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How is it like to be a dev in Iran (shahinsorkh.ir)
745 points by daanavitch 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 417 comments



My heart breaks for these devs. I've been able to launch a successful development career specifically because I was born in the US (and my parents left Iran). If I was the same person in a different geographic area I'd be struggling under sanctions.

Companies definitely need to push back on extra egregious legal teams who want to block services Iran, as it's mostly paranoia and not that the services actually fall under the jurisdiction of our sanctions. I know amazing people at Google who are doing this work, and I hope others at other companies do the same.


Isn't the point of sanctions to cause frustration by restrictions?


It is. But you see, those hit hardest by sanctions are neither the cause of trouble nor anti western. Those are usually people like you and i, while the “elite” can smuggle in whatever they want and access whatever they want. Not only that but regular folk is weakened and cant stand a chance against the well fed government. No sanctions means greater exposure to our way of life and thus an easier path for grassroots change. If anything, i’d make government owned proxies available to iranians and chinese and all those oppressed so they can access censored content. I’d also make it easier to smuggle in technology so they can show others what they are missing on by supporting their criminal governments.


There is a Soviet joke, on unrelated subject, but relevant.

A father informs his son that the prices have gone up. The son asks: "Does that mean that you will drink less?" - "No son, that means that you will eat less."


I have heard a form of that joke in the United States but for when taxes are increased on cigarettes. The shareholders of the tobacco companies feel the pain less than the children of the addicted.


the American analog of that would be "s__t rolls downhill". Every culture probably has a similar variant of this story.


Not a joke tho. For some people that's what it meant in communist east Europe. But good thing you brought this into discussion. Communist east Europe didn't have sanctions against, and as a result people would smuggle all sorts of western goods, up until they figured out: hey the politruks have all those fancy things, while we are told "west bad", "west capitalist corrupt", we should overthrow them. An oversimplification, but that's how it works. Regular folk get to learn that they have to struggle to access the modern world because of their OWN government, up to the point where they figure out "screw it, let's join the free world, i want my fancy cars and my fancy colour tvs, life is too short to praise a false prophecy".


It depends on sanctions and it is more nuanced usually. Usually people that are under sanctions are hit hardest by them. Other people usually are hit by their government and brainwashed by propaganda that sanctions are to blame.


Good point - sanctions are also a good propaganda tool for their corrupt governments.


It’s punishing ordinary and innocent people of Iran for its government actions. It’s also hypocritical because you don’t punish Israelnfor it’s hunan rights violations, or Saudi Arabia, or Colombia. Even though those violations are far more severe.


The take away that I get from your post is "sanctions are immoral because they make people suffer - the only way they could be moral is if you make more people that I don't like suffer".


He said it was hypocritical, not immoral.


You just mentioned US allies, by the same logic the US should place sanctions on its own states and government due to their severe human rights abuses.

Sanctions are placed on enemies not allies


Google is big. What does Google or Alphabet do that others may 'egregariously' not?


Throwaway account for obvious reasons.

I'm one of those operations people who have been required by a legal department to block access from sanctioned countries - I've literally written the HTTP rules to deny access to folks like the original author.

I think about how the infrastructure I write and operate creates situations like these, and while I know I'm partly to blame, it's worth highlighting that this is a by-product of United Stats policies that create pressure on US companies. I'm most certainly _not_ a lawyer, but if this sort of thing bothers you, be cognizant of candidate policies about technology if you want to help enact change - because I doubt most companies will provide services to these and other regions if it'll break export law.


This is a good point. To add a slightly different perspective, I work for a US company that routinely has to deal with cyber attacks by Iranian professionals, probably government sponsored. I think most people don't realize how incredibly serious this is, and how basically there is already a global war being fought. And the nations with the most freedom have the most to lose.

Certainly most of the people in Iran are similar to most of the people around the world. In kindness, compassion, in just trying to get their daily job done and enjoy time with friends and family. If only it was easy to distinguish between the good, the bad, the indifferent. Probably a lot of sanctions don't hinder the most threatening of Iran's activities, while impacting the population. But it does have an effect (not always the ones intended, perhaps).

If the government in power over you is in conflict with others, and/or in conflict with it's own people, it's going to impact you. If you want your life to be better, look for ways to improve your government. True for the USA and everyone else. Another lesson that the USA has been illustrating repeatedly recently is that it's probably better for a nations citizens to reform their government themselves, instead of a foreign power. Until that happens, yes their lives are not going to be as free as they'd like. It's hard and there is a cost to be paid for those freedoms. Many of us are fortunate in that those before us did the hard work and we get to enjoy the benefits. Good luck to the author of the blog, hopefully they can find good solutions.


> I work for a US company that routinely has to deal with cyber attacks by Iranian professionals, probably government sponsored.

It's hard to posit a moral high-ground here, when basically every state is actively seeking to undermine the others' cyber security, including the US. Stuxnet is one of the most formidable state-sponsored cyber security exploits, and that was targeted at Iran, it seems easy justification to increase their offensive capability.

I have to admit some naivete here, I don't know the frequency and scale of cyber attacks emanating from Iran, but I'd guess that hostile foreign policy from the US would only intensify that threat towards the US.


I don't think Stuxnet forfeits the moral high ground. It was narrowly focused on attacking a specific military project. It's exactly the kind of thing I want the CIA (or whatever) doing, especially if the alternative is sending bombs.

State sponsored attempts to hack public network infrastructure fit into a totally different category. These are not the same.


Before stuxnet Iran had absolutely no cyber capabilities. In the years following it they have built some of the most formidable offensive teams on the planet.

There's plenty of literature on this. Whoever created stuxnet created another monster too.


You imply that without Stuxnet, Iran would not have developed these capabilities. That seems improbable. At some point every "bad actor" is going to realize the possibilities of cyber warfare - even if just for ransomware revenue - and want in on the gold rush.


I'll bet everything I have that they wouldn't have anywhere near the capability they now have in $currentyear after stuxnet.

From what we know the US was doing everything possible to be restrained about this stuff, keep it on the downlow as is the way, and history has shown they were very much right. It's insane what's happened in the aftermath.

We created a monster. We really did. It's clear to anyone watching.


And why is it ok to attack another country's military project in the peace time?

There are plenty of American military projects that deeply worry other countries.


I challenge you to name any American military project that is as worrisome as Iran's 'Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution' having control of a nuclear weapon.


Challenge accepted.

"The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike."

https://thebulletin.org/2017/03/how-us-nuclear-force-moderni...


Box 1: A large western democracy with a free press, who has possessed nuclear weapons since their invention 75 years ago. Has been fully capable of destroying the world all that time... and hasn't. Wants to upgrade existing weapons.

Box 2: A small theocratic dictatorship, ruled by a Supreme Leader for life, who has been at constant war with its neighbors for pretty much all of modern history and still openly calls for the obliteration of some of them. It's a place where people are executed for adultery and homosexuality, and until recently the preferred method was stoning. After losing a half-million people in human wave attacks during its last big war, the country's Supreme Leader wants a bigger badder boom.

If these two things are the same in your mind, you are so far outside the bounds of rational thought that I'll just have to assume you're trolling.


1. Why does this democracy has upgraded its weapons in this particular way? The old weapons were working fine for the purpose of MAD (retaliatory strike against cities), the new ones are fit for a surprise first strike.

This democracy hasn't destroyed the world because it wants to live itself and MAD guaranteed that nobody wins a nuclear war. When it could use nuclear weapons without fear of retaliation, it happily used them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Now it has gotten closer towards obtaining capability to start and win a nuclear war.

2. Iran hasn't started a war in a hundred of years, the Iran-Iraq war was started by Iraq, in which Saddam, who was supported by the US at the time, has used chemical weapons. You are clearly misinformed by your free press and Iran's desire to possess a nuclear deterrent is more than understandable.


There are a couple problems with your view of the US:

* Since the invention of the H-bomb, nuclear powers have had the ability to knock out all fixed silos in a first strike. You don't need accuracy with a 10MT bomb. As accuracy improves, warheads get smaller, but the MAD calculus doesn't change: You can't guarantee you'll take out all the submarine, mobile, and airborne weapons too. Accuracy doesn't change anything.

* The US is not a dictatorship and the president doesn't have the ability to unilaterally start nuclear war. Hell, he can't even assassinate a foreign head of state[1]. While I'm not thrilled with this particular president, I am confident that the democratic institutions of the US make nuclear first strike impossible.

There are a couple problems with your view of Iran:

* Iran and Iraq have been fighting since they were named Persia and Mesopotamia. Long before the official start of the Iran-Iraq war, both were funding and encouraging insurgent groups in the other. Khomeini openly called for the overthrow of Saddam via Islamic revolution. It doesn't matter who attacked first.

* Iran spent more than half of the Iran-Iraq war on the offensive in Iraqi territory. When they had power, they pressed their advantage. Khomeini spoke openly about spreading Islamic revolution everywhere, which is probably why all the neighboring nations lined up behind Iraq. The US was a tiny bit player; all Iraq's hardware came from the Soviets and all the money came from neighboring Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (the joke would be on them later, apparently).

* Khomeini himself didn't want peace, even after 10 years of war: "Happy are those who have departed through martyrdom. Happy are those who have lost their lives in this convoy of light. Unhappy am I that I still survive and have drunk the poisoned chalice..."

There's almost nothing positive you can say about Iran's dictators since the Islamic revolution (and probably long before). Theocracies with martyr complexes must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

[1]: https://www.google.com/search?q=trump+mattis+assad

Also read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Iraq_War


* You are forgetting multiple things: reduction of the number of warheads, continuous enhancement of ABM systems by the US, this super-fuze upgrade giving enhanced anti-silo capability to submarine-based missiles which can reach targets in much shorter time, enhanced capability to track road-based launchers, overwhelming advantage in the number of fighter jets vs the number of Russian nuclear-capable bombers, disparity in the number of submarines. These things taken together in a couple of decades can end MAD.

* Giving the overwhelming advantage of the US and NATO in conventional weapons, the US doesn't need to actually commit a first strike to reap benefits of this capability. Nowadays the US and Russia are afraid to engage in a conventional conflict for fear of it escalating into nuclear war that would destroy both countries. After achieving first-strike capability, the US will know that Russia will be afraid to escalate by using tactical nukes against American carriers and troops. Ultimately, this will mean that the US will be able to do towards Russian allies or Russian expedionary forces whatever it feels like.


