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.
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."
Sanctions are placed on enemies not allies
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.
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.
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.
State sponsored attempts to hack public network infrastructure fit into a totally different category. These are not the same.
There's plenty of literature on this. Whoever created stuxnet created another monster too.
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.
There are plenty of American military projects that deeply worry other countries.
"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."
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.
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.
* 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. 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.
Also read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Iraq_War
* 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
Which weapons program? AFAIK current Iranian inspection mechanisms are the most stringent (anywhere ever).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
Someone needs to tell Assange about this, if that isn't how embassies work.
How can you say something like this? It's even happening right now, for example these are today's news:
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”
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:
"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.
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...
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.
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.
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".
See 'Prevent re-emergence of a new rival (1992)' and 'From Lisbon to Vladivostok: Putin Envisions a Russia-EU Free Trade Zone (2010)'.
Can't let that happen, can you.
> 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.
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.
Oil is fungible. The EU only benefits disproportionately because the US refuses to do business with Iran.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
So did the Nazi Germany.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
America definitely had some self-interest in protecting Iraq, but it's not like the alternative was clearly a better choice either.
Iraq started the war.
The US didn't provide significant aid to Iraq until it feared the Hussein government being overrun altogether.
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.
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.
I'm genuinely curious - can you please expand on what exactly you mean by this?
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.
I can imagine people in Iran reading this and quite strongly disagreeing.
What on Earth does this mean?
Or help your government because it is the other government who is imposing sanctions on your country and making your life worse.
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
This is why you shouldn't ban Tor. In some places, it is absolutely necessary.
Can anyone report how well privacy pass works nowadays?
Accept the traffic, taking the bad with the good. We all know the ills of visitor profiling regardless of effectiveness.
All of these things have a cost, and they should be balanced against the benefit seen by allowing open access.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And just like 1914 the dominant powers are clueless.
> 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.
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.
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:
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).
> 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.
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 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.
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".
The effects on Iran are not side-effects. They are clearly the primary goal.
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:
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.
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).
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 , 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.
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.
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.
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.
Unless you're gay, in which case they reserve the right to execute you. Seems worth mentioning.
EDIT - Does not mean you are playing this timeline game. I meant a few others.
Naturally there's variation on this (Tehran vs. Qu'om / Mashaad) - but at least that was my experience from living and speaking.
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.
No, that's Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
You're talking about US, right?
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.
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".
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
So what sources are you quoting?
Any link would be good.
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.
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.
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.
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Today's body count for the MI-complex never seems to make the cut.
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.
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.
The last deal for de-nuclearization already worked, but it was inexplicably terminated.
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.
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".
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.
>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.
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.
Exactly my point. Doesn't mean it's a good deal.
More sanctions won't necessarily produce a better deal. Iran can also have a military response or build a bomb.
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.
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.
Or in other words, this was all unnecessary, but some of the damage caused by abandoning a done deal might be reversible.
You do realize that the UK grabbed a tanker first?
The same can't be said of China; People here self-censor even in personal conversations.
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 22.214.171.124 and that is in California, United States, and not Iran.
"Let's go invade Iran so Iranians can access Facebook and not starve!!!"
because it's cloudflare
This guy has his full name and his employer on his blog. His employer, "Douran Group", 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.
> "not entirely honest"
You are possibly projecting your own family's character. Kindly refrain from discussing matters regarding which you have zero insight. Tashakor.
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.
"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.
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 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.
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'.
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.
I understand the importance of being exact, but by being pedantic in a political context without considering motivations and effects is trivialization.
Violence, condoned by a state or a group of states.
Not trading with countries stating 'Death to [your country]' == "economic terrorism"
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.
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.
Thanks for a civilized conversation anyways.
>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.
Understanding why the US entered Iraq is not hard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOsWcEoKfp4