Tuesday, March 13, 2012

488 Mossad sponsors Iranian terror group to kill nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC

Mossad sponsors Iranian terror group to kill nuclear scientists, U.S.
officials tell NBC

(1) Mossad sponsors Iranian terror group to kill nuclear scientists,
U.S. officials tell NBC
(2) Mossad posed as CIA agents to recruit Iranian terrorists
(3) A nuclear Iran would not be a threat to Israel, but would curtail
its regional dominance
(4) U.S. To Israel: Don't attack Iran - let the tougher sanctions take hold.
(5) Israel says it would give Obama no more than 12 hours notice if it
attacks Iran
(6) Andrew Adler, in suggesting Mossad kill Obama, was articulating
Jewish frustration over not attacking Iran
(7) Mossad manufactures fake "U.S. intelligence" on Hezbollah threat in
Thailand
(8) Brzezinski: Israelis "bought influence" and outmaneuvered Obama
(9) Russia warns that Iran atrike could trigger 'Chain Reaction' which
destabilises the entire world
(10) India pledges to continue buying oil from Iran
(11) Japan hedges on Iran sanctions; says China and India won't comply

(1) Mossad sponsors Iranian terror group to kill nuclear scientists,
U.S. officials tell NBC


From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2012

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S.
officials tell NBC News

Thu Feb 9, 2012 6:16 AM EST

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET -- Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists
are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed,
trained and armed by Israel's secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC
News, confirming charges leveled by Iran's leaders.

The group, the People's Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a
terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American
servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of
the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since
2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site,
have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne
assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the
victims' cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama
administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct
involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People's
Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI.

{inset}
Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Iran's supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, describes what Iranian leaders believe is a
close relationship between Israel's secret service, the Mossad, and the
People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is considered a terrorist
organization by the United States.
{end inset}

"The relation is very intricate and close," said Mohammad Javad
Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme
leader, speaking of the MEK and Israel. "They (Israelis) are paying …
the Mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents … (are) providing Israel with
information. And they recruit and also manage logistical support."

Moreover, he said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training
MEK members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs. In one
case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian
nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves
with the layout prior to the attack.

Much of what the Iranian government knows of the attacks and the links
between Israel and MEK comes from interrogation of an assassin who
failed to carry out an attack in late 2010 and the materials found on
him, Larijani said. (Click here to see a video report of the
interrogation shown on Iranian televsion.)

The U.S.-educated Larijani, whose two younger brothers run the
legislative and judicial branches of the Iranian government, said the
Israelis' rationale is simple. "Israel does not have direct access to
our society. Mujahedin, being Iranian and being part of Iranian society,
they have … a good number of … places to get into the touch with people.
So I think they are working hand-to-hand very close. And we do have very
concrete documents."

Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News the MEK's role in the
assassinations, with one senior official saying, "All your inclinations
are correct." A third official would not confirm or deny the
relationship, saying only, "It hasn't been clearly confirmed yet." All
the officials denied any U.S. involvement in the assassinations.

As it has in the past, Israel's Foreign Ministry declined comment. Said
a spokesman, "As long as we can't see all the evidence being claimed by
NBC, the Foreign Ministry won't react to every gossip and report being
published worldwide."

For its part, the MEK pointed to a statement calling the allegations
"absolutely false."

Ali Safavi, a long-time representative of the MEK, underscored the
denial after publication of this article,

"There has never been and there is no MEK member in Israel, period," he
said. "The MEK has categorically denied any involvement. The idea that
Israel is training MEK members on its soil borders on perversity. It is
absolutely and completely false."

The sophistication of the attacks supports the Iranian claims that an
experienced intelligence service is involved, experts say.

In the most recent attack, on Jan. 11, 2012, Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan died
in a blast in Tehran moments after two assailants on a motorcycle placed
a small magnetic bomb on his vehicle. Roshan was a deputy director at
the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and was reportedly involved in
procurement for the nuclear program, which Iran insists is not a weapons
program.

Previous attacks include the assassination of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi,
killed by a bomb outside his Tehran home in January 2010, and an
explosion in November of that year that took the life of Majid Shahriari
and wounded Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who is now the head of Iran's
Atomic Energy Organization.

In the case of Roshan, the bomb appears to have been a shaped charge
that directed all the explosive power inside the vehicle, killing him
and his bodyguard driver but leaving nearby traffic unaffected.

Although Roshan was directly involved in the nuclear program, working at
the huge centrifuge facility between Tehran and Qom, Iran's religious
center, at least one other scientist who was killed wasn't linked to the
Iranian nuclear program, according to Larijani.

Speaking of bombing victim Ali-Mohammadi, whom he described as a friend,
Larijani told NBC News, "In fact this guy who was assassinated was not
involved in the nitty-gritty of the situation. He was a scientist, a
physicist, working on the theoretically parts of nuclear energy, which
you can teach it in every university. You can find it in every text."

"This is an Israeli plot. A dirty plot," Larijani added angrily. He also
claimed the assassinations are not having an effect on the program and
have only made scientists more resolute in carrying out their mission.

Not so, said Ronen Bergman, an Israeli commentator and author of
"Israel's Secret War with Iran" and an upcoming book tentatively titled,
"Mossad and the Art of Assassination."

{inset}
Israel has long used assassination against its enemies, "hoping that by
taking out individuals, they can alter, change the course of history,"
says Ronen Bergman, an Israeli commentator and author of "Israel's
Secret War with Iran" and an upcoming book tentatively titled "Mossad
and the Art of Assassination."
{end inset}

Bergman said the attacks have three purposes, the most obvious being the
removal of high-ranking scientists and their knowledge. The others:
forcing Iran to increase security for its scientists and facilities and
to spur "white defections."

