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Skirting U.S. sanctions, Europeans launch trade mechanism for Iran (reuters.com)
317 points by betahiker 16 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 294 comments



The mechanism, as I understand it, is just SWIFT network isolated from exposure to US, USD and banks with exposure to the US. It prevents US justice department from monitoring or preventing transactions.

It's my understanding that China has also licensed SWIFT software and will use it to create isolated payment system to shield it's trade with Iran and Russia other countries.


Honest argument about these issues is no longer possible on HN or elsewhere on the Net. People immediately move into ideological formations and the rational conversation falls away. The down-votes and up-votes have nothing to do with content or even the subject but only with the perceived team. I would ban politically charged conversation on HN, if this was up to me.


I don't know about ban, but an automated mechanism which removes up/downvoting anytime their are too many in a thread sounds like a good option to me.


So that emotionally charged threads become pure shitshows?

That's a really bad idea. It would be better to delete the thread then.


If we're going to ban people, I propose we start banning users who post whiny, pointless comments first.


I'm surprised that Britain is even behind this, as they might have been a bit nervous about the US response, considering their ongoing Brexit.

This is a great example of how current US foreign policy means a loss of soft power all over the world.

I do think that this is a win for world stability though, trading tends to help relations, which helps stops all sort of unpleasantness. Whether this will be enough i don't know, but it seems like a good step forward.


Practically speaking, the UK is completely screwed when it gets to choose who to trade with post-brexit. The deal the US will make with the UK will effectively be too good for the US (US hold all the cards) for the UK to have any form of negotiating power.

The US won't "not accept the deal" or "not make a trade deal with the UK" because UK trades with Iran, itt'l be too good for them to pass up. Itt'l be the only thing going that the UK can accept, no matter how bad it is, in an attempt to save face as they can't be seen to go back to trading with the EU especially on worse terms. This is devolving into a Brexit rant, but I can guarantee you that the US doesnt give two shits if the UK trades with Iran, they're rubbing their hands in anticipation of what is to come. UK knows this so is scrambling to do deals with whoever it can as soon as possible. This is my line of thinking anyway.


The UK has always had a lot going for it, and the City of London has been the banking capital of the world long before the EU. With them leaving the EU they will become more competitive even if only by having to compete a bit more. The Germans and the French cannot provide the same regulatory framework as is provided by the city.

I’m surprised their isn’t more discussion about the German domination of the EU. The current structure is not sustainable, and Britain leaving will make that more evident quickly. I would not be surprised if the Dutch are waiting to see where Britain leeds before jumping ship themselves.


The Netherlands will always stick with Germany. We're a trading nation, and Germany is our main trading partner. Also, Rotterdam is Germany's largest sea port. We may lean a bit more towards the Anglo-Saxon model than other European countries, but we're still continental first and foremost.


In terms of trade, how is it exactly they can complement each other? The geography is a bit of an issue for actual physical goods, and I'm not sure what the UK produces that the US needs. Luxury cars maybe, but IIRC most of these marques aren't even owned by the UK any more, except for perhaps the high end. Cheap Bentley's for American oligarchs?

Services, maybe - but again most of the core banking will move away from the UK post Brexit and even then there's a lot of overlap in competencies between the UK and USA. There's a lot of smart people in the UK for sure, but there's a lot of smart people in the US.

I can't help but think the whole idea of a US/UK trade alliance is borne more of anglophone ideology than any kind of practicalities.


There's a few obvious areas.

Don't really see it as an opportunity to save face myself. More an opportunity for those who were the driving force behind Brexit (who entirely coincidentally have significant offshore business interests) to create UK buying opportunities. Opportunities that will arise as our livestock farmers compete against terrible US welfare standards. Despite UK population having shown for decades they want better welfare than even EU standards.

We'd probably lose CE or BSI marks, environmental protections, EU regional food protections, and the price and generic restrictions within the NHS most likely. I'm not sure even the Tories would dare open us up to US healthcare companies, yet. They'll move as far as they think they can get away with.

Then there'll be all the industries that will benefit from harmonisation of UK and US regulatory differences. ie, The US majors will benefit from the GB garage sale of newly failing businesses as Theresa May's fine negotiating team ask for nothing in return except a paper hat.

Edit: ps, Bentley are Volkswagen owned.


Top exports from the UK to the US, in order, appear to be: cars, pharmaceuticals and mechanical power generators, works of art and refined oil:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44802666

Interestingly, the UK exports rather a lot more to the US than it imports from there.

Edit: What is worrying is that investment in UK car building has drammetically reduced

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/uk-car-manufactu...


> mechanical power generators

Well I never ... I wouldn't have thought that would be something the US would need to import ...

> works of art

Doesn't this refer to a lot of the branding work done by the likes of Starbucks, Amazon etc. which then get written off against tax or something (hence value is quite inflated).


I don't think the UK would be exporting Starbucks or Amazon branding?


They totally would. It's a tax thing. IP transfer happens between national operating units all the time for just this reason.


Yes, transfer pricing - but that's how the parent companies would move profits from the UK to elsewhere by licensing their IP to their legal entities in the UK.

Of course, it might be UK brands licensing their IP?


Sorry, seems there is not much left under UK control

  Bentley -> Volkswagen
  Rolls Royce, Mini -> BMW
  Aston Martin -> Seems to be independent again
  McLaren -> Half the company is owned by Bahrain
  Lotus -> Geely (China)
  Jaguar/Land Rover -> Tata (India)


You've misunderstood. Practically speaking, the UK needs to buy shit, the US needs to sell shit. UK has effectively blocked out 1/3 of the world (Europe) from a trade deal because we'd never get one as good as the current free trade agreement with the EU. Our politicians won't be stupid enough to say "we've left the EU, but have made a worse deal with Europe than we had before". Similarly EU won't make a deal with the UK which disallows freedom of movement and other "core" EU values, so any deal made would either require circumstances similar to pre-brexit EU to happen, or would just flat out be a worse deal.

Distance really isn't much of an issue at scale, when your cheap stuff comes from China - - edit - to clarify, the point i'm trying to make is that it really doesn't cost much to ship stuff halfway around the world, especially en masse. -, or meat from New Zealand, this isn't much of an argument. This would be a purely US beneficial deal, the UK wouldn't really be bringing anything into the US, other than maybe finance services, specialist products or (i guess) softer products like educational visas?

There's quite a big controversy over here at the moment about the possibility of a US trade deal. We are being told that for it to happen we would have to accept terms like chlorinated chicken/steroid injected beef, and then agree to other things like labeling the origin of the product (so you would never really know if you were eating US or UK products). There's a whole other host of subtleties which would degrade the UK whilst being beneficial to the US, just do a bit of googling about the proposed deals.


> when your cheap stuff comes from China

Yeah except neither party to this deal is producing "cheap stuff". Both consider themselves to be very much "top tier".

> edit - to clarify, the point i'm trying to make is that it really doesn't cost much to ship stuff halfway around the world, especially en masse

Yeah, if the stuff is "cheap". Like dramatically cheaper than what you can produce at home.

morrbo 16 days ago [flagged]

lol mate you're really not getting it. You said "the geography is a bit of an issue for physical goods". I'm saying, when you can order a sheep from new zealand, or a USB stick from China, and have it show up a few days or a week later, this isn't really a good argument.


There is a kernel of truth to this, in that today geography is less an issue than it used to be.

Unfortunately for Brexiteers who use this as an argument for No-Deal Brexit being an opportunity, however, geography was a big consideration for how pretty much every company in the world has set up its supply chains and partners.


"lol mate" what is this snapchat? , you're the one that's not getting it.

"The geography is a bit of an issue for physical goods" when you're not producing goods cheap enough to cover the cost of transit. The UK does not produce cheap goods. Quite the opposite.

I don't think racing to the bottom in living standards to compete productively with China is something that people voting for Brexit had in mind.


The UK would be IMPORTING goods from the US.. I don't get where you're getting this idea we'd be exporting cheap goods from the UK to the US. The examples i explicitly stated were things like education, specialized tech (which would be fine for shipping), and access to financial services, which once again doesn't need shipping. For the last time, i'm not saying that the UK is going suddenly start mass producing cheap goods to export to the US? I dont know where you've got that idea from. The US, however, does create a lot of cheap goods which they'd be exporting TO the UK, such as your corn, meats, etc.

The main issue people are concerned about is that the UK would be flooded with cheaper/sub standard goods (re. chlorinated chicken) that they can't differentiate between standard UK/EU products which are of a higher quality. Currently, US meat is outright banned in the EU, if there's an influx in cheap/chemically altered meats coming from the US which people can't differentiate from (this is partially due to the terms of the trading deal banning branding of goods as "Produced in the UK") then people are worried they'd accidentally end up buying them.


I’m understanding you alright ... so a massive trade deficit in USA’s favour so!

Not such a concern about where you’re going to get the £££ if all you’re buying is cheap junk in $$$ but even so there’s got to be cheaper places to buy cheap junk from and sure with the rules lifted why not just start producing cheap junk yourself!


chlorinated chicken/steroid injected beef

Such things would be clearly labelled and no worse than the US standard. If consumers want it, they will buy it. If they don't, they won't.


> Practically speaking, the UK is completely screwed when it gets to choose who to trade with post-brexit

Despite the best efforts of whoever to run the country down the UK is and will remain a rich, advanced country, a world leader in many areas, still blessed with ample natural resources, one of the world's most attractive countries for inward investment, a significant tourist destination, and with a population that loves to spend its money making it an attractive marketplace. None of these things are going to change just because France has got it's knickers in a twist about no longer being able to bleed the UK dry to fund the stupid common agricultural policy.


> itt'l be too good for them to pass up. Itt'l be the only thing going that the UK can accept

Do you mean "it'll"?


It’s mostly a win for world stability because it preserves, to a limited degree, the notion that you can mutually agree, put it in writing, and count on the other side fulfilling its obligations as long as you do.

Nobody with half a grasp of reality doubts that Iran was fulfilling its end of the nuclear deal. It’s entirely unclear why China, or North K, or really anybody should trust the US Government in the future. That means one of the arguably most important tools to avoid armed conflict was entirely eliminated from the US arsenal. What makes it even worse is that there just wasn’t any reason to do so, beyond some egotistical jingoism. Saudi Arabia is far worse in almost any observable category.


