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Iran’s foreign minister has again threatened the United States over what he describes as an “economic war” launched by Washington against Tehran. Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that the U.S. “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching its economic war. He directly blamed President Donald Trump for the ongoing tensions between Washington and Tehran. Zarif said: “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran. The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.” Iran’s foreign minister is warning amid tensions between Washington and Tehran that “whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.” Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks on Monday, speaking alongside visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Maas is in Tehran in an effort to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Germany is a signatory to the accord.

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Has the US declared war?  No...mullahs are in panic mode...

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Wars are bad, but wars make some people really rich....

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The European Union is trying to mediate between Iran and the US and to defend their own economic interests, but the EU is only demonstrating their own impotence...

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Germany(and EU) wants to stay in Iran deal but, German diplomat called Iran's ballistic missile program problematic. Of course, regime from Tehran has a answer: "European officials are not in a position to comment on Iran's issues beyond the nuclear deal.".... So, Iranian people deserve better life without these radicals

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2 minutes ago, Pavel said:

Has the US declared war?  No...mullahs are in panic mode...

The US has indeed declared war - just not in the traditional format.  Today, with Trump, war is declared by Twitter feed. And what is the real US goal with its (economic) war?  It is to overthrow the current "mullah" government in Iran.  The motive for that is "revenge."

For those of you either young or with fading memories, back in the days of President Carter, some serious hotheads invaded the US Embassy and overran the place, taking all the marines and the remaining US diplomats and staff hostage.  Those folks were held, blindfolded and imprisoned, for some 444 days.  Carter ordered a military commando rescue mission that went totally off the rails in the Iranian desert, with the Navy Sea Stallion helicopters disabled by sand blowing into the engine intakes, and a helicopter and a transport plane colliding and burning. The rescue mission was a fiasco, total failure.  

Now, there are very long memories inside Official Washington about all this.  Those hothead Iranians are now the Government there.  So the players have remained, but instead of protests over medical treatment for the Shah, it is US resentment, using the nuclear stuff as basis for fomenting new conflict. Can the Iranians placate the US?  No.  What Washington wants is to overthrow the hotheads that run the place, and preferably imprison or kill them.  So, I predict these stand-offs are going to go on for a long time, until all the participants of 1979 are dead. 

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Germany as a peacemaker, okay. But, it will be hard to make a link between Washington and Tehran.

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32 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

The US has indeed declared war - just not in the traditional format.  Today, with Trump, war is declared by Twitter feed. And what is the real US goal with its (economic) war?  It is to overthrow the current "mullah" government in Iran.  The motive for that is "revenge."

For those of you either young or with fading memories, back in the days of President Carter, some serious hotheads invaded the US Embassy and overran the place, taking all the marines and the remaining US diplomats and staff hostage.  Those folks were held, blindfolded and imprisoned, for some 444 days.  Carter ordered a military commando rescue mission that went totally off the rails in the Iranian desert, with the Navy Sea Stallion helicopters disabled by sand blowing into the engine intakes, and a helicopter and a transport plane colliding and burning. The rescue mission was a fiasco, total failure.  

Now, there are very long memories inside Official Washington about all this.  Those hothead Iranians are now the Government there.  So the players have remained, but instead of protests over medical treatment for the Shah, it is US resentment, using the nuclear stuff as basis for fomenting new conflict. Can the Iranians placate the US?  No.  What Washington wants is to overthrow the hotheads that run the place, and preferably imprison or kill them.  So, I predict these stand-offs are going to go on for a long time, until all the participants of 1979 are dead. 

First of all, I don't think there will be war.  A spark in the Middle East will set fire to the whole world. No doubt.  I suppose that we know what will be the reaction of Saudi Arabia and Israel, or potentially Russia, Turkey, Yemen ...  From the other hand if we are talking by official data no one has declare the war. I hope we agree about it. Third but not the least: I believe that Iranians had better life before 1979 and Khomeini revolution...  The hostage crisis is a painful scar, but also today the circumstances are somewhat different... 

I strongly believe that "Iran Deal" has a chance. But, two are needed for peace as well as for war... 

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2 hours ago, pinto said:

Wars are bad, but wars make some people really rich....

Yes they do. 

Who do you anticipate getting rich from a Middle Eastern war? 

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2 hours ago, damirUSBiH said:

The European Union is trying to mediate between Iran and the US and to defend their own economic interests, but the EU is only demonstrating their own impotence...

What interests does the EU have in the Middle East?  Aside from oil - which can now be purchased elsewhere - I'm not seeing the connection. 

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2 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

The US has indeed declared war - just not in the traditional format.  Today, with Trump, war is declared by Twitter feed. And what is the real US goal with its (economic) war?  It is to overthrow the current "mullah" government in Iran.  The motive for that is "revenge."

