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When the Iranian president refused to speak to a stupid moron

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Author Topic: When the Iranian president refused to speak to a stupid moron  (Read 36 times)
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« on: November 04, 2017, 01:50:48 am »

from The Washington Post....

U.S. asked French to broker Trump-Rouhani discussion,
but Iranian president said no

Coming immediately after Trump’s condemnation of Iran at the U.N.,
Iranian officials thought the offer was a trick.

By KAREN DeYOUNG | 4:39PM EDT - Thursday, November 02, 2017

In this March 28th, 2017, photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani enters a hall in the Kremlin for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. — Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Associated Press.
In this March 28th, 2017, photo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani enters a hall in the Kremlin for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 — Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Associated Press.

JUST HOURS after President Trump finished calling Iran a “murderous regime” in his September 19th speech at the United Nations, the administration asked French President Emmanuel Macron for a favor. Would Macron inquire whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was interested in speaking directly with Trump?

All three leaders were in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, as was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who conveyed the request to Macron, according to several administration and foreign officials.

Iran's response, later that afternoon, was an unequivocal no. The Iranians, the French reported, “don't believe you're serious” and thought it was some kind of trick, a senior administration official said.

In his own U.N. speech the next day, Rouhani denounced the “ignorant” rhetoric of “rogue newcomers to the world of politics,” although he did not mention Trump by name.

Trump has long held a deep belief in his face-to-face negotiating skill. He has said he would be “honored” to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “under the right circumstances.” He also declared it an “honor” to meet with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at an international summit in July. He said recently that once he got quarreling Persian Gulf allies together with him in a room, their dispute would “quickly” end.

But there seems little room for negotiation on the issues that divide the United States and Iran. Trump has said he wants to rewrite or “terminate” the Iran nuclear agreement; Iran and other signatories have flatly refused. He has demanded that Iran cease its ballistic missile development, which Iran says it is legally entitled to carry out. He has accused Iran of being the world's biggest supporter of international terrorism.

Before Tillerson's request, Trump already had broached the general idea of using France as a go-between during a bilateral meeting with the French president the night before his U.N. speech, the senior administration official said. “You guys have good relations” with Iran, Trump told Macron, according to the official. “Could you use your relations” to ask if Tehran is willing, should “the Americans want to talk?” the official said Trump asked.

“Macron said sure, he would try to do that,” the official said.

Asked why Trump wanted to meet with Rouhani, the official said it was “in order to say, ‘Here's all the mean stuff you do in the world, and we want you to stop…. If not, you should know we’re working on a strategy to get you to confront all of this’.”

The primary message, the official said, was that “the golden Obama-era window of rapprochement is over.” This official and others spoke only on the condition of anonymity to discuss the diplomatic exchanges.

For his part, any seeming weakness by Rouhani toward the United States probably would undercut his already tenuous political position in the face of Iranian hard-liners seeking to undermine his presidency.

Trump has accused President Barack Obama of having been soft on Iran, allowing it to expand its “malign” influence in the Middle East and beyond and to threaten U.S. friends in the region. Most prominently, Trump has called the 2015 nuclear accord that the Obama administration negotiated “the worst deal ever.”

Last month, responding to oversight provisions imposed by Congress, Trump refused to certify Iranian compliance with the deal. He has ordered lawmakers to come up with a proposal to rewrite the agreement and impose new sanctions, threatening otherwise to “terminate” U.S. participation.

Word of the proposed Trump-Rouhani meeting first circulated on Sunday, when Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran that “indeed, a request was made by the American side, but it was not accepted by President Rouhani.”

In discussing the request, some officials described it as “vague” and indicated that it left open the question of whether Trump, Tillerson or some other senior official was on offer to speak with Rouhani.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, queried by NBC News on Sunday about Qassemi's statement, emailed that it was “false,” the network reported.

At Tuesday's State Department briefing, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said of Qassemi's assertion: “I know that was something that the secretary had floated…. The Iranian officials said no, and that was the end of it.” Asked directly whether the Iranians had specifically turned down a meeting with Trump, Nauert said, “They did.”

Pressed further, however, she spoke only of a proposed meeting with “U.S. officials,” before referring any additional questions to the White House.

Tillerson, the senior official said, also had raised the possibility of “talks with other officials at various levels” when he spoke directly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on September 20th during a multilateral meeting at the United Nations, the senior official said.

Highlighting Iranian suspicions of U.S. motives, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — as prolific as Trump on Twitter — wrote in a tweet to Iranians on Wednesday, “My dear children, do not forget, in the important, conducive path toward ideals, your major enemy is the U.S.”