Absolutely. It's completely stupid to go back on a deal when they were upholding their end. It means that there is no point in any country doing long term deals with the US when they know the next president is just going to tear it up if they feel like.


IIRC, the whole argument for rejecting the deal is that supposedly there was some hard evidence that Iran was not complying with it as expected. You may think that this purported evidence is BS, but let's not misrepresent positions here.


Even the current administration admits that Iran is "technically" in compliance. That means theys fulfil all obligations they have signed up to.

There is no "real" compliance beyond technical compliance. That's just wordplay.

The problem is that the Iran deal is an Obama deal, so it must be wrong, and Iran's compliance is irrelevant.

benj111 16 days ago [flagged]

You seem to be getting downvoted, I'm not sure why.

Anyone care to justify?

Edit: Or just downvote me instead.


Why?

This means Britain will actually have one trade agreement by the time it leaves the EU.

"This is a great example of how current US foreign policy means a loss of soft power all over the world"

Agreed, it does seem very short sighted. Once a system is in place, and it works, suddenly its very easy to apply that system to any other regime where the US doesn't agree with the rest of the world. Plus what's the point in 'rogue' states coming in from the cold, if the US are going to renage on their agreements.


Because it'll be the worse trade deal anybody has signed in the history of the world for Britain.


But it'll also be the best that Britain has, so.....

Glass half full, and all that.


> considering their ongoing Brexit

One of the big campaigns for Leave was that the EU was dampening our ability to trade with the rest of the World. I guess maybe not then?


One of the realisations from after the result was Leave had no plan at all. Nothing admissible or written. I'm sure Rees Mogg had a plan, but it wouldn't have won votes, so that's staying in his head.

The Scottish Independence referendum had a plan running to hundreds of pages. Good bits and bad bits, but a good few people had put thought into what came next.

Leave had a bus, with a slogan.


> Leave had a bus, with a slogan.

Not just any slogan, a slogan that was blatantly misleading to say the least.


slogan >> plan

sadly visible all over the world


Free trade is a socially acceptable excuse Brexit voters can use to mask the real reasons they voted to leave. As is sovereignty.


I don't get the ridicule the argument about sovereignty is exposed to. Of course that is one of the most important discussion within the European Union.

You can argue that external forces decrease the room for maneuvers for a single nation. Just as you can argue that member states have the tendency to fiercely guard sovereignty anyway and did so in the past. Nothing to say against that.

But to say that sovereignty is not an important issue to discuss within the European Union isn't an informed position at all.

Most new laws are enacted by the EU in most member states.


Setting aside the fact that the UK has a veto over pretty much any important EU decision...

> Of course that is one of the most important discussion within the European Union.

Is it? Why?

> Nothing to say against that.

Why should the sovereignty of the UK be paramount? Why not the sovereignty of (for example) London, Cornwall or Scotland?

The UK is a mix of geographically-close former countries, inhabited by people with different backgrounds who speak different native languages and used to be at war with each other.

I fail to see why the UK should have any greater claim to sovereignty than the EU or a subsection of the UK...

> Most new laws are enacted by the EU in most member states.

No idea if that's true, but I do know that the vast majority of laws enacted by the EU are done so because it is more beneficial for the UK (and other member states) if the EU enacts them as opposed to each EU state enacting their own version. Much simpler when it comes to trade etc.


> Setting aside the fact that the UK has a veto over pretty much any important EU decision...

this is not a fact at all, Lisbon removed the veto from nearly every area, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_the_Council_of_the_E...


Pretty much all of the important stuff is still covered (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_the_Council_of_the_E...)

To argue otherwise would be akin to arguing that the UK parliament isn't sovereign because local councils can make some local decisions independently.

EDIT (To reply to the comment below):

If you read the information in the link posted, it's obvious that the important decisions still require unanimity, even if minor decisions (yes, some of them in important fields) now only require QMV.

FWIW, I'm a fan of QMV.


that very much depends on your definition of "important"

personally I would call employment, business, immigration, social security, criminal law, and half a dozen things listed there as important, but there you go


what's wrong with the reply button?

> If you read the information in the link posted, it's obvious that the important decisions still require unanimity, even if minor decisions (yes, some of them in important fields) now only require QMV.

not true (again)... might be true most of the time, but not always (which is the entire problem)

see the fuss over the past two years where eastern european countries were forced over their explicit objections to accept migrant quotas using QMV


If you think Leave voters are worried about looking politically correct, I think you haven't met many Leave voters.


[flagged]


People also dislike the idea of the EU forcing every child to eat a kilogram of french cheese every morning before school.

Luckily, neither is likely to happen and - even if it were proposed - the UK has the power to veto it ever happening.

assuming we are in the EU. if we're outside, we just watch and weep.


Veto is going to be dismantled sooner or later. There are plans to scrap veto for tax policy. Furthermore if there will be no veto and the citizens would dislike the new legislation there will be new EU army to keep people in check.


Let's see in 10 years.


Do not mistake campaign arguments for facts. They're more of the "arguments as soldiers" variety. It's rational to only care how effective they are at influencing public oppinion, they're not peer reviewed publications.


Where do you stand morally?

You may be right, but it's not right


It doesn't matter where one stands. If you want to fight against, say, the people that run campaigns, you'll have to fight in their chosen arena, that of public oppinion and elections. It's empirically found effective to use "arguments as soldiers" in that arena. If we chose policies through a peer-reviewed search for truth, we wouldn't have this discussion.


But then it becomes a race to the bottom.

So I think you need some enforcement of standards, whether moral or legal.


And to enforce standards, you better win some elections, right ? And how are you going to win them ?


world politics is like a cooperative version of poker where every country is supposed to win occasionally. now trump just decided to just raise all the time and cashing in. but players now realize his hand isn't that strong (no pun intended) most of the time and they will adapt by staying in the game while recoordinating the cooperation. in the end the USA will get a smaller part of the cake than they used to - and that won't improve soon even after Trump due to new arrangements and lost trust.


To an extent, capital now seems to route around barriers similarly to how the internet routes around network problems.


Good. I don't know how much longer Americans are going to buy the boogiemen we keep getting fed.

Sovereign nations under the the U.S.' thumb, not being able to control their own destiny only works so long as we're complacent.

I sense we're growing tired of war for war's sake, leery of ideological battles built for future blowback down the road. We see enough people profiting from these wars to wonder how much global conflict is manufactured.

I hope we stop buying in. When a politician tells us a country is evil, we need to start asking for receipts.

I don't see this having a ton of impact on U.S. relations other than a few terse, typo-laden tweets directed at Europe, but who knows these days. The notion that Western alliances are being intentionally weakened no longer seems far fetched.


We see enough people profiting from these wars to wonder how much global conflict is manufactured. I hope we stop buying in.

We, the people, are pretty powerless here. Lobbyists and elected officials have too much power and election cycles are too far apart. So even when recent American military action gets relatively low support from Americans [0], neither congress nor the president has any motivation to do anything about it.

0 - https://news.gallup.com/poll/208334/support-syria-strikes-ra...


You’ve forgotten how to protest. I recall you guys getting pretty upset over some tea with Britain.

Seriously as long as folks are content at home the politicians won’t give a damn about you. Go march in the streets en mass and things will slowly change.


Are you implying that putting some filter over my facebook picture isn't an effective method of protest?


You raised awareness. (Slightly sarcasm)


Not only that, but you are also signalling to your environment that thy are not alone. That's also a key factor in many demonstrations.


Perhaps you forgot to put /s.


Wasnt the last time this actually happened "occupy" and didn't that get dismantled and side-tracked pretty quickly?

IMHO not even a US specific issue, people in a whole lot of "western countries" seem to have forgotten how to meaningfully protest.

Sure, there is the occasional "against climate change" or "for this societal issue" marches, but they all have the problem of being incredibly obscure in their goals and demands.

Long gone are the days of large scale peace protests against very specific "interventions", like the invasion of Iraq triggered.


Facebook. That’s why. People protest online instead of offline.


That'll teach them!


If you think people haven't protested needless military action, you're paying as much attention to the American people as the politicians we've elected.


Strikes are far more effective than waving a sign on the street corner.


Strikes are really difficult when you've developed a culture of consumerism and permanent debt trapping big chunks of the population into wage slavery.

It's even harder when, at the same time, you put your thumb firmly on one side of the business/labor relations scale by pushing at-will employment and right to work efforts.


I don't disagree with any of that. Will you argue any of that is going to change if we continue to prefer the safety of strong words over decisive action and sacrifice?


Not while people keep electing "outsiders" to "clean up" the government. Turns out that process tends to further entrench corporate interests.


Don't blame the election cycle. All military funding has to be passed by Congress and the House of Representatives election cycle is only 2 years.


> We, the people, are pretty powerless here.

Most US americans have been voting for Democrats or Republicans or not at all for decades. Of course the politics remain the same: Wars and politics that favor the richest.

Please, vote for the Green Party or another reasonable party in 2020.


Maybe it's worth it to first reform the political system from a first-past-the-post system to more proportional representation (otherwise, unless I'm mistaken, those votes go pretty much straight to the wastepaper basket (or trash can, in this case)).


This freakonomics episode treats the major parties as a duopoly and gives some insights how the voting system would need to change:

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/politics-industry/

Unfortunately to change the law you need voters who vote for a party that is willing to change it even though it came into power under the current law.


Even in our current system, after a third party reaches a certain threshold, they qualify for government funding.

It's something to think about if you don't like the candidates the major parties are running and thus assume your vote means nothing.

Search for "Minor party candidates" here for the specifics: https://www.fec.gov/introduction-campaign-finance/understand...


Clinton and Trump have both been elected by roughly 26% of eligible voters in 2016.

https://mises.org/wire/26-percent-eligible-voters-voted-trum...

If you do not vote or vote for someone you do not want, your vote is worse than lost.

There is much potential for other parties. And while the presidential election is most important regarding war and the rest of the world, other elections for local politicians are important too and maybe even more important for US citizens.

Related talk: How To Eliminate The "Spoiler" Vote Phenomenon w/Jill Stein pt. 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgYEFxjJaUg


Truth. I like how the young dems are doing in terms of anti-war and pro-privacy stance.


The green party has terrible candidates and often I disagree with their policies.

