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Iran's not-yet-completed heavy-water reactor at Arak. Further development at the reactor, capable of producing plutonium that could be used in a nuclear bomb, is frozen as part of the six-month Geneva agreement.
Iran's not-yet-completed heavy-water-moderated nuclear reactor at Arak. Further
development at the reactor is frozen as part of the six-month Geneva agreement.
President Obama won't, but perhaps should, make the 16 Democratic senators who have signed up to pass more economic sanctions on Iran sit on the floor when the Democratic caucus gets together with him at the White House Wednesday evening.

With the start date for a six-month interim agreement curtailing Iran's nuclear program now firmly set for Jan. 20, there are zero good reasons for adding sanctions or threatening to add sanctions if the talks for a permanent agreement don't pan out during those six months.

Whether or not one agrees that currently existing sanctions are a good thing and forced the Iranians to the negotiating table with the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany, adding more sanctions would be worse than counterproductive. Iran's foreign minister said a month ago that doing so would bring an end to further negotiations.

But the outcome would be worse than a return to square one. After years of working for a diplomatic solution, albeit while cyber attacks were launched against Iran, an end of negotiations would put us directly on a road to war. Hardliners in Tehran would receive a "we-told-you-so" moment with which to cudgel Iranian moderates, like President Hassan Rouhani, who have a hard enough time as it is making political headway under the ruling hand of the mullahs. And if hardliners in Iran reassert their hard grasp on policy, hardliners in the United States won't be far behind.

Why these 16 Democrats want to give the bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran factions of the U.S. and Israel a political edge against President Obama's Iran's policy is beyond understanding unless they all along have stood with them.

Before you read further analysis below the fold, please join us in backing diplomacy with opposition to Sen. Menendez's legislation.

David Brumberg, special adviser at the 30-year-old U.S. Institute of Peace, writes:

If by 2010 U.S. military leaders were signaling their lack of enthusiasm for an attack, this was because many had concluded that a military approach required weeks if not months of war with Iran—after Iraq and Afghanistan it wasn't only the American public that opposed new military adventures.

Such calculations pointed to only one reasonable option: a diplomatic solution. It is interesting to note that the Obama administration apparently came to this conclusion months before Hassan Rouhani's surprise election—well before most U.S. Iran experts could envision Iran's domestic politics tolerating the return of former Ambassador to the UN Javad Zarif, and his pragmatic foreign policy camp, as Rouhani's foreign minister. Now that they are leading Iran's nuclear policy tea—with, of course, the Supreme Leader's critical blessing (or at least acquiescence)—the challenge facing the administration is to negotiate a final deal that Zarif and his allies can defend as a reasonable compromise without provoking retaliation from either domestic hard-line opponents or those in the U.S. and the Middle East who still think that Iran's total capitulation is a feasible goal.

Creating this sweet spot will be impossible if the U.S. imposes more sanctions. The oft-repeated Washington mantra that "sanctions got the Iranians to negotiate" is true, but only in a very limited sense: Sanctions have enhanced the domestic leverage of foreign policy pragmatists who, under Zarif's leadership, argue that the Obama administration is ready for a compromise that includes removing all nuclear-related restrictions.
New sanctions will not only destroy the pragmatists' credibility—it will decimate their wider bid to advance a new domestic reform project.

New sanctions will not only destroy the pragmatists' credibility—it will decimate their wider bid to advance a new domestic reform project.

From that perspective, not only would a breakdown of negotiations fail to ensure that Iran does not build a nuclear bomb—something Iran says it is not doing and some U.S. intelligence officials publicly have said they don't think it is doing—but it also would harm the prospects of Iranians who seek democratic reform, many of them at the risk of their lives or imprisonment.

It's not only this cohort of Democratic senators who want to give the finger to diplomacy. Some Democrats in the House have joined Republicans in signing a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in which they "urge you and your colleagues in the Senate to act swiftly to continue consideration of rigorous Iran sanctions legislation."

That legislation—S. 1881, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013—has plenty wrong with it. But, as I've noted before, the worst is in Section 2 (b) (5):

if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran's nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence
Stripped to its essentials, what this means is that if Israel decides to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and Iran strikes back, the U.S. would be committed to use military force against Iran. Utterly upside-down.

Patricia Zengerle and Timothy Gardner at Reuters report that setting Jan. 20 as the start date for Iran's freezing of most of its nuclear development while talks are underway on a permanent agreement may reduce the drive for more sanctions. Perhaps. That would certainly be welcome news. But the two reporters don't really make a good case for it, and there's no evidence that Sen. Bob Menendez, who introduced the new sanctions legislation, has given up trying to add to the 58 senators who are co-sponsoring the bill with him.

 ••• •••

David Harris Gershon has a post about this subject here.

Karen from Maui has one here.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 02:52 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's true (28+ / 0-)

    but that's the point.  Remember that during the Bush admin, we rebuked the Swiss just for passing along Iran's diplomatic advances. The neoconservatives don't want ANY diplomacy, even if it works.  Or especially if it works.

    Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

    by happymisanthropy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:09:00 PM PST

  •  This is madness, and terrifying. What happened (25+ / 0-)

    to our representative democracy? What happened to our Democratic Party?

    How have we learned so little from the world-shattering fiascos of our Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Is war with a country that's richer and stronger than both of them really such a brilliant idea, so much wiser than actually making diplomacy work?

    If we get dragged into a war with Iran, it will prove to the rest of the world that all Americans are bloodthirsty idiots, and can't be trusted as a World Power.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:09:46 PM PST

    •  Taft Hartley in the Late 40's, Beginnings of the (9+ / 0-)

      RW Revolution mid 60's, recruitment of evangelicals c. 1970, first neoliberal economics mid 70's, and then Reagan.

      It's taken most of a lifetime for us to surrender it to ownership.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:30:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree with Brecht on this. As for our (8+ / 0-)

      Democratic Party, did they fight against the war in Iraq?  Is that where these faux Democrats are leading us?  I  am also reminded of what we did with Mosaddegh. Am sure the Iranians also remember. I am ashamed that two of my senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, have joined the war mongers.

    •  Insightful Must-Read article from today's Guardian (14+ / 0-)

      Invading Iraq was dumb enough. Now Congress wants to derail the Iran deal:

      The diplomatic bargain struck by the United States and Iran this week is the Obama administration's greatest diplomatic triumph. Efforts by the US Congress to derail it would, if successful, constitute a self-inflicted strategic wound even more myopic than its vote to endorse the 2003 invasion of Iraq. That vote, after all, was only endorsing a mistaken policy set in the White House. This one would be a rebellion against a White House decision that promises great benefits to the United States. . . .

      Hostility toward Iran may not be the silliest of all American foreign policies –that would probably be the continuing trade embargo of Cuba – but it is undoubtedly the most self-defeating. No step the United States could take anywhere in the world would bring strategic benefits as great as détente with Iran. It has tantalizing potential. Iran's interest in stabilizing the violence-torn countries on its eastern and western borders, Iraq and Afghanistan, closely parallels that of the United States. . . .

      Iran can help douse fires that threaten to engulf the Middle East and surrounding regions. But those fires, awful as they are, do not truly threaten the United States. One development in that part of the world, however, has devastated Iranian society and is killing Americans every day: heroin trafficking. Nearly all the world's heroin comes from poppies grown in Afghanistan. In recent years heroin addiction has become a full-blown national crisis in Iran, and last week Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont asserted in a dramatic speech that his state, like others in the US, is facing a "full-blown heroin crisis". That makes the Afghan heroin trade and the metastasizing violence of al-Qaida two enemies that threaten both the US and Iran. If these two countries can begin working together, they will be more able to confront these two scourges than either could do alone.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:49:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No one ever lost money betting on (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eyesoars, happymisanthropy, StrayCat

        the collective  ineffable stupidity of Congress.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:15:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And this from the same article... (8+ / 0-)

        ...the emphasis is mine.

        It is a safe bet that many of members of Congress, including more than a few of the 59 senators now trying to kill the US-Iran peace process, would struggle to identify Iran on a map. Many, however, cling to the belief that the only true test of any American foreign policy is whether Israeli leaders support it. The Israel lobby in Washington has turned the Iran deal into a life-or-death struggle. It is no accident that leaders of the war party, like Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, have received huge amounts of campaign money from that lobby. Nor is it strange that Hillary Clinton, who is eager for the lobby's support in her upcoming presidential campaign, has been deafeningly silent on this issue.
        Kinda makes you think about who you'll vote for in the next presidential primary.  It does for me, anyway.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:15:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most are 1% wannabees? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, rbird, StrayCat
          Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 2:15 PM UTC
          Congressman Moneybags: Darrell Issa and Washington’s epidemic of wealth
          For the first time ever, more members of Congress are millionaires than not. Why it's bad news for the rest of us

          Michael Winship, BillMoyers.com

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:56:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Democratic Senators morphing into war hawks? (0+ / 0-)

          I'm really disgusted that democratic senators are supporting additional sanctions on Iran.  I didn't work hard for my 2 democratic senator's re-election so they could turn into right wing war mongers.   Imposing additional sanctions just when a negotiated solution seems possible is a deliberate effort to provoke Iran, and a deliberate effort to sabotage a diplomatic solution.    

          Even former Congresswoman Jane Harmon, (Jewish) who has earned a reputation as an expert on the Middle East, commented on CNN's Situation Room Wednesday that those Senators who support additional sanctions are doing it at Israel's behest.  They are receiving relentless pressure from AIPAC.  Those Senators need to be receiving relentless pressure from the voters in their states and from those who spent many hours working on their campaigns.  

          •  A little objection. (0+ / 0-)

             I'm glad the neocons and other friends of Israel's right wing are showing their true colors. but I think we are mistaken if we equate the positions taken by Israel and its people with that of the right wing element now dominating their government.  For example, many Israelis object to their government's policies toward the Palestinian people in the West Bank.  Some have joined forces with Palestinians demanding a change in these policies.  They are not the warmongers that others, especially their religious right, have been electing lately.  
              Similarly, we should be aware that the "Israeli lobby" such as AIPAC and Bnai Brith, do not represent Israel's interests.  Firstly, they are not in the employ of the Israeli government, and so are not lobbyists in the literal sense.  Most importantly, they are aligned with the right wing hawks in Israel.  And as I said, the latter do not represent the views of the Israeli people as a whole.  Despite the lobby's claims, their notions of what constitutes Israel's interests are their own.
              Although you have not said so, the lobby does  represent the views of American Jews taken as a whole.  Like the Israelis, the Jewish community in the US encompasses a wide spectrum of views and political allegiances, and this diversity extends to their attitudes toward Israel and what constitutes Israeli and American interests.
              In other words, the monolithic block we call the "Jewish vote" is a myth and myths only have a power commensurate with our belief in them.  In failing to recognize this simple fact, therefore fearing an enemy of exaggerated electoral strength, our representatives in government give the lobbies a power they otherwise would not have and don't deserve.  