He explained the latter this way: "Scientists leaving the project,
afraid that they are going to be next on the assassination list, and
say, ‘We don't want this. Indeed, we get good money, we are promoted, we
are honored by everybody, but we might get killed. It isn't worth it.
Maybe we should go back to teach … in a university.'"

There are unconfirmed reports in the Israeli press and elsewhere that
Israel and the MEK were involved in a Nov. 12 explosion that destroyed
the Iranian missile research and development site at Bin Kaneh, 30 miles
outside Tehran. Among those killed was Maj. Gen. Hassan Moghaddam,
director of missile development for the Revolutionary Guard, and a dozen
other researchers. So important was Moghaddam that Ayatollah Khamenei
attended his funeral.

Unlike the assassinations, Iran claims the missile site explosion was an
accident; the MEK, meanwhile, trumpeted it but denied any involvement.

Indeed, there may be other covert operations carried out either by
Israel acting alone or in concert with others, according to Bergman.

"Two labs caught fire," said Bergman, enumerating the attacks.
"Scientists got blown up or disappeared. A missile base and the R&D base
of the Revolutionary Guard exploded some time ago, with the director of
the R&D division of the Revolutionary Guard being killed along with …
his soldiers."

Bergman added, "So, a long series of … something that was termed by an
Israeli (Cabinet) minister … as ‘mysterious mishaps' happening and
rehappening to the project. Then the Iranians claim, ‘This is Israeli
Mossad trying to sabotage our attempts to be a nuclear superpower.'"

Dr. Uzi Rabi, director of the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, said
the supposed accidents could all be part of "psychological warfare"
conducted against Iran. "It seems logical. It makes sense," he said of
possible MEK involvement, "and it's been done before."

Rabi, who regularly briefs Israel's parliament, the Knesset, on Iran
also said the ultimate goal of the range of covert operations being
carried out by Israel is "to damage the politics of survivability … to
send a message that could strike fear into the rulers of Iran."

For the United States, the alleged role of the MEK is particularly
troublesome. In 1997, the State Department designated it a terrorist
group, justifying it with an unclassified 40-page summary of the
organization's activities going back more than 25 years. The paper, sent
to Congress in 1998, was written by Wendy Sherman, now undersecretary of
state for political affairs and then an aide to Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright.

The report, which was obtained by NBC News, was unsparing in its
assessment. "The Mujahedin (MEK) collaborated with Ayatollah Khomeini to
overthrow the former shah of Iran," it said. "As part of that struggle,
they assassinated at least six American citizens, supported the takeover
of the U.S. embassy, and opposed the release of the American hostages."
In each case, the paper noted, "Bombs were the Mujahedin's weapon of
choice, which they frequently employed against American targets."

"In the post-revolutionary political chaos, however, the Mujahedin lost
political power to Iran's Islamic clergy. They then applied their
dedication to armed struggle and the use of propaganda against the new
Iranian government, launching a violent and polemical cycle of attack
and reprisal."

U.S. officials have said publicly that the information contained in the
report was limited to unclassified material, but that it also drew on
classified material in making its determination to add the MEK to the
U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

The MEK and its sister organizations have since the beginning been run
by Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, a husband-wife team who have maintained
tight control despite assassination threats and internal dissent.
Massoud Rajavi, 63, founded the MEK, but since the U.S. invasion of Iraq
has taken a backseat to his wife.

The State Department report describes the Rajavis as "fundamentally
undemocratic" and "not a viable alternative to the current government of
Iran."

One reason for that is the MEK's close relationship with Saddam Hussein,
as demonstrated by this 1986 video showing the late Iraqi dictator
meeting with Massoud Rajavi. Saddam recruited the MEK in much the same
way the Israelis allegedly have, using them to fight Iranian forces
during the Iran-Iraq War, a role they took on proudly. So proudly, they
invited NBC News to one of their military camps outside Baghdad in 1993.

"The National Liberation Army (MLA), the military wing of the Mujahedin,
conducted raids into Iran during the latter years of the 1980-88
Iran-Iraq War," according to the State Department report. The NLA's last
major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in 1991,
when it joined Saddam Hussein's brutal repression of the Kurdish
rebellion. In addition to occasional acts of sabotage, the Mujahedin are
responsible for violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians."

"Internally, the Mujahedin run their organization autocratically,
suppressing dissent and eschewing tolerance of differing viewpoints," it
said. "Rajavi, who heads the Mojahedin's political and military wings,
has fostered a cult of personality around himself."

The U.S. suspicion of the MEK doesn't end there. Law enforcement
officials have told NBC News that in 1994, the MEK made a pact with
terrorist Ramzi Yousef a year after he masterminded the first attack on
the World Trade Center in New York City. According to the officials, who
spoke on condition of anonymity, Yousef built an 11-pound bomb that MEK
agents placed inside one of Shia Islam's greatest shrines in Mashad,
Iran, on June 20, 1994. At least 26 people, mostly women and children,
were killed and 200 wounded in the attack.

That connection between Yousef, nephew of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh
Mohammad, and the MEK was first reported in a book, "The New Jackals,"
by Simon Reeve. NBC News confirmed that Yousef told U.S. law enforcement
that he had worked with the MEK on the bombing.

In recent years, the MEK has said it has renounced violence, but Iranian
officials say that is not true, that killings of Iranians continue.
Still, through some deft lobbying, the group has been able to get the
United Kingdom and the European Union to remove it from their lists of
terrorist groups.

