Tuesday 16th of July 2024

his bid is pending the approval of the guardian council.....

The Islamic republic goes to the polls on June 28 to replace ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash on May 19.

Ahmadinejad, 67, held the post for two straight terms from 2005 to 2013, a period marked by a standoff with the West especially over Iran's nuclear programme and his incendiary remarks on Israel.

Like all presidential hopefuls, his bid is pending the approval of the Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated body of 12 jurists that vets all candidates for public office.

Ahmadinejad was previously disqualified from entering the presidential race in the 2021 and 2017 elections.

"I am confident that all the country's problems can be solved by making maximum use of national capacities," he said after submitting his bid at the interior ministry on Sunday.

In 2005, Ahmadinejad gained worldwide notoriety when he said Iran's arch foe Israel was doomed to be "wiped off the map" and also asserted that the Holocaust was a "myth".

Nationwide protests broke out against Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009 and the state's response led to dozens of deaths and thousands of arrests.

Candidate registration opened on Thursday and closes on Monday.

Other prominent figures including moderate ex-parliament speaker Ali Larijani and ultraconservative former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili have also registered their bids.

The Guardian Council will announce the final list of candidates on June 11 after it has completed its vetting procedures.





By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

Here is a modest proposal, nothing too radical, just good sense. Turn over Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan to the Iranian authorities on the understanding the two statesmen, very loosely defined, would spend 444 days at the U.S. embassy compound in Tehran. Let’s think of it as a reenactment.  

Said premises, long a mess of barbed wire, weeds, brambles, mold and anti–American graffiti, is now a museum. The Den of Espionage, as it is called, is dedicated to the shameful history of U.S.–Iranian relations leading up to that fateful day, Jan. 16, 1979, when diplomatic ties were severed and the shah was deposed. Those unkind Iranians had to rub it in: The old graffiti is now covered over with mocking murals featuring Mickey Mouse and McDonald’s. 

All the better, I say. My theory is that the Biden regime’s secretary of state and national security adviser would return from their year and 79 days in the embassy—sitting on the floor, sleeping in the offices, washing their socks in  bathroom sinks, the whole nine—transformed almost beatifically into… into statesmen of high purpose and deep insight, the two being devoid of both as we have them now. 

I am inspired to these thoughts by a good obituary The New York Times ran in its May 18 editions on the death of a good man named Moorhead Kennedy. Moorhead Kennedy’s blood ran very blue: Upper East Side childhood, Groton, Princeton, Harvard Law, a career in the Foreign Service. Having learned Arabic, he was something of a Middle East man, his assignments over the years including Yemen and Lebanon. And then destiny placed its gentle hand on Kennedy’s shoulder: He was on a temporary assignment as economics attaché in Tehran when the fecal matter hit the fan.

And so Kennedy was among those 52 Americans—diplomats, others in civil service jobs—who spent the famous 444 days captives of militant but nonviolent, I would say altogether righteous students who had broken down the embassy gates and climbed over its walls. They were of many stripes, secular and religious, but they were all repelled by the shah’s coercive insistence on Westernizing Iran in the worst kind of way—“Westoxicity,” as it came to be called. Many of them spent their days poring through the embassy files and diplomatic cables to reconstruct just how, covertly and criminally, the U.S. had been attempting to overthrow the Iranian government for the second time in 26 years. 

I recall years later seeing black-and-white news footage of the hostages as they filed up the stairs to board an Air Algeria flight home on Jan. 20, 1981. One of the diplomats turned back a few steps short of the cabin door, shouted something the film did not record, and gave the Islamic Republic and all its citizens a great big middle finger. Ah, yes, I recall thinking, with what dignity are we represented to the world. 

Moorhead Kennedy would have had as much reason to vent his anger as that vulgarian on the stairs. He was blindfolded and tied to a chair when students filed into his office. But something happened to Kennedy during the long months that followed. He began talking to those who had stormed the embassy. And most of all, he began listening to them. I have long argued that the first signs that an imperium is in decline are when it goes blind and deaf; it can neither see others for who and what they are nor hear what they have to say. Kennedy proved to suffer from neither of these symptoms. 

As he later recounted his experience in an interview with a small public-affairs journal in Connecticut, Moorhead seemed to have brought a singularly open mind to what was supposed to be a brief assignment filling in for an absent colleague. “I was very interested in seeing a revolution in progress,” he told a reporter from CT Mirror in 2016. “It was a very fruitful time until, all of a sudden, I heard a shout from the Marines, ‘They’re coming over the wall!’ And then a whole new experience began.”

There is a wonderful photograph of Moorhead atop The Times’s obit, taken in the embassy during his captivity. It shows him sitting at his desk, calmly reading with his fingers to his chin. On the floor beside him are two colleagues whose beards make them look like they are among Moorhead’s captors. On his desk you see the paraphernalia of makeshift meals: a jar of mustard, a jar of Sanka repurposed as a sugar bowl, a box of Cocoa Krispies. I suspect Moorhead’s apparent composure had something to do with that unshakable aplomb you often find in American bluebloods.  

