Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and Baird’s ‘direct diplomacy’ project

Protest in Tehran against attempts to interfere with Iran's sovereign right to possess nuclear technology, November 23, 2014.

Protest in Tehran against attempts to interfere with Iran’s sovereign right to possess nuclear technology, November 23, 2014.

By LOUIS LANG

On January 15, international negotiations got underway on Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva, Switzerland. These negotiations are of great importance for people all over the world. The main subject of the negotiations is the use of nuclear technology and the level of uranium enrichment needed by Iran for the peaceful development of nuclear energy to meet its needs. Coupled with this is the demand by Iran to remove the economic and other sanctions imposed by the U.S. and big European powers to destroy its economy and in this way force Iran to submit to the foreign dictate.

2014.11.23.IranTehranRighttoNuclearEnergy-02The discussions began last year between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, China, France, the Russian Federation and the U.S., plus Germany. They could not be completed within the time frame allotted so all parties agreed to extend the negotiations for another six months.

In following the reports on the negotiations, it is important to establish the aim of both the negotiations as well as the reporting on the negotiations. The aim of the sanctions is also important to establish.

In this regard, greatest coverage is being given to Israel’s offensive to derail the negotiations. Thus far, its main method to destroy any possibility of finding a negotiated solution is to declare that no negotiations with Iran are possible and Iran must be forced to destroy all its centrifuges and give up its program to develop nuclear energy. This approach would certainly lead to a breakdown in negotiations and the imposition of more economic sanctions to try to break Iran and ultimately lead to open war, which the Israelis have been clamouring for all along.

The inter-imperialist contradictions regarding attempts to undermine negotiations could not be any sharper. In a joint press conference at the White House on January 16, 2015, US President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron both appealed to the US Congress not to push for new sanctions against Iran.

Obama declared that he would veto any legislation containing new sanctions.

Openly challenging Congress, which is being pressured by the Israeli lobby, Obama stated, “I’ve consistently said we leave all options on the table. But Congress should be aware that if this diplomatic solution fails, than the risks and likelihood this ends up at some point a military confrontation is heightened. And Congress will have to own that as well,” the president said. “And we may not be able to rebuild the kind of coalition we need in that context if the world believes we were not serious about negotiations.”

Clearly the fragile unity between the US and Europe, which is already collapsing because of differences over the sanctions being pushed by the US against Russia, is what is at stake as negotiations with Iran begin.

Israel’s Dimona nuclear weapons facility

Israel’s Dimona nuclear weapons facility

While Israel and reactionary forces in the U.S., Canada and some European powers are raising the danger of Iran developing nuclear weapons, the fact of the matter is that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while Israel is not. Israel has yet to even acknowledge that it possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons. As a signatory to the treaty, Iran is subject to monitoring of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Inspections have been carried out on a regular basis but the reports and conclusions these inspections have reached are distorted by those with suspect aims. When talking about the dangers of countries developing nuclear weapons it is important to point out that the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia, Pakistan, India and Israel among others, already possess thousands of such weapons which pose grave dangers to the peoples of the world, especially the danger of nuclear blackmail if they do not toe the line the imperialists demand.

Meanwhile, the countries that are seeking to sabotage the upcoming negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program intend to call for even more severe economic sanctions in order to break Iran with the ultimate threat of a open war.

“Direct diplomacy aka “digital diplomacy” aka regime change

It is an irresponsible and dangerous plan to bypass the government and elected leaders of Iran and to interfere directly in the internal affairs of Iranian society.

Besides Israel, reactionary forces in the U.S. and Europe are also active in pursuing a dangerous policy of warmongering and aggressive attacks against the government of Iran and the Iranian people, but none more so than the Government of Canada under Stephen Harper.

At a time when what is needed is calm discussion and negotiations to find solutions to the international situation, especially in North Africa and Central and East Asia, the Harper Conservatives are using lies and distortions to promote a policy of outright military attacks against Iran.

On January 6, an article the Globe and Mail featured an article entitled, “Looking for a Way to Talk to Iran, Ottawa Backs ‘Direct Diplomacy.’“ This “direct diplomacy” has nothing to do with diplomacy. Organized by John Baird’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), it has nothing to do with negotiations and dialogue to solve problems. It is an irresponsible and dangerous plan to bypass the government and elected leaders of Iran and to interfere directly in the internal affairs of Iranian society. This is a continuation of the same strategy that is being implemented against other countries including Russia, Iraq and Syria. It takes its cue directly from the Obama playbook and the “public diplomacy” of the U.S. State Department (and embraced by NATO), which has made it very clear that the U.S. will deal directly with citizens of various countries and NGOs that do its bidding and bypass sovereign governments altogether.