Interestingly, you don't have the answer to my simple question.


Let's see if I have this straight... the US is increasing the precision of its nuclear weaponry to use against military targets, and that's as bad as Iran's program to acquire nuclear weaponry (in violation of the NPT) and long range rockets?


You are being disingenuous here if you are trying to gloss over the fact that these 'military targets' can be silos with other party's ICBMs.


Meh, it merely caused delays in peacetime so its lasting legacy will be the official declaration of world wide cyber war. The actual "victory" over the Iranian, nuclear program starts in 2013, and was embodied by the JCPOA signed in 2015 (entering to force 2016), before the USA decided to violate it in 2018.

As other pointed out, before stuxnet cyberwarfare wasn't as firmly acknowledged as an official arena, so this type of high profile attack on unprotected target is something you get to do once, and the CIA used it to toot its own horn basically.

I expect it was much like the Manhattan project: they spent all that time developing a weapon so when it came time to use it there wasn't much reflection about how to employ it strategically.


The JCPOA was not signed by the US, so it is hard to understand how it is 'violating' the agreement. The US has a process for obligating the country to observe treaties and agreements. Treaties and agreements become binding only upon Senate ratification. That didn't happen.


The agreement was signed on behalf of the US by John Kerry. See here: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JCPOA_Signatures.png It is the first one directly under the word "Action".


> It was narrowly focused on attacking a specific military project.

Stuxnet targeted some common industrial controllers being sold not only to Iran, and one usage was the control flows on the dams. Basically it just caused the control flow gates to jam. This one that I know of is not military at all!


I tried to find a source for your claim but the best I could find was a study that said that future PLCs attacks could include targets like dams.

The stuxnet targeted parameters was Siemens S7-300, connected with a Vacon or Fararo Paya PLC, spinning between 807 Hz and 1,210 Hz. It then periodically modified the frequency to 1,410 Hz and then to 2 Hz and then to 1,064 Hz.

What specific dam had their control flow gates jammed because of this? Please provide name, date and optionally a link.


Maybe I can consider this in more familiar terms, as if both sides have guns. Do they use them differently? I at least can't know for sure. What it boils down to for me is which side do you want to win? Being fair and impartial doesn't mean considering that both of the nations are the same and the outcome will be the same if either side wins, with only a different name and flag for the victor.

If the US wins, a rough semblance of the freedom and democracy the "West" is accustomed to will be able to face other existential internal or external threats. If Iran wins, the end. We start over at square one winning back our freedoms. Maybe we start immediately, maybe it takes 1,000 years. If I have to choose, I want the US to win this one. It doesn't matter who started it, who is doing it worse. I would like things that support the regime in Iran to stop supporting that regime (in the most humane way possible). And I would like the US, with all its warts and flaws, to win a cyber war with Iran if one must be fought.

Maybe this all sounds extremely unlikely, but the first step towards a superpower like the USA to lose to Iran is for the USA to not be trying at all, and Iran to be trying very hard. Also nuclear weapons are a great leveler.

Therefore the USA must do two things at minimum. Try to have cybersecurity supremacy over Iran, and try to keep Iran from having nuclear weapons. If both of these objectives can be met we don't need to fight them, we can leave them in peace. If either is not met, this war might have to get very physical very quickly. So right now the sanctions don't look so bad, among available options. Not saying there aren't better options, but it's above my pay grade.


> What it boils down to for me is which side do you want to win? Being fair and impartial doesn't mean considering that both of the nations are the same and the outcome will be the same if either side wins, with only a different name and flag for the victor.

Your argument makes sense, but it starts with a very flawed assumption: that Iran wants to dominate the world. The reality accepted by everyone except the US and its few allies on this issue is that Iran is an extremely defensive country. The current regime, and the country in general, feels threatened in the region, being generally sorrounded by belligerent hostile countries, with the backing of the US (Saudi Arabia and Israel being the most powerful and the most belligerent).

So, if Iran wins, what will actually happen is that Iran will be left alone to function just like any other non-democratic state. Is the regime bad for its people? Yes. Is it better than being at war? Absolutely.

And regarding nuclear weapons, Iran has declared numerous times that it would gladly participate in an agreement, enforced by UN/IANA inspectors, to declare the entire region a nuclear-free area. Israel is blocking any such agreement. Iran has entered deals with the US and other western countries to renounce its nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting the embargo and other kinds of help. The US has backed up from these deals twice now. The second time, they have not even claimed to have any evidence that Iran is not respecting the deal; and the other parties to the agreement, like the entire rest of 'the West' have in fact remained in the deal, as has Iran, despite the new US sanctions (deemed illegal by the UN).


Iran is already part of an agreement (called the NPT) to not have any nukes ever, and has already violated it. It has no justification to ask for any concession from any other country for it to honour its original signature, much less from countries they have sworn to annihilate. It sounds like they want others to disarm their intended victim for them.


Iran's most rabid enemy illegally owns nuclear weapons, while the world's greatest super power is helping them hide it.

Iran's position makes logical sense, and the best way to ensure they have no reason not to abide by the NPT would be to actually uphold the NPT, not to selectively enforce it against Iran but not the country threatening it.


More accurately, the country Iran is most rabid enemy of. Its 'most rabid' enemy has never had any claim against Iran - it's Iran which has decided to declare total enmity.

So Iran picks a fight, says it wants to 'defend' itself from the enemy it created (instead of burying the hatchet), and further demands the worlds disarms its opponent to make Iran's work easier.

There are a few loan words in the English language for such behaviour like 'chutzpa'. It makes 'logical sense' only if the world sympathizes with aggression which I don't believe it does.

P.S. Said country has never signed the NPT and is therefore not bound by it, making its possession of weapons still 'legal', unlike Iran which has signed the treaty and is therefore bound by it, even when Iran ignored its own signature.

P.S.S. It would make no sense for such an arrangement to not include Pakistan, which has already taken part in past wars in the area. Weird how nobody notices that. Almost like, the idea was to disarm one side to try to give the other a killing advantage.


> Iran has entered deals with the US and other western countries to renounce its nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting the embargo

Which weapons program? AFAIK current Iranian inspection mechanisms are the most stringent (anywhere ever).


'Most stringent' inspections with the proviso that Iran gets notification in advance, and that most inspections are in support of temporary restrictions. If these restrictions are necessary they should be permanent, otherwise we've got another NK in the future.


The second deal I was talking about is precisely the current one, the JCPOA, which Iran is abiding according to all objective observers.


How can you possibly know this? The JCPOA includes non-public "side deals" with the IAEA. How do you prove the secret fine print doesn't restore what the public large print took away?


> What it boils down to for me is which side do you want to win?

This is a bit simplistic, isn't it? First, the one between Iran and USA doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. Why is it a matter of states winning or losing? I don't recall Iran waging a war against the US, or trying to destroy civil liberties in the West. For example, with the nuclear agreement, both Iran and the US (or Europe) would have benefited- why did the US got out of it then?

Second, the two sides in this game are not necessarily Iran with its model of society and the US with its own model of society. The US is a free and democratic society, but that doesn't mean that their geo-political goals are all about freedom and democracy. In fact, the main rivals of Iran and allies of the US are Saudi Arabia- a country even less democratic than Iran itself- and Israel, a country that while internally free and democratic is illegally occupying a foreign territory and expelling its native population in violation of international law. So the US winning this particular exchange might not necessarily mean improving or preserving the freedom of US society, but making the world a worse place, with more injustice and future grievances. See what has produced the "existential" war against Saddam.


At the moment the people doing the expelling are Iranians (and their allies) in Syria, and they threaten to do it elasewhere. For whatever it's worth, Palestinians are not being expelled, and furthermore, Israeli presence is not illegal according to resolution 242.

In addition, Iran is also even more repressive than SA, because they are killing dissidents outside of their territory, unlike SA.

Then again, I don't see why we should be bothering with this given that the Iran regime is the one shouting 'Death to America'. It's pretty natural for the US to oppose those ideologically hostile to it.


> In addition, Iran is also even more repressive than SA, because they are killing dissidents outside of their territory, unlike SA.

Have you not heard about Jamal Khashoggi? It was a big story a while back.

> It's pretty natural for the US to oppose those ideologically hostile to it.

Chicken or egg? That is, if the US hadn't engaged in regime change operations in Iran and hadn't supported Saddam in attacking Iran, would Iran be hostile towards the US?


Khashoggi was killed inside Saudi embassy, that is, Saudi territory. I'm not excusing it, but had he been warned, he could have just avoided going in. Iran tends to kill people outright on foreign soil.

e.g.

https://www.tellerreport.com/news/--intelligence-service-ira...

It's funny that people think that the mullahs have any grudges against the US becuase the US overthrew a 'socialist atheist'. They didn't like Mosaddegh either and in fact took part in his overthrow. Khomeini's grudge was purely ideological.


> Khashoggi was killed inside Saudi embassy, that is, Saudi territory.

That's generally not really how embassies work, but sure.

> Khomeini's grudge was purely ideological.

As in "all islamic religious hardliners in charge of a country hate the US"? The first gulf war couldn't have anything to do with it?


Sure, the mullahs are really upset that US prevented their arch-enemy Saddam from conquering another country and getting stronger. Now, I wouldn't say "all islamic religious hardliners in charge of a country hate the US", but it sure is common.


My point was that Saddam was acting with US support when he attacked Iran in the first gulf war in the early eighties, back before he got himself on the bad-dictator-list by invading Kuwait.


US did not support the initial invasion, and in fact allowed Israel to supply arms to Iran (!) to stop it. US support for Iraq came later when Iran continued the war after throwing off the Iraqis, because they didn't want to let Iran continue into Iraq.


"That's generally not really how embassies work..."

Someone needs to tell Assange about this, if that isn't how embassies work.


> At the moment the people doing the expelling are Iranians ... For whatever it's worth, Palestinians are not being expelled

How can you say something like this? It's even happening right now, for example these are today's news:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-jerus...

Just imagine the scene:

"Bulldozers accompanied by hundreds of Israeli soldiers and police moved in to Sur Baher, a Palestinian village on the edge of East Jerusalem

Israeli forces cut through a wire section of the barrier in Sur Baher under cover of darkness early on Monday, and began clearing residents from the area.