I'm not going to vote for someone just because they're different from the establishment if they have positions I find ridiculous.


Its pretty well known among environmentalists that the American green party isn't "green" enough. Its not a truly environmentalist party that puts environmental issues above human issues. A environmental party must be anti-consumerism and anti-materialism. It should be against growing the human economy but instead making it more efficient. That means doing hard things that hurt human appetites/sensibilities but are better for the planet (ie. limited human migration, decreasing imports).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_ecology


And you agree with policies of other two parties?

Let take 2016 elections for example, your choices were; Hillary, responsible for a failed country right now and rigged primaries or Trump, the less said about him is better. If enough people voted for a different party, that would keep these two main parties in sort of a check as well, knowing they can't get away with whatever they want.


There's no evidence any primaries were 'rigged'.

Hillary got more votes, and some DNC people were catty about Bernie over private email.

I even voted Bernie, I just can't stand seeing claims repeated without evidence. Put up or shut up.


There are certainly things I don't agree with with the options available.

This idea that candidates need to perfectly represent everyone's opinions is just absurd. I don't agree with everything that Hillary did or that Trump is doing. That doesn't mean everything they did was bad or good.

But to suggest Jill Stein as a viable alternative when she has some dubious backing doesn't really empower choosing the 3rd party, does it?


So wouldn't a ranking vote system work better?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_voting


Yeah, thats fair. I'm with you on that. You'll never find a candidate who you agree with completely, you just go with the one that agree the most with or disagree the least with.


I guess you talk about Russia as dubious backer.

You really believe that the POTUS (notably Jill Stein and the Green Party) could be paid by Russia to enforce Russian policies to the detriment of US citizens ?

This idea is as crazy as the idea that China invented global warming to harm the USA economy.

From https://www.rte.ie/news/analysis-and-comment/2018/0111/93244...

Back in 2012, almost three years before he declared that he was going to run for the White House, Mr Trump tweeted: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."


There is a legitimate investigation into Russia interference in the election. Many have already been charged, and probably many more.

You really believe that nothing happened and there wasn't a concerted effort by Russia to significantly impact the election?

Whether or not the POTUS or candidates were complicit is one thing, but it's very clear that a significant impact on this election was made.


Why would an agent of that concerted effort admit that it was ongoing or impactful?


The war in Iraq was a direct consequence of people voting for Nader over Gore.


Funny, I thought the war was a direct consequence of people voting for Bush.

Also thought the war was a direct consequence of more Democrats voting for Bush than the total number of votes Nader got.[0] Democrats favored Bush over Nader. The number of Democrats who voted for Bush exceeded those who voted for Nader five fold.

In the last state I lived in, Democrats were far more hostile to 3rd party candidates than Republicans were - putting in a lot more effort to ensure they wouldn't get on the ballet.

As someone who grew up in a country where people couldn't vote, I can't imagine acts more hostile to democracy than what I saw the Democrats do to limit choices on the ballot. I may vote Democrat often, but I don't see myself as ever supporting the party.

[0] https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-2000


Bush voters got what they wanted. Nader and Stein voters did not.

As far as registered Dems voting habitually R.. yeah, that happens, you should see the south.


>Bush voters got what they wanted. Nader and Stein voters did not.

And had Nader voters voted for Gore, they would not have gotten what they wanted either had Gore won. They voted Nader because they did not want Gore.

The only thing I can take away from your comment is that if your candidate lost, you wanted the wrong thing.

>As far as registered Dems voting habitually R.. yeah, that happens, you should see the south.

I do - and I see more Dems responsible for Bush than Nader voters.


There are different schools of ethics, of course, but utility counts for something.

500k dead Iraqis on account of how that election swung. You sure showed us Democrats.


Playing Jeopardy: "What would a paid Russian troll say?"


>We, the people, are pretty powerless here. Lobbyists and elected officials have too much power and election cycles are too far apart.

Trump didn't get elected due to support from lobbyists and elected officials. The Russian interference was mostly noise.


I agree. I keep hearing the most wonderful things about the people of Sudan, I can't wait to get there soon and discover for myself!


I'm not sure why you're being downvoted. I returned from Sudan recently [0] and it is a fascinating country full of wonderful people and rich in culture - you will love visiting there! The Sudanese continue to suffer badly economically however, partly as a result of being on the US "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list [0] even though I firmly believe they no longer deserve to be there. Sudan still has many problems to tackle aside from this, but the US continuing to keep them on the terror list is without doubt only serving to make things worse.

Inflation is a huge problem in Sudan, largely brought on due to a lack of foreign exchange and trade (I had to take in enough USD to cover my entire trip). During my two week visit the Sudanese pound was devalued 39% overnight [2] and prices for common items rose noticeably during my stay. I came away feeling a huge amount of empathy for the locals who are finding it increasingly difficult to even afford basics such as bread there.

[0] https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156632235706760&...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Sponsors_of_Terrorism_(U...

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-07/sudan-rev...


I guess the votes come based on whether you assume he's being serious or sarcastic and the current opinion you hold of Sudan.

It is hard to judge when made over an impersonal channel like a plain text comment and most people won't check grecy's profile to draw the correct conclusion: not a trace of sarcasm.


I think you misunderstood the ...start asking for receipts part of nkozrya’s comment. nkozrya is not suggesting that U.S. politician’s are never correct in their assessment of evil. nkozrya is suggesting that they aren’t always right. This is hardly a controversial point. Believing otherwise is dangerous. It is critical that we trust but verify claims of our leaders.


>nkozrya is suggesting that they aren’t always right.

Even more so, there are all kinds of "national interests" political/cultural biases, and even personal interests (e.g. Cheney and Halliburton) mixed in their assessments.

They're not some disinterested third parties trying to make the fairest assessment possible for the benefit of mankind, but agents of a top world dog nation-state wanting to get more resources and control, and to further its own prospects.


Your parent wasn't being sarcastic. Check his profile.


I don’t normally check profiles before responding to comments. It appeared to be sarcasm to me. Sudan does have problems (both North and South) and U.S. politicians have commented upon them.

Thanks for letting me know. And that last sentence wasn’t sarcasm on my part!


The danger of the exclamation point!


Isn’t this the guy driving all over Africa in his converted Jeep?

I wouldn’t be surprised if he is being sincere about visiting Sudan


It would appear so. Text again proves to be a poor medium to convey emotions


Looking at his map[1], I think you are correct. He's in Kenya heading toward Sudan. Probably giving South Sudan [2] a wide birth though.

1 http://theroadchoseme.com/africa-expedition-overview

2 https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-sudan/safety-...


The fact that some boogiemen are not as terrible as portrayed, or that we shouldn't put too much effort to go after them, does not imply that all boogiemen are actually nice.


There's the fact that nobody appointed them the global cops in charge of boogiemen.

There's also the fact that more often than not, they act based on internal power plays and national interests of its own, and not for some "greater good".

There's also the fact that they have fucked up tons of countries with their interventions -- 4 countries in the last 20 years ago, turning relatively stable regimes into hell-holes of civil war, mayhem, and terrorism.

Not to go into how they have been historically worse than the boogiemen they complain about (from funding dictators, to directly invading countries, toppling democratically elected leaders, and so on).


Actually the world appointed them overlords in the Bretton Woods agreement.


> does not imply that all boogiemen are actually nice. reply

I think that goes without saying. But after fighting ideological / proxy wars against communism, "terrorism" and "hell, just because" I think we need a little more support.

Here we have a long-standing soft war against a country and/or people for whom Western meddling has demonstrably affected their life for the worse. Every time they do anything acting in their own sovereign interest we peg it as evil and impose some wrist-slapping or worse.

I don't for one second believe that the leadership of Iran is "good." Nor do I believe they're inherently evil. We refuse to concede any responsibility in the fate of their land over the last 100 years, continue to box them in and it seems more and more apparent we're keeping them on the hotplate in case we need a new war.

I have a pretty skeptical view of lower-case-l libertarians, most of whom are just using it as a veneer over some otherwise lockstep partisan affiliation. But one thing I've found very encouraging is that movement's general cynicism toward continued world power interventionism.


We are going to keep buying the boogeyman as long as the media and politicians sells it to us.

One of the only things both republicans and democrats can agree on is war. They will debate and argue about children drinking lead in Flint, but bombing some small country on the other side of the world and increasing the defense budget and lining the pockets of the defense contractors will always have bipartisan support.

One of the only things both foxnews and cnn/msbnc/nytimes/wapo/etc can agree on is war. They'll call each other fake news and poison the minds of the american people with divisive rhetoric for ratings, but when it comes to war, they'll set aside their differences and speak in one united pro-war voice.


> We are going to keep buying the boogeyman as long as the media and politicians sells it to us.

That's the saddest part. The media is the one entity theoretically equipped to shine light on these things. And it's just fallen down hill in a race to the bottom the last two decades.

And for that we must also place some blame on ourselves. We're less and less likely to support good journalism and gravitate to fluff and fake(-able) news ("Who needs newspapers? I get my news from Twitter").

We cannot shift blame exclusively outwards. We are not discerning consumers of information.


No when somebody says something that does not ring 100% TRUE, you question it and have a look into it yourself with multiple sources from contrasting perspectives.

But equally, you can't presume innocence as that's just as bad as presuming guilty.


> I hope we stop buying in. When a politician tells us a country is evil, we need to start asking for receipts.

Well, there’s the minor issue of Iran’s totalitarian regime consistently announcing their intent to destroy Israel and devestate the U.S.A, and taking actual steps to support the same.

I am Israeli and completely left-wing by the way, and believe there are many steps both Israel and the U.S. could take to mitigate the threat from Iran without war, such as strengthening moderate forces in the middle-east, which they do not take. I consider our own prime minister a thoroughly evil man.

But the fact remains that Iran’s own statements and actions are extreme.


Israel was the country that convinced the US to refuse to reintegrate Iran after the 1991 war. Clinton adopted the absurd (and unprecedented) policy of dual containment where both ME powers were consistently suppressed and isolated.

Israel did this because they understood that once Iraq was gone, Iran was their direct geopolitical rival before that Israel and Iran (even Post-Revolution) were all buddy buddy.

The fact is, Iran is a country compliant with international nuclear guidelines and agreements, to a stronger extend then literally every other country in the world. Israel is a rouge state that stole nuclear secrets and built nuclear weapons.

