How to win my heart and mind. Gifts like this. #wonk
IR majors are so nerdy. I love it.
Jonathan Shainin speaks with Gary Samore, President Obama’s former arms-control coördinator, about the nuclear agreement and its implications: http://nyr.kr/IcD6Ry
Above: E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrive for a statement in Geneva. Photograph by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty.
"Iran already has the ability to create nuclear weapons, additional sanctions won’t help, and military action against Iran would be foolhardy in the extreme.
What’s left to do?
Smother ‘em with love.
I’m not kidding. Iran seems — finally — genuinely interested in seeking ways out of the current impasse. Maybe that’s due to the bite of recent sanctions, maybe it’s due to Iranian fears of a military strike, or maybe the Iranians are just plain tired of being international pariahs. But right now, Iran is looking for face-saving ways to reach a deal.
Let’s help them. We should seek to enmesh Iran so tightly in economic and cultural partnerships with the United States and international community that future hostilities become unthinkable.
In exchange for Iranian concessions on uranium enrichment, we should offer not only an end to sanctions, but a roadmap toward full normalization of U.S.-Iranian relations. This can’t happen overnight-and as with the removal of sanctions, steps toward normalization can be reevaluated if Iran reneges on its promises. But steps toward normalization should start soon, with small-scale, mutually respectful confidence-building measures that go beyond those directly linked to Iran’s nuclear program.”
This is the best thing about Iran I’ve read in a minute.
With a 15-minute phone call on Friday, presidents Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama publicly signaled a readiness to engage after 34 years of venomous rhetoric and diplomatic silence between Iran and the United States. The day before, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat with his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. In return for a deal that would establish enforceable standards to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, Iran expects significant sanctions relief. “In the endgame,” Zarif said after the meeting, Iran wants “a total lifting of sanctions.” In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Kerry affirmed that Iran and the U.S. could reach a deal in the next three to six months—sooner, even, if Iran is “forthcoming and clear” in its negotiations.
But shifting from the stick of crippling economic sanctions to the carrot of sanctions relief is a complicated and slow process, and it would be challenging for the process to keep up with the pace of a swift rapprochement.
Iran’s economy has been targeted by sanctions since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and its prolonged separation from the world economy has taken a toll on the country. Today, unemployment is at 20 percent and inflation above 30 percent. A ban on selling aircraft or repair parts to Iran has contributed to 14 crashes and more than 1,000 fatalities in the past 16 years. Medicine is more scarce and more expensive than ever, and basic staples such as fruit, sugar, and poultry have seen their prices triple or quadruple since a renewed round of sanctions in 2012. “These sanctions are violent, pure and simple,” Rouhani said during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. “It is the common people who are victimized by these sanctions.” Zarif has made it clear that sanctions relief is Iran’s first priority in these negotiations.
But in reality, 34 years of sanctions are very difficult to disentangle.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Ahead of Iran’s presidential election in June, President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei are squabbling over the succession. Ahmadinejad wants Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, his chief of staff, to run but Khamenei disapproves. Regardless of who wins, the real loser will be Iranian democracy.
RSS readers take raw feeds of data—headline, text, timestamp, etc.—and display that information in a stripped-down interface along with many other feeds, which is what makes them so efficient. (Here is the RSS feed for Quartz.) Less obvious is how many RSS readers, including Google’s, serve as anti-censorship tools for people living under oppressive regimes. That’s because it’s actually Google’s servers, located in the U.S. or another country with uncensored internet, that accesses each feed. So a web user in Iran just needs access to google.com/reader in order to read websites that would otherwise be blocked.
Read more. [Image: AP]
Amos Chapple is a travel photographer who made the following pictures over the course of three visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran between December 2011 and January 2013. The New Zealand freelancer said he “was amazed by the difference in western perceptions of the country, and what I saw on the ground… I think because access for journalists is so difficult, people have a skewed image of what Iran is — the regime actually want to portray the country as a cauldron of anti-western sentiment so they syndicate news footage of chanting nutcases which is happily picked up by overseas networks. For ordinary Iranians though, the government is a constant embarrassment. In the time I spent there I never received anything but goodwill and decency, which stands in clear contrast to my experience in other middle eastern countries. I met an American special forces soldier in Kyrgyzstan last year who said when it comes to the Middle East, America has the wrong friends and the wrong enemies.” [Above] is a selection of Chapple’s recent photographs of Iran, captions provided by the photographer.
Read more. [Images: Amos Chapple]
Furious Iran photoshops Michelle Obama’s dress as it decries First Lady’s presentation of Argo Oscar
Michelle Obama’s virtual appearance at the Oscars has angered not just conservative critics but one of America’s greatest foes — Iran.
Last year Iran celebrated its first Oscar for the film A Separation. But this year, the country’s media decried the choice of Argo for Best Picture and director Ben Affleck’s comment in his acceptance speech that people in Iran are living in “terrible circumstances.”
It didn’t help that the First Lady opened the envelope.
“In a rare occasion in Oscar history, the First Lady announced the winner for Best Picture for the anti-Iran Film Argo, which is produced by the Zionist company Warner Bros,” Fars News said, revealing what they really think about the powers that be in Washington and Hollywood. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images // FARS)
I want to be Iran’s first human astronaut: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he’s ready to be the first Iranian astronaut sent into space as part of Iran’s goal of manned space flight.
Ahmadinejad says he’s willing to sacrifice his life for Iran’s ambitious space program.
His comments were reported on Monday by the official IRNA news agency.
Iran sent a monkey into space last Monday, describing the launch a successful step toward Tehran’s plan to send an astronaut into space within the next five to six years. (Mohammad Agah/IRNA/AFP/Getty Images)