    •  The USA is the greatest threat to peace (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht

      according to the Annual WIN/Gallop poll of 66,000 people worldwide. No other country is even close.

      The warmongering cocksuckers in the Senate are confirming this  sickening view.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:37:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They don't need to go far to know you're right! (24+ / 0-)

    All they have to do is take a taxi ride with one of the many Iranian-American taxi drivers in D.C. Those guys pretty much all detest the hard-liners (which is why most of them left), but they've all got relatives who are still in Iran. I've never talked to one who doesn't say that every time the U.S. starts making bellicose noises about Iran, the hard-liners support inside of Iran goes up.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:19:29 PM PST

    •  precisely (9+ / 0-)

      yes.  Iranian/Persian  nationalism is powerful, like how Texans feel, except with 5000 years of recorded history, instseed of 250 years or so.  They don't always support the government of the day, but they will defend Iran against any aggressor.  

    •  Yep. I have good Iranian-American... (14+ / 0-)

      ...friends who visit Iran almost every year. I wrote about them here eight years ago:

      We were crawling along an unfamiliar side street of South Pasadena last Friday, on our way home from dinner with the family of an Iranian friend, a one-time fugitive from the brutal Shah and brother-in-law of a three-term southern California Congresswoman. A black Lincoln Navigator edged away from the curb in front of us. Streetlights burn dim and stand far apart in the neighborhood, so I didn't get a good look at the bumper sticker on this submarine-sized car until it braked for the stop sign where the side street turns into the main drag. In crimson letters on a white background: "Nuke Iran Now!" Palpable rage embraced in three words. [...]

      Clearly, under what has been de facto U.S. policy for a decade, and official doctrine for the past three years, any attack against Iran (which has been predicted to be just around the corner for more than a year now) might not be limited to surgical strikes with conventional weapons, as when Israel sent F-16s and F-15s in 1981 to destroy the unfinished, French-built Osiraq research reactor near Baghdad. The Iranian regime epitomizes the kind of target the new nuclear posture has been designed for.

      A number of sources have suggested that an attack could come early this year, possibly as soon as late March. Maybe right around Norouz, the Equinox-timed celebration of the Iranian new year when my friend Muhammad and his two young sons, Ideen and Afreen, may be in Isfahan visiting relatives. [...]

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:55:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we keep (8+ / 0-)

    quiet they will take us to another war. Remember they are tough on terror that is what they are selling. I will never again volunteer or contribute if they do this because in the end they are no different from the other side. They are voting for war instead of giving peace a chance.

  •  To the warmongers who call themselves Democrats (14+ / 0-)

    but are shamelessly trying to undermine a major diplomatic effort by the leader of their own party, the Iranian reformers are just one more group to be ignored.

    What a disgrace that when a significant group of Democratic senators finally decides it's time to stand up to the Obama Administration it's so they can make common cause with the GOP in attacking him from the right.

  •  Okay I'm going to say the taboo. Aipac is pushing (18+ / 0-)

    Dems to join with the neocons for ANOTHER war in the Mid East. The 16 dems might want peace in the region, but only if Israel gets to set the terms.

    BIG NOTE: I am not anti semitic, but the US backing of the hawks in Israel is a common theme in Congress. Such polices do neither nation any good.  

  •  But you have to remember who it will help... (6+ / 0-)

    Clearly the solution is to go in, spend HUGE amounts of money on hideously marked up contractors, and then declare victory and get out in... 5-10 years.

    And look on the bright side!  We'll only lose a few thousand poor people.

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:32:06 PM PST

  •  Thank you, MB. (9+ / 0-)

    Sorry to say, this year I don't see how I can hold my nose and vote for Demoscat Mark Pryor again. I know he'd be better overall than his looney-toon Teabagger opponent, but I think this is the one I sit it out.

    We've killed hundreds of thousands of children in my 65 years, and I can't be a  part of it any more.

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:32:55 PM PST

  •  The U.S. Knesset knows it's casting a vote for war (5+ / 0-)

    not sanctions (if the bill comes up for a vote). They are convinced most Americans aren't smart enough to witness that fact.

  •  i'll be blunt (12+ / 0-)

    if sanctions are imposed, the nuclear talks will break down, and reform will be stifled. it will greatly raise the risk of a nuclear armed iran, and it will greatly raise the risk of war. and everyone who signs on to the sanctions will be personally responsible.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:55:21 PM PST

  •  Scuttling the talks and quashing reform as a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, StrayCat

    step toward installing yet another Shah is a possible goal. We do like our puppets and, by corollary, dislike any and all who aren't.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:59:28 PM PST

  •  But... but... (0+ / 0-)

    what about Bibi and AIPAC?

  •  Plan now for what happens six months from now (0+ / 0-)

    If no permanent agreement has been negotiated.  I don't think it is correct to take options off the table unnecessarily, so the threat of future additional sanctions if things don't pan out has to be out there, even if it is more implied than outright stated.