For those of you either young or with fading memories, back in the days of President Carter, some serious hotheads invaded the US Embassy and overran the place, taking all the marines and the remaining US diplomats and staff hostage.  Those folks were held, blindfolded and imprisoned, for some 444 days.  Carter ordered a military commando rescue mission that went totally off the rails in the Iranian desert, with the Navy Sea Stallion helicopters disabled by sand blowing into the engine intakes, and a helicopter and a transport plane colliding and burning. The rescue mission was a fiasco, total failure.  

Now, there are very long memories inside Official Washington about all this.  Those hothead Iranians are now the Government there.  So the players have remained, but instead of protests over medical treatment for the Shah, it is US resentment, using the nuclear stuff as basis for fomenting new conflict. Can the Iranians placate the US?  No.  What Washington wants is to overthrow the hotheads that run the place, and preferably imprison or kill them.  So, I predict these stand-offs are going to go on for a long time, until all the participants of 1979 are dead. 

I don't know much about the inner workings of elite social circles, so I'll defer to your wisdom on that. 

Setting aside the revenge motive, could there be economic or geopolitical reasons for the US to crush Iran? 

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46 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Setting aside the revenge motive, could there be economic or geopolitical reasons for the US to crush Iran? 

No.

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1 hour ago, Pavel said:

First of all, I don't think there will be war.  A spark in the Middle East will set fire to the whole world. No doubt.  

I have doubt. 

The Middle East produces oil.  Aside from that, they've been a backwater side show since Europe achieved overwhelming technological and economic dominance.  Oil can now be found elsewhere, so the world's involvement in the Middle East is optional.  This contrasts with World War II and the Cold War, when oil was both absolutely critical to war efforts and in short supply for at least one major combatant.  Even then, the situation was less "Middle East sparking a world war" and more "A world at war momentarily involved the Middle East".

During World War II, the Middle East was only relevant when Germany thought they could use Middle Eastern oil.  As soon as that possibility faded, the Middle East was ignored. 

Likewise, the Middle East was fiercely defended during the Cold War because the West had no replacement for it - but that came with a caveat.  The West's plan in the event of losing the Middle East was to obliterate the oil production, leaving nothing behind for the natives.  Even at the height of their "power", the Middle East's fate was shackled to the West's interests. 

In the shale era, the Middle East might benefit from rising demand in SE Asia, but even that is tied to the West's best interests.  China does not control the trade lanes, and the rest of the world will be quite interested in containing them.  As Western and Russian oil production increase, these major powers will have no incentive to defend the Middle East.  Better to force China to rely on indefensible oil from the US, Russia, Western Africa, and the Mediterranean.

Setting aside war scenarios, the Middle East presents a financial problem.  Its a violent, unstable region populated by useless welfare recipients.  What is the price of their oil if we include the cost of stabilizing and defending them.  Hint: US defense commitments alone add >$10/bbl.  What's the price if we average in spikes from their constant jockeying?  What's the price if we include all the violence they export to the world?  What's the price if we include the risk of their governments suddenly failing, putting that oil at risk?  That price is certainly far higher than oil can be had from elsewhere.  That being the case, it's only a matter of time before the world presents them an ultimatum: they can get their affairs in order and become the lowest cost provider, or they can descend into chaos.

I don't anticipate them getting their affairs in order.  As markets shift away from Middle Eastern oil, the major players will take their armed forces home.  In their worst case scenario, the Middle East will tear itself apart.  In their best case, they'll avoid war but still be reduced to poverty.  Either way, the world won't care.  Those of us who know Middle Eastern history will say "good riddance"; the rest won't bother looking up from their bread and circuses. 

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13 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

No.

Not even the need to keep oil prices high enough to sustain shale production?  Or the desire to destroy any source of oil close to China? 

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6 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Not even the need to keep oil prices high enough to sustain shale production?  Or the desire to destroy any source of oil close to China? 

I think you are getting into the area of wild speculation.  

These are politicians and national-security types that you would be contending with, not economists.  These guys do not sit down at the table and say:  "Now, how can we plot to keep shale oil prices high?  I know: let's wreck the Iranian economy.  How can we justify doing that to the American public?  I know: let's say the Iranians are breaking the uranium enrichment pact."  

These guys are not that convoluted.  They think in terms of revenge and retribution.  They want to kill those guys that were involved in the Embassy take-over in 1979.  They have long memories, and then can and will try to create chaos and overthrow that government.  Death is the aim, not shale oil prices.  

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Just now, Jan van Eck said:

I think you are getting into the area of wild speculation.  