The alleged involvement of the MEK in the assassinations of Iranian
nuclear scientists provides the U.S. with a cloak of deniability
regarding the clandestine killings. Because the U.S. has designated the
MEK as a terrorist organization, neither military nor intelligence units
of the U.S. government, can work with them. "We cannot deal with them, "
said one senior U.S. official. "We would not deal with them because of
the designation."

Iranian officials initially accused the Israelis and MEK of being behind
the attacks, but they have since added the CIA to the list. Three days
after the Jan. 11, 2012, bombing in Tehran that killed Roshan, the state
news agency IRNA reported that Iran's Foreign Ministry had sent a
diplomatic letter to the U.S. claiming to have "evidence and reliable
information" that the CIA provided "guidance, support and planning" to
assassins directly involved in the attack.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton immediately denied any
connection to the killings. "I want to categorically deny any United
States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran," Clinton
told reporters on the day of the attack.

But at least two GOP presidential candidates have no problem with the
targeting of nuclear scientists. In a November debate, former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed "taking out their scientists," and former
Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called it, "a wonderful thing."

The MEK's opposition to the Iranian government also has recently earned
it both plaudits and support from an odd mix of political bedfellows.

A group of former Cabinet-level officials have joined together to
support the MEK's removal from the official U.S. Foreign Terrorist
Organization list, even taking out a full-page ad last year in the New
York Times calling for the removal of the MEK from the U.S. terrorist
list. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former U.S. Attorney General
Michael Mukasey, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; former Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former FBI Director Louis Freeh and former
Rep. Patrick Kennedy were among those whose signatures were on the ad.

"There's an extraordinary group of bipartisan or even apolitical
leaders, military leaders, diplomats, the United States … the United
Kingdom, the European Union, even a U.S. District Court in Washington,
said that this group that was put on the foreign terrorist organization
watch list in 1997 doesn't deserve to be there," Ridge said in November
on "The Andrea Mitchell Show" on MSNBC TV.

U.S. politicians also have been pushing the U.S. government to protect
the 3,400 MEK members and their families at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, about
35 miles north of Baghdad. With the departure of U.S. troops, the MEK
feared that Iraqi forces, with encouragement from Iran, would attack the
camp, leading to a bloodbath. At the last minute, however, agreement was
brokered with the United Nations that would permit the MEK members'
departure for resettlement in unspecified democratic countries. As of
this week, there's been little movement on the planned resettlement.

The Iranians see what's happening as terrorism and hypocrisy by the
United States. They have forwarded documents and other evidence to the
United Nations – and directly to the United States, they say.

"I think this is very cynical plan. This is unacceptable," said
Larijani. "This is a bad trend in the world. Unprecedented. We should
kill scientists … to block a scientific program? I mean this is disaster!"

Daniel Byman, a professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown
University and also a senior fellow with the Saban Center for Middle
East Policy at the Brookings Institution, said that if the accounts of
the Israeli-MEK assassinations are accurate, the operation borders on
terrorism.

"In theory, states cannot be terrorist, but if they hire locals to do
assassinations, that would be state sponsorship," said Byman, author of
the recent book, "A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli
Counterterrorism." "You could argue that they took action not to
terrorize the public, the purpose of terrorism, but only the nuclear
community. An argument could also be made that degrading the program
means that you don't have to take military action and thus, this is a
lower level of violence and that really these are military targets,
where normally terrorist targets are civilians."

But ultimately, Byman said, there is a "spectrum of responsibility" and
that Israel is ultimately responsible.

Ronen Bergman, while not speaking on behalf of the Israeli government,
suggests that there is a justification, citing an oft-repeated but
disputed quote in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's said
that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth.

"Meir Degan, the chief of Mossad, when he was in office, hung a
photograph behind him, behind the chair of the chief of Mossad," notes
the Israeli commentator. "And in that photograph you see -- an
ultra-orthodox Jew -- long beard, standing on his knees with his-- hands
up in the air, and two Gestapo soldiers standing -- beside him with guns
pointed at him. One of -- one of them is smiling.

"And Degan used to say to his people and the people coming to visit him
from CIA, NSA, et cetera, ‘Look at this guy in the picture. This is my
grandfather just seconds before he was killed by the SS,'" Bergman said.
"'… We are here to prevent this from happening again.'"

Richard Engel is NBC News' chief foreign correspondent; Robert Windrem
is a senior investigative producer.

(2) Mossad posed as CIA agents to recruit Iranian terrorists

From: ReporterNotebook <RePorterNoteBook@gmail.com> Date: 18 January
2012 11:10

False Flag

A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as
American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization
Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/13/false_flag

BY MARK PERRY | JANUARY 13, 2012

Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a
series of memos, written during the last years of President George W.
Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers
recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by
passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S.
intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and
toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah
operatives -- what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation.

The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and
another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and
debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction
of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah -- a Pakistan-based
Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S.
government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating
Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.

But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most
incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence
officers, the same was not true for Israel's Mossad. The memos also
detail CIA field reports saying that Israel's recruiting activities
occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in
London, the capital of one of Israel's ostensible allies, where Mossad
officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.

The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and
use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the
brazenness of the Mossad's efforts.

"It's amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with," the
intelligence officer said. "Their recruitment activities were nearly in
the open. They apparently didn't give a damn what we thought."

Interviews with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence
officers over the last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of
the Israeli false-flag operation. In addition to the two currently
serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli
false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence
officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli
intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.

The CIA and the White House were both asked for comment on this story.
By the time this story went to press, they had not responded. The
Israeli intelligence services -- the Mossad -- were also contacted, in
writing and by telephone, but failed to respond. As a policy, Israel
does not confirm or deny its involvement in intelligence operations.

There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign
aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged
connecting recent acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to
Jundallah. Many reports have cited Israel as the architect of this
covert campaign, which claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a
motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device under the car
of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The
explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in
the past two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind
these killings.

