The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for January 14:

  • National Review Online: The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Benjamin Weinthal blogs on the collapse of Lebanon’s government on Wednesday, warning that “the Iranian proxy Hezbollah” has shown “that the political Islamists rule the roost in Lebanese society.” Weinthal writes, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah’s chief sponsor, has been forced to reduce its supply of military and financial aid to the Islamic fanatics by 40 percent. Over the years, the Iranian regime has pumped roughly $1 billion in military aid into Hezbollah’s arsenal.” Weinthal concludes that the approval of $100 million in military aid for Lebanon could have been a mistake if Hezbollah somehow becomes the beneficiary of the military goods: “Plainly said, it is time that the U.S. discontinues military funds for Lebanon and redirect monies to pro–Lebanese democracy organizations.”
  • The Atlantic: Jeffrey Goldberg responds to a post by Reza Aslan in which Aslan suggests that Ahmadinejad’s comments that Israel should be “wiped from the map” has been mistranslated and does not imply that Israel, and its people, should be physically destroyed but that “existing political borders should be wiped from a literal map.” Goldberg responds, “Hmmm. So Israel should be replaced by Palestine, which is different than removing Israel from the map. Got it. What Ahmadinejad has been trying to say all along, then, is  ‘Shabbat Shalom, Jews!.'” He then sarcastically offers to “clarify the record of the Holocaust-denying, eliminationist anti-Semitic Iranian president” before reprinting a list of Ahmadinejad’s comments about Israel and Jews.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.


One Comment

  1. RE: “Over the years, the Iranian regime has pumped roughly $1 billion in military aid into Hezbollah’s arsenal.” – Weinthal
    SEE: “Iran steps in as demining work slows in Lebanon” ~ by Abigail Fielding-Smith, The National, 10/17/09

    (excerpts) NABATIYEH, SOUTH LEBANON // In a sun-bleached, breeze-block town just outside of Nabatiyeh in south Lebanon, a new-looking billboard has been erected. It announces the headquarters of a recently established non-governmental group called the Peace Generation Organisation for Demining (PGOD). In the corner of the billboard is a discreet representation of the Iranian flag. Although the organisation is Lebanese, the director of PGOD, Mahmoud Rahhal, confirmed that “most” of the group’s funding comes from their partner organisation, ISOP, an Iranian demining company, which also provides supervision and training expertise.
    Iran, along with the Arab Gulf states, has played a conspicuous role in the reconstruction effort in south Lebanon following the 2006 war with Israel, and the Iranian flag is a common sight on rebuilt roads around the south. This appears to be the first time, however, that Iranian money has been involved in the effort to remove the estimated 1.4 million unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israel in the last 72 hours of the conflict.
    …According to sources involved in the post-war reconstruction effort, Iran offered to assist with the ordnance removal efforts immediately after the war, but was discouraged from contributing by Lebanese authorities until a few months ago, when they signed a memorandum of understanding with PGOD allowing them to work in the field…


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