Floodlights lit up the area as dozens of vehicles brought helmeted security forces into the village

“Since 2 a.m. they have been evacuating people from their homes by force and they have started planting explosives in the homes they want to destroy”


You can always post an eviction story from any country. We need to look at the larger picture: Palestinian population of Jerusalem is increasing both as an absolute and on percentage basis:

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


> You can always post an eviction story from any country

At 2am in the morning, with floodlights, military and explosives? On a territory that doesn't even legally belong to that state?

The evictions and demolitions purpose is to build a wall:

From Wikipedia: "the border traced by the barrier is more than double the length of the Green Line, with 15% running along it or in Israel, while the remaining 85% cuts at times 18 kilometres (11 mi) deep into the West Bank, isolating about 9% of it, leaving an estimated 25,000 Palestinians isolated from the bulk of that territory."

So Palestinian houses are demolished to make space for the wall, while the wall bends for kilometers to include illegal Israeli settlements built in Palestinian land.


Tertium non datur?

Obama made a deal with the Iranians to stop production of weapons grade nuclear material and to destroy related infrastructure.

This also had the side-effect of strengthening the most reasonable politics within Iran.

But no, I guess this new course undermined the career of too many apparatchiks so the Orange Man was persuaded to kick the table up in the air.

And we’re back to square one, with the loudest monkeys showing their teeth at each other...


"If Iran wins, the end. We start over at square one winning back our freedoms."

You really believe there is a threat of Iran occupying the US and it's the reason for the US policy towards Iran?

Gosh, it's scary that people like you vote to choose the government controlling by far the most powerful military in the world.


Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always baffled when people categorically claim that they know the source of their cyber attacks. It’s not exactly difficult for someone with the most basic knowledge of networking to disguise that information or masquerade as someone they’re not.


There is a lot more to tracking these groups than ip addresses. To impersonate any of the known groups you will need a lot of knowledge about the tools and infra that they use.


And if you have that knowledge it's impossible to imitate? Can't really tell if your comment is refuting or agreeing, attribution is hard.


Knowing that a thing is true is categorically different from knowing how to do something— Knowing that group A uses technique B doesn’t automatically make you proficient at using B yourself.

Masquerading as a particular cyber-attack group requires not only knowing what techniques and tools they tend to use, but also how to do those things yourself, while imitating their style. It’s not impossible, but neither is it trivial: We’re not talking about simply first impressions here, but fooling a concerted, post-hoc investigation.


Can you give some specific examples? What do you mean by "imitating their style"? What data would be used to "fingerprint" these groups?


I'm no "cyber security expert", but from what I can understand it can be something as simple as, what was mentioned above, tracking ip addresses to analyzing the processes leading up to and used in the attack. Whether that is how they approach the target, the tools used and/or any evidence left behind.

When a large enough amount of attacks are performed by one group you gain some insight in how they work & approach problems. Very similar to how law enforcement would be able to "fingerprint" a serial killer based on his patterns or how a professor would be able to tell you plagiarized the code for a project based on the pattern of your early assignments.

People are not immune to patterns and habits. Groups, much like people, are effectively extensions of these patterns and habits but on a grander scale. In a normal workplace this is called company "culture".


This is a great comment. Thanks.


And how these 'known' groups got attributed to a particular country in the first place?


Do you think Russian efforts on this same front are a result of US policies? Should those policies change, stay the same or something else?


Most certainly.

See 'Prevent re-emergence of a new rival (1992)'[0] and 'From Lisbon to Vladivostok: Putin Envisions a Russia-EU Free Trade Zone (2010)'[1].

Can't let that happen, can you.

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/08/world/excerpts-from-penta...

[1] https://m.spiegel.de/international/europe/from-lisbon-to-vla...


Just wondering but:

> I work for a US company that routinely has to deal with cyber attacks by Iranian professionals, probably government sponsored.

The full article is about services blocking IPs from Iran (and how it's effecting him as a dev). I don't see what cyber attacks have to do with anything? Or do you think these IP bans are a defense against cyber attacks?

All countries do cyber attacks, most countries in the EU have been infiltrated by the NSA and friends. How is that related to companies geo fencing entire countries?

> If the government in power over you is in conflict with others, and/or in conflict with it's own people, it's going to impact you. If you want your life to be better, look for ways to improve your government.

Not to get all political but I think it's pretty clear that the US is the only western country not liking Iran, and they use their influence to have the whole world obey US sanctions. You expecting OP to raise against their government? I say odds of succeeding are slimmer than storming Area 51.


>Not to get all political but I think it's pretty clear that the US is the only western country not liking Iran, and they use their influence to have the whole world obey US sanctions. You expecting OP to raise against their government? I say odds of succeeding are slimmer than storming Area 51.

This isn't exactly true. The EU is opposed to Iran's aggressive policies in the region (e.g. in Yemen, Syria, and now Hormuz) and its continued development of ballistic missile technology. They're just content with the 2015 nuclear deal as a starting point, whereas current US policy is not.

It's also worth noting that the EU disproportionately benefits from oil purchases from Iran relative to US so they have their own political self-interests factoring into their decision.


It's also worth noting that the EU disproportionately benefits from oil purchases from Iran relative to US so they have their own political self-interests factoring into their decision.

Oil is fungible. The EU only benefits disproportionately because the US refuses to do business with Iran.


Not exactly. There are varying costs to extracting and transporting oil depending on where it is sourced. It's estimated that American natural gas, for example, would be 20% more expensive than Russian natural gas through the Nordstream 2 pipeline -- even though natural gas is nominally fungible.

Furthermore, the US is net oil exporter in 2019 and Europe is notoriously dependent on imported oil due to lack of resources on the continent. Consequently, adding a large marginal foreign supplier has significantly different impacts on oil prices in the region.


So you think Iran will use ballistic missile against the EU because... what? Because Iran gets money from the EU in exchange for oil?


The main reason for US policy changes vis-à-vis Iran in the past couple years has been spite toward the previous US administration.

There are some nasty folks in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, but Iran is a large, diverse, and complicated place, and there are many other internally powerful people with different agendas (just like most large diverse countries).

In general openness and cultural/economic exchange help progressive forces within the country, and sanctions help xenophobic hard-liners.


> The main reason for US policy changes vis-à-vis Iran in the past couple years has been spite toward the previous US administration.

Well, this is a bit simplistic. A lot of Trump actions show a pretty clear pattern: recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, recognition of the annexation of Golan by Israel, recognition of the right of Israel to annex parts of the West Bank. Israel has been campaigning for the US to attack Iran for at least the past 15 years, and has used every diplomatic resource to campaign against the nuclear deal with Iran.

Connect the dots.


>In general openness and cultural/economic exchange help progressive forces within the country, and sanctions help xenophobic hard-liners.

I've read in various places that the opposite is actually true -- sanctions from the liberal US strengthens the liberals in Iran by highlighting how the regime's aggressive policy is resulting in economic pain for Iranians.

This didn't really work with China either. Granted, there are plenty of examples where sanctions have failed/backfired but I'd like to reject any "general" statement on the best way to liberalize a country through foreign policy.


I doubt that US foreign policy has anything to do with the desire to “liberalize” a country. Unless you’re using that term in a different sense...


Given the choice between a government that poses no threat to it but is illiberal and any possibility of a liberal government the US always opts to harm the illiberal government. Libya complied with all arms control treaties and is buddy buddy with Italy. Doesn’t matter, as soon as someone whispers democracy the US does their level best to fan the flames of war. There’s an authoritarian democratically elected government in Ukraine. Let’s support a violent rebellion.

This is part of a historical pattern that’s basically unbroken but is aptly represented by the US involvement in the world wars. What business did the premier power in North America, or the Western Hemisphere, have in a European war between empires? What possible benefit would accrue to them from it? Very similar argument for the European theatre in WWII but the Pacific theatre is, if anything, more ridiculous if you don’t start the history of US involvement with Pearl Harbour. The US embargoes the Empire of Japan, banning most importantly the export of oil. They know the Empire of Japan cannot continue its never ending clusterfuck of an attempt to conquer China without oil. This was a calculated attempt to bring the Japanese to heel they had to have known could lead to war. And this was not isolated. The only reason the US military started hostilities against the Empire of Japan after Pearl Harbour rather than before was logistical fuckups.

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

The US is, in every part of it, hostile to anything that isn’t a democratic republic. This is true even if wide heads within USG know that democracy is bad for US interests. If the Arab Spring had actually succeeded anywhere apart from Tunisia it would have been a car crash for the US. The Arab public is a lot less willing to deal with Israel than the dictatorships, monarchies and juntas that currently surround it, and democracies are very likely to lead to civil war and ethnic cleansing in any country with no tradition of liberal government. See Syria. The US tries to arm the non-existent liberal opposition and all the weapons end up with the people who were Al Qaeda in Syria until yesterday or with those shouting “The Christians to Lebanon. The Alawites to Hell!”


This particular position baffles me, especially since we're discussing Iran here. Iran had a liberal democratic government and the US toppled it(because they dared try to take control of their own oil reserves) in favor of a military coup and a dictator. That dictatorship then proceeded to radicalize the population through oppression which led to a revolution and the installation of a theocratic anti-US government in one of the worst cases of shooting-your-own-foot US foreign policy in modern history.

The reality is: US foreign policy does not care one tiny bit about the liberal/ilieberal or democracy/dictatorship spectrums, it only cares(rightly, some may argue) about its own(mostly economic) self-interests. As pertains to the MENA region, that mostly means it only cares about the economics and politics of the oil business(though there is in an irrational, lobby-driven, tendency to protect Israel in any and all things even when it harms the aformentioned oil intersts). The liberal/illiberal thing is a red herring and mostly about gaining the support of their citizens for whatever thing they want to undertake right now.

Do note, I'm not in any way condemning the US for the way they tend to act around the world, they're just looking out for themselves. I'm just saying, it has nothing to do with favoring particular modes of government and to argue otherwise is to cherry-pick maybe 30% of the events the last 60 years and ignore the rest which does not line up with your particular worldview.


"Do note, I'm not in any way condemning the US for the way they tend to act around the world, they're just looking out for themselves."

So did the Nazi Germany.