The Canadian government calls these reprehensible actions, which interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, “direct diplomacy”  along with another buzz word, “digital diplomacy.” The Globe article announces funding for this project, which will be launched and run by the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs*. The article explains, “First launched during the lead-up to Iran’s 2013 presidential election, the project was touted as a method for bypassing Tehran and offering a platform for dissidents and human-rights activists in the country.”

While preparations were underway for successful discussions on Iran’s nuclear program to begin, the Harper government was actively expanding its “direct diplomacy” project, which does nothing more than seek regime change by inciting protests and violence in Iran.

The project is called, “Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran.” It involves an all-sided assault on Iranian society through technology designed to overwhelm online networks. It also involves launching YouTube and Twitter accounts in the Farsi language.

Iran project – a template for subversion

The Globe and Mail quotes the well-known professor at the Munk School Janice Gross Stein (a state and NATO academic and a hardcore Zionist* – TS), who stated, “the next phase will involve the creation of a digital public square that will bring together the tools that have already been established, create new ones and expand the project’s reach into other countries and regions.”

“Counter narratives”

A Canadian official added that while Iran would remain a focal point for the “direct diplomacy” project, its expansion would allow the Munk School to look at other locations where a similar strategy could be used, such as Russia and so-called Islamic State-controlled regions of Iraq and Syria. He explained that future projects could include platforms to help people access restricted web sites and generate “counter narratives” that could challenge the message of a repressive regime.

These “counter-narratives” are a form of incitement of hatred and disinformation in the name of high ideals. They reveal the crisis in which international relations are mired, where countries such as Canada use their superior access to technology, membership in NATO and integration with the U.S. imperialist armed forces, to wage cyber warfare to effect regime change.

Canadians require an anti-war government which would immediately restore diplomatic relations with Iran and all countries on the basis of recognizing that all countries have the right to self-determination and are equal, whether big or small, and have the right to defend themselves. Economic and other sanctions now in force against the Iranian government and people should be withdrawn because Iran is violating no international laws of any kind.

Solutions to the problems and dangers which face both the Iranian people and peoples of the region and the world can be found on the basis of high level dialogue and negotiations. Iran is neither a small nor weak country. Canada’s attempts to effect regime change to serve foreign interests will not succeed, but they are very dangerous to the peace and security of the peoples.

Source: TML Weekly Information Project. Slightly edited and revised for this edition.

Related articles on this website

Canadian diplomats trained in social media … in Washington, September 14, 2014

Venezuela: Dirty activities of Canadian embassy, August 30, 2014

‘Digital diplomacy’: Harper government’s new weapon for subversion, March 19, 2014

New ambassador modernizes Canada’s hidden agenda in Venezuela, Gerard Di Troulo, March 19, 2014


About Janice Gross Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Janice Gross Stein is a state and NATO academic. She is closely linked to the Liberal Party, was a senior fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, involved in that party’s forum policy review in the 1990s and a Board Member of the Canadian International Council linked to that party. Stein was Chair of the Security & Defence Forum Selection Committee of the Department of National Defence until 2000 (replaced by Dr Kim Nossal, McMaster University), which allocates grants to universities and other institutes. According to Wikipedia, “Stein regularly lectures on conflict management at home and abroad, at venues such as the Centre for National Security Studies in Ottawa and at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Stein]

Stein is a straightforward apologist for the war against Afghanistan. The right-wing U.S. Donner Foundation gave her $35,000 for her book, The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (Viking: 2007), co-written with Eugene Lang, a former chief of staff to two ministers of national defence.

For this reason, she is extensively used by the state media such as CBC and TV Ontario for disinformation; deceptively portrayed as a disinterested academic, the media all the while keep her military links secret from the viewing public.

Furthermore, Stein is a hardcore Zionist. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Jerusalem in Israel on November 21, 2011 “in recognition of her outstanding achievements in international relations research, and in tribute to her unwavering devotion to Israel and the Hebrew University” [emphasis added]:

“Throughout her career, Janice Gross Stein has taken the closest interest in the advancement of the Hebrew University. Immediately following the Yom Kippur War, she came to Jerusalem to teach and since then she has frequently returned as a guest lecturer. Professor Gross Stein was a guiding force in the establishment of the Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies at the Hebrew University and she chairs several committees at the University of Toronto that promote collaborative ties between the two institutions, including the Halbert Foundation’s faculty exchange program.”

– Tony Seed

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, West Asia (Middle East)

One response to “Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and Baird’s ‘direct diplomacy’ project

  1. Pingback: John Baird continues his work for private monopolies | Tony Seed's Weblog

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