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Iranian Imbroglio - Sir Eldon Griffiths & Fred Ameri

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Iranian Imbroglio

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Iranian Imbroglio - Sir Eldon Griffiths & Fred Ameri

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For most Americans, Iran and its leadership are largely beyond comprehension.Memories of American diplomats held hostage haunt our foreign policy in the region. With the withdrawal from Iraq all but completed and the troops coming home from Afghanistan, few Americans in mid 2012 welcomed the prospect that the United States in the run up to the November presidential election might be involved in yet another Middle East conflict, this time involving nuclear weapons and a former US ally, Iran as the target. Spring had been a time when the tom-toms of war were beating loudly. Retired air force generals with close links to the Pentagon appeared on television to draw lines on the map of the vast territories between the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean showing how high flying drones would identify nuclear installations U.S. bombers would destroy them. The US Navy dispatched a second and prepared a third aircraft carrier battle group to join the one already deployed in the Persian Gulf. A former White House strategist told the readers of the Wall Street Journal that with "half a million New Yorkers facing a 1 in 20 chance of annihilation [the President) should order the US armed forces to attack and destroy [enemy targets] with massive ordnance enetrators; fuel air detonations with almost the force of nuclear weapons; high powered microwave attack destroy Iran's laboratories and its electrical grid."

President Barack Obama's comment was that this "war talk could be counter productive." But, is it? Sir Eldon Griffiths with 30 years of experience in the British Parliament also has spent years in Iran and his book brings a fresh look at Iran.

As this book went to press James Clapper, chief of the US National Security Council told Congress, "The United States assesses that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and has not made the political decision to make one." One of his British opposite numbers added: "While the intentions of the Iranian regime remain opaque we don't believe they have made the decision to weaponize." Netanhayu and his US admirers dismissed these uncertainties: "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it IS a duck," he said.

Since then the U.S. and its allies, Britain, France, together with Russia and China have returned to the negotiation tables with the Iranians. "The window for a peaceful resolution of the impasse over nuclear weapons "is open" said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "But not for long," she added. Making progress more difficult were the repercussions of two world changing developments that bore down on the Israeli-Iranian stand-off. One was in east Asia, the sudden offer by Kim Jong-Un, 29-year-old heir to his family's 100 year old dictatorship to "turn down the graph" of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Uranium enrichment would be halted. International inspectors, banned since 2003 would be re-admitted to the Youngbyun nuclear center. No more of the atomic weapons tests that had alarmed Japan.

Sir Eldon Griffiths' "snapshots" of Iran are rich in anecdotes, interviews with Mossadegh and the Shah, revelations about the origins of Iran's nuclear power program, insights into the President Carter's failed attempt to rescue the American diplomats held captive by Khomeini's Revolutionary Guards and President Reagan's offer to trade U.S. missiles for other U.S. hostages. Recent visits to Iran lead the author to suggest a twin track peace deal based on a nonaggression pact covering Iran's fears of invasion, the future security of Iraq and a nuclear free Middle East. Donald Rumsfield's resignation and the repudiation of the Bush administration by the American electorate in the November 2006 election opened the door to a "new direction" for U.S. policies in the Middle East. Sir Eldon's proposals for peace are radical, contentious and timely.

Fred Ameri has served as an official in various local and State positions in the administrations of four California governors. He is the past chairman of the World Affairs Council of Orange County, and a member of the Central Committee of the Orange County Republican Party. He is a leader in the Persian community, advocating their involvement in the socio-economic and political affairs of their new home, the United States of America.



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