iran

  Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales shares his account of grappling with the critical decisions that helped navigate the Bush Administration through national crisis, politics, and war in his new book: True Faith and Allegiance, A Story of Service and Sacrifice in War and Peace.

Gonzales is the former Attorney General of the United States and former Counsel to the President and is the only lawyer and only Hispanic to hold both these positions.

Herbert London: Obama’s Grand Illusion

Aug 10, 2016

President Obama emerged from his White House Utopia to tell Americans his $400 million cash payment to Iran was not a ransom payment for the return of five Americans held hostage. Even if true – a highly dubious truth – there are questions that emerge from the incident that the president has not and will not address.

In a commonly told Israeli joke or aphorism, two taxi drivers come to an impasse on a single road. The first driver says move aside so I can pass; the second driver says the same. Emotions explode. After hurling insults, the first driver leaves his cab with fists flailing. He sees a Jew seated in the back of his rival’s taxi and proceeds to beat him up. The second driver upset by what he observed, gets out of his cab and heads for his rival’s taxi. Quite coincidentally, there is also a Jewish passenger in the back seat and he too is beaten up. What is the moral of this story?

If one believes the fantasy conjured by the vivid imagination of Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, the Iranians who have negotiated the nuclear deal with the P5+1 are “moderates”, different from the Supreme Leader the other and extremists in this revolutionary nation. Most significantly, these “moderates” can be trusted.

Herbert London: Iran Vs. Saudi Arabia

Mar 9, 2016

The trial and subsequent execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimir has led to a storm of protest leading to the destruction of the Saudi embassy in Tehran. While Iranian president Hassan Rouhani condemned the attacks as “unjustifiable,” this statement did not mollify Saudi leaders. In fact, the Saudi foreign minister said his nation is severing all diplomatic ties with Iran. Iran’s supreme leader warned that the execution will result in “divine vengeance.”

Although they often disagreed, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had a mutually agreeable conversation – when the mantle of authority was being transferred (1800) – over the impressment of American seaman by Muslim leaders in North Africa. As U.S. commercial interests in the Mediterranean increased at the beginning of the 19th century, our ships were seized and seamen were forced into imprisonment and slavery.

Herbert London: Los Abandonados Of Argentina

Jan 6, 2016

In 1994 the western hemisphere suffered its worst terrorist attack up to that time. A massive car bombing destroyed the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society, killing 85 people and leaving hundreds wounded.

Herbert London: Iran Cheats Again

Dec 16, 2015

Despite the murder of at least 1200 Americans, including service personnel at Khobar Towers; despite lying about its nuclear weapons program; despite the largest terrorist attack in the western hemisphere before 9/11 that killed 85 Argentinians; despite support for Hamas and Hezbollah attacks against Israel; despite trumped up charges  against Americans who have been imprisoned or murdered; despite being a refuge for al Qaeda leadership; despite the apparent murder of Alberto Nisman who was investigating the terror attack in Buenos Aires; despite the cries of “death to America;” despite repeated cyber attacks against the U.S. ; despite the export of weapons to Syria and Yemen in violation of the arms embargo; despite the egregious violation of the nuclear accord with the UN Security Council with the testing of nuclear capable ICBMs; despite all of this and so much more that hasn’t been mentioned, the United States continues to assert that with the nuclear deal now completed – albeit still not signed by Iranian leaders – Iran will enter the ranks of a responsible nation.

Herbert London: Blindness In The Rationalist Tradition

Sep 30, 2015

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have conceded that some portion of the money released to Iran through the lifting of sanctions will result in “bad behavior,” a euphemism for terrorism. The supposition of the president’s team is that despite the bad behavior, Iran, unconstrained by sanctions, will in time join the community of responsible nations. In other words our concessions will yield a positive response from the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his acolytes.

 The Iran vote was one of the most contentious of this entire term.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock why he supported the agreement. 

After the Labor Day weekend, both the House and Senate will begin debating a resolution of disapproval of the nuclear agreement between Iran and China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States and the European Union.  Later they will vote on the deal.  Millions of dollars are being spent by various lobbying groups to defeat it.  Much less is being spent by supporters.   (It is important to remember that this is not an agreement just between the US and Iran --- the US had many partners in this negotiation.)

Pat Bradley/WAMC

With more federal lawmakers announcing their positions by the day,  a small rally was held in downtown Plattsburgh Wednesday, part of a national day of action to support the nuclear agreement with Iran.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

  Iran is the biggest issue during Congress’ summer recess.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Republican Elise Stefanik tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that she thinks it’s a bad deal.

After a lot of arm twisting, the Gulf Arab states publicly backed the Obama administrations nuclear agreement with Iran. On the surface, this appears as a diplomatic victory for the president as he seeks to build support for his signature foreign policy initiative. But is this true?