First, I may or may not have privately held views about the morality(or lack thereof) of US foreign policy post WW2(hint: If you look at my comment history, you can probably figure it out given where I've stated that I live and some oblique comments pertaining to the subject). However, the above comment was specifically meant to not make a statement about the subject so as not to fan the flames any further, but only act as a refutation of the statement it was replying to based on historical facts rather than moral arguments.

Second, your statement is patently untrue. The genocides(against the Jewish people and countless others as well) perpetrated en masse by the Nazi state have nothing to do with self-interest or looking out for oneself. So no, this does not apply. If we were talking purely about their expansionist policies and invasions, then you may have had a point, but that's not what people usually mean when they, rightly, hold up the Nazi state as an example of criminally abhorrent and repulsive behavior.


Clearing Lebensraum from lesser races had everything to do with Nazi Germany looking for its own interests.


As others have mentioned, this would be true only if by 'liberal' you understand 'in full agreement with US policy'. The most relevant example is actually Iran: the US and UK orchestrated a coup to get rid of the last democratic regime in Iran and reinstall the militaristic, authoritarian Shah.

They have done the same or similar in a lot of South America, starting well before the world wars.

That is not to say that they are unique in this - it is how all empires operate. My point is only that the US is not some idealistic, freedom, democracy, and everything good loving benefactor of the world. It is an empire, one that is quite good to its own people but that ruthlessly pursuits its rational interests abroad.


> Given the choice between a government that poses no threat to it but is illiberal and any possibility of a liberal government the US always opts to harm the illiberal government.

This makes sense only if you define "liberal" as "aligned with the interests of Washington and/or American corporations". For god's sake, USA supported Saddam Hussein while he was gassing Kurdish civilians during the Iran-Iraq war.

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

> Joost R. Hiltermann says that when the Iraqi military turned its chemical weapons on the Kurds during the war, killing approximately 5,000 people in the town of Halabja and injuring thousands more, the Reagan administration actually sought to obscure Iraqi leadership culpability by suggesting, inaccurately, that the Iranians may have carried out the attack.


"Supported" in the sense of "not letting being conquered completely by Iran." Who was carrying out its own mass executions of non-Muslims and implementing its own cultural revolution around that time.

America definitely had some self-interest in protecting Iraq, but it's not like the alternative was clearly a better choice either.


> "Supported" in the sense of "not letting being conquered completely by Iran."

Iraq started the war.


Right, that doesn't mean it went well for them.

The US didn't provide significant aid to Iraq until it feared the Hussein government being overrun altogether.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Ir...


In a war between secularists and theocrats the liberal power will have no difficulty in deciding which side it finds more ideologically simpatico.


The US record in central/south America or the support for the princes in UAE and Saudi Arabia shows they will choose stability over democracy.


Liberal countries tend to befriend other liberal countries. So yes, even from a purely strategic perspective US foreign policy has a desire to liberalize other countries (in the classical sense of the term).


This is a hopelessly naive (and incorrect) assessment of the US relationship with Iran. The US literally deposed the first democratically elected head of government of Iran https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9...


Mossadegh wasn't exactly a liberal. He nationalized the oil industry and the very justification for Operation Ajax was the fear that Mossadegh would ally Iran with the USSR -- who were certainly socialist and most definitely not liberal.

Moreover, multiple US administrations pressured the Shah on human rights and, more generally, the US has a definite (though certainly not absolute and varying by administration) preference for working with regimes with a decent human rights record.

I would also quibble with the sole attribution of his fall to Ajax (he was already deeply unpopular when it began, albeit arguably unfairly) and note that his extensive use of emergency powers at the time make the "democratically elected" bit somewhat misleading, even if nominally true.


Your statement about naivety is interesting given that what you just said about the history of Iran is wrong and a common myth.

Mossadegh was not elected by the people of Iran to be Prime Minister.

Mossadegh was not democratically elected as head of the government. He was put into that position by dictate of the elites that ruled over Iran in fact, including with the backing of the Shah. He was democratically elected to the Majles, which is not the same thing as the people electing him as Prime Minister. The Majles largely consisted of elites that were wealthy property owners. So the de facto ruling feudal lords of Iran - including the Shah - installed Mossadegh as leader of the country, the exact opposite of democracy.


In the case of Iran US is both acting as an agent of Israel and Saudi Arabia foreign policy and punishing Iran for not knuckling under.


Censoring TeamViewer or Slack doesn’t do anything to stop the Iranian government’s cyber task force from carrying out attacks. It hurts the regular people and the Iranian economy. I’m not sure what the ultimate agenda is but considering the travel ban and extra visa requirements for visitors of Iran it appears that the goal is to isolate Iran and strangle its economy.


> And the nations with the most freedom have the most to lose.

I'm genuinely curious - can you please expand on what exactly you mean by this?


- The nations with the most freedom also have complex, efficient industries and markets that provide high standards of living - These nations have complex governments designed to protect people from each other and from external threats - These nations are technologically advanced and highly reliant on things attached to networks - These nations have a lot more information freely available, and access to things

All this adds up to a much larger surface area. It's like we're in a stone throwing fight and one side is living in a glass house and the other side is in a mud hut. Losing a cyber war could destroy governments and economies in the West. Imagine no electricity everywhere, no water, no sewer, no planes or trains, no tv or internet. It would be an apocalypse. The same thing happening to Iran might be difficult, but mostly annoying. I'm not sure. In North Korea most people wouldn't even notice.


"Imagine no electricity everywhere, no water, no sewer, no planes or trains, no tv or internet. It would be an apocalypse. The same thing happening to Iran might be difficult, but mostly annoying."

I can imagine people in Iran reading this and quite strongly disagreeing.


"And the nations with the most freedom have the most to lose."

What on Earth does this mean?


maybe that totalitarianism is the default and that "freedom" is a recent development that has been very hard won. It is not the default state of things. If you lose it i.e the state becomes totalitarian, it is orders of magnitude harder to go back the other way.


"muh freedoms" probably.


"If the government in power over you is in conflict with others ... it's going to impact you. If you want your life to be better, look for ways to improve your government."

Or help your government because it is the other government who is imposing sanctions on your country and making your life worse.


Let's do a thought experiment: What would happen if you removed the rules? Would anyone in the US actually notice? Would there be plausible deniability because, for example, a reboot has wiped all of the iptables rules?


> be cognizant of candidate policies about technology if you want to help enact change

We don't get to mix and match attributes of various policies

We get to choose 1 candidate, from 2 candidates

Their technology policy will never be a deciding factor


> not all servers like to get traffik from TOR. For instance, CloudFlare annoys when you are accessing its servers through TOR.

This is why you shouldn't ban Tor. In some places, it is absolutely necessary.


it's also why you shouldn't abuse Tor with web scraping or other actions that lead to sites blocking it


This is why you shouldn't use CloudFlare, whose good intentions lead to not so good places


When 80% of traffic from an IP is malicious and the other 20% is regular traffic, but both sources look like the same traffic (impersonating browser headers, sometimes running headless chromium), what else can you do? Cookies and stateful cookie-like objects, such as privacy pass.

Can anyone report how well privacy pass works nowadays?


> When 80% of traffic from an IP is malicious and the other 20% is regular traffic, but both sources look like the same traffic (impersonating browser headers, sometimes running headless chromium), what else can you do?

Accept the traffic, taking the bad with the good. We all know the ills of visitor profiling regardless of effectiveness.


That's an easy position to take when you personally do not bear the expense of the extra bandwidth, increased hardware needed to ensure acceptable response times, and cleanup/reputation damage when you are compromised.

All of these things have a cost, and they should be balanced against the benefit seen by allowing open access.


The times I've had to use Tor, privacypass has been usable.


So uh, why does “malicious” traffic need to be blocked?


Because nobody is entitled to receive response packets from my computer.


That doesn’t explain why you’d waste your time blocking this traffic. In fact, that explains precisely nothing.


you != you


This is why some services shouldn't ban Tor. I don't think that my hobby project that serves cat pictures (for example) needs to accept any and all traffic.


I was a little surprised that Docker even returns text indicating why the request was blocked with the 403 status code. I wonder if there are any services trying to comply with sanctions in this way that are using response code 451 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_451)....


I can’t think of a historical example of economic sanctions even moving the situation toward the putative goal of regime change in the target country, let alone achieving that goal.

I’ve lived under UN sanctions imposed on Serbia under Milosevic regime during the nineties. Two things happen: 1) people in the regime leadership don’t suffer 2) the little people who do suffer feel attacked and rally around the leader. Pretty much the opposite of what the sanctions ostensibly aim to achieve.

This same dynamic played out in Cuba, North Korea, Iran, you name it, for decades with no good effect.

What brought Milosevic regime down was the aerial NATO assault and its aftermath, not the sanctions.

As far as I can tell sanctions are a way for US politicians (they may be imposed by all the western countries, but I can’t think of an example where US wasn’t the leader) to look like they are punishing the offending country without going to war. They just don’t seem to work.


I'm not sure the entire plan is to get the country to do what you want. It's also about not supporting your enemies. Why send them raw materials, hardware, software that they will then use to fight against you? This seems to have worked for the countries you listed and a few more with the possible exception of Iran. They are much weaker than they could have been and are therefore not as significant a threat.


That rings true to me, and it sounds very cruel and depressing. By that measure it hasn’t worked with North Korea either, slowly but surely they have turned into a significant threat to US.

It may also turn out to be just a short term improvement in safety. Hatred toward the West as the perceived, and real, tormentor festers in the population over generations, and that’s a very bad thing long term.

I’m not saying I know of a better solution.


South Africa is seen as a success.


That’s a good example, albeit a special one where the regime was not accepted as being of the people by a large majority of the population.


It's really hard to judge how 'accepted' governments that remain in control via fear and information control are.


US government officials have a long history of adopting stupid policies that do the exact opposite of what they claim. Sanctions. War on drugs. Iraq war. Hell, pretty much everything they do never has the intended consequences but others. It's not that hard to foresee the consequences, but they don't care. They are either stupid, callous or both. Most are vicious, disgusting human beings who likely get off on the suffering and loss of life they create. And the population keeps voting the same scumbags in time and time again. What does that say about the people here? You can decide.


The modern computer world is so interwoven in the internet now. It was only 20 years ago when every company I worked had physical computers, no internet access (except email) and every piece of software had to be installed from CD.

I wonder if/when a big war or disaster occurs much of our computer world will just break. We've built an extremely fragile system now.