The US supporting Israel against Iran by claiming the crimes that everybody knows Israel has actually perpetrated.


> Well, there’s the minor issue of Iran’s totalitarian regime consistently announcing their intent to destroy Israel and devestate the U.S.A, and taking actual steps to support the same.

You do realize this rhetoric goes both ways, right? Israeli politicians often make genocidal statements towards other countries including Lebanon, Palestine and Iran, so spare me this crying.

Iran may have rhetoric, but Iran isn't occupying anyone. The same cannot be said for Israel.

In fact when there is a terrorist attack in the US, Iran tends to condemn it, despite the non-existent relations, whereas US lawmakers say "Iran deserves it", when the same happens over there.

As for sponsoring terrorism; Israel has been proven to be shipping weapons to Islamic radicals in Syria, is increasingly buddy buddy with Saudi Arabia & the UAE, commits regular war crimes, including in other countries etc., so again, spare me.

> I am Israeli and completely left-wing by the way

That's great, however from my personal observation, what "left-wing" means in Israel is much more to the right than in other parts of the world. In fact you've fallen for right-wing talking points, it seems.

> there are many steps both Israel and the U.S. could take to mitigate the threat from Iran without war, such as strengthening moderate forces in the middle-east

There's no threat from Iran to other nations that I could see, do they perhaps have some proxy forces? Sure. Does Israel? Sure. Does the U.S. Sure, exponentially more. Do the Saudis and Emiratis? You bet.

As an European, I just don't get the Israeli fixation with Iran, apart for deflection purposes, it's not a great regime, but not worse than the 75% of the world's dictatorships the U.S. does support.

For the US I at least get it more; control of their resources, for the Saudis and to a lesser extent the Emiratis, it also has a religious angle, but for Israel, it seems to be purely for propaganda purposes.

P.S. Am not even going to get into Israelis smearing anyone critical of Israeli policies as an anti-Semite, which is not only reprehensible, but it also assumes that the Israeli government speaks for all Jews, which is itself rather anti-Semitic if you ask me.


Please do not engage in political or ideological or nationalistic flamewar on HN. This is the sort of discussion that starts out bad ("spare me this crying"), can only get worse, and leads to hell.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I dont'agree with the Israeli occupation of foreign territories but I don't see what that has to do with the US's sanctions against Iran. Are you trying to say that the sanctions against Iran are bad, because there are no US sanctions against Israel?

>> As an European, I just don't get the Israeli fixation with Iran,

Well I'm a European too but I can completely understand that a country which repeatedly has announced its intention to wipe Israel of the earth gets more than usual attention from the Israeli's.


> I dont'agree with the Israeli occupation of foreign territories but I don't see what that has to do with the US's sanctions against Iran.

If, as an Israeli, one makes claims that the sanctions are justified because Iran is sponsoring terrorism, perhaps it's justified to look at whether Israel is not only sponsoring, but committing terrorist acts on its neighbors, unless Israel is somehow justified to do so, while Iran isn't.

> I can completely understand that a country which repeatedly has announced its intention to wipe Israel of the earth gets more than usual attention from the Israeli's.

Right, but my point is that isn't nor really a one-sided thing. Israel does it too towards not only Iran, but its closest neighbors, they regularly threaten to "bomb Lebanon back to the stone age", as an example.


> If, as an Israeli, one makes claims that the sanctions are justified because Iran is sponsoring terrorism, perhaps it's justified to look at whether Israel is not only sponsoring, but committing terrorist acts on its neighbors, unless Israel is somehow justified to do so, while Iran isn't.

You must have a very broad definition of "terrorism" if you consider Israeli military operations to be "terrorist acts". Iran sponsors an out-and-proud terrorist organization called Hezbollah. They've committed textbook terrorist attacks around the world.

> Right, but my point is that isn't nor really a one-sided thing. Israel does it too towards not only Iran, but its closest neighbors, they regularly threaten to "bomb Lebanon back to the stone age", as an example.

...as a response to legitimate threats made by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Don't forget that Hezbollah started and escalated the war in Lebanon in 2006. Israel does not threaten Egypt, or Jordan, or even Syria itself except for Hezbollah's presence therein.


> As an European, I just don't get the Israeli fixation with Iran,

I agree, but let's not forget also the ridiculous fixation of Iran with Israel, which is even more senseless. I do not understand where the Irani animosity towards Israel comes from. Both countries are surrounded by arabs that hate them, wouldn't they all be better of as best buddies?


> I do not understand where the Irani animosity towards Israel comes from. Both countries are surrounded by arabs that hate them, wouldn't they all be better of as best buddies?

I have studied this very question previously and it's a bit more complex than that.

Iran had a democratically elected government, but in the early 50s, the UK & US orchestrated a coup that ousted that government, since they wanted to nationalize their natural resources and kick foreign oil firms out of the country.

The U.S. the installed the King of Iran as their puppet dictator. The King was a close ally of Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

After some 20+ years, the dictator was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

Part of Iran's national defense strategy since then, is to have allied forces in some neighboring countries like Lebanon, Iraq etc. These forces are not occupying the territories, they're native to the land, but just ideologically align more with Iran than other countries in the region.

This strategy exists because Iran knows it would not be able to defeat an invasion on its own, were that to ever happen.

Part of how Iran was able to attract their support was by positioning itself as the force to stand against Western abuses in the region, (including Israel).

Because Israel was an ally of the old Iranian dictator, who was hated in Iran and because their abuses against the Palestinians, it was natural for Iran to position itself as against Israeli abuses, both because of its own history and because it strengthened its image as an alternative in the region against Western abuse.

It is therefore far from true that "arabs hate them". Some Arabs hate Iranians, mostly Sunni gulf states, who supported the previous Iranian regime, but some consider them an ally, including a significant portion of Lebanon, Syria, portions of Yemen and the Palestinians.

Looking at it this way, it does at least make some sense.


> I have studied this very question previously and it's a bit more complex than that.

It's in fact far more complex that what you describe and I strongly urge readers to do their own research.

> Iran had a democratically elected government, but in the early 50s, the UK & US orchestrated a coup that ousted that government, since they wanted to nationalize their natural resources and kick foreign oil firms out of the country.

Iran had had a monarchy for 2500 years. Then, after a brief power struggle, Mohammed Mossadegh (previously appointed prime minister by the Shah himself) became a leader for two years. He did later win an election. Indeed, he was ousted by that coup and monarchy was restored.

> The U.S. the installed the King of Iran as their puppet dictator. The King was a close ally of Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Characterizing Reza Pahlavi as a dictator or a "close ally" of Israel is an exaggeration. He was a monarch - and a reluctant one at that.

> These forces are not occupying the territories, they're native to the land, but just ideologically align more with Iran than other countries in the region.

By these "forces", you must be referring to Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that killed over 300 peacekeeping forces in the Beirut bombing during the Lebanese civil war, or the Houthi rebels that played a major role in causing the ongoing the civil war in Yemen.

> Part of how Iran was able to attract their support was by positioning itself as the force to stand against Western abuses in the region, (including Israel).

Almost every Arab country in the region stands against Iran, to the point of covertly cooperating with Israel. Those who align with Iran are virtually all part of the Shia/Alawite religious minority.


Thanks for the explanation. It is just very sad that things turned out this way.


Wanted to say thank you, this explains the situation very well.


It explains the situation very well indeed, precisely because it has developed to become "the" explanation of the other side of the argument.


I'm not so sure Arabs hate Israel anymore. Saudi Arabia for instance has been working on improving relations. Could be "enemy of my enemy is my friend" though.


The giant elephant in the room, I guess


[flagged]


This sort of flamewar will get you banned here. Please do not do it again.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19045708 is also bad. Tedious, nasty political back-and-forths are both off topic (on topic is gratification of intellectual curiosity, and there's none of that here) and against the spirit of the site. If this is what you want to do, please find somewhere else on the internet to do it. Here it's necessary to resist the bait when others do it, not respond in kind.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


No don't send me back to slashdot, I'll be good. Peace wuv coexist.


wasn't being sarcastic


> for Israelis act in self defense

Are other people/nations also allowed to 'act in self defense', or is it only Israel?

> Now get fucked.

Well, I guess you won the argument.


Yes, but half the world isn't actively trying to destroy most people/nations.

And yes I do recognize it must suck ass to live in Gaza and I feel for them, and hope for a better future where their lives don't suck ass. I have no idea what to do about it though.

I know it's inconvenient for Europeans and progressives who think they can just lift the blockade and stop operations in Syria and everyone will live happily ever after, but when that filters through my ears it becomes "we don't give a fuck if you live or die."

Why should I care about the opinions of people who don't give a fuck if I live or die?


> half the world isn't actively trying to destroy most people/nations

True, including Israel.

You do realize that the occupation and abuse of Palestinians by Israel is what drives those Arabs that hate Israel, right? It's a rallying call, if you will.

As for genocidal rhetoric, it's been done both by Israeli neighbors and Israel itself.

As for military might, Israel is clearly on top.

> I do recognize it must suck ass to live in Gaza and I feel for them, and hope for a better future where their lives don't suck ass. I have no idea what to do about it though.

> I know it's inconvenient for Europeans and progressives who think they can just lift the blockade and stop operations in Syria and everyone will live happily ever after

As for Syria, is a sovereign country that you have no right to operate in, nor do you have the right to constantly violate Lebanese airspace.

How do you expect other countries to respect you, when you don't even respect international law?

As for Palestinians, there's always the rhetoric that they will never become peaceful etc. but how about you stop thinking of 'Greater Israel' and stop building illegal settlements as a first step? You can't continue jacking their land and somehow come to an agreement with them.

As for Gaza, yes, lifting the blockade, at least for essential supplies, lifting fishing restrictions, not targeting civilians and perhaps sponsoring targeted programs to build infrastructure there etc. would help. Stop sniping nurses and journalists as you did with the great match of return, that would be nice.

Build some goodwill, allows Gazans to leave and study abroad, sponsor some targeted infrastructure projects...

> but when that filters through my ears it becomes "we don't give a fuck if you live or die."

> Why should I care about the opinions of people who don't give a fuck if I live or die?

For my part, I absolutely care for you to live, but it could be said that it is what comes out of Israel is to my ears as if you don't care whether Palestinians live or die indeed.