WAMC Photo

Last week, New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced that he will oppose the nuclear deal negotiated by the United States, its allies and Iran.  Schumer is the highest ranking Democrat to say he will vote no on the deal.  

New York State Assembly

Authorities say eight people, including a state politician, have been arrested at a Manhattan demonstration against the proposed U.S. deal with Iran.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/iran-deal

The nuclear deal with Iran outlined by President Obama earlier this month remains a contentious issue in Washington as Congress eyes a vote on the agreement.

Stephen Gottlieb: Future Oriented Diplomacy Toward Iran

Jul 22, 2015

We did something that infuriated Iranians in 1953 by organizing a coup removing their democratically selected Prime Minister. They did something that properly infuriated us in 1979 by taking our embassy staff hostage. George Bush announced that Iran was part of the Axis of Evil. So now is the die cast? Are we doomed to permanent enmity? Trapped in stereotypes and hatred, too many see no way to a better future except by deepening the conflict with every kind of force.

The deal to rein in Iran’s nuclear program reached last week has been both hailed as an historic agreement and decried as a disaster for U.S. foreign policy. With Secretary of State John Kerry due to travel to the Middle East early next month, the U.S. is working hard to convince allies in the region that the accord is the right move. But there’s also a domestic debate, with many members of Congress promising to pore over the deal before rendering judgment. Already busy trying to shape that debate is the liberal advocacy group J-Street, which supports a two-state solution in Israel as a road to peace. Dylan Williams is Vice President of Government Affairs for J-Street and is a former U.S. Senate staffer.

The agreement has been announced, but the many details of the nuclear deal  between Iran and six world powers will be looked over and scrutinized in the coming weeks. Professor James Ketterer, the director of International Academic Initiatives at Bard College, says there are many moving parts to the agreement.

Herbert London: What We Will Do For A Deal

Jul 1, 2015

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei publicly rejected a key component of the nuclear deal when he said: “We don’t accept a 10 year restriction” on the development of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he noted, “all economic, financial, and banking sanctions implemented either by the United Nations Security Council, the United States Congress or the administration, must be lifted immediately when the deal is signed.” Both of these unequivocal statements clearly challenge understandings in the framework.

With the so-called “deadline” approaching, questions regarding the P5+1 framework abound. Perhaps several answers will be available when the details are hammered out at the end of June, but, from all accounts, that is unlikely.

Stephen Gottlieb: Iranian-American Diplomacy

Jun 16, 2015

My wife and I are back from a reunion of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who had served in Iran, and a conference with some of this country’s experts about Iran.

  

  In The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism--From al Qa'ida to ISIS, recently retired Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Morrell uses his talents to offer an unblinking and insightful assessment of CIA's counterterrorism successes and failures of the past twenty years.

  Americans continue to debate the Iran nuclear framework.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Vermont representative Peter Welch tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that trust is not part of the equation.

This interview was recorded on Tuesday, hours before Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders joined the presidential field.

   President Barack Obama gave an address this morning about the drone strike in Pakistan that killed hostages from U.S. and Italy.

To discuss that and other topics we welcome James Ketterer – the director of international academic initiatives at Bard College. He previously served as AMIDEAST country director in Egypt and has worked in government, academia and international development.

Herbert London: Perception Is Strong, Sight Is Weak

Apr 22, 2015

For the cognoscenti, seeing is believing; what eyes see must be true. But recent events suggest vision is often flawed. In many cases believing is seeing; the mind casts a vision of what it wants to see. Reality becomes what one’s ideology shapes. Clearly events in Ferguson and the University of Virginia reinforce this assessment.

Michael Meeropol: Do We Really Want To Go To War With Iran

Apr 16, 2015

Let’s get real.  Do you want the US to go to war with Iran in a futile attempt to stop them from acquiring a nuclear weapon?   That’s what those who are trying to torpedo the deal that is being negotiated seem to want.   For most of the Republicans it appears that it is more important to damage President Obama than to avoid war.

Herbert London: Is War The Real Alternative?

Apr 15, 2015

Coruscating through the bloodstream of American history are wars that devastated the young and plunged the nation into despair. In World War II millions lost their lives across the globe. Recently thousands were casualties of the attenuated war in Afghanistan and the conflict in Iraq. Bodies were broken, minds impaired, suggesting yet again that war is hell.

4/14/15 Panel

Apr 14, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and Associate Editor of The Times Union, Mike Spain.

Scheduled topics include: Marco Rubio announces 2016 Presidential bid; four former Blackwater security contractors sentenced; Putin lifts ban on Russian missile sales to Iran; plan to shrink Rikers Island population; and TU headlines.

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