PDF-Version: selected 06.12.2019
Selected articles (December 06, 2019)
AcTVism: The Julian Assange Case
December 3, 2019
“In this video we compile excerpts of interviews that we conducted from 2018 to 2019 pertaining to the extradition case of Julian Assange and the implications it has on press freedoms and democracy. This compilation includes analyses from Abby Martin, Jill Stein, Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky. This video also includes statements from Edward Snowden, Srećko Horvat and Angela Richter that were recorded at a demonstration for Assange in Berlin on the 2nd of May, 2019. Edward Snowden’s written statement was read out by Angela Richter.”
Call to Action for International Days of Action Against Sanctions and Economic War – March 13 – 15, 2020
Sanctions are War!
End Sanctions Now!
“Sanctions are imposed by the United States and its junior partners against countries that resist their agendas. They are a weapon of Economic War, resulting in chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty. In every country, the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – suffer the worst impact of sanctions.
US imposed sanctions, violate international law and are a tool of regime change. They impact a third of humanity in 39 countries. They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements. They provide economic and military support to pro-US right-wing forces.
The US economic dominance and its +800 military bases worldwide demands all other countries participate in acts of economic strangulation. They must end all normal trade relations, otherwise they risk having Wall Street’s guns pointed at them. The banks and financial institutions that are responsible for the devastation of our communities at home drive the plunder of countries abroad.
Many organizations have been fighting Sanctions and Economic War for some time. NOW is an opportunity to combine efforts to raise consciousness on this crucial issue.
This broad campaign will include protests and demonstrations, lobbying, petition drives and all forms of educational efforts.
As an initial step for this campaign we encourage mobilizations and educational efforts to be organized for the International Days of Action against US imposed Sanctions and Economic War on March 13-15.”
IRAN, RUSSIA, CHINA, SYRIA AND HEZBOLLAH ARE THE US’S ENEMIES IN LEBANON
By Elijah J Magnier
November 25, 2019
„[…] Only China and Russia, the countries Feltman fears most, can bring financial hope to Lebanon. China has invested in Haifa harbour with a 25-year contract to expand its shipping capability, and in modernizing electricity power plants and public transport in Israel, spending $12.19 billion between 2005 and 2019.
China has signed a contract with Iraq to develop and complete 80 oil wells in the giant Majnoon Basra oil field at $54 million and another contract to drill 43 oil wells at $255 million to increase oil production rates to 400,000 barrels per day. It has signed a contract of $1.39 billion for housing, education and medical care for projects in Najaf, Karbalaa and Basra. The trade volume between Iraq and China surpassed $30 billion in 2017. China imports $20 billions of crude oil from Iraq every year, with a 10% increase in trade, rising every year.
Unlike Israel, the US’s top partner, Lebanese pro-US politicians are very sensitive about hurting Washington and therefore reject any Russian donation or important economic deals with China even though they could boost the crumbling Lebanese economy.[…]“
THE EXPLOSION IN LEBANON HAS BEEN DELAYED: UNTIL WHEN?
By Elijah J Magnier
November 27, 2019
„[…]Protestors have failed to offer a feasible plan themselves and caretaker Prime Minister Hariri is trying to punch above his parliamentary weight by seeking to remove political opponents who control more than half of the parliament. Lebanon has reached a crossroads where an exchange of fire is no longer excluded. The conflict has already claimed lives. Thanks to manipulation, Lebanon seems to be headed towards self-destruction.“
Between Solidarity and Absolution: An Interjection on the Western Left’s Response to the Recent Protests in Iran
By Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi
December 03, 2019
“The recent wave of protests in almost every Iranian province but two, and the brutal crackdown by the Iranian state security apparatus has once again divided opinion, analytically as well as politically, across the western left.[…]”
“[…]Questions of assigning blame and condemnation are important and cannot be dispensed with. The Iranian state ultimately bears responsibility for the violence it has unleashed against its own citizens. But it should also be understood how these mechanisms of condemnation hew closely to a liberal international legal order, itself incapable of challenging the Trump administration’s imperial de-development of Iran by means of a unilateral economic war and, in the coming years, perhaps worse. The examples of Iraq and the UN Oil for Food program, the invocation of Right to Protect in the case of Libya, and the restoration of Yemen’s “internationally recognized government” forcefully demonstrate the manner in which international legalese is summoned to the ends of collective punishment and military humanism. As long as we ignore these dynamics and our own imbrication within the global political economy of empire, and the commitment to change the modus operandi of our own states, we are missing a crucial part of the story.”
Do Fuel Prices Define the Fate of the People’s Politics in Iran?