There's much talk about their violence etc. but from what I've studied, it is driven by desperation. There's no prospects there, no future, no joy, no nothing. When there's such a situation, resisting what they, (and the international community btw), see as occupation is pretty much the only thing that occurs to many of them.

I realize the issue isn't simple, but as I said, outreach and show of goodwill go a long way. Stop building settlements for one, enforce security in their areas from settler attacks as well, build infrastructure, come to the table and most importantly stop dreaming of 'Greater Israel' and you may get somewhere.


[flagged]


> Naive. I'm sure they'll find another excuse to restore the Muslim lands.

So it's ok for you to continue, because you're sure they'll find another reason? What if am sure they won't? That's a lousy argument if I ever saw one.

> This is where the 'get fucked' comes in.

So you approve of violating international law? Why should Israel have any extra rights as a state, compared to others, or the Palestinians for that matter?

> What's your point? It's ok if they shoot missiles at me because ours our bigger and fancier?

It's not ok, but so it's acting that your bombardment is a proportional response to their home-made rockets. It mostly kills civilians.

> Noted. Both sides are negotiating in bad faith so some degree here. There is no indication that Palestinians will ever consider one square inch of Israel to not be 'jacking their lands'

The Palestinians have said that they're OK with the '67 borders, that's certainly giving up on some land allocated to them by the UN to Israel.

> any more than there is of settlers giving up hope for 'greater Israel.'

So is this the justification for continuing the status quo of the occupation? That's not a good look if I may say so myself. How are the settlers different then than the extreme Islamic factions of the Palestinians? Because their settlements are protected by Israel and thus make Israel at least partially responsible for them.

> So they can use fishing boats to smuggle weapons and concrete for tunnels? Which IS what would happen. but still..

Am sure there would a percentage used that way, so do inspections or whatever. You don't make an argument like this for anything other. "There should be no cars, because someone may have an accident".


> You do realize that the occupation and abuse of Palestinians by Israel is what drives those Arabs that hate Israel, right? It's a rallying call, if you will.

You do realize that it's the other way around, in that "Palestinians" have always hated Israel (aided and abetted by Israel's Arab neighboring states) since it's lawful establishment by the UN? Palestinians are still failing to acknowledge Israel's right to exist.


> You do realize that it's the other way around, in that "Palestinians" have always hated Israel (aided and abetted by Israel's Arab neighboring states) since it's lawful establishment by the UN?

If you're giving the historical context, it's worth noting that Israel was indeed established by the UN, but only after years of massive migration to the territory and committing significant terrorism when the British were there(in fact the IDF is a result of the merger of several terrorist factions), the kind of terrorism that is often used by Israelis to pain the Palestinians as uncivilized savages.

The UN also established what should be the Palestinian territory, which is today occupied by Israel. The Arab states did in fact invade, the Palestinians saw it as eroding on their land, (and the British agreed to a large extent at the time), however I do agree that they should have accepted the UN ruling. It was wrong not to do so, regardless of how Israel came to be.

This does however not justify the present occupation of even the few remaining Palestinian territories, especially because the very UN that you cite considers them illegal and Israel is regularly condemned at the UN for it. Yet it continues to ignore international law with impunity because of U.S. support.

> Palestinians are still failing to acknowledge Israel's right to exist.

They largely do acknowledge it, the PA certainly does and even Hamas has amended their charter in 2017 to that direction as far as I know.

The fact is, Israel has a state in any case. Do you acknowledge the right for Palestine to exist? Because Israeli continued expansion of illegal settlements on the ground does not suggest so and it certainly does not help the peace process in any way.


fwiw, the 'get fucked' part was probably uncalled for. kind of on edge these days.


"Iran may have rhetoric, but Iran isn't occupying anyone"

Well, Iraq and Syria would be two countries.

And if they could, they would be occupying many more.

Iran is not some entity trying to protect themselves from invaders, they are a theocratic dictatorship and they want to spread their specific brand of revolution throughout the region and the world.

Nukes involve us all so it's less a matter of sovereignty.

Nobody wants Iran to have nukes - not Britain, Germany, France, Russia, China etc which is why they are all signatories to the treaty!

If Iran tried to get nukes in the eyes of the above, they would pull out as well!

The issue here is more or less one of 'what Iran is doing' - not an issue of 'what we should do if Iran is cheating'.

So the headline of 3 major countries doing trade with Iran is not an abnegation of the nuclear issue, it's just a difference of opinion on what is actually going on inside Iran.


> Well, Iraq and Syria would be two countries.

No, they wouldn't, Iran is in both countries with the explicit permission of the local governments, (like them or not). That's not what occupation means.

> And if they could, they would be occupying many more.

Given you first statement isn't true, I doubt this one is, beyond the cynical, "who wouldn't"?

> Iran is not some entity trying to protect themselves from invaders, they are a theocratic dictatorship and they want to spread their specific brand of revolution throughout the region and the world.

Look, am not a fan of Iran, but am also trying to be rational about them. Their strategy of having some proxy forces in strategic places is part of their defense strategy, this has been studied.

As for them trying to spread their ideology, sure, that alone doesn't seem to warrant sanctions, given the Gulf states and our relationship with them.

> Nobody wants Iran to have nukes - not Britain, Germany, France, Russia, China etc which is why they are all signatories to the treaty!

Right, and Iran has been complying with the deal, so what's your point? It's the U.S. that pulled out of it.

(For the record, am not sure why Israel should have unacknowledged nukes either.)


"Their strategy of having some proxy forces in strategic places is part of their defence strategy, this has been studied."

Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah towards attacking Israel is part of their defence strategy?

Iran's passing of Hadouthi missiles to targeted at cilivian areas in Saudia Arabia is part of their defence strategy.

Yes 'this has been studied' and I'm afraid you're wrong.

Iran is a antagonistic entity, and they want nukes so they can point them at Turkey, Saudi, Israel, Europe and further embolden themselves.

The reason that 'UK/France/Germany' issue is important is because it undermines almost all of the arguments being made here i.e. that 'Iran is sovereign, a victim, and shouldn't be subject to sanctions'.

The fact that 'the entire world' wants to sanction Iran for pursuing nukes fairly points to their bad acting.

The only reason that trade is possibly going to happen - is because of the belief that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons.


> Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah towards attacking Israel is part of their defence strategy?

Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah is absolutely part of their defense strategy, so is antagonism towards Israel, not that I agree with it, but it's worth noting that Israel has been regularly threatening to "bomb Lebanon back into the stone age" and attacking Iranians in Syria, so Israel is clearly an antagonizing force as well.

Also see my comment here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19045148 for the broader context.

> they want nukes so they can point them at Turkey, Saudi, Israel, Europe and further embolden themselves

There's no particular reason to think that if they wanted nukes, they'd do so for any other reason, than as a deterrent against an invasion, similarly to the reasons North Korea develops them.

> The only reason that trade is possibly going to happen - is because of the belief that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons.

It is not just a 'belief' as you call it, it has been verified regularly by the International Atomic Agency and Iran is in compliance with the deal. The U.S. is not.


> Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah towards attacking Israel is part of their defence strategy?

Yes.

Particularly, it's central to their defense strategy against Sunni-dominated neighbors.


Since the end of Saddam - there is no entity in the region that has any material ability to pose any real threat to Iran.

Moreover, there are no entities with the ability to even 'cause meaningful harm' (ie Israel) without significant reciprocal damage and serious political blowback.

So the notion of 'attacking neighbours as part of a defence' doesn't hold any water.

Consider that Iran has the open and public position that they want to 'wipe Israel of the map', that they are sending missiles that end up landing over the heads of Saudis and Israelis - it's clear that Iran poses an existential threat to some of their neighbours, not the other way around.

Palestinian issues aside (which will never be resolved through war anyhow) - Israel has proven they maintain very peaceful relations with any neighbours not trying to destroy it, ergo, the very easy path to peace with Israel is just to not antagonize them. Jordan, Egypt, Saudi etc. have zero to fear from Israel.

If Iran wanted peace they would just make peace, but it's clear they do not.

The Saudis are not the nicest bunch, and their funding of extremist activities should draw more ire, but they have no real military capabilities more than a few miles beyond their borders.


> Since the end of Saddam - there is no entity in the region that has any material ability to pose any real threat to Iran

Not without allying with and outside power like the United States to do so (which, incidentally, was critical to Saddam’s ability to do so); Iran's influence with dissatisfied groups, which its visible active opposition to Israel is a key component of, is key to it's ability to credibly threaten to impose a high cost for that.

It's also, beyond defence against existing local regimes, a key component of it's strategy to prevent the US from securing a stronger foothold in the region to threaten Iran by displacing or subverting an existing regime both by establishing Iran's positive influence and by poisoning the week against the US.


> Well, there’s the minor issue of Iran’s totalitarian regime consistently announcing their intent to destroy Israel and devestate the U.S.A, and taking actual steps to support the same.

Be wary of the narrative the media feeds you. There is a lot of spin on what is actually said in Iran and what is reported. For example:

https://www.quora.com/Did-Irans-former-president-Ahmadinejad...

This was later revisited by WaPo:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/did-a...


The first article is mostly an opinion piece on the illegitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.

> So the UN resolution was actually legally compromised and the partition plan was also completely unfair, giving out 70 percent of the land to the immigrant Jews who made up only 30 percent of the population at the time! (See 1947 UN Partition Proposal)

> So people only need to use their common sense to see how wrong this radical and bloody demographic implantation in the Arab world, called Israel, has been!

therefore, I would take whatever other factual claims this writer makes with a grain of salt, since anyone who reads his article can see a clear anti-Israeli agenda.

But even assuming his factutal statements regarding what Ahmadinejad said: that the occupation will vanish from the face of time, and not actually Israel, which is not the same as the occupation - anyone who is a bit versed in Middle-Eastern media knows that “the occupation” is just the way Israel is referred to. In very much the same way that the Iranian regime calls Israel and the U.S. “the small and big devils”. The writer’s point is moot. Any threat about the vanishing of the occupation is the same as the threat of the vanishing of Israel as a state.

