01 February 2007

Questions for Mary Dejevsky regarding: "The Big Question: Does the US intend to attack Iran, or is it only sabre-rattling?"

Dear Mary Dejevsky

I have an online blog and would like to ask you some questions regarding the above named article, in which you list a series of falsities masquerading as facts. The article is also littered with suppositions, why is there no caveat?

"US charges" (makes an assertion against), "Iran's alleged support", "Washington claims", "The US also objects to what it sees", "Behind these accusations lies a greater concern", "the fear that", "the deep resentment", "is also seen by some" (who exactly?), "Others see the "surge" as", "Iran's...priority, so far as can be judged" (it can't unless you are in the Iranian government), "in an announcement that seemed to cock a snook ", "While the US seems to be cultivating", "Iran's response suggests that the regime", "Mr Ahmadinejad seems to have lost some authority", "It is not hard to imagine", "Israel is seen by some as a power that could do Mr Bush's dirty work in Iran ",

The questions are:

1. Regarding the question in the title, why do you include the word 'only' before sabre-rattling?

'Sabre-rattling', as you call it, is in fact the threat of the use of force, which as you well know is prohibited under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Why did you not state this? It only gives the appearance that you approve of actions that are illegal under international law.

2. You state "the US seems to be cultivating a deliberate ambiguity vis a vis Iran - speaking loudly while carrying a very small stick".

"a very small stick"? It's interesting to see how you describe US gunboat diplomacy: 2 aircraft carrier groups - some 50 ships - , at least 4 nuclear submarines, a squadron of F-16's in Turkey, all with nuclear weapons capability, as 'a very small stick'. What would you call a big stick?

3. You state: "The temptation to talk big must be great. The risks associated with such a stance, however, were illustrated all too graphically by Saddam Hussein"

Actually the risks were illustrated by the US aggression not Saddam Hussein. The historical record counts for little it seems.

4. You state: "It is true that Israel has taken a hawkish stance towards Iran, largely because of Mr Ahmadinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map"."

This is nonsense. As you well know Israel's hawkish stance is primarily to do with its intentions for hegemony and domination in the region.

Why do you repeat US/Israeli propaganda? As you must be well aware, this deliberate use of a mistranslation as a 'casus belli' is both immoral and repugnant. To merely relay this propaganda yet again speaks volumes about the Independent's desire for fair and balanced reporting.

Why has the Independent never passed the Farsi version of the speech to a minimum of 3 independent, academic Farsi experts to have it independently analysed so that the question can be settled once and for all? Its the very least the Independent could do if it genuinely wants to avoid a nuclear aggression in the Middle East, I mean this is a fundamental issue, and a leading British newspaper does not even bother to search for the truth? There is abundant evidence in the public domain.

Why do you not report that the translation of the "wiped off the map" phrase is disputed and has been refuted by Iranian authorities?

5. You ask a further question: "Precisely what does the US have against Iran?"

Now, it is entirely unclear what you mean by this question? Do you mean by this what proof does the US have or do you mean what beef does it have? Because if you mean proof, there is none. But you do not specifically state this, which gives the effect that the claims are true. What do you mean?

6. You state: "Iran has defied the IAEA and the UN; it is in clear breach of its international legal obligations."

This is once again nonsense, and it is irresponsible in the extreme to publish false and misleading information.

Iran's international legal obligations are set out in the NPT. El Baradei stated to Reuters on 30 March 2006: 'Nobody has the right to punish Iran for enrichment. We have not seen nuclear material diverted to a nuclear weapon' .

The issue of Iran's nuclear activities was reported to the Security Council as a result of a resolution passed by the IAEA Board on 4 February 2006. This requested El Baradei to inform the Security Council that certain steps, defined in paragraph 1 of the resolution, were 'required of Iran' (and to send the Security Council all future IAEA reports and resolutions about Iran). Chief among these steps is the re-suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

None of these steps are 'required of Iran' under the NPT. The resolution itself makes this clear in paragraph 5, where the steps are referred to as 'confidence-building measures, which are voluntary, and non legally binding' .

In other words, Iran was reported to the Security Council, not because it refused to take measures required by the NPT, but because it refused to take measures that were explicitly stated to be voluntary and not required by the NPT .

Iran first agreed to the suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities in November 2004, when it signed the Paris Agreement with the EU (represented by UK, France and Germany). This suspension was a voluntary act of goodwill on the part of Iran while negotiations with the EU were taking place.

The Paris Agreement itself states: "'The E3/EU recognize that this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation …. In the context of this suspension, the E3/EU and Iran have agreed to begin negotiations, with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement on long term arrangements ."

Iran's only crime was to voluntarily resume what it had voluntarily suspended in November 2004. If Iran is forbidden to enrich uranium by a mandatory Security Council resolution, that is tantamount to amending the NPT, without Iran's consent , to take away Iran's right to engage in nuclear activities for peaceful purposes. The NPT may need to be revised, but this should be done properly through the correct channels and in consultation with all the countries involved.

Further, you ignore the fact that all 5 permanent veto-holding members of the UN Security Council are themselves "in clear breach of (their) international legal obligations " (under Article VI of the NPT), again, as you must be well aware, Why is this not mentioned in the article? Is it not incredibly relevant?

7. You state: "A nuclear Iran would destabilise a region that is already highly volatile and encourage others to acquire nuclear weapons"

This statement is a supposition not a fact. But worse than that, why do you ignore the elephant in the room: the fact that a nuclear Israel is already destabilising the region and encouraging others to acquire nuclear weapons by its own nuclear weapons?

8. You state: " Iran, with its particular strain of militant Islam, is a menace not just to the US, but to wider western interests, and should be curbed"

You do not explain this strange assertion. In what way is Iran a menace to the US? What are the "wider western interests" you talk about and most importantly are they legitimate?

9. Finally, nowhere in the article do you mention US policy of regime-change in Iran - as in Iraq - its real intention. Why is that? In fact, the historical record tells us that the US, with the UK, have continuously intervened in the region to install pro-western undemocratic regimes: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, the Gulf States, Iran itself in 1953, etc. in complete defiance of international law.

I would be grateful for your comments.

Yours Sincerely

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