Archive for January 30th, 2010

AIPAC hack Hillary Clinton courts China’s support for sanctions against Iran

The Times

January 29, 2010

Hillary Clinton courts China’s support for sanctions against Iran

Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at Stansted Airport in southern England January 27, 2010. Clinton is in Britain to participate in Wednesday's and Thursday's talks on Yemen and Afghanistan.

Hillary Clinton: the Obama administration is drawing up a series of tough proposed sanctions against Iran

The Obama Administration is drawing up a list of tough new sanctions against Iran in preparation for a possible UN Security Council vote within weeks.

The proposed sanctions, aimed at Iranian financial institutions and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, will be circulated among Security Council member countries as early as today after strong indications that Russian and Chinese opposition is fading. Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, held talks with her counterparts from both countries in London this week, urging them to recognise that their efforts at negotiating a halt to Iran’s nuclear programme had failed.

Mrs Clinton said that the world had “little choice but to apply further pressure” after a year of fruitless negotiations over what Western and Arab governments believe to be a covert Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

“Iran has provided a continuous stream of threats to intensify its violation of international nuclear norms,” she told reporters at the conclusion of yesterday’s Afghanistan conference, where she met other foreign ministers. “Iran’s approach leaves us with little choice than to work with our partners to apply greater pressure in the hope that it will cause Iran to reconsider its rejection of diplomatic efforts.”

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that Moscow’s patience with Tehran was running out. “It is clear that one can’t wait forever, and our partners are already talking about the need to discuss further measures in the UN Security Council,” he said.

Hopes now appear to rest on convincing China to abstain from a vote on sanctions rather than using its veto in favour of Iran. China relies on Iran for vast oil imports and is the Islamic Republic’s most important trading partner.

The Chinese Foreign Minister told reporters that Beijing was still pinning its hopes on dialogue but did not explicitly rule out further sanctions as it did at the beginning of the month when it took over chairmanship of the Security Council. Mrs Clinton said that her meetings with the Chinese had been “very positive” and appeared to soften her criticism of China over internet censorship, suggesting that Washington was still courting its support.

Mrs Clinton was accompanied to London by senior State Department and Treasury officials involved in drawing up the sanctions list with officials from the five permanent members of the Security Council, as well as those from Germany and other countries who might join an Iran “sanctions coalition” if a council vote fails. Washington has also suggested that tightening current sanctions could exert pressure on Iran without the need for a new vote.

The so-called E3 plus 3 — the US, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany — met Iranian officials in Geneva in October in what was considered a breakthrough for President Obama’s policy of reaching out to Iran. But Tehran’s embattled regime has since rolled back its early co-operation, including an agreement on a Franco-Russian deal to swap stocks of enriched uranium — a decision that may have cost it Moscow’s backing.

While pressing on at the United Nations, Washington is preparing sanctions of its own. Last night the US Senate approved a Bill put forward by the Obama Administration that seeks to punish companies exporting petrol or oil-refining technology to Iran.

The Senate legislation will now have to be reconciled with a version passed by the Lower House before becoming law.

“Jewish lobby” preventing Obama from ending Afghan war – Mahathir

Former Malaysian leader: Jews cause world’s problems

January 27, 2010

MELBOURNE, Australia (JTA) — Malaysia’s former prime minister accused America’s “Jewish lobby” of preventing President Obama from ending the war in Afghanistan.

Local Malaysian media reported that Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled the Muslim nation between 1981 and 2003, told the Conference for the Support of Al-Quds on Jan. 21 that AIPAC was hindering two of Obama’s key election promises: ending the war in Afghanistan and closing the Guantanamo Bay prison.

“There are forces in the United States which prevent the president from doing some things,” the Malaysian Star quoted Mahathir as saying. “One of the forces is the Jewish lobby, AIPAC.”

Mahathir, long known for his anti-Semitic views, went on to say that Jews “had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived and they held whole governments to ransom.

“Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world,” he said.

Mahathir also said there was “strong evidence” that the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States were staged as an excuse to wage war against Islam.

“If they can make ‘Avatar,’ they can make anything,” he was quoted as saying.

In response, Australian federal lawmaker Michael Danby, who is Jewish, said that “Dr Mahathir’s comments that Jews had to be periodically massacred are abhorrent and should be condemned. Hopefully within a few months, when there are democratic elections, we will see a modern Malaysian leader in Anwar Ibrahim, who will lead a non-racialist coalition to election victory.”