This is also a subject of intense interest to me. We're in uncharted territory here, and the most relevant historical example imo is WW1 where all major participants began the war without giving any real thought to oil and left the war knowing oil (and the vehicles it powers) was arguably the single most important strategic factor in wars during that time period (and still today really aside from speculation).

It seems plausible, if not very likely, a similar paradigm shift will occur after the first serious cyberwar occurs. We will learn a lot of lessons.


Yes!!! The current world power structure is underlain by the control of oil. That's going to change radically in just ten years. Because of solar, wind, and electrified transportation Makes the control of oil vastly less important.

And just like 1914 the dominant powers are clueless.


GP posted:

> left the war knowing oil (and the vehicles it powers) was arguably the single most important strategic factor in wars during that time period (and still today really aside from speculation

Then you responded:

> That's going to change radically in just ten years. Because of solar, wind, and electrified transportation Makes the control of oil vastly less important.

Unless the US military is making a solar, wind, or electric powered series of fighter jets and tanks then the control of oil will be relevant until at least the middle of this century if not the end of this century.


> a similar paradigm shift will occur after the first serious cyberwar occurs

I don't think we'll see a paradigm shift. Energy will still be the single most important strategic factor in electronic warfare. People love to harp on wind/solar/bio/etc... but even though they're growing in acceptance, they won't overtake the primary traditional means of energy production for many decades to come.


Effects of sanctions totally slide off the elite and shit all over the poorest members of a society.


And war doesn't?


War has often resulted in regime change or occupation, sometime even execution of defeated leadership, so no; war often affects the elite (in the end).


Short of receiving an act of aggression challenging the sovereign of your nation, sanctions are always preferable to war. Resource starvation occurs during wartime, but, in contrast to war, sanctions mean no lives are being lost and no property is being destroyed because of physical violence. The people of a nation are still put in a corner, but they don't have a gun to their head. It's something they can get out if, should they choose to.

Also, pizza's comment is naive and misinformed. Broad sanctions on entire industries can affect the poor, yes. It also affects the people in the middle and also the people near the top! You can't fly in a private jet if 1) you can't buy one and 2) can't get fuel for the jet. Furthermore, sanctions have explicitly been used to target the wealthy and not the poor. See:

https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/s...

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/06/politics/russia-sanctions-oli...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-24/trump-say...

pizza says his one of his interests is "realistic alternatives/complements to pure capitalism," which already demonstrates a misinformed notion of the world: he assumes pure capitalism exists in ANY form. It doesn't. The US is perhaps the most capitalistic society, but Social Security is quite clearly a socialist program in nature. I like Social Security and think it's highly useful, by the way (notwithstanding the storm of the decline of program revenue and increase in program participants).


I think it's important to distinguish between conditions which are unfortunate and conditions which are unbearable. Sanctions commonly make conditions unbearable for the poor; when food becomes scarce, the poor starve first; when energy prices increase, the poor are the first to be without energy. While the rich suffer too, they tend to retain their relative place in society, and their dignity. Being without a private jet is unfortunate but not unbearable.

> The people of a nation are still put in a corner, but they don't have a gun to their head. It's something they can get out if, should they choose to.

This really trivialises the challenges and discrimination economic refugees face, especially those from sanctioned countries.

The consequences of warfare have a much greater potential to make life unbearable for those in power. Being captured, executed or otherwise killed is a likely eventuality.


>I think it's important to distinguish between conditions which are unfortunate and conditions which are unbearable.

Ok. Some conditions created by sanctions are unbearable, and some conditions created by sanctions are unfortunate. In war, all conditions are unbearable. War is objectively worse.

>> The people of a nation are still put in a corner, but they don't have a gun to their head. It's something they can get out if, should they choose to.

>This really trivialises the challenges and discrimination economic refugees face, especially those from sanctioned countries.

It is not my intention to trivialize their situation, though perhaps that sense is lacking from my comment. What I mean is that sanctioning a nation does not mean the citizenry is forced to stand on a battlefield and die. When I say, "should they choose to," I'm referring to either seeking refuge or revolution. Both are immensely difficult tasks, but both are a choice.

One of the (stated) uses for sanctions is encouraging regime change. The US tried and failed over the last 60 years to create democratic nations by taking out the leadership of regimes. My understanding of the reason that policy failed so many times is because the people themselves didn't fight for it. The people are so controlled and government so corrupt, they have no easy way to.

Do I like sanctions? Of course not! They obviously create incredible difficulties for everyone in that country. But I'd rather suffer through hardship than die fighting for an unjust cause.

>The consequences of warfare have a much greater potential to make life unbearable for those in power. Being captured, executed or otherwise killed is a likely eventuality.

pizza used the phrase "elite," and you use the phrase "in power." If you're a political figure, you're both "elite" and "in power." The political figure (as well as any subordinate) holds the moral responsibility of waging war. They tacitly accept the risks of conviction and/or execution; incompetence is no excuse. So, yes, you're right, but war would create an even worse environment for the poor than sanctions do. I'd wager that every country in the world has special rules that come into effect when in a state of war. Those rules usually include tough rations, in order to supply the military. If the fighting is happening in that country, it would get worse once the country's means of agricultural production are wiped out.


There have been a growing trend of personal sanctions targeting power actors and their affiliates. Most of them in form of Magnitsky laws, championed by Bill Browder. They hurt enough that Putin had to bring up punishing Browder at Helsinki summit with Trump.


Yep, Bill Browder is basically the most effective person to ever lobby multiple world powers into creating legislation to blacklist people by name (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitsky_Act#Individuals_affe...) from Russia or any country for that matter. TLDR; is that Browder was making some sweet money in Russia after the USSR collapsed and eventually enough powerful people in Russia didn't want him there, so he had to leave, but one of his lawyers was arrested and mysteriously died in prison.

There is a great podcast floating out there from NPR where they talk about the seemingly real possibility that Russia had a vested interest in getting a president in office just to repeal the Magnitsky Act because it hurt that much.


Worth noting though that the majority of powerful people in Russia have primary assets, investments, family and property in the West. This makes the legislation very effective. It is hard to tell how much that would apply to Iran's mullahs.


The western banking system is much more porous than one would think. Sanctions against individuals could be a very fine grained stopgap solution.

The below is mostly writing off the recent shock of having been centimeters away from buying real estate off one of the most important known straw men laundering shady Russian and other former USSR money. I discovered his identity just in time...

A lot of this shady money was laundered through Baltic banks. Just one straw man, Staņislavs Gorins (Stanislav Gorin), was a director in name in many hundreds of companies in Latvia and offshore that laundered enormous amounts and moved it west.

He claims his identity was stolen, but that's very unlikely, given actions like him personally going to foreign embassies to help setup foreign shell companies. And given he's actively scheming with OneCoin, a shady Bulgarian crypto coin.

I went looking down the rabbit hole a bit further. It looks like Latvia has somewhat learned its lesson, but especially in the UK, relevant legislation is like Swiss cheese: one giant loophole. Just search for "companies house loopholes".


yep, let them build nuclear weapons and have their way in Syria.


It is sad the sanctions have that side effect. Hopefully it’s enough to affect some change in a hostile country led by an oppressive elite.


Sanctions (in the form that the US is applying them to Venezuela and Iran) are a form of economic warfare. The idea is to cause economic instability by stopping (oil) exports, and thus cause general instability. Now, there are mismanagement arguments you could make but it would be naive to ignore the massive effects that US (and importantly, US ally) sanctions have on a country that relies on exports.

The effects on Iran are not side-effects. They are clearly the primary goal.


The sanctions hurt from the bottom up. The elites who own the economy lose some money but they are eatill comfort.


The elites in countries like Iran and Venezuela derive all of their wealth by theft from the bottom 99%, without exception.

Just take a look at the extraordinary pile of wealth and power the fake theocracy in Iran has thefted away via Setad (about $100 billion stolen from the Iranian people). Reuters has done great investigative reporting on this over the years:

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/iran/#article/part1

It turns out Khamenei is nothing more than a Putin-like kleptocrat, a thief, using religion as a cover for building a massive corporate empire on the backs of the poor Iranian people (from which he aggressively steals property). Everything about modern Iran makes sense once you read about Khamenei and Setad.

The people in the bottom 99% are the only ones who can change these countries. If you could take most of the personal wealth of the members of eg the Maduro regime in Venezuela, it would change absolutely nothing. They ultimately rule by gun, through military control. The majority - including large sections of the military - has to turn against the leadership to spur change.

Countries have no moral obligation to support the Maduro or Khamenei regimes (which is what happens when you freely trade with them and prop them up through hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment and oil purchases). Someone will reply to this and say: well the US is exactly the same as Maduro and Khamenei (or worse). The only proper response to that is: ok, sure, boycott or embargo the US, give it your best shot.


At this point can it really be considered a side effect. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that that is what the result will be and yet people still insist on them.


As the comment above you alluded to, and as it's been evidenced many times, it is not enough to affect change. These aren't "side effects", the poorest feel the main effect of the sanctions.


They're side effects, but not entirely unintended.

If the head of that state (and party elites etc) don't meet the requests of the sanctioning states, the ensuing poverty can mobilize the impoverished masses. This can backfire and drive them to further nationalism/jingoism, but it opens a window of opportunity for the opposition (and, more cynically, covert agents and external forces).


Like America?


Exactly like America


I do not know how others feel. But I feel resentment towards embargoes (and calling their poodle countries to follow suite) placed on other countries just because they don't tow your line. Going to Iran's backyard and threatening them and then cry when they retaliate (a pretext to start war)...its so...pathetic. In fact most of the 20th century wars were started using this kind of baiting.


Most of the comments below you are correct in the scope of the last 10 years, but in the context of the last 50 are absurd.

For those curious about how and where the whole "Iran thing" started: A freely elected Iranian president decided to nationalise oil fields. This irked British Petroleum (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company at the time..) and the USA, so they initiated a coup to overthow the government [1], complete with CIA-paid Iranian mobsters to push the Shah regime.

Years after this imposed rule, the western-propped government was overthrown with an.. anti-western government.

If you look at Iran with the context of 15 - 20 years history, it's impossible to understand the government's rabid anti-west stance. If you zoom out a little bit more - you understand completely.