    •  However keep in mind that the sanctions will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo

      automatically go through regardless of what Iran does unless CONgress repeals that law and the likelihood of that is about the same as them passing a retroactive unemployment extension.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:57:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Future additional sanctions are conditioned . . . (0+ / 0-)

      on compliance with the negotiated agreement.  If the agreement is broken by non-compliance with its terms, there is nothing to prevent the U.S. from instituting a new round of sanctions.  The agreement is void.

      This current agreement matters in terms of the U.S.'s credibility and the credibility of more moderate members of the Iranian government.  If there is a clear indication that the terms of the agreement are not honored by Iran, then there is a stronger argument for the next step.  Short-circuiting the process at this stage, would be extremely foolish -- even if there is are qualified terms that there will be no future sanctions.  Obviously if Iran complies with the terms, there is no basis for imposing future sanctions, so I don't see how anything substantive is being traded away.

      •  This bill goes way beyond conditional sanctions. (4+ / 0-)

        It basically states that new sanctions will be imposed automatically if Iran does not agree to completely dismantle its nuclear infrastructure - in other words, surrender. It would take away President Obama's ability to negotiate or to deliver on any promises made by the American side. It would bind the president to enter a military conflict should the Israeli government decide to attack Iran, effectively usurping the president's ability to conduct foreign policy. And let's be clear: AIPAC's goal in pushing this legislation is to blow up the interim agreement & negotiations over the nuclear file, not to work toward a "better" agreement.

        It's quite disingenuous for supporters of this bill to suggest that they are only trying to "strengthen Obama's hand" in negotiations; rather, this bill would effectively tie his hands. What is more, it would be an abject humiliation of the president & a congressional rebuke of historic proportion. If the goal is to render President Obama a lame duck, this is the sure way to do it.

  •  8 years ago when Iran's nukes became an issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, StrayCat

    I saw that some experts saying that that only way to stop Iran from having a Nuke was to nuke them. Why have we not nuked India, Pakistan...

    Kind of snark.  

    •  Not really snark. In order to actually win a (0+ / 0-)

      war with Iran we would either have to reinstate the draft or nuke major Iranian cities in order to "break their will to fight".  Of course, even nuking Tehran might not be enough so a draft would probably still be required either way.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:58:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We couldn't even occupy & pacify Iraq (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NotGeorgeWill, Lepanto, whizdom, poco, StrayCat

        . . . an Iraq hobbled by a disastrous war & a decade of economic blockade. What makes these warmongers think the U.S. could invade & occupy Iran, overthrow its government & install a client regime?

        These U.S. senators seem to think that sanctions have brought Iran to its knees & that all that is needed to get it to capitulate is more sanctions & the threat of bombardment. But the international sanctions (with the exception of the U.S. & E.U.) would likely crumble once it becomes apparent that it's the U.S. side that is acting in bad faith. And Iran is in a much stronger position than most American policy-makers assume - it has a developed economy, solid infrastructure, political stability, an ally in Iraq, major influence in western Afghanistan, strong relations with India, working relationships (if not exactly friendships) with Pakistan & Turkey, & a convergence of interests with Russia. Military experts are of a consensus that aerial or missile strikes could only delay & not stop an Iranian nuclear breakout.

        Meanwhile, new sanctions now would surely blow up the interim agreement & poison the atmosphere for future talks. But in the end, blowing up the interim agreement & ongoing negotiations would most likely result in a nuclear-armed Iran. Because in spite of all the bluster, the U.S. is in no position to go to war with Iran.

        For my part, I don't fear a nuclear-armed Iran per se. The chances it would actually use a nuclear weapon are nil: the clerical regime may be repressive & hostile, but it isn't suicidal. The real dangers, in my view, are nuclear proliferation & the destabilizing effects it would have on the region. But strategically, it would be a game-changer, & this is what the U.S. & Israel say they aren't willing to tolerate.

        •  Well in Iraq we didn't have anywhere near (0+ / 0-)

          the number of troops required to actually occupy the country.  I have heard that it could take over 10 million troops to successfully occupy Iran and we don't have that many.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:35:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  In Iraq, it would have taken probably 400,000 (0+ / 0-)

            . . . to have effectively occupied the country & prevent the breakdown of law & order & the organizing of an insurgency. And it's important to keep in mind that Iraq was economically threadbare & militarily hobbled.

            So in Iran, with its better-trained better-equipped & more numerous forces, especially its Revolutionary Guards trained in guerrilla warfare, its extremely mountainous terrain, & with 3 times the population of Iraq & 4 times its land area, we'd be looking at needing upwards of 1 million troops & several trillion dollars.

            We can't do this, & the Iranian government surely knows it.

      •  Nuking a major city wouldn't . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miango113

        break anyone's will to fight.  It would more likely embolden them and lose any kind of international support for continued military action.

        Keep in mind that the London blitz didn't break the will of the British in WWII - it strengthened the nation's determination to fight.

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened at the end of a long war.  If it had been an opening salvo, WWII probably would have played out differently.  Perhaps the Soviets or the Germans would have accelerated their own development of atomic weapons.

  •  Help, please! What is the proper (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rbird, WattleBreakfast, salmo, StrayCat

    spelling of "YOU STUPID FUCKERS!"

