Iran by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog shows that the global body cannot be trusted to monitor the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

U.S. Dollars Support Iranian "Dissidents"
26.06.09. Ken Dilanian, USA / ICH. The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush. / The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to "promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran," according to documents on the agency's website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30.

Clinton calls for 'even stricter' Iran sanctions
08.07.09. AFP. Is window of opportunities given by Washington to Tehran about to close? The United States will call for "even stricter sanctions on Iran to try to change the behavior of the regime," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a TV interview broadcast in Venezuela.

Obama ends G8 with warning to Iran
11.07.09. Obama, speaking at the end of a G8 summit in Italy, said Iran should understand that world countries are "seriously concerned" over its nuclear work, and would not wait "indefinitely" to allow Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon. / He, however, said that G8 countries are united in their decision to negotiate with Tehran to resolve the international standoff over the Iranian nuclear issue. [Obama’s speeches, since day 1 of his Presidency, have been filled with ‘but’ and ‘however’ - morsels for those who still believe in “change”

US House passes limited Iran sanctions
12.07.09. Jerusalem Post. The House bill also includes $2.22b. in military aid to Israel, which comes on top of the $555 million allocated earlier this year, as part of the 10-year agreement governing US assistance to Israel.


Iran war : Resource Info (Updated to 23.04.07)

Will Israel Play Proxy in Iran? (updated 04.12.08)

Obama: Our “Seamless” President Elect (updated 28.11.08)

Who Is The President Elect - Obama or AIPAC? (updated 23.11.08)

Israel: Obama's Foreign Policy - No Change


The url to Iran: No Change in Obama's Diplomacy is
The shorter url is:

Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher in the UK. She is a member of the
BRussels Tribunal Advisory Committee


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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