Finally - the Iranian people suffer incredibly under this regime. The Persian culture has over 5000 years of rich (non-islamic, incidentally..) history. I'd sincerely advise traveling to Iran if you'd like to understand geo-politics a little better.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9ta... [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Revolution


Travelling in Iran is amazing experience - completely unspoiled from tourism, amazing history left and right, very warm and welcoming people, almost everybody speaks OK english (and most signs are dual farsi/english). For an experienced travelers / backpackers, this is one of the best places to experience these days.

Btw one addition - we all know that US embassy was stormed and employees held hostage in 1979. It gave US political ammunition for decades to come. Do you know why it was stormed? Because it was proper CIA headquarters in all this meddling and impoverishment of iranian people for decades. They shielded themselves with diplomatic immunity. Not something you see mentioned in the (rather bad for all that empty patriotism) movies. But wouldn't you be pissed off if they did this to your own country? To have the potential for greatness due to rich oil reserves, but having little from it because some foreign power installs corrupt ruler to have safe access to oil. Sounds like an african story.

Those employees taken? Most were involved or directly in CIA payroll. No respect there, nor much sympathy. Spies are generally either executed or traded for.


> very warm and welcoming people

I'd second this, one of the friendliest country I've ever been to. No significant tourist industry yet so most people are not trying to sell you anything. I think it's a genuine wish to be friendly to travellers and especially so given they don't yet get many travellers.

You're somewhat curtailed as a US traveller (not sure if that's still the case) but for anybody else, go.

One tech curiosity from over there: one guy said he used a USB stick that contained his browser and stored his internet history on the stick when in internet cafes (his only way online). That way when the cafe was audited none of his data would be there for inspection by police/security.


Many people would probably use ‘portable’ software (in the Windows-world sense) in internet cafes, but I imagine most cafes forbid USB sticks or at least running your apps.

Even if a cafe uses some sort of sandbox environments that are wiped after each visitor, there's a danger that you'll bring in a ‘Scriptkiddie 2019’ exploit pack on the stick.


> I'd sincerely advise traveling to Iran if you'd like to understand geo-politics a little better.

Unless you're gay, in which case they reserve the right to execute you. Seems worth mentioning.


Yeah I was aware of this. Didn't state it here since I thought most of the people here are intelligent enough to understand what really happened. I saw a few here trying to play the "timeline" game (like you stated about the time frame). To what end?

EDIT - Does not mean you are playing this timeline game. I meant a few others.


And not mentioning islamism once in your post....


Check out the last sentence. In the context of Persian culture, Islam was forcefully introduced in the 650's. Iranian culture dates to 4500BC. From my experience (been through Iran 5 times..) - Islam seems to play a very minor / non-existant role in the majority of people's lives.

Naturally there's variation on this (Tehran vs. Qu'om / Mashaad) - but at least that was my experience from living and speaking.


You suggest that what defines the current regime is a reaction to the West. I think this is completly missing the point. Islamism has been on the rise in every single muslim country since the 60s, and the current regime is before anything an islamist regime.

I am not sure what the fact that Iran is a thousand year civilisation has anything to do with it. China is a thousand year civilisation too, it didn't become less communist nevertheless.


[flagged]


>We are talking about a country funding lots of militant groups that kill lots of people.

No, that's Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace.


It's always confused me... Why do you supply weapons, money and military training to the country which 9/11'd you?


In America, nothing is more sacred than cash.


Saudi Arabia following the US method...


>> We are talking about a country funding lots of militant groups that kill lots of people

I wish it was so one sided like we wish to paint it here. But starting a thread about this will only contribute to a never ending discussion thread. There is no moral high ground here. What we can do is to step away from this madness and try to make a general sense of it. All this warmongering is unneeded.


Agreed. If you look at the actions of either Iran, Saudi Arabia or Israel you can easily find many things that seem morally indefensible from a purely humanistic standpoint.

Whatever the mechanism the US has for picking it's allies, it's pretty clear that it's not simply based on some rigorous moral analysis of the different actors. As long as the Iranian regime insists on maintaining "Death to America" as their political slogan, it's understandable that the US will maintain some level of hostility. But to try and paint it as Iran being purely evil and Israel/SA being purely good (or vice versa) is disingenuous.


> There is no moral high ground here.

Ok, so if there is no moral highground here, then don't play the sympathy card about Iran not "towing the line".

Like fine. Its complicated. You were the one who originally trying to make it out to be one sided. And I am saying that this is ridiculous. They fund militant groups.

> All this warmongering is unneeded.

This is about sanctions. Not a ground invasion of Iran. It is not "warmongering" to support effective economic measures in retaliation against economic funding of militant groups.


Implementing sanctions are economic warfare supported by superior force.


Are you generally against "funding of militant groups", or only when somebody else does it?


> Let's be specific what we are talking about here. We are talking about a country funding lots of militant groups that kill lots of people

You know U.S. actually did fund militant groups directly a few times because we thought we can make it a better place. In fact that’s how big, powerful complicated militant groups started to rise in the Middle East and they are out of control now.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone Not to mention, that is kind of still on going with all the support to Saudi Arabia.

When it comes to Iran, 1953, U.S. and UK did overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran only because his interests wasn’t aligned with ours! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'état

Before that, During the WWII, British and Russians invaded Iran and did overthrow Iranian king because he was neutral and we needed their oil fields. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Soviet_invasion_of_Ira...

And then revolution happened in Iran and this time people did overthrow the last King who was introducing many social, economic, and political reforms in Iran but we hated him because he was moving too fast for our interests. (Skipping some conspiracy theories about how CIA did trigger the revolution by turning people against the king) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=imil1iIpIYA

And then Iraq/Saddam Hossein(Yes! Same guy that U.S. killed after the U.S. invasion of Iraq) was supported directly, intelligence and military, by the U.S. to invade Iran as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran. Which took them 8 years and it was one of the deadliest conventional war ever fought in modern history, and both countries never recovered from it. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Iraq_War

And that’s my friend every single man/government they had in power since 1940. So no wonder why it’s so fucked up in Middle East now. Every single time we thought we can make it a better place, But there are consequences to foreign interventions that we can’t control. One of the the richest regions in the world in terms of natural resources and history consequently is in complete misery as a result.


There are a whole lot of reasons other than foreign intervention that the middle east is "complete misery".

molteanu 32 days ago [flagged]

> funding lots of militant groups that kill lots of people

You're talking about US, right?


I was under the impression he was talking about Saudi Arabia.

Don’t know how this is in other countries but there seems to be a line with local mosques where they preach extremism and always get their funding from people within that country.


Obviously


[flagged]


I don't think it is that silly.

The governments of the West are totally chill with regimes that are just as brutal, if not more brutal, than Iran, like Saudi Arabia.

The difference really is mostly just "which side are you on".


[flagged]

Assadi 32 days ago [flagged]

I am not saying that either Iran or Saudi Arabia should be able to X, Y or Z. I'm not going for a "the Saudis do it so Iran should too" argument. Rather, I am simply saying that the sanctions themselves are just an imperialist American power move.

Again, it's not actually about whether Iran is good or bad. If it was simply about good VS evil, nobody would be standing idly as the Saudis yeet missiles into Yemeni civilians.

The sanctions are a joke. It is all about American political agenda.


[flagged]


You're overgeneralizing, which isn't helpful, and seem to be unable to see the story from the perspective of countries within the region we're talking about. People sympathize with people like the developer this story is about, not with the theocratic apparatus within Iran's government structure. If Iranians in general were as bad as you portray them, then no regime change in Iran could ever have any positive effects anyway. Of course, they aren't.

There is also an inability to differentiate between secular power play in the interest of one's country and the influence of religious fundamentalists. There are really two different issues, Iran's ambitions in the region, which are backed up by secular forces in Iran, too, and the theocratic constitution.

1. Some of the actions of Iran's government you describe are pretty much what the US does all the time, except that Iran does it only within their own region. For example, the US sends special forces into all kinds of countries to do their dirty work (e.g. into Iran, Afghanistan), and Iran sends special forces into all kinds of countries to do their directly work, too. There is a slight difference, though. The US has been doing that almost everywhere, whereas the Iranians are mostly trying to fix (in their favour, of course) a mess that was caused by the Second Iraq War initiated by a US aggression. The US basically destroyed the neighbouring country, so for the Iranians this looks similar to e.g. if Russia had just occupied Mexico, put heavy sanctions on the US and would constantly threaten to bomb the US. That's not a good basis for future negotiations, and trying to act against such moves and trying to keep or increase one's own country sphere of influence in neighbouring countries seems like a natural and rational policy.

Here we see a power struggle between two nations whose geostrategical goals are not aligned. However, I'd still say, from the eyes of an impartial observer, that Iran clearly has more of a reason and a right to extend their sphere of influence to neighbouring countries in the region than the US, who have just absolutely fucking nothing to do in the region and are biggest reason why it is in turmoil in the first place. The idea that e.g. the US had a special right to control the Strait of Hormuz is, simply put, absurd.

2. Then there is the problem with the theocracy, which has nothing to do with the previous point. Many if not most people in Iran are probably against their theocracy, but unfortunately the constitution is designed as a theocratic regime and that's hard to change. The government of Iran is not necessarily for Ayatolla Khamenei and his verdicts either, and the younger people would like to get more freedom and many of them would like to get rid of the theocractic elements in their constitution and particularly the religious police.

US foreign politics and Western foreign politics in general are muddling up the two issues, and that's very regrettable. Allying with Saudi Arabia, who has literally just hacked a US journalist to death, will make you a hypocrite about it anyway in the eyes of Iranians, and then the constant confusion of 1 and 2 makes things even worse.

Iran primarily needs change 2, whereas 1 is simply based on a desire to act on their own interests and can only be moderated, e.g. with suitable treaties. The best way of promoting the change 2 would probably be to open up to Iran and do what's best to strengthen women's and LGBT rights in the region (e.g. by guaranteeing asylum, anti-censorship help, diplomatic pressure for human rights, etc.)

The US currently is unable to do that, since the current US government is ideologically very close to the theocratic apparatus in Iran.


[flagged]


No need for condescending sighs, I kind of know what I'm talking about and to be honest, I'm not quite sure whether I buy into your claims of irrelevance. International rights and their moral justification are to a large extent based on habits, i.e., customary rights, and on the principle of reciprocity. There are also principles of state sovereignity to consider. Finally, there is the problem of only selectively applying moral principles and international rights, which is inherently unjust.