    I speak, of course, of the dim-o-carts pushing the reprehensible AIPAC line.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:10:59 PM PST

  •  Let's call the AIPAC criminals what they are: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, StrayCat

    War profiteers.

    They're the pyschopathic scumfuck pieces of shit that are willing to kill brown toddlers so they can make money.

    Peace in the Middle East is bad for business. The Iraq War is over, the Afghanistan war is winding down, and if there's not another armed conflict to replace them, they're looking at cutbacks.

    Why, Israel and the U.S. might be leaned on to put their warplanes in the boneyard, turn some of their warships into razor blades, and put their missiles, and even their nuclear programs out to pasture.

    Can't have that.

    So the reptiles in AIPAC have got to stir up another war. Iraq's all used up, the Syria thing got derailed by the last peace initiative, so right now, they've got to cook up another war. Iran seems like the best chance they've got, so they're desperate to derail the looming nuclear standdown.

    They want war. The shareholders want war. The moneyed elites want the profits of war, so they've got their AIPAC reptiles in the halls of Congress, lobbying our craven politicians to stir up a war.

    And if a few brown Iranian babies get turned into hamburger in the war they stir up, they're fine with that. Blood makes the charts in the quarterly reports soar!

  •  Sent the e-mails to Begich and Murkowski, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco, happymisanthropy, NotGeorgeWill

    seriously had to reword them.

  •  When that country stops (0+ / 0-)

    assassinating scientists and foreign leaders, bombing adjacent countries capitals and with foreign supplied jet planes, denying self determination to millions of refugees while stealing their national resources and rewriting their history, and colonizing by belligerent occupation, transporting their citizens into occupied territory, and imposing theocratic rule on millions, and enters into disclosure and compliance after years of  concealing a nuclear weapons program, then we might consider relieving sanctions

    •  I thought you were referring to Israel (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WattleBreakfast, StrayCat

      . . . until I read the last 3 lines of the post.

      But seriously, what country is Iran "colonizing by belligerent occupation"? What "adjacent countries' capitals" has Iran bombed? Since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, Iran has not launched offensive military operations against any other country. Even in 1998, when it had a legitimate casus belli against the Taliban government in Afghanistan (after the Taliban executed several of its diplomats), Iran's government chose not to go to war. The U.S. & Israel, on the other hand, have been much more inclined through all these years toward military aggression.

      The U.S. has maintained a total embargo on trade with Iran since the hostage crisis of 1979-80. Except, of course, for the secret arms-for-hostages arrangement between the Reagan & Khomeini governments that finally came to light in 1986. American intransigence toward Iran (& Iranian intransigence toward the U.S.) long predate any concerns over the nuclear program.

    •  I thought you were referring to Israel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WattleBreakfast

      . . . until I got to the last 3 lines of the post.

      But seriously, does one call for "disclosure and compliance" with regard to Israel's nuclear weapons program? What other country is Iran "colonizing by belligerent occupation"? What "adjacent countries' capitals" has Iran bombed? From what country is Iran "stealing their natural resources"? Since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, Iran has not launched offensive military operations against any other country. Even in 1998, when it had a legitimate casus belli against the Taliban government in Afghanistan (after the Taliban executed several captured Iranian diplomats), the government in Tehran chose not to go to war. And for what it's worth, Iran has witnessed several of its scientists assassinated in recent years.

      For the record, the U.S. has maintained a total trade embargo against Iran ever since the revolution & hostage crisis of 1979-80. American intransigence toward Iran (& Iranian intransigence toward the U.S.) long predates any concerns about the nuclear file.

    •  You win the George Orwell Award!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat

      Not a good award to win btw, it means you are either brainwashed or vile or both!

  •  Could This Insanity Backfire? (0+ / 0-)

    Is there any chance that if this passes as veto-proof, the rest of the negotiating group formally expels the US from their group? And then drops sanctions as they wish?

    Even if not formal, could the whole sanction structure AND cooperation of Russia on selling weapons to iran end?

    Could Putin lead the group to isolate and defeat US warmongering yet again?

    Could this also leave Israel MORE isolated and more subject to BDS than before?

  •  But... (5+ / 0-)

    but it's working so well on Cuba....

    When lots of people show up to vote, Democrats tend to win.

    by Audri on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:44:24 PM PST

  •  Suggestion for the President (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Major Kong

    Get all of the House and Senate Democrats together and put forth a simple proposition.

    IF they do not believe Iran can be trusted to negotiate,

    IF they are prepared to impose further sanctions at the risk of derailing negotiations in which multiple parties have invested,

    IF they do not trust their own President and his administration to carry out foreign policy initiatives,

    IF they want to send a message that the U.S. will negotiate only on the basis of total surrender,

    IF they have no confidence in the ability of the U.S. and international partners to monitor Iran's compliance and respond appropriately…

    Then, are they prepared to grant the President immediate and full power to declare war on Iran and attack with everything up to and including nuclear weapons?

    Because if they are not willing to face their fears, if all they are brave enough to do is mindlessly engage in saber-rattling… they are making war and continued terrorism inevitable.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:45:06 PM PST

  •  Here is the way it is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, WattleBreakfast

    We have these so-called American citizen Senators doing the bidding of a hard, hard right-wing leader of Israel.  So if they want to do Israel's bidding, why not move to Israel?

    Go Shumer,

    Go Booker.

    Go the lot of you.

