Iran seeks renewed diplomacy
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Iran is prepared to renew talks with the P5+1 group of world powers over its nuclear program (Jerusalem Post 12/30).
Mossad chief: nuclear Iran not an existential threat
Israeli Intelligence chief Tamir Pardo said that Israel will continue to use covert action to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, but if Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon, it would not constitute an existential threat to Israel (Haaretz 12/29).
Shirin Ebadi calls on UN Security Council
Nobel Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi urges the United Nations Security Council to take up the issue of human rights in Iran and calls on it to empower the International Criminal Court to prosecute Iranian human rights abusers. Additionally, Ebadi calls for mid-level officials to be added to the list of officials sanctioned for human rights abuses (Wall Street Journal 12/30).
NY Times Editorial urges President to waive oil sanctions
A New York Times editorial strongly supports applying maximum pressure on Iran, but warns “penalizing foreign companies for engaging in otherwise lawful commerce with Iran is not the right way to go about it and could backfire.” The Times states President Obama should “limit the damage by making full use of a waiver, which allows him to block the penalties if they would threaten national security or cause oil prices to soar.” (NY Times 12/29).
Paul: sanctions lead to war
Presidential hopeful Ron Paul told voters in Iowa that Western sanctions against Iran are “acts of war,” which are likely to lead to an actual war (ABC 12/30).
In an op-ed for The National Interest, Paul Piller discusses how the tactics of pressure and sanctions against Iran have made a diplomatic solution impossible:
We seem to have lost sight of what all those sanctions and pressure were supposed to achieve in the first place. They have come to be treated as if they were ends in themselves. That myopia, combined with reactive pigheadedness on the part of the Iranians, has produced a destructive spiral.
This is a tragedy in the making. It is being made largely because too many people in this country have lost sight both of U.S. interests and of the fundamental bargaining principle that if we want to solve a problem that involves someone else with whom we have differences, we should make it easier, not harder, for the other side to say yes.
To read the full piece click here.
Additional Notable News:
The website of former Iranian president Rafsanjani has been shut down, reports the Associated Press.
Lawyers representing Iran’s Central Bank are preparing to file a motion in a New York federal court seeking to release nearly $2 billion of frozen assets, according to the Wall Street Journal.