According to one retired CIA officer, information about the false-flag
operation was reported up the U.S. intelligence chain of command. It
reached CIA Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael
Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center. All three of
these officials are now retired. The Counterintelligence Center,
according to its website, is tasked with investigating "threats posed by
foreign intelligence services."

The report then made its way to the White House, according to the
currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush
"went absolutely ballistic" when briefed on its contents.

"The report sparked White House concerns that Israel's program was
putting Americans at risk," the intelligence officer told me. "There's
no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in
intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was
different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of
assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians."

Israel's relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush
administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence
officer noted. Israel's activities jeopardized the administration's
fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense
pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S.
claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks
in kind on U.S. personnel. ...

(3) A nuclear Iran would not be a threat to Israel, but would curtail
its regional dominance


From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012
Forwarded from Sara Roy

The Syrian Crisis and the New Cold War

By Patrick Seale

7 February 2012

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=50515

The Syrian crisis is no longer a purely Syrian affair. Its wider
dimension was highlighted on 4 February when Russia and China cast their
veto at the UN Security Council, thereby aborting a Western-backed Arab
resolution, which had called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
At a stroke, the debate was no longer simply about Syria's internal
power struggle. Instead, with their vetoes, Moscow and Beijing were
saying that they too had interests in the Middle East, which they were
determined to protect. The region was no longer an exclusive Western
preserve under the hegemony of the U.S. and its allies.

Russia has decades-old interests in the Middle East, in Syria in
particular. As a major customer of Iranian oil, China does not approve
of Western sanctions against Tehran. Nor does it take kindly to U.S.
attempts to contain its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. There is a
hint in the air of a revived Cold War.

The Syrian crisis has, in fact, been a two-stage affair from the very
beginning - internal as well as international. On the internal level,
the uprising has aimed to topple the regime on the model of Tunisia,
Egypt, Libya and Yemen. In this increasingly ugly struggle, both sides
-- government and opposition - have made serious mistakes. The
government's mistake was to use live fire against street protesters who
were -- at first at least -- demonstrating peacefully. The crisis could
perhaps have been defused with the implementation of immediate reforms.
Instead, mounting casualties have created enormous bitterness among the
population, reducing the chance of a negotiated settlement.

The opposition's mistake has been to resort to arms -- to become
militarised - largely in the form of the Free Syrian Army, a motley
force of defectors from the armed services, as well as free-lance
fighters and hard-line Islamists. It has been conducting hit-and-run
attacks on regime targets and regime loyalists. The exiled opposition
leadership is composed of a number of disparate, often squabbling,
groupings -- of which the best known is the Syrian National Council.
Inside the SNC, the Muslim Brotherhood is the best organised and funded
element of the opposition. Outlawed since its terrorist campaign in
1977-1982 to overthrow the regime of Hafiz al-Assad -- an attempt
crushed in blood at Hama -- it is driven by a thirst for revenge.

No regime, whatever its political colouring, can tolerate an armed
uprising without responding with full force. Indeed, the rise of an
armed opposition has provided the Syrian regime with the justification
it needed to seek to crush it with ever bloodier repression.

Casualties over the last eleven months have been heavy - estimated at
some 5,000 to 6,000 members of the opposition, both armed and unarmed,
and perhaps 1,500 members of the army and security forces. There is
necessarily an element of guesswork in these figures. As in all wars,
the manipulation of information has been much in evidence.

Inside Syria, therefore, the situation is today one of increased
violence by both sides, of sectarian polarisation, and of a dangerous
stalemate, slipping each day closer to a full-blown sectarian civil war.

The second level of the contest is being played out in the international
arena, where Russia and China, with some support from other emerging
powers such as India and Brazil, are challenging America's supremacy in
the Middle East. Washington's outrage at the challenge was evident when
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton angrily dismissed the Russian and
Chinese veto as a 'travesty'. Escalating the crisis, she called for an
international coalition to support the Syrian opposition against what
she described as the 'brutal regime' in Damascus. She has encouraged the
creation of a 'Friends of Syria' group, with the apparent aim of
channelling funds and weapons to Bashar al-Assad's enemies.

At the heart of the international struggle is a concerted attempt by the
United States and its allies to bring down the ruling regimes in both
Iran and Syria. Iran's 'crime' has been to refuse to submit to American
hegemony in the oil-rich Gulf region and to appear to pose a challenge,
with its nuclear programme, to Israel's regional nuclear monopoly. At
the same time, Iran, Syria and Hizballah -- partners for the past three
decades -- have managed to make a dent in Israel's military supremacy.
They have in recent years been the main obstacle to U.S-Israeli regional
dominance.

Israel has for years demonised Iran's nuclear programme as an
'existential' threat to itself and a danger to the entire world, and has
repeatedly threatened to attack it. Its fevered gesticulations have
pressured -- some might say blackmailed -- the United States and the
European Union into imposing crippling sanctions on Iran's oil exports
and its Central Bank.

The real issue, however, is one of regional dominance. Iran's nuclear
programme poses no particular danger to Israel. With its large nuclear
arsenal, Israel has ample means to deter any would be aggressor. Nor
would Iran willingly risk annihilation in a nuclear exchange. However, a
nuclear-capable Iran - even if it never actually built a bomb -- would
limit Israel's freedom of action, notably its freedom to strike its
neighbours at will.

Israel is at pains to restore its regional dominance which has recently
been somewhat curtailed. Its invasion of Lebanon in 2006 failed to
destroy Hizballah. Its 2008-9 assault on Gaza failed to destroy Hamas.
Worse still from Israel's point of view, the war attracted international
opprobrium and damaged Israel's relations with Turkey. The rise of the
Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has put at risk the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace
treaty which, by removing the strongest country from the Arab line-up,
guaranteed Israeli dominance for 30 years.