    Don't try to let Netanyahu rule the United States.  Where is your loyalty to your own country?

    Go to Israel and suck up the story that the Palestinians never existed inside what is now Israel and they have not a right under the sun.

    Go!

    •  here is the way it is ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miango113

      Schumer and Gillibrand are Jewish Democrats (NY) and they are doing the bidding of Israel against the best interests of the United States.  Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (CA) are Jewish Democrats and they are opposed to the interrupting of diplomacy new sanctions.  I can only guess that Booker is a newbie to AIPAC cash.  

  •  Thanks MB (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, WattleBreakfast

    This is IMHO, the single most important second term issue. These cretins will get nada from me,ever!  

  •  Where is the proof that if a country is (0+ / 0-)

    nuclear armed, it will use them ? And where is the proof that imposing sanctions on countries that may have nuclear weapons ready to go within the next years or so, will prevent those countries from developing and using them?

    Just asking, I don't get it. So far it looks like those who have them don't use them and those, who are forced to not have them, are getting so miffed, they would want to use them.

  •  We need more intelligent leadership . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom

    on the GOP side, I get it -- for most this is just a cynical way of denying Obama a potential short-term political victory -- even if it is one that probably won't register strongly with most Americans who aren't focused on these kind of issues.  The GOP doesn't even factor in the long-term consequences for national interests, which has been their SOP for several years.  See: Iraq, Afghanistan, or economic performance during their maladministration.

    On the Dem side this is just a flat out embarrassment.  Haven't these folks learned?

    What is the risk of letting this agreement work for six months?  If someone is really dedicated to military action as a viable alternative, the case would be stronger after the violation of an agreement along these lines.  

    If a person is more concerned about limiting Iran's capacity to develop a nuclear weapon, then this measure might work.  It is clearly better than the alternatives at this stage.  

    Additionally, undermining the agreement at this stage would strengthen the hand of hardliners in Iran.  The fact that this action is even being seriously considered is an indictment of the ways in which foreign lobbies distort the rule making process in the U.S.  This will backfire for anyone who supports the idea of the Israel-U.S. "special relationship".  These proposed sanctions are an awful strange way of being a "friend" to Israel, as it will undermine the best chance to actually demonstrate whether negotiations are a plausible way forward.

    The only thing that gives me a degree of hope is that there are columnists who are sounding the alarm on this issue early.  I just hope that these Senators are hearing from a critical mass of constituents who care about America's strategic interests.

  •  handing to Netanyahu the possibility of declaring (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, WattleBreakfast, StrayCat

    war against Iran on our behalf - as this proposed bill implies - is not only insanity, it's also treason.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:21:49 PM PST

    •  I think they over-reached (0+ / 0-)

      on that one.  

      •  Well they just want an excuse to impeach Obama (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo

        which is almost guaranteed to happen should he refuse to go to war at Israel's command.  In such a situation there is even a fair chance that he could be convicted in the senate and removed from office.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:04:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  resonates of the recent Syria debacle (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco

          One faction of the crazy right (and some Dems), and one of the  major Israel advocacy groups put a full court press to bomb Syria, while the Randian libertarian isolationists threatened to impeach the pres if he didn't bring the matter to congress.

          One of the weirdest dynamics I have ever seen.  The President deserves great credit for navigating that snake pit and still getting an acceptable outcome

          •  That wasn't the president's finest hour (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            salmo

            . . . but in the end, he stumbled into the right decision. In a way, it was the crazies in the House Republican caucus who saved Obama from his own advisers, most of whom were eager to bomb Syria & jump head-first into that country's civil war.

  •  Treason (0+ / 0-)

    This is a direct result of so-called American politicians accepting campaign money from Israel. It is treason for U.S. politicians to take money from any foreign government, and then pretend that they are representing our country. It is particularly galling when so much of our tax dollars go to aid Israel, who then use it to control our government to the detriment of all Americans.

  •  Iran (0+ / 0-)

    No sanctions on Iran until negotiations don't work. No more Republican wars.
    Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
    John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

  •  response from sen m. bennett(d-co) (0+ / 0-)

    "I support the ongoing negotiations and the President's efforts to engage Iran and its people through direct diplomacy; I am also cognizant of the security risks Iran poses to our allies in the region and the international community at large. That is why I am a co-sponsor of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881). The bill would impose economic sanctions against Iran only if it violates any interim or final agreement that is reached with respect to its nuclear program.

    S.1881 has been placed on the Legislative Calendar but is not currently under consideration on the Senate floor. I will continue to follow the negotiations closely and will keep your thoughts in mind should this legislation be brought before the full Senate."

    •  Thanks for posting this to keep us informed (0+ / 0-)

      of Bennett's position. (Trying to play both sides much? Not an impressive letter.)

      Please note that diaries on this site go "stale" quickly very fast, within a day or so. That's true even of those by the so-called Front Pagers, with the possible exceptions being those on the Community Spotlight or on the Recommended List--and even those tend not to attract traffic for very long. Something to keep in mind if you wonder why your comment doesn't get noticed.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:39:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  stupid moderates sucking up to the AIPAC crowd nt (0+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:00:16 AM PST

  •  A Crock (0+ / 0-)

    Let Israel start and finish it's own war with Iran.