The second article is a bit weird, as it seems to argue the finer points of translation:

> Khomeini gave a speech in which he said in Persian “Een rezhim-i eshghalgar-i Quds bayad az sahneh-i ruzgar mahv shaved.” This means, “This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time.” But then anonymous wire service translators rendered Khomeini as saying that Israel “must be wiped off the face of the map,” which Cole and Nourouzi say is inaccurate.

and

> In 2000, Khamenei stated, “Iran’s position, which was first expressed by the Imam [Khomeini] and stated several times by those responsible, is that the cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region.” He went on to say in the same speech that “Palestinian refugees should return and Muslims, Christians and Jews could choose a government for themselves, excluding immigrant Jews.”

Wow, I’m so glad the Iranian regime only says that Israel along with the Jews living in it must vanish and be uprooted, but not wiped out.

To make things clear: I am against the control of Israeli military of territories with a Palestenian civilian majority in the West Bank, and I myself call that “occupation”. I believe Israel is very much at fault, even if it is not exclusive fault.

But that doesn’t excuse ignoring or defending actual threats to the very existence of Israel, which Iran does make, and act upon.


Stating that a country should not exist vs stating a country should be wiped off the map are drastically different things.

It's long been known that Iran doesn't recognize Israel as a country, just like Israel doesn't recognize Palestine, so there should be no surprise here.

I really don't understand why others really think the people of Iran have some overarching goal of attacking Israel and the US versus just trying to live their lives. What will that accomplish them?

Iran is a republic and must answer to it's people, which is why they participate in the international community by e.g. following the Non Proliferation Treaty and making trade deals with the rest of the international community. At the end of the day they don't want to be isolated and straddled with hyper inflation from sanctions just like most countries.


> Stating that a country should not exist vs stating a country should be wiped off the map are drastically different things.

You make the first sound very sterile. Aggressively saying one (a person or country) must not exist is not that far off from saying he must be wiped off, especially if you’re taking actual military steps against that subject.

> It's long been known that Iran doesn't recognize Israel as a country just like Israel doesn't recognize Palestine, so there should be no surprise here.

Who’s surprised? I just demonstrated the so-called receipts the parent OP said one must show.

Regardless, not recognizing something is very different from saying it must not exist and taking steps to advance that desired non-existence.

I think the Israeli regime is also evil in not allowing a Palestenian state to exist, even if it’s not Israel’s exclusive fault.

> I really don't understand why others really think the people of Iran have some overarching goal of attacking Israel and the US versus just trying to live their lives. What will that accomplish them?

I think it’s clear we are talking about the regimes here, not “the people”. Especially in autocratic Iran.

> Iran is a republic and must answer to it's people

False. [1]

> de jure: Unitary Khomeinist presidential Islamic republic

> de facto: Theocratic-republican authoritarian unitary presidential republic subject to a Supreme Leader

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran


This is going to be the really unfortunate legacy of Trump: disastrous foreign policy and the loss of soft power.

1. Denial of Russia's meddling in US election because it runs counter to Trump's ego and he had a weird soft spot for autocrats.

2. The baseless termination of the Iran nuclear Accord as essentially a capitulation to Israel and Israeli interests. There was no violation of the agreement. The best the administrative could come up with was that Iran was violating the "spirit" of the agreement with actions that took place prior to it. WTF?

3. Giving North Korea a pass, a country that actually has unchecked nuclear ambitions and a deplorable human rights record.

4. Giving Saudi Arabia a pass on killing a US permanent resident in Turkey (Trump asked on camera "he's not a citizen right?"). Why? Because they're an ally. Why exactly is that? Well because of Iraq. Why was Iraq an enemy? Well because of Iran. Why was Iran an enemy? Well because we incited a revolution there to remove a democratically elected government leading to a hardline religious revolution so they didn't like is. Then we propped up a dictator and supplied him with arms, commenting a war that killed millions. Yeah ok. But hey MBS is another Putin in the making so that's fine.

Honestly the only bright spot in this (and there really is one) is that China's misdeeds seem to be getting called out.

Anyway the whole Iran thing just makes me angry. The best thing we could do there is work towards normalization is relations. Three internal politics were slowly becoming more moderate. Isolating them gives more power to the hardliners.

But that's really the story of the disproportionate power Israel has over US foreign policy. Gone are the days when Eisenhower told them to get the hell out of Sinai.


Let's keep this straight:

Saudi Arabia is an ally because, and for as long as, they happily do their oil business in USD, which does a lot to underpin the USD as a driver in the global economy as a whole.


Not going to war with N. Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia is a good thing. Trump has lessened tensions, he should get credit for that. As an American, I don't want to fight a war with these countries.

I agree with you on Iran for the same reasons though.


Who said anything about going to war? That's a false dichotomy. How about just:

- Not giving credibility to the North Korean regime

- When Russia kills dissidents overseas in a pretty public way (eg Polonium-210, nerve agents), annexes a sovereign nation (ie part of the Ukraine) and their meddling leads to giving anti-aircraft systems to rebels who use it to shoot down a passenger plane (ie MH17) then they're treated with sanctions and are ostracized to some degree from the international community. To be fair, a lot of this predated Trump. The MBS-Khashoggi affair should be met with a similar amount of condemnation.

Oh and there's the whole Yemen thing too.

There was a time when Saudi Arabia wielded a lot of power due to their oil output and the West's dependence on it. But those days are gone. The US is now a net oil exporter. There are sources other than OPEC for oil (eg Venezuela, Russia although each of them has their issues now obviously). More to the point, Saudi Arabia needs to sell oil to buy off their own citizens.

Supporting an unpopular autocratic regime is part of why many in the Middle East hate the US.

The real tragedy of the Middle East is that the US caused no end of problems and then picked the wrong side (again and again actually). There's a case to be made than Iran would've made the better ally.

But our hands are tied. Because Israel, basically.


Like I said, I agree that we should not sanction Iran.

How about not increasing the risk of war with N. Korea and Russia? It should not be our job to police other countries. We have enough of our own problems to deal with in the US.

shmerl 16 days ago [flagged]

Yeah, trading with a fascist regime must be good.


Has not trading with "evil" regimes done any good? 50 years later, Cuba still exists, and so does North Korea...


But the Apartheid regime in South Africa has collapsed, and so have (most) communist totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe.


Was that because of trade sanctions, or because the regimes were (internally) unsustainable? (Honest question, I'm not old enough to know.)


The first US Sanctions against South Africa took into effect in 1986, 5 years later the Apartheid system was ended.

See e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Anti-Apartheid_A...


US certainly did not show any shyness in doing exactly that. http://www.derechos.org/soa/

Training manual for the school of the Americas http://www.soaw.org/docs/SOA%20Manejo%20de%20Fuentes%201-60....

https://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/28/opinion/school-of-the-dic...

I understand that dictatorship != fascism.


Iran is a radical islamic theocracy that hangs gay people and exports terrorism to the rest of the Middle East in the form of Hamas and Hezbollah.

They also want to wipe Israel from the map and are trying to build nuclear weapons.

We need more sanctions, not less.


I believe I spy a fly in the ointment there -- Saudi Arabia, where some of these hold true

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” -- from emails leaked from the office of Hillary Clinton, who was US Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.


Just going to pick on a few things you mentioned:

The Iranian people overthrew the shah who ruled for ~38 years and whom the US supported, and seemed to choose theocracy. (I say "seemed" because I'm sure there are two sides to the story. From the little reading I've done, it seems there was significant support for the theocracy.) They now hold elections, though I don't know how free of meddling they are. So they've gone from a US-supported dictatorship, a feeling much of the Middle East and Latin Americas knows, to a partially democratic theocracy.

Negative attitudes towards homosexuality are common across the Middle East; they're not unique to Iran. Neither are negative attitudes towards Israel.

I don't know enough about Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran supposedly building nuclear weapons to comment, so I won't.

For those interested, I highly recommend reading Robert Fisk's "The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East"[0]. The author was in Iran during the revolution which overthrew the Shah and offers a fascinating perspective into the Iranian people. The rest of the book is proving to be amazing too!

[0] https://smile.amazon.com/Great-War-Civilisation-Conquest-Mid...


I can also highly recommend Fisks books (I have The Great War on the shelf and refer to it often), but I would also like to add Robert Baers books, he was a CIA case officer who speaks farsi and is pretty knowledgeable about things. I think it is also highly worth reading up on the original coup that installed the Shah in the first place, it was essentially the first coup the British used their newly trained (everyone knows the OSS became the CIA, but who did the OSS learn from? The Brits) American orgs as a proxy in an overthrow.

Which is one of the reasons moves like this by the UK are interesting; much of the current American sentiment towards Iran was shaped by the Chatham House group in the first place.

Also I sat down and actually read all the IAEA reports in 2010 or so and besides the mossad planted laptop fiasco, all indications were that Iran was not seeking weaponization or even virtual breakout mode, and I have yet to see any good evidence to the contrary other than claims of "secret evidence".


Your first sentence is correct.

The second is pretty much false. Iran has never tried to build nuclear weapons. Iran has been and always was perfectly in accordance with international law.

If you want to sanction Iran for the reason giving in your first line, then you must sanction literally every single ally the US has in the Middle East.

Please stop claiming that this is some moral position that the US holds.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_relations#...

Pretty good evidence there that Iran wants to destroy Israel. Even if they're not trying to build nukes, which is a stretch, they can't be trusted with nuclear power.

I agree that it is not the only homophobic non-democracy in the Middle East. The sooner no-one needs oil and we can stop dealing with those countries, the better.


The Iranian population is far less against Israel then in Arab countries. Iran was long allied with Israel even after the Revolution.

Iran has shown again and again that they can be trusted as they have join the global communities process from early on and are not the best monitored country. Israel has shown that they can not be trusted with Nuclear power, they have not even signed the NPT.

Iran government might want to destroy Israel, but Israel government would like to destroy Iran as well. They are both regional powers.


As America steps back from the world stage, we will see more alliances being forged that exclude the USA.

These plans of dissociation have been in motion for some time now. I think two ruinous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused a shift in American foreign policy that we are now starting to see play out more frequently. This will continue for many decades.


Perhaps, but this is orthogonal to that. This is to sidestep US sanctions.

The traditional (not current) left was for disengagement (WTO protests, Iraq protests), it’s strange to see the left now argue for intervention and more internationalism and intervention and hegemony.


In the past, US allies like Germany, France, Britain, would never dream of crossing the US. A trade agreement that effectively promotes the Euro to sidestep the USD is Europe thumbing its nose at the US.

