Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers – NYTimes.com

Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers – NYTimes.com.

GENEVA — Speaking in English and using PowerPoint, Iran’s foreign minister outlined a proposal to representatives of the big powers on Tuesday that would constrain his country’s nuclear program in return for a right to enrich uranium and an easing of the sanctions that have been battering the Iranian economy.

After the discussions, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, and his team met for about an hour at the United Nations headquarters here with the American delegation, led by Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official. The substance was not disclosed, but the meeting itself was unusual.

The proposal presented by the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at negotiations on Iran’s disputed nuclear program, called for “an end to an unnecessary crisis and a start for new horizons,” according to Iranian officials.

In a possible sign that the negotiations have turned serious after years of delay and obfuscations, a senior State Department official suggested that the discussions had been workmanlike.

“For the first time, we had very detailed technical discussions, which carried on this afternoon,” said the State Department official, who declined to be identified under the diplomatic protocol for talking to the news media. “We will continue the discussions tomorrow.”

Michael Mann, a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign policy official and the lead negotiator in the talks with Iran, said earlier in the day that the Iranian proposal had been “very useful.”

Mr. Zarif presented the proposal during the first morning session of the talks with the P5-plus-1 countries, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.

The two-day talks are the first formal negotiations between those countries and Iran since the election of Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, who took office in August and has pledged to reach an agreement on the nuclear program in an effort to end the country’s prolonged economic isolation.

Iranian officials said they wanted the details of Iran’s proposal to remain confidential for the time being. But the Iranian Students’ News Agency, ISNA, quoted Mr. Araqchi as saying…

Read More Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers – NYTimes.com.

Bashar al-Assad Lied Throughout The Charlie Rose Interview

I hope the American people were not fooled!

BLOOD BROTHERS

The man lied throughout from beginning to end.  People who have not been following the crises closely and don’t have most of the facts about Syria may easily be misled.  I have been at this for two years now I have heard similar lies and propaganda before.  I swear this man could have been the best lawyer or salesman in Syria that is how smooth of a talker and liar he is.  Let me attempt to clear up some of his lies.

First Bashar al-Assad did order a chemical weapons attack and it did kill over 1400 people including over 400 children, not the rebel forces as he said.

Secondly the rebels are not in the vast majority of cases Al-Qaeda or extremist only about 20% of the opposition consist of Al-Qaeda and other extremist elements.

Third Bashar al-Assad does not have the popular support of the Syrian people, his support is primarily centered in central Damascus and among the minority Alawite and Christian Sects.  Though of course not all Alawites or Christians are supporters the majority have maintained their support of the regime.  Most of this support is only because of their fears largely fueled by SANA, Syrian State Television, that the rebel forces are terrorist and want to take over and kill all the Alawite and Christians.  All dictators have done this Hitler, Stalin, Gaddafi told their supporters lies that the opposition would have no mercy on and kill all the people if they were allowed to take over.  Dictators more than anything want to convince the people they tyrannize over that they are essential in their survival and well-being.

Fourth the overwhelming majority of the opposition is Syrians not foreign fighters as he tried to suggest.

Fifth Bashar al-Assad has held on so long not because of domestic support as he maintains but because of support from Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.  Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah have their hands not just stained but dripping in the blood of the Syrian Children.  There weapons, money, and supplies have fueled the Syrian Arab Army and other Syrian units massacre campaigns.  Yes Russian weapons given to them by Russia have killed thousands of Syrian Children.  How do you sleep at night Putin?

Sixth an US attack on the Syrian government would not be supporting Al-Qaeda it would be supporting the Syrian people.

Seventh most of Assad veiled threats are just that threats neither he nor the other pro Assad actors are foolish enough to attack our forces and military bases directly because they know the response would be absolutely fatal to their regimes.  Even if they were foolish enough to do so they would be attacked and killed before they had time to regret it.  In other words they would be hit before they even saw it coming.  Russia too, they may be allies but if they dared launched an attack against our forces in any strike they should expect the same as any other foe who attacked us.  Putin is arrogant but he is an intelligent man, he would not dare do something so foolish.  Therefore all this talk from Russia that they would back Assad militarily if there is strikes on Syria is simply empty threats.  Russia is not suicidal.  Now Hezbollah and the Assad regime that is another story, they may indeed respond, but most likely by attacking our allies and interest in the region not our forces and military bases directly.  Iran could respond but I highly doubt it.  They are trying to get sanctions against them lifted to bring back their economy, in the end they are not going to risk their economy and their own interest for Assad.  Of course Russia and Iran could theoretically respond but I don’t see either doing so.  Most likely any retaliatory response against our allies and interest in the region would come from the Assad regime and Hezbollah.