  •  I emailed both Sens. Leahy and Sanders. (0+ / 0-)

    though there's no prob. on either front. Got a thank you from Pat Leahy. Bernie usually responds as well. If nothing else, they can apply peer pressure. The DSCC might think of applying a little pressure as well. November is not that far off and who wants to make a donation that might end up going to any Senator that would be part of a stunt like this. This is one we'd raise hell over, I think.

  •  Response from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catilinus

    "I believe that the U.S. must be willing to take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Those steps include tough, strong sanctions and committed diplomacy, and this path has been effective in bringing Iran to the negotiating table. The interim agreement is a promising first step toward preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and it is critically important that we ensure Iran's compliance with the deal. I am concerned that imposing additional sanctions while the United States is in the midst of negotiations risks undermining our negotiators and reducing both Iran's willingness and its ability to strike a long-term agreement. I believe that we must exhaust every effort to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy, and I am hopeful that continued diplomatic efforts will eventually lead to a final and comprehensive agreement."

    •  Best part of her statement- (0+ / 0-)

      "imposing additional sanctions while the United States is in the midst of negotiations risks undermining our negotiators and reducing both Iran's willingness and its ability to strike a long-term agreement. "

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      The Americas greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

      by catilinus on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 01:13:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Iran's nuclear ambitions. (0+ / 0-)

    Why not have the Jews zap them again? It worked last time!

    •  Hans Schmitt (0+ / 0-)

      Actually, it didn't.  And this this new bill commits the United States to military action against Iran should Israel decide for any reason to attack Iran. It, in essence, allows a foreign country - Israel - to set US foreign policy and allows Israel to declare war on behalf of America.  We in America do not want any more war and there is no support in this country for a war against Iran.  

  •  Spirit of MLK, Gandhi, and Mandela... (0+ / 0-)

    May the spirits of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela prevail. Non-violence is the only way forward.  US forays into the Middle East has rendered the country trillions in debt, killed thousands of our soldiers, maimed tens of thousands, tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, made millions of into refugees, and brought al Qaeda to a region where it had not existed before.  Ironically, al Qaeda's flag now flies over Fallujah (a city were hundreds of US soldiers died securing it for the US), and now controls western Syria and eastern Iraq.  Repeating bad policy decisions is complete insanity.

  •  We are dangerously close to being (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miango113

    a "war culture" nation like so many other countries in the middle east, Africa, Asia, etc. Many think we are already there. This barbarian shit is getting old. We need to decide whether we are going to quit starting wars or not. If not, why don't we just fight the whole world, even ourselves? OH, Wait...we already are.....

  •  Oil (0+ / 0-)

    If we really wish to "punish" Iran all we need do is bring the Iraqi oil production back on line.
    Unfortunately since the 20's our real policy has been to keep these wells plugged.

    "To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence." - Mark Twain

    by CaptainAnalog on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:30:45 PM PST

  •  How to make money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miango113

    The thing about perpetual war is that it goes on forever.  If that is the point to our military industrial complex and those who support it then you can't let anything get in the way; not a Chavez in Venezuela, or a solution to the Israel and Palestine issue or peace with Iran.  We can't even bring our two last wars to a decent end.  

  •  Shumer and Gillibrand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miango113

    These two are my NY senators.  I have written them more than once over the destructive Iran sanctions that they both support against the wishes of President Obama but they do not respond.  On other issues, they are always quite responsive.  But when it comes to Israel and to their loyalties, it is clear that they are willing to have the best interests of the United States come second to their preference for Israel and the dollars that come from AIPAC.  I think this is a defining moment for our Middle East policy and it is seriously disturbing to see Democratic senators give way to their Jewish loyalties and allow the best interests of the United States to fall subservient to the best interests of a foreign country.  

  •  Actually this is ideal (0+ / 0-)

    for showing Iran that there are forces in the US that are against this agreement just as there are forces in Iran against it.  It gives our team a bargaining position that's on even terms with Iran's. So long as this sanctions bill doesn't come to the floor or get passed.  It's frighteningly close.  

    But I think (& hope) that the momentum for the naysayers has passed, and the negotiations can proceed smoothly without any such obtrusions.

    If we can't get a good deal, then let those sanctions come, but not now.

  •  Don't forget... (0+ / 0-)

    ...there are factions in Congress that seem to rather LIKE to bomb people, especially if they're BROWN people. And Congress seems to be feeling cheated that we didn't get to BOMB people, in Syria and Iran. What's the point of inevitably continually voting for our massive military without question if we don't get to BOMB PEOPLE?

    That was snark, in case you need a road map there...

    The consistent GOP tactic of trying to deny the President ANY conceivable success, regardless to the value or damage to the Nation and/or the world can't fully account for this, since there are a Democratic Members on board with this dangerous silliness.

    What th' heck do I know, I work for a living...

    by SamuraiArtGuy on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 03:37:25 PM PST

  •  War with Iran (0+ / 0-)

    The only ones who want to go to war are the weapons manufacturers.  They hire politicians to shout their slogans and whip up the masses.  

    We have no reason to fight the Iranian people.

    P.S. I haven't had an Iranian apricot since 1979.  They are the best in the world, in my opinion.  I would like to eat more of them before I die.

  •  This may be the key Senate vote of the decade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    Thank you for this excellent diary Meteor Blades.  The ramifications that will result from the course of this round of negotiations can easily dwarf in importance the repercussions that followed U.S. military action against Iraq. . My most recent kos diary is about the effort to undermine these negotiations.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    So much is riding on this.