Yes, on the face of it, this is about sidestepping sanctions. But the implications of doing so go far deeper. The US posture today basically makes the US weaker in the long run.


> As America steps back from the world stage, we will see more alliances being forged that exclude the USA.

That's all a fantasy though. The US isn't stepping back from the world stage. Its $20.5 trillion economy is growing twice as fast as the EU's smaller economy. Its $700 billion military isn't going to be reduced in size. The USD is as strong as a global standard as it has been in the last 40 years, it has no serious currency challenger (including the Yuan).

The US isn't stopping / abandoning trade. The US isn't leaving NATO. The US isn't reducing its economic or military heft. The US isn't leaving the UN or the security council and giving up its permanent seat. The US isn't ending immigration in any regard. Few of the things people pretend are happening re a step-back & isolationism, are actually happening.

Germany + UK + France = $9.5 trillion in economic output, with the combination persistently lagging behind the US in output growth. The global alternatives to the US are all growing weaker, not stronger, with one exception: China. The EU isn't better off today than it was in ~2005, it's weaker.

Trump is gone in 2-6 years. He's opposed by nearly the entire political system when it comes to isolationist policies. There is no actual step back occuring and there isn't going to be one. Trump is a fluke one-off as a politician. The next president - which will be a typical politician from inside the system - is guaranteed to follow the same script every other president has since WW2 when it comes to the US global engagement and power projection. When people write that there is a step-back occuring, it's a projection on their part of what they would like to see happen (it often involves an emotion-based fantasy that the US will soon collapse and be humbled as a superpower).


After two years of the clown show that is the Trump government, the USA's reputation in the EU has already suffered massively. The US is simply no longer seen as the reliable partner it once was. If you think that six more years of that don't have long-lasting effects on the US's role and influence in the world, then maybe you are the one who is thinking wishfully.


Germany is currently going through with NordStream 2, a plan that gives billions to Russia. Simultaneously, the US is expected to spend billions protecting Germany and the EU from Russia via NATO. If Russia is really a threat why is Germany helping to subsidize their military and government?

Who is unreliable here? Why isn't Germany getting their natural gas from the US?

Of course the EU doesn't like Trump. If somebody has been giving you free money for decades and all of a sudden somebody wants to put a stop to it or at least get something in return, of course they aren't going to like the new guy


The view that the EU received free money and the US nothing in return is fairly simplistic, the intellectual level I'd expect at a Trump rally. Europe played a key role in the American geopolitical strategy since WW2. But in your opinion that's apparently nothing.


Their CFOs better not travel to Canada anytime soon :D


Yeah, it definitely has the appearance of undercutting the importance of Huawei's alleged actions of breaking sanctions the US has imposed on Iran.

Be interesting which side Canada chooses. They might even get a wall out of it.


That’s the thing with all the “soft” power the US has: you can maybe use it once or twice to bully allies into doing your bidding. But that’s a terrible way to spent all the good will built over decades of mutually beneficial cooperation.


Some people in the US think that this good will is God given and not the result of decades of hard work so they are very willing to squander it.


"Washington says that, although Iran has met the terms, the accord was too generous, failing to rein in Iran’s ballistic missile program or curb its regional meddling." - oh the irony!


I find it even more interesting that my comment, which is factually correct, has been flagged.

The Yellow Vest movement started in France and has been prominent in the countries listed within the article. The governments of those countries have also been defying popular wishes, particularly regarding Brexit.

So I am curious as to why my comment should be flagged instead of replied to. Interesting indeed - hit a nerve?


Kinda ironic, how Britain managed to organise a trade deal for Iran so quickly with EU neibours and yet utterly unable after years to organise its own trade needs.


yeah, I guess it's almost like the EU is cutting off its nose to spite its face.


IA Link[0], for Europeans (like myself), who get "Page Not Found".

[0] - https://web.archive.org/web/20190131120900/https://www.reute...


Am in Luxembourg, no problem viewing the page. Reuters HQ is in the UK...


I live in Europe and I can read it, no problem.


Thinking that an embargo is going to solve the problem is misleading and it's only going to make things worst. The population is going to confort themselves that the occidental nations are evil, you give valid arguments to the dictatorial power, only the population is going to suffer.

Conversely opening the market creates bounds between countries and opens the population's mind that will impose the democracy by itself.


What is "the problem"?

If you say the embargo solves the problem of fueling a boogeyman enemy to rationalize military spending and fuel nationalism, then I would say it's a quite elegant solution.


The US acquired the ability to leverage the financial system to enact its will

And now it wont

It doesnt really matter if you are subscribed to the merit of the US’ claims or not


I don't understand how that would prevent the US from sanctioning those banks and companies that trades with Iran? Regardless if they traded through the described mechanism.


Correct. The Secretary of State has already said this. You can do business with America. Or do business with Iran. But you can't do business with both.


Beyond mass scale industrial espionage though, what options does the US realistically have if third party countries/trading blocs create a mechanism to hide the trade? Are they going to sanction the EU? Be interesting to see that one play out. It could basically end up with America blacklisting every country outside the US, thus ending up with itself as its only trading partner..


The US has the largest spying apparatus on the planet. And yes, we will and have block trade with nations trading with Iran. The Twitter feed for our ambassador to Germany documents all of these cases and in every instance, they have folded.

The reality is that we are 16t worth of trade and Iran is 440b. They're just not worth it.


That’s really the genius of Trumps foreign policy. He knows the heft of the USA and the spinelessness of EU leaders.

Which really obviates the only real reason to have the EU - combined, all the EU countries are stronger in any field than the US (or China).

That being said the US is a basket case. Sure bully the EU. It’ll work today, maybe ten years from now.

But the US is a failing concern, with a completely rotten and corrupt ruling class that lead ppl to vote for an oversized Twinkee for president. World wide hegemony is done in twenty years.


We should have embargos on the US for pursuing a climate change program that destroys the planet.


I wish we could, but I'm afraid the international military projection of the US would make this impossible to enforce.

dunpeal 16 days ago [flagged]

Do you also advocate for an embargo of China, which pollutes at over twice the rate of the US?

How about embargo of the EU, which currently pollutes at roughly the same rate?

Did you know that energy production in the US is overall more environmentally friendly than in Germany, for example?


The US has one of the highest CO2 per capita of the OECD. Germany emits half the CO2 per capita that the US does.

Also, Chinese people don’t drive stupid big SUV and trucks while running the AC on full blast all summer.


I’ve been in plenty of stupid big SUV’s with air conditioning blasting in the summer while in China. Big SUV’s are a status symbol and China summers are horrendously hot.

That being said I’m much more concerned with trash burning (it still happens, I’ve seen it plenty when driving outside of cities) and the byproducts of the intense construction that can’t be slowed down without seriously hurting their economy. I know multiple Chinese people with their retirement investments in concrete manufacturing companies that are losing big with recent government clamping down on that.

Both of these are anecdotal, sure, but then again I don’t trust official Chinese government data so anecdotal has some value.

The USA and other developed countries went through their own periods of abusing the environment during their industrial revolutions so I have to assume China will get through this as well. Things are already improving. And at least their government acknowledges it’s something they need to improve rather than actively regressing like the USA.


The US emits more CO2 while Europe releases far more NOx and other more “traditional” pollutants.

The diesel emissions scandal in the US had a European counterpart that was never dealt with. 2018 models are still polluting far above the official limits which themselves are more lax than the US. [1]

[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180921140151.h...


The effect of those "other more “traditional” pollutants" is mostly local, whereas global warming and ocean acidification are global.


Ocean acidification is a global problem. NOx smog may seem local but it has large scale effects.


Ocean acidification is a consequence of the massive CO2 emissions. CO2 is an acid.


So place an embargo on the US because people want to buy big cars? That seems smart.


Per capita CO2 emissions are much worse in the US than China. China also has CO2 reduction policies and a massive drive to adopt modern generating technology.

The US is often singled out because of a dogmatic refusal to accept reality, and policies that actively increase emissions.


Actually, per capita, the US is worse

Time to get up


Yeah, except that the US has reduced emissions more than any other country and is highly competitive on a per-capita percentage basis.


> Yeah, except that the US has reduced emissions more than any other country

Starting from insanely high emission levels

> and is highly competitive on a per-capita percentage basis.

No. That's just false.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_di...


???

Your link says in 2013 the U.S. was near its neighbor Canada on per capita carbon emissions.

That's still double the EU. But that's also 6 years ago; the gap will have closed somewhat.


Read the central table, the data is from 2015. Every metrics shows the US is worse: total, per capita, per GDP. (The last two shows the US is more than twice as much polluting. I doubt thé US cut it's emmision by more than half since 2015. Other country are also not standing still. Germany vowed to cut off coal entirely in the next decades.)


Alright, central table.

So is @anc84 advocating for the embargo of Australia too, whose 2015 pollution is even higher than the United States?


And Canada reflects the emission levels of rich Americans. Canada is no roll model on carbon emission.


Canada is a huge frozen country most of the year. Comparing warmer countries to Canada doesn't make sense emission wise.


Does currently, but that's climate shift for you.


Yeah but look at our totals. It’s very low. Per capita it is bad. We are wasteful and an oil producing country but our population is spread out and we have a colder climate. Check out the breakdown and you’ll see transportation is the offender.


Canada is not at all spherical...


Not true. The US is responsible for 14% of emissions, which is unconscionable for a country that only holds ~4.5% of the world's population. You're actually doing quite horribly on a per-capita basis. China is doing far better than the US on a per-capita count.


Should be GDP per unit of carbon. Not people.


Why? Are some people allowed to pollute more or less depending on if they are rich or poor?


More productive people are allowed to pollute more because they create more good for the world like cures for cancer and the internet and machine learning.


That is solely because 1/3 of China's population is still living extremely impoverished lives that are equivalent to third world standards. They have 400-500 million people that are still among the poorest on earth. I can't imagine how you think that's an accomplishment that deserves recognition. Their low per capita pollution output due to extreme poverty, is not due to stellar environmental policies by China.


I just want to point out that, as of 2012, there was only 6.5% of the population in China living in poverty according to World Bank.

http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/china/overview#3


This is only true in absolute numbers, because the US started so much higher than the rest of the world.

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?location...