By Omid Mehrgan and Setareh Shohadaei
Decemnber 03, 2019
“Widespread protests recently erupted in Iran in reaction to a three-fold rise in fuel prices. They were met with brutal government crackdowns. The immediate question to ask is why: what, if any, is the rationale behind this destabilizing economic policy under already severe economic and political pressure in the country? Most analyses are generally divided between two political explanations: the corrupt and authoritarian structure of the Islamic Republic in breach of its own constitution as well as international human rights laws; and the imperialist interventions of the United States in the form of sanctions, media funding, and regional wars. These two analytical frames, each harboring merits in their own right, provide a general context to the history of Iran since the 1979 revolution, but scarcely address the issue of fuel prices in 2019.[…]”
Roundtable: Iran’s Domestic Politics and Political Economy (Part 1)
By Arash Davari, Peyman Jafari, Ali Kadivar, Zep Kalb, Arang Keshavarzian, Azam Khatam, Saira Rafiee, and Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi
November 26, 2019
Much of the discussion about politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran focuses on the characteristics of “the regime” and the attitudes and beliefs of a select few political offices and organizations (e.g., the leader, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or particular political factions). Political economy is either relegated to the margins or reduced to macroeconomic indicators, such as oil revenue. With the ever-tightening US and international sanction regime, economic factors make their way into media accounts and policy papers, but only as a mechanism to “bring the Islamic Republic to the negotiation table” or a trigger for a revolutionary uprising. Despite the narrowness of this understanding of Iranian politics, the multitude of protests, strikes, and vociferous and courageous struggles by working-class communities and professional classes highlight the need to consider how political-economic fault lines run through society. They disaggregate “the mullahs” or “the regime” in important ways.
This two-part roundtable is organized to encourage discussion and research about how contemporary Iranian politics is shot through by localized as well as international debates about regulation, the provision of welfare, the consequences of sanctions, and demands for participation in policy-making. We have brought together five researchers who have studied Iran’s post-revolutionary politics as intimately connected with social formations and economic forces.“
Roundtable: Iran’s Domestic Politics and Political Economy (Part 2)
By : Arash Davari, Peyman Jafari, Ali Kadivar, Zep Kalb, Arang Keshavarzian, Azam Khatam, Saira Rafiee, and Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi
December 02, 2019
„It should be noted that this virtual roundtable took place in the first two weeks of November 2019 and, hence, predated the protests against the raising of gasoline prices that began on 15 November. We believe the participants offer critical insights and questions for understanding the context and conditions that made the current protests possible and, indeed, likely.
We have since asked the participants to assess the protests in relation to their earlier responses. Those assessments appear in response to Question 6 below.[…]“
Zarif Urges EU to Save Iranian Kids with EB Instead of Threats
By IFP Editorial Staff
December 2, 2019
“Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged European countries, Sweden in particular, to allow the sale of wound dressings to Iranian kids suffering from the epidermolysis bullosa (EB) instead of making threats against Iran.[…]”
Learning the Right Lessons from Protests in Iran
By The International Crisis Group
December 4, 2019
“[…] Iranian officials have noted to Crisis Group that the speed with which they were able to quiet the streets, regardless of the cost, should demonstrate to Washington that they are in full control. They claim that their swift crackdown, coupled with the string of attacks over the past few months on shipping lanes and energy infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, attributed to them by the U.S. and its allies, demonstrates their power at home and throughout the region, while showcasing their enemies’ vulnerabilities.
Washington seems to have reached an entirely different conclusion: that “maximum pressure” is working, as it starts to destabilise Iran as well as some of its allies in the region, and that now is the time to ratchet up, not relax, the pressure of sanctions. Tellingly, Washington has simultaneously blamed the Islamic Republic’s own policies – not its draconian sanctions – for the country’s economic crisis, expressed support for the protesters and evinced pleasure at the unrest in Iran. The perception of Iranian vulnerability is only reinforced by the protests in Iraq and Lebanon against the political establishments in those countries, which are at least in part supported by Tehran. Indeed, while the Iraqi and Lebanese protests are animated by widespread frustration with corruption and mismanagement, they also contain a strong thread of anti-Iranian sentiment.[…]”
IMF Executive Board Concludes 2018 Article IV Consultation with the Islamic Republic of Iran
March 29, 2018
Iran Reveals Details of $5 Billion Loan from Russia
By IFP Editorial Staff
November 28, 2019
“[…] Reza Ardakanian said on Wednesday the loan will be paid according to an agreement made in 2016 to receive a $5 billion loan from Moscow.
“In that year, the parliament allowed the government to get up to $5 billion in low-interest loan from Russia. The $2.2 billion loan was used with the agreement of the Russian government to operate Incheboroun-Garmsar electric railway and build a 2-megawatt power plant in Hormozgan Province,” added the minister.
Ardakanian also announced that the remaining $2.8 billion would be used to implement four other projects.