It is odd now to think you are looking at a man midway through a life-altering metamorphosis from which he had the integrity never to turn back. It was in the embassy that Moorhead began to reflect on what he was doing as an American foreign service officer and to conclude that what he was doing was emphatically not what he ought to have been doing because the nation he served had it all wrong. “Mr. Kennedy’s thoughts on U.S. foreign policy,” as The Times’s obit explains, “were partly shaped by discussions with his captors.”

“Those Americans who applauded the Westernizing efforts of the shah had little notion of how his programs had disrupted lives at all levels of society,” Kennedy wrote, when he looked back later, in The Ayatollah in the Cathedral: Reflections of a Hostage (Hill & Wang, 1986). “Many Iranians, disoriented, forced to think in new and strange ways, to perform unfamiliar tasks in accordance with unfamiliar norms, humiliated by their inadequacies as they tried to behave as Westerners, and disinclined to become proximate Westerners, second-class at best, sought above all for a renewed sense of their own identity.”

There is something brilliant, in a certain way almost miraculous, in the deep, personal transformation implicit in those observations. Moorhead was telling us he learned while in the embassy a lesson I have long considered the most fundamental that our time requires of us but one too few of us even attempt: This is the capacity to see from the perspectives of others by way of seeing them with clear eyes and hearing them with open ears. 

That “whole new experience” when Iranian students burst into his office does not seem to have ended until Moorhead died at 93 on May 3 in Bar Harbor, that waspy redoubt along the Maine coast. Upon his return to the States, he acted swiftly once the ticker-tape parades were over and the Klieg lights were off. He resigned from the Foreign Service without hesitation and turned himself into a dedicated, admirably insightful critic of U.S. foreign policy, bringing to bear his years of experience on the inside. 

He lectured widely, interviewed often, and wrote extensively. As soon as he left the Foreign Service he founded the Cathedral Peace Institute at St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the longtime home of many an activist in international affairs. The Times quotes an appearance he made on a public-access television show in 1986, when his book came out:

When it comes to foreign affairs, the last thing in the world an American is willing to do is to think or to try to think what it would be like to be a Soviet, to be an Arab, to be an Iranian, to be an Indian. And the result is that we think of the world as a projection of ourselves, and we think that others must be thinking along the lines we’re thinking. And when they don’t, we’re troubled by it.

This is luminous thinking. Moorhead did not limit his concerns to this or that mistaken policy—we got it wrong in Lebanon, in Angola, or wherever the world over. I value him in part because he took on the psychological deformations that have so much to do with what has made American foreign policy a rolling disaster since the 1945 victories and Washington’s pursuit of “global leadership,” that polite term for aggressive hegemony. 

Here he is on what has become a familiar obsession within the policy cliques since his time in captivity began 45 years ago:

The elements in the Arab world and in Iran are reacting against us through another kind of war—a low-intensity war called terrorism. And I think it is a way of trying to make us understand, or at least be aware, that they have a different point of view.

When I read this remark my mind went immediately to that intellectual charlatan of the Bush II years, Richard Perle, who argued with supreme and consequential stupidity following the 2001 attacks, “Any attempt to understand terrorism is an attempt to justify it.” And then I thought of the discourse concerning Hamas: One must call Hamas “terrorist” at all times and without exception and in every mention so as to avoid all understanding, just as Perle insisted. 

The line of thinking we call perspectivism—the recognition that none of us has a monopoly on truth, “values” or interpretations of reality—has been around since Nietzsche pondered it in the late 19th century. Moorhead Kennedy is what it looks like in practice, on the ground, reading at a desk while captive. 

How impoverished have we made ourselves since Kennedy’s time. How vast a distance lies between his thinking and the ideological non-thinking of Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan. They are guilty on a daily basis of every sin Kennedy identified. 

The day before The Times published its Moorhead Kennedy obituary, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, reflected on the state of U.S.–Russian relations in an interview he gave TASS, the Russian news agency, in mid–May. “They live in a bubble,” he said of the Biden regime’s policy cliques, “and do not perceive outside signals that go against their preconceptions.” He went on to say of the Atlantic nations as a whole, “We feel not an ounce of trust, which triggers political and even emotional rejection.” Isn’t this a good description, albeit coincidental, of how the Iranian students thought and felt toward the U.S. when they climbed over the wall and burst through the gates in 1979? 

Send Blinken and Sullivan to the Den of Espionage, I say. Wouldn’t there be some slim chance the bubble they share would burst? And that maybe they would come home with a perspectivist grasp of the world they might suddenly see and hear, and they would stop running America’s standing in the world straight into the ground?







blind and dangerous.....


'Four blind mice': Biden, Blinken, McGurk & Sullivan
The president and his top three advisers continue to push the Abraham Accords while denying the realities of the Gaza war

BY  and 



On May 20, the International Criminal Court announced that it was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, and three leaders of Hamas for war crimes committed in Gaza. President Biden denounced this demand, stating that, “There is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas,” and also denied that Israel was carrying out a genocide. 

This is part of a long-running pattern for Biden and his advisers. 