Eighth all this talk from Assad of such an attack destabilizing Syria and the region.  News Flash Assad it is already deeply destabilized and will continue to be destabilized rather we launch a strike or not.  If anything a strike in the long run will help stabilize Syria and the region faster by weakening the regime allowing the rebels to overthrow his regime sooner allowing the Syrian refugees to return home and rebuild.  There is no possible future in Syria of Assad staying, this war will wage on as long as Assad and his regime remain in power.  Assad will either leave soon or die later, the choice is up to him.

Ninth this excuse all war is brutal.  Yes Bashar all war is brutal but the US does not intentionally massacre unarmed civilians or gas children to death as your regime does.  As far as the extremist you gave reference to of committing war crimes against your soldiers it is indeed unacceptable and awful crimes but at least generally they are not committing war crimes against women and children as your regime is.  Their war crimes have overwhelmingly been focused against your military forces.  Meanwhile your side’s war crimes have routinely targeted unarmed civilians including targeting women and children.  You are not killing terrorist for the most part you are killing the Syrian people.

Tenth Assad is not protecting in any way the Syrian people, only his own regime and own interest.

The Final Chapter Of Assad (YouTube Video)

Video By: Alan Curtis Montgomery @ World Human Rights

Published on Sep 3, 2013

This is the final chapter of Assad. The use of chemical weapons against his own people on a large scale killing at least 1,429 people including 426 children was the start of the final chapter of Assad. For over forty years the Assads have ruled Syria with an iron fist and now their rule and kingdom will soon be taken away from them. Bashar al-Assad will soon reap what he has sewn and it will be his end as leader of Syria. This video contains graphic video clips and photos of the Sarin gas attack victims and may be upsetting to some viewers, viewer discretion is advised.

(Click The Gear Icon and change to 1080pHD or 720pHD for best quality)

A.C.M.

United States Senator John McCain Press Office

United States Senator John McCain :: Press Office

August 31, 2013

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on President Obama’s remarks on Syria:

“We believe President Obama is correct that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons requires a military response by the United States and our friends and allies. Since the President is now seeking Congressional support for this action, the Congress must act as soon as possible.

“However, we cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the President’s stated goal of Assad’s removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests. Anything short of this would be an inadequate response to the crimes against humanity that Assad and his forces are committing. And it would send the wrong signal to America’s friends and allies, the Syrian opposition, the Assad regime, Iran, and the world – all of whom are watching closely what actions America will take.”

 

###

via United States Senator John McCain :: Press Office

Iran Threatens to ‘Burn Down Israel’ In If U.S. Strikes Syria | HEAVY

Iran Threatens to ‘Burn Down Israel’ In If U.S. Strikes Syria | HEAVY.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Getty)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Getty)

As the international community struggles to come up with a resolution to the current chemical weapons crisis in Syria, Iran has made its intentions clear. “Any attack on Syria would burn down Israel,” said Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces. “In case of a U.S. military strike against Syria, the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries will point toward the Zionist regime,” said Mansur Haqiqatpur, an influential member of Iranian Parliament. “A U.S. attack on Syria is not wise, particularly considering the issue that it would happen in a region that is like a powder keg, and Syria’s reaction to the air strike by the U.S. or NATO is unpredictable,” said Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker.

These sentiments were further stressed by an unnamed senior Syrian official:

“If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a license for attacking Israel. If Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors. Thus, a US attack on Syria will herald frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in retaliation, but by extremist groups.”

Israel has been in close communication with the President Obama over the current situation regarding Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also made his intentions clear in the event of an attack on Israel.

“The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Western forces have begun to mass in the region, with four U.S. Navy destroyers being reported off Syria’s coast earlier this week, and seven more vessels moving into position today.

The new additions include five U.S. destroyers, one U.S. submarine, and one British submarine.

The Syrian population has begun to prepare for what seems like an imminent multi-day U.S.-led attack on Syrian infrastructure. People have started to stock up on supplies and leave areas that are likely to host missile strikes. It has also been reported that roughly 15,000 people have fled Syria and crossed into Lebanon in the last 24 hours alone.

via Iran Threatens to ‘Burn Down Israel’ In If U.S. Strikes Syria | HEAVY.

1,000 Syrian Pounds

Syria Bans Use of Foreign Currencies for Business Deals – NYTimes.com

Syria Bans Use of Foreign Currencies for Business Deals – NYTimes.com.