These are politicians and national-security types that you would be contending with, not economists.  These guys do not sit down at the table and say:  "Now, how can we plot to keep shale oil prices high?  I know: let's wreck the Iranian economy.  How can we justify doing that to the American public?  I know: let's say the Iranians are breaking the uranium enrichment pact."  

These guys are not that convoluted.  They think in terms of revenge and retribution.  They want to kill those guys that were involved in the Embassy take-over in 1979.  They have long memories, and then can and will try to create chaos and overthrow that government.  Death is the aim, not shale oil prices.   

I thought I understood the ruthlessness of politics, but it has surprised me once again. 

In another thread, you commented that Russia and Putin only do what's in their best interests.  What would America's leaders do if they were thinking like Putin? 

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10 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

In another thread, you commented that Russia and Putin only do what's in their best interests.  What would America's leaders do if they were thinking like Putin? 

The last great American thinker was George F. Kennan.  He crafted the policy of "containment."  Following up on that, if the West had any brains (and any balls) they would go into overdrive to deny any Russian supplier access to the EU market.  And they would move, in blitzkrieg fashion, vast numbers of stockpiled Abrams tanks to the Eastern Front in the Ukraine, specifically along the Kharkov front, and into the Baltics, to avoid getting them trapped far back in depots in Germany where they are useless. 

The Americans would also spend what it takes to rebuild and make seaworthy the Iowa class battleships, specifically to be able to take the Bosporus and the Kerch Strait by force, and slug it out with that Russian cruiser fleet located in Sevastopol.  And the reason you want a big ship like that is that they have 12-inch armor belt plate, so when the Russians go play their collision games you can bust those ships up and shrug it off.  The Russians are not going to get into some shooting war with the Americans; they don't have the muscle nor the staying power for that.  Remember, the entire Russian economy is about the size of Italy's.  The best they can do is use opacity like those green-suited mercenaries they deployed in Donesk.  Send in a fleet of 500 Abrams tanks and off they run. Nobody is going to go toe to toe with an Abrams; those things are so  massive, they are effectively indestructible. 

Edited by Jan van Eck

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24 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

The last great American thinker was George F. Kennan.  He crafted the policy of "containment."  Following up on that, if the West had any brains (and any balls) they would go into overdrive to deny any Russian supplier access to the EU market.  And they would move, in blitzkrieg fashion, vast numbers of stockpiled Abrams tanks to the Eastern Front in the Ukraine, specifically along the Kharkov front, and into the Baltics, to avoid getting them trapped far back in depots in Germany where they are useless. 

The Americans would also spend what it takes to rebuild and make seaworthy the Iowa class battleships, specifically to be able to take the Bosporus and the Kerch Strait by force, and slug it out with that Russian cruiser fleet located in Sevastopol.  And the reason you want a big ship like that is that they have 12-inch armor belt plate, so when the Russians go play their collision games you can bust those ships up and shrug it off.  The Russians are not going to get into some shooting war with the Americans; they don't have the muscle nor the staying power for that.  Remember, the entire Russian economy is about the size of Italy's.  The best they can do is use opacity like those green-suited mercenaries they deployed in Donesk.  Send in a fleet of 500 Abrams tanks and off they run. Nobody is going to go toe to toe with an Abrams; those things are so  massive, they are effectively indestructible.  

I'll read about Kennan.

I assume you're seeing the Iowa class battleships as a tool for shore bombardment and intimidation, but not necessarily an asset in a naval battle.  They wouldn't last long against modern missiles.  There's also the incredible cost of upgrading/operating a battleship.  You'd need lots of sailors, and god only knows if we can still manufacture the ammunition for them.  I assume we stopped building battleships because there are better ways to deter an enemy. 

Is Russia still a serious threat?  As you said, their economy is tiny and their military can't sustain war with the West.  They also have plenty to be concerned about with China, who we are also concerned about.  At this point, why wouldn't the US and Europe improve relations with Russia to present a united front against China?  Let Russian oil flow into Europe to wean Europe off the Middle East, and then let China bear the cost of stabilizing the Middle East.  If the Middle East erupts into warfare, reducing their oil production, both the US and Russia would profit.  What's the downside to cooperating with Russia? 

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1 hour ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Let Russian oil flow into Europe to wean Europe off the Middle East, and then let China bear the cost of stabilizing the Middle East.  If the Middle East erupts into warfare, reducing their oil production, both the US and Russia would profit.  What's the downside to cooperating with Russia? 

