News Release

Iran Sanctions: * Terrorism * Diplomacy

Labeling Iranian government groups “terrorist,” the Bush administration Thursday placed a new set of sanctions on Iran.

NOAM CHOMSKY
Available for a very limited number of interviews, Chomsky is author most recently of Interventions. He said today: “When we or our allies and clients carry out terror (or aggression), it’s the justified use of force (for stability, self-defense, etc.). When some official enemy does the same thing, it’s terror (or aggression). It’s independent of the form of government. Nicaragua in the 1980s had an elected government (free election, closely monitored and approved by international observers, etc.), but the U.S. opposed the election and wanted to overthrow the government, so it was supporting or carrying out terrorism; the U.S. had an elected government and was condemned by the World Court, but it was not terrorism. …

“Palestinians have a free elected government (monitored elections, endorsed by international observers, etc.), but they voted ‘the wrong way,’ and the governing party is on the official terrorism list. When the Reaganites decided that Saddam Hussein would be their close friend and ally in 1982, they removed Iraq from the list of states supporting terror (and sent Rumsfeld to firm up deals on supplying aid, including means to develop WMD); there was an empty spot on the list, so they added Cuba, perhaps because U.S.-backed terror against Cuba had peaked in the preceding years. And so it continues, without end.”
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MUHAMMAD SAHIMI
Sahimi is professor of chemical engineering at the University of Southern California. His articles on the U.S., Iran and Iran’s nuclear program include “The follies of Bush’s Iran policy” which he co-wrote, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Sahimi said today: “The Iranian leadership is currently badly fractured. It is divided into three groups: the hardliners led by President Ahmadinejad; the conservatives represented by Ali Larijani (Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator), and the pragmatists, led by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The latter two groups favor negotiations, and even temporary suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, if Iran gets some tangible results in return, whereas the hardliners want to go ahead with the enrichment program at full speed. By [the U.S.] giving special designation to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Quds forces and putting extreme pressure on them, the hardliners will gain the upper hand, because they will point to this as the irrefutable evidence of the U.S. hostility, lack of interest in negotiated solution, and the desire for regime change.”
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CARAH ONG
Ong is Iran Policy Analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation and is writing regularly on the subject. She said today: “One thing that is particularly troubling about this move is that the administration is portraying it as part of a diplomatic effort. Let’s be clear: these moves, as well as increased unilateral sanctions, are punitive measures. The Bush administration has not and is not engaged in any sustained or strategic diplomatic initiative with Iran.”
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GARETH PORTER
Investigative journalist Porter has just written the piece “U.S. Military Ignored Evidence of Iraqi-Made EFPs,” which states: “When the U.S. military command accused the Iranian Quds Force last January of providing the armor-piercing EFPs (explosively formed penetrators) that were killing U.S. troops, it knew that Iraqi machine shops had been producing their own EFPs for years, a review of the historical record of evidence on EFPs in Iraq shows.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.