Erin Cunningham in Istanbul contributed to this report.

• Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for The Washington Post.


Related to this topic:

 • Why every other country in the Iran deal is standing by it

 • For some foreign diplomats, the Trump White House is a troubling enigma

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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 02:44:00 pm »

from the Los Angeles Times....

Iran marks 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover with
Down With America’ signs — and a missile

By RAMIN MOSTAGHIM and SHASHANK BENGALI | 7:55AM PDT - Saturday, November 04, 2017

Iranians chant and march during observance of the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. — Vahid Salemi/Associated Press.
Iranians chant and march during observance of the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
 — Vahid Salemi/Associated Press.

IRAN on Saturday held the heavily choreographed pageant of anti-Americanism that marks the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran amid worsening relations with the Trump administration and uncertainty about the fate of its nuclear agreement with world powers.

This year's anniversary was commemorated under cloudy, polluted skies in Tehran, where elderly enthusiasts of Iran's theocracy took to the streets despite air quality that made it difficult for many to take deep breaths.

Thousands gathered on the campus of the former U.S. Embassy, dubbed a “den of espionage,” where a ballistic missile was displayed. News agencies described it as a Sejil surface-to-surface missile with a range of 1,200 miles.

Iran has paraded its missile capability in recent months in a show of defiance to President Trump, whose administration has said Tehran's development of ballistic missiles violates the spirit of the nuclear agreement it signed in 2015.

Last month, Trump declined to certify Iran's compliance with the agreement — under which Iran curbed uranium enrichment in exchange for relief from international sanctions. Trump's decision did not undo the agreement, which European countries and Iran continue to support, but allows Congress to decide whether to reimpose certain sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Hundreds of Iranian militant students took 52 Americans hostage at the embassy for 444 days to protest Washington's refusal to hand over the Western-backed shah, who was deposed in the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Placards reminded of U.S.-supported coups in Latin American and Asian countries.

The commemorations took place under tight security managed by Iranian police and the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iranians who gathered at the embassy echoed the defiant words of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who this week called the United States Iran's “No.1 enemy.”

Hasan Shorjeh, a retired 65-year-old teacher carrying a “Down with America” placard, said there was no point in respecting the nuclear deal if the United States didn't hold up its end of the agreement.

“As the supreme leader said, American administrations have always been cunning and hostile, so I don't see any solution for the disputes,” Shorjeh said. “The enmity with America will continue and our resistance will as well. I don't see any solution in my child's lifetime, let alone mine.”

Roghaye Riyahi, a 35-year-old woman wearing a black chador, said she had come to the embassy to mark the takeover for the past 20 years.

“I think that even if I live 120 years, the enmity with America will not be buried — at least not as long as America doesn’t change its hostile policy toward Iran,” Riyahi said. “In fact, today, Trump the madman has contributed to our celebration of the takeover and more people have taken part — gloriously and wholeheartedly.”

But beyond the stage-managed celebrations, some Iranians expressed hope for better relations with the United States and opposition to the orchestrated anti-American protests.

“I wish the hostility between the two countries would end as soon as possible because we are suffering from it,” said Hasan Mahmoudi, a 50-year-old shopkeeper near the embassy. “We want to have normal relations with America and foreign investment here to create jobs for our educated youth.”

Special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim reported from Tehran and Los Angeles Times staff writer Shashank Bengali from Mumbai, India.

• Ramin Mostaghim has been the Los Angeles Times' Tehran-based special correspondent since early 2007. He has worked as a journalist, producer and translator for Iranian and Western media for three decades. Since joining the L.A. Times, he has covered Iran's capture and release of British sailors in 2007, the parliamentary elections of 2008, the disputed presidential election of 2009 and its violent aftermath. He graduated with a degree in zoology from Razi University in Kermanshah and maintains strong personal connections to Iran's Kurdish western provinces and northern Caspian Sea region.

• Shashank Bengali is the Los Angeles Times' South Asia correspondent, covering a stretch of countries from Iran to Myanmar. He joined the L.A. Times in 2012 as a national security reporter in the Washington bureau. He has reported from more than 50 countries since beginning his career with McClatchy Newspapers, where he served as a foreign correspondent in Africa and the Middle East. In 2016, he shared in the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Los Angeles Times staff for coverage of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Originally from Cerritos, California, Shashank holds degrees in journalism and French from USC and a master's in public policy from Harvard. He lives with his wife in Mumbai, India.

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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 06:59:46 pm »

from The Washington Post....

We ignore Iran at our peril

A new study reveals a small but powerful cyberthreat from the nation.