Even though it started lower, Europe has been reducing its emissions at a faster rate. In 2014, Europe was at 63% of its peak of emissions, whereas the US were at 72%.

The slope in log scale gives it away too (from the same data set, comparing US (orange) and Eurozone (blue) since 1971): https://i.imgur.com/099XLIw.png


you just gonna throw this out or will you back up your claims by some sources? because looking here[0] tells a very different story. while there has been a reduction since 1980, it has not been "more than any other country". and crucially, per capita emissions are pretty bad in the US.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_di...


If you mean with competitive that the US is among the countries with the highest per capita emissions then you are right.


Numbers, please.

Also, starting from the US emissions per capita, it's really not hard to reduce it.


I found this: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/07/16/chart-of-the-week-the...

Which agrees in total tons. I didn't find anything per capita, or relative to current emissions.


Anyway measuring emissions this way is pointless when the production is simply offshored to other countries.


According to Carbon Brief traded goods are 22% of emissions. 78% isn't "pointless" and there are things that can't be offshored like driving to work, running your fridge or heating your building.

That said, I agree with the trade system accounting for CO2 emissions.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-largest-co2-import...


[flagged]


Don't mistake a country and the regime that is leading it.

Is punishing a whole country (so including the population) an efficient way to change a regime behaviour? I'm not sure history proved this right... Just look at Cuba ...

Cutting all ties with a country makes the population even more dependant to the actual regime since there's no more direct exchanges with other countries. It also removes some communication bridges would limits the influence of the regime on censorship.

Keeping some economical relationship with the country is not giving full support to the regime, but a way to keep an influence. I'm not saying there's no economical interest behind, of course there is, but the "ban" approach is unlikely to change the situation in a good way in the first place.


You seem to be propagandized out of your mind.

The current Iranian regime is there BECAUSE of Western meddling, it would not exist otherwise. You also need to realize that the Gulf states sponsor terrorism to a larger degree and are our allies, so it's not about that.

The U.S. supports 75% of the world's dictatorships.

It simply wants control of Iran's natural resources, same goes for Venezuela, where the opposition isn't really any more popular than Maduro is and also rather violent.


For someone accusing others of being "propagandized out of your mind" you seem rather uninformed.

>"The current Iranian regime is there BECAUSE of Western meddling, it would not exist otherwise."

The original Iranian Revolution was a reaction to Western meddling and policies. The current regime is there because of the consolidation of power of the theocracy. The executive branch is actually subordinate to the Supreme Leader and the Supreme leader controls the military. Iranians don't get to vote for the Supreme Leader - that's a position for life. The Islamic Republic borne out of a referendum in 1979. There hasn't been a meaningful referendum since. 60% of the population is under the age of 30, many of which are not interested in living in an Islamic republic.[1]

>"The U.S. supports 75% of the world's dictatorships."

Please provide a single citation for this statistic. This is an absurd statement.

>"It simply wants control of Iran's natural resources, same goes for Venezuela,"

The US doesn't need Iran's oil, neither does it need Venezuela's. The US has been a net exporter of oil for a while now. The US shale boom has been in effect for years.[2]

[1] http://time.com/4046788/iran-revolution-nuclear-deal-youth/

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-06/u-s-becom...


> The original Iranian Revolution was a reaction to Western meddling and policies. The current regime is there because...

The current regime is there precisely as a result of the Iranian Revolution.

> Please provide a single citation for this statistic. This is an absurd statement.

http://global-politics.eu/military-assistance-73-percent-wor...

I guess I was off by 2%, it's 73% of the world's dictatorships.

> The US doesn't need Iran's oil, neither does it need Venezuela's. The US has been a net exporter of oil for a while now. The US shale boom has been in effect for years.

It doesn't need the oil itself. But it does need for global oil to be traded in USD in order to help maintain its status as a reserve currency, which is why it still supports the Saudis.

There's also U.S. oil companies who rely on the Venezuelan crude and would like to go back into the country and privatize the oil assets[1].

1 - https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/1088414772163461120


>"The current regime is there precisely as a result of the Iranian Revolution"

So you are defending you assertion by simply repeating it?

You show a complete lack of of understanding of the power structure of Iran and the history of the revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was appointed to be Supreme Leader after the Iranian Revolution. He used the position to consolidate power and shape the judiciary. There current regime is a reflection of this massive consolidation of power and influence. This has continued with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. These have been the only two Supreme Leaders since 1979. The current regime is a reflection of their outsized control, influence and policy over the country. The current regime has very little to do with the ideals of the 1979 revolution and original referendum.

You link is laughable - Vietnam, Thailand, Jordan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia are all listed in that chart and none of them are dictatorships. Did you bother to look at the provenance of this? Here:

>"About the author: Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor.

>"Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest."

So an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey compiled some images from social media and "the internet." Brilliant. Perhaps you might read more critically.


> You show a complete lack of of understanding of the power structure of Iran and the history of the revolution.

No, what you seem to be trying to do is claim that because the regime that is the result of the Revolution did not deliver on all of its promises when the Revolution started, it is somehow a different regime?

Politicians often don't fulfill their promises. Does that make them different? Liars, deceptive manipulators maybe, but they're still them. The reason they were even able to consolidate power was as a result of the revolution that put them there, which is separate from if they delivered on it.

You wouldn't claim that Barack Obama is some different president, or an illegitimate one, because he did not deliver on all of his campaign promises would you?

> You link is laughable - Vietnam, Thailand, Jordan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia are all listed in that chart and none of them are dictatorships.

They're not exactly 'free' countries, are they now? Authoritarian countries would be a better title for you perhaps?

> So an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey compiled some images from social media and "the internet." Brilliant. Perhaps you might read more critically.

This is based on the Freedom House report of non free countries, it's not some data that the author of the piece made up. In fact there are other reports about it, this is literally just the first link I grabbed.


>">"No, what you seem to be trying to do is claim that because the regime that is the result of the Revolution did not deliver on all of its promises when the Revolution started, it is somehow a different regime?"

Maybe you should reread your original where you say "the current Iranian regime." The current regime is the result of policies implemented by the Ayatollah after the revolution and implemented via his appointees on Council of Guardians - the body that oversees Parliament. "Current regime" means exactly that the regime as it exists today. And it is a very different regime than what existed in 1979.

>"They're not exactly 'free' countries, are they now? Authoritarian countries would be a better title for you perhaps?"

Please re-read where you stated the "US supports 75% of dictatorship." It has nothing to do with what's "better for me." Your statement is patently false. Let's not move the goal posts. And just to further illustrate this absurdity, Jordan which is on your "list", is neither authoritarian or dictatorial. It's widely considered to be something of a success story of democracy in the Middle East.


Nice list. It's good to know that selling a country $29k in goods now equates to "supporting a dictatorship". And written by an expert in the field:

> "Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor."

The idea that the US is wanting to overthrow Venezuela for oil is just silly. They output roughly what North Dakota does. I know it sounds cool to claim this, but it's just not reality.


> It's good to know that selling a country $29k in goods now equates to "supporting a dictatorship".

It's not just some 'goods', it's military equipment.

Also, you purposely picked a country with a low volume, when there are countless others with a much higher one on the list, including the likes of Egypt, Saudi Ariabia, the UAE etc.

This is based on the Freedom House report, it's not some data that the author of the piece made up.

> The idea that the US is wanting to overthrow Venezuela for oil is just silly. They output roughly what North Dakota does.

I already said it has little to do with the output, yet you ignore it because it does not fit with your narrative.

Also, how then do you explain the U.S. backed 2002 coup attempt, when Chavez was massively popular at the time?

Or are you trying to claim that the U.S. does not in fact 'meddle' in Latin America?


> and is now in a nuclear bomb program for the grace of god

I have no love for Iran what so ever, but opposing them for having a nuclear program while not opposing the US or any other country who also has nukes, is so extremely hypocritical. I'm so astonished to see that argument over and over again.


It isn't hypocritical unless you see both types of government as equivalent - liberal democracy vs theological roughly democracy.


Yes, it's still hypocritical.

You can, and in my opinion should, criticize Iran for a lot. For example for being a theocracy like you mention. But saying "you cannot have nukes, but we can" is still very much hypocritical.


Remind me again which country has been the only one in history to actually use atomic weapons on their enemies, killing tens of thousands of innocent people as collateral damage.


The POTUS can arbitrarily take military action as long as it can somehow be tied to 9/11 so in effect the type of government doesn't matter much when it comes to the military threat each country imposes.

Also, the US has a history of military intervention, suppression, assassinations and overthrowing democratically elected governments.

That the US is more "liberal" is about as reassuring as being told the potion that is being used to poison you is 100% organic and GMO-free.


The idea that any government moves on ethical principles is largely false. Even strong constitutional guarantees and a democratic form of government only make countries behave slightly better from a liberal international perspective (and yet, that slight difference does matter quite a bit in the longer run). But this is exactly why sanctions on badly-behaving actors can be important.


The most likely alternative to upholding the Iran nuclear deal is Iran mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles and pointing them at the United States, the same way North Korea has. There is no upside at all to tearing it down.


> and is now in a nuclear bomb program for the grace of god

No, it isn't.


By God! You mean Europeans are actually against rabbit-hunting at the Gaza border?!

At this point, supporting either side is a problem in itself. Finding a diplomatic solution to end the conflict would be true genius.


Wouldn't want to lose access to that oil... who cares about preserving the liberal order and not giving an incentive to states to turn rogue? But hey, President Trump is thinking about doing the same thing wrt. the Ukraine, so who am I to complain? Maybe two wrongs can make a right.


The Iran regime largely owes its very existence to the way the West (particularly UK and US) behaved towards the country.

Do they think that hitting even harder will have any result?


I became an islamist terrorist state because they forced me to.


Or maybe all the leaders that weren't awful were forced out.


Umm... if "they" wreck your life completely, you might be tempted to. Go read up Iran's history in the 20th century.


Foreign intrusion produced a reaction towards a nationalist and traditionalist government.

It seems no lesson were learned since...


You do realize that the U.S. and Trump especially is super buddy, buddy with the Saudis and Emiratis, who are almost unquestionably worse, right?

You also do realize that the U.S. supports 75% of the world's dictatorships, right? You do realize that the U.S./U.K. orchestrated a coup against the democratically elected leader of Iran, right?

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