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Can Washington Reciprocate Iran's 'Constructive Engagement'?

Rohani

As New York prepares for the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly next week, the volume of Western media speculation about the prospects for a U.S.-Iranian diplomatic breakthrough is mounting to impressive levels.  Predictably, much of this speculation amounts to little more than wondering how many concessions the Islamic Republic’s new president, Hassan Rohani, is willing and will be able to make, especially on the nuclear issue.

As usual, we prefer looking at facts and authoritative statements of official positions over the speculation of journalists and pundits.  In this spirit, we want to highlight a few passages from President Rohani’s much noted Op-Ed in the Washington Post earlier this week, see here.
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Lawrence Wilkerson Interview: 'John McCain and Lindsey Graham Need to Shut Their Mouths'

Wilkerson Mic
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Wilkerson Report. Now joining us is Larry Wilkerson. He was the former chief of staff to Colin Powell and is an adjunct professor at William & Mary College. Thanks for being with us, Larry.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Good to be here.

DESVARIEUX: So, Larry, what we'd like to discuss this week is the Iranian government's attempts to thaw relations with the U.S. They've actually sent out Rosh Hashanah greetings to Jews. They've sent worldwide--they've released political prisoners, exchanged letters with President Obama, praised flexibility in negotiations, and transferred responsibility for nuclear negotiations from the conservatives in the military to the Foreign Ministry. So a lot of people are talking that this could be a real change of Iranian attitude. What do you make of this? Does this represent a real opening for a deal?

WILKERSON: I think so. I think putting Salehi into the Atomic Energy Organization and putting Zarif into the Foreign Ministry and giving the Foreign Ministry responsibility for negotiations are major moves and major signs that Iran is ready to seriously negotiate. I think President Obama has done the proper things. I think the exchange of letters probably, if we knew what those letters said, would cement this new opening. And I hope we go positively from here on. I know there are people arrayed across the spectrum in this country--and certainly there are similar people in Iran--who don't want negotiations to succeed, so it'll be a tough route. But I hope it shows some progress, and I hope it ultimately produces a diplomatic solution.
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Ron Paul Institute at LPAC Conference

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is participating in the Liberty Political Action Conference this weekend. Founder and CEO Ron Paul visits our booth. So many wonderful people interested in our work!

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More photos here.
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Ron Paul With Charlie Rose: 'The Meaning of Non-Interventionism'

Do not miss Ron Paul's extensive interview on the Charlie Rose show. He gives the best yet definition of his personal philosophy, called "non-interventionism," which also is the philosophical framework of his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He also offers important insights on Syria and his amazing new education freedom book.
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Serving America’s War Machine

Lockheed

For many years, I regarded “think tanks” as a godsend. As a news reporter chasing deadlines, I’d regularly call their “experts” for quotes. Usually, they could give me a few succinct lines that appeared to lend a story some intellectual heft.

Then I started asking: who do these “experts” really represent? Can outfits financed by major corporations be independent?

Security and Defence Agenda (SDA) describes itself as a “neutral platform” for discussing military matters.  Analysts with the Brussels-based think tank appear happy nonetheless to sound a bellicose note that chimes with the interest of those weapons manufacturers funding their activities.

Shada Islam, SDA’s “strategic advisor”, appeared on Euronews recently, where she argued that “several surgical strikes” should be undertaken against Syria (the interview was conducted before the US-Russia deal on removing Syria’s chemical weapons). Referring to Bashar Assad, the Syrian president, Islam said: “We have an international treaty which bans the use of chemical weapons. If this man has really used them, we have a moral treaty obligation to act. If the West, if the international community, does not act, turns a blind eye to the use of poison gas, what message are we sending to other despots and dictators?”


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Five Lies Invented to Spin UN Report on Syria

UN Syria

As predicted days before the UN’s Syrian chemical weapons report was made public, the West has begun spinning the findings to bolster their faltering narrative regarding alleged chemical weapon attacks on August 21, 2013 in eastern Damascus, Syria.

The goal of course, is to continue demonizing the Syrian government while simultaneously sabotaging a recent Syrian-Russian deal to have Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles verified and disarmed by independent observers. A barrage of suspiciously worded headlines attempt to link in the mind of unobservant readers the UN’s “confirmation” of chemical weapons use in Syria and Western claims that it was the Syrian government who used them. Additionally, the US, British, and French governments have quickly assembled a list of fabrications designed to spin the UN report to bolster their still-unsubstantiated accusations against the Syrian government.The BBC’s article, “US and UK insist UN chemicals report ‘blames Syria’,” again states unequivocally, [emphasis added]:

The UN report did not attribute blame for the attack, as that was not part of its remit.

However, that did not stop UK Foreign Secretary William Hague who claimed:

From the wealth of technical detail in the report – including on the scale of the attack, the consistency of sample test results from separate laboratories, witness statements, and information on the munitions used and their trajectories – it is abundantly clear that the Syrian regime is the only party that could have been responsible.

And US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power who stated:

The technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is also quoted as saying:

When you look at the findings carefully, the quantities of toxic gas used, the complexity of the mixes, the nature, and the trajectory of the carriers, it leaves absolutely no doubt as to the origin of the attack.


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RPI at the Liberty Political Action Conference

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity will have a booth at the conference and host a reception on Saturday at 5:30 PM. Executive Director Daniel McAdams will participate in the panel discussion "Working for Dr. Ron Paul" on Friday, September 20. RPI contributors Chris Rossini and Adam Dick will also be on hand at the RPI booth so stop in and meet us.
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A Short History of the War on Syria, 2006-2014

Assad Rally

In 2006 the U.S. was at war in Iraq. Some of the enemy forces it very much struggled to fight against were coming in through Syria. The same year Israel lost a war against Hizbullah. Its armored forces were ambushed whenever they tried to push deeper into Lebanon while Hizbullah managed to continuously fire rockets against Israeli army position and cities. Hizbullah receives supply for its missile force from Syria and from Iran through Syria. Its long-term plans to attack Iran and to thereby keep supremacy in the Middle East depend on severing Hizbullah's supply routes. The sectarian Sunni Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, saw their Sunni brethren defeat in Iraq and a Shia government, supported by Iran, taking over the country.

All these countries had reason to fight Syria. There were also economic reasons to subvert an independent Syria. A gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey was competing with one from Iran to Syria. Large finds of natural gas in the coastal waters of Israel and Lebanon make such finds in Syrian waters quite plausible.

In late 2006 the United States started to finance an external opposition to Syria's ruling Baath party. Those exiles were largely members of the Muslim Brotherhood which had been evicted from Syria after their bloody uprising against the Syrian state between 1976 and 1982 had failed. In 2007 a plan for regime change in Syria was agreed upon between the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The aim was to destroy the "resistance" alliance of Hizbullah, Syria and Iran:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

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