By DAVID IGNATIUS | 6:56PM EST — Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A screen grab of the computer virus known as Flame. — Picture: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A screen grab of the computer virus known as Flame. — Picture: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

WHEN it comes to cyberweapons, America is an elephant and Iran is a flea. Still, a flea can be a persistent nuisance, especially for the unprotected.

Iran's cyber capability is the focus of a detailed study called Iran's Cyber Threat to be published soon by Collin Anderson and Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It describes a country that, although “third tier” on the cyberthreat matrix, can still do considerable damage.

The disclosures about Iran's cyberattacks are a reminder that the United States and its allies live in a dangerous electronic ecosystem. Russia's hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign gets daily coverage, and China's theft of American secrets has also been well publicized. What gets too little attention are the less sophisticated but still toxic weapons available to dozens of smaller countries. The United States, with its relatively open systems, can be an easy target.

The Iran study is timely: The Trump administration has declared its desire to help Saudi Arabia and other allies push back against Iran's proxies across the Middle East in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. The U.S. call for rollback is largely rhetoric, at this point; there's still little clear policy. But Tehran's allies can fight back, sometimes in ways that are hard to identify or attribute. That's especially true with cyberweapons.

The Carnegie study describes a small but useful Iranian cyber capability that evolved partly to gather foreign intelligence and partly to spy on domestic opposition groups that coalesced in the 2009 Green Movement. Iranian hackers developed payback motive, too, after 2012 news reports about the U.S. and Israeli “Stuxnet” malware attacks on the Iranian nuclear program that had started in 2007.

A decade ago, Iran began mobilizing its own resources. This homegrown hacking culture is one of the report's most interesting findings, because it can probably be duplicated in dozens of other emerging economies. “Iran's cyber capabilities appear to be indigenously developed, arising from local universities and hacking communities,” the report notes. “Threat actors seemingly arise from nowhere and operate in a dedicated manner until campaigns dissipate, often due to their discovery by researchers.”

The Iranian hackers began slowly in 2007, with cyber pinpricks. A group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army defaced dissident Twitter accounts in 2009 and, soon after, websites belonging to Voice of America. But the attacks became more serious in 2011, after an Iranian hacker penetrated a Dutch security firm called DigiNotar, opening Gmail users in Iran to government surveillance, according to the Carnegie study.

Then came Iranian counterattacks, simple but destructive. After Iran's oil industry was hit in April 2012 by malware known as “Flame” and “Wiper”, the Iranians launched an August 2012 attack on the Saudi Aramco oil company, using a wiper virus known as “Shamoon”. According to the Carnegie researchers, the attack affected tens of thousands of Saudi Aramco computers and caused tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Iran successfully attacked the United States as well. In September 2012, a hacker group that called itself the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters began attacking U.S. banks and financial institutions with a primitive but destructive assault known as a “distributed denial of service”, or DDoS, which basically flooded targeted computers with so much traffic that their systems crashed. Here, too, the assaults did a surprising amount of damage.

The FBI concluded that from 2012 to 2013, the Iranian operation “locked hundreds of thousands of banking customers out of accounts for long periods of time and resulted in tens of millions of costs to remediate,” the Carnegie analysts explain. Many financial institutions that the Iranians hit said little about the attacks to avoid worrying customers or shareholders.

Why did the Iranians strike U.S. banks? Revenge is the simple answer. The Carnegie report cites a National Security Agency assessment that signals intelligence “indicates that these attacks are in retaliation to Western activities against Iran's nuclear sector and that senior officials in the Iranian government are aware of these attacks.”

Iran's cyber capabilities suggest that the Trump administration's new anti-Tehran campaign may not be without cost, even if open conflict is avoided. A website called the Cipher Brief, which focuses on intelligence issues, posted this month that “Iran's … Cyber Hackers Poised to Strike If Trump Shreds Nuke Deal.” A computer security firm called FireEye reported this month that a group of Iranian hackers, dubbed “APT34”, has developed a new backdoor cyber-surveillance technique.

Iran has an arsenal of cyber-stones, so to speak, ready to throw. The United States, meanwhile, lives in the world's biggest glass house.

• David Ignatius writes a twice-a-week foreign affairs column for The Washington Post and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.


Related to this topic:

 • Adam J. Szubin: The debate over the Iran deal is utterly perplexing

 • The Washington Post's View: Another cyberattack alarm is going off. We need to start paying attention.

 • The Washington Post's View: Government, private sector must team up to fight cyberthreats

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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 07:46:34 pm »

I'm sure if you write a carefully worded nice letter to the regime there, you've got a chance of accommodation and a job from them. I think you'll love it there.
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