Israel's current strategy has been to get the United States to cripple
Iran on its behalf - in much the same way as America's pro-Israeli
neo-cons pushed the U.S. into war against Iraq, a country which Israel
had then considered threatening.

The U.S. has also suffered grave setbacks in the region: its
catastrophic war in Iraq; its unfinished conflict in Afghanistan; the
violent hostility it has aroused in the Muslim world, particularly in
Pakistan, Yemen and the Horn of Africa. It, too, is striving to retain
its pre-eminence over the oil-rich Gulf States. Some Washington hawks
may think that the overthrow of the Mullahs in Tehran would put the U.S.
and its Israeli ally back on top.

Because of their own apprehension of Iran, the Arab states of the Gulf
have allowed themselves to be drawn into the conflict. They seem to fear
that Iran may endanger the existing political order by stirring up local
Shi'a communities.With Qatar in the lead, they joined the U.S. and
Israel in their assault against Damascus and Tehran. But -- perhaps
belatedly aware that a regional war could be catastrophic for them --
there are signs that they are having second thoughts.

At last weekend's Munich Security Conference, Qatar's Minister of State
for Foreign Affairs, Khalid al-Attiyeh, declared that an attack on Iran
'is not a solution, and tightening the embargo will make the scenario
worse. I believe we should have dialogue.' That is the voice of reason.

(4) U.S. To Israel: Don't attack Iran - let the tougher sanctions take hold.

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/19/145450615/u-s-to-israel-give-iranian-sanctions-a-chance?ft=1&f=1001

U.S. To Israel: Give Iranian Sanctions A Chance

by TOM BOWMAN

January 19, 2012

The nation's top military officer, Gen. Martin Dempsey, is in Israel
where he's expected to send a clear message: Don't attack Iran, and let
the tougher sanctions take hold.

Dempsey's trip to Israel was scheduled weeks ago, but it comes at a
particularly sensitive time. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of
Hormuz, the key route for oil shipments, and has stepped up its naval
activities.

An Iranian nuclear scientist was recently killed by a drive-by assassin,
and Iran is blaming Israel.

President Obama has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
about what aides call "Iran-related developments."

"This is getting very dangerous," says Jon Alterman, a former State
Department official who runs the Middle East Program at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies. "All the senior people I know in
the U.S. government are starting to lose sleep over where this all might
go."

The greatest concern for U.S. officials is an Israeli attack on Iran's
nuclear facilities — which Iran insists are only for peaceful purposes.
An Israeli attack, said one Pentagon official, could result in what he
called blowback: Iranian agents striking U.S. military and diplomatic
personnel throughout the Middle East.

Some U.S. officials believe that an Israeli attack is more likely now,
because Iran appears to be stepping up its nuclear program — even hiding
portions of it deep inside a mountain.

In addition, the U.S. military has left Iraq and no longer controls
Iraqi airspace. Israeli warplanes could fly virtually directly across
Iraq — even without Iraq's permission — to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. ...

(5) Israel says it would give Obama no more than 12 hours notice if it
attacks Iran


Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2012 20:10:37 -0500 (EST) From: IHR News <news@ihr.org>

'Israel to Give Obama 12 Hours' Notice on Attacking Iran'

Aruz Sheva - Israel National News (Israel)

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/151965

Israel told visiting US Gen. Dempsey that Obama would get no more than
12 hours notice before an attack on Iran, the London Times reports.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

First Publish: 1/22/2012, 10:19 AM

Israeli officials told visiting USS Chief Joint of Staffs Martin Dempsey
that it would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice
if and when it attacks Iran, The London Times reported Sunday.

The Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States
an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to the report, the latest
in a number of suposed scenarios concerning cooperation or lack of it
between Jerusalem and Washington.

It is left to speculation whether the rumors are based on facts or are
leaked by officials to mask the possibility of secret military coordination.

The London Times said its sources explained that that Israel fears that
President Obama would try to torpedo an Israel attack if more notice
were given because he is concerned that Iran will respond by blocking
the Strait of Hormuz, sparking a rise in the price of oil that could
cripple Western economies. If the attack were to occur in the next 10
months, it would put President Obama in a tight spot on the eve of his
bid for re-election.

President Shimon Peres told Dempsey, "I am sure that in this fight
[against Iran] we will emerge victorious. It is a fight that does not
belong exclusively to the United States or Israel, but a global struggle
to create a safe world for all peoples.”

Dempsey, on his first official visit to Israel, was wined and dined by
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gants, who went
so far as to arrange an IDF orchestra rendition of song made famous by
Frank Sinatra, one of Dempsey’s favorite singers.

Dempsey tried to play down the postponement of what was billed as the
largest-ever joint military drill between the Israeli and American
armies, involving thousands of U.S. Army soldiers.

Published reasons for the delay have ranged from budgetary constraints,
logistical problems to a signal from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
that he distrusts President Obama’s commitment to stop Iran from
obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Dempsey maintained that the delay, which was announced by Israel, will
give both countries more time to prepare and “achieve a better outcome.”

The top American general left Israel on Friday, before the Sabbath began.

(6) Andrew Adler, in suggesting Mossad kill Obama, was articulating
Jewish frustration over not attacking Iran


http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/Outside-View/2012/02/07/Outside-View-Israels-frustration/UPI-77091328614260/

Israel's frustration

Published: Feb. 7, 2012 at 6:31 AM

By MORGAN STRONG, UPI Outside View Commentator

BRICK, N.J., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- An opinion piece written for The Atlanta
Jewish Times by the owner and publisher, Andrew Adler suggested three
possible options to ensure Israel's security in the Middle East.