A recently implemented policy — National Security Memorandum 20 — requires regular reports to Congress on U.S. weapons supplied to countries engaged in active armed conflict to determine whether those recipients are engaging in violations of international human rights law. This year Israel was among the seven countries requiring such reports. While the evidence is overwhelming that the Israeli military is indeed guilty of such violations, the report issued this month by the Biden administration concluded that the evidence was not sufficient to justify reducing arms sales.

Instead the U.S. is sending more weapons, as the president notified Congress on May 14 of a renewed commitment of more than $1 billion. A left-wing podcast has named Biden and three key advisers who are blocking any reduction in arms or military support to Israel: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and Brett McGurk, the president’s Middle East coordinator.

They are all standing firm in resisting the pressure to reduce support for Israel, despite unprecedented criticism. Annelle Sheline, a former State Department official who resigned in protest over the administration’s handling of Gaza observed that “in general, the administration seems to view Israel's military operations in Gaza as a PR issue, rather than grappling with the significant political as well as moral questions raised by Israeli actions.” Sheline had previously worked for the Quincy Institute, which publishes Responsible Statecraft.

The wave of student protests against U.S. military support for Israel to date are similar in scale to those against the South African government in the 1980s. Encampments at Berkeley and elsewhere mirror the shantytowns built on U.S. campuses, and have sprung up in a fraction of the time.

Internal dissent has been most visible in the State Department, where three U.S. diplomats have resigned and spoken out publicly. In the Department of the Interior, Linda Greenberg Call became the first Jewish Biden political appointment to resign, accusing the president of using Jews to justify his support for the war in Gaza. Almost 200 lawyers working in U.S. government posts prepared a legal brief concluding that "supplying Israel with unconditional military aid to continue its bombardment on the Gaza Strip is not only totally disingenuous, but also severely inadequate to fulfill the U.S.’s obligations to prevent and punish genocide." 

Why does Biden refuse to curb the flow of offensive weapons to Israel? Peter Baker of the New York Times does not answer this question. Instead he describes differences among the president's key advisers, including Blinken, Sullivan, and McGurk, about how to engage with Netanyahu and respond to the ongoing violence, urging symbolic acts such as a delay in shipping heavier bombs. 

When asked about these alleged differences, Sheline said, “I would say that although it's quite plausible that different high level figures inside the White House have different views, in practice these divisions have yet to have any impact on policy, which seems to come directly from Biden himself.” 

The Biden administration is still wedded to the hope of an Israeli grand bargain with authoritarian Gulf states. This “Abraham Accords” strategy, starting during the Trump administration with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in 2020, aims to ensure stability in the Middle East by setting up Israel and powerful Arab states as regional policemen, excluding the Palestinians. 

This combined with the entrenched support of the donor class for Israel means that Biden and company continue to cling to the Abraham Accords. To do so, however, requires denying the realities of the war in Gaza. As four willfully blind mice, Biden, Blinken, Sullivan and McGurk continue a futile chase, with Netanyahu playing the farmer's wife in the classic nursery rhyme.






new ideas....

In his manifesto, Mr Pezeshkian declared that his foreign policy would be “not anti-West, nor anti-East.” He criticised former president Raisi’s policies of moving the country closer to Russia and China and insisted that the only way to resolve the economic crisis is through negotiations with the West to end the nuclear standoff and ease the sanctions. 

However, during the campaign, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised these ideas. Mr Khamenei called those who believe in achieving prosperity through friendlier relations with the US “deluded,” - pointing to the fact that it was the US, not Iran, that withdrew from the nuclear deal.

According to the Iranian constitution, Mr Khamenei is the main decision-maker; an 85-year-old Shia cleric who was a revolutionary in 1979 and climbed the power ladder to become the head of state in 1989. He is known for his ideological animosity towards Israel and the United States, his deep distrust of the West, and in the last two decades, his active support for a doctrine called “look to the East,” which means ending the old non-aligned policy and leaning towards China and Russia on the global stage.

One of the most important aspects of Iran’s policies in the region is what the Quds Force (the external arm of the IRGC) does. The president does not have any direct control over them, and only the Supreme Leader can decide their actions.

Mr Khamenei repeatedly – including just three days before the first round of this election – stated that what the Quds Force does is essential for the country’s security doctrine.

So when Mr Pezeshkian talks about a different foreign policy with a friendlier approach to the West, the chance of changes in Iran’s activities in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen are slim.

Nevertheless, the president is the highest-ranking Iranian diplomat, and the foreign ministry can still help shape and implement policy.

They have the opportunity to push for their vision through behind-the-door political lobbying, as happened in 2015 when then-centrist President Hassan Rouhani convinced the hardliners, including Mr Khamenei himself, to accept the deal.

Moreover, the administration could significantly impact public discourse and promote policies that might not fully align with Mr Khamenei’s stance. Such nuances are the reformists' only hope to do what they promised and bring down what Mr Pezeshkian called the “walls that have been built around the country by the hardliners.”

 https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cn05x9lw3zwo READ FROM TOP.