I have argued that people should base their judgements on a better understanding, trying to put themselves into the shoes of e.g. someone in a country that is being threatened to be invaded by the largest military force of the world and has been threatened in the past. I have also suggested to be careful not to confuse geopolitical strategies of countries with moral points, and that any sanctions or other efforts to influence Iran should be targeted against its theocratic structure, which is at the heart undemocratic. In reality, however, the US mostly seeks to increase their sphere of influence for geopolitical reasons and the US has no right at all to do that. There is no international law or any other reasonable construction that would justify that the US does anything in that region of the earth at all. I'm suggesting that sanctions should be justified morally and, if so, extended to countries like e.g. Saudi Arabia, too, in order not to appear to be selective and therefore unjust. I am for sanctions and other non-violent measures to increase democracy in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, and so forth, if these measures promise to be at least moderately successful. Otherwise, I believe that change almost must come from within.

I'm not sure what you ware suggesting in contrast to this. This looks very much like a conflict between the US and Iran that is mostly about geostrategy. This is what I suggested to and you consider it irrelevant. What is it, then, you're suggesting? That the US should act as a world police without any mandate, despite the US's horrendous track record of torture, illegal kidnappings, aggressive wars against other countries, and so on? This doesn't make sense to me, especially given that the US has already created great havoc and chaos in the whole region.

I'm really baffled at what you're trying to argue for. It is obvious that in this conflict both Iran and the US primarily act out of strategic interests in the region and not because of any moral concerns, and accusing the US of hypocricy seems quite justified.


The problem is with how we decide which are the "bad" countries. If both "good" and "bad" countries fund militant groups, anyone who tells you that this is how they distinguish between them is lying.


I don’t think anyone on here is in favour of bad people doing bad things.

The general point is that when sanctions are used selectively on some regimes and the US buddy up with other regimes that follow the same kind of politics as the first regime; then you have to question if those sanctions are used for the good of the world (ie what is publicised) or for the good of the US (ie financial kick backs, back door deals, etc).

The fact that Saudi Arabia literally get away with murder because the US have profitable arms deals with them should speak volumes about the true purpose of sanctions.


The problem is the report that Iran is a country funding lots of militant groups comes out of the USA and it's recent actions means it has lost all credibility.

Just in recent times we have seen the USA spy on it's own nationals (NSA) and invade a country based on a lies (WMD in Iraq).

The USA also has a long history of propping up murderous dictators (MBS just the most recent) and it now has a president who loves being photographed with tyrants like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin.

So while the claims being made might even be true, because these are USA claims the statements needs to be taken with a grain of salt.


I don't have to take the statements of the USA. All I have to do is listen to the claims that Iran makes, about who it funds, the actions it is taking, and planning on taking.

The stuff that Iran itself says it wants to do, such as that it wants to wipe Israel from the face of the map, is bad enough.


> All I have to do is listen to the claims that Iran makes, about who it funds, the actions it is taking, and planning on taking.

So what sources are you quoting?

Any link would be good.


"Ahmadinejad says Israel will be "eliminated""

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-assembly-ahmadinejad/i...

It is very easy to find multiple insano statements that the leaders of Iran make. I found this one in a couple seconds.

You can also just look at their involvement with the Assad regime.

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


I feel for you and I know that normal people are always the victims of sanctions, not the privileged and rich. I hope one day your people will be free. Sincerely.


Am I the only one to see this as a positive side effect of sanctions?

Now Iranians have a legitimate reason to use TOR: bypassing sanctions. Turns out it allows them to bypass censorship as well and brings more people into the Tor network.


The user experience on Tor is not great at the best of times. I can't imagine trying to do something like `docker pull` or `npm install` over it, let alone technical research.


Having tried to use a censored internet in China, I suspect it beats the alternative.


I doubt that they use Tor. First Iranian I have talked with after airport security simply shown as VPN app to use that works. I have used SSH tunnel without problems. Censorship is quite weak in Iran and Tor is not necessary.


It's only weak if you have access to a credit card and are able to pay for a VPS or VPN abroad. If you're trying to bypass it using only free(as in beer) tools, it's quite effective as clearly shown by the article.


Plus I have never understood why people assumed it was safe from the government. You are making a credit card transaction with your name on it and associate it with a named account! You never know who is behind a VPN company. If I were a state censor I'd make sure to have several cheap and reliable VPNs accessible to the locals and just make a list of what they are doing with it.


I was answering to Iv comment that people in Iran will find Tor. That's not the case from my experience while I was traveling in Iran last year. People simply use free VPNs.


The article mentions Tor


Article is about developers.


"People are dying due to absence of medicines. People are starving. The economy system is falling apart and the politicians and their children are all abroad! None of them have any sense about what is going on the streets."

That is not what we (the West) are hearing in mainstream media.

Edit: I may well be wrong on this as others have pointed out.


I dont understand this type of reply where just because a specific subtopic of a news story isnt being screamed just as loudly as every other top breaking headline, its the western media being silent on the issue. Plenty of discussion has been had on mainstream media about the effects and.effectiveness of sanctions on basic goods

https://abcnews.go.com/International/us-sanctions-hit-iran-r...

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/17/inflation-rampant-in-tehran-...?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/sanctions-t...

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/sanctions-t...


Needle in a haystack. Today's articles for me:

* Heat wave relief in sight after scorching temps... * Disney star Cameron Boyce's mother breaks silence... * 'You're breathtaking' Keanu Reeves pulls another classic Keanu... * Thousands of bones discovered in Vatican crypt... * Miss Michigan winner tweets... * National Ice Cream Day means free cones. Here's what to know... * The Horrors of Jeffrey Epstein's Private Island * The 1 Reason you shouldn't save for retirement

Today's body count for the MI-complex never seems to make the cut.


> Needle in a haystack

As a practical matter, Tehran’s domestic governance is irrelevant to most Western readers. My FT, WSJ or Bloomberg subscriptions tend to touch on it about twice a year. Given I have zero influence over the situation, that plenty for me.


Japanese tanker incident and a close-call expanding our middle-east misadventures just a few weeks ago, and free ice cream cones are still more relevant...


That's kind of by design. What other effect do you think the total economic embargo would have? It's not like they're some super advanced country that's independent of anybody else for tech.

Good (for the US) news is, it's working. They're getting ready to negotiate, hence the UK tanker intercepts etc. Weak negotiating position, need bargaining chips. I kind of agree with Lindsey Graham: if you just want nuclear power, there's no need whatsoever to enrich your own uranium. You can buy fuel for reactors from the enriching nations, no problem. I'm sure, given the situation, you could even negotiate the price down to nearly nothing, as well.


> it's working

The last deal for de-nuclearization already worked, but it was inexplicably terminated.

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


Explications: supporting war in Yemen, Al Assad, Hezbollah, etc.


And yet none of those explications were cited by Trump. They would seem like obvious rhetorical wins for populist support of the fight against terrorism. A more honest explanation would have to ask what the US government stands to gain from renewed sanctions of Iran.

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


Nope. There have been multiple reports that validate the claim that the deal was terminated by a combination of Trump's personal distate for a deal negotiated by his predecessor and a proliferation of Iran hawks in the Trump Administration.


It's not "denuclearization" if you continue to enrich, retain all nuclear infrastructure, and if the deal expires after a few years. Parts of the "deal" were expected to expire as soon as in 2026.


Where do people get these talking points from?

Intelligence chiefs have testified in front of congress that Iran was following through with it's end of the deal. The US then unilaterally decided to tear up the treaty and put in economic sanctions based on nothing. It's almost as if they want Iran to build nuclear weapons. It's also putting pressure on Europe to pull out of banking and business ties that were built after the embargoes were ended.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/29/us/politics/kim-jong-trum...


> Where do people get these talking points from?

From the text of the deal itself? All the nuclear restrictions were for "15 years", and some for 10 years. After that? Unclear.

Surprised at the downvotes - read the text for yourself: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2165388-iran-deal-tex... search for 15 years, it's the plain fact of the matter, not some "talking point".


Most deals of this nature are going to have a sunset clause, this doesn't seem to be a big deal. Before 15 years is up, there's just a new negotiation.


No, most deals have a withdrawal clause, where either party can end the deal.

They don't normally have a set end date.

A set end date basically means Iran plans to restart activities on that date without any kind of sanction. There's a reason this deal was so heavily criticized.


You didn't address this idea that nuclear power does not require Iran to enrich uranium. The deal seems faulty if they can still enrich uranium, regardless if they were following it or not.


Every NPT-signatory has the right to enrich.


Iranian media announced and then the IAEA confirmed Iran had breached the limit on uranium they were allowed to store.

>The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iran’s nuclear program under the deal, confirmed in Vienna that Tehran had breached the limit.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-iran-usa/iran-rej...


Yeah, after the US unilaterally pulled out of the deal.


It's the best deal they could negotiate. It was done by moderates on the Iranian side who have now been discredited and the hardliners are ascendant.

If you think military provocations and escalations are a sign that sanctions are "working" you're in for a surprise. All it takes is one side to make a little mistake and it escalates quickly and unintentionally.

Trump has emboldened the Iranian military by pulling his punches. Now they assume they can take action without a military response from the US because Trump is not willing to go to war. That logic unfortunately makes war more likely.


>> It's the best deal _they_ could negotiate

Exactly my point. Doesn't mean it's a good deal.


By definition the alternative is a worse deal.

More sanctions won't necessarily produce a better deal. Iran can also have a military response or build a bomb.


> By definition the alternative is a worse deal.

You need to let go of the illusion that there was any actual permanent "deal" in place at all. What was in place was a temporary stopgap at best, and Iran would exit from that stopgap with multiple avenues to building nuclear weapons within a year or two after the expiration of its provisions. If the goal was to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, the "deal" didn't accomplish that at all, it merely postponed it. Letting an extremist theocratic regime (and a known sponsor of terrorism) eventually arm itself with nuclear weapons in a powder keg that's the Middle East seems like a terrible deal to me. Much worse deal, in fact, that not doing anything about North Korea for two decades.


I know what the deal was and I now who the Iranians are. I'm not defending them. The point is that was the deal that could be done and it had Iran voluntarily not building a bomb or enriching uranium. That was verified by an independent authority.