They all called for the use of force. First attack Hamas and Hezbollah,
Second attack Iran, and the last, most peculiar of the options, that
Israeli Mossad agents in the United States assassinate U.S. President
Barack Obama.

Publically advocating the murder of an American president is a crime.
Adler made the threat, if it could truly be considered a threat,
publicly in his newspaper.

Adler was not arrested. Adler was not sent to the miltiary prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He resigned from the paper and went home.

More importantly than the witless threat is that the options reveal the
opinion the American Jewish community has of this president. They are
displeased with Obama. They are displeased because Obama is resistant to
Israel's demands to engage U.S. military force against Iran and his
attempt to stop further settlement by Israel on Palestinian lands.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been relentless in his
demands that Obama use military force against Iran. The stated reason is
to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The true reason is the
failure of the grand design Netanyahu had for Israeli dominance of the
Middle East.

While serving as an adviser to the first Netanyahu administration 1996,
Richard Perle a well-known neo-conservative, and former undersecretary
of defense in the Reagan administration, created a grand design for
Israel's dominance of the Middle East.

Called "A clean break, a new strategy for securing the realm" the plan
called for a series of military conquests, in cooperation with the
United States, which would ensure Israel's absolute dominance of the
region. The conquest and occupation of Iraq and Iran and the overthrow
of the remaining governments of the Middle Eastern states by less
obvious methods would allow Israel's domination.

Netanyahu has consistently advocated the use of force to insure the
safety of Israel. In his 1993 book "A Durable Peace" he argued that
peace with the Palestinians is meaningless. He believes peace wouldn't
be a palliative to the belligerent Arab states. Iraq and Iran would
remain in confrontation and continue to pose a threat to Israel's existence.

Israel couldn't hope to engage the Arab states alone. The difficulty for
Israel was how to induce the United States to implement the plan for
Israel's domination of the Middle East.

The neo-cons/Israeli lobby, the point of origin for the grand design,
enjoyed enormous influence in the Bush administration. The plan to
ensure Israel's domination of the Middle East began with their
successful agitation for the invasion of Iraq.

The invasion of Iraq has proved an utter, tragic failure. The failure
was compounded by the abject stupidity of the occupation. The neo-con
blueprint had fundamental flaws. The most egregious was their failure to
properly understand the dynamics, and potential of the Arab world. They
dramatically underestimated the capacity of Iran to exploit plans made
in ignorance of the realities of that world. Unexamined potentials and
variables, defy all planning.

Iranian domination of Iraq was ensured by the premature elections for
the governing body of Iraq. The Bush administration demanded elections
be held immediately following a self-defined, return to stability, to
show the world that the United States had established a free and
democratic Iraq. The Shiite majority of the population, allied with
Iran, and supported by Iranian money, won easily.

Iranian Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is now little more than an
Iranian puppet. He has made no effort to disguise his allegiance. In
January he pledged the support of Iraq to Bashar Assad in Syria, another
Iranian client state. U.S. influence over the government of Iraq is
non-existent. The only option left for Israel to succeed in mastering
the Middle East is to eliminate Iran.

Netanyahu remains an apostolate of a greater Israel, first dreamed of by
his mentor, Menachem Begin. Greater Israel requires the absorption of
the West Bank and Gaza into the present territory of Israel to recreate
the wholly fantasized biblical Kingdom of David.

The Kingdom of David glimpsed through the mist of millennia imagines the
realm as the glorious Kingdom of God. Scripture demands that the kingdom
be reborn to fulfill the prophecy of salvation.

King David's ethereal kingdom was in truth a small number of city
states, generally at odds with one another, with no cohesive element,
not even a religious commonality, which could serve to qualify it as a
kingdom. Myth, fervently believed, is a powerful aphrodisiac for those
who dream of Gods glory extant.

Obama has also made it very clear to Netanyahu that Israeli settlements
in Palestinian territory must stop. This thwarts Netanyahu's abiding
obsession. Netanyahu will use the influence and money available from the
Israeli lobby in this country to defeat him in the coming election.

The Arab Spring provides hope that Israel could find a more congenial
neighborhood in which to experience existence without threat of ruin.
Netanyahu has publically stated that he is opposed to the liberation of
the Arab people from tyrannical regimes. He would rather the people of
these countries suffer violence and oppression than provide a potential
threat to Israel through a democratic rebirth.

An inexplicable and contradictory position for him to hold. He would
prefer that the Arab states remained as antagonists so that Israel, or
rather the United States, could destroy them and their tens of thousands
of innocent citizens.

Israel has an unknown number of nuclear weapons, including small
tactical devices, and long range ballistic missiles. Which for some
obtuse reason the United States refuses to acknowledge. Iran could never
hope to acquire sufficient technology to match the Israeli arsenal.

There is a good deal of nonsense in the current attitude toward Iran.
External as well as internal pressures will finally force Iran to
abandon further attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. The people of Iran,
as well as the leadership, know well that possessing nuclear weapons
makes them a succulent target for Israel.

There is nothing to be gained for this country by attacking Iran. We
shouldn't allow Israel to draw us into another disastrous war in the
Middle East solely for its benefit. --

(Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern History, and was
an adviser to "60 Minutes" on the Middle East.)