That is the Merkel approach, and it has been a colossal failure.  The downside to "co-operating" with Russia is that it is one-sided: the Europeans hand Russia hard currency, and they get aggression in return. Russia is not interested in some form of mutual-construction activity; it is interested in restoring the grand Russian Empire of the old Soviet Union, and perhaps some more tossed in for good measure.  Try to grasp that Russia wants to gobble up the former East Bloc countries, make them vassal states, obedient to Putin.  You cannot co-operate with Russia as long as Putin runs that show.  And he is in quite good health, so that is going to be a very long time.  

It is an unfortunate situation.  Could the current situation have been avoided?  Probably not.  Russia has these internal dynamics that preclude Western influence.  Putin took over, and there is no way to dislodge him.  You are stuck with this sociopath running a country with lethal military equipment there.  You cannot get into bed with this guy. 

As to the Middle East, it is not going to "erupt into warfare."  Do you seriously think that Qatar and KSA are going to start shooting at each other?  I don't think so.  How about KSA and Iran?  I don't think so.  They would demolish the oil business, and for those guys, oil is everything.  Even when Saddam invaded Iran, with the idea of a quick war to take over some border oilfields, it did not spread past those combatants, went into stalemate, and eventually to a truce.  Today they are building a joint railroad and pipe project from Tehran to the Med. Even in Syria you don't see say Egypt sending its army in there, nor the Lebanese, OK so you have some mercenary troops from Iran and very little from Turkey (just enough to keep those Kurds at bay), and you have that war at the boot of the Arabian Peninsula, but other than that, for such a volatile region, it is remarkably restrained.  Notwithstanding all the blather, nobody is thinking in terms of war with the Israelis, and the Palestinians are pretty much abandoned to their long-term fate of servitude and slavery.  I really don't see some big war erupting there. 

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(edited)

On ‎6‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 8:41 AM, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I don't know much about the inner workings of elite social circles, so I'll defer to your wisdom on that. 

Setting aside the revenge motive, could there be economic or geopolitical reasons for the US to crush Iran? 

 

Edited by Falcon
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The American complaint regarding Iran has little to do with revenge. It has a lot to do with Iran funding violent groups throughout the Middle East. This is a present and on-going hazard, not some historical gripe. The US has a direct national security purpose in strangling Iranian cash flow.

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8 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

The American complaint regarding Iran has little to do with revenge. It has a lot to do with Iran funding violent groups throughout the Middle East. This is a present and on-going hazard, not some historical gripe. The US has a direct national security purpose in strangling Iranian cash flow.

Which motive is presumably why President Obama ordered an entire planeload of fresh cash flown to Tehran and delivered to the Ayatollahs. 

See, there the rub:   the Government's actions (when the govt is Democratic) belie the assumption that The US is concerned about Iran's presumed funding of "violent groups."  Then along come the Republicans and they take a different view.  Did Iran's policies do a flit-flop?  Nope.  Same Iran.  Same hotheads.  Same guys that humiliated the USA and paraded stripped Marines blindfolded through the streets. 

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6 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Which motive is presumably why President Obama ordered an entire planeload of fresh cash flown to Tehran and delivered to the Ayatollahs. 

See, there the rub:   the Government's actions (when the govt is Democratic) belie the assumption that The US is concerned about Iran's presumed funding of "violent groups."  Then along come the Republicans and they take a different view.  Did Iran's policies do a flit-flop?  Nope.  Same Iran.  Same hotheads.  Same guys that humiliated the USA and paraded stripped Marines blindfolded through the streets.  

There's a hypothesis that America's leftists are in bed with our enemies.  It makes some sense:
- They have proclaimed their love for socialism/communism for decades
- They regularly denigrate their own country despite how safe & wealthy it's made them.  They even openly talk about how evil America is, how terrible its economic system is, and how all of it needs to be destroyed. 
- They refer to non-leftists as "deplorables"
- Their actions are consistently detrimental to the safety, stability, and health of the country. 

Given what I've seen of America's left, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that leftist leaders are in bed with America's enemies.  It certainly doesn't surprise me to learn that a leftist leader would hand cash to people who regularly kill & terrorize Americans. 

On that note, the Mueller investigation was an interesting bit of panicking.  The left appears to be scared to death of Trump gaining access to classified information.  Hence, they wanted him removed at all costs.  Mueller discovered nothing, and Trump has hinted that he has incriminating information in his opponents.  I'm curious to see what leftist dirt he's uncovered. 

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3 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

it wouldn't surprise me to learn that leftist leaders are in bed with America's enemies.

Ben, I do hope you realize how seriously paranoid that post comes across as.

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10 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Ben, I do hope you realize how seriously paranoid that post comes across as.

I'm not saying it's true; I'm just saying it wouldn't surprise me.  Selling out the country for personal profit is exactly what I'd expect from corrupt politicians. 

I'll also note that whether an idea sounds paranoid is irrelevant.  What matters is whether the idea has merit. 

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