The Daily Talking Points

News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 30th, 2010:

  • Haaretz: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling for Lebanon’s resistance groups to stand together with Iran.  Ahmadinejad’s comments come after last week’s announcement from Iran’s defense minister that Tehran was prepared to sell weapons to Lebanon’s government.  Tehran’s overtures to the Lebanese government and Hezbollah have picked up in pace after $100 million in US military aid to Lebanon was suspended earlier this month following a skirmish on the Israel-Lebanon border which resulted in the death of two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and an Israeli officer.
  • Reuters: Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi says that investigations into spying allegations against three American hikers detained in Iran will be completed soon.  The three hikers–Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal–have been detained since July 2009 when they crossed into Iran from northern Iraq.  The hikers have not formally been charged with spying and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in February that the three Americans might be swapped for Iranians jailed in the US.  Families of the hikers say the trio strayed across the border accidentally.
  • Iran Review: Dr. Kayhan Barzegar, Director of International Affairs at the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran, writes that the launch of the Bushehr nuclear plant will, “enhance the peaceful nature and legitimacy of Iran’s nuclear program,” and shows that Russia has conceded that Iran is a nuclear state.  Barzegar suggests that Russian cooperation in bringing the Bushehr nuclear plant online will bring Moscow closer to Tehran and result in future bilateral nuclear cooperation.  Barzegar argues that it is too late to stop Iran’s nuclear program with an airstrike. He concludes, “…[A]irstrikes alone will not be able to stop Iran’s nuclear program and may prompt the country to withdraw from the NPT and pursue, as some western analysts predict, a nuclear weapon capability. In any event, the United States or Israel will be unable to stage air attacks on Iran on grounds that it is enriching uranium. It is also already too late to attack Bushehr, as nuclear fuel has been uploaded into the reactor and any military assault would be concomitant with major health hazards resulting from nuclear radiation and exposure.”

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.



  1. I’m no expert, but Barzegar’s point is very interesting. It’s a shame that we’re letting the Russians improve their position in Iran. Wouldn’t it be reassuring to those who fear the Iranian program if we were in the Russians’ shoes at Bushehr? Similarly, why are we allowing our influence in Lebanon to wither? These moves play into the hands of the hardliners in both Tehran and Tel Aviv. Why not a policy that puts US interests first?

  2. “The hikers have not formally been charged with spying and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in February that the three Americans might be swapped for Iranians jailed in the US.”

    This is the closest to an update on the Iranian diplomats that WE arrested in Iraq. The arrests of these three hikers seemed to me like a reprisal for or arrest of these diplomats. Just as the Lockerbie bombing was a reprisal for the USS Vincenes shooting of an Iranian airliner, rather than a Lybian attack.

    More truth, facts and context down the memory hole. America, home of the neo-good Germans, where truth is scandalous.

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