(7) Mossad manufactures fake "U.S. intelligence" on Hezbollah threat in
Thailand


From: Paul de Burgh-Day <pdeburgh@harboursat.com.au> Date: Sat, 21 Jan
2012 15:19:56 +1100

Mossad fakes out U.S. intelligence on "Hezbollah" threat in Thailand

By Wayne Madsen

Posted on January 20, 2012

http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/4589

WMR's sources in Bangkok, the Thai capital, report that the recent U.S.
and Israeli alert that a Lebanese man, said to have links with
Hezbollah, was planning a terrorist attack in Thailand, is the result of
Israel and its diamond business attempting to shut out Lebanese Shi'ite
competitors who are in Thailand and are competing with the Israelis for
access to Southeast Asian gems. Israeli diamond merchants also compete
with Lebanese Shi'ites for access to diamonds and other precious gems in
West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thai police arrested Atris Hussein, a Swedish national of Lebanese
descent who was traveling on a Swedish passport. Police later discovered
urea and ammonium nitrate in a building known to Hussein in the town of
Samut Sakhon, near Bangkok. Hussein said the materials were intended for
use in a third country, possibly Cambodia or Burma, where such
agricultural-grade explosives are used to extract diamonds and other
rare gems. Thai police said they were looking for an accomplice of
Hussein. In tandem, the United States and Israel warned that "foreign
terrorists" were planning attacks in Thailand "in the near future."
WMR's Thai sources say the threat is completely bogus.

Our sources in Bangkok say that the United States and the Thai
government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra were misled by Israel
in an attempt to put Thailand and surrounding Southeast Asian nations,
known to have diamond and other rare gem deposits, off limits to
Lebanese Shi'ite competitors. The "intelligence" provided about Hussein
and Hezbollah to Thailand and the United States came from Mossad. In
Thailand, Bangkok's Chabad House of Lubavitch Jews was at the heart of
spinning the Hezbollah "threat" in Thailand. Chabad Houses around the
world serve as virtual safe houses for Israeli intelligence operatives.
The Chabad Houses are also involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs,
diamonds and other precious gems, indentured servitude prostitutes, and
human organs.

The Israeli-manufactured Hezbollah "threat" in Thailand comes at the
same time that Britain's ambassador to Thailand, Asif Ahmad, who
reportedly has ties to MI-6 run Islamist radical groups in Pakistan and
elsewhere, has suggested an "R2P" program for southern Thailand, where
an Muslim ethnic Malay insurgency has been ongoing for decades. Asif is
believed to maintain strong links to the government of Qatar, which has
been at the forefront of Arab states that are behind R2P interventions
in Libya and Syria. It is believed in Thailand that Britain, Israel, and
the United States would like to establish a Kosovo-style
provisionally-independent Muslim-governed state in southern Thailand's
Patani region, with the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO),
the largest of the separatist groups, becoming the governing party. PULO
would enjoy the same support from the West as afforded to the Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA) in Kosovo.

PULO and other Patani separatists wear black uniforms and are
well-financed. It is believed that much of the financing of the Patani
separatists now comes from Qatar in anticipation of an "Arab Spring" R2P
operation in southern Thailand. Prime Minister Yingluck is attempting to
implement a program of national reconciliation with the southern Muslims
and the victims of the 2010 Bangkok massacre by the previous
military-backed government but the interference of the Israelis,
British, Americans, Qataris, and Saudis threaten her program.

In the past, PULO received much of its funding from Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates. The rebel group was founded in 1968 in Mecca,
Saudi Arabia with the blessing and support of the Saudi government. In
1991, the various Patani rebel groups, including those more radical and
violent than PULO, united to form the United Front for the Independence
of Pattani" or "Bersatu." Younger members of the group have received
Wahhabi Salafist religious training in madrassas in Saudi Arabia,
Pakistan, and the UAE.

Although the Thai government has conducted secret peace negotiations
with all the coalition members of Bersatu in Bahrain, Stockholm, and
other cities, no substantive progress has resulted. There is one radical
Islamist group—Runda Kumpalan Kecil (RKK), or "Small Patrol
Group,"—which continues to conduct attacks against Thai government
targets in the south. RKK and other militant Patani groups allegedly
receive terrorist support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Britain. The
Patani groups carefully avoid striking targets such as bars, night
clubs, and American iconic businesses like McDonald's and Starbucks,
where Western and Arab Middle Eastern tourists gather, especially in Phuket.

By suggesting that Hezbollah was behind an attempted terrorist attack in
Thailand, the Qataris and Saudis are trying to eliminate Shi'ite
influence in Thailand in order to maintain the Salafist control of Thai
Muslim groups in the south. Israel benefits by eliminating Lebanese
Shi'ite influence in the diamond and other rare gem trade in the country.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

(8) Brzezinski: Israelis "bought influence" and outmaneuvered Obama

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012

http://www.salon.com/2012/01/20/zbig_israelis_bought_influence_and_outmaneuvered_obama/singleton

Zbig: Israelis "bought influence" and outmaneuvered Obama

The president "should have stuck to his guns" on Mideast peace, says
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former NSC advisor

BY JORDAN MICHAEL SMITH

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 salon.com

Zbigniew Brzezinski's new book, "Strategic Vision," imagines a world
without American power. ...

In a telephone interview from his office at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington, D.C., Brzezinski has both praise
and criticism for the president: "He was an improvement by a very large
score over his predecessor, but he could have been better." He thinks
the Obama administration "should have stuck to its guns in promoting a
fair settlement" in the Middle East. A longtime foe of Israel's
partisans in the United States, he says the Obama team "fumbled by
getting outmaneuvered by the Israelis." Then he gets blunter: "Domestic
politics interceded: The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress,
and in some cases they are able to buy influence."