“Zahedan-Birjand Railway, Gotvand Olya Hydroelectric Power Plant with capacity of 640 MW as well as reconstruction of Ahwaz Ramin Power Plant and increase of its capacity to 160 MW are among these projects.”[…]”
Iran’s Barter Trade Deals with China, By-Passing the US-Dollar, “Dedollarizing” Her Economy
By Peter Koenig
November 27, 2019
„[…]In the face of a deeply divided Iran, barter deals with China, and why not with Russia, may be a first step towards a more serious move to de-dollarize, to decouple from the west. Iranian people deserve to live well, deserve to get out from under the misery-imposing boots of Washington. Even the Euro-centered and Washingtonites must recognize the US-western hypocrisy and realize that the US will never let go until she has a total grasp on Iran’s resources – that a resolute move to the east will give them relief from shortages of food, medicine – and western oppression and colonization.“
Iran’s Economic Resiliency Makes Talks More Likely
The Islamic Republic wants to negotiate from a position of strength. A rebound in 2020 might be just the ticket.
By Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
Oktober 25, 2019
“[…] At first glance, this seems to support the Trump administration’s claims that its “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign is bringing the Iranian economy to the brink of collapse. But this view is challenged by the IMF’s projection that the decline will halt in 2020, when Iran’s economy will rebound to zero growth—despite the sanctions.
A closer examination reveals an economic recovery is already underway, as stability returns to consumer prices, manufacturing, trade, and the Iranian currency. Somewhat counterintuitively, this could improve the prospects of talks between Iran and the U.S. A stable economy may reassure the Islamic Republic that it can negotiate from a position of some strength.[…]”
Iran’s economy plummets under weight of sanctions
By Shora Azarnoush
October 23, 2019
After two years of successive contraction, recent reports paint a grim outlook for Iran’s economy in 2020. Widespread sanctions have hit the economy hard and ordinary Iranians are bearing the burden of a recession.
Damage Inflicted to Iran Nuke Deal Will Backfire on Country-Participants‘, Analyst Warns
November 24, 2019
„The continuous attempts by the US to pressure Iran into following its guidelines through the imposition of sanctions are doomed to failure, say Iranian scholars Sajjad Abedi and Hassan Beheshtipour, following the revocation of Fordow plant waivers by Washington.“
European Parties Not Allowed to Use JCPOA Trigger Mechanism: Iran
By IFP Editorial Staff
November 28, 2019
Can The Iran Crisis Be A Blessing In Disguise For Europe?
By Eldar Mamedov
November 26, 2019
“[…]Popular protests in Iran came at a particularly delicate time for the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA). More than one year after the United States unilaterally withdrew and re-imposed extraterritorial sanctions against Iran, the JCPOA is hovering precariously on a brink of collapse. […]”
“[…] Since its inception, the Islamic Republic has weathered multiple crises. Current turmoil was provoked not by the American sanctions, but by the government-imposed 50 percent hike in fuel prices. Ironically, in implementing the measure, the Rouhani administration followed the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the very mainstay of American-led international financial order. As an economist Esfandiyar Batmanghelidj noted, doing so was fiscally sound, as Iran has unreasonably low petrol prices. According to the IMF, subsidies to maintain them eat up to 1.6 percent of Iran’s GDP. These protests are fundamentally of the same nature as anti-austerity revolts in other countries, such as, most recently, Egypt and Chile. Neither of these countries is an object of American sanctions, nor is there any external-promoted regime change drive.
This does not mean that there are no attempts to hijack legitimate economic grievances for regime change purposes. The fake news machine fueled by monarchist and Mujahedeen-e Khalk (MEK) trolls was in full swing trying to create an impression of a revolutionary situation. In addition, reckless statements by American officials, such as Richard Grenell, the ambassador in Germany, and Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran, gave credence to the hypothesis of external manipulation.[…]”
Iran May Be the Only Winner in Iraq
By Philip Giraldi
November 28, 2019
“[…]A remarkable 700 pages of documents relating to Iran’s role in Iraq has surfaced and was printed recently in The Intercept, which received the material, and also in The New York Times, which agreed to help validate and process the information.[…]”
“[…] As a former intelligence officer, my take on the story was to wonder why anyone should be surprised at what had happened. Iran, operating on internal lines from a position of strength, was working assiduously to infiltrate and place under control a neighboring country that had gone to war with it 30 years before and had killed half a million of its citizens. It was also working to penetrate and manage the new, hostile American presence which was sitting right next door. Spying on one’s friends and enemies alike and co-opting politicians is routine and expected from any competent intelligence service. It is precisely the same formula used by the United States, admittedly more openly, in Afghanistan to this day and also in Iraq after the invasion of 2003. […]”
“[…] If there is a lesson to be learned from the documents it is that if you blunder around the world breaking countries that you know little about, you will wind up with up doing more damage to yourself. It should have been obvious even in Washington that Iran, with its Shiite connection and first-rate intelligence service, would be well placed to convert Iraq into a Persian satrapy after the removal of Saddam Hussein, but imperial hubris at the Pentagon and White House did not permit any consideration of “What comes next?” ”