  •  Let's give diplomacy- with teeth- a chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miango113

    After too many years of that neo-Nazi Ahmadinejad and with crippling sanctions still in place the option of waiting to see if the new Iranian leader will hold to limiting uranium enrichment seems appropriate. Add to that the new rallying cry further sanctions would give Iranian hard liners and you have to decide to be patient.

  •  Sanctions (0+ / 0-)

    Basically, we are once again pleading, as John Lennon so beautifully stated.., "All we are saying is give peace a chance.." but will they listen?

    DEMAND they listen, have sit-ins,  peace rallies in DC, call them, remember their names as people you will vote out of office, make it too uncomfortable, too hot, too disgusting of an idea for them to throw more bodies, (our daughters, sons, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, wives and husbands, i.e; our troops),  at a war they can easily avoid.

  •  Dems who need a letter from you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miango113
    Cosponsor    Date Cosponsored
    Democratic Party— Alphabetical
    Sen. Begich, Mark [D-AK]    12/19/2013
    Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]    01/08/2014
    Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
        12/19/2013
    Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ]    12/19/2013
    Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD]
        12/19/2013
    Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA]    12/19/2013
    Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]
        12/19/2013
    Sen. Donnelly, Joe [D-IN]    12/19/2013
    Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY]
        12/19/2013
    Sen. Hagan, Kay [D-NC]    12/19/2013
    Sen. Landrieu, Mary L. [D-LA]
        12/19/2013
    Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]    12/20/2013
    Sen. Pryor, Mark L. [D-AR]    12/19/2013
    Sen. Schumer, Charles E. [D-NY]
        12/19/2013
    Sen. Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]*    12/19/2013

    We produce more renewable energy than any other state - WA Gov. Jay Inslee

    by mrobinson on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:11:08 PM PST

  •  Go to war for Israel? Tell me it ain't so. (0+ / 0-)

     Before reading this column, I did not realize s1881 contained a provision that leaves it to Israel's discretion to decide, in effect, when the US would be required to take sides and provide Israel with "military" aid, whatever that means.  In the past, Israel has threatened its opponents with action taken in its "legitimate self defense", whatever that means.  In either event, the political pressure on the US to interpret the meaning of both phrases as Israel does will be intense.  
      I do not see how such a decision would be in the interest of the US.  I say this because I have yet to hear a convincing argument that Israel has ever come to the aid of the US when the interests of our citizens were at stake. So, how can Israel be considered our ally.   That the US is an ally of Israel is beyond question - I doubt if Israel would even exist without the aid and support we have given her over the past 6 decades.  But the relationship is completely one-sided, and I certainly do not desire to be involved in another war in the middle east at Israel's convenience.
      If this bill passes Congress, I passionately hope the President will veto it on the grounds that international diplomacy is the Executive branch's prerogative.  

  •  Sen Kaine D VA supports diplomacy not more sanctio (0+ / 0-)

    Here is my letter to one of my senators from VA Sen Tim Kaine D VA and his response

    My letter to Sen Tim Kaine D VA, undecided at this time
    (on 16JAN14)
    Please oppose the Menendez bill imposing additional sanctions on Iran, and blowing up the diplomatic process.
    I expect you to oppose S 1881, rejecting the pressure from the pro Israel lobby in D.C. and the American military-industrial in their attempt to protect their profit margins (and yes, it really is that simple). And since you have never served our nation in the US military I expect you to be extremely hesitant to sacrifice the lives of American service men and women in an unnecessary war, such as a war with Iran. I am a member of the Sen Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party and know you serve with her on the Senate Banking Committee. I suggest you look to her and not Sen Warner for inspiration on how to best serve the people of Virginia and the whole nation as she has the morals and courage sorely need right now in the US Senate.
    AND here is Sen Kaine's response to me on 22JAN14

    January 22, 2014

    Mr. Craig Schwanke

    Dear Mr. Schwanke:

    Thank you for contacting me about Iran.  I appreciate hearing from you.

    In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected the new president of Iran.  On August 2, 2013 I led a bipartisan group of 76 Senators in a letter to President Obama, urging a renewed sense of urgency to the negotiation process with the understanding the time for diplomacy is now.  This letter exhorted serious and immediate moves on Iran's part to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding it suspend the enrichment of uranium, and cease the installation of centrifuges and work on the heavy water reactor being built in Arak.

    On November 24, 2013 Iran and the P5 + 1 reached an agreement to freeze and reverse key components of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief from some economic sanctions.  This interim deal helps reduce stockpiles of enriched uranium to levels appropriate only for civilian use, halts uranium enrichment above dangerous levels, caps the number of centrifuges used for enrichment, and imposes intrusive daily inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency that can give the world immediate warning if Iran plans to move towards nuclear weapons. The purpose of this temporary agreement is to pave the way towards a comprehensive resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

    At this time, it is important to use all diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  In the midst of constructive diplomatic negotiations, I believe that imposing additional sanctions would be counterproductive to the work we have accomplished with our international partners.  I support the current crippling sanctions regime and will gladly vote for additional sanctions should these negotiations falter.  But now is the chance to give diplomacy a chance.

    Moving forward, I will continue to closely monitor developments in Iran and support efforts that keep our nation safe.  Thank you again for contacting me.

    Sincerely,

    Signature

    Tim Kaine

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