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October 2013

Congress vs. Obama on Iran
By Dr. Stephen Zunes
: Hardliners in Tehran are not happy with the recent rapprochement between the United States and Iran and the related progress in negotiations to address Western concerns about the Iranian nuclear program. But the bigger threat may come from hardliners in the Washington, including prominent congressional Democrats. As the first step in a de-escalation deal whose details have yet to be worked out, Iran would agree to strict safeguards to prevent the enrichment of uranium to a degree that could be used for the development of nuclear weapons. In return, the United States would agree to a partial lifting of economic sanctions. Further lessening of sanctions would be dependent on further Iranian concessions. A bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill, however, opposes even this modest first step. The group is pushing legislation that would make such an interim agreement impossible.
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US Invasion of Grenada: A 30-Year Retrospective
By Dr. Stephen Zunes:
It has been exactly 30 years since US forces invaded Grenada, ending that Caribbean island nation's four-year socialist experiment. The island nation no bigger than Martha's Vineyard, with a population that could barely fill the Rose Bowl, was defeated with relatively few American casualties. President Ronald Reagan's decision to occupy the country and replace the government with one more to his liking proved to be quite popular in the United States, with polls indicating that 63 percent of the public supported the invasion.On this anniversary, it would be worth looking back at the Grenadian revolution, the U.S. invasion, its aftermath and the important precedent it set for "regime change" through U.S. military intervention. Read More

The Nobel Committee’s Rebuke to Washington’s Unilateralism
By Dr. Stephen Zunes
: The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), one of the most effective instruments for international arms control, sends an important message to those who have insisted that unilateral military action is the best means to eliminate and prevent the use of these deadly agents. Although a case can be made that it is more appropriate for the Peace Prize to go to individuals struggling for justice rather than to international organizations, this is not a bad choice. After all, the OPCW does not just deserve such recognition for having overseen the elimination of 80 percent of the world’s chemical arsenals over the past two decades. It deserves the honor for having challenged the illegal and ineffective U.S. policy that going to war against alleged chemical-weapons-possessing countries is the only means of dealing with these dangerous weapons.
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Iran threat reduction act actually enhances threat of war
By Dr Stephen Zunes:
Congress is taking up dangerous legislation which appears to be designed to pave the way for war by taking the unprecedented step of effectively preventing any kind of U.S. diplomatic contact with Iran. The Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 1905), sponsored by the right-wing chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, contains a provision (Section 601, subsection (c)) which would put into law a restriction whereby "No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that. . . is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran;"
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The Maldives: a serial coup in progress?
By Dr. Stephen Zunes:
Should Britain, the United States and others who claim to be concerned, stand by and allow reactionary forces to stage-manage a phony election, this sends yet another inconsistent and disheartening message to those struggling for peaceful democratic change in the Islamic world and beyond. In the latest episode of what appears to be a serial coup in the Maldives, the country’s Supreme Court - apparently at the behest of allies of the former dictator,  Islamists, and powerful business figures - threw out the results of the first round of presidential elections just hours before the scheduled date of the second round in which pro-democracy leader Mohamed Nasheed was expected to win handily.  Read More