Brzezinski is still a believer in the two-state solution for Israelis
and Palestinians, and is hopeful that Obama will again take up the cause
if he gets a second term. "He would have time and the historical
immunity to do so, because he wouldn't be facing an election." He also
thinks space has opened up in the United States to be more critical of
Israel. "The American public is becoming more discriminating, and the
Jewish public in America is becoming more discriminating," he says.
"They realize that extremist sloganeering and warmongering are not the
most helpful approaches." Brzezinski is careful to note that he was
never an official advisor to either candidate or President Obama but
lets it be known they are still in touch: "I have a relationship where
from time to time I am able to share my views with him," he says. ...

(9) Russia warns that Iran atrike could trigger 'Chain Reaction' which
destabilises the entire world


Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2012 15:10:30 -0500 (EST) From: IHR News <news@ihr.org>

The Independent (Britain)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-warns-that-iran-strike-could-trigger-chain-reaction-6291452.html

Russia warns that Iran strike could trigger 'chain reaction'

Shaun Walker

Moscow, Thursday 19 January 2012

Russia strongly criticised Western belligerence towards Syria and Iran
yesterday, saying that a military assault on the Iranian regime could
cause a "chain reaction" that would destabilise the entire world.

The country's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also said during his
annual televised press conference that Russia would use its veto at the
UN Security Council to block any resolution calling for military force
to be used against Syria.

Mr Lavrov said that Russia is "seriously worried" that military action
against Iran may be under consideration, and vowed that Moscow would do
all it could to prevent it. "The consequences will be extremely grave,"
he said. "It's not going to be an easy walk. It will trigger a chain
reaction and I don't know where it will stop."

Last week, a Russian newspaper revealed that the annual training
exercises undertaken in southern Russia by the country's army will focus
this year on scenarios related to the regional fallout of a possible
military conflict in Iran.

Russia has supported some sanctions against Iran, but has rejected any
talk of new sanctions. The US has already applied new economic sanctions
and the EU is considering whether to follow suit as concerns mount over
Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but Mr Lavrov said that such moves were
disingenuous and had "nothing to do with a desire to strengthen nuclear
non-proliferation". Instead, Mr Lavrov added, the new sanctions were
aimed at "stifling the Iranian economy and the population in an apparent
hope to provoke discontent". ...

(10) India pledges to continue buying oil from Iran
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-pledges-to-continue-buying-oil-from-iran-6294530.html

Andrew Buncombe

Delhi

Thursday 26 January 2012

India could be on a collision course with the United States and European
Union after officials in Delhi made clear they intended to carry on
importing oil from Iran, despite the imposition of Western sanctions
against Tehran.

S Jaipal Reddy, India's Oil Minister, said yesterday that the country
was still considering how best to make payments for the $12bn of crude
oil it annually imports from Iran, and which it pays for using a Turkish
bank as an intermediary. Delhi is concerned that the US will seek to
persuade Turkey to block this option as the West steps up pressure on Iran.

Drawing a very clear distinction between UN sanctions and those imposed
by the US, Mr Reddy told reporters: "We will scrupulously adhere to the
sanctions imposed by the UN. No less, no more. We will continue to
explore various options of payment to Iran. As of now, supplies are on
and Iran has been very positive and we are still optimistic."

A team of Indian experts recently visited Tehran to assess the best way
to continue to make payments. Unconfirmed reports suggest the options
include the rupee, which is only partly convertible, and the Japanese
yen. One report suggested India would pay for the oil using gold. Mr
Reddy declined to comment on the outcome of the discussions. "We cannot
disclose such things," he said.

The US and EU, which accuse Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapon –
an accusation that Iran stridently denies – are seeking various ways to
put pressure on the government in Tehran. EU foreign ministers this week
agreed to a ban on oil imports from Iran as of 1 July.

India has no intention of following suit. The country is hungry for
energy, with an economy growing at more than 7 per cent. The AFP news
agency reports that India buys 12 per cent of its oil from Iran, which
is its second largest supplier after Saudi Arabia.

China is the Islamic Republic's largest customer, accounting for around
20 per cent of its exports, and has already made clear it has no plan to
alter this arrangement. Last year, as the issue of sanctions emerged,
there were reports India may seek to barter for the oil, offering steel,
electronic goods and food in exchange.

(11) Japan hedges on Iran sanctions; says China and India won't comply

http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20120119D1901N05.htm

Japan Asks U.S. To Exempt Domestic Banks From Iran Sanctions

The Nikkei Jan. 20 morning edition

Friday, January 20, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Japanese negotiators on Thursday urged the U.S. to
exclude domestic banks from any penalties related to the Iranian oil
sanctions, citing a potentially debilitating impact on the nation's economy.

Japanese officials reiterated the government's pledge to reduce
purchases from Iran, pointing out that the country has already slashed
roughly 40% of such imports over the past five years.

Noting that China and India are unwilling to go along with the
sanctions, Japan also argued that certain countries will be put at a
disadvantage without global cooperation.

In response, U.S. delegates said they will try to help cushion the blow
on the Japanese economy as well as on the oil market, but stopped short
of offering any specifics.

A bill signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama at the end of last
year punishes financial institutions that do business with the Iranian
central bank by making it effectively impossible to operate in the U.S.

The Japanese and U.S. negotiators discussed how the exemptions set by
the law should be applied. The U.S. officials said various rules need to
be set first at home, but agreed to continue the talks.

The law, aimed at forcing Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons
program, sets a 180-day grace period for crude-related transactions and
a 60-day delay for other payments. Given this, a Foreign Ministry
official says Japanese banks are unlikely to be subjected to the
sanctions immediately on the 60th day, hinting that import reduction
plans may not be drawn up until March or later.

The U.S. delegation was led by two senior officials from the Treasury
and State departments, while officials from five Japanese ministries and
agencies, including the Finance, and the Economy and Trade ministries,
took part.

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