By
Published: August 4, 2013

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Sunday banned the use of foreign currencies in business transactions, part of the government’s effort to prop up the Syrian pound, which has plummeted to 200 pounds to the dollar from 47 to the dollar in March 2011.

SANA, the government-run news agency, said that people offering goods and services for foreign currencies without the government’s approval could be fined and sentenced to at least six months in jail. In cases involving deals valued at more than $5,000, the punishment could be up to 10 years of hard labor.

Syrians have grown increasingly desperate to move their money to foreign currencies as the civil war, now in its third year, ravages the economy. Currency exchange shops in central Damascus are often packed. Real estate and manufacturing deals are increasingly conducted in dollars. Even taxi drivers and others working in small, informal businesses often demand to be paid in foreign currencies.

Last month, the Central Bank was able to reverse a deeper plunge in the value of the pound, which briefly traded at more than 300 to the dollar, by selling off dollars at a deep discount to banks, said Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University who studies troubled currencies. The banks then sold the dollars to the public for a modest profit.

Smaller currency traders in Damascus said they were under pressure to follow the banks’ lead, but many refused to sell dollars so cheaply. Mr. Hanke said it was unclear whether the government could sustain such interventions as a long-term strategy. Still, the government’s move had enough impact on the market that the informal and official dollar rates converged, he said.

The government has increased salaries by more than 40 percent during the crisis, but since wages are demarcated in pounds, the raises have not offset the loss in buying power.

Syrian officials and government consultants have said that the country is handling all new import deals in the currencies of China, Iran and Russia, countries friendly to the government, and that those countries have provided credit lines to help the government pay salaries and import food, fuel and other necessities.

Businesspeople and currency traders say the government has gradually restricted business dealings during the crisis, rolling back some of the economic liberalization measures carried out in the early years of Mr. Assad’s tenure with policies like forbidding the pricing of goods in dollars. Those regulations were widely ignored, and the new decree tightens the rules and increases penalties.

On the diplomatic front, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, said Sunday that his country’s strong support for Mr. Assad would remain unchanged, SANA reported.

“No force in the world can shake the solid, strategic and historic relations that bind the two countries in friendship,” Mr. Rouhani told Syria’s prime minister, Wael al-Halqi, who was in Tehran for the Iranian president’s inauguration.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 5, 2013, on page A7 of the New York edition with the headline: Syria Bans Use of Foreign Money in Business Transactions.

via Syria Bans Use of Foreign Currencies for Business Deals – NYTimes.com.

Assad’s confidence “disgusting”, opposition figure says

Assad’s confidence “disgusting”, opposition figure says.

AFP August 1, 2013

Syrian opposition member Burhan Ghalioun said on Thursday it was “disgusting” to hear that President Bashar al-Assad expressed confidence after his forces inflicted two major defeats on rebels.

“It is disgusting and repulsive that he speaks of victory after he destroyed his country, killed tens of thousands and forced into exile half the population, after a period of two and a half years,” Ghalioun told AFP.

Speaking to mark Army Day, Assad said on Thursday he was “sure of victory.”

“If we in Syria were not sure of victory, we would not have had the will to resist nor been able to persevere in the face of more than two years of aggression,” Assad said.

His remarks are “repugnant to the Syrians as well as the rest of the world,” Ghalioun said.

He added that Assad “speaks of strength while his army is collapsing and depending on mercenaries of Hezbollah and Iran to defend the regime.”

Assad was said to have made his first known trip outside of the capital in more than a year, to visit a former rebel bastion nearby now largely in the hands of loyalists.

State television reported that Assad visited Daraya, a mostly Sunni town neighboring rebel districts south of Damascus, to inspect military units on Army Day.

His remarks came after Khaldiyeh, in the strategic central city of Homs, was seized by troops on Monday from rebels who had held it for almost two years.

Asked about on the announcement of an upcoming UN mission to investigate three sites in Syria, where the use of chemical weapons has been reported, Ghalioun said “the Syrian regime has accepted this mission following heavy international pressure… but after erasing the traces of the crime.”

“I doubt that the regime will cooperate with the mission,” Ghalioun added, indicating that the investigation should “focus on 13 sites, not just three.”

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said on Wednesday the mission “will travel to Syria as soon as possible to contemporaneously investigate three of the reported incidents.”

The United Nations says reports on 13 different chemical attacks have been made.

The 28-month conflict has killed more than 100,000 people, according to the United Nations, while UN efforts to convene a Russian- and US-backed peace conference have stalled.

via Assad’s confidence “disgusting”, opposition figure says.