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By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse

I don't watch Saturday Night Live. It airs a bit too late for me, and I am not much into comedy and satire, anyway. But many people do, mostly the younger generation, the educated professionals who do have the cultural sophistication to actually appreciate satire the way it is presented in shows such as Saturday Night Live, John Stewart's The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report.

When the Saturday Night Live sketches a political parody mocking the Senate Arms Services Committee's interrogation of Obama's Secretary of Defense nominee, Chuck Hagel, questioning his pro-Israel credentials, it is a ground-breaking, daring event. Even though the satirical sketch was not aired for obvious reasons, it did appear in full on Huffington Post and, as a consequence, on AOL. This was like an alarm bell or a wake-up call for a generation of Americans that is characteristically blase about foreign affairs and more concerned with the issues of everyday life.


It was also a first, as far as I know, when something that one of the arch Zionists, Abraham Foxman of Anti Defamation League, regards as obscenely anti-Semitic, receives any publicity at all, albeit short-lived, in the mass media. Of course we need to know that, according to Mr. Foxman, any expression regarding Israel other than total veneration of the Jewish state and its policies constitutes anti-Semitism!

Another significant first in the American political domain was when the President nominated Chuck Hagel as his next Defense Secretary, a man who clearly, openly and unequivocally puts America's best interests above even those of America's closest friends and allies, real or, as is the case with Israel, mythical; and this is truly, and very sadly, a first. Whether the Republicans and the Zionist cabal in the US Senate manage to tire the old warrior by filibustering or creating more obstacles for him to hurdle, the handwriting has already appeared on the wall. I hope Mr. Hagel has the old stamina to weather through his inquisitors' barrage.

These are interesting times, and there are subtle signs that the tide is actually shifting. In President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address, a whole paragraph was devoted to Iran.

" And we will safeguard America's own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran's nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent. Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations."

In this year's address, the issue of Iran was summarized in one sentence: " Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon."; and this time there was no mention that all options, meaning a possible military strike, was to remain on the proverbial table.

Even more significant is the fact that in both last year's and this year's addresses the wording that the President had used as a warning to Iran entailed no more than a benign redundancy: "preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon." Please note the major difference between the Zionist, and unfortunately also the Republicans, redline of Iran's capability to acquire nuclear weapons, and the President's choice of words, "getting a nuclear weapon".

The annual State of the Union speeches are among the most carefully drafted, even if they do not contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address, it wasn't a slip of the tongue when Bush lumped Iran with North Korea and Iraq as the Axis of Evil. I don't believe Dubya actually knew why the phrase was there or what ramifications it might have in his foreign policy decisions in the region. The speechwriter was the Zionist mole, the Canadian David Frum, who had interjected that phrase into the text.

In this year's Obama address, what I called a benign redundancy is, I believe, another well thought-out phrase, not by a crafty Zionist, and not a casual utterance by another Dubya, especially since the phrase is an exact copy of the phrase used in last year's address.

Why is it a benign redundancy?

There is absolutely no evidence that the intelligence agencies here, as well is in Israel, are wrong in their assessment that Iran is not in the process of developing a nuclear arsenal. The International Atomic Energy Agency has never even detected any sign that Iran is diverting any of its perfectly legal, under the NPT, enrichment activities toward weaponization. And, above all, Iran's supreme authority has issued a binding religious fatwa against the production of nuclear weapons. Iran's Foreign Minister, Salehi, has also offered to establish a secularized version of the fatwa as a constitutional amendment.

So, when Mr. Obama warns that the United Sates will take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, he is not actually threatening or anticipating to take any action in that regard: No action would be necessary, since Iran is not "getting a nuclear weapon", anyway.

The President also said in his address, " leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution,..".More appropriately, however, Mr. Obama might have rephrased that statement and declared: "We should realize that it is time for a rapprochement with Iran in a serious effort to reach a diplomatic solution........." Of course, that would have been too much to expect in the current political atmosphere.

Instead, Vice President Biden had rather undiplomatically - not that unusual for him - suggested that he would welcome a direct dialogue with the Iranians, if the Iranian leaders were serious: "There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy backed by pressure to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran's court." Emphasis added.

That kind of language was at best acrimonious or arrogant, and at worst begging for a harsh response from Tehran, which came promptly. The media here were anxiously waiting for the anticipated Iranian negative reaction to Joe Biden's offer for a direct dialogue and, by exaggerating and misrepresenting that reaction, made it appear as though the Iranian leadership was rejecting any chance for a meaningful dialogue out of hand.

The kind of dialogue the Iranian leadership is rejecting is the kind that does not fit the true definition of that word. Iran is not willing to bow under economic pressures or threats of regime change, admit defeat, capitulate and accept the terms dictated to it during a so-called dialogue.  More than once have the Iranian leaders openly welcomed the prospects of a direct dialogue with the United States, but always with an emphasis on fairness and good will, rather than under more threats and pressure.

The Vice President is wrong in assuming that the Iranians are reaching their breaking point and would be ready and willing to throw in the towel in a dialogue "backed by pressure", as he put it. In foreign diplomacy, you enter into a dialogue only when resolving the points of contention through negotiations is preferable to the use of force; otherwise why even bother. That being the case, both sides must see it equally beneficial to settle their differences peacefully, and the point of emphasis here is the word,equally. As I have stated before on several occasions, if launching a military attack on Iran was deemed rightly or wrongly as in any way beneficial for the United States or Israel, it would have happened by now, with or without any concern for permissions or approvals or international law; we've seen that happen before; haven't we?

There is no mystery about what the costs of another military encounter, this time against Iran, might be to the United States and its allies in the region and worldwide. Iran knows that, and so does Israel, the real culprit behind all the saber rattling. It is high time now to acknowledge that fact and to start on a new path away from suspicion and hostility and toward mutually productive understanding and cooperation with Iran.

Iran's own presidential elections are coming up this summer. There will be plenty of reshuffling within the Iranian administration by then, which should signify the nature and attitude of the new government, and even the degree of real authority exercised by the Supreme Leader in Iran's foreign relations.

Establishing a new direction in American foreign policy as evidenced in Mr. Obama's cabinet nominations and hinted at in his State of the Union address, will also take some time. Chuck Hagel, should he actually be voted in within the next week, will need adequate time to prepare the grounds for any change in the trajectory of America's foreign policies, in close cooperation with John Kerry's State Department.

Any face-to-face dialogue between the United States and Iran, therefore, may take place sometime in late summer or early fall this year. All the loose talk about a dialogue at this time is totally premature and baseless. However, preparing for such a direct dialogue should begin as soon as possible.

Kam Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
More information about Mr. Zarrabi and his work is available at:

One thing is for sure: the continuation of the unilateral economic sanctions and hostile rhetoric against the Islamic Republic is the surest way to avoid any diplomatic resolution to the points of contention in any potential direct dialogue between the United States and Iran.

Contrary to Vice President Biden's remarks that "the ball is in the government of Iran's court", it will be the Congress of the United States and its various committees and sub-committees that are stuffed with agents of special interest and the Zionist lobby and its tentacles, who will try to torpedo any attempt by the White House toward a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The ball is actually in the American court, and subject to being kicked back and forth as we are currently observing with regard to Chuck Hagel's nomination!

So, why is the President planning his first trip to Israel at this time? Perhaps it is to feed the beast and satiate its gluttonous appetite so that he can then concentrate on his own duties as America's Chief Executive.  

... Payvand News - 02/15/13 ... --

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