Now they have started enriching uranium again, so they are theoretically moving closer to building a bomb. To stop that without Iran's co-operation would require force, so if the West finds a bomb unacceptable the West is on a path to war.

For all your criticism of the deal, you haven't addressed the fundamental question of how this situation is better than the deal. Interpreting Iran's provocations as signs of progress towards negotiations is not convincing.


Well, it's sort of good news in the sense that, if the U.S. chose to negotiate, Iran still wants a deal, and we might end up with the same deal as before?

Or in other words, this was all unnecessary, but some of the damage caused by abandoning a done deal might be reversible.


No deal will be made unless perhaps if Trump wins a second term. One year with sanctions is not something new. As long as Iran have it’s energy supply secured.


>They're getting ready to negotiate, hence the UK tanker intercepts etc. Weak negotiating position, need bargaining chips.

You do realize that the UK grabbed a tanker first?


Can American reporters even go on the ground in Iran without a government chaperone?


Ten years ago when I still lived in Iran I was a wizard working my way around the "filternet". I had even taught my mom to setup a socks proxy through an SSH tunnel!


I do this at work to get around the company firewall. Pretty useful technique!


Seems like it could be dangerous just to blog about these activities if you live in Iran?


In Iran people openly talk of their disdain of the government, sometimes very publicly even. It's only when you become an active political activist that things might go awry.

The same can't be said of China; People here self-censor even in personal conversations.


That's what I was wondering, it seems like a public admission of breaking the local laws ( as corrupt as those laws are.. ).


Is it illegal to bypass blocking in Iran? I know in some countries it's legal to bypass such blocks if you can, even if a government tries to block proxying as well.


In Russia there is no punishment for bypassing blocking. But if you publish information about bypassing or proxy server addresses, your site will be blocked too (but no punishment for you personally).


The same is generally true in Iran based on my experience.


It technically is, but such a huge number of people use vpns. I know 14 year old children who use commercial VPNs to watch YouTube.


Looks like his blog with GitHub pages have been restricted bu GitHub.


Unless you are not in Iran and this is propaganda.

I am not a fan of IRI by any stretch but that post does not pass the smell test. And last I checked -- I have relatives in Iran -- no one is "starving".

As for Iran's government not wanting its citizens spilling their daily beans on an Israeli platform, that's pretty sensible. (Would Israel permit its citizens to chat away on platforms from Iran?)

How difficult is it to redirect to a server outside of Iran?

Who resolves "shahinsorkh.ir" for your browser? DNS lookup says 104.24.126.79 and that is in California, United States, and not Iran.

"Let's go invade Iran so Iranians can access Facebook and not starve!!!"


>Who resolves "shahinsorkh.ir" for your browser? DNS lookup says 104.24.126.79 and that is in California, United States, and not Iran.

because it's cloudflare


Exactly. And that is where the trail stops. that ".ir" is worth precisely zip as far as verifiable facts are concerned.

This guy has his full name and his employer on his blog. His employer, "Douran Group"[1], lists Iranian banks, Ministry of Agriculture of Iran, Ministry of Broadcasting of Iran, the Postal Service of Iran, and even a "Islamic Conference" as their clients.

"TOR", "VOA", "Facebook", "Israeli" platforms, and "starving" Iranians, and "elite" entirely unaware of the condition of the populace.

[1]: https://douran.com/fa-IR/Dourtal/1/page/%D8%B5%D9%81%D8%AD%D...


Your relatives are not entirely honest with you. Of course they might not be starving and people might have enough food, but they are having less access to medicines and other necessities.


I did not comment on medicine. So there is no "starvation".

> "not entirely honest"

You are possibly projecting your own family's character. Kindly refrain from discussing matters regarding which you have zero insight. Tashakor.


”And last I checked -- I have relatives in Iran -- no one is "starving".”

You basically shared anecdotal evidence from your relatives. Which means you’re cherry-picking and opening yourself up for critique of that comment.

Grow a thicker skin. Tashakor.


Definition of terrorism according to Wikipedia:

"Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim."

How economic sanctions and maximum pressure different from terrorism? Putting a lot of pressure and pain on ordinary people to achieve political goal, which in this case is surrender of Iran. This is economic terrorism, plain and simple.


The answer to your question is in the text you quoted: intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror. Economic sanctions may be justified or unjustified, moral or immoral, but they are distinctly different from indiscriminate violence.

Muddying the definitions of words really doesn't help anyone and indeed makes the discussion harder to have, as communication is only possible if both/all participants can agree on their communicative medium - i.e., that they are both using words to mean the same things.


I didn't say it is "Terrorism" I said "Economic Terrorism". Economic sanctions by definition are indiscriminate. Now there is a shortage of some cancer and MS medication in Iran and people are dying because of it. Even though the medications are not sanctioned, the financial transactions are sanctioned and these medications cannot be purchased easily. How isn't this violence? According to the UN, sanctions on food and medication is a crime against humanity. We have seen this period of sever sanctions on Iraq in the disguise of oil for food program. We know how it ended.

I don't want to justify the actions of Iranian government, in my opinion most governments are evil and power hungry. I am just pointing out that the goal of sanctions, even according to the US officials is to cause suffering for people ultimately in the goal of regime change.

Sever economic sanctions are just another tool in the empire toolbox. Be it against Iran or Cuba for example.


"I am just pointing out that the goal of sanctions, even according to the US officials is to cause suffering for people ultimately in the goal of regime change"

No, you're not in fact pointing that out, you're just stating it without providing any evidence at all.

If you're saying 'the goal is to cause suffer according to US officials' surely you'd have a quote for it? You won't because they did not say that and you just stated something not in evidence. Officially, the purpose of the sanctions is to get 'a better deal'.


Just refer to John Bolton, you can find many instances. He gave a talk for MEK which was in the US terrorist group list.


Surely you can provide one.

It's true that Bolton argued war is best option several years before joining this administration, but that's not your claim. Your claim is that he (or some other official) said the purpose of the sanctions is to make the common people suffer, and I can't any statement to that effect.


Yes, you are right they didn't literally say that because in that case it would be legally troublesome. I think it is childish to think that this is not pure coercion either to the negotiation/surrender table or public unrest. By the way, Bolton didn't just advocate war/unrest years ago. It was last year [1].

I understand the importance of being exact, but by being pedantic in a political context without considering motivations and effects is trivialization.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cenpiO6LMpE


Ok, so you don't have a reference. If we take the admin at its word, they say they want a better deal.If you believe Bolton doesn't follow orders, than he seeks war. The one thing nobody of any disposition ever said they seek is 'regime change'. That's because a ground invasion is inconceivable and homegrown revolution unlikely when it's the regime with all the guns.


Some would say Taxation or Sanctions are a form of violence. If I do not adhere to your sanctions, what happens? If I do not pay your taxes, what happens?

Violence, condoned by a state or a group of states.


Asking Iran to stop foreign adventures including support for terrorism == "capitulation"

Not trading with countries stating 'Death to [your country]' == "economic terrorism"


Pure nonsense. Terror is not the same thing as economic sanctions. To suggest it's the same is to make language meaningless.


It depends what you mean by surrender of Iran. Iran is the one with an explicitly stated foreign policy goal of annihilating another state. They are also persistently taking active steps intended to achieve it. That inevitably creates conflict, and in armed conflicts nobody ends up looking good.


What they mean by negotiation is sever limit on Iran missile program. They ask Iran to limit its missile range very considerably. At first you may say missile is not defensive but offensive.

But the fact is that Iran has no air force or any other serious military hardware to defend itself. Because simply they wouldn't sell them to Iran. Most Persian gulf countries have military budget per capita orders of magnitude larger than Iran. In addition they have the might of US military behind them. Missiles are the only reason that Iran is not like Iraq or Libya right now. Iran has been on the hit list of Neocons since long time (you can refer to General Wesley Clark)

Iran experienced a very bloody war with Iraq during 80s where everybody was supporting Saddam Hussein from Soviets to the US and persian gulf monarchies. I know personally people that where harmed by Saddam chemical weapons but international community remained silent for too long. I remember seeing Saddam's missile on the Tehran skies but we had no means of stopping them or retaliating because again nobody cared.

About annihilating another state: How can Iran annihilate a state which has 200 nuclear warheads? It might be other way around.


Iran has troops in at least three countries thousands of km of its border, its on the offence. Besides, it's not like these missiles could do more than tickle the American army. Their only use is to menace the other countries of the region, except no country in the region is even capable of invading Iran. In short, their purpose is offensive.

Now, 'Moderate' President Rafsanjani argued that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam". It's best we do not allow such an apocalyptic scenario - such a war could hardly be contained to the Middle East.


I feel this is becoming a geopolitical conversation. I can go on and on, so do you. I don't want to hijack the main discussion of the thread any longer which was the human aspect of the sanctions to a geo-strategical game.

Thanks for a civilized conversation anyways.


If Iran stopped funding active offensive organisations like Hezbollah there would be no reason to restrict their weapons purchases or impose sanctions. The sanctions aren't the root cause, they are responses to specific stated goals and actions of Iran. Goals of destroying specific foreign states, which it insists on pursuing through violent means. No nation has a specific stated goal of destroying Iran, nor are they acting in order to achieve it.

>About annihilating another state: How can Iran annihilate a state which has 200 nuclear warheads? It might be other way around.

If the US or Israel really wanted to destroy Iran they could. The US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, in both cases in response to hideously brutal attacks on themselves or their allies. They could do it to Iran, so why haven't they? Because they don't want to, they have nothing to gain from it. They didn't want to invade Iraq or Afghanistan either, and have been trying to get their troop out as fast as possible ever since. The only reason they attacked Saddam or Afghanistan was because of the invasion of Kuwait and the 9/11 attacks. If Iran would just leave them and their allies alone, they'd be fine just buying their oil and selling them Coca-Cola.


What did Saddam or Afghanistan have to do with 9/11? Saudi Arabia and (I think) Pakistan were connected to 9/11, both countries that are US allies.

Understanding why the US entered Iraq is not hard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOsWcEoKfp4


General Wesley Clark ran for POTUS on the Democratic ticket and was opposed to the war in Iraq. He also opposed those calling for war with Iran in 2007. His politics don't square with the neo-conservatives at all. Did you mean to refer to him as an opposition movement leader?


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